Tag Archives: freethought blogs

Small Battle Won



Closed- No apologies will be issued

   While talking with Ally Fogg from FTB this past week I brought up the dungeon. The dungeon was a page where PZ Myers would list the people he had banned from his blog in a strange childlike manner. It was like   looking at the notches on a belt. For every character assassination there was a name and the manner in which their character has been killed with libel by PZ.  Ally claimed no knowledge of it and after the conversation I wondered what the dungeon looked like since PZ was banning anyone who was associated with the slymepit and he claimed I had created more than 30 fake accounts then there should be quite a list. At least 30 names supposedly on account of me alone.

When I went to look….the dungeon was gone. How could this be? I wondered how, what , why? Could it be that PZ had finally seen the light and recognized his behavior was juvenile and unfair? Could we count on PZ to focus on real issues instead of the regular trashing of someone based on some paranoid delusion in PZ’s head?  Then I found this. It’s a post from June 10th 2013 called No More Mr. Nice Guy. (allow me to suggest PZ get someone to write his titles for him cause they usually make no sense)

After reading the post I was a little let-down. PZ never mentions how his dungeon may have been unfair  or a bad idea.

He says

So yes, I’m fed up and I’ll be taking stronger action against these trolls and other assholes. But that does not in any way imply that I’m silencing disagreement…but that’s the message the trolls and assholes want to send out, to foment more harassment.I don’t ban that many people, and those that I do kick out, I try to be open about it, listing their names on the Dungeon page. Which leads to the other lie: that I’m unusually censorious. It turns out that being transparent about necessary banning actions, while just about every other goddamn blog out there just invisibly disappears objectionable junk, leads these phonies to make up more lies about policies here.

So I’m also changing something else. The Dungeon is gone. From now on, if you’re a jerk, you just get zapped and disappear forever, with no documentation, just like it’s done on the blogs of the assholes who accuse me of banning people for disagreeing with me.
It’ll save me a little work, too.

It’s kinda strange cause the people PZ disagrees with are often referred to as “assholes”, “jerks” or “slymers” which are all also the same terms he uses when talking about the people he has banned. I wonder, could this be the cause of some of the confusion PZ claims there is among critics of his policies?  I think so. PZ needs to be more clear or admit that as soon as someone doesn’t choose to see things his way in what he considers a proper amount of time they are told to shut up. If that instruction is not followed then they are banned. PZ doesn’t ban you for disagreeing, he bans you for not shutting up about your disagreement and for not changing your mind to agree with him. (note: you can also be banned for saying uncomplimentary things about his “horde”)

PZ also says he will be taking “stronger action” against the trolls and assholes. I don’t know what action he is planning on taking since there really is very little he can do about people who are posting comments unless he starts to approve comments.

Now if we could get PZ Myers on board the “No personal attacks” train then we will be on our way to a more peaceful interaction between not just skeptics and atheists but with believers too. I think a good way to ease into that would be for PZ to start better controlling his comment section. In the past he has bragged about how tough his horde is when in actuality they are just mean and intent on hurting people.Very little of their content is valid counter arguments, it is mostly personal insults, playground caliber name calling and threats. The number of people who seem to use PZ’s comment section as a way to vent frustrations is disturbing.

After all is said and done even with PZ making a clear attempt pretend this is all just because he choose to do it and the motivation was all the lies being told about him…it is a win.

PZ did something right by taking the dungeon page down and I will give him credit for that. It’s still too bad it wasn’t done because PZ recognized it was unfair and wrong but at least he has been stopped from continuously misrepresenting people. Pressure from others was also a factor so there is hope.

Not only that but it saves me a little work too.

Side-note: People can quit assuming I am somehow ‘obsessed’ with PZ too since it took a month for me to notice he posted about the removal I obviously don’t pay nearly the attention he claims I do. Sorry PZ, wrong about me again buddy, keep trying.



David Silverman In Wonderland

David Silverman, the current president of American Atheists was invited to and agreed (after some haggling) to be a guest on the Brave Hero podcast which is hosted by Justin Vacula (va-cool-a) and Karla Porter (chill-g-rll) I know them both and have found them to be honest and they both tend to take a more formal (professional) approach towards conflict. That podcast took place on June, 15 2013. David was invited to further discuss issues raised in a twitter conversation with Justin. These are my thoughts on that podcast and some related interaction I have had.


Freethought Blogs -We fail with more than just words

Before I talk about the Brave Hero podcast I’ll give you a little background on my interaction with David to be open and honest about things. I’ve had David Silverman on my podcast as a guest, I’ve had a couple conversations with him in person. I’ve had an ongoing conversation with him in the last week in private messages about the conflict that has been ongoing between atheist/skeptics and FTB/A+/skepchick poser skeptics. Nothing extensive, David didn’t seem to have many facts about Justin Vacula and his role in the conflict so I figured he would appreciate being better informed. That way he could form a fair opinion based on truths.

David was more than happy to discuss the issue with me but insisted I was associated with “the shit”. He wasn’t nearly as interested in listening to what I had to say as he was in getting me to understand his version of the conflict. It was as if I was just making things up. At times it was like I had said nothing at all. David just walked by facts as if they were not even there, he didn’t even stumble over them a little. It is like David doesn’t need any facts or details, he has the answers already.

So David agrees to appear on Brave Hero radio after he and Justin Vacula (vac-cool-a) had a dispute over Justin denouncing what David refers to as “the shit”. I’m not sure what “the shit” is exactly. So far, “the shit” seems to be defined as stuff that David calls “the shit”. That is as clear a definition as any David has offered (which is none/nothing/nada)

David dives in right at the start and you can hear the condescension immediately. When asked for some examples of what it is exactly David thinks is “the shit” in the atheist community he replies that he doesn’t need to provide any examples.  David then goes on to point out that there is no way for men to know what it is like to be a woman. It is one of the few valid points that David makes, the problem is Justin has not made the demand that women shut up  or claimed to know better what it’s like to be a woman than even women do. Never once have I heard him even come close to either of those things.

David gives me the impression that he thinks it is his place to scold Justin “to help make him a better activist”. If being a better activist means over-talking the host when on a podcast or steamrolling over another person during conversation then David Silverman is the best activist I’ve ever seen. PZ Myers calls me a ranting asshole? At least I can get my facts straight. David has a problem with that. He also seems to be hung up on a few catch phrases. “Go fuck a knife” is one “You are too ugly to be raped” is another. David also seems to be under the impression that fake twitter accounts are a major factor in people leaving atheist activism. He gives Jennifer McCreight as an example of someone who was forced out. From my understanding Jennifer has some issues that contributed to her leaving that had nothing to do with fake twitter accounts. I’m not sure what David thinks is going to result from something called ‘boobquake’ when it goes viral but if he expects the world to mind it’s manners when it comes to boobs he is living in a fantasy land. I’m not saying it is acceptable behavior but people should accept the fact men are often pigs who say rude things to women, it is going to happen.

David  continues to insist that Justin act with professionalism. I’m left wondering what would happen if say if Justin took David’s example for professionalism and embraced it. Would yelling over people and using vague undefined terms while he making false accusations and ranting about things he knows absolutely nothing about be a better approach than offering to discuss issues in a open public forum without personal attacks? I think any mature intelligent adult would say no to even suggest such a thing is shit.

David Silverman repeatedly dodges any attempts to point out how his relationships are just like the ones he is calling Justin on. PZ Myers has behaved in incredibly irresponsible ways. PZ should consider changing his legal name to Libel Lyers (nice ring) at this point.  I can’t believe David is totally ignorant to the  actions and words coming from PZ or the number of people he has pissed off because he isn’t willing to accept people as allies. He makes it quite clear he has no use for people who disagree with him or his attempts to force a certain mindset be accepted by atheists.

I get the fact that David Silverman is probably sick of the petty fighting, he is sick of the childish and chickenshit attacks on women. Let it be known I am tired of it too. There were things I thought I could count on from people who were skeptics and atheists as a general rule. I have learned a lesson. People, all types of people have the potential to act like fucking childish, self centered, judgmental, hyper-sensitive,  humorless, biased, idiots. I will no longer underestimate anyone’s ability to fit that description. I will however wait for them to fit the description before I apply it to them. Until then they get a basic deserved respect from me by default. They get the benefit of the doubt. I will also always be willing to settle any differences by talking to people. I will not sit on my hands and watch as religion is replaced by  something just as dangerous hidden under a veil of someone’s righteous ideology.

