A response to recent online open letters and emails

by Michael Nugent on June 7, 2013

Thank you for the various open letters and emails regarding the ongoing conflicts between some atheists and skeptics on an interacting range of issues including sexism and harassment, feminism and free speech, personal abuse and bullying, and the impact of these issues on the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin on June 29 and 30. I will respond separately from a personal perspective, and as chairperson of Atheist Ireland.

Personal perspective

Firstly, from a personal perspective, I know from experience of much more vicious conflicts than these that it is likely that there are good people on all perceived ‘sides’ who are unfairly hurting other people because they or people close to them have themselves been unfairly hurt, and who are unfairly attributing malign motivations to other good people who in turn are unfairly attributing malign motivations to them.

Since I started facilitating the paused online dialogue on these issues, I have been listening to and considering what people on all perceived ‘sides’ have to say. I have had the pleasure of working with moderators and participants in the online dialogue who have been acting with integrity and reason despite unfair criticism of them from people opposed to dialogue.

I have read a great deal of the online material that shows how various issues have both escalated and became entangled with each other in recent years. And I want to add to my understanding by talking to some of the people involved when they come to Dublin, because I think that face to face discussion can be more useful than online discussion.

Whenever I think I understand enough about the issues to be able to make a useful contribution to the substantive discussions, I will do so. In the meantime, I have chosen to mostly listen and not to publicly respond to speculation about my motives or opinions. That does not mean that I am approaching the issues in an ethical vacuum. I have written elsewhere about the values that I am bringing to these issues:

Atheist Ireland perspective

Secondly, as chairperson of Atheist Ireland, I want to make clear that the Empowering Women Through Secularism Conference is not ‘my’ conference. It is an Atheist Ireland conference, and it is disrespectful to the committee members of Atheist Ireland, and particularly to the conference chairperson Jane Donnelly, to frame it as something which I control personally.

The conference has a structured agenda covering reproductive rights and Irish abortion law, promoting secular values in society, promoting separation of church and state, protecting and promoting human rights, and involvement in politics and the media. Each session will feed into a declaration on empowering women through secularism, which will be adopted on the Sunday.

We invited speakers to contribute to this important agenda, and not on the basis of their involvement in the ongoing conflicts. We won’t be uninviting any speakers, and we won’t allow our ongoing work as an advocacy group to be used as a vehicle for adding to the escalation of the conflicts by unfairly maligning any speakers or any other person who is attending the conference.

We considered having a session during the conference to discuss the ongoing conflicts, and we decided against doing this. The background would require too much explaining for conference attenders, many of whom function mostly in real life and are blissfully unaware that these conflicts even exist. Also, we do not want it to unduly dominate the focus of the conference.

We are asking speakers and participants to focus on the agenda for the conference, and to leave discussion of the conflicts for the many opportunities that exist to discuss them elsewhere. Please be respectful to all of the speakers and to all of the other participants. Please do not attribute malign motivations to any person who is attending the conference.

Ultimately we need to resolve the ongoing conflict issues in some manner, and I have been actively trying to work towards this by facilitating dialogue. But please let’s try to make this particular conference a reminder of how we can work together effectively on important issues despite having differences of opinion on other important issues.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 454 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 6:32 am

Michael you mentioned motivations, which of course we can never fully understand with respect to other people. I e-mailled you yesterday about a behaviour, is discussion of this too off limits?

2 Thaumas Themelios June 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

Excellent response, Michael. You continue to impress with your impeccable professionalism. I believe you and the AI committee have made exactly the right decisions in regard to putting on the best conference experience possible, considering the rather complicated histories (plural) of these various controversies. Particularly, I think your decision not to uninvite anyone is definitely the right decision, even though I may have ideological differences with some of the invitees myself. Personal disagreements of that sort should not put at jeopardy the integrity of the conference, nor unfairly break previously made agreements and commitments with invitees, IMHO. Again, I’m very impressed. Kudos to you and your fellow AI colleagues. :-)

3 Thaumas Themelios June 7, 2013 at 7:24 am

(reposting due to some error. sorry if duplicate.)

Excellent response, Michael. You continue to impress with your impeccable professionalism. I believe you and the AI committee have made exactly the right decisions in regard to putting on the best conference experience possible, considering the rather complicated histories (plural) of these various controversies. Particularly, I think your decision not to uninvite anyone is definitely the right decision, even though I may have ideological differences with some of the invitees myself. Personal disagreements of that sort should not put at jeopardy the integrity of the conference, nor unfairly break previously made agreements and commitments with invitees, IMHO. Again, I’m very impressed. Kudos to you and your fellow AI colleagues. :-)

4 Jay June 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

I am learning that my 3 year old and 4 year olds behave better than atheists and they hate each much of the time. And I have learned that my 7 year old is more rational, logical, and wiser than a tenured professor and vaunted atheist leaders.

I have learned for myself that organized atheism is filled with cat fights, factions, non-critical thinking, bullying, and utter shittons of logical fallacies.

Is this what it means to be an atheist, or do online atheists self-select for being complete idiot assholes?

5 oolon June 7, 2013 at 8:24 am

“The background would require too much explaining for conference attenders, many of whom function mostly in real life and are blissfully unaware that these conflicts even exist.”

— Something for those who are foaming about the imminent demise of “FfTBs” and feminism in atheism/scepticism to consider. Most people in the group don’t even know about this conflict. It may seem to be “everywhere” online but I’d suggest that comes from where you choose to hang out. Places like the Slymepit serve to amplify the rifts in the minds of those that post there not diminish them. Although said pitters reckon I’m a shit stirrer and would like to amplify more this is far from the truth. I see some less “emo” Slymepitters are trying to set up a forum without the foaming anti-FTB/feminist/skepchick/A+ contributions. I reckon that will be good for dialling down the hyperbole and maybe even coming up with some decent arguments –> I’ve seen nothing from that side on the atheistskepticdialogue.com yet. Spend less time on the photoshops and you might come up with some coherent points.

6 Jim Habegger June 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

Michael, I like this very much, all of it.

7 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 8:45 am

Sorry, I should have said “a behaviour which is not listed above”. I think you have an elephant in the room.

8 Maureen Brian June 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

Sorry, Michael, but no! I understand your personal commitment to calm and reasoned dialogue and to concentrating upon the very good agenda of the coming conference and its hoped-for outcome but …

If this were simply an argument about the future of secularism, an argument where the language had got a little out of hand and we should all be told to take a deep breath and calm down then I would be on your side.

It is not that and trying to treat it as though it were just a noisy squabble is giving a platform, giving a sense of entitlement, to those who believe that women should have no part in the discussion of anything beyond what’s for dinner. Somehow, they manage to believe that as rabidly as any zealot of the Abrahamic religions ever believed such a thing.

People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation. I can get angry, very angry but I would not stoop to any of that. Would you?

So, calm and reason of course but only after we have explained – somehow – to these people that publicly posting female genitalia superimposed on someone’s photo is is at least as rude as me saying “fuck.”

Probably even more rude but we can discuss that in the bar or somewhere at the end of the month.

9 Ariel June 7, 2013 at 9:36 am

I’m really glad to hear about your decision not to uninvite anyone. Also your personal perspective of “good people on all perceived ‘sides’ who are unfairly hurting other people because they or people close to them have themselves been unfairly hurt …” etc. is quite close to my own.

I hope that more people on both “sides” will recognize the move you made as a good one. It’s perhaps a very naive hope. Nevertheless, all the best.

10 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 9:42 am

“People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation.”

Skeptics should be asking for truth claims about the world to be evidence based. Unevidenced alllegations are scare-mongering.

11 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

If you want evidence, take a look at how Ophelia Benson has been treated.

12 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

Maureen:

“People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation. I can get angry, very angry but I would not stoop to any of that. Would you?”

Is Ophelia Benson’s effective outing of Eliza Sutton an example of someone engaging in a “dark art” to the end of intimidating a female skeptic?

13 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

Yes Matt, I want evidence. Because if there’s not evidence for every word of it it’s a lie.

14 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 10:07 am

“Yes Matt, I want evidence. Because if there’s not evidence for every word of it it’s a lie.”

I have told you where you can find evidence. You seem intent on being willfully ignorant.

15 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 10:09 am

“Is Ophelia Benson’s effective outing of Eliza Sutton an example of someone engaging in a “dark art” to the end of intimidating a female skeptic?”

Since Ophelia Benson did not do what you claim, the answer would be no. Do you have anymore stupid questions ?

16 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 10:12 am

Matt – shortly after saying to Eliza (then only known to me as Skep Tickle) that Eliza’s anonymity protected her from the sort of (putative) harassment Ophelia has to put up with because she was “only Skep Tickle” Ophelia then quickly provided enough information for people to identify her.

In other words – An effective outing.

17 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 10:15 am

Matt – shortly after saying to Eliza (then only known to me as Skep Tickle) that Eliza’s anonymity protected her from the sort of (putative) harassment Ophelia has to put up with because she was “only Skep Tickle” Ophelia then quickly provided enough information for people to identify her.

In other words – An effective outing.

I see you have decided to be dishonest. And your ignorance is your problem. It is not evidence of OB having done anything wrong.

I suggest you apoligise to OB for your lies.

18 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

I don’t think I’ve said a word of a lie.

In your opinion, what have I got wrong and why?

19 Walton June 7, 2013 at 10:32 am

Maureen is right. These people have been harassing Ophelia on Twitter and by email for a very long time – Ophelia has painstakingly documented this at her blog. (So the demands for “evidence” above are thoroughly disingenuous; it isn’t hard to find such evidence.) And she isn’t the only prominent woman in the atheist movement to have been harassed since Elevatorgate.

The trouble with Michael Nugent’s approach is this: we can’t have a “dialogue” with people who are pursuing crazed vendettas. If someone were punching me in the face repeatedly, I wouldn’t want to be forced to enter into an “open and constructive dialogue” with the person punching me in the face. I wouldn’t want to be told that there are “good people” on “both sides of the debate”, or that people can disagree in good faith about the issue of punching me in the face. All I would want is for them to stop punching me in the face.

20 Walton June 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

These campaigns of misogynistic harassment must stop.

21 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 11:03 am

Glad to see the issue of people who are not open to discussion being addressed This has always been an issue, as far as I can remember. Criticism, even constructive criticism is censored from the site regularly.

There is an emperor’s new clothes feeling to the AI page. To point out hypocrisy or double standards in posts is not allowed and moderator’s will take it down.

Intolerance is allowed, but pointing out intolerance is not. It os a big “yes man” club. No decent from just going along with what AI dictate is allowed.

Also, critisizm is called abuse and if you disagree you are said not to be able to accept others views and blocked! The irony is clearly lost on the moderators who do this.

Hope it goes well Michael.

22 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

p.s. I also have seen nothing, apart from articles about it from Michael and comments here, that backs up persecution of feminists.

23 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

Daniel – You can certainly find examples of feminists being ostracised or even killed if you look for it. The issue for me is that it looks like certain people involved in this particular argument cite the worst of the harassment as reason for why they should react the way they do to trivial harassment, or even criticism that falls short of harassment.

That genuine harassment occurs is not something I deny. But that any joke, moan or critique amount to harassment is something I deny.

24 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 11:38 am

For those here who seem unable to find evidence of harassment (or more likely simply don’t want to find it), please see the evidence presented at these link.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/05/more-documenting-the-harassment/#more-7964

25 Luther June 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

If all sides behaved like Michael there wouldn’t be any sides. However one camp continues to use language that should be used to described the WBC, the Taliban or Rush Limbaugh not against people that essentialy agree with you 90%.

26 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

If all sides behaved like Michael there wouldn’t be any sides. However one camp continues to use language that should be used to described the WBC, the Taliban or Rush Limbaugh not against people that essentialy agree with you 90%.

Calling people cunts or dried up old vaginas is not how the Taliban or Rush Limbaugh should be described.

27 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

True – nothing dried up about Rush.

28 Steve June 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Mick. When I see this drama escalate, I hit my head off the table. Thanks for having more patience than I have, and being the voice of reason.

29 David Leech June 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Nice response Michael if a little vague though I understand why. Considering Ireland is a predominant Roman Catholic country I can see why you want to focus on these issues and why they are important. I must admit I will be following the event very closely as I want to see how the speakers propose to address and alleviate these problems. What actions they themselves propose to do about them. I certainly hope the speakers are not simple going to restate the issues (It’s a Roman Catholic country, the Roman Catholic religion doesn’t think much of women unless they are nuns and even then, not really.) I want to hear what activism they will be taking. If they are only going to whine about it on a blog post and then get drunk at the bar, well I don’t think that will solve anything but hay that might be just me.

30 oolon June 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

@Dave Allen, Ophelia put info on her blog that could easily identify Skep Tickle? Right…? Well nowhere near as much info as Skep Tickle put on the blog herself with her first name. Her Gravatar linking to her IRL identity as well. So sorry she was outdone by Skep Tickle by some way.

The person who “outed” her was Maxwell Smart on the heathen hub post… Presumably at her request. Have a look –>
_http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?b=1712

ALSO the only harm to her that she has identified is if her full name and “atheist” come up on a front page Google search. Might be outed to her patients then… So don’t put her full name in here too often or there might be some harm done.

31 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm

“Ophelia put info on her blog that could easily identify Skep Tickle? Right…? Well nowhere near as much info as Skep Tickle put on the blog herself with her first name. Her Gravatar linking to her IRL identity as well. So sorry she was outdone by Skep Tickle by some way.”

All I know is that I had been aware of Skep Tickle by nym rather than name for a while and that I only became aware of her name, profession and position on an atheist org via Ophelia’s blog, and this seems to be the experience of a number of others so I think that’s an effective outing.

Did Skep Tickle do the same deliberately or by mistake elsewhere? I don’t really care. It seems a bit of a post-facto justification to scour through possible leaks in order to say that the leak which got the attention should not be judged as problematic or unethical. This is the reason my Mum used to ask me “if John stuck his head in an oven…”

Moreover I think the whole “well there’s a story behind such and such an event” is pretty much a smokescreen. Ophelia knew skep tickle enjoyed a certain degree of anonymity – even if it wasn’t 100% – because the conversation between the two of them had already included Ophelia saying stuff like (I paraphrase) “to most people you are just a nym, unlike me”. Her subsequent decision to use “Eliza” and allow follow on comments to further identify ST by varying degrees proves a degree of behaviour I find poor.

I acknowledge your attempt to further muddy the waters by guilt tripping me over using her full name here – so thanks for that. I believe after some reflection ST decided to fully out herself on the same heathen hub you advise me to familiarise myself with, so hopefully she won’t consider the occasional reference beyond the pale.

I don’t feel particularly comfortable dragging this out longer than it should be, but I think it stands as a pretty stark example of Ophelia indulging in exactly the same sort of thing she complains about as harassment when she is the recipient.

32 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

“Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

Oh – there doesn’t seem to be anything contentious about it. Could someone explain to me why this is?

33 Luther June 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I would rather have personal attacks like being called an old cunt than have my position mischaracterized. When you call someone old, ugly, fat, cunt, dick ect… it says more about you than the target. When you call someone a misogynist or rape apologist you are characterizing their positions. That’s a far worse offense if done wrongly in my book.

34 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I would rather have personal attacks like being called an old cunt than have my position mischaracterized. When you call someone old, ugly, fat, cunt, dick ect… it says more about you than the target. When you call someone a misogynist or rape apologist you are characterizing their positions. That’s a far worse offense if done wrongly in my book.

Those people who have been targeting Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Rebecca Watson and others by calling them cunts, saying that they should be raped, or are too ugly be raped and so on are misogynists. So are those who provide such people a platform to espouse their views.

35 SisterChromatid June 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The people using mysoginist language are not the people being called misogynists in this McCarthyistic hunt for “misogyny”. Rather, it’s people who try to broker peace or people who refuse to join in the witch hunt or people who show anything except allegiance to the bizarre band of feminism of FTB… as poor Mick is likely to see for himself.

36 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

That bizarre band of feminism that says women are people too ?

Yeah, I can see why some people might get upset about that.

37 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I wonder which brand of feminism denies that women are people.

In fact – I wonder where hardcore MRAs deny women are people.

38 Kareem June 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Matt, I think you know most people think women are people. To pretend that there’s only one type of feminism is as dishonest as saying everyone who doesn’t agree with one particular civil rights leader is a racist.
You disagree with someone’s approach? Fine, just say so. But the second you feel the need to be dishonest (validating SisterChromatid in the process) is the second everyone knows there’s something weak about your position.

39 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

“Matt, I think you know most people think women are people. To pretend that there’s only one type of feminism is as dishonest as saying everyone who doesn’t agree with one particular civil rights leader is a racist.
You disagree with someone’s approach? Fine, just say so. But the second you feel the need to be dishonest (validating SisterChromatid in the process) is the second everyone knows there’s something weak about your position.”

I think you are a bit confused, since the dishonesty came from SisterChromatid. And actually, the likes of the slymepit do not consider women to be people, at least not in the same way men are people. The slymepit regards women as subservient to men. It is not only the slymepit of course. Michael Shermer has said that women are not the equal of men in the atheist/sceptic community when he insisted that being at the forefront of the movement was a “guy thing”. Ron Lindsay was hardly treating women as people too in his opening speech at the recent CFI Women in Secularism conference. Need I point out home many in the atheist/sceptic movement think that Rebeccca Watson should just accept being proposition for sex in a lift at 4am, or who saw nothing wrong in what Thunderfoot has had to say on the role of women ?

So, actually, no. Far too many people do not regard women as people too.

40 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Can we please stop pretending like all FTB does is say that women are people too, and thus anyone who thinks FTB’s leader space has its fill of despisable people thinks that women aren’t equal? Stop acting like FTB is innocent and pure like normal equity feminists.

41 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

The slymepit regards women are subservient to men… what bullshit. They can never describe how, they just spout dishonest bullshit claims about the slymepit. Yeah, the women there are definitely bowing to the men and accepting their lower place at the pit alright.

And Rebecca was not propositioned for sex at 4 am ffs. It was no more a proposition than what she accepted and went to at 2 something AM! with ALCOHOL. But another guy can’t offer coffee? Stop lying.

42 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

The slymepit regards women are subservient to men… what bull. They can never describe how, they just spout claims about the slymepit. Yeah, the women there are definitely bowing to the men and accepting their lower place at the pit alright.

And Rebecca was not propositioned for sex at 4 am ffs. It was no more a proposition than what she accepted and went to at 2 something AM! with ALCOHOL. But another guy can’t offer coffee? Just stop saying things that clearly aren’t true.

43 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

“The slymepit regards women as subservient to men.”

As far as I can see on the odd occasion that someone who espouses the notion that women are subservient to men visits the Slyme Pit they tend to get rather short shrift.

For example: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=313

Strikes me the Slyme Pit is relatively diverse in opinion in comparison to the A+ forum, but still relatively lefty/liberal in comparison to society at large.

They do like rudery, and that can be construed as misogynist depending on your logic, but it can also be taken at face value.

“Ron Lindsay was hardly treating women as people too in his opening speech at the recent CFI Women in Secularism conference.”

What act of inhumanity did he commit?

I think he voiced some concern over a phenomenon he felt was at play in the interactions of feminists and non-feminists. And some people thought he could have been more warm in his welcome.

“Need I point out home many in the atheist/sceptic movement think that Rebeccca Watson should just accept being proposition for sex in a lift at 4am, or who saw nothing wrong in what Thunderfoot has had to say on the role of women ?”

Can’t recall people saying RW should just accept propositions or anything Thunderf00t said about “the role of women”. He has seemed highly appreciative of Eugenie Scott and ZOMgitz.

44 Luther June 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

What non-troll has ever made a rape threat in the A/S/S communities? Calling someone names doesn’t automatically make you a misogynist just immature. The personal attacks should be clean up by all parties if you suggest this to the FTB/A+/Skepchic crowd you get dismissed as being a tone troll. I think if the hyperbolic labeling of peoples positions stopped there would be no real division.

45 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

This all comes from the sexist “men always want sex” stereotype (which btw, is part of the reason some laugh when one claims they didn’t want the sex they ‘got’). I’m glad I can ask someone for coffee without being accused of wanting to fuck them. Even if it was an actual sign of attraction to Rebecca, that doesn’t mean he was propositioning her for SEX.

If a man accepted my offer and then tried to take me to bed, he would be in the wrong. I never said I wanted sex.

46 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

“And Rebecca was not propositioned for sex at 4 am ffs. It was no more a proposition than what she accepted and went to at 2 something AM! with ALCOHOL. But another guy can’t offer coffee? Just stop saying things that clearly aren’t true.”

I think the likelihood is that someone saying “I think you are very interesting, wanna come to my room for coffee” in an elevator in the wee hours is looking to instigate a sexual encounter.

I don’t really see how someone can credibly say that isn’t the likely intention.

47 Kareem June 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Wow, Matt. I thought the earlier dishonesty was just
I believe I’ll take the advice I’ve given to others and simply end this conversation.
I’ll just say this: there are people who will actually look up the things you’re talking about. They’ll see women in the slime pit not only see themselves as people but have stuck up for the very people who have attacked them. They’ll actually read what Ron Lindsay said and compare it to your characterization. When they do this, they’ll not just attribute the discrepancy to you but the people and movement you represent.
If you want to say positions of the “other side” are wrong, by all means do so. But when you try to paint them as evil, all they have to do is not be evil to win people over.

48 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Luther, on top of that they completely ignore the fact that their men are called the same names. The only way to avoid claims of misogyny would be to purposely only insult their men, which sounds pretty sexist to me.

And, just like that mishap with the signature sheet (hmm.. wonder who signed Ophelia’s name and gave FTB a way to invalidate it?), it could so easily be them themselves putting threats there so that no one can argue about the actual topic. They use the whole “But then rape threats came later, you approve of rape threats!” crap even when the person doesn’t mention any rape threats at all. Someone’s saying bullshit on twitter? They got rape threats? You can’t criticize them, because that’s somehow defending rape threats.

They’re anonymous trolls doing it, and it works perfectly in their favor. I’m not going to be a dumb ass and trust that it’s not them. Not that I’m saying it is them, but it’s a very high possibility

49 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

What’s your argument, Dave? That most men want sex in the wee hours of the morning? Your “but it was so early/late” thing can be used against sex as well. All intentions (talking to her, having sex with her, or a meeting that one anticipates will lead to some kind of romantic feeling) are a little late, aren’t they? But the thing is, they were *already up and awake*, and Rebecca had come from ANOTHER PERSON’S ROOMS AND DRANK *ALCOHOL*, not coffee, a *stimulant*, WITH THEM. Did she have sex with them? No. Would they have been right in assuming she wanted sex by coming to their room? No.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to imagine that someone already up and awake truly wants to talk to someone, even “in the wee hours of the morning.” When people have been up, that’s not relevant. I’m perfectly capable of this intention, and would do so if I felt like talking to someone, even if it was 4 am, as long as I was already awake. My only “con” would be what the other person would think.

Sorry, but there’s no excuse to just assume someone wants to fuck you, and if you do and get thrown out, it is all on you.

50 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I haven’t been up at night in a hotel yet, but I’m so glad I’m able to come back to guy’s houses *when we’ve already been awake the entire night* and hang out without people trying to act like they’re justified in assuming I’m coming back to their place for sex, ffs.

51 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

And Rebecca was not propositioned for sex at 4 am ffs. It was no more a proposition than what she accepted and went to at 2 something AM! with ALCOHOL. But another guy can’t offer coffee? Just stop saying things that clearly aren’t true.

Yet another example of outright lying. Sister Eu, do you want to explain why you lied, and what made you think you would be able to get away with it ?

52 Sister Eu June 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Dave, maybe because they can read and didn’t think Jesse was saying that women are subservient to men? I read that as well. What I got from it was “there shouldn’t be gender roles in which women are owed chivalry from men just because they’re a woman and that’s a man. If a man wants to do that, it’s fine.” Don’t twist that into them saying the man should ‘control’ them. I know what you did – you twisted ‘man controlled chivalry’ into ‘women being subservient to men.’

Yes, that’s what subservient is, NOT being treated as if you owe someone chivalry. /sarcasm

53 Stretchycheese June 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Matt, given the significant number of women in the Slymepit and over 120 signatures (so far) in the recent Skeptic Women statement (which expressed support for Lindsay), you’ve put yourself in the rather absurd position of (a man) claiming that a large number of women atheist and skeptics don’t think they’re people. Women skeptics who have opposed the FTB/Skepchick party line also happen to be intelligent, independent and very successful women as well. The idea that these women don’t think they’re people or believe they’re subservient to men is absolute wingnuttery.

Whatever happened to “listen to women!” ? By “women” do you mean “women who agree with my particular ideology”? I think your side of the schism has lost trying to frame this conflict as a “men vs. women” or “evil misogynists vs. righteous feminists.” Instead, it more resembles rationalists vs. dogmatists or skeptics vs. gender identity ideologues.

54 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

“What’s your argument, Dave?”

Exactly as stated really – I think it’s a *reasonable* assumption to make that if Rebecca’s report of the encounter were accurate (I have a few doubts, but for the sake of argument) then the guy was *probably* hoping that one thing would lead to another.

Now I’m not particularly bothered by this, it seems to me he was polite, euphemistic and took no for an answer. However, to deny that such a scenario doesn’t likely imply sex strikes me as naïve.

“That most men want sex in the wee hours of the morning?”

Doubt it – most men are asleep in the wee hours of the morning.

“But the thing is, they were *already up and awake*, and Rebecca had come from ANOTHER PERSON’S ROOMS AND DRANK *ALCOHOL*, not coffee, a *stimulant*, WITH THEM. Did she have sex with them? No. Would they have been right in assuming she wanted sex by coming to their room? No.”

Not knowing the context I can’t possibly say. I’m not really looking to defend Rebecca on the whole – I just happen to agree with one detail: the scenario she described – if accurate – was *probably* leading up to a pass.

55 Jim Habegger June 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Michael, just to give you a break while you’re reading this, I’ll say again: I like this post. A lot.

56 Justin Vacula June 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Thanks, Michael. I look forward to face-to-face discussion with you in Dublin!

57 SisterChromatid June 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The ostracism of people like Skep tickle, Harriet Hall, and Paula Kirby, are one of the reasons I feel unrepresented by FTB “brand” feminism and why I’m afraid to use my real name. The way they have treated multiple female skeptics indicates to me that their goal is not to further womens’ rights or to draw more women into the movement– rather their goal is to gain power by being the “deciders” of who is in the “in” group and who is to be shunned. There are many of us that want no part of this McCarthyism. I feel perfectly capable of deciding who is and isn’t a misogynist without the smears of the Watson-Myers alliance.

58 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Sister Eu

“Yes, that’s what subservient is, NOT being treated as if you owe someone chivalry. /sarcasm”

Well that guy has been there a few times and is pretty insistent on a very fixed role for women that I think most people would see as subservient. He’s very much opposed to women earning money – for example.

My point is that yes – the Slyme Pit does allow such people to come and post. However to suggest such people are representative of the Slyme Pit – as Matt does – is to ignore that they are in a tiny minority and tend to encounter a lot of mockery and tough questioning from those who post there regularly.

So I’m not really bringing up the example in support of Matt – I’m suggesting that the only way you can make that argument is to pull a guilt by association that is not representative of the general gist of the forum, as far as I can see.

59 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Oh, great. Now someone who posts at A Voice for Men has turned up. A Voice for Men has be described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a hate group.

60 Tom Hardy Jones June 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

@oolon “Ophelia put info on her blog that could easily identify Skep Tickle? Right…? Well nowhere near as much info as Skep Tickle put on the blog herself with her first name. Her Gravatar linking to her IRL identity as well. So sorry she was outdone by Skep Tickle by some way.”

Strange – when Surly Amy was “outed” by Justin, when he posted a link to here company/home address – there was a lot of moaning and threats of violence, etc.. coming from the SC/FTB crowd. All of her info was out in the public all ready – simply because she registered her company to her home address – easily accessed by anyone that can type into google. So – where were you on that one? She outed herself – but I guess what is good for one is not good enough for the other.

61 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm

“Oh, great. Now someone who posts at A Voice for Men has turned up. A Voice for Men has be described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a hate group.”

Great post – I love me some guilt by association with my appeal to authority.

62 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm

“Great post – I love me some guilt by association with my appeal to authority.”

So we cannot judge someone by who he chooses to associate with ? SPLC have described A Voice for Men thus:

” Voice for Men is essentially a mouthpiece for its editor, Paul Elam, who proposes to “expose misandry [hatred of men] on all levels in our culture.” Elam tosses down the gauntlet in his mission statement: “AVfM regards feminists, manginas [a derisive term for weak men], white knights [a similar derisive term, for males who identify as feminists] and other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would clansmen [sic], skinheads, neo Nazis or other purveyors of hate.” Register-Her.com, an affiliated website that vilifies women by name who have made supposedly false rape allegations (among other crimes against masculinity), is one of Elam’s signature “anti-hate” efforts. “Why are these women not in prison?” the site asks.”

Do you not think someone who chooses to associate with, and to write for, such an organisation might have a problem with women ?

63 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

” So – where were you on that one? She outed herself – but I guess what is good for one is not good enough for the other.”

It kind of works both ways though, does it not – in that some people who didn’t find the promotion of Surly Amy’s details to those who might want to send her a nasty message are irritated by Ophelia’s promotion of info that might lead to Skep tickle.

I’d rather see blanket condemnation of what I see as poor behaviour in that if someone is within the law it’s no business of someone else to go all Private Eye on them. I think it’s a pretty sordid thing to do.

64 Renee Hendricks June 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Michael, thank you for taking the time to write out your stance with regard to the upcoming conference and the online conflicts. At this point, I cannot see an amicable end to the bickering back and forth, short of putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing posts on the conference in Dublin!

65 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

“Do you not think someone who chooses to associate with, and to write for, such an organisation might have a problem with women ?”

Anyone *might* have a problem with anything. I don’t assume certainties based on matters of what might be.

I assume you mean Justin, right? He is the mysterious “someone”?

He provided his reasons for why certain content he produced ended up on the site. I am satisfied that these reasons – which basically amount to honouring an agreement – are valid enough. His blog post on AVfM seemed fair to me, but I’m neither interested in nor concerned by AVfM aside from the Register Her bit, which is in the same sort of league as OB’s (de facto) doxxing of Skep tickle, and to which I therefore object to for reasons of consistency.

As for the section of the site you cite – it’s hyperbolic nonsense of course, though it’s no more hyperbolic nonsense than some of your contributions to this discussion, or than that which can be found on dozens of Pharyngula posts.

66 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Anyone *might* have a problem with anything. I don’t assume certainties based on matters of what might be.

And I suppose you would not think a person who wrote for Stormfront had a problem with non-white people either.

“I assume you mean Justin, right? He is the mysterious “someone”?”

I would have thought that was obvious.

He provided his reasons for why certain content he produced ended up on the site. I am satisfied that these reasons – which basically amount to honouring an agreement – are valid enough. His blog post on AVfM seemed fair to me, but I’m neither interested in nor concerned by AVfM aside from the Register Her bit, which is in the same sort of league as OB’s (de facto) doxxing of Skep tickle, and to which I therefore object to for reasons of consistency.

And you do not think to ask yourself whether a decent, moral and ethical person would enter into any kind of agreement with AVFM or Paul Elam ? Your failure to be concerted about a site promoting misogyny is noted. Had Vacula written for a site dedicated to promoting white supremacy rather than male supremacy would you be as unconcerned ?

As for the section of the site you cite – it’s hyperbolic nonsense of course, though it’s no more hyperbolic nonsense than some of your contributions to this discussion, or than that which can be found on dozens of Pharyngula posts.

You seem to have written gibberish here.

67 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm

“And you do not think to ask yourself whether a decent, moral and ethical person would enter into any kind of agreement with AVFM or Paul Elam ?”

Personally had I said “anyone who donates to me can have an interview” then I would also want to honour that, even if I found some of the subsequent donors to be problematic.

“Had Vacula written for a site dedicated to promoting white supremacy rather than male supremacy would you be as unconcerned ?”

It would depend on what he said and wrote. Also I don’t find AVfM to be devoted to male supremacy, any more than I find feminist outlets to be devoted to female supremacy. As far as I see it they advocate a collection of separate articles, some of which I regard as pertinent and others which I don’t. I see them more as being embittered by circumstances than women, per se.

So an argument or article promoted by MRAs has to be judged on the thing itself, I think. As opposed to the reputation. This is just as I wouldn’t equate any given feminist argument with shooting Andy Warhol. Certain aspects go to far – such as the register her bit.

68 David Semple June 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Matt Penfold is the most dishonest person here (though I think Micheal figured that out already)

> the likes of the slymepit do not consider women to be people, at least not in the same way men are people.

Direct lie, it is a completely non-misogynistic forum, and I’ve seen people hounded off for holding non-equality positions. However, it is an open forum, so people can and do say *odd* things at times. This is a good thing, censorship is not freedom. FtB contains massive daily censorship including censorship on fair reasonable debate, but non-censorship on people being told to f*ck off if they dissent from the echo chamber.

> The slymepit regards women as subservient to men.

Despicable. At this point, Matt Penfold shows himself to be a petulant and clutching at straws. Pitiful Matt, and completely untrue. But you keep on flogging that dead horse Matt, it’ll wake up if you beat it enough I’m sure !

> Ron Lindsay was hardly treating women as people too in his opening speech at the recent CFI Women in Secularism conference.

I need say nothing on this. I’m sure Michael has read this speech, and knows that the content is fair and reasonable. Ron Lindsay was trying to expose the kind of lies that I pointed out in your above 2 lies.

> many … think that Rebeccca Watson should just accept being proposition for sex in a lift at 4am

Another lie (good going Matt! every word in your note is a lie, well done, full marks for deceit and dishonesty).
She was asked for a coffee. The gentlemen in question may have wanted sex, or coffee, or sex, or he may have been a murderer. We’ll never know. What we do know, is that Matt Penfold has lied on every point here.

> what Thunderfoot has had to say on the role of women ?

And I guess he said they should be tied to the kitchen sink huh Matt? oh, he is an *evil* misogynist, right Matt?? Congratulations Matt, not a single sentence in your post is factually true. An incredible feat to be so dishonest.

Ophelia Benson and PZ Myers have destroyed the idea of debate. FTB is censorship and abuse culture (please do try and put a dissenting view up there Michael and see how long before you are told to “f*ck off” and censored / banned). The only other place where such aggressive censorship is visible is on hardcore Creationist forums (Matt, you would fit in well there, the personality match, i.e. “lying constantly” would be very familiar to you).

Good luck with the conference Michael, you seem to be a very fair person, and I’m sure you have seen the abusive, dishonest nature of FTB by now.

69 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Personally had I said “anyone who donates to me can have an interview” then I would also want to honour that, even if I found some of the subsequent donors to be problematic.

And it would not occur to you to vet your donors ? Sorry, but the claim he was honouring an agreement is pathetic. He should never have entered an agreement that meant he wrote for AVFM. That he did so reflects badly on him, and points to a flaw in his character.

It would depend on what he said and wrote. Also I don’t find AVfM to be devoted to male supremacy, any more than I find feminist outlets to be devoted to female supremacy. As far as I see it they advocate a collection of separate articles, some of which I regard as pertinent and others which I don’t. I see them more as being embittered by circumstances than women, per se.

Well that seems to be a honest answer, even if does make you look like an apologist for people who post on websites run by hate-groups. Be in no doubt, AVFM is Elam’s project and Elam is a male supremacist.

70 John C. Welch June 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm

A Voice for Men has be described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as a hate group.

Factually incorrect. Not that facts matter to you, you have your dogma to keep you warm, but here, the SPLC on the matter. From http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2012/05/15/intelligence-report-article-provokes-outrage-among-mens-rights-activists/:

It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we did call out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.

I think that’s fair. While the MRM has a number of valid points, such as inequities in the justice system in areas such as divorce/childcare laws, and sentencing for violent crimes, it also has a number of incredibly stupid and misogynistic derps that make a lot of noise, and do utterly indefensible things like that idiotic register-her site. (and before the “YEAH, BUT YOU AGREE WITH IT IN THE ‘PIT” idiocy commences, allow me to shut it down):

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=266&p=67932&hilit=+susan+atkins+#p67932

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=259&p=64196&hilit=+susan+atkins+#p64196

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=259&p=64241&hilit=+susan+atkins+#p64241

However, just like it is unfair to use only the most radfem opinions as a representation of feminism en toto, it is equally unfair to tar everyone in the MRM as a misogynist who thinks women aren’t people, and it is factually incorrect to say the SPLC calls AvFM a hate group when the SPLC says they do not. You can have your own opinions, but you don’t get to have your own facts, and I think the SPLC is in fact, authoritative on what it says and how it categorizes things over you.

