On the primacy of reasonable dialogue in the atheist and skeptic communities

by Michael Nugent on March 19, 2013

Thank you to everyone who has, either publicly or privately, welcomed the dialogue taking place here and elsewhere on how to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities.

Dialogue is an important part of improving any situation where people disagree, particularly when dealing with groups composed of individuals with different motivations, and it becomes even more important the more intense the disagreements are. Without reasonable dialogue, these issues will continue to escalate.

These issues go beyond disagreements between individual people, and they go beyond the personal priorities of any one of us. There is now a complex interacting set of issues that continue to effect the wider atheist and skeptic communities in real life, including the day-to-day work of advocacy groups.

These overall issues include sexism and harassment, ideological disagreements about issues including feminism and free speech, personal abuse and bullying, and a tendency to hype up disagreements and attribute motivations and escalate hostility on these and other issues within the atheist and skeptic communities.

If we want to have a strong international support network and advocacy voice for atheists and skeptics, we have to address all of these issues reasonably. We have to move beyond repeatedly reminding people of what they said in the past during these disagreements, and start trying to lead by example by each changing our own behavior.

Some thoughts on the dialogue so far

In my opinion, there have been broadly four kinds of interaction to date. It is important to not lump people together as representing any one approach, simply on the basis that other people who you see as being on their ‘side’ are behaving in a particular way.

Some people have posted comments that seem designed to escalate hostilities. These have included a person bringing an unrelated personal grudge into the discussion, repeated links to pornographic photoshopped images of identifiable people, and a link to some disturbing violent fiction about a named person. I have removed all of these comments.

Some people have defended their positions against unfair attacks by others. That needs to happen. Many of us have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt, and we need to defend ourselves against that. However, as a corollary, many of us have also unfairly misrepresented and hurt other people. And, as each of us knows that we personally didn’t intend to misrepresent or hurt the people that we have hurt, we should not automatically attribute malign motivations to all of those who are misrepresenting and hurting us.

In particular, we shouldn’t accuse each other of lying. From now on, any comments that include the words lie, lying or liar will go into moderation rather than being automatically published. If you believe that somebody has said something that is inaccurate, please make that point and substantiate it, without attributing malign motivations to them. If you believe that any comments published on this website are defamatory about you, please contact me via the contact page and I will deal with it.

Some people have engaged in constructive dialogue, although it can be strained as people naturally mistrust each other. This type of dialogue has included the positive sign of two people apologizing to each other for allegations made. There are some good people, on various ‘sides’ of all of these disagreements, who are trying to engage in a constructive way, and that is the type of behavior that will gradually improve the situation.

Finally, some people have welcomed the fact that the dialogue is taking place and expressed hope that we can move beyond the rifts, and some people have expressed a desire for the dialogue to end and for the rifts to continue. Well, some rifts will certainly continue, because we will never reach a stage of everybody agreeing on everything. But we can make as much progress as we can using reasonable dialogue, and maintain a platform for whoever is committed to such dialogue to engage in it.

As usual, feedback welcome.

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{ 428 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eu March 19, 2013 at 3:02 am

Oh who apologized to each other?

2 Jack March 19, 2013 at 3:21 am

Whatever the outcome, which I hope is favourable, I really appreciate your efforts in this Michael.

3 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 3:50 am

“In particular, we shouldn’t accuse each other of lying.”

I agree with this completely, in the form of “we shouldn’t accuse each other of ______”. One of my main gripes regarding the “rift” is that members of FTB/Skepchick/A+ will make claims about how damaging words like “bitch” or “cunt” are to women – words which are merely insults.

At the same time, they’ll call the people using such insults words such as “misogynist”, “stalker”, or even “possible rapist” (I was actually called this on Skepchick). In my opinion, these are much worse than insults; they’re accusations of deep moral flaws and sometimes even criminal tendencies. To add to the problem, those who are accused of such things are also usually banned from commenting further, leaving them no on-site way to defend themselves from these accusations (again, this happened to me, and it was what motivated me to start posting at the slymepit).

I would love for dialogue to open up with those I disagree with regarding feminism and other issues. But I do have conditions for dialogue in general that I cannot in good conscience give up, the most important being that I’m always allowed to respond.

If anyone from Skepchick/FTB/A+ ever wants to hear what I have to say about rape culture, patriarchy, etc., I’m more than happy to have an insult-free and crudeness-free discussion on the slymepit; and I’ll even start a new thread so we can talk about it one-on-one. But I refuse to have such a conversation where the other party can (and probably will) just ban me for any arbitrary reason.

Of course, there is the additional problem of some people saying that merely questioning the existence of patriarchy makes me a misogynist. That smells like dogma to me, but I seemingly can’t even discuss that in some places without being slandered and banned.

4 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 3:55 am

Michael,
As an egalitarian atheist I have no desire to try to keep women out of the atheist “movement”. In fact I cannot see the movement succeeding without the help of the women atheists. This “rift” is not and has not been about “allowing” women into the atheist movement. It has been about whether the goal of the movement was the minimization of the harmful effects of dogma and religion, or if it was about the promotion of a specific “brand” of political ideology.

On a personal level, I have questioned your motivations in this series of posts, and have done so publicly. This most recent post of yours which includes this key line:
“But we can make as much progress as we can using reasonable dialogue, and maintain a platform for whoever is committed to such dialogue to engage in it.”has given me hope that perhaps the goal of this movement is the minimization of religion after all.

Therefore, in an equally public manner, I offer you a sincere apology for doubting your motivations.

5 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 4:12 am

To add to my previous comment:

I can be pretty crude at times, especially when someone says something completely whacky. Example: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=266&p=70943#p70943

However, when I have what I feel is a more important point to make, I can be a lot more levelheaded. Example: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=255#p60779

If I was Ophelia Benson, and happened to see the latter post, I’d respond in one of two ways:

1) “Hmm, Metalogic42 has a point, maybe I do need more original content on my blog”.
2) “My blogging style is fine and adds value to the FTB community because of reasons X, Y, Z; I’m going to reply and let Metalogic42 know why I disagree”.

I’d be happy with either response. I’d post this on her blog, but I’d just be banned simply because I’m a “‘pitter”.

6 Thaumas Themelios March 19, 2013 at 4:16 am

John Brown and EllenBeth Wachs apologized to each other. I can’t find EBW’s comments right now, but John’s video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5GgrxqYirw

7 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:34 am

That’s cute, Thaumas.

8 Arthur March 19, 2013 at 4:59 am

Michael, your efforts seem only to provide further venues for silly people to repeat tired canards against feminism. And for silly people to smear feminists with baseless claims.

It isn’t working. It won’t work.

9 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 5:07 am

Arthur, which “tired canards” and “baseless claims” are you referring to? Will you come over to the slymepit and have an unmoderated discussion about them?

10 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:08 am

Feminists? Them calling themselves “feminist” is just one facet of it. There are decent ones.. but people are going by different labels since modern feminism doesn’t fit them. You can be for women’s rights without adding a bunch of bullshit to it. People are repeating canards against femTHEISM.

And I’m quite tired of people saying “No, they will just be able to say more stuff against us!” Um, duh. We disagree. We butt heads. That’s the point. You act as if people cannot RESPOND. So, by “won’t work,” you mean “I don’t feel like arguing with people I disagree with in the first place.” That’s like saying an ice cream machine doesn’t work because it dispenses ice cream, which you don’t like. God. No, you’re just not interested in participating.

11 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:13 am

No, Metalogic, because he doesn’t feel like getting slapped with BASE after going into detail about the “baseless claims” & allowing people to defend themselves.

12 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

Michael Nugent,

It may (or maybe not) interest you to know about some of the things being said about you on Ophelia Benson’s blog:

Improbable Joe:
“I expected Nugent to snap the rope tight. He hasn’t, and shows signs that he’s too much of a coward/bigot to ever do so.

You know what animals do with rope that turns out to be string that will never snap tight to choke them? They MAKE NESTS OUT OF THEM. Look at idiot Nugent’s blog, and tell me that he hasn’t created a nest/home for the Slymepitters.”

LeftSidePositive:
“Also, can I just say that Michael continuing to give these people pixels is further exacerbating my prior quibble I made about his attitude of being compulsively neutral? I think it’s increased from a quibble to a full-on objection by now.”

Parse:
“The only bright point in the most recent thread is that Michael Nugent has announced that using certain words will drop a post into moderation.
I expect he’ll see the true faces of the pitters, now that he’s done the Unforgivable Sin of not letting them say whatever they want.”

It’s pretty clear from this that they don’t want neutrality, and they want the “other side” to just shut up. By contrast, many at the slymepit would love if the FTB commenters would come over and engage, including myself. Credit where credit is due, though…

A Hermit:
“I think Michael Nugent is handling this brilliantly myself. He’s made his own position on sexism and harassment very clear, he’s given the ‘piitters the opportunity to discuss their supposed “issues” in a mature, respectful manner, and they have jumped at the chance to prove that they are the good guys.” (although I don’t agree with the paragraph that follows this one).

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/03/thats-libel/#comments (comments I’ve quoted start at number 43)

13 Hunt March 19, 2013 at 6:19 am

But I refuse to have such a conversation where the other party can (and probably will) just ban me for any arbitrary reason.

I would add to that that it’s nearly impossible to actually even have a conversation when you’re effectively treated like a child at a dinner table who is only a wrong word or slightly too close to the bone remark away from being slapped across the face. If you are still determined to make a point, you begin self-editing and obsequious phrase selection so as not to offend your capricious host. And that’s no way to have a conversation.

Of course, blog hosts will immediately respond that we’re trying to take their right to moderate away from them, but if they’re honest, they’ll probably have to admit that there’s more to it than that. Moderation is power, and power tends to corrupt. Once you open the moderation gateway, there will always be the temptation to press that button and make an uncomfortable comment, or commenter, poof, go away. It’s so easy, and for many, the gratification from doing it is irresistible. Few seem able to stick to a fixed and well-defined (which usually means limited) moderation policy. This blog seems to be a happy exception.

14 Rayshul March 19, 2013 at 6:57 am

Michael, I’d like to join the voices thanking you for allowing people to discuss these issues openly on neutral ground (thanks to your open commenting policy). I might also add that your blog is the first place outside of the Slymepit where I have felt comfortable posting since the Elevatorgate saga began, without fear of being banned outright. That alone makes me feel a lot more “welcome” within the skeptical community and more hopeful for the future.

15 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

Michael:

“In particular, we shouldn’t accuse each other of lying. From now on, any comments that include the words lie, lying or liar will go into moderation rather than being automatically published. If you believe that somebody has said something that is inaccurate, please make that point and substantiate it, without attributing malign motivations to them. If you believe that any comments published on this website are defamatory about you, please contact me via the contact page and I will deal with it.”

I know this has nothing to do with your post, but: would you consider PZ Myers’ accusation of me being a MRA (without an once of evidence) on his Pharyngula “Dungeon” to be a lie or an inaccuracy? Keep in mind that the MRM doesn’t exist in France and that I’m not a part of any activist movement. I have also stated many times, both on the old Pharyngula (comments now gone) and at the Pit that I’m definitely not a MRA.

I’d be interested by your take on this issue, the false accusations of appartenance to group X or Y, since I’m not an isolated case and it is, AFAIC, one of the main beefs quite a few people have WRT FTB/A+…

Thanks for providing an open space for all sides.

16 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

Damn! Really sorry about that.

17 Trophy March 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

Michael, I really commend your efforts on trying to create a constructive dialogue but I think it is only doomed to fail. I used to be an avid reader of pharyngula but I think the root of this conflict is very deep and it can only be resolved if people at both side of the conflict are able to swallow some of their pride and admit that they all need to listen and learn. But it will not happen.

Let me just link to one tiny issue, one instance of many patterns that have kept repeating: At some point Sam Harris decided to give free copies of his book “Lying”. PZ made a post about it titled “Free Book”. The first comment on the thread was:
“Why would I want a book by a racist apologist for torture, who favours killing people for their beliefs?” and it was followed by attacks on Sam Harris, not reasonable disagreements. Not engaging with naunced arguments of Harris. In return, SH wrote a lenghty post about it titled “Wreslting with Trolls” and called PZ on it. In return PZ writes a very passive-aggressive post where he dooes not address *any* points made by SH and the cycle continues.

So Michael, as you can see, it is not about “reasonable disagreements”. It is about “the call out culture”. I know I can only leave one link and I choose this: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/10/17/call-out-culture-and-blogging-as-performance/

18 Trophy March 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

Also, I would like to echo a comment made by someone else long time ago:

” Iamcuriousblue • 7 months ago

The problem with FTB, or a significant portion of it, is that it basically took the culture of the “feminist blogosphere” (Jezebel, Pandagon, I Blame the Patriarchy, etc.) and grafted it on to the atheist community with disastrous results. So not only have they imported in many of the problems that that particular subculture hasn’t really dealt with (notably a “callout” culture rife with bullying, self-righteousness, exaggerated claims of victimization, dogmatism, etc.), but also imported in a whole kind of hyper-sensitive discourse around gender into another subculture (the atheist/secular one) that hasn’t really dealt with these issues, nor had any introduction one way or the other to the approaches internet feminists take to those issues. It’s ended up pretty much polarizing the secular community, perhaps in ways that ultimately would have come up anyway, but often in ways that could have been avoided if both sides were willing to be a bit less dogmatic and entrenched in their positions and actually talked things out.”

And place a link to some criticism of the kind of behavior that essentially created this disagreement:
http://synapses.co.za/unstoppable-tide-trolls/

19 tina March 19, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thanks Michael. I’m now srsly impressed with your efforts given the pressure you’re under. You’ve put yourself in an extremely stressful place so please take care. Best wishes. T

20 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

My last comment refers to me accidently double posting. Michael sorted it out, so thanks again.

21 Stephanie Zvan March 19, 2013 at 11:32 am

If you believe that somebody has said something that is inaccurate, please make that point and substantiate it, without attributing malign motivations to them. If you believe that any comments published on this website are defamatory about you, please contact me via the contact page and I will deal with it.

No. I’ve done that several times in several places. You give me no reason to think you’re going to do anything productive with the information if I repeat it here.

If you want to encourage these people air their “grievances” with things I didn’t do on your blog, you do the work to sort through the claims. If you don’t want to do the work to sort through the claims, tell people to stop posting them or tell the world you’re not interested in truth, just nebulous “dialog” that increasingly becomes a monologue.

22 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

“You give me no reason to think you’re going to do anything productive with the information if I repeat it here.

Stephanie, why not give it a try?

“If you want to encourage these people air their “grievances” with things I didn’t do on your blog, you do the work to sort through the claims. If you don’t want to do the work to sort through the claims, tell people to stop posting them or tell the world you’re not interested in truth, just nebulous “dialog” that increasingly becomes a monologue.

Why do you want to silence people? Grievances are things that need to be addressed. Don’t expect everyone to bend to your egotistical views on things.

You sound like a dogmatic person, IMO. “NO DISSENT!!!”

23 Kareem March 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I appreciate this open dialogue although I am neither a member of Atheism plus, the Slimepit, nor MRM.
Despite that, I find myself having to choose whether I want to be labeled a misandrist mangina or misogynistic rape apologist. I now see that you too are in a position where you’ll be slapped with a label, depending on whether you continue to allow comments or not.
It seems to me that we should simply stop with the labels and the litmus tests altogether. I honestly believe that most in the atheist community agree that sexual harassment is wrong. Maybe if we start on that note, we’ll find that most of this “schism” is just a matter of where we sit at lunch.

24 Mark Senior March 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Michael,
You have succeeded in gaining the confidence of many ‘pitters’ but you are still not trusted at FtBs. Or is ‘trust’ the issue here? I don’t believe that the FtB crowd are even interested in debate, in mending the rift. Will we see Benson, Myers, Zvan, Thibeault or even Glasser contribute to the discussion here? Will they venture from their protected space at FtBs? Not very likely. Feminists have never wanted to debate with their adversaries and defend criticism directed towards feminist constructs, claims and assertions. Feminists have not done so for the past 50 years and they are not going to start now. They need enemies, it is ‘fuel for their fires’.

25 debaser71 March 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Metalogic42, (post #3) add “child molester” to that list. I tried to talk about my experiences of sexism as a stay at home dad at Pharyngula. I was called “childmolester71″. Among other things.

26 Mark Senior March 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Well I was wrong with the zvan part of my post…time will tell if I am wrong with other points.

27 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

People should keep in mind that PZ Myres and others from “the other side” are invited at AI’s WIS conference. People being flwon from across the Atlantic, being given hotel rooms and all other little gifts they can get.

A lot of people in the Atheist/skeptic community are already laughing at them. Not the best choice for speakers, I think, but lets see where this is going to lead.

For what it’s worth, if I get the fundings i will rey a

28 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Accidental end-of-post. Sorry

29 tina March 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Did Phil just pass out or ‘flwon’ off?

30 Jonathan March 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Stephanie zvan:

“No. I’ve done that several times in several places. You give me no reason to think you’re going to do anything productive with the information if I repeat it here. ”

Perhaps you could provide links to those several places then?

31 John Moriarty March 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I have given up playing football without an impartial referee. I have a more productive life now.

32 Kaos March 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

It seems that PZ Myers isn’t interested at all in healing the rift. He made this comment on his blog a few days ago.

“I have a real problem with Michael Nugent’s suggestions.
Here I am, interested in science, equality, secularism, that sort of thing.
Over there on the other side of the “rift” are a small mob of shrieking slimeweasels, howling about how much they hate us, and busily producing lazy photoshops of any one they don’t like.
WHY should I be interested in closing the rift?”

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/14/we-should-feel-a-sense-of-shame/comment-page-1/#comment-579687

This “small mob” that PZ fears is growing throughout the wider atheist movement, they are realizing how toxic the FTB/A+/Skepchick crowd really is.

33 Kaos March 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I meant to add that PZ calling a large and growing number of people that disagree with him “a small mob of shrieking slimeweasels” is just typical of his inflammatory rhetoric.

34 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Let’s compare and contrast Ms. Zvan’s above statement with a recent blog statement:

“Mick Nugent is in the middle of an excellent job of allowing Justin Vacula to demonstrate that Vacula has no interest in dialog or coming to any kind of agreement with the people he has been harassing. Nugent has written two posts containing questions that Vacula has side-stepped entirely and a third post pointing out that side-stepping is no basis for dialog.”
_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/03/06/not-about-the-words

“If you don’t want to do the work to sort through the claims, tell people to stop posting them or tell the world you’re not interested in truth, just nebulous “dialog” that increasingly becomes a monologue.”
Post #21 here.

Telling when placed next to each other.

35 Jack March 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Stephanie Zvan (21)

‘No. I’ve done that several times in several places. You give me no reason to think you’re going to do anything productive with the information if I repeat it here.

If you want to encourage these people air their “grievances” with things I didn’t do on your blog, you do the work to sort through the claims. If you don’t want to do the work to sort through the claims, tell people to stop posting them or tell the world you’re not interested in truth, just nebulous “dialog” that increasingly becomes a monologue.’

Why are you putting this on Michael? He is a facilitator. He is not required to do peoples work for them. A lot of people have put effort into this and many posts have been civil. So please do not dismiss it so lightly.

You also have had a few weeks to enter the discussion and it is a bit late in the day to complain about it turning into a monologue. Time and again requests have been made for people to join us here to present their side. Some have joined but there seems to be a remarkable reluctance to discuss where the narrative can’t be controlled.

Why is that? We are rationalists aren’t we? We should all be happy to have our ideas feely and openly examined. In fact we should all demand it, including you. It is at the core of what we all believe and is what sets us apart from the religious and believers in nonsense.

However you can still present your arguments if you wish. All else is simply hand waiving to me.

36 Jack March 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Kareem (23)

Many at the Slympit are Humanists and/or Egalitarians, amongst other hats they may wear. As such they are feminists even if they do not self describe as such. Equality for ALL including women is a basic right.
No argument there. The only issue is, we are the ‘wrong brand’ of feminism. We recognise women are people and as such have equal rights with all people. I have no interest in patronising women with a brand of feminism that treats them as children who need special care.

37 Patrick March 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Michael,

Before getting into an area of potential disagreement, I would like to add my thanks for hosting a relatively open and neutral forum for this discussion.

You write:
“There is now a complex interacting set of issues that continue to effect the wider atheist and skeptic communities in real life, including the day-to-day work of advocacy groups.

These overall issues include sexism and harassment, ideological disagreements about issues including feminism and free speech, personal abuse and bullying, and a tendency to hype up disagreements and attribute motivations and escalate hostility on these and other issues within the atheist and skeptic communities.

If we want to have a strong international support network and advocacy voice for atheists and skeptics, we have to address all of these issues reasonably.”

The overall issues also include whether or not there is any evidence that sexism and harassment at atheist and skeptical events is a significant problem or if it is a boogey man being used to push a different agenda. No one is suggesting that sexism and harassment is acceptable at any event, despite the claims of some participants. Some skepticism, and investigation, is warranted here.

You seem to be presuming in this post that we all share the same goals. In terms of atheism and skepticism I would hope that is true. We all desire a world where the power of religion to cause war, encourage terrorism, oppress women, limit scientific advancement, and corrupt education is eliminated. We all desire a world where potentially dangerous “alternative medicine” approaches are seen for the frauds they are and where children are not denied vaccines because of irrational and unfounded fears. We all value reason and evidence.

At least, we should. That’s what defines us as skeptics, after all.

The problem is that those are not the only, or even primary, goals of one subset of the online atheism and skepticism movement. While this debate has gotten intensely personal too often, the core disagreement is whether or not one must accept a particular set of political views in order to be part of the movement. Is the atheism and skeptical movement inclusive of everyone who shares the values and goals I listed or is it just an adjunct to a narrow “social justice” movement?

I would be very interested to hear your personal answer to that question.

38 HJ Hornbeck March 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

“Thank you to everyone who has, either publicly or privately, welcomed the dialogue taking place here and elsewhere on how to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities.”

I don’t see much dialog here, Nugent. Dialog requires listening and understanding to be truly effective. The IRA was fighting for Irish independence from Britain; the Brits were trying to maintain law and order, and protect those citizens who didn’t want to be independent. Both sides thought they were doing the right thing. The hostilities only died down when both sides demonstrated they understood what the other wanted, by acknowledging it via the Good Friday Agreement and other treaties.

What I see here is a lot of “Myers called me a nasty word!” or “Benson’s commenters are saying mean things!” That’s not understanding, that’s blind repetition. WHY did Myers call the Slyme Pit and allies “shrieking slimeweasels?” He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t think it was true. What evidence led him to conclude that? Once you can understand where he’s coming from, he stops being a demon who’s hijacked all of atheism, and instead becomes someone you can negotiate with.

39 Trophy March 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

@HJ Hornbeck:
“What I see here is a lot of “Myers called me a nasty word!” or “Benson’s commenters are saying mean things!” That’s not understanding, that’s blind repetition. WHY did Myers call the Slyme Pit and allies “shrieking slimeweasels?” He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t think it was true. What evidence led him to conclude that? Once you can understand where he’s coming from, he stops being a demon who’s hijacked all of atheism, and instead becomes someone you can negotiate with.”

I agree that a part of slymepit is vile and bigoted. Images that poke fun at people’s bodyimage or contain sexism is completely juveline and stupid. But to pretend that this “rift” separates “sexist assholes” from “noble warriors for justice” is naive.

From my experience of reading phaaryngula for years, Myers has seldom been interested in reasoned dialogue. His whole debate style is centered around insulting and ridicule. In fact, this aggressive online persona was the seed of my disengagement from his side of isle, even when he directed most of it at conservatives and creationists. He has posts glorifying being an asshole, and on the virtues of being rude and aggressive.

Just give you one example, consider his posts on “dictionary atheists”:
He describes them as follows:
“Dictionary Atheists. Boy, I really do hate these guys. You’ve got a discussion going, talking about why you’re an atheist, or what atheism should mean to the community, or some such topic that is dealing with our ideas and society, and some smug wanker comes along and announces that “Atheism means you lack a belief in gods. Nothing more. Quit trying to add meaning to the term.” As if atheism can only be some platonic ideal floating in virtual space with no connections to anything else; as if atheists are people who have attained a zen-like ideal, their minds a void, containing nothing but atheism, which itself is nothing. Dumbasses.”

The “wanker” (as described by PZ) has a valid point. PZ also has a valid point. The disagreement is a disagreement about terminology, really, and it is something that can be easily managed (and not escalated) through reasoned discussion. But reasoned discussion is something that you can rarely expect from PZ Myers. It is not his turf. It is not his game. He likes to provoke. He likes to piss people off.

“We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free
inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.
We do not hold our convictions dogmatically: the disagreement between
Professor Stephen Jay Gould and Professor Richard Dawkins,
concerning “punctuated evolution” and the unfilled gaps in post-
Darwinian theory, is quite wide as well as quite deep, but we shall
resolve it by evidence and reasoning and not by mutual excommunication.”
― Christopher Hitchens

40 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

WHY did Myers call the Slyme Pit and allies “shrieking slimeweasels?” He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t think it was true. What evidence led him to conclude that? Once you can understand where he’s coming from, he stops being a demon who’s hijacked all of atheism, and instead becomes someone you can negotiate with.

But we already know the answer to this question. He, like nearly everyone, is prone to making wildly inaccurate general assumptions based on scant evidence. He, like most people, does not enjoy criticism aimed his way. Therefore he gets rid of it, and criticism sprouts in new places that he cannot control, like the slymepit. Thus, the DEEP RIFTS.

I enjoy talking to people, but it’s not my responsibility to make them want to talk to me. They can choose to treat me like a human being or a piece of garbage, but it reflects more on them than it does on me.

41 Eu March 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

That’s hilarious. Sometimes, when you piss someone off, you don’t mind saying negative shit about them and insulting them, making inaccurate or unfair statements about them, or even just lying.

“Hurdur why would someone say something about people they dont like if they dont think that.” -Born Yesterday

42 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Re my post at #12: Ophelia says this on comment #59 –
“Yet another entry – because all the previous ones have done such a fabulous job of establishing “dialogue.”

Has Nugent really not noticed that there is no dialogue, there is only endless ranting about the same five or six Designated Enemies from the same mostly pseudonymous harassers? Does Nugent really think that’s “dialogue”?

Godalmighty.”

Of course there’s no dialogue, Ophelia. Why don’t you come over here and start some instead of complaining on your own blog ad nauseum? We’re waiting.

—–
Re: Phil_Giordana_FCD, #15 –

The accusation of your MRAness is a special case. PZ is trying to turn “MRA” into a dirty word. He need not think you’re actually a member of the men’s rights movement. He wants it to be like calling someone a nazi. If you call someone a nazi nowadays, it doesn’t mean you think they’re a member of the National Socialist German Workers Party; it means you think they exhibit certain behaviors. See also: misogynist, slymepitter.

—–
Re: Stephanie Zvan, #21 –
Given that Michael has already deleted one post (that I know of, there may have been more) that may have been defamatory (about one of your friends, Ophelia Benson), how can you say that he’s given you no reason to think he won’t do anything productive with the information you have?

The dialogue is becoming a monologue because you, Ophelia, PZ, and others routinely decline to engage. The “other side”, those opposed to you, routinely engage and ask you to do the same. It takes two to tango.

