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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  21:17:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jen McCreight:
Maybe Krauss is totally innocent. I can’t personally make any claims about his behavior since I’ve never really interacted with him. But I can say it’s true that multiple women have independently come to me with similar claims despite not knowing each other, and that is mighty suspicious. I’m not hyperskeptical of the common and mundane – aka, sexual harassment. Regardless, it is disappointing to know CFI has been informed about this multiple times and did not take any action at all, even filing a simple report to keep it on record.

One thing I can personally attest to is that Ron Lindsay definitely knew about Laurence Krauss’s history of bad behavior before this most recent cruise because I told him about it at the first Women in Secularism conference. He asked me for names of the worst harassers and promised to keep them confidential, because he wanted to know who he shouldn’t be inviting to events. The first name I told him was Krauss.

So much for that.
Bolding hers.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  22:01:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Martin Wagner had worries about the Tumblr, too, but makes the same mistake as many others:
[A]s skeptics, isn’t it one of our fundamental axioms that unevidenced claims should be treated skeptically?
(Emphasis his.)

The answer is yes, but in proportion to how mundane the claim is. No skeptic is going to ask me for evidence if, after hours at a gathering with drinks flowing, I say, "excuse me, I need to use the restroom." Only a "hyperskeptic" would doubt me.

And that term - hyperskeptic - accurately describes quite a few people in the movement today when it comes to harassment issues. The hyperskeptics demand rock-solid, independently verifiable evidence of every instance of even minimal inappropriateness before they'll agree that harassment is even something that skeptics need to be concerned with. They want, for example, unimpeachable video of Rebecca Watson's encounter with Elevator Guy before they'll even consider the ideas that the story was supposed to be illustrative of. In light of the hard evidence that harassment at some level or another occurs every single day to the vast majority of women worldwide, hyperskepticism about claimed harassment with the skeptic movement is nothing less than denialism. It seeks to distract away from the important points of the conversation by bogging everyone down with demands for completely unreasonable levels of evidence. "How do I know he touched your knee? Where can I see the independent documentation of this action?"

There's a vast difference in the mundaneness of claims like (for examples) "Michael Shermer said something creepy to me at a buffet at TAM9" and "Michael Shermer raped me on stage during one of his lectures at TAM9." One can be granted tentative believability simply on the basis of the sheer volume of creepy shit said to women at all times in all places, while the other would require mountains of hard evidence in the face of the utter lack of public outrage at the time. Calls for evidence need to be appropriate to the claim. Proper Skeptics™ need not question every claim that the sky is blue.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2013 :  22:34:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm pretty much speechless at this point. And depressed.

And no. That was not a comment on the above posts in the sense that I agree or disagree with them. I need to sort this stuff out.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  08:52:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I need to sort this stuff out.
So does Greta Christina.

Avicenna has some words along the lines of what I've been talking about:
But we kind of have to wake up from the fantasy that these women are making things up and that these are women just looking for a quick 15 minutes of fame and have thin skins. Many of these women fear coming out because let’s face it… the atheist and skeptic community has been rather averse to dealing with this chosing instead to often stay silent or worse… aid the accused and portray it as a witch hunt.
He makes an analogy of M&Ms, where if 1% of M&Ms are dog poop, we wind up associating M&Ms with poop, even though most are fine.
But let’s be clear here. Most people wouldn’t subject themselves to the kind of harassment we see for “15 minutes of fame”. These are painful experiences. No lasting harm may have occurred and laws may not have broken but these women certainly ate dog turds rather than M&Ms and now are feeling a little nauseous whenever they see some.

And rather than trying to make the M&Ms better we are more prone to questioning their taste and claiming that their ravaged tastebuds are incapable of telling the difference. We ask for evidence but they have eaten the damn thing and so we don’t believe them. We would rather there be a conspiracy theory of anti-M&Mers who spread vicious lies about the incidence of dog turd M&Ms than accepting the reality.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  10:15:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Don't have a lot to say that isnt already voiced, this seems to me to be a more fundimental problem with our group personality. We tend to have a high and mighty attitude due to the fact that we are right and/or less misguided most of the time. This has led to a bad case of Ourshitdontstink Syndrome with regard to internal politics. We subconsciously think that because we are right about science vs. religion, we are not capable of other such biases...

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  12:46:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And now Famous Skeptic has threatened to sue Jen McCreight for reporting what others have said about him.

This, folks, is a very serious attempt at silencing. It's good to see that Ken White from Popehat is helping McCreight out.

I suppose he'll be sending the SFN legal threats now, too, since I copy-pasted parts of McCreight's post that she's now removed.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  13:42:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

So does Greta Christina.


Dave, I think your link needs a little tweaking.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  13:53:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Dave, I think your link needs a little tweaking.
Fixed.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  16:56:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That new Tumblr, the one that got taken down, has been replaced by something silly.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2013 :  17:04:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Surly Amy:
My hope is that the path we are walking- full of brambles and uneven footing – will be much smoother for the skeptic and atheist women and other minority groups who follow after us. And I hope that those who keep trying to block that path will realize their mistakes. I also hope that those voices that we have recently heard speak out will continue to rise up. Because the louder our voices are in unison the lesser the price each individual will have to pay.
Bolding hers.

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  02:02:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When it rains it pours...

PZ Myers reports in "What do you do when someone pulls the pin and hands you a grenade?" that people has been confiding in him about someone else than Radford.

Now I’ve been sitting here trying to resolve my dilemma — to reveal it or not — and goddamn it, what’s dominating my head isn’t the consequences, but the question of what is the right thing to do. Do I stand up for the one who has no recourse, no way out, no other option to help others, or do I shelter the powerful big name guy from an accusation I can’t personally vouch for, except to say that I know the author, and that she’s not trying to acquire notoriety (she wants her name kept out of it)?


And continues eventually to name a skeptic "authority" more widely known than Ben Radford.

Time to duck as the shit hits the fan, or the grenade goes boom.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  02:36:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One commenter in that thread I linked to above wrote this:


My skeptical thought process on this:

1 Sexual assault and rape happen, and happen often. Claims of such are not extraordinary
2 Lack of action on the part of organisations when such claims are made is a demonstrated phenomenon.
3 Dire repercussions to victims who speak out is a demonstrated phenomenon.
4 Men in a position of power abusing that power in the service of obtaining sex, and in the service of covering up wrong doing is a demonstrated phenomenon.
5 People with power, prestige and money can survive a false accusation better than those without it.
6 Shermer has all those things.
7 If the allegation is true then other people are at risk.

Of course none of this proves that the claim made in the OP is true. But it does mean that choosing to believe this woman is the right thing to do and I would go so far as to say that it is the rational thing to do.

But in the absence of credible evidence either way the rational position to hold is that the victim is telling the truth. Not only is it the compassionate stance, it’s the one that does the least harm. Should the accusation be false, Shermer has more than enough power, prestige and money to weather the storm. Especially since the victim is not planning on taking legal action.

Should the accusation be true then other people can be spared being harmed. It could also embolden other victims to come forward with their experiences.

This, put down into words, are some of the thoughts I've had myself regarding the latest name. PZ does hint in the comments that alcohol may have been involved in getting this woman into a position where she couldn't give consent to the sex she was subjected to. It doesn't make it less wrong, but it makes is easier for the perpetrator to go through with it, drugging your victim.

Edited formatting, and to add:

This all makes me angry, for so many reasons.
I feel betrayed. We point at religionists and laugh at, and mock, their hypocracy, and now these "authorities" of our own community has left me being just as hypocritical.
Damn them.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 08/09/2013 02:47:48
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  10:04:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for pointing that post out, Mab. I think Jadehawk's comment (#29) makes the moral calculus crystal clear. Which option does the most good? A) Michael Shermer loses some respect and some speaker fees, or B) Michael Shermer can easily find more women to rape due to their ignorance of his history.

Clearly, there will always be victims for predators like Shermer. Making accusations like this public and loud won't magically make every single woman in the world wary of him, since some won't get the news and others will not believe it. But it will make it more difficult for there to be a next victim, especially if Shermer stops getting invited to the sorts of events where potential victims abound.

But just as clearly, even if every bad thing said about Shermer were correct, he won't be blackballed by the entire community. He'll still be invited for TV interviews and documentaries, and these allegations won't stop him from writing and selling more books. He'll probably still have his Scientific American column.

Being accused of rape will not leave Shermer destitute. Nor will it, if true, necessarily be something he'll have to deal with every day, if he were to do the right things.

Being a victim of rape, however, can destroy a life, and isn't something easily forgotten.

As I said, the moral calculus is obvious.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  10:44:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dana Hunter: We Were Too Forgiving

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2013 :  14:25:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Former FTB blogger Al Stefanelli shared his thoughts on the Shermer matter in a post titled I got your ‘grenade’ right here…

Regarding PZ's decision to post the story on his blog, he writes:
This is not ‘bringing to light‘ a problem in the skeptic community. It is not an attempt to reveal some sort of dark underbelly of rampant sexual abuse that permeates the skeptic conference circuit. It is yellow journalism, if I even dare to use the word ‘journalism‘ in connection to anything that has come out of Pharyngula for quite some time.

First, this is very likely libelous and if I were Mr. Shermer, I’d be contacting an attorney, post haste, for advice on filing a law suit.
I've heard other skeptics impugn PZ's motives like this, calling him a muckraker and accusing him of yellow journalism, or in some cases even outright fabrication. I'm curious to see what Shermer's response will be.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/09/2013 14:26:10
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