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Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in blogosphere, gender, responding to arguments, Women in Secularism 2 | 176 comments

Stephanie Zvan’s lie machine in action

noahrickun.com

noahrickun.com

Yesterday, I authored a piece concerning PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson publicly broadcasting that if I were to approach them at Women in Secularism 2 (WIS2) — a conference I will soon be attending thanks to gracious donors — they would report me to conference organizers and have me expelled from the conference. I explained that a false threat narrative about me has been cultivated — that I am a bad, dangerous, and violent man who should be feared — and this is being capitalized on by some who wish to see me banned or ejected from the conference.

Today, Stephanie Zvan — a blogger on Freethought Blogs and a speaker at Women in Secularism 2 — added her voice to the discussion with a post titled “I did what now? The lie machine in action” in which she asserts that I have been “whining that CFI’s policy on hostile conduct protects its conference attendees freedom to associate with each other without having that associaion [sic] disrupted by hostile elements.” I have done nothing of the sort, but rather responded to declarations and the false threat narrative constructed by PZ and Ophelia. I also noted that PZ or Ophelia may, of course, may wish to have no contact with me, but it is impermissible to hang a conduct policy over my head – abusing it to fit their own whims and threatening to have me ejected from the conference if I merely “approach” either of them.

Zvan, continuing her blog post, writes that she has a “game plan” (which does not include talking to me) at the conference and notes that speakers and people who want the conference to be a success are “upset” about my attendance at Women in Secularism 2. She also mentions that she sent a 4-and-a-half page letter with 11 PDFs to the CEO of the Center for Inquiry – the organization hosting WIS2. The letter notes, in quite an exaggerated manner, notes that she will have a “much less productive conference” and that there is “no upside” for her if I attend the conference. Zvan also believes that everything she says and does at the conference will be “observed and reported on by a hostile party” and that there is a “not insubstantial chance” that she will “engage in the reporting process for hostile behavior.”

The unjustified threat narrative continues. Why did Zvan author a 4.5 page letter with 11 PDFs about me and send it to the Center For Inquiry? Is this really, as she says, not an attempt to have me banned or ejected from the conference? What does she think I am going to do at the conference which will warrant an official complaint to conference staff? It is complete nonsense. Stephanie Zvan paints herself as a damsel in distress (although, I am told, this is contrary to feminism) and seems to believe that the conference staff should bend to her whims and desires. It will be a much less productive conference if I am there? There is no upside for her? Give me a break. The conference is not about her and is open to the public. I have registered. My registration has been approved by conference staff. I will be attending.

There will be no “hostile behavior.” I am not a “hostile party.” If anything, Stephanie Zvan, PZ Myers, and Ophelia Benson are “hostile parties” who are constructing an unjustified threat narrative and creating a climate of fear for me — a conference attendee who seeks to enjoy the conference and report on the activities of WIS2 — and other attendees who may disagree with their viewpoints. They are abusing conference policies to fit their personal desires and intimidate.

The unwillingness of Benson and Myers — perhaps also Zvan — to have a face-to-face conversation with me is quite telling of their dogmatic nature and intellectual dishonesty. They relish smearing me on their blogs, launching personal attacks against me, and even contributing to efforts to get me fired from leadership positions with secular organizations…but I am the ‘stalker,’ ‘harasser,’ ‘bully,’ and ‘hostile party’ in their books. They all want the attention and benefits from being writers, public figures, and speakers, but when dissent rears its head all bets are off.As #bravehero Caias Ward says, it is ‘bravery of being out of range’ from people who want to have a pass on their ideas being challenged:


ScreenHunter_254 Apr. 29 17.23

Zvan, Benson, and Myers betray what I think is a fundamental aspect of the wider ‘rationalist community’ – to display willingness to engage with dissenters and discuss ideas without resorting to personal attacks and character assassination. They are really no better than purveyors of psuedoscience and fundamentalist religious perspectives who wail “I have the right to my own opinion” and “respect my beliefs” or claim offense when discussion happens – effectively ending discussion and removing oneself from rationality.

As Roberts and Wood explain in their book Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology:

One sign of insufficient concern for truth is that when such people are given an opportunity to test their more cherished beliefs, they decline it, or apply it too casually, or offer defenses of the beliefs that are weaker than any that these people would accept in other contexts.

See you at the conference and be sure to tune in to live Women in Secularism 2 reporting from my radio show — Brave Hero Radio — in which all voices are welcome on Friday May 17 at 9:30PM EST, Saturday May 18 at 9:30PM EST, and Sunday May 19 at 12:30 PM EST. Check back, too, if you miss the live episodes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edward.gemmer Edward Gemmer

    Don’t you understand how you make other people feel by virtue of being alive? Sure, she may have said many awful things about you, but that is no reason for you to show up and be nice to her. Don’t you understand how that might make her feel? She doesn’t get to make jokes! Or be sarcastic! You might have the audacity to talk about your experience, and we can’t have that.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      No dissenters allowed!

  • bluharmony

    My prediction is that they’ll threaten to pull out of the conference if you attend and pressure the conference organizers into preventing you from attending. Melody Hensley is already on their side and any men who object will be characterized as too “privileged” to understand their concerns.

    I guess I don’t really see the reason for going. Why go to a conference if it makes a couple of women uncomfortable? Stay home. Why take the elevator when it makes some women uncomfortable? Take the stairs. Why walk on the sidewalk when it makes someone uncomfortable? Walk down the middle of the street and get killed. One would think that they would want to “educate” someone who holds a contrary point of view, but it’s clear that they don’t.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      “One would think that they would want to “educate” someone who holds a contrary point of view, but it’s clear that they don’t.”

      Indeed. They should be happy that I will attend the conference and listen to what they have to say. They should be even more happy because I have given the conference tremendous publicity — much more than they could have ever hoped for — and inspired people to register.

    • MosesZD

      I hope they do. Atheism doesn’t need their toxic bullying bullshit.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.curtis.3994 Brian Curtis

      Just remember: in the radical-feminist glossary, “dissent’ is the same as “rape.” How dare you molest these people by disagreeing them? No greater crime exists. How can they possibly feel safe with a known disagreeist like you hanging around? They need a ‘safe space,’ you see…..

  • CommanderTuvok

    “Zvan, continuing her blog post, writes that she has a “game plan” (which
    does not include talking to me) at the conference and notes that
    speakers and people who want the conference to be a success are “upset”
    about my attendance at Women in Secularism 2.”

    That is simply bullshit. I bet there are a few who wouldn’t mind it if Svan and company didn’t bother turn up. She is essentially harrassing you, and trying to intimidate you. She’s obviously being taking tips from Laden.

    • bluharmony

      She’s worse than Laden. The latter can sometimes admit he’s wrong. The former cannot.

  • http://karlaporter.com/ Karla Porter

    This is the problem with a so called ‘movement’ or ‘community’ in which the members have very little (or in many cases nothing) in common with one another – atheism / skepticism / free thought – whatever you want to call it, is not a building block it is the opposite, a void, a gaping hole in which there is no ritual, systematic belief, facts or circumstances in which to cement its people together. Radical feminism, men’s rights, environmentalism, etc. are their own causes. The flavor of the day that screams loudest gets the attention. The endless divasplaining is monotonous at best. Maybe I should videotape my social skills training and put it on YouTube as a public service.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      I’d be happy to mirror your videos.

      On this notion of community and movement – I think a good case can be made considering there are common causes, organizations with similar goals, and identification with core principles such as church/state separation, advocacy for non-theists, and arguing against claims of religion. Some, of course, will have different goals, but I think these three general concepts are what are most ‘agreed upon’ in the community.

      Yes, feminism, environmentalism, etc. are their own causes. You don’t see me or you, Karla, saying that the community needs to or ought to focus on concerns of animal rights, vegetarianism/veganism, and wildlife conservation efforts. It’s simply a different discussion for different groups. Our agendas should not be affixed to the movement nor should secular organizations with already defined and established goals/missions focus on them.

      You see, not one person I have seen has pushed for atheist/secular/skeptic organizations to focus on issues important to the ‘manosphere’ and men in particular such as high rates of suicide, incarceration homelessness, alcoholism, etc. It is simply not the place for these concerns.

      • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

        I agree that these social issues should not be central to secular organisations, but I would add that open sexism, racism, or any other ism should not allowed to poison secular organisations. I hope that you are not saying that these issues should not concern secular movements should they arise (in a non-contrived manner).

        You do know that your last paragraph above is likely to elicit cries of “what about the menz, we knew he was an MRA”?

    • bluharmony

      I’d mirror them too, as I’ve found no use for my YouTube channel so far.

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      That would make three of us mirroring your vids now!

  • Brive1987

    Justin, the tactics here are all wrong.

    The impression is that you are out to stir the pot. If you are, then reacting to the FtB posts will certainly fan the flames. But what will be remembered is that the net result of your attendance was a negative eruption on both sides.

    If you had simply noted the concerns, expressed your disappointment and clarified succinctly your positive agenda in attending you could have strode the moral landscape as a colossus. Well, at least made anyone not wanting to engage look churlish.

    By this engagement you have allowed your opposition to color the context.

    • MosesZD

      Really? The high road, middle road or low road didn’t stop this pack of hateful assclowsn from slandering Benjamin Radford, Al Stefanelli, Ed Clint, Michael Shermer, WoolyBumblebee (YouTube vblogger), Reap Paden, Matt Dillahunty, John Brown, TIm Skellet, Sara Mayhew, Anna Johnstone, Maria Maltseva (bluharmony if you don’t know), Sam Harris, Harriet Hall, Paula Kirby, Russel Blackford, D.J. Grothe, Justin, Thunder00t, Mallorie Nasrallah, etc…

      Everyone of these people, and many more, have been raked over A+’s coals in the one-plus year it’s been going. All of them, essentially, being lied about and attacked in every possible way — racists, mysogynists, rape appologists, sociopaths… The list of toxic bullshit is so long that you couldn’t even make jst one lengthly blog-post to fairly sum up the vitrol and hate directed at them.

      Hell, even PZ Myers got it by some of the A+res over some stupid bunny-comic. But he’s so far into the koolaid that he just can’t see it. Though he certainly did put a shit-storm in dismissing all the A+ critics of his obviously misogynistic cartoon… (which wasn’t unless your brain has been rotted by gender politics and feminism).

      The bottom-line, the only way for anyone in the crosshairs of A+ to not be attacked is to, basically, fuck-off and die while leaving them (the A+ers) in control of the Atheist Empire as it were…

      • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

        You forgot the first victim of these bufoons: Stef McGraw, who we failed to make feel comfortable enough to voice her dissenting voice.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      I invite you to author your own content using the tactics/approach you prefer. Consider too, calling in Brave Hero Radio, and talking with Karla and I.

      • Brive1987

        If your blog is the wrong place to discuss your approach I will happily puff away. Or you could constructively address my post.

        I am honestly trying to determine what your objectives are in going to the conference.

        Assuming they are positive then it is a constructive and relevant critique to point out (IMO) that any desired positivity risks being lost in the current dialogs.

        I just can’t see what benefit there is – especially at this immediate pre-conference point – in not adhering to a relentlessly positive mantra. Unless of course you have written the weekend off from the start.

        Moses, lets grant there is a wider one way Ftb assault going on. Your options are to acknowledge it with a “meh and a sigh” and then get on with your own agenda (see Novella, Harris, Dawkins) or turn an assault into a brawl where the fight risks becoming the agenda.

        You decide which approach leaves you the responsible, respected party – with attendant influence on the wider community.

        Re “Brave Hero Radio” Sounds interesting – I will have a listen first.

        ll listen to a few episodes first.

        • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

          “If your blog is the wrong place to discuss your approach I will happily puff away. Or you could constructively address my post.”

          Sorry, I was a but short. I’m not intending to disinvite this sort of discussion. I raise this because alternative thoughts seem to me more helpful than criticism of method.

