Once upon a time, there was an apology, a non-apology and a retracted apology

by Michael Nugent on November 3, 2014

I have just had this Twitter conversation, and I don’t think it needs any commentary. I’ll just let it speak for itself.

1. The apology

Ophelia – Michael “no smears” Nugent has no problem with people on his blog saying it’s fine to call me “[vulgar term deleted]”

SpokesGay – Why is it OK for your commenters to refer to your interlocutor as a “[vulgar term deleted]” @ micknugent?

Len Sanook – That is a leading/biased question. You could ask @ micknugent his thoughts on a specific comment. Why imply he thinks it’s OK?

Me to SpokesGay – I’m surprised you think that is okay. I don’t. Also, it didn’t happen. You misread the comment. A commenter complained that someone else had said that elsewhere. I’ve redacted the name and the vulgar term.

Me to Len Sanook – SpokesGay misread the comment. It said the opposite of what he thought it did.

SpokesGay – Yes, I was wrong and jumped to a conclusion. Apologies.

Me – Thanks. Apology accepted.

2. The non-apology

Ophelia – Michael “no smears” Nugent has no problem with people on his blog saying it’s fine to call me “[vulgar term deleted]”

Me – Nonsense. A commenter said that it *isn’t* okay to call you that. I agree. And I’ve redacted the name and vulgar term.

Ophelia – Well that’s a first. Countless other slurs & lies remain. And you ignored it until now.

Me – Is that an apology? And I didn’t ignore it. It was posted today, and I addressed it once I saw it.

Ophelia – Once you saw my tweet, you mean. You’ve ignored countless others. Of course it’s not an apology. You have hundreds of dishonest slurs of me on your blog; you invite them.

Me – Why isn’t it an apology? You accused me of something, and you were mistaken. Please apologise. As always, show me something defamatory and I will remove it. I have done that before, and you have thanked me for doing so.

Ophelia – And I did not thank you. I did not thank you for inviting people to post slurs about me on your blog. Ever.

Me – 1) I didn’t invite people to post slurs about you. Ever. 2) You did thank me for removing comments about you.

Ophelia – I tried to explain it to you in those 2 skype convos but you wouldn’t listen.

Me – You said at the time that the Skype calls went well, and you were now happy to be coming to Ireland.

Peter Ferguson – She has now blocked you.

Me – Has she? Just after I reminded her she was happy at the time about a Skype call she is now complaining about?

Peter – Not sure if she has seen that but I just saw her mention to SpokesGay that she has blocked you.

3. The retracted apology

I then checked and read this parallel exchange:

Ophelia – Michael “no smears” Nugent has no problem with people on his blog saying it’s fine to call me “[vulgar term deleted]”

Donnie – Would it be appropriate to compare MN as the Timothy Dolan of atheism (minus the pedophelia)? Likes silence, protect reps.

Ophelia – It would. Mind you, he says nuh uh, it’s COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, but his reasoning is opaque.

SpokesGay – Seriously. This is so stupid as to be even too ridiculous for him. WHY IS THIS OK NUGENT?

SpokesGay – Why is it OK for your commenters to refer to your interlocutor as a “[vulgar term deleted]” @ micknugent?

Ophelia – Silly, it’s because HE’S not being called it.

SpokesGay – Or Dawkins. The rest don’t rate minimal respect. It’s so absurd you almost can’t believe it, you know?

Ophelia – Imagine if we called him some slur for “Irish” but pretended it was ok because specific to him. Explosions would ensue.

SpokesGay – And he’d immediately expect you to have banished such a commenter yesterday without having it pointed out to you.

Ophelia – I’d have banished or rebuked before he saw it.

Improbable Joe – Don’t have to imagine. They accused me of it for calling him “Mick”

Ophelia – Despite his Twitter handle. Brilliant.

SpokesGay – I’ve got nothing.

To which I replied – If you are using “explosions” as a slur for “Irish”, that’s quite clever.

I also read this parallel exchange:

SpokesGay – Why is it OK for your commenters to refer to your interlocutor as a “[vulgar term deleted]” @ micknugent?

Doug Stevens to SpokesGay – I think you may exaggerate a bit. Have you read the linked comment per chance.

SpokesGay – I have no idea what you are referring to.

Doug – the offending comment OB tweeted saying it was ok to call her a [vulgar term deleted]. The commenter says the opposite.

SpokesGay – Thank you. I was incorrect.

Ophelia – incorrect about what?

SpokesGay – Incorrect in saying he thought it was OK. In fact, he called it out as not OK.

Ophelia – Nooooooooooo you weren’t. JJ called it out, other disputed.

SpokesGay – Oh. Am I to understand the comment sat there unremarked upon by Nugent until somebody said something?

Ophelia – Yes. Of course it did. They all do.

SpokesGay – Then I retract my apology to @ michaelnugent. Yes, he dealt with it. But not of his own accord. SOP for him. Sigh.

Ophelia – Time for me to block him. I should have done it sooner.

Ophelia – There, that’s better.

I then replied to Peter and SpokesGay:

Me to Peter – Yes, I just saw that. And SpokesGay has now retracted his apology to me. Honestly, they’re unfathomable. Also, he has retracted his apology to me by tagging @ michaelnugent, who isn’t me, and who will be totally confused.

Me to SpokesGay – I’m unsure of the protocol here. Do I now have to withdraw my acceptance of your retracted apology?

Secular Bloke – Don’t worry, the retraction was to a different account. They’re not the brightest.

Atheist Alan – Everyone should just withdraw everything then sort this all out with pistols at dawn.

Ines Ortega – This quarrel is more and more entangled. Do U mean a formal duel, as before, with sponsors and everything? Clothes?  I mean, nineteenth century or contemporary clothing shd they wear?

Atheist Alan – 19th century, let’s make it a proper spectacle!

Tim Skellett – Unbelievable conduct on their part.

Ongoing_! – LMAO

4. Postscript

This is the exchange that led to Ophelia blocking me:

Ophelia – I tried to explain it to you in those 2 skype convos but you wouldn’t listen.

Me – You said at the time that the Skype calls went well, and you were now happy to be coming to Ireland.

For the record, here are Ophelia’s blog posts about those Skype calls just after they happened:

8 June 2013 – Oh look, blue sky

I’m much more optimistic about the Dublin conference now* – and thus able to be excited about it again. It’s going to tackle important subjects, and Ireland needs it. Lucky lucky me to get to be involved.

There’s a bit of privilege for you.

The clouds really are parting here, the band of blue really is bright, the colorful sails on the many sailboats on the Sound are festive.

*Because there’s been some communication.

9 June 2013 – Pick up the Skype

I mentioned yesterday that I was more cheerful about the Dublin conference, and added that it was because there had been some communication. I was cryptic about it because I’d forgotten to ask if it would be ok for me to mention it.

(Some buffoon pretended to think I was making a threat. Seriously – “there’s been some communication” – a threat.

Not a communication, some communication. And why would that be a threat anyway? Jeezis.)

I repaired the omission today, so I can be less obscure: I’ve talked to Michael Nugent and Jane Donnelly, and it went well. (Nothing to BE AFRAID of there, either. It went well, meaning what that normally means, not what it means in a TV show about MI5.)

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{ 174 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shermertron November 3, 2014 at 2:58 am

I am very sorry to say that it seems that Benson and the other FTB folks simply can’t be taken at their word. At least not when they’re talking with a member of the out-group.

Just today, Benson willfully distorted what people said at this blog regarding the crude insult made against her elsewhere that was discussed in a previous thread.

Yet again, I thank Mr. Nugent for his patience in dealing with these people and I hope you keep it up, now that you have them lashing out in such a desperate manner.

2 Crackity Jones November 3, 2014 at 4:00 am

Michael, sorry you have to put up such dishonest troublemakers in the atheism/skepticism community.

I am currently contacting Center 4 Inquiry regarding Benson’s absurd behavior.

PS – Does Ophelia remove defamation and lies from her commentary at Butterflies and Wheels? Nope, don’t think so.

3 SF November 3, 2014 at 4:31 am

Michael you made the mistake of providing a haven for rapists, misogynists and harassers, i.e. you allow critics of PZ Myers, Benson, Svan et. al. to post on your blog, so have become a “creep” and a “twit” using just a couple of the many unrebuked epithets of PZ’s flock. You don’t answer back to creeps and twits, goons, tools. and kooks, you simply act as rude as possible and treat them with as much contempt as possible, since they are simply not worthy of responses. Most prominent atheists from Peter Boghossian, Richard Dawkins, DJ Grothe, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne etc, etc, etc. etc. etc. etc., have joined this club in mindset of these radical histrionic self-righteous self-appointed primadonnas. Anyway keep up the good work, it just more and more exposes their fundamental dishonesty and hypocrisy.

4 Blueshift Rhino November 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

I feel a tad sorry for SpokesGay because he seems incapable of checking anything for himself and, therefore, has an opinion that matches that of whomever spoke to him last. One might be tempted to give him some credit for the (later retracted) apology, but that appears to have been made only because he had a brief exchange with someone with accurate information. As soon as he came in contact with someone else, in this case OB, an authority figure with inaccurate information, he swung back away.

I also feel sorry for J.J., with whom I have had positive exchanges here on MN’s blog, because I’m quite sure that J.J. can see through most of this. (And, J.J., please know [when you get to the last paragraph of this] that I do not see you as a member of the Horde.)

But mostly I feel sorry for the folks who trust the FTB “elite” to give them complete and accurate information. I beg them to compare MN’s posts and some of the comments in the previous thread (especially the long one by Jan Steen) to what they are being given on PZ’s and OB’s blogs. Instead of bits and pieces that leave out critical sections (as best exemplified by PZ blog posts), MN has been giving entire exchanges on Twitter, while Jan and others have given complete quotes in comments, with the needed links to originals.

With all that said, I’m back to urging MN to ignore the Horde (as I urged after latsot and oolon). You will not make this stop by engaging with them because, as you can see, the moment that they come back in contact with the FTB “elite” everything that you’ve done will be wiped away in a flash. And even if you managed to straighten out a few Hordelings, there’s too many and they’ll just make more. No, I urge you to stay focused on PZ and OB and Zvan. Treat the disease, not the symptoms. But thanks, either way.

5 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

The idea that homosexuals are a single entity for whom one person can speak is homophobic. It’s as absurd as Benson claiming she speaks on behalf of all women.

Why do so many of Myers baboons affect such pompous, self-aggrandising titles?

6 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

It would be tragic if FTB were to boycott atheist meetings in Ireland because what the Irish really need is to be a proxy battlefield for US campus bullshit.

7 Jan Steen November 3, 2014 at 9:23 am

So now both Peezus and Oafie have blocked you. You must be devastated.

Maybe you can get Ophelia Benson to unblock you if you promise her a free ticket to Ireland, with fully paid accommomation and access to a microphone at a conference. Not that she will say anything worth the investment, but it will make her happy. You should promise to have a straitjacket ready in case the dreaded Justin Vacula shows up (not sure if it will be needed for Justin or for Ophelia, though). I also suggest that there’s a bowl with M&Ms in her favourite colour available at all times.

But why bother?

8 Gunboat Diplomat November 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

Bensonasia is at war with Nugentonia. Bensonasia has always been at war with Nugentonia. To think there was a time which they were allies is thoughtcrime.

9 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

I’ve said it before, but it is really depressing to see Ophelia Benson like this, throwing around accusations without feeling the need to back them up, unable or unwilling to accurately describe what she is criticising. She used to be one of the best things on the internet, I think, until she abandoned her wider readership for the applause of the frankly peculiar little clique that hang around on her FtB blog.

10 Acleron November 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

So she is complaining that MN took action when a complaint was made? Incredible.

And of course this is just distraction activity. She is frustrated that the original insults and smears of Myers have blown up in their faces. They are incapable of admitting the slightest wrong and are spiralling evermore to complete irrationality.

I very briefly read an article on how a cult responded when the promised alien overlords failed to materialise. Others may remember it in more detail. The take home message for me was the further delusions required to explain their absence and the very slow decay of the social cohesiveness of the group. I contend we are seeing a similar event.

11 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

Ophelia – Imagine if we called him some slur for “Irish” but pretended it was ok because specific to him. Explosions would ensue.

Right: Irish = IRA.

Sick.

12 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

“So she is complaining that MN took action when a complaint was made? Incredible.”

Yes it is very strange.. Her complaint seems to be that Nugent allowed a description of her that she has herself published many times to appear in his comments section and that he only dealt with it when it was brought to his attention. Even stranger, the comment was criticising the use of the ugly language and you might assume that she would think that a good thing, especially as she has herself published the words in question in order to criticise them. She still does not think it enough that Nugent redacted the offensive words and her name even though she herself does not redact them when she comments on them. She seems to think that he ought to have dealt with the objectionable phrase before he knew it was there and despite the fact that she agrees with the comment that quoted it and is happy to have it appear elsewhere, including on her own website.

It is impossible to understand what her complaint is. When challenged with all or any of this she just changes the subject saying ‘there are many other examples’, although she cannot actually point to a single other example, and then she blocks. Sad.

13 Isen November 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

I find it amusing that Ophelia Benson gets so upset at “slurs” when she herself has no problem publishing them or repeating them on her own blog without a second thought (which after reading her blog is no surprise given there does not even seem to be the first thought in them.)

