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Nov 11 2013

To those of us fighting the good fight

I wrote this, originally, to console someone who was sick to death of her efforts being met with rape threats and death threats and inaccurate accusations.  I debated posting it, knowing it would undoubtedly bring with it some backlash.  I spend my free time volunteering for atheist, humanist, and skeptic causes only to be constantly met with people telling me that I am not a “real” activist.  There are other things I could be doing. It is hard to watch all of the misogyny and sexism go on in this movement.  It’s hard to watch people as wonderful as Pamela Gay be torn down for coming forward with her story.

It’s exhausting to know that there are people who hate you and believe ridiculous, untrue things about you, no matter how clear and unoffensive you have tried to be. I am tired of being accused of being in it for the money when being involved in atheism costs me loads of money every year — travel costs I don’t ever expect to see returned by my blog. I’m tired of every post being a target and rage commenters trying to tear me down for my appearance, education, and family. I have never been targeted by religious people the way I am by atheists. And how much worse is it to be targeted by a group of people you spend your free time working to help.

I am tired of being worried about legal threats and hackers, people who have targeted me as “collateral damage” to others as well as those who’ve directly targeted me. I am tired of getting flooded on Facebook by people I don’t know whenever I post something vaguely in the area of things they label social justice warrioring. I’m tired of everything being a fight. I’m tired of trying to be the bigger person. I’m tired of feeling like all the abuse is pointless because there’s no movement. I’m tired of people with power laughing or shrugging off sexual assault and harassment. I’m tired of people making value judgments about those who’ve been harassed — demanding you have had certain experiences to be able to comment on them and then mocking you if you come forward with those experiences.

I am, in short, very tired. And I don’t have it the worst, by any stretch of the imagination.

But then, sometimes, strangers come up to me or email me and thank me. They thank me specifically for talking about things that get me the most bile. There are people who hear what you say and change their mind, but they’re usually not very loud, because changing your mind is hard and takes a while and is difficult to talk about when you’re in the middle of it. I have many friends who became not very close friends for a little while because I was on the SJW side of things and they weren’t sure which way to go who are now among my strongest allies.

That said, I’ve had a hard time blogging lately because, on top of all the drama of day to day life, it’s so infuriating and upsetting to deal with the internet assholes. It’s hard to find the reward. Every post is a constant decision to put up with attacks.  I have to remind myself that it’s worth it.  And sometimes, it’s just not.  Sometimes, I am just not in a place where I can deal with the abuse.  Ultimately, while changing minds is a lofty and important goal, it’s also not our responsibility. If you’re tapped out, you are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no reason to subject yourself to this if you don’t find it rewarding. And there are less hostile audiences within the movement as well.  The SSA, for example, has been nothing but wonderful to me.

I don’t know if that helps at all, just know I feel what you’re feeling an awful lot.  You’re not alone.

451 comments

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  1. 1
    ekwhite

    Ashley:

    Just to let you know, there are those of us who appreciate you fighting the good fight.

  2. 2
    SubMor

    There are so many words that could be written here. Too many. It is a good fight, and your contributions are appreciated. This dynamic is broken, but I’m glad there are good voices to make it better.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    Seconded, without reservation, in every particular.

  4. 4
    Jackie the wacky

    Thank you.

  5. 5
    prodegtion

    “I wrote this, originally, to console someone who was sick to death of her efforts being met with rape threats and death threats and inaccurate accusations.”

    I assume you’re talking about Michael Shermer.

  6. 6
    prodegtion

    “It’s exhausting to know that there are people who hate you and believe ridiculous, untrue things about you”

    Yes, and Michael Shermer feels the same way no doubt.

  7. 7
    prodegtion

    “I’m tired of people making value judgments about those who’ve been harassed — demanding you have had certain experiences to be able to comment on them”

    I know, right? I keep trying to point this out whenever I get accused of “mansplaining” and that it’s nothing more than an argument ad hominem.

  8. 8
    Jason Thibeault

    Shorter prodegtion: “You deserve what you get because people are being mean to my hero.” (Never mind that the accusations against said hero are actually fairly well-evidenced.)

  9. 9
    prodegtion

    If you’re going to lie about what I said, why should we trust you when you say the accusations against Michael Shermer are “fairly well-evidenced”?

    So far all that has been presented is unsubstantiated accusations. That doesn’t sound like “fairly good evidence” to me.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Well, I suggest you take it up with DJ Grothe, who has a deposition before a judge as to Shermer having groped someone against their will, and Barbara Drescher, who corroborated it. I further suggest you actually consider that these people coming forward expressing their experiences with Shermer are multiply corroborated.

    And I, further, suggest you stop derailing a thread about someone bemoaning all the people screaming that we’re fighting against harassment “for the blog hits”, and stop suggesting that Michael Shermer is a woman who gets rape and death threats just because it better fits your narrative of “Shermer is the real victim here”.

  11. 11
    prodegtion

    Right, because if people say so, it must be true.

    Thanks for confirming you are not a scientist.

  12. 12
    Flewellyn

    Prodegtion is still here? I would have thought he would be banned from everywhere, having openly defended child rape AND told Miri over at Brute Reason that the harassment she gets online is her fault.

  13. 13
    Ashley F. Miller

    The hive mind isn’t really very good at being a hive mind sometimes. We have to individually come up with ban lists. He defended child rape?

  14. 14
    Jason Thibeault

    Thanks for proving you have no idea how science works, prodegtion. Science is not a shibboleth to be held up against all your enemies, for some of these enemies understand it better than you. For instance, the answer to “how many people does it take coming forward with rape and harassment claims, especially sworn claims before a judge of this land, does it take before you believe it” is not “MULTIPLE CLAIMS IS NOT SCIENCE”. Otherwise, nobody would be convicted of any crime short of a judge’s ability to time travel and witness it themselves, and even then, they’re just SAYING they saw it.

    Oh, and I hate threaded comments, and refuse to play that threading game.

  15. 15
    Ross the Boss

    I have found your writing to be quite helpful in spurring me into caring and learning about these issues over the past, say, year and a half. Thank you.

  16. 16
    prodegtion

    “For instance, the answer to “how many people does it take coming forward with rape and harassment claims, especially sworn claims before a judge of this land, does it take before you believe it” is not “MULTIPLE CLAIMS IS NOT SCIENCE””

    Actually, that is the answer. Thanks for confirming that you do not understand the nature of evidence.

    “Otherwise, nobody would be convicted of any crime short of a judge’s ability to time travel and witness it themselves”

    No, what you need is EVIDENCE. The fact that someone makes a claim IS NOT EVIDENCE.

  17. 17
    Jason Thibeault

    prodegtion: Tell that to DJ Grothe and Barbara Drescher. Tell them I say hello, and ask them what they think about the incident that they’ve corroborated. I’m sure both of them are to your taste as far as character witnesses — they both hate feminists and Freethought Blogs and probably me in particular.

  18. 18
    prodegtion

    For the record, evidence for a claim is any observation which is inconsistent with possible states where the claim is false. Accusations ARE NOT EVIDENCE.

  19. 19
    Jason Thibeault

    Beyond all this, many witnesses over time to a specific set of events as relates a specific person is not evidence enough to put them in jail, but evidence enough to warn people to steer clear.

    I’d think you’d know that, being in the skeptic community. I mean, that’s what we do, with warning people away from alt med and psychic charlatans, right? We warn people away from con artists, even when there isn’t enough evidence to throw them in jail.

    Guess what you’re seeing now, then. You’re seeing skeptics telling people to be wary of a con artist in their midst.

  20. 20
    Jason Thibeault

    I’ll play the stupid threading game this once.

    Sworn depositions under oath mean that if DJ Grothe lied about what he saw, which Drescher corroborated, then he’s going to jail for perjury. This isn’t enough to put Shermer in jail, but it’s enough to be able to say with some degree of confidence that yes, this did happen.

    Is it evidence? Yeah. It is, in fact. Testimonial evidence is evidence.

    Just like the testimonial evidence of the several people who believe they were taken advantage of.

  21. 21
    Ashley F. Miller

    So, if we’ve got six victims coming forward with individual stories of harassment or assault, some of them with corroborating witnesses… If one person claims assault and two people claim to have witnessed it… how many more people have to have witnessed or experienced assault or harassment for it to count as well-evidenced?

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    That depends. How many of them were men?

  23. 23
    prodegtion

    No, evidence is evidence. Observations can either increase, decrease, or have no effect on the probability of a claim. It is the PROBABILITY which then determines what or how much action you take, but THERE IS NO EVIDENCE MICHAEL SHERMER IS A RAPIST.

    You REALLY don’t understand the nature of evidence, do you?

  24. 24
    prodegtion

    How many people need to have claimed to have personally communicated with God before we know he exists?

  25. 25
    Flewellyn

    Yeah, over at Pharyngula. I’m trying to find the thread. I wish FTB had the ability to search comment threads.

  26. 26
    Jason Thibeault

    So I am to take it that someone reporting having been raped is 100% of the time lying? Since there’s no evidence of rape available, that’s the only conclusion that can be made.

    YOU really don’t understand the nature of the accusation at hand, do you? We’re saying that an inordinate number of people have claimed behaviour from Shermer that makes it reasonable to suspect that he’s actually serially mistreating and abusing people sexually. You’re saying that because we don’t know with total certainty, that it is unreasonable for anyone to say “hey, steer clear of this guy”?

  27. 27
    prodegtion

    Did you not understand what I just said?

  28. 28
    Ashley F. Miller

    So you’re operating on the assumption that we have no evidence that Michael Shermer or sexual assault exists.

  29. 29
    wfenza

    I’m one of the people you’ve helped. My attitudes have changed a lot in the years that I’ve been reading FtB, and your blog has been a part of that. You are doing good work, and all the hate in the world won’t change that.

  30. 30
    prodegtion

    “DJ Grothe lied about what he saw, which Drescher corroborated, then he’s going to jail for perjury … it’s enough to be able to say with some degree of confidence that yes, this did happen.”

    Right, because people are physically incapable of breaking the law.

  31. 31
    prodegtion

    I have yet to be presented with any.

    That’s how this whole “skepticism” thing works, Ashley.

  32. 32
    prodegtion

    Oh sorry, I misread what you wrote. But it’s a total non-sequitur.

  33. 33
    Ashley F. Miller

    Why is it more likely that all of these people are lying, some against their interests, than that Michael Shermer behaved as accused?

  34. 34
    prodegtion

    The fact, it doesn’t matter HOW many people make a claim. It doesn’t even matter how many people claim to have seen it with their own eyes. If there’s no evidence for the claim, we must reject it!

  35. 35
    Ashley F. Miller

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Ordinary claims require ordinary evidence. Multiple people witnessing an event that is in no way extraordinary or abnormal in terms of human behavior doesn’t really require the same level of evidence that proving communication with God. We’ve already established that sexual assault and Michael Shermer exist; versus having to prove that God exists and that communication with him is possible and that this hypothetical individual is doing it.

  36. 36
    prodegtion

    Those two claims are not mutually exclusive.

  37. 37
    Flewellyn

    That’s an extraordinary claim, which would require extraordinary evidence, for which mere testimony is not enough.

    On the other hand, a prominent man using his power and influence to assault women is not an extraordinary claim at all. It’s depressingly ordinary. Therefor, testimony is more acceptable as evidence in such a case.

    Of course, you probably know this, and don’t care, and are simply trying to muddy the waters with a bunch of nonsense that uses the right skeptical-sounding words, while not actually following the principles.

  38. 38
    prodegtion

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Ordinary claims require ordinary evidence.”

    This is a meaningless tautology.

    Besides, as I have been trying to explain to you, testimony is not evidence AT ALL. It is neither “ordinary” nor “extraordinary” (whatever that means).

  39. 39
    Jason Thibeault

    Haven’t you heard? Sexual harassment is as mythological as God. It’s far more likely that eight+ people are lying about what happened to them than that one guy is a bit handsy.

  40. 40
    Ashley F. Miller

    Testimony is, by definition, evidence.

  41. 41
    prodegtion

    Do you really not get it? As I have pointed out many time, testimony is not “slight” evidence; IT IS NOT EVIDENCE AT ALL.

  42. 42
    Jason Thibeault

    Oh good. So shut down all the police stations, because people are “reporting” crimes using only TESTIMONIAL evidence, and why should a dispatcher believe THAT?

  43. 43
    prodegtion

    As I pointed out above, a person doesn’t have to be lying; they can believe their false claims.

    Testimony (in the legal sense) is not evidence (in the scientific sense).

  44. 44
    prodegtion

    @42

    That’s not how the police functions you ignoramus. Gosh you are so fucking ignorant!

    They investigate the crime, but they are skeptical about it (or at least they should be).

  45. 45
    Jason Thibeault

    You got rid of the ickygross threading! Thanks Ashley! <3

    Correct. Testimony in the legal sense is not evidence in the scientific sense, because the legal system deals in probabilities while science deals in replicability and peer-reviewed studies and the likes.

  46. 46
    Ashley F. Miller

    Testimony (in the legal sense) is evidence (in the legal sense).

  47. 47
    Jason Thibeault

    What, you don’t want to peer-review and double-blind having Michael Shermer grope a bunch of people to see whether or not any of them consider it harassment?

  48. 48
    Flewellyn

    I’ve noticed a pattern: the sort of atheists who insist on hyperskepticism of all claims of harassment, and that women are always lying about rape and assault, are the sort of atheists who actually understand the least about how skepticism and reasoning and evidence actually work.

  49. 49
    prodegtion

    @46

    So?

  50. 50
    Jerome Haltom

    prodegtion: Claims are evidence, dummy. The nature of the claim, and the previous actions of the individuals making it, tune this thing we call ‘trust’.

    They may not however be significant enough evidence to override other low priors. In this case, as most of us here have previous interactions with the people making the claim, so as to establish our metrics of trust, they do, for those of us who have that experience with those others.

  51. 51
    prodegtion

    @48

    Then enlighten us.

  52. 52
    Jason Thibeault

    Must be nice to trust nobody about anything, to demand physical evidence for the most mundane of claims like “I watched this one episode of The Walking Dead once” and to deny the testimonial evidence like “knowing the plot” or “remembering lines from it”, because those could as easily have been obtained on the internet. You must be really fun at parties when you demand an unbroken chain of evidence for the existence of those little party hot dogs, or running the punch through a centrifuge and mass spectrometer.

  53. 53
    prodegtion

    @50

    Sorry, that’s not how it works. Your methodology is extremely prone to confirmation bias. Besides, how do you evaluate the “nature” of the claim? No one has explained the distinction between an “extraordinary” claim and an “ordinary” claim (because there isn’t one).

    Read my earlier comment about the nature of evidence.

  54. 54
    Flewellyn

    No one has explained the distinction between an “extraordinary” claim and an “ordinary” claim (because there isn’t one).

    Not that I think you are engaging in good faith (otherwise you wouldn’t say things this stupid), but it’s a matter of probabilities.

    What are the priors? How likely an event is, depends on how often such a thing has been observed and demonstrated with evidence to have taken place in the past.

    Now, the existence of a divine being is something that no evidence has shown to be true, so far. Thus, that claim is extraordinary, in the literal meaning of the word: extra-ordinary. With an extraordinary claim, testimony is insufficient, because the testifiers are making claims that contradict physical evidence.

    On the other hand, men with power and influence using it to assault women? We know this is a thing that happens, and happens often, because we have plenty of past evidence for it being a very common thing. This particular man doing it? Well, we have testimony from several people who state they have either experienced or witnessed it. Sexual assault is not an extraordinary claim, because there is nothing about physical reality that would prevent it from happening. Therefor, testimony is evidence for an ordinary event like this.

    It’s not enough to convict in a court of law, of course, but we aren’t a court of law. It’s enough to warrant an element of caution, and to make cautioning other people who would interact with Shermer a rational thing to do.

    But you know that.

  55. 55
    Jerome Haltom

    @53

    Sorry. I accept the published work of scientists that they have in fact conducted experiments, and have in fact arrived at the results they have, based on a network of trust I have developed with scientists, methods, and consensus, through direct observation of a subset of those claims.

    This is how it works. It’s called trust. It’s earned. And it can be revoked when claims of fraud are made and proven. Welcome to science!

  56. 56
    Jerome Haltom

    @53

    The main thing to take away from this is that each of us builds our own network of evidence and justification. That’s why we want experiments to be repeatable: so that that network can be built, by each individual verifying the results of others. Each verification increases the trust that is warranted being placed in the original publisher.

    And that obvious means we do not need direct observation for every claim. We need ENOUGH direct observation of ENOUGH claims to justify acceptance of further claims. Not all of us can reproduce everything.

    Again, many of us have our individual experiences with the people involved, and we consider them highly trustyworthy individuals based on those experiences. You might not have those experiences. You must thus fall back onto the direct experiences you do have.

    Which, in my opinion, would be just fine anyways, for this particular claim. It does not have particularly low priors to start with.

  57. 57
    Jason Thibeault

    Here’s an ordinary claim: “I talked about having been sexually harassed and got further harassed, and viciously so, for speaking up.” It’s ordinary because it happens so often, we can see examples of it everywhere, and the evidence for the harassment — vicious comments suggesting that the complainants should be raped, for instance — are everywhere. Even if the specific evidence for the specific complainant in question is not forthcoming, it’s easy enough to believe that it happened because it happens frequently. If you want to believe this, ordinary evidence suffices, or sometimes just on the merits of your trust of the person to be relaying the events accurately, you can assume they are trustworthy in this too.

    Here’s an extraordinary claim: “I talked to God.” It is extraordinary because there is zero evidence for the existence of any thing called a “god”. Likewise with “I have a unicorn in my garage”, or “I was abducted by aliens”, or “women lie about sexual harassment routinely to destroy good people”, because for each of these, zero evidence is presented that could corroborate the incident, and each claim comes with the risk of having insufficient evidence of the claim and being laughed out of a serious conversation like this one. Since you’re making one of these claims, and it’s your single claim that all these witnesses are lying to destroy Shermer, perhaps you should find some evidence that backs up your claim that trumps the testimonial evidence against him.

  58. 58
    Jason Thibeault

    Since this isn’t a court of law, and the burden of proof for our claim that multiple people claim to have been harassed is already met, and the “conviction” is that people who believe those claims should be wary of him. Testimonial evidence is more than ample for the specific punishment we’ve meted out — that being, having people aware of all these allegations. What you’ve presented to counter it is sophistry and equivocation between testimonial evidence in the eyes of the law, and scientific evidence that might put a person in jail, which nobody here is advocating for.

    prodegtion, you’re making a giant category error here. You’re only repeatedly doubling down because you’re incapable of considering that your hero might, perhaps, actually have done it, so you’re minimizing all these people coming forward as anecdotes, and the only reason you have to doubt their testimony is because… I’m guessing… bitches be lying?

  59. 59
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Ashley, you are awesome and your writing is awesome. Everyone here is awesome and I’m getting sick and fucking tired of the denialism going on here…

    Which brings me to…

    prodegtion… fuck you you denialist child-rape-apologist victim-blaming douchebag. Go whine on the Slymepit about how persecuted you are by us EBIL FTBULLIES!!!!!!!!ELEVEN!!!!11!!!!!1!!! You are a pathetic stain on the boot of skepticism and need to just disappear forever.

  60. 60
    Alberto Knox

    Nice article, dreadful comments. I, a 50-something white guy, have pretty well walked away from the atheist community because of the overwhelming irrational intolerance.. I do not understand why dull trolls like Prod. are tolerated, let alone coaxed. It is utterly a waste of time to dance with a troll playing semantics.. word games are not reasoning.

    Anyway, good blog post. I think it gets to the heart of the reason atheism as a movement is dying, killed by pedantic trolls.

  61. 61
    billhaines

    Ashley, I’m not a regular reader, but I do thank you for what you do, and for this post in particular.

    “prodegtion,” according to the standard legal dictionary (Black’s) ‘testify’ means ‘To bear witness; to give EVIDENCE as a witness; to make a solemn declaration, under oath or affirmation, in a judicial inquiry, for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact. State v. Robertson, 26 S. C. 117, 1 S. E. 443; Gannon v. Stevens, 13 Kan. 459; Nash v. Hoxie, 59 Wis. 384, 18 N. W. 408; O’Brien v. State, 125 Ind. 38, 25 N. E 137, 9 L. R. A. 323; Mudge v. Gilbert 43 How. Prac. (N. Y.) 221.’ (Emphasis mine.) And the context here (accusation of criminal action) is legal, not scientific. You’re wrong, period. Shut the fuck up about it already, you pedantic asshole.

  62. 62
    hjhornbeck

    prodegtion @43:

    Testimony (in the legal sense) is not evidence (in the scientific sense).

    Suppose one day a friend of yours comes up to you and claims “I was hit by lightning.” Can we say they were hit by lightning?

    There are two possibilities: they were hit by lightening and telling the truth, or they were not and are lying. We’ll say the odds of being hit by lightening is roughly 1 in a million; the odds your friend would tell you they were hit by lightening, if they were hit by lightening, is 99%; and the odds of them telling you they were hit by lightening, if they were not, as one in two million. These numbers are not an exact match for reality, but are in roughly the same ballpark. So we can calculate:

    P(truthfully hit by lightening) = (.99 * 1/1000000) / ((.99 * 1/1000000) + (1/2000000 * 999999/1000000)) ~= 66%

    Therefore, we conclude they are more likely to have been struck by lightening than not, based only on their claim and the background information we have.

    Up for another example? A friend comes up to you and says “I was sexually assaulted.” Can we say they were assaulted?

    There are two possibilities: they were assaulted and telling the truth, or they were not and are lying. We’ll say the odds of being sexually assaulted is roughly 1 in 4 over a lifetime; the odds your friend would tell you they were assaulted, if they were, is 30%; and the odds of them telling you they were assaulted, if they were not, as one in 20. These numbers are not an exact match for reality, but are in roughly the same ballpark. So we can calculate:

    P(truthfully assaulted) = (.30 * 1/4) / ((.30 * 1/4) + (1/20 * 3/4)) ~= 67%

    Therefore, we conclude they are more likely to have been sexually assaulted than not, based only on their claim and the background information we have.

  63. 63
    Jason Thibeault

    Denialists never want you to calculate the odds of a lie.

  64. 64
    Alberto Knox

    hjhorn, I have actually been hit by lightning. I personally know someone else who was hit by lightning and survived. My GF knew a ranger who was hit by lightning and did not.

    I suspect that if you start an analysis with incorrect data you are unlikely to find a meaningful result.. Some people are more likely to be hit. Perhaps you are very unlikely to be hit. Your personal experience has clouded your understanding of how common lightning strikes are.

  65. 65
    Ashley F. Miller

    So if any individual claimant is 67% likely to be telling the truth, assuming that witnesses have similar numbers (though I’d think they’d have less reason to lie), what are the chances that, say, 10 people are all lying?

  66. 66
    Ashley F. Miller

    Is it 1/(3^10)?

  67. 67
    Jackie the wacky

    Alberto,
    Are you denying the commonness of sexual assault?
    Prod,
    Shermer deserves defenders like you.

  68. 68
    hjhornbeck

    Alberto Knox @64:

    Some people are more likely to be hit.

    Lightning is selective in who it targets? Unless you mean “some people are more likely to be outside during thunderstorms than others,” I’m gonna call “Poisson distribution” on that one.

    Your personal experience has clouded your understanding of how common lightning strikes are.

    Nope!

    The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.

    The exact number is irrelevant, anyway. If it were true that testimony is not evidence, your beef wouldn’t be with my numbers, but my method.

  69. 69
    Alberto Knox

    Quite teh opposite, teh. I am saying that because some event may seem vanishingly rare to one person does not mean it is so for others. Just as most lightning strikes, mine for instance, go unreported, very many more sexual assaults occur than friends or the news tell us about.

  70. 70
    dalehusband

    “testimony is not “slight” evidence; IT IS NOT EVIDENCE AT ALL.”

    From an actual legal standpoint, prodegtion, you just told an outright lie. Testimony is considered evidence in court cases unless and until it is debunked by empirical evidence and/or more credible and consistent testimony. If that were not the case, witnesses would never be called to testify at all.

    Fuk you and your arrogant attitude!

  71. 71
    Alberto Knox

    @hjh, ah, now I read the rest of you post. I thought you were equating the frequency of lightning strikes with the frequency of assaults and dismissed the rest. Teaches me not to assume around here.

    Still, the greater risk comes with going in harms way. Sailors and forest rangers are more likely to have an event than the gross average would imply, as are women vs. the entire population or women who travel into a known misogynistic environments, like skeptics events apparently.

  72. 72
    Jackie the wacky

    Alberto,
    Thanks for clarifying.

  73. 73
    Schlumbumbi

    @Ashley F. Miller

    Seems you don’t enjoy flinging and swallowing feces as much as the others FTBlers do.
    Then again, no reasonable person could stand this drama for too long.

    If you want a reasonable audience and reasonable responses, do the right thing:
    Blog somewhere else. Really, it’s that easy. FTB is bad for your health.

  74. 74
    hjhornbeck

    Miller @65:

    So if any individual claimant is 67% likely to be telling the truth, assuming that witnesses have similar numbers (though I’d think they’d have less reason to lie), what are the chances that, say, 10 people are all lying?

    That depends on the exact scenario. If it’s something like this:

    “I was sexually assaulted.”
    “I witnessed the sexual assault of X.”
    “Me too.”

    Then you’ve got it bang on, the odds of all ten lying are approximately (1 – .67)^10 or exactly the number you give. If you change the scenario to:

    “I was sexually assaulted.”
    “X told me they were sexually assaulted.”
    “Me too.”
    ….

    Then things get more complex. The fairest approach is to repeat the analysis, but with each value replaced with (in turn) the odds of someone truthfully stating they were assaulted; the odds of that person truthfully telling ten people, given they were assaulted; and the odds of that person falsely telling ten people, given they were not assaulted.

    Of course, neither sceniario matches the Shermer case. We’re not considering “did Shermer sexually assault person X” but “did Shermer assault someone?” We also have to consider that one person has managed to convince three named people strongly enough to repeat the claim, even though they faced harassment, death threats, and a least one lawsuit for speaking out. We also have to factor in one of those people stating there are court records and testimony of someone friendly to Shermer claiming Shermer committed sexual assault. We also have to factor in other people claiming behavior consistent with someone who commits serial assault.

    The actual case against Shermer has far greater odds than 67%.

    (Also, I deliberately used a ridiculously high false reporting rate, to be charitable to prodegtion. Swap in a more realistic number, like 0.3%, and the odds shoot up to 97%)

  75. 75
    Onamission5

    Ashley, you make a difference to me. Thank you for doing what you do, frequently thankless as it is, with all the worry it brings.

  76. 76
    prodegtion

    @54: Circular reasoning. “God is unlikely because God is unlikely. Sexual assault is likely because sexual assault is likely”.

  77. 77
    prodegtion

    @55: Then you believe things for the wrong reasons just like the creationists. You ALWAYS need evidence. Scientists demand it of each other, and you should demand it from them.

  78. 78
    prodegtion

    @56: Creationists make literally the exact same argument.

  79. 79
    prodegtion

    @57: Again, circular reasoning just like 54.

  80. 80
    prodegtion

    @58: “the “conviction” is that people who believe those claims should be wary of him. ”

    Even though the claims are false? Sorry, I prefer to give people advice based on what is actually true, not what they believe to be true. Duh.

    Come on. This is pure desperation. Thanks for admitting defeat.

  81. 81
    Ashley F. Miller

    Please provide evidence that the claims are false.

  82. 82
    prodegtion

    @59: Great argument.

  83. 83
    Jason Thibeault

    How, prodegtion, are you *so dead certain* that the claims are all false? I can understand mistrusting the sources, but where do you get the *faith* that he can’t POSSIBLY be even the REMOTEST bit guilty of the things that so many people claim to have experienced at his hands, some of whom have sworn before judges under penalty of perjury that it was so?

    Seriously. “Are false” is not parseable in any other way than that you, somehow, have evidence disproving that he’s ever done even one of the things he’s accused of. Please, present that evidence. What do you know that could clear him? And why are you waiting for your Matlock moment to win the defense case at the 11th hour, instead of presenting it immediately?

  84. 84
    prodegtion

    @61: Yes, that’s my point. Testimony is not SCIENTIFIC evidence.

  85. 85
    Jason Thibeault

    So on the one hand, we have eight-plus people’s testimonial evidence against, and on the other hand, we have… your unwavering devotion?

    Surely, you must know, from fighting with creationists, that faith is not evidence.

  86. 86
    Ashley F. Miller

    Right. But just because something isn’t “scientific” evidence, doesn’t make it not evidence. This semantic game you’re playing is very strange. There is much in this world that is not a scientific experiment. Determining matters of fact, rather than laws or theory, often involves evaluating testimonial evidence and weighing the results to come to a conclusion. Even in hard science, often one must use probabilistic interpretation of data based on conflicting claims.

  87. 87
    prodegtion

    @62: BULLSHIT ALERT! BULLSHIT ALERT! If a person is struck by lightning (or not), they will either tell you, or they won’t – the probability is either 0 or 1.

  88. 88
    prodegtion

    @63: Your desperation is showing again.

  89. 89
    prodegtion

    @67: Again, the probability is not 67%. It’s either 0 or 1. Whether or not they are telling the truth is objective.

  90. 90
    Ashley F. Miller

    @87 They’ve already met the prerequisite of telling you, so the probability of them telling you is 1, as they’ve already done so. The probability that they are lying is what’s in question, not the probability that they’ve told you.

  91. 91
    Jason Thibeault

    Hah, you’re a riot! So in your world, nobody lies about being hit by lightning, but nobody tells the truth about being sexually assaulted. And probabilities are either 0% or 100%. There are no probabilistic determinations to be had, so tomorrow’s weather will either have 100% chance of fire tornadoes, or 0% chance.

    I don’t know why I’m bothering replying. You’re not caught up yet. Perhaps in fifty more email notifications you’ll be done spamming us.

  92. 92
    prodegtion

    @66: That would only be if the events were independent. In general P(A,B,C,D) = P(A)P(B|A)P(C|B,A)P(D|C,B,A). These latter probabilities can be very high.

  93. 93
    prodegtion

    @81: No, YOU are making the claim; the burden of proof is on YOU.

    Some atheist you are.

  94. 94
    prodegtion

    @83: Have you EVER made a comment which WASN’T a strawman?

  95. 95
    Ashley F. Miller

    You are making a positive claim: 10+ people are lying.
    I am making a negative claim: 10+ people are not lying.

  96. 96
    prodegtion

    @86: “just because something isn’t “scientific” evidence, doesn’t make it not evidence”

    Actually it does. That has been my point the whole time.

  97. 97
    prodegtion

    @90: “The probability that they are lying is what’s in question, not the probability that they’ve told you.”

    Yes, and that’s still 0 or 1, depending on whether or not it’s true. Stop trying to hide behind bogus statistics.

  98. 98
    prodegtion

    @91: Yeah I know. Why don’t you just close your ears, like usual.

  99. 99
    prodegtion

    @95: No, that’s not what I claimed, as I have explained countless times. I said there is no evidence that the claims made by these 10 people are true. Do you REALLY not see how that is different from saying “10+ people are lying”?

    YOU are making the POSITIVE claim that the 10 people are TELLING THE TRUTH (not that they are not lying).

  100. 100
    Ashley F. Miller

    No, the reality of whether they are lying or not is a 1 or 0. The probability that they are lying is what’s at question. If we knew the reality of everything, there’d be no call for probability measurements. You seem to be under the impression that it is impossible to make valid truth claims, something which no scientist advocates, as they build upon the work of thousands who came before, whose experiments they don’t have time to replicate. We are constantly living based on our evaluation of the probability of the accuracy of statements by others and on our evaluation of the probability of the accuracy of our own senses. We operate on the assumption that our eyes are giving us accurate information of what is around us, but our eyes are not terribly accurate. This is not to say that there are not absolute truths, only that we can never be absolutely certain of them. Therefore, our approach to understanding the world and functioning within it necessarily operates on probabilistic assumptions.

    We have truth claims here that we must, as there is nothing but claims in one direction or the other, use probabilistic methods to evaluate. If we come to the conclusion that there is a 1/3 chance that Shermer is innocent of a charge, then we must then decide whether that is a high enough threshold to trust the odds.

  101. 101
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Wait a minute.

    Everybody stop.

    prodegtion, how the fuck does this debate have anything to do with science? Who fucking cares what the scientific definition of evidence is?

    If we were debating over the facts of evolution, or the finer points of String Theory, or whether Einstein was right, wrong, or somewhere in between, then the scientific understanding of evidence would be relevant.

    But sexual harassment has FUCK ALL to do with science. This is a CRIMINAL ACT, not a fucking scientific theory.

    I don’t fucking care if the SCIENTIFIC burden of proof has been met. The fucking CRIMINAL burden of proof has been met. The case might actually hold up in a court of law! The evidence provided would indeed be accepted in a court of law and may perhaps even sway a jury!

    Would similar evidence hold up for a scientific theory?

    No. Obviously not.

    But why the fuck does that matter? We aren’t fucking talking about fucking science. When we start talking about science, then you can whine and complain about “SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE!!!!!1!!!!111!!!!!!eleventy!!!!”

    But since we aren’t fucking talking about science, your fucking bleating about scientific evidence is a pointless red herring.

    Will you please realize you aren’t welcome here and shove off already?

  102. 102
    Ashley F. Miller

    You’ve described the claims as “false,” not merely as “unproven,” ergo you have made a probabilistic interpretation of their claims and determined that they are lies.

  103. 103
    Ashley F. Miller

    @NateHevens

    Oh yes, obviously he is well in the wrong on the question of legal claims and criminal evidence and the entire argument is ridiculously off-base. He’s just also perpetrating remarkably bad epistemology.

  104. 104
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    prodegtion is basically the same as those creationist Christians who resort to presuppositionist theology and/or solipsism to “defend” their indefensible beliefs. prodegtion has decided to reject all of observed reality because all observations MUST be flawed and invalid, or else it would be possible to accept that people observed Michael Shermer commit various rapes and sexual assaults. How prodegtion gets to claim a relation to science, which is based on observation, is impossible to determine because it would require observing prodegtion do some thinking and that’s NOT EVIDENCE!!

  105. 105
    Ashley F. Miller

    The comparison to god doesn’t really work as, scientifically, we can only evaluate specific claims. If someone claims that a statue is bleeding, and we’ve got many eyewitnesses, we know that there is at least a convincing illusion that a statue is bleeding. If we are unable to personally examine the miracle, we must then evaluate the odds of the statue bleeding to be able to understand the claim and fit it into our worldview. We know that there’s no physical ability of statues to bleed and there is a lot of evidence of people faking bleeding statues. While, in this case, we do not know for certain whether the statue bleeds or not, we can come to the probabilistic conclusion that it isn’t. In this same way, we must evaluate claims that Shermer sexually harassed or assaulted women. We’ve got many eyewitnesses, we know that there is at least a convincing illusion that Shermer is sexually harassing women. If we are unable to personally examine the behavior, we must then evaluate the odds of a man in power sexually harassing women to be able to understand the claim and fit it into our worldview. We know that there’s a lot of evidence for many men behaving similarly to the accused and a lot of evidence that men deny their bad behavior. While, in this case, we do not know for certain whether Shermer sexually harasses or not, we can come to the probabilistic conclusion that he does

  106. 106
    prodegtion

    @100: You seem to be under the impression that reality is a matter of opinion. That’s why you make up phony probabilities to give credence to your preconceptions.

  107. 107
    prodegtion

    @101: Because I actually care whether or not something is TRUE, and the scientific method is the ONLY method successful in determining whether or not something is TRUE.

  108. 108
    prodegtion

    @103: Feminists diss the scientific method just like the creationists.

  109. 109
    Ashley F. Miller

    @107 Please provide evidence for this claim.

  110. 110
    Ashley F. Miller

    @108 Please provide evidence for this claim.

  111. 111
    prodegtion

    @105: Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You have NOTHING.

  112. 112
    Ashley F. Miller

    @111 Please provide evidence for this claim.

  113. 113
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You have NOTHING.” isn’t actually an argument. It is somewhere between a tantrum and poop-flinging.

  114. 114
    prodegtion

    @109: When was the last time a court of law cured smallpox, or sent a man to the moon, or tripled the human life expectancy?

  115. 115
    prodegtion

    @110: Just read NateHaven’s comment.

  116. 116
    Ashley F. Miller

    @114 This is not evidence, this is a leading question. Please provide evidence to back up your claims.

  117. 117
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Because I actually care whether or not something is TRUE, and the scientific method is the ONLY method successful in determining whether or not something is TRUE.

    So then every court case ever heard in which the defense is found guilty is a sham and every single person in prison, regardless of their innocence or guilt, should be let out of jail and the prisons closed down.

    Great argument.

    And for the record, I don’t actually disagree with you. I’m seriously considering working on a book called “In Defense of Scientism” because of the postmodern claptrap I’ve been hearing in my Cultural Anthropology classes (last semester, a teacher suggested that Voudon is the same as science to those cultures, and this semester, I had a teacher actually call DNA an “abstract cultural construct”; neither teacher was a Christian, and neither teacher believed in a higher power or powers) and the general postermodern movement in Cultural Anthropology in general (I’m majoring in Anthropology and may start studying Evolutionary Psychology because of my interest in fanaticism).

    But this is utterly irrelevant here. Science is the only good method of understanding the natural word and universe. What we’re talking about here is culture and crime. Although the scientific method is very good, if we stuck to following it to the letter, we’d have no fucking justice system to speak of.

    So nice try, but you fail.

  118. 118
    Ashley F. Miller

    @115 The plural of anecdote is not data. Please provide evidence to back up your claims.

  119. 119
    prodegtion

    @112: It couldn’t be more obvious that you are biased towards confirming your beliefs. You have NO evidence Shermer has EVER engaged in sexual harassment.

  120. 120
    Ashley F. Miller

    @119 Please provide evidence to back up your claim.

  121. 121
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    And in “understanding the natural word and universe”, “word”, of course, should be “world”…

  122. 122
    prodegtion

    @117: What, don’t you care whether or not people ACTUALLY COMMITTED THE CRIMES OF WHICH THEY WERE ACCUSED before throwing them in jail?

  123. 123
    hjhornbeck

    prod

    BULLSHIT ALERT! BULLSHIT ALERT! If a person is struck by lightning (or not), they will either tell you, or they won’t – the probability is either 0 or 1.

    OK, let’s set the value to 1. The new probability is (1/1000000) / ((1/1000000) + (1/2000000*999999/1000000)) ~= 67%. A negligible difference.

    Let’s set the value to 0. The math is now 0 / (0 + 1/2000000) = 0. So if we assume people that are struck by lightening never talk about it, then 100% of the people who say they are struck by lightening are liars. That is absurd.

    And, if I may quote myself:

  124. 124
    Ashley F. Miller

    @122 I am growing bored of your tantrums and lack of evidence.

  125. 125
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I think it’s pretty pathetic that you’re under the false impression that court cases follow the scientific method. May I recommend participating in a court case? I think you might find yourself hopelessly frustrated by the LACK of science used in a court case, especially one in which the guilt or innocence of a defendant is being decided.

    The standards of evidence in a criminal trial are not up to scientific standards, since eyewitness testimony and anecdotes make up the full bulk of evidence and, more often than not, it is the anecdotes that ultimately decide the guilt or innocence of a defendant, since the existence of video, audio, and/or pictures are very, very rare.

  126. 126
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    My post at 125 is directed to prodegtion at 122…

  127. 127
    hjhornbeck

    If it were true that testimony is not evidence, your beef wouldn’t be with my numbers, but my method.

    I can’t help but note you took issue with the numbers, not the method.

  128. 128
    tajparis

    Oh, joy. Another cargo cult sceptic. Sometimes I wonder if that is what the entire Shermer fanbase consists of.

  129. 129
    hjhornbeck

    Miller @124:

    I only request that you deploy your banhammer with flair.

    [gets out the popcorn and 3D glasses]

  130. 130
    Ashley F. Miller

    What I find really interesting about this is that having experienced something for yourself shouldn’t qualify as evidence that something happened per this worldview. In other words, if I was harassed by Shermer, it wouldn’t qualify as evidence even to myself. There must be some non-experiential something to prove it.

  131. 131
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Ashley @130

    I noticed that prodegtion never did address my post, although they addressed all the posts around it. I made the point that empiricism depends of observation, and for someone to reject all observation as inherently worthless is to take a essentially solipsistic or presuppositional view. It is claiming that all reports are inherently worthless, and therefore all views are equally valid or useless based on whatever assumptions you make. Since prodegtion assumes that Michael Shermer is his Jesus figure and inherently flawless, it follows that all negative claims against him are worthless. I’m sure that prodegtion also believes that any negative claims against the enemies of Shermer-Christ must be true by default because anyone who would criticize the Skeptic Messiah must be of the DEVIL!

  132. 132
    Kamilah Harris

    Glad you posted this because I had a recent spat with some fellow Black Atheist/Non-Theist folks on Twitter who parade themselves around as “Interfaith Atheist” people and they got mad at me for calling them out on it. They, themselves, don’t even know what “Interfaith” is but they are participating in “Interfaith dialogues & work.” They tried to recruit me, a Black Atheist-Humanist and make me think like them based on “belief” and not evidence/proof. I was not having it. I’m still not having it. We are fine just being Atheists who do social justice work as Atheists. I don’t want to be a part of Interfaith. They can have it.

  133. 133
    dalehusband

    You really find that bastard prodegtion amusing, don’t you, Ashley? :)

  134. 134
    hjhornbeck

    Miller @130:

    What I find really interesting about this is that having experienced something for yourself shouldn’t qualify as evidence that something happened per this worldview.

    Cool, that means prodegtion can’t even prove Freethought Blogs exists!

  135. 135
    Ashley F. Miller

    Upon the evidence, if it can be called that, as provided in this comments section and the end of my own ability to feign interest in bad arguments in an attempt to strengthen my own, I’m afraid my very rarely used banhammer has been called into action. Well, my put it into moderation and I’ll decide if it’s not trolling hammer.

    I very rarely feel the need to do this to people, usually only spammers or those who offer threats. But I honestly had no intention of this post being about Michael Shermer and, while I certainly participated in the derailment, I just can’t stomach any more. Because of my own experiences with him, which I have firm intentions of not talking about publicly, I find this specific topic very uncomfortable. I have no problem with the non-trolls talking about him, but the rabid defense makes me a little nauseous after a while.

    Fair warning, anything with “prodegtion” gets put in moderation.

  136. 136
    hjhornbeck

    [puts away the 3D glasses, dejected]

    More seriously though, Miller, you too aren’t alone. I’ve said it before, and I’m well pass due to say it again: if anyone reading this wants to help Miller, or Zvan, or Benson, or Myers, or anyone else, one of the best ways is to become active yourself. The trolls only have a finite amount of time, so the more people stand up and support the social justice side, the less garbage gets dumped on your favorite bloggers, and the lower the average garbage level per head. You can also help take up any slack, allowing these bloggers some time away to recharge if they need it.

    Stand up, and support them.

  137. 137
    Edward Gemmer

    The biggest issue is that all the claims are bathed in things that trigger the skeptic spidey sense. Anonymity, half-truths, references to “Facts” that can’t be independently corroborated, etc. There may be good reasons to do that, but it is tough to make a convincing case about something to people who pride themselves on seeking the truth when you don’t give the whole truth.

  138. 138
    Dexeron

    I don’t know what’s sadder: the possibility that prodegtion is just a troll and really has nothing better to do than to be such a gigantic ass, or the possibility that prodegtion is actually sincere, but has so little self-awareness that it can’t see what a terrible face it’s putting on “skepticism” – especially in light of the just plain misplaced (and infantile) arguments its trying to apply to specific truth claims.

    Either way, thank you Ashley, for everything you do. You have a heck or a lot more patience than I would dealing with these kinds of creeps.

  139. 139
    A Hermit

    Just when I’m wondering why I spend any tome at all commenting on this stuff i see a post like this one which reminds me that it’s important to let the people dealing with this shit know that they are being heard and there are people who support them. I’m not anyone important in this movement, but then neither is someone like the Prodegtion troll. If they can find time to tear people down I should be able to make time to help build them up.

    And I like ukelele videos…

  140. 140
    maddog1129

    You are all braver than I am.

  141. 141
    Raging Bee

    Ashley, if you don’t like dealing with moronic trolls every time you post about something important to you, then don’t deal with them — just ban them. It’s no different from blocking obscene phone calls, locking your front door, keeping idiots out of serious discussion forums, or not inviting obnoxious unruly drunks to your parties. No apology or explanation is necessary in either case; it’s not like we’ve never seen hateful babyish comments on a blog before. We already know, being grownups and all, that you get worthwhile discussion forums by including good participants and excluding bad ones.

  142. 142
    Raging Bee

    “THINGS that trigger THE skeptic spidey sense?” Wow, what a concise scientific explanation. That clears things up so much…

  143. 143
    Flewellyn

    Oh look, just when one slymepitter gets kicked out, another one shows up.

