Trying to overcome my Male Pattern Blindness

The latest furor over Ben Radford triggered some bad memories. Has anyone sat down and actually compiled a list of that guy’s offenses against reason and science? He’s got a long history of making a mess.

Remember when he was distorting the conclusions of papers about women’s eating disorders? Or how about the time he was taking issue with a four-year-old who notices the cultural biases in toys? That was fun; it led to Radford arguing that dolls are all pink because girls like pink because dolls are pink, and then inventing evo psych nonsense about color preferences and women searching for pink berries. Then he was dismissing concerns about the frequency of sexual harassment in schools, and picking nits over sexual assault so that he could argue that rape wasn’t so horribly frequent, a claim which revealed that he was innumerate.

Say…do you notice something? Is there a pattern to Radford’s biases? I mean, he’s well regarded otherwise, has a popular podcast, and I don’t think he’s stupid — the majority of the things he writes about are OK, it’s just that every once in a while he plumbs the depths of idiocy with a piece that makes him look like a hyperskeptical dishonest twit. And I think…if I look real hard…if I wipe the Y-chromosome bearing floaties out of my eyes…I see a common thread.

Whenever Radford writes about gender issues, like sexual assault, cultural assumptions about gender roles, or media biases about women, he turns into a lying hyperskeptical denialist. He stops being skeptical and starts digging for evidence, and worse, making up evidence, to bolster his presuppositions that discrimination against women doesn’t exist. He’s a bad skeptic. And he has a long history of doing this.

Why does he even have a job?

I don’t know if you want to read read Ron Lindsay’s explanation, but here it is anyway.

And what is it CFI was supposed to rebut? Ben’s speculations about the hues of dolls’ faces? Presumably not. What appeared to bother some commenters was Ben’s alleged sexism.

OK. CFI denounces sexism. We always have and presumably always will. Stereotyping based on gender is wrong and policies and practices that promote such stereotyping should be condemned. Furthermore, attitudes that exhibit sexism are unacceptable, and we should work to eliminate such attitudes, including, to the extent they exist, such attitudes within secular/skeptical organizations.

The problem is I doubt that Ben would disagree with anything in the above paragraph, nor did I see anything in his posts to suggest he would. Therefore, I’m not sure it counts as a “rebuttal.”

I love that blithe “OK”. Yeah, CFI denounces sexism, and Radford says he does, too, so what have you little people got to complain about?

But wait…I think I see another pattern emerging through my testosterone-addled murk. Look what Karen Stollznow said about her work environment — they have a history, too, of diminishing the significance of a pattern of behavior.

Five months after I lodged my complaint I received a letter that was riddled with legalese but acknowledged the guilt of this individual. They had found evidence of “inappropriate communications” and “inappropriate” conduct at conferences. However, they greatly reduced the severity of my claims. When I asked for clarification and a copy of the report they treated me like a nuisance. In response to my unanswered phone calls they sent a second letter that refused to allow me to view the report because they couldn’t release it to “the public”. They assured me they were disciplining the harasser but this turned out to be a mere slap on the wrist. He was suspended, while he was on vacation overseas. They offered no apology, that would be an admission of guilt, but they thanked me for bringing this serious matter to their attention. Then they asked me to not discuss this with anyone. This confidentiality served me at first; I wanted to retain my dignity and remain professional. Then I realized that they are trying to silence me, and this silence only keeps up appearances for them and protects the harasser.

Serial harassers are really, really good at looking wounded at accusations and apologizing verbally — they can be socially slick and glibly slide through these storms, because that’s what enables their activities. What you have to do is look at their patterns of behavior, what they do, not what they say. And Radford clearly has a sexist modus operandi.


Nice cartoon:

Also, Rebecca Watson has a few words.

Comments

  1. says

    [Blackwhite] has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.

    Sexism is something that “they” do; by this definition, it is not something that “we” could ever do. So even if “we” engage in what seems like sexism and misogyny, it is not. After all, “we” are rational, and “they” are not.

    At least, that seems to be the meme that CFI is pushing.

  2. Seize says

    The more I think about, the more I think that the headline in this case should be CFI’s behavior during these ongoing incidents.

    Radford’s culpability is obvious, and despicable, but focusing entirely on his actions takes focus away from the systemic perpetuation of sexist bias by CFI. Let’s not equivocate: CFI is a major skeptic organization. They have done some excellent work, they have some fantastic people on board – we want to like them. They aren’t some black sheep splinter cell.

    CFI continues to issue mealy-mouthed, delayed rebuttals to sexism. (Ron Lindsay: “CFI denounces sexism. We always have and presumably always will.” Conversational implicature perhaps?) Now we know a valuable, brilliant skeptic never wants to work for them again because they valued the reputation of male skeptic accused of serious wrongdoing over her feelings of safety and her contributions to their conferences and publications.

  3. Seize says

    *rebuttals should be “denials” in comment 2; as Gregory points out, there isn’t much of an actual argument being pitched here.

  4. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    CFI has yet to demonstrate it grasps the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’.

  5. seraphymcrash says

    Well here comes the CFI “Leadership” to turn this into an even bigger mess. The fact that Ron is trying to downplay this is incredibly frustrating. His own company found evidence of inappropriate communications. His company is contributing to a hostile environment by dismissing her very legitimate concerns. He is contributing to that hostile environment. This is proof that the upper levels of the CFI are not fit to be considered “leaders” of anything.

  6. whiskeyjack says

    This is what I don’t get about the people who are complaining about being unfair to Radford: Stollznow tells us that she had proof, she took it to the powers that be, and the powers that be found it compelling enough to acknowledge that Radford did something wrong and to discipline him (however token that discipline might be). So, I guess, they just don’t believe that Stollznow had this evidence? They think that they would be better judges of the evidence than the powers that be? (Isn’t that a bit like saying that I don’t believe in evolution because I haven’t personally handled fossils?) Do they think that unless there’s a group consensus found in the skeptical community that there can be no determination of guilt? Or do they think Stollznow’s making the whole thing up and, I don’t know, somehow believing that no one will call her on her lies?

    I understand that it would be nice to have full disclosure of the details here. I’d love to sit in every courtroom and HR meeting in the world, too, just for curiosity’s sake. But if someone told me person X had been fired for sleeping on the job, I’d assume there was at least something to it before looking for a conspiracy. But why assume that person X was wrongfully dismissed, barring a video of him/her sleeping? It doesn’t make sense.

    It especially doesn’t make sense in this case. Stollznow stands to lose an awful lot *if she is making things up* (which I don’t believe). She still stands to lose a lot of peace of mind, if nothing else, just for bringing this up. What does she have to gain? Well, assuming she’s not some sort of masochistic drama queen, she’s not really benefitting from this other than to try to make the world a better place and all that.

    Am I wrong? Am I missing something?

  7. aelfric says

    Forgive me, as some of this can be a bit “inside baseball” for me, but this is the same Ron Lindsay who took it upon himself to mansplain to the Women in Secularism conference? While I would by no means imply everyone at the organization is sexist, it would seem to me that there must be some sort of systemic issues going on.

  8. says

    Lindsay’s thinking follows a typical pattern. No-one (or very few people) think of themselves as sexists, just like only a few kooks actually think of themselves as racist.

    But in these people’s minds, sexism is groping woman randomly on the street and trying to forbid women the right to vote. They don’t think of persistent flirting, and sexual come-ons even in the face of repeated requests to stop as sexism. Just like they can think that women should be allowed to compete with men on the level playing field of the job market while still holding opinions like women are ‘naturally’ better at nuturing jobs and weak at math and science.
    So they say they abhor sexism, while not realizing that they actually hold sexist attitudes. Just like lots of people hold racist attitudes but think of themselves as ‘not racist’ because they aren’t beating foreigners up, setting fire to crosses, or even voted for Obama.

