Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers

by Michael Nugent on April 7, 2015

Atheist Ireland today published this statement:

Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers. The final of many, many straws were his latest smear that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is ‘happily exploiting atrocities’, and his subsequent description of Atheist Ireland’s chairperson as ‘the Irish wanker’. We are also asking all ethical organisations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse his harmful impact on both individuals and the atheist movement generally.

Atheist Ireland promotes atheism, reason and ethical secularism. Our policies are based on a respect for human rights, upon which we can build a just society based on natural ethical values. We meet with and lobby the Irish government, Irish parliamentary meetings, the media, and international human rights regulatory bodies such as the UN Human Rights Committee, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE. We are proud to work nationally with other human rights and social justice groups, and globally with colleagues in Atheist Alliance International, and the International Campaign Against Blasphemy Laws.

Our shared work in all of these areas, at national and international level, is important for the development of an ethical secular world. This work is undermined by rhetoric that associates atheist and secular advocacy with hateful, violent and defamatory speech. Such rhetoric is also unjust to the individual people who it targets.

Atheist Ireland has previously given PZ Myers public platforms in Ireland, both at the World Atheist Convention in 2011, and at our international conference in 2013 on Empowering Women Through Secularism. We now apologise for doing this. We believe his behaviour is unjust to individuals, increases prejudice against atheists, and is harmful to the promotion of an ethical society based on empathy, fairness, justice and integrity.

Some examples of his hurtful and dehumanising rhetoric

He said that ‘the scum rose to the top of the atheist movement’, that it is ‘burdened by cretinous reactionaries’, that ‘sexist and misogynistic scumbags’ are ‘not a fringe phenomenon’, and that if you don’t agree with Atheism Plus, you are an ‘Asshole Atheist’. He agreed that science fetishism reproduces the ‘white supremacist logic of the New Atheist Movement.’ He said ‘I officially divorce myself from the skeptic movement,’ which ‘has attracted way too many thuggish jerks, especially in the leadership’.

He said Richard Dawkins ‘seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children’ and ‘has been eaten by brain parasites’, Michael Nugent is ‘the Irish wanker’ and a ‘demented fuckwit’, Ann Marie Waters is a ‘nutter’, Russell Blackford is a ‘lying fuckhead’, Bill Maher’s date at an event was ‘candy to decorate [her sugar daddy’s] arm in public’, Ben Radford is a ‘revolting narcissistic scumbag’ and his lawyer is ‘J Noble Dogshit’, Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor and Bill Maher are ‘assholes’, and Abbie Smith and her ‘coterie of slimy acolytes’ are ‘virtual non-entities’. He called Irish blogger ZenBuffy a ‘narcissistic wanker,’ after she said she has experienced mental illness.

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: ‘I’m mainly feeling that I should have been more rude, because asking me to have been nicer about the dead famous guy is completely missing the point’. He said of other dead people that Charles Darwin was a ‘sexist asshat’, Richard Feynman was a ‘reprehensible asshole’, and Christopher Hitchens was a ‘bloodthirsty barbarian’ and a ‘club-carrying primitive’.

Some examples of his hateful and violent rhetoric

Among the many people he publicly ‘hates’, ‘despises’ or ‘detests’ are philosophers Alain de Botton and Harriet Baber, interfaith activist Chris Stedman, comparative religion author Karen Armstrong, pastor Lee Strobel, columnist Richard Cohen, attorney Debbie Schlussel, creationists Ken Ham and Fred Phelps, broadcasters Bob Beckel and Rush Limbaugh, and authors Ben Stein, Bryan Appleyard and Dinesh D’Souza. Just last month he said that his ‘contempt’ for US President Ronald Reagan has vastly increased.

He also employs hate speech against Christians (‘I left the theatre filled with contempt and loathing for Christians’), apocalypse-mongers (‘they make me furious and fill me with an angry contempt’), ‘your average, run-of-the-mill Christian’ (‘I despise Karen Armstrong almost as much as I do Fred Phelps’), and several people who were organising a prayer initiative (‘Jesus Christ but I hate these slimebags’ who are ‘demented fuckwits every one.’)

He uses violent rhetoric. He said ‘I’ve got to start carrying a knife now’ to kill Christians if they pray instead of helping him while he is dying. He said about a meal: ‘Don’t show up to pick a fight or we’ll pitch you off a pier.’ When a Brazilian priest died in a charity ballooning accident, he said ‘my new dream’ will be shooting priests out of the sky from an aircraft. When a Christian shopkeeper apologised for offending atheists, he refused to accept the apology, saying ‘No. Fuck him to the ground.’ He would rather debate William Lane Craig in writing ‘where I can pin him down, stick a knife in the bastard, and twist it for a good long while’. He praised a blog post that ‘shanks Thunderf00t in the kidneys and mocks him cruelly’.

He has encouraged his blog commenters to ‘rhetorically hand [critics] a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice’. They in turn have told people to ‘put a three week old decaying porcupine dipped in tar and broken glass up your arse sideways’, to ‘fuck yourself sideways’ with a ‘rusty chainsaw’, ‘red-hot pokers’ or a ‘rusty coat hanger’, and to ‘go die in a fire. slowly. seriously’. More recently he said of ‘faux-Vulcan shit’ that he encourages his commentariat to ‘draw their knives and flense it so thoroughly the dispassionate ass is feeling the pain in every nerve ending’.

Some examples of his unjust and defamatory rhetoric

In his latest smear just last weekend, he accused Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who lives with constant security protection against threats on her life, of ‘happily exploiting atrocities to justify continued injustices’, and of ‘using the threat of murder elsewhere as a club to silence those who strive for respect and dignity in their lives’. He based this smear on a misleadingly edited quote from Ayaan’s keynote speech to the American Atheists Convention.

PZ did not challenge commenters who said Richard Dawkins is a ‘racist misogynist piece of shit who thinks child molestation doesn’t count unless there’s rape or murder’, that ‘if he’s not actually a child molester he’s dangerously close to wearing the uniform of one’, and that ‘Dawkins and his rape cheerleaders can fuck a power socket’. But he did ban a commenter who defended Richard, telling him: ‘Goodbye. We don’t need your petty resistance to any dissent from the sacred position of your great heroes around here. Fuck off.’

When Michael Nugent highlighted the harmful effect of his behaviour, PZ responded by publicly accusing him of ‘defending and providing a haven for rapists’, saying the evidence for this was people who comment on Michael’s blog. He has since refused for six months to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear, adding that Michael also ‘supports rapists’, and is a ‘demented fuckwit’ and ‘the Irish wanker’. His blog network, FreeThought Blogs, has now refused for three months to even respond to repeated emails asking them to address a complaint about this issue.

Conclusion

These are only some examples of his harmful rhetoric. He also regularly accuses others of sexism without applying the same judgment to his own behaviour over the years, and he has accused a named person of committing a serious crime without employing the journalistic ethics expected in reporting on such an allegation.

It might be possible to interpret any one example of this behaviour charitably, if he was normally charitable himself and was misinformed or writing in anger, or if there was a particular context, or if he was willing to change his behaviour. However, the relentlessness of his abuse and hatred and smears across so many contexts, and his reluctance to even consider changing his behaviour, create the extra problem of the cumulative impact of his behaviour as a pattern.

Ironically, the sheer quantity of his harmful rhetoric can seem to minimise the harm of each example, as each example can hide behind a wall of other examples. It is easy for us to become desensitised to the harm caused by this gradual undermining of reasonable discourse. We can disagree robustly about ideas and behaviour, including using strong language that some may be uncomfortable with, but without unjustly attacking the people we disagree with.

Many within the atheist movement have been concerned about his behaviour for years. Some have responded by publicly ignoring it, either to avoid giving him the credibility of a response, or to avoid becoming his next target. Some have responded by attacking him back using similar rhetoric, thus adding to the problem and enabling him to deflect attention away from his own behaviour. Some, including Atheist Ireland, mistakenly believed that privately asking him to change his behaviour might eventually be productive.

So Atheist Ireland is now publicly dissociating ourselves from his hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric. We are asking all ethical organisations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse the harmful impact of his behaviour. We look forward to continuing to work with others to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity.

Atheist Ireland
Executive Committee
7 April 2015

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 234 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kirbmarc April 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I think that this is a wise choice.

Hopefully Myers will take the dissociation of Atheist Ireland from his person as a chance to think about why many people seem to reject him, his rhetoric and his behavior, while they agree with him on many issues.

It seems unlikely, given his previous behavior, that he might actually understand where he went wrong and apologize, but one can never cease to hope. Maybe if other atheist organizations in the world followed suit Myers would be forced to face the consequences of his actions.

2 Phil Giordana FCD April 7, 2015 at 9:01 pm

I may have some handy claps (not jazz hands) and a few kudos if needed. Well done, AI!

3 Jack Rawlinson April 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm

*Applause*.

I hope other reputable secular, atheist and humanist organisations follow suit. The man has been working hard to achieve pariah status; it’s time it was given to him.

4 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Echoing the above, I hope other respectable atheist, humanist, secular organisations take heed.

It is time to puncture the life-jackets.

5 John D April 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Now… I really hope the American Humanist Association takes away his “humanist of the year award.” He does not deserve ANY award as far as I am concerned.

6 muffy April 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Good.

PZ’s violent rhetoric and personal attacks on others are completely unjustified.

7 Shivar April 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

It’s a certainty that Myers will sneer at this, and laugh in your direction while hurling a few more insults your way. In other words, he just won’t get it. Again. PZ is a lost cause imo, and I can only hope that many more atheist and skeptical organizations follow your lead and similarly dissociate from the increasingly repugnant Myers and his unthinking hateful mob of commenters.

It seems to me that by this point, any organization that wants him to speak at their events is an organization that condones PZ Myer’s atrociously vicious and libelous behavior. Eventually, all organizations are going to have to make a choice – either make a commitment to integrity and sound ethics and quit inviting Myers to their cons, or sell their integrity by having Myers speak in hopes that his rabble-rousing reputation will help sell a few more tickets.

Those organizations who continue to line Myers’ pockets should be pointed out and studiously avoided. Organizations that support hate speech and libel should not be the beneficiary of donations or attendance at cons.

PZ seems determined to sink into complete irrelevance; I say now is the time to grant him his wish.

8 john welch April 7, 2015 at 9:15 pm

waiting the flood of comments saying how you can’t go with the words PZ uses, you have to read his mind and go with intent. Hopefully in the same sentence or paragraph the go after michael and AI saying “intent isn’t magic.”

9 Jack Rawlinson April 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Myers and his gang will, of course, “double down”, to use one of their favourite expressions (if they even bother to read this at all). I don’t think they are capable of sober self-reflection. Myers in particular is incapable of seeing past his over-inflated ego to even catch a glimpse of personal error or misjudgement. His response will, effectively, be “Fuck ’em all” and the best thing we can do is return that sentiment.

10 Kirbmarc April 7, 2015 at 9:22 pm

“Myers and his gang will, of course, “double down”, to use one of their favourite expressions (if they even bother to read this at all). ”

It has been posted on Pharyngula by yours truly. They can still pretend not to read it, though.

11 Glen Davidson April 7, 2015 at 9:23 pm

PZ Myers: “We should be encouraging criticism of people like me…”. Of course that’s used in context to excuse his criticism of Ali, but on its own I can only agree.

I can’t think of anyone with a significant audience for whom that is more true. When he finally ceases to speak officially for any legitimate organization, then the criticism will no longer be necessary.

12 Aheydis Vaakenjab April 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm

For years, at the peak of FTB’s popularity, Myers’ incessant banning and cringeworthy remarks were met with “If you don’t like it, blog about it on your own site”.

Over the years people grew sick and tired of getting lambasted in his comment threads for no other reason than not following groupthink based on what a few choice individuals deemed appropriate.

Now that Myers’ popularity is waning due to all of his defamatory speech and not-so-subtly calling people’s lineage in to question (“Irish wanker”), his next move will be interesting. My guess is he’ll go full victim with all the sneering-from-afar that has become the PZ Myers M.O. (fuck him into the ground indeed).

How embarrassing it must be – from once gracing the stage with luminaries such as Dawkins, to having beers in a nondescript pub with his younger thought-police colleagues. I hope for the sake of the Horde at FTB that their telescreens remain active so they can get new marching orders from their leader.

13 Tigzy April 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm

You know, Myers – or perhaps some of his fans – will probably read the above and sneer, ‘Yeah, well, so what? Atheist Ireland doesn’t want anything to do with us! Big deal!’

But it must be borne in mind that Michael Nugent and other representatives of AI recently had a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister – the first ever formal meeting, in fact, between the Taoiseach and an atheist group.

Who has PZ Myers had a meeting with recently? or at any time, come to that?

The thing is, it’s not just about Myers losing friends, it about Myers losing what little influence he had, too. It’s genuinely strange – it’s almost as if he wants to become a marginal, fringe figure who’s taken about as seriously as Moon hoax conspiracists and breatharians. Looking at the man now, I can’t help but see that scene from the end of Herzog’s Aguirre, where the titular character gives voice to his grandiose empire-building dreams from the platform of a drifting raft rapidly being overrun by monkeys.

