• SlymePit vs. AtheismPlus – UPDATE

    Awhile back, I made a few predictions about the relative post counts for two forums both originally birthed in concept by talented young women scientists: the SlymePit and the Atheism Plus forums. As it turns out, I was dead wrong about who hit the 70,000 post mark first, and just a bit off about when the forums crossed that arbitrary marker. To those who had the courage to bet against me, your frozen White Castle cheeseburgers will be arriving in the post on Saturday morning. Please get to them before they thaw.

    I mention this today of all days because sometime in the next 24 hours the SlymePit will surpass the A+ forums in overall post count, despite the fact that the former space was soft-launched while the latter was given all manner of fanfare from a highly popular freethought blog network. If you care to speculate about why an unmoderated space has proven more popular among freethinkers than a consummately ‘safe space‘ please do so in the comments.


    Category: Atheism PlusSecularismSlymePit

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • Because a bunch of the A+ people acted like jerks pretty much all the time? Because for a lot of us leaving behind that kind of self righteousness was one of the reasons we were glad to have left religion?

      • The goals of A+ look good on paper, much like tradtional secular humanism. Why did this movement attract so many self-righteous authoritarian folks?

      • Chill Chick

        I think it was always a high school clique – “popular kids” vs. outsiders.

    • Edward Gemmer

      I tried to log in and post on Atheism Plus but I think I got banned at the log in stage, because I can’t get it to work. Regardless, they have more arguments you aren’t allowed to make than arguments you are allowed to make. Not exactly a zone for good discussion.

    • UPDATE — Some time over my lunch break the SlymePit finally passed AtheismPlus in post count, at 71,306 total posts. Today will live in infamy hereafter as SlymePit Day.

      • Stefano S.

        I’m not sure I want my birthday to be called the “SlymePit Day” :S

      • Damn, I knew that there was a downside. Do yourself a favor and never look up the Reichstag elections of March 1933.

      • Stefano S.

        Wasn’t that on the 5th of March?

      • Yup. That’s the day when SlymePit passed Atheism+ forums. Looks like you’re in the clear.

    • A Thought Experiment: The Two Societies. In one Free Speech, even unpopular and vile -In any form- is their most cherished Right. In the other society, providing safety, justice and well-being by any means -emotional or otherwise- is their most cherished right.

      What would happen if both become dogmatic and radicalized? What could be expected if they decide to pursue their right to the most extreme, uncompromising form?

      I don’t know the answer, but I think that to an onlooker (lurker?) that was around the inception of both societies, the price to pay for witnessing sometimes excessive abuses of free-speech becomes quite affordable over time. From the start, the “Free-Speechers” are ignored, maligned (justifiably, sometimes) or – at best- tolerated.

      On the other hand, since the values or the Justice-Safety-Wellbeing society are almost universally lauded, the press reports from around are more positive from the start, onlookers would be hopeful and encouraging, but maintaining their ideals would require extreme policing
      and other forms of enforcement and the penalties and insularity would prevent immigration.

      Something analogous is happening to the communities in your post.

      • That pretty much sums it up. Evidently, you’ve been paying close attention from the start.

      • ool0n

        For a bunch that are so obsessed with dictionary definitions of words you don’t like *cough*misogyny*cough* you certainly like to abuse the term “free speech”… Here’s a little lesson for you. “Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.”

        So clearly you mean freedom of expression in the context of two forums, one where freedom of expression is limited more than the other as both allow the maximum amount of free speech such as it applies here.

        Now the next dictionary lesson, dogmatic ok fine, radicalized defn: “Cause (someone) to become an advocate of radical reform” … This is inherently bad? Earth to axel, we are all atheists, we would really really like to have radical reform and we are all therefore radicalized FFS. So I’ll ignore that daft addition and deal with dogmatic.

        Even if you had a forum composed of the best sceptical minds alive, we know those minds are still human and inherently riddled with cognitive bias and error. Inevitably therefore some members will go down rabbit holes, they will derail the great quest and bog down the others with their *unavoidable* dogmatism. Just having freedom of expression cannot in any sense guard against this, I’d go as far as saying it would have the opposite effect. Taking the consensus as the best path is far more sensible, I don’t mean “echo-chamber” consensus, I mean the evidenced and argued for conclusion which reaches consensus. Strangely this is how the academic and scientific communities as a whole work… Freezing the peach of outliers like Rupert Sheldrake who would otherwise take up everyone’s time making them disprove daft things like dog telepathy. They get kicked out of the club and roundly ignored and ridiculed for the better pursuit of scientific truth.

        Which leads me to the final point… What is the “great quest” of the freedom of expression forum? I know of a forum called the A+ forum which does have some lofty ideals to further the cause of social justice in atheism but there is no “free expression” version of this forum to compare to. I’m at a loss to see what aim could be better achieved by one approach over the other… The only thing intimated in the comment is popularity – have I assumed the commenter is using something not fallacious as his measure of “better” not a nebulous “great quest” or the real A+ aims? This is surely not a thought experiment based on the premise that a fallacious measure of “better”, popularity, is somehow relevant?

        So I find myself in the position of being very disappointed in Damion, I avidly follow him on Twitter and when alerted to the “best” comment on this situation I expected it to be at least coherent. Maybe the cognitive dissonance resulting from not being appreciated by A+ mods has caused a temporary dip in his otherwise razor sharp mind.

      • It takes more than an ounce of hubris to compare the sociopolitical theories of A+ with the somewhat more well-established scientific fields of neuroscience and physics, from which we’ve learned that mammalian brains aren’t capable of sending magical messages to one another. I’ve come to expect this sort of anti-scepticism from the Plussers, who tend to see themselves as above debating with their opponents, for reasons yet to be justified without resorting to analogy.

      • ool0n

        Uh, I’m an A+’er, I’m here “debating” if it can be called that on a comment thread. So that is patently untrue…

        “sociopolitical theories” … Err either that is a weird way of calling us Marxists or you and I have different definitions of that term. A common problem between A+ and its detractors it would seem 🙂

        If you mean A+ ascribes to some proven tenets of the social sciences then I find your condescension of one branch of science “social” over the hard sciences “physics” to be hubristic also. May I even say that at times the debate on how certain feminist theories, backed up as they are by the social sciences border on denialism.

      • It is patently untrue that Plussers “tend to see themselves as above debating with their opponents” because one of them proves exceptional in bucking the trend? Other than yourself (the sole A+ SlymePit veteran) who else does that?

        Also, this: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sociopolitical

      • ool0n

        Loads of them! They are all over the Michael Nugent stuff at the moment… And very productive it is wading through tu quoque after tq after tq… Ad infinitum. Pretty good argument that the A+ approach to Justins, “debate me, for I am Vacula!” challenge on the forum was so much hot air. He has consistently avoided answering the question, even though he brought the subject up! Doh..

      • I do have to admit that I have been impressed with the Nugent threads so far.

      • MosesZD

        No, you’re a troll who is trolling.

      • ool0n


      • I wasn’t passing moral judgment on the SP or A+ or advocating any of their policies, that’s why I framed the issue as two hypothetical groups, all other things being equal, which put an extreme emphasis on a particular issue and take it to its logical conclusion.

        IRL, other industrialized western counties, with the exception of Switzerland would judge that the gun rights in America are excessive and unnecessary as an individual right. A radicalized version of this, I imagine, would be a group lawmakers passing bills that would grant every citizen the right to carry a concealed weapon anywhere and removes all background checks. I think that country that prohibits any of their citizens from possessing any weapons under any circumstance is as radical the one that has no restrictions -But radical, only in the sense of gun laws. That’s why I used “radicalized” is used in my post.

        However, I find your comment triggering and patronizing. You’re correcting my use of the words “Free Speech” and substituting it to “Freedom of Expression” as a way of silencing me. Yet, you haven’t asked yourself that I may be foreign and English is a secondary language, by humiliating me you are showing the imperialism of your ways, go and check your linguistic privileged elsewhere! See what I did? I’m kidding, on that part I stand corrected. Freedom of expression is a better description of what I was trying to say. Thanks!

        So if you substitute “radicalized” for “uncompromising” and “free speech” for “freedom of expression”. How is my though experiment incorrect? In fact, in your own reply you make my point: “Taking the consensus as the best path is far more sensible, I don’t mean “echo-chamber” consensus, I mean the evidenced and argued for conclusion which reaches consensus. Strangely this is how the academic and scientific communities as a whole work”. Where could consensus building be likelier to take place in my example of the two societies?

        The truth is that any analogy to compare the SP to the A+ forum will be admittedly,a false analogy. The only thing in common is that they are a forum. But, since A+ is essentially re-branded Secular Humanism, maybe you should lurk on Secular Humanism forums, if they exist, and see if the level of vitriol and shaming are as prominent. There has to be a place in the internet that could serve as a proxy for a Free Speech version of A+.

      • MosesZD

        For someone whose Pope has redefined the English language in arbitrary and capricious ways to bludgeon other people with his clear inability to understand what skepticism and atheism are… And that he doesn’t get to reinvent the English language to make his sillky arguments…

        I think you’re pretty fucking funny to make dictionary claims…

        Especially when misoginy means ‘the hatred of women.’ And virtually every person you clowns label as mysoginistic isn’t. We just don’t agree with many, if not most, of the easily falsifiable premises of radical feminism.

        Falsifiable premises you refuse to look at, despite your claims to be ‘skeptics’ because it would pull the rug out from under unrepentant power-grabbers that lead the movement. And make no mistake about it, the radial portion of the movement is about special rights, abusive privileges and pure political and social power.

        Like most movements end up corrupting into…
        Maybe you should Animal Farm someday. It’s as true now about many ‘social justice’ movements in America as it was about the Soviet Empire when Orwell wrote it.

      • ool0n

        This is much better, as a troll I find frothing idiotic comments much more fun 🙂

        Misogyny -> http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/17/australia-misogyny-idUSL3E8LH20Q20121017
        “…broaden the definition of “misogyny” to better match the way the word has been used over the past 30 years.”
        –> As found for me by Al Stefanelli, I was amazed by the 30 years thing as I also thought it was fairly new. You do know dictionaries do not define words, so it is not that relevant anyway, right?”
        –> Who is our “Pope” who redefined the word? This is news to me…

        “….easily falsifiable premises of radical feminism.”
        –> Go for it, here is your big chance to humiliate an internet troll… Show me the money! Link to any well thought out argument that falsifies one of the premises of radical feminism, as defined by radical feminists. Also I’d add that if your notion of “radical” feminism includes fuckwits like the TERFs then I’ll laugh at you again.

        “Maybe you should [read] Animal Farm someday…It’s as true now about many ‘social justice’ movements”
        –> I’d love to hear how an anarchic atheistic movement with no leaders, either elected or self proclaimed manages to match an allegory of how the cult of personality and the inevitable personal grabs for power fucks up movements with good intentions. In fact its clear that the A+ movement as it stands could not follow the dystopian vision laid out in that novel. Is this something to do with this enigmatic “Pope” of which I know nothing? Xie needs to up xyr game as I dunno who xie is even!

    • I hope that this whole A+ thing doesn’t turn into a situation where not being high on Atheism+ automatically makes you a “slymepitter”. Personally, I’m not interested at all in Slymepit, but find the Atheism Plus people to be among the worst the overall skeptical community has to offer.

      Apart from an ideological dogma dictated by self-styled leaders, A+ began from day one, with name-calling and pure vitriol. The unfriendly attitude and dogmatism of A+ is their biggest enemy- not the Slymepit.

    • qbsmd

      I’ve never commented on the Slymepit, and find the tactics and behavior of some people in both groups to be unpleasant, but I have more concerns with the underlying philosophy of the Atheists Plus. I’ve seen some of them throw around the term “hyperskepticism”, which indicates to me that they don’t really understand the value of skepticism: scrutiny must be applied to everything, especially the things “everyone knows”, because that is where unsupported claims can survive the longest. Some of them show disdain for free speech (“freeze peach”, really?) and often respond by talking about legal issues surrounding free speech, indicating that they don’t understand the value of an open marketplace of ideas. “Triggering” seems to me indistingusishable from “I’m offended, so shut up”, to which atheists often respond “you have no right not to be offended”.

    • people who disagreed in any way with the mod clique were quickly banned, even for doing so on other sites ffs! emotions trump analysis or evidence every time at A+, and it’s post and view counts continue to decline. Much ado about zip imo. That site will soon be gone and good riddance.