Telepathy doesn’t work, but it’s your fault if you can’t read my mind


So in the interest of learning more about the environs hereabouts I’ve been digging into a little of FTB’s history, and I’ve noticed that this place has a handful of detractors. (Which, you know: good work, everyone!) And there’s a little logical kink at the heart of some of that detraction that has me amused. That little logical kink, summed up in logical bullet points:

  1. People in the general community of skeptics agree that action at a distance/prayer/telepathy/ whatever you want to call it is useless at best, that mere intent in and of itself makes nothing in the physical world happen.
  2. Some of those same people strongly object to the Schrödinger’s Rapist trope first promulgated at Kate Harding’s blog, which basically says that a man’s intent with regard to his conduct toward a nearby woman is not always physically obvious.

Surely skeptics who dismiss claims of telepathy cannot logically then get angry when it’s pointed out that women are not telepathic. Surely free-thinkers who ridicule those who pray for positive outcomes without doing more to make those outcomes happen can’t then turn around and say it’s unfair for women to be wary of a strange man because he merely fails to want a negative outcome to their encounter.

And surely people devoted to dispassionate logic would never tolerate such blatant contradiction in their own minds, let alone in their movement.

Speaking of Kate, if you haven’t ventured over to see her new Tumblr venture about victim blaming, “Don’t Get Raped,” you ought to — and those of us who value trigger warnings would do well to keep in mind that the site, as you will no doubt have guessed from the name, is probably triggering for thirty or forty distinct things.

I need to send Kate a link to this story so that she can post it with the title “Don’t Go To Burning Man.”  That link bears a trigger warning for those of you triggered by victim-blaming colonic irrigation devices.

Comments

  1. says

    I noticed this some time back. Mostly when you point this out they change the subject quickly. The saddest/funniest diversion attempt was I had this one dude mansplaining Bayesian statistics to me about how unlikely it was that any given man might be a rapist. (Apart from the obvious, I have taught statistics at university, and I work as a statistical programmer, so this was special.)

  2. says

    And somehow people not telepathically knowing that they’re not a thief (i.e. keeping handbags/wallets close) or not a negligent driver (double-checking that they’ve seen them before crossing in front of their car) doesn’t provoke the same HowVeryDareYou outrage.

    This has of course been pointed out many times before, but just thought I’d raise it early.

  3. ImaginesABeach says

    This was summed up excellently by blogofmyself over at Cuttlefish’s place.

    What I’ve learned:
    If you don’t ask for help, it’s your fault. If you are afraid to ask for help, you are a coward. If you cannot ask for help, you should have just found a way. If you do ask for help, you should have done it earlier or never gotten yourself in that situation to begin with.

    There’s quite a bit more, I direct your attention to: http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2012/09/05/no-she-said-trigger-warning/#comment-63525

  4. says

    I’ll bite I’m in a destructive mood today… Unfortunately I’m probably not the perfect target audience as I have crossed the road for women at night, but also other men as I used to look fairly threatening with a leather jacket and long hair as a student. I don’t see many issues with that, if I realise there is likely to be a problem of intent then I relax the situation. Although I was never happy with the idea that people perceived me as a mugger due to my appearance.

    When I first read that article I did not like the idea that everyone should be on guard in case of rape, men and women. The idea that women are expecting rape with a lot of normal interactions with men. The idea that men should be constantly mindful that they are likely to be a potential rapist in the mind of a woman. It seems too much like a poisoning of peoples perceptions based on the crimes of a small minority of shits. (Rape stats say stranger rape is due to a small number of men afaik even in the US)

    Seemed analogous to the situation in the UK where paedophiles are seen everywhere. Kids are constantly in danger in the minds of their parents and unfortunately in the kids head as well since parents warn them of paedos and keep them in the house. Despite the tiny number of attacks and offenders.

    Or gun use in the US, everyone is a potential danger so carry your gun, lock your house and shoot first and ask questions later. Personally I liked the Canadian view so well illustrated by Michael Moore when he popped over the border and showed a lot of Canadians don’t even lock their front doors. The oppression inflicted on them by the threat of violence from a minority was fought against, even some who had been violently burgled refused to lock their doors and give in to terrorism in their eyes.

    So in the same way that victims are blamed for ‘doing the wrong thing’ when a rapist is the one to blame – misdirection of blame. Why do we promote the idea that all men and women should suffer for the crimes of a few?

    I posited this view-point at the end of an old elevator-gate thread. Not really had reason to think of it again so interested what are the objections? Why is it better that everyone has this scenario on their minds when interacting and modifies their behaviour and thoughts accordingly? Especially given the vast majority doing so will not be rapists or victims? Seems the positive outcome might be more women not being put into situations where men make them stressed, but this might be offset by the promotion of the Schroedinger Rapist trope giving them that impression in the first place. Also a lot of men constantly on guard that women will think of them as rapists in certain situations – cannot see that as a good thing. No actual drop in stranger rapes given the rapists are not likely to follow these rules. Finally it does nothing to address the far more common ‘friend/acquaintance’ rapes?

    BTW the ‘Don’t get Raped’ link makes a good mockery of anyone victim blaming. Also I suppose shows there are few situations where a potential of rape does not exist and any man can be a potential rapist even in some seemingly benign situations.

  5. glodson says

    The ironic thing about the “Schrödinger’s Rapist” is that there’s almost a few tips to men about approaching women more about chastising men. It seems to say “hey, be aware of how you might come across when talking to a woman you don’t know, it might help it go better,” rather than “ALL MEN ARE RAPISTS” which it doesn’t say, at all.

    I mean, I get the initial reaction to it, I can see the defensive response, but a little thought goes a long way.

  6. says

    oolon, Schrödinger’s Rapist is merely the worst-case scenario. Whenever we interact with somebody we don’t know whether they’re going to become our BFF or a person we cross the road to avoid for a whole range of reasons, physical threat being only the most extreme.

    There are people in the neighborhood whom I actively avoid just because they are time-thiefs conversationally, and life is too short. Since I too am occasionally socially obtuse, I’m sure that there are folks who also actively avoid me for the same reason. *shrug* We’re all just looking out for ourselves.

    Letting people know generally that it’s simple politeness to not impose on other people in ways that make their lives more stressful than they need to be has historically been considered a useful guide to getting along with folks. Why is it that this one particular aspect of that general recommendation for social consideration gets people so specially defensive?

  7. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Oolon, you are just dense, and obnoxiously so. It could not be easier to understand this issue. It has been explained in painstaking, clear detail by so many bloggers. There is no excuse for your complaining. The only thing going on here is that Oolon personally doesn’t like this thing and Oolon thinks his feelings are so important (and so widely shared; thank you, projection)they override the safety concerns of women. And Oolon needs to make sure we all know about it.

    Do you have to fuck up every thread with your shit?

  8. mythbri says

    @oolon #8

    I just can’t figure out what you’re trying to say here. This:

    I posited this view-point at the end of an old elevator-gate thread. Not really had reason to think of it again so interested what are the objections? Why is it better that everyone has this scenario on their minds when interacting and modifies their behaviour and thoughts accordingly? Especially given the vast majority doing so will not be rapists or victims? Seems the positive outcome might be more women not being put into situations where men make them stressed, but this might be offset by the promotion of the Schroedinger Rapist trope giving them that impression in the first place. Also a lot of men constantly on guard that women will think of them as rapists in certain situations – cannot see that as a good thing. No actual drop in stranger rapes given the rapists are not likely to follow these rules. Finally it does nothing to address the far more common ‘friend/acquaintance’ rapes?

    Does not compute with this:

    BTW the ‘Don’t get Raped’ link makes a good mockery of anyone victim blaming. Also I suppose shows there are few situations where a potential of rape does not exist and any man can be a potential rapist even in some seemingly benign situations.

    What the fuck are vulnerable people (women, children, some men, etc.) supposed to do? In the very same comment in which you shake your head sadly about the fact that some people are always on their guard, you also show approval for a tumblr that emphasizes the point that rape could happen anywhere, to anyone. There is no magical piece of advice that will make you rape-proof. There’s no set of instructions you can follow that make you invisible to predators. The only difference between the millions of kinds of human interactions that happen everyday that end positively, and the millions of kinds of human interactions that end with someone being raped is the presence of a rapist. And there is no way to easily identify a rapist until that person makes the decision to attempt to rape you.

    Given the fact that you agree with this, why is it so hard for you to believe that vulnerable people (women, children, some men, etc.) would want to try to reduce the amount of potential rapists in their lives, by weeding out the ones who make them feel uncomfortable? And so what if their fears are unfounded? They owe nothing to anyone else that might make them fear for their person safety.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  9. ftltachyon says

    I posited this view-point at the end of an old elevator-gate thread. Not really had reason to think of it again so interested what are the objections? Why is it better that everyone has this scenario on their minds when interacting and modifies their behaviour and thoughts accordingly? [

    Oolon, because women ALREADY have this scenario in mind when interacting.

    The two “scenarios” to choose from isn’t one scenario where everyone is on their guard and distrustful, and one scenario where everyone’s friendly and doesn’t worry about rapists.

    The two to choose from is one where women are wary and men are respectful of this by not putting them in uncomfortable situations, and one where women are wary and men don’t give a fuck and continue to be entitled assholes and then blame women for not changing THEIR behavior.

  10. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    I wouldn’t bother explaining this to Oolon because I don’t think he legitimately misunderstands it. I think it’s a clear case of solipsism. He gets it just fine. He just thinks he’s entitled to be given special deference. He also thinks he’s entitled to suck all the air out of the room whenever the topic comes up.

  11. Portia, Now With Improved Loudness and Feminaziism says

    It’s not hard to understand. It’s really easy with an ounce of compassion. I have gotten thoroughly sick of finger-wagging at the way people respond to oppression. If a man makes me uncomfortable, and I feel safe doing so, I do not feel any social obligation to give him my attention. Deal with it. Take your whining elsewhere, oolon.

    The OP is a really great connection of two simple points. I love it and will be using it. I have been called a bigot for pointing out that men on dark streets make me automatically guarded when I’m alone. Hopefully I can successfully deploy this little logical move.

