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Jul 19 2012

Your Hit Parade

I thought that was the last of it, but there’s this adorable song that was performed at TAM.

Dedicated to James Randi, JREF, and all clear-thinking individuals who are fond of dirty words.

lyrics

He said “Come up for coffee”
Before she reached her floor
Now, some folks who have vaginas don’t show up here anymore
Well, perhaps that guy was wrong
But can’t we all just get along?

Now, Professor Richard Dawkins
Said, “Really, what’s the harm?
He never put his cock in or even touched your arm.”
Well, even smart guys get stuff wrong
Can’t we all just get along?

Soon the blogosphere went ape-shit
And that ape-shit hit the fan
Some cried, “Hey gals, just chill out,” and some said “Kill the man!”
We all stood our moral high ground,
Using 20-dollar words
Lots of people talkin’
But nobody bein’ heard

Yes, Dawkins was a dick,
And he shouldn’t get a pass
But honestly, some chicks should pull the sticks out of their ass
It’s not the weak against the strong
It’s not Fay Wray against King Kong
I heard last year some girls got grabby With Paul Provenza’s schlong!

But here’s the point of this whole song:
Can’t we all just get along?

162 comments

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  1. 1
    Kaoru Negisa

    But here’s the point of this whole song:
    Can’t we all just get along?

    No. Fuck off.

    This is the most one-sided “both sides do it” that I’ve every heard.

  2. 2
    SAWells

    Well, at least there’s now a clear-cut division between other conferences and TAM, which appears to be catering specifically to the Asshole Skeptic demographic.

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    … and of course it is for sale.

  4. 4
    Eskeptrical Engineer

    Wow. I definitely did not hear this, though I was skipping events that seemed likely to raise my blood pressure. Was it performed at the Bacon Party?

  5. 5
    Eskeptrical Engineer

    Oh, maybe it was at the Satiristas show, based on the tags. I wasn’t at that either.

  6. 6
    jenniferphillips

    Crap.

  7. 7
    Pteryxx

    *sigh* Nobody called for Elevator Guy to be strung up or castrated or even thrown out, or even called him worse than a potential predator (which has reasonable evidence to support it). That straw accusation’s so old and decrepit it’s sprouting mushrooms.

  8. 8
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Kaoru Negisa:

    Can’t we all just get along?

    No. Fuck off.

    Oh, gawd, I LOL’ed pretty hard at that. High five.

    Seriously, the spite is just amazingly puerile.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes, it was at the Satirista show.

  10. 10
    kagekiri

    Holy fucking hell, I hate it when ignorant assholes combine a total lack of self-awareness with overbearing self-righteousness.

    They’re calling what MRAs and misogynists said in these various debacles “just chill out”, while saying that the feminists were “calling for blood.”

    How fucking horribly can you misrepresent the situation before it reaches self-parody?

    It certainly makes their “can’t we all just get along” sound like “would you feminists just shut up already?”

  11. 11
    Millicent

    Did Jon Stewart write this crap?

  12. 12
    MyaR

    Glad I didn’t pay to go to that. BTW, there is a survey, seems about as last year’s was described, sent out by email.

  13. 13
    601

    I Expect that because this skeptical olive branch song is “just a joke,” some will believe it couldn’t cause any harm. Don’t jokes have the same magic that intentions possess?

    The TAMists and such are struggling to save face. But I think they should accept the shame, so we can all just get along. Show some courage and “man up” so to speak.

  14. 14
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks for that, Mya – I’d seen people say that there was no exit survey. Good to know that at least that’s been corrected.

  15. 15
    Hank_Says

    Wow – and I thought anti-vaccine band (yes, there is such a thing and I shall leave you to google them, lest they get clicks they don’t deserve) The Refusers were execrably ignorant & unamusing dumbfucks.

  16. 16
    Bernard Hurley

    This song just adds insult to injury. I think if I were, as they put it, one of these folks who have a vagina, and I had gone to TAM because I thought that maybe something would be done to make it a safe and pleasant place then to find an atmosphere where the performance of this song was acceptable would feel like a betrayal of my trust in the organisers.

  17. 17
    'Tis Himself

    Is the chorus to that song “Bitches ain’t shit!”?

  18. 18
    Orlando

    Even the false equivalence card isn’t being played genuinely.
    ‘Some cried, “Hey gals, just chill out,” and some said “Kill the man!”’
    But we know women involved have received actual threats, so perhaps it would have been more fair to write: ‘Some cried, “Kill Rebecca!” and some said “Kill the man!”‘ Oh, wait, the strongest thing said about Dawkins was that his inability to reflect has caused him to become irrelevant. So it would more accurately be painted as: ‘Some cried “Kill Rebecca!”, some said “Rethink, old man!”‘ They could have sung that. I see they didn’t. Quelle suprise.

  19. 19
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    I read the lyrics, but all I heard was “stop being so hysterical”.

  20. 20
    skeptifem

    Did they picture all of us going “hey yeah, you know I had never considered being less upset before. I should totally try that!”???

  21. 21
    Alukonis, metal ninja

    Pretty sure it’s not just folks with vaginas not showing up any more.

    Pretty sure there are plenty of folks with penises that don’t want to go to an anti-feminist conference.

    Just sayin’, bro.

  22. 22
    Jessie

    It’s clear that TAM only wants women who don’t mind being propositioned. Perhaps they should be more open about that and see what happens to the number of women attending next year.

  23. 23
    Ingdigo Jump

    Wasn’t TAM where DJ and others asked that things like Religion be trod carefully around so that people aren’t made to feel excluded?

    Just saying.

  24. 24
    Neil Rickert

    Up to now, I have stayed out of this topic.

    Lots of people talkin’
    But nobody bein’ heard

    And that’s why I have stayed out.

    I agree with some of the critics of the song. It is a bit one-sided. But it isn’t biased enough to detract from its main message.

    So some people thought that there wasn’t a real problem, and Rebecca Watson should have just shrugged off the incident. I don’t have strong objections to that point of view. But when Rebecca Watson said “Hey, guys, don’t do that”, shouldn’t they have shrugged that off? But instead, as song says:

    Soon the blogosphere went ape-shit
    And that ape-shit hit the fan

    and that was what demonstrated to me that there really was a serious problem with misogyny.

    I’ll stay with the main message, “Can’t we all just get along?”

  25. 25
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Neil Rickert #24: That required some serious quote mining. Color me unimpressed.

    Can we just admit already that TAM is full of libertarians, whose behaviour and preferred policies are congruent with those of privileged bullies, and tell sensible people to stay the fuck away?

  26. 26
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’ll stay with the main message, “Can’t we all just get along?”

    No.

    Because the issues are not just little shit like “Timmy stole my lolly”. It’s big serious problems. It’s not just about specifics but about differences in what it means to be a skeptic and how you arrive at knowledge/beliefs. It’s a question about core values.

    You cannot just brush that aside and strong arm people into ‘getting along’. Especially once rape and death threats have been made.

  27. 27
    skeptifem

    @24 neil

    Rebecca Watson should have just shrugged off the incident. I don’t have strong objections to that point of view.

    Sorry dude, you don’t get to tell women how to react to being sexually propositioned by strangers. Just like you probably know its wrong for heterosexuals to tell gay people how to react to homophobia, or for white people to tell people of color how to deal with racism. Its reaaaal easy to say what people “should” do when you’ve never actually had to experience the problem in a meaningful way.

  28. 28
    supernorbert

    Neil Rickert #24: …and that was what demonstrated to me that there really was a serious problem with misogyny.

    Did you say there WAS a serious problem with misogyny?

  29. 29
    Cipher

    Neil, us all just getting along sorta depends on some of “us” not having been subjected to a year’s worth of harassment up to and including rape threats by others of “us.” Since that happened, it’s really not reasonable or fair to do… what you just did.

  30. 30
    Smhlle

    I cannot get along with the ape-shitty stompers. Don’t even want to try.

    Are “they” trying to get along? Color me skeptical on that count.

  31. 31
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Smhlle #30:

    Are “they” trying to get along? Color me skeptical on that count.

    They’re just worried about losing our eternal souls to the damnation of Feminazi Hell.

  32. 32
    PZ Myers

    That’s some rift they’ve got there.

    Oh, well, it’s no problem to have a split skeptics movement: all the assholes and libertarians (but I repeat myself) can go to TAM and have a wonderful time, all the sensible people can skip it and have a wonderful time.

  33. 33
    Ingdigo Jump

    Seriously, after people show this side to themselves you actually have the nerve to suggest that everyone else would WANT to get along?

  34. 34
    Martha

    I couldn’t believe it when I first read this song. Why? What could the point have been?

    At a conference during which Pamela Gay’s talk was given a standing ovation, this had to have come across badly to a significant fraction of attendees. Perhaps those attendees were all being mindful of their blood pressure and staying away, but who knows?

    I think some of the commenters have been a bit unfair to Neil. The first part of the following quote isn’t enough, you have to see the the last portion, too.

    So some people thought that there wasn’t a real problem, and Rebecca Watson should have just shrugged off the incident. I don’t have strong objections to that point of view. But when Rebecca Watson said “Hey, guys, don’t do that”, shouldn’t they have shrugged that off? But instead, as song says:

    “Soon the blogosphere went ape-shit
    And that ape-shit hit the fan”

    and that was what demonstrated to me that there really was a serious problem with misogyny.

    If people had merely disagreed with Rebeca instead of threatening and vilifying her, I don’t think Neil’s statement would be at all surprising. I don’t agree with that view, but I can get along with anyone who sees that the response was misogynistic in the extreme.

    On the other hand, I have no desire to get along with misogynists.

  35. 35
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Skeptifem wrote:

    Its reaaaal easy to say what people “should” do when you’ve never actually had to experience the problem in a meaningful way.

    That single sentence comes very close to summing up the entire problem in one go.

    It appears that calling oneself a ‘skeptic’ these days runs parallel with being the sort of person who’ll insist on telling other people how they should feel about situations they haven’t the faintest clue about and refuse to empathise with.

