An official reply from Scientific American

Oh, my. What a lovely example of a not-pology. I think it’s a common refusal to acknowledge error in full blossom!

We deeply regret that we were not able to communicate our decision to Dr. Lee before removing the post on a late Friday afternoon before a long weekend. We recognize that it would have been better to fully explain our position before its removal, but the circumstances were such that we could not make that happen in a timely way.

They did nothing wrong, they would have removed the post no matter what, her only sin was having a dying cell phone so she wasn’t able to bossplain to DNLee why she needed to roll over and accept this entirely reasonable executive decision. Oh, and Scientific American must protect their interests by making sure that all the facts presented by their bloggers are entirely accurate and confirmed.

Wow. So they go through every blog post over there with that degree of thoroughness? I’m impressed. I’m not so impressed with their respect for their bloggers, though.

She might be interested in looking at Popehat’s interpretation of events.

Perhaps “Ofek” is some kind of scientist. If he is, and his identity is revealed, he is likely to experience significant social consequences — that is, he is likely to be treated as someone who calls women “whore” when they decline to provide him with free content. But Ofek is currently in the business of spamming bloggers to ask them to contribute free content to a sordid little advertising-heavy aggregator site in order to increase traffic and thereby increase advertising revenue to Ofek and Ofek’s team. In other words, Ofek has ceased to be a scientist and begun a career as a marketeer.

And marketeers are entitled douchebags. Within the context of online marketing, Ofek’s behavior is perfectly typical. Ofek’s belief — that he is entitled to profit off of Ms. Lee’s work, and that she’s worthy of abuse if she objects — is the apotheosis of marketeer culture.

I see that not-pology as an admission that Scientific American is an enthusiastic collaborator in marketeer culture.

Who the hell is @Becky_Garrison?

And how can a journalist have so little regard for the truth? Stephanie Zvan documents her bizarre behavior — apparently she was deeply offended by the fact that someone briefly put her on the block_bot a few months ago, and now she’s fully bought into this myth that FreethoughtBlogs is out to get her by sending our shadowy agents at the block_bot and Atheism+ to harass her.

I have no idea who she is, nor do I care.

But I did learn something from her ill-founded accusations and weird evasions, I think.

There are people who get really, really upset if you don’t pay attention to them — it’s an ego thing. I heard secondhand, for instance, that Thunderf00t had triumphantly announced that he was teaching me a lesson by blocking me on twitter — to which I could only say, “WTF?” I have no problem at all with people blocking me, or not reading my blog, or deleting my comments elsewhere. I have no sense of entitlement that says anyone is required to pay any attention to me. Go ahead!

So the block_bot is of zero concern to me. I could be put on it, and I’d shrug my shoulders and bravely soldier on. I don’t use it, so I’m doubly unconcerned. Atheism+ has some good goals, I think it’s great that they’re promoting their cause, but if I were banned there (and I could be, someday — I’ve been criticized by people on Atheism+ before), I would be unperturbed, and I’d still think what they were trying to do is good.

I’ve said all that before. It’s not what I learned from Becky Garrison’s disconnected discomfiture. I got some insight into a tactic being used.

These Ego Warriors are desperately trying to connect the dots. They don’t like being on the block_bot, and they have this vague unease about not fitting in with the community on Atheism+ — so they must be the same thing! Throw them into the pot!

And then FreethoughtBlogs…it has a loud voice, it has members who share some common ideals with Atheism+ — never mind that no one on FtB has anything to do with the block_bot, and I don’t know that any of us even use it, and none of us seem to be particularly active on the Atheism+ forums, even if Greta and Jen were instrumental in inspiring a greater focus on social justice — toss them in the pot, too! Anyone who is ever critical of the Big Names in Atheism must be in cahoots to destroy the godless community (Love It Unquestioningly or Leave It could be the Ego Warriors motto), so, in true conspiracy theorist fashion, they must all be working together, and someone must be pulling the puppet strings.

Here’s what they see as a win:win situation, though. Either we’ll all unreservedly announce that yes, We Are All One, We Are The Freethought Borg, your suspicions are all confirmed, or we’ll start throwing people under the bus. We’ll disown Atheism+ or the block_bot, and thereby use our loud voice to put down those terrible individuals who crush their ego by not listening to them.

Listen, Becky Garrison and all the other clowns who throw around the term “FtBullies”, and wrap your biased little brains around this: I do neither. I am not going to fit into the twisted dichotomy that you so deeply desire.

I support Atheism+, the block_bot, American Atheists, American Humanists, the IHEU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, CFI, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the National Center for Science Education. That does not mean I own or control any of those groups. They do not even ask me for advice, I do not have any official input into their operations, and sometimes, even often, they may disagree with me, and I may criticize them. And when I do criticize them, it’s because I generally support them, and have opinions (which they rarely share) about how they can better do their job.

