The smears get increasingly serious as PZ Myers crosses a new line

by Michael Nugent on October 7, 2014

In recent weeks, since I defended Richard Dawkins and the atheist movement from misrepresentations and smears in mainstream media articles, I have become the target of similar smears on various blogs. You can read details here.

Now PZ Myers has crossed a new line by publicly alleging that I am defending rapists (that’s rapists, plural) because certain people comment on my blog. The desensitisation process is ratcheting along, with increasingly serious allegations now being casually made as if they were normal discourse.

Given the limit of hours in a day, I’m not going to follow every Gish Gallop of increasingly bizarre smears that are now targeted at me, particularly given the flexibility of interpretation that some people grant themselves in using phrases like providing a haven for harassers and misogynists.

But I will not let go unanswered the serious and unambiguous smear that I am defending rapists, made publicly by a prominent atheist and academic. I ask PZ to withdraw it and apologise. I also include some recent advice from PZ himself about how to properly apologise.

Please be responsible when commenting on this post. Thanks.

PZ’s allegation and his justification

PZ made the allegation on Twitter last Saturday.

PZ Twitter Smear

Here’s the exchange in text format:

Derek Walsh wrote that: “It’s increasingly odd to see @DaylightAtheism continuing to declare what he believes @micknugent really thinks.”

PZ replied to Derek: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Derek replied to PZ: “that’s an incredibly serious accusation and one completely unsupported by evidence. But you know both those things already.”

PZ replied to Derek: “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

Derek replied to PZ: “Let me get this straight: Your evidence that he defends rapists is that people who don’t like you comment on his blog? Seriously?!”

Peter Ferguson also replied to PZ: “How does slymepitters commenting on his blog = defending a rapist?” PZ declined to answer this question from either Derek or Peter.

Parking for a moment PZ’s tactic of guilt-by-association, his allegation that some people who comment on my blog are rapists is a very serious matter if it is true. Victims of rape deserve justice, and potential future victims deserve to be protected from rapists.

If PZ believes that some people commenting on my blog are rapists, I ask him to please report them to the police, along with any evidence that he believes he has about these serious crimes, rather than talk about it on Twitter.

Returning to his tactic of guilt-by-association (or more precisely, guilt by association with unsubstantiated allegations), and whatever he may believe about people who comment on other websites, PZ is simply factually wrong when he writes that I am defending rapists.

It is a serious and defamatory allegation, and I ask him to withdraw it and apologise for making it.

PZ’s advice on how to apologise

Last Thursday, two days before accusing me of defending rapists, PZ wrote a post on his blog about how to apologise properly.

PZ was criticising Neil deGrasse Tyson for what PZ considered to be an inadequate apology for falsely quoting George Bush (Tyson had paraphrased President Bush saying that God had named the stars, and had been mistaken about the context in which he said it).

This is what PZ wrote:

NO. That’s not how you respond. Allow me to help out, Dr Tyson. Here’s how it should go:

  • Appreciate the assistance with improving your accuracy.
    Thank you for pointing that out to me.
  • A brief explanation is appropriate.
    Human memory is fallible, and I clearly confabulated and misattributed the quote.
  • Admit and apologize.
    I was wrong, and retract that comment.
  • Promise to correct the behavior (this is important, and note, if you continue to do the same thing in the future, you’ve really screwed over your reputation.* Sincerely change).
    I won’t use that quote in the future.

See? Not hard. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Move on. Critic is either satisfied, or looks petty if they keep harping on it. But jeez, you were wrong, as all of us mere humans are now and then, acknowledge it and do better.

Otherwise, congratulations: you’ve just given a group of conservative religious morons who already despise you a hammer to bash you with, and bash you accurately. The extended dodge just gives more ammunition to the critic, which he can use appropriately (to find more examples of errors, and use them to accuse you of being fast and loose with the facts) or inappropriately (as this critic does, to start quoting theology and use your evasiveness to prop up idiotic arguments about god). Either way, you’re doing yourself, and the rest of us, no favor.

* That would be the Duane Gish approach, who repeatedly had factual errors in his presentations pointed out to him, but would then blithely continue using them in subsequent presentations. Creationists can do that because they don’t have a reputation for honesty, anyway. Don’t be Duane Gish.

I invite PZ to take his own advice when apologising to me.

Postscript

As an aside, when giving this advice, PZ was criticising Neil deGrasse Tyson for what PZ considered to be an inadequate apology for falsely quoting George Bush.

This the section that PZ quoted from the apology he was criticising:

When eager scrutinizers looked for the quote they could not find it, and promptly accused me of fabricating a Presidential sentence. Lawyers are good at this. They find something that you get wrong, and use it to cast doubt on everything else you say. Blogosphere headlines followed, with accusations of me being a compulsive liar and a fabricator.

And this is what PZ left out when quoting from the apology he was criticising:

For a talk I give on the rise and fall of science in human cultural history I occasionally paraphrase President George W. Bush from one of his speeches, remarking that our God is the God who named the stars, and immediately noting that 2/3 of all star-names in the night sky are Arabic…

As others had uncovered, the President indeed utter the following sentences: “In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today.”

But I was wrong about when he said it. It appears in his speech after the Columbia Shuttle disaster, eighteen months after September 11th 2001. My bad. And I here publicly apologize to the President for casting his quote in the context of contrasting religions rather than as a poetic reference to the lost souls of Columbia. I have no excuse for this, other than both events — so close to one another — upset me greatly. In retrospect, I’m surprised I remembered any details from either of them.

Perhaps PZ might also consider taking his own advice and apologising to Neil deGrasse Tyson for misrepresenting what he wrote in his apology to President Bush.

Edit – Some guidelines on commenting here

Please don’t say that named people are lying unless you can support that they know they are saying something untrue. Please feel free to say (and support) that they are saying something that is untrue or false or any similar description. But saying that they are lying implies that they know that it is untrue, which is judging their motive for saying it.

I have removed several comments by GMeters that were prejudging a specific allegation against a named person, as well as making the bizarre implication that I have a financial stake in ignoring the crimes of my compatriots, whatever that might mean. Please don’t do that again.

Also, I have removed some comments that were speculating on unproven allegations of sexual assault or rape against three other people. For clarity, none of these people post on the website that PZ has linked to rapists, and they each revealed these allegations themselves on another network.

So please respect these guidelines while commenting here:

  • Please feel free to discuss the best ways to combat and minimise rape, by individuals, organisations, rape crisis professionals, the police or society generally.
  • Please feel free to discuss your own experiences, as some people have.
  • Please don’t speculate on specific unproven allegations against other specific named people.

Thanks.

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{ 559 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephen Duggan October 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

That’s it; PZ Myers has jumped the shark.

2 allison October 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

“Name names, always name names, and always do your best to be specific. It is right and proper as good skeptics to confront and provoke and challenge, and you have to be direct about it. ” -PZ Myers, ‘Always Name Names’, Pharyngula, July 2, 2011.

Please name the rapists who are commenting at Michael Nugent’s blog, PZ.

3 Dave October 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm

One thing that I think you didnt address: Even if “slymepitters” was synonymous with “rapists” (and it isnt outside of PZ and his horde’s imagination) that still wouldnt leave you guilty of defending rapists. At most, by allowing them to comment on your blog, you would be guilty of tolerating rapists, but that is a far different thing.

IOW, PZ appears to be both conflating people he doesnt like with rapists as well as toleration of opposing points of view with defense of such views and those who speak them. Unfortunately, neither conflation is surprising from him.

4 sinister October 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Michael,
I know the personal attacks are frustrating, and I appreciate you taking the time to lay them out for discussion. Setting that aside, I want to thank you for not saying simply, “they are not me,” but actually standing up for us and asking for him to make good on these accusations. The casual use of “rapist” as a personal attack needs to stop. It is a serious and important issue that when used in this manner is abhorrent. I think it means a lot to many of us when you disallow these tactics to pass by unnoticed. Thank you.

5 Coel October 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I really think that certain FTBloggers no longer realise quite what they are saying. They have developed a style of routine sarcastic hyperbole as they run high-profile blogs, often posting multiple posts per day. With that pressure to feed their audience, and then egged on by that same audience, they have got so used to their sarcastic hyperbole that they now see it as normal. They think routine misrepresentation and exaggeration is normal and appropriate, because to them it now is normal. Any complaint about these exaggerations gets dismissed as “nitpicking”, because they genuinely don’t see what is wrong with it.

6 john welch October 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Seriously though, PZ has decided that rapist no longer has a specific meaning: “someone who has raped someone else”, but rather means, in true Carrollian fashion, whatever he wishes it to mean.

It’s a classic Scientology tactic. The people he doesn’t like are Suppressive Persons, and therefore any and all tactics used against them are fair game. So, he ensures that his followers, the “Clear” and other right-minded people don’t even attempt to listen to any arguments the SPs might make by labeling them “harassers”, “misogynists” and “rapists”.

When some of the words, i.e. “rapist” don’t really apply, you redefine them to have a broader meaning so they now apply. Misogynist and harasser of course, can have about any meaning you want them to have. Once the SPs have been properly labled, then of course they aren’t listened to. My god, they’re RAPISTS!

PZ is, sadly, playing the same game that any fundamentalist plays. I noticed the correlation to Scientology years ago, so I use those terms, but really, any fundamentalist of any belief system does the same things for the “others”.

Another analogy I like for this behavior is from “Return of the Archons”, (Star Trek, Original Series), where if you are “not of the body” then Landru or its lawgivers force your compliance.

PZ’s been othering any who disagree for years. His most blatant action was this post: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/never-forget/.

Nothing PZ says or does surprises me anymore. He’s a two-bit Hubbard in every way, his dishonest quote mining of Tyson’s apology further proves this.

I understand why you want an apology from him Michael, and I agree he owes you one, but you’ve better chance of turning into a Yeti in downtown Dublin on St. Patrick’s day than actually getting one.

7 Lancelot Gobbo October 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

So I, along with many fine individuals who happen to find PZ distasteful, are “harassers, misogynists and rapists” – or was PZ just being “economical with the truth”?

8 Rashiv October 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

PZ keeps setting ’em up, Michael Nugent keeps knockin’ then down.

This is what the online atheist community needs to see – respected leaders like Nugent shining a bright light upon the despicable tactics used by the likes of PZ Myers and his gang. Everyone needs to see the slime (ironic, eh?) that oozes from PZ and his cronies. Keep it up, Mr. Nugent. *applause*

Oh, and Mr. Nugent? You’ll never receive that apology. PZ Myers has the mentality (and certitude) of a religious fanatic, and as you know religious fanatics always think of themselves as right in all instances.

9 Jan Steen October 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Myers has been jumping sharks on a daily basis for years now.

I would also appreciate an apology. An apology for the implication that I am a harasser, misogynist and rapist, just because I happen to post on some internet forum.

Of course, there will be no apology forthcoming. As I said, Myers has already jumped many sharks before, for example when he compared people who oppose his peculiar brand of feminism with the mass murderer Marc Lépine. Several commenters on that post then said in so many words that the only reason why slymepitters don’t murder women is because they are too cowardly. If you don’t believe me, and I would understand if you didn’t, these things have all been documented. Links available on request. :)

I have also read on Pharyngula the claim that slymepitters regularly send rape and death threats. Needless to say, that’s a complete fabrication too.

These things annoy me, but they don’t surprise me anymore. Smearing and slandering: it’s all in a day’s work for Peezus and his Flock.

Anyway, don’t hold your breath waiting for that apology, Michael. We don’t want to lose you.

10 sinister October 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I am sure that there isn’t a whole lot of leeway in how these Tweets can be interpreted. Accusations of rape are a serious matter and always should be treated as such, which is of course why the usual suspects from the last few posts will be here soon to condemn PZ right?

All snark aside, now we find out just how serious rape accusations are to be taken, especially when lobbed by PZ.

11 HH October 7, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Just as a point of clarification. I have commented on these posts and have never visited the slymepit. Now please don’t take this as an implied suggestion that slymepitters are people I don’t like (or even rapists – seriously that is too stupid an accusation to warrant a response).

I only say I have never been to the slymepit as a point of fact and to dissuade anyone who thinks it is only slymepitters commenting here. I can say that the comment sections on this series of posts has been a damn sight more civilised than what one would generally find on Pharyngula.

Slymepitters, from what I have seen of them, are generally people unwilling to tow anyone’s party line be it on atheism as a perspective or on social justice issues. They also seem to be actual skeptics. Probably why they so dispised on the ironically named “Free Thought Blogs”. FTB is choc full of Dogma and authority and any attempt to discuss logic or evidence is quashed under an avalanche of strawmanning, well-poisoing, and accusations.

I am certain there are some terrible people who visit the slymepit, just as there are terrible people in every group. I have yet to see a scintilla of actual evidence that slymepitters have done anything but ridicule a bunch of self-righteous idealogues who smear anyone who doesn’t Kowtow to their royal decrees.

12 Jimbo October 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

“That’s it; PZ Myers has jumped the shark.”

PZ jumped the shark in 2011, but too many people back then and for years afterward were too willing to give him and his friends the benefit of the doubt. His attitude and treatment of people has not changed since then, he just got around to attacking someone you know and respect.

13 Jimbo October 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm

“he just got around to attacking someone you know and respect” <- or more accurately, someone you weren't willing to throw under the bus.

14 DW Adams October 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm

It’s good to see the growing push back regarding Myers. My respect for him ran out years ago. Though, I do find the idea of a class action lawsuit for defamation/libel from The Slyme Pit hilarious.

15 James Caruthers October 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

It seems commenting on a message board is sufficient for entry into the Rape Club (a club to which at least one of PZ’s regulars belongs, by his own admission, if indeed [named person] can be trusted.)

I have never seen anyone even imply on the Slymepit that they were in any way implicated in a sex crime. If this were true (it’s not, but for the sake of argument,) then how would PZ have received this information? By telepathy? I suppose he would have to have known someone from the ‘pit, or known someone who knew someone who knew someone, as in the case of the “grenade” post. But he named a name in that case, and he has refused to name names here.

I hope it’s transparently obvious what PZ is doing. The accusation IS the evidence. By saying a thing while in his virtual hugbox, he makes it true in the minds of those who trust him. That such a statement is almost certainly untrue is irrelevant, because it is now Known among Right-Thinking FTBloggers that slymepitters = rapists and harassers. Being a misogynist is not a crime and so not a criminal accusation (not at risk for libel suit,) but harassment and rape are crimes.

I find it humorous that I left fundamentalist christianity over this sort of hugbox, self-reinforcing in-group tribalism, and now see it repeated here. One hopes PZ’s fans and admirers will exercise due diligence and inquire as to the identity and posts of these slymepit “rapists.”

For someone who spends an awful lot of time browsing the Slymepit (as PZ, Zvan, Benson and others do,) it’s telling that they never comment. Nothing stops them from signing up to leave a comment decrying the awful “rape” happening on the Pit, and every poster there would defend their right to speak. I hope it’s now obvious why PZ doesn’t engage directly: the Slymepit functions as a convenient boogieman for when he needs to bully a consensus.

16 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Myers did not apologise for judging [a named person] guilty without proof; don’t hold your breath for an apology about this. The man has sunk so far below the level of common decency I seriously doubt his cancerously inflated ego will allow him to claw his way back. He is beyond the pale, and should be treated as such.

I say again: sometimes I find the British libel laws too strong. Other times I wish similarly robust laws existed in America.

17 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I’m not a ‘Slymepitter’ and I don’t know which posters are but unless Myers has some evidence they are all rapists he is (a) libelling a hell of a lot of people, and (b) trivialising rape to an extent that would have feminists calling for his sacking if they knew who he was.

Haven’t been on FTB for a while either so missed him exercising his privilege and slapping deGrasse Tyson down for getting ‘upitty’ with a former president.

Cis white hetero shitlords gotta keep punching down or their fists get soft.

18 Heather Dalgleish October 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

It strikes me that you don’t seem even the slightly concerned by his allegation that you provide a haven for “misogynists” and “harassers”, and nor are you interested in substantive evidence demonstrating that certain specific individuals fit that bill – it’s just the R-word in particular that makes you gasp in horror at its seriousness. Why?

It’s nice that you consider rape serious – but you should at least try to comprehend PZ’s intent, before sensationalising the situation yourself. His allegation was that the Slymepit is full of “misogynists, harassers and rapists”, and that your blog was becoming host to these people – not that you personally were trying to promote or defend misogyny or rape.

His allegation is that you are creating a safe environment for “those kinds”. Perhaps you could tackle that allegation instead of whiting out at the mention of rape.

Rape is serious – but it is also far too common to be getting precious about. It may be a serious claim, but it is not an extraordinary claim.

19 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

By the way, I am not a Slymepitter, but on the rare occasions I have browsed that site I have never seen anything to match the venom, splenetic abusiveness and rabid monstering that regularly used to occur at Pharyngula.

20 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I say again: sometimes I find the British libel laws too strong. Other times I wish similarly robust laws existed in America.

Worth pointing out Nugent is posting under far stricter (Irish) libel laws than Myers.

If the roles were reversed I doubt Myers would put his head over the parapet.

21 sinister October 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Well, here we go! Thank you, Heather Dalgleish.

‘Rape is serious, but not too serious, why so serious?’

Awesome.

22 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm

It strikes me that you don’t seem even the slightly concerned by his allegation that you provide a haven for “misogynists” and “harassers”, and nor are you interested in substantive evidence demonstrating that certain specific individuals fit that bill – it’s just the R-word in particular that makes you gasp in horror at its seriousness. Why?

Put up or shut up: name the Slymepit rapists.

Posters here have repeatedly named the self-confessed paedophile Myers did give a safe haven to.

23 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

@Heather Dalglish

“It strikes me that you don’t seem even the slightly concerned by his allegation that you provide a haven for “misogynists” and “harassers”, and nor are you interested in substantive evidence demonstrating that certain specific individuals fit that bill”

@Michael Nugent:

“…his allegation that some people who comment on my blog are rapists is a very serious matter if it is true. Victims of rape deserve justice, and potential future victims deserve to be protected from rapists. If PZ believes that some people commenting on my blog are rapists, I ask him to please report them to the police, along with any evidence that he believes he has about these serious crimes, rather than talk about it on Twitter.”

Do you think we don’t notice flat lies, Heather?

24 Jan Steen October 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

By the way, I am not a Slymepitter, but on the rare occasions I have browsed that site I have never seen anything to match the venom, splenetic abusiveness and rabid monstering that regularly used to occur at Pharyngula.

Most of the time the ‘Pit is just tasteless GIFs, silly photoshops, boring discussions about, say, Lord of the Rings, and displays of the latest idiocy emanating from the world of SJWs. Punctuated by rape and death threats, of course.

25 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

By the way, I’m interested, Heather. Please provide hard evidence that anyone who has commented on these recent posts is a misogynist, a harasser or a rapist. Note: accepted dictionary definitions of those words will apply, not the Lexicon of Faux-Liberal Newspeak & Thoughtcrime

26 Richard October 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I hate PZ Myers, and I’ve hated him long before elevatorgate. He represents everything that’s bad about atheism. He’s clever and mean and proud of it. And please spare me the excuse that he’s nice in person. In the immortal words of Gertrude Stein, “A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.”

27 Shermertron October 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Heather @ 18:

You say, “It’s nice that you consider rape serious – but you should at least try to comprehend PZ’s intent, before sensationalising the situation yourself.”

As FTB folks love to point out, “intent is not magic.”

You say, “It strikes me that you don’t seem even the slightly concerned by his allegation that you provide a haven for “misogynists” and “harassers”, and nor are you interested in substantive evidence demonstrating that certain specific individuals fit that bill – it’s just the R-word in particular that makes you gasp in horror at its seriousness. Why?”

Well, the FTB folks have redefined “misogyny” and “harassment” beyond all meaning.

Are you suggesting that people who disagree with PZ and who agree with Mr. Nugent shouldn’t have a place to share their ideas? That Mr. Nugent shouldn’t allow dissent against the awful things that PZ and company do and say?

28 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Rape is serious – but it is also far too common to be getting precious about. It may be a serious claim, but it is not an extraordinary claim.

It is an extraordinary claim if you are openly claiming Michael Nugent is complicit in rape by hosting a site frequented by rapists.

29 Jan Steen October 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

@Heather Dalgleish,

It’s nice that you consider rape serious – but you should at least try to comprehend PZ’s intent, before sensationalising the situation yourself.

Intent is not magic, Heather, like you SJWs always say.

30 LeSchlumb October 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Yea yea, we all know how stupid and absurd PZ’s accusations are.

But: What are we going to do about it ?

Do we really want this to continue till the end of time? Getting smeared and slandered with ever-increasing viciousness by the #FTBullies ? I think this gone on for much too long already.

31 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I suspect Myers hostility to deGrasse Tyson is motivated by NdGT’s recent snarky comments about philosophy and Myers is white knighting on behalf of Benson’s discipline.

It’s not like Myers is devoting much time to ‘science’ these days – fish tanks practically clean themselves. I’m sure Myers could get a job in the philosophy department sharpening pencils.

32 Patrick October 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Heather Dalgleish @18
‘It strikes me that you don’t seem even the slightly concerned by his allegation that you provide a haven for “misogynists” and “harassers”….’

I, for one, find those accusations worthy of concern. If Myers has proof of those claims, using the common meaning of those words, he should present it. If he cannot, he should retract his claims.

My prediction is that he lacks the intellectual integrity to do either.

33 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm

But: What are we going to do about it ?

If be tempted to say refuse them invitations to speak over here but (a) that’s the sort of cowardly shit they’d pull, and (b) I want to hear them libel people where their US First Amendment Privilege won’t protect them.

34 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Sorry, hear them slander. Libel is the written word.

35 Ariel October 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm

“his allegation that some people who comment on my blog are rapists is a very serious matter if it is true.”

The only person who could really answer this is PZ. I’m not in his head and it’s not my role to do this. Ah, small pleasures of life!

All I can do is to try some guesses.

“It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

My guess: by “harassers and misogynists” he means the slymepitters – PZ claims in effect that Michael is providing a heaven for them. By “rapists” he means … hmmm … “someone who should not be named”? “Providing a heaven” applies to the first group, “defending” is applied in the second case.

Yes, I know that “rapists” is plural, but at the moment I wouldn’t build too much on this. My reason: the above interpretation is fully in accordance with (quite well known) PZ’s beliefs – and if this is a correct understanding, then there are really no surprises here. (Or maybe someone is surprised?) Anyway, for the time being, the Occam’s razor tells me to stick to it.

The second tweet (i.e. “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”) is unclear in that it doesn’t state clearly what “being populated by slymepitters” is supposed to prove. Again, Occam’s razor leads me to suppose that he meant the first part (the one about providing a haven for “harassers and misogynists”).

Caveat: I have never heard PZ claiming that some of the slymepitters are in fact rapists. But … well, I may be wrong – I do not know everything. And as I said, it’s not up to me to answer.

36 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I’ve met Myers in person – at the 2009 AAI convention. Back then , I still enjoyed Pharyngula, generally appreciated Myers’ stroppy combativeness and cheeky insolence. Because that’s all it was, back then. I was something of a fan. He was nice as pie. We chatted over a couple of beers, then a bunch of us went back to someone’s room (no coffee was involved) and had a fun, drunken evening until about three AM. I left that convention thinking he was a damned good egg. When he started to get crazy like this it was a genuine shock to me, and there’s a part of me that still – much as I now revile him and his minions utterly – feels sad about what’s happened to him.

Okay, we now return you to your usual programme. :-)

37 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

LeSchlumb @ 30

“But: What are we going to do about it ?”

The most pertinent question, I believe. Ignore or, at most, dismiss? But certainly let them have their say. Their attacks are, fundamentally, attempts to generate controversy and elicit responses. And it works.

38 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm

@ariel

My guess: by “harassers and misogynists” he means the slymepitters – PZ claims in effect that Michael is providing a heaven for them. By “rapists” he means … hmmm … “someone who should not be named”?

Provide evidence that specific individuals posting here qualify to be labelled misogynists or harassers, or stop defending that accusation.

On your second “point”: has Shermer commented here? Did I miss that?

39 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Jack Rawlinson @ 36

My experience was similar, although I never met the man. I would feel sad for him, except for the damage he’s done and the good people he’s vilified.

40 Dave Allen October 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

“The second tweet (i.e. “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”) is unclear in that it doesn’t state clearly what “being populated by slymepitters” is supposed to prove. Again, Occam’s razor leads me to suppose that he meant the first part (the one about providing a haven for “harassers and misogynists”).”

Even if Occam’s razor were to be applied to its most liberal extent you’d still surely have to conclude that PZ was being hyperbolic (“providing a haven for…”) and fallacious (in that the existence of people who aren’t convicted or even accused of rape be given as evidence that a haven for rapists is being provided).

As for Heather’s point about misogyny and harassment. If someone where to say to me “your Facebook friends are a bunch of racists, boors and murderers, my response of “excuse me, which ones are murderers?” does not imply that I don’t mind my friends being racists or boors.

It could be that I want to tackle the most obvious of the elephants in the room before, or without, talking about what makes bigotry bigotry and what my responsibility is for the behavior of my acquaintances.

There are a number of women, even self-identified feminist women, who have said that they wish PZ would “stop trying to help”, because they do find these tactics trivializing and/or patronizing.

41 Carrie October 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm

As someone who sometimes comments on this blog and likes to read the Slymepit when I have time, I too would like to know who the “rapists” and “misogynists” are.

For the record, I have never seen any misogyny or harassing here, and I see Michael very carefully moderating comments that he thinks are too personal.

Also I see no misogyny when I lurk at the Slymepit and I find it to be a very safe place to be. Amidst the fun, nonsense and squabbles I can see that they actually care about other people and have a strict rule against doxxing or causing real harm.

42 sinister October 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm

It’s quite telling that the same people willing to see far into speculative realms when it comes to Dawkins tweets and clairifications, suddenly find all sorts of reasons to read nothing into PZs words.

As you can see, it’s always okay when they do it.

43 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

For the record, I have never seen any misogyny or harassing here, and I see Michael very carefully moderating comments that he thinks are too personal.

Michael has moderated some of my comments in the past and I don’t mind because it’s his blog. Same with Jerry Coyne.

There’s a difference between moderating the tone or keeping it within the law on one hand, and allowing the baboons to attack someone while denying them the right to reply. Michael has always remained on the right side of this.

The down-side of Myer’s tactics (for him, not us) is that he and his baboons are unused to venues where people can answer back – hence the refusal of Myers or Benson to engage here and the drive-by tactics of Heather Dalgleish.

This is why people joke about ‘social justice warriors'; it’s not that they’re against social justice, it’s that they know the ‘warrior’ facade is just internet courage. Even Twitter is enough to give them PTSD.

44 Aneris ✻ October 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

The Slymepit is a forum, not an identity no matter how hard PZ Myers and his bullies are trying. You don’t sign up to a club, you sign up to a forum in order to comment. You are then a member of the forum in the same sense as you are a member of wordpress or RDFRS, or facebook or any other service where you can set up an account. Like virtually every site, there is a self-selected audience. However, people go there for a variety of reasons which mostly don’t align well with PZ Myers and company’s comic book alternate reality version (they imagine it as a sort of moustache-twirling-villain headquarter).

I agree though that PZ Myers statement was probably meant to include two different statements, one is about defending (the accused “famous skeptic”) the other about harbouring (the Slymepitters). However his statement…

PZ Myers wrote: “defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists”

…does not make distinctions what refers to what. That is typical, too. As written in previous topic’s comments, he and his faction do that all the time, they conjure up an “opposing side” which is constantly negatively charged up and reinforced in countless echo chambers they call “save spaces”, thereby they keep their followers and fans closer to their side (since the only “alternative” is the evil), and try to win over the fence sitters that way.

Again, don’t be fooled. That works. They have grown two own blog networks (SkepChick and FreeThoughtBlogs) who are propaganda factories. They have allies at Patreon, too. And they have interested third parties that love to pick up their stories. Their propaganda version appeared without any skepticism at Buzzfeed, the Nation, Washington Post, USA Today, Salon, and the Guardian.

It’s a great tale of confirmation bias.

”Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God women and Goodness from Satan harassers, misogynists, rapists and Evil.” – Robert A. Wilson (modified)

45 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

M.N. wrote: “But I will not let go unanswered the serious and unambiguous smear that I am defending rapists, made publicly by a prominent atheist and academic.”

While it pains me to admit that PZ is a prominent atheist, at least in the US, I vehemently deny that he is a prominent academic (assuming that I’m not misreading the above quote as a zeugma). The best current quantification of the prominence of a scientist is his or her H index. PZ’s is about 8 or 9 (and dropping, due his low productivity). The mean for his field is 28 with a median of 25.

46 Matt Cavanaugh October 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Truly, Myers’ latest baseless accusation is his most reckless. Still, it is but a matter of degree. For years now, Myers’, et al. have straw-manned their opponents’ positions, and by extension, morals.

“Slymepitters defend rapists!’ they cry. No, we strongly condemn rapists, especially seeing as some of us are ourselves rape victims; we just doubt whether a rape has occurred in the case in question.

“Slymepitters are fine with sexism in atheism!” they wail. No, sexism is wrong. We just don’t detect much of it, and we also don’t consider what you label ‘sexism’ to be sexism. And a perfectly civil and illuminating debate could ensue on those points of difference.

But that’s not what the Atheism Plussers are interested in. They only want to make hay by demonizing their opponents. Our denial that pervasive sexism exists, for example, becomes itself proof of pervasive sexism. Tautologies & polemics like those may go over well in some tent filled with ‘amen’-ing followers in folding chairs, but it’s played out everywhere else.

47 Aheydis Vaakenjab October 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

As an educator, PZ Myers’ responsibility day in and day out is to create and facilitate a learning environment for his students. I can’t speak for his teaching abilities, but for some reason PZ turns off his ability to educate as soon as his rear hits his blogging chair.

It would appear that PZ has built up this persona online in order to be an Internet tough guy – taking on all of these perceived evils. However his true colors were shown when he refused to accept the Gelato Mio guy’s appology by saying “Fuck him to the ground, let him be a lesson to others. I do not find his apology at all sincere — it’s pure venality.” (https://twitter.com/pzmyers/status/138845275140796417).

Of course, PZ didn’t take the opportunity to tell Gelato Guy that in person. Oh no. He does so from the comfort of his blogging chair, behind the veil of the Internet where he can be the moral arbiter for the gullible and credulous, and tell people how they should think. It was the Gelato Guy’s run in with PZ that turned me off of PZ’s idiotic way of dealing with people.

And this is why the horsemen are called that – Hitchens could debate you until you were blue in the face and then invite you over for dinner, even though you disagreed with him over a fundamental topic. PZ is totally incapable of seeing the humanity in the person who has a fundamental disagreement with him. PZ’s shortcut is to call you a rapist. I suppose this is PZ’s version of throwing out the “Islamaphobia” blanket. To discredit and silence debate before it begins.

The house PZ has built is on a very shaky foundation. Built up over the years through hostility and gratuitous name calling, the foundation is showing its cracks. Upon close inspection, PZ is finally revealing to the greater atheist community that his tactics have worn out their welcome and that his approach to creating an inclusive and safe environment for ALL is just a facade. He has no interest in anyone but himself and his merry band of credulous followers. When you get 4 comments on a science post and 250+ comments on a rage blog post, it doesn’t take a PhD to know that exposure comes with clicks…. and science ain’t keepin’ PZ on anyone’s radar. That’s for sure.

48 tina October 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

PZ, it seems, has himself stuck in the rage and emotional incoherence of an infant throwing a tantrum. He lashes out at the cruelty and injustice of a world that didn’t give him a fifth horse to play with.

His horde exhibit similar levels of dysfunctionality: encouraging and enabling a sick parade of cultivated fury, running with torrents of narcissism and neediness.

They are a bunch of disturbed children in adult bodies and their playground is the internet where they obsess about identity, sexuality, reputation and perpetual victimhood. Perfect candidates for the Social Justice Warrior mentality.

Their keyboard warriordom feeds and nurtures a cycle of self destructive behaviours. Whatever ‘ism’ or ‘ist’ they currently focus on is just a hook on which to hang a cloak of rationality and respectability. This quickly falls off under close scrutiny, hence their desperation not to have this scrutiny take place in a venue not under their control.

Since victim feminism is the current cloak in fashion, it’s no surprise that all the accusations and slurs thrown around revolve around sex, harrassment, rape, misogyny etc and no surprise that MN will now be accused of being an enabler and apologist for such. He has had the temerity to reveal what lies under the cloak. He has become a ‘Suppressive Person’, (as someone mentioned above), and now he is ‘Fair Game’.

The Slymepit, despite all the denunciation and howling from FtB, and yes, despite its rumbunctious and no holds barred, free-wheeling nature, remains ten times less sexist, racist, misogynist, or any other ist you care to throw at it than does FtB.

Anyway, why can’t he at least accuse us of our preferred crimes? These are, wire fraud, extortion, manslaughter, arson, tax evasion, forgery and embezzlement, but not necessarily in that order.

Oh, and we’ll require evidence.

49 Guestus Aurelius October 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I am certain there are some terrible people who visit the slymepit, just as there are terrible people in every group. I have yet to see a scintilla of actual evidence that slymepitters have done anything but ridicule a bunch of self-righteous idealogues who smear anyone who doesn’t Kowtow to their royal decrees.

The Slymepit is almost completely unmoderated, which is a double-edged sword.

For a few years there, it was becoming increasingly apparent to your average J Q Skeptic that most of the people over at FTB*—one of the most visible atheist haunts online—were pretty horrible. To J Q’s dismay, said horribleness seemed to be flying under the radar of the real-life “leaders” of the “movement,” some of whom continued to pal around with the horrible people, inflating their egos and lending them a veneer of credibility. It was an embarrassing state of affairs (just think of all the curious googlers who’ve no doubt encountered FTB* when searching for information on atheism/skepticism!), and dissent at the tightly moderated FTB* isn’t tolerated. So the Slymepit emerged as a place for the J Q Skeptics to vent, lament, ridicule, and push back.

Of course, J Q Skeptics come in many types. We’re talking about people here, after all.

Some are mature. Some are immature. Some are kind. Some are mean. Some are thoughtful. Some are less so.

You get the picture.

At the Slymepit, all of these types of J Q Skeptics—of people—are allowed to post. Much of what gets posted there is of little interest to me. Some of it I find childish. Some of it I find disgusting.

That’s because some people are childish. And some people are disgusting.

The Slymepit is not a good place for people with delicate sensitivities. But it is a place where one can have an open dialogue, and there are many insightful and interesting people who post there. In terms of online forums where atheists/skeptics can gather to discuss things openly, the pickings are surprisingly slim. The Slymepit’s “endless thread” format is a PITA, and I’d personally prefer to frequent a place with slightly tighter moderation, but as an antidote to and exposer of the horribleness that has long been FTB*, the site has been important for the A/S “movement.”

The way I see it, the FTB* crowd has responded to the Slymepit in a way that’s made their horribleness increasingly visible. Their bizarre in-group mentality and behavior have reached a zenith, and the accusations they’ve long hurled at the Evil Slymepitters they now hurl at anyone who disagrees with them. The OP is a case in point, as is Adam Lee’s hit piece against Dawkins, I think (though perhaps a bit less directly in that case).

In short, the broader A/S base seems to be finally waking up to the FTB* nastiness, and my impression is that the Slymepit has played a significant role in bringing that about. Just my 2¢.

*et al.

50 Carrie October 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

“There’s a difference between moderating the tone or keeping it within the law on one hand, and allowing the baboons to attack someone while denying them the right to reply. Michael has always remained on the right side of this.”

Yes, and I too think that Michael is fair about it (also Jerry Coyne whose blog is another that I like to read). I used to read FTB but stopped some time ago because there was so much that was simply unpleasant there. As I say, I feel safe when reading Michael’s blog (and Jerry’s too). I also feel safe reading the Slymepit. All of these places give me plenty to think about.

They mess around a lot at the Slymepit but I always get the sense that they care about people, animals and the world. I did not get that sense of safety at Pharyngula, Ophelia’s blog, etc so I stopped reading them. I am just one person of course, but there may be other lurkers such as myself — I do not believe that I am unique or even very unusual.

I am female and I have had problems in my past with abusive relationships, so I find it odd that the sites which trumpet their great support for women and “victims” cause someone like me to turn away from them to the very sites that Myers holds in such disgust.

51 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

“Slymepitters are fine with sexism in atheism!” they wail. No, sexism is wrong. We just don’t detect much of it, and we also don’t consider what you label ‘sexism’ to be sexism.

Only the Sexist Messiah would deny His own sexism!

I think this is key to the FTB mind-set. ‘Fess up to rape or paedophilia and you are welcome with open arms (and invitations to babysit); deny it and you are shunned.

It’s not about what you have done, it’s about what you believe.

A self-confessed paedophile confirms the beliefs of a rage blogger who sees rapists behind every elevator door; naturally they are allies.

But the skeptic who doesn’t see the world through rape-tinted glasses denies their reality. Their ‘sin’ is their belief system – not their actions.

52 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Guestus Aurelius @ 49

Sorry, I’m out of the loop on these things, what are “J Q Skeptics”? TIA

53 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

This is fascinating. Until I came across your recent series of posts, I had no idea how dishonest PZ Myers’ tactics were.

Thank you for opening my eyes.

I wish there was a way to organize an email campaign to organizations like American Atheists, CFI, Atheist Alliance International, American Humanist Association. I can’t support these organizations if they continue to pay him to speak.

This is really low.

54 Guestus Aurelius October 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

@Jeff Rankin:

I just meant average readers. The John/Jane Q Publics of online atheism/skepticism.

Was going for gender neutrality, but it appears I was simply being unclear. My bad.

55 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Use “J Ze Skeptic” next time, please.

56 John D October 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm

The next steps here are very obvious. Since PZ and some others like him are a poison, we must all dedicate ourselves to NEVER going to their sites. They are only producing slanderous click-bait. The only solution to this is to call them out at other sites, and NEVER visit their sites.

NO MORE CLICKS!

57 John Greg October 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I imagine I might get ninjaed by someone, but Ariel’s blatant mendacity and ridiculous bafflegab at post circa 35, should not go unanswered.

Ariel says:

“‘his allegation that some people who comment on my blog are rapists is a very serious matter if it is true.” The only person who could really answer this is PZ.’

Which is what Michael is doing, you dithering ninny: he is demanding that PZ backup his claims, or apologise for his false assertions.

‘I’m not in his head and it’s not my role to do this. Ah, small pleasures of life!’

So, Ariel, you think it is perfectly OK for Myers to publically accuse people, people he does not even know, of being rapists, to not include any proof or evidence of such a claim, and to do this all because you yourself have no proof of such a claim?

‘All I can do is to try some guesses.’

Yes, indeed, that is all you can do.

“‘It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.” My guess: by “harassers and misogynists” he means the slymepitters – PZ claims in effect that Michael is providing a heaven for them. By “rapists” he means … hmmm … “someone who should not be named”? “Providing a heaven” applies to the first group, “defending” is applied in the second case. Yes, I know that “rapists” is plural, but at the moment I wouldn’t build too much on this.’

In other words, aside from supporting Myers’s making evidence-free accusations, and putting words into Myers’s mouth, and saying that Ariel knows that what Myers said is not actually what Myers said, Ariel Ariel is going to go on and reinterpret what Myers said because that better supports Ariel’s ideological belief system. Ariel then redefines and reinterprets Myers’s words simply to suit Ariel’s personal requirement of support of Myers. Ariel, your statement is foolishly blatant bafflegab and intentional misinterpretation of plain English.

‘My reason: the above interpretation is fully in accordance with (quite well known) PZ’s beliefs – and if this is a correct understanding, then there are really no surprises here. (Or maybe someone is surprised?) Anyway, for the time being, the Occam’s razor tells me to stick to it.’

Oh, I see. So, aside from the rhetorical idiocy and vacuous bafflegab of that statement, Ariel’s rusty knife says: If Myers believes it, then whether or not it is true does not matter, Myers can make any public accusations he likes. Because reasons.

‘The second tweet (i.e. “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”) is unclear in that it doesn’t state clearly what “being populated by slymepitters” is supposed to prove. Again, Occam’s razor leads me to suppose that he meant the first part (the one about providing a haven for “harassers and misogynists”). Caveat: I have never heard PZ claiming that some of the slymepitters are in fact rapists. But … well, I may be wrong – I do not know everything. And as I said, it’s not up to me to answer.’

If you are going to comment on, willfully misinterpret, and falaciously redefine something so freely, the least you can do, the very bloody least is actually read what it is you are trying to defend.

The shorter version of your lengthy nonsense is:

PZ Myers did not say what he said, he said what Ariel reinterprets he said so as to fit Ariel’s ideological belief system, and Myers is not responsible for what he said anyway because Ariel is not in his head and cannot prove what he said, and anyway, if Myers believes it, it is then, by fiat, rote, and plebicite, true, true, true, so it’s all OK because words only mean what Ariel, Myers, et al redfine them to mean.

58 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Guestus Aurelius @ 54

No worries, makes sense!

59 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm

NO MORE CLICKS!

I’m sure the more technically minded here can tell us how to view FTB rage posts drawn to our attention while blocking ads to deny them revenue?

60 Jack Rawlinson October 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Isn’t it revealing how the Myers crew rant and fulminate about this over at Pharyngula and other like-minded blogs, but only a couple of them have dared to show their faces here – where they know there is little or no censorship of dissent – unlike at Pharyngula?

And my, haven’t they done well?

This is what happens when you try your bullshit in an open forum, Pharynguloids. Not so easy when you can’t censor the comebacks, is it?

61 Tezcatlipoca October 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Pope Zed has spoken. Ye have been warned, heretics, your turn at the wheel is of your own choosing. Nothing matters except the click bait. It has been decided, The Council of Morris has decided.

62 John D October 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I still say “NO MORE CLICKS”. Even if using ad-blocker prevents them from profiting, the world will still count the number of hits they get. People equate the number of clicks with popularity. I think the only way to stop this is to give them no traffic of any sort. (even if it is done to laugh at their antics)

63 FishCakes October 7, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Funny thing about the slymepit – I had never heard of it until I joined FtB and was shouted down by Myers’ horde for daring to disagree with their dear leader. In and amongst the many calls to “eff off” (and much worse) were several people who were certain that I was just another “pitter.” This despite the fact that I had never heard of the term or the site prior to then. Imagine my surprise when I figured out what that term meant and found the site to be a very welcoming and genuine (if irreverent) community.

64 Patrick October 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Jack Rawlinson @60
“Isn’t it revealing how the Myers crew rant and fulminate about this over at Pharyngula and other like-minded blogs, but only a couple of them have dared to show their faces here – where they know there is little or no censorship of dissent – unlike at Pharyngula?”

The analogy with the Intelligent Design Creationists is strong. The relationship between the Slymepit and FTB is the same as that of After the Bar Closes (the Panda’s Thumb forum) to Uncommon Descent — a place to discuss (and occasionally mock) the nonsense that moderators at those sites (FTB and UD) don’t allow to be questioned.

Most FTBers and UDers refuse to participate on the unmoderated sites ostensibly because of how “offensive” the regulars there are. In fact, in both cases it’s because their arguments can’t withstand the scrutiny.

Myers has become what he once claimed to fight.

65 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I assumed ‘pitter’ was a slang term for people who get dates or something.

I have difficulty keeping up with who we are supposed to hate, and why.

66 Pogsurf October 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Good suggestion Joel D. I have just tweeted the four organisations you mentioned to see if they would like to comment on Michael’s blog post.

I’ll report back if or when I get any response.

67 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm

John D October 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm
I still say “NO MORE CLICKS”. Even if using ad-blocker prevents them from profiting, the world will still count the number of hits they get. People equate the number of clicks with popularity. I think the only way to stop this is to give them no traffic of any sort. (even if it is done to laugh at their antics)

What if someone copied the entire post and posted it on their own site with minimum original content?

So they could pretend they were commentating on it rather than just stealing it?

You know, exactly like Myers just did here:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/07/turning-over-a-rock-and-exposing-slime-to-the-light/

68 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Um, Shatterface, you know that first posting “NO CLICKS!’ and then posting a link is, um, kind of, like, inconsistent, yes?