          • An Ardent Skeptic

            Justin, yet again, you have been given good advice by Brive1987 this time, and you have, again, dismissed it. If you think “alternative thoughts” are more helpful than “criticism of method” then you still have a lot to learn, especially since it’s the methodology your detractors employ which makes what they are doing so egregious – public shaming, an unwillingness to engage with others, and a lack of ability to behave like adults.

            Anyone who deserves a place on stage should be capable of a polite rebuff to those whom they do not wish to deal with. Speakers have to handle this situation on a regular basis, and great leaders know how to deal in a reasonable manner with the those they find obnoxious or offensive. The manner in which P.Z., Ophelia, and Stephanie are dealing with your attendance at WiS is not how good leaders and adults deal with these situations. Unfortunately, your responses aren’t much better.

            At this point I am going to be blunt since more subtle approaches have not resulted in some introspection on your part about your methods. If you are aiming to become the kind of poisonous twit that people like Myers have become, then continuing to engage in the manner you seem so keen to employ is the way to do it. You, too, can become completely irrelevant. Stop whining and making it all about you.

            A Guide on How to Deal with These Types of Situations:

            1) Acknowledge the situation, say that you find it unfortunate, and then state your reasons for attending so that people can be clear
            what your intentions are. THEN…

            2) State your positive reasons for attending – things like a) some great speakers, b) Ron Lindsay’s stated desire at last year’s conference that more men attend, and c) the chance to interact with others to work towards a better understanding of the issues women face as secularist.

            3) Stop bringing up the mission statement of CFI which looks like you are throwing down the gauntlet and using the statement as an excuse to level criticism at others.

            4) Start portraying yourself in the positive manner in which you wish to be perceived. That means having a positive message, and the skills to defuse explosive situations rather than lighting the fuse.

      • Ronlawhouston

        I get where Brive is coming from. I also took your attendance as a provocative act. What I’d debate is whether that tactic is “wrong.” Heck you’re not even at the conference yet and certain folks have already shown their obnoxious bully sides.

  • MosesZD

    “I have the right to my own opinion” and “respect my beliefs” or claim offense when discussion happens – effectively ending discussion and removing oneself from rationality.

    I shall point out that when others do this to them, they’re more than happy to attack and lampoon them for it. And yet they never, ever see the double standard…

  • Stephanie Zvan

    You’ve now written a blog post that asks questions that my blog post you linked to answers then accused me of lying because you can’t imagine why I would do something I’ve already explained my reasons for. Congratulations on your persistence in making an argument from incredulity in the face of all the answers you need. Why on Earth would I think talking to you face to face (despite your unwillingness to engage in Nugent’s dialog) would be a complete waste of my limited time?

    Leave me alone at Women in Secularism.

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      Ohh, the liar’s here!

      • Chiggler

        Why do you find it necessary to state the obvious about yourself?

        • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

          Can you point to a lie I said? Ohh, no – you can’t. You’re just playing your part as an A+ pawn!

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      Can you please identify where I accused you of lying?

      Where is this argument from incredulity you speak of?

      I expressed interest in the Nugent dialogue. I wasn’t included in the first ‘team’ and, later on, when I was alerted to a call for more members following attrition, I sent messages expressing interest to be on the team. I haven’t been added to the team. Please don’t assume things.

      • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

        No, she can’t, since you did not.

        • A Hermit

          Ummm…The title of this post is “Stephanie Zvan’s lie machine in action”

          • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

            Yeah, that has to do with her post’s title.

        • Heintje_K

          A Hermit has a point here. The post title insinuates that Zvan lied, whether you intended that or not.

      • doubtthat

        …she asserts that I have been “whining that CFI’s policy on hostile conduct protects its conference attendees freedom to associate with each other without having that associaion [sic] disrupted by hostile elements.” I have done nothing of the sort…

        That, combined with the title of the post, gives a pretty strong indication that you weren’t saying that she made a mistake.

      • Brian Pansky

        please leave Steph alone at Women in Secularism :)

    • SubMan USN

      I read your blog and can’t imagine why you’re doing what you’re doing either. Your protestations of possible need to report a conference attendee notwithstanding.
      It’s because you will have to be precise with your language as a presenter at a a conference? It’s because you will need to be careful of your language in making jokes and sarcastic comments?

      Is this not exactly what feminists in the atheist movement have been saying to men in the movement for the past at least two years??

      Sauce for the goose Ms. Zvan…

      • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

        You want to know why? Because Justin can do to her talk (and Myers’ and Benson’s for that matter) what Ed Clint did to Watson’s one – debunk it!

        So, obviously, Mrs. Drama Queen here wouldn’t like it being exposed! They’re all like Christian pastors that way – want to keep their flocks believing their BS and will defame and lie about anyone who dares to disagree! You know – “FreeThought”!

        • ool0n

          Duh, the talk will be available on video so anyone can “debunk” it all they want. So not really well thought out there, despite the fact he can easily attend the talk and not approach her as well! Then topped off with the usual “they are creationists/christians/blah” ad-hom, nice comment :-)

          • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

            “He can easily attend”? Are you a moron (it’s a rethorical question, don’t answer, we all know you are)??

            They’re spitting their hate towards him, predisposing their minions to create a threatening environment? Are you fucking kidding me, he “can easily attend” (again, rethorical, we all know you are unable to do humor)?

            Go back to your masters’ dungeon!

          • ool0n

            OK OK the bravehero Sir Vacuous will need to fight off fire breathing radfems to gain entry to Zvans talk. Is that your point? He is going to be physically there so easy is pretty accurate from where I’m sitting a few thousand miles away. I’m sure his ego can take a little cold shouldering… Actually he hangs out at the Slymepit, founded on the belief that a cold shouldered ban is a crime against humanity so maybe he cannot.

            Ok I concede, ppl not hailing him as a sceptical hero will clearly make it impossible for him to walk a few metres into a conference room and sit down to listen to a talk.

          • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

            You reaaaally don’t get it, do you? Here’s better explained: http://www.skepticink.com/avant-garde/2013/04/30/women-in-secularism-2/

          • ool0n

            LOL, you are a blogger here! I’m adding you to my reading list as that was one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. You are better in a post than the comments.
            “Benson has been campaigning against Justin for months in a hate-mongering fashion I have only seen in the most fundamentalist Islamists.”

            Hehe, and you are so Dunning’d to the Krugers that you think a rational dialogue with you and JV would improve the quality of debate on the issues. You are right I really didn’t get it but having read you a little I know I was giving you way too much credit. This is a conspiracy by the radfems to skin him alive at the conference. LMAO, cheers. Who says atheists cannot produce idiocy as funny as any godbot.

          • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

            I’d never say that. FTB, Skepchick and A+ are the gold standard of idiocy-production far beyond Alain de Botton and the likes.

          • SubMan USN

            “Ok I concede, ppl not hailing him as a sceptical hero will clearly make
            it impossible for him to walk a few metres into a conference room and
            sit down to listen to a talk.”

            Apparently, having someone in the audience that might not agree with every thing one says, will make it so difficult for Ms. Zvan that she needed to pen a 4.5 page letter with 11 pdf’s to CSI in fear that … well I’m not exactly sure – someone might disagree with her?

          • doubtthat

            Oh god, that’s not at all what she said. She’s pointing out that when you goofballs, who seem to have nothing to do with your lives other than skimming through facebook, twitter, and any other source to find a quote you can take out of context and babble about at the slymepit, attend a conference, any joke, any sarcasm, any subtlety will result in some dumbassed “controversy” where people are forced to explain the actual meaning 18234756234234 times.

            It makes the conference less enjoyable when you know there’s going to be a ridiculous fallout after. The speeches are going to be recorded and made available for all to scrutinize, so I don’t really get this line of attack.

            You’re welcome to disagree, it’s the histrionic tantrums that wear on people’s patience.

          • ool0n

            Also gives away their daft narrative that the bravehero needs to be there or they’ll be no disagreement. Feminists are well known for their lack of disagreement and harmonious group-think… At least if you are an MRA attacking them you think this is the case!

          • Theo Ffensivatheist

            “MRA”? Way to go poisoning the well ool0n!

          • Pitchguest

            There’s that word again. “Goofballs.” Is that a legitimate term for a lawyer? Are you aware that Rebecca Watson scrounges for comments to put on her “Page o’ Hate” and that Ophelia Benson does the same for her “bullying and harassment” blog post? How do you think Stephanie Zvan finds all those tasty morsels to write about for her blog? It seems we’re not the only ones “skimming” through content to “find quotes … to take out of context.” By the way, is that your professional opinion as a lawyer or are you just talking out of your arse?

            Of course, you could just be a very shit lawyer.

          • Ronlawhouston

            There is more than a bit of irony when people complain of compulsive folks stalking them and then write a 4.5 page letter about someone else.

            Hmm, pot meet kettle. Kettle meet pot.

      • CommanderTuvok

        Svan has spent a lot of time trying to intimidate, shun and remove someone from a conference, for reasons she can’t clearly explain.

        Svan spent no time attempting to intimidate, shun and remove someone from a conference, after they issued threats of violence. But then again, that someone was her close friend Greg Laden.

        Double standards are a pre-requisite for the clowns at FfTB.

        • doubtthat

          I wish there was some way to get a good statistical readout of someone’s blogging history. I would love to know how many times in your life you’ve typed the letters “l-a-d-e-n” in sequence.

          It’s possible that if you’d altered a few of those Ladens with something of interest, you would have recreated the collected works of Shakespeare, Plato, and would maybe have something else to talk about.

          • Pitchguest

            Right, because Stephanie Zvan defending Greg Laden when he made implicit threats to physically hurt another person if he ever saw them in person *DOES NOT* deserve a mention with all this narrative going around about how Justin is attempting to harass Stephanie et al. at the conference.

            Her good friend, Greg Laden, made actual threats to hurt someone should they ever meet, and Stephanie defended his good friend, removing any accountability on his part and actually insinuated that he was the victim and Justin Griffith (the man he threatened with violence) the perpetrator.

            Meanwhile Stephanie throws all her toys out of the pram because Justin Vacula wants to attend Women in Secularism. Threats of physical violence, attending a conference. One of these is not like the other.

          • doubtthat

            Haha, you loves you some Laden, too.

            What does that have to do with anything? If some ghoulish old villain like the Nazi Pope attended WiS2 and asked you to stay away, it doesn’t matter how much evil he’s perpetrated throughout his life, you would need to stay away from him or be removed.

            Your obsession with these stupid, old grudges is just embarrassing. What would you do if Greg Laden didn’t exist? You have a frighteningly dependent relationship with that fellow.

          • Pitchguest

            What does it have to do with anything? Well, since it’s been brought up, I suppose it has everything to do with it. Stephanie Zvan has trumped up the narrative of Justin Vacula going to the conference simply to be a nuisance, maybe even “accost” people as you say, and pre-emptively written a four-page complaint about him to the president of CFI, Ron Lindsay.

            Why? Because Justin expressed interest in opening up a dialogue. He didn’t say he was going to try and confront anyone, “accost” anyone, play anyone for fools, troll anyone, or any of that sort. Just talking. For that he has been declared persona non grata and unofficially blacklisted.

            Justin hasn’t threatened anyone with physical violence or told a woman commenter to “get off the rag or kiss my ass.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Was Greg Laden even scolded for his behaviour? From Stephanie? Worse. He was made out to the victim, his victim the perpetrator, offered a toast by Stephanie and another fellow blogger (Lousy) and called a “good friend.” His holiness, Ed Brayton, even tried to put a lid on the whole thing but was forced to give in when Griffith told Brayton he was going to publish the exchange on his blog. (Where Stephanie berated *Griffith*, not Laden.)

            Worse still, *he repeated his threat* and Stephanie *again* came to his rescue.

            Do you know what we non-lawyers call that, doubtthat?

            Hypocrisy.

          • doubtthat

            Zvan sent something to conference organizers. They’re on notice. They didn’t ban him, Zvan didn’t ask for a preemptive ban.

            Now Vacula has a choice. His behavior will dictate the results, that’s the end of it.

