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Sexual harassment accusations in the skeptical and secular communities: a timeline of major events

In the vein of the harassment policies campaign timeline, wherein the major players in the movement fought hard for harassment policies at secular events and largely won the day despite monumental pushback, I felt it prudent to get ahead of people trying to misinterpret the timeline of events and twist the timeline to their own ends. That harassment policies campaign actually contains a significant amount of back-story for a lot of these issues. It also includes a number of charges with regard to assaults that had been reported but not dealt with by the organizations in question. Take a moment to re-familiarize yourself with that timeline before returning here, please.

As a result of the community reaching a tipping point, with many prominent voices having been subjected to harassment for years on end, these past few weeks have become something of a watershed moment for our movements. It is important that the actions are documented, even where legal threats have removed the original claims. I will be updating this on the fly, as a living document, much as I did with the previous timeline. At the bottom is a list of links I’m already planning on including, that will be put into their proper positions as I go.

Please feel free to add important events in the comments, though I am not going back as far as WiS2 and documenting the controversy surrounding it unless it’s extremely relevant to this timeline. I am also not linking every single blog commentary unless it has important or unique events or pieces of context, though I am not against comments containing links to said less-directly-relevant commentary even if it doesn’t make it into the body of the post.

 

May 23rd, 2012
Pseudonymous commenter Miriamne, Michael Shermer, JREF
Prior to the current spate of naming, a comment left at Friendly Atheist names Michael Shermer as allegedly having harassed her, and “trying to sleep with a new young woman every TAM”.
[...]
July 29th, 2013

Ashley Paramore, unnamed assailant, JREF
Ashley details a recent sexual assault at a conference in a video on her Youtube channel, relating how a number of witnesses were present for an unwelcome groping at TAM.

 

August 6th, 2013

Karen Stollznow, unnamed assailant, unnamed organization
Possibly emboldened by Ashley Paramore’s stand, Karen Stollznow comes forward with her own story of having been serially sexually harassed and assaulted over the course of several years. (DOWN)

Ian Murphy, Ben Radford, CFI
Ian Murphy points the finger at Ben Radford as the serial harasser discussed in Karen Stollznow’s post, via Twitter.

PZ Myers, Ben Radford, CFI
PZ Myers updates a post linking to Stollznow’s blog several hours after Ian Murphy names Radford to verify that a number of others had named him as well in private emails.

 

August 7th, 2013

Carrie Poppy, DJ Grothe and Ben Radford, JREF and CFI
Carrie Poppy releases a series of email bombs about the Ben Radford case and describes the major events leading up to her leaving her job as Communications Director of JREF after being serially mistreated by DJ.

Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Sasha describes an incident when he first met DJ Grothe, wherein he suggests that he might drug Sasha and deliver him to his friends to “have fun with him”.

Jason Thibeault, Ben Radford, CFI
I point out that accounts regarding whether or not Radford was punished or even found to have sexually harassed Stollznow by the investigator are in contention, after a private message from Radford to someone who unfollowed him on Facebook is revealed in part in public.

Unnamed victims through Jen McCreight, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Jen explains that one person alleged that Lawrence Krauss had harassed them, then later that a second person alleged he had assaulted them; and that this news came as no surprise as his name has long been whispered in the private back-channels at conferences between women wanting to protect themselves. (REDACTED)

Unnamed victims through Brian Thompson, Ben Radford and Michael Shermer, CFI and JREF
Brian Thompson, former employee of JREF, claims to personally know a number of women who have been harassed by Radford and Shermer, via Twitter. He specifies two instances of ‘being creeped at’, one of ‘being groped’.

Elyse Anders, Michael Shermer, JREF
Elyse describes some unwelcome salacious comments from Shermer after she drops a chicken tender at the TAM9 reception buffet.

 

August 8th, 2013

Matthew Baxter, Ben Radford, CFI
10:35am Central: Matthew Baxter, Karen Stollznow’s husband, in a comment on Blake Smith’s Facebook page, corroborates Stollznow’s story. Speaking directly to Ben Radford, he says that Radford persistently continued to contact Stollznow after being asked for years to stop. Baxter says that he and Stollznow have copies of correspondence backing this up. He also says that when Stollznow cut off communication with Radford, Radford called her “disrespectful.”

Jen McCreight, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
After a vaguely lawsuit-threatening comment by Krauss on her blog, Jen redacts the previous post and begins referring to him as Famous Skeptic.

Eddy Cara, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Eddy relates several of the stories that have floated around regarding Krauss’ questionable activities on a CFI cruise, and how he is frequently mentioned as an alleged serial harasser by the informal back-channel of women trying to protect one another from such harassment at conferences. The post is taken down the same day after Krauss comments almost identically to what was posted at Jen’s; the post is replaced with a statement by The Heresy Club that it was found to be in breach of guidelines. (DOWN)

Eddy Cara, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Eddy Cara comments on his personal blog about the post that was taken down from Heresy Club, which he considered a “calculated risk”.

Unnamed victim via PZ Myers, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
PZ Myers reports that someone he trusts has claimed having been sexually assaulted by Krauss.

Unnamed victim via Stephanie Zvan, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Stephanie Zvan reports being told the same story as PZ regarding an assault by Lawrence Krauss, though it could be the same person reporting the same incident.

Unnamed victims via PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
PZ Myers posts accounts by sources he trusts regarding allegations of Michael Shermer’s witnessed and experienced predatory tactics and alleged sexual assault of women he coerced into a position where they could not legally consent.

bartmon, DJ Grothe, JREF
Former employee of JREF bartmon concurs with Carrie Poppy’s assessments regarding DJ Grothe.

 

August 9th, 2013

Unnamed victim through delphi_ote, Michael Shermer, JREF
A participant at the JREF forums corroborates the existence of allegations against Michael Shermer by unnamed alleged victims.

Ashley Paramore, unnamed assailants, JREF
Ashley details in a follow-up video the absurd levels of harassment she has since received for talking about her assault, despite not naming names. She uses this to explain why underreporting of harassment and assault is such an issue.

naomibaker, Michael Shermer, JREF
naomibaker relates her story about how she was contacted ostensibly by Michael Shermer’s wife asking if the story she told about a cheating husband without names was talking about Michael. She listed names that Shermer had apparently had affairs with, several of the names being recognizeable.

 

August 12th, 2013

Joe Anderson, Ben Radford, CFI
Joe Anderson corroborates Karen Stollznow’s story, stating that he was one of the folks deposed by CFI’s investigators about the behaviour he witnessed from Radford.

Karen Stollznow, Ben Radford, CFI
The original post by Karen Stollznow is taken down after Ron Lindsay sends a letter to Scientific American. Karen is told by SA staff that it was taken down due to legal threats, while Ron Lindsay claims to have only asked for corrections. The Google Cache version of the page now also 404s, but a copy still exists on Scrible.

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
Michael Shermer’s lawyer issues a cease-and-desist letter demanding that PZ remove the post containing the allegations and claiming that PZ did not hear directly from the alleged victim as he stated, pointing out an update suggesting that Carrie Poppy is responsible for putting the alleged victim in contact with PZ (no word on whether PZ actually spoke to the victim directly though); and claiming that PZ has a profit motive in blog hits. (DOWN) (A cached copy exists on scribd.)

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The post where PZ Myers linked the relevant PDF disappears after getting 70 comments within the span of an hour or so. (DOWN) (A cached copy exists on Google Cache. A second cached copy exists on freze.it.)

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The previous post is quickly replaced with this one stating that PZ has contacted Ken from Popehat.

Stephanie Zvan, Ben Radford / Ron Lindsay, CFI
Stephanie Zvan analyzes the differences and commonalities extensively between Ron Lindsay’s letter demanding corrections of SciAm, and Karen Stollznow’s original allegations. Most relevant is the fact that Lindsay concedes the harassment actually happened.

 

August 13th, 2013

Carrie Poppy, Michael Shermer, JREF
Carrie Poppy and PZ Myers publicly state that Carrie only put the alleged victim into contact with PZ, and that Carrie is not really involved otherwise, despite the assertions in the cease-and-desist letter.

rikzilla, Michael Shermer, JREF
rikzilla relates a story where Shermer propositioned his wife, calling her sexy and asking her to his room for private drinks while he was present.

Renee Davis-Pelt, unnamed assailant, JREF
Renee posts on Facebook that she was present to witness the assault described by Ashley Paramore that happened at TAM.

Dallas J. Haugh, Michael Shermer, JREF
Dallas posts a suicide note which includes allegations of rape against Shermer. It is taken down by a relative when he is secured and taken to a hospital; after he’s released, he reposts it.

 

August 14th, 2013

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The deadline given to PZ by Michael Shermer’s lawyers to acknowledge receipt has elapsed. The post is still up.

Brian K. Dalton, unnamed assailant, JREF
In the comments on Ashley Paramore’s video, “Mr. Deity” corroborates Ashley’s story and regrets not doing anything at the time.

 

August 16th, 2013

Ian Murphy, Michael Shermer, JREF
Ian Murphy publishes an email exchange with Shermer wherein Shermer makes some comments, against his lawyer’s orders, about the allegations and his dealings with PZ Myers.

 

August 22nd, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
On a fundraiser page built by Emery Emery, the “Ardent Atheist”, to raise funds for Michael Shermer’s legal offense, Shermer himself comments in support, stating that he was aware of the effort and that any funds not used toward suing PZ Myers would be given to a charity of Emery’s choice. Of note: Benjamin Radford may have donated $40 to this fund under the nym “jaminradford”.

