A proposed agenda for structured dialogue to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities

by Michael Nugent on March 20, 2013

Having read the comments so far here and on other websites, and the opinions shared privately by others, I want to suggest a five-item agenda as the basis for a structured dialogue to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities.

Please read this proposal in a charitable frame of mind.

It is a proposal for structured dialogue between individuals, not between imagined monolithic groups, and the power of any outcomes will lie in their content and how they were formulated, and not in any assumed authority.

It is aimed at those of us who want to move beyond the rifts and to build strong, inclusive, caring and supportive atheist and skeptic communities and groups, that promote robust and rational debate of issues while avoiding needlessly hurting people.

It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people.

Before I propose the agenda, I want to describe its context.

What is the prize of a successful outcome?

The World Atheist Convention in Dublin two years ago was an optimistic time for many atheist activists. We debated science and religion, secular education, communicating atheism, combatting blasphemy laws, confronting or accommodating religion, women atheist activists, and building secular coalitions.

We adopted the Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the Place of Religion in Public Life. And we launched the newly restructured Atheist Alliance International as a truly international support network and advocacy group for promoting change.

At that Convention we had, enthusiastically working together, some of the people who are now prominently associated with the current rifts, as well as many people who are not. There was a sense of camaraderie, a sense of awareness that we were involved in a project bigger than our own personal priorities.

We had people who were battle-hardened by enough campaigns to not be naive about what was possible, but who felt that we were on the cusp of contributing to something important.

We had, and I believe we still have, the potential to harness that intellectual and political energy into an effective international movement that is inclusive and caring and supportive while promoting robust debate and free speech.

We had, and I believe we still have, the potential to combine the best contributions of many good people on all perceived ‘sides’ of the rifts, who are currently unable or unwilling to work together, because they have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt by people who in turn have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt  by others.

I am giving this context not merely to focus on the prize of moving beyond the rifts, but also to highlight that the effect of the rifts goes well beyond personal disagreements between people on different blogging networks and internet forums.

The rifts are both hurting people on all perceived ‘sides’ and also harming the day-to-day work of atheist and skeptical and secular advocacy groups around the world. We need to resolve both of these consequences of the rifts, because both are important.

A charitable opinion of other people’s motivations

I have a charitable opinion of how the rifts developed. My personal biases may make this easier for me than for others, because I know and like (for example) Richard Dawkins, Paula Kirby, PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson, and I believe that all four are good people who are devoting a lot of voluntary time to trying to improve the world in ways that they sincerely believe to be good.

If your personal experience causes you to believe that (for example) Richard and Paula are good people, and that they are being unfairly misrepresented, then please try to consider that (for example) PZ and Rebecca may also be good people who are being unfairly misrepresented.

If your personal experience causes you to believe that (for example) PZ and Rebecca are good people, and that they are being unfairly misrepresented, then please try to consider that (for example) Richard and Paula may also be good people who are being unfairly misrepresented.

If you know that you are a good person, and that you are being unfairly misrepresented and hurt by others, then please try to consider that you may also be unfairly misrepresenting and hurting other good people who disagree with you.

How did we get from there to here?

I see most of the escalating series of events as well-meaning people, on all perceived ‘sides’, making well-meaning comments, that were unintentionally hurtful to others, partly because they were made in environments where robust debate is encouraged and comments are made hastily.

Entangled with these well-intentioned interactions, a small number of other people were deliberately trying to increase conflict, either for fun or to hurt people they disliked. And some people on either perceived ‘side’ started to respond – in an equally hostile way – to both the well-intentioned people who disagreed with them and the people who were deliberately trying to increase conflict and hurt them.

At least four separate substantive issues have now become entangled in this escalating conflict. They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

The general atmosphere of escalating hostility has spread to other issues, and other individuals not associated with the original problems have been treated in an equally hostile way. Off-the-cuff comments have been screen-grabbed for future reference, unscripted remarks have been recorded and transcribed, and it is now harder for anyone to withdraw from previously held beliefs even if they wanted to.

In this atmosphere, the small number of people who are deliberately trying to cause harm have been able to sit back and watch well-intentioned people tear each other apart or refuse to work with each other, while the majority of atheists and skeptics are bemused and disappointed by the inability or unwillingness of people who are supposed to be reasonable to lead by example and act reasonably.

Proposed agenda for structured dialogue

Based on the contributions to these and other discussions in recent weeks, I think a reasonable dialogue could have these five agenda items:

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

2. How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.

3. How and to what extent our various communities and groups should have ethical and equality and social justice issues on our internal and external agendas.

4. How we can each, as individuals, lead unilaterally by example by behaving reasonably and charitably and constructively, while others are not doing so.

5. Any other issues that people believe are important to address.

I think it would be helpful to discuss these issues separately, with the awareness that they all tie together, but focusing on one at a time.

They are sequenced in an order than can gradually build trust by starting with items on which there is agreement, then moving through principles of how we can choose to behave, and ending with practical actions.

While this is a dialogue between individuals, it will obviously be strengthened by the involvement of individuals who are perceived to be associated with different perceived ‘sides’ on these issues.

If you are interested in taking part in a structured dialogue between individuals based on this agenda, please let me know.

Any suggestions for how best to practically develop this process are welcome.

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{ 720 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skepsheik March 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for this Michael, it is good to have the opportunity to have this discussion continued.
Your point 2:
“How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.”
Isn’t this the core argument between accomodationists versus non-accomodationists?
On that occasion there was no easy meeting in the middle. The two groups had different objectives and saw their own methods (accomodationism versus ‘new atheism’) as the correct and appropriate way to meet those objectives.
As for point 1 (what the hell, I’m a non conformist!) aren’t you taking it for granted that we do all agree with that list?
Atheism, despite a large overlap, is not the same as scientific skepticism. There are significant numbers of atheists who are not in the least bit skeptical (although they, like global climate change deniers, may choose to call themselves ‘skeptics’).

2 Edward Gemmer March 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

What do we value as atheists? It’s a pretty important question, and the only clear answer is that we don’t value religion. Do we really value the following things?

- Critical Thinking: It’s easy to apply critical thinking to things that are built on fantasy, like religion. If you really value critical thinking, you value it when your own cherished beliefs are questioned, even if it questions global warming, vaccines, feminism, or video games.

- Diversity: If yes, then not just various races, genders, and sexualities, but religions, Republicans, criminals, the Slymepit, and FreeThoughtBlogs. It’s easy to say we value diversity, but in practice, it can be really difficult.

- Free Speech: Not as law, but as a value. The very idea of free speech is that people should be free to engage and discuss and not be limited in their ideas. Over time, the listeners can decide who makes better points. It is also a valuable way people learn – by talking and considering and arguing. It isn’t always pretty, but it is time tested. How important is it to have free speech v. “safe spaces” where people aren’t really allowed to disagree?

3 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Thanks again, Michael, for the effort to stop the distracting schism in the community.

Regarding #3: The horns of this dilemma are (for me) the fact that these social justice issues already have various advocacy groups to which an individual my participate in. Here is a sample of some of the many social justice organizations extant:

_http://www.startguide.org/orgs/orgs06.html

Membership in these groups is not mutually exclusive to membership in others. It is my belief that the narrower the focus of an advocacy group, the better they are able to achieve their goals, due to limited resources being applied exclusively to a small number of issues rather than all the ills of society.

It’s my personal belief that atheist groups should focus on the few core principles you listed in point #1. This does not mean that discussions of other issues cannot be had, just that the main thrust of the public outreach and advocacy be narrow.

4 Russell Blackford March 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Skepsheik, I’m not sure I properly understand what you’re saying about accommodationism, etc.

But to clarify my own perception of it, the core argument between accommodationists and non-accommodationists, at least as I always understood it, is about how far science and religion are compatible. Those of us on the non-(or anti-)accommodationist side are not especially interested in being personally hurtful or uncivil. For example, much of the kerfuffle was over a civil, thoughtful, but decidedly non-accommodationist piece by Jerry Coyne, “Seeing and Believing”, published in The New Republic in early 2009. Some people objected to it because of its ideas, not any uncivil or hurtful tone.

Likewise, the book that Udo Schuklenk and I are currently working on will develop a non-accommodationist position – i.e. there are genuine, serious problems with the supposed compatibility of religion and science – but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be aiming at hurtfulness or incivility.

Sometimes you can’t avoid offending people, and sometimes you need to be forthright or even angry. But I never took the accommodationism debate to be mainly about incivility. Leading non-accommodationists like Jerry (and I suppose I fitted in there somewhere) did engage in some satire, but it was often fairly gentle. We were mainly arguing that science really does undermine religion… and that it’s okay to say so. That, of course, is a key aspect of much “New Atheist” writing.

I do regret some of my own incivility during that debate, especially toward Chris Mooney (though I will go on criticising his accommodationist position) and, to a lesser extent, Sheril Kirshenbaum. But that’s tangential to the substantive argument.

So, I don’t think this is just a re-run of the accommodationism argument. Some tempers got hot, but the substantive issue was always about religion and science.

Sorry if this seems derailing, and again I’m not sure I understand your comparison with the accommodationism wars. But I did want to head off, if I could, any idea anyone might have that this is a sort of re-run of the debates about accommodationism. I think the main issues are quite different.

Shorter version: I’m one of the non-accommodationists. But that doesn’t mean I favour incivility or misrepresentation or being unnecessarily hurtful. These are different issues: one mainly about the relationship between science and religion, the other about how people treat each other.

5 Jack March 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Thanks again for your efforts in this Michael.

6 Verbose Stoic March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Russell,

There’s a couple of different forms of “accomodationism” that aren’t always properly distinguished, especially since in general most of the same people tended to be on the same sides on both. There’s the accomodationism you refer to, and then there’s the accomodationism exemplified around things like Phil Plait’s “Don’t be a Dick” speech and that guy Tom something or other who talked about rude treatment and also some things around Chris Mooney. That’s the one that’s being referred to in Skepshiek’s post; this debate can easily be seen as arguments that one side should “stop being dicks”, something that many of the people involved decried not long ago.

In fact, as an outsider who just happens to read the blogs, one of my main comments on it has been that the people involved aren’t really treating each other differently than they treated the others before when they were allies on religious issues. They’re just now doing those things to each other, and it doesn’t seem as funny/useful when you’re on the receiving end of it.

7 D4M10N March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Michael,

Regarding agenda point 3, I’d love to be able to discuss ethical and equality and social justice issues without having to constantly rebuff accusations of being profoundly unethical, blinded by privilege, and an apologist for social injustice. If you know of any place where that sort of debate is allowed to flourish, where social justice advocates don’t go to the circumstantial ad hom as a tactic of first resort, I’d be glad to hear of it.

8 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Michael, I’m not certain how I could contribute but am interested. Thank you for your attempts in getting this rift repaired.

9 Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I’m all for being non-accomodationist in the free exchange of ideas but accomodationist in the inclusion of diverse political and social beliefs.

Of course this needs to be in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding welded together by a set of common beliefs. This should allow a free exchange of ideas without all the rancour and bitterness. As rationalists we should always welcome robust debate and discussion with nothing left off the table.

This approach has served us well for many years and is crucial for the advancement and success of the movement in my opinion. It is also crucial for our own well being and feeling of inclusion. Michel’s own work on this is ample evidence for this.

The focus on our differences rather than what we have in common is where the damage is occurring and irrespective of who is right does nothing to further the causes we all believe in.

10 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

From my perspective as someone fully willing to blow it all up and fracture the “community,” setting practical, specific policy goals would enable a great deal of cooperation.

Part of my issue with all of this is the poorly developed sense of what it means to be a part of the atheist/skeptical “community.” Does it mean we just hang out at conferences together? If that’s the extent of what we’re dealing with, then fuck it, I’m not going to spend my leisure time wading through the nonsense.

There has to be some reason for me (and I can say that I’m not alone – I can’t tell how many or what percentage falls in my camp, but it isn’t me + nobody) to set aside my disagreements. I don’t agree with the Obama administration on the drone program (and many other things), but I worked for the campaign because of how bad a Romney presidency would have been.

There needs to be some similar objective in this case. Is it dealing with text book content in Texas? I could get behind that. Lobbying or taking some action to strengthen the church-state wall when it comes to health care initiatives. I think we could join forces for a specific outcome in that setting.

The significant political differences among atheists, especially with the growth of libertarian atheists, are too great to think non-belief is enough of a unifying theme.

11 Coel March 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Dear Michael,
As someone who doesn’t identify with either “side” in this dispute, but who cares about the atheist community, I applaud your efforts and wish you well in them.

12 debaser71 March 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

“1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.”

Well, for a lot of people, that’s the gripe. Reason, critical thinking, science, and skepticism are all great things! Now apply these things to gender feminism, feminist “theory”, internet feminism, radical feminism, academic gender studies feminism, whatever one wants to call it.

13 oolon March 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

@Damion,

I’d love to be able to discuss ethical and equality and social justice issues without having to constantly rebuff accusations of being profoundly unethical, blinded by privilege, and an apologist for social injustice

I think you’ll find that the other pittizens are having you on when they call you out on your privilege. Ask them nicely for a serious conversation and I’m sure you’ll get it from some of them…

14 Coel March 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

doubthat:

“Part of my issue with all of this is the poorly developed sense of what it means to be a part of the atheist/skeptical “community.” Does it mean we just hang out at conferences together?”

I would suggest all that is needed is acceptance of others and interacting civilly with them. A vast amount would be achieved by:

(1) Accept that people can honestly disagree. While two opponents cannot both be fully right, both can be fully honest.

(2) When you criticise someone (and criticism itself is fine) be fair; don’t exaggerate an opponent’s faults; don’t accuse them of far worse than they have actually said; don’t tar them with faults of others.

(3) Be respectful to opponents; don’t attack them as a person, trying to be hurtful rather than trying to criticise ideas.

(4) Try to be self-critical and try to see some merit in an opponents’ point of view. Be charitable in interpreting what they say.

(Note that I’m not attributing any of these things more to one “side” or the other.)

If people could interact like with that others in the atheist/skeptic community then that would be that, problem largely solved. That is all that is needed to be part of the same broad “community”.

15 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I second D4m1on #7. As I mentioned in a comment on your previous post, Michael, I was drug through the mud for miles (metaphorically, of course) on Skepchick, all because I was trying to say something about the nature of obligation; nothing more than an interesting philosophical thought.

I also agree with Renee #8. Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

The difference as far as I can tell is that they take a deontological approach (“tell men not to rape, don’t blame the victim”) vs. my consequentialist approach (“what’s the most effective way to actually lower the incidence of rape?”).

Finally, you said this: “Off-the-cuff comments have been screen-grabbed for future reference, unscripted remarks have been recorded and transcribed, and it is now harder for anyone to withdraw from previously held beliefs even if they wanted to.”

I don’t agree. Once again in your previous post, Dan L. made the claim that pharyngula poster “lee coye” was a slymepitter. After some discussion and some digging, he retracted this claim. It’s easy to screenshot his claim and post it everywhere, but it’s equally easy to screenshot his retraction and post that. That’s how we do things on the slymepit – hard evidence rules. The pit records things so diligently not because we’re trying to make it harder for people to change their minds, but because certain people have a habit of disappearing what they and others have said without the mind-changing.

16 Remick March 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

“If you know that you are a good person, and that you are being unfairly misrepresented and hurt by others, then please try to consider that you may also be unfairly misrepresenting and hurting other good people who disagree with you.”

This is a great point Michael, however part of the big problem is that many, many people have been labeled something incorrectly, or prematurely(assume some of the labels of racist or misogynist are true, however, most are not).

Once labeled, this person can no longer have a conversation with others. After all, why would you discuss race with a racist, or argue about rape culture with a “rape culture apologist”(whatever that is)?

Many people watch from the sidelines, myself included, knowing that if I vocalize my criticisms of FtB’s solutions to certain problems, I will be labeled. NOTE: I specifically stated solutions, why are we fighting so hard against other people who agree about 80-90% of the problems we are facing? Just because I might not agree with your proposed solution doesn’t make me an enemy, and it certainly doesn’t make me a champion of the problem!

This attitude must end, this labeling of critics must end. If a criticism is baseless and full of terrible ideas, they will be self evident and fall flat.

Also, if I say, I disagree with X approach, I think Y would be more effective. That does not make me a troll, just because I disagree with you.

17 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success.

So, in the twenty-first century people weren’t receptive to your nuanced views on rape?

Color me shocked.

18 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

NOTE: I specifically stated solutions, why are we fighting so hard against other people who agree about 80-90% of the problems we are facing?

I’m not convinced that this is true. There are folks who have posted on this thread that I have less in common with than many religious folks I’ve worked with.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but part of the problem I see is that very notion: that we actually do agree on most things, but cannot get along. It seems to me that we can’t get along because we don’t really agree on most things, or at least very important things.

Again, this is not unusual in modern democracies, but you’d find a similar problem trying to force progressives and libertarians into an alliance because they share a general disdain for unchecked executive authority. That’s one bit of agreement, the disagreements are numerically greater and of significance.

19 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

(1) Accept that people can honestly disagree. While two opponents cannot both be fully right, both can be fully honest.

I accept that very point, which is why I don’t think reconciliation and dialog efforts will do much good if a unified skeptical/atheist “community” is your goal. These discussions have just crystalized the differences. They’re legitimate and they’re important.

This doesn’t mean we can’t work together on discreet policy goals, but a grand unified theory of non-belief isn’t going to happen. I don’t think it should happen, too much agreement is a boring thing, and usually indicates that people have stopped thinking.

20 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm

doubtthat #17:

I don’t have nuanced views on rape. Rape is wrong. I do, however, have nuanced views on rape *prevention*.

21 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

And I’m sure they’re all fresh new ideas that no one has considered.

22 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

A response I had for commenter “Dan” in the previous thread on this overall topic which I had to table and thus didn’t get to post and which has some bearing on this thread.

