Monday, 11 February 2013

A Response to PZ Myers

Let us start on a positive note. It may not last long.

Despite many nay-sayers and doom-mongers, PZ Myers has proven many of his detractors wrong and responded to my video asking him, if he only blocks genuine trolls and unreasonable dissenters from his blog as he claims, where are all the residual non-trollish regular dissenters?
Seemed a reasonable question I think!
Of course my praise for him is somewhat qualified on the grounds of there being an unsubtle difference between claiming to address someones argument, including titling your response as if you have done so and,....well - actually doing so!

So I would like to address the grounds he DOES cover in his blog. Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin:

So he asks in a video, where all the dissenters are (why in a video, I don’t understand; isn’t this a case where his written paragraphs are simpler, shorter, and easier to get through then 2+ minutes of yelling at a camera?)

So PZ responds on his Pharyngula blog, where absolutely none of his dissenters are because he has banned them all! (why on a blog I don't understand, isn't it the case that, unless you are a speed typist, you can commit your thoughts to video far quicker than tappety tapping them out on a keyboard?)

So having conducted the kind of simple rational analysis in 10 seconds that PZ Myers, despite his purported pretensions in the fields of skepticism and freethought, seems incapable of doing, I have concluded the following:

1) PZ Myers is most comfortable on his written blog as I am video blogging, therefore this is the default approach we take to responding, all other things being equal.
2) PZ Myers most established outlet with the greatest reach is his written blog as mine (with a substantially smaller reach than his, admittedly) is my video channel. If you want to be heard it makes sense to use your primary means of communication.

Please hold on here folks. If any of you are feeling talked down to on the grounds that this is clearly shit-blindingly obvious then please take note: to PZ Myers it is apparently not.

So what I have decided to do is, in the name of accommodating PZ in every way I can (other than anally), to commit this reply to my written blog. I very much hope that if PZ chooses to respond that he does within the spirit of the exchange (a general kind of mean-spiritedness with the hum of reciprocated dislike) and commits to video!

A lot of what followed in PZ's reply in no way addressed my question at all. A common complaint PZ and his bevy of house trolls have had is that my involvement on Pharyngula involves making threads all about me. However, PZ seems intent, in his reply, in making much of it all about me which is very much the way of things on Pharyngula: you make a dissenting argument; the responses you get are vitriolic and personal; and if you tackle any of them it is you who are making the thread about yourself. Forgive me for not falling in to that trap again!
Let's look at the bits which attempt to actually tackle my question:
Why aren’t 50% of my commenters creationists, just like the American population? Why aren’t 90% of them Christians? Why aren’t a third of them Republicans? We can apply this to every site on the internet: why aren’t the comment threads at AVoiceForMen full of people aghast at the misogyny on display? Why aren’t 10% of the comments at RaptureReady people belittling the inanity of Bible prophecy? Perhaps NoelPlum99 ought to think it through a little bit, and wonder why he assumes that the internet ought to be a great gray panmictic uniformity.
I suggest that Prof Myers would be well served to actually watch my video. It was 2.5 minutes long. I am being generous here. Were I to be less charitable, cynical even, I may suggest instead that PZ has actually watched my video, knows my argument and perchance has some secret investments on the commodities markets and is scared the price of straw is about to plummet? Who knows?
What is absolutely clear is that I was AT PAINS to point out that internet blogs, vlogs and the like are notoriously unrepresentative and in no way would I expect the strength of dissent on his blog to statistically match, or even approach, the strength of feeling. What I actually said (which can be an uncomfy thing to tackle when your arguments are built on sand) is that, given the large numbers of dissenters, surely some non-trollish dissenters would have set up shop on his blog and avoided his banhammer - but hey, why address the actual question when there is an easier one of your own you can address instead?

But let me say a little more here, because there is so much more that could be said:
Why aren’t 50% of my commenters creationists, just like the American population?
Or how about, why aren't ANY of your regular dissenters creationists on the anti-creationism blogs you make? When I regularly made anti-creationism videos I had regular creationist commentors. I welcomed their involvement, it made the comments a discussion rather than an endless list of self-affirmatory chirping.
Why aren’t 90% of them Christians?
Why aren't ANY of them Christians?
Why aren’t a third of them Republicans?
What aren't ANY of them Republicans?

If my tiny weeny channel manages to attract regular dissenters when I make a series of videos on a subject how does his behemoth of a blog manage to somehow avoid them all (other than those that either don't stay or require blocking as trolls)? Sorry, and all that, but I am just not buying PZ's argument here.

Then we get this:
Why aren’t the comment threads at AVoiceForMen full of people aghast at the misogyny on display? Why aren’t 10% of the comments at RaptureReady people belittling the inanity of Bible prophecy?
Maybe they adopt the same blocking strategy as the one you actually adopt, rather than the one you claim in google hangouts? I tried myself, a few years back, to join a Christian forum. I explained on the application that I was an atheist but wanted to engage in good faith and to accept any and all questions the regulars may have for me: I never heard back. Perhaps that is your answer?

You say that perhaps I ought to think it through. I have. You set up a straw argument and then STILL managed to answer it badly. 

What followed is PZ Myers kindly explaining to me why we would expect dissenters to be significantly statistically underrepresented on Pharyngula. It is all rivetting stuff and I only wish I had had access to it prior to my video question because then I could have used it to detail exactly why we would expect dissenters to be significantly statistically underrepresented on Pharyngula, having made the exact same point myself. (you know, the bit of the video where PZ's doorbell must have rang or perhaps his sausages were burning under the grill?)
If only PZ!
If only this had actually been the question I had asked rather than inconventiently (for which I apologise) being simply a misrepresentation to a degree which left me breathless. Shame that.
So why aren’t there a bunch of reasonable people here disagreeing with the major premises of the blog (there is, of course, a great deal of disagreeing going on in the comments — NoelPlum99 has to have his blinders on to fail to see that — but it’s just not over fundamentals, like the value of science)?
Hang on, so is this all about the 'value of science' now? When did this suddenly become the bone of contention driving the recent fractious disputes? Have I suddenly dematerialised only to reappear in a parallel universe identical in every way other than the well documented issues of dispute in the atheistic and skeptical circles are about totally different things? As it stands the only argument I have seen approaching the value of science, was the ludicrous claim you made to Steve Novella that skepticism is of no use (or at least 'fuck skepticism') unless empiricism grants objectivity to normative moral claims.
.........Because they can’t disagree reasonably.
None of them? Seriously? So of all the thousands of people who actively disagree with you on the real issues (hint: the ones that everyone seems to be talking about, not the 'value of science') none of them EVER come onto your blog and start regularly giving their objections? Except, of course, the dozens upon dozens of people you have labelled trolls and banned! One presumes the myriad reasons you gave in your reply, as to why dissenters would not step foot within a thousand internet miles of your blog, we have to suspend from our considerations - for reasons beyond our ken - when it comes to the myriad varieties of troll? Again sorry, still not quite buying PZ's argument: is anyone's mileage varying from mine here?
If you’re a dissenter, holding a minority view, there’s an expectation that you’re actually here because you’re looking to learn about a different point of view.
Which is distinctly NOT the same as adopting that point of view. I am reading William Lane Craig's 'Reasonable Faith' at the moment. Previously I read Alvin Plantinga's latest, not far behind was Jonathan Sack's take on the friction between science and religion. Does learning and exploring their points of view necessitate me agreeing or adopting their views by the end of these books? This is what you go on to say:
NoelPlum99 was notorious for that. He hung around for 4 months and never changed his tune, never addressed any sensible arguments, and never acknowledged any points that might represent serious concerns by commenters here.
Apologies for making it 'all about me' for a few moment: 
I have to ask how many of his commenters changed their tunes to mine? How many of them addressed my arguments? How many of them told me to fuck off and informed me just how much they despised me? Ok, I'll grant him that one!
Perhaps you should have a look at what I think was about the first exchange I had on Pharyngula:
 Here is the blog entry. The relevant posts are from my first comment at #355 through to the #390's.
I have to ask: who was the party addressing arguments here and who were the parties simply slinging as much shit as didn't run through their crooked fingers?

