People say nice things about FtB, mean things about Paula Kirby’s vitriol


I’m sure you’ve seen all the sturm und drang over Freethought Blogs being a cesspool of bullying and thought-policing hive-mindery. Despite this, a few people outside the network have voiced their support of people inside the network, and are picking off the worst lines of argumentation that people are using to try claim that we’re dogmatic bullies who do not tolerate dissent. What catalyzed this show of support? Why no less than Paula Kirby calling us all Feminazis and Femistasi (Ophelia’s take on that nonsense).

And where the hell is Orac to shout down this particular Godwinning?

Anyway.

It’s really great to know that some fantastic writers are not letting this slide, even though they’re not personally the ones being targeted. Several of them below the fold.

Alex Gabriel writes us a fan letter and eviscerates the FtB-as-Stasi meme, shows amazing support for the key FtBloggers involved in this fight, and starts the #WeLoveFTB hashtag.

Now, clearly my opinion is just that: personal, subjective, an opinion. But for all the accusations of throwing their weight around, there’s a reason FtB has weight: it’s extremely popular. None of these people have to read it, and I’m not asking you to read it if you’re reading this. In fact, I’m not even asking you to like it.

But it’s obvious large numbers of people do like it. Over five thousand, according to Facebook. And while, contrary to some of what Paula suggested, no one who disagrees is being stopped from saying so, I think it’s time FtB-lovers sent in some support – because while it’s easy to be negative on the internet, especially on sarcasm-positive social networks like Twitter, sticking up for people is important.

tigtog of Hoyden About Town reposts a comment xe left at Ophelia’s, with this lead-in context paragraph:

In a truly rational world, it might be possible to substantively and productively explore the pros and cons of competing positions in good faith and reach a nuanced understanding and a mutually satisfying path forward.  Unfortunately the “don’t give disproportionate emphasis to sexism” side has basically been hijacked by a bunch of bad faith contrarians who advocate never ever listening to women because women be lying because that’s what bitchez do amiright.  These are the folks who’ve “excessively emphasised” the issue of sexist misbehaviour by continually stirring the pot, and this week a post on the FreeThoughtBlogs.com network from Justin Griffiths outlined exactly how this has been going down (mostly indirectly via contrarians’ now-I’m-using-my-reasonable-voice comments which have now been deleted). In short, for a large number of the noisiest pot-stirrers the whole meltdown is just an exercise in 4chan-style gamesmanship, where they get to bask in their supposed superior rationality as shown by the way that they can disrupt discussions and spark off flamewars by stating positions they claim not to truly hold, because they’re just making a point (that well-know close relation of JAQing Off).

And direct allies aren’t the only ones countering the “you people are bullies” memetics — Atheist Logic fisks that Kirby open letter with aplomb.

Now I don’t really have a problem with namecalling when you’re trying to make an emotional appeal. I don’t have an issue with terms like “anti-choice” or “idiot” when you’re just trying to get in a quick jab at the person you’re arguing with. But when it comes to “nazi”, can’t we at least agree that that’s a little extreme? You don’t win argument points by pointing wildly at something bad and saying “YOU’RE JUST LIKE THEM!” (complete with caps-lock). Nazis killed millions of people in an attempt to exterminate entire segments of the human population. Kirby is arguing against a group of people whose “crimes” are literally things like saying “Guys, don’t do that“, or that sexual harassment is a thing that happens sometimes. The thing about analogies is that they should scale properly. Comparing people saying words to other people killing millions is more than a little bit out-of-sync. On top of which, 99% of the time that you compare your opponent to Nazis, you’ve already lost the argument: it’s just not a point that people tend to respect.

But! (says Kirby) we’re not comparing them to actual Nazis, but rather to a general notion of Nazisim “used to simply mean ‘extremist’ or ‘obsessive’”.

And Rebecca Watson weaves together a few of the weirdest bits of anti-feminist thought from various quarters of the skeptic-and-atheist blogospheres:

[I]t just continues to amaze me that these clueless misogynists haven’t even figured out how to camouflage their hatred. Like, you assholes do know that Rush Limbaugh came up with the clever epithet “feminazi,” right? Rush Limbaugh, the guy who hates women so much that he spent hours yelling about how Sandra Fluke is literally a filthy whore because she thinks that birth control is medicine that should be covered by health insurance.

And lest you think she just used the term “feminazi” out of pure ignorance about what feminism is or what a Nazi is or what a Rush Limbaugh is, she actually doubled down with even more hilarious slurs, specifically created to express her individuality from Limbaugh[…]

It’s really nice to know we’re not taking this so-called-friendly fire, from people within the skeptic and atheist communities, alone. It still amazes me that the people doing the most bullying of ideas they don’t agree with, are the ones calling us bullies. Is it a case of “attack your opponent’s strengths to make them look like weaknesses”?

I mean, what is this strategy really? I’m not asking rhetorically — someone explain what these people think they’re accomplishing, please.

And all over a harassment policy campaign that we’ve basically already won.

Hmm. Maybe THAT’S it. Maybe they’re just being sore losers.

Comments

  1. Stealth Bummer says

    Quoth Orac:

    I got raked over the coals and labeled a “bully” for saying (pointing what I considered to be a Hitler Zombie-worthy analogy) and who raked me over the coals for saying it (Ophelia Benson, the person who made the analogy, and many of her supporters). In any case, this particular blog war long ago got too nasty even for Orac, and that’s saying a lot. It reminds me of some of the epic blog throwdowns that ScienceBlogs used to be known for. Thankfully, this sort of drama has apparently moved over to FreeThoughtBlogs now. Hopefully, it will stay there.

    Earlier in the thread he’d mentioned regretting coming over here and weighing in. I assumed he felt bad for jumping to conclusions, looks like I was wrong.

    Gross.

    scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/07/03/a-chiropractor-strikes-back/#comments

  2. says

    The attacks on FTB as a place given to “flame wars,” and the “hive-mind” BS, are both nothing but a right-wing propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting FTB without even looking at the substance of what’s being said here. Lots of commenters complain about “flame wars,” but NONE of them specified which FTB posts were “flame wars” as opposed to heated arguments of substance. Why no citation? Because the complainers knew they were full of shit, and any citation would bring a reader to a post where a substantive argument was at the heart of the “flames” — an argument the complainers didn’t want us to notice.

    This is classic Rovian propaganda. Take it as proof that you’re making a difference, and keep up the good work.

  3. says

    Oh, and my opinion is not purely subjective — it’s based on observation of FTB and their predecessor, ScienceBlogs, and of the consistent behavior of right-wing propagandists, both on and off this part of the Internet.

  4. jenniferphillips says

    @ Stealth Bummer–
    It’s far from a groveling apology but earlier in that comment thread Orac said:

    “Please, people. I really don’t want that argument metastasizing to my comment threads. I’ve already been burned badly enough by it, and I admit my massive error for every having said anything in the first place.”

