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Feb 18 2013

Fact-checking

Ben Radford is playing silly buggers again. Check out the title of his new post.

‘Over It’ Follow-Up: Why Would Anyone Criticize an Anti-Rape Poem?

He cites PZ’s post.

In response, PZ Myers wrote a blog titled, “You don’t get to be ‘over’ rape,” telling me (and, by extension, Eve Ensler) that “you don’t get to be ‘over’ rape.” I may disagree with Ensler’s statistics and methods (while agreeing with her goals), but I would never question her motivations, nor tell Ensler that she doesn’t “get to be ‘over rape’.” I am “over rape” in exactly the same way Ensler is “over rape.”

Why PZ Myers (or anyone else) would presume to criticize an anti-rape poem (of all things) by a prominent feminist is beyond me, but at least one of us is terribly, terribly confused.

Actually when he first wrote the post he said Melody wrote the post, then later corrected the mistake without saying he was correcting it. That’s not good practice (to put it tactfully).

But look at PZ’s post. It’s short, it won’t take long. He doesn’t say what Radford says he said.

He doesn’t say what Radford says he said.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    STH

    Wow.

    He totally misrepresents what PZ wrote and also misrepresents his own position.

    Just wow.

  2. 2
    SallyStrange

    Wow. That’s just a bald-faced lie, no two ways about it. Ben Radford is a liar.

  3. 3
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    you can tell exactly how much he doesn’t give a fuck about the issue he’s trying so hard to convince everyone he so deeply cares about – and cares about it so much more than those stupid bitches who don’t like his poetry – by how much he doesn’t even try to address any actual objections to his ridiculous argument.

    NO, they just didn’t like his poetry. And all the deranged bigots from the pit are reassuring him that his critics just didn’t understand his deep manly reasoning.

    CFI must like his dishonesty, and naked contempt for women. Page views must be more important.

    Most interestingly, for me, is the fact that I apparently commented on his poem post. Without ever having registered an account there. Interesting, no?

  4. 4
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Someone supported by (and tacitly supporting) the Slymepit is a liar? NO WAY!!

    Also, Radford is an asshole who insists on his right to criticize even when he has to lie to do it, while demanding immunity from real and honest criticism. That’s what being a “skeptic” is all about though: maintaining personal privilege and status by stepping on other people.

  5. 5
    Great American Satan

    Illuminata – What happened? Have you been getting the business from the jerk squad lately, or is this a first for you?

  6. 6
    Tom Foss

    And so the annual tradition of “Ben Radford says asinine things about women and feminism” comes back to his favored tactic circa 2010.

    I see two possibilities for Radford. Either he’s a consistently dishonest hack, who will lie and quote-mine on any subject to support his position, counting on his fawning audience not to be skeptical enough to check his sources–in which case, everything he says and writes, from Bigfoot on up, is suspect–or he’s a diligent researcher and investigator when it comes to important topics like ghosts and cryptids, and figures he can shoot from the hip and talk from the gut about silly trivialities like women’s issues.

    In either case, he’s a dishonest asshole. I’m just curious as to which term deserves the greater emphasis.

  7. 7
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    Quoth the Radford

    at least one of us is terribly, terribly confused.

    Aaaaand judging by how little he managed to accurately report in his post, I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s Ben.

  8. 8
    michaeld

    @Tom Foss

    ….Damn…. That did not paint a good picture of Radford at all. Skeptics should be way better then that.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    I’ve just been reading that post of Rebecca’s, having been alerted to it on Twitter. Maybe that was Tom Foss.

  10. 10
    Ophelia Benson

    Ah yes, I see it was. Thanks Tom!

  11. 11
    Tom Foss

    Thanks for the follow, OB! I can’t wait until next year’s Ben Radford Is An Asshole About Feminism Day!

    @michaeld: You might think so, but apparently not. And, well, there’s ample evidence of that at various pits.

    I want to note the irony of Radford criticizing the very notion (!!!) that someone would criticize the anti-rape poem that he himself criticized. I believe it’s from the “I’m rubber and you’re glue” school of responding to criticism.

  12. 12
    michaeld

    @Tom

    Oh I’ve been around long enough to know that many skeptics don’t but I keep hopeing they’ll be better…

  13. 13
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Actually when he first wrote the post he said Melody wrote the post, then later corrected the mistake without saying he was correcting it. That’s not good practice (to put it tactfully).

    Wait, so Radford first claimed that his entire “Over Rape” post was written by Melody? Or just the poetry?

  14. 14
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Oh nm, I can see from the comments on the post what he did. He attributed PZ’s rebuttal to Hensley.

  15. 15
    beardymcviking

    Reading this, I had no idea what Ben was talking about, because it bore no relation to what PZ wrote. I guess I’m just not mentally practised at dealing with that level of… misdirection?

    I guess it just makes me feel sorry for him – that he needs so badly to be ‘right’ that he needs to lie so plainly.

  16. 16
    hjhornbeck

    I’m skimming over Watson’s post too, and holy cow; Radford demonstrates an amazing amount of cognitive dissonance, to the point of being willing to lie and misrepresent a scientific paper in order to fit it within his views.

    How can he be considered a skeptic, at all? Oh, wait, nevermind; he’s an expert researcher on that most important of skeptical topics, Chupacabra. Sexism and patriarchy are just niche topics which nobody cares about, so he’s totally allowed to flub up there.

  17. 17
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    It’s noticable that at first he didn’t cite PZ. He cited Melody Hensley writing a blogpost titled “You don’t get to be over rape”. No link. of course. And then the usual suspects jumped the wagon attacking Melody who has hardly anything to do with it. Because they are all such honest skeptics who check their facts.
    And then he corrected it without any acknowledgement of his fuck up because apparently Ben Radford doesn’t make mistakes.

