Anatomy of a smear – how PZ Myers concocted a new smear when challenged about his previous smears

by Michael Nugent on October 29, 2014

On 17 September I wrote the first in a series of posts analysing recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people. I highlighted the work being done internationally by the global atheist movement. On 3 October PZ alleged that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists because some people who comment on my blog also post on another website. This is a very serious false allegation.

While PZ has not written about my recent analysis of the atheist movement on his own blog, he has made comments about it on other blogs and has also tweeted about it. He has in sequence laughed it off, dismissed it, cherry-picked from it, misrepresented it, evaded it, called it a circle-jerk, engaged in whataboutery, said that he likes me and then changed his mind about that, before finally crossing the line into making a seriously defamatory smear.

  • His first response was to laugh off what I wrote, saying that he was pleased to be witch of the week, oh joy!
  • His second response was to dismiss what I wrote, saying that he had ignored my previous email and that he didn’t care that I was accusing him of being rude.
  • His third response was to cherry-pick from what I wrote, falsely implying that the focus of my concerns was one of his allegations rather than his pattern of behaviour.
  • His fourth response was to misrepresent what I wrote, falsely suggesting that I said European atheists are completely free of sexism and racism and that Richard Dawkins is American.
  • His fifth response was to evade the issue, saying that he couldn’t respond to what I had written as it was incoherent.
  • His sixth response was to suggest that Jerry Coyne and I were engaged in a circle-jerk of citing each other’s articles.
  • His seventh response was to engage in whataboutery, by asking how his behaviour excuses bad actions on the other side.
  • His eighth response was to say that he likes me and doesn’t like the demonisation of me by commenters on Ophelia’s blog, but he thinks that I am wrong.
  • His ninth response was to seemingly withdraw his eighth response, accepting that he is a terrible judge of character, and telling all of his ‘friends’ to go away so that he can punch himself in the face instead.
  • His tenth response was to allege that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists, and that the evidence was that some people who comment on my blog also post on another website.

The word rapist has only one credible meaning: a person who rapes somebody. To say that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists is an unambiguously serious allegation. To suggest that rapists are commenting on my blog and on another forum casts a shadow over everyone who comments both here and on the other forum.

But here’s a significant question. Why did it take PZ two and half weeks, and at least ten responses by him to my series of articles about these issues, before he finally noticed or settled on the idea that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog? What caused him to miss this extraordinary state of affairs for so long, during the very time that he was responding to developments on my blog?

And here is another question. Whenever PZ and I have met at conferences in recent years, including conferences that Atheist Ireland has invited him to, why has he not previously expressed any concern that I might be inadvertently defending and providing a haven for rapists? Surely he of all people would be sensitive to signs that someone defends rapists, and would have wanted to intervene on such a serious matter?

I have repeatedly publicly asked PZ to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear. He has declined to respond publicly. I have also privately emailed him with the same request. I am not publicly discussing the detail of that email exchange, other than to say that he has also declined to withdraw and apologise, and when I asked him to clarify some ambiguous assertions in his response, he replied ‘Not interested.’ I am now publicly repeating my request, for the record.

The analysis in my original article

On 17 September I wrote a post titled Recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people

I argued that distorted versions of disagreements between some mostly American atheist bloggers were now leaking into more mainstream media, as evidenced by recent sensationalised newspaper articles about Richard Dawkins in the Guardian, and about Sam Harris in the Washington Post, and about misogyny in the atheist movement in BuzzFeed.

I argued that an honest analysis of the atheist movement would focus more on the patient, hard, sometimes dangerous work being done to protect atheists and promote secularism in the developing world, with its often overt theocracies, and to protect and advance secularism in the developed world, which is typically more democratic.

I argued that the approach taken by PZ Myers has been central to the escalation of what some people call ‘the deep rifts’. I said he is by no means the only person responsible, and he has been the victim of many unfair and vicious personal attacks himself. But, given his influence and responsibility, his role has been central in shaping how things have developed.

I listed some examples of PZ’s behaviour in recent years, as follows:

“Whenever I have met PZ, he comes across as a decent person, motivated by a desire to promote reason and science, and to promote social justice and defend victims of injustice. He is quiet, polite, civil and friendly. He works tirelessly to promote his vision of a better world. I like him.

But something seems to happen to him when he gets behind a keyboard. He routinely demonises people in a way that he doesn’t do in person, and that he recognises as unfair when others do it to him. He routinely attacks people as individuals, as opposed to merely attacking their ideas or behaviour.

Whenever we have met, I have raised concerns about this. Each time, he has responded that he will tone it down, which to some extent he has. He no longer encourages his commenters to tell people to shove a rotting porcupine up their ass, and they no longer tell people to die in a fire or fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw. But ceasing such vitriol, while obviously welcome, is a low hurdle for a blog promoting empathy and social justice.

In the last year or so, he has publicly accused Richard Dawkins of seeming to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children, Michael Shermer of multiple unreported serious crimes, and Russell Blackford of being a lying fuckhead. He has joked about Rebecca Watson shanking Phil Mason in the kidneys, and about himself stabbing Christians and throwing people off a pier.

Last month he described Robin Williams’ suicide as the death of a wealthy white man dragging us away from news about brown people, said that a white lady who made racist comments looks like the kind of person who would have laughed at nanu-nanu, then added that he should have been more rude, because asking him to have been nicer about the dead famous guy is missing the point.

I believe and hope that he has now passed the apex of this approach. Some of his recent posts have been informative and science-based, he has written a sensitive account of his first kiss as a teenager, he has argued that people are complex rather than good or bad, and some of his recent criticisms of those he disagrees with have been more balanced and nuanced.

However, old habits die hard. In recent days, he has written that Richard Dawkins has been eaten by brain parasites and is grossly dishonest, that Christina Hoff Sommers promotes lies about feminism and claims them as inalienable truths, that Michael Shermer is a liar and an assailant, and that Sam Harris has scurried off to write a tendentious and inexcusably boring defence of sticking his foot in his mouth.

I have no idea what PZ thinks he will gain by continuing to publicly attack named people in this personalised way. I don’t think it is a response to ‘the deep rifts’. He was personally hostile to creationists before that, and many people, including me, did not challenge that, I assume partly because it did not affect us directly and partly because he was also citing objective scientific facts about the topics under discussion.”

1. First response, 17 September – Laugh it off

PZ’s first response was on 17 September, in a comment on a post by Ophelia Benson titled Thou shalt respect The Leaders. PZ commented:

Wait a minute…do I get to say I’m the target of a witch hunt now? Am I the witch of the week? Oh, joy!

So nothing there to trouble him, just a trivial matter to joke about.

2. Second response, 19 September – Dismiss it

PZ’s second response was on 19 September, in a comment on a post by Stephanie Zvan titled Entirely Predictable.

Stephanie had falsely alleged that “Nugent attempted to use his influence directly to get PZ to stop talking about [allegations about a specific person]”. Some commenters had questioned whether Stephanie had written this in error, and PZ responded:

“Nope. Michael Nugent sent me what was essentially a draft of the article he published…a month or two ago. His one-sided defense of a known womanizer with multiple victims making accusations was there at that time. I ignored it. It was so patently biased and bizarre (really — you’re going to complain about making personal attacks by making a personal attack? It’s like the Mooney accommodation wars all over again), and so plainly a threat to take his complaints public, that I saw no point to replying. Yes, please, do go ahead and complain about that mean poopyhead Myers (in the politest possible language, of course!) — I’m not going to care. Nugent’s site is already a haven for the nastiest of the slymepitters, so how much does he think an accusation of rudeness coming from that cesspool is going to impress me?”

PZ was referring here to an email that I had written to him the previous month. Ophelia Benson followed this up by tweeting to me: ‘I really wish you would address why you think we should shut up about sexual harassment reports,’ and asked me ‘Why are you telling us to keep sexual harassment secret?’ She claimed I had said this in my email to PZ.

PZ and Ophelia were by now referring to the existence of this email in a way that implied that it was an attempt by me to stop PZ from talking about a particular issue. (As an aside, Ophelia also commented on this post: “Wagons? Circled. Bros before hos.”)

To correct this misrepresentation, I published the email in full in this post: The LBJ legend and my email to PZ Myers.

Nevertheless, despite describing my website as “a haven for the nastiest of the slymepitters”, PZ makes no reference to his later accusation that I am providing a haven for rapists. Whatever he thinks about my assertions, he thinks the appropriate response is to ignore and not care about what I have written, by misattributing it not to me, but to what he describes as the worst of the people who comment on my blog.

3. Third response, 19 September – Cherry-pick from it

In a later comment on the above post by Stephanie, PZ wrote:

“It’s an obnoxious letter. After telling me that I have accused “[name deleted] of multiple unreported serious crimes”, he gives me my marching orders: “consider apologising to people who you have unjustly hurt and defamed, and start focusing on actually promoting compassion and empathy and social justice if those ideas are important to you.” I’m supposed to not only shut up about serial womanizer and accused rapist [name deleted], I’m expected to apologize to him…presumably for my impertinence in suggesting that a Famous Skeptic ought not to treat conferences as his personal candy bowl. And now he denies telling anyone “to keep sexual harassment secret”. What was he expecting me to do in response? This is a problem: he’s so infatuated with civility that he sends out this vague, murky shit and expects everyone to do something that he won’t be so rude as to specify, and then when we try to puzzle out what he means he tells us no, that’s not it, and stop defaming me.”

PZ implies here that my email to him was solely or even primarily about this accusation, and that I was asking him to apologise for his rephrased description of that accusation.

Actually, it is clear from my email that my concerns about PZ related to his ongoing pattern of behaviour in general, ranging from his previous encouraging of his commenters to tell people to shove a rotting porcupine up their ass, or to die in a fire or fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw, though his various accusations against Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins and Russell Blackford, to his jokes about shanking and stabbing people and throwing them off a pier, to his description of Robin Williams’ suicide as the death of a wealthy white man dragging us away from news about brown people, and adding that he should have been more rude, because asking him to have been nicer about the dead famous guy is missing the point.

But, even given that, there is no mention to date of PZ’s later allegation that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists in the comments section of my blog.

4. Fourth response, 19 September – Misrepresent it

PZ’s fourth response was to my follow-up post titled The atheist movement is global. It is not defined by the mostly American ‘deep rifts’ disagreements. In this post I was responding to a post by Ophelia Benson titled The approach taken.

PZ responded to this on Twitter as follows:

PZ Tweet 1

Me – The atheist movement is global. It is not defined by the mostly American ‘deep rifts’ disagreements. [link to post]

PZ – Good to know that European atheists are completely free of sexism and racism, and that Richard Dawkins is now an American.

For the record, my post did not suggest that Richard Dawkins is an American. I wrote:

Apart from Richard, [one article] quoted eight people, all Americans…

Apart from Richard, [another article] quoted or cited five people, all Americans…

So let’s review these three articles. They all claim to be about ‘The’ atheist movement. There are 29 quotes or citations. Two are from Richard Dawkins, and the other 27 are from Americans.

Nor did my post suggest that European atheists are completely free of sexism and racism. That would be a truly bizarre claim for anybody to make. What I did refer to was Adam Lee’s claim in the Guardian that the atheist movement has been wracked by infighting about gender imbalance over the past few years. About this specific claim, I wrote:

That is simply not true. Most of the atheist movement around the world is not involved in this infighting, and many activists are either unaware of it or think it is a distraction of focus. I personally think it is important, or I would not be devoting so much time to it against the advice of many friends and colleagues, but as a reality check to those who are absorbed by it, it is simply not the case that the atheist movement has been wracked by it.

With regard to the substantive issue of sexism and racism, I wrote in my original post:

I believe that sexism, like racism and homophobia, is a problem within society, and that it is therefore inevitable that sexism is also a problem within some atheist groups, and that we should tackle that problem. Atheist Ireland has a policy of actively being inclusive to women and members of all groups who may be underrepresented or discriminated against in society.

We work actively with other groups campaigning for abortion rights and equal marriage rights for gay people in Ireland. Last year we organised an international conference in Dublin on Empowering Women Through Secularism, with speakers and participants from around the world.

We discussed and adopted the Dublin Declaration on Secularism Empowering Women. The participants agreed policy priorities on secular values in society, human rights, separation of religion and state, reproductive rights and politics and campaigning.

5. Fifth response, 19 September – Evade it

PZ’s fifth response was in the following Twitter exchange:

PZ Tweet 2
PZ Tweet 3

Me – Feel free to respond to what I have actually written

PZ – Sorry, I can’t. It’s incoherent.

I don’t think I need to comment on that.

6. Sixth response, 21 September – Call it a circle-jerk

PZ’s sixth response was on 21 September, in a comment on a post by Ophelia titled The arbiter of what feminists should or shouldn’t get upset about.

This was about my detailed response to Adam Lee’s article in the Guardian. PZ responded by saying:

I see we’re on the merry-go-round now. Nugent says: “Jerry Coyne has reviewed the article on Why Evolution is True, and has analysed how it fits in with ongoing personalised attacks on Richard, Sam and others.” But the first paragraph of Coyne’s article says this: “I won’t bother to dissect it in detail because reading it makes me ill.” So now Nugent can rely on Coyne’s objective interpretation, and Coyne can cite Nugent. It’s all so circle-jerkish.

So we are now six responses in, and still no allegation that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists.

7. Seventh response, 23 September – Engage in whataboutery

PZ’s seventh response was on 23 September, in a comment on a post by Ophelia titled One of these things is not like the other. PZ commented as follows:

“If it will make him happy, I’ll take my usual tack in these arguments and concede that I’m totally evil, just a horrible excuse for a human being. You could even claim that I’m just a cynical white knight, paying lip service to feminism so I can get laid by strange, gullible women everywhere I go (and also that I’m incompetent, since that strategy doesn’t seem to be working). Now, how does that excuse bad actions on the other side? You are not demonstrating that anti-X is true and right and correct by demonstrating the wickedness of some guy who endorses X.”

This is what we used to call ‘Whataboutery’ when we were campaigning against terrorism in Northern Ireland. When challenged about unethical behaviour by ‘their own side’, many people would respond by asking ‘what about people on the other side?

8. Eighth response, 23 September – Say that he likes me

In a later comment on the above post by Ophelia, PZ wrote:

“Personally, I like Nugent a great deal, and I don’t particularly like the demonization going on in these comments. But I do think he’s wrong. He’s gotten so caught up in his self-appointed role as the Great Moderate that he’s gone flying off the rails, and these interminably long posts reflect a lack of clarity and consistency — civility is all, substance gets the axe, and as long as slymepitters don’t use four-letter words, they’re all right in his book. So what if they call women c*nts on their forum and Twitter? So what if their primary occupation is making up myths backed with photoshopped “evidence”? They’re not saying rude things about atheist Thought Leaders. It’s actually pretty savvy of them. Photoshopping Ophelia into bizarre images gets them a pass that they wouldn’t get from Nugent if they did the same thing to Dawkins or Harris. I also have to conclude from Nugent’s obsession with me as the apotheosis of wickedness that there’s something personal at work here, and that I’ve rubbed him the wrong way. Also that he’s decided I’m sufficiently small fry that he doesn’t have to give me the unquestioning deference he blesses the truly big shots with.”

This is one of the more nuanced of PZ’s responses, though I suppose I would say that, given that he says here that he likes me. Among the comments he was defending me from were that I am carrying 55-gallon drums of water for the misogynistic ‘side’ of atheism, that it is dishonesty that drives my arguments.

But PZ also implies that I am okay with behaviour that he knows that I am not okay with. For example, here is an extract from my contribution to Amy Roth’s series on Speaking out against hate directed against women:

“We should not tolerate, in any of our online or offline communities, any sexual harassment or abuse or threats of violence against women that we would not tolerate if they were directed against our family or close friends. On the Internet, many women face a pattern of online sexual harassment, including rape threats, in the technology, business, entertainment, atheist, skeptical, pop culture, gaming and many other online communities.

This can cause women to feel hurt and frightened, to hide their female identity online, or to retreat altogether from the Internet. And this can in turn affect other aspects of their lives. Our online identities and online networking are increasingly important to our social lives and careers. And our friends and employers may see this hate speech when searching online for information about us.

