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Super Long. Drama with the NYCA
RayvenAlandria
This post is in regard to a huge drama within the *Atheist community*, whatever that may be. For those of you who don't want to spend the next few hours, or days, reading drama, click away now. I am posting this for anyone in the future who may be looking up info about NYCA. This needs to be public record.

(Note: If you have trouble seeing any of the text, it may because I am using a different theme. I am using Purple Nurple and the text colors show up well but others told me they were having problems seeing the colored text. You can change themes in your profile settings.)

Over the last week the NYCA (New York City Atheists) have come under fire by other Atheists, me being one of them. I will provide links and give a summary. You can read what you choose to read and come to your own conclusions. My opinion is that the leadership of the NYCA are not people I want representing me at a national level. If this crap had happened in some small town in BFE, I wouldn't care much, but because this is a New York group, one who purposely seeks media attention, I felt the moral obligation to get involved. I do not feel that everyone at the NYCA is a jerk, but I do think some of them are, and one in particular, Jane Everhart. I feel that this woman is a bigot and very abusive. IMO, she should not be in a position of power and it makes me ill that someone like her is the "face of Atheism" that the general population may see.

There are multiple issues concerning the NYCA.

1. The leader Ken Bronstein apparently forced out another Atheist, a biologist named Massimo. If the situation went down as described on Massimo's blog, I would say that what Ken did was out of line and unethical. From what I have read, many members of NYCA feel that the group has become a little kingdom and Ken acts as though he's a cult leader. Apparently the NYCA are driving many members and potential members away with their autocratic behavior. One of our local meetup organizers knows and likes Bronstein and claims that he's a great guy. I will accept that my impression of Bronstein may be wrong. I don't feel as strongly about this situation as I do the Jane/Rook situation.

A link to that situation...

http://rationally...eists.html

2. Jane, the NYCA communications officer, recently said some offensive things about the younger generation that insulted many people. Apparently she has a habit of saying elitist, insulting things and this was just one in the line of many disparaging remarks she's made.

http://skepchick....og/?p=1475

http://nattyadams...dless.html

3. Around that same time, Jane pulled another stunt, this one was of monumental proportions. This incident brought her to the attention of Atheists from all over the globe, and not in a good way. Basically, she had scheduled Rook, of the RRS, (Rational Response Squad), to speak at a NYCA meeting and was advertising him as an expert, an historian, and claiming he translated the whole bible from greek by the age of 25. These claims were absolute bullshit. As far as I know, Rook has no credentials whatsoever and actually may be a high school dropout. Many of us have been asking him for years to show some credentials and he has always refused. When asked point blank if he ever graduated high school, he wouldn't answer. For those who do not know, I was once an RRS supporter, I hung out in their Stickam room every day and got to know them very well, I considered them friends. Then I got to know them better and came to the conclusion that they were just a bunch of scammers and unethical twits. I now absolutely despise them and think they are an embarrassment to Atheism.

Well, a few well known Atheists contacted Jane and asked her very nicely to verify Rook's credentials and to please stop attributing to him credentials he does not have. For those who actually do study history, such as the person nicknamed Rathpig, someone claiming to be an historian and an expert is equivalent to someone claiming to be a doctor just because they read a few medical books. It's insulting to people in the field who have worked their whole lives to earn those credentials. Jane's response to the people who asked her to verify Rook's credentials was mind-blowing. She immediately accused one guy of being a Vatican commando who molested alter boys. She accused all of them of being theist spies who follow Rook around trying to thwart his efforts to save the world from theism. These people never asked Jane not to have Rook give the presentation, they just didn't want him to be advertised as an expert historian who had translated the bible from greek when that was a complete lie. All they asked was for her to verify his credentials and advertise him as what he is, an amateur historian.

Like I said, instead of verify Rook's credentials and changing the advertising for the talk, Jane flew off the handle and began accusing everyone of being theist spies. The situation went downhill fast. Rook gave his talk at the NYCA; he did not get good reviews. Their own members gave him lukewarm to negative reviews. (many of the reviews were deleted). The people who had originally contacted Jane tried to continue the discussion with her. They posted on the NYCA message board so there could be a public discussion of the situation. Jane and her cronies deleted the conversations. They removed entire threads and removed members from the NYCA membership. The situation became surreal. For an organization that prominently expresses their desire to protect and value free speech, this was really, really strange behavior. That's when other people around the world got pissed and jumped in, including me. For an Atheist group to behave this way was just too much for many of us to keep quiet about.

One of the people who originally contacted Jane goes by the nickname Intergalactic Expanding Panda, henceforth referred to simply as Panda. He kept a record of all the messages Jane deleted and has posted them on his page as well as links to some of the conversations that have been going on around the Internet.

http://igepanda.b...

http://friendlyat...d-atheism/

http://nattyadams...-torn.html

http://nyc-atheis...00comments
If you only have time to read one, read this one. It is the NYCA blog.

Discussions across the web

http://richarddaw...20&t=38435
A very long thread at Richard Dawkin's site, the NYCA stuff entered about page 28. They may split the NYCA stuff into a separate thread so if they do, search for Jane Everhart and it should pull up the new thread.