I would ask Mr. Nugent to examine which “side” is actually receptive to these “discussion” ideas and which is not. ( As your twitter feed reveals).

@ Dan

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.

Speaking only for myself, as that is all I can be certain of, what I am trying to accomplish is to have an activism, a movement if you will the main goal of which are the promotion of atheism (or at the very least non-dogmatic beliefs such as deism), the promotion of science and science education,and the removal of religious influences from governments. This is first and foremost what the atheist community is striving for.
I want for atheist conferences to talk about atheism and closely related subjects (see above). I want a focused movement to combat the entrenched religiosity in the US and other counties. I want people who also have those goals, to be sisters and brothers in arms against these powerful institutions.
What I don’t want is to have people (such as doubtthat) who have implied that the atheism portion of their motivations is the lesser valued reason for their activism.
People such as ceepolk who stated ” … I don’t care about the freethought movement. Just like I don’t care about the Atheist movement.” to either start caring and take up the cause with those who do, or to get the hell out of the way.

When I go to a hockey game, I don’t expect the players to start playing croquet. Similarly if I go to an atheist conference, I don’t want to hear talks about feminist theory. If I were to advertise a feminist conference and populated it with half the speakers talking about atheism; well, I wouldn’t get a second conference.

Do not take this to mean that I want women to shut up about or to stop advocating for their rights. I am 100% for equal rights and responsibilities of all people. If you feel that a certain group is underprivileged, by all means take up that cause and run with it. I say this to feminists and MRA’s alike. Just don’t do it under the flag of atheism/skepticism.
These other causes have their own venues for advocacy. There is no rule that people cannot champion multiple causes. Where the goals of particular MRA’s or feminists intersect with the goals of atheism/skepticism, I welcome those people to stand beside those who only advocate for A/S. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

TL;DR : I want Atheism/Skepticism to be about atheism and skepticism again.

23 Remick March 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

@ Doubtthat,

Please re-read my post. I think most of us do agree about what most of the problems are. However there are many different opinions and views on what the solutions are. This is a strength of the skeptical community and is what is trying to be stifled.

Libertarians and Progressives can agree all the time on what the problems are, they might disagree on what the answers are. Yet many times they do agree. Progressives tend to be more Liberal, and are generally Libertarian in regards to personal liberty, (same sex marriage, personal drug use, allowable sexual acts between consenting adults.) to name a few. But tend to disagree on matters of economic liberty.

24 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I want Atheism/Skepticism to be about atheism and skepticism again.

No, you just want to be in control of defining which subjects are relevant to atheism and skepticism.

The skeptical community is hardly unified on whether atheism is a proper topic. There are always significant protests when atheists dominate speaking slots and panels. The True SkepticsTM want to get back to talking about Bigfoot and UFO’s and not be bothered by the application of the rational method of inquiry to religious superstition.

So you’re the insurgent with respect to the “traditional” skeptical topics. By unifying the two communities, you’re the one demanding that the hockey game look different.

It always amuses me when people try to make specific argument obey a general rule. This is just begging for a charge of hypocrisy.

You have no objections to change within a community, you just have a specific objection to a certain instance of a change, yet you try to rely on traditionalism as a defense.

25 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

@23 Remick

I read your post, I understand exactly what you’re saying. I disagree with your analysis.

Try putting together a conference of political speakers that appeals to both libertarians and progressives. What will that look like? Marijuana legalization, checked authority with regard to the security state…what else?

Chances are that very quickly those areas of agreement will devolve into intense disagreement when the discussion grows.

Again, this is perfectly fine, but no one is trying to create a progressive/libertarian “community,” or lamenting the fact that there’s disagreement. Sure, the groups can work together in specific, discreet situations, but it isn’t a unified “movement” or however the hell we’re describing the atheist/skeptical category.

26 SueinNM March 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

“That’s how we do things on the slymepit – hard evidence rules.”

Thanks for the laugh of the day!

27 Eshto March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Doubtthat: You are not being charitable, and you’re reacting with snark. This is exactly how these rifts occur. Re-read Nugent’s suggestions again.

28 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

SueinNM #26:

Is that comment supposed to get under my skin or something? Cause if so, it doesn’t.

If you don’t think this is an accurate statement on how the pit operates, why don’t you explain why?

29 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Well, for one, responding instead of reacting, we could respond to someone’s ENTIRE statement, not just the bits we can use to bag on them for. For example, at #15, Metalogic said:

I also agree with Renee #8. Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

The difference as far as I can tell is that they take a deontological approach (“tell men not to rape, don’t blame the victim”) vs. my consequentialist approach (“what’s the most effective way to actually lower the incidence of rape?”).

Now, at no point is Metalogic saying “yay, RAPE!” Nor is he excusing it. He’s showing an example of the difference in the way he sees Skepchick et al approaching the problem vs. his approach.

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

however, what do we see happening?

Comment #17 from doubtthat:

I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success.

So, in the twenty-first century people weren’t receptive to your nuanced views on rape?

Color me shocked.

What the hell? In addition to a shitty quotemine, (something that I thought was bad), doubtthat deliberately misrepresents what Metalogic said, requiring metalogic to say, in comment #20:

doubtthat #17:

I don’t have nuanced views on rape. Rape is wrong. I do, however, have nuanced views on rape *prevention*.

What was the point of doubtthat’s reaction? Well, a fairly obvious reading was to, once again, follow the FTB/Skepchick schtick of casting anyone “from the ‘pit” as a pro-rape misogynist. Well Poisoned.

What’s the point of even trying to talk to doubtthat and their allies when they repeatedly show, again, and again, that they have no interest whatsoever in such a thing. That’s not the action of someone who is willing to discuss different approaches to a problem. That’s someone who is convinced of their own righteousness and the only interest they have in other approaches is shutting them down.

When the FTB lot and their allies have said the only way we’ll talk to you is for you to agree with us in all things, ala Adam Lee, Benson, Zvan, Canuck, et al, all the while completely misrepresenting your position on any- and everything how can you even begin to talk to people doing that?

No one is in sole possession of the “right” answer for complex issues. But to be cast as something I’m not because I won’t follow someone else’s lead? To be “ordered” to explain my opinion on a site where I’m not only pre-emptively banned, but have been since the site’s inception, not because of anything I’ve done to the person running the blog, but because I hang out somewhere they don’t LIKE?

For any kind of dialogue to happen BOTH sides have to be willing to set aside their desire to rub their opponents nose in it. Doubtthat showed, in less than 20 comments, how they at least are completely unwilling to do that. There’s no way to have a dialogue when one group requires complete capitulation and mindless agreement on every subject first.

30 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

@29

You’re right. My fault. Let’s see these fresh new theories on rape prevention that in no way have been discussed for the last half century. I spoke too soon.

31 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

This remains to be seen.

32 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

@27

If you think these divides have occurred because of “snark,” you’re the one holding the incredibly uncharitable view of this “community.”

I would argue that snark angers people who disagree, it does not generate disagreement. If you base a view on your distaste for a person’s style, one must question the commitment to reasoned inquiry.

33 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm

@ 24

You have no objections to change within a community, you just have a specific objection to a certain instance of a change, yet you try to rely on traditionalism as a defense.

Please read my post at #3 above for the actual defense which is not traditionalism.

It would be a dilution of the limited resources available to spend some on atheistic concerns, some on the Israel-Palestinian issues, some on gender politics, some on global warming, and some on the offsides rule.

34 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Thanks for all of the positive feedback.

Some quick thoughts…

Item 1 does not require that everyone agrees on all of the items. It suggests that they are among core issues on which we broadly agree. It may be that people who self-identify as atheists agree more on some, and people who self-identify as skeptics agree more on others, but we can tease that out during the dialogue.

I agree with Russell’s interpretation of accommodationism. We can take a robust position on issues such as that religion and science are incompatible, without being uncivil in how we present that robust position.

Yes, we do have to tease out what we mean by the idea of an atheist and skeptic community, or communities, and how many of them there are, and how much they overlap and interact.

Yes, we have to move beyond labels for the purpose of this dialogue. We will have to build trust a little bit at a time, and that is why I am proposing starting with items on which there is agreement, then moving through principles of how we can choose to behave, and ending with practical actions.

No, a grand unified theory of non-belief isn’t going to happen. This will end in an agreement among those individuals who choose to take part, on whatever it is that we end up agreeing on. And some of it will be agreeing to differ on substance, but maybe agreeing on a process by which we address those disagreements.

Doubtthat, your ‘color me shocked’ comment is a good example of how, in almost no time at all, just one sarcastic comment can start a mini-escalation of hostilities of the kind that this dialogue is intended to counter. I know that you probably wrote it out of habit, because that has been the tone of so many interactions of the last two years, and that if you hadn’t written it somebody else would have probably written something similar, but that is part of what we are trying to move beyond.

Can I ask that we not discuss the details of rape prevention theory (or any other specific issue) on this particular post? I can open up another post for that discussion if you want. But I would like this particular discussion to focus on the proposed agenda and how we can further the process generally.

35 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

@33

Yes, you were relying on traditionalism. The topics you don’t want included aren’t core to atheism, in your opinion, and you want to “go back” to the way it was before. There are topics traditional to atheism, feminism isn’t one of them, according to you (however that works out specifically), and you want it to go off on its own somewhere else because its harming the True Atheist causes.

You do not, however, share the view of the many, many skeptics who believe the same about atheism – it wastes time, harms recruitment, and isn’t a traditional topic for such ventures.

You said this:

What I don’t want is to have people (such as doubtthat) who have implied that the atheism portion of their motivations is the lesser valued reason for their activism.

Yes, the philosophical exercise of discussing whether there is or is not a god is relatively meaningless separate from the social and political implications of arguing such. You, yourself, have advanced a set of political policy goals as relevant to atheism. You are in agreement with me, you just don’t agree on the specifics.

What would you say about someone who argued that science education isn’t really central to being an atheist? There’s no necessary connection, as the many, many alt-med atheist weirdos have shown.

36 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

@34

Your blog, will do.

37 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

sigh…at 29:

regardless of the subject being discussed, when the response to any opinions not in full agreement with your own is that, what’s the point of taking you even vaguely seriously? You’ve established that you think anyone not agreeing with you on [issue] is wrong. So what’s the point in talking to you at all?

This “if you disagree with me you’re wrong” is given even more evidence in the very next reply:

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

This remains to be seen.

Why should anyone who does not “toe the line” to your opinion with regard to any subject whatsoever even bother to talk to you, or have any desire to include you in any activity?

You’ve shown that if someone disagrees with you, they’re wrong, and the only way you’ll talk to them in that case is via constant snark and well-poisoning so that everyone else knows what happens if they dare to disagree with you.

It is clear, *crystal* clear that the only people you have any interest in other than as a target are people who already agree with you in all things. You only support diversity in the most superficial manner, that of external appearance. When it comes to diversity of opinion or thought or approach, you not only have no interest in THAT, you actively attack it.

How does anyone work with someone like you on any goal when you only accept your way?

Finally, at 32:

I would argue that snark angers people who disagree, it does not generate disagreement. If you base a view on your distaste for a person’s style, one must question the commitment to reasoned inquiry.

that’s ridiculous. Snarking at someone is by definition dismissive. You’re saying you don’t consider anything they’re saying worthy of serious consideration. What kind of commitment to “reasoned inquiry” have you shown here? None. One either completely and totally agrees with you in all things, or you attack them.

Exactly where is the ‘reasoned inquiry’ in that? Or with anyone on your side, because you are hardly an edge case or an outlier.

38 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thanks, doubtthat.

I just think we’ve reached a stage where we need to focus on the process if we are to make this work. Let’s give it a chance and see how it evolves.

39 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

John, I’ve addressed some of the points you made in comment 36, in the last two paragraphs of my comment 34.

40 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Michael Nugent #34:

Opening another post for that discussion might be a good idea, but I’d recommend holding off until a few people other than myself express interest.

For something more on topic, I think I’ve done pretty much all I can do to further the process on my side. I’d like it if some of the “big names” from the “other side” chimed in with their thoughts. And my offer for insult-free discussions about feminism issues on neutral ground perpetually stands, if they want it.

Furthermore, here’s some thoughts regarding your point (2). While I reserve the right to say anything I want within the bounds of the law, that’s not even really my major disagreement with FTB et al. It’s that I don’t understand why the crass and sometimes rude behavior on places like the slymepit bothers them so much.

So maybe a little bit of personal information about me might be in order. First off, I’ve been called names and been treated rudely a lot. I’ve also had a lot worse happen to me. I’ve had friends and relatives die. I’ve seen people go to prison for hard drug use. I’ve been cheated on. I’ve known people who were raped. I’ve had fists swung at me. I’ve even had guns pointed at me a few times. In the neighborhood where I live, police sirens are background noise. I’ve seen real homophobia and racism in action, in the form of hate crimes.

I’m not trying to play oppression olympics here (I don’t want victim points, I prefer to move past the bad and enjoy the good in life); this is just to point out that comparatively, being called a “cunt” by a bunch of people on Twitter isn’t that bad, and how anyone could actually be hurt by something like that baffles me.

41 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

@38

Fair enough. I’m skeptical of how it will work out, but I do understand the difference between withholding enthusiasm and actively subversion.

My apologies, to you and the folks who were upset by my snark. I will bury that impulse here (if you meet me on the streets though, whoa boy, I’ll snark the shit out anyone in rape-based discussion).

42 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Michael, again thanks. I’m a very, very minor player in all of this but do want to see some sort of resolution. Please let me know how I can help.

43 Myriad March 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

A possibly useful tool for agenda item #1: Visitor’s Guide to the Common Ground.

44 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm

If there is anything I can do to further in this I am happy to oblige. However I am an extremely small cog in the wheel and it is better if more prominent members of the community stepped up.

45 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

@33

From Atheist Alliance International-Dublin Declaration:

Personal Freedoms

Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others.
All people should be free to participate equally in the democratic process.
Freedom of expression should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. There should be no right ‘not to be offended’ in law. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and should not be enacted.

Secular Democracy

The sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any god or gods.
The only reference in the constitution to religion should be an assertion that the State is secular.
The State should be based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason, and not religious faith, to evidence.
Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.
Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.
Membership of a religion should not be a basis for appointing a person to any State position.
The law should neither grant nor refuse any right, privilege, power or immunity, on the basis of faith or religion or the absence of either.

Secular Education

State education should be secular. Religious education, if it happens, should be limited to education about religion and its absence.
Children should be taught about the diversity of religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours.
Children should be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.

One Law For All

There should be one secular law for all, democratically decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes.
The law should not criminalise private conduct because the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral, if that private conduct respects the rights and freedoms of others.
Employers or social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.

That’s what an atheism “movement” should be about. A clearly defined and rather short list of things to focus on. If you feel that you personal efforts need to be directed in any other advocacy, by all means, please do so. If advocacy of the above principles is not important to you, I suggest that other groups would welcome you with open arms.

In so much as you wish to assist in espousing the above principles, I too welcome you.

46 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

@MetaLogic:

Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

Weird. I said a bunch of stuff about patriarchy, rape culture, etc. on the last thread and you didn’t respond to any of it.

47 kntk March 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm

A possibly useful tool for agenda item #1: Visitor’s Guide to the Common Ground.

A thread about atheism+ and freethoughtblogs. I won’t tell them they’re actually being harassed if you don’t.

48 Cian March 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Well done Michael for sticking with this and hopefully beginning some sort of resolution.
My own personal bias was that I thought Richard Dawkins and Paula Kirby were good people who were misrepresented. I have never really seen much evidence of decency from Myers and Watson through there online personalities, but I am prepared to take your word for it ( I suppose many people can turn into barbarians in front of the keyboard ). As I don’t personally know any of them, I could be totally wrong.
Best of luck with this …. if we could get rid of the hypocrisy I feel we would be well on the way!

49 Brony March 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

@ John C. Welch 29

I could also counter by asking what is the point of having a discussion with someone who will tar the entire opposition as having the same characteristics?

What was the point of doubtthat’s reaction? Well, a fairly obvious reading was to, once again, follow the FTB/Skepchick schtick of casting anyone “from the ‘pit” as a pro-rape misogynist. Well Poisoned.

Sorry but I see arguments against persons from the pit, and content on the pit. This is a cartoon.

When the FTB lot and their allies have said the only way we’ll talk to you is for you to agree with us in all things, ala Adam Lee, Benson, Zvan, Canuck, et al, all the while completely misrepresenting your position on any- and everything how can you even begin to talk to people doing that?

So I guess the folks at FTB all agree with each other on everything? That’s the logic of your paragraph there. With respect to mischaracterization, I see quite a few of your own in your statements as well.

No one is in sole possession of the “right” answer for complex issues. But to be cast as something I’m not because I won’t follow someone else’s lead? To be “ordered” to explain my opinion on a site where I’m not only pre-emptively banned, but have been since the site’s inception, not because of anything I’ve done to the person running the blog, but because I hang out somewhere they don’t LIKE?

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.

For any kind of dialogue to happen BOTH sides have to be willing to set aside their desire to rub their opponents nose in it. Doubtthat showed, in less than 20 comments, how they at least are completely unwilling to do that. There’s no way to have a dialogue when one group requires complete capitulation and mindless agreement on every subject first.

You also have some tribalism to set aside. Hyperbole is mischaracterization in your case.

Though I should not have to say it, I am not defending Doubtthat.

50 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Thanks, Michael Nugent. I would like to make a few notes, for I am interested in any positive dialogue. I will add the demonisation by some of others is a major handicap; there are some who are simply not interested in dialogue, but only in what they perceive as victory, and that will remain so.

Concretely:
yes, this conflict grew out of the so-called Gnu/accomodationist fight. The tactics often used by many on the Gnu side were what was responsible for pushback against the Gnu position; in other words, the rhetoric and tactics used by certain Gnus led to there being far more pushback against the Gnus than would have otherwise existed. This is an important point, since exactly that process led to there being far more pushback against the atheism+ thang than would have otherwise existed. In fact, the word “accommodating” has now become a dirty word with some, and Michael Nugent himself has very recently been slurred as “accommodating”.