—–
Re: Kareem, #23 –

Over on the slymepit, we occasionally notice that someone posting on the A+ forums makes some good points, and point it out (recently, mood2 and RINCF). We then notice that they’re usually dogpiled and sometimes banned by the moderators and regulars (ceepolk et al.) We use “Skepchick/FTB/A+” as shorthand for a group of regulars who display hypocritical and nonskeptical behavior; and we don’t think that simply being a member of those sites automatically makes one an opponent. Many slymepitters have posted on these sites themselves. You’ll only ever be criticized by us for the specific content of *your* posts and comments, if such criticism is apt.

PZ, on the other hand, would ban me and delete my posts simply because I also have many posts on the slymepit, regardless of content.

—–
Re: Kaos, #32 –

PZ is of course completely wrong. We don’t hate them, we sometimes disagree with them, and sometimes laugh at them. With a few exceptions, the photoshops are parodies, and are usually not about people, but about their ideas. It should also be noted that we photoshop our own members as well. Here’s a particularly hilarious example: http://i.imgur.com/gaYAYWD.jpg

43 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Haha, this failed BADLY.

If you look at these posts, there are about 8-12 folks relentlessly posting these obscure grievances and CONSTANTLY justifying their silliness by arguing that FtB is equally silly.

It was an interesting effort, Mr. Nugent, but you’ve more or less created a social experiment to explain why dialog with a dozen wierdos probably isn’t the most productive way to spend your time.

44 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Obsession is an ugly thing.

45 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm

“Dialogue is an important part of improving any situation where people disagree, particularly when dealing with groups composed of individuals with different motivations, and it becomes even more important the more intense the disagreements are. Without reasonable dialogue, these issues will continue to escalate.”

Michael, I agree with your sentiment and am impressed you’ve gone this far to attempt to bridge the divide. The problem I see (at least from my end) is that there is *no* opportunity to participate in reasonable dialogue when one side shuts down any and all methods of communication. Once that opens up on BOTH sides of this divide, then reasonable dialogue may occur. Until then…both sides will continue to shoot arrows.

46 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Yes, doubtthat, talking about something=obsession. I could see if a bunch of were having conversations with ourselves buuttt yeah that’s how conversations work, they keep on going, sort of like chatting. Exactly like chatting.

47 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Oh yeah I agree Renee, it’s failing because the other side refuses to really talk. A symptom of the slacktivism.

48 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Look, the slimepit is composed of about 12 people accounting for most of the posts. Those same people came over here and posted the same lame complaints OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

Go back and read from the first introduction on this subject.

It’s an obsession. Nothing interesting is being discussed, it’s just a constant stream of the same myth-making and aimless false equivalencies.

What have you learned from all of this?

49 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Renee, what do you want to say that you haven’t? What point do you feel needs to be made that has not yet been expressed?

50 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm

#47 doubtthat

What have I learned from all of this? That people such as yourself offer no solutions. Just more poking and prodding.

51 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I am happy to admit I have no solutions. I don’t think there needs to be a solution.

I don’t want to be political allies with the Tea Party, I don’t want to share a “movement” with folks holding your views.

I fail to see why this is a problem, you clearly don’t approve of folks on our side.

52 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

12 people? I’m pretty sure it’s more. And no, they don’t post the same complaints over and over, now that would be an issue. It’s the flow of the conversation. They aren’t posting anything over and over individually. And anyone who can say they’ve analyzed the conversations throughout the blogs is clearly reading all of it, which is worse than happening to read because you’re already conversing about something. Just sitting there lurking and reading. Who has time for that?

53 Shivar March 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Doubtthat, your post perfectly typifies the sneering and handwaving of the ftb crowd. It also perfectly shows the condescension, smear tactics and complete inability to discuss rationally that is part and parcel of freethoughtblogs. Thank you for giving Mr. Nugent such a clear cut example of ftb dirty tactics.

54 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Yeah, I actually cruised around the slimepit a couple of weeks ago. It really is dominated by a very small number of people. A discrete group generate the vast majority of the material, which is impressively small as it is.

Those same people repeated the same lame nonsense here. Go back and look at the threads on Nugent’s page. You will notice that the same names are saying the same silly things over and over.

55 Shivar March 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

My last comment referred to comment 42.

56 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

@52

Make an interesting point. Let me see what you have. Where is this brilliance that I must acknowledge?

57 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm

doubtthat, what the fuck are you asking? I don’t have time to guess.

58 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Doubtthat, The slymepit has 117 users with >100 posts. 48 of these have >500 posts. I just checked.

59 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

You’re demanding that we have a dialog. I’m saying that I’ve heard all the nonsense, it’s just an endless list of petty grudges.

What is the point that you feel needs to be made that hasn’t? You want to talk, what do you have?

If you just want to whine about FtB bloggers, I don’t really care.

60 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm

doubtthat, you aren’t even arguing a point, so how can I reply? I reply to points. Go back and read the last points and see what you want to bring up. I don’t randomly bring up shit. Some observer/lurker you are.

61 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Yeah, that’s a tiny little number.

Those guys probably generated 100+ posts on Nugent’s blog over the last month.

I went through the pit. My primary reaction wasn’t one of horror at the content, it was just…sadness at the lameness of the material and the general emptiness of the place.

When I saw the same names popping up here, I realized that social media amplifies people willing to be assholes, but really it’s a “debate” taking place between a dozen or so internet obsessives. Not really worth the time.

62 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

In addition, the 12 users with the most posts have a combined 22961 posts, out of a total 77336. That’s 29.7%. Hardly “most of the posts”.

63 Eu March 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

And of course you don’t care, it’s you doing the shit. You don’t care about the points or why you’re being criticized.

64 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I wasn’t responding to you, so that might explain your confusion. I was responding to comments like this:

“The problem I see (at least from my end) is that there is *no* opportunity to participate in reasonable dialogue when one side shuts down any and all methods of communication.”

What is your reasonable position that I need to pay attention to? I participated in the first few of these threads. They devolved into constant complaining that people should get to say “cunt” without being called sexist, and an endless list of petty grievances against FtB bloggers.

What do you want to say that hasn’t been said? There is no dialog because people have listened to you and it’s just aimless gibberish. It’s not worth talking about.

65 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

12 people accounting for almost a third of the posts….

Yeah, that’s obsessives at work.

66 Jack March 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

doubtthat (50) ‘….I don’t want to be political allies with the Tea Party, I don’t want to share a “movement” with folks holding your views….’

What views do you think we have? Please spell them out.

67 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm

@65

Been there, done that. Go read the previous posts. Feel free to ctrl+f my handle.

68 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Of course, that’s an interesting response to me asking you to share your awesome ideas:

me: what do you have? Let’s hear it.
you: why don’t you tell me what you think I believe.

Around and around we go.

69 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

@ 42

“… dialog with a dozen wierdos probably isn’t the most productive way to spend your time”

Setting aside the insult of “weirdos” for the time being, there are 17 posters on this blog post alone that are seemingly not on your “side” doubtthat. /pedant

Funny how one “side” is all for the “dialog” as long as it was focused on the “evil” other side. Once the realization hit that those “evil” ones were not misogynistic neanderthals trying to force the wymenz to STFU (that they were portrayed as) they decry the “dialog” as a monologue and call for it to be shut down.

70 Jack March 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

‘doubtthat@65

Been there, done that. Go read the previous posts. Feel free to ctrl+f my handle.’

Stop avoiding the question.

What views do you think we have?

71 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

You’re right, you guys have an awesome army with awesome ideas. I cringe in fear. You have owned Nugent’s blog with your total lack of self-awareness and marathon-conquering endurance.

72 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Make that 18. Thanks Shivar.

73 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

@69

Pointing out that this discussion has been had on this very blog is not avoidance.

I’m not wasting my time repeating shit that already happened. That’s exactly the point: what do you have that hasn’t been engaged with ad nauseum?

The dialog was had, it went nowhere.

74 Jack March 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I’m still waiting for your reply doubtthat.

75 Jonathan March 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

As doubtthat has clearly said, he has no interest in the kind of reasonable dialogue that this post is trying to encourage, as he “doesn’t think there needs to be a solution”. My suggestion is to simply disengage until he has something positive to contribute.

76 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Well, I’ll share some of mine: Benevolent sexism gets on my god damn nerves. Why? Isn’t it at least better than hostile sexism? No, not really. Benevolent sexism has a way of hurting both sexes and it’s sexism in the name of “justice” which really pisses me off. People who have done something who know they’re wrong are way better than people continuing to spread shit or do shit and calling it “justice.” Take the rape thing… really pisses me off. In fact, it pisses me off so bad, I can’t even listen to Garber read the damn book.

That’s just one example of something I’m tired of. I’m tired of society, in general, acting like women do not sexually harass, grope, take advantage, rape, etc. The only difference I find acceptable is saying that women would have to do extra to rape *men* forcibly, such as tie them or drug them. But otherwise, no, women are not angels, they aren’t magically inclined to not do it, etc. They simply get away with all the above more, especially when it comes to “less severe” offenses. It doesn’t even cross people’s minds that they’ve done something when they see women pester (flirt after being rejected), grope someone without asking, etc.

And I’m sure FtB has read this over and over, “if that’s rape/so bad, then my girlfriends have raped/done me total injustice a million times.” I’m sure they’ve read that from the pits men lots of times if they’re reading.

That’s one of the things they never really mention, though. They have nothing to say.

77 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The 12 most frequent posters on the A+ forums make up 35% of the total posts. Guess they’re even more obsessive! 😛

78 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

“I want a dialog, damnit!!!”

“Ok, what do you want to say?”

“No, you tell me what you think I want to say.”

….

Fun stuff..

79 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Oh, and one more thing on it, tired of being treated like some fragile ass bunny. Benevolent sexism is offensive to me too.

80 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:10 pm

What a fresh new approach. So you’re justifying your childish obsession by pointing out that others are similarly childishly obsessed?

Again, why on Earth would I want to hang around you folks? Why would reconciliation be at all worthwhile?

81 Jack March 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Jonathan (74)

As doubtthat clearly knows what we believe I do hope he will enlighten us. A few words will do, nothing onerous. Then we can address it.

82 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

doubtthat, the complaint is, “no one is replying to us,” not, “we want people to randomly tell us to speak with no topic on command!” and you know it. Shut the fuck up if you dont want to reply to anything we’ve already said. All you’ve said is that you keep studying the same thing from us and how you’ve been lurking in general. If so, Im sure you have some material memorized you could jump in with.

And I just gave you some, so maybe I or other people can reply if you have a reply to that. I might not read it because even the thought of someone having something to say to defend the indefensible (its benevolent fucking sexism for crying out loud) pisses me off, but others can. Good on Garber for being able to read Schroe…whatever that crap is.

83 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

No, I’m not trying to justify any obsession, because there isn’t an obsession in the first place. My post about A+ was sarcasm regarding your claim about slymepitters being obsessed.

84 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

@74

Yes, I’ve heard that before. That is the exact sort of viewpoint that leads me to conclude we should just go our separate ways.

You seem to be happy with your crowd, I find your views, in the least, to be at odds with reality.

Why do you want to hang out with us?

85 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Jonathan – #74 My exact impression. I will not engage in those who have no desire to communicate reasonably.

86 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

@81

Again, pointing out others with similar obsession does not disprove my claim.

You guys profess to be disgusted by A+ or FtB, yet you cannot help letting them establish the parameters for decent behavior.

It’s very odd.

87 Jonathan March 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Doubtthat:

“Yes, I’ve heard that before. That is the exact sort of viewpoint that leads me to conclude we should just go our separate ways.

You seem to be happy with your crowd, I find your views, in the least, to be at odds with reality.

Why do you want to hang out with us?”

I haven’t said anything about what my views are on this thread. I find it interesting that you think you know what they are and who “my crowd” is. You’ve made it clear you aren’t interested in dialogue, I’ve suggested people don’t engage because of that, given the topic of the thread. Nothing more.

88 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I got the post number wrong, Jonathan, I was responding to Eu.

89 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

doubtthat, I can’t reply, I’ve tried to bypass the moderation 10 times. I don’t know what it is I’m saying that he’s not allowing, but whatever. He really needs to take the moderation off if its not about the L-words.

90 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I’m not wasting my time repeating shit that already happened. That’s exactly the point: what do you have that hasn’t been engaged with ad nauseum?

My main interest is intertwining social justice and atheism. However, the efforts by Ftb and Atheism Plus have been woeful to do this. Part of this is because whenver confronted with some problem, they almost always take the easy way out and say something along the lines of “banned” or “I don’t have time for that.” Why is that?

91 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I’ll screenie what I tried to say: http://imgur.com/zszO0VO
Also, if you meant me @ 81 I never tried to point out what the other side does to “justify” obsession. I don’t feel talking about this needs to be justified.
And do you mind sharing who you are from there? Are you just a commenter or would I recognize your name? Do you go to A+? If you do I might recognize your username because I used to go there.

92 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Doubtthat, your claim that number of posts indicates obsession is false. Welch, for example, has 2704 posts. That is a lot, but consider two things:

1) Welch has been a member since July 4, 2012.
2) Welch is often away from the pit for most of the day; and when he returns he reads through what he’s missed, and then responds to many posts in a row individually, rather than compiling one long “catch-up” post responding to multiple things at once (as I tend to do – see my post #41 above).

If number of posts indicates obsession, then Welch is currently obsessed, but if he posted in a different style but with the exact same content he would not be obsessed. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous to you? It does to me. IMO, obsession is indicated by *content*; and every slymepit member I can think of has posted about many different topics, both on and off site.

93 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I think doubtthat knows at least that much if they’re pretending they can even attempt to comment on the behaviors of.. “prominent pitters.” xD

94 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Like I said, nothing new, just grievances.

That’s not why you were banned, Gemmer, this whole discussion took place on a previous thread, and here you are back again saying the same thing, bring up the same petty grudge.

My position is that this is a waste of time (yes, I understand I’m wasting my own time right now. I don’t really want to do any work right now).

95 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Edward Gemmer – I’ve been banned from a few blogs on FTB simply because I participate in the Slymepit. The ban has nothing to do with my actual opinions or responses. Just because I participate there. It is an “easy way out” for certain.

96 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

@89

I’ve never been to A+.

I read some of the FtB blogs and comment there periodically. I read through the pit after Nugent began his effort. I found it amusing to watch the same small number of people post here and there.

I also found the pit to be more pathetic than nasty. It is not a concern of mine.

I like arguing, I’m happy to consider new ideas, but we’ve been over this in exhausting detail on Nugent’s blog alone. “Dialog” does not entail agreement, and I’m content to have heard your ideas, disagreed with them, and moved on.

97 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Yuppp… I was making a purty good point at Myer’s blog once, he probably turned red, checked to see if I was at the pit at *that* point, and was like, “YES, I can ban her.”

98 Eu March 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Doesn’t entail agreement automatically. It depends on who’s involved. Personally I think if we were all forced into some room and not let out until we agreed on something with limited resources eventually people would let go of their dissonances and reach some sort of agreement on every topic… it would also make an interesting psychological TV series..

99 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Eu #95 – it’s the “reasonable reason” to auto-ban. It makes no sense and is the least skeptical position I’ve ever seen.

100 Jack March 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm

doubtthat (92)

So typing a few words is too hard?

What views do you think we have? Just a few words, easy. You must know them. Don’t you?

101 oolon March 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I’ll add I think the conversation doubtthat and Renee etc are having is key… Why do the “deep rifts” need to be healed? The atheist-sceptic movement is not one movement… Its many movements, small and large.

The Slymepit seems to be mainly composed of people who have an issue with FtBs/Skepchick due to, short list; banning, editing comments, commenters treating them badly on those blogs, in their opinion unwarranted criticism of people they like, pushing a “brand” of feminism they don’t like and probably some other things. None of which means they need to focus on FtBs/Skepchick as these all exist in oher bits of the atheist-sceptic movement and elsewhere… Its because they encountered these things at FtBs/Skepchick and they were annoyed to find the community was not what they wanted that they feel the need to focus on it and change it (?). Its a sick relationship which is not needed, if they feel there are things in the FtBs/Skepchick atheist-sceptic movement they don’t like then start your own that doesn’t feed off FtBs/Skepchick.

I did think skepticink.com would solve some of the problem –> a blog network to compete and build another community on. But for some reason there are Slymepitters that feel a great need to find common ground between the two communities. They feel a great need to have their issues aired and discussed and acknowledged by FtBs and Skepchick. There can be no moving forward until they give up this obsession –> As doubtthat says show us the brilliance!

I don’t think the pit can do anything but criticise and snipe against people who are the actual thought leaders. Other than a few exceptions most of the pit are not activists or even slacktivists like me. Why are you not wiping the floor with A+ and having massive effect on the sceptic/atheist scene when you know the *right* way of going about it? Worried about being banned from FtBs or social justice being in the mix… Then don’t ban on your blog and make it clear social justice has nothing to do with atheism or scepticism in your community.

You think FtBs/Skepchick are doing it *wrong*… Then prove it! Spend more time building your own community built on the standards of atheist-scepticism YOU think are important. Rename the Slymepit to something that encapsulates this, “Just Skeptics” or something apropos, and have a positive effect. Defeat FtBs/Skepchick by being *better* at atheist-sceptic activism not by sitting in the background pointing out where you think they’ve gone wrong. I’ll give you this, if you manage to focus @ElevatorGATE on reporting campaigns against creationists I cannot see them lasting long dealing with the Storify Gallop.

102 HJ Hornbeck March 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Trophy @39:
“From my experience of reading phaaryngula for years, Myers has seldom been interested in reasoned dialogue. His whole debate style is centered around insulting and ridicule.”

You clearly think PZ Myers is an unreasonable person. Problem: no-one thinks of themselves as unreasonable. Myers’ actions are entirely reasonable from his point of view. What are Myers’ reasons for acting the way he does? When you can describe them well enough that Myers himself would agree to your assessment, then and only then can negotiations begin.

I have no difficulty doing this for the Slyme Pit and friends. Why do so many of you struggle to do the same for Myers/Benson/Zvan/etc…?

103 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Michael, I also used to be a regular reader of FtB, especially Pharyngula, and was on the outer fringes of the Horde and almost made it to a couple of their RL meetups. I sympathize with the overall positions they take on social justice issues, including feminism.

I no longer go there any more however, and in fact I read and post sometimes to the Slymepit (under a different name to this one). I have no illusions that the Undead Thread advances organized atheism, except in as much as it knocks the FtB people down a peg or two, which I think is a

good thing because I believe they turn a lot of people off. I go there because it’s fun. (In RL I am a member of a couple of freethought groups which I attend regularly. That’s where my real activism is).

I disagree with a lot of the people at the Slymepit, but what I don’t do, and what the people there don’t do, is deny the basic humanity of their interlocutor for disagreeing with them. They might call you an idiot or worse, but they don’t treat you like you are bad and morally depraved human

being who is beyond redemption. The FtB people do, both bloggers and commenters.

This has been my experience. I wasn’t banned: I left before it got to that. What was my crime? I made the mistake of thinking that a T shirt that says, “I feel safe and welcome at TAM/I am not a skepchick”, is not such a bad thing that the person wearing it should be kicked off the conference.

Hell, I even said it would have been preferable that she hadn’t worn it. I just didn’t think it constituted that bad of an offense that it warranted being considered part of an harassment policy’s purview. For this I was told that I obviously didn’t think women should be able to feel safe and

welcome at conferences. Ironic considering this was about a T-shirt worn by a woman that said she felt safe and welcome at this particular conference. So I had had enough by that point. I was already getting tired of the piling on of others that disagreed, and I knew when I sent that

comment off that this time it would be my turn.

The FtB people – that is, the regular commenters, and some but not all of the bloggers there – are True Believers. They believe they have the right answers to everything. They start with their conclusion and search for the evidence to support it. The online community I want to be a part of is

one that works the other way around, where you are free to question (at the very least) the smallest detail of the narrative without being demonized for it.

104 Jack March 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Oolon (99)

What makes you think anyone at the Slympit or the many commentators who have expressed similar views outside want to ‘wipe the floor’ of anything?

Do you read nothing? This is about trying to stop the movement being all about radical feminism and SJW c0ncepts. We want to ensure people of all political and philosophical backgrounds and beliefs are welcome. We do not want to see an ideology poison a movement and turn people away because they do not share other people’s political or social views. We want to see free and open debate without rancour and hate spewing forth.

Stop trying to switch the burden of proof. That is firmly on you and so far any proof has been sorely and notable lacking. As a rationalists I therefore reject it until such proof is forthcoming.

Here is your chance to provide evidence that is not just a bibliography of some social science books which proves nothing at all.

Show me falsifiable scientific evidence that concepts expressed at A+ and FtB are the only correct interpretation in social science.

105 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Ugh, bloody formatting. Isn’t there an edit button here? ((ducks head))

106 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

That’s not why you were banned, Gemmer, this whole discussion took place on a previous thread, and here you are back again saying the same thing, bring up the same petty grudge.

I don’t know why I was banned from multiple places, and it’s not a grudge, it’s a simple question. I know I wasn’t insulting or trolling – I asked different questions and presented different opinions and suddenly I became a Bad Person. It’s pretty common among people who post at slymepit, as they are Bad People.

Why? Why are we Bad People? Why are you a Good Person? If you are going to waste your time, why not answer some simple questions? Trust me, I’m not looking to insult you, I’m legitimately interested. Watching people who mostly agree on all basic issues hate on each other has been a mysterious wonder for me.

107 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Gemmer, what issues do you agree on? All the issues I agree with them are equality in general – no soc-con/wife at home shit, basically no treating women different from men.

108 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

HJ Hornbeck, @100 you said: “What are Myers’ reasons for acting the way he does? When you can describe them well enough that Myers himself would agree to your assessment, then and only then can negotiations begin. I have no difficulty doing this for the Slyme Pit and friends. Why do so many of you struggle to do the same for Myers/Benson/Zvan/etc…?”

Would you please describe what you think are the SP & friends’ reasons for acting the way they do (well enough that they would agree with your assessment)?

109 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Exactly… that can be applied to ANYONE. Dumbest comment I’ve ever read here.

110 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Do you read nothing? This is about trying to stop the movement being all about radical feminism and SJW c0ncepts. We want to ensure people of all political and philosophical backgrounds and beliefs are welcome. We do not want to see an ideology poison a movement and turn people away because they do not share other people’s political or social views. We want to see free and open debate without rancour and hate spewing forth.

Right, and I (won’t speak for anyone else) quite literally want the exact opposite.

I see no value to atheism beyond it’s social/political ramifications. We may as well sit around, get high, and ruminate on whether we have free will or argue about aesthetics.

Again, it seems like we just disagree. One of the neat things about Earth, especially the slices of it that most of us inhabit, is that you can enjoy the multitudes of moronic political positions and we can separate ourselves from that.

Again, what’s the problem? Why do we need a “dialog?” A shared disbelief in a deity is pretty vague unifying ethos for a “movement” or “community.”

111 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm

doubtthat, some people think if we are unified we can help combat the effects of religion together, but that doesn’t apply at all if you don’t think religion really has ill effects or the ill effects aren’t a big deal (its more likely the latter for you.)

But it isn’t as if there aren’t enough sane people on this side or regular normal non-radicals so it isn’t really needed.

112 Michael Nugent March 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

@Eu, I don’t know why some of your comments are going into moderation. It’s not because of your content, or because of any technical settings that I have control over, so there’s no advantage in trying to rephrase it and posting again.

113 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Oh okay Mr. Nugent. xD My bad btw… ignore the flood of posts except the first tries.

114 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Doubthat@110, you said, ‘I see no value to atheism beyond it’s social/political ramifications … Again, it seems like we just disagree. One of the neat things about Earth, especially the slices of it that most of us inhabit, is that you can enjoy the multitudes of moronic political positions and we can separate ourselves from that. Again, what’s the problem? Why do we need a “dialog?” A shared disbelief in a deity is pretty vague unifying ethos for a “movement” or “community.”’
************************************

Are you just commenting here because you’re bored/avoiding work? Given the OP, seems like you’re just trolling the thread.

115 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm

^^^ Clearly, but responding to trolling can save time if multiple people make some points they made or want to…

116 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm

@114

No, I’m pointing out that I disagree strongly with the position expressed. I think it highlights a gap that will not be bridged by “dialog” (meaning, listening to the same dozen people bitch about comment moderation at FtB).

Jack expressed his view. I disagreed. Why is that “trolling?”

117 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm

doubtthat, I think you need to reread the point because no one said whatever you disagreed with is trolling, from what I gathered they were talking about you being here and sticking around while you keep saying its all pointless, ironically saying that everyone is making the same points (comment moderation is just one topic here. And it was brought up because of people complaining about dialogue happening here. Think of how one led to the other.) while making the same points yourself.

118 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

@111

What did you read in my writing to give you the idea that I think religion has no ill effects?

I do not think any political and social issue that I find important will be best served by unifying with a bunch of libertarians or anti-feminist whiners just because we happen to not believe in a deity.

Atheism is a means to a political and social end. Otherwise it’s just something to frivolously argue about.

Religious people fighting for social justice are better for society than atheists will damaging political ideas. The god-botherers are still wrong about their fairy tales, but their social impact can be beneficial.

119 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Basically, being so ironic that some people dont think it wasn’t deliberate?

120 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Gemmer, what issues do you agree on? All the issues I agree with them are equality in general – no soc-con/wife at home shit, basically no treating women different from men.

I’m atheist, highly feminist, highly interested in minority issues, and identify as a liberal. The main difference between me and them, as far as I can tell, is that I don’t regularly insult people who disagree with me.

121 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

@117

Are you reading the thread? What are your eyes moving across. This was written after my post was quoted:

“Are you just commenting here because you’re bored/avoiding work? Given the OP, seems like you’re just trolling the thread.”

122 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm

doubtthat, making the point that religious people can contribute to social justice doesn’t change the fact that religion still has a lot of ill effects in others.

I figured you didnt care about the ill effects because you were acting as if atheists have nothing to do together, like combat ill effects of religion.

123 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

@117 cont.

This emphasis on “dialog” is misguided in my view. That’s a criticism of both Nugent’s effort (as admirably as he handled it) and the random whining in the thread.

It is as pointless to reconcile these disagreements as it is to have a sit down between the Tea Party and the Congressional Black Caucus. There are fundamental issues over which people disagree. There is no compromise position.

I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with. If you think non-belief is more important, that’s fine. Go join those groups.

What’s the problem?

124 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

doubtthat, I read what was quoted there. What don’t you get??? They. are. wondering. why you’re here. if you keep saying its pointless.

125 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm

@doubtthat I hope 117 isn’t me because you sound like you’re replying to something else. I never ever implied or expressed that sitting around talking about disbelief was more important.

I do find it hypocritical that first you were all “you people dont talk about atheism, just about all the shit and groups you disagree with not to do with atheism” and now you’re talking about that makes more sense, basically.

126 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm

@122

No fucking shit. Again, what are you reading that in any way implies the contrary.

My point is that belief/non-belief is not the most important dynamic to me, and I am a happy, militant atheist when it comes to these issues.

I worked in a legal clinic providing free services to impoverished people on the Southside of Chicago. The only entity that consistently fought to provide necessities to struggling people was the Church. This bothered me a great deal because along with the food and shelter came the indoctrination (malicious attitudes to homosexuals, for example), but there weren’t any atheist groups setting up battered women shelters.

The ideal is for those services to be provided absent god-bothering, but until they are, give me food and shelter over sanctimony and internet arguments.

127 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

@doubtthat, read picture: http://imgur.com/SKj4KBK

128 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

@124

I’m here to disagree with people who think dialog is useful or valuable or those who believe reconciliation is a worthwhile goal.

