Comments

  1. swampfoot says

    Even if they were there in person to witness the harassment, I still think a sizable chunk of people would find a way to rationalize it, or blame the victim somehow.

  2. screechymonkey says

    For me, the most telling comment is the “how can I judge the situation if you won’t be specific?”

    Certain people just can’t seem to get past their belief that their personal judgement is so very important that it must be what is being sought. It doesn’t matter what the poster says his or her intent is: we’re just pointing out the existence of harassment in the community to explain why harassment policies are needed; we’re naming this particular person to warn others to be careful. No, these egomaniacs are certain that everyone is coming to them and saying:

    “Please, Your Skeptical Highness, give us the benefit of your wisdom and personal judgment on this matter.”

    And these Model Skeptics get huffy and demand to know why their time is being wasted, when clearly they don’t have enough information to conduct a full trial on the matter. And since that’s plainly true, then these other people commenting on the subject clearly must be claiming to have conducted a full trial, and that is wrong and not skeptical and lynch mob vigilante justice!

    And yet, I hold out a little hope that even those people, when they see Michael Shermer refilling the wine glass of that nice young woman they met earlier tonight — the one who said she was new to the skeptic community and didn’t know who any of these people were — will think that maybe, just maybe, they should pull her aside and have a word with her. You know, just to share with her how silly rumors can be, and how skeptics know better than to believe such things, and of course there’s nothing to worry about, but, y’know, just so you know….

  3. says

    I posted this on Facebook saying this is what my friends over here have been fighting for the last two years or so. It hit a note with a lot of people completely unrelated to this community who reposted it. We know this a general problem but, between the Jane Austin pound, you guys, and recent rape/cyber bullying cases, a tipping point has been passed on the rape culture. People are becoming aware of how seamless the spectrum is from “merely” making someone uncomfortable, to aggressively making them unwelcome, to misdemeanor assault to, criminal assault. The same people who whine about PC oppression are often the same ones who rant about victims rights while demanding we ignore all those amendments after the gun one. This is the moment to demand they be consistent. Rape culture has never been so ready to be exposed to the light of day as it is right now. Let’s not miss this moment.

  4. says

    It’s the same thing I used to tell myself when I was terrorizing my ex-wife during our marriage, “It can’t be that bad, she ain’t walking away”. Having been an abuser I can spot one a mile away, the body language, the certain phrases designed to be understood only by the target. Learning of what must be a meager sample of reprehensible behavior, by admired icons of the community, reminded me of studying all of my acquaintances after admitting to myself that I was committing atrocious acts of violence. The only difference between any of us was that my partner had gotten fed up with my crap and did something about it. It’s a moment of blinding sadness when you discover that you really are an abuser, it’s a moment of sheer terror when you discover that you’re not even slightly abnormal when compared to all those around you. It’s how almost every abuser can justify themselves, if they feel a need to. Everybody they know lives like this so it must be right because nobody they know is getting busted. When we do start busting people for being abusive there’s a whole ecosystem that depends on those people not being evil that falls apart. That’s the source of a lot of the rancor, denying that people I model my life after are actually evil bastards so I myself am being an evil bastard. Walking away from religion is probably a hell of a lot easier than admitting to yourself that you belong in jail, or worse, for just living life like you learned to live it from everyone around you. I wouldn’t know for sure, not having been brainwashed by jeebus.

  5. says

    I am sorry. I know no one wants to hear this, but I WAS there. Bob is innocent. The accusations are just false. Bob did nothing wrong. Bob did not intend to do anything wrong. The whole episode was a misunderstanding, nothing more. Bob does not deserve this crap.

  6. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Painfully close to the truth

    Yeah, it’s missing a few “Show Us Your Tits”es. >.>

  7. screechymonkey says

    David Engle @6:

    Cool story, bro.

    If only someone was coming forward to say just that.

  8. says

    3100 comments and counting. David Engle, I did not read them all, only the first 1000, and no-one wrote anythink remotely close to what you just did, but there was a plethora of variations contained in this comic.

    Denial is the most predictable of all human responses. Denial is however neither sceptical, nor rational.

  9. says

    I saw this earlier, when NelC linked it in the grenade thread. I ♥ Jim Hines, and he hit it out of the park with this one.

    Oh, by the way, his latest series, the Libriomancer one, is absolutely fantastic. Highly recommended.

  10. says

    @Charly: I read (nearly) all of them (I skimmed a few at one point because I was looking for a reply to a particular post, and skipped ~50 at another because I was getting burned out), and the closest I saw was someone who just said, in essence, “this can’t be true, I know Bob would never do that”. IIRC it was one of the posts which subsequently turned out to be from a sockpuppeteer. You can read what you like into that particular level of ethicality.

  11. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Mike – Thank you for speaking up and thank you even more for realizing that even though it’s easy to normalize and rationalize, abuse is still wrong. It takes a strong person to look at themselves straight like that.

  12. says

    The hyperskeptic douchenozzles and their shrieks of “EVIDENCE!!!11″ do little else but remind me of Ken Ham and his childish, petulant little cry of “Were you THERE?” when talking about evolution.

    I’m exhausted after reading x-zillion posts (some quite harrowing) and viewing many exhausting exchanges between locals and some frankly fucking obtuse (to the point that I think it’s purposeful) specimens of the “evidence!1/witchhunt!1″ variety. I’m a longtime semi-regular ’round these parts but have been in uber-lurk lately – I’d just like to say thanks to all the locals who are displaying goddamn saint-level patience skills in dealing with the sadly inevitable bro-brigade. Caine, good freakin’ lord, I don’t know how you do it without grinding your teeth into fangs. I award you one home-baked Internet with extra chocolate chips. Respect to PZ for the “boom”; it’s the right thing to do and I wish more of our fellow XYs had similar spine (“the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” and all that). Extra respect to the women coming forward – you have the support of this random man on the ‘webs and I hope what you’ve done has its desired effect and keeps more women safe.

    Back on topic: my fervent hope is that this cartoon will actually register with some of the Evidence!1 brigade and bring them a little closer to understanding exactly how problematic reporting harassment, assault and rape actually are for the people they happen to (it’s certainly a lot more complicated than Report, Investigate, Punish). I’ve not been victimised in any way myself but two female friends reported a teacher at my high school for inappropriate contact, another actually was raped during final year, two girlfriends just after high school were rape survivors when I met them and a long-term girlfriend was repeatedly victimised. Every woman I know who hasn’t been the victim of violence has had to deal with some sort of unwanted or inappropriate advance, physical contact, verbal abuse, workplace harassment/discrimination, slut-shaming, body-shaming or plain old crass comment – and sometimes, there just isn’t a single fucking thing you can about it (except tell other women to watch their backs, because fuck knows noone else is going to). Rape culture, patriarchy, male privilege on a background radiation of misogyny are alive and kicking in this country (Australia) as much as they are in the US. Men* have the responsibility to spine the fuck up, call it out and shut it down when they see it. Who knows how many rapists, harassers, abusers and “top-up” pick-up artists behave that way because noone’s ever objected or called them out or (and this is way worse) because their culture told them it’s all good to treat others as sexual possessions and even encouraged them to do so?

    _______________________________________________________________
    *Obviously everybody has the same responsibility, but women are and always have been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to making this shitty behaviour known – and making it known that it’s unacceptable.

  13. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Men have the responsibility to spine the fuck up, call it out and shut it down when they see it.

    And to signal-boost…

    Obviously everybody has the same responsibility, but women are and always have been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to making this shitty behaviour known

    …which, yes, does require a signal to start with.

    I suppose that’s implicit, though.

  14. great1american1satan says

    The words make that last stick figure look very sad. Good comicking for a non-artist.

  15. iraven says

    Mike, OH Shut Up!!! Oh poor baby, you abused a woman?? Feel better now? That you came forward?

  16. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Ouch! Is that accurate or what?

    It’s the same old song-and-dance used by human groups to excuse their abuse from day zero. It takees NO imagination to put any other member of any “they-DESERVE-abuse” category on the left and jiggle the wording on the right to produce the exact same effect.

    And those employing these techniques can do way more than just fuck off, should they try this bullshit where they can be identified and, at least at first, reasoned with. And then warned.

    Why live as a piece of shit, as these men do? However can they get used to the smell? Is it like what Carlin said about farts?

  17. Ace of Skeps says

    @screechymonkey:

    “I hold out a little hope that even those people, when they see Michael Shermer refilling the wine glass of that nice young woman they met earlier tonight — the one who said she was new to the skeptic community and didn’t know who any of these people were — will think that maybe, just maybe, they should pull her aside and have a word with her.”

    Indeed, concerned citizens should make clients of anyone not deemed up to taking responsibility for zer own conduct.

  18. iraven says

    Mike..”.It’s the same thing I used to tell myself when I was terrorizing my ex-wife during our marriage, “It can’t be that bad, she ain’t walking away”. Having been an abuser I can spot one a mile away, the body language, the certain phrases designed to be understood only by the target. Learning of what must be a meager sample of reprehensible behavior, by admired icons of the community, reminded me of studying all of my acquaintances after admitting to myself that I was committing atrocious acts of violence.”

    1) Atrocious acts of violence.
    Question, DID you ever go to jail??
    Probably not, which is the entire point here.

  19. Orange Utan says

    Probably not, which is the entire point here.

    How do you read that from the OP? Unfortunately, for society, I see it reflecting the normalisation of rape.

  20. Who Cares says

    @Ace of Skeps(#23):
    You know this is the first time I’ve seen white knighting being used as a logical fallacy.
    What screechymonkey did is hoping that others will prevent the availability of (potential) victims who otherwise wouldn’t know that Shermer has a habit of deliberately getting women to drink so much that they cannot (effectively) refuse his (unwanted) advances. Or to put it more bluntly to stop Shermer from the time honored (might want to read up on it in this thread, it starts around comment 2900 or so and the second update of the OP about this not being an incident) gambit of getting women so drunk he can rape them (it is rape since at this point you can’t claim consent on part of the woman involved).

  21. iraven says

    @orange utan,
    How do you read that from the OP? Unfortunately, for society, I see it reflecting the normalisation of rape.

    Answer, YES

  22. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Mike, OH Shut Up!!! Oh poor baby, you abused a woman?? Feel better now? That you came forward?

    Should people who’ve done something wrong and come to realize it just kill themselves, then?

  23. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Ace of Skeps,

    Indeed, concerned citizens should make clients of anyone not deemed up to taking responsibility for zer own conduct.

    Yeah, it’s really sad that people need to have a support network because Shermer can’t be trusted to control his conduct.

  24. iraven says

    1) A Woman got raped
    2) she told PZ
    3) He told the world ~ Hero
    4) Attacks commenced everywhere (incredible)

    STF

  25. Orange Utan says

    Answer, YES

    I can sort of see where you’re coming from but what’s that got to do with jail?

    Before we can get more prosecutions, we need to change the culture so that victims are supported and believed rather what seems to be the default protection of the accused through belittling of the victim. Hopefully as that changes, victims will feel more comfortable that their reports will be believed and handled appropriately.

    Ultimately, its up to the victim how far they want to go.

  26. says

    I… have no idea what the point of iraven yelling at mike to STFU is. I don’t think confessions like that deserve celebration and redemption *coughSchwyzercough*, but it’s entirely ok for them to exist and be posted online in comment sections.

    ANYway, yeah. Freaking the fuck out at naming-names; freaking the fuck out at not-naming-names; freaking the fuck out at informal information sharing; and then claiming that either a) there’s no problem, since no one is saying anything, and/or b)the long silence before a claim is made is proof that it’s a false claim. Perfect catch 22 meant to guarantee nothing ever changes.

  27. Orange Utan says

    @Jadehawk

    Its got me stumped as well.

    @iraven

    This isn’t twitter, you’re not limited to 140 characters.

  28. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I… have no idea what the point of iraven yelling at mike to STFU is. I don’t think confessions like that deserve celebration and redemption

    It seems pretty clear if one does more than skim his post that he’s not asking for anything of the sort, but expressing what he’s learned in the course of examining his own behavior and coming to terms with it, at least partially because he believes it might be useful informative for others in processing the situations they’re observing.

    I’m trying to find a more charitable interpretation than “satisfying cheap shot at an acceptable target.”

  29. says

    It seems pretty clear if one does more than skim his post that he’s not asking for anything of the sort

    i didn’t say he was, i just say you can easily go too far with accepting reformist narrative, but just letting it exist ain’t it.

    and i’m really grumpy now that iraven’s outbreak derailed the thread onto something that really shouldn’t be the focus of this thread’s conversation.

  30. Orange Utan says

    I’m hoping there may be some semi-enlightened readers that might stop and pause after reading Mike’s confession and maybe they might see a bit of themselves there on self reflection.

    I certainly did though thankfully not to Mike’s extent. Still, a very uncomfortable feeling and I’m definitely not proud of my past self.

    Anyway, time for bed.

  31. blf says

    Ken Ham taught ‘Intelligent Design’ to my child.”

      “Good for him!”
      “Evilution is a scam.”

    “I don’t want my child learning uncritical rubbish.”

      “Home school the brat.”
      “Evilution is a scam.”

    “ID does not belong in my child’s science class!”

      “It’s true science!”
      “The good book says it does.”
      “Why are you so filled with hate?”
      “Evilution is a scam.”
      “Teaching Darwinism means you are failure as a parent.”

     ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

    “My child is being taught ID in science class!”

      “Hallelujah!”
      “In a school? You are a failure as a parent. Schools are full of demons.”
      “Evilution is a scam.”

     ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

    “The local school is teaching ID as science.”

      “Who are you to suppress prayer!?”
      “Anyone who sends children to a public ‘school’ should be horsewhipped.”
      “Move along, there is no problem here.”
      “Evilution is a scam.”

  32. says

    @Mike and all the people who commented on his comment,

    This is the very first time in my whole life of more than half a century that I have ever seen a man say something like this!

    To me, that’s important. And I think hearing more about it from Mike would help me deal with and understand my past of being severely abused. Because I don’t understand it. Thought totally fails me.

    So, if you really think this could derail the thread, what do you suggest? I’d like to hear more from him.

  33. says

    So, if you really think this could derail the thread, what do you suggest? I’d like to hear more from him.

    well, the thread has gone off in that direction so it doesn’t much matter, but there’s always the possibility of taking it to one of the open threads. Personally I’d suggest the Thunderdome, because it’s a sensitive subject and maybe not quite fit for the lounge.