We must actively tackle this problem in each of our own communities. Doing this is one part of how the atheist and skeptical communities can start to become more inclusive, safe and supportive, and I’ve written elsewhere in more detail about how we can discuss this reasonably. We should also create a united front of online activists from different online communities, to properly research the impact of this abuse across all online communities, and to work together to find the best ways to eradicate it.”

Also, here is what puzzles me about PZ’s comment. Given that PZ liked me a great deal on 23 September, is it reasonable to assume that he had not by then formed the opinion that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists? If so, what new happened between then and 4 October to cause him to form that opinion and decide to publish it as an allegation?

9. Ninth response, 24 September – Changes his mind about that

PZ’s ninth response was on 24 September, in a comment on a post by Ophelia titled Whom you name and he won’t.

“All right, I’m a terrible judge of character, and am just going to tell all my “friends” to go away, I’ve got an appointment to punch myself in the face, over and over. I’m tired of letting them have all the fun of doing that.”

PZ now seems to have changed his mind about defending me, but still does not seem to have formed the opinion that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists. That revelation is still a week away. So what happened between those two dates?

I spent most of that week preparing Atheist Ireland’s submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, then representing Atheist Ireland in Warsaw at the annual OSCE human rights dimension meeting. When I came back, I wrote an analysis of some of the misrepresentations and smears that had been published about me while I was away. This is what I published on my blog that week:

10. Tenth response, 4 October – Say I am defending rapists

Finally, on 4 October, a week after saying that he liked me a great deal, PZ 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 was ratcheting along, with increasingly serious allegations now being casually made as if they were normal discourse.

PZ Smear A
PZ Smear B

I responded to that allegation in this post – The smears get increasingly serious as PZ Myers crosses a new line

And I outlined the detail of his failure to substantiate this allegation in this post – PZ Myers has failed five times to justify his smear that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog

PZ was five times asked the same question, in response to any of which he could have clarified and withdrawn and apologised for the claim, if that was not what he meant. Instead he continued the exchange on the basis of this claim. He answered questions that were specifically about how I am defending rapists, by referring to who is commenting on my blog, making a hypothetical analogy with the Ku Klux Klan praising him, and saying that he was judging me by the company that I keep.

Summary

And so I return to the question that I opened with. Why did it take PZ two and half weeks, and at least ten responses by him to my series of articles about these issues, before he finally noticed or settled on the remarkable idea that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog, and decided it would be a good idea to publish that allegation?

Since then, I have repeatedly publicly asked PZ to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear. He has declined to respond publicly. I have also privately emailed him with the same request. I am not publicly discussing the detail of that email exchange, other than to say that he has also declined to withdraw and apologise, and when I asked him to clarify some ambiguous assertions in his response, he replied ‘Not interested.’

I now repeat that request, for the record: PZ, can you please withdraw and apologise for your defamatory smear that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists, and that the evidence is that some people who comment on my blog also post on another website?

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{ 181 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jack Rawlinson October 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Michael, I know some folks here think you are wasting your time continuing to drill right down into the detail of Myers’ disgraceful behaviour but I think your tenacity is both admirable and worthwhile. These posts stand as a clear record of the hypocritical malevolence of Myers and his supporters. The fact that you number the points and clearly back up your issues with quotes, c-and-ps etc makes it hard for Myers to engage with you fairly. So instead we see him adopting the fallacious, dishonest smoke screening tactics you highlight. He says you are incoherent when you are visibly anything but. He ducks the central issue, over and over again. He plays tu quoque although without even having the decency to make it truly about “tu” – just unnamed people who happen to comment on your blog.

As long as you continue to have the stomach for this thorough dissection of a rather rank biological specimen that’s been out of the formaldehyde for much too long, more power to your elbow. It is worthwhile.

2 Fergal Moran October 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Michael, this is coming from a long time admirer of your work so please take this in the right way.

You are in the right here, you hold the moral high ground and anyone with an ounce of sense can see this but please, please, please let it go. PZ, yet again, said something inexcusable but as an fellow Irishman with a MASSIVE interest in the work you do in Ireland, I hate to see you expending so much energy in this ultimately pointless argument. The global “atheist movement” is a shambles but secularism and reason have already won anyway, it might take another 50 years or so but the tide has inevitably turned.

Please, please, please turn your attention away from this and back your wonderful work with Atheist Ireland. I don’t mean to sound insular but surely your energies are better spent on arguments that can achieve a real and immediate benefit, such as secular education and equality.

3 JetLagg October 29, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I don’t think this type of engagement with Myers was a waste of time. It will stand as a record of the man’s unwillingness to debate reasonably, but surely you’ve proved that point by now? And surely you must be convinced by now that Myers has no intention of dealing with you in a forthright way?

It really makes me sick at heart to see your time used up on this man when you normally would be getting so much work done for the good of atheists, and the world in general.

You strike me as the sort who plays his cards close to the chest, but if you don’t mind sharing, what is the strategy you have in mind here? What is your end game?

4 Jack Rawlinson October 29, 2014 at 11:11 pm

And I disagree with Fergal here, because I think that what Michael is doing is achieving a real benefit. It is exposing in pretty clinical detail the deep problems with a person – and a group of people – who used to have a fairly major influence on the “atheist community” and who still exert a dwindling but significant one.

Michael has pointed out that part of what provoked this action is the fact that numerous journalists and media outlets who have a far bigger audience than Myers et al (such as Adam Lee and The Guardian) have recently started to take notice of the Myers/FtB/Skepchick faction’s venomous attacks on popular atheist figures, and they have started reproducing them without examining them for honesty and fairness, because they have an apologist/accommodationist agenda to push. And so they, and the malevolent, bitter little hypocrites who feed them, need to be actively resisted and taken down . Michael is doing a sterling job here.

5 James O'Dell October 29, 2014 at 11:41 pm

This is alarming. I used to read PZ Myers quite a bit. He’s clearly become toxic. I’m not going to click over there anymore.

Just curious, what is this ‘other forum’ that is full of (not) rapists? I’d like to check it out to see for myself. Clearly, I can’t take PZ Myer’s word for it.

6 Crackity Jones October 29, 2014 at 11:56 pm

James, the other forum is The Slymepit. Unlike FreeThoughtBlogs, there are no rapists posting there.

Keep shining the bright light of exposure on the pox that is PZ Myers and his acolytes such as Latsot.

PS – Most of the criticism from commentators over at FTB seem to be that the rebuttals from Michael are too long for them to read. Mike, you need to make the text bigger and add some pictures for them.

7 Shermertron October 30, 2014 at 12:52 am

I respectfully disagree with Fergal and I agree with Jack. The community, such as it is, has tolerated the antics of PZ and his Horde for too long. He has derailed our discussion and has successfully transferred the attention won by the Horsemen and fine people like Mr. Nugent to hearsay allegations of sexual impropriety against, well, just about every prominent male atheist/science advocate.

If PZ had any real friends left, they would stage an intervention.

8 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:06 am

Normally, when someone starts using language like they do on FTB Zi check if their pupils are the same size, or if they can still lift their arms. Every second counts.

9 Edward Gemmer October 30, 2014 at 1:12 am

At least Bill O’Reilly will occasionally go on the Daily Show.

10 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:13 am

Just curious, what is this ‘other forum’ that is full of (not) rapists? I’d like to check it out to see for myself. Clearly, I can’t take PZ Myer’s word for it.

It’s the Slymepit.

They are currently debating the merits of pellet vs. wood-burning stoves.

11 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:25 am

And I disagree with Fergal here, because I think that what Michael is doing is achieving a real benefit. It is exposing in pretty clinical detail the deep problems with a person – and a group of people – who used to have a fairly major influence on the “atheist community” and who still exert a dwindling but significant one.

It goes somewhat wider than Myers and FTB, unfortunately. As atheists, they’re the particular group we are most likely to encounter but the syndrome is endemic in Pomo circles.

Some people simply don’t use language for the purposes it evolved for.

12 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:36 am

One of the most sickening aspects of the FTB horror show is people like ‘oolon’ and ‘wowbagger’ attacking Dawkins while using nyms stolen from The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Douglas Adams was a personal friend of Dawkins and would vomit if he saw these freaks abusing his work.

13 Shermertron October 30, 2014 at 1:48 am

Shatterface @ 12

I’m sorry to inform you, but Oolon has communicated with Dawkins a great deal. He lauded Dawkins after the short-lived Treaty of Butterflies was signed with Benson. (Then Benson violated the treaty.)

Most importantly, the shameless Oolon–I like to think of him as Latsot Sr.–thought Dr. Dawkins wouldn’t remember his extensive history of disrespect. Oolon even had unfair and unkind words for Dawkins in the days before the Treaty.

https://twitter.com/Shermertron/status/493197512917155841

14 Southern October 30, 2014 at 2:43 am

Yeah, yeah, PZ this and that, film at eleven.

I hate to be the one saying this, but… no, who am I kidding? I LOVE to say this:

TOLD YA! We all told ya. But did ya listen? Ya didn’t listen. Ya was so important, inviting Ophelia Benson to talk about nothing and paying trips and expenses to the irrelevant, vacuous FTB people.

Nugget, you fool. You made the bed, now you sleep on it. Now excuse me while I point and laugh at you, like Nelson from The Simpsons. Because that’s what you deserve.

15 GerardO October 30, 2014 at 5:50 am

This is part of a comment made on a Pharyngula comment thread three days ago:

I want to kill the fucker. I want to erase him from the planet and all of his kind.

This is, from what I gather, aimed at an unnamed child sex offender. Yet if I were to make death threats against Ogvorbis it would create a major drama, and The Horde would flood him with sympathetic comments, “hugs” from the ether, and offers to babysit their children.

Give up, Michael. You will only send yourself insane arguing with this mob.

16 Steven Carr October 30, 2014 at 6:11 am

So PZ Myers refuses to retract his claim that Michael Nugent is providing a ‘haven’ for rapists.

And PZ Myers refuses to provide evidence that any person posting on Michael Nugent’s blog has raped somebody and that Michael knew that person was a rapist.

It appears to me that PZ Myers has behaved despicably/

17 Brive1987 October 30, 2014 at 9:19 am

Michael has clearly said he considers the accusation as libel.

He has equally clearly provided PZ multiple public opportunities to retract.

I fear both of them are now between a rock and a hard place.

18 Aneris ✻ October 30, 2014 at 9:50 am

Michael Nugent, FreeThoughtBlogs answered the meaning of: “A Haven for Rapists”. Probably a lot of hard backchannel work went into this one.

A perk of this article is that she writes about harbouring rapists, and links to the previous article which was about moi (the second of two in a row). I guess I have to clear that up as well, as it circles back to smearing of Richard Dawkins, all the way to comments made here.

Do me the favour and never directly link to articles bearing my name in the headline, that’s good Stephanie Zvan’s attempt to influence Google (waybackmachine works, as does donotlink.com). More so, as she brags in the second article – openly – that she lies about me in the previous one. I hope you have a salt mine nearby to disgest her writing.

19 A bystander October 30, 2014 at 9:57 am

Michael

You are to be commended for sticking with this. Do not heed those saying you should drop it. It is about time someone with tenacity, attention to detail and your moderate balanced approach stood up to Myers.

20 IM608 October 30, 2014 at 11:16 am

Ophelia Benson followed this up by tweeting to me: ‘I really wish you would address why you think we should shut up about sexual harassment reports,’

Quite the straw man.

The issue she conveniently obfuscates isn’t the subject of sexual harassment, but actually Myers, Benson et al’s irresponsible and contemptible vicious opportunism in response to an unreported allegation of rape.

Sexual harassment is a serious subject. So is rape. But there is no point in discussing either with SJWs if they can’t do so credibly and responsibly.

21 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

Michael Nugent, FreeThoughtBlogs answered the meaning of: “A Haven for Rapists”. Probably a lot of hard backchannel work went into this one.

Is that a dictionary definition of ‘haven’?

22 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 11:54 am

According to the several dictionaries I consulted on the matter, a haven is a place of safety.

Dictionary definition of ‘haven'; Pomo definition of ‘rapist’.

23 Steven Carr October 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

PZ Myer’s outrageous slur, based on no evidence he has produced, appears to me to be calculated simply to besmirch the reputation of Michael Nugent and to try to damage him.

24 tina October 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Zvan:
“To sum all this up, if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists. You’re creating a space in which they are safe. If you don’t want this pointed out, you might want to reconsider those policies and practices.

Ogvorbis *cough*

Perhaps Zvan should take her own advice on board?

25 tina October 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I think if MN is being accused of providing a haven for rapists, those making such a claim have a moral obligation to name the rapists and provide evidence that they are rapists? Why don’t they do that?

26 Patrick October 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm

tina @24

Zvan:
“To sum all this up, if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists. You’re creating a space in which they are safe. If you don’t want this pointed out, you might want to reconsider those policies and practices.

Ogvorbis *cough*

Perhaps Zvan should take her own advice on board?

Indeed, the hypocrisy is flagrant.

Note, too, that she switches from “accused rapist” to “rapist” without hesitation. Apparently she has the same lack of respect for supporting claims that Myers exhibits.

27 Hunt October 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Zvan is typically the one Myers relies on to mop things up when digs himself in too deep. She’s pseudo-intellectual poison with a candy coating of superciliousness.

28 IM608 October 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Zvan:
“To sum all this up, if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists. You’re creating a space in which they are safe. If you don’t want this pointed out, you might want to reconsider those policies and practices.

Ms. Zvan forgets that for a rapist to be prosecuted, the victim must first file a police report. She also fails to consider the historically difficult lessons learned when people convince themselves above fundamental concepts of justice such as due process.

29 BlueShift Rhino October 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Zvan spends much time developing the argument that “if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists.” She spends no time establishing that anyone posting here (or on The ‘Pit) is actually a rapist. And, yet, the goal of Zvan’s reply appears to be some sort of a defense of PZ’s smear against MN.

If advised by Zvan, it is rather unclear to me why PZ only accused MN of providing a haven for rapists. By Zvan’s logic, MN is also providing a haven for murderers, forgers, speeders, sock-puppeteers, war-criminals, and rhinoleptomaniacs. (Look it up for yourself.) We have no evidence that any poster on MN’s site or The ‘Pit is guilty of any of these, but, because they would be “safe” from prosecution while here, MN is providing them with a haven.

While I don’t know the label for this sort of disingenuous argument, what Zvan has done is focus on the wrong part of the smear. I won’t dare speak for MN, but I didn’t see the word “haven” as being of primary importance in PZ’s smear; the word “haven” only becomes important when placed next to “rapist.” (After all, if one were to say that MN provides a haven for atheists, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?) No, the part of the smear that needs defending is the accusation that some posters here and on The ‘Pit are rapists. And I’m still not seeing that.

30 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm

While I don’t know the label for this sort of disingenuous argument,

I think rhetoricians call it ‘horseshit’.

31 Jan Steen October 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

At least Zvan helps establish Michael’s case that Myers did mean ‘rapists’ when he said ‘rapists’, and not ‘people who have been mean to me and whom I now try to smear with baseless accusations.’ She’s a witness for the prosecution, so to speak.

32 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Ms. Zvan forgets that for a rapist to be prosecuted, the victim must first file a police report. She also fails to consider the historically difficult lessons learned when people convince themselves above fundamental concepts of justice such as due process.

Quite – it’s like nothing at all was learnt from the ‘Satanic ritual abuse’ hoax.

33 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Stephanie Zvan: “A gathering place or a hangout” can indeed be a shelter. If, for instance, the reputation that matters to you is that of your bar buddies then the bar where you all hang out is a refuge: a social space where accusations of rape are not a liability. Parhaps even a social asset. That’s basically what you decribe with Polanski: his social set simply don’t place much weight on his history as a child rapist. It’s not just that he has standing to spare, it’s that his history has a very small (or perhaps negative) cost in those circles.

Why doesn’t Zvan replace “Polanski” with “Ogvorbis”. Ogvorbis’ social set and mates at FreeThoughtBlogs simply don’t care about his history as a child rapist (except to view him as the sole victim) and the fact he committed at least one rape under his own volition.

