Monday, October 20, 2014

Get 'Em While They're Young!

I've noticed the disturbing trend of religious zealotry targeting ever younger (and in the case of college students, somewhat inexperienced) crowds. It's pretty clear the reason for this is that the more religion's drawbacks are exposed to the light of day, and the easier it becomes to shed light into its dark little corners, such as ethnic cleansings (like in Eastern Europe, for example), the theft of children from their birth parents for whatever imagined sins the single mother might have committed (like in Spain), and so on, the religious, being aware of the ease of indoctrinating children into their warped belief systems, are focusing their efforts at universities, both on and off campuses, public elementary schools, and re-education camps that exist offshore and in the "heartland", two of which are depicted in the documentaries Jesus Camp and Kidnapped for Christ .

They are making inroads into our children's brains, and destroying their ability to think critically at ever younger ages, and this is the plan: check out the so called "Wedge Document". A recent study even suggests that exposure to religion can make it more difficult for children to distinguish reality from fiction. This post then, is a call to atheists to relinquish the bullshit narrative, and ironically dogmatic view that they should allow their children to "choose for themselves" whether or not they are going to be religious or not. These atheists, and you might just be one of them, seem to think that if you teach a kid to like science, and to value the use of the scientific method (however formulated), that they'll just "choose" atheism or its weak sauce cousin, agnosticism, and that this is proof enough against the woo they will likely encounter on a daily basis. The facts on the ground, as they say, are very, very different.

Several years ago I read a book titled Ethnic Conflict and Indoctrination that got me to thinking about my own experiences with indoctrination, education, and phys ed. As it turns out, it's frighteningly easy to indoctrinate anyone, let alone a child. More to the point, religions have been doing it for millenia. The battleground is shifting, brothers and sisters: now it's not enough to hope that our kids don't fall victim to religious hocus-pocus. It's the time to teach our kids all the evil things religions do and all the good things they promise, but fail to deliver on. You aren't indoctrinating your kids by telling them the truth. By shielding them from the truth, and by whitewashing these things, i suppose, ostensibly to protect your kids from the violence that exists in the world (and believe me, with 5 kids i totally sympathize), what you are really doing is exposing them to possible infection by the mind virus that is religion.

Let's be clear: this isn't the party line within internet atheist circles, dominated as they are by ideologically driven players on both sides of the fictional political divide. This is the call that a pragmatic atheist, led by the evidence available, arrives at, whether we want to go there or not.



PS: below are amazon links to the works I mentioned in this piece. If you care to purchase from Amazon through those links, Amazon shows me some love, and it doesn't cost you anything.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crayons and Condescension

I have told many a believer that they'd probably have no problem reading the bible if it had been written in crayon (being that most believers can't believe me when I tell them what's actually in the bible). The insult in that is unmistakeable--children like crayons, and wanting to read the book you venerate as the Inspired Word of God (tm) is best encouraged by making it more palatable to children, which is to say that believers are very much like children.

It is no less an insult when it's couched in more politically correct terms: when Jen McCreight offers to make the online atheist community more receptive to minorities, she is doing the same thing. There is nothing that makes atheism more accessible than the fact that there are no deities. To suggest that minorities don't like atheism, or don't consider it a viable choice of non-belief system, because it is somehow inaccessible to them, is to say that minorities have a difficult time with the scientific method or basic logic. Perhaps it is true that all us coloreds are too dumb to understand science. Perhaps it is true that we are driven to religion by bright shiny objects of veneration and worship. Perhaps the largely white leadership of modern internet atheism can't attract minorities to the cause because we are too stupid to understand the pernicious effects of religion and religious communities. Or... maybe we are just as intellectually capable of understanding what it is that mccreight wants to sell us--and we don't want it.