  34. ludicrous says

    Thank you Elizabeth and thank you, Mike,

    Speaking for myself and maybe some others, when I hear a man admit previous abuse two feelings arise. One is anger the other is guilt. Projection is a little too handy. My own transgressions over a long life are mostly hidden from me but I know they are there, I know what my attitudes were and they still want to rise again in weak moments. Let he who is without sin……

    We are a work in progress guys.

  35. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Only painfully close to the truth?

    Seems about spot on to me.

    Sadly.

  36. Aim says

    To be totally accurate, it might need a fourth panel. Y’know, for the obvious victim blaming.

    “Look at what you were wearing!”
    “Are you sure you didn’t, like, fall on the guy?”
    “Were you drunk? Then it’s your own fault.”
    “You wanted to be groped, you dirty slut!”

    Barf.

  37. Forelle says

    screechymonkey at no. 3:

    For me, the most telling comment is the “how can I judge the situation if you won’t be specific?”

    Thanks. Your whole comment explains some of the anger I’ve just felt when scanning the monstrous thread (found only some hours ago) and reading jameswaller:

    I just want more information before I will pass judgement

    What an arrogant, egomaniacal, pompously self-important thing to say. Maybe such an attitude is not in my nature or my education, I’ll admit. The issues raised in that thread are complex (or some of them would be if the majority of dissenters weren’t so idiotic), worrisome, even fearful, but mostly I want to unravel, understand and know better. I don’t know that I want to “pass judgement” on anybody, certainly not yet, maybe not even on M. Shermer (whom I hadn’t heard of, by the way).

    But these asses seem to think they were born with a wig and a hammer. What’s more, they will pretend that they haven’t passed judgement yet, when, as jameswaller above, they’ve been scolding and imparting their “wisdom” for quite some time, or they’ve transparently made up their minds about the reliability of victims’ stories. But they’re just “gathering information,” because we all breathlessly expect their authoritative opinions, and because they are so fair, of course.

    (And yes, the strip is excellent.)

  38. ekwhite says

    This toon is spot on. This is exactly the Catch 22 that women who report abuse or even rape are subjected to.

    Thanks Mike@5 for your post. It helps me to understand some of the reactions to Jane Doe better. Especially the ecosystem of abuse concept.

    Jadehawk and Caine. You are awesome.

  39. ugfabian . says

    “ANYway, yeah. Freaking the fuck out at naming-names; freaking the fuck out at not-naming-names; freaking the fuck out at informal information sharing….”
    Jadehawk #32:

    It is a frustrating situation. I think the best course is to get everything out. Everything coming out about what Stollznow said seem to back up her claims. I definitely understand why this often doesn’t happen. It’s society’s loss that people aren’t more civil and decent.

  40. naturalphilosopher says

    I agree with the cartoon and its entirely.

    That said, both of the first two panels represent very different situations than what the Grenade post did.

    Panel 1: a woman comes forward to name her attacker.
    Panel 2: a woman speaks out about the problem on the basis of her first-hand experience.
    Grenade post: a blogger reports a name on the basis of second-hand evidence that he explicitly says he can’t directly corroborate.

    Dismissing the woman in the first two panels makes one an asshole. Raising questions about the veracity or rightness of what the blogger did makes one a skeptic.

  41. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Unless you’re calling PZ a liar, grenade=panel 1.

  42. Crys T says

    Oh come off it, naturalphilosopher, even you can’t be THAT stupid. The initial inspiration from the toon may have been this blog, but it goes further than that. What it’s saying is that no matter what a woman does in this type of situation, fuckheads like you will make up an excuse not to believe her.

  43. Aim says

    naturalphilosopher, it occurs to me that by your standards, PZ would have been “an asshole” had he not posted the grenade post. Since that would have meant that he had dismissed a woman who had come forward to name her attacker, as in panel 1.

  44. CaitieCat says

    Mike @5, I thought that was a very useful comment, and from a place we very rarely get useful information, because the kind of narcissism that leads to some kinds of abuse makes it very hard for the abusers to come to that level of self-realization. I’ll admit I had a sharp intake of breath when I read that first line, but I’m very glad I went past that to read what you had to say. Thank you, very much, for sharing that with us. I appreciate highly your willingness to be straightforward about what you did and why it was wrong.

    To the rest of us, I’d say this was rather different from Schwyzer’s story, because I get no sense whatsoever from Mike (in, granted, a short comment) that he’s proud of himself either for being abusive or for stopping, nor that he’s after cookies for doing so; and he was thoughtful enough not to include the details, while not skimping on assigning himself responsibility for it.

    Honestly, I’d like to see more stories of this type (not specifically here, but in general) from people who’ve been abusive and stopped, in the same way I’m interested in stories from people who were in the WBC or the KKK and left them. They help to understand the different ways in which such people view the world, and understanding is a big part of preventing. If I have a solid idea of how such a person sees a given situation, then I’m much more likely to be able to take an effective counter-action.

  45. Intentionally Anonymous says

    I posted this in the grenade thread too- when I was 19, I groped a drunk young woman’s breast. I don’t think she ever even knew it. I sexually assaulted her. I feel terrible about it- and there’s no excuse.

    I think this is a big reason why so many men react like many of them do here- they aren’t willing or able to realize that they have done things like this too. I think lots of men have done similar things- many don’t even think it’s wrong, most likely. They laugh it off, knowing in the back of their minds that they’re guilty, but to admit this other’s possible guilt then they’d have to admit their own.

  46. anteprepro says

    The comic pretty much perfectly encapsulates the common petty arguments that the True Skeptic Brigade bring up, and illustrates how coming forward with this kind of shit is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. And I doubt pointing this out will do nothing to stop all the hypocritical PRATTs from dropping out of alternating sides of hyperskeptics’ mouths. Seriously, fuck them all.

    Crys T, Jim Hines says not, he’s just had similar conversations all too often.

    Not surprising but incredibly fucking depressing nonetheless.

  47. Pete Newell says

    naturalphilosopher@47, you raised this on the grenade thread and got shot down in flames. Do you really need to derail another conversation here? Have you forgotten already? Or did you just hope that people wouldn’t read both threads and still have energy to dismiss you?

    What exactly are you looking for, besides validation you won’t get here, either?

  48. Pete Newell says

    Mike@5, that was brave. Learning to overcome your early socialization is hard, and depressingly rare.

    Don’t give up working at it. You’re a good man.

    I don’t know wether iRaven is embittered or just trolling – can’t tell from what’s here. Haters may be a consequence of the past, Mike, but don’t let them blight your present.

  49. carlie says

    The words make that last stick figure look very sad. Good comicking for a non-artist.

    That struck me as well – that’s a beaten-down, sad, defeated stick-person there.

  50. naturalphilosopher says

    Beatrice wrote: “Unless you’re calling PZ a liar, grenade=panel 1.”

    If, but only if, lying were the only way to be to be wrong, then this would be correct.

  51. naturalphilosopher says

    Crystal T wrote: “Oh come off it, naturalphilosopher, even you can’t be THAT stupid. The initial inspiration from the toon may have been this blog, but it goes further than that. What it’s saying is that no matter what a woman does in this type of situation, fuckheads like you will make up an excuse not to believe her.”

    First of all, I am indeed not that stupid. I full well understand the scope of the problem, which is why I said I agreed.

    Second of all, on what grounds do you claim that I would not believe one one who made such a claim, either to me in private or in public? All due respect, but the number of times that people on this forum jump to conclusions about people’s motives and characters, reducing what should be evidence-based, critically reasoned discussion to series of ad hominems and name-calling is just depressing.

    Fuckheads like me? Really? Yeesh.

  52. Pete Newell says

    naturalphilosopher@59: one more time then.

    No one cares whether you believe any of this or not.
    You are not the focus of any of this.

    Your arrogance, condescension and stubborn refusal to engage and listen to anything but your own hurt feelings are irritating people.
    They are responding with less than perfect civility. This should not surprise anyone.

    Were you doing anything other than trolling and attempting to derail, you would either change your tune in response to the answers you’ve already had, or you’d take your hurt feelings elsewhere.
    Either of those responses would be better than what you’re doing now.

    Please stop.

  53. naturalphilosopher says

    Aim wrote: “naturalphilosopher, it occurs to me that by your standards, PZ would have been “an asshole” had he not posted the grenade post. Since that would have meant that he had dismissed a woman who had come forward to name her attacker, as in panel 1.”

    Not true. Nothing about believing her story as given in private, or supporting her on the basis of that belief, requires going public with the attacker’s name when you can’t prove it without revealing who she is and she (understandably) doesn’t want to be revealed. Believing her and supporting her are good. The rest? Not so much.

    I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I’ve already said my piece about it, and have nothing more to add. Except that I would request that people not jump to conclusions about me, or about anyone else who disagreed with PZ’s decision. Because while some are no doubt MR activists or people who don’t take the crime of rape seriously, that’s not the only basis for disagreement here.

    I am sorry to have steered this post somewhat off target to make my point. I’ll keep more focused in the future.

  54. naturalphilosopher says

    Pete wrote: “What exactly are you looking for, besides validation you won’t get here, either?”

    What are you looking for, Pete, aside from the validation that you evidently do get here?

    Enough with the ad hominems already.

  55. Pete Newell says

    I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I’ve already said my piece about it, and have nothing more to add.

    Too late. Ghod I hope you mean that.

  56. says

    I would like to lend my voice to thanking Mike, and also now Intentionally Anonymous, for sharing their stories. I have a friend who works doing therapy and support for men who are domestic abusers. He has told me how incredibly rare it is for an abuser to have the same kind of epiphany that those two have had. In order for our culture to change for the better, that sort of realization must become more common. Right now it’s fairly common for targets of abuse to have an epiphany and realize that they want to get out, and that change is possible once they do, that relationships don’t have to be abusive. It’s far less common for abusers to have that, and I suppose it’s because, on some level, being in control and being able to hurt their partners gives them benefits of various kinds.

    Anyway, it’s a good thing, and raven was out of line.

  57. says

    Except that I would request that people not jump to conclusions about me, or about anyone else who disagreed with PZ’s decision. Because while some are no doubt MR activists or people who don’t take the crime of rape seriously, that’s not the only basis for disagreement here.

    How the hell are we supposed to tell you apart from an MRA or a rape apologist, when you’re using the exact same tactics and spouting the exact same rhetoric as they do? What are we supposed to do, just take you at your word even as it contradicts the evidence that’s right before our eyes in the form of your own actions? That’s far more generous than you’re willing to be towards PZ and the anonymous reporter who used PZ to obscure her identity. What makes you special, why do you get better treatment than they do? At least in PZ’s case, we don’t have to weigh how his other actions and other things he’s said contradict his claim to care about stopping rape culture and allowing women to avoid a probable rapist. With you, your other actions to contradict your claim to not be a rape apologist. So, again, I ask: why should we take your word for it but not PZ’s, and not the author of the accusation against Shermer?

    Logic, U no haz it.

  58. Aim says

    naturalphilosopher, you are doing a very good job of not getting the point.
    So let me restate mine.
    Jane Doe asked PZ to get her story out there, as a warning to future potential victims. Not doing so would only have been reasonable if PZ did not believe her. Which would make him an asshole, using your definitions.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am sorry to have steered this post somewhat off target to make my point. I’ll keep more focused in the future.

    Your point: My opinion based on my prejudices should trump your opinion based on the overall evidence. Which is why you are getting nowhere.

  60. notsont says

    I agree with the cartoon and its entirely.

    That said, both of the first two panels represent very different situations than what the Grenade post did.

    Panel 1: a woman comes forward to name her attacker.
    Panel 2: a woman speaks out about the problem on the basis of her first-hand experience.
    Grenade post: a blogger reports a name on the basis of second-hand evidence that he explicitly says he can’t directly corroborate.

    Dismissing the woman in the first two panels makes one an asshole. Raising questions about the veracity or rightness of what the blogger did makes one a skeptic.

    You must live in a world without context, MANY skeptics do, in a world completely unlike this one where all rape complaints were taken seriously and serious harm was not done to almost every woman who speaks up, just because they spoke up, your belief would be reasonable. But in this world your just another asshole.

    On a related note, when I first read the original grenade post my initial gut reaction was “oh this is bad he shouldn’t have done that” and then I thought about it, and it hit me I was had some kind of instinctive “bro defense” and I was horrified it was the same thing as when I was a teenager and no matter what asshole thing my best friend did I was right there backing him up, because hey “bros”.

  61. says

    I was just reading about the horror that’s happening in Mennonite colonies in Bolivia via Libby Ann [SEVERE TW]. One thing that struck me is how similar the pattern is to what’s going on within this community [emphasis mine; some potentially triggering details removed]:

    In the beginning, the family had no idea that they weren’t the only ones being attacked, and so they kept it to themselves. Then Sara started telling her sisters. When rumors spread, “no one believed her,” said Peter Fehr, Sara’s neighbor at the time of the incidents. “We thought she was making it up to hide an affair.” The family’s pleas for help to the council of church ministers, the group of men who govern the 2,500-member colony, were fruitless—even as the tales multiplied.

    Some called it “wild female imagination.” Others said it was a plague from God. “We only knew that something strange was happening in the night,” Abraham Wall Enns, Manitoba Colony’s civic leader at the time, said. “But we didn’t know who was doing it, so how could we stop it?”

    No one knew what to do, and so no one did anything at all.

    Indeed, for a long time now there has been a muffled yet heated discussion in the international Mennonite community about whether Old Colonies have a rampant […] problem.

    The Old Colony leaders I spoke with denied that their communities have an ongoing sexual abuse problem and insisted that incidents are dealt with internally when they arise.

    Of course, leaders do attempt to correct bad behavior. Take the case of [Man A]: at some point, his [abuse] was called out by church leaders. As procedure dictates, he went before the ministers and bishop, who asked him to confess. He did, and was “excommunicated,” or temporarily expelled from the church for a week, after which he was offered a chance to return based on a promise that he would never do it again.

    “Of course it continued after that,” Agnes said […]. “He just learned to hide it better.” She told me she doesn’t have faith “in anyone who after one week says they have turned their life around,” before adding, “I have no faith in a system that permits that.”

    Anyone is free in the colonies to report somebody else to the Ministers, but crimes are addressed on the honor system: if a perpetrator is not ready to admit his sins, the question is whether the victim or accuser will be believed… and women in Manitoba already know how that goes.