    I mean Edward Gemmer, of course.

    *sighs* Ashley, your patience is vastly greater than mine would be under similar circumstances.

  144. 144
    he11cat81

    @prodegtion – wow, since when did observation of behaviour not count as scientific evidence?

    From oxford dictionary:

    Definition of science in English
    science
    noun
    [mass noun]
    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through OBSERVATION and experiment:

    In fact, the entire DEFINITION of science is observation of behaviour! Really doesn’t get any more basic than that. I have had it to the back teeth seeing actual science so badly represented by fucking hyperskeptics.

  145. 145
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @137:

    Anonymity, half-truths, references to “Facts” that can’t be independently corroborated, etc. There may be good reasons to do that, but it is tough to make a convincing case about something to people who pride themselves on seeking the truth when you don’t give the whole truth.

    As skeptics, we never deal with the whole truth. You don’t “see” light or “feel” the weight of your limbs, your senses pipe the sensation of sight and feel into your brain. Your senses are also prone to error and misfirings, so every sensation is uncertain. For every moment of your consciousness, you are dealing with uncertain, second-hand information.

    I’ve already demonstrated how to handle that. Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

  146. 146
    Anthony K

    Peer-reviewed journal articles, a staple component of the modern scientific process, are testimony. “We studied 1,800 patients who presented with…” “We applied chemical X to seventeen plants”

    If we never accepted testimony as any kind of evidence whatsoever, we’d never be able to cite anything.

  147. 147
    skepticallydenpa

    I don’t know when Prodegtion got banned from Pharyngula, but here’s the article that lead to xir banning on Brute Reason(Ctrl+F to follow xir shitty arguments or just skip to comment 8.1 to see the comment that brought the hammer down, {and yes, it was in defense of child rape}) *Trigger Warning(sexual assault, statutory rape)*

  148. 148
    Edward Gemmer

    I’ve already demonstrated how to handle that. Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

    Well of course the methodology is faulty. You can pluck numbers and probabilities out of the air, but that doesn’t really help you arrive to any sort of conclusion that passes even rudimentary criticism. I’m not seeing how you are doing anything but picking numbers out of a hat.

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. Where? Can’t say. Who? Can’t say. No reasonable person could possibly evaluate that claim on its own merits, and instead has to rely on whomever is speaking, and the person’s credibility will clearly be different depending on who is listening.

    Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath. Can I read these? No. Why were they testifying? I don’t know. WTF? A half-truth doesn’t mean what’s being said isn’t true, it just means you aren’t getting the whole story. There is no time in this Michael Shermer escapade that I feel like anyone is giving me the whole story as objectively as they can. I say that as someone who knows next to nothing about Shermer and doesn’t really care about him except to the extent that it’s being claimed that he rapes women and is a member of a community I somewhat care about.

  149. 149
    JesseW, the Juggling Janitor

    Just adding to the chorus of — Ashley, you matter to us / thank you for the work.

    Also wanted to call out Schlumbumbi @73 — nice little indirect threat, there: “Blog somewhere else. Really, it’s that easy. FTB is bad for your health.” says one of the people threatening and harassing bloggers (including Ashley) at FtB.

    Ashley — it is good work what you are doing. Please continue, and be aware that you are targeted *because* you are effective. And if you choose not to continue, that is OK too.

  150. 150
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    Well of course the methodology is faulty. You can pluck numbers and probabilities out of the air, but that doesn’t really help you arrive to any sort of conclusion that passes even rudimentary criticism.

    That’s criticizing my numbers, not my methodology. What unjustified step do I take with my logic?

    No reasonable person could possibly evaluate that claim on its own merits, and instead has to rely on whomever is speaking, and the person’s credibility will clearly be different depending on who is listening.

    Of course. But what’s the credibility of Carrie Poppy? Pamela Gay? Brian Thompson? Barbera Drescher? None of those four are connected with Myers or anyone from Freethought Blogs/SkepChick, yet each of them have confirmed some of the tale. All four are well-known in the skeptic community, and have reputations which could be ruined by lying. All four have a strong disincentive to propagate falsehoods, for that reason. Why do you dismiss their words?

    You’re also ignoring the multiplicity of evidence. If one person were saying something, you’d have good reason to be skeptical. But multiple, independent people coming forward over the course of a year? They’d have to be pretty damn unreliable to be ignored.

    People saw it, and even testified under oath. Can I read these? No. Why were they testifying? I don’t know.

    Uh, you do realize that why someone was testifying doesn’t erase the fact that they believe what they testify to, under threat of perjury? And weren’t you paying attention to the armchair lawyers? Truth is an absolute defense against libel. If what Carrie Poppy said was false, all Groethe would have to do is say “produce the court records” and he’d have a slam-dunk of a case. So why isn’t he so much as threatening taking her to court? He’s done that for far less.

    There is no time in this Michael Shermer escapade that I feel like anyone is giving me the whole story as objectively as they can.

    Welcome to reality, as my last comment pointed out. What matters is not that you get the absolute whole story, what matters is if the pieces you get are sufficient to justify belief in a hypothesis. Smoking guns are rare, so why are you insisting on one?

  151. 151
    A Hermit

    There is no time in this Michael Shermer escapade that I feel like anyone is giving me the whole story

    Even if e were entitled to it (and I’m not sure we are in a case like this) we’re never going to have perfect information Edward. The trick is to use or reasoning skills to figure out what’s more likely to be true. Seems to me that the likelihood that all of the people telling us about Shermer’s sexual misconduct are lying is quite a bit smaller than the likelihood that the man has a problem respecting other people’s boundaries. We don’t need perfect knowledge of all the details to reach that kind of conclusion.

  152. 152
    Edward Gemmer

    What unjustified step do I take with my logic?

    Because your conclusions are based on the numbers. Obviously, any statement anywhere has some probability to be true and some to be false. Determining that is the entire goal. Picking numbers out of a hat doesn’t give you a real answer, it just gives you the illusion of an answer.

    But what’s the credibility of Carrie Poppy? Pamela Gay? Brian Thompson? Barbera Drescher?

    I don’t know. I don’t know any of these people nor do I have much idea what they have to say about the subject. I think Pamela Gay’s article was about Shermer, but then, she doesn’t say, so I could be wrong. Either way, I have no idea what her credibility is like.

    Truth is an absolute defense against libel. If what Carrie Poppy said was false, all Groethe would have to do is say “produce the court records” and he’d have a slam-dunk of a case. So why isn’t he so much as threatening taking her to court?

    But this is where things go awry. I have no idea what DJ Grothe would or wouldn’t do. I do know that if records exist, no one is trying to show them. Do they have something to hide? I don’t know. “Something happened” is not a convincing case. I don’t understand why people, apparently those involved, are not willing to just say what happened, without dressing it up in emotion and appeals to emotion and trying to paint someone else as a horrible monster. You have to do loads of detective work just to try and figure out what is going, because the people who claim to care soooooooooooo much about it aren’t being forward with the facts. This is a good way to cause a lot of division and a poor way to convince others of your cause.

    Smoking guns are rare, so why are you insisting on one?

    Smoking guns are a reference to a convincing piece of physical evidence so that you don’t have to do work to find the answer. Getting people to talk objectively about the facts is not a smoking gun – really, it’s the least amount we can expect from people who claim to care about something.

    Smoking guns are rare, so why are you insisting on one?

    I agree! But before I can evaluate claims, I have to figure out what the claims are in the first place.

  153. 153
    Thomas L McGrath

    Add me to the list of people who enjoy your blog and admire you for being outspoken about matters that you are passionate about. Well, also, it helps that the matters you are outspoken about are things that I consider to be good and important. If you were outspoken about why there should be more neck moles in the world, it might be a different matter, but thankfully, you don’t seem to be passionate about that. Yet.

  154. 154
    Raging Bee

    I’m not seeing how you are doing anything but picking numbers out of a hat.

    That’s because you’re not really looking, or listening.

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. Where? Can’t say. Who? Can’t say. No reasonable person could possibly evaluate that claim on its own merits, and instead has to rely on whomever is speaking, and the person’s credibility will clearly be different depending on who is listening.

    Actually, a lot of people closer to the situation than Gemmer (and demonstrably more honest and informed than Gemmer) CAN say. And yes, there’s plenty of reliable information that “reasonable people” can, and have, evaluated. Just because a gaggle of idiots like Gemmer can’t keep up, doesn’t mean no one has gone anywhere.

    There are few things sillier or more irritating than a blind idiot who won’t stop telling more intelligent people than himself what we can or cannot say.

  155. 155
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @151:

    Because your conclusions are based on the numbers.

    You miss the point. My goal was merely to outline the process used to come to a conclusion; if you disagreed with the resulting conclusion, that’s cool! You can always use the same process but plug in your own numbers, and come to your own conclusions. I just wanted to put that baseline in place.

    I don’t know. I don’t know any of these people nor do I have much idea what they have to say about the subject.

    You’re arguing from ignorance; you don’t know the credibility of these people, yet you assume they have no credibility and deny their claims. If you truly are ignorant, why not conditionally accept what people more knowledgeable than you have to say?

    Getting people to talk objectively about the facts is not a smoking gun – really, it’s the least amount we can expect from people who claim to care about something.

    So you think seven independent people are lying? You dismiss the claims of Dallas Haugh completely?

    Note the lack of elaborate conditionals there. This is because 1) the prior probabilities are not in his favor, and 2) I am fairly certain that Michael Shermer had nonconsensual sex with me. I don’t really wish to elaborate on the details (I am already feeling pretty sick writing this, and yet again, the evidence wouldn’t be enough), but I can confirm it involved the tactics already stated.

    Edward Gemmer @151:

    But before I can evaluate claims, I have to figure out what the claims are in the first place.

    You might want to talk to Edward Gemmer about that, he seems to know:

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...]
    Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

  156. 156
    Edward Gemmer

    Actually, a lot of people closer to the situation than Gemmer (and demonstrably more honest and informed than Gemmer) CAN say. And yes, there’s plenty of reliable information that “reasonable people” can, and have, evaluated. Just because a gaggle of idiots like Gemmer can’t keep up, doesn’t mean no one has gone anywhere.

    There are few things sillier or more irritating than a blind idiot who won’t stop telling more intelligent people than himself what we can or cannot say.

    I think that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment. Whenever you start calling someone an asshole for wanting information about your cause, you do your cause a disservice.

    You miss the point. My goal was merely to outline the process used to come to a conclusion; if you disagreed with the resulting conclusion, that’s cool! You can always use the same process but plug in your own numbers, and come to your own conclusions. I just wanted to put that baseline in place.

    I can’t plug in any numbers because I’m still very confused about what is being alleged in the first place. I don’t know if it’s everyone’s urge to be a creative writer or what, but it seems like a simple synopsis of the who, where, what, and when is like kryptonite. Vague references or allegations aren’t convincing, nor should they be convincing. I think we want people to act on facts.

    You’re arguing from ignorance; you don’t know the credibility of these people, yet you assume they have no credibility and deny their claims. If you truly are ignorant, why not conditionally accept what people more knowledgeable than you have to say?

    Because that is b.s. If I were to just take someone else’s word on it, why would I ever question anything. Priests are certainly more knowledgeable about God than I am. I guess I can’t question them, either. I’m not denying anything – all of the claims could be perfectly true. My frustration is because people seem more interested in making vague claims then calling everyone names instead of ascertaining what happened and what we can do about it. For example, maybe Shermer shouldn’t be invited back to anything, anywhere. Maybe he should be in prison. However, to do that based on vague assertions is completely unfair.

    So you think seven independent people are lying?

    No. I haven’t said anyone is lying. I’m just saying for me, I can’t take claims seriously until they have enough facts surrounding them that I can at least understand what the claim is. This “well three or five or eight or a million people all say the same thing” is not the standard. Lots of people claim lots of things that aren’t true.

    You dismiss the claims of Dallas Haugh completely?

    I don’t dismiss them, but again they are so vague and devoid of detail that it is impossible to simply accept them as truth. Based on what? It’s printed on the internet and therefore I should believe it?

    You might want to talk to Edward Gemmer about that, he seems to know:

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...]
    Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    But again, I’m just guessing here. When you have to guess to just get to what is alleged, it’s an uphill battle for credibility.

  157. 157
    Jackie the wacky

    All these “hyperskeptics” care about is that no woman (or even women) ever be believed if she is harassed, assaulted or raped. They have no interest in the truth. They just want to muddy the waters.

  158. 158
    ysoldeangelique

    @37

    Of course, you probably know this, and don’t care, and are simply trying to muddy the waters with a bunch of nonsense that uses the right skeptical-sounding words, while not actually following the principles.

    This is an utterly hilarious statement coming from a Known Liar. How many suitably skeptical-sounding words do you use when treating people like shit and lying about them Flewellyn?

  159. 159
    Jackie the wacky

    I wonder why we never hear these hyperskeptics defend the Catholic Church. After all, we have no scientific evidence that child molestation is rampant within their church.

  160. 160
    Anthony K

    I think that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment. Whenever you start calling someone an asshole for wanting information about your cause, you do your cause a disservice.

    “Why won’t you be nicer to me for just asking questions about how we can be sure those lying bitches aren’t lying? How does stopping sexual harassment benefit my feelings?”

    Also, “that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment” is a claim, and one that requires supporting evidence. Studies, peer-review, literature searches, etc.

  161. 161
    A Hermit

    Shorter Edward Gemmer…“Please do my homework for me!”

  162. 162
    Anthony K

    “Please do my homework for me!”

    It’s a comfortable schtick for some. See the comments on this thread.

  163. 163
    Edward Gemmer

    <i..Shorter Edward Gemmer…“Please do my homework for me!”</I.

    Again, insulting people who want to help you means you are the problem. Why would Ashley Miller be frustrated with responses? Perhaps because there is an overwhelming sense of derision towards anyone even remotely interested in the issue. I am genuinely interested in this, but it's impossible to defend these claims when it is an uphill battle to just figure out what the claims are.

  164. 164
    Jason Thibeault

    How could someone “genuinely interested” in this stuff be asking the same class of questions — questions I know you’ve had answered for you, Edward — something like two YEARS down the road? I’m sure I’ve seen you about, trolling feminists and pretending to be the voice of reason, for that long.

  165. 165
    Anthony K

    Again, insulting people who want to help you means you are the problem.

    What’s the evidence that Edward Gemmer wants to help? Edward Gemmer’s say so?

  166. 166
    Anthony K

    Jason, check the link in 161. That’s Edward Gemmer, playing the same game, 8 months ago.

    Right down to the complaint about being minimised and derided for just asking questions (or playing “Devil’s Advocate” in that case.)

  167. 167
    Jason Thibeault

    Ahahaha! Well, okay, that’s at least eight months back. If you haven’t learned these things in eight months, despite the questions being answered every time you bring them up, then you’re an exceptionally slow learner.

    Do everyone a favour and stow your indignation at being called on your being unwilling to learn or do your own homework. Even when others DO do that homework for you, you’ve proven you’re unwilling to even put your name on top and hand it in to the teacher as-is.

  168. 168
    Edward Gemmer

    How could someone “genuinely interested” in this stuff be asking the same class of questions — questions I know you’ve had answered for you, Edward — something like two YEARS down the road? I’m sure I’ve seen you about, trolling feminists and pretending to be the voice of reason, for that long.

    Your memory is a bit faulty, because I only ever discovered these websites when my younger daughter was born and I had some time off from work. She is less than 11 months old. Also, I’m not sure how I could be asking the same questions about a subject that is less than a couple months old.

    However, more importantly, there is this:

    Right down to the complaint about being minimised and derided for just asking questions (or playing “Devil’s Advocate” in that case.)

    Ahahaha! Well, okay, that’s at least eight months back. If you haven’t learned these things in eight months, despite the questions being answered every time you bring them up, then you’re an exceptionally slow learner.

    Do everyone a favour and stow your indignation at being called on your being unwilling to learn or do your own homework. Even when others DO do that homework for you, you’ve proven you’re unwilling to even put your name on top and hand it in to the teacher as-is.

    Really, it would be surprising to learn that some people think that concepts like “asking questions” are important and to be valued. There is a thing called the Socratic method, which dates back to well, Socrates, and is a valued method of learning, which is why it is still employed today. Of course, I suppose law schools are not safe spaces, because people are expected to ask questions and defend their positions. I can’t imagine anything more sexist that saying women shouldn’t be asked questions or expected to explain their positions. Absurd. And yes, I haven’t heard anything in eight months that even remotely makes me think women are so inferior that asking them questions is a bad thing. I doubt I ever will, but feel free to convince me.

  169. 169
    Anthony K

    Really, it would be surprising to learn that some people think that concepts like “asking questions” are important and to be valued.

    I asked you one in comment 164 and you ignored it. That’s one way we know you’re completely full of shit.

    There is a thing called the Socratic method, which dates back to well, Socrates, and is a valued method of learning, which is why it is still employed today.

    You think you’re Socrates? Is it because you’re drinking hemlock as you write? Because it sure as shit ain’t because you’re a thoughtful or intelligent man.

    Of course, I suppose law schools are not safe spaces, because people are expected to ask questions and defend their positions.

    They most certainly are not, but again you demonstrate that in all your questioning, you’ve never bothered to attempt to learn what is meant by a safe space. See, the other part of ‘asking questions’ is actually listening to the responses, which you clearly do not do.

    I can’t imagine anything more sexist that saying women shouldn’t be asked questions or expected to explain their positions.

    That’s actually not an argument that anyone is proffering but you. Again, if you’ve been listening to the answers to your questions, you’d fucking know this.

    Absurd. And yes, I haven’t heard anything in eight months that even remotely makes me think women are so inferior that asking them questions is a bad thing. I doubt I ever will, but feel free to convince me.

    Jesus fuck but you’re a despicable liar. No one is making this claim, and if you’ve been listening to the answers to your questions, you’d fucking know this.

    I’d ask if you were always this dishonest, but I know you. I’ve seen you around. This is how your twisted little mind works.

    So, care to answer my question, asshole? You wrote:

    Again, insulting people who want to help you means you are the problem.

    And I asked “What’s the evidence that Edward Gemmer wants to help? Edward Gemmer’s say so?”

  170. 170
    Anthony K

    Also in 159, I wrote this:

    Also, “that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment” is a claim, and one that requires supporting evidence. Studies, peer-review, literature searches, etc.

    So what’s your evidence for this claim?

  171. 171
    Jackie the wacky

    Ed,
    If this is you helping: Don’t.
    You’ll do us a favor by staying the fuck away.
    Not that I believe for one second that you are here in good faith.

  172. 172
    Edward Gemmer

    So what’s your evidence for this claim?

    Well there is this post, where someone is quite frustrated with responses to the claims. There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing. Further, there is clearly a lot of resistance to these claims, which either means they are false and useless or true and not being spread effectively. You tell me which.

    If this is you helping: Don’t.
    You’ll do us a favor by staying the fuck away.
    Not that I believe for one second that you are here in good faith.

    Again, I don’t understand this. The appropriate response to “what happened” is to say what happened, not to bemoan the fact that someone wants to know more information.

  173. 173
    Anthony K

    Well there is this post, where someone is quite frustrated with responses to the claims. There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing. Further, there is clearly a lot of resistance to these claims, which either means they are false and useless or true and not being spread effectively. You tell me which.

    And you fancy yourself a student of Socrates?

    If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    If those claims are true, then it indicates the problem is real. Growing, not necessarily. C’mon, don’t be so fucking sloppy.

    Further, there is clearly a lot of resistance to these claims which either means they are false and useless or true and not being spread effectively.

    There are all sorts of other plausible and possible reasons for resistance which are not either of your little dichotomy. Again, don’t be so sloppy.

    What you completely elided, of course, because you know nothing of the Socratic method, is that your original claim includes a causal agent: namely, some sort of ‘attitude’.

    Here, I’ll repost your words again:

    I think that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment. Whenever you start calling someone an asshole for wanting information about your cause, you do your cause a disservice.

    That’s your original claim (and coincidentally, the exact one the religious moderates and atheist accomodationists use). You claim the resistance is because of the attitude. You claim it right there.

    Now, are you able to provide actual evidence for this claim?

    And relatedly, I asked you a second set of questions:

    Again, insulting people who want to help you means you are the problem.

    And I asked “What’s the evidence that Edward Gemmer wants to help? Edward Gemmer’s say so?”

    I challenge that, because the second component of the sentence (“you are the problem”) requires the first part to be true (“Edward Gemmer wants to help”).

    So, y’know, evidence man. You got some, or are you just going to continue with your hypothesis that name-checking Socrates will cause your opponents to fall over in a swoon?

  174. 174
    Anthony K

    So, where the fuck has Plato gone? He doesn’t like questions all of a sudden? I’m teaching the guy how to unpack his own claims and he bolts?

    Must have a late night class at law school.

  175. 175
    hjhornbeck

    Apologies for not joining in, but I’ve been too busy laughing.

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...] Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    Edward Gemmer @151:

    But before I can evaluate claims, I have to figure out what the claims are in the first place.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    I can’t plug in any numbers because I’m still very confused about what is being alleged in the first place.

    Edward Gemmer @171:

    There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    No. I haven’t said anyone is lying.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    This “well three or five or eight or a million people all say the same thing” is not the standard. Lots of people claim lots of things that aren’t true.

    The biggest thread to Edward Gemmer’

  176. 176
    hjhornbeck

    Dang. Mulligan?

    ….

    Apologies for not joining in, but I’ve been too busy laughing.

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...] Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    Edward Gemmer @151:

    But before I can evaluate claims, I have to figure out what the claims are in the first place.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    I can’t plug in any numbers because I’m still very confused about what is being alleged in the first place.

    Edward Gemmer @171:

    There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    No. I haven’t said anyone is lying.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    This “well three or five or eight or a million people all say the same thing” is not the standard. Lots of people claim lots of things that aren’t true.

    The biggest thread to Edward Gemmer’s arguments is Edward Gemmer.

  177. 177
    hjhornbeck

    hjhornbeck @154:

    You miss the point. My goal was merely to outline the process used to come to a conclusion; if you disagreed with the resulting conclusion, that’s cool! You can always use the same process but plug in your own numbers, and come to your own conclusions. I just wanted to put that baseline in place.

    Edward Gemmer @155:

    I can’t plug in any numbers because I’m still very confused about what is being alleged in the first place.

    You miss the point. My goal was merely to outline the process used… to….

    Sorry, had a moment of deja-vu there.

    I don’t know if it’s everyone’s urge to be a creative writer or what, but it seems like a simple synopsis of the who, where, what, and when is like kryptonite.

    Yeah, it’s shocking that no-one ever assembled an index page of claims three months ago, and a quick Google reveals no posts covering the claims made.

    Yep, vague claims.

    Note the lack of elaborate conditionals there. This is because 1) the prior probabilities are not in his favor, and 2) I am fairly certain that Michael Shermer had nonconsensual sex with me. I don’t really wish to elaborate on the details (I am already feeling pretty sick writing this, and yet again, the evidence wouldn’t be enough), but I can confirm it involved the tactics already stated.

    Very vague.

    Michael Shermer is the worst offender I’ve heard of and experienced personally, just to name a name. That said, I don’t want to be Monica Lewinskied and be known as the girl who is only a sexual victim rather than a person with useful thoughts on other things. He’s the one with the reputation of trying to sleep with a new to the movement young woman every TAM, and that’s hardly the worst about him.

    Completely vague.

    I know enough women who have been harassed by @BTRadford and @michaelshermer to know it’s not “gossip”. These men are garbage people.

    Absolutely vague.

    I know two women who have been generally creeped at by [Shermer], one woman who was groped by him.

    Incredibly vague.

    At a conference, Mr. Shermer coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me. I can’t give more details than that, as it would reveal my identity, and I am very scared that he will come after me in some way.

    Hauntingly vague.

    Either a) I’ve met this woman [from my last quote - HJH] or b) two women had similar experiences. Please take this seriously. If victims come forward, please support them.

    Ridiculously vague.

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations. She has confirmed this, since. D.J. continued to invite that speaker to TAM in subsequent years. D.J. has stated this much over and over. So please, do feel free to ask him yourselves.

    Massively vague.

    D.J. told me the same thing. He’s told several people he witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker, though this didn’t occur at TAM. The woman in question has chosen not to speak publicly about it, presumably so it won’t become the focus of her professional life. I don’t blame her. And I have every reason to believe that people in charge of both CFI and Dragon*Con’s Skeptrack are aware of the same incident. I didn’t see it, so I don’t know if it happened. D.J. certainly believes it happened, though, and so do others who have chosen to invite Shermer to events anyway. You’d have to ask them why they continue to do so.

    Overwhelmingly vague.

    I learned that a witnesses to an event that occurred in 2008 is discussing that event and naming names. During the event in question, a man in power who I’d previously never met made a lunge at my breasts.

    There are just so many vague claims out there, with no names attached. If only some process existed that could turn a lot of small, fuzzy claims into the equivalent of one high-quality claim.

    If only…

  178. 178
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ashley:
    So sorry this thread has taken a slymey detour. The frustration in your OP is palpable. Dealing with the internet atheist assholes can become quite tiresome. After months on end reading their pseudoskeptical comments, I was sick of seeing the same nyms asking the same questions demanding the same quality of evidence as a court of law and always, always with reference to claims of sexual assault and harassment.

    I have not seen their pseudoskepticism applied to any other claim. Claims of divine entities are met by the Pitstains with the appropriate demands for evidence–but that is warranted. Claims of gods existing or homeopathy working are extraordinary claims. They demand extraordinary evidence.

    Where the Edward Gemmers of the atheist community go wrong (lets leave aside their lack of empathy) is their continued refusal to accept that claims of sexual harassment and assault are–sadly–mundane. They are mundane bc they occur all the time. Women are routinely harassed and assaulted. Every fucking day.

    Yet the Gemmers of the world demand the same level of evidence for rape claims as they do for claims of God. Somehow they cannot see that the latter is a claim lacking any evidence and the former is backed by mountains of evidence.

    In the time I have embraced feminism and social justice (shortly after Thunderf00l’s debut at FtB), I have seen the same types of questions, “logic”, and demands for evidence from these fools. Only when sexual harassment or rape topics are discussed. The Grenade thread at Pharyngula should not have been 4,000+ comments, but for pseudoskeptical douchemaggots like the Pitters.

    They add nothing to a discussion.
    They divert a comments section.
    They ignore evidence.
    They lack empathy.
    You could have a more engaging debate with a brick wall than those assclams.
    Years after first reading anything by them, you will still see the same inept arguments.
    I am glad PZ has an Insta-ban policy in place for them.
    I think such a ban (or even moderation)-despite the howls of free speech it would engender-should be strongly considered by more bloggers.
    Perhaps that would make blogging more enjoyable for you?

  179. 179
    Edward Gemmer

    There are just so many vague claims out there, with no names attached. If only some process existed that could turn a lot of small, fuzzy claims into the equivalent of one high-quality claim.

    Right!!! I know you are being sarcastic, but there is actually a procedure, and it is to ask questions and find the answers. If you demonize asking questions and refuse to give answers, you squelch the whole process. There is nothing to defend but the vague claims you mention – something happened but I can’t give details, so and so told me such and such but I don’t know what happened. It’s more “I don’t know” or “I can’t tell you” than “This is what happened.”

    When people can’t (or won’t) provide supporting details, it raises suspicion. Detectives make their living investigating cases, which means finding evidence and understanding details. A case may exist without much evidence, especially a rape case, but even when additional evidence can’t be found, we can at least point to factors that explain that. I can’t point to a factor that explains why all the claims here are so vague and unconvincing. I don’t understand why people refuse to bolster their own claims. It’s not making sense to me, which makes me suspicious. That doesn’t mean the claims are wrong, but that I can’t defend them because I don’t have enough facts to defend them.

    Yet the Gemmers of the world demand the same level of evidence for rape claims as they do for claims of God. Somehow they cannot see that the latter is a claim lacking any evidence and the former is backed by mountains of evidence.

    Nope. The issue isn’t my refusal to accept claims – I borderline want to accept the claims. However, to make a cogent case for these claims that doesn’t rely on bogus math and magic numbers, I need some more details, or at least understand why the details aren’t being made public. We all have standards, and I understand “someone has made a claim and therefore I believe it” is one standard. It is not the only standard. We have entire departments in place to bolster rape and sexual assault claims. All of them involve asking questions and getting details, because this is what makes a sexual assault claim more plausible in front of a judge or jury. I understand we aren’t gong to the police on this, but that is besides the point. Making claims more plausible is a good cause, not an enemy of victims or women.

  180. 180
    A Hermit

    I didn’t insult you Edward, I made a pithy observation about the quality of your comments here.

    The real insult is your condescending assumption that any of us need your help to learn how to think about things, you pretentious, jumped up little poser.

    (That last bit was an insult, and a well deserved one too…)

  181. 181
    kacyray

    Ashley,

    I have no stake in the game irt Shermer, prodegtion, or anything like that. But in regards to your actual post…

    I concur that the vitriol in the atheist community is startling, but I’m seeing it from the other side. What disturbs me most is the quickness with which dissenters are vilified and silenced by many of the more sensitive feminists on this network, the tacit endorsement of such behavior by those who are a bit more resilient (such as yourself), and the tribal culture which accompanies the entire scene.

    Take Thiebault for example. That dude censored me from commenting on his site because I wrote a comment explaining how cowardly it is to censor people for expressing dissenting ideas. I guess he didn’t want to be left out. Oh well… I guess we see what he’s made of.

    Yet I routinely dialogue with theists and right-winger/tea-party types who have no problem hearing ideas that run contrary to their own. Of course, they rush to defend their ideas, and they usually fail miserably in the process, but I have a hell of a lot more respect for people who face their opponents in the arena than I do for people who lock the arena doors to everyone except their own teammates.

    You should never ever be the target of death threats, rape threats, or any kind of threats. I’d love for there to be a whole separate internet where civility was enforced – sort of an alternate cyber-universe where people had to treat their virtual associates no different than they treat the folks they know in meat space. I don’t endorse anyone being harassed, harangued, insulted, disrespected, or personally attacked. There’s just no need for that sort of behavior.

    But that does NOT excuse the cowardice and tribalism that I see here at FTB – a place that had the potential to be a fantastic network.

  182. 182
    kacyray

    P.S. Of course testimony qualifies as evidence, as Wikipedia explains. This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone dispute that.

  183. 183
    Anthony K

    Hey Edward “Plato” Gemmer.

    Why won’t you answer those questions you claim to love so much? I’ve given you several.

  184. 184
    Raging Bee

    If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    No, little man, the reality of a problem is not at all dependant on one ignorant outsider’s willingness to believe what he’s heard.

    Also, I’m not sure how I could be asking the same questions about a subject that is less than a couple months old.

    First, this “subject” is more than TWO YEARS old. And second, your incessant trolling proves you’ve been following the very blogs that have given detailed answers to your questions long ago — including timetables and even a few names. The fact that you’re still asking the same questions that have already been answered on the very blogs in which you ask them, proves you don’t give a shit about getting answers. Your behavior is so transparent and predictable we have a name for it: “JAQing off.” Look it up on Wikipedia. We know what you’re doing, we know you’re not trying to help, and we know you’ll never be our “ally” no matter how much attention we give you. So fuck off to bed and quit pretending you’re important.

  185. 185
    Raging Bee

    When people can’t (or won’t) provide supporting details, it raises suspicion.

    When droning assholes like you IGNORE the details that have been provided, while pretending no details have been provided, it raises contempt.

  186. 186
    Raging Bee

    Ashley, for what my opinion is worth, I think Gemmer is another useless troll you can ban without losing anything worth keeping. He’s been making the same droning objections and fake-skeptical pompous crap for a long time, and even after repeated painstaking correction, there’s no hint his talking-points will ever change.

  187. 187
    Raging Bee

    I can’t plug in any numbers because I’m still very confused about what is being alleged in the first place.

    You’re the only one claiming he’s confused. And you’re confused because, as I’ve said before, you never bothered to read the extensive amount of stuff that’s been written, right here on FtB, in plain English. If you cared enough to read even a fraction of what’s been written, you wouldn’t be confused.

    You’re not engaging with us, so there’s no reason for us to engage with you.

  188. 188
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @179:

    there is actually a procedure, and it is to ask questions and find the answers. If you demonize asking questions and refuse to give answers, you squelch the whole process.

    There’s also the expectation that you’ll act on the answers you’ve been given. Otherwise, I could replace you with a robot that says nothing but “why?” You’re also expected to put in at least a little effort to research before speaking on a topic, otherwise you’ll spout nothing but nonsense.

    You’re also expected to argue in good faith, and not lie about whether or not you’ve heard of the claims being made.

    There is nothing to defend but the vague claims you mention

    Now you’ve got me curious. When something is vague, that means its truth value may change if more details come to light. “Toronto is near here” is vague, and could be true or false if “here” is later defined as “the US border” or “Alpha Centauri.” Now, let’s consider one specific example:

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations.

    As it stands, this describes sexual assault and is considered a criminal matter. if the claim was specific, nothing you add could change the truth of that. You are arguing it is vague, however, and that therefore a sexual assault may or may not have happened. So what bit of information could change it’s truth value?

    Is it the way Pamela Gay was dressed?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay had to drink?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay resisted?
    Is it how many people Pamela Gay has slept with, in the past?
    is it how much flirting Pamela Gay did?
    Is it where Pamela Gay was standing?

    You, Edward Gemmer, are arguing that some information from that list, or something similar I didn’t think of, could alter the truth of whether or not a sexual assault occured. What is it?

    Because if you can’t produce it, then that cannot be a vague claim.

  189. 189
    kacyray

    You notice how Queer Snoop and Raging B. are practically begging for you to ban people for expressing ideas with which they disagree?

    It’s not even their blog, and they are trying to tell you how to run it. And of course, like all cowards, they want the banning done not for *behavioral* reasons, but for *dissention*.

    See, when you have people whose behavior is every bit as hateful, tedious, and unnecessarily contentious as the people that you yourself are blogging in protest of, they have to look for other excuses for why *they* should be allowed to behave that way and *others* should not.

    That’s why they beg for you to ban people.

    Take, for example, what Queer Sloop says here:

    They add nothing to a discussion.
    They divert a comments section.
    They ignore evidence.
    They lack empathy.
    You could have a more engaging debate with a brick wall than those assclams.
    Years after first reading anything by them, you will still see the same inept arguments.

    Has it occurred to this individual that he/she does NOT have to engage people about whom he/she feels this way????

    He/she acts as though he-she is being force into some torturous situation about which he/she has no control and did not go out of his or her way to be a part of. Then he/she asks you to BAN the person making the comments to which he/she objects!!

    This ridiculous, childish behavior is what makes FTB comments sections so irritating, and it’s why I typically try to direct my comments to the bloggers rather than the commentariat. But when the bloggers seem to tacitly endorse this behavior by failing to notice, address, or repudiate it, it makes me reassess how interested in productive dialogue the bloggers actually are.

    Surely there must be something more to all of this than what we see here…. a blog post, a dissenter, 20 tribesmen piling on, the banning of the dissenter, rinse and repeat. Surely there must be some other goal in mind here. I have trouble accepting that otherwise intelligent people would willingly spent precious time engaged in such petulant, unproductive behavior.

    I will always support the banning of spammers. Disruptive behavior should not be allowed. But to *engage someone willingly* and then *call for them to be banned because you don’t like what they’re saying* is lower than dirt. Any commenter who suggests that you ban another commenter based on content should be banned immediately and cast into the dungeon with spammers, trolls, and those who engage in threats. They all belong on the same rung of cyber-hell.

  190. 190
    Anthony K

    I have trouble accepting that otherwise intelligent people would willingly spent precious time engaged in such petulant, unproductive behavior.

    No, you don’t.

  191. 191
    Edward Gemmer

    Anthony K,

    Why won’t you answer those questions you claim to love so much? I’ve given you several.

    Well, call me crazy, but you seem to have little respect for me or anything I have to say. Since you already think I’m an idiot I find it unlikely anything I say would change your mind or lead to any other response but that you still think I’m an idiot. However, I am certainly interested in discussion on the Socratic method, so feel free to elaborate on how I’m clueless about it.

    Raging Bee,

    When droning assholes like you IGNORE the details that have been provided, while pretending no details have been provided, it raises contempt.

    Sure, it’s not as if there are no details. In some reports we have a name and perhaps a rudimentary explanation. This is all fine. My frustration is the walls that get thrown up whenever there are attempts to gather more information. For example, there is a Florida State quarterback who is the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy this year. There is also a report that he could have been involved in a sexual assault roughly a year ago. However, there have been no charges and really very few facts to try to gauge his involvement or anything that happened. This is frustrating, because as a fan of football I’d like to know if he’s a rapist or not, or at least get an educated guess. OTOH, I understand the lack of information somewhat, as police don’t typically release information as it comes in.

    Compared to this skeptic situation, I feel as if information exists, but the people who know it won’t release based more on their personal agendas rather than for the good of the community. Thus I’m skeptical of every claim, from every side, because there is very little information to go on.

    hjhornbeck,

    Is it the way Pamela Gay was dressed?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay had to drink?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay resisted?
    Is it how many people Pamela Gay has slept with, in the past?
    is it how much flirting Pamela Gay did?
    Is it where Pamela Gay was standing?

    No. I’m more interested in other details. She says the perpetrator was drunk. How drunk? Incapacitated drunk? A bit tipsy? How did people react, fi they saw it? How did she react? Why did she seemingly not care that much about it until recently? If it was Shermer and this was the subject of a deposition, why? What was the case about? Why can’t I read the deposition? Why has anyone talked about this until now? What is Shermer’s position? What did other people there say, or see? Why do they seemingly have different opinions about it?

    Furthermore, based on those questions, I may have others. I’m a believer in following the evidence when investigating a claim.

  192. 192
    Anthony K

    Well, call me crazy, but you seem to have little respect for me or anything I have to say. Since you already think I’m an idiot I find it unlikely anything I say would change your mind or lead to any other response but that you still think I’m an idiot.

    I encourage everyone on this thread to read this response, and contrast it with Edward Gemmer’s comments at Shakesville here. Note how Edward Gemmer only sees this process in completely self-serving terms. I think that says all we need to know about him or his claims to want ‘to help’.

    Thanks, Edward. I’m done with you now. You may leave.

  193. 193
    Anthony K

    I’m a believer in following the evidence when investigating a claim.

    Your refusal to offer evidence for your own claims lays bare that little lie.

  194. 194
    Anthony K

    Contrast Gemmer in 190:

    Since you already think I’m an idiot I find it unlikely anything I say would change your mind or lead to any other response but that you still think I’m an idiot.

    With Gemmer in 168 :

    /blockquote>And yes, I haven’t heard anything in eight months that even remotely makes me think women are so inferior that asking them questions is a bad thing. I doubt I ever will, but feel free to convince me.

    Someone familiar with the Socratic Method would be just a mite more cautious with his petards, lest he find himself hoist by them.

  195. 195
    Edward Gemmer

    I encourage everyone on this thread to read this response, and contrast it with Edward Gemmer’s comments at Shakesville here. Note how Edward Gemmer only sees this process in completely self-serving terms. I think that says all we need to know about him or his claims to want ‘to help’.

    Thanks, Edward. I’m done with you now. You may leave.

    Thanks. I figured your answer would be as much. I don’t want you to have to debase yourself by talking to another human being in a respectful manner, so feel free to anoint yourself superior in all things.

  196. 196
    Anthony K

    I don’t want you to have to debase yourself by talking to another human being in a respectful manner, so feel free to anoint yourself superior in all things.

    In all things? Tsk, tsk, bad! That’s that sloppiness I was talking about.

    Any time you want to provide evidence for the claims you’ve made here and argue in good faith rather than making hollow, substanceless claims to care about evidence, I’ll be happy to stop treating you like a dishonest, hypocritical troll.

    As I said, you can go now.

  197. 197
    Raging Bee

    I feel as if information exists, but the people who know it won’t release based more on their personal agendas rather than for the good of the community.

    Did you ever read any of what was written to verify what your feelings — a.k.a. prejudices — told you? The rest of us have more to go on than feelings, so you have no excuse to hide behind yours.

    Thus I’m skeptical of every claim, from every side, because there is very little information to go on.

    That’s two lies in one sentence: you’ve never expressed any “skepticism” about the other side, and there’s clearly more information than you say there is.

    Well, call me crazy, but you seem to have little respect for me or anything I have to say. Since you already think I’m an idiot I find it unlikely anything I say would change your mind or lead to any other response but that you still think I’m an idiot.

    Right — you say stupid things until we call you stupid, then use that as your excuse not to answer our questions. You’re nothing but a babyish attention-hogging troll, and even your new-found BFF kacyray can’t offer you any better defense than “just ignore him.”

  198. 198
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @190:

    She says the perpetrator was drunk. How drunk? Incapacitated drunk? A bit tipsy?

    … wait, you think the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator can absolve them of any guilt? How then do you explain the punishments for drunk driving? Your logic argues leniency in the case of excessive alcohol use, after all.

    How did people react, fi they saw it?

    And now you’re arguing the reactions of people around the perpetrator can resolve them of guilt. So if I spot someone being murdered, and do nothing to stop the act, the murderer can get a lighter sentence? You seem to be arguing for that here.

    How did she react?

    C’mon now, I quoted that already in this very thread:

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations.

    Besides, you’re arguing that if women don’t resist enough, it doesn’t count as sexual assault.

    Why did she seemingly not care that much about it until recently?

    You really haven’t read anything on this subject, have you?

    And then last week, the fading scars of what happened were cut open with a rusty blade. I learned that a witnesses to an event that occurred in 2008 is discussing that event and naming names. [...]

    And then that man with power – the one who staggered at my breasts at the moment of our introduction – emailed me out of the blue on Halloween, denying anything happened between us because he’s never done anything like that, and if he has never… then he never did with me.

    If you truly are ignorant of the situation, why do you hold such strong beliefs about it?

    Furthermore, based on those questions, I may have others. I’m a believer in following the evidence when investigating a claim.

    No, you are not. You have demonstrated a strong reluctance to accept or pursue any evidence, a willingness to lie about the evidence you have on hand. In addition, you have argued…

    … that if a woman doesn’t resist sexual assault enough, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … that if the bystanders of a sexual assault do not act in certain ways, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … and that if the perpetrator is sufficiently drunk, leniency must be granted to them.

    Do you honestly hold to those positions? Because you are arguing in favor of them.

  199. 199
    Edward Gemmer

    … wait, you think the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator can absolve them of any guilt? How then do you explain the punishments for drunk driving? Your logic argues leniency in the case of excessive alcohol use, after all.

    I think the mindset and use of drugs or alcohol of the parties is relevant in any case of sexual assault. Drunk driving laws exist because drunk drivers cause accidents and death, regardless of whether they intend to.

    And now you’re arguing the reactions of people around the perpetrator can resolve them of guilt. So if I spot someone being murdered, and do nothing to stop the act, the murderer can get a lighter sentence? You seem to be arguing for that here.

    I’m not arguing anything. I’m trying to gather information and understand what happened. It certainly Is an odd thing to grope someone in front of other people. Why would he do that? So getting more information would be helpful to me.

    Besides, you’re arguing that if women don’t resist enough, it doesn’t count as sexual assault.

    Nope.

    If you truly are ignorant of the situation, why do you hold such strong beliefs about it?

    I don’t hold strong beliefs about it. My position here is that vague accusations coupled with strong condemnations and insults is a good way to divide people and a poor way to get what you want, which is less sexual assault and more safety at these conferences. I do not understand why everything has to be so vague, since it is well established practice that details and facts trump emotion and guessing, at least among the atheoskeptic community.

  200. 200
    Raging Bee

    I’m trying to gather information and understand what happened.

    “Gathering information” means reading what’s already been written on the subject. You’re not doing that, you’re only hogging attention and pretending to be the Superior Skeptic. Are you really dumb enough to think you’re fooling anyone here?

  201. 201
    Raging Bee

    You notice how Queer Snoop and Raging B. are practically begging for you to ban people for expressing ideas with which they disagree?

    kacyray, you’re lying and you know it.

  202. 202
    Jackie the wacky

    kacyray, you’re lying and you know it.

    ..and so does everyone else.

  203. 203
    Jackie the wacky

    Ed,
    You’re JAQing off for the sole purpose of muddying the waters, not to enlighten yourself in any way. The “questions” you are asking are triggering, victim blaming and they tell me you are either too lazy to learn on your own or you just get off on being so disgusting.

  204. 204
    kacyray

    Jackie @201 – exactly what lie have I told?

    You realize you’re demonstrating my point about tribalism at the very moment, don’t you?

  205. 205
    Anthony K

    You realize you’re demonstrating my point about tribalism at the very moment, don’t you?

    Boy, you people just cannot grasp that there may be other motivations than your little pet memes for how people respond to you, can you?