            The rest is your usual unhinged obsession with Laden. It’s really tedious.

          • Pitchguest

            See, this is what I’m talking about. *Vacula* has a choice? Because Stephanie sent a complaint to Ron Lindsay? Again you’re giving all the power to her and none to Justin. He’s supposed to walk on eggshells during the entire conference, in case Stephanie might be watching? Surely as a lawyer you would see how ridiculous that is.

            As for my “unhinged obsession” with Laden, hehe, it’s only unhinged if it’s irrelevant. But here it’s not. If Greg Laden expressed an interest attending the conference, do you think Stephanie would be equally as quick to send a complaint to Ron Lindsay about it considering his history?

          • doubtthat

            He’s supposed to walk on eggshells during the entire conference, in case Stephanie might be watching? Surely as a lawyer you would see how ridiculous that is.

            As a lawyer I know how ridiculously common that sort of thing is. This is just a non-issue. No restraining order is in place, literally all that happened is that people request he stay away from them.

            Zvan sent some unknown packet to a person in a position of authority. That person then decides what to do with that information. Zvan specifically did not request a ban.

            Justin is welcome to do the same thing. How does that make him powerless?

            Laden, Laden, Laden!!!

            As you say, Zvan and Laden are friends. It sounds to me like Zvan sent things about Vacula that were directed at her and other potential conference attendees.

            Whatever evil Laden has perpetrated, none of it was directed at those folks. Of course, you could collect the worst of Laden and send it to conference directors you attended. You could also request that he stay away. What’s the problem?

          • Pitchguest

            That’s right. No restraining order is in place, therefore Stephanie Zvan’s fearmongering means fuck all.

            I don’t care if she unambiguously requested a ban or not. She quoted a tiny section of the four-page letter complaint she sent to Lindsay to quell any suspicion on that point, but it was clearly meant as a warning. Pointless bickering nonsense to trump up a narrative and the willing participants dance to their tune. Stephanie Zvan (and Ophelia Benson) has made sure she’s the helpless victim, and all the onus on responsible behaviour has fallen on Vacula. As a lawyer, is it fair to you that he should have to watch his every step while Zvan remains blameless?

            To deserve that level of scorn, despite his lack of threats of physical violence or use of gendered epithets, he must have done something truly horrendous, especially since Zvan had to resort to abuse her position as a speaker by sending a pre-emptive complaint to Ron Lindsay – which he’s forced to listen to because she’s a speaker at the event. Never let it be known that Stephanie Zvan doesn’t use the system to her advantage.

            I didn’t think I would have to spell it out for you regarding Laden, but it seems even a lawyer of your caliber sometimes requires to be clued in. To name but a few of Laden’s offences, he threatened someone with physical violence and he requested for a woman commenter to “get off the rag or kiss my ass.” Now as far as I’m concerned, Justin has neither threatened anyone with violence nor used gendered epithets to refer to anyone, least of all Stephanie Zvan or any of the other conference attendees. In spite of this, Zvan, Benson, Thibeault and Myers have all protested his attendance and made some very unsavoury insinuations of what he will do when he does attend.

            Once more, if Laden had expressed an interest to go, do you think Zvan would have given Laden the same treatment she’s unfairly given Vacula? After he was removed from FtB, he’s shared panels with Zvan and in defense he was offered a toast by Thibeault (Lousy) and Zvan and called a “good friend.” For making threats of physical violence. It’s beyond hypocritical that Justin Vacula should have to fear for his removal from a conference that he has paid for and expressed interest in attending, from a woman that so easily dismisses that kind of behaviour just because it’s a “friend.” In sight of this, frankly why should anyone care what prissy, entitled hypocrite Stephanie Zvan have to say about him? And if he has any sense, why should Ron Lindsay?

            If Justin Vacula will be such an eyesore to Stephanie Zvan and others attending the conference, there’s a remedy for that sort of thing: don’t attend the conference.

          • doubtthat

            The best I can say for you is that you’re willfully ignorant. The alternative is that you cannot understand the basic issues. This post was a non-response. You’re not even dealing with the actual issues, just vomiting up your usual catalogue of obsessive grudges.

            The sooner folks like you go away, the sooner the “community” will flourish.

    • http://www.facebook.com/edward.gemmer Edward Gemmer

      I still don’t understand why any of you care at all. Vacula works with DD people. He’s loves to promote atheism. These are things that one might think are welcome in the atheist community. They are not and he is not, because of this neverending list of things that aren’t welcome in this supposed community.

    • Pitchguest

      Or you could leave *him* alone. You know, because the onus doesn’t squarely rest on him. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve written NUMEROUS blog posts about Justin Vacula, accusing him of harassment and more, and you are telling him to leave *you* alone? It is to laugh.

      You’ve trumped up this threat narrative about Vacula and his intentions attending Women in Secularism, you’ve written a four page complaint to Ron Lindsay claiming who knows what about him and you’ve made it absolutely clear that if you had the power to ban him from the conference, you would. Who, really, should be telling whom to leave one alone, exactly?

      But you are Miss Prissy if I ever saw one, thinking your time is more valuable to waste than any others. Tell you what: you can go ahead and be uncomfortable. Go ahead and be miserable. It wouldn’t be because of Justin Vacula attending, oh no: it would be because you’re a bitter, heinous old crone, who seemingly wish to suck the life’s blood of everything you set your eyes on. Or at least, everything that your entitled majesty is a blight to her sight.

      In short: stop harassing Justin Vacula. Have fun with your miserable life. Ta ta.

  • Andy_Schueler

    You want to have a chat with them, they don´t want to have a chat with you. Why can´t you just leave it at that?

    • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

      Maybe, because they keep on telling lies about Justin and he -oddly- wants them to stop defaming him? Because that’s what rational people do – engage in reasoned debates?

      • Andy_Schueler

        I rather have the impression that they don´t want to talk at all with or about Justin, and what makes you think that they would have talked about Justin recently if he wouldn´t have blogged about OB´s private facebook message to him?

        • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

          Dude, really? Well, first of all, that’s your problem! Second of all, they’ve been posting about Justin for more than six months now, and they accuse him of harrassment and don’t want to talk to him?

          Are you high?

        • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

          Ophelia made her communication with me public after she send a private message to me. Although she had not disclosed the exact private message she sent me, there is really no difference between what she disclosed and did not disclose. I didn’t reveal anything ‘special’ and she didn’t ask for the message to be kept confidential. If she hadn’t made her declaration public and affixed the threat of reporting me to conference organizers if I merely approach her, there may have never been blog posts authored by mean concerning these recent developments.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I didn’t reveal anything ‘special’ and she didn’t ask for the message to be kept confidential.

            If I understood it correctly, her reason for approaching you on facebook in the first place was, to tell you that she is not interested in talking to you (based on your previous tweet stating that she might “want to have chat at WiS2″). And she has said so before, so why do you keep trying to have a conversation with people that do not want to talk to you?

          • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

            Fine. She said that. No problem. Why the coupled threats and heavy-handed approach? Why even publicly or privately announce she didn’t want to talk with me? Is she so fragile that she needs to publicly announce her desires to the world as if people need to protect her and be immune to a mere question of “what you like to have a recorded interview”? Cannot she just, at the conference, if I even approached her, say “No thanks, I don’t want to talk” and walk away? What is so hard about this? What does she think will happen if I approach her?

            You don’t see my authoring blog posts about how I refuse to talk to so-and-so and that I will, if they approach me, file official complaints with conference organizers. It’s ridiculous. I pose no threat and there is no reason whatsoever for them to be building this threat narrative.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Why even publicly or privately announce she didn’t want to talk with me?

            My guess – because she told you several times before that she doesn´t want to come on your radio show or have any other kind of interaction with you. You think that´s unfair and communicated this (as is your right). It seems to be clear (for quite a while now) that a dialogue between the two of you is not going to happen, so why do you try to make it happen anyway?

            You don’t see my authoring blog posts about how I refuse to talk to so-and-so

            True. But you do have the right to refuse to talk to someone if you don´t want to do so – and so have they.

            I pose no threat and there is no reason whatsoever for them to be building this threat narrative.

            Do you think that they would talk about you at all if you stopped trying to engage them in a dialogue that they don´t want to have?

          • doubtthat

            Why the coupled threats and heavy-handed approach?

            Because she doesn’t trust you. Now, you can continue to rationalize away and convince yourself that you’re an honorable, decent fellow who’s just misunderstood, or you can engage in some self-reflection and consider why she doesn’t trust you.

            Regardless of that answer, you can’t force her to engage with you, and if you accost her at the conference, you will be kicked out.

            She does not think saying “no thanks” will make any impression on you. She merely informed you of what she will do if you approach. It’s a conditional statement, and if you don’t approach her, nothing will happen.

            I pose no threat

            I’m pretty sure that’s what Ted Bundy said right before he swung his tire iron.

            ut that’s all a red herring. “Threat” is not a necessary element of harassment. “Really fucking annoying” is plenty.

          • Ronlawhouston

            Ted Bundy? Really? Engage in hyperbole much?

            If “really fucking annoying” is an element of harassment, then I’m constantly being harassed.

          • doubtthat

            Yes, it was hyperbole. If you think for a moment, you’ll get why I used it. Even the very obviously threatening will claim to not be a threat, so just saying it over and over doesn’t get you very far.

            But again, this idea that Vacula is a “threat,” with the implication of some type of violence, is totally his construction. No one thinks he’s a threat, they just don’t want to spend an otherwise awesome weekend dealing with his bullshit.

            Finally, given the proper context — working at a job, studying at school, attending a conference — really fucking annoying could be actionable. It would depend on the policy at the location and the type of behavior. In this specific instance, the only “threat” Vacula need represent is one of annoyance to the point it ruins the conference experience.

            The same rules protect him, as well.

          • SubMan USN

            Please cite ANY instance of Vacula disrupting an organized event anywhere. (other than secular protests of religion). When you have evidence that one is a disruptive influence, then you don’t even have to allow that person in the event to begin with. PZ and OB and now SZ are just spoiled toddlers threatening to tell the teacher if he doesn’t do as they command. Everyone who hasn’t drunk the kool-ade can see that.

          • doubtthat

            That’s not required, though you simultaneously just showed that given a group of people he holds with sufficient contempt, Vacula will be disruptive. That’s not to pass judgment on any disruption he caused, but it is sort of bizarre that you demanded an example and then gave one. Do you think Vacula holds PZ Myers in higher regard than those religious folks?

            But it doesn’t matter, those people, for whatever reason, don’t want to talk to him. If he violates that request, the conference policy is to remove him. There’s really nothing more than that.

            Vacula can have a great time, he just doesn’t get to talk to 3 people.

          • SubMan USN

            You gonna go with that lame excuse for a reply, or do you want to re-think it? Please remember who has called for, applauded, or reported on religious protesting in the past.

            I anxiously await your non-hypocritical reply.

          • doubtthat

            Haha, what? Oh no, please, oh please, don’t release the slymepit Kraken, aka, FTB DOES IT TOO, NYANER NYANER.

            What do you think I meant when I wrote, “That’s not to pass judgment on any disruption he caused…”?

            Since I have to use the big legos so you don’t accidentally choke on the normal ones, I’ll break this down as simply as possible: Regardless of the merits of Vacula’s previous activism, and chances are that I would support the protests, but I’d need to know more, your demand for an example of him causing a disturbance in the same post you give an example of him causing a disturbance is highly amusing. Why would I think that he would treat feminists or FtB bloggers, groups for whom he has little approval, any different than those religious folks?

            Also, given the context, protests of religious folks could be incredibly inappropriate. It’s one thing to hold demonstrations and raise awareness, it would be another to go into a church service or religious convention and fuck with people. I would expect atheists engaging in such behavior to be removed from those venues.

          • Ronlawhouston

            No matter what standard you apply you still need to have a “reasonable person” interpretation. I think that’s where Justin’s opponents fail.

