[Lounge #419] »« I’m home!

Which path shall we take?

Amanda Marcotte has written an excellent open letter to the Center for Inquiry — it’s measured and reflects the consensus of the 30+ people who packed my hotel room on Saturday night.

Well, there are exceptions. This was Justin Vacula’s response on twitter:

Get out, Amanda, you not welcome here. Take your dogma elsewhere (you too, Ophelia)

This is the same guy who couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to him at the Women In Secularism conference — we had more interesting people to talk to — so he spent his Saturday doing an interview for that misogynist hate site, A Voice For Men.

Who’s supposed to get out again?

Comments

  1. bcmystery says

    Even nobody me earned an @ message from Vacula proclaiming his opposition to “dogma.” He keeps using that word. I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

  2. yazikus says

    Get out, Amanda, you not welcome here.

    I’m sorry, but who is Justin to tell Amanda she is not welcome? And I thought the ladies didn’t need a welcome, because they already know they are welcome, and it would just waste a lot of time to welcome welcome people… or something like that.

  3. ChasCPeterson says

    Get out, Amanda, you not welcome here.

    Just where the fuck is “here” supposed to be, anyway? Twitter? A hashtag?
    The capacious interior of his skull?

  4. MyaR says

    Congratulations, Ron Lindsay, this is what your next generation of ‘leaders’ looks like. And don’t think your publicly greeting him and telling him how welcome he is isn’t sending a loud and clear message to him — be an abusive asshole for months, and the leader of one of the top secular organizations will seek you out to shake your hand. In front of the people you’ve been harassing non-stop for months.

  5. chigau (違う) says

    Amanda Marcotte has a Wikipedia page.
    So does Ophelia Benson.
    Justin Vacula does not.
    And that’s the truth.
    So there.

  6. Monocle Smile says

    I think I said this verbatim on Pharyngula a while ago, but…

    At least this demonstrates why Atheism+ is necessary.

  7. pocketman says

    Take the path less traveled.
    You don’t want to be walking through whatever those MRAs had on their boots.

  8. screechymonkey says

    I’m sorry, but who is Justin to tell Amanda she is not welcome?

    He’s a Thought Leader! They get a special dispensation from the usual whines that You Don’t Speak For Me. To review:

    –If you identify as a feminist, you are claiming to speak on behalf of all women everywhere, and that is wrong, because some women don’t agree with you. Therefore shut up.

    –If you start a group with the word “Atheism” in its name, then you are claiming to speak on behalf of all atheists everywhere, and that is wrong, because some atheists don’t agree with you. Therefore shut up.

    –If you tell someone they are not welcome in the skeptical movement, that is ok as long as you are a Leader.* Therefore, they, not you, have to shut up.

    *These Leaders are formally selected through a secretive process, but it’s believed to involve complex calculations based on YouTube comments and some graphs by Thunderf00t.

  9. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Has anyone tried smelling Vacula to see if he just needs a diaper change?

  10. R Johnston says

    #15

    The comparison point is not “baby with poopy diaper;” it’s Lisa Nowak.

  11. carlie says

    Shouldn’t Vacula at least be savvy enough to know that telling a woman to “get out, you’re not welcome here” is just playing right into the hands of the people saying “women don’t feel welcome in this movement”? Couldn’t he at least not shoot himself directly in the foot? I guess not.

  12. says

    The ‘Don’t Tell Me I’m a Bad Man For Acting Like a Jerk’ movement seems to have a problem with breaking their jerkish habits, even when it makes them look really really bad.

  13. DLC says

    @JustinVacuous: get out, you’re not welcome here. *

    (* Here = any place where rational people congregate. )

  14. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    carlie,

    Couldn’t he at least not shoot himself directly in the foot?

    Hasn’t it been established that he has, long ago, blasted off both legs, and that he is now plinking away at bits of his pelvis?

  15. says

    Amanda Marcotte has a Wikipedia page.
    So does Ophelia Benson.
    Justin Vacula does not.
    And that’s the truth.
    So there.

    Well, now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m sure someone will remedy that in short order.

  16. Louis says

    I am just continually astonished at precisely how fucking stupid the MRA/Slymers/Vaculas of this world/AvFMers etc are. Don’t get me wrong I am sure many of them are perfectly intelligent people who give their mothers flowers and all that,* but come on, interviews with a known hate group, one on the radar of the SPLC** of all things, and this charming “Get of my man-lawn” to Marcotte and Benson…

    …is no one home? I think PZ (Booo Hisss etc!) and Rebecca (ZOMG TEH FEMINAZI!) could actually strangle a bucket of live babies on stage and do a better PR job than these assorted clusters of muppets. Truly they are out of their depth in a shallow puddle of spit.

    Every time I encounter them I just get this overwhelming sense that they are a bunch of piss weak, irrelevant distractions. But then I’m not nice like you people! ;-)

    Louis

    *Standard disclaimer. A pastiche of comments made about the Kray Twins.

    **That’s dedication right there. Being a shithead to the point that the SPLC notices you is a determined effort. That’s not accidental fuckwittery. It’s deliberate fuckwittery with practice and malice aforethought!

    P.S. Carlie, #18: EXACTLY.

  17. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @yazikus

    I’m sorry, but who is Justin to tell Amanda she is not welcome?

    He’s a #BraveHero! He’s standing up to the nasty feminazi bullying cuntbags and is therefore allowed to issue meaningless orders that they leave some arbitrary, undefined space labelled as “here”, which may or may not represent an actual physical space and is most likely not fully understood even by Vaculous himself. He’s too busy being Brave to utilise his intellect brain loaf.

  18. evilDoug says

    Oh, dear! Russell Blackford is going to have to issue another admonition against the witch hunt against poor Justin Vacula. (I can’t remember if it was Ophelia or Stephanie who posted R.B.’s tweet several weeks ago.)

    Our friend Rhys Morgan, who has been the target of some of the slymie class, also has a Wikipedia page. But then Rhys actually accomplished something with skepticism and rational thought and diligent work, instead of running around telling everyone how awful they were and how great he was.

  19. boygenius says

    Louis @ 27:

    …these assorted clusters of muppets.

    A murder of crows.
    A business of ferrets.
    A cackle of hyenas…

    A muppet of MRAs?

  20. says

    carlie @ #18:

    Shouldn’t Vacula at least be savvy enough to know that telling a woman to “get out, you’re not welcome here” is just playing right into the hands of the people saying “women don’t feel welcome in this movement”? Couldn’t he at least not shoot himself directly in the foot? I guess not.

    I get the distinct impression that Vacula doesn’t want women to be welcome.

    After all… he did give an interview to A Voice for Men, a website noted by the SPLC as a hate site.

    How can someone willing to give an interview to that mysoginistic place not want women to be unwelcome? Vacula wants an all-man leadership, with women acting largely as booth babes…

    Or so I assume, judging by his tweets and actions and such during all of this.

  21. ~G~ says

    I prefer, “creep”, too. I don’t like the splash damage by bringing up impotence nor an insult that reinforces the super importance of having a giant, hard penis.

  22. R Johnston says

    #36 ~G~

    I was thinking about how pathetic MRAs are and how impotent their rage was. The secondary meaning didn’t actually occur to me until after I’d posted. I’d edit if I could.

  23. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    I also like a creep of MRAs.

    There is even a dance to go with it! Getcha knees flexin and your arms T-Rex’n. Do the Creep, haaaa. Do the creep.

  24. Utakata says

    /delurking again

    Justin Vatesticular is the proven voice of darkness when exposed to revealing light.

  25. says

    How about?

    A whine of MRAs
    A slime of MRAs
    A poison of MRAs
    A carcinoma of MRAs
    A hoggle of MRAs
    A failure of MRAs
    A middle-aged-virgins-shrieking-in-impotent-rage of MRAs. (too long, perhaps?)