    For instance, I have zero respect for you and Edward Gemmer because of my interactions with you. History, man! It’s not like you’re some sort of unknown. You’re a known known, dude, and to know you is to dislike you.

    But go cry tribalism if that’s what makes you feel better. Tell yourself that it’s only because of tribalism that people cannot stand you. Fuck, honestly, I don’t give a shit what self-serving non-truths you tell yourself, as long as I don’t have to fucking hear or see you.

  206. 206
    Anthony K

    But since you’re here, kacyray, how do you feel about esprit de corps?

  207. 207
    Edward Gemmer

    You’re JAQing off for the sole purpose of muddying the waters, not to enlighten yourself in any way. The “questions” you are asking are triggering, victim blaming and they tell me you are either too lazy to learn on your own or you just get off on being so disgusting.

    Nope.

  208. 208
    Anthony K

    Nope.

    But you won’t answer my questions about the claims you’ve made in this thread, and the lack of evidence for them, because…?

  209. 209
    Anthony K

    I know Ed, that you just acquainted yourself with this issue. Are you open to the concept that just because you’re a neophyte, many of us aren’t, and have seen the kind of behaviour you engage in time and time again, and while denial is common in every case, Jackie is pretty spot on?

  210. 210
    kacyray

    I’m fine with you not liking me. In fact, I’d be a bit nervous if you did.

    But I’m a bit baffled as to why you lump me in with Gemmer or *anyone* for that matter. I have never identified with any individual or group while commenting on this network. I’ve never expressed solidarity with any position other than my own.

    And you still haven’t identified any non-truths. You’re still calling me a liar without ever identifying a lie. How can you live with yourself doing that?

    I can’t imagine how you would even dispute charges of tribalism. You are tribalism personified. In fact, I would challenge you to describe a version of tribalism that you don’t fit into.

    In fact, I challenge you to describe a concept of tribalism that does not describe you. But be forewarned…. after you do, I’m going to link you definitions of tribalism that have been purported by bloggers on this network, and I’m going to watch with great amusement as you try to reconcile them with whatever rationales you come up with.

    Go for it, man. It’ll be like watching someone pretend ID isn’t really creationism. I’m looking forward to it.

    As far as esprit de corps…. I think it’s great for other people. As for me, I have no inclinations toward collectivism.

    Oh, by the way… you’re dismissed. Go away now. You can go now.

  211. 211
    Edward Gemmer

    how do you feel about esprit de corps?

    It’s a good question. It’s something I think about a lot regularly. For example, I’m a Democrat and have always been a Democrat, and being a good Democrat is something I have valued. OTOH, I also think a good goal of a skeptic movement is to ignore the marketing campaigns in politics and get better information.

  212. 212
    johngreg

    Ashley said:

    It’s hard to watch people as wonderful as Pamela Gay be torn down for coming forward with her story.

    Yes. It’s also hard to watch people like Pamela Gay be torn down for coming forward with stories about woo. Right? Right. Or does that sort of nonsense now get a free pass so you can proselytize your politics?

    It’s exhausting to know that there are people who hate you and believe ridiculous, untrue things about you, no matter how clear and unoffensive you have tried to be.

    Yes. Like her belief in God and other unoffensive true things about her. I thought FfTB was, in toto, dedicated to atheism? Right? Right. And the day that any blog host on FfTB is clear and unoffensive is the day that assorted piggies fly in formation.

    I’m tired of every post being a target and rage commenters trying to tear me down for my appearance, education, and family. I have never been targeted by religious people the way I am by atheists. And how much worse is it to be targeted by a group of people you spend your free time working to help.

    HAHAHA. You are not targeted for no reason. Most of the FfTB blog hosts, and certainly the majority of the FfTB commentariat, are targeted specifically and directly in response to the kind of hyperbolic and profoundly toxic dogmatic fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit that FfTB, Skepchick, A+, and individuals like Amanda Marcotte spew on a daily basis. Look at this thread. A prime and perfect example of the kind of unending hypocrisy, cognitive dissonance, and general deceit practiced by such intellectual clowns as Toiletbowl — a liar’s liar if ever there were such a thing.

    Yes, yes, we all know that you and the rest of FfTB et al despise the Slymepit because they are all so hatey hatey hatey (truth is always hatey hatey hatey and hurtful, isn’t it), but what you all fail to acknowledge, because it so deeply damages your propoganda machine is that all of the Pit’s blather is in direct response to the pure insanity and amazing hypocrisy and blatant hate speech that pours forth from FfTB on a daily basis.

    Yes, of course you’re tired of being targeted for your double standards, hypocrisy, hate speech, and deceit — all liars hate exposure — but perhaps if you and the rest pf your toxic crew invested in some introspection, self-awareness, and self-criticism for once in your tawdry sad lives, you might understand why more and more people are becoming disgusted with the vile hate that FfTB, Skepchick, and A+, for example, spread around the world.

    The plural of anecdote is not data. Please provide evidence to back up your claims.

    That you have the hubris, the bloody minded gall to say that, after all the fact-free accusations directed from FfTB toward people lIke Shermer is nothing short of mind blowing. Amazing; fucking amazing. For once, try and provide some actual evidence, not FfTB supported anecdata, that Shermer is actually guilty of serial rape. Right? Right. Can’t do it, can you. Hell, I have it on very good authority from a friend of an acquaintance of someone who says they know me that Toiletbowl is a serial rapist of children and gets his jollies hanging out with that known and admitted child rapist Ogvboris in kindergarten playgrounds — s’truth; s’truth; someone who knows someone who met someone who once attended a talk given by PeeZus told me so!

    FfTB blog hosts and commentariat have consistently argued that there is a plethora of evidence to support accusations of Shermer being a serial rapist; however, they have failed to provide anything, literaly anything other than multiple anecdotes from unreliable narrators. So, as most of the sane world already knows, yet again, it is proof that in the FfTB world, anecdote is evidentiary proof when it supports an FfTB claim, but unsupported nonsense otherwise.

    Yes, yes, yes, we know FfTB has, in general, divorced itself from skepticism so as to follow along in Lord PeeZus’s stinky footprints, but really folks, you do yourselves no favours exposing your amazing duplicity.

    And no, I am not going to provide evidence because FfTB in general does not believe in evidence, and even if we had a notary public verify all claims made, and a court of law issuing proofs of such claims, FfTB in general would still deny the reality of the world they wallow in. Such is the true course of true believers and ideological hysterical fanatics everywhere.

    Have nice day in Pleasantville.

  213. 213
    Anthony K

    And you still haven’t identified any non-truths. You’re still calling me a liar without ever identifying a lie. How can you live with yourself doing that?

    I didn’t call you a liar.

    I can’t imagine how you would even dispute charges of tribalism. You are tribalism personified. In fact, I would challenge you to describe a version of tribalism that you don’t fit into.

    Well, that’s some dishonesty right there. You could name some actual behaviours, and then go on to describe how they define tribalism, and then I might have something to dispute. But since you haven’t, I’ll just note that this is the kind of rhetorical dishonesty that you’re known for.

    But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t give a fuck about charges of tribalism. The word is bandied about in skeptical circles largely because skeptics tend to be ignorant and in denial of social psychology and group dynamics. It’s a word skeptics (and particularly the more libertarian-minded ones) like to use because they think that saying ‘tribalism’ makes them objective and immune to it. It’s a useless term, poorly defined, and oddly enough its ubiquity is itself a marker of tribalism. It’s simply a useless meme.

    That said,

    In fact, I challenge you to describe a concept of tribalism that does not describe you.

    It’s your word, fuckhead. You/i> fucking describe it. How fucking repulsively dishonest are you?

  214. 214
    Anthony K

    And no, I am not going to provide evidence because FfTB in general does not believe in evidence

    Kacyray would like to talk to you about tribalism.

  215. 215
    Anthony K

    OTOH, I also think a good goal of a skeptic movement is to ignore the marketing campaigns in politics and get better information.

    But you won’t provide evidence for this claim either.

  216. 216
    kacyray

    AnthonyK, I’m going to be relaxing tonight with a few cocktails. I’ll make you an offer…

    I’ll post a link right here on this comments section to a google hangout. You and I can discuss this issue face to face. Anyone else here will be welcome to join.

    Of course, there is one pre-requisite – you have to have a pair of stones. You have to be able to look at me face-to-face and explain to me why to know me is to dislike me.

    You’ll have to speak the truth. You won’t be able to hide behind your tribe. It’ll just be you and me. And I’ll record the whole thing.

    You have two hours to decide. Of course, you can punk out like every single other tribal commenter does (Raging Boner, for example). Or maybe you’re an exception? Maybe you have the stones to look me in the eye and tell me about myself?

    I don’t think you do, but I hope you surprise me. I really do.

  217. 217
    Anthony K

    Also, I’m not tribalistic as much as I am territorial.

    More pseudo-psych memes for the ‘science’ crowd to pass around like cold sores at a high school dance!

  218. 218
    Edward Gemmer

    But you won’t answer my questions about the claims you’ve made in this thread, and the lack of evidence for them, because…?

    Well, frankly, you’ve made it clear you have no respect for me (“zero respect”) and are eager to call me an idiot because you really seem to like to do that. So typically I don’t have long conversations with people for the sake of satisfying their need to insult me.

    Are you open to the concept that just because you’re a neophyte, many of us aren’t, and have seen the kind of behaviour you engage in time and time again, and while denial is common in every case, Jackie is pretty spot on?

    Sure. Are you open to the concept that someone who has a law degree and years of experience in the justice system might have a legitimate point that fair, detailed, and impartial reports can have a strong value?

  219. 219
    Anthony K

    AnthonyK, I’m going to be relaxing tonight with a few cocktails.

    I will be too, but not with you.

    No, kacyray, I’m not interested in Google hangouts. I’ve done two with PZ, and they don’t interest me.

    I will however, make you a counteroffer, though I appreciate it will be hard to fulfill. Should you and I ever find ourselves in the same location, I will make every effort to sit down with you, face-to-face, over a beer or something else, and we can both chat to our hearts’ content. I don’t doubt that, divorced from the acrimony of the net, find much common ground to agree on.

  220. 220
    Anthony K

    Well, frankly, you’ve made it clear you have no respect for me (“zero respect”) and are eager to call me an idiot because you really seem to like to do that. So typically I don’t have long conversations with people for the sake of satisfying their need to insult me.

    That’s the value truth has for you? You won’t defend your claims for the sake of arriving at truth, and instead hide behind loaded claims and unchallenged assumptions because I have no respect for you. I’m sure you understand how self-serving that is, especially in light of your comments over at Shakesville, where again you demanded the right to be able to cross-examine others, regardless of their feelings about it, for the sake of your own ego…er…self-edification.

    Of course, if the paragraph of yours I just quoted were true, then you should probably explain why you chose to prolong a conversation with me by responding to a question I asked kacyray, because that evidence doesn’t jibe.

    Sure. Are you open to the concept that someone who has a law degree and years of experience in the justice system might have a legitimate point that fair, detailed, and impartial reports can have a strong value?

    You have nothing to do with this case. When someone pays you a retainer, then you can have an opinion.

  221. 221
    Anthony K

    Of course, you can punk out like every single other tribal commenter does (Raging Boner, for example)

    Just so we’re clear though, this is you trying to ‘alpha’ me, right? Does this kind of thing work on soldiers?

  222. 222
    Edward Gemmer

    That’s the value truth has for you? You won’t defend your claims for the sake of arriving at truth, and instead hide behind loaded claims and unchallenged assumptions because I have no respect for you. I’m sure you understand how self-serving that is, especially in light of your comments over at Shakesville, where again you demanded the right to be able to cross-examine others, regardless of their feelings about it, for the sake of your own ego…er…self-edification.

    Nope. Nope nope nope.

    Of course, if the paragraph of yours I just quoted were true, then you should probably explain why you chose to prolong a conversation with me by responding to a question I asked kacyray, because that evidence doesn’t jibe.

    I think it’s an interesting issue. Interesting issues interest me, which is why I commented on it. I really don’t care that much about the source of the issue.

    You have nothing to do with this case. When someone pays you a retainer, then you can have an opinion.

    Legal advice costs money. Opinions are free. Lucky you.

  223. 223
    kacyray

    Just so we’re clear though, this is you trying to ‘alpha’ me, right?

    I have no problem AMOG-ing you. You’re low hanging fruit, where that is concerned. I honestly don’t think I’d have any problem hoe-ing you up if we were standing outside a bar.

    But we aren’t. We are in a cyber-space, and you’re making positive claims about me, and you’re doing it in front of what you think is a supportive crowd. You’re in what you consider a “safe space”.

    What I’m offering is to give you the opportunity to prove how you would hold up outside that safe space.

    I’m offering you the golden opportunity to demonstrate that you have the courage to stand by your convictions outside the confines of your little safe spot. Surely you will jump at this opportunity. Surely you will lunge at the opportunity to demonstrate that you are as bold when you have to face someone as you are when you don’t.

    You should be thanking me. You should be grateful for the opportunity to tell me face-to-face about myself. Here I am giving you the opportunity to go mano-a-mano with a real misogynist/pitter/sexist/MRA/whatever-caricature-of-me-you-have-that-makes-you-feel-good in a situation that is RECORDED and demonstrates what a horrible, dangerous person I am.

    Surely you will desperately leap at that opportunity.

  224. 224
    kacyray

    P.S. I’m a Marine – not a soldier. You’ll have to ask soldiers about what works on soldiers.

  225. 225
    kacyray

    Point of clarification – I am not the type to bully people. I think such behavior is disgusting and inexcusable. I am speaking of capability, not of something I would actually do.

    I have no problem AMOG-ing you. You’re low hanging fruit, where that is concerned. I honestly don’t think I’d have any problem hoe-ing you up if we were standing outside a bar.

    I think the few drinks I’ve had got the better of me when I said this. I retract this statement and apologize for the aggressive behavior. I do hope you take me up on my offer.

    I am not your friend, but I do believe that if you spoke to me face-to-face, you’d realize I’m not your enemy. I might bounce you around a bit, but that comes with the territory, right?

  226. 226
    Anthony K

    Surely you will jump at this opportunity. Surely you will lunge at the opportunity to demonstrate that you are as bold when you have to face someone as you are when you don’t.

    Sorry, but this dudebro “man up, you pussy” bullshit doesn’t work on functional people. I’ve told you how I feel about you, and why. If you don’t like the forum of the internet, then stop commenting on the internet.

    P.S. I’m a Marine – not a soldier. You’ll have to ask soldiers about what works on soldiers.

    My apologies. I should have been more thoughtful about it and not conflated the two, but even if I had used ‘Marine’, it was an assholish and unwarranted thing for me to bring into the conversation. Again, I do apologise for that remark in its’ entirety.

  227. 227
    Anthony K

    I think it’s an interesting issue. Interesting issues interest me, which is why I commented on it. I really don’t care that much about the source of the issue.

    So, if you felt interested in sexism in skepticism, and the reasons for resistance to fighting it, you would have provided evidence for your assertions?

  228. 228
    Anthony K

    I think the few drinks I’ve had got the better of me when I said this. I retract this statement and apologize for the aggressive behavior.

    Thanks, and I hope you’ll accept mine posted in crossing. I’ve also been aggressive towards you, and that’s not appropriate.

    I might bounce you around a bit, but that comes with the territory, right?

    I’m taking this in the light-hearted way in which I think it was offered. Deal.

  229. 229
    Anthony K

    Also, I hadn’t read your comment 224 when I’d posted 225, kacyray, and so the first part of that comment was dealing with something for which I didn’t realise you’d already apologised. We can move on, if you’re amenable.

  230. 230
    kacyray

    If you don’t like the forum of the internet, then stop commenting on the internet.

    I’ve never said I didn’t like the forum on the internet. I’ve offered you the opportunity to man-up and tell a guy you don’t like why you don’t like him.

    My apologies. I should have been more thoughtful about it and not conflated the two, but even if I had used ‘Marine’, it was an assholish and unwarranted thing for me to bring into the conversation. Again, I do apologise for that remark in its’ entirety.

    Apology unnecessary, but acknowledged.

    Look, let’s just acknowledge the reality of all this. You have a hobby, and that hobby is to to be an FTB lackey. You love it here because you can curse people out and if they respond in kind they get banned. And when they don’t get banned, you appeal to the blogger to ban them. Either way you’re safe.

    Like I said, you are the tribe personified. You are *it*! I mean, if there was a such thing as awards or recognition for being the true tribesman, you’d be getting medals every week. You are as *in* as it gets. You are practically the tribe foreman. I wouldn’t be surprised if you and Sally Strange have had some fun on the side, ya know?

    But I think that it’s clear that you lack any courage. You’re not a man, you’re a sheep. You don’t have any spine that is apparent from here. I’ve offered you a very easy opportunity to demonstrate that you are more than just a blip on the FTB screen, and you declined.

    Of course you tuned in to PZ – he’s your freaking idol!!! It doesn’t take much courage to link in to a guy whose crank you’d stroke at a moment’s notice. But when offered the opportunity to confront someone who might actually…. I don’t know… CHALLENGE you …. you offer every excuse in the book.

    You, Raging Boner, Sally, Theibault…. all of you are pretty much the same. You’re all tough behind the safety of a computer screen. It’s easy to demonize faceless, nameless people. But if you had to actually confront the fact that the people you vilify are actually good, decent, intelligent members of the skeptic community…if you actually had to look decent people in eye and lie to their faces… that terrifies you more than anything.

    Because then you’d have to face the fact that you’ve demonized good people.

    Keep your head in the sand, AnthonyK. You’re safe there.

  231. 231
    kacyray

    Okay, we’re cross-posting.

    I’m going to assume that you are a decent person who has fallen into bad habits. That’s as charitable as I can be.

    But my offer stands. We can introduce ourselves and find out. Just let me know.

  232. 232
    kacyray

    Dude, just go here and we’ll talk.

    I’ll hang out for a while. Don’t worry, it’ll be a civil conversation.

  233. 233
    Anthony K

    Okay, you wanna keep doing this?

    And when they don’t get banned, you appeal to the blogger to ban them.

    I won’t say I’ve never called for anyone to be banned, but I certainly haven’t in this thread. You have, however.

    You love it here because you can curse people out and if they respond in kind they get banned.

    Oh, if only that were true. But that fits in with the ‘banned for disagreeing’ meme that flies around the pit at the speed of tribe.

    Like I said, you are the tribe personified.

    You keep saying this as if it’s something I give a shit about. Like I said, I don’t give a fuck. But I also don’t have a fit if someone forgets I’m Tribe Marine and not Tribe Soldier.

    Because then you’d have to face the fact that you’ve demonized good people.

    Curious: what do Slymepitters say when you tell them this?

  234. 234
    kacyray

    There is a point to all this (at least for me), in case you’re wondering.

  235. 235
    Anthony K

    There is a point to all this (at least for me), in case you’re wondering.

    You’re drunk, right?

  236. 236
    kacyray

    You seem to be under the impression I hang out at the Slyme Pit.

    Please, just click the link I provided in 231. We’ll talk.

  237. 237
    Anthony K

    You seem to be under the impression I hang out at the Slyme Pit.

    I was indeed. If that is not the case, then I’m sorry for mischaracterising you.

  238. 238
    kacyray

    I don’t think I’m drunk. I’d say I’ve got a very healthy buzz going on (full disclosure – I have no intent to deceive).

    I don’t know how to say this any more plainly – I am not inviting you to a webcam brawl. I am inviting you to a civil conversation. Can you at least give me to benefit of the doubt one time?

    My wife thinks I’m crazy, and you seem to think so as well. I am just a guy trying to have a conversation. If I turn out to be hostile, you can click that little X in the upper-right corner.

    I am not pretending to be buddy-buddy. But you seem to have the capacity to be civil, and that’s what I’m counting on.

  239. 239
    Anthony K

    Please, just click the link I provided in 231. We’ll talk.

    Honestly, kacyray, I’m not trying to be difficult, but it’s gonna be hard for me without a microphone and camera.

    Written words are recorded just as well as audio/visual, FYI. I don’t see you getting banned here. Nobody else seems to be participating in this conversation. There’s really no way to spin the ‘Tell me to my face and we;’ll see how brave you are” without it being clear aggression.

  240. 240
    kacyray

    Dude, just click the link!!!

    I am sitting here Listening to Rush, playing backgammon online, and waiting for AnthonyK to come on and have a conversation about FTB and tribalism. I can’t hold out all night.

  241. 241
    Anthony K

    AnthonyK to come on and have a conversation about FTB and tribalism

    Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of other people who don’t actually think that tribalism is any kind of a meaningful word and who don’t like you who you can beg to come keep you company while you drink.

    As for me, I’m waiting until I can go out and drink with people whose company I enjoy and whose opinions I respect and can count on to give some meaningful definitions of a word should they choose to use it.

    You can see the quandary I’m in.

    Full disclosure: I cannot access your link from my current location. In about an hour, I am going to shut down this computer. If I find myself with access to another one this evening, I sure as shit am not going to waste it playing your creepy game. I don’t argue on facebook. I don’t spend much time on it at all. This is where you’ll find me. This is where I am. If that’s a problem for you, then it’s yours alone. I am under no obligation whatsoever to interact with you except under the circumstances and in the places I choose.

    Now, go right ahead and decide that’s because of whatever reason you like (“I’m a punk”; “I’m tribalistic”, whatever.) You seem to be much more concerned with how I think of you than I am about how you think of me. I’d advise you to find another source for your self-esteem.

  242. 242
    johngreg

    Anthony K said ():

    Curious: what do Slymepitters say when you tell them this?

    Well, this Slymepitter agrees wholeheartedly with kacray’s post #229 (http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2013/11/11/to-those-of-us-fighting-the-good-fight/#comment-127662). I think s/h/it’s points are spot-on, and quite accurate.

    The raging, often hysterical hostility directed from FfTB, Skepchick, and A+, toward the Pit is often funny, frequently sad, and almost invariably dishonest, or at the very least, misrepresentative of the reality.

    One of my favourite descriptions of the Pit comes from several members of the FfTB Commentariat, to wit:

    I’ve never been to the Pit, and will never go there, because I know it is a indeed a pit of slime and vile, sexist, misogynistic, anti-feminist behaviour.

    I love that one. It reminds so much of the religious hatred directed toward Scorsese’s The Last Tempation of Christ, wherein countless religious “authorities” stated “I’ve never seen it and will not go to see it because I know it is sinful and blasphemous”. Right. I’ve never seen or eaten an avocado but I know it’s foul.

    Another funny aspect of that bit of foolishness is that in point of fact many FfTB blog hosts and Commentariat do visit the Pit — cripes, we are a major source of rage fodder for the FC(n) and the Commentariat — and then report back, like gleeful grade school tattle tales, to Zvan, Benson, et al, about all the horrific, evil, nasty things that are said on the Pit. HAHAHA. Much fun is had by all.

    Another thing I find interesting, and, of course, your mileage may vary, is that the Pit has well over a dozen individuals who were, at some time in the past, respected members of the FfTB commentariat, and even some ex-FfTB blog hosts. So far as I know, there is not one, not a single individual who left the Pit in favour of either FfTB, Skepchick, or A+. Yes, there have been a few people who left the Pit in disagreement with the degree of anti-FfTB hostility, and the tasteless content of some of the posts. But, so far as I know, the only individual to ever even come close to leaving the Pit and joining up with FfTB, Skepchick , or A+, was Justicar, who briefly, and I think with eventual regret, tried to side with and support Stephanie Zvan … or was it Ophelia? No, I am pretty sure it was Zvan. And that was very short-lived.

    A vast amount of the righteous anger directed toward the Pit is based on blatant lies. For example (just a small sampling):

    1. Many, many folks at FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ continue to this day to make the false claim that the Pit was born out of, and maintains itself on, hatred toward Rebecca Watson for saying “Guys, don’t do that”. In point of fact, the Pit was born out of Abbie Smith’s July 1, 2011, post “Bad Form, Rebecca Watson” (http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/01/bad-form-rebecca-watson/), which was in response to, and I quote: “an extremely cognizant, articulate post by Stef McGraw, complete with a shockingly arrogant, jackass comment by Rebecca Watson….” And the Pit, generally speaking, maintains itself on current issues pouring out of FfTB, Skepchick, A+, and other gender-feminist-based individuals and online locations.

    2. Many individuals on the FfTB commentariat, and a few on the Skepchick commentariat, have made the false claim that the Pit is populated solely, or almost solely by MRA/MRM members and supporters. In point of fact, yes, there are a few MRA/MRM supporters who post at the Pit, but as far as I can determine, they number less than ten out of a membership of, as of November 15, 2013, 824.

    3. Some of the FfTB commentariat have made the false claim that the Pit regularily doxxes individuals that they see as the enemy. This is blatantly false, and so far as I can determine, the only individuals who have made a semi-regular practice of doxxing would be Zvan, Laden (Lah-den for those in-the-know), LousyCanuck, and a small handful of FfTB commentariat. On the few occasions when something was posted at the Pit that even came close to doxxing, it was removed almost immediately, and the guilty poster was censured.

    4. Several FfTB blog hosts and commentariat, and some Skepchick and A+ hosts and commentariat have made the false claim that the raison d’etre of the Pit is to insult, hurt, lie about, shame, etc., anyone with whom anyone on the Pit disagrees with or does not like (in particular, Rebecca Watson). In point of fact the primary function, if it could even be called that, of the Pit is to highlight, point out, link to, and discuss and disparage the monumental degree of hypocrisy, deceit, and misrepresentation (of almost everything in the universe) that most of the FC(n) and most of the FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ commentariat spew on an almost daily basis.

  243. 243
    kacyray

    Ok, I didn’t realize you had no mic/camera. Never mind. You should have said that to begin with!

    Also, I think you are misinterpreting my invitation. My “tell it to my face” invitation isn’t a function of “I’ll beat you up”, but more a function of “Let’s see if you’re willing to humanize me rather than demonize me”.

    I truly believe that a lot of the vitriol that goes on in the FTB comments section is a result of the failure to humanize the blips we see on our screens. People like me are called trolls, and that’s the cyber-equivalent of calling women bitches or calling blacks niggers. It’s a way to dehumanize people and de-legitimize everything they say.

    That’s why for some time now I’ve been trying to coax FTB commenters into moving to a different forum to have a conversation. Although my motives were always misrepresented, the real motive has always been simple – I honestly believe that if you (and by “you” I mean all the tribesmen) were to humanize the people you disagree with rather than demonize them you would be startled to find out how wrong you are about the people you feel such contempt toward.

    Of course, there are actual rape-apologists. Of course there are actual sexists. Of course there are actual misogynists. Of course, there are actual trolls. But I contend that they are by far the exception, not anywhere near being the rule.

    Ok, I’ve shut down my google hangout.

    If you ever have the means to have a VTC, let me know. There is much I’d like to discuss, and I’ve been trying to have a real conversation with a real FTB supporter for a long time, to no avail.

  244. 244
    johngreg

    Anthony K said:

    Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of other people who don’t actually think that tribalism is any kind of a meaningful word and who don’t like you who you can beg to come keep you company while you drink.

    As for me, I’m waiting until I can go out and drink with people whose company I enjoy and whose opinions I respect and can count on to give some meaningful definitions of a word should they choose to use it.

    Um….

    1. The organization, culture, or beliefs of a tribe.
    2. A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one’s tribe or group. tribal·ist n. tribal·istic adj.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. tribalism [ˈtraɪbəˌlɪzəm]

    n
    1. (Social Science / Anthropology & Ethnology) the state of existing as a separate tribe or tribes
    2. (Social Science / Anthropology & Ethnology) the customs and beliefs of a tribal society
    3. (Social Science / Anthropology & Ethnology) loyalty to a tribe or tribal values
    tribalist n & adj tribalistic adj

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
    trib•al•ism (ˈtraɪ bəˌlɪz əm)

    n.
    1. the customs and beliefs of tribal life and society.
    2. strong loyalty to one’s own group.
    [1885–90]
    Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
    tribalism
    1. the customs, life, and organization of a tribal society.
    2. a strong loyalty to one’s tribe, party, or group.

  245. 245
    kacyray

    By the way, Ed Brayton has been speaking out on the issue of tribalism for some time now.

    Personally, he’s the only thing that keeps me coming back to FTB (despite the fact that he apparently accepts the caricature of me that has been created by the FTB commentariat). Ed Brayton is the only person about whom I can say – I value his opinions despite his opinion of me.

  246. 246
    Anthony K

    Ok, I didn’t realize you had no mic/camera. Never mind. You should have said that to begin with!

    No, you should learn what the fucking word ‘no’ means.

    Also, I think you are misinterpreting my invitation. My “tell it to my face” invitation isn’t a function of “I’ll beat you up”, but more a function of “Let’s see if you’re willing to humanize me rather than demonize me”.

    Can’t. I’m ‘tribalism personified’. How can I humanise you when I’m clearly not human myself, but a poorly defined concept? Also, a sheep. You said that too.

    Look, I don’t care that you dehumanize me; it’s not a thing I give a shit about. I’m not on here aching to be seen as a person. I’m not aching to be understood. But I will point it out when people, such as yourself, and Edward Gemmer, try to dehumanise me while decrying dehumanisation itself.

    Hi johngreg:

    kacyray is not takling about tribalism in the sense that Sahlins and Lee use it. But thanks for demonstrating the skeptic’s facility with a dictionary when actual research is too hard to do.

  247. 247
    Anthony K

    By the way, Ed Brayton has been speaking out on the issue of tribalism for some time now.

    What’s that supposed to mean to me? Ed Brayton also spoke out about ‘hero worship’ as did PZ, and I made it pretty clear that neither of them have any idea what they’re talking about, but it sure feels objective and rational to say.

    Because I don’t have that knee-jerk skeptics’ tendency to pretend psychology doesn’t affect me because I read The Demon Haunted World and know homeopathy doesn’t work.

  248. 248
    Anthony K

    john (jn)
    n. Slang
    1. A toilet.
    2. A man who is a prostitute’s customer.

  249. 249
    kacyray

    Anthony, I’ve tried to be charitable with you. I’ve basically invited you into my home, albeit virtually.

    You are clearly hostile. Yes, you are tribalism personified. I wanted to give you an opportunity to speak to that issue in real time. Due to technical issues you can’t do that, and I wanted to give you a pass on that, but the more you go on, the more I realize that you may really be the coward I thought you were to begin with. If you really had any interest in an exchange of ideas you’d probably have offered me an alternative forum rather than just declining my invitation.

    It seems pretty clear to me that you’ve been exposed. You love the FTB comments section because they are perfectly suited to your “fire and forget” style of polemics, and they allow you to characterize guys like me however you like without ever having to speak to me like a real human being.

    That is exactly what is wrong with this place. It fosters a culture where this sort of dehumanization is not only permitted but encouraged.

    You would do well to resolve only to level criticism that you are willing to level to someone face to face. If you have to hide behind the security of an internet forum to throw pop-shots at someone, you will never be able to do so with any sort of self-esteem.

    That goes for you, Sally, Raging Boner, demoKKKommie, and the rest of the tribe.

    So that’s my advice – when you find yourself leveling insults at someone here, ask yourself if you’d be willing to level those insults at a living, breathing human being. If the answer is no, then you should probably not make them here. Because to do so is a cowardly act.

    I know you don’t want my advice. But there it is.

  250. 250
    A Hermit

    People like me are called trolls, and that’s the cyber-equivalent of calling women bitches or calling blacks niggers.

    You know Kacyray it’s exactly that kind of whiny self-pitying false equivalence that leads people to not take you seriously. Having your thread derailing comments dismissed as trolling is nothing at all like calling a black person “nigger”…

  251. 251
    Anthony K

    If you really had any interest in an exchange of ideas you’d probably have offered me an alternative forum rather than just declining my invitation.

    Wow, it’s almost as if you’d read the things I’ve written about not wanting to engage with you.

    Remember that word ‘no’?

    Ed Brayton is the only person about whom I can say – I value his opinions despite his opinion of me.

    And yet, here you are, begging me to hang out with you. You really are shit with the written word, aren’t you? You’d do well to stay off the internet.

    Anthony, I’ve tried to be charitable with you. I’ve basically invited you into my home, albeit virtually.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you and Sally Strange have had some fun on the side, ya know?

    Of course you tuned in to PZ – he’s your freaking idol!!! It doesn’t take much courage to link in to a guy whose crank you’d stroke at a moment’s notice.

    Offer me a handy. Offer me a blowjob. If you think that’s my motivation for doing things, then appeal to it. Tell me how you’ll get me off. Otherwise, you’re not being very charitable at all, are you?

    (Here’s some advice for you: I have never once thought about your sex life. Yet here you are, obsessing over mine. Think about what that means about you.)

  252. 252
    debbaasseerr

    Its like some people think we can’t still see their earlier comments in this thread after they make a new one. Dude – those are still visible!

  253. 253
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @198:

    I think the mindset and use of drugs or alcohol of the parties is relevant in any case of sexual assault. Drunk driving laws exist because drunk drivers cause accidents and death, regardless of whether they intend to.

    So are you arguing sexual assault isn’t traumatic, and does no real damage to someone? Or that the intent of the perpetrator matters greatly? If it’s the latter, then I wonder how you justify being harsh on drunk drivers, who don’t intend to do harm, while being lenient on those committing sexual assault, who may intend harm?

    It certainly Is an odd thing to grope someone in front of other people. Why would he do that?

    Intent does not nullify a crime, though it may call for leniency. Asking why an assault was done doesn’t change the fact that an assault was committed. So why are you asking the question in the first place? Do you care only for the perpetrator, and not the victim?

    Besides, you’re arguing that if women don’t resist enough, it doesn’t count as sexual assault.

    Nope.

    Yep! You are stating that these claims of sexual assault are vague, which means their truth value could be true or false. You stated that knowing what the victim did would change that truth value, by asking about it (because if it was irrelevant, why would you ask?). Therefore you are arguing that if women don’t resist enough, it doesn’t count as sexual assault.
    “Nope” isn’t enough; point to the flaws in that argument, or concede it as your own.

    I don’t hold strong beliefs about it.

    They why are you still arguing, instead of educating yourself? You are asserting these claims are vague, eg:

    My position here is that vague accusations [...] I do not understand why everything has to be so vague

    You keep asserting this, despite attempts by others to educate you on the subject. You keep asserting this, even though it means believing that if a woman doesn’t resist sexual assault enough, or if the bystanders of a sexual assault do not act in certain ways, or if the perpetrator is sufficiently drunk, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator.
    Your actions speak louder than your words; you do hold strong beliefs, you do know what claims are being made, yet you have repeatedly said you are doing the contrary. How do you explain this contradiction?

  254. 254
    hjhornbeck

    Sorry for returning to this so late, but I’ve been rather busy. [ahem].

    johngreg @211:

    Yes. It’s also hard to watch people like Pamela Gay be torn down for coming forward with stories about woo. Right? Right.

    Did you just equivocate “woo,” or something with no evidence attached, to sexual assault? Are you arguing Pamela Gay is a liar, despite the existence of collaborating stories from Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, and (allegedly) DJ Groethe? I’d like to see your evidence for that.

    Like her belief in God and other unoffensive true things about her. I thought FfTB was, in toto, dedicated to atheism? Right? Right.

    OK, I’m a bit confused here. Are you arguing FTB should only discuss atheism? Or that it should only discuss atheists? Or that freethought can only concern itself with religion? Even though all of those are lousy arguments, I don’t want to waste time arguing against something you’re not advocating.

    You are not targeted for no reason. Most of the FfTB blog hosts, and certainly the majority of the FfTB commentariat, are targeted specifically and directly in response to the kind of hyperbolic and profoundly toxic dogmatic fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit that FfTB, Skepchick, A+, and individuals like Amanda Marcotte spew on a daily basis.

    Goodness, ALL of those people engage in “fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit?” You can point to examples from each of the thirty-four bloggers on this network, the twenty one on SkepChick, as well as the thousands who identify as A+? I’m very impressed! I’ll spare you from spamming this comment thread with your volumes of evidence, so I’ll only challenge you to reveal evidence for one specific person:

    Me.

    I do identify as Atheist Plus, after all, and you claimed that people who identify under that label churn out “hyperbolic and profoundly toxic dogmatic fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit” “on a daily basis.” That should make things much easier on you, as well as sparing other readers a wall of text.

    (truth is always hatey hatey hatey and hurtful, isn’t it)

    I don’t find “chocolate is tasty” to be hateful and hurtful. Should I?

    That you have the hubris, the bloody minded gall to say that, after all the fact-free accusations directed from FfTB toward people lIke Shermer is nothing short of mind blowing. Amazing; fucking amazing. For once, try and provide some actual evidence, not FfTB supported anecdata, that Shermer is actually guilty of serial rape.

    Uh… “Miriamne,” Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, DJ Groethe, Pamela Gay, Barbera Drescher and Dallas Haugh do not blog at FreethoughtBlogs.

    And no, I am not going to provide evidence because FfTB in general does not believe in evidence

    So if I poked you in the eye, you are justified in poking other people in the eye? C’mon now, you’re sinking to the level of the people you hate, and openly mocking the skeptical method. Aren’t you better than us?

  255. 255
    kacyray

    AnthonyK:

    Wow, it’s almost as if you’d read the things I’ve written about not wanting to engage with you.

    Actually, you said you *would* engage over a beer (@218). Rather than agreeing to a situation that will likely never arise, I was offering a practical alternative. But I’m still puzzled as to why you are so interested in preaching to the choir here in comments sections but are resolutely unwilling to engage in civil conversation via a more conducive medium with someone who has different views. Could it be that you simply seek confirmation for your views and have no interest in putting them through the rigor of critical examination?

    And yet, here you are, begging me to hang out with you.

    “Hang out”? Would you consider Aron Ra and Lilandra’s conversation with Thunderf00t to be “hanging out”? I was not asking to hang out, I was offering you an opportunity to demonstrate that you are willing to engage an intellectual opponent outside of your safe zone. You have demonstrated the exact opposite, as I predicted, despite all efforts on my part to assure you that the conversation would be civil and risk-free.

    You’d do well to stay off the internet.

    I know… you’d like that. You’d like it if all who challenge your sacred cows would just go away, right?

    Offer me a handy. Offer me a blowjob. If you think that’s my motivation for doing things, then appeal to it. Tell me how you’ll get me off. Otherwise, you’re not being very charitable at all, are you?

    (Here’s some advice for you: I have never once thought about your sex life. Yet here you are, obsessing over mine. Think about what that means about you.)

    Ahhh… not sure how to respond to this. When I said I was being charitable, I was speaking of the olive branch I extended in order to have a civil conversation about a topic you seem to be pretty fanatical about. It had nothing to do with sex.

    And my comment about you and Sally was not borne of obsession. It was a just a gratuitous jab, made for no other reason than me deciding to be a dick at that moment.

    (I try to be civil 100% of the time. I manage to succeed roughly 99% of the time. That’s a vast improvement over the “me” of 10 years ago. But every now and then, when provoked, I’ll say something just to be a dick. Oh well.)

    Consider the offer withdrawn. I think it is clear enough that you’re only interested in having a conversation in a place where you can enjoy the support of the tribe and bask in their raucous applause whenever you loudly toe the party line. I guess everyone needs a hobby.

    As for me, I get a bit nervous when I’m in a place where everyone agrees wholeheartedly with everything I believe. That’s way too similar to church for my tastes.

  256. 256
    Edward Gemmer

    So are you arguing sexual assault isn’t traumatic, and does no real damage to someone? Or that the intent of the perpetrator matters greatly? If it’s the latter, then I wonder how you justify being harsh on drunk drivers, who don’t intend to do harm, while being lenient on those committing sexual assault, who may intend harm?

    Certainly it can cause trauma. Certainly intent matters greatly. We are harsh on drunk drivers because of the amount of harm they can cause even if they don’t intend it, as they are operating dangerous machines. We don’t punish drunk drivers to the extent we punish sexual assault, however.

    Asking why an assault was done doesn’t change the fact that an assault was committed. So why are you asking the question in the first place? Do you care only for the perpetrator, and not the victim?

    No, there is clearly a call for Shermer to be banned from conferences. To make any sort of judgment on the reasonableness of that, I would need more information. I’m not aware of the victims being banned from anything.

    “Nope” isn’t enough; point to the flaws in that argument, or concede it as your own.

    Nope is my go to when someone goes so far off the rails of what I was saying that instead of arguing the point, I just refer you back to my original statement. I haven’t argues about what constitutes sexual assault and what is or isn’t sexual assault. I’m arguing that before I can make a judgment about what occurred, I need more information about what occurred, and I do not understand why people guard this information. The fact that I have some questions doesn’t mean there aren’t reasonable answers. I just don’t know the answers, which is why I have the questions.

    They why are you still arguing, instead of educating yourself?

    I have tried to educate myself. I’ve read every reference to the matters that I am aware exists.

    Your actions speak louder than your words; you do hold strong beliefs, you do know what claims are being made, yet you have repeatedly said you are doing the contrary. How do you explain this contradiction?

    I recall a scene, I think in Goodfellas, where the mobsters would steal a truck, and the truck driver, in on the scam, rushed into a restaurant and claimed some black guys just stole his truck, despite this clearly not being true. However, his truck was stolen, and everyone would believe that some black guys stole it, so it rang true enough.

    Ringing true enough and being true are two different things. I’m not asking for leniency, I’m not engaging in some position on the victim or the perpetrator or anything else. I’m saying I can’t do that reasonably, because I don’t have enough information. I find it impossible to obtain said information, despite everyone claiming to be so against sexual assault. This makes me suspicious, and frustrated. When I feel like people are actively trying to hide things, I am not going to just believe the few things they say. Sorry.

  257. 257
    johngreg

    hjhornbeck said:

    Did you just equivocate “woo,” or something with no evidence attached, to sexual assault? Are you arguing Pamela Gay is a liar, despite the existence of collaborating stories from Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, and (allegedly) DJ Groethe? I’d like to see your evidence for that.

    No, none of the above. I tried (very poorly, I might add) to address what I see as the ongoing stream of hypocrisy that is delivered by most of the FC(n) and the Skepchick, FfTB, A+ blog hosts and Commentariat. I was trying to point out (again, very poorly done) the primary point that Pamela Gay is not what could be called a reliable narrator — she is someone who believes in Great Sky-daddies and other bits of woo (according to many discussions at skepticblog), and is not, in my opinion, someone who can be trusted to not tell tall tales.

    OK, I’m a bit confused here. Are you arguing FTB should only discuss atheism? Or that it should only discuss atheists? Or that freethought can only concern itself with religion? Even though all of those are lousy arguments, I don’t want to waste time arguing against something you’re not advocating.

    Again, no, none of the above. I was trying (obviously ineffectively) to point out the blatant hypocrisy that is the modus operandi of FfTB; that in cases where it supports the FfTB dogma and political pressure point, the FC(n) and the FfTB Commentariat will support without question, doubt, or a hint of critical thinking or skepticism, anything said by someone whose beliefs and world-view they would otherwise disparage, vilify, and condemn, and would also label as being a Woo believer, and therefore not someone whose statements or opinions are to be trusted, respected, or even listened to.

    Goodness, ALL of those people engage in “fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit?”

    No. I did not say all; I said most. Most is not all; all is not most.

    Uh… “Miriamne,” Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, DJ Groethe, Pamela Gay, Barbera Drescher and Dallas Haugh do not blog at FreethoughtBlogs.

    Uh … irrelevant. My point was to call out the FC(n) and the FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ blog hosts and Commentariat who have, in point of fact, stated on several occasions that Shermer is a serial rapist, and have done so with nothing more than anecdote which is, because it supports the FfTB, Skepchick, A+ politics and talking points, rendered magic and transformed into evidence. And frankly, if you believe a word that comes out of Dallas Haugh’s (and to an only slightly lesser degree, Carrie Poppy) mouth, you are deluded.

    So if I poked you in the eye, you are justified in poking other people in the eye? C’mon now, you’re sinking to the level of the people you hate, and openly mocking the skeptical method. Aren’t you better than us?

    Huh? Who have I accused of being a serial rapist? Skeptical method? Mocking the skeptical method? Huh? Are you on drugs? There is no skeptical method at FfTB, Skepchick, or A+. There is only innuendo, anecdote, tattle-tale telling, doxxing, slander, vilification, gossip; I see little or no skepticism, nor critical thinking, nor even much rationality at FfTB, Skepchick, or A+. I see a lot of anger, a truckload of vilification and misrepresentation and outright lies about “the enemy”, a lot of hysteria over moral panics, a universe of hypocrisy, fainting couches galore, duplicity, deceit, and plain disgraceful behaviour.

    But that’s just my opinion, right? Right.

  258. 258
    johngreg

    I tried to post this comment before, but it went into moderation. I’m not sure why that happened, but I think it was because there was a link in the post. I’ve fudged the link now, so maybe this will get through. It is slightly off topic, but only slightly — it answers a question that Anthony K asked, and is a sort of reply to some of the back and forth that has been going on here.

    Anthony K said:

    Curious: what do Slymepitters say when you tell them this?