14 Phil Giordana FCD April 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm

I must admit I’m grabbing the popcorn for Germany’s meeting.

15 john welch April 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm

well that’s AI’s and Michael’s greatest sin in PZ’s eyes: they’re DOING things not just yelling at people.

That’s really quite unforgivable.

16 Conn Suits April 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Good gravy! I had no idea Myers was that bad. Although I can’t say I’m surprised. Oh wait no I am. The childish vituperation and especially the constant using of “Rapist”, and raped related slurs is surprising in someone who in no sense identifies himself as a feminist shows this is just his truculent self, nothing really to do with politics. What I’m not surprised by is his teenage anarchist-like obsession with what he assumes to be official left-wing topics and positions. Oh the “brown people” can be invoked to justify any repulsive behavior by what he would no doubt call some “privileged white guy” if it weren’t him. When that Moses movie came out recently he was on a Twitter thread attacking people, and going on and on about how the people in the movie were the wrong color, ie not dark enough. A salient example of how these fake lefties define people by their supposed race the same way bigots to do. Well done, Atheist Ireland

17 Jack Rawlinson April 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

@Tigzy, #13 – like that Aguirre image!

18 MeMe April 7, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Apparently this place is now the Slymepit:

PZ Myers ‏@pzmyers 10m10 minutes ago
.@_d_n_verg_ Oh no! I’ve been disowned by the slymepit!

19 Steersman April 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm

MeMe (#18):

Interesting that that “@_d_n_verg_” (je suis Gaza) identifies as a “Christian mom”. She can’t have read very closely what PZ thinks of Christians – looks like the proverbial cutting off of the nose to spite the face on her part.

20 simon clare April 7, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Bravo AI for publicly making this declaration after years of deliberation. Nobody has done more than Nugent to try to heal the “rifts” and it’s about time that reasonable atheists followed AI’s lead and finally cut PZ and his horde loose.

21 Phil Giordana FCD April 7, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Wait a second! Did Myers just call AI the ‘Slymepit”?

22 Glen Davidson April 7, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Wait a second! Did Myers just call AI the ‘Slymepit”?

Well, it could be worse, he could have called it a haven for rapists and misogynists, or even Pharyngula.

23 Miranda Hale April 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Kudos & gratitude to you and Atheist Ireland for doing this, Michael. One hopes that it will set a precedent and that other atheist/humanist/etc. orgs will follow suit.

24 Tigzy April 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm

I just saw this on Pharyngula:

‘dereksmear

7 April 2015 at 5:25 pm

Oh. sweet mercy no!!! Atheist Ireland has disassociated itself from PZ Myers!!!!

All 4 members!!!!!!

So it’s your loss, Atheist Ireland, when you could have expanded your ranks with such intellectual pro-PZ heavyweights as Nerd of Redhead, Tony the Queer Shoop (no, I didn’t make that up), Janine the Jackbooted Emotion Queen and Improbable Joe, one of the NEW FOUR HORSEMEN OF GLOBAL ATHEIST THINKY LEADER KINGS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION COUNCIL (no, I didn’t make that one up, either).

A sample of what you’re missing, courtesy of the aforementioned Nerd of Redhead:

‘Thank you RealityHurts for you blatant Islamophobia, warmongering, and providing with prima facie evidence, you don’t get what social justice mean. ‘

Aren’t you sorry now?

25 Guestus Aurelius April 7, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Good riddance!

I hope other major A/S organizations are inspired to follow suit. PZ Myers has been a source of embarrassment to atheists for years.

26 Phil Giordana FCD April 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm

“Kudos & gratitude to you and Atheist Ireland for doing this, Michael. One hopes that it will set a precedent and that other atheist/humanist/etc. orgs will follow suit.”

Yup!

27 Richard April 7, 2015 at 10:48 pm

I applaud the actions of Atheist Ireland. I think PZ Myers is a hatemonger, and I think atheist organizations should dissociate themselves from him and not invite him to speak at their conferences.

28 Christina C. April 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Finally. Just as I started to get involved in the atheist community, the FTBullies (or my personal fav, Free from Thought Brigade) came to power and I wanted nothing to do with it anymore. I have an infinite number of things I could better spend my time on than banging my head on the wall from continual interactions with their groupthink.

This is long overdue for someone to stand up to them. Better late than never I suppose.

29 KiwiInOz April 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Hitchens (and Chaucer) demonstrated how it is possible to eviscerate through prose without being a nasty disingenuous populist. PZ Myers, not so much.

I support Atheist Ireland’s stance on this matter (for what my two cents is worth).

30 Thunderf00t April 7, 2015 at 11:04 pm

A lot of this sounds kinda familiar 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm1R2aIm9Po

31 Shatterface April 7, 2015 at 11:05 pm

But it must be borne in mind that Michael Nugent and other representatives of AI recently had a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister – the first ever formal meeting, in fact, between the Taoiseach and an atheist group.

The only way anyone at FTB could get anywhere near their own president would be from a grassy knoll.

32 Harrison April 7, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I’m not the first person to note PZ’s affinity for appropriating faux-britishisms such as calling people “wankers,” which I’m fairly sure is not common slang on the streets of Minnesota.

33 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 7, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Speaking of meltdowns – CJ Werleman (an even more extreme version of PZ Myers) is spewing hate tweets again, including from his sockpuppet account (@stephcranson). Interesting, one tweets praises PZ Myers.

34 chill chick April 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Here’s a sneak preview of the FTBullies official response:

“1,600 words. tl;dr. Jebus, that man is obsessed. Get help.”

I wonder which of the flying monkeys will be along to deliver it? I noticed Aratina Cage drew the short straw the last time but he didn’t last long outside the echo chamber.

35 Lsuoma April 7, 2015 at 11:31 pm

AI – PeeZus is now claiming he’s been disowned by the Slyme Pit. Can you please clarify that you are not the Slyme Pit? It’s important that our brand not be diminished by confusion with other organizations.

36 Harrison April 7, 2015 at 11:33 pm

If Werleman published an original-seeming sentence I’d assume he plagiarized the punctuation.

37 Tlin April 7, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Maybe it’s because I’m using my phone, but are there links to where Myers makes these comments?

38 Will_Z_Macht April 7, 2015 at 11:36 pm

@Shatterface – #30: Like anyone from FTB would go outside… unless by “from a grassy knoll” you meant “typing furiously from behind a computer monitor”.

All I can say is: this is what PZ worked for. I hope he enjoys every bit it.

Meanwhile, actual skeptics can go about the business of actually being skeptical.

39 Glen Davidson April 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Maybe it’s because I’m using my phone, but are there links to where Myers makes these comments?

Chronology of smears

40 Gerhard April 8, 2015 at 12:05 am

Among the many people he publicly ‘hates’, ‘despises’ or ‘detests’ are philosophers Alain de Botton and Harriet Baber, interfaith activist Chris Stedman, comparative religion author Karen Armstrong, pastor Lee Strobel, columnist Richard Cohen, attorney Debbie Schlussel, creationists Ken Ham and Fred Phelps, broadcasters Bob Beckel and Rush Limbaugh, and authors Ben Stein, Bryan Appleyard and Dinesh D’Souza. Just last month he said that his ‘contempt’ for US President Ronald Reagan has vastly increased.

TBF, I can’t really blame him too much for despising that lot. The rest of PZ’s rap sheet is quite damning when you see it all listed on one post though.

The more I think about it, the more I realise how influential he’s been in steering da commoonidy toward the current level of toxicity. He once had the opportunity to make it big in atheism and make a positive contribution, but it appears that he just wasn’t up to the job and the only way he stays relevant is through the messes he makes on the carpet.

41 MosesZD April 8, 2015 at 12:09 am

Wow. I knew Myers was highly toxic, but seeing it in condensed form is rather amazing. Good work, Michael, though I’m sure he’ll ignore it while continuing to hurl his toxic invective in your direction.

42 Josef K April 8, 2015 at 12:12 am

“He said Richard Dawkins ‘seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children’ and ‘has been eaten by brain parasites’, Michael Nugent is ‘the Irish wanker’ and a ‘demented fuckwit’, Ann Marie Waters is a ‘nutter’, Russell Blackford is a ‘lying fuckhead’, Bill Maher’s date at an event was ‘candy to decorate [her sugar daddy’s] arm in public’, Ben Radford is a ‘revolting narcissistic scumbag’ and his lawyer is ‘J Noble Dogshit’, Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor and Bill Maher are ‘assholes’, and Abbie Smith and her ‘coterie of slimy acolytes’ are ‘virtual non-entities’. He called Irish blogger ZenBuffy a ‘narcissistic wanker,’ after she said she has experienced mental illness.”

When someone starts sounding like a letter writer featured in Richard Dawkins’s hate mail videos, you know he’s past his prime.

43 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 12:15 am

The more I think about it, the more I realise how influential he’s been in steering da commoonidy toward the current level of toxicity. He once had the opportunity to make it big in atheism and make a positive contribution, but it appears that he just wasn’t up to the job and the only way he stays relevant is through the messes he makes on the carpet.

I think he’s genuinely afraid of his own Horde at this point. As Myers got more extreme the moderates left his commentariat until all that are left are the worst of the worst. Loathsome though Myers is he’s never threatened to rape Richard Dawkins by the water cooler or tape him up and hand him over to ISIS so they can burn him as commentators on his blog have done.

44 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 12:32 am

Is Adam Lee going to cover this in The Guardian?

They devoted enough space to atheists supposedly ‘inspiring’ the Chapel Hill murders but here’s a major atheist organisation clearly disassociating itself from the disgusting behaviour and violent rhetoric of the hate mongers.

45 Laurent April 8, 2015 at 12:34 am

Thank you.

46 Steve Vanden-Eykel April 8, 2015 at 12:43 am

Quite amusing to see a collection of Myers’ various shots from his ‘gassy knolls’ over the years.

47 tina April 8, 2015 at 12:55 am

Myers is more than welcome to comment at the Slymepit, always has been. He possesses neither the intellect nor integrity for it. His ‘guilt by association’ simply another well worn tactic from the familiar, seemingly endless, playbook of social justice hypocrisy.

Well done AI and well done Michael.

48 Reap April 8, 2015 at 1:07 am

Sad it has come to this but its necessary given the refusal of some to show any respect for others. Michael you’ve always had my respect even more so now. You have class that overwhelms those who attempt to tear you down.

49 A3Kr0n April 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

@Glen Davidson – Aren’t you the guy that used to comment on each and every one of PZ’s postings in the past?

50 JohnH April 8, 2015 at 1:21 am

I don’t have any particular voice in the atheist movement, but I’ve been of the opinion for years, and have told anyone willing to listen, that PZ Myers should not be considered to play any legitimate role in the movement.

And I say that as someone who is largely sympathetic with the stated objectives of his A+ movement (though I’m not a member). Many of PZ Myers’ critics are misogynists who are just as over-the-top as he, and it pains me to appear to be on their side.

I’m not.

But I can’t defend his behavior, nor do I want to. I think he should be shunned, especially by those who share his (gentler) opinions.

51 peter April 8, 2015 at 1:25 am

excellent – someone is waking up to the smell of PZ’s cesspit.
I just hope the good ones like Singham and Carrier realize in what company they have fallen. The rest deserve to stay were they are.

52 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 8, 2015 at 1:26 am

Shatterface, Adam Lee has no credibility. He will stay quiet, like a good little boy, because he knows Dear Leader would be very upset and displeased at any insolence.

Adam Lee is “one of theirs”. Just like CJ Werleman is “one of theirs”.

53 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 8, 2015 at 1:27 am

excellent – someone is waking up to the smell of PZ’s cesspit. I just hope the good ones like Singham and CARRIER realize in what company

Nice one, prankster.

54 Skep tickle April 8, 2015 at 2:34 am

Kudos to Atheist Ireland & to Michael, for making this statement & taking this public stance.

It won’t convince Myers and his colleagues – AFAICT they see themselves as the standard-bearers of what New Atheism should become, and see the behaviors Michael described in this post & others as righteous and necessary in the face of thuggery in A/S. There’s some line about motes and beams that seems applicable here.

The blinkered view shows in any number of announcements about his & their views, for example from 8/2012: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/08/27/following-up-on-last-nights-atheism-discussion/

In the quotes below from that link, I’ve substituted * for 1 letter in the words to which I suspect the moderation filter might otherwise object.

Regarding Atheism+, in the post at the link above Myers wrote:

It’s an emergent movement, bubbling up out of resentment at some of our atheist “al*ies” who turn out to be regressive thugs. We can’t very well kick them out of the atheist movement — none of us have that power, and they legitimately are real genuine atheists who just happen to also be as*holes. And some of us don’t like associating with them.

Imagine a great big party with a lot of diverse attitudes present, and you discover that a few of the invited attendees are also hooligans who wander about calling everyone “c*nts” and slapping derrieres and telling women to stop being so sensitive, it was only a quick fondle. Also they smell bad. We’re the segment of the party that’s decided to go off to the library and enjoy some good conversation with the interesting people.

