Conservative atheists aren’t the problem- A response to Greta Christina


On April 14th, blogger Greta Christina posted this screed, upbraiding the organization American Atheists for their recent outreach to conservatives at CPAC.  Ms. Christina then goes on to relay a series of “incidents” that she heard about at the recent, American Atheists convention, and concludes that these “incidents” were at least partially caused by American Atheists’ CPAC outreach.  She then goes on to strawman the views of conservative atheists, and smears all conservatives as being racist, homophobic, sexist, etc,   She then goes on to conflate disagreement with “microagressions” and “harassment.”  She ends the article by claiming that American Atheists is alienating the “wrong people” (presumably the people that agree with Ms. Christina), in order “to court people, whose values… are toxic and vile.”  As an atheist who considers myself a fiscal conservative/libertarian, I would like to offer a response to this poorly written smear piece.


Greta Christina’s laundry list of petty grievances


At the beginning of her piece, Ms. Christina mentions a laundry list of “incidents” that she claims occurred at the recent American Atheists convention in Memphis.  When I first read the article, I assumed that she was going to present troubling events and then try to blame them on conservatives.  I was surprised to read a laughable list of “incidents” where Ms. Christina is angry about people saying things that she doesn’t like-most of the time, it is simply people disagreeing with her.   She also offers no evidence that any of these “incidents” has any relationship to American Atheist’s conservative outreach.  Let’s take a look each of the supposedly troubling “incidents” that Ms. Christina lists.


The first incident that Ms. Christina mentions involves blackface.  At first glance, this appears like it could be troubling indeed.  Was somebody going around at the American Atheists dressed in blackface?  No,.  Instead, Ms. Christina tells the story of a (presumably drunk) man who sat next to her and an african-American friend at the hotel bar.  According to Ms. Christina, after a few minutes of conversation, the man told her that he dressed as a black person for halloween and that he didn’t think it was offensive.  That’s it-there is no mention of him using racial slurs or otherwise disparaging african-Americans.  While I would agree that it is rude and inappropriate to start conversations about contentious issues with random strangers at a bar(and it is especially rude to start an argument with a stranger), this isn’t really an incident of racism, but rather simply a drunk person behaving like a rude asshole.  Ms. Christina offers no evidence to indicate that this person is a conservative or any reason to believe that his obnoxious behavior was a function of his political views.   Of all the incidents that are listed this is the most serious, yet it is nothing more than a drunk being rude.  The subsequent “incidents” are even more laughable.


The next “incident” Ms. Christina mentions involves fellow “Freethought” blogger Heina Dadabhoy.  Heina Dadabhoy is an ex-Muslim who sometimes speaks and writes about her opinions of Islam.  Ms Christina laments the fact that several people (Oh no!) had talked to Ms. Dadabhoy and expressed opinions about Islam that she disagreed with.   That’s it, that is the extent of Ms. Christina (and presumably Ms. Dadabhoy’s) grievance.   While being an ex-Muslim would possibly make Ms. Dadabhoy more knowledgeable about Islam than some other people, that fact alone does not make every opinion of hers on Islam correct.  It certainly should not give her the expectation that nobody should be able to express a different opinion to her.   Ms. Christina’s idea that American Atheists should be concerned about people disagreeing with Heina Dadabhoy is absolutely absurd.


The next “incident” that Ms. Christina whines about is the keynote speech by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  Ms. Cristina selectively quotes a small snippet of the speech and claims that Hirsi Ali minimized and ignored discrimination and hatred towards gay people in America.  That is simply not the case-she simply compares the magnitude of the problem of anti-gay discrimination in the United States with the magnitude of the problem in the Islamic world.  In parts of her speech, Ms. Hirsi Ali explicitly states that gay people face subtle discrimination in the United STates, and even praises Apple CEO Tim Cook for informing the public about the problems faced by LGBT Americans.   The full speech  that Ms. Cristina selectively quoted from can be viewed here.  Michael Nugent deconstructs a similar argument (with the same selective quoting) made by PZ Myers here.   In this complaint, Ms. Christina is either being deliberately dishonest, or she did not even bother to watch the speech that she is complaining about.  Whether the complaint is rooted in ignorance or dishonesty, it deserves to be ignored.  One thing to note is that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an ex-Muslim, just like Heina Dadabhoy.   One might notice Ms. Christina’s selective outrage about criticism of ex-Muslims- when people disagree with Heina Dadabhoy it is an outrage that shouldn’t be allowed to happen again, but when Ms. Christina disagrees with Hirsi Ali, it is perfectly alright to voice that disagreement and even alright to dishonestly misrepresent Hirsi Ali’s words when doing so.  It is quite the double-standard, and it appears to indicate that Ms. Cristina’s primary concern is simply silencing those that she disagrees with.


The next “incident” mentioned is the silliest and most ridiculous of all- Ms. Christina is outraged that one of her friends got into an argument on Twitter with someone that had a table at the convention.    Apparently, sometime during the convention, Rebecca Hensler of “Grief Beyond Belief”, got into a brief Twitter exchange with  Kristine Kruszelnicki, who is part of a secular anti-abortion group.  Due to the level of concern expressed about the Twitter argument, one would expect that their was an angry exchange with vile slurs or threats, but that is not the case at all. The entire respectful Twitter exchange can be seen here.  Ms. Christina is upset that Ms. Kruszelnicki  stated that crisis pregnancy centers are far from perfect but she works to improve them.   That is it, that is all.  Greta Christina is outraged that someone at the convention disagreed with her friend on Twitter, and she actually expects American Atheists to take steps to prevent such “incidents” from happening again.    Her position is so ludicrous that it has reached the point of self-parody.   Ms. Christina also takes some cheap shots at Ms. Kruzelnicki’s organization, even claiming it is comparable to “Humanists for Jim Crow”.  While I personally am strongly in favor of abortion rights (I am even an occasional donor to abortion rights organizations), I recognize that all opponents of abortion are not raging misogynists motivated out of hatred towards women.  Ms. Christina’s constant need to smear and misrepresent her ideological opponents just further illustrates her complete inability to have a reasonable debate about anything.


The final “incident” again involves Heina Dadabhoy.  According to Ms. Christina, Ms. Dadabhoy told a person that she felt that “anti-feminist”  atheists present a more “credible threat” to her physical safety than Islamists do.    Apparently, this person responded that he was an “anti-feminist” but would protect her from anyone that tried to do harm to her.  Ms.  Christina (and possibly Ms. Dadabhoy) are outraged by this remark, but why?   Reasonable people do not condone violent acts against those that disagree with them.  Any decent person would intervene to protect someone from physical harm, regardless of whether or not that person is an ideological enemy.   What is the the reason for taking offense?  Perhaps Ms. Christina’s constant need to demonize and silence her ideological opponents is an indication that she doesn’t feel the same way-perhaps she could not conceive of protecting an ideological enemy from physical harm.   As to Ms. Dadabhoy’s claim-she is entitled to her opinion, but it seems to be contradicted by the facts.   I am not aware of any incidents of atheist bloggers or speakers being violently attacked by “anti-feminist atheists”.  On the other hand, there have been two atheist bloggers murdered in recent months by islamists, as well as high profile attacks by islamists on ideological enemies like Charlie Hebdo(it should be mentioned that the chance of an atheist blogger being attacked in America by islamists is still extremely low).


Strawmanning and smearing atheist conservatives


After expounding on her petty list of perceived slights, Ms. Christina goes into a fact and evidence free rant smearing and denouncing conservatives as the embodiment of every form of evil that she can imagine.  In the style of right-wing blowhards like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, she offers no substantive criticism of conservative positions, and only offers smears- simply labeling them as sexists, racists, homophobes, etc. While  I will not waste time addressing her unsupported ad hominem smears, the errors in what she says go far deeper than that.  Ms. Christina also presents a strawman picture of conservative atheists, and makes the erroneous argument that all “conservatives” hold the same exact views on every single issue.


