Whom you name, and he won’t


Michael Nugent has yet another endless wordy tedious post chastising Adam Lee for writing an article that’s critical of Dawkins. It’s nearly 5000 words.

One part is exceptionally outrageous.

You then engage in detailed speculation about why you believe Richard was trying to convey a message that a specific person (who you name, and I won’t) should be considered an untrustworthy witness in a specific allegation of rape (which you give details of, and I won’t) against another specific person (who you name, and I won’t).

Adam, you may or may not be correct or mistaken about any of this, but you are relying on speculation of what somebody else is thinking, constructed in your own imagination, to justify publishing a negative characterisation of Richard in a reputable newspaper.

That is bad enough with regard to your speculation about what Richard is thinking, but it is even worse with regard to speculation about the alleged rape that you allude to.

Speculation about that alleged rape is happening on various websites at the moment, and I decline to participate in it. The intimate details of traumatic moments in the lives of real people are being treated as fodder for amateur detective work about what real people did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do so.

This is a large part of the reason why I believe that allegations of rape should be reported to the police, not to bloggers. It is not only because of the justice of presuming people innocent of serious crimes until proven guilty, but also to help protect victims of rape from being permanently defined online by salacious speculation about what they have been through.

I have to rush off, but I wanted to make a note of that particular passage.

I hate “the atheist movement.” If this is what it is, I hate it and want nothing to do with it. If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.

 

Comments

  1. gmcard says

    Adam, you may or may not be correct or mistaken about any of this, but you are relying on speculation of what somebody else is thinking, constructed in your own imagination, [based on their own words,] to justify publishing a negative characterisation of Richard in a reputable newspaper.

    Well shit, that kind of changes things, doesn’t it?

    And this is trivial in the scope of all the terrible things Nugent is doing, but:

    you may or may not be correct or mistaken

    Paid by the word, Nugent? Pompous fucking blowhard.

  2. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Shorter MN: “Let me explain to everybody what the correct thing to do about a situation I have never and will never be involved in should be…”

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … should be reported to the police…

    I haven’t been in Ireland since the ’70s, and maybe things have changed greatly for the better and Irish police now handle such cases with sensitivity and thoroughness, but this still strikes me as US-level naïveté.

    Because back when I did go to the Emerald Isle, locals told me things along the lines of, “The recruiting officers for the Gardai lure them down from the hills with chunks of raw meat.”

  4. Maureen Brian says

    Tell me, someone, why is speculation utterly dreadful at this stage?

    Was it equally dreadful when armies of Great Thinkers were speculating about why we were making all this up? That stage went on for several years: we’ve only been in this phase for a couple of weeks. And guess which one is showing signs of getting to the truth?

  5. moarscienceplz says

    Nugent is not only a pretty poor specimen of human, he’s not even a good skeptical Vulcan, because a proper Vulcan would know when to use ‘who’ and when to use ‘whom’.

  6. newenlightenment says

    “If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.” there’s another analogue to the Shermer scenario, the ‘comrade delta’ crisis in the UK’s Socialist Workers Party. Take a look at the facts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Workers_Party_%28UK%29#Internal_crisis_since_2013_over_allegations_of_rape

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/03/far-left-no-place-feminists-rape

    Sound familiar? but here’s the difference, after the ‘comrade delta’ incident, most SWP members left in disgust, turning what had been the UK’s biggest Marxist party into a hollowed-out shell. With the Shermer incident, it seems most Dawkinsians are staying loyal. This speaks volumes; Dawkins’ fans have less moral integrity than the average member of a group widely considered to be a political cult

  7. Morgan says

    Yeah, this is the limit beyond which I stop attempting to give Nugent a fair shake by reading his posts (and I wasn’t even bothering with the comments up to now). Thanks for the heads up.

    Apparently my Atheist Ireland membership expired today. That’s fairly fortuitous timing.

  8. carlie says

    The intimate details of traumatic moments in the lives of real people are being treated as fodder for amateur detective work about what real people did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do so.

    Yes, it is terrible when people grill a victim after they’d disclosed and try to worm every little detail out of them so they can say it’s the victim’s fault or that the assault “wasn’t that bad”, isn’t it?

    That must be what he’s referring to, right?

  9. Krasnaya Koshka says

    The intimate details of traumatic moments in the lives of real people are being treated as fodder for amateur detective work about what real people did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do so.

    Detective work? Why is that needed? Alison Smith said what happened to her. Why are there detectives? Only to try and discredit her. Infuriating.

    Also, this bit confuses me greatly:

    You then engage in detailed speculation about why you believe Richard was trying to convey a message that a specific person (who you name, and I won’t) should be considered an untrustworthy witness in a specific allegation of rape (which you give details of, and I won’t) against another specific person (who you name, and I won’t).