“Some good conversation with the interesting people” turns out to range, in the comment threads at Myers’ blog, from askeptical agreement with the reigning opinion (among the in-group) to violent rants (against the out-group). Myers has continued to label those who question or challenge him & his allies with quite negative terms & accusations, individually & collectively, as Michael Nugent has documented here & in prior posts. Some of those labels are quite frankly smears that could be seen as defaming specific individuals. As just one example, Myers has said Michael provides safe haven for rapists & rape-apologists in the comment threads here, with no evidence offered nor retraction given despite Michael asking, politely & repeatedly, over months. (Forgive me if some details are not exact; the evidence is plentiful, in other posts at this site.)

From the same link above, regarding “anti-atheist+ reaction” Myers wrote of:

… all those other anti-feminists who turn apoplectic with fury whenever the issue of treating women as diverse human beings with personalities and intellectual interests and ambitious goals beyond worshipping your p*nis is brought up.

Myers & Co. do appear to be on board in theory with “treating women as diverse human beings with personalities and intellectual interests”, yet he “turn[s] apoplectic with fury whenever” individual women (or people of color or gays, not to mention his favorite target, cis het white men) challenge his statements & positions. Oh, sorry. When the ones whose favor he doesn’t wish to curry do so. He appears to back off quickly for those in whose good graces he wishes to remain.

Oh, that it were only some people behaving badly at conferences, not recognizing common social boundaries in their interactions with other people. That’s actually pretty straightforward – and very reasonable – to address (and if it includes illegal behavior, the law should be involved). But this is someone who has been seen as a leader in the movement whose main role in the past several years has been to help create and maintain a deep divide within atheism, skepticism, secularism, & humanism, even as he claims to want to expand the reach and the positive effects of the movement(s) in society. I myself prefer movements & leaders who don’t look at it as “us (good) “vs “them (bad)” and whether we follow the orthodoxy & orthopraxy of any one belief system, but instead who seek & implement approaches that consider “all of us (people)” including the things we all have in common and our mutual goals, to work for improvements – progress – in society.

55 The Dread Geek Adrienne April 8, 2015 at 2:40 am

Tigzy, you wrote: “It’s genuinely strange – it’s almost as if he wants to become a marginal, fringe figure who’s taken about as seriously as Moon hoax conspiracists and breatharians.”

I would argue that Myers and, quite honestly, significant parts of the Social Justice Left *do* want to be marginal figures. In fact, marginality is quite the point of the whole exercise. I am supposed to be beneficiary of Atheism Plus. Myers et. al. really should be speaking to me but they don’t because my being opposed to bigotry starts from a principled stance against bigotry and not an ideological stance against racism, imperialism, patriarch, heterosexism, homophobia, sexism, colonialism…you all know the words, everyone sing along!

They know they are on the side of Right and Righteousness *because* they are marginal figures. If everyone were to immediately adopt their language and stance then the goalpost would be moved and there would be a *new* way of being anti- and the old way, that they practiced themselves not a day before, will be polymorphed into a sign of retrograde and revanchist views.

56 allison April 8, 2015 at 3:05 am

Thank you so much for taking this action against the odious PZ Myers.

57 Reap April 8, 2015 at 4:01 am

The fact is time is a judge. Im at the point where watching it brings me great pleasure. Carry on PZ I’m eating popcorn, all smiles.

58 franc April 8, 2015 at 4:59 am

{applause}

May other organisations learn what having a spine looks like. Myers and co. have done more to sabotage atheism’s healthy gains in public credibility and acceptance from a decade ago than any rabid theist group could ever dream of – they indeed embody the vulgar caricature of atheists being amoral, backbiting, spiteful losers that the xtian right loves to promote.

Meanwhile, I’m busily bioengineering a flying pig in the vain hope that CFI may learn something from AI and Michael.

59 PZ-Fan April 8, 2015 at 5:39 am

Why can’t you people take a joke?

Pz Myers is actually making fun of SJWs and hollow leftist rhetoric.
Pz is a neo-con troll in disguise, don’t take him seriously. 😉

60 peter April 8, 2015 at 5:54 am

@Richard “The King” Sanderson
“Nice one, prankster.”

Sorry, I haven’t read Carrier and FTB blogs period for a long time and was not aware how fully he has gone over to the SJWs. I just remembered his writings about christianity and the discussions mythicism vs. historicism, which I found quite entertaining.
Now I understand your comment after having checked his blog.

61 Kirbmarc April 8, 2015 at 8:32 am

“Myers & Co. do appear to be on board in theory with “treating women as diverse human beings with personalities and intellectual interests””

Women are diverse human beings with personalities and intellectual interests, according to PZ Myers.

But if they dare to associate with Republicans (Jamila Bey) or criticize Islam harshly (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) then they’re no longer human beings with personalities and intellectual interests but straw women that can be called “white supremacists” or “warmongers” with no regards for their actual personalities and intellectual interests.

Or even worse, if they dare to date Bill Maher, they’re “arm candy” (an incredibly sexist and dehumanizing concept).

I’m wondering whether Myers is guilty of projecting his own paternalistic sexism towards “chill girls” on others.

62 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 9:07 am

This should have been done years ago. The timing now makes it appear that he was fine so long as he wasn’t defaming Michael Nugent.

He hasn’t changed in the last few months; Myers was always a dick.

Initially he looked combative; that swiftly turned into an appearance of contrarianism which quickly turned into apparent obnoxiousness. The thing is that when you reach that realisation you realise that he was obnoxious all along; he hasn’t graduated to that state.

It was obvious ten years ago that he was a deeply unpleasant person.

A problem latterly with New Atheism was the lack of introspection and the welcome, support and defence given to any person who professed to be atheist. Thus people such as the Rational Response Squad weren’t challenged on this activities. Ditto the NYC Atheists, and other cult-like manifestations of atheist activism.

Myers will probably wear this action as a badge of honour and his acolytes will cling to him all the tighter. Cult leaders need rejection in order to achieve validation.

63 Phil Giordana FCD April 8, 2015 at 9:31 am

So, there’s no way Michael (and AI) could have done the right thing?

64 Paul Holland April 8, 2015 at 10:27 am

“Better late than never” as they say.

65 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

For info, does this mean that AI will not take part in any event at which Myers is a speaker?

I’d be conflicted about any such decision, but I’d reckon that it is a logical progression from the statement. Why would AI participate in a forum which finds Myers acceptable, after all? Yet, this could become in effect a form of self-censorship.

66 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

Tee hee.

When I searched for Myers’ blog using Bing it appeared in a list of finds.

Clicking on the link didn’t fire up the site, but resulted in the following message beside the list of search results:
************************************************************
Careful!
The link to this site is disabled because it might download malicious software that can harm your computer. Learn More
We suggest you choose another result, but if you want to risk it, visit the website.
To learn more about why this URL was marked as malicious, visit the Bing Site Safety page for this URL.

******************************************************

Who says computers aren’t capable of intelligence? I love the use of the word “malicious”.

67 Charles MacGruder April 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

” does this mean that AI will not take part in any event at which Myers is a speaker?”

I doubt it, they just won’t give PZ their public platforms again.

68 Barael April 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

I’m with Phil here. It seems rather uncharitable, easy or shall we even say Myers-esque to crow “too little, too late” when someone does the right thing.

69 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

@Barael:

No. It’s not uncharitable or Myers-esque to point out (rather than to “crow”) that it has been obvious for a long time that Myers was not someone to indulge.

His recent behaviour is not new by any means.

New Atheism was far too accepting of any misbehaviours by those in its fold. To criticise any of its adherents was to invite the usual scornful riposte that one was not an atheist at all.

I’ve had fights over the years with public such as the Rational Response Squad – a group engaged in some disreputable activities with a minor via teleconference at one stage and which offered “degree level” course chaired by their in-house “historian” Rook Hawkins. They were feted by Dawkins and Hitchens and Carrier.

There was Carrier, the academic who was prepared to tout contributions to allow him to write an academic tome on the historicity of Jesus – with the conclusion known before his research.

There was the New York City Atheists, with their messages from their leader and their secretary on how to behave as an atheist.

There were huge meltdowns at infidels.com and at the Dawkins forums, the latter closing down completely overnight.

There was the Brights thing.

There was Dawkins himself speaking in the most sneering and childish manner about theists such as The Pope.

Criticism of any of this stuff didn’t go down well at all and was generally dealt with harshly. Yet some degree of self-criticism would have weeded out the more outlying proponents of atheism and ensured a better quality of message and messenger.

I want to be absolutely clear on this in relation to AI: I don’t accuse them of the same cultism I’ve seen elsewhere in atheist activism, and I greatly admire their steady progress and hard work in gaining access to and making reasoned submissions to people who may make a difference. Besides their message there is much to admire in the tone with which is delivered.

AI is in many ways a model to be followed by others seeking to express their views and to agitate for change.

I think, though, that they could have expressed greater criticism of some of the people with which they consorted.

The realisation of the true nature of Myers by AI is relatively sudden; the guy has been plying the same shtick all along.

70 Spike13 April 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Kudo’s to AI!
Michael, you’ve shown an incredible amount of patience attempting to allow PZ to clear the air.
Your reward was Meyer’s typical foul, gutter mouthed dismissal.

This is not the first time PZ has made an ungracious ass of himself, nor will it be the last.

I raise a glass to the future of AI and the continued marginalization of a petty and bitter obsessive.
Slainte’!

71 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm

This is neither too little, nor too late.

It’s clear from previous posts that a lot of behind the scenes stuff went on where Michael asked Myers to moderate his behaviour before Michael was forced to go public.

You don’t respond to a lynch mob with another lynch mob; you give your opponents ample opportunity to defend themselves or change their behaviour.

AI did precisely that.

72 =8)-DX April 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm

“..Ken Ham, Fred Phelps, Rush Limbaugh, Ben Stein, Dinesh D’Souza..”

I’m failing to see how hating, disliking and detesting this band of crackpots is in any way a bad thing. I mean should one “respect” Limbaugh’s horrible sexist and slut-shaming remarks, “like” D’Souza’s disgusting colonialist nostalgia and reactionary neoconservatism, “love” Ben Stein for his dishonest creationist hackumentary?

Expressing netagive emotions towards people when a large degree of what they do is dishonest and harmful is perfectly good in my book. I mean some people might find some good in the words of all those people mentioned, but that is generally, a pretty distasteful bunch.

Or is this a case of love the sinner, hate the sin? I thought we were all atheists here….

73 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm

@Shatterface:

The behind the scenes stuff was only relatively recent, and while doubtless well-intentioned it was of a form likely to antagonise.

AI could have made a decision to entirely ignore Myers, and to simply refute his obnoxious rants when they presented themselves.

Using the imagery of a lynch mob is more than hyperbolic to describe the situation and could be seen as offensive.

To ratchet back on the rhetoric while still maintaining a degree of hyperbole, we could call it a posse, which seems to be something that AI is suggesting with the following:

“We are asking all ethical organisations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse the harmful impact of his behaviour.”

74 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Out of curiosity, =8)-DX, do you always check to make sure that a person isn’t religious before asking them a simple question, such as “what time is it, please?”

ps. the suggestion to attack ideas, rather than the people who hold them, pre-dates Christianity by quite a while

75 Richard "The King" Sanderson April 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm

With Ophelia Benson’s snide attacks on Ayaan Hirsi Ali in recent days, one must wonder what messages she received from PZ and others on their infamous backchannel.

Ophelia got slammed as being an “Islamophobe” and a “racist” for supporting Charlie Hebdo, and I believe that was the first step in “re-education” for her. Expect Ophelia to step in line with PZ and the Horde on the issue of AHA and Charlie Hebdo.

Liberal traitor.

76 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Michael –

I’m glad that the Executive Committee of AI has stepped in/up and started to remove this distraction from your life. You did more than try. But I’d appreciate your doing one thing before you move on. About two years ago, you wrote a series of posts, the first of which listed 50 quotes from The Slymepit that you found objectionable. In contrast to what you’ve done recently, you did not include either context or links in that post. As was pointed out in the comments (most notably by John C Welch), several of the quotes were actually quotes of quotes written elsewhere (including FTB) and others were obviously sarcastic or (failed) attempts at humor. I’m not asking that you either enact the labor of chasing down the sources of all 50, nor am I asking that you memory-hole the entire post, but I do suggest that you add some sort of disclaimer to the post, acknowledging that some of the quotes that you included in your list are misplaced.

cheers

77 Ron Murphy April 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm
78 =8)-DX April 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm

@Billie from Ockham,
The implication being that I fail to see (apart from religious admonition to do so) any reason to consider despising, hating or detesting despicable, hatefull or otherwise morally bankrupt people immoral. Furthermore since I agree most moral ideas predate Christianity, that other point of yours is moot.

I mean plenty of people in the comments here are expressing their negative emotions concerning Myers (and his ideas). If the problem is supposed to be PZ’s violent rhetoric, why is he being criticised for detesting detestable people?

