The atheist movement is global. It is not defined by the mostly American ‘deep rifts’ disagreements

by Michael Nugent on September 19, 2014

Thank you, Ophelia, for your response to my post about recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people. I am going to respond to all of your points over several posts, because I want to do justice to each point.

I am pleased that you wrote that this is probably a good suggestion:

‘I believe that we should robustly question the ideas and behaviour of people who are, or who are perceived to be, authority figures in our own spheres of activity. I also believe that everyone, on various sides of these disagreements, should reconsider what I describe as the ethos of “You must be more compassionate, you fuckbrained asshole!” ’

I am also pleased that you wrote:

‘There’s probably much in the post that I agree with. I skimmed much of it, and I probably agree with the skimmed part. I certainly agree that the Atheist Alliance International is a great thing. One of the many rewards of the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin last summer was meeting and talking to Carlos Diaz.’

In this post I am addressing the first two items of concern that you raised. Please consider each of these points on its own merit, rather than second-guessing how it will fit in with the other points that I will address later. These points are largely about setting a context.

Item 1: Using the FreeThought Blogs perceived side’ as shorthand

I wrote in my original post:

‘I believe that the approach taken by PZ Myers, and by some other people on (for shorthand) the FreeThought Blogs perceived ‘side’ of some disagreements, is counterproductive to these aims. It is also unjust and harmful in itself, because it routinely demonises decent people who support equality but who have a different approach to it.’

Ophelia responded:

‘That’s not a good shorthand. There are a lot of bloggers on this network, and many of them don’t write about disputes within Anglophone atheism and secularism at all. It’s not fair to them to keep using the name of the network as a “shorthand,” especially when so many people use it not as a shorthand but as a code for “what we all hate.” I think Michael was hinting at that himself, frankly.’

My response: That’s a fair point. I apologise for using that shorthand, as I agree that it is not fair on those FreeThought Bloggers who don’t write about these disagreements. I’ll use something else in future. I’m open to (constructive) suggestions from anybody.

And I wasn’t hinting at code for “what we all hate”, because I don’t hate anybody involved in these disagreements.

Item 2: Recent media focus on American bloggers and activists

I wrote in my original post:

‘Some of these more mainstream media analyses imply that there is a single ‘atheist movement’, and that it is best analysed through some opinions of some mostly American bloggers and activists who, while committed and sincere and doing good work, are not representative of atheist activism worldwide.’

Ophelia responded:

‘There’s a whiff of xenophobia there. The claim isn’t really true, and it’s a little bit creepy.

My response: Firstly, the claim is really true. Here is an overview of some of these more mainstream media analyses that imply that there is a single ‘atheist movement’, and that it is best analysed through some opinions of some mostly American bloggers and activists. Disclaimer: In this post, I am using ‘America’ as shorthand for ‘United States of America’.

Richard Dawkins: Atheism’s asset or liability?’, by Kimberley Winston in Religion News Service on 7 August, addressed the question: ‘Has the famous scientist become more of a liability than an asset for the movement he helped create?’

Apart from Richard, it quoted eight people, all Americans: Greta Christina, Amy Davis Roth, Phil Zuckerman, Amanda Marcotte, Ophelia Benson, Hemant Mehta, Adam Lee and Daniel Dennett. It also referred to another American, Rebecca Watson. Almost everybody quoted was broadly on the same side of the question being examined.

When referring to the proportion of atheists in society, it said:

‘In 2012, the Pew Research Center found 5.7 percent of Americans identified as either atheists or agnostics, up from 3.7 percent in 2007.’

There was no reference to the global belief trends that are key to the future of the atheist movement. For the Richard Dawkins Foundation, it linked to only the American website not the UK one. For the Women in Secularism conferences, it linked to only the American ones not the Ireland one.

Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?’ by Mark Oppenheimer in BuzzFeed on 12 September, asked ‘How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?’

It quoted fourteen people, all American: Alison Smith, Michael Shermer, Rebecca Watson, Steve Novella, Melody Hensley, Jen McCreight, Amy Davis Roth, Penn Jilette, Greta Christina, Ashley Miller, Pamela Gay, James Randi and Emery Emery and PZ Myers. Again, almost everybody quoted was broadly on the same side of the question being examined.

It described the history of ‘the movement’ exclusively in terms of American culture, saying:

‘But from the beginning, there has been a division in FreeThought between the humanists, who see atheism as one part of a larger progressive vision for society, and the libertarians, for whom the banishment of God sits comfortably with capitalism, gun rights, and free-speech absolutism.’