However, let's leave this to one side. My question, let us not forget, was a general one. By all means, just assume I am a troll of the most egregious and nauseating kind. The question was where are all the reasonable dissenters who do not fall into the categories PZ claims justify a block? Well, the startling truth is revealed right at the end of his response to me:
But otherwise, there are views that I find insufferably stupid, that only idiots would hold, and I’m happy to make this environment as hostile as possible to them. There are no rational grounds, no context for reasonable dissent, for being anti-feminist, for instance, or denying that our culture is deeply patriarchal and sexist. I can see reasonable argument about how we ought to deal with this fact of life, but denial (or worse, the kind of inane argument so many make that “why, calling someone a ‘cunt’ is not a reflection of de facto sexism!”)
So to PZ I say this. I would agree wholeheartedly that as much as feminism is about righting the real inequalities that women still DO really suffer there is no context for reasonable dissent. I suppose you could say the same about MRAs, whereby as much as they are about the real inequalities men DO suffer (of which there could be nothing greater for anyone with children than being held as a second-class parent purely on the grounds of your sex - and fuck you PZ if you belittle that issue) there is no context for reasonable dissent. However, you and I know that in practice MRA groups are about a whole lot more than that, just as the brand of feminism promoted by the likes of some on your blog network - including your good self - is about a whole lot more than  "the view that women are people" which you trot out at the end of your response. Similarly, perhaps you need to become a little bit more sophisticated than assume cum hoc ergo propter hoc that because sexism and patriarchy are realities that every inequality we see is as a result of them and that any argument to the contrary is no context for reasonable dissent. Perhaps you have to become a little bit more tolerant of the breadth of human opinion? After all, your fellow blogger on Pharyngula, Chris Clarke, is a one-time regular poster on the ultra-radfem hate blog iblamethepatriarchy so perhaps he ought to feel the banhammer..... quickly now, before he logs on and changes the password!
Simply put: what you have demonstrated in this paragraph is that you have no objection to reasonable dissent but that any position other than one which exactly chimes with your own you regard as wholly unreasonable.  Brilliant: you could teach me so much.

Let me give you the last word PZ, on why NOT ONE SINGLE REGULAR DISSENTER HAS MANAGED TO SURVIVE ON YOUR WIDELY READ BLOG, and let the crimson colour of your herrings make my point better than I have managed throughout this entire response :
And then they get banhammered.
 Because really, how do you express “reasonable dissent” from the view that women are people, and that our society institutionalizes discrimination of all sorts?
Jim (np99)


  1. If this post can last a week, without someone from the A+ echo chamber posting something about "privilege" I will donate my kidney.

    1. let's start a pool: i say day 6 at best, and if it happens on day six, i've got the fava beens for your kidney.

    2. Forget day 6, PZ already mentioned it in his response - you know the one that this post is a responding to?

      In PZ's words,
      "I will, for instance, ban racists on sight, because their arguments are not in any way scientifically or ethically defensible, and in fact are simply odious and evil. NoelPlum99 was smugly privileged and dense, but there was some faint hope that he might actually wake up and recognize his own blinkered view, a hope that faded fairly rapidly."

  2. Nice response, Noel. "Freethoughtblogs" continues to be a terribly misleading name for his site. Given his popularity, I really wish that absurd, irrational, witch-hunting trolls didn't make up the majority of his fan base, but everything I've seen on his blog in recent months makes me think they may be all he has left.

    I wonder if it bothers PZ that he was previously beloved & supported by so many evil misogynists (you know, the good-for-nothing monsters that have turned their backs on him over his recent love affair with so-called "feminism"). Has he ever stopped to ponder what he was doing so terribly, terribly wrong to attract all those reprobate morons? So many mentally-deficient, woman-hating rapists sided with him time and again, applauding his logic...since they are all so clearly stupid, he must have been going down some awful road to have made them think he was wise.

    I mean, it's not like HE could be the one being a complete ass, after all.

    1. It seems to me that a lot of so called "skeptics" and unfortunately many that I used to respect, have forgotten that humility, in other words 'I could be wrong' is the corner stone of skepticism. It's so much easier for them to accuse their detractors of being trolls than actually face the issue that they could be wrong.

  3. I prefer the video format, but your writing is pretty good. Well, maybe except the second to last paragraph ("So to PZ I say this..."), which I found a bit convoluted. Anyway, you raise some good points throughout, but I don't expect PZ to answer any of them. Good job. On a separate note: there is one thing I don't like about your blog, is its visual side. Come on, I can't be the only one who finds this background dreadful.

    1. Yes, agreed, it needs something less fussy. It is only three proper entries old so give it time :)

    2. Actually, i quite like it but i'm an awkward fukkr.

  4. That FTB thread was tedious. Knew there was a reason i only left a short comment and went away.

    1. I very nearly left a comment and then asked myself "WTF are you doing?!". I'm trying to be far more discerning with regards to whom I enter into debate.

  5. " ...and that our society institutionalizes discrimination of all sorts?"

    Sorry but that's bullshit. Besides some latent hold overs, the vast majority of law and political life is on solid ground when it comes to equality. It's not perfect and it never will be, but to make such a claim is nonsense. When you use the suffix -archy or -ocracy it means 'rule by'. Maybe if PZ is talking about a society like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan he would have a point Perhaps if he was speaking historically, such as the Victorian Era, then he would also have a point. I don't think Myers knows what the term 'institutional' means

  6. There's absolutely no case for creationism, but I still enjoy arguing with them as they're very easy to beat. What PZ Myers has going is a pointless circle jerk. FTB is a closed system. That's why it's failing.

  7. I realize this wasn't something you criticized him for in your blog but I once asked you on your channel if PZ had really called you scum because it didn’t really make sense to me at the time. I didn’t have a particularly good understanding of the type of person that he really is. But now that I have a slightly better understanding of the man I realize that you weren’t exaggerating. He really is an insufferable, arrogant, pile of shit.

    He complains so much about how he and his fellow FtB bloggers have received so many insults and have been the target of so much hatred and yet when he speaks to people who “politely” disagree with him he acts like a fucking 12 year old (not to insult the civility of all 12 year olds. ). And though I would agree that the abuse toward many of the bloggers on FtB is unmerited, PZ Myers deserves every insult he gets. If he isn’t going to show some level of basic human respect and civility towards others I see no reason why they should give him the same courtesy.

    I wrote in my blog (though I won’t spam you with a link) that after a recent shooting in Texas he said on his blog, “How’s that rooting tooting cowboy attitude working for you?” There was no sympathy shown towards the victims at all just mockery because it happened in Texas. I saw trolls on the Yahoo comments who had more tact than he showed. I think that what PZ hates the most about trolls is that he just can’t stand the competition.

    1. I was sharing your boat less than a month ago when I was shocked by Sam Harris' categorization of PZ as a troll ( I had never really read his blog (other than his introduction to elevatorgate) but I had foolishly assumed he was one of the good guys given his association with the Justice League of Atheists.
      Still, I'd like to ask you to consider regarding respect and civility as something more than a mere courtesy for those that have earned it. While I certainly appreciate a well crafted insult (like yours RE:12yos) I believe that road just leads (many miles southwards) to threatening to rape Skepchicks.

    2. Well you're right to a degree. I do regard civility and respect as more than just a courtesy. As far as insults go I usually don't start with them in a conversation but when I am insulted I do insult others back from time to time. Most of the time I just ignore them and move on but in extreme cases I will insult. However an insult and a rape threat are very different things.

  8. Nicely done. I was cringing for the FTB people when they asked for evidence about the insult slogging, while giving it.

  9. Jim, reading through the thread on FtB shows me that your experience was almost exactly the same as mine, except you were more patient with the trolls who were calling you a troll. I read Pharyngula regularly and commented only occasionally, but the first time I dissented I was viciously attacked and it didn't matter what I said at that point, it was nothing but ad homs and accusations.

  10. So is that all that "Feminism" is to PZ? Women are people and they deserve equal rights? The only thing I have to say about that:

    1] Either PZ is not a "Feminist" OR

    2] he is a dishonest cunt that purposefully hides behind an equivocation ["Patriarchy theory? Pfft! Never heard of it! Gender is a social construct with no basis in biology, and natural selection is nonsense? Pfft! No Feminist believes that..."] so that he can label anyone that disagrees with *his* definition of "Feminism" a misogynist thug, and then use that as a reason to *never* answer any of their charges. In way, he's communicating that he will only hold himself accountable to people who think exactly like him. How convenient!