Bluntly, certain FTB/A+ people thought they could simply steamroller criticism. They failed, and it was a failure that was certain, and will always happen when people think they can simply pressure opposition or criticism out of existence. Now they decry the tactics used by some on the anti-A+/FTB side, without acknowledging that those tactics – some of which are abhorrent – were in fact born of their own FTB/etc culture. The attempts to slur oppositional figures as people only because of their opposition? Guess where that was born. The FTB can own it, additionally since as already noted, homophobic, anti-transsexual, misogynistic language was completely OK with them when it suited them. Much of their abuse was only muted because of pressure from the outside, and the publicization of their cognitive dissonance between their claimed goals and their abusive tactics. And as discovered with Atheist Ireland, that kind of culture of allowed over-the-line abuse was quite widespread, no?

Possible resolutions:
A) It would be helpful for anti-”accommodationists” to acknowledge a couple of points; one, that they do not need to damn every atheist who criticises them as the Evil Enemy, and two, that they don’t need to convert all the so-called accommodationists in order to be successful in the wider world. That misconception, the public stance that they need to convert critics before going on to win in the outside world, is both ridiculous and also a narcissistic construction of Them vs. Us.

B) It would no doubt be helpful of so-called accommodationists not to paint anti-”accommodationists” as the last word in Stalinism. To this end, Russell Blackford has stated his intentions not to be overly nasty to the so-called “accommodationists”, and I for one can try to be more understanding and more civil in response. I apologise to Russell Blackford if I’ve said anything over-the-top in his direction.

C) Stop allowing without rebuttal Abbie Smith’s blog (ERV) to be slurred as the “slimepit”. In principle, nothing on ERV was worse than what went as SOP on Pharyngula; the hypocrisy is enormous on that score. Pharyngula is Pharyngula, ERV is ERV and not the “slimepit”. Yes, I know the continuation of the threads on the new board the Slymepit is deliberately called that in order to mock the FTB slurs, However, if any progress is to be made, then FTB’ers will need to stop slurring everyone who even mildly disagrees with them as “slimepitters”. As noted on another thread of yours, Rorschach for one described jean Kazez, Kylie Sturgess, Jeremy Stangroom and Russell Blackford all as “slimepitters”. Exactly how ridiculous can it get any further after that?

D) The attempts to ostracise certain people have to stop. Michael Nugent, I note you have invited several as speakers who are directly responsible for such ostracism campaigns. Whether it’s PZ Myers calling for an organised campaign to “give Justin Vacula the cold shoulder” (whatever that means exactly), whether it’s Szvan and Thibeault’s attempts to spam a science-communication conference hashtag with their slurs, whether it’s the hideous and misogynistic personal abuse directed at Abbie Smith, Miranda Celeste Hale, Harriet Hall, Sara Mayhew and others, or the disingenuous attempts to pressure organistions into not having those people as speakers while still trying to claim there’s no blacklist, this shit has to stop.

There’s nothing magical about any of this. No, neither atheism nor skepticism can somehow be magically redefined to include what one claims to be one’s political goals. No, the opposition to such attempts is not dominated by misogynist and/or Libertarian atheists; in fact, from my observations, there are a large number of women and lefties posting on the Slymepit, and slurring them all as misogynist or as libertarian is only that, empty slurring. The Slymepit is not some magical entity comprising all that is evil and wrong; it’s a very loose and disparate collection of people with nothing much in common except opposition to authoritarian tactics.

But as long as the offenders keep on attempting their ostracism tactics, their pattern of slurring and personal abuse, then you can expect such opposition to gather.

E) Again, again, it always comes down to the difference between claimed goals and real goals. As a former trade-union activist and organiser who has organised and led a strike on the factory floor, I get very unimpressed by screamers who claim to be on the side of social justice, when it is obvious that being abusive in a pack towards whomever they can be is in fact their real goal, not social justice in any form. Some people need to get real.

F) Economic and social justice are worthwhile goals. There is a place for promoting them within skepiticism and/or atheism, however atheism and skepticism as such as reconginsable concepts that will defy all attempts to redefine them as concepts on the basis of personal bias.

Michael Nugent, all of this is a wake-up call for atheists in general. Too much was permitted on the grounds of “he’s on our side”, too much went on in the name of attacking the religious, the culture of abuse was obvious.

I realise you wish certain attacks on people like Ophelia Benson et al to stop; the easiest method of achieving that would be to achieve a general culture of non-abusiveness among atheists. And that will only happen is abuse and ostracism are condemned where they happen, and a blind eye is not turned upon such things.

51 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Well, as Nugent is aware, since it was a tweet directed to him and Ophelia Benson in response to his announcement of this thread, to which he replied, Amanda Marcotte has a solution:

“If we eliminate people who don’t want an inclusive community, there are no rifts.”

52 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Brony@48:

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster?

PZ has a policy of instantly banning any ‘pitters commenting on Pharyngula. Not FtB in general, but Pharyngula certainly.

53 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

From the OP:

They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

Emphasis mine. I’m still seeing a LOT of this in the comments here.

54 oolon March 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

The FTB can own it, additionally since as already noted, homophobic, anti-transsexual, misogynistic language was completely OK with them when it suited them.

I thought you were not allowing comments that were defamatory and blatantly untrue? I know its tucking in amongst a lot of bloviating but its there….

55 maximus March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

It is wonderful that you have continued this effort Michael, thank you.

56 Remick March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

@ Doubtthat 25

“Again, this is perfectly fine, but no one is trying to create a progressive/libertarian “community,” or lamenting the fact that there’s disagreement. Sure, the groups can work together in specific, discreet situations, but it isn’t a unified “movement” or however the hell we’re describing the atheist/skeptical category.”

From what I can tell only a few people are trying to join feminism to Atheism/skepticism. Why is that any different. Do they belong together? Not really. But breaking down Religion’s influence on people, policy, education, and culture helps many of the goals of feminism, so of course they should be joined. Right? I mean, if something benefits feminism they should merge with feminism.

Look, some Atheists/Skeptics are Feminists, some are not. Breaking down people’s bigotry and racism and sexism that is rooted in religion is a great thing. Why not just let that happen on its own? If people can’t excuse their views with their religion, or if pointing to the bible(or whatever) as an answer becomes completely unacceptable in mainstream culture won’t that result in furthering the goals of Feminism, as well as many other isms?

@ 24 you said.

“No, you just want to be in control of defining which subjects are relevant to atheism and skepticism.”

I would suggest that the subjects that are relevant to atheism should be religion V. Secularism. It may happen that ATHEISM is relevant to FEMINISM, but that does not make the reverse true.

As to Skepticism, I have found that Feminists are no different than anyone else in the world. “I want everyone to be skeptical about positions with which I disagree”. Well, what about the positions you do agree with? Do you get that being part of a Skepticism movement means all of your beliefs, solutions, ideals, narratives, and goals are going to be put through the ringer in terms of being challenged in every which way. That is part of Skepticism. The people who put them through the ringer are NOT your enemy. They are helping you. We all need people who don’t immediately agree with us to help us past our confirmation bias. What many of us hate, is when anyone comes in and says “YOU SHOULD BE MORE SKEPTICAL OF X” then in the same breath says “DONT YOU DARE DOUBT Z OR YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM”.

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of feminism. I welcome feminism into skepticism circles as long as challenging it doesn’t automatically make one a misogynist, or any other -ist. Feminism, like all -isms, gets some stuff right, and some stuff wrong. Skeptics are just trying to find the stuff that is wrong. Don’t hate them for it.

57 Remick March 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm

er, typo,

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of feminism.

should read

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of skepticism.

58 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Dan L #45:

See comments #163, 169, 176, 187, and 202 over on the previous thread.

But, if you want to discuss after all, let’s have Michael Nugent make that other thread he mentioned earlier and discuss it. You can have the first move, and point to your previous comments which I haven’t addressed.

59 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

More defamatory rubbish… Can you get away with it if you don’t name names, just paint the whole of FtBs with having “done” this?

misogynistic personal abuse directed at Abbie Smith, Miranda Celeste Hale, Harriet Hall, Sara Mayhew

Sara Mayhew claimed saying she was “ragging on” Skepchicks was a gendered slur and misogynistic… So now Gurdur thinks that is misogyny! Given he comes from a forum where calling women on FtBs cunts is *not* misogyny then… Well… Where is the moderation?

60 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Applestairs #51 – I saw that and I have an issue with it. I keep re-reading it and it just smacks of something that isn’t quite right. Removing all who don’t completely agree is the base of that tweet. Something isn’t quite right about that format.

61 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

MetaLogic@58:

I don’t want to have some tedious meta-discussion about how I said I didn’t want to discuss those things when in reality I said I wasn’t currently discussing those things (two separate concepts).

The simple fact of the matter is that if you look at my comments in that thread I did have quite a lot to say about those particular topics. You didn’t engage with any of it.

62 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Brony #49:

You said, “I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.”

Here are two examples:
http://24.media.tumblr.com/78eb352f6c3ea52ef8018c291e96dcf2/tumblr_mfpto1OcuL1s04ltdo1_1280.png

http://25.media.tumblr.com/4decb12b2c421e815fb44e13767d00a6/tumblr_mfjdzr1E2Z1s04ltdo1_1280.png

63 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm

@Remick

1) No, there are more than a few people. Just like with politics, the fundamental reality of the nation is changing (don’t want to comment on the other countries involved in this). More women than men go to college. Women are eager to participate and lead these skeptical/atheist groups precisely because of the damage religion consistently inflicts on women. Their concerns will soon be the majority concerns of this “community.”

You’re fighting a losing battle if you think you’re going to exclude feminism from atheism/skepticism. If the group splinters I promise you that people talking about Bigfoot and the Kalaam Cosmological will carry significantly less sway than those focusing on social and political issues (that’s not to say I don’t find other topics interesting).

2)

Breaking down people’s bigotry and racism and sexism that is rooted in religion is a great thing. Why not just let that happen on its own?

Because nothing happens “on its own.” There is no law that says reducing the influence of religion will necessarily result in policies favorable to women.

It amuses me that people think just getting rid of religion will be sufficient. This isn’t true on any level, and no one involved with this community actually believes such. It’s a two step process: argue against religion, replace it with something better.

We have examples of countries that eliminated the existing traditional religions and filled that void with something just as bad. We can all rattle them off pretty easily.

When the ignorance caused by religion is eliminated, it has to be replaced with science education, otherwise you just end up with godless gibberish psuedoscience. The position of the feminist/atheist community is that the ancient religious structures that have harmed women need to be marginalized and then replaced with something that is better for women.

Certainly in a historical sense the role of women in our modern society derives directly from the Abrahamic religions. That is not to say, however, that religious belief is necessary for the marginalization of women. Those problems tend to become self-sustaining after a certain amount of time. If, for example, all churches suddenly disappeared, the result would not be the elimination of the gendered wage gap.

3) I am happy to discuss any issue of feminism skeptically–with statistics, empirical studies, and the best evidence that can be provided. It’s because I’m familiar with that material that I happily identify as a feminist. Mr. Nugent, however, has requested that we not do that here, so I’m not engaging.

64 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

#51 Applestairs

Well, as Nugent is aware, since it was a tweet directed to him and Ophelia Benson in response to his announcement of this thread, to which he replied, Amanda Marcotte has a solution:
“If we eliminate people who don’t want an inclusive community, there are no rifts.”

In the spirit of this dialogue, I am choosing to interpret ambiguous comments charitably.

Amanda was responding directly to a tweet linking to the dialogue post, which includes the lines:

It is aimed at those of us who want to move beyond the rifts and to build strong, inclusive, caring and supportive atheist and skeptic communities and groups, that promote robust and rational debate of issues while avoiding needlessly hurting people.
It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people.

I am assuming that Amanda meant that if the dialogue process is limited to people who want an inclusive community, then there would be no rifts among that subset of people.

She doesn’t seem to me to be advocating eliminating people in any sinister sense.

65 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Michael,

I think your agenda is out of order. #2 has to come before #1 imho. You can’t even begin to “work together on core issues on which we broadly agree” until we “balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.”

#3 is a non-starter. You can’t tell any particular segment of the A / S movement that they can’t or shouldn’t mix their A / S with their SJ, which is what submariner is suggesting above. Submariner has no right to tell other athiests or skeptics or conference organizers what they can or can not advocate for under the A / S banner. Plain and simple.

If FTB or Skepchick want to fight for social justice and simultaneously wave the A / S banner, that is their right and no one should feel entitled enough to tell them to stop.

Conversely, if the JREF wants to limit it’s own scope to classic skepticism, big foot, ufo’s, etc… then that is their right and no one else should feel entitled enough to force them to talk about SJ issues. If the JREF doesn’t want speakers at TAM to talk about feminism, that’s fine, then feminists are free not to attend.

This has been the A+ / SJ stance from the very beginning, if YOU (proverbial) don’t want to talk about SJ, then fine, but we’ll be damned if we’ll let you bully, troll or intimidate us in to not talking about it ourselves.

I think you’ll find #3 is not on the table for discussion and #2 is not going to happen as long as you have misogynists and MRA’s actively trying to oppose any effort by feminists to speak their minds and vice versa.

The problem happens when feminists speak out, the anti-feminists attack them in multiple forums and social networking spaces.

Feeling attacked, the feminists defend themselves, which often involves pointing out the misongynistic and patriarchical attitudes of their attackers, which they in turn take as slanderous or libelous.

This is a no win situation.

66 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

#60 Renee

I’ve removed one of your double posts. And I’ve responded to what you were saying in comment #63.

67 Myriad March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

@47:

A thread about atheism+ and freethoughtblogs.

Indeed. It seemed a particularly appropriate place to post a short essay about the nature and value of common ground, that was inspired by the ongoing “rift.”

I won’t tell them they’re actually being harassed if you don’t.

Well poisoning.

(Also, nice job patronizing “them,” whomever you’re referring to as being harassed. I’m sure they will be grateful to you for being so protective.)

68 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I would like to make one note here:
oolon, in the middle of making some very vague accusations not worth worrying about in the slightest, made (no doubt in mistake), one very concrete claim. I have links, exact quotes and/or screenshots for all claims I have madem myself.

Oolon claimed, “Given he [Gurdur] comes from a forum where calling women on FtBs cunts is *not* misogyny then… Where is the moderation?”

I am not a member of the Slymepit forum board. I run two forum boards of my own, the Heathen Hangout and the Heathen Hub. On neither forum that I own is it OK to go in for abuse of that nature. In fact, there was a dedicated follower of Pharyngula who constantly posted approving links to Pharyngula on the Hangout, without any stopping of that by me as admin.

It is most certainly not OK on my forums to allow mass denigration of women anywhere, including women on FTB. In fact I mod and admin to cut down as much personal abuse as I can, and on my blog I also appeal to commentatorys to keep it reasonably civil about others, includimg others on FTB. Just let it be noted Oolon has made both a completely false claim about me (not for the first time, either), and also tried yet again at an attempt at guilt by alleged association.

The Slymepit comprises very different people. Renee Hendricks is not the same person as Gina, who is not the same woman as Scented Nectar. The Slymepit is a forum that has very very limited moderation, and that is a principle in and of itself; to slur someone who actually is a member of the Slymepit as being all tolerant of misogynistic abuse is only to open up the can of worms yet again that on FTB and Pharyngula in particular homophobic, misogynist and anti-transsexual hate-speech was allowed till very recently, and only stopped because of criticism from outside. Should we then condemn oolon, who does post on FTB blogs, as someone who then approves of misogynistic, homophobic, anti-trans hate.speech? Obviously not, not on that account alone. By the same principle, slurs by oolon on Slymepit members en masse are equally illegitimate.

I repeat, I am not a member of the Slymepit. Oolon has made a concrete claim which is completely false.

Cheers.

69 Brony March 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

@ DanL 52

PZ has a policy of instantly banning any ‘pitters commenting on Pharyngula. Not FtB in general, but Pharyngula certainly.

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

70 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Is the next phase to join up AVfM with the new FtB-pit? There are rather a lot of atheists on that site as well… According to a commenter talking with Metalogic42 on AVfM the Slymepit “feminist” poll that determined over 90% of the Slymepit are “feminists” would be agreed by over 90% of the posters at AVfM as well… So there are lots of atheist-feminists there as well, we can all hold hands and fight the patriarchy, oh wait!

71 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm

@Gurdur, was a member of the Slymepit as it was, so he does literally come from a forum that condones calling women cunts.

Try being more succinct Gurdur, didn’t take too many words to rebut you.

72 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Oolon, I direct you to comment 67, in which your concrete claim was shown to be completely false. I do realise from your conduct that you do not appear to be in favour of dialogue in general, but maybe then you could simply leave it be, and duck out of it, letting those who are get on with it, rather than trying it on with bizarre AVfM fantasies.

73 Stephanie Zvan March 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I “spammed” nothing. Neither did Jason. We had a discussion with a community (not just a conference) of which we are both part, and we were thanked by members of that community for our input.

74 kntk March 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Well poisoning.

(Also, nice job patronizing “them,” whomever you’re referring to as being harassed. I’m sure they will be grateful to you for being so protective.)

Oh i’m sure they are. The point, which to be fair I did obfuscate in sarcasm a bit is that talking about some people on a forum, is not enough to actually constitute harassment.

75 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

@Gurdur, you showed nothing to be false, were you or were you not a member of the Slymepit on ERVs threads?

Maybe I was too imprecise for you in my language… Gurdur was an enthusiastic member of the Slymepit threads where nice people like Franc Hoggle stated “If I was a girl I’d kick her in the cunt, cunt” … With not a word of dissention from the respectible Gurdur who comes here all distraught by the horrible language used by FtB bloggers and commenters.

Is that better Gurdur?