69 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm

How do I get to the slime pit? I now feel compelled to check it out.

Great job, PZ.

I also agree with the commenters here saying “Stop clicking on FtB”. Though I’d still take it a step further and contact all organizations (excluding the college he teaches at, obviously) to express displeasure if they fund / promote him.

I just can’t justify my annual (and somewhat generous – I might add) donations to organizations if they support such a nasty character.

70 A Bear October 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Maybe we’re being a bit hard on poor PZ.
You have to understand that his little cult has decided it’s inconvenient to rely on dictionary definitions of words and have decide that words can be redefined when and where it fits their argument.
A one moment, a feminist is simply someone that believes a woman is a human being, however it can change instantly, and to be a feminist you must fill out a check list of “true” beliefs and pledge undying loyalty to St. Becky.
Likewise a rapist isn’t a person that commits sexual assault, it is actually someone that reads and posts at websites that disagree with PZ’s toxic cult, or someone that has sex with someone that has imbibed alcohol, and if you are asking how much, you too are a rapist.
Congratulations PZ, you and your neurotic friends are the biggest joke on the internet.

71 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Um, Shatterface, you know that first posting “NO CLICKS!’ and then posting a link is, um, kind of, like, inconsistent, yes?

Ends and means.

Myers has just set a president that you can copy an entire post and repost it elsewhere so that he can control the comments.

Why not set up a ghost site and repost his rantings to (a) deny him clicks, and (b) ensure responses are unmoderated so better reflect what readers think?

He can’t argue against that if he’s doing it himself.

72 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Bollocks, ‘precedent’

73 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

@Joel – you get to the SlymePit by saying “Biggie Smalls” to a mirror three times and then asking the nice man who appears to google it for you

@Shatterface – folks already “freeze-page” and/or archive much of the nonsense at FTB to deny clicks and prevent memory-holing; you need to lurk more at the ‘Pit to see this

74 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Internetz, how do they work?

75 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I found it, it’s just I’m not sure how to use it. There’s a bunch of dead threads?

Reading through / skimming fast… pretty good stuff though! How did I not know such a thing existed before?

Thanks PZ for showing me about the slyme pit.

76 tina October 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Slymepit visitors please note.

The SlymePit does not do Tigger or Pooh warnings. Not even Piglet or Eyore warnings.

Also raep…..and Gandalf

77 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

But we also have limericks!

78 tina October 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Just not the one north of Cork!

79 BlueShift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm

There once was a libelous Peezus
infallibility rivaling Jesus’
but on blogs without hammers
and his Horde all in stammers
Only ‘Pitters were present to tease us

80 Chill Chick October 7, 2014 at 8:11 pm

IMHO Myers jumped the shark way back in 2008 with the crackergate thing. I was one of many people who, much as we despise religion, thought it was a dick move which spoke volumes about a certain basic meanness and immaturity in his character. These traits grew steadily more apparent and undeniable from Elevatorgate onwards, and I now consider Pharyngula one of the most toxic blogs on the web.

I notice that Myers and his minions are now trying to smear Mr. Nugent by association with the ridiculous piece by Matt Cavanaugh, which I’m pretty sure is an over the top satire of the sort of breathless accusations casually tossed around by the FTBullies. Myers knows that he can’t answer Michael on the specific points raised, so he has to dishonestly poison the well as per A+ standard operating procedure. Oh and I guess I’m now officially a rapist and misogynist. Is there a secret handshake I have to learn?

81 Acleron October 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm

So I’m a misogynist because I post here? Not being anybody of any importance I cannot take such an allegation with anything but scorn, derision and some laughter. But to others prominent amongst atheists and skeptics, this is very serious. Hopefully, this is the thrashings of a group who see power and influence slipping ever further away.

82 Alan Sherry October 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Michael Nugent – Just commenting in here to agree with you Sir.

83 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Does anybody have a link to the Matt Cavenaugh piece? Is he a blogger or a journalist?

84 Stretchycheese October 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Jack Rawlinson @ 36

I actually met PZ in person as well, sometime in 2008 I think. As with your experience, I found him to be more or less reasonable and personable. And likewise, I was also appalled by his descent into self righteous dogmatism and SJW radfem demagoguery. As an atheist/humanist, he’s really an embarrassment. How can atheists criticize religious believers for dogmatic approaches when they don’t have their own house in order? Religious apologists can point to the example of PZ and his cult-like zealot commenters and gleefully hang it like an albatross around our necks.

85 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Joel D. @ 83

I’m not familiar with Mr. Cavanaugh, but it might be this:

http://skeptischism.com/atheismneat/2014/10/06/pz-myers-glass-house/

86 Stephen Duggan October 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

#83 @Joel D – I read it on PZ’s blog. It’s got the Mr Gumby Stomp Quote. That’s the best Myers can do, instead of addressing points raised by Mick.

#13 @Jimbo
“he just got around to attacking someone you know and respect” <- or more accurately, someone you weren't willing to throw under the bus.

PZ has thrown people I respect (some of whom I know/met) under the bus already. He's having a go at anyone who commented here (~80 on this post alone) and how Mick moderates his own blog and who is permitted to post. He needs to get his own house in order.

87 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Oh wow. Reading the source version of that blog post by Matt Cavenaugh is much more compelling than the PZ Myers version.

I thought it was hyperbole, but PZ Myers seriously has repeatedly linked to beastiality ‘art’.

If you’ve only seen the version PZ posted, take a second look at that link in post #85

88 Brive1987 October 7, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Joel #75

From the main page click the “Period Table of Swearing” link.

The threads under this are a successive list of “endless chatter”. As a thread expands it is closed and another opened to continue the dialog.

The current open one (at the top) is “Nerds. Nerds Everywhere …”
Go to the last page (currently 786!) and join in.

At this stage you can pretty much ignore everything else – which is totally peripheral to the current active thread. You will have to impress to get noticed until you get a user name. But yes, you can post initially as “guest”.

89 Rashiv October 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm

And now, PZ has doxxed a doctor who posts on the Slymepit… over a tongue-in-cheek joke. I’m sure many of his followers will take the bait and will now start harassing the doctor’s employer.

Stay classy, Peez.

90 Phil Giordana FCD October 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Well, that escalated quickly.

91 Jan Steen October 7, 2014 at 10:00 pm

It would be a mistake to think that PZ Myers doesn’t realise how serious accusations of sexual harassment are, even though many among his apologists pretend that it is only a minor inconvenience for someone like Shermer to be accused of such a crime. Here’s what Myers wrote when he was on the receiving end of an accusation:

I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time. A female student came into my lab when I was alone, unhappy about an exam grade, and openly threatened me — by going public with a story about a completely nonexistent sexual encounter right there.

Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit, and went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation. I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

I was in a total panic, knowing full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be. Fortunately, I’d done the right thing by blowing it all wide open at the first hint of a threat, and getting witnesses on the spot.

What happened to “always believe the victim”?

On the other hand, it appears that Myers doesn’t really understand the difference between harassment and rape, because he later wrote:

I’ve been threatened with a false rape accusation, one that could have totally destroyed my career.

I took it very seriously and moved quickly to provide evidence that it was false.

Well, whatever, Peezus. At least this shows that you know full well how serious and damaging such accusations can be. It makes the ease with which you fling accusations of rape and harassment at others all the more despicable.

92 Joel D. October 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm

PZ Myers doxxed a female doctor that disagrees with him?

Wow. It’s hard to imagine that major atheist organizations can continue to put this guy on their stages. Then again, I’m just now hearing about this and I guess the signs have been there the whole time.

Thank you Mr. Nugent, and the commenters here for opening my eyes. I will be contacting all of the organizations that I donate to, in order to voice my concerns.

This is disturbing.

93 Phil Giordana FCD October 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm

I just saw that doxxing from Myers. I think there will be some followup.

94 Crackity Jones October 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Amazing to think there are posters that not only defend PZ Myers at Pharyngula, but SUPPORT his behaviour.

I’ve never heard of anybody at the Slymepit being a rapist. The only person I know who has admitted to rape posts at Pharyngula!

PZ, you owe quite a few people apologies. Not just Michael.

95 Edward Gemmer October 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm

PZ Myers gets his feelings hurt and his reaction is to try and get a woman fired from her job. But he’s a feminist!

What a joke.

96 Rashiv October 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Joel D. – PZ Myers doxxed a female doctor that posts on a site he doesn’t like, a doctor who made a very, very slight tongue-in-cheek joke at his expense. So in revenge he drags her through the mud and posts a link with her name, photo, and employer for all his commenters to see. Myers can’t pretend he doesn’t know what could very easily happen when his “horde” sees that info. Myers is despicable, plain and simple.

97 Crackity Jones October 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Ophelia Benson:

And she’s an MD in my city, too. I find that item particularly disgusting…no doubt partly because she abused her MDship to abuse me once, too – commenting on my blog to tell me to “get help

I notice Ophelia Benson has popped up with more of her untruths in PZ’s cesspit. Claiming Justin Vacula was “following them around”. Untrue. Ophelia also defends Stephanie Zvan and her chums attempts to gaslight Sara Mayhew, even going so far as to phone her parents to suggest she has mental problems! And Ophelia thinks someone popping up on her thread and telling her to “get help” is bad. Zvan’s behaviour was FAR WORSE, but tumbleweeds about the incident come from OB.

Yuck. If any of these FTBullies lived in my city, I’d have to wear a biohazard suit.

98 JohnH October 7, 2014 at 10:37 pm

It’s “rapists” as an abstracted class categorization, not (necessarily) “rapists” as two or more particular, specific, identified people who have raped. That statement is referring to things you (Michael Nugent – I’m specifying to make sure there can be no ambiguity, since “you” has both a general and specific usage) have written that PZ Myers concludes function as rape apologetics (“defense” is the literal meaning of “apologia”, which more formally refers to a rhetorical form used to defend, in case you’re not familiar with those words). Possibly the way the English language works in Ireland is sufficiently different from here in the USA that you (Michael Nugent) have a different way of referring to classes of people than with the plural. However, given that you use the plural construction to refer to classes of people in your posts to this very blog (the first one I found looking backward was “campaigners” two posts back, since “Christian callers” one post back or “various blogs” in this very post may have been referring to specific individuals/blogs you could personally identify), I provisionally conclude that this is not the case. I await your apology post for demanding an apology due to your own assumption resulting in a misinterpretation.

99 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 10:39 pm

I actually met PZ in person as well, sometime in 2008 I think. As with your experience, I found him to be more or less reasonable and personable.

I’ve worked with ex-offenders and talking to some of them you’d never guess what they had done unless you’d seen their records.

Superficial charm, egomania, dishonesty, lack of affective empathy, poor impulse control, sexually violent ideation. All signs of a psychopathic personality disorder.

100 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Myers can’t pretend he doesn’t know what could very easily happen when his “horde” sees that info. Myers is despicable, plain and simple.

Same tactics animal rights nuts use against scientists who perform vivisection, or Christian fundies use against people who work in abortion clinics.

101 Blueshift Rhino October 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

As folks who know about PZ are aware, this is not the first time that he has used his blog to rile up the Horde to do his dirty work for him, keeping him one step away to allow for naive claims of innocence later. And free speech, even when said speech is subject to strict laws against *false* defamation, seems to bother him quite a bit, as seen here, for example: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/04/15/did-professor-advocate-censorship-conservative-student-newspaper/

102 Jan Steen October 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

With his doxxing of Skep Tickle, Myers is creating a distraction over an obvious joke, and his deranged Flock is lapping it up. Interesting to see that they hound the woman involved, rather than the guy. Must be that ‘gender traitor’ thing.

I predict that Michael will not get his apology.

On the other hand, Myers should beware of the Streisand effect. At the moment he is just the laughing stock of the rational sector of the atheist community. If this escalates, he could become a global laughing stock.

103 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Oh wow. Reading the source version of that blog post by Matt Cavenaugh is much more compelling than the PZ Myers version.

Amazing the difference paragraphs and a sensible font make.

104 Shatterface October 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

With his doxxing of Skep Tickle, Myers is creating a distraction over an obvious joke, and his deranged Flock is lapping it up

One person is making a joke about an STD, the other is alleging someone magically got access to his medical records and released them.

Someone is committing libel here.

105 Jeff Rankin October 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Shatterface @ 98

“Superficial charm, egomania, dishonesty, lack of affective empathy, poor impulse control, sexually violent ideation. All signs of a psychopathic personality disorder.”

Well, maybe some of those apply. However I would not characterize his behavior as resulting from mental health issues (and I realize you may have been speaking tongue-in-cheek). For one thing, at this point I don’t want to grant him any excuses.

If anything, I now think of him as – and forgive me for using this now-overused word – a bully.

106 James Caruthers October 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I wonder if Myers doxxed the female doctor he just doxxed as a way to distract from what’s happening over here.

In any case, this behavior is absolutely disgusting.

107 Renee Kelly October 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm

As someone who occasionally posts on the Slymepit, I can assure you I’m *not* a rapist. I’ve been on the other end of that particular hideous spectrum. However, simply because I do participate on that forum, I’m labeled a rapist, someone who is a harasser, and a misogynist. All this without one single bit of proof. Just a lot of words those who don’t like actual skeptics and critical thinkers will use to demean and denigrate.

108 Aneris ✻ October 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Look at the trackback below (Currently: PZ Myers links to here, but in context of Matt Cavanaugh’s article). The manevure does the following: he first established that Michael Nugent is now in league with the Slymepit somehow. Because he is critical of PZ Myers of one issue and allows everyone to comment (which is used by commenters who also have an account at the Pit).

PZ Myers then found Matt’s article, but the mutilated Facebook version which doesn’t contain the links to the sources (and terrible formatting) and together with Matts fairly brutal rhetorics thought that it would be a good way to put the attention back to the “others” and somehow indict Michael Nugent with it (by association, allowing people to comment).

The outspoken feminist PZ Myers also believes that putting a real-name of a female doctor onto his online pillory was a good idea. If others did that, it would be seen as an invite to harass her and half a dozen of bloggers would continue to spew out indignation for days. Skep Tickles name was doxxed last year by Stephanie Zvan and Ophelia Benson and brought the “dialog” to a halt (at least that was what I heard and I participated).

Meanwhile the Pharyngula comment section shows itself again in its typical odd histrionics, wallowing in pity and how terrible and unfair the world is to them, lots of pearl clutching and fainting (not being able to read a text, it’s soo terrible!) and inadvertend comedy, like Tony who thinks “Holy fuck. Someone is obsessed with you PZ”. For one article about PZ Myers that appears on some remote blog or facebook page! How obsessive. Matt has some work to do when he wants to beat Ophelia Benson’s record of intense blogging. She wrote 15 blog posts on Jaclyn Glenn in one week.

I’m not claiming PZ Myers isn’t featured often in the forum that collected lots of informtation like that, yet why would that be “obsessive” yet writing dozens of dozens of articles by bloggers, each with hundred comments on Richard Dawkins then not be obsessive? A comment in the forum is more comparable to a comment on a blog and there are likely thousands of them on Richard Dawkins at FreeThoughtBlogs. I am just explaining since some seem to think a forum is like a blog and a single comment is comparable to a blog post.

109 Jan Steen October 8, 2014 at 12:17 am

@JohnH

It’s “rapists” as an abstracted class categorization, not (necessarily) “rapists” as two or more particular, specific, identified people who have raped. That statement is referring to things you (Michael Nugent – I’m specifying to make sure there can be no ambiguity, since “you” has both a general and specific usage) have written that PZ Myers concludes function as rape apologetics (“defense” is the literal meaning of “apologia”, which more formally refers to a rhetorical form used to defend, in case you’re not familiar with those words).[snip]

Amusing to see that the Peezus apologists have now even devised their own Peezus theology. Maybe they have watched too many William Lane Craig videos or read too much Plantinga. They sound exactly the same. Pure sophistry. :)

110 Rashiv October 8, 2014 at 1:35 am

There’s likely to be a lot of electrons spewed over PZ’s doxxing of this doctor in the next few days. PZ and his supporters will try their best to justify PZ’s action, and the doctor’s supporters will pick those rationalizations apart.

But for all the blizzards of words that are starting to fly, this is a really simple story.

1) Said doctor makes a trivial, completely harmless “wink wink” joke as an aside in an otherwise straightforward post.

2) PZ Myers takes (or feigns) offense and immediately goes the nuclear route by dangling the doctor’s name, photograph, work address and telephone number in front of his uncouth and vindictive followers, where he knows what they will do with that info… while at the same time loftily proclaiming he is not the type to file a lawsuit.

Of course there is a greater context here, such as PZ possibly realizing how badly he and his friends are doing in the court of online atheist/skeptic public opinion right now, and what better way to take the heat off himself by inventing a phony scandal as a distraction?

But speculation aside, 1) and 2) are the whole story, and neither PZ nor his cronies will be able to get away from that simple fact. Try to ruin a respected doctor’s career over a nothing joke? Really, PZ?

111 Steve Vanden-Eykel October 8, 2014 at 1:44 am

It’s important to note that Myers did not dox Skep Tickle because she told a joke; he doxxed her because she provided links to accurate medical information freely available on the Internet. The [naughty gender-specific insult redacted]!

Still, Myers is not always wrong. I pretty much agree with his format for a sincere apology, as well as his reasons why an apology is good politics: if the person apologized to does not accept, it just makes them into the [naughty description of an article of clothing worn on the head but resembling another part of the body — or possibly meant to be worn on said part of the body, I’ve never really been entirely clear on that — redacted].

Of course, Myers does not follow his own advice. A few years back, the owner of an ice-cream parlor put a sign in his window saying that atheists weren’t welcome. He later posted what I consider to be one of the most sincere apologies I’ve ever read. But don’t take my word for it. Here it is in full:

To the World:

Hello, my name is Andy and I’m the owner of Gelato Mio, a gelato shop located in Springfield, Missouri. There has been quite a lot of buzz and discussion concerning a picture of the sign I briefly posted in my front window Saturday evening. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my story and offer a heartfelt apology to your community. I messed up, plain and simple. This is NOT an excuse, but how it happened from my perspective.

I decided to welcome the convention downtown by offering the attendees 10% off their purchases at my store. A lot of the group from the convention were stopping by, being very polite and enjoying my Gelato. Saturday night started out as a great night. Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.

So, I went quickly back to my business, grabbed the first piece of paper I could find, wrote the note and taped it in my front window. This was an impulsive response, which I fully acknowledge was completely wrong and unacceptable. The sign was posted for about 10 minutes or so before I calmed down, came to my senses, and took it down. For what it’s worth, nobody was turned away. I strongly believe that everybody is entitled to their beliefs. I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.

Guys, I really don’t know what else I can do to express my apologies. I’ve received dozens of calls and hundreds of emails since the incident, and have done my best to reply to each and every one and express my regret for what happened. For the thousands of you whom I’ve offended, I sincerely apologize. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. This is me as a human being sincerely apologizing for my actions.

To those of you who accept my apology, Thank You; it means a lot. To those of you who haven’t, I hope you will. I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake. I hope you see that I have not made any excuses, I’ve owned up to what I did, and I apologize.

For what it’s worth, an Atheist reached out to me to help me work through all of this and contact your community directly. I graciously accepted his offer.

I will give everyone who comes to my store this week 10% off as a token of my apology. Really, what’s more universal than ice cream?

Sincerely, Andy

Myers’ response? [redacted redacted redacted redacted redacted]

112 john welch October 8, 2014 at 2:00 am

Aside from Crackergate, the real sign that PZ was an ideological fanatic was “Pepsigate” wherein he lead the stupidest charge in history against Pepsi having a blog on SB.

Anyone suggesting that hey, we should give them a chance, a few posts to establish a pattern, some real data, and then evaluate that data to see what it showed was shouted down as an apologist and a Pepsi sockpuppet.

Sadly, instead of rational people winning out, PZ’s March of the AntiRationalists won, and won big, thus showing PZ that he had at least some form of power.

There is nothing surprising about PZ today.

At one point, he said that because he actively moderated comments, he was less responsible for their contents than Abbie was on her blog because she did not moderate comments.

Let the pure bliss of that illogic sink in. Let it wash over you, let the love of Landru make you clear and welcome you to The Body.

Someone who actively culls and (ugh, I hate this word) “curates” the content of the comment section of his blog is not responsible for the contents of said comment section(s), but someone who does the exact opposite of that is, by whatever inverted process passes for “logic” in his world is completely and totally responsible for the contents of her unmoderated comment section.

PZ has less interest in logic, reason, and the truth than my cat does in the number of dust particles rolling down Olympus Mons right now.

113 Badland October 8, 2014 at 2:04 am

Wow, Nugent. Nice commentariat you’re cultivating here

114 noelplum99 October 8, 2014 at 2:24 am

John H @97

Firstly, congratulations on getting your post published here. I noted you cross-posted on FtB, stating that you wondered if it would be removed from here.
It does not appear to have been removed thus far.

I am assuming from your remark that you regard the reference to rapists as not only to rapists in general (which you make most clear in your comment) but only hold that the “defend” comment was applicable to the rapists? I say this because you make no mention of the provision of a haven (literal or metaphorical, on or offline) as if you do not regard this as applying.
Ariel made a very similar argument some posts earlier.

PZ Myers comment was of the form of an accusation that Nugent does A and B for 1, 2 and 3.
So it seems your argument (like Ariels) is that only A (defending) and not B (providing a haven) is meant to apply to 3 (rapists). If that is the case then his tweet was at best thoughtless and, more likely (given his experience, eloquence and intelligence), deliberately misleading because it conflates all these things in a way that is impossible to parse and disentangle correctly without intimate prior knowledge of his views.

Imagine if I wrote:
“John H has a loving and sexual interest in his wife, children and pet cat”.
Sure, perhaps I can technically claim I intended the sexual part to only apply to the wife but we can all to clearly see the trick that would be being pulled here. That is why I cannot imagine EVER writing such a thing unless I deliberately wanted to obfuscate matters in the hope the reader would get the wrong end of the stick.

PZ Myers has been playing these games for far far too long to not know what he was doing here, these games come easy to him.

Still, it is simple: he can simply issue a clarification and apologise for the ambiguity and the distress it has caused.

115 Shermertron October 8, 2014 at 2:24 am

Badland @113

Do you have anything meaningful to say or did you just want to drop some passive-aggressive insults?

116 Rashiv October 8, 2014 at 2:25 am

Badland, Mr. Nugent is not preventing anyone from commenting here. It’s not his fault if people don’t want to comment here because they’re uncomfortable commenting in a place where they don’t control the discourse.

Are you suggesting maybe we should go to Pharyngula and try to discuss this? Oh, right, we can’t – PZ Myers instantly bans anyone who disagrees with him. Well, maybe not instantly. Sometimes he lets his foam-mouthed rabid commenters shriek some hysterical spittle flecked invective in your face first.

Yeah, there’s a place where reasonable conversation rules.

117 Matt Cavanaugh October 8, 2014 at 2:29 am

While some may not care for my acerbic, satirical style, my purpose in writing that post was two-fold: 1) to highlight the hypocrisy between Myers’ moralizing & pontifications, and his extensive track record of committing the very ‘sins’ he condemns; 2) to give him, if not a taste, then a whiff of his own medicine — namely, how easily one could fall victim to scurrilous innuendo. (Although Myers nowadays normally skips the innuendo and proceeds directly to bald-faced accusations.)

Some of my jabs at Myers were jocular, but others are in earnest. I urge anyone curious to follow the links at my post, to read Myers’ own words and make your own judgement:

http://skeptischism.com/atheismneat/2014/10/06/pz-myers-glass-house/

For Myers has, among other things: posted about a sex dream involving his female college students; recommended “hentai” — tentacle rape porn, often involving young school girls; condoned bestiality. Again, follow my links and determine whether I have misinterpreted Myers. I, for one, find these extremely troubling coming from a public educator, and exceedingly embarrassing coming from a frequent spokesperson for the atheist movement.

Following right on the heels of his serious accusations that this blog harbors rapists, and that those rapists are Slymepit members, Myers responded to my post by: 1) infringing on my copyright, by copying my post in its entirety, and ; 2) doxxing a Slymepit member, a professional concerned about being outed as an atheist, simply because I gave them a hat-tip for providing an internet link I used in preparing my post.

Regarding the former point: Pharyngula generates income for Mr. Myers, and by all appearances, his unauthorized use of my intellectual property has made him a bit of cash. There are laws concerning this sort of thing. As for the doxxing, I suspect there are also laws regarding that. But most of all, it was a petty, venal thing for Myers to do, especially as the person he chose to attack was not me, rather someone only tangentially involved.

The time has come for PZ Myers to issue full retractions for his many unfounded accusations, to offer apologies for his countless smears, insults, and insinuations, and then to step briskly and permanently out of the limelight of atheist activism.

118 ZenGuard October 8, 2014 at 2:30 am

They are a good, solid bunch, aren’t they? Rational, thorough and relentless when it comes to pointing out Peezus’ descent into hypocrisy and, one can only hope, obscurity. He can take the entirety of FtB and everyone one associated with it and him down that rabbit hole. These commenters deserve a large part of the credit for keeping the pressure on PZ and it appears as though he is really losing it lately.

This docking episode is a spectacular failure on his part and I hope it causes no real world harm. I do hope that Peezus and FTB suffer a major public backlash for his vindictiveness.

119 MadMike October 8, 2014 at 2:32 am

I might be wrong here, but perhaps Badland is under the impression that many people have been banned or edited, and that is why the majority of voices are supporting Michael Nugent. This is certainly the case in other blogs, but I don’t believe that is the case here. I do believe Nugent allows most all reasonably civil discourse here.

You might be more specific in your complaints, Badland. Why do you suppose most of the commentary is in support of Michael Nugent’s post?

120 JetLagg October 8, 2014 at 2:32 am

I’ve been shocked in the past by Myer’s actions, but this latest accusation is unconscionable. Michael, you are far more forgiving, far more patient than I am.

I haven’t yet taken the time to go through the comments, but I imagine I’m saying nothing new when I declare how incredibly, deeply immoral it is to accuse you of defending rapists on the grounds of literally zero evidence (do people not understand what a horrific charge this is to level against someone?).

I’m stunned, I am.

I comment somewhat regularly at the pit, and frequently get into arguments with many members over what I see as unprovoked levels of vitriol toward their ideological opponents. This latest by Myers has made me more sympathetic to them.

Whatever disagreements I may have at that forum, I’ve seen no evidence, no indication at all, that any of them are rapists. If I had, I’d have been on the phone to the authorities in an instant. To make a blanket statement that you’re then defending rapists (plural!) is… I’m not sure what. I do hate to assume dishonesty or malevolence on anyone’s part, but Myers is beginning to leave me no options.

121 ZenGuard October 8, 2014 at 2:43 am

Post 118 is in response to post 112. You buggers post too fast!

Lots of excellent comments, too. The difference in quality of content in comparison to the weak attempts at obfuscation by Ariel and John H are all to apparent to anyone reading here. This provides a perfect example of why the main players from FtB never post anywhere outside their own tightly controlled forums and why they are so upset that Michael Nugent maintains an open forum here. They cannot stand when the light is focused so sharply upon them a scurry back to their own blogs.

Meh.

122 john welch October 8, 2014 at 2:52 am

JohnH at 98:

“rapists” has a specific meaning. it is not some abstract thing that may mean this or that depending on context. When labels a group of >1 person as “rapists”, there’s only one meaning: that they have actually raped someone. The definition of rapist is short, pointed, and unambiguous:

rapist |ˈrāpist|
noun
a person, typically a man, who commits rape.

When PZ says michael is defending and providing a haven for misogynists, harassers and rapists, while there is some ambiguity about the first two terms, there is none about rapists. The definition and use of that word is clear and unambiguous.

There is nothing abstract about it, and there is nothing about the term that describes an abstract class. When you say a group of people are rapists, there is only one possible meaning for that.

123 franc October 8, 2014 at 3:41 am

Peezee’s whole problem with the slymepit is that it actually practices the concept of Freethought rather than simply using the word as an advertising brand. People freely say what they think, rather than saying what they guess (hope) the FTB Central Committee will approve of… This terrifies the bejabbers out of the Naked Emperor and his “fearless commentariat” – because it is a forum where people are judged on the strength of there argument; there is no “safe space”, no censorship, no selective editing or capacity to tamper with comments; people live or die by evidence and actual reason. A diametric opposite in every respect to “freethough”blogs. Peezee needs the safety of his coccoon – precisely because he knows he peddles little more unsubstiated appeal-to-emotion nonsense, personal attack and smear, and he does so to exploit the outrage of the uncritical for ad revenue. He is a very grubby, hollow little man.

My only question to you Michael is – why did it take you so long to finally work all this out?

124 franc October 8, 2014 at 4:10 am

Edit: “because it is a forum where people are judged on the strength of their argument rather than who they associate with”

125 JetLagg October 8, 2014 at 4:29 am

If it is, in fact, Michael’s position that Myers is a “very grubby, hollow little man”, I suspect the reason it took him so long to work it out is that he has a bit more charity towards his opponents than some of those at the pit.

Seriously, it’s tiresome to hear about Michael finally seeing the light, or other condescending narratives. Myers is relatively obscure, and it shouldn’t be surprising that those not deeply immersed in his specific subculture weren’t aware of what he was up to.

126 Blueshift Rhino October 8, 2014 at 4:34 am

I agree with JetLagg with regard to the comments about MN “finally seeing the light.” For a long time, all I knew of PZ were some (old) videos and they were all laudable. Even more: where do a bunch of skeptics get off giving someone a hard time about not coming to a conclusion until he or she had data in hand?

127 Guestus Aurelius October 8, 2014 at 4:42 am

I’ll third what JetLagg just said.

I think all this “what took you so long” business comes (understandably) from a place of having been “in the trenches” for some time, but it’s uncharitable and unproductive in my view.

128 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 4:52 am

@John H.

It’s “rapists” as an abstracted class categorization, not (necessarily) “rapists” as two or more particular, specific, identified people who have raped.

And there it is: the La-La Land that is the Lexicon of Faux-Liberal Newspeak & Thoughtcrime. When they call you a rapist it doesn’t mean you raped someone. It means, in their twisted minds, that you have posted something they disagree with on a site where other people they disagree with and who they believe, without evidence, might have raped someone. That justifies including you in the group “rapists”.

Unreal, isn’t it? This is a level of desperate, agenda-serving language-mutilation that makes Newspeak look like a bastion of honest lucidity.

129 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 4:54 am

Para above should read: “It means, in their twisted minds, that you have posted something they disagree with on a site where other people they disagree with and who they believe, without evidence, might have raped someone, have also posted.”

Missed off the final three words, for some reason. Too early and no coffee, I suspect.

130 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 5:05 am

@GMeters

So basically everyone over here is still pretending [a specific allegation didn’t happen]?

God, what is wrong with you people? Why don’t you read? No, that is not what “everyone” is “pretending”. If you actually bothered to read instead of mindlessly jerking your knee and waving your righteous pitchfork you’d see that what people are doing is standing up for the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. You do not declare that someone is a rapist unless they have been charged, tried and found guilty of that very serious crime, or, you know, they raped you, or you actually saw them raping someone.

There are too many people clearly not in those positions who are flinging this serious accusation around with absolutely no respect for the rule of law or common decency. To point this out does not equate to defending rape, or rapists, any more than saying that a person should not be labelled a murderer without being found guilty of that charge in a court of law is defending murder, or murderers. Stop being so relentlessly obtuse. Not least because you are absolutely not going to either impress or persuade anyone that way. At least not anyone rational and reasonable.

131 Shermertron October 8, 2014 at 5:10 am

GMeters @ 132

Perhaps I was a bit hasty. You seem like a person who is very much into believing the victim. Listening to women when they claim that a privileged man who has taken advantage of them.

PZ himself posted an accusation made against himself by a young woman who, as PZ claimed, wanted to make a false claim about a sexual relationship they had. PZ immediately ensured that the administration would hear HIM before points out that the woman was brought to tears as she recanted her testimony in front of the important people who could (and according to PZ, did) ruin her nascent career.

I have not found and no one has brought to my attention any official report regarding the allegation of sexual impropriety this young woman made against PZ. All we have is his denial. Now, I’ve been told to listen and believe. I’ve been told to believe the victim. (PZ told me.) PZ also told me that women on campus are regularly preyed upon by privileged males, including professors.

Do you want to know more about the circumstances of the accusation PZ brought up himself…twice? Wouldn’t you like to know the young woman’s testimony?

Or are you just trying to defend an indefensible person. (I get it. It’s a position of status…like being the last Clone Trooper defending the Empire.)

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JZ3jYvLz2SMJ:freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/03/oh-lord-the-stupid/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

132 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 5:13 am

Learn what the word “proof” means, GMeters. And be very glad that you are not subject to UK libel laws.

133 Shermertron October 8, 2014 at 5:15 am

GMeters 142

I love that you are so very much opposed to rape and misogyny that you believe first-person testimony without question.

Please demonstrate intellectual consistency and ask PZ to procure first-person testimony from the young woman who accused him. (And make sure that she knows there are no consequences this time.)

While you’re at it, please procure first-person testimony from the woman who, according to [another named person], accused [that named person] of raping her.

Thank in advance for being intellectually consistent and expecting the same from enemies of FTB as you do friends.

134 GMeters October 8, 2014 at 5:18 am

“Believe the victim” is a slogan that wraps up multiple concepts. It means people shouldn’t dismiss the claims, that they deserved to be investigated. It means that, given that only 2-8% of rape accusations are false, it’s more appropriate to believe the victim–unless evidence turns up that casts doubt on the accusation.

135 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 5:27 am

@GMeters

It means people shouldn’t dismiss the claims, that they deserved to be investigated.

Your comprehension difficulties continue. No one is dismissing the claim. We agree that it should be investigated – by due legal process, not by a witch-hunting mob of bloggers and uncritical accusation-believers and gossip hounds.

No evidence has come out that shows [a specific allegation] didn’t happen.

Are you serious? This is how you would see justice working? That the accused must provide evidence that they didn’t do what they are accused of? Guilty until proven innocent? Do you truly have no idea how terrifying that is?

You murdered Madeleine McCann. Now prove you didn’t.

136 Matt Cavanaugh October 8, 2014 at 5:31 am

“Believe the victim” is the answer begging the question.

Nuf ‘ced.

137 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 5:48 am

Right, GMeters, you are not paying attention at all. You have your fingers in your ears. There is no point continuing to try to get through to you. Still, it has been useful seeing such an obdurate example of the way you people operate, and it is good to have it exposed in a place where people more reasonable than the likes of the Pharyngula commentariat can see what we’re up against.

138 Renee Kelly October 8, 2014 at 5:49 am

Oh for crap’s sake. Ok. As a person who has been raped I’m going to say right here and now that I have always been and always be the sort that says you don’t accuse someone of rape simply because a friend of a friend says it happened. Never. If you don’t have the strength to get yourself to some sort of authority to have it taken care, I have no sympathy for you. I did and had what needed be done taken care of. And for people to call *ME* a rapist/misogynist/whatthef**kever simply because I participate in conversations on the Slymepit is a major slap in the face. When you’ve actually walked a mile in my non-fluevog shoes, come back and talk to me. The comments on this blog that are so pro-Myers makes me sick.

139 Jack Rawlinson October 8, 2014 at 5:54 am

Renee – those comments are sickening indeed. But as I say, it is possibly a good thing to have those really rather scary views exposed somewhere where more rational heads can see them. I know a lot of people who have struggled to believe that the Pharyngula types are as out-there as I have claimed, yet have not bothered to sink into that particular mire in order to verify the fact for themselves (and I can hardly blame them). This at least gives some small evidence of it at a site they might actually visit.

140 GMeters October 8, 2014 at 5:58 am

Renee,

Sincerely, it’s terrible that you were raped, and I’m glad you had the strength to battle the system and achieve some sense of justice. But do you really have NO sympathy for those who don’t have the strength? Who can’t face immediately reliving and recounting the assault, and going through invasive tests? NO sympathy for people afraid that they’ll be fired or demoted? NO sympathy for people afraid their friends will turn on them? NO sympathy for unlucky people who face out-right hostile authorities that immediately and irreversibly treat the accuser as the criminal? NO sympathy for unlucky people who have no one who can corroborate any part of their accusation? That seems incredibly cold-hearted.

141 Renee Kelly October 8, 2014 at 6:12 am

GMeters,

As someone who had to point out her rapists while in the military, no. I have no sympathy. I did something that ensured that those 2 men would never, ever do what they did again. I would have had no problem losing my job, my friends, reliving/recounting what happened if it meant that many other women wouldn’t go through what I did. So, please go on telling me how “cold-hearted” I am.

142 GMeters October 8, 2014 at 6:21 am

Thank you for your service, both as a member of the armed forces and in bringing two rapists to justice. But not feeling any sympathy for those weaker than yourself is wrong. Mandating that there’s only one valid way for rape victims to respond to their assault is wrong, and does support rape culture.

143 Renee Kelly October 8, 2014 at 6:29 am

GMeters – no, it doesn’t What it does is ensure that *every* person (male or female) that has been raped takes it to where it should be taken. The law. Because the whole “he-said-she-said” crap is exactly that. CRAP. It does nothing to change things. It does not bring offenders into custody. Yeah, it’s not in any way, shape, or form easy to do what needs to be done. But it needs to be done regardless. So, no. I don’t have sympathy for those who simply let things slide and tell their buddies and then do nothing else. Because those responsible for this horrific act will continue to do what they’ve always done. And many more people will be violated. So, in short f**k you for saying I support rape culture. I do nothing of the sort. I’m doing everything I can to ensure it doesn’t happen. It seems to me you’re doing the exact opposite. Oh, and are you among those who thingk that anyone on the Slymepit is a rapist/harasser/misogynist? If so, we’re done conversing.

144 MadMike October 8, 2014 at 6:32 am

I was raped. If you don’t report it, if you continue to give your rapist chirpy emails and invites to conferences, then you bear some guilt for every rape they commit after yours. Smith stayed silent for years. If she believed it was rape, had she no compassion for others? And then to reveal in the blog of an already avowed enemy of Shermer? Where is the credibility?

The excuses are sickening. The hypocrisy is damning. The whole thing is dismaying.

145 MacGruberKnows October 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

JohnH @ 98

I call poe. Epic poe . Most convoluted, incomprehensible satirical takedown of post modernism doublethink ever. Your sir, are a master.

146 GMeters October 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

And what happens when bringing offenders into custody (if the authorities even progress to that level) does nothing? Beyond-a-reasonable-doubt is the only sensible metric when invoking state violence, but is it necessary for choosing our associates? Bringing someone into custody isn’t the only way to help make the community safer, particularly given the difficulty getting a conviction when alcohol was involved in the rape.

And many members of the website you mentioned have gone to great lengths over the last year to cast hyperskeptical aspersions and invented injustices on the rape accusation and the forums on which they were made. Those aspersions made the atheist/skeptic community less safe.

147 Ian Nieves October 8, 2014 at 7:11 am

Judging from his seemingly standard use of fabrication, distortion and outright smear and character assassination, I find P. Z. Myers completely lacking in credibility and ethics, professional or otherwise. Such appalling behavior and atrocious arguments seriously impugn his scientific credibility. I seriously anticipate seeing his publications and grants contested or pulled for dubious or shoddy results – or for far worse breaches. Someone so completely deficient in reasoning and integrity in one area is highly unlikely to do good or worthwhile work in another.

148 Michael Kingsford Gray October 8, 2014 at 7:45 am

Myerstown, Guyana.

149 Phil Giordana FCD October 8, 2014 at 8:34 am

So, who is going to go and ask Myers to apologize for outing Skep Tickle publicly as an atheist, jeopardizing her job, patient-doctor relations, local community opprobrium, all for a joke?

What a great atheist he is. What a great feminist!

What a [redacted]!

150 African Woman October 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

@ GMeters
I have a story for you.

My brother in law raped me the night my father died. As a teenager I knew not to put this burden on my mother. If it had been any other night, I would have been at the police as soon as my legs could carry me there. Yes, certainly there are circumstances where one keeps quiet.

Some years later he messed with my younger sister, also a teenager at that stage. She smacked him and told him exactly what she would do with a blunt kitchen knife if he dares to mess with her again. Some years later he messed with his own daughter. She laughed in his face, packed her bags and left.

THREE TEENAGERS KNEW RIGHT FROM WRONG in a hostile environment where his (now ex) wife (my sister) and our mother / grandmother still do not believe us. (Needless to say, we currently do not have contact with him, his ex or our mother / grandmother at all).

How in Hades do ADULT women (and men) not know what to do?

Do I have sympathy for people who are too shocked to report? Of course! I made the same decision.

Now the flipside:

A few years ago I, with help from the rest of my family, had a child removed from these people’s care by way of the local Children’s Court. This child had, obviously, been sexually abused and the Court had no hesitation in removing her from my sister’s care.

She then went on an on-line smear and harassment campaign and accused my son of raping the child. I was accused of theft and all sorts of stuff I do not even remember in detail, my (good) sister of murder and the lot of us were “associated” with people that had raped a baby to death. I kid you not. She had “proof” which consisted of, amongst others, quite mining, made-up “invoices”, convoluted time lines and “feelings in her heart.”

The allegations came thick and fast to such an extent that I approached the courts again for an interdict (injunction), which was granted in record time. She literally left for another continent as I was on her case. One squeak from her, and she would have been arrested.

I KNOW this from both sides.

If you are harmed, REPORT, REPORT and REPORT again. If I had reported this man to the police, I could have prevented two other teenagers from being molested.

If you are harassed and defamed, get a court order if you can. Challenge them to prove their allegations. Call them out and come down on them like a ton of bricks. They cannot stand scrutiny.

But do NOT believe everything you hear or read. If you did in this case, you would have had to conclude that my son is a rapist, my (good) sister a murderer, and me a thief and apologist for child rape as the “proof” she concocted on-line was so compelling. Her narrative was so polished that even my attorney initially looked at me askance. But under the court’s scrutiny her lies and confabulations fell apart like an overused snotty tissue.

151 Sharon Madison October 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

@GMeters #160

No reputable news agency would ever have printed an anonymous allegation of a serious crime against a specified individual without any supporting evidence. Doing so does not make anyone safer. It just causes confusion, and makes it less likely that victims will be believed. Anonymous allegations of rape make the victim seem unreliable, and the accused appear to be the victim of unsupported hideous gossip. How is making a possible perpetrator seem like a victim helpful?

If P.Z. Myers had even a smidgen of wisdom he would have seriously consider the damage which can be done by making an anonymous, unsupported allegation of rape public, and he would not have written a hyperbolic blogpost about throwing grenades which made the accusation appear to be nothing more than sensationalized B.S.

This is a serious issue. And, IMO, P.Z. Myers’s approach does not promote the thoughtful, nuanced discussion such issues deserve. No one is helped by his type of engagement on these matters.

152 Michael Nugent October 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

Some guidelines on commenting here:

Please don’t say that named people are lying unless you can support that they know they are saying something untrue. Please feel free to say (and support) that they are saying something that is untrue or false or any similar description. But saying that they are lying implies that they know that it is untrue, which is judging their motive for saying it.

I have removed several comments by GMeters that were prejudging a specific allegation against a named person, as well as making the bizarre implication that I have a financial stake in ignoring the crimes of my compatriots, whatever that might mean. Please don’t do that again.

Also, I have removed some comments that were speculating on unproven allegations of sexual assault or rape against three other people. For clarity, none of these people post on the website that PZ has linked to rapists, and they each revealed these allegations themselves on another network.

So please respect these guidelines while commenting here:

Please feel free to discuss the best ways to combat and minimise rape, by individuals, organisations, rape crisis professionals, the police or society generally.

Please feel free to discuss your own experiences, as some people have.

Please don’t speculate on specific unproven allegations against other specific named people.

Thanks.

153 Phil Giordana FCD October 8, 2014 at 11:09 am

Michael:

“Please don’t speculate on specific unproven allegations against other specific named people.”

Tell that to Myers and friends.

As for the rest, okay, fair enough.