    I suppose one could read that as “It was a huge mistake for me to wade into this shitstorm.” full stop. But a slightly more charitable reading is also possible, in that he realizes it was stupid to nitpick that one micro-Godwin out of a bubbling vat of Godwin stew. One can hope that he took a closer look and realized that being consistent about calling out the Godwinning would demand a fuckton of time and energy that he’d rather not expend. To my ear, at least, his collective replies on the thread you referenced sound like he feels a bit sheepish about his encounter with Ophelia, which might connote some of the hoped-for regret. I dunno. I remain disappointed that people who want to stay out of the fray can’t be bothered to make one simple unambiguous statement to show they understand the issue enough to have an opinion about it, but at the same time I completely understand the reluctance to open that door and have one’s comments dominated by largely off topic (for Orac’s normal blog content) metastatic flaming.

    Re the OP: Thanks for the overview on this, Jason. I’m just as baffled as Ophelia at Paula’s reaction in particular, based on how rational her writings have always been it’s just…off.

    Say what you will about Deeeeeep Rifts, but I find there is great value in these sorts of reactions. I’ve always thought that ‘Atheism’ was too broad of a category under which to assemble any kind of meaningful community. We narrowed considerably after the gnu/accommodationist conflict, and we’ve narrowed even more with the debate about sexism. At the end of the day, it’s probably a net gain.

  5. rork says

    I also read a FTB-critical blog yesterday that I’d rather not name. I thought it was sour grapes more than right-wing. You see, some bloggers are much smarter and write much more important stuff than what gets written here (shit, some of the commenters here don’t even have PhDs in a hard science), yet are struggling for traffic. This is profoundly unfair. Perhaps blogging about FTB can get something going to increase the traffic.
    Raging Bee’s observation that the criticisms are fuzzy, and point to no particular author, so as not to be easily disputed, was true there too.

  6. smhll says

    The attacks on FTB as a place given to “flame wars,” and the “hive-mind” BS, are both nothing but a right-wing propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting FTB without even looking at the substance of what’s being said here.

    Agreed.

    I wanted to add that I love that the ‘opposition’ (or oppositions?) think that no dissent is tolerated at FtB while also thinking that there’s so much dissent here (flame wars) that the whole place is spontaneously combusting.

  7. Brad says

    People will generally infer different things from “Sexual harassment is a serious problem” and “Sexual harassment is a problem we (should) take seriously” and there may be some misunderstanding from the much more frequent use of the former phrasing than the latter, but it’s not that hard to pay the hell attention and see that nobody is saying that our community is worse than baseline. The pushback from the cupcakes over the policies is ridiculously out of proportion. Just like the shitstorm over “guys don’t do that” was way out of proportion.

  8. Heliantus says

    @ jenniferphillips

    […]he took a closer look and realized that being consistent about calling out the Godwinning would demand a fuckton of time and energy that he’d rather not expend.

    For whatever it is worth, it’s also my analysis.

    My own reading of the Orac’s thread quoted in the 1st comment is that, for one, he doesn’t have much sympathy for anyone pulling a Godwin, and for two, he is not interested in any of his threads becoming the next 3d4k. I cannot blame him. The MRA trolls are much worse than the alt-med trolls.

    And for the record, the somewhat harsh comment quoted on #1 was in answer to someone chidding Orac for daring to have said this in a previous comment:

    I was referring to the whole kerfuffle about TAM with misogynists calling feminists Nazis

    I would call it a “simple unambiguous statement to show they understand the issue enough to have an opinion about it”.

  9. says

    “(shit, some of the commenters here don’t even have PhDs in a hard science)”

    The horror?!

    Just wondering if that was sarcasm. Not everyone without a PhD is “not smart” you know. One of the brightest new bloggers is actually a high-school drop out. Anyway, trust me, some PhD’s are shitty ass writers.

    I should know. I used to work in a physics department office and one of my jobs was to proofread for the profs.

    ***

    On topic:

    I have no clue what it’s about either. I can only conjecture that it has something to do with having an emotional investment and not getting out what you thought you would get.

    This can be, at times, a harsh place.

    Perhaps some people think this is going to be the place where you can show up and everyone is going to think you are awesome (and everything you say is awesome) because you self-identify as a skeptic/freethinker/atheist/secularist/scientist/pastapharian/whatever and everyone just pats themselves on the back constantly for realizing homeopathy is stupid.

  10. John Horstman says

    @11: Definitely sarcasm, from “You see,” through “…increase the traffic.”

    @OP: (WARNING: What follows is mostly speculation. If I totally wrong, please do point out why, as I have not been following every discussion everywhere of this latest hate-convulsion.)
    As for what they hope to accomplish, it’s probably not a conscious effort on the part of all individuals, and possibly not any, but my guess is that they’re engaged in discursive engineering. What they hope to accomplish is to perpetuate cultural misogyny (among other pro-self-privilege structures), which in turn legitimizes and normalizes misogyny-in-deed (and institutionalization of other structures of privilege). People tend to be pretty good at intuiting potential ego threats and trying to head them off (for example, a common response is self-deprecation, which presupposes and mitigates an external criticism by controlling the framing of the content i.e. the substance of the criticism). They’ll argue against things that don’t necessarily impact them directly if the logical extension of the underlying ideas might actually impact them. For example, people who don’t run around groping women at conferences are arguing against harassment policies because they recognize (possibly only subconsciously) that they may harbor some latent misogyny that DOES express itself in their actions, and if feminism is widely accepted, they will eventually be challenged on those behaviors.

  11. julian says

    Earlier in the thread he’d mentioned regretting coming over here and weighing in. I assumed he felt bad for jumping to conclusions, looks like I was wrong.

    Ha!

    No. Orac is a world class asshole. He’s a wonderful advocate for skepticism and does a lot of good work when it comes to countering suspicious medical claims. (To say nothing of the medical work and research he does.) But, no. The man is an asshole and you’re never gonna get a real apology out of an asshole of that caliber.

  12. anthrosciguy says

    I’m just as baffled as Ophelia at Paula’s reaction in particular, based on how rational her writings have always been it’s just…off.

    Who was it who said: Never attribute to heartfelt malice what can be as accurately attributed to a desire for page views.

    Oh, that was me, just now.

  13. says

    Jennifer @ 4 – Hmmno, that comment of Orac’s was no kind of regret. We had an email exchange over the whole thing a few weeks ago and his last to me (which I didn’t answer) was still all “you brought this on yourself” yadda yadda and that’s the last I’ve heard from him. The guy’s an unrepentant asshole.