76 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

1) ERV’s blog is not a forum. It is a blog. There is a big difference between a blog and a forum, one which oolon would be aware of. When Oolon claims I was a member of a forum, or come from it, he is making a specific claim. His words, his claim, his garbage. The disingenous attempt to weasel out of it is not impressive.

2) On the guilt by association bit; that’s been done to death. The point has been made several times, and oolon is in no position to try that kind of emotive slurring.

3) Commenting on someone’s blog does not mean I “come from” even that blog. If I come from anywhere, it is from my own blog, the Hangout and the Hub.

4) Nonsubstantive disruptive trolling is only that.

77 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Metalogic42, Doubtthat, John C Welch and Dan L,

I have published a new post if you want to continue the discussion on rape prevention. I’ve included the comments made here in that post.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/discussion-on-rape-prevention-split-from-discussion-on-dialogue-agenda/

78 Brony March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@ Metalogic42

Just for the record the first image is not good evidence. But I can accept the second. I disagree with his position and think that one should ban based on behavior.

79 kntk March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@Gurdur, was a member of the Slymepit as it was, so he does literally come from a forum that condones calling women cunts.

Was he born there, raised by the slymepit elders? No I think he might have commented on a forum a year or so ago.

80 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm

@77

Thanks.

81 lurker March 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

If the JREF doesn’t want speakers at TAM to talk about feminism, that’s fine, then feminists are free not to attend.

Temporarily de-lurking: I’m a woman and a feminist. I’m excited about the lineup of speakers for the next TAM and very interested in what they have to say. Why would I not attend just because they won’t be talking about feminism?

82 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Michael #65 – I can capitulate to that. The problem with places like Twitter is your intent with regard to words is limited to 140 characters. I’ll relent that perhaps that’s what Marcotte had meant.

83 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

@Brony:

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

Step 1: Go to Pharyngula.
Step 2: Check the Dungeon page.
Step 3: Observe that PZ has explicitly stated that all Slymepitters will be banned. He says this himself. Horse’s mouth.

I’ve been essentially taking FtB’s side. I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m trying to help you not to put your foot in your mouth.

84 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Brony #77 – I was banned not because of my comment but because I was found to be a member of the Slymepit. It does not matter to PZ if you have a valid point. By your association *only* you are banned.

85 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

On the topic of banning, notice that just above Stephanie Zvan linked to a discussion about this Gurdur fellow. I know nothing about the situation, so I read the link. Here’s what a commenter said to Stephanie:

…and to have the Head Shitbitch of this Thread lie through her cum infested gums to do so…

I don’t know if the commenter was “from the pit” or posted there on a regular basis, but he/she was engaged in a dramatic defense of Gurdur who was being criticized for posting there.

Now, how many similar comments originating from the same location and in defense of the same topic would you have to read before preemptively banning people?

Obviously not everyone at the pit behaves that way, but (1) we’re talking about controlling internet blog comments, not depriving people of life, liberty, and due process, and (2) why should someone wait until they’re insulted like that after a certain number of experiences?

Whether or not you agree with Myers’ policy, surely you can understand how it came to be.

86 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Why would I not attend just because they won’t be talking about feminism?

Many feminists would probably still attend based on their interest in skepticism alone, but many others may find it a waste of time, preferring to spend their hard earned money on conferences that DO address the issues they are most passionate about. My point is that it’s all about personal choice. Unfortunately, some people tend to think any cross over is unforgivable and “moving the tent”.

87 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

@ 74

@Gurdur, you showed nothing to be false, were you or were you not a member of the Slymepit on ERVs threads?

Yes Gurdur, are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?

88 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

@ doubtthat 80

Why?

@Dan L 83, Renee Hendricks 84

See #78

89 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

@Submariner, so you see no issue with someone criticising FtBs for “misogynistic language” when they hung out at a thread full of misogynistic language but said nothing….? He still says nothing…

I have no problem with you or any one else hanging out at the pit, its up to you. I may criticise what goes on there, but I wouldn’t deny you the freedom to do it. I do have a problem with people from a place where it is almost universally accepted that calling women cunts is not misogyny popping up holier than thou and criticising FtBs for a few comments they have screencapped! Funny that Gurdur claims FtBs and even I am obsessed and envious of him when he is the one saving comments from years previously.

At least have the guts to say you don’t think these things are misogyny, not weasel about trying to use the standards you think FtBs are not adhering to in order to attack them. Cowardly and intellectually dishonest.

90 Cian March 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Has PZ Myers had anything at all to say on this discussion? Does he even think he has any responsibility in making amends? ( probably not – I have never seen him admit an error before ).

I think it would be worth finding out if he has any interest in dialogue. As he is the pope of FTB I would imagine that his clergy will not change their tune until he releases an encyclical asking to ease off on the heresy hunts and purity tests.

I can’t believe he has not had the odd peek at these comment pages.
As Gurdur pointed out – his treatment of accommodationists ( Stedman, Mooney, de Boitton ), non-liberal atheists ( Rogers, Hirsi Ali ), the religious or just anyone he disagrees with has been so dismissive and vitriolic over the last few years that like any good church his clergy were bound to see this pas down to the congregation as the proper modus operandi … Attack, Dismiss and then self congratulation!

Its just that some decided not to accept it and give some back.

91 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

@Brony

The numbers are getting screwed up because some posts get stuck in moderation. I was thanking Mr. Nugent fro opening a new thread.

92 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Brony #88 – See #62. That 1st link shows you *exactly* how I was banned simply because I’m a member of the Slymepit. Nothing more.

93 Remick March 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm

@ doubtthat 63.

I am not sure what your stats about more women going to college has anything to do with anything. It greatly matters what they go to college for, as I would suggest that there are several majors that may not lead to a rise in skepticism or atheism.

Regardless, I wouldn’t have any problem with there being more women then men in the skeptical movement.

Moving on. I also don’t have any issue with political and social issues being discussed regularly at skeptical events, or on skeptical forums or what have you. However, what is the correct amount? Who decides what political angle gets more time(or do MRAs get the same amount of time as feminists, do Liberals and Conservatives get equal time, what about libertarians)? Does this result in a drastic reduction of all non-social, non-political subjects? Can you see how this can be problematic? As you said, no one is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. But why should progressives and feminists be the only view allowed in the atheist movement? The attitude of the FtB crowd has been “We’re taking over! Kick the CHUDs out!”. Personally, I am a progressive, but I would never want the skeptical movement to be only a progressive movement. Is that what you want? If so, why? Do you think you have the right to demand it? Does anyone?

I don’t disagree that things don’t happen on their own. But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?

Also, removing the ability for bigots to justify their bigotry with religion leads to a much different conversation. It strips away a large wall that is in the way. Feminists also want that same wall striped down, but why does that mean Atheists need to be feminists?

As to #3, I am glad that you do want that. I wasn’t specifically asking you to do it here. That is all many of us want. Would you also dismiss a study or results that were then shown to not to have been collected in a scientific way, even if the conclusion was one you supported? Would you even check?

94 Remick March 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Sorry, just want to clarify. When I said “But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?” I wasn’t trying to suggest that Feminists can’t or shouldn’t be involved. Just that if it is in the name of Atheism, shouldn’t it be people doing it as Atheists, rather than as Feminists?

95 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

Still seeing a lot of this in comments here.

96 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Remick@94:

I wasn’t trying to suggest that Feminists can’t or shouldn’t be involved. Just that if it is in the name of Atheism, shouldn’t it be people doing it as Atheists, rather than as Feminists?

Are you proposing feminist atheists perform some sort of asexual reproduction before engaging in the atheist community? Identity is rather more complicated than your comment suggests, I think.

97 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

@ 89

While I am not obliged to perform any act of purity or contrition you deem necessary, I will say (speaking only for myself) this:

I do not consider calling a specific woman a ‘cunt’ to be misogynistic.

Your turn:

What exactly IS ” misogynistic language” ? The dictionary only defines those words separately.

98 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

@ Renee Hendricks 92

Actually read comment 78. The last two sentences should answer your question.

99 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

# 50 Gurdur

Thanks for those points, and in particular for your apology to Russell Blackford. I agree with you that we should not be demonizing or ostracizing people.

You have also made some assertions, which I accept that you sincerely believe to be true, about the motivations of other people.

Can I ask you to, for the purposes of this dialogue, to interpret their behavior and motivations charitably, just as you would like oolon to interpret charitably your clarification that you do not come from the forum he mentions?

For example, Stephanie Zvan has clarified at comment #73 that she did not spam a spam a science-communication conference hashtag.

And Aratina Cage has disavowed the comment you refer to as anti-transsexual and has clarified that here.

#59 oolon

Gurdur has clarified that he does not come from the forum you mention. Can you please accept his clarification on that?

100 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

@Renee

Brony #88 – See #62. That 1st link shows you *exactly* how I was banned simply because I’m a member of the Slymepit. Nothing more.

Not entirely true is it Renee? Do you think PZ has never heard of you before, or seen your comments about him? If there was a forum dedicated to trying to find the least charitable interpretation of everything I say and do, photoshops and insults on a daily basis… Would I let members of that forum comment freely at *my* blog? Definitely not! (Well in my case I’m so unpopular that I need the pitters comments to make it look like anyone reads it. But when I’m feted as the great blogger I am and have a regular readership they are totally banned!)

Me commenting at the Slymepit didn’t get me banned, other FtB’ers have commented there and recently I think erikthebassist did? They don’t join in the echo chamber of insult, demean and degrade though.

101 loyalb March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

“I see most of the escalating series of events as well-meaning people, on all perceived ‘sides’, making well-meaning comments, that were unintentionally hurtful to others, partly because they were made in environments where robust debate is encouraged and comments are made hastily.”

I may be misreading you, Michael, but I think you’re misdiagnosing the root cause of the rift. There isn’t a disagreement over the tone of the debate, or how the debate should be conducted. If both sides seem to agree on anything (and let’s face it, there are roughly two sides to this), it’s that strong ridicule will rule the day. The disagreement is over whether there should be a debate in the first place.

When Greta Christina writes that she “wants deep rifts,” an attitude seemingly shared by many in her coterie of atheists, I don’t think it’s being uncharitable to take her at her word. I think it’s also fair to ask whether she and others might be acting in ways that fulfill her wish.

How are we supposed to reconcile the various factions when one faction is openly, philosophically opposed to the idea of reconciliation?

I agree with much of what you’re saying. I appreciate your efforts and your discipline at being fair-minded. When you called out the Slymepit for some of its hurtful content, I think it was just and it made a real difference in the way their forum conducts itself. I’m not asking that you necessarily make a similarly detailed, blunt criticism of… let’s just call them FTB for convenience’s sake… but I think you’re overlooking a lot of dogmatic behavior on their part that’s standing in the way of progress.

Regards,
Loyal

102 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I am not sure what your stats about more women going to college has anything to do with anything. It greatly matters what they go to college for, as I would suggest that there are several majors that may not lead to a rise in skepticism or atheism.

It shows that women are increasingly participating in all levels of society. They now vote more frequently than men, for example, so the idea that there can be some wall created between “traditional” issues and “feminist” issues is just impossible in a demographic sense. The change is coming and its coming to all level of society, atheism and skepticism included.

However, what is the correct amount? Who decides what political angle gets more time…Can you see how this can be problematic? As you said, no one is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. But why should progressives and feminists be the only view allowed in the atheist movement?

I just don’t see this as a problem. It will be chosen by participants. There are fewer conservatives, for example, because in most countries we’re drawing participants from, conservatives tend to be religious. I’d imagine not many alt-med progressives want to run out to skeptical conferences and be told they’re wasting money on acupuncture.

I don’t disagree that things don’t happen on their own. But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?

Again, I would say, “not necessarily.”

There are some situations where the default is strong enough that a reduction of religious superstition, alone, would likely lead to an improvement of conditions for women – abortion, for example.

Yet there are many more instances where just eliminating religious ideals wouldn’t result in improvement. The pay gap is probably the clearest example, but consider something like Title IX. Though once again the prohibition and societal scorn aimed at women participating in sports has a clear root in religious social roles and concepts of modesty, it became a trend that extended beyond church goers. Just eliminating religion wouldn’t have produced the incredible sport opportunities available for women, it took the positive establishment of a law demanding equal rights.

…why does that mean Atheists need to be feminists?

I personally don’t care if they are or aren’t, I will just choose to spend my time with the feminist atheists. Others can choose differently, what I’m objecting to is the notion that concerns about feminist issues should be set aside so that we can all be in a movement together. Sorry, I think it’s too important.

Would you also dismiss a study or results that were then shown to not to have been collected in a scientific way, even if the conclusion was one you supported? Would you even check?

Of course.

103 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Renee Hendricks 92

I think I see what you mean now. That link is not good evidence because is shows you being banned, but without any other evidence I can’t tell why you were banned or if it was even for that comment.

The second link shows PZ explicitly saying that he bans based on association, so I can provisionally accept that.

104 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@Michael, I’ll say that I’ve never seen Gurdur comment at the new Slymepit… Given that’s what he thought I meant. I already commented that he did hang out at the old slimepit and that is what I was getting at. So sorry for the confusion!

105 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Dan

Suppose you attended an LGBT rally for ‘gay rights’ but half of the speakers were discussing the problems of racism still prevalent in society.

You might wonder why the organizers called it an LGBT rally.

106 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Brony #97 – You can even ask PZ (assuming he’ll be honest). The *only* reason that very reasonable comment resulted in me being banned is because I’m a member of the Slymepit. I call upon PZ Myers to be honest about this. I simply hope he’ll be open and honest about this.

107 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Oolon #100 – yes, it is very honest. That’s what PZ put out to *all* on his blog with regard to my comment. It wasn’t in anyway related to anyone that it was because he found my comment to be incorrect. He simply blocked me due to be a member of the Slymepit. That is easily found out.

108 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

To add to the other conversation, like it or not there will be people who want combined atheism/XXX activism. I am one of those with respect to feminism specifically because I see the damage done to women because of religion as relevant to atheist activism. For racism I see the inherent tribalism of religion as a contributing factor in historical and current racism. So I associate with FTB atheists.

My opinion is if you want atheism only activism, go participate in atheist only activist groups. I will participate in atheism+XXXX groups.

109 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Renee Hendricks 106

Brony #97 – You can even ask PZ (assuming he’ll be honest). The *only* reason that very reasonable comment resulted in me being banned is because I’m a member of the Slymepit. I call upon PZ Myers to be honest about this. I simply hope he’ll be open and honest about this.

No I will not ask PZ. This is not about me not accepting that PZ bans based on association. If you actually read comment 78 you will see that I said,

But I can accept the second. I disagree with his position and think that one should ban based on behavior.

So I do provisionally accept that PZ does this. The first picture does not show why the ban occurred. It is not good evidence.

110 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Oolon #100 – yes, it is very honest.

Not really you said that is the *only* reason he banned you…. Not the years of history between the Slymepit and FtBs that has consistently shown Pittizens don’t want to argue in good faith on FtBs? You might not agree with that statement but you’d be delusional if you didn’t agree that is a good summary of PZ’s opinion of you and the Pittizens!

111 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Suppose you attended an LGBT rally for ‘gay rights’ but half of the speakers were discussing the problems of racism still prevalent in society.

You might wonder why the organizers called it an LGBT rally.

I might go to a comicon wherehalf the speakers are discussing movies. I would still not wonder why it’s called comicon.

112 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Brony and Oolon – you can go through *years* of PZ Myer’s blog and see I’ve very rarely ever commented. The one time I do and when it’s discovered I participate in the Slymepit, I’m banned. It’s not rocket science, people.

In any case, I’m done with the he/she/they/whatever said. I’m more interested in what Michael is hoping to offer in actual structured dialogue. It’s my hope that many from both sides will wish to participate.

113 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Renee Hendricks @112

Renee, please read this very carefully. I am not saying that you were not banned for being a pitter, I am not saying you are lying.

I am assessing a single piece of evidence that I was shown. The fact that you say I need to do all those other things only proves my point that the picture is not good evidence.

Any kind of repair to any community has to include the ability to dispassionately assess evidence.

114 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

@105 Submariner

I know you were searching for an example, and Dan handled the broader point, but you must realize how much of an issue race is in that community.

I would be more surprised to go to an LGBT rally or conference or whatever where race wasn’t mentioned.

115 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Brony:

PZ has repeatedly said that he bans any known slymepitter “on sight”. Examples are:

“… you’re a slymepitter and apologist for misogynist vermin, with a history of disingenuous sliming. Banned, as all of your kind are, on sight.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/07/i-do-love-a-good-snark/comment-page-1/#comment-530808

“That rocko2466 was banned for none of those things. He was banned for being one of those sleazy lying ‘pitters.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/25/most-excellent-news/comment-page-1/#comment-570147

116 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Step 1: Go to Pharyngula.
Step 2: Check the Dungeon page.
Step 3: Observe that PZ has explicitly stated that all Slymepitters will be banned. He says this himself. Horse’s mouth.

Where does he say that? The only mention of the Slymepit I found on that page is the following:

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

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.

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

I think you are misrepresenting things a bit, aren’t you?

117 Remick March 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm

@ doubtthat 102

Sorry, the quote layering is getting rather complicated, but I’ll some up here.

I agree about the changing demographics etc… Though I think(or hope I suppose) that these issues would still be just as important even if women were not entering the movement in larger numbers. I agree that women entering more levels of society in larger numbers will only lead to better things, yet I fail to see how this affects only “feminist” issues. Rather I think this will help provide different and hopefully better solutions to all issues.

I think you are correct in regards to conservatives, though Libertarians tend to be atheists in larger percentages than progressives. So maybe someone is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. I agree, it should be chosen by participants.

I agree about Title IX, though I would add one caveat. Laws can help equalize things in the short term, but eliminating religion can help make such laws no longer needed in the long term. But it is a great example. Even with plenty of women’s sports and athletes out there, they draw less viewership than men’s sports. Is it just cultural? Or do the physical differences between men and women play some role in this? If they do, is this ok? Should Olympic sports be separated by male/female? If so, which? Which shouldn’t be?