79 Devil's Advocate April 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

I want Myers to get worse, angrier, more belligerent. He can be Atheism’s “devil”. The model we point to saying, “Don’t be that.”

80 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm

It’s really not so long ago that AI were not merely trumpeting his arrival in Dublin:

http://atheist.ie/2010/01/pz-myers-to-speak-at-atheist-ireland-meeting-this-monday/

but they were also quoting him on his most childish stunt:

“You would not believe how many people are writing to me, insisting that these horrible little crackers (they look like flattened bits of styrofoam) are literally pieces of their god, and that this omnipotent being who created the universe can actually be seriously harmed by some third-rate liberal intellectual at a third-rate university… However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel.”

Painfully childish, but celebrated when he was within the fold.

81 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Painfully childish, but celebrated when he was within the fold.

Have AI ever championed Myers’ sexually violent rhetoric or libel of other atheists? No? Because pointing out AI didn’t condemn the cracker stunt is irrelevant.

The Myers who did that was, by his own admission, a Islamophobic jerk who’s opinions he now renounces.

82 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm

@Shatterface:

Please fell free to point where I suggested that AI “championed Myers’ sexually violent rhetoric or libel of other atheists”. I think that you will struggle on that front.

I’d also suggest use of the term “defamation” rather than “libel”.

It’s interesting that you say that Myers renounces his past behaviour, calling himself a “jerk”. It’s interesting because friends tell friends when they’re being jerks and don’t repeat the jerkish behaviour in quotes. Otherwise they share that burden of jerkishness.

I called him on his behaviour at the time. I was hit with an avalanche of abuse. I retreated unbruised but with the certain knowledge that the guy was a dick of the highest order.

It was obvious all along what a jerk he was. AI may not have championed him, but they certainly gave him a pulpit. They have apologised for that, which is something, but it shows a gross misjudgment to have put themselves in that position. Was nobody reading his blog at all, or were those who did sniggering at his petulance and at his “violent rhetoric” because it was against a common foe?

The statement by AI is too late and its length suggests that it was compiled by the person who was targeted by Myers. Remember that Myers targeted Nugent and not AI (so far as I can determine). Are the two so synonomous that insults and defamatory comments aimed at one apply to both?

AI is not – or at least shouldn’t be – all about MN. As an organisation they shouldn’t really be taking up the cudgels for him, and especially not with what appear to be his words.

When they shoulder arms at this stage it appears that they are protecting their own, which rather begs the question of why they had never spoken out before.

Forgive my cynicism, but AI sat on their hands for years while Myers was insulting and defame all and sundry. It was only when the PZ-Bombs began to land closer to home that action was taken.

83 Tigzy April 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Just so you know, Alex Gabriel has very kindly supplied the links to the various examples of Myers’ nastiness as illustrated in the OP: http://freethoughtblogs.com/godlessness/2015/04/08/atheist-irelands-statement-on-pz-myers/

Thanks Alex! 😀

84 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Forgive my cynicism, but AI sat on their hands for years while Myers was insulting and defame all and sundry. It was only when the PZ-Bombs began to land closer to home that action was taken.

Michael’s series of posts were in response to Myers’ smears against people other than Michael himself. Unless you have access to the correspondence between representatives of AI and FTB you have no idea how long this has been going on.

Reasonable people, of which Michael is one, try to reason with others in private first; they only take the matter into the public sphere when their private approaches are dismissed or ignored.

85 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Just so you know, Alex Gabriel has very kindly supplied the links to the various examples of Myers’ nastiness as illustrated in the OP: http://freethoughtblogs.com/godlessness/2015/04/08/atheist-irelands-statement-on-pz-myers/

And, true to form, their response consists largely of a word count:

Michael Nugent doesn’t much like PZ Myers. After writing 32 posts, 350 pages and 75,000 words to that effect since September, he’s now roped in his national org Atheist Ireland, whose ‘executive committee’ (never hitherto mentioned on the group’s website) cosign what reads like blog post 33.

Hey, Gabriel – how many matches did I just spill?

86 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 3:24 pm

@Shatterface:

Can you tell me how long ago MN and/or AI began to correspond with Myers regarding his tone?

Did that correspondence begin at the time when Myers retrosepectively recognises that he was a jerk?

That was the time to tell him. Maybe July 2008 and what you refer to as the “cracker stunt” would have been a wakeup call. Instead AI used a quote from that time to publicise an appearance by Myers in Dublin.

Pharyngula has been online since 2002. It was around that tie that Myers showed us that he was a jerk. AI have had years to point that out. Ironically, Myers now casts his behaviour back then as being that of a “jerk”, which seems to imply that he has revisited his views and is now less of one. The irony consists in the fact that it is his most recent behaviour which appears to have attracted AI’s opprobrium.

87 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

The Alex Gabriel link is very instructive. It also the wonderful irony of his description of MN as being “obsessive”.

“Physician, heal thyself”.

However, it does uncover some context for Myers’ comments and some of that context makes a lot of the accusations against him look quite benign.

88 Chris April 8, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Well put. The dissociation is a reasonable and appropriate action under the circumstances.

89 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm

@Shatterface:

“Reasonable people, of which Michael is one, try to reason with others in private first; they only take the matter into the public sphere when their private approaches are dismissed or ignored.”

My impression was that MN mailed Myers but copied people on it.

That is not private.

90 Jack Rawlinson April 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm

What the hell does the cracker stunt have to do with this? Maybe it was childish, but it was making a point about the absurdity of holding things sacred. If you remember, Myers also soiled some pages from the Koran and The God Delusion in that stunt. Not something worth getting seriously irked about beyond maybe saying “that’s a bit childish”.

This is a complete, stinking red herring which has nothing to do with the many “final straws” which have led to this latest action from AI. Those include, in case you forgot, doxxing, flinging unsubstantiated accusations of rape around and accusing Nugent of providing a haven for rapists. In the UK and many other countries the latter two could be reasonable grounds for libel charges to be brought. Irrespective of that they are certainly incidents of deep personal malice that could readily lead to real damage to named individuals. A little bit different to a childish stunt involving “disrespecting” inanimate objects.

Get a grip.

91 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 3:51 pm

@Jack Rawlinson:

So it is all about MN feeling hurt then?

92 Jack Rawlinson April 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Are you for real? You single that out of the three examples I gave (and you know damned well I could have given many more, as Nugent’s summaries have done) and you ignore the unsubstantiated rape accusation and the doxxing? I’m about to assume you’re just trolling. Pretty repulsively, too.

93 Tigzy April 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Curiously, in his linkage to the various articles illustrating PZ’s nastiness, Alex Gabriel omits the link to this:

‘he has accused a named person of committing a serious crime’

– which may be Myers’ most flagrant misdemeanor.

Make of that what ye will.

94 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Michael, latsot is tweeting about you:

I blocked Michael Nugent because he sent me a hundred messages in an hour which became increasingly threatening.
4:55 PM – 8 Apr 2015

https://twitter.com/latsot/status/585833379951734785

I don’t think this is quite true.

95 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm

@Jack Rawlinson:

“unfounded rape allegation”? I’m not getting into whether or not there is a sound basis to the allegation, but one thing I know is that a confounding factor in all of this is the differing standards that obtain between Ireland and the US regarding what constitutes defamation and what remedies are available.

In the US, Myers can say pretty much what he wants and won’t have to pay in the event of defamation unless the person defamed can prove both damage and malicious intent. David Beckham found that out to his cost when he sued a magazine which reported that he had slept with a prostitute at one stage. He had flight tickets and witnesses to prove that he was in the UK at the time that she claimed he was with her in LA.

Slam dunk case. The publishers and the court accepted entirely that the allegations were entirely falacious. The case was thrown out of court because no “actual malice” on behalf of the publishers could be proven.

Myers and Nugent are speaking past each other in respect of what either of them sees as a right and the other a resposnibility.

I disagree with the law in the US, and even if I have to accept it I disagree that someone should abuse it so. However, that is the milieu in which Myers operates. People there are allowed to make criminal allegations in good faith even if they don’t have a court conviction to hand.

96 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 5:25 pm

A complete different issue to that being discussed (e.g., bringing in the legal requirements for a successful suit in some country when the question was whether the statement was an unfounded smear) is not a “confound.” It is a completely different issue, often raised as a distraction.

You’re starting to sound a bit like Dr. Richard Carrier, PhD, when he discusses non-sober consent.

97 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm

@Billie:

The point is that differing applications of the law between different jurisdictions can result in two people apparently discussing the same issue while each has an entirely different basis for their view. It’s not a distraction, but an attempt at a partial explanation for some of the issues between MN and Myers.

98 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Please feel free to provide links to where either Micheal Nugent or P Z Myers makes their dispute into one that involves legal issues. I missed these in my reading. Thanks.

99 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Billie,

The statement issued by AI includes the following:

“He has since refused for six months to withdraw and apologise for this defamatory smear, adding that Michael also ‘supports rapists’, and is a ‘demented fuckwit’ and ‘the Irish wanker’. ”

The word “defamatory” refers strictly to a legal concept.

AI also accuse Myers:

“He also employs hate speech against Christians…”

Hate Speech is an offence in Ireland and in the US, but the definitions of it vary widely between the two jurisdictions.

The irony is that Myers would find a much more forgiving legal environment if he were to pursue AI in Ireland than they would were they to pursue him in the US.

The issue about the rape allegation is nothing if not a legal issue.

100 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Your claim that “The word ‘defamatory’ refers strictly to a legal concept” is new to me, but at least I now know where you’re coming from. cheers

101 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm
102 Nick April 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Glad to see this. The guy is an idiot and long ago stopped saying anything of value. He’s just regurgitating a lot of nonsense at this point, the kind of nonsense spammed online by ugly-minded self-proclaimed “progressives.”

It’s a shame, he’s really gone off the deep end.

103 Dave April 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Nialler, your link only shows that defamation can be a legal concept, not that it is solely so, as your statement, “The word ‘defamatory’ refers strictly to a legal concept” implies. While it would be easier for lawyers like myself were your conceit so, the great unwashed masses steal our terminology for their own use all the time.

104 Jack Rawlinson April 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Nialler: fuck your smoke-screening waffle about legal niceties. The point is that your “So it is all about MN feeling hurt then?” comment was a snide piece of bullshit and you damned well know it. The rest of us certainly do.

105 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 7:03 pm

I was already aware (maybe more than you realize) that one meaning of “defamation” was legalistic. What I did not know (and still would not know if I took that wikipedia entry seriously) is that “defamation” has no non-legalistic meaning.

But I’m happy to grant the idea, if it would help. Let’s assume, for the moment, that PZ Myers’ claim that he has not defamed Michael Nugent is reasonable on the grounds that PZ honestly believes that he has not committed the crime (or tort) of defamation under the laws of Minnesota. OK. One item on the list of grievances removed.

Well done. Your Order of the Molly awaits.

106 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Dave –

I wasn’t around in the late 13th Century, but don’t be so sure that lawyers had the term “defamation” first and the Great Unwashed borrowed it, rather than the other way around.

107 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 7:14 pm

@Dave and @Billie:

Let us posit the following situation: one or other or both of you tells a lie about me. It is a lie which could cause me reputational and/or financial damage.

I reply showing that this calumny could not possibly be true and provide clinching evidence. I accuse you of defamation and ask you to withdraw the comments and to admit to defaming me.

What would you do?

108 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 7:17 pm

What would I do?

I would pound my face repeatedly into my keyboard for making the mistake of engaging you in anything close to a serious conversation.

Why do you ask?

109 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 7:18 pm

@Jack Rawlinson:

Stay classy.

110 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

@Billie:

Then you don’t understand the question.

111 Dave April 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Billie,

While I certainly did not try such cases personally, there are recorded defamation cases as far back as the 13th century, so I suspect its at least as likely that the unwashed masses stole it from us lawyers as the other way around. And if we did “steal” it, Im sure we called it Eminent Domain (or back then dominium eminens) and got away with it.

112 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Oh, have no fears on that score; I understand the question.

At the local level, you would like to get one of the “charges” used by Atheist Ireland to justify their dissociation from PZ Myers reduced from criminal defamation to merely being an asshole. That’s totally fine with me. I wish you well, although you’ll have to carry out without me.

At the global (and more important) level, we are all just passing the time while we wait to see what is going to happen. Face it: nothing either of us says here will have any effect. At this point, we’re spectators (and may have always been such). What matters now is what the “leaders” of the on-line and conference-holding atheist “community” does. If, for example, Hemant Mehta does what he did with Avicenna – i.e., looks at the evidence and comes to a rational conclusion – then maybe a rather sad chapter in all of our lives is coming to a close. If not, then we’ll all be here doing this again (albeit probably on a different website) in something like six to eighteen months.

But, right now, it’s completely out of our hands. My engaging with you was because I couldn’t help but refresh various websites every ten minutes, hoping for an answer to the big question quickly. I should have known that this will take a few days, but I kept checking anyway and couldn’t help but post while here.

