False advertising

An organization called Mythicist Milwaukee is putting on a one day skeptic/atheist conference called Mythcon, a “mythinformation conference”. I think they’re living up to the name. They’ve posted this announcement:

Mythicist Milwaukee’s upcoming conference is a place to share ideas. Yet, white supremacy, racism and sexism are not among them.
We vehemently stand against bigotry of any kind. Instead, we are focused on promoting dialogue about culture, religion and freedom of thought at our upcomoming Mythinformation Conference.
Our speakers and attendees celebrate a wide diversity of opinion. However; those who engage in hate and violence under the guise of “free speech” or “protest” are not welcome.

Fine sentiments. One problem: three of their four speakers are Sargon of Akkad, Armoured Skeptic, and ShoeOnHead, people who have no reputation as skeptics, and are known only for their anti-feminist and anti-social-justice rants on YouTube. Nothing more. Any reputation they have is of the negative sort — they’re part of that cohort of gamergate/alt-right screechers that have monetized their presence on YouTube and Patreon and make money off strident bullshit against Anita Sarkeesian.

They’re free to do that. Mythicist Milwaukee is free to invite a cluster of neo-fascists to speak at a conference. However, what is appalling is that they’re advertising this as skepticism, and piously declaring that they oppose white supremacy, racism and sexism while hosting a trio of alt-right feminist-hating dorks to headline their event. I know if I attended a meeting that declared that they stand against bigotry of any kind, and first thing I saw was frikken’ Sargon of Akkad taking the stage, I’d walk out and leave because they’d lured me in under false pretenses.

It’s also chickenshit. You want to preach racism and misogyny, you get to do that; but why are you so cowardly that you hide your position with a dishonest disclaimer? Are you ashamed of your views? You should be.

If you want to know more about why these three are terrible choices for speakers, here’s a thorough rundown.


  1. says

    I’m sure they do think they are fighting sexism — the terrible oppression that men face from feminists.

    In the same way that alt-right doesn’t think it is racist. “We don’t irrationally hate other races, we hate them based on the facts,” the same kind of thinking that separate but equal is not racist. They build themselves just enough intellectual fig leaf to stand behind that they can classify themselves as being right.

  2. Pablo Campos says

    They invited those idiots? What happened to the Skeptic and Atheist movement? It’s filled with MRAs, RWers, and bigotry of all types. I regularly read Jason Colavito’s blog about debunking pseudohistory and pseudoarchealogy but find myself arguing with so called skeptics that believe in the Both Siderism and support Trump. I hope the movement gets sane and actually rational but that’s not going to happen anytime soon… sigh…

  3. Russell Glasser says

    Mythicist Milwaukee is a pretty weird organization for other reasons too. The title of the organization is a reference to their core belief that Jesus wasn’t entirely mythical figure, not even based on a real person. It is similar to what Richard Carrier talks about, but they take it as a position of near certainty, and base it on flimsy evidence like comparing Bible stories to Egyptian sun gods and so forth.

    One of their leaders has a prominent appearance in the movie Zeitgeist. The part where they spin stories about Jesus, prior to spreading false information about American taxes and 9/11 conspiracies. The Jesus stuff is a historical nonsense. I’m not saying that Jesus definitely existed, but what they offer is completely unwarranted certainty that in no way lines up with what mainstream historians concluded.

    I was approached by this group about speaking one time. After learning more about them, I have never wanted anything to do with them.

  4. gijoel says

    Ah, Carl “I was trigger when Anita Sarkeesian pointed at me and listed all the terrible things I’ve done at a conference once” Benjamin. I think that announcement is a fig-leaf to justify them throwing out anyone who so much as politely disagrees with them.

  5. handsomemrtoad says

    On another topic, here is what the religion of contemporary Trumpist populist right-wingery says about the eclipse:


    Oh what the fcck, I’ll post the whole thing:

    The Eclipse Conspiracy

    By James Hamblin

    The scientists are all talking like it’s a sure thing.

    On August 21, the “moon” will pass between the Earth and the sun, obscuring the light of the latter. The government agency NASA saysthis will result in “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.” The astronomers there claim to have calculated down to the minute exactly when and where this will happen, and for how long. They have reportedly known about this eclipse for years, just by virtue of some sort of complex math.

