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    Ever since I became involved in an ongoing dispute with a little gang of  FTB  bloggers, some assorted A+ idiots, and a few skepchicks there has been one thing going on that bothered me more than anything else. I’ve addressed it in private conversations, I’m not guilty of  being a completely inconsiderate prick.  Even though I had relayed my feelings in private I really should have written about it long before this.

Having had internet (and real life) disputes pretty often as a result of my inability to just let some things continue without question, I have developed a thick skin.  Even though some people like to claim I’m on an angry tirade because they are so strongly effected by my words, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the reply to me is as harsh as the other party can muster.  When it has no effect on me you will often learn exactly what type of character we are dealing with. They take the cheap shots.  Some try the personal attack, accusing me of being a drug addict or I must have a mental illness because I didn’t crumble when dealt the sharpness of their wit (yawn) Or maybe a comment about how I must be abusing my children or girlfriend.  Insults directed towards my “retarded” son.(from the classy people like iesvs on reddit)  Rape threats against my daughter ( no I’m not going on a crusade over this) Suggestions that I might need the help of a psychic in order to find the body of my son one day. The IRA was supposed to be leaving a bomb on my front porch on a couple occasions, not sure what happened there unless it was the same evening Satan was supposed to come over and “fuck my ass real good” You name it and some weak minded idiot has probably said it, threatened it, or wished it upon me.

Then we have the attack preferred by people like PZ Myers.  That would be the ‘friendly attack’ or ‘guilt by association’. It’s not as bad as any of the previous tactics,  it is far worse.  We know how PZ takes a great pride in making his opponent out to be a fuckwit  asshole who offers nothing to the conversation because the only intent they have is to focus everything on them.  PZ would have made the greatest worst dictator if only he had been born  someplace where his type of personality could thrive, like say North Korea.  Would anyone really be that surprised to hear about PZ erecting a statue of himself with a giant squid in one hand as his weapon against the tone trolls who oppose him?  Maybe we would see giant murals of his puffy face looking into the sky in a proud defiance of rational thinking with Anthony K and Caine jacking each other off at his feet.  Well, I could see it.   North Korea got lucky and avoided such a fate, instead PZ pulls his shit on a different scale in a different place.  Instead PZ had a need to take a jab at my friend Al Sefanelli.

In case you don’t know it, Al is a widely respected, outspoken atheist. Though he has never claimed it, Al is a true leader. No he doesn’t  sit at his keyboard and show people how to act like judgmental fools. He never tried to get anyone who would listen to go fuck up the results of another groups internet poll. He never gave a lame title to the regulars who commented on his blog like they were some type of playground gang. Nor has he ever commanded/encouraged  those people to attack an individual with a differing opinion, not even if they had the gall to post something off the topic of the original  post.  Al Stefanelli has proven himself to be a leader by his actions, his words, and the way he applied those words. Then he topped it off with some real-life activism. He never has claimed the leadership role and that is another way he has proven  to be an exceptionally good one. I have long believed if a person is truly skilled,  if they actually can perform at a level above others there is no need for them to point it out, it will be easily observed by others. This is the case with Al.

PZ for whatever reason(s) felt he needed to take a cheap shot at me through Al by posting a video by a shit band with a song title mentioning racism.  Although I have learned this is the type of thing we should expect from PZ, it bothers me that Al was dragged into the argument. Al had even suggested PZ get the benefit of the doubt on ReapSowRadio the week prior. PZ in his infinite wisdom didn’t know that and he isn’t really into showing anyone else any consideration the way Al does.

From that point on Al Stefanelli was subject to the babbling libel and incorrect assumptions that have become a regular practice among some of the North Korean leadership   other FTB bloggers, A+ idiots, and skepchicks.

Al took the bullshit in stride until he was pushed to the point where he had no choice but to defend himself. As usual his response was to the point and scathing. And, as usual , the response from the other side was more libel, some stupid, and a lot of delusion.

