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Posted on Jan 19, 2013 in respect | 245 comments

Help send Justin Vacula to Women in Secularism 2!

RocketHub fundraising page

A fundraiser has been started, with help of Damion Reinhardt of Oklahoma Atheists, to help send me to the upcoming Women in Secularism 2 conference in Washington D.C.

Donors who reach certain levels will receive certain goods including twitter shoutouts, facebook mentions, signed conference swag, exclusive Karla Porter handcrafted necklaces, exclusive interviews with Justin Vacula, and your conference-appropriate t-shirt of choice for Justin to wear on conference days. See the goods page for more info.

20 percent of donations to this initiative will be sent to Operation Smile — a 501 (c)(3) organization which “works worldwide to repair childhood facial deformities including cleft lips and cleft palates” — in honor of The Slymepit and Operation Smile supporter Renee Hendricks.

For more information, view the fundraiser’s page and watch the Youtube video below:

Please share this initiative through blogs, websites, social media, etc. to help make this happen!

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  • Just to be clear, while I am a founding member of the Oklahoma Atheists, for the purposes of this fundraiser I am representing only myself.

    • Well, that seems fair, considering Melody Hensley isn’t representing CFI when she’s threatening and name-calling. Officially.

      • “Unless someone has been previously banned for harassment from CFI (please see our harassment policy), they may attend any CFI event or conference.

        Best regards,

        Melody Hensley
        Executive Director, Center for Inquiry-Washington, DC
        Organizer, Women in Secularism
        Certified Secular Celebrant”

        • Yeah, good luck holding them to their own rules, chuck.

    • I support Justin’s attending this conference for one good reason. After reading through nearly 80 comments below, people who vehemently disagree with each other like this need to meet face to face. They need to see each other as people. I hope that happens.

      • Amen to that, John. May fate speed the day when our allies settle their differences with cool reason rather than heated rhetoric, amicably rather than vehemently, in line with both Skeptic and Humanist principles.

  • So you want to come to a conference that is hosted by a woman you have insulted and will be attended by others you have mocked and belittled? Let’s be really clear, criticizing ideas is entirely different than attacking people. You have attacked people. Calling someone a professional victim is the epitome of a personal attack.

    • I suppose Rebecca Watson and I are even, then, considering she called me an “anti-woman leader” (whatever that means).

      • You have this knack for never answering my question and deflecting the attention. This is about what YOU said.

        • Pitchguest

          You have a knack for making everything about you, EllenBeth. Don’t be glib now. You know bad blood exists, so there’s no use to make this a one-sided exchange.

          • I made this about me? Really. Then I did a piss-poor job this time. Generally when I try to make it about me, it is really clearly about me!

            • Pitchguest


    • Yes, he wants to go to the conference. What part don’t you get?

      • I don’t have a problem with basketballs unless it’s a sheriff giving them away to churches ;)

        • Pitchguest

          Don’t make threats, EllenBeth. He wants to go to the conference. Are you implying you will try to prevent him from attending? I’m not sure I like your tone.

          • Where have I made threats? Really? I’m not concerned about you liking my tone considering the “tone” you have taken with me. Thanks for thinking I have the power to stop him from attending but I wouldn’t try to do that.

            • Tone trolling? :o

              • That’s interesting that you are posting that to me rather than Pitchguest., Why is that?

            • Pitchguest

              Good. Because it wouldn’t behoove you to try it. Let’s be honest, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before. Your friend Melody knows all about preventing someone entry because she’s “uncomfortable.” Again, I repeat: don’t – make – threats.

              • heh, you’re threatening me to not make threats that I didn’t make in the first place. Cute.

        • *moan*

          • Is that supposed to upset me?

            • No, I assumed your moaning was supposed to upset the neighbor’s young son. And no. I don’t expect you to be upset Ellenbeth, you would need a conscience for that.

              • lol- silly you. I do have a conscience. You apparently don’t have a memory. But good on you. Side with the evangelical sheriff. See how far that gets you.

                • I just explained I didn’t side with the sheriff in one case, and in the other I sided with the kid and his father who made the complaint that you made sexualized noises at a child because you were annoyed by his playing basketball. It’s not a matter of “siding with the sheriff”, but then, that’s revealing of how you think. Without mind-reading.

                  • No,^ THIS is how you think. Totally non skeptically. This actually is mind-reading AND siding with the sheriff you fool. The father and his family works for him.

                  • Fail.

              • And there’s another example of mind-reading, and also rumour mongering. I wish you would check your facts before spreading unsupported rumours like that. Look into the story more deeply; there were shenanigans afoot related to her activism. I cannot and will not support this kind of tactic. That’s a line I won’t cross. I hope you look deeper and if you discover that there were indeed shenanigans as I claimed, I hope you would apologize for that comment. I would, myself, if it were me, anyway.

                • Shadow of the Hedgehog

                  That’s not a rumor. She was arrested for that.

                  • When you are charged with something, you speak of the charges as *allegations*, not facts. Facts is what courts decide. It never went to court because …. charges were fucking bogus. The exact same evangelical sheriff EBW had sued for illegally giving gov’t aid to a church, in the form of basketball equipment, just so happened to be the same sheriff to order up the bogus charges. Can you say conflict of interest? That’s why you should be careful to look at the whole story, and not just the news snippets. Of *course* the sheriff tried to make the charges as embarrassing sounding as possible! That’s the whole point of a *smear-campaign*. Doesn’t make it *true* though. So, congratulations, you just contributed to a smear campaign from a corrupt evangelical sheriff. Feel good about that?

                    Seriously people. Self-skepticism. Don’t believe everything that you hear. Double check things you *already* believe, especially when you’re going to throw them around as accusations against people. This is one of the major problems going on in this whole mess. *Do not* support it, if you really care about ending this stupid conflict.

                    • Thank you for that,Thaumos. Mykeru actually was already made aware of these facts previously and chose to make the cheap dig at me and lodge a disingenuous, if not outright dishonest, attack on my character. He has riled others up to do so as well. One pitter has actually had the decency to apologize to me for rushing to judgment and I have thanked her.

                    • No, actually, Ellenbeth. I defended you for being arrested as a non-practicing lawyer being arrested for using .esq, but not for the incident where you were harassing a kid. If I knew how, I would pull up that twitter exchange.

                    • Now you are just lying outright. Even when given the opportunity to walk a mistake back, Michael can’t. He will double down. I can pull up the twitter exchange and I have. I don’t owe you shit but I never harassed a kid, got it? You have this pathological need to try to demean and diminish people in an attempt to make yourself feel better.

                    • “You have this pathological need to try to demean and diminish people in an attempt to make yourself feel better.”

                      Unfortunately EllenBeth, this too is mind-reading, and likely to spark more needless drama and conflict. I won’t support this either.

                    • and when we are talking about this, let’s leave the son out of it. The little boy had nothing to do with his father’s bullshit. He was used just as much as I was. What people seem to be neglecting and overlooking in this story is- The charge came two months after this alleged incident. If it was so traumatic, why the fuck did papa wait two months to report it?

                    • Good point about the son. I’ll keep that in mind.

                    • CADTimB

                      Hilariously reminiscent of the question asked by accused (NOT automatically guilty) male sex offenders.

                      It might be worth asking, but I can’t imagine FfTB wouldn’t collectively go ballistic if a man accused of asking somebody for coffee in an elevator (just a theoretical example here) made the statement “And why did she wait X long to report it?”

                    • Well, Thaumos, people can come to their own conclusions based upon his juvenile photoshopping of people and his videos and his obsessive tweets. Just so I don’t get accused of not providing evidence of his lying- Here he is defending me from the bullshit sex charge.

                    • Is that from this Jan, or last? Also, it’s possible he once took that position but changed his mind if he thought the father and son were sincere. However, I’m only pointing out this possibility; I do not believe strongly in any particular explanation, one way or the other. I’m just suggesting possible alternative explanations that don’t involve intentional nefariousness (Hanlon’s Razor again). And yet, thank you for providing this info anyway. It does bolster the case for your impression of him, and I understand why you’d think that.

                      Lastly, even if you happen to be correct, in my honest opinion, making comments like that (seemingly judgmental and ‘gotcha-esque’) would *still* carry the risk of sparking more needless drama. It’s legitimate to bring up the issue of his prior posts, but it doesn’t have to be done in a schoolyard way. The issue here for me is not whether people are technically right or wrong, but the way in which people interact which fosters a social dynamic that tends to generate shitstorm after shitstorm.

                      For example, there are many cases where I believe someone has their facts right, but they elect to present those facts alongside a bunch of snipes and jabs at the person they’re discussing. I’ve brought up this point with all sorts of people from their various perspectives; not all from ‘one side’ (for lack of a better phrase). It’s the behaviour and the practical consequences of the behaviour that I’m concerned about and object to.

                    • Thaumos, that is from less than 3 weeks ago. I am not interested in “gotchas” I hate fucking liars. I have been smeared viciously for the last two damn years and am more than tired of it. He comes along and does it even after being corrected, FUCK THAT. I hate it even more than he is using my activism against me in an attempt to ramp up the drama simply because I am on this side of the issue. If you want to accuse me of reading his mind, go right ahead.

