David Silverman, the current president of American Atheists was invited to and agreed (after some haggling) to be a guest on the Brave Hero podcast which is hosted by Justin Vacula (va-cool-a) and Karla Porter (chill-g-rll) I know them both and have found them to be honest and they both tend to take a more formal (professional) approach towards conflict. That podcast took place on June, 15 2013. David was invited to further discuss issues raised in a twitter conversation with Justin. These are my thoughts on that podcast and some related interaction I have had.
Before I talk about the Brave Hero podcast I’ll give you a little background on my interaction with David to be open and honest about things. I’ve had David Silverman on my podcast as a guest, I’ve had a couple conversations with him in person. I’ve had an ongoing conversation with him in the last week in private messages about the conflict that has been ongoing between atheist/skeptics and FTB/A+/skepchick poser skeptics. Nothing extensive, David didn’t seem to have many facts about Justin Vacula and his role in the conflict so I figured he would appreciate being better informed. That way he could form a fair opinion based on truths.
David was more than happy to discuss the issue with me but insisted I was associated with “the shit”. He wasn’t nearly as interested in listening to what I had to say as he was in getting me to understand his version of the conflict. It was as if I was just making things up. At times it was like I had said nothing at all. David just walked by facts as if they were not even there, he didn’t even stumble over them a little. It is like David doesn’t need any facts or details, he has the answers already.
So David agrees to appear on Brave Hero radio after he and Justin Vacula (vac-cool-a) had a dispute over Justin denouncing what David refers to as “the shit”. I’m not sure what “the shit” is exactly. So far, “the shit” seems to be defined as stuff that David calls “the shit”. That is as clear a definition as any David has offered (which is none/nothing/nada)
David dives in right at the start and you can hear the condescension immediately. When asked for some examples of what it is exactly David thinks is “the shit” in the atheist community he replies that he doesn’t need to provide any examples. David then goes on to point out that there is no way for men to know what it is like to be a woman. It is one of the few valid points that David makes, the problem is Justin has not made the demand that women shut up or claimed to know better what it’s like to be a woman than even women do. Never once have I heard him even come close to either of those things.
David gives me the impression that he thinks it is his place to scold Justin “to help make him a better activist”. If being a better activist means over-talking the host when on a podcast or steamrolling over another person during conversation then David Silverman is the best activist I’ve ever seen. PZ Myers calls me a ranting asshole? At least I can get my facts straight. David has a problem with that. He also seems to be hung up on a few catch phrases. “Go fuck a knife” is one “You are too ugly to be raped” is another. David also seems to be under the impression that fake twitter accounts are a major factor in people leaving atheist activism. He gives Jennifer McCreight as an example of someone who was forced out. From my understanding Jennifer has some issues that contributed to her leaving that had nothing to do with fake twitter accounts. I’m not sure what David thinks is going to result from something called ‘boobquake’ when it goes viral but if he expects the world to mind it’s manners when it comes to boobs he is living in a fantasy land. I’m not saying it is acceptable behavior but people should accept the fact men are often pigs who say rude things to women, it is going to happen.
David continues to insist that Justin act with professionalism. I’m left wondering what would happen if say if Justin took David’s example for professionalism and embraced it. Would yelling over people and using vague undefined terms while he making false accusations and ranting about things he knows absolutely nothing about be a better approach than offering to discuss issues in a open public forum without personal attacks? I think any mature intelligent adult would say no to even suggest such a thing is shit.
David Silverman repeatedly dodges any attempts to point out how his relationships are just like the ones he is calling Justin on. PZ Myers has behaved in incredibly irresponsible ways. PZ should consider changing his legal name to Libel Lyers (nice ring) at this point. I can’t believe David is totally ignorant to the actions and words coming from PZ or the number of people he has pissed off because he isn’t willing to accept people as allies. He makes it quite clear he has no use for people who disagree with him or his attempts to force a certain mindset be accepted by atheists.
I get the fact that David Silverman is probably sick of the petty fighting, he is sick of the childish and chickenshit attacks on women. Let it be known I am tired of it too. There were things I thought I could count on from people who were skeptics and atheists as a general rule. I have learned a lesson. People, all types of people have the potential to act like fucking childish, self centered, judgmental, hyper-sensitive, humorless, biased, idiots. I will no longer underestimate anyone’s ability to fit that description. I will however wait for them to fit the description before I apply it to them. Until then they get a basic deserved respect from me by default. They get the benefit of the doubt. I will also always be willing to settle any differences by talking to people. I will not sit on my hands and watch as religion is replaced by something just as dangerous hidden under a veil of someone’s righteous ideology.
I am bothered by David Silverman’s behavior. As I have said before I had respect for him but I can not respect his actions in this case given I know for a fact he knew better. Here is my direct reply to him just so no one gets it twisted.-
David, I gave you examples of things that were done/said to me that are far more damaging than any Photoshop of FTB bloggers holding We (heart) Justin signs. There are dozens and dozens of examples on the net of other people with the same stories. You were deliberately deceptive in your conversation with Justin about association. Do you think he or anyone else doesn’t know that?
I made that Photoshop David and it was for a reason. Those people, just about EVERY SINGLE ONE in that photo suggested he not attend or even attempted to keep Justin from attending that conference. That is wrong and for you to be critical of Justin for trying to make light of actions that are sickening and juvenile demonstrates a clear favoritism on your part.
Justin DID NOT post Surly Amy’s address on purpose. I was in contact with Justin during that event. He never wanted to attack Amy in any way. He was trying to defend himself. He posted the address by accident. He got chewed out for his mistake as soon as he made it by myself and others. It was a stupid mistake. For you to accuse him of malice is bullshit. Listen closely-I WAS THERE. YOU ARE WRONG.
Who do you think you are fooling David? Do you really think anyone who knows anything about this is going to have any respect for you after hearing your skewed version of events? There are 600+ members of the slymepit, you gave the impression that you think they are all making rape threats, that isn’t even close to true. To say they are all “shit” is just dumb.
A couple of isolated comments by someone with a 12 year old maturity level are not a solid base for your argument. You are the shit in this instance David. You are full of shit, you are spreading shit, and you have stepped in shit. You can’t even define your own term. At one point you told Justin to own his own ownership? Really? I had a lot of respect for you David, I thought you would be at least fair, shit I thought you would at least be civil. You couldn’t even have a conversation, you had to try and intimidate Justin. What if he responds in the same manner as you have to him? I’m sorry I was mistaken and I’m embarrassed for you David.
One of the high points of the podcast was the chat. Someone under the name PZ Myers was part of the conversation. I have reason to believe it was him because I can’t think of anyone else who would claim to be even in jest. Could it be PZ finally gained the testicular fortitude to venture out from his protected little den infested by the inept horde and stepped into the real world? I will give him credit for that if it is the case. I will also note he was up to his same old tricks blabbering away as if his psychic powers allow him to know me and what I am thinking at all times. Claiming that my responses to his attacks on my character are reason to dismiss anything I may have to say. If you are reading this PZ keep in mind what I told you in the chat. It would do you wonders to chill the fuck out and listen to people just for a little while instead of treating them like shit for daring to disagree. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you it doesn’t make them wrong.
Note- As this is posted David has responded to my last message. While we still have major differences in opinion. It should be noted that David Silverman is willing to continue to discuss those differences in a respectful manner. If I am going to criticize I must also be able to acknowledge reasonable behavior and willingness to at least try and find common ground. After the reasoned, respectable behavior we have seen from slymepitters who have been in discussion with Stephanie Zvan. I wonder what will be said when it is proven that people who are part of the slymepit are not hateful monsters after all. Time will tell, I hope some people are ready to put their social justice feet where their mouths are.
I will be following up on this, trust me.
David Silverman In Wonderland