As to your last point, I certainly don’t begrudge people if they want to have their own movements that best reflects which issues are most important to them. What I do have a problem with is people taking a movement and changing it and disinviting a lot of people from it. Which is what is happening(or being attempted). Don’t pretend that isn’t what some people have been trying to make happen, just because you aren’t one of them personally.

I have had very minor disagreements with FtB/A+ over the yearish amount of time I have been aware of it. Though it is almost always over approach and tactics. Not anything major, though I am not very welcome there and viewed as a troll.

Also, apologies if I ask too many questions. I haven’t posted on this board before today. I don’t know you at all, and am genuinely interested in what you have to say.

118 Skepsheik March 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Russell, (comment 4) I think we have a (civil!) disagreement over accomodationism. I would place myself fully in the non-accomodationist camp and yet I don’t think I have any major disagreements with the likes of Chris Mooney or Michael Ruse over core issues of science and religion. Both accomodationists and non-accomodationists are atheists who agree that science and traditional religion are incompatible in terms of how they provide validated knowledge about the world. The difference is that accomodationists seek to temper the public language of atheism so that moderate religious people can find a gap or two to squeeze in their God.
It is a political approach to forming alliances that creates two standards; one, for fellow atheists, is more strict, requiring firm evidence and justification; the other, for the moderate religious allies, is far more nebulous, and open to personal interpretation, feeling etc.
I see a similar structure being constructed in the current atheist movement regarding the acceptance of highly speculative and unsupported aspects of academic feminist theory.
The other, and probably more pertinent, similarity to accomodationism is the requirement that we must not, on pain of atheist excommunication, offend our erstwhile allies.
As Esteleth said on PZ’s Pharyngula google hangout:
“I could say all manner of words, you know; I have the right to do that, I have the freedom of speech. But my right to do that ends the second that someone who is affected by those words hears me.”
This statement was not contested by any of the other Pharyngulites, not even by PZ himself. The ongoing war on misogynist atheists is pretty much defined by the idea that certain words are verboten in polite company, due to the fact that certain individuals consider them ‘gendered epithets’ of such potency that one does not even need speak their name to put oneself beyond the pale. Merely posting in the same forum as someone who has used those words is enough to induce the required countermeasure – ‘slymepitter! banned!’
Now I, presumably like you, hate the idea of saying something simply to try to offend. I do, however, think that occasionally, as in the case of religious debate, a little reductio ad absurdum, or even pointed satire, can be useful – at the very least for influencing those reading from the sidelines.
The idea that we must give up our right to free speech whenever it offends others, must be resisted, whether the call comes from a religious authority or an atheist ‘freethinker’.
The influence of dogmatic religious thinking presses down all aspects of society like a slowly melting ice-age glacier. We in the atheist community are doing our bit, kindling fires of reason wherever we can. Whether it is writing a letter to a newspaper questioning religious privilege or adding a comment about Santa to an online religious apologetic article on the Huffington post, it all has an effect turning the religious climate around. Forgive me if I fail to heed the call of the social justice warriors in our midst, to drop the successful approach of the recent past and instead simply stand at the head of the glacier and push.

119 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Here’s another example:

PZ: “… just take it as given that slymepit denizens get banned and deleted on sight …”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/04/its-a-good-idea-its-depressing-that-its-necessary/comment-page-1/#comment-504040

120 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm

@ Coel

Please read my other posts. As I have tried to point out I do accept that PZ is doing that based on a piece of the evidence that I presented. It is a specific piece of evidence that I had issue with. It was a technical issue. An important technical issue.

Any kind of community healing also has to include people willing to check conversation context more carefully.

121 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I meant to say “…that I was presented.”

122 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Dear Brony,
Sure, I wasn’t criticising you, just presenting more evidence. Cheers, Coel.

123 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm

@117 Remick

I’ve enjoyed talking with you, regardless of whether we agree or not.

Even with plenty of women’s sports and athletes out there, they draw less viewership than men’s sports. Is it just cultural? Or do the physical differences between men and women play some role in this? If they do, is this ok? Should Olympic sports be separated by male/female? If so, which? Which shouldn’t be?

It’s probably an entertainment issue. Maybe this changes over time as the quality of the sports improve and the viewership increases, both as more generations of participants roll by.

I was a baseball player in a pretty large school. There were women on our basketball team that went on to play in the WNBA. I played with them on several occasions….yes, the olympics should be separated (anyone is welcome to fill in the hanging implication). That will get more interesting over time, however, as the scientific understanding and manipulation of hormones and genes increases.

What I do have a problem with is people taking a movement and changing it and disinviting a lot of people from it. Which is what is happening(or being attempted). Don’t pretend that isn’t what some people have been trying to make happen, just because you aren’t one of them personally.

I think one point of disagreement between us involves whether that can or should be stopped.

I would argue that it has always been thus. There was no point where “atheism” or “skepticism” had a static set of acceptable subjects. Consider how scientific developments specifically affect these groups. It would be impossible to halt change on that level, and I view the increased emphasis on women’s issues (soon to be “issues”) just another source of that change.

I would anticipate that much of this will solve itself as the market for these conferences continues to balance out along gender lines — they’re going to have to represent those interests to stay viable.

124 oolon March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Oh yeah… Deeeep Rifffttts!!! http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/so-heres-what-happened.html

Its disorienting how quickly Melissa McEwan assessed the “atheist community” and decided she wants to do her own thing… (Thanks to John Brown partly there)

“I’ll be over here carving out my own space, in the shape of a fat cunt.*”

Now why does she also not need to engage in “dialogue” with the Pittizens? Actually she doesn’t seem that impressed with PZ’s feminist credentials so why does PZ not *have* to open a dialogue with her to stop the “movement” fracturing?

* Note to pittizens this is not a feminist giving you licence to call her this without it being “misogyny” (I’m not joking for anyone outside this argument – they really think when a feminist uses these words that means they are ok for them to use them)

125 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

#68 Brony

What are you talking about? Not good evidence?

It clearly says, both times, that the posters were banned for being “Slymepitters.” He clearly states “Slymepitters” are not welcome. He even says it on a post where he INVITES so-called “anti-feminists” to have their say and when these so-called “anti-feminists” DO have their say, like skeptixx, they got banned for it. (By the way, just to put this in perspective, skeptixx isn’t a man or an MRA, she’s a woman, and she considers herself a feminist.)

You need more? What about in his “Dungeon” where he explicitly says that people from the “Lymepit” (such cutting wit) get “namelessly blocked without acknowledgement”?

It’s funny how someone like oolon even omits this fact, even though he’s all about the “facts.”

126 oolon March 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

@Guest, no I’m happy to say he bans *active* slymepitters on sight… I would too… I reckon most people would given what they do all day.

Its his blog, he could ban every 10th person and institute a decimation comment policy for all I care.

127 maximus March 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

@Dan L. #111

But what kind of movies are they discussing at Comicon? Comic Book movies, Your response does not nullify Submariners analogy.

128 Brony March 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

@ Pitchguest
Please check 109 and 113. My issue was with a specific piece of evidence assessed on it’s own. This is an important technical issue because mere banning is not good enough. If the claim is that a specific ban was specifically due to the association, the evidence must show this.

I did not deny that PZ is not doing such. I was referring to a single object.

@ Coel
Sorry if that was a bit sensitive. The preceding criticism keeps ignoring that I’m fine with the claim, but ignores my issue with the single image.

129 windy March 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

doubtthat:

Yes, you were relying on traditionalism. The topics you don’t want included aren’t core to atheism, in your opinion, and you want to “go back” to the way it was before. There are topics traditional to atheism, feminism isn’t one of them, according to you (however that works out specifically), and you want it to go off on its own somewhere else because its harming the True Atheist causes.

Feminism and women’s issues are “traditional topics” that have been discussed within atheism as far back as I can remember. What isn’t traditional is trying to get the movement to endorse a particular, narrow, Americentric approach to these issues.

130 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Brony @ 49:

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.

Proof? QED. Go to the bottom of PeeZus’s Dungeon page. See the note on the “chymepit”. (SO EVIL YOU CANNOT SAY IT’S NAME. What, we’re voldemort? )

Michael at 77: you missed where I said, more than once “regardless of subject”. doubtthat’s behavior shows, regardless of the subject at hand, why I don’t see how a dialogue can happen. Pick a different subject and use that instead. “How to change a flat tire”. There, that works. If you have someone completely unwilling to accept that a different approach to changing a flat is as valid as their favored method, and reacts to people trying to show a different way to do it the way doubtthat does to differing opinions, you can’t have a dialogue. If you have to completely agree with someone before they consider anything you have to say as valid, not only can you not have a dialogue, there’s no point. If you completely agree with someone, you don’t need a dialogue. You completely agree. If they refuse to talk to you in a serious manner unless you completely agree, you can’t have a dialogue, they won’t participate until you completely agree with them, and the need for a dialogue goes away.

That’s my point here.

Hermit:

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

That’s your interpretation. To many, it’s different: SOME people, who all happen to be part of the pit, are banned solely because of that.

He doesn’t give you anything to go on. So, to me, and many others, it’s simple: if you are a member of the ‘pit, (for however PZ chooses to define that, which you note, he doesn’t give any data on), you are banned from pharyngula.

That is again, his right. But then don’t tell me I can comment there. I don’t know that to be true, REGARDLESS of what I might say. Given PZ’s willingness to be less than honest when it comes to the ‘pit, I don’t see any legitimate reason to work overtime to take anything he says charitably.

131 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

@111 Dan :
That’s because those movies were live action versions of comics. Please don’t pretend you didn’t understand my point, and I’ll do the same for yours.

@114 Doubtthat: Well, that shows what I know about the LGBT community’s priorities. Point taken, I shan’t use that metaphor again.

Pretend I said muscle car convention and half of the speakers were talking about sports memorabilia.

132 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Hermit, he’s made it quite clear that slymepitters are to be banned on sight. If you find an example of him letting a slymepitter stay there, don’t hold it against me, there may be an exception.

This is petty anyway. Point is he bans people just for coming from the slymepit without responding to their points. It doesn’t matter if he lets some stay. No matter how minor a disagreement is you may be banned just because you’re from the slymepit. That much is true.

133 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

exceptions*

134 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

@Dan

Do you have a handle on Pharyngula and/or A+? If you do do you mind sharing who you are there?

135 Jack March 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

If pe0ple are genuine about moving to the next stage lets get on with it or we will be going round in yet more circles.

Please also read what Michael wrote very carefully and I respectfully suggest considering if a post you make aligns with what he said.

People have been at this for two weeks and a substantial amount of evidenced claims and counter claims have been made along with well thought out posts and observations. In my opinion we need to move to the next stage rather than picking on minutiae, most of which has already been well covered.

Of course what people do is up to them. I’m simply requesting we try and get things moving further.

136 Remick March 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@doubtthat 123.

I’ve enjoyed it as well.

As to the disagreement, I certainly agree, with skepticism. I imagine skeptical movements will continue to shift focus again and again, from one subject to the next, and back again.

Why does Atheism? It has one subject. Several issues affect it. But it is by and large a single point.

Atheists can be feminist and vice versa. But why would an atheist movement be concerned with feminist issues that are largely outside of its single subject? It isn’t really an atheist movement then is it. It is a feminist one. So lets call it what it is.

If you are an atheist and a feminist, why would you try to make an atheist movement do things that have nothing to do with atheism? Even if they all agree with you. Why not join a Feminist movement if that is your focus? There are plenty of spaces for overlap between the two movements, but to try to say that to be part of the atheist movement, you have to be totally onboard with a feminist movement, is out of place and frankly wrong to do.

There are atheists who aren’t feminists, and there are feminists who aren’t atheists. Why try to force them all together, rather than just allow them to come together on issues that are common?

137 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm

^Remick^

138 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

@Remick

What does atheism have to do with anything? It’s just non-belief. It in no way, for example, necessitates a strong adherence to the scientific method.

It’s a historical fact in the West, modern atheism has largely been the result of scientific progress. I’m an atheist for two reasons: 1) the religious folks who I grew up with were fucking nuts and 2) science provides much better explanations.

There are, however, other cultures that have come to atheism by other means, Soviet Russia and Communist China being decent examples. We share a non-belief in the supernatural powers of Jesus with those two entities, but that’s really about it (I hope). What replaced Christianity in Soviet Russia was not Enlightenment philosophy and scientific knowledge, which is what fills the void here. It was a non-supernatural ideology that was very similar to religion in a number of ways.

So, just like we argue against religious ideas about the origins of the cosmos and replace it with science, we should argue against religious notions of the role of women in society and replace it with feminism.

I see no difference in process with regard to those two subjects. Advocation of teaching science is in no way dependent on atheism and is perfectly compatible with a sort of mealy-mouthed version of Christianity with God as a “first cause” and the Bible representing stories not to be taken literally.

Or, in your words, there are atheists who are scientists or supportive of science and there are science supporters who aren’t atheists. The inclusion of science in the atheist agenda is a contingent fact resulting from the nature of the parties identifying as atheist, not due to some necessary definitional characteristic of non-belief.

139 Wowbagger March 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

It’s interesting how, as you read through the comments, it boils down to two main complaints – 1) people complaining that bloggers/speakers are talking about things they don’t want to hear about (feminism, social justice); and 2) Bloggers at FTB – mostly PZ – bans people from his personal blog as he sees fit.

Fascinating that a bunch of self described rationalists and skeptics have chosen to go on a years-long campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation of the FTB and related people instead of, I don’t know, choosing to go elsewhere to read about the things they want to read about and where their comments there and elsewhere don’t get them banned.

Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

140 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Wowbagger um no I can’t see how this is mostly about being banned about from the blog – people also talk about the views that got them banned in the first place – or rather, the views that oppose their views – the views of FtB and what they do.

Just because someone is a tyrant who bans people for the simplest doesn’t make what they say “bullying” “harassment” etc. It’s not always the one who was banned doing something wrong.

Take me, verbally abused and then banned from the A+. That’s another place where the mods can do worse than you and *you* get banned. Give me a fucking break.

141 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

˙ʞɐǝɹq buıʞɔnɟ ɐ ǝɯ ǝʌıb ˙pǝuuɐq ʇǝb *noʎ* puɐ noʎ uɐɥʇ ǝsɹoʍ op uɐɔ spoɯ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɔɐןd ɹǝɥʇouɐ s’ʇɐɥʇ ˙+ɐ ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ pǝuuɐq uǝɥʇ puɐ pǝsnqɐ ʎןןɐqɹǝʌ ‘ǝɯ ǝʞɐʇ

˙buoɹʍ buıɥʇǝɯos buıop pǝuuɐq sɐʍ oɥʍ ǝuo ǝɥʇ sʎɐʍןɐ ʇou s’ʇı ˙ɔʇǝ ”ʇuǝɯssɐɹɐɥ“ ”buıʎןןnq“ ʎɐs ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ǝʞɐɯ ʇ’usǝop ʇsǝןdɯıs ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝןdoǝd suɐq oɥʍ ʇuɐɹʎʇ ɐ sı ǝuoǝɯos ǝsnɐɔǝq ʇsnظ

˙op ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ puɐ qʇɟ ɟo sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ – sʍǝıʌ ɹıǝɥʇ ǝsoddo ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ‘ɹǝɥʇɐɹ ɹo – ǝɔɐןd ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ uı pǝuuɐq ɯǝɥʇ ʇob ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ʇnoqɐ ʞןɐʇ osןɐ ǝןdoǝd – boןq ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʇnoqɐ pǝuuɐq buıǝq ʇnoqɐ ʎןʇsoɯ sı sıɥʇ ʍoɥ ǝǝs ʇ’uɐɔ ı ou ɯn ɹǝbbɐqʍoʍ

˙uoıʇɐɹǝpoɯ buıʇıɐʍɐ sı ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ɹnoʎ

˙ʞɐǝɹq buıʞɔnɟ ɐ ǝɯ ǝʌıb ˙pǝuuɐq ʇǝb *noʎ* puɐ noʎ uɐɥʇ ǝsɹoʍ op uɐɔ spoɯ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɔɐןd ɹǝɥʇouɐ s’ʇɐɥʇ ˙+ɐ ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ pǝuuɐq uǝɥʇ puɐ pǝsnqɐ ʎןןɐqɹǝʌ ‘ǝɯ ǝʞɐʇ

˙buoɹʍ buıɥʇǝɯos buıop pǝuuɐq sɐʍ oɥʍ ǝuo ǝɥʇ sʎɐʍןɐ ʇou s’ʇı ˙ɔʇǝ ”ʇuǝɯssɐɹɐɥ“ ”buıʎןןnq“ ʎɐs ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ǝʞɐɯ ʇ’usǝop ʇsǝןdɯıs ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝןdoǝd suɐq oɥʍ ʇuɐɹʎʇ ɐ sı ǝuoǝɯos ǝsnɐɔǝq ʇsnظ

˙op ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ puɐ qʇɟ ɟo sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ – sʍǝıʌ ɹıǝɥʇ ǝsoddo ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ‘ɹǝɥʇɐɹ ɹo – ǝɔɐןd ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ uı pǝuuɐq ɯǝɥʇ ʇob ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ʇnoqɐ ʞןɐʇ osןɐ ǝןdoǝd – boןq ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʇnoqɐ pǝuuɐq buıǝq ʇnoqɐ ʎןʇsoɯ sı sıɥʇ ʍoɥ ǝǝs ʇ’uɐɔ ı ou ɯn ɹǝbbɐqʍoʍ

˙uoıʇɐɹǝpoɯ buıʇıɐʍɐ sı ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ɹnoʎ

142 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Oops. Double post. Anyway I guess people have to put it in an Upsidedown Text machine. I didn’t mean to make it upsidedown AND backwards.