I doubt many atheist activist outside America would identify with that analysis.

Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name,’ by Adam Lee in The Guardian on 18 September, didn’t ask any question. It was an opinion piece that opened with its conclusion.

Apart from Richard, it quoted or cited five people, all Americans: Ophelia Benson, Sam Harris, Greta Christina, PZ Myers and Amy Roth Davis. This time, everybody quoted as distinct from cited was on the same side of the argument being made.

Setting the scene, it said that:

‘The atheist movement – a loosely-knit community of conference-goers, advocacy organizations, writers and activists – has been wracked by infighting the last few years over its persistent gender imbalance and the causes of it.’

That is simply not true. Most of the atheist movement around the world is not involved in this infighting, and many activists are either unaware of it or think it is a distraction of focus.

I personally think it is important, or I would not be devoting so much time to it against the advice of many friends and colleagues, but as a reality check to those who are absorbed by it, it is simply not the case that the atheist movement has been wracked by it.

An overview of these three articles

So let’s review these three articles. They all claim to be about ‘The’ atheist movement. There are 29 quotes or citations. Two are from Richard Dawkins, and the other 27 are from Americans. Greta and Amy are quoted in all three, and Ophelia, PZ and Adam in two of the three. All are referring in an American context to disagreements that are mostly between Americans, and most fall on the same side of those disagreements.

For clarity, I believe that the people quoted are sincere and hardworking and committed advocates for the opinions that they are expressing, and I thank them for their work in advancing secularism and a better society, often in the face of undeserved adversity and unfair personal attacks of the kind that I have consistently opposed.

Meanwhile, there are countless other atheist groups and activists around the world, engaging every day in similarly patient, hard, sometimes dangerous work to protect atheists and promote secularism in the developing world, with its often overt theocracies, and to protect and advance secularism in the developed world, which is typically more democratic.

I’ve described some of this work around the world in more detail in the original post, so I’m not going to repeat it here. But any credible analysis of ‘The’ atheist movement should recognise this global complexity, rather than focusing on one region and calling it ‘The’ atheist movement.

Is it xenophobic to notice this and refer to it?

Ophelia suggested that what I wrote about this had ‘a whiff of xenophobia’ and was ‘a bit creepy’. I have supported the truth of the claim before addressing this argument, in the hope that the ‘whiff of xenophobia’ was based on Ophelia’s belief that the claim was not really true.

I see nationality as an accident of birth, and as something to be neither proud of nor ashamed of. Ideally, I would like to see us all as global citizens, with global social justice responsibilities. Atheist Ireland’s work for secularism is largely based on applying international human rights law standards to Ireland. Also, I like America. My mother was an American citizen, as is my brother. More importantly, I loved Suzi Quatro and Alias Smith and Jones when I was a child!

I doubt that many people outside America will see any xenophobia in the observation that I have made about these articles, so I am mostly addressing American readers here. Imagine that you read several articles about the future of the American atheist movement, and they were all analysing activities mostly happening in one State, and quoting only people from that State. Would you see that as a reliable assessment of the future of the American atheist movement?

In my experience, this is something that some Americans do not notice, because the default culture in which many Americans function is American rather than international. Specifically, I do not believe that these American writers or activists see other countries as less important than America. They are just operating in a culture where this becomes a blind spot.

How Atheist Alliance International has evolved

This is not the first time that some atheist activists outside America have noticed this blind spot, in the context of the global atheist movement. Here’s a brief overview of the history of Atheist Alliance International.

Atheist Alliance was founded in America in 1991, after disagreements within American Atheists about the best ethos and structure for atheist advocacy. It gradually added new affiliates, including groups from other countries, and in 2001 changed its name to Atheist Alliance International. It was still based in America, with mostly American officers, and it lobbied directly in America as well as supporting its affiliates from other countries.

Around 2009/10, there were attempts in America to heal the old rifts between Atheist Alliance International and American Atheists. Atheist Alliance International made a provisional decision to disband AAI. The American affiliate groups were to merge with American Atheists, and the affiliate groups from other countries were asked to join with a newly-emerging French-based international FreeThought organisation.

I was part of a three-person delegation that went to Paris to meet with the French-based FreeThought organisation. We were representing the Irish, Danish and German atheist groups. We had several concerns about the nature of the proposal, including that the word ‘Atheist’ in our collective title would be replaced by the word ‘FreeThought’.