[url]
http://www.rantsn...50&page=29 [/url]
another very long thread, the NYCA stuff starts at page 29, post 714.

After a week of us "theists spies" fighting with core members of the NYCA, Jane issued a statement and Natty posted it in his blog. It was absolutely unbelievable. After her lies, her name-calling, and her Vatican conspiracy theories she still offered no apology, showed no remorse. I posted a reply but Natty didn't approve it. I guess he censors things too.

http://nattyadams...ponse.html

I posted this message at RnR about my unapproved comment...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just to give a head's up. Let it be known that Natty also practices censorship. I posted a comment yesterday, before any of y'all did and he still hasn't approved it.

IMO he is passive aggressive. He won't take Jane on himself but he will allow other people to trash her in the comments. BUT, BUT, if you say anything even remotely negative about him or the NYCA, he won't approve the comment.

I was of the mind that he was a decent fella, I'm no longer of that mind. Don't cut him any slack.

I was so pissed when I wrote my comment that I forgot to take a screen shot, but this is what I wrote, or very close to it... (I may have forgotten a couple of lines, I wish he'd approve it so it would be part of the record.)


___________________________________

Well, that was...

*thinking*

quite narcissistic and other-blaming.

I am so repulsed I have to walk away for a bit.
I was truly hoping other NYCA members would see Jane for what she is but it seems that some have blinders on.
Having the NYCA represent us on a national level will fill me with great shame.
I never thought Atheists could disgust me so.

I'm so depressed now.


_____________________________________

I was planning to post again once I had calmed down, but I'm not going to bother now. It's obvious that nothing is going to be done about Jane. I don't think anyone at NYCA cares, the few who do are just going to quit. The status quo will continue to rule at NYCA and things will remain the same. Jane still show absolutely NO remorse, none.
IMO she truly is a narcissist and she does not comprehend that she is out of line when she treats others like sub-humans. She thinks she has every right to behave the way she does.

ETA: Yes, I know I was being a bitch and insulting everyone at NYCA. He still should have approved the comment and then responded and told me I was painting them all with that brush again. The truth is, I am sure there are members at NYCA who don't have a clue this drama is even going on. They are not the ones my anger is directed at. I don't think ALL NYCA are people I'd be to be ashamed to have represent me, but the ones who know about this shit and are doing nothing to get rid of Jane, are indeed people I would be ashamed to have representing me.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
End of my post at RnR
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also had a number of email exchanges with Bill C regarding this situation. He is one of the NYCA organizers and Jane's biggest defender. He demanded proof that I am an Atheist. ( I know! Stop laughing if you can.) He accused me of being a Christian who was trying to destroy the NYCA. This shit would be funny if it weren't real.

---------------------------------------

EMAIL ONE TO BILL C, (after seeing some of his comments in the discussion thread at their meetup site.)

Hello Bill, I thought that it might be wise to shoot you off an
email. I have been following the drama and feel I need to point
something out to you.

First, let me clarify a few things.

1. I am a pretty well known Atheist, so if Jane claims I am a
Theist spy she is full of shit. I ran the Atheist meetup group
in Mississippi before I moved to OK, I am an active member of
the Tulsa group, am slated to be the secretary of the Tulsa
branch of Americans United for the Separation of Church and
State, (we just applied for our charter) I admin on an Atheist
forum, I have been on the Infidel Guy's radio show (and am
friends with him), etc...To call me a Theist spy would be
hilarious. It's tragic that I would feel the need to prove I am
an Atheist, but considering what Jane's been doing I feel it
necessary.

2. I am in not friends with rathpig and panda. You could even
say I am pretty much hated at RnR. Many years ago, on the
Internet Infidel site I made a comment about how most of the
people I've know who were into BDSM had emotional problems and
all hell broke loose. My comments weren't hateful, but some
people took great offense at them and have branded me a
judgmental, evil bitch. Those people now hang out at RnR, so
I'm not exactly welcomed there. I am supporting rathpig and
panda in this *Rook Situation* not because they are buddies of
mine, but because I value the truth. I have no ties with RnR.
The one time I posted there I was immediately and viciously
attacked, so I have not returned. (I now admin on another site,
a very friendly and mature one.)

Now, onto why I am writing. I have seen you make comments to
the affect of "If they are not Theists why would they get
offended by being called catholic child molesters". I forget
the exact wording but in essence that is what you said. It was
a ludicrous statement. It is unethical to accuse someone of
being a child molester, period, the catholic part had nothing
to do with it. First of all, it's rather nutty to accuse people
of being theists just because they disagree with you, secondly,
it is shameful to accuse someone of committing an unspeakable
crime. I am what you would call extremely anti-catholic. (see
my post in PZ Myer's blog during the crackergate affair.) I
absolutely despise catholicism, and yet I would not resort to
calling every Catholic I meet a child molester. I might lecture
them about why they remain part of a religion that protects
child molesters, but that's a different issue altogether. I
would never be so abusive as to accuse someone of being a child
molester unless I were pretty sure they were one. Jane's
behavior was despicable and totally inexcusable for someone who
is in a position of authority in your group. It should not be
tolerated. She needs to be removed before she further damages
your organization.

