The Background of Atheist Ireland’s Breakup with PZ: It’s about Michael Shermer

Edits from earlier versions: Two major edits from information sent to me via Twitter by people who were, I think, trying to be hostile, but who I appreciate sending me the information. Ron Lindsay did not ask Rebecca Watson to take down her post, he asked her to reword it and the link to his post has been reworded to reflect that; this was a misremembrance on my part. The second is that I added screencaps and reworded the description of the Slymepit to be more accurate. The inaccuracy previously was the suggestion that they stalked people’s hospitals, which seems to be a game of telephone garbled interpretation I heard of an event that is linked to, in which they took PZ’s hospitalization as an opportunity to make up STD rumors about him. While I did have 2 editors fact check the post, they missed these, as did I.

Mixed Rape Finals - Members of FtB judging a rape; unauthorized photoshop of Brian Engler's original photo
I’m not entirely sure if the joke is that we’re judging our own rapes or a rape we’ve witnessed.

So in recent days, there’s been a bit of drama in the atheist movement over Atheist Ireland and PZ Myers that I’ve spent a bit of time trying to fully understand the background of.  Since I spent all the time getting a big picture overview, I thought other people might like to have access to it as well.  I don’t regularly follow any of the main players’ blogs, and I’ve been ill for the last 8 months, so I haven’t regularly followed anything during that time.  That said, the tl;dr version of the story is that it’s about Michael Shermer, and the longer version follows.  It’s not convoluted, it’s just happened over a long period of time.

The key players:

PZ Myers – Jolly, potty-mouthed FreethoughtBlog founder and blogger

Michael Nugent – Extremely prolific blogger and founder/chair of Atheist Ireland

Atheist Ireland’s Executive Committee – Many joke it is Michael Nugent writing in the royal we but this appears to be the people listed on the contact page of their website.

Michael Shermer – Famous skeptic who has been accused by multiple women of rape or sexual harassment

Hemant Mehta – Major blogger at Patheos well known for keeping out of the infighting; Friendly Atheist

Slymepit – A forum/opposite of a fan club dedicated to hateful obsession with Skepchicks and FreethoughtBlogs. Think 4chan but obsessed with a very small number of people. They make photoshops, videos, write stories, tell rape/PTSD jokes, come up with crude nicknames, stalk our home addresses, work places, and use hospitalizations to start STD rumors — that sort of thing.


 

A couple years ago, Alison Smith came to PZ Myers with a rape allegation towards Michael Shermer.  PZ had heard many stories about Shermer behind the scenes as there had been a lot of discussion about harassment in the atheist movement, but Alison came to him asking that he publish the account anonymously as a warning to other women to not allow Shermer to get them drunk and isolate them from groups.  PZ felt morally obligated to publish the story because he knew so many women he trusted who had either witnessed or been victim to harassment from Shermer — full disclosure, myself included, though I was in no way a part of that decision process.

This caused a lot of people to be unhappy with PZ.  It got worse when Mark Oppenheimer, a reporter known for his writing at the New York Times, wrote a story that named, with permission, not only Alison, but me and several other women as victims of Shermer’s behavior.  Oppenheimer also gave a lot of corroborating accounts and stories, from named and unnamed sources, as well as discussing the state of the movement in general.

I would like to reiterate at this point that the person people were unhappy with was not Michael Shermer, accused serial harasser and rapist, but PZ Myers, blogger who was asked to publish an account of rape by a victim who was concerned about preventing more women from being victimized.

Enter Michael Nugent. After/around the Oppenheimer piece, Nugent became very angry with PZ, basically because he thinks the media is misrepresenting the atheist movement as hostile to women because PZ posted a rape accusation.  He was also frustrated because the American media is more interested in the American atheist movement than the international movement.  And he didn’t care for PZ’s tone when calling out famous people for doing bad things — not just Shermer, but other famous people as well, there was a list of complaints.  Nugent wanted the movement to be more compassionate, but to people like Shermer more than to people like Alison Smith.  It’s worth noting here that people from the Slymepit have been a major part of the commenters at Nugent’s blog for a couple years now, and a huge part of the anti-PZ voice there.

The argument escalated.  And then PZ broke Michael Nugent with a tweet that has caused Michael Nugent to obsess over him, and the tweet, constantly since 4 Oct 2014.  The tweet reads:

It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.

Nugent has latched onto the idea that he’s providing a “haven for rapists” and demanded a recantation from PZ repeatedly. As far as I can tell, PZ feels that defending Shermer and allowing the Slymepit to be in your blog comments is very accurately represented by that tweet.  PZ has also blocked and ignored Nugent, because Nugent has written some 80,000 words about him in the last 8 months.  Which is, you know, a novel.

So now we are at this week.  Ayaan Hirsi Ali said that the worst thing that happens to gays in America is that they are not served cake, while gays in Muslim countries are thrown off buildings.  Ignoring for a moment that this is ridiculously inaccurate, it’s also a pointless thing to say.  PZ pointed this out.  Nugent, the Chairperson of Atheist Ireland, took the opportunity of PZ Pointing Out a Famous Person Doing a Bad Thing to have Atheist Ireland officially break up with him.  Atheist Ireland pulls slightly more weight than Nugent himself, but even Hemant Mehta read it as Nugent writing a dissociation letter until Nugent claimed otherwise.

In the Public Dissociation Letter, Atheist Ireland mischaracterizes a number of PZ’s statements without actually giving citations in order to paint him in the worst possible light.  Thankfully, Alex Gabriel has reprinted it with citations so that you can investigate the claims of PZ Pointing Out a Famous Person Doing a Bad Thing to see how terribly worded those blog posts truly are.  Honestly, I hadn’t read most of them, so I had to look for myself, PZ has been brutal in the past, and he’s not entirely unbrutal, but it’s all pretty reasonable to my eye.

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, shared this public dissociation, and in it, he basically agreed with their characterization of PZ as a person who is unkind to people — which makes sense, given that Hemant makes an effort to be, you know, friendly to as many people as possible.  Where Hemant goes a bit off-target is that he talks about the Slymepit in a way that makes it sound like he approves of them.  My understanding of the situation is that Hemant wants nothing to with the Slymepit and avoids them like the plague, but the wording of this particular sentence is not great:

As for Myers himself, he responsed on Twitter with a sarcastic “Oh no! I’ve been disowned by the slymepit!”… in other words, associating Atheist Ireland with an online forum that frequently criticizes and mocks him and is populated by people he deems trolls (even though they correctly uncovered plagiarism on his blog network). In other words, he didn’t care.

As I explained to Hemant, when I read that sentence, it reads like he’s saying PZ shouldn’t call them trolls because they’re just criticizing his work and sniffing out plagiarism.  Add to this the fact that Hemant is obviously unaware of the extent to which Atheist Ireland’s post is influenced by Slymepit, and you’ve got an entire post from Hemant that is sharing a lot of Slymepit positions.  It’s like Slymepit sent out a Press Release full of mischaracterizations, Atheist Ireland reprinted it to disown PZ, and Hemant has posted highlights and questioned their troll status.  And since people care what Hemant thinks, Hemant is the one who has gotten the attention.