    The main difference seems to be merely the justification for allowing the status quo to persist: for the Mennonites, the suffering that can’t be changed (because God hates tech) is finally accepted as part of God’s plan. For the skeptics, nothing can change because “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” or “the powerful man has to be convicted in a court of law before we can even talk about the problem”. The fatalism because of adherence to some arbitrary dogma (rather than true rational thinking coupled with empathy) is the same.

  62. darkwater says

    notsont,

    A bit OT, but I just realized that back on the Big Thread I got your nym wrong in one of my comments. I apologize for that.

  63. says

    Oh, and here’s an excerpt especially for you, naturalphilosopher:

    The only defense, residents told me, is to install better locks or bars on the windows, or big steel doors like the one I slept behind each night during my trip. “We can’t put in streetlights or video cameras,” the husband of a victim of the rapes told me—two technologies not allowed. For it to stop, they believe they must, as before, catch someone in the act. “So we will just have to wait,” he said.

    That’s you, saying names shouldn’t be publicly named without the “right” sort of evidence–which is, of course, unobtainable. Go read and see what horrors you’re condoning and accepting. Look in the fucking mirror. And then maybe you’ll get a clue why everyone here thinks you’re an asshole.

  64. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    I find myself wondering if Jim Hines used “Generi-con” as in “a generic con” to make this not about any given convention, or if he has been to Genericon, which is an actual SF/fantasy convention held at RPI in Upstate NY.

  65. iraven says

    Embittered, out of line, misunderstanding, plain wrong, mean even, these terms regarding my stupid rant posts I will cop to.

    A troll nope.

    Carry on, I am staying out of this one, just wanted to clear up, that yes, I was not getting Mike, and yes reacted (first sentence).

    Peace out

  66. darkwater says

    Esteleth,

    In his LJ thread (linked to in the 3000+ comment thread), Jim Hines mentioned that originally he had named the con GenreCon, but was informed by friends that at least three GenreCons actually existed. He switched it to Generi-con, published the cartoon, and was informed by commenters that there actually is a Genericon. In reply, he said that he was unaware of Genericon and that it wasn’t intended to be a reference to a specific con. “I no longer trust myself to make up a fake convention name. However, I publicly apologize to any Bob Smiths who attend either GenreCon or GeneriCon!”

    http://jimhines.livejournal.com/690822.html?thread=20424326#t20424326

  67. says

    @iraven Yes I did go to jail, and anger management, and paid hefty fines(though not anywhere near what a friend paid for having a roach clip, with “Marijuana Residue”on it, in his ashtray, during a routine stop for a rolling through a stop sign). It needs to be talked about, society has to become comfortable with discussing abuse or it will continue to condone it tacitly. I have no patience for people who are uncomfortable anymore, these incidents are all the faith community needs to latch on to in the quest to paint the atheist community as a wart on society in eyes of the undecided masses the we need to reach.

  68. ck says

    for the Mennonites, the suffering that can’t be changed (because God hates tech)

    This would be better stated as “for these Mennonites” because there’s a surprising amount of variation between the different sects. Moderate Mennonites, for instance, are almost completely indistinguishable from other protestants, although they may or may not refuse to drink alcohol, play cards or dance. The other sects tend to fall somewhere between the moderates and ultra conservative sect you’ve described.

  69. Vicki says

    From comments at his LiveJournal: Jim Hines meant it to be $any_random_convention, and didn’t realize at the time that there is an actual con called “Genericon”.

  70. says

    iraven: Mike, OH Shut Up!!! Oh poor baby, you abused a woman?? Feel better now? That you came forward?

    Person 2: Should people who’ve done something wrong and come to realize it just kill themselves, then?

    Personally I read mike’s message and felt utterly nauseous and definitely triggered – I was abused in a domestic relationship and it traumatized me rather badly. I was not abused by Mike, as far as I know, so it’s not about him personally. And while it’s a surprise to see someone talk about changing so candidly, I know that I don’t trust it – I just have the privilege of being able to distance myself. part of that is a result of therapy. Part of that was that my defense was to dissociate so I wasn’t there while he did that to me. I did it for the “worst parts” but after a year I started dissociating as soon as he sighed out his nose, set his jaw a certain way, slammed his fork or his pen down so it made a sound…when the front door opened.

    I suggest that should someone else react with anger towards an abuser talking about how they abused people in future that people ask if they are safe from abuse right now, and dig real deep for empathy, and to always remember that survivors are angry for some damn good reasons – if you haven’t been a victim of domestic violence, it’s hard to fathom just how deeply violating it was to be in that situation. Please remember that.

    you all seem to be handling sensitive empathy towards Mike really well, though. I couldn’t do it. I expect mike understands why, though, since he’s literally been in that situation.

  71. says

    @ck:

    Yes. I meant “for the Mennonites [in the article I was quoting]” and “for the skeptics [who have been under discussion for their behaviour at cons, implementation or lack thereof of harassment policies, who are in leadership in so-called skeptical organizations and hand out vacations as disciplinary measures, and who react to reports of abuse with irrational denialism, harassment directed at complainants, and hyperskepticism]” not all Mennonites and not all skeptics. I thought that was pretty obvious, but whatever.

  72. says

    It sounds like Mike has paid his debt so far as the system goes and is now trying to make amends by speaking out. As this is such a rare thing to hear I appreciate it.

    Thanks, Mike.

  73. ludicrous says

    I repeat my earlier thanks for your comments, Mike,

    Dare I ask how you did it? It seems from the little I know that intransigence is a hallmark of an abuser. Is there something special that you can tell us that made it possible for you to turn this huge corner? A number of things? Circumstances? It may not be a thing that translates well for others but do you have any suggestions for others? I know it’s quite different but I am thinking of Lawrence and Ben at the moment. What might allow them to step way back before it started to see how their paths developed? Did you do that? Sorry, if I am too nosey please just ignore.

  74. Pete Newell says

    iRaven@74: That’s cool, then.

    Hard not to be bitter on this topic.

    Hard to apologize and back down too. Full credit.

  75. MFHeadcase says

    Random aside, the sheer number of trolls who insist on referring to Shermer by his first name is jarring to me.

    It happens to match mine, and seeing MY name attached to rape apologetics makes me want to vomit.

  76. says

    Wilhemina Selby:
    I’m sorry for what you have gone through and that you were triggered by Mike’s post.

    ****
    Mike:
    Perhaps in the future, before relaying your story, you should add a Trigger Warning.

    I do want to thank you. Not just bc you came to understand the harm you were doing, but also bc you make no excuses, are apologetic and have chosen to speak up. It is important to show that people CAN change and serve as an example for those who commit domestic violence.

  77. says

    Thanks Tony. And to be clear I do think that mike should keep talking about his experience, I absolutely do, I just felt like people needed reminding that when you get triggered, it’s very hard to hold that down when reacting, and that the notion that triggered people should *wait until they calm down* before talking is an overask.

    And it may seem off topic but that cartoon could easily be about prolonged abuse or multiple rapes, so i’m not surprised that abuse came up.

  78. says

    Ludicrous @ 82

    I can’t speak for Mike, but my now ex-wife took a restraining order out on me. There was never any physical abuse but there was verbal abuse, which can be worse. I was living 2500 miles away when she filed the TRO as the result of some voicemails I’d left, none of them threatening her in any physical way but they were certainly threatening in other ways.

    What woke me up was the research I started doing in to how she could so easily get a restraining order and “tar my good name” when I’d never touched her, never threatened to harm her. I started reading data about how states that are inclined to grant TRO’s on the word of the victim tend to have much lower homicide rates due to domestic violence as opposed to states that force a victim to prove the abuse before they step in. It took a while to stick but I finally understood why my behavior was part of a known pattern that often escalates in to physical violence and sometimes homicide.

    I stopped being mad at her, she did what she felt she needed to do. I spent a long time engaged in deep introspection, thinking about why I might be the way I was, admitted to myself finally that I was in denial about the cost that I’d paid for my own childhood verbal abuse.

    I still blame myself but for different reasons. It was my own hubris that kept me from realizing the very real effects that my childhood had had on me as adult.

    It’s a long road, and I’m not sure one ever really gets off of it. For me, the Horde played a huge role, people like Caine and others opened my eyes and helped me understand what privilege is, and what abuse is really about, and what a deep toll it takes.

  79. says

    Society has to become comfortable with discussing abuse or it will continue to condone it tacitly.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly, having come from (and only reluctantly in my old age admitting that leaving it completely is not possible for me) a family with a history of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that goes back generations. The abuse is not exactly a secret: everybody knows about it–or that is the adults do. But only a few of us will talk about it at all. As children we find out what abuse is when we become part of the next generation of victims. The children are unprotected, by and large–even when the adults they depend on believe they are doing their best to protect them. The mechanisms of abusive cycles are fairly well-known to produce and reproduce just that sort of situation, though.

    The longer the internet brings news of more abuse in more families of all kinds the greater my hunch grows that abuse is part of “our” culture. By “our”, I mean the culture I live in and the one that produced me; I am not sure what to call it. US culture? Euro-American culture? Western culture? There are so many subcultures making those up that the terms themselves are hopelessly broad. Probably I have to say cultures, plural, to be at all accurate.

    But whatever cultures I might be thinking of when I think about my culture, they are starting to look as though they have some really nasty secrets that they think nobody knows–or worse, they have convinced themselves that either there is nothing more they can do even though it continues on and on and on.

    I do think we have to talk about it and I hope that more begin to do so with as much honesty and compassion as we can call up in ourselves.

    But I recognize, also, that as a victim/survivor I cannot always think about what happened to me, or who did it, or what might be happening to grand-cousins I have never met. There are days when I have to give myself a break from it, and there are certainly days that I do not want anything to do with anyone who has been an abuser even when that includes people I know and care about. As a survivor it is absolutely necessary for me to have control over when and where I am going to talk about abuse. Otherwise it repeats an abusive practice I had no control over at one time.

    I think part of what makes abuse–and culturally entrenched abuse in particular–so difficult to talk about is that many of us have never even begun to examine or heal from the abuse that we have lived with. Finding tools to do that is hard, and depends too much on luck for my taste. I would like to help find ways to make those tools a little easier to locate. I am not sure where to start.

    But I do think that there is a large connection between a culture that will not address abuse and a culture that will go to whatever syntactic contortions it has to to keep women silent about rape. Not the grand unified theory I was hoping for, certainly.

    It seems urgent to me to address it from all sides.

  80. ludicrous says

    Thanks to both Eriks,

    I think it is difficult to recall in detail one’s childhood abuse, and then to connect it to one’s adult fears and behavior while still maintaining one’s own sense of responsibility.

    I recall vividly a PhD Psychotherapist saying to me (in my 20’s) “You don’t want to blame your parents do you?” The conspiracy of silence about our formative years was strong back in the sixties and remains a problem I agree.

    An author who has helped me and many others open up to our histories is the late Swiss therapist, Alice Miller. “Prisoners of Childhood”, “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware”, “For Your Own Good”

  81. says

    For me, the most telling comment is the “how can I judge the situation if you won’t be specific?”

    Thanks. Your whole comment explains some of the anger I’ve just felt when scanning the monstrous thread (found only some hours ago) and reading jameswaller:

    I just want more information before I will pass judgement

    I’ve touched on this a bit in the grenade thread, and it even came up way back during “the dialogue”: the True Skeptics have ethics based on a different axiom than most people here. For them, finding out for themselves what is or isn’t true actually is the most important issue and takes precendence before (almost?) anything else. During “the dialogue”, Stephanie had to remind them that no, finding truth is not the most important overriding concern, and that search for truth needs to be tempered with ethical considerations for the people that might be harmed along the way (she used examples from unethical science research to make her point).
    So yeah. To the true skeptics, it really is the most important thing for them to make a judgment, and so they experience it as unethical to not provide it, or to take action before it has been provided. It’s why they’re raging at us: they are convinced we’ve made the judgment already, on so little evidence that from their perspective, we’re unethical because our conclusions might be wrong but we’re already acting; the concept of harm reduction (example: ericthebassist’s comment on restraining orders) seems foreign to them, or even outright unethical because it prioritizes something other than figuring out who’s right.

  82. says

    Jadehawk @92

    Well, that and the fact that they are sexist douchebags who because of a complete lack of deep introspection, assume that the varied cocktail of patriarchy, rape culture, etc… that they have inherited from culture are “inherent truths” “self-evident” by their own personal role as “true neutral observer”.

    Because to actual question that shit would not only force them to question the unfair position many of them have been granted as straight white males, but worst of all, their self-image of themselves as inherently impartial often for being straight white males. Because if they aren’t colored by “group identity” and the blinders and biases that places on things (because they are the assumed default), then that surely means that they are in an even better position than anyone else to dictate what reality is like based on their myopic experiences.

    Because if that wasn’t true, they’d have to question everything and accept that they simply are people, no less protected from inheriting the toxic messages we all get growing up. And worst, prone more than others to myopia because one’s personal experience as a dominant group doesn’t clash with patriarchal racist sexist homophobic society and thus it’s easier to just ride along.

    And for the type of men whose entire self-esteem depends on being not only “right” but more “right” than ANYONE ELSE…?

    Yeah, no. Ain’t no way they’re going to face up to the fact that they’re actually the least impartial arbiter of reality without a damn angry fight.

    Especially if it’s against some filthy lesser oppressed class member that their entire identity and toxic messages from society tell them their inherently better than.

    It’s also why pointing out how wrong they are, how hackneyed their arguments are, and how little evidence supports their position, often only makes them angrier and more determined to be “right” by any tactic, up to and including triggering the population so bad they no longer wish to “argue” with the clearly superior True Skeptic.

  83. says

    I didn’t say that they also aren’t wrong by their own standards because they assume that “unmarked category” = “no group-based identity” and therefore no “tribalism” bias. I just pointed out that their ethics don’t actually allow for harm reduction to be the most important thing.
    I’d also add that that sort of ethics also mean that to consider yourself to be a good person by your own rules, you have to believe yourself to be impartial and objective and unbiased, and someone who actually only accept well-evidenced claims as truth… so your self-image would suffer extremely from introspection into privilege, which explains the amazing and superficially contradictory resistance from so-called skeptics to the skeptical analysis of the matrix of oppression (which gets us back to your point).