So why doesn’t Zvan simply ADMIT that Pharyngula and other FTB sites are “havens for at least one rapist”?

34 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

BlueshiftRhino: She spends no time establishing that anyone posting here (or on The ‘Pit) is actually a rapist.

That’s because she can’t. There are NO rapists here or at the Pit. The only rapist we know of is Ogvorbis, and he posts and is very much welcome at Pharyngula, Butterflies and Wheels and a number of other FTB blogs.

This is a very important FACT.

35 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

In fairness to Polanski’s friends, I don’t see them offering him babysitting jobs.

36 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Shatterface. KA-BOOM.

37 tina October 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Rape is an extremely serious criminal offence subject to very severe penalties both judicially and socially. For all that there have been, and still are, serious flaws in our systems for reporting, investigating and prosecuting rape cases, a conviction of rape remains the only legitimate bedrock on which someone should be termed a rapist in the public domain.

If, for example, I were to claim that someone told me that Zvan is a serial child abuser and I were foolish enough to publish that accusation in the public domain, (in the absence of a conviction for that offense), via social or any other media, then I ought not be surprised when I find myself facing a charge of libel.

If I circulate my allegations privately by word of mouth to friends, family, colleagues, neighbours etc, it would still be slander but far less likely to attract a litigious response.

However, it would also have minimal effect in protecting others from harm in the event that the accusations were true. That is the point.

So, do not trivialise rape: name names, provide evidence. Do it now.

38 JetLagg October 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Edward Gemmer@9

At least Bill O’Reilly will occasionally go on the Daily Show.

I have a great deal of respect for O’Reilly precisely because of that. I lean left, so needless to say I disagree with him on most issues, but he demonstrates a willingness to debate the topic and concede when the his opponents have valid points.

39 MosesZD October 30, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Thank you, Michael for staying the course. Myers’ pattern of lies, distortions and mendacious actions are seldom challenged and, frankly, never so well documented. And this is not an isolated incident, this has been has pattern of behavior from the days of the old ‘Seed’ blogs till today.

And, unlike you, Mr. Myers does ‘shelter’ a poster at his blog named Ogvorbis (sp) who claims to have raped/molested three young girls. And this was an action he took while young, but of his own free will. So, in the war of blogs who ‘shelter rapists’ you’re behind Mr. Myers — one – nil. And that, of course, is good for you.

I think it should be clear to you and every other ‘atheist leader’ that Mr. Myers is a toxic gadfly, and hypocrite, who should be excluded from the broader atheist community.

In short, Mr. Myers is to atheism as the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity.

40 BlueShift Rhino October 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Shatterface wrote: “In fairness to Polanski’s friends, I don’t see them offering him babysitting jobs.”

To which I reply that I know of no better term for directing Johnny Depp than “babysitting.”

41 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I have a great deal of respect for O’Reilly precisely because of that. I lean left, so needless to say I disagree with him on most issues, but he demonstrates a willingness to debate the topic and concede when the his opponents have valid points.

The ideological debates in the 20th Century were between the (largely economic) poles of Left and Right; in the 21st it looked like it might be between the liberal and authoritarian poles.

Unfortunately it looks like there won’t be a debate at all.

You simply can’t debate with people who use language as if there’s no connection between it and reality; it’s like wresting with fog.

42 Matt Cavanaugh October 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Can anyone provide a single example of Stephanie Svan making a substantive contribution to atheist activism, as opposed to merely: 1) whining about how people are saying mean things about her, or; 2) trafficking in smears & scurrilous rumor?

Thought not.

Recall, this is someone who wrote a post, “DJ Grothe, Psychopath”? in which, after first stating she had neither the expertise nor training to answer her own rhetorical question, proceeded to enumerate all the reasons why, in her estimation, Grothe was indeed psychopathic.

43 Jeff_V October 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm

To be fair, she was involved as a host on Atheist Talk from Minnesota Atheists. Don’t know how much effort that was though.

44 Matt Cavanaugh October 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The couple of Atheist talk vids I saw her in dealt with social justice, not atheist, topics.

45 BlueShift Rhino October 30, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Oh, Matt. You still haven’t grokked that social-justice work (of a particular sort, no less) is a logical and inescapable consequence of atheism. Silly ‘Pitter.

46 noelplum99 October 30, 2014 at 8:05 pm

I think one of the defences is that “providing a haven for rapists” does not technically necessitate any rapists actually utilising that haven.
It is a little like the lion sanctuary I am providing in my back garden: I just happen never to furnish it with any lions.

A good sign of people’s honesty is not whether it is possible to find some such linguistic loophole to slink out of what they really meant but whether they try to do so.
These people always do so. I find it truly truly pathetic.

47 john welch October 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

An excerpt from something I wrote about the “schism” in February of last year, that talks about the slymepit, and how inane their elevation of it to “great satan” status is (Warning: bad werdz):

So why make such a big deal about it? Well, attention for one. Face it, the FTB lot, along with Skepchicks have gotten a lot out of keeping this nontroversy going. It gets more ridiculous with every drunken stagger. In 2011, PeeZus was simply mansplaining to Stef Mcgraw how she should feel honored, not attacked, that Rebecca Watson called her a parroter of misogynistic thought. Now, he’s saying everyone who doesn’t completely and totally agree with his views on feminism sans disagreement is another Marc Lepine. This is someone who calls himself a scientist mind you. He’s about as much a scientist as what comes out of my ass after eating chicken wings. And, an idiot.

Who have they made their enemy? Is it the people who want to take away a woman’s right to reproductive freedom?

No.

Is it the people who want to force homosexuals back into the closet?

No.

Is it the people who want to make women subservient to men, with no other purpose than childbirth and blowjobs?

No.

It’s the Slymepit. A forum full of foulmouthed dipwads who keep committing the crime of not behaving in the way that Zvain et al require of us. We don’t capitulate to their demands, we say rude things like “cunt” and we generally think they’re all a bunch of blowhards who should stop circle-jerking each other and thinking the result is serious thought. (To be honest, we’re also equally qualified for the “idiot” sobriquet. We’re just idiots in different ways. Mostly centered on juvenile humor.) We have no power, we want no power, and for fuck’s sake, don’t give us any.

A web site. That’s the source of evil in the FTB world. A web site. Not even one like Stormfront, or one of the OMG NEW WORLD ORDER sites actively advocating for the violent overthrow of government. We don’t even gripe about TEH JOOZ RUNNING TEH MEDIAAAAAAHHHH!!!! About the only thing the pit advocates for are humorous photoshops of PeeZus in a diaper, and more candy cane vodka. And I think the latter is kind of disgusting. Seriously, a bucket of drunken crabs is more dangerous. (Have you ever seen a drunken crab? Little fuckers walk forward. FORWARD. Horrifying*.)

But we must be evil, we say “cunt”! We find gifs of a terrier trying to fuck a cow and say it’s a Zvain and Laden SEX TAPE. WE SAY CUNNNNNNNT! As I’ve asked before, are these morons twelve? I mean for fuck’s sake, CUNNNNNNT?!? (I know WE’RE twelve, at least mentally and in terms of sense of humor. But we pride ourselves on immature silliness. We just bitched that Renee’s forum avatar doesn’t have enough tit. What the fuck about a group like that says “FEAR THEM, THEY MEAN YOUR DOOM!!!”? A six-year-old with a play-doh knife is more dangerous.)

I swear, you’d think saying “cunt” made their eyes explode or something. I hope not, as this afternoon, I was helping the local roller derby team prep their new sports floor, and as we were cleaning up, about five of them decided that “cuntface” was the word of the day. So everything was “cuntface”. The tiles, the hoses, the dirt, each other, gravity. For about twenty minutes, you’d have thought they’d all just contracted a highly specific form of Tourette’s. So if “cunt” causes actual physical harm…um…yeah.

This is the mentality pushing the “schism”. A fight between “good” and “YAY! MOAR VODKA!” These are the idiots insisting that they should be the “new leadership” in the athiest/skeptic communities, the last best hope of avoiding a world where “cunt” is just another fucking word. In a normal world, you wouldn’t let any of these derps make you breakfast without close monitoring, and yet people are taking them, and the relentlessly silly Slymepit as examples of some fucking “great division”.

(the bad werdz warning was because I know Michael isn’t as much a fan of profanity as I am, so I’m trying to play nice here without the silliness of asterisking out letters.)

The problem with making the ‘pit the great satan is that the more you harp on it, the more people eventually decide to read it for themselves, and they realize that it is a lot of things, but it is not even vaguely dangerous. Immature, potty-mouthed, silly, stupid, loud, rancorous, definitely not safe for work or many other things.

But dangerous??

They have found a rather loud, bad-tempered chihuahua and are trying to turn it into an Australian salt water crocodile, and cannot figure out why no one is going along with them on it.

48 allison October 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

John Welch wrote:

The problem with making the ‘pit the great satan is that the more you harp on it, the more people eventually decide to read it for themselves, and they realize that it is a lot of things, but it is not even vaguely dangerous. Immature, potty-mouthed, silly, stupid, loud, rancorous, definitely not safe for work or many other things.

It would appear to me that the slymepit has attracted hundreds of former FTBers, but I am not aware of a single person who “flounced” from the slymepit to join FTB (other than a few Oolons and Lewises and so forth who were at FTB in the first place.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s no contest as to which forum has the more intelligent, well-educated, thoughtful, honest, and kind population (slymepit). The FTB crowd seems like a bunch of dysfunctional, spiteful, narcissistic drama queens in comparison.

49 IM608 October 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm

The problem with making the ‘pit the great satan is that the more you harp on it, the more people eventually decide to read it for themselves, and they realize that it is a lot of things, but it is not even vaguely dangerous. Immature, potty-mouthed, silly, stupid, loud, rancorous, definitely not safe for work or many other things.

*raises hand*

IMO, the Slymepit engages in J&D (joking and degrading) with occasional flames.
Myers’ butt-hurt responses with general accusations of criminal behavior only further affirm his discredit.

50 John Greg October 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm

allison said:

It would appear to me that the slymepit has attracted hundreds of former FTBers, but I am not aware of a single person who “flounced” from the slymepit to join FTB (other than a few Oolons and Lewises and so forth who were at FTB in the first place.

I do not think hundreds, but I am fairly sure that the figure is higher than 25 or 30. As for the flouncing, yes, there have been a few flouncers, but no, they most certainly did not then go over to FTB, or Skepchick, or A+. They simply flounced, stating that they thought the Pit just wasn’t for them for a variety of reasons, only one or two of which were particularly angry at the direction the Pit was taking.

51 mofa October 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Keep up the good work Michael…you need to complete this exercise, not to save PZ Myers and turn him around, but to try and get through to his followers and reveal to them the error of their ways for devoutly following this ideologue…some of them have think skulls and your thorough and relentless critique of PZ Myers may make cause some of them to turn.

52 Alostrael Venenbaum October 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Adult men who are fighting like little children. Sorry, but the whole thing is just kindergarden.

53 Zorg October 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

If both the pit and the Myers clique were kids, the pit would be the kid who might make crude jokes where grandma can hear them. The clique would be the kid that bullies other children at school and can never be left unattended with matches because she might try to set her little brother on fire–for the second time.

Neither are bastions of maturity but one is a lot more dangerous than the other.

54 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Ultimately the Slymepit is just FTB’s whipping boy.

Michael criticised Myers and his baboons for their unfounded attacks on Dawkins, et al; pitters found that they could criticise FTB on an open forum, and the baboons totally lost their shit.

Now they’re pretending it has always been about the Pit.

Pathetic. The atheist movement isn’t going to miss them.

55 piero October 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Zvan’s post is the single most stupid thing I’ve read this year; it somehow manages to surpass even Adam Lee’s execrable piece of The Guardian.

Zvan says:

According to the several dictionaries I consulted on the matter, a haven is a place of safety.

Really? Several dictionaries? It’s not an uncommon word; ask anybody and they will tell you it means exactly that. Just like rapist: everybody knows what it means.

This means that police and prosecutors, in the general case, provide a haven for rapists. They, along with others in our society who punish rape victims for reporting in one way or another, have so successfully created a haven for rapists that it’s estimated that only 40% of rapes are ever reported to the police.

But now we are stretching the meaning of “haven” to cover practically the whole of society! Police officers and prosecutors are public officials bound by current laws; they cannot detain or prosecute against the law. Prosecuting and demonstrating guilt are notoriously difficult in the case of rape. We may wish it wasn’t so, but that’s the way it is. Relaxing the rules for prosecution would get more rapists convicted, but also more innocent people convicted. Is that a desirable goal? It is for Zvan, who had no qualms declaring precisely that. Now, what about that 40% reporting? Sounds terrible, until you compare to the aggregate percentage of reporting of ALL violent crime, which for 2013 was 45.6% (_http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv13.pdf, p.7). It looks as though the police and prosecutors are at the head of a vast conspiracy to stop anybody from reporting any crime; apparently they want longer coffee breaks.

To sum all this up, if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists. You’re creating a space in which they are safe. If you don’t want this pointed out, you might want to reconsider those policies and practices.

Fine. Now, can Zvan please identify whom Michael has protected from prosecution, protected from administrative sanctions, or protected from damage to their reputation?

We are waiting…

Still waiting…

56 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Allison: It would appear to me that the slymepit has attracted hundreds of former FTBers, but I am not aware of a single person who “flounced” from the slymepit to join FTB (other than a few Oolons and Lewises and so forth who were at FTB in the first place.

I am always reminded of the old armchair communists/socialists who, while sitting comfortably in their Western societies, pontificate about how utopian Cuba/Soviet Union is. It is then pointed out while tens of thousands have fled these countries (often risking their lives) to seek sanctuary in the horrible West, NOBODY apart from a few hippies and deluded professors go the OTHER WAY.

FTB and The Slymepit are the same. I know of NOBODY who has deserted the SP and hoisted the flag of FTB. That is telling. There are hundreds of exiles who have fled FTB and are vocal in what a cesspit the place is. Naturally, those blogs at FTB that are half-sensible do suffer from some of the residual sludge emanating from Pharyngula, Almost Diamonds, Butterflies and Wheels, Alex Gabriel’s Islamist-defence blog, etc. However, those sensible bloggers at FTB should LEAVE the cesspit and then we can isolate those that need to be isolated, and go in for the kill.

Witness CJ Werleman’s meltdown and exposure as a charlatan recently? Well, I’m going to make sure PZ Myers’ downfall is just as, if not more, painful and humiliating. I’ll also make sure Ofie is dragged down with him. The activist atheist movement needs to purge these cesspit dwellers.

57 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Really? Several dictionaries? It’s not an uncommon word; ask anybody and they will tell you it means exactly that. Just like rapist: everybody knows what it means.

But FTB don’t accept dictionary definitions: they keep telling us that. Except they’ll accept the dictionary definition of ‘haven’ while expanding the definition of ‘rape’ to cover most of human activity.

58 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Matt Cavanaugh: Can anyone provide a single example of Stephanie Svan making a substantive contribution to atheist activism.

Nope! Well, there was that time when she sprang to the defence of a thug who sent violent threats to a fellow blogger at FTB. She mitigated the actions of this thug. I remember that, but that was not a contribution in the positive sense. Oh, and then there was that time she published intimate details of an affair, or something, and then had to apologise for it and take down her shite.

59 piero October 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

@Crackity Jones:

However, those sensible bloggers at FTB should LEAVE the cesspit and then we can isolate those that need to be isolated, and go in for the kill.

Witness CJ Werleman’s meltdown and exposure as a charlatan recently? Well, I’m going to make sure PZ Myers’ downfall is just as, if not more, painful and humiliating. I’ll also make sure Ofie is dragged down with him. The activist atheist movement needs to purge these cesspit dwellers.

Come on, Crackity, there’s no need to be so caustic. I don’t want to see anybody’s downfall, however unpleasant and obnoxious they might be. The important thing is to prevent the PoMo loony-left takeover of the A/S movement.

60 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Ophelia Benson: Oh allegiances have since changed all right. Jerry Coyne, in particular, has flipped. He and I collaborated in managing the Wally Smith mess, but now he apparently has zero problem with Wally Smith-type behavior as long as it’s aimed at people he hates. (He hates some people now whom he didn’t hate then.)

