A Very Uncomfortable Place »« Now I’m a Nazi Sniper

Vacula v. Silverman

Because some folks are asking it be pulled out of Twitter into a readable form. Throwing in another voice or two you don’t usually see involved, because ripple effects are part of the point.

@ With is with your constant pandering toward women, Dave? It seems to belittle them, as if their merits don't stand on own.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

@ you mean when I treat women as equals & allies, while dissing the anonymous assholes who post and rt vile messages & pix?
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman

@ So much pandering w these anti-harassment policies, http://t.co/08M3nW6jWK, tweet about having more than 50% speakers...
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ This stuff is not needed. The merits of women in this movement stand on their own...and they don't need to be 'defended.'
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ With your pandering, you help spread false narrative - that community is hostile to and excluding women.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ SOME of the community is genuinely hostile. It disgusts me. When some Pretend otherwise,despite evidence,it looks like defense
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman

[Okay, one editorial comment I couldn’t resist: When this guy tells you he recognizes hostility, treat him as the expert he is.]

@ I would LOVE to see you publicly trash the genuine haters. Stop pretending there are no assholes.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ for example, the fake pic of @ in sexually demeaning position. Can you agree that's shit? Publicly?
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ @ even talking about it would draw attention to it, which is exactly what the person who did it wants.
@RichardReed84
Richard Reed
@ agree, but praise is implied in the defense, prompting repeat. If @ is to be heard he must acknowledge, abhor it.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ @ @ Reprehensible? Yes. However, not related to atheism or skepticism.
@ @ @ I completely disagree, and use your tweet as case-in-point.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ @ @ same goes for EVERYONE who lol'ed it and rt'd. Shit shit shit. This is your problem.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ can't get into this now. One final word. If you can't bring yourself to fight shit, you will be seen as approving it.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ @ Sure, it's shit. ...but this is not a serious voice in the discussion. It's an obvious Rule 34 troll picture.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ You say this is problem in movement. Do we know identity of person who made this picture?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ @ Apparently, we can bash Islam all day and Draw Mohammad, but RW is sacred, immune from ridicule?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

[Another required editorial comment: Does he not know what “defending” means”?]

@ What is the evidence? Who are these "genuinely hostile" people and how do you know they are part of community?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ Why is it case I ought to publicly trash? I can't police the whole of internet trolling. Who are these "genuine haters?"
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ There are jerks out there, sure, but are these people in movement, serious voices in discussion? What are they saying?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ Defense? What defense? Who or what am I defending?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

[Oh, I give up: Yes, just not very well.]

@ @ @ Is this photoshop from someone in the movement? How do you know?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ I suppose, Dave, you approve of everything you don't fight?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ @ RW and co. lump all critics as one in same when it actually is not the case.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

[That’s 10 tweets. In case you were wondering why he gets blocked on Twitter.]

In response to asking whether Rebeca is sacred:

@ @ @ hyperbole. Never said nor suggested that. You are not hearing me.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ @ @ @ @ I don't support that image. Don't see as 'problem' in mvt from this
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
It's the avalanche of such harassment, @ It's a problem. @ @ @ @
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke

In regard to a “LOL” from Vacula on a side conversation:

@ Your detractors don't mind criticism. They mind hate. Take their sides when you agree. Seek no excuses to miss opportunities.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ People like RW conflate - act as if all opposition is "haters" "misogynists" "sexists" and such.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ I'm not up for policing the internet with every objectionable picture that might be out there.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ People detest RW and complany because of their behavior, not bc they are women - RW claims misogyny problem in mvt
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ Besides, PZ Myers gets a tremendous amount of pushback, people detest him bc of behavior...is that because he is a man?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ then criticize her. But just as I vocally abhor violence against churches, YOU must abhor hate v women to be taken seriously.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ What is this "hate v women?" Why make it a gendered issue, anyway?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ Has RW been met with violence or threats of violence? Evidence please.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ you're not listening. I tried to help. Please consider what I've written and meant. Gotta go.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman

Going back to conflating criticism and hate:

