Falsely accused by AtheismPlus

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a vocal atheist on Twitter. Important for this post is that I'm a feminist; I believe in equal rights and obligations for males and females of both sexes.

After writing this, and what follows after the 'End Update', I've learned some more about AtheismPlus. Without getting into details, I want to send a message to them. This is my message to AtheismPlus.

I am sympathetic with your cause. It's a noble cause and any reasonable person would embrace it. However, I feel you should reconsider your strategy. If you want to add (+) something to atheism you should listen to... atheists that want to add (+) something to your movement. The ball in your park.

Your strategic mistake has been, in my opinion, being overly aggressive. You have alienated possible allies by telling them they are rape apologists, or stupid, or … whatever. I'm sure all these people have tried to communicate with you, but it's very hard to do that when you're insulted.

You have misused the expression 'rape apologist' and you've stripped it of all meaning! Words have meaning, and rape apologist is explained in the rationalwiki. Saying that somebody who questions you is a rape apologist is a big mistake because you are trivializing the word. It also causes an immediate communication breakdown.

Insulting people is an indication of lack of arguments.

If you alienate reasonable people, you will be left with unreasonable people. Is that your goal?

I beg you to reconsider. A rape apologist is a bastard, and the people that have tried to communicate with you are not. Disagreement is not evil but enriching... if you give it a try.

Somebody who denies a rape can be a bastard, or can be a reasonable person. How can you tell, if you call him a rape apologist and label him a bastard from the start?

I have spend a great amount of time trying to communicate with you (well, actually, I tried to prevent communicating with you because you were overly aggressive towards my twitter pals), and you have called me 'stupid', 'rape apologist', 'despicable', 'transphobe', 'piece of shit'... and I call myself lucky.

You claim that somebody that denies rape is a rape apologist... that's not in the wiki and it's not how the expression is used in the world. Then you explain that this actually 'depends' on how you interpret the words of the denial... Reflect on that for a moment!

The whole world uses the expression rape apologist as it's described in the wiki. Only a small group of specialized persons interprets the denial of rape as you do. The inclusion is not automatic, but 'depends' on the judgment of over-sensitive persons. A recipe for disaster.

You alienate even more people by being rigid on border cases. I'm talking about statutory rape. A boy can, legally, make love to his underage girlfriend on the eve of his 18th birthday, but on the following morning, if the couple decide to start the day with a quicky, he's, legally speaking, raping her. That is daft! At which point, every reasonable person on earth, becomes a rape apologist!!!

You have successfully stripped the expression, an insult for the vilest bastards, of its meaning. Congratulations on trivializing 'rape' and 'rape apology'.

I insist you should reconsider your strategy. Use the correct words, ask before you insult and don't be a rigid cunt about statutory rape, for fucks sake.

End Update 

On Twitter, I've come across a lot of people that I genuinely admire for several reasons. Either because they are more intelligent than I, or wiser, or more humane, or better writers / tweeters.

I became aware of the existence of A+ a couple of weeks or months ago, always hearing negative things about them, but ignoring it. I did notice, however, that people I relate to (the people I follow) were put on “The Block Bot” blacklist.

Then, last week, one of the people that I admire, Len, was put on “The Block Bot” and I perceived that he was distressed by that fact. So, I asked to be put on the list voluntarily, as I wanted to have nothing to do with these people. They explained that was not how things worked. In the end, I was told that I would not be put on the list because I wanted to be put on the list :-0 Yeah, they will not put me on their list out of spite.

The next day, I saw another distressed tweet by Len... they had called him a “rape apologist” one of the worst things you can say to a decent human being. I admire Len because he's one of the gentlest persons on Twitter!

Looking at Len's tweet, and the context, I didn't see anything wrong with it and I said so.

@ool0n who is the author of the block bot... and who had added Len to the list the previous day, had written a reply to one of Len's tweets. “ 'Hysteria' is from people being blocked and calling it Stalinism, McCarthyism, Fascist, Nazism etc, not A+”

Len's reply is: “.@ool0n Hysteria is from people who cry rape without reporting it to the proper authorities”

My tweet is: “Nothing wrong with that tweet. If you're raped, report, otherwise... the rapist can act again and again.”

So, I tried to convince the A+ crowd of Len's innocence. Me, and any number of other people. After a sleepless night, discussing the issue with @MAMelby, who, I thought I had convinced at 4:15 am... The following day I tried to persuade @ool0n to drop the accusation... and was called “rape apologist” myself (not by him).

And another round of tweets followed with @MAMelby and some others who gave their own opinion calling me “rape apologist” and even “transophobe”. I finally got one tweet that caught my eye from @MAMelby: “... It's a rape apology cliché for goodness sake: Hysteric women crying rape!”

That's the key! Rape apology is not:
  1. Blaming women of their own rape.
  2. Saying she liked it.

  1. Denying the rape happened!
Wow! These people, these word vigilantes, interpret Len's words as meaning a denial of the actual rape!

Finally, after two or three awful days and nights, that's what they're after! They could have asked Len if that was what he meant. “Len, do you mean she wasn't actually raped?” But instead, they accused him viciously comparing him with people that blame women of their own rapes or that say they like to be raped.

Talking of improper use of the language! How difficult can communication be when you don't even try?

Apparently, there is a 'rape culture' in the US where 'rape apologists' say that the victims are liars. But, both Len and I are dutch and we don't have rape apologists in our country (that I'm aware of).

AtheismPlus, has been object of a number of posts by people I follow. I list the women that I'm aware of, that have supported Len against the accusation of being a rape apologist. I follow all of these women and they are great vocal Twitter voices.

Lil Miss Thundercunt About the word “cunt” - @AtheistMummy
Melisa About Len and the block bot - @AtheistMel
DamnedAndromeda About AtheismPlus and Rebecca Watson - @DamnedAndromeda

Other women that are supporting Len are @Jen_August and @WeaziePlz.

All these women are fabulous to follow!

You can add more support for Len in the comments below. Let's hope the stupid word vigilantes of AtheismPlus finally notice their own stupidity... but I don't have high hopes.


  1. I share your hope that the Atheism+ group will come to their senses, but I am not terribly optimistic either. Your story provides yet another good example of how they manage to alienate those who are supportive to much of their stated cause.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. It's been an insane 7 days (mostly nights) on Twitter.

  2. Thank's for sharing this. I too share your hope. I don't typically write about atheism since I cover religious issues, but if I did, I am sure I would have run afoul of the A+ crowd.

    1. Thanks. I tried to avoid it, but... after all, I did learn something valuable.

  3. About RationalWiki... it's not as "rational" as they want you to think. It's been pretty well overrun by a-plussers. Just lookup their entry there. They are also very much into smearing critics with malicious nonsense -


    1. Your link crashes the IE I'm on right now. I'll read it when I can.

  4. Sorry to hear about this but thank you for writing about it. The best we can hope for IMO is that people who have experiences like yours keep speaking about it in public forums so that people can be aware and avoid becoming a victim of this childish and damaging behavior. Oolon is nothing but an instigator, he has no real interest in anything except stirring up conflict and then blaming others for the results.

    1. I completely agree with you about Oolon. He likes to say things that can be interpreted. His few comments about my blog (the above) were very partial. So, he's an irritating bugger. I must say that I did insult him myself a couple of times.

  5. The problem here is that you're treating the people on the Atheism+ side as though they were rational, logical, critical people. They are not. They are mad howler monkeys, no different tactically than the evangelical Christians and extremist Muslims. They are not interested in rational debate or intellectual discussion, they're too busy flinging their own poo at anyone who disagrees with them. They hold fanatical beliefs and nothing anyone says can sway them from their blind faith. They're not even feminists, they're a particularly venomous, radical sort that doesn't want equality for all, they want superiority for women and abuse for men, who they think have held them down for too long and deserve some payback. That's where the whole patriarchy and rape apologist nonsense come in. Men are evil, women are superior, join their club and parrot their party line or end up in the ranks of the sleaze and scum. It's not open for discussion, take it or leave it.

    Honestly, you're better off, like many of us have realized, just forgetting those people exist. You're never going to get anywhere debating them, you're just going to be called names, hunted down and harmed to the extent that they can harm you. It's what Atheism+ does. Easier to just ignore them entirely.

    1. That is actually one of the best summaries of A+ and how to deal with it that I have ever read. Now if I can only follow the advice in your second paragraph...

    2. I did. My one and only New Year's resolution last year was to swear off of A+ entirely and I've never looked back. I've avoided PZ Moron completely, haven't stepped foot on the A+ forums, don't look at anything any of the usual suspects tweets and I don't miss it a bit. The only time I ever hear about it is when a blogger I follow says something, otherwise I live a completely Atheism+-free life.

      It's not hard at all.

    3. Good to hear :-)

      I've done the same. One week of bats going shit's enough.


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