“Conservative”, “liberal”, and “libertarian” are nebulous terms that can mean different things to different people.  The fact that two people may identify with a given term does not mean that they subscribe to the same definition of the term.  The platforms of the two major political parties do not always correspond neatly with those groups either, and that further muddles things.  While there are normally some common views among the groups (otherwise the terms would have no value whatsoever), there is invariably a diversity of views among any group of people who identify with the same political group.   The obvious error in Great Christina’s description of conservatives is that she is claiming that all conservatives hold the same exact views as hardcore social conservatives.  She throws out the example of Phil Robertson as if all conservatives agree with his anti-gay views.  She claims that all conservatives oppose abortion, oppose, gay-rights, and support the war on drugs.


She is absolutely, completely wrong about this.  There are a large group of libertarian leaning conservatives that are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. Many of these people attend CPAC.   While it is true that social conservatives have an outsized influence at CPAC, that does not mean that the libertarian types don’t exist.  Just as one example, former GOP(now Libertarian)  Gov.  Gary Johnson  has spoken at CPAC for the last several years.  He supports drug legalization, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage (a position he endorsed before President Obama did).  While it may be a difficult concept for someone as smug and arrogant as Greta Christina to understand, many voters prioritize issues differently than she does.  That is why a person who prioritizes economic growth/economic freedom over abortion rights might vote for somebody like Mitt Romney even if they were liberal on social issues like abortion rights.   It seems that Ms. Christina can’t comprehend this though-she appears to believe that voting for a candidate implies that the voter believes in every position that the candidate and their party hold (at least for conservatives).


Greta Christina also makes the silly claim that libertarian types don’t exist.  She states:

“And don’t come at me with “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.” That’s bullshit.”

Of course, being Greta Christina, she doesn’t really articulate why that is “bullshit”, but she promises to write a blog post on it at a later time.  For the meantime though, she just claims that fiscal conservatives are the same laundry list of bad things that plain old conservatives are,   She tries to assert that As someone who holds, fiscally conservative and socially liberal political views, I can assure you that I do exist, and there are many others with similar views.

Redefining opposing views as “microagressions”


After she is finished smearing and misrepresenting conservatives, Ms. Christina moves on to the most revealing part of her post.  She also makes clear why she included her silly list of “incidents: at the beginning of her post.  She writes:


“If American Atheists is successful in courting conservative atheists, and if more conservative atheists start coming to our conventions and joining our local organizations, then incidents like the ones I described are going to happen more. They’re going to happen more at conferences, in local community groups, in online forums — anywhere our community gathers.”

This is very revealing.   She evokes the conservative boogeyman to imply that more conservatives in atheism will mean more “incidents” like the ones she listed.  Putting aside  the fact that there is no reason  to believe that conservatives had anything to do with what happened, the list of “incidents” is absolutely ridiculous.  With the exception of the very first one (which was nothing more than a rude/annoying conversation at a bar), all of the incidents are simply people expressing views that Greta Christina disagrees with.   One incident was nothing more than a polite tweet from someone that she disagreed with!   Ms. Christina is revealing her true intent-she simply wants American Atheists to exclude people that she disagrees with.

She then writes:

“You can have all the harassment policies and codes of conduct you want. You can say in your conference program and your conference website that you prohibit “harassment related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion.” Those are good things, and many of us in this community fought hard for them. But if you’re deliberately courting people who are seriously retrograde on these issues, the effect of that policy is going to be limited at best. At best, it puts marginalized people attending your events in a position where we’re coping with a barrage of microaggressions; a position where we have to decide which microaggressions rise to the level of a policy violation, and whether we even have the energy to deal with reporting them. At best, it sends mixed signals: your code of conduct says one thing, but your dog-whistle to conservatives says another, and the people your policy is supposedly there to protect are not going to trust you to take action. At worst, it sends a signal that’s crystal clear: We don’t want to be perceived as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. — but we’re going out of our way to court members who are all those things.”


Here she goes even further.  She brings up harassment policies and then tries to frame her petty complaints as instances of harassment.   She throws around the term “microagressions”, implying that these incidents where people disagreed with her constituted “harassment” by a barrage of said “microagressions.” She feels that American Atheists should exclude conservatives to protect her from the “microagressions” of people disagreeing with her.   She ends by listing strawman versions of the views held by her ideological opponents and offers how those strawman views would offend people,    The main point of her post seems to be that she wants American Atheists to exclude anyone who disagrees with her so as not to offend her and her friends.   It is apparent that if Greta Christina’s is successful in her efforts to get conservatives excluded she won’t just stop there- she will continue to claim offense until every person that disagrees with her is pushed away.


My advice for American Atheists


Greta Christina’s idea that American Atheists should exclude conservatives (and pretty much anyone else who disagrees with her) are completely without merit and should be ignored.  Her desire for complete ideological conformity is troubling, and it is something one would expect to find in a fundamentalist religious organization, not an atheist one,   A healthy debate and a diversity of opinion is something that should be encouraged, and it certainly doesn’t constitute “harassment”.  I am glad to see American Atheists reaching out to conservative atheists too, and I hope that such outreach continues (and I hope it expands to libertarians).


People like Greta Christina are toxic to the success of an organization.  She is perpetually aggrieved, and will not allow anyone to present an opposing view without smearing them or crying :harassment”.  She acts as if American Atheists is her own private social club, where she can simply get rid of anyone she doesn’t like.  You don’t need someone like that involved in your organization, and she would probably be happier working with an organization that she can fully control (I heard atheism plus needs people.)   My last piece of advice is this-don’t give toxic people like that speaking slots at your convention.



Dr. Richard Carrier, PhD – A creepy, dishonest hypocrite

In a recent blog post, entitled “Coming Out Poly + A Change of Life Venue”, the esteemed Dr. Richard Carrier PhD, discusses his “coming out” as polyamorous, an “orientation” that he just discovered at the young age of 47.

Per Carrier:


He continues:


At the end of his piece, he describes his newfound decision to become a swinger as a “sexual orientation”:


There is a lot that needs to be said about this.  If all parties in a relationship choose to be polyamorous and are honest with each other about it, it is their own business and is not something that people should pass judgment on.   However, this is clearly not the case with Carrier.  Carrier claims that after 17 years of marriage, he cheated on his wife multiple times, for reasons that he won’t disclose.  In the midst of his infidelity, he suddenly “discovered” (as a middle aged man) that he was polyamorous.  Even though his wife attempted to make the marriage work by allowing him to see other women under the guise of an “open marriage”, Carrier still decided to kick her to the curb.   So in Carrier’s view, his affairs were not a mistake, but rather a fun new “lifestyle choice” that he will pursue, regardless of the past commitment to his wife.

What is even more despicable about Carrier’s behavior toward his wife is the fact that she supported him financially.  In a blog post from a little more than a year ago entitled “Support My Work With Your Christmas Shopping”, Carrier wrote:


$15000 a year is poverty level income, especially in the Bay Area, where Carrier resides.  The only reason he has been able to live a comfortable lifestyle while blogging and writing obscure books is due to his wife’s financial support.  The reason that he could afford to invest his time in getting graduate degrees from Columbia in subjects that will never land him a decent paying job is due to the support of his wife.  The reason he was able to travel around the country for low paying speaking engagements instead of having to get a real job is due to his wife’s financial support.  And how does he repay his wife for the support she has given him?  He cheats on her, waits until he is making enough money where he no longer needs her income, and kicks her to the curb.  He even attempts to use her financial support as a reason to rationalize his infidelity.  From the comments of his “Coming Out Poly” post, we find this gem:


The worst thing about this situation is about how shameless and unapologetic he is about his actions.  Carrier offers no remorse or regret for what he is done.  He simply strikes it up to a “sexual orientation” that he can’t control.   I haven’t seen such lame excuses for infidelity since Newt Gingrich claimed that he cheated on an ex-wife because he loved his country so much.    Additionally, Carrier constantly hypes his credentials as a feminist ally.  He also goes to great lengths to lecture other atheists about their supposed need to conduct themselves more honesty, ethically, and with more compassion.  Where type of ethics, are demonstrated by someone that uses a spouse for financial support, cheats on her, and kicks her to the curb?  Where is the honesty in how he dealt with her?  His refusal to even acknowledge his wrongdoing and his constant rationalizations show a complete lack of compassion, empathy and integrity.  Despite his books and lectures on secular ethics, it certainly appears that Carrier himself has trouble behaving ethically.

