Faux Rape Accusations and Richard Sanderson


So I had a revealing conversation with the Slymepit’s Richard Sanderson today on twitter…

TW – Rape, Fake Rape Accusations, Slymepit and I am Generally Hacked the Fuck Off and that means angry Avicenna.

I am a patient man. Or at least I try to be as patient as possible. I listen, I take time to do things.

If you are unaware of this, I was accused of raping someone at TAM 2013 during a period of time that I was intensely busy with “work”. I didn’t know about the Michael Shermer incident. I just thought it was hate mail. Mabus was doing the rounds after all…

So I disposed of it. Tam 2013? How weird!

Then other allegations started popping up. PZ Myers, Lousy Canuck (AKA Jason Thibeault) and I realised what it was. It was laying the ground work for something big.

Turns out Mr. Sanderson is a possible suspect in the fake accusation that I raped/molested someone at TAM 2013. Why? Because when I admitted publically about the accusation, I also pointed out that I had an alibi. Oh if you wish to know why I admitted to it, I felt the need to be honest because I figured that if I didn’t admit to it, someone would drop it on me as a “surprise” and I would rather do it myself. Bear in mind, work colleagues read this blog and me admitting to the accusation was handled better than if someone else did. Bear in mind at the moment I am teaching and training midwives in safe delivery methods and doing deliveries. AKA working in women’s healthcare. This resulted in me having to deal with greater scrutiny of my work and some time for administrative leave but in the end the truth is an absolute defence.

It meant that colleagues would HAVE to mention this incident. I cleared my name with work but it’s just a painful thing to do. I genuinely thought of bowing out of blogging as I felt my career was more important. It didn’t matter that my alibi was insanely solid.

You see, I have spent the past few months in India and the UK. My passport won’t carry UK stamps since it’s a Biometric but it would mean I was somewhere in the EU or India. I don’t hold an American Visa either. I could not have “gone to TAM”. My alibi is from the UK and Indian Governments and the US government can possibly verify me not being in the USA for that event.

Mr. Sanderson was unaware of the alibi until mentioned. Indicating that he either learnt of the accusation from the accuser or is the accuser himself.

I can’t sue him. I don’t have a lawyer and I don’t wish to drag this stupidity out into a court of law. But I do wish to highlight that any lawyer trying to argue for Mr. Sanderson would probably settle for damages rather than go to court since the only real option is to accuse me of sneaking into the USA illegally in order to attend a skeptical conference. And to make a point? The only people who know what I look like are the handful of people who work with me, the Chennai Skeptics/Atheists Club (who have met me twice!) and Daniel Bruvoli and Guy Otten  who met me when I was in Manchester. Ally Fogg saw me from afar but  we were too bashful to talk to each other (Okay he didn’t know what I looked like and he forgot his phone at home. Mistakes were made…)

I am sure people at TAM would remember the Indian British Guy. We are pretty rare in the USA after all. The stack of evidence in my favour is undeniably more solid. I have never been to any Atheist Meeting and if I am going to be accused like this then I don’t have any reason to ever attend one.

I actually had a post about an entirely different issue. But this kind of came up out of the blue.

Richard Sanderson demonstrates precisely what’s wrong with the Atheist Community. Now you may say that we don’t have a community but the fact of the matter is we do interact with each other a lot. We do hang out with each other and we do read what each other has to say. And Richard demonstrates precisely what was wrong here after our twitter conversation. Richard mentioned the accusation but failed to mention the clear and obvious defence of “Seriously? He is in India and the victim was in the USA, chances are it’s not him”. Which indicates that the accusation was made but the defence was not specifically seen. Richard seemed unaware of the alibi and that means he either was told about this by someone who made the accusation or was part of the accusation. It’s not rocket science. If he learnt it from me he wouldn’t have decided to push ahead with this argument since it was clearly  daft.

