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    Freethoughtblogs - PZ Myers And Ed Brayton Finally Leaving
    By Sascha Vongehr | July 30th 2011 11:50 PM | 45 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Freethoughtblogs.com has now been announced. PZ Myers’ “Pharyngula” and Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” together with three other blogs start a new network.


    The scienceblogs “science blogs” gotten somewhat better over the years with some silly blockheads leaving, but one of the worst, PZ Meyers, known for tiny little snippets of vitriol of pseudo-progressive populism that panders to the stupid “skeptics” crowd (the self-righteous feel superior about bashing morons with silly non-arguments type), seemed to never want to go away, giving science blogging a very bad reputation.



    Now finally, they are at least splitting the vitriol from the science they at times still throw in here and there. As you can read on Facebook:

    Freethoughtblogs.com will be THE central gathering place for atheists, humanists, skeptics and freethinkers in the blogosphere.
    This is of course ridiculous since the main blogs are more about republican bashing than about anything else and there is very little reasonable skepticism ever on those blogs, but it is nevertheless good news for science blogging generally if those that give science blogging a bad name finally go and blog under a different category. “Freethought” (free of what actually – reason?) sounds as kooky as any crackpottery and is a much better heading than “science”.

    So, they will put the ridiculous twitter like hater posts under the “freethought” label instead. This preemptive surrender is quite the behavior one expects from establishment douche bags that exploit the pseudo-progressive niche. You cannot tell me that they would have done this move without NatGeo coming along. Now they self-censor without a fight.

    PZ on Google Profile:
    I will still be maintaining my relationship with Scienceblogs and National Geographic, but only select content will appear there: that is, science, anti-creationism, that sort of thing...the openly anti-religious material will be on FtB only
    Anti-creationism stays but anti-religion not - that will be a fine line. So it is the mirror site trick then - just insurance that in case NatGeo kicks him out, he is already somewhere else.

    Comments

    Hank
    I think it's a good move.   They were at one time 2X our traffic because he was 50% of theirs so he can put anything on the traffic map all by himself.    There's no reason for him to write for anyone else when advertisers will follow him wherever he goes.
    vongehr
    Yes, it is a very good move (not sure though why I should be bothered about somebody's traffic). I hope there is nothing that indicates sarcasm and that I actually do not think this is a good move not only for SB but for science blogging generally. I often agree with Ed, but it does just not belong under "science" if it is not based on science or at least semi-directly important to science (of course, everything is somehow indirectly important to everything else, but with those two, the connection has gotten spurious at best).
    Hank
    I'm sure traffic matters - or did.   Scienceblogs people were all originally picked because they had a lot of traffic - that meant they could sell a lot of ads combined and make money, the purpose was commercial.  If PZ was not making more money blogging than he got teaching, he should have moved here.   Because someone was making money on his work so I hope it was him.

    Maybe they don't care now, of course.  The site isn't up yet so maybe they won't bother with an ad at all.

    Edit: And I have to wonder why he didn't just join Richard Dawkins on richarddawkins.net.   It is called the Foundation for Reason and Science, a lot like how freethought describes itself.   Dawkins already has moderators and the same audience, etc.   
    vongehr
    And I have to wonder why he didn't just join Richard Dawkins on richarddawkins.net.
    Because richarddawkins.net is richarddawkins.net and not pzm.com? Never forget - this is all just a fame game for those people - they exploit a niche in a market and make themselves believe in the stuff that sells. Cannot anybody convince me that the three most read and influential white males on SB believe what they need to write about women issues in order to sell their stuff to the fashionably left.
    I don't think PZ Myers would be welcome on richarddawkins.net. Richard Dawkins is in another class, highly intelligent, articulate, and undertsands sarcasm and irony. After his spot-on comments regarding "Elevator Gate" on PZ's blog, there has developed a schism. Those that are science-based and hold logic and critical thinking dear, have distanced themselves from Pharangula.

    I'm a woman and I've been called a rape apologist and a gender traitor for agreeing with Dawkins.