People must wonder whether to laugh or cry at Ofie’s modern-day equivalent of Antony Flew’s descent into deism. A few days ago she put up a post claiming she STILL BELIEVES what she wrote in her book ‘Why Truth Matters’, and that she has not done a 180 and delved into post-modernism.

The FACTS reveal she is being a traitor to her own 2006 book. It was OBVIOUSLY Stangroom who was the major contributor to that book, not Benson.

Oh, and Jerry Coyne has “flipped”, has he? Show me where he has posted 20 frothing-at-the-mouth articles of pure shite in a couple of days, aimed at ONE INDIVIDUAL. He hasn’t. It is Ofie who acts increasingly unhinged. It is Ofie who looks increasingly wide-eyed and ‘tired and emotional’, It is Ofie who resembles a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. I know some are worried it could be the early stages of something serious.

61 Crackity Jones October 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

piero, when these bullies try to hurt good people like Mick, my gloves come off.

62 piero October 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Yep, I get angry too. But… well, you know: it’s not a good thing.

63 JetLagg October 30, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I understand Crackity’s anger, but all I want is for Myers and Benson given to the relevance nasty people like them deserve, which is to say, none.

It seems highly unlikely Myers will flame out the way Werleman did though. For that you need him to actually interact with the big names in atheism. Myers is a complete coward though. He didn’t even have the balls to doxx Skep personally on twitter. Had to have Watson do it for him.

64 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

If everyone else appears to have ‘flipped’ it’s generally a clue that you have flipped without realising it.

I quoted Why Truth Matters at length in a previous thread: there’s not one opinion in those quotes Benson still clings to.

The fact none of Benson’s earlier collaborators stand by her is a clue to which of them has really changed.

65 Shatterface October 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

It seems highly unlikely Myers will flame out the way Werleman did though.

Werleman left a paper trail: it was easy to prove he was a plagiarist and his accusations against Harris were bullshit.

Myers is too much of a coward to name individuals: proving every single member of the Slymepit is innocent of rape would be impossible even if they weren’t anonymous.

66 Gunboat Diplomat October 30, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I’d like to point out a minor but illuminating aspect of PZ and FtB’s moral values. In point 3 of the original post PZ writes: “I’m supposed to not only shut up about serial womanizer and accused rapist [name deleted] I’m expected to apologize to him…presumably for my impertinence in suggesting that a Famous Skeptic ought not to treat conferences as his personal candy bowl.”

So it’s not just being an accused rapist which is bad, but also being a “womanizer.” Of course FtB & PZ sees “womanizing” and raping as being on the same continuum. X’s womanizing and treating women like “candy” is part of their objectification of women. This objectification necessarily leads to, or is sometimes considered synonymous with, dehumanization. Within the context of “rape culture” this leads inexorably to sexual assault.

There is some truth to this I think. We do live in a sexist society where misogyny and violence against women is common. Violence in general and also against women is often coupled with dehumanization. This makes it much easier to carry out, whether you’re a soldier bombing civilians or a drunken husband beating their wife. Objectification would seem to be an obvious link in this causal chain. After all, objectification of people in society is everywhere, the obvious example of women being judged on their looks and men on the size of their, err, cars. Women getting harassed on the street would seem to make it pretty clear that they’re being objectified and dehumanized. So as X objectified women, it would seem to be completely unsurprising this led to him raping too.

Except objectification is much more complicated than that. People of both genders objectify themselves and others of the same or opposite genders – and not always in a sexual way. Some psychologists (such as Paul Bloom for example) have argued that objectification does not necessarily mean de-humanization, there are other ways to interpret these processes – for example changing ones perception of agency and experience. http://www.yale.edu/minddevlab/papers/body.pdf

Other psychologists see objectification as being a normal part of social cognition with both positive and negative effects. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201211/do-women-want-be-objectified.

For all the talk about “sex-positivism” PZ’s quote above reveals the puritan streak underlying his and FtB’s particular brand of anglo-saxon feminism. I’m certainly of the opinion that if X is a rapist then that is the problem, not “womanizing.”

I’m sorry if PZ and FtB thinks being a womanizer is bad and that makes X a horrible person. But it’s actually none of their damn business what anyone gets up to as long as its consensual – consent is the key concept here, not “womanizing.” Although I’m sure FtB would find some way to disagree, the common meaning of womanizer is not synonymous with rapist, quite the opposite: it’s someone who charms (perhaps dishonestly) their way into bed with women. Such potential dishonesty is a bit a moral grey area, it can range from slightly inflating your salary to lying about your whole life (such as the undercover police cases in the UK). Most people would think the former is harmless while the latter reprehensible. However there is little need for FtB to discuss such moral grey areas as the need to express disgust at “womanizing” is far greater.

I’m far from the first person to note the religious – specifically anglo-saxon puritanical aspect of FtB. But actually the attempt to control sexuality is an aspect of many social and political movements, usually when they’re in decline. SMBC made a good joke about this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20110829.gif

67 Jan Steen October 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm

It’s a pity that the comments here have become somewhat one-sided, now that the PZ Myers defenders have apparently retreated to their safe spaces. So to redress this imbalance to some extent, I quote here a comment from Xanthë on Stephanie Zvan’s blog.

Xanthë says

October 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I see Nugent is still prioritising his own hurt feelings way higher than paying attention to the smear campaign being run in his blog’s comment section, which has been effectively colonised by a commentariat largely originating from the Slymepit, and thus comprising of a multitude of anti-feminist harassers and overt misogynists. It’s rather mind-boggling how he continues to fail to miss the quid pro quo aspect of this – if he actually made an effort to curb the vicious excesses occurring in the comments, then I could imagine people reassessing their views that his blog has become Slymepit Ireland (and as mentioned in the post above, it has tended that way since the failure of Nugent’s reconciliation attempts last year). Until he does that though, I don’t see why anyone should alter their priorities to accommodate Nugent’s misguided crusade.

Another tangential observation I have to offer concerns a slimy individual I noticed over on Twitter arguing with Stephanie over whether any arbitrary group of people (like Nugent’s commentariat, or the Slymepit which it overlaps) contains rapists, and this entirely misses the point. Quantitatively, two large-scale surveys (Lisak & Miller, and McWhorter) found that between 6% and 13% of men admitted to having attempted or committed a statutory rape provided that the questioning used was rephrased to avoid using the incriminating word, “rape”. We know that rape is predominantly a gendered crime and that it is both comparably under-reported and under-prosecuted versus other crimes. This has the consequence that any considerably large group of people will contain a proportion of undetected rapists, hiding in plain sight. It might be less than 6% of men; it might be more than 13%, and there may also be some small proportion of non-men rapists, but who could tell? We should not expect everyone to be candid on the subject.

The issue at stake is actually a qualitative one, and for the reasons above in Stephanie’s post a haven is an environment that reduces or minimises the harm caused by rape and is also one that permits rapists to hide undetected, or even to comfortably flourish – they can rely on rape apologetics (or victim blaming) being uttered that will prop up their defence (and attack their accusers); they can rely on never being challenged on the topic for outrageously unethical or immoral views. There is more that I would like to say on this idea, but it suffices to point out that in the current environment anything that gets said on ‘FtB’ is capable of being weaponised by the Slymepit by the usual means of cherry picking, quoting out of context, and lying, and based on past experience I have no desire to have any further arguments I might offer on this subject to end up being regurgitated in lobotomised form elsewhere.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141030232238/http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2014/10/29/a-haven-for-rapists/

It’s of course the usual drivel: blahblah…misogynists…blahbah… harassers…blahblah…Slymepit…blahblah…rape apologetics…blahblah…lies…

To cite our friend Nerd of Redhead, it can all be “dismissed as per the Hitchens quote.”

68 JetLagg October 30, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Hey, there’s an idea. Since nobody from FTB will come here (and since we’ll be banned if we go there), we can quote them here at Nugent’s blog and then refute the quote. We know half of them lurk, so we’ll even get responses (albeit, someone will have to trawl FTB for them). In this asinine way, something like a debate can happen.

69 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 12:01 am

This has the consequence that any considerably large group of people will contain a proportion of undetected rapists, hiding in plain sight

Would ‘hiding in plain sight’ include people who openly admit raping children? Because I can think of a blog where that happened.

In any case, what kind of fucked up interpretation of statistics tells you that if 6-13% of men are rapists, 6-13% of every group of men are rapists?

That’s like saying if 5% of men are gay every group of 20 men contains one – and only one – gay person. You could never have a gay couple as there’s no way two people in close proximity can both be gay.

That’s not the way fucking statistics work. If it was then there’d be just as high a percentage of rapists on FTB.

Are they really that fucking stupid?

70 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 12:19 am

@JetLagg,

This would only be worth the trouble if people ‘over there’ were willing and able to provide evidence for the ‘harassment’, ‘lies’, ‘misogyny’, ‘smears’ and ‘rape apologetics’ perpetrated by commenters on these threads, and in particular, to point out which of the commenters here are the rapists that Michael Nugents is allegedly providing a haven for.

Isn’t it pathetic that Peezus is cowering behind the back of third rate apologists like Latsot and Zvan, who are so inept that they drag him deeper into the shit? When you are drowing, a ‘helper’ like Zvan would throw an anvil after you, because she doesn’t know that anvils don’t float. Her transparent sophistry only makes herself look bad and makes the party she is ‘defending’ look bad by extension, because it suggests that sophistry is the only possible defense.

71 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 12:29 am

Are they really that fucking stupid?

I think we could say they’re that parasitized by virus-like memes. Same thing all of us are familiar with from dealing with the religious. As Hitchens was fond of pointing out, there are plenty of brilliant religious people, so it’s not a lack of intelligence that causes it. Dishonesty is a possibility, but I’m inclined to think most people are sincere.

72 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 12:32 am

@Jan Steen

I was being mostly facetious. Just pointing out how the commenters here demonstrate their desire to have a conversation by the ridiculous lengths we’ll go to for opposing viewpoints. It’s a marked contrast from what you’ll find at Myers’ blog.

73 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 12:50 am

Zvan: As for me, I say they’re welcome to him if he’s willing to put up with having comments full of lies because those lies are about people who have criticized him.

Astonishing and breathtaking hypocrisy (or is it cognitive dissonance) from Zvan who doesn’t realize the fibbers populate her blog and FTB, not here. Further, notice how Zvan suggests people are only “criticizing” Mick! Actually Zvan, they are making up porkers and are continuing to spread them.

PS – Their definition of “criticism” easily falls into their definition of “harassment”. Have you noticed? But it is OK when they criticize others!

74 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 1:05 am

Zvan has a new post/storify mash-up RAGING about something or other.

Anyway, one of her tweets caught my attention: @Humanisticus @micknugent Do you seriously still not understand that the problem is not rapists commenting but comments supporting rapists?

Ah, so the problem is not actual rapists such as Ogvorbis. It is people who are supporting rapists like Ogvorbis…..But hold on, those people are NOT HERE. They reside at FreeThoughtBlogs, at places such as Pharyngula, Almost Diamonds, and Butterflies and Wheels. That is where the supports of a rapist (Ogvorbis) are. That is a FACT. That is REALITY.

75 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 2:22 am

Anyway, one of her tweets caught my attention: @Humanisticus @micknugent Do you seriously still not understand that the problem is not rapists commenting but comments supporting rapists?

Nobody is posting comments ‘supporting rapists’. Saying rape accusations should be investigated by the police is the opposite of supporting rapists.

These people are so dumb I’m surprised their autonomic nervous system doesn’t give up. How can they even operate a keyboard?

76 Skep tickle October 31, 2014 at 6:02 am

Shatterface @75

Anyway, one of her tweets caught my attention: @Humanisticus @micknugent Do you seriously still not understand that the problem is not rapists commenting but comments supporting rapists?

Nobody is posting comments ‘supporting rapists’. Saying rape accusations should be investigated by the police is the opposite of supporting rapists.

These people are so dumb I’m surprised their autonomic nervous system doesn’t give up. How can they even operate a keyboard?

She’s moving the goalposts there, to a spot she prefers, where it’s easier for her & her colleagues to score.

Yes it’s frustrating to try to interact with or understand them, but note that they hold dearly to their opinions & points of view, and they feel those opinions & points of view are well justified (= truth, etc). I really admire Michael’s patience & equanimity in insisting they own their stated opinions and lay out whatever justification they feel they have. Not only do his careful efforts lay the Emperors Clothes out for onlookers to see, they force specific people to back down &/or obviously redirect when they can’t justify their “truths” to an audience outside their own echo chamber.

So, yes, they do think that people here & in the ‘Pit are “supporting rapists”…because support for anything other than “believ[ing] the victim” without question* IS “supporting rapists”, in their view. As has been cited here earlier, Zvan has blogged about the righteousness of punishing falsely-accused people (men) rather than risk having an actual assailant go unpunished.

*except, of course, when the accused is one of them, as in the case of 2 FTB bloggers and the self-admitted FTB follower previously mentioned several times here

77 Skep tickle October 31, 2014 at 6:27 am

Some of you have seen this before. In April 2013, at what turned out to be the end of the dialogue process Michael was trying to mediate between people on either side of the “rift”, Setar posted this in the comments to Zvan’s blogpost “Reply the Second” (links removed; “they” in Setar’s post is those on the other side of the rift, possibly specifically those people participating in the dialogue):

Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
April 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm

So when do we get to point out that their ideology and tactics mirror those of libertarian “gun rights” advocates and anti-choice zealots? When do we get to note that Melissa Harris-Perry received similar treatment from the Right for simple comments about changing how we view kids, as Rebecca Watson did for her comments about changing how we view women? At what point can we say that dehumanizing ideologies lead to dehumanizing behaviour?

Do they have to actually bomb a conference or get on some major atheist podcasts and start saying the things they’ve been documented as saying already? When do we call this waddling, quacking ball of feathers a fucking duck?

I submitted this comment, which Ms Zvan never let through moderation (as of 12/2013, which was 8 months after I’d submitted it, it was still showing up for me as “in moderation”):

Do they have to actually bomb a conference…

Setar, could you clarify, were you using the verb “bomb” literally or figuratively?

“Actually” seems to imply actually “attacking with explosive devices”, but perhaps that’s not what you meant.

Thank you.

My subsequent comment on this, posted in 12/2013 at Heathen Hub and copied to the Slymepit (and using the pronouns for which Setar had expressed preference at the time):

The juxtaposition of “bomb” and “get on some major atheist podcast” suggests possibly Setar didn’t mean “bomb” literally – instead, perhaps, xe meant “fail spectacularly” or “show up en masse and disrupt completely”. On the other hand, the adverb “actually” does suggest xe might have meant “bomb” literally. Since it’s still in moderation, xe never saw it, so we’ll never know, so let’s move on.

Again: Stephanie Zvan (and any other blogger) has the power to decide what gets through to be posted and what doesn’t, based on any criteria they like. But then that also makes her responsible to some extent for the comments that are posted there.

Given that, IMO it’s troubling to have someone who’s relatively prominent in the A/S community, including speaking at A/S conferences, allowing the suggestion to sit on her blog that the “other side” (of which I’m one) might be so similar to “anti-choice zealots” and have “dehumanizing ideology” which could soon become “dehumanizing behaviour” such as “actually bomb[ing] a conference.”. And not only letting it sit on her blog as if it were a reasonable comment, but also without letting through a pretty basic request for clarification.

If the “other side” is effectively demonized and marginalized, they (we) might be less likely to attend said conferences – and they (we) will be less likely to be invited as speakers. And the apparent facilitation of that demonization by someone who is, or some people who are, also frequently conference speakers concerns me – whether or not it’s done intentionally or simply all a part of a big misunderstanding.

Finally, allowing Setar’s “actually bomb a conference” comment and others like it to sit in view, unexamined (even when an opportunity arose), may baselessly fuel the concern some people have apparently been feeling about their safety at A/S conferences, and IMO is also fairly irresponsible behavior from a leader and frequent conference speaker.