  26. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    middle-aged-virgins

    Nice, right there following the likes of ‘poison’, ‘carcinoma’ and ‘failure’
    *glare*

  27. Esteleth, the most colossal nerd on Pharyngula says

    Semi-relatedly, during WIS I tweeted the following:

    “Calm down, you’re so sensitive” is a plea of support for the status quo and those in power – and an attack on the disenfranchised. #wiscfi

    Which, I would think, is downright a “duh” statement. Except, got this golden reply from Vacula:

    @Esteleth More examples here of dogmatism, holding conversation hostage to identity politics #WIScfi

    I am singularly baffled.

  28. David Jones says

    Marcotte does indeed have a Wikipedia entry. Doesn’t make for edifying reading, does it?

    Marcotte declared on her blog that people who defended the accused [in the Duke Lacrosse ‘rape’ case] were “rape-loving scum.”

    ‘Journalist Cathy Young described Marcotte as a leader of a “cyber-lynch mob,” writing that, “in Marcotte’s eyes, the real crime of the independent feminists is helping preserve the idea that the presumption of innocence applies even in cases of rape and sexual assault.” The post attracted so much commentary, including from The New York Times, that Marcotte ended up deleting it’

    Perhaps that’s a reason to be wary of her … contribution. Here’s what she wrote about the case :

    For awhile (sic), I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and fucked her against her will — not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out.

    “Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?

    “So unfair.”

    The blessings of having a Wikipedia page, eh?

  29. anteprepro says

    A wanksmear of MRAs.
    A Dunning-Kruger of MRAs.
    A mansplain of MRAs.

    Get out, Amanda, you not welcome here. Take your dogma elsewhere (you too, Ophelia)

    Doesn’t this guy pretend to be a “moderate” and a bastion of rationality and civility? These kinds of atheists and skeptics baffle me. They fight against buzzwords while displaying the same kind of irrationality and incivility and unskepticality and groupthinking and so on at the slightest provocation. They have a civility that isn’t even skin deep, scarcely more than a facade, a feint within a feint. They have a rationality that is as limited as any of those they claim are irrational, and perhaps even more so. They possess a skepticism so shallow that a pebble cast into it would become like a mountainous island They spout out the same nonsense over and over, repeating each other endlessly, fuming over straw feminism, aggrieved over a lessened suite of genital-based insults, furious that a world of predominantly victimized men only exists in their imaginations, and positively livid that their naive assumptions of present-day equality aren’t sufficient justification to sit on their ass and pretend that Mission Equality is acccomplished. And then they, predictable and reliant on talking points, relying on exaggerating claims of male victimhood, relying on the same misconceptions, arguments, and even terms of mockery, dare to whine about whining, dare to accuse us of echo chambers and groupthink.

    The hypocrisy is amusing. A cherry on top of the MRA shit sundae.

  30. daniellavine says

    A middle-aged-virgins-…

    Yeah, whatever the opposite of slut-shaming is called is bad too. Please don’t do it.

  31. Nepenthe says

    @myeck waters

    I wonder if Wikipedia has a dungeon.

    We do! We have several dungeons! Here‘s our people dungeon. We also do topic bans and interaction bans. And that’s in addition to the plain old block. And if a page keeps being recreated, it is salted, as in salt the earth.

    *calms down*

  32. anteprepro says

    More examples here of dogmatism, holding conversation hostage to identity politics

    Ah, that boogeyman, “identity politics”. Horror of all horrors. How dare you care about minorities and get them to vote for you as a result? Why can’t you actively abuse, or at very least neglect them, like decent upstanding political groups? Going out of your way to help subjugated groups is such an underhanded political ploy! The only legitimate form of politics is going out of your way to help large and powerful groups that don’t actually need help! Anything else is just unfair!

  33. smhll says

    A middle-aged-virgins-shrieking-in-impotent-rage of MRAs. (too long, perhaps?)

    Someone has to say it. It’s not a moral failing to be middle-aged or virginal or impotent. (You probably didn’t mean impotent in a literal sense, though.)

  34. says

    Yes, acknowledging that non-white, non-male people have different experiences, and therefore different expectations, interests, and needs than white male people is “identity politics.” Pretending to “not see color” and “not see gender” and using that as an excuse to pretend that everyone’s interests are perfectly convergent with those of the dominant social class (i.e., white men) is not “identity politics.”

  35. says

    I am singularly baffled.

    this is the dude who threw a twitterfit over a tweet in which i said that male circumcision has a religious basis, but not all current attempts at justifying the practice are religious. Basically he doesn’t understand what people are saying, but based on who’s saying it, it must of course be wrong somehow. hence the incoherence.

    Yeah, whatever the opposite of slut-shaming is called is bad too. Please don’t do it.

    prude-shaming; and yes, it is. but then… i’m somewhat less than enthused about calling people a cancer, either.

  36. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Any path be it rocky, overgrown and fraught with perilous fauna so long as it takes me away from the likes of Vacula.

  37. says

    Someone has to say it. It’s not a moral failing to be middle-aged or virginal

    Point taken. I’ll refrain from using that as an insult.

  38. buddhabuck says

    As it is apparent from the above comments that Justin Vacula does not have a Wikipedia page, I’m forced to ask:

    Who is Justin Vacula? What is his relationship to the Centers for Inquiry?

  39. anteprepro says

    Holy shit. Vacula really likes using #bravehero. Does he seriously not realize how ridiculous it sounds yet?

  40. says

    Justin Vacula is an atheist activist from the Scranton PA area who has a blog and a podcast. He likes to needle and poke at Ophelia Benson, Surly Amy, and Rebecca Watson, doxxed Surly Amy at one point, and has written for the misogynist A Voice for Men website (and now also featured an interview with them on his podcast – after have previously attempted to deny that having his article featured on the site evinced any support on his part for them), and lends support and aid to the vocal anti-feminist faction of the atheist/skeptical community. He’s also a terrible writer and not very bright.

  41. David Jones says

    Ah but @SallyStrange if we’re having a go at people in the skeptic ‘community’ for not being very bright where on earth would we begin?

  42. anteprepro says

    Ah but @SallyStrange if we’re having a go at people in the skeptic ‘community’ for not being very bright where on earth would we begin?

    Might as well just start with the A’s and work up the alphabet.

    (Ummm…pseudonyms don’t count…)

  43. says

    Hey Justin, you know that imaginary cookie we joked about giving you yesterday, for refraining from being a collossal asshole (in person, anyway) at the con?

    Yeah. No cookie for you.

    Asshole.

  44. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    I am currently seeking seeking a family willing to take in some refugees from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I really want to be as far away from this asshat as possible.

    I, about four years ago, had a glancing conversation with Vacula. This is when I had a blog (long time ago). He struck me as someone I wanted nothing to do with. Turns out I was right.

  45. smhll says

    re: the question of “which path” to take

    Maybe I’m not thinking “big” enough here, but my personal goal would be for Ron Lindsay to understand the concept of privilege better. (And I am NOT suggesting a re-education camp as the tool to reach that goal.)

    Heck, if he’d just read a couple of the definitions in the FAQs or resources at a couple of feminist websites, um, after he calms down, then that would be a step, considering the influential position he holds.

  46. ChasCPeterson says

    Here’s Vacula’s take on his successful attendance at the WIS conference (posted at the’pit), It’s just too over the top to not quote it in full:

    You made #WIScfi happen for Karla and I…and this yet another crucial turning point in the movement.
    Great things are happening because of this forum, its posters, associated allies, and those who fight back against dogma in this movement. We are a beacon of hope – restoring sanity to this movement and taking a stand against those who wish to corrupt it. PZ and company are losing hold of the community and their narrative as we stand strong to expose bullshit and demonstrate that we are making a difference.
    They get more desperate and more desperate and self-implode, showing the ‘moderates’ and even the [former] dogmatists (many of which have completely turned away from FTB/A+/Skepchick including some who post here) all they need to see to question and see what is really going on when the man behind the curtain is revealed to be a lair, a coward, and the real “disinformation agent.”
    We are winning.
    We will win.
    Don’t give up the fight. We all can make a difference using our talents in ways which work best for us and meet our goals…and that difference is being made. While we don’t, of course, always agree and might employ different tactics, there is a common goal, I must say – along the lines of ridicule, exposing dogma, shining a bright light of skepticism, and doing what is right.
    We take a stand.
    We refuse to back down.
    Even after we take some hits (and maybe even make some mistakes) we get back up and keep fighting. We learn from mistakes and push forward.
    The names they call us and the tactics they use will not make us back down…and should not make us back down.
    Keep up the good fight and make sure to continue eating the popcorn while we experience a great deal of laughter along the way.