  14. says

    I may or may not live under a rock but I actually hadn’t heard of Paula Kirby until this little spat broke out. I did a little research and noticed she seems to be a fairly popular atheist writer for newspapers and things. In fact, there is more than one post on Pharyngula that spoke highly of her.

    I should probably say that I don’t usually keep up with atheist stuff so forgive me for not paying too much attention to FTB or frankly anything regarding “new atheism”. This drama has just been so astounding that I can’t look away. Seriously, it boggles my mind. I sit and think about what the problem is exactly and I keep coming up empty handed.

    I may be asking the obvious here but what the hell happened? Why is she trying to justify comparing Nazi Germany to FTB in rant-y open letters now?

    If those with more knowledge than I wish to skirt actually rehashing the drama in public drop me a line via youtube (as linked in my name). I’m dreadfully curious. I mean that literally.

  15. Hazelwood says

    Where does the ‘femistasi’ thing come from? And what does it mean? I’m trying to keep up but there are so many threads in so many places on this issue of late, I’m lost on this point.

  16. jackrawlinson says

    “She used to be sane. I don’t know what happened.”

    And this sort of hypocrisy is just one reason why more and more of us have had enough of some of the FtB-ers, not to mention the blinkered, screeching abuse that is the standard response over at Pharyngula to even the mildest disagreement with the doctrine. There are many reasonable, intelligent, open-minded sceptics who have genuine problems with the likes of Watson and Myers, and when they try to discuss these problems the instant response is abuse, belittlement, gender and even race-based slurs (privileged white male, gender traitor, mansplaining etc). It is perfectly reasonable to call this what it is: bullying, and hypocrisy.

    There has been bad behaviour on both sides, but lately it has seemed to more and more of us that the worst of it is coming from some of the bigger blogs at FtB, most especially Pharyngula. We see endless concern about abusiveness towards women, and so on… and then we see abusiveness handed out in return. Worse than abusiveness – condescension, dismissiveness, flagrant exaggeration, distortion and outright straw-manning of points. It is not wildly unreasonable to suggest that the problem of harassment at atheist conferences might have been at least slightly exaggerated, or that initial assumptions about specific alleged instances of harassment have been plain wrong. Yet those who have done so – sometimes backed up with evidence of varying quality – have been subjected to tirades of abuse of the kind mentioned. If you doubt the truth of this you have not been keeping up with the nature of the comments at Pharyngula (as I say, by far the worst offender) and elsewhere. The tactic is increasingly to shout down, to refuse to discuss rationally, to hector and attempt to verbally bully into silence. Decent, reasonable people – both male and female – who are fiercely pro-women’s rights are being immediately dismissed as misogynists, MRA-ers etc. without the slightest justification. It’s vile.

    And some of us have had enough of it, and are refusing to be cowed by it any more. You can write as many fan letters to yourselves as you like: it doesn’t wash. More and more of us are starting to see through the facade and, often with great regret, realise that some of the FtB-ers and their regular commenters have become a problem, and a highly divisive and negative force in the “community”, such as it is. And we are now starting to call it out.

    Kirby’s letter makes some very sound points, but of course, people here hone in on the one major misjudgement (the Nazi analogy) and use that as an excuse to declare her insane, thus making it unnecessary to consider the many good points made in her piece. Analogies are not the same thing as direct comparisons. Some of the behaviour from the defenders of Watson does bear some similarity to the way highly doctrinaire political groups behave. That said it was definitely a silly miscalculation on Kirby’s part to try to illustrate the point with the inflammatory Nazi analogy. It’s unfortunate that this tactical error simply allows you people to ignore the wider and more readily justified point it was trying to make and to dismiss her entire piece. But sadly, this is precisely the sort of behaviour we have come to expect.

  17. Seymour says

    I realise that you are never wrong and I would agree that having an equitable anti-harassment policy does no harm and may do some good.
    But there was the minor problem of there being a lot of hearsay but little hard evidence and the whole thing was blown up to become a righteous crusade. Evidence is good, expecting people to place areas they aren’t in control of is a tad silly.

    From my reading of Kirby’s writing the reference to stasi wasn’t that far off the mark. The stasi had informers in every block, hard evidence wasn’t required just the word of trusted informers.
    Anyone objecting or requesting clarity and/or some actual evidence was default an enemy.

    Believe us because we are your leaders/good people, would we lie to you? These aren’t adequate reasons for those who don’t know you.

    Laden gets asked to leave FtB but it seems a number of FtB members still have his back. He is still invited onto panels at skepticon, so obviously he was asked to leave for some other reason, we’ll see how son he is considered to be recovered/cured enough to return.

  18. Marta says

    @21 jackrawlinson:

    If anyone asks, this right here–

    “She used to be sane. I don’t know what happened.”

    “And this sort of hypocrisy is just one reason why more and more of us have had enough of some of the FtB-ers, not to mention the blinkered, screeching abuse that is the standard response over at Pharyngula to even the mildest disagreement with the doctrine.”

    is when I decided that, from now on, I can skip right over anything you write and never miss a thing.

    A) It isn’t hypocrisy, you dolt. It’s insult.
    b) You say you (and the tiny army you have in your pocket) have had enough of FtB, yet here you are. At FtB. Writing you’ve had enough.
    2) Screeching abuse? What, you couldn’t find “hysterical” in your thesaurus?

    You’re too nutty to read more of.

  19. says

    Seymour #22

    Laden gets asked to leave FtB but it seems a number of FtB members still have his back.

    [citation needed]

    He is still invited onto panels at skepticon, so obviously he was asked to leave for some other reason, we’ll see how son he is considered to be recovered/cured enough to return.

    Since when did FTB run Skepticon?

    For someone who talks about “there being a lot of hearsay but little hard evidence”, you sure are lacking on the hard evidence…

  20. Stacy says

    Worse than abusiveness – condescension, dismissiveness, flagrant exaggeration, distortion and outright straw-manning of points.
    It is not wildly unreasonable to suggest that the problem of harassment at atheist conferences might have been at least slightly exaggerated, or that initial assumptions about specific alleged instances of harassment have been plain wrong. Yet those who have done so – sometimes backed up with evidence of varying quality – have been subjected to tirades of abuse of the kind mentioned. If you doubt the truth of this you have not been keeping up with the nature of the comments at Pharyngula

    My, my. Well, I keep up with Pharyngula, and doubt the truth of this. In fact, I think you’re full of shit. (Newsflash: saying “you’re full of shit” to a commenter who’s said something foolish is not “abuse.” Now, if I founded a group in order to continually badmouth jackrawlinson and call him names, and distorted everything he said–that would be cyberabuse.)

    Yes, people round these parts, especially Pharyngula, will tear you a rhetorical new one if you argue badly, or if you attempt to make assertions and accusations without backing them up. (Example of the latter: “sometimes backed up with evidence of varying quality”–hmm, such as?) We value substance over tone. I’m sure you can deal with that.

