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Let’s Read Natalie Reed

Natalie Reed is a new member of the FtB team and she blogs about transgender and transsexual issues, and other things in her wheelhouse (like, say, Dr. Who). I try to read my fellow bloggers when I get a chance (most often at best I can only skim, and often I can’t even keep up at that, but I try), and I must say Natalie Reed is one of my favorites here. She’s smart, well-informed, writes very well, and has already taught me a great deal (check out her blog, Sincerely, Natalie Reed, and all its archives here, already full of gems). So I’m shocked to see John Loftus has gone off the handle and is treating her very strangely, ignoring everything she actually says and attacking her for things she didn’t say, and then getting petty and childish in the process, basically accusing her of being an unqualified “diversity hire.”

Which is strange. That’s like accusing someone of being hired to represent Mexico of being a “diversity hire” because they were hired to represent Mexico. Huh? And wouldn’t actually being Mexican qualify you to represent Mexicans? I mean, that’s nearly the top qualification there. Reed is a transsexual woman. She is also superbly informed on that issue, has a tremendous body of experience many atheists don’t (with issues such as drug addiction), and is a very good writer (In fact, IMO, the best in this subject). She is thus very qualified, and very much wanted and welcome here; indeed, needed here, as the transsexual and transgender community almost never has any distinct voice or representatives in atheist congregations and events. So, WTF, John?

Our own Daniel Finke has already done a superb job of explaining the situation and why Loftus is way off the rails here, and I could not top him if I tried, so I well recommend you read his post on this: On the Qualifications of our Alleged “Diversity Hire”, Natalie Reed. I’ll only add a repeat here of my comment there:

I fully agree with your assessment here, Daniel.

Natalie Reed is an excellent writer. Her blogs are often thorough, thoughtful, informed, and well-researched, are a delight to read, and do not waste words (some people complain they are sometimes long, but that’s not padding or verbosity, it’s precision and completeness). She’s impressed me. And already taught me a great deal. She also does fill a vacant niche (and that is why we got her): a representative speaking for and to atheists about transsexual and gender issues. It’s not like John Loftus was doing that (or that he would be qualified to even if he did). And frankly, I can’t think of anyone better for the job than Natalie. And isn’t the best one at it precisely who we should have here?

As for Loftus himself, he has not been comporting himself well in this case. Lately he has given ample grounds for you to conclude as you do; he’s been far more off the handle than I’ve ever seen him. I do hope he recognizes and addresses this perception and behavior problem.

Whatever you think of John Loftus (his behavior in the comments thread to Natalie’s well-thought post Target Audiences and Playing Nice is appalling, and I’m ashamed to see that), I think you should all check out Natalie’s blog from time to time. Truly. We could all benefit from reading Natalie Reed.

Comments

  1. says

    I have been following her across SkepChick and Queerty, and was thrilled when she was welcomed onto FTB. She’s terrific writer and has produced some of the most competent posts on trans issues that I’ve seen anywhere on the internets (and I say that as a genderqueer person).

  2. says

    Richard, I want to put this behind us. To understand it I wrote a post defending William Lane Craig from being insincere or evil. I was viciously attacked by ignorant atheists. After warning them they kept attacking so I deleted a few of their posts and never denied it. I want a civil respectful discussion of none at all. And I demand to be treated with respect. That’s not too much to expect, is it? Then when Daniel posted something in favor of a new blogger named Libby my detractors came and spouted off. I don’t suffer fools gladly and it showed. Then Natalie posted an ignorant post based on what she saw. So I defended myself.

    Listen, let’s just put this aside. I think Natalie knows what she is talking about and is a wonderful contributor here. I just don’t like being attacked by anyone I consider ignorant. Daniel has the stupidity to claim I said the only reason Natalie is her is because of diversity. Such a crock that was, and I have a right to call him on it

    My original post here is gone from here but this is what I clipped from it:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2011/10/in-defense-of-william-lane-craig.html

    For the record I have not visited these discussions since earlier today and I have no intention to do so.

    This is so blown out of hand. Let’s just let it drop. The bloggers here can do their thing and on my blog I’ll do mine.

