My second email to FreeThought Blogs about their complaints procedure regarding PZ Myers

by Michael Nugent on January 13, 2015

I have yet to receive a reply to my email of ten days ago to FreeThought Blogs, in which I asked about the procedures for bringing a complaint about PZ Myers to the attention of their Executive Committee. I have now written a follow-up email. I reproduce both emails below.

My first email of 3 January

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

My second email of today

To Ed Brayton,
Manager,
Freethought Blogs Network

Dear Ed,

I wrote to you ten days ago (copy attached) asking you to bring a request to the attention of the FreeThought Blogs Executive Committee. I have not yet received a reply, so perhaps you might check to see if you have missed it?

I understand that this is a sensitive request for you personally to address, given your good working relationship with PZ Myers, but I am heartened by the fact that you recently responded with integrity when asked to deal with a complaint about another FreeThought Blogger with whom you also had a good working relationship.

Also, you showed in that case that you are acting both ethically and responsibly by having an Executive Committee that can address ethical or legal lapses by bloggers in your network, rather than ignoring such complaints and allowing situations to needlessly escalate, as less responsible organisations might be tempted to do.

I look forward to hearing the procedures for bringing details of my complaint about PZ Myers to the attention of the Executive Committee.

Thank you in advance,
Yours sincerely

The background to my emails

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.

Some very few of many examples: PZ has said that the scum has risen to the top of the atheist movement, that it is burdened by cretinous reactionaries, that sexist and misogynistic scumbags are more than a fringe phenomenon, and that if you don’t agree with Atheism Plus you are an Asshole Atheist. He has agreed that the atheist movement has a white supremacist logic. He has said that Richard Dawkins seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children, that Sam Harris is racist in his thinking, that Russell Blackford is a lying fuckhead, and that Ann Marie Waters is a nutter.

PZ has called Irish blogger ZenBuffy a narcissistic wanker, after she said she has experienced mental illness. Among the many people who PZ has publicly hated, despised or detested are philosophers Alain de Botton and Harriet Baber, interfaith activist Chris Stedman, and comparative religion author Karen Armstrong. When a shop owner publicly and sincerely apologised for putting a sign on his door saying that atheists were not welcome, PZ responded: “No. Fuck him to the ground, let him be a lesson to others.”

When I publicly raised concerns about PZ’s behaviour, he falsely accused me of defending and providing a haven for rapists. Not only has he refused to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear, but 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. Whatever the thinking behind his repeated pattern of smears, misrepresentations, insults and expressions of hatred about named people, 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.

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{ 269 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shermertron January 13, 2015 at 12:55 am

Thank you for your continued vigilance. You have pointed out numerous times that you would like those in the movement to “dissociate themselves from the hurt and harm” PZ is causing.

I was very pleased to see that Kathleen Johnson from American Atheists is, I would like to believe, starting a dialogue in which you may be interested.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2015/01/state-of-the-community/

Perhaps Mrs. Johnson would enjoy hearing from someone with your knowledge and dignity with regard to PZ’s continued misbehavior.

2 Arthur January 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

PZ won’t address the complaint because he doesn’t think he has to. He thinks that you, Michael Nugent, defend and support rapists, based on your posts in support of people accused of rape and abuse, and won’t see any reason to apologise for that.

Good luck.

3 Michael Nugent January 13, 2015 at 1:09 am

Arthur, that is not the reason that PZ gave for alleging that I defend and provide a haven for rapists.

The reason that PZ gave is that certain people comment on my blog who also post on another online forum.

Here is the background to the allegation:

13 October 2014 – PZ Myers has failed five times to justify his smear that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog. Extracts from Twitter conversations in which PZ fails to substantiate or withdraw his defamatory smear.

29 October 2014 – Anatomy of a smear – how PZ Myers concocted a new smear when challenged about his previous smears. A review of PZ’s ten different responses to my criticisms before he finally crossed the line into making a seriously defamatory smear.

Also, I have not published “posts in support of people accused of rape and abuse”. Please don’t repeat that mischaracterisation here.

4 Gary S. January 13, 2015 at 1:12 am

Parody Accountant wrote on the Slymepit:

“I’m reminded of an anecdote I heard criticizing the military response to international terrorism like al-qaeda.

In the 60’s and 70’s the IRA was bombing discotheques and crowded markets. Instead of simply relying on military might, the response was to infiltrate heavily with spies. Within a decade, the IRA seemed to have every fourth member as a spy. They were unable to trust each other, and quickly lost their decades of momentum.

I’m not comparing FTB to terrorists, obviously. I’m just saying it’s a valid tactic to shut down toxic ideological groups.

I also don’t care if the above is 100% factual historically speaking (wrt IRA and spies etc), it was just an anecdote in a news story I can barely remember… probably spoken by some idiot. Who cares. It’s the concept that I’m describing, and I believe it would be very effective.

Imagine what one could accomplish with a small group of pharyngula regulars that were over the top like We Are Plethora (the otherkin with headmates). Imagine what one could accomplish with a small group of vicious in-group attackers, where one could stir the pot and one could divide the regulars against each other.

If one were so inclined…”

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=250450#p250450

5 Pitchguest January 13, 2015 at 1:54 am

Haha. “Executive Committee.” It makes me laugh.

Ed Brayton doesn’t care. As long as PZ Myers brings in the crowd (because believe it or not, ridiculous as it may sound, he is the main draw for the network), he can do or say whatever he likes. He hasn’t cared for the past three years. He won’t care now. Sorry to say, but that’s just the way it is. Integrity is not on the top of their priorities.

6 Shermertron January 13, 2015 at 2:11 am

Arthur @2-

By all means, please justify your disgusting smear.

Please demonstrate that Mr. Nugent has supported people “accused of rape and abuse.” Who are these people? What was the justification for the accusations?

Unlike Mr. Myers, Mr. Nugent and I think such allegations are extremely serious. Throwing them about without evidence is a slap in the face of victims of rape and abuse.

7 Shermertron January 13, 2015 at 2:14 am

Gary S. @4

Do you have any plans to address PZ’s smears against Mr. Nugent and others? Or do you simply plan on quote mining and grasping at straws. And please don’t forget that Mr. Nugent only deletes comments for real and consistent reasons…

8 ConcentratedH2O, OM January 13, 2015 at 2:32 am

Oh dear. My comment #5 was edited without any publicly visible note to say as much.

To be honest, I would rather it were deleted entirely, and replaced with some kind of bland notification, than be chopped off in its prime as it has been.

9 Michael Nugent January 13, 2015 at 2:50 am

ConcentratedH2O,

Okay, I’ve deleted the rest of the comment.

Michael

10 ConcentratedH2O, OM January 13, 2015 at 3:31 am

Hey, where was my bland notification?

I mostly follow the goings on here via The Slymepit, and then not very closely. I very much appreciate what you have done in holding Meyers’s toes to the fire.

But if this one of those places where comments get edited* without a permanent public note, then it’s really not for me.

*My comment was silently edited. I asked for either the addition of a note from Michael, or else his deleting the entire comment and leaving just a “bland notification” that my comment had been deleted.

11 Steersman January 13, 2015 at 3:40 am

ConcentratedH2O, OM (#10):

I don’t see what the problem is as he did more or less what you asked for, i.e., “deleting the entire comment and leaving just a “bland notification” that my comment had been deleted”.

But I expect you’re still entitled to post a copy in the Pit so we can see whether Michael went overboard or not.

12 Steersman January 13, 2015 at 4:08 am

Gary S (#4):

Parody Accountant wrote on the SlymePit:

In the 60’s and 70’s the IRA was bombing discotheques and crowded markets. Instead of simply relying on military might, the response was to infiltrate heavily with spies ….

I’m not comparing FTB to terrorists, obviously. I’m just saying it’s a valid tactic to shut down toxic ideological groups. ….

Imagine what one could accomplish with a small group of vicious in-group attackers, where one could stir the pot and one could divide the regulars against each other.

So because one Pitter happened to have posted a comment that is maybe a little suspicious that means that all of those posting there are supposed to be tarred by the same brush? That seems to be the frequent modus operandi over in Pharyngula – where one Giliell happened to have “smeared” Ophelia Benson (1) for having had the temerity (if not the outright gall!!!11!) to have posted something that many of those “vile” SlymePitters agreed with. But fortunately, not all sites are as benighted as most if not all FTB ones.

Though somewhat in passing, I would argue, and have argued – in effect, that “extreme provocations justify extreme responses”; I hardly see that Myers has crossed the line into murdering people. Although one might argue that what he’s done to circumvent free speech is a close second, but still insufficient to justify the extreme measures Parody Accountant was suggesting.

——-
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/01/08/making-excuses-for-violence-while-demonizing-those-who-question-violence/comment-page-1/#comment-900290”;

13 divalent January 13, 2015 at 4:25 am

MN said: “I am heartened by the fact that you recently responded with integrity when asked to deal with a complaint about another FreeThought Blogger with whom you also had a good working relationship.”

It’s easy to “act with integrity” when that action is strongly in line with your financial and reputational interests. As Pitchguest notes in #5 above, you are asking him to show integrity when doing so would be counter to his financial interests.

I don’t think his failure to respond to your first request was an oversight. Rather, I think he is gambling that the damage to his networks reputation is outweighed by the financial benefit that PZ provides. (But I think you are well aware of the calculus here.)

14 ConcentratedH2O, OM January 13, 2015 at 4:26 am

Steersman, #11: I was hoping for my comment #5 to be replaced directly with a “bland notfication” if it was to be deleted.

The original comment made note that it was only my third or so comment here, as I follow the goings on via The Slymepit. I thanked Michael for holding Meyers’s toes to the fire.

I then finished with a couple of lines which I thought were on the right side of insinuating that I had to leave the debate because night time had fallen and so I needed to be out performing illegal acts, being a Slymepit commenter.

This second half of the comment was simply deleted, with no note by Michael that he had done so. I bloody hate it when admins do this; if you’re going to delete or edit part of a comment, have the spine to leave a little note saying you have done so. I would much rather an unnanounced wholesale deletion rather than a whimpering partial.

Anyway, I’ve only gone on so long about this given the goodwill I had accumulated for this place based on what I have read at The Slymepit. Now I know that comments can be edited with no notification, it’s time for me to shut up and leave.

15 Hunt January 13, 2015 at 4:34 am

I think I have to second the notion that FtB will do nothing in terms of retraction and apology. There seems to be very little ethical oversight at FtB, as should be evident by now. Things wouldn’t have progressed this far if there were. Recent actions against the blogger who plagiarized had more to do with covering themselves from legal liability than from ethical diligence. If they thought they were in the clear, the FtB EC would still have its head firmly planted in the sand, and said blogger would still be happily churning out plagiarized posts. Myers can’t tolerate a plagiarist on his network due to his academic position, and the network can’t tolerate a plagiarist due to legal ramifications. These are things that MADE them act in perfunctory ethical manner, not out of their own free will. Note that it’s an “executive” committee, not an ethical oversight committee. I doubt there is even such a thing extant for FtB. (Don’t you know, every utterance at FtB is ethical by definition ? :)) FtB is primarily a money making venture. A credible threat of liability for defamation would get a prompt response, but otherwise FtB, and Myers specifically, specialize in picking on people lacking the power to levy effective, forceful responses. This is why you are the harborer of rapists, not Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is worth over a hundred million dollars could effectively respond in any court in the world.
Remember, they have to be MADE to do things. They’re not just going to do them because it’s right.

16 Phil Giordana FCD January 13, 2015 at 7:49 am

I’m ready to bet there’s nothing like an official “executive committee” at FTB. What they call an “executive committee” is more likely Bryton, Myers, Benson, Thibeault, etc… discussing on their back channel. calling it an “executive committee” just gives that extra touch of pompousness.

If you really want to put pressure on FTB to address Myers’ smears, the best option is to make Myers behavior as widely known as possible. This blog makes a good job of it, but you may need to go further, like by forwarding links to your various posts about the issue to all the major A/S organisations you are in contact with. I’m sure you have a few of those in your address book.

17 Phil Giordana FCD January 13, 2015 at 7:50 am

/Sub

18 Gerhard January 13, 2015 at 10:29 am

Conc:

This second half of the comment was simply deleted, with no note by Michael that he had done so. I bloody hate it when admins do this; if you’re going to delete or edit part of a comment, have the spine to leave a little note saying you have done so. I would much rather an unnanounced wholesale deletion rather than a whimpering partial.

I do think that Michael has demonstrated enough “spine” over the years to warrant a little more respect than that. Besides, why do you think it takes any courage to acknowledge editing your comment? Maybe he thought he was being considerate by allowing the gist of your comment to stand.

19 MosesZD January 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

@Arthur

1. What posts? Myers was talking about people who are ideologically opposed to his totalitarian-left world view commenting at this blog. There were no posts ‘defending rapists.’

2. Myers won’t address it because he’s a cowardly drive-by shooter who is out of his league. It has nothing to do with any (falsely claimed) factually-correct position that he ‘correctly pointed out’and, therefore, ‘has no need to apologize for.’

Truth is, it was just the same old toxic, quasi-religious rubbish that he peddles to the ‘true believers.’ The toxic rubbish I saw through long before Elevatorgate and the current divide in the Atheist/Skeptic communities.

20 Jan Steen January 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

On the basis of a handful of cherry-picked cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, taken out of context, PZ Myers, without knowing more than two words of French and without knowing anything about the courageous people who made this journal, mindlessly echoed the smears that are circulating among the vilest SJWs and declared that this was a racist, ugly and vapid publication.

This tells us that PZ Myers (Humanist of the Year 2009) is a person who jumps to the worst conclusions out of ignorance and prejudice. This would be a serious character flaw in anyone — in a scientist it is unforgivable.

He is a person who so utterly lacks integrity that it looks as if it has been surgically removed from him.

21 Billie from Ockham January 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm

One issue that has not yet been resolved with regard to PZ Myers’ smears of Charlie Hebdo is whether, after being granted honorary Slymepitter status for her factual defense of the magazine, Ophelia Benson will also be granted all of the other honors that come with this label.

22 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Again, keep it up Michael, your persistence to hold FtB accountable for their ongoing campaign of “othering” rather than trying to build a community.

It is slightly satisfying to do a Google search on “PZ Myers” where about 30-40% of the first 2 pages of links are about how arrogant and horrible PZ’s online persona is. I just can’t imagine PZ is this deluded in his day-to-day work and home life. He’s built up this online persona that he seems to have to maintain in order to keep whatever readership he still has. It has to be a horrible feeling that years ago PZ was able to grab drinks with the likes of Dawkins and Harris and now he’s been relegated to sip coolers with the blockbot creator.

23 Shatterface January 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Holding Myers’ feet to the fire until he issues an apology is fun but he’s so busy shooting himself in the foot these days there’s little left to burn.

A case in point is his vicious attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo, which utterly conflicts with Myers’ own earlier view that Islam is uniquely evil. One prankster recently posted chunks of Myers’ old posts on Islam as if they represented their own opinion; the horde attacked those opinions as racist and incoherent, not realising they originated with Myers.

Naturally when Myers saw such foul material in his comment section he deleted the nasty stuff lest it corrupt his precious flock. I guess this is the ‘self-censorship’ we hear so much about these days.

Meanwhile the horde are turning on Ophelia Benson, who is stubbornly insisting Islam is a religion, not a race, and they’re digging around her back catalogue for ‘ideological impurities’ such as defending women’s right to abortion (that’s trans-exclusive, apparently)

Anyway, while Myers has been busy dancing on the graves of French cartoonists, others have been defending their reputation:

http://m.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/11/1357057/-The-Charlie-Hebdo-cartoons-no-one-is-showing-you

24 Deepak Shetty January 13, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Also, I have not published “posts in support of people accused of rape and abuse”. Please don’t repeat that mischaracterisation here.
You initially said [named accused] was smeared – what is that but support of a person accused of rape? You have not , as far as I know , withdrawn that.

25 JetLagg January 13, 2015 at 6:42 pm

@Deepak

Do you mean this?

In the last year or so, you have publicly accused [redacted] of multiple unreported serious crimes

That’s taken from Michael’s LBJ Letter post, and is simply a statement of fact.

[sorry for the double post, Michael. Just testing to see if certain keywords put me into moderation. Please delete one or the other at your discretion]

26 JetLagg January 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

bah, and now I’ve messed up my formatting. The second line should be in italics.

[I’ve fixed it by putting the quote in blockquote tags – Michael]

27 Phil Giordana FCD January 13, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Deepak:

Until there is an actual conviction, it is a smear.

Want a proof?

“I have information from good friends that I trust, in close circles, that the person using Deepak Shetty as its user name is a rapist.”

Of course, that’s just a second-hand or third-hand account I received by email, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you are a rapist, right?

Right?

28 Michael Nugent January 13, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Deepak, I did not “initially say [named accused] was smeared.”

This is what I initially said, in full in case the context is lost:

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/

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 Jan Steen January 13, 2015 at 8:02 pm

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 is evidently a duplicitous coward who will act nice in your face and only shows his real persona when he is sittting safely behind his keyboard in his bunker in Morris, Minnesota.

30 JetLagg January 13, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Regardless of whether any of us thinks it’s a smear or not, Deepak’s statement is clearly false. Michael did not call it a smear. For that to make any sense he’d have had to have made some comment on the truth of the accusations. He has never done this. I’m fairly certain Deepak (and others like him) know this. That they then continue to insist Michael defends Voldemort is incredibly dishonest.

31 Matt Cavanaugh January 13, 2015 at 10:25 pm

PZ Myers copied in its entirety one of my blog posts, posted it on Pharyngula, (a.k.a., “unauthorized use of intellectual property for commercial gain”) then proceeded to join his Horde in mocking my copyright claim. The post drew 500 comments, so clearly an even greater number of hits generating to ad revenue.

“Ethical” Ed Brayton has yet to send me my royalties check.

32 John Greg January 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm

During the day or so of the Great Avi Plagiarism Scandal, Ed deleted every single comment written on his Avi blog post by a Pit person for no reason other than the assumption they were comments from Pit people. The content of those comments was completely irrelevant. What mattered, and what made the comments wrong, detestable, and according to Ed, examples of assholery and thereby warranting deletion, was the ethereal pseudo-location of the authors: the Slymepit.

So much for integrity.

/rolls eyes in imaginary smilies

33 Jan Steen January 13, 2015 at 11:08 pm

@Deepak Shetty,

You initially said [named accused] was smeared – what is that but support of a person accused of rape? You have not , as far as I know , withdrawn that.

We have before us a exemplary pupil from the school of PZ Myers. First you accuse Michael of saying something he never said and then, for good measure, observe that he has not withdrawn that what he never said. An interesting variation on “when did you stop beating your wife?”

Is it too much to ask for an apology? (It probably is.)

34 Jan Steen January 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm

…an exemplary…

(Sorry, I can’t seem to find the edit button.)

35 Jesper Both Pedersen January 13, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Hi, Michael, thanks for the work you’re doing. Keep it up. :-)

36 Deepak Shetty January 13, 2015 at 11:37 pm

@Michael Nugent
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/12/16/hurtful-harmful-smears-pz-myers-happy-atheist/
Section 1.2 is titled “1.2 Personal smears against living and dead individuals”
Section 1.2 includes “PZ has published allegations of criminal behaviour against named individuals, and has allowed his commenters to repeat these allegations.”
So how is it unreasonable to conclude that you feel Myers smeared [named accused] – your title of the section says it

37 Deepak Shetty January 13, 2015 at 11:40 pm

@Jan Steen
I’ve posted the link – If you feel the interpretation is unreasonable make your case.

38 Deepak Shetty January 13, 2015 at 11:45 pm

@Phil Giordana FCD
Of course, that’s just a second-hand or third-hand account I received by email, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you are a rapist, right?
Yawn.
Still sticking to this , inspite of everything else that is now known?
If someone actually told you something about me and you put it up as someone told me this , then no its not a smear , its a statement of fact.

39 Jan Steen January 13, 2015 at 11:46 pm

So how is it unreasonable to conclude that you feel Myers smeared [named accused] – your title of the section says it

In that section Michael provides numerous examples of people who have been smeared by Myers. In the case of [named accused] on the other hand, Michael is careful to speak of “allegations of criminal behaviour” instead of smears. People who can read without prejudice understand that there is a meaningful difference here.

40 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 1:03 am

Really, Deepak. At best you can make a case that Michael should have formatted the post better. That’s nowhere close to getting you where you want to go.

41 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 1:33 am

So are we going to do something about this asshole?

It simply doesn’t make sense to run around and accuse all kinds of people of rape.

SJW my ass.

He’s guilty as fuck.

42 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 1:40 am

There’s not much to do beyond what Michael is doing here, and (as others have suggested), contacting conference organizers and figureheads within the community to voice your concerns.

43 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 1:47 am

Roger that, but there is something seriously wrong inside PZ’s head.

If he understands how serious a crime rape is, then he wouldn’t do this.

It’s a defence mechanism.

44 Michael Nugent January 14, 2015 at 2:01 am

Deepak #36

I have never expressed any opinion about the truth or falsity of the allegation that I assume that you are referring to. Indeed, that has been the central point of my approach. I believe that serious criminal allegations should be dealt with by the police and the courts.

You can approach the title and subtitles of the post that you cite (or indeed of any publication) in one of two ways.

If you read the title and subtitles literally (as if what follows contains all of, and only, that which is written in the title or subtitle), then you will find many more examples to highlight than the one which you have cited.

If you read the title and subtitles as shorthand (to guide readers into reading content in chunks rather than as a wall of text), then you will not be surprised that each section contains more information than is strictly described by the title or subtitle.

This is one of the reasons why my posts on these issues are so long. When I know people will read charitably, I prefer to write concisely. When I know people will read uncharitably, I write with more qualifications. Perhaps I will now have to extend that policy to my titles and subtitles.

Whatever way you choose to look at it, I’m quite satisfied that it is not reasonable to describe the post that you cite as a “post in support of people accused of rape and abuse,” never mind as an example of “posts” (plural) “in support of people accused of rape and abuse.”

Also, the post is from 16 December, which is over two months after PZ accused me of defending and providing a haven for rapists, and therefore (even with your mistaken interpretation) it could not have influenced his decision to accuse me of defending rapists on 4 October.

I’m happy to address these distractions in order to prevent them from derailing the main point of this series of posts, which is the hurtful and harmful impact that PZ Myers and others are having on individuals and the atheist movement generally. I’d rather not have to do this, but I’m happy to continue doing it for as long as it takes to resolve the problem.

45 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 2:02 am

I agree Myers is broken, and I personally subscribe to the idea that he never broke free from the psychological state of that nerdy, socially-awkward teen who couldn’t get laid or anyone to notice him, then found himself in the company of some other socially-maladapted sorts (some of whom, I hope, still have the excuse of actually being teens) and discovered that power and status everyone craves (until they fucking grow up).

That’s just armchair psychology though. Outside of the pit, I think people should focus on what’s happening on the ground, and how we can affect it.

46 john welch January 14, 2015 at 2:08 am

Wherein we discover Deepak doesn’t seem to know what words mean:

@Phil Giordana FCD
Of course, that’s just a second-hand or third-hand account I received by email, but it doesn’t negate the fact that you are a rapist, right?

Yawn.
Still sticking to this , inspite of everything else that is now known?
If someone actually told you something about me and you put it up as someone told me this , then no its not a smear , its a statement of fact.

No, it wouldn’t. It would still be a statement of opinion. For it to be a statement of fact, it has to actually be correct.

If someone sends Phil an email telling him that I am a black woman who is a practicing jew, it doesn’t matter how many people repeat the story or where. I am not black, I am not a woman, I am not a practicing jew.

Therefore, because nothing in the statement is true, it cannot be a statement of fact. Ever.

Yet, by your “logic”, (and by “logic” i mean “thing that came out of my nethers after a bit of curried goat I’d perhaps waited a tish too long to reheat”), saying I am a black woman who is a practicing jew is a statement of fact if it follows the same steps as Phil’s hypothetical.

Look, there are words that can have a wide range of meanings and usages. For example, my personal favorite, “fuck”. “green” is another example.

“fact” is not a word with a wide range of meanings. It has a precise definition, because it has to.

If you’re just going to redefine words as it pleases you, if you’re going to be that Humpty-Dumpty, then why use more than one word? Since you’re redefining them anyway, just smurf smurf smurfing smurf smurf smurself smurf smurf.

47 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 2:15 am

FreeThoughtBlogs.

Where evidence takes a backseat to PZ.

What a guy.

48 franc January 14, 2015 at 2:24 am

Michael: “Whenever I have met PZ, he comes across as a decent person”

Uhuh. So are most psychopaths. Not really much of a point.