I personally have no real use for AvFM, because it seems to be naught but petty revenge fantasies and blazing stupidity. Gosh, how horrible. A guy smacks his kid so hard he makes her bleed, and he’s shocked, shocked I tell you to find the authorities get all stern and start throwing around terms like “abuse” and “assault”. What kind of world is it when you can’t just smack the crap out of a little kid?

But, stupid group and hate group are two different things.

71 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Well I’ll happily apologise until I see evidence that compels me to think actual harm was either intended or done. Personally I don’t think hatred and supremacy are accurate terms. Nor do I mind when journos investigate genuine hate groups with an aim to understand what drives them. Stuff by Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux always strikes me as quite enlightening.

72 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Well I’ll happily apologise until I see evidence that compels me to think actual harm was either intended or done. Personally I don’t think hatred and supremacy are accurate terms. Nor do I mind when journos investigate genuine hate groups with an aim to understand what drives them. Stuff by Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux always strikes me as quite enlightening.

You don’t think that sites such as AVFM do harm ?

Wow.

73 Karmakin June 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Personally, I don’t like the overt gender bias/gender bias that you see at either sites like AVFM or Jezebel or some of the FTB sites or whatever. As someone who thinks that moving past gender roles and stereotypes is essential, I really have no quarter for any of that stuff.

At the same time, I don’t really see a problem with writing a more moderate message to an extremist audience…actually I think it’s a good thing. Maybe it’ll be rejected…no..it’ll probably be rejected. But at the same time, at least someone at that point is trying to be a moderating force.

74 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

“You don’t think that sites such as AVFM do harm ? ”

I’ve no opinion on that matter and it wasn’t what I was talking about. I didn’t see any reason to believe Justin’s talking to AVFM did any harm.

75 Matt Penfold June 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I’ve no opinion on that matter and it wasn’t what I was talking about. I didn’t see any reason to believe Justin’s talking to AVFM did any harm.

Well if AVFM does harm, then writing for it does harm. Thus asking whether Justin caused harm is the same as asking if AVFM does harm.

And you don’t have an opinion ? Well you do, of course, since you condoned Justin writing for them.

76 SisterChromatid June 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Think of the people the Watson-Myer alliance have labeled as “misogynists” and try to find the very worst example of misogyny that person committed. There just isn’t anything there– certainly nothing worse than what PZ, himself, did at Skepticon 3! This group has marginalized themselves by doing very little to further the progress of women and very much to divide the skeptic community in an attempt to gain control of who speaks at conventions. I find the people they have labeled enemies to be far better skeptics than they are… and they’ve contributed far more to skepticism as well!

Nobody approves of the misogynistic language used by a few anonymous trolls– but the Watson-Myers alliance has confused these trolls with those who have valid criticisms of their tactics. They bizarrely exaggerate the supposed misdeeds of their critics while being utterly blind to their own– far more egregious behavior. From my perspective, it’s the Watson-Myers alliance who are blinded by “privilege”.

77 David Semple June 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

@Matt Penfold there are significant flaws in what you’ve said:

> the likes of the slymepit do not consider women to be people, at least not in the same way men are people.

A highly aggressive statement. The Slymepit is a completely non-misogynistic forum, and I’ve seen people hounded off for holding non-equality positions. However, it is an *open* forum, so *odd* things are said at times. This is a good thing, censorship is not freedom. FTB contains massive daily censorship that is openly stated. Any position that has dissents from the FTB one-true-way can and is banned on a daily basis as openly admitted on the posts. while posts containing abusive insults about dissenters are allowed through.

> The slymepit regards women as subservient to men.

This kind of statement has no place, as pointed out above many women (such as Renee above) are involved in debate the every day. If I understand your assertion, it seems to suggests that Renee is brainwashed or a gender traitor in some way, is that your position?

> Ron Lindsay was hardly treating women as people too in his opening speech at the recent CFI Women in Secularism conference.

The content of his speech was very fair and reasonable (please read it). Ron Lindsay was trying to expose the kind of behaviour above (altering reality as you did on the slymepit and how they do not consider women to be people). You are not being rational or employing critical thinking by making unfounded assertions as you have above.

> many … think that Rebeccca Watson should just accept being proposition for sex in a lift at 4am

This is factually dishonest. Rebecca Watson said that he invited her for a coffee. He may have wanted sex, he may have just wanted a coffee. Your assertion is intellectually dishonest.

> what Thunderfoot has had to say on the role of women ?

Thunderfoot has stated repeatedly that he believes in absolute equality for men and women. Could you please point to anything that he has ever said that suggests a “role” for women please.

FTB contains massive (and admitted) censorship (please try to put any dissenting view up there and see how long before you are insulted with abusive personal derogatory comments and/or banned). The Slymepit that you mention above has absolutely no censorship (this has good and bad results, but allows FreeThought, which FTB admits openly that it does not). The only place where aggressive censorship similar to FTB that is known to me is on hardcore Creationist forums.

78 Anthony K June 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

All of this shrieking about the doxxing of Eliza Sutton is interesting, notably because it was completely absent when Reap Paden doxxed me at the Slymepit. His intent was clear:

Speaking of the idiot brownian. I think it is hilarious that they giggle like schoolgirls because we all call browian Ian Brown. Soooooooo.. let’s do this instead…. we can call him Anthony K. I wonder how that makes him feel. It’s always better when the play-field is level and now maybe Anthony has lost that little bit of anonymity that was enabling him to be a gigantic fuckhead. Now he can be accountable for his words. Like when he told me I was too dumb to be a skeptic. You really should be more careful who you sat that shit to Anthony

http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=73&p=35378&sid=c70ee6c211fa8e50ae624224cc4dfea3#p35368

79 ianfc June 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm

But Anthony you are a shithead

80 Kareem June 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Anthony K, shouldn’t you then be one of the FIRST to speak out against Skep Tickle’s doxxing?

81 Edward Gemmer June 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I wonder how the atheist community would respond if someone actually got punched in the face. We apparently can’t handle mild criticism or awkward conversations or mean things on Twitter.

82 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

personally I haven’t seen so called feminists being picked on, where as I have frequently seen feminists go for someone at the drop of a hat! As Dave says, you can find examples of feminist bashing “if you look”. Well of course.

The problem with people who claim to be feminists is, they are extremely hostile and blinkered to any view other than their own. If challenged or even if you point out the two side of a discussion equally, they attack. They are the hostile ones 9 out of 10 times.. at least.

They are very fond of misrepresenting what people have said and take the most negative meanings from what others say… or more correctly what these bullies read from what they have said.

I would consider myself a feminist as I am for equality. These feminists we are talking about the “we are people too” brigade… that is a weird and extreme thing to say in our modern society. It hoists up the stakes to condone extreme aggression. These “feminists” are not in need of protection and can stand up for themselves just fine.

Michael’s example from slime pit were out of context and his disclaimer basically says his examples of “nasty push backs” against feminists, contain examples that are not examples?!

If you looked at this in a balanced way, I think you/one would find it hard to see these feminists as being set upon. Everyone is so precious in how they treat them, beyond manners but from fear of a lash back. They write their own, double standard based, rules.

83 Ariel June 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I strongly support Renee Hendricks #62.

“At this point, I cannot see an amicable end to the bickering back and forth, short of putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out.”

Reading some comments here, looks like a lovely idea! It reminds me also of something:

“Leave the two of them to fight it out”, suggested Scott’s father. “After that they’ll be friends.”
“Then White Fang, to show his friendship, will have to be chief mourner at the funeral,” laughed the master.

Count me in, Renee. Any volunteers to wait outside and guard the key?

84 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Matt, I’m glad it eventually dawned on you that the burden of proof lies with you and not me. Walton has some work to do on this, but I expect he’ll get there some day.

“For those here who seem unable to find evidence of harassment (or more likely simply don’t want to find it), please see the evidence presented at these link. ”

I looked at the two links you provided. Where I live you can go to the police if someone if harassing you. Has this been done in either of these cases? I couldn’t find a report of such. If not, why not?

Even if I concede your point (I’m in a generous mood) that these document harassment, how does this relate to the statement which I queried?:

“People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation.”

I set a very high bar for the evidence I required. I said every single word had to be true, or otherwise the statement was a lie. The problem with your approach is of this form:

I have found harassment => therefore => the whole statement is true

I could say “Geese are white and pigs can fly”. If I found a white goose, have I proven that pigs can fly? I think not, but you seem to see it differently. I presume you are commiting a logical fallacy here, but the name escapes me.

So unless you can find a death threat and a rape threat (start with those, they are the most serious) the statement as quoted is a lie. I know many in the atheist blogosphere follow ideologues, who are not so careful in their statements, so thinking in a philosophical fashion may be new to you.

I have been cultivating a persona of wilfull ignorance for many years now, so I’ll take your comment as a compliment. I’ll add it to the ‘Reviews’ section of my blog.

85 David Semple June 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

What do you think Anthony K, don’t you think that Kareem made an excellent point? If I was seriously or physically abused, then I would NOT wish for that crime to be committed on others; I feel that would be a despicable response to a wrong-doing. As fellow doxx victims, doesn’t Skep Tickle deserve your support?

Ophelia Benson openly decided to do this despicable act (seemingly in significant anger from reading the posts where she did it) and the attempts to make her wrongdoing into a “well, somebody did something evil thing in the past, so it’s ok for Ophelia Benson to do an evil thing now” truly beggars belief. Ophelia Benson has offered no apology, and to the contrary, has doubled-down and is continuing to make abusive comments about Skep Tickle even now.

Do 2 wrongs make a right Anthony K ?

86 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Well said Pogsurf, AI and Mr nugent (et al) seem to have mad up and issue, or at the very least extremely exaggerated and misrepresented it. They looked for examples of feminists being bullied, and it seems they/he couldn’t so used ones that he himself says contain examples that are not examples.

Why on earth should their be any connection between atheism and the hostile, reactionary and man hating feminist movement? Even if they were not, what is the connection? They have their groups, why are people trying to join with them? These people alienate and are hostile to many others. Atheists are always called “strident” … just for being an atheist, why joing with a groups that is “strident, intolerant to people with other views” etc.

Do people really believe there is a problem with feminists being bullied online?

87 Ewan Macdonald June 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm

“Do people really believe there is a problem with feminists being bullied online?”

People capable of reading certainly do.

88 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Ewan Macdonald, people capable of reading but skipping context, ignoring the lack of examples, not reading attacks by feminists where there is no cause and basically having you mind made up before reading anything, then reading with the pre supposition that they are being bullied.

I can read very well, you jibe is a bit lame Ewan. It makes no point, it’s empty rhetoric, which follows the “save the poor meek feminists” brigade. Stop trying to be/sound clever, it has the reverse effect.

89 Ewan Macdonald June 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

As long as we’re all trying to sound clever, can you explain how “not reading attacks by feminists where there is no cause” could have any effect whatsoever on whether or not feminists are “being bullied online?”

90 Submariner June 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

To begin what I’m sorry to say will be a rather lengthy post, let me just say thank you to Michael Nugent for providing a venue for discussion on these topics.

Firstly, let me say that I actually agree with Maureen Brian:

“It is not that and trying to treat it as though it were just a noisy squabble is giving a platform, giving a sense of entitlement, to those who believe that women should have no part in the discussion of anything beyond what’s for dinner. Somehow, they manage to believe that as rabidly as any zealot of the Abrahamic religions ever believed such a thing.”

Just not in the way she would want. Let me post a link to a letter penned by women declaring that their voices are being excluded from the discussion by ( they name sites and names) FTB/Skepchick/Atheism Plus.

Here is the link to the letter:
_http://www.skepticwomen.com/welcome-statement

Here is a link to several twitter comments by noted “feminists” regarding the women who authored and solicited signatures for their letter from other women who felt the similarly :

_
http://storify.com/SubManUSN/skeptic-women

Here is a blog post from M. A. Melby ridiculing and passive-aggressively mocking the attempt of the Skeptic Women’s letter:

_http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/fixed-that-for-you-skeptic-women/

So you’re right Maurice, some people don’t think women should be allowed to voice their opinions unless is is in lockstep with the party line. Sadly, though they’re on “your side”.

91 allison June 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

For the record, Anthony K doxxed himself thusly at Atheist Nexus: “Hi Im Anthony K, also known as Brownian on Pharyngula”.

92 John C. Welch June 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Brownian, you were not doxxed. The information Reap found was already put in a public forum, *by you*. He typed in “Brownian Pharyngula” in google, and the info *you* put up in a publicly accessible forum on Atheist Nexus came up.

The fact you put that information on what is effectively a billboard on a highway and are now very, very upset that someone had the unmitigated gall to drive by, read it, and tell other people about what they read is not “doxxing”, because you weren’t keeping that information a secret.

Note, it’s still up there publicly available on the billboard by the side of the highway: http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/pharyngula?groupUrl=pharyngula

That’s not doxxing, and if that bothers you, maybe you should hash that out with Atheist Nexus’s webmaster. Now, if you hadn’t made that information publicly available in the manner you did, then yes, you’d have an excellent point about doxxing, one I would agree with. But finding publicly available information is no more doxxing than the mortgage lenders who give me an endless stream of back yard firepit starter materials have ‘hacked my private data’ at the Tallahassee City Hall. (Note, if suddenly everyone starts talking about the city I live in, THAT’S NOT DOXXING, I just made that information available in a public forum. Same thing.)

If you want to use a pseudonym, good on you, but if you don’t want people to find out it’s you behind it, stop telling everyone. The best way to keep a secret is to, you know, actually keep it.

93 Astrokid MHRA June 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Matt Penfold@68:
You don’t think that sites such as AVFM do harm ?
An apt response from somewhere else:

Franc Hoggle • 11 days ago
It’s hardly a blip on the hate scale compared to FTB. Seriously. Who are you trying to please here? If it were not for the fact males are holding a mirror up to fembot lunacy, you would not consider it any different to any other activist site out there. Is your sudden “oh I’m soooo outraged” stance sexist? You tell me. When you apply the same standard of “hate” to the gender fem crap that’s out there, I might believe you’re not. But that has an element of danger – so I’m not holding my breathe. AVFM is easy pickings – it’s “socially redeeming” to piss all over them. Cheap and easy brownie points.

Today’s MRM is the MalcolmX reaction to 50 years of gynocentric/feminist injustice, as both US political parties are gynocentric.. as explained by ‘lets-be-polite-and-persuasive’ NCFM president Harry Crouch.

So the Atheist community is fighting NON-STOP for over 2 years over differences that are rather trivial..
Nobody got fired, or injured, or killed.
Contrast that to what’s happening to many men in society.. as described by Psychologist DrHelen Smith in her book ‘Men on Strike’..
Dr. Helen Smith on how American society has become anti-male
.. They are made into Wage-Slaves due to Family Law.. No Reproductive Rights, No Rights to See their Children, Alimony, Suspension of Due Process in Alleged Sexual Assault cases, etc.

All this supported by the State and its institutions for variety of reasons. All this supported by Mainstream Feminist Orgs and lobbies.
For e.g established LEADING feminist organization NOW has to say very recently, in its Fall 2012 Newslatter
On Page 1, Intro:

This Special Report of the NOW Family Law Ad Hoc Advisory Committee focuses on the destructive ability of abusive parents (usually the father) – aided by fathers’ advocacy groups or fathers’ rights groups – to deny the protective parent (usually the mother) custody of minor children. Discussed in this issue is how abusers deny custody, and the damage it causes to a half million or more children exposed to continuing physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

There you go.. the abusive parent is usually the father and the protective parent is usually the mother. This is mainstream feminism, for last 50 years.

Anti-Science and Anti-common sense as well.

NOW TO DENOUNCE SO-CALLED PARENTAL ALIENATION (SYNDROME) 2006
WHEREAS, the term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was created by the psychiatrist, Richard Gardner. It is used as a tactic in courts by litigating attorneys as a defense strategy for batterers and sexual predators that purports to explain a child’s estrangement from one parent, or explains away allegations against the estranged parent of abuse/sex abuse of child, by blaming the protective parent;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) denounces Parental Alienation Syndrome and recommends that any professional whose mission involves the protection of the rights of women and children denounce its use as
unethical, unconstitutional, and dangerous.

I find it so ironic that you guys.. who have been fighting NON-STOP over ‘Dear Muslima’ type issues.. are calling AVFM hateful. L.O.L.
You can rest assured that the various arms of the Mens Movement will continue giving gynocentrism & feminism hell.

94 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

from skeptic women welcome message “We, as women of the secular/atheist/skeptic community, find that our claims are weighed on their merits, rather than weighed on our gender. ” If this is so why separate from the mixed gender community?

95 Submariner June 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm

“If this is so why separate from the mixed gender community?”

Because your side purports to speak for women. If a large group of men put their names on that letter, you could just say, “Of course all the dudebro’s don’t like FTB/Skepchick/A+ etc. They’re probably the one’s trying to run the women out of the movement.”

The statement signed only by women, cannot be “shoved under the rug” by the people claiming to represent women in the A/S community.

Although, from my post above, you can see that they still tried.

96 Anthony K June 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

For the record, Anthony K doxxed himself thusly at Atheist Nexus: “Hi Im Anthony K, also known as Brownian on Pharyngula”.

If you want to use a pseudonym, good on you, but if you don’t want people to find out it’s you behind it, stop telling everyone. The best way to keep a secret is to, you know, actually keep it.

Well, that doesn’t work. If that wasn’t a secret, then why do you suppose Reap Paden wrote what he did?

“we can call him Anthony K. I wonder how that makes him feel. It’s always better when the play-field is level and now maybe Anthony has lost that little bit of anonymity that was enabling him to be a gigantic fuckhead. Now he can be accountable for his words. Like when he told me I was too dumb to be a skeptic. You really should be more careful who you sat that shit to Anthony”

He clearly thought it was a secret that would intimidate me if it was revealed, and he clearly intended it to.

The fact that it wasn’t a clearly guarded secret doesn’t absolve him: it just further reveals that he’s malicious and stupid.

97 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Thanks Submariner, they explain it, in part anyway, as their body being underrepresented in the atheist community. Why are they underrepresented? They are getting a lot of attention, to stick up for them, for an underrepresented group.

The A+ mentality is really poor. These people think banning threats of rape is a good thing. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were a woman that would put me off. Also, they rampantly censor, while saying they are on the side of free speech. This is a contradiction and their justification for this drives that point home.

Why does not believing in god have to be gender divided? It seems like these voices are coming from “feminists” who want to whinge and bitch about everyone. Their view is so determinist. everything is someone elses fault, a man.

I frequently see these groups talk about male sexism, but are quite happy with female sexism. To the point you will be kicked off the discussion if you mention it.

Personally I am for equality and am therefore a feminist. But these feminists are a disgrace and do no goof for anyone.

98 Ewan Macdonald June 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

You’re doing more than enough goof yourself.

99 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Ewan, well doen, you spotted a typing error.. what a clever lad you are. Come on!

100 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

“The A+ mentality is really poor. These people think banning threats of rape is a good thing. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I were a woman that would put me off. Also, they rampantly censor, while saying they are on the side of free speech. This is a contradiction and their justification for this drives that point home.”

I would agree that A+ went overboard in regard to what they deemed worthy of censor, but I don’t think running a forum in which rape threats are disallowed is a bad idea.

So I’m not sure what you mean here, really.

101 Submariner June 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Daniel, there are many self proclaimed feminists who agree with you that the particular actions of the A+/FTB crowd are not actually keeping with the principles of feminism. Many feel that they are in fact, giving feminism within the A/S community a “black eye”.

I wish more feminists would speak up in opposition to the behaviors of those groups/individuals.

102 Submariner June 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Dave Allen, how very disingenuous of you to trumpet the phrase “rape threats” as the sole bannable offense at the A+ forum.

Shall I begin collecting links to disprove your implied measuring rod?
(I don’t think you really want that)

103 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Well, most groups don’t need to ban threats of rape, so where you see this specifically barred it would follow that this group has to restrain people from this behaviour. It is so much a problem it has to be written in.

The censorship is stood by and justified with the people censoring claiming to support free speech.

Submariner, do you really think the people I am talking about don’t stand up for themselves? Even true feminists, as I see the term, are part of a group that by nature do stand up for themselves… even when they don’t need to.

I have seen and been on the receiving end of feminist aggression, which is relentless. Once one starts in on you, they are like pirañas. They are always sided with. The problem is these feminists, that comes across from what you seem to agree with me on.. that they are not actually feminists, not them being set upon. I can’t remember when I saw a femanist being set upon.. in fact any critisizm of a female on AI, is risky business.

104 Pogsurf June 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Daniel, thank you for the compliment, but some of what you have to say troubles me a little.

Firstly I have no beef with Michael. Firm but fair I would say. I enjoy the contributions he makes to this debate.

I do have an issue which I am trying to raise, but there are plenty of places where I can freely make my point, so I cannot fault Michael if he does not raise it himself. He may see things differently, after all.

I am here on this thread because I think the atheist movement has a problem of thinking. I am here to help solve it. I don’t belong to one side or the other. The truth is I am banned from FtB and I cannot make head nor tale of the Slymepit. I’m male, I don’t identify as a feminist, but I am interested in the ideas that feminists put forward and I want to examine their truth value. I sympathise with anyone who feels they are harassed, and I actively intervene to discourage harassment, bullying, bigotry and prejudice when I see it.

When you say “hostile, reactionary and man hating feminist movement” I think you say a lot about your own feelings, and very little about the feminist movement. I would be very happy to be described as strident, when people who oppose you use strong adjectives about you it shows you are acheiving your aims.

“Do people really believe there is a problem with feminists being bullied online?”

Yes. Except I would broaden the term feminists to women. If someone feels bullied, they are bullied. Have you never been bullied? If you have you will know ‘being bullied’ is a feeling, and you alone own your feelings.

105 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm

from skeptic women page “We, the undersigned women, call on the secular/atheist/skeptic movement to acknowledge our feelings of general inclusion” they only address women. But! they also say ” We do not support the divisive tactics “… “the undersigned women”. This is how lax their thinking is, behave exclusively shouting about inclusion for all and equality. They are so un self aware it is scary.

106 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

“Dave Allen, how very disingenuous of you to trumpet the phrase “rape threats” as the sole bannable offense at the A+ forum.”

I always like it when someone calls me disingenuous for something I did not do.

“Shall I begin collecting links to disprove your implied measuring rod?
(I don’t think you really want that)”

My only point was that of the many bannable offenses on the A+ forum making rape threats is one of the understandable ones.

To make clear – I think the A+ forum is massively overly censorious and to keep from being banned one has to perform some Byzantine efforts at diplomacy. I for one wouldn’t go back there even if they’d have me (whilst they never explained my ban to me I think in my case it was for “necroing a thread” that was two weeks old, or for sticking up for Ed Clint, or something).

107 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

“The censorship is stood by and justified with the people censoring claiming to support free speech.”

Do they? Where?

As I hope you can garner from my previous post I am no great supporter of A+. But I don’t think it’s fair to make stuff up about them. They said from the start that they were trying to create a sort of “safe area” for people who wanted to talk about atheism/scepticism within a framework of social justice, or vice versa.

They never really trumpeted a desire to uphold free speech in regards to their own forum as far as I recall.

Moreover I would contend that there’s a big difference between not wanting to see people criminalised for their opinion and enforcing certain standards in certain arenas.

But whatever – I agree that they went too far and in too Byzantine a manner, but I think telling people not to make rape threats is fine.

108 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

“This is how lax their thinking is, behave exclusively shouting about inclusion for all and equality.”

No, the thinking is not lax.

The women organising the petition know that if they invite men to sign it their petition will be slated by the likes of A+/FTB as being a vehicle for men to use to justify (putative) misogyny in the atheist/sceptic movement.

It is therefore a strategic decision to only accept signatures from women – because it is hoped that if women complain about how those who purport to represent women behave it will cause more of a splash.

Which is true.

Now if, as a man, you feel some sense of affront at this, you could set up a petition of your own that did the same thing but allowed both men and women to sign.

However, it won’t achieve anything – because people will dismiss it as a vehicle for men to use to justify (putative) misogyny in the atheist/sceptic movement.

I suspect the petition will be ignored – but the fact that it accepts sigs from women only does help ram the point home to those who won’t ignore it.

109 Jeff June 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

“-And actually, the likes of the slymepit do not consider women to be people-”

I post on the Slymepit sometimes, and I consider women to be people, equal to men, and deserving of all the rights, opportunities and privileges of men.

Now are you calling me a liar? If I asked you this question to your face, would you answer in the affirmative?

110 SisterChromatid June 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm

What is the very best thing that the Watson-Myers alliance contributed to women in skepticism, and does it begin to make up for the divisiveness they’ve caused?

Look at the long list of purported “misogynists” and “sister punishers” as indicated by the Watson-Myers alliance and try to identify the most misogyntic thing these purported people have done– I don’t see anything that even surpasses PZ’s Skepticon 3 speech. But I think we’ve all gotten the message that if we don’t shun the people the Watson-Myers Alliance shuns, then WE will be labeled “misogynists” next.

Some of the women shunned seem to be a much greater asset to skeptism AND feminism than skep”chicks” from my perspective. Surely most everybody is repulsed by the misogynistic commentary of unnamed trolls, but the Watson-Myers alliance seems unable to differentiate between those trolls and those whom they labeled “misogynist”. In their little cult, they are one and the same. The ones they’ve smeared are NOT the people making the commentary–rather they are humanists who want equal rights for everyone. Yet the Watson-Myers alliance is completely unable to see this– Anyone who questions the over enthusiatic labeling of others suddenly find themselves labeled too. They seem to see misogyny so readily in anyone who questions their way of doing feminism, while being utterly blind to their own more egregious behavior.

This comes off as extremely “privileged” to me– not to mention frightening and McCarthyistic. They want the right to demean, shun, and label others while cutting off all criticism of themselves and their tactics. They don’t have real problems, so they invent imaginary problems and imaginary bad guys and then form in-group cohesion by fighting these strawmen without any regard for the damage they are doing. How is this skeptical exactly? Oh– that’s right… Myers et. al. have “divorced” themselves from the skeptical movement! (Can we get a restraining order against them?)

I hope the skeptic community rallies around those whom the Watson-Myers alliance have unfairly vilified. Invite them to speak at conferences and encourage those who want to tell everyone whom to shun, to have their own conferences where they can practice their bizarre brand of atheism-secularism-feminism to their hearts content.

111 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Not affronted david, just able to see the hypocrisy. Your view is an example of extreme prejudice. Men have not slated this, your stating a presumption, negative and against men justifies acting like men had done something, which they haven’t.

You seem to have made you mind up and closed it. So whatever you hear you will come to the same conclusion. Who needs the question when you have the answer!?

It is lax to champion inclusion for both sexes ahead of a petition referenced as for women. Not, just that they didn’t approach men. In the same breath as championing gender equality!!

It will be ignored because it asks for the usual suspects to sign, it’s singing to the choir, it only wants women who support them to be affected. But they are already converted, or on their side, have their agenda. That is why it will have no effect, it doesn’t motivate one… not the one they want anyway.

112 John C. Welch June 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Well, that doesn’t work. If that wasn’t a secret, then why do you suppose Reap Paden wrote what he did?

“we can call him Anthony K. I wonder how that makes him feel. It’s always better when the play-field is level and now maybe Anthony has lost that little bit of anonymity that was enabling him to be a gigantic fuckhead. Now he can be accountable for his words. Like when he told me I was too dumb to be a skeptic. You really should be more careful who you sat that shit to Anthony”

He clearly thought it was a secret that would intimidate me if it was revealed, and he clearly intended it to.

As if your reaction would have been different had he used your full name. Reap was making a point. Posting your entire name was unnecessary to that point, so he didn’t.

Also, (and again, not that facts matter much), rather a few people, including me, still refer to you as Brownian, not because we particularly care about your feelings on this at all, but because it’s what you prefer to be called. It’s not much different than (to use common-ish example), calling someone named “Margaret” “Peggy” because they prefer “Peggy” to “Margaret”. It’s not “doxxing” to call them Margaret since that name is clearly associated with them, just as your actual name is clearly associated with “Brownian”, but barring that person being a complete pain in the arse to where annoying them is worth the effort, why not just call them “Peggy”?

As well, since you’d already publicly made the association between “Brownian” and “Anthony K”, how could that possibly intimidate you? You put the info out there, he didn’t. Clearly, you don’t see a particular need to keep a separate identity as such. For whatever reason, you use “Brownian”. I used “bynkii” for a long time, solely because in the early days of user names, it was either that or “john23428876834″.

If someone insist on going “BYNKII IS JOHN C. WELCH”, it’s not “doxxing” me, nor is it intimidating. Now, if I had a reason to not reveal my identity online, which, sadly, many atheists do in the US, and I personally had not revealed my actual identity, then the exact same “BYNKII IS JOHN C. WELCH” phrase would in fact be doxxing and probably quite intimidating.

Given that you had publicly “outed” yourself some time before Reap used the AWESOME POWER OF GOOGLE SEARCH to find said outing, I fail to see how it is either “doxxing” or actual intimidation. It’s a publicly available piece of information that you made public. How, exactly, is that intimidating?

113 Steersman June 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Matt Penfold said (#39):

The slymepit regards women as subservient to men.

What unmitigated horse shit. While several others here have, quite reasonably and with rather remarkable forbearance, jumped on that as well, I think it is worth pointing out that that egregious bit of dogma is only the tip of a rather large and rotten but still problematic iceberg. For instance, consider this decidedly questionable statement by Ophelia Benson (1):

I think it would be very difficult to be receptive to reasoned arguments that I am inherently, because a woman, inferior and subordinate, coming from people who argue that they are, because men, inherently superior.

While there are, no doubt, some dickheads who actually believe that, for Benson to be suggesting, as she apparently does, that that attitude is representative of both the Pit and substantial portions of those questioning various tenets of “feminism” can only be construed as willful blindness and obtuseness at best, and egregious demagoguery at worst.

And, along the same line, consider this statement by “mythbri” on another one of Benson’s posts (2):

Feminism is a skeptical reaction to the idea that women are inferior to men, and that their historical and systematic oppression is some kind of “natural order.”

While there is, of course, some overlap between that assertion and the actual dictionary definition – i.e., “belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” – with which very few, particularly in the atheist and skeptic communities, seem to have any objections to, the former also seems to entail or encompass some rather problematic implications and baggage, criticisms of which are frequently construed, again, through obtuseness or demagoguery, as attacks on feminism – as defined – itself. A misapprehension that can hardly be considered as conducive to rational and civilized debate.

Further, the tendency of many Freethought bloggers – although, thankfully, not all – and other fellow travelers to equate any criticisms of the indicated perspectives as harassment and hate by trolls only compounds the problem by allowing such questionable arguments to be viewed and propagated as “gospel truth”. Some serious “poisoning of the well”. But while one can quite reasonably accept that there are rather odious trolls and bullies running amok, to tar every critic of feminism as such really seems very much beyond the pale. As Ally Fogg of FTB-land quite reasonably put it (3), although in a slightly different context:

I don’t think it is reasonable to use one’s disproportionate profile and platforms to portray one’s critics as bullies or trolls, thereby absolving oneself of any obligation to engage with them.

——
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/reasoned-arguments-against-the-basic-tenets”;
2) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/welcome-the-feminist-hivemind/#comment-561079”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/06/03/oh-ye-cannae-shove-yer-gramsci-off-a-bus/”;

114 Dave Allen June 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Daniel – I dunno what you are trying to say.

You say “Men have not slated this,”

Yes – I know – I never said they did.

You say “your stating a presumption, negative and against men justifies acting like men had done something, which they haven’t.”

Where have I said any such thing?

If anything the petition is written to oppose such notions.

Is English your second language Daniel? Because you seem to have gotten completely the wrong end of the stick.

115 Daniel June 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm

skeptic women.com are actually addressing some of the very issues I mentioned.

116 Steersman June 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Oolon said (#30):

The person who “outed” her was Maxwell Smart on the heathen hub post… Presumably at her request. Have a look –> _http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?b=1712

You might want to be a little more attentive to detail Oolon, and circumspect in your claims. That post by Smart was:

Posted 02-Jun-2013 at 09:18 AM (09:18) by Maxwell Smart

And that comment was some time after Skep tickle completed that “outing” of herself in the same thread.

But consider the following comment (1) prior to both of those on Pharyngula by:

42. TheBlackCat
29 May 2013 at 12:02 pm (UTC -5) Link to this comment

Did Skeptickle previously reveal she was on a board of an atheist organization?

Took me about 5 seconds to find:

_http://conversationattheedge.offthemap.com/2008/11/24/an-inside-view-of-an-atheist-organization/

—-
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/05/29/manufactured-outrage/comment-page-1/#comment-627004”;

117 windy June 7, 2013 at 9:46 pm

All of this shrieking about the doxxing of Eliza Sutton is interesting, notably because it was completely absent when Reap Paden doxxed me at the Slymepit.

How do you figure it was absent? I’d agree that post was creepy, and Mykeru says on that same page you link to that it could be considered blackmail. And there was a general consensus your details should not be made public before you do so yourself.

Notably, Reap’s justification was the same that Benson and many others are now using – that anonymous commenters may be made ‘accountable’ by releasing their details if they are being ‘fuckheads’ (or whatever). Whereas most at the Pit rejected this logic, many FTBers have now enthusiastically embraced it. So, what gives?

118 oolon June 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm

@Dave Allen, sorry no idea who you are not trying to guilt trip you about Eliza’s name. Just if LOTS of mentions are put here there is a SMALL possibility of her worst fear coming true — 1st page Google results. Pretty unlikely but if anyone doesn’t want to hurt her don’t say full name.

@Steersman – that article you link to was by “Eliza” … No full name there. So how is that doxxing? For that matter why does a Tuvok** keep popping up on B&W and say “OOLON IS IN THE DOCK FOR DOXXING!!!ELEVENTY!!! END TIMES!! FART” … Seems you don’t think it was me.

Thanks for pointing out Eliza doxxed herself on there not Maxwell… My mistake, I’ll pass the message onto KAOS that he is off the hook there.

** A “Tuvok” short non-ableist description of foaming anti-FTB types with a penchant for end times preaching.

119 Steersman June 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Oolon said (#113):

@Steersman – that article you linked to was by “Eliza” … No full name there. So how is that doxxing?

“None so blind as those who will not see”. Or those who are so obstinately, if not hypocritically, unwilling to look beyond the ends of their noses. If you’d actually followed the link you would have noticed that Eliza referred to being on the board of the Seattle Atheists and even gave a link to them, whereon is a list of the board members which includes her full name.

But the point is that all of that information was first made available in a set of venues where Skep tickle had made some effort to keep that information hidden. And while I’ll concede that it is likely that anyone could have “connected the dots” prior to Benson and “TheBlackCat” doing so, that both of them did that in a very public fashion is, I think, decidedly chickenshit. Real classy.

I look forward to you correcting your previous comments about Maxwell Smart on at least one FfTB site, and I wait with bated breath evidence of you doing so ….

120 MosesZD June 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Steersman, why do you argue with oolon? We all know he’s pretty much the quintessential lying troll. Eliza was doxed. We all know Eliza was doxed. There’s no rational position for pretending Eliza wasn’t doxed.

Yet here he is, white-knighting the FtB bullies and lying through his teeth along with some other of the FtB baboons. They have no integrity. They have no ethics. They’re just a bunch of bullies who don’t care who they hurt as long as they win. The modern day witch hunters of the atheist movement seeking to purge all those that don’t meet their strange purity tests.

The good news is that they’re working themselves into irrelevance. The traffic stats of FtB have been posted by many, many people. FtB is half what it was 18 months ago and every month, but for a couple of spikes, has been a negative-growth month since December, 2012 as most people in the Atheist community, sooner-or-later, see them for what they are — trolls.

And if Nugent can’t see that, he’s not worth listening to as he’d be just too stupid to matter.

121 Jim Habegger June 7, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Renee #62, Ariel #80, I’m with you!

122 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

“the board of seattle atheists”… this is hilarious… it’s like industrial espionage

123 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 12:38 am

we want names damit!!!!

124 John Morales June 8, 2013 at 1:22 am

I know from experience of much more vicious conflicts than these that it is likely that there are good people on all perceived ‘sides’

They’re perceived, alright, but they are sides, not ‘sides’ — you’re insinuating that there is only one side here (the atheist side) and thus the conflict is internecine — which amounts to ignoring the actual axis of contention, that being the social justice side.

125 SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

There is only one ‘side’ demanding that everyone shun whom they shun (or risk being labeled a misogynist). The only social justice this side appears to be achieving is in their own minds.

126 R. Johnston June 8, 2013 at 2:11 am

You fail to call out bullying for what it is, despite repeated calls for you to do so and more than abundant enough evidence to justify him doing so. Whatever else you may be, this marks you as a moral degenerate and a coward. If you straddle the fence rather than choosing sides when a rabid pit bull is loose on one side then the fact that you end up foaming at the mouth is your own damn fault and no one else’s.