  36. 36
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Martha

    There are far too fucking many “both sides are to blame…MEG!” comments to say that he’s being treated ‘unfairly’

  37. 37
    Cuttlefish

    It does make me feel better about the crap I write.

  38. 38
    Robert B.

    Oh, my poor Comedy. The terrible things people do in Her name…

  39. 39
    kaboobie

    At least the Satiristas show was a separate admission. (Based on how boring I found it last year, I would not have attended this year had I been at TAM.) So far more people would have been exposed to Pamela Gay’s speech than were exposed to this piece of *expletive*, which is a good thing.

  40. 40
    Neil Rickert

    skeptifem #27:

    Sorry dude, you don’t get to tell women how to react to being sexually propositioned by strangers.

    To set the record straight, I never said nor implied otherwise.

  41. 41
    Ophelia Benson

    What PZ said. Deep rifts are a good thing.

  42. 42
    Adam Lee

    Wow. TAM is really trying hard to establish a reputation as the official convention of sexists, aren’t they?

    I’m curious to see what their attendance winds up being next year. With a bit of luck, all the misogynists and creepsters will self-select and effectively quarantine themselves, leaving all the reasonable people to enjoy all the other atheist conventions out there in peace.

  43. 43
    Eristae

    You know, for all that these people insist that “It’s not a big deal! She should just brush it off! We should be focusing on bigger issues!” these people are completely and utterly unable to brush it off themselves or to start focusing on bigger issues.

  44. 44
    SallyStrange

    You know, for all that these people insist that “It’s not a big deal! She should just brush it off! We should be focusing on bigger issues!” these people are completely and utterly unable to brush it off themselves or to start focusing on bigger issues.

    This.

    At this point, FreeThoughtBlogs has spun off not one but TWO fully fledged websites dedicated entirely to hating FTB. The Slymepit and “FreeThoughtBlahgs.” Barely a day goes by on Pharyngula these days without some troll showing up to deliberately get banned in some sort of bizarre initiation ritual. Getting banned from Pharyngula builds up credit with the Slimepitters, who have maintained a running commentary about how much they hate FTB for over a year now.

    It’s really, really fucking pathetic.

  45. 45
    Ingdigo Jump

    DJ is abusing his benefit of the doubt so much that continuing to extend it is starting to look like a welfare program for his rep.

  46. 46
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Neil Rickert #40:

    To set the record straight, I never said nor implied otherwise.

    So some people thought that there wasn’t a real problem, and Rebecca Watson should have just shrugged off the incident. I don’t have strong objections to that point of view.

    Key words are in bold. You do not object to the point of view that Rebecca should have shrugged it off, which means that you agree with it and thus that you are telling Rebecca how she should have felt about the incident.

    Words have meaning, and it is extremely disingenuous to claim that your words don’t mean what they do because that’s not exactly what you said. Ducking responsibility for your writing is going to put you in people’s killfiles, not their brains.

  47. 47
    Martha

    @Ing

    I don’t have any desire to get along with the misogynists, and I disagree with Neil about that. But I see no reason not to get along with Neil, who wasn’t blind to the misogyny, even though the first half of his post made it look that way.

  48. 48
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Martha #46:

    But I see no reason not to get along with Neil, who wasn’t blind to the misogyny, even though the first half of his post…

    It wasn’t just the first half. To get the point that he did, he had to quote mine out four lines from the entire song and ignore the surrounding context, which is full of bullshit and false balance.

    By defending that so-called “overall message”, both you and Neil are propping up the false balance. Stop it.

  49. 49
    Jafafa Hots

    Is it still too soon and divisive to suggest a full-on boycott?

    If so, what will it take?

  50. 50
    KarenX

    @48 Jahafa

    Is it still too soon and divisive to suggest a full-on boycott?

    If so, what will it take?

    A hashtag, right? Isn’t that what all the cool kids are doing?

    #BoycottTAM2013

  51. 51
    SallyStrange

    I wonder why my comment is in moderation…

  52. 52
    rorschach

    Is it still too soon and divisive to suggest a full-on boycott?

    I’m against it. TAM is still in principle a great conference (ignoring the price and the average weekend warrior skeptic’s cognitive dissonance when it comes to religion for the moment). And people will have taken notice of the failures and blunders of DJ and JREF by now, and some kind of selection will occur until 2013 automatically, I imagine.

  53. 53
    Martha

    #47 Setar, I’m not going to argue with you endlessly about a small point. The false balance sucks, no question, and I’ve been clear about where I stand on that in these threads. If you have previous experience with Neil that suggests he’s going to go all Coryolus, then I get your position. It sometimes takes me a little while to see which posts are from trolls who will quickly go off the rails. If not, you’re doing what the “In Your Face” thread did to the guy from TAM Security.

  54. 54
    Christopher Camp

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’? Can’t we at least switch to another invention if you’re this unwilling to talk about real things? How about Eve off Adam and Eve?

  55. 55
    Michelle

    Female feminist skeptic/atheist here… I have been watching this argument occasionally over the last many months and I have yet to see anything to make me side with Watson, you, et al. What I see from my perspective is an extreme over-reaction to a non-event. Nor do I find what Dawkins said to be horrendous. In fact, I agree with him… To suggest that being propositioned in an elevator by means of asking one for coffee in the middle of the night approximates sexual assault does a huge disservice to the millions of women (and men) who have suffered actual sexual harassment, attacks or rape. I have lost much respect for many of my fellow skeptics and feminists, both male and female. I have been to a few TAMs in the past, and am a financial supporter, but I chose to avoid the most recent TAM due, primarily, to this ongoing infighting nonsense.

  56. 56
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Female feminist skeptic/atheist here… I have been watching this argument occasionally over the last many months and I have yet to see anything to make me side with Watson,

    That is a false flag. Take it down.

    …but your concern has, nonetheless, been noted.

  57. 57
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    To suggest that being propositioned in an elevator by means of asking one for coffee in the middle of the night approximates sexual assault …

    Hyperbolic claim that requires a lack of reading (or, in this case, listening) comprehension — definitely a false flag.

  58. 58
    Michelle

    What does “false flag” mean?

  59. 59
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Martha #52:

    I’m not going to argue with you endlessly about a small point.

    Quote mining is not “a small point”. Philip took the lines out of context and started going on about so-called divisiveness by going on about “can’t we all just get along”.

    This is not possible. This was not possible even before the debacle surrounding TAM specifically. The people that Philip is asking us to “get along” with have by their own actions shown that they will not get along with us. They have been cyber-stalking, harassing, making rampant false claims about and filling up the comments of feminism-related posts on FTBloggers’ spaces ever since Elevatorgate broke out.

    At this point, any call for “both sides” to “get along” is complete bullshit and ignorant of the surrounding context. It’s false balance from the get go, because it states that our attempts to fight back against the wave of bigotry are somehow just as bad as the bigotry itself, because a few people came in late, didn’t bother to do the research but are bothered about how mean everyone is.

    People like you are the reason why Gabrielle Giffords got shot. You, who tell “both sides” to get along when one side is pointing guns at the other, enable the other side to continue pointing their guns because you keep going on about how we’re pointing guns back, never mind that they trained their guns on us first.

    I don’t want to be shot. If you’re a decent person, you’ll stop defending the people who want nothing more than to shoot me by telling me I shouldn’t try to shoot back in self-defense.

  60. 60
    Michelle

    “Setar”, I hope you will answer my question about the meaning of a “false flag”, something you accuse my posts (me?) of being. Meanwhile, please note that you use an alias and no photo while I use my real first name and real photo of the real me. If need be, I will supply my last name as well, and then you can ask JREF, CFI, and many other skeptic/atheist/Humanist organizations if I am “real” or not.

  61. 61
    Martha

    @Setar #58

    You are really fucking out of line. The last time I saw something so offensive from someone I basically agree with on this blog, it was some asshole who came over from the slime pit to stir up shit by pretending to be on the feminist side in an attempt to make the FtBers look intolerant.

    Nowhere have I said that I think everybody should just get along. In fact, I’ve clearly said that I have no desire to get along with the misogynists. Congratulations, you’re the first person on the feminist side to raise my blood pressure as much as they do. And that’s saying something.

  62. 62
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’?

    This is a sample of the school of skeptical thought known as “make up a narrative and repeat it many times, hoping that the bandwagon effect and source amnesia will get people to believe it eventually”.

  63. 63
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Michelle #59:

    Meanwhile, please note that you use an alias and no photo while I use my real first name and real photo of the real me.

    killfile add Michelle -r ‘poisoning the well‘ -l ‘indefinite’

    Comment by Michelle blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]
    Reason: Poisoning the well
    Length: Indefinite

  64. 64
    Martha

    Never mind, Ophelia. Delete both my comments. If I can’t reply in a timely fashion, it’s not worth it. Maybe I won’t be quite this pissed off in the morning. I doubt it, though.

  65. 65
    Michelle

    Setar, I tremble…

  66. 66
    Martha

    Oops, I thought that last comment would go into moderation along with the response I tried to make to 58.

    Setar, the Gabby Giffords analogy was way out of line. And I’m not telling you not to fight. I’m telling you not to turn around and fire your guns at those supporting your position. In fact, even if you’re facing the right direction, you might even want to make sure your target is actually an enemy and not just somebody walking by. Good Night.

  67. 67
    David Marjanović

    This is the most one-sided “both sides do it” that I’ve every heard.

    QFT.

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’? Can’t we at least switch to another invention if you’re this unwilling to talk about real things?

    What… the fuck?

    Is this an argument from “I don’t want the world to be this bad, so it isn’t that bad”!?!

    Why would anyone invent Elevator Guy!?!

    To suggest that being propositioned in an elevator by means of asking one for coffee in the middle of the night

    Let’s not skip over 3/4 of the facts, shall we?

    Elevator Guy was there during Watson’s talk about sexual harrassment, and he was there when Watson and many others spent half the night talking at a bar. He must have heard when she said, at 4 am, that she was tired and going to bed. Once she had left the safety of the group, he followed her into the elevator, where they were alone, and then asked her to have coffee with him in his room… coffee, at 4 am… when they had just come from a bar that clearly had better coffee than what you can make in a hotel room… alone with him in his room… at a time when there was nobody around to intervene if he had become violent.

    You can’t tell me that that’s not a scary situation.

    “Setar”, I hope you will answer my question about the meaning of a “false flag”, something you accuse my posts (me?) of being.

    It’s an accusation that some or all of your claims to be female, feminist, skeptic and/or atheist are lies.

    Meanwhile, please note that you use an alias and no photo while I use my real first name and real photo of the real me.

    Blah, blah, blah. Meatspace names aren’t somehow more real. I use mine because I’m too lazy and uncreative to come up with a good alternative, and because I’m rather careless about Internet anonymity.

    Besides, we can’t test your claim that the name or the photo are really yours. Even if we manage to confirm that someone who looks like your photo is called Michelle, that doesn’t mean that person wrote your comment.

    Setar, I tremble…

    Don’t you know what killfile does? It hides your comments from him. He can’t even see them unless he clicks on “unkill”.

  68. 68
    Michelle

    David, you are only assuming that “Elevator Guy” actually listened to Watson’s talk and was paying attention. You are also assuming he really was saying, “let’s have sex”, AND you are disregarding the fact that he didn’t try to coerce/force her to do so. Being asked to have coffee in a hotel room in “scary”? I hate to tell you the kinds of scary things I and my friends have encountered. This “event” would pale in comparison. Rebecca Watson may well have been scared, but to extrapolate that there is an epidemic of sexual harassment and sexism at TAMs, etc., due to her experience and the bad behavior of a few men is ludicrous.

    No, I did not know what “killfile” does, but I suspected as much. Thank you for informing me. I am not one who typically spends much time following or posting on blogs.

    My name is Michelle Rhea. I live in California. You can find me on Facebook. If I am not an atheist, one wonders why I have edited and published atheist poetry anthologies… http://www.facebook.com/MichelleRhea

  69. 69
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Martha #64:

    Setar, the Gabby Giffords analogy was way out of line.

    Okay…

    And I’m not telling you not to fight.

    That’s a nice explanation to back up your implied claim of false analogy.

    I’m telling you not to turn around and fire your guns at those supporting your position. In fact, even if you’re facing the right direction, you might even want to make sure your target is actually an enemy and not just somebody walking by.

    killfile add Martha -r unexpdis;bascon;falbal;conctr;defdisin(qm)’ -l ‘entropy’

    Comment by Martha blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]
    Reasons: Dismissal of argument without explanation as to how conclusion is false; baseless condescension; false balance; concern trolling; defense of disingenuous argumentation (quote mining)

    Length: Entropic death of the universe

  70. 70
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I should note, the “out of line” ‘criticism’ is — lacking any sort of explanation — no more valid than when people like Cory Booker started wailing at Obama when he attacked Romney’s time at Bain.

    That’s not an argument, it’s a straight out “shut up, I don’t want you talking about that”, and I don’t understand how anyone can come onto a skeptical community and think that will hold any weight. “Shut up” is not an argument. It never has been. And that’s what half of this entire fucking harassment debacle has been about: getting people to stop using “shut up” as any sort of counterargument to feminism.

  71. 71
    tigtog

    Isn’t it interesting how every time a post noting the evolution of the anti-Rebecca memes goes up, there is an influx of folks who want to pretend that we’re still just talking about what happened in one hotel elevator one night in Dublin.

    This level of laziness is quite insulting, and it’s certainly not very skeptical.

  72. 72
    Ray Moscow

    You have to admit, the organisers are doing their best to boost women’s attendence at future TAM’s.

    Now they just need a blackface minstrel show to boost the minority turnout.

  73. 73
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’?

    I hope that question was meant for the author of the song in the post, but you forgot to address it properly.

  74. 74
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Also note that I don’t support the idea the elevator guy is fictional.

    Is anyone still wondering why Surly Amy, as one of the Skepchicks, might have felt quite unwelcome at TAM?
    This contributes to the hostile atmosphere that people were talking about when there were discussions about that t shirt and why Surly Amy left. People made quite a production of mocking skepchicks.

  75. 75
    julian

    To suggest that being propositioned in an elevator by means of asking one for coffee in the middle of the night approximates sexual assault does a huge disservice to the millions of women (and men) who have suffered actual sexual harassment, attacks or rape.

    So you applaud him when he told rape and sexual assault survivors if they’re ever worried in an elevator all they have to do is hit the off button?

    At least you’re honest.

  76. 76
    dirigible

    “What I see from my perspective is an extreme over-reaction to a non-event.”

    People certainly have over-reacted to someone saying “guys, don’t do that”.

    “To suggest that being propositioned in an elevator by means of asking one for coffee in the middle of the night approximates sexual assault”

    That was not what was suggested.

    “Rebecca Watson may well have been scared, but to extrapolate that there is an epidemic of sexual harassment and sexism at TAMs, etc., due to her experience and the bad behavior of a few men is ludicrous.”

    That is not what has happened.

    Getting back to the song, it is sneering false equivalence and misogyny wrapped up in all-guys-together jocularity.

    Ugh.

  77. 77
    michellefitzgerald

    @Michelle

    You… you’re just… really depressing the crap out of me right now. You come in here and make a bunch of false claims, misrepresent the situation, ignore other situations and just flat out ignore a whole load of details and then act like you know anything about what’s happening now or has happened since then.

    I’ll bring you up to speed. Watson made a video where she calmly and even playfully explained what happened. Dude got into an elevator alone with her at 4am and asked for ‘coffee’. Lets just ignore for a minute everything and anything you’re going to guess about what that means. Sure. Lets just take it to mean he literally only wanted to enjoy a cup of Joe with her. What followed was this: Watson said (about following women into elevators at 4am when it’s just you and her): “Guys don’t do that.”

    What followed was a shit storm of hate and vitriol against her. If you fail to see what is uncomfortable, creepy and flat out wrong with cornering someone in an elevator then you’re just being naive. If you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in that situation GOOD FOR YOU! But you know who would? Other people. Other people not you. Me for example. That would freak me the ever loving hell out. So here we have two people disagreeing with how creepy a situation is or not. Do we get to cancel out each others feelings? Maybe we should take the more sound and logical approach which is: You can’t know people’s minds so the best thing to do is error on the side of caution. Which is to say: Don’t assume about a person. Approach them in the most open and easy way possible. Enclosed spaces are not ‘open’ by definition of the very word ‘enclosed’.

    If you want to actually know the real details about this feel free to contact me in private because right now you’re showing an astounding level of ignorance and it’s just making me want to slit my god damned wrists because I am sick to freakin’ DEATH of people coming in and getting this whole thing so damned wrong.

    Otokogoroshi at g mail is my private email. Hell anyone can drop me a line I get shit all the time.

  78. 78
    julian

    Getting back to the song, it is sneering false equivalence and misogyny wrapped up in all-guys-together jocularity.

    Michelle’s kind of people.

  79. 79
    David Marjanović

    David, you are only assuming that “Elevator Guy” actually listened to Watson’s talk and was paying attention.

    It’s a reasonable assumption when he was seen in the audience.

    You are also assuming he really was saying, “let’s have sex”,

    I’ve explained why I think so.

    AND you are disregarding the fact that he didn’t try to coerce/force her to do so.

    Nope. That only became apparent after he had left the elevator, up to which point Watson had every reason to be, if not outright afraid, then creeped out.

    Being asked to have coffee in a hotel room in “scary”? I hate to tell you the kinds of scary things I and my friends have encountered.

    Excuse me, did anybody say whatever you’ve encountered is OK???

    to extrapolate that there is an epidemic of sexual harassment and sexism at TAMs, etc.

    Epidemic? No, we’re only saying it’s going on at all and should be stopped instead of ignored.

    My name is

    Do I look like I care? What you wrote was wrong, no matter what name got attached to it.

  80. 80
    Christopher Camp

    Well I am yet to see evidence that he exists. All I’ve seen is a talking head YT video.

    Seriously people? Shall we talk about Harry Potter and how his behaviour is often inappropriate?

  81. 81
    Dave

    On a point of info, “You can’t tell people how they ought to feel” only works even in the loosest sense when the people doing the feeling are having feelings you approve of. It is also a) untrue – people can and do tell people all sorts of things, and b) based on a potent but dangerous elision between what one “feels” and how one enunciates that “feeling” to others. Trying to make it a generalisation ends up with the requirement to uphold the right of others to make any misogynistic statement that pops into their heads, because, hey, “You can’t tell people how they ought to feel”.

    If you mean that “A woman ought to have the ability to express herself without reservation, especially in regards to her bodily autonomy, when confronted with the consequences of patriarchy”, then you’re closer to a meaningful statement, but you’ve also had to make it both specific and most definitely divisively political. Which is fine, and honest, [and, incidentally, something with which I totally agree], whereas hiding behind bland generalisations about what everyone ought to do all the time isn’t.

    This message has been brought to you by the ongoing campaign [200 years and counting] to point out that the language of universal and inalienable rights is nonsense on stilts.

  82. 82
    Forbidden Snowflake

    David, you are only assuming that “Elevator Guy” actually listened to Watson’s talk and was paying attention.

    Since the only vaguely possible alternative to “he was asking for sex” is “he was just interested in hearing her thoughts”, you’re not doing him any favors by suggesting that maybe he wasn’t interested in listening to her.

    You are also assuming he really was saying, “let’s have sex”,

    Actually, he gave his reasons for reaching that conclusion, and you chose to ignore them.

    AND you are disregarding the fact that he didn’t try to coerce/force her to do so.

    There are forms of bad behavior that are smaller than sexual assault and which still constitute bad behavior, you know.

    Being asked to have coffee in a hotel room in “scary”? I hate to tell you the kinds of scary things I and my friends have encountered. This “event” would pale in comparison.

    More of the same fallacy. The fact that there are scarier things in the world does not mean that this couldn’t have been scary. Nor does it mean that she should have to put up with “less scary” behavior silently.

    Rebecca Watson may well have been scared, but to extrapolate that there is an epidemic of sexual harassment and sexism at TAMs, etc., due to her experience and the bad behavior of a few men is ludicrous.

    Here are the things you lied about:
    1) You pretended that the entire claim of sexism was a conclusion from this single incident, and not from the huge amount of sexist shit-throwing that followed it, or other reports of harassment.
    2) This “epidemic of sexual harassment” seems to be a moldy strawman that nobody actually said.
    3) You minimized the issue to “the bad behavior of a few men”, as though the bad behavior of a few people cannot result in a problem affecting many other people.

  83. 83
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Well I am yet to see evidence that he exists. All I’ve seen is a talking head YT video.

    And, of course, the word of a mere woman cannot be taken as evidence.

  84. 84
    David Marjanović

    Watson said (about following women into elevators at 4am when it’s just you and her): “Guys don’t do that.”

    No, she said: “Guys, don’t do that.” It wasn’t a statement of fact, she asked guys not to do that.

    What followed was a shit storm of hate and vitriol against her.

    “ZOMGZ if men and women aren’t allowed to talk to each other anymore, the human species will die out!!!!!1!” This argument was made several times in all seriousness. I wish I were kidding. And yes, it is the extreme, but the entire rest of the range up to this extreme was densely occupied. It was quite sickening to watch.

  85. 85
    David Marjanović

    Well I am yet to see evidence that he exists.

    I have yet to see evidence that he was made up. I note you haven’t even tried to suggest a motive either.

  86. 86
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Now, let’s just evaluate all the arguments about EG again

    1) He doesn’t exist.
    In that case, RW deserves a sharp notice and should have to scrub the Skepchick toilet with a toothbrush for having made up a story.
    But: It doesn’t negate any of the vile vile shit that has happened since. Not the reap-threats, the death threats, the DJ-Grothe debacles, the fucking song. It’s real, real, real.
    Why is her claim credible anyway?
    ->Sadley, not an extraordinary event
    ->The story was told in the most unimpressive story. It was the end of a pretty boring video. She never screamed “I was almost raped in an elevator”

    2) He didn’t know that she had made it clear that she didn’t want that kind of attention.
    In that case he was lying about “I’m interested in what you say” ->creeeeeeeepyyyyyy
    Also, see point one about the shitstorm that followed

    3) He really meant coffee. Let’s suspend all we know about bars with coffee and barristers for a moment and imagine that he was simply unaware of the trope and the baggage and wanted coffee. He had no idea he would come off as a creep.
    In that case he should be glad to know better now. Also see points 1 and 2

  87. 87
    Matt Penfold

    Is someone still trying to claim that asking someone for coffee in a lift at 4am is just asking someone for coffee ?

    How thick are these people ? And where the fuck have they been hiding the last 12 months ? And how the fuck did they manage to grow up being quite so clueless ?

  88. 88
    Kaoru Negisa

    Let’s suspend all we know about bars with coffee and barristers for a moment…

    “Barista.” A barrister is a lawyer. Unless you’re casting aspersions at lawyers, to which I say “have at.” %)

    Seriously, suggesting that “coffee” doesn’t mean “sex” is incredibly dense (I’m not suggesting Giliell did, but piggybacking off their comment). Unless Watson neglected to mention that Elevator Guy was the President of Burundi. I’m sure all the “skeptics” about her story wouldn’t forget that detail if she had mentioned it.

  89. 89
    carlie

    Yes, the only thing we care about is an encounter in an elevator.

    Not the year of rape and death threats made directly to her, the thousands of crude comments made on the internet about her.

    Not the women who were harassed at conferences and reported about it.

    Not the conference organizer who attacked some of his best supporters for daring to speak about their own experiences.

    Not the conference attendees who further antagonized and harassed some of the conference’s best supporters.

    Not the conference organizers who crafted a shitty policy that made harassed people feel even more victimized.

    Not the thousands and thousands (no, I am not exaggerating) of comments being dismissive and uncritical and unskeptical and blinkered and biased about how what women have to actually live with every day of their lives from people exactly like those making the comments.

    No, we just care about the elevator. Go ahead and keep telling yourself that, and keep being confused about why people care so much. We’ll just point and laugh at your inability to make proper observations.

  90. 90
    carlie

    Seinfeld on what coffee means.

  91. 91
    Bernard Bumner

    Debates over the existence of Elevator Guy, again?

    If Elevator Guy was nothing more than a bogeyman, it would do nothing to undermine the overwhelming evidence of the last year that there is a rotten streak running through the skeptical community, such as it is. She started it could never mitigate the putrid, vile, and petty behaviour of so many noisy people who would like us to believe that they have higher standards.

    If this was all about a mere lie, then what should be the appropriate punishment? Death threats, wishing sexual violence and bloody retribution, attacking someone emotionally, personally, professionally, attacking their friends, colleagues, and supporters?

    On the other hand, what if we take seriously the original accusation? What if nothing is lost, and much is gained? Where is the cost?

    Before anyone wastes verbiage to cast doubt on the account, they should just explain why that is important, and exactly what is at stake.

  92. 92
    Christopher Camp

    @ 89 I am going to err on the side of caution and say that he most probably does not exist.

    Now your question: did Watson’s trolls react maturely, appropriately, proportianately, thoughtfully, considerately?

    Well, trolls never do. They would not be trolls if they did.

    And you have to admit that this kind of clumsy, obvious self-flattery (‘some creep *no names, noone else saw him* told me how fascinating and amazingly attractive I am. He was soooooo creepy so I told him to get lost.’) will attract hordes of trolls of it becomes widely known. It’s not a good thing but you may as well complain about the weather.

    Just my two little bits…

  93. 93
    Kaoru Negisa

    @90 So what you’re saying is “haters gonna hate” and we should ignore the overwhelming number of rape and death threats that still are aimed at Watson?

    You say “err on the side of caution” as if you’re risking anything by believing her. What are you being cautious about? How about “err on the side on not calling people liars who haven’t exhibited behavior that implies they are likely to lie”? People didn’t question Watson’s years of making statements on Skepchick or SGU, they didn’t assume that her articles were ghostwritten for her or any explanations of the foibles of religious wackos were invented to make her look more skeptical. However, the moment she reasonably asks people not to come on to women in elevators, suddenly everybody is “erring on the side of caution.”

    There is no reason to ignore trolls just because they exist. It’s like ignoring Christmas displays on public land because people are going to keep trying to illegally put them up, or ignoring creationism being pushed into schools because whenever somebody tries to teach evolution there will be a fundy who says the Bible got it right.

    So stop trying to No True Scotsman away the behavior of thousands of people who only seem to doubt things said by a woman when it might reflect poorly on a man.

  94. 94
    Christopher Camp

    Yes, it is best to starve aggressive attention-seekers off what they feed on: attention.

    To err on the side of caution simply means to go with the answer that is most likely to be correct, given all the evidence.

    Exhibit #1: nobody saw the illusive ‘elevator guy’.

    Exhibit #2: plenty of insecure people (in particular those insecure about the level of their attractiveness) try to flatter themselves in public with this kind of invented anecdote. The ‘creepy guy’, second main character in those anecdotes, invariably rides off into the sunset without ever being seen by anyone.

  95. 95
    Ophelia Benson

    Sally @ 51 (and Martha, but I’ve emailed her to explain) – it was accidental – a false positive while I wasn’t here. A byproduct of trolls—>extra filtering. Sorry.

  96. 96
    Kaoru Negisa

    It is not out of the ordinary for only two people to be in an elevator, nor is it strange for men to hit on women at conferences, nor has Watson previously exhibited the insecurity that you’re referring to nor a propensity for lying. It is not the “answer that is most likely to be correct, given all the evidence.” Rather is flies in the face of evidence of Watson’s character up to that point.

    And no, it is not best to starve attention seekers of attention because they will get louder until you respond to them. It is better to confront, shame, and ridicule them until they realize that people will not take their shit. This idiotic notion that the way to handle a bully is to ignore them bears very little resemblance to reality. Ignoring bullies doesn’t make them go away, it empowers them.

  97. 97
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher Camp says:

    Exhibit #1: nobody saw the illusive ‘elevator guy’.

    Exhibit #2: plenty of insecure people (in particular those insecure about the level of their attractiveness) try to flatter themselves in public with this kind of invented anecdote. The ‘creepy guy’, second main character in those anecdotes, invariably rides off into the sunset without ever being seen by anyone.

    This is silly. Rebecca Watson saw him. In a court you couldn’t simply ignore her evidence. As for your Exhibit #2, as it stands I can’t see it being ruled admissible. Of course in cross examination your could put it to her that she was an insecure person trying to flatter herself with an invented anecdote. I don’t know what her response would be, but, in view of the fact that she has not been silenced by rape or death threats, I don’t think it would be one that would tend to support the accusation.

    Incidentally, I don’t personally believe Exhibit #2 is true but I am willing to be persuaded otherwise if you can give me references to peer-reviewed research on the subject.

  98. 98
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 94 – absolute nonsense. There is nothing inherently improbable or bizarre about the elevator incident. It’s not “erring on the side of caution” to disbelieve an ordinary anecdote about an ordinary (though irritating) event.

    People seem to read it backwards, and think the ensuing outcry went back in time to make the incident itself improbable. It doesn’t work that way. Rebecca had absolutely no reason to think the anecdote would trigger an avalanche of hatred and shouting, or incredulity. The anecdote is on its face the opposite of implausible.

  99. 99
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh and the Exhibit 2 thing – I can add a bit of testimony, now that I’ve met Rebecca. I’ve said this before – she’s fairly magnetic. She’s funny and interesting and just in some indefinable way charismatic. I strongly doubt that she’s particularly insecure in the way @94 suggests. People glom around her like filings to a magnet.

  100. 100
    Marta

    @59

    “People like you are the reason why Gabrielle Giffords got shot.”

    No. I’m not having it.

    I’m all for strong pushback in argument, but this is completely over the top.

  101. 101
    Deen

    plenty of insecure people (in particular those insecure about the level of their attractiveness) try to flatter themselves in public with this kind of invented anecdote.

    Citation sorely needed.

  102. 102
    Cipher

    Exhibit #1: nobody saw the illusive ‘elevator guy’.

    Exhibit #2: plenty of insecure people (in particular those insecure about the level of their attractiveness) try to flatter themselves in public with this kind of invented anecdote. The ‘creepy guy’, second main character in those anecdotes, invariably rides off into the sunset without ever being seen by anyone.

    Uh… really?
    Exhibit #3: Women get hit on by guys in inappropriate ways and contexts all the time.

  103. 103
    Bernard Bumner

    To err on the side of caution simply means to go with the answer that is most likely to be correct, given all the evidence.

    And then you proceed to offer a hand-waving explanation which hinges upon an dismissal of the only evidence we have (her word) along with a shoddy, unsupported generalisation.

    Your working defnition of err on the side of caution actually seems to be that you invent supposition to support you own prejudice.

    Here is the thing, though: you’ve spent more words condemning Rebecca Watson as an attention seeker, than you did dismissing what to you are mere trolls.

    What sort of person spends more time attacking an attention seeker than stating their opposition to people who threaten ruin, fear, violence, rape, and murder?

    Even if your flimsy premise were coincidentally true, you’ve clearly deminstrated that you’re not a very nice person, and that your priorities are quite perversely skewed.

  104. 104
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Michelle:

    Female feminist skeptic/atheist here…

    That’s nice. Because women can’t be misogynists, amirite?

    Martha, while I wasn’t too fond of the Giffords remark, either, Setár is right overall. Handwringing over “fairness” in the most picayune matters hamstrings the left. Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise. You will simply never get some people on your side and the best you can do is marginalize their ability to do others harm. Other people who unwittingly abet them need to be brought up short, because they are causing harm indirectly.

    Forbidden Snowflake:

    This is a sample of the school of skeptical thought known as “make up a narrative and repeat it many times, hoping that the bandwagon effect and source amnesia will get people to believe it eventually.”

    “The bigger the lie, the more readily it will be believed.” (Hi, Orac! Was that okay?)

    Ray Moscow:

    Now they just need a blackface minstrel show to boost the minority turnout.

    Oh, fucking OUCH.

    (And, judging by some comments I’ve seen about race on certain “skeptic” websites, I’ve no doubt some of them would think it a great idea.)

    Christopher Camp, your hyperskepticism is glaring, as is your misogyny. Men making women nervous in the interest of getting their dicks wet is so commonplace as to not need any extraordinary proof. Your sneering about “self-flattery” falls into the same continuum as people who insist that rape is a compliment. And your bullshit about not feeding trolls has likewise been debunked.

    Matt, they’re not thick. They’re outright dishonest.

  105. 105
    Tom Foss

    I might have an easier time thinking that the anti-FTB/anti-
    Skepchick crowds were coming from a position of genuine disagreement if they didn’t constantly resort to the tactics we see from Creationists (and other denialists, for that matter).

    “Elevator Guy was fictional” = “Lucy is a fake/deformed human”

    “You guys are still talking about the elevator?” = “[Solitary piece of evidence] was disproved, therefore evolution is false!”

    “More and more atheists/skeptics are seeing the FTBullies for what they are!” = “More and more scientists doubt evolution!”

    “FreethoughtBlogs is dying!” = “Evolution is a dying theory!”

    “Feminist dogma” = “Darwinist religion”

    “Nazis!” = “Nazis!”

    And so on, and so on, ad infinitum.

  106. 106
    Martha

    @Marta: Thank you. I was shocked by the hostility of that remark. I’ve seen cases where it’s warranted, but unless I expressed myself incredibly unclearly, this wasn’t one of them. I do understand that tempers are frayed. I’ve only been here for the last 20% or so of this battle, so I can only imagine what it feels like to have been fighting with misogynists and those who purposely minimize the feminist perspective. So I don’t take this personally, at least not after sleeping on it.

    @Daisy:

    Thanks for your response– I really appreciate it.

    Handwringing over “fairness” in the most picayune matters hamstrings the left. Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise. You will simply never get some people on your side and the best you can do is marginalize their ability to do others harm. Other people who unwittingly abet them need to be brought up short, because they are causing harm indirectly.

    I basically agree with you. I certainly don’t agree with Neil that we should all get along– I think you and Setar are right about that. I just read Neil’s statement as awkwardly put rather than making it clear that he’s one of the people we were never going to convince. I may well have been wrong about that– I’ve certainly haven’t caught some of the trolls here as early in the conversation as those of you who have been here longer.

    In my personal battles with sexism at work, I find that the bad cop-good cop routine works better than all bad cop. I’ve played both sides, and I’m probably a better good cop (if I can keep a straight face). But I’ve been the bad cop often enough that I know damned well the good cop can’t be at all effective with out the bad one. I don’t have as much experience on a wider scale, but my instinct is that more public fights need both, too.

    Strangely enough, the last time I made a comment supporting someone I thought had phrased his argument awkwardly but was basically a good guy, it turned out that the harsh comment had been left by someone from the other side trying to make this blog look bad for its supposed hostility. I guess I’d rather err on the side of giving someone who isn’t an obvious asshole a break, as most of them make it clear before very long. But that’s a matter of personal style, not a proscription for everyone else.

    Anyway, thanks again.

  107. 107
    Michelle

    Wow. Now I know why I don’t visit blogs often and comment even less often.

    I post here for the first time ever, without insulting language, without calling anyone names. I even provide my real name. Within minutes, and still hours later, I am labeled a liar, a person without adequate reading comprehension, possibly a misogynist, etc.

    It would be pointless to continue. I’ll leave you all to your self-righteous certainty that anyone who dares to disagree with you is an idiot, a liar, and/or a woman hater.

    ~Michelle Rhea

  108. 108
    carlie

    Michelle – no need to keep throwing your name around like a self-righteous cudgel. Nobody actually cares what your legal name is, they care whether you’re saying things well and supporting your points with evidence.

  109. 109
    Christopher Camp

    Honestly? This much swearing, ad hominem attack and hand-wringing over what may very well be a very archetypical character in a story?

    1.) I did not say that EG *definitely* does not exist. I said that for as long as I am yet to see evidence, I am going to err on the side of safety.

    2.) My statement that her kind of self-flattery is pretty commonplace is a statement based on personal experience, just as are other contributor’s assertions that ‘men enjoy getting their dicks wet by frightening women’ (et al.). It’s just silly to try and deflect this with this defensive ‘citation needed’ thing.

    3.) As for the claim that ‘don’t feed the trolls’ doesn’t work, consider this. I do not think of myself as a troll. For instance, unlike some other people, I did not personally attack anyone on this thread. But I keep coming back. Why? Because *people answer me*. People who get attention, continue engaging. That’s the nature of the beast.

    Seriously people, with Your ad hominem attacks – You’re getting Your Good Selves all hot under Your collars over a lot of nothing. None of the above is hypersceptical. This idea that ‘don’t feed the trolls’ is in some way analogous to ‘don’t wear skimpy clothes if you don’t want to attract unwanted attention.’ is particularly flimsy.

  110. 110
    Ophelia Benson

    In what sense is it “the side of safety” to refuse to believe a perfectly ordinary account?

    If a friend of yours reported someone being rude on a bus would you consider it “the side of safety” to refuse to believe it?

    Again: remember that when Rebecca reported the incident she had no idea – no clue – it was going to explode. It was just an ordinary part of an ordinary video. It was routine. Nothing was at stake. So why the hell would she make it up? What for?

  111. 111
    Kaoru Negisa

    1. Again, “safety” from what? What is so unsafe about not assuming that a person with no documented history of lying or attention seeking, who had just finished a talk about not hitting on her, would very suddenly and contra-established behavior invent somebody to complain about? How, exactly, is that erring on the side of safety and not repeating pointless memes?

    2. Oh. I didn’t realize you had anecdotal evidence. Well, that just clears up everything, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what you mean by “men enjoy getting their dicks wet by frightening women”. You are aware that that’s not how that works, right? Well, I guess pre-cum, but the generally understood use of the phrase requires a more fluid-rich environment. I think what you meant to say is that we only have anecdotes to show that men frighten women in an attempt to get their dicks wet. And the thing is, we don’t just have anecdotes. We have statistical evidence. In fact, this happens so often we have terms for it: sexual harassment and sexual assault. They’re crimes and everything. I certainly hope these aren’t things made up by feminists to distract police from stopping crimes that really happen.

    3. Well, yes, but as we talk to you more, you continue to make bad arguments, and in the future people can see who you are and recognize that, for example, you think anecdotal evidence is somehow meaningful and can be more wary of any fact claims you make since they may be based on “personal experience.”

  112. 112
    Christopher Camp

    1.) Every blogger, every YouTuber has a documented history of attention seeking. And everybody lies. I err on the side of safety, because I have never seen EG guy, read anything by him, hward his voice. It is that simple.

    2.) Providing anecdotal experience in support of a claim (not legitimate) and basing a personal judgement on personal experience (absolutely legitimate). Are two different things altogether. The expression you found amusing is an expression I took from one of my interlocutors on here.

    3.) I do not understand your third point.

    @ Ophelia Benson – yes, you are right, of course. Nobody said that the elevator anecdote *definitely* did not happen. I have simply stated my incredulity based on the illusiveness on that character.

  113. 113
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher Camp says:

    I did not say that EG *definitely* does not exist. I said that for as long as I am yet to see evidence, I am going to err on the side of safety.

    Yet the only evidence we have says he does exist. I can see no particular reason to think Rebecca Watson was not telling the truth. If you want to throw doubt on this evidence, you’ll have to do better than saying that some insecure people tell porkies – I already knew that.

    If you present your argument as if you were presenting evidence in a court then you should expect it to be judged by the standards of a court. Your Exhibit #2 would only be accepted from an expert witness, and the court would want to be satisfied of the source of that expertise. Even then you would have to establish that this evidence actually applies to Ms. Watson. The implication of what you are saying is that the safest assumption is that she is a liar, as this is not a case where she could have been mistaken. If you are going to make an accusation like that you had better have a very good reason.

  114. 114
    Christopher Camp

    @ Bernard Hurley – Doubt and scepticism do not require evidence. Only positive claims do. Compare what you said to William Lane Craig’s assertion that the only evidence we have re Jesus Christ’s resurrection points to the veracity of Christ’s resurrection.

  115. 115
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher Camp says:

    Providing anecdotal experience in support of a claim (not legitimate) and basing a personal judgement on personal experience (absolutely legitimate). Are two different things altogether.

    The objections to anecdotal evidence are either that it is statistically insignificant, as would be the case if Ms. Watson’s evidence was taken to be evidence for something like “All men ask women to have coffee in their rooms in elevators at 4.00 am”, or that it is subject to biases that can not be controlled for, which would not be the applicable to this case. As for the question of telling the truth, this has nothing to do with the type of evidence; it’s not unknown for experimental results to be faked. What specific reasons do you have for supposing Ms. Watson was not telling the truth in this instance? “Everybody lies” is not good enough.

  116. 116
    Tom Foss

    I can’t wait for National Geographic Channel’s new series, “Chasing Elevator Guy,” where a team of young WASPy cryptozoologists and their token calls-themselves-a-skeptic go in search of the mysterious and elusive Elevator Guy, with night-vision cameras and audio recording equipment, but only ever come back with some blurry video and maybe footprint casts.

  117. 117
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher, what I said about Ms. Watson’s evidence is trivially true; Craig’s claim is, to say the least of it, contentious. Besides even if Craig’s claim were true, two claims are not in the least comparable in terms of their evidential requirements. If Ms. Watson had claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to her in the elevator at 4.00 am., you might have a point.

  118. 118
    Christopher Camp

    @ Bernard Hurley – Statistical significance? I am sorry but I was not aware that statistics exist on the likelihood to be asked upstairs for a cup of coffee in a lift at 4 in the morning. Statistics are very slippery and I should advise caution: somebody on this thread has already claimed that statistics support the anecdote, because based on those statistics, sexual harassment is ‘widespread’. That, imho, begs the question.

  119. 119
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher, read what I actually said about anecdotal evidence before commenting on it please.

  120. 120
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Martha:

    I may well have been wrong about that– I’ve certainly haven’t caught some of the trolls here as early in the conversation as those of you who have been here longer.

    I think this is the crux of the problem. After a while certain words, phrases, and attitudes ping your radar as dishonest.

    …aaaand Michelle Rhea and Christopher Camp resort to tone-trolling, plus a flounce by Michelle.

  121. 121
    Ophelia Benson

    Christopher Camp, answer my questions @ 110 before you say anything more, please.

  122. 122
    TooManyJens

    Christopher Camp, either you assume that everything everyone ever says on a blog or on YouTube is made up until they provide you with independent evidence otherwise (which you don’t), or you are applying a special standard to Rebecca. In which case, you need to explain why that standard applies to her but not to others.

  123. 123
    TooManyJens

    “If Ms. Watson had claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to her in the elevator at 4.00 am., you might have a point.”

    If Rebecca had claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to her in the elevator at 4.00 am., a lot of “skeptics” would hate her less than they do for daring to ask a guy not to do something.

  124. 124
    Christopher Camp

    @ Ophelia Benson, about #110 – I am not sure if the story is an ‘account’ of anything that really happened. If it were I would consider it anything but ‘perfectly ordinary’. Consider the brouhaha conjured up by the story, both on the inventor’s/recounter’s side and on her troll’s side.

    Where I live, rudeness on public transportation is pretty commonplace. Being asked into a hotel room for coffee is not. The person on the bus harassing an elderly citizen or a child is *a common sight* I have no incredulity at all when a person gives me their account of that. Being asked at very early in the morning is *rare*.

    @ Bernard Hurley, apologies, my last response was in reference to an earlier post. I think my response to Ophelia Benson is also my response to you: people flattering themselves in public in an effort to paper over cracks in their self-esteem is a *common, every day experience*. You see it all the time. The elevator story is rare. What makes the story an even more difficult purchase for me (I just re-watched the video in question plus the follow-up video) is Rebecca Watson’s attempt at making the story more *intetesting* the second time she tells it. There was no mention of EG ‘cornering’ her the first time she told it. The second time, there was. Other devices to make it seem more dramatic were also deployed. This type of early-in-its-evolution embellishment of a narrative is also a characzeristic of an invented story. Compare this e.g. To Muhammad’s wild ride through the sky.

  125. 125
    Jafafa Hots

    @ 89 I am going to err on the side of my prejudice and say that he most probably does not exist.

    Fixed it for you.

  126. 126
    michellefitzgerald

    Where I live, rudeness on public transportation is pretty commonplace. Being asked into a hotel room for coffee is not. The person on the bus harassing an elderly citizen or a child is *a common sight* I have no incredulity at all when a person gives me their account of that. Being asked at very early in the morning is *rare*.

    WAIT… so because it’s rare -where you are- and -in your experience- you’re going to discount it? Ignoring all the women who have had it happen to them?

  127. 127
    Jafafa Hots

    Because, of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to call someone a liar (which is what you’re doing) based on you not having been there, clearly knowing nothing about the incident, but having an opinion anyway which you give more weight because it’s your important opinion

    These people are skeptics? That they think they are is enough reason to avoid a “skeptics” convention filled with their ilk.

  128. 128
    Ophelia Benson

    CC – but considering the brouhaha is exactly what I pointed out – you shouldn’t be considering the brouhaha because Rebecca did not know it was going to happen – and it certainly wasn’t inevitable, or an obvious result of what she said. You have to consider the story without the aftermath.

    And come on – a man hitting on a woman late at night is “rare”? No it isn’t. If a friend told you a guy hit on her late at night, would you think it “erring on the side of safety” to assume she was lying?

  129. 129
    601

    The existence of the historical Elevator Guy or Jesus is completely irrelevant.

    Hypothetically, if Rebecca Watson had fabricated the story in order to flush out thousands of misogynists with a simple “guys, don’t do that” then she would be even more brilliant than I had thought.

    Being terrified of false accusations is no excuse to deny the reality of asymmetric harassment.

  130. 130
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher, according to UK Department of Trade and Industry Statistics for 2009:

    One fifth of all UK employees have experienced some form of bullying or harassment over the last two years… Over one in ten employees say
    they are aware of others at work being bullied

    This includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment. If you ever get involved in this area of trade union case work you will realise that many serial offenders make a point of only offending when there are no independent witnesses. It can be quite difficult to build up a case against such people as victims are often unwilling to take the case to an industrial tribunal but it can be done. Six figure damages awards have been made in sexual harassment cases. Sexual harassment is very common. So much so that the Hearing Guidance Videos on the official UK employment tribunal web site involve a case of alleged sexual harassment:

    http://www.justice.gov.uk/tribunals/employment/hearings/demonstration-video

    I seriously think you ought to educate yourself about harassment in general and sexual harassment in particular. You can start by looking here:

    http://www.dignityatwork.org/default.htm

    It is also worth pointing out to any of the people making rape threats or death threats who are UK citizens that it is a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1977 to make repeated threats of violence, whether intentionally or not. On first conviction such a person could face up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000. If I come across evidence such actions I will not hesitate to inform the police. If things go on as they are, I predict that there will be a high profile such case in the next few years.

  131. 131
    Ophelia Benson

    Gee, I wish “franc hoggle” were a UK citizen. He’d be convicted in a heartbeat.

  132. 132
    Martha

    …aaaand Michelle Rhea and Christopher Camp resort to tone-trolling, plus a flounce by Michelle.

    Don’t worry, Daisy, those two were obvious from the start!

    Did she stick the flounce?

  133. 133
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Ms. Daisy Cutter #104:

    Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise.

    And it should be noted strongly that this is not an ideal state. We don’t want this. Problem is — as we’ve seen with the Slimepit — the other side doesn’t care; they want their way, even if it means pounding us into silence.

    Or shooting us.

  134. 134
    Ophelia Benson

    My gnomes, forsooth. I wish I had gnomes.

  135. 135
    psanity

    601:

    You are so right. Before the mild remonstrance, “Guys, don’t do that” issued from Rebecca’s lips, in the context of having been asked to speak on how to get more women involved with skeptic organizations, we only knew there was a problem. Now, we know the length, breadth, and depth of it; which people and organizations are choosing to remain part of the problem; and which people and organizations are choosing to work on solving it.

    Also, for every person who has commented publicly that now they understand harassment issues, or that they now understand them better, or that they are now better able to express themselves on the subject, there are doubtless many more lurking for whom those things are true.

  136. 136
    Christopher Camp

    @ Bernard Hurley – thanks for your last post. Indeed, it would appear that bullying and harassment is a problem at workplaces everywhere.

    However, to deduct from this that sexual harassment is a widespread problem is a a nonsequitur. Same goes for the example footage from a CCTV camera: that the organisation chose sexual harassment as an example is one thing. It simply does not follow that sexual harassment is widespread.

    I do not want to get onto that slippery slope toward ‘sexual harassment does not happen’. But one should not ignore the fact that it is a highly politicised crime and it is almost impossible to take a sober look at topics like rape or sexual harassment.

    Take the issue at hand, for instance. A guy, who may very well not even exist, is said to behave in a socially awkward manner. The moment the story is told, two factions are formed: one side is screaming at the other with a lot of trolling that contains a lot of rapey language, while the other faction wallows in faux indignance and self-pity. One side says there was nothing at all wrong with EG’s behaviour, whule other one starts accusing him of sexual harassment and attempted rape. All the while, there is a strong possibility the guy doesn’t even exist.

    @ Ophelia Benson – I am sorry, but ‘oh come on’ is not an argument. Rudeness on busses is common. The alleged event – a woman at 4 in the morning in an elevator being asked out for coffee – is rare. It is not the same as people being ‘hit on’. That is common.

    I question two things:

    - that ‘Elevator Guy’ is a real person. The troll fest that followed was an example of atheist/secular energy being wasted.

    - the prima facie assumption that sexual harassment is commonplace and asymmetric.

    And I am sorry, but personal hostility toward certain organisations, or individuals, or men in general, are not arguments. Nor are nonsequiturs.

  137. 137
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher,

    I question two things:

    - that ‘Elevator Guy’ is a real person. The troll fest that followed was an example of atheist/secular energy being wasted.

    Unless you can show good reason to suppose that Ms. Watson was either dishonest, mistaken, temporarily deluded or insane, you have no right to question her testimony. Unless and until you can provide evidence to the contrary, my assumption will have to be that she was telling the truth.

    - the prima facie assumption that sexual harassment is commonplace and asymmetric.

    I refer you to the following study: http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/pdflibrary/wp10.pdf by Marc Cowling and Alice Sinclair of the Institute for Employment Studies, University of Sussex. This shows that in the UK there (at least) 3.5% of workers were sexually harassed in the UK workplace in 2010. This represents 3,799,108 cases in 2,241,580 of which the victims were women.

  138. 138
    Ray Moscow

    Christopher takes the moral and intellectual high ground by effectively calling Rebecca a liar. Plus, he sticks up for us dudes by questioning the assertion that sexual harassment is common or ‘assymetric’. Well done, my man!

  139. 139
    Jafafa Hots

    A guy, who may very well not even exist,

    All the while, there is a strong possibility the guy doesn’t even exist.

    The alleged event

    You pretend (completely uncovincingly) to be impartial but yet your argument consists entirely of assertions and allegations that you have no evidence to support and rejections of evidence without providing any basis whatsoever for that rejection.

    In the quotes above you are asserting that Rebecca Watson is a liar. Or at least “may very well” or “is a strong possibility” that she’s a liar.

    Evidence for the existence of EG is the testimony of Rebecca Watson. Not conclusive, but there it is. Support for it is Rebecca Watson’s character and the circumstances – she is well known, not known as a liar, was at an event that she had no reason to try to cause trouble for as SHE WAS PROMOTING IT, recruiting women to attend, and felt no ill will or discomfort towards it, and the mention of EG was a minor thing in passing that she had no way of knowing would be viciously pounced on.

    Please present your evidence that she is a liar. Support YOUR allegation.

    The moment the story is told, two factions are formed: one side is screaming at the other with a lot of trolling that contains a lot of rapey language, while the other faction wallows in faux indignance and self-pity.

    And here again you both reject known facts for which there is ample evidence without refuting that evidence AND make assertions without providing the slightest bit of support for them.

    You assert that two factions are formed “the moment the story is told.” There is plenty of evidence that your claim is false, as is obvious to myself and others who have followed this closely from day 1.

    Reading all blog posts and comments from the start shows that Rebecca Watson made an offhand remark, there was no “faction” with a position on that remark until the anti-RW faction rose up and started threatening her and demeaning her. It was only at that point that those supporting her responded, and not primarily in reaction to the “Elevator Guy” incident itself but rather to the abuse the initial faction was heaping on RW.

    Please go back and read through this evidence – a year’s worth of blog posts and comments, and give evidence as to why it should not be trusted, is inaccurate. Were blogs hacked? Comments added later, dates changed?

    Having done that, then present evidence for your assertion that the factions indeed formed at the same time and your implication that the upset on the pro-RW side was simply about EG and not in fact in response to the abuse she unexpectedly suffered after mentioning it.

    You also allege that the side supportive of RW against the rape and death threats she received were showing “faux indignance.” Please provide evidence to support your allegation that the upset on behalf of what was happening to RW was NOT honest and was faked.

    while other one starts accusing him of sexual harassment and attempted rape.

    Another allegation. There is clear evidence that the vast majority (if not all) of the RW-supportive “faction” did NOT in fact accuse EG of sexual harassment (a few may have, they would not be representative as the evidence shows). Please provide evidence to support this allegation.
    And please show ANY evidence of anyone accusing him of “attempted rape.”

    That is, of course, after you explain why the ample evidence of the falsity of your accusation is not to be believed (hackers again, etc.)

    The alleged event – a woman at 4 in the morning in an elevator being asked out for coffee – is rare.

    Please provide a link to your evidence for this assertion.

    the prima facie assumption that sexual harassment is commonplace and asymmetric.

    More assertions without evidence.
    Please provide evidence to support your allegation that people who feel that “sexual harassment is commonplace and asymmetric” are basing that opinion NOT on the ample evidence of crime statistics and studies, but rather simply as an assumption.

    While you’re at it, please provide your evidence that undermines these crime statistics and study results.
    Finally, please present your evidence that sexual harassment IS symmetric.

    Christopher, you are NOT a skeptic, you are a denialist.
    You reject evidence-based claims without rebutting the evidence bit simply because it is your opinion. You make statements as if they are fact that are not only contradicted by ample evidence but for which you provide no support whatsoever – you don’t even attempt to.

    Yes, I am making assertions about you. I am making them based on evidence. Please look above to see it. It is your commentary, and of course the year’s worth of discussion and reports and testimony that is archived across several blogs.
    I am also basing it on the first-hand experience of having witnessed this all unfold on a daily basis (I am disabled, have lots of time, I read it ALL) and on the corroborating reports of dozens of others.

    If you want to make assertions that contradict reality simply because your opinion is more valuable to you, please go form a religion.

  140. 140
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    If you want to make assertions that contradict reality simply because your opinion is more valuable to you, please go form a religion.

    He already has one: the religion of anti-feminism. It’s a close relative to the religion of conservatism.

  141. 141
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I err on the side of safety, because I have never seen EG guy, read anything by him, hward his voice. It is that simple.

    Ah, the “WERE YOU THERE?!?” school of skepticism.

  142. 142
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’?

    I did not say that EG *definitely* does not exist. I said that for as long as I am yet to see evidence, I am going to err on the side of safety.

    Do you realize that on a blog, it’s possible for people to compare what you say to what you said before? If you’re going to tell lies in order to buttress your prejudice and enhance your self-esteem, you need to be cleverer about it.

  143. 143
    bastionofsass

    Christopher Camp said:

    And everybody lies. I err on the side of safety, because I have never seen EG guy, read anything by him, hward his voice. It is that simple.

    I think you’re lying about that. I think you’ve lied about everything you’ve written in any of the comments here. I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary, so I’m going to err on the side of safety and assume you’ve done nothing but lie, lie, and lie some more.

  144. 144
    Christopher Camp

    Bernard Hurley, that is a problem that we in society should try to solve. Note however that in most places (including the country I currently live in, Germany) sexual harassment is a rather small figure compared to the other forms of workplace harassment.

    About your first point (in which I am also going to address some of the other points other contributors have raised): I entered this discussion stating outright that EG was a fictional character. This is not, however, a terminal statement. I did not preclude the possibility that EG *might* be real. Evidence of his existence, however, is yet to be forthcoming.

    Consider this:

    - right after the alleged incident, EG hurried off into a cypress grove, never to be seen or heard of (I admit, that is stretching it) again.

    - in her video, in which she reacted to the first few waves of elevator incident trolling, Rebecca Watson was already getting busy, embellishing the story. EG had now gone from offering a chat in a hotel room over coffee to ‘cornering’ Rebecca Watson. Compare this early-in-its-evolution embellishment of the story to other instances of legendary narrative.

    - also consider the context: just a few hours before, she had been sitting next to Richard Dawkins, who actually has substantive things to say. The contrast was rather striking: here we have an actual scholar who has contributed immensely to evolutionary biology, and there we have someone complaining about her trolls. The ‘guys, don’t do that’ moment in her video is part of a now year long concerted effort to make loud complaints about sexist YouTube and Twitter trolls a legitimate thing to offer as a speech or panel discussion at conferences. Out go Harris and Dawkins’ cerebral and forward-thinking focus on science in the interest of the rationalist and secular cause. In come very anodyne undistinguished people and their endless daily talk show style chatter about trolls.

    In sum, the story is a perfect fit. I don’t think this is a discussion about honesty as much as it is one about the direction the secular cause is going to take. Self-flattery could also play a big part in it. To end this nonsense about elevator guy and the alleged incident, we must keep the discussion wide open. And a wide open discussion would include the question: did it really happen.

    PS: some contributors have tried their hand with the personal angle – ‘denialist’, ‘anti-feminism’, ‘you should form a religion’, ‘misogyny’. Please note that I am not going to get annoyed about anything. But I am also going to fail to respond, in most instances.

  145. 145
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I entered this discussion stating outright that EG was a fictional character. This is not, however, a terminal statement. I did not preclude the possibility that EG *might* be real.

    Yes you did. That is what calling him a fictional character on par with Harry Potter means. You are backpedaling and lying about the unambiguous meaning of your earlier statement.
    Or perhaps you just embellished your case in order to provoke.
    Heh, it’s funny how the things you accuse RW of seem to line up with the things you are guilty of yourself.

    - right after the alleged incident, EG hurried off into a cypress grove, never to be seen or heard of (I admit, that is stretching it) again.

    A lack of statement from him does not somehow disprove her statement.
    Also, here’s how your logic seems to work:
    Rebecca Watson makes a statement -> she’s probably lying, since some people are prone to lie
    EG does not make a statement -> you skip right over the possible explanation that he isn’t interested in that sort of publicity, to the conclusion that he must not exist
    You apply different standards to different lines of evidence in order to prop up your predetermined conclusion.

    - in her video, in which she reacted to the first few waves of elevator incident trolling, Rebecca Watson was already getting busy, embellishing the story. EG had now gone from offering a chat in a hotel room over coffee to ‘cornering’ Rebecca Watson.