  84. says

    ludicrous,

    Yes it is hard, I know. Precisely three people, out of my very very large family, have ever spoken about our, um, customs, without equivocation and without having to be confronted first. Everyone else is reeling in their own pain and inflicting varying amounts of it on others with little to no consciousness of what they are doing. Here I am saying we have to talk about it and I don’t even know how to break the silence beyond the three of us who are willing to discuss it with each other. I mean, besides blabbing about it on the internet–I do have some hopefully not terribly misplaced hope that this is valuable in some way. And I realize it might not make me very popular..

    Another hunch: Alice Miller is going to be known as one of the first widely-read psychologists/theorists to address intergenerational abuse in this culture I don’t know how to name. I picked up For Your Own Good quite some time ago. Picked it up off the ground–somebody was throwing it out and it looked interesting. It was one of those books that you (or I did anyway) wonder why I had never heard of the writer before, or how I had managed not to stumble across any of her work yet.

    It was also for me one of those books that makes you wonder if the writer was peeking through your window the whole time you were growing up. If I recall correctly, she makes it fairly clear that she is writing about German child-rearing practices. Or something like that–I just remember thinking how does she know all this and then oh gods no wonder my family is so fucked up.

  85. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I suggest that should someone else react with anger towards an abuser talking about how they abused people in future that people ask if they are safe from abuse right now, and dig real deep for empathy, and to always remember that survivors are angry for some damn good reasons – if you haven’t been a victim of domestic violence, it’s hard to fathom just how deeply violating it was to be in that situation. Please remember that.

    What makes you think I haven’t been abused?

  86. says

    I believe I said “If you haven’t been a victim of domestic violence…”

    and if you have, then I would expect that you could indeed fathom how deeply violating it was to be in that situation, if you haven’t repressed it into “not a big deal.” That happens fairly often. It makes me sad when I encounter it.

    or maybe you don’t actually give a crap. That happens too, and also for really good reasons.

    Look there’s no one way to survive, no true sign of the survivor other than they *did* survive. I can’t profile who has and who hasn’t, and I wager you can’t either. so if you look at a sentence that says “If you haven’t been a survivor” and you have been… then maybe the other half of the sentence wasn’t intended for you, but for a possible someone else who was reading it.

    Just, you know, a statement that acknowledges that the people reading it have a lot of different experiences, and for some of them, the experience of prolonged abuse isn’t something they’ve done.

    If for some reason you thought what I was writing was addressed to you, I’m sorry I gave you that impression. I was speaking to no particular reader of the comments, who may or may not have said something in response to someone who was clearly unsettled by Mike’s comment. I hope that my messages have not caused you any distress and unhappiness, as that was not what I was trying to do, but if my worry that they have is true, please let me know so I may apologize to you for that too, and find out how I can avoid hurting you with my comments in the future, if you’ve the energy to spare for that.

  87. iraven says

    @wilhelmina

    Thank You.

    I appreciate your insightful compassion.

    I was triggered, very surprised as it’s been so many years.

    Peace Out

  88. says

    Since the cartoon is by Jim Hines I’d say the spur is more likely to have been Frenkel than Schermer.
    See here if you missed that one.

    I also found Mike’s comment unsettling, but welcome too. I have very mixed feelings about domestic abuse, as my father was both a survivor and a perpetrator. I have to respect him for trying hard and succeeding at being very much less violent than his father & brothers, but I’m not sure I can forgive him for the parts where he failed.

  89. Ace of Skeps says

    @Who Cares (#26)
    “You know this is the first time I’ve seen white knighting being used as a logical fallacy.
    What screechymonkey did is hoping that others will prevent the availability of (potential) victims who otherwise wouldn’t know that Shermer has a habit of deliberately getting women to drink so much that they cannot (effectively) refuse his (unwanted) advances. Or to put it more bluntly to stop Shermer from the time honored (might want to read up on it in this thread, it starts around comment 2900 or so and the second update of the OP about this not being an incident) gambit of getting women so drunk he can rape them (it is rape since at this point you can’t claim consent on part of the woman involved).”

    The practice of ‘naming and shaming’ individuals who are abusing power needs to depend on more than simply identifying powerful people and attempting to shame them. My point, which I apparently am obliged to repeat, is that there is an alleged or implied relation between Shermer’s status as an alpha male in the skeptic community and the wrongness of his alleged taking advantage of women. I am sure there are all sorts of ‘little guys’ out there (in every sense of the word, but I’ll just leave that dangling there) who are on the lookout for abuse of power by individuals with even a little more power than they have, and it has crap to do with restoring Victorian standards of chivalry. Let me restate my point so that there can be no mistaking how I separate abuse of power from the problem of the abuse of women: The choice of high-profile targets for attacks on personal character is not unknown in politics. Attacks of “little guys” on one another takes place mainly in internet threads.

  90. Ace of Skeps says

    @Beatrice (#29)
    “Yeah, it’s really sad that people need to have a support network because Shermer can’t be trusted to control his conduct.”

    There’s so much sadness in the world. I can only ask (as I did in #100) if we can try to separate the abuse of power by powerful individuals from the abuse of women. I’ll take it in the way Myers approached it in the grenade essay, as an ethical dilemma. But I will say this in response to your comment: People who need a support network to navigate socially in what amounts to a trade fair environment would be better off at trade fairs than at skeptic conventions. Skeptic conventions are filled with people who claim to like to think independently (or so I would have thought), and trade fairs are filled with social networks. The leap to judging Shermer guilty of very specific acts on the basis of anecdotes relayed by PZ Myers in an internet blog gives me pause. The ‘social justice’ strain of atheism, as it is being played out in the comment threads on FTB, appears to have its contingent of those who’ve abandoned conventional theism and are now looking for a religion substitute. But without God on your side, and only the assertion that social justice is good and only bad people could oppose it loses the thread of whether upsetting the present pecking order will really result in a society free of pecking order. Sad, isn’t it?

  91. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    So many assertions, so many fails.

    Ace of Skeps, you appear to be saying that PZ’s motivation was to “upset the present pecking order” rather than his stated motivation to”…stand up for the one who has no recourse, no way out, no other option to help others…” So, do tell, how exactly have you divined this nefarious intent on the part of PZ?

  92. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Oh and I’ll add a hearty “fuck you” for this bit of victim blaming bullshit:

    People who need a support network to navigate socially in what amounts to a trade fair environment would be better off at trade fairs than at skeptic conventions.

  93. says

    Ace of Skeps #100

    My point, which I apparently am obliged to repeat, is that there is an alleged or implied relation between Shermer’s status as an alpha male in the skeptic community and the wrongness of his alleged taking advantage of women.

    It’s his status as a community *celebrity*, not any “alpha male” BS (take that crap to Thunderdome) that is the point. Like any other celebrity, he gets a a “halo effect” in the form of benefits of doubts that non-celebrities in the skeptic community don’t get. This “halo effect” whereby people want to meet and interact with celebrities means that celebrities have more *opportunities* to abuse the trust of “mundanes” within their community, and the more trust people have in a person then the greater the betrayal of trust committed by that person if they “take advantage”.

    It’s hardly unusual for people’s negative reactions to be more strong to betrayals of trust from people whom they have admired than from people whom they see as more ordinary. It’s part of the social contract, the quid pro quo from gaining the rewards of fame: the expectation that the celebrated one will have the grace to respect the enthusiasm and respect of their fans by not taking undue advantage of their being starstruck.

    There is also the matter of professional etiquette expected of a guest speaker at an event (in order to uphold the reputation of the event) where the general expectation is that honorees shouldn’t belittle an event or the community hosting that event by using the event as their own personal pickup opportunity.

    I am sure there are all sorts of ‘little guys’ out there (in every sense of the word, but I’ll just leave that dangling there) who are on the lookout for abuse of power by individuals with even a little more power than they have, and it has crap to do with restoring Victorian standards of chivalry.

    That nobody has suggested restoring Victorian standards of chivalry suggests that your perspicacity is lacking, and your parenthetical sneer suggests that your wit in general is lacklustre.

    Abuses of institutional power do tend to be monitored better by those who have less power than more, because there’s little incentive for the powerful to forego anything considered a perquisite of their status. That of course doesn’t mean that the simplest levels of abuse of non-institutional power (the ones that rely on disparities between premeditated plans and surprised responses, on disparities between sobriety and incapacitation, or on disparities of physical strength etc) do not occur at all levels of society, just that there’s a reason they’re dealt with differently when it occurs with institutional privilege attached.

    Let me restate my point so that there can be no mistaking how I separate abuse of power from the problem of the abuse of women: The choice of high-profile targets for attacks on personal character is not unknown in politics. Attacks of “little guys” on one another takes place mainly in internet threads.

    Now you’ve gone beyond lacklustre arguments into (deliberately?) incoherent gaslighting, ensuring that the spectre of an insinuation is hovering over the shambles. It’s quite an exercise in rhetorical posturing, but it’s not persuading me.

  94. ludicrous says

    “Starstruck” “halo effect” hmm, where have I seen those before? Oh yeah, the godlyeeze seem to have a similar affliction. Is it the same mental disability? Is there a cure? Can one become skeptically pure enough to stop erecting pedestals?

  95. says

    The Halo Effect seems to be a fairly fundamental cognitive bias that operates across all communities and social sectors, ludicrous – the (mostly unexamined) belief that if one particular thing about a person is admirable then everything else about the person must also be admirable. It’s a belief that falls apart under even mildly rigorous scrutiny of anybody we know at all well, yet most people don’t do that scrutiny, and thus the effect ends up extending beyond just the one person whom someone initially admires to encompass that person’s associates/friends/relatives etc – people who went to the same school or belong to the same club or share some other attribute. Its operation in the financial sector with respect to trends in stocks/commodities/derivatives movements is hypothesised to be a major contributing factor to the GFC (and every other boom/bust cycle before it).

    ‘Starstruck’ is merely the most naive display of being under the influence of the Halo Effect, but the phenomenon has been shown to bias the judgements of ruthless CEOs and hardheaded generals and scrupulous senior judges, not just the young and inexperienced. The way that the unscrupulous can parlay their Halo Effect to scam others of distinguished status is one of the reasons that laws against financial fraud are so harshly applied when its a member of the elite who has been scammed, and on the flipside it’s also why laws against financial fraud and fiduciary breach are so leniently applied when it’s one of the elite doing the scamming.

    It’s just one example of how humans have rationalising intellects rather than truly rational minds, and it’s a fact about we humans that skeptics really ought to be paying more attention to when we look at how the prominent people in our community conduct themselves and how we judge them for that conduct.

  96. Forelle says

    Jadehawk at 92:

    For them, finding out for themselves what is or isn’t true actually is the most important issue

    Though I always try to read you carefully, I’m not really sure what you’re getting at. Maybe it’s a matter of terminology or a lack of understanding on my part.

    However modestly in comparison to many people here (I’m no scientist and my mind is probably much less trained), I also value truth to a very high degree. In this case, when reading the grenade OP and thread, I was also looking for the truth. Not, though, the truth of Jane Doe’s claim; after the initial shock, and the first fears on behalf of PZ, a moment’s thought made me give her story credit. I wanted to know how the going public in this way would be justified, where the discussion would go (both in ways I couldn’t imagine and in the usual answers to the usual suspects), and to widen my knowledge of morally acceptable publicity and self-defense in a post-Internet world somewhat difficult for very private people like me (and everybody else now and then). I had misgivings that were quelled in the discussion; if not, I’d have felt unsatisfied, but I should deal, for example, with the fact that an admired person can be wrong; truth should prevail.

    Therefore, I was reading in search of a truth maybe wider that the kernel of the conflict, but I was not evading any smaller truth either; I believe Jane Doe for reasons similar to other people’s, that have been hashed here to exhaustion. In this sense, I don’t feel at all less truthful than any of those hyperskeptical cretins that pollute such threads. I don’t believe in absolutes — truth might have to give way to other considerations, but only in really extreme circumstances. (I don’t recall that “dialogue”, but if you’re so kind to give me a couple more search words, I’ll go to Zvan’s place.) To the cretins I’d say that they don’t have the monopoly of truthfulness. At all.

    When I read that jameswaller (I’ll assume a “he”) wants to get “more information” in order to “pass judgement,” I don’t believe for a moment that he’s looking for any truth in any guise. I understand that he wants to apportion blame from some imaginary high desk. Moreover, it’s pure hypocrisy, for he has already chosen a “guilty” party, as his previous posts show. This is the sense that I find extremely infuriating. I understand that judgement must happen in many cases, no matter how much I dislike it — yet an inevitable censure is not what I read in comments like those, but rather entitlement, callousness, and vengeful attitudes.

    I read your comment, Jadehawk, as conflating the skeptics’ need for a judgement with their need for truth. I’m not sure if separating those concepts as I’ve tried to do is useful here, but I don’t feel that those skeptics are “more truthful” than the rest of us are; on the contrary, they’re more narrow minded and wrong.

  97. Who Cares says

    @Joker of Skeps(#100)

    The practice of ‘naming and shaming’ individuals who are abusing power needs to depend on more than simply identifying powerful people and attempting to shame them.

    Ah you mean things like evidence. Which was provided in the case of Shermer. Go back to the clown car please

    My point, which I apparently am obliged to repeat, is that there is an alleged or implied relation between Shermer’s status as an alpha male in the skeptic community and the wrongness of his alleged taking advantage of women.

    Alpha male? Ah you are a member of the regulars at AVfM.
    Further you are wrong. Taking advantage of women is wrong. Using your status to be able to do so is wrong.

    I am sure there are all sorts of ‘little guys’ out there (in every sense of the word, but I’ll just leave that dangling there) who are on the lookout for abuse of power by individuals with even a little more power than they have,

    Oh nice tu quoque aimed at Myers. Can’t be that Myers is actually concerned about the (potential) victims in this, perish the thought.

    and it has crap to do with restoring Victorian standards of chivalry.

    Didn’t say that when I replied to that turd you dropped in post #23. Where you said that we shouldn’t protect potential victims by warning them about a predator since that would be white knighting them, that the potential victim should protect themselves.
    Thank you for trying to play comphrehension 101 and failing.

    Let me restate my point so that there can be no mistaking how I separate abuse of power from the problem of the abuse of women: The choice of high-profile targets for attacks on personal character is not unknown in politics. Attacks of “little guys” on one another takes place mainly in internet threads.