If you can’t call out vapid obsessive rabidly irrational misogynistic harassment as something wrong then you yourself are the problem. There

127 Jim Habegger June 8, 2013 at 2:36 am

It seems to me that anyone who really understands, and really cares, about the concerns of the person who was allegedly doxxed on an FtB blog, would not continually bring that person up in discussions, not even that person’s user name. For anyone who really cares about that person, as a person, I’ll remind you that the concern was about the possible results of Internet searches. The more you discuss that person, in your eagerness to win an argument, the more you increase the chances of those searches resulting in what that person wants to avoid.

128 Jim Habegger June 8, 2013 at 2:45 am

Correction: I’m not so sure about username, but it seems to me that the more that person’s first name is posted in debates, the more likely it will be that internet searches will result in what that person wants to avoid, as I understand it. Something for anyone to consider who really cares about that person’s privacy

129 Jim Habegger June 8, 2013 at 2:56 am

It also seems to me that anyone who has any respect at all for Michael, or even for the most obvious and fundamental basics of Internet etiquette, would not be using his blog to debate with each other, especially when there are so many other forums available for that purpose

130 John Morales June 8, 2013 at 3:02 am

SisterChromatid:

There is only one ‘side’ demanding that everyone shun whom they shun (or risk being labeled a misogynist).

Then there is only one ‘side’ claiming that there is only one ‘side’ demanding that everyone shun whom they shun (or risk being labeled a misogynist), which must mean there are two ‘sides’.

In passing, can you clarify how is it a ‘side’ rather than a side?

131 Anonygirl June 8, 2013 at 3:45 am

One thing I learned, the slyme pit isn’t what I was led to believe it was. I still don’t know what it is but what it isn’t is what I was told it was.

Say that five times fast.

Michael you have my admiration for your adult and professional manner in trying to facilitate a dialog. My only complaint was that it moved so slowly it stopped. I look forward to hearing how it goes in person in Ireland.

132 SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 4:22 am

I am one of the many people who don’t want there to be sides– but Richard Carrier has stated that “you are with us or against us” and so I am forced to be against those who feel that way, because I am very much against the awful smear tactics used to try to get Grothe fired and now Lindsay… and I fear that Mick is next. It’s only a side to those who have drawn a circle around themselves and declared themselves the arbitors of correct feminist/atheist thinking. PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, and Ophelia Benson are known to “bite the hand that feeds them” so-to-speak. And judging from Ophelia’s latest post, there’s nothing Mick can do to avoid being the next one bitten. In trying to walk the line– he’s been declared to be on the wrong “side”. And, as we’ve seen from Grothe’s experience, no apology is good enough once you’ve been deemed to be on the wrong side.

In an attempt to gain power (and under the guise of social justice), we’ve seen the vilification of Paula Kirby, Abbie Smith, Skep Tickle, Harriet Hall, Sara Mayhew, Al Stefanelli, Richard Dawkins, DJ Grothe, etc. and the list keeps growing. Anyone who tries to keep the peace is smeared as well (see Justin Griffith). Anyone who is nice to Justin Vacula or who posts at the slymepit is an automatic mysoginist too– as is anyone who defends any of them or dares to say that these people are not misogynists. So is anyone who criticizes Rebecca, PZ, etc. I am an atheist skeptical woman who has been to a number of these conferences and I don’t feel respected or heard at all by the self-appointed social justice warriors. I am much more afraid of them then any supposed misogynists who are lurking in the movement waiting to offer me coffee in elevators or whatever. Who are they helping exactly? And how is social justice served by making enemies out of the people listed above? When Harriet Hall is your enemy, then it’s time to wonder if the problem might be you. The Watson-Myers alliance is very privileged indeed if these are the biggest threats in their world!

To me it looks like they are trying to feel good about themselves by claiming all these others people are “bad guys” who must be purged from the community. Atheists are already maligned by society at large– it is off-putting to see it being furthered by Watson-Myers et. al. As an American, I am embarrassed that such petty and self-absorbed people are representing America at the conference in Ireland. I used to like and admire these people, but like so many, I seldom read their blogs anymore. I think those that want there to be “sides” (without the quotes) ought to be left to their own devices to form their own community where they can be the “deciders” of how to be the right kind of feminist or whatever it is they think they are accomplishing. What sort of feminism makes an enemy of Skep tickle– and why?

Let them speak in Ireland and wherever else they are invited– and then let them fade into the background. I think most atheists are tired of hearing from them; many of us would like to hear more from those they want to silence. I think we are all perfectly capable of deciding who is and isn’t misogynistic without interpretation by self appointed social justice warriors. I’m looking forward to a time when this McCarthyistic “purging” is history.

133 John Morales June 8, 2013 at 6:01 am

SisterChromatid :

I am one of the many people who don’t want there to be sides– but Richard Carrier has stated that “you are with us or against us” and so I am forced to be against those who feel that way, because I am very much against the awful smear tactics used to try to get Grothe fired and now Lindsay… and I fear that Mick is next.
[…]
To me it looks like they are trying to feel good about themselves by claiming all these others people are “bad guys” who must be purged from the community.

So… your reactance and motivated reasoning aside, you acknowledge that there are actually sides and that you have chosen yours.

(If you can’t be with Richard Carrier, you must perforce be against him!)

134 S Maso June 8, 2013 at 6:18 am

Michael,
I’ve followed you for a while and have been impressed by the clarity you brought to the secular world and the importance of how you have done this in Ireland.
However, I strongly believe that you have let Ophelia Benson down very badly here. This is not an issue of two equivalents, both wronged and both wronging. To suggest it is, is to fail to call out some people who have gone to extreme lengths (and continue daily) to harass Ophelia is truly nasty ways. Further they have provided a big stack of lies to you about her which you now have a responsibility to investigate (you shoes to mediate this discussion after all – which what authority I struggle to understand) and refute publicly if you find them to be so.

As you have chosen to intervene in this issue as a kind of neutral party, the onus is on you now to get this right. Unfortunately, in seeking to be fair to both sides, you have been massively unfair to Ophelia.

In the comments above, we have the continuation of that equivalence. We have a long list of those who have been denigrated by Ophelia – with absolutely no reference to the context in which that happened. we have massive misrepresentation at every turn of what Ophelia has said. No doubt the charge will also be laid at Ophelia’s door: but in her case she has not created websites purely to harass her opponents. As far as I know she hasn’t photo-shopped pictures of her opponents face onto pictures of vaginas and distributed widely, nor stood shoulder to shoulder with those who have; she has not threated to kill or rape anyone, nor made ‘jokes’ about throwing acid in their face.

I’m looking forward to a time when those involved in debate, stop doing these things, and those who get involved acknowledged that the existence of these horrible acts prevents – and must be a barrier to dialogue. I’m looking forward to a time when those who get involved focus their efforts on getting the harassment to stop.

That would involve starting by recognising that what Ophelia (and many others) have gone through is absolutely appalling – that it is harassment, that it comes from within our community, and that failure to recognise it (and that means not making false equivalences) effectively condones it.

135 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 6:23 am

SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

“There is only one ‘side’ demanding that everyone shun whom they shun (or risk being labeled a misogynist). The only social justice this side appears to be achieving is in their own minds.”

You do know which ‘side’ was calling for Ophelia et al to be uninvited to Ireland, don’t you? Or did you just miss that bit?

“Let them speak in Ireland and wherever else they are invited– and then let them fade into the background. I think most atheists are tired of hearing from them; many of us would like to hear more from those they want to silence. I think we are all perfectly capable of deciding who is and isn’t misogynistic without interpretation by self appointed social justice warriors. I’m looking forward to a time when this McCarthyistic “purging” is history.”

A more inaccurate representation of what has actually been going on would be hard to find. Who is doing the purging???? FFS! Accuracy matters. I’m drowning in the flood of irony…

“I am one of the many people who don’t want there to be sides”

Can you find me anyone who does want their to be “sides”? I find your posts to be profoundly dishonest. The “sides” appear when threats and harassment occur. Have you seen what those who hate Ophelia do each day?

136 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 6:25 am

Jim Habegger June 8, 2013 at 2:56 am

“It also seems to me that anyone who has any respect at all for Michael, or even for the most obvious and fundamental basics of Internet etiquette, would not be using his blog to debate with each other, especially when there are so many other forums available for that purpose”

So having repeatedly posted your views, you want the rest of us to STFU? Wonderful…absolutely no sense of irony.

137 SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

I’m on the ‘side’ of those not forcing people to choose sides.

138 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 6:45 am

“Is Ophelia Benson’s effective outing of Eliza S**** an example of someone engaging in a “dark art” to the end of intimidating a female skeptic?”

She didn’t do this. But your repetition of the name (!) combined with the accusation remind us that as pattern-seeking apes, we are capable of believing almost anything that supports our prejudices, however ridiculous that might be.

139 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 6:47 am

Dave Allen

“But that any joke, moan or critique amount to harassment is something I deny.”

There is such a thing as context. Given what Opehlia (and others) go through daily, then context really does matter.

140 Pogsurf June 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

Jim Habegger June 8, 2013 at 2:56 am

” It also seems to me that anyone who has any respect at all for Michael, or even for the most obvious and fundamental basics of Internet etiquette, would not be using his blog to debate with each other, especially when there are so many other forums available for that purpose”

This is a good suggestion. If anyone wants to discuss the philosophical issues such as suitable evidence and burden of proof, they are welcome to find their way to my blog. If you want to see the issue I should like to raise, just search for ‘Conference’ or ‘Resource’.

141 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:01 am

@Pogsurf

” “For those here who seem unable to find evidence of harassment (or more likely simply don’t want to find it), please see the evidence presented at these link. ”

I looked at the two links you provided. Where I live you can go to the police if someone if harassing you. Has this been done in either of these cases? I couldn’t find a report of such. If not, why not?”

Well – if you checked you’d find the answers coz Ophelia has written about this. You can do your own research- and I suggest you should in future – before public speculation that’s way off mark.

The fact that Ophelia has chosen not to go to the police is no way changes whether what she has experienced is or is not harassment. Outside of the legal framework – which she has explicitly avoided (and explained why) – whether she ois being harassed or not, is a matter of personal judgement.

Given the evidence though, those who decide she has not been harassed (or reduce or divert) aren’t looking like decent humans to me.

142 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:05 am

SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

“I’m on the ‘side’ of those not forcing people to choose sides.”

OK. Fair enough – and noted. That would be the side of those people standing shoulder to shoulder with and creating the rape threats, the death threats, the jokes about the acid throwing in Ophelia’s face, the websites established purely to mock and intimidate individual feminists, the daily barrage of tweets, the photo-shopping and the rest.

Up to you of course, but I’d be worried and ashamed of the company I was keeping.

143 Pogsurf June 8, 2013 at 7:13 am

No S Mason you are quite wrong. Asking questions is not speculating.

Speculating is the act of forming a theory on unsound evidence. I am the one, who has been criticised by at least two commenters above, for seeking to clarify what the evidence is. I can only do this by asking questions.

I think you are questioning my motives, when we all should be questioning the evidence.

144 SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 7:19 am

I don’t doubt that there are trolls doing and saying misogynistic things on the internet– however, the people being labeled as mysogynists by the self appointed social justice warriors– are not the people doing and saying the misogynistic things! Pointing this out, is enough to get a person labeled “misogynist” by this group– (and if you are not careful, they’ll go after your job!)

145 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:28 am

Pogsurf,

“I think you are questioning my motives, when we all should be questioning the evidence.”

I suppose you’re right: I am questioning your motives. The evidence seems pretty incontrovertible (I can see it there posted on Ophelia’s website for example). And unless I misunderstood, you linked Ophelia’s not going to the police about the harassment with it not existing. You appear not to want to recognise the evidence of harassment against Ophelia.

So the criticism of your attempts to clarify the evidence were in facts criticisms because you seemed not to want to recognise the evidence.

” “People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation.”

Skeptics should be asking for truth claims about the world to be evidence based. Unevidenced alllegations are scare-mongering.”

I think you should take back your statement there about un-evidenced allegations. The evidence has been well shown to you now.

I wonder when you will stop questioning the evidence and actually move to align your self with those being harassed?

So I don’t think I was wrong at all really, was I? Your speculation was there loud in clear in all your posts. You weren’t trying to pursue some honest investigation of the facts. If you were you would be able to accept that the evidence you sought has been well provided.

I predict you will still fail to do this.

146 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

SisterChromatid

You’re just making it up now.

“Pointing this out, is enough to get a person labeled “misogynist” by this group”

Evidence please.

“– (and if you are not careful, they’ll go after your job!)”

This looks defamatory. Evidence please.

You know that bit I posted about humans just wanting to believe stuff that supports their view, irrespective of whether the evidence is good or not? Yeah. That.

So while not wanting their to be “sides” or to take a side, you continue to make strong accusations against one group, right? Do you find your position to be consistent?

147 SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 7:36 am

Where is Skep tickles’ rape threat or death threat?
Where is Justin Vaculas’ rape threat or death threat?
Where is Ron Lindsey’s rape threat or death threat?
Where is DJ Grothe’s rape threat or death threat?
Where is Thunderf00t’s rape threat or death threat?
Where is Sara Mayhew’s rape threat or death threat?
Where is Richard Dawkin’s rape thereat or death threat?
Where is Harriet Hall’s rape threat or death threat?
Where is Paula Kirby’s rape threat or death threat?

These are all people labeled misogynists by the social justice warriors. And the list keeps growing. But NONE of them has made rape threats nor death threats nor do they support those who do! Is Mick next? Am I? This smells very McCarthyistic to me.

I would say that it’s the self appointed social justice warriors that should be very ashamed of the company THEY are keeping.

148 Pogsurf June 8, 2013 at 7:39 am

S Mason, please stop lying about me and look at evidence that lies within this thread.

In particular see how you quote mined my comment at #10.

Someone has come on to this thread and claimed that there have been death and rape threats. No one has been able to substantiate these claims.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

149 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:48 am

SisterChormatid… this is getting silly: honestly – you are just making stuff up now. Where has anyone said that these people made rape or death threats? You are presenting a massive red-herring. It’s not cool.

And your repeated use of the phrase “self appointed social justice warriors” speaks to your outrage rather than anything substantive. We are talking about bloggers. They blog.

Now. Where any of those people in your list deny the harassment or seek to reduce the experience of the women on the very real world receiving end of the constant barrage of harassment, then yes – they are keeping bad company.

I note that you don’t ever speak about the harassment. You seek to deny it’s prevalence rather.

I asked for evidence of two stark and very serious accusations you made. Are you going to provide any?

150 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 7:49 am

“There is such a thing as context. Given what Opehlia (and others) go through daily, then context really does matter.”

Yes, and my appraisal of some of the stuff Ophelia deems traumatic is that it is in fact very tame.

Not all of it – she does get some genuinely nasty pushback – but a fair amount of what she considers harassment just isn’t.

151 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

Surprise surprise, the slimy turd who says he ‘just cares about the facts’ doesn’t, in fact, just care about the facts if they don’t align with his ideological view. But what else can be expected from a shit-stirrer like him? I suppose then, Chester, that you wouldn’t have any problems with people mentioning your real name and place in passing, since you’ve conveniently made that available at your own blog? (By the way, when did you make that available anyway? Before or after your alleged “doxxing”?)

As for the stupidest allegation still being touted by the veritable Anthony K (formerly known as Ian Brown, sorry, Brownian), let’s look who “doxxed” who, shall we? First of all, your real name was broadcast on your Twitter, your Facebook, and on a public profile at Atheist Nexus, where you yourself connect the dots between your alias there (Brownian) and your real name. Well done concealing your identity, you bloody fool.

But the fact that you still insist that Reap “doxxed” you is the most insipid of all.

Roll back the clock five years ago, to late 2008, on Pharyngula at Scienceblogs, and there was a commenter called ‘AnthonyK’ and a commenter called ‘Brownian’. Now, you might think that ‘AnthonyK’ and ‘Brownian’ was just an odd case of sockpuppetry, but it wasn’t (or at least, YOU said it wasn’t) and YOU made that perfectly clear:

_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=70143#p70143

_http://i.imgur.com/LdpjMDf.jpg

So who “doxxed” who, you walking contradiction?

152 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

Moreover, I am sick and tired of the victim narrative spew from the regular FtB bloggers (not going to mention them specifically, because if I do I know a certain butterfly will go on another self-absorbed flight of fancy).

The efforts of Atheist Ireland is continuously being undermined by people invited to speak at this conference, and they whine and they complain and you start to wonder why they would even make the effort to attend if it’s going to be such a hassle. I say, if it’s truly such a problem then LEAVE and allow someone else to attend. I’m sure there are better, local speakers that would love to replace them.

However, in spite of that, I’d like to extend my thanks to Michael Nugent, Jane Donnelly and Atheist Ireland for attempting to keep things civil, as well as sticking to their promise not to taint one “side” of this conflict with derision, but keep it (to use a Foxism) “fair and balanced.” And I do believe that, so thank you. I also think it’s somewhat admirable that they wouldn’t uninvite any speakers, despite their behaviour and despite it probably coming back to bite them, and actually encouraging further debate. That’s the way to run a conference. Nice one.

153 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 9:29 am

See this?

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/06/06/i-support-your-right-to-post-anonymously/comment-page-1/#comment-632003

This is Anthony K’s way of revising history, as well as indicting Reap (and the Slymepit) for something he did himself much earlier. Not to mention the various taunts and insults when people failed to guess at his real name (even though they probably weren’t genuinely trying), and the ridicule that followed of how stupid they are that they couldn’t even figure out his real name, it was bound that someone would accept the challenge.

Oh, but on that post PZ Myers makes clear his policy that if people are being ‘shitheads’ (note: he doesn’t actually define what being a ‘shithead’ signifies, just ‘shitheads’) on his blog, then their IP address and email will be revealed to all. Oh, well, I guess it’s fine, then, isn’t it, Anthony? Of course if you really were concerned about people doxxing other people, you’d be the first to condemn such acts, but you’re not, because you’re not, you lying piece of excrement.

PZ Myers also says he has no problem dropping people’s docs.

On a related note, I’ve noticed that prominent shitheads tend to have absolutist opinions about their “rights”. They have a right to free speech, they declare; they can say any damn thing they want, and it is their privilege. They also shriek in outrage about “dropping dox” — how dare anyone reveal their identities to the world? I have seen enough of this black and white nonsense about an unqualified support for free speech and an unqualified opposition to “dropping dox”, and I’m here to tell you…you don’t get to hold both positions. They’re incompatible. If you want to be free to say anything, I expect you to have the courage of your convictions and be willing to stand up for what you believe.
I have absolutely no respect for someone who insists on the privilege of simultaneously being a shithead and being free of any responsibility for what they say.
So post anonymously if you want, but realize that I expect responsible and reasonable behavior if you do so.

I suppose since he’s divorced himself from the sceptic movement, this is the kind of shit you’ll see.

He also says, conveniently, that in light of his new policy that people (sorry, ‘shitheads’) will attempt to ‘cover [their] tracks’ posting there or get outed “cowards” – “shitheads and cowards” – because when you’re threatening to reveal people (sorry, ‘shitheads’) for posting on your blog in a way that gets them deemed an undetermined ‘shithead’, they’re clearly cowards for trying to cover that up. Indeed. I’m curious why he doesn’t say the same thing about his own base, but I guess that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Then there’s the little caveat that his new “policy” goes against the Freethought Blogs policy on doxxing,

Privacy Policy

The privacy of our visitors to freethoughtblogs.com is important to us.

At freethoughtblogs.com, we recognize that privacy of your personal information is important. Here is information on what types of personal information we receive and collect when you use and visit freethoughtblogs.com, and how we safeguard your information. …

…Freethoughtblogs.com will never sell or transfer any personal information, including your email address, that you may have to leave on our side in order to comment.

Whoops?

Is Ed Brayton aware that his co-owner of the network is violating his privacy policy, or is he secretly endorsing it? Maybe we should make a David Silverman type exclamation and demand that Ed Brayton denounce it publicly or forever be thought condoning and/or accepting it?

154 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

Interesting couple of posts Pitchguest. I like the way you call Brownian a slimy turd, shit stirrer and bloody fool, and then thank Micheal for keeping things civil.

155 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

It is a red herring, this persecution of feminists. It happens I’m sure, but not in a way that needs to be specifically addressed to feminists. If it were, I think it would be found that, on balance, they are a net contributor to hostility as aggressors, not victims.

156 S Mason June 8, 2013 at 10:52 am

@Dave Allen
“Interesting couple of posts Pitchguest. I like the way you call Brownian a slimy turd, shit stirrer and bloody fool, and then thank Micheal for keeping things civil.”

Quite. The call for civility is so often just a way of trying to slap down criticism. But when folks indulge themselves quite so blatantly as this…no need to look further right.

On the next one I disagree.

“Not all of it – she does get some genuinely nasty pushback – but a fair amount of what she considers harassment just isn’t.”

Pushback just doesn’t do justice to what she gets. That’s an understatement of epic proportions – and the continuation of this understatement, reduction and misdirection is part of the problem.

And this is her repeated point. Individually, any particular comment or event might not be harassment. Collectively, it absolutely is. There just can’t be any doubt. Context matters! Do you see what she gets each day? If she doesn’t always distinguish between shades of grey, that is hardly surprising, right?

And I think anyone not on the receiving end of it needs to be stunningly careful of saying it isn’t. Loads of analogies there from the race arguments that could be made.

There is a point too about how the invective is specifically pointed and unpleasant when it’s aimed at women. The volume and nature of the vitriol is different. There’s a whole piece about how it is collectively really quite horrible. That’s worthy of note too. So those who are on Ophelia’s case right now, need to be really clear about the company they are keeping. They – in her eyes, and many others – are part of a well orchestrated campaign of hatred and misogyny. Whether they really are part of it – ie have they signed up to the hate websites etc may or may not be true.

But we know that those sites and the campaigns exist. The evidence is produced regularly. So if you want to go after Ophelia, then it needs to be done very carefully, right? With very specific attention paid to differentiating yourself from those folks. Is it reasonable to assume that readers and Ophelia will just know somehow that, while lying about her and misrepresenting her, a particular comment is not actually part of the orchestrated campaign?

Her being punched in the face analogy carries significant weight for me.

157 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

Dave Allen:

The “slimy turd” and “shit-stirrer” was directed to someone else, not Brownian. Although I think I’m allowed to call Brownian a fool when he claims, unjustly, that someone had “doxxed” him, when he had wittingly done so himself years earlier, and had profiles depicting that same information years prior to his alleged “doxxing” by Reap Paden. I think, at the very least, in the face of such an accusation, ‘bloody fool’ is very civil.

On the other hand, my latest post (in moderation, and also addressed to Brownian) is a lot less civil, but again an incivility I think is justified.

I thanked Michael for his attempt to keep things civil, in what he knows is a very conflict heavy situation. And though I’m not averse to keeping my gripes towed, when Chester (of ‘Chester and Spike’, formerly known as oolon) stirs the pot and Anthony K repeats his DULY REFUTED “doxxing” by Reap Paden, for some reason I get heated – and if my passionate, albeit *incivil* outburst makes me a hypocrite, then so be it.

158 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

Context always matters and it is not for someone else to tell you you don’t need it. This group sound like a small group getting hassled. Not an online or general social problem. A few feminists being treated badly should be addressed, but as that.. not a general issue, which it is not.

159 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

I wasn’t really remarking on your hypocrisy PG, just admiring the vibrant nature of your juxtaposition.

160 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

Well, the goes the image of atheists as pseudo intellectual, smarmy gits! lol admiring how clever they are.

161 Aneris June 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

Mark Penfold wrote: For those here who seem unable to find evidence of harassment (or more likely simply don’t want to find it), please see the evidence presented at these link.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/
http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/05/more-documenting-the-harassment/#more-7964

That’s classic. I hunted down your links to the source of the image, created by someone named Conlon. Right underneath to where Zvan herself links (into the Slymepit), we can read this:

Gumby (Slymepit) wrote: It was a morally reprehensible thing that Jerry Conlon said. There were no “tactics” involved.

Thankfully, this was just an isolated incident, although it will no doubt be cast as “just another day at the office” by the FTB/Skepchick Professional Victim Society. And Conlon’s garbage will no doubt be featured prominently featured on the Page-O-Hate (and for once, I wouldn’t blame them for it, even if Conlon was just making an awful, awful joke).
(slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=51711#p51711)

Epic Fail. Gumby’s reaction isn’t uncommon, by the way. But you’re masters at Occam’s Brooming, so how can you know.

162 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

these people can take care of themselves… they don’t need anyone to ride to their rescue.

Many of these groups, to answer Dave, openly admit censorship, they just rationalize it. You can find evidence of this, from the horses mouth on youtube.

There is no connection between femanism and atheism/secularism. True a secular society is more even and fair. But feminism is not part of atheism. Equality is part of secularism, not just for women, but for all.

Why the atheist movement would link itself to another movement like this is baffling. Do they want to re enforce negative misconceptions about atheists. A very few feminists can dominate any group… look at what they are doing here.

They think they are owed something from the world, they are not.. they are certainly not from atheists and secularists. If they want to act set upon and cry and whinge about people being mean to them, ignoring their own bigtry, sexism and aggression, that’s their business. Not ours. The will ruin the atheist/secular movement if they become a part of it.

163 rorschach June 8, 2013 at 11:59 am

Why the atheist movement would link itself to another movement like this is baffling.

Congratz! You managed an argument from personal incredulity. Well done you!

The efforts of Atheist Ireland is continuously being undermined by people invited to speak at this conference

And here I was thinking that the efforts of AI were being undermined by the likes of Justin Vacula attending their conference, a slymer who rejects the very premise of what the conference is meant to be about. But what do I know. When you see five lights, I guess it really is Ophelia Benson who is undermining the efforts of AI.

164 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm
S Mason June 8, 2013 at 7:05 am
SisterChromatid June 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

“I’m on the ‘side’ of those not forcing people to choose sides.”

OK. Fair enough – and noted. That would be the side of those people standing shoulder to shoulder with and creating the rape threats, the death threats, the jokes about the acid throwing in Ophelia’s face, the websites established purely to mock and intimidate individual feminists, the daily barrage of tweets, the photo-shopping and the rest.

Up to you of course, but I’d be worried and ashamed of the company I was keeping.

That’s right, we’re standing “shoulder to shoulder” with people “creating rape [and] death threats.” Curiously, though, with the absence of rape and death threats. The joke — not jokes, but joke, singular — about “the acid throwing in Ophelia’s face” was not a joke about throwing acid anywhere, nor was it about throwing acid into Ophelia’s face.

The joke tweet, verbatim, was,

“Maybe a vial of acid would do you some good. You already look like you were set on fire and put out with a wet rake.”

It was, however, in response to Ophelia making an incident about a person throwing acid into someone else’s face about HERSELF, musing that maybe someone will throw acid into her face, a despicable dismissal of the original attack to act selfish, so I guess if you’re paranoid enough, you would be able to construe it as a threat. But it wasn’t. However, we shouldn’t forget when one of “your own” on “your side” made a similar “threat” which was subsequently called a joke by Chris Clarke.

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=68520#p68520

Are you “worried and ashamed” of the company you keep yet?

Ah, damn, “worried and ashamed of the company you keep” is guilt by association and a logical fallacy. My bad.

165 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

“Why the atheist movement would link itself to another movement like this is baffling.” is a statement/question.. not an argument.Well done you.

166 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

“And here I was thinking that the efforts of AI were being undermined by the likes of Justin Vacula attending their conference, a slymer who rejects the very premise of what the conference is meant to be about.”

What are the stated premises of the upcoming conference and where does Justin explicitly state his opposition to them?

167 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Daniel – as a smarmy pseudo intellectual let me assure you that statements and arguments are not mutually exclusive.

168 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm
The efforts of Atheist Ireland is continuously being undermined by people invited to speak at this conference

And here I was thinking that the efforts of AI were being undermined by the likes of Justin Vacula attending their conference, a slymer who rejects the very premise of what the conference is meant to be about. But what do I know. When you see five lights, I guess it really is Ophelia Benson who is undermining the efforts of AI.

The likes of Justin Vacula? What has he done to undermine Atheist Ireland? I see he thanked Michael Nugent and looked forward to a face-to-face discussion in Dublin. I see he invited Michael to his radio program. I haven’t seen him “reject the very premise of what the conference is meant to be about” but then I haven’t seen everything he’s written. Could you provide a link?

But the likes of Justin Vacula. Great. So what about the flip side of the coin?

I see a certain butterfly tracking back to this post dubbed “A response” and … oh … not much love for the conference she’s planning to attend. Not much love at all. In fact, she implies quite a lot of bad things about Michael Nugent and Atheist Ireland to boot.

In a Twitter conversation with Derek Walsh (I think Editor of the Atheist Ireland website), she undermined Atheist Ireland and claimed they (and Michael Nugent) condoned calling women cunts (her specifically), despite the fact that nobody in the comment section she linked had called her that.

She recently said Justin Vacula is a stalker, and stalking her specifically, but of course no evidence to support it. Which is slander, maybe even libellous. Stalking is a serious crime, after all. Then her recent offering makes it all about herself, once again. Everything is about her. Her, her, her. Narcissistic, self-absorbed, and paranoid. Actually, how much is it to fly to Dublin these days? I might make a surprise appearance.

169 A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Oh give it a rest people; Nugent’s not going to do your dirty work for you. Were any of you actually delusional enough to think he would (or could) dis-invite Benson over your petty complaints? Stop whining and find another hobby you fucking crybabies.

170 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

“Stop whining and find another hobby you fucking crybabies.”

… said the commenter who spends a great deal of their free time (a hobby?) traipsing around the internet and commenting (whining and crying?) on these very issues. I’d ask you to look up hypocrisy in the dictionary, but apparently dictionaries aren’t very popular in your neck of the woods.

171 Chris Ho-Stuart June 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I’ve said this privately also; but to have it on public record.

There’s been one really fundamental flaw in your (Michael Nugent’s) attempts to facilitate dialog, and that is the lack of your own voice.

In your response here you say one thing which gives me some hope for an improvement. You say: “Whenever I think I understand enough about the issues to be able to make a useful contribution to the substantive discussions, I will do so. ”

Great! This is long overdue.

You don’t actually have good standing or authority to bring others into dialog in this highly charged context. You can’t just set up a forum and make other people do all the dialog, especially in the context where the issues have not been simple lack of communication but rather a long running virulent campaign of abuse.

But you DO have the standing — as *anyone* does — to make a contribution of your own; and be willing to talk about it with others.

There are two things a supporter of dialog needs to do. One is listen. I don’t doubt you’ve done that. Now it is time for the next part of dialog: to speak.

172 A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

… said the commenter who spends a great deal of their free time (a hobby?) traipsing around the internet and commenting (whining and crying?) on these very issues.

Oh I’m not crying Thaumos; I’m laughing at these pathetic whiners taking themselves so seriously….

173 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

“There are two things a supporter of dialog needs to do. One is listen. I don’t doubt you’ve done that. Now it is time for the next part of dialog: to speak.”

I would have thought Michael serves this process (such as it is) better by being a fairly blank facilitator or counsellor type.

174 Kareem June 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The Hermit doth protest too much, methinks.

175 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

… said the commenter who spends a great deal of their free time (a hobby?) traipsing around the internet and commenting (whining and crying?) on these very issues.

Oh I’m not crying Thaumos; I’m laughing at these pathetic whiners taking themselves so seriously….

Hahahahaha, taking ourselves so seriously? After you’ve looked up hypocrisy in the dictionary, you should try irony. You clearly don’t know the definiton of either of them.

176 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm

But is his hypocrisy OK with you provided he is “passionate”?

177 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Dave Allen:

I see what you did there.

178 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I’m like a mighty conjurer.

179 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Do you have a robe and wizard hat?

180 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Tell me, A Hermit, when you criticized the photoshopped photo that said “We <3 Justin", something obviously meant in jest, were you taking yourself too seriously or did we?

181 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Pitchguest.

No.

Well not really.

I sometimes dance about in a tatty dressing gown.

182 JCarr June 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I am very disappointed in this essay.

For the record, I work with traumatized children and victims of violence, as well as provide a home for children in foster care. I’ve been a “lurker” in online atheist forums and blogs for several years now, rarely commenting. I’ve watched different themes run through the online atheist/nonbeliever community, but this one is extremely ugly, not just because of the actions of the harassers, but because a community that is supposed to be so rational and reasonable can’t see the forest for the trees.

It is a textbook example. Any sociology or psychology professor specializing in harassment, victimization, and trauma could tell you that. A minority group within a population raises concerns about an issue, and they are essentially “shouted down” by the privileged majority. They are then castigated as “starting trouble,” harassed in multiple ways, and then when they point out that they are being harassed and want it to stop, the harassers claim that THEY are the victims. Women leaders of the 70s, pushing for women equality in the community and workforce, experienced the exact same phenomenon.

This has happened during the civil rights movement, the decades leading up to Women’s Suffrage, and, I feel I must point this out, the atheist/secular movements in modern-day America. How many times have atheist groups fought for equality and been told that they are “troublemakers,” and then harassed by Christians who claim that THEY are the victims of atheist bullying?

Mr. Nugent, rethink your position. You are essentially suggesting that there is an equal ground here, and that the victims of harassment should sit down with their harassers and “talk it out.” How productive a meeting do you think it would be if a gay man was forced to sit down with the five bullies that have been making his life miserable for the last two years?

Stop letting the harassers hide behind a veil of free speech, another textbook example. Either support the victims or ignore the harassers, but do not give harassment a platform….that just validates their behavior and permits it to continue.

We’ve had enough “enemy-making” activity going on with this nonsense, don’t enable it.

183 Renee Hendricks June 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

One small point I would like to quickly flesh out for those who seem to have not understood my original comment:

“short of” – an idiom meaning not including something

So, my sentence stating “At this point, I cannot see an amicable end to the bickering back and forth, short of putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out” means *not including* putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out.

Petty, I know. But it seems my comment here was picked up elsewhere (trackback) and that one sentence is being twisted.

In any case, I still think Michael Nugent is doing great stuff and I applaud him for this post.

184 JCarr June 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

One other point to consider, Mr. Nugent:

All these accusations of wrongdoing against Myers, Benson, and others….did these occur before or after Elevatorgate and Atheism +? It’s an important point to consider. Prior to the Elevatorgate incident and the rise of Atheism +, were any of these allegations of wrongdoing being made against the FtB bloggers and their supporters? Nope.

It wasn’t until after the push for feminist issues to be included in atheist conversation that suddenly Myers, Benson, and FTB’ers began misbehaving, if all these accusations are to be believed. Amazing coincidence, this timing, isn’t it? Cause a “disturbance” and watch the vitriol fly.

Are we to believe that the behavior of Myers, Benson, and others suddenly became foul and divisive, or are they still the same people with roughly the same behavior, but they espouse a position that a vocal segment of the majority find disagreeable? Considering that they’ve been on the defensive ever since, it doesn’t seem likely that they are the aggressors here…

I sincerely hope you are doing research in your self-appointed role as “mediator,” rather than just letting each “side” sit down and talk. Anyone can talk a good talk. But a mediator between the Klan and black activists would have only needed to do a little research to figure out that one side’s talk was smoke and mirrors with white privilege hiding behind it.

185 M. A. Melby June 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

“Her, her, her. Narcissistic, self-absorbed, and paranoid. Actually, how much is it to fly to Dublin these days? I might make a surprise appearance.”

Well – this is the problem really. Pitchguest is on blogs ALL THE TIME. He is combative and attacks people personally ALL THE TIME. He crosses lines occasionally into doing things that are absolutely unacceptable: such as dogging Jen on her fathers blog after she decided to literally take a mental health break. He called her history of depression a “cop out”.

Even though he MIGHT act more appropriately in person than on the internet (hey – most people do – be honest); I would not want to deal with someone who does stuff like that….sorry.

***

And this characterization of what’s happening?!

“These are all people labeled misogynists by the social justice warriors. And the list keeps growing. But NONE of them has made rape threats nor death threats nor do they support those who do! Is Mick next? Am I? This smells very McCarthyistic to me. ”

Is more than HALF of the trouble. Otherwise reasonable people hear second hand about various conflicts and stuff them into this pre-designed narrative where supposedly every conflict involves calling someone a “misogynist”.

To make it worse – there are individuals (possibly trolls) that go around claiming to have associations they may or may not have and saying really ridiculous things that parrot this sort of gross exaggeration of the prominent opinions.

There are many LEVELS of stuff going on:
1) visceral threats
2) verbal abuse (mostly about having a “thin skin” or some such)
3) responses (sometimes very honest) to things that aren’t actually happening or have been exaggerated
4) being dismissive or downplaying problems 1,2,3 because; well it’s complicated and the truth is so bizarre that on the face it’s near unbelievable

We’re in this weird situation, because if we JUST demand civility, this can result is essentially disarming the people who actually ARE being attacked constantly, in grotesque and frightening ways.