  9. says

    So they say they abhor sexism, while not realizing that they actually hold sexist attitudes.

    How very skeptical of them.

    Seriously, it’s because of this shit (Radford/Lindsay/CFI) that I’m glad that I’ve never identified as a skeptic– I’m angry enough as it is and I don’t feel any connection to the organization.

    If I had donated money to CFI, I’d be demanding it back right about now.

  10. carlie says

    Well, women are allotted only one male to harass them per lifetime, dontcha know. Any more than that, and they’re obviously making up a pattern to get mad about.

  11. says

    So Radford is not sexist because he says he’s not sexist? Cool! We can proclaim religion to be rational, truthful and tolerant, then.

    Sadly, it happens in Spanish language skepticism too. Many a “skeptic” got mad at me, called me biased and flinged unfounded, straw-manish accusations my way when I drew this.

  12. says

    I think your heart sinks a lot worse when you get up the guts to report something and then no one really does anything about it in response. That has been my experience anyway. Its like getting hurt a second time. fuck CFI, seriously.

  13. Algernon says

    Actually he behaves like some one who is protecting his own ego from facing the fact that he has engaged in destructive behavior. He’s protecting his source/strategy of harassment, and his justifications or rationalizations for not changing. This is something people need to consider. People defend themselves. They defend themselves when they are wrongly accused but they also defend themselves from being caught/discouraged from doing things that are wrong when a part of them knows DAMNED well it is wrong.

  14. Rey Fox says

    Pharyngula was my first exposure to internet atheism and skepticism, so I always sort of took it as the “default” view, politics and feminism and all. They just seemed to fit. But alas, Pharyngula is really just one biological ejaculator, or something, and the big, official, and therefore “default” skeptic organizations are actually 4 TEH MEN.

  15. pixelfish says

    I’m still stuck on berries being pink. WHAAAT? What berries are pink? Only in recent decade colour cartoons are berries pink. What about BLUE berries? And if Radford could be bothered to pick up a Regency romance or do a leetle historical digging, he’d know that pink used to be a colour men wore all the time, so much so that a man could be referred to as a Pink of the Ton. Whereas gently bred ladies often wore blue to denote purity. It’s pretty damn obvious that the evo-psych evidences for pink and blue being hard-wired are ahistorical bullshit.

    Ditto Whiskeyjack on the way harrassment claims are treated versus nearly every other assertion out there.

    @Skeptifem: Yep, nothing worse than getting up the courage to tell somebody and then having squat happen. (I’ve been semi-fortunate that my claims of sexual harrassment were accompanied by somebody taking some action, although in at least one case, HR had me confront my own harrasser instead of doing it themselves. Fortunately, THAT asshole backed down and was circumspect thereafter, although that meant the entire sum of his being taken to task was being chewed out by a quiet and worried me. Not even a slap on the wrist, really.)

  16. Tethys says

    Nice cartoon Andre, and PZ seems to agree.

    I find myself reveling in schadenfrued at CFI’s comeuppence. I hope their donations have taken a nosedive along with their reputation. It is unfortunate that Karen has had to bear the brunt of their cluelessness

  17. Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun) says

    What about BLUE berries?

    I’m picking nits here – but are there actually any blue berries? Blueberries aren’t blue…

    I’m with you on the ahistoric bullshit part though.

  18. Sili says

    HOLY FUCK! Nye?!

    I did not see that one coming.

    Don’t know who Fortin and Faircloth are (though now they’re a vaudeville act).

  19. says

    I love Lindsay basically saying that you can stereotype based on gender until you’re blue in the face—even if your reasoning is extremely strange speculation with no evidence to back it up—as long as you make rote denunciations of stereotyping and issue clearly dishonest denials that stereotyping is what you’re doing.

  20. besomyka says

    Yeah, most of those names I either don’t know or am not surprised in the least. Except Nye. That one did both surprise and saddened me. I thought he was better than that.

  21. yazikus says

    Yeah, most of those names I either don’t know or am not surprised in the least.

    Do you have a link to some sort of list?

  22. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    The whole “women are attracted to pink because berries” thing is ridiculous on two fronts. One is the obvious fact that no one on this thread can think of any berries which are pink. The other is that prior to the 1920′s, pink was considered the masculine colour, and blue the feminine colour. Which kind of puts paid to Radford’s idiocy all on it’s own, doesn’t it? Rather decisively too, I think.

  23. pixelfish says

    Gnumann: Blueberries aren’t blue? Are you talking immature ones? (I’ve been picking blueberries. They’re blue. :) Maybe we can stretch to indigo or purple though.)

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

    I, personally, am glad that there is such a Tumblr.

    I won’t really use it since I don’t organize any conferences that might invite any of those named so far. To the extent that I’m involved in conference organizing at all anymore, it would be specifically feminist conferences (and, in fact, conferences that internally critique feminism similar to -but not including- one “Thorn in the Side of Feminism” that they had at my school not long past; we would be a pretty difficult group to convince when asserting we should handle harassment quietly). So I don’t see much relevance in my everyday life. Frankly, I can’t even afford to travel right now, so I couldn’t go to any atheist/skeptic conferences if I wanted to. Thus it wouldn’t have a whole lot of relevance in my occasional life.

    Which all brings me to my question: While I’m very glad that this exists, should I be reading it? Do the hits matter? If I read it knowing that there is almost zero possibility of any relevance to my life [say, it turns out that one of my professors next year is on it, despite my not being in any branch of science or involved in any cultural projects at the university level that might be called Atheist/Skeptic], does that say something about me that I wouldn’t like to be true?

    I know I’m overanalyzing here, but the thing is I want there to be such a repository. We have frickin’ Wikileaks despite the legal risks, fFs, why can’t we have Doucheleaks? And yet, as someone with limited time and no direct stake, what am I supposed to do for it?

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

    @Pixelfish:

    Yes, I think a distinction is being drawn between blue/purple such as indigo and blue/blue such as sky or navy.

    I have drawn precisely that distinction on precisely the topic of blueberries for pedantic fun, but I wouldn’t have done it here.

  26. says

    I’m bleakly amused by the revelation about Bill Nye, because I’ve been following this Twitter account called @yaboybillnye which takes scientific facts and expresses them in urban Black vernacular, because it’s humorous to pretend that a scientist speaks like a gangster, right? It was funny at first:

    @yaboybillnye: S/O to flounder having dos eyes on one side of they face man lol it’s a hard life RESPECT TO FLOUNDER

    But I was getting tired of the endless references to bitches and hos:

    @yaboybillnye: S/O TO MALE LIONS FOR MAKING THE FEMALES GO OUT TO HUNT AND STILL EAT FIRST!!! idk, gotta keep your bitches in check

    So at a certain point, I asked @yaboybillnye if they thought Bill Nye was as sexist as them, or whether they just considered the overt sexism an essential part of the gangster persona. I never got a response. Perhaps they knew something I didn’t.

    Lawrence Krauss? Lent his scientific credibility to bolster the reputation of a convicted child rapist. So I’m not surprised. Michael Schermer? Accused his feminist critics of mounting a “secular malleus maleficorum” for daring to opine that his statement that skepticism and atheism were “more of a guy thing” really was a sexist thing to say. So, no, I’m not surprised. When will people learn that people’s casual sexism doesn’t come out of nowhere? If a person is willing to go on record with mildly sexist views, it is in fact predictive of deeply, violently sexist views as well. Just like it’s a fact that men who are willing to hit women in non-sexual situations are also far more likely to rape them. It’s a continuum. It’s a real phenomenon. It’s contrary to the principles of skepticism to doubt these facts at this point, and it’s becoming clear that those who insist on doubting, unreasonably, in the face of all the evidence, are using profoundly motivated reasoning. And those motivations are fucking ugly.

