“I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women”

What was it that James Randi said about Michael Shermer? Oh yes…

Shermer’s reputation really does precede him, and it predates the recent wave of attention given to sex crimes and sexual harassment. I reached the movement’s grand old man, 86-year-old James Randi, by telephone, at his house in Florida. Randi is no longer involved in his foundation’s daily operations, but he remains its chair, and he is a legend of the movement, famously not fooled by anybody. He seems not to be naïve about Shermer — although he’s not so troubled by him, either.

“Shermer has been a bad boy on occasion — I do know that,” Randi told me. “I have told him that if I get many more complaints from people I have reason to believe, that I am going to have to limit his attendance at the conference.

“His reply,” Randi continued, “is he had a bit too much to drink and he doesn’t remember. I don’t know — I’ve never been drunk in my life. It’s an unfortunate thing … I haven’t seen him doing that. But I get the word from people in the organization that he has to be under better control. If he had gotten violent, I’d have him out of there immediately. I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women, which I guess is what men do when they are drunk.”

Shermer has just been added to the lineup at this year’s TAM.

I have friends who bought non-refundable plane tickets and booked hotel rooms on the understanding that Shermer was not on the roster at this year’s TAM. They are not happy.

But hey, no biggy. He never got violent.

The creep list

PZ has some new information from Alison Smith. It’s…not exculpatory of Michael Shermer, to put it mildly.

It wasn’t actually the next day that I left Shermer’s room. The entire amount of time that passed between me asking someone to come get me after leaving the party and me calling again to say please come get me I need help and don’t know where I am was around two hours. Some commenters seem to think that I had some kind of morning after regret or something, but in actual fact I was calling it rape immediately.

The other part is – me asking Shermer to be on that panel for the Sex workshop wasn’t a reaction based upon victimization (like, it wasn’t that I was pushing aside how I felt about him in order to accomplish something; and I wasn’t in denial).

It was incredibly calculated – because I knew for an absolute fact that his views on consent were different from the other panelists. [Read more…]

In which I get closer to Shermer’s word count

Ok so now Shermer’s “response” is online, so I can look at a couple of other details I omitted because I didn’t want to retype the whole damn thing.

By the way I get to respond in the next issue. I’m going to do that. I’ll be briefer, and more polite, and I won’t pretend to think anyone is going to “come for me.”

When self-proclaimed secular feminists attacked Richard Dawkins for a seemingly innocent response to an equally innocent admonishment to guys by Rebecca Watson (the founder of Skepchicks) that it isn’t cool to hit on women in elevators, this erupted into what came to be known as “Elevator­gate.” [Read more…]

Epidemics of accusations

I re-read some of Michael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things this morning, to refresh my memory. I’ve read that and Why We Believe and the odd article here and there. I’ve never liked his writing much. It’s not bad, but it’s a little loose and lazy. Characterless. Journalistic.

I was interested to see that chapter 7 is titled Epidemics of Accusations: Medieval and Modern Witch Crazes. The modern ones are the panics about “Satanic” abuse in the 1980s and about “recovered memory” in the 90s. [Read more…]

Michael Shermer was not quoted inaccurately

Shermer’s unleashed a lot of assholes on me (because I didn’t have enough of them before). I’m getting pretty tired of people saying I lied, I must say. I did not lie. I quoted Shermer accurately.

“Atheist Revolution” is pretty shameless about calling me a liar.

In his response, Shermer notes that he was quoted inaccurately and out of context.

He was not quoted inaccurately. That is not true. I don’t consider it out of context either, but that of course is always debatable. But inaccurately, no. I’m tired of people calling me a liar. [Read more…]

Morning clean-up

I see that thanks to Michael Shermer I’m going to be having to do extra clean-up of falsehoods and misrepresentations for awhile. That’s skepticism for ya.

Here are some.

Jacques Rousseau@JacquesR

On the @michaelshermer talk where he’s allegedly sexist: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-12-12/#feature … – ‘it’s more of a guy thing’ seems descriptive, not normative.

No. I didn’t allege that he’s sexist. I didn’t draw any general conclusions about him at all. [Read more…]

Part deux

Where was I? There were some things I didn’t get to in the post this morning.

One of the things. Shermer is indignant about what I said about him. Here’s what I said about him.

You would think that nontheism and feminism should be a natural combination. Women have the most to gain from escaping religion, after all: monotheism gives men higher status, starting with their allegedly being made in the image of God.

But atheism hasn’t always been very welcoming to women. Maybe there’s an idea that men created God, so men should do the uncreating. [Read more…]