They call  themselves the Slymepit out of pride. Free Speech? This wasn’t free speech this was a silencing. This was an attempt to shut me up. I don’t know why. I am not a fan of the methods of the Atheism Plus lot. Maybe I just made them look bad. Can’t call FTB slacktivists with that Avicenna bloke around right? So let’s silence  him. I know! Doctors rely on their integrity. A doctor without one is fucked! Let’s threaten that!

Oh Mr. Sanderson tried to make it seem like it was to prove a point about fake rape allegations from PZ Myers and “Jane Doe”. That it’s easy. Well? No it’s not. Because the difference between a real accusation and a fake one is that a real one is very hard and painful to do. While the Accusers here literally hammered this entire letter out in a few minutes and didn’t even bother selecting properly.

And to prove a point? You would risk my career to win an Internet fight with PZ Myers? What the fuck is wrong with your people? How the fuck can anyone be a part of the Slymepit with absolute fuckwits like this in the rank is beyond me. How can you claim to be the good guys when you behave like this? You have lost any high ground you thought you had by the actions of this absolute waste of space.

And what does that say to non-white atheists? Don’t write about stuff that’s happening locally? Like rapes and violence against women or else the Slymepit will silence you? Don’t write about your non-white problems if they involve women treated badly?

I repeat this. In order to win a fight, the Accusers fabricated a story about a rape then proceeded to hurl these stories at various people including one of the few atheists out there in Charity and one of the few atheists out there who is from an Ex-Hindu background in order to win an Internet fight. You think I am mad about this?

Nah. This is just the point where I lost my patience to be polite with these idiots. These are not the first idiots to try and silence me, although actually gaining some blog success has made their tactic a little more effective than the attempts of religious and animal liberation prior to this.

What’s made me mad was that in order to win an Internet Fight, the Accusers decided to poison the well of Rape Victims. They made it slightly harder for women and men who  were raped to come out. Because they effectively forced me to defend myself to protect my career which is important to me. Had I not come out with the information myself the Slymepit would be gleefully dancing up and down claiming I tried to cover up rape or that I am hiding behind a pseudonym. This would have been a surprise. But what their real achievement is to try and scare off the women and men who are subject to harassment and rape and throw up doubt on anyone trying to support them.

It has made it harder to be taken seriously because they are effectively making up cases on purpose. Why would they do this? Because if they make up enough cases people will start doubting the real ones. Oh it’s just another rape allegation, remember when they accused Avi? Probably the same trick!

The people they harmed the most are the ones who needed our help the most. The ones who needed us to listen and be sympathetic and non judgemental. Instead the Accusers demonstrated nothing but villainy.

Why do it? Was it for the Lolz? Was it to protect Michael Shermer? Was it because you don’t like me? Was it because you can’t call FTB a bunch  of slacktivists when I am about?

What it ended up being about was the silencing of rape victims. The silencing of me and a demonstration to minorities that we shouldn’t rock the boat too much with our issues is just coincidental really. What they wanted to do was shut “the Jane Doe up”. And it never occurred to them the damage they were causing. For all their claims about false rape accusations and the damage it causes, they were awfully blasé about the way they handled it.

Any sympathy I had for the Slymepit has vanished. This is an unforgivable dick move. This is the utmost act of well poisoning. Rape victims try and drink from the “Well” of justice only to find out it’s been poisoned by people such as the Accusers who have created more levels of doubt about all rapes. This isn’t just “within atheism” and about Shermer and Jane Doe, this is about society as a whole. This stupid, arrogant and thoughtless piece of bullshit has done nothing but harm rape victims, both men and women.

I know the real tactic was to probably throw up a bullshit screen to make it seem like  PZ Myers was just making up stuff, but real damage was done by this thoughtless act. Richard’s attempt to utilise it to somehow convince me that “Just as Accusers did to me, so PZ Myers does to Shermer” is nothing but thoughtless. Do people seriously doubt that we don’t have a problem when Richard here has a tonne of support from a variety of sources in his actions?