I think these last threads on this blog have proven that fairly conclusively.

129 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Mr. Nugent, if you’ll examine my post at #4 and compare it to post #123, you will see the proof of the former in the latter.

“It has been about whether the goal of the movement was the minimization of the harmful effects of dogma and religion, or if it was about the promotion of a specific “brand” of political ideology.”

VS

“I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with. If you think non-belief is more important, that’s fine. Go join those groups.”

130 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm

@doubtthat if you meant to reply to post #122, I don’t understand how saying that belief/non belief really changes anything I said. I’m sitting there going, “Um… okay… so what?” Reread my post? I never ever mentioned disbelief or atheism in general in that post.

131 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Yeah Submariner, I have no idea who she was talking to. I could’ve sworn she was the one complaining that we were not even talking about atheist subjects like disbelief, now she’s acting like we’re saying discussing non belief is more important… don’t remember anyone saying that.

132 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

@126

I didn’t follow that at all.

133 Eu March 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Right. Are we done here then? Tata.

134 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm

@129

You’ve framed that incorrectly. It is my position that eliminating the malicious effects of religion require adopting certain political stances.

Religion, for example, has historically been the most damaging ideology for women. Eliminating religion then adopting an atheist ideology that is also damaging to women (not in terms of scale), is not something I’m excited to do.

Simply arguing against religion and hoping that the resulting politics will be just is ridiculous. Positive positions have to replace the ancient myth-based nonsense.

135 Eu March 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm

@doubtthat is Sub the guy who implied that we should just talk about non belief?

And LOL what atheist ideology that’s damaging to women? In case you haven’t noticed many pitters (and me, although I dont go there) think that’s a myth. I’ve observed no general ideology that’s damaging to women besides stuff from FtB. There’s no random magickal trend of bashing women in atheism. Wtf would be based off of anyway?

136 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

@134
“You’ve framed that incorrectly. It is my position that eliminating the malicious effects of religion require adopting certain political stances. ”

The above quote indicates I’ve framed it perfectly.

So you see, Mr. Nugent, there is only one way to be an atheist. The ONE TRUE way proposed by doubtthat.

This is why I am opposing the people on the other “side” of the rift, encapsulated in a few posts.

137 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm

@130

Again, just being atheist, just “combating religion together” will not automatically result in positive political outcomes. I will not ally myself with people who think it’s enough to just “combat religion.”

Why is religion bad?

@131

Amazing that folks constantly babbling about the need for “conversation” seem completely baffled by the way conversations operate. I was making an argument about the content of posts, then Jack made an assertion to which I responded.

I’m not sure why you’re confused, here.

138 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm

@136

The fuck are you talking about?

“So you see, Mr. Nugent, there is only one way to be an atheist. The ONE TRUE way proposed by doubtthat.”

No. I’m saying you’re welcome to adopt that view of atheism. I disagree with it. What is difficult about that?

“This is why I am opposing the people on the other “side” of the rift, encapsulated in a few posts.”

Yes, that’s exactly my point. I fucking disagree with you, no matter how many times you express your view, no matter how many times you repeat it, I disagree with you. Dialog is useless.

You act like you’ve discovered something when you’re just reiterating my point.

139 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

@135

Yes, I know that’s your view. We keep going around in circles. Why is it so hard for you to accept that:

1) I understand your position; and
2) I disagree with it.

140 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

@Michael Nugent:

Is it clear yet that no dialog is going to happen? What do you suppose the comments in here would look like if I tried to, say, defend the concept of “patriarchy”? Do you think I’d get a bunch of nice, thoughtful comments carefully deconstructing the concept?

I don’t think so. This crowd has convinced itself that the concept not only describes nothing but that the concept itself is a dangerous dogma. They’ll insist that the bloggers at FtB are shutting down the dialog but that’s a convenient excuse. Back in the real world we understand that a small group of malcontents can completely shut down online discussions about topics which they believe should not be discussed (and it’s clear this group considers patriarchy theory to be a sort of “thought crime” — they’ve said as much in the comments above). The folks here don’t really give me the impression of wanting a dialog. They give me every impression of wanting to shut down discussions that don’t involve them at all if those discussions are about topics this group deem to be “dangerous dogma”.

It also seems to me that FtB has been pretty willing to “agree to disagree”. To put it like Dylan: “You go your way and I’ll go mine.” Apparently this isn’t enough for the folks commenting here who are not content to find new venues to harass and malign but insist on the privilege of doing so on the very blogs of the people they’re harassing and maligning.

141 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

@DanL #140 – “What do you suppose the comments in here would look like if I tried to, say, defend the concept of “patriarchy”? Do you think I’d get a bunch of nice, thoughtful comments carefully deconstructing the concept?”

Maybe you could try. I haven’t heard anyone suggest that the concept itself is a “dangerous dogma,” — rather that it is frequently advocated dogmatically and that its implications are debatable.

142 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

@Dan L #140:

The “dangerous dogma” isn’t that patriarchy exists. It’s that its existence cannot be questioned. I’d love a dialogue about whether patriarchy exists, provided it takes place where I won’t be banned for dissenting.

143 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

@Michael Nugent:

Here’s an example of why FtB’s policy of “agree to disagree” is likely more constructive than trying to artificially force a dialog between party A which wants nothing to do with party B and party B who simply wants party A to accept how wrong they are about everything and to fall into line behind the correctly and appropriately skeptical atheist agenda:

And LOL what atheist ideology that’s damaging to women? In case you haven’t noticed many pitters (and me, although I dont go there) think that’s a myth. I’ve observed no general ideology that’s damaging to women besides stuff from FtB. There’s no random magickal trend of bashing women in atheism. Wtf would be based off of anyway?

Eu has no doubt been exposed to the arguments about patriarchy and so most of the ignorance (not meant pejoratively) on display in this comment is feigned. Eu knows what his or her interlocutor is talking about as s/he identifies this very subject as a “myth” in the second sentence. Despite the fact that specific instances of misogynistic language and behavior can be pointed to within the atheist movement Eu denies such a thing going so far as to say that even to suggest such a thing is a type of “magickal” thinking.

In short, Eu is going out of his way to disbelieve going beyond skepticism into hyperskepticism. Any specific incident of sexism or misogyny will be downplayed and dismissed. Whatever happens we cannot ask whether such incidents point to a deep cultural bias cementing the relationships between men and women and their assumptions thereabout.

None of this is really meant as criticism. Eu is entitled to his/her opinion on the subject. But why should anyone else who disagrees be bound to give Eu’s utter denial equal (or more) time in any discussion on the topic? Is it constructive to let AGW denialists run dialogs on climate change? To let creationists hold dialogs about evolution? To let the WBC hold dialogs on gay rights?

My sense is that there is no desire for good-faith communication on either side. The Slymepit contingent doesn’t want to discuss feminism, misogyny, or anything like that — they simply want the FtB contingent to capitulate on all these subjects and accept the ‘pitter’s ideas of what proper movement atheists should do. The FtB contingent isn’t interested in doing so.

144 Patrick March 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

doubtthat @134
“You’ve framed that incorrectly. It is my position that eliminating the malicious effects of religion require adopting certain political stances.”

Trivially true, in that many of the malicious effects of religion are imposed by law and hence require political change. In a larger sense, particularly in the context of the US, it’s not so clear. What political stances must be adopted to eliminate displays of the 10 Commandments on public property? Government sponsored sectarian religious displays? Prayer in schools or public meetings? Teaching creationism in public schools? Government funding of faith-based initiatives? Restrictions on stem cell research? Limitations on birth control? Denying access to abortion providers?

In all of these cases, and many others, the only requirement is to eliminate the behavior and replace it with . . . nothing. I’m more than happy to work with people from across the political spectrum to achieve those goals. Aren’t you?

145 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Comments at 141 and 142 demonstrate my point rather clearly. The only discussions allowed about patriarchy theory are those discussions that question the validity of patriarchy theory itself and only on the terms of those who explicitly deny the validity of patriarchy theory.

Whence dialog?

146 Aurelian March 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm

@123

The problem is that by forcibly ejecting people with whom you have political disagreements, you are damaging what should be our main goal as atheists, that is, promoting secularism, and preventing religion from doing any further damage to our society. I, like you, am on the left side of the side of the political spectrum, but I am willing to support anybody, from moderates, conservatives, and yes, libertarians, who share this goal. In creating and maintaining this rift, you and the others you are on your side are doing the work of the religious for them.

What does your side gain from walling yourselves off? If the group from FTB are so certain of their beliefs, why will they not come here to defend them?

147 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm

“It also seems to me that FtB has been pretty willing to “agree to disagree”. To put it like Dylan: “You go your way and I’ll go mine.” ”

Not been my “lived experience”. Mine is that you either agree 100% or you’re a Bad Person.

And as far as going your own way, it would be nice if they would practice what they preach. Instead, they stick their noses into other people’s business and tell them how to think, then have the temerity to get butt-hurt when those they accuse don’t fold immediately and see the error of their ways. Just ask Ben Radford, Michael Shermer, DJ Grothe, Justin Trottier, Paula Kirby, Ben Radford. Some of these people have had others actually try to get them fired from their positions for the opinions they have expressed on the internet.

“Apparently this isn’t enough for the folks commenting here who are not content to find new venues to harass and malign but insist on the privilege of doing so on the very blogs of the people they’re harassing and maligning.”

As they say on FtB, “citation needed”. You know, just saying “harass and malign” doesn’t mean that they are actually doing it. It amazes me, the level of irony in these kind of remarks. Pitters are not the ones accusing others of being rape apologists and women haters and comparing them to Marc levine. I call that maligning others.

148 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm

What does your side gain from walling yourselves off? If the group from FTB are so certain of their beliefs, why will they not come here to defend them?

1. Preventing derailers and trolls from destroying the community.
2. Why should they be obligated to do so? Or in your own terms: What would they gain?

149 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm

” The Slymepit contingent doesn’t want to discuss feminism, misogyny, or anything like that”

Then explain why we keep asking the FTB contingent to either stop banning us, or come over to the slymepit and engage us there.

150 Eu March 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

We definitely want to discuss THAT. We have a lot to say about their theories on misogyny.

151 Eu March 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Dan L., they would gain a chance to stop complaining about being talked about and do something about it. You know, that dumb thing people do when they hear people talking “crap” about them: go defend themselves. No one said they should be obligated, it just looks dumb cowering in a corner while complaining at the same time.

It’s also frustrating because when they do that they don’t have to address specific points… just make some passing comments basically saying “rumors”

152 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Dan L #145:

Discussions have two sides. One person has to question it and the other has to defend it. My terms are simply, “let me have my say, and you can have yours as well”. That’s not unreasonable. If you’ve got a different idea for how such a discussion should go, I’d love to hear it.

153 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

@144

Nonsense.

Your first problem is with history. We have a law in place banning the display of the ten commandments precisely because a bunch of people versed in Enlightenment thought established a positive political stance concerning free expression. They didn’t just say, “Hey, we don’t need the ten commandments around here anymore.” The same applies to the displays and prayer.

As for creationism in schools, it is simply not the case that the default position is science-based learning. You cannot simply say that Biblical creation is wrong and hope that it works out such that good science will take its place.

This is more clearly seen on a topic like global warming. The religious position, which is politically very strong in the Bible-belt state I grew up in, is based on the idea that God gave us the planet and it can’t go to shit until Jesus comes back. Arguing against that position does not necessarily result in a carbon tax or even some cap-and-trade system. There are factions other than those that are purely religious fighting against the scientific stance.

The same is true of stem cells. It’s one thing to argue against the religious position that these little bundles of cells have souls, it’s another to develop an actual program for funding the research.

You seem to have an odd notion of how the positions standing against religion came into existence.

154 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@DanL – “Back in the real world we understand that a small group of malcontents can completely shut down online discussions about topics which they believe should not be discussed …”

Ironically, Doubthat, who has taken up nearly a quarter of this thread with his/her posts, has done so simply in order to drive home the point that dialogue is useless and that he/she wants no part of a community that tolerates political diversity.

155 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

@146

I simply disagree that religion is the only source of malicious political ideology. Eliminating all religion and letting atheist libertarians run things would be way, way worse than just letting mealy-mouthed god-botherers like Obama and Clinton continue to pretend there’s a Jesus and enact efficacious policies (not huge fans of either of those guys, but Rand Paul, QED).

156 Jack March 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

doubtthat (37) What assertion? I simple asked you to set out what you think we believe. If you are saying I have called you a troll I have not to my recollection, that is not my style. Perhaps you could check your source or be clearer.

In any even atheism assumes no political position at all. You can be religious or believe in the tooth fairy and be an atheist. The highest proportion of conspiracy theorists are atheists.

However in it’s activism, which is what we are talking about, it is associated with anti-theism, including educating others about us and examining their beliefs, and secularism, fighting for the separation of church and state. I am both of those amongst other things. I am Humanist which demands everyone is treated equally therefore by definition an equity feminist.

Why do you demand a particular political belief to be part of that? Do you not see how exclusive and divisive that would make the community? We need diversity not some manufactured political schism that goes against every principle of skeptisism which has served the community well for years.

Why do you think any of us are anti-feminist, do you only accept your version as the valid one? If so Why? You know there is over a dozen varieties? Why is your version the only correct one? Do you accept others have views different from your own yet that has no influence in their effectiveness in the atheist community?

The Slympit is here because we believe in inclusion and free association. That’s why the numbers posting here are so skewed as those from the SJW side hate that. For them it’s all about us and them, censoring, shunning, vilifying, strawmanning and all the same old stuff that’s been done by demagogues since we walked the earth. I thought we we’re too enlightened to fall into the same trap.

I have no interest in caring about someone’s political belief (outside racists, homophobes, sexists and the like) and someone like yourself I would welcome. I do not want anyone excluded just because I disagree with them. Why do you want to exclude people?

157 Eu March 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

^^^ Totally agree with this, but don’t be surprised if she replies by saying she doesn’t understand what you’re saying.. spent 2-3 posts explaining that’s what you’re commenting on for her to comment back “I don’t follow” in the end.

158 Eu March 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

LOL Anti-feminist… that part cracks me up. They’re so far gone… I don’t know WHAT that is they’re spreading but it’s worse than any off-base feminism I’ve ever seen in my life. Modern feminism itself is rotten now yes but their stuff just takes the cake. I remember my original reaction… that these people are psychotic. But now I’m so used to seeing it.

159 tina March 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm
“What do you suppose the comments in here would look like if I tried to, say, defend the concept of “patriarchy”? Do you think I’d get a bunch of nice, thoughtful comments carefully deconstructing the concept?”

Dan: here are a couple of posts I’ve made in the last 48hrs pertinent to that topic. If you wish to discuss ideas about patriarchy in a rational/repectful manner, I would be delighted. I am always keen to learn new things. At the moment I think the concept has been superceded by kyriarchy which at least is more inclusive of contributing social forces.

The notion of the subservience of women to men is deeply embedded in religious mythology but also pre-dates Christianity into the pagan era and is explicitly stated by the ancient Greeks, particularly Aristotle, Plato et al. There may well have been more egalitarian cultures existing prehistorically but I’m not sure how certain we can be about that. Anyway, the notion of patriarchy, (lit: rule by fathers), extended outwards towards the structure of social relations between genders. When science, technology, and culture developed to the point that enabled gender roles to expand beyond those proscribed by survival imperatives, the first wave of feminism stepped up demand its share of the goodies and quite rightly so and subsequently made massive strides helping us move towards a more egalitarian society. I think in subsequent waves of feminist thinking, the notion of ‘the patriarchy’ has been rather shoe-horned into the foundation of sociological theories that have bent it out of shape somewhat. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the concept has lost all useful purpose entirely, does it?

Accepting that feminism functions as a doctrine, (it is, after all, part of what an ‘ism’ is), one of the characteristics of doctrines is that they function to be somewhat self-sustaining. Let’s, for the sake of discussion, take patriarchy theory as foundational to all branches of feminism, shall we? It might not be, but hey…

If patriarchy does function in that way and achieves sufficient impetus to sustain itself beyond the point where actual cultural conditions warrant it: though not in all places or all at the same time, (somewhat like a religion that exceeds its sell by date).

Ok, but we still have the rump of it to deal with, and a very great deal of it to deal with in farfaraway land. Concentration on it here though creates a tension about dealing with the dwindling patriarchal attitudes here, and the highly problematic ones that exist elsewhere.

Anyway, the social conditions that enabled our movement away from it are still only relatively recent: the possibility of woman being economically independent of man, without being forced into penuary; social mobility, technology, expansion of the labour market, job opportunities, universal education, equalities legislation, the list goes on and on. Despite all of that advance, I notice that both men and women are still subservient to Capital; reflected in the fact that, even in deep recession, the rump of patriarchal politics does not actively legislate to remove women from the workforce. On the contrary, it uses the opportunities thrown up to encourage both into the labour pool into an ever increasing number of part time, low paid and temporary work, or with the introduction of work ‘schemes’ (sic), for the unemployed that border on forced labour, thus keeping both sexes, whether in families or not, in effective hock to economic insecurity.

The powerlessness felt by all in that turns in on itself and hunts both for someone to blame as well as for liberation strategies.

Patriarchy theory may be one of them: the idea being that what is necessary to change all this is to change the men, because it is the men who are the root of all these problems.

Easy enough then, to see how that could turn into dogmatic ideation leading to radical feminism targeting its venom at the, in this case, gender, considered to be responsible for the mess.

Feminism may be divided then, because it is, at one and the same time, aiming at both the wrong target AND the right target.

160 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Not been my “lived experience”. Mine is that you either agree 100% or you’re a Bad Person.

Is there some kind of right to be considered a good person? If they don’t like you and they disagree with you why are you so insistent that they must talk to you in the first place?

And as far as going your own way, it would be nice if they would practice what they preach. Instead, they stick their noses into other people’s business and tell them how to think, then have the temerity to get butt-hurt when those they accuse don’t fold immediately and see the error of their ways.

Hold on a second, I thought we were criticizing FtB for falling to leave their ivory castle and engage with you brave heroes. Now the problem is that they’re not minding their own business? Make up your effin’ minds, eh?

Just ask Ben Radford, Michael Shermer, DJ Grothe, Justin Trottier, Paula Kirby, Ben Radford. Some of these people have had others actually try to get them fired from their positions for the opinions they have expressed on the internet.

“Some of them” — which ones? Mind you, you mention Radford twice which seems rather like you’re trying to inflate the list. Others here were criticized for specific actions or words. Surely the folks from the Slymepit — bastion of free speech that it is — wouldn’t assert that FtB bloggers don’t have the right to criticize the words and actions of public figures. Would they?

As they say on FtB, “citation needed”. You know, just saying “harass and malign” doesn’t mean that they are actually doing it. It amazes me, the level of irony in these kind of remarks.

This posturing is cute but it doesn’t impress me.

Pitters are not the ones accusing others of being rape apologists and women haters and comparing them to Marc levine. I call that maligning others.

Pitters are the ones coming up with “cute” nicknames for folks on FtB, shooping ridiculous and pornographic images of them or intended to be them, and creating twitter hashtags focused exclusively on denouncing the FtB community as a bunch of bullies. I’m sure there’s more but I’m not nearly so obsessive as you guys and have no interest in doing any extra research on this. The irony is indeed thick, but perhaps not spread on the side of the bread you think it is.

As far as calling people “rape apologists” — are they apologizing for rape? Accusations of “woman hater” — are these people talking about how terrible women are and how they cause all sorts of problems for men? I’ve noticed that racists really hate to be called “racist” — why do you suppose that is?

I won’t lie and say that I’ve never seen FtB commenters make accusations where they weren’t warranted. On the other hand, the vast majority of the times I’ve seen these terms used they’ve been used correctly to describe the position of someone who was either trying suggest that some types of rape are more permissible than others, or that women ask for it, or that child support is some kind of anti-man conspiracy.

161 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

@156

The assertion I quoted from you, 104. You stated your view, I disagree with it.

Again, I know that’s your view. You and folks that agree with you have said this 500 times at least on Nugent’s blog alone. Go back to the first couple of posts he made and you can read EXHAUSTING discussion on this subject.

I think you’re wrong. I don’t really want to get into that because the relevant point I’m making in this thread is that I disagree with your position, I do not find it politically beneficial to ally with folks holding those views, and no amount of dialog will change that.

I will continue working for the political ends I think are important. This will lead me to make alliances with a great many atheists, and I will always push for the end of fairy-tale thinking. I will not, however, be a member of a community with people babbling about “equity feminism.”

This is the case precisely because I understand what that view entails.

162 Aurelian March 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm

@148

1. Those you refer to as trolls have often been banned simply for disagreeing with the blogger, or for no other reason than being a participant in the Slymepit.

2. Of course they are not obligated to do so. However, they appeared happy to comment when Michael first began this discussion, only to retreat to their blogs and call out for the discussion to be ended when others dared to disagree with them. Frankly, it smacks of cowardice.

163 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Discussions have two sides. One person has to question it and the other has to defend it. My terms are simply, “let me have my say, and you can have yours as well”. That’s not unreasonable. If you’ve got a different idea for how such a discussion should go, I’d love to hear it.

You know what else is reasonable? “I don’t want to talk to you.” No one is obligated to discuss anything with you. For example, Christians are not obligated to listen to your really cool take-downs of Jesuit apologetics. They could be really good and totally valid but that still doesn’t obligate the Christians to listen to you.

Yes, discussions have two sides but those two sides are not necessarily: “the concept is valid” vs. “the concept is invalid.” Sometimes you have to move past the foundational arguments to make further progress on an idea — even if there’s some people who still disagree. No one is obligated to get everyone on earth on board with an idea before discussing it at the next level.

You guys seem to be insisting otherwise.

164 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm

This is the case precisely because I understand what that view entails.

What does that view entail?

165 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

DanL @143: “The Slymepit contingent doesn’t want to discuss feminism, misogyny, or anything like that — they simply want the FtB contingent to capitulate on all these subjects and accept the ‘pitter’s ideas of what proper movement atheists should do.”

Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?

166 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Why do you think any of us are anti-feminist, do you only accept your version as the valid one? If so Why? You know there is over a dozen varieties? Why is your version the only correct one? Do you accept others have views different from your own yet that has no influence in their effectiveness in the atheist community?

Anyone claiming to be a rational thinker should be embarrassed to produce nonsense like that.

Did you know that there are more than one political party? Who are you to say that yours is right? Did you know that not everyone is an atheist? Are you so arrogant as to believe that you’re right and the billions of religious folks are wrong?

Of fucking course I think that my views are correct. What would it say about a person if they held views they considered to be incorrect?

It’s a matter of which views you find important and which you can set aside. The political stances you folks have outlined are significantly misguided enough that I don’t think “atheism” is a strong enough concept to convince me to join forces with you.

167 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Dan L., they would gain a chance to stop complaining about being talked about and do something about it. You know, that dumb thing people do when they hear people talking “crap” about them: go defend themselves. No one said they should be obligated, it just looks dumb cowering in a corner while complaining at the same time.

It’s also frustrating because when they do that they don’t have to address specific points… just make some passing comments basically saying “rumors”

To the extent that this is even coherent the first paragraph sounds like schoolyard bully: “I wouldn’t make fun of him if he was such a pansy and stood up for himself!” The second is addressed by my many points of no one being obligated to discuss things they don’t want to discuss if I understand it correctly.

168 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?

I have to do some work so I can’t collate the several comments in this very thread that gave me that impression right at the moment.

In the mean time, why do you absolutely insist that the FtB contingent absolutely must include your perspective on all discussions involving patriarchy, feminism etc. if not so that you can prove that they’re conclusively wrong on all those subjects?

169 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

#163:

It’s fine if FTB doesn’t want to talk to us; but if not, they shouldn’t talk *about* us either (which they do frequently).

If you don’t want to discuss the existence of patriarchy, what would you want to discuss? I hope it’s not “nothing”. If you don’t want any of your views challenged, you’re not a very good skeptic.

170 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

@165

“Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?”

Every interaction I’ve ever had with anyone claiming that place as a home including this one.

Do you really need help finding the comments where people assert that political differences should be set aside to promote some generalized anti-religion position?

171 Jack March 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Dan L. (163)

Dan you seem to be coming from the impression we care about what people at FtB believe. I do not. I do not care one bit what others believe as that is their business.

What I DO care about is the imposition of a political dogma. Any dogma, including my own. If they stayed in their ivory towers I would not care one bit. I don’t care that doubtthat and me have different political beliefs. Great, leads to diversity.

If you do not believe they are trying to impose their belief then I am in total agreement with you, leave them alone. I do think they are trying to impose and when they stop I’m done.

172 Aurelian March 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm

@155

It is disingenuous to present this as an either or issue. Why won’t you work with libertarians towards a mutual goal? I share with you a distaste for many of their stances, but surely we make things harder for ourselves by enforcing splits in our community like this.

173 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 7:57 pm

2. Of course they are not obligated to do so. However, they appeared happy to comment when Michael first began this discussion, only to retreat to their blogs and call out for the discussion to be ended when others dared to disagree with them. Frankly, it smacks of cowardice.

To me it smacks of the fact that I came in to make one comment to Michael that this dialog isn’t really as constructive as he thinks and then ended up in four simultaneous arguments with people who obviously care about this issue much more than I do. Some people have lives and want to spend time doing things other than correct misinterpretations of their statements on Michael Nugent’s blog.

Ever been dogpiled on pharyngula? I have and it’s not a pleasant experience. (And yet I don’t obsess about how terrible those people and PZ are…huh…it’s almost like I have a sense of proportionality.) The environment in these comments is all too familiar.

174 Jack March 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

doubtthat (166) Nice misread, good job. You did not answer one question I raised yet strawmanned me enough to build a house from.

175 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

@172

I’m happy to work with any libertarians on positions where we agree. Had I been a member of the Senate, for example, I would have jumped up and joined Rand in his little drama act (of course, after it was done I would have, you know, proposed legislation or something that would actually do something, but whatever).

I would not, however, become a libertarian. I would not join libertarian mailing lists and I would loudly and angrily argue against the regressive, vapid social positions he holds.

What’s being demanded in all of these reconciliation-dialog-bury-the-hatchet efforts is that people set aside their issues of disagreement in order to unify for some nebulous anti-religious end. I will not do that anymore than I would stop caring about Social Security just to vaguely oppose warrantless wire tapping. Both can be done at once.

176 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Jack@171:

If you do not believe they are trying to impose their belief then I am in total agreement with you, leave them alone. I do think they are trying to impose and when they stop I’m done.

How are they imposing their beliefs? They’re rabidly pro-gun control so I know they’re not aiming anything at your head.

Metalogic@169:

It’s fine if FTB doesn’t want to talk to us; but if not, they shouldn’t talk *about* us either (which they do frequently).

And you guys never, ever, ever talk about FtB, is that right? Let me guess what’s next: “They started it!”

If you don’t want to discuss the existence of patriarchy, what would you want to discuss? I hope it’s not “nothing”. If you don’t want any of your views challenged, you’re not a very good skeptic.

1. I was talking at a meta level about the concept of discussions, not talking about a specific discussion I would like to have. Was this not obvious? How could I have made this more obvious?
2. Have you ever heard a religious believer making the argument that you’ve closed your mind to the possibility of God and therefore you aren’t the skeptical one? How is your argument different from that?

177 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

@173

They were stupid fucking questions and anyone reading them should be able to determine that. I did actually answer all of them in the last paragraph.

