A Skeptical Statement from CFI on PTSD

Yesterday, the Center for Inquiry Management Committee put out an unprecedented statement.

We, the management committee of CFI, believe it is appropriate to confirm that Ms. Hensley is suffering from PTSD. Among other reasons, both Ms. Hensley and CFI receive comments on a regular basis that assert or imply that Ms. Hensley’s statements that she has PTSD must be false. For example, just the other day, CFI received a communication stating “Your organization is terrible for having people on its staff that claim to have PTSD from Twitter!” Some communications on this issue, especially those directed to Ms. Hensley, have themselves been abusive and harassing.

This reaction is disappointing on a number of levels. As explained below, these communications are based on mischaracterizations, false assumptions, faulty reasoning, unscientific attitudes, or misunderstandings. (And, of course, the subset of these communications that are abusive are intolerable.)

This is important for a couple of reasons. [Read more…]

Five Things #Gamergate Needs to Know About Twitter

Looking at bad arguments is a hobby of mine. So when I discovered Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) had been suspended from Twitter last night, I had a look at what people were saying about it. Long story short, it was a combination of “Nero was suspended for no reason” and “Ooh, now you’ve messed with the wrong person”. (Irony much?)

The Twitter logo.Along with that, however, were a whole bunch of conspiracy theories and a lot of placing blame based on really, really bad assumptions about how Twitter works. So let’s fix some of those. Based on what I saw last night and what I received from a sealion this morning, here are five things gamergaters really need to understand about Twitter terms-of-service (TOS) violation reports that they don’t.

Also, five attempts to teach gamergaters some vocabulary lessons. [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…]

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…]

Get Ally Skills Training at Skepticon

If you’re interested in the work we’ve done around these parts to reduce harassment and sexism in movement atheism and skepticism, here’s a chance for you to play a part. The Ada Initiative, which works on these issues in open technology and culture, is doing their annual fundraiser. The skeptic community doesn’t usually fall under their umbrella, but a few of us have been supporting them and receiving help from them for a while now. In return, they’ve made us a deal.

Image of four people around a table in the workshop.If our communities manage to raise $5,000 by midnight this Friday next Wednesday, October 8, the Ada Initiative will bring their Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon for free. This isn’t usually something we manage to find money for, but I think we can do this, particularly since PZ has already managed to raise over $1,800 toward the goal.

Sound good? Great! Donate now!

Donate now

If you need a little convincing, or just want to know why I support the Ada Initiative, keep reading. [Read more…]