I was merely inconvenienced. The people harmed the most are those who wish for justice but fear to come forwards lest people like the Accusers deem their “evidence” and “soapbox” as unworthy because their heroes are no longer sacred.

Comments

  1. says

    Richard Sanderson, you are evil. Period. This isn’t a fucking debate society.

    Avi: I’m sorry that Richard Sanderson is such a complete and utter waste of oxygen. I know this advice is probably needless, but long ago I learned that such people are to be avoided at all costs and everywhere.

  2. says

    Absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe they fucking stooped to that level. That is beyond the pale. I want to post this all over the place.

    In order to win a fight, the Accusers fabricated a story about a rape then proceeded to hurl these stories at various people including one of the few atheists out there in Charity and one of the few atheists out there who is from an Ex-Hindu background in order to win an Internet fight.

    This harms everyone involved. It harms victims, it harms people falsely accused and it promotes a false narrative about false accusations. It’s fucking disgusting. These people are humans but they act like monsters.

  3. says

    Rich hides behind anonymity to spew his bullshit, he’d probably say with a straight face that he needs it as FTBullies would harass him if open… So basically more delusion to cover up his cowardice.

    Bear in mind at the moment I am teaching and training midwives in safe delivery methods and doing deliveries. AKA working in women’s healthcare. This resulted in me having to deal with greater scrutiny of my work and some time for administrative leave but in the end the truth is an absolute defence.
    It meant that colleagues would HAVE to mention this incident. I cleared my name with work but it’s just a painful thing to do. I genuinely thought of bowing out of blogging as I felt my career was more important. It didn’t matter that my alibi was insanely solid.

    Fuck the Slymepit and the pitters, that is disgusting. Sorry but it didn’t occur from reading your first post on this, *very* glad you didn’t quit.

    Can’t call FTB slacktivists with that Avicenna bloke around right? So let’s silence him. I know! Doctors rely on their integrity. A doctor without one is fucked! Let’s threaten that!

    Its interesting as they went out of their way to attack Yemmi when she joined, pretty much just smarming to Ally who joined at the same time. As a high profile activist and fan of atheismplus she was clearly a threat to their narrative about FTB having no “real” activists as @Gurdur / Tim Skellet was whining about on Twitter.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/05/meet-the-neighbors/
    Some quite obvious racism there as well.

    As you say the worst thing is that in their desperation to protect their skeptical idols with any means possible, no matter how unethical, they are throwing rape victims under the bus. Fuck the Slymepit!

  4. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Richard Samuelson has a history of making shit up. I am so very sorry that he feels the need to smear you in his on going animus against PZ Myers. Not that it means much.

    Those who side with Richard Samuelson will uncritically spread the lie. And many people who do not understand the back story will accept the lie at face value.

    Not that the slymies will give a flying fuck.

  5. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Yikes! I have repeatedly called Sanderson “Samuelson”. That is as bad as calling PZ Myers. “Meyers”.

    I should do better and I am sorry for doing this.

  6. mattyarbrough says

    Here’s something I don’t get (among so many things) about the slymepit. Aside from celebrating the fact that they gleefully mudsling and go straight for the lowest most brutal vicious and awful tactics, they seem utterly clueless that the internet is forever. The prime instigator/supporter of the pit who has since tried to half heartedly distance herself from them is going to have serious trouble getting her work funded 5 years, 10 years down the line. I already know one agency that has flagged anything she’s involved with to be blocked from consideration. Every single person who participates in the violent misogynist rantings there may well realize that they’ve well fucked their futures. And I have precisely zero sympathy if it ruins their aspirations.

  7. says

    One bit of correction, truth isn’t the only defense against defamation. His lawyer could argue that yes, he published false, damaging information in bad faith to make some kind of point that had nothing to do with you, but no one believed it, so you suffered no damages, or that you weren’t identified due to your pseudonym, but I can’t see either argument playing well in court. I suppose he could argue that he had a good faith belief it was true, but that wouldn’t be very plausible.