An explanation of strange statements from the past?

Dr. Carrier’s new admission that his libido is as vast as his ego sheds light on previous statements that he has made in his blog.  Carrier portrays himself as a professional academic type, and his blog often consists of verbose discussions of philosophical and historical topics.  However, Carrier has occasionally made creepy posts about bizarre sexual topics that seem out of place for a blog focused on philosophy.   Examples of this include a philosophical discussion regarding gangbangs, a post that briefly discusses the artistic value of “throat-gagging” and “facial cumshots” in pornography, and another post where Carrier laments the lack of response he received from appearing in erotic art (the erotic picture is included in the post for those interested),

Carrier’s recent revelations also help make sense of his previous obsession with talking about sex at atheist conferences, and may provide clues about the behavior of Carrier and the clique that he associates with.  After his admission in the “Coming Out Poly” post that he had been involved in numerous polyamorous relationships.  He also adds the following comment, which indicates that many of his relationships were with people who were also cheating on their spouses:


A question that immediately comes to mind is whether Carrier was engaging in this behavior at atheist conferences.  Normally that question would be irrelevant, but Carrier has repeatedly lectured others about their behavior at those same conferences.  If Carrier was condemning others like Michael Shermer for “skirt-chasing” at conferences, then his engaging in that same behavior would be extremely hypocritical.  In light of his recent revelations, a look at his past blog posts indicates a high likelihood that he was engaging in such behavior.

On August 13, 2013, Carrier posted this piece entitled “Our Mythical Campaign against Sex”.  It is notable that this piece was written less than two years ago, which would mean it was written after he claims that he was in an “open marriage” and engaging in polyamorous relationships.  It is also notable that this piece was modified sometime after the posting to reflect his newfound polyamorous status.  I will be using screencaps from the earliest capture on The Wayback Machine.  In this piece, Carrier writes:


Carrier is actually claiming here that there is a thriving “swinging” and sex party scene at atheist conferences.  He also claims that the people doing this are his friends and that they are all supports of Atheism +.  He continues:


Here he implies that those who dislike Atheism+ do so out of jealousy, because they are not invited to sex parties.  He then continues:


Here he claims that he is often invited to those sex parties, but declines because he is “not poly”.  With his current admission that he was cheating on his wife for more than two years, is it possible to believe this claim that he “politely declined”?  It is also notable that this is the section of the post that he later altered, adding [at the time of this writing} after “not poly”.  He then goes on to claim that “swingers” and polyamorous people are somehow more ethical than monogamous people.  This fits Carriers pattern of rationalizing his actions that was demonstrated in his “Coming out Poly” post.  It certainly appears that Carrier may have started rationalizing and downplaying his marital infidelity with that blogpost.   Carrier continues:


Here he reiterates his commitment to sex parties at atheist events.  The only caveat that he adds is that he wants people to have their sex parties “ethically”.  Apparently being truthful with his spouse and honoring his marriage vows was not part of the system of ethics that he wished to use.  He then goes on to express his opposition to policies barring conference speakers from having sex with conference attendees.  While this would seem like an odd subject for a married conference speaker to be so concerned about, he devotes a lot of space to address it, and links to other separate articles that he has written on the subject.  Carrier writes:


Just like his claim of declining invitations to sex parties, Carrier states that he declined to sleep with students when he was a speaker at SSA events because he was married and not polyamorous.  Despite that, he voiced strong objections to the SSA policy and claimed that the policy itself was unfair and discriminatory to polyamorous speakers.  Of course after his recent revelations, we now know that Carrier had qualms about marital infidelity at the time that this article was written, and he also considered himself “polyamorous: at that time.  Carrier’s statements certainly indicate that it is a possibility that some of his extramarital affairs may have taken place when he was speaking at SSA conferences.  To further paint the picture of rampant hookups between conference speakers and attendees, Carrier links to the following cringe-inducing comments from PZ Myers, where Myers tells of the women who offer themselves sexually at conferences:


Carrier’s and Myers’ descriptions make atheist conferences seem like a cross between a swingers convention and a Playboy Mansion party(with less photogenic people).I have never attended (nor do I plan to attend) any atheist conferences), so I have no idea if Carrier’s and Myers’ description of rampant orgies and sex parties is true.  If they are true though, wouldn’t that be a priority issue to address if they were truly concerned about making atheist conferences a more comfortable environment for women?  If this is the type of activity happening at these conferences, why were Carrier and his clique so concerned about one incident where a person asked a person at a convention to coffee in an elevator?

Criticizing others for the same behavior

From Carrier’s own admissions, he has been unfaithful to his wife for many years, and has had numerous extramarital affairs.  Carrier’s past blog posts also indicate that he likely had many of these affairs at atheist conferences.  Furthermore, Carrier claimed the existence of a vibrant “swinger”/sex-party scene at atheist conferences, which he stated his enthusiastic approval of.  Given these statements by Carrier, one would assume that Carrier would have no problem with a speaker who went to conferences and picked up women, even if that speaker was married.  However, that is not the case at all.

On August 22, 2013, (just nine days after posting “Our Mythical Campaign against Sex”), Carrier posted a piece called “Michael Shermer: Rapist or Sleaze?(Unless Box Checked for Other)”.  The piece discussed the extremely dubious rape accusation made on PZ Myers’ blog against Michael Shermer.   In the piece, Carrier attempts to make a pseudointellectual analysis of the “evidence” for this allegation.  Addressing all that is wrong in that piece goes far beyond the scope of this article.  What is relevant is how, in that very article, Carrier chastises Shermer for womanizing, and then implies that extramarital affairs make it more likely that he committed rape.  Carrier writes:


Carrier’s hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness are absolutely astounding.  Carrier has admitted to multiple extramarital affairs, and admitted that many of them were with people who were also married.  Furthermore, by his own admission, Carrier was engaging in that behavior at the time that he wrote this article!  Carrier implies that extramarital affairs make a person more likely to be a rapist, but gives no reasoning to support that claim.  Do Carrier’s affairs mean that he is likely to be a rapist as well?  By associating extramarital affairs with rape, was Carrier trying to tell us something about himself?  In the same article, Carrier devotes several paragraphs to criticizing Shermer for picking up women when alcohol was being served and consumed freely.  Perhaps the issue of alcohol consumption is why Carrier feels that his criticisms of Shermer’s behavior would not apply to his own behavior.  Perhaps Carrier only objects to drunken “skirt-chasing”.  The question that should be asked is: does Richard Carrier abstain from alcohol at these events so as to avoid the same situations that Shermer puts himself in? Let’s look at his blog to find out.

Carrier has an entire post devoted to discussing his love of Scotch.   In the same post he discusses the fun of getting extremely drunk, discusses the lack of negative effects of consuming alcohol, and gives his advice for preventing hangovers after consuming large amounts of alcohol.  Carrier also discusses drinking at atheist events and speaking engagements.   Carrier promotes his appearances at numerous “Skeptics in a Pub” type events like this one, where he promises that “Much drinking will ensue”.  He also talks about drinking at atheist conferences, such as in this post where he states “I will of course be speaking and drinking at Skepticon”.  The best insight about his philosophy on drinking at atheist/skeptic events comes from his official website, from the page “Booking Dr. Carrier”:


It is obvious that Carrier has no problem with drinking and partying himself at these events.  Why does he apply the double standard to Michael Shermer?

Carrier has also blasted the atheist community as a whole for making women feel uncomfortable at atheist events.  In this piece entitled “On Sexual Harassment”, Carrier writes:


He continues:


It seems rather odd that a fellow who travels to atheist meetings in order to pick up mistresses, a man that vigorously opposes policies barring speakers from sleeping with attendees, and who describes a conference scene consisting of orgies and BDSM parties (that he enthusiastically approves of!) would be all that concerned about women being made uncomfortable by sexual advances or behavior.  If he was truly concerned with this type of behavior, perhaps he should have start with changing his own behavior, and letting his other polyamorous peers follow his example.

