Comments

  1. screechymonkey says

    Boo on getting sued, yay on competent representation.

    There’s been no lawsuit yet as far as I know, just a threatening letter.

  2. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Whatever happens, you did the right thing and got the word out.

    Now go kick some ass.

  3. raven says

    FWIW, if PZ Myers and FTB start a legal defense fund, I’m in.

    I don’t like threats or bullies. I do like the truth a whole lot.

    A court of law is sometimes a good place to untangle these situations.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    My best wishes, PZ, and should support of the green, papery kind become necessary, don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    I love Ken White and Popehat in a totally non-creepy way and now I love them twice as much (still with no creepiness involved). That’s wonderful news! Take heart, PZ and Jane Doe!

  6. eigenperson says

    Good thing Ken believes in free speech. Otherwise he probably wouldn’t help you out, considering he believes* that you are “responsible for the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, Stalin’s purges of the Russian Orthodox Church, and this guy in Philadelphia who raped a 77-year-old woman and told her there was no God.”

    * Not really.

    On the other hand, I don’t think there is any record of Ken calling you a poopyhead, so maybe he is willing to look past the whole Khmer Rouge thing after all.

  7. says

    I don’t have a lot, but if it comes down to it I’m happy to contribute to a legal fund. Thank you, PZ, for doing what’s right, and thank you, Janes Doe, for coming forward. I sincerely wish you the best in this matter.

  8. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    Sorry for the double-post (curse my fingers for hitting “Submit Comment” too fast). I’ll throw my lucky house-rabbit feets in, too. Sounds like both of ours are the luckiest kind–still attached to the rabbit.

  9. Gregory Greenwood says

    You are doing the right thing, PZ. Protecting Jane Doe’s identity and not allowing yourself to be intimidated by lawyerly fishing expeditions are the correct priorties to have.

    I also think that Shermer needs to be reminded of a little online phenomenon called the the Streisand Effect – when you try to muzzle the internet, it has a tendency to bite…

  10. raven says

    when you try to muzzle the internet, it has a tendency to bite…

    First Rule of Holes. When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

  11. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    PZ,

    Please take care of yourself, first and foremost. (((Jedi hugs)))

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    From eigenperson’s link @ # 20:

    [Myers’s post was] … too sadly dysfunctional to be insulting. … He’s a practiced and increasingly successful attention whore, skilled in the classic please-notice-me three-step of saying something that is (in a very belabored fashion) outrageous, collecting predictable outraged responses, and then nailing himself to the cross over how harsh and foul and bigoted his critics are and how oppressed he is for Speaking Truth To Power.

    A regular in-it-for-the-money lawyer might give more help than a pro bono attorney with a grudge against his client.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oops – on re-reading the OP, I see that Ken White’s role involves finding a pro bono lawyer, not serving as one – so my concerns are misplaced at best, and probably totally unfounded.

  14. eigenperson says

    Ken has (successfully) defended people he disagrees with far more strongly, and frequently, than he does with PZ, so I wouldn’t have any concern about his ability to provide a high-quality defense anyway.

    I posted the link mainly because I thought it was amusing.

  15. says

    And I’ve worked with people with whom I’ve disagreed far more strongly than with Ken White. We can find common cause with people we disagree with. Hey, isn’t that what all the accommodationists say all the time?

  16. says

    @Pierce R. Butler
    I don’t think Ken would be as petty as that. If he was mad enough at PZ for it to matter, he’d more likely just tell him to sniff various arts of his body.

  17. airbornetortoise says

    Long time lurker here, coming out ofghe shadows to express my support.

    PZ and company, if you need a contribution for a possible legal defense, I will glady reach for my wallet and spread the word. The silencing and hostility towards women in the atheist community stops here, now.

  18. throwaway, gut-punched says

    sniff various arts of his body.

    B.O. as works of art? Sure, why not! It’s hard to facilitate the necessary funkified breeding grounds for certain bacteria.

  19. cpps says

    If PZ were made to take down the original post, and if some folks still had screenshots of it, would it cause any additional legal problems for PZ if afforementioned screenshots were to be uploaded by other people to a whole bunch of other blogs/forums elsewhere? Just, you know, hypothetically.

  20. raven says

    Another place you can think about, the EFF. Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    wikipedia EFF:
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit digital rights group based in the United States.

    EFF has taken action in several ways. It provides funds for legal defense in court, presents amici curiae briefs, defends individuals and new technologies from what it considers baseless or misdirected legal threats, works to expose government malfeasance, provides guidance to the government and courts, organizes political action and mass mailings, supports some new technologies which it believes preserve personal freedoms, maintains a database and web sites of related news and information, monitors and challenges potential legislation that it believes would infringe on personal liberties and fair use, and solicits a list of what it considers patent abuses with intentions to defeat those that it considers without merit.

    They did a lot in the early years of the internet and used to have a lot of case law on their website.

  21. lentes says

    Well, I look forward to PZ being declared guilty of defamation. It will serve as a reminder to idiots all over this blog network not to throw around claims to the public without presenting ANY evidence to the public.

    I say this, even if Shermer does turn out to be a rapist, because no matter what evidence Myers is able to come up with against Shermer later on, the fact of the matter is that the article PZ wrote had no evidence of this, and so at that point in time, what he did was (and is) morally reprehensible.

    If PZ had corroborated his claims with plausible (not even super solid) evidence, I’d still respect his decision. Of course though, hearsay > evidence in this tiny, sad internet black hole for free thought.

  22. throwaway, gut-punched says

    the article PZ wrote had no evidence of this

    TESTIMONY. IS. EVIDENCE.

    Fuck off.

  23. eigenperson says

    lentes, perhaps you could use your superior knowledge of the law to help Shermer obtain a guilty verdict in his civil case.

  24. throwaway, gut-punched says

    hearsay

    Go look that up. Seriously, douchecanoe, you are not as smart as you believe. Words have meanings and when you use them in such frivolous ways you’re opening yourself up to being made fun of.

  25. nich says

    …without presenting ANY evidence to the public.

    Since when is a first person account from a trusted individual not considered a form of evidence, you fucking twerp?

  26. carlie says

    lentes, perhaps you could let us know what your definition of “hearsay” is? Because “being told directly by the person it happened to” isn’t it.

  27. anteprepro says

    I say this, even if Shermer does turn out to be a rapist, because no matter what evidence Myers is able to come up with against Shermer later on, the fact of the matter is that the article PZ wrote had no evidence of this, and so at that point in time, what he did was (and is) morally reprehensible.

    If PZ had corroborated his claims with plausible (not even super solid) evidence, I’d still respect his decision. Of course though, hearsay > evidence in this tiny, sad internet black hole for free thought.

    No, you’re not a hyperskeptical rape apologist at all. You just are sayin’ that if PZ is going to present several women’s accounts in which they say Shermer raped them, he shouldn’t have just believe those women who are clearly lying, for Reasons. PZ should have done his due diligence and obtained Real Evidence. He should have went to the scenes of the crimes and found physical evidence. You should have brought along his own personal CSI lab before daring to give a platform to women who claim, with their filthy lying mouths and their fuzzy lady brains, to have been sexually assaulted.

    But seriously though, just go fuck yourself.

  28. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Yes, yes… the taste of feminist/victimist tears.

    Yes, yes… the blustering of an ineffectual stooge.

  29. Brian E says

    Hey lentes, might want to take off those lentes so you don’t hurt yourself sticking your head up your behind.

  30. raven says

    FWIW, going to court is no big deal.

    At least if you are sure of your position and truth, justice, and the right are on your side. It’s a calm, deliberate, and slow way to get everything out on the table.

    I’ve been in federal court on a high profile civil case. It didn’t scare me. It didn’t bother me. And oh yeah, we won bigtime and they paid our sides legal bill.

  31. John Pieret says

    PZ …

    If you are sued (which I tend to doubt … Schermer has more to lose in such a public contest than you do), I can’t help all that much unless it is in New York City or environs. But I could do some volunteer research/brief writing, both of which I am rather good at. Let me know if I can help.

  32. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Popehat is cool. Coincidently in my bookmarks right after Pharyngula as well.

    If ‘lentes’ is representative of the advice the other guy is getting, then this should be short.

  33. anteprepro says

    Yes, yes… the taste of feminist/victimist tears.

    And now I will always imagine Teh Menz Brigade speaking in Cartman’s voice. I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection until now.

  34. says

    Yes, yes… the taste of feminist/victimist tears.

    The funny smell of those calling other people “victimist” while claiming there’s a witch hunt against them.

  35. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Lentes, I am sure you will get a call when you become important or even relevant enough to have any extra information shared with you.
    In the meantime please understand that you are on the sidelines and no one has a duty to prove anything to you or anyone else here.

  36. PDX_Greg says

    @lentes

    Please enlighten us as to what you would consider as “plausible” evidence. Since the word of multiple women PZ Myers knows apparently is not. Maybe if a man came forward with a direct witness/harassment/assault statement? ‘Cause we can’t trust the wominz!

  37. mx89 says

    It really seems that the whole game of these people is:

    a) relying on the fact that finding physical evidence (or indeed evidence beyond testimony) in rape/assault cases ranges from highly difficult to impossible, especially in incidents that haven’t taken place immediately in the past,

    b) saying testimony isn’t evidence, or at least insufficient evidence to mention publicly without getting legal threats or attracting angry dudebros,

    and c) if nobody is hearing about sexual assault etc, that means it isn’t happening.

    Given a) and b), the logic then says practically no rape/assault case can ever be prosecuted or indeed even talked about, which by c) means rape culture isn’t a problem because it doesn’t even exist.

    Is this right? Both b) and c) are clearly flawed, but I really don’t think I’m putting words in the mouth of these people.

  38. Portia, in boots says

    Well, Iowa neighbors Minnesota, but I don’t think they give law licenses on a proximity basis, otherwise I would be so on board.

    I also think that Shermer needs to be reminded of a little online phenomenon called the the Streisand Effect – when you try to muzzle the internet, it has a tendency to bite…

    Not only that, but does Shermer really want to have to prove that the allegations are false? He has that burden if he sues for defamation. Sorry if I’m late to the party on this, but legal nuances are one thing I actually feel marginally competent to comment on. So, it’d be pretty ridiculous of him to sue for it…but then…we’re talking about a rapist…so…reasonable behavior is right out the window, huh?

  39. Brian E says

    If the claim is true then it should have been reported to the police.

    So, the claim was false. Gotcha.

  40. Brian E says

    Portia, in boots. I thought Shermer would only need prove the accusations were damaging to his reputation. Which being a public figure, he’s got no hope in hell. If he were a nobody, then he’d have a case and PZ would need to mount a case to prove he was a rapist. At least, that’s what I parse from Rieux’s comments the other day.

  41. Jacob Schmidt says

    If the claim is true then it should have been reported to the police.

    Ideally; the police would ideally take sexual assault claims seriously.

    Unfortunately, “ideal” describes assumptions for simplicity, not the world we live in.

  42. Portia, in boots says

    Brian E:

    Nope, it has to be false factual statements that damage the reputation or belong in one of the following categories:

    Allegations or imputations “injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession”
    Allegations or imputations “of loathsome disease” (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
    Allegations or imputations of “unchastity” (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women)
    Allegations or imputations of criminal activity (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude)

    (Wiki link).

    As someone mentioned earlier, truth is an absolute defense to libel/slander/defamation. What that means is that if it’s true, you are not liable whatsoever for telling the truth. And because it’s an element of the cause of action, the plaintiff has the burden of proving it by a preponderance of the evidence.

  43. PDX_Greg says

    @mx89

    And I would add that even physical evidence in cases like this would be impossible to bring to bear on a case like this, because no struggle was alleged, and the predator can simply say the sex was consensual.

    So yes, the people excluding testimony are essentially excluding the only possible evidence that a person was violated.

  44. ewor84 says

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof. Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence. I do believe it’s possibly true that Michael did this, just as much as it’s possibly true that he didn’t. This little thing called skepticism needs to be exercised a bit more around here.

  45. Brian E says

    Portia, but to prove it true or false, Jane Doe would be dragged across the coals. Not what PZ wants. Better just to get off because Shermer is a public figure, no?

  46. Portia, in boots says

    just as much as it’s possibly true that he didn’t.

    It’s also possible that there’s a giant teapot between here and the moon. Have you considered that?

  47. Brian E says

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof. Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence. I do believe it’s possibly true that Michael did this, just as much as it’s possibly true that he didn’t. This little thing called skepticism needs to be exercised a bit more around here.

    Testimony from various independent sources is more reliable than various testimonies from one source. Skepticism and all that.

  48. Brian E says

    Don’t you folks know nothing bad ever happens unless it’s reported to the police? Only a victimist would think otherwise!

    This kind of thinking is up there with the secret. If you wish for it, and it doesn’t happen, then it’s your fault. If you go to the police and theirs no conviction, you weren’t raped. If you don’t go the police, because there won’t be a conviction there’s no rape, and you’re a manhating life wrecker.

  49. Jacob Schmidt says

    Sounds like a conspiracy theorist.

    You know, I think I’m in danger of breaking a few keys on my keyboard, specifically the following: what the fuck are you talking about?

  50. mx89 says

    @70: I think everyone is well aware of the fact that testimony isn’t as reliable as other forms of evidence. But it’s all people have. And when multiple people are stepping forward, it kind of sounds like Herman Cain:

    http://www.colbert nation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/403246/november-29-2011/he-said–she-said–she-said–she-said–she-said–she-was-paid-not-to-say

    Mediahint usually works if you are region locked out.

  51. Portia, in boots says

    Brian E:

    Yes, in order to support the truth of it without resorting to hearsay, we’d have to hear from the anonymous woman, probably. Though…I’m thinking…her account of the events to PZ would have independent legal significnce…so maybe they’d get in anyway…I dunno. Probably would involve her testimony, which would suck, obviously. Still, it’s a big damn gamble for Shermer to follow through with the suit.

    Wait. You have to prove malice…have to show PZ reported it without regard for its truth or falsity. That he did not do, he had corroboration and other accounts. Even if it’s false, (which I don’t believe, just to be clear), they’d have to prove PZ published it with malice, as defined above. So. They’re sunk regardless.

  52. throwaway, gut-punched says

    @67 Sounds like a conspiracy theorist.

    No, it sounds like someone who is educated on rape statistics.

  53. imthegenieicandoanything says

    I’ll join the chorus here that isn’t praying for you, or anything else, but willing to help out a bit (and maybe enough) should things get more real.

    Nice to have a real lawyer helping out! There ARE many good people who happen to be lawyers, despite the stereotypes.

  54. ewor84 says

    @74 I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist. There is a whole lot of accusing going on with very little evidence being shown for any of it. But hey, I’m in a thread full of people who have already convicted the man, so evidence clearly doesn’t matter here what so ever.

  55. anteprepro says

    If the claim is true then it should have been reported to the police.

    How fucking insightful. Congratufuckinglations on being the thousandth fucking True Skeptic who thinks that things are really that simple and that it some kind of vital, sparkling nugget of wisdom. Here’s something to ponder with your incredible levels of intellect and capacity for completely unique and innovative thought: Have you ever thought that the victim might understand what is best for themselves better than you understand what is best for them? Have you ever thought of the reasons why people not go to the police?

    Just some things to mull over, though I’m sure a super-genius such as yourself already has deemed such things Illogical and has astutely decided to ignore reality and remove all of your empathy chips, lest you stray from your utopic vision of a society where the police and legal system just make everything better and where there is no victim blaming or shaming whatsoever.

  56. Brian E says

    Wait. You have to prove malice…have to show PZ reported it without regard for its truth or falsity. That he did not do, he had corroboration and other accounts. Even if it’s false, (which I don’t believe, just to be clear), they’d have to prove PZ published it with malice, as defined above. So. They’re sunk regardless.

    Exactly, no need to resort to truth is an absolute defence and out Jane Doe. Shermer’s a public figure, he can’t win a defamation suit, unless he can show malice, unlike Joe Nobody. Of course, I am not a lawyer, not American, and possibly not sane. :D

  57. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Don’t you folks know nothing bad ever happens unless it’s reported to the police? Only a victimist would think otherwise!

    This kind of thinking is up there with the secret. If you wish for it, and it doesn’t happen, then it’s your fault. If you go to the police and theirs no conviction, you weren’t raped. If you don’t go the police, because there won’t be a conviction there’s no rape, and you’re a manhating life wrecker.

    Well at least Shermer is playing to his audience’s shortcomings then. Filing a C&D order proves that he has nothing to hide and that he is in fact innocent, by their logic that “no false claims can be made to officials”, except, you know, rape. *goddamnit*

  58. Portia, in boots says

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof.

    Nothing is proof, you metaphysics-invoking asshole. If testimony is so damn worthless, what will I ever do with my trial tomorrow? I guess I’ll just draw the judge some pretty pictures and hope he decides in my client’s favor.

  59. Brian E says

    I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist. There is a whole lot of accusing going on with very little evidence being shown for any of it. But hey, I’m in a thread full of people who have already convicted the man, so evidence clearly doesn’t matter here what so ever.

    Well, since you don’t trust PZ, Ophelia Benson, and others who’ve said Shermer is on the Skeeve list, then under the generic fallacy, you can reject anything they say because of its source. I’m sure that warms your cockles to resort to a logical fallacy.

  60. throwaway, gut-punched says

    @74 I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist.

    Says the denialist, pretending to be all skeptical and shit.

  61. Jacob Schmidt says

    But hey, I’m in a thread full of people who have already convicted the man, so evidence clearly doesn’t matter here what so ever.

    How do we convict him? On what authority could we possibly do so?

  62. Portia, in boots says

    Exactly, no need to resort to truth is an absolute defence and out Jane Doe. Shermer’s a public figure, he can’t win a defamation suit, unless he can show malice, unlike Joe Nobody. Of course, I am not a lawyer, not American, and possibly not sane. :D

    You’re making more sense than I am! I’m dredging up second year law school stuff and your public figure point didn’t trip the trigger til you connected the dots in this comment. Yeah, you’re right. He’s blustering. His lawyers smell fresh meat.

    Tony:
    Thanks ^_^ Backatcha.

  63. ewor84 says

    @portlia Congrats on attributing a position to me that I don’t hold. I didn’t say testimony is worthless, I said that it’s not a very reliable form of evidence. Especially coming from an anonymous source that will most likely never materialize. But hey, gossip is fun right?

  64. Brian E says

    Nothing is proof, you metaphysics-invoking asshole. If testimony is so damn worthless, what will I ever do with my trial tomorrow?

    Damn straight. Unless it’s a valid syllogism, using indisputable premises, we won’t accept it. Now, fellow Aristotelians, what shall we do about probabilistic science with it’s uncertainty? Where’s my prime-mover when I need it?

  65. says

    Pardon me while I bash my head against the wall.

    EWOR84:
    you are in a thread, THAT IS NOT A COURT OF LAW.
    No one here has the power to manipulate reality such that Pharyngula becomes a courtroom ya douchemaggot. So knock it off with the insipid comparisons to such.

  66. Jacob Schmidt says

    I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist.

    You’ve yet to see valid evidence that everyone in this thread isn’t actually just me and my cousin Mary.

  67. says

    Shermer doesn’t get regular gigs abroad, does he? Because if he had any in the UK and they dried up and he had deep enough pockets, then suing in the UK with our crap libel laws could be an option.

  68. Portia, in boots says

    Yeah, if somebody makes an accusation by which they could only be harmed, not helped, without any conceivable motive to do so other than to help prevent harm to other women, they’re big liars, obvs. And obvs if we believe this person, we are on a witchhunt. A rapist-hunt. Because like witches, rapists are mythical creatures with no social power. Because like witches, rapists are powerless people that we can lynch or burn or convict without a trial, because we have the power of the government on our side, which is why the police immediately believed the victim in this case and…

    OH WAIT NONE OF THAT IS REMOTELY TRUE.

  69. Brian E says

    Especially coming from an anonymous source that will most likely never materialize.

    Anonymous to us. Not PZ, and it’s not one source, it’s several independent sources with stories that add to the strength of the conclusion.

  70. Portia, in boots says

    Now, fellow Aristotelians, what shall we do about probabilistic science with it’s uncertainty? Where’s my prime-mover when I need it?

    Why, the world will collapse!

    internet points or some equivalent, good sir, well done. :D

  71. ewor84 says

    An anonymous source has told me that everyone in this thread eats kittens. Thus, it is so.