    Thank you, Sascha for giving us hope.

    Hank
    Sacha, that's interesting and likely a better explanation.  We are so culturally clueless - writing about the whole 'science' thing in the name of the site - I assume most of us did not know about any 'schism' between them but it makes sense now.

    I also love that ironically ecclesiastical choice of wording for a dispute among atheists!   
    "I also love that ironically ecclesiastical choice of wording for a dispute among atheists!"

    Irony is one of my favourite things.

    "Schism" is entirely an appropriate word. I would like to point out that, contrary to our public face, not all atheists are imbeciles. What is happening in scientific terms right now is a conflict between the insect hive mind and the autonomous mammal. The freethinkers, who still remember what that entails, are being marginalised, turned into criminals, debased with propaganda equating them to subhuman neanderthals and the effort is focussed entirely on banishing them as heretics. Further, the current incidents are not new - rather they are the culmination of an organised campaign that has been running for some years now. It is as disgraceful as it is embarrassing - especially when you hear the religious conservatives laughing gleefully in the wings and saying "see? that's what we said godlessness looks like".

    vongehr
    Richard is sure on another level, but fame has also turned Richard into a little bit of a jackass too much into himself. I refuse to follow crap like elevator gate, but I do follow the discussion between group-selection and people who defend the selfish gene as if the former is somehow creationism.
    So, that makes me think that two people who think they are number one is what makes it impossible for those two to be in one place.
    BTW: Glad one more woman interested in women issues reads my articles - you must have missed some to be still here. ;-)
    I wouldn't say I'm interested in "women's issues". I have deep concern for the women who are actually being oppressed in places like Somalia and Palestine, but I see that as a human issue, anyone with compassion would agree with me. I do not see oppression of women in places like Europe, The US, Australia, etcetera.

    vongehr
    PZ on Google Profile:
    My plan is to post the current full content of Pharyngula on the new site. I will still be maintaining my relationship with Scienceblogs and National Geographic, but only select content will appear there: that is, science, anti-creationism, that sort of thing...the openly anti-religious material will be on FtB only
    Anti-creationism stays but anti-religion not - that will be a fine line. So it is the mirror site trick then - just insurance in case NatGeo kicks him out. Am I the only one thinking this preemptive surrender is quite the behavior one expects from establishment douche bags that exploit the pseudo-progressive niche?
    Hank
    It's nice of NG or Scienceblogs (it's hard to figure out who owns what since NG didn't buy it, just sort of took it over) to give him the database like that.  It may be that they didn't lay down any rules yet and those guys are just worried they will so they are doing something in advance. 

    I also assume it means he doesn't want to walk away from the money his blog generates.   While any site he creates would have to be top 5 in traffic, it wouldn't be in income.  All it takes for someone to figure out how hard it is to monetize traffic is to have to do it and NG has a good sales force to sell ads.    The other large sites out there are no bigger than us in traffic but they all are owned by big media companies with sales forces.    The downside to true independence is less money.
    vongehr
    are just worried they will so they are doing something in advance ... doesn't want to walk away from the money
    Yep - precisely - insurance.  And if money is involved, there is also no fight of the seemingly for freedom fighting renegades - oh no. With Pepsi - big storm in the water glass - but now as it is about their money - self-censoring, preemptively licking boots and putting whatever may insult the new ruler somewhere else. Pure establishment.
    Hank
    They're certainly confident.  Unless my math is flawed, they charge an $15 CPM to advertise- approximately 35X what their Google ad is going to generate.   Heck, if they get a $15 CPM I am moving over there, I know I have more readers in a month than everyone else except PZ on that site -  combined.
    Hope the door doesn't hit his ass on the way out. Don't know what annoys me more - his misuse/abuse of the term "freethinker" or "liberal". He has no idea of either.