Going against everything he claims to stand for

Carrier often discusses ethics in his philosophy articles, and even in his non-philosophy work, he often uses his platform to lecture others on how they ought to behave.  It appears in the case of his recent “coming out” as polyamorous, Carrier has violated many of the ethical principles that he has preached.  People often make mistakes or simply do things that they know are unethical, so it is not unusual for a person to fail to live up to the ethical standards that they advocate.  In Carrier’s case, the lack of apology and apparent lack of remorse indicates that he may not feel that he done anything unethical at all.   Was Carrier’s behavior unethical by his own standards?

Carrier has stated that it is an objective moral fact that lying is wrong.  He is justified this claim by claiming that society requires trust to build useful social institutions like marriage. From an interview by Daniel Fincke:


In a post about Atheism+, Carrier lists compassion and personal integrity as core values.  He writes:



On his “Booking Dr.Carrier” page, Carrier states that he will not speak at events for organizations that do not endorse the values of compassion and integrity.  He writes:


Carrier’s practice of polyamory presents no ethical issues in and of itself.  However, his behavior towards his wife in this situation certainly violates his stated ethical values, particularly those of integrity and compassion.  His extramarital affairs and lying to his wife are an obvious integrity issue, but his refusal to own up to his mistakes or take responsibility for his actions also reflects poorly upon his personal integrity.  He also has shown little compassion.  He did not care that his wife supported him financially, in fact, he use that as a justification for his actions.  Not only did he simply use her financially, but he has humiliated her in a very public fashion through his almost gleeful public announcement of his cheating. These are not the actions of a person who is compassionate.

Carrier claims to be a feminist ally.  If this is the way that he treats a woman who loved him and supported him for 20 years, how is he going to treat his other “allies” and friends?  Richard Carrier has become the Hugo Schwyzer of atheism.

Why would anyone listen to this man?

Dr. Richard Carrier has become an embarrassment to the atheist community.  He has violated the ethical principles that he preaches to others, and worse, he has been completely unapologetic and shameless about his actions.  He has also described his creepy desires to turn atheist events into his own personal swingers clubs.  He has been the ultimate hypocrite, criticizing others for the same behavior that he practices himself.    Carrier is so far gone on his personal ethics that he is in no position to lecture others on how to behave.  Whenever tries to condemn other atheists or tell them how they ought to act, he should be ignored.  Anyone attending events where Dr. Carrier is present would also be well advised to keep him away from their spouse or significant other.

Avicenna, the aftermath, and what it reveals about certain bloggers

Shortly after my two
part expose on the blogger known as “Avicenna Last”, his web of lies came unraveled. A user on twitter (@boxofbudgies) posted an example of blatant plagiarism in one of Avicenna’s blog articles. After the initial find, several members of the Slymepit forum uncovered numerous other examples of plagiarism, and the depth of the plagiarism appeared to far exceed that of notorious cases like CJ Werleman. On January 3rd, popular blogger Hemant Mehta posted a piece outlining numerous examples of plagiarism uncovered by the Slymepit, as well as mentioning my documentation of instances where he appeared to have copypasted hatemail to himself. Shortly thereafter, Ed Brayton, owner of Freethoughtblogs, removed Avicenna from freethoughtblogs. Ed Brayton and most of the members of the FTB network immediately condemned Avicenna’s plagiarism, and their reactions were completely appropriate. Two FTB bloggers, PZ Myers and Jason Thibeault, has a very different reaction to this scandal. Their reactions, and what those reactions reveal, will be the subject discussed in this article.

PZ Myers defends the indefensible, attempts to smear me as a racist

On January 2nd, PZ Myers posted this article, entitled “In Defense of Avicenna”, as a response to my blog posts documenting Avicenna’s dishonesty. This was posted after the initial allegations of plagiarism were posted on Twitter and the Slymepit, but prior to when the plagiarism allegations became widely publicized through Hemant Mehta’s blog.

In the above snippet, PZ is accusing me of “making up stories” about Avicenna. Despite the numerous instances of dishonesty and fabulism that I documented in my two part article, PZ only addresses the very first section, where I documented the instances where Avicenna copy-pasted articles from the internet and falsely claimed that it was “hate-mail” sent to him. It is extremely dishonest of PZ to only address a small part of the evidence that I presented and to pretend that that was the only type of dishonesty that was documented from Avicenna.

I didn’t just post one or two examples. I posted twelve separate examples of Avicenna doing this. As I mentioned in my article, there were far more examples of this behavior in his blog. I stopped simply because I did not have time to document each and every instance of him doing this. I selected examples that clearly weren’t chain e-mails that were floating around the internet. In fact, I selected examples that would make no sense for someone to copypaste and send to an obscure British blogger living in India. In one of the examples that I used, Avicenna himself posted the same piece on his blog several months prior, and properly attributed it. There are far, far too many instances of this behavior to attribute it to coincidence.

In the above snippet, PZ attempts to smear me as a racist for daring to question Avicenna’s claims. I take claims like this very seriously. In fact, the reason I wrote my two part expose of Avicenna was because he falsely accused me of using racist slurs on twitter, and falsely accused me of being a racist on his blog. (I cannot link to these posts because Avicenna has deleted his entire internet presence). If PZ Myers has any integrity, he should either provide evidence of racist comments by me (he won’t find any), or retract and apologize. His false accusation of racism reveals that he has no rational argument –all he has left is character assassination. This also reveals that PZ read part 2, which was where I discussed the impossibility of Avicenna’s fabulist claims. It is notable that PZ never addressed any of my claims from part 2, and simply tried to smear me with a racism allegation.

The above section of his post is telling. PZ states that, “on the record”, he is vouching for Avicenna’s credibility. He is willing to do this with just the knowledge of his real name and having met him once in person-certainly not enough knowledge to substantiate the fabulist claims that Avicenna made in his blog. The very next day, Avicenna was exposed as a serial plagiarist. PZ bet his credibility on Avicenna, and he lost big.

The next day, on January 3rd, PZ posted this article entitled”Farewell, Avicenna.”

Despite the fact that Avicenna has been completely discredited as a plagiarist, PZ still claims that “almost all” accusations made against Avicenna were lies. PZ never even attempted to address any of the numerous accusations except for the copypasting of his hate-mail. With the confirmation of his plagiarism, the copypasting of his hatemail falls into an already proven pattern of behavior, and PZ’s defense of this crumbles. PZ gives absolutely no reason why anyone should find the claims against Avicenna baseless. All we have here is PZ telling his reader’s to ignore all of the other accusations because he says so.

Gere he finally admits that Avicenna was busted for plagiarism. He still mentions “spurious accusations” without actually proving anything to be spurious. At this point, when Avicenna has been busted for plagiarism (and been caught lying to try to explain it), why would Avicenna’s word be credible at all?

So according to PZ even though Avicenna was caught plagiarizing, he still should be trusted about everything else. PZ still gives no refutation to any of the claims made in my blogposts. PZ is just decreeing that his readers should not believe any of the other claims about Avicenna.



The credulity of Jason Thibeault

On January 3rd, blogger Jason Thibeault (aka Lousy Canuck) posted this article entitled “On Avicenna, plagiarism, and thanking those who regularly cry wolf while flailing us raw.” In this post, Thibeault appears even more desperate than PZ to cover up the extent of Avicenna’s lies.

At the beginning of the post, Thibeault states that Avicenna, through the extent of his plagiarism, has violated his trust, and that everything that he has written should be questioned unless there is direct evidence to corroborate it. Furthermore, Thibeault adds that he believes Avicenna is “more or less self-aggrandizingly fabulist.” I completely agree with this, and Thibeault’s words echo the conclusions of my articles about Avicenna.

To clarify, while I am a member of the Slymepit, I would at best be considered a peripheral member there. At the time of writing this, my post count is less than 20. The person who initially exposed Avicenna’s plagiarism is also a Slymepit member with very few posts, just like me. The claim that we exposed Avicenna as part of some organized “Slymepit conspiracy” is completely false. Thibeault also claims that we have “mythologized” about Avicenna and implies that we slandered him, but presents no evidence of slander or false claims.