A screenshot from a YouTube video of a woman, Ashley, being shot
Feminazi Ashley “Muller” being shot by a representative of The Patriarchy, for Oppression Points

This has led to drama.  Rebecca Watson wrote a blog post that is, in my opinion, a little unnecessarily aggressive in its claim that Hemant is endorsing the Slymepit.  Having said that, when I first read Hemant’s post I literally cried because I thought my friend and colleague was tacitly endorsing a group that has used my face to make rape jokes and made videos of me being shot to death, so I really get where Rebecca is coming from.  Ron Lindsay, ED of CFI is now calling on Rebecca to change the wording of her blog post and apologize.  All fall out because Michael Nugent is upset that people called out Michael Shermer’s bad behavior.

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

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

 

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272 thoughts on “The Background of Atheist Ireland’s Breakup with PZ: It’s about Michael Shermer

  1. 2

    Thank you for the clarification. This seems to fit with what I know about the people involved. I hope taht Hemant will make a public clarification about his stance on the ‘pitters, because even if he does not like PZ Myers much, no decent human being could like the slymepit.

  2. 5

    Thanks for writing this – it’s been pretty weird watching the general reaction, from people I thought were well aware of all this, seem to ignore it. Lots of “why is Nugent so obsessed” and the like, when the answer seemed pretty clear to me. Focus on Nugent’s litany of complaints, which are so clearly a fig leaf over the underlying “you said something bad about Shermer and that makes us look bad”.

    It speaks volumes that Nugent can devote so much time and energy to itemizing every issue he takes with PZ’s behaviour, but still (as far as I know? I may be mistaken) refuses to even name either Shermer or Alison Smith in connection with the public accusations she’s made and attached her name to, specifically for the purpose of warning other women. The priorities on display are a thing to behold.

  3. 6

    Also… I have to admit that I simply don’t get the PZ-hate.

    I do. They have simply found somebody they can all try to beat up while still claiming that the infamous PZ is about to destroy them, poor puppies, and that nobody dares to speak up against him anymore (there are about 80.000 words not about PZ on some blog, I’ve heard) because he might, hold your breath, write a nasty blogpost.

  4. 7

    PZ has also blocked and ignored Nugent, because Nugent has written some 80,000 words about him in the last 8 months. Which is, you know, a novel.

    Indeed. A novel longer than The War Of The Worlds, though slightly less factual.

  5. 10

    I didn’t know what the actual connection the slymepit was until this post – thanks for that. I am guessing that connection makes Nugent the slymepit’s Totalbiscuit. (A person who thinks has some standing, thinks they are doing nothing wrong, but defends the misogynists.)

    I been really ignoring almost everything related to it because I got too involved in following gamergate (I follow a few abuse survivors whose abusers are popular in the gaming community and made their abuse known just before GG started.) But it seems like it is spreading and knowing which organisations are not taking a stand against abuse within the community will be important when I can actually financially support it.

    I am not in Ireland (in England) but if I was I wouldn’t be joining Atheist Ireland’s membership despite what good they are trying to do with the Blasphemy laws.

  6. 11

    Yeah, the moment Nugent complained about PZ’s hateful statements against Dinesh D’Souza, I knew it was all about Shermer. (Not that it hasn’t been obvious over the last many months.) Given that Shermer actively stood up as a character witness and wrote to the court asking for leniency in D’Souza’s sentencing back in September…

  7. 12

    Thanks for this, sometimes these long histories get confusing. I hadn’t heard from the slymepit in a while, and kind of hoped they had just fucked off already, but it never works that way.

  8. 14

    OP said:

    Slymepit – A forum/opposite of a fan club dedicated to hateful obsession with Skepchicks and FreethoughtBlogs.

    A mischaracterization and exaggeration of intent and focus, but not an out-and-out lie.

    Think 4chan but obsessed with a very small number of people.

    Also a mischaracterization and exaggeration of intent and focus.

    They make photoshops, videos, write stories, tell rape/PTSD jokes, come up with crude nicknames …

    Aside from the rape jokes lie, that is mostly true, but so fucking minor; whiner, whiner.

    stalk our home addresses, work places, hospitals when we’re ill

    That is an extreme, blatant, and utterly unprovable lie, and also explicitly implies direct criminal actions. If you’re going to make a claim of criminal action, let’s see you follow through with it. Ah, but you cannot can you, because you know it’s a lie.

    Other than that, the general blatant and often bizarre lying for PeeZus and Watson is always entertaining.

  9. 15

    The Michael Shermer thing I guess contributed – a lot of these people know each other and it would be naïve to say that has nothing to do with it. However, the case is overstated. These conflicts go back years, and people have been tired of PZ for years. For example, I have no kind words for Shermer nor JREF’s handling of that situation – it is irrelevant to how I feel about Myers (which is also unkind).

    I don’t think it’s wildly complicated – Myers says nasty things about people, often not particularly rooted in fact, and then ignores any requests for clarifications or apologies or retractions. It’s a formula employed by the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world, and *surprise* lots of people hate them too.

  10. 17

    Are you intentionally implying that Shermer gets people drunk and isolates them from groups? It was my understanding that Alison went to the Scotch, Wine, and Cigar Party at TAM of her own free will, and drank of her own volition as well.

  11. 21

    I’ve been ill for the last 8 months,

    Slymepit – . They … stalk our home addresses, work places, hospitals when we’re ill — that sort of thing.

    Gosh, I hope they didn’t do that to you! Not that it’s any better if it was someone else; who even thinks of doing that? Plus, I hope you’re mended or mending.

    ——————————————————————————–

  12. 23

    I can’t get someone who doesn’t think PZ is civil enough, though the inordinate focus on him doesn’t make much since I can think of plenty of reasonably well known atheist bloggers/vlogers etc. who are generally far more insulting and hateful to a wide variety of people than I have seen in anything PZ has done. I mean if you want to go after atheists who don’t know how to be civil I would think the Amazing Atheist or Pat Condell would be much higher on that list.

    What I don’t get at all is why people are defending Shermer’s behavior. I mean I remember reading his own accounting of what happened between him and the women who accused him of rape, and even by his own account of events his behavior was super skeezy. Even if I took his own account at face value, which I’m obviously not inclined to do, he wouldn’t be someone I’d want to hang out with.

  13. 24

    Gemmer claims I am just too mean. What it really is about is that he was banned from Pharyngula for his behavior, ironically enough, in which I was defending Michael Nugent. My explanation for why he was banned was this:

    Gemmer has taken a thread about how women ought to be respected as equals and invaluable contributors to atheism, and turned it into a thread about how he, a white man, is so damned oppressed.

    Same with johngreg: another slymepitter with a reputation for prolonged, boring babbling, trying to win arguments by filibustering.

    So when these guys come along and whine about how nasty I am, I just have to roll my eyes.

    He made 95 comments over a few days and completely derailed two threads. I gave him plenty of chances to say his piece, but he was determined to sidetrack every conversation and had to finally be shut up…and ever since it’s clear that he resents that, and thinks it was his right to voice his stupid opinions where ever he wanted.

    He was tedious, repetitive, and snide, and was doing his damnedest to dominate the conversation, and as usual, defend the slymepit.