178 Edward Gemmer March 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

One issue we constantly deal with is that something happens, and people have emotional responses to it. Then, instead of evaluating whether this emotional response was justified, we try to change our entire ideology to make sure our emotional response was justified instead of just saying, “hey, maybe I overreacted.”

There is a value to self-awareness. As atheists, I’d like to think we don’t believe in superstitious ideas of love and evil and hate. Our emotional responses are based in billions of years of evolution, not in bullshit. They are useful and valuable, but it’s important to at least try to understand why we get so angry when someone disagrees with us, and not just insult and dismiss them.

179 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

DanL@168: “In the mean time, why do you absolutely insist that the FtB contingent absolutely must include your perspective on all discussions involving patriarchy, feminism etc. if not so that you can prove that they’re conclusively wrong on all those subjects?”

I don’t insist on any such thing.

180 Aurelian March 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

@174

Who is asking you to become a libertarian? Who is asking you to agree with all their positions?

181 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

#170:

““Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?”

Every interaction I’ve ever had with anyone claiming that place as a home including this one.”

I’m a slymepitter, you’ve just had interactions with me, and I’ve told you that I want to discuss “feminism, misogyny, or anything like that”. You’re the one declining to discuss it.

182 Jack March 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

doubtthat (174) No one is asking you to change your position, why do you keep banging on about that?

You said (134)

‘You’ve framed that incorrectly. It is my position that eliminating the malicious effects of religion require adopting certain political stances. ‘

(174)

‘I’m happy to work with any libertarians on positions where we agree’

Make your mind up.

183 Cian March 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I wonder what Socrates would think of Benson, Zvan and Myers?

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

I wonder why they are so afraid of dialogue? Surely people as loud as this must be very confident in their ideas and would more than willing to discuss them? It reminds me of when the bishop would be rolled into our school but we would be warned to “ASK NO QUESTIONS!” … This the churches favourite tactic … if they receive criticism on any issue they can lash out at secularists, atheists and communists! Job done, they don’t need to defend their ideas.

“are a small mob of shrieking slimeweasels …” yes, every single last one of them are exactly that. No need to discuss ideas, actually probably no time as they need to quickly copy and paste their next blog post about something important ( unlike Michael Nugent who actually writes his own stuff – and well written it is too. ) .

Just like all the people who campaigned for divorce rights in Ireland were “wife, swapping sodomites!” , everyone who hasn’t synchronized their ideologies with those of PZ Myers are “shrieking slime-weasels”… That is all it takes to win an argument – smear the opposition!

_http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/controversial-rightwinger-helps-coir-cause-26568113.html

184 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:08 pm

@181

Goddamn, man, you are seriously not worth the conversation. This will be my last reply to you.

Read the example I gave about Rand Paul in the Senate. It’s possible to work with people on certain issues while still opposing them on others and refusing to join their side or community or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

I will work with any of you (probably not you, specifically, but that’s because I’m not really interesting in playing with legos anymore, and I can’t imagine there’s much else you’re involved with) on church/state issues or science funding, but I will not join with you any more than standing with the Paul filibuster would make me a libertarian.

This is not complicated stuff. The two statements you quoted in a hilariously misguided attempt to show inconsistency are perfectly compatible.

185 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

@180

Read the challenge again. It wasn’t just about having a discussion.

186 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Doubtthat: ” I will not, however, be a member of a community with people babbling about “equity feminism.”

Zvan: “This is an argument over who gets to participate in our movements. Don’t forget that …”

Wait, which “side” desires to exclude certain people from atheist/skeptic communities, again?

187 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Re my comment #180: I think I got Dan L and doubtthat mixed up. My bad.

Anyway, Dan L #175:
“And you guys never, ever, ever talk about FtB, is that right? Let me guess what’s next: “They started it!””

Of course we talk about them (you’re wrong btw, I’d say that we started it for the most part, but that’s not a bad thing, given that they’ve always been allowed to respond on our forums and blogs). The difference is, we’d like to talk *to* them, except we get banned for being slymepitters, and they won’t talk to us.

Point 1 – so, you don’t want to discuss anything regarding feminism? Pity.
Point 2 – If a religious believer said that to an atheist who refused to ever engage in discussions about God/religion/etc., he’d be correct.

188 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm

DanL @143 said: “The Slymepit contingent doesn’t want to discuss feminism, misogyny, or anything like that — they simply want the FtB contingent to capitulate on all these subjects and accept the ‘pitter’s ideas of what proper movement atheists should do.”

I said: “Do you have any evidence at all for this statement?”

Doubthat@170 said: “Every interaction I’ve ever had with anyone claiming that place as a home including this one. Do you really need help finding the comments where people assert that political differences should be set aside to promote some generalized anti-religion position?”
*******************************************************

“Every interaction I’ve ever had” isn’t much help. Yes, I’ve heard some people argue for an atheist movement sans politics, but that’s not my ideal. More to the point, that’s not what DanL’s statement is saying. He’s said that SPs don’t want to discuss gender politics at all and want simply want “capitulation” on these subjects (as though there were even a unified SP “position” on these subjects).

189 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

@179

What do you think “reconciliation” means? I’ve said over and over that there are views we disagree on (like libertarians and progressives) that are significant enough that I do not have any interest in sharing a “community.”

An alliance based on a discreet, specific policy outcome? Sure, notice the title of this blog post: “On the primacy of reasonable dialogue in the atheist and skeptic communities.”

I do not want to join their community any more than I want to become a libertarian.

190 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm

@187

You can read this thread and find plenty of examples of people saying it shouldn’t be a political movement, that we need to unify behind some inchoate anti-religious position (setting aside that annoying feminist stuff, of course), and endless examples of people saying that the FtB community has poor priorities.

That was Dan’s point, this thread has backed it up from the very beginning. I don’t know why you disagree with the point, YOU DO think that FtB folks have misguided priorities.

191 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

“I’m here to disagree with people who think dialog is useful or valuable or those who believe reconciliation is a worthwhile goal.”

Well, that’s interesting. Thanks for trolling around.

192 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

@185

I do. I want to exclude people. People like you.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own movement, but if a bunch of people said, “Hey, can we join you Democrats? We think Social Security should be eliminated.” I would say, no, no you can’t.

You’re welcome to pursue your own policy objectives. I don’t understand why you think it’s necessary that we go along with the ride or be forced to include your bad ideas.

193 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

@190

Disagreement =/ trolling.

194 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

@ 191

“Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own movement, but if a bunch of people said, “Hey, can we join you Democrats? We think Social Security should be eliminated.” I would say, no, no you can’t.

You’re welcome to pursue your own policy objectives. I don’t understand why you think it’s necessary that we go along with the ride or be forced to include your bad ideas.”

You seem to have the timeline backwards. The atheist/skeptical communities have had the goals I espouse for quite some time.

195 Aurelian March 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm

@192

Interesting. Have you announced this on FTB yet? I would be curious to hear their response.

196 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm

@193

So what? Maybe we’re leaving, maybe you are, it doesn’t really matter. You have different objectives, those are significant enough that I don’t want to be on your side save for very specific cases, what’s the problem?

197 kntk March 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm

So what? Maybe we’re leaving, maybe you are, it doesn’t really matter. You have different objectives, those are significant enough that I don’t want to be on your side save for very specific cases, what’s the problem?

No problem at all from where i’m standing. Atheism Plus has been right there (on the side of the road) for about 6 months now. Why are you all still talking about the Slymepit constantly?

198 Submariner March 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

@ 195 So what? Maybe we’re leaving, maybe you are, it doesn’t really matter. You have different objectives, those are significant enough that I don’t want to be on your side save for very specific cases, what’s the problem?

I don’t see a problem with you opting out of the atheist/skeptical community (movement). That is your choice.

What I do have a problem with is that others with similar views to yours have decided that rather than opt out of the atheist/skeptic community except where their goals align insist on forcing the goals of the atheist/skeptical community to change to suit theirs.

199 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm

@196

I thought it was a pretty nasty place until I went there. Now I know it’s just sad and small and unless it’s brought up, like you have here, I probably won’t think on it again.

I’m not worried about a dozen people whining and making posts about commenters at FtB.

200 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Doubthat@189 said: “You can read this thread and find plenty of examples of people saying it shouldn’t be a political movement, that we need to unify behind some inchoate anti-religious position (setting aside that annoying feminist stuff, of course), and endless examples of people saying that the FtB community has poor priorities. That was Dan’s point, this thread has backed it up from the very beginning. I don’t know why you disagree with the point, YOU DO think that FtB folks have misguided priorities.”

Why are you speaking for DanL? You are not paraphrasing his post accurately, and I have already said I do not share the view that we should all limit ourselves to being “dictionary atheists,” or whatever.

Yes, I think many FTB folks have misguided priorities — mostly in the way in which many of them handle disagreement — but I certainly don’t wish for them to “capitulate” to anyone’s views, and I am very interested in robust and productive discussions about gender politics and feminism in which people are charitable about their opponents’ statements and motivations.

201 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 19, 2013 at 8:33 pm

@192:

I’ll state it again:

“I’m here to disagree with people who think dialog is useful or valuable or those who believe reconciliation is a worthwhile goal.”

You are, for all intent and purpose, a troll. If not, why would you even post here? You disagree that dialogue is useful or valuable, and you don’t think reconciliation is a worthwhile goal. Are you one of those Brony’s “ninjas”? Well, if so, you failed at boot camp.

202 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Metalogic@187:

Of course we talk about them (you’re wrong btw, I’d say that we started it for the most part, but that’s not a bad thing, given that they’ve always been allowed to respond on our forums and blogs). The difference is, we’d like to talk *to* them, except we get banned for being slymepitters, and they won’t talk to us.

And they’re not obligated to talk to you. So what’s the problem?

Point 1 – so, you don’t want to discuss anything regarding feminism? Pity.

Imagine if the only thing you could discuss about skepticism was criticisms of skepticism. That is, you weren’t allowed to have any discussion of skepticism that didn’t involve a cryptozoology fan or a Deepak Chopra disciple or an Anglican minister, and furthermore the only discussion you were allowed to have was whether skepticism can be applied to all “types of knowing.” Don’t you think that would get pretty tedious after a while?

I’m not interested in talking about evolutionary development with young earth creationists. This is not because I don’t think I can defend the concept of evolution against YEC arguments, it’s because I’ve heard all the YEC arguments before, answered them, and I’m still convinced evolution is true. Similarly, I’m not interested in the argument over whether patriarchy is a valid concept. I use the term to refer to something I experience day in and day out and there’s aspects of patriarchy I would rather discuss. This involves not discussing them with someone who is only interested in nitpicking the idea and tearing it down rather than trying to see how it is valid. Much as a good discussion of evolutionary development could not involve a YEC who is interested only in finding cheap arguments against evolution, not in considering in what sense evolution might be a valid concept.

Point 2 – If a religious believer said that to an atheist who refused to ever engage in discussions about God/religion/etc., he’d be correct.

Suppose that the atheist had such discussions many times and simply didn’t want to discuss the issue with this particular believer at this time. Should the atheist be allowed to walk away under those circumstances?

203 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Doubthat@198 “I thought it was a pretty nasty place until I went there. Now I know it’s just sad and small and unless it’s brought up, like you have here, I probably won’t think on it again. I’m not worried about a dozen people whining and making posts about commenters at FtB.”

Sad and small, heh. You wish. Did you ever actually read the PtoS thread, or did you just derp around on inactive subthreads? How many different people would you guess have posted there today?

204 kntk March 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I thought it was a pretty nasty place until I went there. Now I know it’s just sad and small and unless it’s brought up, like you have here, I probably won’t think on it again.

It didn’t have to be though, and the name probably isn’t entirely beyond repair. Nothing is stopping people from setting up Atheism+ events, forums and local groups.

205 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

tina@159:

Thanks for the long comment, I haven’t had the chance to read it just yet but I’m copying into text file so I won’t forget to.

206 Jack March 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

doubtthat (195)

Leaving where? So you will work with others and you won’t. Got it thanks. Makes total sense.

207 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

@Jack:

Still a little curious about how anyone is “imposing” their politics on you. Have an answer to that yet?

208 tina March 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Dan: No rush, here for the next 5 years 😉

209 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

kntk@203: “It didn’t have to be though, and the name probably isn’t entirely beyond repair. Nothing is stopping people from setting up Atheism+ events, forums and local groups.”

zing!

210 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

tina@208:

There may well have been more egalitarian cultures existing prehistorically but I’m not sure how certain we can be about that.

There’s fairly decent evidence that there probably were: the Iroquois nation, for example, was much more egalitarian than ancient Greece or Rome — both of which took misogyny to a bit of an extreme. Pre-Christian Britain seemed to have been more egalitarian than Christian Britain — I remember hearing a story about a noblewoman who kidnapped a man to be her husband, for example (can’t find a reference at the moment but I’ll keep looking). Plenty of hunter-gatherer and light agricultural “primitive” communities are more gender egalitarian than western civilization — though many others are very fiercely patriarchal. Anthropological research impresses upon me the variety of human experience including the extreme diversity of possible concepts of gender.

Not to mention prehistoric imperial Japan where until the 800s there were as many female emperors as male or Knossus on Crete which was demonstrably more egalitarian than the later mainland Greek societies. Greece and Rome were, as I said, particularly misogynistic and they’ve had a particularly large influence on western culture relative to their ancient neighbors.

Patriarchy theory may be one of them: the idea being that what is necessary to change all this is to change the men, because it is the men who are the root of all these problems.

Easy enough then, to see how that could turn into dogmatic ideation leading to radical feminism targeting its venom at the, in this case, gender, considered to be responsible for the mess.

I think this is pure straw man. It does not follow that because our culture privileges men that men are therefore to blame for all the ills of society. As far as I can tell, the idea that men are literally to blame for all the ills of society is a fringe belief within feminism.

211 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

tina@208:

Also, you seem to be arguing that capital is the source of power in society, not patriarchy. I disagree that these are mutually exclusive. I’m also not completely decided on my position on economics in general and capitalism in particular so I don’t have much to say about the effects of capital on society.

212 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 9:07 pm

@201

Then you, personally, aren’t an example of such. It remains the case that there are many examples supporting Dan’s claim on this thread.

@203

Yep, read through it. It’s petty, empty, and sad. It’s like looking in on an eighth grade lunch conversation.

213 HJ Hornbeck March 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm

AppleStairs @108:
“Would you please describe what you think are the SP & friends’ reasons for acting the way they do (well enough that they would agree with your assessment)?”

Gladly! The following is a generalization, but I think it’s reasonably accurate:

Free speech is a critical part of reasoned discourse. If someone says something idiotic, they’ll get called out on it and no harm comes. Any attempt to limit or censor speech should be opposed. Some people argue against that, however. They hold some ideas to be beyond criticism, and are willing to censor and distort to ensure those ideas aren’t given a fair hearing. FreethoughtBlogs and SkepChick are two places notorious for this, and have attracted a dedicated group of commenters who act as enforcers, primarily through harsh language and swarming tactics. This is having a bad effect on atheism and skepticism, as a community that was devoted to religion and pseudo-science starts to take on religous tones itself, pushing ideas far removed from either topic as if they were equally important. This should be vigorously opposed. And if they won’t listen to reasoned argument, ridicule is the only other valid option. How do you reason with those not willing to reason themselves?

So, quick show of hands: how did I do? How well have I summarized what most people in or friends with the Slyme Pit think about FtB and SkepChick?

214 Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Dan L. (206)

‘Still a little curious about how anyone is “imposing” their politics on you. Have an answer to that yet?’

You can see numerous links here (this is the latest Nugent post about this, I assume you know) including petitions to remove Thunderfoot from the community, attacks on prominent members of the community (as listed earlier and ongoing), control of events (they lost at TAM), attacks on D J Groethe including calls for his resignation, general claims they want people who do not agree removed (one linked earlier), successful smear campaign to have J Vacula removed following his successful candidacy in a leadership role of an atheist organisation, to have a statement of conditions on their side outlining total capitulation and agreement of their political ideology before they will consider accommodating different views in the movement, their hijacking of the word ‘Atheism’ in A+ which is an SJW movement with little interest in atheism ( as stated by their moderator)

The list is near endless. Take your pick.

That’s from memory I’m sure there’s plenty more such as links to blog that are available. In fact the Slympit have kept a database which someone may be kind enough to link.

This is not about a political ideology although if a discussion of that leads to progress that’s great.

I fully accept that if people do not want to discuss their beliefs that of course is fine. What they do not get to do is not discuss them and then try and impose it on others.

Finally I do not give a stuff about grudges which many have going back a long way. It is not about that. To me this is about stopping the rot before it spreads. This is not the first and it won’t be the last movement where this sort of behaviour occurs.

215 oolon March 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I thought it was a pretty nasty place until I went there. Now I know it’s just sad and small and unless it’s brought up, like you have here, I probably won’t think on it again.

My sentiment exactly, if I was to criticise any FtB’er it would be PZ calling the pit the worse hive of scum or whatever he said. Bigotry is there to be sure, people not being bigots are there as well… But overall the stench for me is sad and small, feeding off FtBs and having nothing to contribute but negativity and criticism. Someone said it above…
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
.. Anyone seen the stats on mentions for FtBs and Skepchick on there? Why are mentions of “oolon” on there 10x greater than “oolon wrote” from when I was posting on there? The number of times I’ve mentioned any pittizen on the A+ forum can be counted on one hand, or less as I can only think I mentioned Franc obliquely once.

In some ways I wish the FtB lot could just ignore it completely. But that’s easy for me to say as I’m not photoshopped and lied about by the place… (Well not much!)

216 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm

@DanL
“”Not been my “lived experience”. Mine is that you either agree 100% or you’re a Bad Person.””

“Is there some kind of right to be considered a good person? If they don’t like you and they disagree with you why are you so insistent that they must talk to you in the first place?”

There is no right. But I was there since the Scienceblogs days, I was a regular reader, and I was driven away by the attitude there, and I’m not the only one. I am merely pointing out that this happens and I don’t think it’s good for the movement. It’s abusive.

It’s amazing to me how you guys complain about the shitty treatment you believe to come some from Slimepitters but think of all the ways to justify it when it comes from your preferred people. Special pleading.

“”And as far as going your own way, it would be nice if they would practice what they preach. Instead, they stick their noses into other people’s business and tell them how to think, then have the temerity to get butt-hurt when those they accuse don’t fold immediately and see the error of their ways.””

“Hold on a second, I thought we were criticizing FtB for falling to leave their ivory castle and engage with you brave heroes. Now the problem is that they’re not minding their own business? Make up your effin’ minds, eh?”

I never said anything about them coming to the Slymepit – others have said that. I don’t care if they do or not. I am simply responding to the claim, which I have heard made several times before, that they just want their own space to have things their own way. It’s been my experience that they want to extend their influence outside their little network. And they’re entitled to try too, if they want: just not to whine about being harassed and how they only want their own space if they get pushback when they do. Or… they can whine about it too, if they want. Others will point out that they are whining and not arguing in good faith.

“” Just ask Ben Radford, Michael Shermer, DJ Grothe, Justin Trottier, Paula Kirby, Ben Radford. Some of these people have had others actually try to get them fired from their positions for the opinions they have expressed on the internet.””

” “Some of them” — which ones? Mind you, you mention Radford twice which seems rather like you’re trying to inflate the list. ”

Gee, you caught me in a typo. Point to you. Off the top of my head, there have been efforts to unseat Radford, Grothe and Trottier. Abbie of ERV springs to mind too, but I’m sure that’s okay because she’s a Bad Person.

” Others here were criticized for specific actions or words. Surely the folks from the Slymepit — bastion of free speech that it is — wouldn’t assert that FtB bloggers don’t have the right to criticize the words and actions of public figures. Would they? ”

I don’t know why people keep conflating the right to say something with the content of what’s being said. Michael Nugent addressed that issue himself on this blog re religious belief. They have the right to criticize Shermer at al. Others have the right to point out where those criticisms are wrong if they think so. Also: my contention is they don’t always argue in good faith. Watson’s pathetic Evo-Psych talk being an example. They moved the goalposts and did a classic double down after Ed Clint’s thorough critique on the talk. He engaged in no personal attacks, simply addressed the content, but their response was to personally attack him and claim the talk was about the media’s reporting of Evo Psych, not the field itself.

And yet… despite that I actually agree with some of FtB’s critiques. I think an anti-harassment policy at conferences is a good idea. I think Bed Radford’s series of “Pink” blog posts were pathetic. I just don’t think he deserves to lose his job over it. That kind of thing is playing god with someone’s life.

“” As they say on FtB, “citation needed”. You know, just saying “harass and malign” doesn’t mean that they are actually doing it. It amazes me, the level of irony in these kind of remarks.””

“This posturing is cute but it doesn’t impress me.”

“” Pitters are not the ones accusing others of being rape apologists and women haters and comparing them to Marc Levine. I call that maligning others. “”

” Pitters are the ones coming up with “cute” nicknames for folks on FtB, shooping ridiculous and pornographic images of them or intended to be them, and creating twitter hashtags focused exclusively on denouncing the FtB community as a bunch of bullies. ”

There have been a couple of shoops I thought were beyond the pale, like the one from 3/7. Most ‘pitters agreed and that went away. Most of them are harmless satires and are not pornographic. It shows by their response that they take themselves way too seriously. As for the twitter stuff – big whoop. Nobody has to read it. You can block it if your fee-fees, as you guys put it, are hurt. There’s a difference between taking the piss and othering and dehumanizing people.

” I’m sure there’s more but I’m not nearly so obsessive as you guys and have no interest in doing any extra research on this. The irony is indeed thick, but perhaps not spread on the side of the bread you think it is.

As far as calling people “rape apologists” — are they apologizing for rape? Accusations of “woman hater” — are these people talking about how terrible women are and how they cause all sorts of problems for men? I’ve noticed that racists really hate to be called “racist” — why do you suppose that is? ”

No. Nobody is apologizing for rape. Nobody is saying how terrible women are. Some women and some men have been criticized, even made fun of sometimes, but not because they are women or men, but because of the dumb shit they say.

Racists don’t like to be called racist. So what? People who aren’t racists don’t like to be called racists either. So far we’ve got a Venn diagram consisting of one big circle. Like your argument.

” I won’t lie and say that I’ve never seen FtB commenters make accusations where they weren’t warranted. On the other hand, the vast majority of the times I’ve seen these terms used they’ve been used correctly to describe the position of someone who was either trying suggest that some types of rape are more permissible than others, or that women ask for it, or that child support is some kind of anti-man conspiracy. ”

If I saw a comment to the effect that some kinds of rape were more permissible than others I would have no trouble calling that commenter a rape apologist. If I saw comment that described child support as some kind of anti-man conspiracy I’d no trouble calling that person a misogynist. Did you really see a comment that said exactly that? Or did you interpret?

I hope this doesn’t format too bad, there’s no preview on this thing. Does it take tags?

217 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

The list is near endless. Take your pick.

Except that none of those items in your list — even conceding your slanted and context-free presentation of them — constitute “imposing politics” on anybody.

No one argues that when Rush Limbaugh criticizes Obama that he’s “imposing his politics” on anyone. There might be other criticisms of Limbaugh — that he’s a lying ideologue, for example. But simply criticizing someone — or, to use your word, to “attack” someone — does not constitute “imposing one’s politics.”

I also don’t get how you guys are simultaneously arguing that FtB is both marginalized by the atheist movement because of their politics and somehow gatekeeping the politics of the atheist movement. I just can’t fit both concepts in my head at the same time. Could you help me understand that?

218 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Jeff@216:

Too much text. Not reading that.

Jack@214:

I have a response in moderation.

219 Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Dan L. (210)

Your definition of Patriachy is one of many of course. In fact under some definitions I may agree with the term and certainly I would under certain communities around the world.

I think some definitions are highly poisonous as it fails to address the real underlying causes and simplifies it well beyond any rational analyses. The requirement to protect this form of belief against rational attack is one reason I think it forms into a dogma with all the associate issues that has.

220 kntk March 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

@ool0n

My sentiment exactly, if I was to criticise any FtB’er it would be PZ calling the pit the worse hive of scum or whatever he said.

Have you ever wondered why he says that sort of thing all the time? Why so much attention is actually paid to the slymepit in general over at FTB? I mean, Svan had to dig through 5 entire months of mostly worthless conversational, (or sad, small, depending on your view) bollocks to find a shopped-picture of the hindenburg and a few people calling her names.

Why bother doing all that? Except that the slymepit serves a useful role as an easily identifiable enemy.

221 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

This was all I needed to read:

Also: my contention is they don’t always argue in good faith. Watson’s pathetic Evo-Psych talk being an example. They moved the goalposts and did a classic double down after Ed Clint’s thorough critique on the talk. He engaged in no personal attacks, simply addressed the content, but their response was to personally attack him and claim the talk was about the media’s reporting of Evo Psych, not the field itself.

Clint’s effort was a fucking embarrassment, from his sanctimonious, pearl-clutching tweet about “science denial,” to his trivial defense of Evo Psych. The entirety of his objection was, “Watson should have been slightly more specific in her language.” Instead, it was chock full of condescending nonsense.

It amuses me that people try to defend goofballs like Clint, Radford, Shermer, Thunderf00t….when people I’m politically sympathetic to make shitty arguments, I can still tell they’re shitty arguments.

222 Renee Hendricks March 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Sigh. Michael, the previous comments are exactly why I don’t see there being any sort of reasonable dialogue. Short of actually getting the active players face to face, I don’t see a good resolution. It’s really sad as far as I’m concerned as I’m an extremely optimistic person. This whole thing does not bode well at all.

223 AndrewV69 March 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

@Dan L. #205

Thanks for the long comment, I haven’t had the chance to read it just yet but I’m copying into text file so I won’t forget to.

I look forward to your response seeing as the SPs did not discuss it much.

Would you two consider doing it at the Slymepit? It would not be off-topic there vs this comment thread.

224 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Andrewv69@223:

Already responded at my 210 and 211.

In short, the only parts of tina’s comment that constituted a direct criticism of patriarchy theory were, in my opinion, arguing with a straw man version of patriarchy theory.

225 John C. Welch March 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Sigh. Yes, yes, I want total capitulation.

I want them to “capitulate” to following their own standards. To wit:

if words like cunt and bitch are bad, then stop using them. Even “ironically”. If one of your “friends” uses them on your blog, tell them to stop. Always. Follow your own standards.

If threats of violence are bad, then they are bad no matter who makes them. Even when it’s a friend. Don’t write multiple posts justifying those threats as “appropriate” or “patton slaps”. Follow your own standards.

If mansplaining, or men telling women how to think about something is bad, then it’s bad even when you do it to someone you disagree with. It is not a sign of respect. Follow your own standards.

If using sexist terms like “chill girl” and “gender traitor” and “sister punisher” are bad, then they are always bad even when used by your bestie. Follow your own standards.