  12. Gregory Greenwood says

    oolon @ 8;

    I posited this view-point at the end of an old elevator-gate thread. Not really had reason to think of it again so interested what are the objections? Why is it better that everyone has this scenario on their minds when interacting and modifies their behaviour and thoughts accordingly? Especially given the vast majority doing so will not be rapists or victims? Seems the positive outcome might be more women not being put into situations where men make them stressed, but this might be offset by the promotion of the Schroedinger Rapist trope giving them that impression in the first place. Also a lot of men constantly on guard that women will think of them as rapists in certain situations – cannot see that as a good thing. No actual drop in stranger rapes given the rapists are not likely to follow these rules. Finally it does nothing to address the far more common ‘friend/acquaintance’ rapes?

    I think you are missing the point of the Schrödinger’s Rapist concept somewhat – the trope highlights the point that a woman can never be sure whether the guy walking toward them down that dark alley/sitting across from them in that bar/waiting for the same elevator/*insert any of a multitude of day-to-day encounters* is just a chap going about his own legitimate business or is a potential predator. Rapists do not have any particular outward ‘tells’ – they don’t conveniently walk about with horns growing out of their craniums, nor do they have an overwhelming compunction to carry tridents.

    Rapists usually look and sound just like any other man right up until the attack takes place, and yet our society is so invested in a toxic set of victim blaming tropes that a means is always sought to shift the fault onto the shoulders of women. The suggestion is always made that somehow the woman must have placed herself in danger unreasonably, and so is at least partially to blame for what happened to her, with the usual tactics of questioning what she was doing there at that time (as if she has no right to go where she pleases lest she present ‘temptation’)/what she was wearing/whether she had had a drink/what she had notionally done to ‘lead him on’ – all these arguments hinge on the idea that the woman should have known she was in danger by picking up on some kind of tell from the man that shows that he presents a particular threat. The Schrödinger’s Rapist trope makes the point that the idea that one can spot a rapist at a hundred paces if one knows what one is doing is ridiculous. The very idea is no more than a myth promulgated by misogynists in a bid to shame rape victims.

    The Schrödinger’s Rapist trope is not intended to promote paranoia or lead women to treat every man as a rapist. It exists to remind people that while it is obvious that not every man is a rapist, it is next to impossible to tell a rapist from any other man until it is too late, and part of the problem is that our society’s construction of sexuality is so toxic that many men who have raped would never accept that they are rapists, having already rationalised their actions as acceptable by means of any of the wide range of memes in our society that excuse rape; the horrifying claims of Senator Todd Akin with regard to the supposed capacity of women who suffer ‘legitimate’ rape to prevent pregnancy being a recent case in point.

  13. geoffreybrent says

    Oolon: Because nobody in the history of humanity has ever looked at life and said “well, 99.999% of my interactions with others don’t involve being raped, that’s good enough for me.” Everybody would like that figure to be exactly 100%.

    It’s like wearing a helmet while cycling, or checking before you reverse into the driveway; every time you do it, the chances of something going wrong are low. But the consequences if something DOES go wrong are severe, and if you roll the dice often enough – which happens just by living a few decades – that builds up to a very significant risk.

    (I am giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming your statement was meant to have some sort of “in any given interaction” rider, and that you didn’t actually mean to imply that only a tiny minority of people will ever be raped in their lives.)

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, Oolon’s having criticism from others besides Ing and Myself. I doubt if its ego will ever say the truth, which is “I am wrong”, so it will keep posting idiocy despite the legitimate criticisms of it fuckwittery.

  15. Nepenthe says

    @oolon

    Rapists are not rare. They are not a tiny proportion of the population. There are probably more rapists than GLBT people. If you realized that 1 in 10 of your acquaintances, fellow bus passengers, dates, fellow club goers etc would freely admit to forcing someone to “have sex” while knowing that their victim(s) did not consent, perhaps Schrödinger’s Rapist would make more sense.

    It doesn’t just cover men waiting at the bus stop, it covers the friends of my friends, fellow convention attendees, the guys in the gaming club, the men at that house party, all of whom, if they decided to rape me, would be considered acquaintances.

  16. Rodney Nelson says

    Last Saturday I was at a crowded art festival. I saw the massive number of people and shifted my wallet from my hip pocket to my front pocket. Another man saw what I did and, instead of accusing me of not trusting anyone, moved his wallet to his front pocket and gave me a thumbs up.

  17. demonhype says

    Is it my imagination, or was oolon sort of suggesting that the Schrodinger’s Rapist thing was causing women to be on the lookout for rapists and judging potentially innocent men as rapists, as if the little ladies wouldn’t have possibly come to such a concern on their own and would have just traipsed the streets without a rape-care in the world, had Schrodinger’s rapist and other such conversations not ever come up on the internet?

  18. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    @Nepenthe, if you expect us to believe that more than one in ten people is some kind of sexual predator, you’re going to have to cite something.

  19. says

    @Nepenthe, if you expect us to believe that more than one in ten people is some kind of sexual predator, you’re going to have to cite something.

    Not helpful. You want to argue with Nepenthe’s statement by all means do so, but at least make the effort to find some more or less reliable statistics and crunch the numbers.

    I think Nepenthe’s allegations may well be on the high end myself, but your demanding she do your homework for you is kinda wack.

  20. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    You’re supposed to cite sources, aren’t you? That’s what you do when you assert something; people have been telling me that since I became a skeptic. And calling it the high end looks like an understatement–less than one in a thousand people are victimized according to that, which probably means the percentage of people doing the victimizing is less than that.

  21. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Jonathan, are you lying or stupid?

    1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

  22. Brenda says

    “Why is it better that everyone has this scenario on their minds when interacting and modifies their behaviour and thoughts accordingly?”

    One, there’s no truth-in-labeling law for people. Or as the OP said, telepathy doesn’t work. Two, the consequences for trusting the wrong person are DIRE.

  23. says

    It seems we always have people like Jonathan on this sort of thread.

    Jonathan, click on the ‘Feminist link roundup’ directly above PZ Myers’ photograph in the sidebar. On that page, you will find several links to rape statistics and demographic studies. The one which is particularly germane to this conversation is:

    Meet the Predators — one study by McWhorter asked questions of an intake of 1100 US Navy sailors, who were essentially asked if they had attempted or committed a rape, without using the word ‘rape’. 13% said yes; of whom roughly two-thirds were responsible for about 95% of all of the multiple attempts reported.

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

  24. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    Gah, that’s what I get for not clicking everything. I never saw the victim stats and misread the 200K a year thing–mea frigging culpa, as usual.
    @Xanthe, now that’s more like it–also, yikes, that’s disturbing. I’d copypaste the text of a rant I launched into back in ’10 about what we should do to unincarcerated military rapists, but it’s got sort of the wrong tone…

  25. says

    You’re supposed to cite sources, aren’t you? That’s what you do when you assert something; people have been telling me that since I became a skeptic. And calling it the high end looks like an understatement–less than one in a thousand people are victimized according to that, which probably means the percentage of people doing the victimizing is less than that.

    You’re supposed to cite sources if your discussion is taking place on a forensics team or in a peer-reviewed article. In other situations it’s helpful but not required.

    In any event your reading of the statistics I provided, you, for which you failed to thank me, is pretty much innumerate.

    According to RAINN, about 207,754 women ages 12 and over are victims of sexual assault each year.

    US Population is about 311,591,917.

    About 51% of those USonians are female: 158,911,878. ish.

    Using RAINN’s statistic, one in 765 women are victims of sexual assault each year. But RAINN’s 207,754 attacks stat doesn’t include girls under age 12, who constitute 15% of sexual assault and rape victims. 765 times 1.18 is 648: one in 648 women or girls is sexually assaulted or raped each year. Not “at all.” Each year.

    RAINN itself says right here that 14.8% of women are victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Assume the median rapist attacks five women — which figure I am admittedly pulling out of my ass because it seems ridiculously high — and that’s 2.8% percent of men in the US commit rape.

    Other surveys put the percentage of men who commit rape between 6% and 13% of the total population. That 13% figure was cited in a survey of military personnel, and may well be higher than it would be for a population that has not been systematically trained in the use of force.

    Still, even if Nepenthe’s 10% allegation is high — which it might be — it’s not out of the ballpark of actual peer-reviewed facts that are available in a moment’s searching on the intertubes.

  26. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    @Mr. Clarke: Very.

    @Sally: And no, in 2010 I was a blissfully ignorant middle-class white cisboy with a real family, a nice house and a Bachelor’s in history in the works. Now Dad’s left Mom for some… person prone to irresponsible and destructive sexual behavior half his age, I’ve dropped out of UIC to work on my CompSci credentials at the local mob-run community college, and the world is a dark and scary place filled to the gunnels with rapists and rapist-enablers and secret patriarchal codes and if I told you about the way the other marriages on my Mom’s side of the family ended, you’d swear up and down I was a troll from some MRA site. No, I’m not bitter.

  27. Nepenthe says

    @Jonathon

    Pardon me for stepping out for a bit. The paper I suggest you start with is Lisak, D. & Miller, P. M. (2002). Repeat rape and multiple offending among undetected rapists. Violence and Victims, 17, 73-84. , as it gives a good sampling of the earlier literature and is very clear on methodology. Similar studies have been done for several decades in a number of different types of populations. If you are unable to access it, I could email it to you.

    (I use 10% for illustrative purposes because it’s a round, easily visualised number, well within the reported range, and the populations surveyed tend to be very young [the standard psychological subject is, of course, the American college student] and thus these studies often don’t include rapists who begin their, er, careers later in life.)

    I didn’t bother to include the cite initially because as far as I can these particular studies are pretty common knowledge in the feminist/social justice sphere, but I think they’re sometimes overlooked in favor of the dominant narrative about rapists: that they’re rare. I don’t particularly blame anyone who does it. Just a tic on my part, but not as bad as the “ass-less chaps” tic.

  28. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    @Nepenthe: Well, I’m new to the everything-sucks-and-my-neighbor-is-probably-a-sex-offender sphere. I haven’t had a paradigm shift this annoying since I watched Evangelion.

  29. says

    No problem, Chris – when you arrived with #36, you were far more comprehensive – I was just illustrating that it was not difficult to find a study that involved a proportion of self-identifying rapists higher than Nepenthe asserted, albeit from a perhaps unrepresentative demographic. Provided that the sailors surveyed weren’t required to own up to a statement like, ‘I am a rapist’.

    Various studies (not just McWhorter’s) seem to make it clear that many rapists prefer not to think of themselves as rapists, and are adept at using the defensive mechanisms that attempt to explain away the lack of consent given by their victims. Use the ‘rape’ word and the defensive screens will immediately go up.