    My conclusion? The guy’s not only dumb as a post but delusional as well.

    Yes, acknowledging that non-white, non-male people have different experiences, and therefore different expectations, interests, and needs than white male people is “identity politics.”

    No, Sally, that’s not what it means. Since this is at least the third time I’ve noticed you taking exception to use of the term, I think you should maybe look it up befiore fiurther bloviating (remember ‘phenotype’?). It’s not the risible dogwhistle, like, say, “politically correct” has become, that you seem to think it is. It’s a real label for a real thing and it’s not intrinsically perjorative. here, learn.

  47. consciousness razor says

    Ah but @SallyStrange if we’re having a go at people in the skeptic ‘community’ for not being very bright where on earth would we begin?

    But what? It’s as if you only saw the last three words in her comment. Is all the stuff about his misogyny not even worth addressing?

    Also, I’ve gotten the impression from another thread that you’re some kind of goddist, so would you care to address that? Just looking for some opportunity to poke at skeptics?

    ——

    By the way, not to derail or pick on David Jones in particular (since I’ve seen plenty of others do it), but I just want to express my annoyance with the use of “@[name/pseudonym]” like this. You can simply use or mention a name just like you would normally. Simply being on the internet, but not on twitter, does not change that. You can say, “No, consciousness razor, I disagree with you vehemently” without an @ symbol because it’s utterly pointless in this context. It also reminds me of twitter for no good reason, which is annoying in and of itself.

    Bah. Off my lawn!

    /venting

  48. says

    Ah but @SallyStrange if we’re having a go at people in the skeptic ‘community’ for not being very bright where on earth would we begin?

    1. I thought you swore not to speak to me on the grounds that I’ve been dishonest elsewhere on the net, though you refused (so far as I know) to substantiate the allegations.

    2. There are plenty of people I disagree with vehemently – Michael Shermer, for example – yet nevertheless recognize that they are quite intelligent. I honestly can’t think of many other examples of people in the skeptical/atheist community who display as much raw dumbness as Justin Vacula does.

  49. imthegenieicandoanything says

    See, I get why everyone is condemning this “Vacula” person, but am entirely unclear of who he is, or if he is actually a fictional character, ala Galileo’s Simplicio.

  50. bargearse says

    I’d always assumed Vacula used the braveheroes name somewhat tongue in cheek, I mean no-one’s that lacking in self-awareness. After reading the pitpost ChasCPeterson quoted I have to change my mind. He really does see himself as some noble warrior fighting the evil feminists, if he wasn’t doing actual harm it’d be the funniest thing ever. I’ll be taking whatever path gets me away from him the quickest.

  51. says

    Oh, that’s right, David Jones, you do need to go to Thunderdome and substantiate the dishonesty you directly accused SallyStrange of.
     
    I don’t think you should be posting anything else until you do that.

  52. Maureen Brian says

    imthegenieicandoanything,

    Simplicio served a properly worked out purpose. Vacula, not so much.

    Suggest you google for a pic and as much evidence as you can take of the workings of his mind (sic).

  53. consciousness razor says

    It’s a real label for a real thing and it’s not intrinsically perjorative.

    Do you think Lindsay or Vacula consulted the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, when using the term in their tweets/blogs, or … well … ever? I guess we don’t really know, do we? For a long time I’ve wondered whether sophisticated apologetics also works in mysterious ways.

    In any case, that appears to be what both Lindsay and Vacula mean by it. (I don’t recall others using it recently, but there may be more examples.) They’re using it as a pejorative dogwhistle, completely unanalyzed, as if simply invoking it can somehow magically defend them from the evil feminists (and, presumably, also anti-racists, anti-classists, etc.). So what it means in general, or in political or philosophical circles — or let’s just say in reality, to a reasonable and informed person — is beside the point.

  54. duce7999 says

    What about “a creep creep of MRAs” if for no other reason that 90’s era R&B references make me smile?

  55. Lofty says

    Googling Vacula also brings up a company that makes hissing and blowing tools. Coincidence?
    A Vacuum of MRAs works for me, if you get too close you get sucked in to the vortex of stupidity.

  56. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    What a reprehensible little turd, but then with a name like “Vacula” what sort of chance did he have. Sounds like a vacuous vampire…maybe from Hell A.

  57. Utakata says

    …just to subtract from #41, I’ll take back the “Vatesticular” renaming, because I don’t want to look as dumb and childish as Vacula. I had to remind myself of Rebecca Watson’s renaming of “Twatson” by the obtusely ignorant and how well that went down. I don’t want to be rolling in the same gutter, despite I detest most of what Vacula is and represents. I think I can do way better…

    Sorry about that folks. Back to lurking.

  58. says

    The collective noun discussion was started with “cluster”, which I think sounds about right.

    Well, the word starts with cluster-, anyway.

  59. says

    carlie:

    Shouldn’t Vacula at least be savvy enough to know that telling a woman to “get out, you’re not welcome here” is just playing right into the hands of the people saying “women don’t feel welcome in this movement”? Couldn’t he at least not shoot himself directly in the foot? I guess not.

    No.
    In JV’s mind, only real women, like that brave hero, Karla Porter, belong in the movement. I mean come on, how much courage did it take to invite the WBC to WiS2? I’m in awe of her integrity, her bravery, her strength of character, and…oh god, gag me with a spoon!

  60. says

    @Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty:

    Wait, who is being silenced again?

    Moreover, who’s the CommieNaziStasInquisition trying to force their views on everyone and purge the movement of the dissidents?

  61. Rey Fox says

    What about “a creep creep of MRAs” if for no other reason that 90′s era R&B references make me smile?

    What the hell are they doing here? They don’t belong here. But they wish they were special. So fucking special.

  62. ck says

    I mean come on, how much courage did it take to invite the WBC to WiS2?

    Speaking of which, I never heard: Did WBC actually show up at the event, or did they decide it wouldn’t give them the attention and publicity they desire?

  63. says

    Great things are happening because of this forum, its posters, associated allies, and those who fight back against dogma in this movement.

    Oh, jeez. Really?

    I wish there had been some way to capture the pathos of the scene. All weekend long, there’d be these women speaking, giving talks that defied everything Vacula stands for, and they’d be getting this great roaring applause from the audience…and every once in a while they’d also say something that fit his worldview (for instance, I recall Susan Jacoby mentioning that Ingersoll had been a “white male Republican”), and Vacula would start applauding madly. All by himself. One sad little man at the back of the room, completely out of step with the rest of the conference attendees, clapping alone, and he thinks he is “winning.”

  64. says

    Wait, also: this is bizarre.

    PZ and company are losing hold of the community

    Does he realize I had nothing to do with this conference? It wasn’t my idea, I had no role in its organization, I was not a speaker, I was just an attendee. I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog. That’s it. I can’t be fired, I can’t fire anyone else, and I do not have any means of controlling anyone.

    This was a meeting organized by women and for women. The one intervention by a man in a leadership position was embarrassing for all involved. If there is anyone “losing hold”, it’s Ron Lindsay, who got a massive vote of no confidence from those attending the conference.

  65. anteprepro says

    Speaking of which, I never heard: Did WBC actually show up at the event, or did they decide it wouldn’t give them the attention and publicity they desire?

    If their website is any indication, they were protesting funerals in Oklahoma and Missouri last week, will be protesting school graduations in Kansas this week, and then will go onto protest churches and other stuff in Florida in the next week or so. A conference in DC might just have not fit into their trajectory.

  66. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    One sad little man at the back of the room, completely out of step with the rest of the conference attendees, clapping alone

    With how many hands?

  67. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    (for instance, I recall Susan Jacoby mentioning that Ingersoll had been a “white male Republican”)

    Would it be too obvious to point out that the current Republican Party would have no room for a person like Robert Ingersoll?