    Hank
    I've certainly argued too many times that progressives are not liberals, though I don't know P.Z. well enough to know where he fits.  I do know in academia it is often very progressive and little liberal, in the classic 'freedom' liberalism sense that most people understand it, so he is likely more progressive than liberal.     Oddly, the term liberal, and its meaning, are tenets of both conservatives and progressives yet neither side is actually liberal.

    I am glad someone else, regardless of context, uses that Kim Jong Il clip from Team America like you did on your site - sometimes I break into that song for no reason at all, usually if someone disagrees with me.

    On your list of reasons for his sort-of departing, I have no doubt he is concerned about NG suppressing him, I also don't think they have. He doubles their size so, like him or not, the market has spoken about his work and NG wants to make money, so I doubt they want him to move along and I doubt he wants to lose the money he makes.   If he were here, he could write any darn thing he pleased too.   People obviously want to read it.
    I wouldn't even call him "progressive" - that implies the ability to alter ones point of view as new data is apprehended. He is more of a reactionary with a crypto-fascist aroma and a taste for char-grilled scapegoat. If it's any consolation to you, he has destroyed his credibility beyond repair with a huge chunk of the atheist / skeptic community. I don't think he realises the full extent yet. All of those that were previously ambivalent, yet prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, now know him for what he is - a populist buffoon that would sell his mother for a handful of party snaps with the Skepchick posse. An ethical, moral and intellectual destitute that relies on bullying silence in critics via weight of reputation. That reputation is now somewhat tattered. We'll see how he shapes up in the next few months as reality begins to sink in on him. The only real support he has left is the trained baboons in his forums.

    Hank
    Most of us missed the controversy - one person wrote on it, in a sort of shocked and amazed way that in the vast world of science, being hit on in an elevator was the only thing worth discussing among those 5 sites that seem to feed off of each other.  Like skeptics, we have plenty of atheists, I assume, being science, but culture is not why exist so we probably lose some readers for not being militant enough.  I have even defended Republicans and religious people on occasion - that is how contrarian we are.
    Hell, I've defended Fred Phelps, David Irving and Geert Wilders. Do better than that. What many commentators are saying is that we are witnessing, what I wrote elsewhere, "the evolution, from scratch, of a brand new fundamentalism that is unique in that is being driven by those who claim to have renounced the religious impulse. It is depressing to realise that this kind of nihilist thinking runs so deeply in our collective psyches that it doesn’t even need gods or spooks or the supernatural in order to manifest itself in new and destructive ways".

    These clowns have no idea what "Freethought" is and have effectively pissed all over the Enlightenment legacy in the process of proclaiming themselves the New Gods - and decreed that we must all now wallow in Nietzschean slave morality because that is the only truth there is.

    I was a scientist in a past life - so I have a foot in both our worlds. I must say its nice to see the same degree of contempt being displayed here.

    vongehr
    the evolution, from scratch, of a brand new fundamentalism
    Yes - the real dark ages - we are witnessing the beginning, its unfolding. Science is not religion, but it is turning into one. I have written about it a few times, but people do not understand it if it is put in terms of simple evolution. They want war, taking sides, people that can be blamed and hated. Such is of course the main accelerator of the development in the first place.
    And thus, I am uncomfortable having written even only a single article about PZ; why should one feed his popularity instead of writing about important things, but you make a big deal out of PZ and "Skep"chicks. Care to explain your odd ratio of writing about him rather than about F. Hoggle's ideas? Why the hell do you work so hard to make them even more popular so badly? PZ should send you a check once in a while, or does he?
    Sascha: Care to explain your odd ratio of writing about him rather than about F. Hoggle's ideas? Why the hell do you work so hard to make them even more popular so badly?

    Fair point. And it is one that has been leveled at me several times. To which I respond "silence in the face of idiocy is admission of defeat". This may seem pointless to you, however The Naked Emperor does not threaten to undermine and collapse the entire scientific community. This is not the case for us stupid atheists. PZ and his army of baboons are committing a horrific act of mindless, self-serving vandalism by playing grubby wedge politics and demographic demonisation. They are actively sabotaging a movement that has just found its feet and (excuse the hyperbole) could potentially be an Enlightenment 2.0 - this is not something the lab coat brigade can do on its own, nor even seem to have as a high priority (no offense intended).