154 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 11:31 am

@GMeters: But not feeling any sympathy for those weaker than yourself is wrong. Mandating that there’s only one valid way for rape victims to respond to their assault is wrong, and does support rape culture.

Okay, so you are now accusing someone who reported a rape of supporting ‘rape culture’ but you defend FTB – a cult which has explicitly opposed reporting rape to the authorities?

Please tell me you taking the piss?

155 Jan Steen October 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

Myers still hasn’t apologized to Neil deGrasse Tyson for quote-mining him. He still hasn’t apologized to Michael Nugent for accusing him of providing a haven for rapists, misogynists and harassers. He still hasn’t apologized to the people commenting here whom he accused of being rapists, misogynists and harassers.

It doesn’t surprise me. Cult leaders can never admit that they are wrong; they have to live in constant fear that the unhinged people who constitute their following will turn against them. One moment of weakness could spell disaster. In Myers’s case, the likes of Nerd of Redhead, “die in a fire” wowbagger, Anthony “go *** yourself with something sharp and die” K, Cainaji, Josh the Rusty Spokesgay, the well-named Sally Strange, and many others, must seem to him like so many zombies who can only be kept at bay by incessantly feeding them new targets for their permanent rage.

If anyone has an even more plausible explanation for Myers’s behaviour I would be interested to hear it.

156 Thunderf00t October 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

Love your optimism Mike, but you might as well ask a leopard to change its spots, as ask Myers to act in a civilized fashion.

The crazy thing is, he’s always been like that. Even before I joined their network he, and most of the rest of them, were like that. The difference is it took me less than a week to realize what the score was.

It looks like its taken you almost 2 years to come to the same conclusion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm1R2aIm9Po
BTW, isnt that one of your conferences ~1min in where Myers is claiming there is REALLY a debate in the atheist community on if women are human being or eye candy and fuck toys for the privileged white men’

157 Dave Allen October 8, 2014 at 11:58 am

“It looks like its taken you almost 2 years to come to the same conclusion.”

Not everyone likes to jump the gun. Personally I think Michael’s more thorough exploration of what it means to try and take them seriously makes him a more serious critic.

The “fuck toys” anecdote, divorced of any context, could mean almost anything, and PZ’s defenders have claimed that it was within a context of hyperbolic humour that had been used before, that you yourself hadn’t objected to it at the time, and that he hasn’t repeated it since in light of people suggesting it wasn’t helpful.

158 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

@JohnH: It’s “rapists” as an abstracted class categorization, not (necessarily) “rapists” as two or more particular, specific, identified people who have raped.

Can I ask you, in all sincerity, what your first language is, and whether you’d consider learning English properly before attempting to use it?

159 Acleron October 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm

@thunderfoot

Be fair, you had access to their back channels and you must have thought they were OK at one time because you joined them.

The rest of us may have been misled into thinking he was a rough diamond but genuine. That tolerance has been steadily degraded as the pattern is established of denigrating any successful man. The latest episode of identifying someone and practically inviting his horde to destroy her career/job has put him beyond the pale.

But what does he hope to achieve? He is surely not deluded enough to believe he is convincing a greater audience. It certainly does look like he is getting his kicks from the blind adulation of a dwindling group.

160 piero October 8, 2014 at 12:41 pm

@African Woman @Sharon Madison @MadMike @Renee Kelly @Phil Giordana:

Thank you for your courage. The only way to defeat rape is by denouncing it. It has to be dealt with by the police and the courts. It’s not only a personal matter: other people need to be protected, just as they need to be protected from murderers and thieves. It is true that denouncing a rape is often the start of a new ordeal, but keeping it quiet only reproduces a culture where rapists feel safe.

I’d suggest that rape victims should have the right to be accompanied by a counselor in all matters pertaining to the denunciation and subsequent court proceedings.

161 john welch October 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I think bagging on Michael for how long it took him to see what others were telling him is missing a point. Everyone has to go through their own steps, their own process in learning. The fact it took Michael longer than some would like doesn’t diminish the fact that he has seen what is going on and is trying to make things better.

The same thing with telling Renee she’s wrong for how she feels about rape victims who don’t report. She’s not wrong for how she feels about it, and it’s almost…mean to say she is. Her point of view is not supporting “rape culture” and it is honestly idiocy to say or even imply it is.

You don’t have to agree with her, but just like everyone else on the planet, she has the right to her feelings and views on an issue. Disagreement doesn’t make her wrong, or stupid or anything else. It means that two people who aren’t the same person disagree on an issue. This doesn’t have to require someone be right or wrong, better or worse.

I don’t actually agree with her on the sympathy for those who don’t report part, but I absolutely understand her POV on it, and I also think she makes an excellent point: if you don’t report, there is no chance of stopping it. Yes, the rapist may not be found guilty. Proving guilt in a court, or even getting a case strong enough for a DA to approve taking it to court at all are not guarantees. But if you don’t report it to the cops, then it never goes on the record, and if enough people don’t report it, then when someone finally DOES report it, it’s not “hey, this person has a record here” it’s “well, it’s the first time they’ve even been ACCUSED your honor…” Her point, and other people’s points on why reporting assaults/rapes to the COPS and not the BLOGGERS, on that reason alone, is one that I’ve yet to see any good counterargument to. If you want crimes to stop, the cops, at some point, have to be told about both the crimes and the criminal.

One would think that is simple enough. Evidently one would be wrong.

But I don’t think Renee is a bad person because I disagree with her on something, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think the same of me. We’ve disagreed before. Neither of us have seen it as an attack. It’s just that in the end, we are two different people with different worldviews and head spaces, and we are going to see things differently at times. I don’t think this is a bad thing. I’m actually rather fond of it. If no one ever disagrees with you, how else do you challenge your own beliefs?

This is, to me the crux of why I think PZ et al are so toxic: that disagreement has become attack. That is how they operate, how they work, and I don’t think it’s a good model to emulate.

162 piero October 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I can’t understand the accusations levelled at Michael for not having “seen the light” earlier. His first post on the unfair treatment Dawkins has received from the FTB crowd had a clear motivation. His subsequent posts were replies to attacks he was made the target of by adopting a fair position regarding Dawkins. I do not expect anyone to devote their time to browsing the FTB blogs unless there is a point to be made. Frankly, most of the blog posts are rubbish, and the comments are beyond contempt.

I am extremely grateful to Michael for opening a space of true discussion, with the precise amount of moderation required to prevent intemperate flame wars. Should he have done so earlier? Why? It’s his blog, for Dog’s sake!

@John H.:

I’ll bite:

It’s “rapists” as an abstracted class categorization, not (necessarily) “rapists” as two or more particular, specific, identified people who have raped.

Fair enough. We can then parse Myers’s statement as equivalent to “Slymepitters belong to the abstract category of rapists”. In other words, they belong to the set (abstract construct) of rapists. Why do they belong to that set? Because they have property R. And what is this property R that elements of the set of rapists satisfy? Well, “being a rapist”. So slymepitters are, according to myers, rapists.

Any other sophism to dismantle?

163 piero October 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Oh, if John H. is a poe, congratulations!

164 Aheydis Vaakenjab October 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

And there we have it – proof that Myers does not belong in the same league as even the most modest of atheist in the community.

Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens all receive(d) credible death threats, are pilloried by not only the religious, but also by the likes of Myers and his sad band of social justice bloggers, and they carry on. Myers gets an off the cuff joke directed at him on an unremarkable forum posting and he loses his mind and doxxes her.

“Nice job you have there. Too bad about that forum post, it would be a horrible thing if something happened to your job… wink wink”.

What kind of person is Myers to put a woman at risk? Why would a self proclaimed thought leader and feminist post the details of a woman on the internet exposing her to the potential for real world retribution? If Dawkins posted the home or work address of any one of his female detractors, Myers would have lost his marbles and rightfully so. However as the saying goes, “It’s O.K. when we do it”.

I’m not giving Myers an out, however on the flip-side, I can fully appreciate how annoying and personally hurtful years of constant nit-picking at every little thing one does could be. Myers is under the proverbial microscope for all of his acerbic blog posts and ridiculous claims. However he has self-proclaimed to be the 5th horseman and has chosen to be a very visible public figure in the A/S community. So any sympathy I may have for the man eroded years ago. When someone chooses to call people fuckwits, fuck-brained assholes and rapists, one quickly loses credibility as the years wear on.

Myers is a liability to the wider atheist community. Don’t cross paths with him else you may be doxxed or accused of being a rapist by association. Why would anyone want to be associated with a person who can so blithely throw around their privilege to shut down people and potentially cause them real world harm. His cohorts and sycophants are cooing over him and nipping at his heels as if he were some great leader, brought to one knee by the slings and arrows from his detractors. What they don’t realize is that one small slip up, and they’ll be the next person on the Myers chopping block.

Myers years ago said that he doesn’t have to give his detractors a platform – that they should just go blog somewhere else if they disagree. Well, that was fine and dandy when Myers had a large following. Now that his fortunes are crumbling, and other venues have a following AND popularity, this is how he deals with it. Doxxing a woman.

For shame Myers. For shame.

165 Patrick October 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm

john welch @161
“You don’t have to agree with her, but just like everyone else on the planet, she has the right to her feelings and views on an issue. Disagreement doesn’t make her wrong, or stupid or anything else. It means that two people who aren’t the same person disagree on an issue. This doesn’t have to require someone be right or wrong, better or worse.”

You’re never going to get invited to blog at FTB with that attitude, young man.

166 Lancelot Gobbo October 8, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Carrie wrote:

As someone who sometimes comments on this blog and likes to read the Slymepit when I have time, I too would like to know who the “rapists” and “misogynists” are.

For the record, I have never seen any misogyny or harassing here, and I see Michael very carefully moderating comments that he thinks are too personal.

Also I see no misogyny when I lurk at the Slymepit and I find it to be a very safe place to be. Amidst the fun, nonsense and squabbles I can see that they actually care about other people and have a strict rule against doxxing or causing real harm.

If only the FTB commenters could read this with an open, objective mind. Imagine it—Carrie finds the Pit a ‘very safe place to be’. Presumably that is in contrast to other web sites (perhaps FTB itself?) Thank you, Carrie, for being able to judge something on its merits, rather than on preconceived notions or received dogma; you are a true skeptic.

167 john welch October 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Here’s the thing I see. Unlike “rapist”, “misogyny” and “harassment” don’t have terribly concrete meanings. (I’m using quotes here because I’m talking about the words themselves more than the concepts.)

Even “hatred of women”. Well, how do you define hatred? Does misogyny mean, as I use it, a hatred of women as a sex/gender, or just some women? Saying, for example, “Jane is a bitch” is to me very, very different than “women are bitches and bitches ain’t shit”. Maybe Jane did or said something that caused the person calling her that a real problem, maybe they just don’t like Jane. But not liking Jane is not the same as not liking any woman on the planet. I think you could make an argument that calling Jane a bitch might be sexist, but misogynistic? No, I can’t agree with that. I think context has to matter.

However, that’s how I view misogyny, and I’m not the only person using the word. Doesn’t mean people who disagree with me are objectively wrong, but when they use misogyny to mean whatever they want, I’m going to think they are subjectively incorrect, and rather heartily disagree with them.

So while I might not completely agree, I can see how someone, depending on their POV would see at least sexism, if not misogyny within the ‘pit. There are a lot of different people who comment there, they all have different worldviews. Some of the folks there, to my mind, have some pretty messed-up views on things, and I know for a fact they think the same of me.

But, and this is important, agreement is not required there. About the only thing that you’d get mass agreement on there is that PZ et al are all as thick as a whale omelette. Six centimeters away from that, and you’re lucky to get mass agreement on well, anything.

Harassment is another dog whistle of a word. For example, Ophelia, Zvan, PZ, et al have said “If you don’t like what we write, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. If you don’t like how we run our comments, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND COMMENT.” I would agree with that. When someone tells you point-blank to go away, bans you, etc., that to stay and try to evade the ban and keep commenting is harassment. it’s not your site, it’s theirs. To go to their site and mess with them when they have explicitly told you that you’re not welcome is, to me, harassment. You’re going into someone else’s space to mess with them. (Regardless of reason. “The ends justify the means” does not mean what most people want it to.)

However, I step off their bus rather quickly when they, as Ophelia and others have done, say that READING their website and then talking about it elsewhere is also harassment. No, I don’t think it is. Reading a website is not harassment, it is not monitoring, especially given the amount of time they do the same thing to the ‘pit and the sites of anyone they disagree with.

As well, talking shit about someone on another site, barring calls to go mess with them either online or IRL, is also not harassment. The real world analogy is that to see the shit-talking on the ‘pit, someone has to actually go there and read it. It’s not forcibly emailed to them, etc. It’s the same thing as eavesdropping on a conversation that someone else is having in THEIR kitchen, and then when you realize they’re talking shit about you, claiming it’s the same thing as them standing in YOUR kitchen talking shit about you.

It’s not the same thing. In fact, the ‘pit is, literally, the people whom PZ et al told to go away and create their own blog and do their thing on their own site doing what PZ et al told them to do.

But now that’s harassment too.

???

So basically, if we combine all the things they call harassment, the only way to not harass them is to agree with them. Because at this point, I’m pretty sure they’d define thinking “bad” thoughts about them as harassment as well.

So there’s no way to really argue, with them at least, that they’re way off about things. They’ve made up their minds, and a closed mind gathers no knowledge. They’ve adopted the same tactics they decry when used against them, rather a few of them from the hardcore Creationist lot. (Remember how awful it was when Bill Donohue tried to get PZ fired over Crackergate? Yeah. Oh, and I still agree with that. I think what Donohue tried to do *was* lame and despicable. The difference is, I apply that line to everyone, even those who might do such a thing in my favor.)

But I think that while you can’t convince the fundies, the people who are wondering just what the hell is going on are worth talking to, and I’m glad Michael’s doing it. He’s one of the better ones when it comes to this sort of thing, and he’s better at not playing favorites than most.

hell, he admits when he’s made a mistake. Right there, he’s done something PZ et al will never do.

168 Crackity Jones October 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm

The Pit is a very safe place compared to FreeThoughtBlogs. A lot of people (especially women) have been damaged by their residence at FTB.

Anybody who says otherwise is a fibber.

169 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm

@john welch said

“Even “hatred of women”. Well, how do you define hatred? Does misogyny mean, as I use it, a hatred of women as a sex/gender, or just some women? Saying, for example, “Jane is a bitch” is to me very, very different than “women are bitches and bitches ain’t shit”. Maybe Jane did or said something that caused the person calling her that a real problem, maybe they just don’t like Jane. But not liking Jane is not the same as not liking any woman on the planet. I think you could make an argument that calling Jane a bitch might be sexist, but misogynistic? No, I can’t agree with that. I think context has to matter.

However, that’s how I view misogyny, and I’m not the only person using the word. Doesn’t mean people who disagree with me are objectively wrong, but when they use misogyny to mean whatever they want, I’m going to think they are subjectively incorrect, and rather heartily disagree with them.”

See, above is the sort of comment I would like to see turned into a talk, or video, or debate at a skeptic conference.

I agree with John fwiw, but I know many feminists would disagree, even the ones that somehow have reclaimed “bitch”.

And I think the best way to deal with Myers, et. al., is for skeptics to acknowledge and take on, head on, the Feminist Invasion of Atheism as part of their admitted culture war (see Laurie Penny)

laurie-penny.com/why-were-winning-social-justice-warriors-and-the-new-culture-war/

And then to take on modern contemporary off the rails feminism itself.

Michael, to the extent there is an Atheism movement with a capital letter, modern contemporary feminists are certainly trying to take it over, see Laurie Penny. “Atheists” then need to take that on, not just to protect your capital “A” Atheist movement, but because you’ve now given the worst parts of feminists a foothold from which to attack the rest of society.

170 piero October 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

@Crackity Jones:

I’m not a fibber, but I will say this:

The Pit is a very safe place compared to FreeThoughtBlogs. A lot of people (especially women) have been damaged by their residence at FTB.

Anybody who says otherwise is a fibber.

171 Carrie October 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

@ Lancelot Gobbo

“If only the FTB commenters could read this with an open, objective mind. Imagine it—Carrie finds the Pit a ‘very safe place to be’. Presumably that is in contrast to other web sites (perhaps FTB itself?) Thank you, Carrie, for being able to judge something on its merits, rather than on preconceived notions or received dogma; you are a true skeptic.”

Well, maybe I am a “true skeptic”, but why isn’t everyone… I always try to find the source data before making up my mind or adding to a discussion, which is why I know that so much (from Elevatorgate through to the recent allegations) is based on mis-readings and / or wilful bias. I am puzzled that so many people who will properly investigate claims of the supernatural don’t apply those techniques to life and concepts in general. It seems that it is a part of human nature usually to develop a trusted group and then to take what others in the group say without going to the source.

And yes, I find several FTB pages to be among the web spaces where I would not feel safe. It is difficult to explain the exact problem, but it has to do with a sense that many people on those boards are inward-looking and do not appear to genuinely care about others. Also I cannot explain what it is about reading the Slymepit that gives me a totally different and safer experience. Yes there are the daft “shoops” and nonsense but nobody there would cause real damage. And they mostly like cats.

172 tina October 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

“And they mostly like cats.”

Cats are rubbish. Get a dog.

173 Submariner October 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

I see PZ’s implied threat has now been carried out. Skepchicks doxxed and tagged in Skep Tickle’s employer via Twitter.

Make a joke on an obscure web site in the back water town of Online Atheism, USA and your employers get notified.

This is why many of us are still closeted atheists, but we were wrong. It wasn’t the theists we should have been wary of.

174 allison October 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Prominent white male atheist attacks female doctor – once again we see that it’s alright when THEY do it.

175 Carrie October 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

@ tina

LOL — well dogs are cool and lovable, but cats definitely pwn them. Plus guineapigs are really really cute. As far as I can tell, Slymepitters would not hurt any of the above.

176 JetLagg October 8, 2014 at 7:54 pm

“I see PZ’s implied threat has now been carried out. Skepchicks doxxed and tagged in Skep Tickle’s employer via Twitter.”

That about seals it for me. Skep Tickle made a snarky comment at an obscure forum. This is not starting a rumor (as Skepchick falsely claims) by any sane definition. And when this information comes to Myers’ attention, he indicates he’d like her means of living to be threatened (and he provides an easy method for anyone to do just that). That Skepchick would take part in this is equally disgusting.

No wonder so many of the pitters can be vitriolic. I’m generally easy going, but this has me absolutely livid.

177 Jan Steen October 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Skep Tickle was probably sensible enough to warn her bosses that they should expect to be contacted by a number of deranged poltroons.

Myers and the Skepchicks are now openly using Scientologist tactics. Their descend into irrelevance can’t happen too soon. Every conference organiser who still invites a PZ Myers or a Rebecca Watson might as well invite a Moonie or a Jehovah’s Witness.

178 jmpea81 October 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

PZ Myers was always a bit like the void within a rectal sphincter, it just became more obvious over time. When his targets were creationists, he just didn’t come under the same of scrutiny as he is now. This doxxing is a new low.

I’ve compiled a tiny list of some of his achievements myself, some of which may not even that bad if he wasn’t such a raging toddler of a hypocrite:

– Posting pictures of female politicians with commentary containing snarky sexual overtones. Not apologizing for what he did. He was only sorry about how it was received.
– Posting tentacle rape porn, something that wouldn’t fly with him if anyone else did it.
– Proclaiming that lab technicians are to scientists what faith healers are to medical doctors. He’s shown himself over and over again to be a well off clown without a shred of class conscience.
– Willfully misrepresenting the contents of speeches by Christopher Hitchens to the point of just making shit up and 1 Million Dollar Prize level mind reading. Same things apply to the output of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.
– In general: Making shit tons of embarrassing mistakes, never apologizing for any of them, and having people taken to the cross of pseudo liberal indignation for much lesser mistakes.
– Power fantasies containing sexualized violence: Asking that sincerely apologizing ice cream vendors be fucked to the ground.
– Doxxing people critical of him
– On the other hand, accusing people of doxxing who did no such thing, not by his own standards at least.
– Inability to grasp what words mean (‘atheism’, ‘freethought’), and what the difference might be to what he wants them to mean. Throwing tantrums when it doesn’t work out too well, and people dare to disagree.
– Making his blog a save haven for self confessed child rapist(s)
– Complaining that people don’t know what “Freethought” really means, demonstrating his own lack of knowledge in historical connotations of the term. People who supported actual freethought where shoved into gas chambers, worked to death and this failure in basic decency and disingenuous crusader for pseudo humanism has the gall to lecture anyone on this planet about freethought. Someone who is putting his or her dogma before empiricism (perhaps with the exception of the field of biology) cannot be a freethinker. Postmodern non-empiricists and non-skeptics like PZ Myers are not freethinkers.
– Smears, smears, smears. As documented here in the last couple of days. Callous disregard for the truth.

Whatever shred of PZ Myers there was that people have admired, it is gone. If it was ever there.

179 JetLagg October 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I’ve just reported Skepchick for harassment and would encourage everyone else to do the same. It’s easy, and will take just a minute of your time.

180 Aneris ✻ October 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

SkepChicks tweeted: Wow. Online troll @Ellesun who started rumor that @pzmyers had an STD is [real name deleted], a doctor at [Twitter account of her employer deleted]: http://ow.ly/CsqXw —retweeted by Rebecca Watson

SkepChicks’ twitter account has 15.6k followers and her employer was notified, too. The odds are always like that.

Do you see discussions whether this reaction was adequate? Of course not. They fall over each other in solidarity and support. I feel powerless about it. It was probably not a good idea by Ellsun to speculate like that (even if that is clear, and even when Matt links to PZ Myers original blogpost). However, this reaction is extreme.

But in the minds of the social justice warriors, the end justifies the means. “When they like the behaver, the behavior is acceptable; when they dislike the behaver, the behavior is not.”. Naming a person and calling for harassment in real life is acceptable, too, in the right circumstances as we learn another time.

It’s Okay When They Do It™

To be frank, what I see in this faction of the atheist-skeptics movement looks to me like a dark authoritarian movement, complete with strong propaganda, mindless followers, complete absence of contrarians and detractors and an infallible leadership on top (who of course project this to their opponents, where no such structures exist). The term “fascist” is overused and lost its specific meaning, but in that sense, it is entirely apt for PZ Myers and his whole faction.

They also have shown that they are inaccessible to facts, reason, evidence and all that and will simply cling strongly to their narrative which is reinforced every day. No matter how friendly, detailed and clear the issues are laid out to them, there is not a single correction, not a little bit of conceding a point. They are even more cocksure of their positions and react with demonizing of the person who disagrees with them on a point (deemed important). These are behaviours indeed normally associated with cults, where counter-information just makes their beliefs stronger.

The Evangelicalism is strong in America, even among Atheists. It makes me wonder if it is a good idea at all, to help spread Atheism in the USA. You may get rid of Evangelicals, but end up with fascists instead. I’m very pessmimistic about this, especially since these people are still a center in the US atheist movement that should not be underestimated. They won’t suddenly go away or “decline”. This is just wishful thinking.

181 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

> Myers and the Skepchicks are now openly using Scientologist tactics. Their descend into irrelevance can’t happen too soon. Every conference organiser who still invites a PZ Myers or a Rebecca Watson might as well invite a Moonie or a Jehovah’s Witness.

And that should be made absolutely plain to every conference. And not by back channel emails, but through a coordinated public campaign of blog posts, tweets, and petitions, because it’s not just the conference organizers that need to understand this, but journalists who quote them as well.

And it’s not just PZ or Skepchicks or FTB. As Laurie Penny states flat out:

> There’s a culture war happening right now. It’s happening in games, in film, in journalism, in television, in fiction, in fandom. It’s happening online, everywhere.

http://laurie-penny.com/why-were-winning-social-justice-warriors-and-the-new-culture-war/

When they say culture war, they mean Cultural Revolution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution

182 Acleron October 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

@aneris

It is hard for me to appreciate how important Myers is in the US, he only pops up on the radar in incidents such as this. I hope you are overly pessimistic and that his star is falling. The problem is that he and his group will flail about if they decay and several will be damaged by them as they approach oblivion.

183 James Caruthers October 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Mr. Nugent,

I have recently been made aware that some users on FTB are flouting the idea that you should collect the dox of the posters here and submit it to “a neutral authority” to investigate whether any of us are, in fact, “rapists.”

Yes, this seems to have been stated in all Poe-faced seriousness. They seem to believe the burden of proof is on the accused, rather than the accuser.

In any case, please be aware that any information you provide to anyone about your posters and their dox may put you at legal liability. I don’t seriously think you would agree to this idea, but I feel it best to shut down the suggestion before it has time to percolate on the FTB backchannel. I, for one, take all threats of doxxing and abuse of dox extremely seriously, and I think the last few days have given me good reason to do so.

Please continue to respect the personal information of your posters, and do not fall for these witch hunts.

Imagine, this is how absurd FTB has gotten, that we now have people arguing that they are perfectly entitled to call posters at Nugent’s (or the Slymepit) “rapists” and then demand our dox so we can “exonerate” ourselves.

184 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Myers really ought to seek professional help before he kills someone.

185 Rashiv October 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm

James Caruthers @ 182:

“Imagine, this is how absurd FTB has gotten, that we now have people arguing that they are perfectly entitled to call posters at Nugent’s (or the Slymepit) “rapists” and then demand our dox so we can “exonerate” ourselves.”

What you said truly sums up the witch hunt mentality of the FtB crowd. I have watched over the last three years or so in growing disgust as the lunacy has grown pretty much unchecked, because most of the more prominent people in the a/s community were either ignorant of the insanity, or they just didn’t want to (or were afraid to) tell these dogmatic cultists to shape up.

But now the tide may be turning, as Richard Dawkins, Peter Boghassian, Michael Nugent and others are finding out just how vicious and void of reason and empathy PZ and his congregation really are. I think the doctor’s recent doxxing may be a frustrated lashout over realizing how much their support is dwindling in the community.

This nonsense has always been called a “schism”, a word I really didn’t think of one way or another. But we may be in the middle of a Martin Luther-style schism, one where there will be two communities as a result. One will be the actual atheist/skeptic community, which, having purged itself of the dogmatic cult of FtB/Skepchick, will go on with its secular agendas. The other will call itself atheist and skeptic, but in reality will be neither. For all practical purposes it will be a secular extremist religion. It’s sad that some people, even ones who consider themselves advocates of reason, let themselves be blinded by the same religious mindset they used to criticize in Christianity.

186 Mykeru October 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Michael,

I know this has been a harsh education for you in the (ab)normal modus operandi of people like P.Z. Myers. It’s not just the accusation of “defending rapists” that is false. The standard Freethought Blogs charges of harassment and misogyny leveled against critics have been constructed, almost without exception, out of whole cloth. Apparently based on the fallacious and totalizing belief that as they are the self-styled defenders of X, any opposition to them must represent opposition to X.

Stating this without seeming to veer off into ad hominem is difficult, but P.Z. Myers is spiraling out of control. I am fully convinced that he, operating as a physical coward working through the internet, either wishes harm to people or is simply indifferent if harm happens.

Myers has, once again, doxxed a critic and now the Freethought Blogs Twitter echo chamber is lighting up with her personal information.

This is Myers’ doing but, as he is a coward, done by proxy.

I have taken the extraordinary step of contacting the University of Minnesota Morris Administration, attempting to speak to someone in Public Affairs. My aim is not punitive, and as a tenured professor I doubt much can be done to censure Prof. Myers. However, the university should be made aware that one of their faculty, once implicated in having people trash an entire edition of a student newspaper under his proxy instruction, is now moving to do personal and professional damage to people.

I have no great love for P.Z. Myers. In fact I have been and will be openly contemptuous of him for not only what he does, but the cowardly way he goes about doing harm. But this is a man obviously spiraling down the drain and, at this point, the only question is who he takes with him.

187 Acleron October 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Oh dear, I was found guilty of speeding thirty years ago. I wonder what will happen before the court of Supreme Leader Myers when they find out? No doubt I’ll have to undergo reeducation in public at the very least.

I was morbidly interested to see the reaction of this group after Dawkins’ tweets and unsurprised at the way they were translated by that group. I was more surprised that the Guardian published a scurrilous piece trying to maintain that their opinion had become fact and pleased that the majority of comments called out the author. The identification and demonizing of somebody because of an ill-considered joke was a step too far. This latest stupidity shows two things. Myers has no evidence for his slurs against either the slymepitters or those who comment here and everybody knows it and that group will do anything to deflect blame for the damage they attempt on anybody who disagrees with them.

According to form we will now see some apologist trying to redefine the English language to exonerate themselves while they try to dream up some even worse insanity.

188 Git October 8, 2014 at 9:51 pm

“But what does he hope to achieve? He is surely not deluded enough to believe he is convincing a greater audience. It certainly does look like he is getting his kicks from the blind adulation of a dwindling group.”

Peezus is acting according to the standard Progressive/Fabian tactic book – he’s behaving just like most of the rest of the Progressive movement has behaved for decades. “The Political is Personal”. Its bog-standard Cultural Marxisn with a Maoist tinge.

189 Crackity Jones October 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

There is a four word phrase that comes to my mind.

“I TOLD YOU SO”.

I’ve always stated that PZ Myers, the Skepchicks and all their supporters and enablers are a vicious and malicious bunch of bullies. Oh, and they really love to target women. These people are NOT feminists. The are ugly low-life bottom-feeding bullies whose behavior needs to be stamped out.

190 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

> I’ve always stated that PZ Myers, the Skepchicks and all their supporters and enablers are a vicious and malicious bunch of bullies. Oh, and they really love to target women. These people are NOT feminists. The are ugly low-life bottom-feeding bullies whose behavior needs to be stamped out.

To quibble, I’d say these people ARE feminists. Modern contemporary feminism is rotten at the core.

191 john welch October 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I would be careful to tar all modern feminists that way. But I think it’s fair to say the loudest voices in modern feminism are doing the cause of equality any good.

192 john welch October 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

sigh…”…are NOT doing the cause of feminism any good.”

193 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 10:11 pm

There is a four word phrase that comes to my mind.

There is a four letter word that comes to my mind.

194 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 10:19 pm

> I would be careful to tar all modern feminists that way. But I think it’s fair to say the loudest voices in modern feminism are NOT doing the cause of equality any good.

As I wrote what I wrote, I thought of the recent Affleck/Harris/Maher video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vln9D81eO60 And I see “Modern Contemporary Feminists” in the central circle where Harris places jihadists and Islamists.

“Modern Contemporary Feminists” has been my jargon trying to exclude the many rational and reasonable feminists and feminist philosophies I appreciate.

But there’s also a claim (sorry no link) I’ve read that suggests Modern Contemporary Feminism became radicalized and went skew when the ERA was defeated, as a reaction to the ERA defeat. And sorry, no link, but I thought that was an important claim. In that sense, “Modern Contemporary Feminism” IS rotten at the core. Also in the sense that the goals of Second Wave Feminism are largely achieved, and what remains is the rotten zombie corpse of a bureaucracy trying to justify its existence.

But it likely is a lousy phrase and does seem to indict every student of a gender studies class. I’ll try to come up with something better to better connote I am referring to the jihadists and Islamists.

Any suggestions?

195 Phil Giordana FCD October 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Hold your horses there! There’s nothing wrong with feminism per se. There’s something wrong with Social Justice Warriors. They snivel in, invade, and pollute whatever “movement” they deem worthy of their “cause”. By which I mean “ME ME ME ME”. Don’t let these SJWs taint something that is worthy of support.

196 piero October 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

The absence of posters in defense of Myers is overwhelming. I hereby challenge any Pharyngula regular to come forward and make a case in Myers’s defense.

Sally Strange? Are you up to the task, or are you hiding under the sheets? What about you, Queer Shoop? You are usually quite vocal in your own little protected pigsty; where are you now? Or maybe the Fuck Toy. Or Perhaps Myers himself could explain to us why what he has just done is not the basest form of misogyny, coming as it is from a cis hetero white privileged male on a par with Shermer. Perhaps Myers might care to explain how harassing a woman is in fact feminist.

Naah. Cowards, all of them. Cowards and proud to be cowards.

197 John welch October 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm

It is ironic that PZ is now emulating the worst parts of 4chan.

198 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Hold your horses there! There’s nothing wrong with feminism per se.

They’re not motivated by feminism any more than they are motivated by atheism; it’s just a stick to beat the opposition with.

Authoritarian personalities will co-opt the language and rhetoric of any cause – but ultimately it’s about control.

A feminist wouldn’t endanger a woman’s job just for cracking a joke; an atheist wouldn’t expose a woman’s atheism to potential patients.

199 Mykeru October 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm

@jacquescuze (190)

“To quibble, I’d say these people ARE feminists. Modern contemporary feminism is rotten at the core.”

They claim not only that they are Feminists with a capital F, but therefore representatives of all women, whether women like it or not.

Why would you grant them that nonsensical claim?

You can argue about the excesses of feminism, or any ideology, really. But you are entirely missing the point unless you realize that whatever “ism” they profess to believe — whether feminism, atheism, skepticism, or what have you — is simply cover for narcissism, self-aggrandizement, petty power, bullying, fund-raising for Fluevogs and a host of mental illnesses too long to list.

200 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Communism wasn’t wrong. Stalinism was what was wrong.
Communism wasn’t wrong. Maoism was what was wrong.

“Meh, maybe communism wasn’t so hot”

201 jacquescuze October 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm

@mykeru,

I don’t think I am granting FTB et. al the claim they speak for all women. But I am saying that claim is not their’s alone. That IS a feminist claim. They ARE feminists.

Acknowledging they are their own special form of stupid at FTB , doesn’t mean their own special form of stupid doesn’t derive directly from modern contemporary feminist theory and behaviors.

What FTB does with grenades is what Jezebel, Salon, Slate, ThinkProgress, The Guardian, and many many feminists do thousands of times each and every day in what is mostly just not as extreme form.

202 Phil Giordana FCD October 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Shatterface @198:

Sooo, basically what I said? I know it’s worth repeating though, so carry on.

203 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm

I don’t think I am granting FTB et. al the claim they speak for all women. But I am saying that claim is not their’s alone. That IS a feminist claim. They ARE feminists.

You might as well claim they ARE atheists.

Which they MIGHT be but that’s just the pretext for their bullying. Another time and another place they’d be turning Jews in to the authorities or posting beheadings on YouTube.

204 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Sooo, basically what I said? I know it’s worth repeating though, so carry on.

I was agreeing with you.

jaquescuz is giving too much credit to FTBs sincerity.

I’ve been involved in the trade union movement long enough to recognise the difference between those who genuinely want to challenge power and those who simply want it for themselves.

205 James Caruthers October 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm

For the curious, user “Donnie” in this thread is the one who brought up the ideas I mentioned earlier about having a neutral group obtain the dox of pitters and your readers to determine which are rapists. I am just assuming that once the idea of obtaining more dox has been put forward, there is a possibility someone may approach you about it, Mr. Nugent. I hope I am wrong.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141008172239/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/07/turning-over-a-rock-and-exposing-slime-to-the-light/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+freethoughtblogs%2Fpharyngula+%28FTB%3A+Pharyngula%29

Donnie has gone on to state a number of unkind and untrue things about you, Mr Nugent. It’s the old “the standard you walk past” malarky, pulled straight from Joseph “I have a list of commu-I mean, slymepitter rapists right here!” McCarthy’s decomposing anus.

206 James Caruthers October 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Comment 271, by the way.

I was going to post it, but it’s far too long. Please read and make your own mind up on Donnie’s sanity after you finish.

207 Mel October 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Wow. If any of that blog post about PZ was inaccurate, he just got the Adam Lee treatment! Hey Myers – welcome to Dawkins’ world. Except this was a small, obscure blog, not the freaking GUARDIAN.

And Myers can’t think of any other way to react? Not to attack the author, oh no, the author’s a man. So he attacks a woman.

Misogyny in the atheist community? Take a good look, there it is.

208 john welch October 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Well, it’s what people want, right? A nice simple world where it’s all black and white, good is always good, bad is always bad, and everyone knows the difference.

The problem is, it’s not that way. I’ve a friend who had a seriously abusive father. But she said “the problem isn’t that he was regularly a cocksucker, the problem is that he regularly wasn’t. It’s that there’s genuinely good times mixed up with the horrifying bad times, and if I pretend those good times didn’t happen, then am I lying?”

Life is not some kind of morality play written by teenagers.

One of the criticisms leveled at the folks in GamerGate is that because the movement started off “so badly” and has so much bad press, that it can’t ever do good.

Really? Because if you look at the start of most countries, it’s not good. It’s mostly blood and slaughter and tyranny. Enlightenment takes time.

Pinkerton, now, is considered a fairly respectable detective/security firm. It’s origins were anything but respectful.

over and over, you can find groups that have really bad starts, and grew out of them over time.

Do we dismantle everything if the start is even slightly less than perfect?

209 Aneris ✻ October 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Michael,
I didn’t pay attention and left all information in the SkepChick tweet at 180. Could you please remove the real name information, I don’t want to perpetuate it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

[Okay, I’ve done that – MN]

210 Acleron October 8, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Just like to point out that Myers attacks on Skep Tickle are not misogynistic by any reasonable definition, he hasn’t attacked her for being female. Let’s not succumb to that groups attempts to redefine English.

However, the attack can be accurately described as cowardly, hypocritical and plainly pathetic.

211 Shatterface October 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Just like to point out that Myers attacks on Skep Tickle are not misogynistic by any reasonable definition, he hasn’t attacked her for being female.

Intention isn’t magic.

(I’m getting the hang of this!)

The net result of this is that an atheist woman has had her job endangered because a bully couldn’t take a joke.

If Harris exposed a woman to harm do you think Myers would be forgiving? We already have Benson calling Nugent a creepy xenophobe for merely contradicting her.

212 JetLagg October 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

“Just like to point out that Myers attacks on Skep Tickle are not misogynistic by any reasonable definition, he hasn’t attacked her for being female. Let’s not succumb to that groups attempts to redefine English.”

I think this is part of the problem with engaging with this group for any length of time. You start using their own terminology and thought processes in order to illustrate their hypocrisy. It’s not that our minds ACTUALLY operate that way (e.g. none of us likely think Myers was motivated by misogyny, none of us likely believe Ogvorbis should be help as culpable for his crimes as an older minor, etc… ), but by playing the game we end up sounding just as pigheaded as them.

It’s good to be called on it though.

213 Acleron October 8, 2014 at 11:47 pm

@shatterface, woah there, I agree with you. But if we redefine misogyny to be any attack whatsoever on a woman that means that half the human race is inviolable. That is the extremist feminist point of view which is why I called Myers attack on Skep Tickle, hypocritical.

214 john welch October 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Acleron, agreed.

And while I understand why Mykeru contacted PZ’s employer, I still disagree with it, and wish he hadn’t. I know it may seem naive or what have you, but I just think that kind of thing is not okay.

215 Mykeru October 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

@ jacquescuze October 8, 2014

“I don’t think I am granting FTB et. al the claim they speak for all women. But I am saying that claim is not their’s alone. That IS a feminist claim. They ARE feminists.

Acknowledging they are their own special form of stupid at FTB , doesn’t mean their own special form of stupid doesn’t derive directly from modern contemporary feminist theory and behaviors.

What FTB does with grenades is what Jezebel, Salon, Slate, ThinkProgress, The Guardian, and many many feminists do thousands of times each and every day in what is mostly just not as extreme form.”

You see, I’m not fighting against Freethought Blogs/Atheism Plus and Skepchick because they are “feminist”, whatever that is. I’m fighting against specific behaviors that they engage in. Whatever “ism” they profess to be following is relevant only to the extent that they show hypocrisy and lack of internal consistency with what they supposedly believe in or have expressed as their beliefs.

I understand, as the saying goes, where people believe absurdities they commit atrocities, I just think it’s far more productive to focus on the atrocities. Frankly, people should be allowed to believe any old dumb thing they want, as long as they don’t try to impose it in the real world.

Those impositions are actions.

The problem when you start fighting the “ism” is that you can quickly appear to be as agenda-driven as the people you are supposedly criticizing. The most obvious example being the kind of outrage-o-matic who has to work an anti-Obama screed into the comments on a YouTube cat video.

216 Shatterface October 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

I think it’s useful to have Myers around to show kids that disbelieving in gods isn’t enough, you have to renounce religious behaviour too.

217 jacquescuze October 9, 2014 at 12:05 am

Lord knows how you fight is 94% art.

218 Shatterface October 9, 2014 at 12:08 am

Incidentally, if anyone out there really thinks we live in a ‘rape culture’ I suggest they spend some time in prison telling the other inmates they are in there for rape.

Let’s see if they get elected president of the ping pong team.

219 Mykeru October 9, 2014 at 12:12 am

@john welch

“And while I understand why Mykeru contacted PZ’s employer, I still disagree with it, and wish he hadn’t. I know it may seem naive or what have you, but I just think that kind of thing is not okay.”

This may be a distinction without difference, but I didn’t “contact PZ’s employer” like he was some guy working checkout at the dollar store. I asked to speak with someone in the University of Minnesota, Morris office of Public Affairs. And that was not because I disagreed with Meyer’s expressed opinion. I did so because of Meyer’s conduct which is the latest in a pattern of behavior.

But even if you think what I am doing is “employer tattling”, I think doing so based on Meyers doing exactly that, is fair play. It’s not like he has the moral standing to complain. Myers and the happy doxxers at Freethought Blogs have been given pass after pass because they are more than willing to totally take advantage of your ethical limits. The referee reads the rules, you agree to them, then they kick you in the nuts.

I’m all for taking for other people taking the high road. And if I have to get dirty just so others can boast about how spotless their own hands are, I’m willing to do that.

220 Phil Giordana FCD October 9, 2014 at 12:15 am

John C. W: “And while I understand why Mykeru contacted PZ’s employer, I still disagree with it, and wish he hadn’t. I know it may seem naive or what have you, but I just think that kind of thing is not okay.”

No. I have to strongly disagree here. Myers wants to play “big boy” by showing off his internet creds. he doesn’t give one inch of a fuck about what Skep may be exposed to, not only by being outed as someone who makes medically related jokes (jail Hugh Laurie right now), but as an atheist in a country that, by all available standards seems to be part of a dangerously religious hive mind. The US of A, stately.

What would it look like if some shit blogger doxed a vocal, yet anonymous, female atheist in, say, Syria right now? Or what about a vocal fighter on drug traffic in Mexico? They have been shot, beheaded, and FSM knows what else before. I’m using hyperbole and I know it’s not going that far (yet?) in the US. But it is fucking dangerous, and needs more than a mild slap on the hand.

YMMV.

221 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

@Phil Giordana FCD

It is very frustrating when someone uses your forbearance and tolerance against you but the answer is not to become intolerant or act like them. Whatever the ‘who did what and it what order’ argument that follows, ‘they’ can easily point and say ‘well he did too’. Frustrating it may be but maintain your standards, not theirs.

In this case, it might be argued that Myers is unsuited for a teaching role if he reacts in this apocalyptic way to any dissent. But that argument must be carefully thought through and may be specious.

So fight the good fight, but fight fairly, please.

222 john welch October 9, 2014 at 12:49 am

Mykeru, for whatever it’s worth, I’m not asking you to do anything so I can keep my hands “spotless”. As I’ve stated before on the ‘pit and in other places, this is one of those things that I’m not really flexible with.

Which is why I said I *understand* why you did it. I just don’t agree with it. And I’m well aware that they aren’t playing by my rules. I don’t expect them to play by my rules, but *I* have to, otherwise then I really am no different than them. That may mean I collect more than my fair share of my own teeth off the barroom floor, and I accept that.

I don’t ask anyone who isn’t me to play by any rule I’m not willing to play by as well, even when it’s totally goddamned sucky to do so.

223 Phil Giordana FCD October 9, 2014 at 12:49 am

Acleron:

have you noticed the bit about a doctor being doxed and offered as feeding item for Myers’ deranged, yes, deranged commentariat?

It’s not a “he did it too” argument anymore. You want to keep an even look, then go ahead. I won’t. I have nothing, absolutely nothing to lose from this. Skep has way more to lose than you or me in that shitstorm. It’s only fair the initiator (Myers) should lose something too. Feel free to disagree.