    Apparently, all of this is to prove some point that you shouldn’t always believe rape allegations, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has actually said you always should. Given the really obvious motive for lying here, the implausibility of the accusation and how it seems really odd that your accuser would have this info, even if it were true, it’s not equivalent to what’s happening with Shermer and Myers at all.

  8. leftwingfox says

    Glad you’re still with us, Avicenna. Love both the blog and the work you do, so I’m glad you weren’t forced to choose between them.

  9. jenBPhillips says

    This is beyond revolting. Avicenna, I am so, so sorry that you have been personally affected by this, and so very grateful to you for all your efforts, as an atheist activist and as a practitioner.

    I’ve been saying for weeks now that I won’t be at all surprised if the fabricated ‘accusations’ are used as evidence of false reporting at some point in the future. It’s sad and sickening.

  10. Rational Feminist says

    As if we didn’t already know how ridiculous pitters are. We need to completely dissociate then from our movement and community. Of course, that is difficult when established secular organizations are promoting and propping them up.

  11. latsot says

    I think Sanderson is capable of understanding the consequences of what he does, but he’s far too childish ever to admit it. You knew that kid at school, right? The one who would do anything the bullies told him to because he thought they’d admire him for it?

    That’s Richard: he’ll cross just about any boundary in his desperate, pathetic quest for approval from loathsome idiots.

    I’ve occasionally felt tangs of sympathy for Richard, but that’ll never happen again.

  12. Pitchguest says

    First of all, how can you indict the Slymepit in the same vein as Rich Sanderson? Rich Sanderson is not a member, nor has he ever been a member, of the Slymepit. There is no reason at all to connect the two. Second of all, the tweet by Rich that says Avi has been a victim of a rape allegation was not a confession, but a statement of fact. That Rich later insists on this allegation being a possibility is most likely to highlight the double standards in which these rape allegations are taken on FtB vs. detractors of FtB.

    For instance, according to PZ himself, him being falsely accused of rape had the potential to destroy his career. Yet when Michael Shermer is accused, the most that can happen is that he possibly loses some ‘likes’ on Facebook (this according to a commenter) or some speaking engagements. Nothing more. And you, too, says this could have affected your career negatively. I believe Rich merely wanted to focus on this discrepancy, in his own way. However, let’s be clear: if you don’t have any evidence that Rich Sanderson made this claim, how can you with any confidence post this on your blog?

    Finally, I think this paints a beautiful picture why you shouldn’t make allegations of rape without evidence.

  13. says

    Pitchguest paints a beautiful picture of why I did not report my rape and why are there number of false rape classifications that there are.

    Avenncia, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. It’s unfair for you to be targeted because you had nothing to do with this in the first place. You were singled out and that in itself is wrong. But to do it to prove a false point of false accusations is beyond the pale.

  14. yazikus says

    Avenncia, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. It’s unfair for you to be targeted because you had nothing to do with this in the first place. You were singled out and that in itself is wrong. But to do it to prove a false point of false accusations is beyond the pale.

    QFT, Timid Atheist. I can’t think of a better way to express it.

  15. says

    @pitchguest: People who repeat defamatory statements in bad faith are just as liable as the person who originated them. You may recognize this as the hart of the claim that Myers committed libel. Unlike that case, bad faith is pretty easy to establish here. That isn’t really a defense, even if Sanderson was just repeating something someone else made up. The difference between good faith and bad is a moral issue as well as a legal one, so thsi isn’t a matter of changing the subject, either.

  16. says

    Pathetic and unethical bullshit…proves NOTHING.

    People are aware of the small amount of false rape allegations which occur. THey are also aware that aroudn 96% are absolutely not false, and that many of the “false” ones are not actually false just victims pressured to recant…

    So give all that – we assess what we are being told. Avicenna’s account happens in the wake of the PZ/Jane Doe accusation…and a wave of complete bullshit from rape apologists… It was PREDICTABLE as the sun rising tomorrow that this kind of shit was coming from the doucheweasle brogade.