78 Steven Carr October 31, 2014 at 7:27 am

The important take-home message from Michael Nugent’s article is that PZ Myers thinks nothing of responding to criticism of his behaviour by attempting to destroy the reputation and good name of somebody who has posted the facts about what he has done.

Myers reflex action is to throw unevidenced smears and allegations at people, simply to destroy their good name and attempt to discredit them.

In doing so, he automatically reaches for the worst smears he can think of, and simply hurls them, refusing to produce any evidence.

Michael’s article documents this very well, showing how these smears suddenly appeared out of thin air, and that if Myers actually believed his allegations about Michael , he would not have behaved the way he did.

Instead, Myers behaved like a squid throwing ink. Calling people rapists is just something Myers does as a mechanism to fight and defend. He doesn’t care what damage it does to the reputation of the people he is smearing.

79 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 8:31 am

Instead, Myers behaved like a squid throwing ink.

Best simile on the thread.

80 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 9:31 am

Instead, Myers behaved like a squid throwing ink.

Best simile on the thread.

Yes, but in real squid the tactic can be an effective means of defense; in the case of Myers the ink ends up on his own face and makes him look even worse.

81 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 10:07 am

A few words about “Zvan’s sophistry” and “moving the goalposts”, since I see it being repeated here: as you may remember well, from the very beginning I didn’t believe that the intended meaning of PZ’s tweet was “slymepitters = rapists”. What’s even more symptomatic, some people *on your side* were also saying – quite explicitly! – that they don’t buy this interpretation (check the older threads if in doubt). This was however disregarded and most of the commenters found the interpretation in question … I don’t know, most suitable to their aims, perhaps?

There is one thing which I’m really very curious about: are you seriously saying that whoever disbelieves *your chosen and cherished* interpretation must be automatically guilty of sophistry and moving the goalposts? Just curious. (Yes, I know, you don’t have to tell me: curiosity killed the cat.)

82 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

Ariel:

Intent isn’t magic!

Chew on that one for a while, will you?

83 Esper October 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

Zvan declares….

“….if your policies or common practices protect rapists from prosecution, administrative sanction, or damage to their reputations, you’re providing a haven for rapists. You’re creating a space in which they are safe.”

PZ Myers’ blog happily accommodates Oggvorbis (admitted multiple child-rapist).
Indeed the regular commenters over there are only too happy to offer him baby-sitting gigs!

If there is a safer haven on the internet for rapists than Pharyngula, please share.

Also, quite recently, one of the FTB bloggers put up a ‘guest post’ recommending rape-victims not to go to the police. Does this count as protecting rapists from prosecution? I suspect in any other world it would but we’re through the FTB glass, people.

84 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 12:13 pm

@Ariel,

It’s really simple. If Peezus didn’t actually mean to say that Michael is harbouring rapists then he just has to clarify and apologize to Michael and his commenters.

As long as he fails to withdraw the obvious interpretation of his words (which is the above), no amount of Zvanesque sophistry is going to do him any favours. Except perhaps among his cult members, who are willing to swallow any amount of dishonesty to cling to their belief in the cult leaders.

“Of course, Peezus didn’t actually mean to say that there are rapists posting on Michael Nugent’s blog, and of course Michael is not providing a haven for them. He was just trying to smear Michael and his commenters.”

This is the only non-literal interpretation of Peezus’s words that does not amount to sophistry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make him look any better.

85 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 12:15 pm

@Skeptickle #77

Regarding the comment on Zvans blog claiming their opponents might ‘bomb a conference,’ it’s remarkable that FtB don’t seem to care what work people do for womens rights and welfare in the real, actual, world. Whether its lawyers representing victims in domestic abuse cases, pro-choice campaigners or indeed clinicians providing medical care for women, we’re all just the same as the misogynist scum who bomb abortion clinics. This is the consequences of throwing words like misogynist around like they’re free condoms – it becomes difficult to distinguish real misogyny from pro-women’s rights activists who disagree with you.

I don’t consider myself much of a abortion rights campaigner – I’ve been to a few pro-choice demonstrations over the years, done a bit of organising work and – along with many other people – have defended myself and others physically from an assault by anti-abortion thugs here in Ireland (although that was back in the 90s).

Here’s a genuine question for either someone from FtB or form the commenters here – Are any of the FtBloggers known for actually doing anything in the real world for womens rights? Blogging and going to conferences is all very well but if you’ve actually been on the street calling for abortion rights, you’re not as likely to condemn those who stand beside you, in the same terms as the religious thugs facing you who want to smash your face in.

86 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

@Ariel –

If PZ didn’t mean it literally, then why hasn’t he clarified the statement? Have you, as a reasonable person in the middle, asked him this or even suggested that he contact MN to clarify what he meant?

You needn’t go so far as to recommend or even mention MN’s request for an apology, as well. Just removing the twin accusations that there are actual rapists commenting here and that MN is providing them with a safe place would be a great start.

87 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Also, quite recently, one of the FTB bloggers put up a ‘guest post’ recommending rape-victims not to go to the police. Does this count as protecting rapists from prosecution? I suspect in any other world it would but we’re through the FTB glass, people.

Benson’s blog:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/09/guest-post-the-whole-thing-shredded-her/

88 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm

You needn’t go so far as to recommend or even mention MN’s request for an apology, as well. Just removing the twin accusations that there are actual rapists commenting here and that MN is providing them with a safe place would be a great start.

If only someone would ask Myers to clarify his claims. Like they have done repeatedly.

89 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 12:38 pm

@Shatterface #69

Xanthe is not saying that 6-13% of every group are rapists. Xe recognises it can be more or less than that.

A more salient point I think is that Xanthe accuses this blog as being a haven for rapists because it “permits rapists to hide undetected, or even to comfortably flourish – they can rely on rape apologetics (or victim blaming) being uttered that will prop up their defence (and attack their accusers); they can rely on never being challenged on the topic for outrageously unethical or immoral views.”

Well presumably rapists can hide undetected anywhere. If, you know, they’re actually hiding and not talking about how they’re rapists. Leaving aside this McCarthyist paranoia (they’re everywhere I tell you – hiding!!), where on this blog are the rape apologetics/victim blaming and these “outrageously unethical or immoral views?” I haven’t seen a single comment on this blog that falls into these categories.

I see plenty of stuff I disagree with – a dismissal of all post-modernism as being valueless or how a left wing bias is a bad thing for example. But there’s no demonization of opponents. Plenty of insults, including to intelligence, but that’s rather different than likening people to rapists, murderers and terrorists.

So another question to any FtBloggers reading this. Where are the “rape apologetics/victim blaming” and “outrageously unethical or immoral views” on this blog?

90 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm

A more salient point I think is that Xanthe accuses this blog as being a haven for rapists because it “permits rapists to hide undetected, or even to comfortably flourish – they can rely on rape apologetics (or victim blaming) being uttered that will prop up their defence (and attack their accusers); they can rely on never being challenged on the topic for outrageously unethical or immoral views.”

Not one of those claims is true. Nugents blog no more ‘hides’ rapists than any other site; there’s no rape detector that Nugent has switched off. There’s no victim blaming at all: asking someone to substantiate tale allegations or take them to the authorities is not ‘victim blaming’.

And there’s nothing stopping FTB from challenging comments here other than their cowardice and stupidity.

91 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Sorry, ‘substantiate their rape allegations.’

Feckin’ cis hetero predictive text privilege.

92 john welch October 31, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Ariel@81

A few words about “Zvan’s sophistry” and “moving the goalposts”, since I see it being repeated here: as you may remember well, from the very beginning I didn’t believe that the intended meaning of PZ’s tweet was “slymepitters = rapists”. What’s even more symptomatic, some people *on your side* were also saying – quite explicitly! – that they don’t buy this interpretation (check the older threads if in doubt). This was however disregarded and most of the commenters found the interpretation in question … I don’t know, most suitable to their aims, perhaps?

you can believe whatever you like. That doesn’t mean your belief has anything to do with reality. PZ said “rapists”. That word has a singular, definitive meaning. period. In addition, he’s repeated it, and stood by it. So has Zvan in a post so inane I wonder how she stayed sane while writing it. Something that convoluted should have called Pinhead from his hell dimension.

You keep trying to say “well, they didn’t really mean rapist“, yet at no time have “they” agreed with you on this.

They in fact mean rapist. And it is only when you and others try to change the meaning of that word that things get shifted. Even if it’s people here doing it, it’s still wrong and stupid.

So again, I’ll ask, knowing you shall never answer: How is, given PZ’s ardent defense and provision of a “safe space” for Ogvorbis, his behavior, along with honestly yours and everyone else at FTB who have not explicitly spoken up against said provision and defense, not hypocritical?

You keep trying to hammer Michael about the mote in his eye while insisting the rather large beam in yours isn’t real.

93 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 1:25 pm

@Gunboat –

If you get to (re-)interpret the meaning of straight-forward words, then let’s be balanced. Under your reading, for example, FTB clearly provides a haven for actual rapists in several ways beyond merely having an admitted rapist as a commenter. By advocating not going to the police, FTB commenters protect rapists from a punishment much worse than being “outed” on the internet. (nb. in some places, not reporting a rape that you know has occurred is also a crime.) Furthermore, by using the label “rapist” in a rather loose manner (i.e., to refer to actions that are not actually rape), FTB commenters water down the stigma attached to rape, making it less undesirable. And, also, by being so careful as to avoid anything that comes even close to victim-blaming (e.g., “don’t tell me not to walk drunk and half-naked down a dark street at 2am, teach men not to rape”), FTB commenters make it easier for rapists to find victims.

But all of this sophistry and word-play is simply evasion – it misses the key point. All PZ has to do is make it clear that he was not accusing folks (like me) of being actual rapists and that MN is not providing a place for rapists to post comments without fear of sanction. If it’s so obvious (to you) that PZ did not intend to make these claims, then why not suggest to PZ that he should clear this up immediately?

94 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Ariel – answer this.

Is Almost Diamonds, along with Pharyngula and Butterflies and Wheels a “haven for a self-confessed child rapist” and a “haven for rape apologists”.

Both of those statements are TRUE according to your own logic and definition(s), and by Zvan’s logic and definition(s). Once you and Zvan, PZ, Ophelia admit this, you might be on harder ground to attack Mick.

PS – Notice how much harder it is you to debate us on a neutral forum? No Zvan banhammers to help you!

95 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm

@Shatterface #90

I don’t think cowardice or stupidity have much to do with why FtBloggers/commenters aren’t coming over here to reply. I think it’s more to do with demonization of opponents, in-group peer pressure and solidarity and a tactical decision to bring as little web-traffic over here as possible. I suspect quite a few at FtB are chafing at the bit to come over here and let loose. Why should they? Anyone from the Slymepit must be irredeemable and by association so are the rest of us.

So I don’t think it’s cowardly or stupid – I do however think it’s dishonest. A long time public campaigner for social justice – Michael Nugent – has been accused of providing a haven for rapists after he criticised the very demonization of which he is now a target. Now I’m sure the mainly American FtBloggers don’t really have a clue who Michael Nugent is, but he is pretty well known and respected in Ireland for his activism over many years. This includes protesting against paramilitary organisations from both sides in the north of Ireland and their killings of civilians.

If true, this accusation would mean Michael Nugent is at the very least a puppet of a misogynist/rapist conspiracy. As someone who managed to negotiate the (sometimes literal) minefield of sectarian politics of northern Ireland without becoming a puppet of either side, this would seem unlikely.

If it is true, however, where is the evidence? PZ and FtB’s treatment of this accusation is dishonest because they make accusations and then refuse to substantiate them. Obviously they have no evidence – PZ is not shy about providing evidence if he thinks he has it. This they are baseless accusations which an honest person should withdraw. No doubt they justify this to themselves in all sorts of but they’re being dishonest to themselves as well as Michael Nugent (and everyone else reading).

96 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Shatterface: Nobody is posting comments ‘supporting rapists’. Saying rape accusations should be investigated by the police is the opposite of supporting rapists.

I just thought. If the parents of a missing child who was last seen being bundled into the car of a known sex offender, insist on calling the police, are the parents “supporters of the sex offender.”

Well, according to Ariel, Zvan, PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson et al, yes, he parents are “supporters of the sex offender”!

97 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Well now, there is “support” and support”, you know? *nudge nudge, wink wink*

98 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Ariel@81

as you may remember well, from the very beginning I didn’t believe that the intended meaning of PZ’s tweet was “slymepitters = rapists”.

I do remember this, and I remember many asking you to defend an alternative interpretation. You were very abstract in your responses, and I didn’t see you convince anyone.

What’s even more symptomatic, some people *on your side* were also saying – quite explicitly! – that they don’t buy this interpretation (check the older threads if in doubt).

I’ve read every comment while participating in the other threads, and I didn’t see anyone on this side explicitly say what you’re claiming. Could you please quote the relevant commenters?

99 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

My apologies for the botched formatting :p

[That’s okay, I’ve fixed it – MN]

100 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 2:03 pm

@Blueshift Rhino #93

I’m not sure what words you think I’m re-interpreting or if you correctly interpret my intent. I agree that by Zvan/Xanthes definition, any blog could be a haven for rapists – that’s an aspect of its McCarthyism – paranoia.

Actually I don’t think a victim of rape is required to inform the authorities. There are many situations where this may lead to a worsening of that persons situation rather than recovery and I think the welfare and choice of individual victims has to take precedence over reporting to an – at best – uneven justice system which does not have the best interests of the victim (or indeed the accused) in mind.

Sadly I won’t be writing to PZ to ask him to withdraw his allegation. I was banned from his blog after simply repeating the FtB party line about rape : “we should believe the victim,” “the principle of innocence is irrelevant as it’s not a court of law,” “even if some innocent people do get caught up it’s a small price to pay.” My “crime” was I repeated it in the comments section of PZ’s blog post where he admits he was threatened with a false rape accusation by one of his students. Instant Banhammer.

Shortly thereafter (when I could no longer reply) FtB commenters started characterising my comments as threatening them with sexual assault. I stopped reading at that point. I’m glad Michael Nugent has the means and the patience to take on these sort of smears and have it placed on the record.

101 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Ariel

There is one thing which I’m really very curious about: are you seriously saying that whoever disbelieves *your chosen and cherished* interpretation must be automatically guilty of sophistry and moving the goalposts? Just curious. (Yes, I know, you don’t have to tell me: curiosity killed the cat.)

Have you any evidence – other than the voices in your head – that the definition of ‘rapist’ being used by posters on this thread is a ‘chosen and cherished’ definition somehow different from that used in the real world?

102 Patrick October 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Ariel,

I’m glad to see you back here. Since you’re reading this thread, I would like to ask you, again, for an answer to the simple question I posed on a previous thread:

“Ariel, do you agree that Myers’ and latsot’s claims are unsupported and dishonest? If not, why not?”

103 tina October 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm

It’s all a soft shoe shuffle to excuse the inexcusable. Dancing around the meaning of words to try to disguise the necessity to keep the threat narrative in focus, and to do as much damage as is possible to those perceived as their ideological opponents. I’ve no doubt they’ll continue to throw accusations like misogynist, rapist, rape-apologist, privileged old white hetero-normative sexist shitlord, around quite freely, and to re-define the meanings of any of these words whenever it becomes necessary to deflect or distract from criticism or otherwise suits their purposes.

104 tina October 31, 2014 at 2:26 pm

It’s almost as though Ariel supports Myers in making defamatory, unevidenced accusations against people he doesn’t even know and is trying to hand-wave that away with something like ‘oh, you know he doesn’t really mean that.’

Incredible.

105 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Blueshift Rhino #86

I’m not the proper person to ask why PZ didn’t clarify. Obviously I do have some guesses but they don’t have to be much better than anyone else’s. My own views are best formulated in some of my comments on Stephanie’s blog.

John Welch #92 and Shatterface #101: you didn’t understand a word from Stephanie’s OP, did you? I will give you three hints: (1) it’s about what “providing a haven” means (2) it’s not about what “rapist” means (3) think first, comment later, and not the other way round.

John Welch #92:

So again, I’ll ask, knowing you shall never answer: How is, given PZ’s ardent defense and provision of a “safe space” for Ogvorbis, his behavior, along with honestly yours and everyone else at FTB who have not explicitly spoken up against said provision and defense, not hypocritical?

