PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear that I support rapists

by Michael Nugent on January 3, 2015

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically, and his willingness to trivialise rape by casually making serious unsubstantiated allegations, by upgrading his already serious allegation that I defend and provide a haven for rapists, to the even more serious allegation that I also support rapists.

Coincidentally, PZ did this shortly before the Freethought Blogs Executive Committee investigated and took disciplinary action against one of its bloggers for repeated plagiarism. In light of this, I have now emailed Freethought Blogs to ask for details of the procedures by which I could ask the Executive Committee to investigate this complaint against PZ.

PZ’s new defamatory smear that I support rapists

It is now three months since PZ Myers falsely accused me of defending and providing a haven for rapists, and said that the evidence for this is that certain people comment on my blog.

He said this in response to my highlighting of the hurt that he had caused to other people, and the harm he has caused to the atheist movement, by earlier smears and misrepresentations.

Not only has PZ refused to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear, but yesterday he has actually intensified it.

He has now gone beyond accusing me of defending rapists, by saying it is accurate and forthright to accuse me of defending and supporting rapists.

Here is the relevant exchange in the comments section of his blog:

PZ support rape allegation

Ben Walsh: “Yes, Mick Nugent is an awful sea lion. He has this weird idea that it’s wrong for people to falsely and maliciously accuse him of defending and supporting rapists, and then sneering at him and mocking him when he objects. Obviously he’s the bad person here.”

Nerd of Redhead: “And if he would quit providing a haven for those who rape and support rapists, he wouldn’t be the subject of any criticism here, would he?”

PZ Myers: “Quote from Ben Walsh: ‘it’s wrong for people to falsely and maliciously accuse him…’ Comment by PZ: You got two adverbs twisted wrong-way around there. I think you mean “accurately and forthrightly”.”

At this stage it seems unclear whether PZ is deliberately upgrading an already serious allegation to an even more serious allegation, or whether he thinks that defending and supporting are similar allegations, or whether he just doesn’t think about what he writes.

Whatever his thinking, it is increasingly clear that people who care about an ethical and compassionate atheist movement based on integrity should dissociate themselves from the hurt and harm caused by PZ’s behaviour.

My email today to the Freethought Blogs Executive Committee

To Ed Brayton,
Manager,
Freethought Blogs Network

Dear Ed,

Can you please bring this request to the attention of the Freethought Blogs Executive Committee, and can you please ask PZ Myers to excuse himself from discussion of it due to conflict of interest?

Dear Executive Committee members,

I would like to make a complaint about the writings of PZ Myers on your blog network, with regard to his false allegations that I defend, provide a haven for, and support rapists.

Can you please let me know the procedures for bringing details of this complaint to the attention of the Executive Committee, along with supporting documentation which I will supply, and the procedures that the Executive Committee will employ to investigate my complaint?

Thank you in advance,
Yours sincerely

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{ 167 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Harrison January 3, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Paul’s credibility took another hit today with the eviction of a blogger from their network for plagiarism less than 24 hours after PZ made a post defending said blogger’s integrity and intellectual honesty.

I think more people are coming to the realization that Paul is not a very good judge of character.

2 Jack Rawlinson January 3, 2015 at 11:15 pm

Keep going after him, Michael. Keep exposing him for what he is. It’ll take time. but I think persistence will get him.

3 Mom knows what you did January 3, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Wow. This is the second time today I’ve seen *very* unflattering behavior on the part of PZ Myers.

I used to read his blog, and I even used to believe that all the people he was bashing really deserved it.

I apologize to who are probably a hundred people this jerk demonized falsely before I caught on.

PZ Myers, you shed your audience like the snake you are.

Never clicking there again.

4 Harrison January 3, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Oops, jumped the gun and glossed over the intro just reading the bits in the middle regarding PZ’s sea lion post and failed to note that Michael was already aware of today’s events.

If it’s not too late for New Year’s resolutions I’m going to make “read the whole article and don’t skim” mine from here out.

5 Stephen Duggan January 3, 2015 at 11:24 pm

PZ has done a lot to discredit FTB and his university. Any Business or Institution forbids employees from social networking or commenting let alone Blogging on their IT Network as it may implicate the employer or institution in legal matters.

UMM has to drop the hammer on his internet usage. I’m led to believe he has tenure. So he can teach but I would recommend they remove his Twitter and blogging rights whilst on their IT system.

6 Avicenna January 3, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Great post? Michael.
Paul’s credibility took another hit today with the eviction of a blogger from their network for plagiarism less than 24 hours after PZ made a post defending said blogger’s integrity and intellectual honesty.

I think more people are coming to the realization that Paul is not a very good judge of character.

7 Avicenna January 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm

PZ has done a lot to discredit FTB and his university. Any Business or Institution forbids employees from social networking or commenting let alone Blogging on their IT Network as it may implicate the employer or institution in legal matters.

UMM has to drop the hammer on his internet usage. I’m led to believe he has tenure. So he can teach but I would recommend they remove his Twitter and blogging rights whilst on their IT system.

8 Patrick January 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Stephen Duggan @4,

Myers makes it clear in his profile that his blog is personal and does not reflect the views of his employer (although he does include his title and a link to the University of Minnesota, Morris). They have nothing to do with Pharyngula.

While Myers and several other FtB bloggers have shown themselves to be more than willing to dox people and contact their employers, that’s not ethical behavior. I hope no supporters of Michael attempt to get Myers in trouble at UMM.

9 Patrick January 3, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Excellent approach, Michael. I hope Ed Brayton has the minimal intellectual courage, that Myers lacks, to engage in a discussion with you.

10 Steersman January 3, 2015 at 11:36 pm

Give ‘em hell Michael – you’ve certainly been “holding PZ’s feet to the fire” [figuratively speaking], and those comments of PZ’s should add fuel to it. And, of course as you ably documented, the “rape enabler / supporter” “narrative” is only the tip of the iceberg. But should you actually get a chance to present your case to FfTB’s “Executive Committee” – although at least some in the Pit aren’t particularly impressed with the likelihood of that occurring (1) – I sure hope the doxxing and harassment of Skep Tickle (2) are front-and-center in your presentation.

——
1) “_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=247034#p247034”;
2) “_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=131310#p131310”;

11 Pitchguest January 3, 2015 at 11:38 pm

There’s definitely something very wrong with FtB.

Just now I tried urging blogger Lilandra, wife of Aron Ra, owner of Ace of Clades on FtB, to contact PZ Myers to retract the libellous statements he’s made about you. Bizarrely, however, she evaded the subject and instead attacked me insinuating I had an “ax” to grind. I found that very strange, so I asked her a second time. She reiterated her former claim while also adding that if I really did care I wouldn’t implore on a thread “humiliating a different blogger.” It was this thread:

_http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/01/03/another-atheist-caught-in-case-of-serial-plagiarism/#comment-1770588260

I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t terse. I was simply straight forward. In return, even though the knowledge someone she knew, a friend, had claimed with no evidence that they “provide a haven for rapists” did not shock her, in fact she seemed to be well aware of the subject, and in return I was greeted with insults and jeers. She didn’t even seem to be remorseful. Instead she referred to it as the “Nugent/PZ thing” when she said, and I quote, “I am not sure that many bloggers care about the Nugent/PZ thing.” Apparently the only times she’s seen it mentioned is on your blog and on other topics, like the one above. As if that has any relevance whatsoever.

They appear to be completely devoid of reason and compassion. It’s absurd. They appear to care more about a blogger that was proven to plagiarise content, a lot of content, verbatim, who may or may not also be a fabulist to boot, than someone who’s been an activist for the past twenty years or more. Than someone whose only “crime” is to allow comments from people that “they” consider to be unpersons. The depths they will go. It’s amazing.

12 Shatterface January 3, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Good luck getting a sympathetic response from Brayton but I suspect he’s just as tribal as the rest.

From Brayton’s response to Acevennagate:

But facts are facts. The first I heard of this was about 15 hours ago. I pay no attention whatsoever to the slymepit as I prefer to avoid cesspools full of raging assholes. My initial response, given my affinity for Avi and the source of the accusations, was to dismiss it as much ado about nothing. I believed, with very little thought or effort to confirm, the initial speculation that someone had either gotten his password or that it was the result of some sort of technical glitch.

Then I got an email from Hemant Mehta, someone I also hold in high esteem and consider a friend, and he told me that he’d been looking into the evidence and found a powerful case for plagiarism, whether a result of intention or lack of concern for attribution…

So Brayton couldn’t be bothered checking the facts until they were repeated by someone he approved of.

That’s basically FTB 101: Some people ought to be believed no matter what; everyone else is a liar.

No questions should be asked; no facts checked.

Truth doesn’t matter.

Avicenna was able to run a con under their noses because he was one of the insiders; his critics could only be motivated by racism. Checking the facts presented would have taken seconds but to check facts would be to concede truth might correspond to something in the real world rather than what the cult makes true by virtue of mutual agreement.

13 Pitchguest January 3, 2015 at 11:42 pm

“In return, even though the knowledge someone she knew, a friend, had claimed with no evidence that they “provide a haven for rapists” did not shock her, in fact she seemed to be well aware of the subject, and in return I was greeted with insults and jeers.”

This should be “that a fellow sceptic ‘provide a haven for rapists'”.

14 Avicenna January 3, 2015 at 11:43 pm

There’s definitely something very wrong with FtB.

Just now I tried urging blogger Lilandra, wife of Aron Ra, owner of Ace of Clades on FtB, to contact PZ Myers to retract the libellous statements he’s made about you. Bizarrely, however, she evaded the subject and instead attacked me insinuating I had an “ax” to grind. I found that very strange, so I asked her a second time. She reiterated her former claim while also adding that if I really did care I wouldn’t implore on a thread “humiliating a different blogger.” It was this thread:

_http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/01/03/another-atheist-caught-in-case-of-serial-plagiarism/#comment-1770588260

I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t terse. I was simply straight forward. In return, even though the knowledge someone she knew, a friend, had claimed with no evidence that they “provide a haven for rapists” did not shock her, in fact she seemed to be well aware of the subject, and in return I was greeted with insults and jeers. She didn’t even seem to be remorseful. Instead she referred to it as the “Nugent/PZ thing” when she said, and I quote, “I am not sure that many bloggers care about the Nugent/PZ thing.” Apparently the only times she’s seen it mentioned is on your blog and on other topics, like the one above. As if that has any relevance whatsoever.

They appear to be completely devoid of reason and compassion. It’s absurd. They appear to care more about a blogger that was proven to plagiarise content, a lot of content, verbatim, who may or may not also be a fabulist to boot, than someone who’s been an activist for the past twenty years or more. Than someone whose only “crime” is to allow comments from people that “they” consider to be unpersons. The depths they will go. It’s amazing.

15 John Greg January 3, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Fake Avicenna. Enough is enough. You’ve had your fun; point taken; drop it, please.

16 Avicenna January 3, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Fake Avicenna. Enough is enough. You’ve had your fun; point taken; drop it, please.

17 Stephen Duggan January 3, 2015 at 11:51 pm

@patrick #7

Stephen Duggan @4,

Myers makes it clear in his profile that his blog is personal and does not reflect the views of his employer (although he does include his title and a link to the University of Minnesota, Morris). They have nothing to do with Pharyngula.

While Myers and several other FtB bloggers have shown themselves to be more than willing to dox people and contact their employers, that’s not ethical behavior. I hope no supporters of Michael attempt to get Myers in trouble at UMM.

I’m not advocating doxing. UMM are allowing Myers to use their internet services to blog. Any Business ~ especially in the USA forbids employees for misusing their IT infrastructure from social, blog or any website. indeed I have worked for companies who blocked the comment JavaScript. – the business doesn’t want to be implicated (via traceable IP) with what employees say online.
PZ is welcome to say what he likes on his own home or mobile network.
If he is making defamatory smears on his employer’s network it is their concern.

18 Skepsheik January 3, 2015 at 11:51 pm

You may be being a little more optimistic than is warranted in sending a complaint to the ‘executive committee’ of FTB.
As far as I can recall, the FTB ruling committee (originally named ‘the hierarchy’, believe it or not) consists of PZ Myers, Ed Brayton, Ophelia Benson and Greta Christina.
You’d have a better chance of a fair reception if you wore a Jesus and Mo T-shirt in downtown Karachi.
Your main complaint appears to boil down to the fact that Myers has claimed on several occasions that you support rapists – with the reasoning behind this being that you allow members of the slymepit forum to post comments on your site (he has directly accused slymepitters of being rapists in a tweet to Derek Walsh.)
But slymepitters post on numerous online forums.
Is Hemant Mehta a supporter of rapists because he allows litters to post?
How about Allie Fogg on FTB itself?
Jerry Coyne at WEIT?
JT Eberhard?
Manu Singham?
Taslima Nasreen?
Maryam Namazie?
All of these have hosted slymepitters in their comment sections – as indeed regularly do PZ, Ophelia Benson and Stephanie Zvan (although the nyms tend to be changed to avoid retaliatory doxxing.)
Is there some special reason why slymepitters commenting here is evidence of rape support, while elsewhere it is not?
Perhaps there are specific slymepitters who are the rapists in question!
If so I would like to know which ones I need to avoid in future.
He cannot mean all 971 slymepitters can he?
Come along Paul Zachary, always name names.
Which slymepitters are you accusing of being rapists?
I think the Avicenna debacle has shown Myers as being either incompetent in recognising a serial plagiarist when the evidence has been staring himself in the face for years, or being complicit in ignoring what he must have known was happening. Either way he has revealed himself to be smaller than before.
The truth is that FTB is really an inconsequential blip on the online secular blogosphere. They certainly resort to unwarranted smearing of opponents but they have done so for so long that nobody really listens to them anymore. I guess you could say they’ve finally found their true level.

19 piero January 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm

I find Myers’s stubborness absolutely incomprehensible. He could have ended this sorry episode ages ago, and it would have taken him all of 5 minutes to pen an apology. What’s so hard about saying “I’m sorry, I did not mean that”?

And why did he have to dismiss as lies the mounting evidence of plagiarism by one of FtB’s bloggers, only to be forced to accept it mere hours later?

I fully agree with Michael’s approach to disagreements: always choose the most charitable interpretation. In this case, however, I am at a loss to imagine any charitable interpretation at all. All the evidence suggests that Myers intentionally smeared Michael Nugent, and that he would have covered up the plagiarism fiasco had it not been given prominence in a popular blog.

20 Jack Rawlinson January 4, 2015 at 12:36 am

” I hope no supporters of Michael attempt to get Myers in trouble at UMM.”

Balls. Turnabout is fair play.

21 Jan Steen January 4, 2015 at 1:06 am

Myers’s increasingly cranky and irrational behaviour is worrying. Think about it. Here we have a professor at a reputable (if small) University in the United States, Humanist of the Year 2009, accusing the director of Atheist Ireland, a universally respected, courageous activist, of supporting rapists.

This is such an extraordinary accusation that only extremely solid evidence could lend credence to it. But — and this is the mind-boggling aspect — the professor, the scientist, refuses to provide even the tiniest shred of evidence. How is this possible? How can a scientist, a supposedly rational human being, act in this way? How can anyone believe that this is acceptable behaviour?

Either Myers is mentally deranged or his fanaticism has convinced him that conventional ethical standards can be discarded when he is dealing with people he has declared ‘unpersons’. For the time being I am going with the second option. I think his harmful behaviour is probably politically inspired. Social Justice Warriorism run amok. But I wouldn’t be overly surprised when Myers starts accusing Michael of providing a haven for mermaid-harassers. :)

22 MosesZD January 4, 2015 at 1:12 am

Michael,

I applaud what you’re doing. For far too long PZ Myers and the rest of the crowd at FTB have run amok in the atheist community, slandering and libeling people at will with practically no push-back from anyone I categorize as a moderate.

This left PZ Myers, and his slanderous conduct, to hold the field as he was considered to be an honest, truthful (albeit brusque) member of the atheist community with a reputation of being one of the ‘bright lights of atheism’. Yet it was clear he was not honest so people such as myself either left the community when they saw what Myers was doing, or started to push back.

Unfortunately for those of who did, they were slandered and pilloried by Myers and people tended to take his alleged ‘good word’ and fell for his cheap rhetorical tricks, ad hominem attacks and, at times, deliberate quote mining. To the point that anyone against him, and his unethical bullying, was immediately classified as substandard human with no moral grounding and were routinely excluded from the community.

However, with your efforts as the community becomes more educated to his tactics and more difficult for him to get away with this conduct. Even now in the greater community his reputation is, properly, sinking.

So, once again, thank you for your efforts. The more you and other moderates push-back against the hateful vitriol, the more difficult it will be for him, and his cronies, to conduct their sleazy, dehumanizing campaigns and bully the atheist community for their own personal reasons.

23 Stephen Duggan January 4, 2015 at 2:00 am

This thread is interesting commentary. By posting here and on another private website; everyone is thereby a rapist despite having never been conviced of sexual assault.

When I read PZ’s blog back-in-the-day I choose to ignore the comments as it was bonkers. Now the posts reflect it. Shame

24 A Bear January 4, 2015 at 2:17 am

@ Jan Steen:

Social Justice Warriorism run amok. But I wouldn’t be overly surprised when Myers starts accusing Michael of providing a haven for mermaid-harassers. :)</blockquote
Well that would explain why so few mermaids show up at atheist conventions?

25 Ariovistus January 4, 2015 at 3:44 am

Michael,

I almost never post, but I wanted to commend you for what you’re doing. Better late than never. Myers and his allies have been getting away with this disgraceful sort of behavior for way too long. In large part, this was made possible by the fact that there was so little meaningful opposition to Myers and friends. Sadly, a lot of people still believe “ignore it and it will go away” is the best approach to dealing with the execrable antics of the FtB bullies, even though it has been shown to be an abysmal failure.

That said, I think appealing to the Freethought Blogs Executive Committee is a waste of time. They are part of the problem. Indeed, Myers himself is just part of a larger problem, as you and many of the posters here have already indicated. I hope I’m wrong though.

Besides methodically documenting his behavior to expose him to the world for who he truly is, and alerting conference organizers to his behavior, I’m not sure what else you can do. The one thing I do know for sure though is that you will not sink down to their level, something I believe they are desperately hoping for. This would be like handing them the ultimate victory.

26 Matt Cavanaugh January 4, 2015 at 3:57 am

Michael, are you aware that PZ Myers also maintains a blog (also called “Pharyngula”) at the Scienceblogs network? That he is still listed as an a contributor at Panda’s Thumb, (though he hasn’t written there recently)?

27 john welch January 4, 2015 at 4:05 am

Yes, Michael is most likely spitting into the wind with his email, but at least then he can say he has tried.

that’s worth something.

He may not get the ends he seeks, but his means have been correct and well thought-out at ever turn. So in that, he’s already won over PZ.

28 John Morales January 4, 2015 at 4:05 am

Michael in OP:

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]

That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.

(From that presupposition, much follows)

29 Owl January 4, 2015 at 4:14 am

I grow more appalled each day with the behaviour of PZ Myers and his gang. They’re basically using the infamous “fair game” policy that L. Ron Hubbard espoused against any critics or dissenters. Once I thought Myers was a reasonable person, who perhaps went a bit overboard about certain political issues, and I even published a “Why I Am an Ahteist” piece in his blog. Something I deeply regret now, but, things as they are, the idea of asking him to remove my post and name from his rag of a blog suggest that I would probably be called a mysogynist, a rapist, a child molester, a drug trafficker (hey, Scientology used that one on me three decades ago), a murderer or a nazi criminal at large. Yes, their tactics do scare some of us, at least for the time being, something I find very sad. And which makes me admire your courage when standing up against FTB, which Pat Condell aptly called “The North Korea of Free Thought” when he came under attack by Myers.

30 Nathan (formerly GerardO) January 4, 2015 at 5:00 am

I predicted (in Hemant’s comment section, as ‘Unhiddenness’) that things could move fairly quickly at FtB regarding Avicenna, but a few hours seemed optimistic. It does show that some ethical guidelines exist there, which is slightly comforting.

I don’t think Myers cares that much anymore about what he says about Out-Groupers. They are just one homogeneous blob in his mind these days.

31 Billie from Ockham January 4, 2015 at 6:36 am

It requires one of Michael Nugent’s “charitable interpretations” to believe that the removal of Avi from FtB shows “that some ethical guidelines exist there….” My best guess is that it was an entirely calculated decision, designed to protect those who remain there (from law-suit and further embarrassment, inter alia). That is to say: I’m not ready to believe that #AviGate is all about ethics in blogging.

32 john welch January 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

Billie,

I’m inclined to agree. Given both PZ’s and Brayton’s posts on it, it’s fairly obvious they were going to ignore the evidence until the source was such that they couldn’t.

33 Phil Giordana FCD January 4, 2015 at 7:28 am

You know, maybe Myers’ “correction”, as documented here, was just an attempt at humour. I mean, it seems to be clear by now that Myers is not so good at “rape jokes”.

Anyway, I’m a Slymepitter, and bloody well proud of it. I guess by posting here I’m also a Nugenter, and I see no reason to not be proud of it as well. WRT rapists at the Pit, I am like many others: waiting for actual names/handles. I wouldn’t like to have been interacting for years with known rapists.

34 franc January 4, 2015 at 8:37 am

I know that you know that you really can’t expect anything that comes even close to an honest and serious response – but good on you for persisting. I bet peezee has guilt ridden dreams about you. Keep going.

35 Shatterface January 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Avigate has them worried not just because they’re wondering who’s next but because it shows them how the phlock will turn on each other if evidence is both overwhelming and repeated by a ‘credible’ source.

Some of the posters are talking about being totally suckered in; others (eg. Josh, Official SpokesGay) are rewriting history to suggest that they’d always known something was off.

Sure they did; but as long as he was telling them what they already believed nobody was going to question him.

36 The Squirrel January 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm

I’ve been lurking here for a while. Nothing sinister – it’s just that I generally find that the comments have already covered what I’d like to say.

I’ve hated this PZ/Nugent from the outset.

Michael, you’re unfailingly polite. I applaud that. Unfortunately, the Atheism/Secularism/Humanism movement dropped that as a strategy a long time ago. That is not a criticism of you; I think that you speak in the correct tone at all times.

I long ago lost interest in the strident tones of people such as PZ, Dawkins, those fools in the Rational Response Squad and even Carrier.

I stopped reading Myers after the desecration stunt – which was something I would not expect of a child. Well, maybe of a disaffected early teen.

I objected then and was edited and posts removed.
We must never lose sight of the fact that the guys who play on our team may also be dicks and must never listen uncritically to those who are seemingly pulling in the same direction.

I realise that what he has posted about you is extraordinarily obnoxious, offensive and untrue.

Is it worth spending any further time or words on him, though? He’s a dick, through and through, and I don’t like to see you go through such throes while at the same time your wordcount on the subject reassures him almost daily that he is causing greater pain.

Ignore him: everyone that I know does. It’s perfectly obvious who the bigger man is.

One thing: so long as I have been reading the various blogs, one thing is certain: the various strands of Atheism/Secularism/Humanism activism will split more frequently and more acrimoniously than the Republican movement did on our Island.

Don’t let him bleed away your time. Please don’t let him waste your energy and feed off it like a parasite; all he has to post is a simple repetition and it draws from you a deluge of words. That must take up time; Time better spent fighting for secular education in Ireland and the repeal of blasphemy legislation.

Therein may lie your greater value, as well as your opportunity to deliver results. I write this in the full knowledge of the extremely offensive nature of his comments about you.

37 Gerhard January 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm

With respect, Squirrel, what about all of the others who have been labeled abusers, rape apologists and the like who are less able to hit back and some of whom may be affected professionally by the antics of Myers? Michael’s actions have some significance for them.

38 Patrick January 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Jack Rawlinson @20,

“I hope no supporters of Michael attempt to get Myers in trouble at UMM.”

Balls. Turnabout is fair play.

I have an enormous amount of sympathy for this view. I would experience significant schadenfreude if Myers were made to answer for his behavior to his department chair. I would be highly amused if someone were to take out a full page ad detailing his mermaid fantasies in the conservative student paper he hates so much.

Instigating those events would be wrong. This dispute is about Myers’ impact on the atheism and skepticism movements. His dishonesty and political nonsense to maintain the Great Schism have nothing to do with his job. The focus should be on the fact that he is a very poor representative for the values of atheism and skepticism. Nearly every action of his makes it more difficult for those of us who want a more secular world. That’s what we need to address.

The optimal outcome from my perspective would be for Myers to apologize sincerely to Michael Nugent and work toward a more inclusive movement. That’s probably never going to happen, so the best we can hope for is to keep him bottled up in Morris rage blogging rather than giving him a bully pulpit at conferences.

Going after someone’s job is what I expect from the FtBullies, not the decent people opposing them.

39 The Squirrel January 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

@Gerhard:

PZ is a busted flush these days. He confirmed that today with his comment on the Velaccia plagiarism thread when he commented to the effect that Velaccia was a great writer but poor when it came to attribution; this is an abdication of every professional obligation that both of them share and which both of them will have had to rigorously observe during their studies and afterwards.

There’s an active naivete in most activism which runs along the lines of “we’re in agreement regarding our major goals, therefore I’ll ignore your other obvious faults and even defend them”. It’s a ludicrous argument.

MN has slightly fallen for that and had been burned when pointing it out. The whole activist movement fell into disrepute when suchlike as “The rights” emerged. A lot of us snorted and turned away in scorn.

MN has a very close to zero chance of turning PZ around. Zealots such as Myers are intractable and drag some people in their slipstream. I cannot see that changing.

40 The Squirrel January 4, 2015 at 5:38 pm

I meant “The Lights” rather than “The rights”.

41 Billie from Ockham January 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Avigate has them worried not just because they’re wondering who’s next but because it shows them how the phlock will turn on each other if evidence is both overwhelming and repeated by a ‘credible’ source.

I think that it’s slightly worse than that. Keep in mind that FtB has been sheltering an admitted child-rapist for quite some time. Note, also, how rape is a crime – in many of their eyes – that is worse than murder. Now put the child-rapist’s acceptance up against the expulsion and ridicule for “mere” plagiarism and you (and even they) can see that whether you will be held accountable for your actions is hard to predict and seemingly random. And nothing terrifies children more than unpredictable or random authority figures – the child doesn’t know what the authority wants and for what they might be punished next.

A good example of this was provided by Josh, Official Spokesgay in the “Farewell, Avicenna” on Pharyngula. At first, Josh offers only tentative criticism of Avi, but, once PZ comes in and says that he’s disappointed and angry, Josh starts beating on Avi without mercy. Josh needed to wait to see what his master thought, else he run the risk of being the next head on the block. And then, when his master makes it clear(er) what he wants, Josh is only to willing to oblige. You might argue that Josh was just being dense – and you could well be correct – but I see this as fear of making a mistake, not ignorance.

For more on this sort of thing, read almost any good text on the behavior of abused children. Oh, and if it isn’t obvious, I see all this as highly relevant to what Michael Nugent is trying to do. Parents that abuse their kids need to either face what they are doing or have their children removed from the house.

42 Gerhard January 4, 2015 at 6:17 pm

MN has a very close to zero chance of turning PZ around. Zealots such as Myers are intractable and drag some people in their slipstream. I cannot see that changing.

I don’t disagree, but my point is that Myers behaviour still needs to be held up for everyone to see because there are still people proclaiming his virtue and the evil of those he maligns. Not everyone follows events in the A/S online world closely and may be inclined to believe Myers as a former Humanist of the Year and acclaimed blogger.

43 Patrick January 4, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Gerhard @42,

yers behaviour still needs to be held up for everyone to see because there are still people proclaiming his virtue and the evil of those he maligns. Not everyone follows events in the A/S online world closely and may be inclined to believe Myers as a former Humanist of the Year and acclaimed blogger.

Well and succinctly put. Just like the arcade game, Myers should be smacked with links to his dishonesty whenever he ventures outside fora where he controls the comments. Whack-a-Myers!

44 Kohoutek January 4, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Oh, mother of f*ck! That kind of behavior in the comments is just disgusting! Inexcusable. It’s violating! (Who’s talking about rape, again?)

I was telling a prominent atheist the other day that before my years away, in 2011, I thought that “he’s going thru something, will snap out of it, and then I’ll listen to him,” but no chance. Not going to happen, as this is obviously who PZ Myers always was.

45 Kohoutek January 4, 2015 at 6:49 pm

This is all very frightening. I should think that at some point the UMM would have something to say about PZ’s behavior toward people, considering that other professors have been rebuked or more because of what they tweeted or posted about real people.

46 john welch January 4, 2015 at 7:10 pm

You are watching a classic example of a cult turning on a member that has fallen from grace. Avi was clear, now he is an SP and the denial of him will be complete within a week.

I don’t think Michael will change PZ et al one whit. But the people on the outside are less and less impressed with PZ every day.

47 Kohoutek January 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

I most certainly am not impressed. Misled and betrayed is how I feel.

48 John Greg January 4, 2015 at 8:18 pm

Kohoutek said:

Misled and betrayed is how I feel.

I suspect that as this continues to grow, and Michael continues to expose Myers’s behaviour, there may very well be thousands, literally thousands of people who feel exactly as do you.

49 Billie from Ockham January 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm

FYI, Kohoutek, I have recently created the label “cirling” (or “CIRLing,” if you wish) for actions such as contacting employers in response to what people do on-line. It stands for “consequencing in real life.” However, just because I came up with this label, in order to differentiate cirling from doxxing, does not mean that I endorse it. Only if the person presents an actual danger to people in real life would I consider this to be ethical. Besides dreaming of them being mermaids or teaching them a somewhat discredited view of evolution, I have seen no good evidence that PZ is a danger to his students. Plus, they get to play with pet-shop fish.

50 Gerhard January 4, 2015 at 8:53 pm

For the uninitiated, it isn’t just PZ who likes smearing. This from FTB blogger Thibeault (Lousy Canuck).

From whole cloth, in order to undercut the seriousness of sexual assault accusations, they (more specifically, slime pit lion Richard Sanderson, plus pilers-on) invented a rape that they claimed Avicenna had perpetrated at a con that occurred while he was on another continent. This accusation came amidst dozens of such incredible claims about his heritage, his identity, his geolocation and his race, and had every appearance of being shit-slung-at-wall, and it turns out that in amongst these claims some of the shit — specifically, the plagiarism — was absolutely true and demonstrable.

Richard Sanderson (not known to be a Pitter) picked it up from the notorious Oolon and reposted on Twitter (for which he apologised) Avicenna then claimed that the accusation came from Sanderson, when if, I recall correctly, Avicenna was the originator of the story. It was so well established that the Pit was not involved and yet here we have Canuck perpetuating the Myth regardless in an attempt to mitigate damage. It is just another example of Avicenna’s untrustworthiness that FTB still choose to ignore because it gives the lie to their spin that the Pit was maliciously harassing Avicenna because of racism amongst other things.

51 john welch January 4, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Canuck’s a classic.

52 Shatterface January 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I thought Avicenna invented the story himself to demonstrate that (a) false accusations would be easy to disprove (which is why the story occurred on a different continent than Avi was on) and that (b) the consequences of a false accusation would be trivial.

Sanderson (not a Pitter) repeated the hypothetical story on Twitter as if it was true, then Oolon claimed the story came from the Pit, a claim that seems to have originated in his own arse, then Avi repeated Oolon’s claim conveniently forgetting the story originated on his own blog.

Of course, Avi’s posts have now vanished from FtB so I can’t link to the timeline.

53 John Greg January 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm

LousyCanuck is the intellectual giant who stated, specifically and without irony, that moderating, editing, and deleting posts is an act of and a reinforcement and encouragement of free speech, whereas the non-moderation, non-editing, non-deletion practices of places such as the Pit (to which he specifically referred) is a clear example of limiting free speech, censorship, and the enforcement of the desired status quo.

Seriously. He said that. Without irony; not tongue in cheek; in sincere seriousness.

Canuck’s head is not quite screwed on right.

54 Kohoutek January 4, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Thanks, everyone. Look, I feel that I need to say something:

It has been a tumultuous couple of years for me, during which I was working multiple jobs while moving twice. There were also health scares and a few high points (publications, chairing a science ed program, passing certification, etc.). So, I didn’t even become aware of the Slymepit until not long ago – from googling myself.

I now know that someone at the Pit named me in 2013 and said that I was some crazy sock posting at AtBC who ranted on and on against Shermer, but that’s not so. That was NOT me. I have never had any sock at AtBC – only my legitimate account – and I never believed that ugliness about Shermer. I did not participate in that thread, and when I finally saw it, I felt nauseated. I’m uncomfortable with that commenter remaining at AtBC, but apparently I have to tolerate this person.

Anyway, had I indeed “been there,” and had it been my choice, Shermer would have had eyes for no other woman! 😛 Seriously, I am partnered, but I do think Michael is dashing, though not as dashing as Richard. (Welp, may as well uncloak, because you’veall figured out who I am if you had not before.)

55 john welch January 4, 2015 at 10:02 pm

That syncs well with PZ’s claim that by moderating/editing/deleting, he shows that he has no direct approval for any comments, yet the pit/Abbie not moderating means they must personally approve every comment that is posted.

56 Shatterface January 4, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Dick Strawkins enacted the labour of compiling a timeline for how Avi’s own manufactured false rape story was reinvented as a false accusation made by the Pit:

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=124677#p124677

Links to FtB no longer work, for obvious reasons.

Naturally the weirdo Oolon plays a pivotal role.

57 Kohoutek January 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm

That syncs well with PZ’s claim that by moderating/editing/deleting, he shows that he has no direct approval for any comments, yet the pit/Abbie not moderating means they must personally approve every comment that is posted.

Wha-? That level of doublethink deserves its own term. “Strawmansplaining”?

58 MacGruberKnows January 4, 2015 at 10:29 pm

In FTB speak, a site that allows free speech is a hate site. In effect, they hate America much like an Islamicist. I know they hate the police and the military. They see hate everywhere they look. Pretty hateful group.

59 Jan Steen January 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

Only a few days ago, PZ Myers felt compelled to write something in defense of Avicenna.

It’s hazardous duty, writing on FreethoughtBlogs. There’s a small squad of vicious trolls waiting to make up stories about you, and the latest target of their venom is Avicenna. It’s gotten ridiculous: the myth they repeat over and over again is that he’s constantly lying on his blog. The latest “evidence” is that some of the email from haters that he has posted can also be found on public sites.

In a way, as a specimen of intellectual dishonesty, if not intellectual fraud, this is almost as bad as accusing people you dislike of “supporting rapists”. People who for years have been carefully documenting the obvious lies and fabrications of FTB icon Avicenna are here dismissed without evidence by Myers as “vicious trolls” who “make up stories.” Ad Hominems and well poisoning are tactics typically employed by people who lack proper arguments.

I am delighted that this affair has blown up so spectacularly in Myers’s face, making him look like the fool he really is. The oblivious windbag even dared to censure Hemant Mehta for showing “a lack of empathy” because he had thanked the Slymepit for exposing Avicenna’s plagiarism (and that was frankly just the tip of the iceberg). Myers has the gall to accuse somebody of showing a lack of empathy! That’s too funny. Let me just drop the name Robin Williams here. No further explanation needed, I think.

Meanwhile, Avicenna’s blog has been memory holed. A good example to follow for some other blogs over there, perhaps?

60 Jan Steen January 4, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Michael, I have essentially the same comment in moderation twice. Please delete the first one (or both, if you think they do not agree with your commenting policy). Thanks.

61 The Squirrel January 4, 2015 at 11:04 pm

I meant “The Brights”. Third time lucky.

62 john welch January 4, 2015 at 11:28 pm

Kohoutek – that’s just another day on FTB.

63 Lancelot Gobbo January 5, 2015 at 12:34 am

john welch wrote:
I don’t think Michael will change PZ et al one whit. But the people on the outside are less and less impressed with PZ every day.

Probably not, but it is important to note that those who become less impressed do so, at least in part, because of the efforts of Michael Nugent and others like him. Let’s encourage them to carry on speaking up for what is right, just, fair and equitable.

BTW, John, you are missed in another place.

64 Richard "The King" Sanderson January 5, 2015 at 12:38 am

Yes. Just to repeat the comments from Gerhard and Shatterface, it was Oolon who mentioned that Avi was on the receiving end of a rape allegation before anybody else mentioned it. I later mentioned on Twitter that several FTB bloggers were now at the centre of rape allegations (this was at the time Myers and Ophelia demanding that people name names!). Naturally, it is ironic for FTB bloggers to be crying about people talking about rape allegations publicly, since that is what some of them do rather loudly and eagerly.

Suddenly, Avi blogged about this while throwing his toys out of the pram, suggesting (without any evidence whatsoever) that I originated the rape allegation. Quite how I don’t know. Part of his frenzied rhetoric appeared to involve the fact that I “knew” about the rape allegation. Yes, I “knew” (and I and several others pointed this out) because Oolon mentioned it first. I tweeted about that allegation AFTER Oolon mentioned it!!! This was deliberately ignored by Avicenna, and so it seems, Lousy Canuck.

It is amazing that more than a year later, Avicenna, Lousy and a bunch of other narrative-deluded fibbers can’t admit Oolon was responsible for making public the rape allegation against Avicenna. I wouldn’t have known anything about it if Oolon hadn’t mentioned it. But then Oolon is part of their “in group”. I am not.

65 Shatterface January 5, 2015 at 1:48 am

Okay, I’m just trying to get this straight in my head: Avi invented a hypothetical rape allegation – the kind of thing he imagined someone might make up – to show how easy it would be to disprove (because his hypothetical accuser is careless enough not to check what continent Avi was on at the time) and/or that rape allegations would have no serious consequences anyway; then Oolon repeats that hypothetical story as if it was a real allegation, and then pretends it came from the Pit, even though the post in which Avi made up the story was still visible at FtB at the time?

And Avi went along with this because he’d forgotten he’d made up the story himself just days before?

And now Lousy Canuck is repeating the story that the allegation came from the Pit?

66 john welch January 5, 2015 at 2:15 am

yep. No matter how the facts stack up, Clear are always right, SPs always wrong.

67 Aneris ✻ January 5, 2015 at 2:28 am

Michael,
FTB regular and self-styled rhetorical assassin “Brony” (who may be “KennyD”) might be someone who could be willing to argue with you and bring in some perspective. He asserts, like Stephanie Zvan, to be an expert debater and I would very much like to see such experts participate in a discussion.

You would have a good reason to invite him, too. And since he is a master rhetorician, he hardly has a reason to shy away. Here is what he writes:

Brony wrote: […] One of them tried to turn that into an exploration into if PZ had proved that anyone in the pit or on Nugents blog was a rapist. I simply wished them luck at their useless exploration because one can describe cultural features that make specific behaviors easier without showing that those people were there. “What do you mean my house is a haven for roaches! Prove there is a rat here!” *Says while standing in a pile of food scraps*

Mythologizing**
>Attempts to present their subjective emotional characterizations of an event or person as “data” I should consider. Fuck that shit. Literally every social conflict I have ever been a part of has involved literal events being twisted into forms constructed of emotional fluff. I don’t do fluff. I want substance. No one over there seemed willing or able to present what PZ said about Nugent’s blog with respect to rapists. They fought every single request and that only means a couple of things. 1) they can’t give me the link, 2) they won’t give me the link. The implications of both of those are really shitty for them as human beings. They either subsist primarily off of gossip (very similar to looking at what 8chaners think of things), are lazy and willing to present assertions based on very dim selective memories, or they are lying. All of that can be prepared for. […]

Everyone should read Brony’s rhetorical expert observations. I have the feeling nobody takes him seriously over there either, but it’s worth a try (and likely entertaining, I admit).

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/01/03/farewell-avicenna/comment-page-1/#comment-897079

68 john welch January 5, 2015 at 2:45 am

Brony is high. Tripping balls, eyes red stoned.

69 Old_ones January 5, 2015 at 2:51 am

John Morales:
[quote]
Michael in OP:
[quote]
PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]
[/quote]
That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.

(From that presupposition, much follows)
[/quote]

That’s entirely silly. You might notice the use of the word “shown” which (in context) indicates that Michael is commenting on a three month long pattern of PZ’s behavior. That context clearly refutes the idea that this is either a presupposition or an axiomatic statement made with absolute certainty. He is commenting on the next instance in a pattern which evidences an inability on the part of PZ.

70 Old_ones January 5, 2015 at 2:57 am

test

test

test

test

(please excuse my diddlings; there is no preview here, and I’m trying to figure out how to blockquote)

71 Old_ones January 5, 2015 at 3:00 am

John Morales:

Michael in OP:

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]

That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.

(From that presupposition, much follows)

That’s entirely silly. You might notice the use of the word “shown” which (in context) indicates that Michael is commenting on a three month long pattern of PZ’s behavior. That context clearly refutes the idea that this is either a presupposition or an axiomatic statement made with absolute certainty. He is commenting on the next instance in a pattern which evidences an inability on the part of PZ.

(Michael feel free to remove my mess above)

72 Steersman January 5, 2015 at 3:07 am

Old_ones:

You might note that most FTB sites do in fact provide a “Preview” function, and that they seem to support most if not all of the HTML codes used here. See, FTBs isn’t entirely useless. 😉

73 JetLagg January 5, 2015 at 3:30 am

Shatterface@65
Okay, I’m just trying to get this straight in my head: Avi invented a hypothetical rape allegation – the kind of thing he imagined someone might make up – to show how easy it would be to disprove (because his hypothetical accuser is careless enough not to check what continent Avi was on at the time) and/or that rape allegations would have no serious consequences anyway; then Oolon repeats that hypothetical story as if it was a real allegation, and then pretends it came from the Pit, even though the post in which Avi made up the story was still visible at FtB at the time?

I’m new to this story as well, but given the links provided here I’ve come to the same conclusion you did, and I’m just as flabbergasted. Maybe some lurkers from FTB (we all know you’re here) can set me straight?

74 Old_ones January 5, 2015 at 3:40 am

Thanks for the tip Steersman. I’ve seen a few different tag variations around, but my knowledge of html is not very deep, so I never know exactly what I’m dealing with when I’m in a new place.

75 MacGruberKnows January 5, 2015 at 4:12 am

Let me see, which site has the multiple pedophile rapist and a serial plagiarist blogger whose whoppers flew under their radar for years?

And the guy with no smell-test, who can’t smell bullshit when he’s knee deep in it talks about others standing in table-scraps?

Google image ‘Bronies’.
He does not do irony well.

76 John Morales January 5, 2015 at 8:14 am

Old_ones @71:

John Morales:

Michael in OP:

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]

That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.
(From that presupposition, much follows)

That’s entirely silly. You might notice the use of the word “shown” which (in context) indicates that Michael is commenting on a three month long pattern of PZ’s behavior. That context clearly refutes the idea that this is either a presupposition or an axiomatic statement made with absolute certainty. He is commenting on the next instance in a pattern which evidences an inability on the part of PZ.
(Michael feel free to remove my mess above)

Leaving aside that, as the opening sentence, it’s actually establishing the context, an inability to behave ethically logically excludes the ability to behave ethically.

But hey, if you imagine it’s less silly to read that as “[though PZ Myers has the ability to behave ethically] PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically”, go for it.

(I can’t exclude the possibility that perhaps that’s actually what Michael intended to express)

77 John Morales January 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

JetLagg @73:

Maybe some lurkers from FTB (we all know you’re here) can set me straight?

Well, though I’m hardly a lurker (obviously!) I’ve been reading FTB since its creation — so I guess I can represent its readership to you; and I tell you that the most salient thing you need to realise is that it’s neither a blog nor a bulletin board, but rather a collection of blogs and their respective bloggers and respective policies.

Obviously, some people might follow several (and they are diverse, though all are within the FTB ethos) — but you won’t find anyone who is familiar with them all.

I myself wasn’t reading that particular blog at the time, but what you quoted seems to be far more about Oolon and the Slymepit than about FTB.

(Or: you really should have asked for lurkers from that particular blog 😉 )

78 Gerhard January 5, 2015 at 8:35 am

John Morales. It is a common figure of speech and I seriously doubt that anyone reads it absolutely literally. It is of no consequence and hardly worth the effort of arguing about. Would the addition of the word “seems” satisfy you?

79 Shatterface January 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

This from Myers’ latest brainfart:

I’m on my deathbed in my undersea dome, surrounded by my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, my great-great grandchildren, and my great-great-great grandchildren (it’s a very large dome). I’m looking good — I’ve lost some weight, the rejuvenation treatments have been working well, and I’m also feeling terrific — but I know my expiration is imminent. I get ready to speak my last words.
“I love you, Mary.” The phone rings.
“Yes, this is he,” I say. I whisper to Mary, “It’s the Nobel committee.” “Yes, thank you, it’s an honor. You’re lucky to have called just now — another 10 minutes, and I would have been posthumous, and no longer qualify. We have a spot all picked out on the wall for it, right next to all the Olympic gold medals. But now I have to get back to dying. Later!”
“My children, my descendants, I’m very proud of you all,” I continue. The phone rings again.
“Hello, Madam President. Don’t worry, stop crying,
[Women, eh] you have nothing to worry about — I trained you well, you don’t need me any more. Also, my wife has agreed to step in as an advisor, and you know she’s the smart one of the family. Besides, with world peace and prosperity a reality, it’s not as if you need my guidance anymore. Bye!”
I turn off the ringer on the phone, and settle in for a quiet exit. “Now where was I…”

And then this, which ties in with the previous post about Myers as a hater:

The door bursts open! There, standing in all of his regalia, is the Last Priest in the World!
“I could not miss this opportunity for a deathbed conversion,” he hisses, swinging his censer and and shaking his staff, resplendent in his bright orange robes and mitre (as the last priest, he was also the Pope, the Dalai Lama, the Head Imam, etc. — religion had tried a desperate series of mergers to stem the rising tide of atheism.) Then his words are lost in a welter of glossolalia and Latin.
I leap from my deathbed, and gripping his throat in my left hand, I lift him off the floor; with my right, I deliver a stinging series of slaps. “There is no god! ” I throw him to the floor.

https://archive.today/uOi9i

80 Shatterface January 5, 2015 at 8:43 am

There are a series of five SLAPS! in that last line that didn’t carry over because of the brackets.

This really is a guy who fantasises about beating up priests on his death bed.

81 Gerhard January 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm

John Morales:

I myself wasn’t reading that particular blog at the time, but what you quoted seems to be far more about Oolon and the Slymepit than about FTB.

Well, given that the current situation is Canuck perpetuating the untruths, Avi having continued the smear despite stark evidence to the contrary and PZ Myers continuing the pretence that plagiarism was Avi’s only sin and that the vermin were groundlessly ridiculing Avi despite the stonkingly obvious Mittyism, I think it rather evidently involves every FTB blog that blindly defended Avi.

82 john welch January 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

It may not involve every FTB blog, but it involves enough.

You know, the funny thing about this “FTB ISN’T ONE THING, IT’S A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS WHO SHOULDN’T ALL BE TREATED AS ONE ENTITY” thing that Morales just pushed?

When the HELL does that ever apply to FTB’s enemies. Every single person that core group of asshats dislikes becomes a slymepitter, and as PZ has said, they’re nothing but harassers, mysoginists and rapists, a charge that everyone on FTB, with perhaps the sole exception of Ally Fogg bobbleheads along with. And yeah, barring proof to the contrary morales, I’m going to toss you in that bobblehead bucket as well.

For Morales to trot out that trope when everyone at FTB, bar one, completely and totally ignores that concept when doing so is convenient to them shows such an utter lack of self-awareness that I wonder how he typed those words without forgetting to breathe.

Well, though I’m hardly a lurker (obviously!) I’ve been reading FTB since its creation — so I guess I can represent its readership to you; and I tell you that the most salient thing you need to realise is that it’s neither a blog nor a bulletin board, but rather a collection of blogs and their respective bloggers and respective policies.

When I see them applying that concept to their enemies and not just themselves, I’ll take it seriously. Until then, Fogg’s the only one on that site I think is worth a tinker’s damn, the rest of you, get in the sack.

83 Jan Steen January 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

From the presupposition that what Michael wrote was a presupposition much follows.

84 Gerhard January 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

@Welch.

When you’re a regular at Pharyngula I don’t see that association with any other FTB blogs is really an issue. I still can’t fathom how they can witness PZ ‘s repeated mis-characterisations of other bloggers and flat denial with further insult for good measure and think that it is a good place to hang out. His increasingly out of touch science posts on evolution don’t seem to justify staying for the science. I’m not a fan of guilt by association, but he is the blog owner and not just a commenter you can ignore.

85 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm

So John Morales comes to, what… the 5th or 6th blog post by MN, to pick on grammar rather than the substance. Go figure. I guess by extension John by posting here, you’re OK with PZ labeling you as a rapist and rape apologist then. Welcome to the club.

The recent plagiarism at FtB is yet another face-palming, laughter inducing blunder in the PZ and Ed show.

On one hand I can completely understand Ed’s point that he doesn’t listen or follow what the Slymepit does. I have no time to follow the likes of William Lane Craig (not comparing the Slymepit to WLC, just drawing an analogy albeit a poor one). But my goodness, PZ took time to stick up for Avi, without ONCE even considering that what Avi was doing was blatant plagiarism.

The Avi plagiarism debacle is the proof that PZ has zero credibility to lecture people about critical thinking. PZ didn’t even bother to ensure that a blogger on HIS OWN NETWORK was lifting material directly from other people without attribution. This shows more about PZ’s character and political bent than someone who cares about truth and honesty.

Keep on going MN. Keep the pressure on these people. I can only hope that when PZ goes for speaking gigs, that the majority of questions he’s asked are about why we should consider anything he says as valid when he’s so quick to perpetuate smears and perpetuate fabrications about people.

86 John Welch January 5, 2015 at 4:10 pm

I don’t think PZ had any requirement to monitor Avi’s, or anyone else’s posts for plagarism. That really is not his job.

It’s that PZ loudly and proudly ignored the *same* evidence until it came from a source and with a publicity level he could no longer ignore that he and brayton were finally willing to take action.

I was unaware that facts and evidence were (in)valid based on the source.

87 Gerhard January 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm

@Welch. PZ is still denying Avicenna’s propensity for embellishment or outright porkies. He prefers to pretend that it is all Slymepit racism.

88 Matt Cavanaugh January 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm

It’s sad, really, that the best defense PZ’s apologists can mount is: it’s not that PZ is incapable of acting ethically, it’s just that he chooses to be unethical.

Most disturbing is PZ’s penchant for violence-tinged rhetoric, which he levels at any opponent, but reserves especial intensity for christians and the clergy. We have his dream of shooting down every priest in the air so they plummet to their deaths. We have his vow to disembowel any christian who proselytizes him. And now we have his lurid fantasy of beating into submission “The Last Priest”.

On July 31, 2015, PZ Myers is scheduled to speak at the Gateway to Reason conference in St. Louis. He’ll share the stage with Theresa McBain, a former christian pastor. I’d be curious to learn McBain’s reaction to Myers’ urges to pummel, stab & murder members of the cloth.

89 Phil Giordana FCD January 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm

“On one hand I can completely understand Ed’s point that he doesn’t listen or follow what the Slymepit does. I have no time to follow the likes of William Lane Craig”

Hey now!

“(not comparing the Slymepit to WLC, just drawing an analogy albeit a poor one)”

Ok, we’re cool.

90 Jan Steen January 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

(Michael enters FTB Executive Committee meeting.)

Michael: Hello. I wish to register a complaint. One of your bloggers, PZ Myers, accused me of providing a haven for rapists on my blog.

Executive Committee: You have a blog?

M: Of course.

EC: And you allow comments?

M: Indeed I do.

EC: There you go.

M: There you go what?

EC: If you allow comments you are providing a haven for commenters.

M: And?

EC: And we may assume that you do not check the criminal background of your commenters?

M: Wait, I see where this is leading to. If this is a valid argument then every blogger is providing a haven for rapists.

EC: Maybe they do.

M: But that is clearly not what PZ intended. He singled me out. He said that I was providing a haven for rapists and cited as evidence that I allowed commenters from a certain forum to post on my blog.

EC: If the commenters of that forum are rapists then he has a pretty strong case, doesn’t he? We don’t understand why your are complaining.

M: But there is not the slightest evidence that they are rapists.

EC: Did you check their backgrounds?

M: Of course not. But neither have you.

EC: We don’t need to. They have been accused of being rapists. Since the number of false rape accusations is vanishingly small it would be hyperskeptical of us to assume that they are all innocent. Case dismissed.

M: But…

91 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 5, 2015 at 5:06 pm

@Phil #89

Yes, sorry.. I should probably have said something more along the lines that I don’t look to most FtB bloggers for reasonable blog posts about atheism, just like Ed doesn’t look to the Slymepit for critiques about FtB.

I actually felt a little bit sorry for PZ – A day before booting a serial plagiarist, he was grandstanding about how the revelations must be untrue and motivated by some other nefarious reasons. It must be hard for someone like PZ to come to terms with being wrong – but yet never admit to it.

I tend to agree with MN that PZ in person may come across like a teddy bear. Easy going, easy to talk to. But his online persona is a disgrace to the atheist community at large. MN and PZ should be staunch allies in helping coax people out of their religiosity – instead we have MN actually putting the feet on the street to take people head-on while PZ angrily types about beating religious people up. One of these things is not like the other…..

92 Jan Steen January 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

@Matt,

We have his vow to disembowel any christian who proselytizes him.

Maybe you should turn down the hyperbole a bit. Myers has said so much reprehensible stuff that we don’t need to resort to obvious exaggeration.

93 A Bear January 5, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Aneris wrote @67:

FTB regular and self-styled rhetorical assassin “Brony” (who may be “KennyD”) might be someone who could be willing to argue with you and bring in some perspective.

I believe “Joshua White” that commented on Michael’s previous post is in fact Brony, Rhetorical Assassin so you can see how transparently disingenuous his debating style is.
Kenny D may also be one of Brony’s socks, the style is similar to Brony’s scattershot hogwash approach to debating, and after all their is more than one ass in assassin.

94 John Greg January 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Brony is a mess — rhetorically assassinatively speaking.

As I have said elsewhere, he is the perfect embodiment of the phrases Bafflegab and Bullshit Baffles Brains.

If you actually dissect, or critically textually analyze his posts, it turns out that for the most part he actually says literally nothing, or very nearly literally nothing, but he does so with a vast number of buzzwords and endless sophistic jargon.

In some ways he’s actually quite funny — but in an intellectually vacuous sort of way.

95 John Greg January 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Kohoutek said (circa #54):

I now know that someone at the Pit named me in 2013 and said that I was some crazy sock posting at AtBC who ranted on and on against Shermer, but that’s not so. That was NOT me.

Kohoutek, this is not the place for it, so perhaps you could sign up to the Pit and send me a PM about this issue. Yes, it appears to have been from a couple of years ago, but I would like to look into it.

Kohoutek said (circa #57):

Wha-? That level of doublethink deserves its own term. “Strawmansplaining”?

Welch’s post (circa #55), was actually in response to my post circa #53.

96 John Welch January 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I’ve edited FTB profanity, but I refuse to deal with brony.

There are limits, sirrah.

LIMITS

97 piero January 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm

@Jan Steen:

Loved your Kafka. I found it hilarious until I realised it was a plausible scenario. Sigh.

98 John Welch January 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm

piero,

the sad thing is, it’s not imaginary. That’s the actual logic Zvan used to defend PZ. Since we know there is highly likely to be some number of rapists in any large enough group where you aren’t verifying their backgrounds, and since Michael doesn’t and hasn’t checked any backgrounds, therefore PZ is right.

No matter how strange you think the FTB lot can be, you’ll never hit the true nadir.

99 Patrick January 5, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Myers’ “evidence” for his defamatory smear against Michael Nugent was “The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

Since Hemant Mehta allowed people who are known to post at the Slymepit to comment on his blog without moderation during the recent Avicenna kerfuffle, how long before we see similar libel directed at The Friendly Atheist?

100 Billie from Ockham January 5, 2015 at 10:50 pm

“How long”? Try never.

In contrast to Michael Nugent, Hemant Mehta is part of the lecture circuit that still invites PZ (for what-ever reason) to give talks. PZ knows that he goes to war with The Friendly Atheist, he will lose and lose large. PZ might be an idiot, but he isn’t an idiot. And PZ is also not going to let being consistent force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. That’s a good portion of why this thread exists.

101 JetLagg January 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

Morales@77
…the most salient thing you need to realise is that it’s neither a blog nor a bulletin board, but rather a collection of blogs and their respective bloggers and respective policies.

I’m aware. I was (am) a big fan of Carrier’s, and didn’t know much of anything about the rest of the network until the A+ fiasco got me curious about the pit, where I was educated on their shenanigans. My question was rhetorical, really. The situation outlined by Strawkins is so mind-numbingly stupid the only real answer to how it happened is “because these people are crazy”.

102 The Squirrel January 6, 2015 at 12:50 am

In his defence of a plagiarist PZ says that he is simply not good at attribution. It is a disgrace to see that written by an academic. I wish he had marked my papers.

He loses any academic integrity on that alone. Yes, I know that it’s a blog, but there are standards. PZ threw them out the window.

103 Patrick January 6, 2015 at 1:07 am

I’ve asked Ed Brayton on Twitter (@edbrayton) to please address Michael’s email. No response after 10 hours. He must be busy today.

104 john welch January 6, 2015 at 2:38 am

The Squirrel:

If you think about it, PZ’s actions are actually much worse. He excoriated Hemant for crediting the source of his information, namely the ‘pit. PZ said it was bad to do this.

An academic and scientist said it was bad to properly credit and attribute your sources. The reason why is really immaterial. PZ is basically advocating FOR plagiarism if you don’t “like” the source.

105 Matt Cavanaugh January 6, 2015 at 2:46 am

Jan,
Let’s review PZ’s quote again:

“I’ve got to start carrying a knife now. Just so all you Christians know, if I’m in a fatal accident, and I’m lying in the street dying, and you’re not running over to stop the bleeding or otherwise physically help me, and you try to pull that prayer-and-conversion shit on me, I’m going to stab you. I’ll have nothing to lose, and you sure as hell don’t deserve to continue living.”

By “hyperbole” I’m guessing you mean either: 1) PZ only promised to stab Christians if he was about to die himself, or; 2) he meant it as a joke?

For starters, PZ implies that his only restraint is fear of punishment (“I’ll have nothing to lose”) — a terrible ethos to be coming from the 2009 Humanist of the Year. Second, given the sheer volume of hatred and violence coming from Myers, I’m inclined to interpret this as a real desire within him. But even if it is a joke, it’s a horrible, callous joke to make.

But the big takeaway here: PZ sees himself in a war against those who think differently than he, and any means are justified to silence them. So Christians can be killed to prevent them from proslytizing. In his “deathbed” fantasy, PZ chokes & repeatedly slaps the priest until he admits there is no god. No reason, no logic, no evidence — just brutish violence.

Regardless whether these are jokes or fantasies, they are expressions of intolerance and hate. And they disgrace the public image of atheism.

106 Gary S. January 6, 2015 at 4:01 am

Watch out for socks.
————–
Parody Accountant wrote:
I morph at Nugent’s and TFA etc and I always pretend like I just discovered that all the shit I heard about the slymepit isn’t true. I usually get top-rated comments on Discus etc as I encourage people to check it out for themselves. I also make it believable and have yet to be called out.

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=429&p=247995#p247995

107 A Bear January 6, 2015 at 4:18 am

Thanks for the warning Gary! Does the S in Gary S stand for sockpuppet?

108 Steersman January 6, 2015 at 6:51 am

Patrick (#103):

I’ve asked Ed Brayton on Twitter (@edbrayton) to please address Michael’s email. No response after 10 hours. He must be busy today.

Good for you. Maybe he’s busy putting out a fire or two? And it seems he may have another one as Ophelia Benson seems – speaking of “journalistic integrity” – to have rather clearly infringed on an Associated Press copyright – as I’ve argued here (5).

In any case, I too have presented an argument to Ed, in his blog, that he might want to consider that there are some “systemic” problems with his network over and above the one he’s already spiked. But as he seems to prefer shooting the messengers to listening to them, he rather cavalierly decided to delete my comment along with a few subsequent rejoinders. While I have re-posted it in the Pit, in the interests of promoting further discussion, I’ll impose somewhat on Michael’s hospitality by copying it here as well. Link (6) takes you to Ed’s blog, specifically a comment that immediately followed mine.

——
5) “_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=248059#p248059”;
6) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/01/03/avicenna-has-been-removed-from-freethought-blogs/#comment-392501”;

=====

Ed Brayton (6):

And with all the criticism I aim at those in the atheist community who behave tribally, applying different standards to those we consider our enemies than we do to our friends, I would be a highly unethical hypocrite if I did anything other than what we’ve done.

I essentially agree with you there about having to let Avi go, although I think it somewhat unfortunate in a way as it certainly seemed that he brought some important perspectives to the table, at least surrounding Islam.

And I kind of agree with you about the issue of “those in the atheist community who behave tribally” as it tends to derail or vitiate our best efforts. Although, somewhat in passing, one might call your characterization of the SlymePit as a “cesspool full of raging assholes” as precisely that – I wonder, perchance, have you actually ever taken an honest look there yourself rather than simply relying on those who are biased or who have an axe to grind?

In any case, I think you’re still bending over backwards – to “positively supine lengths” – in your judgement of Avicenna, although I’m encouraged that the scales seem to falling from the eyes of FTBloggers Lousy Canuck and Ophelia Benson, the first of whom had these relatively cogent observations (1):

… but the fact that [Avicenna] played fast and loose with attribution, and then in my estimation lied so casually in his apology and his excuses for what he’s done, I’m afraid my trust has been violated thoroughly. Without direct evidence, I’m inclined to believe he’s been more or less self-aggrandizingly fabulist.

Although Jason rather cluelessly insists – without evidence, natch – that Richard Sanderson is a SlymePitter, and that Hemant had “drudged up” all of the evidence against Avicenna all by his lonesome – among other crimes against the “Truth”. But I’m wondering whether you actually read, or at all closely, Hemant Mehta’s post (2), particularly the tail-end of it, where he questions Avicenna’s excuses (being charitable) for the plagiarism – which puts “the dog ate my homework” to shame for insufficient chutzpah.

However, I think the larger issue is that FreeThoughtBlogs – Pharyngula in particular – is, I think, beginning (?) to look like the Westboro Baptist Church of the “atheist movement” (however one wants to define that). The blame for (some of) which might reasonably be laid at your doorstep. Apropos of which, I wonder if you’ve read any of Michael Nugent’s posts – for example, this one (3) – asking that PZ apologize for accusing him of providing a “haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists” on his blog. (Though I wonder whether you don’t think that qualifies as “tribalism” in action). Or Nugent’s recent one which includes an open letter (4) to you asking that you address those “false allegations” – which I hope you’ll give due consideration to as it, like Avicenna’s “transgression”, is hardly reflecting well on FreeThoughtBlogs.

—–
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2015/01/03/on-avicenna-plagiarism-and-thanking-those-who-regularly-cry-wolf-while-flailing-us-raw/”;
2) “_http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/01/03/another-atheist-caught-in-case-of-serial-plagiarism/”;
3) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/10/13/pz-myers-has-failed-five-times-to-justify-his-smear-that-i-am-defending-and-providing-a-haven-for-rapists-on-my-blog/”;
4) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/01/03/pz-myers-new-defamatory-smear-support-rapists/comment-page-1/”;

109 Phil Giordana FCD January 6, 2015 at 8:15 am

Jan @92:

That’s not exactly hyperbole. It is, in essence, what Myers (Humanist of the Year 2009) stated.

“I’ve got to start carrying a knife now. Just so all you Christians know, if I’m in a fatal accident, and I’m lying in the street dying, and you’re not running over to stop the bleeding or otherwise physically help me, and you try to pull that prayer-and-conversion shit on me, I’m going to stab you. I’ll have nothing to lose, and you sure as hell don’t deserve to continue living. I don’t like violence, but I will make an exception for this one possible circumstance.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/05/23/cause-to-celebrate/

(remove the “_” at the start of the URL.)

110 Phil Giordana FCD January 6, 2015 at 8:22 am

Awaiting moderation.

111 John Morales January 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

JetLagg @101:

Morales@77
…the most salient thing you need to realise is that it’s neither a blog nor a bulletin board, but rather a collection of blogs and their respective bloggers and respective policies.
I’m aware. I was (am) a big fan of Carrier’s, and didn’t know much of anything about the rest of the network until the A+ fiasco got me curious about the pit, where I was educated on their shenanigans. My question was rhetorical, really. The situation outlined by Strawkins is so mind-numbingly stupid the only real answer to how it happened is “because these people are crazy”.

You’re aware of it yet still use FTB as a metonym? OK.

(Given this post is ostensibly about “PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear”, it’s remarkable how many comments address FTB rather than PZ)

112 Dave Allen January 6, 2015 at 10:05 am

That’s not exactly hyperbole.

Yes it is.

“We have his vow to disembowel any christian who proselytizes him.”

As opposed to:

“We have his remark to the end that he would disembowel a Christian who chooses to proselytize to him rather than help if he’s dying in the street.”

The former obviously ditches context in order to make the remark seem worse than it was.

Which isn’t necessary, seeing as the second and accurate remark is petty obnoxious sectarian bluster in and of itself.

113 Steersman January 6, 2015 at 10:27 am

John Morales (#111):

(Given this post is ostensibly about “PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear”, it’s remarkable how many comments address FTB rather than PZ).

I certainly find it interesting, although I’m not sure that it qualifies as remarkable – i.e., “especially for being unusual or extraordinary”. Considering that PZ’s blog apparently has the highest traffic, and that he kind of sets the “tone” – such as it is – or agenda, it might be more remarkable if the supporting players didn’t come in for some well-deserved criticisms as well. “Accessories after the fact” if you will.

Seems to me that PZ’s schtick has been, in part, to demonize the Pit at every opportunity – and on diddly squat in the way of evidence – such that the well has been well and truly poisoned. The effect of which is that many other bloggers and many of their commentariat refuse to consider anything from that quarter until they’ve been hit over the head with the proverbial two-by-four wielded by a third party.

114 John Morales January 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

Steersman @113:

John Morales (#111):

(Given this post is ostensibly about “PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear”, it’s remarkable how many comments address FTB rather than PZ).

I certainly find it interesting, although I’m not sure that it qualifies as remarkable – i.e., “especially for being unusual or extraordinary”. Considering that PZ’s blog apparently has the highest traffic, and that he kind of sets the “tone” – such as it is – or agenda, it might be more remarkable if the supporting players didn’t come in for some well-deserved criticisms as well. “Accessories after the fact” if you will.

So, you hold that because “PZ’s blog apparently has the highest traffic [within FTB]” it perforce sets the “tone” (but not the tone!) for all blogs on FTB, relegating them to “supporting players” worthy of “well-deserved criticisms” and therefore relevant to PZ’s purported new smear against Michael.

(Remarkable!)

115 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm

@ Piero,

Loved your Kafka. I found it hilarious until I realised it was a plausible scenario. Sigh.

Monthy Python meets Franz Kafka.

When observing the antics of Myers and his crowd I am sometimes literally laughing out loud, at other times I am infuriated by their nastiness. On balance, I’d say, I am more annoyed than amused by these people. Which is why most of us are here, I think.

116 Carrie January 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm

John Morales 111

(Given this post is ostensibly about “PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear”, it’s remarkable how many comments address FTB rather than PZ)

It isn’t all that remarkable. FtB is often used here as a form of shorthand, to include PZ and those who echo his thoughts. This would cover the commenters on his blog, many of whom seem pretty blinkered and unpleasant to “out-group” people. It also includes blog posters there who jump on the PZ bandwagon to belittle Michael’s postings here; most notably Ophelia and Zvan.

What I find remarkable is the way in which people who comment here in support of the PZ mind-set mostly seem to concentrate on semantics, derailing the threads sometimes with squabbles over some minor set of characters.

117 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm

@Phil Giordana FCD,

That’s not exactly hyperbole. It is, in essence, what Myers (Humanist of the Year 2009) stated.

Yes, I know that quote by Peezus (hoty 2009). He doesn’t say that he wants to stab any Christian for proselytizing, as Matt suggested. Myers (hoty 2009) would only become violent if the proselytizing happened as he lay dying and if it was done instead of offering help. I think I’d also become pretty angry if that happened. I would not go so far as stabbing the preachers, though. That’s a uniquely Myersian twist. :)

118 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Ninja’d by Dave Allen.

119 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm

John Morales, thanks for your amusing contribution to Butterflies & Wheels, in the comments to the post where Ophelia joined in the Avicenna bashing. You argued that although Avicenna is undoubtedly a plagiarist who lied about his plagiarism, it would nevertheless be “inane” to question the other implausible tales that Avicenna published.

Hahahaha. Con-artists love gullible people like you.

I take it, then, that you see no reason to question PZ Myers’s assertion that Avicenna was called to perform an autopsy in a famous (alleged) double rape/murder case in India. This gruesome story was world news when it happened, as you may know. You would find it “inane” to question PZ’s/Avicenna’s assertion? Why?

120 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Citations currently in moderation.

121 Phil Giordana FCD January 6, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Jan @117:

“Yes, I know that quote by Peezus (hoty 2009). He doesn’t say that he wants to stab any Christian for proselytizing, as Matt suggested. Myers (hoty 2009) would only become violent if the proselytizing happened as he lay dying and if it was done instead of offering help.”

So, context is important now? And as far as I can read, Myers does say he wants to stab any christian for proselytizing. Myers dying at the time is of no consequence to me. I think I’m being uncharitable in my reading, but I also think that by now it’s warranted WRT Myers.

122 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Phil, as Dave said, Myers’s original remarks were obnoxious enough as they were. If you change his words you only give ammunition to trolls like John Morales, who like to focus on petty details in order to deflect from the actual story.

123 Phil Giordana FCD January 6, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Jan @122:

Ok, I see your and Dave’s point now. My bad.

124 John Welch January 6, 2015 at 2:20 pm

John Morales:

When, pray tell, are you going to start fussing at the various FTB bloggers every time they lump everyone they don’t like into the “slymepitters” group, regardless of whether it is true or not?

Because you seem to have two sets of standards: one for the FTB Clear, and one for everyone else.

(This is hardly a surprise mind you, it’s what we’ve come to expect from you and the rest of the FTB lot.)

125 citizen_wolf January 6, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Jan Steen
**I take it, then, that you see no reason to question PZ Myers’s assertion that Avicenna was called to perform an autopsy in a famous (alleged) double rape/murder case in India.**

Do you know if this Avicenna person is a pathologist/coroner? They’re the only medics who perform such duties.

126 Patrick January 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Slightly off topic: I’m documenting Myers’ doxing over the past few months and found that Justin Little seems to have deleted his YouTube and Twitter accounts. Does anyone know why? Is he okay?

127 Jan Steen January 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm

@citizen_wolf,

At that time Avicenna was still a medical student; even one who had recently failed two exams, if I remember correctly. And he was working more than a thousand miles away from the place of the incident.

So it is entirely plausible that the Indian authorities would ask this obscure medical student to perform an autopsy in a high profile criminal case, right?

Well, PZ Myers apparently thought it was plausible. He said it. His Flock believed it. That settled it. It would be “inane” or “vicious trolling” to question it.

128 Aneris ✻ January 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

John Morales wrote: “Given this post is ostensibly about “PZ Myers’ new defamatory smear”, it’s remarkable how many comments address FTB rather than PZ”

In this context, FTB is a synecdoche and refers to a group of influental and vocal FTB writers who tend to converge on similar views and who tend to echo each other when the matter is important enough, such as Richard Dawkins’ tweets. And their typically uncritical Flock™ they shepherd, where I gather you are a member.

The next circle around it are additional groups, and individuals who don’t write on FTB but who are likewise part of the same Flak and Propaganda Machine. In effect, it’s two networks and a few organisations and journalists where stories cooked up on FTB or SkepChick are syndicated and established as the Truth™. It’s an echo chamber in the original sense of the term.

Likewise, there are some FTB writers who typically stay out of this and who may even be appreciated, but since they aren’t writing the headlines, they typically not meant.

Since these people express opinion on famous atheists and skeptics all the time, and will not miss the opportunity to point out that a crease on Richard Dawkins shirt is making atheists look bad worldwide, their silence on PZ Myers and other invidivuals next door is taken as tacit support and agreement to whatever he does.

129 Citizen Wolf January 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm

@Jan Steen

That is bizarre if true. Even if he had graduated from medical school he would still need to train as a pathologist for many more years before being allowed to perform an autopsy.

Allowing a non-pathologist to perform an autopsy would be like asking your general practitioner to perform that spinal neurosurgery that you need in order to remove a tumor.

It just would. not. happen.

Mr Myers has dropped even further in my estimation.

130 Matt Cavanaugh January 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm

I didn’t “change” PZ Myers’ words — I gave a summation of his full quote, of a brevity suitable for a blog comment, and faithful to the gist of the full quote. I also left out the part where he’d just watched a film depicting an atheist converting with his last breaths. Does that also make me guilty of hyperbole?

I encourage PZ’s apologists to argue that he’s been misrepresented, cuz the stabbing threat only applies to deathbed conversion attempts.

131 JetLagg January 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Morales@111
You’re aware of it yet still use FTB as a metonym? OK.

Yes. The group is homogeneous enough in their tactics and beliefs that (for the purposes of this conversation) it’s an acceptable shortcut. Like Welch, I think Ally Fogg is the sole exception.

132 Gerhard January 6, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Morales:
Perhaps the FCn monniker should be revived to satisfy you. For those unfamiliar, it originally stood for the Fainting Couch 5, but then Laden was given the boot and FCn was adopted as a more generic term. It refers to the SJW core of FTB who generally present a united front on many issues. Are you unaware of the FTB backchannel conversations leaked by SpecialEd Snowdon? I’ll differentiate when one of the others acknowledges the nature of PZ’s smears and doesn’t join in the ridicule of Michael Nugent. That fair? You act as if none of them have had anything to say on the matter. But then you don’t know anything about that, what with the 3 monkeys act and all.

133 Billie from Ockham January 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm

I, personally, would grant John Morales the point about individuals vs groups and return to asking if he is OK with PZ posting smears and then refusing to either retract and apologize or back up with real evidence. Then ask John what it says about him, as an individual, that he publicly defends PZ without first doing something to mitigate the damage that PZ has done and reduce the odds that PZ does it again.

By engaging with John on this side issue, which ought to be granted, anyway, you are feeding a troll-who-hates-trains.

134 Patrick January 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Slightly off topic: I’m documenting Myers’ doxing over the past few months and found that Justin Little seems to have deleted his YouTube and Twitter accounts. Does anyone know why? Is he okay?

I’ve exchanged email with him. He’s fine.

135 John Greg January 6, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Meta (3 monkeys) Morales said (circa 114):

So, you hold that because “PZ’s blog apparently has the highest traffic [within FTB]” it perforce sets the “tone” (but not the tone!) for all blogs on FTB, relegating them to “supporting players” worthy of “well-deserved criticisms” and therefore relevant to PZ’s purported new smear against Michael.

Speaking for myself, let me put it this way:

I hold that because PZ’s blog has the highest traffic within FTB, it generally, though perhaps not specifically, sets the tone for most blogs on FTB, relegating them to a role similar to supporting players, and relevant to, due to some occasional reference to and discussion of Michael Nugent’s various PZ-related posts, PZ’s purported (not purpoted Morales, you meta moron, quoted, cited, and linked to) various smears against Michael Nugent.

Carrie said:

What I find remarkable is the way in which people who comment here in support of the PZ mind-set mostly seem to concentrate on semantics, derailing the threads sometimes with squabbles over some minor set of characters.

It is sort of remarkable, yet it is also very much SOP for almost all FTB blog hosts, and the FTB commentariat. It is somewhere around number 5 on the FTB Comment Thread Derailing Tactics© blog operations list as published by the FTB Executive Committee®.

136 John Welch January 6, 2015 at 10:23 pm

Technically, it’s the FC(n), I like the notation better (I started that bit, so nyah:-P). And yeah, after laden left it seemed silly to maybe have to endlessly change the number, so a more array-like notation seemed the way to go.

137 Patrick January 6, 2015 at 10:47 pm
Slightly off topic: I’m documenting Myers’ doxing over the past few months and found that Justin Little seems to have deleted his YouTube and Twitter accounts. Does anyone know why? Is he okay?

I’ve exchanged email with him. He’s fine.

Continuing the discussion with myself….

Justin is back on Twitter as @Vernaculis and his new YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClzNJ7y2Q6wY0tEOzE6EM9Q — PZ Myers’ doxing couldn’t keep him down.

138 John Morales January 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm

[OT]

Jan Steen @119:

John Morales, thanks for your amusing contribution to Butterflies & Wheels, in the comments to the post where Ophelia joined in the Avicenna bashing. You argued that although Avicenna is undoubtedly a plagiarist who lied about his plagiarism, it would nevertheless be “inane” to question the other implausible tales that Avicenna published.

Your gratitude is accepted in the spirit in which it is given.

I presume you refer to my final response* to this comment from Jeff S. You should have noted the inanity to which I referred was not about the belief, but about its adduced warrant.

I take it, then, that you see no reason to question PZ Myers’s assertion that Avicenna was called to perform an autopsy in a famous (alleged) double rape/murder case in India. This gruesome story was world news when it happened, as you may know. You would find it “inane” to question PZ’s/Avicenna’s assertion? Why?

Your question is predicated on your apparent belief that my scepticism is in relation to the proposition, rather than to its warrant.

More to the point, what is the relevance of PZ Myers’s purported assertion about Avicenna to his purported smearing of Michael or to the single point I made in one brief comment?

My initial comment (subsequent ones have been responses to others) related to the literal meaning of Michael’s opening in the opinion piece, and clearly the consensus is that it was not intended literally, but rather rhetorically.

(In context!)

* This is the comment in question; the link above leads to the original claim.

[meta]
Jeff S @6:

Yep, my belief is that is “very likely” that “many” of Avicenna’s grand stores of his activities in India are at least exaggerated.

Your #2 was hardly ambiguous; you repeat yourself needlessly.

The evidence collected by “Yeti” in that post outlines many claims that are very difficult to believe indeed.

To what evidence do you refer? You provided an URL, no more, assuming that because you consider it credible (you don’t think it’s “highly exaggerated if not completely fabricated”) your opinion is justified.

Given that Avicenna was uncovered to be a serial plagiarist, and given that he offered hilariously bad lies to try to explain his plagiarism, leads me to belief that he very likely lying in those very unbelievable claims.

Which is a different justification, and no less inane. Your inferential chain is broken.
(The plagiarism itself is not controversial, but your purported inferences from that are speculative)

139 John Greg January 7, 2015 at 12:58 am

[OT]

[meta]

meta meta OT meta.

[metamorphosising]

140 John Morales January 7, 2015 at 1:37 am

[OT]

John Greg @139, your ostensible derision about my explicit mark-up categorisation of those comments that are not directly on topic [OT] and those which are either about the conversation itself or issues relating to it as [meta] is no less idiosyncratic than my own categorisations.

[metamorphosising]

How so?

141 Kohoutek January 7, 2015 at 1:45 am

[blockquote]Kohoutek, this is not the place for it, so perhaps you could sign up to the Pit and send me a PM about this issue.[/blockquote]
PM comin’ at ya, John Greg.

I still like “strawmansplaining”! I thought of it! *Preens* 😉

142 Iamcuriousblue January 7, 2015 at 7:18 am

Re: Avicenna’s drop from FTB –

Before I read about the plagiarism thing, I was seriously wondering if it had anything to do with this post: http://goo.gl/vU6RRw

The comments section doesn’t seem to have gotten cached, but a few of the FTB regulars were really pissed at him over even mild criticism of St. Anita.

143 Jan Steen January 7, 2015 at 7:22 am

@John Morales,

You should have noted the inanity to which I referred was not about the belief, but about its adduced warrant.

I noticed that in spite of massive evidence that Avicenna is totally dishonest you denied that this evidence should lead you to doubt his other unlikely tales. You even called this inference “inane”. Do you stand by this remarkable instance of anti-Bayesian reasoning?

More to the point, what is the relevance of PZ Myers’s purported assertion about Avicenna to his purported smearing of Michael or to the single point I made in one brief comment?

Myers’s “purported assertion about Avicenna” tells us something about his [Myers’s] character. First he wrote that “our” Avicenna was asked to perform an autopsy in a famous criminal investigation, and urged his commentariat to “watch this space” for further developments. Then — silence. I suspect that Myers (Humanist of the Year 2009) at some point realised that he had been taken in by Avicenna’s nonsense, but lacked the intellectual integrity to publish a retraction. This also throws an unflattering light on his persistent denial that Avicenna had done anything wrong apart from “having a problem with proper attribution” (my paraphrase). In short, we have here further evidence of Myers’s dishonesty. Which is relevant to the OP.

PS. Your unwillingness to state your opinion on Avicenna’s credibility is noted.

144 Phil Giordana FCD January 7, 2015 at 7:33 am

Kohoutek:

“I still like “strawmansplaining”! I thought of it! *Preens*”

Sure, sure, you preen. But…do you shimmy?

😉

145 Jan Steen January 7, 2015 at 9:51 am

Did anyone else notice the delicious irony of the fact that Avicenna’s plagiarism first came to light in a blog post about the Irish blasphemy law, in which he had copied parts of a Guardian article and at the same time studiously avoided to mention Michael Nugent who had been cited in that article? You couldn’t make it up.

146 Steersman January 7, 2015 at 10:11 am

John Morales (#114):

So, you hold that because “PZ’s blog apparently has the highest traffic [within FTB]” it perforce sets the “tone” (but not the tone!) for all blogs on FTB, relegating them to “supporting players” worthy of “well-deserved criticisms” and therefore relevant to PZ’s purported new smear against Michael.

(Remarkable!)

No, of course I don’t think Pharyngula “perforce” [“used to express necessity or inevitability” (1)] sets the tone “for all blogs on FTB. And it looks rather disingenuous, at my most charitable best, for you to suggest that I think that way. But I certainly think Myers heavily influences many of them, as well as many in their commentariats, and in a not particularly salutary fashion. And that all of those contribute to the negative consequences of the accusations that Myers has made against Nugent. And therefore is of some relevance to “PZ’s purported (??) new smear against Michael” – kind of the import of Michael’s open letter to Ed Brayton.

But not quite sure what is the root cause, although it seems to affect many of the “Freethought” (ha!) blogs. However, it seems there’s some justification for arguing that a significant contributing factor is that a rather large number of them have draconian moderation policies that turn the sites into the proverbial echo-chambers and “Internet Silos” (2). You might note my comment (#108) above which includes a comment of mine on Brayton’s own blog which he deemed, apparently, too irrelevant to his post, or maybe (I might hope) cutting too close to the bone for his comfort.

In any case, while individual site owners have the right publish who and what they want, more or less, when the effects are frequently little more than the peddling and promotion of ignorance and bigotry I figure the larger society also has a right, if not an obligation, to limit them. For instance, as a case in point since I know how readily you insist on evidence, you might note this comment (3) on that blog post of Brayton’s discussing Avicenna’s various “transgressions”:

Lou Jost: Raging Bee, what would you like to see regarding the claim that Avicenna’s father visited the WTC as a tourist just before it got hit?

Raging Bee: As dingojack said, a direct quote and cite of the actual claim.

But DingoJack subsequently crowed (4), on being presented with the hard evidence “Abear” linked to (#72), that:

Hmmm… not even remotely the same as you claimed Avicenna claimed.

Too freaking clueless, or too narrow-minded and dogmatic, to realize that the point wasn’t the claim itself – Avicenna’s father “visited the WTC as a tourist just before it got hit” – but that “the viewing platform in the WTC 2 did not open to the public until 9:30 a.m.” (5). Which makes it decidedly unlikely in the extreme that Avicenna’s father could have snuck in and out of the viewing platform – at, say, 9:31 a.m., particularly since:

NIST_WTC: At 8:46 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11, a hijacked Boeing 767, hit WTC 1 of the WTC complex. This impact caused extensive damage on seven floors, from 93 to 99 of the 110-story tower, trapping those above. Sixteen and a half minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., a second hijacked Boeing 767, United Airlines Flight 175, struck WTC 2 of the WTC, damaging nine floors, from 77 to 85.

Houston, we have a problem; something doesn’t compute.

A rather unskeptical bunch – a rather large percentage in any case. But blocking and limiting correcting comments and information only allows the continued perpetuation of those “falsehoods”, and any number of ancillary ones – with negative effects all around; I figure that Brayton and Myers, in particular although not exclusively in the FfTB-network, should be run out of town on a rail for contributing to that rather sad state of affairs.

——
1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/perforce”;
2) “_http://edge.org/response-detail/23777”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/01/03/avicenna-has-been-removed-from-freethought-blogs/#comment-393233”;
4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/01/03/avicenna-has-been-removed-from-freethought-blogs/#comment-393478”;
5) “_http://archive.org/stream/NIST_WTC_Investigation_Reports-101422/NIST_WTC_Investigation_Reports-101422_djvu.txt”;

147 JackSkeptic January 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

@Steersman (146)

That is why I continue to be perplexed at the continued invites these people get as speakers. Gateway to Reason has invited a speaker where it is easily demonstrable that they have a tenuous relationship with reality and routinely ignore facts which go against their version of it.

They have invited someone who is not safe for those who may wish to remain anonymous amongst the attendees and speakers . Will they provide safe spaces? Will their conference policies include a no doxxing clause or do they support doxxing?

They have invited someone who will not hesitate to attack them for any transgression, real or imaginary. Someone who has already attacked women, which will have affected their innocent families and associates, for simply disagreeing.

Gateway to reason may as well invite a Scientologist to discuss the issues of ‘truth’ for all the respect I now have for them.

They are entitled to invite who they wish but I am entitled to judge them on that.

I am sick and tired of these orgs and individuals sticking their head in the sand. They are not only enabling disgusting behavior but are succinctly encouraging it. If they support this behavior then they should have the guts to say so and stop pretending it will all go away.

148 JetLagg January 7, 2015 at 8:38 pm

I did contact Gateway to Reason along with CFI over those concerns. Gateway to Reason responded with what seemed to be an automated reply, “thank you for your concerns”.

149 John Welch January 7, 2015 at 9:50 pm

I must admit, seeing Morales doing his meta dance does give me a warm fuzzy.

150 Shatterface January 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm

More to the point, what is the relevance of PZ Myers’s purported assertion about Avicenna to his purported smearing of Michael or to the single point I made in one brief comment?

Both instances show Myers is a lousy judge of character.

151 Phil_England January 9, 2015 at 7:09 pm

I’m glad you’re taking this stand, Michael.

I’d like to point out that Myers has a clear and somewhat cynical motivation for behaving as he’s done, rather than simply being an unethical individual behaving unethically.

He’s found himself at the centre of a project whose aim is to promote a certain sort of left-wing ‘identity’ politics (we can refer to as ‘Social Justice’), and to inject this into the mainstream of discourse by associating it with the label ‘atheism’.

Success in this project is roughly measured by the extent to which, if somebody googles “atheism” the results which come up are all about Social Justice. Discourse around atheism which does not hinge on Social Justice is unhelpful, and those who are atheists but not SJ supporters are opponents at best and enemies at worst.

The SJ proponents can’t make their strategy explicit because the dictionary is against them and it’s trivially easy to find atheists of other political viewpoints. They want to be considered the mainstream, so they can’t be seen to refuse to engage with certain ideas, so what they do is to find other reasons for the refusal. The chief one is to find as much fault as they possibly can with non-SJ atheists and to do whatever they can to associate that group with bad behaviour such as online abuse against women.

His attacks on the commenters here, and subsequently on yourself for ‘harbouring’ are part of this deliberate strategy to attempt to chill all conversation which doesn’t meet with the Social Justice approval.

He therefore can’t apologise to you. If he were to, that would be admitting that you are not harbouring people whose behaviour is so bad that they cannot be engaged with. This in turn would be an admission that there are some decent people who hold non-SJ atheist views. Then it would follow that Social Justice is only a subset of atheism and not vice-versa.

152 Patrick January 9, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Phil_England @151,

It’s a classic entryism tactic. The SJWs have used it successfully in the science fiction and fantasy community and have made headway in the atheism and skepticism movements, where one would expect less credulity. They’re still trying in the gaming community, but as the GamerGate pushback shows, they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

In one of the threads here on Michael’s blog, someone mentioned Larry Correia’s “Why I Don’t Like Social Justice Warriors” (http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/11/14/why-i-dont-like-social-justice-warriors/). It and the articles to which it links detail the tactics used by the SJWs. It’s identity politics and othering taken to an extreme. Common human decency is the first casualty but by no means the last.

I’m mildly curious about how Myers ended up with this crowd. Did he see the overlap in his commentariat or did he just realize that he’d never be as credible as Dawkins, Hitchens, Denning, and Harris, and so chose the best tool for a scorched earth policy?

153 Kirbmarc January 10, 2015 at 1:23 am

I’m mildly curious about how Myers ended up with this crowd. Did he see the overlap in his commentariat or did he just realize that he’d never be as credible as Dawkins, Hitchens, Denning, and Harris, and so chose the best tool for a scorched earth policy?

According to the Official FTB History his commentariat converted him. A poster named “Nick Gotts” was apparently the one who made him see the light of Social Justice.

154 John Greg January 10, 2015 at 8:00 am

Kirbmarc said:

A poster named “Nick Gotts” was apparently the one who made him see the light of Social Justice.

Well, to be accurate, Nick was stating that he hoped and/or thought he was one, of potentially several, people, who had helped PZ to correct his philosophy.

155 Phil_England January 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

As to how Myers transisitioned from mainstream atheist commentator to this point, I have a suggestion as to part of it.

As Marc says, it was because of the commentariat who he found himself with. It wasn’t, though, that they came up with devastating arguments and points so profound that they changed Myers’ mind. Rather, it was that he got seduced by the idea of taking the role of leader of a somewhat chaotic selection of energetic but needy individuals who were forming an inchoate sort of community. Then, maybe by trial and error, Myers found the most effective mode of speech which would cohere the group and establish himself as the leader.

In a word, it’s populism. Like all populist politics it’s authoritarian.

I’m reminded of a work I read about the extreme right wing in England in the 70’s and 80’s. It was mainly made up of skinheads, but its leaders were a class of smart, rich, quietly spoken young men in suits whose chief focus was to learn to control and channel the anger and passions of the lower orders of the movement, who they actually held in contempt. A leader would arrange and organise a meeting. If the meeting ended with unity among the ‘foot soldiers’ and them all chanting against immigrants, then that leader’s standing would go up. If the meeting ended with the skinheads fighting each other over rival football allegiance, then the leader would be sacked.

Channelling the power of the mob is the holy grail to a certain sort of political mind.

156 franc January 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

//I’m mildly curious about how Myers ended up with this crowd.//

The various reasons offered give Myers too much charity. I’m inclined to think the real reasons are far more banal –

1. Myers erratic and irrational behaviour, coupled with zero impulse control, is indicative of an individual that is emotionally and socially stunted with little practical experience of authentic human to human relations the rest of us are forced to get a grip on. Essentially, he is a 60 year old teenager tormented by hormones. This has made him a prime target for easy exploitation and manipulation by the like of Skepchick, particularly Rebecca Watson. The attentive will have noticed when Freethoughtblogs barfed itself into existence, there was a flurry of posts from Myers boasting of his new recruits – and the names he dropped were of all the nuisance SJW/victim feminist women in their 20s and 30s that everyone knows too well (with the exception of Oafy). There was no mention of males.

2. The clickbait factor. The exponential growth in traffic commencing with “Dear Muslima” showed him he was onto a good thing – outrage theatre. It even made Crackergate pale into insignificance. These theatrics – a perverse Cultural Marxist grand guignol – were subject to the laws of diminishing returns. What this meant was each new outrage had to outdo its predecessor lest the jaded readers attention wandered. Myers has since stumbled from one excess to the other, like a junkie roaming the streets, only not looking for meth or heroine, but for new scapegoats he could disembowel on his SJW altar for the bloodthirsty howls of his readership. That Michael was eventually targeted for this treatment should surprise no one.

That is why Myers is where he is.

157 john welch January 11, 2015 at 6:04 pm

in addition to the points above, the idea that Myers wasn’t always how he is is ridiculous. He was always about burning bridges in the noisiest, most attention-getting way possible. Getting his tenure contract terminated would have been the best thing ever for him, think of the attention!

But again, look at his reaction to the Pepsi blog. There was nothing rational about it, (not that he was alone in that. The Pepsi blog exposed rather a lot of jerks on FTB. One post. One “hi, we’re happy to be here, we hope we can contribute in a useful way” post, and PZ along with how many others were throwing their toys out of the pram and wearing their diapers on their heads?) PZ’s response to Pepsi was his same as is to Nugent now. It’s just because it seemed to be cloaked in “Scientific Integrity” that more people were willing to go along with it. Abbie was one of the very few people at SciBlogs to point out how bullshit it was. The response to her was about what you’d expect. Dismissive and patronizing.

Thinking about it now, it’s got to suck for them that Abbie got her Ph.D. They lost one of their favorite ways of dismissing everything she said. “She’s not REALLY a doc, she’s just a Ph.D. candidate. You know, for a group that likes to bag on arguing from authority…

PZ wasn’t “turned”. He was already there. If there was a ‘final straw’, I think Franc’s got the right of it. He realized the more outraged he was, the more he allowed his bag of acephalic rabid piranha to attack everything that moved, regardless of reason, the more hits he got. Every comment is a hit. Every single one. I bet his earnings / comment is pretty damned solid at this point. There’s a reason he gets very angry if he thinks his speaking fees are threatened.

Again, could we please dispense with the idea that there was once some halcyon moment when PZ was a beacon of rationality and thoughtfulness. I’ve yet to see any evidence that ever happened.

As far as why he’s this way, I think franc hit that one pretty square too. He’s still a teenager. Yeah, a lot of folks who were in k-12 before the current “NERDS ARE GODS” vogue had it hard. Bullying, etc. It’s just that most of them, unlike PZ, aren’t still living in that moment, trying to take revenge.

158 john welch January 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm

damnit. in my previous (or later comment depending on the moderation timing), that should be “rabid acephalic piranha” not “acephalic rabid piranha”. Proper flow of pejorative is important, and I totally cocked that up. I apologize.

159 Old_ones January 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Old_ones @71:

John Morales:

Michael in OP:

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]

That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.
(From that presupposition, much follows)

That’s entirely silly. You might notice the use of the word “shown” which (in context) indicates that Michael is commenting on a three month long pattern of PZ’s behavior. That context clearly refutes the idea that this is either a presupposition or an axiomatic statement made with absolute certainty. He is commenting on the next instance in a pattern which evidences an inability on the part of PZ.
(Michael feel free to remove my mess above)

Leaving aside that, as the opening sentence, it’s actually establishing the context, an inability to behave ethically logically excludes the ability to behave ethically.

But hey, if you imagine it’s less silly to read that as “[though PZ Myers has the ability to behave ethically] PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically”, go for it.

(I can’t exclude the possibility that perhaps that’s actually what Michael intended to express)

I’m not reading that statement as:

“[though PZ Myers has the ability to behave ethically] PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically”

I’m reading it as

There exists a pattern wherein PZ Myers has been consistent in his unethical behavior. This new incident fits that pattern

That would be why he used the word “shown”. PZ Myers has shown an inability based on his past actions.

I think the idea that Nugent would have started this saga with the presupposition that PZ Myers is unable to behave ethically is inconsistent with his actual track record of discourse with PZ Myers. For instance on October 29 of last year Michael Nugent wrote this about PZ Myers:

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

If Nugent already has some kind of religiously held belief about PZ Myers’ inability to behave ethically, then why bother asking him to behave ethically? Why not just take a page from Myers himself and start the demonization right away, without giving Myers a chance to engage in civil dialogue.

160 Old_ones January 12, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Reposting that to take care of an error

John Morales

Old_ones @71:

John Morales:

Michael in OP:

PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically […]

That opening sentence literally asserts that PZ is not merely not behaving ethically, but is actually unable to do so.
(From that presupposition, much follows)

That’s entirely silly. You might notice the use of the word “shown” which (in context) indicates that Michael is commenting on a three month long pattern of PZ’s behavior. That context clearly refutes the idea that this is either a presupposition or an axiomatic statement made with absolute certainty. He is commenting on the next instance in a pattern which evidences an inability on the part of PZ.
(Michael feel free to remove my mess above)

Leaving aside that, as the opening sentence, it’s actually establishing the context, an inability to behave ethically logically excludes the ability to behave ethically.

But hey, if you imagine it’s less silly to read that as “[though PZ Myers has the ability to behave ethically] PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically”, go for it.

(I can’t exclude the possibility that perhaps that’s actually what Michael intended to express)

I’m not reading that statement as:

“[though PZ Myers has the ability to behave ethically] PZ Myers has again shown his inability to behave ethically”

I’m reading it as

There exists a pattern wherein PZ Myers has been consistent in his unethical behavior. This new incident fits that pattern

That would be why he used the word “shown”. PZ Myers has shown an inability based on his past actions.

I think the idea that Nugent would have started this saga with the presupposition that PZ Myers is unable to behave ethically is inconsistent with his actual track record of discourse with PZ Myers. For instance on October 29 of last year Michael Nugent wrote this about PZ Myers:

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

If Nugent already has some kind of religiously held belief about PZ Myers’ inability to behave ethically, then why bother asking him to behave ethically? Why not just take a page from Myers himself and start the demonization right away, without giving Myers a chance to engage in civil dialogue.

161 John Greg January 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Notepad is your friend.

162 Old_ones January 12, 2015 at 10:31 pm

I should take Steer’s advice and use the preview function over at FTB, but sometimes I just don’t have the 20 min. it takes for the page to load.

163 John Greg January 13, 2015 at 12:03 am

You can do the same thing at the Pit. Though I don’t know if load times would be better, the same, or worse.

164 John Morales January 13, 2015 at 8:21 am

Old_ones above, looks like you are showing an inability to concede a point. 😉

How you imagine that I have proposed the idea that “Nugent would have started this saga with the presupposition that PZ Myers is unable to behave ethically” or that “Nugent already has some kind of religiously held belief about PZ Myers’ inability to behave ethically” from my observation about the literal meaning of the opening to this piece is obscure to me.

Why not just take a page from Myers himself and start the demonization right away, without giving Myers a chance to engage in civil dialogue.

Given the various claims and characterisations which have been made in relation to PZ and anyone associated with him on this very comment thread, this supposedly rhetorical question amuses me.

165 Old_ones January 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm

John Morales, I took issue with your initial comment because you ended it by saying “from that presupposition, much follows”. I was annoyed because Michael Nugent has been exhaustively documenting exactly what Myers does that he finds unethical, and why he finds them unethical. When he starts a post talking about an “inability to behave ethically” that Myers has shown, he’s already described what unethical behaviors he is talking about and how they have been repeated without alteration. That’s not a presupposition unless you ignore the word shown and consider this post in isolation from all the other ones Nugent has written on the subject. You can take a page from NOR and counter that what Nugent considers unethical is his OPINION, but it isn’t a presupposition.

I readily admit that I dislike PZ Myers, but that also doesn’t entail any presuppositions about him or his commenters on my part. As a matter of fact I used to enjoy his blog. I read Myers’ posts and comment threads for a little over four years (mid 2008 – early 2013) and posted a reasonable number of supportive comments in that time (although I now use a different pseudonym). My dislike of Myers has its roots in my experiences of that time period. When I talk about him demonizing people I know full well the style he uses when he calls people out on his blog. You can call me and others a hypocrite for calling Myers out if you want, but that’s a separate issue from what I am trying to address regarding presupposition.

166 John Morales January 17, 2015 at 6:25 am

Old_ones @165, were there to have been (within the period to which you refer) but a single instance of PZ behaving ethically, it would be true that he lacks the “inability to behave ethically”, right?

167 Old_ones January 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Old_ones @165, were there to have been (within the period to which you refer) but a single instance of PZ behaving ethically, it would be true that he lacks the “inability to behave ethically”, right?

No. That would only make sense if you read “inability to behave ethically” as a global denunciation of PZ’s character rather than the more targeted criticism that makes sense in context. If you actually go back and read the antecedent posts you will find examples of Nugent praising PZ for various things he finds admirable, and stressing that there are particular patterns of behavior that PZ exhibits that he finds unethical.

Michael Nugent, Recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people

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

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

Source:
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/09/17/recent-media-misrepresentations-of-the-atheist-movement-and-the-role-of-pz-myers-in-the-culture-of-demonising-people/

Nugent has never written anything to suggest that he considers PZ a completely unethical person, and his history of writing on this issue has never suggested that he started out believing that PZ could never behave ethically. PZ smeared Nugent and has repeatedly avoided apologizing or taking responsibility for that smear. PZ has shown an inability to behave ethically within that context. You know, the context of what the original post was actually about.

You seem determined to put this particular word choice in a bad light, and I don’t really understand why. Even if I hadn’t jumped on you about this particular issue, I don’t think your contention that Nugent is a presuppositionalist is going to sway anyone who bothers to familiarize themselves with this blog.

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