The fact is that for many of us, growing up in working class and poor single parent homes, just making it through high school in the inner cities is a badge of honor. It isn't easy to make good use of ancient textbooks, and to get something out of teachers that don't care or are too inexperienced to be good educators. For us, the mewling about tshirts and 'fake jewelry' rings rather false. it smacks of white privilege, and yes, when kids are being mutilated every day by the jewish community, and countless others are marginalized, attacked, and have acid thrown in their faces, it DOES IN FACT MEAN THAT YOUR PROBLEMS ARE JACK SHIT AND SHOULD BE IGNORED UNTIL THESE OTHER PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN HANDLED. I'm sorry (/S) on this one, but I'm going to have to throw my lot in with Richard Dawkins- The Grand Old Man of the New Atheism, and say that his letter to Muslima was EXACTLY what white, neo-liberal internet femitheists like Rebecca Watson need to hear.

Maybe us colored folk could use a fresh infusion of blood into the ranks of the godless. Maybe it's time that internet feminists like McCreight stopped offering us a watered down version of atheism in lieu of actual atheism.

The fact is that outside of a few bloggers and vloggers, minority voices are silenced in the online atheist community. For my part, after the evidence-less accusations and counter accusations surrounding elevatorgate (3 years or so on), I was mistaken for an angry white man more than once, and by rather prominent ftb-ers and their allies. which goes to show how far atheism "plus" has devolved into a religion of its own--either you're 'with them', or you're a CHUD, as Richard Carrier has averred, and therefore an Angry White Man (tm)--even when your objections are legitimate, and your concerns valid. You'll note the binary thinking inherent in that, for the record.

I for one am not content to sit on the sidelines anymore. There needs to be a group of authentic atheist voices from minority communities, instead of rabid internet feminists masquerading as atheists and trying to infuse everything with the particular imprimatur of illogical thinking that is so characteristic of internet femitheism.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Ikonografer 2.0

Ikonografer 2.0

It's been kind of a crazy 2.5 years or so. New wife. New son. New Country. Four new stepdaughters. First mother-in-law. An encounter with the police that didn't make me want to vomit and take a shower. A profoundly uninspiring dalliance with the dark side of gender politics. I've even had accusations of criminality and malfeasance leveled against me. All and sundry (take that N.) seem to have changed. Some touchstones have stayed the same, though not many. Different blogs, different platforms. Different formats. lot's of trial and error, only to find myself where I began, so to speak, though with a few new bells and whistles. A slew of changes that would make anyone's head swim, or drown.

I've been examining and re-examining just about everything, from why sentences are customarily capitalized (has to do with antique typesetting), to the roles of logic and epistemology in my own thinking. As per usual, I have landed roughly in the moderate area of most things, though not others. Here are some highlights, in roughly ascending order of importance:

1. I'm tired of pressing the shift key in obeisance to the arcane custom of capitalizing the first letter of every sentence, even though i know you guys seem to love this particularly small touchstone. (striking a blow against something, who cares what?). this apparently comes from the problems first encountered by Gutenberg and others with typesetting and bleeding ink and paper, but (a) i'm lazy, and (b) i'm saving keystrokes. so, i'll be dispensing with that forthwith, propriety be damned.

2. i won't be capitalizing the letter 'i', either. in this day and age, no one is that fucking important. well known doesn't equal importance, and being the tiny little speck of stardust that i am, i won't be pretending otherwise.

3. there is a decidedly biased bent online in favor of two horrid little things: giving credence to poseurs because they have sycophants, such as the  MRA vlogger 'integral math', who for some reason or other has a quibble against how i pronounce the word 'integral' (i accent the 'e' rather than the 'i', because of a stutter that despite my best efforts doesn't want to relinquish its hold on me), and who famously demonstrated his mathematical prowess by fucking up some arithmetic (which i pronounce in the customary fashion), and to the usual bullshit move of claiming expertise in areas where none is to be seen, proven, nor had, like feMRA vlogger, and right wing libertarian Karen Straughan, aka girlwriteswhat?  or for that matter, people like rebecca watson, of skepchick fame. becky, for whatever reason, has decided not to substantiate her allegations in the elevatorgate pseudo-scandal, with anything remotely resembling what i like to call 'evidence'.