    Being familiar with PZ's track record, I'm gonna have to go with #2! What I think sucks is that you've been forced to be extremely pedantic and specific in your assertions, to show that you're not making shit up, but PZ and his gallery will most likely either twist what you say or ignore it completely.

    Good luck...

    1. being a 'scientist', i thought peezus would just link to evidence. you know, like a scientist.

    2. He hasn't acted like a scientist in a long, long time.

    3. You should get an award for referring to him as peezus (Peezus Christ)! Let's help make that one stick. Thumb down his vids and those of his ilk.

    4. PZ CREEZEY yeah i like it itll stick

  11. PZ Myers:

    Setting new online records for deception and hypocrisy since 2010.

  12. How could one reasonably disagree about a point of view without learning what that point of view is? I know exactly what you stand for pzmyers and it's not that "women are people", because we wouldn't have an argument. You say you value skepticism but are following your own cult with its unshakable dogmas tarnishing the name of atheism with its bastardization atheism plus. Everyone disagreeing should "educate" themselves, because it can't be that they've come to a different conclusion to yours after hearing your gospel.

    But really, nobody would care about you and your little crusade if it weren't for the names of your blog and the abomination you call movement. Your irrational beliefs have nothing to do with atheism nor are any free thoughts allowed to be expressed on your blog. Name yourself like the proper cult you really are and don't associate yourself with us. Talk about your perversion of social justice in your own meetings where you can ban everyone from entering who disagrees with you. With what will you be left? An unimportant little nobody who will never come close to the achievements of Dawkins or Harris you so despise.

  13. So PZ continues the stream of lies. He is a waste of time.

    1. ...and a waste of space, money, food, air, electrons, webspace, and pretty much any other resource he so gladly consumes in his quest for deification

  14. Well, PZ responded as expected from a professional liar like him. reaching as low as creationist or christian apologists.

  15. The most hilarious aspect of PZ's response to Noelplum's video is the very fact that he himself compared his blog to Rapture Ready and creationist sites which are notorious for their memory-holes of content they disagree with and for existing as sad echo-chambers of extremism. And this stunning admission comes after his own personal echo-chamber at Pharyngula has claimed for a long time we were all just making shit up when we compared PZ's (and most of FTB and the A+ forums for that matter) censorship policies to the ones of various obnoxious theists like the ones at Rapture Ready or YouTubers like VenomFangX and shockofgod.

    Is he within his rights to create this little circlejerk of a community? Sure he is. But watching him and the others backpedal, lie their asses off and hide anything that mocks them or calls them out for it is quite amusing to behold. The false flagging and DMCA claims are a sign of desperation to hold onto their reputations. The constant victim mentality is sickening.

    For all the bitching PZ and friends do about their "enemies", they sure have done alot to raise their profiles. One could say that entities like the Slymepit, Thunderf00t, Skeptic Ink and A Voice For Men actually gained in popularity after all the ruckus raised about them on Pharyngula and other FTB blogs. In a way I almost think they keep this shit up for hits. After all, doesn't every quasi-religion need devils to rail against too?

  16. Ugg, reading through some of those comments on PZ's thread is just painful! Every other comment is so fucking conceited and sarcastic, it just drives me crazy...

  17. Great response Noel. It thoroughly exposes PZ's ideological blinders.

    His reference to A Voice For Men, for example, exposes his ideological thinking. He views A Voice For Men through a radical feminist lens, not too unlike the "biblical lens" that Ken Ham talks about during youth seminars at the Discovery Institute. According to PZ, if it doesn't fit the feminist doctrine it must be misogyny.

    And this is the case with his view of AVFM. Nowhere on AVFM is it said that women and girls don't have issues. It is said, however, that men and boys also have issues. As you can see, PZ has no problem reading the latter statement and transforming it into the former as a strawman.

    I do want to take this opportunity though, as both a reader of AVFM and a semi-contributor, to set one part of the record straight. The banning policy at AVFM is nothing like the policy at FTB and Pharyngula. The only thing that can get you banned at AVFM is inciting or advocating for hatred and violence. We are a non violent group and we don't tolerate anyone advocating violence on the site. All non-violent and non-hateful responses and comments, whether in agreement or in dissent, are fully welcome at AVFM. The comment section on articles is treated like an open forum to discuss opinions openly.

  18. I used to read the comments but quit it as if you go backwards in time, you can see a change from actually talking of content with everyone (in the scienceblogs or what was it) at least for most parts toward a rather spiteful atmosphere.

    It turned into a place where you might disagree but why would you continue to visit a place when you get a all the regulars jumping on you over inane things like punctuation, signatures and well anything but the issue at hand.

    You will be ground down by the regular crew whom you met in those few posts and often in rather deliberate fashion. Any one foolish enough to think their views get a fair hearing there is trying to delude himself, you either tow the party line or party will grind you down and if party fails at that task, the Party leader will jail you in the troll thing, have forgotten its name, been a while I read stuff from that site.

    tl;dr Disagree, be attacked. Refuse to yield, be banned.

  19. By "value of science" I assume PZ means all science that doesn't contradict his dogma. Evolutionary psychology is a science he certainly does not value. If you read this article:

    he disses evo psych, and in the process he disses the entire peer review method of science (he has to, because evo psych papers are peer reviewed).

    1. I find it funny that someone who hasn't published a peer-reviewed paper in decades still thinks he has a voice that is respected in the scientific community.

      I guess it's easier to sit on your ass and make blog rants than to do productive research? Guess he doesn't value science at all these days.

  20. I think there is an irony that one of the most high profile skeptical atheists has fallen so low as to be justifiably compared to the likes of creationists. Though as much as it surprises me, I have to defend VenomFangX. Yes, VFX is a censor whore who cannot stand disagreement... but at least he comes out and admits it. Also, he has done a few debates which (While humorous to watch) were at least somewhat fair. As much as it surprises me to say this... VFX is BETTER than Myers.

    1. Agreed. VFX has turned over something of a new leaf. He doesn't block or ban people from his comments any more. He actually engages with peoples arguments. I guess Thunderf00t taught him something.

      How far has Myers fallen that he's now regarded as WORSE than than the most notorious creationist on the internet.

    2. I have always liked VFX better than PZ Myers. Maybe because I've read and watched a lot more pz than vfx.
      Does VFX have mental health issues? Myers has never revealed any issues that could level the playing field, ASFAIK. Geez, has he ever admitted to being wrong? Ever? Even when he was? (always, pretty much)

  21. Jim, I want to thank you for asking PZ your question. I still visited FtB every now and then and I saw PZ's response. So I watched your video and then went back to PZ's response.

    Like you, I noticed right off the bat that he echoed your remarks about the understandable underrepresentation of dissenters on any forum as if they were his own observation. And that he basically didn't give an answer.

    The reason I want to thank you is because after reading PZ's response and the first couple of reactions from his posse I realised I will never go back to FtB ever again, and thus save a shitload of my time.

    I used to enjoy Pharyngula immensely, when it was still about science and how the religious tried to fuck that up. But ever since PZ found his feminist religion it's gone to shit. His basic reaction to any critical question or even the mildest form of dissent is "Fuck you!" and that's it. By his own admission he expects that everybody who is reacting to his blog must change their position to one that exactly mirrors his or else the banhammer will be wielded.

    And in the time that I have been reading his diatribes against "the patriarchy" and "misogynists" I have not once see him quote a single verifiable fact that would support his assertion that feminism (but not men's right activism) logically follows from skepticism.

    Anyway, thanks for indirectly opening my eyes. Keep your videos coming, I'll be watching.

  22. I tried posting over at PZ blog over a year ago. I thought I could offer a few interesting perspectives regarding sexism and being a stay at home dad. Yeah, that went well. I was told to shove objects in my ass and called a child molester. Fuck PZ and his crowd of assholes.

  23. I thought this was a defining post on PZ's blog "Stop trying to make sure that I and other feminists don’t have a single solitary fucking spot on the Internet to talk. Because that is what it appears you actually want – to make sure that there is no discussion of feminism on the Internet." Why don't they just stop pretending it's about free-thought or atheism or skepticism or critical thinking or anything else. It's a feminist blog, only people who define themselves as feminists are allowed.
    I did see that Concordance left a response letting PZ have it for being less than truthful in the original video. He says Rational Dissenters are allowed but by his defintions there is no such thing as rational dissent. What a Wad!

    1. No it's far worse than that. It's not a "feminist" blog, there are far more intelligent and qualified feminist writers out there who should not be ignored.