    ERVites, in particular, demonstrably care nothing about tone. It’s just a convenient way for them to bash FtB.

    “The problem of harassment at atheist conferences” was not exaggerated. Nobody ever claimed it was any worse–or indeed even as bad–as anywhere else. The claim was that it happened. The suggestion was to implement policies. That would have been the end of it, but for the jackrawlinsons that have a hate-on for FtB and the Skepchicks.

  21. says

    I love the way that people who agree with Kirby’s claim that FtB is silencing people come to FtB to post agreement with Kirby… thus proving that Kirby is lying when she goes on about silencing. How dumb do you have to be to do that?

  22. Stacy says

    I mean, what is this strategy really? I’m not asking rhetorically — someone explain what these people think they’re accomplishing, please

    In the case of the slimepitters and their fellow travelers, I lean towards the hypothesis that a lot of it is simple envy. PZ in particular is really popular, comparatively speaking (I mean, atheist/skeptical blogs aren’t huge, but in our little corner of the cybersphere, he’s a star.) They’re always predicting the imminent demise of Pharyngula, or of FtB, have you noticed? And I always see them pimping their own blogs or pleading with regulars here to go read them at ERV*. I suspect it just kills them that FtB and the Skepchicks have large numbers of loyal readers despite the extended temper tantrums of haters.

    * Until just recently that is. Apparently Nat Geo has kicked them out of ERV. The Slimepit has resurrected somewhere else.

  23. says

    Stacy #28:

    Until just recently that is. Apparently Nat Geo has kicked them out of ERV. The Slimepit has resurrected somewhere else.

    And Justicar (and, I think, a couple of the more well-known pitizens) has been making a huge show wherever the New Slimepit is brought up about how he’s not going to go there. He was even doing it on the #FTBullies hashtag.

    Yeah, I totally believe that the pitizens are honestly rethinking their gendered slurs now, after using them for a year, and conveniently enough when NatGeo tells Abbie that the pit goes or she does.

  24. jenniferphillips says

    @ Ophelia:

    Jennifer @ 4 – Hmmno, that comment of Orac’s was no kind of regret. We had an email exchange over the whole thing a few weeks ago and his last to me (which I didn’t answer) was still all “you brought this on yourself” yadda yadda and that’s the last I’ve heard from him. The guy’s an unrepentant asshole.

    Blurgh, oh well. Asshole it is, then. But, just as point of clarification, is the “it” that you brought on yourself his righteous and almighty smackdown of your 1930’s Germany reference or the unrelenting torrent of MRA hate? I just want him to be sorted into the correct asshole bin ;)

    @Improbable Joe:

    I love the way that people who agree with Kirby’s claim that FtB is silencing people come to FtB to post agreement with Kirby…

    Yeah, kind of like Thunderd00d and his followers keening and rending their clothes over THE GREAT BANNING!!!!1! while he makes rebuttal videos with open comments on free and publicly accessible websites. Comedy gold, that.

    And Re: the new, nonNGSB-hosted Pit of Slyme–anyone got a reference for how that came about? “NatGeo telling Abbie that the pit goes or she does” is as likely an explanation as any, I’d just like a primary source for that assertion if possible.

  25. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I got raked over the coals and labeled a “bully” for saying (pointing what I considered to be a Hitler Zombie-worthy analogy) and who raked me over the coals for saying it (Ophelia Benson, the person who made the analogy,

    Benson raked Orac over the coals? I’d like to see that.

  26. says

    jenniferphillips #30:

    “NatGeo telling Abbie that the pit goes or she does” is as likely an explanation as any, I’d just like a primary source for that assertion if possible.

    It’s inferred based on how:

    1) They haven’t moved/tried to or even talked about ‘cleaning up their act’ until now

    2) PZ (and possibly other FTBers) have been wondering since the official changeover to NatGeo in late May why the Slimepit has not apparently been given the same sort of “tone it down” message that caused Ed and PZ to start FTB

    3) Greg Laden noted in a comment shortly after he went ‘on vacation’ that he’d (fruitlessly) attempted to contact Abbie’s school regarding the actions of the pitizens and the fact that Abbie might be maintaining the pit using her school’s computers

    The timing is just too convenient, really.

  27. jenniferphillips says

    ah, here‘s something. Abbie, most of the way down page 103 of the “Periodic Table of Swearing” comments:

    You all want to complete the melt-down?

    I want this whole series of threads, back to ‘Bad Form, Rebecca Watson’, off SciBlogs.

    There are a couple realities we need to address.

    There are comments on these threads that break NatGeos Code of Conduct. ERV is hosted on NatGeo. They could take down this thread right now, and we all would have no room to bitch. None. Weve been flouting the rules. Thats a reality.

    Those comments are being used to force NatGeo to ‘take action’. Now, we all know PZ/Laden/et ass dont give a rats ass about ‘civility’. They dont give a rats ass about freedom of speech. They dont give a rats ass about ‘freethought’. They are abusing NatGeos Code to censor dissent. And they can. Thats a reality.

    there’s more blah blah about Laden, etc. in that particular comment, but the above excerpt seems to be the meat of it.

  28. J. J. Ramsey says

    Improbable Joe:

    I love the way that people who agree with Kirby’s claim that FtB is silencing people come to FtB to post agreement with Kirby

    To be fair, the sort of silencing that Kirby is talking about isn’t so much outright banning as it is, as she put it, “Hysterical, bullying overreaction to dissent” and “Attempting to make it so unpleasant for anyone who dares to oppose them that others are deterred from trying it.” As for whether those two points have anything to do with this thread, or with FtB in particular, I leave you with the bromide, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

  29. jenniferphillips says

    I continue to be mystified by the current use of the term ‘bully’. As for Kirby in particular, she alludes to a great many faults in her Oppressed Sisterhood opus, but doesn’t give enough specifics on her grievances for anyone to challenge much of the substance. I suppose that’s one way to avoid a “hysterical, bullying overreaction”, huh?

  30. Tony ...listen, learn, change says

    jenniferphillips [from your Abbie quote}:

    They dont give a rats ass about ‘freethought’. They are abusing NatGeos Code to censor dissent. And they can. Thats a reality.

    Have any of the FtBloggers written a post recently on properly defining and using words? Words like ‘-nazi’, ‘-stasi’, ‘freethought’, ‘censor’, and ‘bully’ are used by opponents of anti-harassment policies at conventions. It’s become increasingly clear to me that many of those people don’t know what those words _mean_. So it sounds like it’s dictionary time.
    (it’s messed up that we have this Proper Definition Fight-oo PDF-internally *and* externally [slimepit/creationists])

  31. says

    J.J. Ramsey #35:

    As for whether those two points have anything to do with this thread, or with FtB in particular, I leave you with the bromide, “If the shoe fits, wear it.”