  14. 25

    @ PZ,

    Gemmer claims I am just too mean. What it really is about is that he was banned from Pharyngula for his behavior, ironically enough, in which I was defending Michael Nugent. My explanation for why he was banned was this:

    Gemmer has taken a thread about how women ought to be respected as equals and invaluable contributors to atheism, and turned it into a thread about how he, a white man, is so damned oppressed.

    Your explanation was wildly inaccurate, which is a fairly constant theme.

  15. 27

    What’s really weird is, that whole post was out of character for Hemant. I could understand if he was just putting it out there, and was like, “I’m not taking a side, here, but… this happened.” He’s not outright saying “PZ BAD” or anything, but he certainly seems to be… not necessarily “encouraging” the dogpiling, but he’s not doing anything to discourage it, either.

    I don’t have the spoons to wade into that particular comment section, but from the names I’ve seen popping up under “Recent Comments”, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to anyway.

  16. 29

    Rowen

    Is it, Gemmer? Then I am sure you can provide citations.

    From my recollection of reading Gemmer floundering in previous threads? My answer would be “No”.

  17. 30

    And Damion Reinhardt wins the prize for the first to go into rape apologetics.

    The OP clearly implies that Shermer gets people drunk and then isolates them from groups. So far as I can recall, Alison did not make those particular claims. Perhaps someone else did?

  18. 31

    Ashley:

    “Atheist Ireland’s Breakup with PZ: A Tragi-Comdedy in 3 Acts” – Coming Soon to a Blog Network Near You!

    Interesting review of the on-going epic, if of the “Rape of the Lock” genre, but I think you badly mischaracterized many of the players, not to mention many of their motivations. For instance, you say:

    Nugent has latched onto the idea that he’s providing a “haven for rapists” and demanded a recantation from PZ repeatedly. As far as I can tell, PZ feels that defending Shermer and allowing the Slymepit to be in your blog comments is very accurately represented by that tweet.

    While you’re quite right to say that Nuggent is “demanding a recantation”, I would say that it is overly charitable, and to a fault, to say that “defending Shermer and allowing the SlymePit [to comment]” is equivalent to providing “a haven for rapists”. Seems to me, and to many others, that the latter phrase is a rather bald, and quite obnoxious, accusation that some of those commenting on Nugent’s blog are in fact rapists. Even apart from the lack of evidence for such an accusation, I find it hard to see how that does anything else but trivialize the admittedly problematic fact that rape is apparently all too common. Maybe that is PZ’s intention – to trivialize the issue – but I can’t see that any “feminist” who has any credible claim to the term is going to be much impressed with the effects of that.

    But rather unfortunate in way that those who supposedly should be on the same “side” in forestalling or reducing the depredations of the religious should wind up being at loggerheads over a question of different interpretations of a particular set of events.

  19. 35

    “The Background of Atheist Ireland’s Breakup with PZ: It’s about Michael Shermer”

    < Wrong. Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to object to PZ’s creepy personality cult, and not be promoting a cult of personality around Shermer, Dawkins, or anybody else. Some of us actually have a problem with cults of personality on general principal, actually.

    Actually, if you want to get to what’s at the root of this, how about this rather appalling tendency of PZ and several of the other bloggers at FTB to dictate to other bloggers totally unconnected to this network just who can and can’t comment on their own forums? First, declaring a vast number of people you don’t happen to like to be “slymepitters”, then demanding other bloggers follow *your* banhammer policy toward said people. As far as I can see, that ill-conceived “no platform” campaign and Michael Nugent’s refusal to kowtow to it is one of the main things that touched off the strife with PZ.

  20. 36

    Iamcuriousblue

    Actually, if you want to get to what’s at the root of this, how about this rather appalling tendency of PZ and several of the other bloggers at FTB to dictate to other bloggers totally unconnected to this network just who can and can’t comment on their own forums?

    You know, saying “you provide those shitty people a platform, this reflects badly on your character” is not “dictating other bloggers who can comment”. It’s passing judgement on your behaviour.
    If you’re a pub owner and the pub has become the favourite hang out of the local UKIP division, people are totally allowed to comment on that.
    Believe it or not, the freedom to run your blog as you choose does not mean that other people aren’t allowed to comment on how you run your blog. Which is, btw, hilarious, since this is exactly what Nugent is trying to do: pressure PZ into running his blog according to the standards Nugent sets.

  21. 37

    I love that the Slymepit is coming here in force to defend their “honour”, while at the same time lying about a child who was the victim of severe sexual abuse to “prove” that FtB is evil.

    But then, I actually think things like truth matters, which obviously the slimers don’t, as evidenced by Edward Gemmer and John Greg, who have been consistently dishonest.

  22. 38

    Giliell (#34):

    Which is, btw, hilarious, since this is exactly what Nugent is trying to do: pressure PZ into running his blog according to the standards Nugent sets.

    You might have a bit of a point. However, one might ask what you would think might qualify as a reasonable set of standards that we might all subscribe to. Kind of the nature of the definition for “standards”.

    And more particularly, I kind of wonder whether you might agree that making baseless and odious accusations would be something that all of us could consider as being beyond the pale. For example, like accusing people of being or “harbouring rapists”, or of “endorsing” supposedly odious sites, or of “happily exploiting atrocities”.

  23. 40

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate (#35):

    I love that the Slymepit is coming here in force to defend their “honour”, while at the same time lying about a child who was the victim of severe sexual abuse to “prove” that FtB is evil.

    Considering that there are now 1000 fully paid-up, subscribing, and in good-standing members of the SlymePit ™, and that there are maybe 3 or 4 of us here who are commenting, I’d say it is a bit of stretch for you to say that “the SlymePit is coming here in force”.

    However, I’m not sure what your point is about “a child who was a victim of severe sexual abuse”; you may wish to try linking to something that some Pitter has said to support whatever point you’re trying to make. But as the point has come up a couple of times elsewhere, although apparently not here, my impression is that the argument is less that “FTB is evil” because the person in question periodically comments on Pharyngula than that it is rather hypocritical of PZ to be accusing Nugent of “harboring rapists” when his own blog is doing precisely that.

    While I and, if I’m not mistaken, most Pitters would readily agree that there are apparently any number of extenuating circumstances in that case, the facts of the matter are that the individual in question has acknowledged, credibly or not, that he did in fact rape a number of young girls. Given that fact, I would think that PZ in particular would be just a little more circumspect about accusing some other blog of “harbouring rapists”, particularly with absolutely diddly-squat in the way of evidence to support the accusation.

    I’m really surprised that so many in the various FTB commentariats can apparently think that such baseless accusations really reflects all that well on them or on the entire FTB network.

  24. 41

    Considering that there are now 1000 fully paid-up, subscribing, and in good-standing members of the SlymePit ™

    Argumentum ad populum. But I got a good laugh out of “in good-standing”. With whom, Abbie Smith? Jokers.

  25. 42

    Re: Giliell @ #34

    Going back even further, I’d say lobbying National Geographic to have Abby Smith’s blog pulled because you don’t like the commentators there goes beyond just outspokenly “passing judgement”. It’s this mindset that your critics aren’t just wrong but are something that must be silenced that really crosses the line.

