EllenBeth Wachs

My Cats are My Gods

Campaign to Replace Ron Lindsay? Not what I said

with 10 comments

Stephanie Zvan has a response to my post Walking Away and, unsurprisingly, she DRAMATIZES what I said and distorts it. She takes my statement from a previous post

When I saw all of the posts berating Ron and the letter-writing campaign to get him fired, I spoke up and wanted to know what the end-game was. What were they hoping to accomplish? I was told that perhaps either Melody or Rebecca could take his place.

as evidence and proceeds to use this as a gotcha against me. The problem for Stephanie. She is projecting her own ideas of what should be filled in for which posts and letters I am referring to in that statement.

In my post “Walking Away”, I brought up which letter it was that got me to ask the million dollar question of who would replace Ron. I, at no time, stated, suggested or implied that there was a campaign to replace Ron with Melody or Rebecca. Indeed, if you look at that post, I even made an edit when it came to my attention that Melody had a facebook status claiming there was a rumor to this effect.

The screenshot is provided. My words are provided.  Stephanie is misrepresenting them. Tellingly, she doesn’t address the fact that I mentioned others in that post that called for Ron’s firing.

Edit 6/23/13 10:27 pm

Stephanie has been informed of the following  in the comment section of her blog post-

MA melby comment

Will she write a retraction or at least a correction?


Written by EllenBeth Wachs

June 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. EllenBeth said:

    I, at no time, stated, suggested or implied that there was a campaign to replace Ron with Melody or Rebecca.

    As much as I’m sympathetic to the general criticisms of FTB and company for their campaign against Lindsay, I have to suggest that there’s a bit of a comedy of errors in play here. While you may not have “stated, suggested or implied there was a campaign to replace Ron with Melody or Rebecca” in that particular post, it seems to me that you did so in that Canadian Atheist post.

    More specifically, David Jones said (1):

    … Watson and her clique and the FtB crowd … [have] tried to get Grothe sacked and Lindsay sacked (with an eye to replacing him with one of their own if you believe what Wachs said) ….

    To which you replied (2):

    You don’t have to just believe me about them wanting to replace Lindsay with Watson or Hensley. I have proof. I haven’t wanted to pull it out yet until they deny it.

    Rather difficult to see how that doesn’t qualify as stating, implying, or suggesting that “there was a campaign to replace Ron with Melody or Rebecca”.

    Not that I’m entirely or even greatly skeptical about the basic premise or argument that you are making: as you indicated (3), there were direct or indirect calls for his firing – in effect or explicitly – from Amanda Marcotte, Dana Hunter, Secular Woman in the guise of Charles Loelius, and Chris Clarke. Just trying keep the stories straight and the books balanced.

    And that rather sustained effort looks rather much like a witch hunt, Crommunist’s effort (4) to discredit the charge notwithstanding. While he makes a great – and rather tediously lengthy – effort to prove that Lindsay and the CFI are not at all analogous to witches and that they are not being subjected to a witch hunt, that rests on entirely bogus premises:

    The main thing to remember about witch hunts is that witches aren’t real. ….
    Ron Lindsay and CFI are not ‘witches’:
    The reasons why people are upset with [Lindsay’s speech] have been meticulously explained (although that does not seem to perturb the flood of people claiming that there’s nothing wrong with what he said). The failure to respond adequately to criticism by both Mr. Lindsay and the organization he helms are not imagined or unprovable slights – they’re evident for all to see.

    That he happens to think that those “reasons” should be accepted – apparently on faith – is no justification for thinking that everyone else has to give very much if any credence to them. Likewise with those “slights” which are, in their nature, decidedly subjective and open to interpretation. Rather similar to medieval accusations that someone was a witch. It is not that Lindsay and the CFI are not witches; it’s that the “reasons” for the accusations don’t hold any water. Which means that the former are being treated as if they were the latter – ergo, witch hunts.

    1) “_http://canadianatheist.com/2013/06/20/leaving-the-skepchick-network/#comment-27416”;
    2) “_http://canadianatheist.com/2013/06/20/leaving-the-skepchick-network/#comment-27432”;
    3) “_https://mycatsaremygods.com/2013/06/23/walking-away-from-those-that-are-becoming-that-feminazi-stereotype/”;
    4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2013/06/20/abused-meme-roundup-witch-hunts/”;


    June 23, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    • Yes, but wanting to replace him and saying there’s a CAMPAIGN to replace him are quite distinctly different things.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 24, 2013 at 6:54 am

      • Campaign:

        An operation or series of operations energetically pursued to accomplish a purpose;
        a series of coordinated activities, such as public speaking and demonstrating, designed to achieve a social, political, or commercial goal

        While you didn’t explicitly say – that I know of – “the c-word”, it seems that when one talks of “them” – as in “them wanting to replace Lindsay with Watson or Hensley” – one is implying that there is some coordinated group – otherwise a mob. And in this case a group “energetically”attempting to “accomplish a purpose”, i.e., replace Lindsay. Ergo, a campaign.

