Talking Things Out



Trigger warning- If you are one of those people that likes to whine about things in life that are unfair or you are paranoid that something is out to get you then this post may not be for you. If you have mental issues that hinder your ability to read things that may be totally random and you can not tell the difference between the threat posed by the written word and a direct threat posed by a real life situation….this post may not  be for you. If you fit one of the previous descriptions you are advised to seek the assistance of a mental health professional and above all DO NOT PROJECT YOUR INABILITY TO DEAL WITH LIFE ISSUES ON OTHER PEOPLE WHILE USING THE INTERNET.

Thank You

A guy named Michael Nugent is in the middle of an exchange of questions with Justin Vacula. Michael has written a blog post where he gives some examples of “nasty pushback”.

Michael asked Justin-

Which of the following specific examples of “nasty pushback” against some feminists on the Internet do you consider to be morally unjustified?

This question is followed by the mandatory trigger warning. Does it bother anyone else that this has become an accepted practice? I can understand a warning for adult content but where do we draw the line when it comes to warning people because they may be offended by foul words?  If a person wants to refrain from offending or disturbing anyone who may for whatever reason be too sensitive to handle certain words (these words could be related to just about anything so it’s impossible to give a good example) then there should be a trigger warning on everything they post.

Michael not only gives the initial warning but then warns everyone again. He acts like everyone reading has a man with a chainsaw standing behind them ready to start choppin’ as soon as anyone lets out  a sound. I wonder what kind of world it is that Michael lives in when you coddle people to this extreme. It’s almost as if he is  codependent.

He then gives 50 examples of quotes he picked from the slymepit. I assume he picked the examples to try and show volume rather than to give specific examples of differing types of comments that could be considered abusive. 50 seems like an unreasonable number of examples to me and could be interpreted as an attempt to single out the slymepit as a den of misogynist, sexist atheists.

There are a couple main reasons why Michael’s examples fail him. First one is that there is no context, no back-story, no explanation as to why his examples were posted. I know for a fact that some were in jest. Others were echoes of things said by members of A+ or FTB and were posted in the slymepit as mocking hypocrisy shown by those people. Several of his examples were exchanges between people who were known to not be offended by such words. Without context it would be difficult if not impossible to give an opinion that was any better than if Michael had just made up all of his examples. Of course some people would say that simply the use of certain words is misogyny or offends people no matter what the context.  Those people are just being silly. Context makes all the difference many times. Michael almost seems to assume Justin has psychic abilities and can get into the minds of the authors and explain what they were thinking and why. To have such expectations would be completely unreasonable. Even if Justin did go through every single example, by the time he was finished much time would have been wasted when it could have been spent on more important matters.

After reading Michael’s question and examples a person would probably get the impression that he was serious about all this gender slur and harmful language stuff. I know that was the impression I got from him….Then Michael posted this.

It is about the Atheist Ireland Forum Moderating Policy. It seems that there were several…actually make that numerous posts in that forum which didn’t meet the social justice standards Michael had set for others. A reader by the name Skepsheik had taken the time to point this out along with many examples.  Those examples were as bad if not worse than what Michael had presented to Justin.


I wondered how all these instances had gone unnoticed for such a long period of time in Michael Nugent’s own forum.  Justin wasn’t responsible for moderating the slymepit forum.  If he were to try and moderate he wouldn’t get anywhere because there is not an ‘edit button’ available to members of the slymepit.  Everything is public and forever unless it goes to unacceptable extreme, child porn would be an example of an unacceptable post.  Justin, while a regular contributor to the forum, was not it’s spokesperson either.  The diverse make-up of the slymepit forum made it difficult if not impossible for there to be consensus on almost anything.  Each individual is responsible for themselves. This was not the case with Michael Nugent  and his forum. From what I can tell Michael is an active member and moderator in the Atheist Ireland forum. He was, after all, the one who authored the post explaining the removal of improper content on the forum.

Shortly after the announcement about the removal of unacceptable content on the Atheist Ireland forum Skepsheik again contributes some information. It seems there is much, much more- Pharyngula-style rape torture and murder wishes, sexist language, racism, homophobia, animal rape to name a few. Michael has explained this as a way to protest a law involving blasphemy. He explains it like this-

There is, as you know, a distinction between something being illegal and something being immoral or unethical.

we have left them published on our website to make the point that we do not want blasphemy criminalised, even if we ourselves would not personally agree with all of the blasphemous comments that other people make.


While I don’t think it is nessecary to remove any of the content found on the Atheist Ireland forum, I do see an example of hypocrisy poking up from Michael Nugent’s position and his tone towards Justin Vacula when giving the slymepit quotes without any explanation about the circumstances of those posts.

I left the following comments on Michael Nugent’s post

First comment-

     I’m glad to hear this news and the timing is perfect considering the way you are drawing attention to posts on other forums that you consider abusive, shaming and very disturbing. I’ve always thought it better to clean up your own yard before bringing attention to the condition of your neighbors lawn. Good thing Skepsheik brought the issue to your attention or who knows how long those offensive postings would have stayed up considering no one brought them up prior to now. It’s only human to have biases, it’s been brought to your attention and you are addressing it, so everything turns out well.

Follow-up comment

Nevertheless, in the slymepit we make the point that we do not want blasphemy offensive language criminalized, even if we ourselves would not personally agree with all of the blasphemous offensive language comments that other people make.

