When I first joined Freethought Blogs a couple months ago, little did I know this would be the cue for assholes of all stripes to make me a target of their bizarre personal grudges that actually have little if anything to do with me. Much like being trans, or “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day”, being on FTB has served as a magnificent jerk filter: it induces people to stand up and be counted as unreasonable fools. People like one of my followers on Facebook who isn’t a fan of PZ:
I was ready to let this pass without remark simply because I’ve become used to such blatant cognitive errors after spending the past four years on YouTube. But here we have the director of a national skeptic organization casually insulting the entirety of one of the most prominent networks of atheist writers. Imagine if David Silverman, Edwina Rogers, or Dan Barker had done this, without even an attempt at justifying their wholesale dismissal of over 30 distinct blogs and their authors, or their vacuous accusation of “groupthink” toward people who have committed the cardinal sin of sometimes agreeing about things.
What makes his comments personal is how impersonal they are. In the weeks since I moved to FTB, did Payton scour my whole two-year archive of posts and four-year archive of video transcripts, before declaring that not a single one was “even remotely readable”? If he has indeed read my blog at any point, I’d happily accept his opinion as just a difference in taste. As is, he’s making a blanket statement about the countless hundreds of thousands of words on the entire network, all of which are apparently impenetrable and useless. Was my work somehow any more lucid when it was located at my old domain, or would he have said the same thing about it if he had read it before I moved here? Does FTB just possess some kind of Aura of Crap such that only the most incompetent writers would be selected to join?
I suspect none of this actually matters to those who have decided that my own work can’t be taken seriously or even read at all because of something someone else did. In their rush to align themselves against the idea that we should take the concerns of women seriously, or some distortion of this which involves hating Rebecca Watson, reason and the spirit of free inquiry have apparently gone out the window. Now that we’re no longer judging people on their individual merits, I wonder if they’ll stop reading Hemant’s blog just because he’s on the same network as Mark Regnerus.