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Posted on May 22, 2013 in blogosphere | 161 comments

Upon request of David Silverman…a condemnation

ScreenHunter_261 May. 22 15.50A recent prolonged Twitter discussion including David Silverman — President of American Atheists Inc. — and I concerning claims of misogyny, sexism, threats, and the like within the atheist movement has occurred.

Readers familiar with my content pertaining to the atheist blogosphere ought to know that I am skeptical of claims of rampant misogyny and threats within the atheist community which lead people to the conclusion that the atheist community is a hostile and unsafe place for women. In various venues, including interviews, podcasts, episode of my radio show, and pieces on this website, I have condemned criminal activity and other vile behaviors, but have been asked to make a statement.

I asked David Silverman to appear on an episode of Brave Hero Radio to talk about these issues within a debate or discussion. Silverman — as it seems — requested I make a statement before he come on the show. While I don’t believe, as I noted, that the atheist community is a hostile and unsafe place, I have no problem making a statement against certain behaviors with the caveat that I am skeptical of various claims – which should be no problem because, after all, David Silverman and I are going to discuss these issues and present divergent perspectives on the condition that he approves of my statement.

Here is that statement modified from a statement Silverman himself had authored in July of 2012.

Criminal activity which may be directed at members of the atheist community including — but not limited to — threats of violence, actions of violence, and threats of death are repugnant. I would, rather than see conversations devolve into pure nastiness, prefer to see ideas discussed rather than people attacked. I see criminal activities as base and detestable. They have no redeeming value and may lead to individuals being hurt. As a long term activist, I see criminal activity directed at members of the atheist community to be reprehensible and do not condone it.

Additionally, satire and parody can be utilized by individuals to mock others. Satire and parody which devolves into egregious name-calling and personal attacks (hatred) is not a way for discussion to move forward when concerns are to discuss ideas, raise skepticism, and poke fun while not being hateful. While I may not be aware of, and am not responsible for, content others may author, I openly condemn and wish not for individuals to engage in criminal activity or engage in hatred as previously described.

I condemn criminal activity and hateful satire or parody. In being respectful — even if poking a bit of fun with tasteful satire and parody — the atheist community can be a healthier place in which ideas can better be openly discussed.

I await your response, David, and hope this meets your standard of expectation. It is difficult to author a statement of condemnation like this because gray areas exist concerning interpretations of what constitutes hatred and because individuals respond differently to material. I may even be best to see specific examples of objectionable content rather than make general statements..but this should be a good general statement.

I look forward to having a discussion/debate with you on Brave Hero Radio and I admire your willingness to come on the show and have candid discussion rather than engaging in character attacks and failing to address criticism. Propose dates and times. Make it happen. We can work out the details. Be a #bravehero.

As always, commenters are welcome to add their input below.

Update: David Silverman has agreed to appear, as promised, on an upcoming episode of Brave Hero Radio.

ScreenHunter_261 May. 22 21.58

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  • Fine words, Justin. Now stop defending rank misogyny and start living up to them.

    • Justin doesn’t defend “rank misogyny”. What Justin has done is act bravely and with dignity in the face of ferociously hostile antics from PZ and his horde, along with other FTB bloggers. They used their privilege (a population of followers) to try and intimidate Justin at wiscfi. It failed, and PZ was left to rage tear at the scandalous behaviour of Justin sitting at the back of the room (a form of shunning, IMHO) and tweeting what was going on. For that, he gets a shitload of abuse and mockery from the horde.

      The community has to drop the pretence that the FTB side are somehow the “reasonable people”. They are not. There are feminists (derided as “chill girls” and “sister punishers”) who claim they are afraid to disagree with Watson because of the potential intimidation, shunning, and bullying.

      That is where we currently stand.

      • ModVAVet

        How, exactly, did anyone try to intimidate JV?

        • PZ and his mob attempted to get people to shun him. Shunning is intimidation and bullying. PZ has a lot of privilege (people following him), and like the popular kid in school – if he issues a statement saying a certain person is to be shunned, lots of others follow suit just so they aren’t targeted by his mob for associating with the “kuffar”.

          That is a common tactic of the FTBullies. In fact, several of them have “blocked” people on twitter simply for following various people. They really should mind their own business.

          • “PZ and his mob attempted to get people to shun him.”

            you know, mocking someone for saying really stupid, dishonest shit, and spreading misinformation gets people to shun all on their own. There is no reason to ask for it, and thus, it never has been. Did PZ or anyone, frankly, ask the conference organizers of the last WiS conference to ban Vacuous Vacula from attending? No, they did not. You’re reaching for the victim card here, just like Vacula is. You guys just like to project that same shit you pull on to everyone else.

            • Richard Sanderson

              Straw man, Tom!

              The contention was that PZ (along with Ophelia) launched hit pieces highlighting that Vacula was to be shunned at the conference. PZ has a lot of privilege thanks to his large mob, and as a result, he knew marking Vacula out would send out would put pressure on ALL attendees to shun Vacula. However, it failed, and many people spoke to Justin and found him to be nothing like the ogre PZ, Ophelia et al, attempted to portray him as.

              • sinmantyx

                So, PZ is so all-powerful than when he doesn’t want to talk to someone, nobody does – but they talk to him anyway?

                You realize you gave evidence that contradicted your assertion right?

                • PZ is a person with privilege. You don’t understand privilege. He “attempted” to create an environment where there would be peer pressure on people to shun Vacula.

                  The reason it failed is simple. PZ’s privilege does not outweight the fact that the overall community sees him as a joke. So, despite the number of Pharyngulites at the event, his influence waned.

                  So, your assertion about contradiction is wrong.

            • Actually several FTBers, I believe Ophelia Benson and others, *did* try to lobby for JV to be blocked from attending WIS, claiming “harassment”. The organizers did not feel JV’s differences with the other attendees rose to that level and declined to ban him.

              I will note, from there all they asked for was for JV not to approach or speak to them, and that was honored. I don’t think there was any organized “shunning”. If anything, the usual suspects were too busy getting their knickers in a twist of Ron Lindsay’s perceived disloyalty to care much about JV.

            • How do you know they didn’t ask for him to be banned tom? You don’t. It would not be unreasonable to assume someone did considering the outcry about him attending. That is a form of bullying. There are many people who wouldn’t want to attend a conference where there were speakers that didn’t want them to attend because they would be intimidated. Justin isn’t that type but they sure as hell tried to get him to back out. Stop being a stupid dick Tom your logic is childish and transparent

        • Well, I would think that hyping an overblown threat narrative, public statements of “don’t you dare even try to talk to me”, trying to get him preemptively banned from a conference based on ridiculous threat narrative, and then, when all that fails, trying to paint him as a coward or disturbed weirdo after the fact, could count as a form of “intimidation”. There was certainly a high degree of shunning, character assassination, and basic bullying…I think that while ineffective, it was still in the realm of “intimidation”. It doesn’t have to be graphic physical threats.

          • “, trying to get him preemptively banned”

            lie. complete, dishonest, fabrication.

            • Nope. If Ophelia, PZ, etc. use their privilege (following in the community, friends in high places, etc.) to create a threat narrative towards a particular individual, then that is an attempt to get him “preemptively banned”.

              Their privilege was used in an indirect attempt to put pressure on the organisers to exclude Vacula. See also tweets and correspondence to Marcotte on the issue.

        • Chas Stewart

          A campaign was organized to prevent him from serving as an activist for SCA because of his disagreements with FTB/Skepchick/A+

        • MosesZD

          Please tell me that you’re not unaware of the pre-event harassment campaign, including the petition to bar him from the event? Of the threats PZ Myers and other made that if he comes near them they’d try to get him kicked out of the conference. Or the calls to shun Vacula and make it impossible for him to do his job?

    • Caias

      Robin, got a citation where he defends ‘rank misogyny’? Links are good, or full screenshots.

      • ool0n

        Justin was asked to comment on or produce examples of nasty pushback against feminists in our community online. He said they exist…. He produced NONE.

        Nugent produced these ->

        Justin refused to condemn any of them.

        He refused to condemn any of these as well ->

        David Silverman would do well to read and see what Justin has not just been silent on but has been asked to condemn and has not.

        • Richard Sanderson

          Ask EllenBeth Wachs, Maria Maltseva, Abbie Smith, Miranda Celeste Hale, Stef McGraw, Sara Mayhew, Paula Kirby and numerous others.

          Plenty of examples if you open your eyes.

          • ool0n

            Cool go for it Rich, where are the Photoshops of those women? Where is the sustained campaign of hate and threats?

