A Haven for Rapists

There’s been some chatter about “a haven for rapists” lately. Even a demand that I say something about the topic. So here goes.

Picture of two rowboats in a small natural harbor.

Safe Haven” by Liam Moloney (CC BY-SA 2.0)

My first thoughts on “haven for rapists” is that, in order to know whether something is a haven or not, I would first have to know what such a haven looked like. So what is a haven? According to the several dictionaries I consulted on the matter, a haven is a place of safety.

In the current context, that’s probably worth emphasizing. A haven isn’t a gathering place or a hangout. It’s a place of refuge, originally a port, but now any shelter. It remains a haven whether it’s used or not.

This raises the question of what endangers rapists.* What would they, in particular, need to be safe from? [Read more…]

Honesty Matters, Aneris

Aneris has chosen to respond to yesterday’s post in the Slyme Pit. It’s a dull little bit of self-justification, but I’ll respond to it nonetheless, because it’s past time his games got some disinfecting sunlight poured on them.

Thanks for the support, just don’t panic. :) She wrote a rebuttal and I welcome that she did. I like her article. It seems it boils down to these points…

  1. Discordianism sux. It’s post-modernist, and for espousing Discordianism I’m a post-modernist.
  2. Zvan uses “he”.
  3. Ophelia Benson’s wording was poor.
  4. Porcupine and rusty knifes happened, but the commentariat improved.
  5. Aneris sux, too, for quote mining and not showing the entire picture, and for Discordianism that espouses bending reality.
  6. Look Nugent! You are promoting evil slymepit version of the truth.

Well, not quite, but I’ll take the points as they come. [Read more…]

What Aneris Means

There’s a slime pitter who goes by the name of Aneris who has been cracking me up for a long time. Why? Well, to explain that, I need to start with a little diversion about Discordians.

Discordians follow a weird little religion/philosophy that uses ancient mythology to put forward a fundamentally post-modernist worldview. Essentially, reality is unknowable by humanity, and both order and chaos are illusions. The proponents of Discordianism follow or worship Eris, the Greek goddess of discord and casual architect of the Trojan War. Her golden apple is one of their symbols.

I was introduced to Discordianism back in college, by a friend who was a fan of the Illuminatus books. He was on the side of gentle chaos (the “Eristic Principle”). We had some fun with that, mostly in the creation of confusing pieces of art. I never got into Discordianism per se, something I was quite happy about later, when I met proponents whose ideas on imposing chaos were decidedly less gentle. An absurd number of internet jerks, for example, are followers of some sect of Discordianism or another.

The Aneristic Principle, from which Aneris takes his name, is the converse of apparent chaos. And this is what cracks me up. [Read more…]

It’s Skepticon’s Turn

Wow. You good folks floor me. The Skeptics for Ada fundraiser hit its goal in the first day. That means Valerie Aurora of the Ada Initiative will be coming to Skepticon to run their Ally Skills Workshop. So now that we’ve paid for the Ada Initiative to do their thing, it’s time to help pay for Skepticon itself. With the conference just over a month away, it’s only two-thirds funded. There is still over $13,000 to be raised.

Because Skepticon is a free conference in the south-central U.S., it’s the only conference that many of the attendees can afford. But someone still has to pay for the whole thing. If the attendees can’t, funding Skepticon falls to those of us who think access to these events shouldn’t be limited to those who can pay hundreds of dollars. Are you one of those people?



If you need another reason to donate, keep reading. [Read more…]

Get Ally Skills Training at Skepticon

If you’re interested in the work we’ve done around these parts to reduce harassment and sexism in movement atheism and skepticism, here’s a chance for you to play a part. The Ada Initiative, which works on these issues in open technology and culture, is doing their annual fundraiser. The skeptic community doesn’t usually fall under their umbrella, but a few of us have been supporting them and receiving help from them for a while now. In return, they’ve made us a deal.

Image of four people around a table in the workshop.If our communities manage to raise $5,000 by midnight this Friday next Wednesday, October 8, the Ada Initiative will bring their Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon for free. This isn’t usually something we manage to find money for, but I think we can do this, particularly since PZ has already managed to raise over $1,800 toward the goal.

Sound good? Great! Donate now!

Donate now

If you need a little convincing, or just want to know why I support the Ada Initiative, keep reading. [Read more…]

Come See Me in LA

One week from today, I’ll be speaking in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group meeting at the Center for Inquiry building. My talk is titled “Taking a Pollyanna Break: Celebrating Our Wins”.

I know this may seem like an odd time to focus on the positive. With the Mark Oppenheimer article and the subsequent behavior of many of Shermer’s colleagues, it’s incredibly difficult to escape the realization that many in our movements thinks sexual harassment and assault should be swept under the rug. Frankly, that’s demoralizing. So is watching them say this with little reaction from movement leadership.

On the other hand, this is exactly when we need to remember that we’re changing this movement. [Read more…]

Our Employees Are Not Authorized to Speak Against Harassment

Peter Boghossian didn’t stop making an ass of himself with the tweets I noted earlier this week. He’s still at it, and he’s gotten worse. After someone pointed him to my post, he tweeted at me.

He didn’t actually block me, so I responded to him. [Read more…]