    Well, this Slymepitter agrees wholeheartedly with kacray’s post #229

    The raging, often hysterical hostility directed from FfTB, Skepchick, and A+, toward the Pit is often funny, frequently sad, and almost invariably dishonest, or at the very least, misrepresentative of the reality.

    One of my favourite descriptions of the Pit comes from several members of the FfTB Commentariat, to wit:

    I’ve never been to the Pit, and will never go there, because I know it is a indeed a pit of slime and vile, sexist, misogynistic, anti-feminist behaviour.

    I love that one. It reminds me of much of the religious hatred directed toward Scorsese’s The Last Tempation of Christ, wherein countless religious “authorities” stated “I’ve never seen it and will not go to see it because I know it is sinful and blasphemous”. Right. I’ve never seen or eaten an avocado but I know it’s foul.

    Another funny aspect of that bit of foolishness is that in point of fact many FfTB blog hosts and Commentariat do visit the Pit — cripes, we are a major source of rage fodder for the FC(n) and the Commentariat — and then report back, like gleeful grade school tattle tales to Zvan, Benson, et al, about all the horrific, evil, nasty things that are said on the Pit. HAHAHA. Much fun is had by all.

    Another thing I find interesting, and, of course, your mileage may vary, is that the Pit has well over a dozen individuals who were, at some time in the past, respected members of the FfTB commentariat, and even some ex-FfTB blog hosts. So far as I know, there is not one, not a single individual who left the Pit in favour of either FfTB, Skepchick, or A+. Yes, there have been a few people who left the Pit in disagreement with the degree of anti-FfTB hostility, and the tasteless content of some of the posts. But, so far as I know, the only individual to ever even come close to leaving the Pit and joining up with FfTB, Skepchick , or A+, was Justicar, who briefly, and I think with eventual regret, tried to side with and support Stephanie Zvan … or was it Ophelia? No, I am pretty sure it was Zvan. And that was very short-lived.

    A vast amount of the righteous anger directed toward the Pit is based on blatant lies. For example (just a small sampling):

    1. Many, many folks at FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ continue to this day to make the false claim that the Pit was born out of, and maintains itself on, hatred toward Rebecca Watson for saying “Guys, don’t do that”. In point of fact, the Pit was born out of Abbie Smith’s July 1, 2011, post “Bad Form, Rebecca Watson” (… scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/01/bad-form-rebecca-watson/), which was in response to, and I quote: “an extremely cognizant, articulate post by Stef McGraw, complete with a shockingly arrogant, jackass comment by Rebecca Watson….” And the Pit, generally speaking, maintains itself on current issues pouring out of FfTB, Skepchick, A+, and other gender-feminist-based individuals and online locations.

    2. Many individuals on the FfTB commentariat, and a few on the Skepchick commentariat, have made the false claim that the Pit is populated solely, or almost solely by MRA/MRM members and supporters, and Libertarians. In point of fact, yes, there are a few MRA/MRM supporters who post at the Pit, but as far as I can determine they number less than ten out of a membership of, as of November 15, 2013, 824, and as for Libertarians, I think only about perhaps 15% or so of the members hold Libertarian principles / ideology.

    3. Some of the FfTB commentariat have made the false claim that the Pit regularily doxxes individuals that they see as the enemy. This is blatantly false, and so far as I can determine, the only individuals who have made a semi-regular act of doxxing would be Zvan, Laden (Lah-den for those in-the-know), LousyCanuck, and a small handful of FfTB commentariat. On the few occasions when something was posted at the Pit that even came close to doxxing, it was removed almost immediately, and the poster was censured.

    4. Several FfTB blog hosts and commentariat, and some Skepchick and A+ hosts and commentariat have made the false claim that the raison d’etre of the Pit is to insult, hurt, lie about, shame, etc., anyone with whom anyone on the Pit disagrees with or does not like (in particular, Rebecca Watson). In point of fact the primary function, if it could even be called that, of the Pit is to highlight, point out, link to, and discuss and disparage the monumental degree of hypocrisy, deceit, and misrepresentation (of almost everything in the universe) that most of the FC(n) and most of the FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ commentariat spew on an almost daily basis.

  259. 259
    Nepenthe

    plain disgraceful behaviour

    As opposed to mocking a man who was raped as a child; that’s highly honorable behavior.

  260. 260
    darwintyson

    Just curious if anyone responding on the thread has any background in investigating sexual harassment or hostile work environment issues; sexual assault issues; or attended any classes or seminars in these disciplines.

  261. 261
    johngreg

    Nepenthe said:

    As opposed to mocking a man who was raped as a child; that’s highly honorable behavior.

    What? You mean the mocking, shaming, and boycotting that Skepchick, FfTB, and A+ send Dawkins way, right?

    Right.

  262. 262
    Nepenthe

    No, I meant your mocking a man who was raped as a child specifically for the abuse he suffered and is still suffering, which is rather in a different category than criticizing the comments of a person about subjects X, Y, and Z, who happens to have been abused as a child.

    Point me to the Skepchick, FreethoughtBlogger, or A+er who has mocked Dawkins for being abused. Go on. I dare you.

  263. 263
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    What? You mean the mocking, shaming, and boycotting that Skepchick, FfTB, and A+ send Dawkins way, right?

    Fuck you johngreg.

    Certain atheists have decided not to spend their personal fucking money on Richard Dawkins anymore because we don’t like how his mask has dropped off and he’s shown himself to be a racist, sexist, privilege-blind, egotistical asshole.

    I was under the impression, living in a free country with a free market where money is considered speech, that this was an acceptable thing to do.

    Not one of us (not myself… not even fucking Rebecca Watson) has actually advocated boycotting Dawkins. Hell, despite my dislike of the man, I still use “Greatest Show on Earth” as my go-to (along with three other books) when arguing evolution, I still recommend the “God Delusion” to anyone interested in atheism (albeit with some caveats), and I still want that utterly brilliant, immensely well-written passage from “Unweaving the Rainbow” (I think we all know which one) read at my funeral (though I hope to live long enough to see the first scientific colony on Mars and the first tourist trip to the Moon).

    That doesn’t stop me from considering the man to be a racist, sexist, privilege-blind, egotistical asshole, and choosing to personally not spend my money on anything related to him anymore. I have that fucking right, dipshit, so you can fuck right off with righteous indignation of yours.

    Trust me… your god Dawkins can handle it and doesn’t need you to defend him (or worship him, for that matter)…

  264. 264
    johngreg

    Napthagas said:

    No, I meant your mocking a man who was raped as a child specifically for the abuse he suffered and is still suffering, which is rather in a different category than criticizing the comments of a person about subjects X, Y, and Z, who happens to have been abused as a child.

    Hmm. Point me, oh careful wizard of technicalities, to where I, or anyone who I am referring to, mocked a man who was raped as a child specifically for the abuse he suffered and is still suffering. Hmm?

    ______________________
    Woah, Nate, you angry, angry soul….

    Great googleymoogley, Nate, Honey, red headed stepchild of pain, scorn, and anger, take a chill pill.

    And please, please, please, stop trying to assault and harass me (™ Stefunny Zvan).

    Not one of us (not myself… not even fucking Rebecca Watson) has actually advocated boycotting Dawkins.

    HAHAHA. You silly flimflam s/h/it. Watson, for one — and she is most certainly not alone — has indeed proposed, promoted, and endorsed boycotting Dawkins. Go here, if you don’t, erm, uh, HAHA, get it (the http initial stuff has been removed so as to avoid the moderation dungeon):

    link:… phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/Denialism:_Watson_call_For_Dawkins_Boycott_%22Never_Happened%22

    If you wish to deny, obfuscate, and revise the definitive and connotative meanings of words so as to fit your political and hysterical dogmatically ideological perspective, so be it. But reality will, as reality does, out.

    I have that fucking right, dipshit, so you can fuck right off with righteous indignation of yours.

    Indeed you do. And I would never, ever, under any circumstances deny you that right. Would you bequeath me the same rights?

    And, perhaps as importantly, would you, you oh-so-angry righteous wrathgaist of judicious social intellectual freedoms, bequeath me the same rights without calling me names and trying to, metaphorically speaking, of course, rape me?

    Trust me your god Dawkins can handle it and doesn’t need you to defend him (or worship him, for that matter).

    HAHAHAHA, Dawkins is not my god, nor have I ever tried to defend, let alone worship, him — silly, silly wrathgaist, you … and anyway, defend him from what? idiots like yourself? Hmm. Ponder, ponder, ponder.

  265. 265
    A Hermit

    In point of fact, the Pit was born out of Abbie Smith’s July 1, 2011, post “Bad Form, Rebecca Watson” (… scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/01/bad-form-rebecca-watson/), which was in response to, and I quote: “an extremely cognizant, articulate post by Stef McGraw,

    And it really speaks to the shallowness of the Pit that people there are still obsessed and unable to move on, even though Stef McGraw apparently has…you guys bring “white knighting” to a whole new level.

  266. 266
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Yeah, A Hermit. In fact, Steph McGraw was at WiS2, and from what I could see, any animosity between her and anyone else, including Rebecca, seemed to be “water under the bridge”, as it were.

    johngreg, I’ll apologize for the tone of that post this time… I was having one of those those absolutely horrible days and I took it out on my keyboard and you.

    As for whether or not I’d grant your right to enjoy Dawkins, let me just requote myself:

    Hell, despite my dislike of the man, I still use “Greatest Show on Earth” as my go-to (along with three other books) when arguing evolution, I still recommend the “God Delusion” to anyone interested in atheism (albeit with some caveats), and I still want that utterly brilliant, immensely well-written passage from “Unweaving the Rainbow” (I think we all know which one) read at my funeral (though I hope to live long enough to see the first scientific colony on Mars and the first tourist trip to the Moon).

    So clearly, I’m not against others choosing not to boycott him.

    As to your link… sorry, johngreg, but Rebecca Watson does not advocate for a complete boycott of Dawkins. She has chosen to personally boycott him. Not only does she not deny that, but she never says any differently! That’s the difference you seem to be failing to grasp. There are those of us who have indeed chosen to boycott him. We do not, however, begrudge anybody else (such as you) spending their money on his stuff. We are not advocating for our personal choice.

    So is what Rebecca and myself others doing a boycott?

    Yes.

    Are we trying to convince others to do the same?

    No.

    That’s the difference.

    So yes, you have every right to buy his stuff and more power to you if you do.

  267. 267
    splen

    link:… phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/Denialism:_Watson_call_For_Dawkins_Boycott_%22Never_Happened%22

    If you wish to deny, obfuscate, and revise the definitive and connotative meanings of words so as to fit your political and hysterical dogmatically ideological perspective, so be it. But reality will, as reality does, out.

    Did it even occur to you that your source here for what a boycott is actually just a wikia article you wrote in which you make it perfectly clear that you don’t understand what a boycott is.

    Does it ever occur to that this kind of thing might be the actual reason people don’t take you very seriously.

  268. 268
    johngreg

    Nate said:

    … any animosity between her and anyone else, including Rebecca, seemed to be “water under the bridge”, as it were.

    Yes, this is quite true. But it is also irrelevant.

    Neither Abbie Smith (now Doctor Smith, actually) nor anyone else at the Pit is, for lack of a better term, White Knighting Steph McGraw; that is not the point or the issue at hand. While McGraw holds no apparent animosity now, she did at the time of Abbie’s post — that was the point of Abbie’s post at that time. And that is what started the whole thing off.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that the Pit, as it was then, had almost forgotten, so to speak, the whole McGraw issue, and then PeeZus and Watson brought it back into the limelight by making loud public statements about it. So, again in point of fact, it was not the Pit that continued to obssess on that issue, but it was actually Watson and Myers.

    As to your link… sorry, johngreg, but Rebecca Watson does not advocate for a complete boycott of Dawkins. She has chosen to personally boycott him.

    Well, clearly we have a different interpretation of her actions and intent — and no, my assuming intent is not quite the mind-reading trick it might appear at first hand; it is based on the knowledge that Watson is, more than anyone, wholly aware of the degree of support and sycophantic idolatry she holds in her narrow community — she knows that when she states that she is going to do such-and-such, several hundred followers will copy her actions in a sense of solidarity. I don’t think it is realistic to deny that awareness nor that level of social control.

    Anyway, at that link, I argued as well as I felt I could how and why I felt that Watson’s actions were, to some degree, a public recommendation for a blanket general boycott of Dawkins. That we hold different interpretations of her actions is fine; that’s what people do, they interpret vagueries in different ways. My interpretation is that for your claim to be true (meaning that Watson was not issuing a blanket recommendation for a general boycott), Watson’s social power, so to speak, would have to be both ignored and rendered non-existent. And, in my opinion, that does not reflect reality.

    By-the-by, thank you for the apology. That registers. And, in that tone, I should apologise for the harsh anger in my first post here in this thread of comments; that was to some small degree unwarranted and uncalled for.

    Not only does she not deny that, but she never says any differently! That’s the difference you seem to be failing to grasp.

    Well, no, I am not “failing to grasp” anything; it is simply a matter of interpretation. Seriously, that is what makes the world, and the Internet, both so wondrously excellent, and so depressingly idiotic: interpretational differences due to society, culture, language, et al ad infinitum.

    splen said:

    Did it even occur to you that your source here for what a boycott is actually just a wikia article you wrote in which you make it perfectly clear that you don’t understand what a boycott is.

    Actually, my source for my argument, which you appear to have ignored, is the definitive, denotative and connotative definition of the word boycott. That is quite specifically what I used to base my argument around. If you choose to redefine words to mean something that they do not in fact mean, go for it, but you will not gain much support for that from anyone who is not either an intellectual fraud, or does not hold a dogmatic and ideological and unmalleable political agenda.

    Does it ever occur to that this kind of thing might be the actual reason people don’t take you very seriously.

    Yes, it occurs to me frequently. But I think the primary reason that most FfTB, Skepchick, and A+ people do not take me seriously is because they hold dogmatic and ideological and unmalleable political agendas. Also, they, generally speaking, see me as the enemy, and hence do whatever they can to dehumanize me and render me meaningless and irrelevant in their universe.

  269. 269
    A Hermit

    I should apologise for the harsh anger in my first post here in this thread of comments; that was to some small degree unwarranted and uncalled for.

    Some small degree? No, it was completely and utterly uncalled for, and because you have a habit of barging into to comment threads with similar crap that you aren’t taken seriously. Dismissing what happened to Dr. Gay because of her religious beliefs? Not cool.

    You need to get that big chip off your shoulder if you want to be taken seriously. Or just go back that circle jerk Slymepit forum, they take all kinds of bullshit seriously there…

  270. 270
    johngreg

    Angry Hermit said:

    Dismissing what happened to Dr. Gay because of her religious beliefs? Not cool.

    Actually, I am not dismissing her claims. I am casting some doubt as to the veracity of her claims based upon her rather tenuous grasp of reality. And, more importantly, I am also casting some criticism in the direction of FfTB in particular, for believing , in toto, with neither skepticism, critical thought, or even a smidgeon of doubt, everything that she claims, even where she contradicts herself and/or is vague to the point of diminished credibility.

  271. 271
    A Hermit

    Yes, you are being dismissive of what happened to Dr. Gay. The fact that someone has a religious belief which I don’t share doesn’t make her unreliable in all things. But even if it did the story isn’t coming from her, is it?

    There was a story this weekend about someone making a threat at Skepticon. Are you going to apply the same kind of hyperskeptical standard to Dave Muscato? I’d be surprised if you did; your little Slymepit buddies are all over twitter crowing about it right now without a hint of doubt…

    And the A is for Aleister…or possibly Amused. But not Angry…that’s just you projecting.

  272. 272
    johngreg

    Amused Hermit, you are not overly burdened with English comprehension, are you.

    You said, “Dismissing what happened to Dr. Gay because of her religious beliefs?”

    Dismissing something someone says, and being dismissive of it, are not necessarily the same thing.

    Yes, yes, yes, I know FfTB hates dictionaries (except when they support the relevant fanaticism and irrational dogma, but … but here you go, just for your signal education:

    dis·mis·sive (ds-msv)
    adj.
    1. Serving to dismiss.
    2. Showing indifference or disregard: a dismissive shrug.

    I am dismissive of Gay’s claims, as in definition number 2.

    I am not, as in definition number one, dismissing her claims outright; I am speculating doubt about her veracity.

    Got it? Probably not, but what the heck; I tried.

    There was a story this weekend about someone making a threat at Skepticon. Are you going to apply the same kind of hyperskeptical standard to Dave Muscato? I’d be surprised if you did; your little Slymepit buddies are all over twitter crowing about it right now without a hint of doubt…

    Completely and utterly irrelevant, and off-topic, and derailing. Shame on you.

    And the A is for Aleister…or possibly Amused. But not Angry…that’s just you projecting.

    HAHAHAHAHA. I am not projecting, you amusedly happy loon, I am being creative and focussed on your tone.

    Ya, ya, ya, I know: “Tone trolling”; an ultimate evil (along with the Pitter’s original sin) of FfTB, except when we, meaning, of course, you, do it, etc.

    Sheesh.

    ______
    Hmm. I am experiencing tachycardia at the moment, due, no doubt, to my original sin as a loathsome, evil, sexist, misogynistic Pitter, so I may, or may not, be back here for a couple of days.

    Oh, woe, woe, is me; please send me some dollars, or maybe some fluevogs to level out my sins and send this evil fibrulation away!

    KthnxBye.

  273. 273
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    johngreg… I don’t think Watson’s celebrity has to be ignored in order for my interpretation to hold.

    I will absolutely grant that Rebecca has a fan base and even influence. But I’m not sure we’re the sycophantic adoring puppy dogs you make us out to be. At the very least, we could very much say the same about y’all when it comes to Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris and Shermer and so on. PZ Myers certainly isn’t boycotting Dawkins… indeed, he recently advertised a shirt sold by the Dawkins Foundation.

    There’s a reason I’ve started using the “your god Dawkins” gambit… because I really do get the impression that at least a few who seem to hate us here at FTB do so because we’ve had to the audacity to criticize(!) Dawkins… I guess because they think he’s beyond criticism… perhaps even wholly.

    I have been working, albeit slowly, on a blog post about losing my old heroes, and why I no longer like “The Four Horsemen of Atheism”, and why I no longer want to be represented by people like Dawkins. The point of the post will be that I mean it in the soft sense. I will never, ever begrudge others for still being fans of Dawkins. I will never, ever deny his immense role in forcing atheism into the public like never before. Dawkins deserves every ounce of credit he gets for that.

    But I’d also like it if this community moved on. Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris and Dennet and Shermer and Hirsi Ali and Grayling can’t be the end all, be all of the atheism community. And I really do get the impression that for at least some on your side, that’s exactly how they see it… and that bothers me.

    Then there’s the fact of my worldview. I cannot ever consider Ayn Rand Objectivists my allies, because the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    I can’t consider atheist Men’s Rights Activists my allies, because the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    Just because we share a disbelief in gods does not mean we share political and social worldviews.

    In US terms, I’m further to the left than Communist. This is only possible because the political spectrum in the US is skewed so far to the right that right-wing, corporate-owned authoritarians like the Democrats can be called “Socialists” here (and that includes Obama, because even with “Obamacare” [and BTW... I fall into that group of people his little plan is utterly useless to], he is not left wing… he just isn’t)

    I am a feminist and a social justice advocate. I believe in equality, and I recognize that we’ve not achieved it, yet. All political/social minorities, including women, have not achieved equality. I hate it when people say that atheists are “the last minority it’s okay to hate”, because that denies the fact that, socially speaking, it actually is still okay to hate LGBTQ people, people of color, Muslims, the disabled, the poor, and… yes… women.

    It is still okay to blame a victim of rape for being raped.

    It is still okay to shame a woman who dares to have sex by calling her a slut or a whore, while in the same breath shaming another woman who chooses to keep her virginity until marriage by calling her a prude.

    It is still okay to judge women by aesthetics, and by what they wear (as opposed to by their intellect and personality).

    (And yes, I realize that in many ways this is true for men… I recently wrote a post dealing with an aspect of how Patriarchy has actually hurt me personally… but even so, it simply is not on the same level as it is for women.)

    For me, kyriarchy and patriarchy and rape culture are so incredibly obvious, that when people get “skeptical” about them, I feel as if I’m talking to Creationists or Global-Warming deniers.

    So I obviously cannot be allies with atheists who disagree with any or all of that, because the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    And that’s the crux of it: the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    I hate religion, johngreg, quite a bit… especially Christianity. I have always identified as an anti-theist, with the only exception being Judaism, and even then, only the culture.

    Yet John Fugelsang, a Christian who identifies as a progressive and a social justice advocate, and I think a feminist (though I’m not 100% sure on that one) is more my ally than someone like Shermer will ever be. If I had to pick who would be at my side on the activism front, I’d rather Christians like John Fugelsang and Muslims like Malala Yousafzai than atheists like Shermer and Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens.

    Because while I may disagree with their beliefs in dogma and the supernatural, I agree with them on everything else that is important to me. And while I may, if they were open to it, happily challenge their faith, it will be while we fight side-by-side for true equality and true social justice.

    There cannot be social justice until it is not okay to hate even us atheists. There cannot be true social justice while we still blame victims of rape, still fight the war on drugs (which is amazingly racist, by the way), still use evolutionary psychology to try and justify gender roles (Sweden disproves every Evolutionary Psychologist’s claim about how gender roles are nature and not nurture… Sweden is proving all of them utterly and completely wrong), still “joke” about how activism is “more of a guy thing”, still try to define sexual assault so narrowly that walking up to a stranger and grabbing her tits is not considered sexual assault, still happily throw around words like the n-word when we aren’t black, gendered slurs when we aren’t the gender the words are meant to insult, and stereotypes about people who are different from us.

    I believe this very strongly, and I long for that day. I want to live to see that day. And anyone who says otherwise… any white person who defends their use of the n-word, or any man who defends their use of the b-word and the c-word, in the name of “free speech”… or thinks that the first amendment protects all speech even on private property; any person who thinks it’s okay to question a rape victim about what she was wearing, or why she was out at that time, or why she was alone, or why he was in jail, or why he didn’t “want it”; any person who thinks “innocent until proven guilty” applies outside the court of law… is very simply not my ally, even if they don’t believe in gods and feel the same way I do about religion.

    I’m not saying that atheists having greater acceptance in the world is not important to me. I’m saying that it’s not the only thing important to me. I’m saying that the bigotry against atheism is part of a larger tapestry, and you have to bring down the whole tapestry. It’s not one tree, but a whole forest, and it’s the only forest in existence that’s okay to cut down entirely.

    But when you deny that tapestry… when you insist on only focusing on one tree and refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the rest of the forest… you are not helping matters; you are only making them worse. And when you do that, you fail.

    So why would anyone do that?

  274. 274
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Oh… and johngreg?

    Feel better.

  275. 275
    johngreg

    Hiya, Nate.

    I, for the record, respect what you have to say. However, the blog host has decided to not allow my response to your well worded and eloquent comment to pass.

    So, we both lose. I have responded to your comment, but, as I say, the blog host has seen fit to remove my comment.

    You know, Freeze peach, and all that.

  276. 276
    A Hermit

    JohnGreg, you should invest in a thesaurus to go along with that dictionary; some of the terms synonymous with “dismiss” are things like “brush off” and “push aside”

    Also, to dismiss can be defined as “to express scornfully one’s low opinion of…” which is what you are doing.

    You’re also ignoring the fact that it’s not just Dr Gay who says Shermer groped her, it’s DJ Grothe who has been teling people lhe witnessed the incident. So it’s not jsut a woman’s testimony it’s been corroborated by at least one reliable male Muslim skeptic.

    The incident this weekend is not irrelevant to this; it goes to consistency. I don’t see you or your slymey friends applying the same kind of skepticism to that incident that you apply to incidents involving harassment or assault of women. Quite the opposite in fact. You’re hypocrites.

    Beyond that I really can’t add anything more than what Nate says above.

  277. 277
    A Hermit

    And I’ll stop now, `cause I’m sure Ashley has better things to do than tend to this nonsense…like practicing that Ukelele…(hint hint…)

  278. 278
    Ashley F. Miller

    Hello all, I was at Skepticon over the weekend and a few comments got designated as Spam by WordPress, I think I’ve approved the ones people are complaining about not seeing. Let me know if I missed anything.

    As an aside, how is one meant to take anything seriously from people who insist on using ridiculously childish nicknames for everyone they disagree with? I have strong urge to do a find/replace on Fftb, peezus, and all the others and replace with “poopyhead” and “meanieface”.

  279. 279
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    johngreg, see Ashley’s comment at 278. Hopefully your response will make it through.

  280. 280
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Erm… Ashley? Can I edit my long comment?

    These two typos are seriously bothering me:

    Yet John Fugelsang, a Christian who identifies as a progressive and a social justice advocate, and I thik a feminist (though I’m not 100% sure on that one)

    “thik” should be “think”…

    (Sweden disproves every Evolutionary Psychologists

    “Psychologists” should be “Psychologist’s”…

    Sorry… I know it’s kinda pathetic to get worked up about typos, but they bother me (I nearly got into a fight on a Pharyngula thread over this… heh)…

  281. 281
    Ashley F. Miller

    fixed

  282. 282
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Thanks, Ashley. I really appreciate it.

  283. 283
    johngreg

    A Hermit said:

    JohnGreg, you should invest in a thesaurus to go along with that dictionary; some of the terms synonymous with “dismiss” are things like “brush off” and “push aside”.

    Ya, so? It is not your interpretation of my intent that determines my intent, it is my intent that determines my intent.

    Also, to dismiss can be defined as “to express scornfully one’s low opinion of…” which is what you are doing.

    Yes, it can, and yes, that is, to some degree, what I am doing; you’re right. I do not trust or much respect her, nor, for that matter, do I much trust Grothe.

    Ashley said:

    Hello all, I was at Skepticon over the weekend and a few comments got designated as Spam by WordPress, I think I’ve approved the ones people are complaining about not seeing. Let me know if I missed anything.

    Well, there was a long comment that I posted in reply to one of Nate’s comments, and it did not make it through. I’ll try to post it again — if Nate’s still curious or interested in my response.

    As an aside, how is one meant to take anything seriously from people who insist on using ridiculously childish nicknames for everyone they disagree with? I have strong urge to do a find/replace on Fftb, peezus, and all the others and replace with “poopyhead” and “meanieface”.

    OK, for the sake of your temper and my wish to be taken seriously I’ll stop using those diminutives on this blog. And, actually, I often use childish diminutives for friends and allies too; it’s a show of affection and an expression, in a sense, of the fleetingness of life and my belief about the lack of necessity to take such things so deeply darkly seriously. I mean, while I don’t exactly enjoy it when, for example, Anthony K equates my name with a toilet or a prostitute’s customer, neither do I berate him or rage at him for doing so; it’s actually kind of funny, and shows his character.

    By-the-by, Ashley, thanks for not moderating, deleting, and instantly banning me as most FTB blog hosts do. It speaks well of you, so to speak; it shows integrity and intellectual honesty (in my opinion).

  284. 284
    johngreg

    Nate, here you go:

    Nate said:

    I’m not sure we’re the sycophantic adoring puppy dogs you make us out to be.

    Well, to be fair, both to you and myself, I am not … erm … uh, accusing you, specifically, of being one of those sycophantic puppy doggies. I am accusing the sycophantic puppy doggies that salivate with delerious delicious delight at every drop of angry liquorish expectoration that is, for example, spoken by the glorious Ms. scientifically spectacular Rebecca Watson.

    At the very least, we could very much say the same about y’all when it comes to Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris and Shermer and so on.

    Yes, you could indeed say the same thing. But I do not think it would be accurate. For one thing, there are many individuals at the Pit (including myself) who do not fully support, endorse, or proselytize Dawkins, Shermer, Hitchens, or Harris. You see (well, I hope you see), that’s what happens when you have an open forum that allows for and enables real free speech and real free thought: a multiplicity of opinions, beliefs, ideologies, and so on, etc., ad infinitum.

    PZ Myers certainly isn’t boycotting Dawkins… indeed, he recently advertised a shirt sold by the Dawkins Foundation.

    Well, to be fair and realistic, PZ is is not exactly consistent and often changes his position, politics, and opinions with a passing breeze.

    There’s a reason I’ve started using the “your god Dawkins” gambit… because I really do get the impression that at least a few who seem to hate us here at FTB do so because we’ve had to the audacity to criticize(!) Dawkins… I guess because they think he’s beyond criticism… perhaps even wholly.

    That’s a well stated claim, but I do not think it is accurate. I cannot, and do not speak for the entire Pit (no one does), but as for myself, no I do not hate FfTB, Skepchick, or A+ because they have criticized Dawkins (actually, I do not hate anyone, I just disagree) — I’ve criticised Dawkins myself on many occasions; there are many things about him, and Hitchens, and Shermer, with which I strongly disagree. Harris I am mostly unfamiliar with.

    The point of the post will be that I mean it in the soft sense. I will never, ever begrudge others for still being fans of Dawkins. I will never, ever deny his immense role in forcing atheism into the public like never before. Dawkins deserves every ounce of credit he gets for that.

    For frying godlette’s sake, Nate, I agree with that whole heartedly. But that agreement, does not render me disallowed from disagreeing with certain methodologies of practice … does it?

    But I’d also like it if this community moved on. Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris and Dennet and Shermer and Hirsi Ali and Grayling can’t be the end all, be all of the atheism community.

    Again, I agree 100% with that statement. At the same time, in my opinion, Myers, Zvan, Thibeault, Marcotte, and Rebecca Watson cannot and should not be considered as the end-all, be-all of the atheism (and erstwhile skeptical) community. But, Nate, that’s just my opinion; just my opinion. That does not make me wrong or right, or good or evil, it just makes me someone who has an opinion with which you probably disagree.

    Then there’s the fact of my worldview. I cannot ever consider Ayn Rand Objectivists my allies, because the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    I can’t consider atheist Men’s Rights Activists my allies, because the fact that we share a disbelief in gods simply isn’t good enough.

    Just because we share a disbelief in gods does not mean we share political and social worldviews.

    I agree. Completely. One hundred percent. No disputes. I feel the same way.

    I am a feminist and a social justice advocate. I believe in equality, and I recognize that we’ve not achieved it, yet. All political/social minorities, including women, have not achieved equality. I hate it when people say that atheists are “the last minority it’s okay to hate”, because that denies the fact that, socially speaking, it actually is still okay to hate LGBTQ people, people of color, Muslims, the disabled, the poor, and… yes… women.

    I agree with, and condone and support and identify with all of that paragraph, with one exception: I am not a feminist; I am a humanist. Man, woman, mother, father, child, sister, brother, et al. they are all, completely, totally, individually yet insurmountabley, equal … or, barring certain obvious practicalities, should be so socially, politically, sexually, etc.

    This is getting TLDR. Nate, you have written a very long, and a very well stated and well thought-out comment; however, I will stop here due to length; if you want me to continue, say so, and I will.

    By the way, thank you for being, for the most part, discrete, respectful, and honest.

    Heh, heh, yes, actually, I do feel a bit better. I think the tachicardia was due to, um, erm, dietary conflictions.

  285. 285
    A Hermit

    It is not your interpretation of my intent that determines my intent, it is my intent that determines my intent.

    Intent is not magic; the effect of your comment was dismissive.

    Yes, it can, and yes, that is, to some degree, what I am doing; you’re right.

    Thank you for recognizing that.

    I do not trust or much respect her, nor, for that matter, do I much trust Grothe.

    Do you trust Shermer more? Do you understand why many in the skeptic community might not?

    Do you honestly believe that Dr. Gay would make this all up? Why would she put herself through this?

  286. 286
    johngreg

    A Hermit said:

    Intent is not magic; the effect of your comment was dismissive.

    Yes, the effect of my comment was dismissive; I will agree with you on that. However, where intent might not be magic, neither can it be swept under the carpet (or presumed) just to suit a political agenda.

    Do you trust Shermer more?

    I do not trust Shermer very much (mainly due to his stated and often proselytized Libertarian philosophy / ideology), but yes, I think I might trust him a little bit more than Pamela Gay, and this is not because he’s a man and she’s a woman, it’s because in general his track record as a published writer and public speaker gives him, in my perspective, slightly more credibility than Gay — not much, perhaps, but some. But, really, I am just not sure. I cannot take hearsay anecdote, calling itself evidence, regardless of its source, as definitive proof of Shermer’s, or anyone else’s supposed acts of serial rape, and/or gross misconduct.

    Do you understand why many in the skeptic community might not?

    Yes, I do, but I think that much of that distrust is based on hearsay, anecdote, moral panic, and the clear pleasure that so many people seem to take in dehumanizing him just because they enjoy doing so, and the clear pleasure they get in defining an enemy.

    Do you honestly believe that Dr. Gay would make this all up?

    No, but I did not say that she “made it all up”. I do feel that her story does not stand up very well to critical scrutiny. That does not mean it is all a fabrication; it simply means that, in my opinion, it does not hold together particularily well; it seems inconsistent, inconclusive, and occasionally rather vague. But that is just my opinion, and does not mean that I am stating as a point of fact that she is not telling the truth; I am merely speculating, and if it turns out that she is, in fact, telling nothing but the truth, that should certainly be acknowledged.

    Why would she put herself through this?

    Political points and victim identification? Wholly truth? Partly truth? I am not stating that any of that is what she is doing; it is nothing more than empty speculation. Anyway, I cannot speculate on the modus operandi or motivations of someone who I feel is not completely in touch with reality.

  287. 287
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Okay… this is bothering the hell out of me…

    I understand that Dr. Pamela Gay is Christian, but she has been one of my favorite Astronomers, skeptics (yes, I do indeed think that a religious person can be a skeptic… even a good skeptic!), and science popularizers for a while, now.

    Is it really just her Christianity that is turning some of you off, or is there more to it? Because I don’t accept that believing in God is enough to make someone’s grasp on reality “tenuous at best”. I think they’re wrong, but for them to qualify as “delusional”, it’d have to go a lot further than that (like, for example, thinking the earth is only 6000 years old and was spoken into existence in six days)…

  288. 288
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Also, johngreg… the percentage of rape/assault accusations that are false range around 5%-6% of all accusations, and if EEC’s story, told a while ago, is any indication, even those numbers may be inflated, potentially by a lot.

    I see absolutely no way in which falsely accusing someone of rape provides a benefit to the person levying the accusation, especially in this culture that further victimizes the victim.

    Based on the numbers and the culture that we live in, I am more inclined to believe that the person was indeed attacked than that she’s lying.

    As to your comment about being a Humanist instead of a Feminist… the problem here is that you are again denying the existence of part of that forest I talked about. I agree with you 100% that regardless of gender, race, beliefs, etc, we are all equal, but this is also not reality. Feminism exists because women are not afforded the same privileges in men in our society. Feminism exists because women simply are placed lower on the totem pole than men in our society, and for absolutely unintelligent reasons. When you go all “I’m not a feminist! I’m a humanist!”, you are basically telling women that you don’t actually give a crap about them.

  289. 289
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    but this is also not reality

    should be “but this is also not how reality is set up right now”.

    the same privileges in men

    should be “the same privileges AS men”…

    Leave it alone this time, Ashley. My issues are not yours…

  290. 290
    A Hermit

    I do feel that her story does not stand up very well to critical scrutiny.

    What part? In what way does it not “stand up?” Is it really a matter of “scrutiny” or are you just being incredulous? you haven’t been very specific apart from complaining about her religious belief.

    I am not stating that any of that is what she is doing; it is nothing more than empty speculation.

    So we’ve gone from skeptical scrutiny to empty speculation in one short leap…you’re not exactly big on consistency are you?

    As far as being out of touch with reality, do you not think people are capable of being rational about some things and less so about others? We all have blind spots, and for most people that includes some kind of religious belief. That doesn’t make them completely irrational or unreliable, especially when it comes to their own lived experiences which are not related to those religious beliefs in any way. Like, for example, having some drunk grab your breasts…

  291. 291
    johngreg

    Hi Nate.

    Nate said:

    Is it really just her Christianity that is turning some of you off, or is there more to it? Because I don’t accept that believing in God is enough to make someone’s grasp on reality “tenuous at best”. I think they’re wrong, but for them to qualify as “delusional”, it’d have to go a lot further than that (like, for example, thinking the earth is only 6000 years old and was spoken into existence in six days)

    Well, Nate, I cannot speak for anyone except myself, but I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. I honestly feel that someone who believes in a mystical mythical sky grand-daddy is delusional and, at best, has an only tenuous grasp on reality. Yes, yes, I know that’s harsh, and I might even live to regret such an absolutist statement, but, well, shucks, there you go.

    Also, johngreg… the percentage of rape/assault accusations that are false range around 5%-6% of all accusations, and if EEC’s story, told a while ago, is any indication, even those numbers may be inflated, potentially by a lot.

    Sorry, but I have lost track. Who is EEC?

    I see absolutely no way in which falsely accusing someone of rape provides a benefit to the person levying the accusation, especially in this culture that further victimizes the victim.

    I am not saying this is the case here; I am only proposing it as a speculation; a possibility; a potential. Within the narrow ideological and dogmatic confines of such places as FTB, Skepchick, and A+ (and some others), a false accusation can indeed raise a monumental amount of, for lack of a better phrase, victim cred, community support, emotional succour, community encouragement, fiscal donations, etc.

    Yes, of course, it can also raise a vast amount of angry backlash, but that’s life, right?

    Right.

    Based on the numbers and the culture that we live in, I am more inclined to believe that the person was indeed attacked than that she’s lying.

    Again, as I stated perviously, I am not saying she is lying outright. I am saying that I feel her story lacks complete credibility, and does not survive critical analysis very well. Yes, some degree of it may be, and probably is, true. But at this point in time I don’t think we have enough factual information to make a sound judgement one way, or the other … evil me, eh?.

    Also, there is a world of difference between serial rape, and potentially accidental (or not) groping. To get this worked up over something so ultimately inconsequential as groping strikes me as a moral panic and ridiculous.

    I was a professional musician for over 15 years, and I cannot count the number of times I was accidentally, or on purpose, groped. And it is not such a big fucking deal. Unwarranted; unwanted; unrequested touch is not the fucking end of the fucking world, people. It is simply unwarranted; unwanted; unrequested — unless, of course, you are one of those deeply damaged freaks at A+ who would blow up the planet over an accidental hand-brush, or a Bad Werd — OMG, OMG, OMG s/h/it accidentally touched my immaculate shoulder; poured me a glass of wine; said … Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, the C Werd!?! EEEEEK!!11!! Help me please!1!1…. — , but that’s an entirely different clown universe, that is. All these sex-negative people, men, women, whateverthefuck, really need to grow up a notch or two.

    A Hermit said:

    As far as being out of touch with reality, do you not think people are capable of being rational about some things and less so about others?

    Certainly; absolutely; yes. Your point?

    We all have blind spots….

    Yes indeed; me too; often. And I am more than comfortable to admit that I may, or may not, have some blind spots when it comes to Pamela Gay’s anecdotal accusations against an un-named nasty-boy. Can you say the same?

    I may also have some blind spots regarding the FTB insistence of Shermer’s “guilt” as either/and/or a serial rapist or some kind of habitual groper.

    Nonetheless, what I am doing here is not defending Shermer or any other potential miscreant, I am simply stating that the evidence is not yet there in a full enough form to prove the point.

    Raging feminists of FTB, Skepchick, and A+ forums, male, female, or whateverthefuck do not, I repeat, do not in anyway whatsoever equal legitimate evidence.

    ….

    In my opinion.

  292. 292
    johngreg

    HAHAHA.

    Aw, shit, I really hate typos and grammatical and spelling mistakes, especially when they make me look like an eedjit. To wit:

    Again, as I stated perviously….

    Should have been:

    Again, as I stated previously….

    My bad.

  293. 293
    A Hermit

    I am not saying this is the case here; I am only proposing it as a speculation; a possibility; a potential.

    Well yes, anything is possible. Why do you think such a blindingly trivial observation is so important that you had to jump into this thread to shout about it?

    I was a professional musician for over 15 years, and I cannot count the number of times I was accidentally, or on purpose, groped. And it is not such a big fucking deal.

    A) What’s not a big deal to you might be a big deal for others. Don’t assume everyone has the same level of comfort with physical contact.

    B) You’re ignoring the issue of power imbalance.Were you being groped by people who potentially were in a position to end your career if you complained?

    C) If you’ve actually experienced such unwanted physical contact you shouldn’t find it so hard to believe that it happens to women too…o.O

    Your point?

    The point is that your characterization of Dr. Gay as irrational, unreliable and not believable in this matter looks more like bigotry than skepticism.

    what I am doing here is not defending Shermer or any other potential miscreant, I am simply stating that the evidence is not yet there in a full enough form to prove the point.

    We’ll never have perfect knowledge of anything, but there is enough evidence here, if one is looking at it impartially and not with the anger and dismissive agenda you walked in here with, to make a decision about which is more likely to be true.

  294. 294
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @256:

    We are harsh on drunk drivers because of the amount of harm they can cause even if they don’t intend it, as they are operating dangerous machines. We don’t punish drunk drivers to the extent we punish sexual assault, however.

    That’s quite true, in a way; a DUI charge doesn’t replace homicide or assault charges, but is added to them. Drunken driving is not guaranteed to result in loss of life, limb, or bodily integrity, after all. Sexual assault is assault, in contrast, and by definition is a violation of bodily integrity. So while that’s true for a straight-up comparison of DUI charges to sexual assault charges, you’re comparing apples to pineapples. A fairer comparison would be sexual assault to DUI + assault.

    … Except sexual assault is assault. In theory, our fair comparison is between assault and DUI + assault. If all things are otherwise equal, then by definition we punish drunk drivers more than we punish those who commit sexual assault.

    In practice, you happen to be mostly right; the average length of a sexual assault sentence is about the same as driving under the influence resulting in death, four and a bit years. This neglects the fact that a pathetically small number of sexual assaults result in jail time for the perpetrator; I’ve heard stats in the 5% range, but my own estimates put the number much lower. While I don’t have the numbers for drunk driving causing bodily harm, I’d be shocked if they were even in the same ballpark.

    No, there is clearly a call for Shermer to be banned from conferences.

    I haven’t seen any of the big names call for a ban, though I’d welcome contrary evidence. Let’s say they did, though… so what? If we have sufficient evidence to suggest someone may be a serial offender and is notorious for making women uncomfortable, aren’t we justified in calling for a ban?

    Nope is my go to when someone goes so far off the rails of what I was saying that instead of arguing the point, I just refer you back to my original statement.

    You said this @179:

    When people can’t (or won’t) provide supporting details, it raises suspicion.

    Which makes it clear you think the claims of assault might be false. When I asked for what further information you needed to settle their truth, you said “How did she react?” in comment 191. Ergo, according to your original statements, you think her reaction could nullify whether a sexual assault occurred or not.

    That is quite solidly on the rails, and I challenge you to show me otherwise.

    I’ve read every reference to the matters that I am aware exists.

    Then why did you claim ignorance on the claims made? I point out in comment @176 multiple times where you plead ignorance, only to late claim understanding. You were arguing in bad faith.

    I recall a scene, I think in Goodfellas, where the mobsters would steal a truck, and the truck driver, in on the scam, rushed into a restaurant and claimed some black guys just stole his truck, despite this clearly not being true. However, his truck was stolen, and everyone would believe that some black guys stole it, so it rang true enough.

    Except who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly it resisted, who drove the truck earlier, where it was located, or whether the gas in the tank was spiked does not change whether or not the truck was stolen. Asking such questions is irrelevant, a waste of time, and usually a sign the questioner is trying hard to distract you from the fact that the truck was stolen.

    I’m not asking for leniency, I’m not engaging in some position on the victim or the perpetrator or anything else. I’m saying I can’t do that reasonably, because I don’t have enough information.

    Except who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly they resisted, who the person slept with earlier, where they were located, or whether the victim was under the influence does not change whether or not an assault occurred. Asking such questions is irrelevant, a waste of time, and usually a sign the questioner is trying hard to distract you from the fact that an assault was committed.

  295. 295
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @257:

    First off, thanks for sticking around. I had you pegged as a hit-and-run commenter, and I appreciate being proven wrong there.

    I tried (very poorly, I might add) to address what I see as the ongoing stream of hypocrisy that is delivered by most of the FC(n) and the Skepchick, FfTB, A+ blog hosts and Commentariat.

    “To address” in the above means to challenge the hypocrisy you see, correct? If so, how does merely stating “you are being hypocritical” solve that? Running up to a true believer and saying “hey, you’re being hypocritical” will just cause them to shut down, because they don’t see the evidence they are being hypocritical, and mark you as someone to be ignored. It’s not a winning strategy.

    I was trying to point out (again, very poorly done) the primary point that Pamela Gay is not what could be called a reliable narrator — she is someone who believes in Great Sky-daddies and other bits of woo (according to many discussions at skepticblog), and is not, in my opinion, someone who can be trusted to not tell tall tales.