    • says

      John, you can’t “lead” with “let’s put this behind us”; that’s something that comes after reconciliation, but you didnt even try to work anything out to put behind us; and you certainly can’t lead with that and then claim to have done nothing wrong! That’s the exact opposite of seeking reconciliation. If our roles were reversed, you’d think I was crazy if I pulled this bizarro reverso behavior on you. Think about it.

      So let’s look at your defense. You were not “viciously attacked” by anyone on FtB, much less Natalie Reed, and this has nothing to do with your post about Craig. It’s bizarre that you think it does.

      You need to re-read the Reed thread, as if you were a neutral third party, and not associate anything as having anything whatever to do with your comments about Craig, but as being about what Natalie said her post was about. Then look back and see how your behavior looks in the comment thread there.

      Because trust me, you look insane there. And if you don’t see that even after that reexamination, then you are insane. And all I can recommend then is that you start talking to a therapist.

    • Ace of Sevens says

      [In reply to John:] I found some of your reasoning in that post to be a bit dubious, but you are correct that some of the people who responded to you made stupid arguments. That happens. It’s the danger of a public blog. I don’t see what this has to do with Natalie, who disagreed with you on what seems to be a completely different point.

    • says

      [In reply to John:] As someone who isn’t a blogger on FtB, doesn’t have a horse in this race, and had no clue who you or Natalie were as little as a month ago…

      You are acting like a bleeding looney and owe a lot of folks an apology. I suggest taking some time off, calming yourself down, putting your head back on straight, and perhaps some therapy. You are pretty close to the bottom, perhaps it’s time you stop digging.

      Because from where I’m sitting, the accusations being levied against you look about 95% accurate.

  3. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Natalie Reed is an intelligent, articulate writer on many subjects. Her blog is one I always read when I come to FtB.

    • says

      Richard for some reason you are emotionally attached, but then so am I. YOU need to re-read what she said by inserting YOUR name wherever my name is and see how YOU would react. Perhaps you’d react better, I don’t know. But I can only respond as I see fit. And it did originate in part with the responses to my post defending Craig, which was the first thing people read when Daniel wrote about Lilly, which Natalie subsequently wrote about without the needed background. As I said, she is probably a wonderful contributor here at Freethought Blogs. It’s just that I didn’t really feel she was treating me with any modicum of respect at all, acting superior than I, for reasons I can only guess at. I do not react to disrespect very well. That’s who I am and that’s why I’m better off on my own blog. Atheist should be thankful I am because that’s where more Christians show up.

      For some reason that I can’t figure out, prior to this whole debacle, I have been personally maligned by atheists (as well as Christians). It takes it’s toll on me. People don’t understand that and they don’t care. It also makes me sensitive to slights. But I trudge on. I know you might find that strange but that’s me. I hold to views that other atheists don’t share, like Jesus was a historical person mythicized, that I treat Christian beliefs with respect for the most part, and that I grant Christians some things in order to nudge them in our direction.

      The more people at Freethought Blogs keep this issue alive the more it will escalate. Keep that in mind. That’s why I want us to move on.

      Insane? That’s idiocy.

    • says

      John W. Loftus YOU need to re-read what she said by inserting YOUR name wherever my name is and see how YOU would react.

      I did. That’s why I had to blog about this. You are losing touch with reality.

      You do not even have a correct handle on what happened. See my discussion above about the actual sequence of events and what Natalie and Daniel were actually talking about. Which you still don’t seem to understand. Why is that? I really do want to know what’s going on with you. Your behavior is deeply strange, and I can’t explain it.

      The only remotely incorrect thing Natalie said about you in her post was that you seemed to be stating a “my way or the highway” position in your comments to Daniel’s post, and threatened to attack atheists over it (“turn the guns on them,” your words), and the only reason that I would call that “remotely incorrect” is that I always thought you agreed with her on that, and therefore you must not have intended to give the impression that you were promoting a “my way or the highway” position and that she misunderstood what you meant by “turning the guns on [some still-unnamed opponents at FtB].” That’s why the reasonable response would have been to correct her one factual error, and point out that the two of you are actually on the same page as far as her overall point.