    What an amazing waste of (grammatically poor) parentheticals. Out with it, man! Write what you clearly mean.

    I tried to look for the names named in Adam Lee’s article (to make sure I was remembering correctly–I had read the article twice before–and to see what Michael is on about), but it’s been scrubbed(?). It’s much shorter now than before, I also live in Russia so I don’t know if I should always believe what I see.

    Lastly, this makes me bristle:

    This is a large part of the reason why I believe that allegations of rape should be reported to the police…

    Yes, Michael. Have you tried reporting a rape to the police? Have you? I have. I wouldn’t wish that on you. But you suggest it like it’s a good thing. Thanks for twisting the knife in.

  10. says

    At this point it seems Nugent really thinks the abuse in Catholic churches around the world would have been better off left uncovered. Cos his “guidelines” for what a rape victim should do, sick concept, would have led to that… His suggestions are nothing short of a manifesto for keeping sexual assault and abuse in the atheist community well and truly covered up.

    …help protect victims of rape from being permanently defined online by salacious speculation about what they have been through.

    Horrible slimy little man, to protect Dawkins he will pretend this is all for Alison. He is trying to protect her from the asshole rape apologists raking over every little detail looking for weaknesses. He probably thinks Stollznow should have shut up, then that “dossier” of revenge porn wouldn’t have been dumped on the internet. No fault of the person doing the action of shaming, it is all to protect the ladies reputation! Oozing misogyny from every pore here. Seems Dawkins only needs 140 chars to dig his holes, Nugent manages as deep a one but it takes a whole lot longer.

    Adam Lee is wrong about one thing, Dawkins doesn’t need better defenders, Nugent is clearly the perfect defender for him.

  11. screechymonkey says

    That’s right, Michael. Keep trying to put that cat back in the bag. I’m sure that’ll work real well.

  12. Al Dente says

    At one time I thought Michael Nugent was an intelligent, thoughtful person. Granted he got in over his head in his attempt to moderate the debate between Stephanie Zvan and the Slymepit but that appeared to be pure naivety. Now I see he’s a supporter of sexists and misogynists, a defender of Dawkins’ and Harris’ more egregious comments, and an all-around concern troll.

    I hate “the atheist movement.” If this is what it is, I hate it and want nothing to do with it. If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.

    Hear! Hear!

  13. Kevin Kehres says

    Sorry, I’m way past full of caring what guys like this think. I know that PZ considers him a “friend”, but with friends like this, who needs enemies?

  14. k_machine says

    “Innocent until proven guilty” is a principle that courts follow, but people disregard it all the time. The greatest villains of history were never convicted in court (e.g. Stalin). It would be interesting to know what this guy thinks of OJ Simpson’s guilt, he was “proven innocent” in a court of law but most people have no problem voicing their opinions to the contrary anyway. It is possible to have an opinion outside the august head of the law. No one is calling for Shermer to be lynched or put in jail for what he did, only in that case would the “innocent until proven guilty” principle be solidly valid.

  15. PatrickG says

    There’s too much to /facepalm at in Nugent’s latest offering. However, I did notice this little gem in #8: Sam Harris. Nugent:

    And you can legitimately disagree with Sam’s analysis of these issues, but I repeat that it is simply untrue to imply that he is sexist on the basis of the original off-the-cuff answer to a question in an interview about a book on a different topic.

    Sure, I’ll give this to Nugent. You certainly can’t base a full personality profile on a single off-the-cuff remark.

    But it’s not like Harris actually doubled-down in a subsequent, presumably not so off-the-cuff post. It’s not like Lee noted this follow up response in his response to Michael Nugent. It’s not like Harris has a history of making these off-the-cuff remarks. It’s not like Nugent doesn’t have this information available to him. This is just rank dishonesty, and a willful ignoring of actual events.

    Michael Nugent: “I presumably know that Harris has a history, and wrote an entire blog post doubling down on his so-called off-the-cuff remarks, but your original writing was just so meeeeeaaaaan, and therefore I will ignore any subsequent evidence. Skepticism!”.

    Bonus points for him now thanking individual ‘pitters in comments about how they’ve really opened his eyes to the All The Lies that Lee has written. It apparently is the commentariat he wants.

  16. PatrickG says

    Left comment in haste: what really irritates me is this cramped insistence on parsing ONLY the words in the Guardian article. The important issue here is to dissect and diagnose those claims without any context or analysis based on subsequent events. Clearly.

    It’s either cognitive dissonance on a massive scale, or simple dishonesty. I’m voting for the latter.