@ @ You LET her do that by not separating yourself from the hatred but making excuses for it.
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ A moment ago you justified sexually demeaning images of RW by comparing them to justifiable satire of islam
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ I did not justify anything. I asked a question.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ If we are going to demean Mohammad, Islam and be OK, why be up in arms about (1/2)
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ people satirizing, ridiculing Rebecca Watson? Why is she on the pedestal? (2/2)
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ Here was my answer about the satire of islam vs. satire of tw, in case you missed it: http://t.co/e6hG9nkfTj
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ Because she is a person and sometimes ally while Mohammed is not. @ @
@BirdTerrifier
Chas Stewart
@ @ She's not on a pedestal.The real question's why there's website DEVOTED to hating her & allies as sole purpose
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ Can you pls identify site and how you know it has sole purpose, is dedicated to hate of RW and friends?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ Is there another purpose to the SlymePit than hating RW and friends? Is it advancing some other agenda?
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ you make excuses by defending any and all satire of RW on grounds she's not off limits in general, like islam
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ Actually, there are all sorts of non-RW and friends conversations...and it is not all hate...or even mostly.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ I'm talking about the purpose of the site, Justin, not whether friendships have happened to bloom there.
@CamelsHammers
Dan Fincke
@ @ You should know, anyway, I am among most photoshopped person there. Everyone gets made fun of.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ @ You should visit and post on the Slymepit. Put some ideas forth, ask questions. It is fun place.
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula

[Vacula finds the slimepit a fun place. He can’t, apparently, figure out why other don’t.]

Dave steps back in to try, one more time to reason with Vacula:

@ you are fighting two different fights. U see it as attacking actions but they see it as hate bc you support shit. 1/2
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ if you denounce shit, your attacks on rw's actions will be taken far more seriously. Like when I denounce church vandalism.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ few would seriously consider criticism against me from a WBC supporter, right? Even if it were correct? Abhor hate & b heard
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ What is this assumption - that if I don't speak against x I support x? That's unreasonable, very high demand you pose
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ Again, me & Church vandalism. Perfect analogy. Decry or be perceived to support, fair or not.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ hate and threats against your opposition is the wrong thing about which to be silent.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ It's unfair and unreasonable. You must be moral monster bc of all the things you don't speak against...
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ Shall we say, Dave, you support campaigns of male circumcision in Africa if you don't speak against it?
@justinvacula
Justin Vacula
@ it is neither. It is fact. Every time a church is vandalized I put out a statement abhorring vandalism bc I am not about that.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman
@ your hesitancy to do the same is troubling. This is a clear and easy path I take all the time.
@MrAtheistPants
David Silverman

By this time, the “conversation” is general, messy and repetitive, so I’ll just leave it with this, from one of the guys who’s been using the TAM hashtags as dumping grounds for anti-Skepchick BS for the last couple of years and who participated in the Great Penis Debate:

wow, @ and @ are arguing on twitter, and I must say, I pretty much agree with @
@Sc00ter
Travis Roy

Comments

  1. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Thanks for the recap, Stephanie!

    This ‘discussion’ is, dare I say, a mess, and I know I was having trouble following the whole thing.

  2. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    So Vacula complains about not being taken seriously, but when someone who could be considered a genuine “leader” in the “movement” (I hate those terms, but…) tries talking to him, he gives Silverman every single reason to not take him seriously.

  3. gAytheist says

    Thanks for posting the details of the exchange. I suppose if I were a member of twitter I’d have been able to work out how to see the whole thing. But I hate twitter and I’m not going to join just for the purpose of re-affirming my impression that Bustin Dracula is an asshole and Dave Silverman is one of the good guys.

  4. says

    This shows me two things:
    – Vacula’s as intellectually honest as William Craig, but not anywhere near as clever
    – Twitter is a shitty medium for communications above and beyond announcing one’s bowel movements

  5. PatrickG says

    Thanks for putting this into a coherent form for us Twitter Luddites. :)

    And go David Silverman!

  6. A. Noyd says

    Thanks for posting the main conversation. Nice to see Fincke going after Vacula as well.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Miri (#4)

    It’s unfortunate that nobody linked to the Skepchick Page o’ Hate at any point, but still, great debate.

    Vacula would just dismiss that by claiming no one has proven that the hate is from atheists. His whole evidence denial shtick reminds me of Dawkins trying to point Wendy Wright at the evidence for evolution.

  7. says

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the person that created that awful photoshop of Rebecca is part of the A/S community. She is part of the community therefore making it something that the community needs to be concerned about.

    I would love to see much more defending of each other and much less attacking.

  8. says

    See… this.. American Atheists can come across as needlessly offensive and bit proselytizy with things like “you know it’s a myth” and such, but then David Silverman goes on to be all awesome and shit and all I can think is “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    You know, if CFI falls through, maybe AA will sponsor WiS3?