    In doing this rather than providing evidence, you’ve outed yourself as a pitizen/apologist.

    I seriously don’t know why I need to repeat “people who have evidence present it rather than talk about how they have it” on a skeptic blog network.

    I still haven’t finished the New Statesman article, but the section on hate sites inspired me to write a small post. Not like I need to do much more than quote the “hate sites” section just to show how false the pitizens’/apologists’ balance is anyway.

  32. Tony ...listen, learn, change says

    Jason:

    And all over a harassment policy campaign that we’ve basically already won

    Yeah, that’s the real kicker. Even before the campaign was successful, opposing the goal was nonsense.
    I’m with you on not understanding what strategy is being employed by the opponents of anti-harassment policies (and I really wish the people referring to this whole debacle as ‘both sides’ would stop {from many of the posts I’ve seen, these are usually people who complain about tone as being an FtB weakness}. There isn’t a right side and a wrong side [or even a mostly right and mostly wrong]. Unless they want to come right out and say ‘We don’t want anti-harassment policies in place at atheist/skeptic conventions’, they don’t have a stated goal)

  33. J. J. Ramsey says

    Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the FreethoughtBlogs Star Chamber:

    In doing this rather than providing evidence, you’ve outed yourself as a pitizen/apologist.

    Pitizen? Nope. Apologist? In the absence of you saying for what I’m supposedly an apologist, I might as well conclude that “apologist” is a scary-sounding label that’s supposed to imply a lot but really means frak-all. (Pardon my Caprican.)

    Given all that’s been said about Orac in this thread, your request for evidence seems rather bizarre. Maybe it’s because of some rather strange ideas of what bullying means. Him bluntly pointing out that Benson made a terrible over-the-top analogy related to Nazis? This is considered bullying by Ms. Benson for, well, some reason. Sara Mayhew getting piled on in her first foray into Pharyngula, even called a “lying fuckface” for, um, not lying? This isn’t bullying, according to most of the FtB crowd.

  34. says

    J. J. Ramsey:

    To be fair, the sort of silencing that Kirby is talking about isn’t so much outright banning as it is, as she put it, “Hysterical, bullying overreaction to dissent” and “Attempting to make it so unpleasant for anyone who dares to oppose them that others are deterred from trying it.”

    So, not only is it not silencing, Kirby is describing her own behavior as well. Good to know, and thanks for displaying another aspect of my point that Kirby and her supporters are playing a giant game of projection of their(and your?) own flaws.

  35. J. J. Ramsey says

    Improbable Joe:

    Kirby and her supporters are playing a giant game of projection

    Well, there’s certainly a giant game of projection. I mean, Orac’s being called a bully here, so I really shouldn’t have to say more.

  36. says

    “I really shouldn’t have to say more.”

    But I’m sure you will anyway… keep spinning away with your nonsense as I’m sure you will while continuing to cling to your “silencing” lie. For a bunch of silenced people, you do a lot of talking in places you claim have silenced you.

  37. jenniferphillips says

    Ramsey:

    I know I found myself mystified when Ms. Benson used the word “bully” to describe Orac. It’s especially strange given the aftermath described in the quotes from Orac above.

    Yes, I can see how that would be mystifying…if you consider that comment completely outside the context of every other event of the past year, and especially the past few months, involving Ophelia. Within that context, however, I could make an argument for justified use of the word.

    Would I personally consider it bullying if a noted science advocate and TAM regular were to pop into my blog in the thick of a titanic, sustained campaign of vitriol and obsessive slagging, to repeatedly rebuke me for a poorly chosen analogy, adding nothing to the main thrust of the dialogue but providing my opponents with a gift-wrapped new blunt weapon to add to their arsenal? At the very least I’d call it piling on. Lucky for me, *I* don’t get that kind of daily spew, so I don’t have to make those tough calls about exactly how to characterize such behavior without taking still more shit for my categorization.

    I know you well enough from other conversations in other venues to realize that there’s nothing I can say to change your position, so I’m not going to engage you further.

  38. J. J. Ramsey says

    jenniferphillips:

    Would I personally consider it bullying if a noted science advocate and TAM regular were to pop into my blog in the thick of a titanic, sustained campaign of vitriol and obsessive slagging, to repeatedly rebuke me for a poorly chosen analogy, adding nothing to the main thrust of the dialogue but providing my opponents with a gift-wrapped new blunt weapon to add to their arsenal?

    As for supplying “opponents with a gift-wrapped new blunt weapon to add to their arsenal,” that ship sailed when the bad analogy was made. Anyway, let’s look at what actually happened:

    1) Benson’s Godwin appears in her blog post “Rebecca explains.” Orac has one post on the matter in that thread, where he calls her out bad analogy.

    2) In the thread on Hallq’s blog post, “I support DJ Grothe,” Orac mentions Benson’s Godwin and ends up arguing with Benson’s supporters, and then later admitted that he probably went about rebuking Benson in the wrong way.

    3) In the Benson’s blog post “Degodwinization,” she admits that Orac had a point, In the thread of that post, we have Benson’s supporters jumping to the conclusion that Orac sees her as a political enemy because, uh, he thought she said something offensive and out of line? Orac posts a single conciliatory comment praising her for coming around in spite of how poorly he pointed out the error. When Orac finishes off the post with

    No doubt some of your readers (or even perhaps you) will still think I’m a flaming asshole, and that’s fine. Perhaps you’ll get to find out for yourself if you still go to TAM.

    this somehow gets interpreted as him pressuring Benson not to go to TAM, rather than, y’know, hoping that she’ll meet him at TAM and maybe find that he’s not as bad as she thinks he is. (Does Benson seriously think that Orac wants to be seen as an “asshole”? Really?)

    4) In the post “I did not compare TAM to Nazi Germany,” Benson takes back her previous admission. Orac calls her on it, saying “Seriously, Ophelia. I thought that, even though it was fairly clear that you and some of your commenters think I’m an asshole, you admirably had been able to get past that an understand why your original remark was offensive. That’s why I let the issue drop.” Now Benson’s raised the dropped issue, and Orac understandably responds. This is also the post where one supporter falsely claims that “until now he also didn’t get involved in calling people out for bad (and ridiculous) analogies and gratitious godwining,” another accuses him of attempting to “derail and intimidate,” and Benson herself accuses Orac of bullying and insinuates that Orac has something against “uppity women.”

    The case that Orac badgered Benson is anemic, and he’s not hurling abuse or making insinuations. On the side of Benson and her supporters, we have people making poorly substantiated or false claims, and we have repeated taunts of “Paging Orac” after it has already been made clear that Benson’s blog is a hostile environment for him. And Orac’s the one being called a bully?