            I’m sure you can easily provide evidence of threats and hate, photoshops of them in sexual poses aimed to demean? Cos that’s what we are talking about, not a bit of criticism then ignore from FTBs/Skepchick while you and friends Hoggle over the proxy-butthurt for years.

            • Goalposts moving, eh, Oolon?

              Who says harassment and bullying consists solely of photoshopped pictures? You might want to get some advice from anti-bullying groups who could inform you a little. Concentrating solely on “photoshopped pictures” means you have to avoid talking mentioning one jerk who said threats of violence to a fellow blogger. Said jerk was then defended (and toasted) by Stephanie Zvan. So, don’t give me whataboutery BS about it being about “photoshopped pictures”.

              Further, what is this BS about “ignoring”. They don’t ignore. The FTBullies have put up numerous blog pieces attacking various “chill girls” and “sister punishers”, along with their sycophants in the comments sections. These attacks are often co-ordinated, and the sycophants encouraged to slur and intimidate in the comments.

              You are often among them, Oolon.

              • ool0n

                Seriously Rich just prefacing your comment with a question about goalposts then removing one very relevant part of the bullying campaign, photoshopped pics designed to demean and degrade, isn’t likely to convince many. Its bullying, plain and simple, your inability to acknowledge that and find any examples on the other “side” while moving goalposts to hide this fact is clear.

                You then lead with your “best” example. Bit like the creationists on The Atheist Experience who are asked for their best example. Turns out to be “look at the trees man”… Greg Laden is your *best* example? I know you dislike him, but seriously? The *best* example of endemic FTBully behaviour is someone who was kicked off the network (Over a yr ago?) for his threatening language. It was not deemed acceptable and he was kicked off… But nothing short of everyone on the network shunning him would be enough for you. Even though you are also against shunning on principle and harbour Mykeru on your own forum who makes a profession out of trolling people with threats of violence.

                John Welch gets really worked up about it because of the PTSD angle, I agree with him as its adds an extra element to the language whether it was Gregs intent or not, intent aint magic. Then you all hang out at the pit repeating the mantra that words have no power, only professional victims *allow* others words to effect them. Its their fault… Unless its Greg doing it of course and it can be used to attack FTBullies.

                How do you internalise that level of cognitive dissonance, does your brain complain at all or is just seemless?

                • Ah. I can see why you want bullying to be redefined. A bit like how religious apologists are so desperate to redefine “atheist”.

                  It’s because you know I have you bang to rights. Ask any anti-bullying charity and they will inform you of the impact of shunning, using follower-privilege (PZ using his blog to create an environment hostile to Justin), labelling of people (“chill girls”), etc. These are well-documented tactics used by bullies. In fact, they tend to more pernicious because of the subtlety.

                  BTW, the Laden episode is not the best example, although highlighting Zvan toasting of him after the event begs some big questions. There are many other examples that I have already stated. Oh, and sticking with Laden’s departure – we ALL KNOW he was given the boot ONLY AFTER Justin Griffin revealed he was going public. Before that, it was strictly hush-hush, and on the QT.

                  As for Mykeru, I don’t know much about him. I’m not a member of the SP, although I do keep up to date with the news, there.

                  • ool0n

                    So to be clear you are saying creating demeaning images of people in sexual or other poses …. Is not a bullying tactic… Just to be clear?

                    • Richard Sanderson

                      I never said anything about that not being bullying.

                      Using your privilege to pressure groups of people to shun most certainly is bullying.

                    • ool0n

                      Right it is bullying, fancy condemning any? *cough* Slymepit *cough*

                    • No, not really. The most serious issue is the bullying and harassment from the FTB brigade. Ask an anti-bullying charity what they think about shunning.

                • Mean pictures of people you don’t like – yeah, nothing like that in the history of political satire:


                  Surely, it must be about women hating!

                  • ool0n

                    Jebus you look like a prat standing up for it given my links above.

                    Sexually demeaning images even if political would likely be “women hating” or rather perpetuating misogyny. As you know women are attacked for their sexuality and looks in a way that men rarely are. I’m surprised you missed I said that given your interest in sex-workers rights and how stereotypes about women’s sexuality are used against them. Do you really want to perpetuate sex-negativity, in the name of “satire” or anything else? Whorephobia is commonly used against them, especially Greta Christina since she dared to do a naked calendar pic.

                    What organisations do Rebecca, Ophelia or Stephanie lead. What awesome power do they hold that justifies the childish ridicule? Its obviously disingenuous of “Skepsheik” and others (Now you) to pull that bullshit. Satire is not the aim, hurting people you don’t like is the aim.

                    What would the outcry be if Ron Lindsay was photoshopped into a “satirical” picture or pictures by the #FTBullies! Let alone sexually demeaning ones. Even though he is CEO of the CFI it is clearly unjustified, issues with him can and should be worked out in the open in ad-hom free blog posts. (No Kim Jong Un!)

                    • Foolon still evades the issue of privilege and the power of shunning by numbers.


    • No facts, just 100% dishonest shit talking. Do you actually expect to be taken seriously?

  • Excellent. I couldn’t agree more. If this is unreasonable to anyone, I challenge them to debate it!

    • Hmm– I would argue the ‘hateful satire or parody’ point. Its not clearly defined (vs the other point, illegal is illegal), and Ive seen ‘hateful’ used too many times by theists to shut down mild commentary/jokes about their beliefs.

      Conversely, one can easily say terrible things about someone without ‘name-calling’.

      I would rather judge satire and ‘name-calling’ individually, as they occur, rather than broadly dismissing them upfront.

      • It absolutely needs to be defined. Ophelia Benson, for instance, calls this stuff harassment:

        By any stretch of the imagination, those tweets aren’t harassment.

        • Ophelia is a professional victim. Remember when one of her supporters send her a few “slightly ambigious” messages, and she thought it was harassment and pulled out of a conference? Also, ask EllenBeth Wachs which FTB site she encountered harassment. We know the answer.

          What a complete joke.

          • ool0n

            How about condemning bullshit like “professional victim” Justin? It originates and is pushed relentlessly by your friends like Rich above.

            I hope David Silverman tackles this one as its one of many ways that attacks are minimised. Why worry about an attack on a “professional victim”, after all its exactly what they want. Self-fulfilling bit of reasoning that any sceptic would be ashamed of, hence its rather popular at the Slymepit.

            All harassment is more pro-vic points for Ophelia as they say on the pit.

            • MosesZD

              Oh, it’s the troll. I wish this site had a block feature. Being exposed to this moronic cognitive dissonance on any serious issue really takes it out of me..

              I’d much rather discuss/argue the issues than deal with made-up horseshit.

              • ool0n

                You are saying “professional victim” is not used by the Slymepit to minimise harassment complaints? Please provide evidence Moses or your adhom filled, well poisoning, substance free, comment could be seen as rather trollish.

              • Richard Sanderson

                Oolon is a known troll from another blog.

                He also kept tweeting at me when he has me blocked. Bad manners! Or “harassment” as Ophelia would say!

                He also won’t reveal how many use his spambot – because the number is so low. He also won’t reveal is Laden uses it.

                • ool0n

                  What blog am I a “known troll” from? I’m sure you wouldn’t lie about such a thing and can provide evidence?

                  The block bot states in its terms of use that it is totally anonymous. How do I meet your demand Rich without breaching those terms?

                  If you don’t want me to @mention you I won’t… I only ever reply to tweets from you anyway. You just need to ask and I’ll stop immediately. Two ppl have asked and I’ve never @’d them again. How hard is that?

                  • Several, including many at FTB.

                    But anyway, the saying “x is a known troll from another blog” is a satirical dig at people like Ophelia Benson.

                    • ool0n

                      So no evidence of my trolling “many” blogs… Should be sooo easy for you!

                    • SlymePit. Pharyngula. Ophelia’s moanpit, SkepticInk.

                      You’re right, Foolon. It IS easy.

                  • You don’t need to reveal any names, Oolon. Nice try at evasion, but you don’t fool me. Saying that, I’d love to know if Greg “violent threats” Laden uses it. Imagine the bad publicity? I know he endorses it.

                    Plus, you lie. You engaged in a conversation with another Twitter user while tweeting me, AFTER you blocked me. It’s just plain rude to tweet me when I can’t respond. Ophelia would call it harassment.

                    • ool0n

                      No problem Rich, I think I can manage not to @mention you…. Unless I see a tweet to me from you, then I’ll assume all is forgiven and you want to kiss and make up.

                      Wow that was difficult, makes you wonder how the Slymepitters manage to constantly fail to respect anyones boundaries.

                    • Richard Sanderson

                      Oolon, I can’t send you a tweet.


                    • ool0n

                      You don’t know how Twitter works, colour me surprised!

                    • When you tweeted me, I could not respond to you.

                      That is how it works.


                  • Known troll from the slymepit just to mention one place. You wrote a damn blog about how you were trolling. No one buys your story except you but that’s enough to make you an admitted and known troll. congrats

                    • ool0n

                      Hmm and I have lots of Slymepitters who said it wasn’t trolling… Weird that. I know nuance is lost on you Reap so when I write a post about “Trolling” the Slymepit you get confused. One of the main points of that post is that what I did was at best Z-grade trolling, I took the piss a bit. I had a bit of a joke to wind you lot up, but it was painfully obvious. Trolls are meant to at least pretend to hide their intentions of laughing at you. The geniuses like you at the pit didn’t even get my tagline “Oolon on the Slimepit: Not Hating You – Just Laughing At You”

                      The reaction of your friends at the pit was priceless however, experts at “troll” handling? Newp! (

                    • Don’t back-peddle it makes you look more pathetic. ( an amazing feat btw) You wanted to be a troll but you couldn’t manage it. You thought it would be worth a try to claim it but you weren’t sure if anyone would buy it so you muddled it up. That way you could always post the pile of crap you see above and claim whichever side best suited your need. It’s what you do most of the time. You play close to the middle and fall on the safe side as needed. You never go too far into the yard on either side in case things change. You are a wanker as I understand the word (if it means something positive then I am mistaken) you can’t provide anything but fodder. Anyone who doesn’t know it now will figure it out before too long. Your contribution is a big fat ZERO. Sorry (f)oolon. You hide the contempt you have for yourself well though at least there is that so :)

                    • ool0n

                      If I wanted to troll I’d take a leaf out of your book and post hundreds of whiny comments to Pharyngula with many sock puppet accounts… Oh wait, I said being obviously a troll makes you no troll. I guess they were just whiny pathetic comments then Reap?

                      Is that your contribution to… Whatever? I’m glad I don’t qualify frankly…

                    • Sigh…. poor (f)oolon all those words and you still can’t form a complete thought . It must remind you of being at the beach. All that sand how ever do they manage castles from it….? Life is a mysterious thing isn’t it? And so confusing, for you.

                    • ool0n

                      Given up on anything substantive then. How did that troll of Pharyngula work out for you? Get the response your ego needs or is it still a work in progress…?

                    • Foolon?

                      I like it.

                • MosesZD

                  Yeah, he’s also the twerp who has set up a Twitter account that has as its function — getting people banned for tweeting and ‘aggressive following.’ I’ve seen accounts suspended for FOUR tweets because the bot causes the entire network to report the ‘offending account.’
                  Total punk-ass in my book.

                  • Yeah, that’s called The Block Bot, or the Spambot, as I call it. It is harassment if accounts have been suspended because of it.

                    However, if the FTB brigade are happilly associating with a troll and someone who harasses people on Twitter, then that can only reflect badly on them.

                    • ool0n

                      LOL, you couldn’t make it up! Now I’m harassing Slymepitters by encouraging people on twitter to ignore them :-D

                    • Richard Sanderson

                      Straw man, Colon. You are harassing people by getting their accounts suspended.

                  • ool0n

                    Yeah Moses its so hard to click a box and fill out a captcha when you are suspended. I had hashspamkiller1-5 suspended, took me a couple of minutes to un-suspend all 5.

                    Freeze Peach!

                    • Richard Sanderson

                      Here we see Colon attempting to justify his online trolling and harassment. Getting people’s accounts suspended? I wonder if that counts as harassment in FTB land?

            • I hardly think the term “professional victim” is out of line for somebody who displays such a high degree of malingering, passive-aggressive behavior. Benson is an utter self-parody – somebody who spends an enormous amount of time self-googling and data mining for every statement ever said about her on the internet, and going utterly batshit about every negative thing she finds, making groundless accusations of all manner of unethical and criminal behavior to her critics in the process. And as a result, driving even more animosity toward her, which fuels even more paranoia. The lady *seriously* needs to take a break from the internet, or maybe see a therapist.

              I’m amazed you social justice types stand by Benson so uncritically, considering how thoroughly she discredits your cause. If one wants to make the case that they “social justice” faction of secularism are nothing more than a bunch of utterly thin-skinned crybabies who treat any and all criticism or disagreement as a grave attack, one need look no further than Ophelia Benson as “Exhibit A”.

              • ool0n

                If that was true how does she manage to write so much? Many blog posts, published in Free Inquiry for one. I’d like you to guess what percentage of her blog posts are about the “drama” when she is supposedly spending all day searching for it.

                • Oh, I can very easily guess. I’d say well in excess of Benson’s posts, on her FTB blog anyway, are “drama” ones, devoted to political battles or straight up interpersonal squabbles. I haven’t done a formal survey, but I bet it would bear my offhand assessment out.

          • MosesZD

            If I remember right, this person was actually trying to help her.

      • MosesZD

        And Abbie knocks it out of the park.

      • Hate speech, being hateful, hating someone – these are emotions that human beings have from time to time. This idea that we condemn every negative emotion is contributing to the massive depression problem we have in the United States, where negative experiences are treated as something that must be avoided at all costs. Learning how to deal with negative experiences and working through them has a great, great value.

  • SubMan USN

    Verdict = Not pure enough! Not reticent enough. Not harsh enough. Not mewling enough. Unclean!!

  • abear

    Robin Lionheart; Stop torturing and molesting puppies or STFU!

  • I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Mr. Silverman agrees to do your show, but I have a difficult time imagining that he would want to go through what Ron Lindsay is going through right now.

    • Bingo.

      The tactic of the FTB/Skepchick axis has been to use the threat of intimidation/shunning if you think of daring to oppose, or even politely question, them.

      However, the number of people breaking ranks is on the rise. People who becoming resistant to their scare tactics, and several are becoming increasingly undaunted in taking them down a few pegs.

    • MosesZD

      Well, that’s how the bullies win. They don’t take on the whole school at once. Just beat up one or two kids to keep the rest in line.
      They’ve done it to Justin. They’ve done it to DeGroth. They’ve done it to others. And they do it one or two at time…

  • Welcome to the ranks of the FemiStasi oppressors of free speech, Justin!

    • Chas Stewart

      Your bar is too low Sally. Far too low. I’m ashamed really ;)

  • Skepsheik

    That’s all very well Justin, but how about condemning the following:

    “Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this
    gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting
    porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice.”

    1. “I am going to personally see to it that an especially rotten and
    dribbly dead porcupine is rammed so far up their rectum that they are
    picking bits of it out of their teeth for the foreseeable future.”

    2. “Fuck ‘em with decayed porcupines and red hot pokers! I’m drunk and
    I’m priviledged and I’m human thus fallible all hell but fuck those
    douchcanoes and make it hurt!”

    3. “the porcupines are still located to the left of the door as you
    leave. Grab on. Shove it where it will do the most good (to the entire
    world), and then go die in a fire. Slowly.”

    4. “stick a decaying porcupine dipped in hot tar and glass shards up his pustule-covered arse sideways, slowly.”

    5. “Take your fucking sympathies for predators and shove them up your
    ass and chase them with a dead, rotting porcupine that’s been marinating
    in capsaicin.”

    6. “You are fucking tiresome and I wish you would shove a rotting porcupine up your ass.”

    7. “May a necrotic porcupine fester, unremovable in your bowels.”

    8. ” He should be pounding so many decaying porcupines up his asshole that quills start coming out of his ears.”

    9. “surlyramics made me a custom necklace with a totally cute porcupine
    and the word “insert” underneath it. I get compliments on it every time I
    wear it (without even any questions about why the word “insert” is
    under the porcupine).”

    10. “Surly Amy makes a lovely porcupine necklace now. It’s adorable, and has a one word label: “insert”.

    That last quote was from PZ Myers himself, promoting the business of
    one of his friends who was actually selling necklaces featuring the rape
    threat imagery.

    Not that the imagery is confined to brutal bodily violation using
    porcupines. According to one popular commenter the violation is merely a
    means to an end.

    “You go fuck yourself. Get something heavy and sharp. Die whilst doing it, if possible.” – AnthonyK

    And in case you think these are just anonymous drive-by commenters
    unknown to the host, think again. Many of the above threats are by
    individuals who feature alongside PZ Myers on Pharyngula’s Google hang-out, Youtube broadcasts.

    And in case you think I’m exaggerating, here is a completely separate
    list recently compiled by a feminist who was deeply offended by the
    rape and sexual abuse threats and violent death imagery promoted by the
    host of Pharyngula.

    ““find a splintering stick and fuck yourself up the ass”

    “go fuck yourself. And then die in a fire”

    “Go. Fuck. Yourself. With a Hefty Bag full of rottweilers”

    “Go fuck yourself with a chainsaw in that festering pustule of an asshole of yours”

    “You can fuck yourself with a razor-bladed stick and go die in a ditch, you pompous, lying, gutless, disingenuous fuck” (link)

    “Take your gun, lube the barrel and fuck your self in the ass.

    “you should be fucked sideways with a rusty knife”

    “Do us all a favor and kill yourself before you have a chance to have children”

    “you can go fuck yourself. Do it deep, long and hard.”

    “Go die in a fucking fire. The world will be a better place without you in it.”

    “I will, however, say that this fuck up here is a complete asshole and needs to die in a fire”

    “Go and die painfully, okay?”

    And just for kicks: “Go fuck yourself sideways with a rusting chainsaw, you vapid, godbotting wank”

    And more kicks:”fuck yourself up the ass with a splintering cross”

    Even to the survivor of a brutal rape attack (Sheril Kirshenbaum)

    He claimed that THIS was acceptable, because ‘they aren’t rape threats
    really’ – but NOW demands people use only *acceptable* insults – because
    words like “bitch” have a (undocumented, asserted but not proven)
    negative affect on women.

    What kind of negative effect did his ANTI-FEMINIST abuse for this WOMAN
    SCIENCE COMMENTATOR have? When did he apologise for the misogynist
    shit-show he ran? “

    Dave Silverman condemns these, doesn’t he?

    • ool0n

      Ahh the smell of false equivalence in the morning… The examples from Nugents blog and Zvans are within the last year or so. Yours are years old and not at all supported by Pharyngula even let alone the rest of FTBs.

      NONE of the examples I linked to have been condemned by the Slymepitters. If you can find anyone on Pharyngula who thinks “go die in a fire” is ok then I’d be surprised. In fact that one of your examples was apologised for … But I guess an apology from an #FTBully doesn’t count?

      Of course if these are regularly used you’ll have no problems finding 100s of examples from this year?

      • Skepsheik

        You are seriously defending rape threats is they are more than a few months old?

        • ool0n

          Rape threats… Riiiiight. You’ve been cultivating your disingenuousness for many years or is it a natural talent?

          • Skepsheik

            Still defending the indefensible. What a surprize.

            “I am going to personally see to it that an especially rotten and
            dribbly dead porcupine is rammed so far up their rectum that they are
            picking bits of it out of their teeth for the foreseeable future.”

            Go ask Ophelia if that sounds like a rape threat or not.

            • sinmantyx

              Please don’t see this as an apology to saying any of those things in the first place – but there *IS* a real distinction between saying pretty terrible shit on a blog comments section that is known for being a very rude place; and actually tweeting at people and e-mailing their personal accounts.

              If you don’t want to deal with a rude space, you just don’t go there. However, if you are being invaded into your own space is a different animal.

              And yes – MANY people have taken PZ to task on his comments section. He created new rules somewhat recently:

              • Tweeting at people means nothing, It is using the platform for the intended purpose. This is doubly true when people make intentionally controversial, misleading, or false statements in tweets, and then scoop up the troll droppings(while ignoring or misrepresenting actual disagreements) as some kind of “evidence” of a widespread problem in a movement. And even depicting emailing as an “invasion” is ludicrous.

                And while the “porcupine” bit may have fallen out of favor, spaces like pharyngula still wallow in lies and misrepresentation that are far more potentially damaging than any campaign of idiot emailers.

                • sinmantyx

                  You obviously have never actually had to deal with this problem.

                  • Pitchguest

                    Deal with what problem? ‘Threats’ on the internet? Mean comments? Everyone who has spent some time on the internet will at one point experience this internet phenomenon, make no mistake, and that is regardless if they’re a man or a woman. The mean comments can be easily ignored and the commenters blocked, and the so-called ‘threats’ are 99.999999% all talk. If any of those harping on about the threat narrative, like Ophelia Benson, and were genuinely concerned for their well-being, then they wouldn’t fly a hundred miles just to attend a conference.

                    But I know of someone who’s had to deal with it: Richard Dawkins. Heard of him?

                    There is also Paula Kirby, Harriet Hall, Barbara Drescher, Sara Mayhew, Renee Hendricks, Abbie Smith, etc, etc, etc. And you know what? Neither of them have treated conversations on twitter as a larger point of contention to be held accountable for the major community. And why? Because it would be absolutely idiotic.

                    • sinmantyx

                      Wasn’t talking to you Pitchguest.

                  • How many people have been hounded out of positions based on slander campaigns? Justin has. How many people have had people call their employers or blog hosts in silencing attempts? Abbie (ERV) has. And then block bots on twitter, false threat narratives, trying to get people black-listed from cons…yeah, I’ll take a few emails.

                • ool0n

                  Sound of goalposts moving…

                • Richard Sanderson

                  Yes. Ask EllenBeth Wachs about PZ and his mob of sychophants.

              • sinmantyx


                Your link is broken.

              • kiiski

                “saying pretty terrible shit on a blog comments section that is known for being a very rude place…” Oh, like the ERV blog? Or the Slymepit forum?

                • sinmantyx

                  Yes actually. I’m not saying that’s okay; but the same thing said in a heated argument in a comments section is different than when a person is targeted directly and within their own space.

                  One of the big differences between simply dealing with “jerks on the internet” and enduring pretty f*ed up harassment is three fold: severity, persistence and attempting to block the option to disengage.

                  For example, if I decided to block someone on my blog for whatever reason (a good reason or a bad one) it would be highly inappropriate for that person to start constantly tweeting at me or e-mailing my personal account or creating sock-puppets to get back into the comments section. They sure as heck could write a nasty blog post themselves talking about how they really disagreed with being banned and perhaps didn’t like me very much; but getting into my space after I made it clear I didn’t want to interact is creepy.

                  I’ve been in some EXTREMELY rude spaces. I get that. However, if someone essentially doesn’t let me leave by following me into other spaces or passing around disgusting photos for the whole world to see – that’s a new level of not okay.

                  Severity matters too. When Greg Laden wrote the bizarre e-mail he absolutely crossed the line, he knew he did, and he simply resigned from FtB as a result because he knew he would get kicked out for it. I very much doubt that he intended the e-mail the way that some interpreted it – but it was what it was. There was a consequence for his behavior as there well should have been.

            • sinmantyx

              I’m sincerely curious if any of your examples are dated after the new comment policy went into effect.

            • ool0n

              Rape threat… Newp! Unless you think anyone would take seriously a suggestion of a porcupine attack :-D But it is a comedic surreal threat designed to be insulting…

              More importantly its totally unacceptable now. So they’ve changed their mind given the imagery, while ridiculous, is threatening by nature.

              So over to you, demonstrate the examples I linked to are no longer approved by the Slymepit.

              • The, “but they’re worse” defense?

                • ool0n

                  Not “worse” if you like as that’s a pointless argument. Skepsheik seems to be saying both are bad. One side has backed down and divorced itself from all his horrible examples. Stopped doing them back in August last year…. So onto the other “bad” stuff cos when someone conceded your point before you made it, well you are in trouble in the debate. True?

            • Guest

              hey, idiot. If I say to you:

              “Fuck off!”

              is that a rape threat, you think? yeah… you’re dishonesty over what is meant by an insult is plain to see for anyone with half a brain.

              • sinmantyx

                Name calling doesn’t get you very far – especially when the topic is civility.

            • Hey, idiot Skepsheik:

              If I tell you to fuck off, did i just threaten to rape you?

              if the answer is no, you are correct, and thus your position is entirely a dishonest one.

              if the answer is yes, you’re just doubling down on your idiocy, and literally begging nobody to take you seriously.

              • sinmantyx

                Don’t be obnoxious Tom.

                There is a gray area between insult and threat – and some of those comments certainly pushed that boundary.

                At the very least the imagery is unnerving and unnecessarily visceral.

                I think most people would agree on that.

              • Hey idiot Tom

                You can sure as fuck bet that some people are going to consider “fuck off” just as bad as a rape threat-Ophelia is one of those people. Look up the definition of rape and then figure out if shoving items in another person’s orifices qualifies. That is the point I believe and it passed far over your head . Note I usually don’t like to start out with “hey idiot” but it is obvious the person I am replying to can handle it because it has been said to him so many times before he actually learned to do it himself.

        • sinmantyx

          No, he is saying that they were rightly eventually condemned for what they are.

          If anyone currently is defending them; I would have a big problem with that.

          • Skepsheik

            Where were they condemned?
            Has PZ Myers apologized for allowing them on his site or for encouraging the use of the imagery via his site rules?

            • sinmantyx

              I only vaguely remember that conversation, I don’t know if I could dig it up – seriously.

              You could always ask him.

              As far as I’m aware that sort of thing doesn’t fly anymore; though I don’t spend a lot of time on his comments section.

              If that is still going on – I would absolutely condemn it. I’m not quite sure why you think this is some sort of dichotomy where you have to either condemn bad behavior as a means to solidify camp politics.

              Why don’t you just condemn bad behavior?

              • Skepsheik

                I do condemn bad behavior. As a quick example apart from the pharyngula imagery above, I condemn a lot of the stuff that AVFM do.
                As for people making threats of rape and other violence shouldn’t we all condemn it?

                • ool0n

                  Where do you condemn the Nugent examples? You were all over that thread… Not saying you didn’t but would be interesting to see given you are so keen on tu quoque.

              • Karmakin

                Just to cut through all the BS, here’s what this is about:

                The argument that we’re dancing around is because some people take the troll bait and make ugly remarks and threats, then suddenly all criticisms of anti-egalitarian feminism become null and void. And that’s the argument that we’re rejecting here.

                Let’s put all the cards down on the table, and talk about the actual issue at play here, instead of dancing around it.

                The demands for a true “safe space” (which is actually fairly easy to obtain if one truly wants it), and the discussion over if identity politics is essential or disastrous in terms of reaching equality, are two entirely different subjects, and should be treated separately.

                • sinmantyx

                  I think that perhaps you’re confused. Defending someone against bad behavior is not the same as defending every thought that has every gone into their heads.

                  If I had a dollar for every time I was accused of “agreeing” with Rebecca Watson or being some sort of cultist for PZ Meyer the moment I call out sexist idiocy like calling RW “Twatson” or blog posts that boil down to “I can no longer remain silent – Rebecca Watson’s a bitch” – I would be significantly richer.

                  Calling people names or mounting bizarre hyperbolic attacks is not “criticism”.

                  Who is shirking away from honest to goodness criticism?

                  I am being honest when I tell you the ONLY criticism I have read toward Rebecca Watson in the last two years was a post by Ed Clint about one of her talks on the media’s treatment of Evo Psyche.

                  She thanked him and made some revisions to her talk as a result.

                  THAT IS IT.

                  Nothing else even rises to the level of “disagreement” much less “criticism” that I’ve seen. If you know of any others, I’d love to see them – and Ron Lindsay’s late-night word vomit doesn’t count.

                  Someone accused RW of writing horrible racist sexist shit on her blog, so I asked him for ONE example and said that I would do a criticism of it. All he needed to do was give me a link.



                  Surly Amy was accused of trying to “win arguments” by becoming upset at TAM.

                  Apparently nobody frickin’ knows what an “argument” is either.

                  Bullshit anyone is dismissing criticism due to being the subject of mob internet harassment.

                  People are defending *people* against crap – not criticism or disagreement.

                  About the only issue mildly related to that is fatigue about answering the SAME old re-hashed arguments over-and-over-and-over again and losing patience with it and/or being on edge due to, you know, constant non-substantive bullshit.

                  But yes – you are right – they are different subjects.

                  We can have a discussion about safe spaces and rude spaces; civility and openness, authoritarian and libertarian approaches and all those things.

                  We can have a talk about some specific issue related to feminism; but it helps if the person you are having the discussion with doesn’t go on some categorical anti-feminist tirade and argue against franken-feminist instead of the person they are actually having the conversation with. (I’d only need a dime for every time that happened and still make out pretty well financially.)

                  Just for fun, here is me having a really long conversation with someone who not only thinks that women on average are less rational than men but doesn’t find a problem with using “feminine” to mean “meek, passive, lacking consciousness, etc”


                  I don’t plan on making some sort of parody site, twitter monicker, watch-dog group, hash-tag, or photo shopped image, etc due to our disagreement.

                  It is actually possible to have disagreements about these things and still maintain a certain level of mutual respect.

                  It happens.

                  If that’s impossible, perhaps the conflict is not actually a “disagreement” at all.

                  • Karmakin

                    Actually, I don’t care that much about Watson herself. I do think that her tweet that started this particular mess was sexist and racist, but I think she’s one of those people that are like a force of nature, to be honest, she’s going to do what she’s going to do and there’s little rhyme or reason behind it. I don’t mean this as a criticism. Some of my favorite people are like that. But she is what she is.

                    In fact, my particular “beef” is actually larger than this whole discussion as a whole. I’ve seen this debate pop up, actually, in quite a few areas of interest for me. Not necessarily to this scale,

                    That’s what you don’t get. It’s really not personal for most of us. Really. I know that seems silly considering all the jokes made and all the attacks that LOOK personal, but it’s not.

                    There are a bunch of very valid criticisms of anti-egalitarian feminism that egalitarians like myself raise. It’s not of a sort of “franken-feminism” these are common beliefs and actions that people have and make.

                    -We reject the notion that power dynamics are unidirectional. That sexism/racism requires “systematic power” Actually, speaking for myself I reject that notion entirely as being overly simplistic. (Even for the actual powerful, they can find themselves in situations, albeit rare, where they are not in control.

                    -We think that identity politics and keeping things genderized does more harm than good. Notions as things that women need more protection than men, and should be targeted that way, we think reinforces the idea that women are lesser beings and should be treated that way. I do think that in some cases, these systematic changes WILL help women more than men, and I’m OK with that, and you can write these laws and programs to be gender neutral and do this without propagating gender stereotypes.

                    -“Patriarchy” is a gendered term that gives notions of men actively making decisions based upon active gender preference to benefit other men. This is not our experience. We much prefer the term “Gender Binary” to explain it more accurately, where both men and women act in ways to enforce gender roles and stereotypes that hurt both men and women.

                    There’s just a few ways where we disagree with anti-egalitarian feminists. And these things are put forward, and ignored, blocked, shut down and hit with a threat narrative because quite frankly, these points are right. There’s a better way to work towards equality than what they’re pushing, and eventually I do think people will realize that and move towards it.

                    • sinmantyx

                      “I know that seems silly considering all the jokes made and all the attacks that LOOK personal, but it’s not.”

                      If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s not a Mascovie.

                      Yeah, I know what many of the various MRA-ish arguments are. I think a great number of them are shit with a few bright lights of not repulsive.

                      However, I’m sometimes up for a discussion about these things.

                      A lot of people are not – at all – up for that discussion; not because they haven’t had those discussions before but because they have had those discussions over and over and over again.

                      Also a few of the ideas set forth are not only just wrong but really intensely annoying.

                      I wish the discussion was still there so I could link to it; but I had an extremely long discussion with someone about the wage gap on Cris Rad’s blog when she was at FtB.

                      The party-line from some camps of anti-feminists is that it is some sort of myth. So, I used the same sources that were linked by those claiming it was a myth; explained that the sources actually still put the wage-gap at about 9 cents per dollar (which is nothing to scoff at) after making several corrections; and that many of the corrections, corrected for issues that were rooted in sexism – including men not being afforded as much parental leave as women generally are and a host of other things (with so many links it put me in moderation).

                      Then I mentioned several incidences of blatant sexism that have negatively affected my career; and pointed out that while some of those instances would be reflected in the unaccounted-for gap that still remained, some of them absolutely would not be and would be part of the corrected for gap that supposedly (according to him) had nothing to do with sexism (at least the extrinsic kind).

                      This guy, either out of simply having difficulty chewing through all the info I was giving him or because he was so convinced of what he THOUGHT my stance was, accused me of spouting gobbledygook and arguing against myself because he couldn’t wrap his head around me using his own source against his argument.

                      Some people just don’t have hours of their lives to waste on bullshit.

                      And whether or not you think it’s fair or unfair, many skeptic feminists see the crew of “skeptics of feminism” more as social-science denialists.

                      That might not make some people happy and makes them feel as though they are being dismissed; but it is what it is.

                      None of that (in either direction) justifies some of the words and actions that you euphemistically say “LOOK personal”.

                      More important, however, is that the real conversations DO HAPPEN. Even if not everyone is up for them at any given time or at all venues; a pretty wide range of ideas get air time, even if they are not entertained as seriously as you might like.

                      In fact, even on the oh-so-talked-about FtB; and inordinate amount of time is sometimes spent on having debates with people who are railing against “feminism” or what they perceive as a toxic brand of it.

                      Hours and hours and hours; sometimes spent naively engaging just to watch the discussion go further and further downhill until I realize that the person I am talking to lives in some sort of alternate plane of existence where feminism is responsible for male disposability; Title 9 hurts boys because girls don’t like sports; and women just love being harassed endlessly because they crave attention and sympathy and they manipulate other people in their dreams or something to constantly attack them because they just love that shit.

                      The problem is that it literally sometimes takes hours to figure out if you have an honest disagreement on your hands or if the person who just started ranting at you is actually some sort obsessed conspiracy theorist with very disturbing personal issues.

                      I know I’m not being very original – but it’s like playing Shrodinger’s anti-feminist.

                      I once called another commenter out for being so dismissive and combative toward someone launching a criticism; and only after a few hours did I realize this guy was not discussing in good faith (or was a tad confused) and that the person who had been harsh to him knew exactly what he was all about.

                      I could have saved myself a lot of time.

                      Unfortunately, even if you avoid engaging in rude spaces, you may find that some even more reasonable feminists are so embattled that anything that *looks* like some of the arguments that are launched at them constantly through certain rhetorical orthodoxies might be met with hostility.

                      It’s not fair, but it’s also not realistic to expect infinite patience.

                      If someone just doesn’t want to talk to you – well, that’s their right.

                      And yes, if you go into a conversation using the term “anti-egalitarian feminist” to describe the person you are talking to and point out the problematic nature of gendering “patriarchy”; there is a good chance that you may be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being similar to Stephen Colbert when he “doesn’t see race”.

                      Too bad.

                      It’s *actually* not personal. You are probably an awesome individual who loves cats and writes passable poetry and has a great passion for helping kids learn to read or something.

                      I’m just going to assume that you are a worthwhile human being even if I might disagree with you strongly on something; even things that matter.

                      If you think that these types of discussions should NOT be personal; you should probably avoid tactics that “LOOK” that way.

                      When a bunch of regulars in these types of discussions swooped in on Jen’s father’s blog after she decided to take a break for her emotional and mental health – and proceeded to barrage his blog with personal attacks against her (LONG after almost everyone agreed, including Jen, that his statement about “punching someone” if they were to say those things to his daughter in person shouldn’t have been said)

                      …including saying she was worthless, a failure, of no value, didn’t live up to the people she admired, that she was weak, that the movement was better off without her…

                      Those just don’t “LOOK” personal – they are abhorrent.

                      There are some people I REALLY do not respect because of things they have said and how they have acted; but I don’t know what the FUCK would possess a group of people to kick someone while they were down like that, to their own family no less.

                      What justification is there?

                      We asked – over and over again.

                      Oh well – she’s racist and sexist blah de blah adsaoieihrad

                      Okay, well, give me an example? ONE fucking thing that justifies berating someone who says they have struggled with depression, with a bunch of insults that belittle their worth as a human being.

                      Oh – what – she mentioned that Richard Dawkins was old rich white and male once?!

                      Oh you took it personally when she said that she encounters sexism because you just inserted the word “all” in there with your own damn mind?!

                      My heart bleeds.

                      Seriously, what the fuck is it going to take for some of these assholes to just stop it?

                      People kill themselves over persistent internet harassment. Words take a psychological toll, especially when you can’t get away from them. That is how human being’s brains work.

                      If someone wants to continue to blog or be involved in activism on the internet – they can’t just press a magic button and make it go away if, when they block one jerk another one pops up or uses a sock-puppet or any number of things. Some people don’t have enough money to hire a publicist to do that shit for them. The only way to “ignore the trolls” is to quit.

                      This is not about disagreement.

                      Whether or not Jen’s life (or anyone elses’) has worth is not up for fucking debate.

                      And I know damn well that some people reading this are rationalizing that shit by saying, “..well, if she can’t take criticism….” blah blah blah “…it’s just the internet…”

                      Would you please check your damn selves? Is it really that important to your cause or your personal enjoyment of the universe to go around on the internet all day and emotionally and psychological attack people you happen to not like?

                      Does that make you big damn heroes?

                    • Karmakin

                      So why do people think that it’s suddenly not personal when people are called “misogynistic” or a “rape apologist”? Quite frankly, I think that’s an apples to apples comparison. The reason I say that it’s not personal, is that I’ve seen people stop acting like bigots….yes…that’s the real issue here. You think we’re bigots an we really do think that you’re the bigots right back….but when the actions stop, so does pretty much all of the criticism. Imagine that. Now, I do think that things do get irrational on both sides…for example I don’t think that Jen deserves as much criticism as she gets, although the whole A+ thing had some serious problems, (Trying to do social justice without class is incredibly myopic) I do think she meant well…but that’s what I mean when I say that it’s not personal. There’s an actual purpose to it.

                      Now, as an active political egalitarian, I think a better framing of the wage gap thing is that the it’s that the 77% number or so is an active deception. I do think it does exist to some degree. But I think that relatively little of it is caused by active sexism. Maybe it’s a problem, maybe not. And I have ideas on how to fix it. And I’ve put this forward on anti-egalitarian feminist blogs and it gets shot down. But here’s my experience.

                      There’s two places where wage inequality can come into the system. When one is first hired for a position, and when one receives an individual raise. These are actually two individual problems, and I think we need to do something about both. For the first, I fully support things like the Lily Leadbeater law, and the recent attempted law that would ban employers from forcing employees to keep their paychecks confidential (although I have some doubts of how effective it would be without giving the labor department some serious teeth). A combination of those things would go a long way. I ALSO support legislation requiring people hired to equivalent positions to be paid an equal hourly wage based upon a 35-hour work week. (I think the fact that there’s social pressure, more on men, to work more and more in salary positions is a negative thing for both our society and the economy…note. Not a libertarian! In fact, I find that most egalitarians are progressive).

                      However, please note that for the most part this is a middle/upper-class issue. There’s drastically less wage discrimination of this type for lower-class workers.

                      So there’s that. Then there’s raises. This is a problem, that’s based in a large part in biology. Let’s put it this way. You have two people, who get 2.5% raises a year. One person misses a year, so realistically, they don’t get that performance raise. They’re going to be behind at least 2.5% at that point, and due to the magic of compound interest, they’ll be further and further behind every year. Personally, I like the idea of moving away from individual performance-based raises (although I’m finding more and more that’s another middle-upper class thing…in my current job we don’t get raises period), but middle-upper class people who think they’re the bees knees don’t like this sort of thing.

                      In any case, you’ll find that egalitarians are quite open to the possibility that yes, there is sexism involved in causing this problem, for what it is. We just object to apples to oranges comparisons (the 77% number) and we think that just blaming it all on the “patriarchy” solves nothing.

                      I think that sexism is a very real thing. Gender roles are a very real thing. But I disagree with the unidirectional power model…with the oppressed/oppressor model. We are all oppressed in some fashion and we are all oppressors in some fashion. Of course, not to the same level. But in terms of strictly gender, I’d probably say it’s probably about a 60/40 male advantage at this point. I’d love to get to 50/50, but I think that requires fighting against the notion of gender roles entirely….and I think that identity politics requires them. That’s the beef.

                  • MosesZD

                    Well, you are. YOu just did it by making a false argument. He presented a list of horrible comments NOT sanctioned by the powers-that-be (and frequently made by) Holier Atheist Than Thou crowd with a rhetorical question designed to illustrate the asymmetrical nature of the demand. Basically, the reward of an interview for surrender and capitulation.

                    Justin was a fool for engaging. This was a power-play and Justin got owned.

                    However, the greater point remains. The Holier-Atheist-Than-Thou crowd routinely rises to troll-bait and falsely blames people in the atheist community for it. (Directly and indirectly.) This is despite there being no evidence for huge swaths of these trolls being atheists or that (in the vast majority) other members of the community actually condone it.

                    My issue in this whole matter is Vacula’s capituation on the issue is the issue is being asymetrically blamed and asymmetrically enforced as if it’s an asymmetrical problem.

                    It is not, and that’s what the post illustrated. The FtB side has no high-ground. In fact, while I was absent from the community for quite some time and started in on this well over a year after-the-fact, I can clearly see the main problem is the FtB crowd being a bunch of self-righteous social justice warriors. And from that self-righteousness, most of these problems have flowed or have been magnified.

                    And yet SIlverman does not require the FtB crowd to make the same denunciations.

                  • “I am being honest when I tell you the ONLY criticism I have read
                    toward Rebecca Watson in the last two years was a post by Ed Clint about
                    one of her talks on the media’s treatment of Evo Psyche.

                    She thanked him and made some revisions to her talk as a result.

                    THAT IS IT.”

                    IIRC, several FTB bloggers (including Zvan – how predictable) started to RAGE TEARS, saying Ed was totally wrong, and that Saint Rebecca of Skepchickia can’t, under any circumstances, be criticised.

                    Saying that Rebecca “thanked him” is something of a whitewash.

                    • sinmantyx

                      I highly doubt they said that Clint was *totally* wrong since most of his criticism agreed with her but simply objected to the framing, and pointed out some errors like getting someone’s university affiliation confused.

                      Essentially he felt that she was presenting a general criticism of evolutionary psychology; and not specifically to the studies that she mentions and to the ways in which the media spun those studies.

                      He felt that since she was not careful not to imply a dismissal of the entire field (which is pretty new and is just getting its legs) that she was engaging in science denial.

                      The fact that you think several bloggers responding to his points is the same things as insisting that Watson “can’t under any circumstances, be criticized” is unreasonable. The opposite is true.

                      AGAIN – the opposite of dismissing out of hand is to answer criticism with evidence, arguments and thoughts.

                      Even if you don’t agree with everything they said, or thought that their defense was weak – it was not an out of hand dismissal.

                      Did the blog post in response say this:

                      “Oh silly white boy with your mysogynistic evo-psche bullshit…shut up.”

                      No? Really?

                      So weird!

                      This is what it actually said:

                  • kiiski

                    Watson hasn’t been very active in the debate, it’s her knee-jerk defenders who have produced most of the nonsense. Still, you can’t have looked very hard if you haven’t seen any criticism of her ideas, here are just a few examples:
                    -there’s the old classic, the way she hung out a young skeptic woman as ‘parroting misogyny’ for expressing a different opinion of the elevator incident.
                    -RW calling Twitter users rapists because many disagreed that ‘drunk’ automatically means unable to consent to sex.
                    -the evo psych talk- I agree with Richard that your description is a whitewash. Ed Clint actually went easy on her. RW’s arguments that evo psych is untenable because “they never tell us what genes”, or that we can’t know what the environment was like in the past, are not just an attack on evo psych, they’re an attack on much of evolutionary biology. It’s a travesty that someone like Myers would defend this.

        • sinmantyx

          The two-wrongs make a right thing is sort of popular these days.

          That was the other issue with your tirade.

        • ool0n

          Oh nooo! I take it all back, looking at my old blog posts I realise I too am an FTBully who threatens poor Slymepitters with rape. Such as the special snowflake Mykeru who only suggested he was going to hunt me down and embed an ice pick in the base of my skull. A mere quip! Whereupon I totally over-reacted and said : –

          “…I’m gonna shove a can of spam so far up your arse you’ll be sneezing sausages for a week! Bring it on! Rawr!”

          I now know, thanks to our moral saviour “Skepsheik”, that PTSD has crippled poor Mykeru to such a degree that he has left the internet since this horrible crime. I will hand myself into the local police station immediately.

      • Jeff

        You’re right, it’s a false equivalence. There has been nothing on this scale from the so-called “other side”.

      • I have yet to see condemnation of the slurs “chill girl”, “sister punisher” and “gender traitor”.

        I have yet to see condemnation for bullying Justin out of a voluntary position. [This BTW, was promulagted by Stephanie Zvan – the person who defended Greg Laden’s threats of violence]

        I have yet to see condemnation for Rebecca Watson lying about Coffee Loving Skeptic.

        I have yet to see condemnation for the lies told by Surly Amy about Justin.

        The list goes on…

    • Chas Stewart

      Of course you’re right but David made good points in that Justin is a consistently active critic of FTB/Skepchick/A+ and therefore should be willing to (at least every once in a while) condemn those unfair and gross criticisms of them. And he has. At least he did on AOK Godcast And it was of that very image that David was pressing Vacula with. I just think that Vacula needs to try and be more conspicuous whenever he condemns these things.

      • Skepsheik

        I agree with that. He does far too much sniping at ‘feminism’ and cozying up to AVFM for my liking. I don’t get the impression that he supports threats or harrassment but he could do more to make it explicit that he condemns threatening behavior.

    • ool0n

      LOL! Want a laugh then look at how quote mined “Skepsheiks” quotes are… Also very interested in how similar his list of crimes is to Wally Smith’s now, fan or Wally himself?

      For example “Fuck yourself with a sharp stick.” was put in quotes and if it was aimed at anyone it was aimed at PZ!

      One of the ones completely made up was a quote from an auto-insult generator. Nice one “Skepsheik”, either way you are one heck of a Wally.

      • “One of the ones completely made up was a quote from an auto-insult generator.”

        Well, I guess that makes everything OK. I mean, intent, it ain’t magic!

        • ool0n

          You dipshit, why not click on the link and see the context. It was one tiny bit of an “open letter” to Ken Ham in a 5yr old thread which actually came from here -> –> A Rick-roll like meme.

          Quote mining comments so old you need the wayback machine to see them, Slymepit false equivalence. At least we see now why “Skepsheik” provided NO links to the comments.

          • Richard Sanderson


  • ool0n

    David Silverman “@justinvacula if you wish to improve relations let me see you denounce shit from those perceived to be your allies. Then I will come on.”

    ^^^ Where in this post do you denounce any shit from perceived allies? I think you got off too lightly.

    • I have to give credit to ool0n here. Fightin’ the good fight. I won’t forget.

    • Patriarchal Pete

      LOL. “perceived”. You kids are hilarious.

    • Karmakin

      Question: Did you denounce Rebecca Watson for her racist, sexist tweet that started the whole mess?

      • ool0n

        Tu quoque is not an answer… I know its the only answer you have but please try harder.

        • Karmakin

          Then everything you posted here is a Tu quoque, believe it or not. You’re here defending her sexism/racism by calling out the behavior of everybody else.

          BTW, that’s a stupid argument that reeks of tribalism. If certain behavior is bad, it’s bad across the board. Which actually is one of my big criticisms of anti-egalitarian feminism (being a pro-egalitarian feminist myself), that all too often they act in ways that put forward the notion that it’s people, not actions that are bad. That you use the silly notion of a “Tu Quoque” for this stuff is an example of that.

          • ool0n is a fully paid up member of the Cult of Rebecca. All of Rebecca’s lies, sins, outrageous behavior, contradictions, etc. must be ignored.

            • Guest

              oolOn is their most useful idiot. Someday, he may have the pleasure of smelling her dirty panties. Rewards are few and far between for the mangina.

              • ool0n

                Why do I even bother? They do a much better job of discrediting themselves than I ever can!

                • “Why do I even bother?”

                  Good question. After wasting all that time and effort on a spambot, you waste more time ranting inanities in various forums.

              • Richard Sanderson

                Rebecca Watson never secretes any body odour or dirt, for she is REBECCA WATSON, who can do no wrong and is superior to all mortals.

          • ool0n

            Impressive, your response to an accusation of tu quoque is to shout “you too!!” .. I like it.

  • sinmantyx

    “It is difficult to author a statement of condemnation like this because
    gray areas exist concerning interpretations of what constitutes hatred
    and because individuals respond differently to material. I may even be
    best to see specific examples of objectionable content rather than make
    general statements..but this should be a good general statement.”

    I think you are absolutely right. If you give some examples of what you actually condemn, it will make it seem more like an expression of how you actually feel about these things and less like you just ad-libbed a previously written statement to try to get a big-wig on your show.

    You might want to start with how you actually feel about a picture being posted on your own facebook wall showing a woman being kicked in the groin and advocates that “when she bend over in pain, claw at her breasts; smash twist and pull” presented as a “cunt punt” joke.

    Or, condemn any number of articles on “A Voice for Men” that are sexist, since you have written for them and did an interview recently. For example, when they assumed that a woman claiming to have been raped was lying and attacked her credibility by pointing out her suicide attempt and accused her of being a spoiled brat who is accustomed to using her looks to get what she wants in life, while simultaneously calling a couple celebrity women sluts.

    Or you could use the example that Mr. Silverman gave you on Twitter of a photoshop-ed picture of Rebecca Watson tied up and raped.

    Or you could use the example of a mock-twitter account being created to bash Melody Hensley who organized the Women in Secularism conference that you just went to. It’s called “Smellody” and has 89 follows as of now and the account retweeted several of your posts.

    Of course, the problem with using a bunch of examples is that it might under-cut your stance that you are “skeptical of claims of rampant misogyny and threats within the atheist community.”

  • Guest

    I think you’ve missed the point. David Silverman wasn’t asking you for a rejection of criminal activity. Is it your view that nothing is immoral, despicable, and worthy of rejection, dismissal, and disavowal unless it is illegal?

    • MosesZD

      No. You missed the point. Read it and think about it.

    • What constitutes “criminal activity” is where the conversation gets tricky. Benson and the like have made all manner of accusations of criminal activity that, in my estimation, are groundless and false, and conflating strong criticism with criminal harassment. To “condemn” such “criminal” activity is to accept a distorted version of events.

      Of course, actual criminal, harassing activity is something that Justin has clearly condemned, as do I, as does any reasonable person in this conversation.

  • MosesZD

    What’s ‘hateful?’ Many (which is not to say ‘all’ or even ‘the majority’) feminists have such thin skin that even pointing out they have ‘thin skin’ is hateful.
    And please don’t act like it’s a goddamn strawman. The Pesky Dames on YouTube are false-flagging critics of their videos (men who don’t call them names or some such but simply address their arguments) and have had at least on channel shut down (though it’s back up). And there is plenty of evidence of this behavior on the Internet in general. Hell, look at the crybabies at FtB who take offense at virtually anything questions their dogma.

  • In Lancaster, Ohio it is illegal to color your chickens after four weeks of age. Please don’t promote this criminal activity.

  • looking forward to this discussion

  • franc

    Of course the toad ool0n/Chester shows up. Aside from his blockbot, he fills the emptiness of his life scouring the web for discussions to pollute with the same cyclic gibberish – vainly hoping the FTB ingroup will accept him.

    “How about condemning bullshit like “professional victim” Justin? It originates and is pushed relentlessly by your friends like Rich above.”

    Because it’s not a slur Chester – it’s as accurate and succinct as you can get. FTB/Skepchick/A+ is a carnival sideshow that feeds off manufactured outrage. It’s a business model, and it works. A great example is SulkyAmy contriving a nonsense meltdown out of Harriet Hall’s t-shirt at TAM – a desperate act, but one driven by necessity as there simply was nothing else to create drama out of. This is a factory that churns out imaginary crises for self-promotion and profit. They continuously harp on about threats, yet take no action with ISPs or law enforcement, and with a sound, video and image capture device in everyone’s pocket (it’s called a “cell phone”) have as yet not produced a single item of evidence of any atheist anywhere behaving in a threatening and misogynistic manner. It’s little children crying wolf over and over – and the grownups are getting very tired of it.

    And Chester, I’ll save you a bunch of your habitual keystrokes – “franc is victor ivanoff blah blah he uses sockpuppets blah blah blah”

    Hollow-head loser => ool0n / Chester

    • Karmakin

      Just to add on to that.

      I’ll condemn “professional victim” just as soon as you condemn “misogynist” and “patriarchy”. People defend those terms saying they’re just descriptions of our world…so is the former.

      • ool0n

        I do condemn misogynists and the patriarchy!

        • Do you condemn ageism? Some of the FTB idiots are guilty of this particular form of bigotry.

    • ool0n

      Aww Franc, I knew you still cared. So a question… Is Harrier Hall on the wrong side now then? She did afterall apologise for the tshirt incident…

      “I apologize for putting the word skepchick on my shirt. I honestly did not intend to target the organization, but rather the concept of chick in general. I did not foresee the reaction, and I should have.”

      Even better is…

      “I sincerely regret that I inadvertently contributed to inflaming the harassment that was directed at you.”

      She’s talking about you there Franc… Well not just you, many on this thread.

      So all over as far as I’m concerned as they made up. But again the Slymepit is based on clinging to bits of proxy-butthurt like limpets. Either each others or the so called “leaders” of the movement, regardless of how bothered they are by criticism. Never let go Franc!

  • Jesus

    And here we have it. It has gotten to the point that any discussion, that should otherwise be rational considering both sides claim to be “skeptics”, requires a preamble about criminal activity. As it stands, there is not one verifiable instance of criminal activity that has been prosecuted between any members of the so-called “Atheist Community”. Never before has such a display of paranoia been witnessed outside of padded walls. The melodrama has got to stop. You people have made a mockery of any efforts you may have tried to undertake. You are embarrassments to the mainstream Atheist community. If this is the result of equal rights and social justice, if this is the best you can do, than any hope of mending things so that your movement can move forward with more important work is futile. There is no real danger here. You are among trolls and cowards. Neither are known for action more than taunts, threats, and bullying. Feminism has failed. Atheism Plus has failed. MRA’s have failed. If all parties were intellectually honest, there is no concern for unity, equality, or comradery here. I see nothing more than insecurity hiding itself behind inflated egos. All of them worried to death they may have to actually stand their ground. all the while participating in pathetic grandstanding and childish one-upmanship. I suggest both sides get their dogs on leashes and let those with more maturity handle these issues. In other words, if what you are saying or doing is not working toward a peaceful resolution you are probably part of the problem. There are no innocent victims here.

    • sinmantyx

      Is it bad that I think that making the post you just did WHILE simultaneously ranting against “melodrama” is funny as shit?

  • Justin, in your talk with Silverman I hope you have time to mention the open contempt that PZ and others show to anyone who is not a main stream progressive, particularly libertarians who make up a significant and vital part of the atheist community, by insisting on an ideological litmus test that equates secularism with progressivism without making a strong case (that I’ve seen, anyway, if there are good examples please let me know). I believe this is alluded to in R.A. Lindsey’s speech at WIS when he references ideological approaches that are used in Marxism. I consider myself a skeptical progressive and value the political pluralism of the current movement and think skepticism would be better served in the place where I think it’s most needed, the American South, without too much ideological baggage.

  • Ronlawhouston

    Damn, I actually find myself conflicted. See, so far, I’ve identified at least two distinct sub-types of atheists. There are what I’d call the “worker atheists.” These are the people that just keep their heads down, focus on important issues and then work on them without seeking to draw much attention to themselves. I count in this category people like you, Vjack at Atheist Revolution and Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist.

    Then there are the folks I call the professional shit throwers. These are people that are much like the chimpanzee at the zoo that throws its crap to draw attention to itself. Think of PZ Myers. The guy throws crap, then beats his chest and makes loud noises so that people will hopefully look at him. So far, I sort of see Dave Silverman in this camp. The guy came on twitter started talking smack and then initially tried to duck out by saying he was supposed to be on vacation. I give him credit for not throwing crap and then running so I’m willing to cut him some slack, but still, he hasn’t done much to get himself out of the chimpanzee camp.

    I actually hate to see you deferring to him and trying to get him onto your radio show. It’s in your nature to try to discuss things, but my conflict is that after all the crap he threw on twitter I found myself wishing you’d have called him more on the crap he was throwing.

    Anyway, if he comes on, I’ll make sure that I try to catch the show live rather than listening it to it after its recorded.

    • Good call on Atheist Revolution and Friendly Atheist. They’ve done a hell of a job.

      I’ve been a fan of Silverman for a few years now….I think he mostly just gets the job done. I even liked the “Slaves…obey your Masters” billboards…the accusations of racism were BS, and it got NOTICED. I think he has done a much better job of riding the line between “too much controversy, or nobody hearing the message”….a much better job than most of the liberal or progressive atheist bloggers.

      That said, dipping into guilt by (perceived) association, demanding that Vacula openly denounce something, or else be “perceived” as supporting it….that seems cheap and low. Demanding that smacks to me of Adam Lee’s declaration of debate terms for non-progressives/feminists…(paraphrased)…”quit being misogynist rape enablers, then we can talk.”

      So (as if I have anyone’s ear) my question to Dave Silverman would be: Have you quit beating your wife yet?

      Joking aside, do the show, Dave. Vacula might not be the ideal liberal progressive, but he’s no bogeyman. Whatever his faults, he does the work of secularist activism, he tries to take a fair but skeptical approach to community issues, and will likely only get better at it.

  • DaveDodo007

    I don’t know jack shit about David Silverman or the fact that American atheists had a president. I mean did you vote for him? Or is it a title like reverend? Is he any good at his job? What has he done? Still I look forward to the discussion.

  • Mesopotamian Carpet Weasel

    You very clearly condemn things that are against the law. When did the courts become perfect arbiters of morality? Are you saying that nothing is even the slightest bit wrong unless it receives a conviction in a court of law?

    • guest

      Aren’t you?

      • Mesopotamian Carpet Weasel

        No. But thanks for playing.

  • Shadow of a Doubt

    #VaculaMustDenounce ool0n, otherwise he supports censorious assholes who show up to derail comment sections with nonsense.

  • Richard Sanderson

    One of the Pharyngulites reiterates the bullying techniquers:

    “At this point, the talking should be *over*. It’s time to speak out, condemn, shun, marginalise, and burn bridges.”

    I told you shunning was part of their bullying and intimidation tactics.

    Anyway, it does make you wonder when THEY will form their own conferences. They need to “burn their own bridges” with the community. The rest of the community is getting on just fine, and will welcome the fresh air that their non-participation will bring.

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