49 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 2:28 am

It’s possible Deepak was trying to say it’s a statement of fact that Myers reposted the words (detailing alleged criminal acts by Voldemort) by an third party anonymous source that had been allegedly been provided to a second party who then provided them to Myers. But, as seems to be a trend, when you actually spell out what is defensible in Deepak’s position, you realize just how little is left.

50 Gorski January 14, 2015 at 4:33 am

[quoted assertion about Ed Brayton deleted – Michael]

This is an outrageous personal attack on Ed Brayton’s character. It’s like you’re talking about a completely different person from the Ed I know. Disagree with him all you want, but this kind of malicious attack is completely unacceptable. It’s downright childish.

Please retract this statement and apologize.

51 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 4:45 am

Just give it up Gorski.

You’re the laughing stock of the world.

52 franc January 14, 2015 at 4:55 am

Gorski: //This is an outrageous personal attack on Ed Brayton’s character. It’s like you’re talking about a completely different person from the Ed I know. Disagree with him all you want, but this kind of malicious attack is completely unacceptable. It’s downright childish.//

Anyone that is still confused as to what “Poe” is – you’re looking at it.

53 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 4:58 am

You’re a poe you duschnozzle. :-)

54 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 5:15 am

Free Raif. Plain and simple. No bullshit.

55 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 5:49 am
56 John Greg January 14, 2015 at 5:59 am

Gorski said:

This is an outrageous personal attack on Ed Brayton’s character…. Please retract this statement and apologize.

No, absolutely not. As far as I am concerned, Ed’s recent behaviour regarding the comments by people from the Pit, and his past behaviour in similar circumstances, supports my claim.

And if franc is right, and you’re a Poe, then call me caught. I have a very great deal of difficulty these days telling the difference between actual SJWs and Poes.

57 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:04 am

@Michael Nugent
If you read the title and subtitles literally (as if what follows contains all of, and only, that which is written in the title or subtitle), then you will find many more examples to highlight than the one which you have cited.
But precisely. One of the things in the list is not like the others. You are equating the publishing of the allegation as the same as PZ uses abusive terms for people and smears people. In the case of the allegation , whether you like the fact that it was published on a blog or not , it is decidedly not the same as calling someone a racist or a lying fuckhead.

Also, the post is from 16 December,
As far as I remember you have lumped the allegation in the same category as abusive insults towards people.
Second I believe I have already told you in a couple of your other posts why your stance effectively favors the accused (If you have doubts you can always contact the alleged victim and ask her if you believe your posts support the person accused of rape or whether your posts are as you believe neutral) . I freely concede that it is probably not your intent to support the rape accused but it is effectively what you end up doing.

which is the hurtful and harmful impact that PZ Myers and others are having on individuals and the atheist movement generally.
Let me agree that Myers uses abusive terms and he is wrong for that.
But you are wrong on who is harming the Atheist movement.
Harris supports racial profiling of people with my skin color. “I am a feminist” Dawkins believes that C H Sommers is a true feminist. Compare the harm Myers has done against these two heavyweights.
Perhaps you’ll come to a different conclusion of who exactly is getting distracted.

58 franc January 14, 2015 at 6:06 am

John Greg: //And if franc is right, and you’re a Poe, then call me caught. I have a very great deal of difficulty these days telling the difference between actual SJWs and Poes.//

You could say IMPOSSIBLE, but then some Poe douchenozzle at the slymepit will throw the dictionary at you and say you are stupid because it says “difficult or…” and then parades around like Becky Watson after she bans another 100 rapists on twitter.

I stick with impossible. There really is no way to tell.

59 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:07 am

@John welch
It would still be a statement of opinion. For it to be a statement of fact, it has to actually be correct.
Alleged victim contacted Myers and made some allegations about alleged accused. That is fact. There should be no problem stating that with the actual names.

60 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:25 am

@Jan Steen
People who can read without prejudice understand that there is a meaningful difference here.
And where would I find these people without prejudice and bias?
Or are you trying to make the argument that the obsessed with FTB commenters here are unbiased and without prejudice(ha ha)?
But yeah the title of the entire section is totally without relevance to whats written inside.

61 Bemused observer January 14, 2015 at 6:45 am

@DeepakShetty
“Alleged victim contacted Myers and made some allegations about alleged accused. That is fact. There should be no problem stating that with the actual names.”

No. Third party contact Myers with a lurid tale, couched in vague terms, that they had been told about the incident by the alleged victim.
Of course Myers edited his post eventually to make it seem as though he had got the allegation from the source, and that he was not just parroting gossip.

62 Aratina Cage January 14, 2015 at 6:50 am

Michael,

Aratina here (on Twitter @aratina). You wrote:
“When I publicly raised concerns about PZ’s behaviour, he falsely accused me of defending and providing a haven for rapists. ”

I thought the trigger for this series of posts on how awful you think PZ has been was a particular tweet of his that reads:
“It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

The next thing I saw was that you took a particular interpretation of that tweet (as a smear and nothing else) and ran with it. I have no doubt that it was upsetting to read and probably hurt, but I wonder if you have looked at it from a less personal perspective because I think if you did, you might find that under some interpretations, the tweet isn’t that far from the truth.

The easy part to get past is the people being referred to as harassers and misogynists, who, as you well know, are many of your regular commenters these days. At the very least, you have provided a haven of sorts for people who were kicked out of Pharyngula’s comment section for doing things seen by some as harassment of certain people (such as PZ) and for posting things that were seen by some as treating women’s bodies as instruments of hate or disparaging women in general. Most of that infighting stems from the event known as Elevatorgate. So, you do provide them with a platform on your blog (for whatever reason, including free speech, freethought, and neutrality). How you could be defending them would be by letting their various complaints and jabs stand in your comments, and by doing things like equivocating the humor used on both sides. That part of the tweet, then, isn’t a stretch at all from PZ’s perspective.

Now on to the rapists being referred to. This is the part that I think needs you to be carefully charitable in your reasoning, which I’m not sure you have been. Most of it relies on you accepting that PZ has received enough information to believe that a certain person is a rapist even though they are not legally recognized as one.

How can this person be considered a rapist without having been convicted of the crime? Consider the stories about Cosby, if you have read any of them. Several women say they willingly took pills and drink from him after he offered it to them, even pushed it on them, and then they say they were raped by him. In comparison, alcohol alone in enough quantity can render a person just as incapable of consenting or even knowing what is going on as a knockout pill can. It doesn’t matter what drug cocktail was used to make the person intoxicated, what matters for it to be rape is that the person who was out of it was taken advantage of sexually, and the one who took advantage of that person, then, can be considered a rapist.

So, PZ knows of a story from a woman that mirrors one of the stories told by the women accusing Cosby of raping them. It isn’t unreasonable, then, for him to call the person who did that to her a rapist.

We also have to address the plurality issue. PZ wrote “rapists” and now we see all these people pretending he was talking about them. It is more likely, however, that PZ simply extended the actual to the hypothetical. That is, if you do it for one known case, you would do it for others, too, who had purportedly done the same thing (such as Cosby). That makes much more sense than the “You’re all rapists!” interpretation.

Lastly, how can you be said to be defending and providing a haven for the person (and others like him) referred to as a rapist? It seems to me that there are a couple of ways to look at that. For one thing, tweets are so compressed that it is possible either the “defending” or the “providing a haven for” did not extend to all three “harassers, misogynists, and rapists”. Still, I do recall reading that you were deleting or moderating comments about the person they were referring to, which could be seen as defending him. How you are providing a haven for him in particular, I do not know. Maybe it meant more that you provide a place where people who support him can gather in support of him or in spite of those who think he is a rapist.

Therefore, I submit that it is possible that what PZ said is not a smear, at least not in the sense of being false or unfair or of him exposing you for something you did in trust that it would be kept private.

You might not even see it as all that terrible of a tweet if you can come to terms on the meanings of all those words that seem to have shocked you. For instance, you could ask yourself, “How bad is it that I want a place where people on all sides and of all sorts can come to and be heard, but where accusations of crimes need to be severely curtailed?”

And I hope you realize that no amount of porcupine quills plucked out of Pharyngula’s depths will remove the possibility that what PZ said is not a smear or false. 😉

63 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 7:31 am

The easy part to get past is the people being referred to as harassers and misogynists, who, as you well know, are many of your regular commenters these days.

Typical cultist strategy: pretending that the truth of your own smears is well known. As if that is a substitute for evidence.

As for the rest of your inept Peezus apology, it has apparently escaped your attention that your idol has “doubled down” (to use the kind of language that you will understand) on his accusation that Michael is providing a haven for rapists. It’s all vapid sophistry that will convince no-one.

64 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 7:38 am

(corrected for blockquote fail)

The easy part to get past is the people being referred to as harassers and misogynists, who, as you well know, are many of your regular commenters these days.

Typical cultist strategy: pretending that the truth of your own smears is well known. As if that is a substitute for evidence.

As for the rest of your inept Peezus apology, it has apparently escaped your attention that your idol has “doubled down” (to use the kind of language that you will understand) on his accusation that Michael is providing a haven for rapists. It’s all vapid sophistry that will convince no-one.

65 Henry Fitzgerald January 14, 2015 at 7:41 am

@Aratina Cage:
“The easy part to get past is the people being referred to as harassers and misogynists, who, as you well know, are many of your regular commenters these days.”

That’s the easy part?

There has been no evidence of misogyny that I can recall in any of the comments made here. The only evidence PZ Myers had – could possibly have had – was with regard to the behaviour or comments of people who happening to be posting here, elsewhere; and even if he did, it would have doubtful relevance. Calling this blog a “haven for misogynists” is like calling a mosque a “haven for boozers”, because you’ve observed that some of the people attending drink alcohol – when they’re somewhere else. But in this case, to pursue the analogy, Myers doesn’t even have clear-cut evidence of anyone drinking outside the mosque.

Similarly for “harassers”.

In both these cases you have to resort to the same tortuous counterfactual logic you use for “rapists”, which I believe has already been adequately rebutted.

66 iamanatheistandthisiswhy January 14, 2015 at 7:41 am

From my understanding PZ is the main force behind FTBs not just as a blogger but owner. So I would not expect a reply any time soon even though a reply is warranted. I hope you can get a reply soon.

67 citizen_wolf January 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

@Aratina Cage

Holy heck, that was something. PZ had ample time and ample opportunity to explain himself if he had the intent that you ascribe to his tweets. PZ didn’t bother to explain anything. What he did do was to reinforce his claims that MN provides a haven for rapists and is a defender of rapists.

Oh, and he also calls MN a fuckwit and similar other vile names. Yes, indeed, PZ displays all the actions of a poor misunderstood innocent.

Your interpretation of events (if genuinely held) are bizarre.

68 Steven Carr January 14, 2015 at 9:19 am

As the ‘Executive Committe’ of FTB moved fast to remove one of their bloggers who had been caught plagiarising (less than 214 hours after PZ Myers vouched for his honesty), clearly the Executive Committee of FTB consider themselves to have a responsibility to act ethically.

Which means their refusal to even consider apologising for Myers slurs about Michael Nugent looks even worse.

Remember, Myers threw out the slur about Nugent providing a haven for rapists out of the blue. The timeline of events clearly show it was simply the next stage in Myers strategy of escalating his slurs and smears. Stage 1 insults had not worked to damage Nugent’s reputation so Myers simply ramped up the insults, and reached for the r-word.

69 franc January 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

//clearly the Executive Committee of FTB consider themselves to have a responsibility to act ethically//

Bollocks. Brayton was terrified of content owners seeking legal redress for their work being exploited for profit by a pay-per-click revenue driven site. That is why the response was quick. There is never any such concern for baseless libel nor evidence free accusations of criminality to smear.

70 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

No doubt Aratina Cage will now provide a list of the many regular commenters here who are harassers and misogynists, along with the evidence that they belong on this list.

The only vague part in AC’s accusation is the word ‘many’. Is it 10, 20, 30? Please enlighten us. It should be easy, as you said.

71 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 10:56 am

@Deepak Shetty,

You made the following claim about Michael:

You initially said [named accused] was smeared

Will you now acknowledge that you were wrong? Or is “doubling down” the default mode in SJW land?

72 john welch January 14, 2015 at 11:06 am

OMG, did Aratina just try to pull a version of the Courtier’s Defense? Looks pretty fucking close.

I love, how even though PZ himself has explained what he meant, clearly and unambiguously, the rest of the Clear feel the need to come here and re-explain it.

As though PZ is not actually authoritative on what PZ is thinking or talking about.

The ironic thing is, how much this shows just how little they think of him. What, he’s not capable of explaining himself? He’s actually a feeble old man who should be ignored except when they need the doddering old foole to stand in front of a crowd and mumble homilies?

Aratina spends how many paragraphs trying to tell us things that don’t jibe with what PZ himself has said, along with a healthy dose of Zvan’s moronic “well the numbers mean SOMEONE’S a rapist” bullshit, and astoundingly, acts as though someone might take her seriously. Him seriously. Whatever, it’s all fertilizer in the road. Just messes up traffic, doesn’t even make flowers grow. Useless in every way.

(Funny how the are so unwilling to admit the rather unpleasant downside that Zvan’s numbers game has for them. Unless of course they can prove they’ve done full background checks on every single commenter. But then, “our rules only apply to YOU, never to US” is in fact one of their central commandments.)

Aratina, PZ is a grown-assed adult. He is perfectly capable of telling us what he meant WRT “haven for rapists”, and has done so on more than one occasion. His “slymepitters = rapists” statement was also clear and unambiguous, right up there with his infamous Marc Lepine bon mot. He doesn’t need you to “explain what he meant.” He’s done a rather sterling job of it himself.

What’s annoying you is how few people are overlooking it and going “Oh, PZ!”

PZ picked the wrong person to fuck with, and watching Michael grind him down is truly a glorious sight to behold.

Maybe, instead of pretending to be in PZ’s head, you should try speaking for yourself.

73 john welch January 14, 2015 at 11:09 am

Jan, AC will have no problem with that. Remember, in their world, “harasser” means “said something we don’t like once”. Doesn’t matter where.

Funny how their “don’t like it, read some other web page” thing never ever seems to apply to them…

74 franc January 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

Jan Steen //No doubt Aratina Cage will now provide a list of the many regular commenters here who are harassers and misogynists//

Or doxx me for the 1000th time with the same old parroted hearsay… I feel neglected. Must be a year since the last time Aratina tried to doxx, since I abandoned old twitter account. I feel neglected.

75 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 11:20 am

@john welch,

Jan, AC will have no problem with that. Remember, in their world, “harasser” means “said something we don’t like once”. Doesn’t matter where.

I am well aware that people like Aratina Sewer are using their own idiosyncratic definitions of things like ‘harassment’ and ‘misogyny’. Making a little joke about their ‘nym, like I just did, probably already counts as harassment to the precious snowflakes.

That’s why I insist that they show their evidence. It should be good for a laugh or two.

By the way, Aratina, just mentioning that somebody is listed on the Blockbot does not count as evidence :)

76 Jan Steen January 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

It should be a cause of concern to PZ Myers that even his most faithful followers are going out of their way to try to show that he didn’t say what everybody else thinks he said.

It’s almost as if his apologists wouldn’t approve of what he said if he meant what he said. But we know that he meant what he said. Ergo?

77 Carrie January 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm

It is interesting that the PZ apologists are trying so hard to show that what PZ wrote does not mean what he actually wrote, even when his own clarification of his words shows that they are wrong.

This is the same method that they use in order to demonise people like RD; even when he clarifies what he writes, they still insist on their distorted versions of his meaning. And of course they are using the same tactic on Michael.

Keep up the good work, Michael.

78 MatthewH January 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Michael, keep at it.

Have you considered that you’ve been ‘swiftboated’. I think the tactic seems to fit really well here.

Also, I’m noticing a definite degradation in the quality of online debate recently, by both sides. Its descending to awful, online, personal, point-scoring arguments over minutiae which aren’t important to the main points.. and its just getting worse. Is there anything you can do to try encourage those on ‘our’ side to elevate their level of argument above who’s less dumb, and to try not get bogged down in silliness? Its akin to the the recent infamous? online argument about days in a week, which was just painful – http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=107926751

79 Michael Nugent January 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I’ve deleted some comments, or parts of comments, that made general assertions that named people are unethical or dishonest. I have left comments, or parts of comments, that describe the behaviour of people without describing them as unethical or dishonest.

80 Michael Nugent January 14, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Aratina #61,

I’ll address the content of your comment later. But please remember that it is your opinion of what PZ might have meant, and not what PZ has said that he meant.

Here is what PZ actually said about this:

13 October 2014 – PZ Myers has failed five times to justify his smear that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists on my blog. Extracts from Twitter conversations in which PZ fails to substantiate or withdraw his defamatory smear.

29 October 2014 – Anatomy of a smear – how PZ Myers concocted a new smear when challenged about his previous smears. A review of PZ’s ten different responses to my criticisms before he finally crossed the line into making a seriously defamatory smear.

If PZ had meant what you think he might have meant, it would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to clarify that when asked, and to apologise for writing something different than what he meant.

81 MatthewH January 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm

I was wondering if you thought you could play a role *outside* of your blog? I realise there’s no leadership, people can do what they want, an your style has already been a great example to others in our group in terms of arguing rationally and effectively. For example do you feel its worth us getting bogged down with twitter silliness with side-players over dictionary definitions, which really just seem to be diverting us from the larger more fundamental arguments. Very interested in your thoughts.

82 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Morning, Michael. :-)

83 Patrick January 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Aratina Cage @62,

Let’s look at exactly what Myers wrote, documented by Michael:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here Myers is very clearly asserting that some of the people who post at the Slymepit and who also post here at Michael’s blog are harassers, misogynists, and rapists. He has been challenged repeatedly to support this claim and has consistently chosen not to do so.

In fact, the most recent time he has had an opportunity to clarify, he simply doubled down. When commenter benwalsh raised the issue:

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.

Myers replied:

You got two adverbs twisted wrong-way around there. ITYM “accurately and forthrightly”.

So Myers is additionally accusing Michael of defending and supporting rapists.

If you want to defend Myers, you’ll need more than the hand waving apologetics you’ve presented thus far. Either provide hard evidence that the people posting here are harassers, misogynists, and rapists or admit that Myers claims are in fact defamatory smears for which he should apologize.

It’s well past time for Myers and his defenders to put up or shut up.

84 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 4:21 pm

@Bemused observer
No. Third party contact Myers with a lurid tale, couched in vague terms, that they had been told about the incident by the alleged victim.
Not this tired nonsense again.
here read the original post carefully
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/08/what-do-you-do-when-someone-pulls-the-pin-and-hands-you-a-grenade/

Do you see “straight from the victims mouth?” – Third party only made the introductions. And since the victim has also since confirmed that she did infact say what Myers reported why in the world would you keep saying what you commented?

85 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm

@Jan Steen
Will you now acknowledge that you were wrong?
Sorry – nothing in your response or Michaels has given me any cause to change my mind.
For me personally, the time I crossed the line between interpreting Michael charitably and believing he is actively harmful (perhaps unintentionally) is when he started redacting the names – Given the incident as it stands(i.e. no court will convict even if 100% true ) , not naming anyone only helps the accused. That action does “support” an alleged rapist. I believe Michael interprets “support” as actively encourages rape or stands guard outside the door while the rape is being carried out – whereas we probably have a different interpretation of what counts as “support”

( specially if I were a woman) I sure as hell would like to know about the allegation – whether or not I believe the allegation is true , I would watch what and how much I drink around the accused. Michael’s preferred solution would have left me vulnerable. A police force that “sensitively and robustly” investigates such issues, while a worthy goal , doesn’t exist today – That position shows a complete lack of understanding of what and why the victim informed Myers.
You can take Myers to task for his abusive tone and language and insults – Im not justifying or supporting those (for that matter Im inclined to agree with Daniel Finckes views on this topic) – but don’t mix it with the alleged rape incident – there I cannot fault Myers for what he said and did – And Michael is wrong there and Michaels views on that matter is harmful to the “atheist movement” – much more than the abuse Myers throws.

On a side note , isn’t it wonderful that the same people who are such proud defenders of free speech make approving sounds when names are censored?

86 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm

@Deepak

You do realize that you’re arguing a tangent? That, even if your point was undeniable (and it’s not), that you’d only have demonstrated Michael is guilty of miscategorizing one of his grievances?

It demonstrates the weakness of your position that this is what you must resort to, a tenuous sidetrack that misses the primary topics entirely.

87 Michael Nugent January 14, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Deepak #85, like Aritina #61, while I disagree with your analysis of that issue, that issue was not the reason that PZ Myers gave for saying that I defend and provide a haven for rapists.

The reason that PZ Myers gave for saying that I defend and provide a haven for rapists was:

“The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by Slymepitters.”

PZ had numerous opportunities to clarify if that was not what he meant, and he continued in the same vein, culminating in:

“Where did I say he should delete comments? I said I judge him by the company he keeps.”

The full exchange is included in the links at comment #80.

So, whatever our differences of opinion about the issue that you and Aratina are discussing, that has no bearing on the allegation by PZ that the evidence that I defend and provide a haven for rapists is that people who post on the Slymepit also comment on my blog.

88 Shermertron January 14, 2015 at 5:11 pm

I am happy to see some of Myers’s defenders show up to make their cases.

I must, however, lament that their arguments seem to be to resemble those of really good public defense attorneys.

“Your Honor, I move for a mistrial because the police misspelled ‘murder’ one time in the indictment. ‘Mruder’ is not a crime, so my client is innocent.”

“Your Honor, the jury has never even CONSIDERED the possibility that my client has an identical twin who cannot be located to give testimony that could prove my client’s innocence.”

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client did not threaten to kill the deceased. She said, ‘ahm ganna killya,” which is Sanskrit for ‘hello, how are you, fisherwoman?'”

89 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 14, 2015 at 5:18 pm

@Deepak

“On a side note , isn’t it wonderful that the same people who are such proud defenders of free speech make approving sounds when names are censored?”

Has it ever occurred to you that libel laws in other countries might actually be strongly enforced compared to the US? Has it ever occurred to you that the link to the grenade post was edited by Myers a number of times in order to make it read as it does now? Edited without notes or editorial commentary. If you’re OK with revisionist history as practiced by PZ Myers, then it shouldn’t bother you that by you commenting here, you’re now known as a harasser, potential rapist and misogynist. Hey, those are not my words… those are the words of the person you so desperately want to exonerate.

Forget about all of the other accusations against named people that PZ has thrown around, and as I have said to other apologists here before, I certainly hope that nobody does to you (with your real name and identity) what PZ Myers has done to Michael Nugent. It might be a real eye opener to have “RAPIST” show up next to your real name on a Google search just because someone wants to play identity politics.

Have a good day.

90 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

MatthewH@78

Thank you so much for that link! I’m dying over here.

I think we easily descend in arguments over minutiae because the main issue is so definitively made there’s hardly anything to wrestle over there. The advocates of Myers descend into the increasingly trivial details because they hope it will obscure how obviously wrong they are, and a lot of us follow because we’re typical skeptics, enjoying debate, thought experiments, and what have you.

91 Bemused observer January 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm

@Deepak Shetty

What part of he edited it do you not understand?
Here, let me sound it out for you
h.e. e.d.i.t.e.d. i.t.
From the OED
“edit
Prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it:”
Please note the “otherwise modifying it” part.

92 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:08 pm

@Michael Nugent
that issue was not the reason that PZ Myers gave for saying that I defend and provide a haven for rapists.
Perhaps. Are you interested in the reasons PZ Myers gave or what your behavior/words actually imply? (fwiw the only assertion I am defending is that you are supporting a person accused of rape and that the policies and views you express favor the accused , not the victim – hence your position is not neutral as you think it is).

I cannot speak for Myers – I believe he shouldn’t have used “you provide a haven for rapists” – I believe there is some justification for “you provide a haven for (internet) harassers” and for “you support an alleged rapist”
I do not hold you responsible for the commenters you have attracted or the views and behavior that they have demonstrated elsewhere on the internet – but if I were you , I would take a look at why that is so (same as if I find that a few tea party members are cheering me on , I’d seriously take a look at what I said)

93 Citizen Wolf January 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Deepak Shetty
**Are you interested in the reasons PZ Myers gave or what your behavior/words actually imply? **

? Have you not seen the blog posts by MN asking for Myers to explain. And Myers (non)response has been to consistently blank any opportunity to explain his behavior/tweets/comments.

Deepak Shetty
**I cannot speak for Myers**

And yet……

94 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm

@Bemused observer
What part of alleged victim verified Myers story did you not understand?