    The object lesson here is know your douchweasels from your ethical decent humans. Not that some rape allegations are false.

    Avicenna – Sorry you are dealing with this. Thank you for your anger.

  17. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    First of all, how can you indict the Slymepit in the same vein as Rich Sanderson? Rich Sanderson is not a member, nor has he ever been a member, of the Slymepit. There is no reason at all to connect the two.

    Great. All the pitters should stop using #FTBullies.

    Second of all, the tweet by Rich that says Avi has been a victim of a rape allegation was not a confession, but a statement of fact. That Rich later insists on this allegation being a possibility is most likely to highlight the double standards in which these rape allegations are taken on FtB vs. detractors of FtB.

    Keep saying to yourself that PZ made up the story just to spite Shermer.

    For instance, according to PZ himself, him being falsely accused of rape had the potential to destroy his career. Yet when Michael Shermer is accused, the most that can happen is that he possibly loses some ‘likes’ on Facebook (this according to a commenter) or some speaking engagements. Nothing more.

    Never mind that women have been warning other women about Shermer for years.

    And you, too, says this could have affected your career negatively. I believe Rich merely wanted to focus on this discrepancy, in his own way. However, let’s be clear: if you don’t have any evidence that Rich Sanderson made this claim, how can you with any confidence post this on your blog?

    And you began this screed by trying to distance yourself from Richard Sanderson. Laughable.

    Finally, I think this paints a beautiful picture why you shouldn’t make allegations of rape without evidence.

    Because what PZ Myers did and what Richard Sanderson are the same. Well, except that PZ has the backing of unnamed people. And what Richard Sanderson can be easily disproved.

  18. says

    And which is why if you notice, I point out that Richard doesn’t follow my narrative but “someone else’s”. In particular he fails to realise why I ignored the “accusation” in the first place. Because I actually had a bloody alibi.

    Richard Sanderson either is part of the group who made this or knows someone from it if he is narrating their “story” rather than “my admission of the receipt of the letter”.

    In focussing on this “discrepancy” he has revealed that he was following the narrative of accusation without reading my actual post since I admitted to the accusation, demonstrated that I have proof although I don’t wish to post it since it would be the voiding of my privacy and anonymity and that if the individual wished to pursue this further I would release the documentation of my passport and travel dates and that this would in effect cause them to lose their case and me to lose my privacy. This was not pursued any further because I “assumed” the people involved realised they would just look “bad”.

    Sanderson came out with an argument that’s ignored my point of alibi meaning he either was part of the damn group that came up with this genius accusation OR knows about it from there..

    Lawyering up is too expensive for me in terms of time and money. Time mainly. I got stuff to do that’s more important than hammering idiots down in lawsuits on defamation of character and slander.

    But if this is what passes for sensible debate then we are in deeper trouble than we thought.

  19. says

    Well, it would clearly have been too much for Pitchguest to state unequivocally that this is wrong, unethical and should never ever been done.
    Nono, Pitchguest the great even has to praise this fucked up stunt (“finally, I think this paints a beautiful picture why you shouldn’t make allegations of rape without evidence.”*)

    * I keep asking myself: How many men does a woman need to confirm her story before she is even allowed to say she was raped, since obviously her own experience and testimony aren’t sufficient for her to claim she was raped?

  20. Pitchguest says

    @Ace of Sevens: Yes, a defamatory statement. You are correct. Which is why it’s important to have your facts straight and not assign guilt like some self-appointed jury. I think you know what I’m talking about. To me it looks Rich was making an argument for exactly that, even if Avicenna was caught in the crossfire when he shouldn’t have been, but Avicenna took that ball and ran away with it. Or the ball ran away from him, I can’t really tell. He decided to not just accuse Rich Sanderson for making the claim, but also implicate the Slymepit as accomplices.