  27. says

    @ SallyStrange

    So at a certain point, I asked @yaboybillnye if they thought Bill Nye was as sexist as them, or whether they just considered the overt sexism an essential part of the gangster persona.

    It does not matter, anything they do to support that shit is supporting that shit.

    (No gods, no heroes, no masters. Thank you for calling this shit wherever you see it.)

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

    @Sally:

    I’m completely with you here, but MRA screaming that

    If a person is willing to go on record with mildly sexist views, it is in fact predictive of deeply, violently sexist views

    is femistasi hysterical shrieking that noticing that body parts exist in your own head is the exact same thing as rape-murder.

    Sigh. I really hate the culture that made me read your perfectly accurate statement and cringe for a blow in a manner reminiscent of cringing for the blows of my batterer.

    F.

    Just F.

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

    In the first line, it should read:

    I’m completely with you here, but I’m waiting for the MRA screaming that

  30. pHred says

    I am just bleak about the Bill Nye thing. That depresses me completely. The rest of the list came as no surprise at all, but I don’t recall ever hearing anything to the detriment of Nye – and he has been a speaker around here several times. Either my grapevine is broken or he was on good behavior or something. Sigh – this is going to make me mildly nuts since we use Bill Nye the Science Guy videos in classes all the damn time. And now every damn time I am going to get angry. Shit.

    When I was a student working at a research facility doing computer networking and occasional mechanical engineering work – I and another couple of female students there complained that the only ladies restroom was all the way across the building off the lobby – for the receptionists don’t you know. They “solved” this problem by designating the restroom off our area “Unisex” except the guys would NEVER remember to lock the damn door! Lovely – things went even further downhill after they hired a new manager that used to work at Kodak – he managed both the put the project massively behind schedule and to be a total sexist asshat. Clearly it was all our fault for showing up to work while being female. @)$*%)*@#$

  31. says

    Crip Dyke, I know. It’s exactly the anticipation of that reaction that has kept me from writing much on my blog for a while now (among other things, but that’s a big one). And I feel like a coward for it.

  32. sigurd jorsalfar says

    @45 I’m extremely disappointed that he had Rick Warren perform his marriage.

  33. Sili says

    Well, he didn’t, sigurd.

    I’d like to think that all marriages performed by Warren are null and void.

  34. viajera says

    I’m a lurker – I rarely (if ever) comment here, or on any atheist blog for that matter, so I have no presence or history. So maybe what I have to say doesn’t matter, or is just flouncing; fair warning.

    But there’s a reason I’m a lurker – and this incident is perfectly emblematic of why. I’m an atheist and a skeptic and have been for over 20 years. I’m also a scientist, a humanist, a freethinker. I have a lot in common with members of the atheist/skeptic/freethinker community, it seems like a natural fit.

    But I’m also a woman and a feminist. And my experiences in the atheist/skeptic/freethinker community, both online and offline, have turned me off and driven me away. I still lurk here at Pharyngula because I find this blog to be interesting and one of the better of the bunch in calling out misogyny. But incidents like this happen again and again in skepticism, and the defenders immediately come out of the woodwork (even here), and I’m utterly unsurprised anymore (though disappointed to see Bill Nye named. Sigh). Offline, too, I’ve stopped attending local skeptic meetings because I’ve found them full of misogyny and, of all things, climate change denialism. I expect better from people who pride themselves on being intelligent and rational. Especially here in smallish-town Canada, where most people I know are more progressive and generally nicer (a cliche, yes, but one I’ve found to be pretty true) than where I came from in the States. Skepticism has a misogyny problem, and it’s not just limited to the big names.

    Like I said, I’m just one person who doesn’t have a presence here anyway. But I know there are a lot of other women like me who have a lot we could contribute to the community, yet get driven away. I’m thankful for those of you who do stay and fight the good fight, but I have neither the time nor the personality for that. I hope the culture changes soon, and when it does, I think you’ll see a lot more women join in.

  35. says

    The strangest thing I have heard about Bill Nye: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500185_162-3572152.html

    Ugh…this stuck out for me:

    “I became very angry, and could only think of destroying the rose garden, so he couldn’t give another woman the roses which I had cared for,” she said.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but to me that’s the reaction of someone who has already been cheated on, not someone contemplating what their ex will do in the future.

  36. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    FFS, the “girls like pink because berries” thing again?

    This came up in one of the podcasts we here on Pharyngula did ages ago. If I remember correctly, I pointed out two major issues:

    (1) “Girls like pink” is a modern development. Like, in the past 100 years.
    (2) “Girls like pink” is a Western phenomenon, though (due to globalization) it is spreading.

    The bit where not all berries are red is, ahem, also an issue.

  37. pHred says

    I think my brain just melted with that Nye thing. I have always known that I don’t understand people but good grief … is this really what most of the world is like ? I also made the mistake of looking at some of the stuff PZ linked and I can only agree with the question

    Why does he even have a job?

    Which at this point I pretty much have just expanded to “Why is there still a CFI?”

    I got creeped out by the Skeptical Inquirer years ago and everything I have seen since just seems to dig holes deeper. Urgh. I think I have blown a neuron.

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

    I remember you, Viajera, and I will continue to work for a culture where sexism doesn’t drive you away from participating absolutely as much as you would like.

    BTW: I’m in BC, and my family gets to central/eastern parts of the province regularly (even if I don’t always – school and all) but I came from the States as well. If you ever want to chat, LMK.

  39. pHred says

    Also – what 48.viajera said. I lurk and I have studiously avoided meat space organized freethinker/skeptic organizations around here and pretty much anything sponsored by CFI (woo hoo I surely do want to go on a “ghost hunt” with a bunch of guys I don’t really know as the lone female. NOT!)

  40. says

    is this really what most of the world is like ?

    Our society is structured in such a way that people with sociopathic tendencies seem to get further than the rest. Don’t mistake the most visible people as being representative- a lot of folks who are on top get where they are by being shameless or cruel.

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

    @sigurd, 53

    Preside over a marriage solemnization, since there was no marriage. Didn’t you read the article? How do you know Warren was present if you didn’t, but then you would know that the marriage never existed.

    Had you used the word “wedding” you would have been on firmer ground, since an inconsequential ceremony is still a ceremony. But the state of CA said that there was never a marriage, the parties involved don’t contest it, therefore Warren never presided over their marriage – there was nothing of that kind over which to preside.

    Clear?

  42. pHred says

    a lot of folks who are on top get where they are by being shameless or cruel.

    Good point. The way you get to be a Robber-Baron is to be the sort of person willing to be a Robber-Baron. I have to keep that firmly in mind. Beside I just got email with the subject “MY BELOVED FRIEND IN THE LORD, PLEASE OPEN THE ATTACHED FILE AND GET BACK TO ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.” Good grief what kind of an email list have I gotten on now?

    I think I need some brain bleach at this point.

  43. carlie says

    Bill Nye? I know this is extreme given that I don’t actually know the guy, but now I want to just curl up in the corner and cry for awhile. :(

  44. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    a lot of folks who are on top get where they are by being shameless or cruel.

    Who then in turn create conditions where people are driven to cruelty or desperation.

  45. sigurd jorsalfar says

    @57 Not really. He performed the ceremony.

    Nye surprised Tindall with a spontaneous wedding in 2006, which was officiated by super-star Pastor Rick Warren.

    There was no valid marriage because of unspecified problems with the licence. But there was still a ceremony, Rick Warren performed it, and I can only assume that Bill Nye had some say in the choice of Warren to perform it. Hence my disappointment.