113 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 7:41 pm

And, as it turns out, I only needed to wait another five minutes:

_http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/04/08/atheist-ireland-publicly-dissociates-from-blogger-pz-myers/

114 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 8:02 pm

@Billie:

You won’t get an ounce of disagreement from me regarding Myers and his brand of toxic non-engagement.

He has provided one service (although in doing so utterly abusing his position and missing the targets entirely); that service is to show that atheist activists should be rigorous in examining the output and the motivations of other atheist activists and exposingwhat they see to be damaging to atheism in general. That he has screwed up so royally in doing so doesn’t mean that the idea was a bad one.

That’s why I hate the fact that MN has written 75000 words on this issue. I fully agree that he has been seriously traduced by Myers – and traduced in the most serious manner – but (and I agree that this is etirely a personal decision for MN) – that effort of writing something between a novella and a novel has potentially wasted his time.

I can understand his pain and can understand how seriously he should take the accusations made by Myers. Myself, I can only take accusations as seriously as I take the accuser. Myers is a busted flush at this stage. A comic figure (like various others) who are no more than dried bones littering the DMZ that xists between theists and atheists.

MN (full disclosure – I had a fight with him online some years ago), is doing actual work which seems to result in actual progress.

While Myers is alternatively spitting at his screen and then stroking his beard appreciatvely, MN is *doing* things. I just wish he’d been able to swat Myers away and get on with the work which provides most value.

I can also why he couldn’t help but scratch that itch.

115 Jack Rawlinson April 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

“Stay classy”, says the troll who dismisses unsubstantiated rape smears in order to mike a snide little jibe against a man who has bent over backwards to be fair to Myers. Yeah, fuck off, twat. Classy enough for you?

116 Jack Rawlinson April 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Or even “make” a snide little jibe. Cuh.

117 Aratina Cage April 8, 2015 at 8:49 pm

I am in full support of you dissociating from him. Now, I hope everyone here who agrees will remember this the next time they dislike a bot on Twitter being used to dissociate from other people on Twitter. I won’t hear any more complaints about it from any of you.

118 Phil Giordana FCD April 8, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Aratina: you dove your bot, don’t you?

119 Phil Giordana FCD April 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

“Do love”. Whatever.

120 Spike13 April 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

No problem Aratina, as long as the bot does not blanket accuse those on it’s list of being rapists, rape apologists and misogynists.
We should be fine then.

121 Spike13 April 8, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Phil, even when you are off, you’re still on.

122 Tigzy April 8, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Aratina.

We’ve all been there, mate. Not everyone can love our bots, you know.

123 Aratina Cage April 8, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Hey chill chick,

“I wonder which of the flying monkeys will be along to deliver it? I noticed Aratina Cage drew the short straw the last time but he didn’t last long outside the echo chamber.”

You miss me?! Awww!

I actually got sidetracked and Twitter got good again (including lots of pleasant conversations with people from there). I’m not gone for good, just away.

124 Aratina Cage April 8, 2015 at 9:24 pm

One of the funnier typos I’ve seen, Phil. LOL!

And Spike13, *points upward*, please, no complaining, remember? Give people time. Some of them will come around and let go of the past and try to get along as best they can. If they however do not, then why badger them into hanging around with people they don’t like?

125 JackSkeptic April 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm

@ Aratina

People do not generally give a stuff about the blockbot in principle. Block away to your hearts content. It is the fact it is used as a tool to libel and abuse others that is the issue. You are party to a fascist tool used to hurt. You do know the Fascists did a similar thing with Jews right? In fact nearly all extremists do it from the left and the right.

The fact you continue to ignore that point is breathtaking. Have you gone so far in selling your basic humanity to a twisted ideology you can’t at least see the point I’m making?

When you one day realise that morality is not decided on which side you decide to take based on emotional responses you will grasp just how disgusting and unethical your blockbot is in the way it is operated and used to harm.

Finally, if you are going to present arguments in favour of your blockbot at least try and make them worth someone’s time and worth consideration.

126 Billie from Ockham April 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm

A careful weighing of the evidence after giving the other person months to explain their behavior and/or apologize … exactly the same thing as sending one tweet to a certain address to get someone else added to a blacklist.

Thanks for reminding us of the parallel, Aratina. Let me return the favor by reminding you that infinity is defined as the place where parallel lines come together. Last one there pays for the beer.

127 Spike13 April 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm

I agree Aratina, some folks will never get along and are probably better off not antagonizing one another.
The labeling thing on the bot was what I found troubling.

128 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Aratina Cage April 8, 2015 at 8:49 pm
I am in full support of you dissociating from him. Now, I hope everyone here who agrees will remember this the next time they dislike a bot on Twitter being used to dissociate from other people on Twitter. I won’t hear any more complaints about it from any of you.

People don’t give a shit about being blocked on Twitter, they care about being labelled as rape apologists by a bunch of cis-guys who spend more time blocking feminists than fighting sexism.

129 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Atheist Northern Ireland have now joined with Atheist Ireland.

130 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm
131 Gurdur April 8, 2015 at 10:28 pm

@Aratina –
you already know, since a million people have told you it over the last year and a half, that no-one cared about your silly little Block Saturday childishness, and the BlockBot that grew out of it, as such.
What mattered was that people thought you and oolon were telling the truth about those you blacklisted. You and the other BlockBot team members made claims simply against all evidence about people. You claimed it was about blocking trolls and misogynists, when in reality lots of feminists and non-abusive critics were being blacklisted – culminating in the utterly ridiculous blacklisting of President Obama (only later lifted), blacklisting of Prof Brian Cox, Gia, etc..

None of this would have been a problem in itself except for all the false claims you and your fellows made.

You refuse to face up to that. But as soon as legal action became a practical, happening thing, oolon couldn’t take down tons of defamatory wording fast enough from the BlockBot website, could he? His very hurried taking down of so many claims is a huge indication of just how false the claims were – oh, and of your team’s cowardice in failing to defend those claims.

Now stop with your havering. Nobody buys it.

132 Corylus April 8, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Pleased to see this.

133 John Morales April 8, 2015 at 10:31 pm

So Atheist Ireland is now publicly dissociating ourselves from his hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric. We are asking all ethical organisations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse the harmful impact of his behaviour. We look forward to continuing to work with others to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity.

Clearly, Atheist Ireland thinks there’s a lot more to atheism than the dictionary definition. 😉

(Atheism Plus!)

134 Jacques Cuze April 8, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Hi Michael, earlier I thought I had entered a comment, but now I can’t find it. I can certainly believe I never hit submit, or maybe I transgressed a comment policy somehow and it was deleted. Was a comment of mine deleted? If so, why?

(Or maybe I am at the wrong thread (again?))

135 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:43 pm

That ANI statement:

Our colleagues Atheist Ireland have publicly dissociated from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of atheist blogger PZ Myers.

We’d like to extend our support for this move; we’ve witnessed the deteriorating relationship between Michael Nugent, chairperson of Atheist Ireland, and PZ, of the Pharyngula blog, in which Michael has been subjected to a litany of defamatory smears from PZ and his supporters, and responded with patience, dignity and readiness for dialogue – an example to us all.

If we, as a part of the atheist movement, wish to put our case to governments, authorities and congregations, we cannot be associated with the kind of appalling and savage imagery Myers indulges in. Atheist Ireland has been pushing to end blasphemy laws, religious control of schools and requirement of religious oaths to government and judicial offices, and recently met with the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Myers has made no such comparable contribution.

We hope this marks the beginning for a new era in positive atheist and secular engagement.

136 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:47 pm

From The Friendly Atheist’s coverage of the story:

I get why people would rather avoid him [Myers]. If you ever wanted to push back against something he said, it wasn’t just one guy with a blog you’d be upsetting. It’s a guy whose response would be over the top, whose blog has a large and dedicated following, and who acts as an accelerant for his often-anonymous and even more aggressive commenters.

At one point, years ago, I wrote a blurb endorsing his book… and then not long after that, I just wanted less and less to do with him and his brand of activism. That was disappointing on a personal level, since I looked up to him so much when I started blogging. I know there are people who see the entire Freethought Blogs network as an extension of him, which isn’t true, but it’s a reason they avoid the other bloggers there, which is unfortunate.

To some extent, a lot of people have dissociated from him, albeit not formally like this. I don’t know how many hits his site gets these days, but I know that I follow news stories about atheism almost obsessively, and I just don’t see him quoted very much. It happens on occasion, sure, but not nearly as much as some others who have become go-to people for reporters needing statements or activists who are leading the way for political/social change. Whatever influence he once had seems to have diminished as his rhetoric worsened and he began lashing out at people who outsiders to the movement would probably consider his allies.

137 Shatterface April 8, 2015 at 10:48 pm
138 Glen Davidson April 8, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Clearly, Atheist Ireland thinks there’s a lot more to atheism than the dictionary definition.

You mean, like acting ethically? Being tolerant of others and not demanding that all fall into line with your own politics?

Well, yes, I suppose that is more to being an atheist organization (but not to atheism per se–since when was anyone here making claims about that?) than merely adhering to the dictionary definition, but it’s nothing extraordinary. It’s just the recognition that atheism doesn’t trump civility and decency, let alone become an advocacy group unwilling to discuss issues, yet very willing to impose the policies of some especially privileged persons.

139 Nialler April 8, 2015 at 11:04 pm

@Shatterface:

The ANI statement is very strong. It is also a reminder that in order to lobby effectively it is important to adopt a tone such as MN has done; a respectful one which is more commanding of repect and thus more likely to be listened to rather than merely heard.

The ANI reflect something I said earlier: that AI and MN are engaging with authorities and driving change far more than Myers has ever done.

That is why I think that they and he should not get involved in spats with individuals; their real fights must be with those people who can make changes.

I’d respecftully suggest that MN completely restricts further activist commentary to the AI channels. Let people such as Myers take on the organisation rather than the individual.

140 Steersman April 8, 2015 at 11:09 pm

John Morales (#133):

Clearly, Atheist Ireland thinks there’s a lot more to atheism than the dictionary definition. 😉

A reasonable point, at least on its face. However, I think there are some rather significant if not profound differences between the atheism of PZ Myers and Richard Carrier on the one hand, and, on the other, the atheism of Michael Nugent and David Silverman. While all of them seem to promote an atheism that is “activist”, I would say that the former is seriously vitiated by some rather dogmatic demands as to what other principles have to be accepted – and largely as articles of faith. Including, but not limited to, some rather problematic “principles” of a rather “virulent” “feminism” – like sex as a social construct, rape culture, patriarchy, and privilege.

141 John Morales April 8, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Glen Davidson:

Well, yes, I suppose that is more to being an atheist organization (but not to atheism per se–since when was anyone here making claims about that?) than merely adhering to the dictionary definition, but it’s nothing extraordinary.

Since you contend that AI is not about atheism per se, you concur with me.

Steersman:

However, I think there are some rather significant if not profound differences between the atheism of PZ Myers and Richard Carrier on the one hand, and, on the other, the atheism of Michael Nugent and David Silverman.

So you too contend that there is more than one kind of atheism, and thus repudiate the “dictionary atheism” conceit.

142 John C. Randolph April 9, 2015 at 12:10 am

I considered PZ a friend back in the days when he and I used to wind up the astrologits on USENET’s sci.skeptic newsgroup back in the ’90s. I frequented Pharyngula for several years as well, until it degenerated into a far-left echo chamber. Even then, he tended to be the most reasonable leftist in the room.

I’m sad to see that he’s decided to jump into the SJW camp with both feet and lash out at fine people like Ayan Hirsi Ali and Richard Dawkins.

-jcr

143 Michael Nugent April 9, 2015 at 12:22 am

Jacques – your other comment is on the post about Ayaan’s speech.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2015/04/05/ayaan-hirsi-ali-pz-myers/#comment-1716727

144 Soylent Atheist April 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

It appears the JT Eberhard has put his two cents in on this issue on his blog:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2015/04/atheism-atheist-ireland-denounces-pz-myers/

As has David A. Osorios:
http://www.skepticink.com/avant-garde/2015/04/08/pz-myers/

145 tina April 9, 2015 at 12:46 am

I thing Watson is a bit upset over at Skepchik. She seems to think the Pit is full of rape apologists and misogynists. But then she never did understand that much. The Pit just takes issue with irrational people…doesn’t matter what gender they are.

146 Valerie Tarico April 9, 2015 at 12:56 am

It pains me when public atheists behave so badly. I want to think that people who don’t have their moral priorities co-opted by Iron Age texts are free to be more kind and broadminded, nuanced and evidence based, and self-correcting. But maybe I am wrong.

147 Glen Davidson April 9, 2015 at 1:15 am

PZ is just God’s way of making atheism look bad.

Unless it’s the lack of much real principle among mostly American atheists.

148 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 1:16 am

A reminder of what a nasty piece of work Rebecca Watson is as she attempts to smear Nugent and The Friendly Atheist by association with what she calls a ‘hate site’ (the Slymepit, of course; source of all Evil):

https://archive.today/wqtmK

Of course, she makes it ALL ABOUT HER.