    Just thinking…

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum @ # 5: Twitter is a shitty medium for communications above and beyond announcing one’s bowel movements

    Some people seem able to use it effectively for flinging same.

    Can we move on to a better dumb fad now?

  10. iknklast says

    Easy to see who’s the grown up here. Dave has his faults (don’t we all?) but he sure does know how to call BS BS. Guess I know where this month’s atheist charitable donation is going! Maybe I’ll even forego saving the rhinos for a month, and send the money to a tiger (a human tiger).

  11. says

    Hmm Travis Roy aka @Sc00ter agrees with Dave Silverman eh? I seem to remember adding him to the block bot for being a condescending asshole to Melody Hensley when she was asking ppl to leave her alone. https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/293863869124853760

    Another of his missives also stood out to me… https://twitter.com/Sc00ter/status/335826136292532224

    @saramayhew @anneymarie just today I was told by someone they are AFRAID to give any criticism to Rebecca because of fear of being attacked.

    How is any of that standing up against bullying and harassing online? Minimise and ridicule someone for not wanting to be contacted by ppl on Twitter. Spread disinformation and false equivalences about RW being the “real” bully which enables her attackers.

  12. A Hermit says

    EllenBeth nails it:

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the person that created that awful photoshop of Rebecca is part of the A/S community. She is part of the community therefore making it something that the community needs to be concerned about.

    Exactly. Vacula et al seem to think that as long as they can maintain some kind of “plausible deniability” around the idea that any of this comes from anyone “in the A/S community” that it can simply be dismissed.

    Even if it were true that none of this stuff comes from people “in the A/S community” Vacula and the `pitters are contributing to the problem by smirking form the sidelines and not speaking out against it. They are, in that case, participating in harassment by proxy.

    And of course one has to be awfully naive to think that none of the “shit” as Silverman puts it is coming from other atheists and skeptics. In fact one has to ignore a whole boatload of evidence to the contrary…http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/

  13. says

    So Vacula really doesn’t grok that even if the enemies of your enemies are vile, repugnant people, they will be seen as your friends unless you repudiate their vile, repugnant actions?

    oolon @16: Note also how Vacula accepts Roy’s tweet about “someone” uncritically, without asking if that “someone” is an atheist or otherwise part of the movement. That kind of bold, unashamed hypocrisy really gets my BP up.

  14. Sercee says

    It pretty much boils down to Dave and Dan banging their heads off a brick wall and Vaculas repeatedly and deliberately failing to connect their dots. It’s painful because it’s so obvious. He does not want to be seen to agree or learn or change or do anything but be a scum bag. It’s not even about being wrong – he just wants to keep crapping on people because it’s fun.

  15. says

    @Dave,W, Yeah and even the smallest claim from us that is not citationed to the hilt is proof of #FTBullies not being proper “sceptics” … That is a serious accusation and hence needs some serious backing up!

    They love to throw them out as if there is no question of X allegation being true and no one their side challenges it at all. Sceptics my arse.

  16. says

    @Sercee, maybe not… http://www.skepticink.com/justinvacula/2013/05/22/upon-request-of-david-silverman-a-condemnation/

    Although Dave asked for him to condemn some specific instances from his allies, he didn’t do that.
    https://twitter.com/MrAtheistPants/status/337277990973100032

    @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.

    Don’t see how the post qualifies, but to see Dave Silverman rip him apart its worth it. Hope someone on FTBs listens to the podcast and reports on it as I don’t want to add to his download stats. Probably his primary reason for capitulating to Dave, self-promotion.

  17. jenBPhillips says

    Oh ick. JV openly disavows “Criminal acts”. Of course, the slymers spend much time arguing that the volumes of hate mail received by Stephanie, Greta, Ophelia, Amy, Rebecca, etc. aren’t reported to the authorities, ergo aren’t *real* threats (aka “criminal acts”), but mere professional victimization. So, let’s not imagine JV has adjusted his position one iota, based on this clumsy little dance of a blog post.

  18. Anthony K says

    Oh ick. JV openly disavows “Criminal acts”. Of course, the slymers spend much time arguing that the volumes of hate mail received by Stephanie, Greta, Ophelia, Amy, Rebecca, etc. aren’t reported to the authorities, ergo aren’t *real* threats (aka “criminal acts”), but mere professional victimization. So, let’s not imagine JV has adjusted his position one iota, based on this clumsy little dance of a blog post.