If you are going to claim a site or thread is unmoderated, don’t then point out that all people in a certain group are preemptively banned. That’s not even a standards issue, that’s basic telling the truth. (Yes. I am in fact saying that PZ’s claim that his “thunderdome” thread is “unmoderated” is not only incorrect, but a deliberate falsehood and provably so, both in action, (Phil Giordana’s banning from it without any sort of “bad” action in said thread and PZ’s own entry in the dungeon that all slymepitters are banned from his site, period. Just in case there’s any doubt:

From the “profile” section in the left sidebar of Pharyngula:

The [Thunderdome]: no-holds-barred unmoderated chaos

From http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/dungeon/:

The Dungeon
Trolls, every one. Obnoxious people who make racist or sexist remarks, ignore warnings and requests from me, engage in pointless argument and abuse, have a history of dishonest engagement, sock puppets, spammers, reprobates, verminous toxic sludge-flingers…all get tossed here. There is no parole. Escapees, when detected, are immediately tossed here. Their names, email addresses, and URLs are entered into a filter that trashes their comments before I even see them.

and at the bottom of that page:

The Lymepit
Lately, some people with a notorious history of repulsive behavior and an association with a place of ill-repute called the Slymepit have taken to blatantly trolling here to get recognition of their vile behavior. They are thrown into the dungeon all right, but I’m not going to grant them any notoriety by mentioning them — they just get namelessly blocked without acknowledgment.

Now, if PZ wants to block me, okay, his blog. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. It’s about as much a “punishment” as telling me i’m not allowed to eat broccoli. I’m allergic to broccoli. Please don’t throw me in the brier patch.

I’ve had no interest in commenting on his site since his behavior during “Pepsigate” showed me that any pretense to science was strictly at his convenience. Once he decided you were an enemy, no amount of contrary data mattered. As punishments go, being banned from FTB isn’t.

However, when PeeZus claims to have an unmoderated thread, then moderates it, and indeed preemptively bans people who have rarely or never posted on his site, well, that’s a deliberate falsehood. He is in fact, lying, and that’s the proof of it. It’s even more precious when he issues a ‘challenge’ to those who disagree with them, demanding they comment on his site, when they know they’re banned from doing so.

There’s very little honesty left in PZ.

This, along with the continual hypocrisy from FTB is why I see little chance for good outcome from trying to dialog with them.

The people who are open to talking to people with whom they disagree, like Aron Ra, Justin Griffith, and others have no need for some special kind of sit down. They already behave in a manner consistent with their own stated standards of ethical behavior without needing someone to tell them about goodthought or badthought. Nor do they have “Supressive Persons” who must be driven out. (I say again, the parallels between some of the FTB/Skepchick lot and Scientology are not small.)

The people who aren’t open, like PZ, Zvan, Canuck, etc., have no use for any attempt at dialogue. They are as convinced of their own righteousness as Torquemada himself. If you disagree with them, not only are you wrong, but you are by definition a slymepitter, (because any who disagree with them must be part of the slymepit), and they refuse to communicate. So any attempt at dialogue with them is useless.

Which brings us to this: exactly who would this dialogue be fore?

226 Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Dan L. (217)

I know that was deliberate. If you can’t be bothered to take a casual glance at the numerous links provided here and on Michaels other posts I won’t do it for you. Others might.

227 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@Jack:

I think I was aware of each of those events as it happened. I think there’s a lot of room for disagreement on the particulars of several of those events and that criticism of FtB bloggers for how they handled those particular events is perfectly fine.

However they still don’t constitute “imposing politics” on anyone by any stretch of the imagination.

228 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@222

“This whole thing does not bode well at all.”

I suppose that depends on your perspective. That concern is voiced every time political and social movements reach a division point.

I suppose the Democrats would have won more elections had they taken more elaborate steps to keep the Southern Democrats from going Republican. I think it was less sad that worthwhile and though the issues are less dramatic here, I see a similar outcome.

229 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

HJ Hornbeck@213 “So, quick show of hands: how did I do? How well have I summarized what most people in or friends with the Slyme Pit think about FtB and SkepChick?”

Not too bad, and good on you for making the effort! 😉 I’ll try to say more later and see if I can come up with a worthy flip-side.

230 tina March 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Dan @ 210 211

Thanks, that was interesting. I’m still researching these issues to try to get some clarity. My impression is that a significant number of radical and gender feminists do think in those terms, though many others do not.

No, I don’t think capital and patriarchy are mutually exclusive at all, just parts of the jigsaw.

Re the economic position, I found this paper interesting:
(http://cwanderson.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/The-German-Ideology.pdf)

Tell me. Are you still as leery about ‘this crowd’ as your comment at 140 would seem to suggest?

231 tina March 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Dan: Also, can you recommend some texts that describe patriarchy theory well? Thanks.

232 Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Dan L (226)

Really? So you think the A+ forums represent the body of people in the atheist movement? The brave new idea we will all be part of? They are only dead in the water as they are slacktivists. Others who agree with them are not.

If you think no one at FtB/Skeptchic has any influence or is unwilling to push their ideology on the community then fine, believe that. I can’t force you to interpret what is obvious to me and actually stated by them as an aim.

You can argue their effect is minimal and that is a subjective opinion , as good as mine. However I also know if it is not addressed early it will be a lot harder to deal with later as it won’t stop.

233 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

tina@230,231:

Thanks for the PDF. I have no links to share on patriarchy theory at the moment. Honestly I haven’t engaged with the women’s studied stuff directly, I’ve mostly come to my own understanding mostly by reading history and trying to understand how culture is constructed in the first place. But I have some friends I can reach out to who would probably have some good recommendations so I’ll try to do that — would you like the response on this thread or is there a better place?

As far as “this crowd” goes, you’re fine and AppleStairs and Metalogic have been perfectly reasonable. I’m sure there’s other individual human beings who hang out at the slymepit and hate on FtB who I would otherwise get along with fine.

Then you have folks like John C. Welch. Jack I wasn’t sure about but I’m leaning towards the “not get along with fine” side.

234 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

You can argue their effect is minimal and that is a subjective opinion , as good as mine.

I didn’t argue that. One of yours, name of “kaos” IIRC. Probably other ‘pitters as well.

235 Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Dan L. (234)

You asked for information and I gave it. You then dismissed it. I don’t appreciate that. Show civility and you will receive it.

236 TM March 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Dan L.,
I have no doubt that you will soon get fed up and leave. Before that happens, I would like to say that I have enjoyed your comments tremendously.

237 tina March 19, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Dan @ 233

Thanks. Just respond here and I’ll pick it up.

238 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm

TM@236:

Not sure how I’m supposed to take that but glad to please regardless. The fool and wise man archetypes have a lot of overlap.

239 Lumen222 March 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Referencing back to Oolon #101…

After quite a lot of reading I have to say I agree.

I’m just going to cross post my last statement from the previous thread, since it appears few people are reading it anymore.

For context I have pointed out that the slympit is heavily focused, on documenting, archiving and discussing a very small handful of people/organizations that they disagree with. However when I try to pin them down on what they hope to accomplish doing this I get … conflicting answers. Jack claims it’s about eradicating Rad Fem. But I don’t understand how none stop attacking of a small number of people and websites is supposed to convince the movement at large about how Rad Fem/SJW is destructive.

Cross posted:
“What disturbs me greatly is I’m getting the impression that you guys don’t actually care about convincing anyone of any particular argument or bringing about any change. I have tried many times to see what the purpose of all this is, but inevitably it continually cycles around to the same quote mining, the same few personalities and dredging up of the same few past events. Jack led me to believe that there is concern with the effects on Rad/Fem on the Atheist movement. But then some say no. This is very confusing to me because I do not see the reason to constantly monitor the movements and goings on of these people, to keep such careful records on their misdeeds, or to publicly call them out and attack them for their ideas if you are not actually trying to protect/change something about the community or the message… or something?

So please tell me. What DO you want? Because at the moment all I’m getting here is “Rebecca Watson’s Blood, and PZ Meyers head on a platter.”

240 TM March 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Dan@238
I apologize for the ambiguity. I have enjoyed your reasoned and well-paced arguments, especially as they come from a new (to me) source.

241 John Greg March 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Lumen222, I get the impression that you are having some difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the Pit is not one homogenous group with a set goal or ideology to which we all agree and to which we all aim.

That is not what the Pit is at all.

The Pit is a widley, maybe even wildly, diverse group of people with an endlessly variable range of opinions and perspectives, often in conflict. As some people have described it, the Pit is a neighbourhood pub, with a vast variety of different people with different interests, but wherein we all agree that discussion and debate demand freedom of thought and expression.

About the only thing we almost generally all agree on, topically speaking, is that the FfTB, Skepchick, and latterly A+ communities, bloggers, and commentariat, and some tangential but related individuals within the so-called skeptic / athiest communities are toxic, dogmatic, deeply fanatical, profoundly hypocritical, and often quite deceitful.

And most of the Pit population seem to feel that that unhealthy environment needs to be uncovered and exposed and opened to the public in general so that fewer people are taken in by the mendacity and the fanatical, divisive, deceptive, ideolgy.

PeeZus, Watson, Zvan, et al, are merely the carriers and spreaders of this diseased fanaticism and hypocrisy, and therefore the focus of the expose.

As for what is wanted, we all, each one of us, individually, want a variety of things; different things; the range is vast.

As for me, personally, among other things, I want the FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ communities to be exposed for the toxic sludge they are.

(Cross posted from another thread, but in answer to Lumen222’s cross-post.)

242 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Per HJ Hornbeck@213, my attempt to summarize FTB/A+/Skepchick background premises/motivations, charitably enough that most would probably agree with it:

We are “godless liberals” who see our atheist activism as inseparable from progressive political activism.

We advocate “social justice” politics, including the premise that we in the US live in a deeply sexist, racist, and patriarchal society, in which women, racial and sexual minorities, and others are systematically oppressed and marginalized (in other words, a ‘kyriarchy’).

We believe the atheist movement should make a concerted effort to make room for, and to some extent defer to, the opinions and perspectives of marginalized people, particularly feminist women, given their oppressed status. Men should “shut up and listen to the women,” particularly when those women are talking about their lived experience or the ways they are oppressed. If a woman seems to doubt that she and other women are systematically “oppressed,” she is likely manifesting internalized sexism as a result of patriarchy and/or unconsciously seeking the approval of men (similarly for other marginalized groups).

The atheist movement can only achieve and maintain diversity by making sure to quiet and moderate the voices of those who, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuate oppression by failing to recognize that their opinions and statements reveal sexist, racist, and generally selfish and bigoted attitudes.

Communities should function as “safe spaces” for vulnerable people, and those who don’t take social justice seriously (among others – libertarians, “Men’s Rights Activists,” Republicans, and those who are hyperskeptical about the sociology of social justice) tend to drive the voiceless away from the community and ensure that it primarily serves only white, cis, hetero, neurotypical, ablebodied men. The right to “free speech” does not equate to the right to dominate and derail conversations and cause real harm to marginalized people.

243 Jack March 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Lumen222 (239)

Just as was pointed out early in Nugent’s first blog about this every ‘pitter’ has their own motives, we do not speak as one. Also this is a lot bigger than people at the Slympit, others are involved too on and off but choose not to get involved at the forum. Calling the the Slympit as the only people not in favour of certain behaviour is the same as Creationists calling Evolution Darwinism, it is an attempt to show it is the idea of only one person or group. So it takes a lot of effort to see the whole picture. An effort many, understandably, do not have the time to spend.

I have made my position clear but there are hundreds of others. I want to be left alone in my activism without having to continually look over my shoulder and wonder if the community I support is in favour of rational debate with no discussions left off the table. It is that simple. A+ shows what happens if left to run riot. Someone at the Sylmpit’s local group has just split over this so it is going to meat space.

To me it is useful to resist this even if the current impact is low. In the same way it is useful to resist creationism in schools even though it currently affects only a small part of the US.

244 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I would like to say that the “Slymepit side” does have a few legitimate grievances here. For example, in my opinion Vacula was the one taking the high road in the SCA volunteer position situation and that the criticisms of Vacula didn’t warrant Zvan’s petition.

The problem as I see it is that the Slymepit consists partially of serious, earnest people trying to explain this to people at FtB and partially of angry, obsessed pamphleteers, “cartoonists”, and trolls who’ve poisoned the well regarding any talk about feminism, misogyny, etc. etc.

As well there seems to me to be a contingent of actual misogynists at the Slymepit.

Consider the possibility that it’s the trolls and misogynists who spend the most time at the loudest volume at other people’s blogs. Then ask yourself what opinion do you think such bloggers would have of the Slymepit as a community?

Yes, this is “guilt by association” of a sort, but here’s the thing: when you guys defend the Slymepit community you’re defending the trolls, “cartoonists”, and misogynists as well. You have reasons for that — you value free expression and open debate very highly. But as I’ve already argued free expression and open debate can be used as excuses to disrupt ongoing discussions and so not every online community is going to enshrine those values as the most important. The way your community is run rubs a lot of people at FtB the wrong way — similar to how /r/atheism rubs a lot of redditors the wrong way I suspect.

And like it or lump it, some people do want to derail conversations about feminism just because they’re trolls or misogynists who don’t approve of people saying such things. Some such folks might even be part of the Slymepit community.

I guess overall my big picture of this fight is this: many people at FtB are trying to have discussions about feminism, patriarchy, etc. Many people go out of their way to troll and derail such conversations. Some of these trolls and derailers come from the Slymepit. Folks at FtB get the impression that the whole point of the Slymepit community is to shut down discussions of feminism. This leads to instabans of ‘pitters since at, say, Pharyngula the community values safe space to discuss these things above giving every jackass with an IP address his or her own soapbox.

And then the ‘pitters (well, some of them) are mad because they’re being judged for the behavior of others and don’t get the chance to make their arguments. And as I said at the outset of this comment I do think there are valid arguments to be made. I just think there’s also been a lot of well poisoning to the point where I can understand why folks at FtB just wouldn’t want to deal with anyone calling him- or herself a ‘pitter.

Sorry about the rambly comment. Hope it makes some degree of sense.

245 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Lumen222 said @230: “So please tell me. What DO you want? Because at the moment all I’m getting here is “Rebecca Watson’s Blood, and PZ Meyers head on a platter.”

As others have pointed out, SP is an almost totally open forum. Many ex-FTBers, ex-A+ers, random people, people who have lurked at FTB and elsewhere for years without ever posting, people who have been banned from those sites, people who heard about SP from JREF, Al Stefanelli fans, random trolls.

So there’s no single answer. It’s a politically diverse place – per an internal strawpoll, mostly socialists and left-wingers with a smaller number of libertarians and right-of-center types. Very internationally diverse, many women, gays, and non-white people. Anti-authoritarian types who value an unmoderated space, wit, and skepticism, not necessarily in that order.

What do we want? To express our opinions in the company of other critical thinkers without an authority applying political litmus tests or enforcing a particular party-line. And that’s what we’re doing, which is quite nice. It’s a very busy, lively, and generally friendly place, contrary to doubthat’s dolefully wishful thoughts.

246 oolon March 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Not been my “lived experience”. Mine is that you either agree 100% or you’re a Bad Person.

Keep it real pitters, I’m in the dungeon, I’m not considered a “Bad Person”…. I think. Somewhat like “John Greg” says above about the pit, Pharyngula and FtB is full of people with different opinions. While one person who is angry in a particular thread may virtually shout at you a bit you can be sure they’ve forgotten about you the next day… They won’t follow you around photoshopping pictures of you for years and dissecting every comment on the A+ forum or Thunderdome threads on Pharyngula. I doubt anyone’s even mentioned me on PZs blog since I was banned *sniff* …

247 AppleStairs March 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm

DanL@244: “Sorry about the rambly comment. Hope it makes some degree of sense.”

Pretty fair and accurate. I would only object that if there is a “contingent of actual misogynists” at the ‘Pit they aren’t active posters (or they are hiding their misogyny pretty well). There are plenty of progressive women and men at the ‘Pit who would call out misogyny without hesitation — of course, this depends on how expansive or eccentric your definition of “misogyny” is. “Trolling and derailing” of discussions about gender issues over at FTB is a tricky one — I’d have to consider particular examples.

248 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm

AppleStairs@246:

I thought “lee coye” was calling himself a ‘pitter and his stated opinions on women were pretty misogynistic in my opinion. Perhaps he was just trolling or we disagree on where to draw the line on misogyny.

249 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Dan L. (244)

You post does make sense but that is historically how things panned out for good or ill. For those that prefer a more moderated discussion there is the JREF post of course and some prefer it there.

As has been said many times, the Slympit is like a pub. I might ignore a lot of the posts, dislike some people, avoid others. I may think some people there do more damage than good. Others will disagree. Like a pub I can choose to join in or not. That level of freedom is a price worth paying.

However it is not a free-for-all where anything goes. If people say something stupid or others think is incorrect they will often be called on it. It is not unusual for someone at FtB to be defended. There has been a heated discussion going on literally all day relating to something said here as an example. There are interesting discussions about many things too, not just FtB et al.

That is normal but no one will be banned or dog piled. There are professional scientists on the board, members of other professions, musicians, left wingers, right wingers. People from a wide variety of backgrounds from all over the world. That gives a diversity I enjoy.

It is set up to be the compete opposite of FtB. A place where diversity of opinion and rational thought is the priority and everything is allowed to be questioned, including the existence of the Slympit itself.

Now that style is not suitable for many boards and always risks becoming the sort of place 4chan has become. But so far it has served well and is in my opinion a useful foil to those who wish to silence dissent.

250 MikeyC March 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm

AppleStairs @242

Holy crap. If that is an accurate description of the motivations of FTB/Atheism+/Skepchick then you all are really off in the fringe. Men should “shut up and listen to the women”? Goodness what a vile thing, but if that’s what your little coterie wishes, go ahead to build your safe places. I prefer a society in which *everyone* listens and no one is told they must shut up. You must have a very low opinion of the oppressed minorities for whom you presume to speak if you feel they must be protected from voices that you don’t agree with. THAT my friend is real privilege.

Good luck in your safe hidey holes, away from all those other people who voices you want “quieted”. The rest of us, if you don’t mind, will get on with the work of freeing humanity from the irrational and the religious.

If some of those cowering in your safe zones feel they want to cease being “voiceless”, they’re going to have to come out from those hidey holes. That’s going to mean if you want to be seen as rational, skeptical, reasonable people you’re going to have to get a thicker skin. You’re going to have to accept that people who agree with you on some issues may not on others and that fact doesn’t make them pariahs in the former. In case you haven’t noticed the tactics used therein you safe little holes, the banning of dissent, the shaming of those who hold differing views, the whitewashing of hypocrisy and the broad-brush of condemnation applied to those you associate with others you consider vermin, undermines your positions, irrespective of their validity. FTB/Athesim+/Skepchicks are more and more being seen as fringe and, well, crazy. Irrational. As someone sitting on the sidelines, I have been waiting for a while for some introspection from everyone involved here (slymepitters too). NFTB/Athesim+/Skepchicks don’t seem interested in owning their part in sidelining of their own groups (srsly, IMO, your place in the wider Atheist and skeptic community has been seriously hurt by your censorious tactics), the perception of those of us in the peanut gallery that whatever validity there is to your arguments on social justice are ruined by the issues driving this “rift”. Whatev.

But if you want that perception to change YOU, there in your hidey holes, YOU are going to have to engage with the rest of the atheism and skeptical community. It IS diverse and not only in the approved(tm) gender/race/identities kind of ways. It is diverse in opinion too. Mr. Nugent has proposed some guidelines on how to do this in a more constructive way, but obliviously those ways will not work in those cocoons you’ve constructed.

As for you Slymepitters. Grow up, you bastards.

Peace out.

251 oolon March 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Have you ever wondered why he says that sort of thing all the time? Why so much attention is actually paid to the slymepit in general over at FTB? I mean, Svan had to dig through 5 entire months of mostly worthless conversational, (or sad, small, depending on your view) bollocks to find a shopped-picture of the hindenburg and a few people calling her names.

Why bother doing all that? Except that the slymepit serves a useful role as an easily identifiable enemy.

Yup and as a “trolling” expert and not necessarily a fan of PZ have you lot ever considered how much you are playing into PZs hands by associating with the worst of the worst? He can corral all his idiot enemies in one easily dismissed forum of fools who let unpleasant MRAs like Astrokid be a part of their community. Seems you are all playing to his tune, the more you ratchet it up the more easily you are dismissed. That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.

252 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

AppleStairs@242:

Pretty good, couple comments:

We advocate “social justice” politics, including the premise that we in the US live in a deeply sexist, racist, and patriarchal society, in which women, racial and sexual minorities, and others are systematically oppressed and marginalized (in other words, a ‘kyriarchy’).

Men are also oppressed within the kyriarchy. Just usually by other men. For example a nerdy little long-hair like me is at the bottom of the male hierarchy from the perspective of “manly men” — probably only barely better than a woman. I think “deeply” is also debatable. The main problem with “deeply” is that there is no absolute frame of reference in sociology and so we end up taking a lot of our culture for granted as “human nature” or whatever — see “WEIRD” criticisms of academic psychology — and so it’s not necessarily easy to see how racist we really are — if only because there is no “non-racial” culture to compare ours to.

Men should “shut up and listen to the women,” particularly when those women are talking about their lived experience or the ways they are oppressed.

“Shut up and listen” has a context. There is a tendency — very hard to see for the reasons I just mentioned above — for men to explain to women “how it is” in our society. An example might be Shermer’s “it’s a guy thing.” No evidence required, just take Shermer’s word that males are more suited to atheism and skepticism than women. It’s like human nature or whatever, bro.

It’s not always easy to see things from other people’s points of view, especially when those people are very different from you. “Shut up and listen” is a motto intended to remind people that their view of the world isn’t gospel truth, just one perspective, and that they should be willing to try to be open-minded when others share their experiences instead of finding excuses to invalidate those experiences or to shut the person up.

Yes, there is some degree of irony in invoking this while refusing to listen to the ‘pitters’ points of view, although since the ‘pitters’ points of view usually seem more or less status quo when it comes to gender politics the amount of irony is debatable.

If a woman seems to doubt that she and other women are systematically “oppressed,” she is likely manifesting internalized sexism as a result of patriarchy and/or unconsciously seeking the approval of men (similarly for other marginalized groups).

We’ve all internalized sexism. We’re all sexist. Those are things I see feminists say pretty routinely in these discussions. That’s something you guys need to take into account when you get into a huff about being accused of being “sexist” or “misogynist”.

If a woman believes she’s not oppressed because she’s in her “rightful place as a woman” what do you think I should believe about that situation? Such a woman is clearly entitled to her preferred lifeways but I’m still free to object that because that place feels right to her that doesn’t mean it’s the rightful place for all women, aren’t I?

Communities should function as “safe spaces” for vulnerable people

I don’t think anyone would claim this for all communities.

The right to “free speech” does not equate to the right to dominate and derail conversations and cause real harm to marginalized people.

The right to free speech only protects you from government interference in speech. The way you guys invoke it makes no sense.

253 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Dan L #244:

“As well there seems to me to be a contingent of actual misogynists at the Slymepit.”

Which posters specifically are misogynists, and which of their posts makes you think that?

254 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Metalogic@252:

lee coye’s posts at Pharyngula. I don’t really spend any time at the Slymepit which is why I haven’t cited a single bit of content there this entire time.

255 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Oolon (245) when were you banned and what for? If anyone should be allowed there I would have thought it was you, so I’m intrigued. Thanks in advance.

256 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Dan L, lee coye sounds like one person. Racists have better excuses than this.

257 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Dan L #251:

” That’s something you guys need to take into account when you get into a huff about being accused of being “sexist” or “misogynist”. ”

And what about when I get accused of being a rapist? http://i.imgur.com/8mL8DAc.jpg (the whole thread can be found here: http://www.freezepage.com/1363735395KNSUKEUPRL )

258 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Jack@248:

Fair enough. My personal take is “let a million flowers bloom.” Some people find the environment at FtB stifling (I know I do sometimes) and some people don’t like the environment and Slymepit. The world’s big enough for both.

But since so many of you take so much umbrage at the fact that people at FtB don’t want to listen to you I thought I might try to explain why it seems to me that is the case.

Eu@255:

Again, I’m talking about the “public face” of the Slymepit, the people who frequent the Slymepit who also make it their mission to go on other people’s blogs and tell people what’s up.

Someone asked “who’s a misogynist at the pit”. I answered the question. I’m not watching the situation super closely but I know I’ve seen lee coye say some fairly misogynistic shit. There may be others, there may not, but since you guys keep bragging about the diversity of opinion over there I’m not sure why it would be any kind of surprise to see such opinions represented.

Aren’t you supposed to be allowed to be a misogynist in the pit? Free expression and all that?

259 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Dan L #253:

Which posts? Do you have a link?

260 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm

MickeyC (249) re AppleStairs (242)

Applestairs post was her take on the respective people’s positions not their own.

261 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

MetaLogic@257:

I think this is the thread I had in mind although I don’t really feel like re-reading thousand comment Pharyngula threads to make sure.

262 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Dan L, um, lee coye isn’t “the face of the pit.” No one person is. I haven’t even heard of Lee Coye. I dont go there anymore but you can’t say that the entire pit is misogynistic because lee coye is. That’s like me saying that people at atheism+ are mainly mix-racist victim blamers just because ceepolk did it to me once.

263 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Not that I trust you in saying he’s misogynistic. But yeah, don’t call the pit misogynistic or make accusations based off some guy. Everyone’s welcome there whether its to debate or not and the general consensus isn’t “we love lee coye’s opinions.”

When someone tell me that a place is generally a misogynistic place, I expect to go there and see the purpose of the place is to say misogynistic things, otherwise its slandeerous.

264 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Dan L (256)

I think all moderation methods can be appropriate including very tight moderation. I’m sure we’ve all been on Christian boards were swearing will get you banned. I just feel the Slympit’s moderation policy is best for them although I agree that does make it a place not for the weak hearted or easily offended. It also means it is not appropriate to paint everyone with the same brush and it will by definition be trivial to pull out offensive posts, especially if they are out of context.

If the place had racists or misogynists, in face even one or two, I would leave if they were not dealt with robustly by the forum as a whole.

265 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Eu@260,261:

Feel free to refer back to my post explaining why I think FtB folks have a bad opinion of Slymepitters if you’ve lost the context. I don’t really need to hold your hand, do I?

At no point did I claim the Slymepit was a “misogynistic place”. I’m sure there’s plenty of misogynists hanging out on reddit but saying so doesn’t imply that I think reddit is a misogynistic place overall.

266 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

^^ what jack said… well I wouldnt leave, I would just sling mud at them and then bitch about the rest of the forum ignoring it.

267 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

@Oolon (25)

Your comments about feeding FtB are a valid concern to me and something I am aware of. If it gets to the point the net benefit is negative I’m off. I do not feel we are there yet.

268 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Dan L.@218
Translation: I read it, couldn’t think of a sensible response.

269 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Jack@262:

I agree. That’s why I’ve assiduously avoided using anything posted at the pit as a point of contention throughout this discussion.

270 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Jeff@266:

You’re still alive? Try some formatting next time and maybe I’ll read it. I was too busy talking to four or five other people to parse the wall of text and I’m still not bored enough to go back.

Better yet be succinct.

271 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Dan L #260:

I searched the slymepit userlist for “lee” and “coye” and found nothing. I searched the thread you linked for “slyme”, “pit”, and “slymepit”, and found only this:

“Lee Coye desparately wants to be seen as the AUTHORITY on the subject. But, without means to show it has that authority, it doesn’t have it, and its arguments merely sound as whiny and self-serving sexism. He will never be seen as the authority in this subject due to blatent sexism. The same problem the Slymepit has. He may as well pack it in.” -Nerd of Redhead

This is just NoR once again accusing the pit of sexism, it’s not evidence of anything. What makes you think lee coye is connected to the slymepit in any way? Even if he is, what makes you think one person is a “contingent”?