  46. says

    I hate to say it, but I’m not impressed with that tumblr. It desperately needs better details. Telling me that Shermer was a sexist when the story is that he called someone “naughty” for dropping some tongs is…feeble. And just naming Bill Nye with zero explanation is a bit weird.

    I’m not denying the possibility that anyone could be sexist, just that there have to be more specific grounds…such as the details given for Radford.

  47. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    The Bill Nye thing depresses me a lot. I seriously loved his show when I was a kid. Boo. :( :(

    —-
    OT: Crip Dyke, did you ever get the email I sent you?

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

    Sigurd: which is why when you said “marriage” above you were wrong, but in my 57 I said you would have been on firmer ground saying “wedding”.

    I think we’re in agreement here, you’ve just forgotten that you used the word “marriage” originally instead of wedding.

    OT:
    Fruitcakes, Esteleth, I did.

    Life has been stressful lately with Dog sick, then dying, and I completely lost track of it. I did get it. I will go respond in a couple minutes.

    I have a bagel in the toaster, but it’s the first thing I do after that.

  49. says

    Telling me that Shermer was a sexist when the story is that he called someone “naughty” for dropping some tongs is…feeble. And just naming Bill Nye with zero explanation is a bit weird.

    my understanding of the issue was that she was bending over at the time, not that she dropped the tongs.

  50. praxis.makes.perfect says

    @PZ:

    I’ve been scouring the net since that comment was made and I can’t find anything listing a complaint about Bill Nye. I found some rather awful articles on gossip sites about his relationship with Blair Tindall and the subsequent breakdown of that relationship, but I can’t find anything at all that would be a complaint specifically against Bill Nye or any indication that any complaints have been made against him.

    I’m still looking, though, and will keep doing so. It’s not that I want to believe it’s not true, I’m just not about to trust an anonymous tumblr with only three entries as a source in these matters.

  51. praxis.makes.perfect says

    *an anonymous tumblr with three entries and no details about a complaint…

  52. cicely (*sigh*. Just cicely.) says

    Crip Dyke, I’m sorry about your dog.
    *hugs* are offered. Refusably.
    In which case, please substitute an alternative-but-acceptable gesture of comfort, support, and sympathy.
    -

  53. Tethys says

    PZ

    Telling me that Shermer was a sexist when the story is that he called someone “naughty” for dropping some tongs is…feeble.

    There is the further detail that MS was kneeling on the floor next to her when he decided to infantalize her. I suspect she was wearing a skirt, though that detail isn’t given. If she was wearing a skirt, the naughty, naughty comment becomes much creepier.

  54. nyarlathotep says

    I have to agree with PZ @62 if for only one reason. I’m not aware of any speaking engagement which Jacob Fortin has had. I don’t say this to defend hi as i’m not exactly a fan of his but because, honestly, I’m wondering how he might have gotten onto a conference organizers radar.

  55. says

    I’m not denying the possibility that anyone could be sexist, just that there have to be more specific grounds…such as the details given for Radford.

    god dammit. Everyone IS sexist, it’s a matter of degrees, and this is a case in point. PZ, the ‘specific grounds’ appear to be “an organizer has had so many complaints about Bill Nye that she refuses to have Bill Nye around anymore”. do you actually need more details? Is it that unbelievable?

  56. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    *hugs for Crip Dyke over Dog*

    I think I offered them when that happened, but, offering again.

    It says something nowadays that when I hear of Prominent Man accused of sexual harassment, my reaction is no longer “What? Noo!!” but “Oh.”

  57. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    @Rutee: I don’t find it unbelievable, either. I don’t think anyone who is rational finds it unbelievable. I just don’t find a newly made and anonymous tumblr with only three entries to be a reliable source. If that tumblr claimed PZ was a harassing douchecanoe would you take that as gospel?

    There’s a difference, I think, between disbelieving someone who says:

    “I was harassed by this person”

    and an anonymous tumblr which says:

    “An unnamed individual says this person did something at an unnamed time in an unnamed place”

    Maybe I’m in the wrong here. If I am then I deserve whatever heat comes my way and I’ll gladly step away from this. I just don’t think that particular tumblr, being the sole source of that claim, is one that should be held to be the final authority on the subject.

    After all, there are multitudes of tumblrs dedicated to slutshaming and other odious things such as one which has claimed Rhianna is to blame for the abuse she suffered at the hands of Chris Rock because she instigated the violence and he was merely defending himself. Should we take that one at face value, as well?

  58. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Praxis

    I sort of agree that I want to see more info that can verify the vague claims and make them less vague and more concrete asap.

    But your last paragraph I don’t think was helpful :/

  59. carlie says

    “Surprise wedding”? That kind of grosses me out. Talk about manipulative and controlling, that’s it.

  60. says

    Of course everyone is sexist, and I wouldn’t be one to deny the possibility that Nye has done something wrong — seriously, I’ve constantly found myself surprised when I learn that terrible things have been going on while I’ve been masculinely oblivious.

    But that tumblr is awful. It’s just blanket accusations. There’s nothing there to say what Bill Nye has been accused of, for instance. This is actually the very first time I’ve heard of any such accusation against him, and it’s painfully nebulous — and people aren’t finding any specific instances in searches, yet for some reason everyone is accepting it as simply true. It’s not just the lack of believability, but that it undermines serious accusations by lowering the standards of evidence to ludicrously shallow depths.

    I also agree that I can imagine ways in which Elyse’s incident with Shermer kneeling and saying “naughty” could be really creepy…but I can also imagine ways in which it was completely innocuous. Maybe there are more details which would clarify how Elyse found it creepy, but that brief twitter account doesn’t contain them, so it’s unfair to use it to indict Shermer on that rather pathetic basis.

    As you say, everyone is a little sexist (and some are a lot sexist). If we’re going to slam people on the basis of trivial incidents, then everyone is going to have to be listed on that tumblr…and that dilutes the significance of being listed.

  61. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Sigurd

    It is tumblr, so let’s not jump to conclusions!

  62. garlic says

    @PZ

    Another problem with the anonymous tumblr is that it’s rife for deliberate abuse. If I were a fundamentalist intent on smearing some godless heathens, I’d be getting busy right now.

    This is another reason why Karen’s post, and Elise Matthesen’s posts before, are so important.

  63. Anthony K says

    If this hasn’t been posted here already, here is CFI’s response so far: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/pages/cfis_investigation_of_harassment_complaints

    One thing we will never do is have our decisions dictated by rumor, gossip, or innuendo, whether it’s directed at the accuser or the accused. Such an approach would be improper and unjust for any organization. For an organization dedicated to promoting critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning, it would be a violation of our guiding principles.

    Unless it’s your shitbag of a CEO delivering opening remarks at WIS2, or your moron of a bigfoot hunter making shit up wholesale about the colour of berries.

    If this is how skeptics conduct themselves, then it’s my duty to oppose professional skeptic organisations, just as it’s my duty to oppose the Catholic Church and the way it protects its own self-image while enabling crimes.

  64. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I am just bleak about the Bill Nye thing. That depresses me completely.

    100% seconded. That one hurts. Wish there were details.

  65. sigurd jorsalfar says

    @78 What conclusions did I jump to? I cited a cbsnews.com item, not tumblr.

  66. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    @Sigurd: Yes. Yes I meant Chris Brown. Crap.

    @Ing: Perhaps you’re right. If I could edit it I’d remove it.

  67. carlie says

    There is now another comment saying that the Bill Nye thing was butt-patting stuff, but all relayed 2ndhand. I think it’s fine to say anonymously what happened to you, but I get a lot more iffy when it comes to relaying stories of things that happened to other people. Too easy to get the story wrong.