    There also seems to be at least two identifiable sub-populations, especially so in that Navy cohort – the main one of concern in terms of volume of assaults are the recidivist predators responsible for the multiple repeat rapes, who actively seek out opportunities to commit rape by direct planning and manipulation of victims; within McWhorter’s study these were responsible for 95% of all attempted and completed rapes. (Whoopi Goldberg might call these the ‘rapists rapists’, given her odious apologetics about ‘rape rape’ to supposedly mean ‘legitimate rape’, ugh.)

    [Xanthë has asked that a trigger warning be placed above the next paragraph in this comment for description of rape. — CC]

    Perhaps more of a problem in terms of the perpetuation of rape culture and victim-blaming are the opportunists (as well as their enablers), who when presented with a situation where they can obtain sex non-consensually and if they think nothing bad will happen as a result, then they’ll take advantage of the situation; when I was raped I’m fairly sure the guy felt he didn’t need to worry about my apparent unwillingness, intoxication, or consent, and I’m convinced he would have neatly rationalised it away and not given a moment’s thought to himself as having raped me. Because the guy was an acquaintance (I thought a ‘friend’, even) I would really like to think he was not one of the recidivists. However, it seems to me like a lot of the anti-feminist kick back against asserting something like rape culture exists is most likely to come from the opportunists, because they would like to pretend that what they’re doing isn’t rape – the recidivists are under no illusions about what they’re doing over and over again.

  30. says

    Sorry, I perhaps should have put a trigger warning on that post, on account of describing my own rape. (Is it to much to ask for either Chris or PZ to put one immediately before the final paragraph?)

    [Done — CC]

  31. Nepenthe says

    @Jonathan

    Your neighbor probably is a sex offender. Check it out. I’d suggest having a strong drink and a video of otters standing by.

    I know that there are many ways to end up on a sex offender registry and that being on this map doesn’t indicate that one is actually dangerous as opposed to having taken a piss in the wrong alley. This particular database though allows you to find out precisely what got any particular person on the list. I recall that when I lived in Illinois, there weren’t a lot of indecent exposure parolees living nearby. I lived within a block of two guys who had committed “aggravated criminal sexual assault”, which is Illinois statute speak for “that which even Republicans consider rape”.

  32. says

    It’s odd that people accept that they need to watch out for Schrödinger’s Careless Driver, Schrödinger’s Mugger, and Schrödinger’s Cashier Who Can’t Make Change Correctly but will flatly declare that the concept of Schrödinger’s Rapist is inherently sexist.

  33. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    It’s not working–not sure if it’s on their end or mine. But yeah, lol conservatism, Ayn Rand can suck a dick, etc. Is it rape culture to laugh at somebody with such an obvious rape fetish? Is it too obvious that that I’m desperate to get back onto a shared moral high ground so I can stop worrying about being an accomplice in the industrialized patriarchal rape machine for the night?

  34. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    Incidentally, my mind is now trying to distract me from my newest font of liberal guilt by imagining the patriarchal rape machine as something like Tarkus. It’s working, somewhat.

  35. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Oolon, some of your conclusions regarding SR seem… unwarranted.

    No actual drop in stranger rapes given the rapists are not likely to follow these rules.

    Actually, I think one of the (implicit, but often made explicit in subsequent discussions) ideas in SR is “when good guys make an effort to distinguish themselves from rapists, that makes rapists easier to spot”. When intimidating behavior is considered far from the norm, people no longer feel pressure to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Finally it does nothing to address the far more common ‘friend/acquaintance’ rapes?

    Of course it does. Specifically, the fourth point (“If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem”) actually discusses acquaintance behavior.

    My conclusion: Oolon, you misunderstand SR at a basic level. Go think.

  36. says

    I see Tigtog beat me to it in comment 5.

    Trigger warning: statistics.

    Here’s a statistic to throw in the face of those “false accusation” MRAs: 64% to 95% percent of all rapes are never reported (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; National Victims Center, 1992; Perkins & Klaus, 1996; Russell, 1982).

    I was going to quote Miller and Lissak (2002) as well… They found in sampling U.S. male college students that 4% to 10% admitted to rape, as long as it wasn’t called that. And these are men who have been adult for only a few years. They added up to almost 1900 men and the overall percentage of rapists was 6.4%. This was discovered by interview. A previous questionnaire asking the same questions missed 12% of them. 44 of the 120 rapists admitted to only one incident while the rest averaged 5.8 each.

    Furthermore:

    The data also revealed that these 120 rapists did not confine their violence either to the sexual realm, or in many cases, to adults. …. A majority of these men, 70 of the 120 (58.3%), admitted to other acts of interpersonal violence, including battery, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse of children, and sexual assault short of rape or attempted rape. Including their 483 acts of rape, these 120 individuals admitted to a total of 1,225 different acts of interpersonal violence.

    Interestingly, rape seems goes along with violence of other kinds:

    we compared the total number of acts of violence committed by non-rapists (n =1,754), single-act rapists (n =44), and repeat rapists (n =76). Non-rapists committed a mean of 1.41 acts of violence, compared to a mean of 3.98 for single-act rapists, and a mean of 13.75 for repeat rapists, differences that were statistically significant (F(2,1871) =46.67, p < .001).

    From the prologue: first they found out that rapists in prison had committed multiple rapes without being charged for them.

    In addition to high rates of reoffending, several studies have shown that among incarcerated rapists the actual number of sexual crimes committed far exceeds the number of adjudicated charges against these men. For example, Abel and colleagues (1987) reported that when given assurances of confidentiality, 126 identified rapists admitted to 907 paraphilic acts against 882 victims. Weinrott and Saylor (1991) conducted a similar study of sex offenders in a state treatment program. The 37 rapists in the study had been charged with 66 offenses against a mean of 1.8 victims. Yet under conditions of confidential self-report, these same 37 men admitted to 433 rapes against a mean of 11.7 victims.

    The goal of the present study was to determine the proportion of self-reported rapists who commit multiple acts of rape undetected by the criminal justice system.

    TRIGGER WARNING for acquaintance rape:

    There is a continuing perception, both generally and within the criminal justice community, that rapes committed by undetected
    rapists-rapes of acquaintances that typically go unreported-are somehow less serious than stranger rapes (Estrich, 1987; Spears & Spohn, 1997). These acquaintance rape cases, often referred to as “nonstranger” rape cases, are much less likely to be formally charged by prosecutors (Estrich, 1987; Koss, 2000; Spears & Spohn, 1997), and are often viewed with more suspicion by police officers (Ledoux & Hazelwood, 1985). In their study of 861 rape cases reported to police in one midwestern jurisdiction, Frazier and Haney (1996) found that in cases where a suspect was identified, the suspect was significantly more likely to be questioned by the police, and the case referred for prosecution, if there was no prior acquaintance between the victim and the perpetrator. Once referred for prosecution, there was no difference in disposition between stranger and nonstranger cases (proportion charged, pled out versus tried). However, defendants in stranger cases were significantly more likely than defendants in nonstranger cases to receive prison sentences.

  37. barrypearson says

    The Schrödinger’s Rapist post had useful information, but was mainly oriented towards making a first step towards a longer relationship.

    What about someone like me who isn’t looking for such a relationship, but wants to go through life without frightening people? If I get into an elevator containing just one woman, how should I act? (If it was a short trip I would probably be walking up the stairs).

    Obviously I don’t go right next to her! (I’m 65 – I know the basics). My inclination is to smile, but is that scary? Avoid their eyes? But isn’t that shifty? Break the ice: “have you had a good time here?” But is that too much?

    I’m not telepathic either. Over the years, and in different countries, I’ve seen different attitudes. And experienced different reactions to whatever I’ve done.

  38. throwaway, these are not the bullies you're looking for says

    But don’t mind me. I’m clearly just a rape-apologist troll in thrall to the global phallocratic manocracy. Bite me.

    What the hell? I didn’t see any response to you coming close to that level of contemptuous vitriol. But perhaps you deserve it after that story, from which the conclusions I make are: she is a horrible person for accusing innocent people of sexual assault and, second, that you might be trying to segue into a “not all reported rapes are legitimate rapes” apologia. Fuck that noise, say it isn’t so.

  39. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’m clearly just a rape-apologist troll in thrall to the global phallocratic manocracy. – Jonathan, Foot in Mouth

    Well that would seem to be a reasonable hypothesis on current evidence. You came in with:

    Nepenthe, if you expect us to believe that more than one in ten people is some kind of sexual predator, you’re going to have to cite something.

    Without of course citing anything yourself to support your scepticism. Also, note the “us” – the casual assumption that you can speak for others here, when you clearly can’t.

    Admittedly you backed down somewhat when showered with evidence you could rather easily have found for yourself, but now you come back with a completely irrelevant and unsupported tirade about a “Crazy Bitch” (don’t use gendered insults here, cupcake) none of us have ever heard of. Where are your citations for the accuracy of this anecdote?

  40. says

    @Josh, Asshat,

    Oolon, you are just dense, and obnoxiously so…Do you have to fuck up every thread with your shit?

    I thought the point of the post was to tempt obnoxiously dense people such as myself to expose themselves so you can deconstruct what they think? There didn’t seem to be anyone biting and I felt I was wrong about it but could not really express why as I was writing the comment (Could be as it was 1am, I nearly didn’t press submit!)…Sorry if that is not the case, but you seemed to get some pleasure out of having a reason to be your usual acerbic self?

    @glodson, @ftltachyon I get the politeness thing, I even do it myself.

    @mythbri, @Portia “Why is it so hard to understand”… Well in Damian Hurst style it might in my case come down to the impossibility of being thought a rapist in the mind of a privileged man. I have a very strong defensive reaction as glodson said – so interfering with my conclusions?

    @Ing,

    Oolan is a slyme pit troll. Don’t presume good faith or honesty

    … Oolon please, have you never read Douglas Adams! I will admit to a childish glee that you think this while they think I’m a FtBs troll. The important thing is I’ve found a way to feel superior to both you and them eh?

    @Nepenthe,

    Rapists are not rare. They are not a tiny proportion of the population.

    Well I did say stranger rape, which is fortunately rare. But the stats on rape overall are amazingly awful, especially given the number that go unreported. I’m pleased these are all US stats and I’ve not seen any UK ones as I want to keep my dense obnoxious view that it is just the Americans who are this awful.

    @Forbidden Snowflake,

    Oolon, some of your conclusions regarding SR seem… unwarranted.

    My conclusion: Oolon, you misunderstand SR at a basic level. Go think.