272 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

It sort of defeats the purpose if you say we’re misogynistic for some things that were not even said there, Dan L. See where I’m coming from?

273 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm

What is the best idea that has come out of the slymepit that could not have been produced at FtB?

I want to see the incredible ideas this environment has generated.

274 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

MetaLogic@269:

Sorry, I must have been mistaken about that. I thought lee coye said he was a slime pitter.

Eu@270:

Please try to catch up. I’m explaining why I think others perceive you to be misogynistic. I have not once accused you of actually being misogynistic.

275 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

It’s kinda hard to prove that an idea could not have come from someone at FtB. Although I do see that this environment has produced you being ironic by coming back here and criticizing us for pointlessly talking while pointlessly talking. Can’t you just exit? The irony really bothers me. It’s kinda hypocritical.

276 oolon March 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Oolon (245) when were you banned and what for? If anyone should be allowed there I would have thought it was you, so I’m intrigued. Thanks in advance.

Ironically defending the Slymepit…. Or more accurately saying that PZ shouldn’t condemn all pittizens as misogynist scum… I like to try and make difficult arguments and frankly how do you tell people who are talked about constantly at a forum and described as “Baboons” that those people at that forum deserve any respect? You cannot accuse me of not trying to make that argument, same one you and many here are making, its not one that can be won until those at the Slymepit earn respect. They/we don’t respect you, you don’t respect them/us… Only one side wants to heal the deep rifts, if you mean it then you need to change. If not then go your own way as I said in comment 101…

Your comments about feeding FtB are a valid concern to me and something I am aware of. If it gets to the point the net benefit is negative I’m off. I do not feel we are there yet.

To paraphrase PZ when he banned me, jesus fuck Jack you don’t think you’ve gone negative enough yet? Ignoring the arguments and engaging in totally unsceptical attacks on personhood such as Stephanies NSFW post, her recent post with one of Reaps rendered videos in it? How much lower and more negative could it go? An actual physical attack on someone? What exactly would convince you it had… Gone too far!?

277 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm

With a little more research I find that lee coye admitted to being an MRA, not to being affiliated with the Slymepit. Again I apologize for this mistake.

My best guess for the accusations of misogyny then is the virulence with which some people who definitely are Slymepitters attack, say, Creight or Benson, especially with the “professional victim” charge.

278 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Or maybe just the anti-feminism in general. Reap’s a Slymepitter, right?

279 kntk March 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

[quote]Yup and as a “trolling” expert and not necessarily a fan of PZ have you lot ever considered how much you are playing into PZs hands by associating with the worst of the worst? He can corral all his idiot enemies in one easily dismissed forum of fools who let unpleasant MRAs like Astrokid be a part of their community. Seems you are all playing to his tune, the more you ratchet it up the more easily you are dismissed. That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.[/quote]

Who said I really care about the slymepit being taken seriously? If I wanted it to be taken seriously, I probably wouldn’t have the username there that I have. I just wondered if you knew about PZs strategy. Keep telling yourself that its working out for them, though. :)

280 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm

@273

Wow, an awesome observation that I made myself a hundred posts ago. Impressive stuff.

You guys are the ones explaining how great the pit is – individuality, no moderation, none of those humorless feminists – I’m curious what results you’ve gotten. Seems like folks committed to a scientific understanding of the world should be fans of empirical observation.

What’s growing in that beautiful little free-speech petri dish?

281 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

Dan L #276:

No problem, mistakes happen. However, calling certain women professional victims doesn’t make one a misogynist. As far as I can remember, no one on the pit has ever said anything bad about those certain women *because they were women*.

282 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

Yeah, it’s not our fault they’re women. If they had beards and penises people would still say that.

283 Lumen222 March 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

“Lumen222, I get the impression that you are having some difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the Pit is not one homogenous group with a set goal or ideology to which we all agree and to which we all aim.”

I am not having difficulty “coming to terms” with anything. The “pitters” present themselves as an online identity and a group with an agenda. According to you it’s the exposure of “toxic sludge” in the movement.

Since this is supposed to be a dialogue I chose to just out right ASK what this self identified group wants, since frankly as a person from the broader community that you claim to be speaking to I am completely confused as to what you are trying to accomplish.

Just to back up for a second I came to this by way of Science Based Medicine and the posts made by Dr. Hall. Before this I had visited FTBs maybe 3 times ever . I had never visited Skepchik and was only aware of it due to Rebecca Watson being a host on the SGU, the podcast that brought me into this movement. (Where she almost never talks about feminism interestingly enough and I always thought of her as one of the pleasant “average person” foils to Steve Novella’s expert opinions.) I do not frequent Reddit or A+ either. However I read the majority of Orac’s posts, SBM, Skepticblogs, look forward to every posting of Jesus and Mo, multiple science vlogs on YouTube, and I have a support structure of atheist friends.

So… Am I a part of this general skeptical public you are so desperate to reach? Because I’m here. And I had a very open mind looking to give either side in this thread a chance to convince me… and so far you (the “expose the toxic sludge” crowd) are failing very very badly.

I do not agree with everything that happened in the Dr. Hall situation, or with Michael Schermer or Dawson or Rebecca Watson’s situation. There were actions committed by Watson that I disagreed with. But also Schermer and Dawson and yes… even Dr. Hall I feel made small missteps. However in all of these cases I ALSO think the reaction to them was absolutely ridiculous. These are human mistakes. Made by real people who despite their high public profiles do not have all the answers.

Nothing that any of these people have done is something that I would label toxic. Nothing they have said or done is anything that I think should have a lasting effect on their careers or in any way merits being called “sludge” and have this much hatred and bile spat at them.

Not. Even. Rebecca. Watson.

And frankly since I’ve already been told to “visit the pit and read the evidence” I will head you off at the pass to prevent you from dismissing me for ignorance. I HAVE. I have gone to that website and I have waded through literally HOURS of minutia, paranoid documentation, crude humor, bickering, and basically a random assortment of various axes to grind. This is interspersed with posts that I would call “average yacking” and a rare and occasional good point. I have watched the source material (where still available) and have read the various commentaries attacking and defending.

So let me sum this up very very clearly so you can see how you and many others are presenting yourselves to at least one person who came to this with an open mind, who is actually a NOT a radical feminist, who disagrees with many things done by these groups you claim are so toxic:

I AM NOT CONVINCED.

Most (not all) of this group of people who are constantly attacking FTB, Watson, Et Al, are frankly coming across as obsessed, hurt, angry, irrational (yes I said it) individuals, who will never stop harassing and nitpicking every detail of these few websites and every action of these few individuals, and who are frankly out for blood and will not be satisfied with anything other than destroying careers and lives. I have pointed out many times in the previous thread that the obsession with the people you are attacking is not productive. Let me restated why: It’s not advancing any ideas or changes. It is simply rehashing old wounds and old hurts.

Let me give you some advice from a 20 year professional in the entertainment field, advice that I am sure that you will not take since you are not a “movement” and do not apparently have any goals. You need to figure out who your audience is and THEN try to convince them. Of something. Anything. But until you decide who you are talking to and what it is you want them to understand you are not actually doing any good in the world. You are just wasting people’s time and derailing conversations, constantly back tracking to old comments, old events, and frankly “stirring the pot”. If you want to convince “the public” of something…which public? Seriously. Who are you talking to? The public are not sheep who are going to believe anything you say because you choose to troll in the comments of a couple of blog posts constantly linking old scandals or link backs to years old posts.

I gave this a fair shake. I just don’t see enough here to merit more of my attention. I am going back to reading Orac. He has a post on the “Paleo” movement and as I have multiple friends who have bought into that movement I very much would like to read his PoV. Maybe next year I will attend Necss. I’ve always wanted to go. I sincerely hope that by that point this over heated group of upset individuals will have either figured out a what their point is (besides destruction) or gotten bored of stirring up trouble.

Jack and Thaumas Themelios, I do not agree with everything you guys say, but of the people I have interacted with directly you both have made points that made me stop and think and that I found interesting. I appreciate that. I hope to see you around the web sometime.

284 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

@doubtthat no we’re correcting what people say about the pit. We don’t randomly brag about how great about the pit is. Instead of getting smart with us on here why don’t you go over to the pit and talk to them? See what’s “growing.” Don’t just browse the PTOS thread though. Some people do that on purpose.

285 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

Lumen it’s pretty obvious the group in general gathered to criticize some parts of the movements. That’s it. You don’t get to look at a user and say “okay, all pitters are this” or “okay, all pitters that.” That’s lazy as hell. It’s what racists do when they want to sum up races. Generalizing groups is a no no. The only thing you can say they have in common is that they criticize the FTB ideology.

286 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:15 am

I mean, I don’t understand why it’s so hard to do JUST THAT and stop saying added false garbage.

287 Trophy March 20, 2013 at 12:16 am

@HJ Hornbeck March 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm
” You clearly think PZ Myers is an unreasonable person. Problem: no-one thinks of themselves as unreasonable. Myers’ actions are entirely reasonable from his point of view. What are Myers’ reasons for acting the way he does? When you can describe them well enough that Myers himself would agree to your assessment, then and only then can negotiations begin.”

First of all, it is difficult for us to read PZ’s mind so I doubt you expect us to get it right 100%. But apart from this caveat, I think I understand where PZ is coming from: he has engaged creationists and pseudoscientists with ridiculous theories (e.g., “All animals were vegetarians before the fall, incluing lions!”) for years. He used ridicule and aggressive debating styles against them for a long time. Later when he decided to seriously pursue promotion of women in the secular community, he (naturally) continued to use the same tools and style. The problem is that the former is about objective scientific facts while the latter has some subjective elements built into it.

And finally, I don’t believe PZ is a vile or evil person but I believe when it comes to certain things, he is ideological which makes it very difficult to have a reasonable discussion with him.

288 Jack March 20, 2013 at 12:16 am

Dan L. (275)

Women are treated as people therefore no exception is given for their gender when there is a disagreement. I’ve sometimes heard the charge that an attack on any woman is in itself misogynist.

I realise you are saying ‘exceptional/ fiercer attack’ from the Slympitters when directed at women but I have seen no evidence that is true. I fully appreciate that would be a subjective call to make however.

I do however see it as some evidence that there is an almost an hysterical knee jerk reaction from the White Knights that inhabited the castle of FtB when criticism is directed at a woman. Personally I find their attitude deeply patronising to women and sexist in that it removes a woman’s agency.

289 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:17 am

LOL if he really said attacks are worse when its a woman he’s just saying it for argument’s sake or imagining it. You know, searching for a reason to dislike an entire group other than ‘they’re criticizing my peeps’ sometimes does that – confirmation bias, placebo, whatever you want to call it.

290 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

It is most CERTAINLY not worse when they’re women. They hate male and female Myers the same.

291 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

Yup.. that’s a great point. Benevolent sexism is still sexism and offensive.

292 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:20 am

The fact that they would say they somehow notice severity in attacks on women goes to show they think in sexes so damn much. I mean really, in reality it’s a random “observation,” especially when it’s so clear that the severity of attacks at the sexes on FTB are the same.. many opportunities to observe and compare… Sexist in the mind themselves. Kinda like people who call out false racism too much (taking more note of people’s races than the people they are accusing of being racist) just might be racist themselves.

293 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 12:24 am

@282

I’m familiar with the work product, not interested.

294 Jack March 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

Lumen222 (281)

Thanks for your post which I read with interest. Thanks for giving proper consideration to the respective positions and have fun.

295 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 1:48 am

MetaLogic@279, Jack@286,Eu@various:

Let me repeat for the third or fourth time that I am not arguing that any of you are misogynistic nor am I looking for evidence that you are misogynistic. I am looking for explanations as to why people at FtB may have gotten the impression that the Slymepit encourages misogyny — or whatever formulation ends up being the most fair and face-saving for all sides. The impression I get is that this is a question you are also asking so I’m not sure why you’re all giving me so much pushback in trying to help you find explanations. In the following please remember that I am not accusing any of you; I am honestly trying to explain to you why other people might have gotten the impression they have of the ‘pit.

However, calling certain women professional victims doesn’t make one a misogynist.

Of course not. No single, particular act or statement could. Misogyny is a pattern of behaviors and attitudes. And if you care to simply google the phrase “professional victim” I think you’ll be able to quickly see why some might consider use of the phrase part of the pattern of misogynistic attitudes.

One possible problem here is that however legitimate the criticism of “professional victim” may be in any particular situation the idea in general is subject to abuse — it is a literal ad hominem argument used to discredit any argument made by a particular person without judging it on its merits.

Women are treated as people therefore no exception is given for their gender when there is a disagreement. I’ve sometimes heard the charge that an attack on any woman is in itself misogynist.

I’m pretty sure the latter would be considered fringe even among the pharyngulites. Most likely it would be context-dependent and people would probably draw the lines in different places — what constitutes “attack” vs. “criticism” for example. That’s the danger in putting so much emotional investment into terms like “misogynist.” As to the former, MetaLogic expressed something similar…

As far as I can remember, no one on the pit has ever said anything bad about those certain women *because they were women*.

So let me try to explain to you why there’s a perceived disparity in the attacks on women. Again, not arguing that there is a disparity (though I’m a little curious what kind of evidence I could possibly produce to convince you). Just trying to help you see the chain of assumptions that could lead to such bad faith all around.

1. There are more men than women in the atheist community. This means that any attacks on women are many men on a few women. There is a (real and perceived) numerical discrepancy.
2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.” Without making any assertions or arguments that this is in itself misogynistic I think one can appreciate how it might be reasonably taken to be dismissive and patronizing. (Yes, I’m sure through some tortuous reasoning you can divine a way that women in skepticism could take it as a compliment! How marvelous! But again, we’re trying to understand what someone else is thinking, not tell them how they should think.) So I think there is a perceived discrepancy in respect.
3. For every non-caucasian ethnic group there is at least one pejorative term that is more piercing than any pejorative terms for caucasians. I can’t prove it but I can’t come up with a counterexample either. Similarly, insults using a woman’s anatomy are simply harder hitting than insults using a male’s anatomy. In fact, insults based on a male’s anatomy are often taken as compliments by the sorts of people who make insults based on female anatomy. I could go on at length about this but I think I’ll leave it there. Suffice to say there’s at least a perceived discrepancy in the “arsenal” of attacks. Again, I don’t really care to argue that the discrepancy is real, only to help you understand why some people would perceive this.

Incidentally, patriarchy theory is really bound up with at the very least numbers 2 and 3. For example I think a pretty standard Pharyngula explanation for why Shermer said what he did is that he is *gasp* a product of our culture in which there is persistent doubt about the capability of women to seriously engage in intellectual pursuits. (Again, doesn’t matter if it’s true. We’re trying to understand what other people think.)

I think as a result of (3) there also may be a perception that using anatomy- and sex-based (verbal) attacks against a woman is much more effectively humiliating and silencing than “similar” attacks against a man.

Hopefully this is at least a little bit helpful.

296 Ng March 20, 2013 at 2:09 am

You want people from one faction to explain the thought process and reasoning that led people on the other faction to have an adverse opinion on them?

Why don’t you just ask the other faction and cut out the middleman?

297 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:12 am

Ng@296:

Sadly, politics doesn’t play by engineering principles.

298 Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

Dan L. (295)

I do feel some people look out to be offended. In the same way you can find evidence for Demons if you believe in them and UFO’s if you believe in those. Our minds are wired for it.

I will give an example that you brought up:

‘2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.”’

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

People who LOOK for offence can read it differently and of course, they did. Not only that but they put words in his mouth he never said.

I have no issue with people being criticised for what they say but misrepresentation and the worst possible interpretation of someone’s words is damaging to that person and it is simply wrong. They did it as they dislike Shermer and saw an easy way to promote their ideology. If PZ said it no one would have batted an eyelid.

It has a chilling effect which I dislike intensely. That is an example of trying to control the narrative and imposition. At least to me.

This post modernist emotional basis of discourse is irrational. Basing someone’s words on what you think of them, justified or not, is simply not being skeptical. That is why I take issue with it and means people that exercise that sort of commentary get no respect from me and I question their motives.

One clear motive is to to find ‘Demons’ to fight that simply do not exist in order to support a belief, such as patriarchy or misogyny in the skeptic community.

Now your interpretation differs but as I do not know Shermars mind, only he does, I see no reason to jump down his throat without at least asking him for an explanation rather than running off and blogging as soon as possible and screaming from the rooftops what a terrible man he is.

I am happy to see evidence of claims made but when I realise that such evidence is supported by pure emotion while being loose on factual content I can only see that damaging any claims of misogyny in the community rather than supporting it.

299 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:48 am

Jack@298:

Can you please can the “post modern discourse” garbage? You’re asking a question: “Why don’t they like me?” And I’m trying to help you answer it. If you don’t want to try to understand what other people think and why then you just won’t be able to understand it.

Frankly, I think the criticism of Shermer’s statement is right on. And I think if Shermer had acknowledged that criticism instead of insisting of making “professional victim” accusations no one would have “attacked” him (as opposed to his statement) at all.

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

I find this implausible. This is in response to a question about why there isn’t more gender parity in the atheist community. Your interpretation is that he literally answered this question with a tautology: there are more men because there are more men. Here are his actual words: “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

Your interpretation becomes a little ambiguous confronted with the actual statement. Are there fewer women in atheism because fewer women actually like to stand up and talk? Go to conferences? Be intellectually active about it? Or is he again simply making the tautological statement that fewer women do those things because fewer women do those things?

The statement seems to me on a rather casual inspection to be loaded with baggage from culturally-determined gender roles. This is not to say Michael Shermer is literally a misogynist, just that perhaps he has internalized some aspects of our culture that others feel hinder women in attempts at equality (not least among them — lower expectations).

Whether I’m right or wrong I feel like you should at least be able to concede that criticism of the statement is completely fair. And in the beginning that’s what there was. Shermer said something stupid and people pointed to it and said “that was stupid.”

After that the antipathy towards Shermer seems to be based much more on how he responded to these criticisms rather than the incident itself.

300 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:54 am

And once again whether Shermer’s statements was actually dismissive and patronizing is incidental to this discussion which — once again — is about why FtB folks perceive a discrepancy in disputes between men and women (the question you are asking). If you can’t concede that Shermer’s statement could reasonably be taken to be dismissive and patronizing I’m not sure I see you being able to understand why FtB folks don’t want to talk to you (but it becomes a little clearer why they wouldn’t want to talk to you about it).

301 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

Oh, and by the way:

They did it as they dislike Shermer and saw an easy way to promote their ideology.

Now your interpretation differs but as I do not know Shermars mind, only he does, I see no reason to jump down his throat without at least asking him for an explanation

The second sentiment seems fine to me but it seems to contradict the first.

Based on what I know about Benson I find it rather implausible that the initial criticism was motivated by a personal vendetta against Shermer. I think it was the same good-faith criticism I make above.

302 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 3:11 am

Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

Dan L. (295)

I do feel some people look out to be offended. In the same way you can find evidence for Demons if you believe in them and UFO’s if you believe in those. Our minds are wired for it.

I will give an example that you brought up:

’2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.”’

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

People who LOOK for offence can read it differently and of course, they did.

I don’t think anyone took offense to Shermer’s comment. Ophelia Benson pointed out, in the context of an article about subtle sexism, that Shermer’s remark was an example of such. It was a perfectly reasonable observation.

The offense was taken by Shermer who responded to that mildest of criticisms by writing two articles declaring it equivalent to a witch hunt, the inquisition and Nazism.

It has seemed to me for some time now that many of the people accusing Benson and others of looking for reasons to be offended and behaving like “professional victims” are themselves spending an awful lot of time and energy combing through everything certain bloggers say looking for flyshit in the pepper, if not actively doing their best to provoke a reaction they can then point to as evidence of the alleged hypersensitivity. There’s a kind of obsessiveness in this behaviour which I find a little disturbing. It certainly doesn’t contribute to an atmosphere of constructive dialogue.

303 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:41 am

Hey, so Ophelia Benson, what exactly have I said about you that wasn’t true?

And why should I go around on the INTERNET using my real name? It isn’t my fault you’re using your real name. What do you risk, anyway? You don’t seem to have a problem with putting yourself out there and your own platform is just as wide so even if people who knew you IRL caught the “false” statements you could correct them with your publicity. It seems to be your job to blog, isn’t it? If I was some sort of article writer, or whatever you do, I’d need to use my real name too, but it’s not my forte to “open up” to the whole world.

Not everyone wants to be “famous” or “public.” Some people value their privacy. I don’t need a bunch of random people breathing down my neck. My life just started.

A LOT of people on the internet value privacy and want to keep their offline lives separate.

And I have a HUGE reason to do so.

Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? THINK before you speak. I will never make mistakes on the internet again. I will never risk anyone else again.

That really pissed me off, so, you guessed it: FUCK. YOU!!!

304 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:41 am

For someone who thinks wimminz are in so much danger just breathing she sure doesn’t appreciate it a need for privacy, safety, or security.

305 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:43 am

Trying to fucking call privacy, safety, and SECURITY cowardice or “hiding in anonymity” is just plain unfair, even if someone doesn’t have ADDITIONAL REASONS (like me) on top of the normal “I just want to keep my offline life separate and want to be generally safe.”

You have your address on the internet too, do you want to advise teenage girls to put their addresses out there too? Really, fuck that, and fuck you, asshole.

306 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:43 am

I’m so pissed the fuck off, and she better read my comments. An “excuse me” would be too much to ask, but maybe she can at least think to herself that she could’ve thought that comment through.

307 TwiceSurvived March 20, 2013 at 3:51 am

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. When I was first assaulted, the school tried to get me to prove it, I couldn’t and I had to beg to have him moved to another dormitory. My own professor asked me why I didn’t do anything. I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life trying to prove to others that what happened to me was wrong, and not my fault. And every single article like this makes it easier. Thank you.

308 Jack March 20, 2013 at 3:53 am

Dan L. (300)

You seem to be under the impression I expect anyone to talk to me or others here. I fully expected they would not and it is a shame I am proved right. I do not care if they like me or not, that never stopped me discussing with those I disagree with in the past.

You are making a week argument. It has already been stated many times they have no obligation to speak here but the fact they do not with a few notable exceptions is very telling. They always avoid direct discussion and they always will.

If they owned the argument, they could support it, they would be here. They can’t. I repeat this is not about beliefs it is about how they are affecting the movement. You disagree but you need to understand it is how I feel.

I’m not here to try and argue with a few bloggers about feminism, that bores me and a waste of everyone’s time. I’m a humanist first and that is sufficient for me. I do not care if they believe in tooth fairies as long as they do not try and force that on others and stop making such a damn fuss about some words someone said in a damn interview or say in a tweet.

People hate walking on eggshells and we’re not a religious organisation where some topics are taboo. Skeptics thrive on open and free debate. I do not want to see that damaged.

309 Felonious Munk March 20, 2013 at 3:58 am

nice dialogue you got over here.

310 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:04 am

The elephant in the room is no one from FtB/Skepchic is commenting here and except for one drive by has not for some time. I never expected anyone from A+ as they are too busy bullying the last few members in their ‘safe space’ to do that.

It has been a useful exercise for onlookers to form their own views if they wish. But while those in charge are happy to snipe from the sidelines I see no substantive move towards any sort of understanding.

311 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 4:06 am

@ Dan
You conveniently left out the first part of Mr. Shermer’s answer, just like the original blogger (named person) did, because it did not suit the interpretation you wanted to run with.

The first part of his answer was ” “I think it probably really is fifty-fifty.”, a line left out of (named person’s) blog and of your post. Quote mining should be beneath skeptics.

312 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:09 am

I do not care if they believe in tooth fairies as long as they do not try and force that on others and stop making such a damn fuss about some words someone said in a damn interview or say in a tweet.

People hate walking on eggshells and we’re not a religious organisation where some topics are taboo. Skeptics thrive on open and free debate. I do not want to see that damaged.

There’s a subtle contradiction here. Do you see it? As A Hermit pointed out, Benson’s initial criticism of the statement was part of a larger criticism of subtle and casual sexism. If you care to read it I think you’ll have to agree that it’s not actually a vicious attack.

But you don’t want an “open and free debate” about it. You seem to think that topic should be “taboo”. You would like those of us who have reservations about Shermer’s statement to “walk on eggshells”.

You are making a week argument. It has already been stated many times they have no obligation to speak here but the fact they do not with a few notable exceptions is very telling. They always avoid direct discussion and they always will.

I am not making an argument at all. I am trying to help you understand why they are avoiding direct discussion with you. If you do not want to understand then I don’t understand how you can expect for there to be any kind of conciliation for the betterment of the “movement”. Furthermore I don’t see how you can complain that they have no desire to understand your point of view.

313 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:10 am

A Hermit (302)

You have to remember this has been going on some time and there are deep dislikes between some people. With some it has got very personal.

So I understand your comment about obsessiveness. Personally I have no ill will towards anyone and wish those who disagree with me all the best. I also think the purpose of trying to keep in check an ideology is more important that worrying about a few disputes, nasty as they can sometimes get. They won’t stop whatever happens or whatever is said. I’m looking at the bigger picture, or trying to.

As always I am only speaking for myself of course.

314 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:12 am

Submariner@311:

The first part of his answer was ” “I think it probably really is fifty-fifty.”, a line left out of (named person’s) blog and of your post. Quote mining should be beneath skeptics.

OK, then put the whole statement into context for me. How is it simultaneously “fifty-fifty” and “more of a guy thing”?

315 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:13 am

Dan L. (312)

You do know discussion is not allowed I assume? No recourse. If it was there would not be a problem would there? There is no discussion. Attacks are made with no address. That’s why we are here.

There is no ‘open and free debate’. That’s the whole point.

316 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:17 am

Dan L. (314)

If you were someone who appeared on live blog TV do you think it would be productive to you if you knew there were people out there willing to pounce on every word you said?

Do you really want to live in a world like that?

317 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:27 am

Jack@316:

No one is “pouncing.” Imagine if Shermer had responded to Benson’s article by saying:

“You’re right. I should have said that there’s a legacy of skepticism being a boy’s club but that there are a lot of great people working on that issue right now.”

Or just said that in the first place. I mean, I know he’s on the spot which is why it’s fair to respond to mild, reasonable criticism with an acknowledgement that perhaps he might have phrased the sentiment better.

Just remember: the severity of an “attack” like Benson’s is completely subjective and you can’t hold Benson responsible if Shermer took it the wrong way.

318 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:39 am

Dan L. 317

I do want to be clear here as there may be a miscommunication. I have zero issue with someone attacking others. As long as there is redress and redress as it happens, not someone telling them later when the damage is done or they are forced to scramble for a reply in some tweet.

So yes FtB can enforce any policy they want but they must then expect people to be very unhappy if they are denied a right of reply when attacked. It gives rise to a sense of deep injustice.

319 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:14 am

Jack@318:

Don’t you think this “sense of deep injustice” is the sort of subjective feeling that you should try to own?

I just looked through most of the conversation and much of it is you asking why the FtB kids don’t want you sitting at their lunch table. So then I explain why and you respond to tell me I have a “week argument.” So sorry if I’m getting the impression that you’re not really all that curious about why they don’t want to hear from you down at FtB.

“Free and open debate” doesn’t start with telling people that utterances of leaders of the movement are not to be criticized and “free and open debate” certainly isn’t furthered by accusing the critics of being witchhunting Nazis.

They don’t want to debate you because you don’t want to understand what they have to say — you just don’t want them to say it at all. You’ve demonstrated as much to me very clearly in our discussion here. It’s really as simple as that.