    Then they toss this right out the window soon as someone calls out someone like Shermer, or any of the other skeptical failures, for sexism or sexist language. Because calling someone a misogynist is a Very Serious Allegation™, despite it not being fucking illegal in the least.

    What snivelling cowards these shitbags are.

  19. Anthony K says

    JV openly disavows “Criminal acts”.

    Ah, well: that’s one way to deal with sexism. Legalise it! Like they did in Saudi Arabia.

    On the other hand, was he really against ‘sodomy’ in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia prior to 2003?

    Nonetheless, that’s some gold standard for ethicality they’ve set themselves: it’s fine as long as the State doesn’t explicitly prohibit it…

    #braveheroism is brave.

  20. says

    Vacula is really, really a shitty communicator. I mean, I get the limitations of 140 characters for having a real discussion. But it’s not just his tweets. He really can’t seem to express a clear, logical, and coherent line of thought. It all seems as if he’s just writing almost stream-of-consciousness while trying to use ‘fancy’ words that he sees other people use. But it seems as if he utterly fails to grasp the connotation of those words in the context in which he is using them.

    Like his use of ‘pandering’ to apparently mean condescending. ‘Pandering’ implies that Silverman is consciously trying to appeal to women based on how they view themselves. So is he suggesting that women believe that they cannot stand on their own merits, and are therefore flattered by Silverman’s appeal to that trait? What a crock! And doubly insulting, no less.

    But I don’t think that is what he is trying to communicate. I think he is trying to argue gender-blindness, as if generations of being intentionally marginalized within the secular and science communities doesn’t require some actual effort to correct. Nope, it’s all fixed just by pretending that we can’t see gender any more. Has he expressed the same garbage about racial-blindness as well? Or at least expressed it as murkily as he expresses anything other than petulant derision. Just wondering.

  21. kaboobie says

    Hmm Travis Roy aka @Sc00ter agrees with Dave Silverman eh? I seem to remember adding him to the block bot for being a condescending asshole to Melody Hensley when she was asking ppl to leave her alone.

    I know him in person and thought he was an okay guy until he developed a bizarre vendetta against Surly Amy and Rebecca Watson. He’s been an enabler of harassment ever since and I have cut off communication with him.

  22. hypatiasdaughter says

    I know it’s not funny but, damn, JV sounds like my kids when they were 10 yrs old and got called out for something. The evasions, the rationalizations, the over the top hyperbole – anything to avoid admitting they had done something wrong..
    It seems to be a hallmark of this crowd – creating the FTBullies hashtag sounded just like something a junior high school student would do – and a not very mature junior high school student, at that.
    #26 kaboobie

    until he developed a bizarre vendetta against Surly Amy and Rebecca Watson.

    It is a vendetta, isn’t it? And they are so totally unaware of how obsessive and completely irrational it looks.

  23. Silentbob says

    Justin Vacula tweets

    @MrAtheistPants What is the evidence? Who are these “genuinely hostile” people and how do you know they are part of community?

    @ 17 A Hermit

    Even if it were true that none of this stuff comes from people “in the A/S community” Vacula and the ‘pitters are contributing to the problem by smirking form the sidelines and not speaking out against it. They are, in that case, participating in harassment by proxy.

    And of course one has to be awfully naive to think that none of the “shit” as Silverman puts it is coming from other atheists and skeptics. In fact one has to ignore a whole boatload of evidence to the contrary.

    Yes, but one also has to ignore logic, reason and Occam’s razor. I mean… Rebecca is only a well-known figure within the atheist/skeptic community. You have to listen to certain podcasts, read certain blogs, attend certain conferences to even know who she is. So what’s the alternate hypothesis? That a bunch of people with no interest in atheism or skepticism, and no particular reason to know who she is, all simultaneously decided to launch a hate campaign against the same random woman?!

  24. Silentbob says

    … Also, when Vacula chides Silverman for “pandering” to women… why am I reminded of the phrase, “nigger-lover!”?

    Anyway, my respect for Dave has significantly increased. Well done, MrAtheistPants.

  25. aardvark406 says

    Vacula has totally missed the boat. In his “condemnation” he speaks out against illegal things. Because clearly the US legal system is a perfect arbiter of morality and if it doesn’t result in a guilty verdict in a court it’s zero bad.

  26. Jacob Schmidt says

    There may be worse things about JV, but this shit just pisses me off:

    This stuff is not needed. The merits of women in this movement stand on their own…and they don’t need to be ‘defended.’

    I don’t defend women and condemn sexism because I think women are too weak to fight for themselves. I mean, jesus fuck, who do you think fought to get me* into feminism? I defend women and condemn sexism because women shouldn’t have to deal with this shit, whether or not they are capable of responding to it themselves.

    *Not me specifically. I just mean I witnessed the arguments being made and was won over by many of them.

  27. says

    The comparison between images ridiculing Muhammad and the sick, twisted shit flung at Rebecca (and virtually everyone else on that side of the argument) is so utterly moronic that it leaves my jaw agape. Muhammad has been dead for centuries and some of his followers kill people who dare to draw him; under those circumstances, hell yes it’s okay to draw Muhammad in ways that offend fascist murderers. Rebecca is a real person, still alive and facing a constant stream of threats and misogyny. Using ridicule against Muhammad is standing up against barbarism; using ridicule, especially sexually vile ridicule, against Rebecca is only adding to the torrent of abuse and misogyny that is aimed not only at her but at other women every day. The comparison isn’t just illogical, it’s repulsive.

    Can he seriously not understand the differences? I doubt it. He’s not stupid. But it’s convenient for his argument to pretend they are alike, so he does.

  28. bad Jim says

    Vacula comes across as an entirely typical troll, a vacuous timesuck, never directly answering a question, just asking questions. It’s nice that he doesn’t condone defamatory images, but still he can’t bring himself to condemn them.

    For me the red flag is at the beginning, accusing Slverman of pandering to women. That says it all.

  29. Anthony K says

    For me the red flag is at the beginning, accusing Slverman of pandering to women. That says it all.

    Yup.

    Of course, if an FtB blogger had written something like that, the squawkbots would be asking how one could determine another’s intent was to be ‘pandering’, since one cannot read minds.

  30. Anthony K says

    Ah. Hit ‘submit’ too fast.

    For me the red flag is at the beginning, accusing Slverman of pandering to women. That says it all.

    Yup.

    Of course, if an FtB blogger had written something like that, the squawkbots would be asking how one could determine another’s intent was to be ‘pandering’, since one cannot read minds.

    Why assume the most uncharitable interpretation, Vacula?

    Feh. Even if you had no positive arguments for feminism, you could still hang these fucks on their own faulty claims.

  31. says

    “Pandering to women” is a standard MRA line. It’s related to accusing people of “white knighting”, and then comes accusations of being a “mangina” and a beta trying to get laid. He has absorbed the MRA dogma, that’s for sure.

  32. Eristae says

    Gah, Vacula drove me a little crazy there. No, just because you don’t speak about Mexican drug cartels at every given moment doesn’t mean you are in favor of the Mexican drug cartel. However, if the Mexican drug cartel attacks someone, you watch them do it, and after that you say nothing, then yes, your actions are going to be read as approval. If you can’t even bring yourself to verbally condemn such attacks, then I don’t know what other conclusion you would expect people to draw.

  33. bobapthorpe says

    Tonight’s score:
    David Silverman and AA: $100
    Ron Lindsay and CFI: $bupkus

    I’m far more of a fan of CFI than AA in general but as far as leaders who understand how to lead goes, Silverman wins hands down.

    Lindsay: Mansplaining and being a shitty host, then getting all petty and personalizing an argument when called called out, rather than addressing the issues raised or shutting his fool yap. A sea cucumber would be more professional.

    Vacula: Rank evasive rules-lawyering that makes “I don’t see your NAME on it!” look like David Fucking Hume in comparison.

    Silverman: Calls a spade a spade. Then hits him with one upside his thick head.

    Again, not the biggest fan of the billboard campaign, but after an impact like that David needs a new shovel. If Ron had any sense, he’d lend his to Silverman, if only to prevent himself from digging that hole any further.

    Also, Silverman had the grace not to call out O’Reilly on his “tides go in” comedy routine. He can handle the Ovaltine He-Man Bwave Hewo Hour…

  34. sawells says

    Nothing to do with anything, but isn’t “Vacula versus Silverman” the perfect title for a low-budget vampire movie?

    ….

    More seriously – I’m astonished at the lengths these guys can go to to maintain the pretence that they are the good guys. The “pandering” thing for a kickoff… oy.