See how that works Michael? You say blasphemy, we say offensive.
You really do need to figure out where you stand on all this cause after the latest list Skepsheik provided you really don’t have any right to be critical of anyone else. In other words- Your house is still dirty.


I don’t want to give the impression that Michael Nugent has no credibility due to his oversight. I do think he should be more aware of what is going on in his forum. I am looking forward to the discussion as a result of this debate. As I have said previously, very few of the FTB bloggers involved in this dispute or A+ members are willing to have an adult discussion about the expectations they have or the tactics they have employed to encourage others to do as they request without question. Michael has been the exception to this. Now if others would stop making childish demands be met or claim that their critics are not able to have a rational exchange and instead follow Michael Nugent’s example then maybe we could see a return to skepticism rather than McCarthyism.

You can find Justin Vacula’s blog here

Michael Nugent’s blog is here




  • Metalogic

    Just a brief comment about trigger warnings: They piss me off to no end. From Wikipedia: “Triggers can be quite diverse, appearing in the form of individual people, places, noises, images, smells, tastes, emotions, animals, films, scenes within films, dates of the year, tones of voice, body positions, bodily sensations, weather conditions, time factors, or combinations thereof.”

    The way SJWs use TWs, they might as well put one on literally everything. They don’t understand PTSD at all, and their rampant overuse just makes them less effective when really needed.

  • morbidcuriosity

    context makes the difference “many times”?

    context makes ALL the difference ALL the time for EVERYTHING

    words THEMSELVES are context

    every subordinate context underneath the words must themselves be kept in mind, to understand what the word use even MEANS

    full context is ALWAYS more important, and that’s what they themselves are arguing–that the cultural context behind these words makes them harmful or “xxxxx-ist” in almost all situations

    any attempts to strip context is inherently dishonest

    you are NEVER arguing “words”

    you are arguing competing contexts

    • Reap

      No context does not always matter. Sometimes words are just noise. When I am at work I will say the same two words 100 times in 8 hours. There is no context, they are just noise. You may want to keep in mind there is ALWAYS an exception and there is NEVER an exception to that except in this case.

  • morbidcuriosity

    not saying it’s always meaningful or important or enlightening


    just saying full understanding comes from full context

    the more the better

    • Reap

      Then I concur

  • Didgya

    I have to chuckle at this one. Mike was like a guy going into a bar, yelling at a sober person about how dirty the place was while having a load of shit in his living room…too much? One of the most ridiculous aspect of all these arguments about the Slymepit (which I don’t post at, but am not against) are all of these people cherry picking “unacceptable” statements when they have had very similar behavior demonstrated by, if not them, their buddies, friends and fellow posters. We all have seen FTB , Skepchicks and A+ demonstrate behavior that they would call inappropriate and sexist but they are fucking blind to their own behavior while judging others they deem unworthy. I thought the religious were hypocritical but they are setting a new standard.

  • If Nugent claims he picked out these comments himself, I can state with 99.9% certainty that he is lying – and rather, these comments were collated and selectively edited for him by the professional whining collective that is freethoughtblogs… no doubt along with clear instruction as to how he should proceed with his dissertation.

    How do I know this? He leads off with the infamous, and very carefully trimmed of context and selectively edited, “cunt kick” comment – what I call Ophelia’s Calvary. How Benson and cohorts have bastardised that snippet has nothing to do with the quote viewed in its entirety and with context intact. The full story can be read here for those that may interested –

    Nugent could not possibly have found that comment on the slymepit for one very simple reason. The comment was deleted, along with all of it’s accompanying threads close to 9 months ago.

    If Nugent has any integrity, he can come clean and admit that he did not indeed find these comments himself – and that instead he received a quote mined and purpose edited digest. And if he has any decency, he will also disclose the source of this digest.

    Personally, I am not holding my breath for either. Nugent has not shown any signs that he possesses either decency or integrity, and he is nothing more than the latest puppet being jerked around on strings by various people in a collective from FTB/Skepchick and The Center for Inquiry and is dancing to whatever tune they play.

    • And just to underscore the above points of Michael Nugent’s permission/approval seeking behaviour, here’s a screencap of him checking in with his masters after doing a hatchet job on WoollyBumblebee –

      He does deserve a little credit, though not forgiveness – he did eventually retract portions of his accusations against WBB in an equally public way.

  • Yo Reap, on the topic of context, assumptions, and lunatic a-holes waving the flag of feminism I ran across something you may find interesting. It is a show called “Spark” on our CBC here in Canada, a technology program. The episode discusses “crisis mapping” and at about the 35 minute mark leads into a very interesting revelation operators have discovered about assumptions and stereotypes when it comes to who reports sexual harassment and what this means in developing new understanding about why it happens.

    As always, I agree with you that these fingers pointing at the slymepit are dirty with buggers.

  • Daniel

    In his nasty pushback article he disclaims his example after giving them!!! In a case of a response/push back, the context is totally fundamental to any examples. The censorship and echo chamber that is Mr Nugents group, is going to severely damage the atheist and secular movement in Ireland. People regularly leave after being bullied by the pseudo intellectual mob, or if they stand up for themselves, they are expelled.

  • Daniel

    here is his disclaimer to his own “examples” “I am aware that some people published some of the above comments intending them to be jokes.
    I am aware that some of the comments are made by women, and that some are directed at men.” So he says, look at all these examples, but remember some of them are not examples.. and non are in context. They are responses… responses to what???