224 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 1:23 am

The two actions aren’t nearly the same (even if they bear certain similarities). For starters, nobody is putting Myers’ personal information out there without his consent. Second, I’m not hearing any calls to grossly mischaracterize his actions to his employer (which is precisely what he hinted people might do, and what Skepchick then went on to do).

I have no reason to believe Myers won’t do this again should he get the chance (and note that Skepchick is equally culpable here). That sickens me. If those over him can reign the guy in, I’m all for that. Appeals to decency and logic clearly aren’t working after all.

225 Aneris ✻ October 9, 2014 at 1:41 am

Acleron wrote:It is hard for me to appreciate how important Myers is in the US, he only pops up on the radar in incidents such as this. I hope you are overly pessimistic and that his star is falling. The problem is that he and his group will flail about if they decay and several will be damaged by them as they approach oblivion.

It’s difficult to tell. When you put it into perspective just atheism, I agree it doesn’t look that bad. However, FreeThoughtBlogs appears to be the biggest

There are other online atheist/skeptics communities that are of a comparable size as SkepChick and FreeThoughtBlogs, but they aren’t as organized. They are either a herd of cats with individuals that are all over the map, or maintained by one more influential individual with only so much times on their hands.

Audience sizes and the engagement are hard to measure, or at least not with the time I am willing to spent on it. But consider that you can have passive viewers and readers or highly active and motivated ones (and everything in between).

– – – – – – – – –
Just quick breakdown:

Science General
~18m — IFLS (Facebook)
7,8m — Vsauce (Youtube)
1,8m — Veritasium (Youtube)

YouTube Atheism/Skepticism
600k — Amazing Atheist
300k — Thunderf00t
248k — Jaclyn Glenn
150k — QualiaSoup
046k — Theremin Threes (new vid, btw!)
040k — C0cn0rdance
025k — Living Dinosaur
020k — HealthyAddict
017k — Rebecca Watson
~15k — Noel Plum, Justicar, Baud2Bits, CoolHardLogic etc

Twitter
001m — Richard Dawkins
236k — Sam Harris
156k — PZ Myers
066k — Michael Shermer
035k — Rebecca Watson
032k — Amanda Marcotte
024k — Michael Nugent
023k — Thunderf00t
020k — Jerry Coyne’s catbot
015k — SkepChicks
011k — Greta Christina
001k — NoelPlum

Websites Alexa US Rank (smaller is better)

708 — Hemant Mehta (big surprise)*
09,457 — FreeThoughtBlogs
12,812 — Sam Harris.org
20,558 — RichardDawkins.Net
25,086 — Why Evolution is True (Jerry Coyne’s)
56,358 — SkepChicks
211,267 — Michael Nugents
749,276 — Slymepit (we’re almost crushing everyone!)

*but his alexa site shows more/other details, don’t know if it’s freak

Sciencemag Science Twitter Stars
5. Richard Dawkins
8. Phil Plait
11. Sam Harris
18. P. Z. Myers
67. Jerry Coyne’s catbot

Slymepit members: 946

Google Hits
18,400,000 Richard Dawkins
136,000,000 Sam Harris
000,535,000 PZ Myers (+P. Z.)

– – – – – – – – –

As you see, the faction around PZ Myers operates one of the biggest atheist sites in the USA and they are above Jerry Coyne, or even Richard Dawkins’ in that department.

They are traditionally much weaker on YouTube, where very large communnities exist that are often hostile to Myers and co. (hence Myers et al obesession with the Slymepit is really comical). Now you also have an idea how ridiculous it is that they lay every issue they have at our doorstep, as if they couldn’t ban or block the five peeps that pest them on Twitter. Nonetheless, they are weak on some platforms, but not in the blogosphere. And this is a bit odd since it measures individuals as well as sites but the others in PZ Myers gang probably won’t do more than double the reach and it can be assumed that most followers who follow e.g. Ms Benson will also follow PZ Myers, but that is also true for YouTube subscribers (e.g. it’s a safe bet that most viewers of one atheist channel probably has subscribed to another).

Nonetheless, keep in mind that PZ Myers and Co have excellent connections to mainstream media or just willing ideologues in these other areas, feminism or social justice who are willing to pick their stories up. Their views appeared straight in Salon, Nation, Guardian, USA Today, Washington Post where they reach mainstream audience.

It remains difficult to tell. But being on science stars lists, and having a top ranked US atheist site, plus media connections, plus motivated ideologues in neighbour movement that may be very large, too (e.g. Shaksville/SJWs etc/tumblr!) is still quite a big deal even if the grand sheme of things others are larger. They ignore these people mostly, whereas they coordinate.

226 sinister October 9, 2014 at 1:58 am

I will just say this: at some point someone has to say enough is enough. We are not talking about silly flame wars on the ineterwebz any more. We are talking about meat space, real world harm. You guys go ahead and feel really good about allowing that because he has a blog. I am going to do what is right. I am going to work to stop REAL HARM in the REAL WORLD.

227 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 2:16 am

@Phil Giordana FCD

Of course I’ve noticed. And I agree that Skep Tickle has a lot to lose.

But how does descending to Myers level help her?

We are unlikely to change his behaviour by acting as he does. In fact, my own opinion is that he will never change. All we can do is behave according to our standards and watch his further decline in influence. Taking action with his employer is problematical and again IMHO will only give him and his supporters ammunition.

By all means communicate to Skep Tickle’s employers and point out the facts, it will have more effect if you are not tainted with the same brush. By all means communicate to the world that a poor joke does not merit the Myers treatment, again that will have more effect if they cannot reply, ‘you too’.

After all, you won’t convince that group that they are wrong, you should hope to convince everyone else.

228 James Caruthers October 9, 2014 at 2:18 am

The way I see it, the decision to contact or not contact the department at Myers’ workplace which handles complaints rests on a simple question:

How likely is Myers to repeat this behavior? (This behavior being doxxing and then looking the other why while heavily implying his fanbase should try to get someone fired, and possibly even contacting Skepchick and his other bloggers to encourage them to join in the fray.)

I think the possibility of Myers repeating this behavior is extremely likely. One of the hosts on The Atheist Experience, Martin Wagner, once commented that he felt he had a moral duty to dox those who expressed ideological opinions he didn’t agree with. This seems to be PZ’s modus operandi as well. Skep was not the first person to be doxxed. In fact, I believe she has been doxxed in the past, if I’m not mistaken? By some of Myer’s cohorts, IIRC. Mykeru was doxxed as well. There were others whose names I cannot remember.

But this isn’t just a matter of doxxing. What’s dangerous is what comes after. In the case of FTB, that seems to take the form of hysterical pearl-clutchers calling one’s place of employment and manufacturing lies about what one might have said. IE, disagreeing with FTB becomes “hates all women, creates unsafe space for women, wants to rape all women” etc. Nugent, you have firsthand experience, having been accused of providing a “safe space for harassers, misogynists and RAPISTS.” Melody Hensley and Stephanie Zvan are also no strangers to this dishonest game. Hensley, I believe, threatened/attempted to get a veteran fired for “trivializing” her Twitter PTSD.

If I could reasonably expect we’d all sit back on our respective websites and disagree, snipe and bicker with/at each other, then I’d have no problem taking the high road. But I’m now convinced that PZ and co will use any and every dirty trick and bit of dox they can dig up to destroy anyone who opposes them.

Nugent, haven’t they already threatened your employment? I’ll have to go dig a bit. I thought I saw somewhere that some of them had already tried to get you fired, or threatened to.

229 john welch October 9, 2014 at 2:34 am
230 sinister October 9, 2014 at 2:39 am

Yes, we should let corrupt politicians stay in office, I mean, what harm can they do?

Oh, PZ is your daughter’s professor? It’s a damn shame I can’t warm you about him, he has a blog you know, so the real world doesn’t count anymore. I mean why shouldn’t young impressionable adults not be turned over to PZ? It’s not like I live in Minnesota, my kids are safe!

231 sinister October 9, 2014 at 3:00 am

Oh, one other thing to mull over. Damn near every student these days has a facebook, most of them leave it public. Using PZ’s logic it would be all fine if he doxxed anyone who posted “harassment” on his blog (or other internet sites) if that nym could be publicly traced to them. I would like you then to consider how many people use their nym as their facebook “username/url.” That’s a whole bunch of fair game. How many people have to be hurt before we can start talking about this seriously?

You guys tell me, so I can come back to get you when we reach that magic number.

232 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 3:23 am

@ john welch

That is the most insightful analysis of this situation I have seen.

Although he makes a good generalised case, I wonder if the culprits he describes are the same ones we are discussing.

233 Karmakin October 9, 2014 at 3:29 am

Another interesting essay on this subject that’s been making the rounds: http://theflounce.com/harassment-abuse-apologism-sanitizing-abuse-social-justice-spheres/

234 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 5:02 am

It should also be noted, partly in defense and/or support of Mykeru, that PZ mentions who he works for on his Twitter page and on his blog. In other words, PZ directly links his online activity with his job. Even more: PZ’s employer recently boasted – yes, boasted – of PZ’s internet activity on its Public Affairs page.

In contrast, the person that PZ et al. doxxed does none of this. She has also said – very clearly – that she wants her online activity to be separate from her job.

The two are not really close to comparable and telling Mykeru that he is the same as PZ et al. is highly unfair to Mykeru, IMO.

235 sinister October 9, 2014 at 5:24 am

Mykeru is another victim, albeit one quite ready to respond to their bullying and threats. The fact that anyone could find wrong in his response is baffling to me. You want victims to report, and he has. Now everyone is upset because the victim isn’t being nice enough? Seriously, if not action, what are you doing? Somehow I don’t think 3 more years of “exposing” PZ is going to do any better than the last 3 years. Which, I note, apparently have served to embolden their attacks. If you don’t believe me, take a look at their twitter feeds. They are excited to have doxxed Skep, freaking proud even!

I honestly want to know if you actually believe more blogging and tweeting is the solution.

236 Mel October 9, 2014 at 5:48 am

It was Ophelia Benson who originally doxxed Skep Tickle, a while back, wasn’t it? Can someone refresh my memory – why did she do it?

237 Guestus Aurelius October 9, 2014 at 5:54 am

“why did she do it?”

Because she’s mean.

238 Iamcuriousblue October 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

And since Michael has written this post, PZ has now crossed yet another line by outing/doxing Ellesun/Skep Tickle. His behavior of late is an absolute race to the bottom.

He seems to think it’s justified based on Ellesun’s Slympit comment some months ago that PZ had picked up gonorrhea at a conference. This was a *joke*, based on the fact that he had just described symptoms consistent with it, but Ellesun is a medical doctor, and of course knows you can’t carry out a real diagnosis that way. This would have long since disappeared and been forgotten among the thousands of posts at SP, but for the fact that Matt Cavanaugh had foolishly linked to it as a serious claim about PZ, and PZ’s even more outrageous decision to out Ellesun and contact her employer.

At this point, I’m seriously thinking that PZ, Ophelia, and the rest of this dox-happy should be hit with some of the same sanctions that they have considered for Other people. And I don’t mean, go after their jobs or that kind of underhanded nonsense, but seriously look into getting them removed from the leadership of secular orgs, uninviting them from or boycotting conferences, and the like. Those are strong steps, and unlike the “social justice” types, I don’t believe in taking these steps lightly. But the behavior or PZ and a few other people are getting so out of line, I think something has to be done to sanction it, unless the secular community is going to send the message to the targets of these people that we think their targeting is perfectly OK.

239 Pogsurf October 9, 2014 at 7:33 am

Are there any plans for Amy Davis Roth’s art installation A Women’s Room Online to travel?

Los Angeles is a bit out of my reach, but if it were to visit Dublin or London I would certainly make the effort to go and see it.

240 Shatterface October 9, 2014 at 7:44 am

I live in the UK so being doxxed as an atheist wouldn’t really effect my employment but I can see why atheists in the US or Ireland, let alone the Muslim world, might value the anonymity the internet provides.

Anonymity is essential for free speech – without it the vulnerable must remain silent for their own protection.

I have Aspergers and have made no secret of it on the internet. I have spoken about it many times on FTB. But outside of the internet only my immediate family, my line managers and those who involved in my assessment know about my diagnosis. Doxxing me would, essentially, be outing me as autistic. I’m just wondering how low Myers will sink if he isn’t stopped.

A lot of those Myers smeared as racists on the Robin Williams thread spoke openly about their depression too. Doxxing them would be an attack on very vulnerable people.

241 Kim October 9, 2014 at 8:19 am

If you pop over to Ophelia’s blog you can see the offending tweet that caused the original doxxing, as Ophelia has made a new blost post about it. An eighteen month old tweet still has click bait potential to make more money from those awful ads.

But that is not the reason I decided to comment here. I wanted to say thank you to Carrie (comments 41 & 50), her comments echoed my own thoughts so closely.

I have been reading the posts from Michael with great appreciation at how eloquently and logically he is dealing with the continued assault from Free Thought Blogs and their ilk. I am saddened to see that Skeptickle, whose posts at the Slymepit are usually a great read, has been drawn into their net yet again.

Yes, like Carrie, I read the Slymepit. Like Carrie, what I find there is mostly nuanced, interesting debate. Occasionally stuff goes over the top (Hi Mykura!), but mostly it is fast-paced discussion and humour from intelligent people, not one of whom I would class as a misogynist.

I found the pit by way of Free Thought Blogs and Adam Lee, who in turn I found through following Richard Dawkins on twitter. I have long been an atheist, and having nearly finished with raising 5 children decided I might make this part of me a more active & vocal one, along with the part of me that is a believer in women’s equality and right to self-determination.

I raised 4 daughters to feel they can do anything with this one life they have, I want all women to have that right. For me the way to achieve that is through a global world in which public life is secular and religious thoughts are personal, having no impact on any person’s right to live a full life as they wish to live it.

So on twitter, I find Richard Dawkins, linking great stuff from his website, and interesting articles from others. But some tweets I didn’t understand, replying to the person I had never heard of, Ophelia Benson. It seemed to me she was a troll, tweeting personal insults with no substance. I took the plunge down the rabbit hole nonetheless, and ended up in the alternate reality that is Free Thought Blogs. The more I read there, the more dismayed I became. Had atheism really come to this? A he said, she said never ending circle-jerk of insults about misogynists and rapists?

Fortunately, I followed another rabbit hole whilst there, and ended up at the Pit. I found sanity again.

I could never, ever find the courage to discuss my views at FTB, I have read too many examples there of the hive swarming on a new person who doesn’t follow the hive-mind. I don’t think wanting freedom and equality for all to live a full life is a bad thing, but it does mean I’m not so bothered about requests for coffee in elevators, so to hive-think I am bad.

I believe in reporting rapists and paedophiles, so they do not have the opportunity to hurt others again. I don’t believe in trial by blog.

I don’t believe that simply disagreeing with someone automatically means you are a misogynist, rapist or harasser.

I don’t believe that allowing people from the Slymepit to make reasoned comments on your blog implies that you are harbouring misogynists, harassers and rapists.

I am grateful to Richard Dawkins for his writing, that has opened so many minds. I don’t believe that his tweets make him public enemy number 1, or invalidate his achievements to date.

I appreciate Michael Nugent for saying all that he has said in these posts, in such a thoughtful and reasonable way.

I am 49 years old, a mother of five, I do cross-stitch, sew and bake, I volunteer at local migrant worker shelters.

I am not a misogynist, an harasser nor a rapist.

And I find The Slymepit makes more sense than Free Thought Blogs. It’s a strange world we live in.

242 Sharon Madison October 9, 2014 at 9:12 am

I fail to see how contacting P.Z. Myers’s employer is an appropriate response to the current actions being taken against Skeptickle. P.Z. Myers is not employed at UMinn Morris as a secular or atheist activist. He’s there to teach biology.

This problem has been caused by those who tout P.Z. Myers as someone worthy of a platform in secular activism. And, therefore, it’s the responsibility of those of us who find his behavior unacceptable who must clean up the mess not. UMinn Morris has no responsibility to do our work for us.

Michael Nugent has been doing a stellar job of drawing attention to the misrepresentations and personal smears being used to cast aspersions on not only prominent atheists, but atheists generally. He is doing so using evidence while maintaining a professional and patient demeanor. IMO, the rest of us would do well to follow his lead.

So, let’s take a big picture view of the current problem.

IMO, the problem is that bad players are claiming that they are fighting the good fight for women in secular activism, and we have allowed them to control the dialog.

Isn’t it time that we took control of this dialog by putting serious effort into discussing these issues in a nuanced and thoughtful way rather than just complaining about the bad guys. Michael had some ideas for topics which we could be discussing in his comment #152:

“Please feel free to discuss the best ways to combat and minimise rape, by individuals, organisations, rape crisis professionals, the police or society generally.”

And, Piero in comment #160 put forth what I feel is an excellent suggestion:

“I’d suggest that rape victims should have the right to be accompanied by a counselor in all matters pertaining to the denunciation and subsequent court proceedings.”

Unfortunately, these suggestions have fallen by the wayside as a result of the latest doxing debacle.

I believe Michael Nugent has proven himself worthy of leading the discussion about women in secular activism by his willingness to speak out about the egregious behavior by those who claim to be speaking for women, while still doing excellent work in the fight for atheists’ rights in Ireland. So, let’s give him the support he needs to wrestle control of this dialog away from the bad players.

Let’s discuss what constitutes sexist behavior.
Let’s discuss the efficacy of conference policies in preventing bad behavior.
Let’s discuss where personal responsibility ends and conference organizers’ responsibility begins when dealing with issues which arise at conferences.
Let’s discuss how conference organizers can try to prevent bad behavior while still allowing people to set their own personal boundaries on how they would like to be treated.

Let’s discuss issues rather than continue to grouse about bad behavior which we can’t change. I’m nominating Michael Nugent to lead these discussions. So, Michael, are you willing to guide these discussion so that we can actually take some positive steps in the advancement of women in secularism?

243 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 9:27 am

@Aneris

Thank you for that masterful (if that isn’t too patriarchal a term) collation of data and its analysis. They are certainly organised and are important then.

But the question remains of what to do with them. The option of striking back with their own tactics still makes me uneasy although I am more sympathetic having heard that Myers’ university links to the FtB site with kudos accumulated by the uni and having read of the treatment of Mykeru. More sympathetic, yes, but still of the opinion that it will be counterproductive.

Perhaps the route forward is for the major luminaries such as Michael here, Dawkins, Harris etc to join forces and use the media to publicly expose their vile tactics and the damage they are doing to feminism. For all this lowly atheist knows, they may already be doing it.

244 Ariel October 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

Sharon Madison #241

“Let’s discuss what constitutes sexist behavior.
Let’s discuss the efficacy of conference policies in preventing bad behavior.
Let’s discuss where personal responsibility ends and conference organizers’ responsibility begins when dealing with issues which arise at conferences.
Let’s discuss how conference organizers can try to prevent bad behavior while still allowing people to set their own personal boundaries on how they would like to be treated.”

I see it as one of the best suggestions made in this (and not only this) thread.

Just to be sure: no, I’m not naive enough to think that once such a discussion starts, all bitter fights will miraculously disappear (yes, obviously I noticed that “taking control of the dialog” is clearly stated by Sharon as one of the motives). The thing is rather that for some people (including me) the issue of who controls it is secondary … as long as real problems are analyzed and real solutions are proposed. In other words: I don’t care who does it, as long as the problems are properly identified and something is done with them.

Also: when saying this, I disregarded completely the issue of where my own sympathies and loyalties lie. Indeed, it seems to me that I could treat such sympathies and loyalties as simply irrelevant in a sort of discussion envisaged by Sharon. And if I’m being naive, it’s perhaps exactly at this point: in hoping that in such an endeavour other participants (from any side) will be as ready to treat their own individual sympathies and loyalties as irrelevant as well.

(Alright, what I wrote sounds naive because it IS naive and it probably won’t happen. But I liked Sharon’s post and sometimes it feels good to have dreams.)

245 Sharon Madison October 9, 2014 at 10:27 am

@ Ariel

I hope that people can set aside personal loyalties and discuss these issues in a positive and constructive manner as well.

246 Minnow October 9, 2014 at 10:46 am

“The down-side of Myer’s tactics (for him, not us) is that he and his baboons are unused to venues where people can answer back – hence the refusal of Myers or Benson to engage here and the drive-by tactics of Heather Dalgleish.”

Yes, I have noticed that Ophelia Benson won’t comment where she can’t control the replies any more. It is a pity because she used to enjoy an argument and was a formidable opponent. If she were concerned about abusive language and threats I would understand (although she defends the use of abusive language against her opponents) but she knows that would not be tolerated here. I think it is an implicit admission that she has no reasonable response to the criticisms.

247 Mykeru October 9, 2014 at 10:49 am

@Sharon Madison

As Acleron points out, the University of Minnesota has touted P.Z. Meyers online presence without being aware of some of the behaviors he engages in. What’s more, Meyer’s consistently uses his credentials in a general appeal to authority for subjects he is not an authority in whatsoever.

I called the administrative offices in order to speak to someone in their Public Affairs Office, or similar position, about the situation we now find ourselves in where Myers revealed the name of a critic and linked to her place of employment with the obvious aim of having her harassed. Her name wasn’t commonly known up to that point and, as far as I know, the hospital where she works is new information release entirely for its punitive value.

Also, contrast that with what was done to me by Greg Laden through Freethought Blogs: They researched domain registration information and posted a physical address and photograph of a condo where they thought I was living. In fact, the condo was owned by myself and my then wife, which was her address until it was sold. Clearly, my ex-wife has nothing to do with all this and, although inadvertent, the Freethought Blogs indifference to who they harm in their attempts to harm anyone for disagreeing with them, put her at risk. Or, at least, more risk than any of the Freethought Bloggers who claim to be at risk from mostly imaginary, and perhaps invented, harassment.

It seems to me that people are skimming over the actual facts of the issue in order to adhere to a rigid rules such as “thou shalt not dox”. Not because doxing has anything to do with my actions towards P.Z. Meyers, but because the adherence is something people like to project about themselves.

Myers was not doxed. Where he worked was not only well know, but is something he cites to give himself the mantle of authority. The University of Minnesota was aware of Myers’ online activity enough to promote his professorship and their university, without being fully aware of what they were condoning.

Very different cases, but if people insist on shoe-horning the facts to cram it into a general rule — as if the rule itself is a form of salvation — then I can only wish you peace in our time.

Yes, that’s a Neville Chamberlain reference.

248 Minnow October 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

“If you pop over to Ophelia’s blog you can see the offending tweet that caused the original doxxing”

Yes, it’s odd because it is a very mild tweet saying ‘you’re paranoid, seek help’. Impossible to imagine anyone thinking that really offensive.

Actually Ophelia Benson doxxed me on her site once. It was another odd one. I had emailed her about something else (recommending an article on stereotype treat that I thought she would be interested in) and told her I had changed my user name because my employer had asked me not to use my real name in chat rooms. She replied that she thought that ‘interesting’ and then, out of the blue, while I was discussing something unrelated on her blog (politely arguing my corner and, as always, agreeing to shut up if I was asked to), she suddenly ‘outed’ me with my real name and accused me of ‘sock-puppeting’ (I don’t think she understood the term, I was only posting under one name but I had changed it). It was quite a surprise and a shock since it seemed to me unprovoked and spiteful. I wasn’t insulting anyone or being threatening or aggressive and I had told her about the change of nym and why. It didn’t have any negative effects for me, but it might have and I can only assume she meant it to .

249 Mykeru October 9, 2014 at 11:07 am

@ Minnow

“Yes, I have noticed that Ophelia Benson won’t comment where she can’t control the replies any more. […] I think it is an implicit admission that she has no reasonable response to the criticisms.”

That’s a signature feature of the echo-chamber they have constructed for themselves. They have to control the means of discussion, they require the “freedom” to delete any fact or opinion they find inconvenient and, where criticism is allowed to filter in, it’s carefully cherry-picked to portray critics in the worst possible light. That is, reasoned criticism is disappeared, but if someone makes a stupid, semi-literate abusive comment, they will allow that in as a Potemkin critic.

Which I find fascinating. Obviously they are exposed to the criticism in order to delete it, but it never quite sinks in. Or does it? The question is whether they are doing some high-level double-think thought-crime gymnastics, or are just entirely cynical bastards running a con.

One of the things that obviously annoys them about my involvement is my practice of talking about them without talking to them. The reason for that is I refuse to engage them in venues under their control. And they don’t talk to anyone outside their bubble of control. I know some people get a certain amount of fun from storming the comments on Freethought Blogs to see how long they can avoid the inevitable ban-hammer and memory-holing, but to me it seems an entirely pointless exercise.

Besides, what’s there to talk to them about? People like Benson and Myers have demonstrated that they have little to offer, are absolutely inoculated against correction and, quite frankly, while they may give the superficial impression of having a dialogue, when you get right down to it, they are just having a monologue.

250 Minnow October 9, 2014 at 11:12 am

“That is, reasoned criticism is disappeared, but if someone makes a stupid, semi-literate abusive comment, they will allow that in as a Potemkin critic.”

Yes I have noticed that too. Stupid and abusive messages are tolerated but reasoned argument, if on the ‘wrong’ side is eliminated.

I notice that Michael Nugent has deleted some posts on this thread, but said that he has done it and given a reason. It can be done right and it shows that reasonable, civil discussion is possible even about these heated subjects.

251 Phil Giordana FCD October 9, 2014 at 11:13 am

When it comes down to this, and if you want at least one good reason why Myers’ behavior and online presence should be reported to UMM, you only need to look at some of the claims he’s made about biology and the views he tacitly endorses WRT biology as posted by his commentariat or argued in his online conferences.

These views are all tailor-made to fit his political agenda. And seeing how reckless he can be with people who disagree with him, as demonstrated lately, there are very good reasons to contact UMM.

Think of the children!

252 windy October 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

Sharon Madison
“I fail to see how contacting P.Z. Myers’s employer is an appropriate response to the current actions being taken against Skeptickle. P.Z. Myers is not employed at UMinn Morris as a secular or atheist activist. He’s there to teach biology.

This problem has been caused by those who tout P.Z. Myers as someone worthy of a platform in secular activism. And, therefore, it’s the responsibility of those of us who find his behavior unacceptable who must clean up the mess not. UMinn Morris has no responsibility to do our work for us.”

Very well put.

“IMO, the problem is that bad players are claiming that they are fighting the good fight for women in secular activism, and we have allowed them to control the dialog.”

Agreed, but that’s still accepting their premise that secular activism has a particular problem with sexism and harassment directed at women. To address the problem efficiently we would need to know the extent of it: how much of the underrepresentation of women in secular activism is due to issues within secular activism itself, and how much is due to more general societal patterns? There was that Secular Census survey from last year that purported to offer some answers, but apart from an unsatisfactory “snapshot” they still haven’t released the results.

253 sinister October 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

So the plan is to type harder? What happens when the next person is doxxed? The one after that? The intentional glossing over of the acutal and potential damage PZ seems more than willing to inflict is completely ignored by you.

Sorry, preventing actual harm is not some internet in-group power struggle. There is no high ground gained if more people are hurt. I see no reason to believe this event is one they would be unwilling to duplicate. They are describing what they have done as a great thing!

254 Aneris ✻ October 9, 2014 at 12:47 pm

What I would expect from conferences, I guess that should be common sense…

[1] Create a phone hotline where it is easy to report incidents. Print a simple buisness card you pass out alongside with the conference materials. Give that phone to a good person(s) who is instructed what to do what in any given event.

[2] Create processes upfront what happens with the information that is obtained. It makes it easier to keep it impartial so that no “buddy” can decide to ignore the report. Once reportet, it goes its way. Plan ahead possibe scenarious (false report, theft, groping, harassment, sexual assault, rape).

[3] Set expectations. A conference is not a law enforcement authority. All they can do is find out what happened to determine whether some person should be banned from the grounds of the conference. If a sufficient violation of rules happened, then they act on that, everything worse is passed on to proper authorities as it is most likely anyway mandatory. They do not play Sherlock Holmes.

[4] A person reporting is safe to report whatever comes to mind. However, if there is a strong impression that the hotline is abused to harass an innocent, the person who reported will have to deal with consequences (depending on how gross their attempt was), up to being excluded from the conference and if worse, a report to authorities. If it can’t be resolved, try to mediate when the instance was too severe, then both persons must leave. Once again, set expectations upfront.

[5] When an incident is reported, the routine as determined in point 2 is used. Some people claim that one must believe the person who reported (the alleged victim) but this is false. Their report must be taken seriously and they must be treated with compassion, but other than that it is not the job of anyone to “believe”. It is a task to secure evidence, note down witnesses and put that all together to make a decision that is in the interest of the conference (which includes the well-being of the participants). If the issue is “too big” (e.g. rape) the conference can only help with securing evidence and noting down witnesses as an immediate reaction, but must quickly pass it on to the proper authorities.

[6] The conference should document everything they have learned, of course abiding the laws (like what personal information can be kept etc). Someone must write an internal report including: a) what was reported, “As Is”, before any investigation takes place b) what was found out, evidence and witness reports etc. c) the conclusion & consequences. d) Keep the information so that in case there is an online aftermath, a version of the report can be shared (containing no private information, with regard to common decency etc).

255 Sharon Madison October 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I am aware about how all of this got started and don’t need it explain to me. I have read every comment posted here, Matt’s post, P.Z.’s post, the Skepchick tweet, the Change.org petition, etc. etc.

There’s a whole lot of crap that’s happened recently and in the past which I don’t approve of. IMO, this is a struggle which should be dealt with internally rather than dragging outsiders into the fray. Therefore, I do not approve of contacting any employers no matter whose doing the contacting. But, no one needs or wants my approval so, obviously, you will do as you please. Just do me a favor and don’t make assumptions about what I do and don’t know. I’m quite severely dyslexic and wasting my time reading comments which assume I’m ill-informed is not a productive use of my time.

256 Minnow October 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

For what it’s worth, I think Sharon is right. Tit for tat is not going to solve everything. Everyone knows by now, I think, that PZ Myers will go to almost any lengths to smear, hurt or damage those people he disagrees with or who he feels overshadow him in some way, but retaliating in the same way just causes more heat without any more light.

257 FishCakes October 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

To those suggesting that “tit for tat” is not the right approach, I would ask whether or not you have any better solutions to propose? Not that criticism of one approach implies some kind of obligation to propose an alternative solution, but do you have any thoughts on how it ought to be handled, if not by fighting fire with fire? How do you propose we deal with people who refuse to play fair? How do we hold people accountable, if not by agitating for some kind of real-life consequences to despicable behavior?

258 Sharon Madison October 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

@ aneris

Your comment is an excellent starting point for further discussion. Thanks! I’ll give it some thought after I’ve gotten some sleep (and iced my painful back. 😉

259 sinister October 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm

It isn’t “tit for tat” to ensure an authority figure who has demonstrated a willingness to abuse it no longer is in a position of power over other people. Why do you guys persist in acting like this is the first instance, and assume it’s the last? Why stop when he isn’t held accountable? I don’t understand why an escalating pattern of abuse isn’t enough to, at least, ensure he is more closely watched around students. Why do you believe this ends here?

260 SF October 9, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I’m with Thunderf00t and others on this. Freethoughtblogs is clearly not about rational debate of any kind, but shoving a vindictive extreme ideology down everyone’s throats, targeting everyone who dares disagree, even those who might be allies in many of their liberal leaning views.

261 Aheydis Vaakenjab October 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

@Sharon Madison and @Minnow

Agreed – the tit for tat approach is simply not going to work. Doxxing is clearly in PZ’s wheelhouse now. The best approach is to ensure that prominent bloggers and Youtube vloggers who have the nerve and ability to denounce PZ’s behavior should do so and keep the spotlight open on his actions.

As much as someone despises PZ, it is clear that he is entitled to his own personal blogging space and career – however he’s crossed a clear ethical line for no other reason than PZ acting, well, like PZ. People are looking to punish him. The best way to affect change is not through the FtB fire and pitchforks method, but rather by ensuring that PZ’s platform for spewing his BS continues to dwindle. He’s doing a fine job at doing that himself….

Keep the bright light on how he and his cohorts behave. Make the first page of results on a Google search for “PZ Myers” contain a video or blog about how your personal information is clearly not safe with the likes of PZ Myers. Demonstrate that PZ uses smear tactics akin to scientology to silence opposing viewpoints.

The light needs to become brighter on these so-called thought leaders and self-proclaimed leaders of the A/S community.

262 Sharon Madison October 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm

@Sinister

If P.Z. Myers misbehaves on the job then his students should file complaints and UMinn Morris administration should deal with it. Have his students been complaining?

263 SF October 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I wish this was just limited to PZ Myers, but the extreme ideology and shaming tactics seems to extend to the majority of freethoughtbloggers as well as commenters across the blog who work collectively to mutually reinforce the extremism.

264 MosesZD October 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Heather wrote:

“Rape is serious – but it is also far too common to be getting precious about. It may be a serious claim, but it is not an extraordinary claim.”

Yes, Heather it is. And yet Myers throws the accusation around like candy at a Halloween party. Also, there’s something wrong with your defending Myers and his slander. Two reasons, primarily:

First, because it slander hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have registered accounts with a very serious criminal charge.

Second, because it cheapens the issue of rape and rape accusations and, ultimately, harms victims of rape as people as it creates a false moral panic that collapses under the weight of its lies. It may take time, but if you lie enough for dogma and attention, eventually the rubes figure it out and nobody takes you seriously.

So when it is serious, the well is poisoned as people naturally (having been burned by the false moral panic) move to a more uncharitable view of the accuser.

265 sinister October 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

@Sharon Madison, so yeah. More victims are necessary before we can act. Is there a target number?

He is already hurting people outside the internet. So, I assume we need one victim in every forum or something? Where is the line?

266 SF October 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

The nice thing though is that PZ Myers & C0 are gradually being ignored into extinction. Having a debate with PZ & Co makes as much sense as debating Moonies at Airports or Mormons at your doorstep, i.e. it is an exercise in futility. Increasingly, nobody gives a flying fuck what PZ & Co say, and it’s a great thing.

267 MosesZD October 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

GMeters October 8, 2014 at 5:18 am

“Believe the victim” is a slogan that wraps up multiple concepts. It means people shouldn’t dismiss the claims, that they deserved to be investigated. It means that, given that only 2-8% of rape accusations are false, it’s more appropriate to believe the victim–unless evidence turns up that casts doubt on the accusation.

I see the problem here. You say ‘victim’ and that we must accept the claims of victimhood without proof. I say accuser and you must make your case to prove your victimhood.

Your position is rooted in the mentality that gave us such bumper-sticker wisdom as: The bible says, I believe it, that settles it.

The other is centuries of Western Enlightenment and advances in jurisprudence and police science that has lifted us out of some quasi-barbarous state into the modern, first-wold democracies free from excessive governmental persecution and routine fact-free convictions that we currently enjoy.

Also, FWIW, your stats are false. We don’t know the real false report, but the FBI’s work on DNA matching (100,000 samples analyzed) indicates 20% of reports are false (cleared by DNA) and another 20% are probably false (ambiguous DNA partial matching/non-matching).

Add in the FBI’s 17% fully investigated cases determined to be false, Kanin’s 41% study, McDowell’s 45% and Washington Post survey of rape accusers (27% admitted they made false claims) we’re probably getting closer to the actual range of false reports; though, statistically speaking, we’ll never actually know the true number because it’s a variable unknowable that we can define as a range but never truly pin down.

All of which. btw, are supported by police work and/or science and are more reasonable than the 2% made up number by Brownmiller and the 8% initial (and subsequently corrected by the FBI to 17%) false-report number.

But you won’t get that at FTB or any other place where Victim Feminism holds sway. Facts and science and honest people trying to honestly figure out the problem so we can have effective, impartial information and adjust our criminal justice system to handle things like rape are not to be believed or trusted or respected. Rather, they’re just horrible rape-apologists who blame the victim and are smeared while the accusation is proof of the crime.

It’s like Soviet Russia. Guilty until proven innocent.

268 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

@sinister

Nobody is claiming that is either the first or the last instance of attempts by that group to damage others. What is being discussed is the method of limiting that damage. The use off Myer-like tactics may make the situations n worse. Perhaps you’d like to comment on the reasons given. It may be a viscerally attractive method and I have some sympathy for those who wish to attack that way. That, on its own doesn’t make it the best route.

Aneris has presented a comprehensive list that can be used ass a basis for security at conferences. The comments of Sharon and Windy indicate another avenue that can be used, finding out if sexism does exist at conferences and if it does, in what form does it take.

Earlier, I suggested some names that could collaborate in this matter. Unfortunately, I betrayed my patriarchal upbringing and failed to mention others who could help and are active in this area such as Sommers and JaclynGlen. However, may I say I am heartened by the lack of cries of Sexist, Check your Privilege etc.

On a lighter note, I used to train people in computer programming in intensive 3-5 day courses. If I sensed the class was tiring I would break with stories of what can go wrong when the programmer failed to put themselves in the shoes of the user. Nearly all these real life stories involved female users and male programmers and could be construed as derogatory. For that reason I deliberately used the masculine pronoun throughout. On one occasion a girl complained that I was sexist. Sometimes, you really cannot win.

269 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I’m getting frustrated by the number of commenters repeating the “we shouldn’t dox Myers” “we shouldn’t stoop to Myers’ level” lines.

First, I don’t believe we’re doxing. The information we’re talking about (his name and place of employment) has already been published by Myers himself. He publishes it in every public platform available to him. It’s been that way for years and years. If you think a person in that position is even capable of being doxed, then you have a very different concept of doxing than I do.

Second, I don’t believe we’re stooping to Myers’ level. Nobody, to my knowledge, is suggesting we libel him to his employer. We’re talking about writing the administration and telling them we believe Myers’ actions are immoral, and harming the reputation of the university.

I can understand if someone chooses to use different tactics (though Sinister raises excellent points that the tactics used the past few years clearly aren’t working), but believe you are strawmanning the tactics others are proposing.

270 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Imagine the following two possibilities:

1. A bunch of emails and/or phonecalls from people who have nothing to do with UMinn Morris are sent and/or made.

2. Bill Nye, who is scheduled to talk at UMinn Morris on Oct 14th informs his hosts that he does not want PZ Myers overtly involved in his visit.

Please ask yourself which is more likely to achieve something useful.

And then act.

271 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Expecting a rational discussion of the issues is a waste of time. Myers, Benson, Watson et al have more than sufficiently demonstrated that nothing less than unilateral acknowledgement of their highstrung and misguided views and opinions will do.

My take is that the general A/S movement needs to be informed and take a closer look at what they may have dismissed so far as isolated, best-to-ignore and/or petty incidences of internet bickering. It has very much escalated beyond that. The so far bend-over backward tolerance of SJW’s toxic presence in A/S groups and events now involves personal risks to reputation and career where anything is subject to future internet score settling. Even perceived offenses are sufficient grounds to lynch or maliciously retaliate against someone.

I think a vocal and firm stand needs to be made because the A/S movement’s credibility can no longer afford to ignore the social justice keyboard warrior elephant in the room.

In other words, rather than complain to Myers’ employer perhaps the matter would be also well served by turning attention in our own back yard to the A/S’s most prominent and influential ‘leaders’ and organizers to make clear that Myers and his ilk have overstayed their welcome to speak to and speak for the A/S movement.

Before you jump on my butt, I’m not claiming that this is THE solution, but I think that at a minimum, public and ‘authoritative’ acknowledgment of Myers et al’s abuses is due and do not represent the A/S movement (no matter how relatively loosely knit it is).

P.S.: english isn’t my first language, I do the best I can with whatever grammar I know. At least I use multiple syllable words, so there’s that.

272 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

BlueShiftRhino said:

“2. Bill Nye, who is scheduled to talk at UMinn Morris on Oct 14th informs his hosts that he does not want PZ Myers overtly involved in his visit.”

Sold. I’ll begin working on the letter during lunch. Anyone have suggestions for the best way to contact Bill Nye?

273 john welch October 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm

IM608: pretty much that. The problem is Myers’ behavior outside of his place of employment. Getting him in trouble there will not change that problem, and it may even make it worse, by convincing him he has “nothing to lose” or similar.

Focusing on his “position” within the A/S communities, along with the rest of his “posse” is where the actions need to be. if nothing else, getting him in trouble with his employer hurts people who have harmed no one, like his wife and family.

274 allison October 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Think about how many phone calls, emails, etc. Myers’ employer must have received in the wake of ‘Crackergate’ (his threat to desecrate a communion wafer, c.2008). If they did nothing in response to that event, they are certainly not going to do anything this time. I think contacting UMM is a waste of time.

275 MosesZD October 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm

JetLagg wrote:

“I’m getting frustrated by the number of commenters repeating the “we shouldn’t dox Myers” “we shouldn’t stoop to Myers’ level” lines.”

Myers has already ‘doxxed’ himself. He provides his all of his University Contact information at his University and he’s routinely describe the general area in which he lives. What would be the point?

Repeating the same stuff he’s give out for free? Giving him ‘victim points?’

I bet he’d love it and use it against you. So, IMO, not a smart play, really.

276 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm

@JetLagg – One simple option is to tweet to Bill Nye the URL of this thread. Maybe it is uncool to, in effect, use MN’s reputation (cf. #NotYourIrishShield), but it does put all that a newcomer to the issue needs to get started in one place.

277 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm

@MosesZD

I’m pretty sure we’re actually agreeing. That was exactly my point, that Myers had already doxed himself, so people saying we shouldn’t do it (and that some of the proposals on the table were doxing, and therefore bad) were being nonsensical.

Arguing it’s a bad tactic is one thing, but saying it’s doxing or stooping to Myers’ level is another (and I can get a bug up my ass over details like that).

278 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 4:05 pm

@Blueshift Rhino

The Bill Nye idea is a good start. He was trounced for his debate with Ken Ham which inadvertently (though somewhat predictably) gave new life to the then moribund Ark project.

A heads up to adverse effects of being leeched by Myers to legitimize himself may not fall on deaf ears.

279 Rashiv October 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Why involve Bill Nye? He more than likely knows nothing of silly FtB drama. Why try to pull him into it?

280 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 4:18 pm

@ Rashiv – Could you please provide one guess as to why, possibly by rereading my first post on the issue. Not sure if serious. Ta.

281 Phil Giordana FCD October 9, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Rashiv: he’s been accused by Zvan’s husband of being handsy at conferences.

In other words, their usual bullshit. I think he might be interested in knowing he’s going to participate in an event where one of his detractor’s allies will be.

282 sinister October 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Raise awareness, but don’t tell people who don’t know!

It is no longer surprising why this “schism” has gone on for as long as it has. Any reason to take no action is a great reason!

283 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm

My guess is that what would have the most effect and value to Bill Nye would be summaries with links to PZ’s attacks on NdGT, Dawkins, and Harris, as these are known and respected folk. It’s important to note that all of these attacks involved the use of objective (and probably willful) misrepresentation. No need to drag Bill Nye into anything icky and I would definitely avoid anything that needs background, context, or interpretation. Just show him what PZ does to famous folk that he takes a dislike to and leave it up to him as to what he should do.

284 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

@JetLagg

People are perhaps using the word doxxing as a shorthand for his tactics of identifying a ‘foe’ and taking action that can harm that person. Yes, it isn’t the former action that people are proposing but the latter. But that is stooping to his level and will IMHO give him and his not so merry band more ammunition to portray themselves as victims to the wider world.

He has found it easily to polarise the debate while he receives support. Let’s find ways to reduce their support. Others have suggested ways in which we can improve our own strategies, and we mustn’t forget that improving security at conferences has been prompted by the SJWs, they are not without good ideas. It isn’t easy to aim for the long haul rather than the short sharp shock but may be a far better solution.

285 windy October 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Phil: “When it comes down to this, and if you want at least one good reason why Myers’ behavior and online presence should be reported to UMM, you only need to look at some of the claims he’s made about biology and the views he tacitly endorses WRT biology as posted by his commentariat or argued in his online conferences.”

That’s a bad reason to report him. Not even Michael Behe’s university has done anything about his anti-scientific claims except post a disclaimer, and here the issue is nowhere near as clear-cut.