I am bothered by David Silverman’s behavior. As I have said before I had respect for him but I can not respect his actions in this case given I know for a fact he knew better. Here is my direct reply to him just  so no one gets it twisted.-

    David, I gave you examples of things that were done/said to me that are far more damaging than any Photoshop of FTB bloggers holding We (heart) Justin signs. There are dozens and dozens of examples on the net of other people with the same stories. You were deliberately deceptive in your conversation with Justin about association. Do you think he or anyone else doesn’t know that?

I made that Photoshop David and it was for a reason. Those people, just about EVERY SINGLE ONE in that photo suggested he not attend or even attempted to keep Justin from attending that conference. That is wrong and for you to be critical of Justin for trying to make light of actions that are sickening and juvenile demonstrates a clear favoritism on your part.

     Justin DID NOT post Surly Amy’s address on purpose. I was in contact with Justin during that event. He never wanted to attack Amy in any way. He was trying to defend himself. He posted the address by accident. He got chewed out for his mistake as soon as he made it by myself and others. It was a stupid mistake. For you to accuse him of malice is bullshit. Listen closely-I WAS THERE. YOU ARE WRONG.
Who do you think you are fooling David? Do you really think anyone who knows anything about this is going to have any respect for you after hearing your skewed version of events? There are 600+ members of the slymepit, you gave the impression that you think they are all making rape threats, that isn’t even close to true. To say they are all “shit” is just dumb.

       A couple of isolated comments by someone with a 12 year old maturity level are not a solid base for your argument. You are the shit in this instance David. You are full of shit, you are spreading shit, and you have stepped in shit. You can’t even define your own term. At one point you told Justin to own his own ownership? Really? I had a lot of respect for you David, I thought you would be at least fair, shit I thought you would at least be civil. You couldn’t even have a conversation, you had to try and intimidate Justin. What if he responds in the same manner as you have to him? I’m sorry I was mistaken and I’m embarrassed for you David.


One of the high points of the podcast was the chat. Someone under the name PZ Myers was part of the conversation. I have reason to believe it was him because I can’t think of anyone else who would claim to be even in jest. Could it be PZ finally gained the testicular fortitude to venture out from his protected little den infested by the inept horde and stepped into the real world? I will give him credit for that if it is the case. I will also note he was up to his same old tricks blabbering away as if his psychic powers allow him to know me and what I am thinking at all times. Claiming that my responses to his attacks on my character are reason to dismiss anything I may have to say. If you are reading this PZ keep in mind what I told you in the chat. It would do you wonders to chill the fuck out and listen to people just for a little while instead of treating them like shit for daring to disagree. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you it doesn’t make them wrong.

Here is a link to the Brave Hero podcast 

Here is a link to the chat,( highly recommended reading )


Note- As this is posted David has responded to my last message. While we still have major differences in opinion. It should be noted that David Silverman is willing to continue to discuss those differences in a respectful manner. If I am going to criticize I must also be able to acknowledge reasonable behavior and willingness to at least try and find common ground. After the reasoned, respectable behavior we have seen from slymepitters who have been in discussion with Stephanie Zvan.  I wonder what will be said when it is proven that people who are part of the slymepit are not  hateful monsters after all. Time will tell, I hope some people are ready to put their social justice feet where their mouths are.

I will be following up on this, trust me.

Definitively Divisive



PZ Myers is afraid of the slymepit if his actions are any indication

Ron Lindsay, President of The Center for Inquiry opened up the Women in Secularism 2 conference in DC this past weekend with this talk. Ron then caught a load of crap from some people. Rebecca Watson said-

Very strange to open #wiscfi w a white male CEO lecturing women about using the concept of privilege to silence men.

The inability of secular leaders to take on & respond to polite constructive criticism is embarrassing. #wiscfi http://ow.ly/1WpuDC

PZ said-

PZ Myers@pzmyers 17 May

Not very impressed with Lindsay opening #wiscfi with a caricature.

Wait…@RALindsay was thinking of and objecting to ME in his opening remarks? I am so proud.