  17. Kevin Kehres says

    It’s quite simple, really. He’s sided with the people who have the money and the power and the fame. He’s positively addicted to riding in the wake of all that. And to critically analyze the behavior of those with money and power and fame would be to tantamount to not only treason, but an abrupt loss of privilege. No more getting to sit at the feet of the high and mighty. No more cocktail parties with the famous writers.

    He’s chosen. And he’s chosen for all of the self-serving reasons.

    Deeper rifts. Deeper. They are not nearly deep enough.

  18. kesara says

    Nugent is the best defender Dawkins (and Shermer) could hope for. Instead of talking about things like Shermer He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named getting drunk and “misbehaving himself with the women”, Adam Lee and others are now busy responding to Nugents hyperverbose and neverending hair-splitting. Congratulations Mick, I hope you are proud of yourself.

    I hate “the atheist movement.” If this is what it is, I hate it and want nothing to do with it. If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.

    Yeah, that about sums up my feelings about “the atheist movement” as well.

  19. screechymonkey says

    Great FSM, you’re not kidding about it being tedious. Is Nugent a lawyer, by chance? That style of “according to my interpretation of what you just wrote, you appear to be acknowledging that you are a poopyhead. Please confirm that this is that case” is giving me deja vu.

    oolon@12 brings up a good point. Nugent is showing a ton of chutzpah in pretending that he’s so concerned for the victim.

    And speaking of “the justice of presuming people innocent of serious crimes until proven guilty,” does this mean that Nugent will stop accusing people of defamation, and start chastising those who do?

    he reason that Richard is hostile to some other people may be that they publicly smear him with defamatory allegations

    …oh. Huh.

    But hey, when Shermer and his supporters accused PZ of defamation but never filed a lawsuit, remember Nugent’s chastisement of Shermer for that?

    Nah, me neither.

    Well, but that’s different, right, because defamation is generally a civil action, as the few criminal defamation laws on the books are rarely enforced, so we’ll let that slide. Presumably Nugent means that nobody should accuse someone of something that is (generally recognized as a) crime unless and until there has been a criminal conviction or at least an arrest.

    So, for instance, when Richard Dawkins sued Josh Timonen for fraud and embezzlement, which are crimes, Nugent surely took Dawkins to task harshly, right?

    (crickets)

    Well, ok, but Dawkins then vigorously pursued that lawsuit to judgment, right?

    Oh.

    Hmm. It’s almost like there’s a double standard at work.

  20. says


    Speculation about that alleged rape is happening on various websites at the moment, and I decline to participate in it.

    He’s been speculating that it’s not something that should be talked about, and that Dawkins’ reactions to it should especially not be talked about. That is participating, while dishonestly claiming to not be participating.

  21. Anthony K says

    The intimate details of traumatic moments in the lives of real people are being treated as fodder for amateur detective work about what real people did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do so.

    “How dare you traumatize Alison Smith by treating her as anything but a mistaken, drunk liar!”

    PZ was wrong in the last thread. Michael Nugent wasn’t being demonized enough.

  22. piero says

    I think the comments here are simply reinforcing one another. If that’s what you want to do, by all means go ahead. But if you’d like to participate in a fairly vivacious, at times heated discussion between Michael Nugent’s and FTB regulars, I suggest you pay a visit to Michael’s blog. There have been comments by theophontes, Sally Strange, Deepak Shetty, Ariel, Kaoru Negisa, Sawrs and perhaps others that I’ve missed. I can honestly say that, though I strongly disagree with them on most matters, they have made very good points that have helped me rethink and modify my stance. I hope they too have something to show for their efforts and their courage (yes, I do believe they were courageous; I’m not being sarcastic).

  23. Eric MacDonald says

    I hate “the atheist movement.” If this is what it is, I hate it and want nothing to do with it. If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.

    Oh dear, Ophelia, this sound so much like something I have already said, and I have already taken my leave, which makes me suspect whenever I make a comment (practically everywhere), but does allow me to say what I really think without trying to weed out the heresy in my comments.

  24. says

    Yes, the pretense of not naming Shermer out of admirable concern for Alison is such bullshit – Alison talked to Oppenheimer and gave him permission to name her – and talked to PZ last year, with great trepidation – because she wanted to warn other women. She said so. This is what she has said about it. She went public on purpose, because it frustrated her to watch the secret being kept and women wandering into danger because they didn’t know. Nugent’s ridiculous refusal to name Michael Shermer IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT ALISON WANTS.

  25. says

    @PatrickG #17: I think you’ve got it exactly right. It’s okay to dredge up out-of-context tweets from last Spring to wag your finger at PZ for calling Blackford a “fuckhead,” but how dare you interpret Dawkins and Harris’s off-the-cuff comments like they exist in a larger context?

