I wanted to respond at length to both Michael Nugent, who I’ve spoken with over Twitter, and to many commenters who agree with him in the previous post and on Twitter.
I don’t have a problem with Michael Nugent’s distaste for PZ’s tone. I don’t agree in general, though like Nugent, I found PZ to be lacking in his posts about Dawkin’s childhood sex abuse and Robin Williams’ suicide. PZ has always been a pit bull, and it generally gives his posts clarity and humor, both of which I appreciate. But, I don’t really care if you hate that, that’s fine, to each his own.
I also don’t really have a problem with Atheist Ireland’s dissociation with PZ. Again, freedom of association, to each their own. I do think that, while they’ve made an exhaustive list of why they don’t like his tone, they’ve failed entirely to even try to make a case as to why an American blogger’s tone has any relevance to the work they are doing. I’m not sure what harm PZ has actually caused to Atheist Ireland, beyond making Michael Nugent very unhappy. Why Atheist Ireland’s agenda includes breaking up with bloggers is beyond me.
The problem I have with Michael Nugent fundamentally boils down to his 9/17/14 blog post in which he equivalizes his complaints about PZ’s tone in his posts to PZ agreeing to post a firsthand account of rape in which the victim names her rapist. This post by Nugent is in response to a lengthy, in-depth article by well-respected journalist Mark Oppenheimer, known for his work at the New York Times, in which Oppenheimer details multiple accusations of misbehavior on the part of Michael Shermer.