    Which isn’t the case here. Now zip it.

  98. Ace of Skeps says

    @Fossil Fishy #102

    “Ace of Skeps, you appear to be saying that PZ’s motivation was to “upset the present pecking order” rather than his stated motivation to”…stand up for the one who has no recourse, no way out, no other option to help others…” So, do tell, how exactly have you divined this nefarious intent on the part of PZ?”

    Tell me, how have you divined that an anecdote told by PZ Myers is solid gold evidence that some court-certified victim has no other recourse? Generally, we’d trot out hyperbole like that after the perp has been found not guilty by legal process.

  99. Who Cares says

    @Joker of Skeps(#109)

    Tell me, how have you divined that an anecdote told by PZ Myers is solid gold evidence that some court-certified victim has no other recourse? Generally, we’d trot out hyperbole like that after the perp has been found not guilty by legal process.

    I suggest you go read the grenade threat. That what you blithely dismiss as an anecdote is evidence. Further more there is corroborating evidence from two other sources reported directly to Myers AND years worth of warnings about Shermer in the backchannels.
    And then you go into legalweasel mode. Can it pukebreath, that argument has been vaporized multiple times in the grenade thread.

  100. rowanvt says

    Ace of Skeps-

    The cops wouldn’t even *begin* an investigation when I reported being stalked and that there was an attempted break in.

    Because I was so terrified I hid in a closet for 3 hours with my bow and a quiver of hunting arrows.

    The cop told me he wasn’t going to do anything, because I waited too long and how was he to know I didn’t just have an argument with my boyfriend.

    So I had no other recourse. The official channels were closed. But I was lucky in that no rape occurred. But people who *have* been raped have had the same damn situation happen to them with the cops. There is no other recourse, than letting other women know “There is a predator here. Watch out.”

  101. mildlymagnificent says

    Oh for pity’s sake. This is like being told you have to run the 200 metres just as you come in all breathless and sweating after the 400.

    Ace of Skeps

    Tell me, how have you divined that an anecdote told by PZ Myers is solid gold evidence that some court-certified victim has no other recourse?

    It’s not an anecdote (I don’t know the HTML for sneering). It’s evidence that could be tendered in court.

    As it happens it’s the only direct evidence of this incident, though I’m fairly certain the evidence of the person who dealt with her when she was distressed immediately afterwards would count as corroboration – though we (and they) can’t predict how much weight those reports would be given. The person who could proffer the direct evidence is unwilling to go through the rape victim under the interrogator’s glaring light in the eyes routine. Let alone become a target for the sort of online and personal harassment that leads to distress and sometimes suicide. (See Rehtaeh Parsons and a dozen others for examples.)

    Seeing as her own objective is simply harm minimisation rather than punishment for the offence committed, I think her strategy is the right one. Find someone who has a wider audience than she can muster, who is also trustworthy in not revealing her identity. Hope that other women don’t miss out on the “backchannel” warnings that she missed out on.

  102. Ace of Skeps says

    @who cares #108

    “Taking advantage of women is wrong. Using your status to be able to do so is wrong.”

    How can someone capable of traveling to a conference and checking herself into a hotel so be allowed to vacate responsibility for taking care of herself at the bar that we assert she was seduced by celebrity and that skepticism of that verdict is ‘victim-blaming’?

    There are, indeed, people attending these sorts of ‘conferences’ (better known as ‘entertainments’) who are so naive that they might well think that feminist ideology can make naiveté amongst ground apes non-threatening. This is old-fashioned humanist belief in the perfectibility of humanity. To me, that sort of thinking has precious little independent of traditional religion, and hopes for the best by not being able to bludgeon dissenters with God’s wrath. With whose wrath am I going to be bludgeoned, here? Come the revolution, the MRAs will be up against the wall, eh? And when you do that, you’ll be no better than the rest of history.

    If I get called names here for questioning this ideology, it is not least because it is a dandy substitute religion fully as capable as any other of generating self-fulfilling prophecies about people’s bad behaviour, which then can be labeled as ‘wrong’. It’s certainly adept at characterising the behaviour of dissidents as ‘wrong’. If you love telling people what they do is wrong, either go back to God, or prosecute wrongdoing in the courts, where people care about evidence that someone was incapable of taking care of herself at the bar.

  103. mildlymagnificent says

    This is old-fashioned humanist belief in the perfectibility of humanity.

    Come on. This is not some random stranger in a bar. This is a man you know as the author of books such as The Science of Good and Evil. Even if you’ve not read the book itself, you would certainly have read the publicity blurb for it which includes such pearls as ….

    Dr. Michael Shermer tackles two of the deepest and most challenging problems of our age: (1) The origins of morality and (2) the foundations of ethics. http://www.michaelshermer.com/science-good-evil/

    With this being your “knowledge” of a particular person (and you are not within the “backchannel” group where you might have been warned otherwise) you’d surely start with a presumption that this person has thought carefully about ethical behaviour – including their own.

  104. Ace of Skeps says

    @hookahs, #110

    “I suggest you go read the grenade threat. That what you blithely dismiss as an anecdote is evidence. Further more there is corroborating evidence from two other sources reported directly to Myers AND years worth of warnings about Shermer in the backchannels.
    And then you go into legalweasel mode. Can it pukebreath, that argument has been vaporized multiple times in the grenade thread.”

    Evidence of what, dear? That Shermer is a womaniser? Let me know when that’s breaking a law, where evidence is important. For the present, you’ll be stuck with telling people all about the wrongness,/b> of womanising. I don’t admire womanisers, but I also don’t strut around with any lingering pretense that human ground apes hang only a little lower from the firmament than the angels. If womanising by someone prominent in your favourite political movement is the worst of your worries, you’re well on your way to launching purifying purges in what might as well be a substitute religion for you.

  105. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    How can someone capable of traveling to a conference and checking herself into a hotel so be allowed to vacate responsibility for taking care of herself at the bar…

    Did I read that right? Is this idiot really suggesting that someone who is raped while drunk at a conference has failed to take responsibility for themselves?

    …that we assert she was seduced by celebrity

    She was not seduced, you arsewipe, she was raped.

    Fuck you, Ace of Skeps.

  106. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Oh, rape and serial sexual harrassment is “womanising” now. Seriously, Ace of Skeps, fuck you.

  107. Ace of Skeps says

    @mildly magnificent

    (1)Seeing as her own objective is simply harm minimisation rather than punishment for the offence committed, I think her strategy is the right one. Find someone who has a wider audience than she can muster, who is also trustworthy in not revealing her identity. Hope that other women don’t miss out on the “backchannel” warnings that she missed out on.

    So we’re back to absolving people of any responsibility for their behaviour at conferences because Michael Shermer is a celebrity?

    (2)Come on. This is not some random stranger in a bar. This is a man you know as the author of books such as The Science of Good and Evil. Even if you’ve not read the book itself, you would certainly have read the publicity blurb for it which includes such pearls as ….

    Dr. Michael Shermer tackles two of the deepest and most challenging problems of our age: (1) The origins of morality and (2) the foundations of ethics. http://www.michaelshermer.com/science-good-evil/

    With this being your “knowledge” of a particular person (and you are not within the “backchannel” group where you might have been warned otherwise) you’d surely start with a presumption that this person has thought carefully about ethical behaviour – including their own.

    It might be that somebody’s taking The Science of Good and Evil a little too seriously, and the hypocrisy that springs therefrom. A lot of the way people talk about being let down by their paragons may involve a little too much hope that a skeptic-atheist movement is going to rescue humanity, or at least make the world safe for those who don’t recognise that people are biological agents rather than purely rational. This kind of thing circles the drain of absolute morality. If you want that, go with God.

    I think it’s a good thing if people in the atheist/skeptic movement want to duke it out in factions that hinge on whether atheist/skeptics should also be moral paragons. I think that some people are nostalgic for the religious certainties they left behind in adopting atheism as a hobby.

  108. mildlymagnificent says

    I don’t admire womanisers

    Kerist on a bicycle. Womaniser?

    Have you read PZ’s post, including the updates? You know lots of words at the top of the page arranged in sentences to make the meaning clear. Including this part ….

    Further corroboration: a witness has come forward. This person has asked to remain anonymous too, but I will say they’re someone who doesn’t particularly like me — so no accusations of fannishness, OK?
    The anonymous woman who wrote to you is known to me, and in fact I was in her presence immediately after said incident (she was extremely distraught), and when she told the management of the conference (some time later).

    I’ve known lots of womanisers – working in a +1000 person workplace in a male dominated field makes that easy. I can assure you that “womanisers” generally make sure that their partners are happy with the experience and are not “extremely distraught” afterwards. The women involved also likely to give women friends unsolicited advice about such a man being good to know. They sometimes like to give the kind of details you really don’t need to know – but they’re happy about it at the time and they’re happy about it months or years later.

    If Shermer were a real womaniser, rather than a manipulator, the word being spread around would not be public but would have a much different content and tone. Funnily enough, women know when they’ve had an enjoyable if brief sexual encounter. They also know when they’ve been mistreated. And they know the difference between the two.

  109. Ace of Skeps says

    @116 Thumper

    “Did I read that right? Is this idiot really suggesting that someone who is raped while drunk at a conference has failed to take responsibility for themselves?”

    You don’t think people are responsible for whether or not they get drunk at conferences? Dream on. Nobody’s mentioned a ‘date rape’ drug in this rhetorical dogpile.

    Your presumption is that once someone IS drunk, they become everyone else’s responsibility. Quote me the Ten Commandments on that one.

  110. nightshadequeen says

    Your presumption is that once someone IS drunk, they become everyone else’s responsibility.

    …”Don’t have a drunk person, that could be rape” != “Drunk people are everyone else’s responsibility”

  111. rowanvt says

    I may indeed be responsible for if I get drunk or not.

    However, I am NOT responsible if some guy decides to stick his penis in me because I am so drunk I can’t say whether I want it or not.

    That you, Ace, think that a drunk woman has given the a-ok for penile antics by the mere fact she is drunk shows you are a slimeball.

  112. ischemgeek says

    Alcohol is the most common date rape drug. You can drug someone with alcohol very easily without them realizing it – order them triples of drinks mixed with something sweet and acidic, like orange juice, and tell them they’re singles. I had that happen to me once – fortunately for me, the “friend” doing it was just doing it because he and his girlfriend (another “friend”) thought I would be a funny drunk, despite the fact that I’d expressed to them I don’t like drinking to excess due to a huge family history of alcoholism.

    The friendships ended that night because friends don’t purposefully disregard boundaries like that for the lulz.

    However, if they’d had more than lulz in mind, they could’ve made it happen.

  113. rowanvt says

    Please note that I was saying in my previous post that *I* (specifically ME) would be responsible for *me* (again, just myself) getting drunk… because I never drink more than a single shot of whiskey in an evening. I was in no way implying that getting drunk was always the fault of the drinker.

  114. geekoid says

    How about thinking about the problem and dealing it with properly? no one seems tt want to do that, or if they do they are doing in purely emotionally. I have seen panels on this subject as well as bullying. Full of angry people. While they will invite an author that agrees with them, and other people they never seem to have an expert on human behavior. Never an expert on dealing with these things.

    Add to that we are dealing with an age old problem.
    Some one accuses someone else of something but has no evidence. What do you do? how do you handle it?
    It is a valid question to ask for evidence of an event. Should we toss people out based on an accusation alone?
    We need to stop running around saying how bad it is, and creat a plan to try and guide us to a reasonable conclusion. Right now, if a woman says ‘Bob grabbed my boob’ and Bob was no where near that person, there are groups who would immediately want Bob to be tossed out of the event. Should the person making the claim be ignored? no.
    Frankly I’m tired of trying to ask question to get more details and getting a stream of responses like ‘If we have to explain it to you you will never get it’. Or people immediately accusing me of being a misogynist becasue I wan’t more info before tossing someone out on their ear.

  115. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If I get called names here for questioning this ideology,

    The only idiotlog here is you. We just simple want people treated like people, not objects.

  116. Ace of Skeps says

    @mildlymagnificent:

    Thanks for publishing the Myers anecdote that the woman was extremely distraught. That make all the difference to me in whether or not I conclude that the woman was extremely distraught.

    You just finished telling me that this is not about gaining justice for injury, but about ensuring that there won’t be distraught victims of Michael Shermer in the future.

    I’ll say it again, since it seems not to have registered. The fact that this kind of thing might go on at atheist skeptic conferences does not make it somehow worse than what goes on at trade conferences. I think someone who thinks she can’t be victimised at an atheist skeptic conference is ripe for victimisation.

    I agree with you that the kinds of things that can happen to people who have religious or religious-like devotion to some ideal or movement are horrible. We hear all the time about how gurus victimise their followers in all sorts of ways, not infrequently sexually, but diversely, as well.

    That people are up in arms that a guru takes advantage of people because he’s a guru in a ‘rationalist’ movement may have been sold by some marketing hype.

  117. Aim: baby hordeling says

    Hey, everybody, are we sure that Ace of Skeps isn’t another morph of Cold/Bridge? I may just be seeing things, but the MRA bullshit coupled with the italics in place of blockquotes makes me wonder.
    Could a monitor please check that out?

  118. rowanvt says

    Geekoid-

    “Just asking questions” for more details is a common way for actual misogynists to find ways to belittle victims of rape and assault, plus relaying those details can be extremely painful emotionally for the person who was assaulted.

    This is why you are getting a bad response. *You* might be asking honestly, but the majority are NOT.

  119. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You don’t think people are responsible for whether or not they get drunk at conferences?

    Gee, is a person responsible if they can’t tell the quantitity they have drank due to the glass constantly being “topped off”, or the drink is stronger than expected? That is the MO of predators. This is a warning about a predator. Evidently you are apologizing and trying to defend a rapist. That makes you a rape apologist. Fuck off.

  120. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The fact that this kind of thing might go on at atheist skeptic conferences does not make it somehow worse than what goes on at trade conferences.

    It shouldn’t be going on anywhere rape apologist. You know that, unless you are a predator yourself, and want to defend you practices.

  121. Who Cares says

    @Ace of Skeps, Rape apologist(#113):

    How can someone capable of traveling to a conference and checking herself into a hotel so be allowed to vacate responsibility for taking care of herself at the bar that we assert she was seduced by celebrity and that skepticism of that verdict is ‘victim-blaming’?

