Comments

  1. says

    Blackford:

    “I think we should suspend judgment as to whether there was ever an Elevator Guy or a conversation in a lift in Dublin – we need more evidence as to what, if anything, took place that night…. Always be sceptical when you see claims about someone behaving badly unless you see the events with your own eyes or there is plenty of corroboration and/or testing of the evidence (via cross-examination, for example).”

    :Attempts to put jaw back into place:

    I am utterly gobsmacked that anyone can think like this. Unholy fucktoy of gods, why don’t Blackford and those who share his attitude just get down to cases and declare that women really aren’t full human beings, we’re more like developmentally delayed children who couldn’t possibly be trusted to know the truth of anything? Unfuckingbelievable.

  2. Brownian says

    OT, but who the fuck is Leah Libresco?

    She was an atheist blogger who recently made headlines in the community when she converted to Catholicism.

  3. says

    Well she was such a prominent atheist blogger that I managed never to have heard of her. I think she probably suddenly became prominent when she got religion.

  4. says

    Well, yeah. You can’t possibly believe a woman who said she was propositioned late one night — ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ and all that.

    There are many things that Rebecca Watson has not spoken about publicly, but I did witness a guy at a conference going up to her and apologizing for bad behavior at a previous meeting. Is that more believable?

    I swear it was true.

  5. drivenb4u says

    OK so this is totally off-topic but man am I getting tired of those ‘everystudent.com’ ads and other christian hokum that manages to advertise on this blog. Kind of a thumb in the eye ain’t it?

  6. stuartvo says

    FWIW, I think feel that the current discussion (of how real the threat is) misses half of the issue.

    The missing half is that Ophelia was grossly disrespected by JREF. The lack of concern for her safety, and for that of other female attendees, has been downright insulting.

    There’s no reason for her (or anyone else) to go where she’s not wanted. As others have pointed out, there are lots of other conferences out there now. And Ms Benson’s time is a finite commodity that is hers to allocate as she pleases.

    So TAM’s loss is probably going to be someone other conference’s gain. Almost certainly a more worthy conference, at that.

  7. Brownian says

    Well she was such a prominent atheist blogger that I managed never to have heard of her. I think she probably suddenly became prominent when she got religion.

    I’d never heard of her before, but I understand she was fairly widely read.

    I swear it was true.

    I hear that this whole topic would be a lot less contentious if we Pharyngulites didn’t swear so much.

  8. says

    PZ:

    I swear it was true.

    Oh, hey if you swear on your white male skeptic cred, of course it’s believable! After all, you aren’t a silly woman.

    I am having a difficult time with the level of absurdity this has reached. I’m running out of words, that people can blithely express such backward thinking and find no problem with it at all.

  9. says

    OK so this is totally off-topic but man am I getting tired of those ‘everystudent.com’ ads and other christian hokum that manages to advertise on this blog. Kind of a thumb in the eye ain’t it?

    Aaaand drivenb4u provides a fine example of how a very serious problem in our community is completely dismissed in favour of a most important topic – whinging about ads!

    Why thanks ever so fucking much for that thoughtful, substantial comment on current events in the atheist/skeptic community! Very helpful and all that.

  10. sawells says

    Blackford and others treat reports of annoying, sexist behaviour as if they were Yeti sightings, when in the real word annoying, sexist behaviour is roughly as common as oxygen or sand. And then they treat eyewitness reports by women as if they were all reporting UFO abduction experiences, rather than reporting something as common as sunshine. It speaks to a deep-seated opinion that there are People- the normal kind, with penises- and then there are Women, who are strange, other, different, and lesser.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    If that’s the kind of argument Blackford made as a lawyer, no wonder he had to stop practicing.

  12. says

    sawells:

    It speaks to a deep-seated opinion that there are People- the normal kind, with penises- and then there are Women, who are strange, other, different, and lesser.

    QFT. It also speaks to enormous privilege – “oh, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me and if it did, I’d find it flattering/amusing/no big deal/whatever.

  13. says

    Blackwell’s response doesn’t say anything coherent about threat assessment, but it says a lot about what kind of a person he is. Disgusting.

  14. Sili says

    Well she was such a prominent atheist blogger that I managed never to have heard of her. I think she probably suddenly became prominent when she got religion.

    Well, Antony Flew was the intellectual powerhouses whose towering thoughts were all that kept the movement afloat.

    At least so it was claimed after senility took him and he was mollycoddled into goddiness.

    /OT

  15. says

    You know, I have been looking into this dude and I can’t figure out why *anyone* gives a fuck about what he has to say.

  16. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    PZ, I believe you becuz cock-n-balls.

    Skeptifem—Blackford’s “turning” was a shock to many of us. When I started reading him years ago there was no inkling he’d full-on freak out over the feminist issue. His disproportionate and outrageous pushback strikes me as. . . motivated.

  17. Gregory in Seattle says

    As I’ve said elsewhere:

    If it looks like a threat to the person receiving it, and sounds like a threat, and swims like a threat, it is understandable if she assumes that it’s not a duck.

    Whether it looks like a duck to you is irrelevant.

  18. says

    Blackford:

    I think we should suspend judgment as to whether there was ever an Elevator Guy or a conversation in a lift in Dublin

    That’s giving Rebecca too much credit. Why should we trust her claims that there exists this mysterious city called “Dublin”, and that it’s filled with these bizarre contraptions called “elevators”? I’ve never seen this so called “Dublin”. She’s probably just making it up for attention.

  19. throwaway says

    Scenario B: A Few Worrisome Words

    I have received a communication that indicates I will be skinned, peeled, mutilated, and bombed. Should I become concerned?

    Maybe if you’re a potato.

  20. cicely says

    That’s giving Rebecca too much credit. Why should we trust her claims that there exists this mysterious city called “Dublin”, and that it’s filled with these bizarre contraptions called “elevators”? I’ve never seen this so called “Dublin”. She’s probably just making it up for attention.

    *stroking chin*

    You know, you may just have something, there.

    And unless this “Blackford” can convincingly prove that he exists, I think we have to assume that he’s just making himself up, for attention. Of course, being a figment of his own imagination, his alleged “equipment” may not be invoked in witness to his existence.
    -

  21. says

    Cicely:

    And unless this “Blackford” can convincingly prove that he exists, I think we have to assume that he’s just making himself up, for attention. Of course, being a figment of his own imagination, his alleged “equipment” may not be invoked in witness to his existence.

    +1 with a tentacle on top.

  22. says

    Even if this mythical Dublin did exist, they don’t even have elevators! They have lifts! Checkmate sex-negative pharyngula echo chamber!

  23. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Rebecca Watson had red hair, now she has blue hair. Clearly, she’s a witch!!!

    Oh cool, Russell Blackford has a Masters in Bioethics.

  24. says

    Roughly speaking the Internet can be distilled down to straight white Christian males telling everyone who isn’t one of them that they are completely mistaken in their perception of how SWCMs treat them.

  25. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @throwaway #26

    YES – that was my instant thought on reading scenario B. Precisely. A potato. Mistress Death I am way too amused that someone else thought the same thing…

  26. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Roughly speaking the Internet can be distilled down to straight white Christian males telling everyone who isn’t one of them that they are completely mistaken in their perception of how SWCMs treat them.

    Oh, and that of course their word on the matter is final since they are, in fact, SWCMs and we aren’t.

    Oh, but it’s not SWCMs telling us that – it’s GOD telling us that. Haven’t you read the Talmud? And the Hadith? And, and, and RCC ecclesiastical law?

    Poor SWCMs don’t deserve to be accused of such unfairness. That’s just how GOD wants the world.

  27. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    No, no. That’s feminist hair.

    Oh of course!…..what’s the difference again?

  28. says

    PZ:

    Is that more believable?

    I swear it was true.

    Any harassment shall be punishable by death, but to prove harassment has taken place the accused must either confess or be identified by four male skeptics of untarnished character. If there is no confession and four male skeptics of untarnished character did not witness the harassment, then we must stone the accuser as a lying liar who lies (and also because she’s a lady).

    Conveniently, this appears to already be the anti-harassment policy in place.

  29. Sarahface says

    #16, sawells:

    Blackford and others treat reports of annoying, sexist behaviour as if they were Yeti sightings, when in the real word annoying, sexist behaviour is roughly as common as oxygen or sand.

    And, like sand and oxygen, sexist behaviour gets/is everywhere.

    Unholy fucktoy of gods, why don’t Blackford and those who share his attitude just get down to cases and declare that women really aren’t full human beings, we’re more like developmentally delayed children who couldn’t possibly be trusted to know the truth of anything?

    I have a horrible, sinking feeling that even if they did just open up and say this, there would still be people saying something along the lines of “But they aren’t misogynist!!1! They don’t fit $[Definition of misogyny that is about as wide as the average human hair] so they cannot be The One True Misogynist(tm)!!!1!”

  30. echidna says

    Blackford’s expertise in this area was advising the corporate side. Of course, his interest in those situations is to minimise the liability of the corporate client, and that means disbelieving anything that couldn’t be proven.

    The trouble is, he seems to be taking that adversarial position almost reflexively now, including confidently stating that because the camera on a stick was not examined for upskirt pictures, that there were no upskirt pictures, and the whole story is fabricated.

  31. sawells says

    On the upside, this swift and brutal winnowing of the blogs will probably save us all a lot of time in the long run. We can stick to reading the people who think the human population numbers around 7 billion, and skip the ones who think it’s only 3.5 billion…

  32. Heliantus says

    @ Sarahface

    And, like sand and oxygen, sexist behaviour gets/is everywhere.

    * writer thinks back of some recent posts of his own. Shudders *

    Yes, that’s true. Unfortunately.
    And it’s so deep-rooted in the mainstream culture that such behavior becomes almost invisible (not for whose suffering from it, obviously). This, or it is rationalized away.

    From Blackford:

    Always be sceptical when you see claims about someone behaving badly unless you see the events with your own eyes or there is plenty of corroboration and/or testing of the evidence (via cross-examination, for example)

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the impression that the people who do the harassing also tend to want to isolate their victims. Witnesses are not going to be a-plenty.
    This, or the witnesses are buddies of the harasser and it’s “just a joke”. Again, that’s stacking against the victims.

    Testing of the evidence? How do you test for a hand to the ass? It’s plain bullshit.

    Speaking of sexist prejudices in plain sight: thanks to some posters here, I found out recently I have a big elephant in my room, and I was busy the past days having a hard look at some of my assumptions. Still plenty to go through.
    No, not asking for a cookie, just, keep doing that you are doing here. I can only speak for myself, but these debates are useful.
    I found out regretfully that one can keep some deep-rooted prejudices for a long time, unless forced to confront them head on.

  33. psanity says

    After a few hours withdrawal from the fray, to try to preserve my few remaining braincells, regain my punctured equilibrium, and coax my sense of humor out of the linen cupboard, I now introduce to you this pome what I wrote. *ahem*:

    The Skepticism of Russell Blackford

    In situations safe or septic,
    It’s always best to be a skeptic.
    Confronted by a mugger’s gun,
    I query, “Is that loaded, son?”
    I note, when opening ticking mail
    that such devices often fail.
    Tornado warning? Oh, no fear —
    Statistically, it won’t hit here.

    Threatened by some shady guys?
    Don’t take precautions, analyze.
    Being careful compromises
    Skeptical hypothesise-es
    When climbing on the mountain slopes,
    I’m much too skeptical for ropes.
    Some say this logic’s inside-out;
    I don’t know what they’re on about.

    Experience that millions share?
    I don’t see it; it’s not there.
    Your citations on this matter
    sound to me like anecdata.
    I write fiction; I’m a pro
    and used to be a lawyer so
    always be sure you wait for me
    to tell you what it is you see.

    Skeptical study is my trump;
    I, to conclusions, never jump.
    Let’s get some data on that humming —
    Bus? I never saw it coming.

  34. psanity says

    Aw, shucks, thanks, Caerie. I guess I was touched by the muse of Obviously Reason Doesn’t Work With These People.

  35. Dana Hunter says

    That was a thing of beauty, psanity! I laughed so hard I nearly cried, and then had to explain to my coworkers what was so funny. One of them read it and said I should require every comment to be in the form of a poem from now on. I seriously considered that for a moment! (If you got the urge to cross-post that poem at my place, I would not protest. Hint).

  36. Josh, Official SpokesBrah says

    psanity I hope someone elevates that to a top-level blog post. It’s not just funny, it’s the best kind of funny there is—perfectly distilled exposition of the offensive and absurd.

  37. Suido says

    Is it just me, or do these lines give it very Vanilla Ice feel?

    Threatened by some shady guys?
    Don’t take precautions, analyze.
    Being careful compromises
    Skeptical hypothesise-es

    Cue someone talented rapping it, please.

  38. says

    That was great ! Now I want a YT clip with Aron Ra reading it to the rhythm of some rap song, with Kazez, Stangroom and DJ Grothe as background dancers.

  39. Dana Hunter says

    I second rorschach’s motion.

    Motion carried on PZ elevating psanity’s prose. Please make it so!

  40. psanity says

    If my doggerel has lightened the mood a bit, I’m glad. My brain was ready to jump through any kind of hoops, as long as I didn’t make it go back to the Thunderblatt thing.

    psanity I hope someone elevates that to a top-level blog post.

    Josh, you are too kind. Now I’m all self-concious. I’m not even a regular poster, because time usually prevents me from catching up until everything’s been said, and well, by others.

    I liked the bit where splat.

    OK, I admit the whole thing was an exercise to reach that last line. IRL, revenge is not my thing. But. There was something very satisfying about that. I’m so tired of the doodz, even especially coolly intellectual ones.

    It would work as a rap, wouldn’t it? And I love the background dancers. Do you think we could get them to wear fishnets? I mean, obviously, not in a sexually exploitative way at all.

    Watch out, Cuttlefish, ya gots yerself some competition!

    Oh, no. not by a long shot.

    Compliments from so many whose commenting I admire, is, well, very nice indeed. Even better than avoiding Tf for a whole day.

  41. tsig says

    QURAN, 2:282:
    O Beleivers, when you contract a debt for a fixed term,
    you should put it in writing….

    …..And let two men from among you bear witness to all
    such documents. But if two men are not available,
    there should be one man and two women to bear
    witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything),
    the other may remind her ……

  42. avh1 says

    Um, sort of new here but I’d definitely congratulate you Psanity. That was the funniest poem I’ve read in years.

  43. Sarahface says

    Psanity:
    Awesome poem!
    I’ll add my voice to those calling for it to be a post of its own. :)