95 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Deepak@92
…the policies and views you express favor the accused , not the victim…

ALLEGED victim. Christ almighty. That has to be hammered into the head of every commenter that comes here defending Myers, and they promptly forget it the second they leave.

96 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm

Oh, this is going to be fun:

@Deepak #92

“but if I were you , I would take a look at why that is so (same as if I find that a few tea party members are cheering me on , I’d seriously take a look at what I said)”

But if I were you, Deepak, I would take a look at why those who openly ask for people to die in a fire, routinely circle the bandwagon and attack others for no reason other than ideological purity (see Ellen Beth Wachs as a prime example), and insist on smearing named people on their websites seem to applaud your approach and welcome you in to their fold. Hmmm.. associating with those kinds of people eh Deepak?!!!1111!!!one!!!

Get it yet? Do you need any more reversals of your own words to show you that MN simply wants to have this type of behaviour amongst would-be allies in the atheist community to stop? I would rather see PZ and MN take on blasphemy laws together and I’m sure you would too. But sadly PZ is fixated on maintaining an internet persona of ‘tough guy’ to the extent that he can’t even apologize as a true leader can.

And with that, I again state that I hope nobody does to you what PZ has done to MN. I hope for your sake, nobody tries to smear your real name with false accusations and claim it as “an opinion” as you’ll have no leg to stand on.

And again, have a nice day.

97 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

? Have you not seen the blog posts by MN asking for Myers to explain.
Perhaps you missed the intent of my content.

And yet……
And yet , what? All comments made by me are my views and my interpretations of events.

98 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm

I would take a look at why those who openly ask for people to die in a fire, routinely circle the bandwagon and attack others for no reason other than ideological purity
Sure. I do not agree with or support comments of that nature – The total number of times that I might have commented on Pharyngula is probably in single digits so I doubt you can call me a member of the “horde” – so whats your point?

99 Shermertron January 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Deepak

You said:

“Perhaps. Are you interested in the reasons PZ Myers gave or what your behavior/words actually imply? (fwiw the only assertion I am defending is that you are supporting a person accused of rape and that the policies and views you express favor the accused , not the victim – hence your position is not neutral as you think it is).”

If you had read Mr. Nugent’s pieces about PZ, you would know that PZ himself posted an evolving account about being accused of sexual misconduct with one of his students.

By your definition, you are supporting a person “accused of sexual misconduct with a student.” (An accusation, I’ll add, that doesn’t seem to have been investigated by the police.)

And what “support” is Mr. Nugent giving to this alleged rapist? Warm glasses of milk at night? A getaway car? Firearms with the serial numbers filed off so they’re undetectable?

Mr. Nugent is giving the unfairly accused no more support than PZ is giving his fellow blogger who was accused and his commenter who confessed.

100 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

So, let me get this straight, you say something to Michael. Then those words are turned on you. You say, sure, what’s your point? And at no juncture do you realize why that’s ironic.

101 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm

@Deepak #98

“Sure. I do not agree with or support comments of that nature – The total number of times that I might have commented on Pharyngula is probably in single digits so I doubt you can call me a member of the “horde” – so whats your point?”

You used an argument against MN that when reversed against you or PZ Myers is identical in nature. The fact that you’ve come here to excuse PZ from making a smear against MN is the point Deepak.

Your lack of commenting prowess at Pharyngula is not an excuse for not calling out PZ Myers for his approach. But for some reason you came to Michael Nugent’s blog and were able to call out MN and nobody has called you any names or shunned you or banned you yet. I have not yet seen where MN has called you a “lying fuckwit” or banned your comments or you for that matter.

Now go try the same with PZ. Call him out on his smears against would-be allies and try to see what your inevitable outcome will be. Go ahead. I’ll wait. I’ve got nothing but time. I’d rather see you acknowledge what MN is saying in his posts about this type of behaviour from noted “celebrities” in our community. If you’re having such a hard time grasping that concept, I again say to you:

I hope that nobody does to you in real life what PZ Myers has done to Michael Nugent.

102 Lancelot Gobo January 14, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Shetty, let me get this straight. Are you really meaning when you write

no court will convict even if 100% true

that you know better than any court in the land? That you are above the law in the sense that you know its failings and are willing to give judgement that the legal system cannot?
And in this case:

What part of alleged victim verified Myers story did you not understand?

You really don’t understand what ‘alleged’ means when applied to both victim and accused? Does the presumption of innocence mean nothing whatsoever to you? I’m quite stunned to find someone so perfectly sure of his own personal judgements (based, we assume, on no personal knowledge unless there is something you haven’t vouchsafed to us) that he would be willing to say his personal judgements should wipe out all that the last 1800 years of Roman and common law has developed as a good and solid basis on which to attribute guilt or innocence. Remember the concept of the presumption of innocence depends on this: “The proof lies upon the one who affirms, not the one who denies.”

So prove the guilt of the rapists if you can, but if you publicly accuse and fail to provide proof, remember they have remedies in civil law. Let’s see if your big head is big enough to cope with that possibility. Sure, you can bet along with your master that ‘Famous Skeptic’ isn’t willing to swat such a small fly, but if Michael here decides to use his flyswatter, you may have a seat in the defendants’ box.

103 john welch January 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Now Deepak doesn’t support “comments of that nature” and besides, he’s only commented on Pharyngula less than ten times, so he doubts you can call him a member of the horde.

And yet…

Does he say, when reading “comments of that nature” anything resembling “hey, that is kind of messed up to say”? No. Because his comment count would be into quadruple digits less than six months after starting.

“the standard you walk by is the standard you approve of” is a canard over at FTB, one Deepak probably agrees with. So by that standard, unless he actively protests “comments of that nature”, he actually does approve of them.

He’s barely a part of pharyngula, but here he is, defending PZ about things that Michael has said are not the issue. He ignores the things Michael says are the issue, so he can argue about other things.

Does anyone from FTB ever stay on point? Ever? Screw on point, NEAR point? Vaguely noticing point? Was once in a stadium with point, but that doesn’t count because there were like 80,000 people and they weren’t feeling well and left early?

104 Citizen Wolf January 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Deepak Shetty
**Perhaps you missed the intent of my content.**

Perhaps I did. Feel free to explain further and correct my misunderstanding.

105 john welch January 14, 2015 at 6:58 pm

I’m sure Deepak approves of presumption of innocence. For some crimes. But after all, this isn’t a court of law, it’s the court of public opinion, and so different, i.e. no standards apply, it’s just who has the biggest mouth.

He approves of that, clearly.

But when Michael does that, when he makes his own stand in the court of public opinion, OHHHHH NNNNNO, that will not do sir, that will not do at all. How dare you besmirch PZ Myers with your scurrilous and not properly defended accusations!

106 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Welch@101
Does anyone from FTB ever stay on point?

I think Deepak touched it briefly. He thinks Myers was wrong. He thinks the behavior of Myers’ commetariat is wrong. He basically concedes every substantial point made here. He just prefers to talk about how he thinks Michael handles Voldemort unethically. Though, it’s clear to me Michael is handling it in an ethical way (and by what I understand of Irish law, the only legal way).

107 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I doubt anything is clear to you. Jettlag. 😉

108 JetLagg January 14, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Less and less every year :p

109 Jesper Both Pedersen January 14, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Exactomundo.

110 piero January 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm

It’s refreshing to read Deepak’s and Aratina’s comments, for two reasons: 1. it allows me to become acquainted with a different point of view, and 2. it makes me realise how mindbogglingly stupid that point of view is.

@Aratina:

The easy part to get past is the people being referred to as harassers and misogynists, who, as you well know, are many of your regular commenters these days.

Since I’m neither a harasser nor a misogynist, and as far as I can tell neither is anyone else who has posted here, your claim lays unsubstantiated at the bottom of the smear pool. Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide, let’s say, a quotation or a link in support of that smear? It shouldn’t be too difficult, if your smear was actually true.

At the very least, you have provided a haven of sorts for people who were kicked out of Pharyngula’s comment section for doing things seen by some as harassment of certain people (such as PZ) and for posting things that were seen by some as treating women’s bodies as instruments of hate or disparaging women in general.

“Seen by some as” is correct, but incomplete, because it affords us no knowledge on who the “some” might be. In fact, you could easily find a couple of examples in support of your assertion, and we could then discuss whether “some” people were right or wrong in their appraisal. Again, that task should not prove too strenous, and would certainly lend your assertion a modicum of credibility.

Maybe it meant more that you provide a place where people who support him can gather in support of him or in spite of those who think he is a rapist.

I don’t know how to explain this, because every single one of my previous attempts has failed, and I’m running out of ideas. It’s quite a hard idea to grasp, so I’ll ask you to be patient and follow along.
When we do not know something, we do not know something. It means we do not know; in other words, it is not the case that we know. Now, since it is not the case that we know, we cannot merely decide that we know; that would be a futile exercise in stubborness, or perhaps evidence of a metaphysical belief in the power of belief. Therefore, the only logical answer to the question “Do you support [named person]?” is “I don’t know.” Now, some people claim to actually know, and by a strange coincidence they are all of the opinion that [named person] is guilty. There might conceivably be people who also claim to actually know and are of the opposite opinion, but so far I haven’t encountered them. Thus, it appears to me that the real conflict is not between supporters and opposers of [named person], but rather between people who know how to think and people who don’t.

“How bad is it that I want a place where people on all sides and of all sorts can come to and be heard, but where accusations of crimes need to be severely curtailed?”

I don’t think it’s Michael who should ask himself that question; after all, what you have described is one defining trait of a well-known concept which goes by the name of “civilisation.” Welcome aboard! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the trip.

111 Aratina Cage January 14, 2015 at 10:58 pm

@Michael Nugent #80
You responded,
“I’ll address the content of your comment later. But please remember that it is your opinion of what PZ might have meant, and not what PZ has said that he meant.”

Yes, it was only my opinion on the matter that his initial tweet was likely misconstrued. It was my best guess based on my experiences. I do understand that it didn’t sit well with you, but I wanted you to see how it might have been taken the wrong way (the mundane becomes the extreme).

I appreciate the links for reference. Having frequented Pharyngula in the past, I was there when several events happened that have worried you. However, I don’t think they affect my understanding of the initial tweet.

You also said,
“If PZ had meant what you think he might have meant, it would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to clarify that when asked, and to apologise for writing something different than what he meant.”

Well, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, especially with all the aggressive background commentary about him going on that your posts seemed to feed into. Also, like I tried to explain, what if he felt there was nothing to apologize for, as if he had made a statement of fact? Can there be any resolution in such a case?

Regards.

112 Citizen Wolf January 14, 2015 at 11:13 pm

Aratina Cage
**Well, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, especially with all the aggressive background commentary about him going on that your posts seemed to feed into.**

? There are no aggressive posts on this blog. Cite one example where MN has posted anything aggressive. Indeed his non-aggression has been used by FTBers as something to slag him off for (You’ve seen the sealion jibs I presume).

I used to read pharyngula and stopped precisely because of the aggressive nature of the blogs posted by PZ Myers. If there’s any aggression between PZ and MN, it all comes from PZ. He’s the one that’s referred to Michael as a fuckwit.

113 Deepak Shetty January 14, 2015 at 11:55 pm

@Lancelot Gobo
that you know better than any court in the land?
Nope Im acknowledging limitations in the system.

But since you asked (and Im hoping you are either American or atleast familiar with American matters)
What do you think of the Supreme court decision to allow religious invocations and their conclusion that it doesnt favor religion?
What do you think of Justice Scalia’s argument that the Christian cross is NOT a religious symbol , its a secular one and so can be erected by Governments on public land
What do you think about the Supreme Courts decision on “citizens united”

Or do we all think we know more than qualified Supreme Court justices?

114 Aratina Cage January 15, 2015 at 12:16 am

@Jan Steen #64
You said,
“Typical cultist strategy: pretending that the truth of your own smears is well known. As if that is a substitute for evidence.”

I’m not sure which evidence you are ignorant about.

“your idol has “doubled down””
My idol? That must be why I bowed down and kissed his seventh tentacle when I met him.

@Henry Fitzgerald #65
“…is like calling a mosque a “haven for boozers”, because you’ve observed that some of the people attending drink alcohol”

I fail to see the problem, unless you are saying that he ought to go out of his way to be nice, but that couldn’t possibly be the case with this crowd.

“doesn’t even have clear-cut evidence of anyone”

Only if the people posting comments here are each and every one impostors. There is a razor that inclines me to dismiss that possibility.

@citizen_wolf #67
“Your interpretation of events (if genuinely held) are bizarre.”

They are genuinely held, and I don’t see how they are bizarre, sorry. It’s my best guess of what was meant. Like I said, the pluralization of “rapist” is most likely a generalization, and taking the opposite side of someone surely can be seen as a defense on any matter.

@Jan Steen #70
“No doubt Aratina Cage will now provide a list of the many regular commenters here who are harassers and misogynists, along with the evidence that they belong on this list.”

You know what? I don’t think I will. :) A lot of that assessment comes from battles of yesteryear. You had to be there, and if you were, you would know who he meant.

@john welch #72
“OMG, did Aratina just try to pull a version of the Courtier’s Defense? Looks pretty fucking close.”

How could that be? The Courtier’s Reply is that we shouldn’t pay attention to the king’s nudity because we haven’t read all the books about his wondrous robe! It’s a misdirection. What I tried to offer was a clarification–a reasoning as to why this series of posts might not be getting anywhere–not a misdirection.

“The ironic thing is, how much this shows just how little they think of him.”

We do call him “poopyhead”, so maybe there is something to that accusation. But I don’t think little of him. I quite like him, actually.

“He is perfectly capable of telling us what he meant WRT “haven for rapists”, and has done so on more than one occasion.”

Really? Could you provide links to each of those?

“Maybe, instead of pretending to be in PZ’s head, you should try speaking for yourself.”
Wow. I never thought of that! 😉

@franc #74
“Or doxx me for the 1000th time with the same old parroted hearsay… I feel neglected. Must be a year since the last time Aratina tried to doxx, since I abandoned old twitter account. I feel neglected.”

Since when is providing someone’s real name “doxxing”? It isn’t. So don’t feel too neglected. XOXOXO

@Jan Steen #75
“That’s why I insist that they show their evidence. It should be good for a laugh or two.”

It’s right [censored] you. Heehee.

@Patrick #83
“Here Myers is very clearly asserting that some of the people who post at the Slymepit and who also post here at Michael’s blog are harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

I don’t believe he is saying that. You see, he didn’t specify which of those three he meant. I get that you are all trying to hold his feet to the fire with a severely literal interpretation, but I believe you are not being charitable enough on that point about who he means by “rapists” and on which of those three the slymepitters are evidence of.

“the most recent time he has had an opportunity to clarify, he simply doubled down. When commenter benwalsh raised the issue:”

There, it is my opinion that he means “rapists” as a generalization from one case that he wholeheartedly believes was rape.

@piero #110
“your claim lays unsubstantiated at the bottom of the smear pool”

I’m tired of the old war. I’m desensitized to it. I’m trying to move on from it. But that doesn’t mean that we all forgot who said what back when the battle was being fought with full force. So, I have in mind several people who PZ could be referring to. It doesn’t matter who they are, what matters is that he isn’t making it up (even if you don’t agree with the descriptive words he used).

“Thus, it appears to me that the real conflict is not between supporters and opposers of [named person], but rather between people who know how to think and people who don’t.”

What I do know is that some people believe they know enough about it and they, therefore, feel justified in what they say about it.

“I don’t think it’s Michael who should ask himself that question; after all, what you have described is one defining trait of a well-known concept which goes by the name of “civilisation.” Welcome aboard! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the trip.”
Hah! “Come on in. The water’s fine.”

115 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 12:19 am

Still waiting for your list of harassers and misogynists that post here, Aratina. With evidence please.

@Deepak Shetty,

Sorry – nothing in your response or Michaels has given me any cause to change my mind.

Of course not. When you create your own facts the actual facts are not going to change your mind. After all, you are someone who puts words in people’s mouths and then makes the shocking observation that they have not withdrawn those words.

116 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 12:28 am

@Aratina,

@Jan Steen #70
“No doubt Aratina Cage will now provide a list of the many regular commenters here who are harassers and misogynists, along with the evidence that they belong on this list.”

You know what? I don’t think I will. :) A lot of that assessment comes from battles of yesteryear. You had to be there, and if you were, you would know who he meant.

Aratina is not going to substantiate his smears. How fucking surprising. Does PZ Myers have any followers who are not dodgy scumbags? I doubt it very much.

117 JetLagg January 15, 2015 at 12:33 am

@Aratina

I’m becoming convinced you’re not here for an actual attempt at understanding. The links you asked Welch for have already been provided directly to you by Michael.

So, you’re being willfully ignorant. Given that show you put on earlier, concocting bloated, elaborate theories about what Myers could have possible meant (beyond the obvious) I’m sure you’ll happily wriggle your way free of that conclusion, but you’re not fooling anyone other than yourself.

118 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 12:42 am

@Aratina Sewer,

Since when is providing someone’s real name “doxxing”? It isn’t.

That is the very definition of doxxing, you moron. If somebody posts under a pseudonym and tries to keep their real name hidden, then publishing the real name is doxxing. In general* it can be said that the urge to dox betrays the incorrigible scoundrel.

*I would allow exceptions for exposing criminals.

119 Old_ones January 15, 2015 at 12:45 am

Aratina

I don’t believe he is saying that. You see, he didn’t specify which of those three he meant. I get that you are all trying to hold his feet to the fire with a severely literal interpretation, but I believe you are not being charitable enough on that point about who he means by “rapists” and on which of those three the slymepitters are evidence of.

None of us owes PZ any charity, Aratina. Least of all when he is calling us rapists. Your statement about a “severely literal” interpretation is amusing, because Christian apologists spout the same thing when they encounter inconvenient Bible verses. Is that the sort of rhetoric you generally find convincing?

Bottom line: if PZ didn’t mean to call people rapists or accuse Michael Nugent of providing a haven for them, then let him clarify and apologize. That shouldn’t be difficult for a grown up like PZ.

120 Patrick January 15, 2015 at 12:55 am

Aratina Cage @113,

“Here Myers is very clearly asserting that some of the people who post at the Slymepit and who also post here at Michael’s blog are harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

I don’t believe he is saying that.

He is saying exactly that. I quoted him directly:

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

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

If you “believe” otherwise, your beliefs are in direct contradiction with the facts.

You see, he didn’t specify which of those three he meant.

The most direct reading of what he actually wrote is that he meant all three. His later doubling down confirms this.

I get that you are all trying to hold his feet to the fire with a severely literal interpretation, but I believe you are not being charitable enough on that point about who he means by “rapists” and on which of those three the slymepitters are evidence of.

He has had ample opportunity to clarify and yet has left exactly those words extant. There is no reason to read them more “charitably” (by which you seem to mean “counterfactually”), particularly in light of his subsequent comment.

“the most recent time he has had an opportunity to clarify, he simply doubled down. When commenter benwalsh raised the issue:”

There, it is my opinion that he means “rapists” as a generalization from one case that he wholeheartedly believes was rape.

It has already been pointed out by our gracious host that that interpretation is untenable. The discussion of the case you are referring to took place after Myers’ defamatory smears.

Where is your evidence that harassers, misogynists, and rapists post here? Without that, there is no defense of Myers’ claims. He owes Michael Nugent a retraction and an apology.

121 Patrick January 15, 2015 at 1:04 am

While you’re here, Aratina, I have another question: Why is it, do you suppose, that PZ Myers doesn’t just visit this site, clarify what he meant, and provide evidence for his claims?

My impression is that it’s because he’s a coward who has neither the evidence to support what he said nor the integrity to retract and apologize.

Do you have an alternative explanation that fits the evidence?

122 Michael Nugent January 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

Aratina #111

“Yes, it was only my opinion on the matter that his initial tweet was likely misconstrued.”

It wasn’t misconstrued.

It was questioned. Repeatedly.

PZ himself, in answering the repeated questions, provided the meaning that I and others are attributing to it.

PZ’s clarification is also consistent with the unambiguous meaning of the content of the tweet.

123 franc January 15, 2015 at 4:14 am

//Since when is providing someone’s real name “doxxing”? It isn’t. So don’t feel too neglected. XOXOXO//

Ratty, pardon me for not really caring who you think I am. But your assumptions share a commonality with everything that spews out of FTB – a yawning chasm of nothingness where there should be something that is citable evidence.

You have repeated the same gibberish about me ad nauseam… based on what? Gossip from Australia’s version of Stefanny Zwan – Chrys Stevenson. A woman that even admitted she didn’t really have faith in her memory of me and had nothing else to offer to back it up.

You folks are a disgrace to the human intellect. You don’t care who you doxx – all that’s important is that you have a corpse on a public gibbet. Whether it’s the right corpse or not is irrelevant to the howling ghouls you feed it to. FTB all over. Social Justice grand guignol theatre.

124 franc January 15, 2015 at 4:33 am

Jan Steen: //That is the very definition of doxxing, you moron. If somebody posts under a pseudonym and tries to keep their real name hidden, then publishing the real name is doxxing. In general* it can be said that the urge to dox betrays the incorrigible scoundrel.//

It actually also implies info found from public sources. This Rat creature has none – all he has is unreliable memory gossip. I’ve fine tooth combed google and all I can find is some small business owner and some retirees in rural Australia. Again, these clowns don’t care who it is they doxx, as long as it is seen that they have doxxed *someone* – to instill fear and deter any other critics that may speak up. By definition, this is *terrorism*.

As for the actual act of doxxing itself – it is the logical extreme of the ad hominem attack. It is also an admission of vacuity trying to defend indefensible nonsense. It is the last trump to play in the deck for ideological cowards that know they have been caught peddling egregious agitprop and have no other means to fight back.

125 Aneris ✻ January 15, 2015 at 5:29 am

Also, like I tried to explain, what if he felt there was nothing to apologize for, as if he had made a statement of fact? Can there be any resolution in such a case?

There this novel concept they call “evidence”. PZ Myers isn’t really the person who leaves out an opportunity to get has his detractors. When he doesn’t bring it on, he has nothing. In that case absence of evidence is evidence of absence. What’s more, how come that none of his followers entertain the most obvious of possibilities that he truly has nothing and just made it up. It was a successful and epic derail. I give him that.

OT: Formatting Test sub and sup tags
Dihydrogen Monoxide1 is a major component of acid rain and is suspected as a contributor to deadly storms like hurricanes. And it is used in food and personal hygiene, entirely unregulated.
1) H2O.

126 Michael Kingsford Gray January 15, 2015 at 5:34 am

It has come to the nadir when Assistant Professor Myers’ sole supporters are the calibre of intellectual and emotional maturity of “Deepak Shetty” & “Aratina Cage” (A Rat in a Cage).

A rat in a cage.

A direct allusion, (even if only subliminal), to the turning torture scene in Orwell’s dystopian FTB instruction-manual:- 1984.
Aratina is someone who actually volunteers to shelter behind the ægis of the very instrument of torture that managed to convert Winston Smith from rational free-thought sanity, to blithering unquestioning acceptance of the party-line via mental-torture.

A rat in a cage.

Quite the most aptly chosen nym that I have ever encountered.
You are to be congratulated in the honesty of your transparent non-disguise, I grant.

You are, unlike others, “exactly what you claim on the tin”.

127 Old_ones January 15, 2015 at 6:06 am

Michael Gray

A rat in a cage.

A direct allusion, (even if only subliminal), to the turning torture scene in Orwell’s dystopian FTB instruction-manual:- 1984.
Aratina is someone who actually volunteers to shelter behind the ægis of the very instrument of torture that managed to convert Winston Smith from rational free-thought sanity, to blithering unquestioning acceptance of the party-line via mental-torture.

That’s an interesting interpretation. I’ve read 1984, but I never made that particular connection. I always figured it was just a Smashing Pumpkins reference, but I guess that will be up to Aratina Cage to clarify if he/she/whatever chooses to.

128 John Greg January 15, 2015 at 7:38 am

Some of you may not know it, but in a Uriah Heap-like fit of celebration of the joy of learning and the thrill of expanding knowledge through experiencing different opinions, new ideas, and the pleasures of freethought and the dialogue of variety, Aratina Cage was a principal co-creator of the BlockBot.

So, do not expect any kind of intellectual rigour, honest dialogue, or conversational integrity whatsoever from it.

129 piero January 15, 2015 at 11:22 am

@Aratina:

It doesn’t matter who they are, what matters is that he isn’t making it up.

Names and evidence, please. If you are unable or unwilling to provide them, there’s no point in discussing the matter further.

What I do know is that some people believe they know enough about it and they, therefore, feel justified in what they say about it.