The above portion is most telling. The ridiculous and completely unbelievable “rape accusation” claim was discussed in part 2 of my expose. That claim strongly appears to be yet another fabricated and false claim made by Avicenna. At the beginning of this very piece, Thibeault declares that he thinks Avicenna is a liar and a fabulist, and states that none of what he wrote can be believed without corroboration. Yet he then insists that this one highly dubious claim should be believed, despite Avicenna’s history of lying and lack of integrity. Why is there the change in thinking when it comes to this one claim? It is obvious that despite all of the evidence destroying Avicenna’s credibility, Thibeault accepts some claims as true solely based upon whether or not they support his preferred narrative. It is also notable that Richard Sanderson, who Thibeault dishonestly describes as a “slime pit lion”, does not even have an account on the Slymepit forum.

Thibeault is being dishonest yet again. The allegation was not that he “plagiarized a piece of hate mail.” My article provided twelve separate examples where Avicenna copied material from other sources on the internet and claimed that it was “hate mail” that he received. In one of the examples, Avicenna himself had responded to the copypasted article several months earlier, and had correctly attributed the source. Thibeault’s insistence that we ignore Avicenna’s track-record of plagiarism is absurd. Avicenna’s copypasting of the “e-mails” to himself clearly fits with his established pattern of behavior of plagiarism. Yet despite all of the evidence, along with our knowledge that Avicenna is an admitted plagiarist, Thibeault still wants to reject the claim that Avicenna falsified the e-mails. Thibeault appears to be evaluating the claim based upon nothing more than group loyalties. As to Thibeault’s criticism of Mehta: I read the article too, and it seemed pretty clear to me what Mehta was referring to regarding PZ’s comments. I did not find anything misleading at all in Mehta’s article. I would suggest that readers look at the article themselves and evaluate.

So, just like PZ, Thibeault is asking his readers to suspend critical thinking and to not believe certain claims regardless of evidence. He also dishonestly minimizes the evidence against Avicenna, and falsely implies that I had made numerous false ethics allegations against other FTB bloggers in the past (he failed to provide even one example). His dishonesty is even more apparent than PZ’s though-after telling his readers that he believes that Avicenna is a liar and a fabulist, he tells them just a few paragraphs later to believe Avicenna, simply because it suits his narrative.

The polar opposite of skepticism

In their reactions to the Avicenna scandal, both Myers and Thibeault have demonstrated a complete abandonment of the skeptical mindset. In their eyes, the validity of a claim has nothing to do with evidence, but rather the validity of a claim is solely determined by group affiliation. They have shown their willingness to smear their ideological enemies and dishonestly represent the claims made and evidence presented by others. They have both succumbed to a form of the ad-hominem fallacy; arguments and evidence can simply be dismissed with a simple accusation that they came from somebody associated with the “Slymepit.” They have both shown their credulity when it comes to believing their own “side”, and this credulity has utterly destroyed their credibility. PZ, just one day before booting Avicenna from his blog network for being a lying plagiarist, told his readers that he could verify that Avicenna was telling the truth. Either PZ is willing to lie to his readers to help advance his agenda, or he is a credulous, gullible fool and a poor judge of character. Neither conclusion reflects well upon PZ. A for Thibeault, he was willing to tell his readers that he believed Avicenna to be a liar and fabulist, yet a few paragraphs later was willing to unconditionally accept one of Avicenna’s most fantastic and ridiculous claims. Just like Myers, Thibeault has revealed himself as either extremely dishonest, or extremely credulous.

Why this matters

Avicenna is gone from FTB, and he appears to have erased his entire internet presence. At the end of this debacle, however, Avicenna is not the only person leaving with their credibility destroyed. Since the infamous “elevatorgate” incident and ensuing atheist “schism”, PZ has chosen a side, and he has changed the focus of his blog from discussing biology and debating creationists, to ranting about politics and attacking ideological enemies, especially other atheists. He has released the name and employer info of someone who made a joke about him on a forum, then encouraged his readers to call her employer. He has misrepresented the statements of prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris in order to smear them and make strawman arguments against them. He has used his blog to promote a completely discredited sexual harassment claim against Ben Radford. He also has used his blog to publicize a very dubious rape allegation against Michael Shermer (an allegation that he initially admitted that he heard secondhand). When someone slings as much shit from their blog as PZ Myers, their credibility matters. As far as credibility goes, PZ has none.

When it comes to internet drama, PZ has demonstrated that he doesn’t judge claims based upon facts. He judges claims based upon the group affiliations of the parties involved, and upon how well the claim advances his ideological agenda. He has also shown his willingness to distort the facts of a situation and to mislead his readers to advance his agenda. This lack of integrity should call many of his smears is into question. Why should anyone believe his representations of the claims and arguments of others are even accurate? Why should anyone even believe that Dawkins and Harris actually made the claims that PZ is critiquing? Why should anyone believe his claim that he doxed a woman due to “libel? PZ has also shown that he will unconditionally accept any claim from his allies, regardless of the credibility of that claim. He has also shown that he will automatically reject any defense made by his ideological enemies. Furthermore, he has demonstrated his willingness to lie to and mislead his readers in order to further his ideological agenda. He has also proven himself a remarkably poor judge of character, and demonstrated that he will believe and vouch for anybody in his in-group. Why would any reasonable person believe a sexual harassment claim published on Myers’ blog? Why would anyone think that he would make any effort to vet the claim before publishing it in his blog? How could anybody trust PZ to accurately represent the facts of the case? The same goes for the rape allegation against Michael Shermer that PZ Myers published. PZ claims he trusted the source of the allegation, but how can anyone believe that PZ would scrutinize any claim from an ally that helped advance his agenda? How can anyone trust that PZ made any attempt to vet the claim before publishing it? How can we trust that he presented the facts correctly? No reasonable person can assume that any of this actually happened.

Similar questions can be asked about Jason Thibeault. Thibeault’s blog is almost entirely focused on drama in the atheist/skeptic community. Thibeault has assumed the role of historian for FTB, documenting the major events in his blog. However, given his documented dishonesty and credulity, Thibeault seems to be an awful choice to serve in this role. He may well be atheism’s answer to David Barton. Thibeault has also demonstrated that he does not evaluate claims based upon evidence, rather, he evaluates them based upon group affiliation and how they advance his ideological agenda. Thibeault has demonstrated that he will mislead his readers and misrepresent facts in order to advance his agenda. He has demonstrated a mindboggling level of credulity-he has accepted a fantastic and implausible claim from a known liar without question, all because the person was part of his in-group and the claim advanced his agenda. Why would any reasonable person assume that Thibeault has even bothered to vet the claims that he publishes in his blog? How can anyone believe that he will accurately represent the facts in his blogposts?

The reactions to the Avicenna incident in no way represent the totality of dishonest and credulous deeds by PZ Myers and Jason Thibeault. However, their reaction to this one incident perfectly demonstrates the dishonesty, credulity, and flawed thinking of these two men. The polar opposite of skeptics, they judge claims based upon group affiliation and ideological agendas, rather than upon evidence. They have demonstrated a complete lack of integrity, and shown a willingness to both mislead their readers and lie about their ideological opponents. They have shown that their words, claims, and endorsements have no credibility. When it comes to ideological drama, these two men have proven themselves to be as untrustworthy as Avicenna. For this reason I make the same recommendation as I did with Avicenna.-no claim that they make should be trusted without independent, corroborating evidence. For PZ Myers, I recommend that anything he says outside of his area of expertise of undergraduate level biology should be ignored. As for Jason Thibeault, I recommend that he just be ignored completely.