143 Ng March 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Oolon @124 said:

> Oh yeah… Deeeep Rifffttts!!! http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/so-heres-what-happened.html
>
> Its disorienting how quickly Melissa McEwan assessed the “atheist community” and decided she wants to do her own thing… (Thanks to John Brown partly there)
>
> “I’ll be over here carving out my own space, in the shape of a fat cunt.*”
>
> Now why does she also not need to engage in “dialogue” with the Pittizens? Actually she doesn’t seem that impressed with PZ’s feminist credentials so why does PZ not *have* to open a dialogue with her to stop the “movement” fracturing?
>
> * Note to pittizens this is not a feminist giving you licence to call her this without it being “misogyny” (I’m not joking for anyone outside this argument – they really think when a feminist uses these words that means they are ok for them to use them)


So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

144 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Dear Jack,

shut the fuck up and stop bringing up old shit. Also, stop riding me. Thanks.

145 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

A Hermit@116:

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

I think you are misrepresenting things a bit, aren’t you?

Not intentionally. My impression is that PZ is essentially zero tolerance with ‘pitters at this point. Maybe I’m wrong about this but it’s my honest impression.

And again, I’m pretty much taking FtB’s side in this so I’m not saying so to “score points”. I’m making an admission of fault on the side that I’m otherwise defending.

146 Jack March 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Eu (143)

You referring to this post I made at the Slympit?

‘I keep forgetting to mention EU was banned from here. My memory’s slipping.’

If you want to swear at me go ahead but be clear about what your reference point is please.

147 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

doubthat@137

What replaced Christianity in Soviet Russia was not Enlightenment philosophy and scientific knowledge, which is what fills the void here. It was a non-supernatural ideology that was very similar to religion in a number of ways.

A great many people here apparently believe the same thing is happening with FTB-style gnu atheism — that people are being asked to accept an essentially faith-based non-supernatural ideology of radical social justice politics.

So, just like we argue against religious ideas about the origins of the cosmos and replace it with science, we should argue against religious notions of the role of women in society and replace it with feminism.

So is FTB/A+ feminism just “the radical notion that women are people?” Because it obviously appears to a lot of folks, women and men, as though it’s the radical notion that criticizing feminist theory or certain feminists makes you a misogynist.

148 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

OH SHIT JACK CAME OVER HE- Kidding.

Yeah that one and then the riding me is referring to when you continued the talking about my posts here.

149 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

#124 oolon

Let me get this straight. Melissa McEwan addresses PZ Myers and his Pharyngula specifically when he asks a question to her on “What can we do better?” and when chips fell where they fell, you blame the pushback on the Slymepit? Really?

Isn’t it true that even her most “faithful” have rebelled against her, for using transphobic language, or against the rights of sex workers and so on? Josh the Spokesgay even have “friends with good judgment” (his words, not mine) who say there might be a “cult of personality” over at Shakesville. And how expressing even the tiniest disagreement over there gets you the chop? And how apparently McEwan banned some rape/assault victims from her blog because they objected to her support for Bill Clinton?

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like Melissa McEwan is paying for her own deeds. With words.

Maybe if you weren’t such a shit-stirring, sycophantic troll, you might have noticed the ripples around McEwan and Shakesville. But of course, it’s all about you and your gripe with the Slymepit. By the way, oolon, stop harassing us and obsessing about the ‘Pit. It’s very triggering. Since you’re a commited social justice warrior and a member of the fainting couch brigade, I trust you will consider my feelings on this.

150 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

@146

Nugent made a new thread for these issues, he doesn’t want engagement here.

Feel free to go over there, post your evidence of your claims and I will happily discuss that with you.

151 Jack March 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Eu (14&)

I happened to think your posting mirror fashion to get round moderation was funny. I also know you read the Slympit and would see my posts. I consider you a person to avoid as much as possible and thanks for reminding me I was right.

152 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

maximus@127:

But what kind of movies are they discussing at Comicon? Comic Book movies, Your response does not nullify Submariners analogy.

1. Not exclusively comic book movies. I’m sure people will be talking about sci fi and fantasy movies more generally, as well as fan-favorites like Joss Whedon movies. Probably movies based on novels as well such as LotR and Harry Potter. There’s a whole intersection of interests among comicon participants.
2. Similarly, as doubtthat pointed out there are really good reasons to discuss race in an LGBT conference because the intersection of race and sexuality is a fraught and complicated topic. There is a wide-spread belief that there is a great deal of homophobia within the African American community as one example.
3. Similar to that there are good reasons to discuss gender issues in conferences on atheism and skepticism. Some atheist bloggers actually do focus on how religion intersects (usually negatively) with women’s rights.
4. It also makes sense in the context of skepticism itself inasmuch as it makes sense to be skeptical of deeply enculturated ideas such as the notion that women are frivolous and incapable of serious thinking — the very stereotype that Shermer (innocently, inadvertently) reinforced with his statement so much discussed in the previous thread.

It doesn’t nullify Submariner’s point which absolutely has some validity. But it offers a counterpoint suggesting that the opposite view may also have some validity.

153 AndrewV69 March 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

@Brony,#69

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

Here is my ban notice:
_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/25/congratulations-to-the-civilized-scots/comment-page-1/#comment-412584

Ick. AndrewV69, proud slimepitter and MRA, with in.malafide in his email address? No. Just no. Fuck off.

154 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Submariner@131:

That’s because those movies were live action versions of comics. Please don’t pretend you didn’t understand my point, and I’ll do the same for yours.

I didn’t pretend I didn’t understand your point. I offered a counterpoint. And I disagree “those movies were live action versions of comics” as explained in my previous comment…so apparently you didn’t understand my point.

155 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Wowbagger@139
<blockquote.Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

This is pretty rich, coming from someone who, less than 24 hours ago, was at Ophelia Benson’s blog cheerfully tossing around the idea of a lawsuit to shut down SP. If you think SP is more vulnerable to legal attack than FTB, you’re fooling yourself.

156 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Eu – It’s nice you want to contribute, but calm down, will you? Even if you’re pissed off, making many posts at once isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Especially if you’re dealing with people like oolon. He’ll likely just use the guilt by association fallacy and call it quits.

How should I put it? You’re like an energizer bunny. Like you’ve drunk too much energy drink. Like you’re on speed. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, some of what you write is spot on, but maybe keep it down a little, yeah? Concise? Oh, and if you find yourself getting pissed off, take a deep breath, count to ten, calm down, and *then* post.

Hope that doesn’t come off as too condescending.

157 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm

AppleStairs@154:

This is pretty rich, coming from someone who, less than 24 hours ago, was at Ophelia Benson’s blog cheerfully tossing around the idea of a lawsuit to shut down SP. If you think SP is more vulnerable to legal attack than FTB, you’re fooling yourself.

On the one hand that conversation was extremely distasteful and I’m glad Dave W put a quick stop to it with the (wonderful) fact that the law prevents such legal chicanery. On the other hand, I also find the paranoid surveillance of everything people do on FtB a little distasteful.

And no, I don’t think there’s an equal amount of paranoid surveillance on both sides.

158 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Oh, back to comicon. Anime. Some of it is based on manga and some is not but either way it will get discussed at comicon.

159 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Jack, are you complaining about me getting around moderation? Are you /serious/? aren’t you being hypocritical?

There are multiple slymepitters posting here about things they say they cannot say at Freethought Blogs because they’re banned. I’m not “getting around moderation.” You can address someone about something they said, somewhere else. I’m free to read the slymepit and then say what I want elsewhere, just like you guys are free to read Freethought Blogs and say what you want elsewhere.

If I’m someone to avoid because I’m “getting around moderation” then so are you. Seriously, the hypocrisy stinks. There’s no way you can explain how you guys are justified to do it and I’m not. It’s obvious the only reason you think I’m not justified to do so is because you have a problem with me in the first place and are very biased. I don’t even remember you being there when I went there.

Fuck off if you’re going to call me out for that.

160 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Fair is fair. If any other Slymepitters want to call someone out for addressing something someone said at a place they are banned from, call them out on their hypocrisy and bullshit judgments. I was really shocked that a Slymepitter would call it “getting around moderation.”

Sounds very FTB-ish. Not all Slymepitters are so different from FTB after all.

161 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Another example, Wowbagger @139:

It’s interesting how, as you read through the comments, it boils down to two main complaints – 1) people complaining that bloggers/speakers are talking about things they don’t want to hear about (feminism, social justice); and 2) Bloggers at FTB – mostly PZ – bans people from his personal blog as he sees fit.

Again, a rather obvious misrepresentation of what we’ve been talking about. But at this point, why bother going into detail. No, that’s not a correct statement of what bothers us. But clearly, he and others have no interest in listening to anything but what they’ve decided all must say to be “goodthink”.

Fascinating that a bunch of self described rationalists and skeptics have chosen to go on a years-long campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation of the FTB and related people instead of, I don’t know, choosing to go elsewhere to read about the things they want to read about and where their comments there and elsewhere don’t get them banned.

It’s funny. We’ve said that to FTB folks about the ‘pit for a while now. Don’t like what people say there? Don’t go there and read it. The site has almost zero google juice, so it’s not like it’s going to show up there, at least not in the first 5-10 pages. (yes, I did in fact check) Yet somehow, THAT isn’t an acceptable action. For them. FOr us, yes.

But I’m glad Wowbagger brought it up, as it illustrates another point: the hypocrisy of their side. Why should we be mad about FTB? We don’t have to read it. Yet say the same thing to them about the ‘pit, and OMG, stand back.

How can you have a dialogue with a group whose main ethical construct is “Whatever we do is okay, whatever they do is wrong”?

Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

You mean like how FTB has regularly tried to silence other people’s sites?

Again, if it’s wrong for one, it’s wrong for all. This is not difficult, and yet, it is.

How can you dialogue with that?

162 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm

DanL@156

And no, I don’t think there’s an equal amount of paranoid surveillance on both sides.

I have to give you credit for being one of the more fair-minded and astute people who have participated in these threads (and for being incredibly patient with Eu in the prior thread – she is, I believe, a minor who may be the only person ever banned from SP).

That said, “paranoid surveillance” is a bit uncharitable. Many SP folks were FTBers or longtime readers before the ERV threads existed. The flipside, I would suggest, is that most people at SP are much more familiar with what actually goes on at FTB than FTBers are familiar with what actually goes on at SP.

163 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Pitchguest@148:

Oolon got banned from Pharyngula for going on at great length to defend the ‘pit and pitizens so your narrative might be a teensy bit too simple to match reality.

164 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Ng@142:

So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

Go to south Detroit and throw around the “n” word. Why is it OK for everyone else in south Detroit to use it and not you?

It’s almost as though the word has some kind of history involving marginalized groups and oppressive language.

165 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

#158

To be fair, Jack, she got you there.

166 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Dan L, this is about the present… observe how much smack he likes to talk about the pit today. Looks like he’s changed his mind about the pit. The fact that he was banned for once defending the pit doesn’t really “balance it out,” just makes him puzzling (to me).

167 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Eu@163:

If I’m remembering right it was within the last few weeks that he was banned from Pharyngula. So quite recently. Enough so that I would consider it “the present” in most contexts.

Yes, puzzling. Definitely puzzling. I certainly don’t understand oolon’s motivations but he’s certainly not “sycophantic” nor a “member of the fainting couch brigade” so Pitchguest’s take really is too simplistic. “Shit-stirrer”, “troll”, and some other accusations seem more fair.

168 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Dan L,

Are you saying it’s alright to call people words with a history behind them as long as you have the same thing in common with the people oppressed? Is South Detroit a dominantly black area?

Not that the word cunt is the same at all.

I already don’t agree with the whole “that word has a history behind it, keep it drenched in negativity forever and never use it.” and adding “well, that person is allowed to use it, because they are the same race as the people who were oppressed with it” is a pretty lame excuse if the former argument were right.

I hope that’s not what you’re doing here.

169 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Ahh, I see Dan L.

170 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I hope that’s not what you’re doing here.

And I’m hoping you’re not saying that we live in a post-racial and post-gender society where these words have no meaning beyond the individual context in which they’re spoken.

If you allow that anyone can use naughty words in a forum then there will be some asshats who use that privilege to hurt others. McEwan (just to use an example) is free to police the use of the word in her comments to prevent people from taking advantage of such a privilege. On the other hand, McEwan’s use of the word is obviously not intended to be hurtful. It is her forum and she knows her own intentions and so she is justified in using the term.

But suppose someone wanted to use the word to be hurtful and get away with it. That person could simply lie about his or her intentions and continue to use the word hurtfully if the moderator of the platform in question decided to be charitable.

Thus the justification for being uncharitable.

It’s pretty simple. Try not to use language that annoys, upsets, irritates, or offends other people. Apologize when you accidentally do so. If you’re not in the habit of making vicious ad hominem attacks you should only very rarely have any occasion to use the terms in question. It doesn’t offend me when black folks use the n word and I’m guessing it would offend a certain number of black folks if I used it. So they can use it and I won’t. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

171 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Eh for me intent is what matters – I’ve been called a white bitch and racist white names. I’m not white. But they were trying to get at me that way – (and they happened to have been picking at my skin color.)

Now if someone called me an Asian racist name I admit I would be too distracted by the strangeness of it to be offended but they should be still judged for attempting that despite using it incorrectly.

As for the reason you put, not allowing people to say it because they could use it to hurt others and lie about why they used it, that sounds like a new reason you’ve just added. If I interpreted you correctly, you are the sort that is against using the words period, whether its toward a friend who trusts your intentions and knows them or talking in general conversation *about* someone who isn’t even there to hear ya (but you dont mean it that way.). Even the small section of people who use the N word to refer to any ‘gangsta type’ and nothing but.

The reason you added afterwards only addresses times when a white person uses the N word against a black person and tries to claim they were just joking or something, (which I of course too would be against and would vote for caution there)which makes me want to add another thing – I do not care if its a black person calling me a nigger maliciously. I don’t want people being malicious towards me whether they’re white, black, asian, or polka dotted.

172 Jack March 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Dan L.

The problem we have is not the issue of discussing Feminism in the Atheist community. Many of us started our Anti-Theist activities because we could clearly see how badly women are treated. You can call that a Feminist issue, I might call it an equality issue derived from religious abuse but the results are the same, we fight against it. I do not give a stuff what people want to call it.

So of course I have no issue with, say, discussions on FGM in Africa or even in the UK now where it is becoming an issue amongst the religious.

What I resist is where only ONE type of feminism is considered acceptable with all the dogmatic attachment that has. And NOT accepting that one leads to exclusion as one of the ‘Suppressive Persons’

I find it hilarious only today someone calls anyone who does not subscribed to their form of feminism an anti feminist (I’ll provide the link if requested but it is a common mantra) That is complete and utter rubbish which is oft repeated to smear opponents and it is demonstrably non skeptical.

We have discussed the effects of this endlessly over the last few weeks and really I thought the position was very clear.

Feminist ideology can be part of some people’s social beliefs within the atheist community. Of course it can. They can pick from the 16 or so varieties. They have nearly as many as Heinz. But to try and force one on others is simply wrong.

This is not a political movement it is a group promoting the concept of atheism and the non interference of our freedoms, including those of men and women. That will necessarily involve getting involved with other political, religious and social organisations but that in itself does not require us to have a single political philosophy to be effective. We should be Apolitical.

I find it surprising that as rationalities this discussion is required at all to be honest. I feel like I have come from fighting Religious Dogma and woo for all these years only to find one right in the middle of a community I assumed was safe from all that.

We should be fighting other people Dogma’s that affect people’s daily lives not have to worry about one in our own backyard.

The obvious point to me is that even if we all agree here it will change nothing. We are not the issue. We DO talk despite out differences.

Others are the issue and they seem very reluctant to come forward, at least publicly for now. Which is why I hope Michael has been reaching out and receiving contacts from people not directly involved in these discussions.

173 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Dan L – He was acting friendly enough, except for when he ventured back over to Pharyngula to slag us off. I don’t remember what he said (and unfortunately for which he got banned for at Pharyngula has been edited by PZ to be scrambled) but if I recall, he was saying he was being neutral but acted anything but. For example, he said Renee Hendricks supported Sammy Boals (the troll who harassed Rebecca Watson) when she definitely did not.

Then there’s this post he posted on Ophelia’s before he was banned by PZ:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/metamorphoses-2/#comment-304020

Kind of telling of what he wanted to accomplish, no? Is it a wonder that he’s generally not respected by people on the ‘Pit? Louis and Erikthebassist went with the same tactic, of trying to get a reaction of misogyny and sexism out of the members there and the only thing they managed to do was make themselves look like fools. Oh well.

In any case, I don’t want to derail the topic any further than I have so the less about oolon, the better.

174 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

@ Dan (151)

It doesn’t nullify Submariner’s point which absolutely has some validity. But it offers a counterpoint suggesting that the opposite view may also have some validity.

While I’m glad that you agree my point has some validity, I agree yours does too. One question though: Do we now also get a separate “Men in Secularism” or “Godless Dudes” conference?

@153

Please see the OP regarding charity. A charitable reading of my post would have been: ” Sub probably missed seeing my explanation of the types of movies, I’ll just direct him to it”

175 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

As for the reason you put, not allowing people to say it because they could use it to hurt others and lie about why they used it, that sounds like a new reason you’ve just added.

I don’t understand. “New” in what respect? What have I “just added” it to? Surely you’re aware that forum moderators can’t judge a commenter’s intention by issuing an http “READMIND” request?

If I interpreted you correctly, you are the sort that is against using the words period, whether its toward a friend who trusts your intentions and knows them or talking in general conversation *about* someone who isn’t even there to hear ya (but you dont mean it that way.). Even the small section of people who use the N word to refer to any ‘gangsta type’ and nothing but.