      Pharyngula is a blog by a guy who has only the weakest grasp on feminist issues, and you also get attacked if you are a fellow liberal and feminist (and in my case, one with far more education in actual Women's Studies than the man who studies got-damn squid for a living).

    2. "Because that is what it appears you actually want – to make sure that there is no discussion of feminism on the Internet."

      PZ and his lackeys need to realize that disputing a point made by a feminist about feminism is a perfect example of participating in a discussion of feminism! If making counter-arguments is considered "derailing" the discussion, then the only thing he could mean by "a discussion of feminism" is a bunch of like-minded feminists telling one another how smart they are.

  24. All a waste of time. PZ is a coward and a hypocrite.

  25. PZ is about as feminist as my hat. He doesn't understand anything about feminism, he just uses that word to put spin on his inane rants and to lend them a kind of moral authority among other quasi-feminist liberals who don't know much about it either. But the guy has no academic background in any social science related to gender issues, he's working from at best a college freshman level of understanding just like Watson and the rest of the clowns. If their goal is to make feminism look monolithic, out of touch, polarizing and hysterical, then congrats, they're doing great at that.

    I've posted ONE post in recent memory, it was utterly polite, simply asking him what Reap Paden did to get accused of being a misoygnist, and PZ blocked me on site, while calling me a "fucking idiot" (twice) and claiming I am a "slymepitter" (I have never posted on the slyme pit in my life).

    1. Did you save that post, and their replies? C0nc0rdance has asked for this kind of evidence on Noel's video where he poses the question to PZ:

  26. This is the standard modus operandi @PZs blog.

    Someone posts something in disagreement.
    Poo-flinging monkeys start making personal attacks on said person.
    Person repeatedly defends self against poo-flinging monkeys' attacks.
    PZ bans said person for "making the thread about them"....


    The same thing happens if you go to a creationist blog, or any other similar site fueled by dogma rather than skepticism. I just quit posting there 3 days after elevatorgate. They're not worth my time as no amount of evidence will convince them they're in error about anything.

  27. This entire shitstorm, which has been going on since the "elevatorgate" nonsense, never ceases to amaze me.

    I used to have a reasonably high opinion of the "atheist community." Sure, some people were dicks, but at least, I never dreamed I would encounter such extreme self-delusion, double standards and detachment from both reality and sanity as I see in the FtB crowd.

    I've read the comments Noel linked to. The intellectual level of discourse is amazingly low, apart from Noel's comments, and I've counted dozens of instances of ad homs, strawmen, well-poisoning, guilt by association and vulgar insults. Only a few half-hearted attempts to actually argue Noel's points were made in between them.

    Then I clicked on this link, provided by the person a few posts above me.

    The 9th comment there, by "Josh, Official SpokesGay" (is this one of the leaders of their movement? She has a familiar-looking avatar) reads:

    "For a significant number of people in any field, any questioning of its core claims, or its most common public face, is ipso facto:

    1. Painting with a broad brush

    2. Tarring everyone with the actions of a few

    3. Ignorant and misguided

    4. Purely agenda-driven, and that agenda is to Tear Down My Field (and me, although I don’t think that’s often conscious)"

    Can anyone possibly be more hypocritical and deluded than this woman? I mean, read the comments Noel linked to again, and look at the contributions of Josh, Official SpokesGay in that discussion.

    She, as well as the other commenters, are doing nothing but calling dissenters "ignorant and misguided" and assuming them to be "Purely agenda-driven, and that agenda is to Tear Down My Field (and me)." Think about how they generalize all criticism they get as misogynistic, and assume all dissenters think that "women should not be equal," and are "driven by an MRA agenda."

    This is very disheartening. I mean, if you are able to list these four points about close-mindedness when it comes to criticism of one's own position, how on earth is it possible that you do the exact same things when your own core values are threatened? Where was this handy list in the comment section where Noel received all this abuse? Would this person EVER stop to think and to evaluate her own position? Is there any room at all in her mind for the mere suggestion that it may even be remotely possible that she could just as well be wrong about something? Where is the balance?

    How can someone apply such hugely different standards, and not even notice it? It is a dimension of irony that, to me at least, is entirely new. At least, when creationists apply these sort of extreme double standards, they have the excuse that they are stupid and close-minded, and never have learned to think critically.

    The FtB crowd does not have that excuse. They should know better than this. They behave just like the worst of the creationists, and despite the skeptical attitude they so often boast, they are completely oblivious of their own hypocrisy, even when it is pointed out to them. In fact, they use character assassination on all dissenters to have an excuse not to address their arguments, one of the trademark characteristics of creationist/apologist rhetorics ("you are in league with SATAN/a misogynist MRA sympathisant, therefore I reject out of hand anything you say").

    Anyone is able to be skeptical towards positions they disagree with, and point out the fallacies in them. Even creationists do that. It doesn't make you a skeptic.
    The difference of being intellectually mature is that you can apply the same skeptical standards to your own opinions and convictions. But the FtB crowd seems to be unable to do that. They never display even the most rudimentary form of self-reflection or self-criticism. It's sickening.

    Soory for the lengthy post. This kind of thing gets on my nerve. I hate hypocrisy.

    1. Just an FYI: Josh the Spokesgay is a guy.

    2. I didn't know that. I thought he was a woman because of his avatar.

    3. Josh is a 'real character'. By that I mean he is a cock of the highest order. In the entire 4 months i survived on Pharyngula I don't think I ever saw him post a single substantive comment - everything was vitriol, spite and general rhetoric.

    4. And that is possibly one of the weakest points of PZ's response. In his response, he argues this:

      "Part of the reason is that the culture here means people who have a minority view often charge in here with a chip on their shoulder, promoting confrontation for confrontation’s sake. They’re not here to have a conversation, or discuss issues philosophically; they’re here to assault the fortress, to do their best to piss everyone off. They want to disrupt rather than argue"

      "Another reason is that when they aren’t aggressively abusive, these dissenters are often completely tone-deaf and unable to see beyond their own myopic little obsessions."

      If these are ban-worthy offences according to PZ, then he would have to ban the large majority of his fans and cheerleaders in the comment sections as well, because this rather accurately decribes their behavior. In fact, he would probably have to ban himself as well, as if anyone is "completely tone-deaf and unable to see beyond their own myopic little obsessions," it's PZ.

      But I think he really fails to realize this. He applies double standards so bafflingly dissimilar that he completely ruins his own credibility to any sane person reading his posts, but he's too arrogant to even consider the possibility that he might be inconsistent or dishonest himself.

      He apparently has lost all ability to put his own opinions and ideas into perspective. He has become an ideological zealot, and I don't think he deserves to be taken seriously anymore.

  28. PZ's claim that the argument is about 'people who think women are people, and everyone else' should surely be the final nail in his coffin? All anybody from FTB has to do to prove he is lying is a simple poll: ask these people that disagree with Myers if they believe women are people.

    When they all answer that women are people who deserve equal rights as men (many will probably add the proviso that they also believe men deserve equal rights with women, granted), how could anyone take him seriously again?

    It's essentially as public an admission of strawmanning and general dishonesty as you can get.

    Although, not sure I can agree with you that 'patriarchy' is fact. As a general rule the definitions I can remember being given for it by its proponents are either blatantly false, or so ethereal they are essentially incoherent. Many feminists (the blatantly false ones) point at the largely male leaders through history (ignoring some of the most powerful people in history, as they do, but never mind), and claim that that means 'Patriarchy' with a capital p. Which to be honest seems so ludicrous to me prima facie, I'm not sure if I should explain why or not.

    Sure - in general - men dominated the spotlight. They also dominated the lowest positions in society too. Unless the feminists try to argue that - for example - the conscripted peasants who were butchered in the many wars fought to gain their oligarch their spotlight were more fortunate than their wives, mothers, and sisters who were left behind to live.

    Why is it so hard to understand that for most of history life was utter shit for everyone other than the richest, the most powerful, and their families, regardless of anyone's gender? I could take feminists a lot more seriously if they dropped patriarchy, and rather talked about that basic truism, and then how both women and men need to be raised up from the persecution that the majority of both sexes have routinely suffered. When you are obsessed with the claim that only one sex has suffered any discrimination worth mentioning, then I don't see how you could ever hope to get an egalitarian society.

    Sorry about the length - I should probably not write posts after a bottle of wine...

