The sophistry and revisionist history in Skeptoid Brian Dunning’s statement

My understanding of Brian Dunning’s cookie-stuffing scheme is fairly thorough at this point. I’ve read the articles in major news organizations about Dunning and Shawn Hogan’s scheme, and I happen to understand to a very high degree of fidelity the workings of the World Wide Web and cookies. So when I read the statement that he wouldn’t allow copying-and-pasting on, I balked. Not only at the lies, misdirection and obvious con-man level sophistry going on in the post, but that anyone who claims to have pulled off such a job might think that what they claim to have done is actually plausible.

Rebecca Watson has done a thorough job at deconstructing the statement for what it is: a great ball of chaff thrown up to confuse the radars of so-called skeptics who are evidently unable to recognize such tactics. But there’s some nuance I’d like to add, specifically because there are parts that appear to directly reference something I blogged about recently, which has bubbled up to very near the top of search results on the terms “Skeptoid” or “Brian Dunning”.
[Read more…]

The virtual radio silence on Brian Dunning’s fraud

Today, Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast and brand, blogger at SkepticBlog, was sentenced to 15 months prison and three years supervised release.

Barely anyone’s talking about it, though (except, obviously, us Social Justice Bullies who will inevitably be accused of crowing about this news).
[Read more…]

On that quote purported to be by The Amazing Atheist

Yeah, it might really be a quote by TJ Kincaid, given some corroborative evidence, but the exact wording of the quote cannot be found anywhere else on the internet presently. Better to damn him by what we can demonstrate he really said, and we can demonstrate he said something very close in 2006.

However, no, you probably shouldn’t damn him for holding a terrible opinion in 2006 that he’s since walked back. Not that there isn’t lots else to damn him about.

Since he’s an antifeminist and has expressed a number of backward views on topics like consent, I’m going to go ahead and treat this as a good place to put a fold and trigger-warning you all.
[Read more…]

Petition to remove judge who claims Down syndrome rape victim “didn’t act like a victim”

IMPORTANT WARNING: After signing and putting my weight behind this petition, I learned that the person who created it is a Trans-Exclusive Radical feminist (TERF). Please bear that in mind before signing, if you are trans and need to protect yourself. While I strongly agree on this one issue, I am very keenly aware that TERFs have been known to and continue to victimize trans folk, and I don’t want to put any of you in harm’s way.
[Read more…]

Craig Cobb’s got a little black in him

If you’ve never heard of him, this guy’s a real piece of work.

White supremacist and leader of the so-called “Creative Movement”, Craig Cobb was born and raised in Boston. He grew disenchanted with Christianity when his racism was too much even for the more intolerant churches, inherited some money, and moved to Estonia to build a white supremacist movement. There, he founded a white supremacist media sharing website called Podblanc. Then he was deported to Canada after the Estonian government decided he was a hateful asshat; he landed in Vancouver where he was issued a summons to appear in court over Canada’s hate speech laws with respect to his site. He skipped across the border and is wanted in Canada to this day. Cobb is currently trying to remake Leith, North Dakota in his lily-white image.

Only, hilariously, turns out he’s not so lily-white after all. He appeared on The Trisha Goddard show, a UK daytime talk show, agreeing to take a DNA test to prove his white purity. That this was for a daytime talk show should have been a red flag for him, but he plowed ahead anyway.

He has, naturally, since claimed that the DNA test was a sham to build phony controversy.

The interesting thing about science is that it’s replicable. I would pay good money for him to send more DNA samples to other companies, blinded wherever possible. It’s extraordinarily likely that he’s going to have “sub-Saharan African” ancestry in every test, given how humanity has generally evolved, and I’d love for him to have that particular fact so unequivocally proven as to undermine his philosophy for the rest of his days.

You’ve got a little black in you, man. You hate yourself — and every other human being on the planet, ultimately.

The Outrage Brigade

DJ Grothe, not content with his reputation and desperately lacking a communications director through which he can vet his random personal thoughts (any takers on that job?), posted to Facebook a terribly transphobic thought. Or, at least, so we Outrage Brigaders interpreted it!

No hyperbole: I just saw the worst-passing transsexual I’ve ever seen in the lounge here. It was so disruptive that I am forced to believe it was an intentional way to protest against rigid gender binaries. Or so I’d like to think.

[Read more…]

Ask Dawkins to reconsider his evaluation of the harms of “mild pedophilia”

I would very much like it if people stopped treating Dawkins as the Secular Pope. We don’t want any “leaders” in this movement, and yet friends of the secular movement will bow and scrape, and foes will treat him as the King of Atheism whose decrees are handed down from on high for all to internalize. Hell, half the time we can barely decipher what he’s saying. Take Twitter for example. A 140 character limit does the man no justice whatsoever — he does not wear “pithy” well.

His recent misstep is, as I’m sure you’re all aware, less than pithy — he’s been given plenty of time and space to bring this intellectual pursuit to full flower, and this is what he’s come up with: his recent suggestion that being sexually assaulted as a child is less bad than being brought up religious, and that one shouldn’t condemn sexual assault done in another era under different social mores.
[Read more…]

r/MensRights reminds me why I don’t Reddit

L'il Rascals scene: He-Man Woman Haters Club.

Heh heh. That one guy’s name is SPANKY.

A funny thing happened yesterday. I started seeing hits from Reddit. A *lot* of hits. Fully a fifth of my traffic came from a particular thread on Reddit — despite my being in a slow blogging period, posting my one post I managed very late in the day, and despite the long tail on my bigger posts already waning.

(In other words, by “a lot” of hits, I mean ~400. About what I’ll get from posting a video of a turtle doing something cute.)

So I clicked through to see what I was linked from, Turns out, it was r/MensRights, and they were opining that I’m a terrible human being, a beta mangina, and a sop for the Gynocracy because of this post.
[Read more…]

Splitting the difference between reality and mythology

Something I’ve noticed very prominently recently in these wars amongst atheists and secularists, wars waged over our daring to suggest that maybe us feminists might also want a say in how women in the community are generally treated, is that every time one particular section of our community dislikes something, they find it sufficient to build up mythologies around it in an attempt to destroy it, rather than challenging the ideas on their merits. This subset of our rationalist community invents things from whole cloth to demonize the people they want out of the movement.

It has happened with Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, Atheism Plus, and just about every person associated with both the ideas of secularism, skepticism or atheism, and the idea that maybe we need to sort our house out if we ever hope to be welcoming to people other than the stock-in-trade of the community, the semi-affluent cis white male. It has happened with me a number of times. It has happened with Ophelia more times than I can count, and Stephanie, and Rebecca Watson, and PZ Myers. To people who disagree with A+, like Natalie Reed. Even to people who had never heard of any of these fights before.

It has happened and will continue to happen to every person who dares to say “I disagree” to any “leader” in this so-called leaderless movement, on any topic approaching social justice. I mean, with that sort of temerity, surely they’re just asking for a river of shit to flow over them, amirite? Surely they’re dishing “it” out, so they can take it (never mind that we’re amplifying “it” by many orders of magnitude)?

And so it goes that an incident in which I was involved tangentially, and briefly, kicking around some anti-feminist goobers on Facebook until their break with reality became blatant and too overwhelming for me to deal with, was morphed by certain elements’ mythologizing into a concerted effort to shut down a forum and silence free speech.

BECAUSE FTBULLIES.

[Read more…]

Privilege, Dialogue, Harassment, and the Anti-Availability Heuristic

The Availability Heuristic is a well-known cognitive bias that primes people to more readily believe something when they can easily come up with examples. Of the cognitive biases that I’ve encountered among rationalists in the skeptical and atheist communities, this bias is the one I’m most capable of coming up with examples. I am therefore primed to believe more readily that atheists and skeptics are not immune to this bias — myself included.

But there’s a little-discussed inverse to this bias, where examples are generally filtered out of one’s daily existence because they don’t impact on you directly, and thus, you are less ready to believe someone claiming to experience them. I call this the anti-availability heuristic, though I’m sure there are better names for it.
[Read more…]