  35. great1american1satan says

    I must be doing something right in life, because I’ve been accused of whiteknighting before. If that’s supposed to be a tactic to get laid, why is it so often flung at people like PZ (I presume) & myself who have all the sex they need? Projection?

    In other news, Silverman going on the JV show seems like a really crap idea, but I hold out some hope that it won’t be too enjoyable for J, but I can’t help but feel his big publicity stunt of attending WiS payed off – and that’s fucking disgusting.

  36. athyco says

    oolon:

    Hope someone on FTBs listens to the podcast and reports on it as I don’t want to add to his download stats. Probably his primary reason for capitulating to Dave, self-promotion.

    If Dave Silverman really ends up on a BraveHero radio show, I’m going to listen to it and live tweet. There are a few things I’ll be bookmarking between now and then so that I’ll have links to choose from as additional commentary. As several have pointed out here, Vacula’s own words can be some of the best arguments against him.

    As for adding to his download stats, I can’t imagine that one peak–with a high-profile guest–will do him any good in the long run.

  37. thetalkingstove says

    Anthony K

    it’s fine as long as the State doesn’t explicitly prohibit it…

    This is essentially their ‘equity feminism’. If something’s not illegal, why worry about it? if it is illegal, report it and sit back and watch the 100% perfect justice system take care of it!

    Meanwhile, the hyperskepticism of ‘but we don’t know it’s skeptics who are sending RW abuse!’ is so fucking boring.
    RW is best known for the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Skepchick and speaking at Skeptical conferences.
    Yeah, we really need 1000 citations before we make the suggestion that it’s probably skeptics who are the ones so enraged by her.

  38. says

    This is essentially their ‘equity feminism’. If something’s not illegal, why worry about it? if it is illegal, report it and sit back and watch the 100% perfect justice system take care of it!

    Yeah, but you know what’s really bad? Telling somebody to shut up, but that they’re wrong. For not worrying about anything that’s below illegal they surely make a lot of fuss about being called a misogynist

  39. says

    If you were at the conference this week, you would have been enlightened to the fact that Justin is truly a Vaculous person:

    @SubManUSN @ElevatorGATE I challenged her on gender wage gap debate. No response yet. @amandamarcotte #WhyTheWait

    http://www.skepticink.com/justinvacula/2013/04/11/skepticism-of-gender-pay-gap-and-president-obamas-equal-pay-day-proclamation/

    You got it right there. Justin denies there is a wage gap.

  40. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    See, I think a big part of the problem is that Vacula is rather dumb. As in “not bright,” or “barely and maybe not average in competence.” I’m not inclined to let venal people off the hook by assuming they must not understand what they’re saying. But in Vacula’s case, I think he is genuinely dull–that he’s also mean-spirited and vicious makes for trouble.

    Sometimes genuinely dull-witted people rise to place of (relative) prominence and others start listening to them because they confirm what the crowd wants to hear. I think this is what’s happened with JV and the pitters. It’s darkly comical—and provokes some resentment in me, truth be told—to see so many people have to argue and fight against someone so blasted dumb as if he were any kind of force to be reckoned with. I know it’s necessary, but it’s irritating.

  41. Martha says

    The sad truth is that some of those attacks on Rebecca may actually not be from atheists, now that Vacula and his ilk have invited their AVFM friends into the fray. Alas, Vacula is not alone in thinking that repeating the same nonsensical lines every day can actually substitute for reasoned debate.

    When will so-called Skeptics learn that reasoning logically from absurd premises will invariably lead to absurd answers?

  42. theobromine says

    @Katherine Lorraine… #46

    The pay gap is a win-win for MRAs. If they can’t deny it, they complain about the fact that it is closing: See, if women previously earned $.50 for each $1.00 that men earned, but now are up to $.77, this indicates that women’s average wages are rising faster than men’s, and that’s *so unfair*.

    [BTW, great to meet you at WiS!]

  43. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Josh wrote:

    Sometimes genuinely dull-witted people rise to place of (relative) prominence and others start listening to them because they confirm what the crowd wants to hear. I think this is what’s happened with JV and the pitters.

    The other ‘pitters are no doubt ecstatic that Vacula’s had his name mentioned as often as it has, since it serves the dual purpose of rallying their scumbag allies from places like AVFM and the not insignificant of having a sacrificial lamb on the off-chance it all goes pear-shaped. Then they’ll all distance themselves from him and find another muppet to use as a figurehead.