    1. I agree.
      The ironic thing is that rather than highlight an inequality and attempt then to build as large a concensus on that, in a bid to change it, they instead risk destroying that potential concensus because allocating the blame seems more important to them than alleviating the problem.

      Person A sees problem
      Person B agrees
      Suggestion: attempt to solve problem
      ...rather than...
      Person A then insists X is responsible
      Person B expresses doubts
      Person A calls B a sexist fucking asshole
      Concensus broken and problem less likely to be addressed.

    2. But this is the central point of the "feminism" movement that you and others have been trying to wrestle on FtB: It's not in their interest to solve any problems.

      Solving things would, by definition, remove the need for the group and the attention it gives the participants. It's not a coincidence that this "feminist" movement sees placing of blame as one of it's most important duties. By blaming the other half of the population, problem solving becomes impossible because the other half of the population is less than amused by these accusations of genetic blame from the start of time to last Sunday.

      PS When will I get my pony? DS

  29. If PZ Myers reasons so badly, why didn't anyone notice before the discussion switched to feminism?

    1. PZ is a smart guy. Smart people are capable of defending, usually quite well, irrational beliefs.

      This doesn't mean all of his beliefs are irrational or reasoned badly.

    2. Because before he was promoting science and opposing ideology.

      Now he's fervently promoting ideology, and pretty dishonestly, too...

    3. When PZ was just debating creationists, he knew all the arguments and their counter-moves like a Mortal Kombat video game player. He didn't have to reason through any arguments. In fact, there was a Youtube video in which he was trying to debate a couple of Islamic men and seemed to be doing rather poorly at it, IIRC.

    4. > If PZ Myers reasons so badly, why didn't anyone notice before the discussion switched to feminism?

      For the same reason that nobody noticed Thunderf00t's irrationality till he moved away from science and started talking more about cultural and philosophic matters.

      They were "blinded by science".

    5. Several people noticed his unreasonable circus-antics prior to the discussion moving to feminism.
      For example, PZ Myers has been a jealous attention-whore among prominent atheists for years:
      He hated and denounced Hitchens for supporting the Iraq war, he's made Harris out to be a fascist for comments he made on torture and Shermer is declared persona non grata in any circle where Myers holds any level of influence (can't have one of those republicans poisoning atheism, can we?)

    6. It may seem intuitive that "stupid" people should be stupid about all things & "smart" people should be smart about all things, but I don't believe there's a single case of that in all of human history. There are plenty of people out there who are generally morons, but are extremely well-versed on one topic or another, and there are lots of geniuses whose intellect goes completely off the rails when blinded by their own pet issues.

      I'm sure PZ's logic is as strong as it ever was, but he's been feeding really bad information into his equations, so the conclusions he reaches are equally bad.

  30. I don't think that PZ lies. I think he TRULY believes he is 100 percent correct in his views.

    He can't understand how anyone could have a differing viewpoint. Therefore anyone who has a differing view point is a troll, stupid or just doesn't 'get it'.

    1. I've seen him lie several times, e.g. claiming that Tony Ryan of Coffee Loving Skeptics called Rebecca Watson a cunt. But he believes he is justified in lying because everyone who doesn't agree with him and RW is an evil rapey misogynist.

  31. Jim that is a comprehensive & accurate response. Far more restrained than I would have been.
    It should be obvious to anyone that the only atheist is PZ as we should all be basking in his self appointed position of God.

    Maybe he is going for the Western Catholic position of Patriarch now that it is up for grabs.

  32. I never realized how many atheists denied the value of science, and who oppose the idea that women are people! Thank heavens for science, and PZ Myers, or we would never know that!

    1. I can't figure out if you are a poo-flinging troll from phyrangula or being sarcastic. Seems like the former, but unlike the assholes over at FtB, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

    2. It sounds pretty clearly sarcastic to me.

    3. I dunno, he calls thunderf00t irrational above, and below he mumbles something about getting our own house in order before we criticize other people. I can't tell what he's complaining about, honestly.

    4. "he mumbles something about getting our own house in order"

      I mean that merely being an atheist doesn't make one a rational person.

      Thunderf00t and PZ Myers are cases in point, since I don't regard either of them to be particularly rational, outside of some very narrow areas of science.

      In short, atheists have a lot of work to do on themselves before they can appear half respectable as human beings. By all measures, atheists are barely any better than religious people - if at all.

    5. Given that gods don't exist, lack of moral superiority on either side of the question would seem to be a reasonable hypothesis.

      However I can state categorically that the atheists I know, hang out with, and associate with online are a metric shitload more civil than the massive trollish horde at FtB. I think they upset the curve quite a bit.

  33. Hi Jim,

    I started watching your videos pretty regularly last July. I really enjoy them. I just wanted to say, this latest round of exchanges between PZ and yourself (primed by the Pooka conference call) is really what put the nail in the coffin for me, as far as PZ and his blog goes.

    I've been an on-and-off VERY occasional consumer of the blogs on FTB for years, because of the atheism, and the science. But I never really engaged on comment threads. So, I was a little hesitant to judge.

    And, on its face (if I were to take PZ on good faith), I have to admit, I was kind of on his side. I used to be the main moderator on a philosophy discussion forum that was always dealing with INCREDIBLY sensitive questions of morality and family, and it drew some of the most psychologically damaged and hateful people I've ever met. So, I sympathized with his _words_ (that he needed to manage the discussion, blah, blah, blah).

    I made the mistake of going over there and attempting to tell him I sympathized with his task. In the process, I also admitted to disagreeing with many of the bloggers politics. Rather than showing any curiosity, or even any surprise or confusion, instead what I got was a load of hostility and, well, frankly, hate.

    Only ONE person in a sea of name-calling and shit-flinging actually asked me sincerely what I meant by "disagree politically". I obliged her with a sincere answer, and was subsequently treated to a second round of invective.

    I also tried to call him on his last sentence - implying you're simply someone who wants women reassigned the status of chattel - to produce evidence of that claim.

    That didn't go over well, either.

    Suffice to say, it was discouraging. I am sorry this is what the online atheist movement has become, and I am deeply frustrated that folks like PZ are SQUANDERING one of the last best hopes for the advancement of humanity today.

    I mean, there's a PEDO Cardinal in Los Angeles right now - responsible for shielding THIRTY other pedo-priests - who's about to vote on the next Pope. He's in the conclave, so technically, he's a 1 in 240 chance of becoming Pope himself. Why aren't we talking about that?

    The Westboro Baptist Church is hemmoraging family members left and right, now. Who's trying to get interviews with them? Who's doing anything to get that story?

    How about a review of Or any of the new atheist vloggers out there?

    Let's do something MUCH BIGGER than PZ and his Pharyngulites. Let's stay focused on who the real enemies are. Let's keep working to beat back the ignorance, the darkness, the medievalism, and the suffering of religion. Let's get so loud and so popular, we leave PZ in the dust, surrounded by all his little hate bots.

    That would be the best revenge I think.

    1. > Let's do something MUCH BIGGER than PZ and his Pharyngulites

      I see what's happening as a kind of cleansing, like when gold is purified by fire.

      Unfortunately, this purifying process will have to be ongoing, since the dirt goes deep, and accumulates.

      It also might be an idea to get our own house in order before we tell other people what to do.

  34. Myers cements his position as the Fred Phelps of atheism. He is truly beneath contempt and everyone should stop taking him seriously.

  35. I used to be a fan of PZ but can no longer stand him, partly because of his crazed sycophants, but mostly because of his dishonest and hypocritical justifications for censorship. Note that his youtube videos always have comments and ratings disabled, and that his very first sentence in his reply to you accuses you of self-absorption. That's pretty rich coming from an attention-whore like PZ. And I mean whore in a completely gender-neutral way. As PZ consistently and conclusively proves, men can also be whores.

  36. Jim, you were banned from Pharyngula for being a troll. The fact you were banned is evidence you were a troll because only trolls are banned. Logic see?

    1. Agreed. I just wish he would alter his definition of 'troll' since clearly a good 50% of the worlds population must class as trolls.
      In fact on that note I may start a new movement 'trollism': the radical notion that trolls are people!

  37. I did just read through 60-odd comments on this post and none of them are dissenting. Not sure what this says.

    1. Maybe it says that Pharyngula's commentator's don't like commenting on blogs where they can't hide behind PZ's banhammer?