  These two are amazing to say the least. It’s like Rebecca has naked pictures of PZ doing something he shouldn’t and is using them to control him. PZ defends everything Rebecca does. Rebecca has even snapped at PZ and PZ just rolls over and waits for her to rub his belly. Okay maybe Rebecca doesn’t have any pic but there  is something odd about the relationship between them.
 PZ has criticized Sam Harris, Steven Novella, Michael Shermer, Ron Lindsay, Richard Dawkins  as well as countless other popular and not so well known atheists on their stance about feminism. How damn good does PZ really think he is?
   Rebecca, PZ , Jason Thibeault, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and the other handful of poser skeptic bloggers along with  ‘the horde of idiots’ PZ has amassed in his comment section have been tearing down groups like JREF, RDF and CFI as they try to force their agenda on the rest of the world. So far they have been getting kicked in the face as a result.
PZ Myers, who at this point has got to be the most out of touch individual I have ever seen, keeps acting as though he and his “horde” are going to take over the world. Unfortunately, in reality, they couldn’t take over a grade-school playground if they used a tank.
  PZ continues to ban anyone from the slymepit in his comment section. How damn paranoid can you get? The people in the slymepit must be hitting on a nerve pretty hard for PZ to damn the whole forum the way he has. The forum keeps getting a bad rap from some of the rad fems aligned with PZ and Rebbecca. Melody claimed that “half the slymepit” has descended upon Ron Lindsay’s blog post . In reality there were 6 people who had posted that had direct links to the slymepit forum…..FYI for Melody and whoever else doesn’t get it-  There are over 600 members in the slymepit forum. Melody isn’t too good at math or she has caught whatever it is PZ has. Maybe PZ thinks there are only 12 members of the slymepit since he can’t seem to figure out who has actually posted there and who hasn’t.
 In my last blog I talked about how Rebecca hasn’t been able to come up with any solutions. PZ is no better , in fact I think it is safe to say he is even worse. PZ has turned out to be confused by relatively simple concepts such as- The world doesn’t think exactly the way you do.  or  Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on every point it doesn’t make them your enemy.
   PZ is behaving like Christians who hear you don’ t believe in god, they say “Don’t believe in god? Oh you worship the devil then huh?” I think I can say most if not all atheists do not worship the devil although I can tolerate Satanists easier than some Christians.
  PZ has been the single most divisive element in this civil war. He refuses to try and understand the opposing view, it is dismissed outright. This is a very dangerous way of doing things. When you make it clear a group is not worth listening  to or dealing with then what are you saying?  Aren’t you saying that group has no worth? When you send that kind of message then how are people going to act towards that group?  They are going to consider them worthless. After all what use is a group of people you want nothing to do with and won’t listen to?  It’s all well and good to say they can go on about their business but do you really  think you are never going to cross paths? What happens then? Confrontation built from resentment and lack of respect.  Without being over dramatic I can say-This is the kind of thing that has destroyed countries and resulted in countless deaths in our history. PZ Myers can’t seem to wrap his fat head around that neither can a lot of other people who think there are only two sides to this and that both sides are equally wrong/right.
  Who is listening to PZ myers anyways? Well a bunch of people who ripped right into Ron Lindsay hang on every word PZ writes which seems a bit  odd to me. PZ is an old white male who lives in an isolated part of Minnesota. He clearly is not a people person. He does not have an outgoing or easy-going personality. He is not even mildly friendly a lot of the times I have seen him interact with people. He clearly has two different (at least) personalities. He is a timid but rude mouse in real life and he is the almighty leader of  ‘the horde’ on the internet. He and the horde are going to change the world as long as they don’t have to actually have a discussion with or meet anyone in real life. Another concept PZ isn’t quite getting.
  I have been making these points for a while now and I see the tide turning. I can see more and more people who are tired of the bullshit, double talk and divisive antics of the FTB/skepchick/radical feminist gang. Now if we could just figure a way to get through those ego barriers and into the echo chambers they have built out of their fans….

Ophelia ‘boredom’ Benson



The following is an email correspondence between Thaumas Themelios and Ophelia Benson regarding a deleted comment on Ophelia’s blog (http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/focus/), which was later re-posted here: http://gnuatheism.wikispaces.com/Elevator+Guy+Kerfuffle

    The purpose of publishing this correspondence is to document Ophelia’s stated reasons for deleting the post, at the time the deletion occurred, to allow for accurate commentary and criticism in relation to ongoing discussions regarding the origins and development of several major controversies related to atheist and skeptical communities, of which this discussion is a recent example: http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/15/eight-choices-we-can-make-to-help-move-beyond-the-rifts-in-the-atheist-and-skeptical-communities/

     The publishing of this information is protected under the Fair Use (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use) limitation and exception of United States copyright law, which states that: “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

Unnecessary identifying information has been removed to protect individuals’ privacy.