(And again – NO – they are not, nor does any reasonable person think that they are being “attacked constantly in groteque and frightening ways” by everyone they have a conflict with or are annoyed at for whatever reason. However, a few people are doing this and to varying degrees, and YES apparently some of them show up + a bunch of really disturbed people (possibly doing it for the lolz but who the F knows), are heaping on the rape threats. Also, if someone explains that sexism may play a role in these conflicts, they are NOT calling someone a misogynist. Calling someone a misogynist is calling someone a misogynist. Calling what they are SAYING misogynistic is also not calling them a misogynist.)

Here is me having a conversation with someone who fits most people’s definition – but I would have NO PROBLEM interacting with this person because at no point did he freak out and start calling me “worthless” or “thin skinned” or a “bitch” or fantasize about how cool it is when feminists cry or how ironic it is when they have human reactions to constant verbal abuse.

http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/im-not-mysogynist-or-anything-but-i-use-feminine-to-mean-irrational/

All of those people listed have had conflicts with ONE of more people associated with FtB or Skepchick; and the nature of those conflicts are incredibly unique and do NOT fit this dramatic version of events that is being sold to a lot of people.

Sometimes cause and effect and chronology get really confused.

There is no doubt in my mind that the mechanisms of division have made resolving conflicts MUCH more difficult. Also, the USE of a huge list of names of people who have had public conflicts (big and small) with those perceived as “the enemy” – makes those people props and weapons instead of people; some of which have resolved those conflicts, or at the very least, don’t hold a grudge about it. It makes it MORE difficult to resolve conflicts when the story you’re selling is that the “rifts are deep” and there is a McCarthyesque boot squad waiting for everyone who has a difference of opinion.

My reaction to one of the letters was already linked here – and yeah – here it is. It’s pretty sarcastic because I was pretty peeved when I wrote it. Read it and read the comments.

This was used as an example of not allowing women to express there opinion if it wasn’t in-line with the party-line?! Hyperbolic much?

At any rate – have at it:

http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/fixed-that-for-you-skeptic-women/#comments

186 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

To try and portray these “militant” as victims is ridiculous, for them, and for anyone else to swallow. The atheist movement should be itself and not invaded by someone else’s bigoted agenda. Atheism is atheism, it is not feminism, so is that why we are making up a problem that poor meek feminists who never say a wrong word to justify an alliance with them?

“Feminists” are not bullied, they are bullies and everyone watches their words around them. Why can no one see this obvious fact? Michael’s “nasty pushback” piece made it very clear this as a farce and a red herring, purely masturbation on his part. The man has no spine when push comes to shobe he always take the most popular or vocal line of least resistance. I have never seen Michael rebuke an abusive feminist, but I have seen him take the side of one against a person making fair comment.

AI is already a pathetic group of pseudo intellectual, narrow minded, aggressive, mental midgets… adding the excessive PC, and constant cries of foul from the feminist bullies will be the end of AI. No point fighting it, these guys are surrounded by yes men, by design, and have their heads so far up their arses they use their bellybuttons as a peep hole.

Nugent is a spineless shallow thinker, he completely disjoins reality and personal perspective from views held totally from that subjective experience.

How is creating this bullshit about nasty push backs, where he admits his examples are flawed and false!! why give them if they are not examples??? He fuels this bullshit fire of a serious problem with feminists being treated badly? then writes a shallow, transparent article that sows him up to anyone except the brainwashed or afraid to point out he has no clothes on.

187 Dave Allen June 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Daniel – You do like to cleave to the categorical.

Some of the stuff aimed at the people who identify as both feminist and atheist is genuinely nasty and sometimes seems motivated merely by a desire to bully.

To deny this seems silly.

On the other hand some of the stuff identified as bullying by those who identify as both feminist and atheist is genuinely little more than harmless fun.

And to deny that seems silly.

188 Steersman June 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Pitchguest said (#157):

In a Twitter conversation with Derek Walsh (I think Editor of the Atheist Ireland website), she undermined Atheist Ireland and claimed they (and Michael Nugent) condoned calling women cunts (her specifically), despite the fact that nobody in the comment section she linked had called her that.

Facts! (1) Facts! (2) How dare you use facts? Dontcha know that that one can only use feeeeelings?

Sheesh …. /sarcasm

Ophelia: the issue is most definitely not all about you, your apparent claims (3) to the contrary notwithstanding.

—–
1) “_https://twitter.com/funkyderek/status/334021383464026114”;
2) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/04/16/an-update-on-the-atheist-skeptic-dialogue-process/#comment-238453”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/a-response/”;

189 Pitchguest June 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm
190 Daniel June 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The big mistake people make with these sort of feminists is, that they think they are after equality. They are only after equality in the sense of women having it where they do not. If this left an equal society where only women here to fore had an unequal situation.

Surely for equality both sides have to be mad equal? These groups do not care about sexism, just sexism towards women. They don’t protest where women are given more rights e.g. in unmarried couples the father is not given automatic guardianship like the mother. The mother has all rights the father has none.

THey seem to think women being equal in the workplace is fair to have without equality in the family. The just want to be on top. No moral cause at all. Not in terms of equality anyway.

191 M. A. Melby June 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

“I find it so ironic that you guys.. who have been fighting NON-STOP over ‘Dear Muslima’ type issues.. are calling AVFM hateful. L.O.L.
You can rest assured that the various arms of the Mens Movement will continue giving gynocentrism & feminism hell.”

Oh yeah – and the anti-feminist MRA – which is a WHOLE ‘nother thing. If you don’t live in the U.S. – you will probably think that it’s just some big joke or something.

I mean, my friend from Spain think that O’Reilly is actually perpetrating a Kaufman-style LONG joke because nobody right mind thinks like that.

Of course, not all feminists and feminist camps are awesome – particularly Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism and extremists within that group who have made a habit of outing transgender people. I’m also not keen on bans on niqab and those types of things.

But the type of behavior of AVfM is well beyond an engagement or criticism of various feminist thought. It might seem that they are legit until you look into a bit more. I tried to stop giving them blog hits after the article using a woman’s suicide attempt as evidence that she wasn’t actually raped; in an article where two female celebrities were described in incredibly sexist ways as “color” to make the article about a woman accusing her boyfriend of rape on a college campus more entertaining.

Oh – and don’t forget “Men’s Rights News” – according to them if you “get raped” and weren’t very good at fighting back, it wasn’t actually rape.

http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/news-for-mens-rights-news-tw-rape-description-victim-blaming/

Of course, NOT ALL people involved in men’s issues and sorting through how society mistreats men and boys are rape apologist – but some are.

It’s actually a damn shame, because some of the issues that they bring up are absolutely vital. If they could put some energy into those instead of attacking feminists, that would be awesome.

192 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm

@A Hermit #161:

Oh I’m not crying Thaumos; I’m laughing at these pathetic whiners taking themselves so seriously….

Ah, I see. So, you agree that there is merit in laughing at what you perceive to be people taking themselves too seriously, and posting said ‘laughter’ in public forums such as this comment thread Nugent has afforded us?

Well, if that is your opinion, then I thoroughly agree with you. Wonderful, we’ve found some common ground! Now, I’m just trying to figure out why you have any problem with the slymepit.com message forum, wherein people are doing exactly the same thing you are.

193 Steersman June 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Pitchguest wrote (#175):

Steers: _http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyBcHUe4WeQ

Thanks a lot. At least you could have provided a “trigger warning”; I had heard that echo too when I wrote that previous comment but I would have preferred to have left the song more or less dormant. 😉

But, somewhat amusingly, Ophelia had a post (1) recently that profiled an xkcd cartoon about the aphorism on sticks and stones – which Ophelia thinks is one of the worst ever invented. However, one of the captions in the cartoon is particularly problematic and rather too typical of many:

But words … can make someone else feel happy or sad, which is literally the only thing that matters in this stupid world

Even more important than the “truth”? Rather ironic when you consider that the comic’s author is a card-carrying physicist, and that Benson co-wrote “Why Truth Matters”.

—-
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/05/but-words/”;

194 A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Well Thaumas , I laugh at racists and homophobes and all manner of bigots. In this case I’m laughing at the sad, frightened little man children whose reaction to women speaking up about sexism and harassment is to pour on more sexism and harassment.

They’re laughing at people who are actually standing up for something worthwhile.

195 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm

@Daniel #173:

AI is already a pathetic group of pseudo intellectual, narrow minded, aggressive, mental midgets…

Hi Daniel,

I’m not a member of AI, nor am I Irish (except distantly by ancestry), so I’m not coming at this from that perspective. But I do have a question, which I intend sincerely, and not as a “Ha!” type of thing:

One of the mottos I try to live by is that the best response to mediocrity is to build something better, and to ‘win’ by simply ‘doing it better’. For example, that’s how I handle debates with theists, and that’s how I’m trying to handle this current conflict/controversy. I make may a sarcastic jab here and there, such as to A Hermit above, but generally I’m sticking to rational, evidence-based arguments, since *that* is really what I see as the problem with these popular bloggers who are doing a really poor job of examining their own beliefs critically. So, I’m trying to do my part to “do it better” in that respect.

Therefore, if you feel that AI are a bunch of incompetents (and again, this is a genuinely sincere question, I swear to you), why don’t you start up or join a better organization and try to ‘win’ your conflict with AI by “doing it better” than they do? Maybe in a few years, your organization will be swelling its ranks, and AI will be defunct or a relic. Seriously, honestly, that’s what I myself would try to do, and I’m curious why don’t you try that yourself? You’d probably get a lot more done about the problems you think are important, IMHO. (None of which is to say that your critiques of AI have no value; they probably do. It’s just about priorities and the limited time we have on this planet, each of us, to make the most of things.)

Cheers!

196 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

@ A Hermit #194:

Well Thaumas , I laugh at racists and homophobes and all manner of bigots. In this case I’m laughing at the sad, frightened little man children whose reaction to women speaking up about sexism and harassment is to pour on more sexism and harassment.

I wonder if you’re aware that I’m a member of the slymepit.com message forums? Is your opinion of me that I’m a “sad, frightened little man [child] whose reaction to women speaking up about sexism and harassment is to pour on more sexism and harassment.”?

If so, could you perhaps point out where I’ve reacted to “women speaking up about sexism and harassment” by “[pouring] on more sexism and harassment”? I consider that a rather serious accusation, and a smearing of my character. Perhaps I have done such, out of my awareness — and if I have I would surely like to know about it so that I can apologize and try to rectify my actions. However, forgive me if I choose not to simply take *your word* for it. Could you please back up your accusations with evidence? It would be much appreciated. Thanks.

They’re laughing at people who are actually standing up for something worthwhile.

Hmm, I don’t recall doing that either. My *critiques* of Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Stephanie Zvan, and some others are based on their public statements and behaviours which, in my sincere opinion, are not “for something worthwhile”, though I agree that they themselves probably do feel their actions are worthwhile. I disagree, however. And, perhaps if they didn’t censor me from their blogs, you might have heard my critiques before rather than wondering WTF I’m talking about (and probably jumping to a wild and bizarre conclusion completely divorced from reality; that is, if you’re not thinking skeptically). However, I *am* barred from their blogs, and so I have few other places to go to discuss what I feel are very important issues than places like the slymepit.com message forum, and occasionally in neutral or mostly-neutral blog comment sections like this one.

Yes, I do laugh, not at worthwhile causes, but at hypocrisy and irony and satire and many other things which, again, are blocked from expression elsewhere. Yet there is no actual harm in such expression, despite the protestations of constant harassment, of which I’ve never engaged. Unless you can prove otherwise, with evidence preferably. So, where is it?

197 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 10:15 pm

@ Daniel: Not sure how I screwed that up, but my above comment to you was directed at your comment #186, not #173. Oops!

198 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

@JCarr:

It is a textbook example. Any sociology or psychology professor specializing in harassment, victimization, and trauma could tell you that. A minority group within a population raises concerns about an issue, and they are essentially “shouted down” by the privileged majority. They are then castigated as “starting trouble,” harassed in multiple ways, and then when they point out that they are being harassed and want it to stop, the harassers claim that THEY are the victims. Women leaders of the 70s, pushing for women equality in the community and workforce, experienced the exact same phenomenon.

Curiously, the pattern you describe also fits the Tea Party… well, to a T. Are you also saying that the Tea Party is without flaw and not to be criticized where they might have flaws?

199 John C. Welch June 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Jcarr @ 184

All these accusations of wrongdoing against Myers, Benson, and others….did these occur before or after Elevatorgate and Atheism +? It’s an important point to consider. Prior to the Elevatorgate incident and the rise of Atheism +, were any of these allegations of wrongdoing being made against the FtB bloggers and their supporters? Nope.

It wasn’t until after the push for feminist issues to be included in atheist conversation that suddenly Myers, Benson, and FTB’ers began misbehaving, if all these accusations are to be believed. Amazing coincidence, this timing, isn’t it? Cause a “disturbance” and watch the vitriol fly.

In the case of benson, she didn’t really have any notice for me prior to EG. Given that atheism+ happened some time after EG, then yes, these criticisms existed prior to them. Actually, for many, it wasn’t EG that gave us an impetus to start speaking out against the tactics of PZ et al, but rather Rebecca Watson’s horrid behavior towards Stef McGraw, and PZ mansplaining to Stef how she was supposed to feel after he’d been so upset at people doing the same to Rebecca.

The hypocrisy was strong in that.

But in terms of PZ, I realized that he cared not a whit for the principles he claimed to stand for during “pepsigate” when, on the strength of his own personal feelings, and an introductory post that wasn’t to his liking, he joined, and indeed led what can only be described as an online lynch mob to drive pepsi’s blog off SciBlogs. (Ther is some irony there given his reaction to Ron Lindsay’s conference opener.)

He had decided based on nothing but emotional overreaction that Pepsi was the devil and needed to be excorcised. It was utterly shameful, and based on exactly zero evidence. That was when I realized that none of this was about atheism or evolution, but rather all about PZ’s need for attention.

So no, it hasn’t “just” been due to EG. That was simply where rather a lot of people saw it too.

200 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm

@M.A. Melby:

Also, if someone explains that sexism may play a role in these conflicts, they are NOT calling someone a misogynist. Calling someone a misogynist is calling someone a misogynist. Calling what they are SAYING misogynistic is also not calling them a misogynist.

Hi, M.A., I’m curious, would you consider calling a group of people as “conducting a campaign of hatred of women qua women,” would that be an accusation of misogyny to you? The definition of misogyny is, after all, hatred of women. If you’d been accused of conducting a campaign of hatred against women, would you consider that you’d been called a misogynist, even if not by the letters m-i-s-o-g-y-n-i-s-t?

201 A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Thaumas, I didn’t say I was laughing at you did I? If you choose to put yourself in the same boat as the people I am laughing at (ie the purveyors of sexist photoshops and “[vulgar term deleted]” level “satire”) that’s your problem.

202 Thaumas Themelios June 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm

@ A Hermit

Oh, well that’s good then, for a moment there I thought you were talking about everyone in the Slymepit, as you have done before. Glad to see you’re becoming more discerning.

But that still leaves me curious where these “sad, frightened little man children whose reaction to women speaking up about sexism and harassment is to pour on more sexism and harassment” are. Because that sounds quite nasty to me and I’d certainly join you in condemnation if you could just point them out to me, with evidence, preferably. Name names, that sort of thing? Anyone in this thread, for instance? Pitchguest? Steersman?

Who, precisely, were your ‘laughing at’, when you wrote:

Oh give it a rest people; Nugent’s not going to do your dirty work for you. Were any of you actually delusional enough to think he would (or could) dis-invite Benson over your petty complaints? Stop whining and find another hobby you fucking crybabies.

That would surely help us resolve who’s *really* guilty of all this “sexism and harassment”.

203 Steersman June 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

M. A. Melby said (#191):

It’s actually a damn shame, because some of the issues that they bring up are absolutely vital. If they could put some energy into those instead of attacking feminists, that would be awesome.

Yes, I generally agree with you there, although I don’t think that that should mean that feminists get a free ride. But, as a matter of fact, if you were to actually check-out the Pit you would probably find that, at least, very few , if any, there think that the “Men’s Rights” movement and, in particular, A Voice for Men is without any warts or serious flaws. And I quite agree with you as well on “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”.

However, I think that while there seems to be no shortage of detractors for the MRM, there seems to be a rather serious shortage of feminists who are even prepared to consider that the number of warts and flaws in feminism itself is substantially more than just the TERFs. I might suggest reading this review (1) of the book Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies – by a group feminists, I might add – which includes this rather suggestive and problematic passage:

The book is a critique on Women Studies departments in the United States. The authors interviewed dozens of women, from staff to professors to students, all quite supportive of feminism, but all still sharing the same criticism of infighting, indoctrination, political correctness and a near total lack of objective discussion.
….
The authors, however, demonstrate that these problems have existed since their ideology’s inception, and were particularly common within Women Studies programs. The authors wrote of the isolationist attitude that dominates many of the programs, along with a virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students. [my emphasis]

“As the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.”

However in passing, that phenomenon you describe or suggest – good points and bad points on probably just about any given divide or issue – is rather amusingly and succinctly illustrated with this SMBC comic (2).

—-
1) “_http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2009/07/27/professing-feminism-noh/”;
2) “_http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2939”;

204 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 12:34 am

“She recently said Justin Vacula is a stalker, and stalking her specifically, but of course no evidence to support it. Which is slander, maybe even libellous. ”

Slander is when the offence is spoken. It’s libel in the written form. I don’t know enough about US law, but in the UK stalking is a criminal offence, and so calling someone a stalker without good evidence is libellous. Irish law has a common root with English law, so I would expect if the comment were repeated during the coming conference, Vacula would have a case for libel, unless the claim of stalker stands up.

Thank you for the clarification at #183 Renee. I don’t think I for one had read your comment as carefully as you had constructed it.

205 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 12:35 am

Thaumas Themelios, I don’t know where your sense of logic or feeling of entitlement to patronise me comes from. I am not a member of AI, that presumption is wrong on your part.

O wouldn’t really say your agrguments struck me as “rational, evidence-based arguments”, they may have contained that, but what over rides that is the condescending, sing song, longwinded, rambling and excessively wordy. Like the elaboration of a bad lie.

Maybe you feel a warm glow basking in the light of the screen as you type your pseudo intellectual, pre determined rubbish. It clearly is not a response to the comments I have made.

Sell you smarm somewhere else. There is enough bullshitters here, exactly the same as you, wanking their vocabularies and gazing at their navels… to waste time humouring you.

As for your personal mottos, please, are you serious? Do you ever read back what you type?… it’s laughable, not least in it’s transparency. This “You’d probably get a lot more done about the problems you think are important”… do you not sound like an awful git when you read this back? Are you troll, who gets a kick of making mindless comments in this extremely unpleasant and in fact beyond patronizing tone? It doesn’t work, the only person who looks and feels small is you. You are annoying though. So trot on like a good lad and use your time usefully(as you might say… not to say you don’y use it usefully already) .

Now if you want to get back to the topic, or spending your time quoting people back to themselves endlessly.. what eve, just don’t bother me with your piffle.

206 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

@Daniel: I think you might want to re-read my post. From the get-go, you’ve misinterpreted what I wrote:

“I am not a member of AI, that presumption is wrong on your part.”

I did not presume that. I don’t know why you think I did. In fact, I figured it pretty certain you weren’t. I just wanted you to know that I also wasn’t. Not sure how that got morphed into saying you were a member….

And the misunderstandings go on from there. Hopefully, if you read it again, you’ll see that the presumptuousness you think is there is not actually there. You’re reading that into it. Sincerely.

207 Michael Nugent June 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

#205 Daniel,

Please discuss issues without attacking people.

Thanks.

208 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 1:30 am

Daniel said (#205):

Thaumas Themelios, I don’t know where your sense of logic or feeling of entitlement to patronise me comes from. I am not a member of AI, that presumption is wrong on your part.

You might try re-reading Thaumas’ comment a little more closely as he most definitely did not say that you were a member of AI. His point was apparently that since you were flapping your gums in condemning AI so vociferously he thought that you might have so many great ideas on how to do AI one better, at least, that you would leap at the chance to rally everyone to your flag. Although failing to do that would only make it evident that you were only blowing smoke out of your ass ….

As for your personal mottos, please, are you serious? Do you ever read back what you type?…

That’s a bit of a joke coming from someone who apparently can’t spell or can’t be bothered to use the King’s English properly.

So trot on like a good lad and use your time usefully … what eve, just don’t bother me with your piffle.

I can hardly wait to see “Daniel’s Atheism International” internet forum – likely to put AtheismPlus and FfTB in the shade for restrictive policies ….

209 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 1:35 am

His point was apparently that since you were flapping your gums in condemning AI so vociferously he thought that you might have so many great ideas on how to do AI one better, at least, that you would leap at the chance to rally everyone to your flag.

Except without the snarkiness. It really and truly is a sincere question, borne out of curiosity.

210 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 2:32 am

Thaumas:

Rather difficult though not to read snarkiness in it even if that wasn’t your intention. However, not that it is – or would have been – without justification ….

But somewhat apropos, you might want to check out Brute Reason, a FTB site, the masthead principle being: “With great snark must also come great responsibility!” Which I thought rather amusing and ironic ….

211 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 2:49 am

Sure, I know. Because that kind of question is so often asked merely rhetorically. Hence why I put in all those extra clues that I didn’t mean it in a snarky rhetorical, “Ha!” way. Ah, the joys of text communication.

212 JCarr June 9, 2013 at 2:51 am

Curiously, the pattern you describe also fits the Tea Party… well, to a T. Are you also saying that the Tea Party is without flaw and not to be criticized where they might have flaws?

Careful, you’re putting words in my mouth. I never said Benson et. al. was not to be criticized. I didn’t even insinuate that.

I said harassed. There is a significant difference between criticism and harassment, and the over-the-top reaction to their arguments went waaay beyond picking apart their position.

Oh, and apologies if I screwed up the blockquote. As I mentioned, I rarely post.

213 SisterChromatid June 9, 2013 at 2:53 am

A Hermit June 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Thaumas, I didn’t say I was laughing at you did I? If you choose to put yourself in the same boat as the people I am laughing at (ie the purveyors of sexist photoshops and “[vulgar term deleted]” level “satire”) that’s your problem.

But that’s the problem isn’t it? Your little fascist group dumps EVERYBODY into that boat if they don’t toe the party line. Mick is nice to Justin Vacula so he gets tossed in the boat! Paul Kirby points out the McCarthyistic nature of the FTB brand of feminism and she gets tossed in the boat. Anyone who points out the hypocrisy of the self appointed “social justice warriors” gets thrown in that boat! Posting at the slymepit gets you tossed in the boat. And once you are tossed in the boat– nothing can get you out.

Your “side” screams “misogyny” at every turn, and it’s getting increasingly difficult for any skeptic to take you seriously. Your “side” wants to decide who it’s okay to associate with and seeks to shun and shame those who don’t meet your approval. Shame on you!

214 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 3:07 am

Thaumas:

Indeed. Text has its strengths, but also some non-trivial weaknesses …. part of the reason why I tend to use emoticons, although those have their limitations as well ….

215 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 3:18 am

@JCarr:

I said harassed. There is a significant difference between criticism and harassment, and the over-the-top reaction to their arguments went waaay beyond picking apart their position.

I strongly agree. I don’t condone harassment. However, I’m not convinced by their assertions that they are being harassed, especially when the evidence they provide doesn’t stack up against reality, and *especially* when they ban and block reasonable critics from having any voice on their blogs in response. Essentially, if you are only reading their blogs, you are *only* reading one side of the story. Perfect examples of reasonable dissenting posts being blocked for no other reason than that they disagree are here: http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?bt=9302 (in the comments section), and here: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=323

216 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 3:27 am

(reposted with links tweaked, since it’s late in Ireland, and moderator may be sleeping 😉 )
@JCarr:

I said harassed. There is a significant difference between criticism and harassment, and the over-the-top reaction to their arguments went waaay beyond picking apart their position.

I strongly agree that there’s a difference. I don’t condone harassment. However, I’m not convinced by their assertions that they are being harassed, especially when the evidence they provide doesn’t stack up against reality, and *especially* when they ban and block reasonable critics from having any voice on their blogs in response. Essentially, if you are only reading their blogs, you are *only* reading one side of the story. Perfect examples of reasonable dissenting posts being blocked for no other reason than that they disagree are here: _http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?bt=9302 (in the comments section), and here: _http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=323

217 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 4:37 am

Here is a thought experiment for everyone who thinks there’s serious ongoing harassment of people at FTB, and that all their ‘critics’ are really just misogynistic assholes out to get them:

Consider this comment thread above. Are there any examples of harassment on this thread? I’m presuming you’ll agree with me and answer to yourself: no.

Now. Consider this same comment thread above. With all of my comments deleted. And all of Pitchguest’s comments deleted. And all of Steersman’s comments deleted. And SisterChromatid’s, and John C Welch’s, and Renee Hendricks’, and anyone who shows the slightest hint of support of dissent against FTBers.

Essentially, consider this comment thread *ONLY* containing comments like this one:

It is not that and trying to treat it as though it were just a noisy squabble is giving a platform, giving a sense of entitlement, to those who believe that women should have no part in the discussion of anything beyond what’s for dinner. Somehow, they manage to believe that as rabidly as any zealot of the Abrahamic religions ever believed such a thing.

People right now are attempting to intimidate speakers out of coming to Dublin. They are using all the dark arts of cyber-stalking, photoshopped porn images, rape threats, death threats and constant humiliation. I can get angry, very angry but I would not stoop to any of that. Would you?

And this one:

These campaigns of misogynistic harassment must stop.

And this one:

I laugh at racists and homophobes and all manner of bigots. In this case I’m laughing at the sad, frightened little man children whose reaction to women speaking up about sexism and harassment is to pour on more sexism and harassment.

They’re laughing at people who are actually standing up for something worthwhile.

Strip away all the dissent in this thread, and you have yourselves an FTB comments thread. Accusing a whole swathe of people of being raging misogynists. Very often, those broad accusations include me, Steersman, Pitchguest, John C Welch, heck even Renee Hendricks and SisterChromatid.

Does that make any f’ing sense to you that we would be accused in that way? Is it a surprise that we would want to stick up for ourselves and others so wrongly accused? Wouldn’t you stick up for yourself if *you* were so accused? For *nothing* but disagreeing reasonably?

And yes, I mean reasonably. I challenge *anyone* to point to a case where I’ve said anything misogynistic or ‘harassing’ anywhere. You won’t find it, because it is antithetical to my character and my principles. Yet I’m smeared with these accusations, as are many hundreds of people (and the numbers grow daily as people are beginning to wake up to this phenomenon).

Does it make any sense at all that people would begin rumour-mongering about Michael Nugent himself, merely for him posting a *neutral* statement such as the one above? A statement that commits the horrible *crime* of *not* condemning and smearing people like myself? When some people at FTB read Michael’s neutral statment above, they immediately started cooking up imagined crimes to accuse him of (though thankfully they are failing *hard* because he’s maintained a strongly principled neutral stance as someone seeking to overcome this conflict rather than feed it).

Does this post (see link “A response” in trackbacks below) make any sense?:

No. He doesn’t know that. He only thinks he does. That’s one of the ways he’s gone so badly wrong on all this. No, the sides are not equivalent. Sometimes there just really are bullies and harassers who bully and harass people because they like doing it. He can’t be bothered to figure even that much out, yet he can be bothered to meddle in the matter while being that clueless about it.

He wants to “add to his understanding”? As if this is just some educational project for him? And he wants to talk to us when we come to Dublin instead of now? To say nothing of two months ago? He wants to wait until after all the damage has been done to the conference and to some of the participants, especially me – why? Because it will be more fun for him that way? Well what about other people? What about the people he has exposed to more lies and libel by hosting them on his blog?

Followed by these kinds of comments:

I will just file Nugent away with Ron Lindsay under #harassmentapologists.

This is what jumped out and bopped me on the nose:
he has “experience of much more vicious conflicts”…
So, really, Ophelia, just, you know, knock it off with the DRAMA and OVERSENSITIVITY and PARANOIA already.
Because there are good people on both sides! Yet another penis-haver has said! So we know it’s trooooooo!

It’s clear that maintaining his self image as an Honest Broker Above it All and Wise as Solomon is more important than real honesty or fairness or FACTS. Or actual empowerment of women through secularism, unless it’s his idea of secularism and the women have been deemed (by him) worthy of empowerment. If you’re already somewhat empowered and getting uppity, well…too bad. Other Priorities!

Jumping Jesus on a Pogo-stick, Nugent does not get it and does not want to.

Why does this image of the clueless, oblivious school/workplace counsellor keep appearing in my mind?

Maybe I’m just stereotyping the Irish, but I keep getting the impression that Nugent is parroting official pronouncements from the lloonngg–ddrraawwnn–oouutt negotiations in Ulster, where such obsequiousness-to-obnoxiousness may have been necessary.

Nugent says: “…I know from experience of much more vicious conflicts…”
That line fills me with foreboding. I wonder if there’s some other conflict, where he’s forced his perceived wisdom into a situation he barely understands?

Where the F do they get these crazy ideas about what peoples’ motivations and character are like? Their own friggin’ imaginations, is the only answer I can think of. They are certainly not mind-readers I’ll tell ya that much for free.

(Sorry to draw your name into it, Michael, but it’s just we need a kind of reality check here. I won’t press it further, it’s just an example.)

So. If you believe that there is a serious problem with ongoing harassment, *please* let’s get to *actual* specific facts. For example, can anyone show where *I* have harassed anyone? No? Okay then. Stop tarring me with the harassment brush then. Next. How about Steersman? No? Okay then. Stop tarring him with the harassment brush. And on and on….

Mayyyybe we’ll actually pin down some specifics, and if there is true harassment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harassment, not to be confused with Satire or Caricature) I will join in condemnation of it. But only based on *facts*, not mere accusations. This is the 21st century. There may still be idiots hunting witches in Africa (horrible! but true), but are we skeptics, or dogmatic medieval throwbacks? (Apologies to any idiots who might be offended by the comparison to dogmatic medieval throwbacks. 😉 ) I’m hoping we are skeptics and as skeptics we want to see *all* the evidence, not just the cherry-picked and censored bits.

218 SisterChromatid June 9, 2013 at 5:41 am

I hope our American representatives focus on empowering woman through secularism— I’m sure it’s an important topic in Ireland given their history of religious conflict.

219 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:44 am

Steersman June 9, 2013 at 3:07 am

Thaumas:

Indeed. Text has its strengths, but also some non-trivial weaknesses …. part of the reason why I tend to use emoticons, although those have their limitations as well ….

Steersman, your emotions will change over time, and no one else but you here has any interest in them. People are interested in your thoughts, for which text proves more than adequate.

Consider this comment thread above. Are there any examples of harassment on this thread? I’m presuming you’ll agree with me and answer to yourself: no.

An erroneous presumption on your part, Thaumas Themelios. There have been plenty of instances of name calling and insults on this thread. So many that I wonder if you have been reading a different thread. Even things which can be construed as petty to you can be construed as harassment by someone else. (Look at the intervention by Michael at #207 if you need an example.)

If you want to understand harassment, you have to be able to put yourself into someone elses shoes. Try walking for a mile in shoes that don’t fit properly, and I promise you you will find your feet are hurting. Remember I am also a strong advocate of asking questions. If you had stopped there, your comment would have been fine. Answering questions on behalf of other people is never satisfactory.

220 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 6:53 am

Pogsurf #219 said: “If you want to understand harassment, you have to be able to put yourself into someone elses shoes.”

Ok. Here is my Twitter: https://twitter.com/Metaphoenix42

Every time you see something coming out of the slymepit or any related venue/poster that you consider harassment, please change the names etc. appropriately, and direct it toward me. You can also post them on the slymepit, or even PM me there. Come on, “harass” me. Prove to me that I’d agree that it’s harassment if it was happening to me.

221 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 6:58 am

An erroneous presumption on your part, Thaumas Themelios. There have been plenty of instances of name calling and insults on this thread. So many that I wonder if you have been reading a different thread. Even things which can be construed as petty to you can be construed as harassment by someone else. (Look at the intervention by Michael at #207 if you need an example.)

Then I must ask you, by what standard of ‘harassment’ are you judging things by? Mere annoyance? Or actual, legally actionable harassment? Because in my world, they are two different things, and claiming I’m ‘harassing’ someone is an accusation of criminal activity.

Or do words no longer have meanings? And if you reply to me I shall consider that the most horrendous possible harassment you could possibly subject me to. Does that make any freaking sense? No, of course not.

222 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 7:09 am

I made my position on harassment and taking sides perfectly clear at #104, but since it was held in moderation for a while it is perfectly understandable if it has been overlooked.

Good suggestion Metalogic42. I have added you as one I follow onto my Twitter feed. You are welcome to follow me back, as is anyone who has contributed to this thread. I shall keep a hawkeye over the Slymepit from now on.

223 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:10 am

If you want to understand harassment, you have to be able to put yourself into someone elses shoes. Try walking for a mile in shoes that don’t fit properly, and I promise you you will find your feet are hurting.

An old proverb I heard from a wise person said, “Before you accuse someone of harassment, walk a mile in their moccasins. Because then you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have their moccasins.”

As I said, can we get to *facts*? Proverbs are fun, but we’re talking about accusations of criminal behaviour. You do realize that harassment is a crime, correct?

Could you imagine if we used words so loosely that someone could accuse someone, “I can’t believe that man just assaulted me!!!” And when asked, “Really? That’s horrible, what happened?!” they reply, “He looked at me when I didn’t want him to! He assaulted me with his eyes!”

Pretty soon people get sick of the cries of “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” Especially when the accusations of “Wolf” are directed at them.

Remember I am also a strong advocate of asking questions. If you had stopped there, your comment would have been fine. Answering questions on behalf of other people is never satisfactory.

Interesting. I notice that your reply to me contains exactly, count ’em, *zero* questions.

And you still haven’t answered the one question you balked at: Are there any examples of harassment on this thread?

Can you please quote *any* examples of harassment in this thread? Don’t you think claims of harassment should be supported by evidence?

224 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 7:17 am

@Pogsurf #22: Excellent. So, when I still don’t feel like I’m being harassed after a few months, are you going to change your mind and admit that people on FTB aren’t either?

Oh, and btw, you can draw from the backlog too if you want to start “harassing” me early. Rebecca Watson’s “page o’ hate” is a good place to start: http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/.

225 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:19 am

@Pogsurf:
This is the extent that you talked about the definitions of anything close to harassment: “If someone feels bullied, they are bullied. Have you never been bullied? If you have you will know ‘being bullied’ is a feeling, and you alone own your feelings.”

Putting aside questions of whether I’ve been bullied (I have), can you please explain how merely *feeling* something means that another person has committed a criminal offence, such as harassment?

Is it enough that someone *feels* assaulted to accuse another person of assault?

226 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 7:19 am

*Note: the material on the “page o’ hate” is not slymepit material. It’s just random internet trolls.

227 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

@Pogsurf: By the way, stop harassing me by replying in this thread. I feel harassed by your replies.

228 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

@Pogsurf: By the way, stop harassing me by responding in this thread. I feel harassed when you reply.

229 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 7:28 am

Thaumas Themelios said (#217):

I’m hoping we are skeptics and as skeptics we want to see *all* the evidence, not just the cherry-picked and censored bits.

Indeed. Quite a good comment in general that highlights some of the consequences of the “rumour-mongering” that is far too prevalent on FTB, although they’re hardly unique in that regard and even the Pit periodically falls short there too.

However, as a further specific case in point, over and above the ones you described or suggested, there’s the rather odious case of Oolon claiming – both here (1), on Benson’s Butterflies & Wheels (2), and on two threads (3,4) on Zvan’s Almost Diamonds – that one “Maxwell Smart”, apparently on the Board of the Seattle Atheists with “Skep tickle”, had “outed” her on June 2nd. Here’s part of Oolon’s statement on the first of Zvan’s posts on June 3rd:

Well Eliza Sutton is outed here by Maxwell Smart without as much as a whimper, so you have to wonder how much of a big deal it is. _http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?bt=9266

Unfortunately for that “narrative”, that bit of egregious propaganda, the fact of the matter is that that information was essentially released in a comment (5) by “TheBlackCat” on Pharyngula some 6 days prior to that post by “Maxwell Smart” – as I described in some detail in this thread here (comments #116 & #119).

Now while it might be somewhat moot as to the seriousness of the supposed doxxing and who should be held responsible for initiating that, it is a matter of very public record, matters of naked fact, that that bit of erroneous information, virtually an egregious falsehood if not libel as long as it stands, caused a non-trivial amount of “piling-on”, and further elaborations and compounding of that libel – all of which tends to “poison the well”.

But even all of that would be less problematic if FTB, in particular, gave evidence of being something more than a “yellow journal” (6), and had some reasonable policy where they committed to correcting such errors of fact as do responsible newspapers and magazines. However, their general policy of banning people who have expressed criticism of them tends to preclude that possibility.