    Hey, remember how we were all anti-fun killjoys because our support for anti-harassment policies was going to mean every flirtation would need to be backed by forms filled out in triplicate? And yet, here’s Nugent saying we can’t discuss rape because Alison didn’t follow the proper reporting procedure. Ooh! I think I know who should be on the short list for replacement JREF presidents!

    I’d put more stock in Nugent’s concerns for the victim here if he wasn’t consistently dismissing and second-guessing her choices in this matter. Rebecca Watson had his number last year when she said he was thoroughly paternalistic.

  26. says

    I don’t have jack shit to show for my efforts, Piero. What I have is a movement that I thought was a cause I could embrace, but, it turns out, is actively hostile to me and my concerns. What I have is the sense that I’ve been wasting my intellectual efforts for the past several years. I could have been going to feminist conferences, or following socialist bloggers, or writing more about climate change.

    Fuck this shit.

  27. canonicalkoi says

    And, from the look of things, Nugent is keeping on keeping on with his stance of “Report it to the poleeeeeeeece!!!!!” on Twitter. Funny–no outrage at Tim Minchin (calling out the Pope with no legal charges filed), no outrage at Robert Lancaster for his Stop Sylvia Browne page calling out SB with no charges filed, James Randi raking bunches of psychics and dowsers by name and Erich van Daniken over the coals with no charges filed elicited no outrage, but bring up Michael Shermer and watch Nugent work himself into a sweat. Circumstances change when it involves someone you know, I guess. *insert obligatory “This time….it’s personal” joke here*

  28. arthur says

    newenlightenment:

    here’s another analogue to the Shermer scenario, the ‘comrade delta’ crisis in the UK’s Socialist Workers Party.

    Exactly what I’ve been thinking, knowing something of the story.

    Also newenlightenment, I noticed an excellent comment you made last week on a post of Ophelia’s, which I tried to bring attention to but was hampered by circumstance. I’ll see if I can find it.

  29. piero says

    @Sally Strange:

    I don’t have jack shit to show for my efforts, Piero. What I have is a movement that I thought was a cause I could embrace, but, it turns out, is actively hostile to me and my concerns.

    I’m sorry to hear that. I mean it. I am not hostile to you or your concerns, and if I gave that impression I sincerely apologise.

  30. chrislawson says

    newenlightenment@8:

    Interesting parallels with the SWP rape allegations. I don’t know that much about the SWP — most of what I know I just learnt from the links you provided — but it seems to me that you can’t really call the SWP a cult if it loses a lot of members over misbehaviour by its leaders. It also seems interesting that in the wake of the rape allegation and its atrocious handling by the party leaders, they *gained* 100 members who had drifted away from the SWP…but lost 700 in protest. The result is a smaller, less powerful SWP which has effectively issued a clarion call for rape apologists to join up…not the best way to promote a socialist revolution, I would have thought.

  31. says

    Eric @ 26 – Well I understand your point of view on this, at least I think I do. But my disgust is mostly about related but different issues. I think our disgust overlaps quite a lot though.

  32. says

    I’m sorry to hear that. I mean it. I am not hostile to you or your concerns, and if I gave that impression I sincerely apologise.

    Don’t tell me that. Tell Nugent. I would say tell the Slymers, but they would probably consider it a victory. Have you read Love Joy Feminism’s take on Harris’ comments? She says she feels used by movement atheism. So does Hiba Kirsht of a Veil and a Dark Place. The atheist movement’s male leadership doesn’t give a shit about women. We’re just a cudgel for them to beat religious men over the head with.

  33. says

    All right, I’m a terrible judge of character, and am just going to tell all my “friends” to go away, I’ve got an appointment to punch myself in the face, over and over.

    I’m tired of letting them have all the fun of doing that.

  34. mildlymagnificent says

    SallyStrange

    We’re just a cudgel for them to beat religious men over the head with.

    Exactly.

    If the RCC hierarchy are such terrible people for covering up and protecting their sexually exploitive priests, what does that say about the atheist movement’s leaders and their response to reports of sexual misconduct by members of their own group?

    For people who claim to be committed to seeing uncomfortable truths others willfully blind themselves to, they’re doing a pretty poor job. And Michael Nugent is right there along with them.

  35. yazikus says

    Here is a suggestion for all those complaining about ‘atheist (mostly american) infighting, but still mostly american’, why don’t you call out those in the community who do wrong. Stop inviting them to be key note speakers, and make women and minorities welcome. That would go a long way toward ending the “mostly american” fighting.
    (Did I mention this is totally a mostly american thing?)

  36. Anthony K says

    All right, I’m a terrible judge of character, and am just going to tell all my “friends” to go away, I’ve got an appointment to punch myself in the face, over and over.
    I’m tired of letting them have all the fun of doing that.