i'd like to take this opportunity to send a big fuck you with a kiss to the Modern Language Association's stylesheet (and to The Chicago Manual of Style, amongst others), requiring a 'works cited' page. i'll be returning to the old school bibliography, thank you very much, which you'll find on this blog, as soon as i get around to it-which should be in fairly short order. i'm tired of having to go over and over the same ground. either you're a reader and a thinker, or you aren't. i'm more than happy to pander a little to the readers, and give them a heads up on what i've read, which is where my conclusions come from, in exchange for expecting you to do your homework. if you're going to join the discussion, read the relevant materials. or don't. either way, the next move belongs to you, dear reader. the bibliography will grow (as i recall the titles of long ago read texts and suchlike), and be as complete as possible, so you know where i'm coming from, which has the happily intended side effect of allowing me to read some really great stuff from when i was still a wet behind the ears undergraduate student, something i've been meaning to do for a very, very long time. i'll also be including links to gutenberg.org when available and so on, so yay(!) for all of us.

4. one thing i learned from the dark side of the internet: labels mean next to nothing. no matter what you call yourself, or what others call you, you're either someone with whom a discussion can be had, or you aren't. if you aren't, there's no point in directing anything toward you, save the occasional insult. nor is there a point to wasting my time, or yours. for that reason, "discussion" with true believers of any kind is otiose. you will either be swayed by evidence, or you won't be. in either event, you either arrive at reason through your own efforts, or you don't arrive at all, and again, the next move is yours.

5. lurkers lurk and trolls troll. if you just do the reading, and habitually abstain from commentary (with an occasional lapse, as it were), welcome aboard. if you wish to comment regularly, again, welcome aboard. if you're not interested in honest discussion of the issues, there's the door. i'm more than happy to give you the bum's rush. if you're a bum.

6. i won't allow pseudo-arguments, no matter how much traction they've gained in pop-culture, except when i need to make a point. for example: bitch all you like, but (a) i'm not a misogynist for using the word 'bitch', and (b) i'm not 'silencing' you by banning or editing your comments, or by deleting them if i choose to do so. the internets is a very, very big place, and if you want your voice heard, and you think you haven't been afforded that opportunity on my blog, start your own freaking blog. you're free to do so wherever you like. i won't be cajoled into allowing comments that begin something like this: "let's see if you're really about freeze peach...". in point of fact, since i publish this blog, and run it, it's my own little fiefdom. if you'd care to join the hunt, feel free to gear up. Just keep in mind that your comments are subject to my approval or disapproval, as the case may be. the same goes for banning people and suchlike.

7. unlike the artwork that i do, i'm not 2D. that is to say, on this blog, i will write about a great many different topics, since a great many different topics interest me. i'm an "online atheist", but i'm also a slew of other things. i run my own art studio, i cook, i'm a journeyman carpenter, i practice what you youngin's now call "MMA", (though i've been doing it since Bruce Lee was making movies). other than that, i'm not much of a sports fan, i love to cook, i'm both a stepfather and a father now in my own right, and so on. so i'll be writing about those things as well as offering opinion and commentary on atheist issues. don't expect a one topic, party line type blog. moreover, since i'm all these other things, don't be surprised if there are days when i don't write a post. i've got shit to do, just like you do, though i will strive to write as often as possible, since it seems i'm now a writer as well- which is just as well, since that's what i went to college and graduate school for.

8. the internet is a very, very big place. you know how to read, even if thinking through a position is fairly new to you. it's not my job to convince you of anything. the moment that Matt Dillahunty made the claim that the truth doesn't matter (regarding elevatorgate), i decided that there is no point in arguing with anyone about anything-not that i'm giving up on having discussions, mind you, it's just that there is no reason to think that any amount of arguing will make a difference to the individual who is hell bent on remaining ignorant. again, i'm firmly of the belief that one either learns on one's own, or one doesn't learn at all. it is the rare person who can learn from someone else's mistakes rather than committing the same mistake one sees others commit. it isn't my place to teach you the skill set that allows you to do that, and honestly, i don't think it's possible to teach it, even if i could identify its constituent parts in my own thought process. therefore, i'm not going to argue with you. END OF STORY.

