Richard Carrier’s latest smears are poorly researched, insulting to women activists, and defamatory

by Michael Nugent on April 17, 2015

Richard Carrier has just published some of the most vacuous and insulting of the recent smears against Atheist Ireland, Hemant Mehta and me. And so I have to again reschedule other activities, including finishing my response to the more considered posts by Ashley Miller, MA Melby and Secular Woman, in order to ensure that Richard’s false claims are corrected on the record before even more myths take hold.

Richard includes false claims about Atheist Ireland and its members, a hidden insult against women activists, false claims about Hemant Mehta, and of course the obligatory defamatory claims about me. Some of his claims seem based on prejudice plus zero research, and some on sources that represent mostly one set of perspectives, some of the content of which he misrepresents.

A word of warning for those who selectively dislike long posts. If you were full of praise when I was lengthily defending PZ Myers and his friends, but are not so happy with me lengthily defending other people against them, you might prefer to reminisce about those earlier days instead. Public service announcement: 2,996 words.

1. Introduction and basic principles
2. The enemies of truth and justice
3. Atheist Ireland (more like just Dublin)
4. A fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent
5. The source of Atheist Ireland’s quotes
6. Richard’s insult to women activists
7. Nugent did this for only one actual reason
8. This is literally all this is about
9. Hemant Mehta and due diligence
10. Richard’s selective primary resources
11. Summary

1. Introduction and basic principles

This was Richard’s introduction:

“This is a quick source document for anyone who “hates drama” and doesn’t want to do much work to investigate what all the hubub is about. Why did Atheist Ireland write a dishonest disassociation letter against PZ Myers, and why did gullible nice guy Hemant Mehta fall for it? Details below.”

This is actually a good start. Richard is wise in aiming this post explicitly at people who don’t want to do much work to investigate the truth. Because, if he had aimed it instead at people who do want to investigate the truth, they would find that almost everything he says is wrong.

Richard then began, under the heading ‘Basic Principles: Drama vs. Truth':

“In the atheist movement over the past five years or so what people call “drama” the rest of us call fighting for respect for minorities and victims of harassment and sexual assault. The people who hate that we do that are the ones who have caused almost all the drama you have ever called drama. Pretty much entirely.

This is essentially Richard’s foundational claim. He divides the atheist movement into two groups: (a) people, including himself, who are “fighting for respect for minorities and victims of harassment and sexual assault,” and (b) other people, who hate that he and others fight for such respect, and call that drama, and have caused all of the drama.

The implication of the rest of the post seems to be that I and Atheist Ireland fall into this latter group. However, to even examine that assertion, he would have to first prove that his “two groups” characterisation is accurate. He says that his primary resources support these claims, but neither his post nor the links demonstrate the truth of either claim.

2. The enemies of truth and justice

Richard continued:

“The enemies of truth and justice do this by counting on people who don’t care enough about the truth to check and find out what’s really going on. Because out of an apathetic aversion to “drama,” such people will just believe whatever bullshit anyone says loudly enough or officially enough.

But remember, avoiding drama, more often than not means avoiding the truth. So you might not like the choices. But you have to pick one. You can’t just dismiss something as drama. In doing so, you are saying you are not interested in the truth. And if there is anything atheists should never stand for (much less defend), it’s a disinterest in the truth.”

I completely agree with these two paragraphs. Perhaps unintentionally, Richard actually gets to the core of why I am defending people against the the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of PZ Myers and the misrepresentations of others.

It is deeply unpleasant and emotionally draining for me to wake up each morning to read further outrageously untrue smears about me and my friends and colleagues. It would be the easiest thing in the world to walk away from it, and do something more enjoyable.

But it is precisely because I care about the truth, and care about the harm and hurt caused by the smears and misrepresentations of PZ Myers and others in recent years, that I will continue to counter every post full of falsehoods by putting the truth on record.

And I agree that there are people (I hesitate to call them “the enemies of truth and justice”) who benefit from people who don’t care enough about the truth to check and find out what’s really going on. Ironically, Richard’s post itself is a very good example of this behaviour. Let’s examine how.

3. Atheist Ireland (more like just Dublin)

After his intellectual throat-clearing, we come to the substance of Richard’s claims. Under the heading ‘Summary of the Present Issue’, he wrote:

“Atheist Ireland (more like just Dublin)…”

Six words in, and we reach the first false claim, which is based on prejudice plus zero research. Atheist Ireland is very conscious of the need to be both national and regional. We have members, activities, political lobbying, media activity, debates, Secular Sunday brunches and information tables every month around Ireland. We host every alternate AGM outside Dublin. Establishing local atheist groups is not an easy task in many parts of rural Ireland, and we are still learning as we go, but it is high on our priorities.

Richard’s false claim is disrespectful to our Regional Officer Kevin Sheehan, who has clocked up thousands of miles at his own expense traveling around the country helping local members to get organised. It is disrespectful to the many members who have organised Atheist Ireland brunches and/or information tables in Dublin, Newbridge, Cavan, Meath, Dundalk, Letterkenny, Sligo, Roscommon, Athlone, Galway, Tralee, Cork, Waterford and Kilkenny. It is disrespectful to the many Atheist Ireland members who took part in Constitutional Convention meetings in Dublin, Galway, Sligo, Cavan, Athlone, Cork, Waterford and Limerick.

It is disrespectful to Peter Hinchliffe, who has been campaigning against the imposition of a crucifix in Kerry County Council. It is disrespectful to Corey Whyte, who is hosting a marriage equality debate on 6 May in Sligo with the Catholic Bishop of Elphin. It is disrespectful to Grace and Emmet Vaughn, who combine our Meath brunches with challenging our jury exemption for clerics. It is disrespectful to Martijn and Mandy Duke Leenheer, who helped establish our Sligo branch after their child was marginalised in their previous town for standing up to the local Catholic School’s religious education policies.

It is disrespectful to Andrew Doyle, who was interviewed last week in Cork about proposed conscience clauses in equality laws, and to Grania Spingies, who used to coordinate activities in Cork as well as being our founding secretary. It is disrespectful to John Hamill, who is taking an equal status complaint against Monaghan County Market while also running our national campaign against the Irish blasphemy law. It is disrespectful to Kelvin O’Connor and Tom Whyte, who as I write this are getting ready for our Atheist Ireland information table in Galway this weekend.

4. A fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent

Richard continued:

“… is essentially a fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent.”

This is the second false claim in Richard’s summary. The idea that Atheist Ireland is a fiefdom wielded by me is simply nonsense. The Executive Committee includes people with decades of experience of campaigning on the ground for a more liberal and caring Ireland, as well as enthusiastic people who want to play their part in that ongoing challenge.

In particular, as well as the regional organisers that Richard disrespected in his first false claim, this false claim is also disrespectful to our secretary Helen O’Shea, our Finance Officer Sean O’Shea, our regional officer Kevin Sheehan, our Human Rights officer Jane Donnelly, our Dublin Chairperson Ashling O’Brien, our Newsletter Editor Derek Walsh, our Online Manager Andrew Doyle, and our Blasphemy Campaign Coordinator John Hamill.

The members and supporters of Atheist Ireland include people who were politically active before Richard Carrier was born, from hardened peace and secular and social justice activists to elected politicians at local and national level. The idea that these courageous and inspirational people are some type of malleable sycophants, who would dedicate their time to advancing my personal fiefdom, is as disrespectful to them as it is bizarre to anybody who knows them personally.

Richard continued:

“He (or possibly they, if really anyone else at AI had their hand in this)…”

Atheist Ireland regularly makes substantial statements on issues that are significant to our work. That includes this dissociation statement, and also briefing documents and submissions to Government Ministers, members of parliament, political parties, and human rights regulatory bodies including the United Nations, Council of Europe and OSCE.

We do this by agreeing on a general position at an Executive Committee meeting, then finalising the document via online revisions to a circulated draft. We try to make sure that we can stand over whatever statements we issue, because unlike Richard Carrier we don’t have the luxury of being able to publish unsupported allegations without apparent concern about the impact on his professional reputation.

5. The source of Atheist Ireland’s quotes

Richard continued:

“… received or collected propaganda from an anti-feminist hate-site (literally called the Slymepit) and used it to attack PZ Myers.”

This is Richard’s fourth false claim or insinuation, and we are only two sentences into his summary. That’s not a good start. Atheist Ireland did not receive or collect propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site. As an aside, if Richard believes that the material came from the Slymepit, it must mean that either (a) he has visited the Slymepit himself, which PZ disapproves of others doing, or (b) he hasn’t researched his claim.

Actually, the direct source of most of the material about PZ was PZ’s blog itself, plus the fact that we know PZ personally. We had discussed our concerns with PZ about his harmful rhetoric since before the Slymepit was even founded, before Aratina Cage had described Abby Smith’s blog as a monumental pit of slime, and before anybody had even heard of the concept of Elevatorgate. Like some others, Richard seems to see a Slymepit under every bed.

6. Richard’s insult to women activists

But let us look again at the first half of that smear:

“… received or collected propaganda from an anti-feminist hate-site…”

There is a significant insult to women activists hidden in that particular smear. Remember that Richard is claiming that Atheist Ireland is my personal fiefdom, and if anybody else from Atheist Ireland was involved in this statement, they were involved in receiving or collecting propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site.

Atheist Ireland has many women activists, who do more work on the ground for women’s rights than Richard Carrier could even imagine, and continue to do so every day in a country where church and state have conspired for decades to deny women the most basic of human rights, where until recently pregnant women in hospitals had their pelvises broken without their consent in order to facilitate Catholic theology, and where you still cannot get an abortion unless there is a threat to your life.

Richard is making one of two outrageous claims about these women. Either these women have knowingly received and collected propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site, or else these women are naive and malleable enough to unknowingly endorse the collection of propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site, because they are simply supporting a man’s personal fiefdom, without any capability of doing due diligence in their officership of a national advocacy group.

Even more insultingly, Richard is basing these smears on his imagined division of the atheist movement into (a) him on the feminist side, casually insulting these women on his blog, and (b) these women, who are actually working hard on the ground to defend and promote women’s rights and social justice, and who he positions on the anti-feminist side of his imagined divide.

In particular, Richard owes an apology here to our secretary Helen O’Shea, our Human Rights Officer Jane Donnelly, and our Dublin Chairperson Ashling O’Brien.

Independently of the recent Atheist Ireland statement, Richard’s claim is also disrespectful to the many women who were on the organising committee of Atheist Ireland’s international conference on Empowering Women Through Secularism in Dublin in 2013, none of whom are gullible enough to organise an international women’s conference to benefit a man’s personal fiefdom.

7. Nugent did this for only one actual reason

Richard continued:

“It seems that Nugent did this for really only one actual reason: Nugent defends [a named person] instead of [another named person], the woman who has a credible claim of rape or at least extreme sexual misconduct against [the first named person] (one better evidenced than many such claims against Catholic priests), and people who see things the other way around have said Nugent is defending a rapist, at which he took such offense as to spiral out into the most extraordinary example of high dudgeon.”

This is both inaccurate and defamatory. I will address it in my later response to to the more considered posts by Ashley Miller, MA Melby and Secular Woman.

8. This is literally all this is about

Richard continued:

“That is literally all this is about. Because Nugent has no problems with appalling rhetoric when it appears from supporters in his own blog comments; or with controversy when it is raised by people he likes. So he is being disingenuous when he quote mines PZ to grossly misrepresent reality.”

The first part of this is simply nonsense. Of course this is not ‘literally all this is about.’ This is an all-encompassing claim, made with no sense of proportion, and supported by two further false claims.

Here’s an oversimplified version of my comments policy. Please robustly criticise ideas and behaviour, by applying reason to the best available evidence. Please do not insult people as people, or express hatred towards them, or dehumanise them, or threaten them, or attribute malign motivations to them.

And I have repeatedly said that all members of our movement should be open to robust criticism. Personally, I try to do so proportionately and charitably, combining praise and criticism as appropriate. That is the same charitable approach that I took in my initial criticism of PZ. It was only after his repeated refusals to withdraw his smear about me defending rapists that I became more direct in my criticisms of him.

9. Hemant Mehta and due diligence

Richard continued:

“Hemant Mehta did not do his due diligence to check Nugent’s claims, he just believed everything his statement said, because Hemant is overly trusting I guess, or else he is one of those folks who cares more about avoiding drama than learning the truth, in which case his values are exactly ass backwards.”

Putting aside the irony of Richard claiming that somebody else did not do due diligence, Hemant contacted me by email with several questions that he wanted clarified before he wrote his post. Also, it is strange to suggest that Hemant was unfamiliar with the harmful rhetoric of PZ until he read the statement by Atheist Ireland. And it is strange to posit just two possibilities for Hemant’s post – that he was overly trusting or that his values are ass backwards. So, another person for Richard to consider apologising to, if he has any integrity.

10. Richard’s selective primary resources

Richard concluded, under the heading ‘Primary Sources’:

“Want to vet the claims I just made but can’t find the time? You’re in luck. Because all the groundwork demonstrating everything I just said has already been done for you.”

He then included five paragraphs of what he calls primary resources. This lends an air of impartiality and objectivity to his post, creating the impression that the sources are what led him reasonably to the conclusions that he has just described.

However, if that was the case, you would expect to see a more balanced series of sources. For example, PZ and his colleagues frequently refer to the number of posts I have written on this topic. Surely Richard could have found even one of my posts as a primary resource for people interested in interpreting what I have actually said?

Richard’s descriptions misrepresent some of the content of some of the sources, which you can verify by following the links yourself and comparing them to what he says they say. This is of course not critical to his approach, as he himself started out by saying that his post is aimed explicitly at people who don’t want to do much work to investigate the truth.

Also in this section, Richard says that one link illustrates what he describes as “the breakdown of Nugent’s attempt to subvert Myers because of Nugent’s own desire to defend an accused rapist.” This is the second defamatory claim that Richard makes about me in this post.

11. Summary

There is a lot of nuanced dialogue happening in some of the posts that Richard linked to, and in some of the comments on some of those posts, and in some of the comments on some of the posts on my own blog about this issue.

None of that nuance is reflected in Richard Carrier’s post, which makes false claims about Atheist Ireland and its members, a hidden insult against women activists, false claims about Hemant Mehta, and of course the obligatory defamatory claims about me.

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{ 306 comments… read them below or add one }

1 JetLagg April 17, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Nugent:
Public service announcement: 2,996 words.

Was that… a humorous jab?

I applaud this new direction 😀

2 Henry Fitzgerald April 17, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Richard Carrier’s part disappoints me most here. His “show neither humour nor mercy to weakness” style of writing is not something I’m a great fan of – but if you can tolerate it, his writings on Jesus and Ancient World history are well worth reading, and I still check out his blog regularly – his, alone of all the FTB crowd – because of them.

So when he falls into lockstep with his comrades in his attacks on designated villains, it disappointed me the most. I couldn’t help thinking, “He’s better than that.” I still can’t.

Take his casual claim that Atheist Ireland is “essentially a fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent.” Now to tell the truth, as an Australian I have no personal knowledge that would either support or contradict this claim – and I don’t think Carrier does, either. If he did have evidence, he would have provided it – judging from his other writings, he wouldn’t be able to resist it. If Atheist Ireland were an organisation that existed in the first century AD, and someone made this claim, Carrier would demand evidence, and examine every nook and cranny of it to make sure it held water. Then he’d tell you at length what the evidence was and what he thought of it.

3 Henry Fitzgerald April 18, 2015 at 12:00 am

So sorry for my terrible proofreading skills, evident in the above post.

[No problem, I’ve corrected it – MN]

4 Billie from Ockham April 18, 2015 at 12:09 am

Michael –

Please take at least one day off from this soon, if not this weekend. You don’t usually make formatting errors or include many typos.

5 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 12:10 am

Sounds like we’re of similar minds regarding Carrier, Henry. I’m also a long time fan of his scholarship and shocked by how quickly he slips into the sort of sloppy, emotionally-driven reasoning you see from Christian apologists when he starts writing about those he disapproves of in the atheist community. I think he’s the poster boy for applied rationality of the lesswrong variety being a failed endeavor.

6 Jan Steen April 18, 2015 at 12:30 am

All you need to know about Dr. Carrier PhD’s integrity is that he calls the ultra right wing racist site Chimpout an atheist site, in order to support his claim that racism is still common in the atheist community.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7079

Here are two choice quotes that the Google cache dredged up from Chimpout:

This crazy ass coon is pissed because only white folks get to be atheists???? I’m one God fearing SOB so this stupid n*r can be all the atheist he want to be, don’t botha me nun.

Magic n*r Neil deGrasse Tyson

If there is one example of coon worship that drives me crazy, it’s how everyone fawns over this magic n*r. People, especially guilty white liberals and atheists, practically worship this coon like it was some kind of deity.

This sounds exactly like something you would find on an atheist site, right? (I have redacted one particular word.)

Carrier is just a cheap propagandist. His hatchet job as discussed in the OP is entirely in character. It always amazes me how people like that can live with themselves. Or how people can believe that in his “scholarly” work he would suddenly adhere to higher ethical standards. Ideologues be ideologues.

7 Glen Davidson April 18, 2015 at 12:51 am

They’re the atheist version of conspiracy theorists, with Carrier’s latest being a prime example of this fact.

It doesn’t matter what facts are presented, nor the dearth of facts behind their smears, the standard answer is that a conspiracy against the righteous and just ones–usually centered on the ‘Pit–exists merely to extinguish justice and truth.

Why and how are always questions left hanging.

8 Shivar April 18, 2015 at 1:02 am

Mr. Nugent, do you believe that the Slymepit is a “anti-feminist hate site”, as Carrier claims? Because out of all your corrections, I can’t help but notice that’s one item you did not address.

9 Jack Rawlinson April 18, 2015 at 1:43 am

Carrier has been down in the FtB gutter ever since his disgusting “kick the CHUDS into the gutter” post about Atheism plus. No surprise at all that he’s taking part in the shameless smear-strewing and near-libellous wickedness that has become characteristic of this group.

10 Jack Rawlinson April 18, 2015 at 1:53 am

Shivar #8: possibly because Nugent’s opinion of the Slymepit has not the slightest relevance to his numbering of Carrier’s vicious lies and smears? Stop trying to smokescreen the inexcusable and persistent vileness of the FtB crowd. You will not succeed.

11 Kurt H April 18, 2015 at 2:01 am

I notice that you edited a person’s name out in your post. I mean, it’s not like the accusations against him were printed in the NEW YORK TIMES, where the whole damn world can find out about them. You are so invested in protecting him that you are even doing so when such an action is completely pointless!

Maybe you would like to think there are “other” issues involved. But Myers took you task for defending him, and you have been engaged in a personal feud with Myers ever since. Who’s dividing the movement? Look in the mirror, bub.

12 rayshul April 18, 2015 at 2:10 am

Hi Shivar.

I’m arguing over your question on the pit and would like clarification from you on your thoughts, if possible. Like you I also noted on reading that Nugent did not address the “anti-feminist hate site” comment. I don’t feel it’s particularly pertinent to the discussion itself, but… it interests me, as a first-wave pitter.

Was your intent as Rawlinson above posits (motive!) or were you simply curious about the omission?

13 rayshul April 18, 2015 at 2:13 am

Sorry if that comes across as… demanding. This is the first time in a long time I’ve dared step outside the pit to comment or discuss. :)

14 john welch April 18, 2015 at 2:13 am

Henry F. @2:

So when he falls into lockstep with his comrades in his attacks on designated villains, it disappointed me the most. I couldn’t help thinking, “He’s better than that.” I still can’t.

No, he isn’t “better than that”. He is in fact, that. He’s demonstrated that on multiple occasions. This is the same kind of thinking that covered PZ’s assholery for *years*. “Oh, it’s okay as long as I approve of the target.” Well, no, it isn’t. If it’s wrong when directed at people you approve of, it’s wrong when directed at people you do not.

The FTB/Skepchicks lot built an audience thanks to that deliberate blind spot, and if folks don’t free themselves from that blindness and soon, this kind of thing will just keep happening. Only the names will change.

Shivar @8:

Mr. Nugent, do you believe that the Slymepit is a “anti-feminist hate site”, as Carrier claims? Because out of all your corrections, I can’t help but notice that’s one item you did not address.

That’s very close to a “you said you liked vanilla but not chocolate, therefore you must hate chocolate” kind of logic. Michael not addressing the slymepit positively does not mean he holds a negative opinion of it, nor does him not addressing it negatively mean he holds a positive opinion of it.

15 Shivar April 18, 2015 at 2:13 am

Jack Rawlinson:

I am very much against the vicious SJW foolishness of FreethoughtBlogs and their cohorts, and am solidly on the side of the Slymepit in this “schism”. Apologies if I hadn’t made that clear before.

I asked the question because Richard Carrier specifically called the Slymepit an “anti-feminist hate site” (and I see some at the Pit are putting that phrasing in my mouth, and not Carrier’s, which I find very odd.) I think it’s fair to know what Nugent’s opinion of the pit is, given that you all are just as much a part of the community as anyone else – like, say, Hemant Mehta, who Michael Nugent defended as soon as he was attacked.

The pit gets relentlessly attacked and unfairly smeared all the time, but I don’t see anyone notable outside the site defending it from the same type of lies that everyone else gets defended from. I notice people like Nugent and Mehta mentioning the Pit as carefully and as minimally as they can – taking care to use the site for whatever purpose they need to in their posts, but both studiously avoiding speaking up in defense of the pit when you all get unfairly smeared by PZ and his nasty minions.

I realize that the Pit can take care of itself. But it would be nice to know if there is actually support coming from the people who (directly or indirectly) are benefiting from the research and work done by the Pit, or if you’re all just to be regarded as disposable tools.

16 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 2:15 am

Shivar, Michael has, in no uncertain terms, addressed his grievances with the pit in the past (unlike some, he’s able to approach the matter with nuance). Your comment strikes me as an obvious attempt at a derail.

Which I’m happy to oblige actually. I do chat at the slymepit (Carrier’s willful ignorance of the *ironically* chosen name is hysterical, I must say) on occasion, and haven’t found anything approaching evidence that it should be described as “anti-feminist” or a “hate site”. Honestly, if one takes a day to engage with the members, the assertion becomes laughable.

17 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 2:18 am

And my apologies for coming across as bristly. Gaming and drinking while following the blog. Scotch makes me a bit more combative than usual.

18 MosesZD April 18, 2015 at 2:19 am

Shivar April 18, 2015 at 1:02 am

Mr. Nugent, do you believe that the Slymepit is a “anti-feminist hate site”, as Carrier claims? Because out of all your corrections, I can’t help but notice that’s one item you did not address.

The bait-and-switch game was stupid when I was in High School back in the ’70s, it’s gotten no better in the decades since.

And, FWIW, the SlymePit came about, and is populated in great part, by a group of individuals who had been White Knighting a young feminist woman who was publicly rebuked in an asymmetrical fashion by Rebecca Watson because she dared to have a different opinion. That is, during the conference, Watson publicly humiliated her from the Speaker’s Platform.

McGraw, if you did not know, is a feminist and an atheist.

And while the White Knighting was probably a bit of an over-reaction to Watson’s public rebuke from a position of power. They did have a legitimate point to it being an asymmetrical abuse of power.

And whlie not all members of the SlymePit are saints, and some are downright jerks whom I’ve filtered out, years of false-propaganda by Myers and his sycophants has made the bulk of them into something they’re not. By-and-large, the bulk of the population is moderate-to-liberal with a few libertarians and just a small handful of fiscal conservatives, most of which are socially liberal (support abortion rights, equality for women, etc.).

Sort of the old Orwellian ‘Big ***.” Tell it long enough and people believe it’s the truth.

19 Lsuoma April 18, 2015 at 2:21 am

Here’s something I found on Bart Ehrman’s blog which I think is relevant to the way Dr. Richard Carrier, Ph.D. generally attacks people in a very mean-spirited way, often attributing bad intent to their words:

In the Introduction of his book Sense and Goodness Without God (pp. 5-6), Carrier makes the following plea:

“For all readers, I ask that my work be approached with the same intellectual charity you would expect from anyone else…. [O]rdinary language is necessarily ambiguous and open to many different interpretations. If what I say anywhere in this book appears to contradict, directly or indirectly, something else I say here, the principle of interpretive charity should be applied: assume you are misreading the meaning of what I said in each or either case. Whatever interpretation would eliminate the contradiction and produce agreement is probably correct. So you are encouraged in every problem that may trouble you to find that interpretation. If all attempts at this fail, and you cannot but see a contradiction remaining, you should write to me about this at once, for the manner of my expression may need expansion or correction in a future edition to remove the difficulty, or I might really have goofed up and need to correct a mistake.”

