First, read this from P Z Myers:
A strange little blog has been carping at various atheists blogs for a while now. Called “You’re Not Helping”, it pretended to have the goal of keeping internet atheists honest and holding them to a higher standard. It wasn’t very interesting — it’s main claim to fame was a tone that combined self-righteousness with whining — but it has just flamed out spectacularly. The author has admitted to committing flagrant sockpuppetry, with four identities (“yourenothelping”, “Polly-O”, “Brandon”, and “Patricia”) who were active commenters there, all reinforcing the same views and sometimes congratulating each other on their cleverness.
So much for honesty and a higher standard.
Indeed, not only has the liar been caught out, he has hidden his blog! If you try to access it now, you get:
This blog is protected; to view it, you must log in
Well, this is what should happen to it:
This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
Because if sockpuppetry is not a violation of WordPress Terms of service, IT SHOULD BE!
Update: Now the place where that blog used to be says:
The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available.
I don’t even understand why anyone would sockpuppet. It’s just a way of admitting that one’s arguments are pathetic in the first place. If they’re good, they’ll stand out on their own 99% of the time anyway.
The best response yet to this issue, IMO:
[[[Posting this here, because 1) his blog is now down, and 2) he would probably simply edit the comment anyway.
Your not-pology of projection and self-image of noble martyrdom is insufficient for months of intellectual dishonesty and outright misrepresentation of others.
You apparently, like I, grew up as an atheist, and thus probably have a well-practiced hand at dealing with others of all faith levels, from the passive deist to the most fervent bible thumper. Some time later in life, a few people write a few books with well-structured arguments and clear reasoning sheds the wool from a lot of previously faithful eyes, that gain a fair amount of popularity, and they come to realize they’ve been duped for years by people they cared about. These people get together to commiserate, often rambunctiously, with others who have gone through similar metamorphoses as well as others who have long since realized the harm that blind faith does. The TONE on some of the watering holes appears more vitriolic that you, the Practiced Atheist Hand, would actually engage in, and so you make a blog that seeks to point out discrepancies and what you see as more egregious examples of vitriol and rhetoric.
This is fine, and even probably the correct response: fight rhetoric with rhetoric.
However, you made serious mistakes:
1. Because you are actively visiting these places, you see the people involved talking amongst themselves. But you extrapolated from there that the people involved actually go out and yell in people’s faces at the first slightest hint that someone expresses faith. It’s very possible that the recently-deconverted may slip and do this on occasion in residual anger, but it is far more common in my experience that speaking out is done as a response to others, rather than directly initiated. This is the thing that is misconstrued on specifically-atheist blogs, and shows like the Atheist Experience, as well: for 90 minutes one day a week, that team puts themselves up on television for people to willingly call in and confront them. The other 166.5 hours a week, they go on with their normal lives just like anyone else. The same goes for Pharyngula, and really anywhere else; aside from reading and chattering amongst themselves, most everyone just goes about their normal lives, even while gathering occasionally and engaging in passionate discussion about topics that interest them. The only reason these people are perceived as strident is because you only see them when they’re discussing these topics, and it is your own inference that they do it all the time and in the same manner in which they talk amongst themselves about it that is making you angry. That is your own problem, not theirs.
2. You outright misrepresented the people involved in that context. Then you proceeded to prop up your position by manufacturing agreement. This is contemptible. Disagreement is fine, and even encouraged, but you’re an out-and-out liar, which is far more reprehensible than anything actually spoken about at the places you seemingly loathe but refuse to stop visiting.
If you don’t like them, don’t visit them. Hell, your blog was probably the best response if you seriously felt this way. But it was the way you went about it, the intellectual dishonesty that turned people from disagreement to outright anger, so your feigned surprise that you received a strong response after you went around in an outright smear campaign lying about people is naïve and disingenuous. Yes, Virginia, people don’t like being lied to or about. Go figure. Slander and libel are legally actionable for a reason.
The scorn is with the tactics and intellectual dishonesty, not with the fact that you have spoken out, so you can cram your “being silenced” martyrdom complex. You are not a martyr: you are simply a lying jerk, and you deserve every bit of antipathy that your dishonest behavior has earned for yourself.]]]
I can’t recall if I ever read anything on that blog. Possibly once or twice at some time. It’s unfortunate that he chose to use one in this fashion, though.
I think it’s worthwhile to have serious atheist bloggers willing to criticize other atheist bloggers when the situation merits it. We aren’t all the same people, and some of us do have views that are probably upside down and sideways to what’s considered “right” or at least common by the rest. We need to be willing to question each others’ points of view. We also have to be willing to defend our ideas or retire them, too, should evidence tip them that way.
I don’t know if the author will turn in on himself in an “everyone’s against me” snit and never learn anything from this, or if he’ll reassess his methods and approach and try again in a good way. Time will tell.
I understand the need for atheists to criticize each other. The intent of such criticism is to keep us honest. Thus, such criticism that is dishonest is self-defeating.
The problem is that today’s atheists seem to have a short memory or no knowledge of their own history. I REMEMBER atheism as being defined ONLY as “the belief that there is no God.” Thus, the need for an alternative word in the 19th Century for merely not believing in God but not being atheist, which is why the word “agnosticism” was invented. But NOW, atheists claim that atheism DOES mean “no belief in God” which includes agnosticism under the old definition, but they also expand agnostic to include some nondogmatic theists. This appears to be the tactic of the New Atheist movement: Redefine terms to make the possessors of them more diverse, more tolerant, and thus both more popular and less threatening to the religious than in the past. But I reject this because it will destroy the credibility of atheism itself. Just wait and see!
Learn more here:
I almost wish there was a hell to send this bastard to!