9. really, truly, AFAIC, this is a clean slate, so to speak--though of course, haters are always gonna hate, but that's OK. i'll be migrating all the old articles that i think are worth keeping to this blog, irrespective of their topics, and deleting the rest of my blog posts. it's the internets, and anyone wishing to remind me of what i said during some long ago discussion, and prove it, should have already gotten their shit together and screencapped the relevant quotes, and if you haven't, meh. we are all the sum total of what our experiences are, and that's all there is to it. i refuse to play 'gotcha'  with rabble anymore--and there's a lot more rabble than reasonable out there. that's the reason for jumping on my wayback machine and reminiscing over incidents long past in this post, a final heads up to the haters, and a recognition of whatever mistakes, missteps, and sundry (take that, N.) imperfections and so on that belong to me, and to which i somehow belong. the past two or so years have been a HUGE learning experience for me, and there you have it. ikonografer 2.0.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Discussing the biggest threat to mens rights (a WBB mirror)



a serious, mostly foul language free (well, foul language free for me) discussion with the WBB about the state of the MRM, blocking, doxxing, cowardice, and all and sundry regarding the most recent AVfM witch hunt.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Responding to little jenny's rationalizations

 little jenny mcreight has decided to write about what she calls '...some of the common misconceptions about "atheism+" that have been thrown at me." the fact is, it's a roll call of rationalizations, fallacious argument, and stuff that can only be charitably called crap. these are the questions she's been 'thrown', the relevant part of her answers (on my view, that is) and some of my clearly misogynist observations relating to each.


1. Atheism+ is just secular humanism! Just call it what it is! 


"...I just don’t understand why some of them are so cranky that we…what, are saying we agree with their ideals and values? Let’s not let progress get derailed by discussions about labels."
indeed, jenny. if we are going to discuss the relative lack of importance of labels, could you please be a bit clearer on why 'atheism' isn't a good enough label? or 'secular humanist'?

2. Why does everyone have to agree with your particular dogma?

No one has to agree with me, and I don’t want dogma. I want to be able to discuss social justice issues from the context of atheism and skepticism. Discuss, not dictate. Right now we can’t even do that without being threatened, trolled, and derailed. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the views of people who support A+
actually, you can, and are dictating. forget about calling people who disagree with you 'evil', given the fact that you claim you "...don’t necessarily agree with all of the views of people who support A+", and given that surly amy roth has taken it upon herself to coerce atheist leaders to lend support to your maniacal cause, i would call on you to repudiate richard carrier's hate filled rhetoric:

There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all. I was already mulling a way to do this back in June when discussion in the comments on my post On Sexual Harassment generated an idea to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheism movement, so we could start marginalizing the evil in our midst, and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values. Then I just got overwhelmed with work and kept putting it off on my calendar for when I had a good half a day or so to get started on that project.

3. Person X supports A+ and said this really shitty thing, therefore A+ is evil!
 
 There I can establish a mission for what A+ is truly about.
lemme be clear: richard carrier has set out rules that he expects all adherents of atheism+ to follow, and he has been quite clear on the need to kick anyone out of the movement that doesn't adhere to them, while a priori vilifying them. you yourself have said you are 'establish[ing] a mission for what a+ is truly about. i reiterate my challenge to you: repudiate, publicly, the acidic, hateful speech that carrier has spewed forth, and then, please, explain how the 'mission' of a+ is not a dogma.


there were more questions...but like any disease, stupid is infectious. i'll let someone else finish the list, before enough of my brain cells commit suicide that i'd become a zombie aplustard.

cheers.