    I will, although I’m not confident I can get it. I think the analogy to gun control is still my major sticking point, Michael Moore fucked me up! In response to violence and threat from a group of criminals they react by refusing to change their behaviour. It doesn’t seem a co-incidence that SlutWalk originated in Canada, instead of capitulating and covering up they give a big finger and a fuck you to anyone who says they should change their behaviour and victim blames. I suppose where I am wrong is that men are not affected by rape – apart from defensive attitudes like mine and a little bit of twisted knickers as a result – so we can change our behaviour without it being a capitulation to the rapists. Actually I say as much cos I cross the road in those situations – I just have the Damian Hurst problem. Thanks.

    … I see Jonathan with the ironic epithet has bravely taken up the baton as dense obnoxious one on the thread… So exit stage left!

  41. jefrir says

    Johnathon

    But don’t mind me. I’m clearly just a rape-apologist troll in thrall to the global phallocratic manocracy. Bite me.

    Well, I didn’t think so until that post…

  42. Rodney Nelson says

    oolon #60

    I will admit to a childish glee that you think this while they think I’m a FtBs troll. The important thing is I’ve found a way to feel superior to both you and them eh?

    From what I can tell, both sides feel superior to you and with some justification.

  43. says

    @Rodney,

    From what I can tell, both sides feel superior to you and with some justification.

    Cool, you and they agree on something at least! One persons superiority over another is a bad way to start but its a beginning I suppose.

  44. says

    A bit OT but if someone makes a claim in a discussion they should provide supporting evidence. If they don’t then their claim can be dismissed. It doesn’t matter if their on the side of the “good guys” or not.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One persons superiority over another is a bad way to start but its a beginning I suppose.

    We don’t want to begin anything with you, but rather end it with you fading into the bandwidth. This has been repeatedly pointed out to you in various ways.

  46. jefrir says

    A bit OT but if someone makes a claim in a discussion they should provide supporting evidence. If they don’t then their claim can be dismissed. It doesn’t matter if their on the side of the “good guys” or not.

    Where is your evidence for this?

    Look, we don’t expect people to supply evidence for claims like “lots of people work in offices” or “about half the population is male” – these are simple, generally accepted statements about the world, the evidence for which people generally pick up pretty early as they do through life. What counts as being generally known and accepted will vary according to the subject and level of expertise in the conversation.
    The research cited above has been pretty extensively discussed here before – it is not a new claim. It is therefore entirely reasonable to mention the figures simply as part of what we know about the world. If you want another example of this, consider the fact that no-one asked for citations for the percentage of gay people in the world, mentioned in the same comments, and in the same way (figures which, incidentally, are probably somewhat more unreliable than the ones for rapists, because of the problem of how you define “gay”)

  47. says

    Jonathan seems to have disappeared… Anyway I took Forbidden Snowflakes advice and read the article again. Then read the comments… Found someone who agreed with me and is a women, so probably has a better perspective on the issue. here
    Then read Starlings reply which I have to admit is persuasive as a clarification and reply to a comment that was close to my own. here

    Given I care so much for Nerds opinion of me I will try to not be a whiner here and end with a positive thing I’ve learnt.
    – Working late at night a while back I went into a lift with a woman I didn’t know and the office was pretty much empty. Didn’t seem that awkward at the time, but as it went down to the dingy dark car park area might not have been a good idea – next time I’ll let the lift pass me by or hang about in the lit lift area ‘checking my phone’ while she gets in her car.
    I think I can manage it without letting my need to fight against the impression that I may be seen as a potential rapist in situations like this get in the way. So that is my understanding of the SR trope having re-read it and trying to apply it to my own life.

  48. says

    I’m reading The Gift of Fear right now. Its written by Gavin DeBecker, who is a personal security expert. He supports the schroedingers rapist idea and tells dudes who are mad about it where they can shove their concern, because they don’t live in the same world as women.

    I just thought I would throw that in there since the writer is a dude and good at what he does. More men will respect that than a woman writing about what she actually goes through.

  49. says

    Everyone seems to have missed a very, very problematic tidbit from Jonathan:

    Now Dad’s left Mom for some… person prone to irresponsible and destructive sexual behavior half his age…

    Sorry, but expanding the ‘slut’ trope doesn’t make it okay, Jonathan. Your ‘nym is decidedly accurate — you seem to love the procedure of ‘open mouth, insert foot.’

  50. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    A bit OT but if someone makes a claim in a discussion they should provide supporting evidence. If they don’t then their claim can be dismissed. It doesn’t matter if their on the side of the “good guys” or not. – DanDare

    Where’s your supporting evidence for that claim?

  51. knighttyme says

    This topic is one that I have been meaning to comment on for sometime, but not for the reasons that most choose to talk about this subject.

    While I happen to agree with the notion that when dealing with people you are unfamiliar with, it is usually best to be somewhat skeptical of their intentions and hence take reasonable precautions to keep oneself safe. What I do not agree with is the accuracy of the analogy here, in fact the analogy is particularly poor.

    The very act of calling unknown men “Schrödinger’s Rapist” is an attempt to conjure a thought experiment proposed by Erwin Schrödinger to illustrate the absurdity of applying quantum mechanical principals on the macroscopic scale. The whole point Schrödinger was trying to illustrate was that quantum mechanical ideas such as superposition of states does not strictly apply to large sets of strongly interacting particles. He found it to be absurd to classify a cat as being both alive and dead at the same time… that was his point.

    As a result, this analogy completely misses the point being made by Schrödinger
    because just as men are similar to cats in that they are collections of strongly interacting atoms, similarly it would be absurd to imply that they are ever in some superposition of being both a rapist and a non-rapist at the same time.

    This is really what the concept of superposition in quantum mechanics means. It isn’t simply that the observer isn’t sure what state the particle is in (as the Schrödinger’s Rapist article would have us believe), it is that in a very real sense the subatomic particle exists in a superposition of ALL possible states simultaneously. It’s not just that we aren’t sure, even the particle doesn’t “know” what state it is in until it has been observed.

    As a result, when the author says the following:

    “How do I know that you, the nice guy who wants nothing more than companionship and True Love, are not this rapist?

    I don’t.

    When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me.”

    They have completely missed the plot of Schrödinger’s thought experiment. If we take the Schrödinger part of the “Schrödinger’s Rapist” analogy as being accurate, then when the author is uncertain about another persons intentions, it is the same as the other person having the same level of uncertainty about their intentions. However I don’t really think this is what the author means, which is by the analogy is so bad.

    Even if we accept that we are uncertain whether the cat in the box is alive or dead in Schrödinger’s original thought experiment, the whole point is that independent of our observations, the only reasonably physical interpretation is that the cat in question is only one or the other, not both at the same time. Similarly, if the author does not know someone, the only reasonable interpretation is that they are either a rapist or not a rapist, they can’t actually be both at the same time.

    The other problem with the portion I quoted above is that the author only leaves one option for resolving her uncertainty. She only becomes certain whether or not someone is a rapist after they have started sexually assaulting her. This yields the unappealing conclusion that the only options for men is to either be a confirmed rapist, or to remain a potential rapist that may or may not be confirmed to be an actual rapist at a later point in time.

    It would have been nice for the author to offer the possibility of being found “innocent”. This brings me to my last point on why this is an appallingly bad analogy. Even if we accept that the cat in the original thought experiment does exist in a superposition of dead and alive states, we must also accept that as time passes the probability distribution continually shifts in the “dead” direction. No one in their right might would expect to find a living cat in the box if they opened it a year later. In the intervening time from then the experiment began to when the observation was taken the cat would have starved to death.

    Now as death in most situation is considered the more negative option than living, and in most situations being a rapist is more negative than being a non-rapist. The implication would be that given enough time, even a man who starts out as a non-rapist, he will eventually become one. In fact, after enough time the probability of him becoming a rapist should become unity in this analogy (just as the probability of the cat being dead approaches unity over time).

    Again, I do not believe this is what the author means, but it does demonstrate my point that the analogy being made in her article is piss poor at best. If one wants to draw from the field of physics to get a point across, it is probably best for the point to align well with the physical principles being referenced.

  52. Brownian says

    What about someone like me who isn’t looking for such a relationship, but wants to go through life without frightening people? If I get into an elevator containing just one woman, how should I act? (If it was a short trip I would probably be walking up the stairs).

    Obviously I don’t go right next to her! (I’m 65 – I know the basics). My inclination is to smile, but is that scary? Avoid their eyes? But isn’t that shifty? Break the ice: “have you had a good time here?” But is that too much?

    Generally, I find it best to avoid anything like a personal question as an ice-breaker. You’ve now just put the other person in a situation where they’re socially expected to divulge information about themselves or appear rude. Why would you do that? You don’t really care; you’re just taking an elevator.

    Really, it’s best not to say much at all, a quick slight smile or head nod of acknowledgment and stare at the door like everyone else does.
    But that’s just what I think. Can anyone else correct this?

  53. Brownian says

    This topic is one that I have been meaning to comment on for sometime, but not for the reasons that most choose to talk about this subject.

    While I happen to agree with the notion that when dealing with people you are unfamiliar with, it is usually best to be somewhat skeptical of their intentions and hence take reasonable precautions to keep oneself safe. What I do not agree with is the accuracy of the analogy here, in fact the analogy is particularly poor.

    The very act of calling unknown men “Schrödinger’s Rapist” is an attempt to conjure a thought experiment proposed by Erwin Schrödinger to illustrate the absurdity of applying quantum mechanical principals on the macroscopic scale. The whole point Schrödinger was trying to illustrate was that quantum mechanical ideas such as superposition of states does not strictly apply to large sets of strongly interacting particles. He found it to be absurd to classify a cat as being both alive and dead at the same time… that was his point.

    As a result, this analogy completely misses the point being made by Schrödinger
    because just as men are similar to cats in that they are collections of strongly interacting atoms, similarly it would be absurd to imply that they are ever in some superposition of being both a rapist and a non-rapist at the same time.

    This is really what the concept of superposition in quantum mechanics means. It isn’t simply that the observer isn’t sure what state the particle is in (as the Schrödinger’s Rapist article would have us believe), it is that in a very real sense the subatomic particle exists in a superposition of ALL possible states simultaneously. It’s not just that we aren’t sure, even the particle doesn’t “know” what state it is in until it has been observed.

    Oh, wow, someone who understands physics but not humans blithely wanking away on a science blog! What a rare fucking find.

    No one gives a fuck. Find somewhere else to try to make yourself feel relevant.

  54. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Good god, but that was a prime wank right there, knighttyme. How does it feel to be a Giant Douche living on Solipsism Lane?

  55. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Generally, I find it best to avoid anything like a personal question as an ice-breaker. You’ve now just put the other person in a situation where they’re socially expected to divulge information about themselves or appear rude. Why would you do that? You don’t really care; you’re just taking an elevator.

    Yep I pretty much don’t say anything to anyone in elevators if it’s just us, be they men or women unless they initiate the conversation. And then I’m polite and let them steer the conversation.

    One thing I also find myself doing is to try and make sure I’m near the front of the elevator so I’m not behind anyone, male or female. Ive been told I can look fairly intimidating at times and I dont mean too, so I try and do what I can to minimize that.

    I’ve been doing this for years though and it’s not really a response to anything recent.

    I assume that I am minimizing but I could be wrong.

  56. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    . . . it is that in a very real sense the subatomic particle exists in a superposition of ALL possible states simultaneously.

    Which is exactly what Schrödinger’s Rapist is meant to convey. When I am interacting with a woman, even if she knows me, I exist, in superposition of all possible states simultaneously. I may be a rapist. I may try to get her drunk and rape her when she is incapacitated. I may pressure her into sex. I may do nothing. But, until actual data enters the situation (she ‘opens the box’ if you will) I am, at the same time, all of those different states. I know that I will not rape. But, even after knowing me for ten years, to her, there is still a superposition of all possible states, including the state of rape. Does that help?

    Analogies are not meant to be absolutely exact. They are meant to help illustrate something that may be outside of one’s normal experience.

  57. Brownian says

    How does it feel to be a Giant Douche living on Solipsism Lane?

    “Feel? What is this ‘feel’ of which you speak? I have not been provided with the relevant programming to assess ‘feel’. I simply saw a reference to Schrödinger’s thought experiment which triggered my history subroutine. Was that not satisfactory? Oh, dear, perhaps later models will be built with the desired improvements.”

  58. knighttyme says

    “Oh, wow, someone who understands physics but not humans blithely wanking away on a science blog! What a rare fucking find.

    No one gives a fuck. Find somewhere else to try to make yourself feel relevant.”

    I’m not sure I get your point.

    You are pitching a fit because I am discussing physics on a science blog?

    You are literally saying that no one gives a fuck about science on a science blog and telling me to go and discuss science elsewhere.

    That strikes me as being profoundly stupid.

    If a science blog isn’t a reasonable place to discuss science, then where is the appropriate place exactly?

  59. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    You dumb ass. This thread is not about physics. It’s not about you. It’s not about your fucking hobby horse. Douche.

  60. knighttyme says

    “Which is exactly what Schrödinger’s Rapist is meant to convey. When I am interacting with a woman, even if she knows me, I exist, in superposition of all possible states simultaneously.”

    Do you actually exist in that superposition of all possible states?

    Really???

    Because when I interact with people I am always not a rapist. I am never even partially a rapist.

    That they may not know me, and be uncertain of my intentions is an entirely seperate issue.

    It doesn’t change the fact that I’m not actually a rapist.

    This is exactly why the analogy is bad and why it seems to have poisoned peoples understanding of the underlying physical principals.

    The uncertaintly of the observer isn’t the same as superposition of states.

    I for example do not know what the weather is like where you live, but I do know for certain that it isn’t simultaneously hot, cold, dry, raining and snowing all at the same time.

    Just because I do not know what the weather is like where you are doesn’t mean that it exists as a superposition of all possible weather states.

    When it comes to subatomic particles on the other hand, I may not know whether an electron is spin up or spin down. The truly fascinating thing though is that even the electron doesn’t “know” if it is up or down until it has been observed.

    This whole Schrodingers Rapist analogy has really screwed up peoples understanding of quantum mechanics.

  61. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Oh, knighttyme-phone for you. It’s Dr. Soong. He wants to know why you haven’t installed the empathy chip he got you for Christmas. What shall I tell him?

  62. Matt Penfold says

    You are pitching a fit because I am discussing physics on a science blog?

    You are literally saying that no one gives a fuck about science on a science blog and telling me to go and discuss science elsewhere.

    That strikes me as being profoundly stupid.

    If a science blog isn’t a reasonable place to discuss science, then where is the appropriate place exactly?

    You were guilty of Mary Midgely levels of missing the point and failing to understand. Don’t make the same mistake she did and pretend you didn’t.

  63. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    This whole Schrodingers Rapist analogy has really screwed up peoples understanding of quantum mechanics.

    Yeah. This whole rape culture awareness thing has really screwed up people’s understanding of doodbro conversational privilege.

  64. Brownian says

    You are pitching a fit because I am discussing physics on a science blog?

    You are literally saying that no one gives a fuck about science on a science blog and telling me to go and discuss science elsewhere.

    That strikes me as being profoundly stupid.

    If a science blog isn’t a reasonable place to discuss science, then where is the appropriate place exactly?

    “I detect that you are angry, but I am unable to comprehend why. I have uploaded my audio and video recordings of our interaction to the Geekodyne Corporation for analysis so that future Dorkdroids may better emulate appropriate human behavior.”

  65. knighttyme says

    Yeah, no reason to actually get the point across accurately.

    Any old bullshit talking about quantum fluctuations and vibration fields will do.

    My point is that the exact same information could have been conveyed without resorting to such a craptastic analogy.

    If you are the type for which the ends justify the means then we’ll just have to disagree.

    When I make a point I generally prefer not to potentially miseducate people.

    That no one here is actually interested in “fixing” the analogy to get the point across in a more accurate way is disappointing.

  66. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Dood. FUCK. OFF.

    FUCK.

    OFF.

    There is no other way to deal with derailers like you. You’re entitled to nothing from anyone here. Go away.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because when I interact with people I am always not a rapist. I am never even partially a rapist.

    And they know this how? They don’t. That is the point. Their perspective, not yours.

  68. Brownian says

    That no one here is actually interested in “fixing” the analogy to get the point across in a more accurate way is disappointing.

    Yeah, that’s a real tragedy. I’m all, like, broken up.

    Now, if you’ll kindly lock yourself in your lab and turn on all the gas valves, the rest of us can get back to educating people about rape.

    When the next discussion about physics occurs, we’ll be sure to fetch you from storage and turn you on.

  69. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    My point is that the exact same information

    Stop lying. Your point was to make the conversation about you, you, you, you, you, you, at the expense of an important issue. Don’t lie. Everyone can see you doing it.

  70. Matt Penfold says

    Yeah, no reason to actually get the point across accurately.

    Any old bullshit talking about quantum fluctuations and vibration fields will do.

    My point is that the exact same information could have been conveyed without resorting to such a craptastic analogy.

    If you are the type for which the ends justify the means then we’ll just have to disagree.

    When I make a point I generally prefer not to potentially miseducate people.

    That no one here is actually interested in “fixing” the analogy to get the point across in a more accurate way is disappointing.

    It seems you are not interested in admitting you missed the point. That you are unable to admit you got it wrong is not really disappointing, but it does call into question your honesty.

  71. says

    Jonathan, this isn’t a group therapy session. No one accused you of anything but yourself. (Well, I accused you of not understanding arithmetic, but that was probably unfair.) Take it to the lounge, or as suggested upthread, a family counselor of some kind.

    Oolon, you grow incredibly tiresome.

    knighttyme, you refer to a blog as a “place” and complain that you’ve been told to “take it elsewhere,” despite the fact that this blog is not actually a place. You’re thus using an extremely imprecise metaphor referring to physics to make your (inane) point about people using imprecise physics metaphors. A science blog is not the appropriate setting for that.

  72. Matt Penfold says

    [blockquote]knighttyme, you refer to a blog as a “place” and complain that you’ve been told to “take it elsewhere,” despite the fact that this blog is not actually a place. You’re thus using an extremely imprecise metaphor referring to physics to make your (inane) point about people using imprecise physics metaphors. A science blog is not the appropriate setting for that.[/blockquote]

    If knighttyme’s head did not just explode I will be disappointed.

  73. vaiyt says

    The empty use of expressions like “liberal guilt” as buzzwords already tipped me off that Jonathan’s only purpose here was to pretend he understood something before lashing out.

    Guess he thought his anecdote was going to leave all of us dumbfounded.

  74. knighttyme says

    “And they know this how? They don’t. That is the point. Their perspective, not yours.”

    Yes, I am aware of this. However, that is precisely why the analogy is bad.

    When someone does not know something, that does not imply that the thing they do not know actually exists in a superposition of all possible states.

    The problem with the analogy is that it conflates classical uncertainty with quantum mechanical uncertainty.

    These are NOT the same thing.

    What you talk about above is classical uncertainty, it is the simple statement “I don’t know the answer yet so I’ll have to make some observations and find out”.

    By invoking quantum mechanics that statement actually becomes “I don’t know the answer yet, and in fact the system doesn’t know the answer yet either, so I’ll have to make some observations so both I and the system will find out the answer.”

    The analogy fails because it confuses a lack of knowledge on the observers part with an actual uncertainty inherent within the system.

    That so many here seem to be confused by this only promotes my point that the Schrodingers Rapist analogy has caused some conceptual problems when it comes to peoples understanding of the underlying physics.

    If no one here actually cares about people understanding science accurately that is fine. It’s something I do care about and don’t think it is mutually exclusive with the promotion of people taking reasonable precautions in life.

  75. Matt Penfold says

    knighttyme,

    You find it amusing making yourself look stupid. The rest of us are not so easily amused. We are quite happily to stipulate you are indeed very stupid, so there is no need to keep trying to prove it to us. Why not go and sit in the corner ?

  76. Beatrice says

    That so many here seem to be confused by this only promotes my point that the Schrodingers Rapist analogy has caused some conceptual problems when it comes to peoples understanding of the underlying physics.

    We get the physics. No need to keep explaining.

  77. knighttyme says

    Come on now Chris. Let’s try not be silly about this whole “place” thing. The blog is certainly a noun… and since it is definitely not a person my options are either that it is a place or a thing. If you think it is more accurately defined as a “thing” then I will stand corrected. This isn’t an issue I feel strongly about, so if you feel I am in error about calling this blog a place please accept my apology and in the future I will make certain to call it a thing instead.

    My point stands though that the analogy in the original article is really poor and could stand for some improvement. The overall message of the article is sound, it just should be conveyed in a better way.

    That I was so quick to change my way of thinking about whether this blog is a place or a thing should at least demonstrate that I’m willing to correct myself when someone points out an inaccuracy in something I’ve said.

    In any case, I still feel my point has merit and hope that eventually others will see that too.

  78. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    The Little Engine That Fapped—by My Peen.

    Once upon a time, there was a little blue engine that struggled to climb Fuck Mountain to deliver attention to the poor, neglected boys on the other side. “I-think-I’ll-fap, I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap,I-think-I’ll-fap!”

  79. chigau (違わない) says

    The name is spelled Schrödinger.
    If you can’t do a ö on your keyboard you can use HTML entity &ouml;
    also
    If you type
    <blockquote>paste quoted text here</blockquote>
    this will result.

    paste quoted text here

    It will make your comments easier to read.
    It will not help you make sense.

  80. Portia, temporarily whimpering in the corner says

    Your point has no merit. If it were perfect, it wouldn’t be an analogy. You need to come to terms with that. And also with the fact that no one cares.

    Josh…snort. Here, have a sammich.

  81. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Does the story end with a derail?

    Holy shit, but you are clever! I’m literally laughing so loud I think my neigbors can hear me through the closed window. Oh, thank you. . .I needed that.

  82. Amphiox says

    If one wants to draw from the field of physics to get a point across, it is probably best for the point to align well with the physical principles being referenced.

    Our poor, poor physics pedant seems to have forgotten the fact that the phrase “Schroedinger’s Cat” is no longer just a physics concept. The meme of “Schroedinger’s Cat” has passed beyond simply physics and into general usage, and its general usage is NOT the pedantic physics one that our poor pedant wants to harp so nobly about, but in fact directly analogous to the usage as used in “Schroedinger’s Rapist”.

    And indeed the analogy of “Schroedinger’s Rapist” was drawn NOT from the physics version of term, but from the COLLOQUIAL usage of the term, and is thus entirely appropriate.

    It would seem our poor, benighted pedant, so eager with the quick draw at the merest flutter of apparently inaccurate analogizing out in the dark bush, has jumped the trigger and, sadly, managed to blow off a foot.

    (Indeed, I do not think the term “Schroedinger’s Cat” is even used in physics. It is a COLLOQUIAL expression of a physics concept).

  83. Amphiox says

    My point stands though that the analogy in the original article is really poor and could stand for some improvement.

    No it doesn’t.

    And in other news:

    “Spooky action at a distance” fails as an analogy because ghosts are not actually involved.

    And branes are not membranes, so that one fails too.

    And the “Big Bang”? Holy crap that one is awful. The real thing was tiny, made no sound, and had nothing to do with pornography.

  84. says

    In my world, people misunderstanding the concept of location — and its corollary concepts such as velocity — causes a whole lot more actual problems than people misunderstanding the concept of superposition of quantum states. And yet:

    Come on now Chris. Let’s try not be silly about this whole “place” thing.

    So it’s not all imprecise metaphors based on physics that bother you, just the ones where someone might think of you as a rapist.

    Gotcha. Point conveyed. Mission accomplished. Fare well.*

    * metaphor: may not actually include a wish that the recipient fare well.

  85. says

    Yeah, no reason to actually get the point across accurately.

    There is a very important point to the Schrödinger Rapist blogpost, one which is illustrated with the usage of the common understanding of what Schrödinger’s thought experiment was about. And you know what? It puts that point across very well. I know at least one person who freely admits that he finally got the point through that particular blogpost.

    So, it would seem to me that the point comes across accurately. Unlike whatever point you are trying to make with your derailing.

  86. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    * metaphor: may not actually include a wish that the recipient fare well.

    I heart you.

  87. knighttyme says

    “And indeed the analogy of “Schroedinger’s Rapist” was drawn NOT from the physics version of term, but from the COLLOQUIAL usage of the term, and is thus entirely appropriate.”

    Can you please provide a citation regarding the “colloquial” usage of the analogy of calling something “Schroedinger’s… ” that predates the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” article under discussion?

    As far as I am aware this article is the first misusage of this type of analogy and as such cannot be used as evidence to justify it’s own improper existence.

    Furthermore, since you seem to be perfectly okay with colloquial usage of words bastardizing the scientific meaning of those words, I am interested to hear your thoughts on similarly crappy analogies involving misuse of words such as “theory”, “fact”, and “evolution”.

    I see the misusage in this case as being no different than the misusage of the above terms, and quite frankly, that popular culture has caused the above three words to confuse the general populations understanding of “theory”, “fact” and “evolution”, I am not convinced that it is a good idea to add more scientific miscomprehension to the list even if you can demonstrate that this is a trend that predates the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” article.

  88. knighttyme says

    chigau,

    In that link they have not misused the ideas in the way the article does.

    That part still needs to be demonstrated.

  89. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Oh lord. Please, please put him out of our misery.

    Know what’s even worse than a derailer? A derailer who refuses to make the minimal effort to blockquote in order to make comments readable. It’s so fucking rude.

  90. anteprepro says

    Seriously, knighttyme, you don’t just lack an empathy chip. You also suck at pedantry.

    Even if we accept that we are uncertain whether the cat in the box is alive or dead in Schrödinger’s original thought experiment, the whole point is that independent of our observations, the only reasonably physical interpretation is that the cat in question is only one or the other, not both at the same time. Similarly, if the author does not know someone, the only reasonable interpretation is that they are either a rapist or not a rapist, they can’t actually be both at the same time.

    WHICH IS WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAID.

    “You may or may not be a man who would commit rape.”

    Did you really read this as “you are both a man who may or may not commit rape?”. I mean, really?

    The other problem with the portion I quoted above is that the author only leaves one option for resolving her uncertainty. She only becomes certain whether or not someone is a rapist after they have started sexually assaulting her. This yields the unappealing conclusion that the only options for men is to either be a confirmed rapist, or to remain a potential rapist that may or may not be confirmed to be an actual rapist at a later point in time.

    Sorry that it is unappealing. But it is true and it is a helpful approach. Witnessing them raping someone is confirmation that they are a rapist. That should be uncontroversial. And, the kicker: It is still pretty damn analogous to Shrodinger’s Cat! Your only potential legitimate complaint about the analogy would be “well, she doesn’t allow for any confirmation of that the man is a non-rapist”. But you kind of just brush right pass that part, for far more idiotic complaints. Congratulations on that one.

    This brings me to my last point on why this is an appallingly bad analogy. Even if we accept that the cat in the original thought experiment does exist in a superposition of dead and alive states, we must also accept that as time passes the probability distribution continually shifts in the “dead” direction. No one in their right might would expect to find a living cat in the box if they opened it a year later. In the intervening time from then the experiment began to when the observation was taken the cat would have starved to death.

    How wonderful. The analogy is appallingly bad because you’ve introduced an element (time) that wasn’t even in the original thought experiment. Kudos. You’re a fucking moron in addition to being an insensitive asshat.

  91. knighttyme says

    Chris,

    Actually I am bothered by imprecise language involving scientific principles. This is why I responded to your critique by adjusting my choice of words. The more I think about it, the more I think you are correct on this issue because a blog isn’t exactly a place, so thing seems to fit better.

    It is honestly something I hadn’t thought about before, but since you pointed it out to me I’ve become convinced.

    As for being more bothered that people might misclassify someone is a rapist than by the potential misclassification of this blog as a “place”, I think there is room to argue that the stakes involved in that type of appraisal are greater than the stakes involved in mischaracterizing a blog as a place versus a thing. Hence it probably deserves more consideration than the “place vs. thing” debate you decided to initiate.

    As a result, doesn’t it stand to reason that creating accurate analogies for characterizing rapists is objectively more important from a social perspective than it is that I call a blog a place or a thing?

    I mean, I don’t think anyone is going to lose any sleep over the fact that I initially refered to this as a “place”. If someone does lose sleep over this then I must conclude that they have other issues. The reason I called it “silly” is because it struck me as a distraction. Now if from your perspective my comments were a distraction from what was previously described as the “wanking” that was previously going on, how does it help to offer an even less substantive distraction?

    Look, I get it, people on blogs many times like to just screw around, joke around, and as the previous poster put it “wank”.

    There was something that I was thinking about that I thought others might be interested in hearing and that others might find useful to consider. I usually regard this as a “thing” filled with fairly intelligent and reasonable people who I thought might be interested in hearing my thoughts on the issue.

    I’ve been wrong before, I’ll be wrong again. No sweat off my back.

    Please enjoy your weekend.

  92. knighttyme says

    Carlie,

    It is great that you have a link. It would be better if you read the content there and noticed that in the popular culture you reference they actually get the superposition principle correct.

    That is the part that the article gets wrong.

    Hence this whole pop culture argument fails. This article is the only example I know of in pop culture that completely screwed up this superposition part.

  93. Amphiox says

    I am interested to hear your thoughts on similarly crappy analogies involving misuse of words such as “theory”, “fact”, and “evolution”.

    If they are inappropriately used to describe the actual science of evolution, then I have a problem.

    But then, in those usages, THEY ARE NOT ANALOGIES.

    On the other hand, when used as an analogy for something else in common parlance, I have no problem with it whatsoever, because, within the clear context of the analogy, it takes a very special brand of idiot or pedant (you being a prime example thereof) to actually be confused.

    For example, I have absolutely no problem with this:

    http://www.edmunds.com/mitsubishi/lancer-evolution/

    despite the plain fact that the object in question did not arise through a process of random mutation and natural selection.

    You see, within the context wherein the ANALOGY of “Schroedinger’s Rapist” is used, quantum superposition is not the subject of discussion.

    I had always thought that it is not possible for a human being with enough functioning brain to type a sentence to actually mistake the two, but, seeing as you apparent do, in fact, exist, that theory of mine looks like it is falsified.

  94. jefrir says

    Furthermore, since you seem to be perfectly okay with colloquial usage of words bastardizing the scientific meaning of those words, I am interested to hear your thoughts on similarly crappy analogies involving misuse of words such as “theory”, “fact”, and “evolution”.

    All of those words existed and had meanings before they gained their more specific scientific definitions, and, indeed, before science as a discipline even really existed.
    You’re not any better at linguistics than you are at human communication, are you?

  95. Amphiox says

    Did our poor pathetic pedant ever stop to consider that when the term “Schroedinger’s Rapist” was coined, the originator made an analogy, using those words, NOT to quantum superposition, but TO THE STORY OF SCHROEDINGER TALKING ABOUT THE CAT?

    Surely our physics pedant knows that “Big Bang” was a term used as a reductio ad absurdum EXACTLY AS SCHROEDINGER used his cat scenario? And we have even gone as far as to adopt it to describe the physics theory itself, not even as analogy?

    And that WHEN “big bang” is used as analogy in discourse that is not about physics (as Schroedinger’s Rapist is NOT about quantum superposition) the analogy is NOT, usually, to Fred Hoyle’s use of the term.

  96. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Now if from your perspective my comments were a distraction from what was previously described as the “wanking” that was previously going on, how does it help to offer an even less substantive distraction?

    No, no, no. Your comments were not a distraction from the wanking that was previously going on. Your comments were the wanking itself, distracting from the conversation about the actual topic of the post.

  97. anteprepro says

    knighttyme really thinks that this is the first misuse of Shrodinger’s Cat? Really? Shrodinger’s Cat has been so often used and repurposed that it is hard to believe that any of those uses haven’t run afoul of knighttyme’s stringent guidelines for “misuse”. For fuck’s sake, my chemistry teacher didn’t mention the fact that Shrodinger’s Cat was supposed to be an argumentum ad absurdum against certain interpretations of quantum physics. I assume that he deserves to be sent to fucking gallows by our great crusader here. And I can only fucking imagine what the shiny one would have to say to Deepak Chopra and his ilk!

  98. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Can you please provide a citation regarding the “colloquial” usage of the analogy of calling something “Schroedinger’s… ” that predates the “Schroedinger’s Rapist” article under discussion?

    When I was in middle school, one of my math teachers referred to ‘Schroedinger’s donut’ — the box may, or may not, have one last donut in it. Until he opens the box, the potential exists for either outcome. This was in the late 1970s. Well over 30 years ago. Yes, the teacher had to explain the thought experiment to most of us. So there is one unsupported annecdote which you can disparagingly dismiss at your leisure.

  99. chigau (違わない) says

    knighttyme
    We know how you feel what you think about physics and analogies.
    What are your thoughts about rape?

  100. says

    knighttyme
    We know how you feel what you think about physics and analogies.
    What are your thoughts about rape?

    I’d rather not hear those thoughts actually. There isn’t an otter video strong enough.

    Anyway, as I understand it, the whole point of Schrödinger’s cat gedankenexperiment was that the cat is obviously either alive or dead, that the conclusion that the cat exists in the two states simultaneously is patently ridiculous, and Schrödinger’s intent was to show how very different the world is at our scale from the way it is at the quantum scale. It’s clear to any fule that cats cannot exist in both states until their wave function collapses, and that’s the whole reason he came up with the cat thing.

    So our now-departed correspondent was objecting to the misuse of a metaphor he doesn’t seem to quite understand anyway.

  101. Amphiox says

    Shrodinger’s Cat has been so often used and repurposed that it is hard to believe that any of those uses haven’t run afoul of knighttyme’s stringent guidelines for “misuse”.

    Well, none of those other “misuses” were challenges to the patriarchy….

  102. anteprepro says

    Poor knightyknight must not have read the wiki article that people kindly drudged up for xir. Here, I’ll put on my knight’s helmet and play the “I am very fucking serious about Schrodinger’s fucking Cat” game.

    “a kitten named Pixel is of indeterminate existence, and as such, has the ability to turn up in places that are specifically sealed to outside access. When this ability is questioned, the answer is “He’s Schrödinger’s cat”, leading to the response, “Then Schrödinger had better come get him.””

    B-b-but, Schrodinger’s Cat wasn’t about being able to move through walls!

    “one of the main protagonists is sentenced to death by being locked in a larger version of a Schrödinger’s cat-box, so that random chance, rather than any single person, is responsible for his eventual death.”

    B-b-but, what about superposition!

    “. Schrödinger’s Cat is just one of the many strange Mathiverse denizens she and her guide meet; the cat is still uncertain whether it is alive or dead, long after it left the box.”

    B-b-but, this defies the principles of Schrodinger’s Cat!

    “billed as “a story of quantum catastrophe”, features an alternative solution to the paradox: in Egan’s version of quantum mechanics, the wave function does not collapse naturally. Only certain living things—human beings among them—collapse the wave function of things they observe. Humans are therefore highly dangerous to other lifeforms which require the full diversity of uncollapsed wavefunctions to survive.”

    B-b-but, that’s not what observation means!

    “. During one storyline, a storage room was expanded to infinite proportions and the main characters encountered a Schrödinger’s Whale, an extremely rare species with the ability to travel through space-time in a five-dimensional quantum state. The male lead in the series, Keiichi Morisato, befriends the whale and teaches it songs by real-life musical group The Carpenters (in the original English translation, it was Matthew Sweet) – but their time spent together is short, for the whale must move on or risk its safety as its wave function collapses.”

    B-b-but…WTF?

    “compares the British version of the game show, Deal Or No Deal, to the Schrödinger’s cat parodox, in that any of the amounts of money could be in any box until they are opened and the contents are revealed.”

    B-b-but that’s more than two electron spin states!

    “Dr. Eisenstein uses a card known as “Schrödinger’s Cat”, which allows him when he draws outside his Draw Phase to shuffle the drawn cards back into his deck and draw the same number of cards again.”

    B-b-but the person drawing the cards observed both hands!

    “Steve Wassenfelder, the ship’s theoretical physicist, describes their situation as akin to Schrödinger’s cat, for mission control does not know if the astronauts are alive or dead until communication can be reestablished.”

    B-b-but the astronauts know whether they are alive or dead!

    ” Later in the game, one of the facts that the Fact Sphere lists reads, “The Schrodinger’s cat paradox outlines a situation in which a cat in a box must be considered, for all intents and purposes, simultaneously alive and dead. Schrodinger created this paradox as a justification for killing cats.” There is also an achievement called Schrodinger’s Catch, a reference to the paradox, in which the player catches a blue box before it touches the ground.”

    B-b-but that’s not true!

    “Huffposthill reported, “Between 1999 and 2002, Mitt Romney was somehow in charge of Bain and not in charge of Bain, making him the Schrodinger’s cat of corporate executives”, referring to the discrepancy between what Mr. Romney said about his involvement in Bain Capital after 1999 and what was actually reported by Bain Capital documentation.[21]”

    B-b-but he’s already been observed and at different points in time!

    It’s almost as if knightyknighty is completely ignorant of how people talk about Schrodinger’s Cat outside of ivory towers! Or that knightyknighty gets disproportionately Righteous about Accuracy of analogies when we happen to be talking about women taking precautions against rape! It’s hard to tell which is the particular stick lodged firmly up the good knight’s sphincter. It’s like Schrodinger’s Asshole!

  103. anteprepro says

    Well, none of those other “misuses” were challenges to the patriarchy….

    Heh. Didn’t see your post before implying the same in my last comment.

  104. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Hence I instead choose to stick to the facts with people I don‘t know very well.

    Pity you didn’t also choose to stick to the topic. That is why people are accusing you of lack of empathy, not some ridiculous notion about the incompatibility of reason and emotion that I’m pretty sure nobody here is afflicted with.

  105. Forbidden Snowflake says

    knighttyme, your gotcha fails, since the article criticized in the link, as well as, to the best of my knowledge, D. Chopra, does NOT use quantum physics in a colloquial sense or as an analogy. It actually implies that quantum physics actually supports their mystical beliefs.
    I thought Amphiox was just being mean before, but you really truly don’t understand what an analogy is.

  106. mythbri says

    OMNEG! (Oh my non-existent god!)

    How special for you, knighttyme, that you managed to make this thread, which WAS about the selective use of skepticism when it comes to issues that face members of less privileged groups (in this case, mostly women), but not to similar situations that may affect members of more privileged groups.

    So, knighttyme, it’s very generous of you to tell us that you think rape is a horrible thing.

    Now tell me: is rape MORE or LESS horrible than appropriating a conceptual physics thought experiment to illustrate the experience of the fear of rape that plagues many, if not all women?

  107. anteprepro says

    So what are my thoughts on rape… well I believe it to be a terribly traumatizing experience for the person who suffers through it and I wish with every fiber of my being that I lived in a world where no one experienced such pain. I also wish that no one in the world was starving, suffering from debilitating illness, and that people could treat each other with respect and kindness despite deep rifts in personal beliefs.

    That’s great. Are you trying to win a Miss American pageant?

    This whole notion that if someone comes across as “logical” and “scientific” and “precise” that they must somehow be a robot devoid of emotion of care is a load of bullshit.

    Yeah, no. It’s prioritizing being “logical,” “scientific” and “precise” above being a decent, empathetic human being that is relevant. It is the over-the-top, lengthy and sustained accusations about inaccuracy when talking about an analogy about women taking precautions against rape that make you seem like a “robot devoid of emotion”. We begin a discussion about people saying how EVIL it is to be cautious and assume that men might be rapists, about mentioning how common rape is and how women can’t possibly know that a man isn’t a rapist. And what do you do? Quibble about Schrodinger’s Cat. At length. And defend yourself repeatedly when people tell you that your quibble is irrelevant and make this thread all about you and your stupid argument. And then you have the audacity to whine about us saying that you are “devoid of emotion”? Fuck off. Just fuck off.

  108. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    It’s not my business how this blog is run, and I regret that this sounds churlish (really), but I resent the hell out of the fact that knighttyme was allowed to completely derail this thread. He should have been booted. This always happens. Why does everyone here in good faith have to put up with this shit every time a thread on this topic goes up?

  109. anteprepro says

    Don’t worry, I get it… when pop culture that you don’t like misuses quantum mechanical concepts it is terribad and needs to be criticized and rebuked. Yet when pop culture you do like misuses those same sets of quantum mechanical concepts it is suddenly verboten to bring up similar critiques.

    Schrodinger’s Rapist is an analogy to a thought experiment that is barely related to actual science.
    The linked post is saying that actual quantum mechanics, which it butchers, proves Christianity right.

    Hey, since analogies are such serious business, and this new analogy of yours fails so incredibly, why don’t you just go fucking crucify yourself at the top of an active volcano? Consider it penance, a plea for forgiveness from the Analogy Gods.

  110. nms says

    Your comments were the wanking itself, distracting from the conversation about the actual topic of the post.

    As a True Skeptic, knighttyme isn’t yet ready to believe that the post had an actual topic. Not without citations to peer-reviewed literature and an episode of Bullshit.