    And make no mistake, you people are *obsessed* with the Slymepit, to the point where it’s starting to sound more than a little bit like Scientologist talk of “suppressive persons”. A wiser group of people wouldn’t make such an effort to highlight what amounts to a small group of critics. Now previously uninvolved parties are seeing PZ and company’s true colors, in no small part because you folks have so overplayed your hand.

  26. 43

    Giliell (#37):

    Steersman, your command of the English language is so abysmal, it’s not worth the effort.
    harbouring rapists =/= providing a harbour for rapists.

    Considering that you are, if I’m not mistaken, a person for whom English is a second language whereas it is my “mother tongue”, I’d argue that that is a not particularly tenable position to be taking.

    But consider this definition from an English language dictionary (Collins, Websters, Random House, etc., etc):

    harbour or harbor
    n
    1. (Nautical Terms) a sheltered port
    2. a place of refuge or safety
    vb
    3. (tr) to give shelter to: to harbour a criminal.

    Saying that someone is “harbouring a criminal” is saying that they are giving shelter to someone else who is in fact a criminal. Making that accusation without evidence is, maybe arguably, a case of libel – and on two accounts.

    And you still didn’t answer my question about reasonable standards.

  27. 44

    And make no mistake, you people are *obsessed* with the Slymepit

    Hardly. Or rather, as obsessed as people tend to get with issues causing them grief, hardship and anxiety, like racism, sexism, misogyny and bullying. Incidentally, all of these can be found on your little hate forum.

    Now previously uninvolved parties are seeing PZ and company’s true colors

    I’ll take your word for it. Hope they all meet at TAM for 450.- bucks this year and have a jolly good time refuting Bigfoot.

  28. 45

    Iamcuriousblue

    Going back even further, I’d say lobbying National Geographic to have Abby Smith’s blog pulled because you don’t like the commentators there goes beyond just outspokenly “passing judgement”.

    And I’m sure you’re going to link to some evidence for that soon.

    And make no mistake, you people are *obsessed* with the Slymepit

    That’s why you seem to read every word blogged on FtB or Skepchick while about nobody posting on those blogs seems to ever go to your little den.

  29. 47

    Interesting how most people ignore the most likely explanation in the Shermer affair, which is that both parties feel wronged. To think otherwise is to believe that Michael Shermer is a rapist or that Alison Smith is a liar, while there is latitude for many other interpretations, so long as you don’t forswear skepticism. More likely is that both are in a sense mistaken. In the aftermath, it’s a case of he-said, she-said. If you’re willing to assign guilt, you have to be willing to say “No, you believe you acted honorably, but actually you raped someone.” Or, you must be willing to say “No, you claim to have been raped, but you weren’t.” Regarding Shermer’s claim, he’s already at a disadvantage according to PZ, since PZ is never going to countenance the latter statement. For him, “believe the victim” always means believe the woman claiming to have been raped, there can be no contradiction or qualification.

    The Randi quote doesn’t mean much. Once rumors begin, you can’t really believe any passing opinion like that. This is exactly why using rumor to set your bias is a very dubious practice. Just recently, a librarian named Joe Murphy, active on lecture circuit, won a libel case against two accusers who claimed he was a sexual predator well known and infamous at conferences. All the typical language was there: “watch out for this guy,” “be careful around him,” etc. We won a complete and unqualified retraction and apology. The charge was baseless. You can’t believe hearsay and rumor. Well, you can, but if you do, there’s a significant chance that you’re going to be wrong, particularly if it’s your habit to do so, and it’s going to be embarrassing. If you like to gamble, well, spin away… (I note that while PZ was ready to condemn librarians when Murphy was accused, I don’t believe he has commented on the retraction.)

    All of this is “academic,” as it were, since readers are going to believe what they’re going to believe. One critical question I’ll like to convey is that even if you don’t believe these reasons, are you willing to scorn those who draw a different conclusion than you do? Are you willing to call them rape apologists, or harborers of rapists? I think that’s the heart of the Nugent matter. You can believe whatever you want, but perhaps respect those who have come to a different conclusion than you have.

    Full disclosure. I do comment on Slymepit on occasion. Yes, it does engage in harsh satire and insult. There are photoshops. There are naughty images. It’s an open forum, but there is a mechanism to block commenters you don’t want to read. Or just read selectively, as I do. IMO it comes up short of harassment, unless you consider harsh criticism, mockery by satirical photoshops and insult harassment, and you may. Nobody really enjoys being the target of scorn.

  30. 49

    But as the point has come up a couple of times elsewhere, although apparently not here, my impression is that the argument is less that “FTB is evil” because the person in question periodically comments on Pharyngula than that it is rather hypocritical of PZ to be accusing Nugent of “harboring rapists” when his own blog is doing precisely that.

    There is no comparison between defending a rapist and sexual assaulter like Shermer and showing compassion to a child who was sexually abused and raped. None. And the fact that you try to make them equivalent by lying by ommision says everything anyone needs to know about the Slymepit.

  31. 50

    Giliell (#44):

    Steersman, As I said, you don’t understand language well enough.

    What a twat. I provide a dictionary definition that blows your argument out of the water and all you can say (with fingers in ears) is, “Nyah, nyah, can’t hear you”. No wonder Pharyngula and many of its commentariat are turning into a running joke. Which an increasing number of reputable organizations are, if belatedly, recognizing.

  32. 52

    Gen (#47):

    There is no comparison between defending a rapist and sexual assaulter like Shermer and showing compassion to a child who was sexually abused and raped. None.

    Pray tell, where did I, or any other Pitter, actually compare that child and Shermer? You might actually try reading what I actually said – rather than just listening to those voices in your head.

  33. 53

    that it is rather hypocritical of PZ to be accusing Nugent of “harboring rapists” when his own blog is doing precisely that.

    You are saying that he is a rapist and that PZ is harbouring, the same way that Nugent is harbouring slymepitters and protecting Shermer. That’s a comparison, Steersman.

  34. 54

    Steersman, your command of the English language is so abysmal, it’s not worth the effort.
    harbouring rapists =/= providing a harbour for rapists.

    Oh dear. Dunning, meet Kruger.
    There are many things to critisize the likes of Steersman for, but lack of command of their native language is not really one of it.

  35. 55

    What a twat.

    The woman dared to deny me attention. Quick, let’s show taht I’m not a misogynist by using a misogynist slur.

    +++
    hunt

    To think otherwise is to believe that Michael Shermer is a rapist or that Alison Smith is a liar, while there is latitude for many other interpretations, so long as you don’t forswear skepticism. More likely is that both are in a sense mistaken.

    That’s some world class rape apology you’ve got there.

  36. 57

    Steersman either clearly doesn’t know what words like “comparison” means or they are being dishonest.

    Are you joking? “Or they are being dishonest”? In 2015? We established this in 2011 I thought.

  37. 58

    @Gen, #49,

    If that’s directed at the Slymepit, and if you have the constitution (and time) to go to the pit archive and read during the Shermer affair and aftermath, you will find opinions across the spectrum, including people condemning Shermer. That’s why it’s called an open forum. If that’s not your cup of tea, I don’t blame you. One reason FtB reacts so violently to SP is FtB doesn’t abide, or sometimes even understand, open forum. If you encounter a racist (and there are a few) you block them, or ignore them. There is no unified opinion, no “hive mind.” The reason PZ reacts so violently to the SP is he has no control, and if you haven’t noticed, he doesn’t react well to an environment he doesn’t control.