    Read the grenade thread. Aside from that you are blaming the victim here for getting raped instead of the rapist for raping. Getting smashed precludes any informed consent status.

    There are, indeed, people attending these sorts of ‘conferences’ (better known as ‘entertainments’) who are so naive that they might well think that feminist ideology can make naivete amongst ground apes non-threatening. This is old-fashioned humanist belief in the perfectibility of humanity. To me, that sort of thinking has precious little independent of traditional religion, and hopes for the best by not being able to bludgeon dissenters with God’s wrath. With whose wrath am I going to be bludgeoned, here? Come the revolution, the MRAs will be up against the wall, eh? And when you do that, you’ll be no better than the rest of history.

    It is called trust. Trust in that people won’t rape you.
    And thank you for verifying that you are an MRA meaning you will continue to argue that the victim is to blame since the rapist is a man.

    If I get called names here for questioning this ideology, it is not least because it is a dandy substitute religion fully as capable as any other of generating self-fulfilling prophecies about people’s bad behaviour, which then can be labeled as ‘wrong’. It’s certainly adept at characterising the behaviour of dissidents as ‘wrong’. If you love telling people what they do is wrong, either go back to God, or prosecute wrongdoing in the courts, where people care about evidence that someone was incapable of taking care of herself at the bar.

    No, you get called names for dismissing anything that doesn’t fit your blinkered narrative of the victim being the one to blame. And then you get really cute by projecting that we are the ones telling people what they do wrong (slyly inferring that there is no evidence backing us up) while you’ve been doing that for quite a few posts now.
    This isn’t a court, aside from that you just confirmed that you haven’t bothered to even read the original post in the grenade thread.

    Evidence of what, dear? That Shermer is a womaniser?

    See there is your blinkered narrative going at warpspeed.
    Deliberately getting women drunk so he can have sex with them. A.K.A. Rape.

    Let me know when that’s breaking a law, where evidence is important.

    No court of law here. Aside from that rape is against the law.

    For the present, you’ll be stuck with telling people all about the wrongness,of womanising.

    Well if getting people drunk to have sex with them is your version of womanizing yes I’d tell everyone and their dog it’s wrong since it’s rape.

    I don’t admire womanisers, but I also don’t strut around with any lingering pretense that human ground apes hang only a little lower from the firmament than the angels. If womanising by someone prominent in your favourite political movement is the worst of your worries, you’re well on your way to launching purifying purges in what might as well be a substitute religion for you.

    Nice one there as if we can’t focus on multiple subjects. Of which one is a ‘womanizer’ who has a habit of getting woman drunk so he can have sex with them. So when do you admit what you are doing is martyring yourself for your religion. That is the religion that says women don’t count.

  122. Ace of Skeps says

    @rowan

    “That you, Ace, think that a drunk woman has given the a-ok for penile antics by the mere fact she is drunk shows you are a slimeball.”

    Oh, do quote me on when I said that rape was all right. Someone naive enough to believe that feminist theory will prevent her from being a victim of rape while drunk ought not to be getting drunk. I hope that includes you. Stay safe out there, rowan.

  123. mildlymagnificent says

    Or people immediately accusing me of being a misogynist becasue I wan’t more info before tossing someone out on their ear.

    Nobody’s talking about anyone tossing anyone out on their ear. We’re talking about someone whose unacceptable behaviour has been talked about on a not-accessible-to-everyone grapevine for years and years. And who has now been named publicly – in order to ensure that others who are not connected to that grapevine don’t suffer as others have done.

    If you’re worried about harassment policies, say so. The ones I’ve seen so far omit any “tossing out” on the kind of flimsy, unverified basis you mentioned. They do have procedures set out for dealing with such accusations of grabbing and groping.

  124. Pteryxx says

    How can someone capable of traveling to a conference and checking herself into a hotel so be allowed to vacate responsibility for taking care of herself …

    After all, she has to sleep sometime! *barf*

  125. says

    Buh-bye, Ace of Skeps! By the way, your type is so stupid that I need to remind you of this: do not try to register under another pseudonym and babble some more. It is your asininity that I reject, not the particular sequence of letters that you post under.

  126. mildlymagnificent says

    Thanks for publishing the Myers anecdote that the woman was extremely distraught. That make all the difference to me in whether or not I conclude that the woman was extremely distraught.

    “Anecdote” again? Now you’re being nasty.

    Who cares what you conclude. You’re not the presiding chair at a tribunal. You’re an observer of women letting other women know that there’s one particular man to be wary of. It just happens to be public this time so you know it’s happening.

  127. Pteryxx says

    Skip over Ace of Skeps’ posts, or use hushfile if you have it. Xe’s gone right on to taunting specific survivors in this thread.

  128. Jacob Schmidt says

    The fact that this kind of thing might go on at atheist skeptic conferences does not make it somehow worse than what goes on at trade conferences.[1] I think someone who thinks she can’t be victimised at an atheist skeptic conference is ripe for victimisation.[2]

    1) That is happen elsewhere means nothing; it shouldn’t happen anywhere. Many of us are involved in atheist conferences. We have the ability to enact changes at atheist conferences. So we’re adressing the issues within atheist conferences.

    2) I’d be surprised if you’re able to point out women who aren’t aware of the threat of sexual assault.

  129. Rey Fox says

    GASP! Ace has been BLUDGEONED!

    What was that about people with “skeptic” or “rational” in their handles?

  130. Jacob Schmidt says

    Right now, if a woman says ‘Bob grabbed my boob’ and Bob was no where near that person, there are groups who would immediately want Bob to be tossed out of the event.

    Who the fuck said that there shouldn’t be any investigation in to the matter? NO ONE here argued this.

  131. Who Cares says

    So we’re back to absolving people of any responsibility for their behaviour at conferences because Michael Shermer is a celebrity?

    Nope, we are just pointing out that getting raped is the responsibility of the rapist not of the victim. While you can’t accept that since as a MRA you have pledged yourself to never allowing the blame to fall on a man since in this case the rapist is a man and the victim is a woman.
    Someone being drunk does not give any one else the right to rape them.

    Dr. Michael Shermer tackles two of the deepest and most challenging problems of our age: (1) The origins of morality and (2) the foundations of ethics. http://www.michaelshermer.com/science-good-evil/

    Halo effect. Being a philosopher on a subject doesn’t preclude that Shermer is also deliberately getting women drunk to have sex with them.

    It might be that somebody’s taking The Science of Good and Evil a little too seriously, and the hypocrisy that springs therefrom. A lot of the way people talk about being let down by their paragons may involve a little too much hope that a skeptic-atheist movement is going to rescue humanity, or at least make the world safe for those who don’t recognise that people are biological agents rather than purely rational. This kind of thing circles the drain of absolute morality. If you want that, go with God.

    To bad for you I didn’t even know Shermer wrote books like that. The whole freaking point of the grenade thread was to warn people away from a sexual predator. One which you are reflexively defending since he’s a man who happened to write some philosophical texts on morality.

    I think it’s a good thing if people in the atheist/skeptic movement want to duke it out in factions that hinge on whether atheist/skeptics should also be moral paragons. I think that some people are nostalgic for the religious certainties they left behind in adopting atheism as a hobby.

    Project much? Unfounded generalization. Wild ass accusation without anything to it back up.

    You don’t think people are responsible for whether or not they get drunk at conferences? Dream on. Nobody’s mentioned a ‘date rape’ drug in this rhetorical dogpile.

    Actually we did, but then again that would have required you to A) read what you don’t want to read B) comprehend what you haven’t read.
    Alcohol is the date rape drug most commonly used by rapists. Which you would have known if you’d bothered to read up on the subject and actually tried to comprehend what you read.

    Your presumption is that once someone IS drunk, they become everyone else’s responsibility. Quote me the Ten Commandments on that one.

    No that is your presumption (including using something as irrelevant as the bible as a source of morality). Ours is just that if someone gets drunk you don’t rape them.

  132. ischemgeek says

    Rey @142: I dunno, but you can almost bet money that people with “skeptic” “skeptical” “rational” or “intelligent” in their handle are going to be raging douchecanoes.

  133. Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin says

    Rey Fox;

    What was that about people with “skeptic” or “rational” in their handles?

    I have also noticed a very high, though less high than with your examples, ratio of people with firstnamelastname as handles.

    Also, I need to thank all of the regulars who have put forth so much time and effort dealing with all of the jackholes who seem to think that the idea that women are people too is some sort of an extraordinary claim. I have been keeping up with both threads as best as my time and my stomach will allow me to, and I don’t know where you all find the strength to keep it up.

  134. throwaway, gut-punched says

    I see a bit of another fallacy, the ‘indirect consequence of ordinary actions’ fallacy? Not sure what to make of it or call it, but the presumption is that if only you hadn’t got out of bed today then, for example, you wouldn’t have been robbed. Taking an ordinary, every day, normal human activity, or one afforded to everyone else, such as drinking socially and to the threshold where a buzz becomes a gushing levity, perhaps slightly more than you should bare in certain company, and then determining the blame rests on the victim failing to take an “accurate risk assessment and management course of action”, whatever the fuck that entails, whenever someone else will decide not only just to get up that day, but to do something a bit beyond normal everyday human activity, like burglarizing or robbing or taking advantage of some drunk person.

    “Ooops I forgot to lock my door” or “Ooops I drank a wee bit too much” is several billion orders of magnitude more forgivable than “Ooops I forgot I wasn’t supposed to rob/rape anybody”, to the point where the former is irrelevant to culpability (as there bloody well is none!) except in the most ridiculously strict and unswerving consequentialist cause->effect route espoused usually by Randroids. If someone wants to introduce fatalistic determinism into the mix then we can reductio ad absurdum to the point where a victim decided to take AP Chemistry in school rather than AP Lit and therefore they were musing on the difference between covalent and ionic bonds instead of thinking “how can I keep home intruders at bay?” or “I should stop at this last swig” at that precise moment. There will be a percentage of fault in such a choice if you want to play that silly fucking zero-sum eventuality statistics game, much as there is a percentage of fault in the breakfast someone ate. That’s just fucking ludicrous and is an imbecilic way of looking at things, I cannot fathom what motivates someone to think that way except to ensure their biased views on rape are consistent with the absolution of guilt of the perpetrator. What a warped view.

  135. says

    Ace of Skeps… this is about the time when you need to flounce. If you think anybody’s going to engage with you with anything more than “fuck off” and variations thereof, especially after many of them had their nerves frayed in the Grenade thread, you are sorely mistaken.

    Seriously.

    Just go away. And take that victim-blaming bullshit with you.

  136. Who Cares says

    @Geekoid(#125):

    I’m going to be nice once and assume you are new to this.
    I’m also asking for you to follow the links that Sharkjack put up in comment 3573 of the grenade thread to get a minimal background in the problems of what you are questioning.

    Some one accuses someone else of something but has no evidence. What do you do? how do you handle it?

    Testimony by a victim is evidence. Try to find corroborating evidence (see the original post of the grenade thread as an example).

    It is a valid question to ask for evidence of an event. Should we toss people out based on an accusation alone?

    It is valid to ask. But as long as impartial investigation in an accusation isn’t possible, generally due to cultural biases, the rest of the social environment has a duty to minimize chances of things happening that lead to such accusation.

    We need to stop running around saying how bad it is, and creat a plan to try and guide us to a reasonable conclusion.

    That means altering cultural mores to the point where no (wo)man sees another person as a walking pleasure machine to be used at their whim. The original post in the grenade thread is an example of an attempt to do so.

    Right now, if a woman says ‘Bob grabbed my boob’ and Bob was no where near that person, there are groups who would immediately want Bob to be tossed out of the event. Should the person making the claim be ignored? no.

    There is actually a group that has the power toss people out at just an accusation and actually does so? Instead of doing what happened in the cartoon? That would be a first. Tossing people out without an investigation would be wrong but the current cultural climate means that the accusation tends to gets tossed out without an investigation or the investigation is a whitewash.

    Frankly I’m tired of trying to ask question to get more details and getting a stream of responses like ‘If we have to explain it to you you will never get it’. Or people immediately accusing me of being a misogynist becasue I wan’t more info before tossing someone out on their ear.

    Well you aren’t getting it. Why would you be entitled to more details? Why would you be privy to information that a victim obviously doesn’t want to be public and doesn’t need to be public? To both questions the preliminary answer is you aren’t.
    The people who do merit getting more info, most of the time due to having the actual power of tossing someone out or worse, tend to protect the accused in exactly the way as the first of the 3 cartoons.

  137. says

    @Jadehawk

    it even came up way back during “the dialogue”

    [making judgement about truth vs. considering the consequences]

    Do you have a link? I’d be interested in reading the discussion, as it seems pretty much to hit the nail on the head.
    Thanks.

    & a kitty link for everyone exhausted from the grenade thread.

  138. says

    Man, every time, we get the men crawling out of the woodwork to basically argue that any woman who in any way utters publicly the reality that everyone (the rape apologists included) acknowledges is real (even if the rape apologists want to make it the woman’s fault in order to protect rapists from culpability and yeah, I’m definitely going to scratch my chin hard wondering why these douchebags are so personally invested in making it impossible for a rape victim to speak out or in suggesting that all/most women lie about rape. Gosh, couldn’t be a personal experience they’re trying to downplay, what with the unbelievably high level of rape in our society.).

    And I know this latest douchebag is banned, but one little bit jumped out at me and demands comment:

    is solid gold evidence that some court-certified victim has no other recourse?

    So we are supposed to wait until we demonstrate that a victim has literally zero other recourses before she is allowed to speak her experiences publicly and let others know what has been done to her?

    Well, isn’t that convenient for rapists. I mean, a victim will always have some other recourse. Not just things like the deliberately nightmarish justice system (yeah, wonder why rape apologists point all victims that way. Couldn’t have anything to do with the way rape trials are pretty much universally investigations of the rape victim wherein a jury deduces if she is or is not sexually active enough to have deserved being raped, no no). But also things like stalking the rapist down and murdering them, interpretive dance, and launching a rocket ship into space.

    And all to prevent them from engaging in the terrible horrible crime of speaking about their experiences publicly.

    Oh no! How dare that person who will likely be suffering PTSD effects, flashbacks, massive triggers over body parts, and the complete violation of their body and sense of agency DARE speak publicly about what happened to them!