Correspondence follows, in chronological order:


Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:16:07 -0400
From: Thaumas Themelios
Subject: Wonderist stop it.

Hi Ophelia,

If you would be more clear on what’s wrong with my posts, I would
attempt to change how I post. Just telling me to ‘stop it’ doesn’t give
me anything to go on. Stop doing what exactly?

Sometimes they’re long. I’ve got a lot to say and feel the need to be
clear so that I’m not misinterpreted (as happens so frequently in this
particular discussion). But it appears that just length isn’t your
concern, since some long stuff goes through and others get deleted
without warning.


Here is a comment I would like to post. I think it addresses important
issues. If you let me know what you object to, I could modify it, or
refrain from posting:

@Godless Heathen

The shitstorm had already started over Rebecca’s comment about the
guy propositioning her in the elevator at 4am. The McGraw stuff
brought that comment to a wider audience. Most of that audience did
NOT listen to the original comment themselves and started going nuts
because they thought they were being told to never hit on women
anywhere, ever or they thought “Oh-My-God-How-Will-I-Ever-Get-Laid
if I can’t ask a woman for “coffee” in an enclosed space at 4
AM????? OHMYGOD, now I’m doomed to be a single, shy, lonely guy

I use ‘shitstorm’ to refer to people making unfounded accusations
against one another, leading to largescale vilification, escalation, and
entrenchment on both sides.

The comments on the video were largely anonymous and usually just
expressed a different opinion. Yes, some were over-the-top misogyny, and
others were examples of the escalation pattern I’ve been describing.
It’s of course worth going after the actual misogyny and sexism that
occurred. But this kind of thing has occurred many times before, and it
never got to the point of people Dawkins getting involved and caught up
in the vilification.

This kind of thing would have run its course on its own, probably with
RW unambiguously coming out way ahead. In fact, it had already been
through the blogosphere once (the AronRa video) and didn’t get
Pharyngulated. What gave it extra juice was the McGraw incident, when
several attendees and others took issue with Watson’s treatment of
McGraw. At this point, we have a clear example of the escalation pattern
against someone who states herself that she was grossly misrepresented
and was not in any way supportive of misogyny, nor was she ‘anti-woman’.

This was again escalated with the Naming Names post, et voila, the
shitstorm ensues.

Why was this the beginning of the shitstorm and not before? Because
people (many feminists among them) who spoke up defending McGraw got
tarred with the same brush as the actual misogynists and sexists. In
fact, that’s the brush that McGraw herself got tarred with. This is when
the assuming of malicious intentions got so out of whack that feminists
were attacking feminists as anti-woman, when really it was a matter of
difference of opinion over a hot topic.

The same pattern of vilification is evident with the treatment of
Richard Dawkins. I’ll note that Rebecca Watson has herself been a victim
of such vilification. That is why I’m attempting to leave out my
personal opinion and only report Watson’s actions, rather than speculate
as to her motives. In the end, the motives don’t make much of a
difference, it’s the behaviour that perpetuates the cycle.

From: Ophelia Benson
Subject: RE: Wonderist stop it.
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 13:14:40 -0700

Hi Thaumas,

Maybe there wouldn’t be much wrong with them (though they’d still be too long,
but then so are some others, for my taste) taken independently, but after all
those endless detailed ones about McGraw they’re just too much. Some long stuff
goes through because I don’t like to delete, but the basic reason is just too
much too much. Plus you’re repeating yourself – but then we all are.

I think I’ll just close comments soon.


Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 16:27:24 -0400
From: Thaumas Themelios
Subject: Re: Wonderist stop it.

In my defence I’ll just say that I only repeated myself when others
repeated the same misunderstandings. However, I take your point.
Also, I kept posting in response to others responding to me. But again,
I take your point.

I’ll just post that one last reply (because it is to a comment directly
in response to me) and will sign off at the end of it. Sorry for taking
up your time.


From: Ophelia Benson
Subject: RE: Wonderist stop it.
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 13:56:21 -0700

No problem. Sorry I was snappish. I get antsy when comments spiral out of
control, as they keep doing on this subject. I hope nothing new happens that
prompts me to bring it up again. Arrrrrgh.