Resigning from the team in the dialogue-process sponsored by Michael Nugent - blog by Gurdur


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Resigning from the team in the dialogue-process sponsored by Michael Nugent
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Posted 01-Apr-2013 at 05:14 PM (17:14) by Gurdur
Updated 03-Apr-2013 at 01:16 PM (13:16) by Gurdur

Given the deep schisms obvious in the atheist movement, Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland kindly started a dialogue process, which went in to many unexpected directions. Michael Nugent then started a formal talks process after asking for volunteers, and he set up a dedicated site for this on

There is a great deal to say about this all, and I shall soon start saying it.

However, before I say anything else at all, there is one important thing to say, and that is, I initially volunteered for one team for this talks process. I am now resigning from that team.

It is vital to get certain false claims out of the way; for example, various people have claimed that "slimepitters" wish to force FTB bloggers or any other person to dialogue. "Slimepitter" is a loose term of abuse and demonization used by some; it can refer to members of the Slymepit board (I am not a member of that board), or it can refer to anyone who dares to post comments on Abbie Smith's ERV blog ("slimepit" and "slimepitter" were used as terms in ostracism). Much of the time, the term of abuse "slimepitter" simply means whomever the abuser wishes to condemn next, and has no logic nor truthfulness of any kind to it.

The claim that "slimepitters" wanted to force a dialogue is completely untrue. Michael Nugent, a separate individual who could be said in a very general way to lean to the FTB side of views but who strives to remain fair and impartial, asked who would be willing to volunteer for such a dialogue; I and others, including Stephanie Zvan, volunteered. No-one was forced in any way to take part. Nor would anyone. Two initial teams of people were formed to undertake this. One team consists of Stephanie Zvan and others to be announced. The other team consisted so far of Skep Tickle (as moderator), Renee Hendricks, Jack Smith, Thaumas Themelios and myself (Tim Skellett, @Gurdur). The first part of this process is based on an agenda largely suggested by Stephanie Zvan, so we were talking there on a platform donated by Michael Nugent, answering a call for volunteers by Michael Nugent, on an agenda largely set out by Stephanie Zvan.

Nor did or do any of us speak for anyone but ourselves; none of us speak for any group at all. Skep Tickle, Renee Hendricks, Jack Smith, and Thaumas Themelios are members of the SlymePit bulletin-board; I am not.

I am now quitting from the team. I have a large number of major concerns with many different aspects of it all, but I remain deeply interested as an individual in the whole process. I will be blogging and reporting on much of it quite soon and will go on doing so.

My resignation letter is below.

{resignation letter}

Hello Michael, Renee, Skep tickle, Thaumus, Jack:

this is to inform you I am withdrawing from the team involved in the dialogue process. I remain deeply interested in the dialogue process as an individual. However, I have a number of concerns regarding several different aspects. One of these is the team framework. There simply isn't enough time to properly cohere as a team and to prepare team responses in a time-frame that can adequately keep public interest going. Associated with that is that I am very concerned about unilateral actions from one of our team, actions which nullify efforts as a team. I've stated my concerns, but there has been no adequate reponse at all on that, so I am with immediate effect withdrawing from the team. There are also other grave concerns underlying my resignation here, but they can be examined a little later.

Michael Nugent, I would be grateful if you would edit out my name in two places: one is, your post announcing the dialogue, where you state that initial statements will be compiled by Stephanie Zvan and Tim Skellett. This is a small thing, and I am not terribly fussed about it, but it could mislead. I would also be grateful if my name was removed from the actual initial statement as publicised, since I am no longer a part of the team, and I do not feel the statement as given is a genuine reflection of my approval given my resignation from the team. I have also removed myself from the Facebook group for the team.

As said, I remain deeply interested in the entire dialogue process, and I wish all genuinely committed to this all the best in that, and thank-you all for your patience,
Tim Skellett (@Gurdur)

All my recent ongoing blog posts on this and associated matters:

03 April 2013 | Secular community-leaders' calls for moderate tone cause all hell to break loose among secular community

03 April 2013 | Frenemy-fire and the misuse of social media

03 April 2013 | The dialogue process sponsored by Michael Nugent within the secular movement

01 April 2013 | Resigning from the team in the dialogue-process sponsored by Michael Nugent



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  1. Old Comment

    RE: Resignation

    Tim - In my mind, your resignation is representative of the conundrum. There are to many intangibles and lack of cohesiveness as a whole to sort anything out. I appreciate your attempt to be involved in a constructive way. You have made a meaningful contribution by providing this communication with a non-inflammatory and positive approach. Hopefully it will serve as an example to others who typically communicate via personal attacks. ~Karla
    Posted 01-Apr-2013 at 06:43 PM (18:43) by Karla Porter
  2. Old Comment


    Sigh... You don't have to say who the offending party is on that team... it is all too obvious simply from reading the Slymepit. That person started posting regularly there only about a month ago, and came in all cocky and verbose and projected a smug air of knowing everything, while being patronising and condescending to longtime members. Said person loves to pontificate on what an expert he is on everything, and lectures everyone on his self-proclaimed wonderful techniques for debate. A hyperactive meddler and loose cannon. Merely annoying to the rest of us before Nugent's idea for dialogue; now, positively detrimental. I (and probably others on the Pit) saw trouble the minute he came in crowing that he was part of the Nugent dialogue team. Ugh. I'm sorry to see you go, the wrong person is leaving IMO.
    Posted 02-Apr-2013 at 12:55 PM (12:55) by Sergei
  3. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Nobody's actually asking me questions, so I feel under no great pressure to answer questions. I do find a couple of things weird; "Apples" over on the Slympepit says as far as Apples remembers the first reason given for my withdrawal was illness. Complete bollocks, untrue. It does make me wonder about Apples' source-lines, but it's not my problem in the end. At no time whatsoever was illness ever a reason for my withdrawal, or given as such a reason.
    Posted 02-Apr-2013 at 09:39 PM (21:39) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 03-Aug-2013 at 07:52 AM (07:52) by Gurdur
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