Articles

Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater

In Christianity & Atheism, Freedom of Expression on June 19, 2010 by thesignalinthenoise Tagged: ,

[Edit:  6/30/10:  Update (6/20/10, 11:25pm PT):  Benson seems to have gone completely over the edge.  Her latest — utterly partially false — conspiracy theories are described here and commented upon by YNH hereBenson continues to ignore Abraham Lincoln’s sage advice to her extreme embarrassment:  Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.]

Update (6/20/10, 7:10am PT):  Benson has now phonied up the record by changing and removing posts.  Perhaps she feels guilty for her outrageous and silly behavior.  We can only hope.  Then again, I googled some of the language quoted below to try to verify what happened and, even though it comes up first on the search (see here), establishing that my recitation below is accurate, the cache has been cleared.  She has even added altered a post of her own to say:

So I doubt that I’ll be allowing you to comment here any more.

Really?  So the cover-up continues.  Benson may wish to alter history, and she is surely entitled to her own opinion, but she is not entitled to her own facts.

Update (6/30/10, 9:10am PT):  As I have noted elsewhere, YNH has been shown to be based upon a pack of lies and, as a consequence, Ms. Benson has been shown to be essentially correct in her criticisms of it.  YNH is now no more.  I, apparently, have been caught in the crossfire.  To mix my metaphors, I am the baby that Ms. Benson threw out with the bathwather.  Details are available here.  Since I have now received a (partial, qualified) apology from Ms. Benson, I have changed the title and art of this post as a gesture of goodwill.  Her actions toward me, though still not justifiable in my book, are at least understandable now.  I have left the post itself and the previous updates as they were, unless clearly identified, but they should be read in context with what we have subsequently learned.

__________________________________________

The whole situation with Ophelia Benson and my banning from Butterflies & Wheels (see here and here) just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser, funnier and funnier.  In comments here, Benson tries to justify her actions by claiming that she fears “rebellion,” that I’m “an elaborate sock puppet with an agenda” and that she has “reasons for [her] suspicions.”  Moreover, there is a major conspiracy brewing against her:  “But the internet makes it possible for people to do elaborate things with fake identities – and there is a person or a set of people busily doing such things at the moment, so I am wary.”  She has even begun a e-mail campaign of some sort to deal with me.  As a poster reveals in a response to her:  “In personal emails, as well as here, you expressed neither evidence nor certainty, just suspicion and an elliptical reference to a slip-up.”  She still claims to have her reasons, even though she won’t say what they are:  “I don’t go on vague hunches. I have reasons, and I said I have reasons – I’m not about to post them here!”  You see, even though my behavior was not objectionable in any way and even though she has no evidence for the claims she makes (she can’t — they are absolutely and entirely false), she just knows exactly what’s going on:

One more thing – part of what I suspect is that the reasonableness is a performance. A lulling of suspicions. An act. I’ve seen the act before. This is judgment, not gut – I didn’t ask you to defer to my gut, I said you could have taken my word for it that I had reasons.

The conspiracy is vast, donchaknow, V-A-S-T.  Take her word for it.  And don’t forget the hollowest claim of all:  “It’s not a matter of views I dislike.”  Riiiiiiight[Edit (6/30/10):  It turns out that YNH did elist a number of sock puppets in an effort to discredit OB.  She was right about that.]

Indeed, her entire charade is almost too ludicrous to believe.  What kind of ego, hubris even, does it take to believe that I would take the time and trouble to create this blog and publish its contents not because I had something I wanted to say, but simply as part of an elaborate ruse somehow, in some way, to “get” her.  Everything is not all about you, Ophelia.  [Edit (6/30/10):  Given the YNH debacle, it is more believable than I gave her credit for.]

[Edit (6/30/10):  Ophelia Benson’s connection to reality isn’t even tenuous at this point.  But we can laugh about it (and at her) just the same.  Due to what happened with YNH, OB’s actions are far more understandable than I gave her credit for, even though still entirely misguided in my case].

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18 Responses to “Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater”

  1. You’re not helping, Signal.

  2. If I can get her to see the reality and outrageousness of her error, I’m helping.

  3. The suspicion was predicated on the similarity between your blog here and the “You’re Not Helping” blog… and this post does seem a lot like the stuff over there.

  4. I had never seen the YNH blog until John Wilkins (“Evolving Thoughts” — a blog I heartily recommend) linked to it on June 18. I then read some of it and linked it in a post I wrote that day and added a link to it to my post of the previous day. Honestly, even if you assume extreme paranoia, it’s hard to see a basis for my being related to YNH, despite some similar opinions. YNH is “a group of nonbelievers who champion the role of science in our society.” I am a solo blogger who is intentionally and explicitly Christian.