  68. Sili says

    Does he realize I had nothing to do with this conference? It wasn’t my idea, I had no role in its organization, I was not a speaker, I was just an attendee. I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog.

    So Vacuously is right! You do have no hold on the community!

  69. brianpansky says

    ” the leader of one of the top secular organizations will seek you out to shake your hand. In front of the people you’ve been harassing non-stop for months.”

    this happened?

    also, ‘muppet of mras’ sounds too cute. reminded me of a “fedoration of nice guys”

  70. carlie says

    I wonder if Vacula or any of his compatriots could articulate what a post-winning world would look like for them. What would be different? Would it just be that nobody ever criticizes them? Would women be seen and not heard? What is their end goal, exactly?

  71. says

    ck:

    Speaking of which, I never heard: Did WBC actually show up at the event, or did they decide it wouldn’t give them the attention and publicity they desire?

    Justin Vacula’s status as a brave hero was sufficient to drive them away.

  72. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Seeing Justin Vacula just had a tweet that claims that Rebecca Watson is one of the biggest problems in the secular movement, it think it is safe to say that one of the conditions of the ideal Vacula world is that Rebecca Watson never says an other word.

  73. says

    PZ:

    This was a meeting organized by women and for women. The one intervention by a man in a leadership position was embarrassing for all involved. If there is anyone “losing hold”, it’s Ron Lindsay, who got a massive vote of no confidence from those attending the conference.

    Hmmm, I wonder how many people attended Women in Secularism 2. I’m curious how many people were annoyed/angry/dissatisfied with his speech. I think you mentioned 30+ people were in your hotel room the other night, but beyond that I wonder how far the disappointment extended. Part of me thinks that if only a small number make their frustrations known, Ron might think it was only a minority of attendees who were irritated. If a large number of people expressed their feelings, perhaps he’d be inclined to give serious thought to their concerns.
    Or maybe he would continue to be a voice for Vacula & Co.

  74. says

    There were about 300 attendees. The people in my hotel room were not simply the angriest top 10% — Watson and Roth were not there, nor most of the FtB bloggers, nor many people who I heard expressing their disgruntlement at other times.

  75. says

    Carlie @89:
    That’s a good question.

    Janine @ 91:
    Interesting (in a really insipid way).

    In light of both your comments, I wonder if JV, the Pitters and all their ilk got their way (if we assume “their way” entails PZ, Rebecca, Stephanie, Amanda, Surly Amy, Greta, Jen, et al shutting up and not longer voicing their opinions), what would be left? What would drive them? Without the “FtBullies” to oppose them, what would they accomplish?
    It reminds me of a sequence I read several years ago in one of the Superman comics, where the big guy was gone for year, and Lex Luthor whined at length about how Superman stands in his way of making the world a better place. At which point Superman points out
    “I was gone for a year. What did you do to make the world a better place?”
    …crickets chirping.
    Lex is so obsessed with everything Superman that any potential goodness is overshadowed by his ego.
    I see the same with people like Vacula.

    I wasn’t around before the Deep Rifts.
    What drove Vacula, Blackford, et al, *before* the schism?
    Was it purely speaking out against the influence of religion?

  76. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Also, in Vacula’s ideal world, PZ Myers would talk to him.

  77. Martha says

    I was there. I was asleep when the 30+ converged in PZ’s room, and I’m really pissed off. I suspect it’s something like over 75% of the attendees who are pissed, if not at Lindsay’s speech, then at his petulant tirade against Rebecca. No excuse for it. At. All.

    I’d be delighted to support WiS in the future, but I’m not so sure about CFI– unless Lindsay apologizes. He owes that to his employees as well as to Rebecca.

  78. Rey Fox says

    What about “a creep creep of MRAs” if for no other reason that 90′s era R&B references make me smile?

    What the hell are they doing here? They don’t belong here. But they wish they were special. So fucking special.

    I’d also suggest that they’re half the men they used to be, but that hints on a better past that is not in evidence.

    …somebody please join me in my ’90s music geekery, I’m lonely.

  79. bastionofsass says

    Wherever Vacula’s “here” is, I’ve never been there, and hell would have to really exist and freeze over, and…I still would have no inclination to go there.

  80. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    But bastionofsass, discussion with those you disagree with is important. Karla Porter says so. And she is a feminist. Justin Vacula had a tweet that stated that she identifies as one. And she is a feminist that is willing to associate with one of the voices for men.

  81. says

    Martha:
    I had a feeling there are a lot of people who attended WiS2 who are angry at Ron.
    I feel bad for Melody. All the hard work she put into this…all the wonderful speakers that were lined up…all the important topics of discussion…
    As others have said, Ron’s speech has taken away from the important topics discussed at the convention. Of all the times he could have expressed his views (wrongheaded as they are), he chose one of the worst possible. I wonder if he’s going to pull a Shermer and double down and fail to admit that he screwed up. Then I wonder about next year. Will CFI attempt a WiS3? If they do, how much-if any-will attendance be down (and I think it will be if the convention occurs)? To what will they attribute this diminished attendance?

    (Among the many things I’m puzzled over, I am still scratching my head over why he felt no need to welcome everyone. The attendees paid to be there. They chose to spend their money to attend this convention. This should have been acknowledged and everyone should been thanked. For him to take for granted the presence of the 300+ attendees is just…boggling.)

    ****
    Melody:
    If you’re reading, while I wasn’t able to attend, I’m very appreciate of all the hard work you put into this. Thank you for all your work.

  82. eliott1 says

    PZ@83…. “I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog. That’s it. I can’t be fired, I can’t fire anyone else, and I do not have any means of controlling anyone.”
    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part PZ and you know it

  83. bastionofsass says

    But bastionofsass, discussion with those you disagree with is important. Karla Porter says so. And she is a feminist. Justin Vacula had a tweet that stated that she identifies as one. And she is a feminist that is willing to associate with one of the voices for men.

    I don’t doubt that in Vacula’s “here,” Porter is a feminist and a brave hero.

  84. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part PZ and you know it

    Then why aren’t you presenting any evidence to back up this inane assertion? You have no evidence. Nothing but attitude and blather.

  85. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part PZ and you know it

    Simply because PZ is a recognized figure does not mean that he is a leader.

    Please, explain why what PZ said is bullshit.

    It would be either illuminating or rather funny.

  86. chigau (違う) says

    eliott1
    Do you seriously think that PZ has some kind of control over us?

  87. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Chigau, I have been an atheist for thirty years now. I am only realizing that it must have been the power of PZ Myers reaching out to me through time. Kind of how the Doctor effected Amy Pond’s lifeline.

  88. says

    eliot1:

    PZ@83…. “I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog. That’s it. I can’t be fired, I can’t fire anyone else, and I do not have any means of controlling anyone.”
    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part PZ and you know it

    It appears you disagree with PZ’s comments.
    Can you elaborate?
    How is it disingenous?
    How is it complete bullshit?

    Is PZ more than a guy with a blog? If so, what else is he?
    Can he be fired?
    Can he fire anyone else?
    Does he have any means of controlling anyone else?

    You’ve made unevidenced assertions. If you’re going to be taken seriously-if you want PZ to take you seriously (especially since I doubt you care whether anyone else does)-you have to do more than make assertions.

    So, can you back up your claims?
    Or do we dismiss your opinion with a great, big POOF?

  89. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Tony, PZ has been corrupted. That is why Justin Vacula and Karla Ported wish to talk to him. They are trying to save him.

  90. chigau (違う) says

    Janine
    That explains some things about my life, too.

    And it hasn’t corrupted him yet?

    tsk
    Tony, where have you been?

  91. eliott1 says

    @104…@105…@107…

    I addressed a comment made by PZ. If he has a question or wants to challenge my response I’m happy to respond to him directly. What I won’t do is get into the usual unproductive circle jerk with you.

  92. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

  93. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Open forum. But you do not seem to understand the concept.

    Also, it seems that you think you do not need to back up you charge. And you complain about the “circle jerk”. You are the one JAQing off.

  94. Rey Fox says

    Oh please, elliott, do you think that PZ will willingly reveal the manifold and subtle ways in which he pulls all the strings? How ever so naïve of you.