But mostly, we were concerned at the idea that an incident within America (the proposed ending of an old rift between atheist activists) should trigger the dissolution of an international organisation that was named Atheist Alliance International.

We were concerned that American members of Atheist Alliance International referred to us (the groups from countries outside America) as ‘the international affiliates’. We pointed out that every country is international from the perspective of every other country. It was not the case that America was the default, and every other group was ‘international’.

For clarity, we did not believe that the American activists saw the other countries as less important than America. And we are indebted to them for the excellent and often thankless work that they did over many years, to bring Atheist Alliance International to the stage where it could evolve into a truly international organisation.

We asked that the decision to disband AAI should be postponed, and that a new proposal should be considered. We asked that AAI should split into two separate organisations.

  • One would be named Atheist Alliance of America, and would consist of the America-based affiliate groups, which could then decide their own relationship with American Atheists.
  • The other would retain the name Atheist Alliance International, and would consist of all of the groups from every country, including America, all being involved as equals.

Our proposal was discussed and teased out at length before being voted on, and the launch of the newly restructured AAI occurred at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, Ireland in June 2011. AAI now has members all around the world, including America, all working together as equals rather than as ‘international’ appendages to an American organisation.

While Atheist Alliance International has the usual teething problems that any new group has, never mind a global group run mostly by volunteers, I am pleased and proud of what we have achieved in the past three years, including our consultative status at the United Nations.

I’ve described some of this work around the world in more detail in the original post, so I’m not going to repeat it here. But the evolution of AAI is an earlier example of how some aspects of American culture can result in some American people seeing global developments in American terms.

The other items of concern in Ophelia’s response

As I said, I’ll respond to the other items of concern in Ophelia’s response later. I also need to find time to go through all of the comments on my earlier posts about this, and I have a lot of Atheist Ireland work to focus on this week, including preparing for our contribution to the OSCE Human Dimension implementation Meeting in Warsaw at the end of the month. But I will get back to this as soon as I can.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 An Ardent Skeptic September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am

I’m a U.S. citizen and, when I read your previous post, I was pleased that you had pointed out that the reporting about the “deep rift” lacked perspective from organizations and spokespeople outside the U.S. And, to me, noting this fact didn’t come off as xenophobic or the least bit creepy.

2 Minnow September 19, 2014 at 9:44 am

I thought ‘xenophobic’ was a bit ott and provocative, but ‘creepy’? Where did that come from? How could it be creepy?

3 Pogsurf September 19, 2014 at 10:01 am

Thanks for the above post Michael.

Benson should issue a retraction of her claim of xenophobia, and should offer you an apology for this and the smear of ‘creepy’. It must hurt you on a personal level for her to have made these false claims.

4 Dave Allen September 19, 2014 at 10:19 am

He “must” be hurt by it?

He couldn’t, as an alternative, put it down to his previously stated position that the people involved are nice and reasonable when talking face to face or behind the scenes, but get intemperate when adopting online personas – and then get on with his brand of honest moderation without personal affront coming into it?

5 Jan Steen September 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

The U.S. is one of the western countries where an atheist movement is still very much needed due to the obvious and pernicious influence of religion in its society. What’s ironic and depressing is that the American atheist movement, which seemed to flourish only a few years ago, is being wrecked by the plague of the Social Justice Warriors, of whom Ophelia is just one of many interchangeable mouthpieces. They are actively supporting religion with their smear tactics.

Richard Dawkins, the world’s go-to atheist, is now being attacked on a daily basis, not only by creationists and other religious nutters, but even more viciously so by an assorted mob of hyper-PC SJWs, who have made a hobby of trying to find fault with his every utterance and who are thereby playing into the hands of the religious. The SJWs justify their takeover attempts by conjuring up largely vapid accusations of misogyny, sexism, racism and even rape within the a/s community and behave in general exactly like a cult.

It’s almost as if they have stolen and implemented the secret instruction manuals of Scientology, poorly camouflaged with a dressing of pseudo-scientific jargon from the underbelly of the social sciences.

6 Crackity Jones September 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Ophelia’s cheapshot suggestion of “xenophobia” really takes the biscuit.

Ophelia is someone who knows that these terms, such as “Islamophobia” get thrown around with no justification, as it has happened to her on numerous occasions. Ophelia has been called “Islamophobic” on the grounds of some of her articles being critical of Islam, or practices in Islamic countries, and most recognise those charges as BS.