  5. It’s not hard to make the link, from an outside standpoint. That’s one of the costs you have to bear when you decide to be anonymous, I think.

    Also, I should mention that it isn’t very hard to figure out your real identity, given that your former Blogspot blog is still live. Since I’m able to find that information, while YNH seems more watertight, I’ve been inclined to think that you’re not the same as YNH. But that’s my reasoning — I don’t know it for sure.

    • It’s not hard to make the link, from an outside standpoint.

      I guess if you’re convinced that a conspiracy exists, it isn’t hard to believe it has gotten bigger.

      Also, I should mention that it isn’t very hard to figure out your real identity….

      Thank you for mentioning that. I have closed it (and thought it was closed). I am anonymous for career-related reasons (as I mentioned previously) and that one shouldn’t have been accessible either. However, I don’t particularly care about being anonymous personally, if you get the distinction, and don’t have any problem with your knowing who I am.

      I’ve been inclined to think that you’re not the same as YNH.

      Since my point of view is significantly different than that of YNH, I should hope so.

  6. You say your point of view is different from that of YNH…but anybody can say anything.

    • Indeed. The question is what the evidence shows. Since my positions are pretty dramatically different from those of YNH in many areas and since our respective styles are pretty different, what the evidence shows should be obvious.

  7. Hi Signal,

    I for one am glad you blog on these matters (so do I).

    Have you tried using the Internet WayBack Machine to recover Benson’s relevant posts from the google caches?

  8. An uninitiated reader who comes across this article browsing introduction and conclusion will hear the following:

    “Update (6/20/19, 11:25pm PT): Benson seems to have gone completely over the edge. Her latest — utterly false — conspiracy theories are described here and commented upon by YNH here. Benson continues to ignore Abraham Lincoln’s sage advice to her extreme embarrassment: Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.”

    “Ophelia Benson’s connection to reality isn’t even tenuous at this point. But we can laugh about it (and at her) just the same.”

    I had to read the article three times and only on the third careful reading I found the qualification:

    “Since I have now received a (partial, qualified) apology from Ms. Benson, I have changed the title and art of this post as a gesture of goodwill. Her actions toward me, though still not justifiable in my book, are at least understandable now. I have left the post itself and the previous updates as they were, but they should be read in context with what we have subsequently learned.”

    I would strongly advice to mark the article as no longer reflecting your views at both the beginning and the end of the post and clearly separate and mark what is old material and what is new.

    Like this it is easily misread.

  9. I haven’t commented here before and it’s unlikely I shall do so again, because it’s not really my “natural” habitat, but I am doing so now in the framework of confidence-building measures. The fact that you added and amended as you did, now that some of the worst tensions have been brought down a notch (or more, dare I hope?), will, I think, greatly reduce the chances that you’ll be mistaken for someone else. We shall probably continue to disagree on most things, but I don’t think that is the biggest problem we could have. I do intend still to reply to the unanswered point you mentioned at Oedipus’s blog, as soon as I find a little more time.

    • That’s a gracious post, Stewart. Thank you.

      I’m pretty generally a contrarian, so I rarely hang-out where people agree with me. I appreciate dissenting voices so I think it would be great if you visited and called me out on occasion. Different tastes are fine though. Thanks again for your post.

  10. I think Ophelia is the right person to judge if she’s happy but I can say from my perspective that the edits did help quite a bit. I appreciate that you are working with others on this stuff.

  11. I didn’t think I’d post here again, but in case you haven’t seen it yet, this is what Ophelia just said over at Oedipus’s blog after the “true” apology from William of YNH: “… given what you’ve said, I have to apologize to Signal. Sorry, Signal.”

    Now perhaps we can get back to disagreeing with each other – civilly.

  12. You will. Your comments may go into moderation at first, and if I’m not around they’ll wait until I am, but I will approve them when I see them and I assume the filter will learn they’re allowed after a couple of times.

    I do apologize. And for what it’s worth, I’m extremely glad you’re not. I was simply hating the idea of a permanent malevolent agent lurking forever.

    I also probably know vaguely who you are – a friend found your previous blog early on and sent me the link. I don’t remember your last name though, but I wouldn’t spill it if I did.

    (So why wasn’t that evidence that you weren’t YNH? That guy could have been YNH, or the whole thing could have been faked. I just didn’t know. It was paranoia city. I’m glad to be out of it.)

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