  111. says

    I resent the hell out of the fact that knighttyme was allowed to completely derail this thread. He should have been booted. This always happens. Why does everyone here in good faith have to put up with this shit every time a thread on this topic goes up?

    I feel your pain, Josh. I’m still gauging how best to fine-tune how I moderate my threads here, so there will be some turbulence. And I was taking some unauthorized time away from the intertubes to eat breakfast with Annette, so I didn’t catch that k. had ignored my pointed request to go away until just now.

    That said, speaking to all:

    I moderate my threads. I prefer friendly conversation, and so if you are making a mess in one of my threads I may well instruct you to leave in a civil manner rather than just giving you the boot. I prefer to think that direct instructions are understandable to even someone as wilfully obtuse as knighttyme.

    If I tell you “goodbye,” it is not a suggestion. It is an opportunity for you to save me the trouble of deleting your comments, and a chance to preserve your privilege of commenting on my future posts here. Ignore me and you lose those privileges.

    I also have other things to do. I’m a firm believer that asking other commenters not to feed the trolls is an unfair way of outsourcing moderation labor, so I won’t. But a note to me saying something like “Hey Chris, cleanup on aisle oolon@comment 666″ (for example, and you can imagine me wearing a pointed glare) would be much appreciated. I do get copies of all comments on my threads as email and I will see it, if I’m in a position to do anything about it.

  112. Josh, Asshat, Embarrassment to Atheists, Gays, and Free Speech. says

    Thanks Chris. I really do feel bad about complaining; it’s just so frustrating. Your job’s not an easy one.

  113. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Now, if we could only get rid of that persistently annoying, derailing, shithead troll, Oolon…

  114. chigau (違わない) says

    Chris
    Would it be possible to replace deleted comments with a note?
    “comment 666 by TotalDumbass deleted”
    I was doubting my sanity for a few minutes.
    (be careful. you don’t know me well enough to crack wise.)
    ;-)

  115. says

    @jefrir #65

    The research cited above has been pretty extensively discussed here before – it is not a new claim. It is therefore entirely reasonable to mention the figures simply as part of what we know about the world.

    This assumes that all people reading this thread have been involved extensively in all other discussions on this site. Instead, you should consider readers to be “Schroedinger’s Sinle Thread Visitor” and supply some reference that visitors can check.

    After the question had been asked a useful link was given to the RAINN web site. From there I could follow the trail to the U.S. Justice department survey (2008 2010) which shows that in 2010 7 in 10,000 people over the age of 12 in the US were known to be violently sexually abused. Those figures are primarily from a mix of hospital records and police reports, which capture more incidents than police reports alone. Obviously not incidents where resulting injuries did not require hospital and the victim did not to report.

    Its not hard or arduous to include the data or a reference to it. I don’t see why someone asking for a claim to be substantiated should be dumped on for that. Its a reasonable request.

  116. says

    “Do you have some substantiation for that figure?” is a reasonable request.

    “You’re gonna have to back that crap up if you want us to believe it” fails the “reasonable request” test for two reasons.

  117. says

    Yeah Chris :)

    OTOH you can diffuse the second request by just providing the data so the response is basically the same in each case. In the second case there is, obviously, some potential additional responses. I believe you illustrated that case quite well up thread.

  118. Nepenthe says

    Jesus Horatio Christ, that’s the last time I post something more controversial than “the sky is often blue” and then leave the house for a few hours.

  119. chigau (違わない) says

    Nepenthe

    that’s the last time I post something more controversial than “the sky is often blue” and then leave the house for a few hours

    I doubt it.
    ;)
    (and not just you)

  120. chigau (違わない) says

    Chris Clarke
    You are confusing Jesus H. Christ and James T. Kirk.
    It’s an easy mistake to make.

  121. says

    Getting back on topic, quoting barrypearson #54 in full:

    The Schrödinger’s Rapist post had useful information, but was mainly oriented towards making a first step towards a longer relationship.

    What about someone like me who isn’t looking for such a relationship, but wants to go through life without frightening people? If I get into an elevator containing just one woman, how should I act? (If it was a short trip I would probably be walking up the stairs).

    Obviously I don’t go right next to her! (I’m 65 – I know the basics). My inclination is to smile, but is that scary? Avoid their eyes? But isn’t that shifty? Break the ice: “have you had a good time here?” But is that too much?

    I’m not telepathic either. Over the years, and in different countries, I’ve seen different attitudes. And experienced different reactions to whatever I’ve done.

    In such situations the social goal is to avoid awkwardness: both from sustained silences or from tipping over into the “too much” territory that edges towards the forced-teaming/excessive-detail tactics which are employed by travelling salesfolk and other predators (see Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear).

    So, don’t ask questions that appear to be inviting the divulging of personal information. Stick to utterly neutral observations of a superficial nature where there is no social guilt-trip for the other person choosing to respond with nothing more than a noncommittal “indeed” or a “not particularly”.

    These sorts of situations are exactly why the British are infamous for long and involved yet utterly inconsequential conversations about the weather – it’s a way of showing that one has been appropriately socialised to the niceties of public etiquette, displaying the ability to avoid awkward silences alongside the awareness and social skill to also avoid the impertinence of personalising the conversation when one has not been formally introduced. In locations where the weather is not capricious enough to provoke comment, it should be acceptable to talk about other superficialities e.g. the traffic density or the surf waves or the seasonal floral centrepieces in the hotel restaurant.

    At the end of the encounter, ideally both of you feel slightly less awkward then when you entered the elevator, but neither of you knows anything much more about the other person either. You will have shared a trivial social encounter that didn’t suck, and that should be enough.

  122. drewl says

    Wow… way too late again, but had to de-lurk.

    Josh, I can’t imagine the frustration or the headache from the constant wall of morons, but here’s another voice of thanks to you and the rest of the Horde* for all the heavy lifting you all do.

    Reading the threads here — sometimes the ‘good faith’ arguments, but more often the arguments (debates/discussions) between regulars — has helped me define and articulate why I think the way I do. Basically, humanist. If atheism and skepticism catch up, great, not holding my breath. A+ is a good start.

    Knightyme (or more accurately, the responses to him) did crack me up a little, tho. Even after parsing the hell out of the analogy, he seems to miss the point that he is the cat and not the scientist in this situation.

    Now it’s nowhere near Brownian’s <a href="http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/05/24/there-is-no-blacklist/comment-page-2/#comment-345066"title="Why yes Mr. President, I will accept the position of Sheriff of Science." comment in terms of funny, but what is? Seriously, comment of the year, that one.

    And my linking sucks… not sure what I’m fucking up. It’s comment #539 on that thread.

    *Don’t wanna name names, because I’ll forget people. All of you are amazing. I’ll just say that I miss CC’s comments here, but glad to see her doing some transcribing (thanks so much to all that did this! I have crappy download speeds, so I really appreciate the effort and output). Hope all is going well.

    And way OT… Josh how did the e-cig thing go? I’ve been pondering it, what’d ya think?

    Shit… probably should have put most of this in the lounge.

  123. says

    There’s one lift in which I travel several times a year which is just so slooooooow that people feel compelled to converse while travelling in it, usually starting with remarking upon how slooooooow it is, and then moving onto “oh well at least it’s drier than out there” or “at least it’s warmer/cooler than out there” depending upon the seasonal and weather variations, and then moving on to very low-grade chitchat about the comedians whom we are about to see perform. Eventually we reach the upper floor where the theatre resides and go our separate ways.

    Other than that one particular lift, I don’t find it happens hardly at all.

  124. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Pshaw, Chris – everybody knows that his middle name is “Haploid”!

    I thought it was like the “S” in Harry S. Truman.

  125. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Hi drewl!

    May I suggest, that even though you’ve already posted it here, you go copy and paste most of that into the Lounge, or slower moving Thunderdome? Then you’re more likely to get sucked in to a conversation which will keep you delurked. (Which I think would be nice.)

    Also you can say screw the html, and just give a bare link: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/05/24/there-is-no-blacklist/comment-page-2/#comment-345066

  126. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I thought it was like the “S” in Harry S. Truman.

    Wikipedia (linked at #172) suggests it may indeed be the Greek letter eta.

  127. drewl says

    SGBM (or should I call you by yer real name Mr. Jenkins bwah ha ha) thank you, I probably will tomorrow after work. I’ve been meaning to write up something for a while, but between Knighty’s clueless quantum SIWOTI and Josh’s plaintive ‘WHY the fuck… I felt the need to write something now.

    I only get to lurk here when I’m home, and I don’t use a computer for work, so I’m always behind on threads, type slow and suck at html.

    And while you’re here, Thanks for your posts (and cool ‘nym). Even if I might totally disagree with something you write, you do it well enough to make me think hard about why I disagree, and where to look further.

  128. viajera says

    You talk to strangers in an elevator? Most people around these parts don’t bother.

    It depends on where you live. Here in the South where I live, it’s pretty common. We talk to strangers on the street, in line at the grocery store, in an elevator, on public transportation – pretty much everywhere. Most people are able to do it in non-creepy ways – it’s not that hard, and there’s lots of good advice out there on the internets if you’re unsure. See, e.g., Dr. Nerdlove, John Scalzi, Cliff Pervocracy, or any of Captain Awkward’s several excellent posts on the topic, just for starters.

  129. unclefrogy says

    Many years ago now when I was a younger I remember sitting in church (yes I did stopped doing that) and listening to the priest giving his sermons and instead of just believing everything he said would try to fit it into what I knew was real and sometimes I would try to figure out a perfect (insert metaphor/analogy here) I would spend the whole time doing that. I learned something useful by doing that. There are no perfect way to do that they are all flawed.
    So do not have any problem when I encounter imperfect analogies, metaphors, or comparisons of any kind though I may need further explanations to make the point clearer.
    Where there is smoke there is fire. When someone reacts strongly I always wonder what really caused that reaction.
    I have been reading these related posts and threads all along. One of my reactions is to go over my own experiences and look at them again. Sometimes I was not as benign as I could have been even. I have been overwhelmed by fear.
    I understand that the cat in the box ain’t perfect but I get the point which was the point. Even I could be on either side of that one.

    keep it up
    even a fool if he persists in his folly long enough can become wise.
    uncle frogy

  130. hjhornbeck says

    Dammit, I always seem to be late to these things. Oh well, at least I bring spreadsheets! By simplifying reality a little, you can do a numeric cost-benefit analysis and show that under reasonable conditions, women should always be on guard against rape. Download your own copy, and play with the numbers.