  72. Brian E says

    You’re making more sense than I am!

    Blame Rieux. I’m just repeating what I read the other day.

  73. says

    since everyone is pontificating fairly ignorantly, I’ll just c/p and link to what an actual lawyerly type had to say on the topic of defamation:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/09/if-you-wont-shut-up/#comment-259995

    Insofar as we’re talking about the technical definitions of defamation and libel, it’s true enough that accusing PZ of libel means declaring Jane Doe’s allegation false. I think it’s worth noting, though (especially in light of the ubiquity of the “truth is an absolute defense” meme—which is also correct as far as it goes), that that might not be a terribly useful response, in at least one sense: if any notion about whether his post was libelous were actually to be tested in a court of law, I suspect “But it’s true!” would be a very difficult and potentially very destructive defense to depend on.

    Truth is indeed an absolute defense to a defamation action, but procedurally, the much more important fact is that it’s an affirmative defense, not an element of the tort itself. What that means is that, in a hypothetical defamation suit filed by Shermer, Shermer would not be required to prove that PZ’s statement was false; instead, PZ would have the burden to prove it was true–insofar as he’s depending upon truth of the statement (rather than other potential defenses, one of which I’ll mention below) to protect him from liability.

    (I suspect that there would be an initial question of what, precisely, PZ’s statement about this case is. Is the statement PZ published (1) “Michael Shermer raped a person I know,” or is it (2) “A person I know told me that Michael Shermer raped her”? There’s an obvious argument to be made that (2) is what he actually posted, and (2) would be a hell of a lot easier for PZ to prove true. But I’m a little skeptical that courts would allow defendants out of defamation suits based only on that thin kind of foreground truth; by that standard, it seems like you could absolutely protect yourself from any defamation claim by alleging absolutely anything you’d like about your target, but then insulating yourself from syntactic responsibility for the allegation with some kind of Fox News-ish “Some people say” pretext. I presume courts have looked into this issue and decided how to resolve it, but it would take some substantial research to find out what that resolution is.)

    Anyway, relying on the “But it’s true” affirmative defense would quite possibly require PZ to, in very real terms, mount a full-blown rape prosecution of Shermer* and win it. One reads a lot in threads like the huge one on Pharyngula from last night about courts’ standards of evidence not applying to our community’s discussion of allegations like the current one against Shermer, and I agree entirely that they don’t and shouldn’t, as long as we’re not talking about technical legalisms. If PZ is forced to actually use truth as a defense to a defamation action, though, we would have to be talking about court evidence rules–and, as one also reads (once again entirely rightly) in these kinds of discussions, application of those standards can be just brutal to women who accuse men of sex crimes. In order to prove the truth of his statement, it’s hard to see how PZ could avoid calling Jane Doe to the stand, exposing her to everything that rape victims are invariably treated to in court. It would very likely be harrowing.

    So rather than “truth is an absolute defense,” which is correct but which, in this context, would be extraordinarily costly (in many senses of the term) in practice, I think the more useful response to claims that PZ has libeled someone is New York Times v. Sullivan. Under that crucial U.S. Supreme Court case, any defamation suit filed by a public figure (and Michael Shermer is indisputably that) requires the plaintiff public figure to prove “actual malice”–i.e., to prove that the defendant’s “statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false.”

    Note, first, that Shermer would have the burden of proof on this element; he would have to put PZ’s alleged “reckless disregard” on trial, rather than PZ having to put Shermer on trial for rape. That’s vastly more favorable (and less destructive) ground for the defense to fight on. And, while I can imagine plenty of Slymepitters somehow convincing themselves that PZ’s treatment of Ms. Doe’s allegation has involved “reckless disregard of whether it was true or false,” I have a very hard time imagining a competent and impartial judge agreeing.

    The point of all of this (typically lawyerly) interminable blather is that I think the better response to claims that PZ has libeled someone is that PZ has obviously been very conscientious about the manner in which he has approached Ms. Doe’s allegation and the situation more broadly. He has clearly not acted with “actual malice,” which means he has not committed libel even if Ms. Doe’s accusation is false (which I don’t believe for a minute). PZ has acted in precisely the way that the U.S. Supreme Court has said for the last fifty years that we’re allowed to act when we publish statements about public figures.

    * One caveat: PZ would only (“only”) have to prove the rape by the civil courts’ preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, rather than the criminal courts’ beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard. The preponderance standard would make the rape marginally easier to prove, but that fact would, I think, be cold comfort for Ms. Doe when Shermer’s lawyer does everything zie can to take her apart.

    (IAAL, and a litigator–but I’ve never litigated a defamation suit, and no one should take anything I post as legal advice anyway. Popehat’s a better source for this stuff, and I’m glad Jen is getting assistance from him.)

  74. raven says

    One good thing about going to court,

    It would be far more interesting and productive than reading the usual crap from the usual trolls.

    It’s boring, dumb, and goes nowhere.

    I’m off for greener pastures but good luck PZ, and if you need a legal defense fund, we are here.

  75. throwaway, gut-punched says

    But hey, gossip is fun right?

    This “gossip” has been common knowledge with women inside closely-knit circles of trust for a LONG fucking time now. It’s beyond gossip. It’s a warning, a helpful warning, to stay away from a person who has been known, by experience, to verge on, if not commit, some creepy rapey shit.

    Gossip? Fuck off with the rest of the douchegaggle.

  76. Portia, in boots says

    An anonymous source has told me that everyone in this thread eats kittens. Thus, it is so.

    PZ is credible. You are not. See, that’s another thing missing from the syllogisms you so treasure.

  77. anteprepro says

    I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist. There is a whole lot of accusing going on with very little evidence being shown for any of it. But hey, I’m in a thread full of people who have already convicted the man, so evidence clearly doesn’t matter here what so ever.

    And yet by your logic, you’ve already “convicted” PZ of libel/defamation without “evidence”. Oh the humanity!

    Just drown him already, if he floats he’s a rapist.

    A truly devout Shermer worshiper, right down to the witch hunt memes.

    in the court of FTB’s opinion, he is convicted.

    Serious Business.

  78. Brian E says

    An anonymous source has told me that everyone in this thread eats kittens. Thus, it is so.

    I thought you didn’t trust anonymous sources? PZ doesn’t, why do you?

  79. Portia, in boots says

    I confess, I couldn’t read the other thread, no time and probably no stomach for it. Sorry for dropping in without helpful additions.

  80. says

    Oh FFS, so all the flaming doucheweasels are going to show up here to try and re-enact the grenade thread? I don’t think so. Sorry, but I’m out folks, I’m declaring a mental health night.

    PZ, consider shutting the comments down, rather than letting the doucheweasels hold court.

  81. Brian E says

    That’s like, just your opinion man.

    In Baysian terms it’s a belief. Based on previous interactions, the updated conclusion is that PZ telling the truth. It’s sort of how science works. Now, you reject anything PZ says, 100% out of hand. You can’t update your priors. So, you’re actually being extremely dogmatic. Also, genetic fallacy.

  82. raven says

    Anyway, relying on the “But it’s true” affirmative defense would quite possibly require PZ to, in very real terms, mount a full-blown rape prosecution of Shermer* and win it

    What if he can?

    What if he does?

    If you think about it, someone might well have something serious to worry about and be spending a lot of sleepless nights. And it might not be PZ Myers here. That is what it is starting to look like.

  83. Brian E says

    Jadehawk, that was Rieux’s opinion I was trying to remember. Glad you found it, before I embarrassed myself.

  84. Brian E says

    What if he can?

    What if he does?

    PZ doesn’t want to blow Jane Does identity, and subject here to a court case I’m guessing.

  85. Pteryxx says

    Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence.

    LOL yeah no. What’s not reliable is eyewitness testimony. As in picking a suspect out of a lineup. When most acquaintance rapists are known to their victim, and they’ve been exploiting that relationship to get the victim to trust them, how freakin’ likely is it that the person they raped can’t ID them?

  86. throwaway, gut-punched says

    In Baysian terms it’s a belief. Based on previous interactions, the updated conclusion is that PZ telling the truth. It’s sort of how science works. Now, you reject anything PZ says, 100% out of hand. You can’t update your priors. So, you’re actually being extremely dogmatic. Also, genetic fallacy.

    QFFT, though I doubt it will have any effect on the braindead troll. They’re utilizing the ‘spray n pray’ approach to trolling, the mark of an amateur.

  87. Brian E says

    Sorry for dropping in without helpful additions.

    No less helpful than mine, so sorry.

  88. Portia, in boots says

    Just occurred to me that the “testimony is unreliable” trope actually suggests that the victim doesn’t know whether they are raped. Or, I suppose, the more probable inference is that the speaker believes the victim is just lying. Urg. Nevermind, I don’t want to follow that path further.

    Upon closer reading, I see I eventually reached Rieux’s analysis, though xe said it much better. I feel less dumb now.

  89. Portia, in boots says

    In Baysian terms it’s a belief. Based on previous interactions, the updated conclusion is that PZ telling the truth. It’s sort of how science works. Now, you reject anything PZ says, 100% out of hand. You can’t update your priors. So, you’re actually being extremely dogmatic. Also, genetic fallacy.

    Pffft, unhelpful? That was beautiful.

  90. raven says

    PZ doesn’t want to blow Jane Does identity, and subject here to a court case I’m guessing.

    Understandable.

    And she might change her mind, especially if it looks like something resembling justice is happening. And especially if other women come forward. It’s happened that way before.

    We will just have to wait and see.

  91. John Pieret says

    ewor84 @ 70

    Sorry, this is us lawyers’ fault but, in court, what we call “evidence” is the same thing as what we call “proof.” There is even a famous textbook called “Proof of Facts” which is all about how to enter evidence in a trial. So, yes, testimony is “proof.” What evidence/proof isn’t are “facts,” which are determined by the “trier of facts,” either a judge or jury. Of course, as so many false convictions have proven, legal “facts” are not the same as … well … facts.

    The big difference here is between credible evidence and non-credible evidence, which I don’t think anyone outside of the parties can know at this point. But PZ has the right to make his own determination of credibility and to be defended unless and until he he is [cough] proven wrong.

  92. says

    Just a word to everyone: I’m trigger-happy on the banhammer after that humongous thread full of trolling idiots, so anybody who starts reciting the tired arguments of the rape apologists from that thread here are just getting quietly insta-banned.

  93. Portia, in boots says

    John Pieret:

    It is our fault, isn’t it? Using so many words that sound like English, but are actually legalese with meanings that range from slightly altered to drastically opposite.

  94. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    ewor, to answer your question farther up the thread, yes. We’ve already convicted him. Of being someone whose actions we’ve heard about from others means we wouldn’t trust him. In case you didn’t notice, that’s not a crime. He’s not getting a jail sentence.

    You seem to think that he’s entitled to trust and respect and an audience. He’s not. And if you don’t think he’s entitled to those things, then what are you arguing about, because at best it’s all he’s going to lose (and given the behavior of the dudebro skeptics at large, it’ll be a very tiny loss).

  95. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I’m bringing this up because it seems relevant, but I was in contact with a guy who wanted to meet me for potential dating purposes. Thing is, he acted really shady and weird and I backed off, telling him he made me uncomfortable. He then proceeded to tell me that me judging him as untrustworthy was wrong of me to do and that I suppose thinking his trustworthy was more important than my own personal safety and wellbeing.

    That seems to be the dominant thinking amongst the trolls here: being accused of being untrustworthy or dangerous is worse than people doing so for their own safety and wellbeing.

  96. tonyinbatavia says

    PZ, you mean starting now? ‘Cause there are a few of them here that began with the tired arguments earlier in this thread.

    Portia, in boots, let me add my voice to the chorus that says you rock. Dayamn! You’re good.

  97. Pete Newell says

    Portia, Brian E, you’re doing fine. You’ve pretty much reduced this particular douchegaggler (I love that bit. SO stolen) to “I know you are, but what am I?”

    PZ, good for you on the stand you took and the actions you’re taking. Ken White is rock solid. One more voice for the defense fund if it comes to that.

    Jane Doe, you’re a brave woman. I salute you. You do what you have to for you. You’re already a hero.

    Michael Shermer, you’re … what you are.

  98. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    But hey, gossip is fun right?

    “Gossip?” Wasn’t that exactly how Pope Ratfucker dismissed the priest molestation scandal?

    Just sayin’.

  99. mikeyb says

    If PZ C&D, removes blog post and then post the Shermer lawyered apology, could that not later be used as defacto evidence, that there is merit to the claim for defamation, as a tacit admission that the claims are valid. Could this be a catch 22. I don’t know, hope not.

  100. says

    You know, I bet that person on the JREF forums who independently corroborated the story of PZ’s anonymous source is probably just a PZ sockpuppet too. In the end, we’re all just PZ’s sockpuppets. It’s sockpuppets all the way down.

  101. says

    Just a HUGE thank you to PZ come what may – we’re here.
    And thank you again to all who told their stories in that epic thread.

    Also the most appalling thing about the lawyer letter is the idea that PZ “did it for the pagehits”….
    I think…and this is my OPINION…that this is the scummiest part of the CandD.

    Intimidation is par for the course….

    Be strong y’all. And be good to each other out there.

  102. says

    …..and another night of a Sharia interrogation of the situation…where we learn there is no such thing as a woman’s testimony as evidence…and the skeptoid imam contingent asks for blood on the sheets…

    We seeeeeee you!

  103. says

    ewor84 @ 83:

    I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist. There is a whole lot of accusing going on with very little evidence being shown for any of it.

    Yes, because the more plausible scenario is that PZ, in reckless disregard of the fact that libel and slander are even things, just decided to troll Michael Shermer by inventing a couple of phantom women out of his fevered imagination, FOR THE LULZ, because his own reputation/career mean nothing to him.

    Your skepticalism is totes awesome, dude!

  104. John Pieret says

    In the end, we’re all just PZ’s sockpuppets. It’s sockpuppets all the way down.

    No, (to hopefully brighten PZ’s day), we are all part of the Hershey Collective.*

    ________________________________________________________________

    *Ya had to be back in the day at talk.origins!

  105. Jacob Schmidt says

    The immature school boy inside me is emerging

    I was gonna write “confirmed eaten kittens,” then I realized some silly child somewhere probably took a nibble or two. Also, there’s some cat delicacies outside WEIRD countries.

  106. Anri says

    ewor84:

    I’ve yet to see valid evidence that these ‘sources’ even exist. There is a whole lot of accusing going on with very little evidence being shown for any of it. But hey, I’m in a thread full of people who have already convicted the man, so evidence clearly doesn’t matter here what so ever.

    Anyone actually believing this blog is a court should wait until they are called to testify, and remain silent otherwise.

    If you’re talking without being called, you already know it’s not a court, so stop pretending you think it is – it makes you look both stupid and dishonest.

  107. Portia, in boots says

    Excellent point.

    ewor84 is hereby held in contempt of court and subjected to a gag order for testifying out of turn.

    *gavel bang*

  108. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Martin:

    Yes, because the more plausible scenario is that PZ, in reckless disregard of the fact that libel and slander are even things, just decided to troll Michael Shermer by inventing a couple of phantom women out of his fevered imagination, FOR THE LULZ, because his own reputation/career mean nothing to him.

    Yeah, this is what I’ve thought. What the hell kind of irrational hatred of Shermer do they suppose PZ has? I mean, they had a tiff, a back and forth, about some fairly sexist stuff shermer said. And I think PZ came out ahead in that fray. They must think PZ didn’t and want’s “revenge”. HA! PZ could have that in spades with simple words. What the fuck is the point of opening himself up to the “sure-thing” lawsuit they think is in the works? If PZ was bullshitting he’d put everything on the line to get back at a dude he already demolished in arguments… But that’s just the way the pitters and their ilk and the general anti-PZ crowd presume is the way people act, because that’s what THEY ALREADY do!

  109. says

    Ah, I see now. And the asshole brigade is already all over twitter, taking time off their busy schedule to advance skepticism and rational thinking and making the world a better place, to be gushing all over this C&D thing against PZ. How sad and pathetic these people’s lives are.

  110. hjhornbeck says

    I’ve said it before, but if Myers ever sets up a legal defense fund I’ll be one of the first in line. Good luck, sir, and I’ll help when I can with the counter-trolling!

  111. Portia, in boots says

    Alexandra:
    *snorfle* The mental pictures I just had.

    I think with all the authority of the bench, it’d have to be dom/sub stuff.

    tonyinbatavia and Pete:

    thanks :)

  112. Nepenthe says

    TW.

    .

    .

    And another handy reminder (previous tips) to all those would-be-rapists out there from the skeptical community:

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof. Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence.

    If they can’t present the bloodied sheets, there’s no proof! You’re in the clear! Have fun and enjoy the drinks at TAM!

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

    I think with all the authority of the bench, it’d have to be dom/sub stuff.

    “Sir!” Judge Fire said as she whipped off her ruby red glasses, “I’m going to have to find you in cumtempt of court!”

  114. Portia, in boots says

    Ing:

    Not only did I laugh out loud, but I’m a little convinced you’re psychic…how else could you know my first pair of glasses were giant, plastic, and ruby red?

  115. says

    153:

    Right, because the thing all sensible people do when they have “grudges” is libel the living fuck out of that person without giving a damn that they’re setting themselves up for thousands upon thousands in damages, job loss, career self-destruction, and so on…

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

    @160

    To be fair, some people ARE that dumb to think that’s a good idea and some are wealthy enough to pull it off :/

  117. Hazelwood says

    The interesting thing is that those who argue PZ did the wrong thing, are actually ensuring that the information is widely available. Search for “Michael Shermer rape allegations” and the first page is entirely those on the ‘anti-pz’ war path, and many have reproduce the claims in great detail. Getting PZ to take the original post down wouldn’t even help as it didn’t even come up in the search, but the ranters are certainly getting the message out.

  118. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Right, because the thing all sensible people do when they have “grudges” is libel the living fuck out of that person without giving a damn that they’re setting themselves up for thousands upon thousands in damages, job loss, career self-destruction, and so on…

    Denialists can’t think anything through; why would they expect anyone else to?

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

    Just so we’re clear: threatening law suits over rape allegations counts as DEEP RIFTS right?

  120. Portia, in boots says

    In the context of the last several comments, DEEP RIFTS sounds like a sequel to GAVEL BANG.

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

    @Portia

    Or the classier porn version of Pacific Rim. For when you want a porn version of pacific Rim but don’t want the vulgar Pacific Rimjob.

  122. schweinhundt says

    Ref: The Legalism (And thanks for the link @106, Jadehawk.) I’m not a lawyer and do not know (i.e. cannot prove/supply evidence/blah-blah-blah) that PZ printed true/factual allegations about a sexual assault or assaults.
    However, bottom line: It is easier to threaten someone with a lawsuit than it is to win the aforementioned lawsuit. (Anyone requesting evidence to support this claim is invited to jump head-first into a wood chipper.) I suspect (please see the caveats above) that—even if PZ was lied to—obtaining a lawyer is a better course of action than backing down at this point.

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

    In the context of the last several comments, DEEP RIFTS sounds like a sequel to GAVEL BANG.

    “I’ll have you know” Councilor Honey said as she started popping the buttons of her tight fitting blouse “That I’l willing to do anything to keep this law-firm in one piece.”
    A loud THWACK fills the room as ace attorney Lance Johnson soon finds a stiletto heel stabbing into his chair, right in-between his legs.

    “Now, show me your briefs” Councilor Honey barked with a crack of a riding crop

  124. Portia, in boots says

    “It’s my ruling,” declared Judge Fire, “that there exists sufficient horizontal privity to require a finding of naughtiness per se. Lock them all up, Bailiff Woody.”

  125. Portia, in boots says

    Bailiff Woody salaciously slapped the handcuffs on the defendants, and Judge Fire looked on, with an odd rustling under her robes.

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

    Gavel Bang is worth buying just for the beautifully shot “Deliberation” twelve way scene

  127. Portia, in boots says

    Ing: You win, I’m dying of laughter over here.

    Wait, what were we talking about?

    This is better.

    (I’m not suited to threads with actual topics).

  128. Rob says

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof. Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence. I do believe it’s possibly true that Michael did this, just as much as it’s possibly true that he didn’t. This little thing called skepticism needs to be exercised a bit more around here.