      So…why didn’t you just do that?

  4. says

    In my opinion John has, for years now, been childishly over-reactive to any criticism (perceived or actual). Interesting that it’s just now starting to cause a rift between him and a sizable number of other atheists.

    If I could give John some advice, it would be this: Try to handle your critics with more class. You always let them get under your skin and the situation usually ends up embarrassing for you (whether you realize it or not). And it annoys people. When people criticize you, just try to take it in stride. A simple “thanks for your input” would be better than the kind of reaction that you’re prone to.

    And by the way, touting your critical thinking skills and abrasively asking whether your critic has ever taken a class in critical thinking is usually not a good idea (though I suppose it could be appropriate in some cases). In any case, I don’t think it should be done by anybody who writes something like this: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/search?q=Casey+Anthony

    • says

      Landon, I agree: in my past experience, John has always exhibited a thin skin and has no sense of humor about himself. I just thought those were personality quirks. But they seem to have gotten much worse over the past year.

      The way to respond to critics should always be the same:

      Be calm. Correct any errors of fact, logic, or understanding. Done.

      Only if they persistently ignore these corrections (or actually become petty and mean) do you lay into them, and not their arguments, and even then you stick to the facts: things they have actually said or done that you regard as reprehensible or absurd.

      It’s a lot easier to do this if you can laugh at yourself and laugh off a joke at your expense or retort with the same wit that came at you, rather than taking deep offense at trivial slights.

      It has always seemed John never learned this lesson. But it’s only been of late that he seems to have gone so far off the hook that he’s not even responding to reality anymore. And that’s what has me worried about him.

  5. openlyatheist says

    I thought, as a good skeptic, I should look into what happened before this post of yours rather than just assume John’s words came out of a vacuum. Near as I can figure, John decided to leave FTB *BEFORE* Daniel Fincke’s 2/12/12 post “Not Every Blog Is For Everybody,” as well as Natalie Reed’s 2/15/12 post. Really, all I see in those two posts I just mentioned are a bunch of assholes trolling John into a corner and turning everything he says against him until he finally says some things they can really lambaste him for.

    So the story is: John censored some trolls in his Craig-related thread, they moved to another blog on FTB to badmouth him, he pursued them until he finally said some things unflattering enough for Natalie to blog about. Trolling 101. I’m not surprised he escalated and eventually said things he might not have said otherwise. Do you not know this man? I’ve read him for years.

    Meanwhile, Reed’s article is presumptuous at best. To quote Debunking Christianity commenter revaaron, “She asserted motives and assumed unstated opinions.” She gives us gems such as: “…assuming his approach is the best and only and ideal approach”, “…and implying that…”, “… It’s rather insulting in that the implication is therefore…”, “… that he’d claim supremacy…” I can’t believe you didn’t defend him from such bullshit. John tries to set the record straight with his first comment on 2/15/12, but Natalie didn’t want the show to end and it was downhill from there. She had no idea what she was talking about or whom.

    After perusing FTB for several months now, which I only know of thanks to John, I have concluded this site is definitely mean spirited, cult-like, filled with trolls and sycophants, and not at all an environment of “Freethinkers” that I want to be part of. I’m glad John got out when he did.

    As a reader of John’s blog for years I am not losing any sleep over FTB, nor are many of his readers. I’m a fan of yours and of your collaborations with John and will definitely pop onto your blog from time to time. But I am abandoning the rest of FTB.

    • says

      openlyatheist: So the story is: John censored some trolls in his Craig-related thread, they moved to another blog on FTB to badmouth him, he pursued them until he finally said some things unflattering enough for Natalie to blog about.