  38. I didn't give a shit about FTB, my attitude to Elevatorgate was that Rebecca Watson seemed a bit sensitive, but there could be lots of good reasons why she was, so I didn't pay much notice. Then Tfoot made a video complaining about the attitude on there, and frankly, I find lots in Tfoot's attitude to criticise so I just assumed he'd been a dick to get kicked off. Then Atheism + appeared, and that bugged me. Having spent the past 5 years arguing that atheism should be treated as a single issue, suddenly some ass was muddying the waters... That's when I started to notice how many wankers there were on FTB, and how many of them appeared to be high profile. It has slowly dawned on me that one of the worst is Prof Myers. I read all your early posts about A+ on FTB because I completely agreed with you, and the response you got confirmed that there was a definite problem with those people and they need exposing. Keep it up Jim, it must be tedious dealing with PZ, but some pressure needs to be put on him. The more people who speak out, the greater the pressure.

  39. I guess PZ's problem is that he's got this "one ring to rule them all". It's a strawman wrapped in an scarcely concealed ad hominem: "how do you express “reasonable dissent” from the view that women are people".

    If ANY criticism can be channelled into THAT then obviously no one is "reasonable". That's his Tool of Summary Dismissal. Not exactly a "safe space" for skeptical thinking ;)

    There are so many flaws in the myths bandied about by feminism, but why can't we just discuss one of these?

    - Like the many claims that "1 in 2/4/6(X" women are raped when such numbers are clearly flawed, requires crazy redefinitions of the whole concept, and is contradicted by tons of other research and crime stats.
    - Why can't we discuss the fact that in American universities the Title IX has been used to ONLY slash the boys' teams in number - while it remains impossible to have more women join sports teams and their teams are left with many vacancies while the boys are waiting in line - in order to acheive "equality".
    - What is, specifically, "equality" and "social justice".
    - Why can't anyone discuss the research showing clear differences between men and women on a biological level?
    - Why can't we discuss the fact that decent research shows that women initiate about 70 percent of the violence in domestic violence and it might, generally, be a case of mutual dysfunction in those relationships?
    - Why can't we discuss the merits of the statistics showing that there doesn't seem to be a wage gap?
    - Why can't anyone discuss the rights and responsibilities and fairness in reproductive matters? Namely whether it's reasonable that the woman can make all choices, bear very few of the responsibilities, yet she has the full control not just over the man's reproductive rights after sex, but also his money, depending only on her unilateral decision (even when the woman has been deceiving the man, the condom burst yet the woman refuses to take a "morning after pill", etc.)

    None of that has any relation to his tool of summary dismissal. So maybe a more interesting question to PZ is to have him give an example of how reasonable dissent might look like? And to avoid confusing him maybe pick something like a statistic. It kinda ought to be a thing a scientist could approach with a level head.

    1. I certaiy don't agree with you on all the issues you listed there (such as the wage gap, which is often overplayed and ignores confounding factors but still seems to contain a residual difference) and the reproductive rights issue (namely that it IS unfair that men get no say but that is just hard shit, you cant have half a baby). The difference is that I would discuss these on the issues, no start screaming at you, attempt to win by default by apllying smearing labels to you etc.
      If you do ever see me do that to someone it probably means i dont feel i have a very strong case :)

      Funny thing, if you search through myers response to me, (do a page search for comments between 500-1000 for 49% should do it) you will see one of his braindead space cadets criticise me for saying the point i made above that men can have no say in whether a baby is born (outside of the mothers discretion) because ultimately she bears the child so has to have the casting vote. I specifically say that 49% of the sY is no different to no say at all. So you would think that they would approve of that, instead the insane bastard makes some comments as to how sexist i am for suggesting that men should have 49% say in the birth! It is really hard to engage with that level of stultifying stupidity and utter lack of comprehension.

  40. PZ's proven once and for all that atheism is in no way a cure for dogmatism, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, egotism, cult of personality, etc. This is something the skeptic community will have to deal with: banishing religion from the world isn't going to solve these kinds of problems I'm afraid.

    1. "...banishing religion from the world isn't going to solve these kinds of problems I'm afraid."

      Neither is keeping it around.

      In fact that is the real problem isn't it? Throughout history, we seem to have artificially selected and bred this kind of thing into most of the population, and atheists are no exception. (See my post below on 'noumena' and the irrelevance of belief). Religion is just another word for Traditional Ideology.

      Look, all FtB proves is that the 'theistic gene' is a little more basal than most thought it was. Doesn't make it any more valid.

      The same could be said of the modal logic of asshats like W.Lame Craig and Alvin Platinga: You can't 'logic' a deity into existence. Theirs is an exercise in the fact that one can use logic to....uh um...prove ANY unfalsifiability. Perhaps YOU need to 'listen' a little more? (I have been debating theists for over a decade now, but I suspect you think I was born a few weeks ago). And I assure you, FtBers/skepchicks are not atheists.

      The only solution for the atheist, or rather, anti-theist, is to be anti-ideological (including anti-feminist; that which I am) - I will not call myself pro-MRA until they learn to police their crazies, their traditionalists, their top-downists, Friedmanists, teabaggers, religulous fundies. And, no, they cannot keep it out of their MRA activism. All they do is give shitstains like Peezus and his minions justification and ammunition for their strawmanning and ad homs against them. This is what I tried to tell you earlier on your 'FtB-banhammer' copycat site, AvFM. But hey, don't listen to me...

      Here is a relevant quote I just came across the other day:

      “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs-

      Have a nice day, Esmay.

  41. Let's give him the dislike hammer on YouTube. Thumb-down every one of his videos. We are Anonymous.

  42. I think what irks most skeptics/atheists is the naming convention for PZ's blog container: Freethought Blogs.

    When I first traveled to FTB in search of freethinking, free speech and the expansion of my atheist experience, I thought to myself "Wow, freethought! Let me see what's going on!".

    I soon discovered that the leaders of that community were more than happy to link-bait people like Dawkins and Harris. I realized that most of the "blogs" were composed of drama, hand waving and misdirection. Heck, PZ could get a job with Penn and Teller with how much misdirection goes on there. (The proof has been provided by NP99 here and C0nc0rdance). When the baiting and quote mining spread to Shermer, it was pretty obvious.

    The monicker of Free Thought is clearly not right... and one can argue that the term "Blogs" should not pertain to many of the "bloggers" on that site with the incessant cut 'n paste postings.

    I quickly outgrew their point of view. I think that is the crux of most people's arguments. We've outgrown the need to call people a misogynist. We've outgrown the need to tell people to "go die in a fire" and then pretend that it was all in jest and that's how people talk. We've outgrown the need to be told by those who hold some position of authority in the atheist community to "fuck off". Not once did I ever hear Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens or Dennet tell people to "go die in a fire"... I did hear them get annoyed, and perhaps angry, but they would always listen to the argument and refute it with evidence and STILL shake the hands of those who they debated. I would welcome someone to convince me that my ideas or slants on subjects are wrong -- Having that done to me while being told I'm a rapist, misogynist and a cis-gendered privileged douchebag is a bit much.

    They should just rename the blog container, stop pretending atheism has anything to do with their brand of social justice, and people would most likely leave them alone.

    TL;DR: rename FTB, Link baiting is alive and well.

  43. The scary thing is it's not just PZ. I'm astonished to see that those paragons of clear thinking Matt Dilahunty, Tracie Harris, Martin Wagner and Russell Glasser of the Atheist Experience all boxing in the FtB/Atheism+ corner.

    Recently Matt Dilahunty called Richard Dawkins a sexism apologist.

    As the feminists are fond of saying. I just don't get it.

    1. It is really on of the most perfect examples of an echo chamber I have seen. The bloggers on that site are disproportionately hammered with the opinions of one side of the argument and eventually it shifts opinions and they don't hear the other side of the argument at all. Particularly as they know personally all the people on one side very well and After that, you only hear reinforcement of your new position and your views shift even further. It's a vicious circle and hard to break.

      It is one of the prime dangers of a closed community where you spend most of your time talking to each other. You form a clique and the views of the dominant personalities are inherited by the rest.

