Edit July 1, 2010: William, the author of You’re Not Helping, has made a proper apology here. I would like to add that I believe this apology to be sincere, and applaud William for his bravery in coming forward and clearing the air. Thank you William.
I don’t get to do much blog watching on weekends and completely missed the climax of a story I had been following since mid-last week.
You’re Not Helping imploded before our very eyes this past weekend; effectively verifying accusations made by a couple of bloggers, most notably oedipusmaximus of The Buddha Is Not Serious.
After reading oedipus’ post and the comments last week, I was convinced something was gravely wrong with YNH (beyond just contradicting themselves on a post by post basis). Facts came to light that eventually prompted “William”, the “brains” behind YNH to admit to creating a circle-jerk of sock puppets to congratulate one another on their brilliance and gang up on dissenters. He does not, however, admit to being a religious Poe masquerading as an atheist to shame New Atheists; an allegation I leveled at YNH over on Camels With Hammers and still believe to be the case.
So “William”, it turns out, was several regular commenters on his own blog. I assume he used this system to bolster his argument by creating false consensus, maybe hoping that a gang mentality would eventually take hold so that his sock puppets could be eventually phased out.
This post, though, is about none of those things. Oedipus and Greg Laden and others have done a fantastic job of documenting the rise and spectacular fall of YNH.
This is about the last post on YNH, the one that should have been an apology to people who were attacked and villified by one person masquerading as many. It should have been an apology; what we got instead was an admission and finger pointing. It wasn’t even a good admission. Admissions should involve some degree of humility, some indication that the author bears responsibility for both the actions and the consequences.
So to Will, what I want to talk about is that last post; the missed opportunity to make a bad situation better and possibly save what could have been a welcome voice in the blogosphere: (more…)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
Note from George to the reader:
This post and I hope ones to follow stem from an invitation by me and accepted by Andrew to answer questions he posed to PZ Myers by e-mail. If you are unfamiliar with the background story, click here for my summary of what happened. Also note that I am more than happy to accept comments and questions for Andrew, but I will not tolerate the ridiculous hatred and vile threats tossed at Andrew on other blogs, and I reserve the right to delete comments that are not in good taste.
First I’ll give you some background on what informs my point of view.
I grew up in an Anglican family, attended church regularly and read the bible. My father came from a Calvinist denomination and switched churches when he got married. He taught Sunday School and was active in the church. My paternal Grandmother sent me to a Presbyterian youth group when I visited her in the summer where I was exposed to a very different Christianity than the Anglican Church I attended at home.
I tell you this because it was important for me to see that there were differences even within my own faith.
I was fascinated by religion as a teenager, and still am now. I am positive that I was just like you at 18 years old; trying to make sense of a bunch of contradictory information and ideas. I remained and even blossomed as a Christian until age 23, when a few experiences turned the tide the other direction:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
Myers v. Rosenberg- What an 18 Yr. Old High School Senior Can Tell Us About Misques, Mobs, and Melodrama
I read things. The last few days I have been caught up in the Tempest in a Teapot that is Myers v. Rosenberg, a fascinating case of letting a smarmy 18 year old high school graduate get the best of you.
For those unfamiliar with PZ Myers (and that is admittedly a small group in the blogosphere), or those not up on the facts of Rosenbergate, I will offer a quick primer.
PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He also has a blog. Pharyngula (so called, I presume, to prevent illiterates from thinking anything interesting will be found there) is what can generally be described as a good atheist slanted science/pop culture blog. Its failing is that it is a victim of its own success. Many posts receive comment counts in the several hundreds, many by Pharyngulites- a mob of loyal followers who sometimes appear to be in a competition to try to out-crazy each other. Oh, there are some thoughtful comments- but you will likely scroll through a fair chunk of tripe to find a useful tidbit.
Enter Andrew Rosenberg of Racine, Wisconsin. Andrew is a self described 18 yr. old High School Senior who is “an intelligent individual, whose thoughts go beyond the typical 2010 senior’s tangents.“Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 12 so far )
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