    I’d probably feel sorrier for the poor dumb bastard if he wasn’t such a genuine creep.

  44. says

    This is essentially their ‘equity feminism’. If something’s not illegal, why worry about it? if it is illegal, report it and sit back and watch the 100% perfect justice system take care of it!

    And if someone is trying to make something you like illegal, fight it tooth and nail.

    To be fair, he does later say:

    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.

    Which is, of course, immediately complained about in the comments by Abby Smith and others

    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.

    And this statement which is just…so…ugh.

    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

  45. savagemutt says

    They aren’t scientific skeptics, they’re legalistic skeptics. They think arguments are won by trotting out dictionary definitions and by repeating “prove it” over and over like a parrot. In that sense, they aren’t really skeptics at all; just people who want to argue and insult.

  46. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    In that sense, they aren’t really skeptics at all; just people who want to argue and insult.

    They’re also under the unfortunate delusion that doing this makes them smarter than everybody else.

  47. says

    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.

    Fun is when everybody laughs. If many laugh and one cries it ain’t fun.
    that’s something my 3 and 5 yo understand.
    Tells you exactly how not very bright Vacula is.

  48. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Wowblogger,

    I’d probably feel sorrier for the poor dumb bastard if he wasn’t such a genuine creep.

    A-frick’n-men.

  49. twincats says

    This shows me two things:
    – Vacula’s as intellectually honest as William Craig, but not anywhere near as clever
    – Twitter is a shitty medium for communications above and beyond announcing one’s bowel movements

    QFT. JV does nothing but deny and evade which makes him look very much like a prototypical politician. On Twitter, anyway.

    And teh Twitter makes my head hurt. Do not want.

  50. doubtthat says

    They think arguments are won by trotting out dictionary definitions…

    And then intentionally search for the definition that least represents the obvious point being made. If I had a shiny nickel for every time one of those bozos copy/pasted the first definition they read of “harassment” ignoring the other 5 below…

  51. says

    I was under the impression that it was Justin Vacula who made that picture of Rebecca. Is that incorrect? Perhaps Vacula will correct me on that if I’m wrong.

  52. says

    That works well as long as you trust everybody involved to leave everything up that they’d posted. I have been too long on the internet to trust too many people with that, though. There’s generally someone who wants to go through and, like, delete refs untweets or something.

  53. says

    Josh #46:

    See, I think a big part of the problem is that Vacula is rather dumb. As in “not bright,” or “barely and
    maybe not average in competence.” I’m not inclined to let venal people off the hook by assuming they must not understand what they’re saying. But in Vacula’s case, I think he is genuinely dull–that he’s also mean-spirited and vicious makes for trouble.

    because ableism is so much better than sexism, right? Vacula’s a horrible sexist, that means he’s objectively inferior, “dumb”, “not bright”, “dull”…in other words, disabled.

    oh, skeptical social justice warriors, so proud of their objectively superior minds…

  54. says

    Yeah, Vacula’s not “dumb.” He’s intellectually lazy, gigantically dishonest, and has so firmly attached his public image to the fierceness of his sexism denialism that he has effectively cut off all his own escape routes from Denialist Town.

    It’s not about any measure of his objective intelligence; I suspect that the problems with his character and intellectual rigor neatly cover every awful thing that he’s done. In criticizing him, I’m more comfortable focusing on that than on implying that even a very very small part of why he deserves no credibility is that he’s disabled. Because yeah. Ableist.

  55. Ichthyic says

    because ableism is so much better than sexism, right? Vacula’s a horrible sexist, that means he’s objectively inferior, “dumb”, “not bright”, “dull”…in other words, disabled.

    wow, there’s a reach and a half.

  56. LeftSidePositive says

    Nope, sorry Setar, discussions of intelligence are not inherently ableist. For one thing, intelligence is not a static, pre-determined trait. Intelligent people devote time, effort, and considerable study to honing their intelligence, and it is perfectly fair to point out when others have failed to do so. Moreover, the vast majority of people whose intelligence is criticized are criticized for intellectual laziness and/or willful ignorance, and are people who are well within the normal range of innate intellectual ability, but are failing to use it–this is NOT the same as claiming they are inherently deficient, nor does it claim that people who are intellectually disabled are morally responsible in the way that the intellectually lazy are (in contrast, insults that trade on inherent intellectual disability like “moron” or “retard” are genuinely ableist, and even then some people aren’t aware that “moron” is recently-used clinical language). While terms that originate well before the understanding of the difference between disability and intellectual laziness (“idiot,” “dumb,” “stupid,” for example) can be tricky, it’s not accurate to categorically declare these to refer to unmodifiable characteristics or to accuse someone pointing out someone’s poor intellectual effort or critical thinking skills of comparing that someone to a person with a mental disability.

    Furthermore, intelligence is not a value-neutral characteristic that society has arbitrarily decided to elevate over its alternatives just for the hell of it–instead, intelligence is a major moral and practical good. Intelligence gave us the internet we communicate on, the antibiotics and vaccines that save our lives, the political rights we depend on, the structural engineering that gets our houses through earthquakes, and much, much more. Lack of intelligence has given us climate change denialism, wasted millions of dollars on incorrectly-converted measurements on Mars spacecraft, deadly medical errors, popular approval of war, blowing up beached whales, and crystal Pepsi. Moreover, in situations where one lacks the necessary intelligence for a task, whether it be building bridges, providing medical care, or assessing financial assets, one has a moral obligation to step aside in favor of more intelligent and qualified people, otherwise people could be seriously harmed or even killed, because intelligence is a real thing in the world and a real problem when it is neglected.

    Finally, Josh didn’t just start throwing out slurs against intellectual ability merely to assign Vacula inferior status, but rather he assessed the quality of thinking Vacula was displaying, presented statements that were severely lacking in critical thinking, and made arguments for why they were deficient and inadequate to the standards of intellectual rigor that these matters require (and, even more importantly, falling far short of the standard of intellectual rigor that Vacula was pretending to achieve!).

    I’m with Ichthyic on this one.

  57. smhll says

    [Warning: slur words in last sentence.]

    I’m fine with saying Justin Vacula makes ignorant arguments or is obtuse and aggravation. However just calling him “dumb” is not the kind of precise and fair claim that LSP is describing below.

    Nope, sorry Setar, discussions of intelligence are not inherently ableist. For one thing, intelligence is not a static, pre-determined trait. Intelligent people devote time, effort, and considerable study to honing their intelligence, and it is perfectly fair to point out when others have failed to do so. Moreover, the vast majority of people whose intelligence is criticized are criticized for intellectual laziness and/or willful ignorance, and are people who are well within the normal range of innate intellectual ability, but are failing to use it–this is NOT the same as claiming they are inherently deficient…

    I feel it is better to insult his limited knowledge rather than his intellect.

    (I don’t think the poster who said “dumb” meant to imply that he’s unworthy because of limited intellect, just to imply that he’s often wrong in arguments and hard to persuade.)
    (WAIT, scratch that. “Dumb” can easily function in a sentence as a pejorative like “meany”, “stinkbreath”, “fag”, “cunt”, even “egghead”.)

  58. LeftSidePositive says

    Xenologer, I agree that Vacula is *also* intellectually dishonest and denialist, but he also seems to be totally unaware that his reasoning isn’t very good. He uses big words trying to appear smarter, and doesn’t catch fallacies when he uses them, and can’t catch obvious distinctions in what people are saying (and it’s not just lying–if he understood what the pro-equality side were saying, he’d use better–or at least more on-topic–arguments against them!). I think he genuinely has no idea that the quality of argumentation he’s bringing to the table can’t hold a candle to what Rebecca, Stephanie, PZ, Ophelia, Greta et al are saying–he’s just not as smart as they are and he has no idea. Now, I’ll be willing to bet that unexamined privilege is a HUGE part of why Vacula has never figured out that his default level of reasoning is not going to cut it in the real world and that he should actually develop his intellectual skills, and why he’s so sure he must be a #bravehero for advancing his shitty reasoning to those who are smarter than he (and, his lifelong comfort in his skills and presumed superiority over others is probably why he perceives people being smarter as “bullying” him, because he can’t grasp why they’re right or why their words magically convince more people!).

    You know that saying “never attribute to malice that which can be more than adequately explained by incompetence”? I think it’s overly simplistic and a bit of a false dichotomy. I think Vacula is a case of BOTH. Strictly in my own estimation, I’m going with 65% malice, 35% incompetence, but I’m pretty sure the incompetence had a big part in allowing that malice to fester over all those years!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>