New Biblical Criticism & History Forum

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by Neil Godfrey

Dismayingly the old FRDB (Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board) forum History of Abrahamic Religions & Related Texts has been closed down. I do hope others who recognized the value of that forum will add their voices in persuading the owners to preserve its archives for ongoing free access.

Peter Kirby has stepped in to help out by setting up an alternative site to continue the same sorts of discussions:

Biblical Criticism & History Forum – earlywritings.com

yes, the History of Abrahamic Religions & Related Texts (ye olde BC&H forum of IIDB) lives on…

Peter has a post discussing a little of the background on his blog.

I know well the risks of housing controversial material on sites owned by third parties. Bad eggs can provoke those parties into misguided action in ignorance of the real nature of what they are seeing — as we discovered when it only took one disgruntled liar to set in chain a process that shut this blog down.

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Neil Godfrey

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  • 2013-10-06 04:29:38 GMT+0000 - 04:29 | Permalink

    Thanks for the mention, Neil. I’m hoping the forum is a great complement to the very kind of wonderful discussion that takes place regularly on your own, very valuable blog.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2013-10-06 07:02:43 GMT+0000 - 07:02 | Permalink

    I’m appalled at FRDB’s treatment of Toto and, if possible, would love to see her made a moderator on the new site.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2013-10-06 11:13:58 GMT+0000 - 11:13 | Permalink

    The owners of FRDB appear now to be threatening to deny future access even to the archives. I would love to see as many who are concerned about this lodging a protest and a plea there: http://www.freeratio.org/showthread.php?t=328092

  • mcduff
    2013-10-06 12:08:10 GMT+0000 - 12:08 | Permalink

    I just found our about the closure and I’m tempted to ask what happened with Toto [whose management I greatly appreciated and respected] but I won’t – will I?
    There was a lot of dross at that site but also lots of specks that glinted with more than a few nugget sized.
    I would hate to see access to the archives go, I have lots invested in them, I’ll hold my breath for a while and see what happens.
    Meanwhile Ill probably migrate [asylum seeker on a leaky boat?] to whatever PK is offering.


    Well I’m in on PK’s site under the IIDB/FRDB moniker of ‘yalla’, a few familiar names present, may the sun shine brightly on the new enterprise.

    OK, I’ll ask [I tried to find out but could not] -.what happened with Toto?

    • 2013-10-06 21:05:26 GMT+0000 - 21:05 | Permalink

      It appears that Toto preferred to act with other moderators (not unilaterally) in handling bans, but with her regular moderator colleague absent sick that was not to be. Toto, it appears, has been — outrageously — summarily dismissed by the owners of FRDB. They named the usual suspects as the guilty parties, e.g. spin. Recall he was at the centre of the shut down of the older forum on the Richard Dawkins site, too.

      I think everyone highly respected Toto’s moderation. Not only her moderation, but her many contributions to the discussions and bringing to everyone’s attention new information from the web. Managing this sort of discussion is not easy. Maybe the field really is not yet ready for genuine civil debate. Anti-mythicists really do see themselves engaged in a religious war and are incapable of professional standards of discussion, perhaps?

      I am appalled at FRDB’s owners attitude toward the whole thing, though. They appear to be quite cavalier about denying access to archives even while admitting only a handful of people were, in their view, undesirables. They come across as vindictive power-freaks to me — from my limited contact with them. Healing is not their game. They only understand amputation and killing what they don’t like without discussion. I have no wish to engage with such people again.

      • ApostateAbe
        2014-01-19 22:31:23 GMT+0000 - 22:31 | Permalink

        “I think everyone highly respected Toto’s moderation.”

        Do not speak for me. I did not respect her moderation. Far from it. And I knew many others who were likewise upset at her biased moderation. She allowed Earl Doherty to use the forum as a sales platform for his books, as he told every challenger of his claims to read his book, in place of supplying the arguments to the forum, and he called them ignorant if they refused. And Toto excessively punished those who disagreed with her by using her moderator power, silencing the anti-mythicists, and she steered the BC&H forum of FRDB into a loudspeaker for a loony historical perspective: mythicism. If you are mythicist, then I can see why you may appreciate that style of moderation.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2014-01-19 22:57:46 GMT+0000 - 22:57 | Permalink

          I do not speak for you or anyone else I blame for contributing to that forum’s demise.

          You seem not to have recalled that Toto also banned Doherty at one time from the list. He was also forced to apologize, if I recall.

          You seem to have not read FRDB’s own explanation of those posters they saw at fault. Were you yourself named among them? If not, were those you fully backed named?

          You seem also not to have noticed that Doherty wrote many, many lengthy arguments in response to challenges to his arguments — in fact I referred on this blog to several of his detailed exchanges with others because they covered so much explanation. He did get exasperated with those who, despite this, continued to challenge him over claims and arguments he never made at all. It is those explanations of points that I miss most now.