          • doubtthat

            Yes, and no reasonable person would ignore a request that they stay away from another unless they had some compelling excuse (they were choking and Vacula, brave hero, saved them).

            The very act of violating one’s request without some significant reason proves the guilt of the actor.

          • SubMan USN

            Why not just go full Godwin? Why stop at Ted Bundy?

          • doubtthat

            Not as funny.

            Do you think I’m accusing Vacula of being a serial murderer? Or do you think it’s a point about the reliability of someone stating that they aren’t a “threat?”

          • SubMan USN

            Please cite an example of Vacula being a “threat”.

          • doubtthat

            This question so perfectly encapsulates what’s wrong with you people that I feel it should be preserved in a museum someplace.

            If you go back and read the post, what do you think I meant about the “threat” issue being a red herring?

            Vacula is not a threat. The only person who has implied that Vacula is a threat (given a standard sort of connotation of the word — not “threat to enjoyment of the conference”) is Vacula.

            He has fixated on that word as though it’s the issue, but harassment policies don’t only kick in when someone is a threat. They can kick in when someone is so annoying as the negatively affect the experience and enjoyment of the conference by others. This is the sense in which PZ, Ophelia and Stephanie are requesting that he stay away and are willing to use the conference rules to protect themselves.

            But you demand that I provide evidence that Vacula is a threat immediately after a post where I indicate he isn’t a threat.

            I wonder if this is the sort of high-minded interaction you folks feel is missing from FtB.

          • Graham Martin-Royle

            “He has fixated on that word as though it’s the issue, but harassment policies don’t only kick in when someone is a threat. They can kick in when someone is so annoying as the negatively affect the experience and enjoyment of the conference by others. This is the sense in which PZ, Ophelia and Stephanie are requesting that he stay away and are willing to use the conference rules to protect themselves.”

            So, if PZ, OM & SV negatively affect the experience and enjoyment of the conference for JV, then they could be asked to leave?

            Taken to the extreme, this would end up with no-one left at the conference.

          • doubtthat

            Yes. He can make that request. Anyone can, but making the request is not the end of the process.

            Since you managed to turn on a computer (or at least type on one that was already booted), you posses the requisite intelligence to answer that stupid fucking question for yourself.

          • Graham Martin-Royle

            Why the rudeness? A simple question is asked and you respond by swearing and insulting someone. Is that your preferred method of argumentation? Do you ever win any arguments that way? Is it your lack of success that makes you so angry? Maybe you should try something different, it might calm you down.

            Enjoyment is subjective. What one person enjoys, another may dislike. The same holds for judging annoyance. Just because one person thinks that what another person is doing is annoying should not be grounds for barring that person from anywhere. That just leads to anarchy, whereby anyone can claim anything and expect others to do their bidding.

            If the conference rules are so badly worded that they allow someone to claim, as you have put it, that another person is negatively affecting their experience and enjoyment of the conference, and that said rules will then allow that that person be expelled, then the rules are foolish. After all, if you claim that person A has done this to you and get them expelled, then person B can claim this of you because you got person A expelled. When you are expelled for ruining the experience for person B, person C now claims that, because you have been expelled, their enjoyment has been lessened and they now require person B to be expelled. That causes person D to insist on person C being expelled for the same reason and so on.

            That may be an extrapolation too far, but it is based purely on someone being able to claim that another should be asked to leave for no other reason than that they have spoilt the complainants enjoyment of the conference.

            If the rules allow for that, then, as I said above, the rules are foolish.

            One further point, I have no horse in this race, I care neither for one side nor the other in this argument. I am merely trying to show that the argument you have put forward (and your interpretation of the conference rules) do not make sense. Try dealing with that and refraining from personal attacks. That way you may actually get your point across and learn how to argue more effectively.

          • doubtthat

            Yes, insulting people on the internet when they ask stupid, irrelevant questions is my preferred method of response, just as aimless babble happens to be your favored MO.

            Enjoyment is subjective. What one person enjoys, another may dislike. The same holds for judging annoyance. Just because one person thinks that what another person is doing is annoying should not be grounds for barring that person from anywhere. That just leads to anarchy, whereby anyone can claim anything and expect others to do their bidding.

            First of all, this just isn’t a problem. You could say the same thing about every nuisance law, but they’ve been functioning effectively in Western society for about a thousand years. Anarchy has yet to descend.

            But the real issue is that it’s totally irrelevant. The conference harassment policy clearly protects people who request that others stay away. Regardless of the reason for that request –Person X smells bad, is too loud, whatever — if Person X continues to force themselves in the requesting party’s presence, that will violate the rules. By attending the conference, participants have consented to abide by those conditions.

            The conference staff decides what’s legitimate and what isn’t. Just making a request is not sufficient, and if someone said, “I request that all homosexual conference attendees stay at least 20 feet away from me,” the requesting party would be ignored or booted.

            I am merely trying to show that the argument you have put forward (and your interpretation of the conference rules) do not make sense.

            That will come as some shock to every place of employment in the Western world, every school, college, and university, every conference or informal grouping of humans.

            Regardless fo your intent, you are asking the sort of ridiculous, vapid conceptual question devoid of the years and years of empirical experience that we have with these issues like a particularly annoying first year law student.

          • baal

            I see it as you comparing Vacula to Ted Bundy. I will now compare you, doubtthat to Glen Beck. I don’t mean you to take that as a hack at your credibility or to suggest you cry excessively while reciting conspiracy theories but that you both make bad analogies.

          • doubtthat

            Haha, they just keep coming. I love how you goofballs have fixated on that.

            Explain how I was comparing Vacula to Ted Bundy. Did I say they were both mammals? Both had kidneys? Both were serial murderers?

            Your vapidity is impressive, made more so because a couple of your poor-thinking brethren have already tried to make that obviously stupid point.

            What do you think I meant when I used the phrase “red herring?” And how does that impact this comparison I supposedly made?

            Reading comprehension is a motherfucker, I get it.

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            In the unlikely event that Justin does approach her, nothing will happen, aside from her Ladyship making a fool of herself, because I don’t think that her wishes have any legal standing. Do you really think that someone can be ejected from a conference for necessitating use of the words “I don’t want to speak to you”? Whether her Majesty presupposes compliance is of no interest to anyone.

          • doubtthat

            Goddamn, you folks are so fucking ignorant. It’s not necessarily a legal issue (though it could be depending on the harassment), it’s a matter of the conference’s policy.

            Talking to you folks is so incredibly tiring. You literally know nothing about anything but you make these idiotic assertions as if you were educated. This process should concern you as it explains completely why you end up with such misguided conclusions.

            And yes, if someone requests that a person leave them alone, and that person refuses to leave them alone, that is grounds for ejection under the conference’s policy, but it is up to that staff to make the ultimate decision.

            Benson, Myers, and Zvan have simply (1) requested that Vacula stay away and (2) said that they will not hesitate to report him to the conference staff if he ignores that request. THe rest is up to the conference.

          • http://www.facebook.com/brian.curtis.3994 Brian Curtis

            We all appreciate your noble sacrifice in coming here to scream insults and howl about how ‘fucking ignorant’ everybody who disagrees with you must be. Are you perchance a Pharyngula regular? You’d definitely fit right in there.

            This forum, meanwhile, prefers to take more of a rational approach to the discussion of ideas. It’s too bad that you evidently cannot.

          • doubtthat

            Haha, what ideas?

            What was the best idea you shared with me, here? I’ve seen a bunch of irrelevancies, complete, comical ignorance about harassment standards, and a LOT of self-indulgent whining. What beautiful minds have I overlooked?

            And yes, it is enjoyable dressing you folks down. Of course, if we ignore you, then you just complain that no one is considering all your wonderful ideas, then when I come here, all the wonderful ideas seem to dissipate. Funny, that.

        • CommanderTuvok

          Ophelia has a record of disclosing “private emails” and discussing them on her blog.

          She’s a hypocrite, as if anybody in the atheist/skeptic community didn’t already know.

          • http://www.facebook.com/brian.curtis.3994 Brian Curtis

            “I’m ignoring you! Can everybody see how hard I’m ignoring him? Hey, look over here, Justin–see? I’m IGNORING you! So there, haha!”
            –Ophelia Benson, age 5 (circa 2013)–

          • Pitchguest

            Spot on!

    • CommanderTuvok

      Ophelia and PZ’s threads discussing how they don’t want to speak to Justin, is simply a smokescreen to instigate a wider shunning campaign against him. PZ in particular has a lot of followers who might turn up, and they are likely to follow PZ’s lead and join the shunning. These people, in turn, may influence others (like bullying in the schoolyard), until the person in question is shunned, harassed and intimidated by a significant number of the attendees.

      There is also the issue of the fact that PZ, Ophelia and other FfTB bloggers have some very influencial people “on the inside” at CFI, and have attempted to put pressure on them to “remove” Justin.

      It is all part of a bullying and harassment campaign. They are past masters at it, but now they have found the wider community is fighting back against their poison. That really irritates them.

  • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

    That was to be expected – liars are gonna lie, and they’re afraid you see through their BS!

  • doubtthat

    This is impossible to take seriously:

    There will be no “hostile behavior.” I am not a “hostile party.” If anything, Stephanie Zvan, PZ Myers, and Ophelia Benson are “hostile parties” who are constructing an unjustified threat narrative and creating a climate of fear for me — a conference attendee who seeks to enjoy the conference and report on the activities of WIS2 — and other attendees who may disagree with their viewpoints. They are abusing conference policies to fit their personal desires and intimidate.

    No, they told you to stay the fuck away from them. The only way you’re going to be kicked out is if you try some idiotic, juvenile stunt (more idiotic and juvenile than your attendance, in the first place), and confront those people. You’ve been put on notice that they want no part of you, and the conference has a very public policy in that regard. You cannot claim ignorance, you cannot claim surprise.

    We all realize that you’re going to try to commit suicide by conference security so you can run back to your poor-thinking comrades and whine and complain about censorship and the usual panoply of nonsense.

    No one has tried to stop you from attending, no one has threatened to have you removed, you have simply been told that people don’t want to spend their weekend dealing with your self-indulgent ridiculousness. There will be a lot of really interesting, smart people, and I can’t imagine folks want to waste their time with the usual uninteresting drama you generate.

    If you attend, listen respectfully, and try to learn, I will bet a substantial sum of money that the weekend concludes without incident. It’s entirely up to you.

    • Ronlawhouston

      Is it just me or does “stay the fuck away” sound inherently hostile? Doesn’t it also create the impression that the person who must “stay the fuck away” is such an odious creature as to not be one who should not be engaged in civil discourse?

      Whether there is conflict at the actual conference or not does not mean that the conflict has not already started.

      • doubtthat

        I said stay the fuck away, not any of the principles. They’ve been much more polite about it.

        This is another myth you folks keep pushing, that “all” you want is civil discourse. Yet this entire episode is the result of a very obvious stunt: folks hostile to the aims of the conference sending Vacula.

        He’s being dodgy on his reason for going. Is he being sent as a missionary for the asshole brigade? To show up and show those silly feminists how a real man thinks?

        Or is he going to listen to some interesting speeches? If it’s the latter, there will not be any problems. If he doesn’t go out of his way to accost people and legitimately wants to see what’s going on, there is exactly a zero percent chance that he gets kicked out.

        Perhaps he can’t have a civil face-to-face with the three people who have asked that he not approach them, but so what? His purpose for attending the conference has not been inhibited in any way, unless his goal is to make a scene with those people.

        • Ronlawhouston

          I do realize that the phrase “stay the fuck away” was your words, but I think your words accurately convey the intent. “Do not approach me” with the recourse of “official complaint” is nothing more than “stay the fuck away.” It is a threat (although vague – if Justin finds himself within 20 feet of the person is that an “approach”) that is only made to awful people deserving of special scrutiny.

          I agree that part of this may be a stunt. However, these sort of events tend to self select both in attendees and in content. Having someone cover the conference from a different perspective is just what is needed for skeptics the weigh the evidence and decide for themselves.