    Um, bullshit. Using a different word to describe the same set of facts, in order to clarify what she thought was wrong about his behavior, does not amount to “embellishment” or significant alteration of her initial claim.

    The rest of your comment appears to amount to tone-trolling claiming that since you don’t find Rebecca Watson interesting, that somehow proves that she was seeking attention by lying. That doesn’t make any sense, apart from further demonstrating your bias against her.

  146. 146
    Kaoru Negisa

    To end this nonsense about elevator guy and the alleged incident, we must keep the discussion wide open.

    No, to end this nonsense about elevator guy and this incident that most likely did happen, we must remind every moron who randomly jumps to the conclusion that EG is fake and RW a liar for no other reason than because they don’t think guys hit on women at 4 am or in elevators or in Dublin or any combination thereof that anecdotal evidence (i.e. “well, I’ve never been hit on at 4 am in an elevator, so it must be rare”) and your prejudice are not good reasons to doubt an entirely plausible story from somebody who has not previously been known to be dishonest or attention-seeking.

    Out go Harris and Dawkins’ cerebral and forward-thinking focus on science in the interest of the rationalist and secular cause…

    Oh, so because you don’t find social justice topics interesting, then it’s RW’s fault that we now have to discuss why guys deny perfectly reasonable stories and threaten the person telling them. Are you a DJ Grothe sockpuppet?

  147. 147
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Just found this piece by Amanda Marcotte.

    What drives political polarization more than anything else is the continued assertion that all statements are created equally, and are therefore equally polarizing. If one side (say, a hypothetical political party called the GOB) routinely launches insane accusations (say, that a president is hiding his birth certificate or he’s besties with Terrorist Jim over there), and the other makes hyperbolic but supportable statements in response, equating the former to the latter empowers the former. If anything you do is equally as bad as what the other guy does, the side less committed to any semblance of propriety or restraint is constantly justified in its actions by the very existence of the other side.

  148. 148
    Bernard Hurley

    Christopher Camp says:

    Bernard Hurley, that is a problem that we in society should try to solve. Note however that in most places (including the country I currently live in, Germany) sexual harassment is a rather small figure compared to the other forms of workplace harassment.

    If you look at the paper by Cowing & Sinclair I cited earlier, you will see that in 2010 sexual harassment in the work place in Germany accounted for approximately half of all cases of harassment. It was a somewhat smaller, but significant, proportion in 2006. This was due to a dramatic reduction in other types of harassment between the two dates. Germany along with Ireland come out rather well overall. However it would seem that while quite a lot has been done to reduce workplace harassment and bullying overall in recent years it has had comparatively little effect on sexual harassment. If the general perception of German managers is that it is that sexual harassment is a rather small figure compared to the other forms of workplace harassment, that would explain why it has not been addressed.

    If you’re interested you can get hold of the the complete resutls data for the 2006 servey

  149. 149
    Christopher Camp

    Well, thanks, but you’ve already posted the most up-to-date one you could find. As said before, the figures you stated above are small percentages. Nevertheless, even a sexual harassment rate of 0.000001% would not be acceptable. As all other forms of harassment, this problem has to be addressed.

    But I can also see that we are losing sight of the topic here. This discussion started with the lyrics of a song that mentioned what allegedly happened in that elevator in Dublin. I entered the discussion with the opinion that it was an invented story. Up to this point, I have not seen any proof as to the veracity of Watson’s story. I think context is of the utmost importance here. But first I want to address one argument that was made before.

    Questioning Barack Obama’ Hawaiian birthplace is not the same as not buy Watson’s fairy tale. His birth certificate was there on the internet, on TV, for everybody to see. A local newpaper mentioned his birth. There is a mountain of evidence that points to Obama’s American birth. What points to elevator guy? Nothing.

    Secondly, remember that moment Watson sat next to Dawkins and shoe-horned her favourite topic misogyny into a discussion that had nothing to do with it. She was reacting to Paula Kirby, Richard Dawkins’ associate, who earlier had said that male participants’ bad behaviour was in her opinion not the reason female participants were abstaining from atheists’ meetings. Watson was upset about this and was looking for a way to ‘prove’ that Kirby was wrong.

    Watson took issue with it when she hijacked Dawkins’ panel for her one and only topic in life, and, more importantly, in the YT video that followed, in which she used EG to buttress her claim that misogyny was widespread in the atheist community. In other words the alleged ‘incident’ (conveniently, it was in an elevator and nobody was there to witness it) was meant to disprove Paula Kirby’s opinion.

    Lack of proof, the illusiveness of the main character in that fairy tale, early-in-its-evolution embellishment plus the context I just oitlined speak against the veracity of the story. Nothing so far speaks in favour.

  150. 150
    Jafafa Hots

    And everybody lies. I err on the side of safety, because I have never seen EG guy, read anything by him, hward his voice. It is that simple.

    I just met my new neighbor.

    He says he used to live in Illinois, is a mechanic, has three kids and is an NFL fan, says he moved here after he lost his job.

    None of this was proven or evident by my meeting him and I wasn’t a witness to any of it, so to err on the side of safety I will presume that it is all lies.

    It’s that simple.

  151. 151
    Ophelia Benson

    Christopher Camp –

    Up to this point, I have not seen any proof as to the veracity of Watson’s story.

    There is no “proof.” There is no proof that you’re not a computer program. That’s not a reason to assume that you are.

    It’s not normal practice to demand evidence for everything that anyone says. There’s no reason to assume that Rebecca was lying. Your construction of a reason for her to lie does not constitute a reason to assume that she was.

    She told an ordinary, plausible story. She had no idea when she told it that people would be examining it under a microscope for the rest of time. There is no good reason to think she was lying apart from sheer unreasonable hostility. It’s not the “safer” option to assume that people are lying. On the contrary.

  152. 152
    Ophelia Benson

    And a little more – because I’m starting to get pissed off. Ok more pissed off.

    Christopher Camp @ 109

    1.) I did not say that EG *definitely* does not exist. I said that for as long as I am yet to see evidence, I am going to err on the side of safety.

    Well that’s not true. You told a lie there. I have “proof.”

    You @ 54

    Wow, seriously people? You guys are still going on about that fictional character ‘elevator guy’? Can’t we at least switch to another invention if you’re this unwilling to talk about real things? How about Eve off Adam and Eve?

    I should just assume you’re lying in everything you say, since you lied @ 109.

  153. 153
    dexitroboper

    Ophelia, you should assume Christopher Camp is lying because calling elevator guy fictional is an obvious sign that someone is not arguing in good faith, i.e. they are trolling.

  154. 154
    Ophelia Benson

    You have a point. But I get so tired of blocking trolls…

    That’s one big advantage of talking about Shakespeare and Jane Austen!

  155. 155
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    For fuck’s sake, people! I was thirteen the first time I was groped by an adult male who took the first opportunity when he was able to delay me so that I was momentarily out of sight of my parents. What about being propositioned in an elevator is unlikely? So much so that it deserves death threats? You “skeptics” should hang your heads in shame and clean up your act.

  156. 156
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Please, ban the Campbell troll.

  157. 157
    Axxyaan

    I entered the discussion with the opinion that it was an invented story. Up to this point, I have not seen any proof as to the veracity of Watson’s story.

    Why are you concentrating on the veracity of Watson’s story? To me the veracity of that story is almost irrelevant. Why? Because the story is used to illustrate a request. Rebecca’s message was a request to the men in the sceptic community not to behave as the male person in the story. And whether that story was a situation she actually had found herself in, or it was some kind of construction based on past experiences of herself and/or other doesn’t make much of a difference because in either case the message is a request not to behave like this.

    And that is how it was received. Those who criticised, did so because they didn’t like the behaviour/attitude change that was asked for.

    So when you write something like the following, you are just showing you have no clue.

    Well I am yet to see evidence that he exists. All I’ve seen is a talking head YT video.

    Seriously people? Shall we talk about Harry Potter and how his behaviour is often inappropriate?

    Because it can be very useful to talk about how a fictional character behaved as a way to illustrate real life expectations (both in a possitive and negative sense) of behaviour/attitude from community members.

    And of course the discussion has moved on since then. But what you show with your remarks, is that you were behind even before the scene unfolded.

  158. 158
    Ophelia Benson

    Sigh. All that time I wasted arguing with Christopher Camp, thinking he was confused but not trolling. Wrong again. He called Wowbagger “mangina” on Twitter a few hours ago. Just a troll.

  159. 159
    Bernard Hurley

    I thought Christoper Camp was a troll from the start. However I feel it is best to take them on with out explicitly making this assumption. If they turn out not to be trolls, well then, we can all then end up living happily ever after. However I have a feeling, not backed up by any hard evidence I have to admit, that most trolls are not trying to mess up other peoples’ discussion but are, rather, trying to look good among their mates.However he want to spin it I don’t think Mr Camp comes out very well and maybe some of his mates won’t find him very impressive.

  160. 160
    Smhlle

    @136

    From whence did you create the notion that he was socially awkward?

  161. 161
    Josh

    The fact that Christopher Camp thinks *Sam Harris* adds anything useful to the movement speaks worse to him than anything else he wrote, I think.

  162. 162
    jonathanray

    Setar is a fucking troll who should go fuck themself while watching DBAD for the next 48 hours.

  1. 163
    Politics Is Warfare, or How I Learned The Meaning Of False Balance | The Atheist Conspiracy

    [...] (Note: The rest of this post assumes you’ve read the relevant links I’ve posted. Any questions involving stuff explained in the links will be disemvowelled and mocked.) The first has to do with the skeptical community, specifically the continuing fallout from the event known as Elevatorgate manifested in the form of the debacle involving harassment policies and TAM. Specifically, it involves a part I hadn’t linked in my original TAM post, involving a song performed at TAM. [...]

  2. 164
    The campaign against Amy Davis Roth | Lousy Canuck

    [...] and the anti-harassment campaign than it was actual live-tweeting the convention; the Satiristas did a song about how the feminists have a stick up their asses about coffee and elevators; one of the grant [...]

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