That is Ehrman quoting Carrierbag.

20 rayshul April 18, 2015 at 2:22 am

Oooh, I’m feeling so goshdarn right, right now! Tee hee. Thanks for the clarification, Shivar.

I’m quite fascinated by the pit-views of others. I can see it’s very difficult as a public person to support or condone the pit as a whole – but perhaps the point is that people shouldn’t. The pit has always claimed to be a group of individuals, not a monolithic group with a single ideology. I believe it was described, early on, as a kind of online pub for people to argue in. And, of course, the problem with being a group of individuals, rather than individuals in a group, is that it’s impossible to support the whole without being seen to support the ideological outliers.

With that context, I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to come out in support of the pit, except in theory. You can, for example, support the pit’s commitment to free speech and free expression, but not support all views expressed there (many of which are contradictory).

Perhaps Nugent and Mehta have the right idea: they condone or at least accept the truth of some of the pit’s actions, have no comment on others, and wholeheartedly reject some.

21 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 2:23 am

Welch@12
No, he isn’t “better than that”. He is in fact, that.

I think what Henry is trying to say is that Carrier *should* be better than that. He’s written very well (in my opinion, and I think Henry’s as well) on epistemology as it relates to ethics, but then he falls flat on his face when it comes to practical applications. This is what I mean when I say the lesswrong approach to applied rationality is a failure. Someone intelligent (I’ll argue) and fully versed in the philosophy of science is apparently just as susceptible to religious thinking as anyone. It’s a bit humbling. Makes me reassess my own worldview.

22 Skep tickle April 18, 2015 at 2:35 am

Michael, it looks like the close-blockquote should be moved to follow Richard’s line “Pretty much entirely” so that the next paragraph, starting with your line “This is essentially Richard’s foundational claim”, isn’t in the blockquote.

That out of the way: Nice job, yet again, with this detailed and thoughtful rebuttal. It’s a shame the need for these keeps arising.

Shivar, thanks for clarifying. Good question for Michael.

To generalize a bit, Richard Carrier repeats a common error: depicting feminism as a dichotomous position, with any individual or group seen as either being on the correct side (the side of the person who’s writing or speaking, as Mr Carrier did) or, in the only offered alternative, being an “anti-feminist”.

So much depends on how one defines feminism. I think you (the generic “you”) would have a hard time finding anyone in A/S who disagrees with the equality-based dictionary definitions, for example (from Merriam-Webster) “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”.

23 Shivar April 18, 2015 at 2:39 am

rayshul @18 – thanks for the reasoned reply. You said “I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to come out in support of the pit, except in theory”. True enough, given that like you say there’s many different viewpoints on just about everything there. But despite that, it should be a no-brainer for someone to say a word in defense of the site when it is smeared as, say, a bunch of rape apologists or worse. Mr. Nugent rightly took umbrage when PZ accused him of haboring rapists on his blog (meaning Pit members, of course.) But as far as I can recall I never saw him say anything about Pitters actually being called rapists. I might be mistaken there, but I have not actually seen anything. That to me is troubling. I see the same pattern with Mehta, and also Ron Lindsay.

I’m really not trying to derail, as I am being accused of. It was just an honest question I had (in support of the Slymepit!), and I didn’t intend for it to become a separate subject of discussion. So I’ll just stop here.

24 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 2:56 am

I feel I must offer further apology to you, Shivar. The pit is a controversial subject, and the members there seem to have long ago given up on the idea, if they ever had the idea to begin with, of redeeming its image. Undoing that PR hatchet job seems like a waste of time, and attempts are met with suspicion, either of the individual being a pitter with poor sense of tactics, or a pit-smearer, with intentions to poison the well. We’re probably overly defensive, but I’ll still say the opposition forced us to that position.

25 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 2:56 am

I swatted a fly with a Richard Carrier book once but it was so lightweight the fly wasn’t even mad.

26 chill chick April 18, 2015 at 3:08 am

As a black woman I never felt anyone at Pharyngula or associated sites gave a rat’s ass about my rights or concerns. On the contrary I was called a chill girl (intended as an insult) and a rape apologist, and driven out with violent rhetoric and doxxing threats by the Horde.

As for Carrier, I once watched a lecture by him on earlt Christian history where he “accidentally” displayed the wrong image as a joke. “Here’s Genevieve… [bikini-clad woman appears on the screen] Oops! I mean Saint Genevieve.” Then there’s the hypocritical behavior he’s shown in his personal life… suffice it to say I don’t see him as being in any position to impugn the integrity of the members of Atheist Ireland.

Kudos to Michael and his colleagues for being so patient and thoroughly professional, and for accomplishing so much activism in Ireland despite the constant distractions and juvenile insults from the peanut gallery!

27 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 3:22 am

“Hemant Mehta did not do his due diligence to check Nugent’s claims, he just believed everything his statement said, because Hemant is overly trusting I guess, or else he is one of those folks who cares more about avoiding drama than learning the truth, in which case his values are exactly ass backwards.”

They’re still smarting from the Aviccena scandal. Avi had been getting away with plagiarism for years – when a simple Google search of sample sentences from his posts would have shown him up for what he was – as well as making outrageous claims such as being involved in the autopsy of Indian girls found hanged from a tree.

Hermant might have read the accusation on a site run by a Pitter but he did his full diligence and followed the evidence – something FTB had signally failed to do.

All the evidence of shitty behaviour on Myers part has been linked to on this site, whether by Michael, Pitters or the many independent posters who have been following the ‘drama’ over the years. Nobody has to trust second-hand accounts, they can follow the links to the original sources.

28 Billie from Ockham April 18, 2015 at 3:28 am

I am an ardent feminist, Shivar, but I also despise feminism. Lucky for me, there are so many definitions of “feminism” floating around that I’ve said nothing more than I do not suffer from flat affect.

29 The Yeti April 18, 2015 at 3:35 am

I recently had some rather contentious interactions with Carrier after I made a blog post that was highly critical of him. His responses proved that he is completely lacking in integrity. He made multiple untrue claims about things I said, and when he posted hyperlinks in his responses to me, they never linked to the statements that he claimed. That seems to be a favorite technique of his-posting hyperlinks but relying on the fact that his readers won’t bother to click on them.

When his marriage ended, he did not give his wife the benefit of discretion. Instead, he decided to blog about it to the world. His blog post was not an apology to his wife; instead he celebrated “coming out” with his polyamorous “orientation”, and even bragged about his numerous lovers over the years. We are all human, and people mess up, sometimes pretty badly. I get that. It is the awful way that he handled it that is the issue.

In the comments of my blog, as well as his response (and the comments there), he expounds upon his totally friendly and ethical methods for picking up women art atheist events. If anyone doubts my description, I invite them to read the comments of my blog as well as his response. This man who constantly speaks of his own “feminism” says things indistinguishable from the “pickup artist” types that he criticizes.

Carrier has manged to completely discredit himself. His smears of Michael Nugent and Atheist Ireland shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody.

30 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 3:39 am

At least Carrier is modest:

At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am as much a philosopher as Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications are comparable to theirs in every relevant respect.

http://www.richardcarrier.info/contrawood.html#philosopher

h/t Really?

31 Glen Davidson April 18, 2015 at 3:58 am

At least Carrier is modest:

At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am as much a philosopher as Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications are comparable to theirs in every relevant respect.

http://www.richardcarrier.info/contrawood.html#philosopher

h/t Really?

Oh come on, I have no problem believing that Carrier’s education and qualifications are comparable to Hume’s and Aristotle’s.

Rather pathetic, if you consider how much better a modern person’s education should be. Yes, Richard, there has been much learned since Aristotle and Hume.

32 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 4:12 am

I am an ardent feminist, Shivar, but I also despise feminism. Lucky for me, there are so many definitions of “feminism” floating around that I’ve said nothing more than I do not suffer from flat affect.

Orwell was often accused of being ‘anti-socialist’ because he was vocally anti-Stalinist when the rest of the Left was afraid to speak out. He was, in fact, a libertarian socialist who had shown much sympathy towards the Spanish anarchists/anarcho-syndicalists in his writings and devoted his writings the cause of democratic socialism.

Feminism is like socialism in that it ranges from authoritarian to libertarian poles. It is possible to be anti-feminist entirely, just as it is possible to oppose both wings of socialism, but opposition to the authoritarian wing of feminism is no more ‘anti-feminist’ than Orwell’s anti-Stalinism was anti-socialist.

Just because anti-socialists interpreted Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four to suit their cause doesn’t mean they weren’t socialist critiques of totalitarianism.

And likewise, just because anti-feminists might appropriate anti-authoritarian critiques of feminism from within feminism doesn’t invalidate those critiques as feminist.

33 ROBOKiTTY April 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

I’m quite impressed at how Hemant Mehta came out with his reputation relatively intact. Despite being instrumental in forcing FTB to acknowledge Avigate and having taken a critical stance towards Myers, he seems to have dodged the worst of the smears.

What is it that keeps other secular organizations from joining Atheist Ireland in this effort? It’s long been clear that few in the English-speaking secular community who have been paying attention care for Myers’ clique and their toxic antics. On some level, I understand major organizations may want to stay silent either to keep up the façade of unity in the secular community or because they don’t consider Myers worth their time. But by keeping quiet, they are allowing the division to fester and erode trust in the community.

While Myers and his clique may be little more than clickbait bloggers these days, they have more influential ideological allies outside the secular community. They are active in academia and journalism and are often happy to cooperate with the religious right for political expediency. The longer big secular organizations keep their heads in the sand, the more potential for damage in the long run.

34 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 5:14 am

Davidson@30
Oh come on, I have no problem believing that Carrier’s education and qualifications are comparable to Hume’s and Aristotle’s.

Precisely. A middle schooler in the developed world has at least an equal and probably better understanding of philosophy and mathematics than the best trained did 2,000 years ago. It’s something of a non-statement. Though, I’m familiar with the context of the conversation in which Carrier made it, and I think he was justified in that case.

35 Steve Vanden-Eykel April 18, 2015 at 6:11 am

Oh my God…Kilkenny?

36 Derek Walsh April 18, 2015 at 9:09 am

I replied to Richard Carrier’s post making some of the same points, but Richard is either not allowing comments on the post or hasn’t got around to approving it yet. It’s basically a shorter less polished version of some of what Michael wrote above. I’m posting it here because it offers a slightly different perspective. For the record, I wrote it myself without consultation with Michael or anyone else, and posted it before Michael had published the above. And I’m posting it here now, without having communicated with Michael about it.

Richard,

This is a grossly unfair portrayal of the situation. It’s really not worthy of a scholar. I’m not familiar enough with your work to know whether this is typical of your output but it seems disingenuous to refer to it as a “source document” when it is obviously an opinion piece, apparently written with the intention of portraying someone whose opinions you don’t share as an “enem[y] of truth and justice”.
I feel the need to correct some of your falsehoods. I’m a member of Atheist Ireland’s committee, and what follows is informed by that membership, but is my personal opinion, and I alone am responsible for any errors.

Atheist Ireland (more like just Dublin)

Dublin is the capital of Ireland, and more than a third of Ireland’s population lives in the greater Dublin area. Irish government and media are mostly based in Dublin, and as the only major city in the Republic of Ireland (sorry, Cork!) Dublin has the highest proportion of non-religious people in the country. And, inasmuch as it is based anywhere, Atheist Ireland is based in Dublin. Nonetheless, we have made a sustained, deliberate and somewhat successful effort not to be merely a Dublin organisation. Several committee members live outside Dublin. We have members from all over the country, regional committees, and regular regional meet-ups. We have spoken innumerable times on local radio stations based outside Dublin and have had articles published in regional newspapers. We hold every other AGM outside Dublin, and have organised or taken part in a number of events in other cities.

essentially a fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent.

This is simply not true. While Atheist Ireland would struggle without Michael’s leadership, enthusiasm, media experience and the huge amount of time that he is able and willing to devote to Atheist Ireland activities, it is simply not the case that he makes all the decisions. Committee meetings are held regularly and members of the committee communicate frequently by email or otherwise, with significant and important contributions from all the committee members – in particular our Human Rights Officer Jane Donnelly who spends as much or more time as Michael on Atheist Ireland activities, and is a fount of knowledge on all that is wrong with Ireland’s education system. We tend to be largely in agreement on most issues, but when we do disagree it is far from certain that Michael’s opinion will prevail. It does us a great disservice to pretend that we are all Michael’s puppets.

He (or possibly they, if really anyone else at AI had their hand in this)

The letter was drafted by Michael but had multiple contributors and was approved by the entire committee. Speaking personally, I would have preferred to avoid the drama, and just leave PZ alone to spew his hatred while we got on with more important things. But you’re right: we sometimes have to choose between drama and truth. And the truth is that PZ’s behaviour is harmful; and being associated with the sort of behaviour he engages in and encourages, even by implication, was incompatible with the goals of Atheist Ireland.

received or collected propaganda from an anti-feminist hate-site (literally called the Slymepit) and used it to attack PZ Myers.

The quotes in the letter are PZ’s own words. They were collected from PZ’s website.

It seems that Nugent did this for really only one actual reason: Nugent defends MS instead of AS, the woman who has a credible claim of rape or at least extreme sexual misconduct against MS (one better evidenced than many such claims against Catholic priests),

It seems? How does it seem so? Michael has not defended MS; as a small part of the litany of things PZ has done that are inadvisable or unhelpful, Michael included his publicly accusing a named person of rape on the basis of hearsay. He has repeatedly condemned rapists and those who protect them. Michael’s attempts to encourage PZ to behave more ethically and compassionately predate the MS incident and are not at all limited to that.

and people who see things the other way around have said Nugent is defending a rapist, at which he took such offense as to spiral out into the most extraordinary example of high dudgeon.

No. PZ said that Michael was defending, protecting and providing a haven for rapists. This is an incredibly serious and defamatory accusation, and it is perfectly reasonable to find it offensive.

That is literally all this is about.

Again, it’s absolutely not. PZ’s behaviour was an issue long before the Shermer incident, and the many other examples of his harmful behaviour are not just there as filler.

Because Nugent has no problems with appalling rhetoric when it appears from supporters in his own blog comments;

That’s not true. Michael regularly removes comments from his blog that breach these standards – or responds to them pointing out why they are problematic. He repeatedly encourages polite debate that criticises ideas and not people.

or with controversy when it is raised by people he likes.

There’s possibly some truth in that. Like most of us. Michael is probably more likely to accept or excuse questionable behaviour when it comes from someone he likes. And I suspect that is why he took so long to publicly criticise PZ, something for which he received considerable criticism. I’ve met PZ a few times, and he’s very likable in person (as long as you’re not already on his enemies list!). Because of this, I’ve been more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt than I would someone whom I hadn’t met. That’s a failing, but it’s a very human one, and it’s something we can probably all learn from. It’s very easy to talk about stabbing people, or anally raping them with dead animals when you don’t have to look them in the eye and say those words with your mouth. And it’s very easy to assume the worst of people we don’t know, while failing to reflect on our own behaviour.

37 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 9:58 am

Michael,

Please drop the subject. Carrier is a dick of renown.

He closely associated himself with the Rational Response Squad – who proved themselves to be a thoroughly disreputable crew. He managed to install the RRS’s resident “historian” (a guy calling himself Rook Hawkins who had no discernible qualifications and who has just dropped out of college, yet who offered “degree level” courses through the RRS) on the board of the ill-fated Jesus Project. Carrier himself on his blog touted for sponsors for a book he would write on the historicity or otherwise of Jesus – now, academics always seek funding, but this was for a book rather than a paper and the findings would be to his sponsor’s taste.

You’re above that. Don’t engage with them any more. You’re giving them extra publicity and you’re wasting your own valuable time and energy in what is probably a futile endeavour.

There are more of them than there are of you and they can effortlessly occupy your time by splitting the job of maligning you and AI between them.

On top of all that, this simply will never end. It has become like that ridiculous tie-break in Wimbledon a few years ago where there was nothing in place to stop the players involved playing on, and on, and on.

Your energies are better deployed on positive endeavours.

38 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 10:02 am

@Shatterface:

I recall that Carrier at one stage announced an upcoming talk in a manner which went something along the lines of: “My fans in Iowa will get a chance to see me on . . .”

The guy has always been pretentious.

39 John Greg April 18, 2015 at 10:04 am

Shivar said:

I realize that the Pit can take care of itself. But it would be nice to know if there is actually support coming from the people who (directly or indirectly) are benefiting from the research and work done by the Pit, or if you’re all just to be regarded as disposable tools.

Shivar, for this (and the rest of most of your comments), as a Pit person from the beginning, I thank you.

I, who have never ever raped or assaulted anyone in my life, I am deeply, deeply tired of being called a rape apologist, a rape enabler, a rapist, and so forth and so on, by these sociopathic freaks that inhabit the ‘net via Skepchick, FTB, and the moribund A+ forums.

Seriously, it is beginning to break my heart.

Shatters said:

They’re still smarting from the Aviccena scandal. Avi had been getting away with plagiarism for years – when a simple Google search of sample sentences from his posts would have shown him up for what he was – as well as making outrageous claims such as being involved in the autopsy of Indian girls found hanged from a tree.

Another interesting facet of that mess is that Myers, and Two Cows … oops … sorry Michael … I should’n a’ said tha’ … Brayton have, on numerous occasions, blamed/accused the Pit for Avi’s plagiarism; sort of. I mean, the sense is that had it not been for the Pit’s years long focus on Avi’s idiotic bullshit, the FTB Executive Committee (probably non-existent, but WTF) would never have noticed or, more importantly called out, the plagiarism, therefore, it is the Pit’s fault that the plagiarism happened in the first place. I mean, well, I can’t even….

40 citizen_wolf April 18, 2015 at 10:34 am

Michael
If you include the title of the piece, it runs at over 3,000 words.

Just sayin’ :)

41 Robert Seidel April 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

Mr. Nugent, methinks you forgot to link to Carrier’s piece.

42 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

@Shatterface:

You quote Carrier thus:

“At the very least, Wood cannot argue against the fact that I am as much a philosopher as Aristotle or Hume. My knowledge, education, and qualifications are comparable to theirs in every relevant respect.”

That is hilarious! Thank you so much for that.

On that basis I would like to present myself as a Premiership footballer and as a Test Cricketer. I’ve played the sports, learned about them and gave a deep knowledge of the disciplines.

Such a pity that I’m not being paid £70k a week, but there you go.

43 franc April 18, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Rayshul #19:

//With that context, I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to come out in support of the pit, except in theory.//

The only way anyone can support the ‘pit is if they practice freethought, not just talk about it as a lofty goal.

44 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

I, who have never ever raped or assaulted anyone in my life, I am deeply, deeply tired of being called a rape apologist, a rape enabler, a rapist, and so forth and so on, by these sociopathic freaks that inhabit the ‘net via Skepchick, FTB, and the moribund A+ forums.

I think it’s depressing that we are now so used to being accused of things on the internet that phrases like ‘rape apologist’ are in danger of just bouncing off.

That’s more worrying than any offence felt: when we are so desensitised to such accusations that we just shrug them off.

It’s like the word. ‘Islamophobia’ – does anyone really give a shit if they’re accused of Islamophobia now?

Once signifiers are detached from their referents they cease to have power. We no longer have powerful words with which to criticise those who excuse rape or people who manifest genuine bigotry to wards Muslims.

45 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Davidson@30

Oh come on, I have no problem believing that Carrier’s education and qualifications are comparable to Hume’s and Aristotle’s.

I learnt about relativity when I was about 12. I wouldn’t claim that put me on a level with Einstein, who made the discovery later in life, or above Newton, who spent his life in ignorance.

Aristotle and Hume lived at times when it was theoretically possible to have an understanding of everything that was known: science, maths, politics, art, etc. They brought that breadth of knowledge to their philosophy.

Nobody really has that breadth of knowledge in our increasingly specialised culture.

Carrier might stand on the shoulders of giants but he’s still an intellectual hobbit.

46 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm

@franc:

I’ve never ever been to the pit myself. I searched at one stage, didn’t find it and gave it up as a bad job. That puts me in an odd position. I post here rarely yet am not a “pitter”. Now, if Myers chose to jump on a post of mine and describe me as a pitter I’d just laugh and mentally ratchet up his degree of dickishness by another notch.

The other side of this is that I’m no great fan of MN. I admire greatly what he and AI are doing; their activism is performed in an exemplary fashion and it happens that most of their goals match with those I would hold dear. None of the Myers crap should be allowed to effect AI’s excellent work one bit, and their achievements act as an ongoing silent rebuke to keyboard activists such as Myers, who spend their time preaching to the converted. AI is active in trying to change the society in which it exists; Myers seems to spend his time changing nothing and nobody – rather, he merely bolsters people’s existing positions.

Michael has rebutted Myers’ slurs. The record is very clear to anyone who can read.

Full disclosure: I had a run-in with Michael a couple of years ago on another board and found him prickly and easily offended.

That said, I see utterly nothing about Myers’ claims and slurs that can be conceived as anything other than falsehoods.

The record is clear.

I honestly believe that Michael should walk away from this spat. I am aware of the deeply disgusting and offensive nature of the comments made by Myers (and when I said that Michael can be easily offended, I must stress here that such allegations as made by Myers would offend *any* person no matter how thick-skinned), but I strongly feel that MN should do the following:

* Make a final and closing statement of his position;
* Declare that he will not engage further after that definitive statement;
* Completely ignore any reaction to such a statement;
* Get back to doing what he and AI do best;
* Write a follow-up to Dear John, perhaps the funniest book written by an Irishman since Flann passed on.

This is heartfelt; I get the impression that this stuff is raising blood pressures and I genuinely feel the pain Michael expresses.

All of this is, of course, easy for me to say.

47 franc April 18, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Nialler #45: //I honestly believe that Michael should walk away from this spat.//

No, you can’t walk away from Myers. Someone has to make a stand. Walking away lets Myers crow victory. It is heartening Michael is making a stand. This should have happened years ago. If only others showed the same backbone.

I am sick of being embarrassed to be an atheist.

48 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm

@franc:

Why ever would feel embarrassed to be an atheist? Why, indeed, would anyone feel proud to be one?

There are dickheads in every walk of life, in every category you can imagine. Their individual dickishness doesn’t translate to a judgment on everyone in that category. For example, I find Dawkins to be an offensive and cartoonish advocate of atheism, but that doesn’t mean that I should eschew atheism.

This, though, I find odd:

“Walking away lets Myers crow victory.”

There is no victory in this. No winners. It is impossible to win in this situation, when the likes of Myers will just ignore what is said. Life is not a competitive pursuit in that respect, albeit being competitive in other respects. There is no full-time where a winner is declared and his hand held up in triumph. Not unless you go the legal route.

49 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Nialler, why don’t you walk away?

You are expending an extraordinary amount of time on something you don’t give a shit about.

You don’t care for Nugent, or the Pit, and you say you don’t like Myers either. Yet you don’t just go find something else to entertain yourself.

What is the point of butting into this argument?

50 JackSkeptic April 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

@Nialler

This is not really about Myers only. If it was I wouldn’t care much. All communities have found themselves under attack by cultural vandals who want to control the narrative and assert their authority over others. They do not care what people really believe or think, they just want to destroy so they can replace with themselves. They will take any means to achieve this which is why they come across as so vicious at times and dismissive of facts.

They use highly emotive language (a form of emotional blackmail), self-victimization and smearing to do it. If it is not resisted there will be no AS community eventually or at best the AS activities will be severely damaged along with many reputations. In fact it already has been. God people have been harmed. Not only themselves but their families and associates.

It is classic entryism and when it is not resisted it kills the very community it infests. The Occupy movement was trashed by it, gaming is going through it now, the BDSM and comic book community is also suffering amongst others. It has to be treated. Like cancer it can harm in the short term to deal with the issue but to ignore it is in my opinion foolish.

Some of us had seen this before and warned about this some years back. There are still some who seem to be oblivious to what is going on or feel they can ignore it. So Michael’s actions do a lot to teach people what is happened in a calm, rational, evidenced based way.

As to Michael’s opinions on the Slympit that is irrelevant. It is a tu quoque and guilt by associatyion fallacy to assert that it is. The SJW’s love fallacies and it is easy to fall into their traps. Personally I try and avoid them.

51 Gunboat Diplomat April 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

@Nialler

I agree with several other posters – Michael has the right policy here, respond to smears as they are made. Its not about convincing the hardcore of Myers compatriots who see misogyny, harassment and rape apology in any comment not sufficiently concordant with their own, rather fringe, viewpoints; its about not letting baseless smears and mischaracterisations stand unopposed. There are many people who come fresh to these debates and if Myers et al. are the only show online, its their view which will predominate.