The Fantastic Tales of Avicenna Last –Part 2

This is part 2 of my look in to the extraordinary claims of the blogger that goes by the pseudonym “Avicenna Last.” In part 1, I discussed Avicenna’s strange and persistent habit of fabricating hate-mail to himself, which he copies from other sources on the internet. I also discussed Avicenna’s story of fleeing Kuwait in the Gulf War, and how the details of the story contradicted the known history of the event. Finally, I discussed Avicenna’s use of a charity fundraiser to earn a free trip to Nepal, the various changes in his story regarding the trip and whether or not he was even going, and his statements that he would not be donating any of his own money to the charity. In part 2, I will explore more of the fantastic claims made by the blogger Avicenna Last. Note: for this blog post, all screen captures will be placed above the text that refers to them.


The most bizarre instance of “I get mail”

Part 1 documented numerous instances where Avicenna fabricated e-mails that he claimed were to him by copy-pasting from other sources on the internet. In this instance however, Avicenna appears to have done something truly bizarre-fabricated a false rape charge against himself.

The origin of this claim appears to be this blogpost from August 8, 2013, where Avicenna posits it as a hypothetical in a post discussing false rape allegations.

In this post from August 13, 2013, Avicenna then makes the claim that someone has actually made a false allegation against him that he committed rape at TAM. Avicenna only mentions the allegation as part of a larger post, dismisses it outright, and mentions that he has never been to TAM and has an ironclad alibi.

In this comment on Ophelia Benson’s blog from August 26, 2013, known troll Oolon repeats the claim that Avicenna received a false rape allegation.

After seeing the comment by oolon, Richard Sanderson made a twitter post asking ““Richard Sanderson @RichSandersen @ool0n How many over at FfTB have had (“false”) rape allegations levelled at them? Avicenna has now joined the list. … ent-617262 …” 


After the tweet from Richard Sanderson, Avicenna posted this angry rant on his blog, where he mentioned that the false allegation was affecting his career, and where he blames Richard Sanderson for sending the e-mail (despite the fact that Richard Sanderson obviously posted his tweet after seeing oolon’s blog comment).

Avicenna then makes this comment further elaborating on the “consequences” of this false allegation. These further claims by Avicenna are absolutely bizarre. Why would Avicenna even have to report what would essentially be nothing more than a ridiculous, trolling, and anonymous e-mail? If Avicenna had to report it because his employer reads his blog, why did he even mention it on his blog post on August 13? Why is there such a drastic change in his reaction to the false claim between his posts on August 13 and August 28? TAM 2013 took place on July 11-July 14. Avicenna’s blog from that time period seems to indicate that he was still doing his medical training in India, and still blogging as usual. If he was working/training with the charity organization in India at the time of the allegation, why would the charity even investigate this at all? Also, Avicenna claims that the charity had to pay for chaperones to accompany him at work at all times. Yet he then claims that he missed out on 120 hours of work/training. Why would the charity hire chaperones if they did not allow him to work?

It is strange indeed that the allegation supposedly made to Avicenna in an anonymous e-mail is exactly the same allegation that he used as a hypothetical example in a blogpost just a few days prior. As I showed in part 1, Avicenna has an extensive, documented history of fabricating “hate-mail” e-mails that he claims to receive. It appears that in this case, the most likely explanation is that this “allegation” is just yet another instance of an “I get mail” post fabricated by Avicenna.

Claims of working disaster relief during the Hyderabad Bombings

In this post, Avicenna writes about the hardships of treating victims from the 2013 Hyderabad bombings. The Hyderabad bombings occurred on February 21, 2013. Avicenna lived near Chennai at the time of the Hyderabad bombings. Chennai is approximately 640 km from Hyderabad and is approximately 9 hours away by car. It is completely implausible that bombing victims with life threatening injuries would be transported to a smaller city so far away. Did Avicenna travel to Hyderabad to assist in the relief efforts? His blog posts seem to indicate otherwise. On February 22, he posted this lengthy screed on “Reducing Abortion.” Also on February 22, he posted this lengthy “I Get Mail” piece. He also made three
posts on February 21. He also made two more
posts on February 23 after his “Age of Kali – Hyderabad” post.


Claims of working rape protests in Delhi





In this post (also here, here, here , and probably a few other places I missed), Avicenna writes about providing medical assistance to rioters protesting gang rapes in Delhi, India. He specifically refers to helping at a protest on “Raisana[sic] Hill” and claims that he tended to victims of tear gas. Avicenna was most likely referring to a protest on Raisina Hill, which happened on December 22, 2012. At the time, Avicenna claimed to live near Chennai, which is approximately 1089 miles(straight line distance) from Delhi. What was Avicenna doing at the time of the Raisina Hill protest? He was busy blogging. On December 22, 2012, Avicenna posted a lengthy blogpost on “the problem of morality.” On that same day, he posted another lengthy blogpost about the National Rifle Association. On December 23, 2012, he posted a lengthy screed about Charles Darwin. He does actually appear to have attended this protest in Chennai on December 29, which he has posted photographs of and describes as calm with a low turnout.

New claims about ASTI made on “”

In a comment to this article, posted on May 23, 2014, Avicenna makes new claims regarding the charity ASTI. Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the charity that was discussed in part 1. ASTI is the charity that Avicenna was fundraising for in order to earn a free trip to Nepal. In this comment, Avicenna claims that he used to work treating victims of acid burns. This contradicts claims that Avicenna has made in other places.

In the above quote from his fundraising page, Avicenna makes it clear that he would like to someday help ASTI by working in their clinic, but that he feels he does not yet have the skills to do so.

In the above tweet, Avicenna clearly states that his intention was to work in the ASTI clinic at a later date. That tweet is from December 22, 2014.



In the above two conversations from December 17, 2014, Avicenna reiterates that he plans to work for ASTI at a later date. He further mentions that he currently has an obstacle that prevents him from working in their clinic-he doesn’t speak Nepalese.

All of the above screen captures demonstrate that claim in Avicenna’s comment on “”, stating that he had previously worked treating acid b urn victims, is false. Additionally, Avicenna’s comment claims that ASTI wanted to sue for “IP theft” over the use of an image in a photoshop, but did not have the money to hire lawyers. That claim is ludicrous, as the photoshopped image in question constitutes “fair use”, and, despite being in poor taste, causes no actual harm to ASTI or their charitable operations.

The contradictory tales of typhoon relief

Typhoon Haiyan made land fall in the Philippines on November 8, 2013, causing enormous damage and creating a large humanitarian crisis.

In this post from November 9, 2013, Avicenna discusses the typhoon and states that he will not be participating in the relief efforts due to the fact that he is sick with both sinusitis and tonsillitis. He does make a suggestion for where readers should donate if they want to help.


In this post from November 12, 2013, Avicenna does an extensive critique of an advertisement that he found offensive. At the end of the post he mentions that he “got the call to move out” for the typhoon relief. It does seem extremely implausible that he was able to compose that lengthy blogpost while he was on the ground doing Typhoon relief. It seems very unlikely that he would even be able to get the necessary internet connection to post to his blog that soon after the Typhoon hit. A possible explanation is that this blog post was written while he was preparing to deploy to the Philippines?

This post from reddit, time stamped from November 12, 2013, seems to eliminate that possibility.

The next blog post from November 12 asks readers to donate money instead of clothing or food.

On November 19, 2013, Avicenna made a post entitled “Toofan”. As you can see from the snippet above, in this post Avicenna tells of his heroic and arduous work in assisting with typhoon relief efforts. He also discusses how dire the situation still is, and how relief efforts are going to need to continue for a long time. As you can see, he writes the post from the perspective of someone who is on the ground in the Philippines, actively working typhoon relief.

The end of the post also contained the strange snippet shown above. There, Avicenna seems to be saying that he had planned to help with the typhoon but had cancelled. That is actually consistent with Avicenna’s first post about the typhoon from November 9. At this point, the story becomes even more confused. His next blog post, also from November 19th, is a lengthy criticism of a guest post on “The Friendly Atheist” blog. He also posted this on November 19th. On November 20th, Avicenna posted these
posts . In fact, starting on November 19th, Avicenna’s blog resumes like normal, with no mention made of the time in the Philippines, or even the return trip! Although Avicenna gives no further details of his heroics during the typhoon relief, on November 22nd, he posted a detailed story of a more pedestrian episode of his heroism, where he saved the life of a woman having seizures on a commuter train.

Did Avicenna tell PZ Myers that he was called to perform an autopsy in an internationally notorious rape/murder case?

In this comment on a post about a horrific gang-rape/murder in India, PZ Myers states that Avicenna was called in to conduct the autopsies for this case. This is an implausible claim, as Avicenna at the time was a newly graduated trainee doctor, and the crime occurred in Katra, Uttar Pradesh, which is 2101 km from where he works/trains near Chennai. Note that Avicenna did not make this claim himself; however, it is doubtful that PZ just made this claim up out of thin air. Avicenna has already demonstrated that he will make up personal involvement in major events in India- he did this for the Hyderabad bombings as well as the Delhi rape riots. It seems highly likely that the source of this statement by PZ Myers is a private conversation with Avicenna or a discussion on the Freethoughtblogs backchannel.

The hardest working doctor on the internet-Avicenna in his own words

90+ hours a week, including a 72 hour shift where 72 hours are somehow compressed into the time between Tuesday, 8am and Wednesday, 8 pm.


12 hour days, 7 days a week.

Wake up at 5:30am, go to bed at midnight, cycle 6km a day.

Even though he just recently became a doctor this year, he talks about doing work performing free eye surgeries in impoverished areas.

He is also travelling around the world to assist victim of female genital mutilation.

He compares criticism he received on twitter and YouTube to the suffering endured by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Malala.

Despite his herculean workload, Avicenna also manages to be one of the most prolific bloggers on FTB (152 pages and counting). In addition to his blogging, he is also a prolific poster on reddit. Despite his busy schedule, he also finds time to be a gamer. Let’s also not forget his 10k+ tweets on Twitter. Also, remember the countless hours he has to spend on the internet looking for material for his “I get mail” posts.


The conclusion to be drawn from all this is simple-Avicenna is a compulsive liar and is full of shit. There is simply no way to determine how much (if any) of what he claims is true. It is my opinion that no reasonable person can trust that anything he says is true without some sort of independent corroboration of his claim.

The Fantastic Tales of Avicenna Last – Part 1

The blogger known by “Avicenna Last” is one of the more prolific bloggers on the “Freethoughtblogs” blog network. A British man who travelled to India for medical school, and who is now a trainee doctor there, Avicenna seems to offer a compelling perspective on issues related to both atheism and science. Avicenna’s blog tells the tale of a doctor working 90+ hours a week, but s also blogging prolifically, saving lives in his off time, and raising thousands for charity. He is a doctor, philanthropist, relief worker, and combat survivor- a true renaissance man. Avicenna also tells tales of the evildoers that oppose his good work-people attacking charities, levying fake rape allegations, bombarding him with hate-mail, libeling him and calling him racial slurs. So what should a skeptic think about these fantastic claims? Is Avicenna the real deal? Is he a harmless “Walter Mitty” type, or is he a just a dishonest liar? Let us investigate further to find out.


“I get mail”

The first topic that I will discuss may seem trivial, but it reveals a lengthy and easily provable pattern of deception. Much of Avicenna’s blog centers on responses to e-mails that he receives from others (usually critics). In fact, a search of his blog of the term “I get mail” produces 20 pages of results. The first of these types of blog post that drew my attention was entitled “I get mail-you should be pro-life” I found it odd that someone would e-mail something centered on the American “Obamacare” plan to Avicenna, who is a British Citizen working in India. A simple google search revealed that Avicenna’s “mail” was just a copy-paste of an online letter to the editor from “” To ensure that this was not an interpretation error on my part, and taking into consideration the oftentimes muddled nature of Avicenna’s writing, I questioned him about it on twitter. The conversation is captured below:


Note that Avicenna his post after the conversation to cover up his deception-an unedited snapshot is unavailable on (don’t fret, there will be plenty more examples that are available!)

As the saying goes- “when there is smoke, there is fire.” I started searching for more instances where Avicenna has copied something from another source and then claim that he received it as a personal e-mail. I will list some more examples below- but please note, these are only some of the most egregious examples. To list every example would go far beyond the intended scope of this post, and frankly, it is a task that I do not have time to undertake.

Some example of Avicenna’s “emails”:

This post, where Avicenna responds to what he claims is an e-mail received about soccer, is responding to copy-pasted Wall Street Journal op-ed article that went viral in 2009.

This post references a letter to the editor on “”.

In this post Avicenna responds to “an e-mail” that is a copy-paste of this blogpost. Interestingly enough Avicenna previously addressed the same blogpost several months prior and correctly attributed the source.

In this post, Avicenna replies to what he claims is a piece of homophobic hate mail that he received. In reality, the homophobic rant was copy-pasted from here.

In this post, Avicenna replies to what he claims is “a weird piece of hate-mail” that he received. The text that he was responding to was copy-pasted from this anti-vax blog.

In this post, Avicenna responds to what he claims is hate mail. The text that he was responding to was copied from this website of a crazy religious fundamentalist.

In this post , Avicenna claims to be responding to an email he claims was found in his inbox. The text of the email was copied from this post by the user “DeepInsideYourMind” on the Slymepit forum. Do note that the post was not directed at Avicenna, Avicenna is not a member of the Slymepit, and in fact, Avicenna has claimed on multiple occasions that he is IP banned from the Slymepit.

In this post, Avicenna responds to what he claims is an email he received criticizing medical professionals. In fact, the text he responded to was copy-pasted from this page belonging to an American Law Firm specializing in medical malpractice suits.

In this post, Avicenna claims to be responding to an e-mail he received about atheism. It is copy-pasted from this article on “”.

“” also seems to be the source of this post.

This post is truly bizarre. Avicenna claims to be responding to an e-mail about lazy blogging habits that specifically criticizes Ophelia Benson. Avicenna even jokes about who the person who sent him the e-mail is confused and sent the e-mail to the wrong person. In fact, the “e-mail” that Avicenna is responding to is a Google+ post from Sara Mayhew. The google+ post was discussed just a few days earlier here, on Ophelia Benson’s blog, which is on the same blog network that Avicenna’s blog is.

In this post, Avicenna begins by stating that he was checking his e-mail while waiting for a ride to his exams, and he came across an e-mail that demanded a response. It turns out that the “e-mail” that Avicenna claimed to receive was a portion of a blogpost by Reap Paden. Although the post criticizes a few specific bloggers on the FTB network, Avicenna is not mentioned at all in the blogpost.

As you can see, there is a definite pattern of dishonesty in many of Avicenna’s blogposts. While this behavior doesn’t rise to the level of plagiarism, it certainly raises serious doubts about Avicenna’s integrity and credibility. This also raises serious questions about other claims that Avicenna has made about receiving e-mails that cannot be verified or corroborated. These claims are sometimes silly, and sometimes more serious, and include:

The rather odd claim that fans of American country music singer Carrie Underwood are bombarding him with hate mail.

The bizarre claim that he made to Heina Dadabhoy that an anonymous person sent him an e-mail accusing Heina of Human Trafficking.

The claim that Acid Trust Survivors International contacted him directly and complained about “intellectual property theft” because of a photoshopped image.

The bizarre claim that someone sent him an e-mail accusing him of rape.

An alternate history of the Gulf War

Avicenna has written numerous times in his blog that he has PTSD. Initially he did not speak too much about the specifics of what had caused his PTSD. This is completely understandable, and initially, there was no reason to doubt the validity of his claims. On April 21, 2014, Avicenna posted the article “PTSD and Me(lody)” on his blog. In this article, Avicenna tells the story of how he developed PTSD from events that occurred when he was a child. Avicenna details his experiences from when his family had to flee the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In the details of his story, Avicenna makes multiple claims that contradict the known
history of the Gulf War.

I was born in Kuwait. Site of the first Gulf War where I was a refugee. Due to my parent’s jobs they were captured and held because “Doctors Are Very Useful”. One day we were given a car and tried to leave. We left on the night of the 16th of January. We didn’t know what was coming.

I lived through Allied bombing and the Iraqi retaliation. The lack of information meant we drove along Highway 80. To those who lived through it, it had another name.