If you’re worried that bad behavior online might bleed into his professional life, that could happen regardless of what specific claims he makes about biology. Not to mention that it’s the exact same justification he gives for the recent doxxing:

“I think the **** hospital should know what one of their doctors does in her spare time, so I’m not going to shy away from mentioning her name.”

286 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 4:56 pm

@sinister

People are taking action, just not your action. You can tell that it is having an effect merely by the unfounded accusations against anybody who posts at this site. Whether that is positive effect, defined by us, or not, is of yet uncertain. But the sheer ludicrosity of the charge that we are misogynists and rapists must surely be making a number of people not directly involved start asking themselves troubling questions about Myers and his group. It will be interesting to see a comparison of aneris’ data with the same in a few months time.

287 MadMike October 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Bill Nye should be made aware that FtB (Stephanie Svan) was labeling him a harasser of women. Bill is a genuinely nice guy, and were I him, I would want to know these things.

288 sinister October 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Acleron, when is enough real life harm done to start holding people accountable? Is there any point where you will actually do something?

Windy, there is a significant difference between lying and stating facts. I am not sure why act as though both occurrences have the same merit.

289 Larry October 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm

There’s a line from Blade Runner that seems appropriate to Myers now – “Proud of yourself, little man?”

Anyway, what to do? A couple of years ago Russell Blackford announced that he would not attend any conference where Myers was speaking. I can’t remember what the particular issue was at the time but we can see now that he had Myers pegged back then, as indeed did many others even before then. Ordinarily I’d say we need more prominent atheists doing this, but I fear this would just draw attention to the little man. If a big hitter like Richard Dawkins did this it would be a powerful signal, but most of his 1m followers probably have no idea who Myers is anyway so it might be better left like that. But Dawkins has made some recent oblique references to Myers on twitter lately, including referring to him as a blogger rather than a scientist, so I don’t think there can be much doubt about what he now thinks of Myers.

Certainly one option would be for conferences to just not invite him, and making a public statement to this effect would have some value. Myers recently spoke at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford, is anyone here a BHA member, maybe contacting them might be worthwhile?

290 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

@Acleron

We may have a disagreement over what made Myers’ actions wrong in the first place. He could have reasonably determined his actions had a decent chance of hurting Skep Tickle (being revealed as an atheist can ruin relationships with employers and patients, for example, not to mention the breach of the privacy SkepTickle clearly wanted). The same doesn’t hold true for those who want to write Myers’ university. We can’t reasonably know that this has a decent chance of hurting Myers. His privacy is clearly not desired. He’s a tenured professor, so it’s incredibly improbable he’d lose his job over something like this. He might be told to stop doxing people, or libeling them, but I think anyone who would categorize that as harming Myers is crazy.

Regardless, I’ve been convinced the tactic is a poor one, so it’s only a tangential point now.

291 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm

“If a big hitter like Richard Dawkins did this it would be a powerful signal, but most of his 1m followers probably have no idea who Myers is anyway so it might be better left like that.”

…or maybe not because people like Adam Lee all too willingly beat the SJW drum and post unsubstantiated, willfully disparaging articles in The Guardian.

Full circle with M. Nugent’s first article that started it here.

292 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

@IM608

My impression was that Lee was rightly castigated in the comments of that article for his cavalier approach to the facts, he may not wish to venture out from his cocoon for some time.

293 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

My impression was that Lee was rightly castigated in the comments of that article for his cavalier approach to the facts, he may not wish to venture out from his cocoon for some time.

I’m not as optimistic. “Journalists” who play fast a loose with facts don’t usually have an ethical epiphany until much later in their desperate career when only the church of scientology is willing to offer them a job.

294 Acleron October 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

@IM608

Lol, you are right re ethics, I was thinking more of fear.

295 John Greg October 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Fishcakes, to answer your questions in post, circa 257:

Accurate, comprehensive, factual, supportable exposure and dissemination; patience.

Ya, some people think that sucks; but that’s my proposal.

“Tit for tat” is just an eye for an eye and nothing more than adopting and using the enemy’s weapons and methods. And to emulate the worst of the worst is nothing more than the worst of the worst. Why become that which you claim to abhore?

296 john welch October 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Actually, I think emailing Bill Nye is a good idea. That falls into the A/S community, and is, to me at least, appropriate. It’s not something that will have any real effect on anyone other than PZ.

297 Shermertron October 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Sharon @262

First, let me say that I most certainly appreciate your calm and respectful attitude. We happen to have a disagreement, but unlike the Freethought Blogs folks, I don’t immediately think less of you.

You said: “If P.Z. Myers misbehaves on the job then his students should file complaints and UMinn Morris administration should deal with it. Have his students been complaining?”

Yes, in fact, the students HAVE been complaining. As I pointed out earlier in the thread, PZ offered, unprompted, his side of a he-said, she-said situation in which a student accused him of having an improper sexual relationship with him.

Proof: (we’re skeptics; we like proof) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JZ3jYvLz2SMJ:freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/03/oh-lord-the-stupid/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Do I personally think PZ did anything wrong there? Nah. But my opinion doesn’t matter. PZ has been pounding the drum of extreme feminism for a while now. I don’t know if you’re in the US, but these kinds of situations are handled by a federal policy called Title IX. As other FTBloggers will point out, female victims on our campuses are often failed; the college administration and police departments don’t fully investigate accusations or bring the victims justice.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zlpAyLcNUc8J:freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2011/08/22/title-ix-civil-rights-sexual-violence-and-clueless-whining/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Again, while I don’t think PZ did anything untoward, he has been accused of something awful and took great pains to ensure that a full Title IX-compliant didn’t take place. As PZ said, “And it didn’t go far at all: ten minutes of worry, and then the student recanted and apologized.” My, oh my. Imagine you’re a young woman and you’ve been brought into the Dean’s office. Wouldn’t you feel pressure to recant, even if it were true? PZ and his ilk have been reminding us of these injustices for YEARS. PZ DEMANDS investigation of those in the out-group, but accept accuser-blaming as evidence of innocence when it comes to in-group accusations.

Further, PZ encouraged his students “to trash and vandalize copies of the NorthStar [a conservative publication produced by UM students] all together worth nearly 2,000 dollars because he disagreed with the student’s conservative politics and satire-driven publication.”

http://morrisnorthstar.com/

While I am guessing many of us would disagree with the articles published by these students, those of us commenting on this blog, I’m sure, would defend their right to publish. The case brings to mind a recent situation in which a pro-choice professor removed and destroyed banners set up by pro-life students.

http://www.independent.com/news/2014/mar/11/ucsb-professor-accused-assaulting-pro-life-activis/

I humbly submit that PZ is not only guilty of monumental hypocrisy and persistent abuse, but that he is indeed failing the students at his institution, who have a First Amendment right to free press and the right to have their accusations of sexual misconduct investigated by the police instead of a ten-minute session of intimidation.

298 Crackity Jones October 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Ophelia Benson quotes Skep from 2013.

Please get some professional psychological help. I’m serious. Paranoia seems to be consuming you.

She is complaining that online diagnoses are wrong. Well, sure.

BUT WAIT….

Ophelia Benson said nothing when Stephanie Zvan diagnosed DJ Grothe of psychopathy.

Ophelia Benson said nothing when various of her friends contacted the parents and employer of Sara Mayhew to suggest her mental health was in question. This was the most blatant example of gaslighting you could ever find.

Therefore, Ophelia Benson’s current vindictive gripe is DISMISSED WITH CONTEMPT.

299 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

“It’s not something that will have any real effect on anyone other than PZ.“

Please to use the spoon for eat, not caca.

300 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm

“Ophelia Benson said nothing when Stephanie Zvan diagnosed DJ Grothe of psychopathy.”

Or when Carrier diagnosed Thunderfoot with psychopathy….

301 john welch October 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm

IM, what a scintillatingly brilliant disagreement you posted.

Jett and Crackity:

But those are against SPs. It’s only bad when SPs speak out against the Clear.

302 JetLagg October 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm

That was a disagreement? I honestly thought it was a stroke.

303 Blueshift Rhino October 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm

As much as I believe that hypocrisy should be pointed out and ridiculed, to the best of my knowledge, neither Zvan nor Carrier is a psychologist or psychiatrist, so the parallel does not hold.

304 IM608 October 9, 2014 at 11:20 pm

“IM, what a scintillatingly brilliant disagreement you posted.”

I sense a whiff of sarcasm in that.

I meant it as a response following and not a response ‘to’. I didn’t make myself clear and that’s my bad.

305 noelplum99 October 10, 2014 at 12:41 am

@Blueshift Rhin0
“As much as I believe that hypocrisy should be pointed out and ridiculed, to the best of my knowledge, neither Zvan nor Carrier is a psychologist or psychiatrist, so the parallel does not hold.”

That is correct but it is an awfully poor technicality on their part. If you are a juvenile then it is probably legitimate to behave badly and expect older people to behave better but that is where it ends.
If their defence is “well we are not medical professionals so we can make such irresponsible comments but we will hold you to a higher standard” then that sounds more than a little pathetic coming from people with such purportedly lofty standards. If they don’t expect the same standards for all then they should stop moaning about the behaviour of trolls imo.

306 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 1:07 am

@NoelPlum
Yep. The one reason given for the doxxing that made some prima facie sense was that the long-ago post was a violation of medical ethics. It wasn’t, of course, as anyone who is an MD knows (or took the few seconds required to look it up before posting would know), but that was their position. Thus, trying to turn it around against Zvan and/or Carrier was a bit silly.
But, as I mentioned in the comments to your excellent YouTube video, I think that we’re all rather missing the point. This, IMO, is a smokescreen meant to distract folks from the valid points in Matt C’s blog-post. I just wish that Matt hadn’t made it so easy for folks to ignore his good points by including some “filler” that is easily dodged.

307 FishCakes October 10, 2014 at 1:30 am

John Greg (@293) said:

Thanks, I think that’s a reasonable approach and I am certain that’s the route many will take.

I’m not even entirely convinced that tit-for-tat is an effective or advisable approach, but I do believe it must be on the table, at least, in many circumstances. I also think there’s room for a variety of responses.

What I abhor is people who retaliate in ways that are entirely disproportional to the supposed “offense” and in ways that have real potential to cause undue harm to the target. Perhaps it’s just post-hoc rationalization, but the way I see it, resorting to tit-for-tat is not (exactly) stooping to his level because the response would be proportional and any consequences would be well earned. The intention is not to harass or silence but to create some kind of actual tangible consequences for behavior that crosses shared ethical boundaries.

308 Gunboat Diplomat October 10, 2014 at 1:42 am

What part of which code of ethics has actually been broken by Skep Tickle? None of the accusers, including PZ have specified this. As a psychology graduate (although not practicing) I recall the central elements of codes of conduct for clinicians are usually: doing no harm to patients, confidentiality; and not bringing the profession into disrepute. None of these seem to have been breached. Clinicians aren’t required to be saints, nor abrogate their rights to engage in social discourse.
However I would like to offer my own (informed but non-clinical) psychological diagnosis here. I suggest that many of the FtB bloggers/commenters do seem to suffering a form of narcissistic personality disorder. Symptoms include grandiose sense of self importance, strong sense of entitlement, exploitative of others, lack of empathy and regularly showing arrogant, haughty behaviours.
Of course cultural norms are a key factor in determining whether the symptoms are indicative of a disorder. Their behaviour does seem to be quite extreme in western middle class society. But within their own cultural bubble it doesn’t seem to be that extreme at all. After all they’re just fighting the good fight against sexism and you’re either with them or against them, a social norm clearly not limited to this particular sub-culture!

Also the world is full of sexism and misogyny, which fuels this perspective. So it might be worth bearing this in mind when arguing with them. From their perspective they’re being rational. Everyone else is crazy and conspiring against them.

309 JetLagg October 10, 2014 at 1:45 am

@BlueShiftRhino

I suppose that serves me right for not actually reading Benson’s post. Might I claim some sort of extreme version of a scienter defense? It’s Benson, so there’s no way I could have reasonably known, or even suspected, she was making a valid point, and thus my failure to read her post was not negligence. 😛

310 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 1:55 am

@JetLagg
She was not actually making a valid point, as the victim of the doxxing had not violated any ethical principle (see, also @Gunboat). I was merely suggesting that one should take the most charitable view when criticizing, so, if they were trying to accuse someone of a ethical breach, only the same by them would be fair game for the label hypocrisy.

311 JetLagg October 10, 2014 at 2:11 am

If we’re going to be charitable, I say she did have a valid point. She said Skeptickle was “misusing professional credentials”, which has a host of possible interpretations. She could be saying Skeptickle was using her credentials to try and bully the conversation.

Though, even under that interpretation, my Carrier example would not a hypocrite Benson make. For that she’d have to be saying something more akin to what I thought she was saying (because I didn’t read the post, and relied on what others paraphrased), roughly , that it’s always wrong to diagnose over the internet.

312 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 2:29 am

“Misusing ones credentials” is meaningless, but violating the written, agreed-upon, ethical standards of your guild (e.g., the AMA) is not.

I understand that some folks like to make up new rules (for others to follow) any time that the spirit(s) move(s) them – I am not charitable enough to pay attention to that. But I do have to face the problem of folks making up new definitions for words that that already have very specific meanings. For example, “misogynist” has had a simple and clear meaning for quite a long time, and it’s a label one doesn’t want attached to oneself. Unfortunately, the label is often now applied to people who only meet some recently invented and rather flexible (if not downright plastic) definition – and the users of this new version of the word want all of the negative implications of the standard definition to come with it.

313 JetLagg October 10, 2014 at 2:35 am

It’s not meaningless. I already provided a perfectly reasonable meaning. It may not have the type of precision you’d prefer (bullying leaves a great deal of wiggle room), but it’s the sorites fallacy to then say it’s meaningless.

Anyway, if you want to argue over valid versus invalid interpretations or the exact boundary at which language becomes so warped as to render communication impossible, I think the pit is a better venue. I don’t want to clog of Michael’s comment section.

314 Matt Cavanaugh October 10, 2014 at 3:41 am

This, IMO, is a smokescreen meant to distract folks from the valid points in Matt C’s blog-post. I just wish that Matt hadn’t made it so easy for folks to ignore his good points by including some “filler” that is easily dodged.”

That is exactly why they are fixating on the clap joke. I’ve explained my intention for including it above, but may well have presented it too subtly for most readers to recognize. At the very least, Myers’ response reveals the hypocrisy between his vicious response an innuendo which he himself describes as not serious, but directed at him, and his blithe disregard for the ramifications of his many accusations of criminal activity he levels at so many others.

Had I omitted it, Myers & gang would have simply fixated on the next weakest link. Anything to avoid the damning evidence of his own words on subjects of rape porn & bestiality, his sharing of a sex dream about his students, & his extensive record of sexist comments. No surprise that Myers left out the links to his own blog pages.

315 jacquescuze October 10, 2014 at 7:51 am

As I’ve said at the Pit.

1) PZ’s gross behavior on the net leads me to question whether he can properly
+ mentor students
+ exemplify appropriate scientific communication
+ guide students’ budding networks as they seek graduate programs and employment
+ write references for students that will be accepted without taint by graduate school programs
2) his unskeptical swallowing and regurgitation of feminist theory followed by his demands that anyone questioning him or those theories be abused makes me wonder if he can even teach the scientific method underlying the biology I assume he can still teach. Think Feynman and Cargo Cult Science

I am not a movement Atheist. Where PZ has gone wrong, where you all find yourself screwed is because movement Atheism for too long accepted the Septic Feminism invasion.

It truly is your mess and you need to clean it up. Frankly the stench of movement Atheism disgusts me.

Let me know when at your fun fun fun conventions you debunk Feminism or something other than Chupacabra.

316 Skep tickle October 10, 2014 at 8:17 am

I can add some context to the “paranoia” comment I’d submitted at Benson’s blog last year.

Benson had put up ~8 posts about the woman in India who was brutally raped on a bus and died of her injuries…but in those posts (or, several of them) Benson turned the focus from the woman in India to herself & her fears for her safety. (Previously, there had been that episode where she canceled her trip to a US conference because she became worried about her safety; it might have been the one where there was a pro-vaccine poster that jokingly referred to vaccination as shooting, but that one could have been a different episode.)

At the India rape-murder posts, I’d commented a couple of times to point out that she was making that news topic about herself, again and again.

She stopped letting most of my posts through. As it turns out is something of a pattern for commenters who challenge her, she lets some comments through but not others, without ever announcing that she’s doing that (or warning that she will). It’s been theorized that this allows her to make her opposition look bad (more agitated, for example) & otherwise manipulate the appearance of those critical of her. But that pattern was not clear (or at least not to me). I may be slow on the uptake about things like that, expecting that a blogger will be clearer about what he/she expects from commenters & will do in terms of moderation.

I don’t remember the topic of the post at which I submitted the comment suggesting she get help. That suggestion was not on the basis of any medical evaluation, but simply because she really did seem to be reacting in the posts about the rape in India in a manner that was out of proportion to the actual risk to herself, on top of the canceled conference and the “shooting” vaccine poster. I knew that she had me in moderation, and she had not let my last “n” posts (however many that was, I don’t recall) through, so the comment I submitted was, I figured, for her eyes only.

I didn’t expect her to post it, but of course I misjudged. She sent me an angry email and after a short exchange posted it then soon thereafter lit into me via blog posts then Zvan joined in. (Zvan uses a similar moderation approach as I’ve described above.)

I understand that Benson, or anyone, would be upset with receiving an unsolicited suggestion urging psychological help. I also think it was not baseless advice. I’ve been unclear whether the outrage was more over my submitting it (which I did) or with my posting it on her blog (for which her actively approving it to be posted was a crucial step, and of course she could have deleted it at any time).

317 Skep tickle October 10, 2014 at 8:25 am

And, given current climate, I should add that (1) I have no professional relationship at all with Ms Benson, and (2) any person can form an impression that another person is behaving in an unusual manner in public view.

318 Sharon Madison October 10, 2014 at 9:16 am

@Aneris #254

You started your comment by saying, “What I would expect from conferences, I guess that should be common sense…” I agree this should be common sense, but I always keep in mind Mark Twain’s quote, “Common sense is very uncommon.”

My frustration with what transpired is that there was a demand for conference policies so many organizations rushed to put policies in place. Some were overreaching. (In at least one case, laughably so: AAI’s policy which, when first issued, read, “Harassment includes offensive verbal comments about blah, blah, blah, RELIGION, blah, blah, etc.” Offensive verbal comments about religion? Really? If they actually intended to enforce this policy, then they needn’t have bothered having conventions.) And, most policies did not include an explanation of the methodology the organizations would use to handle complaints (or even information on how to register a complaint). So, IMO, common sense wasn’t prevailing.

I think the excellent points you have made address some of what has been lacking in most conference policies, and I would be pleased if organizations put in the effort to clearly define the complaint process, and train personnel to follow the process. It would also be good if organizations do periodic reviews of their process to insure that their conference policies are achieving the intended goals.

The other issue that most policies haven’t addressed is how far the organization’s authority extends. Are these policies meant to cover only what occurs during conference events or do conference organizers wish complaints to be filed for egregious behavior that occurs while attendees gather in restaurants and bars, or attend private parties. IMO, this is a very important issue because many of the examples given to support the idea that conference policies are needed seem to have occurred during ‘after hours’ socializing rather than conference events.

Perhaps, it’s time that we took a more proactive rather than reactive approach to these issues. Let’s gather some good data on what the problems are, and then do our best to insure that the actions we take address any problems we identify. And, to be clear, sometimes addressing an issue will mean that organizations will very rightly waive any responsibility to act.

(And, speaking of proactive, the people trashing Dawkins as a sexist pig seem to have forgotten that the Richard Dawkins Foundation is providing funding for child care at conventions in an effort to remove one of the barriers which may be preventing attendance by women. That’s the kind of proactive effort for women we should be applauding. Why didn’t Adam Lee mention that in his “Guardian” article?)

319 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

Skeptickle @311

Very apposite post, given that today is World Mental Health Day.
(Full disclosure: Skeptickle won the Pogsurf prize for Feminism in 2013)

More importantly,

Gunboat Diplomat @305

I spilt tea down my shirt whilst reading your comment. Would you mind sending me £5 to cover the cleaning costs?

320 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

Blueshift Rhino #303

“The one reason given for the doxxing that made some prima facie sense was that the long-ago post was a violation of medical ethics. It wasn’t, of course, as anyone who is an MD knows (or took the few seconds required to look it up before posting would know), but that was their position.”

There are two main issues here.

1. How can we establish whether it was a violation of medical ethics?
2. Was it a violation of medical ethics? (Not to be dealt with (imo) before giving some thought to the previous question)

Let’s start with 1, shall we? From your comment, two possible ways emerge. These ways are: (a) ask the physicians – they know the answer; (b) “look it up”.

As for (a), I do not find it a particularly good idea. A physician is a specialist in matters of health. Period. There is no reason to treat her as a specialist in matters of ethics. An opinion of a physician on matters going beyond her specialty (including ethics) is not much more than another amateurish opinion, unless a given physician made medical ethics part of her specialty. (To qualify: it’s *not* an amateurish opinion only insofar as it concerns *medical* details of the case; it is however amateurish in every other respect.) Of course it’s possible to learn from the physicians how they (the physicians) would assess a given activity – but that’s a different question than whether the activity is unethical.

As for (b), the key issue is “look it up – where?”. The issue is connected also with what we mean by “violation of medical ethics”. A natural possibility is checking the codes of medical ethics (there are several of them). The problem is however that these codes contain the guidelines concentrating mainly on doctor-patient relationship, advertising, and providing scientific information to the general public. But what’s important, the codes contain no claim to the effect that “whatever is not prohibited by the code, is not a violation of medical ethics”. Quite on the contrary, some of them stress their own incompleteness in this respect. Anyway, I would be reluctant to identify “a violation of medical ethics” with “a violation of a specific rule in a specific code of medical ethics”. It won’t do in general (it’s preferable to leave the codes open-ended, with the possibility of further extensions and refinements); it won’t do also in this particular case (it would result imo in turning the discussion into a fruitless squabbling).

To summarize: neither of your options is decisive. There is no escape from ethical discussion of the issue.

My own take on question 2 (just in general terms; I don’t want to make it too long): yes, I view what was done as unethical. I accept that it was meant as a joke (a malicious one but still); however, being a joke is not a carte blanche. (Imagine a high FED official joking in public about interest rates and explaining later “oh, but it was only a joke!”) I’m ready to argue that some professions require (in the ethical, not necessarily legal, sense of the word) abstaining from making in public certain kinds of jokes. I’m also ready to argue that medical profession is one of them.

Of course you are free to refuse such a discussion and insist on literal sticking to codes. (Not a sensible move imo, but as you wish.)

Just in case: someone – perhaps John Welch (I’m too lazy to check) – argued in this thread some time ago that having a different view doesn’t make you a bad person. Since I share this approach, I’m *not* going to treat everyone who disagrees with me as bad, ideological, having narcisstic personality disorder, or dishonest. Needless to say, I’m counting on the same from you.

321 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

@ariel

Perhaps you should take two steps back.

Did Skep tickle post this in her medical capacity? I see no mention by her of her career as a Doctor concerning the post. So I conclude that the discussion over medical ethics is a red herring.

Secondly, did the post do Myers any material harm? Well, most thought it a joke, personally I thought it a poor joke but so what? Nobody thought that Myers had caught an STD at the conference and if Myers had laughed it off or had ignored it nobody would have challenged him.

Thirdly, has Myers taken action to try to materially harm Skep Tickle, obviously yes.

Discussion over medical ethics is just a smokescreen to hide the above.

322 Phil Giordana FCD October 10, 2014 at 10:41 am

Maybe “Trophy Wife” (Myers’ words, not mine) took exception to the joke?

323 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 10:49 am

Acleron #316

“Did Skep tickle post this in her medical capacity? I see no mention by her of her career as a Doctor concerning the post.”

Skep tickle is very active online and many people – yes, including me – have known for a long time that she is a doctor. For those who didn’t know, it was also very easy to check. It was not a hidden information.

“Secondly, did the post do Myers any material harm? Well, most thought it a joke, personally I thought it a poor joke but so what? Nobody thought that Myers had caught an STD at the conference”

I don’t know what you mean by “material harm”, so I’m not able to answer your question. I don’t know also how many people took it seriously. However, even if no one took it seriously, it doesn’t change my qualification and I’m at a loss to understand why it should. For example, a theft attempt should be (imo) deemed unethical even if it didn’t bring any harm (say, if it was unsuccessful or if the victim didn’t really care about her belongings). Same here.

Your third point is a different topic – a moral assessment of Myer’s reaction. I’m not planning to engage it now.

324 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

@ariel

Who would bother to check if someone had a medical qualification over something like that? That is the same as wanting an argument from authority.

If you do not know what I mean by material harm then you cannot comment on either point 2 or point 3.

What this comes down to is that Myers was offended, either synthetically or really. Well he has a right to be offended, I will defend his right to be offended. He does not have the right to try to harm Skep Tickle because he was offended.

325 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 11:11 am

@ariel

Sorry, should have added this to the above.

If you want to discuss Myers morals, feel free to do so, I’m not I am discussing his actions.

326 john welch October 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

Ariel,

It wasn’t that common that she was really a doctor until she got doxxed on FTB.

And, if you’re going to use that as justification, then Amy Roth wasn’t “doxxed” by Justin Vacula, given her address was publicly available at the time.

Either both are totes okey-dokey, in which case, Zvan’s campaign against Vacula was just spiteful B.S., or both are wrong, in which case Zvan’s campaign against Vacula was still spiteful B.S., but far more understandable.

Can’t have it both ways.

327 Carrie October 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

@ Ariel 315
“There are two main issues here.
1. How can we establish whether it was a violation of medical ethics?
2. Was it a violation of medical ethics? (Not to be dealt with (imo) before giving some thought to the previous question)”

I think that you are being over-pedantic here. Skep Tickle is an MD, she is not (as far as I know) a psychiatrist or a psychologist. “MD” might mean something different where she lives, but here it is the mark of a general practitioner who basically treats physical conditions. She is also not in any way connected with Benson or her medical records. So her comment to Benson was of a type that any person might make who, given B’s blogging antics, was wondering about her mental health. Thus not any kind of violation of medical ethics.

The obsessive nature of Benson’s postings when she gets annoyed about anyone looks astonishing to many people; just look at her more recent series on Jaclyn Glenn, for instance. I shall not provide links, you can easily find them on her blog if you want to and can face page after page of fury or irritation.

*waves at Kim and the Slymepit* Glad I made helpful points. They are true, too. The very place that PZ and co are castigating as horrible, rapey and unsafe feels far safer to read than most of FTB.

328 Carrie October 10, 2014 at 11:40 am

And I meant to add, Skep Tickle similarly is not PZ’s doctor and so once again cannot be breaching medical ethics any more than Wikipedia does. These days you can look up pretty much any symptoms on wiki and Google and discover that you are probably suffering from every disease in the book.

329 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

Carrie

“Skep Tickle similarly is not PZ’s doctor and so once again cannot be breaching medical ethics any more than Wikipedia does.”

Sorry, but I strongly disagree with this opinion. You can use the Wikipedia in any way you want and form your own private views, sure. But even if you are a layman, I would consider your public speculations and jokes about someone else’s STD based on Wikipedia – or something else, no matter – as sleazy at best (maybe even unethical, depending on the context).

And the point is that if you are not a layman, it becomes *even more serious*. Yes, I’m aware that the medical ethic codes deal mainly with the patient-doctor relation. However, it shouldn’t be taken to mean that apart from that, anything goes.

330 Phil Giordana FCD October 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Speculations on forum commenters being rapists is totes right, though.

Well done Ariel!

331 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm

“Speculations on forum commenters being rapists is totes right, though. Well done Ariel!”

Strawmanning at its best! Do you give courses on this? Where may I enroll?

Well done, Phil!

332 Carrie October 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

@ Ariel
It is only unethical if the joker in question has access to PZ’s medical records. Anything else is simply speculation, whether you consider that to be sleazy or not. Especially when the comment includes other possible reasons for PZ’s stay in hospital. It is your prerogative to be disgusted by it, but it is not anyone’s right to doxx the joker and complain to her employers. As soon as someone does that they tip far over the “sleazy” edge into the completely unethical bucket.

@ Phil Giordana
“Speculations on forum commenters being rapists is totes right, though.”

Apparently so! Such behaviour is really disgusting because it belittles the experiences of real rape victims. When dissent is labelled “rape” or even “misogyny” or “harrassment” it is not helpful.

333 Phil Giordana FCD October 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

No, the strawmanning argument doesn’t work. You have been moaning about Skep’s joke of a post saying , and I quote: “But even if you are a layman, I would consider your public speculations and jokes about someone else’s STD based on Wikipedia – or something else, no matter – as sleazy at best (maybe even unethical, depending on the context).”

I would consider public speculations of people posting on a forum being “harassers, misogynists and rapist”, or the person allowing them to post at their own joint to be defending of such, to be WAY more overboard than a clap joke.

334 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm

We are bogged down in a discussion regarding the ethics of making an off-colour joke about PZ Myers’s infatuation with the Skepchicks. This is a distraction. The OP was about Myers’s allegation that Michael Nugent was providing a haven for harassers and rapists, and that, by implication, at least two of his commenters are rapists.

Myers has not apologized for this, and almost certainly never will. Instead he has published the workplace details of the person who made the joke, obviously with the intention that one of his unhinged followers (granted, that’s a pleonasm) would start harassing the person by contacting her employer. And behold, it came to pass that one of his disciples, Rebecca Watson, did the dirty deed for their Lord and Saviour Peezus.

Who are the harassers here?

The sleaziest televangelist is no match for Peezus and Rebecca when it comes to mind-blowing hypocrisy and self-righteous vindictiveness.

335 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Phil

“No, the strawmanning argument doesn’t work.”

On the contrary, dear Phil.

“I would consider public speculations of people posting on a forum being “harassers, misogynists and rapist”, or the person allowing them to post at their own joint to be defending of such, to be WAY more overboard than a clap joke.”

Ah, Phil, it was strawmanning exactly because … I’ve never said that it isn’t “way more overboard”. Neither I said that it is. You see, I said completely nothing in either direction, and nevertheless you attributed to me the whole package, taking it out of your … hmm, let’s be cautious here … taking it out of wherever you keep such stuff.

I can only repeat: well done!

336 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

So, Ariel, do you consider it ethical to publish the workplace details of a person who has insulted you, in the hope that somebody else will harass that person, maybe even to get them to lose their job?

337 Phil Giordana FCD October 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm

So, Ariel, do you condemn Myers characterization of the Slymepit as “harassers, misogynists and rapists”?

338 Phil Giordana FCD October 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Wait, Jan, that was awkward.

339 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Ariel’s comments are doing an excellent job of making one of MN’s points: that certain folk like to accuse others of serious breaches with insufficient evidence and knowledge.

If you don’t know the ethical rules that constrain the behavior of MDs (or even that MDs are obligated to know the rules, themselves, which make them appropriate people to ask), then you really shouldn’t be accusing any MD of ethical lapses. We don’t even have to get into the question of whether the original post actually was an ethical breach (hint: it wasn’t); if you don’t know what would constitute an ethical breach, then you really should stay silent until you’ve spent the few minutes to find out.

340 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Wait, Jan, that was awkward.

What do they say about great minds? Maybe that’s true for small minds as well 😉

341 Patrick October 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Blueshift Rhino @309
“For example, ‘misogynist’ has had a simple and clear meaning for quite a long time, and it’s a label one doesn’t want attached to oneself. Unfortunately, the label is often now applied to people who only meet some recently invented and rather flexible (if not downright plastic) definition – and the users of this new version of the word want all of the negative implications of the standard definition to come with it.”

Indeed. Dictionary.com provides the definition”a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.” Merriam Webster defines misogyny as “a hatred of women.” Either Myers is using his own private dictionary or he’s recklessly and dishonestly tarring with a very broad brush.

Remember what Myers tweeted: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.” I don’t see any proof that anyone commenting here is a harasser, a misogynist, or a rapist. Myers owes Nugent an apology and retraction.

342 Ariel October 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm

“Wait, Jan, that was awkward.”

Quite :) I don’t know why you ask me such questions, but … well, call me stupid: I will try to answer at least one of them.

“do you condemn Myers characterization of the Slymepit as “harassers, misogynists and rapists”?”

I still don’t think he characterized the slymepitters as rapists, in effect a simple “yes” or “no” answer is for me not possible. See my comment #35. (Sure, it received some backlash later, but some people on your side accepted it and nuanced their accusations – see in particular Aneris #44 and noelplum #114. It’s fine with me – I didn’t expect more).

But if you expect more, I will say this: if he described the slymepitters as rapists, without any proof, I would indeed find it unacceptable. But please rememeber that I treat the last sentence as a counterfactual.

This leaves “misogynists” and “harassers”, right? As for “misogynists”, I wouldn’t use it as a general label (taking into account other possible explanations of what you do). As for “harassers”, I think indeed that in many cases you truly crossed the line of what’s acceptable. Well, that’s my opinion. And I express it here only because you asked.

I have also no idea why you needed it. What was the point?

343 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

@Ariel

General: In your opinion, are any of the major players at FTB “harassers” and/or have any of the bloggers over there “crossed the line of what’s acceptable”?

Specific: In your opinion, was OB adding “oops, my bad” sufficient and/or the right thing to do?

344 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Interesting to see that Ariel had the urge to come here and question the ethics of somebody who made a joke about PZ Myers, but refuses to question the ethics of PZ Myers himself. I wonder why that can be.

345 GerardO October 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I’d say that some of the commentary on Myers has been over the top. For example, his scientific views are fairly orthodox, and the STD jokes only play into his persecution complex. Criticism should focus on Pharyngula and its cult-like devotees.

346 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm

his scientific views are fairly orthodox

His blanket dismissal of Evolutionary Psychology looks more informed by (radfem) ideology than by science. He has also posted some decidedly unorthodox views on evolution. For the past ten years at least, Myers has been as much a real scientist as Nerd of Redhead (if that means anything to you).

The guy is simply an all-round failure: as a human being, as a writer, and as a scientist. That’s why we are here.

347 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

“I still don’t think he characterized the slymepitters as rapists”

PZM. but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists

PZM. “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

He is clearly saying that most people who comment here are slymepitters (incidentally, that may be prophecy) and that slymepitters are rapists, harassers and misogynists. It would require the sophistry of a Jesuit for it to mean anything else.

Although not explicitly said it can be concluded that he also means that most who comment here are rapists, harassers and misogynists.

348 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

“Interesting to see that Ariel had the urge to come here and question the ethics of somebody who made a joke about PZ Myers, but refuses to question the ethics of PZ Myers himself. I wonder why that can be.”

Is it any more telling than the number of people who only seem to wish to discuss PZs ethical lapses without mentioning what may or may not be the shortcomings of those he is reacting against?

I don’t know what you’re insinuating about Ariel, but given that more critique of PZ is coals to Newcastle on this blog at the moment perhaps you might let those few people who stand on his side do so without calls for them to do otherwise.

Because otherwise this place is just going to become one more boring echo chamber.

PZ still has followers. I’m interested to know what they could possibly see in him. I don’t see how implying that they articulate arguments against PZ when that isn’t what they wish to do serves to do anything other than persuade them to stay on FtB and talk amongst themselves, (again).

349 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

If we follow the doxxing derail too far, we of course are being directed by Myers’ sleight of hand, and falling into his cunning trap. I have a short anecdote that might help to bring the doxxing derail to a close.

I once did have occasion to complain about a doctor who was treating me. The details are immaterial, but what I did was look up the health authority’s complaints procedure and e-mail them with the relevant details. I later received a hand-written note of apology.

What I didn’t do was blog about it, or even particularly discuss it with anyone apart from my wife (she knew my concerns before I raised the formal complaint). If I had complained, felt my complaint was ignored, and still felt my complaint was justified, only at that point it would have been appropriate to involve all and sundry in my grievance. This might have involved blogging, writing to the papers, standing outside the health authority HQ with a bill-board or writing to my MP.

What I am trying to say is that any sensible person, when confronted by an issue, tries to take the quiet route first, and then escalates as and when appropriate. Those that chose to escalate first are playing upon our emotions and we should be wary of buying into their belief sets.

In the current situation, only Myers himself has the right to complain, if he genuinely feels aggrieved. If he chooses to ignore the established complaints procedure and instead broadcast his problems from the mountain-top, that’s his choice. But the likelihood of his complaint ever being judged successful is somewhat diminished.

350 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm

“He is clearly saying that most people who comment here are slymepitters (incidentally, that may be prophecy) and that slymepitters are rapists, harassers and misogynists. ”

Or it could just be that he sees their presence or support as an attribute of those who defend or provide a haven for such.

Which isn’t Jesuit sophistry, by the way.

It’s noxious hyperbole by PZ, of course, but it’s not actually the same thing as drawing exact equivalence.

351 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Pogsurf – So as not to clutter MN’s blog, my response is posted at The ‘Pit.

352 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

@Dave Allen,

If Michael Nugent “provides a haven for rapists” then there must be rapists here. So where are they if not in the comment section?

353 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

The problem is, decent people are inclined to think that Myers can’t be that bad. He must be misunderstood. So they still give him a pass.

That’s projection. Some people are projecting their own decency onto PZ Myers, in the same way that PZ Myers is projecting his own bigotry onto others.

354 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

“If Michael Nugent “provides a haven for rapists” then there must be rapists here. So where are they if not in the comment section?”

I saw it as a metaphor myself. We know the impetus behind Michael’s input on the matter was Adam Lee’s attack on Richard Dawkins which was to some degree tied in with PZ and Pal’s accusations regarding sexual impropriety by various others.

Hence “defends” and “provides haven for” (which – let me say again – is ludicrous hyperbole).

That the existence of ‘Pitters on the forum stands as “evidence” of that does not necessarily imply that they are themselves are sex criminals – it could just mean PZ associates the support of ‘Pitters with those who excuse sex criminals.

Now this is still a load of nonsense in my opinion, but I think that’s how most people will chose to interpret it. Seeing as PZ is obviously not keen to clarify I don’t see how choosing to interpret it otherwise will do much other than instill in the more paranoid ‘Pitters a sense of martyrdom, and reinforce a notion of ‘Pitters as possessing low acuity in the FtB crew and their circle.

355 Gunboat Diplomat October 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm

@Jan steen

As Gérard o points out pz myers scientific views are indeed orthodox (although I’d prefer the term mainstream). His questioning of the dominance of the selfish gene paradigm is in line with what many researchers and philosophers have been discussing for many years in one form or another for decades if not millennia depending on how wide you frame the issues.

He doesn’t dismiss EP either. He wrote several fairly detailed blog posts on why he thinks it’s structurally unsound in its current form. This is certainly in line with what many of us in cognitive psychology think. There is good EP of course but a lot of it is an embarrassment, something EP itself is trying to tackle http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00910/full

You can disagree with his scientific views of course but they are mainstream.

I wish pz spent more time discussing science on his blog, his writing had a big effect on my decision to go back to college to become a cognitive scientist.

356 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm

“He doesn’t dismiss EP either. He wrote several fairly detailed blog posts on why he thinks it’s structurally unsound in its current form. This is certainly in line with what many of us in cognitive psychology think. ”

Psychologists may have problems with some or most evolutionary psychology. It’s the prerogative of the various psychological perspectives to bicker on the right of the matter after all. However I am rather dismayed to see that someone claiming authority on the subject would be approving of what PZ wrote about EP. Not because EP is beyond criticism, because PZ’s criticism was purely fallacious.

To make a slightly hyped comparison, different perspectives on biology exist, but this isn’t a string to the bow of Ken Ham. To suggest that PZs critique of EP is justified because psychologists can be and are critical of much EP is to miss this point.

357 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

As a quick example of the sort of thing I mean, and why I think Jan is right to characterize PZs attitude as one of dismissal (ignorant dismissal at that):

Very brief back story: During PZs talk on EP at CONvergence 2013 he and the other panelists provided a lot of misleading information. Steven Pinker provided a fairly respectful rebuttal to many of the issues raised. PZ responded, again mostly respectfully, but still reinforced the same errors – in particular the notion that mental modules are spatial rather than functional concepts. When a Robert Kurzban post in response to the misunderstanding tried once again to explain the concept PZ responded that he would just be ignoring Kurzban on account of his being “kind of a twit”.

Kurzban’s blog post: http://www.epjournal.net/blog/2013/07/what-does-pz-myers-despise/

The “kind of a twit” comment: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/07/31/the-anthropological-perspective/comment-page-1/#comment-657875

Whilst “kind of a twit” is pretty mild invective for PZ, it ought to be noted that he resorted to the slur rather than admitting that two preeminent practitioners of the field may know more about modularity than he did.

358 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

As a quick example of the sort of thing I mean, and why I think Jan is right to characterize PZs attitude as one of dismissal (ignorant dismissal at that):

Very brief back story: During PZs talk on EP at CONvergence 2013 he and the other panelists provided a lot of misleading information. Steven Pinker provided a fairly respectful rebuttal to many of the issues raised. PZ responded, again mostly respectfully, but still reinforced the same errors – in particular the notion that mental modules are spatial rather than functional concepts. When a Robert Kurzban post in response to the misunderstanding tried once again to explain the concept PZ responded that he would just be ignoring Kurzban on account of his being “kind of a twit”.

Whilst “kind of a twit” is pretty mild invective for PZ, it ought to be noted that he resorted to the slur rather than admitting that two preeminent practitioners of the field may know more about modularity than he did.

(A post with the pertinent links is in moderation).

359 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) October 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm

@ Michael Nugent

[cross posted from Pharyngula for the good order]

Interesting series on feminism being broadcast by France24 (pronounced: fRaans vaarn kaart) … Link: Emma Watson, feminism’s new poster girl.

In one of the interviews they even bring up “Dear Muslima” [see the Laura Bates interview]. I would be fascinated to know what goes through someone like Michael Nugent’s mind, when he sees such TV programs. He is on the wrong side of history. When will the penny drop?


Also:
I see rape-victim-blaming john welch‘s little dog-whistle is still up there at #6. You may struggle to back-peddle all the standards you have accepted on your blog Michael. I had thought that you condemned such.
Your blog is not a safe haven for such, surely?

360 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm

A longer list of my concerns about PZs disagreements with Pinker can be found here, and other posts on the blog delve even further with the fallacies behind his general gripes with EP:

http://psych0drama.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/some-thoughts-on-pz-vs-pinker.html

361 Blueshift Rhino October 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The actual word that PZ used in that talk was “despise.” He said that he despises evo psych, which is one of the weirdest things to say about a branch of science. You can despise some people who are evolutionary psychologists (for whatever reason, relevant or not to their work; I happen to despise Steven Pinker for reasons that are completely separate from his work, for example). You can despise how some people use the conclusions of evo psych to achieve unpleasant goals (just as you can despise people who use, say, feminist theory to achieve unpleasant goals). But to say that you despise a field of study is just weird. And not mainstream.

362 Carrie October 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I have re-read those original tweets and have tried unsuccessfully to see how anyone could interpret them NOT to mean that Michael is harbouring all three types — harassers, misogynists, and rapists — on his board. PZ clearly states “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Michael has been showing how prominent atheists such as Dawkins have been misrepresented, which is “defending” of sorts, but when asked to provide evidence, the evidence put forward for this allegation is clearly that Slymepitters post here. “The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

I really do not see how these words can be taken any other way than that he is both defending and providing a haven for the commenters, who are mostly Slymepitters, several of whom are misogynists, harassers and rapists. PZ Myers does owe Michael, and those of us who post here (particularly the ‘Pitters), an apology.

363 Karmakin October 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

@Carrie: Like that’s ever going to happen.

For what it’s worth, I consider myself more “out there” on some of the issues that PZ and crew advocate about (for example I support taking measures on counter-acting the binge drinking epidemic that seems to be going on in both the A/S conference and the college community). And quite frankly, not only are my opinions not only welcome on the ‘Pit (sometimes criticized, but rarely with any sort of venom) but they get a lot of agreement.