Moreover, when it started leaking onto mainstream media with Adam lees hatchet job on Richard Dawkins last year, thats when alarm bells rang for me. Now real journalists (i.e. those who report more than one viewpoint) have a real resource to draw upon from Michaels blog.

Well done Michael!

52 Ashling O'Brien April 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Like Derek, I have also posted a comment on Richard Carrier’s blog and I’m waiting for it to go through moderation.

I also had not spoken to Michael (or Derek) before posting it and it is a whole lot less polished then Michael’s or Derek’s responses but, out of respect for all those how give so much of their time and support to Atheist Ireland, I really felt there were untruths that need to be addressed.

“Hi Richard, I have a many points that I would like to raise on the above article. However, I would like particularly to correct your assertion that Atheist Ireland is a) Dublin-based and b) is “a essentially a fiefdom wielded by Michael Nugent.

A small amount of time spent doing some research on Atheist Ireland will show that the organisation is run by a management committee that is elected each year at our AGM. To ensure all our members have an opportunity to attend and vote at our AGM it is held outside of Dublin every second year. The management committee can bring others onto it to fulfil certain roles as required. As the Chair of the Dublin Regional Branch I am on the management committee as are the Chairs of the other regional branches across the country. The regional branches organise local events such as brunches and meetups as well as lobbying their local politicians. They also act as a support system for each other where, in rural Ireland, you can literally be the only atheist in the village.

Richard, the assertions you have made here are simply untrue. Your claim that Atheist Ireland is a Dublin-centric fiefdom dismisses that hard work being carried out by dozens of members of Atheist Ireland, all of whom, including the management committee, are volunteers. Many of the members who carry out this work do so at some personal risk. In Ireland, where most of the schools and hospitals are run by the religious, employees can still be legally fired from their jobs if they are thought to undermine the religious ethos of their employers. Others members have faced ostracization from family, friends and indeed entire communities. I personally know these people, I respect them for their efforts to bring about a fairer and more equitable Ireland and I feel you have done them a real injustice here.

You say that “the enemies of truth and justice do this by counting on the people who don’t care enough about the truth to check and find out what’s really going on”. I couldn’t agree more. I would ask you and anyone else reading this to please take the time to do a little research about the organisation Atheist Ireland. Look at our website, our Facebook page, our Meetup page, our YouTube channel and find out for yourself what we really do. You may not agree with our aims, but please do not pretend that we are not out actively trying to change Ireland for the better.

Thank you.”

And again thank you Michael.

53 franc April 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Nialler: //Why ever would feel embarrassed to be an atheist?//

Same reason humdrum muslims are ashamed of suicide bombers.

//Why, indeed, would anyone feel proud to be one?//

I smell the rancid stench of expedience of a weenie that plays all sides.

54 Larry Metcalfe April 18, 2015 at 2:14 pm

“…where until recently pregnant women in hospitals had their pelvises broken without their consent in order to facilitate Catholic theology”.

I’d never heard of this so just looked it up. Wow. This shows the sort of mentality that Atheist Ireland must be up against and why their activism is especially valuable, but harder. So while Myers and Carrier sit at their keyboards and spew out their hate and untruths AI are actually out there trying to achieve something in the real world. Incidentally the idea that Myers’ supporters accuse the Slymepit of being a hate site would be funny if it wasn’t so laughable.

As for whether Michael should walk away from all this, I say carry on the good work, someone has to stand up to these bullies, they’ve had it their own way for far too long.

55 Gerhard April 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Michael, you might want to do some redacting of Derek Walsh’s post #35. Your Voldemort filter is on the fritz.

56 tina April 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

JetLagg @ 1
Nugent: Public service announcement: 2,996 words.

Pffft! Michael is an amateur.
Carrier: Shermertron The Bigot post: 4,753 words
[http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6958#more-6958]

57 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm

@franc:

I have no reason to be proud or ashamed of my atheism.

It is an attribute of my being; as much as the colour of my eyes. Why would anyone be proud or otherwise of that? My atheism doesn’t confer any other positive or negative aspect to who I am.

Nor am I governed by any concern about how other atheists are perceived. That is their business alone. I’m doing quite fine in the meantime. Being an atheist has utterly zero impact on my daily transactions.

58 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 4:14 pm

@Shatterface #49:

Are you suggesting that an alternative view be retired to the shadows?

I have the time and the leisure to comment. Indeed, this site invites contributions. Is it your suggestion that I shut up?

It takes me moments to compose a post. If you have a better suggestion as to how I spend such time the feel free to share it.

In the meantime I will take your italicisation with the contempt it deserves.

59 JetLagg April 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Reading about the work AI does makes me wonder if American atheists aren’t simply doomed by their lack of a true problem to tackle. I live in NYC, and the issues faced by Nugent are unimaginable to me here. So, like bored cops in a small town with no crime, I imagine the atheists in my area begin looking for issues, for *anything* to do, and propping what they find up as the pressing matter of our time.

60 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 4:55 pm

@JetLagg:

Yes. AI have to face issues such as the dreadful emphasis in education on Ireland on religion and on the religious orders’ control of that; on the constitutionally supported blasphemy laws; on the legacy issues of an almost totally religious regime such as symphyisotomies, lack of access to abortions, etc etc. It is not so long ago that divorce wasn’t an option in Ireland.

AI seems to me to be doing sterling work in this respect.Their recent statement in respect of repealing the eight amendment is a powerful and brave position.I guess my point is that I want more of that and less attention spent on internet tiffs.

Myers is nobody and certainly has no voice whatever in Ireland. AI should ignore the fùcker and do what they are doing very well at the moment.

61 Gurdur April 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

At Nialler @ 58:
I notice the one thing you did not do was actually answer Shatterface’s question. Why not? Two other points: it’s not about Myers unwillingness to change. That has already been made more than clear. So Myers not changing is simply irrelevant.

The other point is more important. Don’t pretend advising Michael Nugent to walk away from this all is for the benefit of Michael; it isn’t. It might well be something you want Michael to do. But it isn’t because it would be good for Michael, which it wouldn’t be.

62 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm

@Michael: can you move the apostrophe in the word “order’s” to happen after the “s”?

Please? Pretty please?

63 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm

@Gurdur:

Which question did I fail to answer?

64 Steven Carr April 18, 2015 at 6:55 pm

So Carrier slams a national atheist organisation like Atheist Ireland for being small, and alleges it is a ‘fiefdom’ run by Michael Nugent.

And Carrier did this on a shrinking click-bait blogging site, in an article supporting a guy who has the power to throw Carrier off the site, which is the only blogging site that is prepared to give Carrier a voice.

Projection, anybody?

What exactly is Freethought Blogs apart from a fiefdom run by Brayton and Myers, who would throw Carrier under a bus and deprive him of his only outlet if he did not kiss ass on a big scale?

65 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Miller is feeling left out:

I recognize that you don’t owe me a response, and I feel like you are almost certainly working on one, but I would like to discuss the fact that you saw fit to respond to Richard Carrier before you responded to the “more considered posts” by me, M. A. Melby, or Secular Woman. It’s worth pointing out that you haven’t entirely ignored M. A. Melby’s post because of “having” to respond to Richard Carrier, just the “quite reasonable,” as you put it, part of it. I would like to highlight the not unreasonable conclusion that one could draw, that indeed we were already discussing: You prioritize getting into petty internet fights about tone over everything else. In this case, you prioritize getting into petty internet fights about tone over serious-minded discussion about an accused rapist in the movement.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2015/04/18/an-open-letter-to-michael-nugent/

tl; dr WHAT ABOUT ME?!?

66 Gunboat Diplomat April 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Its particularly noteworthy that comments don’t appear to be enabled on that blog post too. Surely a sign of the reliability and validity of his claims…

67 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm

@Shatterface #49:

Are you suggesting that an alternative view be retired to the shadows?

Your ‘alternative view’ is whining about Michael posting stuff you have no interest in.

I have the time and the leisure to comment. Indeed, this site invites contributions. Is it your suggestion that I shut up?

That’s your suggestion to Michael.

It takes me moments to compose a post. If you have a better suggestion as to how I spend such time the feel free to share it.

The interest is the greatest resource for knowledge and/or porn. I suggest your time would be better spent catch up on either.

In the meantime I will take your italicisation with the contempt it deserves.

.

Christ, you are boring.

I’ll be skipping any further response you make.

68 Kurt H April 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm

@ Shatterface:
you wrote: “tl; dr WHAT ABOUT ME?!?”

Actually, Miller makes a great point. If Nugent is going to be the High Arbiter of Tone in the Atheist movement, maybe he should demonstrate his superior capacity for civil debate by prioritizing discussion with people who engage him in a more civil manner.

Instead, Nugent has prioritized responding to Carrier. Is this because Nugent is easily baited, lying about his commitment to tone, or is it because Carrier’s genitalia lend his arguments greater weight in Nugent-world? Hard to say. But none of those possibilities reflect well on the High Arbiter’s ability to carry out of the duties of his self-appointed office.

69 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 8:04 pm

@Shatterface:

Didn’t read.

You are obviously having problems so I’ll explain those words.

I’m not reading your replies.

I’m doing what I suggested you do with Michael’s posts, i.e. not reading your responses.

I hope you find that frustrating.

70 Steven Carr April 18, 2015 at 8:09 pm

I think Richard Carrier has explained to you on his blog that there is nothing ant-women about pornography because women in today’s society have huge amounts of power.

‘Conversely, we see porn and prostitution from the perspective of a highly progressed and very privileged Western democratic society, where women’s power and influence is increasingly pervasive, as is women’s liberation (sexually and intellectually, and economically), and where sex is increasingly seen in the context of women having the free choice to do what they want. ‘

Carrier goes on to explain how rape culture is declining, and how this decline can be attributed to porn reducing violence against women.

‘ And rates of rape and other violence against women in the U.S. have not substantially changed over 35 years (e.g. rapes nearly doubled around 1990 relative to 1975 and 2010 but have steadily declined ever since, right back to the 1975 level), even though in precisely that period the porn industry consistently exploded in production, use, and availability–in fact, most significantly after 1990, with the advent of internet porn, which would sooner suggest that increased porn availability causes the decrease of violence against women; but even rejecting that conclusion, no argument can be made that porn increases violence against women.’

You heard it here first.

Rape is decreasing because of increased porn consumption.

Carrier said it. I believe it. That settles it.

71 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Miller plays the sexism card:

Two other women have chosen to write about this. And done so in a tone that is much more to your preference than the tone of Mr. Carrier. And yet you choose to write a blog not in response to the women who are trying to have a discussion with you about something that they are deeply concerned about, who are writing in what you consider an appropriate tone. You choose instead to respond to a blog post written by a man relying heavily on the posts written by those women — indeed over half his post is dedicated to linking to the other sources on which he’s based his post.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2015/04/18/an-open-letter-to-michael-nugent/

72 John Greg April 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

franc said:

The only way anyone can support the ‘pit is if they practice freethought, not just talk about it as a lofty goal.

No, you can’t walk away from Myers. Someone has to make a stand. Walking away lets Myers crow victory. It is heartening Michael is making a stand. This should have happened years ago. If only others showed the same backbone.

I am sick of being embarrassed to be an atheist.

Hear, hear!

Mind you, like absolutely everyone at the Pit, I’m just a Hogglesock, so, well, there you go. Have at it with what you will.

Or summat.

Shatter, I think you you mean Miller, not Melby.

Gunboat: Comments are allowed, it is just that Carrier takes time to review all comments before posting thenm (or not posting them, as the case may be). We must all maintain accuracy here.

Nialler and Shatter, please don’t bog up the blog with your juvenile angers at each other.

73 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm

@Shatterface:

You’re not reading my posts. Yeah.

I love that.

74 Gunboat Diplomat April 18, 2015 at 8:28 pm

@John Greg

I didn’t realise that about Carriers blog – thanks for letting me know. I’ll knock off my criticism so, until it becomes clear whether the Atheist Ireland members comments are allowed.

75 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm

@Steven Carr:

You’ll excuse me me if I ask for sources other than Carrier.

He’s an avowed academic and would expect and demand the same.

76 Jan Steen April 18, 2015 at 8:32 pm

What gives these non-entities (M.A. Melby and now one Ashley Miller) the idea that they are entitled to a response by Michael Nugent? It is almost as if they are trying to wear him out by repeating the same disingenuous tripe over and over again. For the umpteenth time: this is NOT about tone.

Being called a rape apologist, or being accused of providing a haven for rapists, or of being a misogynist are statements of fact. If they are false, and when the person who makes these statements knows they are false (or doesn’t know they are true), then we are dealing with smears.

Smears are the favourite tool of SJWs like Myers and Carrier. Pretending this is just about “tone” is an expression of base dishonesty, put forward by dissembling individuals who are trying to create a distraction. They don’t merit a response, in my opinion. You can’t swat every lucifigous critter.

77 GroglinVampire April 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm

It sometimes really irks me that people that some people can’t see the importance of MN’s stand here. AI is an organisation fighting for the rights of many people, and it is important that its credibility is clear for all to see. To be labelled as a “rape apologist” and someone who “provides a haven for rapists” whilst standing as a major figurehead for AI is just a little problematic isn’t it?

Hell, MN can’t walk away from this IMHO. Why would you want to walk away when someone is unfairly targeting your credibility and moral standards? Maybe walking away is the standard tactic for people who toss around rape accusations like confetti but for people whose online life can have real life repercussions, both for them and others, it just isn’t an option.

I’ve not posted on the Slymepit but I’m a (very) long time lurker and the idea that it is an anti-feminist hate site is ludicrous. Yep, there can be some bawdy jokes and shoops, but these jokes nearly all stem from parodies of FTB posts and could honestly be said to be there to bring their obvious idiocy home to the originators. Who are clearly avid readers.

Michael, as suggested above, take a day off, as you said in your post above this must be emotionally stressing but I for one appreciate the blogs and the reason for them.

(Approx 335 words).

78 GroglinVampire April 18, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Oops too many “people” at the start there!

79 David Leech April 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm

@Shatterface

“The interest is the greatest resource for knowledge and/or porn. I suggest your time would be better spent catch up on either.”

Please tell me more about this ‘interest’ er….My friend wants to know. :)

80 Lotharloo April 18, 2015 at 8:51 pm

Michael Nugent cares more about tone than he does about women. — Ashley Miller

Are you sure Ashley Miller is one of the reasonable ones? You make a few blog posts on a topic that interests you, and suddenly you care more about “women than tone”. I am glad I finally quit reading FTBs. They were full of unethical smears like this.

81 Jan Steen April 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm

lucifigous -> lucifugous

82 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

John Greg: Shatter, I think you you mean Miller, not Melby.

My bad. Whiny people tend to blur into each other after a while.

Nailer: @Shattefface

Didn’t read. LOL.Not getting it are you?

Jan Steen: What gives these non-entities (M.A. Melby and now one Ashley Miller) the idea that they are entitled to a response by Michael Nugent?

Entitlement. Just like the people coming here regularly and demanding Michael explain why this is important.

83 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Please tell me more about this ‘interest’ er….My friend wants to know.

Just google ‘tentacle hentai’

84 Nialler April 18, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Still looking for this porn. The stuff that doesn’t exploit anyone at all.

Any links, please?

85 Steven Carr April 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Ask Carrier. He had a big blog post about how throat-gagging porn empowered women.

I am *not* joking.

86 FishCakes April 18, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Nialler @86:
Might I recommend the following FtB approved porn:

Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More
– by Greta Christina

http://www.amazon.com/Bending-Dirty-Stories-Religion-Unicorns-ebook/dp/B00CBWYT5C

From the description (emphasis added):

These are not nice stories.

They’re filthy. They’re fearless. Some are even funny.

Greta Christina’s erotic stories are written to get you hard and wet — and to change the ways you think about sex. Be forewarned — stuff happens here that’s borderline consensual. Or not at all consensual. These are dirty, kinky stories about shame, about pain, helplessness and danger, reckless behavior and bad, bad ideas….

87 FishCakes April 18, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Nialler,
In case you need more evidence as to the acceptability of such porn, here’s a five-star review of Greta Christina’s book from PZ Myers:

Literate erotica for the discerningly horny reader
By Paul Z. Myers on April 20, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Bending is excellently written — and it’s not the usual one-dimensional porn I’ve encountered on the internet (you know what I mean: the “Tab A goes into Slot B” kind of porn that reads like an Ikea manual, with lube). It’s the kind of porn that explores what people are actually thinking and feeling, and it’s stronger for it.

My only reservation, and it’s not a criticism, is that it’s got a focused theme. This is a book of stories about dom/sub relations and spanking, and it doesn’t match up well with my personal kinks (which I will not discuss, except to note that the word “tentacle” only appears ONCE in the entire book, and then as a metaphor). But if it does align with your interests, expect quality arousal.

88 john welch April 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Carrier is the most amazing tool ever. I love how he relies on thousands of words of obfuscatory bullshit to hide the fact that if his “buds” at FTB ever really read his shit, they’d kick him out so fast he’d have scorchmarks on his forehead.

I am also amused by the FTB lot suddenly deciding that AI is Michael’s “fiefdom”, given how very, very angry they get when it is suggested that FTB is PZ’s “fiefdom”. But, stupid gotta stupid.

Ultimately, the idea that walking away will help is doomed. If Michael says nothing, he is guilty because “HA! Were he innocent, he’d speak up and prove it.” If he does that, he is guilty because “HA! By protesting, he proves he has something to hide. Were he innocent, he’d not need to defend himself.”

He is literally screwed no matter what he says, so in that case, he may as well speak out.

89 FishCakes April 18, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Lest any casual readers doubt that the the identity of the authors and/or the authenticity of that book and the review, here’s a link to Greta Christina’s FtB blog where she’s hawking her porn and wherein she quotes PZ Myers’ five-star review.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2015/04/16/simply-one-of-the-best-contemporary-erotic-writers-alive-amazon-customer-review-of-bending-dirty-kinky-stories-about-pain-power-religion-unicorns-more/#more-14499

Bear in mind that these are among the same people who routinely label others rape apologists, misogynists, etc. based, often, on single tweets or off-the-cuff remarks. They eschew rape jokes and even publishing of rape-prevention tips, all on account of rape culture.

And yet here we have one of FtB’s own writing and promoting:

“erotic stories are written to get you hard and wet…” including “stuff happens here that’s borderline consensual or not at all consensual.”

PZ Myers, life long feminist and committed enemy of rape culture, fully endorses this with 5 out of 5 stars. His only concern (and he says it’s not a criticism) is that the theme is not suited to his particular kinks, owing to the lack of references to “tentacles.” He is apparently unconcerned about the borderline and non-consensual stuff that happens in these “erotic stories” designed to get people “hard and wet.” Unconcerned about the effect that might have on impressionable readers and oppressed classes.

90 Kurt H April 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm

@FishCakes:

You do understand the difference between fantasy and reality, right?

Christina has written stories, some of which involve rape.

Somebody else has very likely committed rape in THE REAL WORLD. And Nugent is willing to run cover for him right here in this very blog post.

Now that this is cleared up, you can return to tone policing and tut-tutting about people’s kinks. That’s obviously the most important consideration in this matter. /sarc

91 john welch April 18, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Fishcakes, once again, it’s all the classic “It’s okay when we do it.” The only differences between FTB and Scientology are a billion dollars, movie stars and xenu.

Philosophically, a gnat couldn’t spit into that space.

92 JackSkeptic April 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

@Fishcakes

Get with the programme, they have an answer for everything. Just don’t try and do comparatives. Like the gospels they will fall apart.

If I say I find women attractive that is objectification which means I’m a Mysogonist and since last week probably a Neocon (whatever that is)

If I ask how rape porn is compatible with their statements on rape culture I am a kink shamer.

It’s always OK when they do it.

93 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Michael, if my comment made at 8:10 pm is hd in moderation because I misattributed it to Melby instead of Miller feel free to amend it.

94 Shatterface April 18, 2015 at 11:45 pm

Carrier responds:

Richard Carrier says
April 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm
Yeah. That rebuttal is unhinged. Bizarre even. Somehow pointing out that a lot of his data was collected and provided to him by Slymepitters is me insulting feminists in Atheist Ireland. That’s the weirdest attempt to use feminists as a shield against someone pointing out you are using anti-feminist propaganda. Like “but I have gay friends, so it is insulting to my gay friends to say I’m a homophobe.” I love how he now wants an apology from me for insulting people I never even mentioned nor ever said anything about (they aren’t even the people who wrote the propaganda post I’m talking about!).

https://archive.today/tpQsI

95 Jan Steen April 18, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Michael tweeted:

If Richard Carrier’s Jesus myth books are based on the same level of scholarship as his smears of Atheist Ireland, Jesus was probably God.

The pattern is the same. Absolutist statements, backed by citations that don’t always say what Carrier pretends they say. The main difference is that all the information one could need about Atheist Ireland is readily available. As a result, Carrier’s disingenuousness is easily exposed. In contrast, our information about the origins of Christianity is based on fragmentary material, mostly written by unknown fantasists, deluded nutjobs and liars with an unknown agenda, at an unknown point in time, using unknown sources. I would never trust someone like Carrier to write anything worth my attention about such confused and contentious issues. Even if he happened to be 100% correct in his main thesis, I would simply not find it credible unless it was endorsed by a professional historian with a tenured job at a reputable university. The whole field is overrun by amateurs with a pet theory.

As a scholar Carrier has effectively torpedoed his own reputation by proving himself to be an untruthful individual with delusions of grandeur. I shall regard him as someone who can be dismissed, until I see solid evidence to the contrary.

96 JetLagg April 19, 2015 at 12:07 am

That’s the weirdest attempt to use feminists as a shield against someone pointing out you are using anti-feminist propaganda. Like “but I have gay friends, so it is insulting to my gay friends to say I’m a homophobe.”

It’s statements like that, in conjunction with his actual scholarship, which I still maintain is quite good, that makes me think engaging with Carrier is a waste of time.

I remember corresponding with him when I first found out how messed up the Atheism Plus community was, and compiling a list of examples for him. His response was to get into the minutia of what an Atheism Plus Member was (observers will note he’s happy to become pedantic when it serves him). When I said I considered anyone who openly identified under the name (regularly posting in one of the online hubs, for example) to be a member, he simply didn’t reply.

He’ll never extend the charity to an opponent that we’d be willing to extend to him. Every interpretation of a statement that could be conceived of as contradictory is used as evidence of “lying”. It’s a neat trick that works on anyone who doesn’t bother to do their own research, in other words, the very fans he’s written this post for (as Nugent so aptly pointed out).

97 tina April 19, 2015 at 12:43 am

@95
Well obviously, that’s because it’s a small country and obviously feminists in a smallcountry, won’t be able to recognise anti-feminist propaganda from within a smallpro-feminist organisation if it’s in a fiefdom near Dublin because reasons and it’s completely well known that Mr Carrier decides who is and who isn’t a feminist and has done for a long time and he knows a fiefdom when he sees one; even a smallone, from a long way away. Oh my yes.

98 GroglinVampire April 19, 2015 at 12:43 am

That rebuttal from Carrier is balls. Pointing out some data Michael may use is collected by ‘pitters is not an issue as long as the data is correct. Assuming that Michael’s female colleagues don’t know, or can’t figure out what a hate site is is the issue. Change the wording in Carrier’s post from “Slymepitters” to “an anti-feminist hate site” and you’ll see the insult.

He assumes that AI feminists need Dr Richard Carrier PhD to point out which websites they can safely read. I assume they don’t.

99 FishCakes April 19, 2015 at 12:44 am

john welch @92 and JackSkeptic @93,
Yes, well fortunately that defense [it’s ok when we do it] is only convincing to those who are already on the inside. In my opinion, the hypocrisy in this case is so apparent that it could be used as a standard candle, against which all other hypocrisy is measured.

I have seen her use the “kink-shaming” defense before, and it seems to be her default (reflexive?) reaction to any questioning or even hint of any critique on this point. However that’s about as weak as it gets in terms of a response. It’s not kink-shaming on any level because: (a) I’m not attempting to shame her in any way; and (b) my objection has naught to do with her kink. Writing, publishing and promoting a book is certainly not part and parcel of her kink, and so I’m afraid she’ll need some other excuse to justify her refusal to have a conversation about this.

My main objection is the appalling lack of consistency in application of their own claimed moral and ethical values, and those of her FtB peers such as PZ Myers. Can you just imagine, what would be their reaction, if someone from outside their network had written something like this? Considering how they have reacted to far less controversial statements (e.g., from the likes of Michael Nugent, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and many others) it would seem a safe bet that the author would be in store for a truly vicious response.

Many of the FtB bloggers and their regular commenters put themselves up as arbiters of what is and what is not rape-apologia/rape-support, what does and does not perpetuate rape culture. And so they ought to be willing to defend their decrees and answer honest questions and critiques (as a true skeptic would do) in light of their own advertised values and beliefs.

I know, it’s not going to happen, but a person can hope, right?

100 Shatterface April 19, 2015 at 12:56 am

Steven Carr:

You heard it here first.

Rape is decreasing because of increased porn consumption.

Carrier said it. I believe it. That settles it.

I assume Carrier backed that claim up with his usual impeccable Beyesian analysis?

101 Fredrik April 19, 2015 at 1:06 am

It is extremely ironic that Carrier purports to defend the rights of women and fight against a “toxic” notion of masculinity, since he is the epitome of the Alpha Male; industrious, self-confident, aggressive and combative. He reacts with merciless and sadistic verbal aggression to any challenge to his authority. He’s the Alpha, how dare you criticize him! He slanders, attacks and demonizes. He humiliates, belittles and brutalizes. He is impermeable to reason and argumentation, and will use any and all fallacies in order to win an argument. When a blatant factual error in his argumentation is pointed out, he will say the criticism doesn’t apply or simply ignore what was said and go on to insult whoever made it.

Worst of all, he’s probably completely unaware of the root of his behavior.

102 Lurker April 19, 2015 at 1:24 am

Interesting that Carrier has let Ashling’s post out of moderation and ignored it, but claims later in the thread that Michael is using her as a shield. I wonder why doesn’t he ask her directly how she feels about that? No, I don’t really wonder why.

103 JetLagg April 19, 2015 at 1:39 am

Lurker@101
Interesting that Carrier has let Ashling’s post out of moderation and ignored it, but claims later in the thread that Michael is using her as a shield. I wonder why doesn’t he ask her directly how she feels about that? No, I don’t really wonder why.

It’s so he can accurately claim he doesn’t censor dissenting thought. He just ignores it and pretends it never happened when he later presents a recap to his fans.

Ugh. The man isn’t worth engaging with. I’ll keep repeating that, even as a fan (where are my fellow bayesians? Rhino?). I’m happy Michael is taking the time to point out Carrier’s fallacies, but never expect Carrier himself to engage in good faith.

104 Aneris April 19, 2015 at 3:07 am

I can’t keep up. Irish activists, you do awesome work anyway, and your perseverance in this matter repairs some of the damage. I believe this whole “Deep Rift” is not a waste of time, or unimportant if “atheism, reason, skepticism, happiness” have any meaning. The social justice faction is not just PZ Myers, or Richard Carrier. They are quite large, well connected, and get their (false) stories into mainstream media. You would not want to neglect Atheist groundwork, but the question is: should Atheism (online) be associated with PZ Myers and the anti-pluralistic, anti-intellectual, science denialist, anti-due-process (…) social justice warrior faction? Should that inform atheism? Should that be what could replace religion?

Their methods and the content of their ideology are bone chilling. And I’m quite sure you still have no idea how bizarre the whole picture looks like. You’ll see in a bit, why there are layers upon layers. Only a combination of fascism and postmodernism could create such people, with a dose of online troll. They run on smearing and kafkatrapping others, then obscure and play games of misdirection, and when they trolled a reaction (which they obscured), they will pretend they were attacked and victimized out of nowhere. Their “attacker” is unreasonable, probably just hates women or feminists (i.e. misogynist). It’s this constant dishonest game of role reversals, war is peace, Deliberate Offense Gish Gallop propaganda that alone should urge everyone who broadly cares about the Enlightenment project to speak out against them. The US secular movement sides with them, tacitly agrees, and hence to me, they’re all responsible.

This is propaganda with Orwellian doublethink and double standards. Just now there is the next issue conjured out of thin air. An “Open Letter” by Ms Miller. While they smear and spread falsehoods all the time, Michael Nugent is now the “bad guy” because — I kid you not — he replied to Carrier’s before he dealt with Ashley Miller’s and Melby’s second half. Because Carrier is a man, and Miller and Melby are women… you know where this is going. That’s the beginning of a next telephone game. I wonder if they do a brainstorm session to come up with a new Deliberate Offense Gish Gallop scheme (that way they evade any criticism, as they quickly drive the critic into a defense, and maintain the prerogative of interpretation, and obscure the issues — nothing new).

My suggestion: ignore Ashley Miller’s latest, go for the previous one, set the points you want, try to avoid getting bogged down. Reiterate always what you got here (memefy it, find a catchy phrase and always keep it in view, so that misdirection doesn’t work), otherwise they bury it. With Voldemort and “haven for”, they covered up the Dawkins smears, the next things are intended to add another layer, making it increasingly difficult to explain what happened, which is then used by them to simply highlight the aspect they can most uncharitably exploit.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2015/04/18/an-open-letter-to-michael-nugent/

105 Aratina Cage April 19, 2015 at 3:22 am

We had discussed our concerns with PZ about his harmful rhetoric since before the Slymepit was even founded, before Aratina Cage had described Abby Smith’s blog as a monumental pit of slime

I will cop to that, even if I wasn’t the one who originated the term. I did use it willy-nilly though on Twitter to describe people I thought were coming from that never-ending thread on ERV and people who said similar things or behaved similarly. I said it was an ethos more than a place, which seems to have only angered more people . I also thought many of the ones I labeled as such were sockpuppets, even though quite a few have turned out not to be. But really, doesn’t a never-ending thread that continually refers to one person in particular as a c-word, t-word, or b-word, and much much more resemble this: http://he-man.wikia.com/wiki/Slime_Pit ? I still think it is a rather fitting term.

106 Michael Kingsford Gray April 19, 2015 at 3:48 am

Aneris-
“…Should that be what could replace religion?”

That is akin to asking:
“Should that be what could replace smallpox?”

Nothing should replace religion.

107 Lurker April 19, 2015 at 4:17 am

Wow. Michael addressed the lies and smears against the Irish women and dared to keep the American women waiting which means he doesn’t care about women, because what? Only American women are women?

The American privilege/racism in all of this is despicable. “Irish wanker” indeed.

108 Shatterface April 19, 2015 at 4:21 am

I don’t have a religion shaped hole in my life. I never had religion, I never had to let go of one and I haven’t got a gap in my life for a religion-substitute to fill.

I understand some do and I suspect many of them have filled that gap with identity politics.

Like ex-smokers they often find a new addiction – usually outrage, which is like crack for the Twitter age.

Every waking moment is occupied in seeking the next fix.

109 Shatterface April 19, 2015 at 4:36 am

Wow. Michael addressed the lies and smears against the Irish women and dared to keep the American women waiting which means he doesn’t care about women, because what? Only American women are women?

Of course, if he’d answered the women first it would be ‘Why is he picking on the poor defenceless women instead of facing down the intellectual artillery?’

110 ATM April 19, 2015 at 5:02 am

At this point I’m hoping to see AI expand their disassociation from PZ Myers to all of Atheism Plus, Freethought Blogs and Skepchick with one final post, so that they may put these petty, mean-spirited, time-wasting fools behind them and devote themselves full-time to the real work of AI. Our time on earth is finite, and these knuckleheads have already driven their Google trend lines into the dirt with their continuous, self-indulgent drivel. Type in PZ Myers, Atheism Plus, Freethought Blogs, etc., into Google Trends and you’ll see what I mean. They are of no consequence because they contribute nothing of substance, and everyone knows it. Instead of stooping to engage them, just stand up and carry on without them.

111 Aratina Cage April 19, 2015 at 5:33 am

At this point I’m hoping to see AI expand their disassociation from PZ Myers to all of Atheism Plus, Freethought Blogs and Skepchick

Hah! And here he was supposed to bring everyone together. Bravo!

112 franc April 19, 2015 at 6:10 am

Aratina Cage#110
>>At this point I’m hoping to see AI expand their disassociation from PZ Myers to all of Atheism Plus, Freethought Blogs and Skepchick<<

//Hah! And here he was supposed to bring everyone together. Bravo!//

No idiot. It's cutting gristle off a perfectly cooked steak and throwing it in the trash where it belongs.

113 ATM April 19, 2015 at 6:19 am

Unless you are steeped in the PZ,/A+,/FTB world, which I’m guessing you are, it would be impossible to see them as serious agents of change. Put some effort into developing A+, have a real-world project, earn your place in the atheist movement. Do something serious. There are quite a few atheist/secular/humanist organizations out there doing real work. Banging out snarky comments on a keyboard doesn’t cut it in the big world.

114 Mel April 19, 2015 at 6:19 am

It’s cutting out the cancer so a body can heal.

115 ATM April 19, 2015 at 6:26 am

My previous comment (112) was in response to Aratina’s (110).

116 Mel April 19, 2015 at 6:43 am

Banging out snarky comments on a keyboard doesn’t cut it in the big world.
ATM I wish there I could hit a Like button on both your posts.

The FTB/SC/A+ crowd doesn’t have a big world beyond the keyboard and the convention circuit. They do no activism, they accomplish absolutely nothing positive. It’s all about snarking on the internet, bullying and tearing people down, especially anyone who does real activism or accomplishes anything positive in the outside world. Feeding on whatever drama they can dig up or invent. They’re vampires.

I almost listed the atheist activist groups and individuals in the US, at least the ones I know about, who do real work in the outside world. But they lay low, and who can blame them.

117 franc April 19, 2015 at 9:02 am
118 Ewan Duffy April 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

@Nialler – why would anyone be proud to be an atheist? In a country as small minded and parochial as Ireland, where the sleeveen mentality is the norm and the Roman Catholic Church and other religions control the education system, I am proud to identify as an atheist who operates outside of the groupthink of the majority of my fellow citizens.

Lest anyone accuse me of being racist against the Irish with the above definition (and by extension, that Michael is providing a forum for racists), I am born and bred Irish and live, work and pay my taxes in Ireland.

119 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

@Ewan Duffy:

Your pride would seem to be at being able to break the mould that was shaping you rather than at your atheism per se.

I myself went through the Irish education system in the seventies and eighties. My education was of the sternest Chrstian Brother type.

The only times I have been in a church since 1975 have been for the purposes of funerals and weddings.

I never once encountered any resistance to my choice, so it was a very easy one to make. I really don’t feel the need for self-congratulation regarding the direction I took.

I live in France these days, so I don’t have issues such as the education of my kids, but friends back home report that they have no problems ensuring that their kids are reared in a secular fashion. I am speaking of atheism in practice rather than of the institutional manifestations of religion in Ireland.

Yes, there is lots to be done in Ireland and I applaud the broad scope of AI’s activism in this regard. Abortion would probably be to the forefront of my mind in that respect, and I mightn’t feel so sanguine if I were subject to an unwanted pregnancy.

However, my experience of being an atheist in Ireland was that I suffered no consequences for it.

120 Ashling O'Brien April 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

Richard has let my comment through on his blog, along with those of other members of Atheist Ireland which also point out the falsehoods in what he has written, but he has failed to address a single one of the points we have raised.

I have a second comment waiting moderation.

“Hi Richard,

I wonder could you comment on the points raised by myself, Derek, Peter F. and Peter H. about inaccuracies and misinformation you have written here about Atheist Ireland. Will you accept that what you have written here with regards to Atheist Ireland is wrong now we have provided you with accurate information and will you apologise to the many members and activists whose efforts you have dismissed for writing these untruths.

Thank you”

And I will continue to ask him this until he responds.

121 Phil Giordana FCD April 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

“However, my experience of being an atheist in Ireland was that I suffered no consequences for it.”

And thus you project your own experience on everyone else. It hasn’t come to your mind that some people may have endured a lot of pushback and alienation for being openly atheists?

Very selfish.

122 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:13 am

@Mel:

I couldn’t agree more, and that is why I don’t feel that AI should engage with people like Myers on any level.

AI are engaging with organitions and institutions external to atheism in order to agitate for change.People such as Myers are conducting a purely internal dialogue (monologue in his case) with those who already agree with them.

One thing which I’ve learned from this thread is not something which reflects well on me. I will readily admit that I did have suspicions that AI was Michael’s fiefdom. That was an error and it should have been obvious to me. No one person could possibly manage the sheer volume of work that AI performs. I am very happy to stand corrected on that and apologise to any hard-working committee members who may have inferred that from any of my posts – that apology also extends, of course, to Michael.

123 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:22 am

@Phil Gordiana:

The things is that I do not have experience of any single person who has had pushback for being an atheist.

The only issue analogous to such resistance that I can recall was when my aunt refused to attend my cousin’s wedding because she was marrying a *gasp* Protestant.

That was in 1978. That same aunt admitted to me a few years ago that she was no longer a believer but that she attended mass on the basis that she had in effect being paying the spiritual insurance policy for 70 years and it would be foolish to cancel the policy at that stage.

How does this “alienation” manifest itself?

124 Ashling O'Brien April 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

Thank you for that apology Nialler, it is appreciated.

Now if I can just get the same response from Richard Carrier :-)

125 Shatterface April 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

Aratina:

Hah! And here he was supposed to bring everyone together. Bravo!

Hey, Ratty. Any comment on one of your former Block Bot admins, Sarah Noble, being investigated for actual hate speech?

Or the fact that, despite your attempts to pass yourselves off as political radicals, she sits on the Executive Committee of the Liberal Democrat Party, a party which is in government and in coalition with the Tories, and that Block Bot is nothing but a tool for people close to the Establishment for censoring political opponents?

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/04/17/kill-all-men-lib-dem-activist-in-hate-speech-scandal/

126 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 11:40 am

@Ashling:

I’m not sure if I openly expressed that suspicion, but I’m certainly guilty of harbouring those thoughts. I’m perfectly happy to apologise when I’m error as I was in this event.

One of the side-effects of all of this spat has been Michael’s listing of AI’s activities. It is a very impressive CV. Very impressive. I really should have clocked that even a man of his energy couldn’t manage all of that alone.

That partly informs my suggestion that Myers and his ilk should be ignored. All the energies and time spent on defending AI against utterly ridiculous charges are taking resources away from on-going campaigns. It’s purely a suggestion on my part; both AI and MN are perfectly free to decide their priorities and do so on the basis of data which I don’t have.

The nature of Myers’ slurs are clearly deeply and grotesquely offensive. The other side of that coin is that they are so outrageous as to be capable of instant dismissal to anyone who has read the record.

Be done with him; he has no credibility outside a clique group of fanboys who won’t be swayed in any event.

127 Gerhard April 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

@Kurt H:

Instead, Nugent has prioritized responding to Carrier. Is this because Nugent is easily baited, lying about his commitment to tone, or is it because Carrier’s genitalia lend his arguments greater weight in Nugent-world? Hard to say. But none of those possibilities reflect well on the High Arbiter’s ability to carry out of the duties of his self-appointed office.

I’m sure that the list of possibilities you chose has nothing to do with the fact that don’t reflect well. One person’s “easily baited” is another’s refusal to allow damaging smears and questioning of the integrity and intelligence of colleagues to go unchallenged. AI have much invested in their reputation and act as advocates for the interests of many women. They have achieved much and are on the verge of achieving more and now they are facing attacks on their reputation from self-indulgent muckrakers who do nothing beyond police words and nitpick. Who cares if some entitled bloggers feel snubbed because they didn’t get a speedy enough reply. They are acting like children refused an ice-cream.

128 Gerhard April 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Nialler:

The nature of Myers’ slurs are clearly deeply and grotesquely offensive. The other side of that coin is that they are so outrageous as to be capable of instant dismissal to anyone who has read the record.

You appear very naive when it comes to SJW smears. The mainstream media has a strong inbuilt bias toward swallowing tales of harassment of women and a woeful record on fact-checking. All it takes is for the Guardian to get hold of this story and life becomes much more difficult for AI. The SJW brigade are known to some in the media and it is not unlikely that they can get their story out and they will make it about misogyny and “rape apology”.

129 Aneris April 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Michael Kingsford Gray wrote: That is akin to asking:
“Should that be what could replace smallpox? Nothing should replace religion.

Shatterface wrote: I don’t have a religion shaped hole in my life. I never had religion, I never had to let go of one and I haven’t got a gap in my life for a religion-substitute to fill.

The people who typically argue for atheism; the Atheist “out campaign”; the red A logo; the New Atheists; the Four Horsemen; the people who subscribe to IFLS, like NdT, et cetera — all of that could be broadly placed into the Enlightenment tradition. This isn’t “nothing”. This is quite clearly what atheists and skeptics online have in common.

You supposedly don’t want to get rid of Evangelicals and have them convert to fascism. You probably want to keep them within democratic pluralism, promote scientific scepticism (or empirical scepticism) and humanism. Don’t confuse a wide set of values, for which I argue, with PZ Myers, Greta Christina’s idea that everyone must believe in a narrow ideology of intersectionality idententarianism, with postmodern critical theory and a streak of safe space authoritarianism.

Even without strawmanning it is all more complicated than it was a few centuries ago, since cognitive science, experimental psychology, and behavioural economics have undermined our rationality, and “Mündigkeit” ideals, and it looks like libertarian free will is but an illusion. There are other complications: Europe and US are really different, as Europeans (nationally at least) have a strong common culture that produces greater homogenity of beliefs and. The US is far more heterogenous and splintered.

130 Gurdur April 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Nialler, you’ve already admitted you jumped to conclusions, you couldn’t even be bothered to look at very easily available evidence beforehand, and that you were wrong. You’ve also made claims about Michael Nugent (in 46), where you said:

” I had a run-in with Michael a couple of years ago on another board and found him prickly and easily offended”.

I’m beginning to really doubt the second part of your claim, given that I’ve known you yourself from another board in the past, where your behavior was very far from optimal. Likely, in your previous interaction with Michael, the fault lay not with him. Given your prejudices on display here, which you have now partly admitted to be flatly wrong, then your other claims are in need of that much more evidence.
So, please tell us, why should we give your opinion any credence? While you repeatedly “advise” that AI and Michael Nugent should disengage from all this – whether with PZ Myers, Richard Carrier or anyone else – you still haven’t given any cogent reason as to why that should be so. You only repeat it, you don’t clarify it. When Shatterface asks you, you don’t give any actual answer, you just go on about “alternative” points of view, and ask him if he wants you to shut up. Evasive.

A million and a half people – from the very beginning have told Michael Nugent to give it up, to stop criticizing, to stop pressing the issue – an issue which he presses in a very civil, restrained way. A whole lot of those people told Michael they were telling him to disengage for his own good – just like you. You’re only the last one in the queue. To Michael’s credit, he hasn’t believed their claims. Why should yours be believed?

And this is a very serious question. Why should your claim that Michael and AI should disengage from the facing down of PZ’s and others’ smears be given any credence?

131 JetLagg April 19, 2015 at 12:36 pm

What Gerhard said. I wish we lived in a world where smears such as Carrier’s could be safely ignored and the real work continued, but the mainstream media has demonstrated just how irresponsible they are. It only takes one source to restate these allegations (not bothering to fact check, of course) to seriously damage AI’s reputation, almost certainly irreversibly in many cases. It’s all well and good for people like us, who follow these issues over many years, but for the individual whose interests lie elsewhere? They’ll accept the first story they hear. That’s what makes Michael’s actions here necessary. So long as you have yellow journalists like Carrier around, we have to shout just as loudly.

132 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

@Gerhard:

If the Guardian takes up the story then you have a wonderful case in law – and in a friendlier jurisdiction than that enjoyed by Myers.

The point is that this thing could run forever and in the process create a Streisand Effect. Myers will simply never back down.

I flirted with atheist activism way back when, but swiftly discovered that many of the main proponents were simply dickheads. That’s no problem; I’m a bit of a dick myself, truth be told. The more I looked at it, though, the more I saw that the New Atheist movement seemed to exist for the purpose of internal validation rather than actual activism in an effort to change things.

AI’s proper dialogue (and one which they perform very well) is with organisations and institutions external to atheist activism. Submissions to the UN, to Government, meetings with Taoisigh are what will hopefully deliver results.

Alleging that MN or AI are rape apologists or provide havens for rapists is a claim which requires an extraordinary degree of proof. That level of proof has manifestly not been met and has been rebuffed.

I didn’t give the allegations a second thought when I read them but chose anyway to do some research. It took me moments to dismiss them.

What might be worth asking Carrier, BTW, would be about his involvement with the Rational Response Squad. He was happy to be associated with them to the extent of lauding their in-house “historian” and having him installed on the board of the Jesus Project.

I won’t sully MN’s blog with the very serious allegations that exist surrounding the RRS’s behaviour during a webcast.

These are the people with whom Carrier associates.

133 JetLagg April 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Aratina@104But really, doesn’t a never-ending thread that continually refers to one person in particular as a c-word, t-word, or b-word…

Statements like these are why I think there are, in addition to the religious, a class of people whose psychology is so radically different from mine it molds every experience they have, so that they might as well be living in a different universe than me. I call that class of people SJWs as a useful shorthand.

Seriously, I can’t imagine, from reading this one post, that you have spent much time on the pit. The topics vary frequently. Insults are handed out in heavy measure (to various people, often members, contrary to what you say). The only unifying theme seems to be a dedication to free speech and a disdain for the perpetually outraged element of the atheist community.

At least you admitted we weren’t sockpuppets.

134 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

@Gurdur,
I didn’t “jump to conclusions”. I reached an erroneous conclusion over time and I freely admitted to that and apologised for it despite not having expressed it.

It is counter-productive to translate a specific admission of error into a general sense that anyone who admits error must therefore be in error in other things. Indeed, I would take the fact of an admission of error as an indication that the person is capable of sufficient introspection and data analysis as to be operating as an honest broker.

When I refer to previous interaction with Michael it is done in the sense of honest and open declaration. Do you see a trend here?

I’m not getting into any discussion here about about our previous interactions.

135 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm

@Jetlagg:

I’d love to live in that world, but where is this situation leading? What is the end-point? Claim and counter-claim will lead to the counters numbering in the thousands. The various parties could end up spending a huge amount of their energies in a “he said, she said” scenario.

Myers’ claim are contemptible as is Myers himself.

Rebut and move on.

If a newspaper reports them (without, BTW, doing what they must do in seeking AI’s side or MN’s side of the story) then deal with that if it happens.

136 Gunboat Diplomat April 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Wow, Richard Carriers treatment (comment #14 on his blog) of Peter Hinchcliffes comment is really disingenous. He first demands proof that Peter was blocked by secularwoman for simply tweeting a request for evidence. When Peter supplies that proof Carrier then shifts the goalposts and states that the Peters request makes him a troll and therefore deserving of being blocked. And then accuses Peter of being on the wrong side of history because he attacks people who defend abuse victims.

I’m looking forward to getting drunk and verbally abusive to strangers tonight, and if anyone criticises my behaviour I’ll just tell them they’re on the wrong side of history as they’re attacking someone who advocates abortion rights. That’s the great thing about supporting progressive causes – you can do whatever the hell you want and nobody can criticise your actions or they’re also attacking your cause. According to Richard Carrier anyway.

How bizarre. Unhinged even.

137 Karmakin April 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Just on the whole issue of “tone”. This isn’t a tone argument. At all. This is about content.

The concerns that other people share are correct, and largely are indicative of the problem not just in the A/S community, but increasingly in our culture at large, and there’s a lot of people who are very concerned about this.

There’s a lot of push for increased moral/ethical standards. The problem with this, is that to a lot of people it doesn’t feel like these standards are the actual goal, it feels like these are intended to be weapons for the in-group to use against the out-group. This is why all of the double standards that we see are so troubling, as other people have listed in the comments here. Every time this happens it reinforces the notion of these double standards.

This is very troubling for a lot of people, and justifiably so. I think a lot of people tend to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable by observing other people and what they do and how it’s reacted to. When we can no longer trust these observations, it introduces a great deal of social anxiety into the mix. Some people react in fear, some people react in anger.

We have a situation where we have a sub-sub culture complaining about the environment at conventions when that sub-sub-culture helped to create that environment, and to this day still fosters it.

The reason this is done, is because it’s not really about these issues. It’s about signaling to your peers that you’re “hip” and “progressive”. Well, eventually what’s “hip” and “progressive” will change IMO and it’s going to become a much more reactionary, aggressively bigoted movement.

It’s only a matter of time.

138 Jan Steen April 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm

@ Gunboat Diplomat,

It may be worth showing the details, as it perfectly demonstrates the vile character of Dr. Richard Carrier PhD.

A tweet from Secular Woman said:

@Atheist_NI have they argued for the silencing of rape victims? Yes

Peter Hinchliffe then asked:

@SecularWoman @Atheist_NI Care to back that statement up with evidence?

Carrier comments:

So, you asked for something that was so obvious you could have found it yourself? Nugent defended [Voldemort] against his targets/victims Allison Smith, Ashley Miller, and others documented [sic]; Nugent also advanced arguments that protect abusers generally. You knew that’s what they were talking about. You also know that’s true. Therefore your question was disingenuous and not asked in good faith. That makes you a troll. Precisely what warrants blocking you. This is why you are on the wrong side of history. You are not defending abuse victims. You are attacking the people who defend them. Your own tweet is an example of doing precisely that.

When you read about the history of totalitarian groups you will come across anecdotes about individuals who make up excuses for treating their victims as less than human. Carrier reminds me of such individuals. Seriously.

139 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm

@Jan Steen:

Nooooh!

Carrier has fans. He has a PhD.

Listen up, people. He has fans and he speaks the truth.

140 Steven Carr April 19, 2015 at 2:38 pm

‘Your own tweet is an example of doing precisely that.’

Asking for evidence is an example of ‘attacking people’?

To think that Carrier used to be a sceptic.

‘ Nugent also advanced arguments that protect abusers generally.’

Of course , this is a vicious smear.

But Carrier’s only voice is a shrinking click-bait site and he knows he will be kicked off the site by Myers if he does not defend him at all times.

I imagine you would get the same response from Carrier as if you asked a Catholic priest what he thought of people who had documented abuse by Catholic Bishops. Catholic Priest Carrier would block and silence anybody who produced documented evidence of abuse by a Catholic Bishop who was in charge of his career.

141 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

@Jan Steen:

I’d probably row back on the totalitarian stuff, though.

He’s certainly one of the most unpleasant individuals I’ve ever encountered, though, just in case he tries to traduce this post into something approaching support of him.

142 JetLagg April 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Nialler@134
I’d love to live in that world, but where is this situation leading? What is the end-point? Claim and counter-claim will lead to the counters numbering in the thousands. The various parties could end up spending a huge amount of their energies in a “he said, she said” scenario.

I agree it’s a waste of time, but I don’t see an alternative. Carrier does have a substantial readership, and Michael is doing the right thing in writing a response. This way the percentage of Carrier’s readership that does occasionally check the opposing argument (I number myself, among that group) will see just how full of shit he is, readjust their worldview, and move on.

143 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat:

Unhinged is a very strong word.

Incredibly strong.

It might be a step too far. Carrier is certainly an idiot. His efforts have been covered in vainglory and an overwhelming self-preening over his academic achievements. I’m not sure about “unhinged”, though.

I could be persuaded on that at the same time.

144 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 3:14 pm

@Jetlagg:

I understand your point, yet I ask which audience do AI and Carrier address?

AI address a specific audience of Irish people and – far more importantly – legislators. My view (possibly a faulty one) is that AI should focus on these two rather than on an obscure self-professed atheist celebrity (my reference is to his own reference to “fans”).

AI and MN have important work to do.

145 Phil Giordana FCD April 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Nialler @ 142:

You’re joking, right? Have you even bothered to read the very first sentence of Carrier’s response to Michael?!?

“Yeah. That rebuttal is unhinged. Bizarre even.”

It’s like you don’t even read what’s being posted here.

146 Slick Rick Carrier, Ph.D. April 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm

@Nialler, 140:

I’d probably … back … Carrier[.] … He’s certainly one of the … individuals … this post … support[s.]

Thanks!

147 Citizen Wolf April 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Mr Carrier’s response (#14 on his blog) to Peter Hinchliffe is very poor. The following is Mr Carriers response broken down sentence by sentence:

1). **So, you asked for something that was so obvious you could have found it yourself?**

This is odd in many respects. The interpretation around Mr Nugent’s response to Mr Myer’s grenade post is what’s under discussion. You (Carrier) and many others, including Secular Women, have decided that Mr Nugent’s criticism of Mr Myers is prima facie evidence that he supports abusers. However, this is precisely what was under discussion. In direct response to a disputed claim/tweet by Secular Women, Peter Hinchliffe asks them to provide evidence of their disputed claim. Yes, Mr Carrier, you may be correct in that Peter Hinchliffe most likely already knows the general issue under discussion. However when he asks Secular Women for evidence of their claim that Mr Nugent defends (rape) abusers, he is asking them to explain with good evidence what underlies their conclusion.

This is his first tweet on the subject to Secular Women. He does not have a history of past trolling to tweets by Secular Women. He was asking Secular Women for evidence of the claim in their tweet. This is not trolling.

However, even if we go on your (as yet unproven) reasoning that Peter Hinchliffe was just trolling, then are we to take the same uncharitable attitude to your question of Peter Hinchliffe? Are you just being a dismissive troll to Peter Hinchliffe when you ask him for evidence of what he claimed, because when he provided that evidence you dismissed it.

2). **Nugent defended Shermer against his targets/victims Allison Smith, Ashley Miller, and others documented; Nugent also advanced arguments that protect abusers generally.**

No he didn’t. He objected to the unethical behavior of Mr Myers in this particular issue. Mr Myers had other options aside from what he did. Only someone who is unwilling to examine the track-record of Mr Nugent could say that he advances arguments that protect abusers generally.

3). **You knew that’s what they were talking about.**

See point 1 above.

4). **You also know that’s true.**

Wow! You just assert it’s true, when it’s precisely what’s in dispute!! Incredible. Have you become infected by the mind-set of the religious believers you’ve debated in the past.

Not only that; as well as asserting that your (unproven) and disputed position is true, you also make the further unproven assertion that Peter Hinchliffe also knows that it’s true!! Are you also a mind-reader? You should make a representation to the JREF for the one million dollar challenge.

5). **Therefore your question was disingenuous and not asked in good faith.**

Only if all the previous assumptions by you are correct, which we have no objective evidence of. So this conclusion is unproven and unreliable.

6). **That makes you a troll. Precisely what warrants blocking you. This is why you are on the wrong side of history.**

Again, your conclusion is unproven and unsafe, and indeed your whole response makes you look like a troll (if we are to judge you by your own standards).

7). **You are not defending abuse victims.**

You just pulled that rabbit out of a hat. That’s just a slur.

8). **You are attacking the people who defend them.**

More rabbit pulling.

9). **Your own tweet is an example of doing precisely that.**

All based on your unsound premises and unproven conclusions.

Very poor all round Mr Carrier. Very poor. But perhaps I’ve gotten it wrong. You’re more than welcome to elaborate, if you wish, on how you formed your opinions on this matter.

148 Jan Steen April 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

@Nialler,

I’d probably row back on the totalitarian stuff, though.

Recall the very first line of his Atheism Plus manifesto:

There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all

This is totalitarian-like rhetoric; the language of the fanatic for whom the end justifies the means. It’s unbelievable that such rabid stuff could be written by someone in the atheist/skeptic community in a free country.

149 Steven Carr April 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Carrier has made it clear that if he has accused somebody of something, that person is not entitled to a defense, and anybody who defends somebody who that he has accused of something is an enemy to be eliminated.

With smears, accusations of insanity, insults , slurs and defamation of character.

Remind me. Which country did Joseph McCarthy live in? The same one Carrier does.

And yet Carrier has learned nothing from history, despite his intense study of it.

150 Aneris April 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm

In 103 I wrote:

An “Open Letter” by Ms Miller. While they smear and spread falsehoods all the time, Michael Nugent is now the “bad guy” because — I kid you not — he replied to Carrier’s before he dealt with Ashley Miller’s and Melby’s second half.

I have to correct it. Ashley Miller wrote:

The point of this, like the previous posts, is not that Michael Nugent is a bad guy. It’s that he keeps doing things online that make him look like a bad guy and he’s either unaware of them, in which case hopefully writing them out calmly in a blog post and explaining why they look how they look will help him understand why people see them the way they do, or he doesn’t care about the people who are interpreting his actions that way and he’d just as soon write them off as engage with them, in which case I think his tone arguments are hypocritical.

It’s probably an irrelevant distinction between “looking” and “being” a “bad guy” but she makes it, and I realized I should reproduce it correctly, too.

151 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Phil Giordana @142:

That Carrier resorts to the language of the playground is no excuse to join him there. Are you saying that the bully should dictate the language of a discourse?

152 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Slick Rick @145:

Nice smear job.

153 Gerhard April 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Could someone who has the constitution to post on the Intellectual Artillery’s blog please ask him to clarify as it sounds as if he is very strongly stating as a fact that Voldemort is a rapist. Would be handy in case of future legal action if he could make it plain.

154 Phil Giordana FCD April 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm

@149:

If you don’t understand the basic principle of Gunboat’s remark, I think there’s no point discussing with you any further.

I’m starting to have a deep suspicion that more than just the SJW crowd lack a sense of humor in the A/S community.

155 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm

@Phil Giordiana:

I absolutely understand the rhetorical device of using someone’s language back at them. It’s a standard tool which often works well in debates. The problem is that there is no debate happening. Neither side is responding in any substantive manner to the other.

All that happens is that the rhetoric escalates.

156 tina April 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Poor PZ. He hoped it would all go away. Dream on PZ. Dream on.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/04/18/the-irish-holy-war-is-unrequited/

157 tina April 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm

rorschach thinks “There is no point fighting for Nugents’, or Dawkins’, or Blackfords’ or any of the other socially regressive atheists souls anymore, they have well and truly declared their cards, and we should all move on and dump them from our collective minds.

You see? We’re doomed to the pit for all eternity. Lost souls. Why, they’re almost religious.

158 Phil Giordana FCD April 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Tina @155:

Yes, please?

159 Jan Steen April 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm

rorschach thinks “There is no point fighting for Nugents’, or Dawkins’, or Blackfords’ or any of the other socially regressive atheists souls anymore, they have well and truly declared their cards, and we should all move on and dump them from our collective minds.

I agree with rorschach. Myers and his Defamation League should move on. They’re standing on the edge of an abyss and need to make a great leap forward.

160 DK April 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Regarding the question of what Carrier actually means when he calls people “anti-feminist”, I’d love to get a straight answer from him explaining what his criteria for “true feminism” actually is.

He’s sometimes used the familiar dictionary definition, which simply requires people to support equality for everyone. He’s also talked about it being a movement to give women freedom of choice. Yet he also declares that some feminists (e.g. libertarians like CH Sommers) are really anti-feminist MRAs, because they deny “feminist truths” on issues like the wage gap, rape culture, and objectification.

Despite that, when people have pointed out that some feminists outright reject equality, are bigoted and transphobic, and would like to limit women’s choices, he’s argued that they’re bad feminists, but still legitimate feminists.

It’d be interesting to know if there’s actually a clear line he draws between true and false feminists, or if it changes depending on the argument he wants to make.

161 Richard Weed April 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

I see the slymeshitters are out in force in the comments. Let me out them for you.

Billie from Ockham, Jan Steen, john c. welch, Lsuoma, JetLagg, Skep tickle, ROBOKiTTY, John Greg, franc, JackSkeptic, Phil Giordana FCD. and doubtless others I don’t recognize.

162 tina April 19, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Carrier Pidgin: “It’s come time. I’m so cumulatively busy with all my work and life things, I can no longer find time to moderate comments on my blog beyond a fraction. I have struggled to keep up with the most recent and important ones, but I still have a backlog of nearly four hundred uncleared comments on various blog posts from last year. I hope to get to those eventually, since I consider them grandfathered in, although I might not answer them, for want of time.”,/i>

Anyone need a translation?

163 tina April 19, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Weed: ME. Don’t you dare erase my lived experience you misogynist rape apologist plantkin.

164 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm

@Richard Weed:

I have no idea who these people are. I just respond to their posts at face value.

165 Jan Steen April 19, 2015 at 7:13 pm

@Richard Weed,

What is your ‘nym on FTB? Or are you afraid to be ‘outed’?

166 Slick Rick Carrier, Ph.D. April 19, 2015 at 7:20 pm

@Richard Weed, 160:

I … shit … in the comments. Let me … tickle … others I don’t recognize.

As a fellow polyamorous comment-shitter, I second this.

167 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm

I’ve realised that I am thoroughly out of my depth here.

There seem to be factions about which I have no knowledge so I think it best to butt out completely.

I really feel uncomfortable in that milieu. I like being among friends or at least among people I know, but when there are charges of partisanism and I have no idea of the personalities or their agendas then things get difficult for me.

I’ll leave it at that. I’ve no doubt that the thread will collapse without me. [/Sarcasm]

168 tina April 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm

So the intellectual artillery muzzles his cannon and ducks back down in the trench. Seems most of these SJW people have galactic size egos and infantile tantrums to match.

Like PZ, Carrier thinks he can just fling his shit and walk away. Sorry, that’s not how it works in the adult world. If Carrier had the sense and decency to apologise to the members of AI he so deliberately misrepresented and insulted he might just have got away with it. Not these days Mr C.

169 Ashling O'Brien April 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm

I notice Richard carrier has a new policy on his blog, he will now close the comments section of a blog after six days. I do hope he has an opportunity to respond to my comments before he does that. At the moment my last comment is still waiting in moderation.

170 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 9:18 pm

Ah.

Just found an old post of mine.

http://www.talkrational.org/showpost.php?p=947183&postcount=1

It mentions Carrier and Myers.

It goes back five years.

171 Kurt H April 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm

@ Nialler 170:

Carrier received a grant from Atheists United to research the historicity of Jesus. Atheist’s United did not stipulate what conclusion they expected and, in fact, Carrier was not a mythicist at the time of the grant. He was merely a historian with the relevant training. If you are so butthurt about AI being “smeared,” maybe you could refrain from smearing AU.

172 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm

@Kurt H:

When did this grant occur?

Did you avail of the opportunity to provide “editorial” contributions? Was the book published? What is the ISBN?

173 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:05 pm

@Kurt H:

ice use of the word “butthurt” by the way.

174 IM608 April 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Didn’t the accuser admit, herself, that her use of the word “rape” might’ve been a bit overblown.

If so, why in heck are we still discussing this.

175 Shatterface April 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Kurt H April 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm
@FishCakes:

You do understand the difference between fantasy and reality, right?

And you do understand that rape begins as fantasy don’t you?

Christina has written stories, some of which involve rape.

Somebody else has very likely committed rape in THE REAL WORLD. And Nugent is willing to run cover for him right here in this very blog post.

Somebody has been accused of rape. Another has written fantasies to masturbate over which advocate rape as a ‘kink’.

Now that this is cleared up, you can return to tone policing and tut-tutting about people’s kinks. That’s obviously the most important consideration in this matter. /sarc

Rape isn’t a kink.

Kink is a broad category but it only applies to consensual sex.

176 Billie from Ockham April 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm

When did this grant occur?

According to Google (which you really ought to try), 2012.

177 Steven Carr April 19, 2015 at 10:19 pm

@IOM68
‘Didn’t the accuser admit, herself, that her use of the word “rape” might’ve been a bit overblown.’

Carrier claims this is just the sort of thing you would expect a rape victim to say. They are often in denial, so when they deny there has been a rape, that is proof of a rape.

He is a True Believer in rape culture, despite a long blog posting of his claiming that rape in general was decreasing. That was before he went SJW.

178 Nialler April 19, 2015 at 10:24 pm

@Billy:

Link?

Link to the book? (The one that would take four months in 2010)?

The ISBN number?

Did UA avail of the option of editorial comment?

When I see a project touted in April 2010 with a four month delivery date I sort of expect that it delivers an 2010/2011. Don’t expect me to attempt to extrapolate beyond that date.

179 Steven Carr April 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Four month delivery date? You never saw that.No book has a four month delivery date.

180 IM608 April 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm

“Carrier claims this is just the sort of thing you would expect a rape victim to say.”

Thank goodness for ‘mansplaning’, I don’t know what I would do without it.

181 KiwiInOz April 19, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Richard Weed @ 161. Me too. But I’m not a celebrity like those others.

182 JG64 April 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm

@KiwiInOz

Maybe not a celebrity, but a lovely anteater.

183 John Greg April 19, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Richard Weed @ circa 161: does it matter? I’m just curious if you are sort of trying to make a point, or just disseminating names for general interest and accuracy?

Aw, Kiwi, you’re a celebrity in our hearts.

184 Gerhard April 19, 2015 at 11:08 pm

@Kurt H:

Instead, Nugent has prioritized responding to Carrier. Is this because Nugent is easily baited, lying about his commitment to tone, or is it because Carrier’s genitalia lend his arguments greater weight in Nugent-world? Hard to say.

Neglected to add in my previous reply that Michael Nugent covered the question you are having such difficulty with in the 1st paragraph of the post:

And so I have to again reschedule other activities, including finishing my response to the more considered posts by Ashley Miller, MA Melby and Secular Woman, in order to ensure that Richard’s false claims are corrected on the record before even more myths take hold.

185 Kurt H April 19, 2015 at 11:51 pm

@ Nialler:

Carrier has published two books related to the topic and both underwent peer review. AU made no editorial comment in either work, although their contribution is mentioned by Carrier in acknowledgements (in both, IIRC). Is there a point you’re trying to get at?

186 MosesZD April 20, 2015 at 12:04 am

Aratina Cage April 19, 2015 at 5:33 am
Hah! And here he was supposed to bring everyone together. Bravo!

His choices are what? To have his reputation and good work trashed by a bunch of do-nothing-but-cause-problems parasites on the atheist community? Or to fight back and turn the tables while not stooping to the childish vitriol of his opponents?

The second might not work, the first will definitely not work.

187 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 12:06 am

@ Shatterface:

“And you do understand that rape begins as fantasy don’t you?”

For most people, it remains there.

“Somebody has been accused of rape. Another has written fantasies to masturbate over which advocate rape as a ‘kink’.”

The alleged actions of “Voldemort” are a serious concern for the safety of real people. The stories written by Christina are not. This is not a tough distinction to make.

@ High Arbiter of Tone Nugent the First:
I’m curious: What would it take for you to allow the use of “Voldemort’s” actual name in this comment space? At what point would naming this accused rapist no longer be “uncivil”?

188 Shatterface April 20, 2015 at 12:18 am

The alleged actions of “Voldemort” are a serious concern for the safety of real people. The stories written by Christina are not. This is not a tough distinction to make.

Alleged actions and stories are the same thing, only nobody is offering Voldemort’s story to masturbate over.

189 MosesZD April 20, 2015 at 12:22 am

tina April 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm @157

rorschach thinks “There is no point fighting for Nugents’, or Dawkins’, or Blackfords’ or any of the other socially regressive atheists souls anymore, they have well and truly declared their cards, and we should all move on and dump them from our collective minds.

You see? We’re doomed to the pit for all eternity. Lost souls. Why, they’re almost religious.

Oh, please, Saint Peezes and the Horde, abandon us!!!! Go back to your information silos and pretend you are ‘good people’ who ‘have won.’

190 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 12:24 am

@ Shatterface:

An allegation is potentially true. A work of fiction can never be. I am shocked that I have to explain this.

191 MosesZD April 20, 2015 at 12:24 am

Michael I fouled up the formatting on this post (currently in moderation). Please delete the first and let through the second. Thank you.

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Kurt H April 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm
@ Shatterface:
you wrote: “tl; dr WHAT ABOUT ME?!?”

Actually, Miller makes a great point. If Nugent is going to be the High Arbiter of Tone in the Atheist movement, maybe he should demonstrate his superior capacity for civil debate by prioritizing discussion with people who engage him in a more civil manner.

Instead, Nugent has prioritized responding to Carrier. Is this because Nugent is easily baited, lying about his commitment to tone, or is it because Carrier’s genitalia lend his arguments greater weight in Nugent-world? Hard to say. But none of those possibilities reflect well on the High Arbiter’s ability to carry out of the duties of his self-appointed office.

It’s not about tone. It’s never been about tone. This is taken from the Urban Dictionary and illustrates ‘tone’ and ‘tone trolling:’

Commenter: I think killing people because they’re gay is wrong, goddammit.

Tone Troll: How dare you use a dirty word like that! Have you no shame? I demand an apology.

Commenter: Don’t you think the fact that people are being killed is slightly more important than whether I said a naughty word?

Tone Troll: Why should I listen to anything you say when you’re using such filthy language?

Commenter: Okay, sorry, but what about my argument?

Tone Troll: I’m entirely too upset to continue this discussion. I think you should be more careful what you say in the future.

Clearly it’s not about what adults understand to be ‘tone’ (e.g ‘naughty or inappropriate language). It’s about harassing, bullying, doxxing, smears, reputation destroying, hounding people out of positions they earned, and big ol’ heap of libel & slander like a cherry on top of a Sundae. And it’s about how Myers, et. al. use these tools to create and maintain a toxic atmosphere in the atheist community in order to fulfill their personal goals of bending everyone to their political viewpoint and purging the community of those that refuse to bend.

192 KiwiInOz April 20, 2015 at 12:28 am

Kurt H @ 190

Although a work of fiction can be based on a true story, and an allegation can be woven into a web of deceit.

193 MosesZD April 20, 2015 at 12:33 am

Richard Weed April 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm
I see the slymeshitters are out in force in the comments. Let me out them for you.

Billie from Ockham, Jan Steen, john c. welch, Lsuoma, JetLagg, Skep tickle, ROBOKiTTY, John Greg, franc, JackSkeptic, Phil Giordana FCD. and doubtless others I don’t recognize.

So? This isn’t an information silo with rigidly enforced group-think. Here, and on other parts of the Internet, arguments must stand on their merits.

So I’d say your argument just failed, except you didn’t really make one… It’s really just a non-argument right down there with “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it…”

194 MosesZD April 20, 2015 at 12:34 am

#$(*Q&(*#$ I am so format failing today…

195 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 2:40 am

@MosesZD:

“It’s not about tone. It’s never been about tone.”

Please.

Go back and look at the purge notice released by AI earlier this month. You will find many criticisms of Myers being mean to people like Ham and D’Souza and apocalyptic cult leaders, and all sorts of people that few to no atheists would ever be a fan of. These criticisms cannot be anything BUT tone related.

Even when not defending atheist opponents, the purge notice is full of complaints about the timing, wording and chosen targets of Myers’ speech. These are all complaints about tone as well.

I know, I know . . . ACTUALLY, it’s about ethics in rape journalism.

You Slymepitters are hilarious.

196 franc April 20, 2015 at 3:21 am

//When you read about the history of totalitarian groups you will come across anecdotes about individuals who make up excuses for treating their victims as less than human. Carrier reminds me of such individuals. Seriously.//

Whenever I Carrier’s name is mentioned, I hear squeaky jackboots and Ride of the Valkyries

197 franc April 20, 2015 at 3:28 am

//I see the slymeshitters are out in force in the comments. Let me out them for you.

Billie from Ockham, Jan Steen, john c. welch, Lsuoma, JetLagg, Skep tickle, ROBOKiTTY, John Greg, franc, JackSkeptic, Phil Giordana FCD. and doubtless others I don’t recognize.//

You can “out” all you like. We all have a quality you don’t – the ability to back up everything we say. That is what really burns you, isn’t it?

Put more simply, we have little pride and plenty of substance. You OTOH are 100% hubris and zero reality.

198 Steven Carr April 20, 2015 at 6:10 am

I see Kurt H claims is is a) all about serious rape allegations and b) all about tone.

In reality, it is all about Myers and Carrier being jealous of the fact that other people are more famous than they are. And they have decided that as they cannot get up to the level of other people, they are going to try to drag other people to their level.

199 Jan Steen April 20, 2015 at 6:16 am

@ Kurt H,

Go back and look at the purge notice released by AI earlier this month. You will find many criticisms of Myers being mean to people like Ham and D’Souza and apocalyptic cult leaders, and all sorts of people that few to no atheists would ever be a fan of. These criticisms cannot be anything BUT tone related.

Is your proposition that people whom atheists are not a fan of cannot be smeared? That you can say anything you like about them, just because they happen to be Christians or Republicans, or whatever (well, not Muslims, presumably)?

This is the problem with SJWs in a nutshell. They declare some group of people as the outgroup. From then on they think they can defame them as much as they like, truth and fairness be damned. Thanks for expressing this tactic so boldly, Kurt H.

200 Steven Carr April 20, 2015 at 6:34 am

Carrier really doesn’t seem to care about his career prospects at all , does he?

He can’t forever live off his wife’s income, especially as he is no longer married after he cheated on her with women he found at sceptical conferences.