I expressed my views on the case of Ogvorbis a couple of times in my conversations here (also with you). As I still see it, no one was able to produce a good convincing explanation of what exactly the hypocrisy consists in. At the moment I don’t see much point in continuing this discussion unless something really new comes up.

Patrick: as you can see for yourself, it’s debatable (to put it mildly) what exactly these claims mean. And that’s the main problem. Without specifying the meanings, the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to your question is simply not possible. More on this later.

Esper #83 and Shatterface # 87 about “recommending rape-victims not to go to the police”.

Read the final remarks of this comment of mine:

_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/09/24/adam-lee-rejects-my-analysis-that-his-comment-seems-to-accept-his-guardian-article-included-some-misrepresentations/#comment-1017173

and then let us count together, all of us: 2, 1, 0.

A “meta” reflection. Replying to me in the comment section of her blog, Stephanie made the following sad prognosis:

They’ll just repeat the lies you demolished. Some of them have been doing it for about three years now.

As an incorrigible Pollyanna, I wouldn’t use the word “lies” here. However, I’m afraid that she is right about all the rest.

106 GenerallyFading October 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Noelplum99@46

“It is a little like the lion sanctuary I am providing in my back garden: I just happen never to furnish it with any lions.”

So in other words, we could refer to the Slymepit as “A safe haven for perfect people” or a “Safe Haven for the most courageous people that ever lived”?………Excellent.

There would at least be more evidence for that than “rapists”.

And too many people want to dismiss the Pit as something that’s just for having daft conversations/making fun of FtB.

The Slymepit makes me examine my own behaviour and question my set beliefs and ideals. I have taken some of the lessons I learned there to work. Instead of getting traumatized when I am criticized about something, I ask myself, “Is this criticism justified? Is it because I am a woman/fat/ugly/diabetic or is it because actually, I made a shit job of that?”

Funny how many times I came up with the answer, “You did something stupid. Learn from it.” Funny how I look back on things I have done and thought, “FtB would have been proud of me” and cringed. The Slymepit is harsh, but they are just stating what people should be saying and it is the overall idea of the Pit, it is the constant evidence that it does what it says (the only rule is no doxing) in the face of criticism and people pushing at the rules that makes it more important than the subject of the conversations.

Although the wood collecting discussions were hysterical…..

107 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat –

I don’t keep track of who is on what side (at least, not very well) and responded to what I seemed to be reading. Intent isn’t magical, as they say, so I didn’t dig deeper than that. But I still apologize, especially if you have tried to “talk” to PZ and were rebuffed.

My only new response is to remind folks to check the laws of their location before deciding to not report a felony, such as forcible rape. You don’t always have the option. With regard to the larger question of whether folks ought to report rapes (as distinct from have to), I do understand that there may be good reason to fail to make an official report in the usual manner, but I cannot see any justification for simultaneously not making at least some report to someone when you are also going to make accusations on social media. And trafficking in anonymous accusations is just plain wrong, no matter what, as they cannot be answered by the accused in any venue.

But you see what we’re doing here? We’re off-topic (by a long ways), just as the defenders of PZ would hope. The real issue is quite simple: PZ should retract (or clarify so as to remove) his prima facie accusation that some of us are rapists or he should back up said claim. Period.

108 Steven Carr October 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

PZ Myers should retract his outrageous, unevidenced attempt to smear the name of Michael Nugent.

Especially as Michael has extensively documented in this post that Myers made the statement out of sheer malice, as his behaviour beforehand demonstrated that he does not believe it to be true, and used the malicious smear as a weapon.

109 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

This is what I find maddening about Ariel, and others of her persuasion.

“They’ll just repeat the lies you demolished. Some of them have been doing it for about three years now.”

As an incorrigible Pollyanna, I wouldn’t use the word “lies” here. However, I’m afraid that she is right about all the rest.

If she wouldn’t use the word lies, what in the world is the sentiment she’s agreeing with? Without “lies”, it looks like this:

“They’ll just repeat the same [blank] you demolished. Some of them have been doing it for about three years now.”

Since Ariel doesn’t provide us with a word she would use, the sentence is impossible to parse. We could insert some likely words, and demonstrate why Svan is wrong, given that meaning, but then Ariel is free to return and say we’re putting words in her mouth. And we are, because we were forced to. Because she won’t actually say anything.

Forgive my exasperation, but this is just ridiculous. I don’t know how people like Aneris retain their sanity.

110 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Ariel: I expressed my views on the case of Ogvorbis a couple of times in my conversations here (also with you). As I still see it, no one was able to produce a good convincing explanation of what exactly the hypocrisy consists in.

You mean the “good convincing explanation” that Almost Diamonds, Butterflies and Wheels, and Pharyngula ACTUALLY do provide a safe HAVEN for a self-confessed CHILD RAPIST, in REALITY.

Please, Ariel, can you point out what is factually incorrect with the above statement. Thank you.

(1) it’s about what “providing a haven” means

Intent isn’t magic! If Stephanie Zvan can’t clearly elaborate what she means, using dictionary definitions one minute, and then doing the opposite the next minute, the onus is on Zvan to provide clarity, and not linguistic spaghetti as a cover for bullsh*t.

Esper #83 and Shatterface # 87 about “recommending rape-victims not to go to the police”.

Ariel, do you agree that recommending rape victims do not go to the police can create an environment that protects rapists?

111 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Ariel wrote (in response to me): “I’m not the proper person to ask why PZ didn’t clarify.”

To which I reply: OK, then I retract that particular question, but please let me remind you of my second question (here edited for clarity) that appeared immediately after the one to which you did respond: “Have you, as a reasonable person in the middle, suggested that he contact MN to clarify what he meant?”

You are (now) aware that some folks take the word “rapist” seriously (and in the way that dictionaries claim the word means). So, you are aware that some folks here are taking what PZ wrote as an accusation that at least some of us are rapists. You are also aware that not everyone agrees that PZ was actually accusing some of us of being true rapists. So you’re aware that a clarification is needed, as we are now dancing along the edge of defamation and libel. You are also aware that MN has asked for a clarification many times and that a simple “oops, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean ‘rapist’ in a literal sense” would clear it all up. And you are one of the few folks here who can post on FTB or send an email to PZ that he’ll actually read.

So I ask you again: Have you, as a reasonable person in the middle, suggested that PZ contact MN to clarify what he meant?

112 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Ariel: They’ll just repeat the lies you demolished. Some of them have been doing it for about three years now.

What “lies” would those be, Ariel? Is it the “lie” that she defended the threats of violence sent to a blogger by her friend? Is it the lie that she viewed the doxing of Surly Amy’s already-public personal information as “harassment”, but has no qualms about doxing others, and no qualms about PZ doxing others? Is it the “lie” about her trying to gaslight Sara Mayhew? The list goes on…but please, try and point these lies out. But remember, this is not FTB where views that oppose and challenge you will be deleted! This is a level-playing field. Go for it! I’m a-waiting!

Oh, and the term “demolished” can only be used outside of Zvan’s blog where she can’t control the narrative. On an open forum, these accusations (whatever they are) remain open and Zvan WILL NOT be the arbiter of whether these “lies” have been “demolished”.

113 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm

JetLagg #109: I would use “bullshit”. The word “lies” is too heavy with ascribing intent … and the thing is simply that I’m trying to be charitable. That was the whole point.

You are absolutely right that I should have specified the missing word. Just in case, here it is once again, for your satisfaction: *B*U*L*L*S*H*I*T*.

I hope this time my answer makes you happy.

114 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm

BTW, I saw a recent comment over at FTB moaning about the use of the “porcupine meme”, and how it is used to point out what a violent bunch of dregs the Horde are.

They seem to have got it in their head that a decision was made at FTB HQ that the “porucpine meme” was wrong, and high-and-mighty PZ issued a decree outlawing it. In REALITY, it was the Slymepit constantly pointing out the violent sexual nature of the meme that FORCED them to drop it. It should be noted that the hatred and mean-spiritedness that prompted them to use this epithet with much glee in the first place, STILL REMAINS.

115 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Ariel @ 113. Can you answer my questions at 110 (the last paragraph), and 112, please.

116 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Charity is not on the menu these days, it seems, except when convenient. So just like snails, let’s do away with it until a patron asks for it.

It’s been a long enough time we’ve talked about the “charitable”/”uncharitable” reading of one’s words. It’s a stupid game and is going nowhere.

So really, just speak out your mind, or do the decent thing and drop it.

117 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm

If I didn’t know better I might think Ariel was trolling. Xe certainly doesn’t seem to be engaging in manner that seeks to clarify or substantiate anything at all.

118 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm

@GD #117 –

You may be correct, but I’m going to try to follow MN’s lead and engage as if Ariel is serious. Therefore, I’d like to know if Ariel has suggested to PZ that the latter clarify his statement.

119 Gunboat Diplomat October 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm

@Blueshift Rhino #118

Its a good question, I too would like to know if Ariel has made that suggestion and also PZ’s reply. “Rapist” would indeed be a difficult word to ascribe a non-literal meaning to, unless perhaps you’re a 15 year old youtube commenter on a CoD video…

120 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Ariel@113

I would use “bullshit”…. I hope this time my answer makes you happy.

It does.

Now, please describe (with specifics) what you find to be the most egregious example of bullshit, followed by an example of your most definitive demolishing of said bullshit.

As was pointed out. Nugent has a provided neutral ground here. Nobody gets to be the arbiter what has or has not been demolished. You actually need to convince us.

121 Patrick October 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Ariel @105:

Patrick: as you can see for yourself, it’s debatable (to put it mildly) what exactly these claims mean. And that’s the main problem. Without specifying the meanings, the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to your question is simply not possible.

Just to keep everything in one place, here’s what Myers wrote:

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

Despite repeated requests to either support his claim or retract it, Myers did neither. Note that the word “rapist”, in particular, has a specific meaning that communicates a very particular concept to English speakers. Unless Myers has evidence that people posting here have, in fact, committed rape, honesty and integrity require a retraction and apology.

Here’s what latsot claimed:

I said on Twitter that Michael Nugent defends rapists. I didn’t say he defends rape. I said that he defends (some) people who are rapists….

Again, a very clear claim using a word with a very specific meaning.

So, here again are my questions:

Ariel, do you agree that Myers’ and latsot’s claims are unsupported and dishonest? If not, why not?

These should not be difficult questions. Either Myers and latsot have supported their very serious assertions or they have not. If they have not, they are behaving dishonestly by refusing to retract them and apologize. How do you defend this reprehensible behavior?

122 piero October 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm

@Ariel:

I’m not the proper person to ask why PZ didn’t clarify. Obviously I do have some guesses but they don’t have to be much better than anyone else’s. My own views are best formulated in some of my comments on Stephanie’s blog.

Then you are not the proper person to comment on anything related to Myer’s semars, including your own metaphysical interpretation of it. And if you have anything to say, say it; don’t expect people to go hunting for your answers in somebody else’s blog. Have you no manners?

123 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

John Welch #92 and Shatterface #101: you didn’t understand a word from Stephanie’s OP, did you? I will give you three hints: (1) it’s about what “providing a haven” means (2) it’s not about what “rapist” means (3) think first, comment later, and not the other way round.

No, no, no. The issue of ‘providing a haven’ is entirely irrelevant without the ‘rapist’ bit. Anyone with an open forum is ‘providing a haven’ for any number of people.

expressed my views on the case of Ogvorbis a couple of times in my conversations here (also with you). As I still see it, no one was able to produce a good convincing explanation of what exactly the hypocrisy consists in.

Jesus wept: Myers accuses Michael of providing a safe haven for rapists. There are no rapists on Michaels blog but there are on Myers blog.

It’s not fucking rocket surgery.

124 piero October 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

@Ariel:

This is taken verbatim from Latsot’s blog:

I said that he defends (some) people who are rapists, I meant something fairly specific by this: Michael Nugent continues to provide a safe haven for people who perpetuate rape culture. People who trivialise rape. People who use the threat of rape as an instrument for silencing women. People who vociferously claim that sex with someone whose judgment is impaired by alcohol or youth is not rape. Nugent does not condemn people who espouse such opinions in the comments on his blog. He equivocates, pretending this means he isn’t taking a position.

He has been challenged endless times to name a single person posting here that has either trivialised rape, used rape as an instrument for silencing women or vociferously claimed that sex with someone whose judgement is impaired is not rape. So far he has not answered, nearly two weeks after publishing his smears.

Now, Ariel:

Do you agree that Myers’ and latsot’s claims are unsupported and dishonest? If not, why not?

125 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I do not agree with JetLagg (#120) that Ariel “needs to convince us” as this places “us” (whomever that is) is the position of arbiter, which would seem inappropriate. I would only say that Ariel should be willing to provide the reasoning and evidence behind any important claim, such that others can decide for themselves what to do with said claim.

Describing any of this in terms that are anywhere close to “you must do X” will stifle discussion. Saying, instead, that “I find your claim to be important, so I’d like to hear more about it” is the way that I prefer to go (when engaging honestly). If, for example, PZ came back and clarified his statement as being “yes, I really do believe that some people posting comments here are actual rapists,” then we could move on to examining the evidence for this claim. If, in contrast, PZ came back with “of course I’m not claiming that anyone here is an actual rapist,” then we could move on to something really useful.

126 JetLagg October 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm

@Rhino

I think it’s my wording you object to rather than the idea I’m getting at. I don’t draw a meaningful distinction between “you actually need to convince us” and “provide the reasoning and evidence behind any important claim, such that others can decide for themselves… ”

Anyway, I’ll happily withdraw section my comment and stand behind yours.

127 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I just want Ariel to start using language as a means of communication.

128 john welch October 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Ariel at 105:

I’m not the proper person to ask why PZ didn’t clarify. Obviously I do have some guesses but they don’t have to be much better than anyone else’s. My own views are best formulated in some of my comments on Stephanie’s blog.

You’re only capable of coherent commentary there? Wow. Is there something in the water there that makes you write clearly and concisely? Because just let us know, we’ll take up a collection to douse it all o’er the land over here if it means you can make a point without a tap-dancing lesson.

John Welch #92 and Shatterface #101: you didn’t understand a word from Stephanie’s OP, did you? I will give you three hints: (1) it’s about what “providing a haven” means (2) it’s not about what “rapist” means (3) think first, comment later, and not the other way round.

I understand it. I happen to think it’s her usual sophistry and bullshit designed to distract you by clubbing you with three syllable words.

Our objections have all been around the word “Rapist”. It is you and those you support who are trying to run, as fast and far as you can, from that word, by any means available, and when no one here will go along with it, when we keep dragging you back to the actual problem at hand, then you get very upset.

I will however point out that by Zvan’s “reasoning”, every collection of more than n people is a “haven” for rapists, including every blog at FTB. When are they going to provide real names and proof of non-rapery?

I expressed my views on the case of Ogvorbis a couple of times in my conversations here (also with you). As I still see it, no one was able to produce a good convincing explanation of what exactly the hypocrisy consists in. At the moment I don’t see much point in continuing this discussion unless something really new comes up.

Nonsense. I’ve stated it several times, in a blunt, concise way. And I shall do it again:

If, as PZ asserts, Michael is being or behaving “bad” in providing a “haven for rapists” here, even though no one, not even you has provided a gnat’s bladder of evidence for said claim, then how is PZ et all not being just as bad in providing a “haven” for a self-admitted rapist, namely Ogvorbis.

How is it okay when PZ does it, with evidence, but not okay when Michael does it, with no evidence.

There. That is literally as clear as I can make it. Claiming there is no ‘convincing’ explanation of the hypocrisy will no longer work. You don’t have to agree that it’s hypocritical behavior, (nor shall you ever, the corner you’re backed into won’t let you), but you cannot claim no one has made a clear case for said hypocrisy.

Patrick: as you can see for yourself, it’s debatable (to put it mildly) what exactly these claims mean. And that’s the main problem. Without specifying the meanings, the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to your question is simply not possible. More on this later.

You are actually the only person still unclear on what calling a group of people “rapists” means. Everyone else appears to understand it just fine.

They’ll just repeat the lies you demolished. Some of them have been doing it for about three years now.