    In any case, I have not simply been "whining" - I have also been compiling an extensive list of war crime charges perpetrated by the Pharyngula / Skepchick maniacs. I also am not alone - we are a group that has had the proverbial final straw, and it is a matter of making a stand or abandoning ship. I actually do write about other things. There are probably even a few articles in my archives you would consider appropriate here.

    I think it was quite essential that Franc and others dug into past episodes and exposed the puritanism amongst the "new new Atheists", even if took many posts. I have been following PZs blog for about an year now, and it truly was my primary source of "freethought" info, although I was occasionally scratching my head upon encountering mis-characterizations and hyperbole. There seem to be many of us sitting on the fence, and the recent events have helped us see better.

    Hank, as regards whether PZ is concerned about natgeo suppressing him, his concern is apparently ill-placed. Abbie (erv) has made it quite clear what it is they've been asked to do: exactly everything they've heretofore been doing; their blogs, their call.

    She went to some lengths to make patent that anyone who is implying as much as is telling a lie. From the comment section at Miranda Celeste Hale's blog ( http://mirandaceleste.net/2011/07/28/i-love-you-barmaid/ ):

    That is false. 100%, unquestionably false. They have made it abundantly clear that they want us to keep doing whatever we are doing, however we are doing it. Like, they have told me that. They have not said “Abbie, dont use the word ‘twat’.” They have not said “Abbie, dont let your commentors use the word ‘twat’”. They have not said “Back off on the puppy posts, stick to science or “Back off on the atheism posts, stick to science” or “Back off on the politics posts, stick to science”. They *have* said “Keep doing what youre doing”.

    If that is the reason given, it is a lie.

    Hank
    That all came later.  After this bizarre no-money takeover was announced, the only ones I had heard of (I don't know abbie) expressed concern about NatGeo.   I know nothing about the company or what they told anyone there, I was just stating the writers had a concern.  And they did, since they all wrote about their concern on their blogs.  
     
    PZ has no reason to start a new site if NatGeo has made it clear there is no pressure - he is competing against himself being in two places.   I also said numerous times NG would be crazy to suppress them and would be shocked if they would try - it kills the whole reason they took it over if they ruin the culture and drive people out.   But NG is a pretty stodgy company so maybe writers there believed they were being told one thing and reality would be something else.   No idea, it ain't my company.
    Yeah, I don't know the ins and outs of what's happening on the back-end myself. Just thought I'd reply with something that addressed the point on what little information I've come across. =^_^=

    Rick Ryals
    I cannot believe that this comment page has not been over-run by rabid PZ groupie fanatics.
    Hank
    We're no threat to PZ hegemony in his niche.   We're (mostly) science and stay out of the culture war blogging circles, so our audience isn't here to get all wound around the axle about religion and Republicans.   If you read Scienceblogs, you are one of no more than 10 people out of a million readers here who do.   We have little overlap in our audiences.

    That said, any time he wants to join, he will make a fortune and, with that audience and ours, we'd be the biggest thing in science media in a rout.
    Rick Ryals
    Whether you are in his niche or not makes little difference to PZ's zealots when it comes to a post like Sacha's.  All you'd have to do is let them know about it and you wouldn't get another word in edgewise.  Not without some kind of official administrative action anyway... ;)
    ...
    Next week, I will even have a positive article on an evolutionary psychology work, assuming the gates of Science 2.0 Hell do not open up and swallow me in retaliation for that.
    ...
    Time to sharpen the knives ... :)

    -------

    Free thought? I like what the Australian philosopher Dave Stove stated when he heard about some philosopher(Noziak I think) who wished to create a "non-coercive philosophy. Stove replied, "The truth is coercive!". As Margaret Boden notes in The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms ... even creative thinking is not freedom from constraints but the choice of new constraints. Perhaps I'm being pedantic but when people use terms like "Free thought" I wonder if they have a clue what thinking is.

    Rick Ryals
    but when people use terms like "Free thought" I wonder if they have a clue what thinking is.

    Absolutely not.  At least, not the crowd that we're talking about anyway.  They filter everything through an extreme far left indoctrination just like right winged fundies do.

    The extremists within the mainstream ranks of science, (which is vastly dominated by the political left), have the same effect on moderate liberals that the tea party has on more moderate republicans, in congress, for example. There is always a lot of pressure on them not to reveal anything that would seem to support any part of the world view of the right.  They even radically discourage the use of terminology that they feel will give the right fodder for their cannons.

    This is near and dear to my own heart because my experience has been that it has a detrimental impact on any science that looks too much like something that their own world view doesn't accommodate, so it gets willfully ignored, downplayed, denied, etc...


    Before blogs there was only usenet.  I met these freaks when the only place for them was the "origins" group, and what a rude awakening that was!
    ...
    Before blogs there was only usenet. I met these freaks when the only place for them was the "origins" group, and what a rude awakening that was!
    ...

    I used to hang around sci.anthropology.paleo. Was good stuff until ... . Just today I received an email from a Prof who used to hang out at bionet.neuroscience. That also was a good forum until the cranks took over. The Prof wrote that he long ago abandoned bionet.neuroscience because of the general deterioration. I left it over a decade ago. So I wonder how long it will be before the blogosphere goes down the same road(in some respects it is already there). Glad I stumbled upon science 2.0, a light in the wilderness.

    Warning to Hank: you own this site(so I believe) and are entitled to censor cranks. As one wit commented: Freedom of speech is not freedom from logic. Consider what happened to so many usenet forums where there was no control over the cranks. It would be a terrible shame if this site was similiarly destroyed.

    Rick Ryals
    I would differentiate fanatics from crackpots since many of the fanatics that we're talking about are also degree holding scientists, like PZ.

    But if we're going to ban crackpots, then all string theorists have to go!!!... heheh.
    Hank
    Different writers have different levels of tolerance for crankiness - some don't allow any comments, some never reply to comments, some let anything go, some only delete the truly rude, etc.   It's up to them.  

    If PZ were here, the only filter would be for spam, the content and tone of the comments would be up to him.   I can't complain about attempts to damage science excellence by replacing freedom with fairness and then tell a science writer what to write.   The difference is PZ is Scienceblogs. He was 50% of their traffic day one and remains that so a great physics writer like Ethan, that Sascha and I have mentioned, won't get a fair shake from the mass audience there - but no one is changing the culture of Science 2.0 by joining now, not PZ and not Francis Collins (he's the only biologist who is well-known and religious I could come up with off the top of my head).  We have all seen some head-scratchingly bad stuff from people here but no one claims we are a bad science site due to it, they get that we are the only open one and sometimes qualified people write goofy stuff.
    I should have explained what I mean by "cranks". We are all entitled to be occasionally silly! My reference to the long past usenet days was a reference to posters who would consistently keep pushing the same barrow. They had their pet theories and would jump in on any thread to promote the same. For example, on bionet.neurosience there was the infamous KP Collins, he did a good deal to destroy that forum. He accused everyone else of being incapable of recognising his genius. He was a very intelligent man but also deranged. People did give him a fair hearing, I even read his tome on his theory of cerebral organisation, as did many others. Even after the fair hearing though, he kept pushing that barrow. Similiar problem destroyed sci.anthropology.paleo. The creationists just wouldn't go away, often attacking everyone else at a personal level.

    I find the original poster's hostilty toward PZ Myers and the skeptics crowd amusing. We'd still be trying to turn lead into gold and talking about the signs of the zodiac were it not for skeptics pissing everyone off.