  68. says

    I would want to have names posted and specific instances named, but that would identify the women, and women who accuse get about 80x the shit flung at them as the accused do so it isn’t really a viable solution. The tumblr owner could try to verify identities/details and keep them private, but that would require a lot of trust. Someone like PZ or another FTB (maybe ed bc he has journalism experience?) could set that up.

  69. screechymonkey says

    PZ, the ‘specific grounds’ appear to be “an organizer has had so many complaints about Bill Nye that she refuses to have Bill Nye around anymore”. do you actually need more details? Is it that unbelievable?

    Well, more specifically, it’s that an anonymous person who claims to be an organizer is saying so.

    I’m not PZ, but my answer is that I don’t find it that unbelievable. But unlike a “normal” sexual harassment scenario, where — despite the dark fantasies of MRAs — there really isn’t much incentive for women to make things up, here we have a pack of obsessives whose favorite tactics include (1) endless variations of “no, YOU’RE the sexist ones!”; (2) creating disposable or fake Twitter accounts for the purposes of harassment; and (3) trying to interrupt and flood any resources with their own spam (e.g. conference hastags).

    In other words, it’s not going to take long (as in, within hours) for Slymepitters to start sending in submissions to that tumbler that PZ, Greg Laden, etc. etc. are harassers. Which means either (a) this Tumbler is going to become fairly useless; or (b) whoever runs it is going to have to try to filter out the bogus accusations from the legitimate ones. And I don’t know how he/she/they propose to do so. Are the “anonymous” submitters actually known to the site administrators? Are the site administrators vouching for the submitters? And even if they are, how much is that worth if the administrators themselves are anonymous?

    I think some good can come out of this project. As Stephanie Zvan noted recently, harassers usually don’t limit themselves to one victim, yet each victim often thinks that he or she must be the only one, and so some encouragement that “no, it’s not just you” may help accusers come forward. But there’s definitely some reasons to be concerned about this. Maybe the creator(s) have already thought this through and planned for it, but I’d like some reassurance on that point.

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

    Okay, I’m way to self-amused at times, but I like “Doucheleaks”.

    How does one set up a “Doucheleaks” tumblr that would be more than a list of names? [I've never used Tumblr, and the set up process has me at "pick 3 favorite blogs" - which has nothing to do with what I want to accomplish & has me wondering if Tumblr is the right place for this]

    I’m imagining running it such that Person could contact me with Story. I post Story so that there’s no direct IP link back to Person. I’m willing to take the risk of legal action, in part by disclaiming that I will only post what others have said to me and have asserted is true. Then I’m only legally responsible for whether or not it’s true that others have said that, not that all the underlying facts can be proven.

    It would be a safe place to name organizational or personal names, but I would hope it would be more than that – that it would include truly useful info about all these stories, a place to bring together connections in terms of dynamic similarities (in ways that have been done before) but with names attached (which generally hasn’t) to also find organization/individual patterns as well. If there were multiple stories about a person which stories then included enough commonalities to see a consistent MO, I (and others) could use that to help draw conclusions about reliability.

    Would Doucheleaks be useful to people here? Is Tumblr the place to host it?

    OT:
    Thanks to Cicely and Esteleth.

    @ Cicely, I’m perfectly fine with hugs. Hug away, though your respect for boundaries is appreciated.

    It’s been a difficult summer in lots of ways. Dog is one important one. But things are getting better. It’s been 22 days since Dog died, and I’m in a different place than I was when it first happened. I have her ashes & we’re going to grow things with them as a tribute/remembrance and to make sure she’s still part of life and not stuck in a landfill.

  71. carlie says

    The CFI statement’s 2nd to last paragraph is carefully constructed word salad.

    Notice how they say that they base their decisions on the results of an investigation, and then claim that they’re a-ok because they accept the results of the investigation. They’re blaming the decision they make about punishment on the findings, and then shifting to saying they’re fine because they accepted the findings. They’ve totally paired the findings and their actions and claiming because they accepted the findings, that makes their decision valid, when in fact what decision they make regarding punishment is an entirely different process from the findings themselves.

  72. says

    Doucheleaks is a lovely idea, but keep in mind that whoever takes charge of it is going to bear a lot of responsibility…and potential legal accountability. It’s fine to say you’d protect the identity of leakers, but tell me what happens when you’re first hit with a subpoena to reveal your sources? Or threatened with other legal action that could affect your personal life? Fleeing to Russia is a big step to take.

  73. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Fleeing to Russia is a big step to take.

    Especially in today’s climate – I wouldn’t want to go to Russia nowadays, where my very existence is in violation of the law.

  74. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Would Doucheleaks be useful to people here? Is Tumblr the place to host it?

    I really couldn’t say, but if it were, I think you have the right name. If you are at all interested in privacy/security, I really wouldn’t host it anywhere like Tumblr., as you are relying on the integrity of a third party to protect your information and that of anyone else associated. (Should someone get a hair up their ass about it, and find the right lawyer and judge…)

  75. says

    I’m having a tough time getting through to cfi, so in case others are having the same problem, here’s the full statement:

    There have been blog posts recently that have commented on public allegations made by Karen Stollznow regarding harassment she suffered and what she considered a less than adequate response by the organization employing the harasser. These posts have named CFI as the organization in question and one of CFI’s employees as the accused harasser.

    As a general rule, CFI does not discuss personnel matters in public. We refrain from discussing these matters in public not only out of consideration for our staff, but also because experience has shown that this is the best way to encourage people to come forward with complaints. If individuals who need to alert us about harassment could not be assured that CFI will endeavor to protect their confidentiality, then management might never be informed of the problem, and that’s not what we want. We want to encourage people to come forward with their complaints so we can give them the serious attention they warrant. This general rule about not discussing personnel matters in public is followed by the vast majority of employers.

    For now, we see no reason to deviate from this general rule. However, we would like to make it clear that any suggestion that CFI has been less than diligent in addressing harassment complaints is mistaken. During the administration of current president and CEO, Ronald A. Lindsay, that is since July 2008, CFI has investigated all complaints that have been made to management, and, where necessary, has taken appropriate corrective action. The extent of the investigation’s nature varies from case-to-case, depending on the allegations that are made. Claims requiring extensive investigation may be handled by an impartial outside law firm and/or consultant. Although use of outside impartial investigators can be very expensive, CFI is committed to carrying out as thorough an investigation as necessary.

    Neither allegations nor denials determine the actions CFI takes. The results of the investigation determine the actions taken by CFI. If CFI has employed an outside investigator, we go with the investigator’s findings; we do not substitute our suspicions. If the investigator found, for example, that a sexual assault occurred, we would accept that finding; likewise, if the investigator found that no sexual assault occurred, we would accept that finding.

    One thing we will never do is have our decisions dictated by rumor, gossip, or innuendo, whether it’s directed at the accuser or the accused. Such an approach would be improper and unjust for any organization. For an organization dedicated to promoting critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning, it would be a violation of our guiding principles.

    It’s this bit that bothers me most: “During the administration of current president and CEO, Ronald A. Lindsay, that is since July 2008, CFI has investigated all complaints that have been made to management, and, where necessary, has taken appropriate corrective action.” We already know from Stollznow’s account that the previous response to complaints was to briefly suspend Radford while he was on vacation — that a pathetic slap on the wrist was “appropriate corrective action.” I’m also wondering now what “all complaints” represents — how many complaints have they had to deal with about this guy?

  76. screechymonkey says

    Crip Dyke @88:

    I’m willing to take the risk of legal action, in part by disclaiming that I will only post what others have said to me and have asserted is true. Then I’m only legally responsible for whether or not it’s true that others have said that, not that all the underlying facts can be proven.

    I would suggest you get some legal advice from someone in your jurisdiction before you take that leap. Generally speaking, that isn’t true. It’s certainly safer to print “someone is saying X” than to assert X yourself, but it doesn’t really let you off the hook. In many jurisdictions, one who “republishes” someone else’s defamatory statement shares in the liability.