    We, on this open forum, are much more interested in how you think he wields his power.

  95. consciousness razor says

    Chigau, I have been an atheist for thirty years now. I am only realizing that it must have been the power of PZ Myers reaching out to me through time.

    Same here. It was like some cold tentacle wrapped itself around my brain and forced me to submit to its will, then vanished back into the abyss. I’m only just now starting to connect all of these things together.

  96. chigau (違う) says

    eliott1
    If you really wanted to communicate with PZ, you’d send him an email.
    Here, you speak to all of us.

  97. consciousness razor says

    If he has a question or wants to challenge my response I’m happy to respond to him directly.

    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part eliott1 and you know it.

    Wait, no, that’s just useless trolling. What I meant to say was that there is no substance for anyone to challenge or respond to.

  98. says

    It’s a real label for a real thing and it’s not intrinsically perjorative.

    well, so are “radical feminism” and “post-modernism”, but that’s not how these terms are generally used by that crowd. They may well connect the actual meaning to the dogwhistle in a vague, approximate manner, but they use it as a pure label-of-evil, as if slapping it on something is already an argument against it, regardless of whether it’s been slapped on accurately or not, regardless of whether the particular bit of identity politics/radical feminism/postmodernism is actually bad.

    I wonder if Vacula or any of his compatriots could articulate what a post-winning world would look like for them.

    that’s not actually hard to figure out. They want it to be the way it was before the question “why are there no women?” was ever asked, but with the bonus of being able to prevent the question (or similar questions) from being asked ever again by being able to swiftly kicking out anyone who asks (or worse yet, suggests an answer that doesn’t amount to shrugging).

    That’s what they’ve explicitly declared as their goal, over and over again.

  99. anteprepro says

    This is disingenuous and complete bullshit on your part PZ and you know it

    PZ Myers saying “I’m not a leader, I’m just a guy with a blog”. Humility to some, dirty pool to others. Pray tell, what, exactly, is the breadth and depth of PZ’s influence? What do you imagine that PZ’s level of relevance and power is in the overall atheist movement? In the feminist portion of the atheist movement? It seems that you MRAs have it both ways on the subject. PZ is just an angry fringe, not representative of atheism and with no real clout when you want to dismiss him and his complaints. PZ is the leader of a massive angry lynch mob that represents the entirety of the atheist feminists and is a major source of the Deep Rifts that threaten to tear the atheist movement and leave MRAs suffering terrible fates at the hands of the Femstapo when you want to play Chicken Little and issue your own ridiculous mancentric complaints.

  100. anteprepro says

    I addressed a comment made by PZ. If he has a question or wants to challenge my response I’m happy to respond to him directly. What I won’t do is get into the usual unproductive circle jerk with you.

    #bravesirhero

  101. chigau (違う) says

    Now I’m curious about eliott1’s use of the word ‘usual’.
    Have We™ The Hivemind® toyed with eliott1 on another occasion?

  102. Randomfactor says

    Justin Vacula’s status as a brave hero was sufficient to drive them away.

    As redundant.

  103. says

    Same here. It was like some cold tentacle wrapped itself around my brain and forced me to submit to its will, then vanished back into the abyss. I’m only just now starting to connect all of these things together.

    As you stare into the flickering monitor, darkness overcomes you and an unspeakable image forms in your mind. No living mortal has ever witnessed its malevolent form, but you recognise it without question. The words that are spoken are in an eldritch tongue, but their meaning is all to clear.

    Dread PZulhu has awoken. His ichorous tentacles seek you out across time and space, and there is no place in this universe for you to hide.

    Roll for sanity check.

  104. chigau (違う) says

    See. Now. Y’all are just confirming eliott1’s contention that PZ controls us.
    We can all think for ourselves!
    W cn ll thnk fr rslvs!

  105. anteprepro says

    Now I’m curious about eliott1′s use of the word ‘usual’.
    Have We™ The Hivemind® toyed with eliott1 on another occasion?

    From what I’ve been able to gather from google, it seems like the answer is: a little, but not much.

    Here is braveherorobin barging into the thunderdome saying he had unspecified personal information about how people were wrong about something or other, held to that for a few comments, and then proceeded to blatantly troll, because why not. Combined three of the best below:

    ing, and you want to give me a blow job, great…have you had your shots? No matter, I’ll use 2 condoms….
    Icing, and you hate me, wow, what an Internet tough guy hero…
    Fuck off you stupid pig. Temper, temper.another tough guy….

    He got better after these. Apparently it didn’t stick.

    His most recent performance is dropping a single post deuce into the “It’s 4 am and people are really annoyed” thread, quibbling over the definition of “tirade”.

    Sad thing was: He was commenting here a year ago and seemed to be perfectly sensible until that Thunderdome thread. Trolling is a hell of a drug.

  106. says

    eliot1:

    I addressed a comment made by PZ. If he has a question or wants to challenge my response I’m happy to respond to him directly. What I won’t do is get into the usual unproductive circle jerk with you.

    Try his email, rather than a blog, which is open for anyone to respond to your stupidity.
    I attempted to address you politely, which was clearly a mistake. You’re not interested in dialogue.
    Take a hike fuckwit.

  107. says

    See. Now. Y’all are just confirming eliott1′s contention that PZ controls us.
    We can all think for ourselves!
    W cn ll thnk fr rslvs!

    “YES! WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS!”

    “I’m not.”

    “Shh!”

  108. chigau (違う) says

    anteprepro
    oh. That thread.
    —–
    [meta]
    Tony
    I ♥ you but your #107 was really not ‘polite’.
    It was more of an interrogation.
    I liked it but ‘polite’.
    Not really.

  109. ekwhite says

    BTW, I went over to Amanda’s blog and read her open letter to CFI. It was a good letter. The comments thread, however, has been taken over by MRA trolls.

  110. Ichthyic says

    What I won’t do is get into the usual unproductive circle jerk with you.

    Good of Elliot to identify that discussion with him would be unproductive wanking.

  111. Ichthyic says

    What is their end goal, exactly?

    to get pats on the head for being utter asses.

    really. It’s just that simple.

  112. says

    Tony! The Virtual Queer Snoop #100

    Then I wonder about next year. Will CFI attempt a WiS3? If they do, how much-if any-will attendance be down (and I think it will be if the convention occurs)? To what will they attribute this diminished attendance?

    Rebecca, of course. Guaranteed.

  113. Ichthyic says

    Great things are happening because of this forum, its posters, associated allies, and those who fight back against dogma in this movement.

    it reminds me of the things that Fred Phelps used to say about his little cult there.

  114. mildlymagnificent says

    carlie

    I wonder if Vacula or any of his compatriots could articulate what a post-winning world would look like for them.

    Oooh, I know. There’d be time travel in that world – and I’d be his mum. He’d love that.

  115. says

    What is with MRA trolls and their habit of walking into a public comment thread and acting like it’s a private email chain with the blog owner and all the various commenters are butting in and hacking the thread?

    It certainly couldn’t be that it’s a power-play maneuver to try and position themselves as the only worthy commenter on the site, one so important that they can’t be bothered to put up with little things like community posting rules or other commenters. Much like they go through life trying to puff up their dominant group status to try and seem like the most important viewpoint and the only person worth paying attention to.

    It is also certainly not about trying to power-play the blog owner by exploiting conversation norms to make it seem like this commenter deserves a direct response from the owner because if the owner doesn’t respond, this newcomer will continue derailing conversation in the comment thread demanding a private audience. And it’s certainly not like once this audience was given, it only entrenches this behavior further by allowing a justification for treating it like a private conversation. Hey, I was just answering Blog Owner’s question, why are you, random peon, answering for them?

    And it definitely is not about dismissal and diminishing the community being intruded. Minimizing the commenters by treating them as beneath notice and unimportant and their time as hardly worth noting or caring about and minimizing the blog owner by diminishing their audience and thus allowing the invader to feel more like an equal or superior. “Oh, person with hundreds of commenters a day, you are surely such an unimportant small fry that you have nothing better to do than personally educate some bad faith little weasel trying to play a bullshit high school debate club game” and “your arguments are barely worth noting because you are such a nobody compared to me, a random guy who invades threads and can’t even bother to be remotely on topic or care about basic conversation conventions”.

