Friday, October 5, 2012

Matt Dillahunty gets Nailed To The Plus

For the past week or so, I've been drafting up a blog post about why I do not support Atheism+. That post is still upcoming, but I want to share a specific instance of one of the reasons why I simply cannot join this group.

The other day, Matt Dillahunty(who is the host of the show The Atheist Experience) had done a social experiment in an attempt to prove that the Atheism+ folks weren't as batshit crazy as all of the critics claim they are to new users. He created two accounts on the Atheism+ forum: One was "Matt Dillahunty", and the other was a "sockpuppet" account called "Curious".

What set the whole thing off was this thread(do read the whole thread, it's awesome). Curious/Matt's post got deleted and was instructed in the notification email to take his case to the moderators. The post that got deleted questioned the merits of a ban(in particular, the ban of "skep tickle" over questioning the now-successful bullying of Justin Vacula). Matt then proceeded to start a thread asking to have his deleted post reposted in that thread or put in an appopriate forum. From there, they ravaged "Curious" like a pack of wolves over fresh meat. That is, until Matt signed a post with his real name. The moderator mocked Curious, going so far as to say(paraphrasing): "Hahaha! I know Matt Dillahunty. He's a good man. You, however, are not".

Then Matt directed the Atheism+ admins and mods to his Twitter feed, where they found this bombshell: "Hello to the admins at Atheism+ forum. Curious is me". And then the mods' attitudes flipped from "Fuck off, troll!" to "We're sorry, we didn't know it was you, Mr. Dillahunty. Had we known, you would have been treated better".

Folks, do you see the problem here? Matt certainly does by now: They refused to treat Matt's questioning as legitimate purely on the bases of "I felt like it was trolling"(caprice) and "You're a nobody, so you must be a troll" instead of on the merits. Matt Dillahunty has finally experienced the pure nastiness that pervades the entire Atheism+ group. It is the same nastiness and failure of logic and skepticism originally born of the Elevatorgate scandal, and has spread to Free(from)ThoughtBlogs and Skepchick. And they have further proven their nastiness in their "resolution", permanently banning Matt from their forum unless he "apologizes" for his actions.

So, a congratulations is in order to Matt Dillahunty. He has joined the ranks of those "Nailed To The Plus"(Stef McGraw, Richard Dawkins, Abbie Smith, Justicar/integralmath, Thunderf00t, Girlwriteswhat, Anna Johnstone and most recently Justin Vacula), but with the unenviable distinction of not being able to go back to the wider atheist community without getting chewed out for his uncritical support of a group that has proven itself utterly toxic and subversive.

Perhaps now that his eyes have been opened, he'll look at the Atheism+ critics' claims with a more critical mindset and judge them on their merits, instead of dismissing them based on the propaganda spewed out by the FfTB/Skepchick/Atheism+ triad. But, forgive me if I'm not entirely holding my breath over it.

Update: Matt directly talks about the forum incident and the "resolution", and comes out with some serious issues with Atheism+.

Update 2: I've posted a clarification and addendum here.