Amazing she is trying the tactic in reverse, here.

7 noelplum99 September 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

I agree with the general concencsus here regarding the xenophobia/creepy comments.

Ophelia is one of those at the vanguard demanding more diverse representation at conferences. Is Ophelia being sexist and creepy when she complains of all the speakers being male; racist and creepy when she complains of all the speakers being white?

For someone so quick to accuse of doubling down and defensiveness, Ophelia makes a damned good stab at it herself.

8 MosesZD September 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Thank you, Michael, for illustrating that the issue is, in fact, a very small clique of (predominantly) closely-associated, individuals and their sycophants who pass this groups claims on whole cloth instead of spending any time and effort to dig further into the issue.

Also, speaking as an American atheist, thank you for pointing out the rift issue really is (mostly) an American-blogger identity politics issue I think one of the biggest problems in the Atheist community is we get WAY TOO MUCH VITRIOL from the identity-politics-wallowing American-blogger side and not enough stable input and push-back from the European side.

Which gets me to my last point — where were you years ago when this hijacking of atheism by the identity politics crowd was obvious? Why have you continued to invite these troublemakers and gadflies to conferences when they add nothing to the discussion that can’t be added by people who are not polemics? That very small group of people is not about acceptance or community building or even rational argumentation. It is, right from their mouths and the safety of their keyboards, about blaming and shaming and demonizing others for differences in opinions while imposing their utopian world-view and mores or the rest of us.

9 Shermertron September 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Minnow @ 2

“Creepy” is a common catch-all insult for a man’s actions. It follows the unfair societal stereotype that men are only motivated by the idea of taking advantage of women. “He looked at your public Twitter feed? Creepy!” “I can’t believe that he remembered your birthday; you’ve only been working in the same office for twenty years. Creepy!”

I’ve never understood how Ophelia manages to cram so much offensive material into so little actual typing.

10 Rowena September 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for writing these posts. I’m mostly out of touch with the ‘atheist/skeptic movement’ today so I’m not really familiar with your work but you strike me as being a very thoughtful and fair minded person.

I have, though, been quietly following the Dawkins/Harris vs FTB debate and I’m glad that people are finally starting to pay attention. I’ve long been bothered by the smear campaigns, lies and open hostility toward free exchange of ideas coming from the social justice wing of the atheist movement. I’m sorry that your fairly mild comments here have now put you in their cross hairs. I’m sorry that speaking your mind has marked you out for accusations of ‘xenophobia’ and ‘creepiness’. It’s pretty typical of them that they would do this.

I just wanted to let you know that I think this discussion is an important one, and I hope you don’t let their insults intimidate you.

11 arthur September 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I’m English, and I think the behaviour of Dawkins on twitter has been abominable. Just enter his name into the search bar of twitter and notice that many of those similarly repulsed are European, not from the US.

Listen, the main story here, the problem here, is the antics of Richard Dawkins. He is making an odour of himself talking nonsense on twitter. His reputation has collapsed. And people are calling him on it.

If you can’t see this, you are deluded.

12 Minnow September 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

“Listen, the main story here, the problem here, is the antics of Richard Dawkins. He is making an odour of himself talking nonsense on twitter. His reputation has collapsed. And people are calling him on it.”

His reputation is intact, hardly anyone knows about his twitter indiscretions outside of a small corner of the media and correspondingly esoteric reaches of the blogosphere. You might thing his tweets misguided and should feel free to say so, but that shouldn’t entail demonising him. if you can’t make a hit while dealing with the facts but have to try to diminish the man instead, it may be your case isn’t as strong as you think.

“If you can’t see this, you are deluded.”

You do see the irony of that don’t you?

13 Derek Walsh September 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Eminently sensible as usual, Michael.
Disappointing and baffling that one of the key players has chosen to describe it as incoherent.

14 Shatterface September 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm

The charge of ‘xenophobia’ is hilarious. If a movement was predominantly white, male, heterosexual, or whatever they’d be told to check their privilege – but point out that it is dominated by people from the worlds one remaining superpower and you are a racist.

Yes, the online atheist movement is dominated by US academics, and obsessed with issues largely irrelevant outside the US (religious people outside the US aren’t generally gun nuts). I suppose ethnocentricity is inevitable when your media announces the death of African American Nelson Mandela.

In fairness Ophelia Benson’s blog is international in scope; but she is using spurious charges of ‘xenophobia’ in a way that is symptomatic of FTB; and ‘creepy’ is exactly the same term they use for date rapists.