    Oh indeed. The Quran has that sorted for us. I believe a woman claiming to be raped needs independent verification from four males or she’s a lying bitch and gets punished. Not even bloody sheets suffice.

    Do I know for a fact that Shermer is guilty of the alleged behaviour? No, I’ve never met the man or been to the same events. Do I believe that on the balance of probabilities Shermer may be guilty of at least some skeevy and manipulative behaviour. If he got a woman so drunk she could not give proper consent that meets my definition of rape regardless of what the law says (and in my country that would be rape). Yes, that seems a possibility. Would I blacklist him? No. Would I warn my female friends to avoid drinking with him? Hell yes. Would I keep a close eye on him at future events? Hell yes. See, I’m exercising my scepticism, as is pretty much everyone else here.

  129. says

    What the hell kind of irrational hatred of Shermer do they suppose PZ has?

    Well, these are the sorts of people who post violently detailed revenge fantasies like (TRIGGER WARNING: graphic bloody violence) this about… who? Would it be Greta Christina? Or Ophelia Benson? One of the more prominent, active women speaking out about these issues? No, it’s our own Jadehawk, the pseudonymous blogger working on her degree and occasionally updating her site with intellectual social science stuff about sexism and the link between rape jokes and sexist attitudes.

    So, I’m going to guess “the same kind of irrational hatred they themselves have for anyone they perceive as threatening their privilege,” or something along those lines.

  130. eigenperson says

    With many apologies to the judges, lawyers, and (especially) writers out there:

    “All rise!”

    Michael brought his perfectly-toned body to its feet with all the agility of his thirty-one years. His suit, crisply pressed, almost glistened in the fluorescent lighting, as he gazed upon the starry flag at the front of the courtroom. The first appearance in a new case, before a new judge! What could be more exquisitely fascinating?

    Judge Smith took her time approaching the bench. She glanced at opposing counsel first, then at Michael, with as little care as one might glance over the classifieds in the morning paper. Her lustrous raven-colored robes, concealing her voluptuous yet svelte figure, reached out behind her like zephyrs as she moved with a dancer’s grace towards the high seat from which she would project the power of the State. She took her time.

    Michael stood, legs trembling, as he watched in awe. He felt a sense of authority that he had known only once before; some years ago, when he gave oral arguments to a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit. Then, he had been but a newly-minted attorney, and he had not yet learned the art of pleasing a judge: how to alternate frenzied invective and torrents of precedent with leisurely accounts of distinguishing features of the facts at hand; how to gaze up at her respectfully without looking quite into her eyes, for that would be improper; how to answer the stinging question in a way that left her wanting to ask another. He had been torn apart, then. But now he had years of experience on his side.

    Judge Smith lingered at the bench before sitting, enjoying the scene of the packed courtroom standing before her. But such pleasures could only be endured for a short time, and at last she got down to business, addressing herself to Michael directly.

    “I’ve seen your briefs, counselor,” she said, in a rich yet somehow slightly bored voice. Michael felt his blood go both cold and hot at the same time, like the feeling one might get in the third movement of an exquisite symphony just as the horns come in and the violins drop out. She continued, after a searching pause, as though remembering: “But I didn’t feel they fully covered the issues.”

    Michael stammered to reply. This was the moment where his fate would be decided. And he knew that in his entire life, nothing up to this point mattered to him as much as what Judge Smith would think of his briefs. Judge Smith cut him off.

    “Regardless,” she said, “I’ll get into your briefs at oral argument. For now, I see on the schedule that we had agreed to a conference in chambers, on the matter of whether the court is bound by precedent to issue a gag order….”

  131. eigenperson says

    P.S.: All resemblance to any real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and hopefully impossible.

  132. believerskeptic says

    “In Baysian terms it’s a belief. Based on previous interactions, the updated conclusion is that PZ telling the truth. It’s sort of how science works. Now, you reject anything PZ says, 100% out of hand. You can’t update your priors. So, you’re actually being extremely dogmatic. Also, genetic fallacy.”

    Okay, now we know Brian E. is a member of the Yudkowsky-worshipping Lesswrong cult.

    You know, you people with connections to rather unsavory corners of the skeptical blogosphere… you really should consider, I don’t know, camouflaging your tracks a little more.

  133. says

    If PZ’s only interest was smearing Shermer he could have done it in a much safer way than this. He could have easily written a post that wouldn’t have specifically named Shermer, but contained enough hints so anyone familiar with him would assume “Badguy X” was Shermer. Requests to name names could equally have been met with responses implying it was Shermer without actually naming him.

  134. says

    Okay, now we know Brian E. is a member of the Yudkowsky-worshipping Lesswrong cult.

    I would love to see your evidence for the implied assertion that it’s impossible to learn about Bayesian probabilities without accessing the Less Wrong site. For instance, there are surely zero actual books on the subject, right??

    /dying of laughter

  135. says

    “believerskeptic” is forcing me to update my Bayesian probabilities in support of the hypothesis that anyone with “skeptic” in their username is a colossal idiot. The continuation of a long-observed trend.

  136. throwaway, gut-punched says

    Sally:

    Well, these are the sorts of people who post violently detailed revenge fantasies like (TRIGGER WARNING: graphic bloody violence) this about… who? Would it be Greta Christina? Or Ophelia Benson? One of the more prominent, active women speaking out about these issues? No, it’s our own Jadehawk, the pseudonymous blogger working on her degree and occasionally updating her site with intellectual social science stuff about sexism and the link between rape jokes and sexist attitudes.

    So, I’m going to guess “the same kind of irrational hatred they themselves have for anyone they perceive as threatening their privilege,” or something along those lines.

    Ugh, that link. I interacted with that pitstain the other day on twitter. Him and noelplum. slow tried to analogize by using Michael Jackson’s settled suits as something which besmirched his character and caused the ‘pedophile’ tag to be unfairly associated with him (the presumption, as always, that the accusation from the victims were false, and the belittling of them, well, they were children so that probably runs the same risks of belittling their witness credibility as women have). And noel plumbed the depths of pedestrianity with his observation that “it would have been better to take it to officials”.

  137. CaitieCat says

    PZ, I’m poorer than a priest ought to be, but if this ends up in fees, say so, and I’ll scrape together whatever fucking pennies I’ve got, shave my head, smear fresh bibble ashes on my face, and wear my very best potato bag (the one with only two extra holes in!) to raise money for it. It’s Canadian money, so, y’know, colourful and plastic, but it still spends perfectly well.

    Fuck the denialists, fuck the apologists.

    Someone has to start standing up somewhere, and I’ll sure as hell be standing up with.

  138. Dana Hunter says

    PZ and Jane, allow me to unleash my inner Doc Halliday: I’ve two funds here – one for each of ya. Count me in should a legal fund for either or both be required.

    To those of you contributing to the courtroom erotica: you’ve no idea how much I adore you, and I offer my services as editor. Say 10% of profits to the legal defense fund and the rest toward a Den o’ Pleasure?

  139. Ichthyic says

    unsavory corners of the skeptical blogosphere

    sounds like a great name for the next FTB portal!

    It would be reviewing all the skeezy skeptic sites… like the ‘pit.

    kind of like what Ed does with his constant reviews of Worldnut daily.

  140. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof.

    Would drunken testimony be “proof?”

  141. triamacleod says

    Could the lawyers on the thread answer a question?

    I’m not sure if it would impact a libel case, but would the comment section also be considered in a libel case? Because I’m noticing the ones on FtB tend to be much more thoughtful and mature than the ones on the other sites. Would comments be used to show the impact of the blog post? Would the fact that Shermer’s supporters seem to be the ones blowing things out of proportion and causing the most Google hits hurt any case he has?

    Personally I doubt it will ever make its way to court, particularly if PZ has the services of a good lawyer. I’ve seen a lot of C & D and libel cases simply go away when the bully realizes the victim isn’t going to play nice or run away and hide.

  142. says

    Well, Shermer has enlisted a heavy hitter, and not some mall lawyer-in-a-box or anything (though curiously, Neufeld’s metier appears to be business law and not libel or defamation), so if he chooses to take this all the way, it could be a real fight.

  143. Menyambal --- writing as Lee Moe Joost says

    lentes @ 37:

    the fact of the matter is that the article PZ wrote had no evidence …. what he did was (and is) morally reprehensible.

    If the article had no evidence, then how was it anything at all? How was it morally wrong to post an evidence-free piece of puffery out into cyberspace?

    Lentes, do you think that everybody but you is going to be utterly convinced, so much that Shermer is doomed, doomed, by just nothing? Are you the only one that sees past the piece’s surface to the “fact” it had no evidence? Are you here to tell us little people how to judge merit?

    Jesus Frakking Christ, dude, we can think. If it had no evidence, it’ll blow over. If it has an effect, enough to claim it was wrong to post it, it must have had some power to it. Or do you live in a place where a few unsubstantial words can warp everyone else’s perceptions, and only you can see the truth?

    Can you see the matrix?

    chrispollard @ 59:

    If the claim is true then it should have been reported to the police.

    Which claim? PZ’s claim that someone talked with him? Why would he need to report that to the police? And wouldn’t the Gestapo be better to report conversations to?

    Seriously, it’s been covered, but once again: How are the police supposed to differentiate between sex that took place while the woman was too drunk to consent, and sex that is normal American drunken sex? And how do the police determine after the fact that he got her to drink more than she intended?

    It’s simple, really—-they ask her. Her word is all there is. Her testimony, if it got to court.

    If the police were to take a DNA sample, what good would it do? Either way, there’d be DNA there. And, as has been said, there are warehouses full of unprocessed DNA samples.

    And again, why do you think everyone here is to stupid to know something that obvious without your helpful help? Where would we fucking be without you?

    ewor84 @ 70:

    Testimony is evidence, but it isn’t proof.

    It’s good that the law only requires something past reasonable doubt, then, ain’t it?

    Also, testimony is not a very reliable form of evidence.

    Tell that to the religious folks, then.

    In court, almost all physical evidence needs someone’s testimony that it was properly collected and handled. The lawyers then get up and testify as to what it means.

    I do believe it’s possibly true that Michael did this, just as much as it’s possibly true that he didn’t.

    So are you 50/50, or what? Of course a thing is either possible one way or possible another—true or false—you aren’t really saying anything there.

    Folks here are just reasonably certain that it’s true, not hammer-and-tongs guaranteed, gold-plated certain. They aren’t like you. They aren’t stupid.

    This little thing called skepticism needs to be exercised a bit more around here.

    Skepticism is getting a really bad name, thanks to folks like you. You need to be a lot more skeptical about your legal acumen and your grasp on reality.

    Sorry to go back at the old stuff, but damn these goobers think they are so much smarter than they are. Shit.

    Anyhow, the dog is unplugging parts of my computer, so I’m gonna post this and leave you capable folks to cover it as you do so well.

    Good luck, PZ. You are a good person.

  144. John Pieret says

    Martin Wagner @193

    Shermer has enlisted a heavy hitter

    That’s actually a good sign. A “heavy hitter” is unlikly to be trying to chivvy Shermer into a suit just to collect fees but will be warning him about unintended consequences of picking this sort of fight. Shermer, as a much better known author/personality/media darling with multiple sources of income that PZ (I’m guessing) doesn’t have, has much more to lose in this kind of pissing match. Even if Shermer “wins” such a suit (which wouldn’t win him much monetarily, if I know my college proffessors) he will likely lose the publicity war, especially among his wider audience.

    It is better to be suspect among the (relatively) few than to face moral questions by the public at large … especially when your income depends on the latter.

  145. hjhornbeck says

    Ahhh… the courtroom erotica was exactly what I needed, after arguing with someone who was reduced to blubbering “testimony isn’t evidence” repeatedly. Thanks, Horde!

  146. John Phillips, FCD says

    Another you can count on for a few quid for a legal fund if needed. Hang tough poopyhead.

  147. hjhornbeck says

    Might as well contribute a laugh myself. From Him (it’s almost always a “him,” isn’t it?):

    That’s all hearsay. Not testimony.

    Me:

    All of my evidence for Africa is hearsay, gathered outside a court of law. Should I stop believing in Africa?

    Him:

    Unlike the country Africa, an hearsay is not an actual thing.

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

    PZ, best of luck dealing with this!
    ——-

    Ahhh… the courtroom erotica was exactly what I needed, after arguing with someone who was reduced to blubbering “testimony isn’t evidence” repeatedly. Thanks, Horde!

    Seconded

  149. says

    @John Pieret – The Hershey Collective remark made my night. And I’m in to lend assistance if needed, too. I don’t have experience or a license, but I do have a law student’s access to research sources. And I’m in for a defense fund if needed.

  150. lochaber says

    I’m in a pretty sketchy financial situation, and I don’t think I’ve ever really donated to any sort of online thing before, but if it looks like this will need funding, I’ll do what I can to contribute a bit.

    If it weren’t for the fact that people have been harmed by this, I would be tempted to say part of this exchange (the sexist, hyperskeptical, fallacious part) is patently ridiculous. Unfortunately, people have been harmed by this ‘reasoning’, and will continue to be harmed by this mindset. Although I don’t have a personal stake in this fight (aside from wanting people to be able to exist relatively free of harassment, etc.), I’m glad that PZ is standing up for what’s right, and I hope it makes a greater influence in the community/world in general.

    Imagine what the world would be like if truth, equality and justice was rated higher then money, influence, and power.

    :/

  151. playonwords says

    Another support message for you (and your unknown correspondents again)

    If a legal defense fund is needed another small donor here.

  152. says

    In the end, we’re all just PZ’s sockpuppets. It’s sockpuppets all the way down.

    I claim plagiarism and stare sternly in your general direction

  153. says

    206:

    Both PZ and Jane Doe are well meaning and could fully believe what is being said is true but one or neither of them know what rape is or what is sufficient to substantiate a rape claim.

    Yeah, stoopid women with their stoopid pink ladybrains. How would they know what rape is? Especially the ones it’s happened to.

  154. says

    @Rope Avenger
    So, you think that for years an organized group of people have been conspiring to ruin Shermer’s reputation, such that when they finally dropped the accusation, it would seem more believable?

    Yes, that sounds completely reasonable. I can’t find any reason to doubt that.

  155. says

    @Rope Avenger:

    After reading your post, I cannot possibly comprehend why a woman who has been victimized might want to maintain some privacy rather than deal with people like you.

  156. piegasm says

    @206

    You forgot one:

    5. What is being said is true and PZ and Jane Doe, both being actually engaged with reality, opt to keep the details to themselves in the interest of avoiding further trauma to a rape victim because they’ve adopted the (apparently controversial)stance that women are people who don’t deserve to be raped.

  157. guyincognito says

    Martin, thanks for contacting the P.D.

    The blog post sounds really strange, but I think it was the right thing to do.

    If it’s real, I hope Dallas can find help and stability.

  158. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Last word? *checks archives* I can’t find a first word on this subject! I assume Shermer has decided to sue, then? When was this legal challenge issued?

  159. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    No less reason to doubt that than an unsubstantiated claim of rape.

    Given the situation, please explain how one would go about substantiating the claim?

  160. says

    214:

    Nice strawman.

    Seeing as how you openly suggested that a woman who has claimed that a man forced her into non-consensual sex — which is pretty much the definition of rape — might not know what rape is, I’m thinking the old “I don’t think that word (strawman) means what you think it means” line applies here.

    I am hopeful this might help you out some.

  161. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    Yes, thank you for defining “substantiate”. Now answer the question and tell me how you would go about doing that. What evidence could be presented to convince you, beyond reasonable doubt, that Shermer really did rape Jane Doe while she was drunk?

  162. piegasm says

    @214

    In what way would she have to deal with me, and what would she be dealing with exactly? A comment on an internet blog?

    Oh this is just classic. When it’s about what the rape victim would have to face by going to the police or divulging more details online, comments on an internet blog ain’t no thang. But when it’s Michael Shermer’s reputation that’s a whole ‘nother story, isn’t it? Now, we have a problem, don’t we? Now that a big important dudely dudebro stands to maybe incur some minimal damage to his reputation, NOW comments on an internet blog are an issue.

    GTFO.

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

    Like others have said: Please don’t hesitate to put up a call for funds if needed PZ. I will certainly chip in something.

  164. says

    Rope Avenger @218:
    Actually, the standard in a civil case is “preponderance of the evidence,” not “reasonable doubt.”

    Martin Wagner @217:
    “Consent” is one of those everyday words that is also a legal term of art. There are some situations where reprehensible and immoral conduct that would not fit a lot of our personal definitions of “consent” still qualifies as legal consent. That makes me a little cautious about using the word “rape” here.

  165. Koshka says

    Rope Avenger,
    Extraordinary is not the opposite of ordinary.
    But I think you know this already and are simply a lying bucket of shit.

  166. carlie says

    Linking me to another blog post ignores the fact that I wouldn’t be here if I found the arguments in that thread compelling.

    No, that’s not the point. The point is that no one here finds your arguments compelling, evidence to be found in that thread.

  167. piegasm says

    @225

    Your ad hominem of calling Shermer a “dudely dudebro” based on nothing but anonymous claims is further evidence of this kangaroo-court style mud slinging.

    And your misuse of the term “ad hominem” is further evidence that you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.

  168. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    I’ve already seen it. Linking me to another blog post ignores the fact that I wouldn’t be here if I found the arguments in that thread compelling.

     
    Seriously, you have nothing to offer that has not already been discussed there.

  169. says

    Why is it that these people, who are supposedly oh so skeptical, don’t know their logical fallacies? Isn’t this mandatory reading in the skeptical community? I thought it was. It was for me.

  170. jedibear says

    It’s worth noting here, or perhaps even frequently and loudly, that an actual defamation case seems hopeless here under US law.

    Not only does the burden of proof rest with the Plaintiff, but the things that must be shown (especially for a public person like Shermer) are virtually impossible to prove, even to the lax legal standard of “preponderance of the evidence.”

    We’re not like some countries where libel laws are for silencing the critics of your dubious enterprises.

  171. jedibear says

    Rope Avenger, why is it you feel that you have not only the obligation but the right to moderate the comments on someone else’s blog?

  172. piegasm says

    @231

    It is clear that the poster’s prior inclination to believe Shermer as a “dudely dudebro” precludes her to believe that anything and everything else said about him or by him is in doubt because of this. It’s a circular argument and also an example of ad hominem.

    You’d have a point if I’d said that the reason I believe the accuser had anything to do with my opinions on Michael Shermer as a person. Grats on a total lack of reading comprehension.

    So, now what you’ve done is show that you:

    1) know what the correct usage of ad hominem is and
    2) have no problem deliberately misusing it.

    Well played.

  173. nightshadequeen says

    I’ve already seen it. Linking me to another blog post ignores the fact that I wouldn’t be here if I found the arguments in that thread compelling.

    I again ask, is rape ordinary?

    yes

  174. Nick Gotts says

    if I’ve been saying nasty things about someone for a long time, and then I accuse them of an actual crime, they must be regarded as guilty because they have a “skeevy” reputation (people with such reputations must be guilty of something). How do I know they have a “skeevy” reputation? Simple, I gave it to them by saying nasty things about them.

    Except of course, this isn’t the situation. Unless you believe it’s all a massive conspiracy, Shermer’s skeevy reputation has, until PZ’s post, been something passed around in private, by women warning other women of the way he behaves.

    Am I really expected to believe that rape is ordinary? Is rape the status quo? Do we go around normally raping people in day to day interactions?

    Are murders ordinary too?

    Unfortunately, yes, rape is ordinary. It is orders of magnitude more common than murder. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey gives the following figures for the USA:

    The lifetime prevalence of rape by any perpetrator [that is, the proportion of people raped at any time in their lives] was:
    For women:
    Lesbian – 13.1%
    Bisexual – 46.1%
    Heterosexual – 17.4%
    For men:
    Gay – numbers too small to estimate
    Bisexual – numbers too small to estimate
    Heterosexual – 0.7%

    That comes to over 20,000,000 American women raped at some time in their lives. (Most of the much smaller number of men raped will have been raped in prison – often repeatedly, so total numbers of rape instances are much closer for men and women than total number of victims over a lifetime. If you look at forms of sexual violence, coercion and “non-contact unwanted sexual experiences” other than rape as currently legally defined, the numbers rise to over 50,000,000 women and over 20,000,000 men.) I can’t find figures for lifetime risk of homicide (which of course includes more than murder), but risk during 2007 was 6.1 per 100,000.

