• Why Atheist Ireland’s disassociation from PZ Myers is important

    Atheist Ireland recently disassociated itself from PZ Myers. I won’t bore people with the specifics that led to the disassociation, the post speaks for itself plus I am sure people are well aware of it. However, I will briefly say why I think it was an important move.

    The tactics used by PZ Myers is well documented. If somebody disagrees with him then the dissenter is misrepresented, personally attacked and smeared. It’s not a tactic solely utilised by PZ, others on the Freethoughtblog network often employ it too, such as Stephanie Zvan and Ophelia Benson. So too does Skepchicks. The tactic has the effect of silencing dissent. If people know they can’t disagree without having their character being unfairly dragged through the mud then they are more likely to just keep quiet. I have lost count the amount of people I know who have been labeled “sexist”, “misogynist”, “harasser” for no reason other than the fact they have voiced disagreement. I myself was put on Ophelia Benson’s page of harassment for the crime of sending two tweets saying not everybody who disagrees with her is a misogynist. That’s it, two tweets and I am a “harasser”.

    That is why Atheist Ireland’s disassociation is important. It highlights the violent rhetoric and defamatory smears which PZ so frequently uses. But it also might give organisations and individuals the courage to speak out against these tactics. So far Hemant Mehta and JT Eberhard have shown their support, so too has Atheist Northern Ireland. But not without a price, true to form the dissenters’ names shall be smeared. Skepchicks falsely claimed Hemant endorsed a hate forum (slimepit) even though he did no such thing, the post was shared by PZ, Ophelia and Stephanie. Michael Nugent was labeled a harasser by Ophelia Benson because he tagged her in a tweet even though she has him blocked. Just because something is against twitters TOS (is it? I am not sure) doesn’t mean it is harassment.

    The casual usage of such labels must also be tackled. Sexism, misogyny and harassment are serious issues, not weapons to be used against people you disagree with. By accusing people so flippantly PZ et al. erode away the gravity of the labels and actual charges of sexism and misogyny may not be taken as seriously.

    If this pattern of behaviour is to stop then we need more people and more organisations taking a stand and proclaiming they will not be associated with people who continue to behave in such an unethical manner. Hopefully Atheist Ireland is only the first organisation to do so but I am not hopeful, I fear most organisations will stay below the radar lest they are the next group labeled to be rife with “misogynists”, “sexists” and “harassers”.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Humanisticus

    One Pingback/Trackback

      12 April 2015 at 1:04am
      […] I won’t bore people with the specifics that led to the disassociation, the ...
    • On PZ Myers | SINMANTYX
    • latsot

      It’s always fun when a self-important person ejects someone from an organisation they were never part of in the first place. Nugent’s glaringly unprofessional post, in which he refers to himself in the third person (who are you trying to kid, Mick?) is breathtakingly self-serving. Is Atheist Ireland now only a tool for Nugent to whine about his own personal issues? At length.? At *extreme* length?

      The straw that broke Nugent’s back was a straw man. Mick was looking for an excuse to write yet another few pages about how he doesn’t like PZ and Oh My but he made use of that excuse.

      We get it. Mick doesn’t like PZ and has taken his bat in. Time will tell whether or not the ‘dissociation’ means Mick gets to snipe at PZ and ignore counter-criticism.

      • Kirbmarc

        What about Hemant Mehta and JT Eberhard?

      • Kirbmarc

        You also haven’t understood that a) Atheist Ireland hasn’t “ejected” PZ Myers from anything, but simply refused to associate with him and b) the post refers to Nugent in third person because it’s a guest post from the entire comittee of AI.

        Another thing you should try to remember is that is was Myers who smeared Nugent as a provider of “a haven for harassers, misogynists and rapists” and have routinely refused to either provide evidence for his claim or apologize.

        No straw man in sight, only Myers’ own unethical behavior.

        Myers is welcome to either apologize or give evidence for his claim. So far he has done neither and has instead smeared more people and refused to either apologize or provide coherent, actual evidence for his claims.

        • Shatterface

          Lostit’s slim grasp of English is a constant source of amusement.

      • Richard Sanderson

        Latto STILL doesn’t click that he backed a nasty, odious bully – even though I and many others pointed it out to him years ago.

        Also, you were the one who obsessively stalked Michael on Twitter, and then flounced when Michael calmly demolished your crap.

        The wider atheist, secular, skeptic movement is winning the war against bullies like you. That’s why you attended a deserted windy pub in Yorkshire just to get a glimpse of Dear Leader. Sad, but hilarious, to see a former Horseman contender fall so low. Alas, there’s still some distance to go, and I and others will make sure PZ completes that distance.

        PS – Hey, latty, notice how Ophelia has had to change her position on Ayaan Hirsi Ali after the Horde called her a racist and an Islamophobe? I also wonder what back-channel orders she received.

        You can cry and you can mope…

      • Shatterface

        The counter-criticism is Watson screaming THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME!!! ME!!! ME!!! and Svan farting her brain matter over at Lindsay’s.

      • kraut2

        Ah, the typical pharyngulite misrepresentation of the facts – crawl the fuck back into the hole you came from. Maybe you should start sucking Myers cock if you are so enamored with him.

        Luckily i stopped reading Myers quite some time ago, the tiny thread that had me keep watching the site was Singham. But after the Tequila girl broke out in a rant against Dawkins – of course duly misrepresenting what he had said and drooling her vitriol all over the place – I felt no longer the urge to help keep the sites visitors count up,

      • Unhiddenness

        hey

    • funkyderek

      Good piece, Peter. And no, it’s not against the Twitter TOS to @ mention someone who blocks you.
      https://twitter.com/tos?lang=en
      https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311-the-twitter-rules

      Ophelia Benson blocked me after I corrected her on this fact, although she clarified that the reason she blocked me was not because I pointed this out, but because she didn’t like me. (C’est la vie!) PZ joined in the discussion and then blocked me too.
      Ophelia later demanded I stop mentioning her because even though she had blocked me, she could still see my username when others replied and included her. I complied with this request and then she kept tweeting me, dragging me back into a conversation with her so she could tell me to ignore her. It was one of the oddest series of interactions I’ve ever had with another human being.

      • funkyderek

        I notice now that Ophelia “had to block about 10 people that Michael Nugent sicced on” her. What she seems to mean is that about 10 people responded mentioning her (as is the way on Twitter) and she chose to block them all because she considers getting notifications to be harassment.

        • Richard Sanderson

          It is what Stephanie Zvan calls “pushback”, except “pushback” is “harassment” the pushback is towards them.

      • It couldn’t possibly be against the Twitter TOS because Twitter doesn’t inform you that you’ve been blocked in the first place. The idea that being mentioned is harassment is absurd, just another clear sign that these SJWs have no rational thought, just blind faith.

    • Skepsheik

      Good piece.
      I don’t think it is fair to insinuate that the slymepit is a hate site. There’s plenty of decent people there. It’s certainly rude at times but most of the members treat it as a noticeboard, with the result that it is the best archive of information about the atheist schism that exists.
      I have no doubt that Mick Nugent gathered the information about PZ Myers behaviour from the posts made on the slymepit. The fact that it is possible to use the pit to find out about the highly questionable things Myers has done in the past (examples of his violent language, his delight at the idea of Christians dying – and even of him stabbing them, his promotion of rape hentai porn, his desperate attempts to prevent an inquiry into the rape allegation made by a student of his) is clearly the reason why Myers hates the place so much.
      Oh, and Latsot, do you seriously defend the use of the term “Irish wanker” for someone with whom you have a disagreement?

      • Kirbmarc

        I agree with Shepsheik. While the harsh satire and criticism of the Slymepit can sometimes be off-putting it isn’t a hate site. The worst that people on the board have expressed is anger at Myers’ and others’ questionable behavior, frustration with their double standards and justifications, strong disagreement with his ideas for policies within the Atheist/Skeptic movement, schaedenfreude at Myers’ misfortunes (which is a bit in bad taste at times), and (the part that I find sometimes classless and at times even warranted) criticism and satire of prominent FTB blogger’s physical features or sexual habits instead of their ideas (unless the justification for their sexual habits are relevant to their ideas, like in the case of Richard Carrier).

        The most uncharitable yet still reasonable interpretation of the Slymepit is that it is sometimes too immature and nasty for its own good. If that’s enough to be defined as a hate site most of the Internet is comprised of hate sites much worse than the Slymepit, including FTB (where members routinely write vitriolic and violent comments that make the absolute worst of the Slymepit look milquetoast in comparison).

        FTB members have routinely accused member of the Slymepit of writing death and rape threats of known feminists (no such thing has been written on the Pit), of “harassment” (read: repeated criticism) of “misogyny” (for harshly criticizing some women, curiously enough FTB feel free not only to harshly criticize women like Jamila Bey or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but to even smear them).

        These accusations are backed by no serious evidence and seem to be yet more smears from FTB.

        Anyone who doesn’t believe me is very welcome to browse the Slymepit and find evidence that proves me wrong.

        • Richard Weed

          The Pit is not a hate site in the Stormfront sense but it is often hateful.

          • Kirbmarc

            It depends on how you define “hateful” I guess. The Slymepit can be immature, childish even, and it makes fun of and satirizes pretty much everyone on FTB but nobody there makes threats or incites hatred against them.

            FTB is, IMHO, much more hateful than the Slymepit, especially against the people they deem to be “bigoted” (i.e. pretty much anyone who doesn’t agree with them).

            Personally I do not hate anyone on FTB. I think that they’re often wrong, that they’re incredibly uncharitable towards their “enemies” and very forgiving of their “friends”, that their methods of “naming and shaming”, of arbitrary moderation, of dogpiling and strawmanning are counterproductive and often make them look like idiots. I also think that some of their ideas (such as publishing accusations of rape or sexual assaults on a blog which doesn’t follow journalistic standards and plays on emotions and easy outrage and not caring about the justice system, or giving way too much leeway to Islam) are highly questionable and that they demonize anyone who has ever disagreed with them way too easily.

            I share many if not most of their goals, but I think that the methods they use leave A LOT to be desired. I also think that PZ Myers is tad of a hypocrite when he rages against people who hold opinions he used to express himself until a few years ago.

            Many times I find many of the ideas expressed on posts and comments on FTB to be ridiculous, whining, dogmatic, or just plainly stupid. But anyone has some ridiculous, whining, dogmatic or stupid ideas at some point of their lives, and they’re not “evil” or deserve hate just because of that.

            While I’m not a huge fun of making fun of the appearance of FTb bloggers, mocking someone because they’re fat or unattractive cannot be defined as “hateful”. Immature, yes. Irrelevant to a civil discussion, yes. But “hateful”? No way. Anyone makes fun of the physical appearance of the targets they deem to be deserving of mockery.

            Donald Trump’s hair, Dick Cheney and John McCain’s old age, Chris Christie’s weight, George W. Bush’s looks and alleged lack of wit and Sarah Palin’s hockey mom persona have been endlessly mocked by anyone who’s even slightly progressive.

            Why is “hateful”, and not simply immature or irrelevant to make fun of PZ Myers or Stephanie Zvan’s weight, of Ophelia Benson’s old age, or of Rebecca Watson’s alleged drinking habits and personal appearance, or of Melody Henslely’s weight gain and claims of suffering of PTSD from twitter trolls, or of Miri Mogilevski’s demands of being complimented exactly the way she wants or else? Are they special individuals to be protected from satire and mockery?

            • Richard Weed

              They make jokes about rape and having sex with retarded girls. That is not hateful?
              They also have IT experts who are members who would know how to send untraceable rape and death threats. (No proof, just saying.).

            • Shatterface

              FTB have an admitted child-rapist as a regular commentator.

            • Richard Weed

              And the Pit is full of rape jokes. I would mention the hatred of M to F transgender people but that’s pretty common on “skeptical” discussion boards these days.

            • Kirbmarc

              So joking about a dark subject matter is equally bad or worse than excusing an actual child rapist?

              I suppose that joking about a murder is equally bad or worse than giving excuses to a serial killer.

              Your priorities are very skewed and your moral compass is utterly broken. Unless you’re a troll, in which case you’re not really funny. I’ve seen much better.

              Also there’s no “hate of M to F transgender people” on the Slymepit. There’s an ongoing discussion about the nature of transgenderism, of dysphoria and about whether MtF trans are women psychologically and therefore should receive surgery or some of them would benefit from different kinds of therapy.

            • Kirbmarc

              a) Have you ever heard of black humor? b) Have you ever heard of evidence? “Just saying” is called a SMEAR.

              You’re either a very disingenuous PZ fan or a troll. Actually I really hope you’re troll.

            • Richard Weed

              I’m no fan of Myers or FTB but if the Pit is the “alternative,” I’ll take a pass. Extremists often become a distorted mirror of what they oppose.

            • Kirbmarc

              Is there any extremism on the Slymepit?

            • Richard Weed

              Regarding threats on the Pit: I can’t seem to post links here but check out the veiled death on the Happy 3rd Pit Birthday thread posted on Tue Jul 07, 2015 by AndrewV69 (post # 1238).

            • Kirbmarc

              …humor, this unknown thing.

      • iamcuriousblue

        The whole obsession by the FTB/Skepchick crowd over “The Slymepit” is both pathetic and comical. Its an axe they’ve been grinding for *years*, going back to their demands that National Geographic quash certain threads on the NG-owned Science Blogs and kick Abby Smith while they’re at it.

        Ever since then, FTBers have obsessed over Slymepit all out of proportion to it’s actual size and degree of influence. Which is even more sad than SJWw seeing GamerGate lurking in every dark corner – at least GamerGate is a movement with some size and notability.

        More importantly, it’s lead them to go on the warpath against formerly relatively neutral bloggers based on over-the-top accusations that the latter are “in league” with the shadowy Slymepit. Which actually is fine by me, because that’s the kind of thing that’s finally getting PZ and company some well-earned backlash from mainstream atheist writers like Hemant Mehta and JT Eberhardt. It’s good that the rest of the atheist world is finally getting wise to what PZ and the like are doing.

        • bismarket 1

          I joined up at the Slymepit when it started, made a single “Hi There” post & have never made another comment since (although i very occasionally lurk). I rarely visit the site but on the 2/3 occasions i made comments on Twitterrrr debunking (or setting straight) something that was wrong i was immediately labelled a “Slymepitter” as if that somehow made my point/s irrelevant. They seem to do that a lot to a great many people. The Blockbot list is/was (LOL) HUGE. If nothing else gives them a hint that their modus operandi needs to change then myself, along with an awful lot of others will end up ignoring them & the very existence of A+/”Freethought” Blogs. It’s good to see Atheist Ireland leading the way by publicly calling them out, i just hope they’re the first of many & when new folks show up looking for relevant stuff re; Atheism the Freethought bullies don’t even get a mention.

      • Shatterface

        Slymepit is no more a ‘hate site’ than Charlie Hebdo was a ‘hate magazine’.

        Still, since most of FTB thought the Hebdo cartoonists got what was coming to them I wouldn’t expect Myers & co to have much sympathy if the same happened to the Pit.

        • Richard Weed

          And Mein Kampf was just one man’s opinion.

          • Shatterface

            You should try posting sober.

            • Kirbmarc

              He’s probably a troll. At least I hope so.

        • I don’t recall Hebdo ever photoshopping people into gaping arseholes.

    • John D

      PZ is a raging, cursing, bully, and makes atheists/skeptics look like we are vile and hateful. I will NEVER even visit hate blogs. They just want more hits so they can stay popular. PZs work is nothing but hateful click-bait.

    • I supported AI as well…

    • Great piece, Peter. I look forward to a time when the community can come back together instead of allowing the atheist takfiri to drive the agenda towards ever more hysterical acts of performative outrage.

      • Progeny2501

        Beautiful word. I’ll remember it.

      • DarthYan

        Well he did accurately call Sam Harris out on his disginesty

        • His what now?

          • DarthYan

            dishonesty. Sam Harris can be downright nasty and his followers are…..fanatics is being generous

          • DarthYan

            dishonesty. He wrote a post entitled “the saga of slippery sam” that honestly summed harris up very well.

    • AtariBaby

      I think a lot of this noise comes from people clamoring to be twitter and youtube celebrities. These raging controversies and flame wars, often times between atheists, totally drown out the information, which is what I’m here for.

      It’s even boiling over in these comments.

    • Pingback: On PZ Myers | SINMANTYX()

    • Using untrue accusations is never a good tactic. If it is true, it is not an insult or name-calling, it is a description When it it not true, it is an admission that you have nothing of value to offer but choose to be obnoxious for its own sake.

      • Progeny2501

        Problem is that it’s such a cheap tool that everyone grabs it first, and frankly, regardless of the level of clear-thinking a person thinks they possess (Dunning-Kruger writ small), they will always fall for emotionally charged propaganda, no matter how transparent.
        In fact, it is probably a probably a parabolic ark (“hyperbolic” never made so much sense until this moment) with regards to reactivity and transparency in any packet of information, in any message, on any medium.

        • I don’t understand your point. What is a cheap tool? Telling the truth? I agree, when anything agrees with what a person already thunks, they will accept it as being fact, no matter how ludicrous it is.

          • Dr. Dean Fiddle

            Jim, his point is obvious. Stop being so wilfully ignorant.

            • Stop being a troll, stalker, liar, and coward. Prove who and where you are, asshole. What about the thesis/lecture you were going to give at Harvard? What about m offer t pay your way anywhere in the world to face me personally? Each time you ignore these things, you show everyone what a worthless, craven piece of shit you are.

          • Progeny2501

            No. Lying.

            The truth costs Billions of dollars. It’s called Research.

            • I agree. Truth does cost, not always billions, but it is never cheap. It does cost less than it’s worth.

          • Dr. Dean Fiddle

            Cowardly

            • Yes you are cowardly, You evade direct question, lie about everything, and hide like the rabid rabbit you are Let’s face off in person, dipshit.

            • Dean has outsmarted you soooo many times, Smith, have you not learned your lesson yet?

            • Dr. Dean Fiddle

              That’s a rather bald statement. It’s also short.

            • Dr. Dean Fiddle

              There are some rather poor grammatical errors in your comment. I do not find this surprising at all.

    • Richard Weed

      Nugent has become an (unwitting?) slymepit tool.

      • Kirbmarc

        That’s a bold accusation to make.

        • Richard Weed

          I withdraw the “unwitting” part.

          • Shatterface

            You are a witless tool.

            Switch off your laptop till you sober up.

            • Richard Weed

              I don’t drink or take drugs and I don’t think rape is a joking matter.

            • Progeny2501

              I find your lack of Good Faith disturbing, young toadie.
              Quit burning bras and flags and make a difference by acknowledging the fact that there ARE no monsters in the world. Only idiots, big and small, 7.39 billion of them.

    • Richard Weed

      Nugent has dissociated himself from Meyers. When is he going to dissociate himself from the Slymepit?

      • Atheist Ireland had specific reasons for disassociating from Dr. Myers:

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

        Some of these reasons also hold true of the Pit (e.g. it is “harmful to the promotion of an ethical society based on empathy”) but not all of them apply with any force. Most saliently, Atheist Ireland never worked to increase the Pit’s international reputation as a spokesperson for the atheist movement. They have no need to disassociate, having never promoted the Pit in the first place.

        • Richard Weed

          Nugent chided the Pit back in 2013 for its hateful rhetoric but he seems fine with it now and he deletes any comments critical of the Pit, Something has changed.

          • “Seems fine with it now” – Evidence?

            “deletes any comments critical of the Pit” – Evidence?

            • Richard Weed

              See above.

            • I see a baseless claim. I see no evidence.

            • Richard Weed

              How can I show you deleted comments?

            • The traditional method involves screen captures and a certain degree of trust.

            • Richard Weed

              Screen captures can be photoshopped

            • Hence the need for a trustworthy capper.

            • Tell you what. Go over to Nugent’s website, make a comment critical of the pit. Screengrab it and message here when you have done so we can check it ourselves. Then we will see if Nugent deletes it.

            • Richard Weed

              Screen captures can be photoshopped. They prove nothing.

            • Just make the comment now and link us to it.

            • Richard Weed

              I’ll post a comment on Nugent’s blog when a suitable comes up.

          • Tittybollocks, I say.

            Bet you a footlong sandwich (or regional equivalent) I can go over to Nugent’s right now and say god-awful but entirely true things about the Pit.

            • Richard Weed

              Nugent deleted my posts critical of the Pit. He’s been co-opted.

            • Richard Weed

              The fact remains that Nugent is crusading against uncivil discourse in the atheist community yet he no problem with the uncivil discourse on the Slymepit. Indeed, he has become their ally.

            • He wrote several posts condemning their worst offences. Wherefore “no problem with the uncivil discourse on the Slymepit”?

            • Richard Weed

              That back in 2013

            • How often does he need to renew his registration of stern moral disapproval? Does it expire annually or more often?