    Belief in woo is correlated with belief in other woo; those that buy into conspiracy stories about the JFK assassination are more likely to think climate change is a hoax or 9/11 is an inside job. Yet all three share in common a reliance on third-hand, questionable, and/or vague evidence. The same can’t be said for an assault done against you.

    If you discount Pamela Gay, though, I wonder if you discount DJ Groethe? Both Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson claim he was a witness to the event, and as far as I know all three are atheists. Do you also discount Barbera Drescher, who claims the assault was common knowledge?

    No. I did not say all; I said most. Most is not all; all is not most.

    Why did you even mention FtB and SkepChick, then? Shouldn’t you be more specific, and just stick to the people who you consider untrustworthy, instead of tarring entire networks with the same brush?

    You never did mention if you consider me to fall into that category, as I identify as A+ and therefore might qualify.

    And frankly, if you believe a word that comes out of Dallas Haugh’s (and to an only slightly lesser degree, Carrie Poppy) mouth, you are deluded.

    That still leaves Barbera Drescher and Brian Thompson, and by extension DJ Groethe. While I’ve followed Carrie Poppy’s career well enough to consider her trustworthy, I’ll admit to ignorance about Dallas Haugh. Do you have evidence he may be stretching the truth, even though it puts him in a position where lying could result in a costly lawsuit?

    Mocking the skeptical method? Huh?

    Imagine you were to tell a homoeopath that have a tremendous amount of evidence they are harming people, but then refuse to share that evidence with them. You’re not holding them to account for their beliefs, you are merely asserting your own in the same fashion as they are. You are claiming to be a skeptic, yet are not acting like one. That makes a mockery of skepticism, turning it into just another dogma.

    But that’s just my opinion, right? Right.

    Any claim without evidence is opinion, so yes. If I’m one of those practising “innuendo, anecdote, tattle-tale telling, doxxing, slander, vilification, gossip,” then please provide an example from my commenting history. If I’m not, pick another person and provide an example from theirs. As you claim this behaviour is widespread, this should be a trivial task.

    Are you on drugs?

    I could use a tea, now that you mention it…

  296. 296
    hjhornbeck

    darwintyson @260:

    Just curious if anyone responding on the thread has any background in investigating sexual harassment or hostile work environment issues; sexual assault issues; or attended any classes or seminars in these disciplines.

    Nope. Do I need any of that to comprehend “D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations”?

  297. 297
    johngreg

    A Hermit said:

    We’ll never have perfect knowledge of anything, but there is enough evidence here, if one is looking at it impartially and not with the anger and dismissive agenda you walked in here with, to make a decision about which is more likely to be true.

    Aw, jesus fucking christ … there is no fucking evidence. There is nothing more than anecdote and hearsay. Why can’t you grasp this simple point: No Evidence Yet.

    And I am not the one overflowing with anger, etc. … well, I was not originally the angry one; it is FTB, Skepchick, and A+ who is calling for blood; howling for retribution, casting hateful aspersions and accusations, etc., and etc., and etc.

    hjhornbeck said:

    First off, thanks for sticking around. I had you pegged as a hit-and-run commenter, and I appreciate being proven wrong there.

    Listen, hornbeck, in all honesty I truly appreciate that comment. Seriously, I do. I suspect that the primary reason you think I am a hit-and-run commenter (and, I must say, I love that phrase), is because in almost all cases where I have tried to participate in a dialogue on FTB, or Skepchick, I have been moderated, deleted, and banned. So, obviously, when not present, due to circumstances beyond my control, I appear, as you say, hit-and-run. But I’m not; I’m really not.

    If you discount Pamela Gay, though, I wonder if you discount DJ Groethe? Both Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson claim he was a witness to the event, and as far as I know all three are atheists. Do you also discount Barbera Drescher, who claims the assault was common knowledge?

    I am not so much “discounting” Gay’s claims; I am trying to encourage some critical thought, some skepticism (which I understand is now verboten on FTB, or at least verboten in PZ-ville), and some somewhat more rational analysis, so to speak, of her claims which, rather than promoting a political agenda, tries to look at the actual realities of the circumstance.

    hornbeck, I am, erm, uh, well, somewhat at weather with the odds at the moment, having consumed much of a couple of litres of fine merlot, so, with all due respect, I am going to have to belay the rest of my reply until tomorrow. However, I will reply; indeed I will. Like Nate, your comment has been pithy, interesting, and respectful, and, for the record, has made me have to take a long slow look-and-think about my own position about all of these things we are discussing. Seriously, I mean that. I am always open to arguments that contest my ideology, and some of what you have said, and what Nate has said, is putting me into a place of “Hmm. Am I right? Am I wrong? Could I be overburdened and sunk by by my own biases?”

    etc.

    Gimme till tomorrow to respectfully respond. OK? OK.

    And fuck ya, I could use a tea too … tea for two and two for tea….

  298. 298
    prodegtion

    Some of the commenters here REALLY need to reread The God Delusion, and take the messages in it to heart. When they claim anecdotes and hearsay as evidence they sound SO much like creationists claiming the Bible as evidence!

  299. 299
    Stacy

    I was a professional musician for over 15 years, and I cannot count the number of times I was accidentally, or on purpose, groped. And it is not such a big fucking deal. Unwarranted; unwanted; unrequested touch is not the fucking end of the fucking world, people. It is simply unwarranted; unwanted; unrequested

    Nobody said it was the fucking end of the fucking world. It was indeed unwarranted and unwanted. Also disrespectful. And it may well have been upsetting. (There’s a reason it’s illegal to grope somebody against their will. Doesn’t bother you to be groped? Everyone isn’t you.)

    And when she reported it her job was threatened.

    –— unless, of course, you are one of those deeply damaged freaks at A+ who would blow up the planet over an accidental hand-brush, or a Bad Werd — OMG, OMG, OMG s/h/it accidentally touched my immaculate shoulder; poured me a glass of wine; said … Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, the C Werd!?! EEEEEK!!11!! Help me please!1!1…

    Still pushing the lie that people who object to women being called cunts are objecting because it’s a “bad word” that offends their delicate sensibilities, eh Greg?

    — , but that’s an entirely different clown universe, that is. All these sex-negative people, men, women, whateverthefuck, really need to grow up a notch or two

    Yeah, that’s all this concern for consent and respect–it’s just sex negativity.

    To get this worked up over something so ultimately inconsequential as groping strikes me as a moral panic and ridiculous

    The only hyperbolic excitement I see here is in John Greg’s post.

    I am trying to encourage some critical thought, some skepticism (which I understand is now verboten on FTB, or at least verboten in PZ-ville), and some somewhat more rational analysis, so to speak, of her claims which, rather than promoting a political agenda, tries to look at the actual realities of the circumstance

    The actual realities of the circumstance: Shermer is accused of rape. Over the years, numerous people have said that he groped them; several have said he tried to get them drunk. Someone who has a lot invested in minimizing Shermer’s (and others’) sexual misconduct has admitted under oath seeing him grope at least one person. No, groping and harassment are not rape, but they do suggest a pattern of behavior which disregards other peoples’ sexual boundaries.

    I see people having a terrible time processing the fact that maybe their dreaded enemies, the “social justice warriors,” are right, and responding with reflexive denial.

  300. 300
    Edward Gemmer

    Well this as gone in a different direction.

    Re: Dawkins: My biggest complaint about the criticism of Dawkins is that it is often based on cheap shots than actual rational discourse. Greta Christina’s and PZ Myer’s criticism of Dawkins talking about his childhood sexual abuse was appalling and inept and really, not acceptable. It wouldn’t have been accepted had it been directed at a different person. However, because it is Dawkins, it seems it is ok to take such awful cheap shots at him. Frankly, that was despicable.

    Re: Shermer/Gun. I think it is difficult to know how to accept this community. There is controversy over how unsafe conferences are. Then someone shows up with a gun and threatens someone, and it is met mostly with a “meh.” But maybe someone tried to touch someone’s boob years ago? OUTRAGE!!!!

    Similarly, there was OUTRAGE over Ron Lindsay and his rather mild remarks at the WISCFI, as there was ongoing criticism that white men were dominating the movement. Then David Silverman and American Atheists are sued for creating a racist workplace by a woman, and it gets a shrug from the community.

    It is difficult for me to justify all these reactions into a coherent narrative.

  301. 301
    johngreg

    Stacy said:

    Nobody said….

    Granted. And everyone is not you, or Gay, or Shermer, or whomever, so….?

    Huh?

    We are a world of diversity, yes?

    No?

    Huh?

    Still pushing the lie that people who object to women being called cunts are objecting because it’s a “bad word” that offends their delicate sensibilities, eh Greg?

    Oh for fuck’s sake, do grow up and buy, oh, well, gee, a dictionary ..? No that won’t work — dipshits and FTB people don’t grok dictionaries. How about some historatory books. No, that won’t work either ’cause his/her story stuff, ya? Um, erm, uh, well … Oh! I know! The Hobbit.

    /JG, that don’ make sense

    /ya, well, so, it’s applicable

    /ya?

    /ya.

    Yeah, that’s all this concern for consent and respect–it’s just sex negativity.

    Ya, for the most part, ya. That’s what it is: gnu-puritanism; puritanical, deeply freaky sex-negativety, and otherwise perverse weirdness.

    The only hyperbolic excitement I see here is in John Greg’s post.

    HAHAHA.

    And, Pfft. So there, you eloquent doxxy.

    The actual realities of the circumstance: Shermer is accused of rape. Over the years, numerous people have said that he groped them; several have said he tried to get them drunk. Someone who has a lot invested in minimizing Shermer’s (and others’) sexual misconduct has admitted under oath seeing him grope at least one person. No, groping and harassment are not rape, but they do suggest a pattern of behavior which disregards other peoples’ sexual boundaries.

    Jesusflamingcrystals, you slanderous baboon, you are, for the most part, just making that up.

    Amazing; fucking, amazing.

    Like I said elsewhere, I have it on good authority because a friend of someone I don’t actually know but who knows my email address and my blog and someone who I don’t actually know but who says they know a friend of someone who says they know me has let someone else know that maybe PZ or LousyCanuck (both of whom, according to their own testimony, have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of attempted rape) is, or is reputed to be, a sexual offender …

    SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

    Ya?

    Ya.

  302. 302
    johngreg

    Gemmer said:

    Greta Christina’s and PZ Myer’s criticism of Dawkins talking about his childhood sexual abuse was appalling and inept and really, not acceptable. It wouldn’t have been accepted had it been directed at a different person. However, because it is Dawkins, it seems it is ok to take such awful cheap shots at him. Frankly, that was despicable.

    Yes, indeed. Precisely.

    And please (just ’cause), let’s not for a moment forget Greta’s unicorn rainbow rape fun fantasy and joyfull frolically fuck me with a ten inch dildo up the ass stories and cum in my quivering quim with rainbow spew … I mean, seriously, what the fuck?!?!? I am strongly sex-positive, all ways, and that shit made me vomit.

    Re: Shermer/Gun. I think it is difficult to know how to accept this community. There is controversy over how unsafe conferences are. Then someone shows up with a gun and threatens someone, and it is met mostly with a “meh.” But maybe someone tried to touch someone’s boob years ago? OUTRAGE!!!!

    And again, precisely. Threatening a man with a gun? Pfft; who really cares; it’s life.

    However, accidentally (or even intentionally) touching a womans tit? Kill the infidel!; kill him!! Satan!!! Blasphemer!!!! Sexist monster!!!!! Destroy!!!!!!

    It is difficult for me to justify all these reactions into a coherent narrative.

    Yes.

  303. 303
    A Hermit

    Aw, jesus fucking christ … there is no fucking evidence.

    Testimony is evidence. Testimony from multiple witnesses is pretty good evidence.

    Re: Shermer/Gun. I think it is difficult to know how to accept this community. There is controversy over how unsafe conferences are. Then someone shows up with a gun and threatens someone, and it is met mostly with a “meh.” But maybe someone tried to touch someone’s boob years ago? OUTRAGE!!!!

    You’re confused. The outrage over sexual harassment ad assault has to do with the fact that it isn’t taken seriously and there is all this resistance to doing something about it. Everyone takes the gun incident seriously, and it was dealt with immediately.And no one is being “skeptical” and suggesting that it was made up or exaggerated or that we can’t believe it unless we have video and DNA evidence or that the victim was somehow to blame …

  304. 304
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Edward Gemmer @ #300:
    Note: in all of this, I can only speak for myself; not others. It will be up to others to agree or disagree with my assessments…

    Re: Dawkins: My biggest complaint about the criticism of Dawkins is that it is often based on cheap shots than actual rational discourse. Greta Christina’s and PZ Myer’s criticism of Dawkins talking about his childhood sexual abuse was appalling and inept and really, not acceptable. It wouldn’t have been accepted had it been directed at a different person. However, because it is Dawkins, it seems it is ok to take such awful cheap shots at him. Frankly, that was despicable.

    Which leads me to believe that you never actually read any of the criticism. You seem to be under the impression that he was criticized for relaying the story, or being assaulted, or reacting to it the way he did.

    But not one of those things was criticized.

    I criticized him for that talk, as well.

    I have said, numerous times, that I am so happy it did not affect him. I have even called that amazing, without sarcasm. I think it’s wonderful that Dawkins was able to move past such an event so easily and I think that shows a great strength of character.

    Where I feel Dawkins went wrong was extrapolating his experience to the rest of the world. There was some disguised shades of “legitimate rape” in that comment, when he tried to compare assault-levels, calling his assault “mild”. And of course, for him specifically, it may have been mild. It does seem as if he reacted to it as if it was mild, and that’s great! Really! But just because it didn’t effect him all that badly does not mean it didn’t effect others in a similar situation all that badly. Dawkins should not presume to speak for every victim of assault (at any level) and how they should, or are supposed to, react to their assault. Different people react to their assault in different ways, and as that old cliche goes, there’s no such thing as the perfect victim.

    Re: Shermer/Gun. I think it is difficult to know how to accept this community. There is controversy over how unsafe conferences are. Then someone shows up with a gun and threatens someone, and it is met mostly with a “meh.” But maybe someone tried to touch someone’s boob years ago? OUTRAGE!!!!

    Wrong. The actual reaction to the gun incident at SK6 was relief because it was handled so damn well. The victim has stated that he feels very safe and plans to return to Skepticon for years to come. The outrage over the boob-grabbing is because it was, and is being, handled very poorly, making the victim(s) feel unsafe and unwilling to return.

    Similarly, there was OUTRAGE over Ron Lindsay and his rather mild remarks at the WISCFI, as there was ongoing criticism that white men were dominating the movement. Then David Silverman and American Atheists are sued for creating a racist workplace by a woman, and it gets a shrug from the community.

    Wrong again. And you really should know better here because I’ve already explained this one to you.

    The outrage over Ron Lindsey was due to his incredible lack of awareness over his own privilege, his tone-trolling, and his mansplaining.

    That American Atheists is being sued for racism is, of course, a MAJOR FUCKING PROBLEM. Except we have no idea where it’s gone. I think both parties have kept the wider community in the dark. I actually do think, based on the little information we have, that some racism has indeed been revealed within the American Atheists board. I’m hoping this changes. I’m hoping that Dave Silverman himself is not racist. Hopefully, we’ll eventually find out.

    A Hermit @ #303

    Testimony is evidence. Testimony from multiple witnesses is pretty good evidence.

    But it’s not scientific evidence, which means it isn’t legitimate… (even though it’s the most common form of evidence used in a court case, and used to convict criminals)… *sneezes*bullshit*sneezes*

    I mean… look… I’m an empiricist. I love science. But again, we’re not fucking talking about science, here. We’re talking about a crime. Courts except testimony as evidence. Therefore, testimony, especially multiple lines of it, is good evidence in these cases.

  305. 305
    debbaasseerr

    johngreg (@301) wrote

    Jesusflamingcrystals, you slanderous baboon, you are, for the most part, just making that up.

    Have you ever tried reading your comments out loud before submitting them?

  306. 306
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @297:

    Gimme till tomorrow to respectfully respond. OK? OK.

    I’ll be here, with a chai tea sitting nearby.

  307. 307
    hjhornbeck

    Also, paging Edward Gemmer: my reply to your earlier comment, currently numbered 256, is out of moderation and sitting pretty at 294.

  308. 308
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @300:

    My biggest complaint about the criticism of Dawkins is that it is often based on cheap shots than actual rational discourse. Greta Christina’s and PZ Myer’s criticism of Dawkins talking about his childhood sexual abuse was appalling and inept and really, not acceptable.

    Huh? I don’t see that at all, at least in the case of Myers. He points out that the ability of Dawkins to move on from the abuse he suffered doesn’t imply that everyone must be able to move on.

    [Dawkins] seems to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children. He was a victim of an inexcusable violation; that he can shrug it off does not mean it was OK, or ‘zero bad’, or something trivial.

    He criticises Dawkins for either assuming there were no other victims of this authority figure, or that everyone abused had the exact same experience Dawkins did.

    And that all Richard Dawkins experienced was a brief groping does not mean that greater harm was not being done. That man was a serial child molester; do we know that he didn’t abuse other children to a greater degree? That there aren’t former pupils living now who bear greater emotional scars?

    He also points out how hypocritical it is for Dawkins to play the “it was OK in a prior era” card, when he criticizes others for playing the exact same card in different circumstances.

    We do not excuse harm to others because some prior barbaric age was indifferent to that harm. Furthermore, the excuse doesn’t even work: are we supposed to believe that a child-fondling teacher would have been permissible in the 1950s? Seriously? Was that ever socially acceptable? And even if it was, in some weird version of British history, it does not excuse it.

    That strikes me as well-reasoned and sound. Can you spot any logical errors?

    I also can’t help but note you’ve long switched topics from the start of this post. Does this mean you accept the criticisms of your prior arguments, and want to move on?

  309. 309
    Stacy

    Oh for fuck’s sake, do grow up and buy, oh, well, gee, a dictionary

    Are you still drunk? Or are you just unable to admit that the rationale “they only object to us calling women cunts cuz they’re sex-negative!” is bullshit? (Greta Christina is sex negative: who knew!?)

    Jesusflamingcrystals, you slanderous baboon, you are, for the most part, just making that up

    I made up the accusations? I made up the testimony? What, exactly, did I make up, Greg?

    Try reading again. Slowly, this time:

    Shermer is accused of rape. Over the years, numerous people have said that he groped them; several have said he tried to get them drunk. Someone who has a lot invested in minimizing Shermer’s (and others’) sexual misconduct has admitted under oath seeing him grope at least one person. No, groping and harassment are not rape, but they do suggest a pattern of behavior which disregards other peoples’ sexual boundaries

    That’s what I said. So now you’re claiming that the accusations didn’t happen, and that Grothe didn’t testify under oath. Okey dokey, then.

    Like I said elsewhere, I have it on good authority because a friend of someone I don’t actually know but who knows my email address and my blog and someone who I don’t actually know…

    Not that it’s relevant to what I actually said, but I’m curious: how do you know I don’t personally know any of the people involved, you blithering jackanapes? (Hint: Once again, you’re wrong.)

    Christ in a cat box, but you’re a dum dum.

  310. 310
    Stacy

    Ashley, thanks for fighting the good fight.

    Take comfort in the fact that you, like Voltaire, have ridiculous enemies. :D

  311. 311
    Edward Gemmer

    hjhornbeck,

    If we have sufficient evidence to suggest someone may be a serial offender and is notorious for making women uncomfortable, aren’t we justified in calling for a ban?

    Sure. That’s why I’m trying to figure out what is going on so I can form an opinion. Where there’s smoke there is fire is certainly one way to look at it. However, when it seems that every avenue of questioning gets shut down before getting any substantial facts, that causes me to doubt the claims. In any event, there are really enough facts for anyone to look at them and make an opinion that they can defend with any sense of confidence.

    Which makes it clear you think the claims of assault might be false. When I asked for what further information you needed to settle their truth, you said “How did she react?” in comment 191. Ergo, according to your original statements, you think her reaction could nullify whether a sexual assault occurred or not.

    That is quite solidly on the rails, and I challenge you to show me otherwise.

    For one, her reaction is obviously important. If I grope my wife, she will have a different reaction than if I grope some random person at my job. That isn’t to say it didn’t happen. I just would like to know to be able to form a better opinion about the facts. Why would he grope her in front of other people? You are off the rials because you are assuming that my questions means I somehow doubt the story. This is false and illogical. My questions are about learning what happened. Like I’ve said before, detectives who don’t ask questions aren’t very good detectives. Equating questions with attacks or doubt or some sort of ulterior motive is not acceptable in any skeptic community.

    Asking such questions is irrelevant, a waste of time, and usually a sign the questioner is trying hard to distract you from the fact that the truck was stolen.

    That’s ridiculous.

    Asking such questions is irrelevant, a waste of time, and usually a sign the questioner is trying hard to distract you from the fact that an assault was committed.

    Also ridiculous. Really ridiculous. So far from being even rational that I don’t know if there is any reason to continue discussing. For example, say I accuse you of murdering my sister. My hypothetical sister actually died of lymphoma. According to you, that is irrelevant. She died, and all questions of how she died are irrelevant because she died and I’ve made an accusation. I’m sorry to use harsh language but I don’t even understand how you can parse out the differences among various acts if it is so black and white that things like facts and details are irrelevant. How does one respond to that? Your position appears to be any facts beyond the allegation are useless. That’s your position, and you can have it, but it isn’t mine. I’m firmly in the camp that facts and details matter.

  312. 312
    johngreg

    Johngreg said:

    Jesusflamingcrystals, you slanderous baboon, you are, for the most part, just making that up.

    Ya, I shouldn’t have said that. Unecessarily hostile, and not what I meant anyway. What I should have said was that in my opinion, while it may or may not be true, much of the claims about Shermer being a serial rapist and a (accidental?) groper are just anecdotal. To restate the claims frequently made by FTB commenters, in this not court of law, and those claims are not notarized affadavits, nor are they, at this point in time, actual legal evidence.

    I repeat:

    I have it on good authority because a friend of someone I don’t actually know but who knows my email address and my blog and someone else I don’t actually know but who says they know a friend of someone who says they know me has let someone else know that maybe PZ or LousyCanuck (both of whom, according to their own testimony, have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of attempted rape) is, or is reputed to be, a sexual offender …

    SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

    And I’ve now read several times about Grothe supposedly making some statement in court, but I have not read anything about what court; where, when, or why. What is the deal with Grothe and a court-made statement?

    Are you on drugs.

    Ya, I shouldn’t have said that either. Apologies.

    hornbeck said:

    “To address” in the above means to challenge the hypocrisy you see, correct? If so, how does merely stating “you are being hypocritical” solve that? Running up to a true believer and saying “hey, you’re being hypocritical” will just cause them to shut down, because they don’t see the evidence they are being hypocritical, and mark you as someone to be ignored. It’s not a winning strategy.

    Yes, true, good point. If you want some more specific claims with screenshots and quotes of what I consider to be blatant hypocrisy, go here (add your own http etc):

    … phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/Phawrongula_Wiki

    There is a wealth of material there, most (though, not all) of it backed up with a range of proofs.

    If you discount Pamela Gay, though, I wonder if you discount DJ Groethe? Both Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson claim he was a witness to the event, and as far as I know all three are atheists. Do you also discount Barbera Drescher, who claims the assault was common knowledge?

    Again, I am not so much discounting Gay’s claims as I am trying to promote some critical thought and skepticism regarding the inconsistency, vagueness, and lack of coherence in her statement, which, to me, suggests something rotten in Denmark.

    As to Grothe, I don’t know; I am not familiiar with his claim. And Carrie Poppy is not, in my opinion, a reliable or trustworthy narrator.

    Drescher though, well, she’s a horse of a different colour, so to speak, and yes if she says something happened I am much more likely to believe her than those other folks. So, yes, obviously that changes my perspective somewhat and causes me to ponder yet more on what is or is not true in this whole mess.

    Brian Thompson I do not know at all.

    Do you have evidence he may be stretching the truth, even though it puts him in a position where lying could result in a costly lawsuit?

    If you’re referring to Dallas Haugh, I no longer have those links, nor do I remember where I saw his claims — Pharyngula maybe? But I seem to recall that he is self-described as, well, rather on the crunchier side of nutty.

  313. 313
    johngreg

    Stacy said:

    Doesn’t bother you to be groped? Everyone isn’t you.

    I did not say it did not bother me; I said it was no big deal.

    And, ya, I know not everyone is me, but that’s a street running two directions, isn’t it? The fact that I think that Gay and several FTB and Skepchick blog hosts and commenters are overreacting does not make me right, nor wrong; it makes me someone with an opinion that is different from yours. It is Gay, FTB, Skepchick, and related pals therein that are, while perhaps not actually saying it is the end of the world, are certainly acting as if it were.

    Still pushing the lie that people who object to women being called cunts are objecting because it’s a “bad word” that offends their delicate sensibilities, eh Greg?

    Yep. Still pushing that particular truth, because it is a truth; a primarily US-based truth.

    The actual realities of the circumstance: Shermer is accused of rape. Over the years, numerous people have said that he groped them; several have said he tried to get them drunk. Someone who has a lot invested in minimizing Shermer’s (and others’) sexual misconduct has admitted under oath seeing him grope at least one person. No, groping and harassment are not rape, but they do suggest a pattern of behavior which disregards other peoples’ sexual boundaries.

    I see people having a terrible time processing the fact that maybe their dreaded enemies, the “social justice warriors,” are right, and responding with reflexive denial.

    Do you really not see how the evil that Shermer has supposedly done keeps growing, and growing, and growing, with, for the most part, no one actually stepping forward with actual evidence (beyond some variation of “I have it on good authority because a friend of someone I don’t actually know….”) of all those years’s past histories of his assaults?

    Yes, a handful of potentially unreliable narrators have made some highly dubious claims, which nonetheless should be investigated, but that’s it, so far. If and when this ever gets to court, then, and only then, will I make up my mind as to Shermer’s guilt or otherwise. I will not, do not, and cannot accept the frequently raging and somewhat hysterical claims of his purported bad behaviour at face value. I am not defending him, but neither am I accusing him. I await proof, which may or may not ever arrive.

    And this “get them drunk” nonsense really has to be called out for the simple nonsense it is. Are you really claiming that all these women, and one man, really have no agency, no will, no self-empowerment of any kind? What kind of tiny children do you think all these people are? OMG, he kept filling my wine glass; I had to drink it; what else could I do?

    Nonsense.

    And because it clearly needs to be restated: I am not saying that Pamela Gay is lying; I am not saying there is no truth to her claim; I am saying that I have some doubts about the totality and circumstances of her claim due to the lack of overall coherence in her claim.

  314. 314
    johngreg

    A Hermit said:

    Testimony is evidence. Testimony from multiple witnesses is pretty good evidence.

    It is not testimony; it is anecdote. If and when this ever gets to a court of law, or even a notary public’s signed affadvit, then it will become testimony.

    And no one is being “skeptical” and suggesting that it was made up or exaggerated or that we can’t believe it unless we have video and DNA evidence or that the victim was somehow to blame.

    It is my understanding that no one doubts it because the perp admitted his guilt. Is that not correct?

    Nate said (satirically):

    But it’s not scientific evidence, which means it isn’t legitimate… (even though it’s the most common form of evidence used in a court case, and used to convict criminals)… *sneezes*bullshit*sneezes*

    I mean… look… I’m an empiricist. I love science. But again, we’re not fucking talking about science, here. We’re talking about a crime. Courts except testimony as evidence. Therefore, testimony, especially multiple lines of it, is good evidence in these cases.

    So far as I am aware, this has not yet gone to court — there is no court testimony. Except maybe this shadow story about Grothe testifying in court, but as I asked earlier, when, why, where, about what?

    And, so far as I am aware, no one has actually said the supposed evidence does not count because it is not scientific. The argument, at least from me, is that it does not count as irrefutable proof because it is only anecdote. Unless I am misunderstanding your statement you seem to be practicing the false dichotomy of black and white thinking, i.e., either the claims are 100% valid, or they are 100% invalid. I think the reality is buried somewhere amongst the almost endless range of 0-1 in the analog, i.e., real world.

  315. 315
    Edward Gemmer

    NateHevens

    Where I feel Dawkins went wrong was extrapolating his experience to the rest of the world.

    But he didn’t! Everything he said was couched in how he felt about things that happened to him, with the exception that he didn’t think anyone else he knew who was molested by the same person had any lasting harm. He apologized for that, which was fine, he probably doesn’t know that. Regardless, his statement was clearly about how he felt about things that happened to him.

    Further, even if we accept that victims of sex abuse can’t speak for other victims of sex abuse (which I agree with), how do we justify, say, Skepchick Elyse writing an article about how not to respond to a sexual assault story. She writes a list of things to not say to any victim of sexual assault, and clearly tries to speaks for all victims. I haven’t seen much criticism of her. That can only lead to the conclusion that it’s ok to speak for sexual assault victims if we approve of what you have to say. Further, it seems that not being affected is almost looked down upon, whereas reactions that border on hysterical are preferred and celebrated. This is not a healthy way to deal with these matters, IMO.

  316. 316
    Friendly

    Ashley, you are deeply appreciated. Thanks for all you do and say.

  317. 317
    A Hermit

    If and when this ever gets to a court of law, or even a notary public’s signed affadvit, then it will become testimony.

    It always amuses me when atheists take the same kind of literalistic approach to things as my fundy friends…here’s that handy thesaurus again…testimony is synonymous with words like affirmation, attestation, corroboration, profession and substantiation. Use one of those instead if you prefer…

    It is my understanding that no one doubts it because the perp admitted his guilt. Is that not correct?

    But how do you know? Anecdotally? Why is that good enough in that case but not others?

    The argument, at least from me, is that it does not count as irrefutable proof because it is only anecdote. Unless I am misunderstanding your statement you seem to be practicing the false dichotomy of black and white thinking, i.e., either the claims are 100% valid, or they are 100% invalid. I think the reality is buried somewhere amongst the almost endless range of 0-1 in the analog, i.e., real world.

    Yes, you are badly misunderstanding this. I don’t think anyone has said it’s 100% irrefutably proven. I know I haven’t. It’s a question of which is more likely; that all those people telling us about Shermer are imagining, inventing or exaggerating or that Shermer has some nasty anti-social tendencies. I think you have to be awfully naive to think its the former.

  318. 318
    johngreg

    Aw, c’mon Hermit, now you’re getting kind of silly. Admit it, you just want to try and discredit a Pitter; that’s sort of the community sport at FTB.

    Hermit said:

    Yes, you are badly misunderstanding this. I don’t think anyone has said it’s 100% irrefutably proven.

    Actually, several posters, including some FTB blog hosts have actually stated, unequivocally, that they believe Shermer is guilty as charged of both rape and gross misconduct. For example: freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/08/10/the-web-of-trust-why-i-believe-shermers-accusers/ (http removed).

    It’s a question of which is more likely; that all those people telling us about Shermer are imagining, inventing or exaggerating or that Shermer has some nasty anti-social tendencies. I think you have to be awfully naive to think its the former.

    That’s too black and white; too “with us or against us” for me. Some of them might be doing any number of those things; some of them might not. I don’t know, and I don’t think you can really know one way or the other either. My position remains one of waiting until there is some evidence to work with rather than hearsay and rumours. I really do not know why that is perceived as such a horror.

  319. 319
    A Hermit

    Actually, several posters, including some FTB blog hosts have actually stated, unequivocally, that they believe Shermer is guilty as charged of both rape and gross misconduct. For example: freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/08/10/the-web-of-trust-why-i-believe-shermers-accusers/ (http removed).

    Have you actually read that post? It’s a long, nuanced discussion of how people make determinations of what is most likely true and the relative risks of trusting the accuser vs trusting the accused (including a discussion of Thibaeult’s own experience as a victim of a false rape claim). Nowhere in that comment does he say anything close to a claim of 100% infallible knowledge.

    Some of them might be doing any number of those things; some of them might not

    And even if only some of them are telling the truth about Shermer he is, at the very least, someone who shouldn’t be trusted to respect sexual boundaries.

    My position remains one of waiting until there is some evidence to work with rather than hearsay and rumours.

    Your position here has been one of contempt and insults towards those of us who think we should take these allegations seriously and to those who have had the courage to speak up. seems strange to me that you would get so angry about a position on the fence…

  320. 320
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @311:

    However, when it seems that every avenue of questioning gets shut down before getting any substantial facts, that causes me to doubt the claims.

    And yet you flatly contradict this later in the same comment:

    You are off the rials because you are assuming that my questions means I somehow doubt the story. This is false and illogical.

    This is a pattern with you, claiming not to doubt the sexual assault happened yet bringing up questions commonly used to falsely dismiss sexual assault. You have yet to demonstrate how any of the answers you’d get would help. Does Pamela Gay become more or less sexually assaulted depending on who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly she resisted, who she slept with earlier, where she were located, or whether Gay was under the influence?

    I keep asking this, and you keep refusing to answer.

    For one, her reaction is obviously important. If I grope my wife, she will have a different reaction than if I grope some random person at my job.

    That is because you’ve known your wife for (presumably) many years, and built up an unwritten and implied code for when groping is welcome and when it is not. Does the same apply to someone “who I’d previously never met?”

    Like I’ve said before, detectives who don’t ask questions aren’t very good detectives.

    Again: explain how the questions you’re asking are relevant to if Gay was sexually assaulted or not.

    Also ridiculous. Really ridiculous. So far from being even rational that I don’t know if there is any reason to continue discussing. For example, say I accuse you of murdering my sister. My hypothetical sister actually died of lymphoma. According to you, that is irrelevant.

    False. Here’s a simple word substitution that demonstrates this:

    For example, say I accuse you of sexually assaulting my sister. My hypothetical sister actually was sexually assaulted by someone else.

    Note the difference? One case alleges a different person responsible in your example. With Gay, all cases point to the same person.

    I’m firmly in the camp that facts and details matter.

    For the third time this comment: explain how the questions you’re asking are relevant to if Gay was sexually assaulted or not.

  321. 321
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @312:

    Again, I am not so much discounting Gay’s claims as I am trying to promote some critical thought and skepticism regarding the inconsistency, vagueness, and lack of coherence in her statement, which, to me, suggests something rotten in Denmark.

    You seem to be making the same arguments as Gemmer. I can answer this one via copy-paste.

    hjhornbeck @188:

    Now you’ve got me curious. When something is vague, that means its truth value may change if more details come to light. “Toronto is near here” is vague, and could be true or false if “here” is later defined as “the US border” or “Alpha Centauri.” Now, let’s consider one specific example:

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations.

    As it stands, this describes sexual assault and is considered a criminal matter. if the claim was specific, nothing you add could change the truth of that. You are arguing it is vague, however, and that therefore a sexual assault may or may not have happened. So what bit of information could change it’s truth value?

    Is it the way Pamela Gay was dressed?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay had to drink?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay resisted?
    Is it how many people Pamela Gay has slept with, in the past?
    is it how much flirting Pamela Gay did?
    Is it where Pamela Gay was standing?

    You, Edward Gemmer, are arguing that some information from that list, or something similar I didn’t think of, could alter the truth of whether or not a sexual assault occured. What is it?

    Because if you can’t produce it, then that cannot be a vague claim.

    As for your link to evidence, I’ll have to cover that later. I don’t have enough time to do it justice at the moment.

    If you’re referring to Dallas Haugh, I no longer have those links, nor do I remember where I saw his claims — Pharyngula maybe? But I seem to recall that he is self-described as, well, rather on the crunchier side of nutty.

    The closest I know of to “nutty” is that he attempted suicide. This is entirely consistent with someone who’s experienced a traumatic event, and not a sign of mental imbalance. I know of several people who’ve attempted suicide, including a family member, and each time it was due to extraordinary circumstances that swamped their coping mechanisms, and not a mental imbalance.

    This also ignores the observation that weak but numerous claims can be equivalent to a strong claim. Even if Haugh were imbalanced and Poppy is unreliable, that doesn’t automatically prevent the claim of assault from being false. That multiple, independent people are stepping forward to accuse Shermer of assault, over the span of a year, should be setting off alarm bells even if you consider a few of them to be unreliable.

    And remember, Poppy set herself up for a slam-dunk libel case if what she said was false, which suggests she strongly believes the claim and is not merely hopping on a bandwagon.

  322. 322
    Edward Gemmer

    Does Pamela Gay become more or less sexually assaulted depending on who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly she resisted, who she slept with earlier, where she were located, or whether Gay was under the influence?

    More, less, I don’t know. Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your questions, and neither do you. If the perpetrator was so intoxicated that he was unconscious, would that change my view of what happened verses whether he had a drink or two? Of course. I can’t fathom how anyone would arrive at any different conclusion. Certainly, there is a spectrum there in between as well.

    If you accidentally touch someone’s boob while say, walking through a crowded area, does it matter that it was an accident? Their boob was touched. By you. They were sexually assaulted. Do you deserve to be banned from conferences? Either things like facts, details, intent, etc. matters, and you shouldn’t be banned, or it doesn’t matter and it should. I vote the former.

    That is entirely the point. If you did that, and then it was spun by someone else to say that you groped someone you didn’t even know, and tried to slink away in the crowd and use it as cover, as harassers often do. Wouldn’t you like someone to try and figure out what happened before judging you as some sort of lecherous danger to women?

    Note the difference? One case alleges a different person responsible in your example. With Gay, all cases point to the same person.

    So? The point isn’t whether she was assaulted or not. I don’t know. The point is – neither do you. You can’t defend these claims, because any defending is requiring you to go into lots and lots of guesswork. That’s fine – it isn’t your job to defend claims. My frustration is when trying to gather information, there isn’t much to be had or people willing to give any.

  323. 323
    debbaasseerr

    hjhornbeck asked:

    Does Pamela Gay become more or less sexually assaulted depending on who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly she resisted, who she slept with earlier, where she were located, or whether Gay was under the influence?

    Edward Gemmer responds:

    More, less, I don’t know. Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your questions, and neither do you. If the perpetrator was so intoxicated that he was unconscious, would that change my view of what happened verses whether he had a drink or two? Of course. I can’t fathom how anyone would arrive at any different conclusion. Certainly, there is a spectrum there in between as well.

    Its like the underlying fear is: “How can we figure out what really happened if we allow what women say to count?”

  324. 324
    A Hermit

    More, less, I don’t know. Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your questions, and neither do you.

    You’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter because the answers to hjhornbeck’s questions are irrelevant to the question of whether or not the assault occurred. We don’t know what colour the walls in the room were either but it would be absurd to withhold judgment on the likelihood of the assault having occurred as described an the basis of that missing piece of information.

  325. 325
    Edward Gemmer

    Its like the underlying fear is: “How can we figure out what really happened if we allow what women say to count?”

    Nope.

    You’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter because the answers to hjhornbeck’s questions are irrelevant to the question of whether or not the assault occurred. We don’t know what colour the walls in the room were either but it would be absurd to withhold judgment on the likelihood of the assault having occurred as described an the basis of that missing piece of information.

    Sure, but if someone says they have a recording of someone saying they saw sexual assault, your follow up question might be “Can I listen to it?” If the answer is “nope,” then you have to start wondering why you can’t listen to it. All questions are technically irrelevant to whether something occurred or didn’t occur, but how on earth does one find out information if they can’t ask questions and listen to the answers? Further, when people go out of their way to avoid answering questions, one can reasonably wonder why that might be so. That’s really all I’m saying. I get frustrated when trying to figure this situation out, because it seems every party involved only wants to give very limited and vague information.

  326. 326
    A Hermit

    Sure, but if someone says they have a recording of someone saying they saw sexual assault, your follow up question might be “Can I listen to it?” If the answer is “nope,” then you have to start wondering why you can’t listen to it.

    First of all a hypothetical recording has nothing to do with the list of questions hjhornbeck asked you, secondly the reports we have indicate that has actually been to court already so there may be legal reasons and third, what makes you think you’re entitled to every piece of evidence? You and I are just names on the internet here.

    What we have are several independent accounts which all attest that an incident of unwanted sexual contact occurred. That’s enough for us to at least provisionally conclude that an incident of unwanted sexual contact probably did occur. You and I don’t need and aren’t entitled to all the minute details, especially details that aren’t really relevant.

    In other words, get over yourself, you aren’t the most important party in this story.

    All questions are technically irrelevant to whether something occurred or didn’t occur,

    No they aren’t, see the list above.

  327. 327
    Edward Gemmer

    First of all a hypothetical recording has nothing to do with the list of questions hjhornbeck asked you, secondly the reports we have indicate that has actually been to court already so there may be legal reasons and third, what makes you think you’re entitled to every piece of evidence? You and I are just names on the internet here.

    First, I’m trying to explain my point, second, I’m a lawyer so I understand “legal reasons,” but to date I haven’t heard any legal reasons. Third, I’m not entitled to every piece of evidence. However, if you want to judge people based on them not believing you, then you have to give them the evidence. The original post was frustration over the response to this, and I am explaining one reason the response has been this way.

    What we have are several independent accounts which all attest that an incident of unwanted sexual contact occurred. That’s enough for us to at least provisionally conclude that an incident of unwanted sexual contact probably did occur. You and I don’t need and aren’t entitled to all the minute details, especially details that aren’t really relevant.

    Maybe we do. It’s really difficult to even figure that out.

  328. 328
    A Hermit

    It’s really difficult to even figure that out.

    How do you solopsists manage to get out of bed in the morning? How do you know the floor is still there to catch you?

  329. 329
    debbaasseerr

    Maybe we do. It’s really difficult to even figure that out.

    Nope.

    However, how am I supposed to know whether or not Edward Gemmer is really a lawyer? Has he offered up his BAR exam for inspection? A picture (even redacted) of his diploma? Has he ever tried a case? If he won’t tell me, should I ask him what law firm he works, at or even what area of law he practices, it really sheds light on the question of whether or not his knowledge of “legal reasons” is at all relevant to claiming to understand the situation, especially since he has repeatedly declared said inability to understand said situation.

    So you’re a lawyer? So what.

  330. 330
    johngreg

    Someone said:

    What we have are several independent accounts which all attest that an incident of unwanted sexual contact occurred. That’s enough for us to at least provisionally conclude that an incident of unwanted sexual contact probably did occur. You and I don’t need and aren’t entitled to all the minute details, especially details that aren’t really relevant.

    That would be more honest, more skeptical, and would represent a higher order of critical thinking of it were worded thus:

    What we have are several independent accounts making as yet unevidenced and sometimes disparate claims that an incident of unwanted contact and/or undefined but unwanted behaviour occurred. That’s enough for us to at least provisionally conclude that an incident of unwanted sexual contact might have occurred; however, it is not enough to make an assumption of guilt based soley upon whether or not we like the accused individual, especially when the accused individual is sometimes not even named but we make the unwarranted assumption that we know who it is simply because we don’t like him and we want to curry victim points and favour with our SJW allies.

  331. 331
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @

    More, less, I don’t know.

    If you don’t know how those questions could result in a change in truth value regarding the claims… why are you asking them? You seem driven to, in fact, so you must have a reason:

    My frustration is when trying to gather information, there isn’t much to be had or people willing to give any.

    All I’m asking for is that reason. That’s it. This should be pretty trivial.

    Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your questions, and neither do you.

    I’ve answered that one twice, in fact. I wasn’t kidding when I said the question was trivially easy to answer.

    hjhornbeck @253:

    Intent does not nullify a crime, though it may call for leniency. Asking why an assault was done doesn’t change the fact that an assault was committed. So why are you asking the question in the first place? Do you care only for the perpetrator, and not the victim?

    hjhornbeck @294:

    Except who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly they resisted, who the person slept with earlier, where they were located, or whether the victim was under the influence does not change whether or not an assault occurred.

    In short, I contend the questions are irrelevant to the claims of sexual assault. You seem to think otherwise, but have resisted overtly saying as such. Why?

    If the perpetrator was so intoxicated that he was unconscious, would that change my view of what happened verses whether he had a drink or two? Of course. I can’t fathom how anyone would arrive at any different conclusion. Certainly, there is a spectrum there in between as well.

    We had this argument already:

    hjhornbeck @198:

    … wait, you think the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator can absolve them of any guilt? How then do you explain the punishments for drunk driving? Your logic argues leniency in the case of excessive alcohol use, after all.

    This bit, at least, is new:

    If you accidentally touch someone’s boob while say, walking through a crowded area, does it matter that it was an accident? Their boob was touched. By you. They were sexually assaulted. Do you deserve to be banned from conferences?

    First off, that’s disanalogous; Pamela Gay says the man “made a lunge at my breasts,” which is not an accidental act. Second, that’s disanalogous; we are not dealing with one person “brushing” against another, we are dealing with multiple cases where they “brushed,” “assaulted,” or “raped.” Something is not an accident if it happens multiple times in a similar manner, via the same person. Thirdly, this is disanalogous:

    If you did that, and then it was spun by someone else to say that you groped someone you didn’t even know, and tried to slink away in the crowd and use it as cover, as harassers often do.