I personally wouldn’t use the term to refer to gangsta types, but overall you have my intention wrong — I wouldn’t yell at someone else for doing so and I might even laugh if it was funny in context. I am much more on the “cautious” side as you describe yourself. I just also believe it’s very, very easy to stop using words if you know they bother someone and that if you continue using the words or argue that you should be able to use those words after someone tells you it bothers them then it’s rather likely that you’re trying to bother that person. And in that case yes, it’s fair to ban you from a forum for insisting on using language that others have expressed objections to.

176 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Why do people not understand that those bannings come in the context of two years of tolerating and arguing with not just pitizens but MRA’s of all sorts of stripes who would troll and dominate threads, derailing them, demanding to be the center of attention and generally ruining the otherwise decent conversations that were going on, which yes, included plenty of dissent.

Why do people not get that it’s this history of trolling by MRA’s and PUA’s and some pitters that has led PZ to his current policies? It’s about maintining a space where atheists who are also passionate about social justice can gather and discuss the important news of the day. It’s also a place where people can just straight up talk about atheism which also still happens all the time.

The reason people get banned is because they troll, argue in bad faith, refuse to present or abide strong evidence, derail threads and in many cases just become outright abusive.

The pit blanket ban was born out of years of dealing with people who were only there to lie, derail and cause general mischief. There is a strong correlation between these types and many members of the pit.

Most recently Lee Coye was banned. I know he’s not a pitter, but he had made 337 comments inside of a few days, one on a thread about women in the military and the other on the thread about Noel Plum getting banned. The latter thread went to almost 2000 comments, the last half of which were almost exclusively dedicated to shooting down Lee Coye’s terrible arguments and dealing with his gish gallop, none of which had anything to do with Noel Plum or PZ’s moderation policies.

It was only after it became clear to every one that he had no intention of arguing in good faith, was only there to troll and derail, that the banhammer came down and it took several days and thousands of comments for PZ to finally give up on the guy being any kind of a productive, even if dissenting commenter.

If PZ didn’t weed that kind of crap out, the utility and experience for most of his regular commenters and readers would go straight to shit. He’s doing what he can to keep it a productive place for like minded people to gather and discuss.

When it was findies trolling the place and getting banned, no one seemed to care, but now that it’s misogynists, MRA’s or general anti-feminist types every one is up in arms.

He never billed the place as an open forum for people to freely debate. He’s always had a bias and he’s never been shy about it.

177 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm

DanL@168

It’s pretty simple. Try not to use language that annoys, upsets, irritates, or offends other people. Apologize when you accidentally do so. If you’re not in the habit of making vicious ad hominem attacks you should only very rarely have any occasion to use the terms in question.

As I said in a comment currently in moderation, props to you DanL for being an notably patient, good-faith participant in this dialogue. I would say your suggestion depends on context. Obviously, Pharyngula, for example, is set up to be a place where aggressive and profane personal attacks are de rigueur — using “upsetting and offensive” language is fine, and objecting to it is usually mocked as “tone-trolling.” The exception is “female-gendered” profanity.

I don’t think “cunt” is an analogue of “nigger” at all, in terms of its usage history (perhaps a debate for another thread).

178 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Dan L, new means what it means. That wasn’t your original – it was the general “don’t use those words, period” reason.

And no it’s not hard to not use words if they are bothering an individual. I already said I’m cautious in those cases and only in those cases. A herd of people who are against it in general (of course, besides to talk about the words) is a totally different thing though. I don’t heel for just anyone. Some people are against swearing… will I stop though? Nope. I won’t swear around someone who happens to have some severe adverse reaction to it. In general I won’t use racist names on people who could be suspicious that I’m using it to insult them.

179 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Please see the OP regarding charity. A charitable reading of my post would have been: ” Sub probably missed seeing my explanation of the types of movies, I’ll just direct him to it”

You didn’t understand my point because my clarification was posted after your response. This was not intended as a crack at you; more as banter around your “don’t pretend you don’t understand my point” stuff (which is similarly uncharitable btw).

One question though: Do we now also get a separate “Men in Secularism” or “Godless Dudes” conference?

Well, I certainly wouldn’t try to stop you if you tried to organize such a conference. Some might (vocally) wonder why there needs to be a men in secularism conference when secularism/atheism/skepticism already seem to be pretty male-dominated but if you think male secularists are being left behind and there needs to be a special effort made to support the efforts of male secularists over and above those of female secularists…

I just don’t think you’re going to find that many people agree with you that there would be a need for such a thing.

And yes, some women would take offense at it. I’m sure some men took offense at the “women in secularism” conference. Can’t hold each other to the worst examples on both sides now can we?

180 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

@Dan L I perked up at your women in secularism ref but then I remembered I cant assume you stand behind their offense. Do you mind that the women in secularism thing offended some men?

181 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Dan L, new means what it means. That wasn’t your original – it was the general “don’t use those words, period” reason.

The comment to which you were responding was not an exhaustive explanation of my reasoning on this topic. It was a quick two or three sentence hint at why there’s a difference between a woman making a joke about female anatomy that isn’t aimed at anyone and use of female anatomy-based epithets in general.

Just bear in mind that not necessarily all of my thoughts are making it onto your screen at once. You get little bits when I type in comments and hit “submit”. There’s probably lots of things that I believe that I haven’t made you aware of yet. Just because I say something you haven’t heard yet doesn’t mean I’m making it up on the spot.

182 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

findies = fundies in my 173

183 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Ahhh..

An example of what I don’t care about would be someone from FtB complaining that people on the pit called each other bitches. (Example of being against the word’s existence in general.)

An example of what I would care about is, hmm *trying to think of a situation that fits in with times* someone calling their partner a bitch in context that they are lower for being a woman.

184 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Pitchguest@170:

Right, I was just saying I don’t think oolon is a “sycophant” in particular. Neither side seems to have very much respect for him if I’m reading things correctly. But you’re also right that we should probably let this particular topic drop.

185 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Jack@169:

I think that comment is another great example of being uncharitable about the “other side’s” motivations.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to help you understand why FtB might have gotten the impression you’re anti-feminist and you’ve fought me every step of the way. It gives me the sense that you don’t want to actually understand and just pout about how they’ve made you a “suppressive person”.

I can’t change their minds for you. I can only help you understand why they think the way they do about you so that you can adjust your approach accordingly.

186 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

@Eu:

@Dan L I perked up at your women in secularism ref but then I remembered I cant assume you stand behind their offense. Do you mind that the women in secularism thing offended some men?

I would prefer if there were no men offended by the idea of a women in secularism conference and no women offended by the idea of a men in secularism conference, but I am resigned to the reality that neither one of those wonderful ideas is the least bit realistic. Does that answer your question?

187 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Actually, PZ banned oolon for being…i’m not REALLY sure. A poser? Two-faced? Anyway, you don’t have to guess, here, the dungeon entry on Oolon:

Poseur who pretends to be neutral, while defending the indefensible. Warned not to put on his act in a thread, he promptly ignored me. Now I’ll ignore him.

it was also not within the last few weeks by any stretch, and his banning was before Reap Paden’s.

I don’t think any of this really matters, but you don’t have to guess at why someone was put in PZ’s dungeon, the info is usually right there. Except for renee’s. He appears to have memoryholed her entry. Which is kind of amusing, because were she still up there, she’d be the only obvious woman in the dungeon.

188 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

@ 176 Dan:

Ah, but since there ARE WIS conferences, wouldn’t that be the place to discuss the ancillary topics to secularism (such as feminism) while at a gender neutral secularism (or atheism or skeptic) conference, the main points of the (insert ism here) are discussed, resources allocated, and goals are set forth?

I’m not saying those ancillary topics are forbidden, just that the primary focus of the neutral conferences (indeed any arena where policies are discussed, not just conferences) should be the topics which fall in the declaration statements of the advocacy group or interest group in question.

Who knows, perhaps the MRA’s might want to have their own “Dudes Without Faith” meetings. I think there are a number of MRA’s that are atheists. Personally I would work with them as well as feminist atheists in advocating for the primary goals under the atheism banner.
Would you?

189 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

*facepalm*

I would say PG is full of the usual Slymepit shit when he says I was “acting friendly enough” …. Surprised even he would be that stupid given how trivial it is to disprove. I wrote a blog post called “The Slymepit is Full of Misogynists” from my first foray over there. You may guess it was not that “friendly”, although I like to think I was fair. I did also write one called “Trolling the Slymepit”, I’m such a great friend to PG and his pals :-D Hint; I wasn’t “trolling”, but they delight in telling me what I already know… I took the piss a bit and wound them up, that’s not trolling. Kicking the hornets nest maybe! Their violent and over the top reaction was funny when they say ignore the trolls….

When I was banned by PZ I will admit to being a little annoyed and I wrote a rant about what I was on the fence in regard to the Slmepit –> Two things only, short version : ->
… PZ sees the Pittizens as horribly misogynist to the core and takes every opportunity to describe them *all* as such, applying derogatory labels to them all as he goes. This labelling I object to for a couple of reasons -
1. It dehumanises and polarises the situation …
2. It gives them power …

–> Anyone got any objections to that fence sitting?

@Dan L, now I’m happy for the Slymepit to call me a troll, whatever, I’ll just agree and move on. But if you are going to swallow PGs bull about me being “friendly” with them and therefore a “shit stirrer” implying I was giving one story to them and one to FtBs then I don’t think you have quite the level of nous I’d expect from the Pharyngulites. What nym do you post as over there perchance? Never seen you…

190 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm

@Dan L

Hmm I guess.

191 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm

AppleStairs@174:

Thank you for the nice words. I’ve also found you to be very civil and patient throughout.

I understand what you’re saying about Pharyngula. There was a long time that I stopped following the blog at all because of all the “porcupine” stuff. On the other hand, they have improved tremendously along these lines, especially in calling each other out on violent or degrading language. They stopped the porcupine stuff. They have finally acknowledged the ableist overtones of terms like “idiot”, “moron”, etc. and they seem honestly to be trying to stop using such terms.

At this point most of the vicious attacks seem to be on arguments — “your argument is stupid/ridiculous/terrible/etc.”

This is not to say you won’t find counterexamples if you go through recent threads. I just thought today about how remarkable the improvement really has been and thought I should point that much out at least. It seems to me they are getting more consistent about holding each other to the same standards they hold others (at least in this respect).

I don’t think the use of those terms is exactly the same but I do think they’re similar enough to serve as analogues. Analogy requires only similarity, not identity.

192 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Eu@186:

Well you seem disappointed. How could I answer it in a more satisfying way?

193 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

@Dan L

No no *waves hands*

194 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

John C. Welch@184:

Except for renee’s. He appears to have memoryholed her entry. Which is kind of amusing, because were she still up there, she’d be the only obvious woman in the dungeon.

My understanding from my reading of the dungeon page is that she falls under the “pitters” category and PZ is not going to make distinct entries for each person in that category. As you said, you can read this for yourself right on the dungeon page.

195 Jack March 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Dan L. (182)

I do not accept your explanation of why I might be called anti-feminist. Or a Misogynist or all the other names people may care to add to the list. Sorry. You spending time is neither here or there, welcome to the club.

Ultimately if there is only one from FtB willing to do anything is there no one else from there who has any interest in addressing the substantive points raised in order to proceed?

The silence is deafening.

196 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Stuck in moderation til tomorrow probably! Oh well, no idea what detective PG thinks is such a gotcha about this comment I made.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/metamorphoses-2/#comment-304020

Like many I was amazed at Al Stefanellis meltdown — I was even stupid enough to blame PZ for criticising him! I’m happy to admit that was a massive mistake as it seems everyone I think is “reasonable” and could decide that misogyny is wrong turns into the biggest asshole ever! I sort of defended Thunderf00t, wrong! Al, wrong! I’m very often wrong, but I try and learn from it. I didn’t defend Reap at any point :-D

197 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Submariner@185:

I’m not an activist and I’ve never been to a con. I wouldn’t want to dictate to people who do what they should do or discuss at cons. But perhaps if a large proportion of folks attending a con want to discuss a particular topic they should be allowed to do so?

I’m not saying those ancillary topics are forbidden, just that the primary focus of the neutral conferences (indeed any arena where policies are discussed, not just conferences) should be the topics which fall in the declaration statements of the advocacy group or interest group in question.

I’m not sure you’ll be able to find a con where all participants have signed on to the same mission statement. People are just a little more complex and unruly than that (especially secularists). If you’re not proposing to forbid discussing topics that large proportions of convention-goers want to discuss then what are you proposing?

198 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Not intentionally. My impression is that PZ is essentially zero tolerance with ‘pitters at this point. Maybe I’m wrong about this but it’s my honest impression.

Given some of the comments that others have quoted since I posted that you may be right…but it is his blog and if he doesn’t want people associated with a place that was created largely as a forum for bashing him and his friends in his front door that;s his prerogative. This idea that people are owed access to other people’s space is kind of absurd IMHO.

199 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Dan L – So what you’re saying is the word “cunt” is a word of privilege to be used only by those who’ve been “oppressed” by it? (In much the same way the word “nigger” was used to oppress African-Americans?)

If so, that’s contingent on the two words being used in the same manner. Which they weren’t. There is no evidence the word “cunt” was used to oppress women. I can see no such reference (on Google) that it was used in the same way the word “nigger” was used to disparage African-Americans. I know the word has historically been used to describe the whole of the genitals, while vagina is only for describing the “slit” – that is, the opening. I know it has been used to insult women. But oppress them? There is no equivalent here.

There is also no such reference to imply the word was used to oppress women in Great Britain either. (Where the word evolved to a gender neutral word.)

200 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm

I agree with Pitchguest here… comparing “bitch” and “cunt” to how the word nigger was used belittles what people who were actually oppressed by the word nigger went through. Seriously? No. Just no. Stop trying to lump yourself in with that. You don’t get the claim. (This goes to anyone trying to do that – not sure if Dan L did that)

201 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Jack@191:

I do not accept your explanation of why I might be called anti-feminist. Or a Misogynist or all the other names people may care to add to the list. Sorry. You spending time is neither here or there, welcome to the club.

I’m sorry, perhaps you have once again misinterpreted my motivation? I am trying to help you understand someone else’s point of view. I’m not saying those people are right. I’m not saying you are a misogynist or anti-feminist. I am trying to explain why some people have gotten that impression and thus don’t want to listen to you on the subject.

So I’m a little curious on what grounds do you “not accept [my] explanation”? Because you think I’m wrong about the motivations of people at FtB? Or because you really don’t want to understand why they think the way they do?

Considering how frequently you complain about being a “suppressed person” because of these disagreements I would think you would want to have some kind of understanding of why you are a “suppressed person”. Again, these explanations would not qualify as justifications — they would not imply you really are a terrible person whose opinion must be suppressed.

Ultimately if there is only one from FtB willing to do anything is there no one else from there who has any interest in addressing the substantive points raised in order to proceed?

As I just said I have been explaining to you why no one from FtB is interested in addressing your “substantive” points. You will not accept my explanation. Why not? It seems ridiculous to demand an explanation and when someone provides it to reject it without any justification whatsoever.

My exchange with you last night was quite frustrating and this one is coming back to a similar place. If you don’t want to grapple with the reasons why people think you’re an anti-feminist then stop asking why people think you’re an anti-feminist.

202 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Louis and Erikthebassist went with the same tactic, of trying to get a reaction of misogyny and sexism out of the members there and the only thing they managed to do was make themselves look like fools.

Urgh I missed that, news to “Guest” there are very few feminists who would read my post on misogyny in the slymepit and not think I showed it there. So sorry mate, the only fools are you lot thinking many people would not find these attitudes misogynistic or generally reprehensible. You also have a whole other forum of feminists totally unconnected to this argument who think you are a woman-hating misogynist, after years in your company so they know you well. As do I now unfortunately. My post -> http://www.oolon.co.uk/?p=31

All quotes from pittizens… I got no one arguing anything other than its fine to call the female feminists on FtBs cunts to “disagree” with them. Only some said its “not for them”, but they wouldn’t criticise others… :-/

203 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Pitchguest@195:

So what you’re saying is the word “cunt” is a word of privilege to be used only by those who’ve been “oppressed” by it? (In much the same way the word “nigger” was used to oppress African-Americans?)

No, I never said that. Thanks for being charitable, though.

204 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Eu@196:

I’m not interested in comparing whether one group was “more oppressed” than the other and I’m a little disappointed that both you and Pitchguest would play that game.

205 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:40 pm

No Dan L, that’s not the game we’re playing. Or at least that’s not the game I’m playing.

I’m saying “bitch” and “cunt” never had a period of oppression at all.

206 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Eu@201:

Hmm, I disagree. For a large number of reasons. Perhaps it is not the best time and place to get into that discussion but can you at least admit I may have a valid point of view on the subject? That you’re not necessarily the expert on whether those particular words can be used as a pattern of oppression?

207 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Can be used? Any word targeting a group can be used to oppress people, however “bitch” and “cunt” haven’t. Have they EVER been used just to get under a woman’s skin? Maybe, but I’ve seen people use the word lesbian just as it is to bully and bring gay women to tears. Men have been abused in relationships with the word ‘dick.’ (But of course what you said doesn’t apply to the D-word, does it?) That doesn’t mean it should be put on a list of words one should never say to the “oppressed” group because they’d justifiably suspicious that it is being used in a discriminatory way to hurt them.

208 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Hermit @ 195 provides two more examples, one direct, one indirect:

Given some of the comments that others have quoted since I posted that you may be right…but it is his blog and if he doesn’t want people associated with a place that was created largely as a forum for bashing him and his friends in his front door that;s his prerogative. This idea that people are owed access to other people’s space is kind of absurd IMHO.

once again, he keeps misstating things as though the ‘pit people feel they have a ‘right’ to comment. That i’m aware of, no, no one feels that.

But when one is uninterested in what one’s opponents actually think, then it is easy to decide what they think for oneself, and accuracy is a non-issue in those cases.