So many of the frames that are given about the “rift” are simply inaccurate. Feminist vs. Misogynist, Progressive vs. Traditionalist, none of them really are even close to accurate. Most people these days really do value equality as a goal. We simply have different ideas on the best way to achieve it. Such vilification of people who simply disagree with you, quite frankly is counter-productive. One is never right on everything. The assumption that one is leads to intellectual stagnation.

364 Patrick October 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Karmakin @355
“So many of the frames that are given about the ‘rift’ are simply inaccurate. Feminist vs. Misogynist, Progressive vs. Traditionalist, none of them really are even close to accurate. Most people these days really do value equality as a goal. We simply have different ideas on the best way to achieve it.”

George Orwell saw this clearly: “The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.” The L-word is enough to drive Myers to apoplexy — he’s clearly an authoritarian.

365 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm

@Dave Allen
‘I saw it as a metaphor myself. ‘

A metaphor for what?

If he had said ‘they are the rapists of the sceptic etc’ that could just be a metaphor, a rather nasty one but somebody might just squeeze a metaphor out of it. But he didn’t, he said ‘are rapists’ and that is a direct accusation. He has had plenty of time to correct that if he meant something different but he didn’t. Remember, he was challenged on that accusation, he knew both what he had said and what people took that to mean, there was no ambiguity. He neither apologised or reinterpreted it, but laughably, presented what he thought as proof, thereby doubling down on it.

Also remember that Myers, Lee and Benson have had to extend what Dawkins says with bizarre conclusions to try to smear him. I have only had to repeat what Myers has said. For some, those are incredibly damaging accusations, as was his actions on Skep Tickle, the man is spiralling out of control.

366 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Saw this comment on Ophelia Benson’s blog:

Improbable Joe, one of the NEW FOUR HORSEMEN OF GLOBAL ATHEIST THINKY LEADER KINGS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION COUNCIL says

October 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Yeah, she’s [Christina Hoff Sommers] in the muck with Breitbart, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Harris, Dawkins, and other terrible anti-humanity folks. We need to toss all of them out as soon as we can.

The Khmer Rouge vibe is strong in this one. This is what we’re up against. Myers is merely one of the rabble-rousers.

367 john welch October 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm

The insistence on using PZ’s actual words to show Ariel what he said only proves how evil everyone here is.

Ariel’s lived experience doesn’t allow for those words to mean that, so clearly, we are wrong.

368 John Greg October 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Indeed, Myers’s words were not, in any way at all, metaphors. They were direct, unambiguous, and specific accusations.

369 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm

“A metaphor for what?”

In the paragraph directly following the one in which I claimed that I thought it was a metaphor I explained what I thought it was a metaphor for.

I’ll paraphrase again:

As far as I can tell Michael’s recent posts were largely written in reaction to the Adam Lee article on Dawkins, which bemoaned Dawkins’ tweets, which were probably a reaction to accusations leveled at people in the A/S circle regarding rape and sexual harassment.

This is what I believe PZ was referring to – metaphorically – with his bemoaning of who Michael defended and harbored.

Now I might be wrong, and I don’t really care to defend PZ, for whom I have no love – but it’s what makes sense to me.

“He neither apologised or reinterpreted it, but laughably, presented what he thought as proof, thereby doubling down on it.”

No, he didn’t say “proof” – he said it was “evidence”. Evidence isn’t proof.

If I were to take PZ literally – that Michael’s refusal to dissuade ‘Pitters from posting here is evidence of his willingness to harbor or defend rapists.

That I own a Beatles CD might be evidence that I like the band – but it is not itself a fan of the Beatles.

So whilst it might be true to say PZ has done all he can to IMPLY that ‘Pitters are rapists, he hasn’t actually said it.

What he has done is more of a Guilt by Association thing, in that rapists, Michael and ‘Pitters are invoked as symptomatic of each other.

370 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

“Indeed, Myers’s words were not, in any way at all, metaphors. They were direct, unambiguous, and specific accusations.”

You believe he really believes Michael literally harbours rapists?

As opposed to it being some noxious hype?

I cannot concur.

371 john welch October 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Yes. I believe PZ knows what words mean.

How, pray tell, is one a metaphorical rapist? How does that even work?

Note that PZ never once gave any hint that he was using hyperbole or metaphor, and he is not new to writing. He knows what words mean, he knows what people will think when he accuses Michael of harboring rapists.

But please, Dave, show me the proof that PZ was not really calling people rapists when he said that Michael was harboring rapists.

372 john welch October 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Keep in mind that when talking about PZ, this is the same person who said that anyone not agreeing with his views on feminism were *exactly* like Marc Lepine, save they were too cowardly to actually go and kill women like they obviously want to.

PZ is saying what he thinks. I fail to see why people must bend over backwards to make his words mean something different.

373 John Greg October 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Dave Allen said:

You believe he really believes Michael literally harbours rapists?

No. But I should also add that I don’t believe that PZ really believes most of what he rants and rages about in reagards to femism.

Whether or not PZ really believes what he is saying does not change the grammatical status of the words he uses. At best, you could say he is using colourful language, exaggeration, and hyprebole, and you might even say he is speaking metaphorically; nonetheless, the words are still not metaphors. Literal words can be used to make metaphorical points; the words need not be, in and of themselves, metaphors to do so.

374 John Greg October 10, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Whoops. Sorry. Forgot to close the quote.

375 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Thank you Blueshift Rhino @ 345. I saw your reply at the ‘Pit and enjoyed your satirical take on the subject.

376 Jan Steen October 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm

[posted this before, but it didn’t appear]

@Gunboat Diplomat,

As Gérard o points out pz myers scientific views are indeed orthodox (although I’d prefer the term mainstream). His questioning of the dominance of the selfish gene paradigm is in line with what many researchers and philosophers have been discussing for many years in one form or another for decades if not millennia depending on how wide you frame the issues.

Let me just say that philosophers have nothing of value to add to modern research on evolution, which is heavily reliant on lab work and mathematical modelling, and that PZ’s own ideas, from what I have seen from them, seem to border on crackpottery.

Dave Allen above already dealt with the topic of EvoPsych.

I could also mention Myers’s dismissal of the ENCODE project.

No, those opinions of his are not mainstream science.

377 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm

“How, pray tell, is one a metaphorical rapist? How does that even work?”

“Harbour” and “defend” are the words I would take to be used metaphorically. “Harbour” certainly cannot be anything other than something of a metaphor given the context.

“But please, Dave, show me the proof that PZ was not really calling people rapists when he said that Michael was harboring rapists.”

I have no proof. This is my notion and I’m explaining why I hold it. It’s pretty much impossible to prove or disprove such notions. Seeing as we are both talking about interpretations of what he said that lie outside of proof it is futile for either of us to ask the other for proof.

“PZ is saying what he thinks. I fail to see why people must bend over backwards to make his words mean something different.”

We are clearly going to continue to feel differently about that in this instance.

378 Dave Allen October 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

“At best, you could say he is using colourful language, exaggeration, and hyprebole, and you might even say he is speaking metaphorically; nonetheless, the words are still not metaphors. ”

I have called him hyperbolic several times and I fail to see why I should take either “defend” or “harbour” literally.

379 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 9:38 pm

@Dave Allen

Just call me thick, I still see no metaphor. If Myers uses the word rapist for something else as a code, that is not a metaphor just misuse of the language.

Sorry about using proof, yes he was using the observation that most here are slymepitters as evidence, still getting it wrong though.

Do I believe that Myers believes that most here are rapists? I could totally weasel out of that by maintaining that I can’t see into his mind. He obviously meant to smear a group in the most offensive manner possible. I would guess, that cornered in a court of law he would admit that he didn’t mean it. But there is a reason why language is so successful, we can understand each other. If one party in a conversation is using words with a totally different meaning then debate is just a nonsense. He said it and until he apologises for the slur he should be heavily criticised.

Dawkins made the comment that someone who was so drunk they could not remember anything about an event would not make a witness. That had to be changed to Dawkins was saying women who got drunk couldn’t complain about rape so that he could be attacked for being a sexist bigot, neither of which is borne out by his words or actions. Sam Harris said that his aggressive confrontational debating style may be more attractive to men than women, that had to be changed to Harris was saying that women couldn’t skeptically debate to attack him as being a sexist bigot. I am not reinterpreting Myers words to mean anything else.

380 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I’m totally baffled now.

What words would Myers have to use in order to make clear that he was accusing Michael of harbouring rapists (non-metaphorically), if the ones he actually used leave open an ambiguity?

381 john welch October 10, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Pogsurf, that’s the part that makes no sense. If his blunt use of “rapist” is metaphorical, what magical word(s) would he have had to use to NOT be metaphorical?

“…and I mean that there are literally people who have raped other people commenting on michael’s site”???

382 IM608 October 10, 2014 at 9:52 pm

“I have called him hyperbolic several times and I fail to see why I should take either “defend” or “harbour” literally.”

This is assuming Myers blogs and tweets are deserving of biblical scrutiny and analysis.

They ar not.

383 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

This is assuming Myers blogs and tweets are deserving of biblical scrutiny and analysis.

They ar not.

I have Myers categorised under the label ‘preacher of hate’. Perhaps I am mistaken?

384 IM608 October 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

“I have Myers categorised under the label ‘preacher of hate’. Perhaps I am mistaken?”

More like Life Of Brian’s boring prophet.

385 John Greg October 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm

“Harbour” certainly cannot be anything other than something of a metaphor given the context.

1. Who said “harbour”? Didn’t he say “haven”? Do havens necessarily harbour? I suppose they probably do.

2. Anyway, some definitions of harbour that could be applicable in this instance:

n
– a place of refuge or safety
– any place of shelter or refuge

vb
– to give shelter to
– to conceal; hide

I have called him hyperbolic several times and I fail to see why I should take either “defend” or “harbour” literally.

Perhaps because, certainly in the case of “defend”, and arguabley, in my opinion, in the case of “harbour”, except I don’t think Myers said “harbour”, so “haven”, which I suspect Myers meant quite literaly.

I don’t think the word metaphor means presciely what you think it does. You are certainly not using it correctly.

386 Shermertron October 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Let’s break this down:

PZ gleefully hosts vague and humor-free accusations of serial rape against a named prominent skeptic and ignored the accused’s cease and desist letter.

PZ lobs further accusations of rape against multiple unnamed members of an online message board community.

PZ got steaming mad over a joke that he may have contracted an STD. Said joke was made by someone who has zero access to him physically and can’t conceivably have seen PZ’s medical records.

This is someone we want in the atheist/skeptic community? (A community he already formally abandoned.)

387 Pogsurf October 10, 2014 at 11:04 pm

IM608, your comment #376 infers Myers is ‘boring’, but at #270 you seem to be saying he is ‘highstrung’ and ‘toxic’.

Have you had a change of heart?

388 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I’ve been trying to work my way through the implications of whether Myers believes what he says and conclude it matters not one whit. These unfounded accusations could be extremely damaging to certain people. For example teachers are especially vulnerable to such accusations, they have been suspended and lost their jobs for less than this. It only matters what other people believe he meant and whether those people believe the accusation to be plausible. The precautionary principle and the cover yer ass behaviour swings into action. How can a head teacher or a governer not take action? If they take no action and it turns out to be true, they are damned, if they take action the only sufferer will be the innocent teacher. This requires, at the very least, a retraction and apology. I cannot see how any conference organiser can invite him to speak knowing how irresponsibly he behaves

389 Acleron October 10, 2014 at 11:09 pm

@shermatron

If he went nuclear over a poor joke, think what would happen if somebody accused him of rape?

390 Crackity Jones October 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Ophelia Benson is getting some heat from her own commentators (rare that they speak up against one of their Dear Leaders) because she is harassing a woman who has just lost her husband.

Benson hilariously puts up a comment listing various crimes against her, including some naughty names. Apparently, because Benson has faced some trolling in the past, that makes her harassment of a widow A-OK.

The masks have slipped on these FTBullies, and the exposed flesh is very ugly indeed.

391 Crackity Jones October 10, 2014 at 11:24 pm

@theophontes

Your complaints are dismissed. Yourself, PZ and the rest of the #FTBulies are already on the wrong side of history. You defend a child rapist, support the harassment and doxing of women, and you ignore the fact that PZ Myers and Jason Thibeault have had serious allegations made against them.

Your concern is noted, and then rejected. You are wrong.

392 john welch October 10, 2014 at 11:27 pm

aceleron:

That’s the real point. It doesn’t matter what Myers thinks, and he knows that. Other people who aren’t him, or don’t know him that well, but trust him will see that, and they won’t think “oh, that’s just hyperbole”. They’ll see two terms that they’re likely to believe (harassers and misogynists) and go along with rapist as well.

Myers knows exactly what he’s doing here.

393 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 12:05 am

@john welch

I’m not even much concerned what his acolytes think except that they will repeat the slurs. But when such outrageous calumnies reach the non skeptic/ non atheist audience, real damage can occur to real people. Myers chose the largest audience he could find to make the accusations.

I have been an atheist for a long time but gained comfort from Dawkins when I realised my lack of belief was shared by so many. I have learned, often by making mistakes, much about scepticism by the opportunities for debate and from reading blogs by the more erudite. I started reading Myer’s blog when Dawkins wrote about him re the Expelled movie and was initially attracted by somebody who ‘stuck’ it to the religious hierarchy. But the extremism and unthinking support slowly drained my enthusiasm. The elevator gate nonsense and their totally over the top response to Dawkins finished it for me. Since then we have had the A+ attempt to tell us, with threats, who we should support. This latest with Lee and Myers is not an earnest attempt to convince but open warfare. At the time that A+ started up I counseled for peaceful debate on the grounds that we would still have to live with each other. I was mistaken, they obviously want no part in any organised atheism or scepticism except totally on their terms. That is very sad, they had some important points to make but their voice has now been lost in the void they have created around themselves.

394 Shatterface October 11, 2014 at 12:45 am

Ophie’s latest humanity-malfunction is to attack a grieving woman for thanking people for sending her flowers.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/10/xoxomom/

395 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 12:52 am

@ #358 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物),

Still trying to tell Michael how he should censor his blog, I see. Still the melodramatic talk about him being “on the wrong side of history.”

Pathetic.

396 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 12:54 am

Don’t give FTB clicks. Use the Wayback Machine if you want to link to that lot:

http://web.archive.org/web/20141011002411/http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/10/xoxomom/comment-page-1/

397 franc October 11, 2014 at 1:53 am

For those that poked me for asking why it took Michael so long to see peezee for what he is, I present the Great Fish Massacre, what any “skeptic” should have seen, and where the Myers lynch mob formed against me –

http://phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/The_Great_Fish_Massacre

This predated the elevator fairytale by some years and is by no means the first instance of such codswallop. The signs were there – yet peezee was granted a free pass against scrutiny because he was in the “ingroup”. Those that criticised were pariahs. So again, why did it take Michael, and most of you, so long?

398 john welch October 11, 2014 at 2:39 am

The fish bit, and prior to that Pepsigate.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time with Myers.

Big letters. Glowing. With speakers reading them aloud.

399 franc October 11, 2014 at 2:51 am

“skeptics”

::cough::

“freethinkers”

::cough::

“critical thinkers”

Lung butter hits screen.

400 Jeff Rankin October 11, 2014 at 3:16 am

franc @ 396

“So again, why did it take Michael, and most of you, so long?”

Why is this a relevant question? How is it productive?

Isn’t the pertinent question how to move forward in solidarity?

401 Shermertron October 11, 2014 at 4:16 am

@ 399 Jeff Rankin

I understand your sentiment. We cannot change the past. Let’s move forward in solidarity.

But I understand franc’s frustration. Some people have been saying virtually the same things about PZ and Melody Hensley and Watson for a few years now and no one listened because of the unfair cries of misogyny or whatever.

I am willing to forgive as you describe. Let’s simply fail to give PZ any power he clearly doesn’t deserve.

402 Steve Vanden-Eykel October 11, 2014 at 5:05 am

Theophontes @358 shows another reason (if any other is necessary) why the people who admire Myers are hard to take seriously. He is utterly incapable of original thought. All he can do is string cliches in a pretty row.

I would be fascinated to know what goes through someone like Michael Nugent’s mind — cliche.
He is on the wrong side of history — cliche
When will the penny drop? — cliche
victim-blaming — cliche
dog-whistle — cliche
back-peddle — cliche. And misspelled, not so incidentally.

This is why reading Pharyngula’s comments is such an unpleasant experience for an adult; just tedious repetition of the same stock phrases, again and again and again, completely unsalted with any grain of “Well, let’s look at this from another point of view” or “We might not be completely right about this”. How can there be? Cliche, by definition, makes new thought impossible.

403 franc October 11, 2014 at 5:50 am

“Why is this a relevant question? How is it productive?”

Because it exposes the soft underbelly people stamp their feet and deny. Because, y’know, atheists are so much smarter than theists.

What bollocks. They are a bunch of believers. Brutal truth. Confirmation bias addicts.

I wish atheists had the spines of gamers. Then we wouldn’t be here.

404 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 7:04 am

@franc

Er, Who is we?

405 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

@sinister

Where have I not held Myers and the rest accountable?

The discussion is about how to deal with them.

406 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 10:22 am

“I don’t think the word metaphor means presciely what you think it does.”

If you think PZ meant those tweets literally, as opposed to them being designed to wind ‘Pitters up, then we’re simply never going to agree.

Fair point regarding “haven” though, it’s undisciplined of me not to quote him exactly – I have the dilemma of wanting to discuss PZ without giving him hits – but I don’t think it changes my point.

That the presence of X stands as evidence for the defense of and provision of a haven for Y does not necessarily mean that X is Y.

407 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

“Because it exposes the soft underbelly people stamp their feet and deny. ”

Do you know for sure that Michael was in a position to give your case full and fair appraisal at the time?

If not why should people take your comment as anything more than “I was into distrusting PZ before you were”?

That Michael gave PZ and pals a number of chances before considering his latest stance is not to his discredit – clearly it gives him more oomph in the eyes of the undecided than those who can be viewed as knee-jerkers.

Moreover it isn’t exactly unprecedented. Michael did lend Vacula a sympathetic ear last year, he did attempt to host a forum for ‘Pitters to articulate their common ground and disagreements seriously, he did defend Dawkins from earlier slurs.

408 Carrie October 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

One of the things that I dislike about the “FTB” approach to otherkin is the way in which they refuse to listen to / read what people actually say and instead “interpret”. Dawkins’ tweets are a prime example of this; it seems that if he says anything at all about rape it means that he is a rapist or a rape apologist despite that his tweets clearly do not indicate any such thing. They also do this on their own message boards, which is one of the reasons that FTB boards are not “safe spaces” to many people. If any new person quietly asks for clarification on any of the many items of FTB dogma, they are attacked and told to read “whatever-it-is 101″ or something similar, probably whilst doing something painful to themselves. They are treated as deliberate trolls.

So I prefer to read what someone actually says, in context, and assume that the words are accurate. In the case of Skep Tickle’s forum post, the context was clearly a joke, plus she did indicate that an STD was only one of many possible causes of Myers’ problem. In the case of PZ’s tweets, there was no jokey context to be seen and, whether or not he truly believes that Michael defends and provides haven for rapists etc, his words would have to be twisted (or “interpreted”) to mean anything else.

Dave Allen, I appreciate that you see it differently. Maybe Myers meant something different from what he actually said, but his words look clear even in context. Whether he made a mistake in using those precise words or not, he has not elaborated nor apologised despite being called out on them, so I have to assume that he meant them as read and still does.

One of the wonderful things about Michael’s pages, and the Slymepit’s forum, is that people can disagree without the issue escalating into a flame war or a ban; we see and explore each others’ point of view. It seems pretty clear to me that such people are far more civil, willing to learn, and skeptical than the type of people that one sees on the boards of Benson, Myers, Skepchick, Zvan etc.

409 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 11:08 am

“Dave Allen, I appreciate that you see it differently. Maybe Myers meant something different from what he actually said, but his words look clear even in context. Whether he made a mistake in using those precise words or not, he has not elaborated nor apologised despite being called out on them, so I have to assume that he meant them as read and still does.”

Well I’m no mindreader, but I would sooner imagine that PZ thought “let’s set the more reactionary ‘Pitters raging about me calling them rapists when anyone fair-minded will have to admit that that’s a truncation based on assumptions that need not necessarily be the case” than “I literally think Michael Nugent provides defence and haven for rapists, by which I mean ‘Pitters”.

Contrast:

“The presence of Pitters is evidence that MN defends and provides haven for rapists.”

To:

“The presence of a Beatles CD in John’s record collection is evidence that he is a Beatles fan.”

… And you hopefully see that the notion that he is discussing a symptom, whilst not the only interpretation, is a legitimate one.

Furthermore – with the knowledge that I am falling for it myself – I think the reason he does stuff like this is to get everyone obsessing over his hyperbolic nonsense rather than what he does that is objectively incorrect, or justifiably regarded as foul play.

Anyone who wants to say that that is still lurid, insulting hyperbole has my agreement, but I think the “he called Pitters rapists” type stuff plays into his hands. Its an interpretation based on assumption and he can just claim that the assumption is wrong.

“It seems pretty clear to me that such people are far more civil, willing to learn, and skeptical than the type of people that one sees on the boards of Benson, Myers, Skepchick, Zvan etc.”

I agree, and I believe this to be the reason why he’s so keen to demonize. Michael comes across as an informed moderate, so he has his work cut out there.

410 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Dave Allen,

You are conflating Peezus’s intent with the objective content of what he said. People who know both Peezus and Michael Nugent will understand at once that Peezus was as usual just spouting some inflammatory nonsense to smear his opponents. But people who are less well-informed, people who have read that Peezus once was Humanist of the Year (what a joke!), may well think that there is something to his accusation. There is, in short, no reason to treat Peezus’s words not at face value. He accused Michael of providing a haven for rapists. He needs to apologize and to retract that statement.

411 Gunboat Diplomat October 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

@Jan Steen #376

“Let me just say that philosophers have nothing of value to add to modern research on evolution, which is heavily reliant on lab work and mathematical modelling, and that PZ’s own ideas, from what I have seen from them, seem to border on crackpottery.”

If you think all of the theoretical issues in modern evolutionary theory have been settled and its now just about collecting and modelling data you’re very much mistaken. Only 3 days ago nature published an article on this very issue: http://www.nature.com/news/does-evolutionary-theory-need-a-rethink-1.16080

Regardless of which side you might take the debate is very much alive and philosophers have an important role to play in that. Massimio Pigliucci is a good example. You’re right that PZ has also been very skeptical of some of the central claims of ENCODE project. Along with many other scientists: http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/20/gbe.evt028.short

@Bluehsift Rhino #361

I’m not defending PZ’s claim that he despises EP or referring to an opponent as a twit, although if that was the worst language he uses there probably wouldn’t be much to complain about. I may not despise EP but I find a lot of it really annoying, e.g. language is ‘hardwired’ – ugh.

@Dave Allen #357-360

I’m aware of the back and forth discussion between PZ and Pinker on EP. I didn’t get from that that PZ thinks that EP mental modules are spatial rather than functional. I understood he thought EP mental modules were often poorly defined and this was a problem because you can then specify any culturally biased opinion, assign it a module and claim it’s selected for (e.g. girls like Pink). You might think this is a mischaracterization of EP but PZ is hardly alone in this. Michael Tomasello is extremely critical of Pinkers view on language for example, partly because of Pinkers use of modularity. Incidentally it’s worth noting Tomasello does not self-identify as EP, perhaps partly because of the identification of EP with the, increasingly minority views, of Pinker & Co.

In any case, functionalism and modularity, along with the representational theory of the mind are far from settled concepts in cognitive science. They all have their limitations which is giving rise to embodied theories of cognition.

Calling PZ a scientific “crackpot” is an unfair and foolish mischaracterisation. He’s a professor at a university and developmental neuroscientist with mainstream views, as I think I’ve shown. You may not think he’s such a hot scientist because he hasn’t published much but there’s more to being a good scientist than banging out a new published paper every year no matter what. You may think his social and political worldview influences his scientific views. Well of course it does, as it does with all of us.

412 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm

“You are conflating Peezus’s intent with the objective content of what he said.”

No I’m not. I’m suggesting one might given the lie through consideration of the other. That’s not to say they are equivalent.

“There is, in short, no reason to treat Peezus’s words not at face value.”

I would argue that there are two main reasons to do so. The first is to do with keeping yourself honest, the second is not to fall for his sophistic sleight of hand.

As for whether PZ’s reputation is leading anyone to seriously consider Michael a defender of rapists … I’ll believe it when I see it. Personally I can’t see anyone who hasn’t already made their minds up about the accusations leveled at prominent members of the A/S conference going community giving a damn.

“He needs to apologize and to retract that statement.”

Needs to in order for what? To seem fair minded? He doesn’t seem to care. To win back people’s approval? Too little too late and he doesn’t seem to care. To keep from legal trouble? He’s weathered worse so far and he doesn’t seem to care. To prevent hurt feelings? I’d suggest he not only doesn’t care, but set out to deliberately inflame them.

413 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

“That’s not to say they are equivalent.”

I suppose conflation is about interchangeability more than equivalence.

I’m still not convinced I’m doing that. I’m criticizing the notion he meant “Pitters = rapists” through pointing out that there are alternative readings.

That he may have meant that could be the case, but given that it need not and that he clearly won’t clarify why feed the troll?

In the case of Michael’s umbrage at being called a person who defends rapists – that’s fine. That’s a legitimate gripe. Continuing to suggest he apologise for that might be constructive in pointing out how nasty PZ can be, but I’ll be shocked if he actually showed the grace to make one.

414 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Continuing to suggest he apologise for that might be constructive in pointing out how nasty PZ can be, but I’ll be shocked if he actually showed the grace to make one.

But that is exactly the point: if he doesn’t apologize, Myers will prove that he is a dishonest piece of work who lacks any sense of decency; if he does apologize he will look bad in the eyes of his creepy followers. Win-win.

Now, just apologize, Peezus. It’s easy. Keep it short. Admit that you were wrong. Promise to change your behaviour. And don’t forget to apologize to Neil deGrasse Tyson, while you’re at it.

415 piero October 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.

Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.

Some people would like to exonerate Myers on the grounds that his words meant something else than their ostensible meaning.

Were they intended as metaphor? Certainly not: if Myers had intended his words to be metaphorical, his reply to Derek Walsh would not have been “The evidence is right there.” Metaphors are not validated with evidence; evidence is used to support facts, not the embellishments of discourse.

Was Myers exaggerating for effect? No, because when Peter Ferguson asked “How does slymepitters commenting on his blog = defending a rapist?” Myers declined to answer. He did not say “Come on, I was exaggerating for effect.” He simply did not answer.

Hence, Myers was in fact accusing some users of slymepit.com who have also posted here of being rapists. His wording is ambiguous, and it is not clear whether he meant all or just some of them; but it is equally clear that his statement requires that at least one of the slymepit member who has posted here is a rapist. If he cannot provide evidence for at least one slymepit member who has posted here, then he is guilty of libel.

Furthermore, the fact that posters here use a pseudonym does not exculpate Myers on the grounds that he was making a generic statement aimed at no-one in particular; if that’s the case, then he cannot possibly provide evidence, and the case for libel still stands.

In addition, as we have recently seen in the Skep Tickle affair, Myers certainly knows the true identity of each person who has posted comments in this blog; he certainly knows mine, since I have posted comments in his FTB blog using the same pseudonym; hence, his libelous statement should be considered as addressed to named persons who would have a good case for class action against Myers, an option I’m still considering.

416 GerardO October 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Perhaps the best way to analyze PZ Myers’ online conduct is to compare him to another high-profile secularist with a reputation for censorious and biased moderation: Jerry Coyne.
Coyne’s audience may be narrower than Myers’, and is certainly a lightweight in terms of political analysis (cat videos and nature pics make up the vast majority of posts it seems), but when serious issues are discussed all but the mildest criticism of Coyne’s position will see you banned or in moderation. The rationale that Coyne gives for this is that he “owns” the blog, and provides free content, so anything goes.
Whatever you think of that there are things (from my experience at least) that Coyne doesn’t do:
– Attempt to manipulate opinion polls by ordering his followers to bombard often obscure websites
– Tacitly encourage his Inner Circle to dog-pile on dissenters by failing to intervene when said Inner Circle are hammering said dissenters with abusive and accusatory statements
-Intervenes to ban and delete those dissenters who appear to be getting the better of his Inner Circle, or at least those refusing to capitulate
-Dox (although in Coyne’s ‘Roolz’ he claims the right to dox those who make extreme comments)
-Make blanket statements about those who criticize him in order to demonize entire groups
Coyne does have a reasonable handle on his regulars — he even claims to chide those regulars who misbehave via email — and he did give me a chance to regain my commenting privileges by apologizing.
But by any standard Coyne is an authoritarian goon, yet PZ Myers is much worse still. Scary.

417 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

“But that is exactly the point: if he doesn’t apologize, Myers will prove that he is a dishonest piece of work who lacks any sense of decency…”

That will depend on whether someone believes he jumped the gun regarding those he saw fit to accuse of rape and sexual harassment, the degree to which they perceive him to jumped the gun, whether or not they are willing to forgive someone jumping the gun given the circumstance and whether or not they’d regard the obvious hard feelings on the matter as mitigating someone’s responsibilities when talking in intemperate tones at those they deem to be soft on the matter.

Now personally I don’t Michael has been soft because I agree with his general thrust that not talking to the police and waiting a few years before making an accusation via a contact of a controversial blogger is no way to pursue justice.

However, other people obviously think “go public with the whispernet” is a way to pursue justice.

I can disagree with such people, but I can’t say that they don’t think as they apparently think.

So that would be my qualm here – though I agree in general that the charge laid at Michael should seem unjust to anyone who doesn’t think going live with whispernets is a good idea.

418 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm

“Were they intended as metaphor? Certainly not: if Myers had intended his words to be metaphorical, his reply to Derek Walsh would not have been “The evidence is right there.” Metaphors are not validated with evidence; evidence is used to support facts, not the embellishments of discourse.”

Maybe they are outside of colloquial speak. Given that twitter is a forum for colloquial talk I’m not sure this would stand.

“In addition, as we have recently seen in the Skep Tickle affair, Myers certainly knows the true identity of each person who has posted comments in this blog; he certainly knows mine, since I have posted comments in his FTB blog using the same pseudonym; hence, his libelous statement should be considered as addressed to named persons who would have a good case for class action against Myers, an option I’m still considering.”

If I had a tenner for every time I’ve seen someone in the past year threaten to go legal with PZ I reckon I could get myself a very nice new telly by now.

You’re utterly deluded if you think PZ saying that a group you’re associated with stand as evidence that a blogger defends rapists is the sort of defamation a legal system will take seriously.

419 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

@Dave Allen

The disagreement appears to come down to whether Myers meant what he said. I still find this irrelevant because it is how third parties read his words and to me they can only mean one thing.

The words of the rapist comment, when viewed alone, could be considered as hyperbole and possibly be ignored. Possibly, because as I explained earlier, in certain situations any such accusation has to acted on.

But in context, a different intent becomes more probable. He made the accusation and was called on it with the easiest get out possible, all he had to say in reply to the challenge was something snarky like ‘obviously’. But he chose not to do that and introduced as evidence (his word, not mine) the further statement that we are mostly slymepitters. Whether that statement is true or not is irrelevant, what is relevant is his wish to bolster the claim. So yeah, he meant it and he meant it to be hurtful. So yes, he should apologise for being an a-hole and yes, I agree with you, he won’t. And no, he will not be able to ignore it for one simple reason. He is a busted flush as far as his blog writing acolytes because any criticism by him will be dismissed with statements along the line of ‘lol, you mean the loon who calls complete strangers rapists?’. So whether he retires from the scene or sticks his nose above the parapet, he will remember the consequences of his ill judged actions.

420 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

“– Attempt to manipulate opinion polls by ordering his followers to bombard often obscure websites”

I always thought the ability of a community with a fairly minority perspective to bork a poll was an important lesson myself. If the intent of the poll was to be open to all-comers then the architects have no one to blame for themselves really.

And given that a poll on, say, a news site with a given political perspective is going to be seen by people who presumably agree with the foregone conclusions of the architect, then I don’t see why the injection of confounding opinion should be seen as a low blow.

421 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm

“The disagreement appears to come down to whether Myers meant what he said.”

I agree with what you say here.

I’ll try to clarify that my only real objection is to the notions that ‘Pitters = Rapists is some sort of necessary message.

Which does relate to your point of:

“So whether he retires from the scene or sticks his nose above the parapet, he will remember the consequences of his ill judged actions.”

That phenomena may be mitigated by hyperbolic reactions to his hyperbole. I think that might even be why he did it in the first place.

As in “he called us rapists! I’m gonna sue!” and so on.

422 piero October 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm

@Dave Allen:

I always thought the ability of a community with a fairly minority perspective to bork a poll was an important lesson myself. If the intent of the poll was to be open to all-comers then the architects have no one to blame for themselves really

I used to think the same. Hell, I even pharyngulated some polls myself. But I’ve since changed my mind: why should a minority skew the poll? They will be over-represented through force, not reason. The only effect of sabotaging polls is that webmasters will either eliminate them or prevent access to unregistered members. Hence, even the meagre 0,1% that could have been obtained honestly will disappear from the radar completely.

423 piero October 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm

@Dave Allen:

That phenomena may be mitigated by hyperbolic reactions to his hyperbole. I think that might even be why he did it in the first place.

As in “he called us rapists! I’m gonna sue!” and so on.

I do not appreciate your jest. I don’t find it amusing to be called a rapist. I do find it amusing to be called a misogynist and a harasser, because they don’t mean anything anymore: overuse has so blunted those words that nobody takes them seriously. Rapist is far more serious, not least because it is still taken seriously.

I do think that Myers is guilty of libel, and I expect him to either:
a. apologise
b. support his statement with evidence
c. pay for it.

424 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Another reason why demanding an apology is worthwhile:

Paul Myers, associate professor of biology, has been named one of “Twitter’s science stars” by John Travis of Science magazine. The list includes Twitter’s 100 most followed scientists. Myers is listed at #18 with 156,000 followers.

It’s quite a stretch to call Myers a scientist, as he hasn’t published any scientific papers for years, and I suspect most of his Twitter followers are SJWs and drama junkies. His inclusion in this list is plainly ridiculous. I don’t think many of the real scientists on the list will ever tweet accusations like the ones we have seen from Peezus. They don’t sink to that level.

BTW, guess who’s number one?

Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The list is here:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2014/10/twitters-science-stars-sequel

425 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm

“I do think that Myers is guilty of libel, and I expect him to either:
a. apologise
b. support his statement with evidence
c. pay for it.”

OK – how long are you going to wait for him to apologize to you and once that time’s up can you log the progress of your attempt at compensation somewhere online so we can see how to do it?

Could use a good laugh.

426 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

“But I’ve since changed my mind: why should a minority skew the poll?”

Because unless the poll is taking some attempt at population into account it’s only going to represent a minority anyway – those interested in the site of the poll.

And seeing as those interested at the site were probably going to go on to use the poll to reinforce the foregone agenda there is a point to borking it.

Otherwise stuff like “look, we asked a thousand people (who visited our climate skeptic website) if they thought global warming was bosh, and 90% of them thought yes!” permeates as a phenomenon.

When it’s petty stuff like “help my favorite comic hero win this poll” or so on I’d agree that it was stupid, but polls purporting to show something about attitudes to science or religion … meh, I thought he did more good than harm there.

427 Shermertron October 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

@Dave Allen

You are being extremely generous to PZ in your interpretations of his statements. You are giving him the benefit of the doubt, trying to understand why he said what he said. You are doing your best not to believe the least charitable interpretation of PZ statements.

If PZ conducted himself in the same manner, this article wouldn’t exist and he would still be a prominent skeptic, rubbing elbows with Dawkins like it’s 2007.

428 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“It’s quite a stretch to call Myers a scientist, as he hasn’t published any scientific papers for years, and I suspect most of his Twitter followers are SJWs and drama junkies. His inclusion in this list is plainly ridiculous. ”

It looks to me that quite a few of the people who are higher up on the list are not known for their published papers, let alone their recent contributions to pushing their respective fields forward.

They’re mostly known for discussing science in other media aren’t they? I concede that Sam Harris has the right to be thought of a neuroscientist, but I only know of him as an author. Ben Goldacre I only know as a journalist. I’ve not read any of Dawkins’ papers, just his books. Alice Roberts and Brian Cox I know as TV presenters, and so on.

That list isn’t about who is doing research, it’s about who has scientific credentials and who is making an impact in terms of advocating for the scientific approach in various media.

So whilst I do find it somewhat dispiriting to note PZ’s influence, I don’t think his absence on the actual scientific front line is much of a to do.

429 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

No Slymepitter is going to sue Myers over this. Perhaps Michael has a stronger motivation to do so, as he is a clearly identifiable object of defamation. The Irish defamation laws seem to be pretty strict.

But I fear the best possible outcome of blog posts and discussions like this is that Myers is seen for what he is by a wider audience, and that respectable organisations like Atheist Ireland will stop inviting people like him and Ophelia Benson to their conferences.

Myers will continue to libel others with impunity. But when nobody who matters believes his toxic nonsense anymore, he will be reduced to the status of a streetcorner loon ranting in the rain about Jebus. That is about the level of attention he deserves.

430 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

That list isn’t about who is doing research, it’s about who has scientific credentials and who is making an impact in terms of advocating for the scientific approach in various media.

Even so, Myers fits in that group about as well as a pig in a butterfly exhibition.

431 john welch October 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Dave, again, as many have pointed out, when PZ had the opportunity and space, (twitter is not THAT limiting), he chose not to say anything that would indicate he was speaking metaphorically, but to “double-down” (to use his own term) on the accusation.

I’ve asked before, you may have missed it: exactly what would PZ have had to say to explicitly NOT be speaking metaphorically or non-literally?

432 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

“No Slymepitter is going to sue Myers over this.”

Exactly, but Piero did say:

“[those he named rapists] have a good case for class action against Myers, an option I’m still considering.”

So I’m having some fun with it nevertheless.

“Perhaps Michael has a stronger motivation to do so, as he is a clearly identifiable object of defamation. The Irish defamation laws seem to be pretty strict.”

What authority do they have over an American citizen?

I’m not an expert on libel, but it seems to me Michael’s only real complaint is that of “this isn’t the way I thought someone I once considered a friend would talk about me.”

As far as I can see even those who PZ has actually defamed as rapists or harassers haven’t – as of yet – done more than send him a boilerplate C&D … which he has ignored.

I’d imagine even an Irish solicitor wouldn’t be able to say much more than “well he thinks so-and-so’s a rapist, and you said he shouldn’t have said that, and that’s what he’ll say he meant by saying that you defend rapists”.

433 Carrie October 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Dave Allen

I do understand your point. However, I feel that by reading anything other than what he actually says into his words, we fall into the trap of interpretation which (although used benignly here) is so nastily used by Myers et al on people like Dawkins.

“Anyone who wants to say that that is still lurid, insulting hyperbole has my agreement, but I think the “he called Pitters rapists” type stuff plays into his hands. Its an interpretation based on assumption and he can just claim that the assumption is wrong.”

But you see, this is where not putting any interpretation into his words other than their actual meaning is useful. If he cared about his words being used to show him up, he would have to say, “sorry, I did not say what I meant”. Yes, I know, totally unlikely but still.

Even if we separate out the Slymepitter “evidence” from the other tweet, he still states that Michael defends and supplies a haven for misogynists, harassers and rapists. If you want to keep the ‘pit out of the discussion, that is still his basic accusation.

“I agree, and I believe this to be the reason why he’s so keen to demonize. Michael comes across as an informed moderate, so he has his work cut out there.”

Yes indeed!

434 GerardO October 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Dave Allen @420:

My point about opinion polls wasn’t about the results of the polls themselves. It was the drone-like obedience of Pharyngulans to the diktat of a self-appointed guru, in a community that supposedly treasures independent thought.

435 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

“I’ve asked before, you may have missed it: exactly what would PZ have had to say to explicitly NOT be speaking metaphorically or non-literally?”

I’m not trying to write a philosophical system.

This isn’t Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.

It’s gossip on a blog.

In terms of likelihood I reckon PZ didn’t actually mean Nugent literally defends and provides haven for rapists.

I think he meant to let Michael know how much he disapproved of his stronger stance in defence of Dawkins through his usual brand of noxious hype.

To which an insulting swipe at the Slymers was appended.

You seem to want me to explain why my impression has objective reality.

It doesn’t. By all means disagree. I won’t mind. But what I will object to is people saying I’m necessarily mistaken unless they can prove the objective reality of their interpretation.

436 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm

“If he cared about his words being used to show him up, he would have to say, “sorry, I did not say what I meant”. Yes, I know, totally unlikely but still.”

I’m not suggesting he cares.

My feeling is that he almost certainly does not care.

437 Pogsurf October 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I was trying to think where I had heard arguments like Dave Allen’s before and then I remembered Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass. Now all is clear.

438 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Peezus has made a defamatory statement. He even claimed to have evidence for that statement. Why should we care what he really thinks? As long as he doesn’t retract the statement it’s defamation.

The fact that it is probably impossible to bring the creep to justice is a separate matter.

439 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm

“I’m aware of the back and forth discussion between PZ and Pinker on EP. I didn’t get from that that PZ thinks that EP mental modules are spatial rather than functional.”

He claimed that he objected to the notion that “behavioral features that have been selected for in our history are represented by modular components in the brain – again with rare exceptions, you can’t simply assign a behavioral role to a specific spot in the brain”.

When Pinker explained that that wasn’t the sort of modularity EPers talked about, instead saying that in this regard “the only assumption is that there are functional circuits, in the same way that a program can be fragmented across your hard drive” PZ still insisted there was confusion. “Sometimes there’s the implication that the “module” is a discrete element in the brain, but it’s never clear whether they’re talking about a genetic module (an epistatic network of genes) or a neural module (an interconnected network of neurons), and when pressed, they retreat, as Pinker does here”.

Save that Pinker did not retreat – his notion that modules are functional rather than spatial is representative of EP in general. The confusion is all on PZ refusing to read what was written.

Furthermore at the CONvergence ’13 talk PZ allowed Indre Viskontas and Greg Laden to talk at length about modularity in EP being purely spatial, and made the claim himself that “an evolutionary psychologist claimed the amygdala was a module” with no citation. I call shenanigans on that.

And similar manglings of the EEP, Savannah Hypothesis and so on were given…

“I understood he thought EP mental modules were often poorly defined and this was a problem because you can then specify any culturally biased opinion, assign it a module and claim it’s selected for (e.g. girls like Pink).”

I presume you refer to the Hurlbert/Ling study into colour preference. They aren’t evolutionary psychologists – they are cognitive neuroscientists. No “girls like pink” module has been proposed to my knowledge. The Hurlbert/Ling study cites the importance of socio-cultural influence, btw, but suggest trichromacy may have a part to play (which it almost certainly does given male RG colorblindness). Their speculations regarding RG sensitivity in foraging haven’t aroused much interest in EP circles as far as I know. The only opinions I’ve heard from an EPer on their study have been negative (I think Ed Clint said it was poorly reasoned and misleading to suggest that the small effect size showed much of pertinence).

The modules talked about by EPers would include things like an innate preference for sweet foods, the face-recognition module, the cheater-detection module and so on.

Some of these notions are more defined than others and have more evidence than others, however none of them are spatial (though neuroimaging may tie their processing to certain areas of the brain) and they would need criticizing on their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

“You might think this is a mischaracterization of EP but PZ is hardly alone in this. Michael Tomasello is extremely critical of Pinkers view on language for example, partly because of Pinkers use of modularity. Incidentally it’s worth noting Tomasello does not self-identify as EP, perhaps partly because of the identification of EP with the, increasingly minority views, of Pinker & Co.”

To repeat what I said last time – just because people share a perspective with PZ that doesn’t make PZ an informed critic.

If I were to say “like Einstein I am troubled by Quantum Physics” it would not make me an Einstein, nor would those who have a good knowledge of Quantum need to be impressed by my opposition to it.