    Or to put it more explicitly to what they are really angry about: How DARE she speak the truth in a way in which we can’t directly attack her and pressure her to recant simply to protect her own sense of safety. How DARE she avoid the most popular ways we have for intimidating and pressuring rape victims to remain silent so that nothing is done to fix the rape culture and the various sexist systems that support and enforce it.

    Which is horrifying on its face. But there’s also the anger and violence against the notion of someone “doing harm” simply by saying what happened to them.

    If Michael Schermer didn’t want multiple women corroborating and saying the same things about how they felt violated and pressured into sexual spaces they didn’t want, maybe he should have tried not doing that.

    There are any number of heterosexual men who don’t seem to have the same problem. Who somehow have managed to never be accused of rape, never have multiple women telling the same story of them violating their boundaries, who don’t have to fear the truth being told about them.

    Some who are even firm believers in casual sex and having mutually enjoyable short-term things that aren’t necessarily going to lead to more.

    And you know what was their magic secret: NOT RAPING ANYONE. Not trying to ride the thin middle between consent and not in order to “score”. But rather lay their intentions up front, accept no as an answer and privilege consent above everything.

    And you know what those men also get? More sex that is also more enjoyable sex, a good type of grapevine and most importantly of all, NOT HAVING RAPED SOMEONE.

    You’d think more men invested in projecting the idea that they are “good people” would care about a little something like that, instead of intellectually masturbating to hackneyed rape apologist tactics in order to angrily rant about how they can’t bully and intimidate the women from shutting the fuck up and accepting the rape culture.

  139. says

    Also it’s worth repeating though everyone else has already done so:

    If you get raped, it’s NEVER your fault. Not if you were drinking. Not if you were wearing a sexy skirt. Not if you’ve been sexual in the past. Not if you had sex that very same night. Not if you’ve had sex with your rapist before or after your rape. NEVER.

    The only thing that created that rape was the presence of the rapist. ALWAYS.

    I was raped as a completely sober asexual in a baggy t-shirt and shorts that went down past my knees in a public panel at a conference without having even approached my rapist. But if I had been wasted while completely naked in their home and sexually active with them. All that mattered was that they were a rapist and decided to rape me.

    The whole world will tell you otherwise and douchebags like FuckYouYouDoNotDeserveANymThatReferencesTheAwesomenessThatIsMotorhead will try and support that tendency to blame oneself for a sense of agency. But it is NEVER your fault. There is NOTHING you could have done in the moment with what you knew then to stop it.

    And fuck the douchebag brigade who are more than happy to make rape survivors feel like they need to be flawless to even speak about what happened to them. If they really cared about a world where people didn’t have to be wary and on-guard against potential rapists, they’d fucking celebrate people reporting their experiences and calling out those who violate them.

  140. ChasCPeterson says

    I have also noticed a very high, though less high than with your examples, ratio of people with firstnamelastname as handles.

    wut

  141. says

    Chas, in the grenade thread, it seemed that a lot of the ICTAs* who popped up used ‘nyms of the format myeckwaters or chaspetersen. That a fair number turned out to be sockpuppets is, I’m sure, a complete coincidence.

    (*ICTA: short for ICTABAASAF = I’d Call Them Assholes But Assholes Actually Serve A Function)

  142. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Actually, I don’t think it’s lastname firstname so much as their inability to use blockquotes that clues me in to troll behaviour.

  143. says

    Chas:

    wut

    Examples from the grenade thread would be ‘jimashby’ or ‘jameswaller’. I don’t think that’s a tell, though. More reliable ones are, what they write, of course, and the absolute refusal to use a teeny bit of HTML in order to make their posts readable without inducing mass headaches.

  144. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    You don’t think people are responsible for whether or not they get drunk at conferences? Dream on. Nobody’s mentioned a ‘date rape’ drug in this rhetorical dogpile.

    Your presumption is that once someone IS drunk, they become everyone else’s responsibility. Quote me the Ten Commandments on that one.

    I see PZ has already booted Ace of Skeps/Prurient Zombie Mynahbird (what kind of a fucking word salad ‘nym is that, exactly?), but this little speck of shite they left behind has me so fucking angry I can’t fucking see straight. *deep breaths*

  145. leaford says

    Hi, long time lurker very infrequent poster here. I wanted to post this on the Grenade thread, but of course got to it too late. I didn’t read all 4K posts on that thread, so I apologize if this point has been made already, but I think it might be worth repeating if it has. And I apologize if I’m just re-opening the door for more MRA trolls to respond, but again, I think it’s worth saying.

    For all those arguing any variation of is drunk sex rape, I think it might help respond to them by stepping back from the ways to define sexual consent and just look at the concept of legal consent itself, regardless of context. Because it’s the same across the board. Legal consent requires that the party have the required sound mind and judgment to give consent. A person who is not of sound mind and judgment due to intoxication, mental illness, incapacitation, or being under the legal age of consent is not capable of giving consent and any consent the give is invalid, and fruits of that are also invalid and illegal.

    That’s true in all legal contexts in virtually all jurisdictions, whether consenting to a contract, a marriage, a medical procedure, or sexual activity. The immediate fruits of that are void and illegal; a contract entered into when one party is intoxicated can be nullified( ), a marriage annulled ( ), etc. And the other party, in all those contexts, can be held legally liable for accepting that invalid and illegal consent if they knew or should have known that the other party was too intoxicated to give legal consent; the other party to a contract or marriage may be liable for fraud or misrepresentation, a doctor may be sued for malpractice, or a sexual partner charged with rape ( ).

    Conversely, to be held legally liable it must be proven that they knew or should have known the individual was intoxicated, so the other party can argue the state or plaintiff did not prove that, or argue affirmatively that they had reasonable belief the person was not too intoxicated to consent. But that’s the only defense. “She got drunk on her own,” “she initiated it,” “she consented” or “I was drunk too”, are not defenses.

    So, if they’re drunk (gender-neutral “they”, not plural ‘they”, although by the statistics, the plural is probably equally appropriate), and you (hypothetical “you” not any specific “you”, although it would be specifically appropriate for many posters here) knew it or should reasonably known it, there is no consent, and you may be legally liable. The contract is void, the marriage annulled, and yes you raped them, and you may be found guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, malpractice, or rape. It doesn’t matter how they got that way, it doesn’t matter how willing or enthusiastic they are, and it doesn’t matter if you are drunk yourself. Intoxication equals an inability to give consent, in all legal contexts. And if you knew or should have known, you may be liable.

    So, yes, if you knew that that late night hookup was too drunk to give consent and “took advantage”, it was rape. Even if she got drunk on her own, even if she approaches you and makes the proposition unsolicited, even is she is an active and enthusiastic participant. If you were both drunk, and you both knew the other was drunk, one or both of you may have been too drunk to give consent, and so yes, you may have both raped each other.

    It’s not ambiguous, it’s not controversial, it’s no different for rape than any other area where consent is required. Intoxication = no legal consent.

  146. leaford says

    Fuck. Preview didn’t work, so I missed an HTML bork. Lemmie retry without the HTML-fu:

    Hi, long time lurker very infrequent poster here. I wanted to post this on the Grenade thread, but of course got to it too late. I didn’t read all 4K posts on that thread, so I apologize if this point has been made already, but I think it might be worth repeating if it has. And I apologize if I’m just re-opening the door for more MRA trolls to respond, but again, I think it’s worth saying.

    For all those arguing any variation of is drunk sex rape, I think it might help respond to them by stepping back from the ways to define sexual consent and just look at the concept of legal consent itself, regardless of context. Because it’s the same across the board. Legal consent requires that the party have the required sound mind and judgment to give consent. A person who is not of sound mind and judgment due to intoxication, mental illness, incapacitation, or being under the legal age of consent is not capable of giving consent and any consent the give is invalid, and fruits of that are also invalid and illegal.

    That’s true in all legal contexts in virtually all jurisdictions, whether consenting to a contract, a marriage, a medical procedure, or sexual activity. The immediate fruits of that are void and illegal; a contract entered into when one party is intoxicated can be nullified(http://contract-law.laws.com/consideration/intoxication ), a marriage annulled (http://family.findlaw.com/divorce/annulments-overview.html ), etc. And the other party, in all those contexts, can be held legally liable for accepting that invalid and illegal consent if they knew or should have known that the other party was too intoxicated to give legal consent; the other party to a contract or marriage may be liable for fraud or misrepresentation, a doctor may be sued for malpractice, or a sexual partner charged with rape (http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/1000/1002.html ).

    Conversely, to be held legally liable it must be proven that they knew or should have known the individual was intoxicated, so the other party can argue the state or plaintiff did not prove that, or argue affirmatively that they had reasonable belief the person was not too intoxicated to consent. But that’s the only defense. “She got drunk on her own,” “she initiated it,” “she consented” or “I was drunk too”, are not defenses.

    So, if they’re drunk (gender-neutral “they”, not plural ‘they”, although by the statistics, the plural is probably equally appropriate), and you (hypothetical “you” not any specific “you”, although it would be specifically appropriate for many posters here) knew it or should reasonably known it, there is no consent, and you may be legally liable. The contract is void, the marriage annulled, and yes you raped them, and you may be found guilty of fraud, misrepresentation, malpractice, or rape. It doesn’t matter how they got that way, it doesn’t matter how willing or enthusiastic they are, and it doesn’t matter if you are drunk yourself. Intoxication equals an inability to give consent, in all legal contexts. And if you knew or should have known, you may be liable.

    So, yes, if you knew that that late night hookup was too drunk to give consent and “took advantage”, it was rape. Even if she got drunk on her own, even if she approaches you and makes the proposition unsolicited, even is she is an active and enthusiastic participant. If you were both drunk, and you both knew the other was drunk, one or both of you may have been too drunk to give consent, and so yes, you may have both raped each other.

    It’s not ambiguous, it’s not controversial, it’s no different for rape than any other area where consent is required. Intoxication = no legal consent.

  147. sautterron . says

    @leaford (In this comment I’m writing nothing at all about sex, Shermer, or PZ).

    What you wrote is quite scary. “That’s true in all legal contexts in virtually all jurisdictions, whether consenting to a contract, a marriage, a medical procedure.” A medical procedure – really? Meaning a doctor can go to prison healing injured drunk person’s injuries?

    If a person agrees to the medical procedure at some time being sober, but is intoxicated during the procedure then what?

    What about contracts like “by using this service you agree to the Terms of Service and pay X amount of money”, or situations of type if you take something you have to pay for it later – do intoxicated have special protections? Can they use the paid services for free?

    Or basically any other situation with the intoxicated actively doing something to the passive something or someone else, without bothering about any contract?

  148. says

    sautteron,

    A medical procedure – really? Meaning a doctor can go to prison healing injured drunk person’s injuries?

    It is my understanding that there are specific laws in place that exempt emergency life-saving procedures from the general legal standard of informed consent, but there is a reason why if someone is drunk in ER/Casualty then only the bare minimum will be done to stop bleeding etc, and they will then wait until the person is sober enough to tender informed consent before undergoing any further procedures. If a drunk person is accompanied by their next of kin or legal guardian, then that person is also given a special legal dispensation of being able to consent on the drunk person’s behalf.

    If a person agrees to the medical procedure at some time being sober, but is intoxicated during the procedure then what?

    Unless they revoke their earlier adequately informed consent while drunk, then there wouldn’t be any problem. If they do revoke their earlier consent, I expect that the ethical standard is to stop any procedures until they sober up and ask them again.

    What about contracts like “by using this service you agree to the Terms of Service and pay X amount of money”, or situations of type if you take something you have to pay for it later – do intoxicated have special protections? Can they use the paid services for free?

    They would have to prove that the service provider could reasonably understand that they were drunk. If they can do that, then they get the service for free. If it’s a product, they would have to receive a refund when they returned it sober. But only if they can prove that (a) they were drunk, and (b) the other party knew that they were drunk.

  149. says

    Leaford, I’d love to repost your comment above #164 on my blog as a post of its own. Would that be OK? Happy to give you a Guest Post byline for it if you like, or else just quote it as a comment from here if you prefer.

  150. says

    P.S. to sautterron (forgot to respond to your last question)

    Or basically any other situation with the intoxicated actively doing something to the passive something or someone else, without bothering about any contract?

    When the intoxicated do something actively (punch somebody, drive a car, break something) then they are still culpable for damage that they have personally done or laws that they have personally broken. There are generally clauses and distinct offences for drunken behaviours that take into account the lack of mens rea while retaining culpability for harm/damage.

    However, when Person A else asks drunk Person B to sign a contract (or engage in behaviour which commonly requires a verbal contract), and Person B acquiesces while drunk to something to which Person B would not acquiesce while sober, then the onus for harm/damages/criminality is on Person A for offering the contract to a temporarily legally incapacitated person.

  151. says

    @sautterron .

    A medical procedure – really? Meaning a doctor can go to prison healing injured drunk person’s injuries?

    Definitely. There’s a reason why doctors ask for consent and have you sign forms, even in instances important, necessary surgery. If they don’t, they tend to get sued and lose their license, or worse.

    For example, let’s say you have condition requiring an operation, but the operation has a small chance of killing you (as almost any operation will have). If the doctors don’t get consent and you actually die, they could go to jail. They can’t defend themselves with the medical fact that the operation had an inherent risk because you didn’t consent to take the risk.

    Indeed, even if the surgery is a success, you could still sue for malpractice because they failed to get your consent. You don’t have to show damages; the lack of consent is an ethical violation in itself. The idea of informed consent is a cornerstone of medical ethics.

    As tigtog mentions, there may be some exceptions for immediate life-saving measures, but anything beyond that would certainly be considered malpractice. Doctors don’t get to decide what’s best for their patients without the patient’s consent.

    That’s neither a new development, nor at all controversial. Why do you think it’s scary?

  152. leaford says

    Thanks tigtog and LykeX for jumping in on that. And tigtog, sure, feel free to repost with attribution, but if you do you should note, as I neglected to, that I am not a lawyer, I’m just going off old dusty paralegal training and some quick google-fu to verify my recollections. I would agree with your answers to Sautterron’s hypotheticals, although in the case of the contract for products or services I would add that the intoxicated party would not necessarily get to walk away scott free; when a contract is invalidated after an exchange of goods, services, or other consideration both parties may have an obligation to make the other whole for any benefits they received under the contract before invalidation. I could be wrong about that though, that’s more a matter of case law and precedent which I am not in a position to research adequately.

