1. julian says

    My god…

    Prof Myers has the perfect news anchor voice!

    I never noticed…

    P.S. Thank you for this. Still not done.

  2. julian says

    Laden is being too conspiracy oriented.

    There’s no reason to think TAM is insisting harassment continue. Grothe is clearly well meaning just hopelessly unable to actually help do to a number of failures on his part and a number of people telling him these aren’t failures/shortcomings. It probably doesn’t help that TAM leads as far as representation among women. It’s given him much to convenient an excuse to not consider ways to improve the situation or isolate problems.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Thanks, Jasper; it would have been a long shot, so I was not optimistic, but you have made me smile.

  4. Cyranothe2nd says

    Ophelia–this was fantastic. Thanks so much for participating in it! Would love to see you all do this again.

  5. Cyranothe2nd says

    @ Julian–I think he didn’t express himself well here. I’ve read some of his comments and basically what he’s saying is that DJ doesn’t WANT to deal with the issue of harassment, or wants to mimimize it as much as possible, because the attendees at TAM expect a certain level of lassais faire, sexually charged and innuendo environment. To take harassment seriously would rain on the MRA parade, and DJ knows which side of JREF’s bread the butter is on. It behooves him to bring in the ladies, and to have a stated policy, but not to actually change the culture of TAM (which has typically been very misogynistic.)

    At least, that’s my understanding of Greg’s position…

  6. NateHevens says

    a) Why did you do this on Father’s Day? I would have liked to watch it live.

    Now I’m depressed… 🙁

    😀 😛

    (Yes, I’m kidding)

    b) Wow. I always wondered what PZ Myers sounded like, because I’ve honestly never heard him speak. I actually always imagined him sounding like a US-American version of Richard Dawkins…

    Turns out I wasn’t far off (if you add in a little Daniel Dennet)… 😀

    (I keed I keed!)

    c) A possible thought…

    I’ve watched two such conversations now. One was meant to be a debate, but really turned into a bully-pulpit with about 5 or 6 people yelling at Wendell, who could barely get a word in edge-wise.

    Then there’s this, which I’m currently about 52 minutes in to.

    I know not everyone likes debates, but I honestly believe that debates tend elevate the level of conversation. I would personally like to see a debate on this issue.

    Both sides preaching to each other really isn’t ever going to get anything done, because preaching to the choir is almost always pointless unless you’re trying to mobilize your side.

    So I think both sides should get together for an open, 2-hour debate. And I think the Google Live format would work because people could leave and others could join. Yes, it would probably generate yelling and anger, but I think it would also generate a much greater level of conversation than we have right now.

    Or maybe I’m the only one who’d want to see this because I’m kind of a fan of debates. I tend to love them… 😀

  7. says

    So, Nate, which of the people involved in getting anti-harassment policies put in place do you think ought to subject themselves to the kind of hostility that someone like Emery was throwing around?

  8. says

    And I don’t think The Great Penis Debate was actually intended to be a debate. And the people yelling at Wendell weren’t actually yelling at Wendell, they were yelling at us by yelling at Wendell.

    This isn’t really all that amusing. Of course it may seem amusing to you, Nate, but then you’re not the one whose name they’re screaming from a face empurpled with rage.

  9. NateHevens says

    I wasn’t thinking about Emery, and I didn’t find what they did to Wendell amusing. That they didn’t let him get a word in edgewise was kind of infuriating, actually. But I’ve seen debates work, and I’ve participated in debates that work. In my experience, they always manage to take a conversation to th next level.

    I participated in a debate on homeopathy back when I attended Georgia Perimeter College. They wanted to introduce a medical degree, but what they were going with included homeopathy (I was on the team against it). The side in favor was pretty ugly, quite frankly (one of them used ad hom against us in his closing statement, another appealed to freedom in the US, yet another directly attacked science; only the one leading the pro group had a sensible closing argument, though relying on ideas we’d already shown to be wrong over the course of the debate), but the debate resulted in the college turning the program down. I now attend FAU, but GPC was looking at a new medical program that doesn’t include woo when I left.

    I’ve watched other debates that were pretty effective, as well, and since I’m starting a chapter of the SSA at FAU, the Campus Crusade for Christ wants to organize a debate about what’s taught in science classes, and all of us are hoping it comes through.

    I just happen to like debates and my experience is that they tend to be effective.

    I wasn’t trying to be callous, and I apologize if I came across that way. My feeling is, even when one side is demonstrably wrong (as they are), a debate can pretty much hit the point home… again, in my experience, which I grant is limited. I guess I kind of like seeing those in the right smack around those in the wrong. It’s… fun.

  10. David says

    That was excellent. FTB should do one of those a month, have there own conference, go on tour, take over the world. It was also good to put voices to faces, and pronunciations to names. A lot better than that shouty tripe from the other, not that great really, crowd.

  11. says

    Yes, now that we’ve started, we’re going to go on. We’ll probably have to take turns, unless only a few of us want to do it (ten is the max for a Google hangout). It’s quite fun to do.

    That’s ok Nate; sorry I was grumpy. (That’s the second time I’ve said that in the last half hour or so. This stuff is making me grumpy some of the time. [I do snap out of it the rest of the time.])

    I think the opposite though: debates often don’t work. That’s why a lot of people refuse to debate Creationists, woo-merchants, etc. Charm and/or bullshit can trump better arguments. Shouty guys like the assholes on that video can win just by shouting. Madeleine Bunting did that to me – I just didn’t feel like shouting back on Night Waves, so I let her interrupt me. So it goes.

  12. NateHevens says

    Ophelia @ #14

    Don’t apologize. You have a right to be grumpy. The whole situation is infuriating.

    I guess with debates it all depends on experiences. I love it when the wrong side loses. It’s wonderful. My all-time favorite debate is when Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry made John Onaiken and Anne Widdecombe look… erm… really, really bad. They were debating over whether or not the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world. Fry and Hitch won… spectacularly, in fact.

    That said, I withdraw my suggestion about the debate thing. I’m glad to read that these conversations will continue, however. I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but the importance of this discussion cannot be understated.

  13. NateHevens says


    I meant “overstated”, not understated.

    I hate my typing sometimes… 🙁

  14. Andrew Morrow says

    I noticed that you seem to be not aware at the beginning of this June 17, 2012 video conference of how TAM got involved in the notion of being not a comfortable place for women because of sexual harassment.

    Starting at about 8:00 Rebecca Watson has a problem with how DJ Grothe took her matter to Facebook, but she also says that she “never” discouraged people from attending TAM. Starting at about 11:00, Jason Thibeault’s cites an “initial storm”, “two days before a May 22, 2012 event”.

    This does not strike me as the whole story. Rebecca Watson made a similarly abrupt withdrawal of any implied endorsement of TAM on June 1, 2012.

    It seems to me that Rebecca fails to acknowledge to you that she made such a public reverse in her opinion of TAM. Perhaps by “never” she mean, “never before the May 20, 2012 event”. Depending on how your read her blog post, she claims to have been touched/groped/etc. either at TAM or in her lifetime. Still, her June 1 post paints a discouraging picture where the title singles out TAM in a dramatic way. Review the post and video and and ask yourself if you understood at the time Rebecca’s role in this controversy. She has, in essence, now publicly put TJ Grothe on that same “bad” list as Richard Dawkins (in July 2011), but I do not think that she has made that clear to you at the time.

  15. Andrew Morrow says

    You might also find this useful:

    It is only the “notable” stuff about Watson. In person she seems calm and mature but the past few years seem to have been both public and a bit turbulent for her. The question is, I suppose, is the mix between it having to do with her at this point in her life and being simply unrelated events.

  16. Andrew Morrow says

    You might be interested in this June 13, 2012 video conference uploaded by YouTube user ArdentAtheistEmery (also using Google Hangout) that seems to cover the same topic. It is almost but not quite as polite as yours and runs about 90 minutes.

    The Great PenisGate Debate with Emery Emery and Wendell


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