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Toxic environment

Forums Forums Issues & Complaints Toxic environment

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    Sherlock Holmes

    I’m done with this forum.

    I’m afraid I consider it a rather toxic environment where ad-hominem attacks are seemingly tolerated yet are never justified as a means of objective discourse.

    I did not come here to make friends or to preach religion or to try and convince others to share my own views on the world, I came here to engage and express my own views and my reasons for those views and disagreeing with an opponent is a very normal event in such discussions, here it seems to be taken as effrontery to disagree with prevailing opinion.

    After being absent from the forum for several weeks I returned and within a day or so discover:

    1. Lausten is now a moderator

    2. Lausten is pointing out to me there is a rule about posting repetitively.

    I do not consider these a coincidence, it bodes ill that a newly appointed moderator decides to point out such a rule to me despite the fact no other forum member had raised a complaint about this purported repetition.

    An objective and fair minded moderator would not take it upon themselves to harass a member unless another member had complained, that’s a simple rule that I certainly would follow and that I would have thought was the obvious mature way to behave but not so, Lausten’s own personal dislike of me has been allowed to influence him in performing his moderation duties.

    Furthermore if one is asked a question repetitively and naturally provides the same answer each time, surely it is those asking repetitive questions who are being repetitive?

    This is all rather petty, ad-hominem attacks began months ago because I do not share the views of several established and prominent members, whether an ad-hominem attack is or is not accurate it should never be tolerated attack what I say not why you think I say it.

    I’m sure most of those here enjoy the friendly little coffee bar atmosphere but it is toxic and immature and I refuse to waste any more time discussing anything here.

    Finally the forum has a small set of frequent posters who often react collectively and personally against dissent, the forum has technical flaws like forgetting one’s credentials every few weeks, having very poor editing features and s on, there is nothing objective or intellectual here.

    I’m quite sure many here will react to this post and point out all manner of things regarding my character flaws, rule breaking, stupidity, arrogance and so on – but this is to be expected when the moderator is too weak to enforce its own rules about ad-hominem attacks.

    Some of you were interesting to chat with but overall this is a toxic and prejudicial forum and very much the opposite of what it claims to be:

    The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

    Freedom of inquiry is conditional here, just as it was in Galileo’s time, I hope that at least some of the members here can bring themselves to admit this.






    My favorite ‘supercar’ has always been the Lamborghini Countach from back in the 80’s.

    It wasn’t the fastest (but it was fast) or most expensive (but it was expensive) or rarest (but it was rare), but it was the most extreme looking one. My bedroom walls had posters of all colors and angles of those cars. Sadly I didn’t keep any.



    I think your complaints have been aired and discussed throughout the forum. There are some things that can’t be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. It is not the role of moderators to negotiate every discussion, rather it’s to keep the discussion civil. That’s a pretty subjective term with a lot of wiggle room. There are much more tightly moderated forums than this one, and although it’s in the rules that all moderator decisions are final, we try to include some level of democracy.

    Pointing out a rule is not “harassment”. It is a standard first level of moderation. The responses to your posts were varied and attempted to draw out your evidence and personal thoughts. When I did see repetitive questions, they were prefaced with comments such as “I will ask again”, but your repetitive responses came with comments along the lines of “why can’t you get that”. The difference between these is itself a long discussion.

    An attack on your evidence or an objection to logic is not an ad-hominem attack. If you have a specific instance of such an attack, please flag it and I will consider it. I would appreciate if you respected my time and dealt with those one at a time.


    As a fellow moderator, I think Lausten is doing a pretty good job and I see nothing wrong with citing the rules when they need to be cited. That said, there is only two of us who are active and a third who pops in now and again (which is another story). If you see something you think we need to see, point it out to us, as Lausten said. It helps us if there is an issue that we need to resolve in some manner.

    Sherlock Holmes

    These responses seem to prove my point, no mention of ad-hominem attacks or of a desire to confront these yet there are many examples of them directed at me.

    Lausten it is a harassment in the sense it is selective.