  153. nathanaelnerode says

    @18 — that made me need to vent. I suppose this may be a trigger warning comment.

    In middle school I was repeatedly harassed both violently and sexually by a very short list of people, mostly boys. At first they did their best to hide their identities (literally hit and run — grab at genitals or butt and run, or shove into wall and run), but after a year or so I knew who they were.

    And yes, I’m male.

    I reported them *every single time*, which of course led to them upping their harassment. There was precisely one person in the administration or on the teaching staff who gave a damn and was willing to suspend these creeps (and even then they were always back after two weeks). It took me roughly a year and a half to figure out who the one person who cared was. The first time I found her and reported an assailant (whose name I didn’t know), and got her to follow me so I could point him out, she collared him and said something along the lines of “You again?”. which told me something I didn’t know until then — that there were many previous complaints.

    Oh. Also. There were two rapes committed on campus at the school in the three years I was there. Not a happy school.

    Later on, in high school, when my female friends mentioned the extreme amount of sexual harassment they’d endured in middle school, my reaction was to share my experience. And exactly the same names came up, of course. Though there turned out to have been additional creeps who had only harassed women, many of them were actually ready to harass anyone they thought they could get away with harassing, without regard to gender.

    Now, why didn’t my female friends report the harassment in middle school? I didn’t even ask: maybe they had. I knew exactly how hard it had been to report, and how useless it had been…

    Patterns matter. To people who aren’t creeps who feel like they need to defend creeps because they might be accused of something, just remember that this discussion has never been about people who did something bad once — it has been about people who do the same stuff over and over and over again, where a mountain of documentation has been building up.

    Have I done things which were inappropriate? Have I ever threatened someone inappropriately? Yes, and the same is probably true of many people, but I’ve only done so on *rare occasions* when I wasn’t thinking straight. People will usually forgive rare lapses.

    So, for example, Mike’s comment is unsettling, but if he’s genuinely stopped the abuse (and if it was purely verbal)… people seem to be able to tolerate that. Many people are suckers for reform stories. Beyond that, from what I can tell from history, lots of people have been *temporarily crazy* and engaged in harassment of one target once, which they now regret. The thing is, we’re really not talking about those people here. Not at all.

    We’re talking about people who keep doing the same stuff over and over again, to multiple targets. Who get caught and keep doing it. Like the 5 or so serial harassers who terrorized, really, everyone they thought they could target in my entire 800-student middle school, for three full years. *And basically got away with it*, thanks to the utter lack of care from the people running the school. And those predators were kids, and not very bright or competent. (Heck, thinking about it, there were probably more competent predators operating at my middle school, because a competent predator would have figured out that I was a dangerous target and avoided me.) Smart adults with more practice can get away with much, much more in an environment which tolerates aggravated harassment.


    “ischemgeek wrote:

    Alcohol is the most common date rape drug. You can drug someone with alcohol very easily without them realizing it – order them triples of drinks mixed with something sweet and acidic, like orange juice, and tell them they’re singles. I had that happen to me once – fortunately for me, the “friend” doing it was just doing it because he and his girlfriend (another “friend”) thought I would be a funny drunk, despite the fact that I’d expressed to them I don’t like drinking to excess due to a huge family history of alcoholism.

    The friendships ended that night because friends don’t purposefully disregard boundaries like that for the lulz.”
    Jesus Christ on a bicycle. This shocks me. I would probably have called the police, just to make sure they had a record of police reports at their house. I wonder how many people those two have drugged.

    I once had someone “suggest jokingly” that they might spike my drink, and I remember that my response was “If you spiked my drink I would have you thrown in prison, and if I couldn’t do that, I’d kill you. And I’m a teetotaler and can taste alcohol and if you drug me I will be able to prove it.” I don’t actually remember who it was who suggested it because I didn’t know them well enough to remember their name, but they stayed *well* away from me after that. They were actually shocked that I would threaten to kill them if they drugged me without my consent — I still can’t see why they would be shocked, but I suppose it was good that they were. I was sufficiently creeped out that I felt the need to draw a boundary line brighter than the sun.

    Are there seriously that many people out there who think that drugging people against their will is something to be done for fun or profit? Yeesh.

  154. Jason Hyer says

    “If that’s true, you should definately call the police and report it.”

    You should probably add that one as well.

  155. tbrucegodfrey says

    In a rape charge (or other felony charge) in Maryland, a defendant has a right to file for a “bill of particulars” in which the prosecution must identify the victim, the date, the time and the surrounding circumstances of an alleged rape.

    We don’t know who; we don’t know where, what city, what conference, what century this alleged interaction happen. We don’t know the facts. We are supposed to trust you that you are a good judge of other people’s honesty and that you are being honest.

    None of this means Shermer (or Sherlock, or Shakespeare) didn’t do something reprehensible, horrible and/or criminal, including rape. But these natural questions aren’t in your cute cartoon, which is why it’s a pretty weak piece of persuasive street art. You may know the answers to these questions, and you appear to withholding them for an unclear reasons. At a minimum, even if you don’t want to identify the accuser, the conference date, time and location should be identified; crimes have crime scenes. It would be like me accusing you of committing academic plagiarism some time in the last decade, but not identifying the quote, topic, citation, publication date or true owner of the words.

  156. says

    @tbrucegodfrey
    Literally every single point you make here has already been addressed multiple times.

    So, either you’re such a lazy and self-obsessed bastard that you can’t be bothered to do a minimum of reading before blathering you insipid opinions all over the place, or you’re just plain dishonest; knowing full well that what you say is bullshit, but saying it anyway, just to undermine and deliberately hurt victims or rape and harassment.

    Either way, you’re part of the problem.

  157. tbrucegodfrey says

    Yeah, I’ll cop to lazy because reading 200 comments of pedantry to get what I could get from a Maryland prosecutor’s office with a 1-page filing seemed like a poor use of a Sunday morning. They haven’t been “addressed”; they have been ignored. Where did the rape happen? In what country? If it’s been identified, pretend it’s 9th grade geometry and show your work.

    As for the rest of your ad hominems about me, I can’t say I blame you for aiming your fire at me personally; I am a less problematic target than the issue itself and so when you have no case, like a second-year lawyer, you bang on the table and shout names.

    Where? What zip code? Even the damned Duke lacrosse players, whose prosecutor now stands disbarred, got a date and a time and zip code of the alleged offenses.

  158. piegasm says

    *marks the “doesn’t know what an ad hominem is” space on her Rape Apologist Bingo Card*

  159. says

    THIS. IS. NOT. A. FUCKING. COURTROOM.

    If you can’t even understand a point as simple as that, what hope is there really? And then, to make yourself look even more stupid, you conclude that your points haven’t been addressed, despite admittedly not reading this thread and apparently not even being aware of the other 4000+ comment thread on this subject.

    Hell, you haven’t eve caught on to the fact that PZ didn’t make the cartoon. It’s not just the comments, you haven’t even bothered to read the opening post itself.

  160. Owlmirror says

    In a rape charge (or other felony charge)

    There’s your problem.

    Yeah, I’ll cop to lazy because reading 200 comments of pedantry to get what I could get from a Maryland prosecutor’s office with a 1-page filing

    That’s not what you’re supposed to get.

    seemed like a poor use of a Sunday morning.

    Even though it’s not relevant — Maryland prosecutors’ offices are open on Sunday?

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In a rape charge (or other felony charge)

    No criminal charges will be filed. The original purpose of PZ’s post was to publicly warn women about a person and the techniques he used to rape women. That behavior was corroborated by several other people.

    Now, how does one go about publicly warning women about a potential rapist and his techniques that meets your desire for discretion, but yet effectively warns all women at a conference said potential rapist is attending. Privately talking to all the women is not effective, and is a non-sequitur.

  162. tbrucegodfrey says

    Oh agreed, this is not a courtroom. Clearly. Courtroom have rules for fair process and batshit mobs get locked up in the courthouse basement until they chill out. Courtrooms expect that their decisions will sustain appellate review. Courtrooms are places where lawyers, unlike university professors, can get disbarred for major due process violations, e.g. Nifong.

    Yeah, PZ didn’t write the cartoon; he selected it. I am very much aware of the record-breaking 4000-comment circle jerk (ok, not technically a circle, as it only approaches being a circle asymptotically, etc.) It actually proves my point. 4000 screaming commenters and not one checklist item from what I could expect from a Maryland charging document written by a rookie cop, other than the name of the accused.

    If I were PZ’s lawyer (and I am glad I am not), I’d be making sure that his house could not be attached if owned jointly with his wife under Minnesota law. Shermer, guilty or non-guilty of this crime, cannot back down; he has to defeat Myers in court now and Myers cannot back down either. PZ’s got revenue coming in from The Happy Atheist, a copy of which is next to me (and it’s not at all a bad read.) It’s all attachable. Shermer is likely an unsafe hire for any future convention or conference and has been accused of a crime of moral turpitude; the damages are easy to prove.

    As for the laudable goal of protecting women from crimes at a conference, the goal is laudable generally but as Penn Jillette is wont to remind us the “ends justify the means” gets us nowhere; life is nothing but means.

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As for the laudable goal of protecting women from crimes at a conference, the goal is laudable generally but as Penn Jillette is wont to remind us the “ends justify the means” gets us nowhere; life is nothing but means.

    Word salad, meaning nothing but “I have no point, just my unexamined prejudices, and I don’t like you forcing me to examine them”. What a loser, who shouldn’t ever interact with women in any fashion.

  164. Jackie Papercuts says

    I find it hard to take anyone seriously who claims that a comment section is a “mob” and that written words are “screaming”. Quoting Penn Gillette on top of that will make it impossible.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, why do rape apologists think quoting known liberturds is in anyway persuasive? Liberturds are morally bankrupt arrogant fools. If you have empathy and morals, you aren’t a liberturd.

  166. Aim: baby hordeling says

    tbrucegodfrey, @183:

    You do understand that the standards that apply in court are there to make sure the innocent are not unjustly punished by the government, yes?
    Do you also understand that neither PZ Meyers, not Pharyngula, nor even the Horde have the power to imprison or fine anybody?
    If so, then why in the name of all that is cream and cookies do you keep trying to apply those very rigorous standards here?

    As an aside, I find it interesting that you feel comfortable dismissing the 4k comments over on the grenade thread as a circle jerk, even though you freely admit to not having read them.

  167. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    I see that tbrucegodfrey apparently neither knows nor cares that these allegations against Shermer are not new. He’s been the subject of the rumor mill for ages.

    What is new is someone (PZ, in this case) actually saying so openly, rather than simply adding to the whispers.

  168. Owlmirror says

    Courtroom have rules for fair process and batshit mobs get locked up in the courthouse basement until they chill out.

    You think that rape apologists are a batshit mob who should be locked up in the courthouse basement?

    I am very much aware of the record-breaking 4000-comment circle jerk

    Aware of, but you didn’t actually read it. Because ignoring stuff is OK if it’s not actually on the legal record.

    I guess you should be locked up in a courthouse basement, since you’re joining the mob of rape apologists.

    It actually proves my point.

    You point seems to be that rape is OK if rape victims don’t follow court procedures.

    If I were PZ’s lawyer (and I am glad I am not), I’d be making sure that his house could not be attached if owned jointly with his wife under Minnesota law. Shermer, guilty or non-guilty of this crime, cannot back down; he has to defeat Myers in court now and Myers cannot back down either

    *eyeroll* You know, I don’t know much about law, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a rookie move to say that this has to go to court.

    Who is going to compel Shermer to go to trial, if he decides, on counsel’s advice, to let this go?

    Who is going to compel Myers to go to trial, if Shermer offers an out-of-court settlement which is accepted on Myers’ counsel’s advice?

    I mean, are you just stupid, or still in school, or what?

    Shermer is likely an unsafe hire for any future convention or conference and has been accused of a crime of moral turpitude; the damages are easy to prove.

    What damages? Who has suffered any damages from the simple accusation of rape?

    As for the laudable goal of protecting women from crimes at a conference, the goal is laudable generally but as Penn Jillette is wont to remind us the “ends justify the means” gets us nowhere; life is nothing but means.

    That’s ironic, since your position seems to be that the “ends” of accepting rape justifies the “means” of ignoring and disbelieving rape victims.

  169. says

    4000 screaming commenters and not one checklist item from what I could expect from a Maryland charging document written by a rookie cop, other than the name of the accused.

    My emphasis. Since no charges have been filed, no such document exists. I don’t know why you keep going on about it, since it’s clearly irrelevant here.

    You say you agree that this is not a courtroom, but then you immediately go on to apply the standards of a legal case. Slight problem, don’t you think?

    Let’s apply your own methods to you:
    You haven’t supplied a witness list with your name on it, neither have you demonstrated your credentials as a lawyer. Since you’re neither a lawyer nor a witness, your comments are stricken from the record. Since there’s no argument on record, the case is dismissed. Court adjourned.

  170. eigenperson says

    I don’t think tbrucegodfrey is admitted to practice in the Court of Public Opinion. But he is welcome to file a motion to appear pro hac vice, if he can get sponsoring local counsel.

    Oh, and the fee for pro hac vice admission is $50.00. After all, that’s what it is in Maryland.

  171. Arawhon says

    I think I finally get why so many of these rape apologist hyperskeptics always go by court logic. They are unable,whether by lack of knowledge or by lazyness, to formulate a moral or ethical system without clear solid rules and so latch onto the best version they know of, thus court style morality and all its lack of empathy. They lack the ability to recognize or allow nuance in their morality.

  172. says

    Is there some kind of daily mailing list for rape apologists somewhere? To give them reminders to go out and apologize for rape if they haven’t lately? First there’s one on the grenade thread, then one here just as that dies down. I was just starting to lose the headache from the blunt trauma of repeatedly slapping it with my palm, too…

  173. says

    #194, they’ve probably put together their own alerts for threads about rape on certain sites they loathe by using Google Alerts, IFTTT etc. At least half of them are probably treating it as an academic exercise in derailing just for the lolz, too – getting their kicks by drowning signal in their noise.

    I remember back in ye olde days of USENET that afu used to have a guideline of not jumping on any aggravating comment seen early in a thread if it’s a few hours old – just assume that one of the other old hands will have already done any stomping required further downthread, and get on with reading the rest without letting one’s mind dwell on that one (keep it fresh for the next one!).

    Also seconding more rigorous abiding by the three-comment rule and the reset rule.