149 Glen Davidson April 9, 2015 at 1:27 am

A reminder of what a nasty piece of work Rebecca Watson is as she attempts to smear Nugent and The Friendly Atheist by association with what she calls a ‘hate site’ (the Slymepit, of course; source of all Evil):

https://archive.today/wqtmK

Of course, she makes it ALL ABOUT HER.

No way, surely she writes in the spirit of PZ’s declaration, “We should be encouraging criticism of people like me…”. You know, like the Slymepit does.

Or…is it possible that they’re being hypocrites? Say that it’s not so.

150 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 1:32 am

144 Soylent Atheist April 9, 2015 at 12:30 am
It appears the JT Eberhard has put his two cents in on this issue on his blog:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2015/04/atheism-atheist-ireland-denounces-pz-myers/

But I can’t deny that his vitriol has turned me off. I’ve not gone near his blog in years. Maybe he changed or maybe I changed, maybe both, but anymore it seems any disagreement with him, even those in good faith, is met with accusations of misogyny and all manner of other insults. As Hemant said, even for people who share many of PZ’s goals, it’s not enough to disagree: he has to destroy them, smear their name, etc. And as bad as PZ has gotten his commenters are often even worse. I wouldn’t care, but as a prominent figure in the atheist movement his behavior has generated ambivalence to the cause in the people it hasn’t pushed out of the movement entirely. And now he and his contingent, which is how I came to know feminism, are the reason I no longer identify as one. Oh sure, I care very much about equality for women, for LGBT, and my writing reflects that. But they are what I associated with feminism, and what lots of atheists associate with feminism, and I don’t want to be that. I wish feminism was more readily synonymous with better people in the atheist movement, but it just isn’t.

And it’s not that Freethoughtblogs is an extension of PZ, it’s that it’s loaded with people too much like him. Not all of them, mind you, but more than enough which share his streak of straw-manning opposing arguments and declaring enemies of allies when they fail to toe their party line to the letter. I don’t say this with any happiness at all. The whole situation is sad. It never had to be like this and I think, for a long time, many people hoped it was just a phase.

Having said that, there are people I still greatly admire at FtB, Ed Brayton and Miri Mogilevsky among them. Sure, I have disagreements with both, but neither ever doubt we’re on the same side, even when we disagree. It’s clear that those people very much care about the people with whom they disagree. That’s important, and many on FtB have long ago forgotten it. Again, it just makes me sad to say that. I’ve been content for the most part to ignore PZ and his brood and let them continue to minimize their own influence, but it seems enough people have finally had it with them, people who want to carve out an atheist movement that works together like it used to, despite our disagreements, instead of trying to tear it apart to achieve ideological purity (much in the same vein the Republican party is now seeing). Because of that, I wanted to throw in with Atheist Ireland.
Nobody looked to do this. Nobody was out to get PZ. Nobody in this whole situation has said a negative thing about PZ and his mates because we want to smear his name, we’ve said it because we wish it would get fixed. At one point he had most of the movement full on behind him. In fact, that it took Atheist Ireland so long to do this is probably a result of how much PZ was once respected. I really doubt many are happy about this, even though they’re probably glad people are starting to talk about his culpability for sundering the movement without fear of reprisal (which many of us, myself included, have gotten to taste). I don’t want this outcome. I want to go back to when I was in college, when crackergate happened. I want us to all work together for shared causes while trying to change each other’s minds IN GOOD FAITH on all the rest. And that includes PZ. I think he has a lot to offer still if he could just take a step back and see how harmful his approach has been and how many good people have been hurt by it.

But I have little hope of that. Per Hemant:

As for Myers himself, he responsed on Twitter with a sarcastic “Oh no! I’ve been disowned by the slymepit!”… in other words, associating Atheist Ireland with an online forum that frequently criticizes and mocks him and is populated by people he deems trolls (even though they correctly uncovered plagiarism on his blog network). In other words, he didn’t care.

And therein lies the problem: PZ believes he was denounced because Atheist Ireland has the problem, not him. If they don’t like PZ, then they’re misogynists and a “haven for rapists” (as PZ has called the Slymepit, without any evidence whatsoever). He even attaches Atheist Ireland to a web forum that has nothing to do with Atheist Ireland. Instead of addressing Atheist Ireland’s gripes, instead of trying to maintain friendship with a group that, like me, once defended him, PZ just tried to smear them with an absurd association. This is how PZ’s clique on FtB tends to handle disagreements. On such occasions we can’t pretend that insisting that people who disagree or convey concern in good faith are our enemies, or the enemy of the very people for whom they’re fighting, is the same as healthy criticism. It ain’t.

151 Steersman April 9, 2015 at 2:43 am

John Morales (#141):

So you too contend that there is more than one kind of atheism, and thus repudiate the “dictionary atheism” conceit.

Seems that inference is a bit of a stretch. I merely said “the atheism of {Myers, Carrier, Nugent, Silverman}” suggesting different interpretations. And that the interpretations of the concept or idea by the first two individuals in the set seemed more problematic than those by the last two individuals. One might argue that that is somewhat analogous to different coloured billiard balls – differences in degree, not kind: each of those 4 have their atheism “coloured” by other sets of values and objectives.

Although it seems there is some justification for thinking that there are in fact at least two different kinds of atheism as suggested by this Wikipedia article (1):

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5]

You may wish to check the last 3 cite notes in particular which suggests some merit in that last view or sense. However, it does look a little problematic since one might argue that that position is still apparently based on an article of faith (2) Which is of course a central if not defining feature of most religions.

—–
1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism”;
2) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Faith”;

152 Jacques Cuze April 9, 2015 at 3:09 am

Thank you for clearing that up, and sorry about that.

Now if you can tell me where I left my lunch….

153 Billie from Ockham April 9, 2015 at 3:34 am

In order to sustain your “gotcha” point, John Morales, you need to show that the arguments in favor of civility from Michael Nugent, Hemant Mehta, and others (including Sunder on the Slymepit) actually come from their atheism, as opposed to, for example, their social skills or their desire to have a positive effect on the world. These people are all more than just atheists; to reduce their entire lives to only their lack of belief in god(s) is both insulting and erroneous.

Conversely, an asshole (such as me or P Z Myers) who doesn’t believe in god(s) is still an atheist. Even more, people who make terrible arguments on the internet (such as me and you), but also don’t believe in god(s) are also still atheists.

154 John Morales April 9, 2015 at 3:42 am

Steersman @151:

John Morales (#141):

So you too contend that there is more than one kind of atheism, and thus repudiate the “dictionary atheism” conceit.

Seems that inference is a bit of a stretch. I merely said “the atheism of {Myers, Carrier, Nugent, Silverman}” suggesting different interpretations.

So you weren’t actually referring to their atheism, but to their interpretation of some singular kind of atheism?

Righto.

Although it seems there is some justification for thinking that there are in fact at least two different kinds of atheism as suggested by this Wikipedia article […]

Remarkable that when I noted that you had expressed that there is more than one kind of atheism, your retort was “that inference is a bit of a stretch”, yet you go on to claim “Although it seems there is some justification for thinking that there are in fact at least two different kinds of atheism”.

Your ambivalence is duly noted.

155 Jan Steen April 9, 2015 at 6:53 am

Steersman versus John Morales.

Now that’s a battle of wits if ever there was one.

Sorry, I meant battle of twits.

156 Soylent Atheist April 9, 2015 at 7:28 am

I accidentally posted these two blog links on a much older post on Mr. Nugent’s website.

Blog = Humanisticus
“Why Atheist Ireland’s disassociation from PZ Myers is important”
http://www.skepticink.com/humanisticas/2015/04/09/why-atheist-irelands-disassociation-from-pz-myers-is-important/

Blog=Sunny Spells
“Atheist Ireland breaks up with PZ Myers”
https://sunnyspells.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/atheist-ireland-breaks-up-with-pz-myers/

157 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 7:37 am

From Sunny Spells:

I used to read Pharyngula quite a bit a few years back but I eventually tired of it. Not because of Myers’ laudable espousal of feminist and minority causes, but simply because he seemed hellbent on finding targets within the atheist movement and pulling the trigger. Sure, there are some real assholes within atheism, but it’s simplistic to divide the world into such extremes of good and evil. Too many people were frozen out who had valid – if sometimes unpopular – contributions to make. Since 2011, the conversation has died away, and for good reason.

Seeing this story everywhere: people who admired Myers in the early days abandoning his blog when he became a hater.

158 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 8:09 am
159 Trent Rademacher April 9, 2015 at 8:26 am

So PZ Myers won’t be invited to any more speaking gigs at Atheist Ireland events?
Boo hoo. Big deal.
You are aware that you’ve just lost any chance of speaking at a future FTBcon?
Now ask yourself: Who is the real loser here?

160 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:28 am

“You are aware that you’ve just lost any chance of speaking at a future FTBcon?
Now ask yourself: Who is the real loser here?”

😀

161 Trent Rademacher April 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

@Phil Giordana FCD
Laugh all you want but I can assure you that Michael Nugent won’t be once he realizes the severity of the situation.
FTBcon is one of the leading feminist/atheist Google Hangout conventions in the world and Michael just blew it big time.

162 Steersman April 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

John Morales (#154):

So you weren’t actually referring to their atheism, but to their interpretation of some singular kind of atheism?

Yes, that is essentially correct; I was referring, if maybe somewhat vaguely or inadvertently, to the interpretations, the colourations that the different groups put on atheism itself.

Remarkable that when I noted that you had expressed that there is more than one kind of atheism, your retort was “that inference is a bit of a stretch”, yet you go on to claim “Although it seems there is some justification for thinking that there are in fact at least two different kinds of atheism”.

Your ambivalence is duly noted.

Yea, well, that seems a reasonable argument, and a point I might have to concede, at least in part. However, one might suggest that, using a bit of stick-handling, the ambivalence is predicated on the dichotomy of, the difference between, “degree” and “kind”, with the former emcompassing various “colourations” which various individuals might apply to the different underlying or defining kinds or concepts.

But while I’ll concede, tentatively at least or for the sake of argument, that there is apparently at least two “kinds of atheism”, one might point out that, contrary to your “dictionary atheism conceit” comment, both the dictionary (1) and Wikipedia (2) acknowledge and provide definitions for those two kinds. From the first of those:

a•the•ism (ā′thē-ĭz′əm) n.
Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

So: two kinds of atheism – i.e., disbelief in god(s), and denial of existence of god(s) – both of which are denoted by more or less separate dictionary definitions. So it seems “dictionary atheism” remains a viable, if more nuanced, concept.

Though it remains maybe a moot point which of the two kinds each of those individuals – Myers, Carrier, Nugent, Silverman – subscribe to, and what degrees of colourations they apply to the selected kinds.

——
1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/atheism”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism”;

163 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:55 am

He’ll survive, I’m sure.

(BTW, which Pitter are you? Not Tony Parsehole, I’ll wagger)

164 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 9:00 am

Oh, ok, Steersman Combo Break.

165 Steersman April 9, 2015 at 9:07 am

“Steersman Combo Break”?? Does not compute …. 😉

166 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 9:16 am

This is funny – Justin Thibeault is claiming on Twitter that Myers didn’t make any rape allegations against Voldemort, he just repeated what he’d heard.

Maybe, but he also insisted the allegations were true and anyone who asked for evidence was a rape apologist.

Pathetic.

167 Kirbmarc April 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

“Of course, she makes it ALL ABOUT HER.”

I believe that Mrs. Watson has had this problem before.

168 John Morales April 9, 2015 at 9:35 am

Steersman @162,

So it seems “dictionary atheism” remains a viable, if more nuanced, concept.

Well, Atheist Ireland* here claims to work “to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity” — all of which are orthogonal to atheism per se.

(The similarity to the claimed goals of Atheism+ is remarkable, no?)

* Reading the comments above, AI and Michael seem interchangeable terms.

169 Kirbmarc April 9, 2015 at 9:42 am

“The similarity to the claimed goals of Atheism+ is remarkable, no?”

Key word: claimed. Noble goals aren’t enough to make a movement ethical.

“Reading the comments above, AI and Michael seem interchangeable terms.”

That’s a faulty assumption to make, and I think that Michael Nugent is more than ready to correct your mistake.

170 Steersman April 9, 2015 at 10:07 am

John Morales (#168):

Well, Atheist Ireland* here claims to work “to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity” — all of which are orthogonal to atheism per se.

(The similarity to the claimed goals of Atheism+ is remarkable, no?)