You also asked why people are following Rook around trying to
thwart his efforts. There is a simple answer for that. Have you
ever gotten annoyed at Christian and Muslim moderates because
they stand by quietly and do not confront the extremists within
their midst? Have you ever asked yourself why they feel no
responsibility for the nutbags who fly planes into buildings or
spout creationist propaganda and hate speech? I have, many
times. I feel that if they are decent people they should be the
ones telling the extremists to go back to their caves, not us.
Well guess what? Certain types of Atheists feel it is their
responsibility to reveal the frauds within our midst. We do not
want con-artists and crooks representing us. They give all
Atheists a bad reputation. That is why people like Rathpig and
panda are following Rook around and trying to let organizations
such as the NYCA know that they are frauds. They tried to bring
very valid concerns to Jane and she behaved like a crazed cult
member. It does not matter where the information came from,
she should have investigated. You are responsible for your
actions and should not help perpetuate fraud.

I stayed out of this as long as I could but eventually I could
no longer stay silent. There is something very, very wrong at
the NYCA group. Not only in regards to the RRS and Rook, but in
regards to removing members from the roster, censoring
comments, removing Massimo, (whom I don't know personally, but
I feel that the situation was handled badly), the slanders
towards young people, etc...The NYCA is currently run by a
clique of cult-like weirdos. Something needs to change. Open
your eyes to what is happening in front of you.

Why am I writing you personally? Honestly, because I think
you're a decent person who has been lied to and manipulated. I
think that once you take a good hard look at the situation a
few light bulbs will begin to go off. I do not think that all
the NYCA members are cult-like, just a few of them. Sadly,
those few are ruining your organization.

I just wanted you to understand that the reason, (at least in
my opinion), that people are following Rook around is because
they are concerned for the public image of Atheism and they do
not want frauds to be the face the general public sees. I may
not be friends with the people who are battling you right now,
but whether I like them or not, I know that they speak the
truth in regards to Rook. The truth is more important than the
messengers.

Rayven


----------------------------------------------------------------------

EMAIL 2 TO BILL C. (he claimed in the thread that Jane was harassed all night by phone calls)


You might want to ask Jane to produce phone records. My
suspicion is that she's lying about the harassment. I do think
that many of, (not all of), the people who frequent the RnR
boards are total assholes, but I don't think Panda or Rathpig
would have been calling her in the middle of the night.
(Sapient and Rook would though, so it would be rather funny if
the phone calls were from them and not the critics.) Of course,
I could be wrong about that and the RnR guys are worse than I
thought they were, but in all honesty, my gut feeling is that
she's lying to excuse her abusive behavior. I have never met
Jane in person, so perhaps she is much different than how she
comes across in print, but from what I have seen she is a very
unstable and hateful woman. She comes across as the type who is
uber-friendly because she wants supporters but as soon as
someone questions her she turns into a venomous hate monger.
The way she has behaved is inexcusable for someone in her
position.

I don't know anything about your president other than the way
he behaved towards Massimo. From what I have read about the
situation he's not a what I would call an ethical person though
and should not be in a leadership role at all. I do hope NYCA
works through these problems and comes out okay on the other
side. It is a shame that the group is having conflict.

Rayven

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


BILL'S REPLY...and INSINUATIONS THAT I AM A CHRISTIAN.


You've been in the Tulsa Atheists Meetup group for all of 9
days, starting the day these guys showed up on the Atheist
message board. What's the name of the Atheist organization you
were in in Mississippi, so I can send them your pictures off
the meetup site and verify that they know you?

Can you point out ANYTHING Rathpig and Panda, etc have done
POSITIVE for the atheist movement? All I see them doing is
trying to destroy everything in their reach, which is exactly
what I would expect of theists.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

What are you talking about? I have been in the Tulsa group for
almost a year. Our Organizer, Kenny Nipp, is one of your
fucking members. I ran the Gulfport/Biloxi branch of the
meetup Atheist group for years. Hell, Call the Infidel Guy, he
knows me....unless you've decided he's a theist in disguise too.

There is something VERY VERY wrong with you people.

Panda seems okay to me, but I haven't known him long, so I
can't pull up anything to bolster his reputation. I don't know
him well.
Rathpig is an ass, always has been,but he's also been honest as
far as I can tell so I respect him. Nailer is complete jerk, I
hate the guy, but I've known him for many years and I know he's
not a theist. I told you I am not friends with the RnR people,
in fact, most of them hate my guts.

Listen carefully to me. You are swallowing a line of bullshit
and you need to step back and rethink before you walk down this
path. Jane is utterly full of shit and she is ruining your
organization. Before, I was just annoyed at this shit, now I'm
pissed.


-----------------------------------------------------------

Corrections here...I was mixing Rathpig's name up with someone else, IMO, he's not an ass but the rest is accurate, he's always been honest as far as I can tell.
I misspelled Nialler's name as Nailer, a habit I can't seem to break.
Oh well, he always calls me Rayven Alexandra by accident...LOL We've been accidentally goofing up each other's names for years.
I don't like Nialler but I would still come to his defense if someone were abusing him unjustly.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

ANOTHER MESSAGE FROM BILL C.