In any case, I think the following comment (7) by Aratina Cage on a related case seems a rather cogent summary or suggestion of the problems engendered by such rather egregious policies:

Now, what kind of people do not correct their understanding of history when faced with more accurate information that falsifies old beliefs?

Certainly not skeptics or people whom one might reasonably describe as “ethical”.

—-
1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/06/07/a-response-to-recent-online-open-letters-and-emails/#comment-253004”;
2) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/what-next/#comment-562331”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/06/02/the-ethics-of-unmasking/#comment-241004”;
4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/06/05/what-happens-at-the-slime-pit/#comment-241570”;
5) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/05/29/manufactured-outrage/comment-page-1/#comment-627004”;
6) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism”;
7) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/06/05/what-happens-at-the-slime-pit/#comment-241705”;

230 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 7:38 am

Can you please quote *any* examples of harassment in this thread? Don’t you think claims of harassment should be supported by evidence?

I have just mentioned Micheal’s rebuke at #207 of the comment at #205. Why do you ask me to repeat myself?

When I questioned earlier in this thread if two links to claims of harassment had gone to the police, and if not why not, I was castigated for implying that I didn’t believe these were claims of harassment. In fact I was trying to establish how severe the complainant felt the harassment was. It is clear from the fact that the two people concerned have gone to all the trouble of cataloguing instances that we in fact had harassment.

However I still want you to look back at #10, which is how I was drawn into the conversation about evidence. The claims made in the section I quoted are much more severe than harassment, and include death and rape threats. I believe that someone came onto this thread with a speculative claim in order to scaremonger. Harrassment is unpleasant, but it is not as unpleasant as death and rape threats. In effect, this thread has been derailled by those who want to talk about the lesser crime of harassment.

231 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:51 am

I have a suggestion to help keep our word meanings straight.

When we are talking about the criminal activity, which includes (depending on one’s region): causing another person to reasonably fear for their safety by, following them, repeatedly contacting them, watching outside their house or workplace, engaging in threatening conduct toward them; then we shall call this ‘harassment’.

When we are talking about the feeling that someone can have that does *not include* the other person engaging in criminal harassment; then we shall call this ‘being bothered’.

So, is it the case that anyone in this thread is harassing anyone else? Or is it merely the case that some people in this thread may perhaps be feeling bothered by others?

Is Ophelia Benson really a victim of persistent harassment? Or is she merely persistently bothered by people she doesn’t like and disagrees with?

232 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:53 am

If we can stick to that nomenclature, then I will gladly confess to being a bother for some people. But I have never harassed anyone.

233 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

Daniel – I must take issue with the following:

“Sell you smarm somewhere else. There is enough bullshitters here, exactly the same as you, wanking their vocabularies and gazing at their navels… to waste time humouring you. ”

One should never subject a wide vocabulary to floccinaucinihilipilification.

234 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

@Dave Allen: Now, don’t get all sesquipedalian on us.

235 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

“Now while it might be somewhat moot as to the seriousness of the supposed doxxing and who should be held responsible for initiating that, it is a matter of very public record, matters of naked fact, that that bit of erroneous information, virtually an egregious falsehood if not libel as long as it stands, caused a non-trivial amount of “piling-on”, and further elaborations and compounding of that libel – all of which tends to “poison the well”.”

Non-trivial piling-on?

Good gracious!

I don’t see why its a problem really. If I went to some forum where one particular opinion was predominant, and I posted an opinion that ran counter to the gestalt, I would expect lots of people to have something to say about it.

Do you seriously think people who feel strongly about an issue should, or could, be expected to hold back on account of “well that poster has had three replies already and is probably wanting to manage their message so I will just keep quiet for the time being.”

It’s a pretty nonsensical expectation if you ask me.

This isn’t to defend some of the genuinely irritating stuff that some of the key protagonists do to exacerbate the pilings-on – such as putting posts into moderation or editing people’s posts after the fact as PZ is wont to do, or banning people and so on.

But piling-on itself?

meh.

236 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 8:27 am

Thaumas – don’t be cryptorchid or we’ll never reach an eirenicon, you helminth.

237 John Morales June 9, 2013 at 8:34 am

Thaumas:

Is Ophelia Benson really a victim of persistent harassment? Or is she merely persistently bothered by people she doesn’t like and disagrees with?

Being bothered by having an obsessively constant stream of malicious badmouthing directed at her (you’re indulging in prevarication because you’re on this particular blog, thus the mere gaslighting) is a normal human reaction, and it is the least of the desired reaction. What they really want to do is “win” by harassing her into silence, as they already have with two other women.

So, your disingenuousness is evinced by noting that your rhetorical question boils down to “Is Ophelia Benson really a victim of persistent harassment? Or is she merely persistently harassed by people she doesn’t like and disagrees with?”

(The answer is yes)

PS No normal person would either like or agree with someone who obsessively harassed them.

238 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

Dave Allen said (#233):

Non-trivial piling-on? Good gracious! I don’t see why it’s a problem really
….
But piling-on itself? meh.

Seems you missed my point or didn’t read all of my comment, notably the concluding statements. Or I didn’t describe it well enough.

But it was that the piling-on was in furtherance of perpetrating and propagating a falsehood if not actually a libel. And it was that which is compounding the problems in these discussions. If people are labouring under misapprehensions of one sort or another because of factual errors – or because of the peddling of egregious propaganda which is presented as fact – then it should not be at all surprisng if the dialogs go off the rails rather quickly.

Seems like it would be really helpful if both various blogs and commenters had enough integrity to correct factual errors where such were pointed out. Can’t see there being much hope for a viable movement – however it is called – if that isn’t a central and guiding principle of it.

239 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

“Seems like it would be really helpful if both various blogs and commenters had enough integrity to correct factual errors where such were pointed out. Can’t see there being much hope for a viable movement – however it is called – if that isn’t a central and guiding principle of it.”

If I were to think about a particular protagonist whose behaviour in this regard regularly strikes me as egregious – I’m sure we can agree on PZ Myers between the two of us – I still think it should be allowed that some of those in his commentariat may disagree with us for reasons we might nevertheless sympathise with.

Now I may not like the overall tone of the Pharyngulites on the whole – but as a poster on the Slymepit you presumably allow that Mykeru, Lusoma and Franc get to say their bit without it necessary representing your bit.

As such it strikes me as fair that any given FtB commentator be judged on his or her bit.

And I think any attempt to present piling-on as a problem in and of itself (and I realise your caveats – this is just for the sake of extreme clarity really) is unimpressive.

I hope we can both agree it is OK for commentators to join in the fray – even if it does get overwhelming for the perceived antagonist – and that the problem is then where someone farms or manipulates the piling-on so as to suggest or impose an even greater sense of helplessness on the part of the perceived antagonist than that which was produced organically.

240 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 10:10 am

Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

@Pogsurf: By the way, stop harassing me by responding in this thread. I feel harassed when you reply.

No.

241 JackSkeptic June 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

One of the primary issues in my opinion is the massaging of reality to fit a pre conceived notion. This is the same as Creationists looking for evidence to fit their beliefs rather than following the evidence. One of the ways this is achieved on some of the blogs at FtB is:

1. Banning people who dissent.

2. Blocking responses and keeping them in moderation, often indefinitely.

3. Only allowing a post through once a person has lost patience and it is more abrasive, therefore giving the impression that was their only reply rather than, perhaps, the third and the previous ones blocked.

4. Not allowing people a right of reply as a matter of common decency and fairness. Attacking after that person has left or been banned is even encouraged.

5. Grossly exaggerating someone’s actions and/or making the assumption it is about them (I am a terrible person for just being part of the Nugent Dialogue for instance. Nugent is a terrible person for allowing dialogue)

6. Regularly encouraging attacks and abuse on those who disagree by setting up an atmosphere of hate. It took a long time for Ellen Beth Wachs to recover from such an attack. It was horrible to see.

7. Redefining words to fit their narrative. So ‘Dictionary’ atheists are vilified. Humpty Dumpty would be proud of them.

8. Setting up a climate of fear. PMZ’s recent blog post saying he will reveal the email and IP of those who are ‘assholes’ is a good example. Of course we do not get to know what ‘assshole’ means to him, anyone who disagrees? Threats to peoples real lives simply for disagreeing, such as that on Skep Tickle.

In other words operating an echo chamber where beliefs and opinions are constantly reinforced and anyone who does not toe the line are ‘undesirables’ and must be dealt with in the strongest way possible. It is the classic behaviour of cults including the excessive use of ‘in words’ to identify posters.

Now that would not matter one bit if they had no influence outside their blogs, especially as they have a right to operate their blogs as they see fit. Atheism plus is largely an irrelevance so I ignore them for this reason. They are quite happy being abusive in their own space and they have a right to do that.

The issue for me is from their safe space they attack outside. They do not get to do that without expecting a response. Even Michael Nugent, a calm, decent person, is a topic of such attacks. People like R Lindsay, who’s opening speech was highly supportive of women’s rights, was attacked. There are numerous examples.

Their crime? Simply following the basic principles or skeptisism with its constant testing of assumptions in order to get closer to the truth. Basic principles including the fact no topic is sacred and not free from open and free debate and discussion. In other words they were attacked for doing the very job they were appointed to do and their organisations and members expect of them.

So to me all this waffle about naughty pictures and words is largely irrelevant and misses the point. It is a smokescreen for what really matters and that is the atheist movement is being attacked. It is being attacked at its very core and that is something we should all resist no matter what our personal philosophies and beliefs.

Atheists have been getting on with what we like to do for years despite variations in political and social beliefs. That has produced amazing results for its size. That is all at risk if this is allowed to continue.

242 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

Daniel – I must take issue with the following:

“Sell you smarm somewhere else. There is enough bullshitters here, exactly the same as you, wanking their vocabularies and gazing at their navels… to waste time humouring you. ”

One should never subject a wide vocabulary to floccinaucinihilipilification.

+1

243 Michael Nugent June 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

I have removed some comments about the relative ethics and impact of harassment versus exaggerating the impact of harassment, because the comments included speculation about whether a named person was exaggerating and/or lying.

I’ll email the comments to the people involved when I get back to my main computer, and if you want to reframe the discussion of those concepts in the abstract, that’s fine, but please don’t link it to particular persons.

244 Michael Nugent June 9, 2013 at 10:47 am

@Thomas #225

Putting aside questions of whether I’ve been bullied (I have), can you please explain how merely *feeling* something means that another person has committed a criminal offence, such as harassment?
Is it enough that someone *feels* assaulted to accuse another person of assault?

It’s not enough, but it is a central element of it. In law, an assault is typically an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. It becomes battery if it is carried through into actual harmful or offensive contact.

245 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 10:48 am

“Am I wrong in this?”

I’m not allergic to it.

However, I pessimistically predict a wrangle over whether or not “mere matter of opinion” allows for the fact that a wide range of thought – from considered and researched theorising to knee-jerk reactions – makes up opinion.

So if you are using “mere matter of opinion” as I would like to use it – a catch all term for subjectivity that allows for both hard-won insight and ill-informed bilge – then fine, you pretty much have what I intend.

But if you mean opinion as opposed to an appraisal of the evidence, or deep thought or whatever – then we diverge, as I see such things help form opinion.

Is that OK?

246 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 11:27 am

THis is ridiculous. Where did you people learn to speak like this? Dave Allen & Thaumas, I’m looking at you! I’ve seen this wankery way of expressing one’s self before on atheist and theological blogs, but you guys take the cake.

247 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

Thaumas, I took from this you were saying, or at least strongly implying I was part of AI “why don’t you start up or join a better organization and try to ‘win’ your conflict with AI by “doing it better” than they do? ”

I think that is a pretty nature way to take this unmitigated piece of garbled condesention. Also Thauma, you completely miss the point if you think I have a battle with AI for thinking they are a poor organisation. I do not think I have to set up an organisation to take down every group I think of this way.

You don’t think that way, clearly. You don’t seem to think at all in your responses. YOu don’t care about the topic and see things as individual and personal battles. It is a discussion. I am commenting. Not going to war with AI. You should read the start again, the topic. Then get back on it.

248 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

“THis is ridiculous. Where did you people learn to speak like this? Dave Allen & Thaumas, I’m looking at you! ”

Well I dunno about Thaumas, but I took English up to A-level and I read these things called books.

249 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 11:46 am

thaumas “popular bloggers who are doing a really poor job of examining their own beliefs critically. So, I’m trying to do my part to “do it better” ” are you serious when you say that you are helping educate poor people without your insights?

Did you miss out on some part of the education process? like college. Honest question. A lot of people who drop out of school, feel intellectually inferior and make up for it by trying to sound clever and end up being amazingly patronising, like you. Re read you comments, they are dripping with smug condesention … to talk about giving other insight when you are yourself so un self aware is laughable.

250 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 11:48 am

Well Dave A, that answer was worthy of a petulant school boy…. “uh I read this things called books.. hello” lol

251 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Look, Dave & Thaumas, we could drift into a distracting side show. Lets all get back on topic, agreed? Personally I am no going to be inclided to respond to personal critisizm or advice” either way. So if I don’t respond, don’t take offence.

252 MosesZD June 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

This link: http://tinyurl.com/qfnohg7 was to a friends of the FFRF group – a FB page for friends of the group but is not officially representative of them.

It was shut down by A+. Maiforpeace, The Lousy Cannuk and others who waged a false-flagging campaign.

Now do you see what we’re up against? Now do you see the problem? Or is it going to be more of the golden mean fallacy as A+ strives to destroy skepticism and atheism with their intolerance of others and desire to inflict their ideas of ideological purity on others.

253 Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

“Look, Dave & Thaumas, we could drift into a distracting side show.”

Why drift when you could zoom?

254 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I tried to work with Metalogic42 to log instances of harassment, but we had differences about how monitoring should be acheived.

The train-wreck is available at my blog.

255 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Thaumas Themelios, you said I had harassed you in this thread, and insisted that I stop posting here.

Can you explain why you said this? I have not knowingly said anything to upset you, if I have done so I will apologise.

256 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Pogsurf: I would venture a guess that it was humour/sarcasm on Thaumas’ part.

257 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Pogsurf, you completely misunderstood my initial post on the matter. That’s on you.

258 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm

That’s certainly what I felt at the time, which is why I was quite short with him. On reflection, I thought I should at least try to be sympathetic.

We are talking about dealing with harassment here. I’d rather be found to be a bit of a berk for having my leg pulled, than to have squashed someone by saying something unintentionally offensive.

259 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

No Metalogic42, you completely misunderstood my earlier comment about trying to walk in someone elses shoes. I was suggesting empathy, not throwing brickbats to ‘prove’ the strength of any particular harassment claim. You can never fully know how it feels to be someone else, so all attempts to disprove their feelings are futile.

260 dresq June 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

@M. Nugent #242

“It’s not enough, but it is a central element of it. In law, an assault is typically an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.”

Your definition of assault is correct but incomplete. To be an assault, the act must create a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact. Carrying the analogy through, I think there’s a lot of disagreement over whether the “apprehension” complained of by certain persons in reasonable.

261 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm

@Pogsurf #256: “You can never fully know how it feels to be someone else, so all attempts to disprove their feelings are futile.”

Sometimes feelings don’t matter. There are many people who would feel quite upset if I told them I was an atheist. I really don’t care. If it upsets them, that’s their problem. Same goes for jokes on the internet.

We could be discussing this on Twitter, but oh wait, you blocked me. Was the little social experiment I proposed really that bad?

262 dresq June 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I realize that wikipedia and other primary sources don’t treat the reasonableness requirement, but it is an element of the tort. But don’t take my word for it:

“Assault: The threat or use of force on another that causes that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact; the act of putting another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of an immediate battery by means of an act amounting to an attempt or threat to commit a battery.”

ASSAULT, Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009), assault

263 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

You told me I was harassing you Metalogic42. I blocked you so that I couldn’t be accused of seeking to harass you further.

Are you upset because I labelled you “clinically insane” on my blog? Asking me to re-jig abusive messages and then to send them to you to see how hurt you felt is quite mad you know.

264 Metalogic42 June 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

If you mean this: “How dare you retweet me! HARASSMENT!!!!!” That’s obviously sarcasm.

But no, I’m not upset, I’m aware that I’m quite insane. For the lulz! And on the chance that you’re playing the long game, still not enough. Ramp it up a bit.

265 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm

That’s quite a self-doxxing Metalogic42, well done.

266 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm

MosesZD, well said re A+ destroying atheist and secular movement. They seem to be people who main interest or agenda is not a secular world, all there secondary interests, censorship, men having to watch what they say, intolerance to dissent etc. These are what define the A+ and the secular feminist agenda. They are feminists 1st and secularists incidentally.

They want to hijack a pure ideology, or in the case of atheism, no real ideology, and polute it/them with their own shallow blind concerns. these people still feel the need to say “women’s right’s are human rights” as if we think women are not human. Their heads are back in the day of the brave suffragettes… but those days are gone, thanks largely to the true feminists, male and female, who could not stand for this. They apply the same attitude to society as if it hasn’t changed.

In the end, of course anyone can be an atheist or believe in a secular society, and should be welcomed. A formal, or public, joining of an atheist movement and a feminist one makes no sense. Not for atheists anyway, there is no connection between atheist or secularism and this sort of equality for women, secularism is about equality for all from what I have seen, once you go beyond the main separation of church and state.

This should not be inflicted on members of these groups who do not support this militant feminism. It is nasty, irrational, bullying, ill informed, extremely defensive and aggressively intolerant to any other views, particularly from me. No gender should be given special status, but that is what these feminists want. Equality for all, not just special and overly vocal interest groups.

As for assault etc. I heard that one male made a very inappropriate comment regarding rape, and this is where adding “no one shall threaten rape” as a condition of attending the group or conference. It is ridiculous but shows these people for what they are. THey want to have things to complain about. That is why they now grasp at anything and milk it. Anyone taken in by this has unfortunately fallen for it already and may not come back to reason.

267 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You don’t even have to listen to thundefoot, just listen to this spin doctor saying how censorship is freedom of speech??!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApozFPboUAQ

268 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Nonsense Daniel. I’m banned from dozens of blogs, but I’ve never once turned round and tried to say I have been silenced. If you’re not wanted someplace, go and find somewhere else where you are wanted, could be my motto.

Silencing is entirely different. This is when people who should be part of the debate are made to feel unwelcome. Atheist societys should be places which welcome diverse people and diverging viewpoints. They should be places where calm and rational debate can take place.

269 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

You were silenced though, regardless of if you say it or not. Not permanently silenced, just from these places.

Apart from you words on silence v being banned from commenting, I agree. Making people feel unwelcome is not silencing, it is a effort to silencing, and if making people uncomfortable is silencing, why would banning not be?

The part I agree with is what thes e places should be regarding dissuasions. A+ and feminist atheism etc. do not provide this.

270 Stacy June 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

This link: http://tinyurl.com/qfnohg7 was to a friends of the FFRF group – a FB page for friends of the group but is not officially representative of them.

It was shut down by A+. Maiforpeace, The Lousy Cannuk and others who waged a false-flagging campaign

–MosesZD #249

FFRF asked the group (or its admin) to shut it down and 1) transfer to the FFRF page and 2) start a new group called Friends of FFRF. The administration agreed. FFRF wants to be able to moderate comments made on a page bearing their name.

Quelle horreur.

Now do you see what we’re up against? Now do you see the problem? Or is it going to be more of the golden mean fallacy as A+ strives to destroy skepticism and atheism with their intolerance of others and desire to inflict their ideas of ideological purity on others.

This sort of hyperbolic nonsense should discredit the ‘pit. Yet you keep on going.

Golden Mean fallacy indeed. Got that much right.

271 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Even libertarians believe in private property Daniel.

272 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Thanks Pogsurf… I’ll remember that lol

273 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I didn’t say it as a joke. Do you really believe you have an absolute right to say anything you like wherever you are?

274 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I got that Pogs. I never said I “believe you have an absolute right to say anything you like wherever you are”…. so I’m not going to answer that. You’re making out I am presenting a view that I am not. You know why people do that don’t you?

275 Jason Thibeault June 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I did what to who now?

How do you “dialogue” with people who just make shit up from whole cloth?

276 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm

No. I try not to make presumptions about what other people know.

277 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Well Pogs, you haven’t just done that here, but you have referenced me as saying something I didn’t to serve the purpose of you comment. That is the height of something well beyond presumption.

I’m not going to get into a discussion with someone who makes stuff up that I apparently have said.

278 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm

“How do you “dialogue” with people who just make shit up from whole cloth?”

I listen to what people have to say, and I try to respond in a sensible fashion, without resorting to insults, or letting my own feelings display too much of my own prejudices. How do you do it?

279 Jason Thibeault June 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I don’t think I have to listen to and respect what people have to say about me doing things that I didn’t do and have no sweet clue about. What’s the middle ground between what I actually say and do in reality, and what people make up about me? Is reality somewhere in the middle, does my life history change every time someone invents something that I supposedly did? Does someone making something up about me from whole cloth merit being respectful and kind and dialoguing with?

280 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Nice point Jason. When people you are discussing something with, make stuff up and put it to you as a reply, that sort of discussion is pointless.

281 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Jason and Daniel you both seem to have some kind of beef. It would be helpful if you could make whatever it is you want to say explicit. Other people follow these threads and may not know what the background story is.

282 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Pogsurf, as you have taken exception to my beef, surely you know what it is? In fact, you explain my beef and why you have an issue with it.

I’m glas some people follow the posts, I was beginning to think people were just copying and pasting from a generic argument against an imaginary person.

283 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Daniel, I think you are saying I have put words into your mouth, but I haven’t done that. Asking a question is not the same as quoting someone. If my question was near the knuckle, you have to look to yourself, to see why you have difficulty answering. No one else can do this for you.

284 Pitchguest June 9, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Pogsurf:

He’s trying to say it’s not harassment, but ribbing. Besides, unless you’re consistently poking at them you can’t really call it harassment. That some FtB regulars are keen to call it that is another matter, that’s just their way of dealing with criticism. For instance, in your blog post where you attempt to document “harassment by Slymers”, that wasn’t harassment – that was ridicule. The only way that would be “harassment” were if it was posted directly on their blog. In fact, PZ Myers said the same thing just recently and he basically just said that he would be harassed only if it happened on his own blog. The rest didn’t interest him. (Though if you quote him on that, you’re apparently “twisting [his] words.” Yeah.)

285 oolon June 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Michael – can you consider removing MozesZDs comment above? As per Ophelias post -> http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/to-destroy-skepticism-and-atheism
That allegation is seemingly completely made up (Unless Moses has proof) and while Jason Thibeault is used to the hate these sort of lies generate maiforpeace is probably less used to the attention. I guess Moses has not signed up to Gurdurs “civility/non-defamation” pledge yet. You can remove my comment as well…

286 Pitchguest June 9, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Jason Thibbledeedoo:

Jason. Booby. We don’t need to make up things about you, mate. We can just what you say and that would be enough. It would be like quoting the Bible. Wink.

287 Pitchguest June 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

*quote what you say

288 Pitchguest June 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm

That was a joke, by the way.

289 Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Pitchguest I believe you are right up to a point.

If I produced an image and put it on my blog, I don’t think that constitutes harassment, except if the image is so disgusting that it causes hate.

However if I sent my seemingly innocent image to the person concerned, after they had made it clear to me to leave them alone, I am harassing them.

Incidentally, using PZ Myers’ name as you did is an argument from authority, which is a well known logical fallacy. In any case, it is no secret that I have my own reasons for not regarding PZ Myers as an authority figure, as well as the fact that he is well known for using shunning and taint as tactics when he is losing an argument. Neither shunning nor taint are rational arguments and so should not form part of any serious thinker’s armoury.

290 Daniel June 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Pogsurf, you said “Do you really believe you have an absolute right to say anything you like wherever you are?”… this states that you think I do have this right, that it is something I have said I believe. That is putting words in someone’s mouth.

Look, I’m not going down a long road of you flayling around, twisting reason to make out this isn’t putting words in my mouth. Because, it obviously is and if you can’t see that, you won’t see it.. is my fear and I am not going to waste my time if you are going to deny doing or saying something you did say or do… or boldly put forward as something I said, one way or another, was my belief, when I said nothing of the sort. Now you can’t back it up and are trying to get of with saying a question cannot put words in someones mouth. It can when the question makes an assertion about the other persons view and that they express this view.

Goodbye

291 A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:51 am

I have a suggestion to help keep our word meanings straight.

When we are talking about the criminal activity, which includes (depending on one’s region): causing another person to reasonably fear for their safety by, following them, repeatedly contacting them, watching outside their house or workplace, engaging in threatening conduct toward them; then we shall call this ‘harassment’.

When we are talking about the feeling that someone can have that does *not include* the other person engaging in criminal harassment; then we shall call this ‘being bothered’.

I have a better idea Thaumas; instead of demanding that everyone else conform to your self serving definitions (which look to me more like an attempt to minimize and ignore the problem than to clarify) why don;t we all use the definition which most people seem to be using; you know, the one in the dictionary…

Definition of HARASS
1
a : exhaust, fatigue
b (1) : to annoy persistently (2) : to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct

What you’re describing in your first paragraph is criminal stalking; There’s nothing about criminality in the definition of harassment or in the common usage of the word.

This idea that the problem has to rise to the level of criminal behavior before we consider it a problem is just a way of avoiding the issue.

292 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Stacy said (#266):

This sort of hyperbolic nonsense should discredit the ‘pit. Yet you keep on going.

Pray tell, why should that “discredit the Pit”? You have evidence that “MosesZD” even posts on the Pit, much less that a majority of the Pit subscribe to that position? In any case, I just checked and I see no evidence of that user name in the Pit list of members, but maybe you have access to some sooper-skrt back-channel? Or maybe you just pulled that out of your arse?

Personally, if I were you I would be a lot more concerned about what such egregious stereotyping – being charitable – does to my own credibility. But you might also be concerned about what might be – charitably – called the many “errors of fact” peddled by Ophelia Benson (1) and Oolon (2), and what that says about FfTB, those who post there, and those who maintain and moderate the individual blogs.

—–
1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/06/07/a-response-to-recent-online-open-letters-and-emails/comment-page-1/#comment-253868”;
2) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/06/07/a-response-to-recent-online-open-letters-and-emails/comment-page-1/#comment-253303”;

293 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm

@Michael Nugent:

It’s not enough, but it is a central element of it. In law, an assault is typically an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. It becomes battery if it is carried through into actual harmful or offensive contact.

Right, so it’s not enough to merely *feel* something, there are additional conditions which must also be at play. For example you mention intent to instill fear of harm or contact.

(I think the distinction you’re making between assault and battery may be a regional thing. Not all regions make the same distinction; but that’s besides the point anyway, just something to think about.)

My point is that merely claiming one feels something is not justification by itself for claiming that someone else has committed a crime. Accusations should be based on more than Spectral Evidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectral_evidence

294 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm
Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 10:10 am

Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

@Pogsurf: By the way, stop harassing me by responding in this thread. I feel harassed when you reply.

No.

How dare Pogsurf harass me? He’s a vicious and relentless harasser! A stalker, no less! Why, I fear for my personal safety, right here in the coziness of my own home. Oh! Woe is me! ~ Bothered FTB Blogger

Seriously, people, this is what we’re facing. Wolf cries and crocodile tears. I’ve yet to see any convincing evidence of anything justifying accusations of harassment. Bothering, sure. Harassment, no.

295 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Trust me – I have no doubt that a lot of the people who think making other people’s lives difficult and engage in constant attack and character assassination all day know what the law says.

I get not *technically* a threat and not *technically* verbal abuse occasionally. You know like someone saying they “aren’t above slapping girls that get out of line, like you” or describing rape or disturbing images as a form of satire.

Saying things like, “If I happen to run into you” instead of “I will approach you if I feel like it” – is a way of sort of being terrible without LOOKING terrible or pressing legal buttons.

It’s a thing.

Point blank. If I see someone constantly acting inappropriately. I’m not going to give them a forum within my spaces. If they think that’s unfair – too bad.

And yeah, I’m going to think less of people who don’t seem to have a problem with that inappropriate behavior or spend more time criticizing those offended than the offenders.

296 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm

@Johnn Morales:

Being bothered by having an obsessively constant stream of malicious badmouthing directed at her (you’re indulging in prevarication because you’re on this particular blog, thus the mere gaslighting) is a normal human reaction, and it is the least of the desired reaction. What they really want to do is “win” by harassing her into silence, as they already have with two other women.

Who is *they*? Names, evidence, links, quotes. Not assertions. Reason, please.

Imagine you were reporting this crime to police (for you are accusing of a crime). The police ask you for details of this harassment. What will you show them?

297 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Oh my goodness!

It’s not “harassment” it’s “bothering”.

It’s not “verbal abuse” it’s “ribbing”.

I think we need a campaign similar to “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.”

How about y’all just stop acting terrible for a week or two and see if the accusations of y’all acting terrible go away or not.

Call it an experiment.

298 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Dave Allen said (#233):

Non-trivial piling-on? Good gracious! I don’t see why it’s a problem really
….
But piling-on itself? meh.

Seems you missed my point or didn’t read all of my comment, notably the concluding statements. Or I didn’t describe it well enough.

But it was that the piling-on was in furtherance of perpetrating and propagating a falsehood if not actually a libel. And it was that which is compounding the problems in these discussions. If people are labouring under misapprehensions of one sort or another because of factual errors – or because of the peddling of egregious propaganda which is presented as fact – then it should not be at all surprisng if the dialogs go off the rails rather quickly.

Instead of ‘piling on’ I suggest ‘rumour mongering’, one of my main points for about a year last year. The unskeptical brewing of unsourced stories. You can literally watch it play out in the case of MonopodGate. I tracked down the main unskeptical culprit to Zvan’s blog. The examples from Ophelia’s blog against Nugent are fresh, but not as incriminating because they can’t actually make anything seem plausible enough to ‘stick’.

299 A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

It’s not “harassment” it’s “bothering”.

It’s not “verbal abuse” it’s “ribbing”.

Amazing isn’t it…

And those aren’t “rape threats” they’re “dating tips…”

300 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm

M. A. Melby said (#291):

Trust me – I have no doubt that a lot of the people who think making other people’s lives difficult and engage in constant attack and character assassination all day know what the law says.

I believe you when you assert that you have no doubts on that score. But the question is whether you have any specific evidence to justify your assertions that:

a) some specific people are actually engaged in “constant attack and character assassination all day”;
b) said “attack and character assassination” is invalid, i.e., there is no justification for said attacks and “assassinations”; and
c) they “know what the law says” about such activities.

Maybe you would care to put your money where your mouth is and actually provide some specific evidence for the above including, but not limited to, specific examples of what you consider “constant attack and character assassination”. Facts not innuendo is what will carry the day – or at least advance it.

301 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Dave Allen June 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

“THis is ridiculous. Where did you people learn to speak like this? Dave Allen & Thaumas, I’m looking at you! ”

Well I dunno about Thaumas, but I took English up to A-level and I read these things called books.

Frick, I thought we were discoursing in Swahili. What was the topic again?

302 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Daniel June 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Look, Dave & Thaumas, we could drift into a distracting side show. Lets all get back on topic, agreed? Personally I am no going to be inclided to respond to personal critisizm or advice” either way. So if I don’t respond, don’t take offence.

Feel free to drop the subject, but to clarify one last time, it was a simple question: Why is it the case that you spend time complaining about AI, when you could be off starting or joining a better group?

303 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Thaumas Themelios, you said I had harassed you in this thread, and insisted that I stop posting here.

Can you explain why you said this? I have not knowingly said anything to upset you, if I have done so I will apologise.

Yes, I can explain. It is an effort to show you the kind of *ridiculously* wide interpretation of ‘harassment’ that is used to try to just ify their accusations of a sustained campaign of harassment.

In *no way* do I actually think you harassed me. I was playing a role, which I *wish* I could call melodramatic, except that I really do believe that is the ‘standard’ they are using to claim ‘harassment': Somebody somewhere (on the Slymepit, for example) said something about me that I don’t like, and *for that reason alone*, they are harassing me.

If their claims were any more substantive than that, then *they would have no difficulty* producing credible evidence that anyone in the Slymepit (for example, or myself for another example) is *actually* harassing them, rather than merely bothering them.

If you can see why my claim of harassment against you is absurd, then you can see why I consider their claims of harassment against me and other members of the slymepit.com forum to be absurd.

304 A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

No Thaumas, your claim is absurd; Benson’s is documented…http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/

The latest is a comment that she might want to be careful in Ireland because “something might happen” to her there and another suggestion from the same person that she could “do with some acid…”

But I’m sure that’s not a “real” threat…`cause the “real” threats would somehow look different because…er…um….how exactly would a “real” threat look different Thaumas?

305 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

dresq June 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

@M. Nugent #242

“It’s not enough, but it is a central element of it. In law, an assault is typically an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.”

Your definition of assault is correct but incomplete. To be an assault, the act must create a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact. Carrying the analogy through, I think there’s a lot of disagreement over whether the “apprehension” complained of by certain persons in reasonable.

A good point, dresq. I would agree. IMO, the claims being made are far from reasonable, being more akin to spectral evidence and equivocation of words: actual harassment vs. merely being bothered (i.e. not qualifying as a criminal activity, but still annoying).

If people were to claim, “These people are carrying on a sustained campaign that bothers me,” I wouldn’t see that as far from the mark. However, they know such a paltry claim holds no emotional urgency, and so they must upgrade their accusation beyond the reasonable and claim that it ventures into actual harassment.

This is not only disingenuous, I consider it very unethical.

306 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

A Hermit said (#295):

And those aren’t “rape threats” they’re “dating tips…”

And, pray tell, what “rape threats” would those be?

And, even assuming you have credible evidence of such, do show how that is any mark against those commenting here or on “The Pit”, or against the Pit itself. You might want to try re-calibrating your gun-sights ….

307 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

You told me I was harassing you Metalogic42. I blocked you so that I couldn’t be accused of seeking to harass you further.

Are you upset because I labelled you “clinically insane” on my blog? Asking me to re-jig abusive messages and then to send them to you to see how hurt you felt is quite mad you know.

I’m sorry to say, Pogsurf, but I find your response to Metalogic42 to be as absurd as I find your (and their) standard of ‘harassment’.

To all ONLOOKERS. Please review the comments in this thread involving Pogsurf and his definition of harassment. Observe the absurd conclusion of the discussion.

We are *not* exaggerating. People *really do* think that all it takes to be *guilty of harassment* is for *the other person* to ‘feel’ harassed, and *that’s it*. Nothing else need occur to qualify as harassment in their eyes.

Could any society function with such a ridiculous form of thought policing?

308 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Jason Thibeault June 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I did what to who now?

How do you “dialogue” with people who just make shit up from whole cloth?

You’ve never debated a theist? It’s really not that hard.

Well! I guess it would be hard if the theists ban any atheists off their boards. Yeah, then it’s not really possible. But even theists have boards where they allow debates to occur without shutting out dissenting opinion.

Of course, that’s de rigeur for skeptic and freethought fora. Oh, wait….

309 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Pogsurf June 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Pitchguest I believe you are right up to a point.

If I produced an image and put it on my blog, I don’t think that constitutes harassment, except if the image is so disgusting that it causes hate.

However if I sent my seemingly innocent image to the person concerned, after they had made it clear to me to leave them alone, I am harassing them.

Okay, now I can see you may be open to reason. I agree with you there. Yes, repeatedly contacting someone after they’ve made it clear to stop, and they feel reasonably threatened, that is definitely beginning to make a good case for harassment.

Now. Where has this actually occurred? That’s what I want to know.

310 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Incidentally, using PZ Myers’ name as you did is an argument from authority, which is a well known logical fallacy.

Usually when we cite someone like PZ Myers, we are using it to show hypocrisy, not argument from authority. When they try to hold people to contradictory standards, or to standards that they do not hold themselves to.

311 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

@ A Hermit

I have a better idea Thaumas; instead of demanding that everyone else conform to your self serving definitions (which look to me more like an attempt to minimize and ignore the problem than to clarify) why don;t we all use the definition which most people seem to be using; you know, the one in the dictionary…

Because, you … gah! Because using the word as an accusation tied to a criminal act is a form of character assassination and defamation, if not libel or slander. Here’s a definition for you:

Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, or traducement—is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal action to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism.

Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed.[1] Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or images, called libel.[2]

They are making false claims about real people that are damaging to their reputations. I have no idea if it rises to a legal level, and frankly don’t care because it is not my main concern (yet). My primary concern is that it’s unskeptical and unethical rumour-mongering that’s damaging *our community*.

This has been my primary concern *since the frigging beginning*, when Rebecca Watson smeared Stef McGraw. I opposed it then, I oppose it now. I won’t stop opposing it until it stops. There is *no need* for it, and those who perpetrate it should be ashamed of themselves. Sadly, I doubt they are. And so the damage continues. But it will stop eventually, as more and more people wake up to the problem.

312 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm

We know these people exist, we sometimes dismiss them as “trolls” but they come in various shapes and sizes and associations and are real people.