However upset she (and Myers) might be about the Slymepit’s obnoxious and crass mockery of her and the FtB clique I think it telling that neither group can quite stay away from each other and seem to spend an inordinate amount of time writing to and about each other.

It is obvious that both groups are acting like petulant children however at least those of the Slymepit (from what I have seen) are not making some pretence that their proclamations are the incontrovertible Truth which Atheists must adhere to or be condemned to Misogynist Hell.

Benson, Myers and the rest appear to have over-inflated egos which makes them think any criticism or mockery of them (and there is so much to criticise and mock) is beyond the pale, but themselves have no problem with accusing people of being Rapists based on schoolyard gossip. An accusation which has far worse real world ramifications than anything that those goons at the Slymepit might have labelled them.

As such I think they are the single biggest problem facing the international Atheist community. They, like Rebecca Watson before them have attempted to direct all discussion to be about them. They show neither skepticism or reason and care nothing about the harm that they do to people in order to make money on their blogs.

At this point I think it would be advisable for them to be considered personae non gratae by the international Atheist community both online and in the real world. They benefit no-one but themselves while claiming the community is little more than a bunch of sexual predators.

FtB is the Westboro Baptist Church of Online Atheism. Be done with it.

14 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

“Benson, Myers and the rest appear to have over-inflated egos which makes them think any criticism or mockery of them (and there is so much to criticise and mock) is beyond the pale”

They have a weird lack of a sense of scale. Actually, I think this is truer of Ophelia Benson than PZ Myers (I think he fakes a large part of his indignation). Benson was justifiably upset by an obscene caricature of her that did the rounds a little while ago, for example, and I felt for her over that. But she was equally indignant over, and seemed to see no difference in, a satirical cartoon of her and Dawkins that did not mock her in a vulgar way but simply made a political point with some humour (how much humour will depend on your point of view). But everything is always equally awful or equally awesome. It is a dizzying, nuance-free state of mind to exist in and I can’t think that it would be easy to be like that for long without some upset to the mental equilibrium.

15 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

Wow. They seem to have actually lost the ability to understand plain English. Could this be an inevitable effect of constantly trying to redefine language to fit an agenda?

16 Jan Steen November 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I had a look at the talk by Ophelia Benson at the Atheist Ireland conference last year, just to see what the fuss had all been about. This otherwise unmemorable experience has finally provided me with proof of one of my suspicions: that Ms. Benson lives in some kind of parallel universe. She gave a ten minute speech about abortion in the United States. These are her opening words:

My role here today would be to make you feel slightly better about the Irish situation. In case you are under any illusion that Ireland is remarkably bad on this subject, the United States is at least as bad.

In the universe I inhabit it is no illusion that Ireland is remarkably bad with respect to abortion rights, and it would be ludicrous to declare the US to be at least as bad. But not so in Benson’s universe, apparently. Now I’m left wondering: which airline company operates flights between our respective universes? Those tickets must be incredibly expensive. Flying at warp speed ain’t cheap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnpXTDxfF3o

17 Bartacus November 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Minnow @14

“They seem to have a weird lack of sense of scale”

Indeed, in more ways than one. No matter how important anyone thinks the wider issues are, in the grand scale of things there are not that many people watching really, as an example Anita Sarkeesians’ FeministFrequency Youtube channel has around 175,000 subscribers, so even with the recent Gamergate interest that is not a large number when compared to a channel like PewDiePie with nearly 32 million!

Benson also seems to be very US-centric, I don’t know if she has travelled much, but certainly riding the conference gravy train must expose her to different experiences and places, I suppose that just proves how strong the kool-aid is.

Ultimately she seems determined to be and remain offended, so it doesn’t matter what is said in any interaction with her, the maximum amount of faux-outrage and pity points will be farmed. Instead of entering into a debate now, she blocks any dissenting opinion, I tried to comment on her blog recently and my comment never saw the light of day. I would like to think that she could be open to entering a dialogue with Michael but it seems that she is so invested in her ideology that any disagreement is seen as inherently hostile, and her sense of humour seems to have left town long ago.

18 Sharon Madison November 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm

For those who are pleased (like I am) that Michael has taken on this battle, perhaps it would be best if we keep in mind the tactics and tone that Michael employs when engaging, and do our best to comment on his posts in keeping with the tone that Michael sets in his posts – an evidence-based, forthright statement of the situation without engaging in nasty editorializing about the characters of his opponents. That would mean that juvenile nicknames and, demonizing and dehumanizing language would not be used.

I understand the free speech mantra that many who are commenting here abide by but I don’t think it’s necessary to prove the ugly downside of upholding the principle of free speech while commenting on Michael’s site. Michael is engaged in other endeavors on a number of issues important to atheists generally and Atheist Ireland specifically. It would be good if people who come to this site for information on what Michael and Atheist Ireland are doing are not turned off by the comment sections on the posts related to the internal struggles in the atheist world.

To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the rude and crude nature of the Slymepit even though it’s not my thing. No one is forced to read that forum, so the continual complaining about it has worn pretty thin. That being said, having a laugh at the pit by calling the pit’s detractors by silly nicknames, using dehumanizing terms like “baboon”, and talking about FTBers like they are the devil incarnate should probably stay at the pit. IMO, Michael’s site requires that more formal language be used than what people would likely use in a barroom.

I don’t imagine that many people with agree with me on this issue. I’m not going to argue the point.

19 piero November 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm

For the record, these are the relevant comments that Ophelia pretended not to understand, and Tony did not even attempt to:

J. J. Ramsey wrote:
Yeah, I realized after I wrote my comment that I clearly implied the ‘pitters were harassers and misogynists, which is too broad a brush. That said, I remember d4m10n pointing out some ‘pitters [calling a named person a vulgar nickname], which looks, well, kinda misogynist. And really, there’s a lot about the ‘pitters that I would sarcastically describe as “classy.”

piero wrote:
Vulgar, yes. Misogynistic? No. Misogyny is a hatred of women (plural), not the hatred of one woman in particular. On the other hand, several FtB regulars found it very funny and clever to address Richard Dawkins as “Dear Dick:” Was that frowned upon for being misandrist? Nope.

By all means, criticise vulgarity, bad taste and disrespect, but don’t call it misogyny just because it is fashionable.

Shermertron wrote:
Again, I respectfully disagree with you. Calling [a named person a vulgar nickname] is indeed crude and may not be “classy.” Fine. But calling someone “crude” and “unclassy” isn’t a legally actionable slander that ruins reputations.

Further, you characterise [vulgar term deleted] as “kinda misogynist.” I disagree. Misogyny is the hatred of women. Whoever called Benson that name was speaking about her and only her. Not all women. One of FTB’s greatest sins is the incessant redefinition of words. Calling her the name may be classless or crude, but it doesn’t reflect the hatred of all women.

Carrie wrote:
A personal attack on Ophelia may be silly or offensive but it is not misogyny. I wish that people would not use such words incorrectly and make a nonsense of them.

20 piero November 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm

@Sharon Madison:

I don’t imagine that many people will agree with me on this issue. I’m not going to argue the point.

On the contrary, I fully agree, and I’m sure most commenters here agree too.

21 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

“… without engaging in nasty editorializing about the characters of his opponents.”

Yes, exactly, seconded, hear hear etc.

22 Steve Vanden-Eykel November 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I think Myers dug his own grave years and years ago, when he championed the rather odd idea that tone didn’t matter. Bragging about how ‘rough’ his blog was, Myers would mercilessly mock anyone who favored a more courteous and level-headed approach. “Tone-trolling” was the epithet they applied to those who valued civility. Having nailed countless people to trees for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, Myers now has absolutely no moral credibility when he complains that he himself has become the target of mockery from the Pit.

Meanwhile, his consistently startling ability to blatantly misrepresent what his critics say continues to drive away anybody with an ounce of sense. Sometimes it takes longer for people to see, but more and more, people are seeing. He’s like an animal in a trap at this point; unable to stop flailing around, even as it tightens the noose (if I may muddle a metaphor).

I’m not sympathetic. His values are not my values. I’d fight for his right to speak; he’d only fight to stop me from speaking. All he has left is his fantasy that he’s crusading for rights that aren’t under attack, for people who are already among the most privileged ever to live. You know feminism has become utterly irrelevant when its big issues are boobs in video games, and whether men should be allowed to speak to you on the street.

23 piero November 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Ophelia – Imagine if we called him some slur for “Irish” but pretended it was ok because specific to him. Explosions would ensue.

SpokesGay – And he’d immediately expect you to have banished such a commenter yesterday without having it pointed out to you.

Ophelia – I’d have banished or rebuked before he saw it.

So Ophelia inserted a slur for “Irish” in a comment concerning Michael’s imagined reaction to a slur for “Irish.” Classy!

And apparently Ophelia does nothing all day except checking the comments on her blog. Otherwise, she couldn’t be sure to have banished an insulting comment before Michael saw it.

24 tina November 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Sharon @ 17

I agree.

25 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

“And he’d immediately expect you to have banished such a commenter yesterday without having it pointed out to you.”

This bit is annoying too, Piero, since Nugent has not called for anyone to be ‘banished’, in fact is against banishing as a general rule, but is asking that defamatory smears not be allowed. It is such a reasonable demand that it has to be misrepresented.

26 tina November 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

So, where now?

I notice how far off topic from the original concern about the misrepresentations and slurs concerning leading atheists that they’ve managed to push things.

I suppose with PZ and OB now blocking and ignoring MN, the intention is to hunker down and carry on as normal as though nothing had happened. Except that as MN has now moved up several notches on their public enemy leader board he could expect to become the target of further slurs and misrepresentations.

It goes to show though that their concern is not really for an inclusive, welcoming and diverse group of people committed to promoting and working towards a secular society and ending religious descrimination, but rather towards building up an insular and self-agrandising cult based on identity and third wave feminist ideologies.

I’m not sure where I would go with this now if I were in MN’s shoes.

27 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm

“Except that as MN has now moved up several notches on their public enemy leader board he could expect to become the target of further slurs and misrepresentations.”

I would very much expect this to happen. Someone will report that there have been ‘persistent rumours’ about Michael Nugent, Ophelia B will report that report at first without comment, then with the aside that she had never felt entirely easy about Michael N and then as if the rumours were established facts. And so the wheel will turn and the butterflies will be nowhere to be seen.

28 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 1:11 pm

So Ophelia inserted a slur for “Irish” in a comment concerning Michael’s imagined reaction to a slur for “Irish.” Classy!

Yes, instead of saying ‘he’d explode’ she leapt to ‘Explosions would ensue’. Try replacing ‘Irish’ with ‘Muslim’ and argue it isn’t Islamophobic.

Some people have no understanding words have history.

29 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I broadly agree with Sharon Madison’s point about trying to keep the comments and criticisms away from mere abuse. This lot have provided plenty of opportunity for robust yet accurate criticism without us needing to casually abuse them. I have called them hypocrites, and I think that’s fair enough since there is abundant clear evidence of their hypocrisy. I have suggested that they have comprehension difficulties and that again was not intended as a lazy “god, they’re dumb” jibe: I honestly do think the evidence of their words seems to indicate some level of cognitive disorder going on.

That said, I don’t have a problem with folks just choosing to sling a few epithets their way. They certainly have no problem with slinging them in our direction.

30 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Yes, the anti-Irish jibe was sly and nasty, I thought, but the irony is that it didn’t even provoke the outraged response that was predicted. OB and others have really seem to think that their own hair-trigger indignation is the norm.

31 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm

” I have called them hypocrites, and I think that’s fair enough since there is abundant clear evidence of their hypocrisy. ”

Yes, but much stronger to outline the hypocrisy than just throw out the label.

32 GenerallyFading November 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

BlueShiftRhino @ 4

“With all that said, I’m back to urging MN to ignore the Horde (as I urged after latsot and oolon). You will not make this stop by engaging with them because, as you can see, the moment that they come back in contact with the FTB “elite” everything that you’ve done will be wiped away in a flash. And even if you managed to straighten out a few Hordelings, there’s too many and they’ll just make more. No, I urge you to stay focused on PZ and OB and Zvan. Treat the disease, not the symptoms. But thanks, either way.”

I would respectfully disagree with this, but I would like to say that I find your posts here extremely well-thought out and interesting (I like your stuff on the Pit too, but…. it’s a different environment lol). However, I feel it is better for Michael to try to deal with ALL examples of this kind of behaviour, so that the wider majority can see clearly the impact that this “group think” has on people. I find it almost unbelievable that Spokesgay not only childishly retracts his apology, it is also a very clear example of someone doing something off their own bat, away from the ‘cult crowd’ and then – as you say – as soon as they come back into contact with it, immediately reverts to previous behaviour. I find it eerily fascinating. I would have found it difficult to believe had I not seen this with my own eyes. As an atheist, I could never understand the attraction of being inducted into a religious cult, and now I see atheists being affected in the same way.

I feel that if you deal with both the symptoms and the disease, the echo chamber will grow smaller, and the people inside will simply end up shouting at one another. Aren’t we seeing this to some extent? Isn’t the list of commentators growing smaller? Perhaps it is mostly down to many realising that FtB is just a joke, but also perhaps this is an indication that now is the time to hammer out its demise for good, and that Michael loses nothing by arguing against every detractor. Do you feel it would be better for this level of stupidity to remain on the internet unchallenged?