He also shows how PZ et al create unreal claims that are simply unsupported by fact. PZ claims the “thunderdome” is unmoderated. That’s simply not true. It is indeed moderated. No one from the ‘pit can post there. When you limit access to a forum, that’s moderation. You can’t call it unmoderated when you take such actions.

So there’s a disconnect from the things FTB folk say, and what they do. It creates a problem because it means you (literally) cannot trust them to be honest about some really basic things, like word meanings. Humpty Dumpyt’s bon mot about words meaning what he wants them to mean and nothing more is an amusing bit of absurdity, but when people actually do that kind of thing in the really real world, how can you possibly talk to them and have any assurance that they meant what they said on any level?

209 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm

As it stands, don’t approve of misogynists or people set out to abuse using the words bitch or cunt to indicate shame in being female. As it stands, I don’t approve of misandrists using dick that way either. As it stands, I don’t approve of homophobes using the words ‘homosexual’ or ‘lesbian’ to indicate dirtiness or shame in being gay. (actually, I heard that A+ put the word homosexual on their mental slurs list. Oh lord. EVERY word that means gay has been abused by homophobes! Put them all on the list!)

But these are not slurs someone has to be cautious using around women, men, or gay people.

210 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

#198 oolon

Ah, you seem keen to paint the narrative in your favour before we even begin. “Very few feminists…” Very good. An odd way to phrase it, but important for your kind of propaganda, I suppose. Now, I’m guessing the VERY MANY (See what I did there?) feminists who agree with you would be the FtB/Skepchick clique, while the “very few” would be the Slymepit clique, or am I wrong? I’m simplifying here, so if I refer to things as “clique”, you’ll see it charitably, I hope. (You won’t.) As for your post, I see you reference Aratina Cage and we all know he’s the very MODEL of honesty around these here parts. (That was sarcasm, by the way.)

But again, it’s funny you want to use your blog as a way to prove we’re “misogynists” and “sexists” and what have you, when they’re about as useful as Nugent’s or Zvan’s posts, quote-mining, taking posts out of context, and so on. We all know that FtB is not clean and pure as you envision, we all know they have their skeletons in their closet and yet for some reason this is exempt from your criticism of them. If at all. You haven’t really criticised FtB in that sense.

A “whole other forum unconnected to this argument”, oh dear. Thinking you know context when you don’t. Cute.

#199 Dan L.

Sorry, then I misunderstood. It was just that it sounded like you were making a comparison with how the words are being used.

211 Jack March 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

Dan L (197)

I have my reasons for why I may be called names which have been developed over many hours of study and observation. I understand their motivations (they are as many as there are people there, it is not simple) So I am sorry if I do not grab your explanation with open arms after a few posts. I have heard and considered it all and I am willing as always to give the benefit of the doubt and change my mind.

I have said that consistently for two weeks have you not read the previous posts on this at all? I assume you know there has been several blogs by Michael about this.

We all need to hear from THEM without any silly preconditions. We are all adults and capable of dialogue. If they do not wish that then let them say it.

Now Michael has made it clear that is the next step.

So right now what I care about is making that step, not about who said what to who or who got banned or where FtB are coming from or the colour of Oolon’s underwear. That has been done to death already. We’ve been at it for weeks not a day or two.

It is very good people are still talking and it is none of my business what they wish to do with their time. But as I have posted 3 times now I see no progress here to the next step at all.

212 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 12:23 am

#198 oolon

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, you know how in your post you include ‘Rebecunt Twatson’?

_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=1854#p1854

And here’s another one:

_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=17471#p17471

Recognise the name in the latter link? You should.

Just for clarification, ‘Twatson’ has been used by some ‘pitters. ‘Rebecunt’ on the other hand has not, and seeing as how the word was not used until oolon repeated it, then perhaps he even fabricated it himself?

213 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:31 am

Sorry to interject, but no touch Louis. The guy might be a twat (see SJW heads explode), but he’s a very good person, and I wish I didn’t meet him when he was on his “no alcohol” diet. Leave the guy alone, please? He’s got enough on his mind.

214 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

@ Dan 193:

If you’re not proposing to forbid discussing topics that large proportions of convention-goers want to discuss then what are you proposing?

Thank you for asking.
Convention goers may discuss anything they like, it is a free country after all(US here). What I’m talking about are the invited speakers.

Which groups from the the website linked in my post at #3 in this thread shall we as atheists/skeptics allow under the banner of our few groups?

Many of these organizations are, I’m sure, fine advocacy groups and do wonderful things in the community. The point is, they already exist.

How dilute must we who all agree (presuming we do) on the declaration statements from Atheist International, make our resources for advocacy of those core values?

I’m proposing truth in advertising. Talk primarily about those core principles under which you fly your organizational flag.

215 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

@Phil
[quote]
Sorry to interject, but no touch Louis. The guy might be a twat (see SJW heads explode), but he’s a very good person, and I wish I didn’t meet him when he was on his “no alcohol” diet. Leave the guy alone, please? He’s got enough on his mind.[/quote]

Am I doing quotes right?

Who is Louis and why should they leave him alone? Is it Louis Theroux? Tehehe.

216 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:42 am

Pitchguest: I think I created the “Rebitchka” shorthand, and have apologized for it.

It was a return-fire from “dear dick”, IIRC. Something about names/surnames. It was a joke.

217 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:44 am

Eu: nope, not doing quotes right, and not Theroux.

218 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:45 am

Eu@203:

So you’re saying I’m not allowed to disagree with you on this particular issue?

Pitchguest@208:

Sorry, then I misunderstood. It was just that it sounded like you were making a comparison with how the words are being used.

I was comparing them. But I could see that you and Eu were champing at the bit to stomp me into the ground for disagreeing with you on this minor, completely off-topic point and I wanted to head off a long, pointless,exhausting, frustrating discussion about it.

219 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 12:46 am

#209 Phil

Fair enough. Just a twat, then. ;)

#211 Eu – A regular on Pharyngula. If you don’t know, don’t worry about it.

220 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

PZ claims the “thunderdome” is unmoderated. That’s simply not true. It is indeed moderated. No one from the ‘pit can post there. When you limit access to a forum, that’s moderation. You can’t call it unmoderated when you take such actions.

So there’s a disconnect from the things FTB folk say, and what they do. It creates a problem because it means you (literally) cannot trust them to be honest about some really basic things, like word meanings.

I mean, seriously, when you’re getting this worked up about something so petty…

I deleted all the snark as Nugent requested, but holy crap, it gets more and more difficult when this is the conversation.

221 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

Dan L, how is writing an argument against your argument saying you’re not allowed to disagree? Not that I think this is an “opinion” subject. It’s a fact subject. You can deny it all you want but I will still write what I write.

If you continue to respond that way when I rebut you (I could do the same to you, you know) I just won’t respond. Wouldn’t want to imply that you’re not allowed to disagree with me.

222 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

Jack@207:

I suspect that you have the reasons wrong. I am trying to help you because your interpretations of the motivations at FtB seem very uncharitable and I don’t think anyone is going to want to discuss anything with you if you assume their motivations are as rotten as you seem to do.

All in all, this gives me the impression that you do not want any reconciliation unless it comes as a result of everyone at FtB renouncing their awful ways and coming to see the justness and righteousness of the Jack way.

Simply not a plausible outcome. If you want to keep spitting out rants about how oppressed you are on Michael Nugent’s blog that’s your prerogative. If you want to make some progress on this issue I’m happy to help if I can.

223 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:51 am

Submariner@211:

How dilute must we who all agree (presuming we do) on the declaration statements from Atheist International, make our resources for advocacy of those core values?

I would guess that presumption is exactly the problem. Perhaps not as many people agree with you as you think they do, or perhaps the priorities of others are more diffuse than yours. There are many possible explanations why cons would end up hosting talks you do not like. Many of those explanations involve factors such as the fact that the con attendees want to hear certain speakers and certain topics and that many attendees may have preferences that are different from yours.

224 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:52 am

@ Dan L

“All in all, this gives me the impression that you do not want any reconciliation unless it comes as a result of everyone at FtB renouncing their awful ways and coming to see the justness and righteousness of the Jack way.”

I thought people /entered/ discussions because they wanted to convince the other side of arguments and /stayed/ because they were learning something? What you said above is that, just really demonized.

225 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:55 am

Eu@217:

Dan L, how is writing an argument against your argument saying you’re not allowed to disagree?

Because I never wrote an argument. A simple logical consequence is that your argument was not in response to “my argument” which did not exist in the first place. I asked if it was OK for me to disagree with you on this subject. By immediately ignoring my question and mounting a somewhat strident ardent against my position you gave me the impression that it is not acceptable for me to disagree with you on this point.

Not that I think this is an “opinion” subject. It’s a fact subject. You can deny it all you want but I will still write what I write.

Exactly. You think it’s a fact; ergo, my opinion cannot possibly be right. I am not allowed to disagree with you.

If you continue to respond that way when I rebut you (I could do the same to you, you know) I just won’t respond. Wouldn’t want to imply that you’re not allowed to disagree with me.

You weren’t rebutting me because I wasn’t making an argument; I was asking if we could agree to disagree. Since you apparently cannot it would be completely fine with me if you stopped responding to me.

226 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 12:56 am

@ Dan 219
There are many possible explanations why cons would end up hosting talks you do not like.

Dan, please do not ascribe motivations to my comments which I have not stated and in fact stated just the opposite in the post you are responding to here. I believe Mr. Nugent said something about this very thing somewhere recently, if I could only find it….

227 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Eu@217:

I thought people /entered/ discussions because they wanted to convince the other side of arguments and /stayed/ because they were learning something? What you said above is that, just really demonized.

Actually, people engage in discussions for all sorts of reasons, not just to convince the other side. Furthermore, if one’s only intention is to convince the other side then I don’t think honest discussion is possible at all. It’s easy to refuse to understand or acknowledge any points the other side makes and to insist that they have not addressed your points even if they have.

In other words, it’s very possible to “enter a discussion” with the intention of simply bullying the other side over to your point of view rather than engaging in real discussion — which does entail a sort of compromise.

Both you and Jack are giving me this impression, FYI.

228 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Louis is a brilliant chemist, working on drugs we may use every day. He is also a loving father, husband, and a hell of a gig when in a row.

The thing is, and this might finally get relevant to Michael’s points: he is the only member of the A/S online community I ever met in real life. I could have a seat with the guy tomorrow, have a beer, and not think any less of him for posting on the so-called “other side”. Dialogue would ensue, but I’m sure it would be fun and fructuous.

I’m ready to bet this would work for most players here. And there.

229 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Eu@217:

Response in moderation.

230 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:00 am

Submariner@222:

Dan, please do not ascribe motivations to my comments which I have not stated and in fact stated just the opposite in the post you are responding to here. I believe Mr. Nugent said something about this very thing somewhere recently, if I could only find it….

I’m sorry, I do not understand why you are taking offense at that comment. I don’t think I ascribed any motivations to you. If I misunderstood your arguments it was an honest misunderstanding.

I would also appreciate if you would ease off on accusing me of violating the charity thing since I feel you are also being somewhat uncharitable but I am not calling you on it, nor have I called anyone else specifically on it except Jack (who I think makes an egregious enough example to do so fairly).

231 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:05 am

Well, that’s not quite true but it was a sort of joke when I said it to Pitchguest.

232 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 1:06 am

@ Dan 225:

While you explicit use of the word like implied a value judgement I did not state, I will accept that you made it without malicious intent.

I too am sorry for causing you such offense with what I thought were gentle reminders of the OP’s points.

233 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 1:10 am

@ Dan (and any others interested)

I must leave now as real life intrudes. Thank you for your civility and for the open discussion. Thanks also to Mr. Nugent.

234 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 1:11 am

#212 Phil

No, you certainly did not.

235 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 1:15 am

Pitchguest #229: Well, here go my copyrights then. Again…

Do they still allow people to sell kids on ebay? Just asking, just asking!!!

236 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:18 am

While you explicit use of the word like implied a value judgement I did not state, I will accept that you made it without malicious intent.

I too am sorry for causing you such offense with what I thought were gentle reminders of the OP’s points.

Thanks. I’m actually sorry I gave you the impression that I took “such offense”…I only said I’d”appreciate it”. Regardless, gentle reminder accepted.

But you are making some kind of value judgment, no? “Like” was too vague a word, but you are making a judgment whether a particular topic or speaker is…”consonant”, maybe? with some particular philosophy. You chose the mission statement of Atheist International or something like that…is there a particular reason people should organize cons according to that and not some other formulation?

As I said, I’m neither an activist nor a convention-goer. I’m playing devil’s advocate. If you honestly think that the wrong kinds of talks are happening at cons you should absolutely make that argument to the sorts of people who organize cons. If you want me to play devil’s advocate about those arguments I’m game but I’m a little exhausted by the last two days of this so I don’t really want to do a lot of bickering at this point.

237 Eu March 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

I guess I missed the post where you asked to end the discussion, Dan L.

238 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

#226 Dan L – Yeah, again, sorry for the misunderstanding.

#223 Phil – I absolutely understand what you’re saying. There are some things I totally disagree with, like some things my mother say, or some things my uncle says, but these things don’t define them as a person. Therefore I don’t need to be in complete agreement with them on these issues to be able to have a pleasant conversation with them or otherwise get along.

I think an acquintance described it best, I’m paraphrasing since I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he said something about how he had a friend who he could get along with perfectly in drawing, as long as they didn’t talk about politics. Because his friends’ view on politics was just so out of whack with his, it would become unbearable. He was also a conspiracy nut and into pseudo science. I think he summarised him as stupid as a brick, but hell of an artist. Which is pretty much my view with my mother and uncle: as long as we don’t divert onto those subjects, we’re fine.

So when you say Louis is a loving husband and father, I trust you. Except, just how it is with my mother and uncle, it would be nice if they didn’t do what they do. Personally I didn’t see Louis acting in good faith (so to speak) on the ‘pit and he wasn’t being very fair, and then to top it off he went reported back to Pharyngula on his progress by strawmanning us. Which I thought was pretty bad form, especially as a friend to you, Phil, who had been slandered by a regular there.

Your impression of him notwithstanding (I don’t know him as well as you do), my impression of him is that he’s a bit of a twat. A prick, if you will. But for the sake of repairing rifts, to compromise, we can say he’s a loving husband, a loving father, and he’s a bit of a twat. Fair? ;-)

239 Ng March 21, 2013 at 1:55 am

Dan L. @161

Two things, your cultural bias is showing.

The word nigger isn’t in general use where I am from, I get that there may be cultural baggage with it where you’re from. If it makes you feel better I’ve been called variations on that theme a lot, my reactions in general have ranged from mild anger to pity.

240 Ng March 21, 2013 at 1:56 am

Dan L. @161

Forgot to number them.

241 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:07 am

Dan L. (218)

Are you serious?

Evidence please.

242 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:16 am

Ng@235,236:

You are cementing my initial impression of Michael Nugent’s endeavor.

Jack@237:

Evidence of what? Last night. And today. Pretty much everything you’ve said. I’ve been patient and heard you out and I don’t think there’s any way folks at FtB will want to discuss anything with you. And since they’re not obligated to and you’re not willing to consider other approaches to the issue that’s the end of that as far as I can see.

That is to say, you are also cementing my initial impression of Michael Nugent’s endeavor.

243 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

Honestly, you’re a lot more hopeful about this than I am. Even religions, whose adherents are supposed to share core values, can’t seem to hold it together. We atheists, who are defined by what we are not rather than what we are, don’t even have an inclination towards shared core values.

When I was younger, I believed (and was led to believe) that the atheist community was skeptical, scientifically oriented, and interested in issues of social justice. I believed this both because I was told so directly and because the lack of these qualities (lack of skepticism, lack of interest in science, lack of desire to achieve social justice) was used to attack the religious. “Look at what those horrible Catholics are doing!” they would cry, “They don’t even allow abortion to save the life of the mother. Religion is the root of this evil; only by taking down religion will women be free of such oppression.

But now I’m being told (repeatedly) and shown (repeatedly) that I was being naive when I believed the above. “Atheism is only a lack of belief! You can’t expect atheists to care about misogyny.” A good chunk of the atheist community cares about none of these things, except to the extent that they can be used to attack the religious.

And so I’m reevaluating where I stand in this community.

244 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:23 am

You stand somewhere else now? Did the views change?

245 Jeff March 21, 2013 at 2:26 am

Eristae, some may say, “You can’t expect atheists to care about misogyny.” Many of us think you can, we have insisted we are on board with you about this. The problem is we disagreed on one or two minor points of detail and for that we have been told that we are misogynists.

246 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:28 am

Jeff@241:

If I may ask, are there particular people who called you a misogynist so that we don’t have to smear a whole “side” with such a dastardly crime?

247 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:29 am

^^^ This, Eristae.
Actually I haven’t gotten a dose of that personally. That, or I didn’t read it when someone called me one but I’m sure I’ve been called that by proxy.

Jeff, are you Jeff Love?

Yeah, trying to tell people they’re misogynists is like the Westboro Baptist Church trying to tell people they hate their neighbor. You can’t tell people who they hate.

248 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

Oh… I was pointing to Dan L, not Jeff.

& Yeah, Eristae shouldn’t read that and assume that every major (major meaning the ones who catch the most attention by blogging about feminism and agreeing with the ones that do do that) FtB-er tries to call people misogynists for not agreeing with all of their points related to ‘feminism.’ Most you can say is if you show up on a post regarding it and disagree you risk being called one by some readers or bloggers there.

249 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:32 am

@Eu
My views about the atheist community? Yes.

@Jeff
See, but the feelings that you’re expressing are part of the reason that I don’t think this is going to get better. It’s been over two years since the event that set a spark into a pile of dry tinder (Elevatorgate) and the flames shows no sign of calming down.

250 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:33 am

Dan L. n(237)

Sorry that is not good enough. You have provided an opinion, not evidence. If you wish to state it is opinion then fine. Otherwise:

Have you or have you not read anything I have posted in the last two weeks?

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