 

August 26th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
John Loftus claims to have personal email from Michael Shermer suggesting that he knows who made the accusations against him, and that if anyone else heard what Shermer told Loftus, Shermer’s innocence would be obvious. He then later walks all of that back when Shermer apparently suggests he DOESN’T know who made the accusation, and was just guessing. I cover this episode on my blog.

 

September 5th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
In an update on his legal offense fund for Shermer, Emery Emery states that they’ve reached the first goal of $5000 and that Michael Shermer “has no choice” but to sue PZ because the post is still up.

 

September 9th, 2013
Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Elyse Anders tweets that DJ Grothe is threatening legal action for defamation against Women Thinking, Inc., parent organization of More Than Men, where Sasha Pixlee posted his accusation that DJ Grothe made a tasteless rape joke. She also suggests that DJ is attempting to hold a WTInc project hostage as collateral. Update: The project is a study about vaccines that is awaiting publication.

 

September 10th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
Michael Shermer tweets, then deletes, a photo of himself onstage in Germany in front of a sign that says “no drinks onstage” in German. Someone managed to get a screencap before it was removed. The tweet reads:

Skeptics in the Pub Köln “No drinks on stage”? What fun is that? I like to keep my glass full w/out my knowing it…

Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Elyse posts a full account of the nature of the legal threats against WTInc by DJ Grothe. Jamie Bernstein, ex member of WTInc, states that the vaccine study funding by JREF was halved to ~$5000 partway through, while the study was still in progress, but the organization completed the study without the extra funds nonetheless. This study has apparently completed the peer review process and JREF (and more specifically, DJ himself) has since been sitting on it for a year. DJ Grothe is evidently using this study as leverage in order to punish people he dislikes, e.g. Sasha Pixlee and Elyse Anders.

Comments

  1. hjhornbeck says

    I should also mention there’s a link to subscribe without commenting.

    Though I didn’t do that here. Obviously.

  2. gwen says

    It looks even worse laying it out like that. Correction. It looks as appalling as it IS. CFI……continuing to dig a hole.

  3. says

    I may have missed how JREF is involved with the Shermer case. I don’t recall PZ saying that.

    Things worth adding to the discussion:
    *The Tumblr
    *This JREF forum post corroborating the story of PZ’s anonymous victim (August 9th)
    *Blake Smith’s Facebook posts (1, 2) about the Radford/Stollznow situation, where Ben makes comments.
    *Eddy Cara’s original post
    *Jen McCreight’s post about being warned about Krauss
    *Elyse Anders’s tweets about Shermer

  4. CaitieCat says

    I wonder (and I mean this honestly, I hope I’ve earned enough social trust to make this comment) whether it might be better not to post a link to an archived copy of Jen’s post, or to make explicit comments about what she’s doing to anonymize anyone, unless Jen’s okay with it? Only in the sense that if she’s facing trouble, it might be less good to post things that might be evidence that might work against her?

    Also, Jason, consider deleting or editing this comment in whatever way suits you.

    And if you did clear with Jen first about how you want to characterize her contributions, then I withdraw my concern, of course. I promise I’m really only thinking about the concerns she voiced in removing her post, and not making anything harder for her. I admire your own loyalty and courage in standing up, and especially maintaining this post, and hope it’s clear I’m not intending to concern-troll here. Thanks for considering it, and no offence taken if you edit or delete this comment, of course.

  5. says

    I’ll have to clarify — the headers are loosely “accuser, accused, relevant organization”, where the org named could either be the org responsible for a convention, or the org that the accused works for. In Carrie’s case, the story she tells about DJ Grothe and Ben Radford covers both JREF and CFI as Poppy worked for JREF, and Radford worked for CFI.

    I was hoping to find the Freezepage of Eddy Cara’s original post, where the slimepitters were really hoping Krauss would sue Jen McCreight. Putting all of these accusations and actions into a timeline will hopefully help show people what exactly is going on here, in its full scope.

  6. says

    I did not consult with Jen. I have no intention of memory-holing who said what to whom, though. We know it happened. A threat of a lawsuit cannot scrub the collective memories of the entire internet.

  7. says

    A few items, some of which Tom mentions:
    • While Jen’s August 7 post about Grothe and Krauss is not DOWN, it was REDACTED.
    • I can’t see how the last item for August 6 (comment on the Carrie Poppy thread by bartmon) can possibly have happened on a post that was first posted on August 7.
    • Shouldn’t there be an item for the post by Eddy Cara on the Heresy Club (indicating that it is now DOWN)?
    • PZ’s ‘Lawyering up’ blog post garnered well over 70 comments before it too was taken DOWN.

  8. Zach High-Leggett says

    I get a 404 on Shermer’s Cease and Desist letter to PZ. Is it just me?

    I was offline a lot of today and I’m not just hearing about PZ’s legal troubles, but can’t find any information about it. Am I just blind or is there something someone could link to?

  9. says

    CaitieCat: sorry, not trying to be curt, just trying to make sure that my documentary intentions are absolutely clear. I totally get what you’re saying.

    Xanthe: the bartmon post was misplaced. Working on some of the other points. Any links would be helpful, even to posts that are no longer up!

  10. says

    Should probably mention my post since it inspired whoever put up the Tumblr: http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/06/more-names-will-be-named/ Its brief existence needs to be mentioned, even if none of the individual accusations are. I know I missed some toward the end, and it seems additionally unfair to only mention those I saw and remember.

    Comment from Brian Thompson, of JREF until recently: https://twitter.com/AmSci/status/365183553543208960

    Elyse’s experience with Shermer (Twitter thread): https://twitter.com/dELYSEious/status/365530559910387712

    The older links to Shermer accusations?

  11. says

    Thank you for this, Jason.

    Aug. 8th, there was a comment on Facebook by Matthew, Karen’s husband, confirming her story. Half way down on the second of Blake Smith’s posts. (Link on Tom Foss’ comment, above.)

  12. Silentbob says

    August 8th, 2013

    Jen McCreight, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
    After a vaguely lawsuit-threatening comment by Krauss on her blog, Jen retracts the previous post and begins referring to him as Famous Skeptic.

    (my bolding)

    Jason, I think you’ve used the wrong word there. She didn’t retract the post (“to withdraw (a statement, opinion, etc.) as inaccurate or unjustified, especially formally or explicitly; take back“), she redacted the post (“to put into suitable literary form; revise; edit“).

    I’m not being pedantic, I think the use of the word “retract” gives the false impression that Jen no longer believes what was originally written in her post.

  13. says

    PZ Meyers and Carrie Poppy confirm on Twitter that Carrie gave the Unnamed Source in the Shermer accusation PZ’s email address, and that PZ and the Unnamed Source were in direct email contact:
    https://twitter.com/pzmyers/status/367138518037839875

    Also, Sara Mayhew accuses Carrie and PZ of a “stunt”:
    https://twitter.com/saramayhew/status/367138964010192897

    (Don’t know if that last one is relevant to the timeline, I just found it to be a bizarre statement by Sara.)

  14. Nick Gotts says

    I thought PZ’s mention of someone telling him of an assault by Krauss came after he posted the accusation against Shermer.

  15. says

    Perhaps you should have fact checked before asserting that Rhys and I left The Heresy club because of legal threats? There were no legal threats. Appalling integrity on your part here.

  16. says

    Hayley, I didn’t assert that you left because of them, but rather that you left after them. Correlation does not equal causation. I am well aware that you left because you think it’s all made-up.

  17. says

    OP:

    Ashley Paramore, unnamed assailant, unnamed organization
    Ashley details a recent sexual assault at a conference in a video on her Youtube channel, relating how a number of witnesses were present for an unwelcome groping.

    Ashley says that her assault took place at The Amazing Meeting at 1:14 in the video, and mentions JREF at 8:09. At 9:02, she makes it clear that JREF was the organization in charge:

    About a week after TAM, I got an email from the JREF to assure me that Jim-Bob would not be allowed back at any future TAMs.

    (Strangely, according to Chip Denman, “JREF does not and will not have a blacklist.” Perhaps Mr. Denman should be directed to Ashley’s video.)

  18. allison_k says

    David Silverman was accused of groping and kissing a drunk woman – where’s the reference to that one?

  19. says

    Silentbob: I’ve made that change. I agree that the wording is important.

    Stephanie: thanks, I’ll add them. Will have to check that previous timeline includes the naming of Shermer from 2012 — that was at Friendly Atheist, right?

    DaveW: I hadn’t re-watched the Ashley Paramore video to remember whether it was mentioned explicitly, apologies. I’ve removed the tweet implying this as it’s superfluous, and amended that link description.

  20. smhll says

    Ashley details in a follow-up video the absurd levels of harassment she has since received for talking about her assault, despite not naming names. She uses this to explain why underreporting of harassment and assault is such an issue.

    I’d like to think that the last partial quote that the bearded guy read outloud on Ashley’s video is a Poe. But it’s getting hard to tell. (Particularly out of context.)

    Funny video on a sad subject. I thought the guy’s delivery was terrific.