320 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:25 am

Dan L (319)

Why do you keep saying I have any interest in WHAT they have to say when that is not the issue at all? They refuse to discuss what they have to say, it is that simple. They always have. I will not be told what to think by fiat.

321 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:47 am

Oolon (276)

I know you wish for the ‘why don’t we all just get on’ solution but that won’t happen as things are now. People have not been allowed to get on as they are not allowed a right of reply.

You can’t agree with someone you disagree with without discussion. You can’t accommodate others unless you are willing to do so by not trying to censor or shun.

There has never been a discussion. If they are allowed that then there is a chance of people at least agreeing to disagree while discussing the issues. Something productive may come from it.

That is the way to stop all the mud slinging. It is how the rationalist communities have always operated and it has served us well over many years. To expect otherwise is naive and just sticking a plaster on an open wound.

322 HJ Hornbeck March 20, 2013 at 6:51 am

AppleStairs @242:

Not bad, not bad. There are some parts that seem a little exaggerated to me, but I don’t think they’re too far enough out of whack to cause a problem. I’m happy to agree with it, despite it’s imperfections, if only to help move this forward.

Now that we’ve agreed on a basic standpoint for both sides, notice that both narratives have some core premises to them: free speech is to be strongly protected, social justice is a worthwhile goal, and so on. While all those premises and their conclusions are very reasonable, there’s clearly some problem when one side’s premises are combined with the other’s; there’d be no fireworks, otherwise!

Jumping back to The Troubles, Irish autonomy conflicted strongly with British protection. Both sides had to compromise their premises somewhat, with the IRA demilitarizing and the Brits giving away control, in order to defuse the situation. Small steps were a must, with both sides fully in control.

So the next step it to trade compromises, based on the shared narrative we’ve constructed, until both sides are satisfied. I’ll go first.

As you mention in your narrative of the FtB side, they believe that the “atheist movement can only achieve and maintain diversity by making sure to quiet and moderate the voices of those who, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuate oppression by failing to recognize that their opinions and statements reveal sexist, racist, and generally selfish and bigoted attitudes.” OK, let me concede some ground there. As FtB is a blogging network, their primary method of doing this through use of speech, what I’ve heard other people describe as a “call-out culture.” Clearly, this must change.

So how would you like the bloggers at FtB to limit their speech?

323 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

It would be nice if FTB bloggers and commenters didn’t pile on on someone who has been banned, for a start. If the banned person can’t defend themselves (more so when they use their real name), it’s quite akin to kicking someone who’s just passed out.

324 oolon March 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

I know you wish for the ‘why don’t we all just get on’ solution but that won’t happen as things are now. People have not been allowed to get on as they are not allowed a right of reply.

What right of reply do you want? You want to be able to post blog posts on Pharyngula 😀 or what? You do realise you have a right of reply… Despite all this crap about freedom of speech you actually have freedom of speech, hence all the crappy videos and blog posts about FtBs. What more could you reasonably expect?

It would be nice if FTB bloggers and commenters didn’t pile on on someone who has been banned, for a start. If the banned person can’t defend themselves (more so when they use their real name), it’s quite akin to kicking someone who’s just passed out.

Someone mildly trolling the Slymepit got piled on… If you are really talking about after they are banned then yes sometimes the commenters make a few comments after they are gone in that thread. The Slymepit continually talks shit (As Ophelia puts it) about people…. I’m sure no one there ever mentions me?

QFT.. Lumen222 at http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/19/on-the-primacy-of-reasonable-dialogue-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/#comment-202979

325 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

Oh, don’t worry oolon, you are talked about. But 1) your name is not oolon IRL and 2) I’m not sure you’re banned from the Pit. Try and post there sometime, just to be sure.

Same goes for anyone being criticized there. Nothing prevents them from posting a rebuttal.

Which is not the case on quite a bit too many FTB blogs….

326 Karmakin March 20, 2013 at 11:13 am

Re: Shermer, the way he can see it as “fifty-fifty” and then say what he did, is that he was talking about two different things. He thinks that overall, skeptics are probably evenly divided among gender lines, it’s just that spending valuable, generally limited resources to go to a conference and listen to arguments and debates and sometimes droll speakers is “more of a guy thing”, as shown by more males attending.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think it was a sexist statement, but I don’t think it was one with negative intentions. I certainly don’t think it was more sexist than a lot of the stuff that comes from the FTB/A+ sphere, such as the idea that women should have special protections and dispensations within the skeptical community.

I’m all for the idea that to attract more women to the “active” skeptical movement, maybe things have to change. However, you can make those changes both A. based on behavior, not on in-group/out-group status, and B. gender/race/sexuality/etc. neutral, and still make those changes. Harassment is bad? Then harassment is bad regardless of gender. You don’t lose anything by following those steps.

Well. You lose the ability for the people complaining about it to harass others. That’s a thing, it seems.

327 usernamehere March 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

oolon said: “That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.”

Quite right and cosigned from an “outsider” to this, ahem, dispute.

It doesn’t matter if that kind of thing is, supposedly, a small part of the Slymepit (I’m not sure about that, when I first browsed the forum I was greeted with a fair amount of content I’d consider vile but I guess YMMV on that front). If someone can use the content you produce to come up with a post like that, you’re doing it *extremely* wrong. Your grievances with other bloggers and commentators might not matter much to a random person after that.

328 Edward Gemmer March 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I like dialog, but I don’t see any real change to be had. I post on Slymepit because they value free speech and diversity. FtB doesn’t. These are values important to me. What Ftb and others value appears to be cultural norms, which typically comes down to telling people how to act and what to say. This can be valuable, I suppose, but clearly it isn’t for everyone and ticks a lot of people off.

329 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

HJ Hornbeck @322 said: ‘As you mention in your narrative of the FtB side, they believe that the “atheist movement can only achieve and maintain diversity by making sure to quiet and moderate the voices of those who, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuate oppression by failing to recognize that their opinions and statements reveal sexist, racist, and generally selfish and bigoted attitudes.” OK, let me concede some ground there. As FtB is a blogging network, their primary method of doing this through use of speech, what I’ve heard other people describe as a “call-out culture.” Clearly, this must change. So how would you like the bloggers at FtB to limit their speech?’

Well, I think the “call-out culture” reflects the fact that the political outlook is extremely homogeneous among most of the FTB bloggers and commenters and that doubthat’s position in #123 – “There is no compromise position. I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with.” – is widely shared by FTB/A-plussers.

I think the uneasy partial union of the “skeptical” and “atheist/secularist” movements [insert venn diagram here] is key. One tenet of “skepticism” is that nearly all beliefs/claims should be subject to examination and critical questioning, and it has mostly focused on factual claims and debunking woo and meritless conspiracy theories. It’s politically diverse and less focused on political activism (with some exceptions). Libertarians like Penn Gillette and Michael Shermer are prominent.

Atheism/secularism is inherently more political — it’s one of the main fronts in the culture wars. Many atheists are seeking refuge from real and oppressive religious patriarchies and have no interest in the “skeptical movement” per se.

PZ is as prominent as he is mostly because of his scorched-earth approach to atheist activism. He is widely perceived to be a “dirty fighter” who treats atheist-skeptics who disagree with him politically (or even those who substantially agree, but who for whatever reason piss off him or his commenters) with the same contempt and refusal to accommodate that he directs against creationists. He has essentially no interest in political “debates” or dealing with push-back against his particular brand of “godless liberalism.”

The natural result is that people who disagree with his opinions or tactics are driven away and criticize him from a safe distance (safe from banning or dog-piling by the horde).

I have no interest in “limiting the speech” of FTBers. Personally, I prefer an environment less homogeneous and politically dogmatic than FTB is. I think most people (on all sides) have relatively little interest in subjecting their political prejudices to critical examination. I think it happens quite a bit more at SP than FTB, but it’s still fairly rare.

Que sera, sera.

330 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Karmakin March 20, 2013 at 11:13 am

I certainly don’t think it was more sexist than a lot of the stuff that comes from the FTB/A+ sphere, such as the idea that women should have special protections and dispensations within the skeptical community.

It could be that this kind of misrepresentation of what people are asking for is what makes them not want to discuss it with you…no one I know of asking for “special protections and dispensations” for anyone. They are asking for recognition that there is sometimes a problem with sexism and even harassment and that we all be aware of it and try to limit it. For everyone.

Calling that “special protections” is like the Christian right’s complaint about gays getting “special rights’ if they’re allowed to get married like everyone else. There’s nothing”special” about asking for fairness and respect.

331 tina March 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

It’s been explicitly stated that the dispute is about the control of, and who is, or is not, welcome to participate in ‘the movement’. As Carrier put it “..to separate the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheist movement.” The notion is that this division is now necessary in order to marginalise the evil in the atheist community.

This ‘evil’ consists of those who dare to question or show any form of skeptical attitude towards social justice causes or feminist principles and the rhetoric is that such people must be sent back to ‘the dark side’ and excluded. In order to achieve this, these people must be exposed for what they are: evil, nasty persons who do not approve of puppy dogs and sunsets and women and ethnic minorities and whatever. They must become non-persons and cast into the outer darkness. Best way to achieve that is to smear the lot as haters, misogynistic, sexist, harassers, rape enabling rape apologist rapists, rape, rape, rape, gender traitory chill girls and whatever else.

I don’t buy it. It’s a beautiful pile of straw. Highly combustible. Also an enterprise doomed from the getgo as neither atheism nor skepticism can be constrained by any dogmatic set of beliefs derived from any source whatsoever.

332 thetalkingstove March 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

“They must become non-persons and cast into the outer darkness.”

Hyperbole, much? We’re talking about people being banned from individual persons’ blogs. Not locked up. Not tortured. Banned from blogs. Oh the humanity!

Meanwhile, you equate caring about women with caring about puppy dogs. I’d hope you were not being literal and just aiming for comic effect, but really? If you are against women’s rights it is about the same as being against sunsets?

Meanwhile, pitters ask for evidence of misogyny at the pit just a week or so after Michael Nugent himself started off this discussion and posted about 50 examples. Sigh.

333 Eu March 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm

thetalkingstove, I doubt anyone equated women to puppy dogs. I bet you’re taking advantage of the missing context here. Don’t twist things, mmkay?

334 Eu March 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

In the end if people keep trying to be funny, smart assed, dishonest, twisting shit, we should just let em keep calling us misogynist… they know what they’re doing anyway and it’s a waste of energy after a while. They can still be criticized even if they cry misogynist.

335 tina March 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

More straw. We are talking about people being marginalised and excluded from ‘the movement’.

336 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

@TheTalkingStove – Over 8 months or so at the post-ERV SP, over 400 posters, including many women among the most active members, have contributed nearly 80,000 posts in an almost totally unmoderated environment. Aside from the fact that few of those “50 examples” could actually be construed as unambiguous evidence of “misogyny,” several of them were quotes or paraphrases of statements made elsewhere or ironic expressions taken out of context.

Of course, the list didn’t even purport to demonstrate “misogyny” in the first place — it was a list of examples of “nasty pushback against some feminists on the Internet.”

Even if some fraction of them actually expressed “misogyny” or you want to claim that the writers were actual “misogynists,” that would mean essentially nothing. Within hours of the original post, there was an even longer list of examples of homicidal fantasies from the lips of FTB commenters.

If you doubt FTB could be easily convicted of hosting bigotry and hatred by fishing for inflammatory comments from an ocean of conversation, then you’re naive. If you truly believe SP is a place where “misogyny,” as the word is usually defined, is actually encouraged or condoned, you’re simply mistaken.

If you want to argue that the use of “gendered” profanity is by itself sexist, then I suggest you search for the use of “dick” or “prick” at FTB over the last year. If you want to argue that only “female gendered” profanity is unacceptable, then we’ll simply have to agree to disagree.

337 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Karmakin@326:

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think it was a sexist statement, but I don’t think it was one with negative intentions.

I don’t think anyone accused Shermer of having negative intentions after the initial statement. Benson specifically criticized Shermer for thoughtlessly and carelessly discouraging participation of women in atheism/skepticism — not intentionally discouraging them.

Then harassment is bad regardless of gender.

I’ve tried to explain the perceived disparity between the genders in these sorts of disputes without explicitly trying to argue that the disparity is any more than perceived. If you don’t want to try to understand the other side’s point of view then I’m not sure what the point of asking for “dialogue” is.

338 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

@Edward Gemmer:

I like dialog, but I don’t see any real change to be had. I post on Slymepit because they value free speech and diversity. FtB doesn’t. These are values important to me. What Ftb and others value appears to be cultural norms, which typically comes down to telling people how to act and what to say. This can be valuable, I suppose, but clearly it isn’t for everyone and ticks a lot of people off.

Actually they pretty clearly DO value free speech and diversity. However just because they value these things does not mean they’re obligated to let anyone say whatever they want in the fora provided. Certainly no more than a blog about evolution is obligated to provide a forum to YECs who want to argue that evolution is false.

And every community has cultural norms. The idea that people should be able to say whatever they want in the ‘pit is itself a cultural norm. You have different cultural norms because the communities have different purposes.

@tina:

You’ve completely gone off the rails. No one is going to engage with the sort of ridiculous hyperbole you’re going into.

339 Coel March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Dan L: #317

Just remember: the severity of an “attack” like Benson’s is completely subjective and you can’t hold Benson responsible if Shermer took it the wrong way.

Benson herself said that her wording criticising Shermer was “deliberately hyperbolic”. Thus (IMO) she does bear some degree of responsibility for the fact that Shermer then over-reacted to it.

340 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Eu@333:

Don’t twist things, mmkay?

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s not as though you’ve assiduously avoided twisting anything I’ve said. Try not to be a hypocrite, mmkay?

341 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Coel@339:

Benson herself said that her wording criticising Shermer was “deliberately hyperbolic”. Thus (IMO) she does bear some degree of responsibility for the fact that Shermer then over-reacted to it.

You guys don’t recognize your own talking points when they get thrown back at you, huh?

Shermer needs to own his feelings. Only Shermer is responsible for how Shermer feels. Sound familiar yet?

342 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Coel@339:

Response in moderation.

343 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s not as though you’ve assiduously avoided twisting anything I’ve said. Try not to be a hypocrite, mmkay?”

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

344 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

While I’m at it, have you actually read what Benson is describing as “deliberately hyperbolic”?

Some of the tamest hyperbole I’ve ever seen, especially contrasted with some of the whinging in recent comments.

345 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

It’s also really annoying and a waste of space when people make general claims and then don’t even bother to finish their sentence – when you say “You twisted something” instead of following with what I supposedly twisted, or something like “Something you said was incorrect” instead of simply saying what was… it gets on people’s nerves. Especially my nerves. I had to deal with someone like that earlier.

346 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Eu@343:

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

You’re freaking obsessed. Let it go. I’ve said probably about a dozen different times I have no interest in proving that you or anyone else in the ‘pit is a misogynist. The fact that you keep accusing me of trying to do so is enough “twisting what I said” to qualify nicely, I think.

347 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Eu@345:

Perhaps you should simply acknowledge that you’re getting on my nerves too and that if you really want any kind of a dialog you’re going to have to be a wee bit patient.

348 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

What? So, you jump into my conversation, accuse me of twisting what you said, and then when I take the bait, you call me obsessed? Troll much?

Please paste one incident where I said you tried to paint the pit as misogynist.

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that? No, you have no right to complain about that. The people who told you it’s unfair to do that were totally in the right, and I did not badger you dozens of comments for that. Exaggeration much?

You only interrupted because you’re still salty about being corrected a long time back? lol.

349 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Dan, you’re the one who brought it up, how am I the one getting on your nerves? You started talking to me. Fuck off if I’m so irritating.

350 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

@Eu:

262, 263, 272.

I’m being patient and engaging you in dialog despite the fact that you’re so irritating. I would think that would be praiseworthy but I keep forgetting that you guys are not really interested in dialog.

351 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that?

Speaking of twisting words, are you referring to when I said I think there may be some actual misogynists at the ‘pit? Because saying that is not the same as saying the ‘pit is “a misogynistic place.”

This is exactly why I’m telling you not to complain about people twisting your words. Because you’re very obviously not immune to the same behavior.

352 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Dan L, stop playing around with me. I’m asking you to tell me how I twisted something you said so you can get over this grudge and stop whining whenever I tell someone else not to twist things.

You’re the one not interested in dialogue – instead of telling me, you keep responding saying I’m irritating.

How about you wait until you’re ready to explain yourself before replying? I’m not interested in dialogue? I won’t be if this keeps up. Note to Self: Asking Dan to clarify and trying to fix anything I might have twisted is irritating and I should just ignore his complaint next time. Gotcha.

353 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Dan L, that’s not the comment I’m talking about. I never read such a comment that was simply contemplating it – I’m talking about the comment where not only I but someone else also clearly read your comment as saying there were misogynists at the pit in general all because some guy who went there said misogynistic things on some blog.

That comment.

If that wasn’t you, then you have me mixed up with someone else. The person who did that is the only one I’ve corrected recently besides this person whose twisting you seem to want to defend.

354 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm

And please, never do that again – don’t give “replies” that don’t even answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you. I was ready to give up if I got a couple more replies like that, though.

355 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Eu@352,353:

Cite the number and I can tell you exactly what I was saying.

A little ironic that you would give me a response like 352 and then say something like 353, right? Don’t give “replies” that don’t answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you.

You’re being a hypocrite. Drop the posturing and accept that you’re behaving at least as badly as I am.

356 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm

And I did answer you. I pointed out how 343 qualified as twisting my words and then gave you three more examples.

357 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Dan L. #341

You guys don’t recognize your own talking points when they get thrown back at you, huh?

On what basis are you attributing “your own talking points” to me? Which “guys”? Which “talking points”?

While I’m at it, have you actually read what Benson is describing as “deliberately hyperbolic”?

Yes, I’ve read it. The words were: “women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky, because “that’s a guy thing.” Don’t laugh: Michael Shermer said exactly that …”.

Since Shermer had not said “exactly that”, this was “deliberately hyperbolic” writing that accused him of far worse than he had actually said. This would have contributed to the fact that he then over-reacted in his replies.

358 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

How am I being a fucking hypocrite? You never asked me anything. The only claim that you’ve brought up here that I could possibly answer is the one that I twisted something you said – the one I asked you over and over to clear up.

Unless of course you’re saying I didn’t “answer” you by shutting up and being “patient.”

Really, are you doing this on purpose?

Or maybe you don’t get what I’m saying: I’m saying, I tried to clear up what was supposedly twisted, you kept replying with replies that didn’t get to the point of what I twisted and then said I was not interested in dialogue with you.

I’ve not displayed any behaviors that showed I wasn’t interested in dialogue with you. I keep answering any accusation you pin on me, including this one. If I’m still somehow not engaging in actual dialogue with you please tell me so I can just give it up since I clearly don’t know how.

359 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Coel@356:

On what basis are you attributing “your own talking points” to me? Which “guys”? Which “talking points”?

So you agree that if party A says something that party B finds offensive, party B is well within his rights to point this out? That it’s not the case that B should “own his feelings” and that it’s not true that “it’s entirely B’s responsibility how B feels about what A says”?

Shermer did in fact say exactly “that’s a guy thing” which is the only part there in quotes. One could easily take Benson to be saying “Shermer said exactly “that’s a guy thing” if one were so inclined. If you’re going to insist on charitable interpretations of Shermer’s statements then I don’t see why I shouldn’t insist on charitable interpretations of Benson’s statements.

360 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Dan, see this image http://imgur.com/MrxPMx0 my reply keeps being moderated.

As for the claim that you answered me, um no, you hadn’t. The first time you answered me was when you talked about some time you said there *may* be misogynists at the pit instead of saying there actually are. And then I acknowledged that answer by answering you.

If I somehow missed you answering before this, you can paste it again. It’s also news to me that I twisted what you said THREE TIMES unless you’re bringing up stuff that’s not relevant to the topic.

361 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Eu@358:

How are you a hypocrite? Let me count the ways.

1. You yelled at someone for twisting your words when you’ve done plenty of twisting of your own. (Hence my initial statement on this subject.)
2. You asked me for examples so I responded — with examples! Your question was just such an example in turn because it included this:

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

At no point in this thread did I “try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist” and so this qualifies as such an example. Then I gave you the numbers to three more comments of yours that similarly twisted my words.
3. You object that I REALLY DID SAY THAT. But whereas you asked me for specific examples and I provided them, you responded only to insist that “No, no, you really did say that” without offering any quotations or even a comment number. It’s hypocritical to demand examples from me and then supply none of your own when the situation is reversed. And now you’re telling me “post it again” even though you’re clearly too lazy to do anything similar to support your own assertions.

You could just drop the accusations of hypocrisy and acknowledge that we’re all going to misread each other and get each others intentions wrong. It’s what I’ve done in this thread so far when others have misinterpreted my comments. I didn’t start giving you a hard time about it until you hypocritically started giving me a hard time about it.

362 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Dan L. #357

So you agree that if party A says something that party B finds offensive, party B is well within his rights to point this out?

Yes. I agree with that fully.

… and that it’s not true that “it’s entirely B’s responsibility how B feels about what A says”?

Yes, agreed.

Shermer did in fact say exactly “that’s a guy thing” which is the only part there in quotes.

Oh come on, that’s sophistry. Any fluent English speaker would take the “said exactly that” to apply to “women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

Yes, the only bit in quotes is “that’s a guy thing” but it is quoted as “… because “that’s a guy thing.”, and thus the “that” is presented as referring to “Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

363 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Oh:

4. I answered you very clearly and you’re still insisting I never answered you.

364 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Oh come on, that’s sophistry. Any fluent English speaker would take the “said exactly that” to apply to “women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

Yes, the only bit in quotes is “that’s a guy thing” but it is quoted as “… because “that’s a guy thing.”, and thus the “that” is presented as referring to “Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

You don’t agree that this is a matter of interpretation?

I am a fluent speaker/reader of English and I would not take that passage to mean that Shermer literally said all those things.

365 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

To be a little more clear, it makes sense to me that the unquoted parts are paraphrases, not direct quotes, and that the quoted part is a direct quote, and that it’s the direct quote that Benson is referring to when she says “exactly that.”

Furthermore, from context it’s rather clear to me that Benson is not accusing Shermer of being intentionally sexist. She’s talking about casual, unthinking sexism in that article.

366 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Dan L: #363

To be a little more clear, it makes sense to me that the unquoted parts are paraphrases, not direct quotes

Yes, agreed. The phrases preceding “said exactly that” are paraphrases, but I don’t agree that Shermer’s words can be fairly paraphrased as “women are too stupid to do nontheism” etc — especially when you take into account that the question (most of which Benson omitted) was mostly about *activism*, and when you add in the “I think it probably is 50:50″ part of the reply (which Benson also omitted).

The thing I dislike about the FTB take on the Shermer/Benson issue is the idea that, because Shermer is “not one of us”, it is ok to be unfair in criticising him; because we’re criticising in a good cause exaggerating our criticism doesn’t matter and should be excused as irrelevant. Shermer’s feelings don’t matter; if he’s upset that’s his probem, he should just deal with it meekly and accept the valid criticism.

This is exactly the attitude that FTB so dislike — and entirely correctly so — when some attack FTB activists without caring about their feelings and without respecting them as persons.

I, for one, an willing to criticise this when either “side” does it. If either side wants the moral high ground they should recognise this as unacceptable and police themselves over it.

367 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

@Coel:

Let me give you a similar example. I was talking to someone about race and ethnicity and he said something like:
“Well, I think people who vote for Obama because he’s black are just as bad as white supremacists.” To which I responded: “Well, that’s one hell of a false equivalence.” “How so?” “Just listen to what you said again: people who vote for Obama because he’s black are just as bad as white supremacists (i.e. people who stockpile guns for the coming race war and look forward to the day when black people won’t be able to vote at all).”

I could understand what this person was trying to say but at the same time I wanted him to see that what he literally said was actually a pretty egregious false equivalence. I see Benson’s article as doing something similar — not ascribing to Shermer sexist intentions (just as the other person had no racist intentions) but pointing out that what he literally said — most likely without thinking it through because he was under pressure — was dismissive and patronizing to women.

Would you say this is a fair characterization of the tenor of Benson’s article? I don’t think of it as accusatory so much as gently chiding.

The thing I dislike about the FTB take on the Shermer/Benson issue is the idea that, because Shermer is “not one of us”, it is ok to be unfair in criticising him; because we’re criticising in a good cause exaggerating our criticism doesn’t matter and should be excused as irrelevant.

I think it is a good-faith criticism undertaken for good reasons. You’re reading a lot of bad faith into the intentions of people at FtB. Hardly surprising, but I think that’s the source of a lot of these problems.

368 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Regardless, I essentially disagree with your interpretations of Shermer’s statement — I thought it was a careless, thoughtless statement made under pressure. I don’t think anyone was judging him particularly harshly for doing so, but I think there was some expectation he would just own up to this fact — it’s not as though it’s a moral failing not to have a good answer to that question on the tip of his tongue.

I also disagree with you about Benson’s intentions, which I don’t think were nearly so antagonistic or nasty as you seem to think.

But all of this is rather besides the point. I’m trying to help you to understand FtB’s perspective to help foster this dialog I keep hearing so much about, not to justify that perspective. If you guys want to keep arguing and insisting that the FtB perspective is stupid that is your prerogative but I don’t see how you can do that and simultaneously claim to want a dialog.

369 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Dan L:

I certainly don’t think Shermer was blameless, and it was quite right to point to and criticise what he said. My criticism of the way Benson did it is partly because the “deliberate hyperbole” in this context, adding up to being somewhat unfair to him, then let’s him off the hook by giving him a way of turning the accusations around.

In my opinion (which could of course be wrong) Benson’s criticism would have been more effective had it been more measured and fairer. And as a result of that it might have got a conciliatory response rather than the affair becoming rift-widening.

370 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Dan L: #366

… I think there was some expectation he would just own up to this fact

Which would have been far more likely had the accusation not been so exaggerated!

I also disagree with you about Benson’s intentions, which I don’t think were nearly so antagonistic or nasty as you seem to think.

Actually, I don’t think her *intentions* were at all antagonistic or nasty. However, we have arrived at a situation where “deliberate hyperbole” about an opponent is the norm, where the blogger will rattle it off without stopping to think. That is the point! If someone is not seen as in the “in group”, not “one of us”, then being fair, charitable and conciliatory towards them is not regarded as mattering.

Thus each “side” gets inflamed by the other side’s rhetoric while quite genuinely not seeing anything wrong with their own hyperbole, because they have got so habituated to it.

If you guys want to keep arguing and insisting that the FtB perspective is stupid …

And that sort of comment is *also* part of the problem, namely seeing everyone who is not in the “in group” as an opposed “you guys” who all think that your side “is stupid” and who are all tarred with the same brush.

371 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

In my opinion (which could of course be wrong) Benson’s criticism would have been more effective had it been more measured and fairer. And as a result of that it might have got a conciliatory response rather than the affair becoming rift-widening.

I agree to a certain extent. However, Shermer might have also responded more effectively by suggesting that Benson’s point is well taken though perhaps expressed a little hyperbolically. Rather than to accuse her of being a witchhunting Nazi, say.

Again, rather beside the point. Are you trying to understand someone else’s point of view or prove that point of view wrong? one of the two options fosters dialog, the other “widens rifts”.

372 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

And that sort of comment is *also* part of the problem, namely seeing everyone who is not in the “in group” as an opposed “you guys” who all think that your side “is stupid” and who are all tarred with the same brush.

Unfortunately, I can’t see any way to avoid it. There are essentially two factions. You can see this in the language used by the ‘pitters as well.

Sorry you don’t want to get lumped in with the ‘pitters. I don’t want to get lumped in with FtB. But I’m not sure how to avoid this in the context of this particular discussion.

373 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I’ve published a new post with a proposed agenda for a structured dialogue process to move this process on to the next stage.

I’m pleased with the early responses, and I am optimistic that we can move further with this.

As usual, feedback is welcome.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/a-proposed-agenda-for-structured-dialogue-to-move-beyond-the-rifts-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/

374 Coel March 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Dan L: #371

However, Shermer might have also responded more effectively by suggesting that Benson’s point is well taken though perhaps expressed a little hyperbolically.

I entirely agree. He would have done better to have done so.

Are you trying to understand someone else’s point of view or prove that point of view wrong?

At the moment I’m trying to analyse why the Shermer–Benson spat deepened rifts (contrasting with, say, the recent Amy–Hall reconciliation), and am suggesting that both sides bear some responsibility for the fit-widening of the former. In the Amy–Hall reconciliation *both* sides admitted some fault in miscommunication and in over-reacting to each other.

There are essentially two factions. You can see this in the language used by the ‘pitters as well.

I disagree that there are essentially two factions, I’d suggest that a vast number of people occupy a position on the wide-ranging middle ground between them The prominent members of the “factions” are likely fairly small in number (maybe 20 or 30 people on each “side”?) I don’t think that the rest of us should let the pitters or the FTB Horde determine the language used here — everyone else should try to de-escalate by trying to avoid language that entrenches differences.

375 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm

@ Dan L

I never said you tried so hard to paint the pit as misogynistic. I took the time to go back and read what you said. You corrected someone (and me) before and I didn’t see it. I also browsed over what you said, I did miss a word, took the general meaning I got from it and remembered what you said THAT WAY instead of how you said it verbatim. I’m sorry.
But that does not make me a hypocrite. And you did not give examples the first couple of times I asked for them, especially not examples plural. Only one example where I misunderstood what you said and in no way twisted something.
I’ll be mature, Dan L, and assume that you honestly thought I was saying YOU try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist rather than the person you seemed to be defending instead of accusing you of twisting what I said. Can I expect an apology from you?

376 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Personally Coel (was it you who said that) I think some people say “you guys” with generalizing malice and some people say “you guys” simply because they want to save time and don’t feel like saying “you and just the others at FtB/other places that agree with you or did the same thing you did” When I do it it’s the latter, I dont mean to imply that most are doing the same thing. It’s just easier and I’m a bit lazy 😛

377 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Dan L I also AM NOT insisting you still NEVER answered me. I told you that when you described the post (and I responded back saying that you hadnt done that, remember?) was the first time you actually answered me. I was pretty damn clear in saying you at first did not answer me. And you didn’t. Remember when you talked about being irritated and telling me to be patient (patient for what? Did you need to jog your memory to answer me?) *before answering me*? That’s when I was complaining.

378 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

@Eu:

I’ll be mature, Dan L, and assume that you honestly thought I was saying YOU try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist rather than the person you seemed to be defending instead of accusing you of twisting what I said. Can I expect an apology from you?

I did honestly think that. I think in context there was good reason to think that. I still think you are a hypocrite for numerous reasons but I will stop belaboring the point.

Since you make apologizing a condition for considering me “mature” I’ll neither accept your apology (which I never wanted) nor offer one of my own. I don’t really like the idea of blackmail apologies.

You have frustrated me greatly, especially with comments 352, 353, and 354 and I am not feeling very conciliatory with you right now. I feel you have gone out of your way to find fault with me on the basis of minutiae. My immediate impression was that you were doing so to derail my line of argument. That is perhaps not the case but that is why I’ve found this exchange so tedious and pointless and why I’m not feeling optimistic about your apparent “change of heart” here.

I choose to disengage because I do not have the sense that you have at any point in our discussion engaged in good faith. You have been trying to find fault at every turn. If I’m sorry for anything it’s for sinking to your level.

379 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

How was I blackmailing you? The maturity was referring to not assuming that you were twisted what was said on purpose. It had nothing to do with the apology. Instead of admitting you made a mistake (what MY apology was for) you hint that I’m a hypocrite again and then refuse to tell me the reasons? You have no reason not to apologize… YOU’RE the one who was finding fault in me the entire time. YOU started the conversation with me finding fault in me, and you’re the one that made a list of all the things I’ve done wrong. How am I the one not arguing in good faith?

I admitted my mistakes, I figured out my mistake myself, and I’m still not arguing in good faith? You’re just being a complete jerk.

The thing you were complaining about was a mistake I made yesterday or two days ago that you corrected. I would not have mentioned that again if you hadn’t brought it up. It was not me attempting to find fault in you. I had forgotten about that by today.

380 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

YOU’RE the one who was finding fault in me the entire time. YOU started the conversation with me finding fault in me, and you’re the one that made a list of all the things I’ve done wrong. How am I the one not arguing in good faith?

This is why you’re a hypocrite. You can acknowledge these behaviors in me but not in yourself. I am done with you.

381 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

It really looks like you just started this conversation to flame me. First you bring up some mistake I made yesterday or whenever that you were still irritated about, and then when I figure out myself just how that happened and apologize, you give some lousy excuse for not apologizing such as I “blackmailed you” by attributing the maturity comment to me apologizing (WRONG) and then basically going on to say “I also think you are still a hypocrite because of these secret reasons you won’t say and btw I’m still mad at you for this entire conversation and I refuse to talk to you again because you aren’t arguing in good faith.”

Ehh? Well guess what I think: That you’re treating me pretty damn unfairly. Your response was like a slap in the face.

Actually, you know what? Whatever. Your choice. Do not worry about replying to this. Do not think that I will continue badgering you about it, because I won’t. Last post on it if you choose not to reply. Don’t want to hear any complaints.

382 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Dan L.

Okay, so when I point out your finding faults in me, which you had done more, after YOU said that about me (and I already apologized for faulting you. I did not go to FIND any fault in you.), IM the fucking hypocrite? Fuck you. Your entire last two posts were a huge slap in the face.

First you say you’re not apologizing because I supposedly said apologizing would be mature and that’s blackmail (which I did not even say – go back and read my post. I simply wanted you to apologize too and admit that we both made mistakes.)

Then you continue going on about how you’re still irritated with me for the past conversation and hint about how I’m still a hypocrite, but won’t tell me how because you don’t feel like going into it.

And this entire conversation was started by you… because you were still irritated with a mistake I made yesterday that it turns out you already corrected me for.

Total slap in the face. If you’re done that’s fine. Anything I say is only used as further judgment against me. Fine. I’m the big bad wolf. That’s the last time I’ll take any bait from you. You’re being pretty god damn mean.

383 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

@Eu:

You’ve been routinely slapping me in the face from my perspective and I’ve simply forgiven it. After 352, 353, and 354 I lost my patience and could no longer forgive it and so I gave some of it back. Then you flipped out.

I’ve explained patiently why I think you’re a hypocrite and not worth engaging with. I’m suggesting we simply agree to disagree and go our own ways because our discussion since 352, 353, and 354 has given me the impression that it is simply not worth my time or energy to try to discuss this with you.

384 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

“You kept finding faults in me! (where’s the fault finding… other than standing by what I said yesterday because you brought it up, and because I didnt see your correction…)” “What? You’re the one who started this entire conversation by finding faults in me and keep listing faults!”
“See, you’re a hypocrite, you refuse to acknowledge the behavior in yourself. Even though you apologized and were not trying to find a fault in me, and Im the one who first complained about you trying to and am definitely not acknowledging behavior in MYSELF, you are the hypocrite! Im done!”

Yup. I definitely feel baited. Throughout this entire conversation all you’ve done is dog me out, Dan L. I didn’t dialogue with you just to be dogged out no matter if I realize my mistakes or not. But fine. Whatever. You didn’t make any mistakes you should retract or apologize for and I’m this huge hypocrite somehow.

385 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

How have I been routinely slapping you in the face, Dan L? YOU BROUGHT IT BACK UP. I didnt see your correction, okay? If you’d forgiven it you wouldnt have brought it up. Also, 352… etc do not even reference posts made by me that are relevant.

386 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Yup. I definitely feel baited. Throughout this entire conversation all you’ve done is dog me out, Dan L.

Bullshit. This is exactly why I’m calling you a hypocrite.

Enough. I don’t see why you can’t just agree this is a pointless and tedious conversation that doesn’t warrant either of our time or attention.

387 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Please paste where I “slapped you in the face” (if it is not about where I was trying to figure out my mistake and while I still thought you were guilty of saying the pit has misogynists. I mean, really. I don’t know what else to do. I read bacak, realized you hadn’t said it, and this happened yesterday. You have NOT forgiven me if this is what you are referring to.) because your numbered posts are clearly different from mine.

And are you claiming you have a right to feel baited? YOU STARTED TALKING TO ME. COMPLAINING ABOUT SOME MISTAKE I MADE YESTERDAY. THEN WHEN I FIGURE OUT MY MISTAKE AND YOU GET YOUR APOLOGY, YOU CONTINUE TO DOG ME THE FUCK OUT. STOP FUCKING WITH ME. HOW AM I THE ONE WHO BAITED YOU?

388 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Yeah, Dan L, everything is exactly why I’m a hypocrite. Everything I say is somehow hypocritical. Maybe you’re the one that needs a mirror to look at yourself.

389 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

& as for just letting it go? No. I did not respond to your first complaint to be dogged out and for you to just hop away. I would prefer to solve this although I admit the chances *are* looking slim & my feelings just keep getting hurt, but of course you’re the one who was dogged by the memory of my mistake yesterday.

390 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

@Eu:

What I am trying to explain to you is that it is boring and pointless to try to parse this conversation to figure out who’s being worse to whom, especially when the final judgment on that will necessarily be subjective.

I really do think you have misinterpreted/twisted a lot of people’s words including my own and that I have overlooked this for the sake of continuing the conversation without getting bogged down in pointless minutiae as you’re currently trying to do. I was suggesting to you that you might do the same. It appears you are not capable of this.

Therefore I am uninterested in continuing this conversation.

391 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

And don’t you dare say by the above post I’m “ignoring my actions” and not acknowledging that I’ve done something to you too. Don’t even. If you do I won’t know what to do. I’ve acknowledged it countless times but you have not shown you minded any mistakes you’ve made during the conversation nor retracted any or really acknowledged you’ve done anything. It’s just all about you and how I thought you said something you didn’t yesterday.

392 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Dan, you didn’t overlook anything. You started the conversation by complaining about a past mistake, yet I don’t get a second to complain about things done to me in the conversation? That’s so fucking wrong.

This is you: “By the way, you’re (flaw, flaw, action, action) but Im looking it over for now because Im done. Okay, I see you’re not done. Well, because you’re not done, I’m done. Get over being dogged out.”

And it takes two to tango. I talk to you, you talk to me.

393 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

It’s just all about you and how I thought you said something you didn’t yesterday.

Sure, it’s all about me. That’s why you’re posting about three comments a minute demanding I explain myself to you.

394 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

As a consequence for you bothering to start this in the first place only for me to be shut up (or attempted, anyway, saying “youre a hypocrite for that” every time I talk isn’t really shutting me up), the one I was talking to in the first place may now miss what I said.

Lemme fix that. thetalkingstove, this was my response to you: “thetalkingstove, I doubt anyone equated women to puppy dogs. I bet you’re taking advantage of the missing context here. Don’t twist things, mmkay”

395 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

(Which is btw, very different from misreading what someone said)

396 tina March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm
@ tina “You’ve completely gone off the rails. No one is going to engage with the sort of ridiculous hyperbole you’re going into.”

I’ll treat that comment as just a bit of ridiculous hyperbole.

397 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Dan, I wasn’t going to look but I caught a glimpse of your last post. “demand I explain myself to you.”
Yeah, Dan, that’s what happens when you dog someone out. They want a chance to defend themselves. You have some fucking nerve complaining about that.

Pro-tip: In the future, do not that to someone if you’re not prepared for that person to react with hurt, irritation, or anger, & especially for them to dare “demand” that you explain.

Especially not me, someone who really doesn’t tolerate accusations without resolves (of course though if it turns out its true I admit that and then apologize.)

You simply brought something up with the wrong person.

398 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

(Or, the right person… usually people would prefer my reaction over people ignoring the complaint and not giving a crap.)

399 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

340: I respond to you complaining about someone twisting your words to suggest that maybe you’re also twisting people’s words and that it’s the sort of thing maybe we should just try to forgive and to explain ourselves.

343: You respond to say “where did I twist your words”. You also say something that sounds as though you’re accusing me of painting the pit as misogynist, though you’ve now clarified that was not your intention.

345: You complain that I didn’t get specific about how I twisted your words.

346: I answer your question by pointing out that you keep assuming I’m trying to paint the pit as misogynist which qualifies nicely as an example. I was partially referring to 343 but also comments from yesterday.

347: I once again point out that “twisting”/misrepresenting/misunderstanding the statements of others is to some extent inevitable in discussions like these and maybe we should try to be a little bit patient with each other instead of posting stuff like what you posted in 345.

348: You start getting defensive. You accuse me of being a troll and defensively ask me where you accuse me of painting the pit as misogynist — which I had already done a few comments earlier (though as it turned out I was mistaken; nonetheless, my answer, however mistaken, preceded your demand for that answer). You also said this stuff which I find to be similarly intemperate and unfair:

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that? No, you have no right to complain about that. The people who told you it’s unfair to do that were totally in the right, and I did not badger you dozens of comments for that. Exaggeration much?

You only interrupted because you’re still salty about being corrected a long time back? lol.

349: You seem to get offended by the idea that your tone and attitude in arguing with me might be a little irritating. Don’t know why since you made no secret of being irritated with me.

350: I give you more examples of you twisting my words.

351: I clarify once again why I initially said you should try to be a little more forgiving of “twisting of words” — because you are not immune to doing so yourself.

352:

Dan L, stop playing around with me. I’m asking you to tell me how I twisted something you said so you can get over this grudge and stop whining whenever I tell someone else not to twist things.

Note that by this time I had already told you how you twisted something I said. At no time was I “Playing around with you” — that is an assumption of bad faith.

353: It is not entirely clear to me which comment you are referring to here. But you do accuse me of “trying to defend” the person “twisting your words” which is absolutely an example of you twisting me words (since I never made any such defense, merely suggested that you also are not immune to twisting words).

354:

And please, never do that again – don’t give “replies” that don’t even answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you. I was ready to give up if I got a couple more replies like that, though.

Again, accusing me of failing to answer you when I already had answered you. Also, obnoxious posturing.

Can you see yet why I’m a little irritated and think this has been a pointless diversion rather than a worthwhile discussion? If not I’ll keep going.

400 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm

@Eu:

It seems pretty clear to me that you’re completely neglecting the possibility that from my perspective, you’re being a hypocritical jerk. You have your view of the situation and you insist that your view is the view. You can’t acknowledge that from my view the conversation may have looked a little different. That is why I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to hash the whole thing out.

401 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Note that I didn’t call you out on most of that stuff at the time. I didn’t start calling you out for trivial things until you started calling me out for trivial things (352, 353, 354). When you decided to start getting personal over minutiae I followed suit. That is my perspective on it.

402 Eu March 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Dan L, yeah, you get to say that you didn’t call me out on other things and while that may be true all that’s caused is TROUBLE and an excuse for you to say it was bottled up in inside and exploded in my face today. When you do that you either keep it in or bring it to people’s attention right then and there. You dont dog them out in the future.

403 Eu March 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

in the future, and then not be specific about it* All that causes is trouble. What good does going “I’m cross with you for some things you did before. It’s all wrapped in general.” do? That person goes… what? what is it? Then the person who is cross goes… I can’t possibly repeat it all now. But yeah.

404 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

@Eu:

Again, reciprocity is important here. Try to be aware of whether you might be causing the same problems you perceive me to be causing. My problem so far is not anything in particular that you’ve done but that you’ve been criticizing me rather harshly for doing things you are also doing.

405 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Dan L, where is the harsh criticism you see? Are you talking about the misogyny pit thing? If it was harsh criticism, 1) why don’t you still have an issue with the other guy who mistook you too. and 2) why would you bring it up again today in the first place?

I hope you’re not talking about me complaining about how you hurt me after dogging me out. now THAT was unrelenting harsh criticism. Did your eyes water, Dan L? Were you at risk of shedding any tears whatsoever? You can’t turn that around by saying you feel bad that Ive pointed out you dogging me out.

406 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Oh, yeah and whether I was being sensitive or not is irrelevant… my eyes would not have watered at all at anything Ive said to you if the roles were reversed, for instance.

407 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

And bro, where is your reciprocation??? I see none! You even outright refused to reciprocate in one way, but I’ve given some. I’ve acknowledged all that Ive done that I can possibly think of.

*passes ball*

408 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

This was an outrageous case of Playing Main Victim. Yeah, afterward you tried to make it about “oh we were both kinda bad here” but honestly you were the main one dogging me out. If we tallied up our “dogs” you’d have more on your side, and that’s not a petty observation.

if there’s any dog I still need to apologize for, *please* point it out.

409 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Eu@407:

This is more of what I’m talking about and all the more reason to just call this conversation closed. I have indeed reciprocated and you will not or cannot acknowledge that for some reason. Again, you seem to have trouble with self-awareness: you cannot see incidents where you are being unfair but you harp very much on incidents where you perceive me to be unfair.

I really see no point to continuing this. I’ve already clearly laid out the criticism I mentioned and explained to you why it irritated me. You’re still pulling the trick of demanding explanations that I’ve already given you. And then you insist I’m “dogging you around”? I feel pretty dogged around myself. That’s why I think it’s best to call this quits now before either of us gets even angrier with the other.

410 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm

@408:

Again, from my perspective I’ve been no worse to you than you have to me. There is no way I’ll be able to prove this to you because you will simply continue to excuse yourself for anything I was irritated by and continue to interpret my intentions uncharitably when it comes to things I did to irritate you. Ultimately it will come down to a subjective perception of who was worse which cannot be resolved through any amount of evidence.

From what I’ve seen so far you’re not going to stop until I admit I was worse to you than you were to me. But I simply do not believe this to be true. So would you prefer I lie to you or we just let the conversation drop?

411 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

What incidents am I not seeing? Where was I unfair that I haven’t apologized for already? Your lack of a new comprehensive list leads to believe basically *nothing happened to you that wasn’t patched up*. When did you reciprocate? I remember you refusing to. That whole “okay we’re both bad here, Eu, reciprocate” does NOT count as reciprocating btw, it doesn’t.

Ah, I see you’re saying you’re “done here” again. I can see why but not for the same reasons you do. Don’t be surprised if I also decide to keep contact to a minimum in the future. I’m just going to be frank: You’re a fucking dick.

412 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

@410: Oh, that’s cute. Well, I simply don’t believe that I was as bad as you and am sort of offended by such an accusation. I don’t do all that shit: I don’t bring up something I supposedly got over, take all day in clearing it up while clearly not being interested in the other person’s sorry or retraction in the first place, tell someone they’re a hypocrite after everything they say instead of specifically addressing the content (those replies might as well have been word: “hypocrite!” Can I get some content please???), and then after they apologize, tell them that you refuse to accept their apology because they just suck so bad and are still hypocrites in many ways.

All that was, “Hey, little girl! Guess what! You’re a fucking hypocrite. Hypocrite. Hypocrite. No apologies allowed. Hypocrite. You suck. No. No. Hypocrite.”

My conduct was as bad as yours. And I’m the Queen of England.

413 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Ah, I see you’re saying you’re “done here” again. I can see why but not for the same reasons you do. Don’t be surprised if I also decide to keep contact to a minimum in the future. I’m just going to be frank: You’re a fucking dick.

You keep accusing me of having nefarious intentions. That is like 9/10ths of why I don’t want to get into this any deeper with you. From my perspective you seem like a fucking dick.

414 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Eu@412:

See? That is more of you trying to force your interpretation of events on me. You cannot accept my point of view and somehow that makes me a “fucking dick”. Right.

415 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Um, Dan, in case you haven’t noticed, one can only talk with their perspective. You weren’t forcing your perspective on me and I’m not forcing my view on you, but yeah I’m going to complain about your conduct.

I did not say you had “nefarious intentions” whatever the hell that means. Wrong quote maybe. You can be a fucking dick without being nefarious.

416 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm

You didn’t use the exact phrase. You keep dropping stuff like “I see what you’re doing here” and “stop playing with me” and “you’re dogging me around” — bad faith assumptions about my intentions. I find this incredibly irritating; when I’ve gotten the same impression of you I didn’t bother to say anything.

I have been totally willing to let bygones be bygones for about 100 comments now but you keep responding to call me a “dick” and so forth. So please excuse me if I have a rather different view of your conduct in this thread than you do.

417 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm

You weren’t forcing your perspective on me and I’m not forcing my view on you, but yeah I’m going to complain about your conduct.

I can accept that from your perspective I’m a terrible, awful, unfair person. You cannot accept that from my perspective you are a terrible, awful, unfair person. Hence while I accept your perspective you do not accept mine. That was the meaning of my comment. It is also why I feel just as justified in complaining about your conduct as you do about mine; the fact that you think you are justified in doing so and I am not is simply more evidence to me that you are not reciprocating in the “acknowledge the other’s point of view” game.

418 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Dan L learn some god damn slang and learn what dogging out means. At least don’t make guesses before you do. Dogging out is what it is, regardless of if the person thinks they’re in the right dogging someone else out or if they’re just doing it to troll them or something. “Stop fucking around with me” is what people sometimes say when they mean “wtf? you better quit fucking playing” or “are you fucking kidding me” regardless of if they truly think the person is fucking with them on purpose.

You get the point.

Or maybe you don’t. That explanation should suffice.

And is it my fault if you could somehow think that my behavior wasn’t honest and you didn’t say anything? If you really thought that, why would it be bad to say something?

And Im not just responding by calling you a dick. See, this is why I explain why, but then you complain about me explaining saying its “forcing” my view on you.

As I said, a dick is a dick regardless of if they set out just to act like that or if they think they’re being decent.

419 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm

And is it my fault if you could somehow think that my behavior wasn’t honest and you didn’t say anything? If you really thought that, why would it be bad to say something?

Because I didn’t want to make a bad faith assumption about your intentions. I decided to continue arguing with you as though you were arguing in good faith. That’s what being charitable means.

I wasn’t pissed off at you at all in any of those incidents. It didn’t seem worth saying anything. What pissed me off was when you assumed bad faith on my part. I wasn’t “fucking around with you” at any point. I was seriously trying to discuss with you and then we got into a snarl of misunderstandings. I tried to say, “OK, let’s drop it because this is a bunch of stupid bullshit” and then you tried to make me admit it was all my fault and that I was doing some kind of shady “tricking you into apologizing” nonsense.

No, I don’t want to play this stupid game. I just want to let the whole thing go because it’s really not very fucking important in the first place. Neither of us has to be right or wrong. We can just…let it go…

420 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Oh, now another thing…when did I accuse you of tricking me into apologizing? You keep saying invalid shit. I already told you how to take the “fucking around with you” stuff. You refuse to accept that you misinterpreted it. You wanted it to end yet you keep ending up adding things that need correcting. You’re batshit insane.

421 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm

and lol, all your fault? No, only the things you did are your fault. Things I was mistaken about? My fault. The instigator, though? You. It’s simply true – you did start this even if I learned I was mistaken.

422 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

And now you weren’t mad because of the incidents, but because of my phrasing that came later, that you apparently are being pedantic about despite me explaining what was meant.

Mmmmmhhhmmm.

Well, maybe you missed my explanation. Go back and read and get unmad.

423 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

You refuse to accept that you misinterpreted it. You wanted it to end yet you keep ending up adding things that need correcting. You’re batshit insane.

None of this is true.

424 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Again, you are completely unwilling to accept that I may have had my own perspective on this disagreement that doesn’t match up with yours. You need me to accept your perspective uncritically before you can move on but you’re not making any similar allowances for me.

I’m just not interested. I’m not interested in admitting I was the asshole — not least because I really don’t think I was — and I’m not interested in getting to the bottom of who was the asshole. I’m ready to let the whole thing go. Are you?

425 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

In other words, I’m not interested in going through the previous hundred comments highlighting all the points where you were an asshole just to prove to you that you really were. You should be able to accept that you’ve said some shitty things as part of this back-and-forth as I’m able to accept that of myself. I don’t hold it against you. I hold you holding it against me against you.

426 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

@ quote.. how can you say it’s NOT TRUE when you said this: “What pissed me off was when you assumed bad faith on my part. I wasn’t “fucking around with you” at any point.” There’s the proof right there. Maybe pedantic is the wrong word? Fine. Literal. Literally. I should have added “forget I said fucking around because I cant trust you to get that you didnt interpret what I said right.”

Not to mention that you said I said you tricked me into an apology… Not true, eh? You may not be batshit but the rest stays.

As for not allowing similar allowances, no, Dan L, we cannot both be right. I cannot say “I’m right” while also allowing you to say you’re right. Otherwise I’d be agreeing with you.

Ahh… the end? As its not going anywhere, fine.

427 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

As for not allowing similar allowances, no, Dan L, we cannot both be right.

But we can both be wrong. Try not to forget that, huh?

428 HJ Hornbeck March 21, 2013 at 5:43 am

AppleStairs @329:

Shoot, looks like I moved out of phase one too quickly, you’re shifting back to your view. The point of swapping summaries of the “opposing” side was to get you thinking from PZ’s shoes. He’s acting in the best possible manner, according to him, as am I or you or anyone else on this thread. Which of us is acting “correctly” is another matter, one we might get to later.

In light of that, look at what you wrote here:

“Well, I think the “call-out culture” reflects the fact that the political outlook is extremely homogeneous among most of the FTB bloggers and commenters and that doubthat’s position in #123 – “There is no compromise position. I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with.” – is widely shared by FTB/A-plussers.”

PZ is not compromising because he thinks he’s right not to compromise. Why is that? What could make a liberal atheist reject a middle ground? Can’t be religion. Liberals are usually in favour of free speech, though they think it should be limited in some circumstances (as you put it, “Men should “shut up and listen to the women””). Perhaps he thinks compromise will deny some people a voice?

We have the general notion of “rights,” or things you get simply for being human. Free speech, privacy, and so on. Only in the most extreme cases would we even *think* of compromising those rights; any other potential compromise should be vigorously opposed by any rational person.

I hope you can see what I’m getting at. In the above scenario, any person would loudly refuse to compromise. PZ might think he’s in that scenario, and thus play along. Whether he actually *is* in that situation is another matter, right now we’re just trying to put ourselves in his place.

It’s your turn now. Try rephrasing these things in such a way that any reasonable person would act the way PZ does:

“PZ is as prominent as he is mostly because of his scorched-earth approach to atheist activism. He is widely perceived to be a “dirty fighter” who treats atheist-skeptics who disagree with him politically (or even those who substantially agree, but who for whatever reason piss off him or his commenters) with the same contempt and refusal to accommodate that he directs against creationists.”

Why would PZ burn bridges, if he thinks he’s a reasonable person? Why would he treat people who agree with him with contempt, if he thinks he’s a reasonable person?

And feel free to turn the tables on me. Point me to somebody’s actions and ask me to come up with a justification that any reasonable person would agree with.

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