15 Shatterface September 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm

His reputation is intact, hardly anyone knows about his twitter indiscretions outside of a small corner of the media and correspondingly esoteric reaches of the blogosphere.

Dawkins reputation rests largely on his scientific achievements – as opposed to, say, online bullying, tentacle porn and a stunt with some crackers.

16 allison September 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I appreciate your attention to media bias in this article, Michael. I don’t know where these “journalists” get the impression that people like Greta Christina and Amy Davis Roth are important figures in the “atheist movement” – their views certainly do not represent mine in any form.

17 Phil Giordana FCD September 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm

It is quite interesting to note that, as always, it’s the usual FTB/Skepchick suspects being in the limelight. Any reasons, you think?

18 Jack Rawlinson September 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Sterling work here, Michael.

The tossing of words like “xenophobic” and “creepy” at perfectly reasonable, cautiously-reasoned pieces like Michael’s original one is, as we have all noticed, simply par for the course for the sort of people he is taking to task. They throw out these words like MRA, misogynist, sexist, racist, xenophobe etc. as an attempt to shame into silence and to demonise, because they know very well that these words are deep slurs to any person of a liberal bent (as most atheists are). They are applying them inappropriately, and are plainly not adverse to grossly misrepresenting or sarcastically restating a target’s words in order to try to disguise the fact (e.g. Benson’s snide, uncharitable restatement of Michael’s reference to Freethought Blogs).

You are showing more patience with these people and their low tactics than I have left, and I commend you for it. I have long since given up trying to have meaningful interactions with them.

19 Ariel September 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

“And I wasn’t hinting at code for “what we all hate”, because I don’t hate anybody involved in these disagreements.”

Just wanted to say that this has been my favorite fragment of your OP. Maybe because you made it sound believable?

Good luck.

20 Shatterface September 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Ophelia is someone who knows that these terms, such as “Islamophobia” get thrown around with no justification, as it has happened to her on numerous occasions. Ophelia has been called “Islamophobic” on the grounds of some of her articles being critical of Islam, or practices in Islamic countries, and most recognise those charges as BS.

It’s a form of weaponised victimhood.

21 Pogsurf September 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm

He “must” be hurt by it?

I confess I was projecting here. I know that Michael has worked on at least one international conference where Benson appeared. I expect, but I don’t know, that he got involved with chats behind the scenes, socialising, and maybe helping with domestic issues such as collection/drop-off at the airport, help with accommodation etc. etc.

In short, I believe that Michael has been on normal friendly human terms with Benson that occur when you meet face-to-face. If that was me, and then I got a stab in the back, I would be hurt.

Other possibilities could occur. I hadn’t considered, for instance, that Michael might be a complete sociopath and as such be immune to feelings of this kind. But I strongly suspect my first instinct was correct. How about you?

22 Dave Allen September 19, 2014 at 7:36 pm

“How about you?”

What I find refreshing about Micheal’s approach, and why I think it might result in more progress than alternative approaches in terms of getting people to be more honest, is that it isn’t about his feelings, in particular.

So in asking me to speculate as to his feelings, your inviting me to participate in the sort of thing I regard as counterproductive regarding Michael’s approach.

I like that he’s sticking to sensibly dispassionate appraisals of what’s actually been known to have been said and done.

23 Pogsurf September 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm

When you said “without personal affront” at #4 I had assumed you were talking about Michael’s feelings, Dave. But your comment at #19 directly contradicts this.

Perhaps you could clarify what you meant here?

24 Jan Steen September 19, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Ophelia Benson on Stephanie Zvan’s blog:

“Meanwhile Nugent (along with Derek Walsh, also of Atheist Ireland) is accusing me of defamation on Twitter – or did, rather, and then ran away.

I’m beyond disgusted.”

Accusing someone of xenophobia and creepy behaviour and then acting outraged when the person complains about the accusation. Ophelia is such a shameless hypocrite that she almost gives PZ and Zvan a run for their money. Quite an achievement, that.

25 The Shark Tooth September 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

I honestly can’t believe this is still going on. A high profile speaker says something that is clearly taken out of context, and BAM! He get’s slammed in the blogosphere. This is the problem with social media. It’s powerful for both, good and bad.

There is a difference between realism and idealism. Unfortunately for some feminists (and I say some because I just found out there are different feminist movements) you can’t say absolutely anything that might be considered offensive. Even if it’s by mistake. (Same thing applies to blacks, latinos, mentally disabled, etc, etc, etc).