The Highway of Death, a shooting gallery of American long range bombardment and air strikes. After we saw one, we turned back. We drove to Saudi Arabia instead. Where we were held in a filthy room and treated like animals (I was fed a single boiled egg over a day). Until hell broke lose. A scud missile had struck a nearby building. We took the time to leave. Some kind soul unlocked the door. We assumed the war was between the Saudi and Iraqi sides. So we fled to Basra and then onwards through Iraq to the Israeli border with Jordan. At every stage we were subject to the fear that the Saudis would bomb us. It was there our luck ran out. We were not allowed into Israel. My parents say the white brits we were travelling with were separated from us. We got to go to Jordan, to a Red Cross camp set up to take in refugees near Amman. It was filled with Palestinians. And it was there we learned about the war. The bombings were by us and the Americans. After 6 months the UK found us and brought us home. A year later we went back to Kuwait.

There are many huge inconsistencies in this narrative. Avicenna states that his family took a car and fled occupied Kuwait on January 16, 1991. He states that they fled on Highway 8, the “Highway of Death”, and then turned around when they witnessed the “Highway of Death” bombings. Several things do not make sense here. Highway 8 leads north out of Kuwait into Iraq. It is very unlikely that Avicenna’s parents would try to escape the occupying Iraqi forces by fleeing into Iraq itself. Additionally, “The Highway of Death” refers to the bombing of retreating Iraqi military forces, which took place on February 26-27th, after ground forces invaded and more than a month after Avicenna claims that his family fled. In fact, the allied air campaign did not even begin until January 17, 1991, which is a day after Avicenna claims that they fled Kuwait.

Avicenna then claims that his family fled to Saudi Arabia, where they were held and mistreated by Saudi authorities. This part of the story is completely plausible. Then the story starts to unravel. Avicenna then claims that his family escaped the Saudis and then fled again to Basra, Iraq. This is completely implausible. At that time, there was a massive buildup of American and allied forces on the border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There was also a massive defensive buildup of Iraqi forces on the Kuwaiti side of the border to defend from the forthcoming allied attack. By Avicenna’s telling of the story, they fled through both the U.S>/allied and Iraqi armies, through occupied Kuwait after the start of the Allied bombing campaign, and into Iraq, a country that was at that time capturing foreigners to use as “human shields” against bombings. There is just no way that a reasonable person could believe that these events happened in the way that Avicenna claims. Whatever events happened during that time period, they simply did not happen in the manner outlined in Avicenna’s blogpost.

It is possible that Avicenna’s story is based upon some real events. He may be just exaggerating, he may be making things up because he truly doesn’t remember what happened, or he could be making the entire thing up. There is just no way to determine exactly how much of his story is fabricated. He also might really have PTSD. While he may have made up the details of his story, if he did really flee Kuwait at the time as a child, it is very possible he went through traumatic events. The purpose of this is not to evaluate whether or not Avicenna suffers from PTSD, rather, he purpose of this is to point out another example of Avicenna’s dishonesty. Avicenna has demonstrated yet again how no reasonable person can trust that any claim that he makes on his blog is true.

Vacations for Charity

In November of 2013, Avicenna made a rambling blogpost regarding a photoshop he had discovered that mocked Melody Hensley. (In a more recent version of the story he claims that ASTI contacted him directly over the image). Avicenna was displeased that the photoshop had used a part of an image from ASTI, a charity that assists acid burn victims. Although it could be considered mean-spirited and tasteless, the photoshopped image clearly met standards for “fair use” (at least in the U.S.) Avicenna claimed that the image caused actual harm to the charity, claimed (without evidence) that the image was created by an atheist from “the other side”, and claimed that the image constituted intellectual property theft. Avicenna also discussed the work of ASTI, and claimed that he had the “pleasure of working with” them. In a better written and more positive follow up post, Avicenna also discussed the charitable work of ASTI. He also mentions that he has met several of the ASTI staff personally, and mentions that he has a scar on his own hand that happened while treating an acid burn victim.

In a post in January, Avicenna announces a fundraising trip to Nepal that he will be making where he will be taking a fundraising trek for ASTI/ Avicenna posts further details of the trip in a second announcement. So is Avicenna going on this trip because of his close working relationship to ASTI? No, ASTI has a variety of fundraising challenge trips available to the public. This would be a moot point if Avicenna was forking over large amounts of his own money to donate and to pay for the trip. However, Avicenna announced that he was going to finance the trip through raising 3200 pounds via a fundraising page. According to the ASTI website, fundraising the full 3200 will pay for the trip! Additionally, in his fundraising announcements, Avicenna also stated that he would be trying to raise funds via PayPal to cover the registration fee. If he had actually accomplished this, Avicenna would have earned himself a completely free trip.


According to the itinerary, this is not a working trip, and all lodging, food, and meals are included.

On his fundraising page, Avicenna mentions that he does not yet have the skills to do work for ASTI, which seems strange considering his previous claims of working with them in the past. His fundraising page was recently edited a few days ago (there is no wayback machine copy of the page prior to his edit).

Although he has since claimed on twitter that he had decided not to take the trip in March 2014, he did not update his fundraising page until sometime after the above Twitter conversation on December 17, 2014. In this conversation he also seems to be implying that he has no intention of donating any of his own money to his own fundraiser.

Avicenna also implies that the Nepal trip is nothing like a vacation and claims that he will be working for free at the ASTI clinic as part of the trip.





In the above capture, Avicenna claims that he will be going to work in the ASTI clinic in Katmandu, and paying for the trip with his own money. It will be interesting to see if he actually does this.


The above portion of our Twitter conversation is perhaps most telling. When pressed about whether or not he was donating his own money to the fundraiser, Avicenna replied that he needed the money more, and that the idea of donating his own money was “silly”. In my personal experience, I have never encountered somebody who holds a charity fundraiser, brags about their own benevolence, yet doesn’t donate (or even intend to donate) any of their own money. I have also never heard of a grown adult fundraising for charity in order to win a prize. In the United States at least, that type of thing seems to only on fundraising by schoolchildren who do not have an income of their own. I don’t think you can criticize ASTI for offering these types of fundraisers-they are a very niche type charity, and I am sure that they need to be creative in order to raise as many donations as they can. In my opinion, it is utterly contemptible that Avicenna did this fundraiser with the intentions of scoring a free trip, while never even intending to donate any of his own money.

ASTI does seem like a very worthy charity. Even if Avicenna takes the free trip and they have to pay for it out of the donations, they will still be receiving some money. So am I being (pardon the pun) uncharitable towards Avicenna here? I don’t think so. From the beginning, it is apparent that Avicenna planned this fundraiser so that he would receive a free trip to Nepal. His blogposts announcing the trip plainly indicated that he planned on paying for the entire trip through the donations of others. His subsequent twitter conversation make clear that he never intended to donate any of his own money. Even though the trip is available to the public on the ASTI website, Avicenna implied that he was specifically invited on the trip by ASTI management, and has since implied that the trip was actually a trip where he would be working in their clinic. He claims that he is not even going on the trip, which was the sales pitch he made on his fundraising page, and did not update that page until he was called out about it on Twitter. Avicenna has not given any money to ASTI, and the only “work” that he has done is set up a free fundraising page and link to it from his blog. Avicenna’s utter dishonesty through this whole endeavor, and his willingness to try to make himself look good by taking credit for the donation s of others, are utterly reprehensible.

As a post script to this is notable that Avicenna is still soliciting money for his fundraiser. Avicenna is still linking to his personal fundraising page. Avicenna’s fundraising page is hosted by a site called justgiving. The justgiving site takes a percentage of donations as a processing fee. The whole purpose of the justgiving page is to track donations to a certain fundraiser, in this instance so that Avicenna could fundraise his way into a free trip. If you wish to donate to ASTI and you want your entire donation to reach the charity, I suggest donating to ASTI directly here.

More to come

Prior to starting this, I did not realize how enormous of a task it would be to document the deceptions of this one man. I will be posting a follow-up post in a week or so detailing more of Avicenna’s “greatest hits.”