I really do not want to call anyone specific out further on these comments because I don’t want this to blow up more than it already has…

AND the moderate asked that WE NOT DO THAT – so I’m not going to do it.

The evidence I have that they know the law, is that many times (and I’m speaking generally of online harassers and trolls) will say and do things that just barely fall short of actionable offenses.

If I speak more clearly: “Some online harassers appear to understand the law, since they eschew actionable offenses while skirting closely to them.”

I’ve had people actually SAY: What I just said was not technically a threat!! I did not threaten you because I said I would slap people *like* you – not you personally.

This stuff happens all the time – and NO – it’s not just “you guys” or all of “you guys”; I was speaking generally since someone mentioned the law.

I mean – the sky is clear and appears blue during most of a clear day due to Rayleigh Scattering.

What’s new?

313 A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 9:32 pm

blockquote> using the word as an accusation tied to a criminal act is a form of character assassination and defamation,…

But Thaumas, you’re the only one demanding that we must tie the word to criminal act…

They are making false claims about real people that are damaging to their reputations.

They aren’t “false claims” just because they don’t conform to your over-narrow definition. Benson has a running thread documenting the people talking trash about her. Most people recognize that stuff as harassment.

314 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm

@M.A.:

Point blank. If I see someone constantly acting inappropriately. I’m not going to give them a forum within my spaces. If they think that’s unfair – too bad.

As I’ve always said, it’s their blogs to run as they please. And if they run their blogs dogmatically or unskeptically, it’s my right to express that opinion elsewhere also.

However, you’re dodging one issue without following it to completion:

So, you agree that what these bloggers have demonstrated so far is not actual harassment, merely being bothered, right? Then do you also agree that *they should stop* claiming they are being actually harassed by us? Don’t you think they should not make unsubstantiated accusations of criminal activity against people?

Now, regardless of your answer, and if you dodge the question, I’ll consider that conceding the point, you are merely venturing into *another* issue where the FTB story doesn’t add up:

They not only delete ‘bothering’ posts, they delete *reasoned dissenting opinions*. Delete to the point that their blogs become self-censored echo chambers.

Examples: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=323

So, now you have *two* problems: 1) They label all their perceived enemies as ‘harassers’, ‘misogynists’, and worse. And 2) A lot of their perceived enemies haven’t even engaged in mild ‘bothering’ behaviour, but have merely posted reasonable, dissenting opinions.

Unlike the bloggers crying Wolf, who provide no evidence to support their accusations, I’m providing you with *several examples* to support my claim. Are you tempted to ignore my examples? Are you going to give in to that kind of confirmation bias, or be a skeptic and look at all the evidence available.

And hey, if you find that the evidence we’ve provided isn’t sufficient to outweigh all the *other* evidence you’ve seen to support the FTB story, please, I’d be very interested to see all this other evidence, so please post it in this thread so all can see it and compare.

315 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm

@M.A. Melby

It’s not “verbal abuse” it’s “ribbing”.

Can you provide actual evidence of said ‘verbal abuse’? No? I’m not surprised. What the heck do you mean by ‘verbal abuse’ anyway? If it’s criminal abuse, then it’s criminal, whether verbal or not. But I don’t think you mean criminal abuse. I think you haven’t the faintest idea *what* you mean, to be perfectly honest. If you can define it, maybe we can discuss it. Till then, it’s yet more Wolf crying.

How about y’all just stop acting terrible for a week or two and see if the accusations of y’all acting terrible go away or not.

Call it an experiment.

That’s just the problem, now, isn’t it, M.A?

According to you, based on *no evidence*, I’ve been ‘acting terrible’.

Where? When? Details! Specifics! WTF are you even talking about? Why are you ‘acting terrible’ to me? See how that works? It makes no fricking sense!

I’ve done nothing wrong that I know of, and therefore I have nothing to apologize for or make up for. When I’m shown wrong, I do apologize, and do try to make up for it.

I challenge you to put your skeptic’s hat on and think twice. Can you find anything on me? Anything at all? I know you can’t because I’ve done nothing wrong, but I challenge you nonetheless.

Call it an experiment.

316 A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Steersman, there are plenty of examples of women getting rape threats …

http://bogleech.tumblr.com/post/31329395111/what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-all-these-atheists

http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/nq7s4/what_my_super_religious_mother_got_me_for

http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/

http://skepchick.org/wp-content/uploads/rationalia-rape-threats.png

The problem with the slymepit is that so many of you dismiss all of it as “just joking” or “just trolls” or pretend that it’s all made up…there’s a few examples here:

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/

317 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Amazing isn’t it…

And those aren’t “rape threats” they’re “dating tips…”

Oh, the horror! Woe is me! Rape threats?!?!?!

Where? Post the evidence right here in this thread. Show us all what these ‘rape threats’ amount to. Is it anonymous trolling that *frickin everyone* gets from anonymous trolls? Or is it *actual* threats of rape from individuals in the Atheist/Skeptic movement. Any from members of the slymepit.com forum? Have *I* ever threatened rape? If so, where? Evidence, facts, skeptic hats. Come on, skeptics, get off your asses and do your homework.

Or stop making ridiculous accusations.

318 Steersman June 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

M. A. Melby said (#308):

I really do not want to call anyone specific out further on these comments because I don’t want this to blow up more than it already has…

AND the moderator asked that WE NOT DO THAT – so I’m not going to do it.

I think you might want to re-read Michael’s comment (#241) a little more closely this time as I don’t see that he said anything of the sort. He was referring to “speculation about whether a named person was exaggerating and/or [perpetrating a falsehood – not to say the “L”-word]”. If you have factual information that clearly justifies a “calling-out” in that or any other case then I hardly think he is going to delete those – particularly as I have actually provided factual evidence of such “falsehoods” which he has let stand.

319 John Morales June 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Thaumas @296:

Who is *they*? Names, evidence, links, quotes. Not assertions. Reason, please.

Precisely the people as those to whom you were referring in the quotation to which I responded wherein you asked “Is [name redacted] really a victim of persistent harassment? Or is she merely persistently bothered by people she doesn’t like and disagrees with?”

320 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

The latest is a comment that she might want to be careful in Ireland because “something might happen” to her there and another suggestion from the same person that she could “do with some acid…”

Who is “Christian Chandler”? Never heard of him or her. Sounds like an anonymous troll to me. Any connection to the Atheist/Skeptic movement, besides the text of the tweets (a troll could easily have produced such; if you don’t think so, you underestimate trolls)?

Or is that *all you have*?

The Sara Mayhew one doesn’t even sink to the level of *trolling*. It’s no worse than I’ve seen routinely coming out of FTB-land. I don’t know Twitter mechanics myself; does @-ing Ophelia send it to Ophelia directly? Has Ophelia told Sara not to @ her? Has she used the Twitter block mechanism to block her? If she has, then *why is she reading a blocked tweet*? Someone would have had to pass it on to her, wouldn’t they?

The Karla Porter et al convo is not harassing at all. That is f’ing ridiculous to claim that’s harassment. They didn’t @ Ophelia or anything. ***Why is Ophelia even reading those messages from people she is trying to avoid (supposedly)***?

Please, I urge *everyone* go to that link and ask, is that *really* harassment, or is it just that Ophelia is terribly bothered by trolls and people who aren’t even talking to her?

321 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Oops, link is here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/

Behold! The great campaign of misogynistic harassment! When a person goes out of their way to read the tweets of people she doesn’t like and gets bothered by what they say. Feel the ground TREMBLE!!!

Yes. I’m very impressed with your evidence of this supposed criminal activity, which is really just Ophelia being bothered.

Absurd.

322 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm

@M.A. Melby:

I really do not want to call anyone specific out further on these comments because I don’t want this to blow up more than it already has…

I am telling you sincerely, M.A., that it will not *end* until you call out specific people with specific facts. By trying to avoid it, you are feeding it.

How about this for a little rule in our conversation: If you make a claim and someone asks for evidence, *and you do not provide the evidence that you’re basing the claim on*, then you should retract your claim and state clearly that you cannot justify it at this time.

Fair enough? That would go a *looong* way to calming this stuff down. Stop making bullshit claims you can’t support, or if you make them and they are challenged, you retract them promptly and politely. Seems reasonable to me.

323 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

AND the moderate asked that WE NOT DO THAT – so I’m not going to do it.

Well, in that case, just stop making claims about people then.

324 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm

If I speak more clearly: “Some online harassers appear to understand the law, since they eschew actionable offenses while skirting closely to them.”

I’ve had people actually SAY: What I just said was not technically a threat!! I did not threaten you because I said I would slap people *like* you – not you personally.

This stuff happens all the time – and NO – it’s not just “you guys” or all of “you guys”; I was speaking generally since someone mentioned the law.

I agree with you that that is skirting the edge of the law, and I don’t condone that sort of behaviour myself. However, that’s my personal line I won’t cross, and will criticize others for crossing, but I won’t go on to accuse people of harassment. Instead I’ll just state my opinion, as you have, that they are pushing the limits and I think it’s unethical myself. I certainly wouldn’t go on to say that anyone who associates with that person is a misogynist or a harassment enabler. That would just be bullshit.

325 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm

But Thaumas, you’re the only one demanding that we must tie the word to criminal act…

I’m not demanding it; it *is* tied to a criminal act. Have you not been paying attention???? For example: http://yourlaws.ca/criminal-code-canada/264-criminal-harassment

Okay, perhaps it’s not the term used everywhere, I’ll concede that for the sake of argument.

But if you’re not talking about criminal behaviour, then WTF is the problem in the first place? Being bothered. That’s it. There is no power differential, like in workplace sexual harassment (illegal). There is no physical threat. There is no slander or libel (that I’m aware of) because anything that’s over-the-top is clearly over-the-top in terms of caricature and satire, both protected forms of political speech. And this controversy is definitely a human-political issue within our sub-culture/communities. So, what *exactly* are you going on about, if not criminal behaviour? As far as I can tell, it’s just ‘being bothered’, and nothing more.

Unfortunately, ‘being bothered’ does scare people enough, so you have to amplify it to ‘harassment’. Why not just call it what it is? “I’m so terribly bothered by people who disagree with me and make fun of it!” If people were honest about it, it wouldn’t create a drama shitstorm, that’s why. Need the drama to pay the bills, right? Well, fuck that! It’s harming our community, so screw off with your damn drama mongering.

326 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm

They aren’t “false claims” just because they don’t conform to your over-narrow definition. Benson has a running thread documenting the people talking trash about her. Most people recognize that stuff as harassment.

They are most definitely false claims when they are tarred onto me. By *no* reasonable definition have I harassed anyone. The only way you could *possibly* shoehorn me into that word is if the word is stretched so absurdly wide as to simply mean ‘being bothered by’.

327 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm

John Morales June 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm
Thaumas @296:

Who is *they*? Names, evidence, links, quotes. Not assertions. Reason, please.

Precisely the people as those to whom you were referring in the quotation to which I responded wherein you asked “Is [name redacted] really a victim of persistent harassment? Or is she merely persistently bothered by people she doesn’t like and disagrees with?”

Flying Spaghetti Monster, that is the worst dodge I’ve seen in a long fricken time.

Names! Of the ‘harassers’! Who is ‘harassing’? Evidence. Facts. Skeptic hats.

328 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

“So, you agree that what these bloggers have demonstrated so far is not actual harassment, merely being bothered, right? Then do you also agree that *they should stop* claiming they are being actually harassed by us? Don’t you think they should not make unsubstantiated accusations of criminal activity against people?”

No, I was actually making fun of the idea that people feel the need to parse “bothering” and “harassment” to make their behavior seem slightly less odious.

You know that game that children “play” where they keep saying, “I’m not touching you!!!”

I’m on the FtB quite a bit. I have written posts criticizing various POSTS by the bloggers there. You know – their actual ideas and stuff they actually write about.

Somehow I was able to strongly disagree with Zvan and not only was I not blocked by her; she engaged with me about the topic. I could give you quite a few examples of me being all “heretical” and by some magic being allowed to voice my opinion and be engaged with.

http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/i-fell-down-the-stairs-and-became-a-man/

Different bloggers have very different comment policies – so the claim that “FtB” censors dissent on their network is a non-starter.

If you don’t have a problem with people deciding (for whatever reason) to moderate their comments on their own personal blogs the way that they choose – what’s the beef exactly?

The idea that FtB is some sort of gigantic echo-chamber is an odd meme-type legend that seems to be perpetuating by those who have had conflicts with bloggers or commentors on those blogs.

Even if that were true, as you said, there plenty of opportunities to rebut any claims they may make on your own spaces. There is no requirement to comment on FtB or anywhere else.

What really gets me though, is that I have never actually seen a claim on ANY blog by ANYONE that *everyone* who posts on the Slymepit is a harasser; only that some of the people who act inappropriately are tolerated there.

I have NEVER heard that *everyone* that posts there IS harassing people. That’s just silly.

If you want to parse legal definitions; you may want to back up your own claims.

I’m very serious when I say that people in high-profile positions and women are told to “document, document, document” when someone is acting inappropriately or has a creepy interest in us. When you go to the cops; that is what they say to do.

This attitude that it’s somehow immoral or ILLEGAL to complain about being constantly “bothered” before it somehow passes a LEGAL STANDARD into harassment is bizarre. You might want to think about why on earth such a distinction would be relevant in your situation.

The same way that accusing you of libel for saying that you FEEL as though an accusation (that has never been mounted) is actually being mounted IN MASS by a bunch of people, some of whom could care less would probably be sort of annoying.

If anything, perhaps you could use the “reasonable person” defense, if that were ever to happen?

I have never been to the Slymepit – but after following your link – HOLY CRAP – Obsessed much?

My god, so much wasted effort. I mean, there are prominent people – VERY prominent YouTube personalities and even national personalities that I have some serious problems with. I think they have said some very silly and problematic things, I think they have pulled a lot of crap, and yeah – I don’t think they are good for us in their worst moments.

I’ve written a few blogs criticizing their ideas and how they have conducted themselves; but am careful not to allow my blog to just become some sort of drama-space and to FOCUS on what they have actually said and done; not some conclusion about their WORTH.

I can’t IMAGINE doing the stuff that you guys do to a handful of bloggers you feel have somehow slighted you or something.

Maybe you should take your own advice and “ignore” – especially the people who have been asked to be left alone?

If THEY dog you after that – we can have this conversation again. Otherwise:

JUST STOP IT.

329 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Maybe you should take your own advice and “ignore” – especially the people who have been asked to be left alone?

I have. Check your facts.

If THEY dog you after that – we can have this conversation again.

You mean they’re going to stop smearing all the members of the slymepit.com message forum, of which I’m a member? Stop spreading unsubstantiated rumours about the community? Somehow I doubt it. They’ve been going on about this for 2 years now. What makes you think they’ll stop now?

But, until they stop, well, yeah, I guess we are going to have this conversation over and over again. Kinda sad, eh, all this wasted effort when we could be doing much more important things?

330 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

You do realize, that one of the reasons that calling people out – however, BETTER than being vague – is that it requires making someone mad that you think is not always reasonable in their dealings with other people?

Oh well – into the breach.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2013/05/watch-me-debate-justin-vacula-may-31-830pm-930pm/#comment-918023072

331 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

JUST STOP IT.

Stop…. doing what, exactly?

You mean just stop expressing my opinions online? Sorry, not gonna happen. Why should I stop? Have I done anything wrong? If so, what? Where? Evidence. Facts. Skeptic hats. Say that five times fast.

332 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm

M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

You do realize, that one of the reasons that calling people out – however, BETTER than being vague – is that it requires making someone mad that you think is not always reasonable in their dealings with other people?

Oh well – into the breach.

Do you have any examples where I’ve ‘gotten mad’ as you’re alluding to?

Why the F aren’t you thinking about *evidence*, M.A.? Such as evidence of any wrongdoing on my part. Do you think I’m the only one who hasn’t done anything wrong? I’m not.

Think like a skeptic. Look for the evidence. Can you find ****any****?

333 Thaumas Themelios June 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Somehow I was able to strongly disagree with Zvan and not only was I not blocked by her; she engaged with me about the topic. I could give you quite a few examples of me being all “heretical” and by some magic being allowed to voice my opinion and be engaged with.

Can you explain why she blocked these comments by me, then? http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=81001#p81001

I challenge you to find anything I did wrong in that situation, *except* for disagree with her and her commenters and challenge them on their assumptions about me and other members of the slymepit.com forum. She misread one of my posts (a very obvious misreading), and wham! into mod-limbo.

Did you disagree with her on feminism or anything related, or was it unrelated? She’s not dogmatic about everything. Neither are fundies. Still dogmatic though.

334 M. A. Melby June 9, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Why did she block your comment?

I’ll put on my telepathic helmet and get back to you.

*shakes head*

I’m not talking about you specifically ALL THE TIME – so don’t get defensive about that, k?

To be clear. I don’t know you, nor do I know your nyms. For all I know, you simply really like parsing “bothering” and “harassing” for no apparent reason; and are simply mistaken that the going attitude is that everyone who posts to the SlymePit are “harassers”, especially using a legal definition.

I’m pretty sure the irony is also lost on you, that you’ve been making blanket statements about FtB – but hey – availability heuristic for the win.

335 M. A. Melby June 10, 2013 at 12:03 am

“Why the F aren’t you thinking about *evidence*, M.A.? Such as evidence of any wrongdoing on my part. Do you think I’m the only one who hasn’t done anything wrong? I’m not.”

See – this is sort of the type of thing that creeps people out. You’re attributing to me something that I didn’t say. You’re taking personally things that I spoke of generally. You refuse to acknowledge clarifications that distinctly put the accusations (that I’m actually making and that aren’t in dispute) in focus. You’re reacting with angry defensiveness, instead of calm clarifications.

Work on that.

336 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 12:14 am

@M.A. Melby:

So far I’ve only read your blog, not the comments, nor anything from Zvan on the topic, so I don’t see where you’ve come to any kinds of back-and-forth disagreement with her which touched on any of the issues she tends to react strongly to. I’m assuming that happened on her blog somewhere?

You can defend him, and clarify the science, without defending his unfortunate word choices.

I find this closing sentence/paragraph a little confusing. First of all, I’ve never interacted with Greg Laden (as far as I recall), and have no personal issue with him, so I’m not sure what “defend him” means. As far as I recall, it was his statements and defense of those statements (as well as (recollection is getting vaguer) Zvan’s defense of the same statements) that was the source of controversy.

Personally, I don’t see that particular issue as very central to anything related to the current divisions in the community. Yes, it’s a symptomatic statement of a certain kind of ‘bias’ or ‘judgment’ on male-female sexual differences, so it’s indicative of an underlying issue, but by itself it’s not enough to split a community apart. People made fun of that statement, and also of Greg himself (in parody/caricature), which I would not consider ‘harassment’ of any kind, as it was not done by contacting him repeatedly, but by posting jokes and images in a separate message forum.

So, I suppose the long and the short of it is that when we talk about ‘disagree’ and ‘dissent’ *in the context* of this community division, I’m talking about disagreement and dissent over the core controversies related to the divisions.

Sure, you disagreed with Zvan over Laden’s statement, but you concluded your blog with a rather out-of-place? strange? je-ne-sais-quois statement that reads very much like a *defense* of Greg Laden the person. Not that I think he needed personal defense on that issue, but that just makes it all the more curious why you’d express that: “You can defend him, and clarify the science, without defending his unfortunate word choices.”

It does not come off as a very strong critique of anything Zvan would be worried about. So, I’m not really surprised she didn’t have much of an issue with it. (Or did she? Again, I haven’t read anything from her blog on the subject.)

On the other hand, the topic that I was in disagreement over with Zvan is deeply connected to these divisions. In fact, it’s very closely related to the same topic this thread has become about as well: The question of harassment. This is a topic on which, IMHO, Zvan is much more likely to react in a (what I would call, lacking a better term) dogmatic way by shutting down any dissent that steps too close to her arbitrary lines of taboo/not-taboo. I was excessively polite in that thread (esp. compared to how her commenters were barking at me) and she still booted me *whack* like that, over a single misreading of one word.

Not really conducive to rational discourse, I hope you can see.

337 Michael Nugent June 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

Two updates on my moderation policy.

Any references to people lying will automatically go into moderation, and will not be approved if they are suggesting that an identifiable person is lying. You can say they are wrong, or that they are mistaken, but please do not attribute the motivation of deliberately saying something they know to be untrue that is suggested by the word lying.

Any references to Ophelia will automatically go into moderation, and will not be approved if they are defamatory or if I feel they are likely to exacerbate the existing conflicts. That will be based on personal judgments by me, which may of course be mistaken, so we may disagree about what I let though. When I get time, I will return any unpublished comments by email, so you can if you choose rephrase them and send them again.

Michael

338 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 12:16 am

M. A. Melby said (#33x):

What really gets me though, is that I have never actually seen a claim on ANY blog by ANYONE that *everyone* who posts on the Slymepit is a harasser;

Really? Maybe not an explicit charge of being a harasser, but this comment (1) by PZ Myers seems even worse in characterizing “our gang”, “our group” as outright misogynists.

Skeptixx: Slymepitters are never welcome here — your gang crosses the line from sexism into outright misogyny, and I don’t think that group’s fondness for inventing ‘creative’ versions of people’s names using crude slang for genitals counts as rational discussion. Banned with extreme prejudice.

Do note: all slymepitters are not welcome; looks like a rather categorical condemnation of everyone there for being misogynists to me. How about you?

—-
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/21/an-experiment-why-do-you-despise-feminism/comment-page-1/#comment-518836”;

339 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 12:31 am

Michael said (#331):

Any references to “O” will automatically go into moderation, and will not be approved if they are defamatory or if I feel they are likely to exacerbate the existing conflicts.

Your call of course, but, as there is a post of mine in moderation presumably for that reason, I would appreciate knowing as soon as possible, by e-mail if necessary, the specific reasons for that. More particularly, I didn’t actually say that she was [perpetrating falsehoods], and I provided a substantial amount of information to buttress my argument that one interpretation of hers was a seriously bad inference at least. And as that question of the interpretation of various actions as either harassment or as reasonable criticism seems to be the primary one in play, I think that argument, or some modification of it should be allowed to stand.

Regards,
Steersman.

340 Michael Nugent June 10, 2013 at 12:38 am

Steersman, I’ll get it to you either before I go to bed tonight or else first thing tomorrow morning (I’m working on something else that I need to have ready for the morning and just checking notifications of online messages as they come in).

341 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

Thanks Michael.

342 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

Different bloggers have very different comment policies – so the claim that “FtB” censors dissent on their network is a non-starter.

Yes, that’s true. When using ‘FTB’ in this context, it’s a short hand for a group of bloggers and commentariat who are closely associated with this issue. For example, we are not talking about people like Aron Ra or Mano Singham, or several others. We’re talking about the much more prominent people who specifically are involved in this controversy. Clear examples everyone knows: PZ, Zvan, formerly Greg Laden, Lousy Canuck. There are lots of regular commenters as well who make up the bulk of the numbers.

If you like I could use more specific terminology. But frankly, when it comes to making specific claims, we (or at least I) make *specific claims* that we can back up with links and evidence. (Or failing that, we, or at least I, retract the claim.) So if you want to know about a claim, just ask for the evidence. Various people at various times have been involved, and the set of people has morphed over time. Better to focus on specific claims than generalities, IMO.

If you don’t have a problem with people deciding (for whatever reason) to moderate their comments on their own personal blogs the way that they choose – what’s the beef exactly?

For the *exact* same reason I go on about religion: They don’t leave other people alone. The very first incident that got me involved was Rebecca Watson’s smear on Stef McGraw. I spoke out about that. And that’s when I saw the blocking and banning happen, and it happened to me on Ophelia’s blog. Details here: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=97665#p97665

After ElevatorGate, though, things seemed to die down, and so *we hoped it was over* more or less. But no. It got started back up again around the time that they attacked DJ Grothe and tried to get him fired from JREF. Huh. Funny. Now they’re trying to get Ron Lindsay fired from CFI. That’s a strange coincidence, doncha think? I wonder if they might one day try to pull that shit on Michael Nugent? I know they certainly smeared Richard Dawkins. Oh, and there was that guy they tried to accuse of upskirt photography. Huh. Ya know, I think there might be some sort of pattern here…. hmmmmm.

So, I got involved again around that time, specifically I spent a lot of time investigating the upskirt photography incident. And when I found….. dun dun DUUUNNNN … that they had absolutely nothing to go on but ***demonstrably false*** rumours (brewed largely on Zvan’s blog), I put together a series of comments on Greta Christina’s blog to refute that false rumour once and for all. Thankfully, it worked, and they haven’t tried to resurrect it. And ***thankfully*** Greta did not ban me from her comments, although at least one of her commentariat called for me to be banned (insta-banned is the term they used).

And it’s been going on and on since. They vilify someone, try to cow them or depose them, and move on to the next target. It’s gotten so predictable, the SPs came up with the term “witch of the week”. Right now, that would probably be Ron Lindsay, though Michael Nugent’s had a few close calls, see Ophelia’s “A response” post tackbacked below for a good example where they couldn’t quite brew up the right rumours to tar him with. I’m sure one day I’ll be the “witch of the week”, but I’ll make it as hard for them as I can, and if they ever try it, I hope to make it so they’ll regret it by making it backfire on them.

Oh, and it’s not just men they attack. First was Stef McGraw. The latest to date has been Skep Tickle (see the first posts in the link above in this comment). There’ve been Renee Hendricks, Sara Mayhew, Maria Maltseva, and many others. They even have a derogatory name for them: Chill Girls.

These are good people who do not deserve to be vilified. I choose to do what I can to stand up against this bullshit and defeat it skeptically, with reason and evidence. I hope more people get they’re ire up and do the same. Frankly, RW, PZ, Zvan, Melody Hensley, Greg Laden, Richard Carrier, and those who’ve taken this ‘us vs. them’ dogma upon themselves, they are the bullies. Yes, I’ve been bullied. A lot. Thing is, I’ve grown a very thick skin because of it, and I’ve developed online debate techniques to stand up and confront without crossing the line into becoming a bully myself. So, there ya have it. That’s why I’m standing in opposition. I think they are damaging our community, their dogma is harmful, they are acting unethically in several occasions, and they are certainly not behaving skeptically. Most importantly though, they are harming real people. Their actions have real consequences. It’s been going on far too long, and it won’t abate until more people stand up against them. Or, they listen to reason and back down from these attacks and smears. But, I’m not holding my breath for that.

343 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 12:53 am

I’m very serious when I say that people in high-profile positions and women are told to “document, document, document” when someone is acting inappropriately or has a creepy interest in us. When you go to the cops; that is what they say to do.

That is excellent advice, and I concur completely. Do not mistake my defense of those who I believe are innocent of any crime to be in any way condoning criminal behaviour. I do not. If I were aware of any clearly illegal behaviour, I would be with those condemning it. Simple fact is: I am not aware of any.

344 M. A. Melby June 10, 2013 at 12:53 am

“Do note: all slymepitters are not welcome; looks like a rather categorical condemnation of everyone there for being misogynists to me. How about you?”

No – actually.

He states the type of behavior that is unacceptable. This behavior has happened on the SlymePit and is tolerated. That does not mean everyone who has been involved in that forum does all of those things.

It would be an odd reading of that to say that EVERYONE engages in those types of activities.

He banned them all because that behavior is tolerated there. That’s pretty clear.

I’m not defending that policy, only explaining how I perceive it.

345 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 12:56 am

Note: A few of my comments are in moderation due to Michael’s new policy. They address several points by M.A. Melby. Specifically, M.A., I’ve dropped the hyperbole and I’m addressing your points as you took the time to make sincere points. I try to adapt my style of conversation to the situation. So, since Michael may be busy, there may be a few comments addressing your points that don’t show up until maybe tomorrow.

346 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 12:57 am

Oh, false alarm, looks like Michael let them through just now.

347 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

Oh, the horror! Woe is me! Rape threats?!?!?!

Where? Post the evidence right here in this thread. Show us all what these ‘rape threats’ amount to.

The reply is in moderation…too many links apparently…

348 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

Who is “Christian Chandler”? Never heard of him or her. Sounds like an anonymous troll to me.

And does the anonymity make those comments any less threatening? It’s only a “real threat” if Thaumas recognizes the name? How does that work?

. I’m very impressed with your evidence of this supposed criminal activity, which is really just Ophelia being bothered.

Still not getting it I see. No one said any of that (apart from the actual threats which are always anonymous and untraceable) is criminal activity. It doesn’t have to be criminal to be harassment, remember?

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harass

ha·rass
transitive verb \hə-ˈras; ˈher-əs, ˈha-rəs\
Definition of HARASS
1
a : exhaust, fatigue
b (1) : to annoy persistently (2) : to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct

You have this strange idea that none of this stuff counts unless it’s criminally actionable threats made by people using their real names…everything else can be safely ignored.

349 Sister Eu June 10, 2013 at 1:11 am

A Hermit, you should tinyURl the links, and then screen cap it, and give one link – to imgur, and people can type in the tinyURL’s, shouldn’t be too hard.

Anyway, as for false claims on people, it would really help if people quoted or even screen capped what they mean if it’s not too far back so that they can’t claimed they’re being BSed on. Being captain obvious here.

350 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 1:18 am

M. A. Melby said (#339):

It would be an odd reading of that to say that EVERYONE engages in those types of activities.

That seems a bit of a stretch, if not some self-serving special pleading. PZ did say “your gang crosses the line from sexism into outright misogyny” in which case “gang” seems synonymous with the entire set of those posting on the Pit, i.e., those who are “slymepitters”, i.e., everyone.

But if not that then what? “Guilt by association”? “Kill them all; let God sort the good from the bad”? (1) Charming.

However, relative to your original point, I wonder then what you thought of Matt Penfold’s “The slymepit regards women as subservient to men”. Someone who, I might point out, posts frequently on Pharyngula. But that looks to me like a rather categorical and pejorative, if not libelous, statement about everyone on the “slymepit”.

I’m not defending that policy, only explaining how I perceive it.

Well, I’m glad to see that much – there’s still hope for you then. 😉


1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnaud_Amalric”;

351 Sister Eu June 10, 2013 at 1:30 am

Being on a forum with someone you disagree with isn’t guilt by association, rofl. Silly people.

352 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 1:35 am

Sister Eu:

Wikipedia (1):

An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion.

1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guilt_by_association”

353 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 1:51 am

Ah; I missed Michael’s comment about moderation. Never mind…

354 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

If I were aware of any clearly illegal behaviour, I would be with those condemning it.

Why must the behaviour rise to the level of criminality before you denounce it? Is anything short of actionable criminal behaviour with enough evidence to get the police involved acceptable to you?

355 M. A. Melby June 10, 2013 at 2:33 am

“I do not. If I were aware of any clearly illegal behaviour, I would be with those condemning it. Simple fact is: I am not aware of any.”

That’s the thing – you seem to think there is this very strong hard line between legal and illegal (which there really isn’t), and are conflating legal and moral.

The term “harassing” is used as a synonym for persistently being bothered. “Being constantly bothered” is a euphemism for being harassed.

And there is NOT a hard line between the two – there just isn’t.

What is unacceptable is to persist with demands on other people in relation to how they deal with “being constantly bothered” – especially while, at the same time, they are dealing with troll goon squads that offer good old fashioned threats and rape descriptions.

The TITLE of the SlymePit forum is “Espousing the idea that non-penis-havers are adults and people” – parrot the most odious and persistent personal “criticism” (if you can call it that) that women (and it seems women in particular) are not being “adult” if they are upset by, or even mention, dealing with persistent internet harassment (NOT all of which is coming from YOU – okay already?) or making social commentary about how girls and women are treated generally (not JUST harassment).

That particular attitude has no chance of gaining traction with those who actually experience this.

The link I provided earlier is an example of how the “you’re not an adult if you “complain”” underlying “argument” (if you can call it that) is being unrelentingly hammered at EVEN when someone has completely retreated.

356 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 2:59 am

A Hermit, if your post appears and we haven’t responded, just post a little reminder. Cheers.

357 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 3:06 am

A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

If I were aware of any clearly illegal behaviour, I would be with those condemning it.

Why must the behaviour rise to the level of criminality before you denounce it?

Why do you assume that is my only criterion for denouncing something?

Is anything short of actionable criminal behaviour with enough evidence to get the police involved acceptable to you?

I’ve already given one example where I’ve said I’ll criticize and/or condemn what I consider unethical behaviour: Attempts at skirting the law by pushing its boundaries in attempts to push someone’s buttons, for example.

My entire involvement in this controversy was triggered by what I consider Watson’s unethical smearing of McGraw. Clearly, you are making too many assumptions about what motivates me to action.

Rather than assume, better to ask for clarification. You did ask questions, hence I tried to answer them in turn, but your initial question contained a hidden assumption in it. A bit like, “When are you going to stop beating your wife?”

358 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 4:08 am

Why do you assume that is my only criterion for denouncing something?

Because you constantly use that qualifier any time harassment is mentioned.

My entire involvement in this controversy was triggered by what I consider Watson’s unethical smearing of McGraw.

Really. what was the “smear?” I’ve seen the video; I see disagreement, I see criticism of what McGraw said about Watson but I don’t see a smear. And I certainly don;t see anything that comes close to criminal behaviour…the thing you keep harping on. Watson didn’t create fake twitter accounts, or sexualized photoshops, or call McGraw fat or tell her she was too ugly to be raped…

Why do you give that one, minor incident more weight than the much worse behaviour we’ve seen from your fellow ‘pitters?

I’m beginning to think you might be a bit of a hypocrite… !o.O

And have you talked to Ms McGraw lately? I keep seeing you `pitters dragging her name up as justification for your vendettas, but I don’t actually see her complaining about any of the people you and your chums are always whining about…is she even aware of the way you’re using her name?

359 SisterChromatid June 10, 2013 at 5:23 am

A hermit– WHO did those things?– certainly not all (or any?) of the people that have been labeled “misogynists” by PZ Myers et. al In fact, I bet all of the people you have made into enemies would be against that sort of treatment of others.

360 S Mason June 10, 2013 at 5:57 am

Michael Nugent June 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

“#205 Daniel,

Please discuss issues without attacking people.

Thanks.”

Do you want to aim that at Pogsurf too? I’m not replying to him given his last to me just got personal. No point right? And ironic that the harassment deniers jump quite that easily to the ad-hom! (Both sides indulge a bit there…but there’s extra-spicy-irony when it comes from those denying harassment).

Michael: do you see that the barrage of harassment, combined with the ‘it’s not harassment’ rhetoric from the anti-FTB, ant-OB, anti-so many other feminists is part of the same thing? That all of the things OB has been called explicitly on your blog here in this thread are part of a wider piece of serious harassment and intimidation?

Irrespective of what she may or may not have done herself (mostly its been highlighting this campaign against her recently), that seems pretty strong evidence that this does exist. She isn’t making it up. This is harassment.

The denial by so many are now very much part of the harassment problem. And this is classic denial territory. “I’d be fine if it happened to me: get a spine” territory.

a) I doubt it. And b) so what?

361 M. A. Melby June 10, 2013 at 6:12 am

Here’s a great example.

Ophelia tells Justin Vacula to stay away from her after he suggests that he might run into her at the Women in Secularism 2 conference – even though she has REPEATEDLY said that she doesn’t want to interact with him.

Justin Vacula writes a long blog article complaining about his rights to not have his movements limited, accuses Ophelia of concocting some sort of “threat narrative”, and paints himself as her victim…instead of just saying, “Of course, I won’t approach you if you don’t want to talk to me.”

Then he allows a picture (that I talked about here) to remain on his facebook wall: http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/and-kick-and-grope-and-pull-and-spin-tw-sexualized-violence/

The picture shows a woman getting kicked in the groin (an allusion to the “cunt punt” joke – yes, people there is “a” cunt punt joke), and the man is instructed to “Claw her breast. Smash, twist, and pull”.

Instead of talking how inappropriate the image is – they talk about how the image is going to annoy Ophelia – hardy har har!!!

Rebecca Watson points out that such an image was placed on Justin Vacula’s wall with a reference to Ophelia on her twitter. She provides an unaltered screen shot.

Rebecca Watson is called a liar because she said that Justin Vacula had posted the image within the text of her tweet – when it was actually posted by someone else onto his own facebook wall. How DARE anyone judge HIM for something someone else did?!

There is NOT PARITY HERE.

When someone says: Don’t approach me.

YOU SAY: Okay, I won’t.

When someone puts a picture of a woman being brutalized in a sexual way on your public facebook wall; and make a joke about a fellow skeptic in relation to that picture.

YOU SAY: That’s awful. Don’t put crap like that on my facebook wall.

Those TWO incidents alone are enough for me, personally, to not particularly want to be around Justin Vacula. I interacted with him about those issues on his facebook. Even when prompted to do so – he didn’t simply say he was not going to approach Ophelia and didn’t express distaste for the picture. I found out myself – firsthand – why he was a controversial figure.

