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Sam Harris on “Wrestling the Troll”
Posted: 21 August 2012 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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This is my first post here on the forum, despite being a big fan of Sam’s work and a site visitor for many years.  So, yeah, shame on me for waiting so long, but the brilliance of Sam’s writing in general and in the post this thread’s subject mentions specifically finally made me step up.  I don’t say this lightly, Sam is more than just an influential atheist decrying the folly of credulity, he is the modern-day Machiavelli commanding our appreciation for literate expression.  He is a master of the written word and turn of phrase, to say the very least.


OK, introductory butt-kissing aside, I must admit I used to comment quite regularly on PZ Myer’s FTB blog until his banning of thunderf00t and intolerable self-righteous hypocrisy drove me off the site for good.  As an example, PZ and followers regularly assault Sam’s continuing (and justified, in my mind) criticism of Islam such as the following quote from “Wrestling the Troll”

Since the moment I began criticizing religion in public, I have argued that Islam merits special concern—because it is currently the most militant and retrograde of the world’s major religions.


I’m sure it comes as no surprise to contributors here that statements like this from Sam never fail to earn him labels like “Islamophobe,” “racist,” “Fox shill,” etc., over at PZ’s blog.  What is interesting (and infinitely frustrating to me) is deep down in his heart, PZ shares this very sentiment about Islam’s especially troubling nature, but he is rarely honest about it!  Occasionally, he “slips up” and admits it, like he does here...

Religion is an evil mind-rot with varying degrees of infection, but I think the worst of them all has to be Islam. What a nasty little superstition it is.


PZ, no doubt, would remain silent while his flock vilified Sam for making this same statement.  “Shepherd of Internet trolls” is putting it kindly, and probably lacks one word in its otherwise apt title: dishonest.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Hey and welcome, even though this forum does not have a lot of activity :(

JamesEvans - 21 August 2012 07:28 PM

OK, introductory butt-kissing aside, I must admit I used to comment quite regularly on PZ Myer’s FTB blog until his banning of thunderf00t and intolerable self-righteous hypocrisy drove me off the site for good..

Im just curious… But what was the thunderf00t banning about? I have seen a few of thunderf00ts videos on youtube and he seemed like a cool guy. What was it about?

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Posted: 22 August 2012 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Yuri - 22 August 2012 01:47 PM

Im just curious… But what was the thunderf00t banning about?


Certain ideas/subjects on freethoughtblogs have become accepted site dogma and cannot be challenged.  Bloggers and forum contributors, alike, will be banned rather quickly if this rule is broken, even if not a single insult or threat is made or profane word used during the dissenting post(s).  Sounds like I’m making it up, right?  Like I’m holding a grudge?  I’m not, honestly.  If you ask, you will get rather frank admissions from the FTB herd and the powers that be that “free thought” does not mean “free speech.”  You can check out PZ’s own tyrannical take on blog management (and one would assume site administration) for further corroboration.


Anyway, the ban-worthy topics are fairly typical secular hot button issues like Islamophobia, creationism, racism, etc. (keep in mind that I’m a fairly liberal guy, and while often agreeing with the opinions PZ held, I found most of the banning to be childish and unnecessary), and the most incendiary of them all is the trademarked FTB version of feminism.  PZ gives little wiggle room here.  Usually only one warning is issued to a contributor who has dared to challenge the approved viewpoint, and then an immediate ban if orders are not followed.  And from what I understand emails are sent behind the scenes to bloggers to let them know when they have crossed this particular, cherished line and further transgressions will result in disciplinary action.


At this point, I think you can guess where thunderf00t dared to venture.  He felt feminist issues, sexism, and accusations of harassment were all given undue weight in FTB blogs, and accused the site and its participants of being out of touch with the larger rationalist community.  As he saw it, perception did not match reality.  He was relentlessly critical of Rebecca Watson and fellow Skepchicks, and challenged the harassment policies proposed for TAM and other skeptical gatherings.  There was a rather heated exchange over these matters between PZ and TF.  And probably most galling to PZ, TF allowed people who agreed with his own, non-conforming stance to contribute unchecked and at length in the comment section of his blog.  These “MRA-types,” as Pharyngulites call them, are Public Enemy Number One.  They are NOT to be tolerated for more than a few comments, if they even get that far, because in PZ and his followers’ minds you are irresponsibly enabling male privilege and the associated rape-culture, or something like that.  You’ll have to ask a Pharyngulite for the real story here, as I didn’t stick around long enough to get the full picture on why MRA’s are such a difficulty.


Despite allegedly being given permission to discuss anything he wanted in any way he wanted by PZ himself before agreeing to become a blogger on the site, thunderf00t was, in a nutshell, given the axe for doing just that.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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JamesEvans - 22 August 2012 04:46 PM
Yuri - 22 August 2012 01:47 PM

Im just curious… But what was the thunderf00t banning about?


Certain ideas/subjects on freethoughtblogs have become accepted site dogma and cannot be challenged.  Bloggers and forum contributors, alike, will be banned rather quickly if this rule is broken, even if not a single insult or threat is made or profane word used during the dissenting post(s).  Sounds like I’m making it up, right?  Like I’m holding a grudge?  I’m not, honestly.  If you ask, you will get rather frank admissions from the FTB herd and the powers that be that “free thought” does not mean “free speech.”  You can check out PZ’s own tyrannical take on blog management (and one would assume site administration) for further corroboration.


Anyway, the ban-worthy topics are fairly typical secular hot button issues like Islamophobia, creationism, racism, etc. (keep in mind that I’m a fairly liberal guy, and while often agreeing with the opinions PZ held, I found most of the banning to be childish and unnecessary), and the most incendiary of them all is the trademarked FTB version of feminism.  PZ gives little wiggle room here.  Usually only one warning is issued to a contributor who has dared to challenge the approved viewpoint, and then an immediate ban if orders are not followed.  And from what I understand emails are sent behind the scenes to bloggers to let them know when they have crossed this particular, cherished line and further transgressions will result in disciplinary action.


At this point, I think you can guess where thunderf00t dared to venture.  He felt feminist issues, sexism, and accusations of harassment were all given undue weight in FTB blogs, and accused the site and its participants of being out of touch with the larger rationalist community.  As he saw it, perception did not match reality.  He was relentlessly critical of Rebecca Watson and fellow Skepchicks, and challenged the harassment policies proposed for TAM and other skeptical gatherings.  There was a rather heated exchange over these matters between PZ and TF.  And probably most galling to PZ, TF allowed people who agreed with his own, non-conforming stance to contribute unchecked and at length in the comment section of his blog.  These “MRA-types,” as Pharyngulites call them, are Public Enemy Number One.  They are NOT to be tolerated for more than a few comments, if they even get that far, because in PZ and his followers’ minds you are irresponsibly enabling male privilege and the associated rape-culture, or something like that.  You’ll have to ask a Pharyngulite for the real story here, as I didn’t stick around long enough to get the full picture on why MRA’s are such a difficulty.


Despite allegedly being given permission to discuss anything he wanted in any way he wanted by PZ himself before agreeing to become a blogger on the site, thunderf00t was, in a nutshell, given the axe for doing just that.

Sounds almost as bad as CARM

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What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
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I prefer the full-on embrace of reality to the spiritual masturbation that is religion.
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~ M. Teresa, Fruitcake of Calcutta

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