          • doubtthat

            If he’s covering the conference, there will be no problem. If he’s planning some O’Keefe styled stunt, there will be a problem.

            Recall that this back and forth began when Vacula implied that would approach Ophelia Benson at the conference for a dialog. She sent him a message saying in no uncertain terms that she would use the conference’s policy to enforce her request that he leave her alone.

            That’s only a threat if Vacula intends on accosting her, in which case the threat is perfectly appropriate. Giving someone a conditional statement about how their behavior will be handled is not unusual.

          • Ronlawhouston

            Accost? As in walking up and taking to someone? I getting a body guard because I’m constantly being harassed and accosted.

          • doubtthat

            Look, you seemed reasonable for a while, but if you’re going down this road…

            First of all, yes, simply saying you don’t want to interact with someone, regardless of the legitimacy of the reasons, is enough for that person to stay away. At a conference with a policy, ignoring that request can get you booted. Those are the rules, so if you’re at the conference and someone you don’t want around continues to force themselves in your presence, then you can use that resource.

            But specifically, here, you’re more than smart enough to realize that a short, polite “how-do-you-do” is not what anyone is concerned about. They don’t want their weekend derailed by some jackass attendee seeking to cause a fuss.

          • Ronlawhouston

            Not so sure about the short “how-do-you-do” part. Shall we talk about reasonable? So far you’ve said the Justin is out to accost people, compared him to Ted Bundy and just implied he was a jackass.

            I don’t know Justin and I’d be assuming to think he doesn’t have body parts in his freezer. On that one, I’d just have to play the odds. Although, he always seemed to be the quiet boy next door type….

          • doubtthat

            Oh god, see, this is why it’s difficult to take you folks seriously. Do you honestly, using your brain, believe I just compared Vacula to Ted Bundy with respect to any of Bundy’s relevant characteristics? You’re more than smart enough to grasp the point of Bundy’s name.

            Vacula is a jackass. That’s my personal opinion based on everything he’s said or done to which I’ve been exposed. That same impression, by the way, is held by the people who want him to stay away.

            We could all be idiots and jackasses in our own right, but that doesn’t change the fact that Vacula has to stay away, and there’s no burden on him unless he wants to cause some sort of uproar.

          • Ronlawhouston

            “You folks?” Are we to assume that you’re one of “them?” Damn, I knew it.

          • doubtthat

            If “them” is defined in contrast to you all, by that I mean the folks posting in support of Vacula, here, then yes, I am one of “them.”

            Interesting thing to fixate on, though.

          • Ronlawhouston

            Fixate? I make one comment and suddenly I’m “fixated?” Is that anything like complaining about compulsive people and then writing a 4.5 page letter about someone?

          • doubtthat

            Of the whole post, you chose to only deal with one relatively minor point. Rather than dealing with the whole, you fixated on a detail.

            Words, dog, they’re weird.

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            I can assure you that nobody is interested in impressing you and nobody gives a damn about your optimism or otherwise. You have approached this forum with an obvious caricature in your head betrayed by the ‘real man’ talk. You take advantage of the fact that you are able to present your arguments here without fear of banning or having your posts blocked and then talked over as if you hadn’t responded ( a favourite ploy of dishonest shits like Szvan, Benson and company), and then have the gall to lecture Justin Vacula about listening and learning.

            Oh, and talking about lies, the talk that goes on at FTB about libertarianism, stochastic terrorism, driving women out of the community, women as ‘fucktoys’, sockpuppetry, Mykeru wanting to shoot Watson and ‘vibrating with rage’, rape threats etc. etc. is ludicrous manufactured garbage, which you would know if you listened and learned. But given your production so far, I’m not too optimistic.

          • doubtthat

            What the fuck are you talking about. That was astonishingly contentless and ended with the typical, “FtB does this, FtB does this…”

            Major fail.

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            What’s one more jackass attendee between friends?

          • http://www.facebook.com/brian.curtis.3994 Brian Curtis

            Speaking of privilege and entitlement… how is declaring “I don’t want someone who disagrees with me to even BE there, let alone dare to speak up” anything but a demonstration of utter cowardice and irrationality?

          • doubtthat

            Look, I get that you guys aren’t good at thinking and this issue is very emotional for you, but you have to be a special kind of idiot to honestly think that people are upset at Vacula because he disagrees with them.

            That is the least relevant element. I recognize that this is a sweet little lie you whisper in each other’s ears to make yourselves feel better, but it’s embarrassingly silly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/brian.curtis.3994 Brian Curtis

            It’s adorable that you think this isn’t hysterical overreaction to someone questioning their sacred dogma, every bit as fundamentalist as the most fanatical religious zealot.

            Your repeated denials of this are embarrassingly silly.

          • doubtthat

            This is one of your founding myths. Watch as you fail to accomplish this basic task:

            Provide an example of someone you’re criticizing advancing this “dogma.” Provide your best argument against it.

            I predict you will just reply by upchucking some trite bit of horseshit without bothering to prove that it’s a position actually held by feminists.

            I get that you’ve all relied upon this sweet lie that your arguments are so badass that feminists are afraid of them, but in reality, they’re so goddamn stupid that people are tired of dealing with that basic, entry-level shit.

            It’s the same reason philosophy and science departments often decide to refuse engaging in any debates about creationism. It isn’t because they’re afraid, it’s because (1) it’s a waste of their time and (2) engaging such intellectually bankrupt notions bestows those ideas with an unwarranted sense of legitimacy.

          • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

            “That’s only a threat if Vacula intends on accosting her”

            Oh, and I suppose someone saying “I will kill you if I see you tomorrow” is only a threat if someone is seen tomorrow?

          • doubtthat

            Do you think there’s a difference between a threat and a warning? Explain you answer, whether yes or no.

          • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

            Accost? Ophelia said approach.

          • doubtthat

            SHe’s not going to be seeking you out, she asked you to stay away, the only way you’re going to get an audience is if you somehow force your way into her presence. Whatever word you want for that is fine by me as it will all result in your removal.

        • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

          He has stated repeatedly that he is going there to speak to people willing to speak to him and that he is going to report on the conference. The hype has been generated by the FTB crowd speculating about his intent to stir up trouble. These latest pronouncements from Myers and co exist in that context. They are very obviously trying to create the impression that they are warning a persistent ‘harasser’ and ‘stalker’ to stay away from them when Justin has never given any indication that he is going to bother them. It’s right in line with the Hensleyesque tactic of unsolicited warnings to people to stop contacting them to create the impression of harassment. Why introduce the word accost? What is this rubbish about ‘real men’. Swallowed Szvan and Myer’s toxic lies, have we? Part of the reason Justin is going may be to engage in person with people without the peanut gallery screaming “MRA, MRA, rapist” in the background. That way they may actually grasp actual viewpoints and notice the disconnect with what they have been told.

          Szvan’s latest complaint that she is going to have to watch what she says because Justin is there is quite revealing of an incestuous, cliquey attitude, This is exactly the kind of thing which has always motivated the pushback against the SJW ideologues. They are creating a lot of acrimony in the name of inclusiveness and openness when in reality they are championing an ideology which is very exclusionary. In my experience, most women and minorities are repelled by them.

          • doubtthat

            He has stated repeatedly that he is going there to speak to people willing to speak to him and that he is going to report on the conference.

            So why is he upset at three people that preemptively declared themselves unwilling to talk to him? Regardless of the “impression” created, Vacula can just stay away, listen to some speeches, and there will be no issues.

            That way they may actually grasp actual viewpoints and notice the disconnect with what they have been told.

            Ah, so he is a missionary. Interesting. You think this brilliant little flower is going to go educate these feminists on the real issues. That level of condescension is amazing in its own right, but the notion that Vacula is your avatar is especially amusing.

            Svan doesn’t want to deal with the inevitable horseshit misinterpretation of an obvious joke or sarcasm and spend the next three months explaining to you dim bulbs what was actually said. Vacula’s presence increases the likelihood of that scenario playing out by roughly 10,000%.

            The speeches are going to be recorded, they’re going to be made available to the public, and any criticism can be made.

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            Try reading what I wrote. I said nothing about ‘educating feminists on the real issues’. Justin has been portrayed as some kind of malevolent ‘dudebro’, whatever the fuck that is, and he might be interested in disproving that and correcting the distortion of his character and beliefs. The reasoning, dimbulb, is that having met Justin in person, people may be less inclined to swallow the smears about him.

            Szvan never wants to deal with the consequences of the rubbish she speaks. Her rationalising can be quite painful sometimes, but that’s another issue.

            OK, so nobody should go to this conference because it’s going to be recorded? Or does that reasoning only apply to Justin? But then I suppose only people who agree with you are legitimate attendees. The CFI is supposed to be about open enquiry, not the mutual reinforcement of beliefs by the like-minded.

            Avatar?, Missionary? Bullshit. Justin speaks for himself.

            ‘Regardless of the impression created’, you have to be joking. Who are you or anyone else to say how someone reacts in the face of the continuation of a smear campaign.

          • doubtthat

            Why don’t you try reading what you wrote? You think he’s going to show up and correct their perceptions, inform these poor, simple feminists about the truth. If that’s not educating on the real issues (as opposed to the false narrative you think they’ve been told) then the difference is pretty fucking slim.

            OK, so nobody should go to this conference because it’s going to be recorded? Or does that reasoning only apply to Justin? But then I suppose only people who agree with you are legitimate attendees. The CFI is supposed to be about open enquiry, not the mutual reinforcement of beliefs by the like-minded.

            I have to assume you’re being intentionally dense, here. No, no one is restricting anyone from coming. Zvan is pointing out that because Vacula and his perpetual hysteria-generating machine are present, it means that it’s countdown to some ridiculous misinterpretation of a joke or sarcasm that he posts and starts some ridiculous, overblown controversy.

            Smear campaign by facebook message? You guys are so anxious to hop up on that cross. Vacula can easily attend the conference, accomplish whatever it is that he thinks he will accomplish (if you’re right and it’s a personal PR campaign, then I think even less of him than before), and there will be no incidents. He just can’t talk to three people. WHat’s the problem?

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            There you go again. I clearly meant that I think that ONE of his objectives is to correct the impressions about himself. How do you manage to conflate that with educating people on the real issues?

            No, smear campaign by calling Justin a misogynist, petitioning to have him removed from his position at the SAC, calling him ‘anti-woman’, insuniuating repeatedly that his intention in attending omen in WIS is malicious, indulging in discussions with Melody Hensley about him, sending dossiers to CFI in advance of the conference, allowing Justin to be associated with terrorism and the like without comment when your blog moderation is draconian with anyone you disagree with.

            Don’t know why I bothered. Should have given been clued in by this:” To show up and show those silly feminists how a real man thinks?”. That is the kind of smear that Justin and many others have been repeatedly tarred with and your repetition of it is proof enough of the need to counteract it, which can only be done in person because any online discussion is going to be poisoned by the flying monkey brigade. You have no business telling Justin Vacula how he should go about defending himself.

          • doubtthat

            Look, you can say you meant something else, that’s fine, but your initial post clearly implies that Vacula is there to correct the false impression these feminists have. You’re assuming they aren’t educated on these issues, and I think it will be hilarious to watch someone with Vacula’s…er…”talents” confront actual thinkers.

            I don’t know why he’s attending the conference. I do know that whatever reason he has, not being able to talk to three people shouldn’t affect any of that…unless he’s there to mess with them.

            All of the whining and crying gets you folks nowhere. Democracy sucks, I know. It’s painful when you’re the fading minority. A petition was started to remove Vacula, the reasons were just, and he was removed. That’s people asserting their right to petition those organizations. You can cry about it all you want, but it’s just proof that you’re side of these issues is dying out and being marginalized.

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            Are you for real? Are you deliberately dodging. I never said, or implied, in any way whatsoever, anything about Justin Vacula “correcting the false impression those feminists have”, I said, quite clearly, and repeated that I had the impression that he would try to correct the false impressions created about HIM. I didn’t say anything about feminist issues, you obtuse troll.

          • doubtthat

            Part of the reason Justin is going may be to engage in person with people without the peanut gallery screaming “MRA, MRA, rapist” in the background. That way they may actually grasp actual viewpoints and notice the disconnect with what they have been told.

            Haha, nothing like splitting that hair. So you do think feminists have false impressions that Vacula needs to correct. Again, I ask you, why do you think these feminists are so ignorant that they haven’t considered these issues before? People are upset at Vacula for things he’s said and done. It is amazingly condescending to think that this conference is filled with women so easily manipulated.

            And once again, Vacula using this as a mission of personal redemption is just insulting to the conference and women in the skeptical movement. Who gives a fuck about his public relation score?

          • http://twitter.com/GerhardPrinslo1 Gerhard Prinsloo

            Jesus H Christ! How can you possibly dispute anything I write? It’s amazingly condescending to think that I haven’t considered these issues before.People are upset at Szvan, Myers etc. for the things they’ve done and said.

          • doubtthat

            Huh? That seems like a non-response.

            No, I think you’ve considered them, I also think you’ve arrived at terrible conclusions. I’m not here to “educate” you on the true essence of Benson or Zvan, I’m arguing agains the ideas you present.

            That’s a non-subtle difference. It’s pretty fucking obvious. I don’t presume that you’re just a naive little innocent who just needs to hear the “truth” for the first time. I give you the credit of assuming you’ve been introduced to the topics, which is why I find your arguments so bafflingly weak.

          • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

            “Smear campaign by facebook message?”

            I didn’t even post anything until Ophelia and company did!

          • doubtthat

            Yeah, that’s not true. You’ve been taunting her and trying to get her to appear on that silly podcast of yours (doing the O’Reilly, by the way: you won’t come on my show and have me yell over you, control your responses with my mute button and try to make you look like a fool, you must be a coward…).

            But who cares? You are entirely in control of your destiny.

            I do love the idea that somehow YOU are so essentially to the skeptic/atheist “movement” that serious harm is done if Benson or others don’t appear on your show. The narcissism is impressive.

            I am curious, though, what point do you feel needs to be made that hasn’t? What is Benson stopping you from saying or doing other than fucking with her?

          • CommanderTuvok

            So why is he upset at three people that preemptively declared themselves unwilling to talk to him?

            Perhaps because PZ in particular has a large following and is, in effect, telling his troop to shun Justin. PZ has a lot of privilege in this regard, and he should check it! Svan, Ophelia and PZ are friends (creating conflicts of interests) with some of the organisers, and have attempted to use their muscle to stir up trouble. Again, this is another form of privilege that they need to check.

            “Svan doesn’t want to deal with the inevitable horseshit misinterpretation of an obvious joke or sarcasm”

            Tough shit. People “on this side of the schism” have to put up with that kind of crap all the time. Just look at Watson’s latest effort attempting to smear Justin. It is a flat out lie. Svan doesn’t like to have the same standards applied to her that she applies to others. An attitude prevalent among the Baboon Troop.

            Vacula’s presence increases the likelihood of that scenario playing out by roughly 10,000%.

            Remember that famous quote about x% of statistics are made up on the spot!

          • doubtthat

            Yes, he wants people to shun Vacula. So? You and the five other people who post at the pit can give him support. It’s democracy.

            People on “your side of the schism” are comedically inept. Your arguments on substantive issues are sad and generally pathetic. You are forced to deal with criticism because you say and do stupid things that people disapprove of. I’m glad you’re over there, and I have no desire to bring your side any closer.

            Wait, so you think I made up the 10,000% number? Wow, nothing gets by you.

        • baal

          “I said stay the fuck away, not any of the principles. They’ve been much more polite about it.”
          Taking to twitterverse and their blogs is hardly polite. Polite is asking Vacula to not talk to them in person should he approach. The next step up is to goto the organizers during the conference with legit violations of the conference rules. This pre-emptive poisoning is not polite. It’s tactical.

          • doubtthat

            It’s making a public declaration. See, we know how you children behave. We know that you flop to try and fool the refs.

            if that public declaration wasn’t made, and Vacula was reported at the conference, you can bet there would be a hundred fucking posts about how they ambushed him and he had no idea they didn’t want to talk to him and he wasn’t doing anything inherently threatening and no one told him what was wrong….blah, blah.

            The request has now been made so everyone is aware. All Vacula has to do is not start a conversation with three people.

        • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

          “He’s being dodgy on his reason for going. Is he being sent as a missionary for the asshole brigade? To show up and show those silly feminists how a real man thinks?”

          Why the conspiracies?

          The initial fundraiser states:

          “Vacula, in accord with the conference’s policy — stating “Critical examination of beliefs, including critical commentary on another person’s views, does not, by itself, constitute hostile conduct or harassment. One of the underlying rationales of this policy is to promote the free exchange of ideas, not to inhibit it.” — will offer critical examination and commentary surrounding material presented at the conference by its various speakers who are slated to address how to “best advance both women’s rights and secularism.”"

          …but I suppose you just don’t trust anything I say, so what’s the point?

          • doubtthat

            No, I don’t. I don’t trust you to (1) understand the boundaries of others. I don’t trust you to (2) understand where “critical commentary” ends and nonsensical, rambling annoyance begins.

            You’ve already evinced a stunning ignorance of what it means to harass someone, fixating on this notion of being an inherent threat or engaging in inherently hostile conduct, language and concepts that are nowhere close to necessary.

            I’ve read your childish little tweets at Ophelia Benson and watched our endless smarmy “requests” that she appear on your podcast. I also have watched as you gleefully consider these taunting requests to be evidence of your high-minded wish for “dialog” or “rational discussion,” yet your actual substantive product is incredibly weak.

            Were I her, I would guess that you would try another stunt made popular by OReilly: run up to her at the conference with a camera and say, “Ophelia, Ophelia, can I ask you a few questions,” then when she declines keeps asking, “why, why won’t you talk to me, what are you afraid of?”

            People aren’t afraid of you. What have you done in an intellectual capacity that would make anyone respect your capabilities? Your targets have all obtained advanced degrees and I promise you the grilling they received in their defense is far more intense than your goofy little taunts and silly, derivative blog posts.

      • CommanderTuvok

        It creates a bit of an issue, because for some speeches and functions Justin and PZ/Ophelia will have to be in the same space. Unless PZ and Ophelia are trying to get Justin to lurk around in the basement for the duration.

        This is why it is a form of harassment. Telling Justin “to stay the fuck away”, is telling Justin to avoid the main speeches/talks/functions/dinners in the event, because that’s where PZ, Ophelia and the rest of the Baboon rabble will be congregated!

    • SubMan USN

      “The only way you’re going to be kicked out is if you try some idiotic, juvenile stunt…”

      Would he not also get kicked out for this without the bloviation from PZ, OB, and SZ prior to any actual “juvenile stunt”?? Who is being juvenile and idiotic here?
      Rather, I think, the blog hits increase dramatically if they whinge preemptively rather than report nothing actually happened after the fact.

      • doubtthat

        Recall that this began when Vacula implied that he was going to try and talk to Ophelia Benson at the conference. Benson sent him a message on facebook stating that she did not want to talk to him.

        Vacula then predictably erupted in a tantrum of self-indulgent whining. That’s when Myers and Zvan asserted that they didn’t want to talk to him either.

        Now he preemptively knows who to avoid. If he seeks them out, he will be reported, so he can choose to behave accordingly.

        But the blog traffic thing has been tried before. It’s just not a driver of hits, and probably there are less people who care about this shit than actually interesting discussions.

        • SubMan USN

          SZ’s blog on this topic got 23 comments. The one before that-7, the one before that-0, the one after this topic-1.

          Shall I continue or will you just concede reality?

          • doubtthat

            Oh yes, the sweet, sweet cash she pulled in from those 23 comments…

            Comments =/= hits.

            But you might get a brief flurry, but it doesn’t really alter traffic in the long run.

            If you can show me an actual study, I might believe you, but one really weak anecdote won’t an argument make. I thought you were a rationalist. Do you understand how to show a statistically significant trend?

          • bluharmony

            She’s the one who has the data on her own blog. Ask her to produce it. Otherwise, based on my own networked blogging experience, drama in the form of personal attacks or responses to such attacks = hits. Also, the comments and “likes” are usually a pretty good indicator of what’s popular. This isn’t rocket science, you know.

          • doubtthat

            First, I’m not the one making the argument. It’s incumbent on the person advancing the position to provide the substantiation.

            Second, I’ve read PZ Myers and others discussing this issue and using their blog traffic as data. They say that you may get a temporary bump, but not much sustained traffic.

            As someone who considers themselves a rational thinker, argument from “everyone knows” is hardly impressive. You need to make the case first, but that doesn’t remotely prove that this was the motivation (recall that Benson sent a facebook message, not really looking for hits there).

            It’s just sloppy, suggestive argumentation.

          • bluharmony

            The data that was provided by FTBers earlier was aggregate for FTB and showed nothing of relevance; it was produced in response to Dawkins tweeting that we should all ignore drama-manufacturing bloggers (Zvan is perhaps the best example of this; without character attacks and scientific misinformation, her blog is virtually content free). I agree with Dawkins.

            I don’t not have access to Zvan’s blog stats, obviously, so I cannot produce them. Nor can I produce stats for blogs on my network due to privacy reasons, so all I can do is share my experience. You can choose to believe me or not. However, this matter is, generally speaking, undisputed among bloggers (other than FTB, apparently).

            Informative, well-written, and entertaining posts from popular bloggers generate traffic too. This is a far better standard to aspire to. Wouldn’t you agree?

          • doubtthat

            Well, whatever, it’s a silly point, anyway. If you agree the case hasn’t been made with the available data, I agree that it seems plausible. I do not agree, however, with your assessment of Zvan, but what else is new?

            Having read a half dozen blog posts on this network now, I will bet we disagree on what constitutes an “informative, well-written, and entertaining” post.

          • bluharmony

            Agreed. As for my assessment of Zvan, well, obviously it’s biased. When all is said and done, I bet we agree a lot more than we disagree. And I think that’s part of the problem, at least for me. I feel like we should be building bridges instead of burning them.

            As a woman in secularism, I shouldn’t be uncomfortable going to the Women In Secularism conference. But I am.

            When it comes to blogs, I’m a big fan of Blackford’s and Coyne’s. I used to like reading Myers, but I don’t trust him anymore.

          • bluharmony

            Everyone with a blog knows that “drama posts” are easy hit magnets.

        • Theo Ffensivatheist

          What do you suppose would happen should he spot one of those people away from the conference & asked them a question regarding something they said about him that was maybe untrue or at least something he thought of as unfair or inaccurate? How would you feel & what would you do if you spotted someone (say in your home-town) who had been spreading untruths about you to people you know & strangers alike, honestly would you ignore them, knowing they’re likely to continue or is it at least possible you would call them out on their B.S?

          • doubtthat

            Depends on the setting. No person has a right to force others to consider their grievances. Vacula has just as much opportunity to respond to what he sees as unfair treatment on his blog as they do to make their arguments, so I’m not sure why he needs to accost them in person to make his point.

            If they were on the street, likely approaching one of them and starting a conversation wouldn’t constitute much of anything. In most jurisdictions there would need to be some legitimate fear for their safety or some showing of repeated confrontation (just takes two for stalking in most states).

            But what does that have to do with anything?

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      “No, they told you to stay the fuck away from them.”

      Again, it’s much more than that. It’s the additional threat of making an “official complaint” if I merely “approach” them and publicly broadcasting this. Ought not “official complaints” only be warranted by actions which are in violation of the conference policy i.e. hostile behavior. Is approaching someone in itself a hostile behavior? No. It’s nonsense to suggest that.

      Here’s a more reasonable way to handle the situation:
      I approach person X
      Person X says, “I don’t want to talk with you. Please move along.”
      I move along
      Person X moves along

      But, no, the threat narrative implies that I am up to no good and that, of course, I am a threat. Mere discussion — or even a greeting or approach — is demonized.