    Why point out a repetition rule to me right after a post (which was just an answer to a question I’d been asked before) when ad-hominem attacks are even more significant?

    I’ve highlighted some of this abuse here. to which I now see the response:

    I would act much differently and have many more comments on these behaviors…If I saw those patterns I would have already said something.

    So there we have it, no desire to comment to members when they post ad-hominem attacks.

    Patterns? an ad-hominem attack is not defined by a pattern, it is an attack on the members character or perceived character, you do not need a pattern Sir, is this or is this not an ad-homimen attack Lausten?

    Look at this post then look at my response, this is an ad-hominem attack and they are ongoing yet silence is the only reaction.

    Tell me Lausten do you or do you not regard the post by CITIZENSCHALLENGE-V.3 as constituting an ad-hominem attack or not?

    If you do then why not start pointing these out impartially rather than confining your attention to my “repetitive” posting?

    The site is a petty, immature and a cliquey members club, it is not the objective exploration of free thinking it purports to be.

    As the old saying goes Lasuten, don’t piss down my neck then tell me its raining.






    I could go into great detail about the use of the word “bitch”. I had an interesting discussion about that with my interpreter when I was in Colombia, trying to explain all the ways the word can be used. 2 quick points, but I’m busy at the moment. Saying “you are a bitch” is an ad-hominem. Saying “you did something bitchy” is speaking to a behavior. Neither would be acceptable in front of my grandmother, but that’s a discussion about where we set the bar on what counts as swearing. Ideally, no one would feel uncomfortable reading any of our posts, but I don’t know if that is possible.

    Okay, one other thing. There are aren’t “more significant” rules, there are just rules.


    On a personal note, it would really pain me to do something drastic like block Sherlock. When I filter out him calling me a moron, he does have a fairly well organized argument, on par with William Lane Craig. I don’t care for WLC’s arrogant tone, but at least he keeps a pretty even keel and uses structured logic with stuff like t1 and t0 to talk about cause and effect. I know I would love to come up against an argument for God that I really felt was compelling, just for the challenge, and, the other side of that, when I meet someone who has knowledge of science and can use logic, I want them to tell me how my argument appears to them, even if I disagree with their position.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Lausten.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Lausten.
    Sherlock Holmes


    I guess you simply are blissfully unaware of your own tendency to attack character rather than argument, I mean you just wrote this:

    “I don’t care for WLC’s arrogant tone”

    This is exactly the kind of statement that constitutes ad hominem attacks. His “tone” (whatever that may mean to you) is irrelevant to the veracity of his argument, so why mention it? Instead focus on what he says, the assumptions he makes and the logic of his reasoning man.

    If a person’s argument were absolutely sound then how does their “tone” have any significance?

    Do we assess the veracity of a mathematical proof by factoring in the personal traits of the author?

    When a moderator is himself unaware of what ad hominem actually means then the forum really is in trouble.




    The one thing you pull out of my post was WLC’s tone? There were several compliments in that post. I don’t have to defend my personal response to someone’s tone. I would have rather that you noticed that I reminded you that you said “absolute morons” referring to some unspecified number of members of this forum. This moment seems like it calls for mea culpas all around, not picky out the worst sentence from a paragraph.

    Sherlock Holmes


    The one thing you pull out of my post was WLC’s [arrogant] tone?

    Do you deny that your comments about his “arrogant tone” have no bearing on the veracity of his position? do you agree with me this is an ad-hominem attack on him?

    This is all that matters, did you or did you not resort to an ad-hominem attack? You are a moderator and so surely are able to answer such a question?


    This is all that matters

    This is not the only thing that matters. That’s my point Sherlock. It matters what you’ve said before and how you have presented yourself here. It matters that you have chose to engage as you have. Moderators are not here to sort out “who started it”, so I’m speaking as a participant when I say it matters how you act. Actions have consequences.

    And no, commenting on someone’s tone of voice is not an ad-hominem attack. I did not use it to judge the quality of his arguments, only to say that I don’t enjoy listening to him. Ad-hominem is “against a person rather than the position” and for that comment, I was not discussing his position at all.


    Holmes’ sure are good at playing the victim card.  Since he brought it up

    Look at this post then look at my response, this is an ad-hominem attack and they are ongoing yet silence is the only reaction.

    Tell me Lausten do you or do you not regard the post by CITIZENSCHALLENGE-V.3 as constituting an ad-hominem attack or not?


    September 6, 2019 at 9:59 am#306941

    Well you consistently do try to disrupt – you refuse to engage constructively – to misrepresent what others have written – you love bitch slapping others, but when someone bitch slaps you, you’re off howling like a bully to his mama.

    You use insults and innuendo as a tool, while others use it in exasperation because you are so frustratingly contrived and bullying.


    September 6, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Holmes:  …  I’m afraid that once again (emphasis mine) I regard this as another ad hominem attack and a disservice to the stated principles of the Center For Inquiry.

    Why don’t you try a discussion?

    Or actually pay attention and listen to the critique and consider how much you resemble it!

    We are still waiting for you to explain your ID theory,

    what it is and

    how it can help our need to better understand the universe around us.


    September 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm#
    Holmes:  August 6, 2019 at 11:38 am:  So let’s talk about it then, what is wrong with asking the question “Was X designed?”

    What’s right about it?  Science domain is about understanding HOW the universe behaves.  Of course, at the back of every thinking human’s curious are those questions about the Why it is the way it is and so on.

    But the question WHY that belongs in the Religious/Philosophical domain.

    Holmes you seem to want to FORMALIZE the notion of ID within Science.  Is that accurate?  or not?

    If so, what advantage will that give science in studying or understanding HOW things work?


    Holmes:  how can we tell if some structure X was designed or arose through the laws of nature as we understand them?

    Because, millennia and centuries worth of observations and experience has convinced humans that the Laws of Nature are not capricious and can be learned.  The Laws of Nature can be considered God, or ID, if you like.  That’s a religious or philosophical thing.  Nothing wrong with that.

    But science is a set of rules for objectively studying nature and checking each others work, it does not do soul searching.

    Holmes why can’t you appreciate that?

    Holmes:  is it dogmatic to insist that nothing in nature has been designed?

    It is stupid.   {Our ability to understand is limited by your ability to form intelligent questions.  A stupid question offers nothing constructive.)

    Everything in Nature was designed by Evolution, a dance between determinism, math, and chance, and time lots and lots of time.


    Holmes:  Can such a claim ever be proved?

    Scientist tell us over and over, nothing can ever be “PROVEN” –

    There are always more details that teach us things we couldn’t imagine before.


    Holmes:  if not how can we object to ID?

    I don’t object to it at all.  I possess a foggy notion of ID myself.

    But the point that you keep ignoring is that you are asking “SCIENCE” to consider ID!  That is wrong!




    Ad hominem (Latin for “to the person”),[1] short for argumentum ad hominem, typically refers to a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

    Yeah, I may be a little rough, but Ad hominem, nah.

    I’m trying to get this discussion on point and Holmes wants free reign to play the deception game.


    Why shouldn’t we have the right to expose the anatomy of public deception.


    Oh one last shot for the road

    September 6, 2019 at 8:18 pm  CC to Holmes:

    “WAIT A MINUTE, wait a minute there buddy, you are not being harassed because of your faith in ID –

    that is totally separate from the fact that it is your hostile baiting style of writing that has folks fighting back.”



    This morning I double checked what I’d posted here and noticed the following that I just skipped over last night.

    Lausten: “On a personal note, it would really pain me to do something drastic like block Sherlock.”

    I absolutely agree, there’s no point in banning Sherlock.

    I find H irritating and dishonest, but he’s a great representative of the right wing’s disassociation from physical reality on this planet.  It’s worth hearing his contrived arguments.  It’s worth trying to confront him with a taste of reality.  I wouldn’t know what he should be banned for, if his participation causes the discussion to get a little spicy now and then, so be it.  Why not?

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