BTW, I am well aware that the Pit also does not claim to be anything more than a site to mess around and record FtB hypocrisy. I just wanted it on record that if the overall principles which go on there are applied to one’s own life, it can make a difference, when one was heading down the road of being an “SJW”. I am not speaking for them, only from a personal point of view.

33 Hunt November 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

“And so the wheel will turn and the butterflies will be nowhere to be seen.”

Oh sure they will be, painted on Michael Nugent’s driveway.

(Sorry, inside joke.)

34 Jimbo November 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

@GenerallyFading

FTB folks are not used to being held to account for their actions. What they are used to is their victims returning fire in kind. That gives them an excuse to ignore any genuine criticism. They can just claim that person is a misogynist, slime or regressive. MN gives them no excuse to do this which makes the dialectical gymnastics they have to conjur absolutely hilarious.

I don’t think there is any better way to expose this mob for what they are than to continually and persistently and politely hold them to account.

35 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Minnow @30: well, I have actually provided specific examples of their hypocrisy in previous comments. For example, the following.

This retreat to the excuse that these abusive people are simply using “rapist” and similar slurs non-literally, or as a “rhetorical device”, is just typical of their jaw-dropping double standards. Remember all the abuse and mockery that ensued when some people referred to the libel of Michael Shermer as “witch hunt”? Or when a commenter at Pharyngula said that they were trying to lynch Shermer, and Myers responded by banning him for “… not knowing what the word ‘lynch’ means”?

36 piero November 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

@Blueshift Rhino:

I feel a tad sorry for SpokesGay because he seems incapable of checking anything for himself and, therefore, has an opinion that matches that of whomever spoke to him last.

Alas, that appears to be an accurate description of SpokesGay’s behaviour. First he wrongly accuses Michael; Michael corrects him; he apologises; Ophelia rebukes him; he takes the apology back; all the while SpokesGay does not bother to check the actual comments in the thread. FreeThought? Where? Maybe it means “Follow Ophelia’s thought for free!”

37 Jan Steen November 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

@Minnow,

“Except that as MN has now moved up several notches on their public enemy leader board he could expect to become the target of further slurs and misrepresentations.”

I would very much expect this to happen.

It has already happened. Just look at this comment on Myers’s site:

All makes me wonder how many skeletons are in his closet. This feverish obsessiveness with silencing voices against sexism, sexual harassment, and rape has to come from somewhere other than mere friendship with a creep.

They also call him a “clueless misogynist rape apologist”, a “dudebro”, etc. The demonization is rampant.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141102171916/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/11/01/the-end-of-the-micknugent-saga/

38 Phil Giordana FCD November 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

For people so vocal about trivializing rape, sexual assault and harassment, I find them doing a

39 Phil Giordana FCD November 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

[continued] tremendous job of trivializing rape, sexual assault and harassment.

Well done.

Sorry about the cut post, fingers slipped.

40 Patrick November 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

BlueShift Rhino @4:

With all that said, I’m back to urging MN to ignore the Horde

I’d like to riff off this to encourage replacing “Horde” with “Flock” as suggested by someone else, whose handle I’ve forgotten, involved in this topic recently. Horde suggests a fearsomeness that Myers’ commentariat sorely lacks. Flock is more indicative of their actual behavior.

Flock also lends itself to “Pharyngula Phlock” and referring to individual members as “Flockers”.

Yeah, I’ll see myself out….

41 Minnow November 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

“It has already happened. Just look at this comment on Myers’s site: All makes me wonder how many skeletons are in his closet.”

Wow, didn’t take long. This sort of thing is a bit rich coming from Pharyngula though given that Myers has actually had a complaint of sexual assault made against him which, if I have read him right, he made go away by pressuring and later humiliating the complainant.

42 Jimbo November 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm

“All makes me wonder how many skeletons are in his closet”

That’s a scientology tactic. MN is a suppressive person. What are your crimes Michael? WHAT ARE YOUR CRIMES?

43 Patrick November 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Isen @13:

It is obvious that both groups are acting like petulant children however at least those of the Slymepit (from what I have seen) are not making some pretence that their proclamations are the incontrovertible Truth which Atheists must adhere to or be condemned to Misogynist Hell.

I wouldn’t call the Slymepit petulant, however otherwise sophomoric the humor there might be. I see the Slymepit as analogous to After the Bar Closes, a forum dedicated to pointing out the intellectual and ethical flaws of Uncommon Descent as well as mocking the Intelligent Design Creationists there mercilessly.

It’s telling how far Myers has fallen when his site shares so many negative characteristics with those he used to rail against. He’s earned the mocking of the Slymepit many times over.

44 Aheydis Vaakenjab November 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

PZ and Ophelia are an embarrassment to the A/S community. They offer nothing of value any longer. Their inability for basic reading comprehension is done on purpose – in order to accomplish misdirection and strawmanning of people’s positions.

PZ and Ophelia doxx a woman – No problem!

Call one of them a name – Sound the alarms!

Their inability for self reflection is astonishing, but I have to think they’re doing it on purpose to keep themselves from slipping off the radar. Let’s face it – PZ and crew do NOTHING to forward atheism at this time. Nobody of value is trying to interview them for atheist issues or to use them as consultants on humanist endeavors. Their last resort is to label prominent activists as misogynists or rapists and reap the dwindling rewards.

Good job FTB. Good job on creating your very own religion, complete with rules, shunning, innuendo and doublespeak. William Lane Craig is envious.

45 Phil Giordana FCD November 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“Good job FTB. Good job on creating your very own religion, complete with rules, shunning, innuendo and doublespeak. William Lane Craig is envious.”

Wait until some of them start asking for donati…oh, wait.

46 Pogsurf November 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

When Benson says:

You have hundreds of dishonest slurs of me on your blog; you invite them.

she is making two real world claims. First that Michael’s blog contains hundreds of dishonest slurs of her, and second that Michael invites slurs. Any skeptic could look at her claims by examining the blog and find that they are both untrue.

Looking at the most charitable way I could interpret Benson’s two false claims, I believe what she was trying to say is something like this:

[It feels like] you have hundreds of dishonest slurs of me on your blog; [it feels like] you invite them.

i.e. She is subverting her own feelings and projecting them as properties of Michael’s blog.

I can’t see any other way she would make statements which are patently false, and then express her disapproval of Michael by blocking him, which would make sense.

47 Aneris ✻ November 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Do you notice? All kinds of things come up. They act deliberately outraged and thereby force you to make these matters a priority. Thereby what was originally the idea gets pushed back.

The point here is that we are beyond “narratives” that are merely rationalisations that come after everything played out. You can sit and wait and will see the inevitable being played out, as much as people can be predicted. There are many more predictions, such as that a substantive amount of FreeThoughtBlogs commentary will be about the circumstances, context, the people involved or technicalities, whataboutery (love the term, found it on your blog) rather than what was asserted in the arguments (i.e. meta).

The motive will be that the people there have no desire to engage in the arguments and thereby look for excuses. There is also a model why that is: it’s tied to the “safe spaces”, strong desire to belong to a flock and being accepted there; peer pressure; strong desire to conform; strong belief in the social construction and it’s hierarchies (including the “leaders” on top); importance of acceptance among peers which is in conflict with interest in what is true (dogmatic approach); misinformation and propaganda at least as a by-product; strong confirmation biases (the world must be evil and unsafe for the “safe space” to make sense); and so forth. They also have fancy, recognizable phrases and make many of these conditions materialize almost meme like, like You’re Making It All About Yourself; X Is Obsessive and great many more.

Of course spilling it out goes into Game Theory areas, where explaining the “opponent” what is expected will make them adjust in some ways, to counter the predictions. But that is more than welcome and preferably to “being right”.

For the record, I object to these insults towards Ophelia Benson, and I did object to many others on the rogue forum (and got into various arguments with other people there). However I understand why people are doing it, because I am interested where everyone is coming from. One of the original points, deliberately made and calculated was that Ms Benson has no business in trying to police what people write into an obscure forum. Many insults are written there precisely because it is expected that the targets will deliberately seek them out and will use that as a bogeyman, where some people find it proves a point about these people. Namely that they are overreaching, that they are authoritarian, trying to control other people, take control of what other people write (even their own views) and basically want to export their authoritarian “safe space” concepts and declare themselves proper leaders (and thereby are driven in finding fault in whoever is in the way).

In another reading it proves the point that the atheist-skeptics community is a laughing stock that it elevates quickly buried comments in stream-of-consciousness format to top-level opinion leader declarations and somehow takes issue there. In other words: when PZ Myers (et al), influential opinion leader destroys someone by making sweeping false or distorted declarations about someone else, nobody sees a problem, but when AnonymousBob writes an insult on page 923 in a forum nobody will ever find, ever, it’s elevated as the worst thing ever.

This is why I am personally far more concerned about serious smearing and alleging as fact what is unsubstantiated, not only about actions of others, but in particular their views. Like claiming some person is a misogynist, racist whatnot based on eccentric ideas that are opaque to onlookers, but nonetheless airing these declarations about someone else and thereby stealing someone else’s personality rights. That doesn’t happen when someone makes an insult, however crass, in a forum. They aren’t asserted as facts and aren’t seen as facts. They are merely opinions of AnonymousBob. And everyone can adjust the seriousness of that opinion by themselves (but again, instead of leaving other people to make up their mind, here again authoritarians as they are want to have full control as well).

PS: the new thing at FreeThoughtBlogs is to mirror views and simply play them back (that is detractors like me), i.e. not them are authoritarians, but others are despite that no such structures like “safe spaces” etc. exist … As always, just look at the facts if this has validity.

48 piero November 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

@Patrick:

Flock also lends itself to “Pharyngula Phlock” and referring to individual members as “Flockers”.

Yeah, I’ll see myself out….

I like it.

(Exits hurriedly.)

49 GenerallyFading November 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Jimbo@34

Bother, still getting used to this board, think I’ve done something not quite correct…..Hope this comes out OK….

Yes, I absolutely agree with you. MN is doing an outstanding job of being polite, reserved, logical, rational and utterly truthful. BSR seem to be suggesting that MN ignores any….what’s a polite word for a ‘lesser FtBer’….in favour of dealing with the bigger fish. I respectfully submit that if he is able to, he should respond to every comment from any FtBer just to constantly show them up. To constantly reveal how REAL this ‘group think’ is. That it’s not just one or two people, it’s a persistent following who can’t think for themselves, or even if they do, that the independence of though immediately vanishes when they get back to the safety of The Flock.

50 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

All makes me wonder how many skeletons are in his closet.

Man. They’re really beyond caring how low they sink, aren’t they?

51 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Sharon Madison said (in part):

… having a laugh at the pit by calling the pit’s detractors by silly nicknames, using dehumanizing terms like “baboon”, and talking about FTBers like they are the devil incarnate should probably stay at the pit. IMO, Michael’s site requires that more formal language be used than what people would likely use in a barroom. I don’t imagine that many people with agree with me on this issue. I’m not going to argue the point.

I agree, to some degree, although I think a certain amount of license should be granted to keep some colour in the discourse. After all, it is Michael, not us drive-by commentors, who is trying to make a specific, potentially legally arguable set of points. The rest of us are here for a variety of reasons, including expressing our personal opinions on the mess that people like Myers, Benson, et al have made of the so-called atheist movement. And such discourse can, in my opinion, benefit from some allowance for personal expression.

52 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Can I just say, by Mick allowing those evil Slymepit people to comment on his public blog, he becomes a victim of a cyber witch hunt for not having the same moderation policy as they have on their own websites.

This is Micks website, he pays the domain out of his own pocket, he can run his site how he likes. How dare those people accuse him of “providing a [cyber] haven for rapists” – even those words make them sound pathetic.

The “Slymepitters” have their own “haven” – it’s called Slymepit and despite all the bad stuff I heard about it, I find discussion to be balanced, albeit on one never ending thread where subject changes are par for the course. It’s their site, they can do what they want as long as they aren’t doing anything illegal – unlike FTB being a platform for defamation.

On this site the “Pitters” have been well behaved and stayed on topic, despite their reputation; a la FTB.

53 Crackity Jones November 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Shatterface: Yes, instead of saying ‘he’d explode’ she leapt to ‘Explosions would ensue’. Try replacing ‘Irish’ with ‘Muslim’ and argue it isn’t Islamophobic.

I imagine Ophelia would respond by saying she didn’t mean it that way. At which point, our response would be: (everybody all at once)….

INTENT IS NOT MAGIC!

54 Kirbmarc November 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm

FTB is a clear example to what happens when an ideology, no matter how noble on paper, is accepted by a group of people without anyone being allowed to criticize it.

PZ’s campaign started with a goal that seemed very reasonable and noble: “Let’s fight against sexual harassment and rape at atheist conferences”.

But when people actually asked how you should fight sexual harassment and rape, Myers wouldn’t try anything sensible, like reporting incidents to the authorities or drafting reasonable rules of conduct for conference leaders and attendees.

It was all about “teaching people not to rape” instead. Which again might seem noble and ethical in theory, but when people wondered what PZ was going to do about that that from a practical point of view we only got vague answers, ill-defined conspiracy theories (“the Patriarchy”, “rape culture”) and philosophical tirades about polite people asking out women in elevators.

Then you realize that the “teach people not to rape” meme actually means “all men are potential rapists and the only way to get them not to rape is to completely change everything in our society to accommodate to my ideas.”

Because everything in our society favors and defends rape, according to FTB.

Due process puts a burden on the victims who might or might not remember what happened or have evidence to back it up.

The idea that someone is innocent until proven guilty should be substituted with the vague “preponderance of evidence”, which basically means that you have to prove your innocence.

Free speech laws promote people who defend rapists and shame victims.

Men who flirt with women reinforce the idea that sex is something that is obtained and doesn’t just happens “just because”.

And it goes on and on. Video games teach people that rape isn’t a big deal because men are portrayed as the hero more than women and women are set up as possible objects of sexual interest for men.

Entertainment in general shows scantily clad women who flirt with men, which fuels rape fantasies.

Words like “cunt” or “bitch” are part of the problem because they’re not just swear words, they’re deliberate attempts to demean women and make people think of them as objects (but words like “dick” are perfectly OK because they’re used against men and men don’t matter).

As they went down and down the rabbit hole people noticed that no actual policy was being written, on real attempt was being made to actually track down real rapists and report them to the police. All we saw was a lot of radical feminist ideological speeches.

So, when people started to wonder if PZ was ever going to tackle real rape instead of imaginary possible rapists, he claimed to have discovered a scandal within the atheist community.

The scandal turned out to be based on the accusation of a woman who accused [a named person] of rape. She changed her story quite a few times, didn’t do anything for years, and acted in ways that seemed to be inconsistent with her version of the events.

Some people actually practiced skepticism and asked her to clarify the weak parts of her story, and maybe get the authorities involved.

PZ answered with a fury that had to be seen to be believed. He accused everyone who dared to question the woman’s story of being a misogynist, a harasser, a rape apologist and a potential rapist.

When Micheal Nugent asked him to take down the article which accused [a named person] of rape, since it is a pretty serious criminal accusation that should be backed up by a conviction, PZ accused of him of silencing voices who speak up against rape, and of providing a haven for rapists, harassers and misogynists.

And when Nugent asked for an apology, PZ at first refused to comment, then one of PZ’s commenters said this:

This feverish obsessiveness with silencing voices against sexism, sexual harassment, and rape has to come from somewhere other than mere friendship with a creep.

Micheal Nugent’s only crime was only to question PZ’s evidence and to call for a police investigation before making wild accusations of rape.

one of PZ’s commenters is now ready to imply that Micheal himself is a rapist.

Anyone who cares about reason and skepticism sees these words either as a vile, sleazy, baseless smear or, more charitably, as the product of an increasingly unstable and paranoid mind.

But since PZ’s followers have given up on reason and skepticism a long time ago, they will only cheer their leader and support his smear.

And people who will call out PZ for his behavior will be accused of being rapists or rape apologists themselves.

55 Damion Reinhardt November 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I agree with Sharon and Aneris, or course, on the disutility of insulting epithets here at Michael’s website. Or anywhere, really, but that’s another kettle of fish.

As to how best to proceed, I strongly agree with Jimbo @34

I don’t think there is any better way to expose this mob for what they are than to continually and persistently and politely hold them to account.

That is precisely what Michael has been doing to such great effect, and the SJW playbook mandates that they attack his character and paint him with slurs for daring to conduct a constructive and civil debate, or as they would say, “doubling down.”

56 tina November 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Well, isn’t it obvious that MN is a 8ft alien lizard and member of the illuminati and an Opus Dei shill?

Oh, I thought it was…

57 Phil Giordana FCD November 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Truly, I’m getting sick and tired of these bloggers going after MN, a good man who has done so much for Atheism in Ireland, just because it helps their US political agendas. They seem to have forgotten that people such as Michael, Richard Dawkins, many others from abroad, have spent years and years fighting battles for the US Secular cause.

Even us, poor low plebes have been building, stone upon tedious stone, a mass support to help them fight creationists and science deniers IN THE US!

But now it is expected that we also pander to whatever new pet political ideology they have concerning their definitely dysfunctional society. Sorry, but that’s none of my interests, and if they say that me not being interested in their SJW shenanigans means I agree with whatever they disagree with, then the problem is all theirs. Not mine.

58 Lancelot Gobbo November 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Hunt wrote:“And so the wheel will turn and the butterflies will be nowhere to be seen.”

Oh sure they will be, painted on Michael Nugent’s driveway.

(Sorry, inside joke.)

“Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne’er tastes, and beauty ne’er enjoys”

Not an inside joke, but the original Alexander Pope quote that gave OB her blog’s name, and is now entirely apposite as how she might view MN.

59 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm

No Lancelot, it has to do with when one of Ophelia’s more militant commentors threatened to paint butterfiles on her, persumed, enemies’ driveways so that other Ophelia-followers could go there and literally harras them. And she just let the comment stand.

60 Lancelot Gobbo November 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I know that bit of history, and my ‘Not an inside joke’ referred to the Pope quote.

61 Zorg November 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm

@Kirbmarc, #54:

Ultimately, Myers’ campaign started when someone asked Rebecca Watson for coffee in an Irish elevator. The fact that the entirety of the atheist community failed to be as outraged by it as he was was, seemingly, the trigger that tipped him from attacking religious people in the name of atheism to attacking atheists in the name of feminism.

I can’t think of any purity war started for pettier reasons.

62 BlueShift Rhino November 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Quick note, having just returned from the shop where I had my irony meter repaired. Those of you who are anti-thought-police but also want to tell me what word I should use for The Horde are quite free and quite welcome to go Flock yourselves.

Now excuse me while I go and re-read Sharon’s excellent comment about keeping ‘Pit-like nonsense off of MN’s blog.

63 Gerhard November 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Ophelia – Imagine if we called him some slur for “Irish” but pretended it was ok because specific to him. Explosions would ensue.

And rightly so. However, it has been pointed out to Benson on numerous occasions that “cunt” is usually not intended as a general insult to women in Australia and the UK and in the some circles in the US and Canada. No pretending involved. Ophelia can make all the allegations of lying she wants and knock herself out with her divinations of misogyny, but that is a straight fact. Others must accept contorted explanations for the unambiguous untruths of her and her friends and yet she cannot acknowledge the common non-misogynistic usage of the word “cunt”. And I have to disagree with you Michael, it is perfectly fine to call Benson [vulgar term deleted] (although I can respect your policy of not allowing it here). It was not done in her presence and beyond the “vulgarity” I see it as way less malicious than the completely over the top unevidenced character assassination that she and her commenters indulge in. That is my opinion Ophelia, not Michael Nugent’s, just in case you try to pin it on him. In fact, it is really no different to calling someone a “virgin neckbeard”, as SJWs are wont to do.

Isen

However upset she (and Myers) might be about the Slymepit’s obnoxious and crass mockery of her and the FtB clique I think it telling that neither group can quite stay away from each other and seem to spend an inordinate amount of time writing to and about each other

Wow! The forum set up specifically to combat FTB ideology spends an inordinate amount of time writing about FTB. Imagine that. What are the chances! Sorry, couldn’t resist the snark. It has been the inaction of the sophisticated adults who imagine themselves above the “petulant children” which has allowed the SJW entryists to take root and stink out the A/S scene. Most of the Pitters saw very clearly how twisted the SJW thought processes were and found themselves unable to argue the point in many venues, certainly not on SJW blogs. They were somewhat disappointed at how blind the so-called leaders of the movement were and how unwilling they were to discuss the problem, and they certainly weren’t going to resign themselves to an SJW takeover, so they resorted to mockery because any attempt at discourse was futile. I am delighted at the methodical and unemotional way that MN is going about this, speaking as a Slymepitter. Please bear in mind that this option has not been open to the rest of us because we are not important enough to warrant a response.

64 Phil Giordana FCD November 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Zorg @61:

“Ultimately, Myers’ campaign started when someone asked Rebecca Watson for coffee in an Irish elevator. The fact that the entirety of the atheist community failed to be as outraged by it as he was was, seemingly, the trigger that tipped him from attacking religious people in the name of atheism to attacking atheists in the name of feminism.”

Yes, I have to wonder how many skeletons he has in his closet for doing so.

See? SJWing is EASY!

It’s become more and more idiotic.

65 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Gerhard said:

It has been the inaction of the sophisticated adults who imagine themselves above the “petulant children” which has allowed the SJW entryists to take root and stink out the A/S scene.

This! This!! A thousand times this!!!

Seriously, though, that is an important point. And one that I think needs to be stressed even more these days. There are far too many so-called sophisticated adults who just turn a blind eye to all the really toxic junk coming out of FTB, Skepchick, A+, and similarly styled SJW strongholds. And it really should stop. If those so called sophisticated adults really want to proselytize scepticism and critical thinkng, they need to help expose the toxic sludge poisoning the atheist/skeptic community from within.

In fear of sounding too FTBish by describing the toxic sludge within, please note I said expose, not exterminate.

66 Matt Cavanaugh November 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Kirbmarc wrote: ‘PZ’s campaign started with a goal that seemed very reasonable and noble: “Let’s fight against sexual harassment and rape at atheist conferences”.’
But that’s the answer begging the question ‘do rape and sexual harassment occur at atheist conferences?’

Further, any doubts expressed whether rape has occurred is treated as apology for rape (taken as a given). Any doubt whether pervasive sexism exists is itself treated as an incidence of sexism. This is circular reasoning.

Good thing PZ Myers has formally disavowed the skeptical method.

67 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

To paraphrase Irish poetry (Yeats)
November 2014
Atheist Activism is dead and gone
It’s with Hitchens in the grave.

Can I put a motion for the next cmttee meeting that AI remove all ties and endorsements of PZ and OB, including removing YT videos of them at AI events.

68 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm

SIDE NOTE ^^^ I’m only suggesting the above because they see AI and MN as the same thing, which they are emphatically not as the committee has stressed time and again (like arguing with creationists).
I make the suggestion as a long standing member …

69 piero November 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm

@Stephen Duggan:

Can I put a motion for the next cmttee meeting that AI remove all ties and endorsements of PZ and OB, including removing YT videos of them at AI events.

Well, you can, but Stalinism is not so fashionable nowadays…

70 piero November 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm

@Blueshift Rhino:

Quick note, having just returned from the shop where I had my irony meter repaired. Those of you who are anti-thought-police but also want to tell me what word I should use for The Horde are quite free and quite welcome to go Flock yourselves.

“Phlock,” please. Let’s keep a sense of propriety here, shall we?

71 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Well, you can, but Stalinism is not so fashionable nowadays…

Let’s not exaggerate, now.

I don’t understand why any atheist or sceptical society would want to invite these people any more, to be honest. They’ve disgraced themselves and made an utter mockery of the principles of scepticism and rationality. I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of any sort of formal declaration that they are now personae non gratae but it certainly seems entirely reasonable to treat them that way. I’d have to look askance at any atheist organisation that now invited the likes of Myers, Benson, Zvan or Watson to speak.

72 piero November 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

@Jack:

I agree. But erasing YT videos from the bygone era of reason seems a tad excessive…

73 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 9:19 pm

@Jack #21
I’m quite sympathetic to Watson. It was PZ who started #EG and fuelled the flames. All she said was “Guys, don’t do that” – because in fairness it was weird and creepy. Unfortunately PZ’s ideas of so-called “rape culture” became a self fulfilling prophecy.
RW, has some hardline feminist standpoints already, but PZ dug a hole a bit deeper for her (how nice of him).
Note I said “self fulfilling prophecy” – sooner or later the proverbial was going to hit the fan…..

74 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

@piero #72
Anyone interested has already watched them. Any possible Ad sharing revenue has gone.
They are only there for anyone interested in re-runs. Any UK reader would be familiar with the TV Channel called Dave.

If those videos are worth watching; someone has already re uploaded them.

75 Acleron November 3, 2014 at 9:25 pm

@Jack Rawlinson

Yes, leave the banning and censorship to the Myers gang.

I too would look twice at any meeting that invited them. Everybody wants quality at a meeting and they no longer match that criteria.

76 Skep tickle November 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Jack @71

I don’t understand why any atheist or sceptical society would want to invite these people any more, to be honest. They’ve disgraced themselves and made an utter mockery of the principles of scepticism and rationality. I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of any sort of formal declaration that they are now personae non gratae but it certainly seems entirely reasonable to treat them that way. I’d have to look askance at any atheist organisation that now invited the likes of Myers, Benson, Zvan or Watson to speak.

Some atheist orgs might be interested in hearing their views, and might still enthralled by having a “big name” guest (and considering that one or more of them fit that bill). As has been said above, being atheist doesn’t necessarily mean skeptical.

Skeptic org, though? That would not compute. And yet Benson is scheduled to speak on the “Social Justice” Panel at CFI’s “Reason for Change” in June 2015, which is billed at CFI’s website as a time for “productive collaboration” with an aim of inspiring people “to advance the causes of science, reason, and secular values”.

(Also, Myers & Roth are on the speakers’ list for Skepticon 7 in Nov 2014, but Skepticon has appeared to be on the FTB/Skepchick side of things for years.)

77 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm

@73 Stephen: “I’m quite sympathetic to Watson.”

I’m not. What needs to be remembered is it was never the “Guys, don’t do that” thing that pissed people off. It was the way she took Stef McGraw down in public for daring to suggest that Watson’s take on the situation might have been a tad excessive. The Watsonites have been very careful to downplay this and suggest that Elevatorgate was all about MRAs and misogynists objecting to her very innocent expression of mild discomfort. This is not true.

78 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm

@Skep ticle #76
I think Skepticon is run by CFI so go figure.

Thankfully those sorts are voulentaraly distancing themselves from other work, as they see their work on the imternetz are more important.

79 tina November 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Jackie tries another tack………
3 November 2014 at 8:25 am
Did Nugent tell the victims of the Magdelen Laundries to stop coming forward with the truth about what happened to them outside of the courtroom?

Good grief No! That would be sister punishing…….

“Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Good Shepherd Sisters, and the Sisters of Charity, have ignored requests by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee Against Torture to contribute to the compensation fund for victims including 600 still alive in March 2014.”

80 Sharon Madison November 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm

@ John Greg

Tomorrow I will be 59 years old, and for most of my 59 years I have been a supporter of the promotion of critical thinking based on evidence. When I’m in conversation with my husband in the privacy of my home, I don’t pull my punches when discussing atheist world nonsense. In fact, I can be quite rude and crude about it. But, when I step out into the world, I say what I have to say in a manner appropriate for the venue in which I am commenting because I’m a sophisticated adult.

I have heard way too much complaints that there are too few prominent atheists and skeptics willing to call out the nonsense from people like P.Z. Myers, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, etc. Well perhaps this is because they don’t want to waste their time moderating comment threads and having their blogsite turned into a juvenile rant about baboons with silly nicknames. It isn’t a good look for a sophisticated adult who has goals which include things other than doing battle against atheist world nonsense.

As for the so-called sophisticated adults who just turn a blind-eye – I hang with these sophisticated adults at conferences and social gatherings. We aren’t turning a blind-eye. We see, and have always seen, bad players for precisely what they are. And, we have been waging war against this through the use of critical thinking and evidence not by engaging in the hyperbolic rhetoric, ugly character assassination, and nasty vitriol that people like P.Z. Myers, many of his commentariat, and some in the Slymepit employ.

We’ve sent e-mails to the heads of organizations which provide a platform to bad players. We have withdrawn our financial support. But, most importantly, we know that just because someone is the enemy of our enemy doesn’t necessarily make them worthy of our support. This lack of nuanced thinking is part of the reason why we are in this mess. Far too many people were fans of bad players when the nastiness was directed at outsiders like creationists. Sophisticated adults knew that this nastiness could and would be turned on the “enemy” within.

There are more problems in the atheist and skeptic worlds than just the painfully obvious problem of P.Z. Myers, Ophelia Benson, et al. And, quite frankly, this narrow focus on the bleeding obvious has made the battle that sophisticated adults have been waging far more difficult because bad players who aren’t P.Z. Myers & Co. are getting support solely because they express opinions which are anti-FreeThought blogs. We sophisticated adults know better than to fight against one kind of bad behavior by giving our full support to those who are engaging in other types of bad behavior.

This is why I’m happy that Michael Nugent has taken on this fight. He is an honorable person for whom I can give my support without reservation or hesitation.

81 James November 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Happy birthday Sharon ;-).

82 tina November 3, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Oh, and for those that don’t know about the Magdalene laundries….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p028rz97

83 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

@Jack #77
I think the McGraw incident was despicable. But somehow ***I THINK*** RW was pushed in front of the the bus – so to speak.

84 piero November 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm

@Sharon Madison:

He is an honorable person…

You were doing so well, Sharon. But you just had to tack a smear ar the end, hadn’t you?
😉

85 James November 3, 2014 at 10:29 pm

At the 2011 conference, when RW used her time to ‘call out’ Paula Kirby, she came across as a mean girl from an ametican highschool movie. To me it was unprofessional, immature and bullying behaviour. She also had no reason to single out Kirby among the women on the ptevious panel, all of whom basically agreed with thw sentiment RW opposed. It seems as though singling out Kirby was calculated. The McGraw situation was part of a pattern of behaviour.

86 James November 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm

The McGraw incident WAS dispicable. So was the Kirby incident.

87 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Sharon Madison said:

Tomorrow I will be 59 years old….

Happy B-day to you! I turned 58 a few weeks ago. Personally, I think it sucks to be getting old.

As for the so-called sophisticated adults who just turn a blind-eye – I hang with these sophisticated adults at conferences and social gatherings. We aren’t turning a blind-eye. We see, and have always seen, bad players for precisely what they are. And, we have been waging war against this through the use of critical thinking and evidence not by engaging in the hyperbolic rhetoric, ugly character assassination, and nasty vitriol that people like P.Z. Myers, many of his commentariat, and some in the Slymepit employ. We’ve sent e-mails to the heads of organizations which provide a platform to bad players. We have withdrawn our financial support.

Well, that’s very encouraging, very encouraging indeed. But as far as I can tell, in terms of public awareness of your actions, I only see blind eyes.

I guess part of my point is that while what you are doing, or say you are doing, is indeed valid, important, and laudable, it seems to have had little-to-no effect whatsoever. So far as I can tell. And perhaps that’s because it is behind the scenes, and no one anywhere knows anything about it except the specific players — on your side.

Whereas, in my eyes, the Pit’s tactic of publically exposing, ridiculing, and satirizing FTB has helped a great deal in informing the general public, especially the blogging and otherwise online public, about their (FTB’s) idiocy, and has to some degree, or so it appears to me, helped encourage them (meaning, FTB et al.) to go overboard in their madness, and thereby make it even more obvious how deeply dysfunctional and deranged they really are. And I think that that is an equally, valid, important, and laudable thing to do.

This is why I’m happy that Michael Nugent has taken on this fight. He is an honorable person for whom I can give my support without reservation or hesitation.

I agree with that 100%

88 Gerhard November 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

There are more problems in the atheist and skeptic worlds than just the painfully obvious problem of P.Z. Myers, Ophelia Benson, et al. And, quite frankly, this narrow focus on the bleeding obvious has made the battle that sophisticated adults have been waging far more difficult because bad players who aren’t P.Z. Myers & Co. are getting support solely because they express opinions which are anti-FreeThought blogs. We sophisticated adults know better than to fight against one kind of bad behavior by giving our full support to those who are engaging in other types of bad behavior.

Who ever suggested that you give your full support to anybody? All that is being suggested is that a little more public pushback against the likes of Myers and Benson may have been appreciated because the efforts of the sophisticated adults have been so subtle that nobody seems to have noticed them, least of all the SJW miscreants. Whatever other problems there are in the world of A/S , it doesn’t seem all that bright to let a band of extreme ideologues spread untruths about harassment and misogyny to the mass media and see public figures dragged through the mud one after the other without a concerted effort at setting the record straight. It may be that the “responsible adults” have noticed what has been happening, but their lack of visibility has led to the perception that the atheist community is populated by freaks. For quite a while the FTB types were obviously convinced that they had the mass of the community behind them. Perhaps a certain BR might have some money and a reputation left if all of this had been nipped in the bud at inception.

89 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Stephen Duggan said:

I think the McGraw incident was despicable. But somehow ***I THINK*** RW was pushed in front of the the bus – so to speak.

How so?

90 Stephen Duggan November 3, 2014 at 10:55 pm

@ John #89
I refer the honourable to my #73 comment.

My comment #73
Unfortunately PZ’s ideas of so-called “rape culture” became a self fulfilling prophecy.
RW, has some hardline feminist standpoints already, but PZ dug a hole a bit deeper for her (how nice of him).
Note I said “self fulfilling prophecy” – sooner or later the proverbial was going to hit the fan…..

It’s a “mono-spiracy” on my part. PZ fuelled the flames, let a small drama erupt on the web, we only have to wait a few months for Hitchens to die, then we can spread whatever disingenuous crap we like.

91 piero November 3, 2014 at 11:03 pm

@Gerhard:

Perhaps a certain BR might have some money and a reputation left if all of this had been nipped in the bud at inception.

There are some dangers inherent to nipping things in the bud, such as miscalculating the consequences. Before the SJL gained momentum, it was difficult to predict where their ideology would lead. I understand that some people are upset because they saw it coming, but even if now we realise they were right then, then it wasn’t such a clear-cut matter. Remember: Columbus was wrong: he was just a lucky sod.

92 Blueshift Rhino November 3, 2014 at 11:10 pm

@Stephen Duggan –

I agree we you about RW being pushed in front of the bus … as long as you’re using “pushed” in the sense that many folks have reinforced her unpleasant behavior after the fact, and that “in front of the bus” refers to the location of the driver’s seat.

93 Dave Allen November 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

@ Sharon Madison

I just wanted to note that your two posts on this thread put into words thoughts I have held for some time and found difficult to articulate. Thanks very much.

94 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I’m sure Sharon feels entitled to feel superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels but without the class clowns drawing out the class bullies their thuggish tactics would have gone unnoticed.

95 Sharon Madison November 3, 2014 at 11:34 pm

@Gerhard

The internet world is not the only place where pushback has been happening. As a direct response to Rebecca Watson’s nonsense, us sophisticated adults wore business cards in our badges at TAM 2011 which read, “Sexy when I do it. Sexist when You do it.” TAM 2011 was less than a month after this brouhaha went viral on the internet. We made our voices heard and Rebecca has not been to TAM since 2011. She uses sexism as an excuse for her unwillingness to attend but, of course, the horrible problem of sexism had never prevented her attendance at TAM events previously. She knew, as a result of our direct action, that her fan base was eroding. We had been watching her up close for years and we were aware that she had been engaging in the same type of behavior she is now complaining about. Until she started complaining we didn’t care because we are open to what apparently is called “sex positive” behavior. No one that I know is interested in policing the activities of consenting adults. But, when people start complaining about at atmosphere at conferences which they helped create, we will call this for the hypocrisy that it is.

96 Blueshift Rhino November 3, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Personally, I believe that success is most likely to be achieved if a variety of folks take variety of approaches (from crude sarcasm to calm reason), all at the same time. In fact, my best guess on what’s happening in this current sub-debate is that the Red Polo-shirt folks ™ are expressing their jealousy of how more fun the Mykeru T-shirt folks ™ get to have, while the Mykeru T-shirt folks are expressing their annoyance at being thought of as cruder and more childish than the Red Polo-shirt folks. Both are true, you know, and through the magic of internet nyms, you can be both at the same time.

97 Gerhard November 3, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Piero

There are some dangers inherent to nipping things in the bud, such as miscalculating the consequences. Before the SJL gained momentum, it was difficult to predict where their ideology would lead. I understand that some people are upset because they saw it coming, but even if now we realise they were right then, then it wasn’t such a clear-cut matter. Remember: Columbus was wrong: he was just a lucky sod.

It may seem that way. However, the crazy ideology was evident at the start and they showed a willingness to go after people like Abbie Smith IRL way back then. Justin Vacula was an early victim. It seems it was OK when it was the smaller fry being attacked. People have the perception that it was all tribal, but I can assure you that there was a strong feeling of bewilderment that a fairly prominent, and very loud, group of “skeptics” were behaving like ideologues and the wider community appeared not to even notice. Its not that people were expected to get behind personalities, it just seemed fundamentally off that there was no pushback against the ideology being promoted.

98 John Greg November 3, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Sharon Madison said

As a direct response to Rebecca Watson’s nonsense, us sophisticated adults wore business cards in our badges at TAM 2011 which read, “Sexy when I do it. Sexist when You do it.”

Excellent! I love it. I wish some pics had been posted online of those, in context.

99 Matt Cavanaugh November 3, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Who “pushed” (sic) Rebecca Watson to doxx Skep tickle’s personal & work info to 16,000 twitter followers? Watson is an adult with her own agency, and responsible for her own decisions.

Benson doxxed Skep tickle in May, 2013. Yet Benson was still invited to the conference mentioned above. I hope that, at the time, the organizers were simply unaware of this malicious and potentially dangerous act against a fellow atheist, and do not condone doxxing.

Benson doxxed Skep tickle again last month, as did Myers, Watson, and a person who goes by “Xanthe”. Myers encouraged his “Horde” to contact her employer, which many of them apparently did. Xanthe, as administrator of the A+ discussion board, where Skep tickle is a registered member, had access to Skep tickle’s personal info. Xanthe has indicated xe considered that confidential info fair game.

100 Pogsurf November 4, 2014 at 12:11 am

I am very unsophisticated, but even I have dropped an e-mail to my local atheist group, the British Humanist Association, asking them to take a position on Myer’s behaviour. In truth I have been thinking about joining the BHA for the past eighteen months or so, but it is their endorsement of Myers which puts me off. (He spoke at the World Atheist Congress which the BHA hosted this summer, and he was awarded an honour by the International Humanist and Ethical Union in 2011, to which the BHA is affiliated.)

I’ve known that Myers is bully for some time, but I failed to see how I could document what amounts to an extended set of ‘he said, she said’ type arguments in a coherent way. I think Michael’s ‘Yet more misrepresentations in PZ Myers’ post refusing to withdraw or apologise for his smear’ achieves this in a very comprehensive and balanced fashion, so I used that as my source, asking the BHA to condemn Myers’ smears, making it conditional on my joining them.

My prospective membership fee is a very small lever, but it is the largest lever I have to hand. I don’t really expect to hear back from them, because ‘don’t rock the boat’ is a mantra for any corporate organisation. But I happen to believe that a group which calls itself humanist and ethical should be willing to make public statements condemning the errant behaviour of a favoured son, perhaps even prioritising it above calling out the behaviour of religionists.

It’s funny how the authors of the Bible got to the above idea first:

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

101 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 12:27 am

You can try reasoning with these people all you want but the fact they’ve now started disassociating themselves from the wider atheist movement – largely because of what has gone on here and elsewhere – means a hell of a lot more.

Neither Myers nor Benson could share a stage with a ‘rape apologist'; since the category of ‘rape apologist’ includes everyone but themselves they have nowhere left to go.

102 Justme November 4, 2014 at 12:33 am

Re doxxing:

CSI director Melody Hensley also supports doxxing. I’ve written CSI three times in the past six months asking what personal information she has access to. Can she see real names, addresses & phone #s of donators and members, and if so, all? or just DC?

No response yet from CSI.

103 Lancelot Gobbo November 4, 2014 at 1:30 am

To Justme @102

CSI or CFI? I sent CFI an e-mail today:

Sirs,
I have been an atheist for >40 years, and have subscribed to Skeptical Inquirer in the past. I find myself suffering from leukemia and since my future is limited I thought to treat myself to a few things such as a skeptical conference or two. Unfortunately I see that both Skepticon and Reason for Change both involve some of the (forgive me) idiots from Freethoughtblogs. I can’t see that I should support, by attending, any events that encourage people who have lost all ability to utilise skeptical thinking as a result of their peculiar adherence to third-wave feminism, never mind their disgraceful intolerance of dissension, or their propensity to ban or release into the public domain personal information about those who disagree with them. The last straw for me is their current campaign to smear a real hero of the atheist movement, Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland, as someone who provides a haven for “harassers, misogynists and rapists”.

I appreciate that you don’t have to listen to me, and might feel that you shouldn’t. I simply hope that I am not the only person to reach out to you and ask that you think carefully before you associate your brand with such disreputable people. It doesn’t make you look good, and more importantly, it doesn’t help us win the fight for secularism. I do give a significant amount to causes I like, but support of the FTB rather rules out any donation coming in your direction. Sorry about that, but there are many good causes I like to support and FTB will never be one of them. I do hope this e-mail will not be handled by Ms. Hensley as, well, you probably know what I mean!

The Illustrious Gobbo’s real name

In it some of the text is a link that proves my medical practice is closed whilst I undergo chemotherapy. Should Ms Hensley pass that information along to anyone on FTB I shall have grounds to demand her dismissal. And why should I care if she does? I’m pretty much shot and may not care about my medical license for much longer. But that won’t stop me from demanding her dismissal, which would do CFI quite a large favour in fact.

104 Denny November 4, 2014 at 1:40 am

Thanks the gods for the untouchable caste, aka the unpersons of the Slymepit. Sophisticated adults like Sharon Madison need people they can look down their noses at.

I swear, PZ and Co. could never have existed, and the atheist/skeptic community would still be just as elitist and divisive as it is today.

105 Lancelot Gobbo November 4, 2014 at 1:45 am

This particular slymepitter doesn’t look down his nose at Sharon Madison, but rather thinks that she deserves an excellent birthday. I hope to hear more from her, both here and elsewhere if possible.

106 Justme November 4, 2014 at 2:29 am

Argh. CFI!

107 Shermertron November 4, 2014 at 2:46 am

Justme @102

Melody Hensley retweeted the unredacted Skeptickle doxx and she also doxxed Mykeru a while back and taunted him on Twitter with his real name.

I share your concerns; she doesn’t seem to understand boundaries between her personal opinions and how she represents CFI.

108 Damion Reinhardt November 4, 2014 at 2:58 am

I don’t know where people are getting the idea that Skepticon is a CFI event. Skepticon is an independently organized event, and they’ve had a rocky time of it with CFI in the past.

http://skepticon.org/skepticon-says-goodbye-to-a-sponsor/

109 Damion Reinhardt November 4, 2014 at 2:59 am

Also, happy birthday Sharon! Hope you and [named husband] have a great one.

110 MacGruberKnows November 4, 2014 at 3:46 am

If anyone put together ‘Islamasist’ with ‘explosions’ as Benson did with the Irish the FTB would be screaming bloody murder.

111 MacGruberKnows November 4, 2014 at 3:56 am

Oh, and thank you Michael Nugent for giving us the “at long last sir, have you no sense of shame, no sense of decency ?'” moment to expose to everyone what Meyers and FTB are to the atheist skeptic movement.

112 SF November 4, 2014 at 4:38 am

Really when it comes down to it, PZ Myers, freethoughblogs and skepchick see sexism everywhere, buried in every subtle comment anyone makes in just the same way McCarthy saw Communism everywhere. The patriarchy is just the same bogeyman that fits all problem the way right wingers saw commies everywhere. I really think the analogy is perfectly apt. A new report by distinguished scientists with tons of scholarship comes out finding sexism in academia if it exists at all, to be minor at best, something we should all celebrate. But no, to the horde, at least the few scientifically educated enough to even vaguely understand the facts, it was sexism sexism sexism, what else could it be, the patriarchy triumps reality, just like to anti-communists pinkos were seen everywhere. Thank goodness none of these people have any real power beyond doxxing people which is bad enough, they would be really dangerous if they actually had power.

113 Acleron November 4, 2014 at 5:15 am

There were some who were perturbed at Myers on line behaviour long ago. Even Dawkins supported him with the off repeated observation that he was nicer in person. At least three routes have been followed to attempt to curb the behaviour.

The most publicly known atheists withdrew support and mostly ignore him. Myers’ behaviour worsened.

The more vocal, online critics, matched him with rhetoric. He laughed this off and his behaviour worsened.

We learn that there was some conference push back but that does not seem to worry him.

We now have a very different approach. MN is publicly calling him to account in a persistent, polite and persuasive manner. I hope MN continues.

In a free speech, equality based society, problems such as Myers will happen, will be difficult solve and will take time. There are no quick fixes. When somebody takes the aspects of atheism and scepticism that we so admire and then by misrepresentation and lying, turns them against us we are vulnerable. Hopefully, the Myers phenomenon is in the endgame, perhaps the better thinkers among us might consider how to prevent another one.

114 Sharon Madison November 4, 2014 at 6:32 am

@Denny

My husband and I were pushing back against the elitist attitude coming from the Head of CFI long before pushing back became popular.

I mentioned my age because I’ve been doing my skepticism properly through the years so it’s made me painfully aware of my own flaws and, therefore, cognizant of the traps we can all fall into. I’m a poorly educated, old woman who has worked crappy jobs for lousy bosses through the years, therefore, I have first hand experience with being dumped on. I am not ashamed of what my life has been because these experiences have helped me gain some wisdom. It’s made me very aware when dumping on people is transpiring even if I’m not the one being slapped. So, years and years ago when I took a look at the comments on P.Z. blog, and saw people telling others to go fuck themselves with rusty knives or porcupines, I went YIKES!! I do not expect that everyone who hasn’t had my life (or been involved with atheist and skeptic endeavors for years like I have) will have evaluated things the way I did.

Most of the friends that I have made through the years as a result of my participation in skeptic and atheist endeavors are older women like myself who have also gained wisdom through life experience. All of us are pushing back against the “women as victims” feminism which is being promoted by bad players.

I am not looking down my nose at people who post at the Slymepit. In fact, I have great respect for people like Aneris who do an amazing job of engaging in this debate with plenty of evidence as support. It would be nice if people like you would give me the benefit of the doubt and try to give my comments a charitable read. It would also be nice if people would stop assuming that it’s ONLY the people who are making lots of noise on the internet who are fighting this battle.

All I’m suggesting is that when commenting at places like Michael’s blogsite, we do our best to match Michael’s approach to this issue.

115 GerardO November 4, 2014 at 6:41 am

One thing that has been overlooked in this “debate” is a fact pointed out by Michael Nugent early in the piece: Atheism is a global movement.

I have come to the conclusion that the so-called Anglosphere, which has been the leader in movement secularism, has become worn out, or at least its leadership group has. The reality is that Dawkins, Shermer, Pinker, Randi etc. have had their time in the sun, and it’s time for a new generation to take the reins.

Personally, I’m pinning my hopes on those who have the most important story to tell, atheists from the Muslim world and Africa, many of them young and with ideas and perspectives capable of breathing new life into a community which has started to go a bit stale.

There will be new opportunities to build bridges with those in Russia, China and Japan; the modernization of India will mean that country will be an important battleground in the fight against superstition of all forms.

I wish Michael well in this project, and I find it nauseating that he has to put up with this garbage from self-indulgent ————- *.
(my grandmother was a medieval Irish Catholic, so I know what he’s up against)

*Unpleasant characterization redacted by the author to protect dainty petals visiting from FtB

116 Aneris ✻ November 4, 2014 at 6:55 am

Follow up, Re: predictions.

Me:I write that YET AGAIN [detailing the Ogvorbis case, again] just to make sure that Stephanie Zvan and other devious characters don’t use a slightly shortened version to screw me over, as they do with routine with other people. [s1]

Works like a charm.

Stephanie Zvan: Lady Mondegreen, they’re tweeting about it. Of course, they’re not talking about the fact that Ogvorbis was a child or abused, as predicted. [s2]

She just looks for instances where some details aren’t repeated yet again (twitter!). They are irrelevant anyway since a self-confessed rapist remains one with 12 and previous abuse. These circumstances were acknowleged anyway, unlike the fact that he raped three girls (according to him) and that he got hugs, love and support after he came out with it.

Following Ms Zvan’s demands (who can’t even abide simplest standards herself) would mean you must always include the whole context, but then you won’t be able to use twitter and texts then become long, tedious or obsessive (due to closing each loophole); which are conveniently other classic reasons to dismiss it. One could get the impression that each and every possibilty is covered by one or more killerphrases (or meme like meta “arguments”).

Finally, the case was brought up again by Janphar/Janine, a FTB regular who felt bored [s3]. This, too, was pointed out a few times and is an issue to them (for yet another “meta” why other people are the evil team, because bringing up rape apologists only works from within the ingroup).

Sources………………
s1_michaelnugent.com/2014/10/17/thank-you-to-latsot-for-apologising-for-alleging-that-i-defend-rapists-pz-myers-can-you-please-also-apologise/#comment-1130817
s2_freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2014/10/31/the-ogvorbis-boondoggle/#comment-2363955
s3_http://i.imgur.com/Zhs10Jw.jpg

117 MacGruberKnows November 4, 2014 at 7:28 am

Stephanie Zvan from ‘Could be Coal: The Ogvorbis Boondoggle':

“We don’t have the power to prosecute”

But you do seem to think that you have the power to convict. What are people who think they can convict someone while bypassing prosecution called? Whatever it is, it’s got to be worse than what you would call someone like Josef Stalin. At least he prosecuted they who he would convict. In fact, I’ve heard his prosecutions were a pretty good ‘show’.

118 Steven Carr November 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

Stephanie Zvan: Lady Mondegreen, they’re tweeting about it. Of course, they’re not talking about the fact that Ogvorbis was a child or abused, as predicted.

CARR
This is literally rape apology by Zvan

We’re really sorry Ogvorbis raped 3 children, but he had been abused you know. Cut the rapist some slack!

Myers is also a walking, talking tweeting rape apologist, If you have been abused, you can get a rapist’s card from Zvan or Myers, entitling you to rape 3 children of your choice (but please say sorry afterwards)

119 Jack Rawlinson November 4, 2014 at 8:37 am

@Stephen Duggan: the idea that Watson was in any sense “pushed in front of the bus” is bizarre. She was a prime mover in the Elevatorgate and post-Elevatorgate nonsense. She helped over-inflate the whole things and was clearly enjoying the attention and controversy hugely. She stoked it up in a number of ways, including the whole petulant declaration that she would boycott Dawkins and encourage others to do the same. She revealed herself as a deeply unpleasant person who seemed to take more than a little pleasure in the fracas.

120 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 8:37 am

In a free speech, equality based society, problems such as Myers will happen, will be difficult solve and will take time. There are no quick fixes. When somebody takes the aspects of atheism and scepticism that we so admire and then by misrepresentation and lying, turns them against us we are vulnerable. Hopefully, the Myers phenomenon is in the endgame, perhaps the better thinkers among us might consider how to prevent another one.

For the record I’d rather see the atheist movement decline to issue invites to rage bloggers rather than sue them. Free speech does not include an obligation to invite someone to speak. I oppose banning Islamists from speaking but I’m not letting them in my house.

Let the rage bloggers scream themselves into a frenzy elsewhere..

121 Sharon Madison November 4, 2014 at 9:29 am

BTW, Denny…

I was responding to John Greg who first used the phrase “so-called sophisticated adults who just turn a blind eye”. As I don’t dismiss people solely because they post at the pit, I have been paying attention to John Greg through the years. After watching him in action, I felt reasonably sure that I could respond to John using his phrase and he would react with equanimity, which he did. Thank you, John!

You, (and Shatterface) OTOH, chose to either not fully inform yourself or ignore what I was responding to, and decided to let me know what a know-all, stuck-up witch you think I am. Your ignorance or disregard for the context of my response to John is part of the reason us “sophisticated adults” appear to be turning a blind eye. It isn’t a whole lot of fun getting raked over the coals by someone who rushes to judgment. I understand why most of my friends do not engage in these online debates.

@John Greg

Happy Belated Birthday! You’re right getting old isn’t a whole lot of fun. I have a lot of aches and pains I never had before. And, I refuse to waste the money to dye my whitening hair or have my wrinkles removed. I look my age which isn’t a pretty sight. Of course, part of the reason I don’t get anything “fixed” is because I’m not vain enough to think I was ever a pretty sight. Why bother trying to slap lipstick on a pig? 😉

122 Phil Giordana FCD November 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

I agree with the “multiple approaches” way of dealing with this problem. These days, when not too angered by SJW stupidity, I tend to be more on the MN spectrum. But sometimes, a good, infantile ribbing is also an efficient method.

Probably a matter of tastes and moods (and also, as Sharon pointed out, life experience).

123 Phil Giordana FCD November 4, 2014 at 10:22 am

BTW, happy birthday Sharon.

124 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 10:37 am

You, (and Shatterface) OTOH, chose to either not fully inform yourself or ignore what I was responding to, and decided to let me know what a know-all, stuck-up witch you think I am.

I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising and I’d ask you to withdraw the ‘witch’ comment: I made no gendered insult.

We get enough of that shit from Benson and Myers.

125 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

I agree with the “multiple approaches” way of dealing with this problem. These days, when not too angered by SJW stupidity, I tend to be more on the MN spectrum. But sometimes, a good, infantile ribbing is also an efficient method.

How you respond to Myers and the horde will depend on how you found yourself in their firing line, Personally, it was in the thread on Robin Williams where Myers decided to curb stomp people with depression to stoke his manufacture race war.

126 Phil Giordana FCD November 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

Shatterface: I was there from the start on Abbie’s ERV blog back in summer 2011. I have many methods to pick from :)

127 piero November 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

@Gerhard:

However, the crazy ideology was evident at the start and they showed a willingness to go after people like Abbie Smith IRL way back then. Justin Vacula was an early victim. It seems it was OK when it was the smaller fry being attacked.

Yes, I see your point and after some reflection I agree.

128 Dave Allen November 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising and I’d ask you to withdraw the ‘witch’ comment: I made no gendered insult.

Ah yes, it’s OK for you to talk about Sharon feeling “superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels” and using your own construction about “class clowns drawing out the class bullies”, which might seem infantilising in itself.

But when she responds to your emotionally charged paraphrasing with her own it’s something she has to apparently abase herself for.

129 James November 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

“She was a prime mover in the Elevatorgate and post-Elevatorgate nonsense”

Don’t forget pre-Elevatorgate nonsense. Everyone seems to forget how she chose to use her speaking time at the Dublin conference.

130 Dave Allen November 4, 2014 at 11:33 am

Everyone seems to forget how she chose to use her speaking time at the Dublin conference.

I’d suggest the reason everyone “seems” to forget it is that every time it gets brought up some idiot from one side or the other derails any discussion about it by referring back to the overblown brouhaha involving the lift.

I’d love it if Elevatorgate could become Kirbygate instead. Because to me, it seems a far more obvious example of how Rebecca’s obsessions generate dysfunction and division.

131 James November 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm

It demonstrates that the beginning of a pattern of behaviour started before “guys don’t do that”. She was the only speaker who brought that immature and vicious call-out culture to the event. All other speakers were very professional in their conduct and altogether pleasant.

132 Jack Rawlinson November 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Indeed. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, Kirby – being the sort of hard-nosed, level-headed woman who represents real feminism to a degree these numpties couldn’t even dream of – has had no truck with their nonsense since, and penned this glorious smackdown (which, of course, led to Benson questioning her (Kirby’s) sanity, in that delightful non-abusive way she has.)

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B02RDDb71N8Xc2EwYmw5T2Z4eDg/edit?pli=1

133 john welch November 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I dunno about that. The one speaker on the panel who didn’t know the difference between Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t real impressive either. But Dawkins and Aron Ra did a decent job.

I’d say I don’t understand how anyone can be surprised by Zvan/Benson’s behavior anymore, but given I’m surprised at how low they’ll go, well, yeah, I understand it completely.

Those two should form a limbo team, they’d clean up.

134 Blueshift Rhino November 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm

@James –

I happen to have more than a little belief in the theory that it was the response to her Dublin talk (and maybe others before it) that caused ElevatorGate in the first place, so I agree that RW’s behavior before the coffee was even offered is highly relevant.

135 James November 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

“You’re either a feminist or a bigot” – Aron Ra

136 James November 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I just read “Sisterhood of the Oppressed” for the first time since 2012. Two years later and everything Kirby wrote still applies. I was very disappointed at the time that more people didn’t speak out. I’m sure it contributed to her disillusionment with the atheist movement even though she claims it didn’t.

137 jimthepleb November 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

@James
That is what broke my heart. They really have calculatingly destroyed that which they claimed to represent with so little pushback from the rest of the leadership until now.
Which is why so many of us are now indebted to Michael for the stand he has taken.

138 Gurdur November 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

124 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 10:37 am
……. I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising …. We get enough of that shit from Benson and Myers.

Before you complain about getting stuff, look to what you all are handing out. Denny’s comment was infantile; and if Denny wants the Slymepit looked up to – IOW, if it all wasn’t the usual empty rhetoric – then maybe a lot less self-pity and a fair bit more good content would be more than advisable. Or OTOH y’all can just sit around bitching how the world doesn’t recognize your, well, whatever the hell it is y’all think the world should be recognizing.

139 Aneris ✻ November 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Lancelot Gobbo, I’m sorry to hear about your condition. I hope you’ll make it at least as far as Sharon does today, Happy Birthday Sharon to your 60th journey around the sun. Enjoy the ride!

140 Damion Reinhardt November 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

They really have calculatingly destroyed that which they claimed to represent with so little pushback from the rest of the leadership until now.

They destroyed what, exactly? Michael Shermer was proudly introduced as the primary sponsor of TAM 2014. Ben Radford is still churning out research for CSI and blogs for CFI. Stef McGraw is also thriving at CFI. Abbie Smith is busy science-blogging and kicking ass in her chosen field of study.

Whence the doom and gloom?

141 Gerhard November 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm

-Or OTOH y’all can just sit around bitching how the world doesn’t recognize your, well, whatever the hell it is y’all think the world should be recognizing?

I don’t think that is a fair reflection. Personally, and I think this is true of most of the Slymepit, the perception is that very few people seemed willing to PUBLICLY tackle the ideologues. That leads to a feeling of being hung out to dry, in a sense, for standing up to bullying by fairly prominent people. Tone should not really matter. We are talking about fundamental principles of skepticism and honest debate. It is one thing to be put off by vulgarity, but that does not preclude one from recognising corrosive ideology and taking a stand even if one “sides” with the vulgar. It is all very well to push back in a low profile way and I am glad to hear that that was being done, but Justin Vacula could have used a bit more public support when he was being hounded from the SCA. Justin may have a few quirks, but he is no danger to peoples’ daughters and the rhetoric with which he was being savaged was incredible. The response from the big names – crickets. I do think that those who have been damaged along the way are entitled to feel a little let down.

Just to clarify, somewhere upthread I referred to Benson’s untruths. I don’t know that she does consciously tell untruths. What I am prepared to say is that she seems able to convince herself of fiction.

What we are seeing now is an attempt at the tu quoque with this “no smears Nugent” thing. I hope that nobody is falling for the pathetic attempt to accuse MN of using smear tactics. They are trying very hard to drag MN’s name down into the filth with them.

142 Crackity Jones November 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

“You’re either a feminist or a bigot” – Aron Ra

Yeah, I’m a feminist like CH Sommers. Extreme and abusive bullies such as Amanda Marcotte are bigots.

Funny how Aron Ra can demolish the BS of creationists so easily, but if he were to debate me on the SJWs and their “feminism”, I’d absolutely crush him.

143 Jan Steen November 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm

@Gurdur,

Before you complain about getting stuff, look to what you all are handing out.

Who do you mean with “you all”? Every commenter here?

144 John Greg November 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Sharon Madison said:

After watching him in action, I felt reasonably sure that I could respond to John using his phrase and he would react with equanimity, which he did. Thank you, John!

Thanks Sharon.

Some more comment, from me, if you don’t mind.

I don’t dispute or disaprage your actions, although I have clearly said I think the lack of public awareness of them is, to me, problematic. My argument is based on my perception that much, maybe most of this whole issue is primarily based on public relations (PR) and public perception. Look at people like Rebecca Watson and Anita Sarkeesian (Myers, Benson et al are included, but Watson and Sarkeesian are, Ii think, best examples). Setting aside, for the moment, whether or not what they do and say has any validity or value beyond blatant self-promotion, the important issue is that almost the entirety of their success, paricularily in Sarkeesian’s case, is based on PR and the resultant public perception of what they do — and it is PR based more on what they say than on what they actually do. So, if the pushback against charlatans, and most importantly any successful results the pushback might have, are to work, they should be seen by the public.

Anyway, that’s just my perception of the whole mess. Carry on your good works, and more power to you. But if you ever feel so inclined, don’t let shyness hold you back from singing to the world!

😉

Oh, and I forgot: You should know, if you don’t already, that there are indeed several Pit people who would agree, at least to some degree, with you that some of the stuff that comes out of the Pit is not at all helpful and may even be actually harmful. But, being Pit people, that is part of the price most of us are more than willing to pay to ensure that the Pit is and remains one of the few truly free speech and free thought (and mostly not overly hostile) places for these topics that one can find on the Internet.

145 Dave Allen November 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Who do you mean with “you all”? Every commenter here?

Who are the “we” in the comment that Gurdur’s post was a response to?

146 Pogsurf November 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Just to clarify, somewhere upthread I referred to Benson’s untruths. I don’t know that she does consciously tell untruths. What I am prepared to say is that she seems able to convince herself of fiction.

This is a human failing, not something which would be specific to Benson. When we are in a bad mood we say things which are inaccurate. We all do it. The point is what do you do when your error is made clear to you. The decent thing to do is to apologise and retract, as Michael suggests when he asks “Is that an apology?” It is Benson’s behaviour from this point on which is questionable. She is letting her unwillingness to acknowledge an error cloud her judgement. She digs deeper by saying more things that Michael can demonstrate to be false.

The lesson is, if you are caught out, own up fast, and try to be graceful about it. You will only continue to make a bigger fool of yourself if you are too big to say you’re sorry.

147 Blueshift Rhino November 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Both so that you don’t end up looking silly later and because it’s slightly defamatory, can folks please stop making uncharitable assumptions about what members of The ‘Pit may or may not be doing in real life? Many of us “hide” behind nyms (for very good reasons) when posting, both here and on The ‘Pit. What we might be doing in own names could be very different.

Feel free, for example, to criticize the virtual creature known as “BlueShift Rhino” for being an internet tiger or troll, but be sure to remember and limit your comments to being against BSR in nym only. Thanks.

148 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

@Gurdur
124 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 10:37 am
……. I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising …. We get enough of that shit from Benson and Myers.

What the fuck is wrong with you? You edited out the whole point of what I said.

This is what I actually said:

I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising and I’d ask you to withdraw the ‘witch’ comment: I made no gendered insult.

We get enough of that shit from Benson and Myers.

This is a thread about people being deliberately smeared as misogynists. Sharon implied I called her a ‘witch’. That was an insulting characterisation.

Check out everything I have written on this blog in the last few weeks: I don’t use gendered insults and I won’t have someone invent them on my behalf.

149 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Dave Allen
Ah yes, it’s OK for you to talk about Sharon feeling “superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels” and using your own construction about “class clowns drawing out the class bullies”, which might seem infantilising in itself.

Another one who can’t fucking read: Sharon accused me of calling her a ‘witch’.

150 Shatterface November 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Gerhard
Just to clarify, somewhere upthread I referred to Benson’s untruths. I don’t know that she does consciously tell untruths. What I am prepared to say is that she seems able to convince herself of fiction.

I just think she thinks the truth doesn’t matter anymore.

151 Carrie November 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I am sad that Michael has to put up with so much flak, and grateful to him for documenting it so clearly and staying focussed.

Happy birthday Sharon; I’m 5 years older than you and personally I rather like getting old. The aches and pains are offset by the ability to be a grumpy old woman and not have any of the fears etc of youth. Thanks to you also — and other “sophisticates” *smile* — for working in your own way against the lack of skepticism of the bullies. I agree with those who feel that it is best to use every tactic to expose hypocrisy, including the mockery used in the ‘pit.

I think that most people here do usually keep to the evidence and use a reasonable tone, since Michael has made it clear that that is what he prefers. It looks to me as if they go over to the Slymepit to have fun and mock people. I rather like the good-natured liveliness in there; it contrasts with the many petty, mean-spirited sneers in those main FtB blogs.

I must say though that not all of the bloggers at FtB are awful. There are some who still concentrate on matters that are important to atheists; for instance, Christina Rad makes great videos against religion and, despite his apparent conversion to A+ style feminism, Aaronra continues to make excellent videos and fight the teaching of woo in schools.

On the subject of the original post, I have not seen any slurs against Ophelia; it seems to me that she is over-sensitive and yet she is happy to say negative things about others.