Schroedinger's Murderer - a parody, so you can go ahead and DMCA your moms if you like

Dear Colored People, Thank you for reading.

Let me start out by assuring you that I understand you are a good sort of person. You are kind to children and animals. Your pants are secured by a belt at your waist. You are well spoken. You are clean and articulate. You respect whites. You like whites. In fact, you would really like to have a mutually respectful and friendly relationship with a white person. Unfortunately, you don’t yet know that white person—you don't work for them, nor have you been introduced through mutual friends or drawn to the same activities. So you must look further afield to encounter this person.

So far, so good. Miss WhiteBread, your humble instructor, approves. Human connection, respect, camaraderie: there is nothing wrong with these yearnings.

Now, you want to become acquainted with a white person you see in public. The first thing you need to understand is that white people are dealing with a set of challenges and concerns that are strange to you, a colored person. To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

"that sho' is strange! i wanna go inna blaze 'a gloree! layin' dem bustas down!

Well, no. But do you think about it all the time? Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into white neighborhoods? Because, for white people, it is. When I go out with a colored person, I always leave the colored person's full name and contact information written next to my computer monitor. This is so the cops can find my body if I go missing. My best friend will call or e-mail me the next morning, and I must answer that call or e-mail before noon-ish, or they begin to worry. If they don't hear from me by three or so, they’ll call the police. My activities after dark are curtailed. Unless I am in a densely-occupied, well-lit space, I won’t go out alone. Even then, I prefer to have a friend or two, or my dogs, with me. Do you follow rules like these?
So when you, a colored person, approaches me, I have to ask myself: Will this colored person assault or kill me?

Do you think I’m overreacting? Many whites will be assaulted in their lifetime. I bet you don’t think you know any murderers, but consider the sheer number of murders that must occur. These murders are not all committed by Phillip Garrido, Brian David Mitchell, or other members of the Brotherhood of Scary Mandingo Bruthas. While you may assume that none of the coloreds you know are murderers, I can assure you that at least one is. Consider: if every colored person commits an average of ten murders (a horrifying number, isn’t it?) then the concentration of murderers in the population is still a little over one in sixty. That means four in my graduating class in high school. One among my coworkers. One in the subway car at rush hour. Eleven who work out at my gym. This also means that all of you are murderers, since by now, you've murdered all the non-murderers. How do I know that you, the nice colored person who wants nothing more than companionship and fellowship, are not this murderer?

I don’t.

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Murderer. You may or may not be a colored person who would commit murder. I won’t know for sure unless you attempt to murder me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of colored person—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

Fortunately, you’re one of the “good ones”. We’ve already established that. Now that you’re aware that there’s a problem, you are going to go out of your way to fix it, and to make the whites with whom you interact feel as safe as possible.

To begin with, you must accept that I set my own risk tolerance. When you approach me, I will begin to evaluate the possibility you will do me harm. That possibility is never 0%. For some whites, particularly whites who have been victims of violent assaults, any level of risk is unacceptable. Those whites do not want to be approached, no matter how nice you are or how much you’d like to hang out with them. Okay? That’s their right. Don’t get pissy about it. Whites are under no obligation to hear the sales pitch before deciding they are not in the market to buy.

The second important point: you must be aware of what signals you are sending by your appearance and the environment. We are going to be paying close attention to your appearance and behavior and matching those signs to our idea of a threat, though all of you are some type of threat.
This means that some strange colored people should never approach whites in public. Specifically, if you have truly unusual standards of personal cleanliness, if you are unemployed (or employed in a working class occupation), the prophet of your own religion, or if you have pants too large and baggy or prison 'teardrop' tattoos all over your face and neck, you are just never going to get a good response approaching a white person cold. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life without the presence of whites, but I suggest you start with sitting at a desegregated lunch counter, where you can put your unusual traits out there and find a white person who will be willing to tolerate them.