    Sorry PZ. Hey, quite a few years back, I thought Michael Nugent was pretty nice, myself. We’ve all learned a lot, lately. Wish more of it was good.

  37. jenniferphillips says

    I hate “the atheist movement.” If this is what it is, I hate it and want nothing to do with it. If it’s going to act like a mirror image of the fucking Vatican, I want nothing to do with it.

    I completely agree, and would go further to say that, as it stands, it’s professionally damaging to me to be associated with Movement Atheists, as represented by Dawkins, Harris, Shermer and their supporters.

    It’s paradoxical, because when I first discovered ‘the movement’, the science and reason elements embedded within lit a fire in me. I had already been involved in science outreach throughout my academic pursuits, but listening to DJ Grothe interview the denizens of the Reality Based Community on POI made me aware of how much more I wanted to invest myself in science education and science literacy.

    The intervening years have been wonderful in that regard, and I’ve tapped into as many local, national, and international science outreach opportunities, particularly focusing on outreach to women and underrepresented minorities in science. Therein lies the obvious problem: By publicly associating with the movement most closely identified with Dawkins, Harris, Shermer and their allies, I risk alienating the generation of young women and minorities that I’m trying to bring into the realm of professional science and reason.

    It’s not worth it. Those ‘leading lights’ offer nothing to compensate for the exclusion of multitudes of diverse and valuable people.

  38. jenniferphillips says

    who, me? *looks around awkwardly*
    (if me, then yes, of course. If not me, sorry for being so conceited as to assume it might be :)

  39. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    SallyStrange

    If I was in your situation I’d say “fuck it” too, but I just want to say that you are one of the commentors who’s posts I always read. You have done good, but because my life and how it’s changed is invisible to you you can’t see it. I’m a better person for being a part of Pharyngula and FTBs, and you are no small part of that.

    Thank you.

  40. says

    Thanks, FossilFishy.

    I won’t stop fighting, either way. Whether it’s in the context of the secularist movement, or feminist, or whatever. But movement atheism seems determined to shun people like me. Their loss. Frankly, it will spell the end of organized atheism, as Oppenheimer speculated. Basically there’s a culture clash and if the right wing of atheism keeps its current stranglehold on the structures and institutions of the movement, it will only ensure that it loses relevancy daily.

  41. Bernard Bumner says

    @Sally strange,

    I’d like to second what FossilFishy wrote. I would also extend that to thanking PZ and Ophelia, just to place it on record here.

    Atheism has never been a fight for me; I never deconverted, I live in the UK. In that respect, I have changed very little in the time I’ve followed these blogs. However, I have been embarrassingly ignorant of social justice issues – and given my propensity for loudly making my opinions known, I do mean embarrassing – and all of you have helped to educate me for the better.

    Nugent simply won’t understand that sometimes it was better for people like me to be on the wrong end of an angry dressing down. Because that was what stung me into reconsidering my position in a way that calm argument never would once I was entrenched in a position.

    This latest piece by Nugent is simply disgusting in his treatment of Smith – she made these things public, for her own sake and the sake of others. Whitewashing those allegations doesn’t protect her, doesn’t protect other potential victims – it only protects Shermer. Perhaps, if people hadn’t spent so much time closing ranks and shielding him (and people like him) from the consequences of his actions, then victims might consider demanding justice via the police. As it is, he demands that victims risk everything to try to prosecute people who are not only presumed innocent until proven guilty, but whose testimony is given privileged consideration, and who will be presumed a victim himself until the unlikely time that the allegations have survived a grueling and unfair legal process.

    Nugent hasn’t considered what practical measures are really available to victims who wish to protect others from powerful offenders.

    His continued support for that commentariat should be a shame to him.

  42. Athywren says

    …help protect victims of rape from being permanently defined online by salacious speculation about what they have been through.

    So, I’ve never been raped, but it seems to me that there are really only two ways to achieve this protection for people who have.
    1) Just shut up about it. Don’t even report it to the police because you’ll be permanently defined online by salacious speculation about what you’ve been through if and when it gets out.
    2) Maybe we could stop defining people who have been raped by salacious speculation about what they’ve been through?

    Maybe I’m making an irrational assumption here, but it seems to me that the salacious speculation from which we must protect people who have been raped is, at the very least, a suggestion that we have something of a problem when it comes to dealing with rape.
    When you add to that the astonishingly low conviction rate, arguments about “legitimate” rape, and baseless assertions about the supposed prevalence of false accusations in this case, it starts looking a bit like our attitude toward the issue is… less than ideal, and that we might want to do something more than just tell people who have been raped to shut up or go to the police to be told to shut up.

  43. =8)-DX says

    @PatrickG #18

    Bonus points for him now thanking individual ‘pitters in comments about how they’ve really opened his eyes to the All The Lies that Lee has written. It apparently is the commentariat he wants.