As an incorrigible Pollyanna, I wouldn’t use the word “lies” here. However, I’m afraid that she is right about all the rest.

Oh stop it, no one is buying what you’re selling. What, specifically, are the “lies” she is talking about?

129 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

@JetLagg –

Thanks. My goal, under the assumption that Ariel is engaging honestly, is to keep the discussion going and the lines of communication open. While I might (privately) share the desire that PZ be removed from the American atheist community (at least until he returns to being an asset), right now what would seem most important is clarifying (and, hopefully, removing) PZ’s accusation against a large number of people (including myself).

Ariel is “out-numbered” here in terms of those who are posting from a position that is similar to Ariel’s. That can be intimidating, especially if you’re not used to being on a blog that is open to honest argument and allows for disagreement. We should be appreciative, especially if Ariel manages to take a message back to FTB.

130 Rob Curry October 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Thank you for taking the time to maintain a calm, reasonable and fact-based approach in the face of such unpleasant and ill-considered behavior, including the clearly unwarranted accusations that have been hurled at you.

I have found this comprehensive review helpful while looking into the matter by consulting multiple sources and perspectives.

131 piero October 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

@Blueshift Rhino:

We should be appreciative, especially if Ariel manages to take a message back to FTB.

I concur. Unfortunately, Ariel does not seem to be interested. For example, stating that her answer to a question posed to her here can be found in the comments section of somebody else’s blog is plain rude. Does she seriously think we are going to tollerate such behaviour in the name of “constructive debate”?

132 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm

john welch: I will however point out that by Zvan’s “reasoning”, every collection of more than n people is a “haven” for rapists, including every blog at FTB. When are they going to provide real names and proof of non-rapery?

Good point, John. This is the perfect example of what happens when post-modernism (and dishonesty) starts to infiltrate language and meaning.

133 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

@piero –

While I agree that linking to a blog as if it answers a question is not an appropriate response, I say this for a different reason. When you do this, it becomes unclear if you are endorsing everything on the linked-to blog or only some of it. This opens the door to a whole new round of “that’s not what I said/meant!” nonsense. But rather than just saying “that’s rude” I would suggest that you ask Ariel to cut and paste the needed part here. That way it’s clear to what is being referred.

134 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I’m thinking Ariel is just acting as clickbate to a blog ‘where all our questions will be answered’.

Screw that.

135 Blueshift Rhino October 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm

@Shatterface –

That may be true, but your accusation – even if not serious – is not really helpful, either. Again, just respond by asking that Ariel cut and paste what is needed to here.

136 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Blueshift Rhino #118, no, I didn’t. Two reasons:

(1) I’m not a Pharyngula commenter and I don’t think my opinion has any weigh for PZ,
(2) I know too little about what PZ thinks of the situation (in terms of costs and gains) to be a reliable advisor. In fact I’m not sure at all if any further engagement on his part would be a good idea. Just an example of one worry among the many: whatever his clarifications, serious distortions and further shitstorm would be practically guaranteed. One hundred percent certainty. So perhaps at this stage relying on other people would be a better strategy? I’m too unsure of myself here to be able to give advise.

I want to emphasize that these are my purely private thoughts and doubts, in no way reflecting what other people might think. And if my (2) is (to your taste) too much about strategy, then I would answer that when giving reliable advice, you just should take such factors into account.

By the way, I consider all of this as *irrelevant* to this conversation and I wrote this comment only because you insisted so much, almost ready to consider me a troll otherwise. May I know why you asked such a question? Why does the answer matter to you? What does it say about my “credentials”? And what sort of “credentials” did you expect, anyway? Did you see what I do here as some attempts at mediation, for fuck’s sake? If so, I assure you that you are completely wrong. I’m not a peacemaker. Never. If you want to know why, read the last sentence at this link:

“_http://www.politicsforum.org/images/flame_warriors/flame_18.php”

137 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Jerry Coyne, another enemy of the people (in the FTB universe), has an amusing post up about a piece of research into the Roman Catholic doctrine of transsubstantiation. This doctrine entails that a communion waver, once a priest has spoken some magic words over it, turns into the flesh of Christ (yuck). Even the staunchest Catholic, however, will have to admit that a ‘transsubstrantiated’ waver still looks and tastes like an ordinary waver. The research just mentioned shows, as expected, that the DNA inside the waver does not change either.

How do Catholic theologians deal with this problem?

Simple. They just reason it away. As Coyne puts it:

To justify why the bread and wine still look like noms and not blood and flesh, the Church relies on something called “substance theory,” which claims that something can change its nature without changing its substance. In other words, the wafer and wine really are Jesus but you can’t detect that in any way.

The Catholic Education Resource Centre, as cited by Coyne, explains it like this:

Yes, the bread and wine do not change in characteristics [sic] they still look the same, taste and smell the same, and hold the same shape. However, the reality, “the what it is,” the substance does change.

Why do I bring this up? Because I don’t see the slightest difference between this ridiculous Catholic casuistry and the incompetent evasions and distractions of Zvan and her prophet Ariel.

On the one hand we have a waver without any Jesus DNA in it (unless Jesus is a plant) being proclaimed the flesh of Christ; on the other hand we have a blog without rapists in it (as far as anyone can tell) being proclaimed a haven for rapists. The intellectual dishonesty is exactly the same.

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/science-proves-that-consecrated-wafers-are-still-wheat-and-not-jesus/

138 Antifreeze11 October 31, 2014 at 5:02 pm

IIRC, “Ariel” was also the name of a troublemaking sylph in Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”. Incidentally, that poem is probably the last time such a mockery was made of the word. But PZ is no Pope.

(Sorry to bring up graphic rape literature in Michael’s comments section and thereby accidentally fulfill the prophecy.)

139 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Patrick:

“Despite repeated requests to either support his claim or retract it, Myers did neither.”

True.

“Note that the word “rapist”, in particular, has a specific meaning that communicates a very particular concept to English speakers.”

True.

“Unless Myers has evidence that people posting here have, in fact, committed rape, honesty and integrity require a retraction and apology.”

Or an explanation of what it means to “provide a haven and defend” (while keeping the meaning of “rapist” constant) and moving to a further discussion with the meaning taken for granted. Attempts at such explanation were made (I admit that not by Myers).

Patrick, personally I think that if “providing a haven and defending” was intended (as I think it was) to mean something else than “having actual rapists in the comment section”, then the wording was bad. I wrote it on FtB, I have no problem with writing it also here.

Blueshift Rhino, my answer to your #118 is in moderation. Good night.

140 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Ariel: multiple links and/or certain words will keep your comment in moderation here for a bit, until Michael lets them through. Auto-mod can be a pain for the flow of discussion sometimes. Intentional mod is even worse.

141 Patrick October 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Ariel @139,

Thank you for replying somewhat directly. Since we’re in agreement that “rape” and “rapist” have specific meanings, please allow me to return to Myers’ original statement:

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

Now to your response:

Patrick, personally I think that if “providing a haven and defending” was intended (as I think it was) to mean something else than “having actual rapists in the comment section”, then the wording was bad.

Can you state concisely how “defending & providing a haven” could be interpreted in any other way in this context, particularly taking into account the rest of Myers’ tweets on this subject? If you can, do you think that anyone not committed to twisting words into almost unrecognizable shapes in order to support Myers would interpret them in the same way? Do you recognize that anyone not so committed would take those words at face value, particularly given Myers’ subsequent tweets?

Since we agree on the meaning of the term rapist and, hopefully, can agree on the prima facie meaning of the rest of Myers claim, on what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers claims are unsupported and dishonest?

PS: You also noted that:

I wrote it on FtB, I have no problem with writing it also here.

Could you please provide a link to where you made this statement? I am interested in reading the responses to it.

142 Shatterface October 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Or an explanation of what it means to “provide a haven and defend” (while keeping the meaning of “rapist” constant) and moving to a further discussion with the meaning taken for granted.

I’m dying to read this amazing argument that is so persuasive we can ‘take it for granted’ and then ‘move on’. Will it involve a fob watch swinging on a chain and a guy with a goatee telling us to relax?

143 Ariel October 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Patrick, the link is here:

“_http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2014/10/29/a-haven-for-rapists/#comments”

Mine is the second comment.

By the way, I recommend to everyone the excellent latest OP by Stephanie. It’s titled “The Ogvorbis Boondoggle”.

Goodnight, I can’t write more today.

144 piero October 31, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@Ariel:

By the way, I consider all of this as *irrelevant* to this conversation and I wrote this comment only because you insisted so much, almost ready to consider me a troll otherwise. May I know why you asked such a question? Why does the answer matter to you? What does it say about my “credentials”?

You’ve said that Myers’s smears can have a different meaning from the ostensible one. You’ve stated this with no evidence that Myers did, as a matter of fact, intend to convey any other meaning but the ostensible one. Therefore, you’ve engaged in a futile exercise in mind reading which is of no interest to anyone.

Yet you insist:

Or an explanation of what it means to “provide a haven and defend” (while keeping the meaning of “rapist” constant) and moving to a further discussion with the meaning taken for granted. Attempts at such explanation were made (I admit that not by Myers).

Again, futile mind reading and investment of Latsot as a possibly reliable window into Myers’s mind.

Well, none of your speculation is even slightly plausible. If Myers had intended to convey a different message, he would have clarified the situation by now. He hasn’t. Therefore, your position is untenable. And frankly rather silly. So, unless you can show that you have communicated with Myers and that through that communication you have come to believe that the real meaning is not the ostensible one, I am not interested in anything you have to say. Would you take me seriously if I claimed that the real meaning of Myers’s words was “Zeus wants to marry Ogvorbis”? Well, that’s just how silly your claims sound to me.

145 Patrick October 31, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Ariel @143,

Thank you for the link. I’m sorely tempted to start a conversation about the hypocrisy demonstrated by some commenters in that thread, but that would distract from the core topic here.

I look forward to your response to my questions in comment 141.

146 Steven Carr October 31, 2014 at 6:08 pm

So Myers and Zvan are maliciously slandering Michael Nugent.

ZVAN
I’ve expressed sympathy to one of the people who left the Pharyngula commentariat after events that began with Ogvorbis talking about having raped a child while he was being abused….

CARR
I see Zvan actually posts Ogvorbis confession to raping 3 young children while babysitting them, years after this abuse occurred.

And then claims Freethought is not providing a haven for him.

The hypocrisy stinks.

But that is all by the way.

The important thing is that Nugent has documented the way Myers simply produced a smear-hammer, acting in malice to try to destroy the reputation and good name of Michael Nugent.

No evidence was produced for this smear by Myers, and his behaviour previous to that is a smoking gun that Myers smeared Nugent from malice.

147 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Ariel:

“By the way, I recommend to everyone the excellent latest OP by Stephanie. It’s titled “The Ogvorbis Boondoggle”.”

Yeah, right. Good luck with that. I think we don’t have the same understanding of what “excellent” means.

148 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Stephanie Zvan has now turned her massive, erm, intellect on the Ogvorbis case. I think this is the money quote:

Saying, “Mick Nugent provides a haven for rapists”, isn’t a significantly different statement from “Mick Nugent won’t allow people accused of rape to be named on his blog in order to protect their reputations. He will, however, allow people to grossly mischaracterize the circumstances of the accusations in his comments in order to suggest the accused person is innocent.” Saying, “FtB provides a haven for child rapists”, is a significantly different statement from “Commenters at Pharyngula provide emotional support to one of their own who admits to having raped other children after having been sexually abused himself.”

It differs in the behavior described. It differs in the breadth of behavior. It differs in the disclosure of mitigating circumstances. It’s simply different from start to finish.

Anyone with at least one functioning brain cell will notice that the first two things she compares are totally different, yet declared to be not significantly different, while the last two things she compared are not significantly different, yet declared to be significantly different.

“Because reasons,” to use SJW speak.

Is Comical Ali’s job still vacant? Stephanie Zvan would be a worthy successor.

This says it all, though: “Commenters at Pharyngula provide emotional support to one of their own who admits to having raped other children after having been sexually abused himself.”

“One of their own.” Indeed, that must be it.

http://www.freezepage.com/1414776771JKRWGOJTAC

149 Gerhard October 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm

“Unless Myers has evidence that people posting here have, in fact, committed rape, honesty and integrity require a retraction and apology.”

“Or an explanation of what it means to “provide a haven and defend” (while keeping the meaning of “rapist” constant) and moving to a further discussion with the meaning taken for granted. Attempts at such explanation were made (I admit that not by Myers).”

Ariel.
“Provide a haven and defend” has a fairly clear meaning. Why should any alternative explanation from anyone other than PZ Myers be accepted? What excuses him from making a clarification when he must know perfectly well that his comments, as phrased, are at the very least interpretable as saying that Michael Nugent is knowingly harbouring rapists amongst his commenters? Its almost as if truth doesn’t matter to PZ. Whatever evasive interpretations you wish to apply, Myers is still making unsubstantiated smears unless he can demonstrate that there actually exist rapists being extended whatever form of haven is being offered.

150 Jan Steen October 31, 2014 at 6:59 pm

@Phil Giordana FCD,

Yeah, right. Good luck with that. I think we don’t have the same understanding of what “excellent” means.

That’s because you are using the dictionary definition of ‘excellent’, you silly man.

But I agree, ‘excellent’ is not the expression that springs to mind when reading Zvan’s piece. ‘Devious and hopelessly contorted’ is nearer to the mark, I’d say.

151 john welch October 31, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Ariel @ 136:

(1) I’m not a Pharyngula commenter and I don’t think my opinion has any weigh for PZ,
(2) I know too little about what PZ thinks of the situation (in terms of costs and gains) to be a reliable advisor. In fact I’m not sure at all if any further engagement on his part would be a good idea. Just an example of one worry among the many: whatever his clarifications, serious distortions and further shitstorm would be practically guaranteed. One hundred percent certainty. So perhaps at this stage relying on other people would be a better strategy? I’m too unsure of myself here to be able to give advise.

So in other words, you’re too afraid of the reaction of the commentariat at Pharyngula to even question PZ?

yet the bad people are *here*?

I want to emphasize that these are my purely private thoughts and doubts, in no way reflecting what other people might think. And if my (2) is (to your taste) too much about strategy, then I would answer that when giving reliable advice, you just should take such factors into account.

And by not asking him, it means you can use the “i have no idea” dodge forever. Double word score.

Of course, you don’t seem to have a problem guessing PZ’s thoughts when you’re insisting he didn’t really mean “rapist”. Then you’re quite willing to engage in supposition on what he thinks.

Funny how you draw that line.

By the way, I consider all of this as *irrelevant* to this conversation and I wrote this comment only because you insisted so much, almost ready to consider me a troll otherwise. May I know why you asked such a question? Why does the answer matter to you? What does it say about my “credentials”? And what sort of “credentials” did you expect, anyway? Did you see what I do here as some attempts at mediation, for fuck’s sake? If so, I assure you that you are completely wrong. I’m not a peacemaker. Never. If you want to know why, read the last sentence at this link:

No, no, I don’t see you as trying to be a peacemaker Ariel. That would require far better writing and reasoning than you’ve shown. You’re just defending the behavior of behavers you approve of, (PZ et al) even though said behavior is exactly the same as the behavior of behavers you don’t approve of and castigate those people for.

You’re just as much of a hypocrite as PZ, he’s just smarter than you about it.

152 piero October 31, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Zvan says:

Saying, “Mick Nugent provides a haven for rapists”, isn’t a significantly different statement from “Mick Nugent won’t allow people accused of rape to be named on his blog in order to protect their reputations. He will, however, allow people to grossly mischaracterize the circumstances of the accusations in his comments in order to suggest the accused person is innocent.”