It amazes me that they cannot see how hypocritical the whole “haven for rapists” and “defending rapists” nonsense is. The only people that I see Michael defending are not proven to be rapists, even the one who is the victim of the “grenade” post. On the other hand, the one that they keep close to their hearts at FtB is a confessed rapist. The fact that he says he was 12 at the time and was abused and groomed as a younger kid does not change the fact that he says he raped girls that he was babysitting. He even says that he is afraid that he has an inner monster which could emerge again.

152 Skep tickle November 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Shatterface @150

I just think she thinks the truth doesn’t matter anymore.

I think it’s possible that she feels certain that she & her allies value the truth & are telling the truth.

I also think that it’s hard to determine what someone else is thinking as they do what they do (that others can observe).

153 Sharon Madison November 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm

@ Shatterface said:

I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising and I’d ask you to withdraw the ‘witch’ comment: I made no gendered insult.

You have my most sincere apology for my paraphrasing which employed a gendered slur. I should have been more careful, but then I’m not a woman who spends her time looking for ways to be offend by words like bitch, witch, bossy, catty, or whatever so I don’t police my own language as carefully as I probably should, particularly in the current climate where bad players are finding sexism everywhere. Thanks for the reminder!

As for my “snark about “sophisticated adults” being infantilising” – John Greg was the first to use “sophisticated adults” which, knowing how unsophisticated I am, I found amusing so I decided to respond in kind. John Greg did not take offense. (Not surprisingly, I should add). Perhaps you should have followed his lead.

Can I expect an apology from you for this comment you made?:

I’m sure Sharon feels entitled to feel superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels but without the class clowns drawing out the class bullies their thuggish tactics would have gone unnoticed.

As I did discuss the direct action that many of us took at TAM 2011, which was, by no means, something which should be called “back-channel”, I think an apology from you is deserved. We were putting our real names and reputations on the line by wearing cards which read “Sexy when I do it. Sexist when you do it” on our name badges at a conference with 1600 people in attendance.

And, I don’t agree that the class bullies thuggish tactics would have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for the class clowns. I could argue that the class clowns have made this fight more difficult by providing ammunition for class bullies to use as proof of harassment, misogyny, and sexism. You’ve just asked me to withdraw my “witch” comment because I used a gendered slur when paraphrasing your position. Why shouldn’t the class bullies take offense and demand apologies from the class clowns who use gendered slurs in an effort to uphold the principle of free speech? Perhaps you can explain how this action by class clowns is helpful when, apparently, you don’t approve of the use of gendered slurs.

@John Greg

I accept that what we do doesn’t make the news. Of course, the news tends to report the sensational. The fact that most people who are involved in secular and skeptic activism don’t think the atheist and skeptic worlds are rife with sexist pigs isn’t considered newsworthy as it is exactly what one would expect.

Of course, sophisticated adults like me who are taking a stand are lowly peons in the skeptic and atheist world so what we do and say largely goes unnoticed no matter what the issue under discussion. (For those who don’t understand sarcasm like John and I do – “sophisticated adults like me” is a joke. Lowly peon, however, is accurate.)

154 Michael Nugent November 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Happy birthday, Sharon! :)

155 Sharon Madison November 4, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Many thanks to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday! Your good wishes are very much appreciated!

156 Zenspace November 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Still trying to keep up with all the new developments courtesy Michael’s continuing highly focused and apparently effective efforts regarding the long overdue exposure of FtB, Myers, et al. Really outstanding, methodical work.

Next – Happy birthday to Sharon Madison. I’m a year older than 59 and agree and relate to your comments regarding advanced, um…., experience. 😉

I am also pleased regarding your story of the pushback against the mess that is RW at TAM 2011. It gave me some relief to know that some people in a position to be listened to took the trouble to act. Unfortunately for those of us outside that sphere (most of us, really) there were no overt indicators that such things were taking place. The result, as others have mentioned, is that it appeared that no pushback was taking place at all and FtB/Myers/Skepchick/RW were pretty much given free reign in the community to do as much damage as they pleased. This was so disheartening that some, like myself, simply ceased to engage in the community, even letting all my memberships in CFI etc. expire.

The Slymepit provided a release for the frustration with laughter when nothing else seemed available. It was there that I learned of the history and details that comprised the so-called rift and have been a lurker and occasional poster since. Ironically, I decided to visit the Pyt after being exposed to the steady drumbeat of how horrible a place it was and decided to check it out for myself. I am so glad that I did. No, it isn’t for everyone by any means, but it serves a very real function and kept the heat on Myers and crew when no one else seemed to be. It certainly is odd to think of the Pyt as an educational resource under all that mayhem, but it does serve. I have also found it to be an excellent place to keep up with both the rampant idiocy that the SJW’s have brought into the community as well as other newsworthy developments. It was there that I learned of Michaels efforts here.

The public exposure of Myers and his cohorts by the more prominent representatives in the atheist and skeptical community and his increasing isolation coupled with his decreasing influence is long overdue. Please keep up the good work everyone.

157 John Greg November 5, 2014 at 4:10 am

Sharon Madison said:

I accept that what we do doesn’t make the news. Of course, the news tends to report the sensational. The fact that most people who are involved in secular and skeptic activism don’t think the atheist and skeptic worlds are rife with sexist pigs isn’t considered newsworthy as it is exactly what one would expect.

I hear you. I have to admit that there is no way I can avoid at least some various form or other of some kind of cognitive bias, or confirmation bias, or both or more, a bias which leads me to think a lot of this issue is almost certainly more important than it is in fact; in the real world, as it were. If there even is such a thing. I try to remind myself of that, but sometimes I just get all, well … all shaking with rage tears and vivisectional angst. No. Wait. Cross sectional vivisectionist’s tears of rail? Hmm. No, no, I know! Intersectional rage flounces that go *Floosh* ib the night! That’s it.

Of course, sophisticated adults like me who are taking a stand are lowly peons in the skeptic and atheist world so what we do and say largely goes unnoticed no matter what the issue under discussion. (For those who don’t understand sarcasm like John and I do – “sophisticated adults like me” is a joke. Lowly peon, however, is accurate.)

Well speaking for myself, as one of the juvenile school room bullies or whatever the heck it is I is/we are, I also have to remind myself that in this great big world, the percentage or numbers of people who are aware of what we do on the Pit is probably so small that it couldn’t be seen by anything anywhere anyhow no matter how magnified. So, there’s always that.

158 John Greg November 5, 2014 at 4:12 am

Michael, ol’ chum, why am I in moderation with my most recent comment? I said no bad words; made no hasty accusations; named no names; nymed no nyms. I know. It’s ’cause I’m Canadian isn’t it?

Oh well.

159 Pitchguest November 5, 2014 at 5:15 am

Oh, this is just embarassing. What a joke Ophelia Benson is. And her loyal commentariat are the clowns of her circus. Utter, utter disgrace.

160 Dave Allen November 5, 2014 at 10:40 am

Michael, ol’ chum, why am I in moderation with my most recent comment?

I think the same filter that postpones publication of comments containing the word L I E S may also capture B U L L I E S.

161 Michael Nugent November 5, 2014 at 11:53 am

John, if you mean your immediately preceding comment, that was not in moderation. It’s showing up on my computer as published.

162 John Greg November 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Thanks Michael. It was, for some reason, in moderation for a while. But all is well.

Cheers.

163 noelplum99 November 6, 2014 at 4:11 am

Just catching up on your last few entries.

Ophelia Benson is totally incapable of making apologies. Apologies are what other people are expected to do for her, not the other way round.

She made a blog entry recently having a pop at me for making $62 from patreon for a blog piece I had written about her. Only, I hadn’t. She misunderstood the information on Patreon and that the blog piece was unpledged (I never take pledges for blog pieces, only for choice videos). She was not only wrong in her accusation but it was a case where the evidence was there and absolutely incontravertible.
She didn’t apologise or make another blog entry (no biggie for her, she does so many per day), all she did was leave a terse correction on her original blog – which will of course remained unread by 99% of the people who read the original accusation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zBxbwJnrtI

I just do not think she is capable of apologising, save perhaps to those even more ideologically devout than herself.

164 Pogsurf November 6, 2014 at 7:38 am

I just do not think she is capable of apologising, save perhaps to those even more ideologically devout than herself.

NoelPlum99 has identified an in- and out-group problem, which equality feminism struggles to solve. Like NoelPlum99 I am male. I am part of his in-group because I sponsor him via Patreon, and I comment this side of the atheist schism. I am a feminist, but I am not an equality feminist. I expect NoelPlum99 and I share a functional approach to problem solving. Being both grown adult males, I expect that we both recognise that relational skills are not our strongpoint.

When a female notices a need to apologise to an out-group male, she faces a dilemma. If she gives a fulsome apology, members of her in-group may read this as a signal that she is about to leave the group. In-group males will not feel threatened by this, but in-group females may feel that this indicates that their group is not strong and is about to break up. A female risks the scorn of other in-group females, in order that she leaves the group as quickly as possible, and does little damage to the group.

The correction in this case is therefore grudging. It is enough that NoelPlum99 recognises a correction has been made, but not enough to signal in any way that Ophelia Benson is about to leave her existing in-group. In short NoelPlum99, that’s about as good as you are going to get.

165 ChasCPeterson November 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm

This thread is fantastic. Everybody’s here! (I lolled for real when Welch showed up.) I think it’s great that your tribe has found this nice salon in which to say the exact same stuff yet again to each other. The false equivalences, the canonical hypocrisies, the painful stretches (srsly, “explosions” as an anti-Irish slur?), the Usual Targets: it’s all here, distilled to a single comment thread. And it’s heartening to see the sheer persistence that keeps pitizen and non-pitizen alike still, after years now, still unerringly zeroing in on the real problem with, uh, I guess organized skepticism and/or atheism: Rebecca Watson! Fantastic and nostalgic. And vaguely nauseating. But do carry on; it’s what you do.

166 Jack Rawlinson November 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Nice argument, Chas. I like the way you nailed all the relevant criticisms being levelled against your crew.

By the way, I’m redefining the words “nice”, “argument”, and “nailed” here to mean “shite”, “blather”, and “missed”. I know you’ll be cool with that because, hey, redefining words to suit yourselves is what you people do.

167 Damion Reinhardt November 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Welcome to Slimepit Ireland, Chas C. Peterson! Don’t believe I’ve seen you since ERV’s “coup de grace in Vegas” thread.

As it happens, I don’t find Watson particularly interesting. You’re welcome to bang that drum if you like.

Anyhow, I was wondering, where exactly can one find these legendary canonical hypocrisies? They sound monumental.

168 Pogsurf November 6, 2014 at 11:02 pm

… the painful stretches (srsly, “explosions” as an anti-Irish slur?)…

Well done for commenting so stupidly about a subject about which you demonstrate almost blinding ignorance. You deserve a medal.

169 John Greg November 7, 2014 at 12:27 am

ChasCPeterson said:

This thread is fantastic.

Yes, actually, it is. Michael is doing a really stand-up job exposing FTB smears, misrepresentations, and distortions; stand-up job.

Everybody’s here!

Not really. Hardly any FTBers, Skepchicks, or other sundry SJWs have had the courage to show up. A few do, and then tend to say very, very silly things and run away when supportable rebuttals are posted. But that adds to the fun.

(I lolled for real when Welch showed up.)

Me too. He’s often good for a sardonic laugh or two.

I think it’s great that your tribe has found this nice salon in which to say the exact same stuff yet again to each other.

You actually feel comfortable exposing yourself by saying something like that? Amazing.

The false equivalences …

Which are?

… the canonical hypocrisies …

Which are?

… the painful stretches (srsly, “explosions” as an anti-Irish slur?)

It works for some folks, and I’d bet you dollars to donuts that was precisely what was in Ophelia’s mind when she made that statement.

… the Usual Targets

Which are?

… it’s all here, distilled to a single comment thread.

Actually, several threads, about 16 or 17 to be precise, but that’s OK. You don’t need to count; we can do it for you; stick with your pick-up-sticks.

And it’s heartening to see the sheer persistence that keeps pitizen and non-pitizen alike still, after years now, still unerringly zeroing in on the real problem with, uh, I guess organized skepticism and/or atheism: Rebecca Watson!

Good heavens!! Was she actually even mentioned in the several hundred comments more than 3 or 4 times? Really? Where? What did people say? Any shoops?

Chas, do you have anything substantive to say? Or are you just having fun playing I’m a silly bugger; where’s my gumby?

170 John Greg November 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Hmm. I guess not.

171 John Greg November 15, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Substantive, that is.

172 Generally Fading November 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm

“Josh, Official SpokesGay
14 November 2014 at 3:27 pm
Sorry. Apologizing isn’t that hard. It’s just not. No, it isn’t. Stop cutting him slack for being “upset” or “uncomfortable.”
Jesus Christ. I’ve apologized on stage for Christ’s sake when I got an important fact wrong about someone actually present. Adults can do this. They really, really, really can.
I hate seeing this bankrupt idea that apologizing is SOOO HARD YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW HE FEELS normalized. Where do folks get that ridiculous idea?”

So maybe in a few hours, Matt Taylor will be allowed to retract his apology?………

173 aaa January 12, 2015 at 2:51 pm

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174 aaa January 15, 2015 at 12:15 am

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