  175. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    I would ask that both parties be given their fair day in court instead of allowing the outcome of the situation to be dictated by the blogosphere.

    So still not going to answer my question, then?

    What evidence would be needed to convince you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this situation occurred as described?

    See, I ask because I have the sneaking suspicion that you have already decided that the allegations are untrue, and that all the noise about there being no evidence is merely ad hoc rationalisations for your prima facie disbelief in the allegations. My suspicions are somewhat bolstered by the fact that you either cannot or simply will not name any specific examples of what you would consider proof of the allegations.

  176. Nick Gotts says

    Sorry, blockquote and link fail. Reposting:

    if I’ve been saying nasty things about someone for a long time, and then I accuse them of an actual crime, they must be regarded as guilty because they have a “skeevy” reputation (people with such reputations must be guilty of something). How do I know they have a “skeevy” reputation? Simple, I gave it to them by saying nasty things about them. – Rope Avenger

    Except of course, this isn’t the situation. Unless you believe it’s all a massive conspiracy, Shermer’s skeevy reputation has, until PZ’s post, been something passed around in private, by women warning other women of the way he behaves.

    Am I really expected to believe that rape is ordinary? Is rape the status quo? Do we go around normally raping people in day to day interactions?

    Are murders ordinary too?

    Unfortunately, yes, rape is ordinary. It is orders of magnitude more common than murder. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey gives the following figures for the USA:

    The lifetime prevalence of rape by any perpetrator [that is, the proportion of people raped at any time in their lives] was:
    For women:
    Lesbian – 13.1%
    Bisexual – 46.1%
    Heterosexual – 17.4%
    For men:
    Gay – numbers too small to estimate
    Bisexual – numbers too small to estimate
    Heterosexual – 0.7%

    That comes to over 20,000,000 American women raped at some time in their lives. (Most of the much smaller number of men raped will have been raped in prison – often repeatedly, so total numbers of rape instances are much closer for men and women than total number of victims over a lifetime. If you look at forms of sexual violence, coercion and “non-contact unwanted sexual experiences” other than rape as currently legally defined, the numbers rise to over 50,000,000 women and over 20,000,000 men.) I can’t find figures for lifetime risk of homicide (which of course includes more than murder), but risk during 2007 was 6.1 per 100,000.

  177. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Don’t you have better things to do than post snide remarks on a blog? Like for example engage in the topic at hand?

     
    What are you doing here? What do you hope to accomplish by commenting here?

  178. Nick Gotts says

    It’s also odd that you bring up silencing critics, considering that’s exactly what PZ is doing by banning people and deleting comments on his blog. – Rope Avenger

    A bare-faced lie of course. It would only be true if there were nowhere else these “critics” could make their views known.

  179. piegasm says

    So you’re saying that you had no prior reason to be biased against Shermer, and only in light of recent anonymous claims against his character have you been swayed into the position that he’s a womanizing dudebro? Interesting.

    Well, let’s see. Comments Shermer has made in the past led me to the conclusion that he is sexist. And I believe the accuser. That doesn’t mean I believe the accuser because I think Michael Shermer is sexist. Any more logical fallacies you’d like to abuse?

  180. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    I again ask, is rape ordinary?

    That depends what you mean by ordinary. Is it extraordinary? No. Is it common? Certainly.

    When you hear a story on the News about someone being raped, you are presumably (and hopefully) disgusted at the perpetrator, and feel sympathy for the victim… but are you suprised that a rape has occurred?

  181. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    It’s also odd that you bring up silencing critics, considering that’s exactly what PZ is doing by banning people and deleting comments on his blog.

    Oh goody, another freeze peach adocate who doesn’t understand what freedom of speech means…

  182. Koshka says

    Did I claim otherwise? Extraordinary simply means out of the ordinary. I again ask, is rape ordinary?

    In the context of people stating that “Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence” then, in ordewr to be honest, you need to ask “Is rape extraordinary?”.

    People have already answered you that rape is in fact ordinary.

    I ask you – Is rape extraordinary?

  183. carlie says

    Seriously, you have nothing to offer that has not already been discussed there.

    Discussed =/= discussed satisfactorily.

    Again, you’re missing the point. It’s not about what you find satisfactory. It’s that your comments are not satisfactory to us, because we’re pretty convinced that everything you said has been discussed to death already. And you’re doing a piss-poor job of trying to come up with any excuse for why it hasn’t been discussed “satisfactorily” to you, given that you haven’t said a single new thing yet.

  184. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    @Rope Avenger
    What do you hope to accomplish by commenting here?

  185. Koshka says

    Rope Avenger,

    Unfortunately, yes, rape is ordinary.

    Thankyou for having the decency to admit you were incorrect on this point.
    I retract my conclusion that you were a liar.

  186. Nick Gotts says

    So 1 out of 6 is ordinary?

    Roughly 8-12% of adults suffer from depression, but I would hardly call that ordinary. – Rope Avenger

    Then you would have a bizarre notion of what “ordinary” means. “Ordinary” here was contrasted with “extraordinary”, so by denying that depression is “ordinary”, you imply that if someone told you they were being treated for depression, you would require extraordinary evidence before accepting it.

    Conclusion: you’re a lying bag of shit.

  187. Pteryxx says

    If I were to name you exactly what would convince me of Shermer’s guilt it would be presumptuous, because I don’t know how many people were present before, during, or after each incident, whether or not said people could reliably give an account of what happened if they did happen to be present…

    “WERE YOU THERE”

    In fact, Jane Doe *was* there.

    So do you also disbelieve evolution?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/08/12/harassment-rape-skepticism-denialism/

  188. says

    An anonymous claim on a blog is not evidence substantial enough for me to fairly conclude Shermer is a rapist.

    We’re all painfully clear on that by now, which is why you’re being asked what would be enough? It’s right there in the bit you’re responding to. You’ve even quoted it. Yet, you ignore the question.

    You’re asked what evidence would be necessary and your answer apparently is “the necessary evidence.”

  189. carlie says

    “Ordinary” doesn’t mean “more than 50%”. It means common. 10% is common.

    Seriously, other people have written about this, extensively. You are not saying anything new. Those nuggets of wisdom you think you have are actually globs of clay that have been trodden all over. Go read Greta’s explanation of evidence before posting anything else embarrassing to you. Go ahead and refute it if you want, but you won’t get away with “I don’t agree” or “she misses the point”. You have to be specific in why you reject her arguments of what constitutes evidence when it comes to rape reports. Go ahead. The thread would rather wait awhile for you to write something informed than deal with you spouting off more shit in the meantime.

  190. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    I already answered you, for it to be taken to court and the necessary evidence uncovered.

    So a court case would convince you? I think it’s been made perfectly clear that this case will never go to court, not leat because Jane Doe wishes to remain anonymous. I asked what specific evidence would convince you.

    Clearly the many stories describing Shermer’s past sleaziness do not convince you, so would a first hand account of the night in question be required, which corroborates Jane Doe’s story? For example, if someone were to come forward and say that they saw Jane Doe and Michael Shermer together, and that Jane Doe appeared quite drunk, would that do it? Or if someone said that Jane Doe was drunk, and they saw the pair leave together? Or are you going to demand forensic evidence? Is there anything which could convince you without breaking Jane Doe’s condition of anonymity?

    Or are you really saying that you are firmly on the fence, and the only way you would be convinced one way or the other is for 12 people to come to a decision, and you will simply abide by whatever decision they come to without complaint?

  191. Nick Gotts says

    Why did it take a public blog post before people start coming out with the idea that it’s a rumour that’s been spread around for years in private? Why was it kept a secret if Shermer was someone to be avoided and why is it only coming to light now?

    It’s coming to light now because Jane Doe and PZ have had the courage to make it public – and scads of pseudosceptics such as you have popped up to denounce it, along with threats of legal action from Shermer. So we know why it was passed around in private (that’s not the same as being “kept a secret”). Fuck me, no-one could really be as stupid as you are appearing to be and still be able to comment on a blog, so clearly, you’re a lying sack of shit.

    Unfortunately, yes, rape is ordinary.

    Thankyou for having the decency to admit you were incorrect on this point. – Koshka

    No, Koshka, Rope Avenger was failing to block quote me – look at what follows:

    And of course all of these figures come from well-documented court proceedings in which the alleged rapists were tried and convicted, and not merely personal testimony.

    Oh, wait.- Rope Avenger

    See, these millions of bitchez lyingly claim to have been raped even in response to surveys conducted by social scientists and run by the Centers for Disease Control. They are just that determined to prove that rape is a serious problem when in fact, as Rope Avenger knows, it is extraordinary.

  192. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    So 1 out of 6 is ordinary?

    Roughly 8-12% of adults suffer from depression, but I would hardly call that ordinary.

    And yet if someone told you they were suffering from depression, I doubt very much that you would demand any evidence at all, let alone extraordinary evidence, before accepting their claim. Funny, that.

  193. Nick Gotts says

    A bare-faced lie of course. It would only be true if there were nowhere else these “critics” could make their views known. – Me (in response to Rope Avenger’s lie about critics being silenced).

    They could very well make their views known elsewhere, but where better to discuss such a claim as PZ’s than the blog on which he posted it? – Rope Avenger

    Your lie, to which I responded, was that critics are being “silenced”. They are not, as you have now admitted, you lying sack of shit.

  194. says

    Rape is a felony. When one accuses another of a felony the burden of proof flips. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, a dinner party, or some idiot on a soapbox in Tomkin Square.

    This is one of the only cases where a public figure can win a case. Public figures are fair game for malevolent free-speech, but an accusation of a felony is not protected by the first amendment..

    If it goes to court, it is an automatic win for the plaintiff unless the accuser cam prove that the accusation is true.

    This is basic fundamentals of libel law.

    You can learn this in Journalism 101 at any community college.

    If Shermer wants to press this, and Jane Doe refuses to uncloak, PZ will swing in the wind, it’s an automatic win for Shermer.

  195. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    You are conflating the likelihood of something eventually happen with the normality of said occurrence.

    … Yes, yes I am. If something is very likely to happen, then it is normal. We evaluate the normality of something by evaluating the probability of it happening. This is perfectly ordinary… one could even say it was normal.

  196. Nick Gotts says

    Rape can be indeed considered common, but is it ordinary for people to walk around committing rape? Then I would argue it is out of the ordinary. – Rope Avenger

    The CDC estimates that 20,000,000 American women have been raped. You made the claim that rape was extraordinary, and that it therefore required extraordinary evidence before we should be believe it. So your continued quibbling about exactly what constitutes “ordinary” is just further evidence that you are a lying sack of shit.

  197. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    A discussion that will hopefully convince either myself or others on this blog to change previously held beliefs that are erroneous. I.E., arguably the point of every argument.

     
    The points you are trying to make have been made by commenters in the linked thread by people smarter than you. They were also addressed in the linked thread by people smarter than you.
     
    Bring something new to ‘the argument’ or shut the fuck up.

  198. Walton says

    And of course all of these figures come from well-documented court proceedings in which the alleged rapists were tried and convicted, and not merely personal testimony.

    Oh, wait.

    Actually, victim surveys (like the National Crime Victimization Survey and the British Crime Survey) are a very common tool in criminological research, and an important source of data about crime and victimization. If we relied solely on police statistics or numbers of convictions to identify the prevalence of crime, we’d be undercounting considerably, because all crimes are significantly underreported. (And the underreporting is non-random, in that some kinds of criminal activity are less likely to be reported than others, and some demographic categories of victims are less likely to report than others.) So Nick Gotts is using the best empirical data available.

  199. Pteryxx says

    See, these millions of bitchez lyingly claim to have been raped even in response to surveys conducted by social scientists and run by the Centers for Disease Control. They are just that determined to prove that rape is a serious problem when in fact, as Rope Avenger knows, it is extraordinary.

    All those undetected rapists who will admit to holding a woman down, threatening her, et cetera, also must be lying about the prevalence of what they did that totally wasn’t “rape rape” from their point of view. Even though legally it is.

    Meet the Predators

    Predator Theory

    pteryxx

    07.07.2011

    Quoting my own comment from Jen McCreight’s blog:


    According to “Meet the Predators” which references men self-reporting their rape attempts, a sample of about 1900 male college students contained 120 who announced 438 attempted or completed rapes. Let’s say those rapes happened to the comparably sized female student population, and for the sake of argument, that any given woman was ‘only’ assaulted once. What would 438 rapes and sexual assaults among 2000 or so women work out to?

    22% of women.

    You still think rape statistics are padded?

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

    Men. Self-reporting. 22%.

  200. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Again, ordinary and common are two completely different words with sometimes completely different meanings.

    Synonyms: how the fuck do they work?

  201. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    “Synonyms: how the fuck do they work?”
    I just snorted my cup of tea and the puppetmistress is laughing hysterically !

  202. piegasm says

    Yes, because nobody has lied on a survey before, and surveys are a direct purveyor of truth in all matters.

    Yes, because the only alternative to millions of bitchez lying about being raped is nobody has lied on a survey in the entire history of ever. Are you even convincing yourself at this point?

  203. Pteryxx says

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad/2013/08/13/sexism-skeptics-and-the-burden-of-proof/

    Beyond those standards, once we reach the standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt, we would be fools to allow the predator to hunt within our community. It’s likely they should end up charged with a criminal offense. Alas, due to the deplorable state of our society, this is all too often impossible. The police, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, the appeals courts, all have a tendency to ignore all but the most obvious sexual assaults, and even then, when the circumstances are such that the offense cannot be ignored, they’re all too likely to let the offender go with a tap, and society welcomes them back with open arms. Our civilization is stacked firmly against the victims of sexual crimes. So we may have proof beyond reasonable doubt, but the offender will never so much as catch sight of a cop. (This is the harsh reality, and those bloviating about how if such-and-such situation really happened the victim should prosecute can either accept it or get lost.)

    From the citation: (bolds mine)

    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs. However, it does not mean an absolute certainty. The standard that must be met by the prosecution’s evidence in a criminal prosecution is that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    If the trier of fact has no doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, or if their only doubts are unreasonable doubts, then the prosecutor has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant should be pronounced guilty.

  204. carlie says

    Again, so is depression. As is the common cold, or an infection, but I would hardly argue that homeostatic imbalance is “ordinary” or “the norm”.

    Whoa, whoa. You are conflating terms in a terrible way. “Ordinary” and “common” and “the norm” are NOT SYNONYMS. And seriously, you just said that having a cold isn’t “ordinary”. Really. Try saying that in February in the northeast corridor.

    and when I do find a specific group argument no longer compelling I simply leave instead of forcing silence upon others.

    Oh, do find us boring. Please.

    Yes, because nobody has lied on a survey before, and surveys are a direct purveyor of truth in all matters.

    My god. Do you even know what social science is? We’re not talking internet polls here.

  205. says

    Me believing or not believing that my friend has depression does not hinge on the fact that someone might be falsely accused of rape and have a negative social stigma attached to them.

    Rope Avenger, are you seriously suggesting that being falsely accused of rape is as bad as being raped? If so, fuck you.

  206. carlie says

    I have a large port wine stain birthmark on my face.

    Is that an extraordinary claim, therefore requiring extraordinary evidence? After all, they’re found in only .3% of the population.

    If you need evidence, what evidence would you accept?

  207. Koshka says

    Even if we take human interaction as a whole rape is not extraordinary. By no reasonable calculation can 1 out of 6 be said to be “ordinary”.

    Once again you deliberately mix the 2 words extraordinary and ordinary.
    Once again you show yourself to be a lying bucket of shit.

  208. says

    but is it ordinary for people to walk around committing rape?

    yes. “ordinary” means commonplace, standard, or unexceptional. rape is all these things, unfortunately

  209. revision says

    Funny. Questions like
    What evidence would be needed to convince you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this situation occurred as described?
    are surprisingly similar to
    What evidence would convince you that a god exists?
    Mmm … a blog post maybe? Local pastor said he is talking to god and my favorite blogger said it is true.

    Like it or not it is our legal system in our society that determines such claims – well of course some prefer pastors and bloggers .. and not a long ago people were prepared to burn someone at stake if a local pastor said so.

  210. says

    Oh and by the way, include me in for a defence fund if one is needed. And I’ve also pre-ordered a copy of The Happy Atheist as a token of support for PZ.

  211. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    If we are to take the story of one person at face value, or even multiple people, then why not take the Bible as a literal history account? Don’t you see the disconnect in your belief system?

    There is no disconnect. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”; the obvious corollary to that being that the less extraordinary a claim is, the less stringent your standards of evidence have to be in order to reasonably believe it.. The claims in the Bible are extraordinary, ridiculous, and in the vast majority of cases in defiance of the known laws of physics, chemistry, biology, and plain old common sense. The claim that someone was raped while drunk at a conference, on the other hand? Not extraordinary at all. When taking into account that the accused has a history of sleazy behaviour towards women, to the point where women in the know feel the need to warn any newcomers to the conference to be on your guard around him; the claim becomes yet less extraordinary. As such, I require less stringent standards of evidence to believe the claim.

    So when a blogger I respect and trust says that someone he respects and trusts has come forward and admitted to being raped by a man with a past history of sleazy behaviour towards women, that scenario, to me, seems very likely to have happened. When I examine the situation and find that there is no benefit whatsoever that PZ could gain by lying, or that the anonymous victim could gain by lying, the only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the claims are true.

  212. Pteryxx says

    aside: Wow, it seems Predator Theory’s getting so many hits that Feministe went down. How safe does that “drunken slut” myth feel nowadays, rape deniers?

  213. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Earlier I made a pretty big assumption that Rope Avenger’s points had been dealt with by smarter people.
    I know, my bad…
    Thankfully Rope Avenger has shown this to be true so I feel off the hook now.

  214. carlie says

    scooterskutre, have you had both happen? If not, you can’t compare. And in any case, you speak only for yourself, not anyone else.

  215. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @revision, #285

    I direct you to my above post, originally directed at Rope Avenger.

  216. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, nothing like a fuckwitted idjit being a rape apologist, because they refuse to define the evidence that would convince them outside of a court a law. If they can’t co that, they have nothing cogent to say, and are just JAQing off.

  217. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet

    “Synonyms: how the fuck do they work?”
    I just snorted my cup of tea and the puppetmistress is laughing hysterically !

    *bows*

    Glad to be of service :)

  218. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Are you capable of carrying on a discussion without attacking the person with whom you’re arguing?

     
    Nope… That’s the way I roll.

  219. Nick Gotts says

    Your lie, to which I responded, was that critics are being “silenced”. They are not, as you have now admitted, you lying sack of shit.

    Not a lie, but perhaps not specific enough for your tastes?,/blockquote>

    No, a bare-faced lie, and a very ordinary one.

    “Critics are being silenced on Pharyngula”. Would you dispute that?

    What reason would PZ have to silence critics commenting directly on a claim he made?

    Yes, I would dispute it. It’s not “critics” that are being silenced, but sockpuppets, and those who repeat over and over and over and over points already fully discussed and rebutted. Which also answers your question about PZ’s reason.

    The individual assertion that Shermer raped Jane Doe is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    No, it is not, when the purpose of the claim is to warn women to be wary of him – not to put him in prison (which would rightly require proof beyond a reasonable doubt) or lose him his job. This has already been dealt with exhaustively. If, in fact, he does not behave in ways that give the accusation credibility, then few if any of those he knows well or has professional dealings with will give it credence, and harm to him will be minimal.

    I’m also eager to see if you can continue a conversation without calling someone a “lying bag of shit”.

    I am, but when that’s what they are, I see no reason why I should, you lying bag of shit.

  220. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    “I am, but when that’s what they are, I see no reason why I should, you lying bag of shit.”
    Dammit! That’s my second cup of tea tonight!

  221. scimaths says

    I’ve been raped and being falsely accused of rape would be a worse experience

    Women who have been raped are, as a matter of course, nearly always falsely accused of lying about their rape. Yet somehow that doesn’t count as a bad thing ?

  222. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @ gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet

    Are you capable of carrying on a discussion without attacking the person with whom you’re arguing?

    Nope… That’s the way I roll.

    PfffHahahaha! Consider us even :)

  223. John Morales says

    Rope Avenger:

    “Critics are being silenced on Pharyngula”. Would you dispute that?

    What reason would PZ have to silence critics commenting directly on a claim he made?

    You’re a critic and you are posting comments here — do you dispute that?

    (PZ’s comment policy has been around a fair while)

    The individual assertion that Shermer raped Jane Doe is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. That this continues to elude you is astounding.

    If it lacks credibility to that degree, then why is Shermer using lawyers to represent himself?

  224. says

    Carlie. I’m a public figure.. I’m fair game, I’ve been accused of raping my children on blogs and elsewhere. The only reason I didn’t push it was that the accusers were losers and had no ,money nor property to collect.

    The answer to your question is yes. Do you have anymore sophomoric middle class inquiries?

  225. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    I am, but when that’s what they are, I see no reason why I should, you lying bag of shit.

    *wipes water and spittle off monitor*

    Dammit, Nick, this is a work computer…

  226. carlie says

    What on earth does “middle class” have to do with rape in this discussion?

    And again, your experience is not everyone’s experience.

  227. sharkjack says

    Rope avenger, nobody cares if you are personally convinced or not. If this doesn’t meet your standard of evidence then fine, go ahead and disbelieve it.

    Along the evidence pointed at in this thread to show rape isn’t an extraordinary event, one of the main things that convinces me that the claim is probably true is how insistent quite a few people have been that what was described wasn’t rape. If you really think it’s more far fetched that the claim is true than that the claim is false, explain why there are so many people on his side arguing that that wouldn’t have really been rape? (of course this doesn’t prove him guilty, but it shows the general attitude in which he can probably justify his behavior to himself if he is guilty)

    Also neither PZ nor the anonymous victim gain anything from this accusation and both stand to lose depending on how the lawsuit plays out, making the idea that the claim is made up more ludicrous.

    In any case, the point was to warn people so that they could make their own informed judgements, it wasn’t telling people what PZ thinks we should believe.

  228. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @scooterskutre

    Presumably, that last pop at Carlie is supposed to suggest that she is in her teens. Leaving aside for a moment the inherent ageism of using that as an insult, on what evidence are you basing this attempted pejorative?

  229. Maureen Brian says

    So! Scooterskute with a single sentence (305) proves beyond reasonable doubt that he is a misogynist, a patronising little git and not very bright.

    That’s his credibility shot then. Take him away, please.

  230. piegasm says

    Do you take issue with the idea that surveys are not always a reliable indicator of anything other than people’s ability to not tell the truth on surveys?

    No. I take issue with your blatantly false dichotomy, you lying sack of shit (to coin a phrase >.>).

  231. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    I’ve been raped and being falsely accused of rape would be a worse experience.

     
    I am saddened to hear you have been raped, but that is a very subjective statement. Please understand that others may not share your sentiment.

  232. John Morales says

    Rope Avenger:

    yes. “ordinary” means commonplace, standard, or unexceptional. rape is all these things, unfortunately

    So rape is a standard affair whenever I step out my door and begin my daily adventure?

    It is a mundane thing, much like clowns — yet you don’t expect to see clowns whenever you step out of your door and begin your daily adventure, do ya?

    (If the claim were that Shermer levitates after a few drinks, then that would be an extraordinary claim)

    Yes, I would dispute it. It’s not “critics” that are being silenced, but sockpuppets

    Am I a sockpuppet?

    If so how do you know?

    Since you’re not being silenced and the claim is sockpuppets are, clearly you’re not being accused of it.

    (Suddenly, your enquiry looks farcical)

    I find it humorous how people here mock others for thinking PZ has sockpuppets but then turn around and make unfounded accusations of sockpuppetry.

    You finding your little misapprehension funny is sad.

  233. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Glad to see you’re able to retroactively absolve yourself from mean-spirited behavior.

    “He was a moron anyway so he deserved it”.

     
    Yep, could not have said it better!
    Never said I wasn’t mean.
    You still haven’t really added anything that wasn’t dealt with in the linked thread though…

  234. great1american1satan says

    I am unemployed and poor and never give to charity, but I’ll put a hundred bucks into this when the time comes. Keep us apprised.

  235. John Morales says

    Rope Avenger:

    Are you implying that because I’m a critic and haven’t been banned yet that PZ’s tactics have been fair?

    Fair enough to let you criticise and to show your claim that he silences criticism to be (ahem) extraordinary in light of itself.

    Is that not the reasonable course of action if you believe you have been the victim of defamation?

    You can’t imagine there were other possibilities no less reasonable?

  236. says

    Are you implying that because I’m a critic and haven’t been banned yet that PZ’s tactics have been fair?

    PZ’s commenting policy is plenty fair. Not that it has to be, since you’re, you know, on his website.

    Is that not the reasonable course of action if you believe you have been the victim of defamation?

    Not if you haven’t suffered harm.

    Conversely the person who is raped and then is the receptor of fallout is then not indicative of everyone’s experience. I heard someone upthread use the words “nearly always” in regards to people being called liars when they say they’ve been raped. Where is the data to support this?

    Have you… actually looked at police processes for investigating rape at some point in the last ever?

  237. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    On the other end of the account that you’re replying to is a human being, and I’d assume that they deserve at least a little bit of respect.

    Respect has to be earned.

  238. believerskeptic says

    See, Rope Avenger is confused. He thinks this is the slymepit, where he expects nothing but very masculine high fives for his every echo-chambered utterance. Instead, he fails to realize this is freethoughtblogs, where the uppity lippy wimmin and their male allies are actually allowed to talk back.

  239. says

    if I’ve been saying nasty things about someone for a long time, and then I accuse them of an actual crime, they must be regarded as guilty because they have a “skeevy” reputation (people with such reputations must be guilty of something). How do I know they have a “skeevy” reputation? Simple, I gave it to them by saying nasty things about them.

    I’m… quite in awe of this argument, since it appears to imply a conspiracy theory going back well over a decade and perpetuated by a HUGE number of people.

    either that, or time traveling.

  240. John Morales says

    Rope Avenger:

    Rape is mundane now? That’s an interesting take on things. I would hardly under any circumstances describe rape as mundane.

    So, you think the claim that it’s almost certain that at least one woman you know has been raped is an extraordinary one, right?

    Hardly farcical considering that one would have to be banned prior to becoming a sockpuppet. So it seems sockpuppetry is not the only criteria for being banned.

    Farcical because you imagined you were being accused of it, so that you wondered about its motivation.

  241. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    Are you really complaining of pejoratives after I’ve sustained a flurry of variously worded “fuck yous” in this thread?

    You have indeed been the recipient of many perjoratives, but the pejoratives directed at you are motivated by your objectionable behaviour. They are to be expected. Carlie did not do anything immature, and yet is the recipient of ageist pejoratives. You will also note that none of the pejoratives directed at you are ageist, or indeed any other -ist, and have no potential for splashback. The pejoratives directed at you are directed specifically at you, are motivated by your behaviour, and those motivations are generally explained in the same post.

  242. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    This assumes that the content in the other thread was properly dealt with.

     
    What makes you think it wasn’t? And who are you to make that assertion?
    What outcomes, here in this thread, would satisfy you?

  243. mikej says

    Martin @142
    Yes, because the more plausible scenario is that PZ, in reckless disregard of the fact that libel and slander are even things, just decided to troll Michael Shermer by inventing a couple of phantom women out of his fevered imagination, FOR THE LULZ, because his own reputation/career mean nothing to him.

    Throw-away @ 148
    If PZ was bullshitting he’d put everything on the line to get back at a dude he already demolished in arguments….

    timgueguen @183
    If PZ’s only interest was smearing Shermer he could have done it in a much safer way than this. He could have easily written a post that wouldn’t have specifically named Shermer, but contained enough hints so anyone familiar with him would assume “Badguy X” was Shermer. Requests to name names could equally have been met with responses implying it was Shermer without actually naming him.

    Yeah, and if the twelve apostles all knew jesus was a fraud, why would they die for a lie?

    By the way, before someone accuses me of it –

    I’m NOT saying the accusation is false – I don’t have an opinion on that yet. Hell, it could be true. Probably is.

    I’m also NOT saying that PZ made it up. The way things have unfolded, it seems the most likely scenario is that the accusations were told to PZ, and he genuinely believes them.

    But that doesn’t mean that the accusations must be 100% correct because PZ believes they are and was risking a lot to bring them, any more than “die for a lie” makes jesus real.

    If you can answer why “why would they die for a lie”, then you can answer “why would PZ sacrifice his career for a lie”.

    Freethoughtblogs is not a personal blog with a couple of readers. It is a commercial blog network, one of the premiere blog networks for skeptical thought, with a large readership. And Pharyngula is the biggest blog on the network.
    It should be, must be held to some sort of journalistic integrity (by the way I work in a newsroom, so whilst I’m not the be all and end all of that topic, I have learnt a thing or two about it).

    PZ himself admitted that he did not pay due diligence to a balanced report here. He flat-out admitted that he did not approach Michael Shermer because “of course he would say he didn’t do it”. He was never given a chance to present a counter argument, never given a chance to defend the accusations. Perhaps he knew the lady. Perhaps she had come to him and threatened to out him as a rapist if he didn’t pay her money, and he happened to have it on video.

    (PLEASE NOTE I’M NOT SAYING THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED, OR DEFENDING MR. SHERMER, MERELY POINTING OUT A VAGUELY POSSIBLE HYPOTHETICAL AS TO WHY IT IS DUE DILIGENCE TO GIVE THE ACCUSED A CHANCE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES BEFORE REPORTING).

    THe fact is he blatantly didn’t do it, didn’t care. And if he didn’t bother with that, we don’t know what else he didn’t bother with. Did he look into her past at all? See if she had a history of false accusations? I don’t know, I don’t think it has been revealed. All we know is he says HE trusts her, and someone else HE trusts says they trust her. Fine. I’ve met shady characters that more than one person would say they trust.

    My point being, everything I’ve seen so far on this is not enough. For a major commercial blog network to posit accusations like this about a major figure in the “genre” (for lack of a better word) without even approaching said figure before-hand is irresponsible, regardless of if they think it’s true or not, or even if it IS true or not.

    And to say “it must be true because why would PZ risk so much” is no better than saying “jesus is real because why would they die for a lie?”

    Come on, I thought we were skeptics here.

    (Now watch someone try to special-plead that “yeah, but this is different because…..”)

  244. says

    Hardly farcical considering that one would have to be banned prior to becoming a sockpuppet. So it seems sockpuppetry is not the only criteria for being banned.

    lolwut. do you not understand how the internet works?

  245. Pteryxx says

    I heard someone upthread use the words “nearly always” in regards to people being called liars when they say they’ve been raped. Where is the data to support this?

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/feb/25/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation

    While the last two decades have seen a continuing and unbroken increase in the reporting of rapes to the police by victims, it has not been matched by a similar rise in prosecutions or convictions.

    The official study, A Gap Or a Chasm?, by researchers at the London Metropolitan University child and women abuse unit, says that part of the reason is that police and prosecutors overestimate the scale of false allegations made by victims.

    This is feeding a “culture of scepticism”, which in turn leads to poor communication and a loss of confidence between those who complain and the police.

    […]

    The researchers tracked 3,500 rape cases through the courts and interviewed 228 rape victims. While they conclude there was some evidence of poor investigation and lack of understanding of the law, the main problem was the culture of scepticism among both the police and prosecutors.

    They say that rape is unique because in no other crimes were victims subject to such scrutiny in court or was the defendant so likely to claim the victim had consented to the attack. Between half and two-thirds of all cases are dropped before they come to court.

    (bolds mine)

    PDF link to research

  246. Anri says

    Rope Avenger:

    Even if we take human interaction as a whole rape is not extraordinary. By no reasonable calculation can 1 out of 6 be said to be “ordinary”.

    “I’m blond.”

    “I’m gay.”

    “I’m African-American.”

    “I’m an atheist.”

    “Well, you can’t expect me to just take your word for that, can you? Quit claiming to be extraordinary like that!”

    Sheesh.

  247. says

    getting banned, then coming back with a different name/e-mail, but no pretense of being a different person = morphing

    creating multiple accounts to pretend to be different people = sockpuppeting

    the latter MAY involve creating those “new” people after getting banned, but by no stretch of the imagination is banning a prerequisite for sockpuppeting.

  248. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Rope Avenger

    …one would have to be banned prior to becoming a sockpuppet.

    I see someone does not understand what a sockpuppet is. A sockpuppet account can be created at any time. The most common reason is because some objectionable little shite has been banned and is upset because they didn’t get the last word; this is true. However they are quite often created by people who realise they are outnumbered and wish to give the false impression that more people agree with them than actually do. “Sockpuppetry” is merely using more than one account for the purposes of dishonesty, whatever the specific reason.

  249. John Morales says

    Rope Avenger:

    But not fair enough for others it seems.

    Again: PZ’s comment policy has been around a fair while.

    (More to the point: you are here now, complaining to your heart’s content)

    You can’t imagine there were other possibilities no less reasonable?

    Such as ignoring it?

    Not really; I suppose that was a possibility, but I’d have thought you’d consider that less reasonable.

    (I meant other possibilities no less reasonable; is the challenge too great?)

  250. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It should be, must be held to some sort of journalistic integrity (by the way I work in a newsroom, so whilst I’m not the be all and end all of that topic, I have learnt a thing or two about it).

    Gee, why do I smell duplicity, lies and bullshit in that statement. Because it is a typical claim of an MRA, when they don’t even subscribe to a newspaper.

    Come on, I thought we were skeptics here.

    You’re being to skepitcal. I’ve been a skeptic for thirty years. There is enough supporting and overall evidence to convince me Jane Doe is right and PZ did the right thing to protect other women. So, why are you so skeptical if you don’t have an agenda?

  251. sqlrob says

    I’ve been raped and being falsely accused of rape would be a worse experience.

    Well, since we’re obviously not supposed to accept PZ at his word, why are we supposed to accept yours?

  252. revision says

    I read the posts one after another and this sentence comes to mind: I am a skeptic except …. when I am not.

  253. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @mikej

    Yes, we all understand that argument and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t originally concerned with journalistic integrity too. However, I believe PZ, and have presented my reasons for doing so in comment #287, should you wish to review them. It may help you to understand why people believe the accusation.

  254. sqlrob says

    I read the posts one after another and this sentence comes to mind: I am a skeptic except …. when I am not.

    There is a statement that is likely 8% false. Should a skeptic believe it?

  255. says

    By no reasonable calculation can 1 out of 6 be said to be “ordinary”.

    ordinary things with a probability of less than 1 in 6:
    being born gay (~4% of the population)
    being left-handed (~10%)
    appendicitis (lifetime risk is 8.6% for men, 6.7% for women)

    in any case though, that’s being disingenuous. the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” line has always referred to paranormal claims; claims for which there is no evidence of existing at all. compared to that, being struck by lightning is ordinary.

  256. John Morales says

    mikej:

    [1] My point being, everything I’ve seen so far on this is not enough. For a major commercial blog network to posit accusations like this about a major figure in the “genre” (for lack of a better word) without even approaching said figure before-hand is irresponsible, regardless of if they think it’s true or not, or even if it IS true or not.

    [2] And to say “it must be true because why would PZ risk so much” is no better than saying “jesus is real because why would they die for a lie?”

    [3] Come on, I thought we were skeptics here.

    1. Fine, you think PZ acted irresponsibly and think he should not have made the claim public. Presumably, in his position you’d have done differently.

    2. Thank you for stating the bleeding obvious.

    3. Sceptics don’t disdain context when establishing provisional beliefs.

  257. says

    Again, so is depression. As is the common cold, or an infection, but I would hardly argue that homeostatic imbalance is “ordinary” or “the norm”.

    from this I have to conclude that you’d require “extraordinary evidence” before you believe someone when they say they have a cold.

    THAT I find to be an extraordinary claim.

  258. mikej says

    @ Thumper

    “Yes, we all understand that argument and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t originally concerned with journalistic integrity too. However, I believe PZ, and have presented my reasons for doing so in comment #287, should you wish to review them. It may help you to understand why people believe the accusation.”

    I read them, and that’s fair enough. The “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” refrain came to my mind too when thinking about the differences. And whilst this is not an “extraordinary claim” in the same vane, you can’t deny that the claim is extreme.

    If it’s true, it’s lifting the lid on a serial sex-offender. If it’s false, it’s ruining the name of the accused. It’s an extreme claim regardless it’s outcome. And to borrow that refrain from before – “extreme claims require extreme evidence”.
    I still think that without having done the proper leg-work beyond finding one other person to corroborate – and not bothering to check if there are possible situations that could be influencing their corroboration – is extremely irresponsible. Whilst I understand the need for anonymity for the claimants, and support that even – it means that we can’t know how much evidence and how valid it all really is. We merely have to “take their word for it”.
    I’m glad you trust PZ like that – I don’t (sorry, not meant to be a slur at the man himself, or anyone that does – just means I am not an avid follower of the blog, only popping in from time to time to read things when the title intrigues me).

  259. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Jadehawk

    It has already been firmly established that Rope Avenger does not understand probability, or the English language. You may want to use smaller words :)

  260. says

    The gravity of a situation should determine to what effect would a belief in something unsubstantiated affect the life of another human being.

    me believing Shermer raped someone won’t affect him much at all; at worst, he won’t be able to get any alone-time with any woman I chose to share my belief with and who in turn chooses to believe me.

  261. carlie says

    I find it laughable and a little unsettling that you would compare believing someone about a birthmark with believing someone has committed the grave crime of rape.

    I’m not comparing it with rape at all. I’m using it to illustrate that not all uncommon things require extraordinary evidence. You haven’t been arguing that the severity of the accusation is what’s holding you back, but rather the uncommonness of the event.

    My goodness, someone admits that personal experience is not permissible as absolute truth?

    Conversely the person who is raped and then is the receptor of fallout is then not indicative of everyone’s experience.

    But they are the arbiters of the truth of their own personal experience. Notice I didn’t say that it wasn’t true in his case, just that it wouldn’t be in all cases. You can’t use that to claim that Jane Doe’s experience isn’t truthful just because it is hers alone. You’re pretty bad at argumentation.

    Did a guy named “scooter” say something about me? I was too busy popping my gum and doodling hearts in my notebook to notice.

    And here I thought I was showing restraint by not questioning his account, not questioning which one was worse for him, just pointing out that his life is not everyone’s life. I didn’t realize that was a sign of immaturity.

  262. says

    It has already been firmly established that Rope Avenger does not understand probability, or the English language. You may want to use smaller words :)

    that would imply i’m trying to talk to RA, rather than simply having my SIWOTI Syndrome triggered.

    Anyway, I’m deeply amused at the image of RA requiring court-level evidence for anything that is a deviance from an optimal working condition. And secondarily, I would like to introduce a much more entertaining definition of “ordinary” to the conversation. If extraordinary evidence is required for everything not ordinary, and ordinary means “deficient in quality”…. then everything that doesn’t suck would require court-level, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence :-D

  263. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    it means that we can’t know how much evidence and how valid it all really is. We merely have to “take their word for it

     
    As I and others have stated too many times here; this is not a court of law. PZ’s post was not about proving guilt or otherwise – it was a warning. If you are not a woman, likely to meet this person at a con, you are not the intended recipient for the warning.

  264. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @mikej

    I’m not sure what you mean by “extreme” claim… it’s an inflammatory claim, certainly, with potentially very serious consequences fo Shermer. However I’m not sure what bearing that has on the truth of the matter.I think you are saying that the potentially negative consequences for Shermer merit stricter evidential standards? What about the potentially negative consequences for Dog-knows-how-many-women if the allegations are true and not believed? I would say those are more serious, no?

  265. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    “Did a guy named “scooter” say something about me? I was too busy popping my gum and doodling hearts in my notebook to notice.”
    *snarf*
    :)

  266. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I still think that without having done the proper leg-work beyond finding one other person to corroborate

    Prima facie evidence you DIDN”T read the post. There IS corroborating testimony. Which is why I believe Jane Doe, and not you. You have nothing but hyperskepticism. Your comments don’t make sense, since they are out of context.

  267. Don Quijote says

    Up at @284 scooterskutre said that they had been raped but being falsley accused of rape would be worse.

    At @301 they say that they have been falsely accused.

    The use of the word “would” exposes a lie.

  268. throwaway, gut-punched says

    But that doesn’t mean that the accusations must be 100% correct because PZ believes they are and was risking a lot to bring them, any more than “die for a lie” makes jesus real.

    Asserting with certitude what most find as likelihood in order to construct a false analogy. Fail.

  269. throwaway, gut-punched says

    It’s also not taken in evidence alone, and is not the only bit of corroborating evidence. So you’ll have to do better than to focus on that as if it were the sole line of reasoning behind whether people believe PZ or not.

  270. carlie says

    beyond finding one other person to corroborate

    Well, of course. It takes four, all male.

  271. revision says

    There is a statement that is likely 8% false. Should a skeptic believe it?

    lol Lets try s similar exercise.
    The probability that God exists is 97.6%. Should a skeptic believe in God?

  272. Chie Satonaka says

    Up at @284 scooterskutre said that they had been raped but being falsley accused of rape would be worse.

    At @301 they say that they have been falsely accused.

    The use of the word “would” exposes a lie.

    I noticed that, too.

  273. says

    @355: If that was the actual probability, yes. But as it is, it’s not and most skeptics don’t. Your point?

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

    I hate to normally judge by one’s nyme, but sometimes people do reveal smug jokes or tells in them.

    Isn’t “Rope Avenger” another way of saying “lyncher”

  275. piegasm says

    The probability that God exists is 97.6%. Should a skeptic believe in God?

    Are you laboring under the delusion that this question does anything other than make you look stupid?

  276. Jacob Schmidt says

    I am a skeptic except …. when I am not.

    That’s funny; “stones and glass houses” comes to my mind.

  277. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    ‘Isn’t “Rope Avenger” another way of saying “lyncher”’
    Maybe Rope Avenger is using an iPhone and mistyped ‘lone’. That autocorrect can be a real pain sometimes…

  278. throwaway, gut-punched says

    I also find the argument that PZ was suckered into reporting something falsely is contrary to known facts about PZ’s capabilities as a rational thinker. The likelihood of that is vanishingly small though not nil. It really only holds weight depending, I guess, on bias. I’d like to think that if people were given a random sample of PZ’s writing they would each rate him at least below 50% on how likely he was to be gullible with regard to accepting a story from a trusted acquaintance. If they were honest, anyway.

    The probability that God exists is 97.6%. Should a skeptic believe in God?

    The skeptic should question the methodology for arriving at such a probability – unless we’re to take it as a signification that there is evidence in existence and that number was arrived at fairly in your hypothetical, then it would not be skeptical to disbelieve given those probabilities.

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

    Isn’t “Rope Avenger” another way of saying “lyncher”’
    Maybe Rope Avenger is using an iPhone and mistyped ‘lone’. That autocorrect can be a real pain sometimes…

    From the most recent movie that’s not much better

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

    If Shermer is a rationalist and believes PZ to be one as such, why didn’t he contract PZ to personally smooth this whole thing over? If it’s a misunderstanding then surely Shermer believes two civilized people, especially those who are aligned on most intellectual and possibly ethical issues, can surely settle it reasonably?

    Did I miss Shermer trying to reach out to PZ? Even with a “what the hell dude!?” e-mail or did he just go for the big guns right away?

  281. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Jade Hawk

    …and ordinary means “deficient in quality”

    … so proving the existence of Rope Avenger, for example, requires no extraordinary evidence?

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

    @gobi

    Jesus fuck! Given that history why the fuck would Hollywood even TOUCH the property with a ten foot pole? It’s clearly cursed

  283. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @revision

    The probability that God exists is 97.6%. Should a skeptic believe in God.

    Please explain the mothod you used to arrive at that number.

  284. says

    “Rope Avenger” was previously known as “A Bridge” and before that “Cold”. He tried to post as “NostalgiaForInfinity Last” but the spam filter caught him, so he found another IP and reposted. Cleanup in progress.

    He really is a major asshole. If you see more comments with that tone of callous pomposity, let me know, and don’t bother to respond to him — I’ll delete everything he does.

  285. says

    Isn’t “Rope Avenger” another way of saying “lyncher”

    And here I was, naively thinking it was a bit like a soap on a rope.

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

    Forgive my ignorance but wouldn’t the probability of God be unknown but either be 0/1 or 1/1 because the existence of capital g God would be a unique event and one that either did occur or did not?

  287. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @PZ Ah, well that explains a lot; especially his nitpicking about the definition of sockpuppet. Thanks, PZ.

  288. Jacob Schmidt says

    “Rope Avenger” was previously known as “A Bridge” and before that “Cold”. He tried to post as “NostalgiaForInfinity Last” but the spam filter caught him, so he found another IP and reposted. Cleanup in progress.

    You know, I wondered why the idiot thought being banned was criteria for being a sockpuppet.

  289. revision says

    The skeptic should question the methodology for arriving at such a probability – unless we’re to take it as a signification that there is evidence in existence and that number was arrived at fairly in your hypothetical, then it would not be skeptical to disbelieve given those probabilities.

    Exactly.

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

    oh my fucking god.

    Again let’s repeat this

    EXTRAORDINARY in the Sagan mantra referred to events that contradict natural law or understanding. Things that would require a great paradigm change in scientific understanding.

    Don’t fucking pretend that this counts.

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

    Also ignoring that the rape statistics methodology is freely available and IMO seem pretty good. Hell the male reporting one is a fairly ingenious way of verifying other statistics. Scientific method, it works zomg!

    I also have a cold today, so I’m stuck at home and cranky. This is apparently equivalent to saying i have a bigfoot in my pants

  292. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @revision

    You appear to be one of those people who are able to talk a lot without actually saying anything.

  293. says

    mikej:
    Please click my link at 187 and read the post in full. Then, hopefully, you will understand why it makes sense to believe Jane Doe. Greta lays it out in an easy to understand manner.

    Also, there is nothing extreme about a rape claim. I suspect you and some many pissants mean that it is bc Shermer is involved that it automagically becomes an extreme claim. There is nothing special about Michael fucking Shermer. He, as we can plainly see, is capable of Grade A douchemaggotry as much as any other shitstain.

    There is also no reason to believe Shermer will suffer appreciably if the claim is false (Duke Lacrosse team, anyone?)

  294. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Bedtime here and the puppetmistress has commanded me to sleep.
    It is disturbing that there have been so many sockpuppets and morphers, but at the same time encouraging that there are fewer assholes than previously thought.

  295. pHred says

    Ha – I called that. My eyes started sliding over those comments refusing to read them the same way that they did with the stuff “Cold” wrote. I contemplated saying something but I am just a random lurker who doesn’t post much. Still it makes me feel better that I wasn’t imagining things.

  296. crocodoc says

    Some people seem to confuse the benefit of the doubt with silencing victims. It means we should not declare Shermer guilty without convincing evidence. It does NOT mean immunity from accusations and it certainly does not restrict a victim’s right to speak out. No matter how much someone hates PZ, how can he assume that he fabricated this incident from thin air and that this woman, that he apparently knows personally, doesn’t exist?

  297. Portia, in boots says

    how can he assume that he fabricated this incident from thin air

    <doucemaggot>Because bitchez lie, and PZ is a bitch-by-association, ergo: PZ lies.

    </douchemaggot>

  298. carlie says

    And carlie gets in on the erotica game, providing sound effects.

    Hee.

    No, I was just mad that I wasted any time at all on a banned sockpuppet.

  299. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @PHred

    …but I am just a random lurker who doesn’t post much.

    For what it’s worth, I haven’t seen anything from you yet I disagreed with.

  300. Chie Satonaka says

    “Rope Avenger” was previously known as “A Bridge” and before that “Cold”.

    Oh, I remember Cold. He’s a shithead.

  301. says

    I bet the conversation Shermer had with his lawyers was really really instructive for him. That is, if they’re good lawyers and not clockpunchers who just wrote the letter and didn’t ask about the broader context of the allegations.

    No matter how things go down from here, unless Shermer is an utter fool, his tactics for getting sex are going to change for the better.

  302. Portia, in boots says

    No matter how things go down from here, unless Shermer is an utter fool, his tactics for getting sex are going to change for the better.

    You mean, he’ll hopefully stop raping people? Because that’s different from “getting sex.”

  303. CaitieCat says

    You mean, he’ll hopefully stop raping people? Because that’s different from “getting sex.”

    Thanks for that, Portia, I was trying to decide whether to mention that ‘getting sex’ is a rape culture-based view of the concept, that sex is something to be “achieved” by men, which places people those men have sex with in the role of trophy/obstacle. I’m not suggesting this is what Marcus specifically meant by it, but it’s a construct I hate. Women Are Not Puzzle Boxes.

  304. Portia, in boots says

    CaitieCat,

    Yeah, I completely agree. My first thought was that rape≠sex, but your analysis is entirely on point. I also agree that I don’t think Marcus intended to repeat the trope, but it’s so pervasive in our culture that the brain (and thus speech) patterns are there, and it’s important in these contexts to be careful how we talk about things.

  305. David Honig says

    Let me know if I can help. I’m licensed in Florida, Illinois, and Indiana. I’m assuming you have access to my email through the comment form.

  306. Rey Fox says

    If you see more comments with that tone of callous pomposity

    That could be a lot of people, unfortunately.

  307. Portia, in boots says

    This is the part where I should say I’m not licensed in what are probably the right states but I’m happy to contribute whatever talents I can to the defense effort if necessary. I hope PZ is getting solid advice from an attorney who is getting all the relevant information.

  308. says

    CaitieCat:
    Heh. Sure thing. Over the time I have posted here, I have gradually excised many slurs that I previously used (one of the last remaining is sonofabitch, but even this has been reduced to being said mentally and quickly corrected). As a result, I have learned to create fun, new insults that lack any splash damage. It has become kinda fun.

  309. Jacob Schmidt says

    I think Thumper meant that your contributions are appreciated.

    That was a strange way of putting it, though.

  310. believerskeptic says

    “….yeah, I found Rope Avenger‘s name…strange..as well.”

    There’s a pitter called Rope Apologist. Charming, no?

    See, I’m relatively new here, but I’m sort of getting lost at the part where skeptics are somehow no longer allowed to be swayed by evidence and come to their own conclusions. I guess being a “skeptic” means believing Everything Is False. Or something.

  311. MFHeadcase says

    TW.

    Here’s a little thought experiment:

    You a skeptical male, have won a contest! You get a one on one discussion and dinner at a con with a woman who is fairly famous, lets call her Michelle Sherman. Before the dinner, someone gives you a heads up, she is rumored to get men drunk then sodomize them with a huge strap on.

    Would you drink the wine offered as part of the meal? Or would you stick to water?

    Imagine no one gave you the heads up, and you were sodomized by this hypothetical woman, and afterwards people said, “Oh yeah, sorry, she does that a lot, but no cops ever believed anyone who complained.”

    How would you feel?

    Back to the real world, the grenade post was simply a more widely cast version of the heads up.

  312. says

    $10 on this one being another puppet. In fact, I’d bet it’s Cold/A Bridge/Rope Avenger again. I admit, it’s a bit intuitive, but the name smells like the same person.

  313. MFHeadcase says

    A Feel @386

    **headdesk, headdesk headdesk**

    Yeah, I likely should have expected an asshole like you.

    So much for rephrasing thing is a way hyperskeptical dude-bros could understand.

  314. yazikus says

    this is an incredibly species-ist term and I’d like you to stop

    Uh……. I’ll put another $10 with LykeX.

  315. says

    LykeX:

    $10 on this one being another puppet. In fact, I’d bet it’s Cold/A Bridge/Rope Avenger again. I admit, it’s a bit intuitive, but the name smells like the same person.

    Ha! Alert sent before you posted.

  316. believerskeptic says

    In the spirit of policing this thread for slymepit trolls, we should definitely cop A Feel.

  317. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    In the spirit of policing this thread for slymepit trolls, we should definitely cop A Feel.

    Well played, believer. I tip my clown fright wig to you.

  318. Portia, in boots says

    In the spirit of policing this thread for slymepit trolls, we should definitely cop A Feel.

    Yeah, no. You realize “cop a feel” implies nonconsensual groping, right? Yeah. No.

  319. MFHeadcase says

    Comment by A Feel blocked. [unhush]​[show comment]

    Not going to bother with further engagement with someone likely to go bye bye soon.

  320. Jacob Schmidt says

    sorry hon, i’m not a dudebro.

    The pointless condescension speaks otherwise.

    your rights end where my feelings begin

    Anybody else notice that so many people can’t tell the difference between exageration and outright lying when the try “satire”?

  321. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    A Feel, you’re not even being a very good troll. You could at least try to make some sense, instead of posting Tumblr-esque word salad.

  322. says

    in the court of FTB’s opinion, he is convicted.

    Holy shit, I might have an unfairly negative opinion of him.
    How the hell can he cope with this?

    Can he sue me? Seems like the only fair thing, someone going and judging someone and coming to a conclusion – how DARE they?

  323. believerskeptic says

    Yeah, I spend five days posting links to my song that has Karen Stollznow’s back—

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy5xEipjKQc

    — to anyone who will listen on these blogs, and I don’t get one word of appreciation for the effort.

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

  324. Arawhon says

    Jacob Schmidt
    Many of the Skeptic Dudebros only invested a couple ranks into Witty Commentary, and with their low Intelligence and Wisdom scores, there is no way they can make the DC to write satire.

  325. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I chuckled at believer’s joke without thinking about what it really meant, sorry. Guess I’m a little rusty at this.

  326. Portia, in boots says

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    If you can’t take some relatively mild criticism, I don’t want you as ally. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that…

  327. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Yeah, I spend five days posting links to my song that has Karen Stollznow’s back—

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy5xEipjKQc

    — to anyone who will listen on these blogs, and I don’t get one word of appreciation for the effort.

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    Jesus fuck, WHAT?

  328. Portia, in boots says

    And since you’re baiting for them, here are the tired lines that must be trotted out for the likes of you:

    Intent is not magic.

    You get no cookies for being decent.

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

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    Cry about it. That’ll help

  330. MFHeadcase says

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    If someone pointing out that you made a sexist joke and asking you to knock it off is all it takes to turn you off. You are not much of an ally.

  331. says

    believerskeptic:

    Yeah, I spend five days posting links to my song that has Karen Stollznow’s back—

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy5xEipjKQc

    — to anyone who will listen on these blogs, and I don’t get one word of appreciation for the effort.

    Oh, pardon me, I didn’t realize this was all about you. If all you wish to do is whine, I suggest you take it elsewhere. If you plan on continuing your whine, I’d be happy to send an alert to PZ so you can get some personal attention.

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Crack one joke? Yeah, a shitty, sexist, rapey “joke”. Maybe, just maybe, those of us who have been up to our necks in flaming doucheweasel rape apologists for the last 6 fucking days don’t find that kind of thing amusing, whether it’s coming from another apologist or you. If two posts signaling disapproval of that sort of thing are just more than you can take, you are in the wrong place.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    Right back atcha, Cupcake. We do expect new hordelings to exhibit intelligence, even in their wit. Your “joke” betrayed some ugly attitudes. You’re supposed to have enough awareness to examine that, and realize you fucked up a a tiny bit. That would have worked something like this: “Yeah, it was a stupid thing to say, sorry about that, I’ll think more next time.” That would have gotten you words of appreciation, but nooooooooooooo, it’s gotta be all about you.

  332. Jacob Schmidt says

    Arawhon

    Many of the Skeptic Dudebros only invested a couple ranks into Witty Commentary, and with their low Intelligence and Wisdom scores, there is no way they can make the DC to write satire.

    Never role played, but I gotta give props to a good D&D joke.

    believerskeptic

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Funny that not being an asshole all the time doesn’t excuse being an asshole this time, eh?

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    “Crapped on”? You were told to stop. You were not insulted, you were not vilified. You were told to stop, and that is all.

  333. brianpansky says

    If you can’t take some relatively mild criticism, I don’t want you as ally.

    ya, the reaction doesn’t even seem to make sense. agree and change, or disagree or something…

    but just blame us for your inability to do one of those options? what?

  334. rowanvt says

    You didn’t get crapped on. It got pointed out that the pun you made (while clever) is something that happens to women a lot and the *action* that you referenced is bad, especially in light of what this whole thing is about.

  335. says

    @Jadehawk #206:

    I claim plagiarism and stare sternly in your general direction

    Whoops, forgot which account I was posting under.

    -Polly-O

    (Seriously, though, I knew I’d seen that somewhere, just didn’t remember enough to give credit. Thanks for saying something).

  336. rowanvt says

    (By clever, I meant that I read it first as *cop* A Feel… as in report to the police/moderators) Sorry, just woke up. brain not functioning yet.

  337. believerskeptic says

    My name is Rob Gross; I am the co-author of the Blind Labyrinth song “Sick of Talking.” Though I don’t claim my reputation as a composer is an exalted one, it is mine and it means a lot to me.

    I wrote that song under my real name, taking a side. I sided with Karen Stollznow. I called out Benjamin Radford and put his mug front and center in my video, and pointed an arrow at him, and asked four times in the lyrics of the song, “Why does this man still have a job?”

    So I risked a little. I did it under my real name, unlike many of you armchair warriors and your safe pseudonymity. I’m certainly out as an atheist, and I’m out publicly as a supporter of whistleblowers who confront sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Does sexual harassment occur in my professional arena, musical academia? Oh, you bet. Does the idea that I might be an agitator, someone who might confront a lot of crap in the professional world potentially harm my long-term employability? You bet, again.

    So those of you who are taking me to task because of my one off color joke, you can all kiss my ass. Go do something real, besides complain on a blog under a pseudonym. Put your real name on it. And then come back here, and [i]kiss my ass again[/i].

    Dr. Robert Gross

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

    Hey Rob, are you done with your tantrum?

    Didn’t realize you needed us to lather your ego with our tongues at all times least it crack and desiccate.

  339. rowanvt says

    I have been groped. I didn’t care for the experience, thank you. That you are upset that I, and others, may not care for such jokes is just plain silly.

    Just because you do good things doesn’t mean you can’t mess up every now and then. And when you are pointed out on this, the correct response is “oops” not “Kiss my ass”.

    Because now I don’t trust you as much.

  340. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    believerskeptic

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    Fuck all of you. Maybe (that otherwise patronising asshat) Ron Lindsay *does* have a point about how quick some of you are to alienate your potential allies.

    Handy hint for future interactions with, you know, other human beings:

    Step on someone’s foot? Stick your foot in your mouth? Make a “joke” that isn’t well-received? The following is a useful set of phrases, “My bad. I didn’t think before I spoke (typed).” “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be offensive, but I know that intent doesn’t equal impact.” “Sorry, that was a douchecanoe-y thing to do. I apologize.”

    It’s quick! It’s easy! We all need to do it sometimes. It beats the hell out of whining and a round of “Goodbye, cruel fora!” It also means people respond with, “Meh. We all say stupid shit sometimes” instead of them responding with prolonged mocking of your response and/or flounce. Just a suggestion.

  341. brianpansky says

    i got a real name right here.

    “””Yeah, no. You realize “cop a feel” implies nonconsensual groping, right? Yeah. No.”””

    “””believerskeptic, that’s not any funnier than ‘A Feel’s’ shit. Knock it off. Now.”””

    these are the only two things said to you before you lost your shit. that’s what you call “taking to task”?

    an ally has to take such light criticism waaay more gracefully. you are the one who turned a molehill into a mountain.

  342. MFHeadcase says

    Ok, fine Dr. Robert Gross, My name is Michael Holland, and i repeat, if being asked to cut it out over a sexist joke is enough to get you to pull back from a supposed alliance, you suck as an ally.

    Bite me, whiner boy.

  343. Portia, in boots says

    “You’re all posers with your internet comments, do something real, like make a youtube video!!!!”

    wut.

    Again, no cookies for basic decency.

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

    Also Rob, my name is Bed Strangefellow

  345. ledasmom says

    But crack one joke whose intent is to frame the fact that a slymepit troll has a misogynist moniker? And I get crapped on.

    That’s because you can’t actually bank decent behavior until you have enough to buy a small act of shitty behavior. That is, decent behavior is what’s expected. It does not entitle you to a certain amount of non-decent behavior. I mean, somebody being generally great and all anti-sexism and so forth, for instance, does not give them the right to X number of gropings per month. Shitty behavior is shitty behavior even if coming from someone who hasn’t previously engaged in shitty behavior.

  346. Jacob Schmidt says

    I wrote that song under my real name, taking a side. I sided with Karen Stollznow. I called out Benjamin Radford and put his mug front and center in my video, and pointed an arrow at him, and asked four times in the lyrics of the song, “Why does this man still have a job?”

    So I risked a little. I did it under my real name, unlike many of you armchair warriors and your safe pseudonymity. I’m certainly out as an atheist, and I’m out publicly as a supporter of whistleblowers who confront sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Good, I’m glad you are.

    Being a generally good person with good works to your name does not excuse you from criticism. I don’t see why it would or why it should.

  347. says

    @believerskeptic

    So those of you who are taking me to task because of my one off color joke, you can all kiss my ass.

    You think that because you’re generally on our side, we shouldn’t point it out if we disagree on some particular point? You were corrected on a small matter. Take it under advisement and move on. It’s not the end of the the world and if you hadn’t taken exception to it, it would likely already be forgotten.

  348. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @believerskeptic

    Mate, you made a joke that offended some people. You didn’t mean to, but you did. So when those people say “That’s not cool, knock it off”, you say “Sorry, didn’t mean to offend anyone. My bad”. That’s the end of it, and people respect you for holding your hand up. Whining and acting as if those people don’t have the right to be offended, on the other hand, loses you respect.

    So, based on that information, which should have been obvious to you from the start, would you like to retract any of your posts, or…?

  349. Louis says

    Can I also mention that I once did something good under my real name and now want a cookie and a sparkleponyunicorn that fart rainbows. Also, any joke I make is okay because I made it. So there.

    Did I mention the cookie?

    Louis

    P.S. I’m piss sick of all this whiny fuckery about allies. I rather liked Chris Clarke’s idea of not calling yourself a feminist or an ally, but waiting for women feminists to do it. Wish I’d had the maturity and insight to work that out originally. I didn’t. Oh well!

  350. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    ledasmom

    That’s because you can’t actually bank decent behavior until you have enough to buy a small act of shitty behavior. That is, decent behavior is what’s expected. It does not entitle you to a certain amount of non-decent behavior. I mean, somebody being generally great and all anti-sexism and so forth, for instance, does not give them the right to X number of gropings per month. Shitty behavior is shitty behavior even if coming from someone who hasn’t previously engaged in shitty behavior.

    QFFT. Very, very well put. So well put, I may plagiarize that in altered form, if I may.

  351. brianpansky says

    It’s easy to say someone raped you, when they didn’t.

    i’m glad we’re all so distracted that this nonsense is just being ignored.

  352. says

    So I risked a little. I did it under my real name, unlike many of you armchair warriors and your safe pseudonymity. I’m certainly out as an atheist, and I’m out publicly as a supporter of whistleblowers who confront sexual harassment in the workplace.

    There’s a reason I use a nym here, Cupcake. I don’t like rape threats or death threats, and I get enough of them as it is. You’re indulging in pure idiotics now. How do you know what activism we do or don’t do AFK? I’m out as an atheist, too, and I live in North Dakota. I also work as an advocate for rape and sexual assault victims (on a part time basis now, the initial 7 years of it burnt me out), so don’t get all righteous, sweetpea.

  353. Portia, in boots says

    Example of what people are talking about:

    RahXephon said: “I chuckled at believer’s joke without thinking about what it really meant, sorry. Guess I’m a little rusty at this.”

    And I, personally, think it was a great response, and I appreciate it.

    See? It could all have been over if you just said “sorry”

  354. Nick Gotts says

    I’m going to be AFK for most of the day now, so can other monitors pick up, please?

    I’ll be around for the next few hours – not constantly, but I’ll keep an eye open and do a Ctrl-F for “monitor” every now and then.

  355. MFHeadcase says

    @LykeX 426

    You think that because you’re generally on our side, we shouldn’t point it out if we disagree on some particular point? You were corrected on a small matter. Take it under advisement and move on. It’s not the end of the the world and if you hadn’t taken exception to it, it would likely already be forgotten.

    But but, Dr. Gross is an ALLY! Allies are beyond reproach!

    Oh wait, no that’s not it… Actual allies take the occasional on target reproach as a learning experience, and try to do better.

    Dr. Gross is a special and unique snowflake!

  356. piegasm says

    It’s easy to say someone raped you, when they didn’t.

    Given the extremely well-documented consequences of claiming to have been raped (regardless of the truth of the claim), I have to call bullshit on this.

    I just hope PZ thought long and hard about the credibility of the information before he publicised it to a mass audience, otherwise it could get quite quiet on pharyngula.

    Your concern is noted as is your failure to read the grenade OP.

  357. Portia, in boots says

    I rather liked Chris Clarke’s idea of not calling yourself a feminist or an ally, but waiting for women feminists to do it.

    Exactly. In feminism, as in politics, as in everything, “ally” is not a unilateral term. You don’t declare yourself an ally. You act like one, then maybe you’re recognized as one.

  358. says

    Wow, it’s like a microcosm. Whether it’s writing books and running magazines or making supportive songs and comments, good deeds do not grant you passes for bad ones. If accused of the latter, instead of getting all huffy and defensive and taking your ball & going home, maybe listen, think, and apologize.

    To build on b. – Order of Lagomorpha’s point, if I step on someone’s toes, whether or not I meant to do so, and my entire prior history of not stepping on toes, does nothing to stop their foot pain.

    Any response besides “whoops, my bad, I’ll watch better next time,” however, is likely to mark me as a giant asshole.

  359. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    Sorry, Louis. The best I can do is make you a batch of these. It’s not a pony, per se, but having read Ken White’s fear of ponies on Popehat, I don’t want to scare him off. And hey! Cookies!

  360. says

    You mean, he’ll hopefully stop raping people? Because that’s different from “getting sex.”

    I wasn’t trying to minimize his actions. In fact, I put some effort into constructing that sentence because I suppose that if his tactics change then he won’t be raping, anymore. That left me with the problem of a good term to use for whatever that is, and I chose “getting sex” — the idea, however, was that Shermer might change from “raping” to “getting sex” and that’d be a good thing for all involved.

    (I don’t like “getting laid” and didn’t want to go with “seduction” because maybe Shermer’ll adopt a less predatory attitude. But he could still be a penis-driven horndog and not be a rapist. That’d be an improvement, of course. He’ll always be an asshole, though.)

  361. says

    From one Dr to another, I think the best course of action for Dr Gross at this point would be to apply some introspection, come of his “I did something great for X once” horse, because this is not a brownie point sum game, and maybe come back tomorrow after re-reading tonight’s points of criticism with a bit of distance.

    This butthurt whiney stuff from self-proclaimed allies we get here quite a bit, and we’re all sick and tired of it.

  362. Portia, in boots says

    Marcus Ranum:

    Do you understand CaitieCat’s objection to the phrase “getting sex” and how your phrasing conflated consensual sex with rape? I don’t think your answer answered the responses to your comment.

  363. Portia, in boots says

    “Butthurt” is homophobic. I’d go with “whiney” “obnoxious” “entitled” “insufferable.”

  364. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    God damn it. It’s 3 years later and this is STILL relevant.

    Oy believerskeptic, this may as well have been written with you in mind.

    I’m talking about you, you whiney whiners. Those of you who get all whiney and defensive whenever anyone dares to point out that you have stepped in the dogshit. Stepping in dogshit is an accident and it is something that all of us do upon occasion. Now, when you step in dogshit, do you want to just go blithely prancing about the place, spreading the dogshit hither and yon, stinking up the place to high heaven? Or do you want someone to point out that, jesus h. christ, there’s a great big steaming heap o’ smelly dog turds trailing off your right shoe, why don’t you go scrap ‘em off? Or better yet, just get yourself a whole new pair of shoes, for sure Isis can recommend something stylish.

    Source: http://scientopia.org/blogs/thusspakezuska/2010/06/02/give-the-witch-hunt-whine-a-rest-already-please/

    You stepped in the fucking dogshit and it’s stinking up the place and now you’re throwing a tantrum because people are trying to make you aware of the fact that JESUS H CHRIST, DUDE, you stepped in DOGSHIT, maybe you should just scrape it off. It’s happened to all of us, and will still happen in future, it’s not something to flip your shit out about.

  365. Portia, in boots says

    Sorry for being so blunt, rorschach. What I mean is, I think other terms are better suited, especially in the current context.

  366. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Also, spacklick,

    It’s easy to say someone raped you, when they didn’t.

    You have no idea what you’re tlaking about. None. Dunning Kruger strikes again.

  367. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    Portia, in boots

    “Butthurt” is homophobic. I’d go with “whiney” “obnoxious” “entitled” “insufferable.”

    “Whinging” and “petulant” also work. I’d try and throw in “bellicose” (too angry for whiny, in my book) and “disputatious” (too much akin to simply “argumentative”, ditto) simply for the sound, but they don’t work. *looks sad*

  368. pHred says

    @Thumper; Atheist mate

    Sorry – my fault – that really was just supposed to be a “thanks” indicating surprise that you noticed me. I have been at home all day with the sprites and I think my vocabulary has gone out the window – unless it starts with “No”, “Put that down” or “Stop picking on your brother/sister”.

    So – Thanks :)

  369. says

    Dr Robert Gross: no cookies here, sorry. Don’t expect instant camaraderie either — it takes time to earn people’s trust, especially people who know what betrayal is like and who are currently really, really pissed off at the mob of sock puppets and trolls and genuine assholes who have been flooding in here. If you want to be an ally, one thing you have to learn is patience. Another is that just being helpful doesn’t get you special rewards, and you shouldn’t be doing this for a reward.

  370. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    …anyone else having an issue with spacklick’s ‘nym?

    I say this cautiously, very much aware of the fact that I’ve called something like this out before only to be told it was self-referential :-/

  371. Portia, in boots says

    I’m out for a while…got to go elicit some worthless testimony. Some of it will even be eyewitness testimony. I’ll be lucky if I’m not laughed out of court, amirite?

  372. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @pHred

    O good, I was worried my comment came across badly :) No worries. I enjoy reading your comments, and hope this new higher frequency of commenting is a permanent fixture.

  373. David Marjanović says

    Yes, yes… the taste of feminist/victimist tears.

    O hai, perpetratorist.

    If the claim is true then it should have been reported to the police.

    LOL. What planet exactly are you from, that you think the police takes accusations of rape seriously? It’s well documented in the US that that’s not how it works.

    Search for “Michael Shermer rape allegations” and the first page is entirely those on the ‘anti-pz’ war path, and many have reproduce the claims in great detail. Getting PZ to take the original post down wouldn’t even help as it didn’t even come up in the search

    *blink*

    lolwut

    What an enormous own goal!

    aside: Wow, it seems Predator Theory’s getting so many hits that Feministe went down.

    I knew Meet the Predators and have read it a couple of times, but I didn’t know Predator Theory; apparently I’m not the only one, because it’s still down. “503 Service Temporarily Unavailable”.

    But that doesn’t mean that the accusations must be 100% correct because PZ believes they are and was risking a lot to bring them, any more than “die for a lie” makes jesus real.

    WTF. Thousands of people have happily died for lies because they believed those lies were the truth!

    So, if you float the possibility that PZ might be in this situation, you imply that Jane Doe could be lying to him.

    Why would she? Why would she risk all his trust in her? Why would she risk the wrath of the present shark tank (with frigging lasers on our heads)?

    Like a “prime mover” argument, you’ve just shifted the problem by one level instead of solving it.

    lolwut. do you not understand how the internet works?

    #Neuland

    Did a guy named “scooter” say something about me? I was too busy popping my gum and doodling hearts in my notebook to notice.

    And here I thought I was showing restraint by not questioning his account, not questioning which one was worse for him, just pointing out that his life is not everyone’s life. I didn’t realize that was a sign of immaturity.

    Thread won.

    *practices writing “carlie” in extremely curly handwriting with a heart as the i-dot*

    So those of you who are taking me to task because of my one off color joke, you can all kiss my ass. Go do something real, besides complain on a blog under a pseudonym. Put your real name on it. And then come back here, and [i]kiss my ass again[/i].

    Dr. Robert Gross

    …Are you trying to say “jokes about sexual assault are totally harmless when I make them”?

    Seriously?

    What kind of scientist are you?

    And what kind of scientist are you when you haven’t managed to think through why some people feel forced to use a pseudonym on teh intarwebz?

    Friends don’t let friends get away with thoughtlessly doing damage.

    Dr. David Marjanović
    Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

  374. says

    What I mean is, I think other terms are better suited, especially in the current context.

    That’s fair enough, I didn’t think of that, sorry. Happens very easily and not with malice. Consultant at work tonight was talking to resident about a female patient with a, err, discharge. Told her(the resident) to think out of the box. Hilarity ensued. I know, I’m bad. But “butthurt” lesson learned, thanks for pointing it out.

  375. ledasmom says

    b. – Order of Lagomorpha @ currently 429:

    QFFT. Very, very well put. So well put, I may plagiarize that in altered form, if I may

    I may actually be blushing now. Do feel free to use that in any way that may be useful.

  376. Polistes says

    OT. I was hearing the Hybrid’s voice (from BSG: Razor) in my head when reading the tripe from “Rope Avenger”.

    _____________

    Disclosure – I’ve morphed from “Bonnie” and “BMS” into “Polistes.” I’ve not posted much the past few years (hello and good-bye law school) yet I did read the Grenade post and virtually all comments.

  377. Rey Fox says

    You might want to consider changing the nym too, we’re rather leery of nyms with “skeptic” in them these days.

  378. rusty says

    @324

    I read them, and that’s fair enough. The “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” refrain came to my mind too when thinking about the differences. And whilst this is not an “extraordinary claim” in the same vane, you can’t deny that the claim is extreme.

    If it’s true, it’s lifting the lid on a serial sex-offender. If it’s false, it’s ruining the name of the accused. It’s an extreme claim regardless it’s outcome. And to borrow that refrain from before – “extreme claims require extreme evidence”.

    MTV presents X-TREME EVIDENCE. In today’s episode, our witness gives a deposition in front of our team of lawyers… while blindfolded and snowboarding backwards down an active volcano!

    Seriously, though, you’re just making up a category of evidence (“extreme”) and then claiming that it is lacking in this case.

  379. sundiver says

    Doc, get over it. I used an inappropriate term here once and got called on it, realized it was not appropriate, apologized and moved on. Mind you, I don’t post here often, mainly because most any contributions I might be inclined to offer are usually better said by others. Still, I occasionally throw out a bon mot. Best thing is to own the fuck-up, apologize and move on. The one thing I’ve noticed the horde despises is doubling down on ass-hattery. See rorschach’s response to his use of the term “butthurt” as an example.

  380. believerskeptic says

    For the record—

    While I admit that it came off badly, my wisecrack about “cop[ping] A Feel” was intended to use “A Feel’s” profoundly stupid moniker *against him*.

    What I think is really sad is that this more benign interpretation of my motive behind the comment I think was reasonably available, but instead, some of you just immediately leapt to a malevolent interpretation instead. Given a choice between a benign or malevolent interpretation of a comment, or someone’s motives behind the comment, and some of you— perhaps many of you— will immediately leap to the malevolent interpretation every time.

    I think it’s a sad world to live in in which everybody is assumed an enemy until proven an ally.

  381. Pteryxx says

    *waves to David M*

    Even more documentation of official procedures that dismiss rape complaints automatically:

    — TW for dismissal, obviously —

    Until Last Week, The Official Policy Of One Virginia City Was To Assume All Rape Victims Were Lying

    The woman reported the attack immediately to police, only to be told, “If we find out that you’re lying, this will be a felony charge.” Before giving her a medical examination, officers subjected the woman to interrogations during which they said things like, “You’re telling us a different story than you told … the other detectives,” and “This only happened hours ago. Why can’t you remember?” Having had enough, the woman cut off the interview.

    The police eventually arrested and charged the attacker for multiple other sexual assaults and felonies, and Goldsmith apologized for mishandling the woman’s initial allegations. Now that Goldsmith has updated the policy for handling sexual assault cases, the department will also undergo training for post-traumatic stress disorder and rape trauma.

    and

    University of Southern California Mislabels Sexual Assaults As ‘Personal Injuries’

    Students at the University of Southern California (USC) are alleging that their university routinely mislabels incidents of sexual assault in an attempt to artificially lower its statistics on rape and sexual abuse.

    According to the Huffington Post, when USC senior Ariella Mostov reported being sexually assaulted in March, the school’s Department of Public Safety filed a crime report listing the incident as an “injury response.” Not labeling it as sexual assault meant that neither Department of Public Safety or the Los Angeles Police Department had to follow up on the case.

    Both thanks to @TimidAtheist on Twitter.

  382. Chie Satonaka says

    @414, brings up “rumors of killing kittens” just like another troll did earlier in the thread. Excuse me, the first troll mentioned “rumors of eating kittens.”

    Sometimes I think it’s the same two or three trolls over and over again. And what’s with the fantasy violence against kittens, FFS?

  383. A. Noyd says

    believerskeptic (#413)

    Go do something real, besides complain on a blog under a pseudonym. Put your real name on it.

    You need to stop putting your real name on everything because the way you’re going about it looks like you want to make everything about you. It’s like you’re mistaking the harsh lights all the rape/harassment-denialist interrogators are casting on Karen and the other women coming forward for limelight and trying to edge into that light to soak up a little recognition for yourself. Highly inappropriate. This is not the time for self-promotion or image management for the great Dr. Robert Gross. If you can’t stay focused on what’s actually important, shut the fuck up and go away.

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

    To add my completely unhelpful assessment:

    believerskeptic,

    It wasn’t a big mistake, it wasn’t a big deal, you weren’t considered an enemy… you then overreacted as if you’d been told off much more harshly than in reality.

    Your overreaction and now excusing what was a bad tasting joke really isn’t helping.

  385. nightshadequeen says

    What I think is really sad is that this more benign interpretation of my motive behind the comment I think was reasonably available, but instead, some of you just immediately leapt to a malevolent interpretation instead. Given a choice between a benign or malevolent interpretation of a comment, or someone’s motives behind the comment, and some of you— perhaps many of you— will immediately leap to the malevolent interpretation every time.

    ….For the last time, intent is not fucking magic.

    You made an unfortunate joke, people called you out on it, and instead of dropping it and moving on, you choose to double down.

    Notice that no one has called you a bad person; they’ve just pointed out that you’ve said something that’s kind of punches down, and asked to to retract that statement.

  386. Chie Satonaka says

    @464 (TW, violence against women, rape)

    Infuriating. Consider the fact that the city of Detroit found 21 serial rapists AND ONE SERIAL KILLER after just processing 153 of their backlogged 11,000 untested rape kits. The serial killer went on to murder five women after his first rape victim’s kit was never processed by the police. And there are over 100,000 untested rape kits across the country.

    But yeah, we take rape very seriously in this country.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/28/rapists-beware-detroit-prosecutor-ids-21-attackers-in-rape-kit-probe.html?vm=r

  387. piegasm says

    Shorter #463:

    Intent! It’s fucking magic!

    This has nothing to do with your intent. In fact, several people said explicitly that they don’t doubt you didn’t mean any harm. That doesn’t stop it being harmful. But let’s not believe people when they say they know you didn’t mean any harm; let’s just keep bleating on about how boo-fucking-hoo everyone assumed malevolence on your part. Because, as we all know, the important thing here is that believerskeptic receives the cookies due him for being a mostly decent person.

  388. brianpansky says

    “I think it’s a sad world to live in in which everybody is assumed an enemy until proven an ally.”

    no, it’s sad that a simple problem being pointed out makes you short circuit. we all have to deal with this, you are not special. stop imagining that we assume everyone to be an enemy until proven an ally.

  389. says

    I just wanted to say to Rob (aka believerskeptic*) that I watched his (their?) vid (linked from the CFI thread) and thought it was pretty good. Gave it a thumbs up.

    I can understand how harsh and uncompromising the environment here might seem to newcomers. That’s cos it is harsh and uncompromising when it comes to sexist (also racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist etc.) language. No one, not first timers, not members of the community of long standing, not even PZ himself, is immune from criticism on this score. We expect that people who are concerned about social justice will sometimes make mistakes. It’s inevitable because we’re all part of a sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist culture and that shit is insidious and impossible to purge completely. So the SOP here is for people to call it out whenever it surfaces. The expected response to that criticism is

    1) Shut up. Don’t dig yourself in deeper or make excuses. No apologia please.
    2) Listen. Hear why people have called your statement out.
    3) Reflect. Does it make sense why people have a problem with what you said? Did it result from an underlying sexist (other -ist) attitude, or was it a naive mistake?
    4) Research. If you still don’t get it, go seek out Google (or any links to resources helpfully provided).
    5) Acknowledge. Say you understand, you made a mistake and are sorry; say you’ve changed your attitude; say you’ve learned something; even say you don’t get it but out of respect for others you won’t do the same thing again.

    It’s really not a big deal. People do make mistakes. People who are feminists do think and say sexist shit. But the only way to make real lasting progress is to keep raising awareness.

    *which, I have reason to hope, will prove another exception to the rule about misogynist idiot ubersceptics with “skeptic” or “rational” in their nyms

  390. Jacob Schmidt says

    While I admit that it came off badly, my wisecrack about “cop[ping] A Feel” was intended to use “A Feel’s” profoundly stupid moniker *against him*.

    Yes, by saying we ought to “cop a feel”; otherwise known as sexual assault.

    What I think is really sad is that this more benign interpretation of my motive behind the comment I think was reasonably available, but instead, some of you just immediately leapt to a malevolent interpretation instead. Given a choice between a benign or malevolent interpretation of a comment, or someone’s motives behind the comment, and some of you— perhaps many of you— will immediately leap to the malevolent interpretation every time.

    I think it’s a sad world to live in in which everybody is assumed an enemy until proven an ally.

    For god sakes. We know you meant well. Your intentions aren’t the problem, your words are. I can, in all good intentions, make a sexist joke. It happens. We fuck up. I’ve fucked up. The “benign” interpretation makes no difference when it’s still an interpretation of a joke telling us to commit sexual assault.

    It’s sad to see a (presumably) otherwise reasonable person think they are so god damn persecuted when all they recieved was two corrections.

  391. brianpansky says

    “this more benign interpretation of my motive behind the comment I think was reasonably available”

    i’m still not sure what benign interpretation you mean. groping an awful person is still wrong. ?

  392. CaitieCat says

    Hey, Doc: might want to lay the shovel down for a bit, cancel the call to the backhoe rental agency, and read this.

    Toot-toot.

    /my own horn.

  393. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @believerskeptic

    I think it’s a sad world to live in in which everybody is assumed an enemy until proven an ally.

    That’s not what’s happening. Even allies say stupid or insulting or hurtful things sometimes. No one’s perfect. See the reaction to rorschach using “butthurt” above (rorschach is a regular commenter here). I know what you were trying to do, but some people found your referencing to sexual assault insulting. Presumably you do not want to hurt those people, so when they say they are insulted, why not simply apologise? We all put our foot in it sometimes; that’s no longer the issue here. What is the issue is the way you responded to mild criticism (hint: it did not come off well). If you’d just held your hand up and apologised, we’d have all forgotten about it by now.

  394. says

    Ahh. Crap. Emphasis fail. The only thing that ought to have been in italics is the “is” in the second sentence of the second paragraph.

    What I think is really sad is that this more benign interpretation of my motive behind the comment I think was reasonably available, but instead, some of you just immediately leapt to a malevolent interpretation instead. Given a choice between a benign or malevolent interpretation of a comment, or someone’s motives behind the comment, and some of you— perhaps many of you— will immediately leap to the malevolent interpretation every time.

    I think it’s a sad world to live in in which everybody is assumed an enemy until proven an ally.

    You misunderstand. I think everyone pretty much assumed that your intention was benign. The problem wasn’t your intention, but that jokes about sexual assault, even if properly aimed and directed, are prone to cause unintentional splash damage.* You are not being classed as an enemy. You are being classed as a provisional ally with a problem. The more you make it about you, the less patience people will have.

    *if you’re unsure about why this is, or why your joke in particular did this, follow my advice above and do some research

  395. Pteryxx says

    Adding to the evidence pile – here’s research cited in the Norfolk VA link above.

    Many other areas have this same problem. In light of a Baltimore investigation on the city’s high number of unfounded cases, the Police Executive Research Forum noted, “Unwarranted ‘unfounding’ of cases can result in offenders remaining free — and in victims losing trust in the justice system.” This classification also leads to lower reports of rape, because “unfounded” cases are not included in crime stats.

    That 60-page report from 2012 is here: PDF link

    and it covers rape myths, misclassifying cases as unfounded, being alert to recantations due to coercion, DNA testing in both stranger and acquaintance assaults, problems with on-campus reporting and more. It even discusses going public with allegations, thus encouraging more victims to come forward, as an additional investigative tool. And the report concludes with an entire section on external review by advocacy groups to ensure police departments aren’t mishandling rape cases.

    Of particular relevance: (bolds mine)

    Release of information to the public:
    At the PERF Summit on Improving the Police Response
    to Sexual Assaults, one of the issues discussed was
    how quickly police should release information to
    the public in cases where they have evidence that a
    serial rapist has committed multiple crimes in the
    community. Once police begin to develop information
    indicating that multiple crimes have been
    committed by a single perpetrator, they may see
    patterns in how, when, and where the offender is

    committing the crimes. By releasing such information
    to the public, police may be able to offer residents
    tips about how to avoid those situations and
    protect themselves. At the same time, public release
    of such information may also signal to the offender
    that police are getting closer to making an identification
    and an arrest. That may cause the offender
    to change his patterns or take other steps to avoid
    arrest.
    A number of police chiefs with experience
    in such cases discussed that issue, and generally
    agreed that it is usually better to release information
    sooner rather than later.
    The PERF survey produced
    similar findings; when asked about the situation in
    which they release information about sex crimes to
    the public, 88% of responding agencies said they
    make public notifications about sexual assault cases
    “that pose a risk to the public.”

  396. says

    I haven’t read through all 477 posts, so maybe this has been covered, but…

    Hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement offered for proof of the matter asserted. IOW, hearsay only comes into existence after, “All rise.” Beyond that, testimony — that is, sitting in the witness chair and answering questions about what happened — absolutely is evidence. The question is whether Sh… the complainant… can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that PZ’s statements were false (the burden is on the plaintiff).

    (BTW, there are exceptions to the rule that hearsay is inadmissible. Those exceptions are unlikely to matter, however, since I’m confident PZ won’t have any problems coming up with one or two witnesses who will testify about their personal experiences.)

    Cheers!

  397. says

    I realize that this is probably going to go over well-trod ground, but seeing as how we get endless trolls reiterating it, I have to wonder:

    Exactly what are the negative consequences for Michael Schermer. I mean, it’s clear that the douchebros consider what is happening to him something far and above even the PTSD-trauma hell that is rape, so what exactly is that.

    I mean, let’s look at the most likely situation first. That he is a rapist (or at least a firm believer in playing dangerously close to the rape line due to general rape culture ideology on how one “picks up chicks”). This is strongly supported both by the volume and similarity of corroborating stories and his response to them.

    So what does he lose in this the most likely of situtations? Well, he’s not facing any criminal charges and has zero chance of serving jail time despite violating another human being (so far, he’s received a major reward, not a negative).

    But hey, let’s throw a bone to the “super totally skeptic, not at all a meager thinker counting on unearned social regard to pull them through”s out there and assume the least likely conclusion. There is a mass confederacy of PZ Myers brainwashed vixens who decided making up some rape accusations and warn each other of nonexistent behavior for years were a fun way to spend an afternoon… many afternoons. Okay, it doesn’t make a goddamn bit of sense, but let’s throw them the bone.

    There is the “smearing of his name”, but society has shown us again and again that being a rapist, even a convicted rapist hasn’t stopped people receiving work or protection from other powerful people (Polanski for instance). Additionally, his name is most “smeared” by his actions with the population who was already getting wary with him due to some repeated sexist incidents in the past. Additionally, he’s established enough in his position and has enough credentials and money that he’s unlike to be eliminated from his job (unlike what often happens to women who report sexual harassment or minorities who simply try and exist). As a male he’s unlikely to receive rape and death threats (so, so far, he’s “suffering” less than Adria Richards did for trying to stop sexist jokes during a women in her field panel or Rebecca Watson did for saying “guys, don’t do that”).

    So let’s go back to what the “name smear” might do. As I said, it might hurt his book sales and appearances, but that’s only with a population that already has been souring on him because of unrelated previous actions wherein he acted like a sexist tool. And that will, sadly (which is a condemnation on our society), be rewarded as well. Those who are extremely invested in a sexist atheist culture are more likely to consider him a God and buy his books and support him because he was attacked by “those lying bitches trying to take him down for being a truthteller”. Already we see the usual suspects crawling out of their holes to support him and offer their aid.

    So, so far, pretty minimal impact. There’s the fact that people will think he’s a douchebag on the internet and possibly at conferences, but pretty much anybody who is even semi-involved on the internet has that (whether it’s because of genuinely douchebag behavior or because they have pissed off douchebags by emphatically not being a douchebag). And again, there’s going to be the hero worship from the sexist asshole brigade, which he was already dipping a toe into recruiting in the past. So again, not really a great big loss and certainly not even remotely close to what rape victims and even women who relate their experiences face. Heck, we haven’t even gotten to the “male allies who support women” level of pushback and consequence.

    So what is the thing that these douchebags are really focused on Schermer losing? What is the only true “loss” that he’ll be suffering.

    It’s this: No matter whether he’s a rapist or a really creepy flirter, his access to women at conventions is probably going to dry up a bit and more women are going to be less likely to go along with his tactics and more willing to stand up for someone else being assaulted by them.

    And that’s the thing they really think is beyond the pale. That a man should be deprived of his access to “sex” of his choosing. That he should ever have his prey warned or be denied the ability to get his dick wet.

    This is what the douchebags view as several layers worse than rape, worse than the harassment and death threats that women who speak about their experiences receive.

    A guy not getting “laid” when he wanted to. A guy not being able to rape women and so increase their “hit count” and their ability to brag homosocially to their friends and look like a “big man”.

    Whether his crimes are true or not, this is the thing that has been most “lost” and what is most lamented.

    And right there you can see just how much they care about rape victims, women in general, or even the very action of sex.

    So I say, in our broken ass rape culture, fuck what Michael Schermer has “lost”.

    Speaking as someone who has actually lost things, all that horseshit can go to the happy fire spike kingdom. And as someone who was raped and didn’t report it and someone dating two people who were raped and didn’t report it. One of whom is dating someone who was raped and reported it, but was treated like shit by the cops for reporting it before they promptly told her they weren’t even going to bother to investigate… Well, fuck all you rape apologizing motherfuckers happily perpetuating a system that makes it frightening and fraught to report rapes or even speak out about what has happened.

    I was raped at a conference. My partners were raped at parties. Jane Doe was raped at a conference. At such public venues, if rape was really something we took seriously as a society, it shouldn’t be that easy for a rapist to rape someone and not even worry about facing consequences. And yet it is.

    So fuck all the whining about what TEH POOR MENZ (only rapist men included, male rape victims, I have no interest in adding to your trauma) are suffering because of the unthinkable notion of women speaking about their experiences in a forum wherein you’ll suffer no actual consequences.

    You got off easy, thanks to a poisonous rape culture. Be happy with that. For once in your sick twisted lives.

  398. believerskeptic says

    Hey, the song just passed 300 hits! At last.

    Thanks for your support, everyone.

    You certainly are a group that knows how to make a well-meaning newcomer feel welcome.

    /sarcasm

    You’re all missing my essential point.

    I’m just asking you to see it for just a moment from my perspective.

    I’ve been on here up and down begging people to take a look at something I think could actually make a difference in the court of public opinion— not another screed, not another verbose diatribe, not another dissertation laced with postmodernist university-educated feminist academic lingo which turns the word “other” into a verb, but rather, a song, a tune, something with a groove that ordinary people can wrap their heads around.

    And met with nothing but indifference by you, who are also *to me* provisional allies. I’m judging you just as much as you’re judging me. I’m a whirlwind of potential creative activity and I’m looking for a place to hang my hat. Are you the place where I’ll hang my hat?

    Apparently not. Because one ill-chosen comment that [i]actually has a benign interpretation when you stop and actually think about it[/i] is all it takes to mark one as unworthy around here.

    My point is that you weren’t there when I tried to do something positive. And you were all over me like a cheap suit when I made a mistake.

    That’s who you are, apparently. Slow as molasses with the praise, quick as a viper with the rebuke.

    Maybe I’ll find another place to hang my creative hat. Believe it or not, you’re not the only progressive skeptics in the blogosphere.

    RG

  399. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Holy shit, I might have an unfairly negative opinion of him.

    You know, I was thinking of this and of the troll-whine of “Shermer is now unpopular in the FTB court of popular opinion,” and it all goes back to entitlement, doesn’t it?

    MICHAEL SHERMER IS NOT ENTITLED TO MY GOOD OPINION. He wasn’t entitled to it before this happened. I have the right, FOR ANY REASON OR FOR NONE AT ALL, to not like him, not buy his books, not attend his speaking engagements, etc. I am not, as a woman, obligated to like everyone, or to “keep an open mind’ or to have a default setting of “Everyone’s Nice Unless Proven Otherwise.” (In fact, long experience tells me that the opposite is often true.)

    I am not obligated to exist in a state of openness towards every goddamn person.

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

    Apparently not. Because one ill-chosen comment that [i]actually has a benign interpretation when you stop and actually think about it[/i] is all it takes to mark one as unworthy around here.

    THat one comment didn’t mark you as anything, the follow-up whinging marked you as an ass.

  401. rowanvt says

    Oh good grief, could you *possibly* whine any more about yourself?

    You sound like my foster kittens: mee! Meee! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    We’re going to miss out on YOU and YOUR creativity because YOU won’t hang YOUR hat here and we didn’t give YOU enough leeway (2 comments, how cruel we are) when YOU made what YOU thought was an innocuous comment.

  402. alwayscurious says

    I’m penniless, but I’d willingly contribute to a legal defense fund. I’m guessing the threat of legal action is all bluster, intended to silence the loudest & most obvious critics.

    Only the lawyers really stand to benefit if it goes beyond letter writing & threats. Suppose it goes to court, witnesses materialize where they might have otherwise stayed anonymous, Shermer might end up with an extended legal battle with them AFTER everything is settled with PZ. And even if Shermer does win in court, what does he get? He doesn’t get his reputation back nor the widespread support of the women who he’s alienated. I hazard that most of the bloggers here aren’t exactly rich. And nothing would stop most of the other contributors from believing as they currently believe.

  403. nightshadequeen says

    Maybe I’ll find another place to hang my creative hat. Believe it or not, you’re not the only progressive skeptics in the blogosphere.

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  404. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    So I risked a little. I did it under my real name, unlike many of you armchair warriors and your safe pseudonymity. I’m certainly out as an atheist, and I’m out publicly as a supporter of whistleblowers who confront sexual harassment in the workplace.

    Wow, what a spectacular flameout. You really do think that being decent most of the time obligate us to shield you from criticism when you act badly, don’t you? What a charmingly entitled notion that is. What a terrific ally you are!

    Oh, and there’s a reason that many of us don’t post here under our public names. It doesn’t mean that we don’t do activism work in real life, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t deal with, confront or write about sexism and sexual harassment in our daily lives. Hell, I teach a class about it!

    So those of you who are taking me to task because of my one off color joke, you can all kiss my ass. Go do something real, besides complain on a blog under a pseudonym. Put your real name on it. And then come back here, and [i]kiss my ass again[/i].

    See, here’s the thing–allies point out when other allies have failed. We all do it. Sometimes sexist shit comes out of my mouth, and I’m a woman and an educator. It happens. And the correct response to such criticism is to shelf your pride and say, “Oh wow, sorry about that!” That is what you should have done here. Instead, you’ve Red Herringed about anons and insulted everyone who tried to help you (and, make no mistake, such criticism IS HELPING YOU). And you did it under your ~~real name.~~ So yay you, I guess.

  405. Menyambal --- writing as Lee Moe Joost says

    Cerberus von Snarkmistress, I really like what you wrote. I’ve been thinking along similar lines, and add that the menz are upset that a man, PZ, has conspired with women to block a man’s access to his sexual rights.

    I’ll post what I wrote, sometime.

    believerskeptic, this thread is about rape, and the damage that it does to victims. You are on it screaming about your hurt feelings about a remark and video views. I realize that to you, a percieved insult to you is more important than the rape of any number of women, but we are trying to discuss their hurt, their pain, and ways to prevent more people from being raped.

    believerskeptic, go away. Go away now.

    Take your hurt feelings outside, and talk them over somewhere else.

    This thread is about rape, not about you.

    Go away.

    Now.

  406. piegasm says

    @484 believerskeptic

    You’re all missing my essential point.

    Actually nobody missed your point. You tried to help, you made a well-meaning but misguided joke. A couple people said variations of “hey dude, that’s not cool” and then what happened? What happened is you lost your shit. And then people piled on.

    Maybe I’ll find another place to hang my creative hat. Believe it or not, you’re not the only progressive skeptics in the blogosphere.

    So already. Don’t do us any favors by sticking around if you’re going to go full nuclear at the merest suggestion that you did or said something you maybe shouldn’t.

  407. says

    Cyranothe2nd: I think you’re going to have to speak louder. I don’t think Dr. Gross can hear you from all the way up there on that cross.

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

    Jesus Christ, it was two (2) comments!

  409. Pteryxx says

    believerskeptic @484: I for one was being polite. Yes, I saw your youtube link on half a dozen different blog conversations. I didn’t say anything, and neither did anyone else, and maybe that should have been a clue to you. But now that you’ve said all of this:

    I’ve been on here up and down begging people to take a look at something I think could actually make a difference in the court of public opinion— not another screed, not another verbose diatribe, not another dissertation laced with postmodernist university-educated feminist academic lingo which turns the word “other” into a verb, but rather, a song, a tune, something with a groove that ordinary people can wrap their heads around.

    And met with nothing but indifference by you, who are also *to me* provisional allies. I’m judging you just as much as you’re judging me. I’m a whirlwind of potential creative activity and I’m looking for a place to hang my hat. Are you the place where I’ll hang my hat?

    Apparently not. Because one ill-chosen comment that [i]actually has a benign interpretation when you stop and actually think about it[/i] is all it takes to mark one as unworthy around here.

    …Have you actually considered the possibility that your video, regardless of subject matter, was not very good? You spent a lot of effort on it, definitely, and your heart was in the right place. But hard work is no guarantee of quality either.

    Want to guess why I haven’t recommended it nor passed it along to friends? Hint: I tried, ONE time, just to confirm it wasn’t just me. Trust me on this: while you seem to find indifference an insult and some sort of deprivation of your rights, IMHO it’s been doing you a favor.

    Why do we put up with it? Do we like to be criticized? No, no scientist likes to be criticized. Every scientist feels an affection for his or her ideas and scientific results. You feel protective of them. But you don’t reply to critics: “Wait a minute, wait a minute; this is a really good idea. I’m very fond of it. It’s done you no harm. Please don’t attack it.” That’s not the way it goes. The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away. Don’t waste any neurons on what doesn’t work. Devote those neurons to new ideas that better explain the data. Valid criticism is doing you a favor.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/wonder_and_skepticism ironically.

    I don’t like scientists, skeptics, allies OR artists who can’t handle honest criticism without counterattacking.

  410. Jacob Schmidt says

    Note: BBCode doesn’t work here. Use the html tags shown at the bottom, underneath the comment box.

    Because one ill-chosen comment that actually has a benign interpretation when you stop and actually think about it is all it takes to mark one as unworthy around here.

    Tell me, ye who has nailed thyself to a cross, of the two comments that you recieved before this whole spiel, which said that your were “unworthy”?

  411. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @believerskeptic

    Because one ill-chosen comment that [i]actually has a benign interpretation when you stop and actually think about it[/i] is all it takes to mark one as unworthy around here.

    Jesus fuck… listen carefully.

    It is not what you said that marked you as unworthy. It was your reaction to criticism.

    Everyone slips up, and no one doubts that you did not intend to insult anyone. But intent isn’t fucking magic, and you did insult people. When that was pointed out to you, you should have apologised like a fucking adult. What you did instead was whine and equivocate and generally make yourself look like an idiot.

    You could have apologised even after some of the whining. It wasn’t too late. Now, as far as I’m concerned, it is. Fuck off.

  412. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    And [my Youtube video was] met with nothing but indifference by you…

    Ooooo, so now we come to the real issue. You’re mad that we didn’t immediately run over to your video and praise you for it.

    WOW.

    Just sit with that hubris for a second.

  413. A. Noyd says

    believerskeptic (#484)

    Maybe I’ll find another place to hang my creative hat.

    This is just what I mean. You’ve somehow mistaken the outing of sexual harassers, assaulters and rapists in the skeptic community for a hatrack. Fuck off.