I get email: John Harrington’s 15 minutes of fame.

The other day I posted a silly question and invited people to destroy it.  The person who posed the question then sent me this message.

I understand what you’re saying JT. I wasn’t going to pull the inscrutable thing though. I honestly was clarifying and maybe i could have phrased it better or PMed you. Sorry to come off as trollish. I’ll try to do better.

And yes, compassion ftw.

I appreciate reading your posts and being challenged by what you say. Being challenged is really the only way I can think.  Of course, the less I think, the more GW2 I can play….heh heh heh

Ok, cool beans.  I get a lot of questions from Christians who aren’t looking for a real answer, but are instead trying, feebly, to create a tie-down to begin a one-way conversation.  I get several of these every day, and so it was easy to lump this guy in with them.  Plus, I was pretty stressed yesterday.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the person who asked that question is looking to assert that when god’s supposed will and compassion are in opposition that we should betray humanity.  I have no qualms calling the lack of forethought in those people stupid.  It is.  But then there are those annoying one percenters… (What Ed Brayton says here pretty much sums up my position)

Anyway, mea culpa.

But now let’s talk about an atheist who messaged me.  A guy named John Harrington commented on the link to the stupid question post upset that I would call that question stupid.  I got the usual charges of arrogance, along with the charge of mild atheist celebrity.  w00t!  When do I get my hot tub and honorary loft in PZ Myers’ lair?

The dude was pretty upset that I could be so rude and punctuated it with “Fuck you, you piece of shit.”  So I defriended him.  Something about not wanting friends who call me a piece of shit.  The following dialogue ensued.

John Harrington<br />Coward.<br />JT Eberhard<br />I don't think an unwillingness to be friends with people who call me a piece of shit makes me a coward. It just means I have a standard for friendship that extends only so far.<br />John Harrington<br />You had all your minions and you against the point I was making. You could have finished the thought, but, no, you had to make your little cutesy "gotchas" and then remove the infidel.<br />As for your cutesy tu quoque, I'm not running a blog acting as a representative of atheism; I *was* responding to you about your bad behavior in a comment thread before you tuck-tailed. Dick.

Oh dear.  Well, I don’t want to be a coward.  So here you go, John.  I’m not a coward!  I’m going to post your whole bit to the internet, regardless of how bad it makes me look.

JT Eberhard  Hrm, the insults of some random on the internet. I'll take yours to heart to the same degree I take all the others.  You have no rights to be my friend on facebook, and I have no obligation to keep someone like you as a friend.  Then again, maybe I'm terrified that you're making me look bad and the "not wanting to be friends with an asshole" is just an excuse. And maybe Jesus really did rise from the dead.  12:27pm John Harrington  Right, straw man me. I was saying I have a right to be your friend on facebook instead of calling you a coward for fleeing criticism.  You know what, if you really were above my insults, you wouldn't even respond. You certainly wouldn't straw man me or try to suggest I was a Christian sock puppet. But you aren't above insult, as you showed in your blog response. You're part of the insult militia, that includes you, PZ, Dillahunty, and the rest of the epithet slinging, petty little tyrants of your internet domains. And, before you make assumptions about where I"m coming from, I think Skepchick is one of a few reasonable and respectful prominent atheists.

The guy puts me on the same plane as PZ Myers and Matt Dillahunty and he expects me to feel bad?

And I don’t think he’s a Christian sock puppet and never even hinted at that.  Sadly, religion doesn’t exclusively own the deeds to hypocrisy, and not all atheists are reasonable.  So I have no trouble believing that John is an atheist.

At least he likes Skepchick. Good on him for that.

JT Eberhard  They guy who called me a piece of shit whining that I'm not above insults? Keen.  I'm flattered to be compared to PZ and Matt. You are too kind. Maybe I'll re-friend you...  Nah.  12:30pm John Harrington  You aren't very rational. I never claimed to be above insults. I just claimed you were a dick, and I'm right. Now I've got more important things to do.  PS: Your new wife is ugly. LOL

Wait, this guy likes Skepchick?

The guy was upset because I’m part of an “epithet-slinging group of internet tyrants” and he chastises me for not being above insults, then calls my fiancee ugly.  This is the type of irony that would allow the a child-raping priest preaching about morality to live in its shade.

Note how I never went after the self-worth of the Christian who asked me the original question.  I said his question was stupid and insincere (and almost every time I would’ve been right about the insincere part, and I still think the question was lame).  It’s the kindness police (read: John Harrington), not me, calling other people a piece of shit and making negative assessments of those I care about in attempt only to hurt.  And he thinks I’m part of the “insult militia”.

Skepchick‘s got a real winner in this fan.  After demonstrating how an atheist can handle himself in a respectable way (and by causing me to expose my previously private humiliation at the hand of John Harrington to the world), I’ll bet all the atheist groups in San Diego can’t wait to pick this guy up.

So anyway, John.  Here’s your 15 minutes of atheist celebrity so you can show us how a real atheist should conduct himself.  I used to think I was doing you a favor by keeping this thread relegated to private messages, but now I realize it’s because I was a coward, just like you said.  Thank you for helping me to be brave.

I’m closing down comments on this thread. It has devolved into John Harrington just insulting people.  The thread has accomplished what I wanted it to. Now, any atheist group John Harrington ever wants to be a part of, if they look into him, will see this post and the know type of person he is.  Unlike the Catholic Church, we police our own.  At least, that’s my hope.

He’ll also be banned from the blog so he cannot derail any other threads.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.