  21. says

    Today – post on JREF forum –

    http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=9424516&postcount=4099

    “I do trust PZ more than Shermer and I’ll tell you exactly and precisely why. When I attended TAM4 with my wife we spoke to Shermer and had him sign a book, before we departed he took my wife aside and briefly spoke in her ear. Only later, when we were in our room, did she tell me what Shermer said, that she was sexy and then suggested that the two of them slip away for drinks. He did that right in front of me…the husband he had just met…”

    I think I’ve heard that that story (or one just like it) was told on Pharyngula at some point, probably during Round 1 last year, but anyway there it is.

  22. says

    From bartmon’s comment:

    …Ill also note that employees of the jref usually don’t speak up because they are legally bound to silence. I never took money from them when I tendered my resignation, so I am not bound by NDAs like others are.

    I wish the best for the JREF but unfortunately there are a lot of issues that trace back to the board level. When I left there were three board members, just three, including randi and there were lots of problems that effectively gave one person complete control over the JREF. This person once told me “DJ will never be fired”.

    First, if true, NDAs at a nonprofit like that look like a huge red flag.

    Second, who’s in charge of this organization? I can’t find a list of their board online. I had just assumed that it was standard practice for nonprofits to make this information publicly available. The only names I can find (on WP) are Randi’s (and it’s hard to tell how involved he is), Richard L. Adams, Jr., and Daniel “Chip” Denman. Are they the entirety of the board? Are they accountable to anyone beyond themselves? Do they follow any of the best practices for boards?

    Grothe’s decisions over the past few years have been so destructive to the organization, and informed by such a clear bias that it’s not possible to attribute them to mere incompetence, that it’s long made me wonder whose interests at JREF he supports and promotes. If an organization is marching to the political or personal tune of one or two individuals behind the scenes, that’s something people should know about.

  23. colnago80 says

    Unnamed victim via PZ Myers, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
    PZ Myers reports that someone he trusts has claimed having been sexually assaulted by Krauss.

    Excuse me, PZ, in the comment section provided the following information:

    Wait…the Lawrence Krauss story? Maybe it’s a little inappropriate, but it’s not clear what the circumstances are, the woman was just annoyed, and the proposition was dropped when rejected. Those long cruises encourage socializing, so I think he just stuck one toe over the boundary and pulled it back quickly. If she’d made it clear before that his advances were unwelcome, though, then it’s a different story.

    Let’s be clear about this, the accusations against Shermer and, apparently Radford, involve criminal acts. The accusation against Krauss involves conduct that is not illegal but nevertheless is crass and inappropriate. Krauss suggesting that a woman who he did not know accompany him and, apparently, his fiance to his room for a little 3 way action is noxious but not illegal. As I understand the story, she told him to get lost and he complied.

  24. says

    colnago80, click on the link that Jason provided in the text you quote, then wait for the page to fully load and the correct comment to pop to the top of the screen. If it doesn’t do that for you, find comment #244.

  25. Monica says

    I downloaded the IRS 990 for JREF from guidestar.org. (Free but requires account.) The one filed for 2012 lists the following officers and board members:

    James Randi, Chairman of the Board (Salary $243,750/year)
    Rick Adams, Treasurer (uncompensated)
    Daniel Denman, Secretary (uncompensated)
    DJ Groethe, President (Salary 95,000/year)

    No other board members or officers are listed. Now, that’s what was filed in April 2013. It could have changed since then. But that’s not very old.

    Non-competes are somewhat common in executive management of non-profits, but not usually one so small (total budget is about $1.2 million). NDAs are unusual unless it’s a research institution working on something patentable, or there’s a serious lawsuit going on. I’ve never heard of one in health and human services (which is my non-profit field).

  26. says

    Jason: It might be worth noting that Miriamne’s comment indicates that Shermer was the target of the “locker room banter” that DJ talked about a couple of times last year. There are some other details that DJ included among the ‘gossip,’ which shouldn’t be hard to track down.

  27. DysgraphicProgrammer says

    Thanks for this. Until I read this post I thought that the only evidence against Shermer was the anonymous accusation published by PZ.

    PZ is someone I consider a usually trustworthy source, but a single anonymous accusation is still pretty poor evidence.

    A pool of several independent anonymous accusations + some named accusations is a whole different kettle of fish.

  28. Some person says

    I have a cache of http://creativepooping.tumblr.com/, relevant segment:

    “Of course, if you’ve been following the skeptic blogosphere, you are probably aware that Michael Shermer is a rapist.

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

  29. colnago80 says

    Re Zvan @ #36

    Fair enough, although the later comment from PZ seems to indicate that this is not the same woman as he originally cited. The woman originally cited was, apparently, the subject of Krauss’s invitation to a 3 way with him and his fiance.

    However it may be, clearly it would seem that JREF should give both Krauss and Shermer the heave ho until the matter is resolved.

    I am also concerned about another individual’s alleging that he was propositioned by DJ at one of the JREF conferences.

    Re eslpeth @ #38

    Site appears to be down at the present time.

  30. hjhornbeck says

    Since others are posting text, here’s the core of Davis-Pelt’s statement:

    I cannot confirm the veracity of most of the claims, but the one made by Ashley Paramore is legit as I observed this myself. [...]

    The incident that Ashley mentioned at TAM had witnesses. I was one of them.

  31. says

    Oh, and here I thought he just played a terrible person.

    But I’m sure we, who’ve bought Shermer’s books & admired the guy for years, and not the guy whose videos are being hosted & promoted by Shermer’s organization, are the most susceptible to confirmation bias.

    Fuck you, Brian.

  32. says

    “Ha ha, silly rape victims, you have no sense of personal responsibility, and people who believe you are MCCARTHYIST WITCH HUNTERS!”

    Oh, I get it now. Funny.

  33. kaboobie says

    The entry that is first on the timeline is exactly the wording I’ve heard in warnings about Shermer: “trying to sleep with a new young woman every TAM”. I also hear that most of them never come back to organized skepticism after that experience.

  34. kaboobie says

    Now for a personal story. My husband and I were on the very first JREF cruise in 2006; it was our first foray into the larger skeptic community. Shermer was one of the guests, and he seemed very attached to an attractive female member of our large group. I didn’t know he was married at the time, and she didn’t seem unhappy with his company, so I thought nothing of it. Maybe they were just friends.

    After the fact, when I found out he was married, I revised my opinion of him to “possibly sleazy”, but again, I had no evidence that the woman was not a consenting adult, or indeed that anything sexual happened between them. I didn’t see her for many years after that. I know she was active on the JREF forums prior to the cruise, but as I participated only for a brief time, I don’t know whether she stuck around.

    This year, I had the opportunity to travel with her again. Having heard what I’d heard since about Shermer (prior to actual rape allegations, just the sort of thing I quoted in the previous post), I wanted to ask her if he did anything inappropriate. Since I don’t know her well, I decided it was too personal and did not follow up. I don’t know what I would have done if she said, “Yes”.

  35. Gareth Bridges says

    Sorry Kaboobie, but what is your post actually saying?

    Are you saying, God forbid, that…no, what are you saying?

    Are others saying the ambition to screw a new young woman at every TAM is somehow immoral and wrong?

    Are others suggesting that Krauss’ offer of 3-some with his wife his harrassment? Would you prefer he didn’t ask?

    Are any of these things rape?

    Do any of you understand libel?

    Do you realise that hero is completely fucked? Are you all willing to donate $$$ to help him out?

    Looks like the Patriarchy is winning this one.

  36. rnilsson says

    Sorry, Gareth, did the boat leave without you?
    Weeping on the bridge.
    Are you saying that consent is optional, as long as one is essentially made of stardust?
    Are you saying that you are actually stu… No, I cannot spell it out for it might be label.
    Also, I cannot spell. Only spit. Sorry. Again.
    But thanks for clarifications.

  37. colnago80 says

    PZ has posted a message acknowledging receipt of the letter from Shermer’s legal representation and has indicated that he may have to take down the post and the comments.

  38. bovarchist says

    Shouldn’t this be updated to note the fact that the deadline for Myers’ retraction and apology has now passed?

  39. hjhornbeck says

    Also, it looks like Brian Keith Dalton has confirmed Paramore’s account. For some reason I can’t track down his original comment, only comments on it, and I can’t tell if it’s technical issues on my end or a deleted comment. Can someone else verify?

  40. skasowitz says

    I did not read the entire comment thread for the video (Youtube’s layout is terrible for this), but found two comments from misterdeity.

    I witnessed this assault, and it was so bold and blatant that I and several other good men stood around because we couldn’t imagine that it wasn’t just the two of them playing around. None of us could imagine that someone would do such a terrible thing in a room full of people. We all felt so bad that we didn’t understand what was happening and stop it. Men, don’t make the same mistake. Until you know otherwise, don’t hesitate to step in. I adore you, Ashley, and I’m so sorry I didn’t do more.

    and also

    You’re not a mind reader. But you have to admit, that would be pretty damned crazy of me, right? I’ve spent the last seven years building something valuable to me — it’s how I make my living — but now I’m going to risk all of that (including my financial stability) just to lie about some incident for the sake of a cause I’ve shown absolutely no interest in? I’m not just some guy sayin’ x, y, and x. People know me and could ruin my reputation based on this.

  41. He11cat81 says

    Has anyone else noticed that on the screenshot of PZ’s post in the cease and desist letter, that if you look at the tabs open at the bottom of the screen the person is looking at something to do with suffragettes and an image of a witch hunt? you would think Shermer would have a nice handy folder full of witch hunt images to use the amount of times he’s used it as a defense… can anyone tell what the other tabs are?

  42. Scr... Archivist says

    He11cat81 @61,

    The last one looks like “a-rush-to-injustice-h….jpg”, which may be a reference to a book about the Duke Lacrosse rape case.

  43. brianpansky says

    can the victim blaming mr. deity episode be added to this list? they have had shermer on the show in the past, and the ideological implications seem relevant.

  44. says

    Renee posts on Facebook that she was present to witness the assault described by Ashley Paramore that happened at TAM.

    It looks like this requires a Facebook account to see; can anyone screencap it?

    (Generally, archiving items linked from this list in as many places as possible seems like a good idea….)

  45. PatrickG says

    @ Blake:

    Here you go.

    Text is:

    Renée Davis-Pelt I cannot confirm the veracity of most of the claims, but the one made by Ashley Paramore is legit as I observed this myself. Without people coming forward with evidence and/or filing a police report it really does become a matter of he said/she said. It’s also true that our culture victim blames, and the consequences for the victim can be quite steep for reporting. Having been the victim of an attempted rape by a superior and having the audacity of not keeping my mouth shut and then reporting it many years ago, I know now what can happen. If I had known at the time how things were going to turn out, I probably would have kept my mouth shut like I was ordered to do by my supervisor and my CO. There was hell to pay, and I was the one who had to pay it.

    I don’t know what the answer is to solving the issue of women not coming forward, but having been there myself, I get why they don’t. So, what do we do about this in our society?

  46. PatrickG says

    It was no problem, once I got over my blind hatred of you for being able to not have a Facebook account. :)

  47. notsont says

    I witnessed this assault, and it was so bold and blatant that I and several other good men stood around because we couldn’t imagine that it wasn’t just the two of them playing around. None of us could imagine that someone would do such a terrible thing in a room full of people. We all felt so bad that we didn’t understand what was happening and stop it. Men, don’t make the same mistake. Until you know otherwise, don’t hesitate to step in. I adore you, Ashley, and I’m so sorry I didn’t do more.

    I wonder how often this happens and a month later the people stand around have completely different memories and assure themselves that if such a terrible thing had actually happened they would have done something.

    It also makes me wonder if this person who did this was so comfortable doing it there that perhaps hes done it plenty of times and never gotten in trouble for it.

  48. says

    The reasons why I deleted, recreated and redeleted my Facebook account make for a slightly weird story which this comment box is too narrow to contain.

    10:35am Central: Matthew Baxter, Karen Stollznow’s husband, in a comment on Blake Smith’s Facebook page, corroborates Stollznow’s story.

    Without an account, I can see Smith’s post, but not the comment by Baxter.

  49. colnago80 says

    Re HJHornbeck @ #@58

    I think it was in a comment on an existing thread but I don’t recall which one. It may have been the last comment on the thread that had over 3000 comments.

  50. says

    PZ’s post about Shermer’s lawyers, and about the possibility of having to remove the “grenade” post (“Lawyering Up”), was deleted and replaced with “Last Word for Now.”

  51. Jesse A. says

    The August 16th, 2013 post for “Ian Murphy, Michael Shermer, JREF” now links to a spam/malware site.

  52. hjhornbeck says

    Jesse A. @79:

    There were reports that some malicious advertising was added to the website, causing a redirect. I tried viewing it on my browser (Firefox + AdBlocker Plus + NoScript), and it worked fine for me. Try disabling Javascript or installing a ad blocking tool, see if either helps.

  53. says

    Dennis Haugh’s comments in PZ’s post about the need to find & help him indicate that he was presenting as male at the time, but bisexual, and that he literally means rape after Shermer got him drunk. So far no one has appeared to say that all he had to do was not drink so much or wear longer pants. Which is a good thing because, well, the rape seems to have been a factor in his decision to commit suicide.

    Thanks for the link to the restored post. His brother took it down while he was in the hospital.

  54. says

    As long as we’re putting the pieces together: there’s no date on this but perhaps you could get one by talking to the commenter. Mrs. Shermer showed up to verify and query.

    “Several years ago, on a now defunct blog, I wrote about a man I briefly dated, who I found out was dating four other women at the same time (which is OK in principle) and was separated from his wife. But, he kept each of the women secret from each other and from his estranged wife. My blog was bout how he considered himself moral because he treated each individual woman very well; my point was that the women had a right to know that they were one of many.

    Since the blog was taken down, I have nothing in the way of evidence, but…I was sent a comment by a woman who thought the post was about Shermer, and said that he had confessed several ‘affairs’ and listed names. I recognized two of the names! After examining the email address and consulting with a friend who knows IT stuff, I responded with “Mrs.Shermer:” and assured the person that I was not another one of those women, and that the person I wrote about was indeed a guy I had dated and in no way involved with any skeptic community. The person ‘fessed up and admitted to being Mrs.Shermer and apologized for bothering me.

    I didn’t own the blog, and I contacted the person who did, but he deleted everything. Yes, only my word. One person can verify that he saw and read the comments, helped me identify the sender. But it speaks to a continued pattern. I also know one woman who was harrassed by Shermer – first person, not my neighbor’s brother’s wife. But she is afraid.”

    She also says,

    I enter this community about 7 years ago, and within a few months was warned about Shermer. This is nothing new.

  55. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for adding Dallas Haugh’s post to the timeline, Jason. I left a note in the original thread mentioning it was there.

  56. kaboobie says

    Markita @ 84

    This is the post by naomibaker that is on the timeline under August 9. Unless you were asking about the date she was contacted by Mrs. Shermer, which she does not specify.

    I don’t know when the Shermers got divorced. I do know that Michael Shermer was married when I first encountered him in 2006.

  57. hjhornbeck says

    It might be worth posting Emery Emery’s legal defense fund for Shermer, if only because it contains a statement by Shermer himself:

    “People are asking me about this legal fund set up in my name, if I am aware of it, if it is legit, should they donate?, etc. For the record: I am aware of and completely support this legal fund and deeply appreciate Emery for setting it up and for the people who have donated thus far. I made it clear to Emery when he set it up that the money goes into an account that I have no access to, that my legal bills will be paid out of the fund directly to the law firm representing me, and that if there is any money left over after the case is finished that it be donated by Emery to a nonprofit organization of his choice. If anyone would like to email me directly for confirmation of the above, my email is [email protected], which is posted on our web page http://www.skeptic.com. My reputation is all I have. I did nothing wrong–legally or morally–and I intend to defend myself and prosecute Myers until he issues a retraction and apology, as stated by my attorney.”

    –Michael Shermer

  58. says

    Was alerted to this already, hjhornbeck, and it’s certainly noteworthy.

    What do you call a fund built to finance your legal costs as a plaintiff? I can’t help but think that’s a legal OFFense fund.

  59. nathanaelnerode says

    “I downloaded the IRS 990 for JREF from guidestar.org. (Free but requires account.) The one filed for 2012 lists the following officers and board members:

    James Randi, Chairman of the Board (Salary $243,750/year)
    Rick Adams, Treasurer (uncompensated)
    Daniel Denman, Secretary (uncompensated)
    DJ Groethe, President (Salary 95,000/year)

    No other board members or officers are listed. Now, that’s what was filed in April 2013. It could have changed since then. But that’s not very old.”

    Some organization related thoughts.

    It’s been said that there are 3 board members, though it’s really odd that they wouldn’t list them. If there were 4 board members, that would mean that you need 3 of them to change anything; if Groethe was at all concerned about control, he might do that deliberately to make it harder to dislodge him.

    I know nothing about Denman or Adams, but I would be willing to bet Groethe has at least one of them in his pocket, just based on what I know about how manipulation of boards works. I think that means JREF is likely to be unfixable.

    It also likely means that Randi is being “snowed” about what is being done in his name. It’s possible that Adams, who appears to be the money man, has also been snowed. This is just straight-up speculation based on watching the manipulation of organizational boards in other places and times; this is how I’d expect it to work.

    If Randi and Adams can be shown that Groethe is a dangerous supporter of sexual assault, it may be possible to get them to disavow him. But it’s hard to tell how much of a spell Groethe has woven over them, or what their prior attitudes were.

    “The Skeptics Society” is unfortunately Michael Shermer’s personal project. It’s likely to be completely hopeless. I can’t find *any* information on its governance *whatsoever*. It would have been trivially easy for him to put it entirely under the control of him and trusted cronies, though I suppose he might have made it democratic.

  60. hjhornbeck says

    Interesting; apparently Shermer sent John Loftus an email proving his innocence, and mentions Shermer now knows his accuser:

    I have read Shermer’s response, as I said. Had PZ asked Shermer like I did he would not have published this unevidenced accusation. Shermer knows the accuser and presents a more likely scenario than hers in my opinion.

  61. says

    Hmm. hjhornbeck, I see another possibility there. Shermer may well have poisoned the well on one particular person with Loftus, doing the nut-and-slut thing preemptively, but that doesn’t mean the accuser is that person. That’s actually still an unknown here.

  62. hjhornbeck says

    Very true, and I had that thought in mind but decided to phrase things more suggestively. It’s a moot point, anyway, as I have a reliable informant pointing me to an email retraction sent later by Shermer to Loftus:

    Initially he didn’t. Then he thought about it and thought he did. Now he tells me he doesn’t. Don’t make too much of this. He’s trying to guess, that’s all, just as anyone would.

    See, it was only a guess. A guess! Such a trivial thing, in’nit? </benson>

  63. hjhornbeck says

    Another update on Shermer’s legal offense fund. In full:

    Well, we’ve blown past our initial goal of $5,000 and I thank all of you who have stepped up to show your support. You contributors who are baffled by the bizarre behavior and actions of PZ Myers are going to play a key role in holding him accountable for his actions.

    I asked Michael Shermer what his lawyers are expecting this process to cost and this is what they estimate:

    Since PZ has chosen to ignore the cease & desist altogether, Shermer has no choice but to file a case against him. If this suit goes the full distance and PZ is brought before a civil judge to answer for his actions, they estimate around $50,000.

    Think about that! One day, you wake up and someone has decided to publish rumors about you and BAM, you’re in a fight to restore your reputation. This is why I launched this fundraiser and it’s why I am asking everyone to keep spreading the word. I am hoping to get the current total to at least $10,000 to offset the cost of the initial filing and discovery process.

    Thank you for all your donations and show your of support.

    … can someone stop this train? I want out of this movement.

  64. Vicki says

    Is this a “stay tuned for further developments” or is there somewhere else we should be looking? (Google is not being helpful here.)

  65. says

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    Well being a natural skeptic myself I know *I* saw red flags instantly when I read PZ’s initial blog post. My ability to accurately see red flags has served me well in the past and kinda like a “spidey sense” bells went off when I read PZ’s article. More accurately warning bells went off when I read those “anonymous” statements.

    First word to stand out of course is “RAPE” as in “he raped me”. THAT is a charge on the most serious nature yet here it is in black and white along with the “assailants” name. THEN I went back to re-read the first complainants’ story. That story was VERY short and PZ should have fleshed out more info on the incident BEFORE publishing it to the net world. The statement was only 7 lines and missing much detail that *I* would have wanted clarity on before I would choose to hit the publish key on this topic.

    “It’s been a few years, so no law agency is going to do anything about it now”.
    Another red flag. I thought statute of limitation was 7 years in rape cases, longer in some states. I’m Canadian so I might be wrong but that line didn’t sound credible at all based on what I *think* is the law regarding sexual assault and rape so red flag. I’m happy to be corrected though.

    “she’s also afraid that the person who assaulted her before could try to hurt her again.”
    HURT her again? How? Does she think he’d actually drive over to her state and attack her? Red flag. Maybe she was truly traumatized by Shermer and in now in fear for her life but I have my serious doubts.

    “coerced me”. What does that mean? In what way? Were you forced? Did he threaten you or your job in some way if you didn’t do as he desired? Were you comatose and unable to resist? Did you say NO or were you incapable of saying no? Did he spike your drink with something else? What was the condition of Mr. Shermer? Was he also drunk or was he sober and in full possession of all his faculties? Did he coerce you into his room or did he coerce you into letting him into your room? Or did it happen in some other location like a coat check? Were there witnesses to any of the conversation *before* the incident? Are they willing to talk to me about this before I react?

    “scared that he will come after me in some way”
    In what way? What do you mean? Go after your job? Or do you mean physically? Do you think he will know who you are just by me sharing this incident?

    “I’ve heard stories about him doing things”
    What things have you heard? Can you give me more details? Can you tell me who they are? Do you know when and where these other incidents occurred? Do you know if they reported these incidents to the police? If not, why not?

    See? Question after question from just a 7 line statement.

    For the “witness” who is corroborating the story, can you give further details as to what happened after the incident when you spoke to the woman? What did you see? Were her cloths torn or damaged in any say? How did she describe the incident when you first spoke to her? What were your feelings about this incident when you first talked to the woman about the incident? When did the two of you actually go to the conference staff? You said “some time later”. Was it during the same weekend or much later? Who did the two of you actually speak to from the conference? How was the incident described to the conference staff? What was their reaction to the reporting of this incident? Did you recommend that she call the police once she felt she wasn’t getting satisfaction from the conference staff?

    Then it goes onto the next report about the other woman who was hit on by Mr. Shermer as he “chatted at great length while refilling her glass repeatedly” My first reaction was instantly that if she has not continually voluntarily emptied it, he’d have had no reason to politely refill the glass of the person he by her own admittance was very interested in a “lengthy chat” something that is suddenly a bad thing to be interested in. That’s it. Her whole fucking story was how he flirted as he spoke to her and re-filled her wine glass “repeatedly”, “ And that’s the entirety of my story: Michael Shermer helped get me drunker than I normally get, and was a bit flirty.” That BASTARD! If I’d have been PZ I wouldn’t even have added this incident into his blog post. It was just silly to equate filling a woman’s wine glass with “it tells you exactly what kind of behavior to watch out for with him.” Which were PZ’s words, not this woman’s. Because we all know that a man who re-fills a woman’s glass at a conference when she’s likely to not get behind of the wheel of an automobile that night and finds her attractive AND enjoys her conversation is a bad bad person??? And this therefore somehow corroborates a totally separate incident that by his admittance is quite dissimilar except that it “illustrates his tactics”. Oh the horrors….I’m just not seeing it and I don’t know why the much smarter PZ didn’t see this either….

    “my friends had to cart me off before anything happened to me.” By Shermer or from someone else? There is no indication from this story that Shermer would have done ANYTHING with her, especially if he was aware that she was married. I think this girl thinks too much of herself and presumed he was trying to bed her? I think she presumed something based on PZ’s rumor and she filled in the blanks based on what she felt was “piggish” behavior from Shermer and decided that it must be him who the rumors are about. Well, maybe but maybe not and that story is still a long way from a “rape” A LONG way.
    So my opinion is that PZ should have indeed waited a few more days until he answered his own series of questions that his own “Spidey sense” should have warned him to be skeptical of. After all, as a skeptic seeking truth (and proof) he didn’t seem to use all those wonderful brain cells to make his decisions in this case.

    BOOM indeed…

  66. says

    Bloody hell is everyone in the movement suing for defamation these days? Both are not defamation unless they can prove the accusations were maliciously made up! I’ve got a Tweep threatening to sue me for libel in the UK as I suggested he may be a rape apologist for saying in the context of the Shermer allegations ->

    Hysteria is from people who cry rape without reporting it to the proper authorities


    Although it seemed to be the Storify that got him worked up as there was no threat until I published that … Just 10’s -> 100’s of his atheist friends whining that this is not rape apology … Most of them thought you had to be fine with rape to be a rape apologist or because he is a “good man” he couldn’t say something that was rape apology *rolls eyes* ..

  67. says

    Justin, I see it took you a while to decide to approve the bozo at #97 who seems determined to re-raise every single point rebutted in the 4000+ comment thread over at Pharyngula on the very post to which he’s referring.

    I question the wisdom of that decision.

  68. says

    First, who is Justin? :p

    Second: I really want people to know that every single objection is going to be raised and re-raised no matter how competently and thoroughly it’s all been torn apart. Until we have an Index of Rape-Apologist Claims that itemizes every one of these objections to us describing reality as it stands and how said reality creates and inculcates rape culture, not a single damn one of our efforts is going to make a dent in ideologues coming at the world from a worldview that attempts to justify the system we’re in. This is exactly why I let it through: to illustrate that people are incapable of reading the conversation and will go with their gut-feeling instead. Every damn time.

  69. davidjanes says

    @101 – I am reminded of a quote I have seen attributed to Sagan:

    You can’t reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into in the first place.

  70. says

    Jason #101:

    First, who is Justin? :p

    Oops. My apologies.

    This is exactly why I let it through: to illustrate that people are incapable of reading the conversation and will go with their gut-feeling instead. Every damn time.

    Fair enough; I sorta guessed as much. I’m beginning to think that copy-pasting these things to a tumblr and posting a comment of your own giving a link would be more what they deserve than taking up space here or elsewhere that could be better used, but since I don’t have the time/energy for creating such a tumblr I doubt anyone else does either.

  71. says

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    All I’m saying it that THOSE are the questions that instantly came to mind when I read PZ’s post. I believe that those questions or ones very similar should have been asked by PZ *before* he posted that particular post.

    I’m quite certain that many of those questions were *later* hashed out in the over 4000+ posts by other people on PZ’s original blog space. I’ve not heard them all. I can gaurantee that others have not heard them all. We certainly not “incapable” of reading it all but most people don’t have the time to dedicate to reading 4000+ posts PLUS all the other blog posts on the subject as well as hold down a full time job before replying to someone else’s blog. I does seem that I’m in good company with like minded people if I seem “determined to re-raise every single point rebutted in the 4000+ comment” as tigtog mentioned. I sure as hell won’t spend weeks reading someone else’s blog JUST so I can “properly” reply to Jason’s blog. Sorry, Won’t happen. I’m too busy for that but I’m trying my hardest to read all the links provided but I only have so much time. Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit. It wasn’t said on THIS blog and I DID read THIS blog, as well as some of the links so far and those of my opinions so far.

    When a person enters a conversation one usually stops and listens and then responds at some point. They do not listen to the topic (that they are already aware of) THEN disappear for a couple weeks while they research every nuance of the topic and only then add an opinion. That is not how life works. Jason is right. Yes, the questions may have been asked and answered by someone else in the past but that doesn’t mean people have seen all the answers.

    I’m certainly not a “rape apologist” but the funny thing is the only time I get called such things is in a place Called “FreeThoughtBlogs”. Funny that eh? I have no idea if what has been said to have happened has actually happened or not or if there is more to the report or a perfectly acceptable explanation or if evidence will prove it to be 100 accurate. We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”. I would not have posted it without making a few more inquiries first.

    I gotta admit, “gut feelings” usually have a place in the though process and cannot be discounted so quickly. Gut feeling are much like our fear response. Yes fear is emotional but without it we’d likely get injured far more often and without gut feelings we’d never have reason to question anything because nothing would set off alarm bells and EVERYTHING would be simply taken as truth. Is that what you really want?

    I did once make a suggestion that you re-brand yourselves and call your website SFB “Secular Feminist Blogs” which is a far more appropriate name for the this blog space based on the continual re-occurring theme that’s raised and re-raised over the past two years.

    What ever happened to talking about Science?

  72. says

    If you tried to justify literal interpretations of a 6000-year-old Earth, I’d call you a religious apologist. If you try to justify a system that lets people get away with rape by suggesting that it’s not rape if she’s drunk and it’s all her fault for being drunk anyway, I’m going to call you a rape apologist.

    Don’t make apologetics for the rape culture we live in if you don’t want to be called a rape apologist.

  73. carlie says

    We certainly not “incapable” of reading it all but most people don’t have the time to dedicate to reading 4000+ posts PLUS all the other blog posts on the subject as well as hold down a full time job before replying to someone else’s blog.

    You can’t do a “find in page”? Not even in a single post?

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.

    And yet, given that, you still think that other people should give a shit about your opinion to the point of spending their time answering your questions? You’re not paying anyone to be your private tutor here. Other people have lives, too. You don’t have time to read prior posts or comments? Other people don’t have time to repeat themselves dozens of times just because someone else can’t be bothered to read what they’ve said before. Look at how you’re privileging your time compared to everyone else. Your time is not more important than anyone else’s.

    What ever happened to talking about Science?

    That’s scienceblogs.com ? Not this site? As evidenced in the name?

  74. says

    We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”.

    With muddy thinking like this, why should we bother listening to you?

    Whether or not you believe the report to be valid does not depend, as implied by your “because,” on whether the reported action should be considered rape.

    Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.

  75. says

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    @Carlie@106

    “You can’t do a “find in page”? Not even in a single post?”

    I‘m not sure what you mean by that. Surely you’re not suggesting that I search each and every one of my questions one at a time on PZ’s blog are you?

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.
    “And yet, given that, you still think that other people should give a shit about your opinion to the point of spending their time answering your questions?”

    If you wish to provide answers then feel free to do so as you see fit. If you choose not to it’s your choice. But if you actually think I should shut up simply because YOU’VE heard it before then as I stated before, I don’t give a shit, I haven’t heard all the ways they’ve been “torn apart” and I can presume neither have many others so I’m expressing an opinion on the subject that I’ve not seen on THIS blog post. Make sense?

    “You’re not paying anyone to be your private tutor here. Other people have lives, too. You don’t have time to read prior posts or comments?”

    Ah but I’ve already stated that I HAVE read ‘prior posts or comments” just not the 4000+ comments on PZ’s page. Like I said, you don’t want to provide answers fine with me but then why are you responding at all?

    “Other people don’t have time to repeat themselves dozens of times just because someone else can’t be bothered to read what they’ve said before.”

    Then don’t. It’s that easy. Seen it before? Then there’s nothing to see here. Move along and ignore it. You don’t want to discuss the topic, again more along and ignore it. There may be others that wish to discuss it and if you’re not one of them then move along and ignore it. It’s really that simple isn’t it? As a matter of fact, this is your first post in this particular page so why is it that I should know what the fuck you to some other people at some other time somewhere else?? Again, if your time is so precious move along and ignore it. You see that there’s a theme here eh? If you don’t want to respond then DON’T. (Yet you did)

    “Look at how you’re privileging your time compared to everyone else. Your time is not more important than anyone else’s.”

    What’s your point? I gave my input as I see it just like everyone else. YOU have the choice to respond or ignore yet you’ve chosen to respond albeit not about any of the points I previously brought up. Why is that?

    What ever happened to talking about Science?
    That’s scienceblogs.com ? Not this site? As evidenced in the name?

    Yeah, the “name” You DO remember when you actually talked about secularism and science here don’t you?? AH those were the days…..

    Kinda why I suggested that you re-label this forum “Secular Feminist Blogs”. You don’t seem to talk about anything else anymore INCLUDING “freethought”

  76. says

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    @Daz at 108
    We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”.

    “With muddy thinking like this, why should we bother listening to you?”

    You have freedom of choice. If I’m wrong, discuss where I’m wrong or where I’m right, you can educate me, you can Ignore me Or… Insult me. Funny thing here is that “insult me” always ends up being the default position.

    “Whether or not you believe the report to be valid does not depend, as implied by your “because,” on whether the reported action should be considered rape.
    Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.”

    Then people have been getting raped after meeting someone at a bar or gathering for the past 200 years (likely more). Ever hooked up with someone while partying on a Friday night or at the ski resort or camping or or or? Then by your definition YOU are a rapist, even if you both were drinking, YOU are the rapist. Even if she was the aggressor and said yes yes yes, because she was drinking (just like you) it is quite obvious that you raped her. Do you like your logic now?

    Again “Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.”

    So what does that mean? Does it actually mean what you are saying it means? That she was “someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent”? What PZ posted was that she said “…coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me”. Nowhere did she say that she was not in a “fit condition” to give informed consent, Just that she was “coerced” into a position where she could not give consent but didn’t say anything about “a fit condition” YOU added that. Please stick with what we know, not conjecture.

    We have no idea what her interpretation of “coerce” means. She might very well have given consent BUT regretted it in the morning when she realized how drunk she had gotten the night before or he might very well have forced himself on her in some diabolical way. (alcohol?, threats to her job?… I don’t know. Something that she deemed to have been “coerced”). We don’t know because no further information was given. The way she worded that sentence, it sounds like she might have consented but later thought about it and felt that had she not been drinking she likely would have been able to neutralize the coercion and wouldn’t have agreed to sex with someone she might not have usually been attracted to. That wouldn’t be deemed rape. She may have felt “coerced” by the alcohol or the conversation but if she was able to have casual or serious conversation with the man without slurring her words then how is one to know when someone you are clearing communicating with is no longer able to say “yes” to sex without it being deemed “rape”? If my own wife drinks 7 drinks at a party and then we go back home to shag all night long, did I just rape her? After all, she’s given consent in the past but NOT that night. THAT night she was “not in a fit condition to give informed consent”. Am I a rapist?

    I still feel that when it comes to the alcohol, it was Mrs. Anonymous that put every single drop to her own mouth and I feel quite certain that he made no efforts for physically force the alcohol into her system even if he paid for every drink or poured each drink when her glass was empty or said anything like “hey, drink up, the night is young” so she really does need to own that part. If someone feels that they do inappropriate things after 4 drinks and knows that 1 drink usually leads to a second which usually leads to a 3rd which always leads to that 4th drink that makes her do inappropriate things then if she’s incapable of stopping after the first and knows she’s definitely incapable of stopping after the fourth then by default the time to stop is BEFORE the first drink. If she chose to drink knowing through past experience that she is more likely to make bad choices when drinking and she consciously consumed the alcohol of her own volition knowing the risks why is it always the man’s fault?

    All this I say because I am assuming that she was not comatose or incoherent, but simply buzzed on several glasses of whatever and regretted something that happened while she was in that state. If indeed she WAS comatose or falling down drunk or incoherent or he threatened her job if she didn’t succumb to his desires then I’d definitely say rape. But I’m withholding that decision until I get more clarity than 7 cryptic lines told hearsay through a third party and repeated PZ. I am correct in that Carrie contacted him and not the woman in question? Making it Hearsay? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  77. says

    Jason, will you please add a Content Note for potentially triggering victim blaming etc to the top of alandeon2’s comments?

    alandeon2, I will only respond to the very last question you ask about your understanding that the testimony was conveyed via hearsay to PZ. You are indeed wrong about that, and that was clarified weeks ago. That you claim to be unaware of this indicates to me that you are deliberately shit-stirring rather than asking honest questions.

  78. says

    @alandeon2:

    I‘m not sure what you mean by that. Surely you’re not suggesting that I search each and every one of my questions one at a time on PZ’s blog are you?

    Yes, that’s exactly what’s being suggested. Just as we’d tell a clueless creationist to visit the Index to Creationist Claims before spouting off their nonsense. It’s all been answered before, in a few easily-searched places (like PZ’s “grenade” post and follow-ups). You’re saying, essentially, “surely you’re not suggesting that I do basic research before sounding off.” If you can’t be bothered to look it up, no one else is going to bother to sit down and patiently repeat it all to you. You’re not entitled to anyone else’s time.

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.

    And yet you’ve written over 3,100 words here on the subject. One can only wonder what clueless verbosity you reserve for the things you care about.

  79. says

    @alandeon2:

    Yes, yes. Clearly, two equally drunk people having sex means they both raped each other. Because “complicated,” and “sometimes we have to take each case on its own merits” aren’t allowable in your search for hard and fast rules to follow in place of thought.

    All this I say because I am assuming…

    You may assume anything you like. Please don’t present it as argument though.

    Making it Hearsay? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong. Do your own homework.

  80. says

    I’m actually going to do you one better, tigtog — my approving the first instance of his tiresome repetitive shit, where he’s patently unwilling to look at the very post he’s arguing about and actually read the conversation to catch up on where every one of the objections he’s made has been rebutted thoroughly, was not meant to approve his nonsense indefinitely.

    I have first post moderation, but sometimes some people have to be kept on a short leash. That means I will not post anything further from him that is either a repeat of something that’s already been said, or just to make the point totally clear, neither will I post any comment by him that whines about how he’s being censored because we hate free speech or something. Basically, I’m making him think about what he says having consequences that might include not being allowed to say it here. If he can deal with that, so much the better.

  81. says

    alandeon: And that’s the closest thing to something novel that you’ve hit the moderation wall with since my putting you into moderation. Protip: whining about censorship, then whining about people asking you to do your due diligence and see if you’re not just pressing the reset button on a conversation, is not novel or interesting or worth putting on my blog. Nor is trying to continue the nit-picking and hair-splitting conversation.

    This claim that we’re not willing to have a conversation? Well, keep reading that thread. If you’re only 200 in, like you said in one of those comments, you probably haven’t yet hit a single one of your bretheren in hyperskepticism. Just keep going. You’ll find your points have been raised several times by several people and rebutted in every manner.

    Just because we’re not interested in having the same conversation again and again like some horrible Groundhog Day, doesn’t mean we’re not willing to have a conversation. And just because we’re plugging our ears when you try to have it, doesn’t mean you’re being censored. Climb down off your cross, you’re supposed to be an atheist.

  82. says

    10 September 2013: Michael Shermer tweets,

    Skeptics in the Pub Köln “No drinks on stage”? What fun is that? I like to keep my glass full w/out my knowing it…

    Several hours later, this tweet was deleted, after it had been retweeted by Ophelia Benson among others.

  83. says

    Eit! I managed to miss that you had already added that to the timeline. (The tweet was up for something like nine hours; I didn’t see it until Ophelia RTed it.) Well, now you have an extra bonus screencap. :-P

  84. says

    I would put this on the timeline if Bora was a member of the secular or skeptical communities, D4M10N, but he’s not. What he did does in fact qualify as another incident making a community generally unwelcome to women, but I can’t exactly report on every single such instance in every single community. I’d never see the end of cataloguing such harassment.

  85. says

    It is additionally worth noting that of the harassment we’ve seen so far, Bora’s was arguably the mildest, and to his credit, he unambiguously admitted he was wrong and apologized. Would that other harassers rethink their actions that are demonstrably worse than his, that some folks in this community have bent over backward to excuse.

  86. says

    I’d like to offer another possible timeline event, if it’s not just beating a dead horse at this point…

    It looks like Brian Dalton is continuing to dig himself in deeper with the latest Mr. Deity episode. I hadn’t bothered to remove Mr. Deity from my RSS feed list yet, and so when the new ep came out today I watched it out of curiosity, to see if maybe he’d decided to quit making an ass of himself over the Shermer/harassment issue and just get back to anti-theist comedy.

    I was sort of encouraged at first, because the ep was all right, except for a self-congratulatory “look how feminist I am” punchline at the end — he took an easy potshot at the “let your women keep silence in the churches” bit from the letters of Paul. But then in the begging segment he went right back to repeating the same ol’ fallacies he’s been corrected on a million times over, while simultaneously claiming that all the angry people were just misunderstanding him, chastising them for not being able to discuss the subject without anger, and congratulating any remaining and new donors for supporting his supposedly-rational perspective on the issue. In addition, he’s using the fact that many people canceled their subscriptions over his dumbassery as yet another reason that others should make donations.

    Bottom line is, he seems to have decided this issue is where he wants to make his stand, and to have every intention of being an ongoing participant on the slyme side. Also, anyone who likes the Mr. D act and wants to just enjoy that separate from Dalton’s other views should be aware that Dalton is definitely interpreting support of Mr. Deity as support for those other views. Too bad.

  87. hjhornbeck says

    Probably old news to Thibeault, but Zvan posted some new relevations about Groethe and Shermer, courtesy Carrie Poppy and Brian Thompson. Here’s the key bits:

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

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

  88. Susan Smith says

    I’m on the “fringe” of the skeptical community and have been considering greater participation. I switched from Catholicism to Atheism a few years ago due to the writings of many on this board and within the community and I’m better for it. No one knows me personally, but I feel like I know many of you.

    I only have a general idea of who Micheal Shermer is. He isn’t my hero or someone I look up to. If he’s a rapist, he should be taken to court. If he’s a sleaze, hopefully women will be able to pick up on that as soon as he pours them a drink.

    I am not a rape apologist. It’s an awful crime and can destroy someone’s life. Facing accusations from an unnamed person and various unidentified internet posters can also destroy someone’s life.

    Reading all of this, after the fact, is bizarre. It’s impossible to form an opinion as to whether or not this man is a rapist based on the second and third hand, often anonymous, generally vague accounts. Much of the evidence is pointless. Repeatedly refilling someones wine glass? I have girlfriends who assume drunk people have more fun and push me to drink more all of the time. At a local bar I have a bartender who I’ve asked to give me water when a close relative orders shots. She just likes everyone to drink. She’s not a predator and she’s not trying to get into my pants.

    However, I’m shocked that in this community a series of anonymous and/or second and third hand comments is enough to convict someone in the court of public opinion. What is to prevent anyone from making an accusation against another member of this community?

    This claim requires some evidence beyond a short description from an unnamed source who never mentions the word “rape”.

    This saddens me. What is to stop anyone here from claiming that I raped them or stole from them or punched them or…. anything?

  89. says

    Susan Smith: If you go to the link under “Unnamed victims via PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF” above, you will find a thread where your exact objections are raised and answered multiple times. If you actually wish to understand why people hold the opinions they hold, reading a few pages of that would be a good start.

    I think at this point we should put together an index of responses to these questions, since they’re all so similar as to basically be working from a predictable script.

  90. John Morales says

    Susan Smith,

    What is to prevent anyone from making an accusation against another member of this community?

    Nothing.

    (How much credibility do you reckon an accusation* without merit would accrue in this community**?)

    * I think you confuse ‘accusation’ with ‘claim'; the two are not synonimous.

    ** I’m a long-time reader here but a very infrequent commenter; whether or not that makes me a member of “this community” is up to others, but I don’t consider myself one such.

  91. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Tom Foss @129,

    If you go to the link under “Unnamed victims via PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF” above, you will find a thread where your exact objections are raised and answered multiple times. If you actually wish to understand why people hold the opinions they hold, reading a few pages of that would be a good start.

    Perhaps, but “reading a few pages” would entail several hours, given there are 500 comments per page.

  92. says

    Yes, sometimes learning requires time and effort. I realize that someone popping in after quite some time has passed and asking the same questions as every concerned Internetizen who preceded them hasn’t bothered with that time and effort and probably expects someone else to stop and answer their questions as though this were the first time anyone had thought to ask them. But there is, so to speak, a body of literature on this particular subject, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a person to familiarize themselves with at least a portion of it before entering the discourse.

    It’s certainly no more unreasonable than popping into an old topic and expecting other people to take their time and effort to answer your tired questions once more with feeling.

  93. John Morales says

    I cannot dispute you, Tom — and in fact I think that the last couple of pages there essentially boil down to what you’ve just noted.

  94. hjhornbeck says

    Hmmm. Since it’s a photo, I’ll transcribe:

    In 2013 Karen Stollznow accused Benjamin Radford of stalking, sexual harassment, and both physical and sexual assault. She made these accusations in a complaint to Ben Radford’s employer (the Center for Inquiry), in a guest blog written for the Scientific American Mind website and to various individuals in private communications.

    These accusations and complaints against Benjamin Radford were false and Karen Stollznow retracts them. Radford was disciplined by the Center for Inquiry on the basis of them. One of Stollznow’s minor complaints (that Radford briefly stood in front of her during an argument when she wanted to walk past him) was the result of miscommunication during their relationship, but the accusations of sexual harassment, stalking, sexual assault, unwanted emails and the like were and are categorically false.

    These serious and polarizing false accusations created divisiveness within the skeptical community. Most of the outrage directed at Radford as a consequence of the false accusations came from people with no knowledge of Radford’s and Stollznow’s relationship, who uncritically repeated the false accusations.

    Stollznow cannot fully undo the damage Radford’s career and reputation cause by her false accusations, but this retraction is a sincere effort to set the record straight. Karen Stollznow and Ben Radford ask that bloggers and others that have repeated these allegations against Radford please remove them from their sites and not repeat them. Any blogs or other published references to these false accusations only serve to perpetuate the harm to both parties.

    This issue has unfortunately detracted from the success that both Benjamin Radford and Karen Stollznow have worked hard to achieve in skepticism and public science education. Both Ben and Karen wish to move on with their lives and careers and put this matter behind them and that their friends and colleagues also let the matter drop.

    There’s no confirmation on whether or not Stollznow agrees with this statement. PZ Myers claims Radford wrote the entire statement, and posted it without getting Stollznow’s signature, but says nothing on that question.

    There are a number of ways to interpret this letter. Accepting it at face value is tough to square against the words of Blake Smith, Matthew Baxter, Ian Murphy, Joe Anderson, Ron Lindsay, and DJ Groethe via Carrie Poppy. Deceiving all these people would be an impressive conspiracy.