                    • Again, I must restate for clarity: I would not ‘accuse’ you of mind-reading, because I don’t think it is *wrong* per se. My issue with it is *only* regarding its *practical effects*. I fully support your right to speak your mind. I have lots of sympathy for being the target of smear campaigning. I was once a target myself when I was young. The only thing I’m saying here is that making mind-reading comments carries with it a practical risk of incidentally increasing the chance of additional drama. The choice of whether to incur that risk is up to each person. Sometimes, we just need to vent, though, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

                    • You lied about the law in Forsyth County claiming you dropped the charge against me when it was the Magistreate that called it nonsense.

                    • That’s evidence of me lying? You really should try reading.

                    • Double down?

                      I’m pulling up the exchange and I expect an apology, crazy lady:


                      Especially as you commented within that conversation:


                      Go ahead, “double down” EllenBeth.

                    • You’re 5 days late Michael. I posted a twitter shot then. Even your own photo outs you as a liar. Pathetic.

                    • 1. This was in reference to your claim I didn’t defend you against some of the charges brought against you. Your claim is show to be patently false.I do, however, think you making sexy moaning noises at a child was tacky.

                      2. I’m five days late. However, If i responded immediately I would be “obsessed”. Got it.

                      3. You are a piss-poor representative for “Humanism”.

                    • Well, Michael, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that you are incapable of internalizing facts that contradict the narrative that you have so desperately spun for yourself despite the evidence being right in front of your face. What a sad life you live lashing out at every one that crosses your path.

                    • I have not followed this rather lengthy thread closely over the last week, but I am telling you (and others) now to please refrain from personal insults. I am not solely blaming you, but this discussion seems to have degraded into insults and attacks.

                    • Please try to refrain from personal insults such as “crazy lady”.

                    • She told a massive lie about me in a podcast from Apt J claiming she dropped the charge against me when it was The Magistrate of my county that told her it was nonsense and she hung up on the deputy she was trying to get me arrested by.

                    • EllenBeth, you may be surprised. I think most pitters do not want to spread around false accusations. For many of them, that is actually one of their main reasons for speaking out against PZ/RW/et al. I doubt you’ll get many (if any, honestly) who try to perpetuate this. And I guarantee you this: Any of them that do will not have my support, and if I have the chance I will challenge them on it. I’m no authority on anything here, but I’ll do my part to stay on the right side of history.

                    • Shadow of the Hedgehog

                      If she were truly the target of a smear campaign, then you would think that she wouldn’t be so quick to jump into one directed at Justin Vacula. It just proves the point that there is one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.

                    • Just HOW am I smearing Justin “hedgehog? anonymous troll is so brave throwing shit on the internet behind a silly nym.

                    • Why are you posting on this thread again? You think JV’s post is disagreeable, right? For what reason?

                    • Shadow of the Hedgehog

                      Ellenbeth-there is particular segment of the Skepchick and FTB communities has been attacking Justin with a series of falsehoods(he filed a counter DMCA against Surly Amy in an attempt to uncover her location, doxxing Amy, being an MRA)they used such falsehoods to pressure him to leave a position he had been appointed to within an organization. You’ve been credulously listening to one side without considering the other side. Just read Justin’s posts and watch his videos. See how he’s conducted himself as opposed to the people who are actually creating drama within the skeptic community.

                    • “You’ve been credulously listening to one side without considering the other side.”
                      You know this how? From talking to me? From learning what I have read and listened to? To borrow from Thaumos, are you a mind-reader?

                    • “If she were truly the target of a smear campaign, then you would think that she wouldn’t be so quick to jump into one directed at Justin

                      I agree there does appear to be some hypocrisy in that. Again, it comes down to self-skepticism, and people being more careful not to believe everything that they hear.

                      “It just proves the point that there is one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.”

                      Again, mind-reading. It may be the case that she thinks that way. It may not be. There are other possible explanations, such as mere ignorance of certain facts, or mere misunderstanding or miscommunication. There is a principle called Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

                      I prefer an even more self-skeptical version from here:

                      “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don’t
                      assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to
                      assume your opponent is the ignorant one — until you can show it isn’t
                      you.” – M. L. Plano

                • Well, if you say right out there there were “shenanigans”, what good skeptic could deny that kind of compelling argument. I stand awed.

                  Also, how do you know I didn’t check my facts? Ah ha!

                  • Pathetic, Mykeru. What is the point of this? You gain nothing by it. Be a skeptic, look at the facts. If I’m wrong, prove it. If you can prove it actually happened, and was not just alleged, I’ll eat my laptop.

                    In the mean time, consider: You are adding nothing to the conversation but heat, no light. Is that your purpose? Lulz? Have fun with that. I have more important goals. Lulz are lulz, they don’t do shit for the world beyond lulz. And that ain’t much. Meanwhile, we’ve got actual problems to deal with.

                    • Henri Bergson said, often quoted by John Cleese, that humor is social sanction against inflexible behavior. I take that to include dogmatism and authoritarian systems of thought and those who practice it. So your claim that satire is “heat without light” is without merit and, really, is simply thinly veiled childish ad hominem dressed up in condescension.

                    • We’re not talking about humour here, we’re talking about rumour mongering. You may find humour in it (lulz), as the trolls at ED do, but I see nothing useful in it here, and it does nothing but foster needless conflict.

                      “So your claim that satire is “heat without light” is without merit”

                      I did NOT claim *satire* is heat without light. I claimed that *your* comment was heat without light. Biiiiggg fucking difference. I hold satire in high regard. Your comment was not it. It was lulz, and that’s about it. It serves no good purpose.

                    • For reference, this is the comment I was replying to:

                      “Well, if you say right out there there were “shenanigans”, what good skeptic could deny that kind of compelling argument. I stand awed.

                      Also, how do you know I didn’t check my facts? Ah ha!”

                      Calling that satire is moronic. Considering that you’re basically acting like a troll at this point, harping on and on about an *unsubstantiated claim*, and trying to save face for having *made it*, you might want to take a step back and get some perspective. This is the kind of thing you would normally mock in one of your videos, and yet here you are engaging in it. Like I said, pathetic. Wake up, Mykeru.

                    • I should also add that actually thoughtful people (as opposed to pseudo-intellectuals) don’t toss off trite phrases like “heat without light” because intelligent people try not to let metaphors (which are descriptive without being explanitory) do their thinking for them.

                    • Red herring, ad hom, factually incorrect, drama mongering bullshit. I choose not to play the game.

                      Got anything constructive, or just more posturing?

                    • Rattling off informal fallacies that don’t apply is rather pathetic.

                    • So I’m guessing the answer is, “no,” then, eh? Just more posturing. Called it! ;-)

    • Chas Stewart

      I found that comment from Vacula to be short sighted in light of how much Hensley has contributed to secularism. I also believe that kind of short sighted characterization is the type of thing that Vacula has been campaigning against and that he just made a mistake. It happens. Maybe if Melody, Amy and Justin met in person, they could work out their differences (or maybe not). I honestly believe that Amy would be a big enough person to do so. She’s shown as much in the past.

      • Please explain to me what you are referencing that Justin has been campaigning against. The only thing I am aware of that he has been campaigning against is instituting sexual harassment policies at conferences.

      • CommanderTuvok

        “I found that comment from Vacula to be short sighted in light of how much Hensley has contributed to secularism.”

        The only think Hensley has contributed to secularism is toxicity, censorship, and divisiveness. She’s a thoroughly nasty individual, always misrepresenting and slandering people. Horrible woman. A liar and bully, pure and simple.

        • ^^^ Irony

          • Really, is this ironic:

            “We know who you are” and threats of employer harassment.

            Please show me the irony, as I’ve never done that to anyone. In fact, even when Sasha Wiley Shaw, a public figure who gave press conferences, was show to be the woman orchestrating the poster tear down, I told people on my YouTube channel that I didn’t want to hear anyone talking about complaining that she’s a teacher and I would personally tear anyone a new asshole I caught at it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to break my pristine record for never deleting a comment or banning a user.

            Unfortunately for you, Ellenbeth, all the doxing and harassment has come from your side. That’s why you people Dox (and no, Justin showing that Surly Amy’s business address was already online doesn’t count), because you can’t effectively harass people who are anonymous.

            • You’re making this about you? Are you feeling neglected?

              • Wow, psycho shaming tactics. I guess I will be nicer to you immediately, crazy lady.

                • Ah, Michael, you are so easy. All you have to do is post to prove me right.

        • Chas Stewart

          As the executive director of the D.C. branch of the CFI, Hensley has done and will do much more for the skeptic movement than I’ve done and probably ever will do and I’ve got big expectations for myself as a long time member of my local atheist organization. She is much more than a person that is easily offended by mean people on the internet and takes these mean comments to be representative of misogyny plaguing the movement.

      • Sorry for the delay here. My objections that I have voiced concern her conduct online, not her activism/contributions/organizing/fundraising.

    • CommanderTuvok

      Quite a few of the Skepchicks and FfTB brigade went to TAM, after many months of shit slinging.

      You people just don’t get it, do you? It is folk like YOU who the community is fed up with, not people like Justin. I know far more people who would rather Justin turn up to this conference rather than someone like Ophelia Benson or Rebecca Watson.

    • Jensen

      The truth needs to be spread, especially to those who hide so desperately from it. My man J.V. does it with style.

  • Justin, does this post mean that you actually want to attend this conference? In looking at the list of speakers announced so far, I’m finding that a bit difficult to believe. The intent of the conference may be wonderful, but they’ve rounded up some of the worst behaving individuals in the community to speak at it. You really want to be there?

    • Yes, my plan is to attend this conference.

    • “worst behaving individuals” Really? In what manner? Speaking up about harassment is a horrid behavior, I know.

      • Vic

        I do not understand your comment. Why do you think speaking up about harassement is horrid?

        If it is too stressful or emotionally undesirable for you to read about harassement, I’m sure you can avoid these discussions, even online. No need to discourage discussion altogether.

        • If getting sarcasm is too difficult for you, perhaps you should avoid reading blogs.

          • Darth Cynic

            EllenBeth Wachs: “So you want to come to a conference that is hosted by a woman you have insulted and will be attended by others you have mocked and belittled? Let’s be really clear, criticizing ideas is entirely different than attacking people.”

            By your own words above, ‘insulting,’ ‘mocking’ and ‘belittling’ are wrong, unlike the to and fro of valid criticism these are forms of attack and that latter is bad. Yet in the same thread you insult, mock and belittle another.

            Are you familiar with the phrase, “pot calling the kettle black?”

            • Dude, don’t you get that there are rules. One set for you…and another set for Ellenbeth that she can edit on the fly.

            • Really, please point out where I have insulted, mocked or belittled anyone.

              • Darth Cynic

                No problem, it’s right there just above my own post but in the interest of avoiding ambiguity your exact words in response to Vic were, “if getting sarcasm is too difficult for you, perhaps you should avoid reading blogs.”

                A trifecta of insulting, mocking and belittling.

                • That’s the best (or worst) you can come up with? Some sarcasm? lol

                  • For the purposes of pointing out hypocrisy, one example is sufficient.

                  • Darth Cynic

                    As mentioned it is all that is required, you committing the exact same thing you castigate another for in the same thread you castigate them.

                    The best response you then manage to having your infraction pointed out is some hand waving? An empty dismissal, that’s the best you can come up with? Lie to yourself if you must but don’t delude yourself into thinking that your transparent excuses will fool a single other.

                    As for sarcasm, that’s what you claimed your post Vic responded to was but your response to him was not sarcasm in any way shape or form recognised by a dictionary. Your suggestion to Vic was condescending, a belittling insult mocking their apparent inability to “get” your initial sarcasm.

                    • You need all those words to try again? (Yes, that’s a sarcastic dismissal)

                    • Darth Cynic

                      Ummm yes, you didn’t seem to understand with less so it did seem as though we had best be thorough so we may ascertain whether you are genuinely oblivious, or being willfully disingenuous. The repetition of mantra and stab at condescending dismissal would seem to mark you as guilty of the latter.

                      I would be less concerned about Justin Vacula’s attendance than I would about the presence of deeply unpleasant people like you. Faux-rationals who after digging their own hole can only come up with transparent evasions and trite put downs. Insult and dismissal, the hallmark of reason eh? Perhaps before you wade in to point out the mote in Vacula’s eye you should tend to the beam in your own.

                    • More “hand waving”.

                  • Ellenbeth for dummies: “anything I do is right, everything you do is wrong”. LRH would be proud

      • Bless your heart

        • Thank you.

          • Now run along honey, the adults are talking. If you’re real good, you ,ay have ice cream for dessert.

            • Mr. Welch, I am not sure why you think that is supposed to make me look bad.

              • I don’t care how it makes you look. You do a far better job of making you look stupid than I ever could. I’m treating you the same way I treat anyone who is not only a hypocrite, but angrily demands the right to be a hypocrite and that no one may call them out on it.

                I take nothing you say seriously because I find you to be thick as a whale omelette, and I don’t take the utterances of such people seriously. Should you stop demanding others abide by a standard of behavior you refuse to meet, I’ll stop thinking of you as genetic material that could have gone to someone more deserving.

                • You apparently care very deeply because you continue to try overly hard to lob insults in my direction. Pro-tip, they don’t work with me.

              • Especially when you always beat him to it.

      • Argument from ignorance comes naturally to Ellenbeth

        • I am wondering if you are capable of anything but insults.

          • Yes. I can make observations. Like that one.

          • bluharmony

            Yes, he is quite capable.

            • Then maybe he should start.

              • “If getting sarcasm is too difficult for you, perhaps you should avoid reading blogs.” –Ellenbeth, Sage.

      • CommanderTuvok

        You’ve learnt the Baboon tactics very well, haven’t you EllenBeth. Coming out with the old “they’re only trying to speak up about harassment” line is the typical defence to deflect attention away from all the shit they’ve thrown in the past two years.

        The criticism and mockery of these individuals is NOT because they are speaking out against harassment, etc. it is because they are liars, hypocrites, fundamentalists, control freaks, censorship-approving, devisive bullies.

        The fact that you correlate Justin’s legitimate criticism of these people with harassment, shows the sheer arrogance and religious-style immunity-to-criticism that you people think you are entitled to.

        • I stopped at “Baboon”

          • Caias Ward

            Alright, I’ll pick this up.

            Justin disagrees with the manner in which a number of those who consider themselves feminists defend their points and reach their conclusions. Justin attacks arguments in pretty much all cases.

            People like PZ and Ophelia Benson, meanwhile, assume that their arguments are immune to criticism. They engage in personal attacks from trying to make comparisons between Justin’s comments and actions of al Qaeda (really?) to claims of ‘stalking’ when someone publicly questions their comments and reasoning on a topic or the conclusions they have drawn. We have calls of shunning and shaming behavior without actually addressing the points.

            And when they are called out on such behavior, the people bringing it up are ‘bullies’. They are ‘harassing’.

            If I am misinterpreting this, please let me know and feel free to explain how Justin’s criticism of the ideas put for by people such as PZ and Ophelia is different than their criticism in return.

            • Wow, lots of assertions, with no citations.

              • Excellent rebuttal, EllenBeth…. Er, wait, I thought I saw a rebuttal, but I guess not.

                You really should be careful not to ask for citations when they are so prevalent. You’re on the wrong side of the argument if it’s citations of bad behaviour that will sway opinion. Here’s a perfect example of the kind of shunning and smearing that’s been going on:

                • Really? You send me a link to a video by Justin? I have seen some of his other videos. That’s part of the reason I think his attendance at WIS is a bad idea.

                  • CommanderTuvok

                    You really are full of shit, EllenBeth. It doesn’t matter what evidence is presented to you, you won’t change your position. You are a bully, just like Ophelia, PZ, Stephanie, Greg Laden, Watson and others.

                    We know all about your selective biases when it comes to evidence, so don’t insult our intelligence. The Slyme Pit has documented the bullying antics of your lot for the past year. The evidence is damning.

                  • Genetic fallacy. Nice one, Ellenbeth.

                  • EllenBeth, is that really your reply? That’s all you have? A genetic fallacy? Thankfully, you are not the only one I was posting that video for. I was posting it for you *and* everyone else reading this thread. I really don’t care if you want to turn a blind eye to the *evidence*. That is your own concern. But others are going to view the same video, realize that it shows the ridiculousness of the smearing going on, and come back, see your ‘Really?’ and realize you’ve got *nothing* to reply with.

                    You’re basically conceding the entire thread. You come with nothing, present no arguments, no evidence, ignore others’ arguments and evidence. What is left at the end of the day?

                    Do *you* think this is civil discourse? If you do, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re wrong. It’s not. You’re hiding your head in the sand.

                    Are you open minded, EllenBeth? A friend of mine, whom I admire, used to say something like, “Being open minded is being willing to entertain the possibility that you might be wrong.” Are you willing to entertain that possibility? Are you willing to honestly examine the evidence? If so, then feel free to watch the video for what it *presents*, not for *who* made it.

                    While you’re figuring out the answer to that question, I trust the readers to decide for themselves where the evidence falls.

                  • Caias Ward

                    It’s a screenshot of her own comment, EllenBeth.

                    But if you must:

                    Benson comparing coming about against aspects of ‘feminism’ which they disagree with as inciting terrorism.


                    PZ comparing people who criticize any aspect of feminism to Marc Lepine


                    And why are his other videos a problem? We don’t seem to have a citation on that, along with a genetic fallacy.

                    I could Fisk the hell out of this, but I’ll start there and we’ll see what directions you try to move the goalposts.

              • CommanderTuvok

                Always makes me laugh to hear a Baboon talk about lack of citations. Remember, EllenBeth, “facts don’t matter” (Dillahunty), and you’re being “hyperskeptical” (Svan)!

                Go back to the rest of your bullying cabal over at FfTB!

              • Ask not for what you refuse to provide.

          • CommanderTuvok

            That’s OK. I stop as soon as I see your name, or Ophelia’s, PZ’s, Rebecca’s, etc. It’s a bit like a biohazard warning. Tell you what, why don’t you go back over to Ophelia’s and join in the lies and mistruths.

            What a bunch of nasty bullies you are. These people are a cancer within our important community, and we must stand strong against them.

          • You’re stumped by “baboon”?

          • Again, argument from ignorance comes naturally to you.

    • bluharmony

      The president of the RDFRS will be there. I’d go just for that talk.

  • Chas Stewart

    Justin, I think you’re making a big mistake not offering up your full, luscious mustache to the razor for a sizable donation.

  • openlyatheist

    I pitched in! If only to see the sparks fly. Via con dios. ;)

    • jjramsey

      I pitched in, but not quite for the same reasons. Vacula going to WiSCon will likely be, um, … interesting, in one way or another, but I doubt there will be any outright altercations, verbal or otherwise.

  • Pingback: That’s something to look forward to » Butterflies and Wheels()

  • Pitchguest

    This will be the last comment I’ll make, so I’ll make this short:

    I support Justin Vacula to attend Women in Secularism 2.

    While EllenBeth hasn’t said anything untoward, if you choose to engage with her, know that she will use whatever you say as fodder to feed her persecution complex — and perhaps pass it on to her friends to juggle. So keep that in mind. I’m out.

    • Yeah, that’s priceless. I simply think his coming to the conference is a bad idea. But I support his right to. This is obviously a big joke to him and is being done as a publicity stunt.

      • Why is it a “bad idea”? and why don’t you fucking well stop constantly impugning people’s motives? You are not a mind reader, Ellenbeth, you can barely manage your own.

        • To be fair, Mykeru, you also engage in plenty of ‘mind reading’. I think you’re right that it’s an annoying and sometimes unethical tactic, by the way.

          • Such as?

            • I’m referring to your videos, in which you make claims about the whys of peoples’ motivations. I’m saying that if you’re engaging in making guesses about peoples’ motives and characters, then it undermines your argument when you point out mind-reading in others. I’m not saying it’s wrong, per se. I’m saying that it can be annoying, as you pointed out above, and in some circumstances (this is a hypothetical point, not linked to anything I’ve seen from you) it can become pathological and unethical, such as when some people constantly spread false/misleading/unsupported claims about people (e.g. Mr. X, Stef McGraw, etc.)

              An additional point I didn’t make above is that it can also sometimes have the practical effect of backfiring and causing additional drama that need not have been caused. It carries with it certain risks, as a tactic.

              • “I’m referring to your videos, in which you make claims about the whys of peoples’ motivations.” Example?

                • Since you asked, I took the time to find one of the examples I had remembered. The video is “Matt Dillahunty: Seriously, What the Fuck is Wrong with this Guy?” (

                  It’s a very funny (and sometimes tragic) and informative video. I enjoyed it a lot. Loved it, in fact. That is not the point. You asked for examples of where I’ve claimed you’ve engaged in ‘mind reading’. This is definitely one of them.

                  The only purpose of my bringing this up in the first place is that you made a charge to EBW about mind reading, and I was bringing up the fact that I’ve seen you do it too, and it kind of undermines your critique when all it amounts to is, “why don’t you fucking well stop constantly impugning people’s motives? You are not a mind reader, Ellenbeth”.

                  I don’t actually fault you for ‘mind reading’ in your video, because it is supposed to be humourous and/or making a judgment call on a situation you feel strongly about. However, having done that, it still will undermine your argument when you proceed to tell someone else that they can’t do the same. It’s true, EBW can’t read minds. But technically, neither can you. (Nor can I, of course.)

                  P.S. Obvious text transcript errors are due to the fact that I copied the auto-transcript from YT. I cleaned up some of the more relevant sections related to ‘mind reading’, and stripped out the story-telling parts, though, for clarity.

                  as you may know mats very much in demand masks a very busy important guy in
                  unlike the rest of us he really doesn’t have the time to stay at home and
                  recorded utube video
                  much less one with any production values or where there’s any evidence he took
                  the time to figure out
                  what and fuck he’s talking about
                  his lack of method got him supporting atheism plus and all they were fine
                  active this work because
                  he really was too busy doing other things to figure out
                  what there was to this whole
                  atheism plus things and it sounded kind of good
                  to their reasonable to assume matt too supports the right to life because
                  who could argue with that americans for prosperity because we should all prosper
                  operation iraqi freedom because everyone should be free
                  and pacification because it sounds so very fucking relaxing
                  known to be fair to madam sure he had some idea what a bunch of ideological
                  fuckwits harasser simple easy atheism plus crowd is
                  because he’s been known to do some bullying itself
                  but he didn’t mind their reign of terror right up until the moment where his own
                  head went rolling from the guillotine
                  still it’s very very important that matt dillon county share his starving
                  orphan thoughts with us
                  no matter how many times he been wrong
                  my point is this
                  stop doing it, you narcissistic bastard
                  I’m not even going to appeal to the fact that you think
                  you care about people that you’re interested in social justice
                  the proof is in the pudding
                  and when some arrogant, self-important asshole
                  starts recording youtube videos
                  while driving a motor vehicle
                  He’s just pain to someone else waiting to happen
                  doing it
                  that’s all”

                  • Considering that’s the only video where I’m overtly angry at someone’s extremely self-centered and dangerous behavior, done while I was still healing from having a broken foot, dislocated elbow and hematoma after being struck by an even less distracted driver, you can consider that an outlier. However, I make no apologies for the tone and the sarcasm.

                    • Whoosh. Point totally missed. Here it is again:

                      “The only purpose of my bringing this up in the first place is that
                      you made a charge to EBW about mind reading, and I was bringing up the fact that I’ve seen you do it too, and it kind of undermines your
                      critique when all it amounts to is, “why don’t you fucking well stop
                      constantly impugning people’s motives? You are not a mind reader,

                      I don’t actually fault you for ‘mind reading’ in your video, because
                      it is supposed to be humourous and/or making a judgment call on a
                      situation you feel strongly about. However, having done that, it still
                      will undermine your argument when you proceed to tell someone else that they can’t do the same. It’s true, EBW can’t read minds. But
                      technically, neither can you. (Nor can I, of course.)”

                      You asked for an example, I gave you one. The point is not the mind reading itself. The point is that your comment to EBW is undermined because it applies to you as well. It comes off as hypocritical.

        • Lovely. He knows someone has suffered from depression among other issues, so he immediately mocks her mental state.

          I wonder why anyone would be apprehensive about this crowd.

          • Which crowd would that be? Mykeru is his own person, as is everyone else. Unless you’re again relying on your intuition to make judgments about people, *prior* to having evidence to support those judgments. When people make such ‘pre judgments’, we kinda have a name for that.

            • You’re free to think whatever you want about me. I’m under no obligation to be generous to people like Mykeru and those i his online circle.

              • No obligation is implied or expected. Credit is given where credit is due.

              • Can you be specific about ‘his online circle’? And ‘people like’ him? What do those mean?

              • Like him? Is that some sort of ethnic slur?

            • Could you save us all some time and stop talking in unsourced, non-specific generalities that merely serve as ad hominem? Give me a concrete example.

          • Shouldn’t you be out snapping people’s necks?

          • Guest

            Why are you assuming that people in “this crowd” don’t have issues as serious or even more so?

          • No, that was not a reference to her being depressed (which I was unaware of) but bat shit crazy (which is manifest).

  • If nothing else I hope you get a chance to meet the people you’ve written off face to face and that this doesn’t become another oppurtunity for you and your friends to harass the feminist women you don’t approve of.

    But after reading the comments here ‘m almost positive I know why you’re doing this and what you hope to gain from it. Still. I can hope.

    • You seemed pretty positive that the A+ forums were great and all that, too, I seem to recall. How’s your intuition on these matters doing for you these days?

      • This isn’t intuition. Judging from Vacula’s comments about the women who have set up WiSC and the topics they’re presenting, it’s not exactly hard to rule out wanting to learn/discuss. That Hendricks is one of his backers makes that even more plain as she’s done nothing but shower contempt on any woman associated with WiSC.

        • Oh, so if it’s not about intuition, I guess it’s about evidence, then, right?

          What evidence have you to support your intuitive speculations?

          • I’m not getting into this game. I’ve raged enough online in the last week. Vacula’s statements re the women who will be speaking and their topics makes me very much doubt he’s interested in attending WiSC to listen to them speak.

            • Were you the Julian who left the A+ Forums after writing, “This place deserves the reputation it has, it deserves to be mocked…”

              If so, massive credit is due for this spot on analysis! #AtheistAirHug

              • Agreed, Justin. And, no, I’m not trying to steal julian’s virtual hug. In fact, I’ll add my own virtual hug into the mix. Kudos on realizing what we’ve all realized for months now, julian. ;-) Just like deconverting from theism takes time and is a sign of introspection and critical thinking, many of the people who’ve left the Atheism+ forums in disgust have had similar ‘deconversion’ processes with the same kinds of introspection. Congrats, julian, sincerely.

              • That downvote was from me. Sorry but I’m not looking for validation. You and your posters (especially PG and Mykeru) have been 10x worse than the worse the A+ forums had to offer.

                • Pitchguest

                  Don’t be so cruel, julian. Have some internet hugs. (I promise I won’t try to steal them.)

                • “You and your posters (especially PG and Mykeru) have been 10x worse than the worse the A+ forums had to offer.”

                  Oooh, wonderful, some non-intuitive claims. Can you please give us some evidence of this, julian, specifically regarding Justin, because, honestly, *you* count as one of his ‘posters’, too, if all it takes is that you post something on his blog comments. So really I’m only concerned with your *claims* about Justin here. Are they intuitive, or evidence-based? I’d really like to know.

                • Bless your heart

              • CommanderTuvok

                I’d go easy on the congratulations. Anybody who took several months to figure out A+ was full of shit is obviously a bit dim.

            • So backing up claims with evidence is a ‘game’ to you? Interesting.

              • :) Think what ya like.

                • “:) Think what ya like.”

                  I’ve found that believing things based only on ‘what I like’ to be intellectually unfulfilling. I’m much more interested in what’s true. That’s why I ask so many questions. Questions I notice you avoid. Hmmmm.

                  • Haha! This place really is just the flip side of the A+ forums, isn’t it? People asking “inquisitorial” question, looking for fights, looking for the worst possible reading of someone else’s writing.


                    Deconversion? Sorry, I’d have to be a lot more resentful, bitter and petty than Icurrently am.

                    • “Haha! This place really is just the flip side of the A+ forums, isn’t
                      it? People asking “inquisitorial” question, looking for fights, looking
                      for the worst possible reading of someone else’s writing.”

                      Ooooh, more claims that presumably you have evidence for, since you’re not using intuition, right?

                      Asking a question is ‘inquisitorial’? Are you saying that I’m somehow forcing you to answer? Or making up accusations against you?

                      Where I come from, a question is a question, and questioning is a good thing, especially if you don’t know the answer to something.

                      I genuinely do not know what you are referring to in all the questions I’ve asked. Go ahead, examine each one. Can you genuinely find one that is ‘inquisitorial’? If so, I’d love to see it so I can correct my ‘inquisitorial’ behaviour, which I have no intention of being. So, could you please *quote me*?

                      My questions are inquisitive, not inquisitorial. Who the heck am I to impose some sort of authority on you here? I’m just another Disqus commenter. What am I the Pope of? Nothing, as far as I can tell.

                      “looking for fights,”

                      Who’s looking for fights? Where? Can you quote this? I’m looking for *answers* to questions. You are absolutely free not to answer them. I do think it would look kind of strange to everyone reading this if you leave obvious questions unanswered, though.

                      “looking for the worst possible reading of someone else’s writing.”

                      Have I done this? Where? In fact, aren’t *you* engaging in just that when you are imputing motives onto me without actually knowing (since, clearly, you haven’t bothered to ask me anything in return)? I won’t speculate and pretend I’ve got definite answers. I’ll just continue to ask questions to clarify my understanding. I’m a big fan of the Socratic method of dialogue. Hopefully you’ll answer at least some of them, but that’s entirely up to you, obviously.

                    • I don’t think that’s possible unless you drink a lot more sterno. But please, feel free to prove me wrong

                    • Speaking of “looking for fights” and “the worst possible reading of someone else’s writing” …

                    • Starring, wouldn’t you know it, one julian francisco, epic shit disturber sans evidence.

                    • lol- talking about looking for a fight. You got that totally wrong. I wasn’t even talking to you.

                    • Julian, I’m not banning, editing, or moderating you. I’m happy you’re here and that you’re interacting with those who comment here. I try to make this as fair and as open as I reasonably can. I don’t step in, like the A+ mods, and berate you, assume bad faith, etc.

                    • True. You aren’t doing favoritism in the comment section (at least from what I can see) but that’s really not my point. This place isn’t a fit for me for the same reason Pharngula and the A+ forums aren’t. Good luck at WiSC. Whatever happens I hope everyone walks away more respectful of each other, each other’s boundaries and with less animosity.

        • Renee’s helped raise thousands of dollars to help kids in need. Other than empty threats, wtf have you done?

          • I really don’t see what that has to do with my point, Welch. I’m arguing that Vacula isn’t interested in discussing things with many of the women at WiSC and that he doesn’t think their views/opinions worth listening to.

            Considering that Hendricks has actually called the type of feminism behind WiSC (and the feminism of many of its speakers) worthless (alongside other more personal and not so kind things) I think her role in this goes to my point.

            Whatever charity work she has done is about as relevant as how old she is.

            • ” I’m arguing that Vacula isn’t interested in discussing things with
              many of the women at WiSC and that he doesn’t think their views/opinions
              worth listening to.”

              Ooooh, yet *more* claims you presumably have evidence for, right? Am I right? Are you *finally* going to actually defend your smears? Finally? For once? Please. Humour me. Show me that you can actually reason like a skeptic.

              Where is the *evidence* to support your spurious *claims*, julian?

              “Considering that Hendricks has actually called the type of feminism
              behind WiSC (and the feminism of many of its speakers) worthless
              (alongside other more personal and not so kind things) I think her role
              in this goes to my point.”

              WTF do Renee Hendricks’ *alleged* statement (which you’ve not quoted, I notice) have to do with *Justin Vacula’s* intentions?

              Are you perhaps using that intuition of yours again to jump to wild leaps of speculation? Or do you actually have *anything*, anything at all, to support your accusations?

              • ::eyeroll:: and that’ll be my last comment here.

                • CommanderTuvok

                  Bye bye. The Baboons always get to flounce first whenever there is a level playing field. It’s a bit tough arguing your cause outside of FfTB, isn’t it, Julian?

                  • you’re quiet ridiculous, you know that? You criticize others for being too quick with insults and being inflammatory and yet jump at the importunity to do so yourselves.

                • Aaaaannnnnddd….


                  Just as I suspected, based on your previous smearing, julian. You have *nothing* to support your random, paranoid claims about people you don’t even know and haven’t got the faintest clue about.

                  Thank you for making that perfectly clear to everyone reading this. You were very cooperative, in not answering any of my reasonable questions. Cheers!

                  • Hendricks has literally called the feminism and practices of Melody Hensley, Watson and Benson worthless. You can ask her what she’s had to say about it in the past. Unlike you guys I don’t keep a giant log of what everyone everywhere has said.

                    Vacula, in an argument with me on twitter, did more or less the same except without the personal insults. He contrasted women like Gaudette to women like Watson and their respective forms of feminism. They (he and Gaudette) rejected and dismissed the feminism behind WiSC. It’s “gender feminism” to them and aims to put women above men.

                    • “Unlike you guys I don’t keep a giant log of what everyone everywhere has said.”

                      Maybe you should, to back up your spurious smearing claims about them. Otherwise, maybe you should just stop making such *unsupported* claims.

                    • Would it help if I added iirc to my comments?

                      If you want to know what Hendricks thinks about Hensley and others you could always ask her. She hasn’t exactly hid it.

                    • Yes it would, but I would still challenge you if your comments were impugning people’s character. Many a smear campaign is started by ‘I seem to recall so-and-so telling about their friend who heard such and such.’ At least it would be more honest, though.

                      “If you want to know what Hendricks thinks about Hensley and others you could always ask her. She hasn’t exactly hid it.”

                      Why should I ask her? *You’re* the one making the *claim*, therefore *you* have the burden of proof:

                      If you have nothing to support your claims, it is *rumour mongering*, pure and simple.

                    • I support the WiSC. It’s important and necessary. Gender feminists’ opinions are JUST AS valid as equity feminists and I’ve never said otherwise.

                    • So there you go, julian. A direct rebuttal of one of your random spurious claims about people, straight from the person herself. Are you going to update your beliefs to account for this new evidence that contradicts your prior beliefs? Or are you going to take the dogmatic route and make up more random spurious claims from your wild imagination to impugn Bridget Gaudette’s character even further?

                      Are you going to escalate the drama, or learn from your mistakes and begin to be reasonable?

                    • For what it’s worth, I also support the WiSC, in its conception. It remains to be seen whether it is taken over by ideology or if it is open to all secular points of view, but so far it seems to me to be a good thing. I hope it is able to attract a diverse variety of points of view. Diversity is a good thing for the health of social movements. I believe Justin would support that position as well.

                      Oh, forgot to mention, have to take a break for a bit. Take care, everyone! I’ll check in on the thread later. :-)

                    • whether I’m wrong about the exchange or you’ve changed your mind, I don’t care. I’m happy to read that.

                    • Forgot to say sorry. I shouldn’t have attributed a psition to you you don’t hold.

                    • Gender feminists v. Equity Feminists? Apparently you aren’t aware that this is wholly artificial distinction created by Christina Hoff Summers. But out of curiosity, which one do you consider yourself? and no, I am not stalking you. It isn’t always about you. :)

                    • Christina Hoff Sommers … the feminist? Dun dun dunnnn! The thought plickens!

                      And by the way, apparently you aren’t aware that patriarchy theory, privilege theory, and a host of other feminist thought are wholly artificial distinctions created by …. feminists. Dun dun dunnnnn! Holy crap! Feminists can disagree on things? Not all feminists believe in the same concepts! There are legitimate positions *within* feminism that do *not* support the positions put forth by the A+/FTB/etc. crowd. The world will end!!!!

                      Or not. See, the thing is, if one is willing to honestly and reasonably discuss *different points of view* without censorship/blocking/banning/deleting and drama mongering, etc., we could actually have a *real* discussion about the *real* issues that surround feminism, sexism, human rights, etc. without getting this *dogmatic* ideology shoved down our throats and being called misogynists and rape apologists just for having a *different opinion*. Wouldn’t that be nice?

                      I’m all for it. How about you? Are you open minded to that?

                      Oh, and to answer your question, I most closely identify with equity feminism, though I’m still learning and that may shift around if I find a better label to describe it.

                    • “Christina Hoff Sommers … the feminist? Dun dun dunnnn” lol

                      She identifies as an “equity feminist” nuff said. She also makes the case for “traditional values” I don’t personally use that division of equity and gender feminists. I do acknowledge that men get a raw deal in certain situations. GASP!

                      I can’t speak as to why bloggers ban people. That’s their right however. Ask Bridget, She banned me. She just doesn’t want to hear my point of view.

                    • “She identifies as an “equity feminist” nuff said.” Oh, yeah, equity is bad. I guess that is enough.

                    • “She identifies as an “equity feminist” nuff said.”

                      But what *really* matters is whether she’s a true Scotswoman or not!

                      I wonder, EllenBeth, what do you believe is required to be a feminist? Do you agree that all it takes is to believe in “the radical notion that women are people”? Or perhaps the idea that “women and men (and basically everybody) should have the same rights”? If not those, then what? What are your shibboleths for your specific branch of feminist ideology?

                      “She also makes the case for “traditional values” I don’t personally use that division of equity and gender feminists. I do acknowledge that men get a raw deal in certain situations. GASP!”

                      Does she include “traditional values” in her definition of equity feminism? I don’t see it anywhere, for example, on this page:

                      It seems to me that you are conflating some of her conservative views with her specific views on equity feminism. People are allowed to hold diverse views, are they not? For example, I am not conservative at all. In terms of the American scale of political views, I’m pretty far left. Like, off the scales left. To me, Obama is right wing (center-right at best). Yet, I consider myself far more closely aligned to equity feminism than gender feminism. I have little interest in ‘traditional values’. I don’t align with equity feminism based on Hoff-Sommers’ political leanings. I align with it based on the principles of equality, which I hold dearly.

                      There’s a whole lot of secular/intellectual woo woo you have to buy into if you buy into mainstream and/or radical gender feminism, such as some of the more kooky views on patriarchy theory and privilege and rape culture (e.g. Schrodinger’s Rapist). I’m *far* too skeptical for that stuff. I wouldn’t make it 10 seconds on Pharyngula or Skepchick or the A+ forums, with their banning histories. Far too much dogma investment in those venues.

                      “I can’t speak as to why bloggers ban people. That’s their right however.”

                      Indeed. And it’s *our* right to voice *our* opinions about the intellectual standards of someone (such as PZ, Ophelia, et al) who regularly bans people who merely hold different opinions — correct? It is their right to behave how they behave, but it is also our right to judge such behaviour if we feel it is intellectually dishonest (especially when one is purporting to represent open-minded atheism and skepticism, for example). It is our right to point out hypocrisy. (And yours as well, obviously.)

                      “Ask Bridget, She banned me. She just doesn’t want to hear my point of view.”

                      Bridget is a fairly new face for me, I don’t know much about her yet. I am not aware of the incident you are referring to. I would need more specific information to make my own confident judgment. While I don’t distrust you per se, I know from the stinky history of this ongoing conflict that there has been *a lot* of miscommunication, misunderstanding, premature throwing of people under buses, etc. So, for me, an anecdote such as this, coming from a person who is obviously involved in the conflict, and who I perceive to have previously jumped to premature conclusions about some things, I’m afraid I can’t judge this incident by your statements alone. I would need corroborating evidence that your claims are true. On the other hand, they may very well be true. But I don’t know that either. One way or the other, I cannot make any kind of confident judgment.

                      So, does she *really* not want to hear your point of view? Possibly. But to me it sounds like more mind-reading, at first glance. In these kerfuffles, mind-reading of one’s rival in a disagreement is *way* more frequently wrong than right. Perhaps she banned you for a different reason. Perhaps she misunderstood something you said. Perhaps this, perhaps that. There are many possible explanations for what happened. How can you be so sure it’s because “She just doesn’t want to hear my point of view.”? It doesn’t sound very plausible to me, at first glance. I’m reminded of Hanlon’s Razor, which I mentioned upthread.

                      Are you open to the possibility that you could be wrong about it? Do you have some sort of evidence (e.g. link, quote) that makes this more clear?

                    • Am I open to the possibility that I may be wrong about it? Certainly. That is why I offered her multiple chances to start anew with me. I even drove through a Tropical storm (literally) to meet with her to try to work it out. She is one of those that formed her impression of me based on rumor and wouldn’t back down. I told her that it was rather unfair and she didn’t care. Do I have evidence? I have witnesses.

                    • And, to be fair, you don’t really *need* to provide evidence to me. I don’t expect people to prove every little thing they say. It only becomes an issue under certain conditions, such as a) the person wants to convince me to believe that such-and-such is actually true, b) the person is making a specific claim about me or someone else, and expecting that claim to be convincing (e.g. I’m not exactly sure why you brought Bridget up in this specific instance; presumably you are trying to make a particular point by using her as an example, but I don’t know what that point is, if any was intended. Assuming it’s the case, though, to convince me of the point would require more evidence, from my perspective.), c) the person is trying to influence larger groups or events, in which I have a vested interest (such as the spreading of rumours and misinformation about various people in the community, which has the effect of interfering with the community and its efforts, i.e. sowing discord, from my perspective), etc.

                      So, honestly, I don’t yet have any vested interest in the dispute between yourself and Bridget. It’s unfortunate, yes, but I only have limited energy to invest in various issues, and so I have to prioritize my efforts. Not knowing much about it, and seeing it more as ‘yet another example of the larger problems I’m already focused on’, I honestly can’t prioritize learning about it very high on my list. If you happened to press the issue, I might reconsider, but I don’t see any particular reason why you’d want me to get into your business. No offence intended.

                      There are going to be misunderstandings, miscommunications, and sometimes people just plain aren’t going to click with one another. It happens. We need to be able to keep working together despite these relatively minor disagreements. That’s the important thing, IMO. The A+/FTB/slymepit/etc. shenanigans overall, as a general phenomenon, are undermining that goal, with no ‘upside’ to it, IMO. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I honestly think *most* people involved in all this drama *mostly* agree about *most* things, if only they would stop imagining the worst about their ‘opponents’, and start listening to what is actually being said, stop jumping to conclusions and taking things so deeply personally, and start realizing that *they too* could be contributing to counterproductive drama, and start looking for ways to prevent and correct that in themselves and in their dealings with others. I try to do this stuff myself, too. That’s what this whole thread is about, from my perspective. Personally, I think it works. I look at this thread, and I think, “It could so easily have gone just like all the other pointless drama threads.” My intuition is that by behaving the way I’ve behaved, I’ve contributed to *reducing* drama, rather than generating it. Time will tell.

                    • Oh, and I’m not going to get into a feminist theory discussion with you on Justin’s blog.

                    • Fair enough. You did however make a comment regarding it (equity/gender feminism), so I don’t think it’s at all inappropriate for me to have responded to it. I’m not that interested in pursuing it here either.

                    • Proof please :)

                    • Oooh, look at that, julian. *Another* person you made random unsubstantiated smears about coming out and directly contradicting you. Seems to be a kind of pattern here, doesn’t there.

                      The only way out of this, julian, is for you to back up your points with evidence, or run away! run away! Brave sir julian.

              • I also find it cute you think those are smears.

            • It at least shows she’s done more than lip off on a blog, which appears to be the sum total of your entire support of feminism. Oh, and you like to threaten people.

    • There won’t be any harassment. I’ve attended and spoken at many atheist events and there never have been problems – nor will there be. I don’t harass people.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you had plans to or would be.

        • BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…oh bullshit, that’s exactly what you’ve been implying. Also, I thought you were leaving. Can’t do anything right, can you.

      • You don’t seem to understand that what you think is “criticism” constitutes harassment to some people. Whether you consider it valid is irrelevant. You didn’t like my criticism of you one time, did you? You didn’t consider it valid- So much so you blocked me from your facebook wall. So, I am confused, Justin. Please explain to me the difference.

        • “You don’t seem to understand that what you think is “criticism” constitutes harassment to some people.”

          Oh, I think we’re pretty aware that several people in this conflict think that criticism equates to harassment. It is obvious. It is also wrong. Harassment has a pretty clear legal definition:

          “harassment (either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious. Such activities may be the basis for a lawsuit if due to discrimination based on race or sex, a violation on the statutory limitations on collection agencies, involve revenge by an ex-spouse, or be shown to be a form of blackmail (“I’ll stop bothering you, if you’ll go to bed with me”). The victim may file a petition for a “stay away” (restraining) order, intended to prevent contact by the offensive party. A systematic pattern of harassment by an employee against another worker may subject the employer to a lawsuit for failure to protect the worker. (See: harass, sexual harassment)”

          (Un)Fortunately (depending on your perspective), the only *actual* harassment that we’ve got documentation for has been from individuals such as Greg Laden, ‘friend’ of PZ, Zvan, et al.

          Posting critiques, satire, and even straight-up ridicule, of public statements, public behaviour, and even directly making fun of publicly known figures, is not harassment. I’ve tried to avoid going this far myself, simply because I don’t think it is likely to achieve the goals I’m seeking, *but* I do not see this kind of thing as *wrong*. It is absolutely protected free speech, and it’s exactly this kind of free speech that is *so crucial* to our activism against religion, theism, and dogmas of all kinds.

          I side with Voltaire (as recounted by Evelyn Beatrice Hall): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” By all accounts, Voltaire was a bit of a dick. And so what? Are we not allowed to be jerks and assholes and dicks and c– oops, almost said the magic word.

          But seriously, there is literally *nothing* one can say that will not piss the fuck off of *someone* else. I take extra special care to be excessively calm and polite in threads like these, and yet look at all the down-votes. Hey, down-vote all you want! Just don’t throw me under the bus, merely for having a different opinion.

          We as people, as humans, as a *society*, MUST learn to *embrace* differences of opinion — not as something to quash and expel, but as a fundamental human freedom. It is not a *sin* to be *wrong* about something. We are *all* wrong about *some* things, I guarantee it.

          Theists are not un-human. Nor are equity feminists. Nor are non-feminists. Nor are gender feminists. Nor are people like Stef McGraw, whose *only* ‘crime’ was to disagree with Rebecca Watson, and to express her sincere opinion, as a skeptical, independent-minded *feminist*.

          For me, this is the crux of the issue.

          Can we work together *despite* mere differences of opinion about this or that issue? Can we find common ground based on a minimal foundation of reasonable discourse? Can we resist the urges to lock our intellectual rivals inside a ‘them’ cage?

          Because if not, then we are doomed to fail. We might as well all pack up and go home, because we will not be able to do any better than the theists and non-skeptics.

          I for one am optimistic. It is not actually that hard to calm the fuck down and be reasonable. It just takes a little time, a little persistence, a little practice, and a nice hefty dose of humility, rather than an overdose of hubris.

          People *can* wake the fuck up. We’ve already proven this. Theists are waking up to reality in droves. Dogmas of all brands are basically the same: Unquestionable and unquestioned belief. The solution is quite simple: Question the *fuck* out of them.

          And no, questions are not harassment either.

          • Actually, cyber-harassment has a very different definition. I respect your intelligence, so I will leave it up to you to find your own state statute. I am am aware that Florida defines it as the following,

            means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
            Florida statute 784.048 
            means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to
            be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of
            electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific
            person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and
            serving no legitimate purpose.

            Questions can constitute harassment depending upon how they are handled. Because the type of communication is framed as a query doesn’t change the behavior.

            Now, looking at that definition, I am fairly certain there is a great deal of conduct (on both sides people would argue) that would fall under this statute.

            • “serving no legitimate purpose.”

              There’s the sticking point. It’s much like Fair Use in copyright. The stuff I’ve seen coming from critics of OB, PZ, RW, et al, has as far as I’m aware all had a legitimate purpose in regards to atheist activism. It is political speech. These are public figures involved in a public movement of which the critics are also a part. They have a right to speak their minds as well! Including if that speech involves ridicule, mockery, satire, blasphemy, argumentation, protest, etc.

              What is the alternative? To shut the hell up and ‘take it’? To quote someone upthread: “FUCK THAT.”

              • The above post was edited, more than I first intended. Significant text was added. Apologies for any confusion.

                • Let me tell you from personal experience, taking complaints to the authorities is worthless.

                  • What do you propose as an alternative? And your experiences may not be representative, having dealt with corrupt authorities who had it out for you in the first place.

                • and by the way, Thaumos, you have a tendency to go on just a bit too much for my tastes and time constraints. I don’t have the inclination nor desire to respond to such lengthy responses in this type of forum.

                  • I know, it kinda just sucks the drama right out of it, eh? Makes it hard to respond with short, snarky comments, for example. Makes the whole conversation kinda boring and slow, right?

                    I know. That’s exactly the effect I’m going for. It’s anti-drama and anti-trolling. It works.

                    I can do short and conversational, when there isn’t so much animosity in the air, and when it’s less likely that people will try to mind-read me. When the conversation goes that way, I adapt. Perhaps in our future conversations, with this background info out of the way, and less distrust and suspicion, we can afford a more brisk and friendly dialogue.

    • Caias Ward

      Julian, I find that many of the people commenting online about how horrible Justin is have the bravery of being out of range. It is easy to insult people who challenge your ideas when a screen separates you.

      I’m hoping at the conference, Justin will get a chance to actually talk to people and those people will actually try to talk in return, rather than engaging in insulting and dismissive tribalism.

  • CommanderTuvok

    Some really horrible individuals are posting over at Ophelia’s cesspit. They are attempting to bully you against, Justin, just like they did with the petition. Ophelia is allowing lie upon lie to pile up over there. She’s a despicable human being.

    Be assured that you have the support of the wider atheist/skeptic communities in your battle to stand up to these thoroughly unpleasant characters who make up a small clique within the movement.

    • Chas Stewart

      I’m not a fan but you don’t have enough information to declare an internet personality a “despicable human being”. There aren’t many despicable human beings in this world, you know.

  • Clare45

    Is this conference really about secularism or is it all about women’s (gender feminist) issues? If it’s about the former, then why wouldn’t Justin be a very welcome guest or speaker on account of his atheism/secularism activism?

    • CommanderTuvok

      Because sadly, an extremist clique of bullies are attempting to wrestle control of the atheist/skeptic/secular communities.

      Sadly for them, it will never happen. We will fight them tooth and nail. We have already humbled FfTB, exposed Ophelia Benson as a liar, exposed Watson and a a bully, liar and hypocrite, exposed FfTB for the hivemind that it is. We have thoroughly humiliated them, and believe me, we have only just begun.

      If it means destroying FfTB to protect our valuable community, we will do it. The opposition to the Baboons is growing daily (you never hear of someone deserting “our side” to support FfTB) – it just doesn’t happen. In the meantime, people are leaving the groupthink and coming to The Slyme Pit.

      As far as I’m concerned, people like PZ, Ophelia, Svan, Laden, Watson, etc. are toxic and are not welcome in our community. They deserve to be treated like pariahs.

      • IMO, CommanderTuvok, anyone is capable of breaking out of dogma (well, not *anyone*, the point is simply that we don’t know ahead of time who are certainly the future deconverts, and who are certainly not). I’ve seen die-hard fundies wake up from theism to become some of the best promoters of atheism around. It not only happens, it’s pretty common. I won’t make any predictions, but I suspect that many folks who currently are strong supporters of A+/whatever will eventually break out of the dogma.

        Those who’ve engaged in overtly unethical behaviour, e.g. Laden, will have a next-to-impossible time regaining anyone’s trust. But some of the others, I’m not so sure. I’m not willing to throw anyone under the bus or call them a pariah. I still have hope for them and don’t want to burn bridges with them. If they burn their own bridges, I have no control over that. But bridges will not be burnt from my side of them, if I can help it.

        • I know I said I’d leave but disquis pointed your reply to me out and I happened to read this as well.

          Do you honestly think you’re being “bi partisan” (excuse the expression)? Do you really think you’re preserving bridges or what not by encouraging people like Tuvok here? If someone is openly hostile, uses demeaning language and frequently acts as cruelly and ungraciously as possible to others and you condone and encourage their behavior, how can you claim to be looking to preserve bridges?

          This is the same game Vacula plays except he’s already actually said and done thing to people. (Maybe you have to but I don’t know that) You’re both doing just as much to destroy them as anyone at FtB or A+ or Skepchick is.

          And it’s laughable you think you’re somehow superior.

          • “Do you honestly think you’re being “bi partisan” (excuse the expression)?”

            Have I ever claimed to be ‘bipartisan’? No.

            I have a position, based on my own principles, and that’s what I base my responses on. I don’t consider ‘sides’, to the extent that I’m able to. I consider *behaviour* and *beliefs* and *claims* and *evidence*. If someone on ‘one side’ makes an unsupported claim that I can confidently challenge, I’ll challenge it. If someone on ‘the other side’ makes an unsupported claim, ditto. The ‘sides’ in this are made up group labels which have very little meaning to me. I certainly don’t think there are ‘two sides’ to this whole mess. Much more reasonable is to focus on what people *say* and *do*, rather than what ‘side’ they or anyone else *imagines* them to be on.

            “Do you really think you’re preserving bridges or what not by encouraging people like Tuvok here?”

            Encouraging? I just expressed my disagreement with him. How is that ‘encouraging’ him? Am I ‘encouraging’ you when I express my disagreements with you?

            “If someone is openly hostile, uses demeaning language and frequently acts as cruelly and ungraciously as possible to others and you condone and encourage their behavior, how can you claim to be looking to preserve bridges?”

            Are you referring to yourself here? I seem to recall you being quite demeaning and ungracious in a previous conversation we had: (Curiously, it also involves reams of unsupported claims against people. I wonder why.)

            I preserve bridges simply by not burning them. I’ve chosen the ethical lines I won’t cross, and I will stop supporting people if they cross them, and will challenge them if I get the chance. I’ve done this with you, with EllenBeth, with CommanderTuvok, with franc hoggle, Justicar, Greta Christina, and many other people. As long as they don’t burn their bridges with me, I won’t burn mine with them. Unless they do something clearly and unambiguously unethical, like Greg Laden. I have no bridge with him, nor do I want one. I don’t think you’ve gone that far, so as far as I’m concerned, if you can start using reasonable arguments and stop making random spurious smears against people, we may yet be able to find some sort of common ground. But that’s entirely up to you. Obviously, it has to be mutual. I’m just saying that I haven’t closed that door.

            For example, Ophelia Benson has clearly burned her bridges with me (if she even cares at all about it, I don’t even know, nor do I care). That was 100% entirely her choice and her action, as it should be. I have no control over that, nor would I want it. But I didn’t burn it.

            You can burn or not burn your bridges with me. Again, entirely up to you, again, as it should be. But I won’t burn it, if I can help it. A bridge takes both sides to support, however. So, the existence of said bridge is now entirely up to you.

            “And it’s laughable you think you’re somehow superior.”

            I’m entirely not surprised to see more mind-reading character attacks from you. Par for the course, I’m afraid. The responsibility for that is entirely in your hands, however.

            • Unless they do something clearly and unambiguously unethical, like Greg Laden.

              You have a good night, man. I’m not getting into this with you. If you don’ see some of the things said to OB, Svan or Watson to be comparable to Laden’sabusive atack on Justin Griffith, I ain’t gonna convince ya of anything.

              Consider the bridge burned. Later.

              • How many times does Julian threaten to leave before he does? Let’s ask Mr. Owl.

              • CommanderTuvok

                Evidence, or STFU!

                Harassment from trolls outside the movement does not count. There is only one bully, harasser, and sender of violent threats in the community, and that is Greg Laden, much adored and respected by Svan, Benson, Myers, and Watson, amongst others.

                Get on your fucking bike.

              • Again, any burning is entirely your prerogative.

                And I’d like to see the quotes of these things said to OB/Svan/Watson from known atheists which are worse than a direct threat of physical violence. Good luck finding that. Can’t wait to see it if you do, though.

                • For any observers wondering about this, here is documentation of Laden’s threat of violence:

                  “Don’t ever, ever find yourself in my presence or think you deserve to breath the air that I, and Jen, and Stephanie, and Gret and Ophelia and PZ and the rest of us breath, because you do not.

                  If you do make that apology it better be from laying face down in the mud.

                  Have a nice day and kiss my ass.


                  PS, don’t you dare ask, ever again, for an upvote or any other support from your colleagues. I’ll kick your fucking ass if you do. You will regret it. (Unless that apology is forthcoming.)”

                  Note: To my knowledge, Greg Laden has never apologized for this threat. Correct me if I’m wrong. I looked, couldn’t find it. Pretty sure it hasn’t happened.

                  Looking forward to a similar quote and link from you, julian, to support *your* claim.

                  • Greg Laden is a coward. People who talk a big game never act. Threats? Big, showy threats? They’re just peacock feathers. People who really have the ability and means to hurt you would never advertise the fact. He’s an idiot.

              • I’m not sure what a bock quote is but it sounds like a beer Sam Adams would sell, and that makes it delicious.

          • CommanderTuvok

            JD: “If someone is openly hostile, uses demeaning language and frequently
            acts as cruelly and ungraciously as possible to others and you condone
            and encourage their behavior, how can you claim to be looking to
            preserve bridges?”

            Why haven’t you burned all your bridges with Watson, Myers, Benson, Laden, Svan, etc., then?

            These bullies are always smearing people with shit, They are constantly lying, constantly playing professional victims while THEY are harassing others. They constantly claim others are “cyberstalking” them, only for them scour and invade other people’s FB pages to use out-of-context quotes for their latest smear attack.

            The Slyme Pit smelt their bullshit from the start, and trust me, we have only just begun. Benson, Myers, Svan, Laden, Watson, Christina, Canuck and the other scumbags have no place in our movement. The Slyme Pit will see that they are sufficiently exposed for what they actually are, and the movement will continue to thrive without their grubby little presence.

        • CommanderTuvok

          Re: Laden.

          Well, the upper echelons of FfTB are still on very friendly terms with Laden. The guy that creeps after women and their employers. The guy that doxxes women on his site. The guy that sends threats of violence via email.

          Interestingly that the only real evidence of threats of violence within the A/S communities has come from a Baboon, in the form of Laden. Anything else comes from trolls who are not representative of the Slymers.

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  • CommanderTuvok

    Yes, is has been confirmed that Ophelia Benson has allowed one of her posters to “dox” somebody by the name of Jerry Conlon. The excuse used by the commentator is that the information is easily available. Sound familiar?

    This means Ophelia Benson is guilty of harassment and cyberstalking, because since she is moderating comments on her site, she allowed and approved that message. When Surly Amy was “doxxed”, Ophelia and company set it was harassment, and considered it a threat. This means Ophelia has threatened Jerry Conlon. Further, a poster on Butterflies and Wheels recently suggested he could “sort out” somebody if they lived near by. Since Ophela’s commentariat attracts such obvious threatening characters, Jerry would be right to worry for his personal safety.

    Maybe Ophelia wants a knock at the door from the police?

    • She is certainly stepping close to that line. I cannot fathom the reasons for her blatant hypocrisy. Absolutely disgusting.

      Documentation of said doxxing:

    • CommanderTuvok

      BTW, Ophelia has responded to my post on her site. She’s butthurt, crying, and howling, and so are her asinine commentators in what amounts to a glorious display of groupthink and illogical mental masturbastion. They just can’t accept that when they shout about harassment and threats stemming from someone’s details getting posted on The Slyme Pit, the same doesn’t apply when someone “doxxes” on Ophelia’s site. Of course, they also forget that Laden, Watson and Myers have all “doxxed” as well. Are they contributing to a culture of threats and harassment?

      As I have always said, their “rules” don’t apply to themselves. They are lying, hypocritical scumbags. You only have to look at the PZ thread that made Queen Bee (Rebecca Watson) cry like a baby, by mentioning the RDF (Richard Dawkins Foundation). Dozens of commentators over there are saying that Dawkins should not be immune to criticism. Hmmm, who said he was? I think you will find it is PZ, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, etc. who are the ones who presume they are above criticism.

      Ever notice the reaction when somebody criticises Queen Bee. Look at the response to Ed Clint’s criticism of Queen Bee’s evo-psyche tripe. They just could not accept that someone (a man, at that) had the audacity to take down Watson. Then look at Ophelia’s childish and angry responses to Shermer. As a chief Baboon, Ophelia expects to be able to dish it out, but cries her little eyes out when she gets taken down a few pegs.

      Listen, if the Baboons are going to step up the plate, they should be prepared to get struck out. Simples.

      PS – Ophelia is trying to make out that she had no control over that “dox” post on her board. That is not true. Ophelia had moderation turned on at the time, and she approved the message. I don’t for the life of me know how she expects to get away with such falsehoods.

      • I’m skeptical. Wouldn’t a first time commenter be auto-moderated? I could, though, of course, be mistaken.

  • I applaud Justin for wanting to go to this conference. If I were able to, I would attempt to go as well. This could be a fantastic opportunity for those on “different sides of the fence” to actually talk. Also, thank you Justin for including Operation Smile in all of this!

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  • Hopping in here and echoing @Skeptic_Ink:disqus

    “I have not followed this rather lengthy thread closely over the last week, but I am telling you (and others) now to please refrain from personal insults. I am not solely blaming you, but this discussion seems to have degraded into insults and attacks.”

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  • doubtthat

    This idea didn’t strike anyone involved as childish for even a brief instant?

    Goofy stunts are generally a harbinger of ridicule. But fine. Go. Perhaps you will learn something.

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