    That’s why internet service providers and web publishers lobbied hard to get Congress to include Section 230 immunity in the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 basically means that people who just provide or host interactive content aren’t liable for what others use those facilities to publish — basically, neither PZ nor FtB nor my ISP are liable for anything I post here. And while section 230 immunity is retained even if the host retains or exercises some control over the content (i.e. PZ doesn’t lose that immunity just because he moderates comments), I’m not sure how far you can take that. If you’re posting stories that you claim to have vetted, I think you’re taking on more risk than you may realize. (And of course, if you’re not in the U.S., then CDA Section 230 may not help you anyway.)

  77. says

    I would also point out that as my article above documents, Radford has been guilty of writing a lot of noxious crap and doing poorly skeptical work, all of it centered on gender issues. CFI has done nothing about that, either.

  78. gillt says

    PZ

    Whenever Radford writes about gender issues, like sexual assault, cultural assumptions about gender roles, or media biases about women, he turns into a lying hyperskeptical denialist. He stops being skeptical and starts digging for evidence, and worse, making up evidence, to bolster his presuppositions that discrimination against women doesn’t exist. He’s a bad skeptic. And he has a long history of doing this.

    Yep, and I fail to understand the child-like refusal of some self-described smart people to admit that sexism followed us into the 21st century. “Women can vote! Culture fixed; don’t you see, feminism can only hurt us now!”. Were they wrong at some point? Do they feel threatened by some perceived menace?

    I find it ironic that Michael Shermer wrote essays and a book chapter on why smart people believe weird things and the obliviousness of his years-later statement about women in secularism and the way he handled the criticism.

  79. says

    @PZ (96):

    That’s really the meat of this. They’re a frickin’ skeptic organization and they’ve got a guy doing crappy skeptical work? It’s like hiring someone to make donuts and he burns them and makes them like rock. You make shitty donuts, you’re fired.

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

    @ screechymonkey –

    That’s why I said “in part”.

    I have a professor that would love to be part of a project like this. Note also that I specifically didn’t say that I would vet the comments. Note further that law in Canada is different from law in the US.

    I’m not naive about this. I am lacking important information, but I know exactly what kind of information I will need and being in law school gives me easy access to such information. I may even be able to create this as a practical project for which I get credit.

  81. Pteryxx says

    PZ @77, are you sure about this?

    I also agree that I can imagine ways in which Elyse’s incident with Shermer kneeling and saying “naughty” could be really creepy…but I can also imagine ways in which it was completely innocuous. Maybe there are more details which would clarify how Elyse found it creepy, but that brief twitter account doesn’t contain them, so it’s unfair to use it to indict Shermer on that rather pathetic basis.

    It’s probable that an incident did happen. (Claiming otherwise implies that Elyse is lying.) Given that an incident happened, and probably the only witnesses to it were Elyse and Shermer: with no other information so far, who would you consider to be a more reliable judge of whether the incident crossed the line into creepy or sexist behavior? Elyse, or Shermer?

    Of course it’s unsubstantiated and lacks details, so it’s only useful as a red flag, nothing more. On that provisional basis, there’s no reason to request such details solely to judge Elyse’s reliability as a firsthand reporter. The odds are very good that the details would bear her out, were they provided.

  82. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    That’s really the meat of this. They’re a frickin’ skeptic organization and they’ve got a guy doing crappy skeptical work? It’s like hiring someone to make donuts and he burns them and makes them like rock. You make shitty donuts, you’re fired.

    On any subject that would require serious actual debate and reconsideration skepticism either denies it or creates a NOM

  83. screechymonkey says

    Crip Dyke @99: Cool. My post was intended as a “make sure you’ve thought this through and have gotten good advice before you leap into it” caution, and it sounds like you’re on it.

  84. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    @Pteryxx:

    You’re bang-on, there.

    I, personally, have no issue with believing Elyse when she says she was harassed. If she felt it was harassment, it was. That’s how it works. Harassers don’t get to define what is or isn’t harassment. That’s up to the person who felt violated to decide. Their lived experience should not be denied or minimized.

    I don’t, however, think that an anonymous and third-hand accusation should be given the same weight.

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

    I haven’t yet, but I haven’t yet leaped, either… and I am indeed “on it” in terms of the before-leap necessities.

    I didn’t hear your post as dissuasion or the counsel of despair either. I’m far enough through both life and law school to recognize the wisdom and generosity in your comment. We’re good.

  86. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    I said this in the other thread, but I think it bears repeating.

    For a long time, the consensus (per the International Accords on the Fair Use of Women) that sexual harassment ain’t no thing (unless you trample on another man’s ownership of a woman), because that is what women are for.

    Now, those uppity women are having the gall to say that maybe (just maybe) the Accords should be amended to reflect what women think on the topic.

    So all the d00ds are shocked – because that was never part of the deal. Women, having a say in how they’re treated? It is almost like they think they’re people!

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

    Not to make too much of it, Esteleth, but labeling it the Accords does put an explicitly Contractarian spin on it, which I think is useful.

    Analyzing the assumptions of Contractarianism does indeed lead one to conclude that the process whereby women’s efforts to change the deal are ignored as irrelevant must reasonably imply the people forwarding the process don’t see women as part of the social contract…and thus not as members of society. We are, in this view, literally no more than possessions or appendages of men. Even if better treated at the moment, the refusal to engage us as constitutional members of society reveals that such treatment is always – in the view of those forwarding the process of dismissing women’s power to “change the deal” – dependent on the collective whim of men and men alone.

    This is why it feels so horrible. It’s not merely that we don’t get what positive changes we believe are appropriate and needed in the moment. In an explicitly contractarian society, this is equivalent to threatening a gendered elimination of rights guarantees.

  88. Anthony K says

    It’s this bit that bothers me most: “During the administration of current president and CEO, Ronald A. Lindsay, that is since July 2008, CFI has investigated all complaints that have been made to management, and, where necessary, has taken appropriate corrective action.”

    CFI just wrote that because cavemen who learned to write vapid ass-covering bullshit got cavelaid more often than that cavemen who didn’t.

  89. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Right. We don’t just need to get the Accords changed – we need to establish that we have the right to comment on what the Accords say in the first place. And given that “bitchez ain’t shit” is about, oh, 70% of the Accords…

  90. says

    They had found evidence of “inappropriate communications” and “inappropriate” conduct at conferences. However, they greatly reduced the severity of my claims.

    When talking about sexual harassment, I tend to use the word ‘inappropriate’ quite a bit. I’m going to have to stop that, it’s become cover up code.

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

    On the plus side, Esteleth, contractarian ethics are now accepted by almost everyone only 360 years after Hobbes published The Leviathan.

    So, let’s see The Second Sex was published in 1949, which means we catch up to deBeauvoir in only 2309!

    And, heck, we get Wollstonecraft’s universal acceptability in only 2152…

  92. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    On the contrary, given that the English translation (i.e. the only one that matters) of The Second Sex is utter shit, we’ll need to wait 360 years after a good translation comes out. Or, 360 years after French becomes the dominant language on Earth.

  93. says

    #100: No, I trust Elyse and believe that as the target, she’s the best to say how she felt about it.

    But as evidence to bring before a naive audience, to convince them that Shermer was in the wrong? It’s terrible. Any effort to make a case against him had better be more substantial than that, or you’re just going to end up buttressing any attempt to claim that he is the victim of baseless persecution. And you know that will be the story.

  94. Sili says

    I don’t recall the Danish translation as bad.

    It was just a hard subject for me to read, since it’s so unlike science.

  95. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    he is the victim of baseless persecution. And you know that will be the story.

    It’s already started. /glares at Mayhew and Dietle.

  96. Tethys says

    PZ

    Any effort to make a case against him had better be more substantial than that, or you’re just going to end up buttressing any attempt to claim that he is the victim of baseless persecution.

    I agree that making anonymous claims would be more advantageous to the harasser, and I’m glad that you’ve clarified that you believe Elyse.

    I don’t see how Elyse providing her own personal incident of creepy behavior by MS could logically be used to buttress MS’s claim to be the victim. From a twisted MRA creeper viewpoint of the world, sure, but that doesn’t qualify as logical.

    I went looking for her twitter stream to see if there was more info, and it seems that plenty of people have appointed themselves better judges of her experience. This is the problem, and it is not limited to male pattern blindness.

    In all cases of sexual based offenses, we as a culture have a propensity to first cast doubt on the victims account, and force them to prove that “No, really, it was creepy and I am not imagining that it was creepy.”.

    Elyse pointing out that MS did in fact creep on her, should not be met with “Careful, you’ll buttress his claim to victimhood.” That is according MS a level of respect he forfeited long ago, while subtly enforcing the status quo against Elyse for speaking up.

    TL:DR version When somebody tells you about personal experiences of sexual harassment, avoid questioning their credibility and dismissing their claim.

  97. says

    I think your heart sinks a lot worse when you get up the guts to report something and then no one really does anything about it in response. That has been my experience anyway. Its like getting hurt a second time.

    THIS. I worked up the nerve, once, to talk to the police (regarding my abuser), and got completely brushed off.

    That was the day I stopped trusting the police.

    If the police, the people who are trained and paid to deal with this shit, the people we’re always telling kids are “the good guys”, and if you’re lost to find an officer, if the fucking police weren’t going to listen to and help me, if they weren’t going to protect me…. nobody would. (That, and, “why are these donut-munching jackasses sitting around and doing nothing when an actual fucking crime is reported; shouldn’t they be, I don’t know, doing their goddamn jobs?“)

  98. Emrysmyrddin says

    I listened to The Good Atheist for years. He went postal over Elevatorgate with podcasts and Facebook posts and Tweets and I dropped him like a red-hot stone; the level of intensity and fury over the subject was red-flag to me, and discomfiting. Based purely on his forceful personality and his reaction to the Elevatorgate Happenings I can say that I would personally not like to socialise with someone displaying those behaviours.

  99. says

    However, we would like to make it clear that any suggestion that CFI has been less than diligent in addressing harassment complaints is mistaken.

    like fuck it is.

    and, where necessary, has taken appropriate corrective action.

    and by “appropriate” they mean “completely non-punitive” and “extremely lenient”.

    The results of the investigation determine the actions taken by CFI.

    no, the results of the investigation are not the un-mediated, proximal cause of the actions taken by CFI; the actions taken by CFI are a choice made by the upper echelons of CFI. That means that the results may be accepted, but the action still insufficient, because of the choice of CFI to act in a manner that’s not sufficient to do the results of the investigation any justice.

  100. anteprepro says

    I don’t see how Elyse providing her own personal incident of creepy behavior by MS could logically be used to buttress MS’s claim to be the victim. From a twisted MRA creeper viewpoint of the world, sure, but that doesn’t qualify as logical.

    Yeah, seriously: We are actually concerned about whether Michael “Witch Hunt!” Shermer will use something as an excuse to pretend that he is The Real Victim? No, I can’t really say that I care. Unless there is reason to believe that people are forwarding outright fraudulent claims, thus poisoning the well for those who actually do have real claims, there is really no reason to insist that every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed, documents filled out and signed in triplicate. Hyperskeptics will hyperskeptic, after all.

  101. cicely (*sigh*. Just cicely.) says

    I may even be able to create this as a practical project for which I get credit.

    Now that would be sweet! (Subject to the legal concerns, of course.)
    -
    *scritches* for WMDKitty. I’m sorry you had that can-full-of-snakes of experiences.
    *proffers catnip*
    -

  102. says

    I probably don’t even need to mention this, but the piggies in question were male.

    If I ever have to deal with them again, I am demanding to speak with female officers.

  103. says

    I hate to say this, but this is NOT the first time I have heard things about Bill Nye. He was one of the many people I was specifically warned about him before attending TAM. But I don’t feel comfortable sharing specifics because I have to keep my source anonymous and from me it would just be hearsay. The people who actually experience these things are the ones who need to speak out. Sadly, doing so results in constant harassment and rape threats, as we consistently see, so I can’t blame them for keeping quiet…

  104. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    The “more will be named” tumblr has been deleted.

    It was there as of about an hour ago. Now? Disappeared into the ether.

  105. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    @Jen #125:

    Thank you for confirming that. I was reluctant to trust a completely anonymous third-party source, particularly given the platform used.

    As much as it really hurts me in the childhood/young adulthood to think that Bill Nye is a creep, I can trust that you are telling the truth.

    I hope word on his behaviour gets out there widely enough so that he never again gets the chance to make anyone else feel uncomfortable again.

  106. anteprepro says

    Oh well, hopefully people will still keep the momentum of people coming forward with their stories going, even without the tumblr. Anonymity is a double-edged sword, I suppose, so it might wind up being for the best.

  107. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    @anteprepro:

    I’m searching everywhere to try to find out what happened. So far the only mentions of the tumblr page that are out there are three tweets with the hastag #morewillbenamed, tweets pointing to the tumblr, a post to a pretty loathsome reddit forum*and multiple mentions here on FTB and a few other blogs and blog networks from earlier today.

    It goes without saying that the comments on the reddit post are disgusting, at best.

    Ugh.

    *Here’s the link to the reddit post. TRIGGER WARNING for every type of misogynistic reddit-tastic douchebaggery you can think of:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/TumblrInAction/comments/1jwell/we_dont_need_no_facts_all_we_need_is_faith_a/

    I’m serious here. Don’t go to that link if you’re not in a very strong frame of mind. It’s just awful. :(

  108. anteprepro says

    I’m searching everywhere to try to find out what happened.

    I tried to find a cached version. I’m speculating that they were convinced by similar arguments to those presented by PZ and at The Atheist Experience, that this could be easily abused and that people abusing it would diminish the credibility of those who have actual experiences to share. There was one entry in which the tumblr owner said that if they were given a better way, they would shut their tumblr down on the spot. Perhaps they were convinced that there was a better way, or that it would do more harm than good? It’s hard to tell. I’ve tried to find a google cache and since it all happened so fast, the google cached version is only of the first three posts on the tumblr and that’s it.

    PZ in the other thread speculates that maybe there were too many spurious claims. I think that is entirely possible too and could have part of it: they might have been getting too many submissions that were blatantly false to help convince them of the above arguments.

    It’s also entirely possible that they were dealing with so much outrage and harassment themselves that they shut it down. I mean, considering the shit that women have to face when they bring this stuff to light, I can imagine that a person bringing this stuff to light on behalf of many different women wouldn’t exactly being having a fun, carefree time.

    So, really, who knows for sure. It could be any combination of things.

    But rest assured: I for one don’t need to be encouraged to avoid Reddit! I can tell that it is going to at least be loathsome, disingenuous bullshit just based on the title of the thread alone. Good luck to whoever else wants to take a whiff of that particular toilet bowl.

  109. says

    Thanks Prax, I did go over there for research on how much of a cesspit that place is, and I’m slightly surprised by how willing these pseudonymous commenters are willing to advertise that they are ethically bankrupt.

    Given the latest AXP post is on the reaction to this Tumblr, why does Martin Wagner think it’s funny to illustrate it with a picture of an overweight man (i.e. with man boobs) wearing a bra? It’s not only a complete non sequitur, it’s the usual source of humour that punches down as fat shaming, gender policing, and when applied against trans women, as trans misogyny. Major WTF.

  110. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    While I hope that the blogger behind the morewillbenamed tumblr shut it down because of laudable reasons, I can’t help but think that there must have been some heavy harassment after that post hit reddit.

    @Xanthë:

    You’re… welcome… I think. Ugh.

    There are a few decent places on reddit. They’re just very few and far between and even those subreddits get invaded by the scum on occasion.

    I read the AXP post, as well and was disgusted by the use of that photo. I really hate the fact that people think they can re-post that kind of thing without the permission of the subject as if it were funny.

    It really isn’t. That is a real person in that picture, with rights to privacy and ownership of their own image. That this gets disregarded because people seem to think “Oh well, it’s everywhere now so I’ll just use it without thinking of the consequences” is shameful.

    Bleh.

  111. anteprepro says

    Given the latest AXP post is on the reaction to this Tumblr, why does Martin Wagner think it’s funny to illustrate it with a picture of an overweight man (i.e. with man boobs) wearing a bra? It’s not only a complete non sequitur, it’s the usual source of humour that punches down as fat shaming, gender policing, and when applied against trans women, as trans misogyny. Major WTF.

    I hate to say it (because it’s lazy), but all I can really say is: ^This.

  112. anteprepro says

    Result! Martin’s changed the image. (My comment of complaint never left moderation, however.)

    Hopefully he doesn’t toss your comment and all other similar comments down the Memory Hole. That would be about as bad as not changing it.

  113. says

    It was more or less the same as a preliminary draft of my comment about it at 133 – since I’m a trans woman I couldn’t help noticing the gender shaming / mocking aspect of it first, and the fact the image was indulging in body shaming as well only occurred to me after I’d hit submit. That sort of crap hits far too close to home at present for all sorts of reasons which Martin couldn’t possibly know, but might be concerned to know has the effect of alienating his readers.

  114. pixelfish says

    Hahaha! Saw that a Twitter person was speculating that More Will Be Named was PZ’s brainchild. Oh, sheesh. They really will attribute anything to PZ. (Nevermind that he’s already criticised it for not providing specifics.)

  115. anchor says

    “…attitudes that exhibit sexism are unacceptable, and we should work to eliminate such attitudes, including, to the extent they exist, such attitudes within secular/skeptical organizations.”

    Uh, yeah, Ronnie, baby, “to the extent they exist”.

    Do by all means make extra extra sure about that, won’t you?

  116. anchor says

    On the Bill Nye ‘thing’? Seriously? Incredible. Literally. Do conclusion leapers exist? That is, alas, credible.

  117. rq says

    The cartoon by Andres is fantastic. And spot-on.

    [OT] Crip Dyke, sorry about Dog. :( If you wants *hugs*, I have some.
    Good luck with Doucheleaks, though! [/OT]

  118. says

    @Rutee: I don’t find it unbelievable, either. I don’t think anyone who is rational finds it unbelievable. I just don’t find a newly made and anonymous tumblr with only three entries to be a reliable source. If that tumblr claimed PZ was a harassing douchecanoe would you take that as gospel?

    No, but I’d take it seriously – especially as I have no personal involvement with PZ.

    After all, there are multitudes of tumblrs dedicated to slutshaming and other odious things such as one which has claimed Rhianna is to blame for the abuse she suffered at the hands of Chris Rock because she instigated the violence and he was merely defending himself. Should we take that one at face value, as well?

    The fuck is wrong with you? Equivocating between victim blaming and this is fucking disgusting.

  119. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    Hey, Rutee…

    If you had bothered to look instead of going off half-cocked you’d see that I retracted what I said in the last part of my comment.

    Of course, if you really want to accuse me of victim blaming and call me “disgusting” there’s nothing I can do to stop you. You might want to take the time, though, to read the whole thread and see how many people agreed with me on the matter of third hand accusations. Then you might want to check out where the author of that tumblr also agreed that there might be issues with the format.

    …Or you can rage and call me names.

    Whatever floats your boat.

  120. says

    Of course, if you really want to accuse me of victim blaming and call me “disgusting” there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

    Apparently for how much you want to cry about people not reading you enough, you can’t tell the difference between saying you’re equivocating, and saying you’re doing something.

    You might want to take the time, though, to read the whole thread and see how many people agreed with me on the matter of third hand accusations.

    Don’t care.

    Then you might want to check out where the author of that tumblr also agreed that there might be issues with the format.

    While I hope that the blogger behind the morewillbenamed tumblr shut it down because of laudable reasons, I can’t help but think that there must have been some heavy harassment after that post hit reddit.

    Or you could just be projecting a motive because someone’s criticizing you.

  121. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    Rutee, I get that you’re unhappy about what I said. I had retracted it long before your reply to my comment. If you think there’s something else I ought to do or say then why don’t you come out and say it? If you think what I had to say about the tumblr was so terrible why aren’t you also replying to the others who said pretty much the same thing?

    As for projecting motive:

    What the heck are you talking about? Did you even read the entirety of the tumblr before it was shut down? Did you read the post where they asked for input on how to ensure they weren’t just posting spurious claims? Can you not understand that third-hand, nebulous claims made on an anonymous tumblr might be abused by those who would rather see real victims get buried under piles of false ones in order to discredit them, or as a club to smear those who have done nothing wrong, as the author of the blog acknowledged?

    As someone who has survived rape and been on the receiving end of harassment both online and in real life I take this kind of thing very seriously. I know you’re familiar with the scum that inhabits reddit. I know you know full well what kind of crap they can pull when they think any woman might just get a harasser to have to face the consequences of their actions. For me to be worried that the author of the blog shut it down because they were being harassed themselves isn’t that odd or out of line.

    That you think my concern is all down to some nefarious intent is just weird, frankly.

    With that said, I’m done responding to you. I’ve already had productive conversation with others here about this subject and I’m not going to waste my time with someone who’s simply spoiling for a fight.

  122. says

    Rutee, I get that you’re unhappy about what I said. I had retracted it long before your reply to my comment. If you think there’s something else I ought to do or say then why don’t you come out and say it? If you think what I had to say about the tumblr was so terrible why aren’t you also replying to the others who said pretty much the same thing?

    Because writing individually to 50+ people is a waste of my time. I focused on the one intolerable thing I saw before getting tired of it, and something actually addressed to me. You then basically went ZOMG HOW DARE U at a measured response to something you say you know was asshattery.

    What the heck are you talking about? Did you even read the entirety of the tumblr before it was shut down? Did you read the post where they asked for input on how to ensure they weren’t just posting spurious claims? Can you not understand that third-hand, nebulous claims made on an anonymous tumblr might be abused by those who would rather see real victims get buried under piles of false ones in order to discredit them

    Wake me up when you have a criticism that isn’t levelled at all sexual crime reporting functions ever k? Maybe if ‘Bitches lie’ weren’t society’s general response to any form of reporting, this would be a meaningful objection to me. I understand you aren’t raising it because you agree, it’s just that it’s an irrelevant line of reasoning to me given that. Anything less than mind reading raises this bullshit, and I see no reason to change actions because of it. Especially since anything short of a big name working at an organization faces the same basic problem: you have to dox the victim.

    . For me to be worried that the author of the blog shut it down because they were being harassed themselves isn’t that odd or out of line.

    Sigh. The point of the comparison is that when criticized, you went from “I’d like to think this person did it for admirable motives, but I think fear of harrassment played a role” to “well they definitely did that because of my reasons”, not that you were wrong to be concerned for harrassment.

  123. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    As I said, Rutee, I am done responding to you.

    If you want to argue the matter further you’re going to have to pick one of the others who brought up the same concerns I had.