    Another hypothesis is that Stollznow was forced to agree with the statement due to legal pressure from Radford. If this hypothesis is correct, then Radford could use public statements made about him and Stollznow in order to antagonize her further, compounding what’s already coming from skeptics/atheists in the community friendly to Radford.

    In short, think before you post.

  95. says

    HJ:
    I find that “retraction letter” unconvincing. Dr Stollznow’s signature is noticeably missing. Also, it is not in the first person.
    Predictably, the pseudoskeptics are giddy over this. Radfords FB page-open for comments to a select few-has comments by several known skeptic-a-holes.

  96. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Another hypothesis is that Stollznow was forced to agree with the statement due to legal pressure from Radford. If this hypothesis is correct, then Radford could use public statements made about him and Stollznow in order to antagonize her further, compounding what’s already coming from skeptics/atheists in the community friendly to Radford.

    In short, think before you post.

    In other words, “shut up about me or the dame gets it.”

    Really nice people we’re dealing with here.

  97. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    RE that retraction, I’ll believe it when it appears in some form other than a photo on Ben Radford’s FB page.

  98. hjhornbeck says

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! @137

    I find that “retraction letter” unconvincing. Dr Stollznow’s signature is noticeably missing. Also, it is not in the first person.

    Agreed. I did see someone claim on Radford’s FB page that Stollznow had signed a copy which was then notarized, but the version Radford posted was clearly not that copy. Right now, all we have is Radford’s word.

    If Stollznow did agree to the letter, though, that would be quite a pain. Multiple blogs would have to re-post what they said about Radford, then append that letter. In the short term, such an act would only draw more attention to the claims, further polarizing the skeptic/atheist community, a rather ironic state of affairs.

    And I suppose it would finally prove that some things are not #UpForDebate.

  99. Hj Hornbeck says

    Hey, fresh news, this time in the form of a rant from Brian Thompson via Surly Amy. It’s long (and worth the read, he’s a funny guy), so I’ll just excerpt the key paragraphs:

    I grew particularly disgusted with the boys’ club attitude I saw among skeptical leaders and luminaries. The kind of attitude that’s dismissive of women, sexually predatory, and downright gross. When I first started going to skeptical conferences as a fresh-faced know-it-all, I started hearing things about people I once admired. Then I started seeing things myself. Then I got a job with the JREF, and the pattern continued.

    There’s a particular guy popular with the skeptical crowd who writes books, gives talks, and wears bicycle shorts. What’s not to love? Well, a female friend of mine told me she didn’t like it very much when he locked eyes with her from across a room and pointed to his dick. When I started working for the JREF, my boss described this same guy as an “old school misogynist”. Then a friend told me this same skeptical celebrity had groped another speaker at a conference. Grabbed her breast without invitation. Sexually assaulted her. Then my boss told me that not only did this assault happen, but that he witnessed it and intervened. The woman who was assaulted won’t name names for fear of being dragged through the mud. Another woman I know has told me that this same guy assaulted her. Others have confirmed her story to me. I believe her. But she’s remained anonymous for much the same reasons.

    I’m tired of this. I’m tired of hearing about sexual predators like Mr. Bicycle Shorts, who has yet again been invited to speak at the JREF’s annual conference. I’m tired of hearing things like what I’ve heard from [redacted]. That my old boss grabbed his junk in a car and said he would be “presidentially displeased” if [redacted] didn’t give my old boss a kiss.

    I’m tired of people like Richard Dawkins, whose lashing out at my friend Rebecca Watson for having the nerve to talk about what kind of male attention makes her uncomfortable has led to years of the most heinous abuse being flung at her and her colleagues. Heinous, woman-hating abuse from enthusiastic members of this broken little community of freethinkers.

    Pardon my Yiddish, but oy, that shit’s fucked. And it’s also fucked that people are afraid to speak out about their stories for fear that it will become the focus of their careers or that their privacy will be destroyed or that they’ll be sued or that they’ll somehow damage organizations that do a lot of good work.

    This makes me sick, and it makes me mad. So of course I’m going to help Karen speak up and fight back.

    Here’s the situation in a nutshell: Karen used to work with another writer and investigator named Ben Radford at an organization called CFI. Karen says Radford continually harassed and abused her. She brought the situation to CFI, which found Radford guilty of some of Karen’s charges. Then they let him off with a slap on the wrist. Karen blogged about this. Radford sued her for defamation.

    Based on the evidence I’ve seen, my own experience with Radford’s dishonest and creepy behavior, and the assurances from friends of mine who know more about this situation than I do, I’m willing to believe Karen. And more than that, I’m willing to put my money behind her efforts to fight back in court. Because she deserves the chance to make her case instead of having to fold under insurmountable financial pressure. Defending yourself in court isn’t cheap.

  100. Hj Hornbeck says

    Brace yourselves, there’s some big news from Pamela Gay:

    On Wednesday, I learned that there are at least two audio recordings of a meeting at a non-profit. In this meeting my mistake was discussed and now there is the chance that audio could go public.

    And at this point, if it did, I’d support it because it would mean I could speak the truth frankly without fear of being sued for libel or slander by people with more resources than I have. It might mean that every few months, I wouldn’t have to deal with someone going, “there is this rumor” or getting out of the blue emails saying, “you know…”.

    My mistake was not reporting that a drunken man in a prominent role tried to grab my breasts.

    I’m writing this blog post to try and get out the truth, to get my story out before the internet gets ahold of this truth and of me, and before I am judged by the court of the blogosphere. [...]

    In talking with other women, I’ve been assured I did nothing wrong. I protected myself, and moved on. The thing is, in all the years since 2008, I’ve had a stream of women coming to me saying, “Me too,” and sometimes they say, “Me too, only it was worse and no one intervened.” I have lived with that guilt – lived with knowing that I did nothing but maybe if I had done something …

    There’s a lot more there. Based on the contents, I speculate Grothe intervened and prevented Shermer from assaulting Gay, and has made no secret about that in private. For that, good on him. However, Grothe has also been telling people nothing happened, and helping promote Shermer. Those two contradictions have started rubbing up against one another, to the point that Grothe has backtracked, is now stating the event never took place, and is threatening Gay.

    Thanks to kellym for spotting this.

  101. kellym says

    The president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, DJ Grothe, has threatened to “try to ruin [the] career/life” of Dr. Pamela Gay unless she denies the incident occurred where Grothe prevented Michael Shermer from groping her.

  102. Hj Hornbeck says

    Biiiiig info drop, coming up. Hopefully Thibeault resets the timeline after these, but until then (and two at a time, to avoid the mod queue):

    Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?: Long and comprehensive piece on sexual assault allegations in the skeptic/atheist community, with plenty of formerly-secret details revealed. Michael Shermer, Emery Emery, Penn Jillette, DJ Grothe, and even James Randi coming out looking worse for it.

    PZ Myers has a short response, mostly pointing to…

  103. Hj Hornbeck says

    More articles rolling in:

    The crooked, twisted story of the wanton kid by PZ Myers: “It’s always the changing story that gives the liar away. We have a couple of accounts of the night in question, when Michael Shermer is accused of taking advantage of a young woman at a conference, and both of them come straight from Shermer himself.”

    Dawkins Throws Himself on a Grenade by Stephanie Zvan: In which Richard Dawkins engages in rape apologetics to defend Michael Shermer.

  104. says

    This timeline is long in the tooth, but well linked. I’m of two minds about whether or not to separate out the Shermer-related stuff onto its own timeline, like I did with Stollznow/Radford.

Trackbacks

  1. […] A quote from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that’s relevant to what we’re seeing right now. We call ourselves rationalists but we devolve into hyperskepticism and denialism about real, demonstrable problems in our community. Problems like irrational hatred of feminism to the point of excusing harassment, death threats, rape threats et cetera as “trolling”. To the point of being unable to criticize our leaders for their well-evidenced transgressions. […]

  2. […] For years leading up to PZ Myers’ clumsy disclosure of rape accusations, the debate of sexual harassment and “rape culture” within the skeptical/Atheist movement(s) was steadily rising to a full boil. I am a little frustrated by this debate because I don’t attend the events in question; I read the books, magazines and blogs and listen to pod-casts. In most instances I turn to these materials because I’m interested in science and philosophy, not necessarily because I want to read about gender and social policy (much less about the self-referential politics of skeptical advocacy organizations). But gender issues are now in the spotlight, and that is probably not a bad thing because the problem is real as evidenced by a number of documented, independent events. […]

  3. […] Recently, numerous allegations have flown throughout the blogosphere (at least, the portion that I read), identifying numerous high-profile skeptics/atheists/scientists as varying degrees of creepy to rapist. Others have jumped to their defense, crying that we ought to be skeptical of anonymous accusations and that women ought to just drink less. (See the timeline for a recap.) […]

  4. […] For years leading up to PZ Myers’ clumsy disclosure of rape accusations, the debate of sexual harassment and “rape culture” within the skeptical/Atheist movement(s) was steadily rising to a full boil. I am a little frustrated by this debate because I don’t attend the events in question; I read the books, magazines and blogs and listen to pod-casts. In most instances I turn to these materials because I’m interested in science and philosophy, not necessarily because I want to read about gender and social policy (much less about the self-referential politics of skeptical advocacy organizations). But gender issues are now in the spotlight, and that is probably not a bad thing because the problem is real as evidenced by a number of documented, independent events. […]

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