Tell Me What You Want

A while back, I offered people one of those pain-for-funds incentives to donate to Skepticon. Apparently, however, Slyme Pit poetry is too painful for most or all of you.

That’s fair, but it still leaves Skepticon in need. As of right now, with less than two weeks to go before the conference, Skepticon still needs to raise $7,000 to cover their costs for this year. That’s a lot.



People reading this blog probably aren’t going to be able to donate all that money. (If you can, great! Go for it!) Still, whatever you can do would mean a lot to me, as you might be able to tell from my willingness to trawl slime for “poetry”. I’ve made my own donation and added Skepticon to my list of regular monthly donations, but we need a lot more than me.

Why should you donate to Skepticon? Several reasons. [Read more…]

Why “Losing Votes” Still Matter

I’m pro-voting. If you’ve read this blog for a while (a day or two even), you may have noticed.

This afternoon, I tweeted a couple of thoughts to encourage others in the U.S. to vote tomorrow.

(More on this view.)

This second tweet received some argument. The person responding agreed with me that people should still vote, but called voting in states that swing solidly red or blue a “purely symbolic gesture”. Except in the sense that communication is symbolic, I strongly disagree that there’s anything symbolic about voting even when your candidates have no chance of winning. I disagree even when you have no candidates on the ballot who represent your views.

Here are several ways that votes for a candidate who doesn’t win still make a difference. [Read more…]

Minneapolis 2014 Sample Ballot

The election is Tuesday. As usual, I put my reasoning for my votes online for people who don’t have the resources or time to do their own, though I’m skipping those races with only one choice. If my reasoning doesn’t match yours, at least you have some background. If you want to provide additional background in the comments, feel free. If you want information on local races I haven’t touched on, or just another opinion, I recommend Naomi Kritzer’s coverage of the candidates.

You can find your polling place here. [Read more…]

Michael Nugent and the Email

Mick Nugent has responded to my post about providing haven for rapists. As he titles his post, “Why Stephanie Zvan’s defence of PZ Myers’ ‘haven for rapists’ smear is not reasonable based on the evidence“, allow me a moment to clarify a couple of things.

If I thought that PZ’s comments particularly needed defense, I’d have done it before now. I think the tweets in question, which can be found here, stand on their own for anyone who is familiar with Nugent’s recent behavior in email and on his blog. My post responded to demands from Aneris, a slimepitter, that I respond to a skewed version of PZ’s statement in which Nugent’s behavior was attributed to the pit. I ignored that problem and responded because it gave me an opportunity, a hook on which to hang some writing I wanted to do anyway.

I wrote my post because I wanted to say, in my own words, that Mick Nugent has provided a haven for rapists. I’ll still say it. Mick Nugent has provided a haven for rapists by his actions with respect to Michael Shermer. I don’t have to consult with PZ in order to say it. I don’t have to be defending PZ in order to say it. I said it. I believe it. I said why I believe it. I’ll stand by it on my own, thank you very much.

However, rant aside, that’s not what I want to draw people’s attention to. I want to draw attention to the fact that Nugent says PZ claimed Nugent’s commenters were rapists. In particular, I want to draw attention to Nugent’s use of an email from PZ in this regard. [Read more…]

The Ogvorbis Boondoggle

A couple of days ago, I posted a piece thinking through what it means to provide a haven for rapists. Someone left this comment on the post. Pitters have poured massive amounts of time and energy into spreading this idea that it’s worth looking at in detail.

Of course, the burning issue is whether the support and protection of Ogvorbis, a confessed child rapist, here at FreeThoughtBlogs, makes some bloggers such as PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, and you, “a haven for rapists”. This depends on what the likes of PZ means by “a haven for rapists”.

We know for sure that FTB most certainly is a “haven” for at least ONE rapist, and a couple of others who have been accused of rape. [Read more…]

A Haven for Rapists

There’s been some chatter about “a haven for rapists” lately. Even a demand that I say something about the topic. So here goes.

Picture of two rowboats in a small natural harbor.

Safe Haven” by Liam Moloney (CC BY-SA 2.0)

My first thoughts on “haven for rapists” is that, in order to know whether something is a haven or not, I would first have to know what such a haven looked like. So what is a haven? According to the several dictionaries I consulted on the matter, a haven is a place of safety.

In the current context, that’s probably worth emphasizing. A haven isn’t a gathering place or a hangout. It’s a place of refuge, originally a port, but now any shelter. It remains a haven whether it’s used or not.

This raises the question of what endangers rapists.* What would they, in particular, need to be safe from? [Read more…]

Honesty Matters, Aneris

Aneris has chosen to respond to yesterday’s post in the Slyme Pit. It’s a dull little bit of self-justification, but I’ll respond to it nonetheless, because it’s past time his games got some disinfecting sunlight poured on them.

Thanks for the support, just don’t panic. :) She wrote a rebuttal and I welcome that she did. I like her article. It seems it boils down to these points…

  1. Discordianism sux. It’s post-modernist, and for espousing Discordianism I’m a post-modernist.
  2. Zvan uses “he”.
  3. Ophelia Benson’s wording was poor.
  4. Porcupine and rusty knifes happened, but the commentariat improved.
  5. Aneris sux, too, for quote mining and not showing the entire picture, and for Discordianism that espouses bending reality.
  6. Look Nugent! You are promoting evil slymepit version of the truth.

Well, not quite, but I’ll take the points as they come. [Read more…]

What Aneris Means

There’s a slime pitter who goes by the name of Aneris who has been cracking me up for a long time. Why? Well, to explain that, I need to start with a little diversion about Discordians.

Discordians follow a weird little religion/philosophy that uses ancient mythology to put forward a fundamentally post-modernist worldview. Essentially, reality is unknowable by humanity, and both order and chaos are illusions. The proponents of Discordianism follow or worship Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and casual architect of the Trojan War. Her golden apple is one of their symbols.

I was introduced to Discordianism back in college, by a friend who was a fan of the Illuminatus books. He was on the side of gentle chaos (the “Eristic Principle”). We had some fun with that, mostly in the creation of confusing pieces of art. I never got into Discordianism per se, something I was quite happy about later, when I met proponents whose ideas on imposing chaos were decidedly less gentle. An absurd number of internet jerks, for example, are followers of some sect of Discordianism or another.

The Aneristic Principle, from which Aneris takes his name, is the converse of apparent chaos. And this is what cracks me up. [Read more…]