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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25939 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2018 :  17:23:17  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lawrence Krauss:
On February 22, reporters from BuzzFeed published a libelous story defaming me specifically, and by association the skeptical and atheist community in general... It has been very hard to remain silent thus far as my integrity and the integrity of the academic and skeptical communities, which I care about deeply, have been impugned.
Nope, nope, nope. If a community can be "defamed" and its integrity "impugned" by association with one guy who has had allegations leveled against him, then I want no part of that community. That doesn't say "community" to me, it says "cult."

Krauss must think that the moral rectitude of the skeptical, atheist, and academic communities relies upon - nay is incumbent upon - the general public's perception of his character.

Look at it again: Krauss claimed, in no uncertain terms, that defamation of Krauss (and just him) maligns all of academia!

The skeptical and atheist communities (combined) are tiny compared to the academic community, but we've had jerks in our communities since the day they formed. How many times have those jerks tried to claim that the entire damn communities were being ruined when someone called those jerks out as jerks? Even Shermer seems to have more sense than that.

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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1435 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2018 :  09:31:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Krauss is arrogant and distracting from who is actually being impugned. There are multiple victims, corroboration, and some victims wouldn't come forward for the article for fear of law suits and harassment but have come forward to folks I have come to trust like Thomas Smith. Anyone still on the fence about Krauss being a creep isn't paying attention or not rational about evidence.

I personally experienced Krauss' assholery at a TAM. He joined me and other folks at a large dining table. The previous year, I enjoyed his talk about Richard P. Feynman and I thanked him for it. "This talk isn't about that," he said in a way I took it as, "You idiot, that was last year's talk!" Well, duh! He could've just said, "Thanks and I hope you enjoy this year's talk." But no, he had to go out of his way to be an asshole. It's a small thing but revealing of what kind of a person Krauss is.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13421 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2018 :  10:49:34   [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
While I'd guess that they might be out there, I don't see any skeptic or science orgs running to defend Krauss. I also don't see skeptics running to defend him. That might be a positive change from a few years ago. What I see is limited, however, because I don't do twitter and I don't know everyone.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25939 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2018 :  19:01:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It took CFI several days to say anything about Krauss, and after they announced they were parting ways with Krauss, Dawkins basically said "me too" on Twitter (Dawkins' foundation owns CFI, now). Sam Harris said that the accusations are probably true, but spent paragraphs disparaging women along the way also. I don't think Shermer has said anything.

Matt Dillahunty was supposed to introduce Krauss at an event, and it took him an oddly long time to say, "well, I won't do it now."

Strangest of all, Jerry Coyne, a man I can't recall being on the side of women in these disputes ever (and whose blog I quit following because of that), said that he had sources other than those in the Buzzfeed article who convinced him that Krauss was rotten and probably guilty.

It may be that the tide is genuinely turning, that the public reaction to the weekly scandal revelations and/or #metoo and/or #timesup are having an effect even in the rarefied critical-thinking circles, and that's why you're not seeing people rushing to Krauss' defense, Kil. Or, it could be that his behavior was even more indefensible than Shermer's, though that's hard to imagine.

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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

United Kingdom
1261 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2018 :  00:23:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The skeptical movement is definitely defamed by association if the accusations are true, and it looks bad even if they aren't. Half of the most prominent skeptics/atheists seem to be misogynists or rapists, and the other half are in competition to see who can be more aghast, as if that's a substitute for leadership, interesting content or charisma. There isn't even a TAM anymore because even the friendly old Randy said or did something that I'm sure was awful (though I can't remember what it was). I can only imagine if Christopher Hitchens were still alive, and how ostracised he would be in today's climate for misogyny or war mongering or some other terrible opinion he used to get away with.

Dave are you criticising the CFI and others for taking several days to say anything? Or was that just a comment with no judgement? I'd like to give people the principle of charity and say they can be afforded a few days for more info etc, before denouncing a former friend/colleague. I mean, aren't there enough divisions without condemning people for not doing the right thing instantly? It's a few days. If that's something to hold against people, it's no wonder the community is in the state its in.