      • doubtthat

        Is approaching someone in itself a hostile behavior?

        When someone asks you to stay away, yes it is.

        I am an attorney. I deal with protective orders constantly. I deal with lower levels of restraining orders, such as mutual “stay-aways” through divorce processes.

        There’s nothing “inherently” aggressive about calling your soon-to-be ex to discuss who gets the car, but if there’s an order in place, it’s a violation.

        You’ve been told by these people that they don’t want you around. If you ignore their wish in this capacity your disregard for their request is hostile behavior (though I note you cannot help but couch all of this discussion in terms of “threats” and “hostility.” You seem to be incredibly ignorant of what constitutes actionable harassment in general and specifically with the policy at the conference. This ignorance leads you to very poor reasoning, like that displayed in this post).

        • Ronlawhouston

          You really are one of “them” then. First of all, to get any type of order there must first be this thing called evidence. Some crazed individual saying “I’m afraid, make them stay away,” without any evidence is simply the ravings of a lunatic mind. You have chosen as the legal objection goes to “assume facts not in evidence.” Why don’t you try to rationally evaluate the facts before assuming Justin’s guilt?

          You’re thinking is very black and white. My guess is that if you are an attorney, you spend most of your time prosecuting protective orders rather than working both sides of the issue.

          So far I’ve yet to see any sort of behavior by Justin that is an any way actionable. To take to public forum and say Justin is a harasser and a stalker and that he should stay away without actual evidence is simply libelous statements made by a less than rational mind. It is also an attempt to portray Justin as someone who is socially undesirable and should be avoided.

          In any event, your inherent bias is showing.

          • doubtthat

            Goddamnit, are you fucking kidding me. Honestly, this is the sort of shit that makes me lose all respect for you goofballs.

            As a preliminary matter, you are just wrong in your assessment of the law. Mutual restraining orders are often established in divorces without any evidence of prior bad acts. It’s meant to provide a cooling down period and places the fault on no one. That’s irrelevant to this point, but it’s important to reiterate how fucking ignorant you all are.

            But the rule forcing Vacula to respect people’s wishes that he stay away IS NOT A LAW. There need not be any legal process, though there could be if the violation was ALSO a violation of a law.

            The conference has rules. By attending, you agree to abide by those rules. One of those rules involves an anti-harassment policy, and Vacula would clearly be in violation if he tries to engage people that have requested he stay away. It’s not a fucking complicated concept. It’s amazing how you goofballs can be so far off base.

            It simply does not matter whether or not Vacula has done anything in the past. He has been asked to stay away, and a violation of that request is a violation of the conference rules and he can be removed.

          • Ronlawhouston

            No, I’m not fucking kidding you, but your response is more than a bit over the top. Have you taken your fucking anger management classes yet?

            Are you talking about mutual injunctions or protective orders? Yes, people can agree to mutual injunctions, but there must be some basis for the injunction other than “I don’t like you.” Even then the remedy for violation of injunctions is a civil remedy and not a criminal one. Protective orders (at least in my jurisdiction) require both a showing of violence and proof that it is likely to reoccur.

            As odious as I find you, I have no right to tell you to “stay the fuck” away in a public place. It would be nice if you complied with my wishes but if you don’t my only recourse is to simply walk away. Hell, I don’t even have to walk away, I can just refuse to engage you in conversation.

            Cursing, calling people names and claiming that you have some “special” knowledge makes your arguments weak and shows that you’re very much the intellectual lightweight who start this whole thing off by saying “stay the fuck away.” Got any more brilliance?

          • doubtthat

            In a no fault divorce state a mutual restraining order literally means, “I don’t like, we’re getting a divorce, stay away.” The only “evidence” is the person wanting to get away from the other, which is exactly what we have here.

            There’s a reason I chose that as an example rather than a protective order. Could you provide some other discussion of legal issues irrelevant to this discussion?

            As odious as I find you, I have no right to tell you to “stay the fuck” away in a public place.

            The fuck does that have to do with anything? This conference is not a “public place” in the sense that it is without rule beyond statutory law. This is irrelevant, you continue to babble about total irrelevancies.

            At this conference, there are rules in addition to the law. You literally cannot seem to grasp this basic point. Nevertheless, my guess is that the conference staff will require some showing of evidence before they boot anyone. There won’t be legal burdens and it will be much less formal, but you’re just wrong about everything on every level. It’s sort of incredible.

      • Allison

        Your points are entirely reasonable, Justin, but please do keep in mind that you are dealing with *unreasonable* people. I would encourage you to be very cautious and not let Svan, Benson, etc. turn into the martyrs they so badly want to be.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      “We all realize that you’re going to try to commit suicide by conference security so you can run back to your poor-thinking comrades and whine and complain about censorship and the usual panoply of nonsense.”

      Nonsense. I am there to report and stay through the entire event. I have an obligation to my donors. My conference record is impeccable. I have attended and spoken at numerous events/conferences in the atheist/skeptic community. There is no reason whatsoever to suggest that I will act in violation of the conference policy.

      • doubtthat

        Then what’s the problem? If you do that, I promise you absolutely nothing will happen.

        If you try to engage the three people who asked you to stay away, you will violate the policy. You have been put on notice, so now you are able to make an informed decision.

        This is a very simple issue, despite your constant whining and attempts at martyrdom.

    • http://www.justinvacula.com Justin Vacula

      “No one has tried to stop you from attending, no one has threatened to have you removed…”

      Except multiple FTB commenters and writers who sent their ‘concerns’ to CFI and openly advocated for my pre-emptive banning…

      • doubtthat

        Is there someone other than Zvan? Because she expressly did not request your banning pointing out that it would not benefit her — because of this sort of self-indulgent whining.

        I don’t know who else you’re referring to, but guessing that you have some sort of inside information on this, I will concede that point if you can prove such. Of course, you’re still going, so…

        You have been warned not to approach 3 people. This is hardly burdensome.

  • corpsepants

    Your reportage is going to be honest, right? And not focused on trying to make anyone look bad? I hope so. I mean, I REALLY hope so, because it’s the only way this whole stupid thing has been worth following.

    Unlike this, THIS is dishonest:
    “not insubstantial chance” that she will “engage in the reporting process for hostile behavior.”

    WTF? Is she also going to walk around with 9-1 dialed on her phone with her thumb on the 1? How are we to think she’s engaging at ALL honestly?

    • Erik Johansson

      If the last WiS conference is anything to go by, the speakers will manage to make themselves look extremely bad completely on their own.

      Remember, WiS was the conference where Sikivu Hutchinson last year blurted out that Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett and Harris’ have “institutionalized a very narrow, prescriptive, white supremacist, patriarchal version of atheism”. (yes, that is an exact quote).
      If they have they have anywhere near the same level of crazy this year, the one thing one would need to do to make them look bad would be to let the camera roll.

      • corpsepants

        This is true.

  • corpsepants

    “The High Road” may not have stopped anyone from attacking, but when the dust settles, who looks better, more credible? The people who get back to their work, or the ones who continue to splash around in the mud puddles? Someone like Dawkins may get in a swing or two, but then he gets back to important, and real, work. The stinging gnats, then, do not get their names elevated by associations they neither earned nor deserve.

    By continuing to engage in this little slander cottage industry, associations are forged. Vacula’s name is pretty firmly welded to some of FTB’s loudest gnats.

    This is why I hope he’s a consummate professional at this thing. Emerging with honest reports — criticisms and praise alike — will do more for Vacula’s credibility than just about anything else. Unlike when he petulantly went on and on about AACon’s “recording device” policy, which we know damn well he was just picking at, rather than misunderstood. It really came across as foot-stomping and attention-grabbing.

    I hope credibility is what he’s after — or even clear, true exposure of some rotten fucking apples — and not just more mud. Because that shit is tiresome. More people who are being dragged through it should climb out and clean off — and then yeah point out the fucking mudhole to the rest of us, so we can AVOID IT. And hopefully it’ll just dry up.

  • Theo Ffensivatheist

    When you go to that conference I (& i’m willing to bet several others) will be metaphorically right there with you mate, good luck, TRY to video as much as possible & i personally can’t wait to see certain people feel uncomfortable just by you being there. Take it as a compliment, you’ve already got them on the run & the things not even started yet. I’m expecting them to manufacture something against you & to possibly outright lie to get you thrown out however you behave. I don’t trust Melody Hensley not to have been in secret discussions with your detractors who’ll be at the event, so like i said try to video as much as possible for your own defence should it be needed!?

  • Pitchguest

    @doubtthat:disqus

    You’re not exactly subtle in your insinuation that Justin will be a “threat.” You even accuse him of wanting to accost people. Do you honestly think you’re being honest and fair here?

    • doubtthat

      You guys are just amazing. I’ve probably written 20x now that Vacula isn’t a “threat,” given the sense of the word he is using. The people requesting that he stay away are not afraid of physical violence, and the only person who has dubbed Vacula a threat is Vacula (then his chorus of daft whiners fall in place with the “amens”).

      This threat issue is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to the matter at hand. That so many of you fixate on that concept, totally fabricated by Vacula, is instructive.

      There is no discussion on this blog, it’s just me correcting your elementary misconceptions.

      • Pitchguest

        You said he would try to accost people! How is that not making him out to be a threat?

        WE are amazing? Speak for yourself, dear.

        • doubtthat

          Bill O’Reilly has his producers accost people by shoving cameras in their faces and asking annoying questions.

          Here’s the first definition of the word, the one I used:

          “Approach and address (someone) boldly or aggressively.”

          “to approach and speak to often in a challenging or aggressive way
          It could mean threateningly, but it could mean aggressively and annoyingly.”

          • Pitchguest

            I’m sorry. Maybe you forgot your own writing, but here it is again:

            “That’s only a threat if Vacula intends on accosting her, in which case the threat is perfectly appropriate.”

            So Vacula is not a threat, *unless* he intends to accost people, and you think he intends to accost people in which case he *would be* a threat. Which is it?

            If Vacula is *not* a threat at this conference, then why are you insinatuing he’s going there to accost people?

          • doubtthat

            Can you fucking read? If you look at the context of that quote, I’m talking about Vacula’s accusation that Benson telling him to stay away or she would contact security was a threat.

            The term “threat” has been deployed in two ways, both by Vacula and no one else:

            1) He assumes people asking him to stay away must think he’s a threat.
            2) He accuses Benson of threatening him by saying she would contact security or conference staff if he approaches her.

            1 is a fiction of Vacula’s paranoid mind, and two is just sort of silly. I asked Vacula this question earlier, to which he did not reply, but maybe you can answer for him: Is there any difference between a threat and a warning?

            You are an incredibly dense fellow, as you’ve proven time and time again, and your fetish for vapid quote mining undermines what little credibility you have.

            No, Vacula is not a threat. He is not a threat in physical terms, nor he is an intellectual threat. The extent of the concern is that he would ruin the weekend by being annoying or pulling some sort of stunt: tee-shirt, booth, O’Reilly-style ambush with camera…obnoxiousness, which is a concept well covered by the word “accost.”

          • Pitchguest

            Uh-huh, and you think he intends to accost people. Words have meaning.

            Before the conference has even begun, Stephanie Zvan has written a four-page complaint to Ron Lindsey (with an additional 11 PDFs with harassment policy) claiming whatever she fancies, in an obvious attempt to get Justin Vacula thrown out from the conference. Ophelia Benson has already said his conduct is harassment, Rebecca Watson attempts to smear him by linking to his Facebook-page where someone (not Vacula) had posted a picture of a man kicking a woman “in the cunt” (as it were) – how is that not trumping up the threat narrative? Especially the last one. Is Rebecca saying Justin is going to kick a woman “in the cunt”?

            If Justin is the only one who’s used “threat”, then why do you insinuate he’s going to use some “O’Reilly-style ambush with camera” (or whatever) and “accost” Ophelia (or whoever) which by your own admission would make him a threat?