          As for “plugging his book”, he knew as well as everyone else it was freely available on the net. (Those who accuse him of writing for money have the problem of also accusing him of writing stuff no-one would ever read.) He referred to his book after and in the context of those many, many detailed explanations of his argument and the insistence on some “historicists” in falsely representing his case when they clearly had not read what they seemed to indicate they had. Remember?

          I tired of the ignorant, distorted arguments and personal innuendo and worse in the “historicists'” attacks on Doherty and his arguments and wished to blazes Toto could pull those people in because they did indeed dominate the forum the last few times I went there. And you are complaining about Toto’s moderation?

          All we asked was for a reasonable and civil discussion and debate — and I used to like FRDB because that was one of the few places, if not the only one for a time, where we could find that in the main.

          • ApostateAbe
            2014-01-20 00:02:22 GMT+0000 - 00:02 | Permalink

            Neil, I left the forum months ago after too much frustration with both Toto and an admin in her camp. When I came back and checked, the BC&H forum was closed down, and I was in the dark about the explanation. I didn’t even know that Toto was dismissed until I found your blog post just today. You know more than I do about it. I have no memory of Toto ever banning Earl Doherty. I do remember that he received a warning about plugging his book through personal insults, according to his own account, and the warning did not come from Toto.

            • Neil Godfrey
              2014-01-20 04:56:45 GMT+0000 - 04:56 | Permalink

              So you point out an instance where you believe Toto did a good job as a moderator with respect to something Doherty apparently did or said. And for some reason you imply that Toto was a bad moderator (because she also had words with you!) and that Doherty (who was treated appropriately and did not repeat the offence) was somehow one of the bad things about the Forum for which its demise was deserved.

              My view is that if Toto had been stronger with people like you the forum would still be humming along nicely. You never did seem to have any interest in reading the arguments you so often abrasively (and with personal angst) opposed. And it was the tone of posts like yours that the FRDB ownership said was the fault.

              I felt Toto was very frustrated with the demands people like yourself, spin, judge, et al, were imposing, and had her assistant moderator not been unwell for that short period of time posts like yours would have been handled much more firmly.

              • ApostateAbe
                2014-01-20 06:01:50 GMT+0000 - 06:01 | Permalink

                Neil, I think I will put that business behind me now that the BC&H forum is closed. Thanks for leading me to the new forum.

  • Toto
    2013-10-08 23:48:08 GMT+0000 - 23:48 | Permalink

    Toto is pulling back a bit and thinking about things. The management might have done me a favor by firing me from what was an unpaid, part time job.with no future.

    I’ll be around.

  • 2013-10-21 22:52:06 GMT+0000 - 22:52 | Permalink

    Toto did a good job. Spin is okay. The problem is really smears like this from Neil Godfrey, above: “Anti-mythicists really do see themselves engaged in a religious war and are incapable of professional standards of discussion, perhaps?”

    • 2013-10-22 05:29:52 GMT+0000 - 05:29 | Permalink

      No doubt my unspeakable slanders were primarily responsible for the demise of FRDB. Help me reform, I beg you. Name two “anti-mythicists” who engage the debate civilly. Please.

  • avicenna
    2014-01-20 17:43:33 GMT+0000 - 17:43 | Permalink

    Neil wrote:
    “It appears that Toto preferred to act with other moderators (not unilaterally) in handling bans, but with her regular moderator colleague absent sick that was not to be. Toto, it appears, has been — outrageously — summarily dismissed by the owners of FRDB. They named the usual suspects as the guilty parties, e.g. spin. Recall he was at the centre of the shut down of the older forum on the Richard Dawkins site, too.”
    I write as one who was not enamored of Toto, who had negative exchanges with AA, who has disputed spin, and who has been banned, though without any justification, from Kirby’s new forum.

    a. I think you err, in criticising spin. His comments are often pointed, and needlessly hurtful, but, his input on scholarly matters is significant.
    b. Toto was a hard worker, and deserved a better dismissal, she was earnest, and sincere. I disagreed with her, but, I acknowledge she was a good “chap”.
    c. AA is a genial person, with a lot of good ideas, but, he also carries a burden, a desire to hold the flag of those leading the charge against the mythicist camp.
    d. Peter Kirby is a rascal. Not worthy of further discussion.


    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-01-20 21:26:09 GMT+0000 - 21:26 | Permalink

      Spin often had a lot to say and did present a wide command of material, but I had to wait a few years to bring my own reading and knowledge up to a respectable level before I could begin to address his comments. From that point on I found out he was more bluff than substance, very often underpinning his arguments with logical fallacies and having tunnel vision with respect to his range of “relevant facts”. But there is no excuse for being “needlessly hurtful” as you put it so he should have been banned for that alone.

      I do not believe PK banned anyone “without any justification” and that anyone would say anyone would do that tells me they fail to grasp a point of view other than their own. For you to say this only makes you look bad when you then denigrate PK.

      Let there be no more comments on the who were the baddies and goodies on FRDB.

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