I really do not think Sam Harris, or Dawkins, or any of those people are sexist. Are you kidding me?! Have they said things that might be said better. Sure. But we are literally going against ourselves.

For some “feminists”, it is not “feminist enough” that some women are accomplished doctors, lawyers, or actors, who also like to dress in high heels and wear make up (Look and the bashing Sofia Vergara got at the Grammys).

Atheist bloggers bashing each other will hurt them as much as women bashing other women hurts them.

26 Jan Steen September 19, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I hadn’t read the Twitter exchange before, so I misunderstood the context of the defamation remark. Apparently, Benson has written to Michael: “Why are you telling us to keep reports of sexual harassment secret?”

Yes, that is even worse than accusing someone of xenophobia and creepiness.

Of course, those who have been fighting the FTB outrage machine have long known that this kind of thing is standard operating procedure for them. If they don’t like you they try to smear you, preferably with something related to sex. I hope this finally opens Michael’s eyes and makes him realize what kind of people we are dealing with when it comes to Benson, Zvan and Myers. Let them drown in their outrage tears is my advice.

27 Shatterface September 19, 2014 at 8:54 pm

In political terms what we are seeing is ‘entryism': ideologues infiltrating pre-existing movements and taking over their organisational structure (much like a virus).

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entryism

It’s very like the recent Islamist attempt to take over secular schools in Birmingham. Why set up new faith schools when you can take over existing schools?

There’s a similar belief that the sexes have to be separated because boys can’t control their urges, the slut-shaming of immodest women, a belief in the inherent evils of alcohol, ostentatious claims of chastity and abstinence, the extension of the taxonomy of victimhood to characterise and criticism as bigotry (along the lines of ‘Islamophobia’).

FTB needs an Ofsted inspection.

28 Minnow September 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm

This is all getting very surreal. Ophelia Benson is now accusing michael nugent of ‘running away’ from her on Twitter. She can’t really think like that surely, so what’s going on?

29 Crackity Jones September 19, 2014 at 10:29 pm

I have asked (and so have a number of others) Ophelia Benson to QUOTE where Michael said anything about “keep[ing] reports of sexual harassment secret?”

So far, tumbleweed. This is a typical hit-and-run drool attack from one of the FTBullies, who now runs off to her own blog (and fellow blogs like bully Stephanie Zvan) to misrepresent and start building their victimhood false narrative.

Quite how they are able to fool so many defies belief.

In summary, we NEED to drive Ophelia Benson (and her friends) out of the atheist/skeptic community. Keep on challenging them on Twitter, point out their lies, highlight their defence of “Ogvorbis”, and ban/shun them from/at conferences. Squeeze them dry.

30 Shatterface September 19, 2014 at 10:57 pm

This is all getting very surreal. Ophelia Benson is now accusing michael nugent of ‘running away’ from her on Twitter. She can’t really think like that surely, so what’s going on?

She apparently thinks Ireland is separated from the UK by water. Funny, I distinctly remember roadblocks between the Republic and Northern Ireland when I was last there. Maybe she’s throwing in with the Republican cause.

31 Dave Allen September 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

“When you said “without personal affront” at #4 I had assumed you were talking about Michael’s feelings, Dave. But your comment at #19 directly contradicts this.

Perhaps you could clarify what you meant here?”

My comment at #4 began with “he couldn’t, as an alternative…” and then went on to illustrate an alternative which I feel is not only based on his actual words on the matter, but couched in terms so as to allow for exception.

I see this as different from speculation as to his feelings, because I’m suggesting a possible alternative to the one you said must be the case.

Moreover, I’d suggest you regard my later post as an explanation for why I was unwilling to respond to your question. It wasn’t an effort on my part to construct an unassailable philosophical system of strict morality that I could then boast for my own behavior. There are times when I might forget to utilize the same standards I’d advise at other times – though I don’t think this is one of them.

32 Blueshift Rhino September 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Hey, Michael, don’t tell Americans not to have rifts; teach Irish elevators not to cause them.

33 Patrick Doyle June 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Well said! As an American atheist, I get a bit sick of people with parochial issues attempting to “piggy-back” on the atheist movement. I will try to follow your blog more closely in the future, as you seem to be close to the epitome of what a proper atheist and skeptic should be. Of course, I am the actual epitome of that :-)

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: