The pattern continues – like PZ Myers’ smear about rapists, Theo fails to apologise for his smear about fascism

by Michael Nugent on December 9, 2014

Like PZ Myers, who has repeatedly failed to substantiate or apologise for his false allegation that I defend and provide a haven for rapists, our pseudonymous commenter Theophontes has failed to substantiate or apologise for his false allegation that my “seedy past” involved being associated fascism.

This is part of an ongoing pattern whereby PZ and his colleagues casually make defamatory smears, as if it is an acceptable part of civilised discourse, and then refuse to own their behaviour when they are corrected. Occasionally they apologise, but then either withdraw their apology or say that they hadn’t really apologised.

These smears are part of a wider pattern of misrepresentations of individual atheists, and of the atheist movement generally, by PZ and others. In recent months these misrepresentations were leaking into the mainstream media, and it was after I criticised this development that PZ and others started directing their personal smears at me.

1. Theo’s smear about me and fascism

The most recent smear came after I analysed how PZ had updated his story about a threatened false rape allegation made against him. Theo commented that I had “run with the blue shirts,” linked to an article about a fascist organisation that existed in Ireland in the 1930s, and said this was part of my “seedy past.” I located Theo’s source for that smear, and I wrote a correction.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Theo to say, without losing any face, “I’m sorry for writing that. I was told it by a source who I thought was reliable, and I mistakenly believed it. Thanks for giving me more accurate information, and I’ll try to fact-check in future before I unknowingly pass on false accusations like that.”

Instead, Theo glided over the fact that his smear had been corrected, and focused instead on different parts of the post in which his smear had been corrected. Theo did this over three separate comments, in which he applied his usual pattern of judging PZ charitably and me uncharitably.

I will respond here to those three comments, and then ask Theo to withdraw and apologise for his false association of me with fascism. And I will end, as usual, by asking that we judge each other charitably, using the standards that we would like others to apply to us, and asking that we work together with integrity to bring about a more inclusive, ethical, secular world.

2. Theo’s first response comment

Last Thursday Theo made his first response comment. It referred mostly to the length of my post, and to my reference to his pseudonymous status.

“Thank you for your response to my comments. If I can just make one small criticism with regard to the style your response, it would be that it is a little too wordy. A few hundred words should have done the trick, by my estimation. But in excess of 4000 words, and it tends to get a little verbose.”

As Shatterface put it in a recent comment,

“I think it’s telling that when the likes of Theo or Benson encounter a large body of text, their first instinct is to count the words rather than to read them.”

That said, Theo has a point. Brief posts can have more punch than lengthy posts. I generally prefer to write brief pieces, and up to recently I have typically edited my posts to remove superfluous words. One of my favourite books on writing is Make Every Word Count, by Gary Provost, which I got while I was in college, and which is still on my desk today.

However, brief posts generally work best when they are read charitably. When I know that some people will judge my words as uncharitably as they can, then I choose to compensate for that by including as much context and qualifications as I think will help to pre-empt that outcome. Of course, that doesn’t always work, because some people will ignore the qualifications anyway.

There is an ideal balance somewhere, and even given the hostile environment, I may be erring on the side of caution instead of brevity. But I have to write these posts in between my commitments to Atheist Ireland and other aspects of my life so, as Blaise Pascal (and others) have put it, “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

Theo continued:

“I have a suggestion right out of the gate – that is to say, in the very first line: “Theophontes, a pseudonymous commenter here and on PZ Myers’ blog,”
The word “pseudonymous” seems entirely superfluous and should have been omitted….
Michael, if you feel comfortable putting your name out there, good for you. If you enjoy the privilege of living in a country that does not look ill upon the freedom of expression, then I am truly happy for you. I long, and struggle, for a time when such is universally accepted.”

Theo, I referred to your pseudonymous status as an observation, rather than a condemnation. Not everyone who reads my blog is familiar with the nuances of the current smears against atheists, and I try to start my writing with some introductory information for the uninformed reader.

I am delighted to see that you long for the day that freedom of expression is universally accepted. I assume you agree that, like all freedoms, it comes with responsibilities, and should not be used to unjustly infringe on the rights of others, including the right to one’s good name and reputation in the face of defamatory smears.

3. Theo’s second response comment

Last Thursday Theo made his second response comment. It referred mostly to sexual fantasies and rape, as well as another reference to the length of my posts.

MN wrote: “Charitable Theo’s defence (which, as I have already said, I mostly agree with)”
Theo responded; “You say “mostly agree with” and then give a summation that is wholly at odds with what I have written right here on your blog. My point is not being made “charitably”, it is being made accurately.”

Theo, I said that I mostly agreed with your defence of PZ’s behaviour, and what I summarised was his behaviour, not your defence of it. I linked directly to your defence of PZ’s behaviour, so that readers could follow it up themselves.

That said, both your points and mine (about whether PZ is sexist) are being made charitably, not necessarily accurately. Neither of us can know whether our points are accurate, because neither of us is PZ. Where he behaves in ways that some people people would consider to be sexist, we are both, I think appropriately, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

3(a) PZ and weird exploitation of women

Theo continued:

“I fail to see why you have such a problem with simple concepts, such as pornography being perfectly OK in the context of a non-exploitative and consensual relationship.”

The reason that you fail to see why I have a problem with simple concepts, such as pornography being perfectly OK in the context of a non-exploitative and consensual relationship, is that I do not have a problem with such concepts, and that I agree that pornography is perfectly OK in the context of a non-exploitative and consensual relationship.

However, PZ has linked approvingly to pornography that PZ himself has described as including “weird exploitation of women.” Whether you or I or anyone else believes that these images are weirdly exploitative of women, is beside the point with regard to PZ’s thinking. The point is that PZ believes it is weirdly exploitative of women, and despite that PZ chose to link to it.

Here’s a reminder of what we are talking about. In October 2006, PZ published a post titled ‘Definitely not safe for work.’ It read:

“A reader sent me a link to a site I hesitate to reference, just because I know some people will be aghast at the exposed mammalian flesh and weird exploitation of women…but it’s got tentacles everywhere, and molluscs, and even a few arthropods and a giant salamander.
The title, Tentacles of Desire, and the list of organisms tells you what it’s all about. If you’re easily offended or squeamish about slime or freaked out by perverse fetishes, don’t go there!
Otherwise, though, just consider it a celebration of biodiversity.”

The link goes to this web page, which today contains the message: “This blog is in violation of Blogger’s Terms of Service and is open to authors only”

The page is archived here. To see the images PZ linked to, scroll down to 15 October, about a third of the way down the page. Warning: some of the images are very extreme, and some are photographs rather than illustrations. The text describes the style as ‘hentai tentacle rape’ that highlights ‘the relationship between the plastic body of the female and the “non-body” of the monstrous.’

3(b) PZ and fantasies about mermaids

Theo continued:

“I question what goes around in your mind when you read things into others dreams that are only in your own mind. Do you imagine the mermaids were naked, or that they had sex? Or you just have an issue with such fantasy creatures in general? Such would reflect only on your own imagination in this regard. (Hey, its OK to be sex-positive Michael. Relaaax)”

Actually, I didn’t write anything about whether the mermaids were naked, or whether they had sex. You seem to have added that interpretation, in your own mind, to what I wrote. The only commentary that I made on that fantasy was this:

  • PZ publicly posted this fantasy about his students on a blog where at least some of the students he was fantasising about might be expected to read it.
  • I am not condemning PZ for this dream fantasy. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

So I could ask you the same question that you asked me:

“Theo, I question what goes around in your mind when you read things into others dreams that are only in your own mind. Do you imagine the mermaids were naked, or that they had sex? Or you just have an issue with such fantasy creatures in general? Such would reflect only on your own imagination in this regard. (Hey, its OK to be sex-positive Theo. Relaaax)”

But I won’t ask you that, because that would be unfair. Your response is a perfect example of Charitable Theo and Uncharitable Theo in action in the same paragraph.

  • When interpreting what you think PZ might have been thinking, you charitably imply that he may not have seen the mermaids as being naked, or imagined that they had sex.
  • Yet when you speculate on what I might have been thinking when reading PZ’s words, you uncharitably question whether I saw the mermaids as naked, or imagined whether they had sex, even though I didn’t mention either of those ideas.
  • You then uncharitably assume that I don’t think it is okay to be sex-positive, and you add an uncharitable ‘Relaaax’ to the end of your comment.
  • You don’t explain how you believe both that (a) it is okay to be sex-positive and (b) there would be something wrong with me interpreting PZ’s fantasy in a sex-positive way.
  • You ignore that my concern was that PZ publicly posted this fantasy about his students on a blog, where at least some of the students he was fantasising about might be expected to read it.

Theo, why do you apply these double standards? Why don’t you either interpret both PZ and me (and indeed yourself) equally charitably, or else interpret all of us equally uncharitably? Can you not see that this approach is at the heart of our differences on these issues?

3(c) PZ and rape and rape fantasies

Theo continued:

“With regard to rape, it is important to be able to discuss this subject openly and frankly. No-one benefits from hiding such matters. It is wonderful that there has been a dramatic turnaround in this regard in recent years and that rapists are being exposed, along with their apologists and protectors. Will all such discussions be in a serious vein? No. This is also part of coming to terms with the issues. But certainly, too, there is no space for denigrating rape victims, nor threatening people with rape – even if such remarks are made “in jest”.”

I agree with most of this, with one obvious proviso, that I suspect you might guess. When you say that “rapists are being exposed, along with their apologists and protectors,” you are writing this on the blog of a person who has been falsely accused of defending and providing a haven for rapists, with that false allegation being made by a person who himself has been falsely accused of rape and who has comments by a self-confessed rapist on his own blog. I’m not going to analyse that in detail here, but I didn’t want to let it slip by unnoticed.

Theo continued:

“Fantasies are fantasies. Yes they can be strange at times. It is often in our fantasies that we can resolve our fears, be they being chased by naked mermaids, or even, as in Greta’s case, being raped. There are even people who act out their rape fantasies with their loving and consenting partners. Are you going to stand on your pulpit and tell them about your catholic notions of how they should behave? Such is, after all, very different from actual rape, that your “Uncharitable Theo” would roundly condemn.”

Again, this is a perfect example of Charitable Theo and Uncharitable Theo in action in the same paragraph.

  • You charitably interpret the sexual fantasies of others, and sexual role-play of others, including rape fantasies and rape role-play.
  • You then uncharitably (and falsely) assume that I not only have Catholic notions about how people should behave sexually, but that I would convey these notions from a pulpit.

If you want to address somebody who has publicly conveyed concerns about people fantasising about rape as depicted in pornography, you could try Ophelia Benson. She recently wrote:

“I also don’t consider “rape scenarios” to be “edgy.” Either both are fucked up or neither is fucked up…

I don’t see why porn is supposed to include violence. I don’t see why erotica and violence need to be mashed together. I don’t see why anyone – especially feminists – wants to eroticize violence.”

Theo, would you say the following to Ophelia about this?

“Ophelia, Are you going to stand on your pulpit and tell them about your catholic notions of how they should behave? Such is, after all, very different from actual rape, that “Uncharitable Theo” would roundly condemn.”

I suspect that you wouldn’t say that to Ophelia, and neither would I. That is because I suspect that we would both interpret what she is saying charitably, and that we would both in turn respond charitably. So why do you apply different standards when you are responding to what I say? Or indeed, in this case, responding to what you imagined that I said?

3(c) Biblical proportions

Theo concluded:

“Hint: I notice that this response brings me up to a mere 3,25% of the way through your epically verbose OP. If you are going to write a 4000 word opus, at least split it up into chapters and verses, as suites something of such biblical proportions. It certainly would help people who wish to respond.”

Well, I do number the sections, so that should help you. The Bible has nearly 800,000 words, which would require two hundred 4,000-word posts. In the meantime, to quote Tim Minchin from The Good Book:

“I tried to read some other books,
but I soon gave up on that,
The paragraphs ain’t numbered
and they complicate the facts.”

4. Theo’s third response comment

Yesterday Theo made his third response comment. It referred to previous abusive behaviour, judging people by the behaviour of different people, Theo’s fascism smear, and aspects of Irish and US politics.

MN wrote: “As one example of his [Frank’s] ethics, on the first Christmas Day after my wife Anne died of cancer, he posted details of my widows pension among messages of condolence on a tribute page to Anne on my website, after he had edited the Wikipedia page about me to include the same details in the section about my marriage to Anne. This, folks, is the downside of the Internet. And civilised society has yet to figure out how to deal with it. When Anne and I and others were campaigning against terrorism in Northern Ireland, we had hate mail and the occasional bullet drop through our letterboxes. At least, pre-Internet, those people had to go to the effort of physically producing their hate smears and threats, and physically delivering them to individual targets.”

Theo responded: “I find such behaviours absolutely appalling. You have my sympathies for having suffered such abuse.”

Thank you, Theo. I appreciate that.

I hope you feel the same about me being falsely accused of defending and providing a haven for rapists.

4(a) Judging people based on different people

MN wrote: “I will also address PZ and Theo’s pattern of judging of me on the basis of their opinion of other people, who are either commenting on my blog…”
Theo responded: “You attract the attention, and support, of people like Thunderf00t and Vox Day (inter alia) because they see you as being somehow aligned with their twisted, deeply reactionary, world views. They sought you out. Perhaps you should address them as to why they have done this. And yes, their support of you does make you look bad – whether or not we point this out.”

Theo, you are just repeating what you have said before. You are not addressing my counter-argument to that, which I made in the very post that you were responding to:

“It would obviously be unfair to say, as PZ says about me, that I judge him by the company that he keeps, meaning people like Frank who comment on his blog.

It would obviously be unfair to say that PZ defends and provides a haven for people like Frank who say that they could literally kill you without being angry or even thinking about you afterwards, who say that they have never seen things by any yardstick that involves morals and ethics, and who call members of the travelling community ‘Cream Crackers’.

It would obviously be unfair to say to Theo, paraphrasing what Theo says to me, “Theo, you rub shoulders with the likes of Frank on PZ’s blog. You should realise how bad this makes you look. Then again, perhaps you don’t realise it yet. In which case: “I fart in your general direction!”

And it is equally obviously unfair for PZ and Theo to judge other people based on their opinions of different people.”

Again, Theo, can you please explain why you are applying different standards to PZ and yourself, than you are applying to me, with regard to whether or not we should be judged on the basis of opinions about different people who write things to or about us? Can you not see that this approach is at the heart of our differences on these issues?

4(b) Fine Gael and Sinn Fein

Theo continued:

MN wrote: “Theo tried to link to a page about me being an election candidate for Fine Gael in Dublin in 1999, but by mistake linked to a page about a different Michael Nugent who was an election candidate for Sinn Fein in Cork in 2014.”
Theo responded: “My apologies, the correct link is here.”

Thank you. It’s interesting how you can apologise for that, but not for your smear of associating me with fascists.

By the way, this mistake has some wider significance for our discussion generally. Choosing the wrong link is an understandable mistake for anybody unfamiliar with Irish politics, but nobody with the remotest familiarity with Irish politics would mistakenly link to a Sinn Fein candidate when talking about a Fine Gael candidate.

4(c) Theo’s unsubstantiated fascism smear

Theo continued:

MN wrote: “Nobody in Ireland seriously associates Fine Gael with the Blueshirts of the 1930s, other than as a joke.”
Theo responded: “It is a matter of simple historical fact. You treat it as a joke, yet take offence when the historical connection to Fine Gael is pointed out.”

Theo, you are ignoring the smear that you made against me, which was to associate me personally with fascism, rather than to record a simple historical fact about Fine gael or about Ireland in the 1930s.

You wrote that I (not people in the 1930s) was “running with the blue shirts”, and you linked to an article illustrated with a photograph of fascist salutes by people in the 1930s.

You added: “I am not particularly surprised to see you are providing a home-away-from-home to right wing reactionaries on your blog.”

There are two separate smears here: one, that I am associated with fascists or fascism, and two, that some of the commenters on my blog are right wing reactionaries who could be expected to be comfortable being associated with fascists or fascism.

Then, for good measure, you described your comment as “a comment on Michael’s own seedy past.”

Theo, can you please withdraw and apologise for your smear that I am associated in any way with fascism, and that this alleged association is in some way linked to me “providing a home-away-from-home to right wing reactionaries on my blog”?

4(d) Fine Gael generally

Theo continued:

“Why do you play down Fine Gale’s christian and conservative political orientation? When were they ever not so? In 1999? Is your “constitutional pluralism” referring to their banding up with other such christian parties across Europe?”

I didn’t play down any aspect of Fine Gael’s political orientation, and I explained what I meant by constitutional pluralism. Here is what I wrote about Fine Gael:

“The main political parties in Ireland are ideologically strange. They mostly grew out of the sides in the Civil War that followed Irish independence, and ideological divisions that exist elsewhere between parties, exist in Ireland within parties. So the main parties have left, right, liberal and authoritarian wings within them.

By the 1980s, relatively speaking, Fianna Fail was the party of Catholic nationalism, Fine Gael was the party of constitutional pluralism, and the Labour Party was nominally socialist but in practice a potential minority party in possible coalition with Fine Gael. Fianna Fail leader Charles Haughey (‘The Boss’) was corrupt, and Fine Gael leader Garret Fitzgerald (‘Garret the Good’) was leading a Constitutional Crusade to, among other things, make divorce legal and remove the constitutional claim over Northern Ireland.”

I’ll write a longer post later about Fine Gael and Irish politics, if you are interested in the nuances of the issues that you mention.

4(e) Democrats and slavery

Theo concluded:

MN wrote: “Democrats used to support slavery.”
Theo responded: “Both Democrats, and Republicans, hold responsibilities for the continuing racial disparities and iniquities in the USA – that stem originally from that very same, racist, slave-owning, past. Perhaps if people cared more about history, they would be less confused about what happened in Ferguson.”

What is interesting here is that Theo has cited the phrase “Democrats used to support slavery” as the words to which he is responding. Actually, the full context of those words was:

“Nobody in Ireland seriously associates Fine Gael with the Blueshirts of the 1930s, other than as a joke. As someone wrote elsewhere about this, it is like saying that Barack Obama is a racist because the Democrats used to support slavery. Actually, it is even further from reality than that, because the Blueshirts were a short-lived faction within a wider political party in the early 1930s.”

So, Theo, to follow on from your response here, and granting you the analysis that you have outlined about American history, does it follow from your analysis that Barack Obama is racist? Would it be fair to ask Barack Obama about when he was “running with the racists,” and link to an article with a photograph of KKK members? And would it be fair to describe those aspects of American history as “a comment on Barack Obama’s own seedy past”?

Conclusion

Like PZ Myers, who has repeatedly failed to substantiate or apologise for his false allegation that I defend and provide a haven for rapists, Theo has failed to substantiate or apologise for his false allegation that my “seedy past” involved being associated with a fascist organisation.

Instead, Theo glided over the fact that his smear had been corrected, and focused instead on different parts of the post in which his smear had been corrected. I am asking Theo to please withdraw and apologise for his false association of me with fascism.

Theo also continues to miss the point that I am discussing his approaches to his conclusions, not the conclusions themselves. I am asking him to apply the same standards of charitable (or uncharitable) judgment to everybody equally, rather than apply them selectively.

I will end, as usual, by asking that we judge each other charitably, using the standards that we would like others to apply to us, and asking that we work together with integrity to bring about a more inclusive, ethical, secular world.

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{ 147 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gurdur (Tim Skellett) December 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

It’s all about ethics in atheism.

2 muffy December 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Theo, your double standards are appalling. I am slack jawed here.

3 Blueshift Rhino December 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Congrats, Theo. Feel free to start a trend on Twitter using #PZsShield.

4 Karmakin December 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Gurdur beat me to it. I was actually going to make nearly the exact same comment. That phrase, for people who don’t know, is the sarcastic response often made to supporters of the #GamerGate movement.

Which is a complicated thing and many-faceted thing, but to be honest, it comes down to one relatively simple concept I think. It’s a pushback against overt in-group/out-group bias/privilege. You can see it perfectly in this post. Theo treats the same things by the in-group entirely differently than he does the out-group. This is a clear as a bell case of this sort of bias.

It’s important to note that we all can have this bias from time to time. However, it’s important to recognize it and to take steps to try and counteract it. Generally speaking, that particular community not only doesn’t take steps to try and counteract it, they try to weaponize it as much as they can.

5 Shatterface December 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Pretty sure any response to this from Theo is going to consist of little more than a word count.

6 Jonathan December 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

He’d love to respond but your post is too long and his eyes hurt. Also, he’s pretty sure he heard from a guy who read on twitter that you kicked a puppy once. And no he won’t elaborate. You cruel, cruel man.

7 Blueshift Rhino December 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

@Jonathan –

Your ableist comment is rather uncalled for. Theo’s eyes do not hurt. Rather, partly due to his sex (for which we cannot fault him), he is red/green color-blind, which is how he ended up thinking that our host may have been part of the fascist blue polo shirt movement of the 1930s.

8 piero December 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I’m biased, I freely admit. But this post is just a model of reasoning, and completely unassailable. It illustrates precisely the kind of thought process an aspiring sceptic should follow.

Unfortunately, the FtB crowd appear to embrace an outdated essentialism in their analyses: for them, people are this or that, rapists or white knights, reactionaries or revolutionaries, with them or against them. They leave no room for partial agreement and disagreement within a dialectical exchange. Instead, when facts contradict their labelling, they simply make up facts that fit the narrative, to use a word they seem to cherish. I wonder if any of them has ever realised how Manichean, fundamentalist and ultimately reactionary they appear to outsiders.

9 piero December 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

@Shatterface:

Pretty sure any response to this from Theo is going to consist of little more than a word count.

Yeah, Michael should append the wordcount to his posts, as a courtesy towards theophontes and Ophelia. I’ll enact the labour this time:
Ophelia, theo, Michael’s post is 4,235 words long. I know, I know, but you can take your time: there’s no deadline.

10 Shatterface December 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Yeah, Michael should append the wordcount to his posts, as a courtesy towards theophontes and Ophelia. I’ll enact the labour this time:
Ophelia, theo, Michael’s post is 4,235 words long. I know, I know, but you can take your time: there’s no deadline.

Also, most of those words are Michael’s.

Copying pages of text and simply appending ‘Quite right’ or ‘Dead wrong’ isn’t the same as writing an article.

11 allison December 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Ophelia, theo, Michael’s post is 4,235 words long. I know, I know, but you can take your time: there’s no deadline.

In other words, it’s about 500 times longer than an average post by Ophelia Benson at her blog.

12 piero December 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

@Allison:

In other words, it’s about 500 times longer than an average post by Ophelia Benson at her blog.

Ha, Shatterface beat you to it by milliseconds.

13 allison December 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

It was a rather obvious joke :)

14 JetLagg December 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm

That the pattern will ever cease to continue seems about as likely as William Lane Craig becoming an atheist.

15 milesnagopaleen December 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Michael’s post is 4,235 words long

IMO, that’s 4,235 words more than Theo merits.

16 Patrick December 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm

This kind of escalation never happened when the Irish Code Duello was in vogue….

17 Citizen Wolf December 9, 2014 at 8:25 pm

At this stage Michael, I feel that to apply a charitable view of Theo’s behavior is to ignore the evidence that he is in fact unethical.

He has thrown muck at you, making the accusation that you’re somehow associated with fascists. This might have been a genuine mistake. However when the ridiculousness of his claims were pointed out to him he didn’t retract or apologise.

There is no charitable view of his behavior.

18 Aheydis Vaakenjab December 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Keep it up MN. Keep up your tireless efforts to make the world a better place for nonbelievers, and keep up your sober responses to those who choose to smear for personal gain.

That all being said, do a Google of “PZ Myers” and you’ll see that on the first page of hits that there is very little there attributable to a person who fancies themselves as a 5th horseman.

Repeat the process for “Christopher Hitchens”. You’ll get page after page of how prolific Hitch was and continues to be. (Gosh do I miss Hitchens).

Repeat for Lawrence Krauss…. You get the picture.

PZ has done nothing to improve the A/S community. All PZ and his ilk have done is to sully their own reputations. As an educator, PZ does very little educating. His blog has produced Theo – someone who models their behaviour after PZ and does NOTHING to remedy smears and all out lies about people. To call them failures is an insult to failures worldwide. They’ve reached a nadir in behaviour which we all seemed to have encouraged while the targets were soft and Christian. For that, I am equally at fault.

So again Theo, if you have any empathy or any sense of right or wrong, try putting that on display for us to all see here and retract your statements here. You could go as far as to also do the same at FtB…. but we all know that won’t happen.

19 chill chick December 10, 2014 at 5:15 am

This post was very interesting for me. I spent my junior year abroad in Ireland, and just about everyone I met was overwhelmingly friendly and hospitable. I made some great friendships, several of which are still going strong today, and ever since then, I’ve had a deep fondness for Ireland and the Irish people. I always found Irish politics confusing though, especially the difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Michael’s remark is very illuminating: “Ideological divisions that exist elsewhere between parties, exist in Ireland within parties. So the main parties have left, right, liberal and authoritarian wings within them.”

One time I was sitting in a pub with some friends, and one person called another a blueshirt. Most people seemed amused, but the guy on the receiving end rolled his eyes and was visibly annoyed. I asked what a blueshirt was, and got a jokey answer that wasn’t very informative, but I read up on the subject later. I got the impression (I welcome correction if I’m wrong) that the blueshirts were a bunch of wannabees who were more interested in the trappings of fascism – salutes, uniforms, rallies etc. – than fascism itself. Other than sending a brigade to fight for Franco in the Spanish Civil War, they never did anything of substance. Certainly it seems that there was no comparison with Sir Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts in Britain, who were a significant electoral force until they were banned, and tried to carry out pogroms in Jewish areas of East London.

My overall impression is that the blueshirts are now regarded as a joke and not taken seriously, and weren’t even all that significant during the brief period when they were active. People call Fine Gael supporters “blueshirts” just to annoy them, knowing full well that Fine Gael is not a fascist party. It’s like those Republicans who know that Barack Obama was born in the US but refer to him as a Kenyan, simply to piss off Democrats. (I know there are still many diehard birthers but I’m not talking about them.) If Theo happens to read this, I hope it clarifies matters for him.

I can’t help thinking that there is a certain parallel with the current “deep rifts”. There is obviously more ideological diversity outside of atheism-plus than within it, since anyone who doesn’t march in 100% ideological lockstep with atheism-plus quickly gets expelled and witch-hunted. But it simply is not true to say that anyone outside of A+ is a misogynist and rape supporter, any more than anyone who ever had any association with Fine Gael is a fascist.

The idea that there are “two sides” is mistaken and parochial to begin with. It seems to me there is a small group of hardcore A+ opponents, and a larger group (in which I include myself) which is annoyed and a little embarrassed by A+, considers it a distraction, and yet finds it oddly fascinating, like a slow-motion train wreck. There’s a still larger group who just don’t give a crap one way or the other, and the largest group of all is those atheists who have never heard of A+.

If anything, A+ strikes me as the blueshirts of the atheist “party”, and they certainly have authoritarian tendencies, with their ruthless suppression of dissent and insistence on ideological purity. The slimepitters are the ones dedicated to “taking the piss” out of A+ as the Irish would say, and their humor can be crude and juvenile, but does not compare with the constant rage and mouth-foaming emanating from the comments section of Pharyngula.

But at the end of the day, the actual ideological differences are very small – it all comes down to tribalism. A+ may see themselves as the “Warriors of Destiny” (which is mixing Irish political metaphors) but they certainly do not hold the moral high ground, nor are the out-group Satan incarnate. I don’t think Michael will ever get the apology he is asking for and deserves, but he is doing a great job politely but persistently refuting their “persecuted victim” narrative.

20 Jan Steen December 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Being charitable is excellent as an initial position to adopt. But there comes a point when it is so obvious that some of your interlocutors are driven by malice, that a sterner attitude may be called for. If you politely request somebody to apologize for a libelous remark, and the response is that you are a ‘demented fuckwit’, then I don’t see why you should treat that person any longer as if he were a worthy conversation partner.

I am not suggesting that you sink to their level, because you should under any circumstance remain honest, which is already a higher standard than the one under which the likes of PZ Myers and theophontes operate. But to keep begging for apologies that are not forthcoming does not appear to me a productive strategy in the long term.

21 citizen_wolf December 10, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I agree with what Jan says #20.

And what I said above in relation to Theo’s behavior, also applies to PZ Myers.

22 Jan Steen December 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Examples of PZ Myers’s dishonesty can be found in almost every of his posts. Take this sentence from his latest:

It’s reassuring that a lot of commenters here at FtB are sympathetic to those ideas, but really, sometimes it’s a little depressing to discover how many other atheists elsewhere turn purple and start screaming if you dare to imply that women, for instance, are fully autonomous, thinking individuals, and that the Biblical tradition of treating them as secondary servants to The Man is invalid.

Really? Where the hell are those atheists who “turn purple and start screaming if you dare to imply that women (…) are fully autonomous, thinking individuals, and that the Biblical tradition of treating them as secondary servants to The Man is invalid”?

You can’t even call rubbish like this strawmanning anymore. This is pure and unadulterated mendacity.

23 Phil Giordana FCD December 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Jan @22:

I’ll say it again, it’s most probably projection on his part.

24 Jan Steen December 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I’ll say it again, it’s most probably projection on his part.

Or the feverish imagination of a madman living in a bunker, receiving messages from the outside world through Twitter only.

25 Steersman December 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Jan Steen (#22):

You can’t even call rubbish like this strawmanning anymore. This is pure and unadulterated mendacity.

Indeed. Demagogues, the lot of them – at least more than a few, and quite often – charitably speaking. 😉

But as a case in point, a “blast from the past”, a Thunderfoot video (2) of two years ago which quotes the inimitable Mr. Myers insisting [@ 4:08] that “there’s a debate going on to decide … whether women are eye candy and fuck toys for the privileged white men, or equal colleagues”. While sex is, of course, one of the main engines driving our “machineries of joy” (Bradbury), to claim there’s an ongoing debate in the atheist/scientific community on that question (I don’t recollect receiving an invitation) is well beyond hyperbole and well into “unadulterated mendacity”. Rather like PZ’s apparent insistence that any who criticize “feminism” – particularly his idiosyncratic and dogmatic if not virulent brand – all have the name and “philosophy” of Marc Lépine (2).

——–
1) “_https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKKQdJR7F_I”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_L%C3%A9pine”;

26 Kirbmarc December 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm

sometimes it’s a little depressing to discover how many other atheists elsewhere turn purple and start screaming if you dare to imply that women, for instance, are fully autonomous, thinking individuals, and that the Biblical tradition of treating them as secondary servants to The Man is invalid.

I agree with PZ here. It’s depressing to see so many atheists who treat women as delicate wallflowers who need men to protect them from the “evil harassers”, who can’t take responsibility for their actions, not even when they faslely accuse someone of a crime, and who should be treated like children with little to no control on their emotional reactions instead of adults who can deal with the horrible menace of twitter trolls on their own.

27 Michael Nager December 11, 2014 at 1:08 am

I assume that Theo is American. To this end, originally in the US there was the Democratic-Republican Party. This split and after another split the Republican Party was formed.

The Democrats which Theo is referring to were known as the “Dixiecrats” (the name “Dixie” came from the most trusted and popular banknote in circulation back when towns or regions printed their own money, this was the ten dollar note issued by the Citizens State Bank of New Orleans. Instead of “Ten” it had “Dix” printed on it and thus gave rise to the name of the South in general being called “Dixie”), party affiliations were not as strong as regional affiliations in 19th century US.

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to equate the modern day Democratic party with the 19th century party of the same name.

Fascism was an Italian model of an authoritarian corporatist state – pretty much what the modern Republican Party embraces now.

Although influenced by Fascism, the NSDAP in Germany was heavily influenced by the export of the ideology of Eugenics from the US which was absent in Italian Fascism.

The “Blueshirts” were fashioned after the Italian model of Fascism even to adopting the Roman straight arm salute, and as such Theo was in effect calling Michael a modern day US Republican.

28 Lancelot Gobbo December 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Theo was in effect calling Michael a modern day US Republican.

Now don’t go making it worse!

29 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Very interesting post Michael, thank you.

@Steersman. Do you have any thoughts on the word “nigger” being used as an insult? I’d be glad to hear any arguments you have for or against. Thank you.

30 JetLagg December 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

@Jim

I hate you so much >:(

31 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 4:59 pm

@JetLagg
I’d be interested to hear you reasoning on how you came to such an extreme conclusion about me.
I was simply thanking Michael for his excellent post and trying to engage with Steersman about an issue in which I believe he’d be able to contribute to the marketplace of ideas.
If I have offended you in any way I apologise but as good skeptics we should encourage debate wherever we find the opportunity, nay?

32 citizen_wolf December 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

@Jim
Pooping is fine and natural, but you don’t do it in the kitchen.
Many things are situationally appropriate/nonappropriate.

33 Phil Giordana FCD December 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Jim:

If you are really that interested in Steersman views, go to the Slymepit and search for keywords like “steersman” an “nigger”. No need to bring this back here.

34 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

@Phil
No thank you. I have heard enough of the slimepit from other bloggers and I don’t want to post question in a community which glorifies myths about 9/11 being a Jewish conspiracy and promotes anti-vaccination woo.

35 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Although PZ’s reluctance to apologize for what are undoubtedly smears is disheartening I think we mustn’t lose sight of the excellent work he does in other fields such as promoting atheism, science, reason and critical thought.
It’s all too easy to lose sight of our main focus as skeptics and atheists and throw good allies under the bus for relatively minor things.
Let’s not be too quick to do that with somebody like PZ who is advancing our joint cause.

36 Phil Giordana FCD December 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Oh, sorry Jim, I didn’t notice you were trolling. Carry on…

:)

37 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Jim Rustleton @35:

Although PZ’s reluctance to apologize for what are undoubtedly smears is disheartening I think we mustn’t lose sight of the excellent work he does in other fields such as promoting atheism, science, reason and critical thought.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost sight of that “excellent work.” Could you please point to two or three examples over the past year?

It’s all too easy to lose sight of our main focus as skeptics and atheists and throw good allies under the bus for relatively minor things.

Indeed it is. Will you be making this point at Pharyngula?

38 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:20 pm

@Patrick
It’s quite obvious that PZ has done much to advance the causes I listed. His work deconstructing creationist arguments alone is well documented and I think it’s hyperskeptical to say otherwise.
And, no, I will not be making the point at Pharyngula as I was banned for denying my white male privilege but, as the commentariat said, PZ’s blog, PZ’s rules.

I certainly hold no grudge against him for banning me nor will I claim that his banning of me in any way affects his work in other fields. It would be childish to assume otherwise.

39 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm

@Phil
May I ask what comment of mine made you come to that rather erroneous conclusion? I’m beginning to think this comment thread is openly hostile to any voice which isn’t marching in lockstep with it’s own narrow views.

40 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm

For the record, I agree that PZ was wrong to smear Michael in such a way and also wrong to not issue a full and frank apology. I don’t know if I can make this point any clearer.
I do however think PZ is a valuable asset to our community and his minor indiscretions should be overlooked for the “greater good” as it were.

41 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Jim Rustleton @38:

It’s quite obvious that PZ has done much to advance the causes I listed. His work deconstructing creationist arguments alone is well documented and I think it’s hyperskeptical to say otherwise.

The reason I asked for examples in the past year is to demonstrate that Myers has done nothing to advance “atheism, science, reason and critical thought”, as you claim, anytime recently. In fact, all of his contributions to the atheism and skepticism movements have been negative for some time. His reprehensible smearing of Michael Nugent and doxxing of his detractors are his actual legacy. Dishonesty and hypocrisy are now what he is known for now.

Unless you have something specific in mind?

42 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm

@Patrick
Please don’t think me uncharitable in asking if you can provide any evidence to back up your claim of ” In fact, all of his contributions to the atheism and skepticism movements have been negative for some time. ”
Is this really so?
I seem to remember PZ being awarded a Humanist Of The Year Award not so long ago. Could they have been *so* vastly wrong? Surely they don’t had such awards out to people who are a wholly negative influence on our society?
Do you believe that our movement would be a better place without a wittily intelligent megaphone like PZ Myers?
I don’t. In fact, I cannot.
I judge the man as a valuable asset to our cause and I believe our joint situation would be many years behind where we are now if it wasn’t for his valuable and tireless activism.
He is, like all of us, flawed. Yet he is also brilliant.

43 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Jim Rustleton @42:

Please don’t think me uncharitable in asking if you can provide any evidence to back up your claim of ” In fact, all of his contributions to the atheism and skepticism movements have been negative for some time. ”
Is this really so?

Based on my observations of the online atheism and skepticism movements over the past few years, yes it is really so.

If you would care to support your original claim about the “excellent work he does in other fields such as promoting atheism, science, reason and critical thought” with recent examples I will, of course, retract and apologize (that being what decent, honest human beings do).

I seem to remember PZ being awarded a Humanist Of The Year Award not so long ago.

2009.

Do you believe that our movement would be a better place without a wittily intelligent megaphone like PZ Myers?

I believe that atheism and skepticism are not well-represented by a hypocritical, dishonest, libelous rage blogger who is more concerned with keeping the approval of his ever shrinking group of sycophants than with advancing a secular society.

44 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I find it hard to believe that a humanist of the year could be categorized as a “hypocritical, dishonest, libelous rage blogger ”
Surely this is hyperbole?
PZ Myers may not be perfect but, regardless of his damp waxy appearance, he is a greater man than all of us here. I for one have not received any humanist awards, post or pre 2009.

45 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Can we just all agree that PZ Myers is a good man and that his good deeds vastly outweigh his bad?

46 John Welch December 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm

PZ would have to labor for years to get to the level of wit contained in material rejected by “The Three Stooges”.

As far as being an intelligent megaphone, I’m sorry, but in the last 3-4 years, he’s been about as useful to atheism as an infected zit.

And again, everything Theo, or any of them do and say makes perfect sense if you remember they’re operating on Scientology philosophy now. Of course he interprets PZ differently than you Michael. PZ and theo are Clear, you are an SP.

Fair Game.

47 John Welch December 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Jim, in three words:

no, and no.

In many more words:

Should he wish to change his behavior, I shall change my opinion. But I’ve no interest in pretending the idiocy he has promulgated and encouraged is “outweighed” by a five year old award. Lots of people get awards. Watson got a nobel prize, do we then ignore his later racism?

Bill Cosby got a lot of awards, do we ignore the mounting evidence that he’s an actual rapist?

Awards mean nothing beyond the awards committee liked you. Once.

PZ’s hypocrisy, and his current status as a rage blogger are based in facts and reality. If they bother you that much, convince him to change.

Oh wait, you can’t, you’ve been banned. So he’s not going to listen to you either. Yet you still seem desperate to plant your lips against his keister, even though he’s not treated you well at all.

You might want to examine why you’re doing that.

48 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I used to post at Pharyngula (before my banning, obviously) and although it was a rough and tumble place with all sorts of invective and rough good humor being bandied about it was full of intelligent insightful people with diverse perspectives, PZ’s not the least.
This hatred for PZ is seeming more and more to be childish and bitter. Were you all banned by the man? Is that why you are all so angry at him? Is it because of this minor fracas with Michael and PZ’s lack of apology? Or is there something more specific you wish to share with me?
It increasingly seems like a case of sour grapes to me that he is held in such high honor and prestige whereas you, and myself included, are internet nobodies.

49 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm

John, I hope I am not coming across as antagonistic. If I am then I apologise but please allow me to say that your tone appears to be becoming increasingly antagonistic towards me.
I do not share your views about PZ’s negative contributions, that much is true but please let us not come to metaphorical blows over our differences.
Yes, PZ banned me. Maybe I deserved it, maybe I didn’t. I was certainly guilty of his charge of not accepting my white male privilege and if that is cause for a banning on HIS blog then so be it.
That is not the issue as to whether he is a “good” man or not. I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever to support this bad reputation that you all seem to be fomenting of the great man.
Until I see any evidence of this supposed villainy I will hope he lives long and continues his awesome (dare I say God-like?) work.
Thank you for reading, John.
– Jim

50 Darby December 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm

This is either a brilliant troll or serious delusion. I’m scared and confused.

51 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Darby, you are the second person to call me a troll. I find the accusation harmful to reasoned debate and also, slightly hurtful to me personally.
The former because it instantly shuts down all debate, thus creating an echo-Chamber effect (Google “Echo Chamber”) and the latter because I am losing faith in my fellow rationalists and atheists to hold their own in a polite discussion.
Please, let us read each others comments in the good faith we expect of others until evidence presents itself to do otherwise.
Thanks.

52 A Bear December 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I think Mr. Rustleton is posting with tongue firmly in (butt) cheek.

53 Shatterface December 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Can we just all agree that PZ Myers is a good man and that his good deeds vastly outweigh his bad?

He’s a rage blogger who promotes hate and irrationality.

His positive ‘achievements’ include a stunt with some crackers.

No, I don’t accept his ‘good deeds vastly outweigh his bad’ and I don’t believe he would allow that defence of anyone else either.

54 Phil Giordana FCD December 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Could be Asperger’s, too. Seems to be in vogue these days. Ask Nec_V2.0 at the Pit.

55 Shatterface December 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Please. Don’t.

56 Jan Steen December 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm

@Jim Rustleton,

I have heard enough of the slimepit from other bloggers and I don’t want to post question in a community which glorifies myths about 9/11 being a Jewish conspiracy and promotes anti-vaccination woo.

I see that your knowledge of the Slymepit is as accurate as your assessment of PZ Myers. :)

57 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Jim Rustleton,

Is it because of this minor fracas with Michael and PZ’s lack of apology?

You have minimized the importance of Myers’ actions a couple of times now. I, for one, do not consider the accusations made by Myers to be minor. Without providing any evidence, Myers has made defamatory smears about Michael Nugent’s character, specifically that he provides a haven for people who have committed a very serious crime.

Some of us take honesty, integrity, and reputation very seriously. The fact that you do not probably explains why you are able to venerate Myers.

I’m still waiting for your references to any positive contribution Myers has made to the atheism and skepticism movements in the past year.

58 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

And I just got the “rustled jimmies” reference. Well played.

59 Shatterface December 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I find it hard to believe that a humanist of the year could be categorized as a “hypocritical, dishonest, libelous rage blogger ”

The Humanist of the Year award has also gone to Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, Steven Pinker, EO Wilson and Richard Dawkins, all of whom have been attacked by Myers for ideological impurity and being cis white hetero shitlords.

60 Shatterface December 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm

And I just got the “rustled jimmies” reference. Well played.

Okay, hands up: I missed that.

Well played indeed.

61 Aheydis Vaakenjab December 11, 2014 at 8:51 pm

[slow clap] To poe or not to poe.

Jim Rustleton – nicely done. However if you just showed up in to this thread without reading Michael Nugent’s other documented cases of hypocrisy from PZ Myers, then you should most certainly do so. If you can read each of those pieces and come away thinking that what PZ Myers has done and continues to do to people in the wider Atheist/Skeptic community is acceptable because he debated Christians, then there is some considerable ground between most people here and yourself.

As I noted above, we all applauded PZ’s attack against soft Christian targets from the safety of his PC and tenure. We’re all, to some extent, guilty of creating the monster that exists today. PZ is the person who attacks the likes of Michael Nugent, saying that MN is harbouring rapists. PZ’s claims are so far out of the territory of normal discourse that ANYBODY who has any sense of appreciation for free speech should reject it and PZ’s stance outright. You can have a spirited debate – by all means. PZ’s usage of the terms “misogynist” and “rapist” have become the parallel to Islamists throwing out the term “Islamophobia”. A wet blanket designed to suppress dialogue, thereby pushing the recipient of the terms in to a defensive posture. An idea injected in to the public marketplace of ideas will stand or fall on its own merit. PZ short circuits all criticism of his positions through name-calling, going so far as to publicly doxx a woman. This is NOT the type of person I want anywhere near a leadership position at my local grocery store, let alone as someone who fancies themselves as a leader in our community.

So, just for clarification Jim, you say that you were banned from FtB. Can you provide a simple link to the discussion so we can all see where you were banned? Should be a simple request for you to fulfill.

62 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm

“And I just got the “rustled jimmies” reference. Well played.”
Took you long enough!
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!111!!!!

63 Jim Rustleton December 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Legend has it that the jimmies rustled this day will remain berustled until the end times.

64 John Greg December 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Aheydis said:

So, just for clarification Jim, you say that you were banned from FtB. Can you provide a simple link to the discussion so we can all see where you were banned? Should be a simple request for you to fulfill.

I am presuming that this is said in jest, yes? When PZ ThoughtFree Myers bans folks, he also frequently deletes their posts, and sometimes his comment, if there even was one, regarding his intent to ban.

65 Aheydis Vaakenjab December 11, 2014 at 9:52 pm

@John Greg #64

Well.. perhaps partly in jest – but there should be some remnants of rustling in the comment thread where replies and quoted replies don’t make sense or reference a comment from the Rustlenator.

Of course, that is assuming our poe friend isn’t a poe. Either way, felt good to type in my response for any FtB lurkers who even bother reading things that challenge their rigid frame of mind.

66 JetLagg December 11, 2014 at 10:25 pm

JetLagg@30

I hate you so much >:(

Jim@31

I’d be interested to hear you reasoning on how you came to such an extreme conclusion about me.

It was before I realized you were a Poe. My apologies.

67 Patrick December 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Jim Rustleton,

Took you long enough!
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!111!!!!

If you’d used James instead of Jim you probably would have had me on the hook for another couple of rounds!

68 Gurdur (Tim Skellett) December 11, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Karmakin @ 4: Gurdur beat me to it

Another day, another accomplishment unlocked. Now up to playing next level.

69 Jan Steen December 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

It was a bit cruel of Jim to make PZ believe that he has admirers left outside his ever shrinking group of sycophants. He is stuck with losers like Nerd of Redhead, Sally Strange and theophontes. A sorry bunch, to say the least.

70 Phil Giordana FCD December 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

“It was a bit cruel of Jim to make PZ believe that he has admirers left outside his ever shrinking group of sycophants.”

I don’t know. maybe it’s just the little help that would push him to say something even more idiotic than what he has so far.

Really, the gift that keeps on giving.

71 John Welch December 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Jim@48, 49 and too many other places:

dude, seriously, obvious troll is obvious. Or if you prefer the meme version:

http://www.nastyhobbit.org/data/media/13/look-sir-trolls.jpg

72 Jan Steen December 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I don’t know. maybe it’s just the little help that would push him to say something even more idiotic than what he has so far.

Myers has made jumping the shark into a habit. He would have to do something extreme to be able to surprise me.

73 A Bear December 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Jan@69:

It was a bit cruel of Jim to make PZ believe that he has admirers left outside his ever shrinking group of sycophants. He is stuck with losers like Nerd of Redhead, Sally Strange and theophontes. A sorry bunch, to say the least.

Even worse that a poe has better arguments than PZ’s defenders.

74 Jim Rustleton December 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm

“Even worse that a poe has better arguments than PZ’s defenders.”

To be fair it’s not hard to make better arguments than any of PZ’s crew.
Between them all they don’t have the brains of a carrot.

75 Phil Giordana FCD December 12, 2014 at 7:56 pm

“To be fair it’s not hard to make better arguments than any of PZ’s crew.
Between them all they don’t have the brains of a carrot.”

Yeah, well, I’ll have you know that carrots don’t have a br…

…oooooh, sneaky!

76 Aneris ✻ December 13, 2014 at 3:41 am

Okay Michael, now that you’ve seen that no apology is forthcoming and there is not even something resembling a dialogue and there wasn’t any in the last years – what’s your take on the situation now?

It looks like a contagious social justice warrior smear that hops from person to person. Whenever someone criticizes a social justice warrior, or otherwise appears to be not be supportive of them (and important enough), the person will be smeared. Then, everyone around the smeared person must distance themselves, or they get smeared, too. You have seen how this works (“haven…”). The Original Smear™ came from Ms Watson towards Ms McGraw who was lumped together with trolls and people leaving sexist comments. From there it hopped onto those who took side with McGraw, Abbie Smith and then indirectly, Richard Dawkins and from there to their supporters and so forth.

I obviously need to cut out a lot, but it appears that Rebecca Watson’s boycott on All-Things-Dawkins marked the next important step. Now it was clear that he won’t support them anymore, and so the social justice warriors began their tireless work of chipping away at his reputation with the side benefit of promoting their social justice warrior talking points. The boycott was denied later. Hairsplit as you want, it is unimportant for the context whether it was strong or explicit enough. Here is it…

Rebecca Watson (1): […] therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer […] Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same, I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days

Then there was a period were the social justice warriors were mainstream in the blogosphere part of the atheist movement (not so much on YouTube and on a certain small forum). Atheism Plus launched, and Ron Linday got a new backbone made out of jelly. PZ Myers was, I think, duped into the situation even when he massively contributed to it. But that aside.

The SkepChicks, FreeThoughtBlog and social justice faction overall fed their stories to mainstream media and here we see again solid evidence of what materialized. The story is plainly: “Richard Dawkins against the Women” as a way to promote the idea of a patriarchy and as an overall storyline to attach everyday sexism and denial of sexim onto it. In the meantime all the women from Stef McGraw, Abbie Smith, Paula Kirby and so on disappeared from the story. In the most streamlined version it now even grotesquely reads as such:

Maureen Brian (2), FTB regular: One of these gentlemen [Richard Dawkins …] took exception to the final sentence of her [Ms Watson’s] exposition, just four words, and has been using it as an excuse for his bad behaviour ever since.

The story was spread masterfully. Ron “Jelly” Lindsay and his CFI even sponsored a flat out Anti-Dawkins art project. Astonishingly, Amy Roth explained it all on SkeptiCon just recently. Here is her account:

Amy Roth said (3): (around 5min) If a respected scholar and leader in atheism could treat sexism as if it were nuisance, on a level, and I quote, ‘chewing gum in an elevator’ – then every angsty teen and sadistic internet dweller had been given green light to throw verbal rocks at the women in the community […] (around 28:30 mins) everything we could, we covered with hate. [next slide] And here is the infamous Dear Muslima comment printed out in letter form. It was the comment that gave the green light to attack women in the secular community who spoke up. So I found it was really important to have that there.”

Adam Lee and others have propagated similar things and this is what seeps into mainstream media currently haunted by a social justice warrior zeitgeist. People love to find a foil who symbolizes the unseen forces of evil such as Teh Patriarchy and who they then can combat and “do something” about (and farm SJ points whilst doing it).

And now we are back to now. Michael, you saw the unjust smears that made you initially write about it. Then you got affected by the social justice warrior smear contagion. You have seen that nobody seriously discusses with you, or takes what you write seriously.

Practical solution? Richard Dawkins should finally make an official yet polite gesture and cut himself loose from these people and I hope he gets vocal support from all those who are sick and tired of these people. Let’s mock em, like the Sophisticated Theologians and Creationits.

He should turn down the CFI invitation next year, citing that their “lifetime achievement award” is at odds with their endorsement of Amy Roth and Ophelia Benson who produced the most severe accusations and smears against him in recent times (4) [see wayback version, 5, too].

Maybe then we can move on. Without basic communication, the time of diplomacy is over, don’t you think?

Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1_web.archive.org/web/20141016195459/http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/
2_ freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/11/26/why-arent-women-flocking-to-movement-atheism/
3_youtu.be/QdM3qsCNQYY
4_freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/07/perhaps-listening-to-them-would-help-you/comment-page-1/#comment-2596934
5_web.archive.org/web/20140715085825/http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/07/perhaps-listening-to-them-would-help-you/ (search: “It’s what a lot of people insist about Dawkins”).

Bonus Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
_michaelnugent.com/2014/11/24/pz-myers-updates-story-threatened-false-rape-allegation/#comment-1348208
_freethoughtkampala.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/elevatorgate/
“PZ Myers vs the Women”, p1 ✻ bit.ly/DearMuslima ✻ “Dear Muslima” wayback, with comments intact. Here we see white old dudebro PZ Myers against the poor woman Stef McGraw. 😉
“PZ Myers vs the Women”, p2 ✻ bit.ly/AbbieSmithOut ✻ Here white old dudebro bullies and harasses another woman out of the movement.

77 Phil Giordana FCD December 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

“bit.ly/AbbieSmithOut”

I find that one pretty ironic, seeing how much they complain about women being pushed out of STEM. Or how R. Watson was angry that Richard Dawkins wouldn’t share a stage with her (hearsay, I know).

78 Jan Steen December 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

So, what has Michael gained by this series of blog posts? For what it’s worth, he has gained the respect of those who already knew that Myers & Co were hypocritical, doxxing, smearing scumbags. But I doubt if he has convinced anyone among the SJWs. The more effort Michael puts into documenting his case, the easier the SJWs find it to depict him as some kind of obsessed stalker. Yes, he now is literally called an obsessed stalker on Myers’s ‘unmoderated’ Thunderdome.

Because if you defend yourself against libel, such as the suggestion that you provide a haven for rapists or that you have a sleazy, fascist past, then the fact that you try to defend yourself is taken as evidence that you are a bad person.

These people have walked straight out of a Kafka novel. You have been accused, therefore you must be guilty, or you wouldn’t have been accused. “Always believe the victim” is merely one of the symptoms of this mind rot. It is really a frontal assault on the principles of the rule of law and democracy. These SJWs, with their Stalinist conceptions of justice and intellectual freedom, are dangerous ideologues.

If you think I’m exaggerating, just look at Rebecca Watson’s latest blog post. She now openly advocates doxxing (i.e. mob justice) and physical violence as acceptable tactics against people who make fun of fringe feminists like her. I think even Scientology didn’t go as far as using the internet to incite their followers to harm the lives of people who disagree with them. FTB/Skepchick have now officially sunk below the level of Scientology.

Look for instance at this commenter, who gleefully agrees with Watson:

I’m pro punching when it comes to conspiracy theorists and sexist asshats. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to resist if it was me in either situation. I’m not a violent person, but some people are just beyond consideration.

Congratulations, a/s movement, for harbouring and nourishing this disease, this cancer caused by a SJW infestation. You need therapy, urgently.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141213102933/http://skepchick.org/2014/12/why-im-okay-with-doxing/

79 Jan Steen December 13, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I find that one pretty ironic, seeing how much they complain about women being pushed out of STEM. Or how R. Watson was angry that Richard Dawkins wouldn’t share a stage with her (hearsay, I know).

I wish people like Dawkins and Michael Nugent would take a stance and declare openly that they wouldn’t wish to share the stage with people like Myers and Watson. These doxxers and smearers who now even advocate violence should be pariahs for violating the most basic ethical principles.

80 Phil Giordana FCD December 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Maybe, and that’s just a maybe, someday we’ll get a joint statement from prominent Atheists/Skeptics about the obnoxious, damaging, ridiculously childish actions and deeds of the SJW infiltration in the movement.

I’m not holding my breath just yet, because most of the causes the SJWs are pretending to fight for are worthwhile ones and are being addressed in rational, skeptical ways. It’s just that the way the SJWs go about it is wrong. Just plain wrong, alienating and damaging to any movement they parasite. They’ve lost so many potential allies by now that I won’t be surprised if they crash and burn very soon.

But I guess that’s the price to pay when you want to make everything about “me me meeeeeeee”.

81 Dave Allen December 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

So, what has Michael gained by this series of blog posts? For what it’s worth, he has gained the respect of those who already knew that Myers & Co were hypocritical, doxxing, smearing scumbags. But I doubt if he has convinced anyone among the SJWs.

What should interest people more than those at either pole of the schism is those who hadn’t previously thought about it or made their minds up.

82 Patrick December 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Jan Steen @78:

If you think I’m exaggerating, just look at Rebecca Watson’s latest blog post. She now openly advocates doxxing (i.e. mob justice) and physical violence as acceptable tactics against people who make fun of fringe feminists like her.

In that post she justifies her doxxing of Skeptickle because, according to Watson, Skeptickle libeled PZ Myers by suggesting he got an STD at a conference.

I suppose that means that Watson would support doxxing Myers for his libel of Michael Nugent.

83 Carrie December 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Aneris @ 76, good analysis and links.

Gah. I sat through that Amy Davis Roth video, then had to make notes — that’s an hour of my life lost forever! At 12.13 she says “many harassers created sock-puppet accounts and made themselves seem bigger than they were. We found one obsessed man who made at least 100 different accounts.” So they knew that the online harassing was from the usual troll types, and yet they are sure that it is not just the usual sad fools. The inference is that it is atheist men and especially followers of Dawkins who are responsible because it was his “Dear Muslima” note that opened the floodgates and gave permission to every online troll to harass. I wonder if this is because those who simply disagree reasonably have to be conflated with the worst trolls in order for the victim narrative to work.

At about 13.20 she says that the online hate mail is against women, LGBT and PoC — completely missing out the fact that cis white men also get tons of hate mail.

At 32 mins Amy summarizes what we can do to help to stop online harassment. There is some good advice, but amidst that she has slipped in two little points:

a) 33:05 “Don’t speak over or for a person who is targeted but, when you can, vocally and publically agree with them”. She is advocating that the views of victims are given a free pass from scrutiny – at a skeptics conference!

b) 33:45 “do not support events or organisations that refuse to take issues of bullying or harassment seriously, but openly support those that do, like this one” (round of applause from audience). But the talk was about on-line abuse and her “artwork”. Real life harassment at events is a different matter. Amy is clearly trying to conflate the two. This is a common tactic.

It is interesting that at 34.40 she talks about TAM9 and says it was awful, but doesn’t tell us that what actually reduced her to tears was an inoffensive shirt worn by a woman. On the front it had a smiley face and the words “I feel safe and welcome at TAM” and on the back, “I’m a skeptic Not a “skepchick” Not a “woman skeptic” Just a skeptic”. I guess the trouble was that Harriet Hall wasn’t “vocally and publically agreeing” with her.

I find it shocking that Amy is so obsessed with Dear Muslima that she has to cite that as the cause of all the hate mail, and that she had to conflate that reasonable message with the worst troll hate mail, placing it at the heart of her “artwork”. And it is extraordinary that the atheist/sceptic community is still talking about an extremely minor incident (elevatorgate) that happened in 2011. I suppose it is the gift that keeps on giving for the skepchicks, in their quest to use their victimhood as a weapon to discredit people who do useful work in the skeptic movements.

Incidentally she mentions gamergate and a shooting threat in passing at 22.40. If you google Mateus Prado Sousa, you will see that this also was a troll.

And returning to dam Lee’s Guardian article (2) (mentioned by Michael a few weeks ago (1) ). It is appalling in so many ways, not least the fact that almost none of his links lead to the actual source material, in context, but to blogs such as his own or Greta’s which reinforce the mis-reading and bad analysis of his comments.

_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/09/21/adam-lees-misleading-guardian-article-about-richard-dawkins-sam-harris-and-the-atheist-movement/
_http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/richard-dawkins-sexist-atheists-bad-name

84 Jan Steen December 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

In that post she justifies her doxxing of Skeptickle because, according to Watson, Skeptickle libeled PZ Myers by suggesting he got an STD at a conference.

Watson describes Skeptickle as “a prolific troll who uses pseudonyms online to harass feminists,” which is about as accurate as when I would say that Rebecca Watson is “an intellectually honest sceptic who is well-versed in science and is famous for her thoroughly researched and witty lectures.”

85 Jan Steen December 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Making fun of the intellectual vapidity of Rebecca Watson = harassing feminists = denigrating women = misogyny.

Who appointed Rebecca Watson as the representative of all women?

86 Patrick December 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Jan Steen, disliking someone for their behaviors regardless of their gender? You the real feminist!

87 Jan Steen December 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Exactly, Patrick.

88 Carrie December 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Who appointed Rebecca Watson as the representative of all women?

I dunno, but she most definitely does NOT speak for me. What a horrible little woman she is turning out to be. I am disgusted with her description of Skeptickle as “a prolific troll who uses pseudonyms online to harass feminists” and as for doxxing — if it is true that certain people doxxed Zoe Quin, that is no excuse for Anita or Rebecca (or anyone really) to sink to that level. If they receive genuinely threatening emails, the best procedure is to get help / report to authorities. My guess, however, is that many of the emails are simply ones that disagree with her. From what I have seen of Skepchick logic, disagreement is harassment.

*waves at Michael* Hey, Michael, I have a message stuck in moderation, sorry if I offended, but it might have been a word that had l y ing in it — bull yi ng. Wow I can see you are busy too with new posts, I have tons more reading to do here!

89 Patrick December 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Watson closes her post with this gem: “And if you follow me around calling me a liar and a coward, I will punch you in the face.”

What if someone follows you around saying that you provide a haven for rapists, Rebecca?

90 Justme December 14, 2014 at 12:00 am

Wow, Watson seems to have painted a big target on “their side” when she says that doxxing is fine if someone feels they’ve been slurred or harassed. We’ve seen actual death wishes from FTB and Watson in her example is clear that even a statement like “go kill yourself” (mild when compared to some of FTB’s violent, often sexually violent, imagery) counts as a threat and warrants doxxing. Myers has certainly slurred Nugent. Would Watson enthusiastically support a letter campaign to Myers’ employer?

91 Blueshift Rhino December 14, 2014 at 12:29 am

Out of idle curiosity, how would one dox a self-employed Patreon leech who uses their real name on the web and has friends that support their behavior? I asked an expert elsewhere, but my question is trapped in moderation.

92 Larry Metcalfe December 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

What a despicable piece that is from Watson. So essentially she thinks it’s OK to doxx anyone she doesn’t agree with, seeing as that is about as much as you could say about anything Skep Tickle has said (AFAIK anyway).

Why on earth any a/s conference organisers continue to invite someone like this is beyond me, but what about anyone that wanted to attend such a conference, it seems they could be justifiably concerned that if they disagreed with Watson she could doxx them. Perhaps anyone thinking of attending such a conference should write to the organisers asking them whether conference speakers have access to personal details of attendees. Oh, and also ask them what the hell they are doing inviting her anyway.

The same goes for others with a doxxing history such as Myers, Benson etc

93 Aneris ✻ December 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

Doxxing is very disreputable. You cannot know what will happen to the person after their self-chosen anonymity is lifted.

1. The wrong person is tied to the pseudonym.

2. Its unpredictable how far the doxxing travels. It could stay in the article, it could reach national news. Consequences can be excessive.

3. Consequences are incalculable. Consequences could range from none to losing everything beloved ones, job, and marriage.

4. Invite direct harassment. Sympathetic readers of the doxx can stalk, annoy, and harass the doxxed person or worse.

5. Invite indirect harassment. The doxxed person may constantly explain themselves to their community, for example why they are atheists, views they posted et cetera

6. Long term problems that result from leaving a record of views and opinions, even if they are perfectly “normal”. The employer can still be a Republican and not like what they see et cetera.

7. Google bombing and pollution of one’s name. The name can be used up for opinions of enemies that drown out any self-description and clarification. In particular with Rebecca Watson and social justice warriors who also smear and tell flat out untruths (SkepTickle didn’t do the things, Ms Watson claims legitimize doxxing).

8. Doxxing and consequences are against the human Rights, Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

94 Phil Giordana FCD December 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

Aneris @93:

WRT your #8, it clearly states “he” and “his”. You know where that’s going…

Now, as far doxxing goes, it could lead to dangerous outcomes when talking about Skep Tickle, a practicing doctor whose patients may not all be in agreement with an Atheist viewpoint (let alone other, more political views). A good example of a potentially devastating effect of doxxing would be ThunderFoot, whether you like him or not. He has previously been very vocal about religious extremists, especially the muslim ones who are not famed for shying away from outright murder when offended. Sure, his real name is out there now, but is it really a good idea to almost systematically link his pseudonym to his IRL name when discussing him? Because that’s a tendency that is more than common with certain FTB bloggers/commenters.

And I have to say it is very dangerous indeed.

95 Kirbmarc December 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm

. Sure, his real name is out there now, but is it really a good idea to almost systematically link his pseudonym to his IRL name when discussing him? Because that’s a tendency that is more than common with certain FTB bloggers/commenters.

And I have to say it is very dangerous indeed.

It’s even worse than that. The infamous SJW blogger David Futrelle has written a despicable article about Thunderfoot as the possible source of the word “poison” used to refer to radical feminist ideologies in a death threat against Anita Sarkeesian. The article clearly implied that Thunderfoot was morally responsible for the death threat.

This is a smear based on absolutely no evidence but Futrelle’s own opinion.

I pointed this out to the people who were commenting on Futrelle’s blog, and I was simply told to “shut up”. I also wrote that even Futrelle himself used the word “poison” or some of its synonyms to refer to ideas he dislikes. There was no coherent answer, just a series of insults.

I pointed out that the article was potentially dangerous to Thunderfoot’s reputation and damage his life and career, because his employers could find it and think he was connected to the death threat. I was told that this was unlikely and that even if the article (baed on nothing but Futrelle’s opinion) hurt Thunderfoot it was just payback for him “yelling at women” (the SJW definition of all criticism of Anita Sarkeesian).

SJWs have no qualms about spreading smears based on absolutely no evidence but their own opinions and do not care about the consequences for the people who are the subject of the smear.

They also consider any damage that their critics receive has justified punishment for the crime of criticizing them.

If you factor in their approval of doxxing, the picture appears pretty grim. We have people who smear their critics (and sometimes even their allies), threaten them with public exposure and even violence and see themselves in the right no matter what they do.

They’ve sunken to the level of an online lynch mob.

96 Patrick December 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Another example of the SJW support for doxxing just came across my Twitter feed: http://imgur.com/gallery/FzbfIRp

They got someone fired for making fun of them on Tumblr. I’d be interested to know Watson’s view on this.

97 Blueshift Rhino December 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

At least one person has tried to argue (here and elsewhere) that PZ is still a positive – despite his smears and out-grouping – because he helps teach people to think carefully, logically, and rationally about topics that many of us care about deeply.. I would like to provide you with a recent counter-example.

A very important concept related to atheism is the logically “rule” that the lack of evidence in favor of an idea is not proof that the idea is wrong. Disproof of an idea requires more than mere absence of evidence in the places where you have looked for evidence so far. You must either conduct an exhaustive search for evidence, which is practically impossible in most situations, or you must provide some non-empirical argument against the idea, which is also often impossible. This is why most (careful) atheists say that they lack a belief in god and do not flat-out deny that god exists. The claim or hypothesis that god exists does not make any simple, empirical predictions that would allow one to rule out the idea. It remains viable, albeit highly unlikely in a Bayesian sense, with no reason to be believed and definitely no reason to be acted upon. (Good scientists follow this “rule,” too, as shown by the recent resurgence of Pilot Wave Theory in contrast to the Copenhagen Interpretation.)

Compare the above to PZ’s thinking, where the lack of evidence in favor of a claim makes it “absolutely and demonstrably” wrong. Digest the kind of dogmatic close-mindedness that PZ’s approach fosters: you come up with a new idea or hypothesis; but because it is new, no-one has collected any data that could provide it with support; therefore, it has no evidence in its favor; therefore, it is wrong; therefore, you shouldn’t bother thinking about it any more, because once something is wrong, it is wrong forever.

If PZ’s “science” posts were helping people to see the complexities and nuances to reasoning and argument, which includes an understanding of statistics and probability, then I’d be sympathetic to the suggestion that his benefits might outweigh his costs. I would even look forward to his up-coming debate with a creationist, instead of worrying that he’s going to be an embarrassment. But if he continues to be both a drag on atheism as a movement through activities such as those upon which our host has been rightfully focused, as well as a force against careful and logical thought more generally, then I’d be happier if UMinn Morris gave him more papers to grade so he’d have less free time.

For those who like links, here is one to an archive of the post by PZ that evoked this comment: _https://archive.today/CFrXT

98 JetLagg December 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

That’s a pretty good demonstration of Myers’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to apply any sort of nuance. He sees the population failing to get the right answer (“right” being defined as the one he came up with) in one scenario as being completely equivalent to failing to get the right answer in another scenario, not considering the idea that one problem might be exponentially more challenging than the other, or that a person might have exponentially less data to solve it with, or perhaps a mix of both.

It’s the everything or nothing attitude applied to epistemology, and I think we see it manifest with SJWs holding their political convictions with a degree of certainty that should be reserved for something like physics.

99 Mel December 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Ophelia Benson dubbed these types of tactics “stochastic terrorism.”

100 Blueshift Rhino December 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm

@Mel –

You have much to learn about Ms Benson, it seems. From what I can find, O.B. started using the term “stochastic terrorism” in 2013 or, maybe, late 2012. The term was already mainstream on the internet by then (e.g., _http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/01/10/934890/-Stochastic-Terrorism-160-Triggering-the-shooters). In other words, the only excuse for your comment is that you use the word “dubbed” as short-hand for “Ctrl-V then Ctrl-C”

101 Blueshift Rhino December 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Oops. My bad. (To quote my hero.) I think I have the order backwards.

102 Jan Steen December 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

You could wait for it: sea org Myers just posted his full agreement with fellow sea org Watson’s views on doxxing.

I agree completely with Rebecca Watson. Sometimes doxxing is bad, if you’re using it to harm someone. Sometimes doxxing is good, if you’re exposing some rotten slime that has been skulking about trying to harm people. (…) I’ll add that if I get the names of any of the assholes — and there are many of them — who have been engaged in the long-running pattern of hostile harassment of women and minorities in the atheist movement, I won’t have the slightest compunction about posting that information.

You know what I think? That Myers is secretly hoping that somebody will dox one of his own pseudonymous commenters. This will not only allow Myers & Co to post some more rage posts, but will also enable him to score a few vicarious victim points. Myers himself has nothing to fear, he is just exposing his commentariat to potential harm.

Also, let nobody be fooled into thinking that “assholes who have been engaged in the long-running pattern of hostile harassment of women and minorities in the atheist movement” does not include people whose only crime is that they have been calling out Myers & Co for their Scientology-like tactics. Of which we have just witnessed another example.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141214215931/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/12/14/the-inverted-ethics-of-the-internet/

103 Blueshift Rhino December 14, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Myers: “doxxing is bad when it hurts people”

Myers: “here is the email of the employer of [full name with title], who made a nasty joke about me”

Myers: “please don’t read the above two [paraphrased] quotes within ten seconds of each other; five seconds for Nerd of Redhead or Sally Strange”

– – –

At least Watson didn’t try to pretend to have standards.

104 Kirbmarc December 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Sometimes doxxing is bad, if you’re using it to harm someone. Sometimes doxxing is good, if you’re exposing some rotten slime that has been skulking about trying to harm people.

Doubleplusgood doublethinker Myers! He duckspeaks blackwhite and goodthink, fights thoughtcrime and sexcrime. Oldthinkers unbellyfeel SocJus.

105 Phil Giordana FCD December 14, 2014 at 11:16 pm

So, who’s to decide who is “someone” and who is “rotten slime”? Inquiring minds want to know.

Surely it’s not Myers and his pals, is it?

106 Jan Steen December 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm

For all their faux edginess, Watson and Myers are just following the trend in SJW circles.

One favorite tactic that SJWs use to quash all opposition is doxxing – they will publish the personal information (real name, job, phone number, address, and so forth) of anyone that they deem to have committed an act of thoughtcrime, then they will usually encourage people to commit acts of violence against that person in real life and will do their best to have that person fired from wherever they work at.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/joshua-goldberg/2014/12/when-social-justice-warriors-attack-one-tumblr-users-experience/

This is the path Myers & Co are following. It’s as obvious as if there were giant neon arrows pointing in that direction. The end justifies the means. It’s the sadly familiar tune sung by self-righteous, narcissistic demagogues throughout history.

107 Aneris ✻ December 15, 2014 at 1:32 am

And yet, all is burdened on Michael Nugent, the only person it seems with some bigger name who could give the impression of protest. Richard Dawkins feels “muzzled”, everyone else minds their own business. The atheist-skeptics “community” or “movement” is dead, isn’t it?

108 John Greg December 15, 2014 at 5:50 am

Aneris said:

The atheist-skeptics “community” or “movement” is dead, isn’t it?

Well, you know, that’s always up for debate, even whether or not there ever really was such a thing.

But I do think it should be emphasised that aprat from Micheal Nugent, and a small handful of a few others , most of the so-called big names in the atheist/skeptic community are basiclly chickenshit, and are for some mysterious reason afraid of, or at least are certainly acting like they’re afraid of Myers, R, Watson, and so on.

At any rate, I think most of the “big names” in atheism/skepticism have lost their balls and their integrity.

After Watson’s and Myers’s latest statements regarding doxxing, all of the known names, authorities, whatever they can be called, in rational atheism, sktepticism, and so on should be unified and up in arms, publicly castigating those folks for the moral and ethical bankrupt ideologues they are.

I mean this latest doxxing shit is nothing more than a way for those freaks to say: “I can doxx whomever I want to because reasons.”

109 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

Case in point:

[PZ Myers wrote:] Goddamn motherfucking hell. Justin Little is one of the long-term harassers on twitter, a big fan of the slymepit, someone who obsessively follows and snipes at feminists. He’s a wretched scumbag; all of his comments have been deleted, and he has been banned. Dishonest is too strong a word for him — he has a history of at least a year of trash-talking us, and now he’s on twitter piously declaiming how fucking polite he has been. Liar.

He’s exactly the kind of slimeball I’m talking about in this post. If you’re interested in talking to him, email him at [redacted], but ignore that asshole here. The IP he used here is [redacted].

See? Trash-talking about FTB and sniping at feminists is now sufficient excuse for doxxing. I can’t say that this is a surprise to me. This is all entirely in character.

110 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 10:37 am

Myers has erased the ‘offending’ comments to make it easier for him to misrepresent them afterwards. Fortunately, the commenter has screencapped his comments and put them online, so that we can judge Myers’s honesty (or lack thereof) directly.

http://www.yogile.com/wmbz9njg#42m

Horrible, isn’t it?

I mean, doxxing someone for this and urging your followers to e-mail him (probably not to pay him compliments) is horrible.

I wish I got a dollar each time Myers, Watson or one of their gang used the word ‘harassment’ for something that isn’t harassment by any reasonable standard. I would become rich.

111 Shatterface December 15, 2014 at 10:45 am

When you sign up to post on FTB it is on the understanding that personal details will not be passed on to third parties.

Freethoughtblogs.com will never sell or transfer any personal information, including your email address, that you may have to leave on our side in order to comment.

http://www.freezepage.com/1418609467DXNWZFQYZF

Scum.

112 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 10:56 am

May I suggest an updated text for that Privacy Policy statement on FTB?

Freethoughtblogs.com will never sell or transfer any personal information, including your email address, that you may have to leave on our side in order to comment. And if you believe this then you are a moron.

113 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

Maybe they should also correct ‘side’ to ‘site’.

114 Kirbmarc December 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

are for some mysterious reason afraid of, or at least are certainly acting like they’re afraid of Myers, R, Watson, and so on.

The reason is actually quite clear. Atheism and skepticism aren’t very popular in the United States. The “big names” of American atheism are afraid of losing supporters if they alienate those on the SJW spectrum.

It’s important to remember that while we may have a clearer picture of the tactics of Myers and his ilk many people who are involved in secular organizations don’t. Many atheists still see Myers and the SJWs as someone who is fighting for noble causes: gender equality, the end of racism, etc.

The SJWs show a nicer, friendlier face to many college students who are attracted by secular, leftist ideas. The nasty abuse comes later, and most of the time it’s directed to Republicans and Libertarians.

There’s a significant subset of American atheists who are in favor of the goals that the SJWs claim to pursue. Many of them see Myers as nothing worse than an ally with a determined, confrontational attitude.

The “big names” are afraid of being marginalized if they speak up against the SJWs in a direct fashion.

Jerry Coyne occasionally makes fun of Myers , but he’s too small fry.

The surviving Horsemen are just too weak to fight back. Dawkins is trying, but he’s too easy a target, since he frequently puts his foot in his mouth when he’s not talking about science or atheism.

Sam Harris can’t do anything without being labeled a racist supporter of torture and a neocon. Dennet has basically retired.

It’s a shame that Hitchens died so soon. He had the skills and the character to oppose the SJWs and rally other big names around him.

And other than them, who’s left?

115 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Jerry Coyne occasionally makes fun of Myers , but he’s too small fry.

I have to disagree. Coyne is the (co-)author of two influential books (Why Evolution is True and Speciation) and is about to publish another that should put him in the forefront of writers on atheism: Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. He isn’t small fry at all. Myers is small fry compared to him.

116 Phil Giordana FCD December 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I had heard of Jerry long before I ever heard of Myers. I have also avidly read Jerry’s WEIT, while I would probably use Myers’ book as a firestarter if I got my hand on it (unlikely, I have better things to spend my money on).

One of them is definitely a lightweight. But it’s not Jerry.

117 Larry Metcalfe December 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm

In intellectual terms there can’t really be much doubt that Jerry is the heavyweight of the two. What, after all, has Myers actually achieved? His views on evolution are of no consequence to anyone in the scientific community (I doubt that many have even heard of him for his scientific views), he hasn’t published in years, and he has no books to his name other than a piss-poor collection of blog posts. And I expect Jerry’s standing to be enhanced further with his new book.

Someone on a previous thread said that Myers seemed to be aiming to destroy the atheist movement from within. I can think of no better summary of his position.

118 Shatterface December 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I though Benson couldn’t get any lower but her comments on the ongoing Sydney hostage crisis are despicable:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/12/hostages-in-the-window-with-their-hands-up/

What kind of monster makes a distinction between ‘innocent’ staff and ‘privileged rich coffee-sippers’ when lives are at stake?

119 Jan Steen December 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

What kind of monster makes a distinction between ‘innocent’ staff and ‘privileged rich coffee-sippers’ when lives are at stake?

A Social Justice Warrior.

120 Aneris ✻ December 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Jerry Coyne managed to stay somewhat outside of the “movement” or “community” and that’s fine. The expectation that he transforms his blog site to deal with ideology and politics, which isn’t its focus, would be misplaced. I guess he takes on Sophisticated Theologians™ next year when the book comes out and he’s probably busy with fending off Salon then. And indeed, as Jan Steen stated, he isn’t small at all, just goes his way – which is fine.

I am disappointed with Matt Dillahunty, Dan Fincke, AronRa, JT Eberhardt, Ron Lindsay et cetera who were involved in the “movement”, are well connected and who did comment on the situation in the past. I am sure the dissonance in their heads has built up as well, yet it appears they rather turn away and resolve it that way, hence whatever there was of a “movement” or “communtiy”, I don’t think it exists any longer. At least not in the way it did (and when I came along, it was already blown up halfway).

There are some constructive ideas, too, I am sure everyone has some. If Michael Nugent wants, why not discuss that instead of just complaining.

121 John Welch December 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

No, I think “side” is perfectly accurate.

If you leave comments on their side, they’ll not reveal your personal info. If you leave comments that aren’t on their side, they’ll dox you in a millisecond.

Nor, mind you, will they check to see if the information they release is accurate. See also: Laden, Greg doxxing Mykeru with address information that was so far out of date no one even vaguely related to Mykeru lived there.

Guess it’s a good thing the FTB lot are only keyboard warriors.

122 John Welch December 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Still waiting to see how Skeptickle wasn’t really doxxed, because she put her information into public record herself, but Surly Amy was doxxed with information she put put into public record herself.

123 Lancelot Gobbo December 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I’m sure Latsot or Theophontes will be along shortly to help you with that, JW.

124 John Welch December 15, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Indeed. They may even type some words before they call me a rape supporter.

125 piero December 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

@Shatterface:

What kind of monster makes a distinction between ‘innocent’ staff and ‘privileged rich coffee-sippers’ when lives are at stake?

You may be glad to know she’s apologised for that. There’s still hope.

126 Kirbmarc December 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm

You may be glad to know she’s apologised for that. There’s still hope.

I am glad that she apologized and I am glad that someone called her out on her blog. Maybe in a few years some SJWs will also notice that some of the “harassers” were actually merely criticizing their most extreme and unethical positions.

127 Jan Steen December 16, 2014 at 7:54 am

It’s in fact a classic not-pology.

Someone else called the despicable Ophelia Benson out on her bog:

permanganater says

December 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

I knew Katrina Dawson [one of the victims] professionally, and her Brother, Sandy, socially and professionally.

You are beneath contempt.

I know at least four other members of the Sydney legal community who were told about this post after word got around Katrina was probably in Lindt. Katrina was well known for going beyond the call in her pro-bono work (which we all do) for the underprivileged, in particular through the Redfern Legal Center, see their tweets at @redfernlegalcentre

Katrina did real (you know, actual) work for social justice long before that term was distorted and diluted by people for whom she would have spared little of her occasional acerbic turn of phrase.

You are beneath contempt.

Check out this response by one of Ophelia’s regulars:

chigau (違う) says

December 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm

No one is beneath contempt.
Explain yourself.

These SJWs are truly the lowest of the lowest. I hope this display of callousness will open some more eyes.

http://www.freezepage.com/1418705765PFZWRCSBDJ

128 Carrie December 16, 2014 at 11:47 am

Ophelia’s apology about her Lindt comment includes some pretty obscure reasoning, and it could be read, uncharitably, as an attempt at justification rather than an unqualified apology. I wonder if the SJWs would have accepted Matt Taylor’s apology if he had also said that he wore it so as to include his female friend in his big moment. As it was, some still grumbled that he needed to learn more about women’s problems.

As for chigau saying “explain yourself” to a commenter who had explained itself clearly — that is breathtakingly obtuse.

Now of course her commenters (including Theo) are using this sad affair to poke fun at Michael and to double down on the smears

_http://www.freezepage.com/1418728368HETXUVVNMG

This kind of rudeness, along with the recently-proclaimed FtB / Skepchick stance on doxxing, is truly contemptible. The fact that they feel that they can decide on their own whim who is a Bad Person — harasser, misogynist, rapist or rape-apologist (and therefore worthy of doxxing) — is alarmingly close to a lynch-mob’s justification. For instance, I saw the comments by Justin Little on Pharyngula just before PZ banned and doxxed the guy, deleting his posts, and I saw nothing other than polite disagreement in them. But he is now labelled a harasser and misogynist at least.

Of course, one of the terrible things about him is that apparently he is a big fan of the ‘pit. Oh well, looks like I must be a harasser and misogynist too.

129 Aneris ✻ December 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

130 Phil Giordana FCD December 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Ohhhh! I know that one: who watches the watchman?

131 Jan Steen December 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm

<blockquote)Now of course her commenters (including Theo) are using this sad affair to poke fun at Michael and to double down on the smears

http://www.freezepage.com/1418728368HETXUVVNMG

The dishonesty of these cultists is a thing to behold.

Silentbob says
December 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm

News of his arrest prompted more victims to come forward and Monis was hit with an additional 40 charges [of sexual assault] in October.

Hmm. Almost makes you think that publicizing allegations of sexual misconduct against [a named person] is not necessarily a bad thing. (Eh, Mick?)

“News of his arrest.” Any intelligent human being would have inferred that here is a case where a victim has alerted the authorities, who then made an arrest, prompting more victims to come forward. The inference would not be that the victim informed Carrie Poppy first, who then alerted PZ Myers, who blogged about it, prompting more victims to come forward. But in FTB teletubby land even evidence against your favoured approach is somehow evidence in support of your favoured approach.

These people are serious mental contortionists, you have to give them that. Or just seriously mental.

By the way, remind me again, how many more rape victims of [well-known skeptic] have come forward as a result of PZ Myers’s blog posts? O, right. Zero.

132 Jan Steen December 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm

The first paragraph is a quote from Carrie.

133 Jan Steen December 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Isn’t it interesting to note that theophontes can posts his smear about Michael having a “seedy past” here without fear of having his email and IP address published? He wasn’t even banned by Michael.

Imagine how PZ Myers would have responded.

Quite telling, that.

134 Roger Ewebuns December 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm

@Carrie #128

” The fact that they feel that they can decide on their own whim who is a Bad Person — harasser, misogynist, rapist or rape-apologist (and therefore worthy of doxxing) — is alarmingly close to a lynch-mob’s justification.”

“They” implies a “We”, what are you willing to do for your “Them”?

People in a lynch mob don’t see themselves as that, they see themselves as doing the right thing. Given the proper circumstances you would gleefully indulge yourself in a lynching if there were enough people around you wanting the same thing – even if you woke up in the middle of putting the rope around a person’s neck you would not have the courage to pull back and say, “No, this is wrong!”.

Benson is pretty obvious in that she just wants to keep her status in the group. She has given herself up to self interest and lost the enlightened bit along the way.

How much of yourself are you willing to sell just to belong?

Doesn’t it feel good when you have a Theo or a Benson and you can feel that noose in your hand and you can be somewhere where others feel the rightness of a shared outrage?

A victim to assuage your self upon?

The difference doesn’t have to be all that big, just enough to notice and that the person is alone is enough. A feeding frenzy of shared denigration, the “We know this person because we have defined him/her and that is what we are hanging.”

You’ll do it and feel good about it in the name of the group and you will justify it to yourself with nary a twinge of conscience – if the right incentives are there.

135 Carrie December 16, 2014 at 8:53 pm

@ Roger Ewebuns 135

“They” impli es a “We”, what are you willing to do for your “Them”?

That is a false dichotomy. It speaks to the “if you are not with us you are against us” mentality.

I would never take part in a lynching, regardless of how many people around me were projecting hate. I have seen that kind of hate in my life, been surrounded by a mob and seen the terrible things that it does to the lynchers and lynchees, and want none of it. Of course you have no way of knowing that to be a fact, but you can surely see that real life is not all black or white. If people talk hate at me about anyone or anything, I always check the source of their information where possible and, in most cases, there is nothing truly to inspire any such reaction. Irritation, perhaps, or frustration, annoyance at mis-representations or l i es, but not blind hatred.

If someone has been proved to do something that to me seems truly awful I still would not hurt them in any way other than reporting them to relevant authorities, because that would be descending to their level. This is why, when seeing atheist online conflicts, I check places such as FtB and the Slymepit as well as other, source, places wherever available. If the source material is not available or not complete, I do not make judgements of any kind until it is. I cannot understand any sceptic / skeptic doing differently.

Right now I am watching the news and I see the killing in the Peshawar school. This fills me with pity for those who have been hurt and frustration and fear at the warped minds of the killers and their religious “justifications”. If I could kill or maim all of the perpetrators I would NOT do so, despite my disgust at their horrible behaviour. What I would do, if I could be sure that I had the right people and had the power, is deliver them to the authorities to deal with as the law of that land allows.

Doesn’t it feel good when you have a Theo or a Benson and you can feel that noose in your hand and you can be somewhere where others feel the rightness of a shared outrage?

A victim to assuage your self upon?

No. It feels sad and frustrating that there are so many people in the world who distort facts. It makes me feel slightly sick to see continuous misrepresentation being enthusiastically spread even as far as mainstream media, when my personal research has shown it to be untrue.

My reference to Ophelia’s apology is a nod to Michael’s Uncharitable Theo / Charitable Theo post, which he and regular readers of his blog might have understood. The main thrust of Michaels’ posts in this series is that those who smear others should apologise, and that Theo, PZ, Latsot and co should apologise for smearing him and some other people.

How much of yourself are you willing to sell just to belong?

I don’t really understand the question. If you mean that I have not supported Ophelia and her friends, well I only ever post here when I have something to say that is relevant to Michael’s key points or to related points which emerge in his comments. I have not seen any way in which to do so and to support Ophelia, PZ et al. I do not post at FtB because I find it to be a very unkind environment for those who disagree with some of what they say. I do not post at the Slymepit because it moves too fast for me; I am disabled and slow. I do not belong to any group and do not wish to. Does that answer your question?

136 john welch December 17, 2014 at 1:59 am

No Roger, that’s you who would do that.

I’d be perfectly happy if PZ, Benson, et all stopped acting like such fucking tits, pulled their heads out, and stared doing some good. In PZ’s case, I’d add “for once” because I still think his “style” have done nothing but gin up hits. He rarely has a point to his rage. At least have a point.

I’d not even “demand” an apology, although $DEITY knows they owe them to a lot of people.

Just stop being such raging assholes, and I’ll stop calling them that. I don’t feel “good” about any of this. It’s a waste of fucking time that has hurt people on all sides, most of whom have been collateral damage. The things that make me feel good have nothing to do with hurting anyone else, and I’m not alone here in that.

(as a point of fact, just like I think the FTB lot’s attempts to fuck with people’s jobs were wrong, I STILL think Bill O’Donohue was wrong to try to get PZ fired over crackergate.)

You may be willing to lynch someone if the crowd’s in favor of it enough, but that’s you mate, not anyone else.

137 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) December 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

@ Michael Nugent

and said this was part of my “seedy past.”

Er, “seedy past”: The point is that he has claimed that he has been an atheist since childhood. He then chose to join a papist¹, populist, conservative party.

ask Theo to withdraw and apologise for his false association of me with fascism.

[“MN isn’t a Blueshirt in any meaningful way.”] No. And neither were the original Blueshirts much more than wannabe salonfascists to begin with. But nevertheless, a tendency within their ranks towards authoritarianism, whether in religious or military guise, is a simple historical fact. They may have lost some of their initial baggage, but they retain much of their religious perspective.

Their history can’t be swept under the carpet, or treated as a joke. Their neocon ideas sprout from solidly religious and authoritarian underpinnings. (The “blueshirt” Fine Gael see the pope as too liberal in matters concerning the poor.)

It is amusing to see Michael dance around the blueshirts being Christian Democrats. Less amusing watching him try and pin PZ, and I, to our recent driveby axegrinder and his issues.

(original posted here but refer also to comment here. Refer also to comment #19 above for a more parsimonious reading than you give. )

And I will end, as usual, by asking that we judge each other charitably, using the standards that we would like others to apply to us, and asking that we work together with integrity to bring about a more inclusive, ethical, secular world.

Michael, if I ever join a Christian Democratic party, whether in Europe or anywhere else, please call me out loudly on the inherent hypocrisy of an atheist joining such a party. If I ever join a neoconservative party, whether in Europe or anywhere else, please call me out loudly on the inherent hypocrisy of a person – claiming to support social justice issues – joining such a party.

Christian Democratic neoconservatives are anti-inclusive, unethical and anti-secular.

138 Patrick December 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

theophontes,

Unless and until you retract your statements and apologize for falsely associating Michael Nugent with fascism you remain proven to be lacking in integrity, honesty, and basic decency.

Stop your transparent attempts at distraction and start behaving better than Myers (admittedly a low bar to clear).

139 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) December 19, 2014 at 5:59 am

@ Patrick

integrity,

I am not the person who chose to join the Christian Democratic, neoconservative, “blueshirts”, while claiming to be a socially aware atheist.

honesty,

I am not the person who chose to join the Christian Democratic, neoconservative, “blueshirts”, while claiming to be a socially aware atheist.

basic decency.

I am not the person who chose to join the Christian Democratic, neoconservative, “blueshirts”, while claiming to be a socially aware atheist.

140 Jan Steen December 19, 2014 at 7:58 am

And yet, theophontes, you can post here without having to fear that our host will post your email and IP address. He hasn’t even banned you.

Your idol Peezus would have doxxed and banned you long ago if you had dared to smear him on his own site.

That should tell you something. Well, not you, but the onlookers here.

(Je bent een achterbaks stuk vreten.)

141 Patrick December 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

theophontes @139,

I see no substantiation of your association of Michael Nugent with fascism, nor a retraction and apology. You remain dishonorable and disreputable.

142 Carrie December 19, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Theophontes, when you have been shown to be in the wrong, as you have been in this explanatory post by Michael, it would become you to admit it and apologise.

143 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) December 23, 2014 at 6:15 am

@ Patrick

I see no substantiation of your association of Michael Nugent with fascism, nor a retraction and apology.

You are free to reread my posts at any time. Michael did join the “Blueshirts”, that is to say, Fine Gael. Fine Gael have run through all manner of proclivities, from fascist/falangist leanings, all the way through to neoconservatism¹. The one constant has been their Christian bent (even if magical thinking about markets has replaced, to a degree, magical thinking about YHWH.) There is not much nice to say about them, unless perhaps you are amongst those privileged persons their policies seek to pander to.

You remain dishonorable and disreputable.

Michael is hiding behind a hyperbolic strawman of his own construction. The blueshirts are what they are, warts, history and all. Michael chose to join them. If he thinks their past dabbling in fascism (we should rather say falangism) defines them, then he should never have joined them. If you believe it an honourable, and reputable, thing for a socially conscious atheist to join a neoconservative christian party, then good luck to you.

@ Carrie

when you have been shown to be in the wrong, as you have been in this explanatory post by Michael

I can follow his storyline alright . I just don’t buy into it.


¹ Far more interesting would be a discussion concerning the relationship of (Roman Catholic) Corporatism to both these positions.

144 Carrie December 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Theo

I can follow his storyline alright . I just don’t buy into it.

Michael is not telling a “story”, nor is he building a strawman. He is showing evidence. You are behaving like a creationist, allowing your belief system to trump reality. Apologising for making unwarranted smears is not painful, you know, and might even do you some good.

145 Patrick December 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

theophontes @143,

Here is what you wrote about Michael:

Some more about your double standards: Where you wearing your red shirt when you were running with the blue shirts? I am not particularly surprised to see you are providing a home-away-from-home to right wing reactionaries on your blog.

The term “blue shirts” linked to an article about the fascist Blueshirts who existed briefly in Ireland in the 1930s.

Unless Michael is substantially older than he appears in his photos, it is completely impossible for him to have been associated with that organization. Further, Michael kindly corrected you. You have provided no evidence that Michael has ever associated with fascists.

The decent thing to do now is to retract your defamatory smear and apologize to Michael. As long as you do not, you remain proven to be lacking in honesty and integrity.

146 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) December 24, 2014 at 6:33 am

@ Carrie

Michael is not telling a “story”,

Everyone has a story.

His current narrative is getting stranger by the post. He is taking to misrepresentation in order to call out what he calls “misrepresentation”.

nor is he building a strawman.

Look at his posts: “…Am I fascist with a seedy past?…” and (above) “…Theo fails to apologise for his smear about fascism.”

Michael says that I personally associate him with fascism (” to associate me personally with fascism”) when I show that he was a member of the Fine Gael. Fine Gael are called Blueshirts because, as the linked article shows (“Fine Gael’s Fascist Roots”), they quite literally had fascist tendencies in their past. Is Michael, in any way, responsible for that aspect of their past? No, of course not. But he nevertheless claims that I suggest otherwise. Is Michael to blame for Fine Gael being a Christian Democratic party with neoconservative tendencies? No, of course not. But I nevertheless suggest that it would have been better (as a supposedly socially conscious atheist) not to have joined the Blueshirts in the first place.

With regard to the references to coloured “shirts”, it all started on this blog, in the discussion concerning the inappropriate (in my opinion) attire of a Matt Taylor.

The reference to “seedy past” comes from another commenter (Crackity Jones) here:

You have got under his skin, Michael. You have exposed his seedy interior. Well done. All he can do is try and dance around your responses and fire off his own typical brand of personal abuse.

It would appear that I have got under Michael’s skin and that he is firing off with typical hyperbole and distortion. One would have thought that one so fixated with “nuance” would have picked up on the nuanced inferences within my comments, rather than crassly leaping to accusations of “smears”.

Dancing around indeed.

147 Carrie December 25, 2014 at 12:17 am

Everyone has a story.

No, that is simply a poetic soundbite. What everyone has is a life.

Theo, you are being disingenuous, presumably in order to avoid apologising for your baseless smears. You say:

Michael says that I personally associate him with fascism (” to associate me personally with fascism”)

Refresh your memory of what Michael says and your own comments:
_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/12/01/pz-myers-sexist-fascist-charitable-theo-uncharitable-theo/

Then I will address Uncharitable Theo associating me with a fascist group that existed in Ireland in the early 1930s, long before I was even born, based on Theo uncritically accepting more false smears about me, in comments on PZ’s blog, by a man with a five year vendetta against Atheist Ireland, who has been banned from online forums in Ireland and Australia.

I will also address PZ and Theo’s pattern of judging of me on the basis of their opinion of other people, who are either commenting on my blog or writing about me elsewhere, and the general idea of judging people by the behaviour of other people rather than their own behaviour. And I will end, as usual, by asking that we judge each other charitably, using the standards that we would like others to apply to us, and asking that we work together with integrity to bring about a more inclusive, ethical, secular world.

Last week I saw this strange comment from Theo on my blog:

“Some more about your double standards: Where you wearing your red shirt when you were running with the blue shirts? I am not particularly surprised to see you are providing a home-away-from-home to right wing reactionaries on your blog.”

There are two separate smears here: one, that I am associated with fascists or fascism, and two, that some of the commenters on my blog are right wing reactionaries who could be expected to be comfortable being associated with fascists or fascism.

On PZ’s blog, Theo described his comment on my blog as:

“For a comment on Michael’s own seedy past, see comment #15.”

Theo tried to link to a page about me being an election candidate for Fine Gael in Dublin in 1999, but by mistake linked to a page about a different Michael Nugent who was an election candidate for Sinn Fein in Cork in 2014.

(Michael then discovers that “the guy who came by recently to grind an axe” is someone called Frank spreading smears about him on PZ’s site).

I want to separate the factual inaccuracies in Frank’s smears from his online vendetta, because in theory he could be factually accurate while also conducting his vendetta.

This is the mark of someone who is willing to show and follow evidence where it may actually lead. A true skeptic.

Michael explains the political set-up in Ireland, and some googling shows that the evidence is there.

You were enthusiastic about Frank’s smear about Michael but, even though it was on PZ’s blog and they wished it were true, other commenters rightly started to show some caution about Frank.

I don’t think you are “getting under Michael’s skin”. You have smeared him, and he has a serious job to do which could be jeopardised by silly slurs if he does not oppose them.

You are doubling down when, as a skeptic faced with evidence, you should be apologising to Michael.

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