  39. GMM says

    “Him [Orac] bluntly pointing out that Benson made a terrible over-the-top analogy related to Nazis…”

    Benson compared women being blamed for making things worse by complaining about misogyny and harassment with Jews being blamed for the rise in anti-Semitism because they complained about it in pre-war Germany. No comparing anyone to actual Nazis, just a look at how vilified minorities are often blamed for making things worse by complaining about being vilified. And Benson admitted it *was* an over-the-top thing to say and withdrew her comment. She saw that it was wrong and corrected it. Like a reasonable person would. People seem to conveniently forget that part.

    But I see no problem personally in seeing some parallels in racism/sexism/anti-semitism, per se (and I’m NOT speaking for Ophelia or anyone else, just my opinion). Unless you count the medieval witch-hunting in Europe where women were seen as inherently evil and satanic and more prone to witchcraft due to their inferior natures, and were then hideously tortured into ‘confessions’ and burned alive at the stake for it (just read the Malleus Maleficarum if you have the time and stomach for it) there was no Holocaust that resulted due to the hatred of women.

    But people latched onto that comment and accused her of saying TAM is just like Nazi Germany, which she never said.

    People are just wondering why Orac singled out Ophelia but let Paula get a pass when she called Ophelia and other people on FTBs comparable to Nazis and worse than East German Stasis (and she knows they are worse because she lived there). Kirby never apologized for that, just doubled down and called anyone who disagreed with her a bully.

  40. J. J. Ramsey says

    GMM:

    She saw that it was wrong and corrected it.

    And then uncorrected it.

    GMM:

    But people latched onto that comment and accused her of saying TAM is just like Nazi Germany

    Citation needed.

    GMM:

    People are just wondering why Orac singled out Ophelia but let Paula get a pass when she called Ophelia and other people on FTBs comparable to Nazis

    Offhand, I doubt that Paula Kirby was even on his radar at the time. Given that Benson and her supporters, as well as others on FtB, have driven him away, there’s no reason to expect him to do anyone on FtB the favor of commenting on the nine-thousandteenth person who has used the term “feminazi.”

    GMM:

    Kirby never apologized for that, just doubled down

    Yes, she did, and that wrong is on her head, not Orac’s. Again, FtB bloggers and commenters burned the bridge to Orac. Expecting Orac to wade into the fight between them and Kirby after that is pretty foolish.

    GMM:

    and called anyone who disagreed with her a bully.

    Citation needed.

  41. GMM says

    @J. J. Ramsey:

    FtB bloggers “drove Orac away?” How?

    GMM:
    and called anyone who disagreed with her a bully.

    “Citation needed.”

    Check out the hashtag she started on twitter called #FTBullies.
    “If you are sick of the ‪#FTBullies‬, it is safe to speak up – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And if you don’t speak up, who will?” – P. Kirby
    Then read all her tweets on the subject. ;)

  42. jenniferphillips says

    Check out the hashtag she started on twitter called #FTBullies.

    Paula Kirby didn’t start it, but she’s sure been using it pretty enthusiastically.

  43. GMM says

    @jenniferphillips

    I thought she started it, sorry, but she is still going on about it. If you read her tweets, they are just unreal. Here’s a few new ones:
    “If your idea of feminism is infantilising and patronising women while demonising any woman who objects, ‪#FTBullies‬ is the place for you!”

    “Opposing ‪#FTBullies‬ no more means you approve of misogyny than opposing death penalty means you approve of crime.”

    “The ‪#FTBullies‬ hashtag crashing is, of course, just a continuation of what they’ve been doing on their blogs: silencing dissent. Pathetic.”

    “Best descrip of the ‪#Bullies‬ yet:An ongoing experimnt with shrill invective, point-missing & the absolute evasion of personal responsibility.”

    xoxo, Paula.

  44. jenniferphillips says

    No worries, GMM, there’s a depressingly long list of people who might have started it, isn’t there? Jean Kazez mistakenly credited Jeremy Stangroom with starting it earlier today but has since edited out that declaration. Ophelia says who it is at her place.

    My, Paula has been busy. I especially LOLed at:

    “The ‪#FTBullies‬ hashtag crashing is, of course, just a continuation of what they’ve been doing on their blogs: silencing dissent. Pathetic.”

    She said freely. On Twitter. As many times as she wanted to.

  45. J. J. Ramsey says

    GMM:

    FtB bloggers ‘drove Orac away?’ How?

    Read the first comment on this thread and what I wrote to jenniferphillips.

    GMM:

    Check out the hashtag she started on twitter called #FTBullies.

    When you provide a citation, it has to actually support your claim. You have yet to show, for example, that she’s used #FTBullies against those who’ve calmly disagreed. Instead, you’ve shown her using it against those whose behavior is perceived as, well, bullying.

  46. julian says

    She saw that it was wrong and corrected it.

    And then uncorrected it.

    She did correct it. She agreed it was extreme and unnecessarily inflammatory. Her protest were only that her actual analogy keeps being misrepresented.

    Citation needed.

    You could check out the #FTBullies hastag whenever The Justicar and the rest comment about it.

    Again, FtB bloggers and commenters burned the bridge to Orac.

    This is just stupid. Even if a bridge was burned it would be between Ophelia and Orac not the entire FtB network which, for the most part, didn’t even weigh in.

    In any case, it’s not much of an issue as social justice, feminism and the like aren’t on Orac’s blogging radar. He’s a medical blogger.

  47. julian says

    Read the first comment on this thread and what I wrote to jenniferphillips.

    Were I in your position I would have linked to an actual argument. Not your typical sniping bs.

    this somehow gets interpreted as him pressuring Benson not to go to TAM, rather than, y’know, hoping that she’ll meet him at TAM and maybe find that he’s not as bad as she thinks he is.

    Yeah. Sure. It wasn’t at all taunting.

  48. J. J. Ramsey says

    julian:

    She did correct it. She agreed it was extreme and unnecessarily inflammatory.

    And then she posted a defense of her original point, with no acknowledgment of any previous retraction.

    julian:

    Yeah. Sure. It wasn’t at all taunting.

    The only way the taunting interpretation makes sense is if Orac were attempting to say, “Show up to TAM and you’ll see what an asshole I really am,” which hardly jibes with the conciliatory tone of the post where the supposed taunt was made. One commenter, Aratina Cage, jumped on his statement “if you still go to TAM,” but that part makes no sense as an attempt at intimidation, either. Given the negative statements that Benson had already made about TAM, it was hardly unreasonable to expect that she might not choose to go to it.

    julian:

    Even if a bridge was burned it would be between Ophelia and Orac not the entire FtB network which, for the most part, didn’t even weigh in.

    Fair enough, but you still have the problem that the ones “paging” Orac to weigh in on Kirby are the ones who have burned the bridge. Quibbling aside, the main point still stands.

  49. jenniferphillips says

    Just in the interest at keeping the record straight:

    GMM (@47):
    But people latched onto that comment and accused her of saying TAM is just like Nazi Germany
    JJR (@48)
    Citation needed.

    It’s on the “Phawrongula” wiki, which I won’t link to. Ophelia refers to this and other sites where the claim was repeated in this post. The headline of the article on Phawrongula is “Ophelia Benson: TAM is like Nazi Germany”, so it should be easy enough to find at the source.

    Now I need a shower.

  50. J. J. Ramsey says

    jenniferphillips:

    It’s on the “Phawrongula” wiki

    Fair enough. One catch with the wiki page is that it accuses Benson of writing incoherently and “interprets” her as saying “And SPLC is a KKK front? Or what?” and then adds “We’re not sure even Ophelia knows…” Given that, the bit “At least the main point, that TAM is probably run by Nazis, manages to convey itself pretty clearly,” looks more like a bad attempt at both dry humor and hyperbole than an effort to convey (or misconvey) Benson’s point with any precision.

    In any case, it doesn’t seem obvious that anyone in Benson’s opposition seriously thinks that she meant that TAM is just like Nazi Germany, rather than thinking that she just made a bad, over-the-top comparison involving Nazis.

  51. jenniferphillips says

    Oh, so it’s all in good fun? I don’t know what she’s so bothered about then! It’s perfectly ok* to publish something with an inflammatory headline referring to someone by name, retweet & link to it, etc. as long as no one doing it actually *believes* what they’re spreading around.

    Congratulations! You’ve won the debate!

  52. jenniferphillips says

    *not that I’m implying that this is illegal or anything, just really, really spurious.

  53. J. J. Ramsey says

    jenniferphillips:

    Oh, so it’s all in good fun?

    Never said that. On the main Butterflies and Wheels site, there’s an archive of Bad Moves in arguments. I suggest that you read “Motivation speculation” and “Partial defence = support.” You might learn a few things.

    Anyway, the snark on that page of the Wiki is badly done and comes off as bitter, and the attempt to make Benson look incoherent doesn’t wash. As for the headline being “inflammatory”? Sorry, but as a thumbnail sketch of what Benson actually said, it’s not that far off. A more accurate title would have been “Ophelia Benson Makes Over-the-Top Nazi Analogy About TAM,” but that would hardly be less inflammatory. The inflammation started with her own Godwin. That’s on her head.

    GMM:

    You didn’t ask me calmly enough. Stop bullying me.

    I guess the writers of the Phawrongula Wiki aren’t the only ones making a bad attempt at dry humor.

    That was a joke, right?

  54. Teresa says

    I had several responses to Paula S Kirby’s “open letter” the final one (#12) was:

    “Real skeptics” “Real freethinkers” “Real feminists” “real women”

    Right. Good thing you are here to protect the “ideological purity” of the movement from all those “nazis”…

  55. J. J. Ramsey says

    Teresa, your comment implies that Kirby contrasted “Real skeptics,” “Real freethinkers,” etc., with the fake ones who are amongst the “feminazis”[*]. This is what was actually said:

    Real skeptics are better than you’d think from reading certain blogs.
    Real freethinkers are better than you’d think from reading certain blogs.
    Real feminists are better than you’d think from reading certain blogs.
    And real women are better than you’d think from reading certain blogs.

    The contrast, here, is not between, say, “real” skeptic Orac and “fake” skeptic Benson, but rather between what “Orac” is really like and how he is portrayed on “certain blogs.” More generally, the contrast is between “Real skeptics,” “Real freethinkers,” etc., and the images presented of them on certain blogs.

    [*]”Feminazi” is Kirby’s unfortunate word choice, not mine.

  56. julian says

    Waiting on Ramsey’s half-assed rationalization for “real women.” It’s fucking obvious what Kirby was doing and I’m not inclined to bend over backwards to excuse her.

  57. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    “Real skeptics” “Real freethinkers” “Real feminists” “real women”

    Right. Good thing you are here to protect the “ideological purity” of the movement from all those “nazis”…

    LOL. Of course. It’s only bad when FTB does it – or, more specifically, DOESN’T do it, but since when have the FTBwannabes ever been honest?

    Of course its Kirby who decides who the “real” skeptics, free thinkers, and women are – they are whomeeve agrees WITH HER!

    Of course! It all makes sense! You’re only censoring, thought-policing, femnazis when she disagrees with you.

  58. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    and I’m not inclined to bend over backwards to excuse her.</blockquote.

    Than you're JUST like a genocidal nazi, clearly.

    And perhaps Orac only polices the blog posts of feminists. Perhaps Kirby gets a Godwin free pass because she's a REAL WOMAN ™ and therefore her godwinning is okay.

    I know nothing about Orac, but after his very tellingly selective application of the "no nazis" rule, I have absolutely no desire to know more about him.

  59. julian says

    @Illuminata

    Ramsey’s rationalization are beyond pathetic, especially when his condemnation of Ophelia Benson is placed side by side to his defense of Kirby. Ophelia Benson made a much weaker analogy and only corrected (yes, corrected, Ramsey. She hasn’t denied it was problematic) those who insisted she said something else.

    Kirby outright states she views feminists like Watson and Benson mirroring the totalitarians of East Germany and goes on to parrot language that isn’t only devisive but co opts womanhood itself from those she disagrees with. But no words of condemnation? We have to absolutely read it in the most favorable light?

    Fuck that. Call me a bully, narrow minded or whatever. I don’t care. I saw screeds like that almost weekly in The Young Republicans and I’m not putting up with it now.

    And yes, I’m likening Kirby’s post to the general attitude the Republican girls I knew in high school had towards feminism. Hopefully that doesn’t offend anyone.

  60. J. J. Ramsey says

    julian:

    Waiting on Ramsey’s half-assed rationalization for “real women.”

    Oh, good grief. Just follow the logic that I wrote previously:

    The contrast, here, is … between what “Orac” is really like and how he is portrayed on “certain blogs.”

    Substitute “real women” for Orac and make the obvious grammar corrections, and the answer is obvious: a contrast between what women are really like and how they are portrayed on certain blogs.

    julian:

    Kirby … co opts womanhood itself from those she disagrees with.

    Correction: you chose a reading that attributes those sentiments to her, even after having been shown a reading that is not only more charitable, but makes better sense of the text. (And no, I’m not expecting you to be clairvoyant and read this post before I post it. What you read from me previously was enough to cast doubt on your reading.)

    Meanwhile, Illuminata has illuminated why the #FTBullies are considered so blinkered:

    And perhaps Orac only polices the blog posts of feminists…. I know nothing about Orac, but after his very tellingly selective application of the “no nazis” rule, I have absolutely no desire to know more about him.

    He admits that he knows nothing of Orac, yet he feels absolutely no compunction about casting aspersions upon him, even going so far as to refuse to seek additional information that would show the wide range of people on whom Orac has sicced the Hitler Zombie. Real show of skepticism there.

  61. julian says

    Correction: you chose a reading that attributes those sentiments to her, even after having been shown a reading that is not only more charitable, but makes better sense of the text.

    Better sense? In what way does your reading make anymore sense than mine?

    He admits that he knows nothing of Orac,

    What? You’re not going to give it the most favorable reading? You’re not going to read “Perhaps Orac…’ as just general snark? You’re not going to read the rest as specifically referring to the selective application of Godwin to Benson but not Kirby?

    For shame.

  62. J. J. Ramsey says

    julian:

    In what way does your reading make anymore sense than mine?

    Because Kirby nowhere directly contrasts “real skeptics,” “real freethinkers,” etc. with fake ones, but she does directly contrast them with what certain blogs say about skeptics, etc. Your reading requires a far more indirect reading. Also, if someone were to say “Real Democrats are better than you’d think from reading right-wing blogs,” would not I obviously be contrasting what Democrats are really like versus how they are portrayed by certain sources? There’s no need to assume that actual people are being described as fake Democrats.

    julian:

    You’re not going to read the rest as specifically referring to the selective application of Godwin to Benson but not Kirby?

    If by “selective application,” you are referring to the aspersion that Orac was deliberately choosing to not point out Kirby’s Godwin out of favoritism to her and antipathy toward feminists, then, yes, I am reading Illuminata that way.

    You don’t want to admit it, do you? You apparently refuse to see the possibility that when he says “this particular blog war long ago got too nasty even for Orac,” he means it — and that this is more than adequate explanation for his further silence on the matter. You don’t want to admit that Orac is one of the bullied and not the bully, that he was cowed by the kind of spew that Illuminata is repeating.

  63. julian says

    Ok, I’m not continuing this. I care more about what Sarah Palin has to say on sexism and feminism than I do what Paula Kirby does. She’s irrelevant to me. If I want more of her opinions I’ll look up the latest bs from the Heritage Institute.

    I will say this though.

    If by “selective application,” you are referring to the aspersion that Orac was deliberately choosing to not point out Kirby’s Godwin out of favoritism to her and antipathy toward feminists, then, yes, I am reading Illuminata that way.

    I said what I meant. (Benson’s Godwin and Kirby’s Godwin) I didn’t bring in feminists.

    And I actually respect and like Orac. I’ve been following Gorski since I first picked up the label skeptic (abandoned since then for reasons unrelated to him) and I’ve found him incredibly informative, insightful and passionate.I don’t doubt he got his feet burned a bit and decided to bail. I don’t doubt that, because I’ve never had any indication Gorski has patience for these types of cross blog arguments when they’re outside of his specific field (medicine).

    That’s a much more reasonable explanation than a few bits of snark hurting him so much he just couldn’t bear to lift his face in the morning.

  64. J. J. Ramsey says

    julian:

    That’s a much more reasonable explanation than a few bits of snark hurting him so much he just couldn’t bear to lift his face in the morning.

    That’s your hyperbole, not a fair statement of what I actually said. Actually, when you wrote,

    I don’t doubt he got his feet burned a bit and decided to bail. I don’t doubt that, because I’ve never had any indication Gorski has patience for these types of cross blog arguments when they’re outside of his specific field (medicine).

    you were pretty close to my actual position. Where we differ is that I consider the process of how he got “his feet burned” to be a form of bullying.

  65. jenniferphillips says

    Ok, I’m not continuing this. I care more about what Sarah Palin has to say on sexism and feminism than I do what Paula Kirby does. She’s irrelevant to me. If I want more of her opinions I’ll look up the latest bs from the Heritage Institute.

    No, no, no, Julian. Have you learned nothing from this endless struggle? The proper response to reading an opinion you strongly disagree with is to relentlessly hound the author every day for a year, on Twitter, RDNet, Facebook, the comments section of any blog that might be tangentially related to the issue. You should, of course, make unkind remarks about her age, appearance, sex appeal and motives as you go, and create wikis and blog posts misrepresenting her whenever possible. A truly rational skeptic would do no less!

  66. johnlynch says

    I am not a blogger and I am thankful after reading all this dialogue on this page. What is the point of all the back and forth trashing ? Famous bloggers ? Who gives a shit ? I see to many heroes/kings being crowned in the free thought and atheist pages of late. In my humble opinion issues of harassment should be taken up by the people involved not in a forum as this. I have not followed this but was this a case of physical harassment involved or on a internet exchange ? If the attention or harassment happened in real time it should have been reported to the proper authority. I know some women describe harassment if you look at them the “wrong way”. Again I don’t know how this started. I was at the American Atheist conference in Maryland and it seems that all was well.I am not a party person so I suppose I missed a lot. I am just an old man putting my two cents in. You can carry on now with your bickering. Have a great secular day.

  67. carlie says

    johnlynch, since you’ve admitted you don’t know anything at all about the topic or the people involved, exactly why did you think you had an opinion worth sharing and contributing to the discussion? Is there ever a voice in your head that says “hold on, maybe every thought that comes into my brain isn’t worth saying out loud”?

  68. johnlynch says

    That is why I asked the question about this topic. There is a voice in my head that says you should follow your own advice about voices in your head that should stop you from being an obstinate ass.I guess you must be the official censor for this site. I was not aware opinions were not welcomed that you do not share. I am happy for you there is no hell for ________ as you to go. I left that for you to fill out because I don’t want to offer an opinion. I am confident the voice in your head will figure it out. Peace.

  69. says

    johnlynch: if you actually care about this topic, I can provide links that would help you learn the backstory to all of this. If you don’t care about it, you’re absolutely free to prioritize other things. Spending your time telling people that you’re doing so and that they should too, however, is usually considered quite rude. Especially since you admit you don’t know that backstory.

    Carlie is not the “official censor”, and you’ll note that your “additions” to the conversation have not been censored. Frankly, if you have nothing to add, telling people that you don’t get it and that they shouldn’t care about it because you don’t, and then being surprised when someone rebuffs that suggestion, implies a gross lack of social skills. Blogs are a social medium, and the people on the other end of the computer screen are in fact people. You may want to brush up on how to talk to other people if you want to participate in social media.

  70. johnlynch says

    I would appreciate the links. I can’t see where I claimed not to care about sexual harassment but I won’t argue about it. I will admit to lacking social media skills. I felt a tad insulted by Carlie’s initial reply to me about voices in my head. I guess I am the sensitive one. I in turn gave a immature response. I apologize for that. Again I would like you to send me the links and will not return until I can see the person on the other side as human. Lacking those media social skills a difficult task. Peace.

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