    You just gave me a glimpse of the internet as a teeming network of Commentariats, fighting for dominance of their representative but not really important Mouthpieces, creating a vast landscape, defined only by… the Rift! *Shivers*
    @Ophelia Benson #28

    Nugent’s ridiculous refusal to name Michael Shermer IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT ALISON WANTS.

    Quite, but then Nugent is balancing what she wants with… oh no he doesn’t really care. Unless perhaps he thinks a stealth approach of trying to make He Who Shall Not Be Named as universally reviled as a certain character in a children’s book with wizards in it. But then I don’t think Nugent would be very good at talking about Michael Shermer anyway, any significant point would get drowned in a sea of waffle.

    @Carlie #11

    The intimate details of traumatic moments in the lives of real people are being treated as fodder for amateur detective work about what real people did or didn’t do and why they did or didn’t do so.

    Yes, it is terrible when people grill a victim after they’d disclosed and try to worm every little detail out of them so they can say it’s the victim’s fault or that the assault “wasn’t that bad”, isn’t it?
    That must be what he’s referring to, right?

    No, Shermer is of course the Real Person™ here. Alison is obviously not, otherwise “the justice of presuming people innocent of serious crimes until proven guilty” would apply to her as well (because lying about someone raping you when you were drunk and couldn’t remember/sober and consenting/said yes hours ago in a toilet is a crime and definitely Real Serious™).

    I’d really like people in the Shermer (sorry, not to be named person) rape (sorry, what he or she did or didn’t do) apologetics (sorry skepticism) camp (sorry group of atheist who just share an opinion on a single, global issue) could just shut up (sorry, freeze peach! freeze peach!) and listen to Alison (sorry other named, drunk or sober person) and other women (sorry, quite possibly old white males).

  44. =8)-DX says

    By the way, reading things like this:

    In my opinion, your response seems to implicitly accept that your Guardian article included some inaccuracies and misrepresentations, though I acknowledge that you reject this analysis and that you stand by what you wrote in the article.

    I’m truly boggled at something like this getting written down outside a lawyers office. How about “You might be wrong, eh?” It may be a bit like tone-trolling, but Nugent’s style is very hard on the brain – someone sitting down to slowly and methodically argue that you’re using a little to much hyperbole.

  45. says

    I find the amount of time and energy Nugent is sinking into the most boring of “this comment was about five percent too aggressive, thus you need to be raked over the coals” style argumentation most disheartening. Wouldn’t it be nice if he this kind of passion to step in when Dawkins and his defenders are being inappropriate? Apparently we need only be concerned with atheism’s image when its celebrities are having their behavior put under the spotlight, not its little people. No no, we have much more important things to do with our time when it’s the little people.

    I’m sure he’d emphatically disown the notion, but his behavior screams “these rifts are only a problem when it’s ‘you people’ creating them.”

  46. johnthedrunkard says

    Of course, Shermer is charming. If he is what the current reports suggest, it would be remarkable if he WASN’T. Hence the same problem with the Church, the SWP, and the atheo-sphere:

    An ingrained unwillingness to perceive evil at close hand. This is what provides sexual predators with ready victims: ‘he can’t really mean X…etc’ and ready apologists: ‘but he’s such a loyal ally…’

    And, as ever, the hidden hand of alcohol is denied and buried. Shermer apparently acts like a sociopath when under the influence. And he targets a woman who seems to show a special vulnerability to alcohol.

    I feel embarrassed to allude to the same two issues AGAIN, but they seem inescapable. Everyone attempts to ‘normalize’ reports of other’s behavior. Every woman knows the danger of predatory males. Very few men do, and they balk at understanding that these monsters exist in THEIR sphere.

  47. says

    Oh yea?!

    How can Michael Nugent be so sure Adam Lee wrote that article? Or that the article even exists, for that matter? Has a judge or police officer formally declared it exists? Who knows, maybe Michael Nugent is a figment of his own imagination running on a computer simulation in a dream? Who can know anything at all or criticize anything anyone ever says ever? Who is to say that these words I’m typing even have a meaning? Maybe this is all just a string of arbitrary letters strung together randomly that our brains are misinterpreting as significant. Without universal agreement on a formal axiomatic definition of epistemology prefacing this comment, all we have is solipsism.

    Who is the best skeptic now, Nugent?

  48. screechymonkey says

    Uh-oh, everyone. Nugent has started whining to Ophelia on Twitter about my comment @22.

    Yes, Michael. It’s my opinion that you are just pretending to give a shit about Alison Smith. Because if you actually did give a shit about her, you would do her the courtesy of respecting her wishes — which were to have this matter aired publicly so that others are forewarned. If you actually gave a shit about the future Alison Smiths of the world, you wouldn’t be trying desperately to throw the issue down the memory hole by not mentioning the name Michael Shermer.

