Travis Pangburn, “the Jacob Wohl of the IDW”

That’s the best summary of Travis Pangburn ever. It comes from this exposé of the swarm of sock puppets Pangburn has created on Twitter. Besides a small army of Russian bots, he also created a collection of pseudonyms — Dave Schroeder, Heatseeker, PangburnWarrior, SkeptixSocial, Jig, and JanJan, if not more — who parrot and praise him online (it’s fair, since he turns around and praises their wisdom, too). All of those, except Heatseeker and JanJan, responded to me on Twitter yesterday, as did @ThePangburn, of course. It’s all very amusing.

Then I checked out Pangburn’s “battlefield” site, his online forum where people are supposed to air their provocative ideas and argue over them. Pangburn has a proposition that “Antifa is a multi-group organization”, whatever that means (and don’t expect his incoherent writing to clarify it), and oh look, who is commenting favorably on it?

Pangburn made multiple comments on this thread right here yesterday, insisting that all he wanted was “intellectual honesty”. There is no intellectual honesty in sockpuppetry, Trav. It’s rather pathetic, actually.

In other sad, disappointing news, Travis is trying to resuscitate his career as a lecture/debate promoter. It’s desperate and pitiful.

Pangburn appears to be in the early stages of rehabbing his relationship with the IDW. He just announced promotion of a live NYC debate in March between IDW-adjacent moderate atheist activist Matt Dillahunty and far-right racist homophobic lunatic felon Dinesh D’Souza. Skeptic magazine EIC and IDW stalwart Michael Shermer has also recently talked up Pangburn on Twitter.

All I can say is…what the fuck are you doing, Matt? First enabling the implosion of the ACA, and now reduced to babbling on a stage with demented hate-peddlers?


  1. says

    All I can say is…what the fuck are you doing, Matt?

    Yeah, doing an event with Dinesh D’Souza is pretty incomprehensible. Why would any reasonable person want to debate someone who has so frequently and thoroughly proved themselves dishonest? I mean, even if you didn’t find their ideas abhorrent (and it’s true that D’Souza has to have some non-abhorrent ideas, like maybe he thinks pancakes are yummy? maybe they’re going to debate whether slides are more fun than swings?) if they’re going to lie, any “debate” can have no valid purpose at all.

  2. gijoel says

    Is there a primer for the Athiest community of Austin. I feel like I don’t know the whole story.

  3. Hj Hornbeck says

    gijoel @3:

    Is there a primer for the Athiest community of Austin. I feel like I don’t know the whole story.

    I’ve done a few posts on it, but unfortunately the best summaries are available on YouTube. Sorry.

  4. Travis Pangburn says

    Also learn the real story regarding what happened with Sam and some other members of the “IDW” here:

  5. Hj Hornbeck says

    Travis Pangburn @5:

    Don’t believe this garbage lol

    Aren’t we supposed to follow the evidence, no matter where it leads? The coordinated behaviour and suspicious password recovery info are pretty strong evidence that you created a series of sock puppets to prop up your social standing. Even if later evidence proves that theory false, we’re justified in believing that theory until such evidence arrives.

    If you were self-consistent, you’d believe this “garbage” too.

  6. Travis Pangburn says

    This has also been explained. You are being sucked into a conspiracy theory. Some of these supporters have Pangburn emails. You are demonstrating confirmation bias. Start with evidence and build from there. Don’t try to prove a narrative.

  7. Travis Pangburn says

    It’s also not up to me to disprove a claim that has not been proven. lol Skepticism 101

  8. Artor says

    The evidence, Mister Pangburn, is that you are so full of schit that your eyes are brown. Why should anyone believe anything that falls out of your pie-hole? Is Dillahunty actually debating D’Souza, or is that more self-aggrandizing make-believe from you? Why am I asking you when I wouldn’t believe the answer? I don’t know.

  9. Robert Serrano says

    It’s not incumbent on me to just accept your claims just because you say so. Suspicious activity is suspicious activity. To say the least, I’m skeptical of your claims.
    You do know what skepticism is, right?

  10. specialffrog says

    @Travis: So these accounts are real people but affiliated with your organization sufficiently to have e-mail addresses in your domain. Shouldn’t good faith require that this affiliation be disclosed when they are retweeting your statements? Otherwise it is still giving an organized effort the appearance of being spontaneous and grassroots.

  11. says

    Well that explains the only Pangburn-supportive comments I saw in the replies to Michael Shermer’s plugging of Pangburn. It’s kind of funny that even among people who follow Michael Shermer, they’re all pointing out that Travis Pangburn is a fraudster.

  12. says

    How about this: Each of the suspected sock-puppets could write a short essay on a subject of their choice. If they’re all the same person, that’ll be a very tedious task. However, if they’re genuinely different people, it should be easy.

    How about it, Travis? Let’s say, by Monday morning. It doesn’t have to be long; a page or two is sufficient to make the point.

  13. anthrosciguy says

    Hadn’t heard about the scam he pulled with Sharon and Bram and their children’s concert series. Cheating Sharon and Bram is the Canadian equivalent of cheating Captain Kangaroo; only the scummiest of scumballs would do it.