    Which is dreadful, but also amusing, considering that Avicenna some hours prior had an argument with Tim Skellett (Gurdur) about blanket statements regarding FtB. The pot calling the kettle black? (Sorry. ‘Of colour.’) (Joke.)

  21. says

    The pot calling the kettle black? (Sorry. ‘Of colour.’) (Joke.)

    Because mocking things about self identifying titles is funny, amirite?

    Rape apology, pushing of false accusations and now this. *slow clap*

  22. says

    howdy I was browsing the web and i stumbled upon your webpage and i just wanted to let you know that your
    blog post was incredibly helpful in my research

  23. Jacob Schmidt says

    for instance, according to PZ himself, him being falsely accused of rape had the potential to destroy his career. Yet when Michael Shermer is accused, the most that can happen is that he possibly loses some ‘likes’ on Facebook (this according to a commenter) or some speaking engagements.

    You’re confusing possibility for plausibility; it’s possible Shermer will be seriously harmed. Given his position and privilege, that’s not likely. Indeed, all the defenders we’ve been witnessing are evidence to that. You’re also forgetting that PZ has a job where he has students in his care; some (not all) institutions take potential threats to their students seriously. Avi works with patients in his care. Again, some (not all) institutions take that seriously considering the power difference. Neither applies to Shermer. Your confusing individual circumstances with general trends.

  24. Jacob Schmidt says

    To me it looks Rich was making an argument for exactly that, even if Avicenna was caught in the crossfire when he shouldn’t have been, but Avicenna took that ball and ran away with it.

    You don’t do yourself any favours by arguing in favour of the accusation while trying to distance yourself from it.

  25. maudell says

    I think whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing. I can speak for Richard, but after having seen his bullshit in so many comment section, I think he views this as a moral thing to do. He seems to come from the perspective that false rape accusations are more common than real ones, and that ‘real rapes’ are often the victim’s fault. Doesn’t matter how much statistical evidence and peer reviewed journals demonstrate how wrong he is. He operates on gut feelings. In the end, I think he’s trying to demonstrate that FtB readers will only support their friends that are falsely accused. The projection is pretty amazing.

    That’s the problem. People like Richard wander around under the banner of atheism, but what really drives him is hatred and bigotry against anything that is not him. He’s actively driving people away from the movement and then turns around and cries about FtB being divisive.

    Are we really having a debate about who should be supported between a dude who is constantly peacocking his racism and misogyny, and people who are taking the concerns of underrepresented voices seriously? I have nothing against A+, but what is this bullshit labeling of anyone who is not a blatant rape apologist as an A+er (meaning Gyno-Stalinist, apparently).

    I’m glad you decided to stick around, Avi. I’m sorry you had to be the target of this ‘girls have cooties’ campaign.

  26. firsttimereader says

    Avi, welcome back. I am sorry to hear you have had this trouble.

    I am trying to follow this, but unless I’m missing something…. it is easy to work out that you were out of the country because you blog about being in India constantly.

    I haven’t cross checked dates, but anyone who wanted to throw a false accusation at you, or comment about it afterwards, could have easily just checked your blog, and therefore know that you would have a rock solid alibi.

    Therefore why would this particular person need to be connected to the accuser? (or in fact be the accuser).

    Oh, and I read the pit fairly regularly, he is not a member there as far as I can tell. I remember he is the person who organized a walk out at one of the conferences and was spoken about as a 3rd party in the pit. I don’t think he is very well liked there from my memory.

    It is indeed a very nasty way to try and make a point.

  27. Pitchguest says

    @Goodbye Enemy Janine:

    Great. All the pitters should stop using #FTBullies.

    Well, I don’t have Twitter, so… and I really don’t see how it’s relevant to Rich not being a member of the ‘pit.

    Keep saying to yourself that PZ made up the story just to spite Shermer.

    Made up the story? I’ve been consistent that it’s possible that the allegations are true, but how currently there is no evidence to conclude whether they are true or not. I’ve never used the term “made up” in regards to these allegations.

    As for if PZ posted it out of spite, well, let’s see, how about the fact that PZ himself said a false rape accusation that was levelled towards him had the potential to destroy his career? Considering that PZ had the means to prove that it was false, but still had the risk of destroying his career (his words), that’s quite a doozy. With that in mind, PZ most likely wouldn’t throw around rape allegations lightly, but all he did was repeat the words of a woman who said Shermer had raped her and nothing else.

    I would say there’s *quite a bit* of spite involved if he’s already decided Shermer’s guilt on that vague of an account, or wouldn’t you say so?

    Never mind that women have been warning other women about Shermer for years.

    Have they?

    Because what PZ Myers did and what Richard Sanderson are the same. Well, except that PZ has the backing of unnamed people. And what Richard Sanderson can be easily disproved.

    Have you already decided Rich is responsible for the original claim? As skeptical as ever, I see. However, yes, apart from not knowing who made the original claim, and without splitting hairs, yes, the same. Which is why it’s important to have your facts straight.

  28. leni says

    Did they pick Avi because he’s the first one on the blog roll?

    Not just assholes, but lazy, stupid assholes. Big shocker, there.

    I wish I could say I was surprised, but I pretty much though someone would try this from the get go. I just figured it would have been PZ. But fucking Avi? What the ever loving fuck?

  29. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    You are mistaken, firsttimereader. Richard Sanderson called for one on twitter and claimed that it happened. Despite the fact that people at these talks stated that there was not a walk out.

    Sanderson has a history of mistaking his fantasies as real events.

  30. Pierce R. Butler says

    OMG, Avicenna just doxed Rich Sanderson!!!1! And Tim Skellett!!111! And Abby Smith111!1

  31. Pitchguest says

    @Avicenna: Actually, I think he’s just trying to make a point. Same as some of the commenters here on the various FtB blogs, particularly Pharyngula, Almost Diamonds, B&W, Lousy Canuck and Greta Christina, they still see Michael Shermer guilty as charged, even though like you he’s categorically denied the charges. By several people here and elsewhere. People have even made articles mocking his current predicament, where he’s had to procure a lawyer to protect himself against libellous assertions (as you would, too, should have you chosen to pursue legal action).

    To infer involvement simply because he’s making some crude points is a bit of a stretch, and his arguments seem to me to be more about exposing double standards regarding rape allegations.

  32. David Marjanović says

    I’m glad you decided to stick around, Avi. I’m sorry you had to be the target of this ‘girls have cooties’ campaign.

    Seconded.

    That’s all I can say, I’m out of words otherwise.

  33. says

    @pitchguest: Legally and morally, PZ doesn’t have to know for a fact the accusation is true. It’s rarely possible to have that kind of knowledge and PZ himself said that he couldn’t know for sure. He only needed a good-faith belief that it was credible.

    Richard Sanderson, on the other hand, was clearly acting in bad faith. In particular, since he doesn’t know who Avicenna is, any ID of Avicenna from a meatspace meeting is suspect. Plus, there’s the issue that there’s no reason to believe Avicenna was at the place where this occurred, even without seeing his passport.

    You keep acting like repeating allegations is something that’s either right or wrong. There’s nothing inconsistent about saying right & wrong depend on the facts.

  34. Pitchguest says

    @Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-:

    Well, it would clearly have been too much for Pitchguest to state unequivocally that this is wrong, unethical and should never ever been done.

    You’re right. I’ve never condemned making light of rape allegations in the past.

    Nono, Pitchguest the great even has to praise this fucked up stunt (“finally, I think this paints a beautiful picture why you shouldn’t make allegations of rape without evidence.”*)

    Oh, is *that* what that means? Praising it? I thought I was making a general point about the importance of evidence before you allege things like rape. Silly me. Language barrier?