Of course some people feel justified in their beliefs. The point is that in order to present a convincing case their beliefs are irrelevant, and to make a public accusation in a blog post based only on belief is irresponsible.

130 Jesper Both Pedersen January 15, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Is it possible to file an international lawsuit against PZ?

131 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

If there were no history behind them, I’d be willing to give @Aratina a charitable reading of xir (no idea of gender and don’t care one single bit!) comments. However your past precedes you Aratina, and the doublethink you’ve shown on this comment thread is laughable. You’ve learned well from those at FtB and your block bot companions young padawan.

Now I grant you that the same could be said about many others in the community. That their past precedes them and that their commentary on such matters may be tainted with years of vitriol spewed at people. So lets focus here shall we?

Michael Nugent has been accused of providing a haven for harassers and rapists. It was said by PZ, backed up by PZ and clarified by PZ. For some reason you’d probably tell the Pope that he’s not Catholic because he once visited a mosque. PZ’s own words require no charitable readings any longer. PZ’s own actions online have proven time and time again that he nor any of his ardent followers are willing to budge on their ideological viewpoints, as of course, they’re 100% pure and righteous. You yourself have engaged in shunning community members and you expect people to take you seriously? You yourself have branded people misogynists, harassers and rape apologists and you expect to be taken seriously? You’ve single-handedly caused more damage to this community with your actions and you expect to be absolved of your sins and be treated like some sort of intellectual who has ANY valid commentary on being called a rape enabler or apologist?

I can appreciate that you seem to be making strides to back away from your civic thought policing activities – perhaps you can take a step back and realize all MN is doing is to stop the incessant smearing of named individual over identity politics.

So to you Aratina, I also say that I hope nobody does to you in real life using your real name that which PZ has done to Michael Nugent. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like seeing “rape appologist” next to your real life name on a google search. Not sure why that’s difficult for you to grasp.

Have a great day.

132 Aneris ✻ January 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Recall the recent “Avicenna Last” plagiarism situation as it illustrates a lot interesting and relevant things (and more I don’t have the space for).

Avicenna was a blogger at FreethoughtBlogs who was exposed as a faker, fabulist and plagiarist about two weeks ago {1}. The FreethoughtBlogs writers and community believed him, and PZ Myers even vowed for him and relayed fantastic stories himself {2}. The whole extent of Avicenna’s fabrications, often comical, are detailled on the blog “the Yeti’s Roar” {3}.

Avicenna fabricated mails he allegedly received and which were harassing or implicating him in some ways. They even cause him trouble at work, somehow. So he claimed. He posted these forged mails on his blog and rebutted them there. Then someone found out that these mails contained snippets copied from the web. PZ Myers (regular reader at the Slymepit) saw that and thought he could score a few points {4}.

PZ Myers wrote:It’s hazardous duty, writing on FreethoughtBlogs . There’s a small squad of vicious trolls waiting to make up stories about you […] trolls are the most uncreative, tedious people you’ll ever encounter […] they’ll just copy and paste some other rant they find […]

At this time, PZ Myers is convinced that those vicious trolls made up stories, and that those trolls are also plagiarists. That’s quite a stretch already, but let’s give him that he didn’t know better. Shortly afterwards, however, the other plagiarism was documented. This time the copied passages were not just in the alleged mails but all over Avicenna’s articles. A halfway reasonable person would now be compelled to accept that Avicenna made up the whole thing. What are the odds that trolls plagiarize in “vicious” mails which Avicenna regularly posted on his blog, and then somehow his other articles attributed to himself also contain copied passages? There are other lines of evidence, too that show that his mails aren’t genuine (check the sources), however, it’s pretty clear that Avicenna’s story falls apart and PZ Myers’ with it.

Now the plagiarism came out and that’s something where no mental gymnastics, no semantic games and other usual FreethoughtBlogs-style trickery would help. You can’t redefine anything this time, and there is no interpretational wiggle room. There was nothing they could do. Hence Avicenna had to be axed. If there were just a tiny space, perhaps the size of a tardigrad leg, then they’d invent all sorts of reasons as usual, and have a community ready who believes whatever they come up with. That’s plausible (if not already obvious otherwise) when you just look at how PZ Myers reports letting Avicenna go. As usual, imagine PZ Myers writing in a 1940s era newsreel tone {5}.

PZ Myers wrote One of our colleagues at FreethoughtBlogs , Avicenna, has been on the receiving end of an astonishing flood of hate and patently baseless accusations. […] all nonsense and known to us as completely bogus, pure dishonest attempts to harass him. Almost all of the accusations were lies.

That’s after it was shown with clarity that Avicenna was a faker. Even when PZ Myers is presented with a clear-cut, undeniable, hermetically sealed case – I can’t overstress this enough – he STILL can’t accept he’s wrong. This time PZ Myers knew that Avicenna was a plagiarist and no normal thinking person would cling to the story of plagiarizing trolls at this point. PZ Myers does. Not only can’t he admit that he was wrong, and that he was fooled, he warps the universe around and blames other people. This, too, is very typical for that side (see the ogvorbis story for one other example). Let’s turn to FreethoughtBlogs colleague Jason Thibeault, he had this to add {6}:

Jason Thibeault wrote: […] There’s one rhetorical sleight of hand for which I can’t forgive Hemant though, in his post. PZ had initially responded to the claim that Avicenna had plagiarized a piece of hate mail, a claim originated by those same trolls whose word we cannot take at face value.

Jason Thibeault ups the ante and even goes as far and believes in a “sleight of hand” of Hemant Mehta for which he “can’t forgive” and then he continues to claim that you can’t take the word of trolls at face value. *laughing pause*

At face value? The plagiarism and fabrication was documented extremely well. Hadn’t FreethoughtBlogs deleted Avicenna’s blog, we could erase any shred of unreasonable doubt that still persists, but it’s clear that’s not in the interest of these people.

In the big context this brand of unreason and manufacturing alternate realities can be shown all the way back to Elevatorgate, where PZ Myers claimed Rebecca Watson never called for a boycott of All-Things-Dawkins (she did {7}). Then as now, these people declared {8} those who know otherwise were all misogynists and trolls. Paraphrasing Jason Thibeault: it’s unforgivable that reality exists, and it doesn’t agree with them. Too bad about that. And those old, in between and new smears are simply in the same tradition as the “haven for…” ones, Michael Nugent received.

I know this mail to the Executive Committee is more about leaving a papertrail, and I understand why it’s important. I hope to have shown that we will get nowhere with these people, if that wasn’t clear already. That’s a dead end. Just demanding to “distance” from them also doesn’t work when you have people like Kathleen Johnson (VP, American Atheists) who are more worried {9} that her social justice warrior friends might get a bad reputation (for smearing and libelling and routinely spreading falsehoods).

Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
#1_patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/01/03/another-atheist-caught-in-case-of-serial-plagiarism/
#2_http://FreethoughtBlogs .com/pharyngula/2014/05/29/thats-some-mistake/comment-page-1/#comment-803513
#3_https://theyetisroar.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/the-fantastic-tales-of-avicenna-last-part-2/
#4_FreethoughtBlogs .com/pharyngula/2015/01/02/in-defense-of-avicenna/
#5_FreethoughtBlogs .com/pharyngula/2015/01/03/farewell-avicenna/
#6_FreethoughtBlogs .com/lousycanuck/2015/01/03/on-avicenna-plagiarism-and-thanking-those-who-regularly-cry-wolf-while-flailing-us-raw/
#7_gawker.com/5818993/richard-dawkins-torn-limb-from-limbby-atheists
#8_FreethoughtBlogs .com/butterfliesandwheels/2011/09/what-misogynists-call-outspoken-women/#comment-10098
#9_ patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2015/01/state-of-the-community/

133 Jesper Both Pedersen January 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

What’s really puzzling to me is that it was his worst enemy who busted him.

Yet everyone thinks he’s got his house in order.

He’s an amateur.

134 Shermertron January 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Aratina 111

You said:
“Well, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, especially with all the aggressive background commentary about him going on that your posts seemed to feed into. Also, like I tried to explain, what if he felt there was nothing to apologize for, as if he had made a statement of fact? Can there be any resolution in such a case?”

Intent is not magic. It doesn’t matter what PZ thinks about his factual smears about other people, including Mr. Nugent. PZ can deny that he’s unfairly accusing unconvicted (and uncharged) people of serious crimes, but the law and justice doesn’t care. What PZ has presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

And it’s interesting you try to defend PZ against the “aggressive” commentary about him, considering that this discussion is far less aggressive than any of PZ’s blog posts about one of his enemies.

Aratina 114

You said:
“I’m tired of the old war. I’m desensitized to it. I’m trying to move on from it.”

This comment is particularly entertaining coming from one of the administrators of the Block Bot, an organization that has smeared people like Barack Obama and Lady Gaga for thought crime against social justice.

135 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Aratina Cage @62,

So, PZ knows of a story from a woman that mirrors one of the stories told by the women accusing Cosby of raping them. It isn’t unreasonable, then, for him to call the person who did that to her a rapist.

Yes, it is entirely unreasonable because Myers has no way to know whether the allegations, as relayed to him by a third party or even by the alleged victim herself, are true or not. If and only if Myers knows that those allegations are true is he justified in calling the accused a rapist.
So, pray tell, what magical powers did Myers use to determine that the allegations were true? What investigation did he conduct to examine the allegations and the facts? Without such magical powers or an actual investigation, all he’s doing is spreading vicious rumors about serious crimes that might be true or might not be true.

And I hope you realize that no amount of porcupine quills plucked out of Pharyngula’s depths will remove the possibility that what PZ said is not a smear or false.

You seem to be saying that the mere possibility that Myers’ accusations are true is sufficient to justify said accusations and to make them reasonable, at least in your view. Or is this just the best defense you can muster – that what he said might have been true and therefore it’s not a smear? Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your point, but this seems absurd.

136 Hunt January 15, 2015 at 2:46 pm

@Aneris 132 Literally the day before the Avicenna affair went ballistic, Myers stated, based primarily on meeting the man for a few moments during a talk he gave in England, that “he is who he says he is.” This is the level of trust PZ seems to be willing to give to people officially within his “in-group”. At very least PZ has terrible judgment. I would tend to suggest that he’s just naive, but his naivete only extends to the group he considers his own. How can a person who is 1) educated 2) worldly 3) well-travelled and familiar with the full range of human behavior…be so utterly gullible? Avicenna had a blinking red warning indicator YEARS before he went down in a ball of flames. Nearly everyone on the SlymePit realized he was a fraud long before his clock ran out. He operated right under PZ’s nose without apparent detection. And even now, we don’t really know who he was or what he was, or the extent of his deception. In the short history of the blogosphere, it’s truly an extraordinary anomaly.

137 Billie from Ockham January 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

One short follow-up to FishCakes:

If you are having difficulty understanding how something like an under-evidenced yet public accusation of criminality can be unethical even when it is later shown to be true (which I am not claiming for this case) – maybe partly because the case in question here hits too close to home – try thinking about something like the attempts to rehabilitate Zimbardo’s Prison “Experiment” after Abu Ghraib, instead.

138 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

@Jan Steen
When you create your own facts the actual facts are not going to change your mind
suit yourself. Michael has repeated lumped the alleged rape incident along with the rest of his examples. He will preface the paragraphs with Myers demonises people (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/ – and then lists 4-5 things one of which is the publication of the alleged rape incident) – Myers smears people (and then lists 4-5 things one of which is the alleged rape incident)
To which I can only say – attempt at poisoning the well.

I suppose you will repeat well Michael didn’t literally say Myers demonized alleged accused – because you know paragraphs are just a nonsensical construct and titles are just throwaway terms and context and meaning are irrelevant to literal words.

The publishing of the alleged rape by Myers is NOT in the same category as any of the other things being discussed.

139 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Deepak @138,

The publishing of the alleged rape by Myers is NOT in the same category as any of the other things being discussed.

On this point you are correct. Publicly accusing someone of rape is far, far more serious than the other, more childish, smears that Myers seems so comfortable using. It’s far more damaging and it leaves Myers far more exposed to legal action for defamation or the like.

That’s what you meant, right?

140 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm

@Deepak Shetty,

The publishing of the alleged rape by Myers is NOT in the same category as any of the other things being discussed.

It certainly is in the same category, because even if for the sake of argument we accept that Myers was republishing the unedited account of the alleged victim, there is still the problem that the accusation also contained the statement that she knew five other women who had had the same things happen to them. That is definitely a second hand accusation, and one that has not been confirmed by any of these alleged other rape victims. I suspect that Myers has made no attempt to verify this second hand accusation, or if he did he came up with nothing. And yet he published his ‘grenade’ as if he was judge, jury and executioner.

We have firm evidence that Myers is a person who jumps to conclusions if it suits his agenda (see Avicenna, see Charlie Hebdo), so I think we shouldn’t trust anything the man writes that has not been independently verified.

141 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 5:13 pm

@Fishcakes,

It seems we have a small disagreement here. I think it is not just childish to accuse Michael of supporting rapists, or to suggest that the people who post on a certain forum are rapists.

142 Kirbmarc January 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

//He no longer encourages his commenters to tell people to shove a rotting porcupine up their ass, and they no longer tell people to die in a fire or fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw. //

He still writes passive-aggressive posts about how he “doesn’t wish” that people who simply post quotes of his own posts on his blog would commit suicide with a ball-peen hammer.

Aratina Cage @62:

//So, PZ knows of a story from a woman that mirrors one of the stories told by the women accusing Cosby of raping them. It isn’t unreasonable, then, for him to call the person who did that to her a rapist.//

The fact that an accusation might be true doesn’t justify spreading it on the Internet along with names. Accusing someone of a serious crime isn’t a trivial matter. You need to have a huge amount of evidence on your side before you make such a serious accusation in public, even if you believe the person that told you about it.

The “court of public opinion” is a very poor substitute for a court of law. When hearsay passes for truth and when an accusation is given absolute credence as a fact by those who proffer rumour and cynicism over evidence and jurisprudence, the world is truly worthy of shame.

143 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Jan Steen @141,

It seems we have a small disagreement here. I think it is not just childish to accuse Michael of supporting rapists, or to suggest that the people who post on a certain forum are rapists.

I think you and I are in complete agreement here and my previous comment was just poorly worded.

I was trying to say that Myers calling people “demented fuckwits” and the like are just childish insults, but that accusing someone of rape is in a different category all together. Accusing someone of rape (or other serious crimes) is far more serious than mere childish insults and calling people names.

However I agree with you entirely that accusing someone of harboring or supporting rapists is also more serious than childish insults and name-calling.

Myers’ smears are so numerous that we need a taxonomy to keep everything straight. At the least harmful end (level 1) we have childish insults and name-calling such as “demented fuckwit;” at the most harmful and damaging (level 3) we have accusations of serious crimes such as rape; and somewhere in the middle (level 2) we have accusations of misogyny and harassment, or accusations of people supporting, or harboring, or acting as an apologist for the ones who have been accused of serious crimes, etc.

144 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm

@Jan Steen
Myers was republishing the unedited account of the alleged victim, there is still the problem that the accusation also contained the statement that she knew five other women who had had the same things happen to them. That is definitely a second hand accusation, and one that has not been confirmed by any of these alleged other rape victims
And you can take that up with the alleged victim if you want right? Why include it in the list of Myers evils? Why categorize that under Myers demonizes people ? Why categorize that under Myers smears people other than your motive is to imply the allegation is another one of those things?

Its funny how alleged accused is treated with so much deference and concern about his reputation but alleged victims statement is treated with so much suspicion.

145 Shatterface January 15, 2015 at 6:19 pm

I think Deepak would have loved the Deep South back when all you needed was a rape allegation and you could lynch who the he you wanted.

146 Kirbmarc January 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm

// Why include it in the list of Myers evils? Why categorize that under Myers demonizes people ? Why categorize that under Myers smears people other than your motive is to imply the allegation is another one of those things?//

It’s a smear because it is a serious allegation of a heinous crime without any evidence but the allegation itself.

//Its funny how alleged accused is treated with so much deference and concern about his reputation but alleged victims statement is treated with so much suspicion.//

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence

From the wiki link: “The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty.”

147 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Deepak @144,

Its funny how alleged accused is treated with so much deference and concern about his reputation but alleged victims statement is treated with so much suspicion.

Are you competing for the world’s most face-palm-inducing inane comment, or what? Because this is really up there with the worst of them.

Tell us Deepak, if someone tells me that you are a rapist, how would you prefer that said accusation be treated? Would you prefer that the accusation be looked upon with suspicion and that you should be given the benefit of the doubt until a proper investigation is done? Or would you be fine with me publically repeating said accusation as if it were fact?

If you were consistent, you would of course prefer the latter approach, right? After all, why should anyone care about your reputation when we have the alleged victim to worry about, right? Me failing to publish that accusation and me withholding your name would be, in your (frightening) view, tantamount to protecting rapists, right? So you would agree that I would have an ethical responsibility to publish the accusation, right? Right?

148 Shermertron January 15, 2015 at 6:47 pm

@ Deepak 144

You said:
“Its funny how alleged accused is treated with so much deference and concern about his reputation but alleged victims statement is treated with so much suspicion.”

It’s funny how you instantly lend 100% credence to an allegation that the accuser workshopped on the JREF Forum and behind the scenes for years and STILL couldn’t get to make sense.

“Listen and Believe” is a shameful policy for anyone, let alone a skeptic.

149 john welch January 15, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Oh deepak:

It would still be a statement of opinion. For it to be a statement of fact, it has to actually be correct.

Alleged victim contacted Myers and made some allegations about alleged accused. That is fact. There should be no problem stating that with the actual names.

Nice try, but the only “fact” is that the alleged victim did contact myers with the statements they made. Those statements are not yet known to be facts, nor mind you, are the statements of the person accused. They are both yet untested.

The word for what they are is “allegations” with rebuttals of same.

That the allegations and rebuttals were made is fact. The contents of both are not fact, not yet. There’s a difference and it’s important. But, I’d expect nothing more than you.

Also, as I’ve pointed out before, maybe here, maybe in Michael’s previous post, the accused has regularly acted in a way that while not actually making him a rapist or even someone who sexually assaults someone, makes it very easy to believe. However, he’s hardly the only person treating conferences like they are the best meat markets ever. He’s not even close. There’s a gob of behavioral stupidity in that area from all sides.

But, if you think someone has committed a crime against you, while there’s nothing wrong with talking about it with people close to you, friends, etc., if you want something actually done about it, if you want there to be even a scintilla of a chance of something being done, then you have to report it to law enforcement authorities.

The fact that action entails huge amounts of suckage is immaterial. There isn’t a blog on the planet that ever put a murderer or rapist behind bars. And given just how astoundingly crappy human memory is, (http://nersp.osg.ufl.edu/~malavet/evidence/notes/thompson_cotton.htm is still one of the best examples of how someone acting in a completely trustworthy, rational and reliable fashion can be completely wrong. Ms. Thompson had no intention of screwing anyone over. She was acting in good faith throughout her ordeal and yet, she still fingered the wrong person multiple times. Human memory is crap, and trivially manipulated even accidentally. Which is why presumption of innocence is so important) I think it is important to keep in mind that accusation doesn’t ever, nor can it ever equal guilt.

that doesn’t mean you dismiss the accusation or treat the accuser poorly. You take them seriously, you treat them with at least basic decency, but you don’t just blindly believe every accusation is always spot-on.

This is not difficult, nor is it particularly controversial, and yet you and others act as though anything but blind belief is somehow victim-blaming or what have you. It’s nonsense.

150 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

, if someone tells me that you are a rapist, how would you prefer that said accusation be treated
If someone actually said that to you and you put it up with someone told me this , I dont know the truth – I have no problem with it.This probably means someone from your side might actually do this (ha ha so funny)

Or would you be fine with me publically repeating said accusation as if it were fact?
No one said it was fact. Look at Myers’ original post – It says
” I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described” – Thats a far cry from treating it as fact – This is a narrative that has been created by people who are called slymepitters.
So you would agree that I would have an ethical responsibility to publish the accusation, right? Right?
Ok Ill bite (but probably the last time). Suppose my technique is similar to alleged accused – Slip people more drinks sneakily and then see if I can take advantage of them when they are drunk. Someone you trust(X) tells you this about me – that I got X drunk than expected and took advantage of X. Next someone else you know(Y) is going out on a date with me.
What is the ethical course?
a. Do nothing.
b. Tell X that X needs to go to the police. Do nothing else. Refuse to listen to X why X didnt go to the police
c. Tell Y – that X has told me this , I have no idea whether its true or not – but be careful.

151 Jesper Both Pedersen January 15, 2015 at 7:13 pm

” if someone tells me that you are a rapist, how would you prefer that said accusation be treated”

With evidence.

152 Patrick January 15, 2015 at 7:20 pm

Deepak Shetty,

All enlightened legal systems recognize that some types of accusations cause real and lasting harm, even if later proven untrue.

libel per se
n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him/her of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his/her profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis), or dishonesty in business. Such claims are considered so obviously harmful that malice need not be proved to obtain a judgment for “general damages,” and not just specific losses.

Are you seriously advocating that the principle of innocent until proven guilty be abandoned?

153 Patrick January 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Deepak Shetty @150,

Someone you trust(X) tells you this about me – that I got X drunk than expected and took advantage of X. Next someone else you know(Y) is going out on a date with me.
What is the ethical course?
a. Do nothing.
b. Tell X that X needs to go to the police. Do nothing else. Refuse to listen to X why X didnt go to the police
c. Tell Y – that X has told me this , I have no idea whether its true or not – but be careful.

You left out what actually happened: d. Post the second and third hand allegations on a somewhat popular blog without providing any evidence or other details.

For the record, if X and Y were friends of mine, I’d recommend that X go to the police and mention the accusation to Y privately. I note, however, that the hypothetical you propose differs significantly from the events that actually took place.

154 Shermertron January 15, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Deepak 151

None of the vague accusations implied that the accused slipped people drinks “sneakily.” The patronizing accusation was that Voldemort offered the people around him wine refills. If you have been to a grownup party, this often happens. If you are a grownup, you can say “No thank you” when offered something you don’t want.

Funny you mention involving the police in rape accusations, seeing as how infrequently that has happened on your side of the rift.

155 piero January 15, 2015 at 8:19 pm

@DeepaK.

If someone actually said that to you and you put it up with someone told me this , I dont know the truth – I have no problem with it.This probably means someone from your side might actually do this (ha ha so funny)

Would you mind translating this for the benefit of our English-speaking friends?

156 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

Deepak @150,
You have a fair point in regards to Myers’ post not stating the accusation as a fact, and I appreciate you pointing that out. Though others have suggested that the post was edited after-the-fact and so I’m not sure the part you quoted was indeed included in the orginal (as opposed to having been added later). But assuming it was in the orginal, then I was wrong and I mischaracterized the nature of that post.

IMO, this slightly diminishes the unethical and defamatory nature of Myers’ initial post, but only slightly.

As to your hypothetical, as others have pointed out, it’s missing an option that aligns with how Myers actually reacted, namely (option d) publicizing the accusation on my blog. Did you leave that out because you don’t consider that as a reasonable way to react, or was it an oversight, or was there some other reason?

First I would encourage (in the strongest way) and offer to help the first friend to report the incident to the proper authorities and to seek out support from professionals and victim advocacy groups who are best equipped to help. Second, I would privately warn the second friend, making sure to provide full context and explain the level of uncertainty involved.

What I would never do is publish the accusation and name for the world to see. If I was worried about other people falling victim, I would publish a general warning and caution people to be extra careful, without naming anyone specifically. A public false accusation, especially one as emotionally charged as a rape accusation, could ruin a person’s reputation and have very serious consequences. Given the uncertainty involved, basic human empathy is sufficient to inform me that it would be unethical to publicly name names.

157 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 15, 2015 at 8:49 pm

@Deepak

“No one said it was fact. Look at Myers’ original post – It says
” I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described” – Thats a far cry from treating it as fact”

clap…… clap….. clap…… clap…… You are 100% correct. You are correct that PZ did say that he has no direct evidence of said rape. Either way, if PZ didn’t believe the accusations in his grenade post, can you show me where he stated that due process should be followed and that he doesn’t believe that named person is a rapist? NOWHERE does he say that and nowhere does he shut down commentary about outright accusations in his comment thread.

But I digress and let’s focus on why you’re here. What does the grenade post have to do with PZ accusing MN of providing a haven for rapists? Please enlighten me with your rhetorical superiority.

Again Deepak, this is the whole point of this. PZ coats himself in slippery words, but what is slippery about stating that someone unequivocally provides a haven for harassers and rapists?