  18. 18
    Bernard Bumner

    It’s noticable that at first he didn’t cite PZ. He cited Melody Hensley writing a blogpost titled “You don’t get to be over rape”.

    I don’t know how it is possible to honestly make that mistake.

    Radford:

    I may disagree with Ensler’s statistics and methods (while agreeing with her goals), but I would never question her motivations, nor tell Ensler that she doesn’t “get to be ‘over rape’.”

    His “critique”, such as it is, strikes at the very heart of her motivations. He conflates Ensler’s efforts with Feminist male-bashing as a silencing tactic (the former book-ending the latter) and other forms of malice, in his Vogonian poetic screed.

    If that doesn’t impugn her motives, then I don’t know what would.

  19. 19
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I no longer pay any attention to the pit; they’re beneath contempt. So, as far as I know that was the first time, but who knows? However, i only use this name on FTB. And, like I said, I don’t have a CFI account. My heart goes out to Hensley – it has got to wear on her that everything she works for to improve CFI, bigot radford takes a whiny, dishonest, assholey wrecking ball to.

  20. 20
    hjhornbeck

    Comments are closed over there (boo, but understandable, as it turned into a Zvan bash-fest), however one of Steersman’s comments caught my eye. Most people duck and run when asked to provide a list of feminists who’ve said “all men are rapists,” but Steersman didn’t. They instead gave a list of five people:

    Sandra Harding: “Harding referred to Newton’s Principia Mathematica as a “rape manual” in her 1986 book “The Science Question in Feminism”, a characterization that she later said she regretted.” – Wikipedia

    Greg Laden, in a post titled “It’s bad enough that all men are rapists. Please don’t be stupid about it as well.”: “I happen to refer to men who’s theoretical rape switch went on as “rapists” even if they had not raped, much like a person who learns how to sweat pipe might be thought of as a “plumber” even if they have not yet … plumbed anything. Technically, what I just said might still be true, or it might not be. Who cares? Clearly, people are sensitive about this and those who have not actually committed rape should probably not be called rapists. I acquiesced to this point at the time, right when the first objection was made.”

    Marilyn French’s fictional book, “the most popular feminist book of its time” according to Steersman.

    Susan Brownmiller’s “Against Our Will,” though Steersman points out “Maybe that isn’t saying explicitly that all men are rapists but it asserts that all men are complicit in keeping all “women in a state of fear” about being raped.”

    A random blog post from someone named “The Femminist Fatale:” “That warm smile on a man’s face, the one he has when he first meets a woman for a date, belies his true intentions: RAPE.”

    … Dang. I wasn’t intending to debunk those as I typed them out. Sorry!

  21. 21
    skmc

    Bernard Bumner writes,

    I don’t know how it is possible to honestly make that mistake.

    I tend to agree. In order for Radford to know the title of the post, he must at least have looked at the post, and if he looked at the post–or even the text of a link to it–he would have seen it was a Pharyngula post. Melody Hensley does not write posts on Pharyngula. If Radford had misattributed the post to Chris Clarke, for example, that would have been a more likely honest mistake. Still wrong, and not fact-checked, but I could see it happening.

    It’s a sad statement that when I first noted just before 8AM that Radford’s post misattributed Myers’s writing to Hensley, I took a screenshot of the original post because based on my experience in the blogosphere I thought it likely the post would be mysteriously edited without acknowledgement a few hours later. And surprise surprise, three hours later, that’s just what happened. The post stayed wrong just long enough to get a good froth going over how horrible Hensley is, and then was edited. Hmmmm….

  22. 22
    Tom Foss

    Radford’s whole anti-criticism critique relies so heavily on his own equivocation of “over” (he and Ensler are clearly meaning very different things by the phrase “I am over rape”) and his misunderstanding of who “you” refers to that I kind of wonder if he ever learned how to read. Maybe Radford’s basically illiterate? It would explain most of these problems.

    Or, you know, the dishonest asshole hypothesis still works too.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    It’s interesting that Sandra Harding comes into it (however remotely). I wrote about her in Why Truth Matters, as well as at the ur-B&W before WTM. She is indeed a good example of Feminism Gone Wild, but that fact doesn’t make feminism in general woolly and idiotic.

    Anyway, thank goodness Paul closed comments.

  24. 24
    Bernard Bumner

    Fine, but it is hard to see how closing the comments can be a sufficient end to it. Particularly given the attacks invited towards Hensley.

  25. 25
    Ophelia Benson

    I know, there’s no good outcome with this kind of crap, but leaving the comments open certainly wasn’t producing useful dialogue.

  26. 26
    Eamon Knight

    I briefly confused Radford with Goldacre yesterday, since both Bens happened to be on the radar, but PZ –> Melody Hensley? Wow, that’s a major brain fart. Not that it doesn’t happen (say, if you happen to have been concentrating on one person immediately before writing about the other), but one would usually post a “D’oh! I meant PZ!” to clear it up. And the commenters have no excuse — they can’t have gone and looked up the post, or they’d have realized the mistake themselves.

  27. 27
    Eamon Knight

    There was supposed to be a double-ended arrow between “PZ” and “Melody Hensley” up there. Stupid me, forgetting that anything bounded by < > gets eaten in a HTML environment.

  28. 28
    Ophelia Benson

    Will that do, Eamon? Is it pointing the way you intended?

  29. 29
    Eamon Knight

    Double-ended, actually. That’s OK; I wasn’t expecting anyone to fix it. Thanks anyway.

  30. 30
    jmb

    Melody did show up in PZ’s comments to object to the whole enterprise being made to look bad by Ben, but it was split between condemning Ben and condemning the Pharyngula horde for lumping them all together just because they give him a platform…

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