Oh, gosh — I have cheesed off Sam Harris!

He is clearly quite peeved. It looks like the final straw was that I, as he claims, “gleefully endorsed” a post on The 5 Most Awful Atheists. Actually, what I did was challenge the author to write something positive about atheists, and agreed that the criticisms were valid, but not gleefully, and I also said that I do not consider any of those atheists irredeemable (except, of course, SE Cupp).

And I’ll stand by that.

Sam Harris has been a significant contributor to the atheist movement, and is far better known than I am. But that does not make him flawless. I disagree strongly with him on his position on torture, as do many others; I know he’s not a casual advocate of torture, but he does invent ridiculous, improbable scenarios (in which torture wouldn’t even work!) to justify some instances. I think his advocacy of profiling was repugnant, irrational and unjustifiable, and Bruce Schneier also found it problematic. To now dismiss Schneier’s informed discussion as a “long and rather tedious debate” and to characterize Schneier’s position as a failed argument from expediency is ridiculous.

For real fun, look at his complaints about blogs in general.

It is difficult to overlook the role that blog comments play in all this. Having a blog and building a large community of readers can destroy a person’s intellectual integrity—as appears to have happened in the case of PZ Myers. Many people who read his blog come away convinced that I am a racist who advocates the widespread use of torture and a nuclear first strike against the entire Muslim world. The most despicable claims about me appear in the comment thread, of course, but Myers is responsible for publishing them. And so I hold him responsible for circulating and amplifying some of the worst distortions of my views found on the Internet.

Hmmm. I think Harris’s reputation as an illiberal advocate for atrocious policies long preceded any of my criticisms of his positions, and I suspect that the commenters here could make a far better indictment of Harris than he can a defense. But what do I know? You guys have destroyed my integrity!

Let’s complete the total sellout. Since I am now a notorious and unscrupulous opponent of all that is Sam, I will turn it over to you: there is currently a competition to raise money for Camp Quest. I’m falling far behind. If you think I’m on the side of Goodness and Righteousness, donate to Team PZ’s Revenge. If you think I’m full of it and adore Sam Harris, donate to Team Awful Re-defeat PZ, that gang of 13 bloggers (we’re all evil!) who have teamed up to conquer sad, lonely, isolated me.

Sam could really teach me a lesson by making a big donation to Team Awful. A good trouncing would show everyone how pathetic my influence actually is.

Eclipsed!

I knew this whole network thing was a bad idea — all the great writers here sometimes make readers forget that I’m supposed to be the ☆star☆. The other day, Taslima Nasrin got more traffic that day than I did, all for this horrific post (warning, very chilling, with many photos of woman mutilated by acid). And then that odious twit, JohnTheOther, picked up on it and started ranting about how evil Taslima was, on his psycho MRA site, AVoiceForMen (nope, not linking there). Furious denunciations from demented sociopaths and lots of attention to the criminal abuse of women around the world? Good work, Taslima!

And then Ophelia Benson hit the two million page views mark (just since joining FtB). Way to grow, Ophelia!

And now Jason is bragging that he he has fans who give him free beer in my presence. I’d congratulate him too, but I’m too busy clinging to the tattered, fading fragments of my fame and weeping.

Me. James Mason. A Star is Born. And everyone else on FtB is Judy Garland.

The FtB crew also did another podcast tonight

Here we go again: this time, Ashley Miller, Chris Rodda, JT Eberhard, and I hung out to chat about the perfidy of Christian corruption of education and government.

Some other people asked to join in midway through: these are chats among the community of bloggers here at Freethoughtblogs, so they’re a little bit exclusive…but maybe in the future with some advance warning we could think about bringing in an ‘outsider’ or two to give us a different perspective. Write to one of us and ask!

I’m soon to be stuffed and mounted on the mantelpiece

Bora has put together a history of science blogging, and there I am, one of the grizzled old pioneers, chewin’ tobaccy and slapping mules around. There’s also mention of my old Tangled Bank carnival, which isn’t totally gone — I’ve got the archive stashed on my lab computer, and someday I have to figure out how to extract and resurrect an old Expression Engine blog.

Larry Moran also talks about the crucible of talk.origins, and how a lot of the early science bloggers got their start on usenet (myself included). A lot of the feisty, confrontational style comes straight out of a history of prolonged combat with idiots.

Preemptive disclosure

I just had to send a complaint to one of my fellow bloggers here at FtB. And since he likes to post his email publicly, I just thought I’d do it myself and get it out of the way.

Justin:

I looked over the shenanigans on your latest post, “the pits”. I am disgusted and appalled.

You claim to be so knowledgable about this anonymous/4chan “culture”*, but for someone so savvy you are being so thoroughly manipulated that it offends me to see the raging stupidity and naivete.

Do you even realize you have been manipulated into providing a forum on FtB for these jerks to engage in a long, tedious, abysmally contemptible discussion of the appropriateness of kicking your colleague Ophelia “in the cunt”? They don’t care what position anyone takes — they are having a gigglingly good time just dwelling on it. And you’re happily going along with it. You are encouraging it.

Most normal human beings resolved that question in kindergarten. No, you do not get to kick girls or boys in the crotch. No, it’s not debatable. No, we do not need your new friends to chatter for a few hundred comments about whether it’s reasonable or a real threat or just for lulz or whatever pathetic non-excuse they’re giving — it’s wrong. And your response to this prolonged exercise in gaming Justin’s blog?

“Cute. I actually did laugh.”

I’m not impressed. It’s not just that you are indulging these people, it’s that you’re being so stupid — literally, I MEAN STUPID — that you don’t even see how you’re being played.

Jebus. I wash my hands of you.

Maybe you should try cleaning up the mess you’ve created. I’m sure not going to do it for you, and I’m sure not going to regard your efforts charitably otherwise.

*We had these same people back in the olden times, before there were computers and networks, only we didn’t dignify them with the title of “culture”. We just called them assholes.

Change of focus

I have just completed an informal survey of the community by scanning through the New York Times, the Washington Times, the LA Times, High Times, Fortean Times, and World Net Daily, and have come to the realization that this blog does not conform to the wider interests of the world around us. Most people in the world do not care much at all about science, as long as their TVs work, are completely ignorant of evolution, and find atheism completely repellent. Therefore, my interests are out of sync and not worth doing.

From now on, I’ll be changing what I write about to something more reflective of the status quo. My time will be better spent writing about stuff white people find awesome, cars, cosmetics, Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber, cats and kittens, the attractiveness of slender women in bikinis, martinis, football, and jokes about women making sandwiches.

I understand that these are the topics of prime importance. I’ll also be yelling at everyone else on FtB that they’re wasting our time and being non-representative of people’s concerns by being all disagreeable and failing to conform and stuff.

Also, at last, all those women scribbling away here can find something more productive to do: making my sammiches.