158 Jan Steen January 15, 2015 at 8:53 pm

@Deepak Shetty,

And you can take that up with the alleged victim if you want right? Why include it in the list of Myers evils? Why categorize that under Myers demonizes people ? Why categorize that under Myers smears people other than your motive is to imply the allegation is another one of those things?

Because it was Myers who decided to post the questionable accusations of criminal behaviour on his popular blog, without properly investigating anything. Because it was Myers who allowed his most rabid and deranged commenter, Nerd of Redhead, to write:

This isn’t a legal matter. IT IS WARNING WOMEN ABOUT THE PREDATORY ACTIONS OF A KNOWN RAPIST. Complete with evidence.

Because it was Myers who at the same time deleted reasonable posts from commenters who objected to his kangaroo court. Because it was Myers who was already known to despise the accused and whose glee in this opportunity to stick it to him was almost tangible. Because it was Myers who resorted to mob justice, an abomination that cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. In short, because it was Myers who showed incredibly poor judgement in this whole affair. And that is putting it in the most charitable possible way.

159 Shermertron January 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Fish Cakes 156

I always saw “I have no personal information” bit of the grenade post as an attempt to weasel out of responsibility for making very serious accusations.

“Look, I don’t know for sure. I have no evidence. I can’t prove what I’m about to say. I could be wrong here, but a little birdie told me that Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar because Caesar gave him a VD. I can do no more than cast this dagger away from me. But the accusation I just made may or may not be true.” [Caesar has been dead for hundreds of years, so he can’t possibly be offended by my hypothetical…]

Here’s hoping we can track down the grenade post pre-edits.

160 FishCakes January 15, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Here’s a freezepage of Myers’ “grenade” post made (if I’m not mistaken) the day after the original went up. http://www.freezepage.com/1376039041HQQMDPRCAF
(h/t slymepit guest)

Looks like the “I have no personal, direct evidence” caveats were included in this version.

161 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 10:08 pm

@Patrick
You left out what actually happened: d. Post the second and third hand allegations on a somewhat popular blog without providing any evidence or other details.
Intentionally. We haven’t reached that point yet – if you say in my limited scenario that c. is unethical then we have fundamental differences and arguing on whether such things can be put on a blog post is pointless. So again is c) ethical? – Note that you are under no obligation to reveal who X is – X might have told you things in confidence. Y might even ask you who X is and you could say Im sorry I cannot tell you that (and Y is free to discount your information if they so choose)

If yes then Ill advance that scenario to say more than one person tells you they have dates with alleged rapist- Is it ethical to inform multiple people about what you have been told? If yes – then publishing a post on your blog has the same effect.

162 Shermertron January 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

161 Deepak

So at what point in your math equation do the fair and impartial courts get involved?

There is a show called Law & Order: SVU. The detectives on the show investigate sex crimes of all kinds. Now, the show is a fictional drama, but you may enjoy learning a little bit about how allegations of sexual malfeasance are dealt with by the law.

163 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm

@FishCakes
Did you leave that out because you don’t consider that as a reasonable way to react, or was it an oversight, or was there some other reason?
I left it out because I wanted to see where we diverge.
If telling a single person is ethical , then is telling multiple people also ethical?
What I would never do is publish the accusation and name for the world to see.
So you are saying it is ethical for you to tell your friend privately – but it is unethical to make that information known publicly? In other words you only need to tell people who come and ask you – putting out that information for the world to see makes you cross the line from ethical to unethical? why so? If you tell your friend privately and that friend tells another friend who tells another friend how are you better off than having a single publicly accessible place which notes down what is known?

164 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

an you show me where he stated that due process should be followed and that he doesn’t believe that named person is a rapist?
Hmm? neither you nor I know whether named person is in reality a rapist or not. So the question of belief that the named person is a rapist or is not a rapist does not arise. You are not a Judge and you are not being asked to convict anyone or jail anyone. I am free to evaluate what is known and draw my conclusions and so are you – The problem we are having is you seem to think that I should be denied access to some information.

As for due process – alleged victim has said why she didn’t want the police involved. I understand why – Apparently you don’t – perhaps you should read up on why sexual assaults are under reported. Did you also miss the fact that victim said she did report it to JREF? Did you miss what Randi had to say?

165 piero January 15, 2015 at 10:42 pm

@Deepak:
Stop making a fool of yourself. It’s painful to watch. You are not going to convince anybody, because your arguments are silly, and you won’t be convinced by anybody, because you are unable to recognize that a thing called reality exists which is independent of your wishes.

166 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 11:23 pm

@Aheydis Vaakenjab
But I digress and let’s focus on why you’re here.
Ok. You seem to be under the impression – as are others (some of whom are obsessed with FTB) that I am here to defend Myers.

I came here originally because I thought Michael Nugent was an ally – But as time went by and I see what he chooses to focus on I have re-evaluated that and I occasionally comment here to say why.
Let me give you a less emotionally charged example than the alleged rape.
Sam Harris supports a racist policy (racial profiling)
Myers call Harris a racist.
Does support for one policy make one a racist? Of course not. Is this one more example of Myers being quick to generalize and quick to post an insult – probably.
Michael Nugent thinks this is a big deal. This is harming atheists reputations – It is harming the movement! Myers has smeared Harris! Myers has demonized Harris!

Harris is an influential person and quite capable of defending himself any has many avenues to do so too.
On the other hand the policies Harris supports – they directly impact anonymous , non influential , brown skinned people like me – who are pulled up for extra checks every time we have to go through TSA. Michael Nugent as far as I know , hasnt spent much time telling Harris anything about how Harris’s support of stupid policies harms the (international atheist) movement .

Nugent could ofcourse have criticised both Myers and Harris – He hasn’t( as far as I know) – he’ll probably just say he hasnt taken a public stance in the matter , ofcourse he personally doesn’t support
racial discrimination and so on – while still saying nothing about Harris.
While it is probably true, that TSA policies would exist with or without Harris’s support, I dont want to be part of a movement
where influential leaders support such policies and other influential leaders keep mum about it – because it harms the public image of atheists while ignoring actual harm to rank and file members.

For the alleged rape incident – its more of the same.
Lot of tears for the reputation of influential alleged accused. Not much for alleged victim.
Ditto for Dawkins and his stupid tweets – lot of sympathy for poor Dawkins – none for his targets.

You’ll notice that none of this is a “defense” of Myers.

167 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 11:24 pm

@piero
It’s painful to watch.
So dont. Most browsers have a scroll bar that you can use.

168 Deepak Shetty January 15, 2015 at 11:30 pm

@Shermertron
So at what point in your math equation do the fair and impartial courts get involved?
Victim can always choose to go to the court. It would also be ethical to advise the victim to do so. It demonstrates a complete lack of empathy when you refuse to look at the details of this particular scenario.

For the scenario in question , the alleged victim chose not to do so. And you are now being told about this years later – You have to play the hand you are dealt.

169 Old_ones January 15, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Deepak

Ok Ill bite (but probably the last time). Suppose my technique is similar to alleged accused – Slip people more drinks sneakily and then see if I can take advantage of them when they are drunk. Someone you trust(X) tells you this about me – that I got X drunk than expected and took advantage of X. Next someone else you know(Y) is going out on a date with me.
What is the ethical course?
a. Do nothing.
b. Tell X that X needs to go to the police. Do nothing else. Refuse to listen to X why X didnt go to the police
c. Tell Y – that X has told me this , I have no idea whether its true or not – but be careful.

I know that option C is supposed to analogize what PZ did, but if I were to go about it in the way that PZ did, I would be committing defamation. If I told Y “I heard Deepak is a rapist but I’m not going to give you any details or evidence supporting that accusation” then I have committed defamation regardless of whether this was only communicated to my friend Y, or to my (hypothetical) highly trafficked blog. If I were to give specifics and evidence for my accusation, or better yet, warn my friend Y without making a specific accusation (e.g. “I heard X had a bad experience with Deepak, but I can’t really give you details; maybe you should ask X about her date with him last month”) then I haven’t done anything wrong.

If you are going to accuse someone of a serious crime (or make any kind of potentially damaging allegation of fact) it’s your responsibility to be able to back it up with specifics and evidence. This attempt by PZ and his supporters to emphasize that the grenade post was a warning is a red herring. Whether or not it was a warning the fact remains that the post was potentially a major liability to [named person], and that the way it was phrased allowed him no way of answering the charges. The original grenade post had an anonymous accuser, and the incident was at an unnamed conference with only vaguely described circumstances. Whether or not the grenade was thrown in good faith, the whole incident is a shining example of irresponsibility on the part of Myers, and a great example of why the community should decline his leadership.

170 Patrick January 16, 2015 at 12:31 am

Deepak Shetty,

I find your question of how best to handle what one considers a credible accusation of a serious crime interesting. In the context of this thread and the discussion of PZ Myers’ defamatory smears of Michael Nugent, however, they are a distraction. An uncharitable observer might consider them that distraction to be deliberate.

If you would like to take this topic to another equally fair venue, I’d participate. The purpose of this thread, though, is to document Myers’ egregious behavior and, hopefully, convince him to retract and apologize. (Yes, I realize that is unlikely in the extreme, but perhaps convincing a few of his supporters to have a quiet word with him is not out of the realm of possibility.)

Are you active on Freethought Blogs? If so, are you willing to call Myers on his libel?

171 Patrick January 16, 2015 at 12:36 am

(Assume that I have an edit button and that my first paragraph in 168 is grammatical.)

172 Aneris ✻ January 16, 2015 at 12:58 am

Deepak Shetty (166) wrote: I came here originally because I thought Michael Nugent was an ally – But as time went by and I see what he chooses to focus on I have re-evaluated that and I occasionally comment here to say why. […]

Michael Nugent was troubled with the unjust smears of Richard Dawkins and has laid out his thoughts on it. He criticized a group of people (surrounding PZ Myers) that was mainly responsible for these smears. Then Michael himself got smeared because the “wrong” people supported him. I hope you agree that this an adequate summary of the situation.

I know there are a lot of unstated assumptions. But they appear to be wonky. We can only guess and reverse-engineer them, since nobody takes the time and spell them out. I try to show it:

(1) Criticism of people outside of the movement is Usual Business. Virtually every blogger finds material elsewhere, cites it and then argues against it. This is nearly ubiquitous in the “atheist-skeptics movement”.

(2) Bloggers routinely criticize also a lot of people within this “movement”, and FreethoughtBlog writers are more on the prolific side. In that case, also, they would quote and then argue against it. There seems to be no upper limit on how often you can write on someone else. Everything that is public is also subject to criticism. “Sam Harris posted this on his Facebook wall, therefore I am not criticizing” it said no Freethoughtblogs writer, ever. In fact, volume and reach of Freethoughtblogs criticism of people within the movement is unmatched. So why the double standards? (Just a rhetorical question because everyone sees through it).

(3) Each article published on a blog also attracts commenters, from none to hundreds, who would typically add to the criticism. If we counted that, you are looking at hundreds of comments that might be critical of some other atheist, skeptic or sceptic in a given instance. This “movement” pretends that forum posts are like posting articles on a high profile blog. Of course they’re not and it’s clear that such equivalences are floated for a gullible Flock™ who can’t be bothered to think anything through.

Deepak Shetty (166) wrote: Let me give you a less emotionally charged example than the alleged rape. Sam Harris supports a racist policy (racial profiling) Myers call Harris a racist. Does support for one policy make one a racist? Of course not. Is this one more example of Myers being quick to generalize and quick to post an insult – probably. Michael Nugent thinks this is a big deal. This is harming atheists reputations – It is harming the movement! Myers has smeared Harris! Myers has demonized Harris!

Still, why should Michael Nugent care about the Voldemort Whataboutery? It has nothing to do with his original criticism of PZ Myers.

It’s very clear why you and other people do this: You are constantly busy in maintaining your Manichean worldview that pits “good people” against the “bad people”. The general smear tactic is about blurring the boundaries between whatever is deemed The Other. Hence, rapists, harassers, racist, trolls, and so forth (remember KKK, fascist …) all get thrown into a huge blender, then this toxic mixture is poured out over people who are somehow less supportive of PZ Myers and others the social justice faction. It’s a methodical well-poisoning and second nature of Social Justice Warriors. They, in turn, thrive by posturing themselves as the “good people” in contrast to the “bad people”, they create this way. The method also allows to straw man opponents, by focussing on the weakest of the so created opposing faction. Hence, you find no valid criticism ever. All trolling. All harassment. Even Michael Nugent’s fair and well sourced work get’s smeared by dropping “misogynist, harasser, rapist” next to his name. That’s been done for a long time now.

Deepak Shetty (166) wrote: Michael Nugent thinks this is a big deal. This is harming atheists reputations – It is harming the movement! Myers has smeared Harris! Myers has demonized Harris!

Check your privilege assumptions, see above. Why can PZ Myers in your example criticize Sam Harris, and why can’t Michael Nugent criticize PZ Myers? Because PZ Myers it the Pope of Atheism, the one true infallible leader? Maybe you think that smearing is not a big deal. Then spill it out.

Deepak Shetty (166) wrote: Ditto for Dawkins and his stupid tweets – lot of sympathy for poor Dawkins – none for his targets.

You want whataboutery and derail to protect the Holy Peezus, and you kick and scream like a Creationists confronted with a fossil. But then at least follow up and show what you mean. What targets would that be?

173 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 16, 2015 at 1:17 am

@Deepak

“Ok. You seem to be under the impression – as are others (some of whom are obsessed with FTB) that I am here to defend Myers.”

Right – have you called out Myers for his behaviour as you’ve done with MN? It’s a binary answer. IF the answer is no, then you are walking by the behaviour you deem to be acceptable while questioning MN’s behaviour. Perhaps MN is a softer target and thus why you’ve chosen to take this route. I can only speculate.

Deepak continues to say: “Sam Harris supports a racist policy (racial profiling)
Myers call Harris a racist.
[[snip]].. harming the movement! Myers has smeared Harris! Myers has demonized Harris!”

What does that have to do with Myers stating in no uncertain terms that Michael Nugent has a haven for rapists? Why all the handwaving and misdirection?

Deepak burrows further: “For the alleged rape incident – its more of the same.
Lot of tears for the reputation of influential alleged accused. Not much for alleged victim.”

That, quite frankly, is fucking rich. Absolutely rock bottom and par for the FtB course Deepak. Get off your high horse and perhaps READ what people have written over and over – that if the allegations are true, then said named person deserves all the punishment necessary. Of course you wouldn’t bother reading anything anyone who you’ve already “othered” to really understand what people think.

You’ve decided to reach for the nadir in discussion to score some kind of point. I believe you’ve reached it Deepak. I certainly hope you continue to post here to try to clear up any misconceptions in communication. However based on your remark, I’m taking my leave from this conversation as I now know you’re not interested in actually conversing but rather just projecting something sinister on others.

Have a nice day.

174 Shatterface January 16, 2015 at 1:21 am

Let me give you a less emotionally charged example than the alleged rape.

No, because it is precisely the emotional charge of rape accusations that makes Myers’ actions so sickening.

175 FishCakes January 16, 2015 at 1:34 am

Deepak @163,
Yes I believe there are substantial, material differences between telling one person something versus publishing it on a blog. I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this, but the potential harm done by publicizing on a blog is far greater than the potential harm done by telling one of your friends in private. Whereas you seem to be trying to suggest that there is no difference, in terms of the ethics involved. Sorry, but I guess my view is a tad more nuanced than that. I tend to stay away from such black-or-white, all-or-nothing approaches as you are suggesting.

As for what happens if my friend tells their friends who tell their friends, etc., that’s pretty simple. I am not responsible for the actions of anyone but myself. All I can do is try to act ethically consistently in my own actions, regardless of what anyone else does.

176 Michael Nugent January 16, 2015 at 2:18 am

Deepak #166

“I came here originally because I thought Michael Nugent was an ally – But as time went by and I see what he chooses to focus on I have re-evaluated that and I occasionally comment here to say why.”

Interesting. What did you think I used to choose to focus on, what do you think I now choose to focus on, and when do you think this changed?

177 Shermertron January 16, 2015 at 4:40 am

Deepak 164

You said,
“Hmm? neither you nor I know whether named person is in reality a rapist or not. ”

I agree. What a sensible thing to say. Then maybe he shouldn’t be referred to as a rapist in public.

Duh.

178 Aratina Cage January 16, 2015 at 5:45 am

@Michael Nugent #122
You wrote:
“It wasn’t misconstrued.

It was questioned. Repeatedly.

PZ himself, in answering the repeated questions, provided the meaning that I and others are attributing to it.

PZ’s clarification is also consistent with the unambiguous meaning of the content of the tweet.”

I really think that you two are just not on the same page on what is being said. In the things I have read, he doesn’t make any attempt to explain what he meant. The post you made earlier you called his “failure five times to justify his smear”. Let me go through those failures.

The first one he mentions slymepitters posting on this blog, which is true unless all the familiar names here are impostors of those there, but he doesn’t explain the tweet in any detail.

The second one also is all about the slymepit, but again notice that he evades clarifying the part about what he meant by “rapists”; he even gives a list of ways he would describe them, and “rapists” isn’t one of them.

In the third one, he talks about sexism, not rape, and also says that he thinks people are being attacked personally.

The fourth one is about the kinds of people one associates with, not about who he meant by “rapists”.

The fifth time he talks about what he thinks should be blogging priorities for atheists, but he doesn’t clarify anything about the original tweet.

So, I don’t think you’ve ever gotten a real explanation/clarification from him about that specific part of the tweet–the part that seems to have hurt you the most. That is why I wanted to let you know what I think was actually meant. And after all the things that have been written about it, I would definitely not consider that tweet of his to be unambiguous.

A slight tangent is how should we treat a known but unconvicted rapist or a highly suspected rapist. Would you immediately disown a friend if they turned out to have raped someone? Would you disassociate with them? Is everything they ever did, every moment you shared, garbage now? Or would your reaction be more along the lines of stopping hanging out with them or something that would decrease your interactions with them? How much would it affect your relationship with a friend if you knew or highly suspected they had raped someone, and does that have some bearing on how bad you think PZ’s tweet was? Me? I think human relations are messy and I don’t think anyone should feel too bad about being friends with a convicted rapist, let alone an alleged one. Maybe that’s foolish of me, but my experience has been that completely cutting off a long time relation who did something violent is hard, and I wouldn’t be moved to do it just because some bloggers yelled at me about it.

179 Aratina Cage January 16, 2015 at 7:08 am

@Jan Steen #116
It’s not that they are beyond all doubt those things, but that the people being referred to that way are thought of that way by PZ based on things they’ve done. How this makes me a dodgy scumbag is inconceivable!

@JetLagg #117
I looked through the links Michael provided and did not see PZ ever clarify them in the way Welch claimed they had been.

@Jan Steen #118

No, revealing someone’s name is not doxxing. Being anonymous or pseudonymous is a privilege, but that is not and has never been considered private information (with a few exceptions).

@Old_ones #119

Just because PZ won’t go out of his way to respond to you doesn’t mean I am wrong in my interpretation of his tweet.

I know, after reading a bunch of stuff that was being blogged about prior to that tweet, that PZ considered a specific person to be a rapist and that his contention did not sit well on this blog, so I believe that my interpretation of the tweet is the most reasonable one, though it differs from yours.

@Patrick #120

I already explained that it is most likely that he was providing evidence for a portion of his assertion, from which the rest would follow.

How about thinking about it like this: If someone had encouraged another person to get super drunk and then had sex with them, would that person find a blog that didn’t consider that rape to be more or less inviting?

And, please remember that I had nothing to do with that tweet of PZ’s or his other tweets. I wouldn’t have written that. I do, though, think I understand what he meant to convey, and I wished to share that with everyone here in an attempt to move the conversation on.

@Patrick #121

You asked:
“Why is it, do you suppose, that PZ Myers doesn’t just visit this site, clarify what he meant, and provide evidence for his claims?

My impression is that it’s because he’s a coward who has neither the evidence to support what he said nor the integrity to retract and apologize.

Do you have an alternative explanation that fits the evidence?”

I think it is probably because he doesn’t think it is worth his time to do that. Suppose he did–would anyone here accept it or would they continue to hound him? It is unlikely that any of it would stop. As for apologizing, he probably doesn’t feel he did anything other than be factual, and so finds no reason to apologize.

@franc #123

About all that, why all the complaining if everyone was wrong about it? Why does it continue to bug you? Probably because it is right. And it really doesn’t make any sense that you would give a fake name to a friend. So, you probably didn’t.

@Aneris* #125

You asked:
“how come that none of his followers entertain the most obvious of possibilities that he truly has nothing and just made it up.”

“Follower” is probably more accurate than him being my “idol”. 😉 As to the question, though, it is because I think the people who follow him are probably able to understand what he meant better than people who do not follow him.

@Michael Kingsford Gray #126

Thank you, sir. May I have some more?

@Old_ones #127

You are right about where I got it from.

@John Greg #128

New, pleasurable, thoughtful dialog like yours here? Hah! Don’t make me laugh! 😀 😀 😀

@piero #129

It shouldn’t be too hard to search the names of commenters here against the term “Pharyngula” and see for yourself.

@Aheydis Vaakenjab #131

I understand the position made by Michael about the tweet, but I also think it is a misguided position because it doesn’t consider more likely possibilities about what was meant. No one has to be charitable, but one might want to be if they don’t want to take things that are said the wrong way, even heated things.

And fooey on all those things you wrote about me; none of it is true. It’s such a warped view of everything I have done. And I don’t give a flying flip about “sins”! Sheesh! Go back to your church.

But yes, I think being called a “rape apologist” would be awful, even if it was true about me because I don’t firmly support every person who says they have been raped.

@Shermertron #134

You wrote:
“It doesn’t matter what PZ thinks about his factual smears about other people, including Mr. Nugent.”

I know. I was trying to provide our gracious blog host with a new perspective because I thought he was misunderstanding the tweet.

“this discussion is far less aggressive than any of PZ’s blog posts about one of his enemies.”

It may be less aggressive than some of PZ’s blog posts, but it still isn’t the kind of thing that will make him want to participate. Now *that* isn’t magic.

“This comment is particularly entertaining coming from one of the administrators of the Block Bot, an organization that has smeared people like Barack Obama and Lady Gaga for thought crime against social justice.”

I was not an administrator. I was a cheerleader from the beginning, and it was all in good fun as a bot and provided a desired functionality as a tool. And I love Lady Gaga and the US President, Barack Obama.

@FishCakes #135

I think you set the bar too high, as if one had to be there to have a reasonable personal judgement on the matter, when one really couldn’t have been there as an observer. If someone tells you they have been raped and the events leading up to it and after it, then it all depends on how much you trust them to be telling the truth about it, which can change depending on newly introduced evidence or a growing absence of evidence where it should be.

The mere possibility that his accusations are true from his point of view is sufficient to change one’s understanding of whether or not that tweet was a smear, was flatly false, etc. I think what happened in the comments here is that people here took “rapists” to mean themselves, and I contest that it did.

180 Kirbmarc January 16, 2015 at 10:10 am

// Is it ethical to inform multiple people about what you have been told? If yes – then publishing a post on your blog has the same effect.//

There is a huge difference between warning some people privately and writing a post for all the Internet to see.

PZ’ blog is a famous, popular one. It’s read and referenced by people from all over the world. It’s a public medium of information. Therefore Myers has the responsibility to check and double check the evidence he has before he publishes a story about a serious crime.

He also has the responsibility not to name names to the Internet before a sentence has been passed.

Recently Rolling Stone has come under scrutiny for publishing a story about a rape which wasn’t properly researched and turned out to be incoherent and inconsistent with reality.

Note that they didn’t publish the name of the accused.

Myers should understand that his blog isn’t a private diary, but it’s more similar to a newspaper. He should follow the rules of ethical journalism, which include how to handle a specific accusation of a serious crime against a named person.

181 Jan Steen January 16, 2015 at 11:08 am

Shorter Aratina Cage: PZ Myers is a lousy writer who can’t express himself properly and who can’t be bothered to clarify when he sees that his words are being misunderstood.

Noted.

No, revealing someone’s name is not doxxing. Being anonymous or pseudonymous is a privilege, but that is not and has never been considered private information (with a few exceptions).

You seem to think that doxxing is some kind of legal term. It is not. The prohibition against it is just an unwritten law of the internet. If you were right I could here refer to notorious Pharyngula commenters like Ogvorbis and Nerd of Redhead by their real names, and you would not consider that doxxing. Well, that’s your choice, but most people would definitely consider that doxxing.

182 Dave Allen January 16, 2015 at 11:45 am

A slight tangent is how should we treat a known but unconvicted rapist or a highly suspected rapist.

Hasn’t the (alleged) victim now walked back on using the term “rape” herself?