“In any case, functionalism and modularity, along with the representational theory of the mind are far from settled concepts in cognitive science. They all have their limitations which is giving rise to embodied theories of cognition.”

And nor are they settled in EP. The evidence for their existence and pertinence needs discussed on a case by case basis and alternatives aren’t dismissed.

Embodied Cognition may present some challenges for given modularity, but it isn’t fatal to the notion. Again, an individual module needs appraising on the evidence for and against it. That phenomena beyond modularity exist isn’t something EPers have ever denied.

“Calling PZ a scientific “crackpot” is an unfair and foolish mischaracterisation. He’s a professor at a university and developmental neuroscientist with mainstream views, as I think I’ve shown. You may not think he’s such a hot scientist because he hasn’t published much but there’s more to being a good scientist than banging out a new published paper every year no matter what. You may think his social and political worldview influences his scientific views. Well of course it does, as it does with all of us.”

You seem to be projecting Jan’s opinions on to me – these aren’t actually my words and I wouldn’t endorse them in total.

I object to PZ taking the stage, both on his blog and at conferences, and lying about the field (either through misunderstanding or deliberation). Had he appraised its strengths and weaknesses with any degree of honesty I most likely wouldn’t care – but he was ignorant and fallacious on this subject.

440 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

“I was trying to think where I had heard arguments like Dave Allen’s before and then I remembered Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass. Now all is clear.”

All i suggest is that:

1) Even literally taken PZ comments don’t mean Pitters are rapists, it could just be symptomatic.

2) I doubt PZ meant it literally.

Neither of these arguments resembles Humpty Dumpty’s defence of his own subjective.

441 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Subjectivity, rather.

442 piero October 11, 2014 at 4:18 pm

@Dave Allen:

Could use a good laugh.

I presume you also had a good laugh when it became obvious that somebody could never prove that somebody else raped her. If you need some more cachinnatory relief, I can relate quite a few other instances of people being unable to have their rights respected because they could not afford it. It is… well, I was going to say “hysterical,” but that’s not quite apt; how about “side-splitting”? Or maybe I could suggest a beheading video that probably fits your sense of humour?

I’m not trying to write a philosophical system.
Nobody asked you to. The question was pretty simple: How would Myers have worded his statement had he intended it to be taken literally?

I’d imagine even an Irish solicitor wouldn’t be able to say much more than “well he thinks so-and-so’s a rapist, and you said he shouldn’t have said that, and that’s what he’ll say he meant by saying that you defend rapists”.

Maybe you are right; chances are there actually is a brain-damaged Irish solicitor. But it is more likely that a fully-functional solicitor would consider that statement as “not even wrong.”

But what I will object to is people saying I’m necessarily mistaken unless they can prove the objective reality of their interpretation.

I don’t think anybody is really interested in proving you are mistaken. And by “objective reality of their interpretation” I’ll assume you mean “a mind reading different from my own.” Maybe Myers did not expect to be taken literally; if so, he had plenty of time to apologise. Since he hasn’t, there is no reason to presume he meant something different. It is up to him to clarify what his mind meant: we can only obtain meaning from his words, and his words cannot be interpreted in any other way.

443 LurkerPerson October 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

And then these people wonder why we don’t credit their constant and irrational cries of “misogyny”, “harassment”, “rape”. Oh no, see he didn’t ACTUALLY mean those things, he is just using them as a metaphor to show he doesn’t like these people. “Rapist” and “misogynist”= “person I don’t like”. So the words are nothing more than rhetorical bludgeons with zero actual meaning behind them beyond “HERETIC”.

Franc isn’t wrong. It seems atheists are as tribal and unskeptical as any other groups. As soon as the concept of an organized atheist group (which I think is an oxymoron in the first place, but nevermind) emerged, schisms were not far behind.

444 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Here is how to make quotes look like quotes. It makes reading nested comments a bit easier. :)

<blockquote><b>Alice in XX wrote:</b> Quote</blockquote>

Above posted in html code, in case that looks borked or looks wrong, here is an example as broken tags:

Remove the #

Bob in xx wrote:
Quote

/just a suggestion

445 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Ok, works…

<blockquote><b>Alice in XX wrote:</b> Quote</blockquote>

results in…

Alice in XX wrote: Quote

446 Matt Cavanaugh October 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Who let Derrida into the room?

So, the best PZ’s proxies can do is to deconstruct the meanings of the the words “rapists” and “harbor’? Pathetic.

And what of Myers himself? We know he’s read Michael Nugent’s urgent & forceful demand to publicly retract his accusations against Michael, since Myers quotes one of my comments found here, under his unauthorized use of my intellectual property for commercial gain.

Yet Myers replies not. Instead, he cowers behind the walls of his Branch Davidian compound, whipping his ‘horde’ into a frenzy of bad behavior, ignoring the many serious & self-inflicted legal messes hanging over his head, sneering at the ever-growing number of reasonable people he’s offended, thumbing his nose at the world.

I fear this will not end well for PZ Koresh.

447 Matt Cavanaugh October 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

David Allen wrote: “Even literally taken PZ comments don’t mean Pitters are rapists, it could just be symptomatic.”

Did you learn that in law school, or was it something you picked up while attending Wishful Thinking U?

Person A: ‘Did you know that David Allen is a Pharyngulite?’
Person B: ‘I heard that Pharyngulites are embezzlers.’
Person A: ‘Oh, I’d better not hire him, then.’

See how this works, Dave?

448 john welch October 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

So in other words dave, PZ never actually means what he says, and his words should always be interpreted to the most kindly possible meaning, even when there is no hint, no sign within those words to justify it?

If he said “I literally mean that there are people commenting on Nugent’s site who have committed rape, who are the legal definition of rapist”, would that be enough?

This isn’t some twee philosophical argument about mythical characters on the head of a pin. This is trying to find out exactly how hard you’re willing to work to defend someone so that their words mean something completely different than what they actually mean.

Again “rapist” is not subject to interpretation. It has exactly one meaning: “Someone, usually a man, who has committed rape”. It is unambiguous.

So now you’re making the claim that PZ didn’t actually mean “RAPIST” when he said “rapist”, he just sort of meant rapist, and you have yet to provide anything to support that beyond “PZ meant it, I believe it, that settles it”, yet you insist, when people show data supporting the contention that PZ really and truly does want people to think that he means the commenters on these posts are rapists, because that is what he really thinks about people who disagree with him on feminist issues, (oh, and that they’re wannabe spree killers too cowardly to act on their desires), you just handwave all of that away, because clearly, even PZ is not THAT unreasonable.

Exactly how unreasonable IS PZ in your world, because i get the feeling you don’t really think he means anything at all with anything he says beyond a gentle sort of joshing.

449 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 5:49 pm

“So in other words dave, PZ never actually means what he says, and his words should always be interpreted to the most kindly possible meaning, even when there is no hint, no sign within those words to justify it?”

I’ve made no such dictat. In fact I’ve even responded to you that you should feel free to disagree.

“So now you’re making the claim that PZ didn’t actually mean “RAPIST” when he said “rapist”, he just sort of meant rapist, and you have yet to provide anything to support that beyond “PZ meant it, I believe it, that settles it”, yet you insist, when people show data supporting the contention that PZ really and truly does want people to think that he means the commenters on these posts are rapists, because that is what he really thinks about people who disagree with him on feminist issues, (oh, and that they’re wannabe spree killers too cowardly to act on their desires), you just handwave all of that away, because clearly, even PZ is not THAT unreasonable.”

I don’t see that as even vaguely representative of anything I’ve said.

“Exactly how unreasonable IS PZ in your world, because i get the feeling you don’t really think he means anything at all with anything he says beyond a gentle sort of joshing.”

I’ve said a number of times on this thread, as well as the similar threads Michael has started on this issue recently, that I find PZ regularly and luridly unreasonable.

I just don’t happen to agree with some of his more hardcore opponents on the very particular issue of whether or not he meant Pitters = Rapists, or that threatening him with legal recourse is any more than a joke.

And the notion that I’m some sort of defender of PZ just because I don’t march in tight lockstep with his more hardcore critics is amusing.

450 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

“I just don’t happen to agree with some of his more hardcore opponents on the very particular issue of whether or not he meant Pitters = Rapists, or that threatening him with legal recourse is any more than a joke.”

Looking back I suppose I did disagree with Thunderf00t too, so there’s that, but I haven’t claimed that PZ should be regarded as a reasonable person in general.

451 Carrie October 11, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Just seeing if I can get the blockquote thing right

442 Aneris wrote:Here is how to make quotes look like quotes. It makes reading nested comments a bit easier

452 Carrie October 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Yes it worked! Thanks Aneris

Dave Allen wrote:I’ve said a number of times on this thread, as well as the similar threads Michael has started on this issue recently, that I find PZ regularly and luridly unreasonable.

Yes, you have made that clear and I for one don’t get the idea that you are defending him. I do feel that you are obsessing a little over what he actually meant, although I understand the reasons that you put forward for doing so.

I think we mostly agree that PZ is throwing out insults and doxxes without worrying about who gets hurt by them.

453 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Yes, you have made that clear …

To you.

Thanks for noticing.

454 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

A page from…

FreeThoughtBlogs for Dummies

We know it can be a bit confusing, hence we put together a quick guide to the language and ethics on FreeThoughtBlogs, based on our own actions.

On Rape and Rapists

Rape may be the worst crime ever. Rape victims are “survivors”. Rape suvivors need our full support and solidarity, but context matters!

If the survivor is some random person, they need our full support and solidarity and we must always assume they went through the absolute worst. There are no distinctions between date rape and forced rape. Intent isn’t magic. When both people agreed to have sex, but have failed to explicitly consent or have forgotten about it (perhaps due to drugs), the situation is not different in any conceivable way to a forced rape. That’s right: If two people enjoy sex, but forgot (haven’t stored memory etc) about the consenting part, the whole situation is exactly the same as a forced rape. Don’t mix this up newbie, or we hate you like Richard Dawkins! When nobody remembers what happened “last night” then both are potential rapists. Stephanie Zvan has made the excellent suggestion that both people should go to jail, just to be sure.

The notable exception is when someone is exactly 12 years old. If the rapist is exactly 12 years old and we know the rapist and like him, then a rape can be “less bad”. If you claim something else, you do the “vilest thing” ever by smearing people, as PZ Myers has explained. Don’t do this. In case of doubt, shut up and listen!

How to deal with rape accusations

This is dependent of context, too. If the rapist is not a friend of our group, everyone must be warned about him. We deem it permissable that you start warning possible victims in 5 years and create a moral panic then. Better late than never. Everyone who isn’t seeing the accused as a rapist is by definition are rape apologist, because we know it’s true. Rape apologists often harbour rapists in their comment sections. Be warned!

In short, a rapist is…

1) A person who raped someone. The worst.
2) A good insult to use against opponents.
3) A nice person, who should have more babysitter offers.

These definitions use complicated social justice discourse ethics to find out which is the correct phrase. Using the wrong definition in the wrong instance is gross, vilest, worst thing ever. Don’t do that. Ever. Or we ban you. Or doxx you. Or all at once. Seriouisly that crosses all red lines. Just in case, shut up and listen. After a while you get what is true.

Postscript

We heard the vile claims that the FTB commuity harbours are rapist in its comment section. Nothing could be further away from the truth. It is true that a commenter on our FreeThoughtBlogs network, who is loved and well-liked, confessed to have raped three girls on a babysitter job (on another incident than the scout incident). He wrote as much in the blog post “Stunned Silence”. But he merely meant definition 3 and since he was only 12, he is not really a rapist as in definition 1. It was less bad in a completely non-Dawkins way (Dawkins is wrong, always).

However, we have seen with concern that an Irish activist from the Rogue Gallery, a rape apologist of the worst kind harbours rapists in his comment section. This statement has led to some confustion, but to be clear: It is true, as by definition 2. It is simply an insult, as is obvious by the plural. That’s all good fun and not meant seriously. People are still mad at us that some wrote “die in a fire” or “die, seriously, I mean it” which we wrote in good jest, too. We at FreeThoughtBlogs hope that clears it all up and in case there is something unclear, don’t ask. Just shut up and listen and the proper meaning will be revealed to you, too.

#darksatire

455 john welch October 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm

The problem is Dave, you keep retreating from things.

“PZ’s unreasonable”

“So then it is highly likely, being unreasonable, that he wasn’t speaking metaphorically.”

“No, no, that’s not a reasonable interpretation”

“So then we should ignore the words PZ uses and instead try to sift out all the possible meanings and then on our own, choose the kindest one?”

“That’s not what I’ve said.”

“Well, what would be your standard for PZ actually meaning “rapist” in the sense that apparently, everyone but you and he use the word in?”

“I’m not going to get into that, that’s twee philosophy”

“But we don’t actually know what your standard is, so it makes it hard for us to know what is and isn’t metaphor in your world”

“It’s perfectly clear”

on and on so forth and so on.

(Cue Dave protesting the use of quotations that don’t specifically use his words. Cue my response that they don’t specifically use anyone’s words, i am speaking…metaphorically.)

The problem is dave, and you seem to ignore this, is that to “know” what PZ means other than the words he uses, requires us to “know” PZ. I have to know him as a person, and to be frank, I don’t. I know him as what I see him presenting himself as, and in terms of languages, he’s about as deep as a gnat’s teardrop.

When it comes to language, at least non-scientific language, PZ has been pretty WYSIWYG. There’s no hidden meaning, no deepness. In fact, when people have tried to accuse him of being shallow, he fired back with the Courtier’s Reply, which is one of the better things he’s written. The idea that you have to properly interpret everything he says to really understand his meaning is nonsensical. It’s also at odds with his career, that of a teacher.

Teachers, especially ones who teach people new or somewhat new to the subject, do not crank out metaphor, it gets in the way of learning.

Yet, you insist, with no evidence of any kind to support your theory, that PZ is somehow, in this case, in this ONE case, speaking, for what may be the first time ever, in some deep metaphorical language and that taking his words at face value is somehow wrong.

Oh, and yes, you have explicitly said that PZ didn’t really mean “rapist” when he called people here rapists. You’ve been crystal clear on that.

What you’re clear as mud on is how anyone other than you should arrive at that conclusion.

456 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm

The problem is Dave, you keep retreating from things.

From my point of view John, what I have to keep retreating from is people’s misconceptions of my point, that I have to remind them continually that the initial context of my objection is that there is one clear interpretation of an ambiguous construction, which despite people’s braying that I somehow un-see I still actually see..

Now I’ll admit that I’ve gone on some tangents, but that because from my PoV I’m having to deal with people’s purple paraphrasing of my argument, and related tangents of their own.

I don’t mind tangents, but they do obscure the context of the argument.

Oh, and yes, you have explicitly said that PZ didn’t really mean “rapist” when he called people here rapists. You’ve been crystal clear on that.

No – and furthermore the last time someone said I was talking about the word “rapist” in terms of a metaphorical use I tried to explain that I wasn’t referring to that word as a metaphor.

What I disagree with is the notion that he said it regarding people “here”.

When I first read that tweet I thought “Oh he’s talking about Michael defending [a person] from dodgy allegations”.

Given the context of Michael’s post to which the tweet was in response to – the one that went on at length about the best way to report sexual assault – I still happen to think that.

That the “presence of Slymepitters” is “evidence” of this is no doubt a nasty insinuation – as I have said on this thread before.

But I still don’t see it as “Pitters = Rapists”, which is the notion I originally objected to leading to this argument.

457 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm

The problem is Dave, you keep retreating from things.

From my point of view John, what I have to keep retreating from is people’s misconceptions of my point, that I have to remind them continually that the initial context of my objection is that there is one clear interpretation of an ambiguous construction, which despite people’s braying that I somehow un-see I still actually see..

Now I’ll admit that I’ve gone on some tangents, but that because from my PoV I’m having to deal with people’s purple paraphrasing of my argument, and related tangents of their own.

I don’t mind tangents, but they do obscure the context of the argument.

Oh, and yes, you have explicitly said that PZ didn’t really mean “rapist” when he called people here rapists. You’ve been crystal clear on that.

No – I have not said that “explicitly” – and furthermore the last time someone said I was talking about the word “rapist” in terms of a metaphorical use I tried to explain that I wasn’t referring to that word as a metaphor.

What I disagree with is the notion that he said it regarding people “here”.

When I first read that tweet I thought “Oh he’s talking about Michael defending S*****r from dodgy allegations”.

Given the context of Michael’s post to which the tweet was in response to – the one that went on at length about the best way to report sexual assault – I still happen to think that.

That the “presence of Slymepitters” is “evidence” of this is no doubt a nasty insinuation – as I have said on this thread before.

But I still don’t see it as “Pitters = Rapists”, which is the notion I originally objected to leading to this argument.

458 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

@Dave Allen
‘ When I first read that tweet I thought “Oh he’s talking about Michael defending S*****r from dodgy allegations”.’

Would it be fair to say you are using your insider’s knowledge of events to interpret Myers?

This may be our difference of opinion. I’m looking at the impact of those statements on those who will have no prior knowledge. In that light they are interpreted as they stand and will indicate that posters at this site contain rapists (plural) and they come from a site called the slymepitters. That is a very damaging allegation regardless of Myers intent.

459 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Would it be fair to say you are using your insider’s knowledge of events to interpret Myers?

What insider knowledge?

460 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Ah, OK, I think I see what you mean.

I don’t have insider knowledge of what PZ gets up to , but I’ve been following Michael’s blog for about 18 months and the “schism” in general, so yes I suppose there is that.

461 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm

PZ tweeted: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Let’s do it elementary school style, since that seems to be the level we are dealing with.

Teacher: Ok, Kids. You have read the tweet of Paul Zachary Myers. Let us go through the meaning. I ask you, and you answer all together.

Teacher: What does Michael Nugent do?
The Kids: He is defending & providing a haven.

Teacher: ‘xactly! For whom does Michael Nugent do this?
The Kids: He does this for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.

Perhaps we are all expecting too much of them. After all, they can’t even read and understand simple tweets by Richard Dawkins and other people.

462 Jeff Rankin October 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Just an observation and sorry if I’m reiterating what others have said –

One can see, reading some of the comments on this page, how PZ’s postmodernism works in his favor. We can’t agree on what he really meant, that’s by design, so it’s probably best to look at the effects – the damage – his actions have caused and ask for evidence of PZ’s claims* – as we’ve been doing. We have the harder task, no doubt, because we’re interested in what’s real while PZ is solely interested in furthering his ideology. Put another way, it’s enough for PZ that he simply destroys things, we have to pick up the pieces and try to communicate.

I wish I had better ideas how to do this. Like I said our task is the more difficult.

* This will not be forthcoming, at least not from PZ.

463 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm

This is how Myers (on Twitter) characterizes his linking to the workplace internet page of Skep Tickle:

My crime was tying her directly to something she actually wrote. Horrors.

Can somebody please alert me when Myers writes something that is not totally dishonest garbage? That would be newsworthy.

464 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

@ Jeff Rankin,

This [evidence] will not be forthcoming, at least not from PZ.

[PZ Myers mode]But, but…there are Slymepitters posting here, and that is all the evidence you need to prove that Michael is providing a haven for harassers, misogynists and rapists. [/PZ Myers mode]

Isn’t it?

465 Acleron October 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm

@Jan Steen

That is breathtaking dishonesty. I wonder which audience he is aiming it at. Certainly none that have seen what he did. It is so cryptic to an onlooker that, if interested, they would look up the circumstances. Even if they didn’t understand the significance of his treatment of Skep Tickle, they would soon come across a site such as this. That only leaves his supporters. It is difficult to come to terms with a hero whose feet have turned to clay but some must be having second thoughts about him.

466 Jan Steen October 11, 2014 at 9:36 pm

@Acleron,

People who know about Myers’s dishonesty and still treat him as someone worthy of respect are no better than him. They condone Scientology-style harassment.

“Nice job you’ve got there. It would be a pity if something happened to it.”

467 John Greg October 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Yes, yews, I know, I know, this is getting kind of tiresome. But, well, in for a penny; in for a pound.

Dave Allen (circa 406) said:

I have the dilemma of wanting to discuss PZ without giving him hits….

Ya. That used to cause me some slight anguish and fibrilation too. But I finally decided that giving them hits, however few and minor they might be, especially as I use AdBlocker, it is important for me to read their various sites when they are fresh so that I actually know, specifically, whereof I speak … as it were.

As to the rest, yes, I think we will have to just agree to disagree. For one thing, as a holder of a degree in English, and as a professional writer of many years standing, my understanding of the meaning and use of the word metaphor simply does not agree with yours. For another, to quote Jan Steen:

But people who are less well-informed, people who have read that Peezus once was Humanist of the Year (what a joke!), may well think that there is something to his accusation. There is, in short, no reason to treat Peezus’s words not at face value. He accused Michael of providing a haven for rapists.

And piero:

Were they intended as metaphor? Certainly not: if Myers had intended his words to be metaphorical, his reply to Derek Walsh would not have been “The evidence is right there.” Metaphors are not validated with evidence; evidence is used to support facts, not the embellishments of discourse.

Of course, that is one of the fine things about this place and, for that matter, the Pit: We can, amicably, agree to disagree, and not resort to flinging dead porkeepines at each other.

It’s what I like to think of as Free Thought.

Shame, shame, on me; I see what I did there.

Lastly, Dave Allen said:

In terms of likelihood I reckon PZ didn’t actually mean Nugent literally defends and provides haven for rapists.

I don’t know how much familiarity you have with Myers and his ongoing so-called feminist crusade, but I sort of dispute your argument in that while I tend to think that Myers might not actually believe that Nugent literally provides a haven for real-world actual rapists, Myers does fully indeed intend for people, both those familiar with his ongoing nuttiness and those new to the scene, to accept his words and to actually believe that Nugent literally does provide actual ‘net haven for real-world actual rapists. In which case, we are just arguing semantics, pedantics, and sophistry.

Dave, I respect your right to have a different interpretation. I also respect that you are arguing in good faith, and very respectfully too Nonetheless, I think you are profoundly, yes I use that term intentionally, wrong.

468 windy October 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

That the existence of ‘Pitters on the forum stands as “evidence” of that does not necessarily imply that they are themselves are sex criminals – it could just mean PZ associates the support of ‘Pitters with those who excuse sex criminals.

If he wanted to express that idea, he could have accused Nugent of “providing a haven for rape apologists”. Still bad enough but that would have been in line with “harassers and misogynists”.

Now this is still a load of nonsense in my opinion, but I think that’s how most people will chose to interpret it.

If, as you suggest, many people have been conditioned to mentally translate unambiguous terms like “rapist” into contortions like “someone who frequents a site where some people don’t condemn alleged sex crimes to my satisfaction”, that sounds like a problem that the atheist and skeptic communities need to address. Otherwise, how can we effectively argue against such equivocation when others engage in it?

469 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm

If he wanted to express that idea, he could have accused Nugent of “providing a haven for rape apologists”. Still bad enough but that would have been in line with “harassers and misogynists”.

For myself, I don’t think he wanted to express anything other than snarky macho balderdash to get people in a tizzy.

If, as you suggest, many people have been conditioned to mentally translate unambiguous terms like “rapist” into contortions like “someone who frequents a site where some people don’t condemn alleged sex crimes to my satisfaction”, that sounds like a problem that the atheist and skeptic communities need to address.

That’s not what I’m suggesting.

What I am suggesting is that if the kids in Aneris*’s figurative classroom reached the following understanding:

Teech: What does Michael Nugent do?

Kids: He is defending & providing a haven.

Teech: For whom does Michael Nugent do this?

Kids: He does this for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.

Then further discussion might go:

Teech: And did he mean this literally or was it just a sarcastic swipe at a former friend?

Kids: Oh not sure miss. Might have been serious. But miss I think he was just being a mardy bum. Shut it Smithy he meant wot he sed. I dunno if he can have meant it strictly miss but he sort of did. Etc….

Teech: And when he said pitters on blog was evidence for his earlier comment was he also being strictly serious, and would this necessarily mean they are the rapists, or could it just imply that there presence is symptomatic of Michael’s defence of rapists?

Kids: Well whilst that is undoubtedly a nasty insinuation there miss the fact is it could just be more snark, or a claim that they’re a symptom of association, or a genuine slur. Given the undisciplined colloquial nature of tweets he might just have been using them as a synecdoche, because there’s little doubt he finds them misogynistic, with the whole completed by Michael S*****r and the like. I dunno miss.

Otherwise, how can we effectively argue against such equivocation when others engage in it?

My advice would be to recognize a tar baby for what it is, and move on to something you can pin on him.

EG: disproportionate response to skep tickle, unwillingness to correct errors regarding NDGT, unwillingness to debate honestly with Pinker, misrepresentations of Nugent … and so on.

470 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Understanding Paul Zachary Myers
Captain P. Z. Myers peeks through binoculars on the bridge of the “the Pharyngula”, the largest vessel of the naval unit called “FreeThoughtBlogs”. There are other ships besides his working as a unit, such as “the Almost Diamonds” or “the Butterflies and Wheels”.

For them there are only three types of ship on the ocean. They are either allies, enemies or unknowns. Unknowns are by no means neutral, they just haven’t shown their colours yet.

P. Z. Myers often refers to the enemy ships as “slime”, hence we call this enemy fleet the “Green Fleet”. The FreeThoughtBlogs logo is traditionally red, and shall give P. Z. Myers’ fleet their name, the “Red Fleet”.

Everyone who seems to fire in the same general direction as Captain Myers or his Red Fleet allies is also considered of the Red Fleet. That also means to never fire in the direction of allies. Likewise, the easiest way to show the Green Colours is to open fire to one of the Red Fleet ships.

There are of course diverse islands, countries and even continents that float in the vast ocean. There is for example the republic of Harassistan. They are considered to belong to the Green Fleet by default. There is also a continent called Feministan, but it has some areas which are current under Red control, and others which are under Green control. It is a kind of Cold War where both sides claim to have already won the entire continent, and sometimes there skirmishes between the sides.

The Green Fleet can be from any location that is considered enemy to P. Z. Myers, from the Republic of Republican to the Misogyny Islands, or Harassistan. They cannot be from Feministan, since P. Z. Myers firmly believes this is in the hands of the Red Domain. People who claim otherwise are by default of course enemies from the Green Domain, like CH Sommers.

P. Z. Myers puts his binoculars down and says:

“I’ve seen Green Ships in Port Nugent. It is clear to me, he harbours those from the Green Fleet, the harassers, misogynists and rapists.”

It all makes sense when you start to see the world as a dualism of two opposing sides. Welcome to the world of P. Z. Myers and his Red Fleet, the world of social justice warriors. Diplomacy with enemies is impossible, hence there is no table to talk or discuss anything. All attempts to negotiate with the enemy is considered treason. Ships that allow that diplomats of both sides come together are considered to be part of the Green Fleet and torpedoes are fired at them to prevent that any discussion can take place.

For him, there can be no peace with “misogynists, harassers and rapists” which is synomous with the enemy side – the Green side. If you think it such terms, P. Z. Myers starts to make sense. He only knows two sides, Red or Green and what isn’t either is merely unknown until it shows it is colours. In the words of Atheism Plus: You are either with them, or against them.

I took the harbour metaphor a bit too far, but P. Z. Myers and co really think like this. They are essentially believers with a strongly dualist mindset not unlike Evangelicals.

471 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm

For him, there can be no peace with “misogynists, harassers and rapists” which is synomous with the enemy side – the Green side. If you think it such terms, P. Z. Myers starts to make sense. He only knows two sides, Red or Green and what isn’t either is merely unknown until it shows it is colours. In the words of Atheism Plus: You are either with them, or against them.

This is to ignore the apparent example of people who don’t walk in lockstep with PZ and yet are tolerated or even regarded as friends.

Take David Silverman as an example. His politics clearly are at some distance from PZ – I think he’s pretty much claimed to be a Republican but for the atheism.

Yet the two of them seem to have something of an alliance. I believe Silverman was one of the few luminaries to be happy to be seen to accompany PZ at the last major con they attended and thusfar their apparent friendship has survived Silverman’s comments about abortion, or his suggestion that people don’t give “blogs everyone talks about” (or something) the hits.

Now I realize there are elements of compromise at work there – but it’s not as black and white as you suggest.

Ally Fogg’s another example. I believe PZ quietly retroactively edited his rant about the use of a particular four-letter word in response to an Ally Fogg post, and Pitters are often fairly active without overweening censorship in Fogg’s comment section, and whilst he might tack along with a number of feminist perspectives Fogg will argue against them, including some well deserved barbs aimed at veteran Pharyngulites.

Which, as far as I see, PZ tolerates.

PZ will clearly never forgive Pitters, but its not as Manichean a set up as you suggest.

472 Aneris ✻ October 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Take David Silverman as an example. His politics clearly are at some distance from PZ – I think he’s pretty much claimed to be a Republican but for the atheism.

False. And I really investigated the matter and wrote about it, before I couldn’t keep with the drama (and had other stuff to do).

The Silverman Heresy and the one following this one.

473 windy October 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm

My advice would be to recognize a tar baby for what it is, and move on to something you can pin on him.

EG: disproportionate response to skep tickle, unwillingness to correct errors regarding NDGT, unwillingness to debate honestly with Pinker, misrepresentations of Nugent … and so on.

But Dave, we ARE addressing a misrepresentation of Nugent (and others)… that was the subject of the original post:

“But I will not let go unanswered the serious and unambiguous smear that I am defending rapists, made publicly by a prominent atheist and academic. I ask PZ to withdraw it and apologise. I also include some recent advice from PZ himself about how to properly apologise.”

Are you objecting to Nugent’s embrace of the “tar baby” here, or only to the so-called “evidence” for the accusation speaking up?

474 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 11:18 pm

False.

What? that Silverman said something like being a republican but for the atheism, or that he and PZ have yet to fall out due to their apparent differences.

If the latter I’d disagree. Your blog contrasts the apex of PZs apparent regard (the “principled leader” stuff) with it’s nadir (the consternation over Silverman’s CPAC remarks).

Three months after your blog post they were co-panelling and ligging at the World Humanist Conference together. Is Silverman as warmly regarded as he was when he shouted Vacula down? I doubt it. Is he on some “against us” shitlist? I doubt that too. last I looked amiable tolerance was the impression.

475 Dave Allen October 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Are you objecting to Nugent’s embrace of the “tar baby” here, or only to the so-called “evidence” for the accusation speaking up?

I’m certainly not objecting to anything Michael has written.

My incentive for objecting to certain notions that the so-called evidence have raised began at post 350, when I said that it wasn’t “Jesuit sophistry” to suggest that interpretations of PZs words other than a literal “Pitters = Rapists” existed.

I do think it’s something of an exercise in futility to complain about that particular construction given the alternatives.

Moreover I guess the general view of PZ v Pit is going to be “well they say nasty things about him so he says nasty things about them”.

Which I see as feeding in to the tar baby phenomena.

Nugent’s commitment to fair mindedness has provided him with some immunity there.

(And I’m not suggesting the Pit is monolithic, but given the archetypes associated with it people crying “defamation” do strike me as having a self-constructed mountain to climb).

476 john welch October 11, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I don’t mind tangents, but they do obscure the context of the argument.

From where many of us are sitting, that seems to be a purpose behind your love of them. If you go out on enough, we forget what we were pointing out.

Oh, and yes, you have explicitly said that PZ didn’t really mean “rapist” when he called people here rapists. You’ve been crystal clear on that.

No – and furthermore the last time someone said I was talking about the word “rapist” in terms of a metaphorical use I tried to explain that I wasn’t referring to that word as a metaphor.

Nonsense. From you at #350:

“He is clearly saying that most people who comment here are slymepitters (incidentally, that may be prophecy) and that slymepitters are rapists, harassers and misogynists. ”

Or it could just be that he sees their presence or support as an attribute of those who defend or provide a haven for such.

Which isn’t Jesuit sophistry, by the way.

It’s noxious hyperbole by PZ, of course, but it’s not actually the same thing as drawing exact equivalence.

354:

“If Michael Nugent “provides a haven for rapists” then there must be rapists here. So where are they if not in the comment section?”

I saw it as a metaphor myself. We know the impetus behind Michael’s input on the matter was Adam Lee’s attack on Richard Dawkins which was to some degree tied in with PZ and Pal’s accusations regarding sexual impropriety by various others.

Hence “defends” and “provides haven for” (which – let me say again – is ludicrous hyperbole).

Hyperbole. Kind of metaphorical, right?

a little later on:

As far as I can tell Michael’s recent posts were largely written in reaction to the Adam Lee article on Dawkins, which bemoaned Dawkins’ tweets, which were probably a reaction to accusations leveled at people in the A/S circle regarding rape and sexual harassment.

This is what I believe PZ was referring to – metaphorically – with his bemoaning of who Michael defended and harbored.

You then went on to make some really bad analogy to that of being called a beatles fan because you happen to have a beatles CD. Except, where that breaks down is that “fan” is a non-specific term for which there are many degrees. Rabid fan, slight fan, mild fan, hardcore fan etc.

“Rapist” however, (well, evidently to everyone but you) is a specific word with a specific unarguable meaning. It’s rather like being pregnant. One either is or is not a rapist.

You’re comparing something that has a range of meaning and levels with something that does not, and saying they are both the same thing.

moving on….

What I disagree with is the notion that he said it regarding people “here”.

Bullshit you did. He explicitly said it about people here. Michael is harboring harassers, misogynists and rapists. You are literally the only person who is trying to pretend he meant some random other group or something.

When I first read that tweet I thought “Oh he’s talking about Michael defending [a person] from dodgy allegations”.

Given the context of Michael’s post to which the tweet was in response to – the one that went on at length about the best way to report sexual assault – I still happen to think that.

Oh, so it’s a SPECIFIC person who is both a slymepitter AND commenting here.

So who then? Who is this SPECIFIC person he’s referring to who is actually a rapist.

Also, so NOW you are saying that PZ meant the literal definition of rapist, and not some metaphorical nonsense. That PZ meant Michael is literally harboring an actual person who has committed actual rape in the actual meaning of the word?

Or is it both a metaphor and an actual thing depending on who’s reading it? Have you actually found Schrodinger’s rapist?

That the “presence of Slymepitters” is “evidence” of this is no doubt a nasty insinuation – as I have said on this thread before.

But I still don’t see it as “Pitters = Rapists”, which is the notion I originally objected to leading to this argument.

So now it’s a metaphor again?

My advice would be to recognize a tar baby for what it is, and move on to something you can pin on him.

EG: disproportionate response to skep tickle, unwillingness to correct errors regarding NDGT, unwillingness to debate honestly with Pinker, misrepresentations of Nugent … and so on.

Ah, so now you have the *only* correct use of this. And you know this how? You are actually IRL friends with PZ? you know he is only trolling people here? How. What are you basing this on? You seem to have some keen insight to PZ’s meaning here which is completely out of line with what everyone else is saying. In fact, there are even commenters *on PZ’s blog* insisting that everyone here dox themselves so that it can be proven they are or are not *actual rapists*. So even PZ’s commentariat disagrees with you on this.

In two replies, you’ve gone from metaphor to a specific person who’s a rapist back to metaphor.

pick one, it cannot be both.

Yet the two of them seem to have something of an alliance. I believe Silverman was one of the few luminaries to be happy to be seen to accompany PZ at the last major con they attended and thusfar their apparent friendship has survived Silverman’s comments about abortion, or his suggestion that people don’t give “blogs everyone talks about” (or something) the hits.

Clearly you have not read PZ’s more recent bon mots about Silverman.

Also, it’s been proven that PZ’s behavior towards someone in person is completely unreliable as an indicator of what he actually thinks of that person. He’s always meek and mild in person. So the fact he is nice to silverman in person means, literally, nothing.

Or is that a metaphor too?

Ally Fogg’s another example. I believe PZ quietly retroactively edited his rant about the use of a particular four-letter word in response to an Ally Fogg post, and Pitters are often fairly active without overweening censorship in Fogg’s comment section, and whilst he might tack along with a number of feminist perspectives Fogg will argue against them, including some well deserved barbs aimed at veteran Pharyngulites.

Which, as far as I see, PZ tolerates.

PZ will clearly never forgive Pitters, but its not as Manichean a set up as you suggest.

The fact that you can only find two instances of this, and one is not nearly the proof you think it is, shows how weak a line of thinking this is.

PZ’s pretty absolutist when it comes to “allies”. You are either fully with him, or you are fully against him. The evidence for that is long and illustrious.

477 windy October 12, 2014 at 12:02 am

I’m certainly not objecting to anything Michael has written.

So you are NOT objecting when Michael interprets the tweet as “serious and unambiguous smear” about literal rapists. But when it comes to the supposed “rapists” themselves, you favor interpreting the exact same comment as “a metaphor” or “snarky macho balderdash”. Are you using ‘parallel logic’?

478 Aneris ✻ October 12, 2014 at 12:44 am

Dualism between clear-cut good and evil. With them or against them, the stated motto of Atheism Plus.
You must shut up and listen. Like on church sunday.
If you disagree on some aspects of the belief, the this is heterodoxy, i.e. heresy and will lead to a witch hunt.

The thought-crime committed is often unclear. Accusers can’t agree on what the issue exactly is, but agree that some thought-crime happened. The deviation from the dogma is the crime, therefore it is unimportant what someone exactly stated and why exactly it is wrong. Various post-hoc rationalisations are tried out and even if mutually exclusive, all are somehow true or conflicting versions are never challenged. It doesn’t matter ultimately, since some thin Ersatz explanation is enough for the pseudo-rationals.

Heresy leads to ban, shunning and removal from the community in symbolic rituals where commenter renunciate the Dawkins and other folk devils.
There are saints and martyrs who are worshipped merely for their sacrifice, e.g. Saint Watson who drowned in hate-mail. They have no other discernible qualification other than their suffering for the good cause.

Sex crimes, or confessions in the community are kept in-house and when the flock forgives, the crimes are redeemed. See Ogvorbis.
When outsiders criticize this, it is denied and covered up and portayed as malicious slander.
Critics, detractors and contrarians are guilty-by-association, e.g. you are an atheist, Hitler-Mao-Stalin-Pot was too therefore… “Here we have “you don’t believe in our version of social Justice. The random rapist doesn’t either, therefore…”

Leaders of the Social Justice Faction are infallible and never apologize. When they pretend to apologizie, they make it like Greta Christina and mount an even bigger attack and of course correct nothing.
Conclusions themselves are important and the reasoning goes backwards, therefore there is nothing to correct. The dogma is true, everything else can be moved around at convenience.

Like all clergy, social justice warriors in atheism are also thespians, sometimes a bit overdramatic in their display of feelings.
Lying for Peezus is acceptable, since it is for a greater good.

Dogma is established within the terms of the belief system. For religious people this is done with the Bible, for pseudo-rationals their beliefs are compared to the theory of evolution because it is established in their circle as unassailable, e.g. “David Silverman’s “Darwin Was Wrong” Moment” by Jaston Thibeault.

It is important to posture as the good person and make lots of cheap statements that are meant to underscore this. Religious leaders will often address the poor and pretend to care, P. Z. and co often prentend-care about minorities and claim others don’t. Poor people, minorities or victims have nothing from the hot air that comes from the pulpit. PZ Myers & followers often “can’t even” and indeed, they can’t even think properly, much less work out some practical solutions. They can’t even spell out in concrete terms what would be an appropriate course of action.

Evil has many names and it is used interchangeably. For secular people, evil is harassment, misogyny, rape, all more or less the same thing.

Social justice warriors have a “raised conciousness” and they like to help Richard Dawkins to raise his. No, they need to go from door to door these days anymore.
Social justice warriors /faction are missionary and don’t want their beliefs challenged. Comments are either disabled, or tightly controlled. Selectively, “evil” is shown to the flock, but good arguments that would seriously challenge the beliefs are always carefully filtered out and is pretended they don’t exist.
The social justice flock is conditioned to not doubt and to not seek out conflicting information. Places that could potentially harm their belief system are declared as corrupted and potentially dangerous to the soul of the believer. The social justice keywords are “this is too terrible to show you this, but I tell you this is terrible”.

The authority, whose mental powers are strong enough to seek out places of evil come back to their flock and declare what they have seen, so that the poor and mentally week flock doesn’t have to endure the dread and potentially lose their soul to evil. The label, or impression are then used instead of the actual content and are used synonymously.
That is, it becomes unimportant what led people to believe X, but just that it did. That it somehow did is enough. If e.g. the devil Dawkins caused an outrage, then it is again unimportant how he did that. He did. This is fact enough and this fact alone can be shared around and future issues can build on this impression.

And finally…

the revelations of the authority are always positive and well-intentioned. If the literal meaning is not working, it was certainly meant metaphorically.

It is a bit of a charicature, but not far from what is observable.

479 franc October 12, 2014 at 1:25 am

Dave Allen Do you know for sure that Michael was in a position to give your case full and fair appraisal at the time?

If not why should people take your comment as anything more than “I was into distrusting PZ before you were”?

The only thing I accuse Michael of is being too bloody nice. In a Neville Chamberlain kind of way. “Niceness”, begat by Phil Plait and his “don’t be a dick” sermon on the mount, is what has poisoned atheism. I watched and despaired at the before and after. The freshly uncloseted new, new atheists were emoboldened – that’s when the dogpiling, censoring and shunning all began. Atheism needs to reclaim its asshole – stop worrying about hurting “feelings”. Atheism needs to grow a spine. Atheists need to call crap crap before giving years of benefit of doubt.
As it stands, atheism is exactly like the the image the loony religious right paints us as – backstabbing, bickering, amoral and idiotic. Thank peezee for that.

http://greylining.com/2014/06/01/a-very-catholic-atheism/

480 john welch October 12, 2014 at 3:58 am

FYI franc, the link to dissentionisnothate is going to be busted, the site’s down, and is staying that way. May be on the wayback machine.

481 franc October 12, 2014 at 4:08 am

not down. has usual. discomfort guaranteed.

482 franc October 12, 2014 at 4:13 am

Your mouth is to purdy to argue with anyway Welch.

483 john welch October 12, 2014 at 5:26 am

Thanks franc

484 franc October 12, 2014 at 7:00 am

you’re welcome

485 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 9:50 am

Hyperbole. Kind of metaphorical, right?

It’s the phrase in totality I was referring to when I called it hyperbole, not each individual word in the phrase.

Do you understand this particular bone of contention now?

If so say so and I’ll move on to your next complaint.

But if not – let’s just agree to disagree eh – because we ain’t never gonna make sense to one another.

486 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 10:18 am

The only thing I accuse Michael of is being too bloody nice. In a Neville Chamberlain kind of way. “Niceness”, begat by Phil Plait and his “don’t be a dick” sermon on the mount, is what has poisoned atheism. I watched and despaired at the before and after. The freshly uncloseted new, new atheists were emoboldened – that’s when the dogpiling, censoring and shunning all began. Atheism needs to reclaim its asshole – stop worrying about hurting “feelings”. Atheism needs to grow a spine. Atheists need to call crap crap before giving years of benefit of doubt.

If, after a period of indecision, a given atheist spokesman decides to call out the excesses of PZ and pals I believe it would be far more productive to take the attitude of “thank goodness you finally see what they can be like” rather than “you’re late”.

As for historical precedent. Yes, Chamberlain appeased Hitler and it didn’t work out. MLK was nice and it did work out. Churchill appeased Stalin with mixed results. Is the example of Chamberlain more apt in the case of Michael than the others? It strikes me as a bit grandiose to suggest he’s akin to any particular historical nice guy.

As far as I see it he’s having a more marked effect in the present circumstance.

As it stands, atheism is exactly like the the image the loony religious right paints us as – backstabbing, bickering, amoral and idiotic. Thank peezee for that.

In regard to one item on your list aren’t they strictly true, atheism as a gestalt has no set morality?

In fact, I’d suggest that it the general discomfort of atheist spokespeople that atheism lacks a moral compass that has contributed to tolerance of PZ and Pals’ attempt to impose one.

Which is silly – because what should have been done was some sort of “hey religious folk, do the unfashionable elements of your given religions moral dictats sometimes embarrass you? Consider that you get to choose the morality you like as someone without religion!”