            And if he happens to have a t-shirt on that should happen to offend you, so fucking what? Is this going to be like the Harriet Hall situation all over again? He’s going to “ruin the weekend” by wearing a shirt with words on it. In fact, what if he happens to wear the same exact shirt that Harriet Hall wore? Furthermore, am I reading you wrong or did you just equate “O’Reilly-style ambush” with wearing a t-shirt?

            Quote-mining? I am quoting you, verbatim, word for word, and frankly the full context doesn’t matter since you have repeatedly claimed Justin’s going to accost people and he would only be a threat if he intends to accost people. Game. Set. Match. But I guess I’m just “quoting the Bible” and we all know how dogmatists react to that sort of thing.

          • doubtthat

            Look, I get that long winded, tedious, willfully ignorant babble is your favored way of progressing, but even you should be ashamed with this bullshit.

            Uh-huh, and you think he intends to accost people. Words have meaning.

            Basic concept you don’t understand 1: conditional statements.

            I have said multiple times that I have no idea what Vacula plans to do when he gets to that conference. I can guess based on his general petulance that he planned to engage Ophelia Benson and others prior to them telling him to stay away, but I have no idea.

            What I have said is that IF he intends to confront them, then he will be violating the conference policy.

            Basic concept you don’t understand 2: Definition of word.

            I just gave you the definition for accost. It does not necessarily mean threatening, and O’Reilly-styled confrontations are rarely threatening, but they’re always obnoxious and annoying. You would be using the word properly were you to say, “O’Reilly had a producer accost Congressman Smith…”

            Especially the last one. Is Rebecca saying Justin is going to kick a woman “in the cunt”?

            No, she’s saying he’s kind of a prick with a bad sense of humor. His page, he can remove it.

            If Justin is the only one who’s used “threat”, then why do you insinuate he’s going to use some “O’Reilly-style ambush with camera” (or whatever) and “accost” Ophelia (or whoever) which by your own admission would make him a threat?

            Basic concept you fail to understand 3…or like 3-156, this one depends on such an amazing level of stupidity that it’s hard to isolate exactly where you went wrong. It’s sort of everywhere.

            First, accost does not = threat. You can try to make that so, but it isn’t. If accost (I make this statement carefully as it is a conditional, meaning a phrasing you’ve already proven to struggle with) means threat, then I won’t use accost. Fortunately it doesn’t, so this fetish of yours is just silly. And yes, one can be accosted threateningly, but it is not necessarily thus.

            But once again, you have doubled down on your total misunderstanding of the quote you used. Vacula accused Benson of threatening HIM. I said that it can only be considered a threat if Vacula intends to satisfy the pre-condition: accosting, approaching, confronting, engaging, whatever, Ophelia Benson, in which case Ophelia Benson was justified in threatening Vacula, and by that I mean warning him.

            At no point have I said that Vacula was a threat.

            Quote-mining? I am quoting you, verbatim, word for word, and frankly the full context doesn’t matter since you have repeatedly claimed Justin’s going to accost people and he would only be a threat if he intends to accost people.

            Haha, you must be joking here, right? I mean, you must be trying to troll me or get a rise out of me, surely you can’t be that fucking stupid. I broke that down for you like a mama bird chewing food so its iittle, featherless hatchling doesn’t starve.

            Again, I said that if Vacula confronts Ophelia Benson, the statement made by Benson that VACULA considers a threat would be justified.

            It cannot be said any simpler. Any further repetition of this fucking dumb point I have to assume is you being an asshole, because it would be far less charitable to think it was the result of you acting at full capacity.

            Game. Set. Match. But I guess I’m just “quoting the Bible” and we all know how dogmatists react to that sort of thing.

            Basic concept you don’t understand 4: Analogies.

            Basic concept you don’t understand 5: Humor.

          • Pitchguest

            Ha ha ha. It’s not my fault that you’re a bad communicator. You have many times said that Vacula’s intentions of going to the conference is to make a spectacle of himself, to the woe of others. Here’s but one example of this:

            We all realize that you’re going to try to commit suicide by conference security so you can run back to your poor-thinking comrades and whine and complain about censorship and the usual panoply of nonsense.

            “Commit suicide by conference security …” Cute.

            By the way, it’s amusing that you accuse me of trolling and getting a rise out of people when seemingly all you’ve done in this comment section is the same. How else am I to interpret this repetetive line of thought? In the quote above, for instance, you say we’re “poor thinking comrades” and how Vacula will “whine and complain about censorship and the usual panoply* of nonsense.” And it goes on and on, in pretty much every reply you lament our supposed stupidity and our lack of reason. Aren’t these petty attempts to coax a reaction? Why are you even here? Clearly you’re far too clever for us, with your barister wit and your panoplies of words.

            Here’s another example of your attempt to goad a reaction from Justin:

            Were I her, I would guess that you would try another stunt made popular by OReilly: run up to her at the conference with a camera and say, “Ophelia, Ophelia, can I ask you a few questions,” then when she declines keeps asking, “why, why won’t you talk to me, what are you afraid of?”

            And here is your worst one yet:

            Justin Vacula says, “I pose no threat” and you reply,

            I’m pretty sure that’s what Ted Bundy said right before he swung his tire iron.

            Standing on high, it’s remarkable that this kind of rhetoric is even acceptable in your ivory tower. In one fell stroke, you compared Justin Vacula to that of a serial killer. If the threat narrative wasn’t trumped up enough before, it certainly is now.

            But enough about your bad communication skills, which you demonstrate again and again, let’s return to your bad argument. Justin has said that he thinks Ophelia’s statements about him to be a threat, how he should “stay away” from her and how she would use the harassment policy to her advantage should he ever “approach” her at the conference. It didn’t say anything about confronting or “accosting” her, it said “approach”, which is very ambiguous, because what is “approach”? Going in the same direction as her? Being in the same room? Because it’s very ambiguous, saying she would try to get him removed from the scene should he ever “approach” her sounds very much like a threat and sounds very much like she intends for Justin to have to walk on eggshells just to please her.

            Now you have indicated that you think Justin’s only going there to annoy people, and that he will try to accost people. You said that he will only be a threat if he attempts to accost people, which you have said you think he will try to do. That claim is going beyond Vacula’s claim of Ophelia’s statements, because they say nothing about “accosting” or “confronting” people, but “approaching” – the one who brought up the words “accost” and “confront” was you. (And the prospect of Vacula possibly being the next Ted Bundy.) In other words, by virtue of your bad communication skills, you have *in no uncertain terms* claimed Justin Vacula is going to be a threat at WiS.

            Am I wrong?

            However the thing is, two can play that game. You have been fond to give too much power to these minstrels, and frankly it’s perplexing why Justin should have to listen to their demands if he intends to heed the harassment policy (of which his record is spotless), but if Justin says the same thing to Ophelia, then what? I’m pretty sure that simply being in the same room or in close proximity of one another does not violate any rules as stated in the policy, but if both of them have the same demand (“stay away from me” or alternatively “stay *the fuck* away from me”), wouldn’t Justin have the same right to report Ophelia to the event organizers?

            Admittedly Justin hasn’t been that histrionic, but isn’t it ridiculous that it should only apply to just one of them? What makes Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, et al, so special that only their demands should be met no matter how hysterical or paranoid? Why should their demands be met at all? If Ophelia doesn’t want to talk to Justin at the conference, fine. Why the implicit threats of attempting to remove him from the conference should he simply happen to “approach” her? It’s ludicruous.

          • doubtthat

            Am I wrong?

            Yes. About almost all of that. I will agree that I do try to get a rise out of you folks, but that’s by not couching my assessment of your abilities in polite terms. You are boring simpletons, as you have shown with this post.

            There is nothing wrong with my communication skills, there is simply your failure to read basic points.

            Justin has said that he thinks Ophelia’s statements about him to be a threat, how he should “stay away” from her and how she would use the harassment policy to her advantage should he ever “approach” her at the conference.

            Ok, we’ll start here, this is so far true. Now don’t get lost…oh no!

            It didn’t say anything about confronting or “accosting” her, it said “approach”, which is very ambiguous, because what is “approach”? Going in the same direction as her? Being in the same room? Because it’s very ambiguous, saying she would try to get him removed from the scene should he ever “approach” her sounds very much like a threat and sounds very much like she intends for Justin to have to walk on eggshells just to please her.

            This is feigned stupidity. I added the word accost because it is a type of approach. You can approach someone by accosting them, so once again you have this absurd position based on a ridiculously stupid interpretation of words. That’s not my fault. That’s yours.

            Regardless of how Vacula needs to “please” her, and not confronting, approaching, accosting, talking to, would probably take care of that, that still isn’t me calling him a threat. So you were just wrong about that, admit it. Be an adult.

            You said that he will only be a threat if he attempts to accost people, which you have said you think he will try to do.

            Look, man, this just means you’re dumb. There’s no nicer way to say that.

            What I’ve said is that IF Vacula accosts Benson, then BENSON’S THREAT is justified, it was a warning that will look prescient after the fact.

            I don’t know any other way to say that. Even IF Vacula accosts people, I do not believe he will be a threat. He will be an annoyance.

            Now, you can keep spitting up this obviously dumb nonsense…oh wait, you have more obviously dumb nonsense?

            That claim is going beyond Vacula’s claim of Ophelia’s statements, because they say nothing about “accosting” or “confronting” people, but “approaching” – the one who brought up the words “accost” and “confront” was you. (And the prospect of Vacula possibly being the next Ted Bundy.)

            Let’s look at the Bundy part in full:

            I’m pretty sure that’s what Ted Bundy said right before he swung his tire iron.

            [B]ut that’s all a red herring. “Threat” is not a necessary element of harassment. “Really fucking annoying” is plenty.

            Now, brilliant one, what do you think the bolded means? WHy is it there? What is a “red herring?” What i the implication of calling the issue of “threat” a red herring?

            This is obvious to anyone who can read, but you need extra help. In response to Vacula’s whining claim that he isn’t a “threat,” I made 2 points:

            1) Everyone, even very threatening people like Ted Bundy, claim to not be threats, so it’s a meaningless point. Find me an example of someone being reassured by a person saying, “don’t worry, I’m harmless.” Even if they mean to cause ultimate harm, they say that.

            2) But who gives a shit? Vacula constantly brining up this threat issues is either intentionally distracting from the actual worry – that he annoy people – or it shows a total ignorance for what harassment policies are meant to cover.

            Now, if you can read that and conclude that I was comparing Vacula to Bundy in any relevant sense (Bundy as a murderer), then you are just too incompetent to hold an adult conversation.

            THAT, by the way, is quote-mining. You fixated on the Bundy part while ignoring the fact that I call it a useless distraction with the next sentence. Incredible. Have you no dignity?

            You folks are children. You rely upon your terrible reading comprehension to justify these idiotic conclusions. THIS is what’s wrong with the “movement,” why there’s a “schism.” It’s honestly because you lack the capabilities to engage in serious discussion.

            In other words, by virtue of your bad communication skills, you have *in no uncertain terms* claimed Justin Vacula is going to be a threat at WiS.

            This is based on (1) your continued misreading of my quote, after it’s been explained now 3 times, and (2) your TOTALLY UNJUSTIFIED assumption that accost=threat. It doesn’t. Accost =/= threat. You’re wrong. Why can’t you accept this basic fact.

            But, again I tread cautiously given your total inability to understand conditional statements, if it were proven to me that “accost” in all uses implied (in the strict logical sense) “threat,” then I would merely need to say, “Oh, I didn’t know that. Well, then, I don’t think Vacula will accost anyone.”

            Accost, however, does not mean threat, so I used it appropriately. Vacula is not a threat, save to enjoyment of a weekend.

            Justin says the same thing to Ophelia, then what?

            Then they stay away from each other, problem solved.

            What makes Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, et al, so special that only their demands should be met no matter how hysterical or paranoid?

            They make no decisions. The conference staff does. They have merely requested that Vacula stay away. Vacula can make the same request. If either side violates the request, then the conference staff will decide what to do.

            Why are you asking such transparently stupid, obvious questions?