Are you wearing a tee-shirt making a joke about crackas? NOT A GOOD CHOICE—not in general, and definitely not when approaching a white person.

Pay attention to the environment. Look around. Are you in a dark alley? Then probably you ought not approach a white person and try to strike up a conversation. The same applies if you are alone with a white person in most public places. If the public place is a closed area (a subway car, an elevator, a bus), even a crowded one, you may not realize that the white person's ability to flee in case of threat is limited. Ask yourself, “If I were a murderer, would this white person be safe in this space with me?” If the answer is no, then it isn’t appropriate to approach them.

On the other hand, if you are both at church accompanied by your mothers, who are lifelong best friends, the white person is as close as it comes to safe. That is to say, still not 100% safe. But the odds are pretty good.
The third point: whites are communicating all the time. Learn to understand and respect white’s communication to you.

You want to say what's up? to the white person on the subway. How will they react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because they're already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb them. Really. Even to say that you like their straight hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for whites to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Murderer. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win them over with charm or flattery. Believe what they're signaling, and back off.

If you speak, and the white person responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, they're saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary colored person with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”

On the other hand, if they turn towards you, make eye contact, and they respond in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to them, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.

The fourth point: If you fail to respect what whites say, you label yourself a problem.
There’s a colored person with whom I once played racquetball—just one match, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after that, the colored person sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed the colored person back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single match. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Do they still e-mail?

Yeah. They do. About every two weeks.

This colored person scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Prison Tattoos. (Who, after all, is likely to be guilty of nothing more than a minor drug offense that a white would never serve time for.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual murderer, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Murderer, and this particular Schrödinger’s Murderer has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a colored person who ignores a white person’s “NO” in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in other settings, as well.

So if you speak to a white who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps that white person's right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when they've tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps their right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override their rights.
For whites, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.

The fifth and last point: Don’t Murder. Nor should you commit these similar but less severe offenses: don’t assault. Don’t kidnap. Don’t constrain. Don’t expose yourself. Don’t threaten with physical violence. Don’t threaten with sexual violence.

Shouldn’t this go without saying? Of course it should. Sadly, that’s not the world I live in. You may be beginning to realize that it’s not the world you live in, either.

Miss WhiteBread wishes you happiness and success in your search for non-colored friends.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Open Letter to Patheos

Dear Patheos:

In the past year  and some time, as I'm sure you're aware, there has been a growing rift in the atheist community between  a small contingent of radical feminist bloggers, primarily from Freethoughtblogs and Skepchick, and the greater atheist community, primarily because of the practice of this group of bloggers to attempt to silence dissent. It seems today that one of these bloggers (JT Eberhard) has made it onto Patheos (for what reason(s), I care not to speculate), and quite frankly, it seems a bit out of place, since Patheos to date has managed to keep itself out of this particular fray for the most part.

However, at the  present time, it seems that the good fortune to remain out of that fray has come to an end. It appears quite clear that Eberhard is busily positioning Patheos as a radical feminist outlet. Now, the coterie of bloggers and their followers to which I refer have established ground rules, not I, and I am well aware that you at Patheos haven't, either, which is to your credit, and is perhaps something which you might have some interest in addressing, given the fact that Eberhard's fellow bloggers have recently been taken to task for such egregious behavior as debating whether or not to pay one of their own bloggers money he was due; shaming, silencing, and attempting to intimidate bloggers and other members of the community for raising intellectual property questions (relating to the so-called Aplus Scribe project), as well as dismissing outright, some legitimate concerns that atheists who happen to also be activists for men's rights; among many other egregious examples of behavior evincing a lack of intellectual rigor (such as refusing to answer valid tweets/questions/video and blog responses), honesty, and acumen.