        While that is maybe somewhat of a quibble over whether you explicitly said the “c-word” or just alluded to the essence of one, I think it is important to emphasize that that is what “they” – a substantial number of the FTB/Skepchick mob – were attempting to do. Which their efforts at “historical revisionism” (1) only highlights. But equally important is to emphasize that, absent some really credible evidence – which is anything but forthcoming, all of those efforts look to be predicated on nothing more than some serious butthurt. Which then looks like a witch hunt.

        Nice bunch of people. I can’t see this doing much more than leaving a seriously bad taste in the mouths of Lindsay and CFI and the secular organizations which seemed to have been part of that HEADS meeting Lindsay talked about (2) in January. With some potentially problematic consequences all around, probably moreso in some groups than others.

        1) “_https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_revisionism_(negationism)”;
        2) “_http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/the_heads_meeting_your_input_requested/P50”;


        June 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        • Okay, this is getting unnecessarily tedious but perhaps that’s because I wasn’t clear in my last comment. Yes, I said there was a campaign to get Ron fired. No, I didn’t say there was a campaign to replace Ron with Melody. I later said it was suggested that she replace him. Subtle difference, maybe but an important one. At least for me. Hope that can be my final word on it.

          EllenBeth Wachs

          June 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        • EllenBeth and Steersman, it is clear that EllenBeth did not actually *say* there’s a “campaign to replace”, and the only way to say that she “said” that is to *parse* her words with that interpretation in mind. That’s the ‘mind-reading fallacy’ I’ve been talking about since, oh, well, ElevatorGate. *sigh* 😉

          The way I defend against having my words twisted, and what I would suggest to anyone, is to pin people down on these two points: 1) They cannot actually quote you as saying it, and therefore their *interpretation* of what you said is just that: their interpretation only, and 2) by the Principle of Charity, for reasonable discourse to proceed, we all must at least make an effort to *interpret* other peoples’ words in as charitable a light as we can. Using this defence, EllenBeth clearly did *not* say what Zvan claims she said, and Zvan is *not* being charitable in her *interpretation* of EllenBeth’s *actual* words.

          It is a clean, clear-cut defence, and puts the onus right back where it belongs, on the *claims* (rumour-mongering) that Zvan et al. are making about EllenBeth. Those claims are entirely Zvan’s responsibility, not EllenBeth’s.

          So, Steersman, while I can understand and appreciate the point you seem to be making (that it’s not an *implausible* interpretation of EllenBeth’s words), I think you are missing the bigger picture (that it’s also not a *charitable* interpretation of EllenBeth’s words). Getting caught up in these side-debates about hypothetical interpretations may be appropriate in a philosophical discussion, where nothing of urgency is really at stake, but during the middle of a smear campaign (I can defend that characterization should it be challenged) against someone, there is comparatively a much greater urgency to counter the spreading rumours early, rather than getting caught up in/distracted by these kinds of hypothetical red herring/wild goose chases.

          Thaumas Themelios

          June 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

  2. I think Steersman is quite right about “a comedy of errors”. In anticipation of further developments, I would like to ask: is there really a need for a further discussion about subtle differences in meaning between “wanting to replace” and “a campaign to replace”? I have no doubt that such a discussion could be very instructive and fascinating,* but is it needed? With charity being an option, I would say: one doesn’t have to attribute malice to Stephanie to understand why she wrote what she wrote; but there is also no reason not to take seriously Ellen Beth’s rejection of this interpretation. The question is however whether charity is an option. Well, is it?

    By contrast, the real disagreement (not a comedy of errors this time) seems to concern the issue whether the talk of the “letter-writing campaign to get [Lindsay] fired” is justified.

    *All right, I’m lying.


    June 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

    • Yes, I certainly understand how the misunderstanding/conflation occurred. Perception and bias always plays into how someone is going to read a statement. Frankly, it isn’t all that important to me in the grand scheme of what went down. I know others may focus in on this one narrow point. It was but one fact among many.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      June 24, 2013 at 10:56 am

  3. What should be noted is that there WAS a campaign by several bloggers/writers to get Ron fired. There was just ‘wish-listing’ about who could replace him. There are several examples of FtBers and others encouraging a letter writing campaign to CFI expressing a withdrawal of support/donations if Ron was not removed. Clearly non of these people were in a position to help decide who would replace Ron if fired, but they were “making their desires known”. If only they were as important as they think they are.


    June 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  4. Good for you. Cope and Marsh didn’t get along, neither did Dawkins and Gould or our Spanish socialists and communists. As long as you don’t start making videos like Reap Paden’s or ridicule other people’s comments by reading them in a mocking tone like Vacula did or start posting fake underwear pictures of FTB folks etc. there should be no problem at all, irreconciliable disagreement doesn’t need to be ugly.


    June 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    • You don’t seem to understand that there already IS a problem and I haven’t done anything but voice a mild disagreement. Btw, people don’t generally like other people, especially total strangers on the internet, parenting them.

      EllenBeth Wachs

      July 1, 2013 at 9:18 am

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