That looks just a little bit disingenuous at best. Or maybe you’ve simply never had the opportunity, or the courage, to dip your toes into the craziness that is AtheismPlus, although I’ll concede that it is not entirely without some redeeming features. However, if you haven’t done so I’d suggest starting with their “glossary” (1), although it reads more like a rather dogmatic and narrow-minded, if not juvenile, catechism. But a salient and rather problematic section:

-isms – refers to many, often all systemic and institutionalized powers that enable the oppression of marginalized people. (racism, sexism, ableism, etc.) The purpose of these forums being the discussion of social justice issues within the context of atheism, we use the social justice definitions of words like “racism”, “sexism”, and other -isms. You may have seen the terms “Institutional Racism”, Systemic Racism, Institutional/Systemic Sexism, etc. The short version is -isms = prejudice + power. In social justice terms, marginalized groups cannot be guilty of -isms in regards to the axes of privilege that they fall low on, because they don’t have the power to institutionalize their prejudices. We make this distinction for the sake of clarity and so that otherwise productive discussions do not degenerate into quibbling over definitions. (The A+ Primer)

Maybe after you’ve digested all of that (’rots of ’ruck), and the other two pages listing their various “articles of faith”, you’ll be able to precisely highlight the many similarities with the goals and principles of Atheist Ireland.

—–
1) “_http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2632#p42878”;

171 MosesZD April 9, 2015 at 10:20 am

The Friendly Atheist endorses the AI position. And out of the woodwork comes Rebecca Watson comes in to trash the FA and to make it all about her and to, once again, repeat baseless smears: https://archive.today/wqtmK#selection-1263.0-1263.42

172 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 10:42 am

Watson’s brainfart:

Hemant Mehta, aka The Friendly Atheist, has written a post characterizing “The Slymepit” as “online forum that frequently criticizes and mocks (PZ MYERS) and is populated by people he deems trolls (even though they correctly uncovered plagiarism on his blog network).” The Slymepit, in fact, is a forum that was created specifically to host hate speech directed toward me and other feminists after National Geographic refused to allow blogger Abbie Smith to host a discussion about what a cunt I am on their servers. For the past several years it has served as a place for misogynist atheists to gather and circlejerk over how much they hate me, PZ Myers, and other outspoken feminists.
Mehta wrote this in support of Michael Nugent, a man who has, bizarrely, been obsessed with PZ Myers for the past year or so, writing an inordinate number of long essays chastising him for every out-of-context insult he ever uttered about anyone. The most recent was inspired by PZ daring to criticize Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who recently told American gays and lesbians that the worst thing that could happen to them in the US is being refused cake. PZ pointed out that she was mimicking other conservatives, who exploit atrocities (in this case, the murder of gays and lesbians outside the US) to “justify continued injustices” (in this case, the murder of and bigotry against gays and lesbians in the US). It was a remarkably mild condemnation in relation to the utter ignorance of Ali’s statement, but Nugent and Mehta feel that it’s enough to call for PZ’s banning from all future Atheist Ireland events.
The entire thing is incredibly sad to me, as I quite liked Nugent when I met him years ago, and it’s been seriously embarrassing to see him become more and more obsessed with PZ over the past year while allowing his blog to be overrun by the bigots and rape apologists of the Slymepit, who finally found a prominent voice in atheism that would give them a platform in the comments. This will likely be my first and only comment on Nugent’s behavior, because I can’t imagine that giving his obsession with PZ more attention is at all healthy for him. I hope he finds a way to stop stalking and lashing out at other atheists and gets back to the good work that he was previously doing to fight for secularism in Ireland and elsewhere.
And I hope Mehta figures out what the word “friendly” means and how it relates to a forum for abusing women online.

IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

Not a word about Myers libellous accusations, bullying, violent rhetoric and general asshattery.

173 MosesZD April 9, 2015 at 11:47 am

Except for the first paragraph, nothing in Watson’s screed is actually true. The SlymePit was started AFTER the big blow up at National Geographic which was based more on Watson’s viscous attack on Stef McGraw for expressing some minor disagreement with Rebecca Watson than some dude asking Watson to have coffee with her.

At the SlymePit people do mock Rebecca because they find her to be a shallow grifter and toxic personality within the atheist community. This most recent column is a great example. Rebecca calls Nugent’s trying to get an apology for a baseless and heinous smear an “obsession” which implies Nugent has some type of mental illness.

Think about it. Asking politely, albeit repeated, for an apology for a baseless smear make you mentally ill. Yet Rebecca still, to this day, milks Elevator Gate. That’s, what, four-years now?

Yet Michael has the mental illness?

Can anyone, besides myself, see the absurdity of Watson’s position and behavior? Well, they can, at least at the SlymePit. It’s a joke. Someone who’s been milking a 7-second encounter in an elevator ride for four years shouldn’t be casting stones.

She further defends Myers out-of-context and baseless smears against Hirsi Ali. I think the record is clear Myers engaged in a hatchet job because Hirsi Ali thinks we should deal with the worst problems first and smaller problems second.

To make an analogy — there’s a traffic accident. Two people are injured, one with minor injuries, the other life-threatening. There is only one doctor available at the small, country hospital (LIMITED RESOURCES) the victims are taken to. As a medical professional at this small hospital, you treat the life-threatening case first.

Well, the same kind issue surrounds the LGBT community. In America, and other first world countries, while there is still is some structural issues with full rights, it’s certainly nearly as horrible as being thrown off buildings or stoned to death. So we should, HAVING LIMITED RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH ALL THE PROBLEMS, DEAL WITH THE MOST LIFE THREATENING FIRST.

And most people can see this. Yet it made her a target and an “Islamaphobe” and Myers also accused her using those disparate issues to ‘justify’ discrimination against Western gays. When nothing of the sort happened. It’s just, more-or-less, PRIORITIZE AGAINST THE WORST, FIRST.

And, of course, she repeats the same smear that Myers smeared Nugent with:

[quote]while allowing his blog to be overrun by the [b]bigots and rape apologists of the Slymepit, [/b]who finally found a prominent voice in atheism that would give them a platform in the comments.[/quote]

Right. Name one rape apologist at the SlymePit. Well, you can’t. There are none. There never have been. What there is, at the SlymePit, a healthy dose of ‘let’s let the evidence come in and be properly analyzed by the Police, and if credible, be tried in a Court of Law.’ Which is why the SlymePit wasn’t taken in by the Duke Rape Case, the UVA Rape Scandal, etc. And people like Watson, Marcotte and Myers are routinely duped by these phony ‘too good to be true’ allegations.

But I guess Western Jurisprudence and other enlightenment values are to be trashed for mob justice and Trial by Blog and Innuendo. Which makes us rape apologists for not jumping on the rush to condemn innocents ‘because someone said so’ bandwagon.

And, of course, smearing Michael Nugent, who is now the new Witch of the Week, possibly even Witch of the Month, with slanderous implications of a mental illness and catering to rape apologists is part of the demonization and character assassination process that the SlymePit has gone through for years now.

174 MosesZD April 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

it’s certainly nearly as horrible as being thrown off buildings or stoned to death.

Whoops, bad edit there. Should say:

it’s certainly NOT nearly as horrible as being thrown off buildings or stoned to death.

175 John Morales April 9, 2015 at 11:52 am

Steersman @170, what I wrote was about the remarkable similarity of claimed goals: Why tack ideologies on to atheism? (my emphasis)

Theistic religions tend to convince people there exists a supernatural caretaker: one who listens to, considers, and sometimes responds to psychically transmitted pleas for justice. The same religions also tend to posit an eternally persisting supernatural realm accessible after death wherein this god will dish out punishments for sins and rewards for good deeds. But if there is no supernatural caretaker and no post-death justice, conscious beings concerned with the plight of other conscious beings must take the initiative to promote justice, equality, fairness, empathy, compassion, and understanding in the here-and-now. From a psychological standpoint, an increased desire for social justice in the here-and-now can be credited to the conclusion of atheism for some people. Atheism Plus honors that connection.

(Another similarity being that they too disassociate themselves from those they think aren’t good enough people, though they be unquestioned atheists 😉 )

176 MosesZD April 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

For the record, lots and lots and lots of people are sick and tired of Myers and his ‘horde.’ They are not winning. They are losing, this google trend shows just how much influence Myers has lost with his routine bullying over the years:

http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=PZ%20Myers

Since leaving National Geographic, where he had some editorial control and restraint on his wild and baseless accusations, to his own blog network, it’s been all down-hill.

177 Minnow April 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

John Morales, this trolling is getting wearying. Nobody has ever suggested that Michael Nugent and some ‘Atheism plus’ supporters disagree on all social goals or ethical positions. I don’t know why you are surprised that there may be shared values. I don’t think I have seen Michael Nugent or Atheist Ireland say anything at all about Atheism plus ever.

178 John Morales April 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Minnow:

Nobody has ever suggested that Michael Nugent and some ‘Atheism plus’ supporters disagree on all social goals or ethical positions. I don’t know why you are surprised that there may be shared values.

I spoke about AI, not about michael — and I take this opportunity to note this to Kirbmarc above, who doesn’t think that AI and Michael are used as mutual metonyms in these comments. That aside, what makes you imagine I’m surprised?

I don’t think I have seen Michael Nugent or Atheist Ireland say anything at all about Atheism plus ever.

Well, since AI claims to look forward to continuing to work with others to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity, and since A+ shares those goals, perhaps they should.

(Because what Michael says and what Michael thinks is what AI says and AI thinks, right?)

179 Minnow April 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm

“Well, since AI claims to look forward to continuing to work with others to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity, and since A+ shares those goals, perhaps they should.”

Perhaps they should, and perhaps they will, but since they haven’t, perhaps you can stop trolling on about it?

You are the only person who seems to think that there is anything remarkable in the fact that people within Atheism Ireland and people without share some values.

180 Minnow April 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm

“Because what Michael says and what Michael thinks is what AI says and AI thinks, right?”

Oh, I missed that. The answer is, obviously, no. But maybe that is the source of some of your many confusions.

181 FishCakes April 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

John Morales @175 wrote:

Another similarity being that they too disassociate themselves from those they think aren’t good enough people, though they be unquestioned atheists 😉

Wow this is a really brilliant point. On the one hand we have AI disassociating from “the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers” (i.e., one person) following months of persistent but polite attempts to obtain a retraction and apology. On the other hand, we have Atheism Plus disassociating from anyone who disagreed with their stated goals and/or methods (i.e., with huge swaths of people) right out of the gate.

The resemblance between AI and Atheism Plus, in this respect and many others, is remarkable. From where John Morales and I are sitting, it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart.

182 Spike13 April 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

All that is left of A+ is a list of the banned and admins. outing each other as ideologiclly impure.
The only reason to visit that forum is to get stock footage of tumbleweeds.

183 franc April 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Anyone who takes Morales seriously –

He is only the second person I ever banned from my blog. At my place, he could not formulate any coherent argument. Instead, he set a record by posting ~60 pieces of gibberish in 15 minutes.

None of these folks have anything to add to any conversation. I almost feel sorry for them. But then I remember their real world acts of malice.

184 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 2:34 pm

The more I think of it, why is AI as an organisation getting involved in an internet bunfight?

MN has undoubtedly been traduced – as has his personal blog and possibly some of the posters on that blog.

It’ perfectly obvious that Myers has been acting the jerk, but MN has dealt with that (maybe not to his entire satisfaction – but – hey – the internet, eh?) and has made it abundantly and eloquently clear what is going on.

AI has no dog in the fight as an organisation. They have no need to take any active position; all they have to do is to quietly cross Myers off their invitation lists.

The action also invites the question as to whether this will be an ongoing policy with respect to other bloggers who engage in abusive posts regarding people other than MN.

185 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm

AI has no dog in the fight as an organisation. They have no need to take any active position; all they have to do is to quietly cross Myers off their invitation lists.

They needed to dissociate themselves because they had previously associated themselves.

Atheist Ireland has previously given PZ Myers public platforms in Ireland, both at the World Atheist Convention in 2011, and at our international conference in 2013 on Empowering Women Through Secularism.

That association became harmful to AI when Myers went off the rails.

186 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

@Shatterface:

There is something in what you say, but answer this: was there anything about his talk on that occasion which was deprecated at the time by AI? Anything about his behaviour which was deemed reprehensible at the time?

Is there anything now which seems bad in retrospect?

Is a retroactive apology really necessary when Myers was invited in good faith and doesn’t appear to have attracted any opprobrium in the event? I’ll admit: I’m not speaking with hindsight and would never have invited him as a speaker at the time, but that’s because age may have ensured that my judgment is flawed and the tone he employed at the time may well have been appropriate for his target audience; it just wasn’t to my taste, and that may have been my problem rather than his.

187 FishCakes April 9, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Nialler @ 185 wrote:

AI has no dog in the fight as an organisation.

Incorrect. AI, as an organization, desires to “continuing to work with others to promote an ethical secularism based on robust inquiry, empathy, compassion, fairness, justice and integrity.” To the extent that PZ Myers’ “harmful and hateful rhetoric” conflicts with or hinders those goals, public disassociation makes sense and is a step in the right direction.

188 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 3:58 pm

@FishCakes:

Fine. Will they therefore dissociate themselves from any other “harmful and hateful rhetoric” that they spot?

Myers isn’t on his own, you know.

189 Billie from Ockham April 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Excellent question, Nialler. But I don’t believe that FishCakes is authorized to speak for Atheist Ireland.