      Um, no. That’s not the story. Neither Daniel nor Natalie were responding to anyone being censored. They never said anything about that. Indeed, Daniel wasn’t even responding to Loftus at all; he was responding to issues raised on Libby Anne’s blog. Regarding Loftus all Daniel said was that John should be okay with multiple strategies, and he could have run his blog here any way he wanted, just as Libby Anne is doing, but unlike Libby Anne, John chose to leave instead; and in fact, Daniel wasn’t even attacking Loftus for this but actually commiserating with him. Daniel was expressing how unfortunate it was that John felt he had to leave, rather than staying to cultivate exactly the friendlier niche John wanted us to have here, and that in fact we brought him on to create (so it’s ironic that we’re now being attacked for being overly hostile, by the guy we hired to offer an alternative to that, who promptly left, and then attacks us for not wanting his voice…huh!?).

      This is why Loftus’ response looks so insane to me. It makes no sense. Daniel commiserates with John and defends John’s position; so then John bites his head off?? WTF?

      Natalie, likewise, was very explicit about her point: again, it was about the discussion at Libby Anne’s blog, not John’s; and she was replying to John’s comments on Daniel’s post (which was, again, about Libby Anne’s blog, not John’s) which he made about the same issue of blogging styles (not censorship). It was those remarks (and they alone) that prompted Natalie to write her blog; and her criticism was only this:

      John Loftus, former FTB blogger, has recently written a number of vague and somewhat nasty…comments over at Camels With Hammers about the “mean-spirited” atheists back here at FTB and has openly threatened to “turn his guns” on such atheists. This is where things stop being cool for me.

      Where is censorship mentioned here? That is not being discussed. What is being discussed are things John said on Daniel’s blog (not things John did on John’s blog), and those things pertain to Daniel’s point about different blogging styles, where John got petty and mean and attacked FtB for being too hostile to Christians, which Natalie took issue with (and her blog goes on to explain why, in a rather measured and reasonable way). Then Loftus went after her, being mean and petty again, ignoring what she said, attributing to her things she didn’t say, and so on.

      The weirdest part of all this, which really makes John look crazy, is that I know John actually agrees with the central point Natalie in fact actually made: that John’s approach is not the only approach, and that Christians are not immune to criticism, and not everyone has to deal with them in the same way John does. So why on earth did he lay into her? It makes no sense. The only logical response would have been for him to say she must have misunderstood him because he did not mean to say his was the only way to go, and that he actually agrees with her on that, and he didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. Instead, he resorts to fallacious and petty attacks on her, and ignores the actual content of her calm replies, and just responds ever more insanely every single time.

      For example, he accuses her of “rail[ing] against a critical thinking class” when in fact she never did any such thing. She simply made the perfectly reasonable point that one does not have to take a college course on critical thinking to have learned the skills of critical thinking. She’s right. But instead of admitting that, he just wouldn’t give up the delusional belief that she attacked critical thinking classes, and kept on going down that rabbit hole. That looks insane to me.

      I honestly don’t know what’s gone wrong with him. Because he’s clearly not reading what she says, nor considering it, nor responding to it in any sound way. And he is looking increasingly maniacal and out of touch, and resistant to any concern for self-reflection and creating mutual understanding (ironically, since he’s supposed to be the one championing a “non hostile” environment that seeks mutual understanding, yet is creating a viciously hostile environment and not spending one moment attempting to find mutual understanding).

      I’m sincerely worried about him. He seems to be spinning out of control, deeper and deeper into some sort of isolated madness, the way Joe Hoffmann did. And I am powerless to help him.

    • John Morales says

      So the story is: John censored some trolls in his Craig-related thread, they moved to another blog on FTB to badmouth him, he pursued them until he finally said some things unflattering enough for Natalie to blog about. Trolling 101.

      I am one of those who had a post (silently) deleted by John in that thread; whilst some might perceive me as a troll, I myself do not, and I assure you there was no such intent.

      (What I did is dispute claims he made)

    • says

      John Morales: I am one of those who had a post (silently) deleted by John in that thread; whilst some might perceive me as a troll, I myself do not, and I assure you there was no such intent.

      John, I realize you are replying to a claim made by someone else in this thread (and for that reason in fairness I’m letting this through). And I can sympathize (John has badly treated some people I know who didn’t deserve it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if others have gotten the same treatment), but the bottom line is that John can execute any comment policy he wants on his own blog (and indeed, that was the very point Daniel was defending, although in Libby Anne’s case), even if it’s excessive or self-serving.

      But I don’t want any further discussion about that issue here, since it has nothing to do with what my blog post is about, and it would only feed John’s false belief that that had anything whatever to do with what Daniel or Natalie were writing about.

      I suggest criticizing his moderation policy (if you must) on your own blog or other appropriate forum (obviously John won’t let you do it on his site). But please not here. No offense.

  6. Jonas says

    I think, “So, WTF, John?” is the perfect summary of this unfortunate situation.

    I’ve been a big fan of John’s work, but I don’t understand what he is thinking here. I hope he heeds your advice to step back and read what he’s been writing as a third party would. If he does, I think what he’ll see is someone digging themselves deeper into a hole while alienating many people who would be natural allies or at least neutral.

    John, look at your attempt here to “put this behind us”. What would you think about someone first claiming to want to move on from a situation who then goes on to…

    …imply the way they acted was justified because they were “viciously attacked by ignorant atheists”?

    …essentially says the problem is their opponents were fools: “I don’t suffer fools gladly and it showed.”

    …refers to writing that riled them up as “an ignorant post”.

    …finally appears to really walk it back by calling Natalie a “wonderful contributor” but then adds, “I just don’t like being attacked by anyone I consider ignorant”. Perhaps that wasn’t meant to refer to Natalie, but if it wasn’t, it should have been worded more carefully.

    …refers to someone’s “stupidity” and says what they said was “such a crock”. This is on an issue where their words were paraphrased in what seemed to be an unfair way. They were called on this and never explained how they weren’t fair.

    John finishes by saying, “This is so blown out of hand. Let’s just let it drop.” John, do you really consider this to be a serious attempt to move on? Really? You think the equivalent of “let’s put this behind us, you idiots” could actually work?

    Richard is being your friend. Take his advice.

  7. Josh says

    Why is it that when it comes to issues of diversity and equality, atheists / skeptics tend to be as retarded as everyone else? Over the past year it’s just been one drama after another in this community related to these issues. Obviously we have a problem.

    These situations seem to have a tendency to grow out of several different things:

    1) Oblivious or unexamined beliefs held by people who don’t realize the irrationality of them.

    2) Irrational beliefs held to be rational (and therefore also delusional)

    3) Someone feels attacked personally, and lashes out in a way that is completely inappropriate (and may or may not reflect actual beliefs)

    4) A complete break down in communication.

    There are other ways as well, but it seems like we always react as though the cause of these actions are one of the first two, and never of the latter.

    While I certainly do not want to say that the first two never happen (they do and they need to be addressed), I’m also someone who struggles to find the right words to express myself, and sometimes I say things that don’t mean what I intended to say at all.

    I don’t think that’s what happened in this case, but I’ve been wanting to say this for a while and have held off out of fear of being misunderstood.

    The last year has been interesting to watch in this skeptical community. We have finally started to address these issues. I had kind of hoped that we would be able to do it in a way that fits with our values, and there is some of that happening. But in addition to reasoned arguments calmly discussed, I’ve seen irrational hand-waving, abundant straw-men, and complete failures to communicate from all sides of these issues. These things are as understandable as they are disheartening; we’re only human and those things are all horribly human.

    So I guess it’s to be expected, and no less acceptable, and certainly much less than hoped.

    • says

      “Why is it that when it comes to issues of diversity and equality, atheists / skeptics tend to be as retarded as everyone else?”
      I sincerely hope you’re using the R word ironically.

    • Josh says

      @The Nerd

      I suppose I have few ways to react here:

      1) Say sure, I was using it ironically.

      2) Point out that in a statement is disparages skeptics for their reactions to some issues, I used a disparaging remark that seemed appropriate.

      3) Admit that I simply wasn’t thinking when I posted that, and I probably shouldn’t have used that word.

      I’m going to go with option 3. I was wrong and shouldn’t have done that. It certainly demonstrates that my criticisms were not just for others, but myself as well.

      @richard

      There’s been something that’s bothered me about this post and thread. The phrase that keeps popping up in my head is ‘fundamental attribution error.’ In this case, John Loftus is acting strangely, so it must be because he’s developed some sort of mental disorder and needs to seek a therapist if he is unable to objectively judge his own behavior. You did this on a public forum where you have the bullhorn and the is the maximum possibility for embarrassment and the most difficulty admitting you’re wrong.

      Now, I understand the importance of having a public and open dialogue on these topics, but I have to question whether or not you’ve chosen the most appropriate method for addressing a problem your colleague (if not friend) seems to be having. If you honestly think there is a possibility of a mental illness, as you suggested, it is not rational on your part to believe that discussion on a public forum is going to help.

    • says

      Josh: You’re wrong. By your reasoning, the more crazy someone gets in self-destructing and harming others, the less we should do anything about it. That’s illogical. It takes some pretty extremely inexplicable behavior for me to conclude and publicly say that someone’s behavior is looking insane, and John’s is well over that line by now. I’m deeply worried. But I can’t be silent; that will be interpreted by the public as approval of his behavior or even as my failure to recognize how crazy his behavior is. And it is. I can only hope there is some serious mistake going on and he will correct it. And I’ve made that clear several times on this thread. The more he fails to do that, however, the more he confirms the worst is true, and we need to cut him off as impossible to work with on any friendly or rational terms anymore. Which would be tragic. But shutting up about it is not the solution.

      As to his need to get help (if such he does), I have no ability to affect that outcome. I don’t even live in the same state as he does, nor do I know anyone who lives near him who can intervene. So what happens from here on out is entirely on him. Nor does mentioning this in public make any difference to mentioning it in private. His response would be the same either way. Which is to say, either reasonable, or not.

    • Josh says

      Richard: I am disappointed. You’re arguing against something I never said at all. My point was that it is not rational to think that this is going to help him at all. No where did I say that you (or anyone else) shouldn’t help him. For you to claim that I did is obviously fallacious.

      But I can’t be silent; that will be interpreted by the public as approval of his behavior or even as my failure to recognize how crazy his behavior is.

      That’s an unrelated (to my point) non-sequiter.

      Let me try to make my deeper point in perhaps a different way. When shit like this happens, what a person needs is a friend to provide perspective, not someone to call them possibly insane. I might be wrong in calling that a fundamental attribution error. Losing perspective on something is not a thing that requires therapy. It’s not a thing that warrants public humiliation. All those things do is make the problem snowball, which I believe is what we’re seeing.

      Of course, obviously I could be misinterpreting your relationship with John. Just because you’ve written chapters in a few books with him doesn’t mean you’re friends.

      Nor does mentioning this in public make any difference to mentioning it in private. His response would be the same either way. Which is to say, either reasonable, or not.

      Perhaps it’s because I’m working from incomplete knowledge, but that just seems to be an assertion on your part.

      I’m not sure why I’m making a stand here, on this topic. Obviously I’m working from the larger context where I see stuff like this happening all of the time. The skeptic community loves to call out people as publicly and embarrassingly as possible Sometimes, perhaps that’s what needed (The Penn Jillette incident comes to mind) and sometimes it sickens my stomach. It seems like we’ve lost the humanist side of things. If there is a lesson to learn from christianity, it’s that shame is a poor method of correction.

    • says

      Josh: You’re arguing against something I never said at all. My point was that it is not rational to think that this is going to help him at all.

      And you are missing the point that “helping him” is not the only issue at hand here. We have a community that needs to know who is reliable to work with and who isn’t. We have false statements made about people in public that need to be corrected for the public’s knowledge. And we certainly ought not to give the impression of “talking behind the back” of someone exhibiting paranoia. Public discourse is best.

    • Josh says

      Richard: I agree that I was focused on only a one purpose. Here’s why:

      We have a community that needs to know who is reliable to work with and who isn’t.

      That is a fundamental attribution error. While you’ve said that John has been touchy in the past, it certainly hasn’t stopped you from working with him multiple times. If I’m reading what you’re saying accurately, you’re not claiming that he’s not reliable to work with (presumably after these latest events). That is a fundamental attribution error.

      I agree, false statements should always be corrected. There is a difference between correcting false statements and calling the person who made those statements ‘possibly insane.’

      Public discourse is best. A private ‘hey what’s going on, you seem to be acting strangely’ doesn’t exclude any public discussion.

      If we lose someone who has provided valuable contributions to our community simply because no one took the time to have a conversation over any other medium but blogs, that says something about us as much as it does about them.

    • says

      Josh: That is a fundamental attribution error. While you’ve said that John has been touchy in the past, it certainly hasn’t stopped you from working with him multiple times.

      Being touchy is not impossible to work with. His behavior of late is vastly beyond touchy, and is the behavior of someone impossible to work with. That is not an attribution error. It’s a statement of fact.

      This will only be reversed if he sees reason and starts behaving as any sane and reasonable person would. As I have consistently said, he may yet do that.

      There is a difference between correcting false statements and calling the person who made those statements ‘possibly insane.’

      That difference is precisely the difference between discussing whether someone can be worked with, and correcting false statements they made.

      You seem to have a hard time grasping multiple aims.

      If we lose someone who has provided valuable contributions to our community simply because no one took the time to have a conversation over any other medium but blogs, that says something about us as much as it does about them.

      We have been in private communication. (I don’t know why you assumed we weren’t.)

      He has so far stopped communicating with me. Although that may simply be because he doesn’t have anything more to say. But I can’t compel him to interact with me.

      He has my phone number. So if he is at all concerned about my behavior, or has any desire to correct my misapprehension of him, he knows he can call me.

      There is nothing more I can do.

    • Josh says

      Should have proofread that better. I mean “You’re now claiming” not “you’re not claiming.” Very different meanings there.

    • says

      You’re joking, I suppose. But it’s precisely because I’ve worked with him so closely that his recent behavior is so strange to me. He’s always been touchy, but this is really beyond anything like that.

      I can’t help it if he is so spun out of control that he turns his “ire” on me over this. Because I’m being as reasonable as I can be. So if even that draws his ire, then truly he is a lost cause. I just hope that’s not so.

  8. says

    I don’t want to pick sides. It appears to me that there was a miscommunication that needs to be resolved, so I would like to get as much information as possible.

    Can someone link me the relevant blog posts? Please and thank you.

    • says

      Chris Harris: It appears to me that there was a miscommunication that needs to be resolved.

      You are right. And that’s what should have happened. Which is why I am concerned, because it very catastrophically didn’t; and it wasn’t Natalie or Daniel at the wheel on this one.

      Can someone link me the relevant blog posts? Please and thank you.

      See my comment upthread and the links in it to Daniel and Natalie’s posts, which each have comment threads featuring John Loftus doing his best to burn every bridge with napalm.

    • says

      It is certainly possible that someone is pretending to be him, or that his account (here, and maybe even his blog?) was hacked. That would certainly explain some things, and I don’t know if I’d put it past some people to do such a thing.

    • says

      “It is certainly possible that someone is pretending to be him, or that his account (here, and maybe even his blog?) was hacked.”

      Unless The Real Loftus has dropped off the face of the planet this past week, he would notice having been hacked by now. I held out hope for a day or two myself…

    • says

      Ralph: Calling someone insane is also not the most diplomatic of language either, Richard.

      Bone up on your reading comprehension. Especially basic English grammar. I did not call anyone insane. I said if Loftus doesn’t see reason after engaging the procedure I recommended, then he is insane. Literally; because there would then be no other possible explanation. Only time will tell which prong of that disjunct comes true.

      In the meantime, he only looks insane (and if any reasonable person reads those threads I linked to, they’d agree); I’m hoping, as in fact I said, that that is only a misapprehension.

    • Ralph says

      Yes of course. But, I think I’ll just brush up on pedantry instead.

      The use of the word insane is surely a bit harsh. You used it on Hoffmann too, if I remember. Are you really implying that he must be psychotic, or schizophrenic or something similarly severe if he doesn’t listen to your logic? Maybe he is just stubborn and emotional.

      I like your arguments, Richard, and I think you are probably right here too. I just think stooping to such insults (even if only couched in a conditional clause) do more harm than good.

    • says

      Ralph: The use of the word insane is surely a bit harsh. You used it on Hoffmann too, if I remember.

      Indeed, and in that case the evidence was overwhelming to me. I found his delusional and paranoiac behavior disturbing (well beyond just ordinary sane behavior), and I will never work with him again, and I recommend no one else do either. My description thus accurately communicates my personal conclusion in the matter.

      Whereas I only said Loftus looked like he was going down the same path. He has since proven he has not.

    • says

      Nerd: My only disagreement with your post is that the disabled don’t own the words, either. Language is public property, and the meaning of words is governed by context, not dictat. Understanding that is exactly what it means to understand a language. They have as much responsibility to respect context as we do. Merely taking offense is not a valid reason to constrain one’s liberty to choose their own words. But otherwise, I agree, we should not be thoughtless, and we should challenge what’s unfair.

    • says

      “constrain one’s liberty to choose their own words”
      I’m attempting to increase people’s ability to make a more informed choice. If writers are more aware of how certain words could impact various readers from various backgrounds, then they can make a better choice on whether those words could enhance or inhibit their goals as writers.

    • says

      The Nerd: I’m attempting to increase people’s ability to make a more informed choice. If writers are more aware of how certain words could impact various readers from various backgrounds, then they can make a better choice on whether those words could enhance or inhibit their goals as writers.

      No problem there.

  9. Ysidro says

    Maybe this is all some amazing Xanatos Gambit to get irrational theists onto his side so he can eventually educate them.

    Naaaaaaaaaaah!

  10. Sam C says

    Shorter Freethoughts:
    * free speech, yay!! I can say anything and everything and it’s the listeners’ fault if they’re offended, not my problem
    * how dare you say something like that to me or my friends? how dare you offend me by dissing my treasured ideals?

    Too many people here are keen to dish it out but not take it.

  11. Eric Sweeney says

    Richard, your arrogance is as impessives as that of Loftus. In fact, you are, if anything, even more emphatic about your self importance.

    I met you in Kansas, and other atheists thought the same thing.

    • says

      Eric Sweeney: Richard, your arrogance is as impessives as that of Loftus. In fact, you are, if anything, even more emphatic about your self importance.

      Since I never criticized Loftus for being arrogant or self-important, you must have me confused with someone else.

      I met you in Kansas, and other atheists thought the same thing.

      Evidently not the ones I partied with.

  12. Alex Dalton says

    I’m a theist, and certainly not a fan of Loftus at all, but I do feel bad for him as its obvious he’s got some emotional issues. Why air all this on a public forum? Can’t you guys discuss it in a more intimate and private way? Like email or over the phone? This is going to add to whatever his issues are, by giving him a deeper sense of shame and rejection.

    • says

      Alex Dalton: Why air all this on a public forum?

      We’re not airing any private issues here, we’re talking about what John publicly did. In a public forum. That’s why.

    • says

      John, that’s a great post. Now I feel like I’m back in reality again. Thank you!

      You confirm what I said earlier, that in fact you agree with Daniel Finke, as I was certain you did. That’s why I didn’t understand why you attacked him for it (and I still don’t, but you’ve apologized for it and have the right bead on things now so now we can put this behind us–the correct order of events). I also still don’t understand why you attacked Natalie Reed, particularly using ad hominem and well poisoning and personal attacks, instead of just saying she misunderstood you (which she had every right to believe she didn’t, given your inexplicable assault on Daniel, which is what she was responding to), but again it looks like the air is at least cleared and we can go back to defcon 5.

      Please, sincerely, be more conscious going forward of any tendency you might have to slip into fallacious attacks on people. I suggest always think first whether there is simply a misunderstanding you can correct (and then if they still don’t get it after a reasonable effort to get them to, you can criticize them for being dense). Basically, treat reasonable people reasonably. Golden Rule. I’m sure we can all agree on that.

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