183 Aheydis Vaakenjab January 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm

@aratina

“I understand the position made by Michael about the tweet, but I also think it is a misguided position because it doesn’t consider more likely possibilities about what was meant. No one has to be charitable, but one might want to be if they don’t want to take things that are said the wrong way, even heated things.”

How can you possibly think that MN’s interpretation is misguided when it has been clarified by PZ himself. You’ve just got no horse in this race, and yet you think you’re winning some sort of nuanced English language award based on the holy scriptures of PZ. There is no charitable reading of PZ in this case. He accused MN and clarified his accusation.

“And fooey on all those things you wrote about me; none of it is true. It’s such a warped view of everything I have done. And I don’t give a flying flip about “sins”! Sheesh! Go back to your church.”

Usage of the word “sins” is not meant to be religious… figure of speech… nuanced English…. Thought you were an expert in such things.

So you didn’t have a hand in silliness like this:
_https://twitter.com/MAMelby/status/400752402111803393
or this:
_https://twitter.com/aratina/status/393614291217022976

Right. None of it is true. You got me there. You’d have much more credibility if you’d just say “Yes, I was a blockbot admin and I added people to a shunning list because they had an opinion on Atheism +”. Or better yet, “Yes, I was one of the main people who was involved in the time we added Lady Gaga to our shunning and othering list”. [rolls eyes]. You got me. I hereby retract my statement. You win.

“But yes, I think being called a “rape apologist” would be awful, even if it was true about me because I don’t firmly support every person who says they have been raped.”

Blasphemy! (I thought I’d just keep the religious tone to this response) Anyhow, thanks for the admission that you’d not like to have your REAL LIFE NAME associated with false allegations. Nice slippery slope line in there too with the “even if it was true about me”. Nicely done.

184 Patrick January 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Aratina Cage,

I note, again, that you never quote Myers’ actual words when constructing your apologetics for him. Here they are again, as documented by Michael Nugent, for your reference:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Rapist” has a very specific meaning that you cannot hand wave away, as does “misogynist”, for that matter (“harasser” seems to mean “anyone who disagrees with PZ Myers”). Myers is clearly and unambiguously claiming that there are misogynists (plural) and rapists (plural) posting on this blog. Further, he is claiming that those misogynists and rapists also post at the Slymepit.

Here is Myers doubling down:

benwalsh comments: 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.

PZ Myers replies: “it’s wrong for people to falsely and maliciously accuse him”
You got two adverbs twisted wrong-way around there. ITYM “accurately and forthrightly”.

Substituting in Myers’ words makes the statement “He [Michael Nugent] has this weird idea that it’s wrong for people to accurately and forthrightly accuse him of defending and supporting rapists . . . .”

None of what Myers has written indicates that he intends anything other than a literal meaning for his baseless assertions. Please explain, using these actual quotes from Myers with full context, how his unsubstantiated claims are not defamatory smears against Michael Nugent.

Myers owes Michael Nugent a retraction and an apology.

185 Patrick January 16, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Aratina Cage @179,

You asked:
“Why is it, do you suppose, that PZ Myers doesn’t just visit this site, clarify what he meant, and provide evidence for his claims?

My impression is that it’s because he’s a coward who has neither the evidence to support what he said nor the integrity to retract and apologize.

Do you have an alternative explanation that fits the evidence?”

I think it is probably because he doesn’t think it is worth his time to do that. Suppose he did–would anyone here accept it or would they continue to hound him? It is unlikely that any of it would stop.

I, for one, would be impressed by a sincere apology and retraction of Myers’ defamatory smears against Michael. If Myers genuinely recognized the harm he is causing with his trivialization of rape and abuse of others in the atheism and skepticism communities, that would be the best of all possible outcomes. We should be working together toward a more secular world, not dealing with internecine squabbles triggered by the small but vocal group of authoritarian leftists in our midst.

As for apologizing, he probably doesn’t feel he did anything other than be factual, and so finds no reason to apologize.

If that’s the case, his feelings are contradicted by the objective evidence of his own words. He needs to apply some skepticism and either support his claims or retract them and apologize.

186 Jan Steen January 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

@Dave Allen,

In an interview with Mark Oppenheimer published on BuzzFeed on 12 September 2014, she said (I’m respecting Michael’s wish not to name names here):

If she had to do it over again, [redacted] said, she would not use the word “rape” because “that seems to get people’s backs up immediately. If people prefer to use the term ‘creep,’ that’s fine. I’m telling my story, not giving testimony in court.” But she doesn’t regret speaking out. “It was intensely frustrating,” [redacted] said, to “watch other women walk straight into the same situation. I have no idea if anyone else was deceived in this way, and actually had a, for lack of a better term, I’m going to call it a ‘sexual incident,’ with him after that, but I do know that attendees were blissfully ignorant.”

I was also surprised by her statement that she had “no idea if anyone else was deceived in this way”, when in her earlier email to PZ Myers, as reproduced in the latter’s ‘Grenade’ post, she had said: “Ever since, I’ve heard stories about him doing things (5 different people have directly told me they [sic, presumably ‘he’] did the same to them) and wanted to just say something and warn people”.

What this apparent contradiction shows is that only a proper, independent investigation may be able to separate truth from fiction in this affair. It is foolish to blindly believe either the accuser or the accused. “Always believe the victim” may be a sentiment that makes some people feel good about themselves (“look how compassionate I am”) but its implications can be destructive, as demonstrated by the recent Rolling Stone case (about which the FTB crowd is conspicuously silent). “Always take accusations seriously and investigate” would be my motto.

187 Steven Carr January 16, 2015 at 2:05 pm

‘I look forward to hearing the procedures for bringing details of my complaint about PZ Myers to the attention of the Executive Committee.’

So Freethought Blogs don’t even have a formal complaint procedure?

Surely if they were serious about reducing harrasment, they would have a procedure in place to investigate any charges of harrasment that happened.

188 Richard "The King" Sanderson January 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Aratina Cage: I think it is probably because he doesn’t think it is worth his time to do that. Suppose he did–would anyone here accept it or would they continue to hound him?

Well, there are plenty of other reasons to continue hounding him. The fact that he is now a traitor to the liberal cause, for a start. Obviously, Michael is only concerned about specific comments from PZ.

It is unlikely that any of it would stop.

It never stops the #FTBullies.

As for apologizing, he probably doesn’t feel he did anything other than be factual, and so finds no reason to apologize.

It has been proven that PZ is fibbing, so any suggestion that he thinks he is being “factual” is itself a massive fib. PZ needs to apologist to Michael. For me, of course, that would not be enough – I want him on his knees grovelling and paying compensation for the enormous damage he has caused, and then shunned and purged from the atheist/secular movement. I have a bucket of tar and some feathers waiting as well. We don’t need traitors (see his attitude over Charlie Hebdo!) in the liberal atheist/secular movement. AFAIAC, deepen those f***ing rifts!

189 Lancelot Gobbo January 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Jan Steen wrote:
If you were right I could here refer to notorious Pharyngula commenters like Ogvorbis and Nerd of Redhead by their real names, and you would not consider that doxxing. Well, that’s your choice, but most people would definitely consider that doxxing.

How about that Aratina? Would you like to confirm that it is completely OK in your view for Jan to publish the real life names of those two individuals? I’d have to agree with him that most people would call it doxxing, but I’d like to see how consistent you are in applying your views.

190 Richard "The King" Sanderson January 16, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Aratina Cage: The fourth one is about the kinds of people one associates with, not about who he meant by “rapists”.

Intent isn’t magic. [I wonder if the #FTBullies are constantly gnashing their teeth at the fact their silly soundbites and rulez can be thrown back in the faces all the time!)

Also, stop trivializing rape. That is what you are doing by misusing the term “rapist”. It has a specific meaning, and as of 2015, there is only one “rapist” who blogs at either Michael’s blog or FTB. His name is Ogvorbis, and he does not post here, and he DOES post at his safe haven of Pharyngula.

191 FishCakes January 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Aratina Cage @179,

I think you set the bar too high, as if one had to be there to have a reasonable personal judgement on the matter, when one really couldn’t have been there as an observer.

I strongly suspect that you would think my bar is just the right height if you were the one who was the target of unfounded public accusations. Or if it was one of your loved ones, perhaps. It’s very easy to lower the bar when you aren’t the one who is forced to live with the repercussions of doing so, isn’t it?

Also I’m not suggesting that one “had to be there”. I’m merely suggesting that “this other person told me something” is not sufficient, especially when it comes to such serious accusations as rape. There is a whole world in between these two extremes.

The mere possibility that his accusations are true from his point of view is sufficient to change one’s understanding of whether or not that tweet was a smear, was flatly false, etc.

What you seem to be saying is that [as long as the accusation is not logically or physically impossible] then it’s not a smear. That the “mere possibility” of the accusation being true is enough, in your mind, to justify it and to classify it as something other than a smear. In effect, this opens the door to any and all accusations, save for ones that are logically or physically impossible. By this measure, calling someone a “married bachelor” would be off-limits, but suggesting they might be a serial child killer (despite having zero evidence that such is the case) would be just fine, because, after all, it’s at least theoretically possible that someone is a serial child killer.

Please tell me that I have misunderstood your point, because this seems like a patently absurd way to decide whether an accusation is justified/ethical or not.

192 JetLagg January 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Aratina@179
I looked through the links Michael provided and did not see PZ ever clarify them in the way Welch claimed they had been.

Then state as much. Quote the relevant links and explain why you don’t believe they support the conclusion we’ve all reached. Instead of that, you ignored them, pretended they didn’t exist. That’s disingenuous and part of the reason I don’t believe you’re here for an actual conversation.

No doubt you could explain why Michael’s linked material didn’t support his conclusion, as we’ve all witnessed your impressive mental gymnastics. However, I think, in your heart of hearts, you understand why such tactics reveal the weakness of your position, and thus you resort to pretending no evidence was provided for the claims being made here.

193 piero January 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm

@Aratina:

It shouldn’t be too hard to search the names of commenters here against the term “Pharyngula” and see for yourself.

Translation: “I made a statement I cannot support with evidence, so I’ll use the well-known trick of burdening the questioner with the task of finding that evidence. Thus, anyone browsing this blog will realise what a dishonest scoundrel I am.”
Nice. Keep it up.

194 Carrie January 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm

It is interesting that the accuser / alleged victim later stated that she wished that she has not used the term “rape” and that if people wanted to call her alleged attacker a “creep” instead she would be fine with that.

To me, rape is a very serious crime. To be a creep, not serious at all. The way in which PZ and co freely throw around terms such as rape and misogyny is troubling, as it belittles them. Also harassment; people go to gaol for that.

Please stop using these words so lightly, PZ. And apologise for accusing Michael of providing a haven fot rapists, misogynists and harassers

195 Deepak Shetty January 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm

@Fishcakes
but the potential harm done by publicizing on a blog is far greater than the potential harm done by telling one of your friends in private.
Sure. You haven’t yet said whether telling multiple people (in private or even collectively – say a group of people told you that hey we have an after conference party with [named accused] ) is ethically justified or not.
Ultimately you are weighing harm (to reputation, to speaking engagements , job opportunities) against harm (people who have this bit of knowledge may be able to have a few safeguards in place).
It isn’t a slam dunk as many of you’ll seem to feel that the first harm so clearly outweighs the latter and the repeated insistence that yes it is makes me question your motives.

196 JetLagg January 16, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Deepak said:
On the other hand the policies Harris supports – they directly impact anonymous , non influential , brown skinned people like me – who are pulled up for extra checks every time we have to go through TSA.

The policies Harris supports (and it’s not clear he continues to support them, as he later discussed the matter with a security expert who explained why they were stupid) are hypothetical, as in they don’t actually exist. If you’re saying the TSA pulls you aside because of your melanin, then you, my friend, are full of shit.

Also, this is a tangent. Stick to the actual topic. I only respond here to correct a statement that is simply counterfactual.

197 Lancelot Gobbo January 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Deepak Shetty mumbled:
@Fishcakes
but the potential harm done by publicizing on a blog is far greater than the potential harm done by telling one of your friends in private.
Sure. You haven’t yet said whether telling multiple people (in private or even collectively – say a group of people told you that hey we have an after conference party with [named accused] ) is ethically justified or not.
Ultimately you are weighing harm (to reputation, to speaking engagements , job opportunities) against harm (people who have this bit of knowledge may be able to have a few safeguards in place).
It isn’t a slam dunk as many of you’ll seem to feel that the first harm so clearly outweighs the latter and the repeated insistence that yes it is makes me question your motives.

Publishing defamatory material on a blog, in a book, in a newspaper (libel) isn’t so different from whispering it in a single ear or yelling it at a large crowd (slander). In either case the plaintiff only has to show that one single reader or listener regards the material as being defamatory. The reason why you think of them as being different is the reduced chance of being caught if you have a quiet word of warning with a close friend. In fact, when you do that, you have just incurred the same risk of prosecution and damages as printing the same material in the headlines of a national newspaper.

Now to turn to the bolded section of your quote, might I ask what you are implying, exactly, when you question the motives of “many of you’ll”? Let’s ignore the unusual grammar as irrelevant, and not even possibly exculpatory. I ask you to explain exactly what you are suggesting our real motives are (you see, one possible and rather obvious imputation is that we would cover up a crime rather than do harm to the reputation, speaking engagements and job opportunities of the accused individual). That would be a defamation of our characters, would it not? Please list the names of the individuals that you would like to libel this way. Just for future reference.

198 Billie from Ockham January 16, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Interesting how Deepak Shetty (in Comment #195) has returned us to the “harm-ratio” argument, where the justification for making an accusation depends entirely on the damage caused by the crime, itself, vs the damage of being accused of committing the crime. My request is that, if Deepak Shetty is going to use this argument, he or she takes a look at what PZ Myers has said about the damage of being accused of sexual criminality. If I recall correctly, PZ Myers said that an accusation of sexual harassment could end his career, even if his accuser had no evidence. In other words, while you might be able to try to use the “harm-ratio” argument in other contexts, it can’t be used to defend PZ Myers’ actions as he already declared that the harm of a false accusation is very high.

But my larger objection to the “harm-ratio” argument is how it only uses two inputs for the calculation: the harm of the crime – assuming it occurred – being repeated vs the harm of accusation – assuming it is false – being made in public. (Actually, it sometimes also uses base-rate information, as well, but that hasn’t been done here yet.) That is much too simplistic for me. In fact, I would argue that the “harm-ratio” argument is purposefully simplistic; it is designed to ignore highly relevant information in order to justify making an accusation (often for completely separate reasons). In other words, the simplistic “harm-ratio” argument is a derail of sorts, designed to distract us away from something important.

At a minimum, the “harm-ratio” argument must be expanded to include the amount and quality of evidence for the accusation. You are still free to continue to take the “harm ratio” into account when deciding whether to make a public accusation; I agree that this is relevant. And you can even include base-rate information, if you wish (as long as it is defensible base-rate information). But you must also take the amount and quality of the evidence into account, as well. Any comment that focuses entirely on the “harm ratio” and doesn’t also include the amount and quality of the evidence is, in my opinion, purposefully simplistic and, therefore, purposefully dishonest.

199 Deepak Shetty January 16, 2015 at 5:28 pm

@Michael Nugent
Interesting. What did you think I used to choose to focus on, what do you think I now choose to focus on, and when do you think this changed?
I’ll summarise it – you focus on the harm public figures in atheism suffer (to their reputations) while you don’t spend time looking at the harm these figures do with some of their views . Your position on their views is unknown.
You focus on harm to the “atheism movement” – but you actually haven’t defined what are these movements goals and ideals are? As far as I can tell – any attempt to actually define these goals and ideals usually leads to a bunch of abuse being hurled along with the mandatory atheism doesn’t have any logical consequences – or stop trying to taint the atheist movement with liberal values!

You also
a. grouped the alleged rape incident with others in the category of “demonises” people or “smears” people. To me this looks like an attempted well poisoning
b. You instituted policies of redacting a particular name – ostensibly because of libel or defamatory laws (I dont see how you can possibly be sued if I say Myers reported an incident on his blog about alleged accused and alleged victims on your blog) – Its the moral equivalent of the RCC redacting names of priests (who are accused of coverup but havent yet been convicted). We are the side that favors facts being out in the open – and it is a fact that a named victim has alleged that named accused effectively raped her. So I question your commitment to facts being out in the open – you didnt have to take a stance on the truth or falsehood of the accusation.

c. You took a generic approach to the alleged rape incident – You refuse to see the specifics of the case.

d. You refuse to see why some people see you as someone who “defended/supported” an alleged rapist. Its obvious that you wont agree but it doesn’t appear that you understand what is being said.

e. One part is unfortunate – You are not responsible for the people who comment on your blog – but it is difficult to have any conversation with you on your blog. Its why after my SIWOTI infection has quietened, Ill probably rarely return to your blog.

200 Michael Nugent January 16, 2015 at 5:36 pm

“I came here originally because I thought Michael Nugent was an ally – But as time went by and I see what he chooses to focus on I have re-evaluated that and I occasionally comment here to say why.”

Deepak, thanks, that’s a useful summary of what you think I now choose to focus on.

To complete my understanding of your opinion, when you thought I was an ally, what did you think I chose to focus on then, and when do you think this changed?

201 jimthepleb January 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Oooh nice sneaking in of the word ‘alleged’ there Deepak.
You really don’t get Irish/British libel law do you. Even in the context of ‘defending’ an accused person you are continuing to disseminate the defamation. Therefore MN would be culpable.

202 Old_ones January 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Aratina Cage to Michael Nugent

(details how five responses to Michael Nugent don’t really address the “providing a haven for rapists” allegation)

So, I don’t think you’ve ever gotten a real explanation/clarification from him about that specific part of the tweet–the part that seems to have hurt you the most. That is why I wanted to let you know what I think was actually meant. And after all the things that have been written about it, I would definitely not consider that tweet of his to be unambiguous.

Aratina Cage to me

Just because PZ won’t go out of his way to respond to you doesn’t mean I am wrong in my interpretation of his tweet.

So according to you PZ is the kind of person who will make inflammatory accusations without really meaning them, and then refuse to take responsibility when they are taken at literal face value. Well, I actually agree with you. If PZ is being misunderstood he definitely doesn’t care enough to make amends, and in general PZ seems like he cares much more about whether his latest pile of bombastic intolerance will “make a splash” than whether he is fairly characterizing its target.

Maybe you can go further and explain why I should care what PZ actually meant, if he isn’t willing to explain it? I don’t think any of us is being unfair by holding him to the literal meaning of his words, so I find it wholly irrelevant whether you are right about how he might have been misunderstood.

203 FishCakes January 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Deepak @195,

It isn’t a slam dunk as many of you’ll seem to feel that the first harm so clearly outweighs the latter…

It isn’t a slam dunk? What does that even mean in this context? That phrase is typically used when discussing probabilities, whereas we are discussing whether a particular action was ethical or not. Are you suggesting that we ought to be trying to figure the probability as to whether Myers actions were ethical or not? Sorry I just can’t follow your train of thought.

204 Deepak Shetty January 16, 2015 at 6:18 pm

@FishCakes
It isn’t a slam dunk? What does that even mean in this context?
When you say it is morally justified to tell a single person about an accusation – you have weighed two harms and come to some conclusion correct?
When you say it is not morally justified to post the same thing on your blog – you have again weighed two harms and come to your conclusion.
what you are portraying , however is that people who come to a different conclusion are obviously wrong in their evaluation of these two harms (hence “slam dunk”) – and youll repeatedly assert that it is wrong without showing how one harm so outweighs the other.

205 piero January 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm

You are not responsible for the people who comment on your blog – but it is difficult to have any conversation with you on your blog.

If you want to have a conversation with Michael without the bothersome interference of other people, send him an e-mail. You know, those text messages you can send to someone at a private address. If you look carefully, you’ll notice a “Contact” button at the top of this page which, when clicked, provides the required information. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. I’m sure you’ll manage.

206 Michael Nugent January 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Aratina #178

So, I don’t think you’ve ever gotten a real explanation/clarification from him about that specific part of the tweet–the part that seems to have hurt you the most.

It wasn’t merely that it was hurtful, it was an allegation of defending and providing a haven for rapists (and later of supporting rapists), which is an extremely serious and defamatory allegation to make.

But putting aside our respective characterisations of that, do you think that PZ has a responsibility to give me a real explanation/clarification about that specific part of the tweet?

That is why I wanted to let you know what I think was actually meant.

Thanks for that. I appreciate what you are trying to do. But you are not the person who made the allegation.

Do you think that PZ, as the person who made the allegation, has a responsibility to give me a real explanation/clarification about what he meant?

And after all the things that have been written about it, I would definitely not consider that tweet of his to be unambiguous.

Well, the meaning of the words is clearly unambiguous by the standards of knowledge of English grammar that one would expect from a university professor.

If PZ didn’t mean to allege what he actually alleged, do you think that he has a responsibility to give me a real explanation/clarification about what he meant?

207 Old_ones January 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Deepak

Ultimately you are weighing harm (to reputation, to speaking engagements , job opportunities) against harm (people who have this bit of knowledge may be able to have a few safeguards in place).
It isn’t a slam dunk as many of you’ll seem to feel that the first harm so clearly outweighs the latter and the repeated insistence that yes it is makes me question your motives.

If you have an airtight case that {person X} raped {person Y} then you are free to publish that information anywhere you want. If {person X} sues you, you will win the lawsuit because allegations that are demonstrably true are not defamation. The problem arises when you don’t provide sufficient specifics and evidence for the claims to be evaluated, or when the claim turns out to be false.

Real journalists make devastating allegations against people all the time. The reason talk of defamation doesn’t usually come up in those cases, is that they usually make sure they are able to provide specifics and evidence. You might notice that Bill Cosby isn’t trying to quash the people accusing him of rape by threatening defamation suits. That might be because his accusers had the courage to come forward with the allegations as identifiable individuals, and provide specifics related to the circumstances and the actions that they were alleging. In fact some of these accusers are so confident in their allegations that they are suing Cosby for calling them dishonest.

If PZ couldn’t live up to that standard but still felt he needed to warn women of the A/S community about rapey behavior, he could have done that without accusing a named person of rape. He could have written about how a person he trusts claims to have been raped by “a prominent skeptic” and about the methods that person uses. The vagueness might still raise some of the same questions, but at least he wouldn’t be defaming anyone.

Disclaimer: IANAL and this isn’t legal advice. Its just the way I think PZ should have conducted himself.

208 Deepak Shetty January 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm

@Michael Nugent
when you thought I was an ally, what did you think I chose to focus on then,
I only knew about you in passing – probably you were mentioned in Ophelia’s blog. I believe you focused on secular – church/state issues (I didnt know enough coming into this if that was your sole focus)
I also do know that you did speak out during post-elevatorgate and you can justifiably make a case that you are continuing that when you call out Myers for some of the things he said. i.e. you are for more saner forms of discourse in the atheist movement.
I repeat I am not opposed to that , it is even healthy for the movement for you to have initially called out Myers and I know that even if things were different you’d probably have been dismissed(incorrectly) as a tone troll by some on this side. It is in fact pretty hypocritical for some of us to ask people to treat women without abuse and then come out in support of off the cuff vile abuse (in rare cases I might find some abuses justified or understandable).

But you started this sometime last year – its been what 3-4 months and yet I cannot say I know anything about what your actual positions are (for e.g. do you support Harris on racial profiling?) . I know why Myers called some of these names – I dont know your positions and I dont know your motives. I do see a movement where figures are being put on a pedestal (Myers included) and I see you paradoxically contributing to that.

I get that a lot of it has become personal and also that you have unfairly been tainted by association as well.
I have some sympathy towards you for that but Im also aware of some of the things people who comment here have said and done elsewhere so perhaps I excuse some of the things that you probably wont.

And with that – thank you for your time , I probably will not comment further.

209 Bemused observer January 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm

@Deepak Shetty
“I have some sympathy towards you for that but Im also aware of some of the things people who comment here have said and done elsewhere so perhaps I excuse some of the things that you probably wont”

What do things that people have said elsewhere have anything to do with..well anything really?

210 Patrick January 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Deepak Shetty @208,

But you started this sometime last year – its been what 3-4 months . . . .

Michael did not start this, PZ Myers did with his defamatory smears.

Do you recognize that Myers’ tweets about providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists are defamatory?

Do you recognize that Myers has provided no support for his libelous assertions?

If so, are you willing to call for Myers to retract and apologize?

211 JetLagg January 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

I believe he is saying he, unlike Michael, excuses Myers’ smear of Nugent, because pitters comment here.

Refreshingly honest, if that is what he intended to say.