  44. As many of you here, I am utterly disappointed with a Prof. Myers attitude towards commenters that have expressed even a mild disagreement with him, as I wrote to NoelPlum in the past, Prof. Myers claims that he hates the sports jokey locker room mentality, but it seems to me that these days he would fit right in there with those he claims to despise, his blog clearly encourages its regulars to verbally abuse, taunt and misrepresent anyone with a dissenting view, this seems to me to be a clear case of someone whose success has gone to his head and it’s a real shame because I really looked up to him at one time.
    My question to you is this - what other blogs would you recommend as an alternative? I find myself often torn between wanting to visit Pharyngula to see if there are any interesting topics (and also to catch any recent news on anything to do with Atheism, skepticism or evolution) and not wanting to add to the FtB readership.
    Any blogs out there that resemble what Pharyngula used to be like about two years ago?


    1. I don't know, am am very new to the blogosphere!
      Skepticink appears to have a fair array of bloggers and are largely a sort of reverse version of FtB. Patheos appears somewhat more high brow than either and i like their more catholic roster of bloggers.

  45. Hey Noel, C0nc0rdance made a video on this calling PZ out. When C0nc0rdance starts to criticize you its time to think LONG and HARD about whether or not you are right or wrong, and why that rationally is the case. He also includes a comment from Sam Harris in his video, another intellectual titan.

  46. Yes, i spome wih c0nc0rdance prior to his video, straight after the debate in fact, to show him the difference between what myers had said and my experiences. It was clear he suspected that myers was being economical with the truth but not to the extent of the departure in terms of what Myers holds to constitute a troll.
    Pleased he made his video.

  47. AFAIC, Peezus H. Kreist lost the argument before he started. He cemented his loss with that baseless non sequitur crack about the invalidity of an anti-feminist position (or rather, negation). Herein lies the problem with any debate, especially virtual ones: subjective experience, and the opinions derived thereupon are non sequitur by definition (the more subjective, or less intersubjective, the more non sequiturous).

    I call it the True Scotsman Fallacy. Or the Not a No True Scotsman Fallacy.Self identification or claims of one's own position are as irrelevant those same claims made by another. What is or is not, or what was or was not never had anything to do with one's thoughts or words, but their manifested behavior/action. You cannot say you are an atheist if you behave toward a Proverbial Feminine in the same way theists behave toward a superatural deity or concept (the actual existence of which is also irrelevant).

  48. Just a general comment about the "apparent decline of online atheism"... I've been an atheist my entire life and an atheist of the online persuasion since 1996. Back when PZ Myers was spouting his stuff on (usenet's), I was in alt.atheism. The whole point of was the taking of a contrary position to creationists and it relied on their continued arrival (and destruction by the local "evolutionists"). PZ Myers was notably absent from alt.atheism, which is where I hung out (I say this, because I was a regular there for a long time and the names of contributors was quickly learned).

    In all of my time as an online atheist I'd never even heard of PZ Myers until about a year ago (when ElevatorGate caught my attention). PZ Myers isn't a leader of atheism. Atheism doesn't need leaders. He is a blinkered idiot who has self-appointed himself as a person who matters... and surrounded himself by other people who have self-appointed themselves as mattering. I mean, they matter all right (in the materialist sense that matter is physical and dog shit on the soul of your shoe also matters).

    FtB is a subset of a subset of a subset. Online atheism continues to survive (with strength) despite the rise or demise of one ignorant fuck's personal serfdom.

    Red Celt
    alt.atheism #883 (nostalgia-driven signature)

    PS Noel, you're better in video format. In text, I can't see you repeatedly touch/scratch various parts of your head/face. Which is an endearing element of your on-camera subconsciousness.

  49. Hi Noel, great post and response. And yeah, you are better in video - more endearing....

    Just a point of note is that I don't think it's fair to assume PZ's blog should have dissenters because you have them on your youtube channel. FTB is pretty much a niche blog whereas your videos on YouTube can be stumbled upon quite easily due to the popularity of Youtube.

    That said, you really needn't have bothered addressing that point since after PZ asked "Why aren’t 50% of my commenters creationists, just like the American population?", he then went on to say this:

    "Look at the header on the blog: liberals, atheists, science-minded people will congregate here."

    As if we didn't already know that was exactly what you were referencing when you talked about 'dissenters' on FTB....

    Just my two cents worth....

    1. Thanks (despite your surname giving me flashbacks to my ex-girlfriend). I will still do the majority of my stuff on YouTube and may even tinker with recording some videos and transribing a slightly cleaned up version here (or my wordpress account which is in the preparation and will replace this!).
      Thing is there are many times when I simply cannot record video but do have access to my desktop or laptop pc, so this gives me a little side project - and it will improve my writing to boot!

  50. I don't think it's because he's 'banned them all'. As he says in his most recent response he's only banned 105 people in ten years and I think that is a valid point. Of course, the response is still full of his usual ad hominems ("Holy fuck. A youtuber is complaining that there’s too much shit-flinging in a comment thread. I think we’re done here.") and strawmen ("It’s somewhat interesting that these disagreements come from known youtube personalities who really want blogs to be just like the youtube free-for-all, apparently.") and he completely ignores several of your statements.

    No, I think it's mostly because his blog has gained a reputation as a hostile environment for anyone who does not agree with PZ. People have learned that his regular commentariat will gang up on dissenters, call them names, and generally behave shittily toward them, and PZ DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT. Hence, FTBullies. I'm not suggesting he ban them, but he could pop into the comments and tell them, to knock it off and if they persist, then they will be banned. You can bet that if a large group of dissenters showed up and behaved that way, he'd ban them in double quick time.

    I also think it's worth pointing out that out of the people in the dungeon, not one agreed with Myers.

    It's not my place to tell you what to blog about, but perhaps that can be the thrust of your next entry.

  51. "Holy fuck. A youtuber is complaining that there’s too much shit-flinging in a comment thread. I think we’re done here."
    The problem with that ad-hominem of PZ's is that it was a clear misunderstanding of the point I had made. I was responding to the charge that it was I who had made comments other than addressing the issues. The point I was demonstrating with the link was not how horrible his posters were but that their vitriol was in lieu, as often as not, of anything more substantive. Had they said "Noel, let me address your points .............." and THEN said "PS: I hate you so much why don't you just fuck off?" I wouldn't have had half as much of an issue.

    I also question his list of 105. I can think of one definite person he has banned since myself who is not on the list, slymepitters are blocked en masse (over 500 of them) and according to one source this list only actually dates back to his starting at FtB, as he cleared his old list at that time.

    " I'm not suggesting he ban them, but he could pop into the comments and tell them, to knock it off and if they persist, then they will be banned."
    Funny thing is that is what i have always done. i allow a great deal to go by on my channel but i have always afforded more protection to outsiders than from outsiders because i know it is the outsiders who need that protection.

    1. His response is very lame. From his point of view he can now say that he's dealt with you (although clearly he hasn't) and now that the issue is "dealt with" if people keep bringing it up he can ban them for being boorish, or for bringing up the same old arguments or whatever. This seems to keep his regulars happy.

      I can't believe his attitude to the "youtube free-for-all". If you look at his blog:

      Wishing death on people - no problem.
      Wishing dead porcupines up people's anuses - no problem.
      All manner of ad homs - no problem.
      Calling people arseholes / douche canoes / etc - no problem.
      Calling someone a cunt - OH MY GOD!!! A GENDERED INSULT!!! INSTANT BAN!!!!

  52. I agree with basically everything with the exception of one thing.

    I think part of the problem is that PZ doesn't really give a shit about debate or being correct or anything else related to this. I think what PZ cares about is spreading a message, and that message used to be God doesn't exist (and people who do think he exists are total a-holes), but he's changed to feminism (and those that think there is anything wrong with feminism are total a-holes).

    He was a complete and utter jackass to Christians of all kinds, and we just kind of went with it because we agreed with him, but now he has this other thing which we don't agree with and it's an unexpected.

    So basically, I think the problem is that people are trying to debate a guy that doesn't like to debate and just likes advocating. He's an ideologue.

    So his website is basically set up to be a circular jacking off session (or circle jill off session! don't forget the women!), and he only allows people in who disagree so that everyone can get around and tar and feather them so that the jill/jack off session has a target that they will almost certainly all agree about.

    It's a bit like going to a Democrat rally and trying to convince them of the value of supply side economics.

    1. Forgot to add:

      "So his website is basically set up to be a circular jacking off session (or circle jill off session! don't forget the women!), and he only allows people in who disagree so that everyone can get around and tar and feather them so that the jill/jack off session has a target that they will almost certainly all agree about."