And if you are concerned with what religious people say about atheists do you not see that calls for athiesm to reclaim its asshole also play into memes beloved of the religious right – shrill, obnoxious, unreasonable, small-minded and so on?

487 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 10:19 am

MLK was nice and it did work out.

Well, maybe not for him personally, but it terms of advancing the cause.

488 franc October 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

If, after a period of indecision, a given atheist spokesman decides to call out the excesses of PZ and pals I believe it would be far more productive to take the attitude of “thank goodness you finally see what they can be like” rather than “you’re late”.

Utter crap. It’s why we are where we are. You sir are the problem.

489 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 10:39 am

So you are NOT objecting when Michael interprets the tweet as “serious and unambiguous smear” about literal rapists. But when it comes to the supposed “rapists” themselves, you favor interpreting the exact same comment as “a metaphor” or “snarky macho balderdash”. Are you using ‘parallel logic’?

OK, you got me, I suppose I think Michael is being a teensy bit oversensitive in calling PZs tweet “serious and unambiguous” given that I feel it is better off being dismissed as a sarcastic swipe.

As I said earlier, I recognize that a deal of “hey I thought we were friends” comes into the umbrage between Michael and PZ – from both sides – and I do generally sympathize with Michael.

Seeing as I apparently disagree with you as to what the word “rapists” refers to I’m not sure how to answer your second point.

490 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

Utter crap. It’s why we are where we are. You sir are the problem.

We won’t get out of where we are if we alienate those who might otherwise join in by bemoaning their moderation.

491 franc October 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

Dave Allen:

You babble vut you do not speak.

492 Larry October 12, 2014 at 11:31 am

This debate over what Myers wrote is going nowhere. The fact is that he hasn’t clarified or apologised so we have to take what he wrote at face value. More at issue is how best to deal with him and his cronies in the future. He has already officially divorced himself from the sceptical movement, is it too much to hope that he will officially divorce himself from the atheist movement? If not then others need to start divorce proceedings themselves.

It’s not for me to tell conference organisers who to invite to their conferences, but they should look at the behaviour of the likes of Myers, Benson, Watson, Svan etc. and think carefully about whether they want people like that at their conferences. And then decide not to invite them.

Other than that he needs to be exposed at every opportunity by others in the movement, like Nugent has done so well recently. And he needs to be mocked mercilessly, which is done so well at the Pit, although this would need to be toned down a bit for a wider audience.

The fact is that you could pick any currently well-known atheist and conclude that they have done far more to advance atheism and secularism than Myers or his coterie ever has, or ever will. These are the people that need our support and who need to be defended when the attacks come, as they will continue to come.

493 Patrick October 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Aneris @478:

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

You’ve got the outline of a book on the SJW’s use of entryism against organized (*laugh*) atheism.

494 Patrick October 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Dave Allen @489:

OK, you got me, I suppose I think Michael is being a teensy bit oversensitive in calling PZs tweet “serious and unambiguous” given that I feel it is better off being dismissed as a sarcastic swipe.

I’m impressed with your conduct in this discussion, but I still don’t understand how you can hold this interpretation. Look at the Twitter exchange documented in the OP:

PZ replied to Derek: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Derek replied to PZ: “that’s an incredibly serious accusation and one completely unsupported by evidence. But you know both those things already.”

PZ replied to Derek: “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

Derek replied to PZ: “Let me get this straight: Your evidence that he defends rapists is that people who don’t like you comment on his blog? Seriously?!”

Myers had a perfect opportunity to clarify his meaning and chose to bravely run away. He either means what he wrote or, at the very least, intends to communicate the literal meaning of his words to anyone who reads those tweets.

He owes Nugent a serious apology.

495 Jan Steen October 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

In the end, PZ Myers is just a symptom of a broader problem, which is the infestation of Social Justice Warriors currently plaguing the atheist/skeptic community. Social Justice Warriors are Post Modern ideologues, who use Orwellian tactics to gain a foothold in a community and then take it over to the exclusion of everybody who does not welcome these people and their leaders unconditionally.

People like PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson and Ophelia Benson, not to mention even lesser lights like Stephanie Zvan and Adam Lee, are among those who have the ambition to become leaders among the Social Justice Warriors within the a/s community.

What do I mean with Orwellian tactics? It is the deceitful habit of claiming that words mean one thing and then in practice using them in other, inappropriate ways.

The very name FreethoughtBlogs, around which Myers’s clique is mainly organised, is Orwellian. Free thought is the last thing that is practised at FTB. The same can be said of Skepchick: a group of women who display anything but skepticism, and who would hate to be called ‘chicks’, because such terminology is sexist.

Social Justice Warriors have a whole lexicon of words and expressions, such as privilege, “punching up”, mansplaining, “intent isn’t magic”,”shut up and listen”, etc., that they employ to justify their own vitriol and dismissive attitude towards outsiders, but which at the same time, at least in their own eyes, shield them against retaliation. Each of these concepts may have a valid use in the proper context, but, in Orwellian fashion, they are abused by the SJWs.

As an example, consider how often Richard Dawkins is called a “rich white male”, which means that he is “privileged”, and this justifies the most insane insults being hurled against him, because that is merely “punching up”. However, Dawkins, or any other white male, is not allowed to answer back, because he would then be attacking the underprivileged, and as a result would be “punching down”. He must “shut up and listen”. Also, his “intent is not magic”, therefore what he really means with any given tweet that is being used against him is not relevant. If it can be twisted into the most abhorrent interpretation, then that interpretation is the correct one in the eyes of the SJWs.

The hijacking of the very term Social Justice is another stark example of Orwellian doublespeak. If you call out a Social Justice Warrior on their fundamentally dishonest tactics you will be asked why you are against social justice. It’s a variation on the theme of “When did you stop beating your wife?” Social Justice is clearly a noble cause, so if you speak up against SJWs you must be opposed to this noble cause, ergo you are a horrible person. You are, as an FTBer in a broad sweep once characterized all Slymepit commentators, “subhuman scum”.

To an outsider the fundamental dishonesty of Social Justice Warriorism is its most obvious flaw, and the main reason why so many reasonable people oppose it. But to the SJWs themselves, their dishonesty is justified, because they are fighting the Good Cause. Their l y i n g is the equivalent of “l y i n g for Jezus”. They are, in effect, religious fundamentalists without a god.

PZ Myers is one of them, but he is really overdoing the dishonesty. Perhaps, being a privileged white male himself, he feels that he must be extra vicious and extra dismissive to be able to compensate for his bloated privilege and to be acceptable to other, less privileged SJWs. And thus he turned into the two bit fanatic we are now seeing before us.

496 Dave Allen October 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Myers had a perfect opportunity to clarify his meaning and chose to bravely run away. He either means what he wrote or, at the very least, intends to communicate the literal meaning of his words to anyone who reads those tweets.

He owes Nugent a serious apology.

I don’t dispute Myers aimed a smear at Michael.

I don’t dispute that he made a nasty insinuation against ‘Pitters.

What I do dispute is that those who say “he called Pitters rapists – QED” have any sort of serious case given that the tweets are likely to be regarded, by anyone without a foregone conclusion, as cranky snark, noxious hype, aimed at ‘Pitters only in part, a case of quid pro quo, a misunderstanding of the word “evidence” and so on.

497 Shermertron October 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Dave Allen @496

Are you willing to concede, whether or not the case is “serious,” that PZ has stated clearly that one or more of the people who have commented in these threads is a rapist?

PZ said that Mr. Nugent is providing a “haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

So at least one of us is a rapist. It’s like that Twilight Zone episode where everyone’s snowed into the diner and they know at least one person is an alien. Who is it?!?!?!

498 Patrick October 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Dave Allen @496:

What I do dispute is that those who say “he called Pitters rapists – QED” have any sort of serious case given that the tweets are likely to be regarded, by anyone without a foregone conclusion, as cranky snark, noxious hype, aimed at ‘Pitters only in part, a case of quid pro quo, a misunderstanding of the word “evidence” and so on.

The serious case is Myers’ own words:

“It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

“Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

I suggest that you have a “foregone conclusion” that Myers is engaging in hyperbole based on your knowledge of his usual behavior on his blog. The simple, literal meaning of his statements, that he failed to clarify even when given the opportunity, is that he is indeed claiming that at least some of the people commenting here and at the Slymepit are “harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

If he does mean that, he should provide evidence or retract his claim. If he doesn’t mean that, he should clarify and apologize.

I suspect he lacks the intellectual honesty or integrity to do either.

499 Acleron October 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

@Dave Allen
. have any sort of serious case given that the tweets are likely to be regarded, by anyone without a foregone conclusion, as cranky snark, noxious hype

Yes, but even if you are correct, it is not those who disregard the literal meaning but those who do take it literally. Unless you are totally sure that no-one takes it literally then Myers statements move beyond hyperbole. Now he may be a complete idiot and not understand the real harm he could cause. However, if he has thought about the consequences, as you have maintained, then he is a dangerously malicious individual willing to harm others.

500 antifreeze11 October 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm

@Dave Allen
Does the reaction of PZ Myers’s FOLLOWERS even support your charitable interpretation?

After all, it seems to me that if you are going to use “rapists” in your rhetoric (call it metaphor, hyperbole, or what have you) for an audience of more than 150,000 people, you are supposed to (at the very least!) precede it with a “trigger warning”, no? Even then, clearly you run the risk of trivializing the suffering of tens of thousands of rape victims (based on their accepted statistics). So of course he’s been called out on this by the staunch defenders of social justice, yes? Because to them, using the term “rapist” and NOT actually meaning it is a far greater crime a than a literal accusation made against Slyme.

501 Phil Giordana FCD October 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm

As a rape victim, I don’t take too kindly to being called a “rapist”.

There’s no “metaphor” or “hyperbole” bullshit to be taken from this. I’m not the only Slymepitter who has been a victim of rape, and I more than suppose Myers knows it.

So save me the “interpretation” circus. Myers must offer an apology.

502 Jan Steen October 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Dave Allen, take note. Commenter Tom Foss on Myers’s Libel Central, a.k.a. Pharyngula, agrees that Slymepitters are harassers, misogynists and rapists.

If nothing else, it’s nice to see this fuckwit [Matt Cavanaugh] laying out all the Slymepit l i e s in one place, for easy cataloging. It’s also nice of him to prove the point. Nothing says “the Slymepit isn’t all harassers, misogynists, and rapists” like writing an obsessive screed about one person, parroting centuries-old misogynist tropes, and defending rapists. It takes talent to shoot yourself in both feet with such precision.

And Gregory Greenwood agrees:

Meanwhile you sit behind your keyboard, hands shaking with rage, accusing people of supporting or harboring rapists and misogynists.

If the shoe fits, and this shoe seems to have been hand crafted to exact specifications.

Tom Foss again:

Perhaps it’s time to dox the admitted rapist within your ranks?

Okay, fine, it’s Ed Clint. Oh wait, that’s your ranks. My mistake.

Note: Ed Clint is not a Slymepitter and the “admitted rapist” slur refers to Clint making a joke at his own expense of the idea that sex with a person who is drunk is always rape. Rebecca Watson and, of course, good old Peezus thereupon accused Clint of being a self-admitted rapist. It’s all in a days work for a Social Justice Warrior.

Then there’s Donnie, who thinks Peezus’s accusation is serious enough to warrant this proposal:

I propose that Michael Nugent ask *all* of his commentariat to provide their IRL name to an independent panel that would investigate the background of all of his commentariat and verify whether any of his commentariat have a history of sexual assault.

Do you still think Peezus’s words were metaphorical? You appear to be in a minority of one.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/07/turning-over-a-rock-and-exposing-slime-to-the-light/comment-page-1/

503 Jan Steen October 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Blockquote fail in this part:

Tom Foss again:

Perhaps it’s time to dox the admitted rapist within your ranks?

Okay, fine, it’s Ed Clint. Oh wait, that’s your ranks. My mistake.

Note: Ed Clint is not a Slymepitter and the “admitted rapist” slur refers to Clint making a joke at his own expense of the idea that sex with a person who is drunk is always rape. Rebecca Watson and, of course, good old Peezus thereupon accused Clint of being a self-admitted rapist. It’s all in a days work for a Social Justice Warrior.

504 life improvement October 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm

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505 john welch October 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm

That’s the part that is frustrating in Dave’s attempts to rewrite things. We don’t have to guess if people are taking PZ’s words at face value, we know they are. The proof is in the comments on his site:

I propose that Michael Nugent ask *all* of his commentariat to provide their IRL name to an independent panel that would investigate the background of all of his commentariat and verify whether any of his commentariat have a history of sexual assault.

Or is that just more people getting metaphorical?

What Dave is proposing, and this is more than slightly ironic is that without any evidence to support it, we accept an interpretation that has rather a lot of evidence against it, including from the source. That we ignore that evidence and cling to this concept that just this once, PZ was being quite the comic.

He may as well ask us if we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the amount of blind, unthinking, uncritical belief required for either is about the same.

506 IM608 October 12, 2014 at 7:36 pm

john welch saidThat we ignore that evidence and cling to this concept that just this once, PZ was being quite the comic.

Let’s remember that next time the SJWs have a cow over a Dawkins tweet and also take the liberty to rewrite how he should’ve phrased it.

507 Lancelot Gobbo October 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Dave Allen (not the sainted comedian) wrote:I don’t dispute Myers aimed a smear at Michael.

I don’t dispute that he made a nasty insinuation against ‘Pitters.

What I do dispute is that those who say “he called Pitters rapists – QED” have any sort of serious case given that the tweets are likely to be regarded, by anyone without a foregone conclusion, as cranky snark, noxious hype, aimed at ‘Pitters only in part, a case of quid pro quo, a misunderstanding of the word “evidence” and so on.

Having read 500 replies to this thread, might I say that this not only seems disingenuous, but that it must be willfully so?

508 Jan Steen October 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

It may also be worth pointing out here that Ed Clint had, prior to being called a rapist by Peezus and Rebecca Watson, published a blog post highly critical of a talk by the same Rebecca Watson. In that talk Watson had thrashed the field of Evolutionary Psychology in such a dishonest and incompetent way that Clint felt justified to use the words “science denialism”.

He should have known that if you cross these people (and if you cross Rebecca you cross Peezus) they will get back at you by the sleaziest means possible. Which is exactly what happened. And their acolytes, such as Tom Foss mentioned above, now feel justified to call Clint an “admitted rapist” whenever the opportunity presents itself.

It’s not pretty.

509 john welch October 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Jan, indeed, the way they’ve treated Clint is about par for them. That is, horribly.

Mind you, I’m no fan of Clint. I think he’s one of those people who have confused expertise in one area with expertise in all areas. His insistence that he knew better than multiple sysadmins and network admins on what a DDOS attack was showed that he really doesn’t like to admit he’s not the smartest person in the room on everything. When he got to dismissing someone using their experience and expertise as a way of establishing they know their field as “arguing from authority” I stopped having anything to do with him.

and yet low personal opinion him doesn’t mean I think he deserves any and all poor treatment he gets.

510 Acleron October 12, 2014 at 9:02 pm

@John Welch
yet low personal opinion him doesn’t mean I think he deserves any and all poor treatment he gets.

And that is an essential difference between the FtBers and most others. Taking a dislike to somebody appears to be plenty reason for them to accuse that person of the most heinous crimes possible. This is the debating style of someone who is unable to rebut an argument. They are reduced to playing the man and not the ball.

511 Jan Steen October 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

John,

The difference is that you and I will not accuse someone of a crime just because we think they are wrong in some completely unrelated matter. The Peezuses and Rebeccas of this world have no such scruples.

512 john welch October 12, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Jan,

Neither you nor I make any money from amping up controversy. So we’ve exactly zero motivation to do so.

PZ and Watson et al gain direct fiscal and/or career benefit from doing so.

513 Aneris ✻ October 13, 2014 at 2:07 am

I guess I don’t really want to see PZ Myers apologizing. I know what to expect. If he opened up a thread mentioning Michael Nugent or the Slymepit, the thread would be filled with more distortions and not less. The apology would be worth nothing, since PZ Myers will come up with some other issue instead, or do you believe he hangs his head and shame and his commentariat makes a step back and writes “oh well, yeah we went a bit overboard, let’s calm down a little”? NASA more likely discovers dolphins on Mars.

Other than that, great comment Jan Steen, #495.

514 James Caruthers October 13, 2014 at 3:18 am

PZ wouldn’t be capable of offering a sincere apology, and knowing his “sorry not sorry” attitude, he’d probably devote the next 4 articles (along with Zvan, Hensley, Benson and the various remoras who cling to him) to coming out with increasing farfetched criminal accusations directed at the Pit, Nugent, and Nugent’s readership.

I think the only chance anyone has to stop the wave of doxxing, attempts to get people fired and criminal accusations is via some kind of legal move or pressure. Myers may not at present be vulnerable to (for example) a libel/slander suit, but I am fairly confident he will keep sticking his neck out as he has done and eventually someone with a pair of balls, a reputation to defend and a spare wad of cash to do it with will come along and knock him down a peg.

It definitely wouldn’t hurt to make the larger internet aware of the accusations PZ has been directing at Nugent, Nugent’s readership and the Slymepit. Same for exposing the doxxing and attempts to get people fired.

If the atheist community is unwilling to accept this information, perhaps related communities, such as gaming, might be more open to receive and spread the story around? Giving Myers a megaphone to shout his accusations into might not be a bad thing.

515 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 10:24 am

Dave Allen, take note. Commenter Tom Foss on Myers’s Libel Central, a.k.a. Pharyngula, agrees that Slymepitters are harassers, misogynists and rapists.

What you seem to be saying here is that because other people jump to assumptions I ought to as well.

No.

If you want to say something honest, like “oh it’s apparent to me what the insinuations are here but before anyone gets away with assuming I’m a rapist let’s see what their reasons are”.

Then great. With you all the way.

That’s not what I’m objecting to.

What I’m objecting to is that by ignoring the fact that his exact words are different to “pitters are rapists” you risk falling into the other side of the trap, that being that all the “I’m considering action”, “he needs to apologize” stuff looks like important bluster given that whatever his insinuation, that’s not what he actually wrote.

I regard Ed as a friend and I was sorry about him falling for what I saw as a game of entrapment. I do think that his response to that – a dignified silence afaict – is probably the best move given the context of a game in which he cannot win.

516 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

Are you willing to concede, whether or not the case is “serious,” that PZ has stated clearly that one or more of the people who have commented in these threads is a rapist?

No.

Because those aren’t his precise words.

517 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

Unless you are totally sure that no-one takes it literally then Myers statements move beyond hyperbole.

Oh it’s apparent to me that his hyperbole is designed to encourage assumptions.

But that doesn’t prevent it from being hyperbole.

518 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

Does the reaction of PZ Myers’s FOLLOWERS even support your charitable interpretation?

“Noxious and ludicrous hyperbole” is a “charitable interpretation”?

After all, it seems to me that if you are going to use “rapists” in your rhetoric (call it metaphor, hyperbole, or what have you) for an audience of more than 150,000 people, you are supposed to (at the very least!) precede it with a “trigger warning”, no?

Are you assuming that, because we differ, I must abide by a notion of the benefit of trigger warnings to a degree that is plainly ridiculous?

Even then, clearly you run the risk of trivializing the suffering of tens of thousands of rape victims (based on their accepted statistics).

Ok – I’ll take that risk.

What a load of codswallop.

519 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 10:35 am

Having read 500 replies to this thread, might I say that this not only seems disingenuous, but that it must be willfully so?

You’re entitled to your opinion. I think it’s wrong, but you’re entitled to it.

520 john welch October 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

Dave,

His precise words DO say that multiple people commenting here is a rapist. That’s the entire problem. If they didn’t literally say that, if he made it clear that he was using metaphor or hyperbole, then everyone here would be agreeing with you.

It is the fact that at face value, at literal meaning, his precise words do in fact clearly state that Michael is harboring rapists, i.e. that more than one person commenting here is in fact a rapist. THAT is the literal, unadorned, uninterpreted meaning of his words.

It is only by deep, unsupported belief that they can be hyperbole. Using his “exact words” to prove your point is actually a great way to disprove it.

521 Jan Steen October 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

“Michael provides a haven for child molesters on his blog.”

“Wait. What’s you evidence for that? That’s nonsense!”

“Nope. He allows people called Dave to comment there.”

You’re fine with that, Dave? You don’t feel the urge to protest? Even when you see that other people are believing it and spreading the word? Then it must be true, I guess.

I regard Ed as a friend and I was sorry about him falling for what I saw as a game of entrapment. I do think that his response to that – a dignified silence afaict – is probably the best move given the context of a game in which he cannot win.

There is nothing dignified in remaining silent. Silence is in the long run the worst possible move against those who use Scientology-like tactics. It lets them get away with it. Victims of the bullying by PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson and their toadies should speak up. That’s why we are having this discussion.

I applaud Michael Nugent for speaking up, because he knows what kind of treatment these people have in store for him. Make no mistake, they are out to get revenge, and they will not shy away from the sleaziest methods they can think of.

But if sufficiently many people become aware of the depravity of Myers & Co, their smears will become powerless. Many are already saying, “oh, it’s just PZ Myers ranting like a loon, who cares?” But as long as humanist, secular and atheist organisations keep inviting him along with Watson et al., they will remain as a cancer within the a/s movement, ready to metastasize. There is only one cure.

522 Jan Steen October 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

By the way, the fact that fine human beings like Tom Foss can refer to Ed with impunity as an “admitted rapist” on Myers’s blog, proves that the dignified silence didn’t work.

523 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm

“Michael provides a haven for child molesters on his blog.”

“Wait. What’s you evidence for that? That’s nonsense!”

“Nope. He allows people called Dave to comment there.”

You’re fine with that, Dave? You don’t feel the urge to protest?

That’s not the direct equivalent.

Here you go:

Derek Walsh wrote that: “It’s increasingly odd to see @DaylightAtheism continuing to declare what he believes @micknugent really thinks.”

PZ replied to Derek: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Derek replied to PZ: “that’s an incredibly serious accusation and one completely unsupported by evidence. But you know both those things already.”

PZ replied to Derek: “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

Derek replied to PZ: “Let me get this straight: Your evidence that he defends rapists is that people who don’t like you comment on his blog? Seriously?!”

So someone would maybe say:

Someone: Dave, do you know PZ called you a rapist?
Me: T’t. My opinion is that he’s so sloppy about that sort of thing no one I care about will take it seriously.
Someone: Bit reckless Dave, I mean it’s there on Twitter.
Me: What, he said on Twitter “Dave Allen is a rapist”?
Someone: Well, no, he said Pitters are rapists.
Me: What? All of them?
Someone: Well, in general terms.
Me: He said “generally speaking Pitters are rapists”?
Someone: Well, sort of. He said Michael Nugent provided a haven for rapists, harassers and misogynists, and then when asked to clarify he said the evidence was that Pitters were in his comment section.
Me: Well technically that’s not the same thing as calling pitters rapists, and whilst the insinuation is clear when I start to worry about that sort of thing I’ll know it’s time to talk to the doctor about apparent clinical paranoia.

524 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm

By the way, the fact that fine human beings like Tom Foss can refer to Ed with impunity as an “admitted rapist” on Myers’s blog, proves that the dignified silence didn’t work.

My impression is that the game played was lose-lose for Ed the minute he tweeted his response to Rebecca – not because Ed’s response was unreasonable, but because he hadn’t foreseen the way it would be twisted.

I don’t think Ed could have done anything to argue his way out.

Best move was to stop play and go back to doing what Ed does, honest analysis and so on.

Losers on Pharyngula will likely never listen to what Ed has to say on the matter anyway.

525 JetLagg October 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Dave Allen said:

“That the existence of ‘Pitters on the forum stands as “evidence” of that does not necessarily imply that they are themselves are sex criminals – it could just mean PZ associates the support of ‘Pitters with those who excuse sex criminals.

Now this is still a load of nonsense in my opinion, but I think that’s how most people will chose to interpret it.”

Dave, like others, I want to point out that you’re conducting yourself with more civility than I would ever expect in an argument where one side is making a defense for Myers. That said, I think you’re grasping at straws here.

You made a prediction based on your hypothesis (“…most people will choose to interpret it”) that is clearly not what we observe in reality. Do you at least acknowledge this is a mark against your hypothesis?

526 Jan Steen October 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Dave, you can pretend it is all no big deal, but it is this attitude that enables those losers on Pharyngula to call your friend Ed an admitted rapist with impunity. With friends like that…

527 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Dave, like others, I want to point out that you’re conducting yourself with more civility than I would ever expect in an argument where one side is making a defense for Myers.

Here’s a list of words I have used in conjunction with PZ and his behavior in this thread:

“hyperbolic and fallacious”
“tactics trivializing and/or patronizing”
“ethical lapses”
“noxious hyperbole”
” let me say again – is ludicrous hyperbole”
“a load of nonsense”
“PZ’s criticism was purely fallacious”
“ignorant”
“misleading information”
“reinforced the same errors”
“A longer list of my concerns about PZs disagreements with Pinker can be found here”
“I don’t really care to defend PZ, for whom I have no love ”
“PZ has done all he can to IMPLY that ‘Pitters are rapists”
“noxious hype”
“[I think that] the reason he does stuff like this is to get everyone obsessing over his hyperbolic nonsense rather than what he does that is objectively incorrect, or justifiably regarded as foul play”
“keen to demonize. Michael”
“[do] not to fall for his sophistic sleight of hand”
“To seem fair minded? He doesn’t seem to care. To win back people’s approval? Too little too late and he doesn’t seem to care. To keep from legal trouble? He’s weathered worse so far and he doesn’t seem to care. To prevent hurt feelings? I’d suggest he not only doesn’t care, but set out to deliberately inflame them.”
“why feed the troll?”
“Continuing to suggest he apologise for that might be constructive in pointing out how nasty PZ can be, but I’ll be shocked if he actually showed the grace to make one.”
“As far as I can see even those who PZ has actually defamed as rapists or harassers haven’t – as of yet – done more than send him a boilerplate C&D … which he has ignored.”
“an insulting swipe at the Slymers”
“The confusion is all on PZ refusing to read what was written.”
” I call shenanigans on that.”
“that doesn’t make PZ an informed critic”
“I object to PZ taking the stage, both on his blog and at conferences, and lying about the field (either through misunderstanding or deliberation)”
“he was ignorant and fallacious on this subject”
“I find PZ regularly and luridly unreasonable”
“the notion that I’m some sort of defender of PZ just because I don’t march in tight lockstep with his more hardcore critics is amusing”
“I haven’t claimed that PZ should be regarded as a reasonable person in general”
“I don’t think he wanted to express anything other than snarky macho balderdash to get people in a tizzy”

This is a strange sort of defence of PZ, I’d suggest.

You made a prediction based on your hypothesis (“…most people will choose to interpret it”) that is clearly not what we observe in reality.

I’m not writing a scientific paper – I’m gossiping on a blog.

Of course what we observe in reality is people disagreeing with me – because disagreement is what motivates other people to gossip on a blog.

Now if you want to take any full quote of mine in context then you have my blessing to run some kind of social experiment to see whether or not a representative portion of the population feels differently about the subject than I do.

528 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Dave, you can pretend it is all no big deal,

That’s a false assumption, I don’t like what happened, but seeing as Ed is apparently unshaken then until I find out differently I’m inclined to believe that – however angry I feel on the matter – the best tactic is to move on to something winnable. Like tackling them on the next set of errors they make that aren’t going to be bedeviled by the playing field being an arena they have chosen.

The only thing my arguing on Pharyngula would achieve is to make hay for PZ.

The only thing my bemoaning a loser on his comment section achieves is to get people checking out his comment section.

So I’m inclined to let them stew.

If it reaches someone’s ear who I respect, if it seems to be more trouble for Ed than I think it is, if it spreads, then I might join in the drama.

If you think there’s some way to tell this prat Tom what’s what without some interminable debate about what drunk sex is and who said what or boasted about what or admitted what – which will only serve to drum up interest in the latest drama on PZs silly blog – by all means lay out your plans.

If not then please stop shit-stirring. It’s what they want.

529 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm

His precise words DO say that multiple people commenting here is a rapist.

We aren’t going to ever agree on this particular point John, because to me that something A stands as evidence of something B does not strictly mean that something A *is* the same as something B.

That the implication is nasty and apparent – yeah, I agree.

But given that “evidence” and “example” aren’t exactly the same thing, and given that Myers is a snarky blithering crank, then there is room for ambiguity – and round and round we go again.

I mean honestly, if you were to take this to a legal professional and say “as a person who has posted on the forum in question I want to make a case for defamation” do you not think they aren’t going to suggest (alongside other difficulties) that such ambiguities will provide Myers with plausible deniability?

530 Aneris ✻ October 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm

We can acknowledge that FreeThoughtBlog people may not mean every smear and insult at any given moment. However, once they are out there, they tend to reinforce their views of others. They become facts over time.

For example, “Slymepitters are all misogynists or harassers” is already established as we try to fend off “rapist”. It’s a kind of Gish Gallop. Simply throw out extreme and extremer accusations and while the other people are busy fending off the extremest of them, the slightly less extreme ones materialize as if established.

It then takes not much effort to simply maintain the accusations as if they were true by repetition. This is what FreeThoughtBlog people do. Once the confirmation bias is established, they can simply add to the narrative.

Recent example is by Ophelia Benson who has detected another “sexism” by Sam Harris. Here is the “dubious” passage from him:

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
From time to time one discovers a person so good at his job that it is almost impossible to imagine him doing anything else.

Take your time. Find the issue.

The ironman (opposite strawman) version of Ophelia Benson’s argument is this: in the introduction the readers don’t yet know of the person and hence it’s a generic term and thus it should have been “their” instead of “his”. Therefore, indicating a man would be sexist, since generic persons also include non-men. Ms Benson doesn’t explain the issue, and some readers were puzzled what the issue was, but of course feel their conciousness was raised. 😀

I am not an English native speaker, and “their” would have sounded better to me. But to say that this is sexism is rubbish, since the headline already indicates a man. While writing, Sam Harris has not some generic “humankind” in mind, but the person he is writing about. The “person” is then a synecdoche of a man by name of Dan Carlin.

The reason why I bring it up, because this stuff happens once people have their “confirmation bias” set and are just paying attention to whatever is matches their bias. There are the bloggers who can boost every finding, and a horde of followers who like to gain Social Justice Points by finding and reporting instances, however abstruse.

It fills me still with amazement that this is possible within the (American) atheist-skeptics movement. We are having a situation like it is with Creationists and their ID movement, where they pretend to be scientific and make their ideas sound sciency, while they are none of such things. It’s a deception and everyone who is genuinely interested in atheism and skepticism and indeed that is slightly more than just disbelief in gods* should make a point that these people are frauds, fakers and charlatans that don’t belong under the umbrella.

*PZ Myers is a quarter right that atheism shouldn’t be just about not-believing god and this is seems obvious when you look at the history of the term. The idea was that atheist as a label combines secularism, humanism and an evidence based (“sciency”) approach to the world. Hence it typically goes together with the Skeptics movement. Esoterics for example aren’t considered Atheists. They may have an atheistic worldview (one that isn’t theistic). Where PZ Myers is of course wrong, Motte-and-Bailey aside that it’s not part of the set to believe in Teh Patriarchy™ or blank slates.

TL;DR
It is a big deal, because assertions (misogynist, harasser, rapist) become part of the lore and are referenced and built upon and taken as fact. It is nearly impossible to clear up misconceptions later, as they have been reinforced by confirmation bias.

531 Jan Steen October 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Dave, what is your suggestion to stop Peezus & Co from accusing people of criminal activities? What should we do to stop them from messing with people’s employment? Should we just shut up and listen?

I am certainly not suggesting that we should take it to Pharyngula, where Peezus will be pulling the strings.

But on other blogs, on youtube and twitter, the lies and smear tactics of these people should be exposed relentlessly. Unfortunately, that requires evidence, and what they did and continue to do to Ed is one piece of evidence.

I disagree, by the way, that he couldn’t win their game. Even though he was not going to convince the frauds who stacked the deck in the first place, he should be able to show that the deck was stacked; he should be able to expose his opponents for the cheats they are. You and I can see the trapping and the twisting of words, so why not other reasonable onlookers? It’s not that Peezus and Rebecca are not transparent in their dishonesty. Don’t cave in so easily to these narcissistic clowns.

532 Acleron October 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

@dave Allen

If you took this to a lawyer I suspect the first question would be ‘has this caused you harm?’. The next would be too ask the if the accuser knew that he would be causing harm. The answer to the second, according to yourself, is yes. There is little doubt that Myers knew what he was saying and knew exactly how the majority of viewers would understand it. So far, you appear to be the only person who doesn’t understand that he was directly saying that people who post here are rapists. There is still a possibility you are correct but it must make you think you are not.

533 Acleron October 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm

@aneris

If the person is already identified as male it would be clumsy to refer to them as ‘their’. Apart from being awkward and jarring, ‘their’ is wrong because it is a plural. The singular ‘it’, is hardly ever appropriate because it used to refer to non-human. We need a new English pronoun for singular of any type of gender. None suggested so far have caught on. When we’re are rid of the religious patriarchy it may be easier. And that is what Myers and his unmerry band should be doing. Not picking ridiculous fights for supremacy among either atheists, secularists or skeptics.

534 Aneris ✻ October 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Acleron, there is also the singular they.

Singular they is the use of they, or its inflected or derivative forms, such as them, their, or themselves, to refer to a single person or an antecedent that is grammatically singular. It typically occurs with an antecedent of indeterminate gender, as in sentences such as:

“Everyone returned to their seats.”[1]
“Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it?”
“The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay.”
“But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources.”

535 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Dave, what is your suggestion to stop Peezus & Co from accusing people of criminal activities?

I don’t wish to dictate what people should or shouldn’t do. My own personal belief is to coldly appraise what can and can’t be done, what is and isn’t working.

Part of the problem here is that people who do seem to have credibly actionable cases are being cagey about how they are getting on – which may be because they are sworn to silence but it just breeds more confusion.

This is partly why I object to the rhetoric of the legally actionable – because there’s a precedent occurring where people are saying “lawyer up PZ and pals” and he/they say “bring it on” and then nothing happens – which looks to their credit.

A suggestion that I thought made a good next step would be to ask people running conferences and heading A/S organisations what they thought about PZ and how far they would be willing to go before adding their own voice in protest or disassociating. I do think the alienation of Dawkins, Coyne and Nugent has hit PZ. Given the sticky nature of going up against those who purport to stand for the oppressed such people might appreciate discrete inquiries rather than a public outing as a first step.

I notice they are mostly scared of YouTube. I’d use it more to make a case. I know people like franc will disagree, but I would concentrate on what can’t be dismissed as insulting or subjective.

So I dunno, it’s a tough knot.

536 Acleron October 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

@aneris

Yup ‘they’ works but is still plural and while slightly more elegant than ‘their’ is still mostly awkward if applied to a singular. Once identified as singular nothing sounds other than contrived. The awkwardness is reduced if the object is already identified as singular but of indeterminate sex. New pronoun please.

537 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

So far, you appear to be the only person who doesn’t understand that he was directly saying that people who post here are rapists.

In colloquial speak is “evidence”:

1) A strict example of a phenomena.
2) A plausible clue pointing to a phenomena.

I say either – hence ambiguity – hence no direct speaking.

That many seem to disagree doesn’t bother me. It’d be to submit to argument from popularity if it did.

538 Carrie October 13, 2014 at 6:13 pm

529 Aneris saidWe can acknowledge that FreeThoughtBlog people may not mean every smear and insult at any given moment. However, once they are out there, they tend to reinforce their views of others. They become facts over time.

This is the problem. Plus they have at least one mainstream journalist on board, so the unpleasant smears / pseudo-facts can be spread wider into the populace. Take for example Adam Lee’s recent nasty piece on Dawkins. These help the religious apologists to reinforce the “atheists are immoral people” meme. So what may be most annoying is that PZ and co are feeding the religious bigots.

539 Phil Giordana FCD October 13, 2014 at 6:16 pm

So, tell me, Dave: where are the rapists in these here quarters? Or the harassers? What about the misogynists?

Come on, name names!

540 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Come on, name names!

Given that I haven’t suggested there are such people here why on Earth would I name them?

541 Phil Giordana FCD October 13, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Then you will have to accept that Myers was telling untruths.

542 Dave Allen October 13, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Then you will have to accept that Myers was telling untruths.

What do words like …

“hyperbolic and fallacious”
“tactics trivializing and/or patronizing”
“ethical lapses”
“noxious hyperbole”
” let me say again – is ludicrous hyperbole”
“a load of nonsense”
“PZ’s criticism was purely fallacious”
“ignorant”
“misleading information”
“reinforced the same errors”

… and so on mean to you?

543 Larry October 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Just letting commenters here know that Michael has a new blog post up if you didn’t know already.

544 john welch October 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Dave @ 529:

And now you’re quotemining like a pro.

But, since you’ve nothing else, I guess that’s what you’re stuck with, in that corner. That you’re still backing up into.

545 john welch October 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Dave @ 542:

you didn’t specifically say PZ was lying using those precise words. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonably, by your own standards to infer that you do not think PZ is lying.

For us to arrive at the conclusion you think PZ is lying, by the standards you’ve laid out, you must actually say “PZ is lying” in so many words. Otherwise, you are not actually saying that.

How’s that “ONLY THE SPECIFIC WORDS MEAN THAT” working out for you?

Note: I shall save you some time. because you could actually still not mean PZ is lying when you say “PZ is lying”. it could be a metaphor, right? I mean, the most charitable interpretation of “PZ is lying” would be that you’re really talking about a metaphor.

So you’ll have to actually work much harder to, by your own standards, actually say that you think PZ is lying in a way that could not possibly be a metaphor. Otherwise, by your own standards, we’d have to assume it’s a metaphor.

I don’t think even Dave Chappelle’s “R. Kelly’s Grandma” standard would help you at this point.

Beginning to see the problem? Probably not, but I can hope.

546 JetLagg October 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Dave said:

“This is a strange sort of defence of PZ, I’d suggest”

You’re defending a more charitable interpretation of Myers’ statements than anyone else seems to accept. That’s what I meant.

“I’m not writing a scientific paper – I’m gossiping on a blog.”

So you’re free to disregard scientific principles? I think you might find most of the skeptic community disagrees with you on that point.

“Of course what we observe in reality is people disagreeing with me…”

Which directly contradicts your prediction, which should make you less confident in your assertions, but it hasn’t (so far as I can tell).

“..because disagreement is what motivates other people to gossip on a blog.”

So, you explain the failure of your prediction by assuming people only participate on blogs if they disagree…? With you specifically… ?

“Now if you want to take any full quote of mine in context then you have my blessing to run some kind of social experiment to see whether or not a representative portion of the population feels differently about the subject than I do.”

I’m fairly certain I’d be wasting my time, as you could simply disagree with what constitutes “a representative portion of the population”, or disagree with my interpretation of their responses (as you already disagree with how to interpret something as straight forward as Myers’ comments).

547 john welch October 14, 2014 at 12:27 am

Jet,

It’s not disregarding scientific principles. It’s disregarding the basic concept of not constantly redefining words and phrases to mean whatever’s most convenient, while simultaneously insisting that we must take only the most charitable inference of PZ while only using the literal meaning of his specific wording.

It’s basically a gish gallop, because Dave’s in a bit of a “i want it both ways” corner, and this is how he’s trying to get out.

548 JetLagg October 14, 2014 at 1:58 am

I was using the kind of language I figured we’d all be familiar with as skeptics to point out what I saw as the obvious flaw in Dave’s reasoning. He had a “hypothesis” which made predictions and those predictions failed to adhere to what we observe, which makes the hypothesis less credible.

549 JetLagg October 14, 2014 at 2:00 am

And I’m not trying to convince anyone else (as far as I can tell, everyone here but Dave already sees it). I was trying to rephrase what’s already been argued in a different way, with the hopes that it might make sense to him specifically.

550 Dave Allen October 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

It’s not disregarding scientific principles. It’s disregarding the basic concept of not constantly redefining words and phrases to mean whatever’s most convenient, while simultaneously insisting that we must take only the most charitable inference of PZ while only using the literal meaning of his specific wording.

No, my argument has been to the end that ambiguities in the wording prevent, as far as I can tell, any one necessary interpretation.

And I continue to welcome anyone to disagree, but unless they explain to me why I’m wrong about the word evidence not meaning the word example then, as far as the gist of my point goes, I don’t feel like I’m up against any serious challenge.

551 Dave Allen October 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

I was using the kind of language I figured we’d all be familiar with as skeptics to point out what I saw as the obvious flaw in Dave’s reasoning. He had a “hypothesis” which made predictions and those predictions failed to adhere to what we observe, which makes the hypothesis less credible.

The population discussing the issue here consist disproportionately of the aggrieved, this is a significant confounding variable.

552 JetLagg October 14, 2014 at 12:52 pm

“The population discussing the issue here consist disproportionately of the aggrieved, this is a significant confounding variable.”

Yes, I understood that to fall under the only-people-who-disagree-with-Dave-comment-on-blogs assumption that is required to make your theory work.

Snark aside, how would you structure an experiment so that it could actually change your mind (should the results be other than what you anticipated)?

553 john welch October 14, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Well Dave, you’re pretty much ignoring every point i make other than carefully quote-mining a tenth of what I say so that you can get out of jail free as it were.

You have both said that we can only use the specific meaning of PZ’s exact words AND that we must ignore what those words specifically mean to take the most charitable interpretation of the intent behind the words, even though PZ has offered zero evidence, even by your definition of the word, to support that.

Those are mutually exclusive conditions, yet you insist they are not.

554 windy October 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

And I continue to welcome anyone to disagree, but unless they explain to me why I’m wrong about the word evidence not meaning the word example

The example/clue distinction is a red herring, since PZ made a positive claim about a phenomenon.

If you imagine the following exchange:
“This place is a haven for terrorists!”
“Got any evidence for that?”
“It’s right there: it’s packed with Muslims!”
wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that the speaker thinks some of the Muslims in that particular place (even if none of them are singled out) are terrorists?

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557 Richie October 18, 2014 at 2:43 am

I’ve only followed this on twitter, so I don’t know if I’m being entirely accurate when I say that so far none of Myer’s own “commentariat” have called him out on this disgraceful accusation. That’s what disturbs me most about this.

Myer’s seems to suffer from a terrible case of doublethink when it comes to behavior and values. On the one hand Neil Tyson’s relatively innocuous mistake and subsequent apology are so inappropriate to Myers that they are deserving of a public dressing down via his blog. On the other, accusing people of rape without evidence and accusing another of providing a platform for known rapists without evidence is both ethical and logical.

My fear is that due to his reckless accusations over the last 2 years and his consistent shunning and shaming of anyone who disagrees with him, Myer’s has repulsed all but his staunchest supporters. He now seems to be swimming in an environment totally devoid of thoughtful criticism when he offers up one of his evidence deficient assertions.

Watching his ethical decline over the last couple of years has been a source of minor regret to me. I used to be a regular reader of his blog and I still believe that he produces highly informative and thought provoking material most of the time. Despite his constant and unwarranted name calling, baseless accusations and now public doxing, I remained a somewhat loyal reader of his blog although I rarely if ever commented on it. However after his latest attack on you Michael, I can no longer support his writing.

I may be wrong, but I don’t think you’re going to get an apology from PZ. It’s not a good sign when his supporters are so heavily indoctrinated that none of them seem willing to call him out on his obvious error. However, their relative silence on the issue may be a tacit admission that they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they did decide to back Myers.

If it’s any consulation I don’t think his words carry much weight anymore. In real terms I think he’s doing far more damage to his own credibility than he could ever do to your good name.

I hope you keep asking for an apology, so that more and more of his supporters see that their is no truth to his accusations and instead turn their attention to Myer’s obvious attempt at character assassination.

Keep up the good work Michael.

558 JT Eberhard November 13, 2014 at 12:03 am

So happy you’re doing this, Mr. Nugent. This stuff from that corner of the internet has gone on far too long, and most just don’t have the patience to deal with all of it.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

559 Gary August 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm

This reminds of kids bitching about each other in the school playground.
Some people you really should just ignore!

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