190 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Christ, Nailler – what’s your fucking point? Steers & Morales are more entertaining.

191 FishCakes April 9, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Nialler @187 wrote:

Fine. Will they therefore dissociate themselves from any other “harmful and hateful rhetoric” that they spot?

I couldn’t say what they will do in the future. I can say this kind of all-or-nothing thinking doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, though.

192 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

@Shatterface:

You are behaving in the same manner as Myers’ acolytes do in the sense of generally trying to put perceived foes in a general bracket.

If I am equivalent to other named posters please illustrate that by example and in full context instead of throwing out scattershot accusations.

Incidentally, I’m not here to entertain you. As an IT contractor I demand a daily rate. If you demand to be entertained by me that will attract a price. I’m open to negotiate on that.

193 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:00 pm

@FishCakes:

It’s not “all-or-nothing thinking”.

It’s called “consistency”.

It’s a close cousin to rational thought. Rational rules have global application.

194 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 6:07 pm

“It’s not “all-or-nothing thinking”.

It’s called “consistency””

I’m not sure I follow you here. Do you wish everyone everywhere to denounce everything? That’s going to take some time.

195 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm

@Phil Giordana:

Yes, I expect consistency.

If an atheist blogger or activist is displaying the behaviour specifically deplored by AI, yes, I expect that dissociation should follow. Just as with Myers.

Yup, it’ll take up some time, but AI decided to go down that route. Are you seriously suggesting that should hit one target and then ignore others?

The rational mindset would suggest otherwise.

196 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm

Yes, one target right now. i.e: the one who has been treating Michael, as well as Ireland, the Irish, the Non-Myers… like shit for simple disagreements.

I have zero problems with that.

197 Glen Davidson April 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

If you can’t fix the smallest problems, why should you even bother fixing the biggest problems?

PZ may be attacking and accusing people without evidence or cause, all because they don’t adhere to some rigid rules set up by some heavy moralizers, but there will always be somebody wrong on the internet. Surely it can’t be more important to disassociate from one of the biggest troublemakers in A/S than some anonymous troll.

Isn’t that right, Nialler?

198 Glen Davidson April 9, 2015 at 6:33 pm

By the way, it was a lack of consistency that was the problem for too long, as PZ got away with egregious attacks that would have gotten the little person canned from PZ’s forum (unless it was in line with PZ’s gospel, of course) and most anywhere else, save perhaps the Slymepit and a few other forums that actually prohibit little at all. There were reasons for it, especially since anyone without much clout would be effectively silenced anywhere those complaints might matter, but some of the big names should have stepped up sooner.

So finally some with enough clout to take on PZ start taking him to task for what any powerless blogger would have been dog-piled over long ago, and Nialler whines about consistency.

199 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:42 pm

@Phil:

I see Michael in your list right at the head of it.

Myers hasn’t been abusing Ireland or the Irish.

Nor even AI so far as I can find. He hasn’t even abused me and I can’t stand the guy and have expressed same on his blog.

How can he?

200 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:48 pm

@Glen:

I don’t “whine about consistency”. I couldn’t give a sh1t whether AI are consistent.

I’ll merely avail of my right to judge them on that basis and express my view. No whining there. I can turn my back in a moment and label them as being “inconsistent” and never need to give it another thought. I’ll point it out in passing, though.

201 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:50 pm

@Glen:

“If you can’t fix the smallest problems, why should you even bother fixing the biggest problems?”

Myers is the smallest problem facing atheists at the moment.

He is not even a flea on a windscreen.

202 Glen Davidson April 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

I don’t “whine about consistency”. I couldn’t give a sh1t whether AI are consistent.

Yeah, it’s so obvious.

203 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 6:59 pm

@Glen:

I don’t recall AI condemning the Rational Response Squad.

They were prominent. They offered “degree-level” courses delivered by someone with barely a High School level of eduction. They had Hitchens and Dawkins and Carrier as guests.

204 Pitchguest April 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Does Alex Gabriel not realise that the ‘executive committee’ reference is taking the piss out of FTB’s mention of their so-called ‘executive committee’ when dealing with Avicenna?

The irony of ‘not hitherto mentioned.’ The so-called ‘executive committee’ who had no trouble at all getting rid of Avicenna for plagiarism, but getting rid of people who constantly defame people by accusing of them being rapists or supporting rapists is apparently too difficult a task.

205 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

@Pitchguest:

Excellent point; both organisations should reveal the membership of their executives committees.

At this stage I’d rely more on AI to do so.

One jarring point, though, when I went to their website to check who was on their ‘executive committee” was to see thi in the constitution:

3.3. The annual membership fee for persons is €€25, or €€10 for unwaged.

You’re not a person if unwaged. Nice.

That distinction is offensive.

206 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 7:54 pm

“Myers hasn’t been abusing Ireland or the Irish.”

You sure about that? “Irish wanker” says otherwise.

207 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:08 pm

I do love The Sound of Silence. Great song, altogether.

208 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm

@Phil:

I think that the “Irish” in “Irish wanker” was used as an identifier of the person rather than as a general brand for the Irish people. Nugent himself seems to support the idea of nationality being used in the specific rather than the general, otherwise Keane would stand accused if the same in term of hi tirade against McCarthy. Instead Nugent wrote an excellent play around it.

If Myers – purely in the context which is being discussed – refers to an “Irish wanker’ we know who is being referred to. We may not agree with the second qualifier, but it is stretch to turn the first one into any form of xenophobia let alone offence.

209 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:17 pm

“I think that the “Irish” in “Irish wanker” was used as an identifier of the person rather than as a general brand for the Irish people”

I’ll let you argue that with Steersman.

210 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

@Phil:

I don’t have any way, of course, of diving intent, but in general use I’d interpret things that way. As a member of the diaspora I encounter this stuff all the time and it almost 100% of the time utterly benign. “Where’s the Irish f*****, it’s his round?” can be replaced with any other formulation in any setting in Ireland regarding Corkonians, Galwegians etc.

Reference to your home town, county, nationality or continent aren’t of necessity pejorative. In particular they can be descriptive.

It can be easy to make false associations. All the easier when you’re outside of your own milieu. I don’t think that Myers was being anti-Irish in this case. Just anti-Nugent, and using his nationality to identify him. That’s the way I read him.

211 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm

“As a member of the diaspora”

Wish one?

“Reference to your home town, county, nationality or continent aren’t of necessity pejorative. In particular they can be descriptive.”

Cheese-eating-surrender-monkey here. BTW, I’m being kind here, there are worse way to interpret what you’re saying. Way, way worst.

“you’re outside of your own milieu” Hey, keep your hand off my language!

212 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:37 pm

I fail at “s”.

213 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:40 pm

@Phil:

Lille myself; where are you?

214 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm

I’m not comfortable with telling you, but it’s a Nice place.

215 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:43 pm

“I’ll let you argue that with Steersman.”

The only person to argue that with is Myers himself.

216 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

“Irish” doesn’t mean “Irish”. Sure.

217 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

@Phile:

Only a couple of degrees of difference today, then.

Like 5.

We move between Lille and the Loire. I love the country.

218 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 8:52 pm

“Irish” is also an adjective. Used in a qualifying sense it doesn’t of necessity imbue all Irish people with any subsequent attributes mentioned.

Using the phrase “Irish banker” (see what I did there?) does not mean that all Irish are bankers.

219 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Using the phrase “ni**er muggers” does not mean that…well, I hope you see where I’m going.

220 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm

@Phil:

That is a bad example.

Talk about hyperbole.

221 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I have to apologize for my last post.

222 Phil Giordana FCD April 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm

But I still maintain that “Irish wanker” is a crappy, unkindly, and shitty thing to say. We can argue about that.

223 Michael Nugent April 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

#205 Nialler

One jarring point, though, when I went to their website to check who was on their ‘executive committee” was to see thi in the constitution:

3.3. The annual membership fee for persons is €€25, or €€10 for unwaged.

You’re not a person if unwaged. Nice.

That distinction is offensive.

Yes, that is phrased clumsily :)

In context, the distinction is between ‘persons’ in 3.1 and ‘organisations’ in 3.2, and ‘unwaged’ is a subset of ‘persons’ in 3.3.

3. Membership
3.1. Any person or who agrees with the mission and aims can be a member.
3.2. Any organisation that agrees with the mission and aims can be a member.
3.3. The annual membership fee for persons is €€25, or €€10 for unwaged.
3.4. Atheist Ireland may join or affiliate with other groups to further our aims.

But you’re right, we should change that wording.

224 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 9:47 pm

@Michael Nugent:

Aye, it might be better expressed. I don’t have a scintilla of doubt at all about the aims of AI and I hope that you understand that.

I am (I’d originally typed the very conditional and Irish word “would”) be of the understanding that you wouldn’t make ant distinction between persons and the unwaged.

Michael, please ignore the Myers f this world and ficus in those with you have a greater cause. Please focus your efforts on the Kennys, the Ministers of Education, et al. Please?

Please please focus your energies on those areas in which you can effect real change. You know what? You could turn Myers around tomorrow and that would have zero impact in real terms. Your energy and efforts could really change things in Ireland, though.

Wipe Myers off your brow. You have bigger battles.

Ireland needs a strong voice and advocacy for a prouder secular presence. You’re getting there.

Living in France I see it on a daily basis with my kids and their school.

225 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm

@Phil (post 222):

Couldn’t agree more. It is a crappy crappy phrase and it is a valid interpretation to conjoin the pejorative “wanker” with the word “Irish” in the same pejorative sense.

I cannot deny that. I don’t think that this was the case, but I obviously cannot say with certainty that such wasn’t the case. I’d err on the generous interpretation myself, but that’s my way.

226 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Using the phrase “Irish banker” (see what I did there?) does not mean that all Irish are bankers.

If someone started talking about a ‘Jewish banker’ we’d get suspicious about their motives – and ‘banker’ isn’t an insult in itself.

Combinations of words have a history behind them.

227 Nialler April 9, 2015 at 10:56 pm

@Shatterface:

I can’t believe that you have just done that.

What you have done illustrates the point I was making.

228 Shatterface April 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm

I’m not sure you are making a point. The one about ‘persons’ above is just twattish. It’s pretty fucking obvious AI weren’t making a distinction between persons and the unwaged and if you were ‘offended’ you were grasping for something to be ‘offended’ about.

229 FishCakes April 10, 2015 at 12:56 am

I dissociate myself from the harmful and hateful, over-the-top rhetoric of Ch @229…

230 SF April 10, 2015 at 6:29 am

At least PZ is consistent. He seems hell bent on alienating every single major and minor atheist/skeptic outside his merry band of like minded sycophants, and on that score he has become a tremendous success. He cries wolf and like a falling tree in a forest nobody knows it happened anymore. If I actually was dumb enough to take up PZ’s advice on atheists, I’d have to get rid of all my books and take up religion again.

231 FishCakes April 10, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Ch,

If you’re trolling, perhaps you ought to dial it down a few notches because you’re way too obvious and over-the-top. Not good enough to be a Poe.

If not, well then good day to you.

232 Frank April 12, 2015 at 6:20 pm

I really can’t say I’m surprised by what I am reading here!

A few years ago I came to personally experience the toxic environment that PZ and his followers like to create. After daring to write a comment in disagreement with their politics on a minor issue, only a single reply of over a dozen even bothered to sketch out a counter-argument before descending into name calling and threats.
At that point I swiftly decided that this was not a community I could respect, but a band of pseudo-intellectuals incapable of dealing with even minor dissent from their dogmatically held positions. Which was quite a bit shocking to me at first, but I came to realize one thing: Just because you have a few opinions in common with someone doesn’t say much about their other qualities, as a human as well as intellectually. And some self-styled liberals are disgustingly quick to descend into authoritarian bullying whenever they feel like it. And some atheists will do it with religious zeal.

With kind regards, Frank

233 Zimriel April 12, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Karen Armstrong is contemptible. I can even explain why: because she is an outspoken propagandist (do a search on, say, “I am doing a jihad to educate western companions about the misperceptions of Islam”). There’s plenty more to be found. Contempt is the proper emotional response to a shill like her.

But yes, Myers goes a lot further. Actual hatred, especially when coupled with violent imagery, gives me the creeps.

234 Jan Steen April 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm

@Zimriel,

But yes, Myers goes a lot further. Actual hatred, especially when coupled with violent imagery, gives me the creeps.

You’re not the only one. In the following, the hatred and the barely suppressed craving for violence are tangible, courtesy PZ Myers.

Yeah, I hate that faux-Vulcan shit so many skeptics and atheists love to pull, but I’m not forbidding it — I encourage the commentariat here to instead draw their knives and flense it so thoroughly the dispassionate ass is feeling the pain in every nerve ending.

It’s a difference between this site and McEwan’s. McEwan would rather provide a sanctuary for the oppressed. I’m more interested in rhetorically arming and inflaming them.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/21/a-reminder/comment-page-1/#comment-584374

A normal, emotionally balanced person would not write something like this. There’s something seriously wrong with Myers.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: