Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some 'personal testimony' about PZ Myers

    The following is a guest blog by Skep Tickle. I assume I don’t have to remind you it is one person’s account of events. I will say from my experience Skep Tickle has proven to be accurate and reasonable when posting material on the internet, reliable would be a good description.

PZ Myers


PZ’s talk in Seattle, “Moving Atheism Beyond Science”, was ~50 minutes, followed by an hour of Q&A then an opportunity to stand in line to talk with him one on one.

Quotes herein are my paraphrasing and/or impression of what he said, unless I specify that I’m giving a direct quote. Obviously this is my “personal testimony” about my experience of the event. ;) About 199 other people attended and the talk was videotaped, so presumably one could track down details from my report to confirm or refute, if desired.

PZ opened claiming that science can’t form the basis of morality, then spent 50% of his talk bashing science for obviously unethical medical experimentation on disenfranchised groups of humans from 40-70 yrs ago, ending with a 1996 Pfizer trial in Africa on children with meningitis, in which he clearly implied that Pfizer’s drug killed 11 children who wouldn’t have died if they’d been given the standard antibiotic therapy. He touched on animal experimentation and how difficult it is to decide where, quote, “the line” is; that led to several of the questions in Q&A and I heard several people interested in continuing that conversation afterwards.

Two comments about the first part of his talk:

1) I think he could have much more effectively illustrated his point by briefly touching on the past atrocities then focusing on modern examples, for example from medical genetics or from reproductive technologies (gender selection, etc) if he wanted to continue the medical theme. The historical litany seemed pointless after just a few minutes.

2) During the Q&A, I pointed out that PZ’s comments about the 1996 Pfizer study had been misleading; the deaths were 6/100 children in the standard therapy group and 5/100 in the Pfizer drug group, so while Pfizer acted illegally and unethically [based on standards in human experimentation], their drug did not kill 11 children. He backed away from his claim by saying (paraphrasing here) “Oh sure, sure. I didn’t say their drug actually killed children.”

The next ~40% was about how there are problems in the world, particularly climate change and overpopulation, and we (atheists/nontheists) have to move beyond science to address these problems. He gave an example of people (as I recall, the emphasis being on “scientists”) enthusing over methane hydrates as a new energy source but missing the point that combustion of this new source of methane would cause more carbon emissions. D’oh!

It’s funny how comments that sound sexist/classist can sneak in, even when the speaker presumably tries to avoid them. In this part of the talk, PZ said (paraphrasing) that “if we give women opportunities, they will…” have fewer children, etc, in the developing world (“opportunities” being economic opportunities like small businesses, and apparently also condoms for birth control). It was probably just the phrasing that he happened to use, but “helping societies increase economic opportunity in ways that have been shown to achieve [insert goals we think are good for them to have]” would have sounded better to me. Besides which, there are lots of past studies that would have helped provide evidence for education and (woman-controlled or inserted-and-left-in) contraception reduce birth rates and improve economic conditions; there may also be such literature about microfinance (I’ve only ever looked superficially at those studies) – IMO it would have been interesting to have more evidence presented in this part of the talk.

In the nearly 2 hrs of talk + Q&A, PZ explicitly mentioned (but didn’t dwell on) the importance of each of these:

  • critical thinking and skeptical inquiry;

  • recognizing the equality of all people;

  • eschewing dogma; and

  • not demonizing (or accepting demonization of, I can’t recall) those with whom we disagree

Late in the Q&A, after someone else had brought up The Rift (& PZ semi-joked that his side was right, of course), I stood up & said I understood Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland was planning to mediate finding common ground & asked what PZ’s thinking was about that effort. PZ praised Michael but not this new project, then he (PZ) let loose with a demonizing appraisal of the other side (us, the slyme pit, etc). Paraphrasing here: “They’re people who’ve been banned from our [FtB etc] blogs and are mad about it, and they post the most awful photoshopped pictures of my head on gay porn, and they are horrible people, and they need to go away, and there is no point in trying to talk with them, and I’m going to tell Michael that in person in Ireland.” He made it sound like he was on the side of Truth, Justice, and Righteousness.

About half the audience applauded after this comment from him – presumably people already agreed with him on this and some who knew nothing of the rift and accepted his viewpoint.

Either in Q&A or to someone in the line ahead of me to talk to him afterwards, PZ said that he WANTS to see atheism split into 2 camps, 1 being the, quote, “right-wing, libertarian” people who only want to be atheists and (my interpretation) don’t care about anyone else; and the liberal people who want to work on what he had just spoke about (and, by implication, are the ones who care about people, humanity, the world, & ethical action).

More personal testimony from me, which of course may not reflect what an “impartial observer” might have seen and may not at all reflect PZ’s experience of our conversation: When it was my turn to talk with him in person after Q&A, I told him I’m liberal and I agreed with what he had said about critical thinking and equality and no dogma and no demonization, YET I am one of the people on the other side of the rift, and that’s because I/we do not see those things in his side online. Not surprisingly he did not appear to react positively to this, said that all the people on the other side of the Rift post awful crude things like photoshopping his head onto gay porn. I said I didn’t do that, and many of us don’t, we just see dogma & a lack of skepticism from the other side, and isn’t it interesting that we actually seem to be so close in views (based on that list of things above he’d said during the talk were so important). I interpreted what he said as completely rejecting that possibility.

He wanted to know whether I had spoken out against the photoshops, and I said something like people felt it was important for the ‘pit not to restrict content, and that people who post at his site are vicious (I used a softer word, like “aggressive”) and that he has encouraged them to use their knives (rhetorically). He said something like No they just apply skeptical inquiry to the awful people who show up there. I brought up the porcupine meme & “go die in a fire” and he said the former had stopped completely and the guy who’d written the latter had apologized. He appeared, not surprisingly, to be angry at what I had to say, and didn’t appear to allow as how there might actually be some common ground.

Some 'personal testimony' about PZ Myers

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Friendly Abuse

Freethought blogs

To make up for lost ad revenue FTB has launched a new product line

    Ever since I became involved in an ongoing dispute with a little gang of  FTB  bloggers, some assorted A+ idiots, and a few skepchicks there has been one thing going on that bothered me more than anything else. I’ve addressed it in private conversations, I’m not guilty of  being a completely inconsiderate prick.  Even though I had relayed my feelings in private I really should have written about it long before this.

Having had internet (and real life) disputes pretty often as a result of my inability to just let some things continue without question, I have developed a thick skin.  Even though some people like to claim I’m on an angry tirade because they are so strongly effected by my words, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the reply to me is as harsh as the other party can muster.  When it has no effect on me you will often learn exactly what type of character we are dealing with. They take the cheap shots.  Some try the personal attack, accusing me of being a drug addict or I must have a mental illness because I didn’t crumble when dealt the sharpness of their wit (yawn) Or maybe a comment about how I must be abusing my children or girlfriend.  Insults directed towards my “retarded” son.(from the classy people like iesvs on reddit)  Rape threats against my daughter ( no I’m not going on a crusade over this) Suggestions that I might need the help of a psychic in order to find the body of my son one day. The IRA was supposed to be leaving a bomb on my front porch on a couple occasions, not sure what happened there unless it was the same evening Satan was supposed to come over and “fuck my ass real good” You name it and some weak minded idiot has probably said it, threatened it, or wished it upon me.

Then we have the attack preferred by people like PZ Myers.  That would be the ‘friendly attack’ or ‘guilt by association’. It’s not as bad as any of the previous tactics,  it is far worse.  We know how PZ takes a great pride in making his opponent out to be a fuckwit  asshole who offers nothing to the conversation because the only intent they have is to focus everything on them.  PZ would have made the greatest worst dictator if only he had been born  someplace where his type of personality could thrive, like say North Korea.  Would anyone really be that surprised to hear about PZ erecting a statue of himself with a giant squid in one hand as his weapon against the tone trolls who oppose him?  Maybe we would see giant murals of his puffy face looking into the sky in a proud defiance of rational thinking with Anthony K and Caine jacking each other off at his feet.  Well, I could see it.   North Korea got lucky and avoided such a fate, instead PZ pulls his shit on a different scale in a different place.  Instead PZ had a need to take a jab at my friend Al Sefanelli.

In case you don’t know it, Al is a widely respected, outspoken atheist. Though he has never claimed it, Al is a true leader. No he doesn’t  sit at his keyboard and show people how to act like judgmental fools. He never tried to get anyone who would listen to go fuck up the results of another groups internet poll. He never gave a lame title to the regulars who commented on his blog like they were some type of playground gang. Nor has he ever commanded/encouraged  those people to attack an individual with a differing opinion, not even if they had the gall to post something off the topic of the original  post.  Al Stefanelli has proven himself to be a leader by his actions, his words, and the way he applied those words. Then he topped it off with some real-life activism. He never has claimed the leadership role and that is another way he has proven  to be an exceptionally good one. I have long believed if a person is truly skilled,  if they actually can perform at a level above others there is no need for them to point it out, it will be easily observed by others. This is the case with Al.

PZ for whatever reason(s) felt he needed to take a cheap shot at me through Al by posting a video by a shit band with a song title mentioning racism.  Although I have learned this is the type of thing we should expect from PZ, it bothers me that Al was dragged into the argument. Al had even suggested PZ get the benefit of the doubt on ReapSowRadio the week prior. PZ in his infinite wisdom didn’t know that and he isn’t really into showing anyone else any consideration the way Al does.

From that point on Al Stefanelli was subject to the babbling libel and incorrect assumptions that have become a regular practice among some of the North Korean leadership   other FTB bloggers, A+ idiots, and skepchicks.

Al took the bullshit in stride until he was pushed to the point where he had no choice but to defend himself. As usual his response was to the point and scathing. And, as usual , the response from the other side was more libel, some stupid, and a lot of delusion.

The entire time, before and after he had been dragged in,  Al had my back. Not the way we see people like Stephanie Zvan defend the idiotic juvenile antics of people like Greg Laden. Al made sure lies about me were shown to be just that and he defended my character when someone like Ophelia Benson would make claims that she could only have known if she had psychic abilities. It was the only explanation since I have never met her in my life. I suppose she could have been hiding in random shadows, taking notes on my interaction with others for a few years.  I really doubt that is the case since she squawks so much I would have easily heard her early  on should she have made such an attempt.

The guilt by association attempted by PZ and others (adam lee) was unfortunate. I talked to Al about it and told him I was sorry about it and he assured me he never held it against me.  I’ve seen it happen again even to people who I couldn’t say were my close friends but they found themselves linked simply by considering my point of view and encouraging others to make informed opinions.  So far those people have all reacted by refusing to cower when threatened with this intimidation tactic. I would like to  thank them for being an example of something I’ve said in the past and has proven true so far. The Truth Always Wins , And It Only Hurts You If You Deserve It .


  Thanks Al, I hope I never make you feel like you made the wrong choice in supporting me  but if I do, I fully expect you to call me on it. You are a true friend and leader. Neither needed to be pointed out but they did deserve to be acknowledged.




Friendly Abuse

Friday, March 22, 2013

Adam Lee- Contradict Much?

     Adam Lee seems to think atheism is a wonderful example of freedom …that is as long as you behave  according to his petition. NEWS FLASH Adam Lee!! No one needed a petition from you in order to behave like respectful adults. This isn’t junior high. Adults will respond better to being treated like adults. Assuming they can not attend a social gathering without instruction on how to behave is insulting, Assuming it is your place to educate people on what is obvious is painfully arrogant of you. Your public comments declaring harassment among atheists at conferences is irresponsible. Your claim that there is an existing threat to atheist women consisting of other atheists is just plain stupid. There is no evidence to support this. Your opinion that some people are atheists solely in order to harass other people and /or women demonstrates a lack of ability to form an educated opinion on this issue.  If you can show proof the things you are saying and providing media soundbites of are true then do so. Otherwise refrain from spreading disinformation and  take your place in the community alongside everyone else. We do not need a spokesperson who does not have a good grasp of the subject. You should however be thanked for providing the entertainment portion of the blog. As seen below. As it turns out you are useful after all.

Adam Lee- Contradict Much? by reapsowradio

Adam Lee- Contradict Much?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adam Lee- Hey Look! There's Nothing To See Here!


Adam Lee

Hey everyone! Guess what?!

Adam Lee needs some attention again. Yes, I knew it would happen too…

Adam writes about a radio guest spot he did here

After reading his blog post I felt a need to tell Adam directly how I felt about a couple of things. Since we all know Adam Lee is not exactly dependable when it comes to comment integrity I figured I would post my comments here where they are safe from any editing or lost as a result of irresponsible comment handling practices. A couple of lines stood out in his blog post.

• “I’ve never met a feminist who didn’t hate men,” he said. I bet the denizens of the Slymepit would find a lot to talk about with this guy.

Adam, honestly you are one of the most not intelligent and dishonest people I have come across in some time.
     Do you realize there are almost 600 members of the slymepit forum. I think it is safe to say that if you make such suggestions  then you can not possibly be speaking from an informed position and are being unfair to those people. Meanwhile you continue to spout off about equal this and respectful that, you are full of shit.
    I just listened to your guest spot on the radio. You will hear more from me on it soon (or see more I should say) I wonder why it is you could go out and shout at the world there is no problem with atheist harassment except for the problem atheists have with harassment.( WTF?!) But you will not engage other atheist over the issue in a public debate. Do you really want the problem solved or not?

  How is that more likely to happen by telling believers about it? Do you think people are not becoming atheists because they are worried about sexual harassment? If they weren’t worried about it before they might be now ..all thanks to you. You’re helping , yay us! We are so lucky to have an inept fella like you on our side.

The other one was this-

• The other caller who said I was the “best-versed atheist [he'd] ever heard”. Thanks! ~Adam ‘gloat’ Lee

I’m guessing Adam didn’t hear the part where the caller points out it was sarcasm and how it applied to his compliment of Adam .  Sorry Adam, maybe next time you do something stupid  you will get a compliment. That makes  for lots of opportunity :(


Then I get to the podcast of Adam sharing his vast wisdom with a religious radio talk show host. That can be found here

Note: Skip to about 1:26:00: to hear Adam talking if you are so inclined.


Now after listening to Adam’s appearance on the show. I will be fair and say he did fine on the usual topics, morality, thoughts etc. They should be easy to knock out.

I do have a problem with Adam and his lack of common sense on other matters which I addressed on his comment section but will repost here for the readers who do not wish to suffer the pain of Adam Lee’s blog.


Way to go Adam I love the part where you say there are some racists/sexist people in the atheist community just as there are in any large group of people so you started a petition to let everyone know the the racists are just a small minority. Great work helping get the word out that there are racists but we shouldn’t listen to them. You ever think it would be better to not draw attention to them? Do you realize the number of people who are going to make a connection between atheists and racism/sexism went up as soon as they heard you telling them about it? Do you think the religious listener base of this show is going to hear anything past that? Then you give as an example some prominent atheist women have been attacked by this small minority and we want them to stop. Oh, by the way Adam you forgot to mention this all happened on the internet. I am curious why you would come on a religious program and discuss your little petition when there are much more appropriate topics that could be discussed when your audience is mainly believers.  Even if the host insisted on the subject you could have downplayed the issue. IMO we have enough people hating and judging us on false assumptions. Why would you not only offer another reason to dislike atheists but validate it and present it as enough of a problem to need a petition to stop it? I should also note you feel it is productive to bring sexual harassment by atheists up as a topic on a radio show with mostly religious listeners but you won’t discuss the problem with the people you think comprise the problem?  Is this the best you could think of? Don’t answer that. you obviously are more interested in attention and getting compliments dripping with sarcasm.

I bet you think that takes care of Adam’s junkie-like need for attention, don’t you? Well you are incorrect. Thanks for coming on the show. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.That will include another blog on Adam Lee being irresponsible and more!

Stay tuned….






Adam Lee- Hey Look! There's Nothing To See Here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ophelia 'boredom' Benson



The following is an email correspondence between Thaumas Themelios and Ophelia Benson regarding a deleted comment on Ophelia’s blog (, which was later re-posted here:

    The purpose of publishing this correspondence is to document Ophelia’s stated reasons for deleting the post, at the time the deletion occurred, to allow for accurate commentary and criticism in relation to ongoing discussions regarding the origins and development of several major controversies related to atheist and skeptical communities, of which this discussion is a recent example:

     The publishing of this information is protected under the Fair Use ( limitation and exception of United States copyright law, which states that: “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

Unnecessary identifying information has been removed to protect individuals’ privacy.

Correspondence follows, in chronological order:


Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:16:07 -0400

From: Thaumas Themelios

Subject: Wonderist stop it.

Hi Ophelia,

If you would be more clear on what’s wrong with my posts, I would

attempt to change how I post. Just telling me to ‘stop it’ doesn’t give

me anything to go on. Stop doing what exactly?

Sometimes they’re long. I’ve got a lot to say and feel the need to be

clear so that I’m not misinterpreted (as happens so frequently in this

particular discussion). But it appears that just length isn’t your

concern, since some long stuff goes through and others get deleted

without warning.



Here is a comment I would like to post. I think it addresses important

issues. If you let me know what you object to, I could modify it, or

refrain from posting:

@Godless Heathen

The shitstorm had already started over Rebecca’s comment about the

guy propositioning her in the elevator at 4am. The McGraw stuff

brought that comment to a wider audience. Most of that audience did

NOT listen to the original comment themselves and started going nuts

because they thought they were being told to never hit on women

anywhere, ever or they thought “Oh-My-God-How-Will-I-Ever-Get-Laid

if I can’t ask a woman for “coffee” in an enclosed space at 4

AM????? OHMYGOD, now I’m doomed to be a single, shy, lonely guy


I use ‘shitstorm’ to refer to people making unfounded accusations

against one another, leading to largescale vilification, escalation, and

entrenchment on both sides.

The comments on the video were largely anonymous and usually just

expressed a different opinion. Yes, some were over-the-top misogyny, and

others were examples of the escalation pattern I’ve been describing.

It’s of course worth going after the actual misogyny and sexism that

occurred. But this kind of thing has occurred many times before, and it

never got to the point of people Dawkins getting involved and caught up

in the vilification.

This kind of thing would have run its course on its own, probably with

RW unambiguously coming out way ahead. In fact, it had already been

through the blogosphere once (the AronRa video) and didn’t get

Pharyngulated. What gave it extra juice was the McGraw incident, when

several attendees and others took issue with Watson’s treatment of

McGraw. At this point, we have a clear example of the escalation pattern

against someone who states herself that she was grossly misrepresented

and was not in any way supportive of misogyny, nor was she ‘anti-woman’.

This was again escalated with the Naming Names post, et voila, the

shitstorm ensues.

Why was this the beginning of the shitstorm and not before? Because

people (many feminists among them) who spoke up defending McGraw got

tarred with the same brush as the actual misogynists and sexists. In

fact, that’s the brush that McGraw herself got tarred with. This is when

the assuming of malicious intentions got so out of whack that feminists

were attacking feminists as anti-woman, when really it was a matter of

difference of opinion over a hot topic.

The same pattern of vilification is evident with the treatment of

Richard Dawkins. I’ll note that Rebecca Watson has herself been a victim

of such vilification. That is why I’m attempting to leave out my

personal opinion and only report Watson’s actions, rather than speculate

as to her motives. In the end, the motives don’t make much of a

difference, it’s the behaviour that perpetuates the cycle.

From: Ophelia Benson

Subject: RE: Wonderist stop it.

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 13:14:40 -0700

Hi Thaumas,

Maybe there wouldn’t be much wrong with them (though they’d still be too long,

but then so are some others, for my taste) taken independently, but after all

those endless detailed ones about McGraw they’re just too much. Some long stuff

goes through because I don’t like to delete, but the basic reason is just too

much too much. Plus you’re repeating yourself – but then we all are.

I think I’ll just close comments soon.


Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 16:27:24 -0400

From: Thaumas Themelios

Subject: Re: Wonderist stop it.


In my defence I’ll just say that I only repeated myself when others

repeated the same misunderstandings. However, I take your point.

Also, I kept posting in response to others responding to me. But again,

I take your point.

I’ll just post that one last reply (because it is to a comment directly

in response to me) and will sign off at the end of it. Sorry for taking

up your time.


From: Ophelia Benson

Subject: RE: Wonderist stop it.

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 13:56:21 -0700

No problem. Sorry I was snappish. I get antsy when comments spiral out of

control, as they keep doing on this subject. I hope nothing new happens that

prompts me to bring it up again. Arrrrrgh.

Ophelia 'boredom' Benson

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Moving on

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Get Over It



This post is dedicated to ool0n and aratina who constantly refuse to accept there are things they can not change. I am one of those things.

I have been accused of being “obsessed” or told to “get over it” when it comes to my ‘projects’ where I am mocking others or when I post blogs pointing out certain behaviors.

 ”How long does it take to get over being mad?”

I’ve thought about that question in the past and I can say while I may have been angry about some of the things said about me, the way some people think they can tell others what I mean or what  I am thinking, or things done to me, I don’t usually stay mad. That doesn’t mean I am okay with the behavior of those who have misrepresented or wronged me. It’s not as if anyone has said “You know I have reconsidered the things I’ve said/done. I have looked into some of the evidence that was provided and I may have been mistaken. Sorry bout that Reap. Let me post a public retraction just like I posted when I was telling people lies about you. Let me make things right” I don’t expect this to happen, that would be childish. It has happened in the past but I have not come to expect it.

However the event doesn’t just go away over time, it doesn’t unhappen. In fact in most cases the posts are still up and to anyone who happens upon them they may as well have just  occurred. Should a person be expected to get over a wrong that is still ongoing?  Take for example my banning by PZ Myers from his blog. Am I still angry about the actual ban? Not really. PZ proved he is a chickenshit and he can’t stand when people challenge him or don’t follow his directions. I accept that. I don’t think he even realizes how it makes him look when he does ban people for silly reasons. For some reason he seems to think he can do/say whatever he wants and because he believes in Darwinism or because so many people read his blog no one will think he is being petty, controlling, or censoring anyone. Or maybe he doesn’t care which indicates his claim of wanting a “better world” is nothing but bullshit unless a better world consists only of those who agree with him. Who the fuck wants a world where everyone thinks and believes the same way as a guy who teaches biology, live in an isolated area of Minnesota, and seems to have the social skills of a chicken gizzard? This is what PZ Myers sees as a “better world”? People who can relate to his life experiences and have formed the same opinions from those experiences? Seriously? It is really incredible for someone to behave like PZ but my pointing it out is not equal to anger it is just wrong, just like creationists are wrong. Is everyone who points that out mad? No, I don’t think so.

Putting the names of people he has banned on  a list along with his biased opinion of their character or his version of what their intent is/was is not productive, it is childish and unfair. There is no humor in it, it is not a lighthearted jab, there is no way for the people on the list to give their side of the story. It is just PZ being a controlling prick because he can. Those people deserve it for not doing as he said, how dare they! I think a person has the right to be angry as long as someone is going out of their way to keep the damage they have done ongoing. That doesn’t mean I’m mad either. I just feel you should not fault someone for it. If someone writes the word “racist” on your forehead you are probably gonna get pissed tell them to fuck off and clean your head off. After a while you will (and should) get over it. if every morning you wake up and someone has written racist on your forehead or they wrote it in permanent ink or maybe on your wall in a spot you can’t reach to remove it, I think that’s a bit different. Maybe you don’t give a shit what others say about you or you are okay with people describing you to other in a way that makes you seem hateful. That’s fine but can you expect everyone to be okay with that?

I have my own vision of a “better world”, see if you can tell the difference. I’d like to see everyone included in discussion. I would like to see people allow conversation to go on and allow it to continue to its conclusion. This is not to say no one ever gets banned for any reason but the tolerance of differing opinions should be much greater than we find in PZ’s comment section. I’d like to see less of people projecting their own thoughts onto other people’s opinions and putting words in the mouths of others. I’d like to see a return to having a sense of humor and a realization not everyone is going to think the same things are funny. Yea we are going to disagree and fight, big deal. The most important thing we can do is be honest and the easiest way to stay honest is to present both sides in the same place. Allow people to make up their own minds.

I would like to explain a few things for those people who think I should just “get over it” and accept that PZ Myers can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants in order to build his new “world order” or to make himself feel tough. The first thing to keep in mind is I’m not what this is about, there is a bigger picture and there are more people involved than me.  Some can not stand up for themselves.They just don’t know how or maybe don’t have a platform to do so. To allow dicks like PZ to continue to quiet those people or worse yet to tell the public those people are racist, rapists, or somehow think lessor of others when it has not been shown to be true, is irresponsible. I  am not going to allow someone who goes around being a bully to keep on doing so while I watch. It isn’t going to happen. I don’t do it in real life and I don’t do it on the net. I enjoy giving some people a taste of what they have been dishing out. I don’t have a desire to tell lies so lucky for me when people are being assholes it is painfully easy to mock them with their own words or actions. That is what I am doing. I am putting a fun-house mirror in front of those people and I will continue to do so until they start treating people with some respect or until I get bored. If you think it’s okay to allow people to trash, lie about, or intimidate others then you have a problem, get help.

If you don’t like my reaction to those people I suggest you get over it. There are some things that can be changed, if you disagree then watch and learn. After all there is really very little you can do about it except cry and complain and that doesn’t get anything done, does it?

Get Over It

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Talking Things Out



Trigger warning- If you are one of those people that likes to whine about things in life that are unfair or you are paranoid that something is out to get you then this post may not be for you. If you have mental issues that hinder your ability to read things that may be totally random and you can not tell the difference between the threat posed by the written word and a direct threat posed by a real life situation….this post may not  be for you. If you fit one of the previous descriptions you are advised to seek the assistance of a mental health professional and above all DO NOT PROJECT YOUR INABILITY TO DEAL WITH LIFE ISSUES ON OTHER PEOPLE WHILE USING THE INTERNET.

Thank You

A guy named Michael Nugent is in the middle of an exchange of questions with Justin Vacula. Michael has written a blog post where he gives some examples of “nasty pushback”.

Michael asked Justin-

Which of the following specific examples of “nasty pushback” against some feminists on the Internet do you consider to be morally unjustified?

This question is followed by the mandatory trigger warning. Does it bother anyone else that this has become an accepted practice? I can understand a warning for adult content but where do we draw the line when it comes to warning people because they may be offended by foul words?  If a person wants to refrain from offending or disturbing anyone who may for whatever reason be too sensitive to handle certain words (these words could be related to just about anything so it’s impossible to give a good example) then there should be a trigger warning on everything they post.

Michael not only gives the initial warning but then warns everyone again. He acts like everyone reading has a man with a chainsaw standing behind them ready to start choppin’ as soon as anyone lets out  a sound. I wonder what kind of world it is that Michael lives in when you coddle people to this extreme. It’s almost as if he is  codependent.

He then gives 50 examples of quotes he picked from the slymepit. I assume he picked the examples to try and show volume rather than to give specific examples of differing types of comments that could be considered abusive. 50 seems like an unreasonable number of examples to me and could be interpreted as an attempt to single out the slymepit as a den of misogynist, sexist atheists.

There are a couple main reasons why Michael’s examples fail him. First one is that there is no context, no back-story, no explanation as to why his examples were posted. I know for a fact that some were in jest. Others were echoes of things said by members of A+ or FTB and were posted in the slymepit as mocking hypocrisy shown by those people. Several of his examples were exchanges between people who were known to not be offended by such words. Without context it would be difficult if not impossible to give an opinion that was any better than if Michael had just made up all of his examples. Of course some people would say that simply the use of certain words is misogyny or offends people no matter what the context.  Those people are just being silly. Context makes all the difference many times. Michael almost seems to assume Justin has psychic abilities and can get into the minds of the authors and explain what they were thinking and why. To have such expectations would be completely unreasonable. Even if Justin did go through every single example, by the time he was finished much time would have been wasted when it could have been spent on more important matters.

After reading Michael’s question and examples a person would probably get the impression that he was serious about all this gender slur and harmful language stuff. I know that was the impression I got from him….Then Michael posted this.

It is about the Atheist Ireland Forum Moderating Policy. It seems that there were several…actually make that numerous posts in that forum which didn’t meet the social justice standards Michael had set for others. A reader by the name Skepsheik had taken the time to point this out along with many examples.  Those examples were as bad if not worse than what Michael had presented to Justin.


I wondered how all these instances had gone unnoticed for such a long period of time in Michael Nugent’s own forum.  Justin wasn’t responsible for moderating the slymepit forum.  If he were to try and moderate he wouldn’t get anywhere because there is not an ‘edit button’ available to members of the slymepit.  Everything is public and forever unless it goes to unacceptable extreme, child porn would be an example of an unacceptable post.  Justin, while a regular contributor to the forum, was not it’s spokesperson either.  The diverse make-up of the slymepit forum made it difficult if not impossible for there to be consensus on almost anything.  Each individual is responsible for themselves. This was not the case with Michael Nugent  and his forum. From what I can tell Michael is an active member and moderator in the Atheist Ireland forum. He was, after all, the one who authored the post explaining the removal of improper content on the forum.

Shortly after the announcement about the removal of unacceptable content on the Atheist Ireland forum Skepsheik again contributes some information. It seems there is much, much more- Pharyngula-style rape torture and murder wishes, sexist language, racism, homophobia, animal rape to name a few. Michael has explained this as a way to protest a law involving blasphemy. He explains it like this-

There is, as you know, a distinction between something being illegal and something being immoral or unethical.

we have left them published on our website to make the point that we do not want blasphemy criminalised, even if we ourselves would not personally agree with all of the blasphemous comments that other people make.


While I don’t think it is nessecary to remove any of the content found on the Atheist Ireland forum, I do see an example of hypocrisy poking up from Michael Nugent’s position and his tone towards Justin Vacula when giving the slymepit quotes without any explanation about the circumstances of those posts.

I left the following comments on Michael Nugent’s post

First comment-

     I’m glad to hear this news and the timing is perfect considering the way you are drawing attention to posts on other forums that you consider abusive, shaming and very disturbing. I’ve always thought it better to clean up your own yard before bringing attention to the condition of your neighbors lawn. Good thing Skepsheik brought the issue to your attention or who knows how long those offensive postings would have stayed up considering no one brought them up prior to now. It’s only human to have biases, it’s been brought to your attention and you are addressing it, so everything turns out well.

Follow-up comment

Nevertheless, in the slymepit we make the point that we do not want blasphemy offensive language criminalized, even if we ourselves would not personally agree with all of the blasphemous offensive language comments that other people make.

See how that works Michael? You say blasphemy, we say offensive.
You really do need to figure out where you stand on all this cause after the latest list Skepsheik provided you really don’t have any right to be critical of anyone else. In other words- Your house is still dirty.


I don’t want to give the impression that Michael Nugent has no credibility due to his oversight. I do think he should be more aware of what is going on in his forum. I am looking forward to the discussion as a result of this debate. As I have said previously, very few of the FTB bloggers involved in this dispute or A+ members are willing to have an adult discussion about the expectations they have or the tactics they have employed to encourage others to do as they request without question. Michael has been the exception to this. Now if others would stop making childish demands be met or claim that their critics are not able to have a rational exchange and instead follow Michael Nugent’s example then maybe we could see a return to skepticism rather than McCarthyism.

You can find Justin Vacula’s blog here

Michael Nugent’s blog is here




Talking Things Out