    Because the person in question agrees that it was a grope, as I pointed to above. You need to work more on your analogies, I keep finding flaws in them and you keep throwing new ones out instead of defending your old ones.

    The point isn’t whether she was assaulted or not. I don’t know. The point is – neither do you. You can’t defend these claims, because any defending is requiring you to go into lots and lots of guesswork.

    Here, at least, I have to thank you for making it explicit you are pulling the hyperskepticism card. Do I know with absolute certainty? Of course not. But we never require absolute certainty to make decisions; our courts, for instance, only require a lack of a reasonable doubt and not absolute certainty. We can easily operate with far less certainty, that just means we can’t justify extreme measures like temporarily stripping away rights. Avoiding someone requires very little certainty to justify, and thus “guesswork” is entirely sufficient.

    I even gave a method for doing that guesswork, back in comment 62, and argued for a medium level of certainty via comment 74.

    My frustration is when trying to gather information, there isn’t much to be had or people willing to give any.

    I already gave two links which either explicitly or implicitly indexed the claims, and quoted all the relevant testimonies back in comment 117. I have gone out of my way to help you, and your only response is to pretend it didn’t happen.

    Again, you demonstrate you are arguing in bad faith. On top of that, you demonstrate you have little grasp of what else has been said in the thread, as you are repeating previous arguments instead of answering the replies I originally gave.

  332. 332
    kacyray

    Wow. So much fun to sit around and dislike each other. We should do it again some time.

  333. 333
    johngreg

    hornbeck said:

    I already gave two links which either explicitly or implicitly indexed the claims, and quoted all the relevant testimonies back in comment 117.

    hornbeck, your first post was coment #62: no links. Then, comment #68 links to “Page Not Found”. Then comment #74, no links. Then comment #123, no links. Then comment #127, no links. Then comment #129, no links, and so on. And you made no comment 117. Where are those links?

  334. 334
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @312:

    There is a wealth of material there, most (though, not all) of it backed up with a range of proofs.

    I’ve been browsing through there, and quite frankly I find it pretty lacking. Take for instance the sole example of PZ Myers’ hypocrisy (more are claimed to exist, but only one is listed): you quote his take on tactfulness…

    Some of us will refuse to be tactful and respectful of lying bullshit, and that’s the way it should be.

    … then contrast that with his opinion on Smith’s criticism of McCreight’s words…

    What bugged me is that Abbie can’t honestly fling any of the insults in her diatribe. Be as mean as you want, but be accurate.

    …. except there is no contrast there. In both cases, he agrees that foul words are acceptable in some circumstances. In the latter, he makes it clearer what those circumstances are. That’s it.

    I’ve been clicking around on other links, and I can’t find anything better than that. I just don’t see any of the hypocrisy that you claim is prevalent. Can you direct me to a specific, clear example?

    And you never did clarify: since I identify as Atheist Plus, do I “support without question, doubt, or a hint of critical thinking or skepticism, anything said by someone whose beliefs and world-view they would otherwise disparage, vilify, and condemn?” Do I engage in “hyperbolic and profoundly toxic dogmatic fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit?” I’d rather like to know.

  335. 335
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @333:

    And you made no comment 117. Where are those links?

    Bloody dyslexia, I meant 177. The first link was to Thibeault’s timeline, the second to a simple Google search.

  336. 336
    Edward Gemmer

    hjhornbeck,

    If you don’t know how those questions could result in a change in truth value regarding the claims… why are you asking them? You seem driven to, in fact, so you must have a reason:

    This is getting kind of circular at this point. I guess another way I can point to is a science experiment. A good one will test some narrowly defined question, such as “does aspirin help with headaches.” Then the experiment is run and the questions is hopefully answered.

    Here’s the thing – the experiments, and the questions, don’t actually have any relevance to whether aspirin helps with headaches. Aspirin will either help or not help with headaches regardless of your efforts to find out whether it does. The only value to the experiment is to you in finding out the information and then doing something with it.

    We can easily operate with far less certainty, that just means we can’t justify extreme measures like temporarily stripping away rights. Avoiding someone requires very little certainty to justify, and thus “guesswork” is entirely sufficient.

    Sure, and you can easily be wrong. Taking the lazy way to arrive at conclusions isn’t exactly a recipe for accuracy.

    I already gave two links which either explicitly or implicitly indexed the claims, and quoted all the relevant testimonies back in comment 117. I have gone out of my way to help you, and your only response is to pretend it didn’t happen.

    Again, you demonstrate you are arguing in bad faith. On top of that, you demonstrate you have little grasp of what else has been said in the thread, as you are repeating previous arguments instead of answering the replies I originally gave.

    Here’s a challenge. Take all the claims that were made in Post 177 – then tell me who was involved and what was alleged. Those are pretty basic questions, right? Surely if everything is so clear, you can tell me that.

  337. 337
    johngreg

    Nah, hornbeck, I am not going to start trolling around, and fishing for, Phawrongula sections on Myers. I know many sections have been poorly labelled, so finding them is difficult.

    Phawrongula is not intended as some kind of academic exercise, it is only a loose collection, mostly anonymous, of what some individuals think is exemplary of some of the more egregious nonsense from FTB, Skepchick, A+, and it is not very well kept up (or organized).

    Anyway, it’s not particularily important, in the sense that I think that for the most part people either clearly perceive his hypocrisy, or they are fans and do not/can not — we all do that to some degree or other, so, whatever.

    One minor but meaningful example is his position on male circumcision, which generally changes depending on what his horde think of it, on any given day, and who his target audience is (… phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/Trivialization_of_Male_Circumcision).

    The A+ criticisms refer to the A+ forums specifically — not the shadow movement, a movement that does not seem to actually exist anywhere except in the minds of blog commenters here and there (and in Richard Carrier’s Intellectual Artillery tank).

    In my opinion, if you continue to support the A+ forums, and in particular, the toxic and deeply damaged A+ forum moderators and their editorial practices without any form of public criticism, then, yes, I think that to some degree you support and engage in such behaviours, at the very least, by mute proxy. Though, to what degree you actually support that shit, or are just a passive observer (or even somewhat disinterested participant), only you can really say.

  338. 338
    John Morales

    johngreg @337,

    In my opinion [blah]

    I’ll spare you my opinion of your opinion’s worth.

  339. 339
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @336:

    Here’s the thing – the experiments, and the questions, don’t actually have any relevance to whether aspirin helps with headaches. Aspirin will either help or not help with headaches regardless of your efforts to find out whether it does.

    … Have you really become so backed into a corner that you are forced to deny science? You have become a philosophic skeptic of the most extreme kind, denying any inference based on past experience or current observation. You have lost the ability to tell me what will happen when your finger touches the “e” key on your keyboard.

    I guess another way I can point to is a science experiment. A good one will test some narrowly defined question, such as “does pressing the ‘e’ key result in the letter ‘e’.” Then the experiment is run and the questions is hopefully answered.

    Here’s the thing – the experiments, and the questions, don’t actually have any relevance to whether the letter “e” is produced when I hit the “e” key. Hitting that key will either produce or not produce the letter “e” regardless of your efforts to find out whether it does.

    Congratulations, in your desperation to defend Shermer you’ve been forced to deny all means to produce knowledge at the most fundamental level. There is literally no way you could become more hyperskeptical; once you hit epistemology, you can dig no further down.

    It’s such a predictable tactic that I can respond with a straight copy-paste from my earlier responses.

    hjhornbeck @145:

    As skeptics, we never deal with the whole truth. You don’t “see” light or “feel” the weight of your limbs, your senses pipe the sensation of sight and feel into your brain. Your senses are also prone to error and misfirings, so every sensation is uncertain. For every moment of your consciousness, you are dealing with uncertain, second-hand information.

    I’ve already demonstrated how to handle that. Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

    And you are the one to complain about circularity.

    Taking the lazy way to arrive at conclusions isn’t exactly a recipe for accuracy.

    I didn’t take the lazy way; the reasoning I used above is exactly the same as I’d use to determine if the letter “e” is produced from a key on the keyboard, or ifsomeone was struck by lightening. I’ve already outlined the reasoning way back in comment 62, in fact; are you going to pick that apart, or throw out another flawed analogy as you run away from yet another argument?

    Here’s a challenge. Take all the claims that were made in Post 177 – then tell me who was involved and what was alleged. Those are pretty basic questions, right? Surely if everything is so clear, you can tell me that.

    I’m tempted to ask you, as you clearly know …

    Edward Gemmer @148:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...] Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    Edward Gemmer @172:

    There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    … but what the hey. I’ll focus exclusively on Shermer, since he’s got the most evidence, and ignore anything that doesn’t suggest assault or a pattern of repeated assault.

    “Miriamne:” Claims Shermer made her “a sexual victim,” and the details would override what else she was known for if made public. Suggests this is a repeated pattern.
    Brian Thompson: Claims Shermer harassed multiple women and groped one.
    PZ Myers: Posts a claim that Shermer sexually assaulted someone via alcohol. Posts a second claim that backs up the first. Posts a third that suggests this is a repeated pattern.
    “delphi_ote:” Claims to know the person in Myers’ first claim, or another person with an identical experience.
    Carrie Poppy: Confirms she was contacted by the person in Myers’ claim, and got them in contact with Myers. Was convinced it was a probable claim.
    “rikzilla:” Claims Shermer tried to seduce his wife, after he and his wife had introduced themselves.
    Dallas Haugh: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted him.
    Carrie Poppy: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted someone, and that DJ Groethe not only witnessed it but testified about it in court.
    Brian Thompson: Concurs with Poppy, and states Groethe told him the same story.
    Barbera Drescher: Claims she knew of Groethe’s story, and that in anonymous form it was common knowledge in the skeptical community.
    Pamela Gay: Claims she was groped by a big-name skeptic that was being currently discussed, at the time Poppy and Thompson came forward. Shermer is the only plausible candidate.

    Sifting through it all, that’s seven named individuals and three pseudononymous ones, of widely different backgrounds and with strong disagreements on other things, claiming at least three separate instances of sexual assault. These claims have not been retracted, even though Shermer has demonstrated a willingness to sue for libel, and even though the claimants may face threats or ostracization from the skeptic community.

    Most of that was quoted directly from Thibeault’s timeline. Which I linked to earlier. Which you claim to have read.

    Edward Gemmer @256:

    I have tried to educate myself. I’ve read every reference to the matters that I am aware exists.

    Which brings up an interesting question: why did you ask me to recite information you already claimed to know, and demonstrated that you did know through earlier comments?

  340. 340
    Edward Gemmer

    Have you really become so backed into a corner that you are forced to deny science?

    Nope. I’m explaining how science works and why it is a good thing.

    Congratulations, in your desperation to defend Shermer you’ve been forced to deny all means to produce knowledge at the most fundamental level.

    I’m not defending Shermer.

    Anyway, I challenged you to take each accusation and tell me who was involved and what happened. Here’s how you did:

    “Miriamne:” Claims Shermer made her “a sexual victim,” and the details would override what else she was known for if made public. Suggests this is a repeated pattern.

    Don’t know what happened at all. Fail.

    Brian Thompson: Claims Shermer harassed multiple women and groped one.

    Don’t know who was involved. Fail.

    PZ Myers: Posts a claim that Shermer sexually assaulted someone via alcohol. Posts a second claim that backs up the first. Posts a third that suggests this is a repeated pattern.

    Don’t know who was involved or details of what happened. Fail.

    “delphi_ote:” Claims to know the person in Myers’ first claim, or another person with an identical experience.

    Ditto. Fail.

    Carrie Poppy: Confirms she was contacted by the person in Myers’ claim, and got them in contact with Myers. Was convinced it was a probable claim.

    Ditto. Fail.

    “rikzilla:” Claims Shermer tried to seduce his wife, after he and his wife had introduced themselves.

    This we actually have some connection to real life. We don’t know who rikzilla’s wife is, but she could be an actual person and he saw something and names Shermer. Pass.

    Dallas Haugh: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted him.

    No idea what happened here. Fail.

    Carrie Poppy: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted someone, and that DJ Groethe not only witnessed it but testified about it in court.

    Don’t know who was involved. Fail. Also I thought she said it was in a deposition. Not to be nitpicky but there is a bit of a difference – “in court” suggests it was at some sort of formal hearing, while a deposition is a form of discovery that usually isn’t in court but is still sweared to under oath.

    Brian Thompson: Concurs with Poppy, and states Groethe told him the same story.

    Ditto. Fail.

    Barbera Drescher: Claims she knew of Groethe’s story, and that in anonymous form it was common knowledge in the skeptical community.

    Ditto. Fail.

    Pamela Gay: Claims she was groped by a big-name skeptic that was being currently discussed, at the time Poppy and Thompson came forward. Shermer is the only plausible candidate.

    Not sure why the only plausible candidate is Shermer. Doesn’t say who it was. Fail. Also, I had the same assumption that Poppy and Drescher were talking about Shermer and Gay. However, Poppy said what was seen was Shermer actually groping someone’s breast, while Gay’s account seems different – an attempt to grope her breast. They seem like two separate incidents, which is why I am tentative to just put them together.

    Which brings up an interesting question: why did you ask me to recite information you already claimed to know, and demonstrated that you did know through earlier comments?

    Well, hopefully you can see by now the challenge here. It’s easy to take a lot of hearsay and vague things and say “hey where there is smoke there’s fire.” Clearly, that has been your approach. However, actually trying to figure out just one of the claims is frustrating because of the complete lack of detail. You clearly believe the claims, yet can’t tell me what happened and who was involved in any of them with the possible exception that Shermer tried to seduce someone’s wife. And I really don’t care about that.

  341. 341
    A Hermit

    Shorter Gemmer Solipsism…if we don’t have every last minute detail that’s just the same as knowing nothing at all.

  342. 342
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @337:

    I am not going to start trolling around, and fishing for, Phawrongula sections on Myers. I know many sections have been poorly labelled, so finding them is difficult.

    Then you shouldn’t be surprised if that site fails to convince someone. And aren’t you quite familiar with Myers’ crimes? If they come as frequently and as outrageously as you claim, firing off examples should be a trivial exercise for you.

    Anyway, it’s not particularily important, in the sense that I think that for the most part people either clearly perceive his hypocrisy, or they are fans and do not/can not — we all do that to some degree or other, so, whatever.

    Hypocrisy should be independent of the observer. There are issues of interpretation, of course, but if there’s a question about how to interpret a remark then how can you be sure any hypocrisy was committed? Even the deepest fan should be able to spot true hypocrisy. If not, it’s easy to prove their own double-standards: anonymize the statements as much as possible, and throw them at this “superfan.” If they give a different answer than when the identity is known, you’ve demonstrated they really do hold different people to different standards.

    Try it, sometime.

    In my opinion, if you continue to support the A+ forums, and in particular, the toxic and deeply damaged A+ forum moderators and their editorial practices without any form of public criticism, then, yes, I think that to some degree you support and engage in such behaviours, at the very least, by mute proxy.

    Except I don’t. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to those forums, because I don’t need a safe space for discussion. Not all atheists support r/Atheism because the two share a name, either.

    I have no problem calling out hypocrisy in the A+ forums, which is why I’m asking you, as an expert on the matter, to share your best examples with me.

    Phawrongula is not intended as some kind of academic exercise, it is only a loose collection, mostly anonymous, of what some individuals think is exemplary of some of the more egregious nonsense from FTB, Skepchick, A+, [...]

    So Phawrongula represents the worst of the worst? Why then are the examples so lacking? I already mentioned the harsh language bit, but you also directed me to Myers stance on male circumcision. Here’s the two comments your Wiki highlights as contradictory:

    Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial

    The arguments for circumcision are pathetic and awful. “There is no reason, other than certain rare and specific medical conditions, for maiming anyone’s genitalia. Don’t do it to your children.

    Except they aren’t. Myers contends male circumcision is trivial in comparison to female circumcision, as typically practiced, and that both are nonetheless harmful and useless.

    Look, I’ll be honest here: you’re currently one of the most pleasant SlymePitters or SlymePitter allies I’ve argued against, right next to Steersman in fact, which I never would have predicted when I typed up that first comment. I’m going to take your arguments seriously, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pandering or showering you with praise to try and convert you over. But I’m also going to take your arguments seriously, and call out bullshit when I see it.

    And right now, that’s pretty much all I see. If Phawrongula represents the best case for hypocrisy you have, you don’t have much of a case at all.

  343. 343
    johngreg

    hornbeck said:

    Look, I’ll be honest here: you’re currently one of the most pleasant SlymePitters or SlymePitter allies I’ve argued against, right next to Steersman in fact, which I never would have predicted when I typed up that first comment. I’m going to take your arguments seriously, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pandering or showering you with praise to try and convert you over. But I’m also going to take your arguments seriously, and call out bullshit when I see it.

    I appreciate it, and back to you with the same.

    And right now, that’s pretty much all I see. If Phawrongula represents the best case for hypocrisy you have, you don’t have much of a case at all.

    Well, as you said, it’s about interpretation. And whose side we are each on — we cannot deny there are to some degree sides on this whole mess, and we cannot avoid some degree of “Our side” support.

    Also, I think the biggest challenge for me to prove my point, well not prove it, but make it more supportable, is that these issues cover several years; they represent something that grows and only shows itself over time. For the most part it is not like someone says “Only XYZ is true, and if you disagree you’re the enemy” one day, and then the next day says “Only YZX is true, and if you disagree you’re the enemy“, and then on the third day jumps back to the first claim (though, that does happen). It’s a gradual thing over time, that expands, and modifies, and spreads into the dusty corners, shifts around like a snake, often returning to the original point, and always, always denying the plausibility of differing dissenting opinions even when the point turns around and joins, so to speak, the dissenting opinion, and so on. It’s also about the good when we do it; bad when you do it stuff that goes on all the bloody time, but is very hard to catch and pinpoint.

    And, it is about the really rather sad growth of the more toxic personalities on the FTB commentariat. Several years ago, before it was actually all FTB, the commentariat from Pharyngula, Butterflies and Wheels, and a few other blogs that I am loosely familiar with, were much more respectful of each other, of newcomers, and of the world of divers opinions in general. They were also much more divers, coming from many more divers backgrounds. In the last couple of years that commentariat has, for the most part — not completely, but for the most part — devolved into a bunch of rabid razorback clams whose primary preoccupation is with claiming victim status, supporting and re-enforcing each others damaged pysches, and utterly raging at anyone who does not substantively agree with them or does not support their ideological stance. And that’s really rather sad. I mean look at someone like Nerd of Redhead. He has almost nothing, ever, to say except Citation needed or Floosh, your opinion doesn’t matter, along with a regularly repeated handful of insults and ad hominems. And FTB is now overflowing with that kind of person — not all blogs, but a substantial proportion of the most important/popular blogs have become toxic in the comment section and simply do not, even occasionally, allow for substantively differing opinions: Our way or the highway.

    Lastly, in my defence, while I may observe the kind of thing I am talking about, I am not very skilled at presenting evidence to support my claims. That doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist; it means I am no good at providing the appropriate quotes, links, screenshots, and arguments to support my claims.

    Haven’t we derailed this enough for this week?

  344. 344
    Edward Gemmer

    Shorter Gemmer Solipsism…if we don’t have every last minute detail that’s just the same as knowing nothing at all.

    Nope.

  345. 345
    A Hermit

    while I may observe the kind of thing I am talking about, I am not very skilled at presenting evidence to support my claims. That doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist; it means I am no good at providing the appropriate quotes, links, screenshots, and arguments to support my claims.

    Yet here you are demanding that everyone else do the same for you…

    What was that about hypocrisy?

  346. 346
    johngreg

    Yet here you are demanding that everyone else do the same for you….

    I am? Where in this tread have I made any demands? I can’t find it.

    I did issue a challenge in my first post for Ashley, or anyone else actually, to provide some meaningful evidence, other than just more anecdotes. But all that came back was more anecdotes.

  347. 347
    A Hermit

    I am? Where in this tread have I made any demands?

    Don’t be disingenuous. You’ve been whining about nothing else since you jumped in here…

  348. 348
    johngreg

    OK. Show me where I made these demands. Whinin’ ain’t demandin’.

  349. 349
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @340:

    Nope. I’m explaining how science works and why it is a good thing.

    Yeah-huh. You might want to take a good, long stare at my comment at 62.

    Because it shows I probably understand your argument at 336 better than you do.

    You are attempting to invoke the Problem of Induction, or more specifically Hume’s objections to causality. We never observe anything like “A causes B,” but plently along the lines of “A happened after B.” To infer the former from the latter is to overreach what deduction can deliver. The argument doesn’t go in your favor, however, because you reach a dilemma:

    1. You are never justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we can never show aspirin cures headaches, the sky is blue, or come to any knowledge claim at all.
    2. You can be justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we could conclude that person X probably committed sexual assault relying solely on the testimony of others.

    I assumed you were denying science, but I suppose you could also use the same argument concede that we can justify believing a sexual assault occurred without direct observation. Take your pick, I’m fine with either conclusion.

    You clearly believe the claims, yet can’t tell me what happened and who was involved in any of them with the possible exception that Shermer tried to seduce someone’s wife.

    So Dallas Haugh telling you he was sexually assaulted does not indicate what actually happened, or who was involved?

  350. 350
    Edward Gemmer

    1. You are never justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we can never show aspirin cures headaches, the sky is blue, or come to any knowledge claim at all.
    2. You can be justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we could conclude that person X probably committed sexual assault relying solely on the testimony of others.

    I assumed you were denying science, but I suppose you could also use the same argument concede that we can justify believing a sexual assault occurred without direct observation. Take your pick, I’m fine with either conclusion.

    This is starting to delve into The Matrix. What is real? Is there a difference between a properly conducted science experiment and just what you thought about while taking a dump yesterday? We might think the earth revolves around the sun, but what if the sun revolves around the moon? Are you The One?

    Sure, we can’t know with absolute certainty a great many things, but I am in the camp that thinks trying to find out is a good idea.

    So Dallas Haugh telling you he was sexually assaulted does not indicate what actually happened, or who was involved?

    Of course we don’t know what happened. Did Shermer force himself on Haugh at gunpoint? Molest him as a child? Enagge in drunken sex? Never meet? Is the note a work of fiction? I have no idea. Certainly, some additional details would help here, unless you are in the camp that believes details are for bad people.

  351. 351
    A Hermit

    Show me where I made these demands.

    In practically every comment you’ve made here we see some version of “someone tell me all the details, who said what when to who and what pattern was the wallpaper…”

    Whinin’ ain’t demandin’.

    It’s passive-aggressive demanding.

  352. 352
    johngreg

    Jesus, Hermit, you’re really grabbing at straws now. Sheesh.

  353. 353
    Anthony K

    demand
    dɪˈmɑːnd/
    noun
    1.
    an insistent and peremptory request, made as of right.
    “a series of demands for far-reaching reforms”
    synonyms: request, call; More
    pressing requirements.
    “he’s got enough demands on his time already”
    synonyms: requirement, need, desire, wish, want; More
    the desire of consumers, clients, employers, etc. for a particular commodity, service, or other item.
    “a recent slump in demand”
    synonyms: market, call, appetite, desire; More
    verb
    verb: demand; 3rd person present: demands; past tense: demanded; past participle: demanded; gerund or present participle: demanding
    1.
    ask authoritatively or brusquely.
    “‘Where is she?’ he demanded”
    synonyms: order to, command to, tell to, call on to, enjoin to, urge to; More
    ask, enquire, question, interrogate;
    challenge
    insist on having.
    “an outraged public demanded retribution”
    synonyms: call for, ask for, request, press for, push for, hold out for, clamour for, bay for; More
    require; need.
    “a complex activity demanding detailed knowledge”
    synonyms: require, need, necessitate, call for, take, involve, entail; More

  354. 354
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @343:

    Well, as you said, it’s about interpretation. And whose side we are each on — we cannot deny there are to some degree sides on this whole mess, and we cannot avoid some degree of “Our side” support.

    That turns all of this into a sporting match, a trivial contest where the points are made up and the score doesn’t matter. Nobody walks onto the soccer pitch and says the other side practices “profoundly toxic dogmatic fanatical hate, hypocrisy, and blatant deceit,” though. This is more than a game to you. You worry over the effect this small group of bloggers is having on the skeptic/atheosphere, because more than anything…

    … you know we’re wrong. Sometimes, one side really is more right than the other.

    Also, I think the biggest challenge for me to prove my point, well not prove it, but make it more supportable, is that these issues cover several years; they represent something that grows and only shows itself over time.

    Have you considered that we might not think we’re wrong, then? If this is a subtle effect, we might have missed the subtle shift from reality that we’re making, and carry on blissfully unaware. Bludgeoning us with “YOU’RE WRONG” would be very counterproductive, as we’d have no idea how far off the beaten track we’d gone and simply dismiss you on the spot. Keep doing it, and we’ll wall off your warnings and march further from reality.

    You need to rethink your approach, unless you want us to become more extreme over time.

    Several years ago, before it was actually all FTB, the commentariat from Pharyngula, Butterflies and Wheels, and a few other blogs that I am loosely familiar with, were much more respectful of each other, of newcomers, and of the world of divers opinions in general. They were also much more divers, coming from many more divers backgrounds.

    I’ve been a longtime lurker at Pharyngula, and a big fan of B&W ever since Benson hopped over here. That runs counter to my experience; if anything, they’ve gotten more mellow and diverse over time. This is supported by what the ‘Pit digs up as well, as most of the examples date back a few years. Remember the porcupine bit? That got banned a while ago. I never used to see mods popping up to warn a comment was going over the line; now, it’s not an uncommon occurrence.

    I mean look at someone like Nerd of Redhead. He has almost nothing, ever, to say except Citation needed or Floosh, your opinion doesn’t matter, along with a regularly repeated handful of insults and ad hominems.

    I had a quick Google of Nerd to refresh my memory, and didn’t spot anything along those lines. Besides, you could say the same of me; I only tend to comment when social justice issues pop up, and opposing views are clashing. You’ll usually find me arguing against SlymePitters on FtB. If anything, I fit that combative description even more than Nerd does.

    Lastly, in my defence, while I may observe the kind of thing I am talking about, I am not very skilled at presenting evidence to support my claims. That doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist; it means I am no good at providing the appropriate quotes, links, screenshots, and arguments to support my claims.

    If you want to steer us off this toxic path, you’re gonna have to do better. Spend some extra time gathering up and analyzing that evidence; otherwise, as I said before, you’ll just make things worse.

    Haven’t we derailed this enough for this week?

    Psh, I haven’t gotten sick of arguing. And if you squint a bit, this is vaguely on topic….

  355. 355
    A Hermit

    I’ve been a longtime lurker at Pharyngula, and a big fan of B&W ever since Benson hopped over here. That runs counter to my experience; if anything, they’ve gotten more mellow and diverse over time.

    That’s certainly been my experience as well.

  356. 356
    hjhornbeck

    Whoops, missed a spot:

    Edward Gemmer @340:

    “rikzilla:” Claims Shermer tried to seduce his wife, after he and his wife had introduced themselves.

    This we actually have some connection to real life. We don’t know who rikzilla’s wife is, but she could be an actual person and he saw something and names Shermer. Pass.

    Dallas Haugh: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted him.

    No idea what happened here. Fail.

    So you think a second-hand account that’s impossible to independently verify is more trustworthy than a first-hand account that may have supporting documentation and witnesses? Interesting. Is that because you view claims of assault as inherently trustworthy?

    Edward Gemmer @350:

    This is starting to delve into The Matrix. What is real? Is there a difference between a properly conducted science experiment and just what you thought about while taking a dump yesterday? We might think the earth revolves around the sun, but what if the sun revolves around the moon?

    There are exactly four ways to respond to a dilemma:
    1. Take the first fork, in this case by denying science.
    2. Take the second fork, in this case by accepting it’s possible to say a sexual assault probably occurred due to testimony alone.
    3. Demonstrate the dilemma is false, by showing the false premise or incorrect logic within the dilemma.
    4. Refuse to answer and run away from the argument.

    You’ve chosen the fourth way, I see, the choice of the intellectual coward.

    Sure, we can’t know with absolute certainty a great many things, but I am in the camp that thinks trying to find out is a good idea.

    And we’re back at comment 188:

    You, Edward Gemmer, are arguing that some information from that list, or something similar I didn’t think of, could alter the truth of whether or not a sexual assault occured. What is it?

    You failed to answer that in 191, so I upped the ante in 198:

    You have demonstrated a strong reluctance to accept or pursue any evidence, a willingness to lie about the evidence you have on hand. In addition, you have argued…

    … that if a woman doesn’t resist sexual assault enough, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … that if the bystanders of a sexual assault do not act in certain ways, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … and that if the perpetrator is sufficiently drunk, leniency must be granted to them.

    Do you honestly hold to those positions? Because you are arguing in favor of them.

    Which you dodged again in 199:

    I’m not arguing anything.

    So I asked it again in 253:

    You are stating that these claims of sexual assault are vague, which means their truth value could be true or false. You stated that knowing what the victim did would change that truth value, by asking about it (because if it was irrelevant, why would you ask?). Therefore you are arguing that if women don’t resist enough, it doesn’t count as sexual assault.

    “Nope” isn’t enough; point to the flaws in that argument, or concede it as your own.

    Which you dodged again in 256:

    I’m arguing that before I can make a judgment about what occurred, I need more information about what occurred, and I do not understand why people guard this information.

    So I asked it again in 294:

    Which makes it clear you think the claims of assault might be false. When I asked for what further information you needed to settle their truth, you said “How did she react?” in comment 191. Ergo, according to your original statements, you think her reaction could nullify whether a sexual assault occurred or not.

    That is quite solidly on the rails, and I challenge you to show me otherwise.

    311 is a mess of a comment, where you say you doubt the claims:

    However, when it seems that every avenue of questioning gets shut down before getting any substantial facts, that causes me to doubt the claims.

    then say you don’t:

    You are off the rials because you are assuming that my questions means I somehow doubt the story. This is false and illogical.

    I call you out on the fuzziness at 320, and restate my question again:

    This is a pattern with you, claiming not to doubt the sexual assault happened yet bringing up questions commonly used to falsely dismiss sexual assault. You have yet to demonstrate how any of the answers you’d get would help. Does Pamela Gay become more or less sexually assaulted depending on who did it, how traumatic the experience was, why it happened, how bystanders reacted, the blood-alcohol level of the perpetrator, how strongly she resisted, who she slept with earlier, where she were located, or whether Gay was under the influence?

    I keep asking this, and you keep refusing to answer.

    Which you dodge in 322:

    More, less, I don’t know. Since I don’t know what happened, I don’t have the slightest idea how to answer your questions

    I ask the question again in 331:

    If you don’t know how those questions could result in a change in truth value regarding the claims… why are you asking them? You seem driven to, in fact, so you must have a reason. [...] All I’m asking for is that reason. That’s it. This should be pretty trivial.

    Which you dodge in 336 by seeming to deny science:

    This is getting kind of circular at this point. I guess another way I can point to is a science experiment. A good one will test some narrowly defined question, such as “does aspirin help with headaches.” Then the experiment is run and the questions is hopefully answered.

    Here’s the thing – the experiments, and the questions, don’t actually have any relevance to whether aspirin helps with headaches.

    And then we shift to the dilemma I outlined above, until the end of 350:

    Of course we don’t know what happened. Did Shermer force himself on Haugh at gunpoint? Molest him as a child? Enagge in drunken sex? Never meet? Is the note a work of fiction? I have no idea. Certainly, some additional details would help here, unless you are in the camp that believes details are for bad people.

    Which returns us to comment 188.

    Are you The One?

    Nope. But given your dodging skills, you might be.

  357. 357
    hjhornbeck

    GAAAAH.

    Is that because you view claims of assault as inherently trustworthy?

    should read

    Is that because you view claims of assault as inherently untrustworthy?

  358. 358
    Edward Gemmer

    So you think a second-hand account that’s impossible to independently verify is more trustworthy than a first-hand account that may have supporting documentation and witnesses? Interesting. Is that because you view claims of assault as inherently untrustworthy?

    Frankly, I was just trying to give you one. “Seduce someone” may or may not have much more value as “sexual assault.” They both could be referring to a huge number of things. “I was sexually assaulted” could mean I was molested as a child, could mean someone grabbed my butt, could mean I was brutally raped at gunpoint. It isn’t that any of them are trustworthy or untrustworthy – you clearly believe it. Also clear – you have no idea what it is you are believing. That’s the entire point.

    So you think a second-hand account that’s impossible to independently verify is more trustworthy than a first-hand account that may have supporting documentation and witnesses? Interesting. Is that because you view claims of assault as inherently trustworthy?

    I’m not sure why you think I’m refusing to debate you. I’ve invited you to defend these claims however you wish. You have failed. You have failed because you don’t know any more about these claims than I do. I haven’t argued these claims are untrue. I have no idea if they are true. Neither do you. Neither does anyone who isn’t a witness or participant.

    My argument is that when claims are vague and difficult to understand, you shouldn’t be surprised when people don’t believe them or don’t care. You keep trying to make the issue about me, that there is something wrong with me because we don’t have many facts to go on. That’s silly.

    Imagine if a police report simply said “hjhornbeck sexually assaulted /anonymous/. What could anyone do with that? We could say, well, most claims of sexual assault are true, so we will just go on the assumption that this is true, hjhornbeck be damned. But that’s just not good enough for me. Sorry.

  359. 359
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @358:

    I’m not sure why you think I’m refusing to debate you.

    Comment 356 demonstrates why. In a debate, each side responds to the arguments of the other. You have not responded to mine. Ergo, you are refusing to debate. For instance:

    Imagine if a police report simply said “hjhornbeck sexually assaulted /anonymous/. What could anyone do with that? We could say, well, most claims of sexual assault are true, so we will just go on the assumption that this is true, hjhornbeck be damned.

    I considered a very similar scenario in comment 62. You have not refuted my methodology. You have not even taken much issue with my numbers. And the rules of logic state that if you cannot find a false premise in an argument, and cannot find a logical misstep, you must accept the argument as sound.

    You, instead, have run away. Again and again.

    I have no idea if they are true. Neither do you. Neither does anyone who isn’t a witness or participant.

    Dallas Haugh, Pamela Gay, Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, Barbera Drescher, “delphi_ote,” “Miriamne,” and even PZ Myers were witnesses or participants. According to this statement of yours, they should have some idea of the truth. And yet in comment 340 you dismiss all of them as not possessing any truth. Yet again, you contradict yourself and automatically dismiss claims of sexual assault.

    Frankly, I was just trying to give you one.

    And it just so happens the one you “gave” me was not the claim with the best evidence, but the one that didn’t involve sexual assault?

    It’s clear to me that you’re holding back. You are doing everything you can to disguise your true opinion here, but that’s leading to massive, repeated contradictions and making you look like a fool. It’s incredibly damaging; I’m confident this page has been bookmarked several times, and will be tossed back in your face on other blogs as evidence to ban you on sight. The indirect approach isn’t working here.

    Maybe it’s time to switch to the direct approach. Why not be honest with me about your views on sexual assault?

  360. 360
    debbaasseerr

    Speaking of fighting the good fight, big thank-you to hjhornbeck (among others!) for taking the time to parse all the slime. I knew it was awful on the surface, but damn.

  361. 361
    Edward Gemmer

    I considered a very similar scenario in comment 62. You have not refuted my methodology. You have not even taken much issue with my numbers. And the rules of logic state that if you cannot find a false premise in an argument, and cannot find a logical misstep, you must accept the argument as sound.

    The problem is your arguments have no merit. For example, I could say, “the sun revolves around the earth.” You could decide there is a 75% chance that this is true. So what? You can’t show your work. You just assign numbers, and these numbers have little to no basis in reality. I can’t argue against your imagination.

    Dallas Haugh, Pamela Gay, Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, Barbera Drescher, “delphi_ote,” “Miriamne,” and even PZ Myers were witnesses or participants. According to this statement of yours, they should have some idea of the truth. And yet in comment 340 you dismiss all of them as not possessing any truth. Yet again, you contradict yourself and automatically dismiss claims of sexual assault.

    Again, it isn’t that I reject them. If I rejected them I wouldn’t be here asking for more information. There is no more information, at least according to you, because you have failed to provide it. I assume you have failed to provide it because you have no idea what it is.

    Maybe it’s time to switch to the direct approach. Why not be honest with me about your views on sexual assault?

    I am incredibly sensitive to sexual assault, because people close to me have been assaulted. I have two daughters, and it is vital to me that they not be sexually assaulted. I am frustrated with lazy people who claim to be against sexual assault but refuse to do any actual work to prevent it other than being angry at people like me who work to prevent it.

    Speaking of fighting the good fight, big thank-you to hjhornbeck (among others!) for taking the time to parse all the slime. I knew it was awful on the surface, but damn.

    Yeah? I represent a girl who was horrifically sexually assaulted as a young child, and as been in and out of jail as an indirect result of that assault for a few years. Maybe I should just try to humiliate her into being a better person, that seems to be the FreeThoughtBlog way.

  362. 362
    debbaasseerr

    Yeah? I represent a girl who was horrifically sexually assaulted as a young child, and as been in and out of jail as an indirect result of that assault for a few years. Maybe I should just try to humiliate her into being a better person, that seems to be the FreeThoughtBlog way.

    Would she appreciate you including her in this? But more importantly, where do you get the idea that humiliating someone into being a better person is “the FreeThoughtBlog way”? Have you read the OP?

  363. 363
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @361:

    For example, I could say, “the sun revolves around the earth.” You could decide there is a 75% chance that this is true. So what? You can’t show your work.

    Suppose one day a friend of yours comes up to you and claims “the Sun revolves around the Earth.” Can we say the Sun revolves around the Earth?

    There are two possibilities: it does, or it does not. One important bit of evidence is Foucault’s pendulum; a sufficiently large pendulum will process over time. I’ve seen one, and can verify it does process. Since we’re starting from pure ignorance here, we’ll set the odds of the Sun revolving around the Earth at 50%; the odds of the pendulum processing, if the Earth revolves around the Sun, is 99.9%; and the odds of the museum faking this procession as one in a million. These numbers are not an exact match for reality, but are in roughly the same ballpark. So we can calculate:

    P(Sun revolves around the Earth) = (.999 * .5) / ((.999 * .5) + (1/1000000 * .5)) ~= 99.9998999%

    Therefore, we conclude it is more likely the Sun revolves around the Earth than otherwise, based only on what I’ve observed and the background information we have.

    Edward Gemmer @361:

    Again, it isn’t that I reject them.

    Edward Gemmer @137:

    The biggest issue is that all the claims are bathed in things that trigger the skeptic spidey sense.

    Edward Gemmer @152:

    Do they have something to hide? I don’t know. “Something happened” is not a convincing case.

    Edward Gemmer @156:

    Vague references or allegations aren’t convincing, nor should they be convincing. I think we want people to act on facts.

    Edward Gemmer @163:

    I am genuinely interested in this, but it’s impossible to defend these claims when it is an uphill battle to just figure out what the claims are.

    Edward Gemmer @179:

    When people can’t (or won’t) provide supporting details, it raises suspicion.

    Edward Gemmer @256:

    I’m arguing that before I can make a judgment about what occurred, I need more information about what occurred, and I do not understand why people guard this information. [...]

    I find it impossible to obtain said information, despite everyone claiming to be so against sexual assault. This makes me suspicious, and frustrated. When I feel like people are actively trying to hide things, I am not going to just believe the few things they say.

    Edward Gemmer @311

    However, when it seems that every avenue of questioning gets shut down before getting any substantial facts, that causes me to doubt the claims.

    Edward Gemmer @322

    You can’t defend these claims, because any defending is requiring you to go into lots and lots of guesswork.

    Edward Gemmer @327:

    However, if you want to judge people based on them not believing you, then you have to give them the evidence.

    Edward Gemmer @352:

    Of course we don’t know what happened. [...] I have no idea.

    Edward Gemmer @358:

    I’ve invited you to defend these claims however you wish. You have failed. You have failed because you don’t know any more about these claims than I do.

    That sounds like a lot of rejection to me. Or do you not realize that claims have certainty values attached to them, allowing you to provisionally accept them without committing to absolute truthhood?

    I am frustrated with lazy people who claim to be against sexual assault but refuse to do any actual work to prevent it other than being angry at people like me who work to prevent it.

    Based on this thread, your work consists of casting uncertainty and doubt over claims of sexual assault, arbirtarily holding the claimants to an impossible burden of proof you do not demand for other claims. That’s not prevention, that’s making it easier to get away with the crime.

    I represent a girl who was horrifically sexually assaulted as a young child

    You are a lawyer?

    You are a lawyer that has no concept of levels of burdens of proof (361).
    You are a lawyer that contradicts himself within the span of a comment (311).
    You are a lawyer which blindly repeats failed arguments, instead of adapting to the situation (356).
    You are a lawyer that believes in asking questions irrelevant to the crime (188).
    You are a lawyer which runs away from arguments you can’t refute (356).

    Shit, Steersman argues law better than you, and he went to Wikipedia University. If you are a lawyer, you’re proof they’ve set the Bar pretty low…

  364. 364
    hjhornbeck

    debbaasseerr @360:

    Speaking of fighting the good fight, big thank-you to hjhornbeck (among others!) for taking the time to parse all the slime.

    Thanks! I think you’re the first person to thank me for arguing online. :O

    I knew it was awful on the surface, but damn.

    This is still the surface. There are depths.

  365. 365
    Edward Gemmer

    Therefore, we conclude it is more likely the Sun revolves around the Earth than otherwise, based only on what I’ve observed and the background information we have.

    Ah, so things like more information are important? Why is it important to figuring out if the earth revolves around the sun but not for sexual assaults?

    Shit, Steersman argues law better than you, and he went to Wikipedia University. If you are a lawyer, you’re proof they’ve set the Bar pretty low…

    LOL. Well maybe. But then, you have a bad habit that a lot of people on the internet have these days, which is you are addicted to straw man arguments. You keep trying to make up some argument to shoot down that I’m not making. Unfortunately, you haven’t moved past this in the bajillion posts here. It’s still about me doubting the claims, despite me repeatedly telling you that I don’t actually doubt them, but that I’m frustrated by the lack of information and can’t defend them. I’m sure you will still not actually believe what I’m telling you, and still make up some new argument that is easier for you to handle.

    Would she appreciate you including her in this? But more importantly, where do you get the idea that humiliating someone into being a better person is “the FreeThoughtBlog way”? Have you read the OP?

    I’m not sure if she would or not. Considering I represent a lot of abused people, and considering all other details are left out, I think her identity is going to stay unknown.

    Further, I would completely agree that some bloggers here are not into humiliating other people, including Ms. Miller.

  366. 366
    A Hermit

    I represent a lot of abused people, and considering all other details are left out, I think her identity is going to stay unknown.

    So it;’s OK for you to use an evidenced, anonymous claim to bolster your argument, yet you reject the accounts of named witnesses as insufficient for even consideration…

    Why are you here?

  367. 367
    A Hermit

    That should read “UN-evidenced,/i> anonymous claim…”

  368. 368
    A Hermit

    And I borked the html…must be time for lunch…

  369. 369
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @365:

    Ah, so things like more information are important? Why is it important to figuring out if the earth revolves around the sun but not for sexual assaults?

    Fascinating.

    “I was sexually assaulted” = Vague, unspecific claim not worthy of partial belief.
    “Someone told me someone else tried to seduce them” = A claim specific enough to be worthy of partial belief.
    “I saw a Foucault pendulum process” = multiple, specific claims worthy of strong belief.

    You’ve got a clear pattern: the clarity and certainty of a claim is inversely proportional to how closely it describes sexual assault.

    But then, you have a bad habit that a lot of people on the internet have these days, which is you are addicted to straw man arguments.

    By this point my arguments consist largely of quoting your own comments. Are you saying you don’t actually agree to the hyperskeptic view, and are just deploying it to disguise your own views of assault? Or are you just ignorant of what a strawperson is?

    Unfortunately, you haven’t moved past this in the bajillion posts here.

    That’s because of this:

    It’s still about me doubting the claims, despite me repeatedly telling you that I don’t actually doubt them, but that I’m frustrated by the lack of information and can’t defend them.

    I’ve answered your questions, poked holes in your arguments, and your only response is to fall back on the hyperskeptic approach as if nothing had ever happened. We could very easily move on, if you answer the question I posed in 188, though I’ll use the phrasing from 198:

    You have demonstrated a strong reluctance to accept or pursue any evidence, a willingness to lie about the evidence you have on hand. In addition, you have argued…

    … that if a woman doesn’t resist sexual assault enough, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … that if the bystanders of a sexual assault do not act in certain ways, leniency must be granted to the perpetrator …
    … and that if the perpetrator is sufficiently drunk, leniency must be granted to them.

    Do you honestly hold to those positions?

    Alternatively, you could answer the challenge I put forward in 62. To quote 145:

    Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

    Or you could answer my dilemma in 349. To quote from 356:

    There are exactly four ways to respond to a dilemma:
    1. Take the first fork, in this case by denying science.
    2. Take the second fork, in this case by accepting it’s possible to say a sexual assault probably occurred due to testimony alone.
    3. Demonstrate the dilemma is false, by showing the false premise or incorrect logic within the dilemma.
    4. Refuse to answer and run away from the argument.

    You’ve chosen the fourth way, I see, the choice of the intellectual coward.

    Finally, there is something you could do that would breathe fresh air into this discussion. See 359:

    It’s clear to me that you’re holding back. You are doing everything you can to disguise your true opinion here, but that’s leading to massive, repeated contradictions and making you look like a fool. It’s incredibly damaging; I’m confident this page has been bookmarked several times, and will be tossed back in your face on other blogs as evidence to ban you on sight. The indirect approach isn’t working here.

    Maybe it’s time to switch to the direct approach. Why not be honest with me about your views on sexual assault?

    Which of these paths will you take? Or will you instead

    make up some new argument that is easier for you to handle.

  370. 370
    Edward Gemmer

    So it;’s OK for you to use an evidenced, anonymous claim to bolster your argument, yet you reject the accounts of named witnesses as insufficient for even consideration…

    Why are you here?

    I’m interested in the subject matter. I haven’t rejected anyone’s claims. If there is one message I’d like to spread, it’s that criticism and doubt are two vastly different things. Trying to poke holes in a story has value, it is pretty much the basis of the legal system.

    You’ve got a clear pattern: the clarity and certainty of a claim is inversely proportional to how closely it describes sexual assault.

    Nope.

    By this point my arguments consist largely of quoting your own comments. Are you saying you don’t actually agree to the hyperskeptic view, and are just deploying it to disguise your own views of assault? Or are you just ignorant of what a strawperson is?</i

    My argument is that the claims are vague and difficult to defend. I've asked you to defend them. You respond by quoting me. This is a poor defense of the claims. Instead, you claim that there is something wrong with me, or that I'm somehow highly suspect of sexual assault claims. This is factually wrong, and not really related to anything other than you trying to find an argument you might win, but it isn't related to what I'm saying. That's why it is a straw man.

    I’ve answered your questions, poked holes in your arguments, and your only response is to fall back on the hyperskeptic approach as if nothing had ever happened. We could very easily move on, if you answer the question I posed in 188, though I’ll use the phrasing from 198:

    Nope. What you have done is fail to defend the claims. That doesn’t mean they are untrue. Whether you or I believe in something doesn’t make it true. The argument is not about what we believe, but what we can show. We can’t show much. That’s why it is annoying to me. I would like for someone to be able to give a reasonable defense to them, but it isn’t there, at least not yet.

    That’s why this whole thing has been a failure. You take the laziest possible approach to gathering information so you can get to the good stuff, which is judging people who disagree with you. Nearly all of your “arguments” about what I believe in, or maybe I have some hidden agenda to not believe claims of sexual assault. This is pointless and not relevant to anything. On the subject of me, you will always have far less information than I have. Also, the subject of me is not relevant.

    One thing that does matter to me is being able to defend the positions I have. If you would like to claim that this is a silly value to have, then have at it. That would at least be relevant to the discussion.

  371. 371
    A Hermit

    . If there is one message I’d like to spread, it’s that criticism and doubt are two vastly different things. Trying to poke holes in a story has value, it is pretty much the basis of the legal system.

    And do you honestly think the rest of us don’t know that you condescending twit?

    Meanwhile you just dodged the real question in my comment, just like you’re still dodging and ducking Hornbeck’s excellent questions…

  372. 372
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @370:

    I haven’t rejected anyone’s claims.

    Wow, your ability to outright lie is astounding. Not seven comments earlier, I gathered eleven quotes where you did exactly that. To spare everyone, I’ll only repeat my favorite:

    Edward Gemmer @311

    However, when it seems that every avenue of questioning gets shut down before getting any substantial facts, that causes me to doubt the claims.

    I’ll also note that rather than point out how I was misquoting you or attempt any defense of yourself in that previous comment, you ran away from the argument.

    If there is one message I’d like to spread, it’s that criticism and doubt are two vastly different things.

    You fail to demonstrate that if you critique every person who doesn’t have your level of doubt. Again, your actions contradict your words. Speaking of which:

    Nope.

    I have provided evidence and arguments that demonstrates you doubt a claim in inverse proportion to its resemblance to sexual assault. If it is so wildly different from what you believe that you can dismiss it with a single word, then it must be a trivial task to show a false premise or logical misstep.

    Will you do so? Or will you yet again run away, as you did from my challenges in comments 145, 253, 294, 339, 356, and 359?

    My argument is that the claims are vague and difficult to defend.

    They only need defense if you view claims of sexual assault as inherently unreliable. They are only vague if they can be potentially falsified. I’ve argued this in comments 188, 198, 253, 294, 320, and 331. Rather than show a false premise or logical misstep, you have repeatedly run away.

    I would like for someone to be able to give a reasonable defense to them, but it isn’t there, at least not yet.

    I gave one in comments 62 and 74, strengthened it in 145, and defended it from you in 150 and 155. The only valid attack you’ve attempted was to deny science at 336, though you could also defeat it by denying the existence of sexual assault (something you might believe, as 340 suggests). Is that the defense you want to stick with, or will you run away from my dilemma in comment 349 yet again?

    You take the laziest possible approach to gathering information so you can get to the good stuff, which is judging people who disagree with you.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given how often you’ve lied in the past, that you’d be force to lie about me. I’ll give you a chance to defend yourself, though: point to a specific comment when I judged someone disagreed with.

    Or, you know, run away from the argument.

    One thing that does matter to me is being able to defend the positions I have. If you would like to claim that this is a silly value to have, then have at it.

    I’ve given you ample opportunities to do that in this very thread, I’ve even been nice and summarized them for you in comment 369. You keep refusing to defend yourself, and chant “vague claims” as if repetition could change truthhood. Even if it did, you would then be forced to deny science.

    Rather than actually defend yourself, however, you keep running away. Why won’t you defend yourself? Is it because no defense is possible?

  373. 373
    hjhornbeck

    Whoopsies, some minor touch-ups:

    You fail to demonstrate that if you continue to critique every person who doesn’t have your level of doubt. Again, your actions contradict your words.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given how often you’ve lied in the past, that you’d be forced to lie about me. I’ll give you a chance to defend yourself, though: point to a specific comment when I judged someone I disagreed with.

  374. 374
    Edward Gemmer

    I’ll also note that rather than point out how I was misquoting you or attempt any defense of yourself in that previous comment, you ran away from the argument.

    To be clearer then:

    Say you came up to me and said you had Special K breakfast cereal and it makes you feel awesome. It cured your athlete’s foot and increased your sperm count, and you will eat Special K for the rest of your life. Good for you. I may or may not believe your claims, but it really doesn’t matter to me whether you eat Special K.

    OTOH, you give me the same claims, then say you’d like me to buy 100 boxes of Special K. You pressure me to buy your cereal, saying it will hurt my family to eat any other cereal. So I ask you a series of questions, like “what’s in it.” “Is there anything supporting your claim?” “Why is Special K different?” If the answers to these questions is along the lines of “I can’t tell you” or “why can’t you just believe me,” then yes, I will probably doubt your claims.

    It’s fine to believe people, especially if they claim to be sexually assaulted. That’s why I’m not contacting anyone making this claim and asking them a bunch of questions. However, there are also people who haven’t been assaulted who have made claims, such as Carrie Poppy, and who seem to really want to get others to do something, like ban Michael Shermer from conferences. However, when we start trying to gather information, it gets shut down rather quickly. That, coupled with the nature of vague claims in the first place, makes this entire ordeal very frustrating. It’s tough to argue without facts. It’s suspicious when people clearly have an ax to grind and then they make allegations of wrongdoing. I’ve read all the same things as you, and it’s fine if you want to believe all the claims. I’m not trying to convince you you should or shouldn’t believe anything. I’m explaining why I don’t “believe” them in the sense that even if I did believe them, I wouldn’t have any idea what it was I was believing.

    In the context with the OP, who is frustrated with the response to these claims, this is important. When you are frustrated that the message isn’t being heard, you can be mad at the people hearing it or you can fine tune the message. I’m a believer in the latter.

    They only need defense if you view claims of sexual assault as inherently unreliable. They are only vague if they can be potentially falsified. I’ve argued this in comments 188, 198, 253, 294, 320, and 331. Rather than show a false premise or logical misstep, you have repeatedly run away.

    Nope. Sexual assault claims aren’t reliable or unreliable or anything. That is not the definition of vague. It is the opposite. Something vague is hard to falsify because it is difficult to figure out what is being claims. It is easier to find the truth of a specific claim – “Special K will increase your sperm count” verses a vague claim “Special K is Great!”

    I gave one in comments 62 and 74, strengthened it in 145, and defended it from you in 150 and 155. The only valid attack you’ve attempted was to deny science at 336, though you could also defeat it by denying the existence of sexual assault (something you might believe, as 340 suggests). Is that the defense you want to stick with, or will you run away from my dilemma in comment 349 yet again?

    Sure, you gave a defense, then I challenged you to tell me what happened and who was involved. This, you failed spectacularly. Which leads to a conclusion which we both share – you and I don’t know what happened.

    Rather than actually defend yourself, however, you keep running away. Why won’t you defend yourself? Is it because no defense is possible?

    I am defending myself. It is my position that to evaluate claims I need to understand them. I do not believe them based on faith. Further, for me to take action based on claims, I need to evaluate them, which in turn means I need to understand them. None of these claims have risen to the level where I can reasonably understand them, much less defend them or take action based on them.

  375. 375
    hjhornbeck

    While composing a reply to Gemmer (it’ll be a while, sorry), I realized his mantra of “vague claims” is a prime example of the conjunction fallacy. The canonical version comes from Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman:

    Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

    Which is more probable?

    1. Linda is a bank teller.
    2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

    Most people go with item number two, when in fact it’s item number one; because probabilities combine in a multiplicative fashion and must range between 0 and 1, any claim that’s the conjunction of other claims has equal or less likelihood than the original claims by themselves.

    That means that given the claims:

    1. I was sexually assaulted by person X.
    2. I was sexually assaulted by person X, while at conference W, and was traumatized by the experience, and bystanders did little to help me, and the person who did it didn’t have impaired judgement due to alchohol consumption, and I hadn’t slept with anyone recently, and I was moderately tipsy but not blind drunk.

    the one most likely to be true is the first. And yet Gemmer has repeatedly asserted the second would be more likely:

    I’m more interested in other details. She says the perpetrator was drunk. How drunk? Incapacitated drunk? A bit tipsy? How did people react, fi they saw it? How did she react? Why did she seemingly not care that much about it until recently? If it was Shermer and this was the subject of a deposition, why? What was the case about? Why can’t I read the deposition? Why has anyone talked about this until now? What is Shermer’s position? What did other people there say, or see?

    Furthermore, based on those questions, I may have others. I’m a believer in following the evidence when investigating a claim.

    Which means that in addition to arguing against me, he’s arguing against basic math and logic. Not a good place to be for a guardian ad litem.

    [prepares to quote 198 again....]

  376. 376
    gwen

    Ashley you do good work. I’m sorry that verbalizing your frustration with the slymepit brings out the slymepitters in full slymy inane voice.

  377. 377
    Edward Gemmer

    Which means that in addition to arguing against me, he’s arguing against basic math and logic. Not a good place to be for a guardian ad litem.

    Ah, no. This is using the conjunction fallacy the way creationists use it, which is the odds of evolution occurring in exactly the way it did is so improbable to be impossible. Of course that is silly. Considering the thing already happened, details exist. Their existence does not make the thing less likely. The key here isn’t the details, it is our lack of knowledge about them.

  378. 378
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @374:

    You pressure me to buy your cereal, saying it will hurt my family to eat any other cereal.

    False analogy, no-one is pressuring you into believing a sexual assault was committed. The opposite is quite true, however:

    Edward Gemmer @156:

    I think that attitude has been a big reason this movement has been a big failure when it comes to sexual abuse and harassment. Whenever you start calling someone an asshole for wanting information about your cause, you do your cause a disservice.

    Edward Gemmer @179:

    When people can’t (or won’t) provide supporting details, it raises suspicion. Detectives make their living investigating cases, which means finding evidence and understanding details.

    Throughout this entire thread, you’ve been pressuring us into being agnostic about sexual assault. Your analogy works much better against you, as a consequence.

    Incidentally, I’d also like to point out that each time I’ve drawn your attention to a contradiction within your own words, such as in comments 175, 253, 294, 320, 339, 363, and 372, you have almost never bothered to refute my claims and instead run away from them. The one exception came in 155, where you waved away the fact that you both claimed to be ignorant of the claims while being able to state them as “guessing” on your part, which outs you as an outright liar.

    Edward Gemmer @156:

    But again, I’m just guessing here. When you have to guess to just get to what is alleged, it’s an uphill battle for credibility.

    Edward Gemmer @147:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...] Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    Edward Gemmer @171:

    There has been a growing number of claims of assault. I do see Carrie Poppy said she doesn’t believe THe Amazing Meeting is safe anymore. If I believe these claims, then clearly the problem is real and growing.

    You just repeated this pattern in comment 374, by tossing out a false analogy to run away from my questions in 372. I don’t accuse you of cowardace and bad faith lightly, but based on overwhelming evidence.

    Something vague is hard to falsify because it is difficult to figure out what is being claims. It is easier to find the truth of a specific claim – “Special K will increase your sperm count” verses a vague claim “Special K is Great!”

    Is this a vague claim?

    A sexual assault has been committed by a person when they themselves commit a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act, due to impairment by any intoxicant or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person alleged to have committed the assault.

    But back to Gemmer:

    Sure, you gave a defense, then I challenged you to tell me what happened and who was involved. This, you failed spectacularly.

    I thought the failure was yours, actually. To pick up the thread of one of your rebuttals:

    Dallas Haugh: Claims Shermer sexually assaulted him.

    No idea what happened here. Fail.

    hjhornbeck @349:

    So Dallas Haugh telling you he was sexually assaulted does not indicate what actually happened, or who was involved?

    Edward Gemmer @350:

    Of course we don’t know what happened. Did Shermer force himself on Haugh at gunpoint? Molest him as a child? Enagge in drunken sex? Never meet? Is the note a work of fiction? I have no idea.

    Which is neatly handled by the arguments I summarize in comment 369 and repeat here:

    hjhornbeck @188:

    if the claim was specific, nothing you add could change the truth of that. You are arguing it is vague, however, and that therefore a sexual assault may or may not have happened. So what bit of information could change it’s truth value? [...]

    You, Edward Gemmer, are arguing that some information from that list, or something similar I didn’t think of, could alter the truth of whether or not a sexual assault occured. What is it? Because if you can’t produce it, then that cannot be a vague claim.

    hjhornbeck @145:

    Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

    hjhornbeck @349:

    The argument doesn’t go in your favor, however, because you reach a dilemma:
    1. You are never justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we can never show aspirin cures headaches, the sky is blue, or come to any knowledge claim at all.
    2. You can be justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we could conclude that person X probably committed sexual assault relying solely on the testimony of others.

    I assumed you were denying science, but I suppose you could also use the same argument concede that we can justify believing a sexual assault occurred without direct observation. Take your pick, I’m fine with either conclusion.

    All of which you’ve repeatedly run away from. That is also the comment where you revealed the weight you grant a claim is inversely proportional to the degree it resembles sexual assault.

    Of passing note, I just noticed you claimed Haugh’s note might be “a work of fiction” in comment 350, indicating you reject it as an honest account of what happnened to Dallas Haugh. This contradicts 370, where you state you “haven’t rejected anyone’s claims.” I’m having a difficult time keeping up with your contradictions, which should scare you.

    Edward Gemmer @377:

    Considering the thing already happened, details exist. Their existence does not make the thing less likely. The key here isn’t the details, it is our lack of knowledge about them.

    You’re back to full-fledged science denial, I see. Thank goodness I handled this already in 145:

    As skeptics, we never deal with the whole truth. You don’t “see” light or “feel” the weight of your limbs, your senses pipe the sensation of sight and feel into your brain. Your senses are also prone to error and misfirings, so every sensation is uncertain. For every moment of your consciousness, you are dealing with uncertain, second-hand information.

    I’ve already demonstrated how to handle that. Are you going to poke holes in my methodology? Or are you being selective in how you apply the skeptical method, when it comes to sexual assault?

    I look forward to your continued cowardace on that argument, which you’ve dodged five times in this thread (see 356).

  379. 379
    Edward Gemmer

    Throughout this entire thread, you’ve been pressuring us into being agnostic about sexual assault.

    No, I’m not pressuring you to be agnostic about anything. You are free to believe anything you’d like. I’m explaining why I am having a hard time believing these claims. It isn’t because they involve sexual assault; it’s because I can’t get one claim and have a good idea of who was involved and what occurred. You have failed to solve this problem. You’re failure to solve this problem isn’t your fault – we have access to very limited information. Further, the lack of information doesn’t mean the claims are true or false – they just mean it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion about whether they are true or false.

    Incidentally, I’d also like to point out that each time I’ve drawn your attention to a contradiction within your own words, such as in comments 175, 253, 294, 320, 339, 363, and 372, you have almost never bothered to refute my claims and instead run away from them. The one exception came in 155, where you waved away the fact that you both claimed to be ignorant of the claims while being able to state them as “guessing” on your part, which outs you as an outright liar.

    That’s because it doesn’t matter. I’m telling you my position. You keep trying to find some reason to claim I have some other position. Your opinion about my position is silly. I’m telling you, so you don’t need to try and guess.

    Of passing note, I just noticed you claimed Haugh’s note might be “a work of fiction” in comment 350, indicating you reject it as an honest account of what happnened to Dallas Haugh. This contradicts 370, where you state you “haven’t rejected anyone’s claims.” I’m having a difficult time keeping up with your contradictions, which should scare you.

    I did not claim this. I said this was a possibility. Of course it is a possibility, unless you have access to some extra set of information that says it is not. Please provide if you do. But really, come on, you keep taking some part of what I say and then turn it into something else. Please read what I say, not try and filter it with what you would like me to say.

    I look forward to your continued cowardace on that argument, which you’ve dodged five times in this thread (see 356).

    What else is there to say? I have no idea what the details surrounding these claims are, so I have a hard time assigning probability values to them. Is that controversial? Cowardly? Your arguments seem to border on the ludicrous, as if if someone claims a sexual assault, we must believe them, no matter what. It doesn’t even matter if the claim is by the victim – if there is a claim anywhere, by anyone, it must be believed. Why do you feel this way?

  380. 380
    hjhornbeck

    Whoops, missed another spot:

    Edward Gemmer @374:

    However, there are also people who haven’t been assaulted who have made claims, such as Carrie Poppy, and who seem to really want to get others to do something, like ban Michael Shermer from conferences.

    This isn’t the first time you’ve made a similar claim:

    Edward Gemmer @256:

    No, there is clearly a call for Shermer to be banned from conferences.

    I called you out on this:

    hjhornbeck @294:

    I haven’t seen any of the big names call for a ban, though I’d welcome contrary evidence. Let’s say they did, though… so what? If we have sufficient evidence to suggest someone may be a serial offender and is notorious for making women uncomfortable, aren’t we justified in calling for a ban?

    And you chose to run away from that. Are you going to run away again? If you decide not to this time, please make sure the evidence you provide isn’t vague.

  381. 381
    Edward Gemmer

    And you chose to run away from that. Are you going to run away again? If you decide not to this time, please make sure the evidence you provide isn’t vague.

    Carrie Poppy said she wouldn’t feel safe at The Amazing Meeting because Shermer was there. So sure, not a call for a ban, but saying you wouldn’t feel safe at any conference where someone else is present is about the same thing.

  382. 382
    David Utidjian

    Edward Gemmer:

    Regardless of what facts, reasons, feelings etc… that we may or may not have, and we are told that some people have made one or more sworn statements, then isn’t it obvious that someone thinks this is actionable?

    Whether he is accused of some malfeasance by back channel gossip or publicized legal actions Shermer has to be careful how he behaves at conferences and other venues either way. Certainly others will be watching his behavior more closely now.

    IANAL- so my use of the terms ‘actionable’ and ‘legal actions’ may be incorrect.

    (bah! Mangled my name. freethoughtblogs comments, how do they work? )

  383. 383
    Edward Gemmer

    Whether he is accused of some malfeasance by back channel gossip or publicized legal actions Shermer has to be careful how he behaves at conferences and other venues either way. Certainly others will be watching his behavior more closely now.

    No doubt. However, you could say this about any accusation – it may be true or false, but if he is accused of it at least he will watch his behavior more closely. There is such a thing as fairness and due process, and I am not at all comfortable with the lack of responsibility associated with the “burn ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” mentality.

  384. 384
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @379:

    No, I’m not pressuring you to be agnostic about anything. You are free to believe anything you’d like.

    That’s a blatant lie, which I covered in comment 378 no less, and is contradicted by yourself later on in the same paragraph:

    You’re failure to solve this problem isn’t your fault – we have access to very limited information. Further, the lack of information doesn’t mean the claims are true or false – they just mean it is impossible to have a meaningful discussion about whether they are true or false.

    The one exception came in 155, where you waved away the fact that you both claimed to be ignorant of the claims while being able to state them as “guessing” on your part, which outs you as an outright liar.

    That’s because it doesn’t matter.

    So you’re justified in lying if you think the outcome doesn’t matter? What if the outcome matters to other people, or are they subservient to your desires?

    But really, come on, you keep taking some part of what I say and then turn it into something else.

    If my interpretation of you is so wildly divergent, then it should be easy to demonstrate a misinterpretation on my part. Yet when I gave you similar challenges in comments 145, 253, 294, 339, 356, 359, and 372, you refused to answer them or tossed out false analogies. Will you continue to run away from your own words?

    I have no idea what the details surrounding these claims are, so I have a hard time assigning probability values to them.

    I have the same knowledge as you (see 339 and 340), yet I had no problems assigning probabilies (62). Why is this such a difficult task for you? Are you admitting intellectual inferiority, an inability to read the very thread you’re commenting in? Or are you really a sexual assault denier, as I pointed out in 362, in which case you cannot tally the numbers up and determine a prior probability?

    Your arguments seem to border on the ludicrous, as if if someone claims a sexual assault, we must believe them, no matter what.

    More lies. From my comment at 62:

    Therefore, we conclude they are more likely to have been sexually assaulted than not, based only on their claim and the background information we have.

    I find it fascinating that you think “more likely than not” equals certainty. Again and again, we find you have a remarkably large blind spot when it comes to sexual assault, erring on the side of denial. For instance, your reply completely ignored this question I posed in 378:

    Is this a vague claim?

    A sexual assault has been committed by a person when they themselves commit a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act, due to impairment by any intoxicant or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person alleged to have committed the assault.

    And yet you’ve had no problems saying “vague” or “not vague” before (340). Why suddenly so tight-lipped? And then there’s this:

    Edward Gemmer @381:

    Carrie Poppy said she wouldn’t feel safe at The Amazing Meeting because Shermer was there. So sure, not a call for a ban, but saying you wouldn’t feel safe at any conference where someone else is present is about the same thing.

    Which is false; Carrie Poppy didn’t think TAM was unsafe because Shermer was there, she thought it was unsafe because the person in charge, DJ Groethe, demonstrated a willingness to cover up for people who committed sexual assault. Yet for some reason, you fixated on the person committing the assault, to the point that it biased your interpretation.

    You have a fixation on sexual assault, and an incredibly strong urge to deny it exists. That is obvious from this thread, and elsewhere on the internet. I’m glad we’re carrying on this conversation, Gemmer, because the more you comment the more you reveal about the inner workings of your mind. I’m finding it fascinating.

  385. 385
    Edward Gemmer

    Which is false; Carrie Poppy didn’t think TAM was unsafe because Shermer was there, she thought it was unsafe because the person in charge, DJ Groethe, demonstrated a willingness to cover up for people who committed sexual assault. Yet for some reason, you fixated on the person committing the assault, to the point that it biased your interpretation.

    No. You are right, she was saying she felt unsafe not because just Shermer was there, but that he had once been there after this assault occurred. Clearly, if you feel unsafe that Shermer was there at all, to the point that you would feel unsafe whether he was there or not, makes it clear to me that you think he is unsafe. Further, if you think a conference is unsafe if he is there, it seems to be you are saying he should be banned from conferences, or at least banned from conferences you want to attend.

    You have a fixation on sexual assault, and an incredibly strong urge to deny it exists.

    Nope. Really, you are so far away from reality here there is no going back. This is why it is healthy, and logical, to avoid trying to attack people or try to make judgments of their character simply based on a particular argument. It avoids ignorance.

    If my interpretation of you is so wildly divergent, then it should be easy to demonstrate a misinterpretation on my part. Yet when I gave you similar challenges in comments 145, 253, 294, 339, 356, 359, and 372, you refused to answer them or tossed out false analogies. Will you continue to run away from your own words?

    I have a hard time following your questions because they always refer to many different passages, which are usually very different. If you have a particular question, ask the particular question. But they “you’re a liar because of what you said in 156 and what I said in 323″ makes it difficult to follow. Clearly, I disagree that I am lying or am a liar.

    I have the same knowledge as you (see 339 and 340), yet I had no problems assigning probabilies (62). Why is this such a difficult task for you? Are you admitting intellectual inferiority, an inability to read the very thread you’re commenting in? Or are you really a sexual assault denier, as I pointed out in 362, in which case you cannot tally the numbers up and determine a prior probability?

    This is an easy question to answer. Yes, you can easily assign probabilities to these things. The fact that you can assign probabilities to them does not make the probabilities correct. In fact, they are very likely incorrect. Celebrating being wrong is not something I’m keen on doing. The facts and details are what I need to assign probabilities that are somewhere near reality. Further, they are what I need to understand the situation at hand.

  386. 386
    debbaasseerr

    Edward Gemmer said @385

    I have a hard time following your questions because they always refer to many different passages, which are usually very different.

    If only we had some sort of linear, text-based record of who said what – then maybe we could get somewhere!

  387. 387
    debbaasseerr

    Isn’t “Nope.” great? I think so. It is true that hjhornbeck was the *first* one to use it in comment #68 (how astonishingly relevant it is, after all these posts) in this particular thread, but Edward Gemmer will not be out-noped. Nope-way, nope-how. Why, he’s the only person to use it eleven times this thread. But he’s got his reasons:

    Edward Gemmer @256

    Nope is my go to when someone goes so far off the rails of what I was saying that instead of arguing the point, I just refer you back to my original statement.

    So stop quoting him already! Refer back to the original statements for once!

  388. 388
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @385:

    Yes, you can easily assign probabilities to these things. The fact that you can assign probabilities to them does not make the probabilities correct.

    Prodigion tried a similar approach back at 89:

    Again, the probability is not 67%. It’s either 0 or 1. Whether or not they are telling the truth is objective.

    That asserts you cannot use past behavior to predict future behavior, and is thus a denial of science. Both of you are demanding absolute certainty from an uncertain world, which at best means you are being hyperskeptical about sexual assault.

    Alternatively, you could be complaining about my choices of numbers. But that would mean you have no problem with my method, and you take the second fork of my dilemma at 349:

    1. You are never justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we can never show aspirin cures headaches, the sky is blue, or come to any knowledge claim at all.
    2. You can be justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we could conclude that person X probably committed sexual assault relying solely on the testimony of others.

    Or… dang, I’m repeating myself again (356).

    Really, you are so far away from reality here there is no going back. This is why it is healthy, and logical, to avoid trying to attack people or try to make judgments of their character simply based on a particular argument.

    Normally, I’m right with you on that point, but in your case the evidence is so glaring that I feel dishonest to not say it. One of the most glaring examples is the first paragraph, where you begin by mentally rewriting what I said at 384 so it partially agrees with you:

    You are right, she was saying she felt unsafe not because just Shermer was there, but that he had once been there after this assault occurred.

    Then you shift to how I feel at TAM, bizarrely, even though we’ve been focused on Poppy and I’ve never brought up my opinion on the subject:

    Clearly, if you feel unsafe that Shermer was there at all, to the point that you would feel unsafe whether he was there or not, makes it clear to me that you think he is unsafe.

    Then, based on the above invention, you switch from arguing whether Poppy wants Shermer banned from conferences to whether I want Shermer banned, employing the same faulty logic I called out in 294:

    Further, if you think a conference is unsafe if he is there, it seems to be you are saying he should be banned from conferences, or at least banned from conferences you want to attend.

    Your blind spot is inventing facts out of thin air, forget who we’re arguing about, and making you think a faulty argument can be rescued by repeating it. And then we have:

    I have a hard time following your questions because they always refer to many different passages, which are usually very different.

    Which is half true; the challenges you quote are tough to follow, due to sheer number and variety of contradictions you’re throwing out. But there’s nothing to “follow” there, it’s just a list of related but independent items. However:

    If you have a particular question, ask the particular question.

    Each of those comments repeats the same argument, so attacking one attacks them all. I’ve been very open about that, requoting the core argument to save some digging, and even creating an index post so you can find almost all of it in one place (369). The only addition is the following, which you’ve ignored twice before (378 and 384):

    Is this a vague claim?

    A sexual assault has been committed by a person when they themselves commit a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act, due to impairment by any intoxicant or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person alleged to have committed the assault.

    There is nothing confusing about how I’ve made my arguments. Maybe you’re experiencing dissonance reduction, instead? You can tell there are contradictory statements out there, but you falsely attribute them to me. The alternative is that you’re making them, but you’re a lawyer! You’ve been trained in logic and argument, so it’s far more likely the gullible social justice keyboard warrior is goofing up.

    I suggest the following:

    1. Don’t reply back right away. You’ve been very quick with your replies, and as long as that’s happening you’ll continue in the same mental rut.
    2. Copy-paste this thread into a word processor.
    3. Carefully replace everyone’s name with random junk, like “tgbmkdhxe” or similar.
    4. Forget about the document and this thread for a week, or at least a few days.
    5. Before coming back here, read over that document as a stranger. Pretend as hard as you can that you don’t recognize any comments, and take your time going over each (or, as this thread’s pretty long, start around the 300 mark and refer back as necessary). Don’t be critical or judgemental, just be a dispassionate third party with no dog in the fight.
    6. When you’ve formed an opinion about “cjjtbuuon” and the like, open up this thread and connect the dots.

    No need to share your results here, this is just for your own sake. Can you do that?

  389. 389
    Edward Gemmer

    That asserts you cannot use past behavior to predict future behavior, and is thus a denial of science. Both of you are demanding absolute certainty from an uncertain world, which at best means you are being hyperskeptical about sexual assault.

    I’m not sure what this means. I certainly haven’t said anything that denies science. Nor am I being “hyperskeptical.” Again, asking questions, finding answers, challenging evidence – these are normal parts of any inquiry designed to find the truth and it would be shameful and unacceptable to attack these methods. I would agree, there are people who know Shermer or hate Pamela Gay or anyone else. I’m not one of them. I don’t know much about any of these people other than the few things I find on the internet. “What happened” is not a hyperskeptical inquiry.

    Then, based on the above invention, you switch from arguing whether Poppy wants Shermer banned from conferences to whether I want Shermer banned, employing the same faulty logic I called out in 294:

    I wasn’t intending to mean “you” as “you, hjhornbeck.” It was more of a hypothetical person. Feel free to substitute “someone.”

    Which is half true; the challenges you quote are tough to follow, due to sheer number and variety of contradictions you’re throwing out. But there’s nothing to “follow” there, it’s just a list of related but independent items

    I’m not going to argue over what my position actually is, since I’ve stated it pretty clearly several times.

    No need to share your results here, this is just for your own sake. Can you do that?

    I don’t know what this means. In any event, I’m quite confident in my reading and writing skills, and I have a lot of experience evaluating cases, probably much more than you. This thread has resulted in more gobbledygook, but little actually new information that would be helpful to anyone. Which brings me back to my point in the first place – I am frustrated that this serious matter is infested with gobbledygook in the place of facts.

  390. 390
    Anthony K

    Further, if you think a conference is unsafe if he is there, it seems to be you are saying he should be banned from conferences, or at least banned from conferences you want to attend.

    Jesus Gemmer, but you’re a slimy, weaselly, dishonest liar.

    hjhornbeck, props to you for dealing with this sleaze.

  391. 391
    Edward Gemmer

    Jesus Gemmer, but you’re a slimy, weaselly, dishonest liar.

    hjhornbeck, props to you for dealing with this sleaze.

    Case in point.

    What happened?

    “I DON’T KNOW BUT YOUR AN ASSHOLE!!!!!!!”

    Hence, failure at your cause. Then you wonder why the end result of all this is that Michael Shermer got eight grand. Do better, people.

  392. 392
    Anthony K

    “I DON’T KNOW BUT YOUR AN ASSHOLE!!!!!!!”

    Is that what I wrote, liar?

    NOPE

    I was very specific. Thought you liked specifics, liar.

  393. 393
    Edward Gemmer

    Is that what I wrote, liar?

    NOPE

    I was very specific. Thought you liked specifics, liar.

    I like mindless insults even better. Please continue.

  394. 394
    Anthony K

    There’s nothing mindless about quoting you lying and then calling you a liar, no matter how much you enjoy lying about people.

  395. 395
    johngreg

    Hey, Anthony, how’s your furry pussy doin’? Any groovy new mirror shots to make the audience swoon?

    Gosh, you’re such a real man’s man.

    /squeee

  396. 396
    Anthony K

    Hey, Anthony, how’s your furry pussy doin’? Any groovy new mirror shots to make the audience swoon?

    johngreg is referring to a picture I took of myself naked in the mirror when my cat happened to be furrtuitously and strategically standing on the bathroom counter. I put it on facebook. They know this because they stalk me, having nothing better with which to occupy their time. They like to refer to the cat as a pussy because they think they’re original and clever in noting the juxtaposition pretty much entails the pun.

    They think that referring to this photo, that I took and posted myself, embarrasses me.

    johngreg is just repeating what he’s seen Reap Paden write before, almost verbatim (I say almost verbatim because johngreg has heard of punctuation and sentence structure.)

    I, of course, have no idea what johngreg looks like, because who would bother to look him up based on what he writes here and elsewhere?

    This is the best of the brain trust that is the slymepit can come up with, when they’re not copying dictionaries. Just plain ol’ repeats of what other slymepitters say. Not because they’re a hivemind, mind you, but because they’re all just that uncreative, unthoughtful, and unoriginal. That’s why there’s no point in differentiating between them. You could give them numbers, I guess, but even that isn’t worth the effort when they just repeat each other.

    Gosh, you’re such a real man’s man.

    Is that a thing that worries you? Being a manly man in the eyes of other men? Because that’s not really an issue for anyone but your little cadre of losers and MRA misfit buddies. It really isn’t, boys. Seriously.

    Junior high eventually ends. It gets better.

    But enough about you: you clearly want to talk about me. What other aspects of me would you like to discuss to fill the void in your loathsome, empty, little life, manchild?

  397. 397
    johngreg

    Gawd, I love this kind of shit:

    Hi. I’m Anthony K Brownian-in-the-basement. I put a picture of myself and my kittykat on my totally public FaceBook page and those damned evil nasty Pit people saw it and copy-pasted it somewhere. Damn stalkers; harassers; libertarians!

    You just cannot beat that kind of lunacy.

    Is that a thing that worries you? Being a manly man in the eyes of other men?

    HAHAHA. Of course not, you merry Xmas toad. I’m just pulling your chain ’cause you make it so damned easy.

    And quit replying to my comments, you damn stalker; harasser; republicanist!

  398. 398
    Anthony K

    Gawd, I love this kind of shit:

    Well, you are a toilet, john. Dictionary says so.

    I’m just pulling your chain ’cause you make it so damned easy.

    I’ll never make the mistake of thinking you’re someone with something worthwhile to say again. I promise.

  399. 399
    Anthony K

    Give a big wet kiss to your tribe for me.

  400. 400
    johngreg

    I’ll never make the mistake of thinking you’re someone with something worthwhile to say again. I promise.

    Well, HunnyBunny, it comes as a massive surprise to me that you ever did … even slightly.

    Hey gang! Listen up: Liquorish smoochies all around from the Big K!

    OMG! No excited consensual enthusiasm in sight!! Face rape!!!

    Wheeee!

  401. 401
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @389:

    I certainly haven’t said anything that denies science.  Nor am I being “hyperskeptical.”

    I’ve pointed out how you have done both in comments 339, 349, and 356. Are you going to answer to one of those, or continue to run away from the argument?

    “What happened” is not a hyperskeptical inquiry.

    By itself, no. But more information is not always better; any level of information is sufficient to rank one hypothesis as more plausible than another, and if you have sufficient evidence to conclude something is probable, it truly is hyperskeptical to demand further evidence.

    It was more of a hypothetical person.  Feel free to substitute “someone.”

    I have no substitute. So only hypothetical people are in favor of banning Shermer? If there’s no shortage of people calling for a ban, why did you jump so quickly to hypotheticals instead of transitioning to someone else calling for a ban?

    I don’t know what this means.  In any event, I’m quite confident in my reading and writing skills, and I have a lot of experience evaluating cases, probably much more than you.

    Looks like I nailed it. James Randi has said that the easiest people to fool are those with PhD’s; they consider themselves experts beyond error, which means they tend to think of themselves as less fallible than the rest of us. So anyone who doesn’t have a PhD is automatically dismissed, regardless of how well-reasoned their arguments are.

    You are a lawyer, you have been trained in dispassionately evaluating the evidence, and therefore you think you are far less likely to be wrong than the rest of us. It doesn’t help that hyperskepticism is tough to argue against; when combined with your ability to argue, it results in a lot of people giving up instead of taking their time to wade through all the contradictions you blindly spit out. This looks like a “win” on your part, hence you feel even more justified in pursuing the same argument.

    You have yet to face an opponent who has the patience to do the wading, the knowledge to defuse the hyperskeptical attack, and the experience to handle dissonance reduction and a mind that’s “doxatically closed,” as Peter Boghassian puts it.

    Am I that person? Let’s find out. >:D

    This thread has resulted in more gobbledygook, but little actually new information that would be helpful to anyone.  Which brings me back to my point in the first place – I am frustrated that this serious matter is infested with gobbledygook in the place of facts.

    You’ve been given plenty of facts and argument, you simply ignore it to preserve your worldview. Here’s an example of what you call “gobbledygook:”

    Is this a vague claim?

    A sexual assault has been committed by a person when they themselves commit a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act, due to impairment by any intoxicant or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person alleged to have committed the assault.

    I’ve presented this simple question to you three times prior (374, 384, and 388). Are you going to run away for the fourth time, or live up to your lawyer training and give it an honest look?

  402. 402
    hjhornbeck

    What the hell, johngreg? Might I remind you of what you said in 343?

    Haven’t we derailed this enough for this week?

    We were having a nice conversation back there, remember, one that you too seemed to enjoy but was worried it was getting offtopic. Now you swoop in for no other reason than to harass Anthony K?

    I thought the members of the Slyme Pit considered themselves the voice of sober second thought, next to the social justice side of the atheist/skeptic community. Jumping back in for “liquorish smoochies” argues against that, and makes you look like a disingenuous asshole who exists just to terrorize.

    C’mon. You can do better than that. You HAVE done better than that, as this thread attests.

  403. 403
    johngreg

    hjhornbeck said:

    What the hell, johngreg? Might I remind you of what you said in 343?

    Indeed, hornbeck, you are quite right. I confess. Mea culpa. My inner monster got the better of me.

    We were having a nice conversation back there….

    Yes, I suppose so, but I don’t think this appllies to “nice” much (and it was the, erm, trigger):

    Jesus Gemmer, but you’re a slimy, weaselly, dishonest liar.

    In terms of “nice” meaningful reply, that’s kind of on par with Nerd’s infamous “Floosh”.

    And c’mon, really, harass? Well, maybe, in some worlds, but terrorize?! Even you cannot support that seriously, can you? Terrorize?

    Anyway, yes, I will refrain from any such further snappies. Promise.

  404. 404
    debbaasseerr

    Anthony K @396

    They think that referring to this photo, that I took and posted myself, embarrasses me.

    It reminds a little bit of the “John Scalzi in a dress” incident.

  405. 405
    Edward Gemmer

    There’s nothing mindless about quoting you lying and then calling you a liar, no matter how much you enjoy lying about people.

    I suppose it would be too much to ask for details like “what are you talking about.”

    I’ve pointed out how you have done both in comments 339, 349, and 356. Are you going to answer to one of those, or continue to run away from the argument?

    I did answer them. There was the whole “can you tell me what happened and who was involved” test.

    By itself, no. But more information is not always better; any level of information is sufficient to rank one hypothesis as more plausible than another, and if you have sufficient evidence to conclude something is probable, it truly is hyperskeptical to demand further evidence.

    Really? That’s silly. The probability says men are more than likely not a rapist. Michael Shermer is a man. Therefore, he is probably not a rapist. It is now hyperskeptical for you to ask for more evidence. Most men aren’t in prison. O.J. Simpson is a man. Therefore, he probably isn’t in prison and it would be hyperskeptical to ask for more evidence.

    I have no substitute. So only hypothetical people are in favor of banning Shermer? If there’s no shortage of people calling for a ban, why did you jump so quickly to hypotheticals instead of transitioning to someone else calling for a ban?

    It’s not a hypothetical, it’s a train of thought. We can use Carrie Poppy, though it seems lots of people support her. If she feels TAM is unsafe because Shermer was invited there after this incident, then doesn’t it logically follow that she would feels unsafe around him? Why else would she feel unsafe?

    Looks like I nailed it. James Randi has said that the easiest people to fool are those with PhD’s; they consider themselves experts beyond error, which means they tend to think of themselves as less fallible than the rest of us. So anyone who doesn’t have a PhD is automatically dismissed, regardless of how well-reasoned their arguments are.

    Well, this can certainly be true. However, there is also a saying “know what you know and know what you don’t know.” Compare this with the Jameis Winston case. They announced today no charges would be brought against Winston. I’m having trouble finding the primary documents on the internet, but I believe they are there, and have read quotes from the search warrant and people reading some witness statements. There is all sorts of additional information. And….I still don’t know exactly what happened. I certainly can see that charges would have been difficult to prove, but that doesn’t mean Winston is an innocent man. However, at least I can look at evidence and see what is going on. Even that gives some clarity – in the end, it’s just a difficult situation to figure out.

    OTOH, in this matter with Shermer, I can’t arrive at that conclusion. There may be loads of evidence against him that would put the matter to rest. It may be the opposite. It may be in the middle. It is impossible to tell, because I have no idea what the evidence is. All the internet ink and outrage isn’t changing that. Facts change that. And there aren’t many.

    I’ve presented this simple question to you three times prior (374, 384, and 388). Are you going to run away for the fourth time, or live up to your lawyer training and give it an honest look?

    Sexual assault is a category – a subject. Saying someone was sexually assaulted does not tell you what happened, it just describes the nature of what happened. Like “travel” has a meaning, but doesn’t necessarily tell you a lot except that someone went somewhere. How much information does “I traveled” convey to you?

  406. 406
    hjhornbeck

    johngreg @403:

    Yes, I suppose so, but I don’t think this appllies to “nice” much (and it was the, erm, trigger):

    And you have to respond back to every mean thing said about you? I thought you had thicker skin than that.

    And c’mon, really, harass? Well, maybe, in some worlds, but terrorize?! Even you cannot support that seriously, can you? Terrorize?

    I can, but… meh, I’m not in the mood for a fight over word definitions. How about this: by “terrorize,” I did not mean to imply any physical violence. Close enough?

    Anyway, yes, I will refrain from any such further snappies. Promise.

    Don’t do it for my sake, do it for yours. Do you really want to be known as the person that leaps in to antagonize people they don’t like? Are you going to look back on this in ten years and go “ha ha, totally got Anthony K there?”

    Please.

    Yelling at someone can feel nice, but wouldn’t it be cooler to change minds? Here’s a suggestion: buy Peter Boghossian’s book, and use the techniques contained within on us. If we really are the close-minded, dogmatic zealots that you think we are, what you learn from there should be capable of removing the scales from our eyes, bringing us closer to the truth.

    You wouldn’t just expose the hypocrisy of the social justice side, you’d expose our hypocrisy to us and make us grateful to you. That’s far more potent than snickering over a photo, isn’t it?

  407. 407
    hjhornbeck

    Whoops, forgot about this:

    Anthony K @390:

    hjhornbeck, props to you for dealing with this sleaze.

    Thanks! I’m shocked we haven’t crossed paths, in Canadian terms we’re practically next door. I’m hoping it’ll happen someday.

  408. 408
    johngreg

    hornbeck, you’re slipping into some weird place now.

    And you have to respond back to every mean thing said about you?

    Nonsense. Responding with what might be called hostile humour to one comment is most certainly not responding back to every mean thing said about me. And anyway, my comment directed at Tony K was not because he said something mean to me — he didn’t. It was simply a snipe at his silly cat pic of yore that I threw his way just for the juvenile fun of it. C’mon horn; keep on track.