    Rick Ryals
    Yeah, now we have Copernicanism practicing religious fanatics too.
    vongehr
    "We'd still be trying to turn lead into gold and talking about the signs of the zodiac were it not for skeptics pissing everyone off."
    That is what the loud "skeptics" want to make everyone believe. It is good advertising, but if you think a little harder about it, there isn't anything to it. Especially the connection you make between skeptics and alchemy/astrology shows that you are confusing all kinds of topics just to get something that sounds good to a certain crowd. But this is not PZ's comment thread. The turning of alchemy into chemistry way back did not have anything at all to do with "skeptics" pissing people off. Your use of "pissing everyone off" shows further that you seem to be one of those who needs to start thinking a little more, commenting a little less.
    I find the original poster's hostilty toward PZ Myers and the skeptics crowd amusing

    Probably pointless seeing as you are no doubt a convert and a believer, but the subtle point made is that neither Myers nor Pharyngula are freethinkers or skeptics in any sense other than their own bastardised definition. They're just a lynch mob nowadays with their own handbook of ideological dogma that shall never be questioned.

    Oh, howdy there, reasonable people? I don't want to sound overly partisan here, but I'm going to snoop around and read.

    Feel free to blame Franc Hoggle for sending me your way.

    Contrary to what will be displayed, I would like to verify that I am indeed me.

    but one of the worst, PZ Meyers, known for tiny little snippets of vitriol of pseudo-progressive populism that panders to the stupid “skeptics” crowd "

    Eh, this post of yours matches anything vitriolic that PZ Myers has every posted. Poorly done. It's not clear to me that you write any differently from the way he does; perhaps you just disagree with the things he's rude about?

    vongehr
    It's not clear to me that you write any differently from the way he does
    Why don't you answer that question for us, since I will be surely claimed to be biased about this. Start with my articles, calculate the vitriol ratio v = Nvitriol/Ntotal, then compare vPZ with vSV. Of course, taking into account that my article here is applauding PZ for the idea to get his vitriol away from under the science label, ... Maybe you want to ask yourself what vitriol means and why you for example are apparently one of those coming in large numbers to read this article (thousands of views in a few days) while not caring about the others.
    They're just a lynch mob nowadays with their own handbook of ideological dogma that shall never be questioned.

    Looking at Freethoughtblogs a year later, your predictions have borne out. True, they've grown and picked up a few other notable "new atheist" and feminist bloggers along the way, but many of these blogs are just extensions of PZs culture warring. In fact, several of them go way beyond PZ in their excessive rhetoric. (Albeit, there are a few like Chris Hallquist, aka, Uncredible Hallq that have dissented against the general atmosphere there.) The commentariat at these blogs is more foaming at the mouth then ever, and on the whole, they've taken to picking fights with skeptical organizations and venues like JREF, TAM, and CFI, fancying themselves some kind of vital political force that's going to remake the skeptic/atheist movement. Sad, really, and sad for the rest of the skeptical movement that has to put up with their ongoing hostility.

    vongehr
    Hmm - why you still look at it? I find the arguments by creationists more interesting and engaging than PZ's monotonic screaming. The last thing I saw is that he supports S. Pinker in bashing multiple selection in cutting edge evolution theory. PZ is lame mainstream establishment. New atheists/pseudo-skeptics are the democrats: An evolved buffer. Polarization absorbs slightly critical people into a seemingly anti-establishment position that stabilizes the status quo.
    Looking at it because they make themselves kind of hard to ignore with their ongoing blogwarring against JREF, Center for Inquiry, etc. I came here via a link I found when I was looking into the history of Freethoughtblogs and found this entry pretty informative.

    As to PZ and evolutionary questions, yes, I did notice he was pretty simplistic and dismissive. Not sure if he's aware of the entire "levels of selection" debate that goes way back in evolutionary theory. (And I kind of wonder if he's be talking out the other side of his mouth if he was aware that "progressive skeptic" idol Stephen Jay Gould was a supporter of the idea of group selection, or at least entertained the idea.)

    More to say on group selection, but I think I'll save that comment for your recent post on the topic.