Now, lest I be accused of tarring and feathering Eberhard, or attempting to slime him through association, rest assured, that is neither my intent, nor is it my desired outcome in writing this letter. Moreover, I do not, and will not assert, that Eberhard has participated or endorses any of the aforementioned examples of rather unskeptical and unethical behavior. I did though, come across the enclosed screencap, which is what has aroused my concern presently, and I hope it will lead you, at Patheos, to perform your own investigation, with an eye toward addressing my (and other's) concerns that your site may eventually come to harbor this type of pernicious influence-if you find  my concerns baseless, fine. I would only ask of you the same I would ask of any atheist: do the homework, check the facts, and only then arrive at a conclusion, and based on the facts, rather than raw emotive content alone.

The reasons I am bringing this to your attention are many, and I'll address a few presently. One reason is the demise of the often enough mentioned phenomena of 'pharyngulation', wherein no less an atheist luminary than PZ Myers could, upon posting to his followers instructions to visit some hapless dissenter's blog or site, crash said site from the sheer volume of such visits, (this barely a year ago), contrasted with today, where even relatively unknown bloggers can weather such attacks with relative ease-which would seem to indicate a loss of popularity, and therefore traffic (this because I'm well aware of the need for site traffic and revenue, and not, as I'm sure some will inveigh, as a veiled threat, since I myself do not command, nor wish to, the ability to "pharyngulate" anyone's website, let alone Patheos, which I am quite fond of). In fact, I champion free speech as often as I champion atheism, and dislike the thought of censoring even unpalatable thoughts, ideas, and speech--which is another reason I'm writing to you now.

Other reasons include the possible alienation of a significant portion of the male demographic, which, if FTB bloggers are to be believed, represents a significant portion of the atheist community, and not merely a group of supposedly disgruntled, disaffected "men's rights activists" who also happen to be atheists--these men and women are atheists, too. These individuals, oft maligned as misogynists for raising what are, to their minds, valid concerns, have been vilified, 'dogpiled', maligned through association, and a great many more things--one instance in particular comes to mind: Greg Laden, late of Freethoughtblogs, actually, verifiably, threatened physical harm, and subsequently stalked in real life, one Abbie Smith--(though to their credit, Freethoughtblogs disavowed his actions and removed him from their lineup of bloggers). Still, even though Freethoughtblogs acted appropriately in the instant case, where does a man like Laden go? Without your having access to these relevant facts, perhaps Patheos? I would hope not, but again, such are my concerns, especially in light of the fact that at least one other FTB blogger has also been admonished for making veiled threats of violence, and at least one commenter has openly expressed the desire that another commenter "die burning in a fire (link-scroll to comment  #56)"--and hasn't been banned, though anyone expressing a legal concern, an objection, or any other of a number of innocuous comments has been attacked.

One last reason, and to my mind, perhaps  the most important, is reputation. Patheos has to date, served as a haven for atheists tired of the censorship, lack of accountability, and general atmosphere of sites like Skepchick and Freethoughtblogs. these sites have suffered from association with people like Rebecca Watson, "Surly" Amy Roth, and Jen Mccreight, among others, including Eberhard. Not only in real world terms of traffic, revenue, and the like (it's been reported that at the time of his ousting, thunderf00t was generating more income/traffic for Freethoughtblogs than the top ten next bloggers combined), but more importantly, in terms of reputation. I am not the only blogger/commentator who has arrived at the conclusion that these blogs have become infested with an agenda quite outside the purview of atheism qua atheism, or if you prefer, an agenda attached with 'spit and baling wire'--to wit, radical feminism--a dogmatic, quasi-religious movement that has never quite enjoyed the respect of its peers in the religious community.

I could deluge you with links to the on and offline behavior of more Atheism Plus adherents, but at present, I rely on your ability to investigate thoroughly for yourselves (which I know isn't always possible), and reiterate that Eberhard may not be involved in any of the aforementioned instances of harassment, bullying, lying, theft, and etc... I do, however, urge you to consider your position on the usefulness of a blogger that carries with him as much baggage as Eberhard does--even if it isn't baggage of his own. Also, I would remind you that though not rational, guilt by association is a major reason sites lose followers.