    How about this: by “terrorize,” I did not mean to imply any physical violence. Close enough?

    Nah. Terrorize is simply way, way out of place and a ridiculously over-the-top exageration. Try as you might, there is no way on earth you can make a legitimate case for it in light of my comment to which you are addressing it to.

    hornbeck, whence came this new high horse of holierthanthou gentle dudgeon you are now riding? I am not doing anything for your sake; I didn’t yell at Anthony; I made fun of him; I laughed at the lightweight foolishness of both my making fun of him, and at the foolishness that is Anthony K; I don’t much care one way or the other how the majority of fruitcakes, or should that be cupcakes, at FTB see me; I doubt I’ll ever look back at almost any of the blather I blathered to the associated blatherers of FTB.

    Sheesh. Get a grip.

  409. 409
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @405:

    I did answer them. There was the whole “can you tell me what happened and who was involved” test.

    Hmm, so your answer to

    hjhornbeck @349:

    You are attempting to invoke the Problem of Induction, or more specifically Hume’s objections to causality. We never observe anything like “A causes B,” but plently along the lines of “A happened after B.” To infer the former from the latter is to overreach what deduction can deliver. The argument doesn’t go in your favor, however, because you reach a dilemma:

    1. You are never justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we can never show aspirin cures headaches, the sky is blue, or come to any knowledge claim at all.
    2. You can be justified in concluding A causes B, in which case we could conclude that person X probably committed sexual assault relying solely on the testimony of others.

    is

    Edward Gemmer @340:

    actually trying to figure out just one of the claims is frustrating because of the complete lack of detail. You clearly believe the claims, yet can’t tell me what happened and who was involved in any of them with the possible exception that Shermer tried to seduce someone’s wife.

    I don’t see how that solves it. Are you taking the first fork, then, and denying science and the ability to come to knowledge? Your own comment at 147 demonstrates you know what’s claimed, in specific detail:

    I know the point wasn’t about Michael Shermer, but take his case. Maybe he raped someone. [...]
    Ah, but he did grab (or try to grab) someone’s boob once. She thought he was just drunk at first, but now she knows it is part of some master rape plan. I guess. People saw it, and even testified under oath.

    Which means that you fail your own test. How do you explain this contradiction?

    Edward Gemmer @405:

    Really? That’s silly. The probability says men are more than likely not a rapist. Michael Shermer is a man. Therefore, he is probably not a rapist.

    The situation isn’t whether or not person X committed sexual assault, it’s whether or not person X committed sexual assault according to “seven named individuals and three pseudononymous ones, of widely different backgrounds and with strong disagreements on other things, claiming at least three separate instances of sexual assault,” given that these “claims have not been retracted, even though Shermer has demonstrated a willingness to sue for libel, and even though the claimants may face threats or ostracization from the skeptic community.” (339). You’ve demonstrated you know this (147, 171), so why all of a sudden have you forgotten? How do you explain this contradiction?

    It’s not a hypothetical, it’s a train of thought.

    And is that train of thought hypothetical? Sure looks like it, given how quickly you ran from yet another argument.

    If she feels TAM is unsafe because Shermer was invited there after this incident

    She doesn’t, and I’ve explained this repeatedly to you (384 and 388). You’ve even hinted that you don’t believe this:

    hjhornbeck @150:

    Truth is an absolute defense against libel. If what Carrie Poppy said was false, all Groethe would have to do is say “produce the court records” and he’d have a slam-dunk of a case. So why isn’t he so much as threatening taking her to court?

    Edward Gemmer @152:

    But this is where things go awry. I have no idea what DJ Grothe would or wouldn’t do. I do know that if records exist, no one is trying to show them.

    If you thought Poppy felt unsafe due to Shermer, why did you carry on talking about Groethe, instead of correcting me?

    Compare this with the Jameis Winston case. ….I still don’t know exactly what happened. I certainly can see that charges would have been difficult to prove, but that doesn’t mean Winston is an innocent man. However, at least I can look at evidence and see what is going on.

    Do I really have to explain different levels of evidence to a lawyer? You know nothing about civil and criminal court, and why the burdens of proof are different? Your blind spot to sexual assault is so powerful, it’s effecting your competence as a lawyer. That’s scary.

    Sexual assault is a category – a subject. Saying someone was sexually assaulted does not tell you what happened, it just describes the nature of what happened. Like “travel” has a meaning, but doesn’t necessarily tell you a lot except that someone went somewhere. How much information does “I traveled” convey to you?

    That you moved from one place to another at some point in the past. Isn’t that relevant information, if I’m trying to decide whether or not you traveled? Tell me the flaw here:

    Suppose one day a friend of yours comes up to you and claims “I was hit by lightning traveled.” Can we say they were hit by lightning traveled?

    There are two possibilities: they were hit by lightening traveling and telling the truth, or they were not and are lying. We’ll say the odds of being hit by lightening traveling is roughly 1 in a million; the odds your friend would tell you they were hit by lightening traveling, if they were hit by lightening traveling, is 99%; and the odds of them telling you they were hit by lightening traveling, if they were not, as one in two million. These numbers are not an exact match for reality, but are in roughly the same ballpark. So we can calculate:

    P(truthfully hit by lightening traveling) = (.99 * 1/1000000) / ((.99 * 1/1000000) + (1/2000000 * 999999/1000000)) ~= 66%

    Therefore, we conclude they are more likely to have been struck by lightening traveled than not, based only on their claim and the background information we have.

    Because according to you, my methodology is wrong.

    But that’s all a moot point. After all, I didn’t ask you four times (374, 384, 388, and 401) what sexual assault is, or how it is categorized, I asked you

    Is this a vague claim?

    A sexual assault has been committed by a person when they themselves commit a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act, due to impairment by any intoxicant or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person alleged to have committed the assault.

    Are you going to respond, or continue to run away?

  410. 410
    Edward Gemmer

    Which means that you fail your own test. How do you explain this contradiction?

    Yeah, your logic here is a mess. It’s difficult to respond, because your position makes no sense at all. I’m not asking induction, or probability, or anything like that. I’m asking what happened and who was involved, two key factors to just begin an investigation. You are grasping at things to try and claim that things like facts and details don’t matter, yet you don’t present any kind of convincing case for it and are stuck with voodoo like “I will just attach random numbers” and that’s good enough. It may be good enough for you. It isn’t good enough for me, and it isn’t convincing.

    The situation isn’t whether or not person X committed sexual assault, it’s whether or not person X committed sexual assault according to “seven named individuals and three pseudononymous ones, of widely different backgrounds and with strong disagreements on other things, claiming at least three separate instances of sexual assault,” given that these “claims have not been retracted, even though Shermer has demonstrated a willingness to sue for libel, and even though the claimants may face threats or ostracization from the skeptic community.” (339). You’ve demonstrated you know this (147, 171), so why all of a sudden have you forgotten? How do you explain this contradiction?

    Libel is an uphill climb, and difficult to do if you don’t know who is making the accusations or they are vague enough that you can’t nail them down. Again, you have failed to do so, and so has everyone else involved.

    She doesn’t, and I’ve explained this repeatedly to you (384 and 388). You’ve even hinted that you don’t believe this:

    YEs, and you are factually wrong. She said she would feel unsafe at TAM. She said this was because Shermer was invited back after a claim of sexual assault against him. What am I missing? Why do you refuse to concede even simple facts that aren’t at all in dispute?

    Do I really have to explain different levels of evidence to a lawyer? You know nothing about civil and criminal court, and why the burdens of proof are different? Your blind spot to sexual assault is so powerful, it’s effecting your competence as a lawyer. That’s scary.

    Again, your logic here is just terrible. There are different standards of proof. Hence, I understand why they wouldn’t charge him, but charging him or not does not change the facts of what happened. However, in this case we at least have facts on what happened and can understand why he wasn’t charged. Your position seems to be the prosecuting attorney doesn’t need to know what happened to make such decisions, which to me, is crazy.

    Are you going to respond, or continue to run away?

    Yes, of course it is a vague claim. I’ve said this several times and I don’t understand why you keep asking me. Vague = lacking detail. The definition of sexual assault, since it applies to all sexual assaults, is obviously vague on its face. Imagine if you are charged with sexual assault, and the details of what you did were as quoted above. How could you defend yourself? What could you say happened? Very little, which is why you are struggling so much to just say what occurred on any particular occasion.

  411. 411
    SallyStrange

    Hey, assholes. How’s it going. Aren’t you proud of how you managed to hijack yet another discussion and transform a conversation that was going to be about people trying to be mutually supportive to each other in the fact of bigotry and harassment and instead once again rehash your aggrieved feelings that allegations of sexual harassment of someone you like are being taken seriously.

    Well fucking done.

  412. 412
    SallyStrange

    … Should read “by someone you like” – Shermer being the one the assholes like. His victims, eh, fuck them.

    Ugh.

  413. 413
    johngreg

    Shun the blasphemers! Shun them into the ground!

    Way to go Sally. You continue to excel at not only misunderstanding, misrepresenting, and dismissing discussion and debate that you don’t like, but you’re now also misrepresenting both sides of the many-sided issue.

    Go Grrl! Well fucking done.

  414. 414
    Edward Gemmer

    Hey, assholes. How’s it going. Aren’t you proud of how you managed to hijack yet another discussion and transform a conversation that was going to be about people trying to be mutually supportive to each other in the fact of bigotry and harassment and instead once again rehash your aggrieved feelings that allegations of sexual harassment of someone you like are being taken seriously.

    Shermer isn’t someone I like.

  415. 415
    johngreg

    Ya, me too mostly. I detest Shermer’s politics, and much of his societal/world view, and his, for lack of a better word, behaviour on his blog sucks (in my opinion).

    I like some of his books though, but that doesn’t mean I like him.

    But, remember, such facts as those matter not a whit to someone like Sally. Sally’s got her rage radar on constant surveilance mode of anyone who disagrees with her ideology — as does most of FTB, Skepchick, etc.

  416. 416
    johngreg

    Actually, it’s both sad and funny, when you look at it: Slymepit people supposedly love Shermer because they don’t accept, without actual evidence, the claims that he is a serial rapist. At the same time, Slymepit people apparently hate Hensley because they don’t accept, without actual evidence, the claims that she has Post Twitter Stress Disorder.

    To keep the SJLs happy, any approach to either of these sets of claims must rule out skepticality, critical thinking, the quest for legitimate truth, and any degree whatsoever of nuance, grey areas of responsibility, and so on.

  417. 417
    hjhornbeck

    Edward Gemmer @410:

    The definition of sexual assault, since it applies to all sexual assaults, is obviously vague on its face.

    Wow, I can’t believe you decided to take that fork. As you hint at, the claim I asked about is part of the legal definition of sexual assault in the United States. Any lawyer hoping to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault occurred would have to bring forth evidence to support the occurrence of some specific variant of that definition. The definition itself must thus be specific, not vague. The contrary is a dangerous threat to democracy, hence why the US legal system has a “void for vagueness” clause stemming from the amendments. I’m forced to agree with the Cato Institute, of all places:

    There’s probably nothing more dangerous to individual rights than vaguely written laws. They give prosecutors and judges undue power to decide whether or not to punish conduct that people did not know was illegal at the time. Vagueness turns the law into a sword dangling over citizens’ heads — and because government officials can choose when and how to enforce their own interpretations of the law, vagueness gives them power to make their decisions from unfair or discriminatory motives.

    Now you, Edward Gemmer, think the US legal definition of sexual assault is vague. That makes all prosecutions done under that law unjust, as some of those decisions may have been reached for arbitrary reasons. Worse, most democratic states have a definition of sexual assault that’s similar. So if you think the law is vague, you must support all of the following:

    - All jailed rapists in those countries must be freed immediately, and given a re-trial.
    - All court cases relating to sexual assault in those countries must be halted, until the law is made specific again.
    - If you were a juror on a sexual assault court case that was not halted, you would vote “not guilty” regardless of the evidence, as the alternative would be to prosecute someone under an unjust law.

    You, Edward Gemmer, occupy a similar moral sphere as Paul “FUCK THEIR SHIT UP” Elam. You, a public defender who represents children in the US legal system.

    But let’s move on: is the following a vague claim?

    Sexual battery is sexual conduct with another person, excluding the spouse of the offender, when they are the other person’s natural or adoptive parent, or a stepparent, or guardian, custodian, or person in loco parentis of the other person.

    Anyway:

    Edward Gemmer @410:

    I’m asking what happened and who was involved, two key factors to just begin an investigation.

    hjhornbeck @349:

    So Dallas Haugh telling you he was sexually assaulted does not indicate what actually happened, or who was involved?

    Edward Gemmer @350:

    Of course we don’t know what happened. Did Shermer force himself on Haugh at gunpoint? Molest him as a child? Enagge in drunken sex? Never meet? Is the note a work of fiction? I have no idea.

    hjhornbeck @188:

    As it stands, this describes sexual assault and is considered a criminal matter. if the claim was specific, nothing you add could change the truth of that. You are arguing it is vague, however, and that therefore a sexual assault may or may not have happened. So what bit of information could change it’s truth value?

    Is it the way Pamela Gay was dressed?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay had to drink?
    Is it how much Pamela Gay resisted?
    Is it how many people Pamela Gay has slept with, in the past?
    is it how much flirting Pamela Gay did?
    Is it where Pamela Gay was standing?

    You, Edward Gemmer, are arguing that some information from that list, or something similar I didn’t think of, could alter the truth of whether or not a sexual assault occured. What is it?

    I’m beginning to think I’m a time traveler. How else could I retroactively refute your arguments? More seriously, though, you’re in your usual rut of arguing sexual assault could be falsified if only we knew how the stars were aligned, or what colour of building the assault took place in. Your only successful dodge to date has been to deny science (see 339, 349, 356, and 401), which you continue to do here:

    You are grasping at things to try and claim that things like facts and details don’t matter, yet you don’t present any kind of convincing case for it and are stuck with voodoo like “I will just attach random numbers” and that’s good enough.

    So you think my one in four incidence of sexual assault is a “random number,” despite being pulled from a scientific survey?

    Brickman, J., & Briere, J. (1984). Incidence of rape and sexual assault in an urban Canadian population. International Journal of Women’s Studies, 7, 195-206.

    Does this mean you think all science produces “random numbers,” or just the sciences which happen to disagree with your personal views?

    YEs, and you are factually wrong. She said she would feel unsafe at TAM. She said this was because Shermer was invited back after a claim of sexual assault against him.

    Nooooo, this was more a case of the straw that broke the camel’s back. Here’s what she said after the tweet:

    D.J. Grothe told me and others, repeatedly, that he (DJ) had personally witnessed Michael Shermer groping a female TAM speaker’s breast, unprovoked and against her protestations. She has confirmed this, since. D.J. continued to invite that speaker to TAM in subsequent years. D.J. has stated this much over and over.

    But you seem to have forgotten this isn’t the only case of Groethe inviting back a known harasser:

    Dr. Stollznow requested that Mr. Grothe assure her that her alleged assailant would not be at future JREF events, for her safety and the safety of others at future events. Mr. Grothe declined to ban the speaker, saying, “there are at present no such plans” to have Mr. Radford speak at a JREF event, more than a year before the next TAM, and well before speaking engagements are secured. Dr. Stollznow approached the JREF board, asking them to intervene in Mr. Grothe’s bizarre behavior, and make a commitment not to have the speaker in question at future JREF events. Their response: “JREF does not and will not have a blacklist”

    Combine this with TAM’s implementation of a secret Code of Conduct, and you get the image of an organization that has a lot of skeletons to hide. You know all this, though:

    Edward Gemmer @256:

    I have tried to educate myself. I’ve read every reference to the matters that I am aware exists.

    So why are you asking me to repeat information you already know? I keep suggesting you have a blind spot about sexual assault; how much more evidence do you have to generate, and I throw back in your face, until you realize that?

    Edward Gemmer @410:

    Yeah, your logic here is a mess. It’s difficult to respond, because your position makes no sense at all.

    Let’s do / the time warp / agaaaaaaiin:

    hjhornbeck @388:

    There is nothing confusing about how I’ve made my arguments. Maybe you’re experiencing dissonance reduction, instead? You can tell there are contradictory statements out there, but you falsely attribute them to me. The alternative is that you’re making them, but you’re a lawyer! You’ve been trained in logic and argument, so it’s far more likely the gullible social justice keyboard warrior is goofing up.

    I suggest the following:

    1. Don’t reply back right away. You’ve been very quick with your replies, and as long as that’s happening you’ll continue in the same mental rut.
    2. Copy-paste this thread into a word processor.
    3. Carefully replace everyone’s name with random junk, like “tgbmkdhxe” or similar.
    4. Forget about the document and this thread for a week, or at least a few days.
    5. Before coming back here, read over that document as a stranger. Pretend as hard as you can that you don’t recognize any comments, and take your time going over each (or, as this thread’s pretty long, start around the 300 mark and refer back as necessary). Don’t be critical or judgemental, just be a dispassionate third party with no dog in the fight.
    6. When you’ve formed an opinion about “cjjtbuuon” and the like, open up this thread and connect the dots.

    No need to share your results here, this is just for your own sake. Can you do that?

  418. 418
    Edward Gemmer

    Wow, I can’t believe you decided to take that fork. As you hint at, the claim I asked about is part of the legal definition of sexual assault in the United States. Any lawyer hoping to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault occurred would have to bring forth evidence to support the occurrence of some specific variant of that definition. The definition itself must thus be specific, not vague. The contrary is a dangerous threat to democracy, hence why the US legal system has a “void for vagueness” clause stemming from the amendments. I’m forced to agree with the Cato Institute, of all places:

    Yes, I’m quite aware of this. Remember, I am a lawyer who practices criminal law. The constitutional standard for vagueness exists because a statute but be precise enough so that someone can understand what is against the law. Sexual assault (and all other crimes) needs a clear definition so we know it is against the law. This is a good and wonderful thing, as otherwise the government could lock you up for breaking the law without any need to define what actions were unlawful.

    That said, my saying these things are vague is not referring to the constitutional standard for crimes. It refers to the general definition of the term vague, i.e.:

    Vague
    1.not explicit: not clear in meaning or intention

    When a claim lacks details so that it is very difficult to figure out what occurred, it is difficult to evaluate or judge. For example, some blogger here said there a false claim of rape against him, but he could prove it was wrong because he wasn’t at TAM in some particular year and it supposedly occurred at TAM in some particular year. Of course, if you don’t know when or where something occurred, it is difficult to make that defense. When I say vague, I don’t mean we have no idea at all what has occurred, but rather that their is insufficient detail to be able to describe what happened. If you were to write a story about it, the information we know amounts to one or two sentences.

    Now you, Edward Gemmer, think the US legal definition of sexual assault is vague. That makes all prosecutions done under that law unjust, as some of those decisions may have been reached for arbitrary reasons. Worse, most democratic states have a definition of sexual assault that’s similar. So if you think the law is vague, you must support all of the following:

    Again, you are confusing legal definitions with dictionary definitions.

    I’m beginning to think I’m a time traveler. How else could I retroactively refute your arguments? More seriously, though, you’re in your usual rut of arguing sexual assault could be falsified if only we knew how the stars were aligned, or what colour of building the assault took place in. Your only successful dodge to date has been to deny science (see 339, 349, 356, and 401), which you continue to do here:

    Again, I’ve already answered this. What if mystery attempted groper was forced to do what he did? Did she ask him to do what he did? Did anyone else in the room witness this? What happened next? Again, I’m not claiming something didn’t happen. I’m really not doubting the story. However, one time some mystery person attempted to touch her boob. Ok. What exactly am I to do with this information? If I knew she was talking about Shermer, then I could actually use the information a little bit, though I’m still confused about what exactly took place.

    But you seem to have forgotten this isn’t the only case of Groethe inviting back a known harasser:

    I’m not disputing this, hence she feels unsafe around harassers or assaulters, Michael Shermer being one of them. If she didn’t feel unsafe around Shermer or didn’t think he was dangerous, why would she care?

    So why are you asking me to repeat information you already know? I keep suggesting you have a blind spot about sexual assault; how much more evidence do you have to generate, and I throw back in your face, until you realize that?

    Because you have added nothing but a lot of words. Literally nothing. Your ignorance about me is not some sort of argument. You have failed to provide new information, and failed to make your case, and really failed at everything you’ve tried to do in this thread. That’s why this is frustrating – there isn’t enough evidence to actually have a substantive debate, just lots of word games and silly arguments that I have a “blind spot” for sexual violence.

    Again, you have provided nothing new. On and on and on we go, and now you are trying to invoke the Constitution. Really, you have nothing. If you find new information, please provide it – I am genuinely interested in this. However, word games not very fun arguments, and until you find new information, word games are all you have.

  419. 419
    debbaasseerr

    I’m tired of people with power laughing or shrugging off sexual assault and harassment. I’m tired of people making value judgments about those who’ve been harassed — demanding you have had certain experiences to be able to comment on them and then mocking you if you come forward with those experiences.

    Threads like these really hammer home for me how important it is to work on being a good ally when shitty things happen to people – raising awareness and getting better at spotting predatory behavior is important, but having people’s back as they go through the aftermath is as well. You only need to scroll up to see why.

  420. 420
    johngreg

    debbaasseerr said:

    Threads like these really hammer home for me how important it is to work on being a good ally when shitty things happen to people – raising awareness and getting better at spotting predatory behavior is important, but having people’s back as they go through the aftermath is as well.

    Yes, certainly. However, I do not think anyone on this thread is actually saying otherwise. What is, for the most part, being emphasized is that shouting Fire in a crowded theatre benefits no one, and giving in to a child’s raging temper tantrum over green Jello benefits neither the child nor the adult.

    And if Hensley is doing anything, she is, for the most part, shouting Fire in a crowded theatre and throwing a force five green Jello temper tantrum.

    She keeps changing the information on the source of her supposed PTSD.

    In general, she claims that she got it directly from using Twitter, yet she continues to Twat on a regular basis — so, the burn victim keeps running into the burning theatre and holy-roller-raging about getting burned in the theatre and how those burns are no responsibility of their own. Smart.

    One week, she got PTSD directly and exclusively from using Twitter.

    The next week she was triggerd by Twitter to relive her childhood-trauma-induced PTSD.

    The following week she got PTSD from people on Twitter who abused her supposed holy-grail feminism.

    The week after that she got PTSD from something altogether unrelated to the first three weeks.

    And her most recent twat on the subject, so far as I am aware, returns to the claim that she got PTSD directly and exclusively from using Twitter.

    Basically, it’s a trail of mendacious correlation.

    And, finally, we have to return to the primary point, which ya’ll are so careful to either avoid, or to carefully and with malicious forethought intentionally misrepresent: No one, for the most part, is saying Hensley has PTSD; tough shit, eat it bitch.

    What people are saying is: Because she keeps chaning the story; because she keeps using Twitter; because she does not seem to have a strong grip on honesty or consistency or logic; because her claims diminish and dismiss legitimate sufferers of PTSD, it is difficult to give much credence to Hensly’s claim to having gotten PTSD from using Twitter.

    And, for the most part, Hensley’s defenders, here and elsewhere are defending her, not because she supposedly has PTSD, but only because she is perceived as an ally in need of protection, and her veracity (or lack thereof) is not even considered.

  421. 421
    johngreg

    “chaning” in the penultimate para should be changing.

    “Hensly’s” in the penultimate para should be Hensley’s.

  422. 422
    John Morales

    johngreg:

    And, for the most part, Hensley’s defenders, here and elsewhere are defending her, not because she supposedly has PTSD, but only because she is perceived as an ally in need of protection, and her veracity (or lack thereof) is not even considered.

    It seems to escape you that one can only be defended if they are attacked, so that you are actually conceding you consider that she is being attacked by virtue of your admission that you think she has defenders.

    (As an aside, you really don’t see your conspicuous non-correction of ‘twat’ as an attack, do ya?)

    The following week she got PTSD from people on Twitter who abused her supposed holy-grail feminism.

    <snicker>

    It’s supposed, alright.

    (By suppositories such as you)

  423. 423
    johngreg

    Meta Morales said:

    It seems to escape you that one can only be defended if they are attacked….

    That is a most egregious bit of nonsense, simply because “one” can be defended when not in any way whatsoever attacked if the supposed defenders creatively perceive any form of critical comment as an attack (the TFB MO).

    … so that you are actually conceding you consider that she is being attacked by virtue of your admission that you think she has defenders.

    Balls. Creative, but still all balls.

    (As an aside, you really don’t see your conspicuous non-correction of ‘twat’ as an attack, do ya?)

    It was not a “conspicuous non-correction of ‘twat’”; it was wholly intentional. And no, not even slightly do I see it as an attack. It demands a rather massive degree of creatively hysterical idiocy (and blindingly stubborn dogma) to do so.

    I know that the majority of TFB and associates despise, detest, and deplore dictionaries (excepting, of course, when they support the tribal philosophy), however, FYI, the definition of supposed:

    sup·posed (s-pzd, -pzd) adj

    1. Presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence.

    2. Intended: medication that is supposed to relieve pain.

    3.a. Required: He is supposed to go to the store. b. Permitted: We are not supposed to smoke here. c. Firmly believed; expected: You’re supposed to be my friend.

    4. (prenominal) presumed to be true without certain knowledge (his supposed date of birth).

    5. (prenominal) believed to be true on slight grounds (highly doubtful the supposed existence of ghosts).

    6. (postpositive; foll by to) expected or obliged (to) I’m supposed to be there at nine.

    7. (postpositive; used in negative; foll by to) expected or obliged not (to) you’re not supposed to walk on the grass.

    supposedly [səˈpəʊzɪdlɪ] adv

    1. assumed as true; hypothetical: a supposed case.

    2. accepted as true, without positive knowledge: the supposed site of an ancient temple.

    3. merely thought to be such; imagined: supposed gains.

    (My italicized emphasis.)

    And, I see no association of any kind with suppositories, creatively hysterical, or otherwise.

  424. 424
    John Morales

    [meta]

    You are funny, JG, but not in the way you fancy you are.

    So: given your adduced definitions, to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”?

    It was not a “conspicuous non-correction of ‘twat’”; it was wholly intentional.

    <snicker>

    Not conspicuous at all, no siree!

    And, I see no association of any kind with suppositories, creatively hysterical, or otherwise.

    It is true one cannot see see when one is in a dark place. ;)

  425. 425
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Hey, John Greg, I just tried to look at the aptly-named Slymepit. Guess what?

    You have been permanently banned from this board.
    Please contact the Board Administrator for more information.
    A ban has been issued on your IP address.

    (Scared slymies are scared)

  426. 426
    johngreg

    Most of your rejoinder is a rather weak combination of non sequitur and irrelevancy, but, well, so it goes.

    As to your barricade while trying to “look at the aptly-named Slymepit”, I have some relevant rejoinders:

    1. The Pit is an entirely public BBS, and for you to just view it there is in no way any hurdle that would stop you from doing so, and to claim otherwise, especially without any form of evidence whatsoever, is just a blatant lie. Shame, shame, shame, on you.

    2. If you tried to sign-up and become a legitimate, so to speak, member of the Pit, you may have been blocked due to an excessive amount of spamming from whomever it is that you use as an ISP host. It would have absolutely nothing to do with who you are, your particular ideology, and so on. The Pit is utterly free, as we so declare.

    In the history of the Pit, there have only been 2 or 3 people banned / blocked. One of those people was that Montreal lunatic, Mabus (and I somehow do not think you can argue against that). One of the other persons banned was banned due to legal issues that put the BBS owner / host, Lsuoma, in legal jeopardy.

    No one, and I emphatically repeat that, unlike the TFB blogs, Skepchick, A+, or myriad other hysterical gnu-feminist blogs and/or BBS’s, absolutely no one has been banned from the Pit due to their political, social, or otherwise ideological stance. Never, ever, at all.

  427. 427
    johngreg

    Oh, and I forgot, no, no “slymies” are even slightly scared.

    Truth will out, and, as is plainly clear, most TFB blog hosts and the Commentariat wouldn’t know truth if it snuck up their porcupine and rusty knife infested behinds and NomNommed on their oh-so-duplicitous tongues.

    Word, nigger; up that fak an’ fak that muthafucka, brotha.

  428. 428
    John Morales

    [OT]

    You’re in denial, JG.

    I cut and pasted what I quoted from the screen I got when clicking to the site from a Google search.

    PS I note you’ve evaded my question @424.

  429. 429
    johngreg

    Meta Morales said:

    You’re in denial, JG. I cut and pasted what I quoted from the screen I got when clicking to the site from a Google search.

    I am sincere when I say I do not understand what you are saying here. Please clarify. Oh, and for the record, your link leads me to my email client. Huh? What the fuck? No, I do not get it.

    PS I note you’ve evaded my question @424.

    If this is the question you are referring to:

    So: given your adduced definitions, to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”?

    Again, I must admit that I do not understand your comment — it seems, to me, to be missing some something. Could you clarify? I will answer any question you choose to proffer, so long as I can understand it.

  430. 430
    johngreg

    Another point, Morales: Why don’t you stick to your point?

    I made a reasonabley clear point / statement, to which you responded with a misdirect.

    You then followed up with another, somewhat off-topic, non sequiterish statement; I responded to it; you obfuscated.

    Why?

  431. 431
    John Morales

    [OT]

    JG:

    So: given your adduced definitions, to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”?

    Again, I must admit that I do not understand your comment — it seems, to me, to be missing some something. Could you clarify? I will answer any question you choose to proffer, so long as I can understand it.

    Sure: to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”, do you mean:
    1.The defenders presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence.
    2. The intended defenders.
    3a.The required defenders: He is supposed to go to the store. b. The permitted defenders. c. The Firmly believed; expected defenders.
    4. The (prenominal) presumed to be true without certain knowledge defenders.
    5. The (prenominal) believed to be true on slight grounds defenders.
    6. The (postpositive; foll by to) expected or obliged (to) defenders.
    7. The (postpositive; used in negative; foll by to) expected or obliged not (to) defenders.
    or
    1. The assumed as true; hypothetical: a supposed case defenders.
    2. The accepted as true, without positive knowledge defenders.
    3. The merely thought to be such; imagined defenders.?

    Another point, Morales: Why don’t you stick to your point?

    What makes you imagine I’m not?

    I am sincere when I say I do not understand what you are saying here. Please clarify. Oh, and for the record, your link leads me to my email client. Huh? What the fuck? No, I do not get it.

    It’s not complicated: I Googled “slymepit”, found the link to the forum, clicked on the link, saw what I quoted, told you about it. The link leads to your email client because I copy-pasted the whole thing (hover your mouse to determine why), which includes a hyperlink using the mailto URI scheme, and your browser enables that protocol.

    (But I grant that it may be that you mob ain’t so much scared of me as merely so incompetent that your admin(s) blocked a swathe of internet addresses, amongst which is mine — in which case there’s probably many, many more people banned than a mere “2 or 3″!)

  432. 432
    John Morales

    [OT + markup fix]

    JG:

    So: given your adduced definitions, to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”?

    Again, I must admit that I do not understand your comment — it seems, to me, to be missing some something. Could you clarify? I will answer any question you choose to proffer, so long as I can understand it.

    Sure: to what do you imagine you refer when you write “the supposed defenders”, do you mean:
    1.The defenders presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence.
    2. The intended defenders.
    3a.The required defenders: He is supposed to go to the store. b. The permitted defenders. c. The Firmly believed; expected defenders.
    4. The (prenominal) presumed to be true without certain knowledge defenders.
    5. The (prenominal) believed to be true on slight grounds defenders.
    6. The (postpositive; foll by to) expected or obliged (to) defenders.
    7. The (postpositive; used in negative; foll by to) expected or obliged not (to) defenders.
    or
    1. The assumed as true; hypothetical: a supposed case defenders.
    2. The accepted as true, without positive knowledge defenders.
    3. The merely thought to be such; imagined defenders.?

    Another point, Morales: Why don’t you stick to your point?

    What makes you imagine I’m not?

    I am sincere when I say I do not understand what you are saying here. Please clarify. Oh, and for the record, your link leads me to my email client. Huh? What the fuck? No, I do not get it.

    It’s not complicated: I Googled “slymepit”, found the link to the forum, clicked on the link, saw what I quoted, told you about it. The link leads to your email client because I copy-pasted the whole thing (hover your mouse to determine why), which includes a hyperlink using the mailto URI scheme, and your browser enables that protocol.

    (But I grant that it may be that you mob ain’t so much scared of me as merely so incompetent that your admin(s) blocked a swathe of internet addresses, amongst which is mine — in which case there’s probably many, many more people banned than a mere “2 or 3″!)

  433. 433
    johngreg

    Ah, I see.

    In using the phrase, “supposed defenders”, I (imagine I) am implying:

    a. The defenders presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence.
    b. The intended defenders.
    c. The (prenominal) presumed to be true without certain knowledge defenders.
    d. The (prenominal) believed to be true on slight grounds defenders.
    e. The accepted as true, without positive knowledge defenders.

    More or less.

    And, although it is not quite specified, I am also implying that many of the defenders, in the specific instance of Hensley, are defending her, not because they actually want to support her, but because they feel a deep and compelling ideological need to make a political point.

    However, I very much doubt that any of the TFB horde would actually walk a real mile to provide any sort of real support to Hensley … but hey, I could be wrong.

    As to Lsuoma’s competence or otherwise, I cannot answer. What he does, or does not do, in regard to safeguarding the Pit from potential spamming, or other shenanigans, is his decision; his action; his responsibility: I cannot answer to that.

    As to how your posting that particular link is supposed to validate your claim to not being able to access the Pit … well, I am baffled.

    Or maybe I’m just bafflegabbed.

    Anyway, more to the point: If you use that link to contact Lsuoma, and request access to the Pit (should you feel the desire to do so), I am confident that he will grant you that access.

    Lastly, like Oolon tries to do, you are equating a technical glitch / issue with banning. Such rhetorical trickery is rather laughable. If any individuals are unable to access the Pit due to Lsuoma’s blocking of specific Internet addresses (or whatever: I am no techy), they are free to contact him (he actually encourages and proposes such contact) and request that he unblock their specific locale (or whatever it’s called). Really, are you seriously trying to describe security issues as banning? Weak sauce; very weak sauce.

  434. 434
    John Morales

    JG @433, so, they’re only supposed defenders (your emphasis), yet you’ve been carrying on about them as if they were real defenders.

    Huh.

    [OT]

    Lastly, like Oolon tries to do, you are equating a technical glitch / issue with banning. Such rhetorical trickery is rather laughable.

    <smirk>

    Must be a supposed banning, I guess.

    (Just because it gives me a message that I’m banned, and just because it denies me access, well, that’s no reason to suppose it’s an actual banning. No Siree!)

  435. 435
    johngreg

    JG @433, so, they’re only supposed defenders (your emphasis), yet you’ve been carrying on about them as if they were real defenders.

    That’s just juvenile nonsense. They are real people, presumably, but whether or not they are sincere in their support of Hensley, beyond just being ragey comfy keyboard warriors (hence “supposed” defenders), I do indeed doubt.

    Must be a supposed banning, I guess. (Just because it gives me a message that I’m banned, and just because it denies me access, well, that’s no reason to suppose it’s an actual banning. No Siree!)

    Like I said, I’m pretty sure that you have been hit with the ISP block-banning glitch. I have PMed Lsuoma about this, and if I am wrong, i.e., if you are in fact actually banned from the Pit, as opposed to being hit by the glitch, then I’ll say so. And, if you are in fact banned, which I very much doubt, I’ll post the supposed reasons here.

    Have you actually emailed Lsuoma to confirm whether or not you are actually banned, as opposed to being hit by the glitch?

    No, I didn’t think so.

  436. 436
    John Morales

    JG @435,

    That’s just juvenile nonsense. They are real people, presumably, but whether or not they are sincere in their support of Hensley, beyond just being ragey comfy keyboard warriors (hence “supposed” defenders), I do indeed doubt.

    So, if you doubt whether or not a commenter is sincere in what they post, they are only a “supposed” commenter rather than an actual commenter?

  437. 437
    johngreg

    Cripes. Now you’re just talking nonsense.

    It is the veracity, or lack thereof, that invites the term “supposed” in regard to a commentor’s comment’s content, and/or their claimed and/or stated ideological perspective — or whatever it is we might label somone’s position, i.e., as a defender, or supporter, or whathaveyou.

    So, if I doubt whether or not a commenter is sincere in what they post, their comment’s content is only “supposedly” sincere; not their physical reality as an actual or only theoretical commentor. Though, of course, I suppose they might, at least theoretically, be a ‘bot of some kind.

    Presenting oneself as a defender does not affect or effect their physical reality or their supposed reality as an actual commentor; it only affects or effects their sincerity and their veracity. And if either or both of those are in doubt, they can then be labelled as “supposedly” sincere.

    You’re really just trying to score points, right? You don’t actually sincerely believe what you’re posting, do you?

  438. 438
    John Morales

    [meta]

    With you, JG, I don’t need to try.

    (I am a supposed trier! :) )

  439. 439
    johngreg

    I don’t know Morales. The way you keep dancing around my points, skirting the relevant issues, and posting your Aunt Sallys … well, let’s just say that you probably aren’t going to climb too far up that points thermometer.

  440. 440
    Lsuoma

    Morales. Send your IP address to [email protected] and I’ll see if it’s been caught in a blacklist. Use whatsmyip.org to get the one I need – if you post through a NAT your machine IP won’t help.

    I won’t be responding further here – sending an email is the only way for you to move this forward, and no, you’ve not been banned personally. Shit, I didn’t even ban colon…

  441. 441
    Lsuoma

    Sigh – email protected. Anyway, you can get the email address from the Pit easily enough.

  442. 442
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Your incompetence ain’t my problem, Lsuoma.

    (You’ve got a timestamp, and you got your site logs. Use them)

  443. 443
    johngreg

    Morales, you just cannot admit you’re wrong, can you.

  444. 444
    debbaasseerr

    Hard to believe someone is going to read this thread and want to join the slymepit. But then again some people are still defending Shermer, too.

  445. 445
    johngreg

    debbaasseerr said:

    Hard to believe someone is going to read this thread and want to join the slymepit.

    What is interesting, though, is that in the couple of years, there have been well over a dozen former FTB and, in particular, former Pharyngula commentors (and blog hosts) who came over to the dark side when they realized that the majority of the anti-Pit propoganda spread about on FTB is just bunk; made up bunk. And, as I’ve mentioned before, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely no one from the Pit has left the Pit and gone on to join up with any FTB blog (or Skepchick or A+ for that matter).

    Funny thing, eh?

    But then again some people are still defending Shermer, too.

    Amazing isn’t it, especially considering the rather simple and obvious fact that there has, as of yet, been no court case or other specific and focussed facts presented that actually go to proving Shermer is what FTB claims him to be, i.e., a serial rapist and sexual abuser.

    Funny thing, eh?

  446. 446
    debbaasseerr

    Such an interesting picture of the last few years. Not much fresh air in the pit, eh?

    Oh and I see the sexual-assault-wheel-of-denial is still spinning. That is sad to see, if expected.

    Happy Holidays to all!

  447. 447
    johngreg

    debbaasseerr said:

    I see the sexual-assault-wheel-of-denial is still spinning.

    Except, as has been pointed out endlessly by a lot of people, it is not a sexual-assault-wheel-of-denial; it is a sexual-assault-wheel of where-is-the-irrefutable-proof?

    Another way of looking at it would be to describe it as a sexual-assault-wheel-of wait-until-the-lawsuit, or some other form of legal action, determines actual guilt or otherwise. Or, to be somewhat uncharitable, more a sexual-assault-wheel-of-fence-sitting.

    I know it is highly unpopular amongst the Social Justice League to witness people requesting actual legal proofs before soundly accussing (and determining the guilt of) someone of an actual crime, but, well, that’s just how some people roll, people who actually believe in and try to uphold the golden rule of innocent until proven guilty. Heretical concept, I know.

  448. 448
    debbaasseerr

    Except, “sexual-assault-wheel of where-is-the-irrefutable proof” is a common variation of sexual assault denial. Another way of looking at it is, “sexual-assault-wheel-of-fence-sitting” is a HIGHLY POPULAR version of that same sack of shit.

    Do you disagree that many rapes go unreported, or that many guilty people get away with it even if it is?

    Oh and look another response in which you cannot resist some form of name calling. Your posts are littered with it. Is it because “Slymepit” is such a perfect name, and you’ve given it to yourselves?

    Innocent until proven guilty is not the golden rule. But that’s an interesting idea – How would you want people to treat you after reporting a sexual assault? Do you think the way things are now is how they should be?

  449. 449
    johngreg

    debbaasseerr said:

    Except, “sexual-assault-wheel of where-is-the-irrefutable proof” is a common variation of sexual assault denial.

    You are a scary individual. Let’s just hand over the rule of law to the angry reactionary vigilante. Personally, I try to avoid black and white, with us or against thought processes.

    Another way of looking at it is, “sexual-assault-wheel-of-fence-sitting” is a HIGHLY POPULAR version of that same sack of shit.

    Perhaps.

    Do you disagree that many rapes go unreported, or that many guilty people get away with it even if it is?

    No, I do not disagree with that. The same is true for all crime, including murder. But that does not mean we should hand over the rule of law to the victim’s relatives, nor does it mean we live in a murder culture — although statistically, there is probably a stronger argument for us living in a murder culture than for us living in a rape culture. After all, one of the legally sanctioned punishments for murder, in many Western societies, is to kill/murder murderers under the eye-for-an-eye rubric. I am unaware of any Western society law books listing rape as a legally sanctioned punishment for any crime.

    Oh and look another response in which you cannot resist some form of name calling. Your posts are littered with it. Is it because “Slymepit” is such a perfect name, and you’ve given it to yourselves?

    Name calling? What name calling?

    Innocent until proven guilty is not the golden rule. But that’s an interesting idea – How would you want people to treat you after reporting a sexual assault? Do you think the way things are now is how they should be?

    My personal emotive reaction in such a case should be calmed but overlooked in favour of fact and evidence. For the sake of your argument, let’s pretend for a moment that you are an academic educator, like PZ Myers, for example, and when you hand over the rule of law to the angry, dogmatic, and irrational vigilante, how will you feel when Marcotte sends you to jail or crucifixion because some irrational over-emotional student claimed you raped her after she was dissatisfied with the marks you gave her on an examination? Will you then support the vigilante, listen to the victim, and condemn the accussed, i.e., yourself, based on hearsay?

    One of the primary reasons for law is to avoid the irrational reactionary desires of the victim in all cases of crime. Yes, the victim’s experience, and testament, are highly important; their potentially irrational and deadly desire for vengeance is not.

    Also, seeing as how you appear to support the Marcotte rule, guilty until proven innocent, is that why you, and so far as I know, all other FTB blog hosts and commenters completely ignored the victims and wholly supported the posited perps in the instances of LousyCanuck’s and PZ Myers’ experience with being accused of rape?

    Is that also why Ogvorbis, at Pharyngula, after claiming to have raped three children, was awarded hugs, condolences, and offers of babysitting jobs?

    Personally, I think Ogvorbis’s confession (probably a fabrication) utterly reeks of self-scourging with the goal of garnering group support — at which he was wholly successful.

    So, debbaasseerr, why are you not over at Pharyngula, condemning Oggie for the crime of raping three children? Why are Oggie’s victims utterly ignored in favour of supporting Oggie? Why on earth are you raging at me, for supporting the rule of law, and not raging at Oggie for raping three children? Seriously. And, while pondering that, keep in mind that the vast majority of victims of abuse do not, themselves, become abusers. Also, recovered memory is falacious and has been thoroughly disproved.

    It’s OK when “we” do it? Friends are always innocent; enemies are always guilty?

    How does that work?

    I stand by my statement that I believe in and try to support the ideal of innocent until proven guilty. That is one of the fundamental foundations of civilized society. It is one of the fundamental processes that separate irrational and reactionary vigilantes from the civilized alternative.

    It is such rule of law that helps avoid such lunacy as when that British pediatrician was beaten up because the moronic masses did not know the difference between pediatrician and pedophile. When we go the Marcotte route, and assume guilty until proven innocent, we give up on justice and hand the keys to the asylum over to the lunatics.

  450. 450
    surreptitious57

    I urge all those who receive rape and death threats to carry on blogging and to document the abuse so that everyone knows the identity of these committed misogynists. It is completely wrong to engage in this type of behaviour. And consequently it should be universally condemned. This is a black and white issue – no grey area at all. One can disagree with someone as much as one wishes but the golden rule is to attack what is being said not who is saying it. I am not on either side in the general cyber war between the two but when it comes to this I am one hundred per cent in the camp of the abused. And anyone who has any empathy whatsoever should be too. That is all

  451. 451
    brianpansky

    And, as I’ve mentioned before, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely no one from the Pit has left the Pit and gone on to join up with any FTB blog (or Skepchick or A+ for that matter).

    Funny thing, eh?

    gee, i wonder why that is.

    i don’t think that means what you think it means.

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