The entire time, before and after he had been dragged in,  Al had my back. Not the way we see people like Stephanie Zvan defend the idiotic juvenile antics of people like Greg Laden. Al made sure lies about me were shown to be just that and he defended my character when someone like Ophelia Benson would make claims that she could only have known if she had psychic abilities. It was the only explanation since I have never met her in my life. I suppose she could have been hiding in random shadows, taking notes on my interaction with others for a few years.  I really doubt that is the case since she squawks so much I would have easily heard her early  on should she have made such an attempt.

The guilt by association attempted by PZ and others (adam lee) was unfortunate. I talked to Al about it and told him I was sorry about it and he assured me he never held it against me.  I’ve seen it happen again even to people who I couldn’t say were my close friends but they found themselves linked simply by considering my point of view and encouraging others to make informed opinions.  So far those people have all reacted by refusing to cower when threatened with this intimidation tactic. I would like to  thank them for being an example of something I’ve said in the past and has proven true so far. The Truth Always Wins , And It Only Hurts You If You Deserve It .

 

  Thanks Al, I hope I never make you feel like you made the wrong choice in supporting me  but if I do, I fully expect you to call me on it. You are a true friend and leader. Neither needed to be pointed out but they did deserve to be acknowledged.

-Reap

 

 

  • That Reddit user iesvs really overstepped the mark when he/she said that about your son. To say something like that about someone’s disabled child is just pure evil. I’ve been called retarded before and know how it upsetting it can be.

    On another topic in this blog post however, Al is a pretty cool person, from what I’ve figured out from chatting to him online. He seems like a nice person and his blog posts were good to read. It is nice to know that he, along with many others, has got your back.

  • Cian

    I have been reading your stuff recently and listening to your pod casts ( due to your links with Al ).
    I really feel your frustration and annoyance! I actually admire the restraint both of you have shown. ( coming from Ireland the supposed use of “bad language” is just your average conversational chit-chat 🙂
    I had not known of you guys before this blew up – so I suppose every cloud and all that jazz. Even though the FTBers and their sycophants are destroying the nature of the skeptical movement I am actually glad that they are now out in broad daylight, and we can see them for what they are. I internally excused PZs behaviour for a long time because we were on the same “side”. I always felt if he disagreed with someone he always “tackled the man, not the ball” and it took the arguments of the last year for me to realise his true nature ( … totally un-sceptical of his own views and biases, intolerant of criticism or discussion and the totally un-Socratic nature of his blog ) .

    Your criticisms have been clearly about actions and deeds, which are clearly laid out. PZ and the gang just jump straight to character defamation! I think he has forfeited his right to be treated with respect. I for one will no longer do so.

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next show

  • Cian

    The following quote from the much missed Christopher Hitchens really seems to me to be the essence of the difference between actual “free thinkers” and those those that trade under the name of freethought blogs ( in much the same way as many dictatorships very often use the words “Democratic” and “Republic” to describe their totalitarian states )

    “The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having; I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’d urge you look at those of you who tell you, those people who tell you, at your age, that you’re dead until you believe as they do—what a terrible thing to be telling to children—and that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don’t think of that as a gift, think of it as a poisoned chalice; push it aside, however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way. ”
    – Christopher Hitchens, from closing remarks in a debate at Prestonwood

  • Theo Fensivatheist

    Thanx for doing what you do, & my best regards to AL. I personally respect you both. The word respect doesn’t even belong on the same page as that lot at FtB/A+.

  • Another good article. You and Al have certainly taken on more than your share of the burden of fighting these goons. Appreciated. Very much so.

    Just watched a recent speech by Dillahunty at AACON where he has decided to define skepticism as an “ideology”. I have noted that PZ and FTB get a good deal of recognition for their bully tactics but Dilly boy gets a free pass. If you have time would like to hear your thoughts on it http://youtu.be/0EDoEzOymkk