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.

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{ 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 “cobweb cunt” 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 “cobweb cunt” 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

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