  14. kkehno says

    I think we are dealing with one of those people that have their extra special meaning for “good faith”. Meaning that everything they say must be treated as gently and positively as possible and give them every possibility in the world to came out winner. Critics of course must be assumed to be working with ill intentions and face harsh criticism for all possible nuances that can be misunderstood and held for highest standard.

  15. tacitus says

    Pretty hilarious that “Dave Schroeder” admits to having a Pangburn email because he asked Pangburn for one so he could set up his Twitter account.

    Firstly, it’s a gmail address. He could make up any gmail address he wanted to — I’m sure was still available at the time.

    Secondly, Pangburn gave a “fan” a private email address of his that he had been using to solicit contact information from people who wanted to be on his podcast? I mean, how irresponsible can you be?

    Travis is desperate for this to all go away because he has already started selling tickets for the $100,000 venue he’s booked in New York.

  16. Hj Hornbeck says

    Travis Pangburn @8:

    Some of these supporters have Pangburn emails.

    So these aren’t sock puppets, these are people you’ve given favors to and in return they’ve been tweeting nothing but praise about you? This alternative hypothesis still has difficulty with the facts, for instance the fact that a Tweet came from Dave Schroeder at the same time you were known to by typing away at a keyboard. If Dave Schroeder was an independent person, they not only have seen your message within a minute, they must also have been at a computer instead of on a phone.

    Travis Pangburn @9:

    It’s also not up to me to disprove a claim that has not been proven. lol Skepticism 101

    “Proof” in an inductive sense simply means “compatible with the available evidence.” The hypothesis that you’ve created multiple socks is in agreement with (for instance) the repetitive actions observed across multiple accounts. By providing evidence compatible with the hypothesis, Matt Jameson has indeed proven it. The real question at hand is whether or not evidence contrary to the hypothesis will appear.

    Will it?

  17. larpar says

    I followed PZ’s battlefield link. In response to the question of what’s the point of the “ANTIFA is a multi-group organization” post, Pangburn said “ANTIFA is an organization. As demonstrated by the evidence.”

    That’s some deep thinking, right there.

  18. Porivil Sorrens says

    The fact that Pangburn thinks that Jordan Peterson is an intellectually honest intellectual tells me all I need to know about his mental faculties. There’s no reason to glorify this sad clown by trying to argue with him. Just point, laugh, and move on.

  19. says

    Hilariously, the webpage that his sock network seems most intent on plugging is his “response to criticism” page, which is confusingly laid out and totally buries the lede. It’s seemingly titled “Transitioning from old corporation to Pangburn”, and prominently features a tweet by Pangburn where he simply agrees with another tweet by Dave Schroeder. Schroeder’s tweet is a wall of text from which it is difficult to extract any substantive points. As far as I can tell, the reason his events imploded was something something firing his staff, and “Obviously the conference model was set up in a way […] that cancellation would be catastrophic.” Yeah, so isn’t that just a confirmation of the organizational incompetence that people are accusing you of?

    You had enough time to set up socks, but not enough time to make your response page readable, eh? Instead of gathering your “friends” to support you on twitter while using pangburn e-mail accounts, couldn’t you have asked them for feedback first?

  20. erik333 says

    As for Matt vs. Dinesh… I reckon Matt finds these sorts of debates enjoyable. The hope is to influence some nonzero number in the audience, i’m guessing.

  21. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    This time when he flames out, Travis will come back with a website of

  22. says

    @Travis Pangburn
    You don’t have to disprove anything but I can still ask you about your claims here. Like the one where PZ misrepresented something. I would really like to see what PZ misrepresented. I’m sure this situation is unpleasant but I can only deal with what people are willing to show me.

  23. nomdeplume says

    Is it just me or does everyone, seeing “lol” at the end of a sentence, immediately dismiss anything that comes before it?

  24. Amira Esk says

    He’s now hosting the Lawrence Krauss Canadian tour in April… I think Krauss is a bit in the dark..

  25. Muz says

    Debating DeSouza really depends on the format. I’m reasonably sure Matt would try to impliment some scenario where DeSouza doesn’t just get to waffle on to his heart’s content. I’d assume Matt has seen the formal debates where he (DD) just uses his time to give a sermon about some random stuff. And when Desouza doesn’t get his favored scenario he’ll probably back out anyway.

  26. says

    @8 Travis who is not coming off well

    You are being sucked into a conspiracy theory.

    My dude, duderino, dudely do-right… This is the literal precise OPPOSITE of a conspiracy theory.

    A conspiracy theory by definition is a hypothesis that a group, usually a large, influential, and shadowy group, have gotten together (this is what ‘conspiracy’ means) to engage in some nefarious machination, where the evidence for it would be much more parsimoniously explained by a coincidence or simple self-interest.

    THIS is up observing that some wonky behavior observed from a series of accounts can be parsimoniously explained by the hypothesis that just one dude, you, is ineptly engaging in actions in his own self-interest.

    And let’s face it, Trav my man, the evidence that you are inclined to ineptly do maniuplative things in your own self-interest is both compelling and voluminous.

    You wanker.

  27. Hj Hornbeck says

    HJ Hornbeck @21:

    The real question at hand is whether or not evidence contrary to the hypothesis will appear.

    Will it?

    NARRATOR: It did not.