212 john welch January 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Aratina:

@JetLagg #117
I looked through the links Michael provided and did not see PZ ever clarify them in the way Welch claimed they had been.

Given you still seem to insist that PZ didn’t really mean what his words said, I am completely unsurprised by this. Because after all, words mean whatever you wish them to. Smurfermore, smurf smurf smurf, smurf smurfy smurf smurferrrific!

I often wonder what it would take for PZ to say this in a way that would get you to admit he ever said it, but then I realize i’m talking about R. Kelly’s Grandma – levels of proof, and that you literally wouldn’t do so even then.

Oh, and on this (including Jan’s reply):

No, revealing someone’s name is not doxxing. Being anonymous or pseudonymous is a privilege, but that is not and has never been considered private information (with a few exceptions).

You seem to think that doxxing is some kind of legal term. It is not. The prohibition against it is just an unwritten law of the internet. If you were right I could here refer to notorious Pharyngula commenters like Ogvorbis and Nerd of Redhead by their real names, and you would not consider that doxxing. Well, that’s your choice, but most people would definitely consider that doxxing.

What a load of shit. recently, in a pharyngula thread, someone had great fun trolling the commenters by using random PZ quotes as responses. In that thread, someone referred to a commenter by their “meatspace” name, not the nym they used on the board.

The unified, uniform response? That said person had been “doxxed”. So if you don’t really think that, you may want to go educate PZ et al on it. Tell them they’re wrong to consider revealing a meatspace name doxxing. I have a fresh supply of popcorn and a three-day weekend.

Deepak:

again, you try to distract from the only point Michael has had by demanding he talk about two completely different people, namely Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

What’s the point? His issue with PZ has, literally, nothing to do with them. Nothing at all. Neither of those two said he was providing succor for rapists.

Well, i know what the point is. If you can get people to go down that rabbit hole, then the actual point is forgotten.

Oh, and on this:

For the scenario in question , the alleged victim chose not to do so. And you are now being told about this years later – You have to play the hand you are dealt.

that still doesn’t make the accusation fact. Nor does it make it untrue. It is then, forever, an accusation, with no chance of resolution at all.

Lancelot:

How about that Aratina? Would you like to confirm that it is completely OK in your view for Jan to publish the real life names of those two individuals? I’d have to agree with him that most people would call it doxxing, but I’d like to see how consistent you are in applying your views.

How about asking if it’s okay to publish Aratina’s name, whatever that is? (I do not know, and that ignorance brings me no small level of happiness.) I mean, I’m pretty sure they can tell us if that’s okay or not.

213 Aneris ✻ January 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Here is a short information {1} on Irish Laws regarding defamation: Since 2009, there is no longer a distinction between libel and slander but a “tort of defamation” including both. That’s “a statement that tends to injure a person’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society”. This is clearly the case with PZ Myers statement on Michael Nugent. He and his followers might not see it that way perhaps because they aren’t reasonable members of society. Michael Nugent has one year to bring it to court from the date when the defamatory statement was first published. Also, defamation is actionable without that any damage has to be demonstrated (but damages if they can be demonstrated count in addition).

Likewise, would Michael Nugent publish statements that describe someone as a rapist, he could be sued for the tort of defamation. What about comments? That’s a grey area.

The EU legal framework governing [owner of a site] liability for hosting defamatory comments is primarily governed by the so-called ‘notice and takedown’ mechanism. […] However, recent judicial decisions have blurred the boundaries of the ‘notice and takedown’ safe harbour and there is now evidence of a trend across Europe whereby courts are imposing greater responsibility on [owners of a site] […] {3}

Not naming a name is actually not a good defense. When the reference is clear, then it’s still a defamatory statement. However, normally a warning to the host would be the appropriate course of action first and then Michael could simply take it down.

Using some synonym only prevents that the name is searchable. It is clear for me that you don’t want your blog on “Atheism, Reason, Skepticism, Happiness” named after your name to appear on top of Google with potentially defamatory content.

So why does Aratina and others expect Michael Nugent to carry the burden of hosting potentially defamatory statements, and smears his blog with it, where PZ Myers and others would simply swing the banhammer? Why don’t they host the discussion if there is apparently a need among their followers?

Likewise, they seem to want that Michael Nugent carries the burden of their agenda. The main defence against defamation in Irish Law is the Defence of Truth. That would mean that provided that Michael Nugent was sued for defamation, he would have to show that his statements were true. This would be perverse. If PZ Myers or Aratina and other people want to champion the case, then they can go ahead and bring it to court, or expose themselves in the same way as they expect it from others.

Of course we see the reason why this is brought up. It’s a simple derail and a smear. Just the ordinary bully tactic of FreethoughtBlogs. If you aren’t supporting them, fully, then you are Fair Game. I wrote over a year ago (Sept 6, 2013) on my blog {4} the following:

Mr Dalton [of Mr Deity fame] of course got the Social Justice League treatment as well, in a somewhat milder form, since the main target was [redacted] and now Dawkins (if you read this in the far future, it is probably someone else’s turn). Their first method of choice is typically smearing when they can, especially when someone’s real identity is on the line, where they try to inflict greatest damage. This is done preferably by just inventing appalling views to rally against, by invoking one of their “killer memes”. And it cuts both ways, it creates a foil to farm social justice points and gets rid of a critic by undermining their reputation.

Making that prediction was as difficult as boiling water. Everyone knows it and it’s really the same thing all the way back. Rationalisations come and go, but really the pattern was there all the time.

Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
#1_ lawyer.ie/defamation-act-2009
#2_lawyer.ie/defamation
#3_ irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/analysis/internet-defamation-who-is-legally-responsible-for-online-comments-266171.html
#4_discordiantimes.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/blaminghelen/
(you’re warned, overlong, “weird” and incoherent)

214 Shermertron January 16, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Deepak 199

You said,
“We are the side that favors facts being out in the open – and it is a fact that a named victim has alleged that named accused effectively raped her.”
You have not kept up with the issue and you have not read this thread. The accuser specifically said that if she could do it all over again, she would not use the word “rape.”

But that’s the problem. You CAN’T un-do a rape accusations.

And if you are the side that loves transparency, why are you the side that deletes posts? (Including PZ deleting some of his own, LOL.) Why hasn’t Ogvorbis been told he is not welcome at FTB? Why weren’t there real police investigations against the accused bloggers at FTB?

You said:
“c. You took a generic approach to the alleged rape incident – You refuse to see the specifics of the case. ”

There is no “case.” There are only hearsay accounts that have evolved over several years.

204
You said, “When you say it is morally justified to tell a single person about an accusation – you have weighed two harms and come to some conclusion correct?
When you say it is not morally justified to post the same thing on your blog – you have again weighed two harms and come to your conclusion.
what you are portraying , however is that people who come to a different conclusion are obviously wrong in their evaluation of these two harms (hence “slam dunk”) – and youll repeatedly assert that it is wrong without showing how one harm so outweighs the other.”

Why don’t you understand the difference between a police investigation and a blog?

208
You said, “But you started this sometime last year – its been what 3-4 months and yet I cannot say I know anything about what your actual positions are”

Now you are blaming the victim. PZ made some very serious claims against Mr. Nugent and offered ZERO evidence. Why do you find that acceptable?

215 FishCakes January 16, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Deepak @204,

… and youll repeatedly assert that it is wrong without showing how one harm so outweighs the other.

First, and most importantly, this same criticism can be turned around on you. Here you are trying to argue that what Myers did was not unethical, and yet you haven’t made any sort of case, much less a compelling one, to support your view. So have at it. Make your case.

Second, as many of Myers’ defenders are so fond of pointing out, tens of thousands of words have already been written here (by Michael and various commenters) explaining why and how Myers’ behavior is unethical and harmful to both named individuals and communities. For you to suggest that I, or anyone else here, is asserting things without support is ludicrous in the extreme.

Lastly, if you can’t figure out for yourself why publishing something on the internet is more harmful than telling one person in private, then I don’t see the point in expending any more energy trying to explain anything to you. If you are having trouble with this point, then your brain works sufficiently differently from mine that I’m afraid there is no hope of finding any common ground whatsoever.

216 FishCakes January 16, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Deepak,
If you feel that failing to name names is tantamount to denying people information to which they have a right to know, then why haven’t you written about it on your own blog, and tweeted about it, and posted to Facebook about it, and posted YouTube videos about it, being sure to name names each and every time? If it’s so important, and you think it’s the right thing to do, what the eff are you waiting for?

Please post the links to all of the places where you personally have tried to get the story out there and have named names, so that we can verify that you are sincere and genuine. Otherwise, please explain why anyone should pay any attention to you at all.

217 Lancelot Gobbo January 17, 2015 at 12:17 am

John Welch wrote:

Lancelot Gobbo wrote:
How about that Aratina? Would you like to confirm that it is completely OK in your view for Jan to publish the real life names of those two individuals? I’d have to agree with him that most people would call it doxxing, but I’d like to see how consistent you are in applying your views.

How about asking if it’s okay to publish Aratina’s name, whatever that is? (I do not know, and that ignorance brings me no small level of happiness.) I mean, I’m pretty sure they can tell us if that’s okay or not.

That sounds good to me! How about it, Aratina? Would it be OK for us to publish your name as well as those of Ogvorbis and Nerd of Redhead? I think that one of the three would have strong objections, and perhaps the others would too. I’m sure none of us here would stoop so low as to actually do it, but we would like to know if the principle holds for all, not just for franc.

218 Richard "The King" Sanderson January 17, 2015 at 12:21 am

Aratina, given your concerns about rape apologists and sites that provide “safe havens” for them, why are you posting at Pharyngula*?

*A safe haven for aself-confessed child rapist (Ogvorbis).

219 Aneris ✻ January 17, 2015 at 6:23 am

Another few days have passed. How long would it take to write “Thanks Mick for the heads-up, our Executive Commitee will be looking into the matter, expect something in X days/weeks/years”.

I assume you’ve got nothing?

220 Kirbmarc January 17, 2015 at 10:58 am

//Aratina, given your concerns about rape apologists and sites that provide “safe havens” for them, why are you posting at Pharyngula*?

*A safe haven for a self-confessed child rapist (Ogvorbis).//

Ogvorbis’ case is interesting in pointing out Myers’ double standards. Ogvorbis’ real name, apparently, is easily available on the net (I never looked for it but many have told me so).

If Myers were consistent about his idea on how to handle sex crimes he should expose Ogvorbis’ real identity on his blog. After all nothing guarantees that Ogvorbis won’t act again on his self-confessed urges, and if Myers cared about the principle of “warning” people publicly he should expose him to other who would take then the necessary precautions.

Instead he decides that in it’s ethically right to publish an accusation of a sex crime complete with the name of the accused but it’s also ethically right to protect the identity of a self-confessed perpetrator of another sex crime.

In both cases I think that the authorities should be involved if possible and the privacy of both alleged criminals should be protected. Alleged criminals still have rights, even when they confess their crimes. (By the way, Ogvorbis’ confession might not be true, so he’s still an alleged criminal as far as we know).

Myers apparently thinks he knows which alleged criminals must be exposed and which shouldn’t. Why should we trust Myers’ personal judgment? His brand of Internet vigilante justice seems to be pretty arbitrary.

221 Lancelot Gobbo January 17, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Frankly, I find it hard to see why the supposed NSA internet oversight that is so pervasive and intrusive hasn’t already picked up on an admission of multiple child rape(1). Curiously, a Google search for this string:
ogvorbis site:freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula
produces the confession as the second hit. It is THAT commonly known that PZ Myers is hiding a confessed but unpunished child-rapist that a Google search for the rapist’s name on PZ Myers’ site is the second hit. No wonder real live terrorists can get away with their rotten deeds.I see that Aratina has failed to answer the question about revealing her real life name, that of Ogvorbis (the self-confessed multiple child rapist) and Nerd of Redhead (a simple Flock dickhead) as being perfectly acceptable as doing so does not constitute doxxing. This might be because Michael Nugent has seen fit to post another blog entry and commenters will tend to reply there. As far as I can (and I hope others will pick up and carry this torch) I shall continue to ask for an answer from her wherever I find her.1._http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/30/stunned-silence/

222 Lancelot Gobbo January 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Apologies for the munged html. Will try harder.

223 Jan Steen January 17, 2015 at 6:48 pm

@Lancelot Gobbo,

I think you have misgendered Aratina Cage. Which may or may not be inexcusable.

224 franc January 18, 2015 at 4:50 am

All of this matters Ratty because the harassment of random, unconnected individuals by doxxing is not a one off. In fact, it happens more often than not. Remember when Greg Laden tried to doxx Mykeru? Publishing an address that his ex-wife lived at nearly a decade ago –

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/2012/12/23/greg-laden-posts-a-home-address-and-employer-contacts-for-online-rival/

And Becky Watson, captured on video, claiming to have doxxed, and terminated the employment of, @elevatorgate. Some innocent bystander in Florida caught in the crossfire – when anyone even partially aware knew @elevatorgate was British.

So yes it does matter, just like randomly torching a car of some stranger in the street matters. These points seem to elude you subnormals.

225 JetLagg January 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Franc, I received email notification of a comment, that isn’t appearing here, in which you made some incredibly damning accusations against Aratina. Where should I look if I were interested in verification? I’ve already stated I don’t believe Aratina is honest, but if they really did the vile things you’re claiming I don’t think there’s any reason any of us should listen to anything s/h/it has to say.

226 Aratina Cage January 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

@Michael Nugent #206
I understand that it is a serious matter to be accused of and likely to be defamatory (though you would be in good company with everyone else that didn’t agree with such a firm conclusion of rape on that case) given the enormous background of conversations that it is built on, which are missing to almost all viewers.

I don’t know enough about your relationship with PZ to feel comfortable saying that he should or shouldn’t take the time to address you about that. On a less personal level, I don’t think we owe anyone an explanation for the things we say (and often we wouldn’t have a singular, succinct explanation). Someone like PZ who has been battle-hardened on discussion forums and blogs is going to be very good at disengaging and ignoring direct interactions when they feel they are right about the issue and have nothing to learn from the other side or have no value in continuing a relationship with players on the other side. Is that a good thing, in my opinion? It can be. It can alleviate the stress in one community. Is it a good thing in this case? I think it probably isn’t the best strategy, and I’m sorry it seems to be happening.

Even though I didn’t tweet that or make any of the comments for PZ, I do think my explanation for what he possibly meant is more likely than what I’ve seen you write about it. I think he did explain what he meant by the “misogynists and harassers” to one or two people who asked, but refused to address the part about “rapists”, and I think that caused great confusion on this blog. I’m tempted to say that, “It was only a tweet!”, but I know too well how much trouble a tweet can get a person into. Suffice it to say that even a university professor can make clumsily written tweets, especially when there is great emotion behind them (in this case, support for the person who confided in him that she had been raped).

I would really like you two to work it out between yourselves and not get any more involved than I’ve already become, whichever path you two take, but I did hope to give you a new perspective on it.

227 franc January 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

JetLagg //Franc, I received email notification of a comment, that isn’t appearing here, in which you made some incredibly damning accusations against Aratina.//

Michael decided to quarantine it. I respect his judgement. Gory details here –

http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=429&p=252232#p252232

228 Aratina Cage January 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

@Jan Steen #181
That isn’t the best summary. He isn’t a lousy writer at all, but that tweet of his was too dependent on the context with the assumption that anyone reading it would know the context. He may see that his words are being misunderstood but think it is being done on purpose, as well, so that there is no need for him to bother clarifying.

And if doxxing is just social etiquette, then it isn’t binding or even that bad of a thing to break. (Us atheists do that all the time!) I think we shouldn’t include “naming names” in “doxxing”. Most institutions consider your name to be public information and the ones that want to hide names have to keep them secret without legal backing. Even Twitter excludes calling people by their real name from it’s anti-doxxing policy.

@Dave Allen #182
That may be, but I think quite a few people still regard “serving someone enough drinks to get them sloppy drunk and then taking advantage of them sexually” to be rape.

@Aheydis Vaakenjab #183
I am trying to find the right words. Maybe “misguided” is the wrong one, but it does seem to me that, based on the circumstances, the way people here took that tweet wasn’t the way I thought it was intended. The reason I asked that a more charitable reading be taken is because what little I know about our blog host here is that he is usually fairly good at seeing things that were said in a less inflammatory way, or at least helping to get most everyone involved to such a place.

Maybe you have different terminology from me, but I did not have administrator privileges to The BlockBot, ever. I was able to add Twitter usernames to it and tracking reports to it, though. And, honestly, I was floored when Lady Gaga was added, not just because she stands up to religious authorities, but also because the list of reasons for adding her were ridiculous (see the first link), such as that she had once gotten a tan. But then I felt that it really didn’t matter in the end because it shows that The BlockBot has virtually no effect on anything, contrary to how certain people tried to depict it. Thank you for retracting your heinous statement. :)

On real life names being associated with false allegations, my point is that this is probably not a false allegation from the perspective of someone who considers what the confidant said happened to have been rape. I think it has become a definitional argument about what constitutes rape when drugs are involved that aren’t as fast acting as a roofy.

@Patrick #184
It all comes down to how much of the question PZ was answering, and I don’t believe he was answering the part about “rapists”. Yes, he declined to answer that, and there is no doubt in my mind about how he views the slymepit. Also, the plural forms could very well be just regular old English generalizations from the few (or even the one) to the many. So, nothing is being hand-waved away.

His answer to benwalsh is based on what I think is his belief that what he tweeted was true and not false or malicious. Here’s why (I’ll try to make it short): Someone confided in PZ about a situation PZ thinks is rape and he blogged about it. Our blog host here wrote against the assertion that the accused is a rapist (this would be the “defense of a rapist”) since it hasn’t been legally decided yet. And during this whole thing, familiar names of people referred to as “slymepitters” (those already seen as “misogynists and harassers” by PZ) were able to make their voices heard on this blog about the issue (this is the “haven” part). Plus, this blog began turning its eye on PZ and Pharyngula using many of the complaints that so-called “slymepitters” have long held (this is the defending the “misogynists and harassers” part).

I doubt a retraction will ever be considered since I think the tweet is explainable in a factual (though, obviously, offensive) way, and an apology is unlikely, especially since there has been an attempt here to call out PZ and Pharyngula which created greater animosity than there had been.

@Patrick #185
I think working together would be great, but you’ll never get rid of politics. And, as I said in my reply to your previous comment, don’t hold your breath on an apology or retraction.

@Richard “The King” Sanderson #188
Your response shows that any interaction with many of the commenters here, at least, would be futile on his part toward making any headway. It’s not like all the people involved would suddenly like each other again or even tolerate each other just because one person relented on one item.

I think I have provided a reasonably possible explanation as to why there is no fibbing going on, though it seems hard for many here to accept.

@Lancelot Gobbo #189
Yes, it is completely OK. Rip the mask off of Batman! If they don’t like it for whatever reason, tough. I’ve already been raked across the coals at Pharyngula for my stance on that, by the way. (I’m thinking of a certain restaurant scene in Jurassic Park right now.) Of course, if you reveal the name of someone in need of protection who is using a pseudonym, you probably will end up looking bad yourself.

@Richard “The King” Sanderson #190
So I guess you can throw it back at Pharyngula and all is well. Marvelous! Is the argument over now?

@FishCakes #191
I have had something like that happen to one of my loved ones, and yes it made me mad, but there is nothing anyone can do about it because of freedom of speech. The bar you are setting, though, isn’t about that; it’s about unobservable events in the past. For instance, you couldn’t take theism to court, but you can still say that it isn’t real and you can still call it a problem of humanity. We don’t need a court ruling to decide what really happened to someone. I also understand that being told something by someone isn’t always enough to go on, but I think in this case, PZ felt it was.

And it’s not that the accusation is “not logically or physically impossible” but that it is a likely possibility. It’s more than mere; it’s a whole other way of looking at it that I think is more grounded than the central interpretation that has been taken here. So, yes, you did misunderstand my point.

@JetLagg #192
I’ve already done all of that explaining. In each case, PZ avoids answering about the “rapists” part. People asked, PZ didn’t answer that part. It’s not at all disingenuous of me to note that and tell you about it.

@piero #193
It’s not a trick, but you are asking for what I consider a diversion from my point of being here (and I searched your name and it doesn’t seem like you are one of them if that rests your mind).

@Old_ones #202
I think PZ may do that to people he considers trolls (that is, he thinks they know better but just want to cause trouble). You don’t have to care, but I did want you to consider that you got it wrong, which is a useful exercise for atheists and skeptics alike.

@john welch #212

This is extremely ironic to me that you are accusing me of making words mean whatever I wish them to because that was exactly your argument against anti-gay and anti-woman slurs to me years ago–that the target of a slur should just wish them to mean something else and take all their power away. That is your argument, John, not mine.

I got into a heated argument about so-called “doxxing” of names on Pharyngula myself, and PZ most certainly doesn’t agree that names are necessarily private for all anonymous/pseudonymous commenters.

“How about asking if it’s okay to publish Aratina’s name, whatever that is? (I do not know, and that ignorance brings me no small level of happiness.) I mean, I’m pretty sure they can tell us if that’s okay or not.”

It’s OK. I have no good reason anymore for anyone not to except that I like my pseudonym, have only really gone by it online, and “I’m the only one!”.

@Aneris* #213
“So why does Aratina and others expect Michael Nugent to carry the burden of hosting potentially defamatory statements, and smears his blog with it, where PZ Myers and others would simply swing the banhammer?”

I don’t! I almost always defer to the blog host on that. I think a lot of miscommunication of intent may have happened here on both sides. Michael and PZ may have both taken things that were written in the wrong way. You’re right, it is easier for one side to just block someone and move on, and unfortunately I think that is what may have happened here, and so I wanted to provide what I think is a better accounting of that tweet that the whole division seems to have formed over since it would never see the light of day otherwise from the looks of it.

@Lancelot Gobbo #217
Please read my above response to john welch. What exactly are you hoping to happen if you know my name? I can’t think of any way it could presently alter my life. I doubt those other Pharyngulites care too much either, especially since one of them went by his real name previously.

@Richard “The King” Sanderson #218
I don’t really think about it when I comment over there. He said he did it when he was 12-years-old in a thread I was not part of. He had been commenting on Pharyngula for years prior to that admission. And it isn’t my job to chase down people who say they have raped others online and drag them into court for something that likely has reached the statute of limitations. Honestly, I thought he was a good person and I still do, but that was startling and it goes to show that rapists are not all bad and that kicking them out of everything isn’t the only answer to stopping rape.

@Kirbmarc #220
“If Myers were consistent about his idea on how to handle sex crimes he should expose Ogvorbis’ real identity on his blog.”

Consistent how? The other person doesn’t use a pseudonym (that any of us know of). That person is only known by his real name. I imagine if they had been using a pseudonym then it still wouldn’t have been OK on this blog to say “[Pseudonym] is a [whatever]” either.

@Jan Steen #223
It is not inexcusable if it happened. I didn’t notice.

@franc #224
Franc, probably most of us know your story is that you got carried away and said you were going to drop something in PZ’s pocket to surprise him at an event. You went too far and got outed (name and photo) by a friend who couldn’t believe the things coming out of your mouth, and have been denying it is your name ever since. Really, nobody cares if it isn’t your real name except you.

Those other outings were, I believe, at the time justified as well, even if they were executed sloppily. Yes, you may get the wrong person, but I’m sure they will survive it. It’s only like torching the wrong car in that you got it wrong, not in any other way.

@JetLagg #225
“s/h/it”

Do you really go around calling people “its”? If not, then could you not do that to me either? If you want to call me a piece of poo, then do it!

229 franc January 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

Ratty:

//@franc #224
Franc, probably most of us know your story is that you got carried away and said you were going to drop something in PZ’s pocket to surprise him at an event. You went too far and got outed (name and photo) by a friend who couldn’t believe the things coming out of your mouth, and have been denying it is your name ever since. Really, nobody cares if it isn’t your real name except you.//

You are an idiot that harasses people that are dying. End of story.

230 JetLagg January 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Aratina said:
If you want to call me a piece of poo, then do it!

I did. That was the implication of the joke. It was as obvious as Myers’ meaning when he said Nugent harbors rapists.

231 Old_ones January 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Aratina

@Old_ones #202
I think PZ may do that to people he considers trolls (that is, he thinks they know better but just want to cause trouble). You don’t have to care, but I did want you to consider that you got it wrong, which is a useful exercise for atheists and skeptics alike.

While we are doing skepticism, I’d just like to add that your interpretation of PZ’s words, is still no more than a contention. You can think I’m wrong if you want, but only PZ can actually prove that I’ve misread his intent.