His association with AVfM is just icing on the cake of that understanding.

I am NOT asserting that he is a dangerous person. I hear that he kept a low profile at the conference. I am saying what I am saying, and nothing else.

I am reporting information to those reading this – who may not understand the context – information that is not at all in dispute.

This is JUST a snapshot of one situation that I have first-hand knowledge of.

There is a reason she doesn’t want to “dialog” with him; she is under no fricking obligation to “dialog” with anyone, especially those who do not treat her personal space or sense of personal safety with anything but entitlement and contempt.

362 M. A. Melby June 10, 2013 at 6:47 am

“I put together a series of comments on Greta Christina’s blog to refute that false rumour once and for all. Thankfully, it worked, and they haven’t tried to resurrect it.”

Really, you provided information about a situation and you were allowed to comment; and the issue was dropped once the information was provided?

Ya don’t say.

And yeah, I KNOW the narrative you are selling: That there is a small group of crazy feminazi ideologs and their pet manginas ruining “good men and women” just because they can.

And of course, by “ruining” you mean – criticizing and disagreeing with and having enough of a POINT that other people agree with that criticism?

Or – just having a bit of a dust up – and the person involved forever being used as a PROP by y’all – even when the conflict has been resolved or confined to a particular issue in which there remains a disagreement.

This is how it might look if men were the target instead of women, but people were acting the same way:

http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/can-men-fully-participate-in-the-atheist-movement/

I do not envy Mr. Nugent one bit, I don’t like it when I have to deal with it either.

363 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 7:04 am

At Thaumas “Why is it the case that you spend time complaining about AI, when you could be off starting or joining a better group?” … Firstly I spend time commenting on the blog, for the same reason other do. As for AI, think AI is a badly run organisation, I don’t think cpmmenting on the main atheist body in Ireland, who’s leader is heading this campaign, is really out of place or merits special notice by you.

I did answer your question already, even though it did sound rhetorical so didn’t need an answer, also you extremely ill written comments that are as subtle as a brick and as useful as a 5th wheel, don’t really merit a serious response. All you comments are dripping with an obnoxious tone. Learn to read, not just mouth off.

Look, I don’t want to drop the actual subject, I want to get back to it. Not your self indulgent love of your own, falsely perceived, cleverness and logic. Which are not attributes that don’t jump to mind reading you posts.

Now, if you want to talk rather than verbally masterbate, fine. If not, if you want to spin an endless pseudo intellectual monologue… stay away fro me. Why would I and have I, humoured you, is the real question.

Do you have any idea how you come across? Not in a way likely to help you make any point.

364 Ian Brandon Anderson June 10, 2013 at 7:47 am

@315:

> Who is “Christian Chandler”? Never heard of him or her. Sounds like an anonymous troll to me.

That is a _very_ telling name.

Christian Chandler is a favourite victim of Anonymous. His life has been made a misery for years by trolls from the various chans and from Encyclopaedia Dramatica. He has been very thoroughly trolled in every way imaginable. There is a large wiki dedicated to chronicling the various sagas of this trolling over the years, and recording for posterity all the personal information about Chris’s home life which the trolls have obtained (that being pretty much all of it – I doubt anyone in the history of trolling has ever been quite so thoroughly doxxed as he.)

In the last couple of years Chris’s output has dramatically reduced. He no longer responds to trolling in the same entertaining way. There have been no Youtube videos from him in a long time, no new Sonichu comics. The trolls are starved of lulz; Chris-chan is no longer really a going concern except for a few die-hards. If he’s mentioned around the chans nowadays, it’s only as a fond memory of long ago.

Chris stopped feeding the trolls, so now the trolls are hungry. They want a new drama. They want somebody who is easily provoked, somebody whose buttons are well known and readily pushed, somebody who will produce a great deal of entertainment as a result.

So, it’s very telling that a troll might use the name of Christian Chandler in making such a provocation. It tells us what the troll hopes to achieve by doing so. That troll hopes to find the new Chris-chan.

365 Pogsurf June 10, 2013 at 7:57 am

Thank you for providing an example of pure unfounded speculation Ian.

366 Ian Brandon Anderson June 10, 2013 at 8:26 am

Quite right, quite right. Reasonable criticism there. It’s possible that this wasn’t a troll of the 4chan variety, well aware of troll culture and the great significance of Christian Chandler therein, and seeking to obtain lulz by provoking a reaction in the same way as trolls did to Chris-chan for all those years.

Perhaps it was just someone else who happened to have the same name, and who happened to behave in just the same way as a trollish Anon. That’s possible too.

367 Steersman June 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

Ian Brandon Anderson said (#358):

Perhaps it was just someone else who happened to have the same name, and who happened to behave in just the same way as a trollish Anon. That’s possible too.

While your previous comment may have had, as Pogsurf suggested, an element of speculation about it, I don’t see that it was entirely “unfounded”. Assessing such probabilities is a rather difficult task but offhand it seems that the probability of that being an entirely random “Christian Chandler” is substantially less than the probability of it being someone who was well aware of that history you described. I think we should just ask ourselves how many real “Christian Chandlers” there might be versus how many trolls might know of that history.

But the “evidence” for a troll is, I think, further increased on considering the content of their comments which look decidedly “trollish” to me.

368 JackSkeptic June 10, 2013 at 9:28 am

Ian you made a good point, often overlooked, here:

(355)
‘….. so now the trolls are hungry. They want a new drama. They want somebody who is easily provoked, somebody whose buttons are well known and readily pushed, somebody who will produce a great deal of entertainment as a result……’

Now it is obvious this sort of trolling goes on all the time. The Slympit had a few nasty attacks of it, even one which Nugent picked up and and made a blog about. The timing could not have been more fortuitous. However I suspect that troll could not believe his luck that anyone would see it other than as simply a troll attack which should be ignored.

To be fair Michael wrote his blog to address how we discuss such things but in doing so fed the troll enough food to last a life time. It should have been ignored but instead it caused personal stress to the person involved as well as a lot of heated discussion which should never have been necessary and actually set back the discussions we had had so far (which was the trolls intent of course)

What galls me is the fact some from FtB will know this. Yet they are happy to assume the worst and credit it to ‘Slympitters’ when it suits them. It is a largely open and unmoderated forum and it happens.

Conversely, as many at FtB heavily moderate their blogs they do not have this issue. So there is a major imbalance which is exploited by trolls and by some at FtB to attack decent people.

When I see people listing all the horrible and hateful messages they receive I either see nothing of the sort of there is no evidence whatsoever it comes from our community or is even an issue reflecting the behaviour of society as a whole. The world has horrible people. Not news is it?

Michael’s call to give the benefit of the doubt to people and assume good faith is being routinely ignored and that is one of the core issues we have. It is against skeptisim and reason and attacks the foundations of what made the atheist movement so effective.

Personally I do not give a stuff what someone’s beliefs are but I do care about how people try and force those beliefs on others by their behaviour. I take strong exception to the false narratives and call out culture. It is not what this movement is about. We leave that sort of behaviour to the religious extremists and peddlers of woo.

369 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

the terms trolls and haters are ones that are more often used to dismiss another’s opinion and have an excuse to do that… and! feel like you have “won”. I can’t remember the last time I heard them used in refernce to actual trolls and haters.

Recently a fmanist “friend” of mine posted a status roughly “isn’t it awful when your favourite porn is take from the site you like” I responded “what one was it” she said that bit was private and she wasn’t going to tell me. I slagged her off for broadcasting this and then gettin all coy… she then went gender mad, saying, ” it’s not strange for women t watch porn” I never so much as implied it was. And, what would I say if a man has made the post. I responded much the same except maybe it can be more contrived coming from a woman. She translated this into me saying it was worse for a woman. On another post she told her friends that I had called her a femanist for watching porn.

The same day, another friend posted an empowering women type clip, it was quite good. But same man hater, had written that she couldn’t watch it on youtube(just Facebook) because she could imagine all the nasty put down men would write, she hadn’t checked this but was happy to say it. I checked there were no unpleasant male comments at all. Then she went on to bsj men even worse saying why do men always have to whinge about these videos, the irony/hypocrisy was lost on her. Again, no nasty male comments, not even one vaguely nasty one anywhere near the video. Then Were both told to stop arguing! Nothing was said about the rampant sexism from a moronic, blind, man hating feminist.. funnily I think she is actually a lesbian, not sure if she is a single mother. That is fine, but the person who’s page it was, saying she wanted to open a discussion and fight chauvinism but was fine with extreme sexism towards men, which was based on nothing, she wouldn’t critisize her so lumped us together, in order to open a discussion she had to close it down… at least when it pointed out someone being a nasty, sexisist wagon.

THis is what I have seen of feminism more often than not. This and worse. the idea of these feminists needing to be championed is perverse. It’s like saying we must stop people standing up to or criticising sexist women, while pretending they don’t exist!

Read M Nugents article on “nasty push backs against feminists” the name gives a lot away “push back” means the nasty comments are in response to something. M Nugent also gives examples but then disclaims them as possibly not being examples, I think he actually says some of them are not! so why put them in? Because he couldn’t. or wouldn’t, make the effort to get examples. If it takes that much effort to get example of someone being rude, troll like or abusive online, there is no issue. The web and it’s forums are constantly full of personal attacks, rants and tirades… and he gave examples that were not examples and even if they were they were out of context so completely useless when discussing a response type!

Leave the feminists do their own thing. WE should support equality from our own ethic, not feminist sexists, not beyond personal support from individuals. A linking of secularism, atheism and feminism is a not something that follows. Feminism does not support gender equality, it supports women getting equality in the areas they want. They want equality for them, in the areas they want it. That as you can see, is not equality. You can’t get equality just looking at one side of the scales.
Q.E.D

370 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

THank goodness other people can see through M Nugent and this scam; http://atheiststoday.com/blogs/reapercussions/?p=59

371 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 10:15 am

from atheists today ; It is about the Atheist Ireland Forum Moderating Policy. It seems that there were several…actually make that numerous posts in that forum which didn’t meet the social justice standards Michael had set for others. A reader by the name Skepsheik had taken the time to point this out along with many examples.

372 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

unbelievable! “And just to underscore the above points of Michael Nugent’s permission/approval seeking behaviour, here’s a screencap of him checking in with his masters after doing a hatchet job on WoollyBumblebee –

http://i.imgur.com/mpYI9.png

373 Pogsurf June 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

People often have different perspectives Daniel. I read in the linked image that Michael was advising four interested parties that a hate-monger was admitting culpability. This is the only way we can all move forward, by people taking responsibility for their own actions.

Have you got anything you would like to confess? I will if you will.

374 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Well that is only possible if you see it in a vacuum Pogsurf. You don’t know who the four interested parties are do you? They are all militant feminists, exactly the sort of people who invented this problem, who, you could say, are the problem. If you see the whole picture you can get the relevance easily.

375 Pogsurf June 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

There names are not particular familiar to me. I believe I’ve seen one or two on Twitter.

If they are militant feminsts I would expect they all carry guns and are quite dangerous. I should stay away from them; don’t provoke them unnecessarily. People who invent problems probably have nothing better to do with their time. I’m starting to see the wider picture now and my views are definately changing.

376 Submariner June 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Michael Nugent @242:

“It’s not enough, but it is a central element of it. In law, an assault is typically an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. It becomes battery if it is carried through into actual harmful or offensive contact.”

While I am unsure of Irish law on this matter, in the USA (where many of these bloggers reside) there is also a “reasonable person” standard.

Here is a definition (using sexual harassment as it’s basis but the point is valid for other forms of “harassment”):

“A standard for determining whether conduct can be considered sexual harassment. Conduct and behavior may not be considered harassment if a reasonable person would not find the actions offensive. ”

Many of the items on Ms. Watson’s “page-o-hate” would seem to me to fail this test, as would a number of the claimed “harassment” posts from other bloggers who I won’t name.

377 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

SisterChromatid

A hermit– WHO did those things?

At least some of it, the photoshops and fat remarks certainly, from people active on the slymepit.

– certainly not all (or any?) of the people that have been labeled “misogynists” by PZ Myers et. al

Would you agree that at least some of that behaviour might be justifiably labeled as misogynistic?

In fact, I bet all of the people you have made into enemies would be against that sort of treatment of others.

Have I made enemies? The people I’m talking about are the ones who create that kind of abusive material, or applaud or make excuses for it.

Frankly, if I’m making enemies of the kind of people who think that fat jokes, rape jokes and sexualized insults are an appropriate form of criticism I’m ok with that…

But of course, my purpose there was not to point fingers at anyone; I was curious about why Thaumas is so animated and driven to speak out against what he perceives as the awful treatment of Stephanie McGraw (even though she herself has apparently moved on) while he on the other hand goes to such great lengths to dismiss and minimize and make excuses for the much worse treatment being handed out to others.

Why the double standard?

378 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

A relatively non accusational way of looking at why to have nothing to do with the feminist movement is how it effects equity if they are sided with.

Feminists represent women’s interests in gender equality. There are two genders involved in this social issue. Men suffer parallel inequality to women’s. In different areas and to differing degrees. For this to be incorrect one would have to say, men don’t lose out in any area of society at all or to a degree that even remotely comes close to what women suffer in this regard.

So, in a two sided issue, if atheist, secular etc. groups pick this side, they are alienating the other. Secularism in society has a great ability to be balanced. It has no religious interest group having over riding authority or undue authority or influence. This would apply to groups that have issues too. It should anyway to be true to a secular mentality.

This can be applied exactly why as not to take on a male group, where there is a two sided issue. All topics should be discussed without a bias through an alliance with any group.

Feminism is not about gender equality. it fights for women’s rights, as it should. But that is it looking out for it’s group, not equality. Even if you disagree with that, many many people feel this way. So effectively, at beast that point could be arguable. Arguable is about debate, it is not set as the correct standard.

So, the effect is the same except worse in that case. As we have to close discussion on something as being arguable to justify supporting one side. If we accept it is arguable, we have to say we give proportional importance to both views. Taking on a public and semi formal alliance of the skepchick, A+ etc. makes that impossible.

This does not mean, not talking about women’s rights. It means talking about them in the broader, and more likely to get a clear view, gender equality framework.

This might be a good example. There is a problem with women being underrepresented in jobs outside the home. Men largely being the main breadwinner with women managing the family matters and the vital job of caring for our children.

Can this be resolved by just looking at it as a woman’s issue. No. We tried that and it is still an issue. Largely dictated by the simple biological fact women have our babies.

There are a fixed amount of jobs say. We want more women working and gaining high places in the world. For this to work there have to be less men. It is not an exact science, but it stands on it’s own legs I think.

So can we get more women to this life without changing mens roles? No. For equality in the workplace women will have to give up dominance of family life and child rearing. The stigma and lack of acceptance of a man being a “house husband” is massive. Far more than that of a women who stays at home or goes to work. She however feels it in both areas. Home and work.

For this to work the obvious thing would be to remove the hampering effect of having a baby has on a woman’s career. Maternity leave. This could be solved by making parental leave even between father and mother. and non transferable, except in special circumstances. But no one wants to admit that having an employee leave for an extended period of time is a legitimate, not sexist, reason to be reluctant to hire a recently married woman who is likely to be starting a family.

Also, we have to make it acceptable and admirable for a father to do the main body of family and child related tasks. It is not alone an issue of women have to stay at home and men get to go to work, but, women get to stay at home and men have to go to work.

This is why atheist and secular movements should stay impartial. To not means closing our eyes to the fact that this is a two sided issue. Not all issues are in the same mutually dependant way as this one.

Support what is right for equality, not a general movement that is one side.

379 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

anyway, if something is against the law there is no need to re state that in your terms! If you must just say, “law breaking is illegal here….. too”

380 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Double standard is the term this whole thing boils right down to E Hermit.

Be careful not to fall into their warped logic. You see it all the time, they censor and give whinging excuses, they behave like a cult. Like the recent debate Michael had with youth defence… they didn’t want there logic to be seen and discussed.

These people use prior restraint- taking some action against someone on the weak justification that they think you will say something nasty aka disagree. They always say “so your ok with rape jokes… ” …. when that was not what you said at all. I gave an example where one feminist lied and posted that I had called her a feminist for watching porn. I just asked her, in reply to her post, “which one” and she brought gender into it and tried to make out I did!

Being for free speech or slow to use harsh moderation or thinking open dialog is better tan closed dialog, does not mean you support rape jokes, rape or are a bigot. That would be like me saying if you block a wantonly abusive person you hate free speech.

We are not talking about blocking wanton abuse here though. Despite what some would have you believe.

381 Sally Strange (@SallyStrange) June 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I just wanted to point out that, while I am a regular reader of Butterflies and Wheels, I was unaware of Skep Tickle’s actual last name until I read Dave Allen’s comment here. So his concerns about her anonymity come off a bit disingenuous to me. As does the outrage about Ophelia’s alleged doxxing. And it’s not like I didn’t read the posts Ophelia did about the whole situation. I was aware that one could find such information if one searched, but I had no interest in finding out Skep Tickle’s real name, and preferred not to know… unfortunately, Mr. Allen took that choice away from me, and from anyone else who reads this comment thread. Not well done.

382 SisterChromatid June 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

A hermit said

Frankly, if I’m making enemies of the kind of people who think that fat jokes, rape jokes and sexualized insults are an appropriate form of criticism I’m ok with that…

So when did Ron Lindsey make fat jokes, rapes jokes and sexualized insults? Dawkins? Blackford? Shermer? Renee Hendricks? Justin Vacula? What about all those other skeptics labeled “misogynist” by the Watson-Myers alliance? Clearly they’ve made YOU imagine that they are all part of the same “bad guys” and so you continue to paint them with the same brush here. You have lost your ability to discriminate between actual misogyny and imaginary misogyny as has many of those you associate with. That’s hardly skeptical you!

As for Steph McGraw, I don’t know who she is, but if she has been accused of “misogyny” as has been done to many other women– Abbie Smith, Paula Kirby, Skep Tickle, Sara Mayhew, Harriet Hall, etc.– then I am sure she wants nothing to do your “brand” of feminism– nor do I. You are terrifically careless with your labeling and have little concern about whose life you destroy in the process. The only woman/feminists you care about are the ones who share your enemy list. The only thing you’ve done for woman is make them see “misogyny” where it does not exist! I think most feminists in the world have bigger problems than anonymous internet meanies. You have divided your allies in skepticism because of your eagerness to ferret out misogyny just as shamelessly as McCarthy ferreted out purported communists. But the ones you’ve ferreted out, aren’t the people making purported rape threats and such! The Watson-Myers attempt to gain power by smearing others has gone way, way too far. And now you’ve backed Mick into the “your with us or you’re against us” corner, and we all know how this is likely to turn out.

383 SisterChromatid June 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm

By the way– lots of hate comes out of freethought blogs– thing like “fuckface” “die in a fire” “go fuck yourself” “shove a porcupine up your ass” “shithead”– and look at the commentary about Mick on Ophelia’s blog.

Shall the rest of the skeptic community think you and everyone else who posts at FTB are represented by these people and that you agree with them? Isn’t this what you (A. hermit) are doing in regards to the slymepit– via orders from on high from PZ? There’s this general smear where everyone who doesn’t do feminism the way FTB does feminism is labeled a “misogynyist” and /or smeared with PZ;s opinion of the slymepit and this somehow is tied to purported “rape threats” that happened somewhere on the internet. And then PZ declares a shunning and everyone must shun whom he shuns or be shunned himself– amirite?

As I recall, Ed Brayton demanded the shunning of Paula Kirby on SkepChick. I think it’s time the skeptic community start shunning those who call for the shunning of others. This McCarthyistic brand of feminism does not help women– nor anyone else. It makes people feel good for knocking down straw feminists– and real peoples careers are damaged in the process.

384 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

You know just writing my last long post on gender equality has got me pretty excited. “It is not alone enough to say the issue of women have to stay at home and men get to go to work, but, women get to stay at home and men have to go to work.”

Why can’t people see that these two things are solidly linked to the degree one can not happen without the other, and of course equalizing parental leave between both parents. Making the male equally as likely as the female to be off work.

It would also spread the impact on businesses and make them ore productive.. and a host of other benifits to both men and women. AS for the children, imagine growing up in an environment of such balance and equality.

It would not just do wonders for women’s welfare, or the dads, the kids or the businesses, but for society as a whole. I could see this brining a new age to the world in a few short generation, think about how it would obliterate imposed gender perceptions and roles. WE could all be men and women and little girls and little boys and know who we were was not superimposed on us. Think of that family. What do you think?

Are there any gender equality movements? non partisan, just interested in equality? Maybe that could be something we secular atheists could start up. We are almost like a neutral country being a mediator. Being non biased or partisan ourselves is a vital part of that.

Presently we have men looking for father’s rights, which in Ireland is far more stark and obvious than wage discrepancies and women terrified about something happening when they are pregnant . Those two issue fall outside men and women’s movements, they effect almost all people and are legal and medical ones.

Sorry, got of track there. We have men’s groups and women’s groups… I have seen no equality group. There probably are some, but not making much impact as there can be many personal pain in the lives of people at the fore of these groups. Funnily more alike than unalike and if they could work together in a friendly spirit of getting the best for all. Seeing that they’re issue were two sides of the one coin.

Now that! could be an area of great use to feminists and men’s rights activists alike. If we could just get the ball rolling and get the walls down for a constructive partnership, that woud be something amazing. The chances of all parties being happy would dramatically increase if the perceived “enemy” became an allie and they found the women wanted to be CEO’s and the men wanted more time at home with the children.

What do you think Michael?

385 A Hermit June 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

SisterChromatid

So when did Ron Lindsey make fat jokes, rapes jokes and sexualized insults? Dawkins? Blackford? Shermer? Renee Hendricks? Justin Vacula? What about all those other skeptics labeled “misogynist” by the Watson-Myers alliance? Clearly they’ve made YOU imagine that they are all part of the same “bad guys” and so you continue to paint them with the same brush here. You have lost your ability to discriminate between actual misogyny and imaginary misogyny as has many of those you associate with.

I’ll thank you not to put words in my mouth. You are attributing opinions to me which I have not expressed and do not hold. I am not lumping all of those people together or accusing any of them (with the possible exception of Vacula) of actually making fat jokes, rape jokes etc.

Some of them may have to varying degrees made excuses for the people doing all of that or have minimized the effect of those things and I object to that too, but I’m not painting them with the same brush.

As for Steph McGraw, I don’t know who she is, but if she has been accused of “misogyny” as has been done to many other women– Abbie Smith, Paula Kirby, Skep Tickle, Sara Mayhew, Harriet Hall, etc.– then I am sure she wants nothing to do your “brand” of feminism– nor do I.

I see Thaumas and others using her name and the factt hat Rebecca watson once disagreed with her publicly (about two years ago) to justify their vendettas against certain people, but I’ve never seen Ms McGraw herself complaining about any of them…

If you don’t even know who she is then maybe you shouldn’t presume to speak for her either…

You are terrifically careless with your labeling …

Who did I label unfairly? Be specific. Try dealing with what I’ve actually said instead of what you imagine I (or others) have said…

386 David Leech June 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm

I’m so looking forward to this event that if I wasn’t going to Turkey to support my brother and sisters in their struggle I would cross the Irish sea just to witness it. I so want to see how the middle class Americans tell the Irish about their harassment at the hand of those evil Internet atheist trolls and gasp people who disagree with them. Imagine the nightmares like horror of it all. How they have suffered for their blog posts. I’m sure the Irish audience will be full of sympathy after all the Irish atheists have had only to put up with child sexual and physical abuse, Magdalene laundries and so many other atrocities, all enabled by the governments acquiescence to Catholicism. It would be comedy gold to watch a load white middle class Americans telling an Irish audience about how they have suffered and are still suffering from all these bad wordz. Alas some of us have Islamists trying to take over their country and drag it back to the dark ages. I simply do not have the time to listen to Internet bloggers making it all about meeeee.

387 noclevername June 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Anyone who followed Watson’s attack of McGraw at the time knows that McGraw was horrified and distressed, as were many others who spoke up on her behalf. (I believe Abbie Smith was one of them, which started Myers’ feud with her, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong.) As far as I can tell, it was Watson’s attack that set off what has become The Rift. Not Watson’s ‘guys don’t do that’ video. Yes, there were objections to the video – a polite invitation and a polite acceptance of ‘no’ is what we want guys to do, not ‘don’t do’! But that makes all of us (including McGraw) misogynists, according to Watson et al.

The word misogynist has been so misused and diluted by now it really has no meaning within the atheist community anymore other than “disagrees with someone from Skepchick or FTB”. That’s sad, and a slap in the face to actual victims of misogyny around the world – some of whom were pointed out by Dawkins as a contrast to the problems experienced by the first-world privileged. This statement earned him the label of… wait for it… misogynist. Because as I said, misogyny is no longer about how you feel about women. It’s about who you disagree with.

I don’t agree that whether a victim speaks up or whether a victim has moved on determines whether what was done to her was wrong. Moving on from an assault is healthy. It doesn’t make what was done any less wrong.

388 JackSkeptic June 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

@David Leech (374)

I popped back to make a similar post to yours but you said it a lot better than I could. We have serious issues to deal with all over the world. Despite all the amazing achievements the atheist community has done there is a very long way to go yet. Possibly hundreds of years of effort ahead of us.

I find the parochial, manufactured and politically motivated distractions not only distasteful but damaging to all that needs to be done to even start to address the real issues.

We have to be pluralistic and accepting of other peoples views and opinions if we are not to self implode in a fit of naval gazing and narcissistic outburts .

The only people who will benefit are those we are trying to fight against. The real enemy should never be within our own ranks. We all deserve batter than that and that is why I am fighting this. Not because of someone’s opinions but they way they try and shut down the voice of others.

I refuse to allow anyone to shut down my voice or the voice of anyone else. It did not work before and damned if it will work now.

389 SisterChromatid June 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

A hermit said

Would you agree that at least some of that behaviour might be justifiably labeled as misogynistic?

Probably so, –but I’ve never seen anyone mentioned here involved in such– and yet YOU are very big at suggesting commentators here are in that same group. Can you point to anyone identified here whose level of misogyny even matches PZ’s Skepticon 3 talk. (I don’t think his sleazy come-on to his young host was necessarily misogynistic… but many would find it sexist… and if such a talk was given by Myer’s current enemies, that person would be shunned and shamed much worse than was done to DJ Grothe and Ron Lindsey, don’t you agree?)

390 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm

@M.A. Melby:
Sorry to abruptly discontinue the conversation, but my main laptop died yesterday, and my backup conked out this morning as well. As such, I currently have no means to continue our conversation in a productive fashion (I’m at the library right now :-) ). It’s too bad, too, because I felt we were beginning to have an actual conversation and I was very much looking forward to seeing where you’re coming from and hopefully finding some common ground with you of one sort or another (big or small is better than none :-) ). I wish you well, and when I can figure out a way to get back online on a regular basis, perhaps we’ll meet again and catch up from where we left off. Cheers!

391 Thaumas Themelios June 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Really, you provided information about a situation and you were allowed to comment; and the issue was dropped once the information was provided?

Sorry, just have to respond to this one bit. You need to see the thread for yourself. It’s really egregiously unskeptical. I had to maintain a very strict calm tone through most of it just to avoid being banned. See http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/17/update-clarification-correction-on-holy-fucking-shit/. I suggest reading the whole thread for full context, but if you’re just looking for my parts, they start at comment 10. Watch how the commentariat react.

392 A Hermit June 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

noclevername June 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Anyone who followed Watson’s attack of McGraw at the time knows that McGraw was horrified and distressed, as were many others who spoke up on her behalf.

I’m not interested in re-litigating a minor incident from two years ago. Whatever McGraw felt at the time there is no comparison between Watson’s one time public disagreement with her and the campaigns of harassment we’re discussing here. She’s not complaining about it, and no one is pursuing her on Twitter, making fake accounts in her name, creating whole forums to complain about her, making photshops to mock her personal appearance or trying to get her barred from speaking engagements.

So it’s disingenuous of Thaumos to appropriate her experience as a rational for anything we’re discussing here; especially if he’s using it as an excuse for excusing or ignoring the much worse behavior that has been directed at others.

393 Daniel June 11, 2013 at 12:25 am

well said A Hermit.

394 A Hermit June 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

SisterChromatid June 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Probably so, –but I’ve never seen anyone mentioned here involved in such– and yet YOU are very big at suggesting commentators here are in that same group.

I don’t believe I have actually; I have pointed out that some people here are minimizing, dismissing or ignoring that behaviour…

Can you point to anyone identified here whose level of misogyny even matches PZ’s Skepticon 3 talk.

Yes, there are a number of people here who can be found on the slymepit sharing a laugh at the sexist, degrading, personal insults thrown at certain bloggers and writers.

(I don’t think his sleazy come-on to his young host was necessarily misogynistic… but many would find it sexist… and if such a talk was given by Myer’s current enemies, that person would be shunned and shamed much worse than was done to DJ Grothe and Ron Lindsey, don’t you agree?)

No I don’t, because I don’t consider a little CONSENSUAL sexual banter to be misogynistic (and if you’re talking about the presentation I think you are that;s all it was); certainly not compared to telling someone they are too ugly to be raped, or repeatedly calling them “cunt” or “bitch”…

And all that;s happened to Grothe and Lindsey is that people have been publicly criticizing them.

395 SisterChromatid June 11, 2013 at 1:25 am

Whatever McGraw felt at the time there is no comparison between Watson’s one time public disagreement with her and the campaigns of harassment we’re discussing here.

I’m sure she’s glad to have you (a man) determine that for her.

So–WHO is telling people they are too ugly to be raped? WHO is doing the harassment? What exactly do you mean by harassment? Is it worse than the harassment inflicted on Ron Lindsey? Skep Tickle? Abbie Smith? DJ Grothe? Justin Vacula? Do people have to look for this harassment to find it? WHO are the evil-doers and what do they have to do with the growing list of people that FTB has labeled misogynists not to mention all the people you’ve attempted to tar here? What is the very worst thing the evil internet misogynyists have done and what do you think we should be doing about it? If we don’t do as you say, are we “misogynists” Are we next in your witch hunt?

No I don’t, because I don’t consider a little CONSENSUAL sexual banter to be misogynistic

Interesting– because I seem to remember you feeling very different in regards to Thunderfoot. It seems to me that you are keeping 2 sets of books.

Given what PZ, Benson, and Rebecca have dished out to others these past two years, it’s really hard for me to get upset when I hear that people are saying mean things on the internet about them. It’s getting increasingly hard for people to pay any attention to their constant screams of “misogyny!” I don’t think their little foray into McCarthyistic type feminism has benefited women or the secular community in any way. Moreover their big concerns seem to be concerns of the privileged as #376 noted. I wish America had better representatives at this coming conference.

396 Pitchguest June 11, 2013 at 1:27 am

#381 A Hermit

Because she was the victim. Of course it helps she didn’t treat it as a crutch or as a way to get victim points, but that’s another matter. I’m sure Watson wouldn’t understand. And case in point, you’re demonstrating it right now. “Campaigns of harassment.” Holding her accountable for her words on Twitter, is harassment. Ridiculing her using photoshop, that’s harassment. But the next bit beggars belief. “Whole forums” created to complain about her? Where are these forums? And “forums”, plural, so not just implying the Slymepit (which is what I assume you meant)? I don’t know about you, A Hermit, but that sounds pretty risible. You would need to bring sufficient data to back that up.

Furthermore, it’s interesting that you should bring up the last bit about attempting to get people barred from speaking engagements. Maybe you should ask Abbie Smith about that. Not to mention two others I can think off the top of my head, ThunderfOOt and Justin Vacula, the former of which had Ed Brayton and other FtBloggers conspire (from the backchannel chatter) to interfere with his paycheck, and this quaint little quote:

“I want to do whatever it takes to make sure that he is essentially drummed out of this movement, never invited to speak anywhere again and is forever a pariah.”

Finally, the latter was offered a volunteer position at a local atheist organisation but a campaign was started to remove him from that position, by Stephanie Zvan.

Was that justified, A Hermit? Was that fair?

397 Steersman June 11, 2013 at 1:58 am

Sally Strange said (#382):

… but I had no interest in finding out Skep Tickle’s real name, and preferred not to know… unfortunately, Mr. Allen took that choice away from me, and from anyone else who reads this comment thread. Not well done.

Well, I’m sure that “Skep tickle” would appreciate you being so solicitous about her anonymity, but I think you’re a little wide of the mark in targeting Dave Allen as the proximate cause of its demise, at least in general. More particularly, you might note that Oolon claimed in post #30 here, rather erroneously – and an error that he seems somewhat reluctant to correct, that “Maxwell Smart” did so on or about June 2nd. But, as I indicated in #116, it was in fact “TheBlackCat” who did so on May 29th on Pharyngula.

Not well done, indeed. I look forward to you expressing your opprobrium in that thread.

398 A Hermit June 11, 2013 at 2:25 am

–WHO is telling people they are too ugly to be raped?

What difference does it make who’s doing it? Should we object to it less if we don’t know who is sending the e-mails/tweets/anonymous blog comments?

What exactly do you mean by harassment?

The constant stream of personally insulting e-mails, tweets and blog comments directed at individuals.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/

http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/

Is it worse than the harassment inflicted on Ron Lindsey? Skep Tickle? Abbie Smith? DJ Grothe? Justin Vacula?

Yes. I don’t see fake titter accounts impersonating them or blogs and forums dedicated to attacking them and mocking them.

I do see people criticizing some of the things they’ve said, but that’s really not the same thing at all.

399 A Hermit June 11, 2013 at 2:27 am

Was that justified, A Hermit? Was that fair?

Yes some it was, for the same reason that objecting to putting a contributor to a racist website in a leadership position would be.

Some of us have standards…

400 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 3:30 am

“Some of us have standards…”

Don’t you feel smug.

You probably don’t know about the number of people who came to the Slymepit and stated “I’ve followed FTB for a while and was very worried about the Pit. Then I came her to see for myself, and it is nothing like what I expected. Glad to join!”

The Slymepit is neither racist, nor sexist, nor full of hatred. If it was, I wouldn’t be there. It’s full of lulz, though, so I’m there.

And, weirdly enough, it’s full of people who actually *care* about each others. I’m going through very difficult times, and the Pitters have given me nothing but friendship and support. I’m not aware of many A/S boards that do so on a regular basis. Pharyngula surely isn’t one of them (my being raped as a 11 year old was questioned there, nay, called a lie. Way to go, Pharyngula!)

401 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 3:34 am

I just wanted to point out that, while I am a regular reader of Butterflies and Wheels, I was unaware of Skep Tickle’s actual last name until I read Dave Allen’s comment here. So his concerns about her anonymity come off a bit disingenuous to me.

I believe Skep Tickle has auto-didoxxed herself now, so concerns about using her real name can be lifted.

402 SisterChromatid June 11, 2013 at 3:37 am

A hermit– there is plenty of offensive stuff linked– but it’s not from the people whom Myers etc. has try to shun, get fired, etc. That is the whole problem– you imagine your critics are the same people posting the vulgar commentary wherever it is being cut and pasted from– you seem unable to differentiate between the two. But anyone who so much as points this out… or dares to say a kind word about someone declared an enemy… or even someone who tries to broker peace or suggest you are going a little to far in your hunt for hidden misogyny– is considered to be on par with those anonymous internet trolls!

FTB/SkepChick jumped the shark for me when Ed Brayton posted this at SkepChick:

I’d honestly never heard of Paula Kirby before this, someone had to tell me who she was. But anyone who uses “feminazi” and “famistasi” in this manner has lost all credibility with me forever. She should be shunned by the atheist community for it.

Shunned? For pointing out what is becoming increasingly obvious to so many?– Let’s not forget Carrier’s “you’re with us or you’re against us speech”– is it any wonder so many have left freethought blogs? Why doesn’t this ring any “cult” bells with you?

Remember this is the group that tried to get DJ Grothe fired. And bad mouthed Harriet Hall because she wore a shirt saying that she wasn’t a skep “chick” (to many woman the term is demeaning and frivolous– but FTB thinks only their brand of feminism is acceptable.) And they think Lindsey should be fired (and that someone who caters to their whims should be hired instead?) Your standards seem to change based on whether someone buys into the party line or not.

403 S Mason June 11, 2013 at 5:26 am

SisterChrommatid

“So–WHO is telling people they are too ugly to be raped? WHO is doing the harassment? What exactly do you mean by harassment? Is it worse than the harassment inflicted on Ron Lindsey? Skep Tickle? Abbie Smith? DJ Grothe? Justin Vacula? Do people have to look for this harassment to find it? ”

You aren’t serious right? I wonder what you would call harassment, given that you have been told, and links have been provided to you showing you a small part of what OB receives. And she is not alone.

If you go to B&W you will find that OB regularly posts examples of the harassment she receives. If you continue to deny that she is being harassed it only speaks to your agenda.