    * I keep asking myself: How many men does a woman need to confirm her story before she is even allowed to say she was raped, since obviously her own experience and testimony aren’t sufficient for her to claim she was raped?

    Oh, I don’t know. Why don’t you ask these men? It may not happen often, but it happens, which is enough reasonable doubt that it requires testimonies to be accurate.

    You might also benefit from reading Elizabeth Loftus’ take on eyewitness testimony. Not as accurate as you might think.

  35. says

    Pitchguest, as always, is full of shit, I regularly describe Sanderson as a pitter and he only protested that he rarely reads/posts there not that he is not a pitter. He clearly is a Slymepitter by any definition. If my word is not good enough, how about Rich’s

    Rich Sanderson: “… http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/index.php Any self-respecting skeptic or atheist should have it bookmarked. It is the site #FTBullies fear.”

    So yeah we have no basis for calling him a Slymepitter, at all.

  36. Pitchguest says

    @Ace of Sevens:

    @pitchguest: Legally and morally, PZ doesn’t have to know for a fact the accusation is true.

    Legally if PZ decides to make allegations on his blog that Michael Shermer raped someone, based on the accounts of a friend of a friend he trusts, then he better make sure it’s true. Legally he’s subject to libel. Morally, though? No.

    It’s rarely possible to have that kind of knowledge and PZ himself said that he couldn’t know for sure. He only needed a good-faith belief that it was credible.

    Then he shouldn’t have posted the allegations on his blog. That’s pretty stupid. In good faith? Sure. That’s fine. But if all he has to muster is, “a friend of a friend I trust told me Michael Shermer raped her”, then he can’t well complain when he’s slapped with a defamation suit, now can he?

    Richard Sanderson, on the other hand, was clearly acting in bad faith. In particular, since he doesn’t know who Avicenna is, any ID of Avicenna from a meatspace meeting is suspect. Plus, there’s the issue that there’s no reason to believe Avicenna was at the place where this occurred, even without seeing his passport.

    Reading his Twitter feed, seems he just recounted what Avicenna said in a prior blog post how someone had accused him of rape. The tweet doesn’t really try to corroborate the incident, merely point out that this is what has happened. It doesn’t implicate him in any way.

    You keep acting like repeating allegations is something that’s either right or wrong. There’s nothing inconsistent about saying right & wrong depend on the facts.

    Err. Well, like I said before, if rape allegations has the likelihood to ruin people’s career as PZ, Lousy and now Avicenna has said, I don’t think it’s prudent to repeat allegations based on pretty much hearsay and then imply their guilt. We’ve seen from several people here the rhetoric that you should “always believe the accusers”, which is pretty damn bold, not to mention extremely unsceptical, and that rhetoric appears to be used when it’s applied to people like Shermer and Krauss, but for PZ, Lousy and Avicenna, it’s different. That’s a double standard. (Which isn’t to say that the accusations against PZ, Lousy and Avicenna aren’t false.) To me, that’s a pretty big elephant in the room.

  37. says

    This is the third blogger from this network that claims, and I have no reason to doubt, has been falsely accused of rape. There is also a former blogger, that is into debunking Christianity, that has made also a claim about such false accusations. For some, this would raise red flags. Patternicity yields false positives.

    You were lucky that you had an alibi and was informed of the claims immediately. You are right to feel outraged for the false accusations. I have personal knowledge of a case that I was the alibi and there was proof that the accused in question was several miles away when it happened. He was able to proof his innocence, but unlike you, the damage to his reputation had been going on for some time, and there are people unconvinced that he is not a date rapist.

    I am also very, very aware of the dangers of not believing a victim and how this perpetuates the crime. For example, some disbelieve a claim of abuse because of a defense mechanism or cognitive dissonance. Something to think about.

    I honestly don’t have an opinion and if I did I would not share it. I’m Schrodinger’s Juror.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>