201 Ashling O'Brien April 20, 2015 at 6:43 am

This morning I notice that Dr Carrier has added to his blog including a comment on Michael’s response and a comment on Ashley Miller’s ‘Open Letter’ yet my comment which I posted there yesterday morning remains in moderation. He has also not responded to my previous comment or Derek’s, Peter F.’s or to any substantive part of Peter H’s (instead he calls Peter H. a troll)

My comment in moderation is:

“Hi Richard,
I wonder could you comment on the points raised by myself, Derek, Peter F. and Peter H. about inaccuracies and misinformation you have written here about Atheist Ireland. Will you accept that what you have written here with regards to Atheist Ireland is wrong now we have provided you with accurate information and will you apologise to the many members and activists whose efforts you have dismissed for writing these untruths.

Thank you”

Who knows, maybe he’ll find the time in his busy schedule today to respond?

202 franc April 20, 2015 at 6:46 am

Kurt H #195 //Go back and look at the purge notice released//

What is this purge notice of which you speak? Blacklists started with Myers’ dungeon and spread to the blockbot. It utilised all the traditional means of witch hunting – mass complaints to silence dissenting voices; contacting employers to destroy livelihoods; public doxxing/shaming a la Mao’s cultural revolution etc. etc.

203 Phil Giordana FCD April 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

“You Slymepitters are hilarious.”

You can’t even start to imagine how your clique looks to the outside world. Ever wondered why support for Myers only comes from FTB and associates? That I’ve seen, no one except the usual suspects have come to his defense. Maybe if you started pondering on the why’s and how’s, you’d get a glimpse of what kind of isolated, hateful little community you’re a part of.

Of course, this would need a bit of introspection, and your crowd has demonstrated more than enough that they are completely incapable of even the slightest self-examination.

Still, thanks for continuing to show how disingenuous you (general ‘you’) are willing to be even when faced with facts and evidence.

204 Bartacus April 20, 2015 at 9:29 am

Ashling @201

Do you mean that Carrier has responded to Michael and Peter that have asked him questions, however poorly, but he failed to address your complaint?

Sounds to me like he cares more about tone and answering men than he does about women, to paraphrase Ashley Miller. Maybe you should write a whining blog post about it?

It seems that it’s ok when they do it(again).

205 FishCakes April 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Kurt H @90 wrote

You do understand the difference between fantasy and reality, right?

I understand the difference just fine, what about you? Into which category does writing, publishing and promoting a book fall: reality or fantasy? Does the book exist in the real world as something that other people can purchase and read, or is it just part of Greta Christina’s fantasy world?

As to the content of her book, I agree that it’s fictional. But I’m not sure what point you are trying to make by pointing that out. Surely you aren’t suggesting that all fictional portrayals are necessarily harmless just because they are fictional, or that they have no influence (positive or negative) on the consumer, are you?

And what about rape jokes, fictional movies and television shows, video games, etc? All of those are also fictional portrayals as well, would you not agree? Yet it’s a strongly held belief amongst many FtB bloggers and commenters that all of these (fictional) portrayals can and do perpetuate rape culture and/or influence people as to their stance on the same.

Even the holiday song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” was seen as perpetuating rape culture by many of these people. Yet somehow Greta Christina writes, publishes, and promotes “erotic stories” that were written “to get you hard and wet” and that involve stuff that’s “borderline consensual or not at all consensual” and none of these people bat an eye. The double-standards are absolutely appalling.

Not only do they seem unconcerned about it, but they actively defend it and try to deflect legitimate criticism like Kurt H is doing here. By their own standards, it would be fair to call Kurt H an apologist for Greta Christina’s erotic stories involving rape, and thus also a rape-apologist; and it would be fair to describe Greta Christina as a professional rape-apologist given that she is profiting from said erotic stories involving rape.

206 Deepak Shetty April 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Members of AI
Can you please explain
a) Why did AI get involved in an acrimonious dispute between Nugent and Myers? Is this blog officially a part of AI or not?

b) What are the criteria used to determine dissociation with a person?
Clearly a lot of people on this side think that the *movement* has been harmed by people like Dawkins and Harris and evidently AI thinks that the harm is much more due to Myers than any of these other personalities.

c) Given that Michael is probably a respected/liked colleague , how did you ensure that the hearing was fair and objective?

(Note I already agree that some criticism directed your way is incorrect and wrong)

207 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 5:32 pm

You have to love the brass balls of the SJW crowd. Attempt to debate the substance of their beliefs and they use every cheap deflector in their Little Red Book from Jaquing Off to accusations of misogyny. Put them under pressure and suddenly there are a thousand nitpicky questions that you HAVE TO answer, the situation just DEMANDS IT.

208 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

@Deepak Shetty.
Why the interest in the internal affairs of AI? Does it make the slightest bit of difference to the substance of their complaints?

The difference between Harris, Dawkins and PZ Myers is quite obvious. You can have a civil disagreement with Harris and Dawkins. Harris is polite and respectful to a fault. Disagreeing with Myers is usually an unpleasant experience involving misrepresentations, sneers and smears.

209 Deepak Shetty April 20, 2015 at 6:05 pm

@Gerhard
You’d notice that the question wasn’t directed to you.
>Does it make the slightest bit of difference to the substance of their complaints?
To some complaints- no. To others, yes. Besides I do want to know who I am disagreeing with when I post here – Michael or AI.
>You can have a civil disagreement with Harris and Dawkins.
Ha ha ha ha. But anyway , if thats the reason , then I expect AI to effectively say we dissociate with uncivil people

>Harris is polite and respectful to a fault.
Some of us care more about being pulled up for cavity searches in airports. YMMV.

210 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 7:17 pm

@ Jan Steen:

“Is your proposition that people whom atheists are not a fan of cannot be smeared? ”

No, because those statement weren’t smears, they were opinions. A smear is a false accusation or mischaracterization of someone’s actions. Obviously Nugent is not angry with Myers for *disagreeing* with Ken Ham. Nugent is angry with Myers for the way in which he disagrees. In other words, Nugent is making a tone argument.

To correctly describe Myers speech as a “smear” you would have to demonstrate that his arguments are based on a deliberate falsehood. Most, if not all, of the complaints made in the purge notice do not involve deliberate falsehoods, or even just falsehood. The complaints are about TONE.

211 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm

@ Fish Cakes, who wrote:

“As to the content of her book, I agree that it’s fictional. But I’m not sure what point you are trying to make by pointing that out. Surely you aren’t suggesting that all fictional portrayals are necessarily harmless just because they are fictional, or that they have no influence (positive or negative) on the consumer, are you?”

No, of course not*, but certainly it’s ridiculous to put the account of “Voldemort’s” rape on the same level of concern as a fictional depiction of rape. It’s actually quite disgusting that you would consider the account of a rape by an actual person still quite active in the secular movement to be equally as concerning as an obvious fiction. I frankly suspect you’re just trying to score points here, because only a moral pygmy would try to put these two things on equal footing.

You then go on from this point to spin a yarn about how, by my arguments, I perpetuate rape culture, blah blah blah. Nugent wasn’t critiqued because he tweeted his love for “Baby It’s Cold Outside” — he was critiqued because he continues to run cover for a movement luminary who very likely committed rape. Some of us would like to prioritize the prevention of actual rapes over a discussion of the finer points of how rape can be depicted in fiction. I would hope that we all would do so.

* As a aside: Not having read the work in question, I do not know its subject matter. However, it’s entirely possible that the fictional work in question subverts rape culture tropes. For the sake of argument, though, I proceed as if Christina’s work simply repeats those tropes without comment.

212 Karmakin April 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm

@Kurt H

“Some of us would like to prioritize the prevention of actual rapes over a discussion of the finer points of how rape can be depicted in fiction. I would hope that we all would do so.”

Let me add to that, we should be talking about prevention rather than focusing on one individual case. Or at the very least talking about it in parallel. But to many of us that’s the point. There’s NOT a talk about prevention. There’s simply not. There’s no talk about creating strong codes of conduct that would allow 3rd parties to identify allowed vs. not allowed behavior at conferences, there’s no talk about taking steps to lower the amount of binge drinking that’s going on. There’s none of that.

All there is talk of is giving weapons to the in-group to use against the out-group.

Honestly, from everything I’ve heard I doubt in the case we’re talking about it’s really that out of the ordinary. Now please note that I’m not defending this…I personally find that part of our culture (the whole binge drinking based pseudo-socialization thing) disgusting and extremely dangerous.

I think it’s a big problem, but one that nobody wants to do anything about, to be honest. Well, except maybe some of those ruffians over at the Slymepit. But by and large being outsiders, it’s easy for us, because it’s not our ox being gored.

If you want to have that discussion, by all means have it, and I’ll support it. But it’s been my experience (and honestly that was the straw that broke this particular camels back) that this isn’t the discussion that people want to be having.

213 Freemage April 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Richard is making one of two outrageous claims about these women. Either these women have knowingly received and collected propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site, or else these women are naive and malleable enough to unknowingly endorse the collection of propaganda from an anti-feminist hate site, because they are simply supporting a man’s personal fiefdom, without any capability of doing due diligence in their officership of a national advocacy group.

Or, perhaps, he believes they are following an old saying: “A drowning [person] will grasp even the point of a sword.” You correctly note the issues with Ireland’s society, which has been saturated with Church-based misogyny. AI is, outside of any faults that it may or may not have, one of the loudest voices calling for change; therefore, it may very well be that these women you accuse him of smearing are actually simply caught in a situation where they must make a tactical decision–or even may be largely unaware or uncaring of your personal feud with an American blogger, in the face of more local concerns.

Shoving words into the mouths of your opponents is no way to claim the high moral ground regarding ‘smear campaigns’ and ‘misrepresentations’.

Gerhard: The internal workings of AI and its relation to this blog space are, in fact, very important for the evaluation of Carrier’s comments re: “Nugent’s personal fiefdom”. Mr. Nugent is now saying that this decision was a collective one;

214 FishCakes April 20, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Kurt H @211,

but certainly it’s ridiculous to put the account of “Voldemort’s” rape on the same level of concern as a fictional depiction of rape.

Perhaps, but I did no such thing. I made no attempts to compare the two or to put them on the same level. Perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else? If you disagree, please quote where you feel I did so.

I frankly suspect you’re just trying to…

Well since you misattributed to me the desire or attempt to compare or make equivalent the two cases, it’s a safe bet that any suspicions that follow from this misattribution are also wrong.

Some of us would like to prioritize the prevention of actual rapes over a discussion of the finer points of how rape can be depicted in fiction.

Is anyone stopping you from setting and following your own priorities?Also, what, precisely, are you doing to prevent actual rapes? And how does Michael Nugent’s actions prevent you or hinder you from doing such?

215 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Deepak Shetty:

Harris is polite and respectful to a fault.
Some of us care more about being pulled up for cavity searches in airports. YMMV.

So what? Doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not it is an effective way to counter terrorist acts. Harris is perfectly willing to debate this with people without making it personal. Can you disagree with him on this without resorting to accusations of racism? If you can it makes you different from many of his detractors. That is not a question just of tone, it is a question of unevidenced, exceptionally uncharitable smearing when faced with disagreement.

216 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 8:44 pm

@ Karmakin:

You might recall than when these sorts of issues first hit the secular movement, a major topic was on the nature and enforcement of anti-harassment policies at conventions. This would definitely fall into the category of prevention. Of course, the anti-SJW crowd didn’t like that topic at all. Many of them loudly proclaimed that tightening up these issues was unnecessary.

It’s strange that you would throw in with the very group of people who mocked your concerns.

217 Jan Steen April 20, 2015 at 8:50 pm

@Kurt H,

Most, if not all, of the complaints made in the purge notice do not involve deliberate falsehoods, or even just falsehood. The complaints are about TONE.

Really?

This is “tone”?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is ‘happily exploiting atrocities’

Or this?

[Myers] agreed that science fetishism reproduces the ‘white supremacist logic of the New Atheist Movement.

Or this?

[Myers] said Richard Dawkins ‘seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children’

Or this?

Russell Blackford is a ‘lying fuckhead’

Or this?

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.

Orwellian SJWs like Kurt must have a peculiar definition of “tone”. I presume they have a similarly peculiar definition of “falsehood”.

“War is peace”. Etcetera.

Even putting aside the smears, like the above, there is still the small matter of hateful and violent rhetoric, which is found by the shitload on Myers’s blog. Perhaps desensitized SJWs, hardened during the numerous witch hunts they took part in, are not repulsed by such Myersian expressions as “stick a knife in the bastard, and twist it for a good long while,” but normal people, and Atheist Ireland, beg to differ.

This too is more than just complaining about tone. It is distancing yourself from an unhinged, flailing person and his apologists. Their behaviour is damaging the cause of genuine activist organisations, such as Atheist Ireland.

218 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Kurt H:

No, because those statement weren’t smears, they were opinions. A smear is a false accusation or mischaracterization of someone’s actions. Obviously Nugent is not angry with Myers for *disagreeing* with Ken Ham. Nugent is angry with Myers for the way in which he disagrees. In other words, Nugent is making a tone argument.

Rubbish. The nastiness is just part of it. It has been stated so many times that the disingenuous misreading of people, the refusal to correct and the sneering are a big part of the problem. It seems that when it comes to certain figures the core FTB bloggers will interpret statements in the most unlikely and least charitable way and create a shitstorm of condemnation without accepting anything less than total capitulation. It not as if nobody else on the internet hasn’t noted this phenomenon. But please ignore that and go the well tested route of putting it all down to tone policing.

You have learnt nothing from the case of Voldemort 1. A man lost his job, lots of time and money and probably went through a lot of anxiety over what turned out to be fabricated evidence. Any shame from the accusers? Nope, just snide remarks about his character. Now you have moved on to the next target in the quest to find a genuine rapist. He may be guilty he may not, but he is entitled not to be judged on blogs and if the statute of limitations is expired the accuser should have had the conviction to do something about it a long time ago. Besides, even the ‘victim’ is not so sure that an actual rape happened. In fact she had glowing words to say about Voldemort after socialising with him shortly after the incident.

219 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 9:29 pm

****It is not as if nobody else on the internet has noted this phenomenon.****
That is really what I meant to say.

220 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Kurt H:
You might recall than when these sorts of issues first hit the secular movement, a major topic was on the nature and enforcement of anti-harassment policies at conventions. This would definitely fall into the category of prevention. Of course, the anti-SJW crowd didn’t like that topic at all. Many of them loudly proclaimed that tightening up these issues was unnecessary.

The harassment policies being proposed ignored the binge drinking, perhaps because many of the proponents seem to be amongst the biggest participants thereof. The complaints were against the killjoy nature of the policies which often appeared to deny the psychology of sexual relations. This was in turn portrayed as the dudebros wanting to get their end away at conferences which was frankly stupid because most of the detractors wouldn’t be caught dead near a conference. Harassment policies are unlikely to prevent rapes, whereas cutting down on the drunkenness might.

221 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 9:46 pm

Crap. First paragraph in previous post was meant to be a quote.

222 Deepak Shetty April 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

@Gerhard
Harris is perfectly willing to debate this with people without making it personal. Can you disagree with him on this without resorting to accusations of racism?
But that is precisely the point.
a) Harris is willing to *debate* profiling people who look like me. Its like having a civil debate with religious people who think that you are sub-human. Why would I not take it personally?
b) You care more about me calling Harris a racist , than you do about him trying to get me racially profiled. And this is precisely why a lot of us say that neither you nor Harris are our allies.

223 Kurt H April 20, 2015 at 11:03 pm

@ Gerhard, who wrote:

“Rubbish. The nastiness is just part of it. It has been stated so many times that the disingenuous misreading of people, the refusal to correct and the sneering are a big part of the problem.”

First off, sneering is also a tone complaint. As for refusal to correct, that’s something you don’t do when you’re right. That leaves disingenuous misreadings. This is something that would be objectionable. However, you seem to be implying that Nugent hasn’t had ample time to avoid such “misreadings.” For example, Nugent could cease redacting the name of the accused from his posts and anyone commenting here.

“You have learnt nothing from the case of Voldemort 1. A man lost his job, lots of time and money and probably went through a lot of anxiety over what turned out to be fabricated evidence. Any shame from the accusers?”

The court case involving Voldemort Type-R is still unresolved. I am not aware of any fabricated evidence (other than your fantasy that the case is over). Perhaps if V_r wins his case, some shame might be in order, but please stop acting as if that situation was definitely resolved one way or the other.

224 Gerhard April 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Deepak Shetty:

a) Harris is willing to *debate* profiling people who look like me. Its like having a civil debate with religious people who think that you are sub-human. Why would I not take it personally?

You shouldn’t take it personally because it isn’t directed at you personally. It is nothing like having a debate with someone who thinks you are sub-human. There is no implication that anyone is being called sub-human. The whole point of profiling is to prevent terrorist attacks. The point is that the most obvious threat is from islamist groups likely to share a certain profile. Can you not accept that the intent is not personal?Are you such a child that you place your personal pride above questions of the greater good? If you feel so strongly then the solution is to put your case and agree to disagree if you must. I’ve noted with Harris that he is very honest in that he follows where the logic leads without fear, which people seem to mistake as him leading it to where he wanted to go. Projection, I think. Some people can’t seem to understand unmotivated logic.

225 Karmakin April 21, 2015 at 12:00 am

@Kurt H:

Yes, because I was one of the people (there were a few others, such as Ptyrxx (can’t remember the spelling of the nym) who was pushing it. But honestly I always felt there was very little interest from that side of the aisle of actually laying down any sort of policy. What was wanted was some sort of weaponized method for people to deal with “undesirable” people, not any sort of actual policy that would set clear guidelines of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

If I remember right, PZ himself said that he opposed this because it would be a “guidebook” (maybe the word was blueprint…it’s been a while) for harassers.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t something limited to the A/S sphere, I generally find that across the board this dynamic plays out, where the critics of the activists are actually better on the issues than the activists themselves.

226 Billie from Ockham April 21, 2015 at 12:36 am

Why would I not take it personally?

Because it’s not about you.

You care more about me calling Harris a racist , than you do about him trying to get me racially profiled.

Actually, what most of care about is defensible argument. Your evidence that Harris is racist is weak to non-existent (so far). His evidence that profiling people who look a certain way would reduce (successful) terrorism is also weak, but better than non-existent.

And this is precisely why a lot of us say that neither you nor Harris are our allies.

Oh, don’t be so modest. If and when this particular argument fails, you’ll come up with (lots of) new ones.

227 FishCakes April 21, 2015 at 1:18 am

Deepak Shetty @221,
How does your perception as to being seen as sub-human square with what Sam Harris actually wrote on this? For instance, he wrote that he includes himself in “the description of the type of person that should be profiled (twice).” Fuller context below.

By your logic, does that mean he thinks of himself as sub-human as well? Or perhaps you’re just not so good as you thought at ascertaining true meaning, intent, and motivations of others?

1. When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice). To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behavior in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest. It is the charm of political correctness that it blends these sins against reasonableness so seamlessly. We are paying a very high price for this obscurantism—and the price could grow much higher in an instant. We have limited resources, and every moment spent searching a woman like the one pictured above, or the children seen in the linked videos, is a moment in which someone or something else goes unobserved.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/in-defense-of-profiling

228 Kurt H April 21, 2015 at 2:39 am

@ Jan Steen, #217:

With regard to your questions, I must first invite you to go to Alex Gabriel’s hyperlinked version of the purge notice, to see how many of Nugent’s complaints are full of shit. That being said:

1) Not a falsehood, just a critique. (Ali)
2) Not a falsehood, just Myers explaining a critique of the issue focus of the secular movement. (white supremacy)
3) Not a falsehood, but Myers stating what Dawkin’s words sounded like to him, and many others. Is AI going to condemn the Guardian?
4) Only a falsehood if Blackford is not a liar, and only deliberate if Myers knew so.
5) Myers and Nugent disagree on whether or not rape accusations against notable speakers is important information that people in the movement should know about. There is no falsehood here. Nugent is covering up “Voldemort’s” identity even now when everyone knows who we are all talking about. Nugent is protecting him from accusation to the point of absurdity.

“Even putting aside the smears, like the above,”

None of those are smears, just differences of opinion backed by heated rhetoric. Ali did minimize the concerns of gay Americans. Dawkins did minimize the the victims of childhood sexual abuse (not just his own). You may think those statements are OK, but don’t call disagreement with those statements a “falsehood.” That’s an abuse of language.

229 Jan Steen April 21, 2015 at 6:10 am

Kurt H, according to your “logic” it would be fine for me to claim that you have the mentality of a secret policeman in a totalitarian dictatorship. That’s not a falsehood, but just how your words sound to me. Right?

Perhaps one day people like you will be working at the Ministry of Truth. Let’s hope not. But until that time I hope you will never be in any position of influence over other people’s lifes. They would be totally screwed.

230 Ashling O'Brien April 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

I’m still in moderation….

231 Phil Giordana FCD April 21, 2015 at 8:49 am

Ashling: I strongly suspect your comment will stay that way until the newly-instated 6-days deadline. Some people really don’t like to own up.

232 Ashling O'Brien April 21, 2015 at 8:57 am

@Freemage 213

” it may very well be that these women you accuse him of smearing are actually simply caught in a situation where they must make a tactical decision–or even may be largely unaware or uncaring of your personal feud with an American blogger, in the face of more local concerns.”

Thank you for your concern, but as one of those women I can assure you, as complicated as it may seem, I am more than capable of understanding the nature of the casual defamatory smears that PZ has made against Michael, the impact those smears can have on the local grass roots work we do in Atheist Ireland and the need to correct those smears with actual facts. My lady brain has managed to work this out.

This is not about some personal feud, this is about what kind of society we are trying to build going into the future. This is about our ethics and how we stand over what we say and do.

I would also add that I have asked Richard Carrier on his blog to respond to the concerns I have raised and he is refusing to do so. I can’t help but wonder why this self-proclaimed feminist is refusing to engage with a woman after dismissing the role she plays in social activism? Dr Carrier, if you are reading this, I would appreciate a response to both my comment you have let through on your blog and the one you have kept in moderation for three days now.

233 Ashling O'Brien April 21, 2015 at 8:59 am

I fear you may be right Phil, but I will give Dr Carrier the benefit of the doubt.

234 Michael Kingsford Gray April 21, 2015 at 10:09 am

Ashling O’Brien-
“I fear you may be right Phil, but I will give Dr Carrier the benefit of the doubt.”

It is that very good-will that they prey upon, and are unwilling to reciprocate. Michael has outlined this pattern of ill-will at length.

It is bound to fail at the primary level, but will eventually succeed at the tertiary level, vis:- get them to volunteer their true nature to the adults of the globe.

235 Shatterface April 21, 2015 at 10:24 am

a) Harris is willing to *debate* profiling people who look like me.

THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME!!!!

Maybe you might like to think about what is like to look like Voldemort and be thought of as a rapist because of his sex and the colour of his skin.

What the fuck is a cis white hetero shitlord if not a dehumanising, racist, sexist rofile?

236 Shatterface April 21, 2015 at 10:25 am

Bugger: profile

237 Arakes April 21, 2015 at 10:40 am

#235

Maybe you might like to think about what is like to look like Voldemort and be thought of as a rapist because of his sex and the colour of his skin.

Dafuq? Who thought of Voldemort as a rapist because of his sex and the colour of his skin?

238 Shatterface April 21, 2015 at 11:15 am

Dafuq? Who thought of Voldemort as a rapist because of his sex and the colour of his skin?

So it’s just a coincidence every attack on the alleged rapiness of prominent atheists are couched in terms of cis white hetero privilege? That women are to be believed automatically by virtue of their gender?

239 Arakes April 21, 2015 at 11:27 am

#238

So it’s just a coincidence every attack on the alleged rapiness of prominent atheists are couched in terms of cis white hetero privilege?

So you say people think of Voldemort because of his sex and the colour of his skin – and your justification for that is that “every attack on the alleged rapiness of prominent atheists [i.e. Voldemort in this case] are couched in terms of cis white hetero privilege”.
Then please quote an example where Voldemorts alleged rapiness was attacked and the attack was “couched in terms of cis white hetero privilege” – that should be easy given that you say that every attack on Voldemorts alleged rapiness looks like this.

240 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

a) Harris is willing to *debate* profiling people who look like me.

Correction. he is willing to debate profiling people who look like HIMSELF as well as others.

Michael Kingsford Gray to Ashling O’Brien-
“I fear you may be right Phil, but I will give Dr Carrier the benefit of the doubt.”

It is that very good-will that they prey upon, and are unwilling to reciprocate. Michael has outlined this pattern of ill-will at length.

The important point is that people such as Ashling O’Brien are shining examples of what atheist activists should be; skeptics who politely require evidence before making decisions and who do not resort to name-calling when the evidence doesn’t suit their world-view. Unfortunately, people such as PZ have shown themselves not to be skeptics regarding anything other than gods, mythical creatures, and psychics. This would be okay if they did not demonise or smear atheist activists who are skeptical about their own “sacred cows”. AI and Atheist NI have correctly disassociated themselves from such narrow-minded and damaging atheists. It is absolutely right of Ashling O’Brien to give Carrier a chance to explain himself, and it fits the ethics of AI to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think, though, that it is becoming clear that he does not deserve any more such benefit.

One rather sad result of his narrow and faulty “research” into the concerns of AI is that one is left wondering how complete his research into other matters may be. We see that he throws away the scientific method when talking about matters of emotional interest to him, matters which we have the tools to check on and evaluate. Can we rely on his methodology when it comes to subjects that we cannot check on ourselves? I am very interested in the mythicist debates regarding the bible, but I do not have any linguistic skills nor can I research ancient manuscripts. I am fascinated by the idea that Jesus is not a real figure. So I am biased in favour of RC’s theory. However, my trust in his methodology has been shaken and I no longer feel able to trust his thesis. The one thing in its favour is that apparently his publications have been peer reviewed; but is that enough? Well, on the plus side, when rebutting religious nonsense I suppose that it doesn’t totally matter whether Jesus was a real wandering preacher, a composite of several preachers alive at that period, or simply a myth.

At least with PZ, there is nothing at all in his work that is of any importance to the advancement of knowledge or science. Ignoring him is a simple matter. Distancing ourselves from his rhetoric is important only because his attitude is echoed in modern mainstream media such as the Guardian and because atheists who work hard world-wide get to be tarred with the brush of his nastiness.

Ashling O’Brien says: this is about what kind of society we are trying to build going into the future. This is about our ethics and how we stand over what we say and do.

Yes. *clapping* oh yes.

241 Jan Steen April 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

@Carrie,

I am fascinated by the idea that Jesus is not a real figure. So I am biased in favour of RC’s theory. However, my trust in his methodology has been shaken and I no longer feel able to trust his thesis. The one thing in its favour is that apparently his publications have been peer reviewed; but is that enough?

Dr. Carrier PhD always goes on and on about how this or that work of his is peer reviewed. Fact is that he has published hardly any relevant papers in (properly) peer reviewed academic journals. As far as I can see, even if his other work (book chapters, books) was indeed peer reviewed, the procedure was highly, let’s say, unorthodox.

It is not customary to ask someone you know (and who may be favourably inclined to your ideas) to review your manuscript and then to claim that your work “has passed peer review”, which seems to be Carrier’s standard practice. That’s not best practice by any means.

Peer review is supposed to be an independent process, in which an editor invites experts in the field to review your manuscript. The experts, usually anonymous to you, send their reviews to the editor, who passes their comments, along with his own questions and suggestions, on to you, the author. After you have responded to all criticisms, the editor will decide if you have done so adequately. Only then can you proclaim that the work has passed peer review (or not).

But this is evidently not what happened with Carrier’s manuscripts. Here is how he explains the “peer review process” for his latest masterpiece.

My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.

See? Carrier himself sought peer review reports from four “major professors”, of whom two bothered to respond. We do not know how they responded, but we have to trust Carrier that they approved of his book (Really? How many ‘major professors’ are Jesus mythicists?) and that he implemented the revisions that were requested.

Hahahahaha.

Sorry. No, this is not how peer review is supposed to work. You don’t get to choose the reviewers yourself (although you can make suggestions to an editor), and you don’t get to decide yourself that you responded adequately to their suggestions. This is all dodgy in the extreme, and one more reason not to take Carrier seriously.

TL;DR His book On the Historicity of Jesus did not pass peer review by any acceptable academic standard.

242 Gunboat Diplomat April 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I see Dr Richard Carrier PhD* is offering a new course** on better live and online debating tactics. For only $59 you can learn such top moral debating tips such as:

1 – Mischaracterise and smear your opponents and their arguments, all based on poor research!
2 – Only link to sources which support your arguments, never to sources which dispute it, regardless of relevance or veracity!
3 – Allow opponents a partial right to reply in comments, but don’t reply to the most difficult questions, especially if asked by a credible source – a female social justice activist for example!
4 – If the heat gets too much institute a 6 day limit on comments! That way you can just shrug your shoulders and go”what can I do – its policy” – a great debating tactic used all over the world by such luminaries as:

– Religious ice cream salesman!
– Store security guards!
– State bureaucrats!
– Racist restaurant owners!

Remember everyone, “winning” the debate at any cost is all that matters!

* Please note Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is not actually a medical Doctor, hence the PhD suffix (although medical doctors can also have PhD’s).
** Also please note all of the above is intended as satire and should not be construed as being the actual content of Dr. Richard Carrier’s online debating course. PhD.

Details on his actual online course – at $59 a head – can be found here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7295#more-7295

243 Billie from Ockham April 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Just a short +1 that privately getting two of four people to read and make comments on a manuscript is NOT “peer review” by any known standard. The key missing element, as mentioned above, is the absence of an editor. Also, while some journals do allow an editor to make a decision based on only two reviews, most require three or more. And no peer-review process allows the author to choose the reviewers. (Authors can ask that certain reviewers be excluded, if they provide good reason, but no journal or other review process allows the authors to choose the reviewers.)

Richard Carrier’s claims that his work has been subjected to and passed peer review is either false or depends on a non-standard use of the term “peer review.”

– a dictionary academic

244 Billie from Ockham April 21, 2015 at 1:34 pm

I’ve been dead and gone for more than six days. Further comments upon my putative life will not be posted or provided with replies. Thanks.

– Jesus

245 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm

@ Steersman, thanks for the clarification! Yes, selecting the “peer-reviewers” himself does not count at all. I had been wondering how he had achieved the necessary support for such an unpopular idea. I had also been wondering how he could have been anonymous to the reviewers, given how small a pool of academics there must be who a) beli eve Jesus is a total myth and b) use Bayesian statistics.

I had not examined the “peer reviewed”-ness of RC’s work and had simply assumed that he had an editor. Oops, bad skepticism, my bad. In my defence I should point out that if I had got around to actually shelling out cash for one of his books I would have checked more carefully first; thus far I have simply listened to his youtube debates on the subject.

@ Gunboat Diplomat LOL thanks for the laughs — and the link.
I see that from that page he links to “secular leaders online” where in May he will be co-leading a workshop “Debate 101: How to Be a Better Debater Live and Online” Good grief. Better debater? To be brutally honest, RC could learn a great deal from Michael Nugent’s debating style.

@Bill ie from Ockham, yes, that all makes perfect sense, especially “no journal or other review process allows the authors to choose the reviewers”. I’ve had a cold, will blame my woolly-headedness on that; nobody can prove it’s not true :-)

246 FishCakes April 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Richard Carrier’s book, On the Historicity of Jesus, was published by Sheffield-Phoenix press. There is no real information on their website as regards a peer review policy or process.

http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/title.asp

However, the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) is noted as the U.S. distributor for Sheffield-Phoenix; Richard Carrier’s CV (http://www.richardcarrier.info/cv.pdf) also indicates that he is a member of the SBL.

Here is SBL’s peer review policy: http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/PeerReviewPolicy.pdf

Here’s some of SBL’s other publishing guidelines: http://www.sbl-site.org/publications/publishingwithsbl.aspx

Also, of less importance but still somewhat interesting… A Google search turned up a discussion of this exact topic [Carrier’s claims as to the peer review of this book] on some web forum from 2014, wherein someone claims to have sent an email to Sheffield-Phoenix asking for a description of the peer review process that Carrier’s book went through. The person claims their response was:

“We can assure anyone who asks that all our books are peer reviewed before being accepted. But we cannot undertake to describe the process just to any person who asks us to do so—life is too short.”
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=730163

Given the nature of the web, it’s probably safest to take that with a grain of salt. No telling if it’s true, just someone trolling, or what. But it goes to show that we’re not the only ones wondering as to the accuracy of Carrier’s peer review claim.

247 Arakes April 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

#243

Just a short +1 that privately getting two of four people to read and make comments on a manuscript is NOT “peer review” by any known standard. The key missing element, as mentioned above, is the absence of an editor.

He had at least one. Probably two if the manuscript first had to pass an aquisition editor. The “review” for edited volumes and monographs does not work like the peer-review system for academic journals. For edited volumes, the publishing houses trust the judgment of the editors(s) responsible for the book (who are not associated with the publishing house and who select the authors that contribute to the volume). And for monographs, the best qualified editor associated with the publishing house is assigned to handle the respective manuscript (for big academic publishing houses like Oxford University Press for example, those editors are often major experts in their respective fields). That the author himself recommends or selects reviewers is not unheard of – the reviewers for monographs also usually get paid for their reviews, because reviewing a monograph takes much, much more time than reviewing a single paper.
I don´t know how respected Sheffield Phoenix Press is among historians and NT scholars, but the review process it went through seems to be pretty standard for a humanities monograph.

248 Billie from Ockham April 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm

I agree with what you wrote, Arakes, but still want to stress the key point (i.e., get the last word): if the ms wasn’t sent out for reviews by an editor who, based on those reviews (and his or her own reading), can reject the ms, then the ms wasn’t subjected to peer review. Getting past an acquisitions editor is not passing peer review. Making small corrections to an invited ms in response to the reading of only the editor of the collection is not passing peer review. Actual peers with no conflict of interest must read the ms and provide their judgment. Friends don’t count and lone editors with a vested interest in the inclusion of the ms in a collection do not count, either.

249 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Billie from Ockham says:

Getting past an acquisitions editor is not passing peer review. Making small corrections to an invited ms in response to the reading of only the editor of the collection is not passing peer review. Actual peers with no conflict of interest must read the ms and provide their judgment.

Exactly. I can read any number of books that give an author’s personal bias and hypotheses, which may be interesting. But I am not going to take the theses within such books as anything like facts unless they have been properly peer-reviewed.

If this is how Sheffield Phoenix Press produces its “scholarly” works, I am not sure that I would buy their books.

250 Jan Steen April 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm

@Carrie #245,

I am not, I repeat, not Steersman. Never have been, never will be. :)

One small correction to my post #241. Where I wrote “his latest masterpiece” I should of course have written “his latest tour de force”. My bad.

Unless Carrier discloses the names of the four “major professors” whom he asked to review his book, plus the names of the two who complied, I am going to call bullshit on that one (that his reviewers were major professors instead of minor sycophants) and will consider it likely, with a prior probability of 0.99, that his book was not properly peer reviewed at all.

251 Billie from Ockham April 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

If this is how Sheffield Phoenix Press produces its “scholarly” works, I am not sure that I would buy their books.

To be fair, most books and other monographs are not peer-reviewed, even when presenting scholarship and/or scientific theory. I doubt that the The God Delusion underwent peer review, for example.

The difference is that Richard Dawkins hasn’t been running around claiming that his books have passed peer review. (He doesn’t need to make this claim about his books to puff himself up, since he also writes journal article that are peer-reviewed.)

252 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Jan Steen

I am not, I repeat, not Steersman. Never have been, never will be

Aaaargh! I was trying to be so careful about names, but I had two tabs open on my browser… I grovel before you 😀 Oh my… Blame my cold please, my head is full of mush just now. More so than usual, I mean.

My main point about RC’s books is that I am not prepared to part with cash for a book wherein the scholarship cannot be trusted. If I could read source documents myself to check facts, that might be different, but I do not have that skill.

253 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 5:44 pm

“his latest tour de force”. *giggle* nice alteration Jan Steen

254 Deepak Shetty April 21, 2015 at 5:55 pm

@Gerhard, Billie from Ockham
You shouldn’t take it personally because it isn’t directed at you personally.
You are confusing “This isnt about you” with ” Dont take it personally”
For e.g.
When a religious nut says Non-Believers arent moral or trustworthy or sub-human – It isnt about me specifically , but I take it personally
When a religious nut tries to put restrictions on women – it isnt about me (heck Im not even a woman!) – but I do take it personally
When a religious nut tries to discriminate against gay people – It isn’t about me (heck Im not even gay!) – but I do take it personally.

You may want to sit in an armchair , and smoke your pipe , and pretend – but you cant insist on having a civil discussion about uncivil topics.

Your evidence that Harris is racist is weak to non-existent (so far).
Im perfectly happy to say that Harris supports a racist policy without drawing conclusions on his racism (and more from what i can tell) – Now ?

@Fishcakes
For instance, he wrote that he includes himself in “the description of the type of person that should be profiled (twice).”
And Im sure he has Muslim friends and he lets them use his bathroom.
Again you’ll pretend this is an abstract , rational argument , made from the comfort of the armchair- rather than something that already happens in real life. Harris likes to pretend that he is making this argument in a vaccuum rather than understanding that people actually do get subjected to racist stuff by some TSA employees. Can Harris really attest to facing that ?

This is what Harris doesnt get when he indulges in his thought experiments about torture / pre-emptive murder. It’s already happening – So either Harris is trying to justify /minimise it or he is just clueless.

255 FishCakes April 21, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Deepak Shetty,

So either Harris is trying to justify /minimise it or he is just clueless.

Or perhaps you are the clueless one? How much thought have you given to that possibility? What evidence, if any, would convince you that it’s you, and not Harris, that is clueless?

256 Carrie April 21, 2015 at 6:41 pm

@Billie from Ockham, yes, Dawkins’ books are most unlikely to have passed a rigorous peer review process. However, he is not making really controversial claims (if you ignore the “controversy” that creationists try to force on science). His books are communicating science in an easy-to-read fashion, and we can easily look up source documents if we are unsure of his accuracy. He does go through a proper academic peer-review process for papers, as you point out, and he does not make un-verifiable statements that we are expected to accept unthinkiingly. In fact, his biggest point is that we should all think for ourselves.

To be clear, I am happy to buy and read books that are not peer-reviewed when they are either fiction (clearly marked as such) or they are in subjects that I can read around and check
the facts for myself.

257 Deepak Shetty April 21, 2015 at 6:44 pm

@ FishCakes
What evidence, if any, would convince you that it’s you, and not Harris, that is clueless?
I gave you two options right ? (Since I believe that Harris was trying to minimise the problems with torture , I dont believe he was clueless anyway) .
If the response to the statement torture is bad (see for e.g. Guantanamo bay) – and the response is well torture may not always be bad – it might even be moral – consider this totally unrealistic hypothetical , what are the possibilities for the person making the response ?
I gave you two options (do you deny either could be a plausibile possibility?) , if you wish – add more , then you can put Harris in one of the possibilities.

258 FishCakes April 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Deepak Shetty,

I gave you two options right ?

Yes, but neither of which considered the possibility that you, as opposed to Sam Harris, might be the one with the problem.

Here, maybe this will help you to make a determination as which whether it’s more likely that Sam Harris is clueless, or that you are the one who is misunderstanding and misinterpreting and jumping to unfounded conclusions.

Sam Harris:
– Received a Ph.D. degree in cognitive neuroscience in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles
– Author of the bestselling books: The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, and Waking Up
– Writes and gives public lectures on wide range of topics: neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, spirituality, violence, human reasoning
– Blogs for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and formerly for Truthdig
– His articles have appeared in: Newsweek, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the British national newspaper The Times

Deepak Shetty:
– Posts comments on various blogs

259 Jan Steen April 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm

@Carrie,

Aaaargh! I was trying to be so careful about names, but I had two tabs open on my browser… I grovel before you 😀 Oh my… Blame my cold please, my head is full of mush just now. More so than usual, I mean.

Forgiven and forgotten. :)

260 Henry Fitzgerald April 21, 2015 at 8:14 pm

@Jan Steen, 241

As far as I can see, the crucial sentence in Carrier’s description is:

“I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity.”

This could mean he knew four professors and approached them directly – or it could mean that did have an independent editor, to whom he said: “Please get me four reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity.”

(These are small nuances I don’t attach much weight to, but the use of “I” suggests the former possibility; the use of “or” suggests to me the latter. The use of “I” is in any case consistent with the grandiloquent big-noting Carrier has been accused of – and yes, is guilty of.)

I’m not saying your interpretation is wrong, but I don’t think Carrier’s description is clear-cut enough to definitely support it.

261 Jan Steen April 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm

@Henry Fitzgerald,

I’ll let Dr. Richard Carrier PhD resolve your doubts:

My own effort to line up formal peer reviewers (which I started before I got a publisher in order to speed up the pipeline to publication) was to find peers who held diverse opinions of the thesis but whose work in the field is exemplary and whose judgment I highly respected (and who held ranking professorships in the field). Before reading the manuscript, one was sympathetic to the thesis, one was undecided as to its merits, and two others were actively opposed to the thesis (but not irrationally).

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4090

My interpretation was right: Carrier did seek the peer reviews himself.

It amuses me that earlier in the same comment we can see Carrier pontificating about the value of triple-blind peer review, as if he is a seasoned author who has to deal with this all the time:

An academic press will often even ask you, as standard procedure, whom you think would be best suited to peer review your submission (they will ask for as many names as possible, because being unpaid, most when asked will decline). They might not go with names you recommend, but they will consider them. And the process after that is usually triple-blind (not just the public but even you won’t know who the actual peer reviewers end up being, while the reviewers won’t be told who the author is, either, although in practice that can sometimes be guessed).

Except that Carrier himself engaged in the opposite of this laudable practice. The man is so thick that it is hardly believable.

And I also have a hard time believing that he really got his peer reviews from two “major professors”. We only have Carrier’s word for this. And look at the reason he gives for not disclosing who his peer reviewers are:

The reason peer review is kept anonymous to the public (and as much as possible to the authors as well) is to ensure academic freedom, since peer reviewers must be free to give honest judgments without fearing attacks on their career or reputation (as for example Ehrman and others have threatened to do, and has actually happened before: see my discussion of this here and here). For that very reason I won’t be naming my reviewers unless they give me permission (and I’m not inclined to put them on the spot by asking).

Apparently, these “major professors” have to fear being attacked by the likes of Bart Ehrman for the crime of reviewing Carrier’s deliberate tour de force. Because that could damage their career or reputation.

Bwahahahahaha. The persecution complex on display here! It’s almost as if the early Christians had less to fear from emperor Nero than Carrier’s “major professors” from Bart Ehrman.

Quite the comedian, our Dr. Carrier is.

262 john welch April 21, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Kurt H:

“You Slymepitters are hilarious.”

Well, some of them really are. Especially that one guy with all the piranha art. And I have actually been paid to do local stand-up comedy, so accurately, I am in fact a professional comedian.

But it is very nice of you to acknowledge it so kindly. Thank you Kurt!

263 Guestus Aurelius April 21, 2015 at 10:33 pm

@Jan Steen, 260:

It amuses me that earlier in the same comment we can see Carrier pontificating about the value of triple-blind peer review, as if he is a seasoned author who has to deal with this all the time:

An academic press will often even ask you, as standard procedure, whom you think would be best suited to peer review your submission (they will ask for as many names as possible, because being unpaid, most when asked will decline). They might not go with names you recommend, but they will consider them. And the process after that is usually triple-blind (not just the public but even you won’t know who the actual peer reviewers end up being, while the reviewers won’t be told who the author is, either, although in practice that can sometimes be guessed).

Also amusing is his misuse of whom in the first quoted sentence—a common and tolerable hypercorrection, to be sure, but one that conveys precisely the pompous pseudo-academic pretense that so endears him to the masses.

264 Guestus Aurelius April 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm

@Jan Steen, 260:

Apparently, these “major professors” have to fear being attacked by the likes of Bart Ehrman for the crime of reviewing Carrier’s deliberate tour de force. Because that could damage their career or reputation.

Bwahahahahaha. The persecution complex on display here! It’s almost as if the early Christians had less to fear from emperor Nero than Carrier’s “major professors” from Bart Ehrman.

Quite the comedian, our Dr. Carrier is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoy4_h7Pb3M

265 Henry Fitzgerald April 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

@Jan Steen, 260

Thanks. At least there’s no doubt now.

266 Gerhard April 21, 2015 at 11:38 pm

@Deepak Shetty:

I’d like to hear an explanation of how one combats an extant threat of terrorism from a particular demographic without paying particular attention to that demographic. To quote Harris “Imagine how fatuous it would be to fight a war against the IRA and yet refuse to profile the Irish? And yet this is how we seem to be fighting our war against Islamic terrorism.” The stakes are too high to pussyfoot around and he is not even talking about applying techniques not already applied to everybody, just applying them more efficiently. There is nothing unreasonable in pointing out the obvious. . As Harris said, few people seem to want to tell him why he is wrong, which he welcomes, they’d rather attack his character.

267 Gerhard April 21, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Deepak Shetty:

This is what Harris doesnt get when he indulges in his thought experiments about torture / pre-emptive murder. It’s already happening – So either Harris is trying to justify /minimise it or he is just clueless.

So there is no room in your world for examining the morality on principle? Why does he have to be minimising or clueless? How do you know that he is not making an honest attempt to work it out on principle? When academics and philosophers are swayed by emotion and taboos then you start to have a problem.

268 KiwiInOz April 22, 2015 at 1:54 am

Billy @ 248 etc

I agree with what you wrote, Arakes, but still want to stress the key point (i.e., get the last word): if the ms wasn’t sent out for reviews by an editor who, based on those reviews (and his or her own reading), can reject the ms, then the ms wasn’t subjected to peer review.

It is standard academic practice to get ones colleagues to look over a manuscript to check for errors, readability, missing points, alternative interpretation of results, etc. But of course that manuscript is then submitted and the editor sends it out for official peer review (usually single blind, or double blind for extra rigour).

Sometimes a journal or editor will allow an author to suggest reviewers or indicate reviewers that they don’t want; but they don’t get to choose the reviewers.

tl;dr Carrier got some of his colleagues to have a look at his work. This isn’t peer review as accepted in academic or research circles.

269 KiwiInOz April 22, 2015 at 1:58 am

Gerhard @ 265

So there is no room in your world for examining the morality on principle?

This is an essential aspect of critical thinking, and Dawkins got hammered in his tweets, by people who should know better, when he asked people to do this. People are generally afraid of challenging their deeply held beliefs, particularly if they are emotionally invested in their beliefs being true. Dangerous ideas are dangerous.

270 Ashling O'Brien April 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

Still no response from Dr Carrier on my comments, and I’m still in moderation.

It would also appear that @RichardCarrierWiki is not Richard Carrier.

https://twitter.com/RickCarrierWiki/status/590572043713798144

271 J. J. Ramsey April 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

Gerhard:

I’d like to hear an explanation of how one combats an extant threat of terrorism from a particular demographic without paying particular attention to that demographic.

Attempting to use someone’s demographic as a measure for how likely he/she is to be a terrorist often falls into the trap of the base rate fallacy, especially when the proportion of terrorists among that demographic is very low. This holds true even if terrorists are disproportionately from that demographic!

272 Phil Giordana FCD April 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

“especially when the proportion of terrorists among that demographic is very low”

“This holds true even if terrorists are disproportionately from that demographic!”

I’m not sure I follow.

273 john welch April 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Because the demographic you are talking about isn’t “Muslims” or “Terrorists” it’s “People that look like Arabs”.

If Lilly White McMuslim the suicide bomber shows up, no one is going to profile her, even though she’s a suicide bomber and a Muslim. As long as she doesn’t look all Arab/Middle Eastern, she’ll get a pass on visual profiling. Now in conversation she might slip up, but because she doesn’t look “muslim”, she’ll be fine on that level.

that’s the problem with Harris’s thesis: it’s relying on a very specific set of visual characteristics (looking “Arab”, which mind you, don’t apply to a lot of people in the middle east, it’s a bit more heterogenous than people like to think), and it assumes terrorists are well, idiots.

Once they realize they’re detaining “Arabs”, they’ll just pivot and start sending in Jihadis that look like Swedes. Or Japanese. Or anyone who isn’t bloody “Arab”.

When the Troubles were in full swing, people weren’t stopped because they looked “Irish”. Really.

274 Deepak Shetty April 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm

@FishCakes
Ha ha – So your response to my argument is An argument from Authority?
You’ll also notice that Harris’s credentials lack “Security Expert” . By your own standards , when Harris argued with Bruce Schneier he should have simply conceded the argument right?

Also I’m assuming by your own standards , I can simply ignore all comments by you. You don’t even put your real name .

275 Deepak Shetty April 22, 2015 at 5:36 pm

@Gerhard
from a particular demographic without paying particular attention to that demographic.
And I , or people of my skin colour , belong to “this demographic” ?

“Imagine how fatuous it would be to fight a war against the IRA and yet refuse to profile the Irish?
The equivalent for what Harris is asking for is actually “Imagine how fatuous it would be to fight a war against the IRA and yet refuse to profile anyone who is white?”