Hi Rayven,

I see you been in the Tulsa Meetup since August 12, 2007, not
August 12, 2008. My bad.

-- Bill


------------------------------------------------------

MY REPLY

Are you so much of bigot that even if the critics were
theists
you would disregard what they said just because it came from a
theist? That is evil. Jane is a hateful bigot. If you choose to
walk down this path with her you will go down in flames with
her.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BILL'S REPLY

I talk with theists all the time. A year ago I read a book by
Duane Gish, a creationist. But Panda and Rathpig are so foul
mannered I find it extremely hard to believe their intentions
are anything but destructive.

Rook's talk is over. On the Meetup website it is not possible
to change announcements for events that have already happened.
Rook got two lousy reviews of his talk, no positive reviews.
Jane apologized about the altar boys remark and someone posted
the apology on rants n raves.

But the bunch of you go on and on and on. Why? What's the
point?

And based on so little evidence you are saying *terrible*
things about Jane, who I've known personally for years, and
about NYCA, about which you know even less. The guys on rants
n raves have insulted NYCA and Jane 100 times more than they've
been insulted. Going on and on and on. There is virtually no
evidence of anyone trying to be constructive. There is no
evidence that anything can be done to make these guys happy but
condemn Jane and tear apart the NYCA.

-- Bill

------------------------------------------------------------------------------


MY REPLY



Panda and Rathpig haven't been rude, they have been blunt and
tenacious. I don't like Rathpig, but I will not accuse him of
being a jerk just because I don't like him. He's done nothing
wrong in this situation. Panda can get a little anal with
details and he repeats himself when he thinks no one is
listening (and y'all haven't been). He's not a jerk though.
He's done absolutely nothing wrong. All he's done is point out
the truth, time and time again. Some of you refuse to
acknowledge the truth, which is precisely why he keeps
repeating it. Still to this day none of you are admitting that
Jane lied about be harassed by phone calls. She called him a
child molester right off the bat, there was no provocation for
it.

The bottom line is that they took great offense at Jane's
reaction to their initial contact, with good reason. She acted
like a complete bitch, whether you want to admit that or not.
If you want to be angry at someone, be angry at her. She is the
cause of all this, not them. She is the reason it is
continuing, not them. She pops up on the blogs and says
rediculous things and makes it obvious that she doesn't give a
shit about what she's done or how she's behaved. The fault for
all of this, every fucking bit of it, lays in her lap, not
theirs.

The reason people go on and on about this is because Jane shows
no remorse. She still feels she did nothing wrong. Her behavior
is inexcusable and she should be removed from any position of
authority. You are free to disagree with me. You like her,
fine, That's your choice. You made your choice to support her
behavior, now you will suffer the consequences of that choice.
That's life. You're taking a stand in defense of someone, now
you have to accept what that stance will bring upon you. Jane
has offended a huge part of the online Atheist community,
people all over the world are talking about this. It is a huge
deal and the NYCA has a black eye of proportions you cannot
even imagine.

I will tell you what will make the critics happy, or at least
what would make me happy. Jane's heartfelt apology, or her
removal. I can't speak for anyone other than myself but if I
saw that she was genuinely sorry for acting the way she did, I
would forgive her. I can forgive someone for behaving like a
jerk if they honestly regret doing it. (but not if they regret
doing it only because everyone is yelling at them.) If she
honestly saw that she was wrong and that her attitude and
behavior needs to change I would cut her some slack and leave
her be. So far I have seen no sign of that happening.
That is why I am pissed. I am actually more pissed about her attitude now
than I was in the beginning. Someone can be excused for acting like an jerk at first, but once it's brought to their
attention, if they keep acting that way they deserve an ass
kicking, which is what she's getting.

Rayven

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I realized after this email that I was mixing Rathpig's name up with someone else's, so again, the "I don't like him" stuff is not accurate. Wrong guy.
No, I won't admit who I was mixing him up with, it's not relevant to this discussion and would be out of line. The person I was thinking of wasn't even involved in this mess.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I never heard back from Bill C after this last email.

You'd think these morons would know how to use google. If you google my name you find me all over the fucking place. I couldn't hide if I wanted to. Without even bothering to google anyone's name they are sticking with their bizarre conspiracy theories about us being Christians. It is so utterly. fucking. bizarre. Twilight Zone material.

Now, some may ask why I care and why I am posting this. I will explain. I believe that Atheist are just as responsible for our extremists and asshole as religious people are for theirs. How can I gripe about how religious folk should be confronting their terrorists, creationists, bigots etc...if I won't do the same? When I saw the despicable way Jane was acting, I had to say something. A person in her position, who represents an organization that hopes to represent Atheists all over the country, should not be acting like a crazy, hateful bitch. Plus, since they have non-profit status, advertising speakers and having them give lectures at 20 bucks head means that they are required by law to be honest and accurate in regards to that speaker's credentials. I believe Jane actually broke the law by claiming that Rook was an expert historian who translated the bible from greek. That's fraud and I will not stand by when someone commits fraud, especially if they are Atheist. I don't want them to make us all look bad.

I also want to raise awareness of these events in the hopes that other Atheist meetup groups will examine themselves and make sure they don't travel down the same path NYCA did. In my opinion, local meetup groups should be inclusive and should not become autocratic little kingdoms. I do not want to see Atheist organizations become *cults of No-Gods*. I believe local groups should be welcoming and inviting to Atheists/Freethinkers who have varying viewpoints and desires. If a group wants to be activist slanted and political, they should make a separate branch for that work and not make everyone who joins the meetup group feel obligated to become an activist or support some *cause*. Many people just want a place to go meet and socialize. They don't feel like going to war with the world, they just want a fucking cup of coffee and some pleasant, non-religious conversation.

It is also my hope that members and future members of the NYCA will confront these issues and fix what is very, very wrong within their organization. Someone like Jane does not need to be the first contact outsiders have with their group. She is a detriment.
Edited by RayvenAlandria on 08/25/2008 19:30
 
Skeeve
I found this drama following referral links earlier in the day. My take on it is this:

1. Leadership of NYCA needs to step down, or

2. Membership needs to abandon ship and start a new group.

Any time the RSS is involved it can't end well. That phony Rook should have been laughed out of the hall when he gave his talk.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
IGExpandingPanda
Skeeve wrote:
Any time the RSS is involved it can't end well. That phony Rook should have been laughed out of the hall when he gave his talk.


Well, he was, but that's not the point. Near as I'm aware Rook never said he translated the Bible from Greek. If we presume Modern Greek, and translating at 17WPM 4hrs/day everyday for 5 years, you'll get the 750,000 words. This is something that even native speakers in both Greek and English would have a hard time doing since you have to stop and think about syntax, not to speak of the fact that even a Modern Greek transliteration is going to include some awkward archaic syntax. But this award winning journalist still sticks to her guns that this is a factual claim, and didn’t represent Rook.
i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm83/IGExpandPanda/jane-everhart.jpg

Rook can speak anywhere he likes. He's a laugh. The issue was presenting him as an academic rather than what he is, which to be fair, is an enthusiastic amateur. That's why they got * at least one FTC complaint for false advertsing. It didn't help the fact that the dude needs to work on his public speaking.

*edited for accuracy
Edited by IGExpandingPanda on 08/24/2008 23:58
 
Skeeve
Heh, I always thought this looked funny for such a youngster:

http://www.rookha...

and his page on RSS:

http://www.ration...ookhawkins

and finally his history blog:

http://www.rookth...gspot.com/

Wish I could create my own online diploma mill :wink:


*EDIT*

BTW, Welcome to Atheists Today, IGEP!
Edited by Skeeve on 08/25/2008 01:07
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
 
IGExpandingPanda
[
and finally his history blog:

http://www.rookth...gspot.com/

Wish I could create my own online diploma mill :wink:


*EDIT*

BTW, Welcome to Atheists Today, IGEP!


Thanks for the welcome.

There is also
http://www.freeth...ok_Hawkins

Where it's claimed he's a "public historian"

He doesn't meet the requirements, which is actually how this thing started.

Actually the dude has tons of blogs, which I know about because he asked me to visit his blog to see his faq. I found 5 right off the bat, lol.

The diploma mill is here
http://www.socale....com/rook/

Which has a link to his wishlist
http://www.amazon...RZD8WOGKW/

Which includes a few books on learning basic Greek, which one wouldn't need if you could translate 750,000 words by age 25.
Edited by RayvenAlandria on 08/25/2008 01:37
 
RayvenAlandria
Panda, I did an edit and made your links clickable.

Welcome to the site, BTW.
 
Rathpig
Greetings everyone,

I just wanted to step in and say "hi" in support of RayvenAlandria.

I am not an "activist" and have been reluctant to join atheist groups for much the same reasons as have been exposed recently with the RRS and now NYCA. I find ideological groups rarely fit with my personality since I am not looking for support or to necessarily give support. I am also likely to speak my mind which leads to problems in single-minded "issue" organizations. I simply can't "get with the program".

For much of my life I have used the term "non-religious" instead of "atheist" because of the horrible connotation Madalyn O'Hair gave to the word. I've been a non-religious/atheist my entire life. Having never held any religious conviction, my suspicion of church-like behavior isn't limited to just theism. However, I also don't have any real dislike for someone's beliefs just because I don't agree. I don't spare the criticism, but I don't feel the need to crusade. If they don't twist my arm, I could care less if they believe in gods or big-foot. I laugh. I move on.

Which brings me to the current point.

Like Rayven, I think we, and the non-religious/atheist element of society, have a compelling interest to speak out against the radical elements claiming to speak for atheists and "rationality". I wish someone could have countered O'Hair and tempered her radical and ultimately negative message before she painted the entire spectrum of atheism in a poor light. That was then; this is now.

Over and above the horrible way a group like the RRS display their lack of god-belief, is the way "Rook Hawkins" abuses the trapping of academic professionalism. I am a degreed student of history. I am currently back in school studying public history and interpretation. The last thing I need as both an atheist and a history student is someone like this "Hawkins" abusing both the philosophical point and the professional field. You simply can't read-at-home and become a history professional in 2008. Even if you could take this approach, you only get the accolades after the achievement.

Anyway, that is long enough and enough about me.

This is not an issue that will simply disappear. Too many groups are trying to make both a reputation and an income from the promotion of atheism through questionable tactics. Too many of these groups appear to be churches without a god.

The last thing we need, especially in the U.S., is a Church of Atheism.
(And to make the situation worse they seem to all abuse the word "rational" when there is absolutely nothing rational about them.)
 
IGExpandingPanda
Rathpig wrote:
Greetings everyone,

For much of my life I have used the term "non-religious" instead of "atheist" because of the horrible connotation Madalyn O'Hair gave to the word. I've been a non-religious/atheist my entire life. Having never held any religious conviction, my suspicion of church-like behavior isn't limited to just theism. However, I also don't have any real dislike for someone's beliefs just because I don't agree. I don't spare the criticism, but I don't feel the need to crusade. If they don't twist my arm, I could care less if they believe in gods or big-foot. I laugh. I move on.


As I I’ve elsewhere, I usually call my self an apatheist, as in i'm apathetic about the existence of god(s). This is in contrast to the RRS and it seems some of the leaders of the NYCA which are antitheists. The difference is obvious, if you hate people who believe in god(s), if you think they are sub human, your antitheist.

Nothing wrong with strong atheism, though I am critical of it, but antitheism is a stance that comes from bigotry and is just as bad as the worst of organized religion.
 
catman
Welcome to the site, IGEP and Rathpig. Wow, what a mess. I don't want the NYCA representing me. I don't know anything about the RSS, and I'm not sure I want to. The idea of a 'squad' seems a bit much.

I used to think Madalyn Murray O'Hair was a wild-eyed harridan, but after reading a completely rational essay of hers (maybe it was a transcribed speech, I can't recall) on American Atheists' home page, my opinion of her went up several notches. I remember her appearance on Johnny Carson (barely), and she didn't come off well, but Carson was a master at pushing people's buttons and he probably wanted to make her appear as a loose cannon. Besides, I was an apathetic theist at the time, which would have colored my response.:shy:
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
IGExpandingPanda
catman wrote:
Welcome to the site, IGEP and Rathpig. Wow, what a mess. I don't want the NYCA representing me. I don't know anything about the RSS, and I'm not sure I want to. The idea of a 'squad' seems a bit much.



The RRS is covered on http://www.encycl...an_Sapient
Warning, strong content. The "models" are not actually Kelly, except for the "soft porn" which is Kelly and Kelly.
They can also be summed up as slacker, stripper, and pretender.

That's even being ultra mega nice.

Their fundamental belief is that religion is a mental disorder to be treated with some really strong antipsychotic medication; some of their choices have side effects like male lactation. Jesus Waffers™ in contrast have fewer side effects. It’s unclear what they actually do. They have supporters but when you ask what they do, they don’t have an answer other than do a stickam show. It’s hard to sum them up, but they are the ones who debated with the Way of the Master banana guy and crock-a-duck child star (Ray Comfort and Kirt Cameron).

http://www.youtub...Vd-VdSewWo
(sorry the only YT vid left is the WoTM one)
Not that I disagree with some of his points, but he came across as dumb douche. What Todd was talking about was the late term abortion ban, which isn't really an issue because there is a big loophole that allows it. If there was a clear and present danger, abortion was never an issue, though there was a case where the danger was psychological which again I'm sure that's why Todd was asking what state. Mexico, depends on the state but as one might expect Roe v. Wade would have no effect on Mexico. Their debate was ok, though it helps if you pronounce words correctly like abiogenesis . But as you might imagine they were picked because they represented the scummy side of atheism. They had a good thing with Dawkins until he tried to get someone fired by claiming Dr. Dawkins was having an affair with the volunteer that wouldn't let them sell thongs on the RDFRS table.
 
kjbluez
Yea, what a mess. I had not heard of any of this (don't spend a lot of time keeping up with things as I probably should).

I think the comments about the younger generation are pretty crude. I'm an "in-betweener" myself (age-wise). And, I have friends who are both much older as well as friends that are much younger than I. To the point that I seem to forget about age anymore. This is one of the things that I like about message boards, age becomes irrelevent, so the ability to make age-ist assumptions is much more minimal.

I don't watch anything anymore put out the by the RSS. I like them in the respect that we need people out there making a public presence. Problem is that I have never seen or read anything by them to where I was impressed, I have always been disaappointed.

Don't know much about Rook as well. I think that advertising anybody as an "expert" at something causes problems from the getgo. It is especially problematic when the person cannot present any credentials. I'm not even talking about educational credentials, either, but personal credentials pertaining to one's accomplishments in their field of expertise (not including the Internet, because anybody can post anything anywhere regardless of peer or public review and/or critique).

I was humored, though, by Everhart's "If you are an atheist, why don't I know you?" bit. I mean, I don't think I even have to point out the humor in this statement. Or, ... I mean, ... Rayven, you still haven't proven that you are an atheist!
:lol:

And, I agree with the observations of antitheism. The meaning of that word is just as misunderstood by some religious folks (e.g. treating atheists like antitheists) as it is misunderstood by some atheist folks (using their antitheist views to try to represent atheism with). Both feed into each others continued misunderstanding and make the issues at hand more difficult to settle.

It is especially disheartening to see a post like Everhart's, when she is supposed to be a voice of "rationality." It does little more than resort to name-calling and present irrationality at its finest (or worst, depending on how you look at it).
 
RayvenAlandria
Yeah, I know kjbluez, Jane caught me, she sure did. My secret plan has been revealed. I have just been pretending to be an in-your-face Atheist for I dunno, about 20 frikkin' years.

I sure fooled you guys huh? ;rofl;

Her "If you're an Atheist, why don't I know you?" comment was priceless. I busted out laughing when I read it. It is one of the most rediculous things I've read in a long while. For a so-called professional writer she is frighteningly unfamiliar with the internet.
 
seeker
Welcome IGE and rathpig.

Whew, lots of drama. Unfortunately it takes a certain kind of person to want control of any organization and accepting criticism and/or dissent is usually not one of their strong character traits.
 
catman
IGExpandingPanda wrote:Their fundamental belief is that religion is a mental disorder to be treated with some really strong antipsychotic medication; some of their choices have side effects like male lactation. Jesus Waffers™ in contrast have fewer side effects. It’s unclear what they actually do. They have supporters but when you ask what they do, they don’t have an answer other than do a stickam show. It’s hard to sum them up, but they are the ones who debated with the Way of the Master banana guy and crock-a-duck child star (Ray Comfort and Kirt Cameron).
Yikes! That's a bit much. A stickam show isn't much of an answer. I thought they were supposed to be rational. Bothering with Comfort and Cameron doesn't sound rational to me either. Is it all a parody? Attention-seeking? They aren't doing atheism any favors, IMO.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
RayvenAlandria
I made this comment on the latest NYCA blog, we'll see if it gets approved.

http://nyc-atheis...omment-566
________________________________________

I tried to comment on Natty's blog but he did not approve my comment. We'll see if this get approved.

I am extremely puzzled as to why the other members at NYCA think Jane's *explanation* is acceptable. IMO, it's nonsense. No one ever asked her not to allow Rook to speak. There's nothing wrong with allowing an amateur historian speak at meetups. The people who initially contacted her only wanted her to advertise him honestly. Allowing or not allowing Rook to speak was never the issue. Jane spends a great deal of time defending that choice when she should be trying to explain why she abused people the way she did.

I serious do not understand why you think Rook speaking is the burning issue. IT'S NOT. The real issue is Jane's abusive and bigoted behavior. Why are you people not comprehending that? You know what? It would not have mattered if the critics were theists, it does not matter if they were wrong, (which they weren't). What matters is the way Jane responded when people contacted her to discuss Rook's credentials.

Zero in, FOCUS, try to C O M P R E H E N D.

The reason Atheists all over the world are now making fun of the NYCA is because of the way Jane behaved and the way some of you keep defending her behavior. Get a clue, please. Let's stop talking about Rook, it's dead in the water. Everyone knows he's a fraud, it's not worth talking about anymore.

What we need to discuss is the way your spokesperson treats the general public. Let's discuss how an Atheist in a position of authority can tarnish all of our reputations and make life more unpleasant for us.

I know you don't want to talk abut that. The truth is, you cannot defend her behavior. You just can't. It is indefensible and you know it. Instead you allow Jane to throw up a diversion, a smokescreen and hope a few people buy into it. People aren't stupid. It is so easy to see the truth of what has transpired that it's not even worth my time to rehash it. It's crystal clear and even a complete moron could read the documented evidence and come to the conclusion that Jane is unethical and that something is very wrong at the NYCA.

I had held out hope that the other members of NYCA would do what they had to do to reform their group. I don't see any signs of that happening so I will now advise anyone I know who asks my opinion to NOT join your group. I'm sorry to say that, but I cannot, as a person of good conscience, stay silent. If I see evidence that things have changed at NYCA, I will change my stance, but for now, your group is on my blacklist.
 
RayvenAlandria
catman wrote:
IGExpandingPanda wrote:Their fundamental belief is that religion is a mental disorder to be treated with some really strong antipsychotic medication; some of their choices have side effects like male lactation. Jesus Waffers™ in contrast have fewer side effects. It’s unclear what they actually do. They have supporters but when you ask what they do, they don’t have an answer other than do a stickam show. It’s hard to sum them up, but they are the ones who debated with the Way of the Master banana guy and crock-a-duck child star (Ray Comfort and Kirt Cameron).
Yikes! That's a bit much. A stickam show isn't much of an answer. I thought they were supposed to be rational. Bothering with Comfort and Cameron doesn't sound rational to me either. Is it all a parody? Attention-seeking? They aren't doing atheism any favors, IMO.