    And it certainly isn’t about the domination of the conversation itself. That the point is a derailing of topics that might lead to consciousness raising or a sensation among minority group members that they are anything less than unwanted and unwelcome even in their own spaces. And that any bad faith topic used to do so is worth it as long as it frustrates and distracts even if it makes you look like the overprivileged, cartoonishly pompous, deliberately ignorant codswallop that you are.

    So given that it isn’t about all of that, I wonder what it could be in the magical fairy world where this is an honest-to-Bob good faith attempt to communicate with another community on serious issues and not a cheap and offensive bullying tactic.

    I’m guessing it involves traumatic pasts where community commenting guidelines killed a beloved pet or close family member.

  116. Lofty says

    elliott1 imagines PZ must be the leader of the radfem horde because the ladybrainz quiver in awe of him for being old, white, bearded and male. Obviously elliott1 has never considered women thinking for themselves to be a possibility.

  117. carlie says

    Cerberus – and it most certainly couldn’t be that they’re so egotistical as to think that their words of criticism must cut deep into the blog owner, causing them to deeply desire to find out more. “Oh no, some guy named elliot has made a cryptic comment criticizing me! I must engage in personal dialogue with him specifically to find out what he means and why he is unhappy with me!”

    Among the many things I’m puzzled over, I am still scratching my head over why he felt no need to welcome everyone.

    I can see where he might have been trying to go with this – using it as a rhetorical device. If the message had been “I’d spend time welcoming you, but you’re here for an important purpose and I don’t want to keep you from it with long flowery introduction speeches, so let’s get to the good stuff”, that would have made sense. And I would think that’s what he thought he was doing. However, instead what he really said was “I’d spend time welcoming you, but this whole conference isn’t even worth it”. That turns the rhetorical device from a compliment into another layer of the insult.

  118. =8)-DX says

    Vacula is really obsessed with Ophelia, isn’t he. I actually listened to a random #bravehero and it was basically Vacula and his buds over and over expressing their wilfull ignorance of basic feminist issues (I mean he fails to get the basic facts right as well as understand what words like “privilege” actually mean) and complaining about Ophelia and Rebecca.

    And #98 hell would have to really exist and freeze over. *spoiler* According to Dante’s Inferno, the bottom layer of hell is actually frozen over.

    I’d suggest pig-flying as a metaphor for an improbable event next time ;)

  119. ChasCPeterson says

    cr @#70, jadehawk @#119: re ‘identity politics’, point well taken. I didn’t realize that SS was responding to a quote from Vacula. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t know what anything means.

    nightshadequeen @#143:
    yes
    no
    no
    hell, no

  120. says

    I think their post-winning world would be them merely talking about the same old skeptic stuff: bigfoot, UFOs, religion, etc. They would prop themselves up as the rational people and have their egos stroked by their contemporaries. You can see this in all the conversations they’re having and in all the problems they have with Atheism+ or with atheists taking on social justice issues.

    It’s all about wankery. “Look how awesome we atheists are. We’re smarter than creationists. We’re smarter than religious people. Wank wank wank.” They don’t want to be associated with irrationality, and when it’s pointed out that way, they have to defend it by trying to take down the people who say otherwise.

    Their post-winning world would be atheism merely focusing on the same exact stuff it’s been fighting for years. It would be a bunch of white guys wanking on about how rational they are, listening to white guys give speeches and put up videos about “Why We Laugh at Creationists.”

  121. Anri says

    PZ:

    I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog. That’s it. I can’t be fired, I can’t fire anyone else, and I do not have any means of controlling anyone.

    No, sorry, I’m going to have to take some exception to this as well.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Pharyngula is the most popular blog at the most popular science/freethought blog collection in all of the Internets. Saying that has no influence is like claiming Fox “News” is unimportant ’cause they’re just, you know, a news channel.

    I have seen it argued a number of times here (correctly, I think), that the dichotomy of ‘internet’ and ‘real world’ is a false one – the internet is the real world, or part of it, and things here have real influence.

    PZ is a tremendously influential blogger, if only by hosting a blog where people can come together and discuss ideas (it’s much, much more, of course.) He’s also a pretty decent draw and sought-after speaker at freethought events, and on the verge of being an author on the subject as well. If that doesn’t constitute a leader of the movement, what would?

    PZ can’t be fired – not directly, true. But he could have a blog no-one read or comment on, a book no-one buys, speeches no-one attended. That would mean he would have much less influence on the movement, yes? He would cease to be a _______ of the community (fill in with whatever word you feel is appropriate).

    PZ can’t fire anyone – again, true, technically. PZ can, however, deny anyone he wants a voice on the most popular freethought venue available – and does so when he feels he must (generally for excellent reasons). He can lend his support to certain events, or speakers, or groups – or refuse to.

    The line between ‘controlling’ and ‘influencing’ people is not, I think, sharp or well-defined. If PZ thinks he can’t influence anyone, what the hell is he blogging about?
    What PZ is doing is important, and vital, and sometimes inspirational.
    That’s being a leader, like it or not, fancy titles or not.

  122. says

    “I do not have a leadership role in any capacity in the atheist community — I’m just a guy with a blog. That’s it. I can’t be fired, I can’t fire anyone else, and I do not have any means of controlling anyone.”

    I note that some of the presumably more literate folks on the other side were sending out angry tweets the other day to the chorus of “how did we ever consider PZ Myers a leader in our movement”. To which I thought it was rather revealing how some people think having “leaders” is a good or necessary thing.

    I still consider myself part of the atheism “movement”, but fuck me if I accept anyone as my leader, not PZ Myers, and certainly not the likes of Blackford or “nuke them from orbit” Harris. Nor Richard “let’s repost Ron Lindsay’s unprofessional ill-advised rants on the RDF website” Dawkins.

    What PZ is doing is important, and vital, and sometimes inspirational.
    That’s being a leader, like it or not, fancy titles or not.

    This may be true, but my sense is that the other side has a more top-down and authoritarian approach to this, and fancies its leaders. I may be wrong.

  123. Rey Fox says

    To which I thought it was rather revealing how some people think having “leaders” is a good or necessary thing.

    If their bullshit doesn’t have the official stamp of a Lindsay or a Dawkins, then it’s immediately seen for the bullshit it is.

  124. David Marjanović says

    We have several dungeons!

    Huh. What are the others?

    Interesting that Jack Sarfatti was banned by Jimbo Wales himself.

    but then… i’m somewhat less than enthused about calling people a cancer, either.

    …because… that way lies Godwin.

    I am currently seeking seeking a family willing to take in some refugees from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I really want to be as far away from this asshat as possible.

    I’m not a family, but there’s plenty of room in my apartment…

    perjorative

    Pejorative, from Latin peior “worse” (compare French pire). Has nothing to do with perjury.

    What is with MRA trolls and their habit of walking into a public comment thread and acting like it’s a private email chain with the blog owner and all the various commenters are butting in and hacking the thread?

    With your permission, Gräfin von Schnarkmistress, that’s not limited to Morally Repugnant Assholes. All sorts of common or garden fuckwit have been new to the Internet and not known what a blog is.

    It certainly couldn’t be that it’s a power-play maneuver to try and position themselves as the only worthy commenter on the site, one so important that they can’t be bothered to put up with little things like community posting rules or other commenters.

    I seriously don’t believe he even thought that far. It’s just stupidity: elliott1 started from the assumptions that PZ has time to read every single comment, and that who gives an answer is more important than whether it’s true or false.

    I note that some of the presumably more literate folks on the other side were sending out angry tweets the other day to the chorus of “how did we ever consider PZ Myers a leader in our movement”. To which I thought it was rather revealing how some people think having “leaders” is a good or necessary thing.

    They haven’t learned enough history, so they try to repeat it.

    When the generation of my grandparents and your parents wanted a leader, after all, they actually got one, and he even took “Leader” as his official title; if you met him, you were supposed to call him “my Leader”.

    You and I went over this in school again and again and again. The average member of the English-speaking parts of the Internet did not.

    Richard “let’s repost Ron Lindsay’s unprofessional ill-advised rants on the RDF website” Dawkins.

    Gah. He’s not getting any smarter anymore, is he.

    my sense is that the other side has a more top-down and authoritarian approach to this, and fancies its leaders

    “Leader” and “leadership” are very common terms in American election campaigns, attributed to one’s own candidate and rhetorically demanded from the other(s). I want to cringe every time.

  125. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    [From the Vacula piece Chas posted]

    …when the man behind the curtain is revealed to be a lair

    Wait… a lair? PZ is a lair? A lair for what?! PZ! Doctor! Quick! You need a rectal exam!

  126. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Anri

    An influential and much respected member of the movement, yes. But that is not a leader.

  127. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    An open letter to Justin Vacula:

    See, here’s the thing. Yes, I am an atheist. I believe there is no god/s. But that’s not really all that important to me. Sure, I support religion being removed from the public sphere. And I stand in solidarity with those being persecuted for their atheism.

    But you know what? What’s even more important to me? Women’s rights. LGBT rights. An end to racism.

    So while you’re any sort of “leader” in this movement, I don’t want to have a goddamned fucking thing to do with it.

    Love and hugs,
    UE

  128. chigau (違う) says

    Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. – Albert Camus
    .
    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either, just fuck off and leave me alone. – a poster I had in the 70’s

  129. David Jones says

    . I thought you swore not to speak to me on the grounds that I’ve been dishonest elsewhere on the net,

    Do you think that? Really?

    I’ve never said anything of the sort. Still, misreading is a forte of yours. I said, in fact, that I wasn’t going to give you an assurance I’d be courteous because I think you’re not sincere and you’re not honest.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/05/16/the-scarlet-crayon-of-atheism/comment-page-1/#comment-621448

    Witness your misrepresentation here of what I actually wrote

  130. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    David Jones, you totally said that, own your words.Don’t try to weasel out of it.

    This was a really bad weekend (Ron Lindsay et al), followed by a really bad monday (More Ron Lindsay) and tuesday (OHAI Rape Culture). Here’s to hoping Wednesday will be better!

  131. consciousness razor says

    cr @#70, jadehawk @#119: re ‘identity politics’, point well taken. I didn’t realize that SS was responding to a quote from Vacula. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t know what anything means.

    Alright, that explains it. I figured one of us had to be missing something. Just for fun (for certain values of “fun”), see if you can find any hints of “identity politics” just in that one quote from Vacula you gave in #63. Or in any of Lindsay’s recent blatherings. The level of incoherence and lack of self-awareness is staggering. Not that you (Chas) haven’t noticed that already, but I think it’s worth repeating.

    As an aside, if anything, the atheist/anti-bigot/egalitarian side here is opposed to so much focus on a single identity. Claiming ourselves as atheists and only atheists would be isolating and undermine our own limited goals (whatever those would be: “gods don’t exist… so there! I win.”), because even those can’t be articulated without reference to how they’re relevant to a wide variety of individual atheists and to what else happens in the rest of society. Besides the psychological and sociological aspects of “the movement,” just from a logical perspective, atheism does imply lots of things about the validity/soundness of other kinds of beliefs. You’d have to be just plain ignorant or thoughtless to suggest otherwise.

  132. David Jones says

    Well, I say I didn’t say that. So you can demonstrate I’m wrong and you’re right by quoting what I said and linking to where I said it.

    Waiting…….

  133. says

    I’ve never said anything of the sort. Still, misreading is a forte of yours. I said, in fact, that I wasn’t going to give you an assurance I’d be courteous because I think you’re not sincere and you’re not honest.

    I sincerely apologize that I mistook “You’re dishonest, therefore I refuse to be courteous to you” followed by radio silence for “You’re dishonest therefore I refuse to speak to you.”

    When you made this allegation earlier, I suggested you take it the Thunderdome in order to avoid derailing the thread. I put my response there: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/05/09/thunderdome-26/comment-page-1/#comment-622549

    I suggest you do the same.

  134. R Johnston says

    If their bullshit doesn’t have the official stamp of a Lindsay or a Dawkins, then it’s immediately seen for the bullshit it is.

    Exactly. If all you have is an argument from authority and you’ve given up god as a possibility for your authority then you need to find yourself another authority to replace god. One might go so far as to say that they’re not atheists at all because all they’re really doing is replacing an imaginary god with a flesh-and-blood god whose infallibility is all the argument they need or can understand.

  135. Anri says

    Thumper; Atheist mate:

    An influential and much respected member of the movement, yes. But that is not a leader.

    Hmm, I’m not certain I agree with you there.
    It seems to me that as ‘cat-herd-esque’ as we tend to be, that’s as much of a leader as we’ll tolerate. (Some of us, anyway).

    . . .

    rorschach:

    This may be true, but my sense is that the other side has a more top-down and authoritarian approach to this, and fancies its leaders. I may be wrong.

    Ah, well, this is certainly true.
    There’s nothing authoritarian about PZ, and I think that confuses people on the opposite side who seem to presume every leader must be considered infallible, soaring above the Great Unwashed like a majestic eagle, venerated and unquestioned.

    I do think one can be a leader without being a commander, or without having a title or anything official at all, and I think PZ fits that situation.
    But it’s all very fuzzy. Beardly, one might say.

  136. Sili says

    I do think one can be a leader without being a commander, or without having a title or anything official at all, and I think PZ fits that situation.
    But it’s all very fuzzy. Beardly, one might say.

    He’s more of the Great Suggester, in my mind.

  137. unclefrogy says

    Sili you say the PZ is suggestive?

    I will have to go back and re-read some of the more difficult post subjects with that in mind.
    Some times I am too literal.
    thanks for the heads up!
    uncle frogy

  138. John Morales says

    Anri,

    It seems to me that as ‘cat-herd-esque’ as we tend to be, that’s as much of a leader as we’ll tolerate. (Some of us, anyway).

    Very vaguely put, but I can accommodate such: it seems to me that in the sense that I am part of some movement, it is only in the sense that if PZ points somewhere that I might want to go I might go there (but not otherwise) that he is in any way a leader to me.

    (I haven’t signed up for anything)

  139. says

    There are two forms of being a leader:

    You can be in charge, and tell other people what to do, with the expectation they will obey your instructions.

    Or you can excel at something, and be “ahead of the pack” in some regard; and perhaps those who are similarly inclined will follow in your footsteps of their own accord.

    I think it’s fair to say that PZ is far more forward thinking with regards to feminism and other social issues than many other prominent male atheists.

    In that respect, it could be argued that PZ is a leader in the atheist community, but he’s certainly not a leader of the atheist community.

  140. anteprepro says

    How about an infection of MRA’s?

    Heh. If they were MRAs employed by an organization, they could collectively be referred to as The Staph.

    …I’ll go get my coat now…

  141. says

    I do not have a leadership role

    response:

    Saying that has no influence

    this is your brain on the false leader-follower dichotomy

    What PZ is doing is important, and vital, and sometimes inspirational.
    That’s being a leader

    no it isn’t. doing important, vital, and inspirational work is being an influential member of the civil society, not a leader. PZ is not leading me anywhere, no matter how inspirational he might be.

    It seems to me that as ‘cat-herd-esque’ as we tend to be, that’s as much of a leader as we’ll tolerate.

    can we actually stop with that trope? it’s pretty obvious that many atheists are very easy to herd; they drift towards leaders very easily, and then defend them against any form of criticism, including the warranted kind.

    I do think one can be a leader without being a commander, or without having a title or anything official at all, and I think PZ fits that situation.

    more evidence that the “leadership” rhetoric is fucking with people’s brains. A leader is someone who gets people walking in the direction the leader wants. That’s what the word means. Someone who writes interesting and smart things that people take into consideration as they’re walking their own path, in their preferred direction, at their preferred pace is not a leader.

  142. says

    Or you can excel at something, and be “ahead of the pack” in some regard; and perhaps those who are similarly inclined will follow in your footsteps of their own accord.

    isn’t that what pioneering is?

  143. Ichthyic says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Pharyngula is the most popular blog at the most popular science/freethought blog collection in all of the Internets. Saying that has no influence is like claiming Fox “News” is unimportant ’cause they’re just, you know, a news channel.

    strawman. influence is not leadership… well except maybe to authoritarian personalities.

  144. Ichthyic says

    PZ can’t be fired – not directly, true. But he could have a blog no-one read or comment on, a book no-one buys, speeches no-one attended. That would mean he would have much less influence on the movement, yes?

    the only reason he has influence at all, is NOT because he had a leadership position, was famous as a scientist, or was rich and powerful. Hell, he’s a small town college professor FFS.

    it’s because most people who read what he says think he’s spot on, and many even rethink their positions based on his arguments.

    it’s that simple.

    Anyone who isn’t basically an authoritarian can see it.

  145. Ichthyic says

    Hmm, I’m not certain I agree with you there.

    then you don’t understand what the difference is between a professor with a blog and the CEO of a nonprofit organization.

    go back to school, maybe?

  146. Ichthyic says

    who refers to their Leader™ as “Poopyhead”?

    …only those who luv him.

    ;P

  147. Ichthyic says

    more evidence that the “leadership” rhetoric is fucking with people’s brains.

    in case it wasn’t obvious, I’m betting Anri would score pretty high on the RWA scale.

  148. says

    isn’t that what pioneering is?

    Yep, and I was even going to use that word, until I forgot it in my usual long-winded overediting.

    Regardless, people are getting hung up on the “leadership” word unnecessarily. PZ was responding to a declaration that he was “losing hold of the community”, which implies some form of authoritarian control; and we can all agree that he (and in fact no-one) has that sort of authority over the community at large, so it was as stupid thing to say as the rest of it.

  149. consciousness razor says

    Ichthyic, re: authoritarianism

    Hmmm… I wouldn’t blame it on that, though I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to be authoritarian.

    Instead, it seems to me more like a cultural issue. Americans do have some weird predisposition to think in terms of leadership rather than civic-mindedness (or similar concepts in “private” interactions), like Jadehawk mentioned in the “humanism” thread. I just don’t know much about how that sort of language gets used in other societies, and how that compares to the US (more like majority English-speaking countries, with the US probably being the worst about it).

    I certainly wouldn’t describe any of the people above as having authoritarian personalities or any particular personality at all. It’d be an armchair internet diagnosis anyway. Rather than a whole personality and all that entails, I think we should just be dealing with one concept here, as a concept, like “freedom” or “rights,” which (in my experience) tends to be confused and misused (especially in the US?) for whatever reason.

  150. Anri says

    Jadehawk:

    more evidence that the “leadership” rhetoric is fucking with people’s brains. A leader is someone who gets people walking in the direction the leader wants. That’s what the word means. Someone who writes interesting and smart things that people take into consideration as they’re walking their own path, in their preferred direction, at their preferred pace is not a leader.

    Good point.
    Now, if only we could find examples of people actually saying their thoughts or actions were changed by reading PZ, or interacting with the community he’s gathered here, I might have a point.
    But there are no examples of that.
    None.
    It was all just people already moving in directions they were going anyway, right?

    . . .

    Ichthyic:

    strawman. influence is not leadership… well except maybe to authoritarian personalities.

    It is if you are using that influence to, yanno, ask people to do things.
    Like bomb polls, or attend conferences, or become active locally.

    the only reason he has influence at all, is NOT because he had a leadership position, was famous as a scientist, or was rich and powerful. Hell, he’s a small town college professor FFS.

    it’s because most people who read what he says think he’s spot on, and many even rethink their positions based on his arguments.

    it’s that simple.

    Anyone who isn’t basically an authoritarian can see it.

    In other words, he’s making arguments that lead people to think new thoughts.
    He’s speaking, and people are listening.

    I am able to separate, in my mind, someone who has titles and enforced authority from someone who can lead people just by asking them to think things, and sometimes do things (giving to charity, bombing polls, attending conferences) they might not have done before.
    If you’re not, that’s fine, but please don’t assume that’s a mental failing on my part, ok?
    Thanks.

    . . .

    John Morales:

    Very vaguely put, but I can accommodate such: it seems to me that in the sense that I am part of some movement, it is only in the sense that if PZ points somewhere that I might want to go I might go there (but not otherwise) that he is in any way a leader to me.

    (I haven’t signed up for anything)

    Yes, exactly.
    Just because someone doesn’t have the authority to punish you for not going down a trail he’s pointing out doesn’t mean he’s not acting as a leader by pointing it out, talking about it, and showing people less familiar with it how to get there.

    (And I presume you did sign up to post on Pharynluga… which is why you can, right?)

  151. John Morales says

    Anri:

    Just because someone doesn’t have the authority to punish you for not going down a trail he’s pointing out doesn’t mean he’s not acting as a leader by pointing it out, talking about it, and showing people less familiar with it how to get there.

    Well, according to your exact agreement with me, it does mean she’s not acting as a leader by pointing it out, talking about it, and showing people less familiar with it how to get there whenever those people don’t care to go there.

    (And I presume you did sign up to post on Pharynluga… which is why you can, right?)

    Silly Anri, so confused by my words: sign-up in the sense of enlisting, not in the sense of gaining access.

  152. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Now, if only we could find examples of people actually saying their thoughts or actions were changed by reading PZ, or interacting with the community he’s gathered here, I might have a point.
    But there are no examples of that.

    One right here. Me. Before I became involved in Pharyngula (and this is, since I gave up blogging, my only real on line presence) I considered myself liberal, progressive, pro-feminism, open minded. I know now that I was not. I had no problem blaming victims (even myself). I had no problem blaming the poor for their condition. I had no problem with rape jokes. I had no problem with racist jokes, or anti-GLBTQ jokes.

    And then this blog, PZed and the horde, hit me upside the head with a 70 pound halibut. And the most important thing that I learned was to shut up and listen. Even though I am white, middle class, college educated, straight, cis-gendered, and a professional, I learned to shut up and listen and began to learn again.

    But, according to you, I do not exist.

    In other words, he’s making arguments that lead people to think new thoughts.

    But didn’t you just claim that was not possible?

  153. says

    Now, if only we could find examples of people actually saying their thoughts or actions were changed by reading PZ, or interacting with the community he’s gathered here, I might have a point.
    But there are no examples of that.
    None.
    It was all just people already moving in directions they were going anyway, right?

    I can’t tell whether you can’t read, don’t understand what it means to take someone’s writing into consideration, or are strawmanning me on purpose.

    FYI, taking someone’s writing into consideration means adjusting one’s path to accommodate information one found accurate and useful.

  154. says

    But, according to you, I do not exist.

    anri was being sarcastic, claiming that I said no one ever had his mind changed by PZ’s writing. Because apparently the only two choices are doing 100% your own thing, or accepting PZ as a leader because he got something right and changed your mind on something. The option of walking your own path while integrating useful information provided by people like PZ into it is not a thing.

  155. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Jadehawk:

    You are correct. I apologize.

    anri, I retract my #185. I was out of line. Sorry.

  156. brianpansky says

    hey i asked a question

    “the leader of one of the top secular organizations will seek you out to shake your hand. In front of the people you’ve been harassing non-stop for months.”

    this happened?

  157. Anri says

    Silly Anri, so confused by my words: sign-up in the sense of enlisting, not in the sense of gaining access.

    Sorry there, John, that was a joke.

    Or would have been, had it been funny.

    . . .

    Jadehawk:

    anri was being sarcastic, claiming that I said no one ever had his mind changed by PZ’s writing. Because apparently the only two choices are doing 100% your own thing, or accepting PZ as a leader because he got something right and changed your mind on something. The option of walking your own path while integrating useful information provided by people like PZ into it is not a thing.

    Oddly enough, I don’t have to follow someone’s leadership 100% of the time to consider them a leader.
    I don’t have to agree with them all the time, either.

    . . .

    Ogvorbis, broken failure.:

    Apology not needed, but accepted anyway.
    Thanks.