    So yes, Michael. I think you’re a supercilious phony who is more concerned with cozying up to a rapist and his pals than with Alison’s well-being. And if you have a problem with that, why don’t you take your own advice and call the cops or STFU?

    And don’t try to claim a false equivalence between the lies Ophelia is complaining about and what I’ve said. I’ve offered my opinion as to your motives. You know, the same way Dawkins and your other pals have offered their opinions that people who disagree with them are “dramabloggers” who are “doing it for the clicks.” Except that my opinion is backed by evidence (your statements, as contrasted with Smith’s expressed wishes), whereas theirs is simply bullshit that has been contradicted by, among other things, data showing that “drama” posts really don’t attract the hits.

  49. Wowbagger, honorary Big Sister says

    Tweeting about a blog comment? Imagine if Nugent got .001% of the shit Rebecca does.

    At this point I’d be surprised if The Nuge possesses that much imagination.

  50. screechymonkey says

    soogeeoh@62.

    Yes, looks like oolon got a mention too. I was referring to a separate tweet (sorry, can’t link at the moment) that I’m pretty sure was referring to me because of the word “chutzpah” that appeared only in my comment.

    And he’s also complaining that someone called him a dishonest piece of shit. Search function failed to indicate who that is, but I’d be honored to share Nugent’s ire with that mystery poster as well as the esteemed oolon.

  51. screechymonkey says

    Well, geez, the guy can hardly complain about being insulted by Wowbagger; he gets us all in the end.

  52. says

    I wonder if Nuge will realize the many categorical differences between us discussing his behavior and character here, and the treatment feminist women in this movement receive on a daily basis.

    I’ll just sit here holding my breath until he figures it out.

  53. Wowbagger, honorary Big Sister says

    I wrote, emphasis added:

    There’s a huge fucking difference. If Nuge can’t see that he’s got no business commenting on the issue; if he can see it, but is choosing to ignore it then he’s a dishonest piece of shit.

    If he’s purposefully neglecting that rather important qualification then he might just be…a dishonest piece of shit.

  54. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Notice how he only ever responds to things he can then tone troll. Never ever wants to talk about legitimate criticism, just the, gasp, naughty words.

    Here’s some for him: He’s a poopyhead fartsmeller.

  55. rorschach says

    Mick has lost it, I’m afraid. With every tortured tortuous sentence he is digging himself in deeper. The good thing is, there are lots and lots of firebrand social justice activist atheists in Ireland, and the movement there will not fall into a hole without Nugent.

  56. mildlymagnificent says

    naughty words.

    Uh, oh. Good thing he only seems to be following Ophelia then. I said “Well, fuck him then” (I think that was it) but that was on someone else’s blog. Now I’m well and truly over the residual allowance I’d previously made for his presumed naivete and goodytwoshoesness, he’s an absolute pestilence. Sucking up to the self-ordained leaders of sceptical thinkiness and willing to throw victims and any other women under the bus – along with their men allies – to keep his little corner of the world neat and tidy.

  57. jijoya says

    Bernard,

    Nugent simply won’t understand that sometimes it was better for people like me to be on the wrong end of an angry dressing down. Because that was what stung me into reconsidering my position in a way that calm argument never would once I was entrenched in a position.

    It took me a year at Pharyngula to finally accept that’s actually the case with quite many people. I’m the sort of person who gives angry dressing downs. It’s been coming naturally to since childhood. Everybody around me went on and on about how people are far more likely to shut down and refuse to listen when that happens, however right I might be. Years into the lecturing, it did occur to me some of it is occurring because I’m not a guy, but since I had witnessed people shut down and put their fingers in their ears, later explaining it (to others) with “well, she’s just too intimidating”, I spent YEARS training myself to stay robot-like during arguments. Since the web is far more conducive to such efforts (I can edit and edit until the aggression and the sarcasm are largely out), this has turned into my “method”, at least online. IRL, I fail 2 times out of 5 because, well, editing isn’t an option.

    When I started lurking at Pharyngula a number of years ago, I kept worrying about those absolutely brilliant points people were making not getting through because those who need to learn will be “too intimidated” to listen, but at some point, people started coming out and saying “I wouldn’t have got the point if you hadn’t gone after me like you did.” After I’d witnessed so many posts of that nature that I basically lost count, I had to accept the fact there are in fact many who simply won’t get it any other way.

    Can’t say it wasn’t a relief on some level.

  58. carlie says

    Nugent simply won’t understand that sometimes it was better for people like me to be on the wrong end of an angry dressing down. Because that was what stung me into reconsidering my position in a way that calm argument never would once I was entrenched in a position.

    I was the same way, only lucky enough that it wasn’t directly at me, but by me watching that happen to other people who articulated my beliefs. The passion behind the arguments was what really made me stop and think about it. That’s why I’m a firm defender of the all-out assault approach, and also why I support going after someone who you know won’t change their mind, on the chance that someone else is reading silently along who you might get through to.

  59. Ariel says

    Nugent simply won’t understand that sometimes it was better for people like me to be on the wrong end of an angry dressing down. Because that was what stung me into reconsidering my position in a way that calm argument never would once I was entrenched in a position.

    I do not doubt that for some people it works the way you described. All I can say is that I’m not one of them. But I admit that I don’t know how typical my own case is.

    Perhaps the reason is that I’ve been around the blogosphere for too long. Or perhaps it’s more about my personal traits – I’m not sure. Anyway, the thing is that “angry dressing downs” stopped having any shock value for me. None whatever. Zero. They do not sting anymore. I guess the reason is that I saw (and experienced) too many of them and I just got used to the phenomenon. At some places they seem to be an important element of the local culture – a completely standard modus operandi: nothing shocking, on the contrary, they are exactly what you should expect. I learned to avoid these places; my reaction consists in not going there and not discussing with these people.

    When (in other places) I meet someone who almost for the start gives me the standard treatment (you know, the treatment of the type “Bullshit! You dishonest twit! How dare you!” etc., etc.), my reaction is to shrug … and to move on. I just stop talking to this person, considering further conversation a complete boring waste of time.

    Do I miss opportunities to learn something new because of my approach? Possibly. Perhaps my previous experiences made me overly cynical. I don’t know. I don’t also want to claim that it’s somehow “healthy” or “recommendable” to go away … feeling mainly boredom as a reaction to angry accusations. (Actually, I find it a bit disquieting that I started to feel bored in such contexts; there is however no denying the fact that this is what I feel.). Be that as it may, my immediate impulse is to react with “It was nice meeting you. Goodbye.”

    I’m neither recommending nor generalizing my approach. There is no doubt that it will be completely out of line with the psychological make-up of many people (and as I said, I myself notice in it some disquieting elements). Anyway, I’m certainly not into the business of giving unsolicited advice. Do whatever suits you.

  60. Bernard Bumner says

    @Ariel,

    I think it comes down to personality type: I’ve been going under this ‘nym for more than15 years, so I’ve been around the blogosphere for as long as it has meaningfully existed.

    I certainly don’t advocate a single approach. I’m sure that we (more or less) represent different general psychological classes of commenter, and as such highlight the need for diverse tones and strategies in discussion/debate/arguments. That is why Nugent’s tone trolling and overgeneralising calls for dispassionate civility are not useful.

  61. Bernard Bumner says

    (Please excuse the double comment.)

    Nugent also ignores the fact that PZ and the Pharyngula commentariat often expend a great deal of time, patience, and energy calmly discussing and explaining. Often, in opposition to incredibly obtuse commenters haven’t (or pretend not to have) spent the time to do basic research or fundamentally think through some incredibly raw and personally affecting issues. The diversity of approacheds is already evident there.

    It is common for 90% of the comments to be civil and constructive, and for the 10% which are ill-tempered (often justifiably) to be singled out for special attention by tone-trollers and point-scoring critics.

  62. says

    Urgh, I feel like saying a lot worse having watched this video… (TW! CN! All the warnings … Victim of Sam Pepper speaks out.] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vIh2-q0NTs

    She covers why she didn’t report to the police at the end. OK, so in hyperskeptical land because there is a 0.6% chance she is making it up (Official UK figures), an actress hired to smear him, etc, etc, etc … We should therefore demand that women should report to the police and not make unsubstantiated accusations of rape, or any one help them tell their story. Fuck that, watch the video and accept there is a massively outweighed likelihood she is telling the absolute truth. Then tell me she should shut up. That any victim should shut up and not publicise to the hills that someone is a rapist because once in a blue moon someone lies. She’ll likely see no justice, her attacker will slink away to live out his privileged life somewhere he is not known as a rapist. Or if the Stuebenville rapes are anything to go by even that won’t be necessary… A tiny bit of closure and justice for her should be shut off based on a minuscule chance she is one of the rare people lying about rape or sexual harassment. That is then weighed against a bit of social damage to men falsely accused and the balance falls for teh menz. A morally, ethically, bankrupt position.

    Please Michael Nugent, explain how this vastly warped view is not massively harming to women? It can only serve to silence victims of sexual assault and abuse, covering it up rather than confronting it. We all know where that leads to – more abuse. All this is acceptable to you in the face of a few theoretical injustices against men.

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