FreethoughtBlogs is not controlled in any way by any of those organizations, or the Democrats, or the Republicans, or the Libertarians, or the UUs, or the Mormon Church. We are a completely independent entity, containing a diverse group of writers who don’t even completely agree with each other, although we do tend to skew our selection for membership in the direction of supporting progressive values. We are not the propaganda arm of any organization, we eke out a small amount of money to keep ourselves going with ads (and soon we’ll be offering a subscription service), and are beholden to no one, which means we are free to disagree with just about everyone. Also, need I mention, I do not run FtB, and the other bloggers here can disagree with me on just about anything. And we like it that way.

So please, stop trying to fit a complex set of diverse voices into your pathetic, simplistic narrative. And if you find something we say bruises your fragile ego, just stop reading us. We won’t mind. Actually, we’d prefer it if you freaking narcissists would take a hike and leave us alone.

Uh-oh, SciAm

A few new twists on that story about DNLee and the sexist snub from biology online.

I was wondering why it wasn’t posted on DNLee’s own blog, The Urban Scientist, but that I was seeing it echoed all over the place. Turns out it was; but Scientific American removed it.

Mariette DiChristina ‏@mdichristina
Re blog inquiry: @sciam is a publication for discovering science. The post was not appropriate for this area & was therefore removed.

First uh-oh. So SciAm is in the business of policing blog writers now?

Second uh-oh. Scientific American and biology online have partnered on subscriptions.

So not only are they restricting what their bloggers can write, they are censoring them when they criticize organizations they partner with?

Where’s Bora? This is a scandal brewing. Bora knows how blogs work, he’d better fix it fast.

Interesting recruiting technique

The editor of biology online went off looking for new bloggers to join his group. I’ve been there, on both sides now — the usual approach is to tell the blogger you’re interested in their work, think they’d be a valuable addition to the roster, and here’s what we offer you: there’s usually some share of revenues, a list of the other people you’d be rubbing shoulders with, an altruistic appeal to sharing your ideas with the world.

Ofek the editor didn’t do that when he went courting DNLee. The only card he played was to say that they got 1.6 million monthly visitors — a respectable number, although I suspect most of their traffic is driven by their forum, which consists largely of people asking for help on their biology homework — and when asked, offered no remuneration at all. The whole exchange was very polite, until DNLee turned him down.

DNLee runs a blog on the Scientific American network called The Urban Scientist. She’s a working biologist, she already has a public platform for sharing her ideas, and it’s a bit higher profile than a network that gets 25,000 visitors a day. Ofek didn’t offer her anything but extra work, so here’s what she said:

Thank you very much for your reply.

But I will have to decline your offer.

Have a great day.

That’s all very professional. Here’s how Ofek replied.

Because we don’t pay for blog entries?

Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?

Wow. You’d have to be nuts to want to work with that guy. And the news is spreading everywhere about biology online and their aggressively insulting editor, so I think he has just managed to destroy any interest other potential participants might have in his network. It’s too bad, too, since he already has a few people writing for it, who aren’t going to deserve the opprobrium that Ofek has just earned.

Sometimes, people suck

As Ophelia has discovered, there is a facebook page titled Should Miri Mogilevsky be murdered? It claims

This page does not advocate any violence, or the breaking of any laws. It is, rather, an exercise in Free Speech.

It also asks,

Is Miri Mogilevsky, who blogs at Brute Reason at Freethought blogs! a loyal American ?
Has she ever had sex with PZ Myers ?
Has she ever had sex with Rebecca Watson ?

Because, obviously, all of those are offenses that warrant execution. It’s revealing, though: this is a person who does not understand the concept of free speech at all (it is not an idea that encourages harassment or intimidation), and also has the usual anti-skepchick/ftb obsession.

Anyway, as Ophelia suggests, if you have a facebook account, go to the page, click on the the gear icon just beneath the cover photo at the top, and select “report page”. As a bonus, you’ll discover how pathetic Facebook’s reporting mechanism is!

Around FtB

There’s stuff to read around here!

  • Stephanie has a very dirty wall.

  • Aron Ra has been hanging out in Boston.

  • Ashley passed her comps!

  • The Atheist Experience is getting all namby-pamby.

  • The Black Skeptics point out a great injustice: WHY IS MARISSA ALEXANDER IN JAIL?

  • Jen wants you to stop calling her.

  • Digital Cuttlefish finds a world of spite aimed at a competent woman.

  • Ed comments on the Martyrdom of Tebow.

  • Dana is watching Whidbey Island wash away.

  • Greta is crowdsourcing social justice.

  • Kate is getting all sporty. Hockey season isn’t here yet, is it?

  • Ally discusses sexual aggression…by women.

  • Tauriq recommends a game. Hey, it was pretty good!

  • Jason is scolded for watching porn.

  • Maryam Namazie updates us all on the death threats against Nahla Mahmoud.

  • Nirmukta explains that race is not biology.

  • Mano has been doing a phenomenal job covering our inevitable quagmire in Syria.

  • Taslima tells off the Pope.

  • Yemmy has yet another scandalous tale of a pastor abusing his influence.

  • Zinnia has been Chelsea Manning Central.

  • And shave off that beard, Ophelia!

  • Eww, Miri is grossing everyone out with talk about miscarriages and abortion.

New commenting rules

What are they?

The ongoing meltdown in Thunderdome and the departure of Chris tell me we’ve got something that needs to be fixed. I don’t quite know how to fix everything, so let’s crowdsource it — you people leave comments here telling me what rules you think might work to get the knifey-bitey-smashy atmosphere to lighten up a little. Just a little.

Farewell, Chris!

As many of you know, Chris Clarke has decided to leave Pharyngula. This is mostly an amicable decision on his part, although he’ll also tell you that the sharks’ teeth and knives and snarling comments section here was taking a toll on his soul, which is more of a bunny rabbits and adorable puppy dogs sort of place.

I would hope you’d put down the weapons now and then and visit his blog, Coyote Crossing, and I also recommend all of the blogs on his network,

Don’t say goodbye here. Go there and be appreciative.

We’re all bad together here…and proud of it

Zinnia Jones is rightly resentful when a blogger who goes by the name “the atheist asshole” calls her “one of the good ones”. They’re missing the truth: while she’s all straightforward and civil and all that, she’s also one of our top bad-asses on Freethoughtblogs.

For that matter, we’ve got a fairly thorough review procedure in place right now, and we don’t add bloggers who aren’t fierce, intelligent, outspoken advocates for their ideas…and we also don’t let dumbasses in. You ought to take a look around — I’m pretty damn proud of the entirety of the network right now.

It’s been a busy morning on twitter for this Emperor of All the Universe. First I got some cheezwit telling me, Ophelia Benson, and Rebecca Watson to take people off the Block Bot. I replied by telling him that none of the people he was adressing have anything to do with the Block Bot. Then he tried to say, ‘but you’re all big shots in Atheism+…’ to which I tried to explain that I didn’t have any power over Atheism+, either, and I could have also explained that Atheism+ and the Block Bot are separate and independent entities, too, except that I was already tired of that fool. Anyway, I guess I’m master of Atheism+ and the Block Bot now. Go ahead, send me your complaints, I’ll deal with them appropriately.

Then, after I said I wasn’t in charge of Atheism+, this idiot comes along:

Did PZ just break his allegiance to A+?

Aaargh. I am neither master of nor slave to Atheism+. I think it’s a fine idea, I like that it’s a grassroots effort for people to place their priorities within atheism in social justice, but for the last time, I do not run it and while I’ve read it a few times and left a few comments, I’m not affiliated with it. It’s good people trying to do good.

And why are people so fixated on me as the Big Boss? Jen and Greta are more closely affiliated with Atheism+ than I am…is it just that the same pea-brained thugs who hate the whole idea of social justice are also incapable of wrapping their minds around the idea that a man isn’t in charge?

And finally, some guy announces that he’s not going to the American Atheist conference because I’m speaking there. He argues with Dave Silverman about it. He’s afraid of me, he claims.

@MrAtheistPants @pzmyers maybe you are not aware but a lot of people are scared of openly opposing ftb. We don’t want to be labelled rapists

Oooh, we’re scary. Why? Because we aren’t afraid to criticize the assumption of masculine authority, apparently. But they’re not so afraid to denounce us publicly and demand our withdrawal from participation in atheist conferences. I guess I’m just not scaring them enough.

But you “don’t want to be labelled rapists”? Give me a fucking break. Please. If I’m in an audience listening to some speaker, and I raise my hand to ask a relevant question, and then the speaker’s answer is to shout that I’m a rapist, who’s reputation is harmed: mine or the speaker’s? Because I love it when other participants in an argument try to shout me down with “ATHEIST!”, a charge that is actually true, and I’d be even more enthused and filled with bloodlust if the charge was blatantly false.

Right now, I’ve got dozens of blogs and forum comments and emails with elaborate stories about how I raped someone, illustrated with clumsy photoshop illustrations or ragged childish cartoons, and I am completely unperturbed. I have a clear conscience and the claims are so over-the-top that I know no one can take them seriously. It’s a whole web of hatred focuse on me right now, and I can take it in stride because I remain true to myself.

But there are apparently a lot of cowards out there who refuse to enter my presence because they believe I’ll call them a “rapist”. Why do I detect a swarm of guilty consciences?