TBH I think the community is a mess and with the kinds of people at the forefront these days, nobody is going to be attracted to it. The most vocal people are also the most vitriolic, and the vitriol isn't even directed at traditional skeptical topics.

That's all I see in Skepticism these days. As the philosopher Jason Brennan described, it's just like one group of football hooligans shouting at another. It's like nobody can just take a breath and think "why might they think that way," nope, everyone is just racist, or sexist, or stupid or evil, everyone doubles down and nobody gives an inch.


There are a few people who can actually talk rationally to each other, but the majority is just the same nonsense and tribalism I see in US politics. Pathetic.

Anyway sorry for off-topic rant.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 04/05/2018 00:50:16
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13421 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2018 :  09:24:14   [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
OFFC: There isn't even a TAM anymore because even the friendly old Randy said or did something that I'm sure was awful (though I can't remember what it was).
Randi, being the old man he is, retired. The JREF was not structured in such a way as to continue without him, which is unfortunate. Some attempts were made but it didn't work out. We all knew when we attended the last TAM that it was going to be the last TAM. There was no secret about it. Randi still makes personal appearances at various skeptical events.

It's interesting OFFC that you assumed that Randi said or did something awful even though you can't remember what it was. Without even a recollection of what it might have been you are okay with making an accusation that you're sure of while accusing others of doing the same thing.


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
25939 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2018 :  20:11:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

Dave are you criticising the CFI and others for taking several days to say anything?
No, I was pleasantly surprised by what they said, given their history.

TBH I think the community is a mess and with the kinds of people at the forefront these days, nobody is going to be attracted to it.
The same thing appears to be happening in many fields. If skepticism isn't immune to sexism and racism, it certainly won't be immune to the mess that comes after people get sick of the sexism and racism.

The most vocal people are also the most vitriolic, and the vitriol isn't even directed at traditional skeptical topics.
Truth is a traditional skeptical topic, and a lot of what has been said by the sexists and racists hasn't been true.

That's all I see in Skepticism these days. As the philosopher Jason Brennan described, it's just like one group of football hooligans shouting at another. It's like nobody can just take a breath and think "why might they think that way," nope, everyone is just racist, or sexist, or stupid or evil, everyone doubles down and nobody gives an inch.
Yes, because there exists some magical middle ground on which everyone can be happy between "I like to get women drunk and rape them" and "don't get people drunk and rape them."

Seriously, the primary arguments in the skeptical community have been between people who dare to declare "I won't share a stage with that man any longer" and those who respond "how dare you besmirch his name! He's done so much for the community!" The former have made their own personal risk/benefit assessment after (often) weeks of reflection on an issue that pulls them in two directions (because giving up the stage often means giving up networking and other opportunities). And the latter don't actually say, "well, you've got some good points, but here's where I differ," they just see a hero being "defamed" and don't give a shit about anything else.

There are a few people who can actually talk rationally to each other, but the majority is just the same nonsense and tribalism I see in US politics. Pathetic.
Care to name even one anti-sexism "vocal" figure in the skeptical community who has said IRrational things regarding the "other side"? I like to think I'm fairly well-read on the subject, and must have missed that person's tribalistic nonsense.

Anyway sorry for off-topic rant.
Not off-topic at all. Here's some more not-off-topic stuff:

Lawrence Krauss: The Wall of Silence Falls:
Better, the major secular groups have taken public action. The American Humanist Association removed Krauss from their speaker pool and are reviewing a past Humanist of the Year Award given to him, with an eye to deciding whether to rescind it. They also issued a commendably strong statement:
“It’s deeply disappointing when someone we’ve honored, and who regularly speaks to the world representing humanists everywhere, fails to meet our expectations. When a prominent humanist’s commitment to reason, compassion, and egalitarianism appears to be fundamentally compromised by his or her behavior, we must act on our disappointment to ensure that the world understands humanists at large don’t condone such misconduct,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation, citing “well-documented allegations of sexual misconduct”, has removed Krauss from their honorary board. (Krauss’ wife Nancy Dahl popped up in that thread to defend him, with her usual vitriol with the highly ironic result of motivating another woman who hadn’t come forward to contact BuzzFeed with her own account of Krauss’ misbehavior.)

The Center for Inquiry also said they were suspending their association with Krauss. I admit this surprised me a little. Of the big secular groups, they had the closest ties to Krauss, especially through their subsidiary, the Richard Dawkins Foundation. As I’ve noted previously, CFI’s leadership has a history of hostility to feminism, and one of the incidents BuzzFeed reported on took place on a CFI cruise. It would be nice if they’d examine their own complicity; but the fact that they’ve said anything at all is noteworthy.


The Bad Boys Logicbrain Club:
Atheism makes me happy because it gives me permission not to believe in something I just fundamentally don’t believe and haven’t since I was really really young. It is peace. But I think for some of atheism’s most shit-for-brains members, it’s a belief system that’s really bound up in ego and having something to lord over other people. Ultimately I think that’s its appeal for a loud minority, which is extraordinarily unfortunate.


Just Us Women: the Last Episode:
I will no longer be interviewing women who have left religion, since I cannot in good conscience refer them to the atheist community, where they could find support... All the resources are tainted with connections to the top tier of misogynist, sexist men.

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

USA
25939 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2018 :  22:17:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Perhaps you think this is irrational?
I got to see Mandisa Lateefah Thomas (founder/director of Black Nonbelievers) again, and she gave a killer talk on Saturday called Who Says Community is Dead? reminding everyone how incredibly important community is, and how standards for appropriate behavior within that community are not only permissible but critical to avoid pushing out good people by holding onto the trolls.
This dings up against something I've been saying for quite some time: that there are some ideas that no longer require debate. There exist a few (at least) within the skeptical community whose primary voiced idea in the last five years has been "bitchez be lyin' and they deserve to be raped." We don't need to discuss, debate or even give that idea a moment of our time, and contrary to the opinion of certain absolutists, refusing to engage with people who insist on such things is not a denial of their free speech. Too many of the high-level discussions in skeptical organizations appear to have reached the conclusion that compromising with these jerks is required to uphold some sort of free-speech principal, but they were so very wrong about that. It just encourages the sexists, racists, classists (etc) into thinking that their ideas have an iota of merit.

See also The Free-Speech Grifters.

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

USA
25939 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2018 :  18:54:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Too Many Atheists Are Veering Dangerously Toward the Alt-Right:
I’m still an activist, but after nearly a decade of active participation in online atheism (a loose community of forums, blogs, YouTube channels, and fandoms of figures like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and writer Sam Harris), I mostly stepped away from the online side of atheism a few years ago. One of the biggest reasons for this was my growing concern over its failure to adequately address some of its darker currents—such as overt sexism, racism, and anti-Muslim bias.

Countless people I’ve spoken with over the years describe finding the movement through atheism’s frequently trafficked blogs and forums, just as I did. And there are of course valuable aspects of atheism’s strong online presence. Atheists who aren’t open about their beliefs—especially those living in totalitarian or ultraconservative environments where it isn’t safe to be open—can find resources that help them connect with likeminded peers, or simply feel less alone. Online forums and organizations like the Clergy Project, which offers anonymous support to religious clergy who no longer believe, positively impact people’s lives.

But there’s a toxic side to internet atheism. For years, women and people of color have repeatedly voiced how atheist websites, organizations, and public figures ignore their concerns and tolerate—or even actively contribute to—an environment that makes them feel unsafe and unwelcome, particularly online.

Given these concerns, it’s not surprising that areas of online atheism increasingly seem to be overlapping with the alt-right.

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9655 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2018 :  22:29:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

The skeptical movement is definitely defamed by association if the accusations are true, and it looks bad even if they aren't.

I can easily see how that can be the impression when you come from a tradition where people are encouraged to think what the clergy tell you to, thinking that "our" prominent names must have the same influence on "the flock of skeptic sheeps".
Haven't you been here with us long enough to learn it isn't so?


Half of the most prominent skeptics/atheists seem to be misogynists or rapists, and the other half are in competition to see who can be more aghast, as if that's a substitute for leadership, interesting content or charisma.

The same think could be said about Christians, with clergy raping children or verbally bash gays while being buying sex from prostitutes, female or otherwise.
The biggest difference I can see here is that the other half aren't aghast, but scrambling to cover up or ostracize the victims.


nope, everyone is just racist, or sexist, or stupid or evil, everyone doubles down and nobody gives an inch.

I see no reason to give an inch to racism, sexism, stupidity nor evil.
And if I'm the one unwittingly committing them, I expect someone to let me know I'm in the wrong so I can better myself.


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

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Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
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On fire for Christ
SFN Regular

United Kingdom
1261 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2018 :  23:56:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send On fire for Christ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

Originally posted by On fire for Christ

The skeptical movement is definitely defamed by association if the accusations are true, and it looks bad even if they aren't.

I can easily see how that can be the impression when you come from a tradition where people are encouraged to think what the clergy tell you to, thinking that "our" prominent names must have the same influence on "the flock of skeptic sheeps".
Haven't you been here with us long enough to learn it isn't so?


Doesn't seem that relevant. The group is defamed to outsiders, which is massively damaging to an already ostracised demographic. And to the extent that skeptics are not perfect critical thinkers (which I estimate is pretty high), it's internally damaging too.


Half of the most prominent skeptics/atheists seem to be misogynists or rapists, and the other half are in competition to see who can be more aghast, as if that's a substitute for leadership, interesting content or charisma.

The same think could be said about Christians, with clergy raping children or verbally bash gays while being buying sex from prostitutes, female or otherwise.
The biggest difference I can see here is that the other half aren't aghast, but scrambling to cover up or ostracize the victims.


That's just deflecting the issue. Pointing the finger and saying "He's doing it too!"


nope, everyone is just racist, or sexist, or stupid or evil, everyone doubles down and nobody gives an inch.

I see no reason to give an inch to racism, sexism, stupidity nor evil.
And if I'm the one unwittingly committing them, I expect someone to let me know I'm in the wrong so I can better myself.




Not sure if you are deliberately misunderstanding (i.e. strawmanning) me here. I don't believe I said we should give an inch to racism or sexism.
I was lamenting that people are thrown in with racists and sexists when they might not be, but just weren't fast enough or loud enough with their condemnations of suspected individuals.

I would suggest you better yourself by offering the principle of charity next time you read a comment or tweet that gets your hackles up. Rather than misinterpreting it in an unflattering way, or taking it out of context, or interpreting an ambiguous comment in the worst possible way, instead try to interpret it in the best possible way then argue against that interpretation. I would say that's more constructive than the labelling everything as prejudiced and rejecting the author, ignoring the comment and throwing up gang colours.

Edited by - On fire for Christ on 04/17/2018 23:59:10
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25939 Posts

Posted - 04/18/2018 :  18:21:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by On fire for Christ

That's just deflecting the issue. Pointing the finger and saying "He's doing it too!"
No, Mab looks to have reworded Matthew 7:3 into modern idiom.

I would suggest you better yourself by offering the principle of charity next time you read a comment or tweet that gets your hackles up. Rather than misinterpreting it in an unflattering way, or taking it out of context, or interpreting an ambiguous comment in the worst possible way, instead try to interpret it in the best possible way then argue against that interpretation. I would say that's more constructive than the labelling everything as prejudiced and rejecting the author, ignoring the comment and throwing up gang colours.
Matthew 7:3 seems to play big in my reactions to your latest reply. It's quite surprising.

And regarding that last paragraph of yours, I'm not referencing Christianity as a whole, or any other group. I'm specifically talking about your hypocrisy, OFfC.

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MagicMissy
New Member

Philippines
7 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2018 :  00:22:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send MagicMissy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Enjoying the knowledge being shared here.

MagicMissy
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