232 Lancelot Gobbo January 22, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Aratina Cage wrote:
@Lancelot Gobbo #189
Yes, it is completely OK. Rip the mask off of Batman!

“Rip off the mask” is far more effective at bringing Crime of the Century to mind than anything to do with that silly caped crusader.

Then he added:
@Lancelot Gobbo #217
Please read my above response to john welch. What exactly are you hoping to happen if you know my name? I can’t think of any way it could presently alter my life. I doubt those other Pharyngulites care too much either, especially since one of them went by his real name previously.

Courtesy of Damion Reinhardt, I now realise that your name is already public knowledge, and as I stated before, I have no interest in repeating it. Just as I have no interest in repeating the real life name of Ogvorbis (which Damion also has available at retail rates, or so his repeated offers to the Pit to provide his name would suggest). Given that his name is not generally available, and since it would undoubtedly cause him real life harm to be known as a self-confessed multiple child-rapist, am I to understand that you consider the general, public release of Ogvorbis’ name to not be doxxing? And if it is not doxxing, is it something that should be avoided or restricted in any way? Should you want to be consistent, and ‘rip off the mask’ (thanks for the earworm, by the way), Damion will be delighted to give you Ogvorbis’ real life name as he is evidently bursting with anticipatory delight that someone other than himself should do it.
Strange as it might seem, I’m not really trying to put you on the spot here. After all, just about anyone who reads about these matters can ferret out O’s real name—it took me less than 30 minutes.Who knew the Story of O was so brief? It’s not necessarily about secrecy, but about the courtesy of respecting another person’s choice to use a pseudonym. Their reasons for that choice need not concern us; they may be valid and respectable or not, but it isn’t our job to do the detective work to expose them simply for the juvenile pleasure of being able to do so. You have taken the position of saying that exposing a real life name is not doxxing, presumably because you feel that either:
1. Doing that in itself has no consequences for an individual who had chosen to use a pseudonym (No exposure follows, as a simple name doesn’t necessarily belong to a particular individual. But remember, the internet has very powerful search functions)
or that
2. No one should use a pseudonym (thus justifying exposure as all pseudonyms are wrong in your view).
Given that you yourself choose to use a pseudonym, I think we can dismiss the latter. So if your justification is example 1—say, that “Ogvorbis’ real name is John Smith: so what? There are lots of John Smiths in the world: you can’t find him—I have to conclude you would be completely content to publish his real name. Now I, who have no brief to protect child abusers of any stripe, let alone multiple rapists, find myself feeling squeamish about doing it. Why? Because doing so diminishes an important protection for anyone using the internet who chooses to use a pseudonym. I think that you might like to join me in doing that if you think about it, but if you don’t care to do so, I and others would like to hear your reasons.

233 Patrick January 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Aratina Cage @228

@Patrick #184

It all comes down to how much of the question PZ was answering, and I don’t believe he was answering the part about “rapists”. Yes, he declined to answer that, and there is no doubt in my mind about how he views the slymepit. Also, the plural forms could very well be just regular old English generalizations from the few (or even the one) to the many. So, nothing is being hand-waved away.

So you recognize that Myers intended to convey the claim that some of the people who post at the Slymepit and who also post here at Michael’s blog are harassers, misogynists, and rapists? He has been challenged repeatedly to support this claim and has consistently failed to do so.

That is what you have been trying to hand wave away.

His answer to benwalsh is based on what I think is his belief that what he tweeted was true and not false or malicious. Here’s why (I’ll try to make it short): Someone confided in PZ about a situation PZ thinks is rape and he blogged about it.

Here is where you go wrong, as has been pointed out by several people here. Myers made his defamatory tweets about Michael Nugent before Michael said anything about Myers “grenade” post. His answer to benwalsh can only be with regard to the original smears. He doubled down.

Our blog host here wrote against the assertion that the accused is rapist (this would be the “defense of a rapist”) since it hasn’t been legally decided yet.

First, that was not a topic under discussion when Myers made his defamatory tweets.

Second, that is not “defense of a rapist”, it’s defense of the enlightenment value of the assumption of innocence until guilt is proven.

And during this whole thing, familiar names of people referred to as “slymepitters” (those already seen as “misogynists and harassers” by PZ)

Like “rapist”, “misogynist” has a specific meaning. Myers has never supported his claim that anyone posting here is a misogynist. (“Harrasser” is a bit more vague, but Myers stretches that to the breaking point when he redefines it to mean “People who disagree with PZ Myers.”)

I doubt a retraction will ever be considered since I think the tweet is explainable in a factual (though, obviously, offensive) way, and an apology is unlikely, especially since there has been an attempt here to call out PZ and Pharyngula which created greater animosity than there had been.

Myers will never apologize because he has demonstrated himself to be dishonest and utterly lacking in integrity.

Given the facts described above, the tweet cannot be explained as anything other than a baseless, defamatory smear against Michael Nugent. Do you agree that Myers owes Michael Nugent a retraction and apology? If not, why not?

234 Aratina Cage January 22, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Do you want a medal or something, Lancelot? I’m perfectly happy with my own feelings on the matter, which is that you have no right to hide your name from the public under most circumstances. If you want to keep it a secret, then that is your responsibility, not anyone else’s.

Besides, what is the point of getting someone’s name in all these various cases? Did you ever ask yourself that?

235 Lancelot Gobbo January 22, 2015 at 11:13 pm

No medals involved, merely trying to see if you are willing to be consistent. Might I assume that you are not, given your avoidance of the question?

BTW, what was the point of your trying to reveal franc’s name to the world?

236 franc January 23, 2015 at 2:23 am

Lancelot Gobbo: //BTW, what was the point of your trying to reveal franc’s name to the world?//

The point is the same I always point out: terrorism. Using fear and intimidation to silence those who point out that FTB, Skepchick et al. are little more than ideological maniacs with zero substance and have no other means to reinforce their gibberish other than using terrorist tactics.

I have nil interest or concern as to who idiots like Aratina think I am. I don’t negotiate with terrorists; I have no obligation to confirm or deny anything – the latter is a note other doxx victims should heed. And I will continue to notify those splashed by these idiots crossfire. Sooner or later one of them will take these attacks to the next level.

237 franc January 23, 2015 at 2:32 am

Doxxing, for no other reason than that a person has highlighted your failures as a human being, is a baby step down the same path that leads to acid attacks.

Aratina, peezee, Watson and the rest of the gang know they peddle vicious, reprehensible stupidity. They have no other means to respond.

238 Jan Steen January 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

To Myers’s long list of transgressions against basic human decency can now be added his grotesquely distorted reading of a post by the eminent computer scientist Scott Aaronson.

I urge you first to read that post here:

http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2091#comment-326664

And then consider if someone could have done a better job at misrepresenting it in the most dishonest possible way than PZ Myers, who wrote:

You may recall that sad comment by Scott Aaronson on his blog, Shtetl-Optimized, in which he deplored the way no respect is given to men’s biological imperative to have sex with all the women.

_http://web.archive.org/web/20150123132903/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/01/21/getting-from-here-to-there-isnt-necessarily-linear/

Each time you think that Myers can’t sink any deeper he manages to do just that. It’s a kind of talent, I suppose, although not an admirable one.

He is not making life easier for his apologists. Makes you wonder how deep they are willing to sink with him. Judging from the comments by Aratina Cage here some are willing to go pretty deep.

239 Patrick January 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Jan Steen @238,

Each time you think that Myers can’t sink any deeper he manages to do just that. It’s a kind of talent, I suppose, although not an admirable one.

Scot Aaronson is a far more successful academic than Myers ever has been or will be, which automatically puts him on Myers’ hit list. Part of the reason Myers continues to smear Michael Nugent is that he sees it as easier to attempt to tear down a successful activist than to do the work required to be successful himself.

His dishonest summarization of Aaronson’s post has nothing to do with what Aaronson wrote. It is solely about Myers attempting to establish his bone fides as a third wave feminist despite being one of those privileged, middle-aged white men he rails against. While offensive to those of us who value integrity, for him it’s just a way of saying “Look at me! I’m one of the good guys!”

I look forward to the day when his flock turns on him. SJWs tend to eat their own — that day is coming.

240 Jan Steen January 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Patrick,

I look forward to the day when his flock turns on him.

He came close when he linked to a video by Mr. Deity recently. Mr. Deity! The infamous “rape apologist”*! Some in his Flock bared their fangs but failed to bite, unfortunately. Myers is walking a tightrope over a pool of sharks, and he knows it. As long as he keeps up the rhetoric they will eat out of his hands, but when he stumbles they will devour him.

The Flock is a monster created by Myers. How fun would it be if that monster turned on its master. That would be even more entertaining than the Avicenna fiasco.

*In the eyes of the SJWs.

241 Aratina Cage January 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm

@Lancelot Gobbo #235

Thanks for the response. I’m going to read your previous comment again and see if I can answer it more pleasantly as well…

I was thinking of how funny this doxxing conversation parallels the Batman story where keeping his identity secret is of utmost plot importance. It’s interesting to think about the reasons all these comic book superheroes need their identity kept secret and compare them with what is being said here and in other places. Has this comic book stuff gone to people’s heads? Do those who cloak themselves behind untraceable pseudonyms see themselves as serving justice in a way that is injust or outside the law itself, thus the need to remain anonymous?

I think when it comes to naming people, I prefer to call it “outing” them. “Doxxing” to me is much more about leaking their private information, and I don’t consider someone’s name to be private information. And I don’t need to know that person’s name you mention because I already do, and I don’t consider something someone did at 12 to reflect immensely on their behavior several decades later.

As for 1, outing someone may have consequences for an individual but it may not as well and if it does, the consequences might be deserved. That follows from my answer to 2, which is that using a pseudonym is a privilege that can be abused.

Pseudonyms are pretty much standard online and fun, and I have no problem with others or myself using them, but I do think most people are making too big a deal over them, especially people behaving in ways that I see as harmful to others. Hiding one’s name behind a pseudonym for a good, just, freedom-providing reason is always going to be a risk, and we should all face up to that and accept it instead of creating this monstrosity of the right to be anonymous.

And I will respect someone’s pseudonym in most cases and would not be content outing them, which brings me to your next question:

“BTW, what was the point of your trying to reveal franc’s name to the world?”

The person commenting here as “franc” has thoroughly abused their privilege of remaining anonymous, in my opinion. He goes by so many squicky oddball names that it is easier to just stick with his real one, which I shan’t spell out out of courtesy for what I believe to be the policies of our blog host here. Plus, it irritates him to no end when you say his real name, which I find rather funny and somewhat fair considering all the loathsome things he has done.

But do note that I did not reveal his name–I did not pull the plug on his anonymity; his friends did that, and not just any friends but ones he had a grand time with in the past.

I wish I had typed up this more thoughtful response the first time I responded to your comment at 232.

@Patrick @233

Yes, I think he did intend to convey that about some of the people who post at the Slymepit being “harassers” and “misogynists”, but no, I don’t think he meant to convey that they are or have any “rapists” there (or here). I really see it as a problem of compressing too much hurriedly into a tweet and then balking at the “numpties” who don’t understand what was meant.

I didn’t say his answer to benwalsh was based on any “grenade” post. Our blog host had already tried to engage both/all sides and that effort failed to bring everyone to an understanding but did have the effect of providing a place for many well-known names from the Slymepit to post comments.

As for your assertion that:
“that was not a topic under discussion when Myers made his defamatory tweets.”

I beg your pardon, but you are wrong. The initial timeline is:

2) PZ’s tweet “518186930727444480” was made on “6:52 PM – 3 Oct 2014″

1) Michael’s post “Another week, another set of misrepresentations and personal smears” was made on “OCTOBER 2, 2014″

Thus, PZ tweeted that *after* Michael had posted his thoughts about how we should treat rape allegations and the people behind them.

Then you say that “misogynist” has a specific meaning, and I agree and also think that certain behaviors are symptomatic of what it means. I believe that certain observed behaviors allow one to classify another as a “misogynist”. Take a look at Brennan’s classification of me as a “misogynist”, for instance. Apparently I am one because I was involved with operating The Block Bot on Twitter, and for her, that is enough for one to be a “misogynist”, however laughable that is to me.

@franc #236 & #237

As I told Damion, what happened is that you conveniently forgot all the things you’ve written, and so you conflated my inclusion of you in a list of people who have done bad things with the guy who talked about throwing acid on someone. Your mistake.

242 Patrick January 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Aratina Cage @241,

Yes, I think he did intend to convey that about some of the people who post at the Slymepit being “harassers” and “misogynists”, but no, I don’t think he meant to convey that they are or have any “rapists” there (or here).

I note, yet again, that you never quote Myers’ actual words when you are constructing your apologetics. Here they are again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please read that carefully. Myers explicitly wrote “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

Combine this with the fact that Myers has refused for months now to clarify his statement and has, in fact, doubled down on it. Now explain why you “. . . don’t think he meant to convey that they are or have any “rapists” there (or here).”

If he didn’t mean it, he should clarify, retract, and apologize. The fact that he has not done so means that he intends to convey exactly what he wrote.

So please tell me, how can you possibly think that Myers doesn’t owe Michael Nugent an apology for these unsubstantiated, defamatory smears?

243 Patrick January 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Aratina Cage @241,

I beg your pardon, but you are wrong. The initial timeline is:

2) PZ’s tweet “518186930727444480” was made on “6:52 PM – 3 Oct 2014″

1) Michael’s post “Another week, another set of misrepresentations and personal smears” was made on “OCTOBER 2, 2014″

I stand corrected, thank you for providing the evidence of my error.

244 Patrick January 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Aratina Cage @241,

Then you say that “misogynist” has a specific meaning, and I agree . . .

This is the meaning I believe most English speakers agree on:

mi·sog·y·nist
məˈsäjənəst/
noun
1. a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.
synonyms: woman-hater; antifeminist, (male) chauvinist, sexist, hater; informal male chauvinist pig

. . . and also think that certain behaviors are symptomatic of what it means. I believe that certain observed behaviors allow one to classify another as a “misogynist”.

I agree. There are behaviors that indicate that one dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women. I do not believe that anyone commenting here has demonstrated those behaviors. If you do, please provide links to such.

Take a look at Brennan’s classification of me as a “misogynist”, for instance. Apparently I am one because I was involved with operating The Block Bot on Twitter, and for her, that is enough for one to be a “misogynist”, however laughable that is to me.

It would be laughable if it didn’t trivialize the term, just as Myers does.

I don’t think operating the Block Bot makes you a misogynist. I just think it reflects poorly on your character and confidence in your own positions.

245 Aratina Cage January 25, 2015 at 8:48 pm

@Patrick #242

“I note, yet again, that you never quote Myers’ actual words when you are constructing your apologetics.”

I find that rather obtuse of you. One need not be another person to understand that person.

“Please read that carefully.”

I have! You understood it differently and, in my opinion, incorrectly. My concern was that most people here were unaware of the strong possibility that he didn’t mean what you thought he meant.

@Patrick #244

“I do not believe that anyone commenting here has demonstrated those behaviors.”

Perhaps not here, but at other places there is a strong chance they have to a sufficient degree. For instance, follow the link to a thread provided by franc in #227; that should be evidence enough for most people.

“It would be laughable if it didn’t trivialize the term, just as Myers does.”

Doesn’t trivialization/over-usage take the bite out of a term? If you think that is what he is doing, mightn’t it be a good thing either in that it will blow back on him (as it does on Brennan) or that it will allow the conversation to move on instead of getting stuck on who made what accusation?

246 John Greg January 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Well, there, that’s settled then.

Aratina knows more, far more, and more accurately too, about what PZ actually meant when PZ said what he said and said what he meant.

In point of fact, PZ is wrong when PZ restates that what he meant he meant was what he said he meant in the first and second places because when PZ says that he meant what he said he meant in his description of what he meant, that statment of PZ’s does not agree with Aratina’s description and definition of what PZ meant and, therefore, obviously, and quite without doubt, PZ is wrong.

PZ should get Aratina to edit, proof, and vet all PZ’s posts, tweets, and probably university courses and descriptions too from here on in so that we (and PZ) really know what PZ actually means when PZ says something.

Solved.

247 JetLagg January 25, 2015 at 10:24 pm

I’m not sure how you people do it. Maybe it’s because I just completed my taxes, and my will to tolerate tedious bullshit has been completely depleted, but I’m more than happy to let Aratina go on tying himself in knots trying to avoid the obvious. No sense in trying to convince him otherwise. This is Christian apologetics all over again.

248 Aratina Cage January 25, 2015 at 10:39 pm

No no no, it is actually John Greg who knows better what PZ means on anything he said! The words are right there before him, and he can even read them. John. Greg. Is. RIGHT!

249 Michael Nugent January 25, 2015 at 11:05 pm

I’ve sent FreeThought Blogs a third email.

You can read it here.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/01/25/third-email-freethought-blogs-complaints-procedure-pz-myers/

250 Michael Nugent January 25, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Aratina,

Whatever you or others who understand the in-group thinking of PZ Myers and commenters at Pharyngula may think PZ meant, what matters when interpreting a defamatory statement is what the ordinary reasonable “person-on-the-street” would take the words the mean, and whether that interpretation (not yours) would lower the reputation of the person being defamed.

In this case, PZ was given every opportunity to clarify and apologise if he did not mean to convey what the ordinary reasonable “person-on-the-street” would take the words to mean. He did not do this. Instead he has intensified the smear by adding the claim that I also support rapists.

251 Patrick January 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm

Aratina Cage @245,

“I note, yet again, that you never quote Myers’ actual words when you are constructing your apologetics.”

I find that rather obtuse of you. One need not be another person to understand that person.

I find your response to be a non sequitur.

Someone is being obtuse here. It’s not me.

“Please read that carefully.”

I have! You understood it differently and, in my opinion, incorrectly. My concern was that most people here were unaware of the strong possibility that he didn’t mean what you thought he meant.

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

Neither you nor he have provided no reason to think that he meant anything other than the literal meaning of those words.

Myers owes Michael Nugent a retraction and an apology.

252 Patrick January 25, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Aratina Cage @245,

“I do not believe that anyone commenting here has demonstrated those behaviors.”

Perhaps not here, but at other places there is a strong chance they have to a sufficient degree. For instance, follow the link to a thread provided by franc in #227; that should be evidence enough for most people.

I must be missing something you saw. There is nothing in the comment you referenced that could be characterized as misogynistic. If you disagree, please reference the specific statements.

253 Pitchguest January 26, 2015 at 12:42 am

It appears to Aratina, intent really is magic.

Or whatever Aratina says it is. Which is magic.

254 Aratina Cage January 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm

@Michael Nugent #250

Thank you for the response.

“Whatever you or others who understand the in-group thinking of PZ Myers and commenters at Pharyngula may think PZ meant, what matters when interpreting a defamatory statement is what the ordinary reasonable “person-on-the-street” would take the words the mean, and whether that interpretation (not yours) would lower the reputation of the person being defamed.”

OK. It wasn’t clear to me that this was the tact you were taking. I really expected you to use the baseline of “most charitable reading”, but am I right in supposing this one was too personal for that? And I know you’re not arguing this in a court room, but I don’t think that a “person on the street” standard for this case would hold up in any court, either, since PZ could probably show that he believed what he said to be true. Of course, we would all hope that any reasonable person on a street or not would do their homework instead of immediately taking anyone’s words of unkindness about another person to heart.

“In this case, PZ was given every opportunity to clarify and apologise if he did not mean to convey what the ordinary reasonable “person-on-the-street” would take the words to mean. He did not do this. Instead he has intensified the smear by adding the claim that I also support rapists.”

I really can’t stress enough, though, that when he says “rapists” he probably means anyone who did the kind of thing that this other person did that he thinks was rape, and then the “support” and “defend” and “provide a haven for” all follow since your words, if they provide a counter for this one person, would also provide a counter for anyone else who had done the same. I kind of get the feeling that this is similar to those intractable arguments between agnostics who assert that we can never know it all so a god could exist and atheists who assert that an invisible dragon could exist under that rubric but, hey, it doesn’t.

255 John Greg January 26, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Aratina said:

I really can’t stress enough, though, that when he says “rapists” he probably means anyone who did the kind of thing that this other person did that he thinks was rape, and then the “support” and “defend” and “provide a haven for” all follow since your words, if they provide a counter for this one person, would also provide a counter for anyone else who had done the same.

Bafflegab. Sheer, undisguised, meaningless, and indefensible bafflegab.

256 JetLagg January 26, 2015 at 7:24 pm

With Aratina’s fast and loose treatment of words’ meanings it could easily be argued that he’s actually agreeing with us, and has been this entire time. We’re just desperate to give his comments an uncharitable interpretation.

257 John Greg January 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm

One of Aratina’s argumentary (argumentive? argument?) strategies, or perhaps one should call it a rhetorical tool, is similar to that used by Brony, and both LousyCanuck and oolon, though Canuck and oolon use it far less than either Aratina or, in particular, Brony. That rhetorical tool is bafflegab and, to a lesser extent, its relative, BullshitBafflesBrains (BBB).

Aratina’s favourite tool is bafflegab — as in the imbecilic paragraph quoted in post 255.

Aratina uses BBB much less than Brony. BBB is Brony’s all-time favourite rhetorical weapon (lest we forget Brony’s League of Rhetorical Assassins), and sometimes approaches truly operatic levels of bombast and opacity and hilarity of purist idiocy and meaninglessness.

Though, as I sort of implicitly implied over at the Pit, I am beginning to think that Aratina is a sort of nihilist, in the sense that nobody’s points of interest, ethical standards, morals, beliefs, ideologies, and so on, matter at all to Aratina unless they fall in line with Aratina’s own particular, and particularily odd, belief system or idoelogical/philosophical stance.

258 Michael Nugent February 1, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Aratina #254

OK. It wasn’t clear to me that this was the tact you were taking. I really expected you to use the baseline of “most charitable reading”, but am I right in supposing this one was too personal for that?

It is of course very personal, but I hope that am reacting to it in the same way as I would react to hearing that statement made about somebody else.

I do use the baseline of most charitable reading, but one way that I use that is to first ask the person what they meant. I and others have repeatedly asked PZ what he meant, and he has responded by saying, among other things, that he judges me by the company that I keep.

And I know you’re not arguing this in a court room, but I don’t think that a “person on the street” standard for this case would hold up in any court, either, since PZ could probably show that he believed what he said to be true. Of course, we would all hope that any reasonable person on a street or not would do their homework instead of immediately taking anyone’s words of unkindness about another person to heart.

I don’t know what jurisdiction that you live in, but Twitter and blog posts are deemed to be published anywhere in the world where they are read, and believing what you said to be true is not by itself a defence against making a defamatory statement in Ireland.

Also, the test of a reasonable person on the street does not require the person to do any homework. That would defeat the purpose of the test. The test is whether reading the statement would lower their opinion of the reputation of the target of the statement, not whether their opinion would change if they chose to do homework about it.

I really can’t stress enough, though, that when he says “rapists” he probably means anyone who did the kind of thing that this other person did that he thinks was rape, and then the “support” and “defend” and “provide a haven for” all follow since your words, if they provide a counter for this one person, would also provide a counter for anyone else who had done the same.

Aratina, however much you stress what you think he probably means, I have to give priority to what he himself has said about what he means.

Remember the context of this allegation. PZ was responding to a series of articles I was writing about misrepresentations and smears in the atheist movement, both generally and also by PZ.

PZ made a series of different and mixed responses. He in sequence laughed it off, dismissed it, cherry-picked from it, misrepresented it, evaded it, called it a circle-jerk, engaged in whataboutery, said that he likes me and then changed his mind about that, before finally crossing the line into making a seriously defamatory smear.
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/10/29/anatomy-of-a-smear-how-pz-myers-concocted-a-new-smear-when-challenged-about-his-previous-smears/

Here is what PZ wrote about me on 23 September, about a week before he made the allegation:

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

(I’m going to park that PZ is misrepresenting me here, and go along with his misrepresentation, which I assume is what he believes.)

Note that he says nothing about rapists, and nothing about the person that you refer to. In fact, he is defending me against charges of supporting misogyny. So is it reasonable to assume that he had not by then formed the opinion that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists? If so, what new happened between then and 4 October to cause him to form that opinion and decide to publish it as an allegation? It cannot be what you seem to be referring to, as that predates the comment in which he is defending me against charges of supporting misogyny.

I kind of get the feeling that this is similar to those intractable arguments between agnostics who assert that we can never know it all so a god could exist and atheists who assert that an invisible dragon could exist under that rubric but, hey, it doesn’t.

Except in this case we can know what PZ meant, or at a minimum we can know what PZ now says that he meant, because he can choose to give us this information, but he chooses not to.

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