      And he can come in with the banhammer and be a hero to the whole of his furiously masturbating flock of... pale of hill water fetchers... I think i've taken the Jack/Jill thing as far as it an go I'll stop now...

  53. The ONLY reason he doesn't like YouTube is because everyone on there doesn't kiss his ass and tell him how wonderful he is. It's not like FtB where everyone is in a huge circle-jerk while patting each other on the back at the same time. He sure didn't have a problem with YouTube when he appeared in Thunderf00t's video, now did he?

  54. I used to really like PZ Myers.

    There again I used to like Jimmy Savile too !

  55. After two rather protracted "discussions" with the "horde", I think your criticism re: banning is only half the story.

    The commenters there do not behave like individuals, but rather like a collective. There are the few "heavy issue" posters who are more likely to quote you and, miracle of miracles, actually interpret about 50% of what you say accurately. Then there are the orbiters, who haul things out of context, misunderstand your argument, and cast everything you say in the worst possible light. Both types regularly degenerate into a combination of personal attacks and back-slapping, and any internal policing (eg "hey X, that's not what he said") is offered cynically if at all, with copious "he's a fuckwad anyways, but" caveats lest any expressions of charity cause alienation from the hive.

    What they've created is a place where dissent is certainly possible, but in an extremely narrow range, on a small number of issues. Stretch the politics or social position too far, and nothing short of a mewling display of obsequience will exonerate you from an endless barrage of vitriol.

    In addition, while very real, very relevant disagreements occur in the hivemind's responses to you(amongst themselves), these disagreements are simply utilized to further do-down Big Dissent. When half of them agree on issue X, and half disagree, arguing against X is perceived as arguing against a position no one is espousing. When supporting X(and thus not arguing against it), it is perceived as "ignoring" the commenters who argue against it, not responding the argument destroyer that is X for cowardly reasons.

    They don't have regular dissenters because most normal people aren't going to put up with that kind of abuse, whether or not they get banned. He doesn't need to ban, all you have to do is read responses to something you might agree with to realize that your thoughts and attention is best applied elsewhere. I imagine that, while the dungeon is not very populous, one can go back through the history of contentious posts on PZs blog and find unique, single or double post individual dissenters who, when realizing the extent of groupthink and personal vitriol, just left and never came back.

  56. The main problem of "old" vs. "new" PZ Myers is simply that the positions that he stood for in the past (atheism, evolution) were right, and I'd even say strongly right. Although it was not easy to debate with professional apologists or creationists, then just the fact that he was on the side of the truth and stood on a firm foundations of science and reason gave him victiores, and more importantly allowed him to get away with bad treatment of his opponents. Calling people advocating idiotic position idiots, or those who tell non-truth liars may be accepted by the public.
    Now he has changed what he advocates to some extreme left-wing ideologies that are simply wrong and broken. His simply on the side of a falsehood and a lack of reason. So right now it's the subset of his opponents who are right, so by mistreating these of his opponents because of their views he in fact mistreating people who are right, because they are right. But such behavior is necessary. After all if you want to keep a wrong belief system you have to reject all what debunks it. And what would be the best way? Why not just blocking the sources of information incompatible with your doma?
    Another problem for PZ may stem from general difficulty of disputing with non-religious positions, as opposed with religous dogmas. Religions tend to be fixed, when you debunk their critical parts, then it's basically over, they are left only with apologetics (= word twisting, obfuscation, debating tactics etc.). It's different with real-world ideologies. When you have a non-religious Position version N that has some flaws, and some good stuf (that is it is not totally flawed), then debunking some of its part only results in version N+1, without these flaws, and such critique motivates it's followers/creators to add missing features, resulting in version N+2 that is even better. Basically a non-fixed, non-religous positon that is not fully wrong has a potential for improvement resulting from undergoing some quality control resulting from the critical approach to it. It's because you are allowed to think about it, and improve it as there are no holy parts that are holy, untouchable etc. What we see now is that this new Atheism+ ideology, with it's fixed core values treated as holy cows, behaves like a religion - no improvements as a result of critique, just apologetics-style defence, or personal attack (eg. bans from forums). At the same time the positions opposite to Atheism+ are stronger and stronger with each new iteration.
    In fact Atheism+ fits Richard Carrier's definition of a religion well:
    “By science and religion I mean particular things. By religion I mean any system of beliefs and values based in some way or other on unscientific thinking. Depending on some sort of knowledge other than scientific reason. [...] Religion can also mean a sincere devotion to any worldview, any philosophy of life as a source of meaning and values. That’s a valid use of the word, and in that sense I myself am a deeply religious man.[...] By science I mean the whole system of values and ideas on which all scientific thinking is based [...], “.
    (From a speach: “Why science is better than religion and always has been”)

  57. Few cons of Atheism+, feminism etc.:
    1) Slogan thinking. These guys don't think deeply, they just hear some good-sounding slogans (like "we support social justice"), get excited by them but don't really try to speficy what these mean, or what specific actions and side effects they imply.
    Another example "we support equal rights for women". First equality by it's very essence needs two sides. - the other side is what corporations, governments, non-profits, farm animals? The second issue is that when you consistently add (rights) to one side, but not to the other, then it becomes bigger than the other.
    2) Some of their "core values" are simply broken.
    Consider diversity. It has the same flaw that both rascism and sexism have - it prioritetizes a less important parameter like a race or sex over the really important ones (safety, talents, hard-working etc.). Basically these three have obsession about classifying people according to such critieras.
    Another case would be all those "equalities". Not possible by any dynamics of systems - there will always be some lucky and unlucky ones, those that utilize their opportunities, and those that don't, parents that work to increase opportunities for their children, and ones that hinder them.
    3) This Atheism+, feminism etc. is decisively too human-centered.
    The major actors in contemporary world are: first - distributed systems (including civilization itself, science, free market, Internet), then - institutions: corporations, governments, with humans placed much much later at the influence hierarchy (who knows - above or below computers?), and if so - mainly acting as parts of organization or system.
    Religions somewhat don't get this institution-centric new state of the world,. Atheism+ is the same.
    In a sense because of such humanistic approach humans are the default to be blamed for everything, even for the faults of the system. Even scientists fall for this - how else would they talk about "human-caused global warming" instead of "civilization-induced global warming".
    4) The whole thing looks like a "self-divide-and-be-conquered" ideology. Divide-and-conquer is what empires did to their victims to defeat them. Atheism+ is a force that by itself divides atheists among various lines (eg. feminism - according to sex) in order to create some artificial conflicts between them.
    5) It's the opposite direction to what was the previous direction, which was a good direction.
    The previous generation atheists - New Atheists, Sketpics etc. were promoting the methods of examining the world as core values, and drawing conlcusions from these. Not believing in gods was just a conclusion from these methods. These methods inlcuded open-midedness, basing your conclusions on evidence, and in general being ready to accept where the research leads you.
    Atheism+ on the other hand goes back to fixed beliefs and values, which is the same way that religious or political ideologies operate. In Atheism+ you shouldn't try to apply verification methods to it's core beliefs, for if the conclusions of the verification is negative you are out ot the club.
    6) I actually agree, that atheist organizations may spend time and resources on other stuff than atheism or secularism. The problem with Atheism+ is that they have chosen totally wrong ones, and tried to force them on everybody.
    So if you want atheist organizations to provide other stuff you have to assure these topics are super-unversal. Like preventive health, or reasonable ways to manage your finances and time. Churches actually have activities like these:
    7) This whole liberal feminism looks like an Extinction Club, with below-replacement reproduction rates. Join them, and let your lineage go extinct! PZ doesn't care, as he said he plans to indocrtinate children of conservatives as a replacement for extinct Aplusers.

  58. Now I understand why people create usernames like “PZ MEYERS IS A FUCKING DOUCHEBAG”. Not that I condone such trollishness, even if PZ is incapable of addressing you (or any other dissenter I imagine) without ad hominem. His most laughable personal attack was the accusation of narcissism. Of course you're a narcissist and so is everyone else that deems their opinions worthy of a blog. WTF? The FtB community is even worse. I found their comments to you nearly as disheartening as those under every fucking thing that Rebecca Watson commits to the interwebs (regardless of subject). Of course THEY would call that last sentence a false equivalency when in fact it is just two examples of people being assholes, one of which they falsely justify by pointing out that the other is worse.