    This seems extremely unlikely. I can’t even find these eclipse calculations on their website to check them for myself.

    Meanwhile the scientists tell us we can’t look at it without special glasses because “looking directly at the sun is unsafe.”

    That is, of course, unless we wear glasses that are on a list issued by these very same scientists. Meanwhile, corporations like Amazon are profiting from the sale of these eclipse glasses. Is anyone asking how many of these astronomers also, conveniently, belong to Amazon Prime?

    Let’s follow the money a little further. Hotels along the “path of totality”—a region drawn up by Obama-era NASA scientists—have been sold out for months. Some of those hotels are owned and operated by large multinational corporations.Where else do these hotels have locations? You guessed it: Washington, D.C.

    In fact the entire politico-scientifico-corporate power structure is aligned behind the eclipse. This includes the mainstream media. How many news stories have you read about how the eclipse won’t happen?

    Meanwhile the newspaper owner Jeff Bezos is out there buying all of Seattle with the revenue from these “eclipse glasses.”

    You’d think there would be a balanced look at even considering the idea that the eclipse isn’t going to happen. It’s like no one is even thinking to question this. Where are their voices? Why does Google give so few results that say the eclipse is fake? I would start by looking at Mark Zuckerberg and Charles “Chuck” Schumer.

    I am not saying the eclipse isn’t going to happen. I’m just saying there are two sides to every story.

  6. tigerlily55 says

    Last year I went to the event. I emailed them about their having only one woman speaking. Their response was that these were their friends and were doing it for free. I know that Robert Price and Bart Ehrman were paid. I sent them a link to the Secular Women site and pointed out that some of their speakers asked only for travel expenses. I am really disappointed that things have gotten even worse.

  7. ck, the Irate Lump says

    handsomemrtoad wrote:

    On another topic, here is what the religion of contemporary Trumpist populist right-wingery says about the eclipse:

    I’m pretty sure that’s intended as satire. The scare-quotes around “moon” in the first paragraph more or less give it away. The Atlantic isn’t exactly known for being pro-Trump anyway.

    Sadly, we’re so far through the looking glass that it seems plausible that someone could actually believe such a thing.

  8. mountainbob says

    Just amazed that PZ can maintain a rigorous teaching schedule plus professional activities and still find time (and has the stomach) to monitor these hate groups. I enjoy reading many of the posts on FTB, but just cannot bring myself to experience the radicals directly. Guess I’d have to express gratitude that someone keeps their thumb on such filth.

  9. petrander says

    The “Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea” comes to mind… I don’t know why…

  10. Philip Rose says

    I did a video tangentially addressing this. I did it from the perspective of someone who took a break from that youtube community and has spent the time since the election working among the resistance.

    I worked in part going from group to group, trying to set up shared actions so I met quite a few people in Indivisible, People’s Power, & Rise & Resist just to name a few.

    . I thought that if I share what people told me, members of these groups, if I explained to them how the people in the resistance tend to perceive them (perceive the alt-right and those sympathetic to them) and why they ignore them, then it might help them engage in the dialogue they claim they really want with them. I touched on issues that are important to the resistance, beyond racism and nazis, things that could help them understand why we so adamantly oppose the alt-right because their bad decisions have led to quite a few bad things coming about (outside of the spread of white supremacy).. I talked about the frustration of finding members of the alt-right trying to incite violence not just at our marches and rallies, but even at Gay Pride marches.

    They weren’t interested in hearing it.

    The funny thing is that afterward, I shared that video in a few of the resistance groups and none of them knew who any of these people are. In some of them they didn’t even bother to allow the video to be posted because they didn’t know who armouredskpetic is and they felt he was irrelevant (I’m totally fine with then not allowing it to be posted, I agree with their reasons, I mostly wanted to show them the comparison tweets between the alt right and those from people who were at the Boston Protest with BLM Marshals).

    The whole thing was bizarre, they literally flipped out over me merely describing how we all see them. They responded by calling me vermin and far left. So I’m at a bit of a loss how to reach people who appear to be essentially unreachable. We can’t have a conversation with them if that conversation has to begin with us accepting all their presuppositions about us while they refuse to listen to us.