I don’t know what Rob Lindsay has been on the receiving end of. I have not heard that he hast apologised – but then, if he is being receiving “jokes” about acid being thrown in his face, constant messages about being ugly, being kicked in the cunt, websites about him set up purely to harass, photo shopped obscenity with his face posted onto it, a stream of misrepresentation and lies about him, an unwelcome attempt to force him into a “dialogue” with the people who are as a minimum, shoulder to shoulder with the folks who are responsible for this stuff, then the apology would definitely be a lot less important than siding with him against the harassment.

There is a post above at 361 that discusses Justin Vacula explicitly. Do you reject the veracity of that post, believe it is irrelevant, or just ignore it?

404 S Mason June 11, 2013 at 5:43 am

Phil_Giordana_FCD

“The Slymepit is neither racist, nor sexist, nor full of hatred. ”

Well – it demonstrably tolerates all of those things. So “full of” – maybe not. But – those things are definitely there.

“It’s full of lulz, though, so I’m there. ”

Err….

“And, weirdly enough, it’s full of people who actually *care* about each others. ”

So is Freemasonry. So is the Tory party. That doesn’t mean that they stand up for those being harassed, object to the harassment and refuse to participate. Some may do. Definitively, some do not, and the board continue to tolerate some horrible stuff – as far as I am aware?

“I’m going through very difficult times”

Genuinely sorry to hear that.

“and the Pitters have given me nothing but friendship and support. ”

Which is great. But they are pretty vicious to those who call them out though, right? So not that different from any other tribe, group or gang then?

“I’m not aware of many A/S boards that do so on a regular basis. Pharyngula surely isn’t one of them (my being raped as a 11 year old was questioned there, nay, called a lie. Way to go, Pharyngula!)”

But Pharyngula isn’t set up to be a support group. I agree – it’s a pretty vicious place and I don’t post there any more: I too was pretty disappointed to discover that it is not a place to go to get support from likeminded sceptics. But it serves a very useful purpose – and I have a lot of time for PZ and his clear thinking.

405 Steersman June 11, 2013 at 5:44 am

M. A. Melby said (#335):

I’m pretty sure the irony is also lost on you, that you’ve been making blanket statements about FtB – but hey – availability heuristic for the win.

I expect you probably mean “categorical statements” (1): all X are Y; all fish swim; all slymepitters are harassers. Rather an iffy position to be taking when we’re talking of diverse populations.

But something we all tend to do, but which tends to cause any number of problems.

—-
1) “_http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/tittle/downloads/pdf/categorical-logic-supplement.pdf”;

406 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 6:03 am

S Mason:

I haven’t seen blatant racism or sexism at the Slymepit. Or at least, not as much as I have seen coming from some FTB/Skepckick/A+ bloggers and commenters. When there *is* blatant sexism or racism at the Pit, it is usually called out and denounced. Not always, but most of the time. Not so much on the aforementioned blogs.

I will not deny that the most regular commenters at the Pit have built some sort of a community, but it doesn’t prevent us from strongly disagreeing with each others on some points, and even stoop down to name-calling. Which is quite fun in the end. (hence my “full of lulz” comment). We can get quite creative.

Pitters are not vicious to those who call them out. They are vicious to those who spew bullshit. By all means, call us out all you want, but do it for good, evidenced reasons. And when I say “we”, I mean the offenders, not the forum dwellers as a whole.

“and I have a lot of time for PZ and his clear thinking.”

That might be your problem right there. “PZ” and “clear thinking” don’t go very well together, from my experience.

407 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thank you for your first hand witness testimony of silencing through rape culture at PZ Myers’ blog, Phil_Giordana_FCD at #400.

To speak out in an hostile environment is a brave thing to do. I have had recent communication with members of the International Atheist and Ethical Union (IAEU) on the subjects of inclusivity and silencing with respect to the award they made to Myers in 2011. Your voice adds to my case. I have made them aware of your testimony.

408 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 6:59 am

Comment awaiting moderation. Wake up Michael! :)

409 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

I will repost my comment with * replacing what might be offensive to some:

Pogsurf:

The comments on that particular thread don’t exist anymore (as far as I know, and I can’t even remember which post it was. Sci Blogs anyway). But the full story goes like this:

I was in a discussion about the use of certain words like “c**t” or “b**ch”, and the way it applies in different countries (ie: not US-centric). I was called a fuckwit and other assimilated nicknames. One commenter mentioned that she was called a “c**t” and a “b**ch” by her rapist, to which I pointed out that I was told to “shut the f*ck up, you little f*cker” by mine. Then some other commenter called me a liar about my rape(s) being real.

To be fair to said commenter, they later recanted and apologized, after a big portion of the comentariat told them to. Myers just banned me. And labelled me a MRA, for some reason.

410 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 7:24 am

Tried to replace some letters with “*”, didn’t work. Still caught in moderation hell.

411 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 7:30 am

Patience Phil, he’s allowed a quick nap.

412 Steersman June 11, 2013 at 8:03 am

A Hermit said (#316):

Steersman, there are plenty of examples of women getting rape threats …

The problem with the slymepit is that so many of you dismiss all of it as “just joking” or “just trolls” or pretend that it’s all made up…there’s a few examples here (1)

I see those examples are from Michael’s “Examples of nasty pushback” thread. While I haven’t yet searched for and found all of the specific posts that those comments come from in the Slymepit, the several that I did find – items 2 (2) and 4 (3) in the list – suggest that one might want to consider their context, and probably those of the other items, before rendering a verdict. While they both incorporate some pointed if rather tame profanity, I think you would be hard pressed to argue that they were substantially worse than that found on Pharyngula (4), or Skepchick (5).

However that is hardly to excuse any of it – pot and kettle both looking rather blackish, but it seems to me that if you’re serious about wanting to curtail or limit the former cases then you might want to ask yourself how it is a “of a piece” with the latter ones. If “community standards” dictate that such profanity is acceptable if not de rigeur in some places then it seems more appropriate to address the root causes – whatever they might be – rather than their manifestations in any given locale.

As for the rape threats, I wonder whether you think that anyone in the Pit actually condones those, how credible you think they are, and what it is that you think can be done about them.

But you also said (#399) on a related question:

What exactly do you mean by harassment?

The constant stream of personally insulting e-mails, tweets and blog comments directed at individuals.

Even assuming for the moment that we could all agree on what percentage of those constitute actual harassment and bullying, and what percentage constitutes valid criticisms or expressions of opprobrium – from all sources including Pharyngula and Skepchick as I expect many would readily agree that many of the comments thereon could easily be construed as harassment and bullying – I again wonder what it is that you think could be done to rectify the situation. Seems to me that for any given problem – medical, social, psychological, engineering – the first step in solving it is to understand its causes, and the second step is to propose a solution that nullifies or obviates those causes. And I can’t see that we’ve progressed much past the point of agreeing that, yes, harassment is a *bad* thing. Maybe because we all have a tendency to think that it’s all the other guy’s fault ….

—-
1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/comment-page-2/#comments”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=43159#p43159”;
3) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=40847#p40847”;
4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/22/adria-richards-did-everything-exactly-right/comment-page-2”;
5) “_http://skepchick.org/2011/12/reddit-makes-me-hate-atheists/#comment-140078”;

413 Steersman June 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

Thaumas Themelios said (#312):

Come on, skeptics, get off your asses and do your homework.

Or stop making ridiculous accusations.

Indeed. Although one might reasonably argue that many self-styled skeptics really don’t have much claim to the term.

However, while I’m generally sympathetic to and supportive of your general argument, I think you might be engaging in some special pleading (1) of your own – kind of an occupational hazard of being human, I think. And while I’m quite prepared to throw stones at those who, like Matt Penfold (#39), insist on tarring everyone in the Pit with the same odious and highly questionable brush, I think you might be conveniently eliding the fact that some on “our” side have engaged in some activities that might reasonably be construed as harassment. And while I note you’ve referenced that “Documenting the harassment” page of Ophelia’s, I think you’ve also engaged in a bit of cherry-picking and in exhibiting some bias in selecting your cases from it.

For instance, for starters and as a point of reference, consider this definition of harassment from Wikipedia (2):

Harassment covers a wide range of behaviours of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing.

Note in particular the “characteristically repetitive” and “intended to disturb or upset”. Now if, as some have argued, that “characteristically repetitive” is in aid of or is addressing some substantive issue or principle, particularly those that are repetitively brought to the fore, then one might reasonably respond to charges of harassment with something like “tough titties”. But if there is no redeeming elements in the comments, no substantive issues being addressed, then one might reasonably argue that such comments are little more than ones maliciously “intended to disturb or upset”. And I think you would be hard pressed to argue that that is not the case with more than a few comments in that thread of Benson’s, notably several from Mykeru, Chandler, and, arguably, more than a few others there including some of Sarah Mayhew’s.

However, where I very much object to the “narrative” of harassment that Ophelia and others are peddling is where there is obviously virtually no justification for the claims. For instance, consider this bit (3) which was a reference to the photoshop by Reap Paden of the “ususal suspects” holding up placards “saying” that “we ‘heart’ Justin (Vacula)”:

This photoshop (image) …. This is a bully-trope that I particularly detest – this business of relentlessly harassing people, then when the people say stop harassing me, pretending the harassed people are actually nursing a secret love for the harasser.

Now assuming her second “this” was a reference to said photoshop, I would say that that is a very questionable inference, that it was a case of bullying. I would say that it was nothing of the sort, and most definitely not any suggestion of a “secret love”. It was some very pointed ridicule of the fact that that bunch of entirely charming individuals – or at least a significant number of them and their supporters – had gotten their panties in a serious twist over the prospect of Justin showing up at that Women in Secularism conference, many of whom had made some rather pointed suggestions about getting CFI to ban (4) Justin from the conference. More specifically, consider this exchange of tweets (5) which included one from Stephanie Zvan:

Melody Hensley @MelodyHensley@SpokesGay @ingdamnit @szvan Have to follow policies or we are hypocrites. If everyone would just do what they feel they need to do.

Official SpokesGay @SpokesGay@MelodyHensley @ingdamnit @szvan Oh, everyone will.
—-
Stephanie Zvan @szvan@SpokesGay @MelodyHensley @ingdamnit Sooner would be better.

As if to say, I don’t really want you to kill Thomas Becket (6), but “if everyone would just do what they feel they need to do” – and “sooner would be better” …. Stochastic terrorism (7), indeed.

However, I think that that case is only one of many in that post where Ophelia seriously misjudges the nature of the criticisms directed at her, and seriously misconstrues many of those as harassment.

But I think this whole contretemps, notably your special pleading, and Benson’s misconstruals and misapprehensions illustrates the fact that we all have a tendency to “my country, race, sex, party, or self: right or wrong”. Which tends to be more than just a little problematic.

—-
1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harassment”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/more-documenting-the-harassment/”;
4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/04/29/i-did-what-now-the-lie-machine-in-action/”;
5) “_http://storify.com/D4M10N/why-exclude-vacula-from-wiscfi”;
6) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket#Assassination”;
7) “_http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/01/10/934890/-Stochastic-Terrorism-160-Triggering-the-shooters”;

414 SisterChromatid June 11, 2013 at 8:33 am

Let me sum up post 361 so I can assess the whole misogyny claim directed at Justin. Ophelia had been complaining about Justin being at the WISC2 which Justin took as her trying to whip up prejudice against him. She told him to stay away from her (which he apparently did.) Someone posts a cartoon type picture on his facebook wall entitled “How to Disable a Woman” which some could consider misogynistic and others might consider on par with a graphic showing “How to Disable a Man” illustrated by a man being kicked in the testicles. I agree with M.A. Melby that the image shown would not disable a woman and was intended more to shock/mock– moreover it makes me cringe. That said, I don’t think it’s any more sexist than PZ’s posting of Michele Bachmann and the corndog which also made me cringe. People aren’t perfect and not everyone interprets feminism/sexism/misogyny the same way. Also people can learn.

Ophelia and pals feel like Vacula should have immediately removed the picture from his wall and shamed the sender but, instead he commented on how it would bother Ophelia. Rebecca posts the picture on her twitter (making sure that Ophelia sees it) and indicates that Justin posted it when he did not. He (or someone) called Rebecca a liar because she made it sound like Justin was posting the image on his facebook… and, thus, purposefully harassing Ophelia… even though, someone else posted that particular picture on his facebook wall and he merely commented on how it would bother Ophelia. She wasn’t really lying– because she thought he HAD posted it, and didn’t feel obligated to apologize for this error despite the outrage it inspired.

Ophelia has made it clear that she doesn’t want to talk to Justin– and I agree that she has that right. But she still feels it’s fair to talk about him which she also has the right to do. And to document and comment upon his communications elsewhere– even though she won’t allow him to defend himself on her blog or to correct misinformation like that which Rebecca tweeted. To me, it looks like Ophelia wants the right to say prejudicial things about Justin while calling any of his comments about her “harassment”, but, again, these things are interpretive. I agree that there are things said about Ophelia that are definitely misogynistic– however, these have not been said by Justin and it’s wrong to whip up hatred towards him with the implication that it has. Justin’s main “harassment” of Ophelia involves a picture someone else posted on his facebook correct?

There is really not a lot we can do about the offensive use of free speech by others, just as there is not much Catholics can do if they find PZ’s impaling of a communion wafer to be an offensive exercise of his free speech rights. Free speech is not just for those who agree with you; you have the option of ignoring it.

415 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

One more try, because it’s past ten in Ireland already (note, I guess Michael must be quite busy right now. No attacks on him):

Pogsurf:

The comments on that particular thread don’t exist anymore (as far as I know, and I can’t even remember which post it was. Sci Blogs anyway). But the full story goes like this:

I was in a discussion about the use of certain words like “c***” or “b****”, and the way it applies in different countries (ie: not US-centric). I was called a fuckwit and other assimilated nicknames. One commenter mentioned that she was called a “c***” and a “b****” by her rapist, to which I pointed out that I was told to “shut the f*** up, you little f***er” by mine. Then some other commenter called me a “liar” about my rape(s) being real.

To be fair to said commenter, they later recanted and apologized, after a big portion of the comentariat told them to. Myers just banned me. And labelled me a MRA, for some reason.

If this one doesn’t get through, I’ll just give up. Not worth it.

416 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 9:10 am

Fuck it, no links, all “bad werdz” censored and it’s still in moderation.

Back to the Pit with me, at least there are no such problems there.

417 John Morales June 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

[meta + OT]

Phil:

Back to the Pit with me, at least there are no such problems there.

<snicker>

418 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

“”

Why, John?

419 John Morales June 11, 2013 at 9:48 am

Not least because of your evident feeling of entitlement, Phil. :)

420 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

John, you’re being obtuse. (not sure if the word is the right one, but I’m not a native English speaker).

What “evident feeling of entitlement” would that be?

421 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 11, 2013 at 10:16 am

To be clear: yes, I am entitled to post on Michael’s blog, where I haven’t been baned (yet). Most of my comments pass through, but because of some weird moderation settings, some of my posts don’t pass.

I had that problem a while ago, where Michael had to make a post about my comment (and, ironically, Myers’ comment which was blocked as well) because there seems to be a glitch on this site’s mod operations.

So, yeah, let’s make it an “evident feeling of entitlement”.

422 Dave Allen June 11, 2013 at 10:19 am

Sally Strange – a post is held in moderation.

Hoepfully it will get through. If not boils down to:

As far as I can tell “E”– after some consideration about what was happening to her – decided to reveal herself – first name and last – on Heathen Hub.

I did try to explain this earlier – so perhaps you could either:

a) explain to me how it is problematic to cite someone’s name AFTER they have gone public.
b) drop the accusations of disingenuousness you aimed at me.

423 Michael Nugent June 11, 2013 at 11:09 am

I’m still adjusting to the new moderation guidelines, and like everything I will be reviewing it to see what impact it has on the conversations here.

Phil, your comment was put in moderation because it used the word liar. Having seen it, the context is fine, so it is now published.

Everyone else, comments referring to Ophelia go into moderation until I see them. Please don’t try to circumvent that by using other terms to refer to her. All that will result in is those terms being added to the moderation filter, which may result in unrelated comments by other people also getting caught up in moderation.

Also, I am at a lot of meetings this week so you may have to wait for comments to be moderated.

If you want to avoid a delay, and if you think that a single point within a longer comment might put your whole comment into moderation, you could consider posting that single point as a separate comment. That way, the rest of your comment should go through automatically.

Thanks

424 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm

If I was being cheeky with respect to the mod policy at #423, I’d suggest we all invest in a decent theasarus.

Phil, it matters to me little if the original comments can be found or not. You speak with the authentic voice of a survivor, and that’s good enough for me personally. I know the truth when I hear it spoken clearly, and yours is a true voice.

Thank you for sharing your account of your dealings with FtB’s head bully, and his misguided ‘horde’. Myers’ tactics are called shunning and taint. Neither are rational behaviours, he was taking his own feelings out on you, for whatever reason. If the Slymepit gives you support, then that is the best place to be.

Although he no longer allows threats on his blog, he has never recanted his rape apologist phase, to the best of my knowledge.

For a professor to stifle debate is particularly shameful, and utterly unprofessional. I have already been in touch with his employing university to see if a complaint can be raised. I don’t know enough about the privileges of american tenureship to know whether this is a non-starter or not.

Remember: the higher they climb, the harder they fall.

425 windy June 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

For a professor to stifle debate is particularly shameful, and utterly unprofessional. I have already been in touch with his employing university to see if a complaint can be raised.

Er, for what exactly? I agree that those actions reflect poorly on his role, but he wasn’t acting as Phil’s professor. Unless there is evidence that someone is behaving badly at their workplace, going after their real-life jobs because of unrelated activities seems vindictive.

426 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I have had a request from the Heathen Hub to seek out three members of Freethought Blogs who are willing to open a dialogue with three Slymepitters.

If any are willing please contact me directly. Given the circumstances, I believe an attitude of reconcilliation may be helpful.

427 Daniel June 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Just catching up on the comments and saw this So–WHO is telling people they are too ugly to be raped? “… are people now complaining about not being threatened with rape? lol

As I said, if it is a crime it doesn’t need to go into the rules of a group. If member are under the impression that law is suspended with a meeting, then harassment is the least of your problems!

428 JackSkeptic June 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Pogsurf (424)

‘…

For a professor to stifle debate is particularly shameful, and utterly unprofessional. I have already been in touch with his employing university to see if a complaint can be raised. I don’t know enough about the privileges of american tenureship to know whether this is a non-starter or not.

…’

Assuming I read you correctly you are using an online issue to affect someone in real life. This is the sort of thing I am trying to fight against. SkepTickle, Vacula, Lindsay, the list is endless of people who have had suffered real life consequences for simply stating an opinion.

It goes well over the line and in my opinion is disgusting behaviour. I do not want anyone from any ‘side’ affected by exercising their rights to freedom of actions no matter how offensive or censorious I think they are.

If we become like them we will be no better than them and I totally disown your action. I fight unreason with reason not by threats. I leave to them to do that.

Some people really fail to grasp these sorts of actions not only potentially hurt the people they are attacking but their families and, in Skep Tickles case, her employers and patients who are all innocent parties. She was interviewed here and gives her reasons for her concerns at being doxxed and, despite some peoples myopic view, it was not her she was worried about.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bravehero

429 Pogsurf June 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Apologies to the most recent commentors, but I fell I have to leave this conversation now. Thank you to all who have contributed, and a big thank you to Michael Nugent for his skill and professionalism.

430 S Mason June 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Hey Pogsurf – good luck with that “attitude of reconciliation”.

Not sure how that goes with

“Thank you for sharing your account of your dealings with FtB’s head bully” just above it..

but I’m sure you’re moral high ground and sincerity tone is completely intact.

431 A Hermit June 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

SisterChromatid June 11, 2013 at 3:37 am

A hermit– there is plenty of offensive stuff linked– but it’s not from the people whom Myers etc. has try to shun, get fired, etc. That is the whole problem– you imagine your critics are the same people posting the vulgar commentary…

No I don’t and I have made that quite clear, I thought. I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of these people getting outraged about Watson publicly disagreeing with someone or being blocked from commenting ona ablog while making excuses for and being dismissive of much worse behaviour.

432 Pitchguest June 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

John Morales:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/07/27/some-more-words-to-the-new-atheist-blogosphere-on-unscientific-america/#.UbeYRPn0HTo

Comment 112.

“Great. My comment is awaiting moderation. I get accused of telling falsehoods, but in stronger langauge than that – and my reply is stuck in moderation.

This blog is such a slum.”

Now who’s suffering from an evident feeling of entitlement?

433 Steersman June 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Pitchguest said (#433):

Now who’s suffering from an evident feeling of entitlement?

“Guess who!”

But awesome link and reference there Pitchguest. These also are choice, reeking of irony and hypocrisy:

Interesting place, isn’t it – wild accusations of [telling falsehoods] get through while the defense is gagged. I think I’ll change my name to Bobby Seale.

And:

Ordinarily, yes, of course they can reject posts if they want to. But posts rebutting a false charge of [telling falsehoods]. No. That’s immoral.

Apropos of which, had the occasion to quote Acts to M. A. Melby here (1), to wit:

I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. (Acts 25:16)

But it is truly amazing the number of people who subscribe to view that sauce for the goose is not also sauce for the gander ….

—-
1) “_http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/fixed-that-for-you-skeptic-women/#comment-752”;

434 John Morales June 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

[meta]

Michael specified thus:

Everyone else, comments referring to Ophelia go into moderation until I see them. Please don’t try to circumvent that by using other terms to refer to her.

I note Pitchguest @436 and Steersman 437 are employing allusion and collusion, respectively — but not other terms.

(Any D&D player knows what the deal here is)

435 Phil_Giordana_FCD June 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

Michael, thanks for letting my comment(s) thru. Might need a bit of clean-up, though, I seem to repeat myself a lot 😀

I haven’t had the chance to say it yet (ie: I forgot), but have fun at the convention. I was almost going to attend, but my financial situation wouldn’t allow it. And I have studio work to do at about the same time, which would have aforded me the trip, but is at the same time as the con. Next one, hopefully.

Cheers!

436 S Mason June 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

SisterChromatid June 11, 2013 at 8:33 am

“Let me sum up post 361 so I can assess the whole misogyny claim directed at Justin.”

I think we’ve got your position (FTB bad; opponents to FTB good) – but OK: let’s have it then.

“Ophelia had been complaining about Justin being at the WISC2 which Justin took as her trying to whip up prejudice against him.”

Do you think that’s a good point to start in an analysis of “the whole misogyny claim directed at Justin”? Or are you cherry picking to suit your prejudice again? I wonder. Shall we carry on and see?

“That said, I don’t think it’s any more sexist than PZ’s posting of Michele Bachmann and the corndog which also made me cringe. ”

And the relevance of this is….???

“People aren’t perfect and not everyone interprets feminism/sexism/misogyny the same way.”

Did anyone say they did? I know you accuse those who have a different version of feminism to you pretty negatively, and make wide, sweeping and unsubstantiated claims against them (“self proclaimed social warriors” etc) – but this really is a statement of the obvious, right?

“Also people can learn. ”

Right. And they can evidence this by apologising for previously being public nuisances, sexists, racists or whatever. If they double down and increase the harassment, then what did they learn?

“he merely commented on how it would bother Ophelia” – but chose not to take down the offensive picture. So not so ‘merely’ then. He knows it will offend a woman who is inundated by targeted hatred every day – a fair chunk of which comes from her pointing out his sexism – and he ‘merely’ leaves it up and notes that it will offend her.

I just don’t understand why he can’t just leave her alone??? That he – and so many others – will not leave Ophelia alone speaks volumes about their true motivation. Ophelia reposting their abuse of her is entirely different from them posting that abuse in the first place. The first is an instigation. The second is a demonstration of the hatred and vitriol.

Different – completely different – right?

“Ophelia has made it clear that she doesn’t want to talk to Justin– and I agree that she has that right. ”

Well – we can agree that one at least.

“But she still feels it’s fair to talk about him which she also has the right to do. ”

Your failure to note the context in which she talks about him would be particularly telling, had you not already “told” that story a million times above. Any relevant context at all, do you think, about when Ophelia talks about Justin? Or is that just irrelevant to you?

“And to document and comment upon his communications elsewhere– even though she won’t allow him to defend himself on her blog or to correct misinformation like that which Rebecca tweeted. ”

Given the history, she doesn’t really owe him anything does she? He has been after her, and his followers likewise – and they just won’t stop. He could just stop harassing her perhaps, and then she’d stop commenting on his harassment. Seems simple to me.

Why can’t they just leave her alone? She clearly will call out misogyny and sexism as she sees it. Those accused have every right to contradict and say otherwise. When that unleashes a torrent of abuse though, then equivalence is gone.

“To me, it looks like Ophelia wants the right to say prejudicial things about Justin while calling any of his comments about her “harassment”, but, again, these things are interpretive. ”

I suppose they are.

437 Pitchguest June 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

John Morales:

I wanted to see if you noticed your own mistake, but apparently you’re hopeless. And Michael explicitly said you shouldn’t mention her name for any falsehoods, which I’m pretty sure I did not do. I wanted to show you for the hypocrite that you are, by saying to Phil when he complained about the moderation that he was having an *ahem* “evident feeling of entitlement.” Well, now who’s having an “evident feeling of entitlement”?

And you still have no idea what meta means.

438 Daniel June 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm

What would be wrong with being an MRA?

439 Pitchguest June 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Daniel: Exactly.

440 Sister Eu June 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being an MRA, but they’re using it as something to insult or invalidate people, and it’s another word for “misogynist” when they use it. It’s like shorthand.

And yes, I really don’t understand people backing up someone -blogging about others herself- by telling other people to stop writing about it and “leave her alone.” Biased much? The door indeed does swing both ways. This is blatantly obvious.

441 Pitchguest June 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Behold: the new generation of the atheist/sceptic movement.

https://twitter.com/AmandaMarcotte/status/336138763107446785

Oh, wait. It’s just Amanda Marcotte being crazy again. Nevermind.

442 Michael Nugent June 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I have put a comment into moderation because it used another term to refer to Ophelia, and that circumvented the moderation filter. The purpose of that filter is not to prevent the word Ophelia from being published, it is to ensure that I see any references to her before they are published or not published.

I don’t have time now to read the full comment, so it will have to wait in moderation until I can read it.

If you want to avoid a delay like this in your comments being published, and if you think that a single point within a longer comment might put your whole comment into moderation, you could consider posting that single point as a separate comment. That way, the rest of your comment should go through automatically.

443 Steersman June 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Pitchguest said (#442):

Behold: the new generation of the atheist/sceptic movement. …. Oh, wait. It’s just Amanda Marcotte being crazy again. Nevermind.

She’s not always crazy, although the case described certainly provides evidence to support the contention that she is. But I thought her article (1) in Raw Story made a reasonable point or two:

Free speech does not entitle you to: 2) To have others host your speech. This is a corollary to the first one. Facebook, blog comment sections, online forums, etc. are just like TV shows, radio shows, and magazines: Their house, their rules. They have built up an audience and they are not obligated to turn around and give you that audience to spew your garbage. Start your own damn website/magazine/forum.

Unfortunately her analogy, her argument, breaks down because she seems to be claiming some of the rights and benefits of magazines and, by extension, newspapers for her blogs and the like, but conveniently ignores the fact that those rights and benefits entail some responsibilities of one sort or another which she and many others apparently wish to avoid. Otherwise we have yellow journalism (2), cases in point being many Freefromthought blogs and their fellow travelers.

Curious that so many bleat about their rights, but so few talk about their responsibilities. However that is part of the reason why I support the previously noted principle, the moral precept, of having the option of “rebutting a false charge of [telling falsehoods]”. Or of rebutting falsehoods, period, in the venue where they were or are being peddled. And, one might note, if no one steps forward to rebut those charges, at least in responsible newspapers and blogs where odious and egregious censorship is not the order of the day, then most are likely to conclude that the charges probably carry some weight.

—-
1) “_http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/07/a-refresher-course-on-what-constitutes-free-speech/”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism”;

444 Steersman June 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

John Morales said (#434):

I note Pitchguest @436 and Steersman 437 are employing allusion and collusion, respectively — but not other terms.

You might also want to note that there is a difference between allusion and hypocrisy. You might wish to ask yourself which is the more odious – particularly in the case currently before this court of public opinion.

445 Daniel June 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

How do you mean steersman? ” there is a difference between allusion and hypocrisy”… in this case.

446 Steersman June 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Daniel said (#445):

How do you mean Steersman? ” there is a difference between allusion and hypocrisy”… in this case.

As suggested by John Morales, I was supposedly “guilty” of a “collusion to an allusion” in #437, but my post at least was alluding to what I think is some rather egregious hypocrisy. Not that I think that the principle suggested – i.e., having the right to confront one’s accusers – was fallacious or invalid. Only that its selective application qualified as hypocrisy – a case of “in-group morality and out-group hostility”; helluva way to run a railroad, much less a civilized society, if you ask me.

But apropos of which you might take a look at the post and comment at “sinmantyx” that addresses the concept entailed by that quote from the Bible above (Acts 25:16).

447 S Mason June 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

@Sister Eu June 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being an MRA, but they’re using it as something to insult or invalidate people, and it’s another word for “misogynist” when they use it. It’s like shorthand.

It’s a pretty reasonable shorthand though, right? If we look at those who self-identify as MRAs they very often don’t shy away from being quite openly misogynist: it’s a group with a high content of deeply offensive people in it. So sure: let’s have a new movement of men reclaiming that term and making it decent. Right now it’s pretty soiled.

And yes, I really don’t understand people backing up someone -blogging about others herself- by telling other people to stop writing about it and “leave her alone.” Biased much? The door indeed does swing both ways. This is blatantly obvious.

Try harder. The situations are not equivalent – however much you want them to be. On one side we have people who attack individuals with threats of (or were they jokes? or not worth noting – because they were just participation in portrayals of…) violence and sexual abuse, lies, misrepresentation – tweets, YouTube clips, websites established purely for the purpose.

On the other you have the targets/recipients of this treatment pointing out that this is just an amplification of the very thing they noted in the first place.

Your ‘blatantly obvious’ just doesn’t look so blatantly obvious to some of us. So maybe it’s not so blatant then?

448 Daniel June 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

sort of like the feminists then, except smaller and less support.

449 Daniel June 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

THere is a terrible habit alright of people, say feminists being aggressive and sexist.. often moronic, then when they are critisized for this they act like it proves they were right. Which of course they are not. No more than if I hit you in the face because I said you were violent and when you hit me back, I presented that as proof.

One thing that has to be gotten off the table is the ridiculous idea that feminism, or MRA groups are about equality. They are about advocating for their own groups getting equality where they don’t see it as being the case.

Why do we always have to wade through such utter rubbish before getting to the core of issues. The time for feminism is gone. They did a great job. Inequality based on gender is most striking and painful against men. THis would be in refernce to family law, where a father has no rights regarding his child if not married. The mother can, after years of everyone getting on, suddendly withdraw access, to hurt the father and with no regard for the child. Mothers behaving like this in family court is not an acception, it is par for the course. A female mediator told me it was embarresing for her as a mother to see how mothers/women behaved. This was the extreme vindictiveness, some people like to make this out to be a myth, but it is true.

450 Sister Eu June 18, 2013 at 1:02 am

I have to say I agree. I look at the lists and see that men -now- have more issues to clean up while women’s issues have gotten much more work.

But you seem to be saying that MRAs are all men and feminists are all women – are male feminists pushing the interests of their own group? Someone can also belong to either group if not both because they think those issues are being neglected most, but would also be an (whatever group they don’t call themselves officially a part of) in the mind.

Anyway, I’m not signing with either of these groups, too many bad fruits in them. I can’t read “feminist” things nor “MRA” things without coming across krap. So I’ll just call myself humanist, I guess.

451 Sister Eu June 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm

A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

” It’s not “harassment” it’s “bothering”.

It’s not “verbal abuse” it’s “ribbing”.

Amazing isn’t it…

And those aren’t “rape threats” they’re “dating tips…”

I’m really tired of them getting away with claiming verbal abuse with the pretty violent stuff they say that appears to be intended to be as offensive as possible, yet it’s not unwarranted “verbal abuse” for no god damn reason, it’s “cleaning up scum.” Insults themselves aren’t always unwarranted and this whole claiming abuse every time someone insults them is pretty damn hypocritical. Not once have I seen those types say that the stuff they say is abusive too. I mean, go get fucked with ___ (very painful instrument + more violent additives here)…. assuming that it’s not something they want,
how is that any different from saying “Go get raped?”

Hypocrisy gets on my nerves.
Funny, I don’t see anyone calling someone threatening to rape someone dating tips. But I do see things that amount to “go get raped.”

452 Sister Eu June 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

A Hermit June 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm

” It’s not “harassment” it’s “bothering”.

It’s not “verbal abuse” it’s “ribbing”.

Amazing isn’t it…

And those aren’t “rape threats” they’re “dating tips…”

I’m really tired of them getting away with claiming verbal abuse with the pretty violent stuff they say that appears to be intended to be as offensive as possible, yet it’s not unwarranted “verbal abuse” for no god damn reason, it’s “cleaning up scum.” Insults themselves aren’t always unwarranted and this whole claiming abuse every time someone insults them is pretty damn hypocritical. Not once have I seen those types say that the stuff they say is abusive too. I mean, go get fucked with ___ (very painful instrument + more violent additives here)…. assuming that it’s not something they want,
how is that any different from saying “Go get raped?”

Funny, I don’t see anyone calling someone threatening to rape someone dating tips. But I do see things that amount to “go get raped.”

But of course, every time someone says this, they act like they didn’t see it… every.. single… time. If they’re going to cower they could at least do it better – they keep on bringing up ‘verbal abuse’ even afterwards.

453 Lykas June 22, 2013 at 4:23 am

Sister Eu said in comment 450: “But you seem to be saying that MRAs are all men and feminists are all women – are male feminists pushing the interests of their own group? Someone can also belong to either group if not both because they think those issues are being neglected most, but would also be an (whatever group they don’t call themselves officially a part of) in the mind.

Anyway, I’m not signing with either of these groups, too many bad fruits in them. I can’t read “feminist” things nor “MRA” things without coming across krap. So I’ll just call myself humanist, I guess.”

I agree completely with Sister Eu. There are legitimate concerns from all sides involved (“feminist” or “MRAs”). Most “hot” topics could probably get a broad concensus from all sides.

But there are special interest groups located on extreme positions that are more concerned with their particular (not necessarily unworthy) goals, than working together on an achieveable solution to the benefit of all.

Are there injust outcomes from the proposed “solutions” of the “other” side? – Well, yes; there almost always are. And each individual judges the injustice towards themselves as the most important.

But this is not a new problem. In fact, the quest for a just society is one of the root drivers of the human experience.

Nobody has the _one_ correct solution. I am a mathematician. In my limited field of study I have to deal with problems that have exactly one solution, many solutions, an infinite number of solution and even problems where it is impossible to determine whether there is a solution or not. And this is in a field that follows very strict rules and all relevant conditions are very well defined!

I have worked in other branches of science (mostly in life science). In most fields outside of mathematics it is even more unlikely to achieve definite results.

The study of human interactions might be one of the most difficult fields of sciences ever undertaken. And definite answers to pressing problems or even consencus on solutions are not a reality yet.

So we are stuck with the only solution: working things out together. And as Michael has pointed out already, that requires:
– that we recognise our common goals
– that we respect that there are different approaches to these goals

But what I wuld like to add is: Debate/discussion about the the efficiency of different approaches is vital (as it is in science).

454 Steersman June 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

Lykas said (#453):

Nobody has the _one_ correct solution. …. The study of human interactions might be one of the most difficult fields of sciences ever undertaken. And definite answers to pressing problems or even consensus on solutions are not a reality yet.

Indeed.

A great many very different perspectives on which are the optimal solutions for any given problem. Which makes it rather difficult to decide or prove which ones are based on credible assumptions and therefore likely to lead to the required goal. In addition, as with paths to the top of a mountain, many ideas might lead to the same state, position or goal, although the social costs of each choice are unlikely to be the same.

On which point you might be interested in this post (1) by the scientist/philosopher Massimo Pigliucci on the topic of the limits of reasonable discourse. As a mathematician you might particularly appreciate his use of the biological and evolutionary model of a “fitness landscape” as an analogy to that process of discourse, and illustrates it with this graphic (2): one can start from only slightly different points in the saddle or valley and, using the same “logic” wind up in very different locations.

However, I think that the wicket gets decidedly much stickier when, even if we manage to elucidate all of the various assumptions, it is not at all clear, much less provable, which assumptions and premises actually correspond to “the truth”, or most likely to lead to the best outcome for all concerned. At which point one might argue that we might need to rely on some degree of faith, although not of the “blind” or “incongruent with known facts” variety.

—-
1) “_http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.ca/2010/10/limits-of-reasonable-discourse.html”;
2) “_http://i47.tinypic.com/2hgdcwj.jpg”;

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: