Have you ever wondered why the #MeToo movement hasn’t caught up with Michael Shermer?


I can tell you why: it’s because he bullies people, is litigious, and does his best to make life miserable for anyone who squeaks. I publicized a woman’s first person account of how he took advantage of her at a conference — she was terrified that he’d go after her and he did — and he responded by encouraging conference organizers to blackball me, and threw a lawsuit at me (he later backed down, since it was just going to be a parade of witnesses describing his deplorable behavior).

That turns out to be a common reaction on his part.

Shermer spoke at a west coast college lately, and one faculty member objected, sharing articles others had written about his behavior to the college’s in-house e-mail list. Shermer went ballistic. He sent a long, angry email to the professor; had another person who writes for his magazine contact them; made legal threats; defamed them (confirmed by a lawyer); sent multiple aggressive emails to the campus email list; blustered as he does, and eventually backed down on his threats of a lawsuit, after compelling my correspondent to hire a lawyer to deal with all the sabre-rattling. A portion of their email to me:

Shermer was a recent campus speaker at my college and after I shared articles about the allegations against him, I received legal threats from him (among other things in a 10 paragraph long email), intimidation from someone that writes for his magazine, I had to retain a lawyer, all while my college administration knew it all has been happening and stayed quiet (and then sent a late night email saying “let’s not get distracted…” after the campus faculty and staff generated a 8k gofundme account so I could afford a lawyer, but I’ve digressed…). This Saturday Shermer sent his second all-campus horrible email defaming me for the second time and said even though he has a “really good case against me” (he doesn’t) he’s decided to not sue me (when really his lawyers probably told him there is no case after my lawyer responded twice). There’s a million more details that I’m leaving out for now.

Now doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s what he did to me, except, at least, he didn’t spam my campus email server with his diatribes. This is how he always reacts, rushing to silence others’ free speech.

Somehow, though, those alt-right/right wing crusaders for “FREE SPEECH” never get around to criticizing their libertarian hero. I don’t know why, other than that it’s entirely clear that they’re actually interested in suppressing some free speech…just not their own. Another email from my correspondent:

I guess he’s shut down now, as he sent a second letter to my campus (that was sent all campus for the second time by a problematic adjunct faculty member who is acting like Shermer’s lap dog), but what bugs me is he gets to do this over and over again to people. He sent me two cease desists from his attorneys. Luckily my attorney shut it down both times. I knew he had no case from her go, as all I did was share articles written years ago with my campus.

His first letter that went all-campus (literally everyone I work with!) was 10 paragraphs of vitriol where he threatened to have a restraining order against me and his wife was going to be on “the look out for me”. He defamed me in it (actually defamed me, as confirmed by my lawyer).

Why does Scientific American employ such an asshole? As you know best, he’s been accused of this stuff multiple times by multiple people and even had a title ix investigation on him at Chapman….and he’s uses heavy handed letters to silence people. I was hoping someone would write an article about his tactics. Is that not interesting in the wake of the me too movement to see how people like him operate to silence people? Perhaps you have grown tired of him, but maybe you know someone in your circle that wants to pursue this further? After living through his reign of bullshit of a month, there’s a level of Justice I haven’t felt by him getting the last word on my campus AGAIN with his nonsense with “I’ve decided not to sue.” (When he had no case).

I’ve also read some of the responses of his defenders on campus. Some are shocked and regretful — they’ve been using his articles in classes for years and never heard about any of this (Why haven’t they? Because Shermer launches lawyers at anyone who mentions it). Others flat out lied, saying that all of the accusations against him had been formally debunked. That is flatly untrue.

My correspondent was willing to publicly identify themselves, and it was my decision to keep them anonymous for now — although, at least, there’s enough information in this post that Shermer could figure out who his accuser is. Maybe. It could be there are so many of them he can’t be sure. But they did ask that I include one additional comment — they aren’t going to back down from his bullying behavior.

These horrible attacks by Shermer are intentionally hurtful and you can add mine to the voices objecting to this treatment.

I also have to repeat their question. Why does Scientific American employ such an asshole? It’s not as if he’s even producing competent articles, as has been noted yet again recently.

Comments

  1. says

    Maybe if MS threat-sues enough people, he’ll run out of cash to hire others to act as his goons, and maybe someone will be able to get a word in edgeways, like “you’re fired” or “you’ve been served”.

  2. stevewatson says

    Good grief that’s a ridiculous article by Shermer — superficial, disjointed, and wrong. I say this on the strength of a couple of undergrad courses in moral philosophy and one in moral psych, and I guarantee that essay would earn a failing grade. Apparently Bentham had a time machine, so he could go back and encourage the witch hunts. And somehow I doubt that ISIS is doing any utilitarian calculus when they murder gays — to them, homosexuality is just an abomination, and gays have no moral standing to be weighed against a greater good in the first place. Yes, utilitarianism has problems (all moral theories do) but I think Peter Singer would be very surprised to learn he’s in favour of all that. And yes, Kant’s Categorical Imperative gets a bit goofy in places, but saying they are both trumped by “natural rights theory”? By that I assume he means Locke — who would appeal to Shermer’s libertarianism (the other likely sources are theistic, and he obviously doesn’t mean that). Is he really unaware of the extent to which Kantian ideas also support universal rights? Rawls picked up Kant’s mantle in the 1970s and argued for basic rights and liberties on neo-Kantian grounds which treat humans as rational actors who must choose social arrangements that are acceptable to all. Sorry, I just happen to be up on this at the moment, because I’ve got a take-home on social contract theory due next week (which is what I should really be writing instead of blathering on the interwebs, but I couldn’t resist using the current contents of my head for a good rant). And then he ends with what looks like a vague gesture in the direction of virtue ethics, but I don’t think that’s really what he means.

    Somewhere in the confusion he refers to this psych experiment (which I vaguely remember taking). As it happens, you can tease out both consequentialist and deontological intuitions in our moral decision making, depending on the situation. Which IMO is why normative theories are all unsatisfactory, because none of them completely match up to our moral psychology which, like a lot of the products of evolution, was cobbled together to be good enough to deal with commonly-encountered problems, not to provide a worked-out global solution.

  3. brett says

    None of that surprises me, although it’s good to know that he’s still feeling the heat to the point where he has to resort to threats. I had figured he was going by with little attention because the stuff that exposed his misconduct came out earlier, and anyone who was going to believe his victims was already doing so.

  4. anbheal says

    It’s like Sam Harris….he can’t seem to help himself. I subscribe to SciAm, and frequently write in about how badly argued his essays are, and how off-key his almost inevitable running-off-the-tracks into Left-Bashing are. The original premise might be that red is a different color than blue, but then he feels some compulsion to say “liberals on touchy-feely college campuses refuse to acknowledge this, in their conviction that all colors matter, and have tried to shut down the discussions of the differences in spectral wavelengths.” It’s a genuine pathology for him, and an embarrassment for SciAm. The “Skeptic” column each month has deteriorated into thinly veiled screeds against liberals and higher education. He’s gotta go. He’s indistinguishable now from Ben Stein.

  5. stevewatson says

    @6: It’s an example of how low SciAm has sunk. I subscribed from ~1982-2000, and I watched the gradual dumbing-down. And they used (to my perception) to have a liberal bent.

  6. says

    Yup. Sometime around 2014 I sent a SciAm renewal postcard back with “Not while you pay Shermer” written on it in big, black marker. I don’t recall them trying to get me to re-subscribe. Makes it sound like someone there was paying attention.

  7. chrislawson says

    stevewatson@6-

    I agree. I used to find SciAm if anything leaned towards being too technical with many of its articles, especially when the articles were written by scientists describing their own work. I would still buy it frequently from the newsagent despite that because it was the best. Nowadays I never buy a copy, and occasionally when I get linked to a story on Arts and Letters Daily, it’s almost always a very poor article (this is as much about the decline of ALD as SciAm).

  8. billyjoe says

    I stopped following Michael Shermer long before I’d ever heard of these accusations. I stopped reading his books because, apart from anything else, he just does not have an interesting writing style. I also stopped reading his sci-am articles for similar reasons. And I disagree strongly with his libertarian politics. However, putting aside the issue of guilt or innocence, his tactics have certainly worked to date in silencing his accusers.

    If he is innocent, this is an example of the law protecting the innocent against scurrilous accusations. If he is guilty, this is an example of legal harassment of people trying expose criminal behaviour. If it is the later, which seems to be the case, the question then becomes one of whether the punishment fits the crime.

    That judgement can only be made if you are totally familiar with the facts. Depending on what the actual facts are, he could already have received excessive punishment of he has gotten away lightly for a heinous crime. Yes, I agree, the immediate response is to “believe the woman” but with the caveat that the evidence must subsequently support her claim. Unfortunately, some accusations have been conclusively disproven.

    Then there’s Geoffrey Rush. He took legal action against a newspaper for publishing a series of articles that claimed that an un-identified actress had accused him of sexual assault (with no further details given), and with the assumption that he was guilty of a heinous crime. Regardless of guilt or innocence, the accusations have already destroyed him and his career. Reports are that he has become anxious and reclusive,rarely leaving his home, and that he has lost all confidence in being able to return to his career as an actor.

    I can’t help but think that there has to be a better way of approaching issues such as this. We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them. On the other hand, there is the unsavory situation where the guilty get away with their crimes only because evidence of guilt with particular types of crimes is, by their very nature, hard to prove.

  9. billyjoe says

    … paragraph 3 contains a typo. Line 3 should read: “excessive punishment or….

  10. stevewatson says

    @9: I *liked* SciAm when the articles were hard to read. I got a good mental workout every month. And it was the news section that probably made me understand how science is a process — paper gets presented; half-a-dozen other specialists say “Maybe” or “Not likely” or “What about this problem” and the whole thing goes back to various people’s labs and gets hashed out further. But that sort of wore down towards the end of the 90s, so we dropped the sub. I picked up the “Sex and Gender” issue last fall, and while it had some material of interest, I found the style superficial (though at least they still supply references at the end, and I pulled down a couple of papers of interest, which were actually relevant to some coursework).

    (Yeah, I know, I’m wandering well away from the original topic. On which I’ve got nothing to say beyond, yeah Shermer’s an asshole, quit idolizing the bastard, he’s got nothing worth listening to, which others have already said better than I could).

  11. cysyajads mf says

    I also have to repeat their question. Why does Scientific American employ such an asshole?

    Apparently someone disagrees with your assessment of Shermer.

  12. says

    @billyjoe
    And nothing for the anxious victims.

    If nothing else there is balance and I will choose not to give a fuck. You can take your “we” and fuck off. You speak for you and your fear with no solution for anyone else so why should I care?

    It’s a broken social contract and your words have no strength.

  13. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them.

    Does Shermer seem destroyed to you?

  14. says

    It’s a messy business figuring out how to deal with predatory authoritarians billyjoe. There’s anxiety all around and I have my portion too from choosing to participate in this mess. If you want the system to work so messy social efforts like this aren’t necessary go complain to the broken criminal justice system. I have no pity for you.

  15. Crudely Wrott says

    I had a subscription to that magazine throughout most of the 1980s for the simple reason that is was hard to understand. Had to read many articles several times and do independent research to finally get hold of the handle. Found that tedious but, ultimately, rewarding.
    I’m saddened that the likes of Shermer have found a comfortable niche within those pages. Part of the reason that I haven’t subscribed for at least a couple of decades or more. (Kant actually remember just when I stopped but, I did, indeed stop.)
    I find that the need to appeal to certain, that is, specific and deliberately chosen, philosophies to buoy up what is at first (and ultimately, last) glance an ungainly or unlikable point of view is an obvious grasping at straws.
    What those philosophies, and the hypotheses that those necessarily limited philosophies are invoked to justify, together ignore the most salient fact. We are not heterogeneous; we are diverse; we are legion. The difficulty in establishing cohesive communities or nations is alone evidence that there is no simple solution to dealing with this fact. There is no “one, true way”. If there were, we’d long ago found it. (OK, unfounded claim but, c’mon.)
    This difficulty is most pointedly shown by the litany of past and present nations that append “Democratic” to their sacred banners while transparently establish dictatorships. Not to mention the uncountable whack-a-mole cults that endlessly come and go. Most of them are gone. Of course, replacements are at hand always.
    When it comes to things like the trolley scenario, we know that we are dealing with unspecified actors in a situation that demands near instant choices. Such constraints are inextricably linked to personal survival which is, we all know, a primary instinct that does not involve philosophic reflection in timescales measured in seconds. In such cases, treasured philosophies are the last thing on the minds of the actors.
    To present such scenarios as useful for anything other than sophomoric discussion and its attendant rebuttal is as disingenuous as the flag waving that spends inordinate effort to proclaim, “We Is Us. You Are Not. So there, Sucker!”
    Haven’t we had enough, already?

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

    @billyjoe:

    We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them.

    Yes. We can go about accusing people. We MUST go about accusing people. That’s how things work. When someone does something shitty to you, you accuse that person. You personally probably don’t make the decision to hire or fire that person. You personally probably don’t make the decision to publish the accusation in the NY Times or broadcast it on MSNBC, but yes. If someone does something shitty to you, you accuse that person.

    Sometimes you accuse that person to their faces.
    Other times you accuse that person to the cops.
    Other times you accuse that person through the internet.
    Other times you accuse that person through the news media.
    Other times you accuse that person through a corporate HR department.

    But yes, that’s what you do. Because the other option is NOT SAYING ANYTHING.

    The problem isn’t with people making accusations. The problem is with shitheads saying that you can’t accuse anyone of anything. What the fuck is that about? You realize that with no witnesses and no victims, you get no fucking police investigations, no prosecutions, and no punishment. Then some shitheads are going to say, “Look, the crime rate fell to zero! Everything is WONDERFUL.” But the real fact is that without accusations, justice is literally, completely impossible you stupid advocate for the most terrible world anyone can imagine.

    wtF could possibly make you say such shit as “we can’t make accusations” under ANY THEORY OF JUSTICE.

    If some people in HR are unjustly punishing someone on too little evidence, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If cops violate the 4th amendment rights of suspects in pursuit of evidence, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If the courts violate the 5th amendment rights of suspects in pursuit of convictions, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If the state violates the 8th amendment rights of incarcerated persons, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    You should bail from here quick, billyjoe. You must be at least this intelligent to provide an actual contribution to this thread: _

  17. Colin J says

    Ah yes, Geoffrey Rush. Here’s an example of the terrible effects of unsubstantiated sexual abuse claims. Apparently he is anxious about leaving the house, can’t sleep, barely eats and fears that his career is irreparably damaged.

    …according to a statement by his lawyer, addressing the court in a defamation case. Regardless of how Rush actually feels, do you really think his lawyer is going to say he’s fine, no worries, not really bothered?

    Apart from the original story, all the media attention has been on how a Murdoch rag went to town with a vague accusation based on no evidence and how Geoffrey Rush is suing the shit out of them. (And with News Corp, there’s a lot of shit.) No one I’ve met thinks there’s any substance to the claims. Maybe there is – but there has to be some evidence. The whole “no smoke without a fire” thing is bullshit.

    But let’s look at another example – the sting on the Washington Times by Project Veritas at the end of last year. A woman spoke to a WP journalist and made a false claim against a right wing politician who already had other accusations against him. Of course they were going to run that story, no questions asked, and do further damage to the poor man’s reputation.

    Oh wait, no they didn’t. They did their research and instead ran a story on the incompetence of an alt right shit-stirrer.

    Despite what Billyjoe and his mates believe, making a fake sexual assault is hard. People actually check these stories out.

  18. Colin J says

    Oh yeah, and “making a fake sexual assault CLAIM is hard”.

    For someone who’s whole career has been centered on attention to detail, you’d reckon I’d learn to proofread.

  19. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    The real question, of course, is why people still dogmatically insist that “legal ethics” isn’t an oxymoron given that there are attorneys out there who choose to be attack dogs for scum like Shermer and yet retain their professional licenses.

  20. says

    Ahhh, I see that after spending a lot of time chastising us for being mean to Nazis, billyjoe has found another group of people deserving his endless empathy: rapists.

    However, putting aside the issue of guilt or innocence, his tactics have certainly worked to date in silencing his accusers.

    Which according to you is a good thing.

    If he is innocent, this is an example of the law protecting the innocent against scurrilous accusations.

    It is actually not, because no court has ever ruled on the accusations, but later more of this…

    Yes, I agree, the immediate response is to “believe the woman” but with the caveat that the evidence must subsequently support her claim. Unfortunately, some accusations have been conclusively disproven.

    And of course you’re linking to sources that substantiate that claim, right?
    Oh no, you don’t. You follow up with a story about Geoffrey Rush possibly being falsely accused. Because we all know that if one man ever is falsely accused of rape, then all accusations of rape are false.
    Besides, some =/= all

    I can’t help but think that there has to be a better way of approaching issues such as this. We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them.

    Yeah, we all know the mere accusation of sexual assault totally destroys men. It’s not like anybody would ever elect them president, act in their movies, give them awards, refuse to vote “guilty” despite records of the woman saying no 90 times, etc, etc.
    Here’s a little story. There was a child rapist in the street where I grew up, like ten houses up the street. The closer people lived to him, the more they know. Everybody else was just puzzled by things like the fact that his daughters both left the house as soon as they turned 18, or that his direct neighbour threatened him after seeing him talk to his daughter.
    That man was an “honourable member of society”. Long term member of the city council. Head of a local charity.
    Then he was convicted and guess what, nothing happened. His party didn’t kick him out, his charity didn’t kick him out. His wife is still married to him.
    So tell me again how “mere accusations” ruin men’s lives when apparently not even their convictions make a dent.

    On the other hand, there is the unsavory situation where the guilty get away with their crimes only because evidence of guilt with particular types of crimes is, by their very nature, hard to prove.

    Yeah, unsavoury, that’s the word I always use when describing rape.

    So now back to poor Michael Shermer and his “use” of the law. People who read the post and and can add 2 + 2 have noticed the same pattern as PZ did: Shermer uses the law to harass, intimidate, bully and silence people.
    This has, of course, a chilling effect. Few people will be willing to put up a few thousand dollars just to respond to Shermer’s legal threats when they are not personally involved in the matter. But those who do continue to inform others, and who don’t back down, he never takes them to court but always backs off. Almost as if he didn’t want a court to look into a matter.

  21. Saad says

    billyjoe, #10

    We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them.

    This only makes sense if the accusation is false.

    Think about what you’re saying otherwise. So if someone has been sexually harassed/assaulted/raped, they must keep it to themselves in case the true accusation “destroys” their rapist?

  22. batflipenthusiast says

    @Brony #14

    Assuming i understand you, you definitely should care. It’s not good enough if, hypothetically, some false accusations are seen as legitimate and that’s simply counted as a cost for this well overdue reckoning.

    That’s dangerously close to the kind of reasoning lots of new atheists use to justify tolerating certain figures or defects in the movement. Frequently I’ve seen various takes on the argument that ‘it’s very important to lessen and remove religious influence on society, so lets not go too hard at Dawkins or Harris because they’re some of the best weapons for doing just that, and we shouldn’t undermine them’.

    Not the kind of thing most people here would support, i’m sure, and also not the kind of thing that should be accepted as a sort of ‘messy balance’ in any case. It ain’t kosher, and it’s the kind of attitude that can easily bite you in the ass.

    Luckily, though they do happen, false accusations are rare, and instances of them gaining any real traction are almost certainly even rarer, so it shouldn’t be that tough of a problem.

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

    @Saad & billyjoe, taking off from Saad’s helpful #27:

    This only makes sense if the accusation is false.

    And if people are lying, the problem is that they’re lying. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

  24. says

    While I see that this, now, is the proof people always say they need… I am happy I chose to believe the accusers a while back.

  25. deepak shetty says

    I can tell you why: it’s because he bullies people, is litigious, and does his best to make life miserable for anyone who squeaks

    Except that , Other creeps do exactly the same thing as Shermer and seem to have faced repercussions. My guess is that a good number of the Atheist/Skeptic crowd don’t really want women in their club or don’t think that thinking/reasoning/science are something that women do (well). And so there is no need for change.

  26. says

    @batflipenthusiast
    For your words to make sense you MUST tie my actions to your concept of cost. AND I insist you quote my comments that you believe are connected to false accusations.

    If I choose to not take an action, or to refrain from avoiding an action, than what? The idea of a social contract is important here because I simply won’t socially support a person that whines about the effects of fighting sexual predators while doing nothing to balance the scales with respect to victims. As far as I am concerned they can rot until they are willing to help victims in addition to being concerned about false positives for predators.

    In this situation billyjoe is on their own until they do work for us as well as themselves socially speaking.

  27. petesh says

    Re: New Atheism’s Most Feared Super-Villian. I propose that PZ starts wearing (and merchandizing) T-shirts with this adorable phrase. Or just “Super-Villian” would do. “Villian”?

  28. says

    After initial reluctance, I eventually read Shermer’s article on utilitarianism. It’s motivated by a descriptive ethics study, which created and validated a questionnaire that would place people on a 2D scale describing their attitudes towards utilitarianism. Shermer completely garbles the study, arguing for the normative position that we should be high on one dimension of the scale, and low on the other dimension. And in case that wasn’t enough bullshit for you, he goes on to claim that Nazis and witch hunters were utilitarian.

    It isn’t just bad philosophy, this is really bad science journalism. I think we can all rest assured that if Shermer were fired, or we individually chose to stop reading him, it would be no big loss.

  29. paxoll says

    @Crip, Considering the context of what Billyjoe was saying, it is obvious he doesn’t think people should NOT make accusations. The issue is how YOU and others are making accusations. It’s one thing for a victim to

    If someone does something shitty to you, you accuse that person.

    . It is a different matter for you to accuse someone you have absolutely no experience with. An adult should always start

    Sometimes you accuse that person to their faces.

    . It should also be done as soon as safely possible to the event. If it is a crime then you go directly to the police to accuse someone. It doesn’t matter if there is no evidence and they can not proceed with any investigation, the accusation is recorded and becomes evidence. If it’s not a crime, then you can take it to anyone you think should have that information, whether is is HR or yelp or whatever. Just know that there is legal ramifications for making accusations. Because regardless of

    If some people in HR are unjustly punishing someone on too little evidence, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If cops violate the 4th amendment rights of suspects in pursuit of evidence, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If the courts violate the 5th amendment rights of suspects in pursuit of convictions, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    If the state violates the 8th amendment rights of incarcerated persons, THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    The person making the accusations are still responsible for the accuracy and truth to the accusations, and the ONLY person who should do that is the victim. That is what the criticism of the Buzzfeed has been. They have been using bias reporting to make accusations which is unethical.

    @Giliell
    You’re dishonesty actually gives me a nauseous feeling.

    However, putting aside the issue of guilt or innocence, his tactics have certainly worked to date in silencing his accusers.

    Which according to you is a good thing.

    If he is innocent, this is an example of the law protecting the innocent against scurrilous accusations.

    When the clearly states

    If he is guilty, this is an example of legal harassment of people trying expose criminal behaviour.

    the VERY next sentence. The fact that PZ apparently condones your behavior while banning or threatening to ban others is quite telling about his character.

    @Saad

    This only makes sense if the accusation is false.

    Think about what you’re saying otherwise. So if someone has been sexually harassed/assaulted/raped, they must keep it to themselves in case the true accusation “destroys” their rapist?

    Everything implied in Billyjoe’s comment indicates that he was referring to false accusations, and that is the overall point, you don’t know if it is a true accusation.

    There is a moral standard to hold people to, there is a standard of evidence that is situational and subjective, and there is an ethical standard by which people take evidence and act upon it. Hearing an accusation of sexual misconduct is enough for me to not want to associate with someone. That is my subjective level of evidence for my action, some people might not agree and want more evidence. To take that level of evidence and then make hearsay accusations against that person is unethical. That it is unethical is often subjective, but there is enough people who agree that it is unethical that we have criminal laws against libel and slander.

  30. says

    One thing Daily Nous gets wrong is their summary of the descriptive ethics study (Kahane et al.):

    Short version: people don’t like the instrumental harming aspect of utilitarianism

    This is contradicted by the abstract. The authors separate attitudes towards utilitarianism into two dimensions (“instrumental harm” and “impartial beneficence”), but they do not claim that people are low on “instrumental harm” and high on “impartial beneficence”. Instead, they merely claim that the two dimensions are statistically independent. Table 6 suggests that they are not entirely independent, and there is in fact a weak positive correlation (0.14).

    Although, it’s easy to see how Daily Nous could have gotten this wrong considering Shermer’s sorry writeup. The article has layers and layers of untruth, and it would take multiple attempts to really dig it all up.

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

    @Paxoll:

    Considering the context of what Billyjoe was saying, it is obvious he doesn’t think people should NOT make accusations.

    Oh, you’re totally right! Except for the “no you’re totally and utterly wrong” bit.

    billyjoe:

    I can’t help but think that there has to be a better way of approaching issues such as this. We can’t go about accusing people of crimes when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them.

    So, billyjoe said something with a plain meaning in English. “We can’t go about accusing people” so long as condition X persists. In billyjoe’s writing, condition X currently exists. Therefore, according to the plain language of billyjoe,

    We can’t go about accusing people*1

    But you come along to say … what?

    What is it in the “context” that makes it clear that billyjoe is saying the exact opposite of the plain meaning of the words and phrases in billyjoe’s comment?

    As best as I can tell, what you’re actually saying is that billyjoe is too stupid to write what he actually means, and thus instead says things with which he, himself, strongly disagrees.

    If that’s true, then we can’t trust anything billyjoe says, and even when billyjoe appears to make a good point, we should ignore it because who knows? Maybe billyjoe meant something completely incompatible with that point.

    On the other hand, I’m willing to grant billyjoe basic competence in English and to conclude given the evidence of a number of apparently lucid comments around Pharyngula that billyjoe is capable of crafting a phrase that means what billyjoe intends it to mean.

    Heck, you can even look at it all rational-and-shit. How often does some jerk on the internet suggest that women should shut up about their experiences with sexualized harassment and violence – or at least tone it down, and not name names unless she’s currently storing DNA, video evidence and a confession proving a particular person’s legal guilt according to a specific statute?

    Now, separately, how often does someone display apparent proficiency in English through examples as numerous those of billyjoe while actually being incompetent with English?

    Which claim, then, is better supported: billyjoe is incompetent in English or billyjoe is echoing offensive arguments that are commonly made across the internet every single day, despite being stupid as fuck?

    billyjoe could have made a non-stupid point related to the dilemma billyjoe perceives. Obviously (to people who actually stop to think critically about this stuff) we don’t want accusations to stop: we would end up with a world without justice. But if you accept billyjoe’s premise that people are being punished disproportionately, unfairly, and sometimes even while entirely innocent, it is FUCKING TRIVIAL to write something like:

    I hate that stupid idiots that don’t know how to think critically or consider evidence rationally, and/or that have terrible ideas about what justice entails, end up punishing innocents (at all) and even punishing guilty parties unfairly, without a reasonable process to ensure fairness, and/or just disproportionately. We need to address accusations fairly and reasonably and make sure any consequences imposed are just or else we’ll actually discourage the very accusations that are fundamental to not only any process of justice, but also to the general progress of betterment in a society. Without good information about who is doing what to whom, we have no basis to create or revise the policies on which a just future must rest. This tendency to discourage accusations and blame honest accusers (which is to say victims who come forward) for harms done by others must be reversed.

    This is a statement that takes the same premise – guys are totally getting their lives irreparably wrecked by a single person saying a few words in the wrong ear – and manages NOT to conclude that, in the immortal words of billyjoe:

    We can’t go about accusing people

    If you want to defend billyjoe, fine. I think that comment shows immense moral stupidity, but you’re free to conclude something different.

    If you want to conclude the statement, however, you can only do so by claiming that English words and phrases don’t mean what they clearly mean. That’s only compounding the idiocy.

    I suggested billyjoe retire from the thread, and to billyjoe’s credit, that’s exactly what he did. Maybe billyjoe is reading along and learning something. I hope that’s true. But I’d expect it would be even easier for others (including you) to recognize what is wrong with such a statement. I am very sad to see I was wrong.

    ===================
    *1: Separately, of course, there is the stupidity of the addition:

    when the very accusation, apart from questions of guilt or innocence, could destroy them

    No. The accusation doesn’t destroy them. The responses of others to an accusation can destroy them, when those others hold power over aspects of an accused person’s life. Your HR department can fire you and make it more difficult for you to get your next job. Cops can hold you in a cell for a couple days, causing you to miss appointments, etc. You doctor or lawyer or someone else upon whom you depend for an important service could choose to no longer do business with you. A spouse can choose to divorce you, etc.

    This is not “the accusation” doing the destroying. Actual other people are making decisions to take actions which have consequences for the accused. It is possible to oppose those other actions without opposing people actually standing up and saying, “This happened to me.” That’s just bullshit, sloppy thinking there. Accusations are not a 5th fundamental force of physics that just automatically produce other consequences when present in a particular bit of spacetime. People make decisions.

    In this case, billyjoe made a decision to oppose people being able to stand up and say, “This happened to me,” because, in billyjoe’s opinion, too many shitheads can’t be trusted to make good decisions after hearing someone’s story.

    That was a stupid decision, and I oppose it.

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

    Further, @Paxoll, to distinguish Paxoll’s own statements from discussions of billyjoe’s statements:

    Everything implied in Billyjoe’s comment indicates that he was referring to false accusations, and that is the overall point, you don’t know if it is a true accusation.

    Except, no. If you don’t know if it’s a true accusation or a false accusation, then you’re going to be treating both of these the same. So when you criticize someone for making an accusation as one would do if one was following billyjoe’s moral prescriptions, you wouldn’t be waiting to distinguish true from false. billyjoe could easily have said, “this subject matter is too important to lie about. Any statement about any sexual harassment or assault should be made with careful attention to wording so that what the speaker says is as true as the speaker has the power to ensure.” Then the focus would be on truth and lies.

    But in your formulation (as well as billyjoe’s, but set that aside for the moment) where you can’t know (with ultimate certainty) if an accusation is true you’re guaranteed to be treating true accusations and false accusations the same. It’s only in a world where you *can* know – a world which your statement rejects – that such a distinction is at all meaningful.

    Hearing an accusation of sexual misconduct is enough for me to not want to associate with someone. That is my subjective level of evidence for my action, some people might not agree and want more evidence.

    Yep. And that’s not the accusation choosing for you to disassociate yourself from your accused peer. That’s you making the choice, and the moral responsibility for that is entirely on your shoulders (which I think, from your comment, you already accept). I think we’re in agreement, but this puts you violently at odds with the statement of billyjoe that you’re trying to defend, where responsibility is on the accusation (and thus the accuser) rather than on the moral agents that choose to act ethically or unethically based upon the information contained in the accusation.

    Your formulation here should make billyjoe’s formulation repugnant to you.

    To take that level of evidence and then make hearsay accusations against that person is unethical.

    Oh good grief.

    billyjoe’s statement was not limited to false allegations, and your own epistemic statements reveal that in your frame they cannot be. Nor was billyjoe’s statement limited to hearsay allegations. You can keep attaching conditions to reduce further and further the number and type of allegations discussed, but it won’t redeem billyjoe’s statement in anyway. billyjoe’s statement was not one of nuance. It was quite clear:

    We can’t go about accusing people

    so long as other people impose unjust consequences. But the thing is, if other people are imposing unjust consequences, the way to cure that is to accuse those fuckers of imposing unjust consequences (and then convince your society that the consequences are indeed unjust), not silencing accusations.

  33. tiredtexan says

    So, billyjoe, victims of sexual assault and rape should remain silent on the very slight chance that someone else, somewhere else, sometime else, someplace else, has or may make false accusations of rape?

    Clearly, this is so ridiculous your moralizing can’t be about the victims of false accusations, but rather serves only to silence victims of sexual crimes, mainly women, from speaking about it. If silence can be enforced, status quo remains, and the social dynamic of who gets to speak, who gets control, who keeps the power, remains safely ensconced.

    Any excuse will do to shut up women, and keep powerful men like Shumer protected. Shut up because you might be helping false accusers, shut up because other women have it worse in other countries, shut up because you are making discourse uncomfortable, shut up because you are too strident, shut up because you aren’t the victim in this particular story, shut up because you didn’t go to the police and get a full conviction, shut up because you are too ugly to rape, shut up because you will destroy that poor man’s life or cause him to lose his job, shut up because you should have known not to drink to excess, shut up because you kissed him first, shut up because you said no only 90 times instead of 91 times, shut up because you dressed too sexily and led him on, shut up because you voluntarily went into his apartment alone, and so on and so on ………..

    billyjoe, you aren’t saying anything new, but we are no longer listening.

  34. tiredtexan says

    Or, billyjoe, 97% of sexual assault accusers who are telling the truth should shut up to protect the reputations of the 3% who are falsely accused.

  35. says

    Paxoll

    You’re dishonesty actually gives me a nauseous feeling.

    I’m glad to hear.
    Now, CD has already handed you your ass, so let me just summarize:
    Billyjoe thinks that people shouldn’t make accusations.
    Shermer uses legal threats to keep people from making accusations.
    Therefore it logically follows that billyjoe approves of Shermer’s behaviour since he thinks that accusations are bad.
    All in all, billyjoe is spending a lot of time on worrying about people like Shermer and none worrying about the victims of either his sexual assaults or legal bullying.

    The fact that PZ apparently condones your behavior while banning or threatening to ban others is quite telling about his character.

    PZ, it’s being demanded that you come and discipline the woman because her behaviour is threatening your honour.

  36. cysyajads mf says

    It seems to me that we should proportion our confidence in an accusation to the evidence for it. I don’t see why it has to be any different than any other belief. If I know someone who seems creepy and other people have said he does creepy things and then someone tells me they experienced creepy behavior involving that individual, I will take all that background information into account. I don’t automatically accept or dismiss an accusation of wrong doing without taking into account all that is known that might be relevant to the credibility of such an accusation. I don’t think most other people do either.

    When the third or fourth or fifth woman or whatever number it ended up being saying that Al Franken groped them, I had higher confidence in his bad behavior than when the first accusation surfaced. Not just because of the number, although that was a factor, but because of the people and circumstances. When Kathleen Willey accused Bill Clinton I put a lot more credibility in her claim than in Paula Jones’s claim for a number of reasons.

    Obviously S A has made a judgement that is different than PZ. People/institutions are making up their own minds. I don’t see the problem.

  37. hemidactylus says

    @4- stevewatson

    I found Shermer’s very short article to present a simplistic trichotomy where utilitarianism means harvesting organs from a hapless healthy person, the categorical imperative means turning hated Others over to Nazis or ISIS instead of lying, therefore libertarian natural rights. Why must we base black and white answers on such stark questions of trolleys, lifeboats, hiding Jews from Nazis, and ticking bombs? Don’t these extreme cases distort moral thinking when most cases are more normal and usually vaguely gray?

    I cannot fathom “rights” as anything more than a useful fiction. They are not bequeathed by God or nature. From what Greg Epstein says of Dershowitz’s argument our application of a rights-based view stems from acknowledging past injustice. So we bequeath rights to ourselves. I am all for the notion of universal human rights then, but don’t put individual rights (read capitalism the unknown ideal) up on a sacrosanct pedestal where utility, virtue and duty are devalued.

    I find merit in the pluralistic deontology of WD Ross. His prima facie duties make most sense to me of any moral theorist I’ve encountered. The most important of these sometimes conflicting principles would be nonmaleficence and amelioration. These could dovetail with a rights based stance.

    Now a libertarian stance on duty would boil down to maximizing profit. If you are a CEO contemplating enacting policies that ameliorate corporate impacts (externalities) on people or the environment you are immoral if you don’t place your fiduciary duty to your shareholders first. Full stop. The reparative duty to right wrongs can only come begrudgingly after your corporation loses a protracted legal battle that would require resources on the part of a victim to fight. Corporations are people and have rights and can use all resources at their disposal to delegitimize government in the eyes of the real people. That would ironically be the government tasked ultimately to remedy the mess corporations make out of people and the environment.

  38. mrquotidian says

    Regarding that Shermer Article on Utilitarianism… I’ve only taken two philosophy classes in my life, but it’s enough to know he’s got a pretty shallow understanding of Kant and Bentham, unless he’s just being disingenuous. He paints childish caricatures of their thoughtful attempts at describing cogent moral systems, completely omitting the second form of the Kantian imperative (to never treat a person merely as a means, but as ends unto themselves). Not to say their systems are perfect, but it seems like these were just cursory strawmen built to get to his real point: individualism and the bill of rights, sigh. I guess if you’re in the doctors office there’s not too many magazines to choose from, but at least with Highlights I know smoke’s not being blown up my ass.

  39. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Billyjoe thinks that people shouldn’t make accusations.
    Shermer uses legal threats to keep people from making accusations.
    Therefore it logically follows that billyjoe approves of Shermer’s behaviour since he thinks that accusations are bad.

    That….doesn’t “logically follow” (disapproving of an action does not entail approving of any other party’s specific reaction) but it’s a fair inference from what he’s prioritizing in this conversation.

  40. gmcard says

    Oh, billyjoe is only talking about false accusations, huh. That’s why he posted the following in the “Bad people can abuse good ideas” article:

    “””As for poor old Geoffrey Rush…I truly hope he is innocent. I know John White who wrote the music for Romper Stomper and who knew Russell Crowe and Geoffrey Rush professionally. He was always full of admiration for Geoffrey Rush (but don’t ask him about Russell Crowe!), describing him as gentle, friendly, self-effacing, and person oriented. He has become a victim of the MeToo movement regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty. He is presently suing the newspaper that “exposed” him, but his professional life is probably ruined regardless of the outcome.”””

    Or condensed: Geoffrey Rush has become a victim of the MeToo movement, regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty.

    Specifically: Even if Geoffrey Rush is guilty of what he is accused of, he is a victim of the MeToo movement.

    Surprised billyjoe wasn’t banhammered after that bullshit.

  41. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Damn Crip Dyke, your mind is a thing of beauty and a joy to behold.

    Paxoll and billyjoe: proving that the perfection fallacy, or at least a variant of it, isn’t just for anti-vaxers.

  42. snuffcurry says

    What is this nonsense about Geoffrey Rush and vague, false, anonymized accusations? We know precisely who his victim is (Eryn Jean Norvill, who played Cordelia to Rush’s Lear in Sydney Theatre Company’s 2015-6 production) and we know precisely what she accuses him of (touching her genitalia on five separate occasions while carrying her during her death scene during the last week of performances, after repeated objections, and then haranguing her about not giving him enough attention at a post-production party and following her into a washroom to do so). His defense for defamation is that it doesn’t matter if it was true (he doesn’t think newspapers should be allowed to print things they have good reason to believe) and that he was defamed by the theatre company because they admitted they’d fielded a complaint against him (they did). His defense is that it doesn’t matter whether it happened or not. He’s not even litigating the abuse. He doesn’t like that people are hearing about it.

    You see this disingenuous tactic of rules-lawyering from people like billyjoe more and more: rape and abuse “skeptics” who want highly detailed, all-but-illustrated post-mortems of sexual abuse (to wank over, to use to discredit or intimidate or shame victims into staying quiet, to gloat over so they can “disprove” it was abuse at all).

  43. Tethys says

    gmcard

    Surprised billyjoe wasn’t banhammered after that bullshit.

    Billy and paxoll have both been quite consistent in their defense of all dudes creepy, and the repeated false claim of life destruction via accusations. This especially vile thread about A. Aziz is rape apologetics bingo. Guys. Guys. You should be terrified of this new development. I believe raaak was eventually banhammered, but like all vermin, there seems to be an endless supply of whingeing dudebros that are oh so concerned about false accusations of assault. .

    It’s from January 17th, and I will just quote myself, rather than repeat myself for the shitlord billy.

    I don’t presume innocence after I just read an account of sexual assault that was confirmed by the assaulter, I presume the women is telling the truth, period. Your claims of destroyed reputations are ridiculous. bill cosby, woody allen, roman polanski, trump…..the list is endless.
    All rapists, none of whom seem to be suffering any ill effects from their destroyed reputations.

    I conclude that PZ lets them fulfill the role of chewtoys, and people to make stupid points for other to mock and correct. They do fulfill that role very dependably.

  44. billyjoe says

    Sometimes I think people deliberately read things into my comments that aren’t there. I always try to interpret the comments of others in the most charitable way possible, not that I always succeed, of course, but at least the intent is there. But to deliberately read into a comment what was is obviously not there, and could not possibly have been my meaning in the context in which I said it, just wastes a lot of time and achieves nothing.

    Obviously paxol got it right about how to interpret what I said. Not only that, but you can actually read my comment literally and it can still be interpreted the way paxol did. No doubt my phrasing could have been better but there is no way in which those misinterpretations are reasonable. Then there is Crip Dyke, the vivisectionist, who uses pedantically pedantic arguments about the meaning of words and phrases regardless of context and culture.

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career. Guilty until proven innocent In fact, even if eventually found guilty the “sentence” (destroyed life and career) might Not fit the actual crime you’re convicted of. That was also mentioned in my comment.

    Sorry, I can’t waste any more time on this.

  45. says

    All that stuff billyjoe fears already happens to victims. All those victims chased out of careers and they want people to stop accusing. I refuse to cooperate.

    I honestly meant what I said. If we can’t deal with sexual predators successfully as a society I’m totally fine with the mob being sloppy when it comes to accusations. If there is no justice I will accept balance as an individual. THAT’S THE CONSEQUENCE OF A BROKEN SOCIAL CONTACT.

    If we all can’t have it I’m fine with no one having it.

  46. says

    Seriously billyjoe, I question your and the intelligence of everyone that acts as you do. You’re whining about risking something that victims already risk. Just how persuasive do you think you are?

    How the fuck do you expect anyone to want to do political effort for you? You look pathetic.

    The only valid path with any persuasive value is one that deals with sexual predators. That’s it. Nothing else.

    Why do you think others choose harassment? No one would buy what they’re selling otherwise.

    Bye bye.

  47. says

    @chigau
    Not perminantly I’d wager. There is so much fear in this one that that they confuse our non-acceptance of what they are saying with incomprehension.

    Maybe that’s the instinctual basis of sealioning. Keep pressing until you parrot back what they want to hear.

    (See billyjoe, I can be charitable, I’m assuming it’s unconscious instead of you deliberately refusing to accept that others aren’t buying what you are selling so you keep pressuring people already under pressure by malevolent mysogynists).

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

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career.

    No. It can’t. Other people making decisions about how to respond to an accusation can destroy your life and career. Someone speaking up and saying,

    “This happened to me. Crip Dyke did it to me. It sucked.”

    doesn’t destroy my life. It can’t destroy my life. Those words alone can’t fire me. Those words alone can’t send me to jail. Those words alone can’t kill my friendships, partnerships, and other relationships.

    But even if I give you credit for something you consistently fail to express – that if there are unjust consequences imposed on the accused, those consequences aren’t imposed by the accuser or the accusation but by the choices of other moral agents – it’s easy to accept your premise AND YET not word things so badly that you call for an end to people stepping up and saying what happened to them. I presented a possible longer formulation above, but it can even be shorter and sweeter, for those who don’t bother with precision even in highly important areas of human interaction where you’re demanding other people be accountable for the power of their words. It could be something like:

    We can’t go about giving unlimited trust to the media or to employers, investigators, cops, and courts when a small exercise of discretion, regardless of actual guilt or innocence, could destroy people who have been accused.

    Short. Simple. Reasonable. And look! It doesn’t blame the victim for coming forward! My FSM, it was really, really hard to construct a sentence that decries unjust consequences without blaming victims, but with heroic persistence I’ve finally managed it!

    Okay, okay, that was really fucking tough. No ordinary human should be expected to be able to decry actual wrongs without blaming victims, so don’t think any less of yourself, billyjoe. Maybe I’m just a superhero and you’ll have to live your life entirely unable to express statements that actually push our culture toward justice. But, gosh, I’m such a Gandhi! I’m just optimistic enough to believe that someday you too, billyjoe, might actually figure out that

    THE ACCUSATION IS NEVER THE PROBLEM.

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

    @chigau:

    I’m leaning – actually leaning strongly – toward billyjoe not coming back to this thread. But for damn sure I’m not betting that billyjoe will stay away from Pharyngula, and I wouldn’t even bet that billyjoe won’t say the same kinds of victim-blaming things again in another thread.

    I think that it’s particularly contemptible to insist that you didn’t mean what you actually said and that people are criticizing you unfairly … while telling victims that they should shut up with all the accusing so long as others might use your accusation as a rationale to impose unjust consequences. Yeah. OTHER PEOPLE need to shut up unless they want to be responsible for everything that happens after they speak up, whether they could control those things or not. But billyjoe doesn’t need to be careful with words – even if without those words certain bad consequences might not have occurred – because SHUT UP THAT’S WHY.

    If you want to tell people that they have to be careful with their words, you should **at the very fucking least** be careful with your own.

    But what the fuck do I know? This has only been my professional field for 20 years. Maybe I should go ask a random man on the internet to explain all this to me.

  50. Tethys says

    CD

    Here’s the link to Tethys’ thread, for those who are interested.

    Thanks for the linkage. Documentation is always important, even if its a thread filled with multiple trollbro’s making the same stupid claims about rushing to judge the poor sexual predators. My fangs are barely snined, and he leaves a terrible aftertaste.

    chigau

    Bets?

    I bet ten credits that billy will boomerang.

  51. John Morales says

    BJ:

    Sometimes I think people deliberately read things into my comments that aren’t there

    Which necessarily entails that sometimes, you don’t think so.

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career.

    Well, sure. I could break a leg getting up off my chair.

    (I mean, it’s not a logical impossibility, right? But that doesn’t mean I don’t seat myself)

    Never mind the adduced evidence that the accused principals are doing rather well, and which you don’t even attempt to dispute, when the evidence is not overwhelmingly indisputable.

  52. John Morales says

    [mutter]

    BJ:

    Sometimes I think people deliberately read things into my comments that aren’t there

    Which necessarily entails that sometimes, you don’t think so.

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career.

    Well, sure. I could break a leg getting up off my chair.

    (I mean, it’s not a logical impossibility, right? But that doesn’t mean I don’t seat myself)

    Never mind the adduced evidence that the accused principals are doing rather well, and which you don’t even attempt to dispute, when the evidence is not overwhelmingly indisputable.

  53. Tethys says

    Vivisectionist!! Wow, those must have been some incredible sharp words from CD if billy has been flayed alive.

    billy ~ What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career.

    Did you happen to notice the OP? There are more than allegations about MS and yet he is not destroyed.

  54. says

    billyjoe
    I suggested before: maybe the problem is your writing, not other people’s reading.
    But I don’t think that you have a leg to stand on when you just go on repeating the same bullshit.

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime), just an accusation can destroy your life and career.

    Now I will contradict CD here (ohm my god!) and agree that we should take other’s reaction into account when weighing our decisions. That’s why SWATting is attempted murder by proxy and white people calling the cops on black people in the USA are actively putting those black peoples’ lives at risk despite the fact that it’s not them who pull the trigger.
    The problem with your bullshit is twofold:
    1. The very obvious one: While the result you describe IS possible, so technically “can” is correct, it is obviously neither a common nor frequent result, as demonstrated by a whole fucking lot of men who have been accused or even convicted and who do not face any serious repercussions. Shermer seems to be among them. Louis CK and others are working hard on their come-backs. So “can” does a lot of heavy lifting here.
    2. The alternative you present is that nobody make an accusation. You repeatedly insist that this is not depending on the truth of the accusation. So your alternative is that victims of sexual assault just shut up, let the assaulter get away with it, and subsequently allow them to assault many more people.

  55. snuffcurry says

    just an accusation can destroy your life and career

    I mean, this is demonstrably true, but it’s not the accused‘s life and career we’re talking about, as demonstrated, for example, by the Weinstein gallery of victims, whose careers were effectively torpedoed not because they were accused of anything so serious as rampant, serious sexual harassment, abuse, and blackmail but for being “difficult,” for having resisted the wrong man. Just being called “difficult” (or ambitious, ball-busting, aware of your own abilities), if you’re a woman in an industry dominated by men, can destroy your life and career.

  56. snuffcurry says

    Guilty until proven innocent

    only exists on a legal plane. People not wanting to have anything more to do with you because they believe your victim(s) is not, actually, a miscarriage of justice and doesn’t require criminal charges and a conviction. You’re allowed to associate with whomever you want. Being a serial rapist is not a protected class.

    Also, if we’re pretending this is about some arbitrary principle where bystanders like us are meant to suspend all judgment until a case is tried or settled: cool. I guess that means people who hold to that view also regard the defendants in Shermer’s defamation cases and in Rush’s defamation case as innocent of defamation until proven guilty. Following that logic, Shermer dropped his cases, so his accusers must be telling the truth. If you want to be silly about it, at least try to be consistent. Back in the real world, like most other people I’m perfectly fine deciding who to believe because not every side of a dispute is credible or worthy of equal consideration.

  57. Saad says

    You’d think these people would have several real-world examples of men being “destroyed” by false accusations.

    The whole “destroyed!!!” hyperbole is such whiny MRA nonsense.

  58. Saad says

    paxoll,

    Everything implied in Billyjoe’s comment indicates that he was referring to false accusations, and that is the overall point, you don’t know if it is a true accusation.

    Actually, nothing at all in billyjoe’s post indicates that they’re talking about false accusations. Not even the Geoffrey Rush example.

    Also, I don’t hold billyjoe in such low regard that I would expect them to make such an obvious statement as “one shouldn’t make false accusations” as if they’re making some great point that people aren’t seeing.

    But getting back to billyjoe’s comment:

    Regardless of guilt or innocence, the accusations have already destroyed [Geoffrey Rush] and his career. Reports are that he has become anxious and reclusive,rarely leaving his home, and that he has lost all confidence in being able to return to his career as an actor.

    That doesn’t make sense. If you’re saying “regardless of guilt or innocence” then why do you think the “destruction” of his career and his anxiety is the fault of the accuser/accusation? You can only sympathize with him if you know the accusation is false. If it is, then I sympathize with him as well.

  59. paxoll says

    @Crip,
    Funny how, I understood what Billy’s point was while everyone else here was quote mining him. Yea, I must be fucken psychic, which is what people here pretend to be. Lets look at some basic tenets you hold and see where problems lie.

    1) SJW….social justice, i.e. justice outside of the legal realm to deal with wrongs committed that are either not criminal or that the criminal system failed to adequately address. Where you advocate

    Sometimes you accuse that person to their faces.
    Other times you accuse that person to the cops.
    Other times you accuse that person through the internet.
    Other times you accuse that person through the news media.
    Other times you accuse that person through a corporate HR department.

    2) Believe the victim. Someone can make up some statistics but we KNOW that most victims tell the truth.

    3)

    THE ACCUSATION IS NEVER THE PROBLEM.

    Even the most purposefully obtuse individual can where this logic train goes. So please explain where your tenets fail when someone makes a false accusation? Now in the criminal system we have failures that you point out are not a problem with the accusation. These points that fail, and we know they fail often, exist within the system as safeguards against the failure of the rational progression of the tenets you hold. So where do safeguards exist in the actions of SJWs?

    It can’t destroy my life. Those words alone can’t fire me. Those words alone can’t send me to jail. Those words alone can’t kill my friendships, partnerships, and other relationships.

    Except this is exactly where you end up when you follow the SJW system. The innocent until proven guilty is not as snuffcurry put it

    only exists on a legal plane.

    is a cornerstone of justice philosophy and closely tied to “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. False accusations lead to terrible miscarriages of justice, those miscarriages of justice lead to a fundamental breakdown of trust in the system, not only hurting the one person accused but all future accusers that people are less likely to trust.

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer. No, its simply called being a fucken adult. People here are intent on misunderstanding and that is an impossible situation to moderate.

  60. Rowan vet-tech says

    We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer. No, its simply called being a fucken adult.

    Okay. Suppose someone gropes me. I confront them privately and they apologize. I don’t tell anyone else what happened, because “confront privately”.

    How many people did they grope, and apologize to, before me?
    How many people are they going to grope, and apologize to, after me?
    What exactly have I accomplished?
    What incentive do they have to change their behaviour?

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

    @Paxoll:

    Yeah, you’re psychic, for sure. Let’s look at how amazingly awesome your ability to understand language is:

    So please explain where your tenets fail when someone makes a false accusation?

    The tenet doesn’t fail. If you read what I said in #29:

    if people are lying, the problem is that they’re lying. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    The response to a false accusation isn’t to shut down accusations, it’s to shut down lying.

    You also say I hold (and have been espousing) the tenet

    2) Believe the victim.

    Quote me saying that. Just once. Anywhere in this thread. I’ll wait. Or were you just making shit up?

    You come back to

    False accusations

    But as I said,

    if people are lying, the problem is that they’re lying. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT PEOPLE MADE AN ACCUSATION.

    You also make much of the idea I hold as a “tenet”

    1) SJW….social justice, i.e. justice outside of the legal realm to deal with wrongs committed that are either not criminal or that the criminal system failed to adequately address.

    Is there anyone in the world, anyone at all, who believes there should be no justice in society at all save that of the criminal system? You can’t sue anyone for torts, for wrongful death when someone negligently but non-criminally runs over your kid with a car? You can’t sue anyone for workplace discrimination? For flaunting minimum wage or overtime laws? Those can be dealt with in courts sometimes, and through lawyers very, very frequently, but they aren’t criminal.

    Is there anyone in the world who believes you shouldn’t be able to complain to your boss if a coworker is harassing you? Why can’t you use the relationship of your interest – not being made to feel like shit – and the employer’s interest – not losing the productivity from both you and the harasser that is siphoned off by the harassment and its effects – to convince the employer to use its power to stop the fucking harassment?

    Is there anyone in the world who believes a parent can’t or shouldn’t stop one child from hitting a sibling without going to criminal court?

    Is there anyone who believes that one spouse doesn’t have the right to divorce the other when conditions in the marriage are leading to injustice? Or do you believe that individuals have no right to divorce, but that if someone is criminally convicted the courts, as part of a sentence, could grant a divorce or annulment to a spouse?

    Is there anyone who believes that, once you make a friend, you aren’t free to stop hanging out with that (now former) friend at any time, for any reason, including that you think that person treats you or others around you badly?

    Are you so fucking stupid you believe that “social justice” is a tenet of mine in any way that’s distinct from how it is a tenet of every single mentally competent adult anywhere on earth – not only among humans but among lots of other species (who don’t have criminal courts) besides?

    Good grief, Paxall,

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer. No, its simply called being a fucken adult.

    You are thick, aren’t you? Confronting wrongs privately is included in at least 2 of my options above:

    Sometimes you accuse that person to their faces.

    Other times you accuse that person through the internet.

    You do understand English, right? You aren’t an idiot who thinks it’s not an accusation unless it’s on the news, are you? When one monogamous spouse accuses the other of cheating, there’s almost never any other adult present, but it’s still an accusation, right? E-mail travels the internet, right?

    So, given your competence at English (especially in light of how much better you are at understanding other commenters than most of the people in this thread), you knew that accusations don’t have to be public to be accusations, and you were deliberately lying about what I said when you said that confronting people privately is the “opposite” of “how the SJW movement operates”, a movement in which you placed me.

    Is that fair? Or do you just have no fucking idea what “accusation” means and doesn’t mean, and you decided to make assumptions rather than ask a clarifying question?

    Moreover there is actually nothing at all inimical to “social justice” (which is not a movement, btw) in dealing with problems yourself if you are able to deal with problems yourself. Feminist, anti-racist, anti-ableist, pro-queer and pro-trans* movements I’ve been a part of have all celebrated the ability to address issues personally. We want like hell to achieve a world where disputes between people are much more rare than today, intentional infliction of injury is rarer still, and the vast majority of those disputes (just like today’s disputes) can be and are resolved quickly and easily between the people directly involved.

    It’s just that the people that you would call “SJWs” actually care about those times when either responsibility is diffuse or when individuals affected aren’t equipped to go demand and achieve a just result on their own.

    We are BOTH/AND, not either/or. And we are certainly not of the opinion that failing to achieve justice in direct negotiation is a sign of lack of adulthood.

    ===================================
    There’s also some crap in the middle of your comment, but it’s garbled pretty badly, e.g.

    The innocent until proven guilty is not as snuffcurry put it

    only exists on a legal plane.

    is a cornerstone of justice philosophy

    Though there is one thing that I think is clear enough to interpret:

    So where do safeguards exist in the actions of SJWs?

    In context, I think this question is assuming that:
    1. all accusations are public
    2. all accusers are to be believed in all circumstances and all purposes (at the very least all circumstances and purposes outside a criminal court proceeding).
    3. many people exist that have the power to fuck up someone’s life without a criminal verdict and sentence, including employers, rabbis, spouses, and many, many more.

    Given this, you see a potential problem in this combination of premises (which you seem to assume are somehow part of my philosophy, save #3 which is simply a fact about the world) If all the people with such power act as if they not only believe any and every accuser, but also treat a single witness’ testimony as sufficient to meet a burden of proof, then jobs will be lost, individuals will be shunned, couples will divorce, and more bad consequences will ensue.

    But your question is badly based if you think this is the basis for asking it. You CAN quote me saying that lying when accusing someone is a problem. You CAN’T quote me saying all accusations should be believed. You certainly can’t quote me saying that people with power over another’s life should be making those decisions without establishing a reasonable burden of proof or without using critical thinking, rational thinking, and evidence.

    So there are safeguards, and plenty of them. But you knew that, because I clearly said that you should “accuse” when someone gives you shitty treatment, not merely when someone rapes you. Lying about what you did would be shitty treatment. So if someone lies about you, confronting that person about the lie and/or explaining to others that the person lied about you (i.e. accusing them of lying) is part of what I advocate. If you’re an HR person and you have an accusation by person 1 about person 2, then another accusations by person 2 that person 1 lied in the original accusation, you clearly can’t believe both: that’s logically impossible. Inherent in everything I’ve said is that when someone acts in a way that has the capacity to hurt others, every moral agent must be responsible for their own decisions.

    Every. Moral. Agent.

    So if one person makes an accusation in good faith, it still might be that an HR professional recommends against firing someone. Maybe because the accusation is of behavior unrelated to the workplace. Maybe because the behavior isn’t sufficiently serious. Maybe because the HR person can’t meet the company’s own internally-set burden-of-proof for sufficient certainty in those cases. But here’s the thing: the HR person has that job, and the HR person should be held accountable for those decisions (made well or made poorly). Merely speaking up and saying, “This is true. This happened to me.” doesn’t make you responsible for every decision of every other person on the planet that used that information as part of a decision making process.

    This isn’t hard.

  62. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Paxoll,
    You know, when you come on here and talk about all the terrible miscarriages of justice that occur due to false accusations, you sound just a wee bit like Chris Kobach whining about all the voter fraud that is going on in his mind. There is no doubt in my mind that false accusations occur (just as voter fraud does occur). And it is a bad thing when it does–not just for the accused, but also for every woman who will subsequently run the gauntlet of public scrutiny, shaming and skepticism when she comes forth with her very real accusation.

    However, it seems to me that we have a much longer way to come toward believing the accusers than we do to giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused. Far more men get away with rape–some repeatedly and for decades–than women get away with false accusations. When we get to the point where a man’s protestations of innocence are greeted automatically with questions such as, “Well, what were you doing to put yourself at risk for such accusations?” then I think we’ll be a lot closer to parity.

  63. blf says

    We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate.

    I was taught to inform public authorities of crimes. Rape is a crime. Ergo…

    But
    Part of the problem is that in the specific case of rape, the public authorities have been, and frequently still are, obstinate. Even when evidence is collected, far too frequently nothing much happens (e.g., the massive backlog of unprocessed “rape kits”). It is as-if there is an NRA backing people’s “right” to rape. One possible name for these deluded misfits is MRA.

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

    @73:

    Obviously you are not an adult.

  65. Saad says

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer.

    So? When I was a kid I was taught all sorts of garbage.

    Why are you assuming speaking up against rapey harassers is just about getting an apology for your self and not trying to improve the situation for other women and society as a whole? If a neighbor in your building stole your stuff, do you just ask them to apologize or do you alert other people in the building to watch out? Sexual harassment/assault and rape are endemic problems with far reaching consequences. That is the reason they deserve being dragged out in the open.

    And you get called those things because you make some of the same points as rape apologists, MRAs and victim blamers. If there was an MRA reading this thread, they’d take your side on this topic.

  66. tiredtexan says

    The illogic that contends that huge numbers of sexual assault victims should shut up to protect a tiny number of falsely accused men is just the latest in a long line of ploys designed to shut up women. Paxoll and billyjoe are actually urging women victims and their advocates to be more empathetic to falsely accused men than to victims and potential victims, while also making clear that men have virtually no obligation or intent to empathize with the victims or see their perspective.

    Sexual assault and harassment are in the news today so much because coming forward is often the only remedy victims have left to obtain even a modicum of justice. Going to the police and pressing charges rarely leads to prosecution or convictions. Screaming no 90 times is not sufficient proof of rape, even when recorded, ostensibly because the woman must have given her consent when she kissed the rapist before he forced his way into her home and raped her. Even when convicted, men often receive slaps on the wrist in order to ensure their lives are not ruined by the allegations. Multiple complaints to authorities such as in the Larry Nassar case are ignored and women are told that pushing for something to be done will hurt them, not the rapist. Women complaining at work about repeated harassment is usually met with apathy, termination or retaliation in a manner that ruins the career of the victim. Even telling friends and relatives often results in victim-blaming and second guessing the victim’s attire, conduct and recollections.

    Under these circumstances, virtually the only avenue left for victims and “social justice warriors” is public accusations. Shermer is a particularly good example of showing that nothing else seems to work. For more than a decade, multiple women complained of his conduct at conventions where he was a speaker, but were brushed off because he made money for conventions. Organizers recognized Shermer was a “bad boy,” but did nothing to protect women in the face of these complaints. Today, he continues to be a treasured guest speaker, while the women who complained are ostracized and receive death threats.

    Women get that the only avenue left to them to obtain even a little bit of justice and to protect other women from the wolves amongst us is to make the accusations publically, and that is the reason for the “Me Too” movement. But paxoll and billyjoe adamantly demand that even this avenue should be cut off, all to protect that tiny percentage men falsely accused. So, sexual assault victims, know this: you can’t get justice from the justice system, from management at work, from organizers of conventions, from schools. Oh, and by the way, shut up too, so you don’t do an injustice to the 3% who are falsely accused.

    There is no avenue left if we shut up. None. But that, I suspect, is the underlying motive. No remedies, no discussion, no protection of others from known rapists, just an endless litany of sexual assault and harassment perpetrated without consequence, in silence, without even social shaming.

    And, asking a woman to approach a man in private over his sexual assault of her is madness. You are asking a woman, already traumatized and assaulted, to go somewhere alone with her rapist or assaulter to privately address the issue? That is fucking insane and cruel to the point of sociopathy.

    One other point that really bugs me. Exactly what motive would an accuser have to shut up if they know they are telling the truth about their assault? By making a true accusation, the victim absolutely knows that no innocent man will have his reputation hurt. Is it the victim’s responsibility to remain silent about what happened to her because some other person may have lied in a completely different case? In other words, a real victim should shut up about a real rape to protect those who aren’t guilty in other cases? Really????

  67. stevewatson says

    hemidactylus @44: Yes, exactly: the article is a transparent hatchet job on utilitarianism and deontology, therefore libertarianism wins as the last man standing. To be clear, I’m not arguing for a neo-Kantian account of rights, just pointing out how he ignores that whole aspect of Kantian thought in order to preserve his straw man (and it conveniently happens to be sloshing around in my head at the moment). I’ve seen W.D.Ross’s name often enough to think he’s someone I need to read (on top of Gauthier, and Scanlon, and all the other things I need to read, and I don’t just mean the assigned course readings…..).

  68. KG says

    social justice, i.e. justice outside of the legal realm to deal with wrongs committed that are either not criminal or that the criminal system failed to adequately address – paxoll@69

    When you start with such an absurd misinterpretation of what “social justice” means, it’s pretty certain there’s going to be more crap to come.

    The innocent until proven guilty is not as snuffcurry put it

    only exists on a legal plane.

    is a cornerstone of justice philosophy

    …and indeed there is. Whether the subject of an accusation should be considered “innocent until proven guilty” depends on both the possible or probable consequences, and the likelihood, of making an error in either direction. The standard (rightly) required by the criminal law is not even the only legal standard: civil cases are decided on the balance of probabilities. If a woman assumes that her friend is telling the truth when she accuses a man of sexual assault is just that she avoids being alone with him, it’s obviously absurd (except to a complete fool, or a rape apologist) to require that she should have demanded demand proof before acting on the accusation.

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer.

    Well, there’s a good reason for that. If those who told you that meant it to apply if you were sexually assaulted, then they were at best utterly irresponsible. If, as I suspect, they meant to refer to the kinds of minor disputes that arise between children in which nothing more than hurt feelings or monopolising a toy are at stake, then you are showing that you are indeed a rape apologist, MRA and victim blamer by your ludicrous and offensive belittling of a serious crime.

  69. says

    Paxoll

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators. When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer. No, its simply called being a fucken adult. People here are intent on misunderstanding and that is an impossible situation to moderate.

    When I was a kid I was taught that electrons swish around the core in neat layers.
    Now, I know that this approach is still popular. It is popular because it’s damn convenient for those in authority.
    Yes, a mediation can be a good idea in some situations, but sexual assault sure as hell isn’t.
    Talking privately or having an impartial moderator assumes that there is a conflict between two people. My husband has the fuck annoying habit of leaving doors open and lights on and it’s getting on my nerves. He’s probably annoyed of all the times that I talk about open doors and left on lights.
    It’s a good approach when there’s a misunderstanding, for example an intercultural one where somebody disregards a taboo they weren’t aware of.
    It is NOT a valid approach for bullying and assault, especially not among adults. The perpetrator and the victim don’t just have two different ideas of what is important. All research tells us that they know that they’re transgressing. After all, if the victim actually wanted to fuck them they wouldn’t need to drug them or touch without permission. They don’t have a misunderstanding. What’s a moderator supposed to achieve? Find a compromise between “I want to grope you” and I don’t want to be groped” by suggesting that groping is ok on odd days?

    False accusations lead to terrible miscarriages of justice, those miscarriages of justice lead to a fundamental breakdown of trust in the system, not only hurting the one person accused but all future accusers that people are less likely to trust.

    But “rapists walk free” is not a miscarriage that leads to a breakdown of trust, right?
    Those 10 guilty rapists are pretty likely to vitctimise more people, yet those innocent people who suffer should just put up with it, right?
    Oh, wait, I forgot that there’s something that unites about 90% of rapists and 90% of rape victims…

  70. says

    What happened to “innocent until proven guilty” when the accused is not white?
    Guys like Shermer haven’t ended up in prison for 10, 20, or 30 years, like those the Innocence Project have shown to be innocent.
    And O J Simpson was found innocent in a court of law. Like that shut people up about him.

  71. Tethys says

    paxoll

    When I suggest this on this forum I am called a rape apologist, MRA, victim blamer.

    How many times has it been explained that if your response to hearing about sexual assault is to immediately rush in to caution people about the dangers of false accusations, you are providing cover for the rapists? Since 97% of all accusations are true, what purpose does whingeing about non-existant consequences of false accusations serve, beside providing cover for rapists? If you walk like a duck, and talk like a duck, you don’t get to complain that we keep calling you a duck.

  72. billyjoe says

    Except for paxoll’s comments, everything I’ve read here since I last visited is further vindication of my view that all you are interested in is deliberately misunderstanding what I say. This is punishment for not agreeing one hundred percent with your points of view. The minor disagreements I have had with your points of view have resulted in overblown retaliation, including swearing and name-calling and a refusal to read, understand, and respond in a reasonable manner – in favour of deliberately quote mining out of context – to whatever I’ve written since

    Nice echochambre you’ve got going here.
    I suppose you all agree with this egregious bit of bold-faced travesty from Brony:

    I’m totally fine with the mob being sloppy when it comes to accusations.

  73. chigau (違う) says

    Do We™ still have a fainting-couch?
    We™ still need one, what with the swearing and name-calling and all.

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

    From Wikipedia:

    Corsets: One theory for the predominance of fainting couches is that women were actually fainting because their corsets were too tight, restricting blood flow. However, pictures from the 1860s show women horseback riding, playing tennis, and engaging in other vigorous activities in corsets without hindrance.
    Female hysteria: The second most common theory for the predominance of fainting couches is home treatment of female hysteria through manual pelvic massage by home visiting doctors and midwives. As a “disease” that needed constant, recurring (usually weekly) in-home treatment with a procedure that through manual massage could sometimes take hours, creating specialized furniture for maximum comfort during the extended procedure seems likely, as does the later creation of fainting rooms for privacy during the intimate massage procedure.

    Yes, you read that right. The explanation most frequently held up in polite circles for the existence and popularity of fainting couches has little hard evidence to support it, but there is another theory that women needed a comfortable place to spread themselves out while being fisted, which somehow doesn’t get as much popular discussion but has better (if still not clear and convincing) evidence and logic behind it.

    Yes. Yes, I think we might need a fainting couch ’round these parts.

  75. Tethys says

    I actually own a fainting couch, and after reading a bit about the history, the room I currently use as my workspace might have been the official fainting room. The arsenic impregnated wallpapers were new information, and I will be exceedingly cautious with the scraps I’ve uncovered during my residence. The cats love the fainting couch now that they are elderly and jumping is difficult for them.

    The various people complaining about being called names can either get used to being treated rudely for their callous disregard, or stop attempting to focus all discussion on the plight of the poor, poor, sexual assaulter being destroyed by the victims reporting the assault. This is not a difficult concept, and after four months, there is no excuse for billy and paxoll besides their unexamined misogyny. ( no fainting couches for them, they can lie on the floor by their dish, like bad dogs)

  76. says

    I don’t give a fuck since they ignored the rest. That’s the thing about broken social contracts, I don’t have to give a fuck. And I’m in the cis, white, male group supposedly “at risk” according to billyjoe.

    There’s nothing they can do. I can keep supporting accusers and critisizing paranoid children enabling abusers. *Happy dances away*

  77. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we were taught what is essentially the opposite of how the SJW movement operates. We were taught to confront wrongs privately, and if that didn’t work bring in a 3rd party to moderate. We were taught to be moderators.

    What you were taught was to be an apologist and enabler for bullies and victimizers.

    It was a bad thing to learn.

  78. says

    Also billyjoe by neglecting the ellipses in front of that “I’m” you are dishonesty portraying my quote. As bad as any creationist. If you ever present that as my words elsewhere you will be a liar because what you quoted is contingent of society failing to deal with sexual predators (assuming charitably you don’t know what ellipses are and didn’t see the inherent dishonesty).

    If that qualifiar doesn’t matter to you again we come to the idea of broken social contracts. If you want people to be willing to work on your issues you must be able to show that you are working on theirs. You have nothing of persuasive value otherwise, victims need to be able to make accusations as a matter of self interest and the best you have is vauge references to needing to find a better way. You’re one of thousands who’ve come here insisting on better ways and the one who needs to do the work there is YOU.

    You want other to change something, they are the opposite of motivated to do that for you. You want something, you have to give something. And it can’t just be some abstract bullshit.
    It has to be specifically tailored to real-world situations relevant to the people you want to do something different.
    It has to be demonstrated to actually work.
    It can’t be inserted into existing politics in a way that defacto changes the subject like most attempts, it’s gotta stand on it’s own in parallel (no barging into in progress conversations like the rest of the paranoid internet sexists, it’s gotta attract attention on it’s own).

    I recommend putting pressure on the criminal justice system. That’s the one that’s supposed to make accusations in the public sphere unnecessary.

  79. paxoll says

    @Brony, if you are going to be annoyed by being quote mined by billyjoe, shouldn’t you also be annoyed by how every other regular poster on this blog does it to billyjoe? It is the defacto method of argumentation here. Some of the great benefits of communicating through writing is the ability to take the time to use precise language, to be able to reference entire conversations to understand what someone is saying. Which makes the behavior on this blog so reprehensible.

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

    @Paxoll,

    Some of the great benefits of communicating through writing is the ability to take the time to use precise language,

    And I wonder very much why billyjoe does not seem to take that time.

    Also, I find myself entirely too amused that you say

    Some of the great benefitsis

    in that sentence about using precise language.

    But that’s probably quote mining, so I won’t encourage anyone else to laugh at the irony. You hear that everyone? DON’T LAUGH AT PAXOLL. NO, SERIOUSLY. STOP WITH THE LAUGHING.

  81. Porivil Sorrens says

    Time to repeatedly assert how reprehensible this blog and it’s commentariat is, while continuing to be a frequent reader and poster on it, I suppose?

  82. says

    I’m wondering how many more times billyjoe must write that he does not care as much about whether somebody sexually assaulted a person as he cares about whether that person is punished too harshly before we’re allowed to believe him?

    What I obviously meant in both examples quoted above in the comments is that, putting aside questions of guilt or innocence (in other words, before actually charged or convicted or sentenced for the alleged crime*), just an accusation can destroy your life and career. Guilty until proven innocent In fact, even if eventually found guilty the “sentence” (destroyed life and career) might Not fit the actual crime you’re convicted of. That was also mentioned in my comment.

    Regardless of guilt or innocence, the accusations have already destroyed [Geoffrey Rush] and his career.

    He has become a victim of the MeToo movement regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty.

    Now I’m just wondering: Would billyjoe hire a babysitter who is a convicted paedophile?
    What if they weren’t convicted, but other parents in the social circle say they caught the babysitter in a strange situation (like the kid with no panties and no plausible explanation, like pissed their pants or such)
    What about smaller things, like whether to buy fruit on the market from the guy who constantly talks of n…s and f…s and s….s and w….s or the one next to him?
    What about making a complaint against that idiot UPS driver who left your new electronics in the rain in the garden?
    In all those cases you could destroy somebody’s career. What would you do?
    *This is, by the way, bullshit. Courts don’t rule on reality. Courts decide whether the evidence is enough to convict somebody of a crime. Just because a court does not have enough evidence does not mean somebody is innocent (and we all know that the required amount of evidence has a lot to do with factors like race, rape culture, poverty, etc.).
    For a fuckton of crimes police never even find a suspect. I think for burglary it’s less than 25% here, that doesn’t mean that the other 75% are in fact innocent.

  83. says

    Just for the heck of it I went back and looked at the exchanges at and prior to #36 and I don’t see the quote mining.

    billyjoe seems upset about people making accusations because of the possibility of destroying the life of an innocent person.
    That reference to needing to be familiar with the totality of the facts (no people don’t need to be totality familiar with the case and it’s not my job to define minimal familiarity) actually has to be directed at people discussing the accusations of others to make sense. This is a distinction billyjoe does not clearly make and one they need to think about if they want people to make sense of what they say. (I remember the paranoia about just discussing accusations in the Aziz Ansari post and I can see both kinds of accusers being potential subjects of billyjoe’s references to accusations).

    A victim need not do more than discuss their experiences and their accusations simply don’t fit into billyjoe’s way of looking at this.

    A supporter discussing an accusation does not fit into billyjoe’s way of looking at this as considering the evidence is what the current activity is.

    A supporter making an accusation is someone billyjoe needs to get specific about for their concerns to have any objective meaning. Staying in the abstract here is unacceptable.

    A false accusations is something discovered in the process of discussing accusations, something we will not be able to learn if we listen to the paranoia about discussing accusations.

  84. paxoll says

    @Porivil, The same reason I slow down and look at a car wreck. Morbid curiosity and the thought that I can provide help if more qualified individuals are not already doing so.

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