Yes, it is 100% attention-seeking. That's all it is. They actually do nothing whatsoever but sit in Stickam and talk with their cult following. They use the *activist* gig to leech money from other Atheist when in fact, they don't do a fucking thing but sit on their asses and collect money.

I have been told many things about the RRS by people who were once closer to them than I was. Since these things are hearsay I probably shouldn't repeat them, even though my gut tells me they are true.

Isn't it curious that Jane credits the RRS with making the "Give blood on National Prayer Day" thingy a huge success? It's very odd considering that the RRS never gave blood. Some people might want to wonder why someone might be nervous about giving blood.

*cough* pop positive *cough*
 
RayvenAlandria
Holy Shit. I already called the woman a racist, somewhere buried back in the blogs, but this is just in. I have no idea how Mac_Philo found this, but WOW! I feel bad for anyone who gets mugged and assaulted, but you can tell that she is a racist by the way she words things.

http://rantsnrave...1219694547

http://rantsnrave...1219694534
Edited by RayvenAlandria on 08/25/2008 18:52
 
IGExpandingPanda
RayvenAlandria wrote:
I have been told many things about the RRS by people who were once closer to them than I was. Since these things are hearsay I probably shouldn't repeat them, even though my gut tells me they are true.


Yes, I ususally don't like to stereotype atheists, but one factor that tends to be common is a predisposition to question authority, otherwise why reject what is to be fair a majoiry viewpoint. Even if that's inaccurate, people want proof. Even I want proof. As a rule of thumb, I don't share anything I can't verify. Hell, even when I do "remember" something and it's up to me to "prove it" I have to hunt up those links, and that's a pain.

Having integrity sucks big time, but that's the problem if you actually want to make an impact on the world. Otherwise I'd just be a demagogue. I could operate on my gut, but someone will always be along to question my motives, and that's harder to do when they are firm verifiable facts.

Like the claim that Rook had some rudimentary books on learning greek on his wish list. I saw them, someone else saw them, we talked about them and how chapter one was learn the alphabet. I can’t verify this as those books were deleted. Learn to Read New Testament Greek by David Alan Black is presently on his list and PDFed it. There is nothing wrong with not knowing New Testament Greek, nothing wrong with needing a reference. There is something wrong with a press agent making big claims about translating the bible, when you're asking for some really basic rudimentary material.

[link to wish list in question]
http://tinyurl.co...
Edit: Trimmed URL Edit: made tinyurl
Edited by IGExpandingPanda on 08/25/2008 23:59
 
RayvenAlandria
Yes, I saw those books. A couple of years ago I bought Rook a few hundred dollars worth of books. (Yeah, I know, smack me).

I think Rook removed them because we noticed them and people brought up the fact that an *expert* wouldn't need those books.

In the situation regarding Jane I have a different focus than you and Rath do. Y'all are concerned about the way she fraudulently advertised Rook. Although I don't like that, I can forgive someone for being a dumbass. (If they admit to being a dumbass and making the mistake). What I am really angry at her about is the way she treats people who disagree with her, or who even raise questions. Her abusive behavior is what promoted me to get involved. I hate abusers and I tend to draw my sword and run headon straight into them. They seriously piss me off. I am overly protective and if I feel someone is being picked on, I go for the jugular.

Of course this situation wasn't life threatening and you and Rath certainly don't need defending, but I felt Jane needed slapped down hard so I jumped in. Her abusive behavior was just too much for me to keep out of it.
 
IGExpandingPanda
RayvenAlandria wrote:
Yes, I saw those books. A couple of years ago I bought Rook a few hundred dollars worth of books. (Yeah, I know, smack me).


Well, it doesn't seem so bad, until you add up the books. The last time I checked it was over $20,000 he wants in books. All secondary sources except for nick knacks and an outdated PC. That's a tad over the top. If you're asking for a grant, and you don't even have the rudimentary books on the subject, they tell you to go to the library. Rook doesn't want a library, or money for school, he wants $20,000 in books to look cool.

I offered him a PDF of Antiqua Matter, a study of early Christian origins. He said, "I am not a fan. It is an outdated, and better resources exist, more thoroughly discussed, which utilize more rigorous scientific methods." He never took it off his wishlist. There are a few things there that are available as they have expired copyrights, as you would expect for biblical crap. It's still referenced often enough, and a nice searchable PDF is NOTHING to turn your nose at, lol.

As discussed on RnR, it looks like much of Jane's spite is about ego. She seems to be mega upset about explaining two of the examples she used of people went to school either had their terminal degree in their field, or spend an inordinate amount of time in school. Except for Abe who spent billions on a war over an issue other nations spent only millions on.

I do that, I'm horrible at spelling but etymology, I'm not so bad. And I did this privately, as I tend to. For me it's not about ego, someone is wrong, I tell them. If they remember, great! If not, no big deal. If a communications director is wrong about people who didn't have an education who have terminal degrees in their field, I correct them. She took it personally.

As for your take in this matter, it's appreciated. It's hard for me to say "but she called me a pedophile" without sounding butthurt, but really the communications director for an atheist org shouldn't on a public forum that's advertising an event shouldn't call critics pedophiles. It looks bad and takes a very serious thing and trivializes it.
 
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