As Harris said, few people seem to want to tell him why he is wrong
Or he just ignores it – e.g. Bruce Schneier
a) It doesnt work
b) Even if it did , it is morally wrong for the state to burden innocent people.
c) In practice , this works out pretty badly because people arent perfect.

So there is no room in your world for examining the morality on principle?
You could add this to list of options. But the context isnt a philosophy class – The context was the real life water boarding of suspects(without trial! surely the people who get upset at *anonymous* allegations should be having a fit when the all powerful state does such things!)
– The calling of various torture techniques as “Enhanced Interrogation” and so on – You have to interpret Harris’s argument in that light – which is why I dont find it plausible.
In general depending on context this may or not be a plausible option.

276 Gerhard April 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

J. J. Ramsey:

Attempting to use someone’s demographic as a measure for how likely he/she is to be a terrorist often falls into the trap of the base rate fallacy, especially when the proportion of terrorists among that demographic is very low. This holds true even if terrorists are disproportionately from that demographic!

Base rate fallacy has no bearing here. The objective is to not waste time on people who are almost certain not to be worth searching. The concept of the false positive is not relevant to that. They cannot search everybody thoroughly anyway.

277 Gerhard April 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Deepak Shetty:

And I , or people of my skin colour , belong to “this demographic” ?

Perhaps not, but the result will still be better concentration of effort.

But the context isnt a philosophy class – The context was the real life water boarding of suspects(without trial! surely the people who get upset at *anonymous* allegations should be having a fit when the all powerful state does such things!)
– The calling of various torture techniques as “Enhanced Interrogation” and so on – You have to interpret Harris’s argument in that light – which is why I dont find it plausible.

It is just as well then that Harris condemned the activities at Abu Ghraib and doesn’t think that torture should be legal. He makes it clear that he hates war and torture, but asks people to examine the basis for the differences between their reactions to bombing and the inevitable collateral damage and very selective torture. He often asks very uncomfortable questions, not because he gets pleasure out of it but because he is attempting to clarify. Unfortunately it is very easy to straw man him because of that. To shy away from such questions because of the topicality leaves the way clear for easier, but not necessarily more ethical, answers to hold sway. Harris even states that he wants to be wrong and invites people to give him a way out of his conclusions.

278 Gerhard April 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Deepak Shetty:

The equivalent for what Harris is asking for is actually “Imagine how fatuous it would be to fight a war against the IRA and yet refuse to profile anyone who is white?”

You miss the point, which is the concentration of effort by identifiable characteristics. In the case of the Irish it can be done by nationality and in the case of Islam nationality and race are identifiable characteristics. The second example is less precise, but it still produces more efficient screening. And nobody is arguing to search all darkies and exclude all whiteys.

279 Gerhard April 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm

Deepak Shetty:

“As Harris said, few people seem to want to tell him why he is wrong”
Or he just ignores it – e.g. Bruce Schneier
a) It doesnt work
b) Even if it did , it is morally wrong for the state to burden innocent people.
c) In practice , this works out pretty badly because people arent perfect.

Harris ignored Schneier to the extent of letting him guest post on his blog (something Myers wouldn’t do under pain of death). He further ignored it by writing this:

There seems to be a consensus, even among my critics, that no one does airline security better than the Israelis (Schneier himself admits this). But, as I pointed out, and Schneier agreed, the Israelis profile in every sense of the term—racially, ethnically, behaviorally, by nationality and religion, etc. In the end, Schneier’s argument came down to a claim about limited resources: He argued that we are too poor (and, perhaps, too stupid) to effectively copy the Israeli approach. That may be true. But pleading poverty and ineptitude is very different from proving that profiling doesn’t work, or that it is unethical, or that the link between the tenets of Islam and jihadist violence isn’t causal.

Schneier’s opposition to profiling had almost nothing to do with the reasons that many people find it controversial. But none of my critics seemed to notice this. Nor did they notice when Schneier conceded that the most secure system would use a combination of profiling and randomness. He simply argued that profiling for the purpose of airline security is too expensive and impractical. But I was not vilified because I advocated something expensive and impractical. I was vilified because my critics believe that I support a policy that is shockingly unethical, well known to be ineffective, and the product of near-total confusion about the causes of terrorism.

I apologize to everyone for the wall of text, but I think the treatment Harris gets is a textbook illustration of the SJW methods of attack. He is an easy target because he is willing to go out on a limb to get people to examine their assumptions and it is easy to quote mine him.

280 Deepak Shetty April 22, 2015 at 8:42 pm

@Gerhard
He often asks very uncomfortable questions, not because he gets pleasure out of it but because he is attempting to clarify
Yes right. No one has ever thought about whether water boarding a terrorist is better than killing him. So uncomfortable , so deep, so challenging , so full of false dichotomy.
Interpret ignore Schneier as “didnt move my position one bit after hearing from a security expert why I was wrong”

281 Phil Giordana FCD April 22, 2015 at 9:05 pm

I took the plane to Dublin 3 weeks ago. I’m kinda brownish and sport a beard. Didn’t get checked. The trip back was even more uncanny, as my ID was never checked. Not at security, not on boarding, nothing. It was only checked in Nice at customs.

This comment of mine was totally useless. I just wanted to brag that I went to Dublin. Saw “I, Keano” too. Well worth it.

282 Gerhard April 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Deepak Shetty:

Interpret ignore Schneier as “didnt move my position one bit after hearing from a security expert why I was wrong”

Did you read Schneier and Harris’s response to him? Now I remember why I gave up on you before.

283 FishCakes April 22, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Deepak Shetty,
Nope, not an argument. All you said was Harris hurt your feelings, so there is nothing to refute or argue about.

Also, I never suggested that Harris was right; I was merely pointing out how ridiculous you appear when you try to claim he’s the clueless one, as opposed to you.

284 Phil Giordana FCD April 22, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Harris was great as Dumbledore. Made quite a good Marcus Aurelius as well.

Not the same Harris?

285 Deepak Shetty April 22, 2015 at 10:54 pm

but I think the treatment Harris gets is a textbook illustration of the SJW methods of attack.
So if I point out that Harris’s support of racial profiling, if implemented , can actually impact my life (and near and dear ones) , noting also that Im completely innocent of anything violence related , that makes me an SJW?

how ridiculous you appear when you try to claim he’s the clueless one
Your misinterpreting what I said though. if you are discussing torture in context of whatever happened in the US, and you open with well torture might be justified in my purely hypothetical scenarios , you either have to be in favor of what happened in the US (and seek to justify it) or you have to be clueless when u respond in that way. It doesnt mean that I think Harris is clueless . I believe Harris lies in the former category – he believes torture, “if done right” , is morally justifiable – In order to believe that , he has to simply ignore what happens in the real world.

286 FishCakes April 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Deepak Shetty,

you either have to be…

or you have to be…

he believes…

In order to believe that, he has to…

You ought to give some serious thought to the possibility that your parsing of Harris’ views, and the logical implications thereof, is faulty.

You seem to believe you have a special ability to interpret what other people say/write, and to figure out what they really believe, and to then figure out the logical implications of the beliefs. The point I’m trying to make is that all of this interpretation is happening inside your head, and it’s highly prone to error at each step along the way. It’s like a game of telephone and by the time you’re done, you’ve imparted all sorts of meanings, beliefs, motivations, and intentions that barely resemble anything the person actually said/wrote.

Your suggestion that Harris sees you as sub-human (on account of his views in profiling) is a perfect example. Harris certainly never said/wrote anything close to that, and there is no reason to suspect that he harbors such thoughts in secret. Yet you feel justified in declaring that’s what he thinks.. Seems like it’s inconceivable to you that your interpretation might be wrong.

287 Deepak Shetty April 23, 2015 at 2:51 pm

@FishCakes
Your suggestion that Harris sees you as sub-human (on account of his views in profiling) is a perfect example
In both cases when I used “sub-human” I said like a religious person who thinks non believers are sub – human (not fully human or lacking morality) . and the context was comments like those might not be directed at me specifically , but it is personal (which is the case with racial profiling too – the personal part). I didnt say Harris sees me or people with my skin color as sub-human.

288 Phil Giordana FCD April 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Digging…

289 FishCakes April 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Deepak Shetty,

I didnt say Harris sees me or people with my skin color as sub-human.

Fair enough, you didn’t actually say he called you sub-human. But clearly you implied that he holds a view that is, at least, analogous to that.

a) Harris is willing to *debate* profiling people who look like me. Its like having a civil debate with religious people who think that you are sub-human.

This was you suggesting that Sam Harris holds a view that is analogous to a religious person who thinks you are sub-human. Sam Harris’ actual words do not support your suggestion.

Please go back and re-read my comment @286 in this context.

290 Sanborn April 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

So I have a couple of Carrier’s books on my Kindle. They seemed interesting enough, but I have serious doubts whether they are worth reading now.
1) I’ve been exposed to Ivy League Classics departments, and it was clear that “Ancient History” was a less rigorous (i.e. less language-intensive) way of getting a watered-down degree.
2) I have personally known Columbia PhDs whom I, echoed by their own examining professors in candid moments, considered dull workhorses who did just enough for the degree.
3) An appreciation of “The Atheist Experience” before knowing about FTB poseurism nevertheless led me to assume Carrier was legit.
4) Is there any way to get my money back from Amazon?

291 ATM April 25, 2015 at 12:30 am

@Sanborn

You can return a Kindle book within 7 days of its purchase. In your account, go to Digital Content > Manage Your Content. Click on drop-down menu for the book, and the return option should be there if you’re not beyond the 7 days. I only did it once a long time ago, but I think that’s how it’s done.

292 Phil Giordana FCD April 25, 2015 at 9:09 am

I say, read the books. Carrier might be a vacuous arse in everyday life, but he probably has expertise in his domain of predilection (i.e: not everyday life). People seem to have enjoyed his work, even if it’s mostly preaching to the choir.

If you don’t like the books, do as ATM said. With prejudice (like, a thorough, pointed review on his Amazon page).

293 Jan Steen April 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

More evidence that Dr. Richard Carrier PhD is not a researcher who can be trusted.

peterfergusson asks him, obviously referring to Myers’s “Grenade” post:

Do you think that the position of being against anonymous accusations with no supporting evidence being posted in media is an unreasonable [one]?

Carrier replies:

Sigh.
How many fucking times do we have to repeat ourselves?
Accusation: not anonymous.
Supporting evidence: exists.
Get with the program.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7217

Accusation not anonymous, eh? Let me quote the alleged victim as cited by Myers:

I can’t give more details than that, as it would reveal my identity, and I am very scared that he will come after me in some way.

“it would reveal my identity”

Do I need to quote a definition of “anonymous” here? I didn’t think so.

Carrier said “Supporting evidence: exists.” Possibly, but peterfergusson did not claim it didn’t. He said there was no “supporting evidence being posted in media” at the time. Even Dr. Carrier PhD should understand the difference. There was no supporting evidence in Myers’s “Grenade” post. Just an anonymous (yes!) accusation. Carrier is strawmanning, as usual.

“Get with the program,” urges Carrier. Exactly. Don’t try to make up your own mind, just accept what a cabal of biased, untruthful SJWs consider to be the correct line. Deviate from it, and you will be branded a misogynist, a rape apologist, or even a rapist. Get with the program, in other words: follow the Party line, or you will be considered an enemy of the People.

294 Jan Steen April 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Oh, and I forgot to point out that Carrier did not answer the question “Do you think that the position of being against anonymous accusations with no supporting evidence being posted in media is an unreasonable [one]?”

Untruthful, evasive, strawmanning. That just about sums up Carrier’s MO.

295 Lurker April 25, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Re Carrier’s books. I removed the two I had on my Amazon wish list. He thinks it’s okay to make his case dishonestly when he can’t make it honestly and to hide conflicting information. Why should it matter what subject he’s writing about? I don’t buy that he says “On topic A, I will tell the truth but on topic B I won’t” when his goal for both topics is to convince the reader.

296 JackSkeptic April 26, 2015 at 2:18 am

@Lurker

As anyone in any profession or academic vocation will tell you integrity and intellectual honesty is not something you learn or decide to switch on and off. It is like Atheism, you can’t decide to believe in god one day just by making that decision.

That means integrity and honesty permeates everything you do. It is a state of mind not a decision that is taken when it suits. So that means if someone does not show those attributes in one place it is reasonable to assume they do not in anything else.

I have no reason to believe Carrier is not very good in his writings but I am afraid they would be useless to me for the above reasons. There is a fundamental breach in trust between me and the writer caused by my the observations of his words and actions. The same goes for Myers and the rest of them too for that matter.

I do not know if they realise how much damage they do to themselves when they are seen to be very dismissive or economical with the truth. The same goes for their censorship. The memory holing, re writing of their own history, misquoting, quote mining, misrepresentations of what someone said and amending posts means I have no faith in their professionalism or integrity.

If being ‘Progressive’ (I write that in quotes as I consider them Regressive) means you have to behave like that I want no part of it. This behavior is becoming all too common in our Media, Universities, blogs, forums and now the wider world. It needs to be resisted and fought before we all lose touch with reality and any chance of advancing Social Justice.

297 John Greg April 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

At the moment, the real Richard (Intellectual Artillery/Doctor Love) Carrier fun is at his blog, where he is couch-casting for responsibility-free, easy, cheap and booze-laden sex. It is an amazing sight, well worth the visit.

link: _http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7394

Additional lulz can be had by maintaining awareness that his booty-troll post is hosted on a blog network that insists, frequently and with great vigour, that casual sex at conferences is one of the great evils of the modern age requiring all sorts of endless documents and documentation, bills of passage, guidelines, and so on ad infinitum.

Mind you, the selfsame blog network also frequently argues that sex at conferences is one of the great good things of the modern age, and is, on its own, one of the more important reasons to even have conferences in the first place. It’s all sort of like Greta Christina arguing (with rampant vigour, erect unicorns, and rainbow cum-splashes — I kid you not!) that her book of non-consensual rape fantasies is not a book of non-consensual rape fantasies.

….

Ya, well, I can’t understand it either. FTB is kind of a magical place. So….

298 Jan Steen April 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm

@ John Greg,

The word “cringeworthy” doesn’t begin to describe that post of Carrier’s. It is possibly the sleaziest and most embarrassing thing I have ever read on Freethought Blogs. Come to think of it, that’s quite an accomplishment.

“I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” – Voltaire

299 Lurker May 1, 2015 at 2:23 am

Forget FTB, it’s one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve read in all of atheism/skepticism, ever. Can you imagine Michael Nugent, or Richard Dawkins, or even [he who must not be named] blathering about “lots of girlfriends” and then e-begging for sex? Good grief.

300 Carrie May 1, 2015 at 8:33 am

Lurker, I dunno — it has its fascination; how low can they get?

As for this snippet (the intent seems clear but you can look at his page to get the context, so I am not quote-mining): “I also like women who have or pursue a lot of partners or who love to boast of their sexual exploits, especially over wine or whiskey or equivalent.”

Given that the PC rhetoric is that having sex with anyone who is drunk, even if they seemed willing before getting drunk, is rape — and that this is the keystone upon which the accusations against a well-known atheist are based — surely Carrier is using his own blog to suggest a rape-ey scenario? Have I missed something?

301 Carrie May 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

A possibly tl;dr addendum to my 300 above, to clarify: a person who is drunk, as I understand it, means in the SJW worldview that they are unable to make truly informed decisions and keep control of the body at all stages of the relationship.

Talking about one’s sexual prowess / conquests / exploits over an alcoholic beverage is not clever in such a climate. In this country, the law insists that one is incapable of keeping control properly after drinking just one beer. Therefore, in the SJW world, surely any decent amount of alcohol is going to seriously impair one’s judgement and ability to consent to sexual advances, even if one entered the discussion with the probable intention of it leading to sex.

302 Bill May 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

I cannot stand people like Richard Carrier or PZ Myers. They are known for their smears against people and they wonder why nobody believes them when they say so and so raped somebody.

Here are some principles about dealing with sex offenders generally, without making any judgment about the specific allegations made by Myers and Carrier. You should never let a sex offender know that people think they are suspected of being rapists. Otherwise the case becomes “he said she said” and it is hard to get evidence.

However, there are ways of getting sex offenders to self report their crimes by asking them if the have committed the legal definition of rape by describing the legal definition of rape without using words like “rape” “assault” or misconduct so as not to give away the fact that you are trying to uncover a crime they have done. For example “have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone when they did not want to because they were too intoxicated on alcohol or other drugs to resist you sexual advances. Sex offenders when asked these questions brag about what they have done. See the Lisak and Miller study 2002.

By posting the name of an accused on a blog, you warn them if they are guilty to not talk about their sex life which is key to getting evidence against sex offenders. Most sex offenders are serial offenders who start offending in high school and continue offending for the rest of their adult lives. The average rapist rapes many victims and it is likely that any guilty person has victims in multiple jurisdictions with different statutes of limitations and therefore could be in a position to press charges. Many rapists are also child molesters as well so this means there is an even better chance somebody somewhere is in a position to press charges against the accused.

The best way to pevent sex offenders from harming the public is incarceration. Anybody who is serious about preventing sex crimes supports the prison building going on here in the United States to house these men simply because sex offenders who are on parole continue to victimize people even after they have been caught, punished, registered, and called out. Decades of sex offender treatment programs reveal the you cannot “teach men not to rape.” Rapists are what they are so incarceration is key to prevention.

The way you protect the public from sex offenders is to educate the general public on the behaviors of sex offenders so bystanders know what to look for and potential victims recognize if they are being targeted. You never call out an individual. If you call an individual out as being a rapist, you are a liability to prevention for the reasons mentioned above. Even when called out and registered sex offenders keep offending. The best way is to keep them in prison.

Lastly, the vast majority of men in the general population are eager to help with rape prevention and many of these men are not feminists. Many of these men are prolife, capitalists, and religious conservatives who would intervein if they thought someone was going to commit sexual assult so prevention does not require any feminist ideology.

I have done my best to communicate why I think feminist social justice warriors make it harder to prosecute rapists. My opinion is well supported by peer reviewed literature unlike Myer’s claim that Michael Nugent provides a safe haven. Either you can believe an opinion based on the peer reviewed research or you can believe social justice wariors who smear people. Perhaps one day feminists can be a part of rape prevention again. Their movement just has to be cleared of this first.

303 Herman Halici June 9, 2015 at 4:53 am

New Atheists= Old Religions….All Hot air, and All Failed because of greed, love of easy money, and power. New atheists are recycling the same old garbage under the new name. Don’t waste your time with things you can’t understand. Our knowledge of everything is less than 1% of all knowledge . How you gonna decide what is true and what is illusion with 1% of data? Let’s Keep it simple.
Here is the simple way to Happiness that we can all understand = Eat Good Food, Listen to Good Music ,Travel and Love all People. You will be Happy and Your Family will be happy too . Cheers.

304 Pierre January 7, 2016 at 9:25 am

This might be off topic. but something occurred to me when reading this. Is the “drama” not becoming too focused on particulars? Is this not wasting energy and time on both sides?

It is that disagreements like these are very specific to the people involved, and the arguments are very focused on the reputation and motives of the individual people involved.

I do not mean to indicate that any of the arguments are invalid (I quite agree with this responding piece in general) but it seems that the other side has managed to instigate a counter productive exercise on this side of the fence, by forcing a defensive response to everything they do.

This is something that occurred to me because I was once drawn into a similar cycle, “feeding the trolls” as it were. From my point of view I was ambivalent between standing up for my reputation, or dismissing and ignoring the aggressors. (On a much smaller scale, it was regarding the “sexualization” in a video game I was working on.)
In hindsight I would have achieved my goals (of promoting my idea) a lot more successfully, had I done the latter.

Upon reading this, I had little prior knowledge of the various characters involved. (I came upon via a shared link by Phil Mason) However, having read the above, I tend to wonder if actions do not perhaps still speak louder than words, and that by ignoring Richard and continuing to do your own work, you will promote your own truth more effectively while promoting obscurity regarding the opposition.

Or is it the case, that in this digital age, the words of people on the internet have become as powerful as action.

I guess what I’m asking is… Are actions louder than words? Or is the pen mightier than the sword?

305 Jan Steen June 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

I believe that a small update is in order. It has recently emerged that the Secular Student Alliance has removed Richard Carrier from its speakers list, after a complaint of sexual harassment was made against him by a student.

The Secular Student Alliance does not tolerate sexual harassment of its members. A recent post alleging inappropriate conduct by one of our former speakers, Richard Carrier, requires us to respond. After an internal investigation, Mr. Carrier was removed from our speaker’s list last year, and no longer has an official or unofficial affiliation with the Secular Student Alliance.

The student’s post was triggered by Richard Carrier’s affiliation with Camp Quest. The Secular Student Alliance has a contractual relationship with Camp Quest, but has no part in its personnel decisions or its day to day operations. Camp Quest is a separate organization, with its own board, and its own staff. The Secular Student Alliance has no power to direct any of Camp Quest’s decisions or activities.

https://www.facebook.com/SecularStudents/

Carrier’s response?

That was in April of 2015. A few weeks later I was informed by the SSA that a complaint had been filed, that I had “made sexual advances toward a student after a recent event” and that that “student felt that they had made clear that such advances were unwelcome and felt very uncomfortable,” and that there were witnesses. This did not describe my interaction with Amy at all. So I assumed they meant someone else (whom I did talk about in my Doing Wrong Right article), the only person I had ever interacted with at an SSA event that could be described that way.
(…)
Within a month of (what turned out to be) Amy’s complaint I had already agreed to resign from the SSA speaker’s bureau in compliance with the filed complaint and their zero tolerance policy [No, Carrier was “removed from our speaker’s list”. That is not the same thing as “agreed to resign”.].
(…)
This is a complete account of my knowledge and experience related to this claim. And I don’t find Amy’s comment to be an honest representation of it. Nor, because of that, do I trust her to tell the truth. But as our relevant interaction was private, there isn’t any way to corroborate either of our accounts.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/10267

As we see here, Carrier’s response to the accusation was to assume that it was about another case, which he had pre-emptively blogged about on an earlier occasion. And the accuser is lying. Because SJWs don’t always believe the victim when they are the accused.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7573

Clearly, Carrier has repeatedly violated the SSA code of conduct, which prohibits speakers from initiating sexual relationships with SSA students. Carrier evidently thinks it is more important that he can abuse the opportunities he gets as speaker to make sexual advances towards the attending students. In this light it is ironic that he wrote the following in 2012:

And let me be clear again: the problem I’ve been witness to has not only been unwanted sexual advances or behavior (constantly hitting on them, staring at their tits, saying inappropriate things)

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1567

Witness? Well, I suppose one is a witness to one’s own behaviour.

What makes this affair even more worrying, is that Carrier, after having been removed from the SSA speakers’ list, continued to speak for local SSA chapters (which are apparently not under any form of control by the main organization, SSA). Clearly, he will not let himself be barred.

Another surprising fact is that Carrier, as he has admitted in the same piece in which he attacked his accuser, is having a polyamorous relationship with the wife of the director of the SSA, who happens to be the boss of Camp Quest. It all comes across as incestuous and dodgy in the extreme.

And this Richard Carrier has the nerve to write (as quoted here in the OP):

In the atheist movement over the past five years or so what people call “drama” the rest of us call fighting for respect for minorities and victims of harassment and sexual assault. The people who hate that we do that are the ones who have caused almost all the drama you have ever called drama.

Where is Carrier’s respect for the students?

For more detail, see also:

http://www.skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/2016/06/19/richard-carrier-secular-student-alliance/

People like PZ Myers are curiously silent on this affair, so far. I wonder why that would be.

306 Jan Steen June 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm

PZ Myers has today “suspended Carrier’s posting privileges” at FTB. Why did it take him so long to respond? Wait for it. He had to get the FTB ethics committee on board first. Indeed, FTB have an ethics committee. Who knew?

That you think I’m trying to hoard “power and control”, when I’ve deferred all the decision-making to a confidential group of men and women, tells me that you have no idea what’s going on here.

Also, I waited on the decision to suspend Carrier’s posting privileges until a majority of the ethics committee concurred. Further actions will be dictated by the bloggers participating in our backchannel. Not me.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/06/21/richard-carriers-blog/#comment-1024056

This is a bit (only a bit, mind you) like Stalin saying that all the decisions are taken by the Politbureau, and that he is actually powerless.

In any case, Michael now knows where he has to send his complaint about PZ calling this blog a haven for rapists: to the FTB ethics committee. I’m sure they will deal with the matter fairly and independently.

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