Not significantly different? Maybe Zvan has no brain. Maybe her young mind was abused by an invasive thought that traumatised her neurons, and now they can only produce truth-raping thoughts. Be it as it may, it is clear to anyone that not naming people accused of rape is the decent, responsible thing to do in the face of incomplete information. It is not, of course, the same or even at all related to harbouring rapists: in order to accuse someone of harbouring rapists, you have to actually know they are rapists. And Zvan does not know; she believes, with the unthinking certainty a muslim might believe that Muhammed took off in a winged horse, but does not know. It does not occur to her that us lesser mortals have to get by on evidence alone. She is unable to comprehend the reasoning behind “innocent until proven guilty.” She cannot fathom why mob rule is not a good idea. In short, she is a disgrace to any movement that claims to be motivated by secularism and clear thinking. If she were to say, for example: “I am personally convinced of X’s guilt, and I wish Nugent would support me even if I cannot produce evidence for my belief,” that would be at least respectable; but accusing Michael of protecting criminals just because he happens to behave ethically is disgraceful.

153 tina October 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm

So…Zvan’s excellent Ogvorbis Boondoggle post eh? Let’s see…..

You’ll notice that there’s no actual “criteria” given that we fit, just the statement that we fit it. There’s no indication what we’re supposed to be protecting Ogvorbis from, what kind of safety we offer.

And yet MN is providing a haven for rapists somehow? No, the issue is not the word haven, it is the word rapist.

And that’s before we even get to the idea that everyone at FtB is the same person taking the same action.

Er…no, that’s a deliberate projection. Don’t bother trying that one again.

Pitchguest is a whiny little metal-head from Sweden who joins the rest of the slime pit in thinking the fact that Ogvorbis has received emotional support on Pharyngula means all of FtB is somehow corrupt on the topic of sexual assault.

No, that’s your telepathic incompetence and snide self in overdrive again.

I’ve also made some comments privately to people that the people trying to turn Ogvorbis into a political football disgusted me.

Nope. Ogvorbis is a rapist. Deal with the principle in question, not the person.

Frankly, I can’t find anyone here at FtB providing haven. We don’t have the power to prosecute…

OK…follow that thought through a bit further.

There’s nothing I can see that Ogvorbis is being protected from.

And his victims? Perhaps Og is in dire need of help as well?

..Ogvorbis receives compassion from commenters at Pharyngula. Several of them regularly express sympathy for him as a survivor of sexual abuse and confidence in his ability to successfully cope with his “demons”.

And this confidence is based on clinical competence? What if he can’t manage to keep his demons under control?

They can’t engage with even a basic definition of the terms.

You first. Go for a simple one. Rapist.

Saying, “Mick Nugent provides a haven for rapists”, isn’t a significantly different statement from “Mick Nugent won’t allow people accused of rape to be named on his blog in order to protect their reputations.

So, back to obfuscation and word play.

“Commenters at Pharyngula provide emotional support to one of their own who admits to having raped other children after having been sexually abused himself.”

Who is providing the emotional support and therapy to Ogs victims? Pharyngulites?

In other words, this story slime pitters have poured to much time and energy into is a lie. It’s also yet one more lie that Mick Nugent continues to allow in his comments.

Nope. We deal in facts. You deal in lies and obfuscation and the reddest of red herrings. And you’re trying it on again with another attempt to move from the point by complaining what MN ‘allows’ in his comments.

I wonder what sort of comments Zvan ‘allows’ on her blog. Shall we look?

154 john welch October 31, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Or an explanation of what it means to “provide a haven and defend” (while keeping the meaning of “rapist” constant) and moving to a further discussion with the meaning taken for granted. Attempts at such explanation were made (I admit that not by Myers).

Patrick, personally I think that if “providing a haven and defending” was intended (as I think it was) to mean something else than “having actual rapists in the comment section”, then the wording was bad. I wrote it on FtB, I have no problem with writing it also here.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Our candy is an actual direct answer by Ariel. And you thought miracles only happened at Lourdes.

So now…

1) Given that you insist that anyone other than PZ cannot speak for PZ, how do Zvan’s attempts at handwaving the problem away have any validity whatsoever? PZ would be the only person who can explain what PZ meant, so in the end, Zvan cannot do that, and her “explanation” has no value whatsoever in this instance.

2) Since PZ refuses to explain what he ‘really’ meant, and since you now (FINALLY) admit that rapist has a consistent unambiguous meaning, how is it okay for PZ, (and again there’s evidence in this case) to provide a haven for an admitted rapist, but bad for Michael (with no evidence whatsoever) to do the exact same thing and have PZ not be a hypocrite?

155 john welch October 31, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Saying, “Mick Nugent provides a haven for rapists”, isn’t a significantly different statement from “Mick Nugent won’t allow people accused of rape to be named on his blog in order to protect their reputations.

Oh bless her heart.

Why would they have to be named on Michael’s blog? Surely the names and the proof could be provided anywhere and be just as valid.

Funny how they won’t do that on their blogs either. But I love the insinuation that they HAVE the proof, but somehow, Michael won’t allow them to reveal it. Because Michael is all powerful. (Cue the upcoming complaint that Michael is such a figure of power in the “community” that they don’t dare speak out against him too much, and only people like PZ dare risk it.)

The way she dances around the truth, she should be on broadway.

156 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 7:38 pm

“I have an envelope here with some names…”

Familiar?

157 tina October 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Pierro @151 “Mick Nugent won’t allow people accused of rape to be named on his blog in order to protect their reputations. He will, however, allow people to grossly mischaracterize the circumstances of the accusations in his comments in order to suggest the accused person is innocent.”

Both sentences mind reading MN again. Very bad habit.

Big difference between ‘accused of’ and ‘charged with’ or ‘convicted of’ rape. Again, another attempt to divert topic to [redacted person] with a side order of more mind reading prowess.

158 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 7:53 pm

I too have a comment in moderation, probably because I used the word “famil_i_a_r” which countains “l_i_a_r”. Auto-mod is a real pain.

159 tina October 31, 2014 at 8:03 pm

PZ Myers says
October 31, 2014 at 11:59 am
I must also point out that there’s even more to the story: Ogvorbis also demonstrates compassion in his comments, and expresses a deep guilt and remorse for his past actions…and not in a manipulative way. This is a guy who was a victim first and foremost, and also once did great harm, and now suffers for it.
No one “forgives” his wrong actions — we can’t do that — but we do know that the story is a lot more complicated than the slymers make it out to be.

160 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 8:15 pm

“the story is a lot more complicated than the slymers make it out to be”

Err, no. We relay it as it was posted by the very person who admitted to it.

161 tina October 31, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Since it appears we have the attention of Mr Myers I wonder if he would care to provide an explanation, a retraction or an apology for this comment.

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

Take your time.

162 Sharon Madison October 31, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Ariel said:

(2) I know too little about what PZ thinks of the situation (in terms of costs and gains) to be a reliable advisor. In fact I’m not sure at all if any further engagement on his part would be a good idea. Just an example of one worry among the many: whatever his clarifications, serious distortions and further shitstorm would be practically guaranteed. One hundred percent certainty. So perhaps at this stage relying on other people would be a better strategy? I’m too unsure of myself here to be able to give advise.

I disagree with this assessment of the situation. Michael has proven himself to be a reasonable person who would willingly accept an apology. If P.Z. Myers apologized, Michael would accept and the discussion about this particular issue would be over.

It isn’t that hard to apologize. The following would be sufficient -“I was wrong when I said that Michael is providing a haven for rapists. I sincerely apologize for having done so.” This simple apology would cover what most people have interpreted his statement to mean (and what you seem to think the statement means. I’m unclear as to what you think the meaning is despite having read all of your comments on the matter.)

A “clarification” would be nothing more than excuse-making when it is readily apparent that Michael and many other people are interpreting what P.Z. said in a reasonable way. The fact that you want to interpret P.Z’s. statement differently doesn’t make those who disagree with you wrong about what they think the statement means. P.Z. needs to apologize for what he said, not clarify it. After apologizing, if he chooses to, he can make a different statement which people may or may not wish to discuss.

P.Z. seems keen on advocating for apologies. He’s even given lessons on how to make them. It’s unfortunate that he is so reluctant to make apologies of his own.

163 john welch October 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Funny how, when talking about a Clear, there’s nuance, intent, and being really, really sorry matters.

But if you’re an SP, BURN THE HERETIC.

I’m surprised he even believes his own silliness at this point.

164 john welch October 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm

however, the fact that PZ now has to start justifying the haven he’s provided a self-admitted rapist does show that Michael’s approach is working.

165 piero October 31, 2014 at 8:43 pm

@tina:

Since it appears we have the attention of Mr Myers I wonder if he would care to provide an explanation, a retraction or an apology for this comment.

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

Take your time.

Yes, the crucial point has become somewhat swamped by obfuscation and side issues. Things that I consider irrelevant (not insignificant; just irrelevant to this thread):

1. Ogvorbis. It has already been established beyond reasonable doubt that FtB bloggers are hypocrites.
2. Alternative interpretations. Given that Myers is alive, there’s no need to speculate on his real meaning: he has neither disowned nor clarified his statements, hence their ostensible meaning stands.
3. Anything said by any FtB blogger other than Myers. Zvan has somehow adopted the role of Myers’s exegete, but there’s no valid reason to engage her instead of him.

So I join tina in asking Myers for a retraction and an apology.
.
.
.
.
.
.
(several weeks later) Myers, are you there?

166 Rashiv October 31, 2014 at 8:57 pm

In an alternate universe where everything was the same as this universe, except that Ogvorbis didn’t comment on Pharyngula, but rather the Slymepit, people PZ, Stephanie, and Ophelia would declare him a completely evil and monstrous rapist who should be locked up.

With the People’s Republic of FreethoughtBlogs, it’s all about the tribalism, not the behavior. Rape is OK when they do it.

Guess that’s why there’s no rapists on the Slymepit.

167 Nonofyur October 31, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Just which member of a Slymepit website is he accusing of being a rapist? I wonder.

168 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Ogvorbis. Admitted rapist who posts on the Slymepit all the ti… no, wait, he posts at Pharyngula.

Seriously, he’s the only, ONLY self-admitted rapist to post on any atheists forum/blog I’m aware of. And it turns out it’s the one blog, or blog group, that attacks anyone based on “rape culture” (scare quotes intended).

Meanwhile, the Pit has its share of rape victims who strongly disagree with FTB politics, but it’s all fine to call them rapists because the Pit is “evil” and a den of “rapists”.

Yeah, go figure it out.

169 john welch October 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Good point Phil.

Funny how “lived experience” and “believe the victim” only applies to Clear.

170 Crackity Jones October 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Ariel: By the way, I recommend to everyone the excellent latest OP by Stephanie. It’s titled “The Ogvorbis Boondoggle”.

Ariel, since you don’t seem to want to answer my previous questions, perhaps you can answer this one.

Does Stephanie’s latest post make it clear that are GRADATIONS of rape? Just to clarify this question, Stephanie is making a VERY determined effort to distinguish one rape from another alleged rape, on the basis of various circumstances.

If not, I’d really love to hear why not. Perhaps Richard Dawkins would like to know as well, since he was pummeled for suggesting legally there are gradations.

171 piero October 31, 2014 at 10:02 pm

@Crackity:

Does Stephanie’s latest post make it clear that are GRADATIONS of rape?

No, you don’t understand: there are indeed gradations from the rapist’s point of view, but there are none from the victim’s; to victims it’s even offensive to suggest that some of them might have been more traumatised than others.

But it doesn’t really matter, because Zvan &Co. don’t give a flying toss about Og’s victims. For all they care, they might as well be dead.

172 piero October 31, 2014 at 10:04 pm

@Noneofyur:

Just which member of a Slymepit website is he accusing of being a rapist? I wonder.

None. Which is the coward’s way of smearing everyone.

173 Phil Giordana FCD October 31, 2014 at 11:08 pm

AFAIK, there are no rapists on the Pit. You can quote me on this.

174 john welch October 31, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Well, there’s rape and then there’s RAPE.

rape is what Clear do, RAPE is what SPs do.

duh.

175 Ariel November 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Sharon Madison #162

I disagree with this assessment of the situation. Michael has proven himself to be a reasonable person who would willingly accept an apology. If P.Z. Myers apologized, Michael would accept and the discussion about this particular issue would be over.

Sharon, perhaps I would be more inclined to answer “yes, you are right” if this was just a misunderstanding between PZ and Michael.
Your picture of the situation seems to be like this: there are two gentlemen involved, one of them will apologize, the other will accept the apology – done and over. “Ah, dear Mr. Darcy, it was all my fault!” “Thank you, old chap, and by Jove, it’s forgotten!”. Nice and charming, isn’t it?

The thing is only that … Sharon, are you completely sure we are reading one and the same comment section of one and the same blog? Have you ever by any chance read this? I’m sorry, but no, I don’t believe even for a moment that it would be over. I may be a Pollyanna, but not to such a degree.

I also read your other comments, not only the recent one. You keep insisting that “It isn’t that hard to apologize.” And I almost agree with you. Almost. Change your words to “It shouldn’t be that hard to apologize” and you have my full agreement. The change however is significant. A part of the meaning is now “The circumstances which make it difficult shouldn’t exist”.

Imagine a group of people observing every your move, always ready to score ‘gotcha’ points against you (see practically everything about Ogvorbis here), always ready to present their opponents like … like this, maybe (post 373). Imagine in fact that the focus on *you* is the whole rationale of this group’s existence. Imagine yourself living with such a group in the background – not for a mere couple of days, but for one year, two years … Take into consideration that: (1) if you apologize for something, it will be used ruthlessly against you; (2) if you don’t apologize, it will be also used ruthlessly against you. And please, please, in all of this try to keep in mind that no, it is definitely *not* a discussion of two gentlemen.

I know close to nothing about you. Perhaps having such a group in the background wouldn’t change anything in your behavior. Perhaps you’ve already had such experiences and you stayed with your “it isn’t that hard” in spite of them. In this case I admire you. Sincerely. Not even a trace of irony here.

176 Patrick November 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Myers chooses to stick his fingers in his ears rather than either support his claims or retract them and apologize: http://www.freezepage.com/1414852291LLZKZDOFCB

So gosh, no, he [Michael Nugent] won’t be getting a retraction or an apology.

Myers is not a skeptic, he’s not honest, he has no integrity, and he is toxic to organized atheism. I hope that his documented behavior will give any conference organizer pause before inviting him or his associates at FtB to speak. They do not represent the skepticism and atheism I support.

177 Steven Carr November 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm

PZ Myers
Michael Nugent may want an illusion of decorum, and so wants to defend the right of rapists and harassers to thrive in anonymity…

CARR
This is malicious slander, designed to besmirch the reputation and good name of Michael Nugent, and Myers produces no evidence that Michael Nugent wants to defend the rights of rapists to thrive.

By the way, isn’t Myers an American? Doesn’t he think American citizens have rights, one of which is the right to stand in a courtroom and defend yourself against accusations of rape?

178 john welch November 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm

One would hope that AI would take the behavior of the FTB/Skepchick lot into account when planning speakers for their next conference.

There are plenty of really good speakers, male, female, and trans, who are not vicious asshats, and who would be an asset to their conference. Booze sales would be down, but so would problems.

179 Steven Carr November 1, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Perhaps it should be pointed out that Myers is also providing a haven for malicious slander in his commentariat.

Also the last paragraph says ‘Michael Nugent shelters and encourages harassers, and thinks the problem of sexism within atheism is purely American….’

No evidence is produced that Michael Nugent encourages harrassment of anybody, and note that Myers is trying to edge away from his claim that Nugent provides a haven for rapists.

Even Myers know that that was slander, thrown out in a fit of malice, and is now trying to back away from his slanderous allegations, without , however, ever apologising or formally withdrawing them.

180 john welch November 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Myers is Clear, Nugent is SP. Nothing Myers says against an SP is wrong or out of line.

181 Jan Steen November 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

@Ariel,

And please, please, in all of this try to keep in mind that no, it is definitely *not* a discussion of two gentlemen.

For once, I agree with you. This is not between two gentlemen. This is between one gentleman, Michael Nugent, and one scumbag who can’t sink any lower even if he tried.

Myers should read this:
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/10/31/tonight-i-am-feeling-sad-and-proud-and-lonely-and-re-inspired-thank-you-for-everything-anne/

He should shut up and listen, for once, as his kind always insists from others. And then withdraw in shame into his basement, never to be heard of again. Because Myers will have realized what a despicable lowlife he really is. That is, if he had any self-awareness and human decency left, which seems doubtful.

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