  38. 59

    That’s some world class rape apology you’ve got there.

    Really? Explain. If you’re saying that when a woman says she’s been raped, she’s always been raped, no matter the circumstance, physical or metaphysical, explain.

  39. 60

    One reason FtB reacts so violently to SP is FtB doesn’t abide, or sometimes even understand, open forum.

    Violently? When was the last time anyone on FtB attacked the slyme other than with words? Pocket Goebbels, try harder.

    The reason PZ reacts so violently to the SP is he has no control

    Yes, all those occasions PZ went full metal jacket and blew the slymepit commenters to pieces with his trusted AK-47. I remember it warmly. Oh, no wait, he wrote blog posts about them. How violent of him.

    You people are just beyond stupid or reprehensible.

  40. 61

    Gen (#51):

    While I’ll concede there might be a comparison there of sorts, it’s like comparing aardvaarks & apples: there aren’t all that many aspects where they’re the same. Similarly with Pharyngula & Shermer: the child on Pharyngula admitted, conceded, that he had actually raped – his words – several young girls. You have some evidence that any Pitter has done the same, or that they have in fact raped someone? No? How about Shermer?: You have a legal judgement that he’s guilty as charged? All you got in the latter case is some hearsay, and it appears that the woman’s tale isn’t particularly credible for several reasons.

    My point was largely just that: the two cases don’t show many if any similarities; they aren’t analogous. PZ is in fact harbouring a rapist; there is diddly squat in the way of evidence that Nugent is doing likewise. Which makes PZ’s accusation some egregious hypocrisy at least, if not actually libel, even if it might be expensive to get a judgement that that is the case.

  41. 63

    Gen (#54):

    rorschach Steersman either clearly doesn’t know what words like “comparison” means or they are being dishonest.

    I know that many of you have an aversion to actually using a dictionary – and it shows – but I’ll make it easy for you. Consider:

    com•pare
    verb
    1.
    estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

    Do note that it is a verb, which suggests a process. In this case, noting any and all similarities and dissimilarities. One can compare apples and oranges and note they’re the same in shape and in being fruits, but are dissimilar in the colour. Likewise, one can compare apples and aardvarks and note they’re the same in being biological, but different in that one is an animal and the other is a fruit.

    Likewise with the cases of the admitted rapist Pharygula harbours, and the entirely hypothetical ones that Nugent supposedly harbours. One can compare those two cases and note the similarities and the differences.

    At least those who have some ability for critical thinking can do so. Which seems in rather short supply in FTB-land.

  42. 64

    Giliell:

    Steersman: What a twat.
    Giliell: The woman dared to deny me attention. Quick, let’s show that I’m not a misogynist by using a misogynist slur.

    Do point to the dictionary that explicitly states that that is a misognyist slur. You’re welcome to interpret it that way if you wish, but that isn’t the way I interpret it or use it. Nor is it the way a rather large number of other people interpret it. Which makes it a wash at best. Come the revolution you can impose your will, but until then you don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

    In any case, you still have your fingers in your ears. And your head someplace where the sun don’t shine.

  43. 65

    Rorschach (#52):

    There are many things to criticize the likes of Steersman for, but lack of command of their native language is not really one of it.

    What an ignorant dickhead. Or twat as the case may be. Since you seem incapable of reading anything that isn’t directed at you, here’s the definition for “harbour” again:

    harbour or harbor
    n
    1. (Nautical Terms) a sheltered port
    2. a place of refuge or safety
    vb
    3. (tr) to give shelter to: to harbour a criminal.

    You want to try stick handling aroung that? Saying that someone is “harbouring a criminal” is saying that they are giving shelter to someone else who is in fact a criminal. Making that accusation without evidence is, maybe arguably, a case of libel – and on two accounts, that of the supposed harbourer, and that of the supposed criminal.

  44. 66

    I’m confused. Steersman, you do realise that I agreed with you? No? Then what is your problem, reading comprehension? Too biased to comprehend the possibility?

    Amazing.

  45. 68

    Hunt

    Really? Explain. If you’re saying that when a woman says she’s been raped, she’s always been raped, no matter the circumstance, physical or metaphysical, explain.

    Where’s my goalpost?
    We’re not talking about all women always. We’re talking about Alison Smith at TAM. She states that this happened and you state that she’s making an honest mistake in saying that this encounter was rape.
    Do you deny the account? Or do you simply say that women can’t know whether the sex they had was consensual or not?

  46. 69

    1. So, in my under standing of the English language, “defending and providing a haven for” doesn’t require the presence of the people being defended and being provided a safe space. I’m not sure where the term”harbouring” as in the active noun is coming from, but if it’s an extrapolation from this tweet it feels like a bunch of people trying to give the worst possible interpretation to a tweet ever. Particularly when a reading of that could legitimately apply defend and haven unequally to the list, if given broader context, as one of and’s meanings is and/or.

    Which, do what you do, but don’t screech about nuance when people are equally uncharitable to Dawkins.

    2. I do wish you’d stop talking about ftb as a monolith, particularly when complaining about banning that is very clearly not happening to you on my site.

    3. I think the parallels between shermer and ogvorbis (sp?) weaken your position by making you look like bullies because of the fundamental differences in the power, admission of guilt, and seeking of help of those individuals. You seem to be going after a victim who has worked to right wrongs and be honest about their past offense, both of which happened as a child. Shermer is no child. To someone who believes the accusations he is a repeat predator using his position of power to get away with mistreatment of many women. Providing places that make a reformed person who raped as a child because of their own rape feel welcome is materially different than providing places that make an active predator feel safe.

    4. Hunt, my problem with Nugent is sort of the opposite of this. He seems to not want to allow space for people to conclude rapist. While I don’t understand how you’d come to the conclusion, “not a rapist,” I realize I have the benefit, or bias, of first hand, full accounts, and from more people than were included anywhere publicly, so it’s hard for me to know where I’d be if I hadn’t been harassed and people hadn’t then told me their stories, before and after that article came out. I don’t know Shermer is a rapist, I feel very confident he is, and I can’t speak to his intent, but I do know that he’s extremely unethical and has intentionally taken advantage of women for his sexual kicks and not cared about how it hurt them. I think this includes but is not exclusive to Alison’s rape. That said, if your position was, I see how you come to that conclusion, I don’t feel comfortable calling him a rapist, but he definitely seems to have a questionable pattern of behavior or I’m not sure I know enough, I think it’s not unreasonable, especially if you really haven’t spent much time thinking on it or its really hard for you.

  47. 70

    No better evidence of these people’s stupidity and lack of familiarity with reality than Johngreg’s claim:

    Aside from the rape jokes lie,

    When there is literally a Slymepit rape joke posted at the top of the post.

  48. 71

    So it’s all about Michael Shermer, even though the Pharyngula Shermer “exposure” happened on 8th August 2013 and Nugent’s first piece explicitly taking Myers to task appeared on 17 September 2014 (i.e. over a year later) and even though Nugent has been at pains to identify and call out many examples of Myers’ ongoing abusiveness, smearing and shameless misrepresentation that have nothing whatsoever to do with Shermer.

    You and your hypocritical little gang of Orwellian word-twisters are becoming increasingly marginalised and increasingly reviled, and not before time. You’re spinning so hard now they could hook FtB/Skepchick up to a few dynamos and power a reasonably-sized city.

  49. 72

    Ashley M. Miller #67:

    Point 1 raises some complex issues of semantics, particularly regarding intent and usage, eg this conundrum:

    Is a hotel still a hotel even if no guests ever stay there?

    Philosophy departments will argue day and night about these sort of questions, and here is not the place to argue further, but you could conclude that PZM implied intent on Michael Nugent’s behalf, that if Michael Nugent did find out that some person was a sex offender, he would signal to that person that his comment section would be a welcoming place on the very basis of that person being a sex offender, which could imply that Nugent was part of a sex offender ring. That’s how many people would interpret “haven”.

    Of course, most people who knew the backstory of the Shermer episode would know what Myers was saying. But not everyone does, and throw in the amplifying effects of Myers’ enemies taking it out of context, and you have the shitstorm we have today.

  50. 73

    Do point to the dictionary that explicitly states that that is a misognyist slur.

    Well, if it’s not in the dictionary it must not be true! You do realize there are other books and resources you can use to gain knowledge right?

  51. 74

    Steersman to Giliell:

    “Considering that you are, if I’m not mistaken, a person for whom English is a second language whereas it is my “mother tongue”, I’d argue that that is a not particularly tenable position to be taking.”

    The same can be said for Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Conrad. It seems, Giliell, that you are in good company. But of course I’m sure that Steersman has a much greater command of the language than those pikers too since it is his “mother tongue” and all.

  52. 75

    @jackrawlinson:

    So it’s all about Michael Shermer, even though the Pharyngula Shermer “exposure” happened on 8th August 2013 and Nugent’s first piece explicitly taking Myers to task appeared on 17 September 2014 (i.e. over a year later)

    And yet, coincidentally I’m sure, only six days after the Oppenheimer piece was published. You know, the article Nugent discusses repeatedly in that first piece, the piece entitled “Recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people.”

  53. 78

    Also, Hunt @45, I wanted to give you a longer, thought out response to this:

    Full disclosure. I do comment on Slymepit on occasion. Yes, it does engage in harsh satire and insult. There are photoshops. There are naughty images. It’s an open forum, but there is a mechanism to block commenters you don’t want to read. Or just read selectively, as I do. IMO it comes up short of harassment, unless you consider harsh criticism, mockery by satirical photoshops and insult harassment, and you may. Nobody really enjoys being the target of scorn.

    So, say you are me. I make about $10-$20 a month from this site, that covers a very small percentage of what I spend to be able to go speak at a couple conferences a year, which I don’t get paid to do. I don’t have a book that I am selling, I don’t make money off of YouTube or jewelry. I make more writing here than I would at my own space, but it’s very little. I am also not nearly as prolific as the other writers here, particularly in the last year, I’ve been quite ill. And I try very hard not to participate in some of the infighting, not to squabble, and not to be rude. I am not a celebrity, I am not a career atheist. I work full-time, I go to school, I do this in my spare time and it costs me money and time to do so.

    I realize that blogging makes me a public figure of sorts, but I think that there is a ruthlessness with which the members of the Slymepit behave towards people who are not celebrities that is really not OK. And, if you haven’t lived with that kind of constant low-level threat, it’s hard to understand how psychologically unpleasant it is. To know that everything you post on Facebook or Twitter, no matter how benign or unrelated to atheism, no matter how long ago it was, is seen as potential weaponry in some imaginary war in which you’ve been designated an enemy due to the URL at which you blog. That people will go through your resume, find your current place of work, see if they can discredit you based on whether the Law Firm you do social media for has a pretty blond woman as the contact picture. Where you’re either too uneducated to have an opinion or look to young to have the degrees you have, so you must be a liar, or whatever thing it is today. Your entire life is a game of what can they find that they think will be embarrassing to this person they don’t know because they don’t like you on principle. Because you do this thing in your free time that costs you money and they don’t like who you hang around with.

    And if it was just that it would be unpleasant. But it’s also all the other random bits of hate you get on the internet too, which are not the Slymepit’s fault, but the Slymepit is there, always, and is proud of itself for being what it is. And while the Slymepit has joked about my fuckability, which is creepy considering they seem to think I haven’t hit puberty, and included me in their rape jokes and PTSD jokes and depicted my death onscreen, they have not ever threatened me with anything more than trying to use my own words or behavior against me or having to watch everything I do for fear that it will be used in such a way. They’ve never sent me a rape or death threat, which, you know, low bar, but I recognize that. But they exist in a context where I get those. Where neo-nazi white supremacy sites like Stormfront and Chimpout target me, where Vox Day sends minions to harass me, where real life stalkers like Eddie Kritzer harass me and police won’t do anything about it. But those other things go away or stop or lose interest.

    And then, on top of this, it’s not just happening to me, it’s happening to other people I care about. To see people wrecked emotionally by the constant vigilance while others take glee in their pain, to watch their pain make them overreact when it’s just the one thing too many. It’s just very painful. It’s a very uncomfortable way to live your life.

  54. 79

    Oh, that! I did miss it actually. It’s so petty. It’s a satire on the special snowflake brigade who will go so far as to call dropped hankies and long stares rape. If that’s considered some kind of evil, nasty, harrassing rape joke, well, just goes to show how ludicrous ya’ll have become.

  55. 80

    Ashley, if you don’t like what the Pit does, and if you are incapable of, or simply refuse to accept that about 99% of what Pit people do is satire and ridicule (of anyone including themselves), which considering the size and socio-political power of the Pit, and its content, is ultimately harmless and meaningless, then you know what? Don’t go there.

    Don’t proselytize it; don’t advertise it; don’t spread its memes all around.

    If so many FTB blogs and commentors had not spent so much time advertising the Pit, the Pit would be far, far, far less well known. Cripes, a large percentage of people who are current Pit members became so exclusively and specifically because they saw people raving, ranting, and raging about it on FTB and thought, “Can it really be so awful? I’ve got to see this.”

    It’s not some kind of public must-view, visitation-required, cannot be avoided site, you know. You have to search to find all this awful, evil, nasty horror.

  56. 81

    Yes, it’s Ashley’s fault that a video depicting her murder upset her. I will never not be disgusted that Hemant has decided to support the Slymepit, instead of supporting the targets of unrelenting hatred, harassment, and abuse. Hemant’s behavior is beneath contempt.

  57. 82

    Ooooh! Johngreg was wrong about there being rape jokes, and instantly goes into minimization mode! How novel!

    Please provide a link to one of us here saying that being stared at is rape. Otherwise you will be crowned the Supreme and Awesome Leader of the Land of Extreme Hyperbole, Defensiveness, and “Rape is Totally Funny!”

  58. 83

    kellym said:

    Yes, it’s Ashley’s fault that a video depicting her murder upset her.

    Except, that is not what I said.

    I will never not be disgusted that Hemant has decided to support the Slymepit….

    Except, he does not support the Pit.

    … instead of supporting the targets of unrelenting hatred, harassment, and abuse.

    HAHAHA. That’s such a Klein bottle. The Pit is certainly the target of unrelenting hatred, harassment, and abuse (using FTB’s SJW’s general definitions of such things), so, by your logic, Hemant should support the Pit.

    Whee! Round and round we go.

  59. 84

    Ashley, if you don’t like what the Pit does, and if you are incapable of, or simply refuse to accept that about 99% of what Pit people do is satire and ridicule (of anyone including themselves), which considering the size and socio-political power of the Pit, and its content, is ultimately harmless and meaningless, then you know what? Don’t go there.

    Don’t proselytize it; don’t advertise it; don’t spread its memes all around.

    And yet, here you are, with a sizable slymepit contingent, in a place that’s NOT the slymepit, spreading your lies and your smears to other places that are ALSO not the slymepit.

    It’s clearly not as easy as “just don’t go there” if slymers won’t leave you the fuck alone, even on your own comments/twitter, and then cry “persecution” when they are blocked/banned.

  60. 85

    Rape joke? What rape joke? There are no rape jokes on the slymepit!

    ->That rape joke!

    Oh that? That is not a rape joke. I don’t like the people who are being targeted, that’s why!

    +++
    I’m also wondering how people who generally take great pains to avoid having any contact with the Slymepit or its denizens as in not going there and blocking them on Twitter (the horrors! an assault on free speech!) are somehow obsessed with it, but the people who seem to obsessively monitor everything posted on FtB, every comment made on FtB, every tweet sent by the bloggers or the regular commenters are somehow not. Maybe I don’t know English as well as I thought and “obsessed” means something entirely different.

  61. 86

    @johngreg:

    Oh, that! I did miss it actually. It’s so petty. It’s a satire on the special snowflake brigade who will go so far as to call dropped hankies and long stares rape.

    Which is to say, no one. I guess the True Skeptics™ at the Pit forgot that Straw Man arguments were fallacious.

    So, to recap:
    1. Saying that the Pit makes rape jokes is a lie.
    2. That rape joke that the Pit made is just a joke about rape.
    3. But it’s okay because those people think this ridiculous thing about rape which they do not actually think.
    4. Saying people think a thing they do not actually think is not a lie because reasons.
    5. Gosh, why are you special snowflakes so upset that we repurposed your picture expressing solidarity with Bangladeshi atheists to make fun of rape?
    6. Also PZ is a horrible person for making mean and violent comments about other atheists.
    7. Please ignore all our jokes about kicking atheist women in the genitals.

    Yes, it’s clear that you folks are the experts on people being ludicrous.

  62. 89

    Rorschach (#64):

    I’m confused. Steersman, you do realise that I agreed with you? No? Then what is your problem, reading comprehension? Too biased to comprehend the possibility?

    Ok, I stand corrected; mea culpa (see how easy that is Giliell, PZ?). But I’ll plead “extenuating circumstances” as it was about 5 in the morning for me. And there were a couple of negatives in your statement that may have helped to derail my train of thought.

  63. 90

    Gen and Ilk said:

    And yet, here you are, with a sizable slymepit contingent, in a place that’s NOT the slymepit, spreading your lies and your smears to other places that are ALSO not the slymepit.

    No reason why I shouldn’t proselytize the Pit; I’m not the one condemning it

    It’s clearly not as easy as “just don’t go there” if slymers won’t leave you the fuck alone, even on your own comments/twitter, and then cry “persecution” when they are blocked/banned.

    Except that, in comment threads like this, I am not doing any of the nonsense that the Pit as a whole is usually described as doing and from which you gentle folks apparently need so badly to be shielded, i.e., the hating, harrassing, and abusing which is what is supposedly causing all this terrible harm; I’m just chit-chatting with you fine folks. If my simple chit-chats are causing equal harm, well, then it must be true that you folks really are the overly sensitive, overly precious snowflakes that some folks claim you to be.

    If Ashley doesn’t want me here, all she has to do is ban me.

    This reminds me a wee bit of that ol’ serial plagiarist, Avicenna, who, in between plagiarising his various friends, enemies, and strangers, used to claim he was really upset with Pitchguest and me for clogging up his blog and, supposedly, keeping people away from it, even though his busiest, most popular, and most commented topics were invariabley the ones where Pitch and/or I would chat. So I repeatedly reminded Avi that all he had to to do was ban us. But he wouldn’t do that, because he wanted the traffic. Ah, the good ol’ days.

  64. 91

    Except that, in comment threads like this, I am not doing any of the nonsense that the Pit as a whole is usually described as doing and from which you gentle folks apparently need so badly to be shielded, i.e., the hating, harrassing, and abusing which is what is supposedly causing all this terrible harm; I’m just chit-chatting with you fine folks.

    Oh no, you’re not over here spreading lies and smears at all. Just like you’re also not over the rest of the net, doing that.

    What you slymers are doing, johngreg, is sitting around, smoking and looking around saying “Boy, it’s sure a mighty fine blog you’ve got here, it’d be a pity if something happens to it.” Because as soon as Ashley bans you, you’ll escalate the attacks on her and spread lies about her all over the internet. Right now you’re kind of leaving her alone, but boy howdy, if she provokes you, she’ll seriously be On Your Radar.

    It’s fucking terrorism, and it’s part of your pattern of harassment.

  65. 92

    If anyone dares to even question whether Shermer is indeed guilty on all counts, here at FtB, they are immediately accused of doing rape apologetics or something worse…

    Hey guys, how does it feel to be full-time advocates for a rapist?

    Is it any wonder, then, that some people (like Michael Nugent) have decided not to allow these sort of accusations to be entertained on their blogs? It is not as if they are forgoing productive discussion.

  66. 93

    Emptyell (#72):

    Steersman: Considering that you are, if I’m not mistaken, a person for whom English is a second language whereas it is my “mother tongue”, I’d argue that that is a not particularly tenable position to be taking.

    Emptyell: The same can be said for Vladimir Nabokov and Joseph Conrad. It seems, Giliell, that you are in good company. ….

    And, pray tell, how many books has Giliell written and had published? That she shares the “English as a second language” feature or attribute with them hardly proves that she has the same command of it.

    In addition, I might note that Rorschach essentially, apparently, agreed with my interpretation of the phrase “harbouring rapists” – in both #52 (where the agreement seemed a little vague) and #64 – which was the basis for that comment of mine about Giliell’s “misunderstanding” (to be charitable).

  67. 95

    Holy shit, that is a slimy list of names yakkin’ it up in here. I’ve noticed a few FTBers don’t seem to read their comments at all, because moderation would be mean coming into contact with it all. A shame that leaves the environment coated in ichor, but I can totally relate. If it’s this ill up in here for another reason, it’s beyond me.

  68. 97

    @ GAS,

    I just noticed Ashley actually posted in here & so must be reading it. That shows how much I’m willing to pay attention after the poison dripped in my eyeballs by this ilk in the past.

    Curious – what qualifies someone as ilk in your opinion?

  69. 98

    Johngreg, step on down!

    Here is your lovely, lovely crown for failing to provide any citations of us saying that being stared at or having a hanky dropped in our vicinity is rape!

    You are now the Supreme and Awesome Leader of the Land of Extreme Hyperbole, Defensiveness, and “Rape is Totally Funny!”

    Damion, Randi himself admitted that Shermer ‘misbehaved himself with the women’. And he guessed that’s a thing men do when men are drunk, and that if he heard very many more such tales he’d have to limit shermer’s appearances at conferences.

    If you have sex with a woman who is too drunk to consent, that is rape. If you have sex with a woman who did not consent, that is rape. There was no consent, so there was rape. The end.

  70. 99

    Congratulations, ‘pitters – you’ve put forward the greasiest anthology of bad faith arguments and disingenuousness that I’ve seen since, oh, Ted Cruz’s latest verbal two-step. Have y’all considered applying collectively for Casey Luskin’s job as spokesrodent for the Disco Institute?

  71. 100

    If you have sex with a woman who is too drunk to consent, that is rape.

    Of course. How drunk is that, exactly?

    There is still plenty of drinking and sex happening at atheist conferences, so it might be good to know whether there is an obvious bright line here.

  72. 102

    Simple question, if Atheist Ireland and this Secular Policy thingy have such a problem with hostile/accusatory tone and bluntness why have none of these paragons of politeness called out Richard Dawkins yet?

  73. 103

    If you aren’t sure, the smart move would be not to risk it.

    Apparently so, given the frequency and confidence with which commenters and posters have contended that famous skeptic is indeed a rapist. No use for uncertainty or caution here.

  74. 104

    sez rowan vet-tech @95: “If you have sex with a woman who is too drunk to consent, that is rape.”

    sez damion reinhardt (who is totally not an apologist for rape, nosirreebob): “Of course. How drunk is that, exactly?
    There is still plenty of drinking and sex happening at atheist conferences, so it might be good to know whether there is an obvious bright line here.”
    There isn’t any more of an “obvious bright line” here than there is in most (if not all?) other areas of human interaction. It might be nice if there were, but there isn’t.
    If Man X knows that Woman Y has not consented to sex, and Man X has sex with her anyway, Man X is a rapist.
    If Man X doesn’t know whether or not Woman Y has consented to sex, and Man X has sex with her anyway, Man X doesn’t give a damn whether or not he is a rapist.
    Not-caring-whether-or-not-you’re-a-rapist is probably not as bad as, you know, actually-being-a-rapist, but I really can’t blame anyone, of any gender, who really would rather not spend any time in the company of a person who doesn’t give a damn if they’re a rapist.

  75. 105

    It’s fascinating how these issues cannot be discussed here at FtB without the usual nasty character smears.

    An apologist for Christianity tries to convert people to Christianity.

    What does an apologist for rape do?

  76. 106

    A rape apologist minimizes rape, denies its frequency, tries to find ways around calling it rape when it does occur, employs hyperskepticism, blames the victim, etc.

    An apologist for christianity minimizes the contradictions, problems and errors of the bible, denies their frequency, tries to find ways around admitting contradictions, problem, and errors, etc.

    The woman who accused Shermer of rape DID NOT CONSENT. Therefore, it was rape. End of story. If you try to find a way to make it not-rape-because-super-speshul-reasons, you are a rape apologist.

    It’s also much better for you to NOT have sex, than to risk committing rape. Which is more important to you? Getting your bits wet, or not risking being a rapist?

  77. 107

    Of course. How drunk is that, exactly?

    This is a question only a creep would ask. This is why people think “your side” is supporting rape. Trying to draw the fine line between rape/not rape is at best creepy and predatory as shit at worst. If this is a question you have ever pondered in the hypothetical I want nothing to do with you.

  78. 111

    Gee Damion, it couldn’t possibly be because she SAID SHE DIDN’T, right?

    Let me guess the ‘gotcha’ you’re going to try next (this likely-future-statement is rape apologia, by the by):

    “How do you know she didn’t just regret the sex? How do you know she isn’t lying?”

    Said in the face of RANDI ADMITTING MISCONDUCT BY SHERMER makes you look like the most amazing idiot. Considering the incredibly small number of false reports, considering that she is not suing him or trying to prosecute him, considering that she has NOTHING to gain and lots to lose by calling him out by name…

    “Why didn’t she go to the cops?”

    Have you not heard of the amazing number of rape kits that have not been processed? Just sitting there on shelves, allowing rapists to go free and continue to rape. Have you never heard the questions, so similar to the ones you posit? “What were you wearing? Were you leading him on? Were you drunk? Are you sure you didn’t just regret the sex?” Most of the time the police visit accusations of rape like you do, with direct denial and minimization.

    I was stalked when I was 17, and the guy tried to break into the house to rape and likely kill me (we’re 99% sure it was the guy who registered me to vote based on creepy phone calls he made afterwards and the fact that his supervisor/friend lied 3 times in 3 different ways about his whereabouts that day) and because I was terrified I hid in a closet for several hours. The only reason he didn’t actually break in was because the two large family dogs were making a huge racket. It took me those hours to get up the courage to leave the closet and find a phone and call the cops, and then my grandmother. The officer arrived several hours later and asked for the story. After I finished he said “Well, because you took so long to call us I don’t know if someone actually tried to break in, or if you simply had an argument with your boyfriend.” I pointed out the fact that the guy’s handprints were on the windows, but the cop dismissed that entirely. He didn’t do a single damned thing. Cops are practically useless when it comes to sexual assault and at worse they blame you for what happened.

    Do you also think that we don’t internalize this idea of blaming rape victims for being raped? That women who are raped don’t ask themselves what they did to cause it to happen? This sort of internalization and the guilt that it generates also causes a lot of women to not go to the cops.

  79. 113

    “…it couldn’t possibly be because she SAID SHE DIDN’T, right?”

    We can safely assume accusers are 100% correct when it comes to rape?

    That will save loads of money on criminal justice, what with the juries and trials and beyond reasonable doubt.

  80. 114

    Woo! I’m psychic! Can I get that million dollars now? I knew what you were going to say, and you said it. Brilliant! It’s also pretty damn clear you didn’t read the rest of my post, because you have indeed now made yourself look like an incredible idiot.

    You are also, officially, a rape apologist. Congratulations.

  81. 115

    I’ve been demanding deeper rifts for years now, so all of this is just making me as happy as a pig in mud.

    I do find it amusing that the “WITH US OR AGIN US” announcement came from the side that consistently complained about how the other side was too divisive.

  82. 116

    There are a few things of which we can be reasonably certain, when it comes to what happened that night:

    1) Michael and Alison both attended the Scotch, Wine, and Cigar Party held by the Shaved Ape Motorcycle Club at Caesar’s Palace Hotel.

    2) They both drank at the party.

    3) They returned to his room (across the street in the Flamingo) and proceeded to have sex.

    These facts are uncontested by all concerned, so we don’t need to argue them any further.

    As to whether Alison was legally capable of consent, that part remains strongly contested. People in this thread are highly confident in her version of events, other people in other forums strongly favor his version of events. At the risk of (once again) being labeled an apologist for rape, I cannot stake out a strong position on this question.

  83. 119

    Damion, you do realize that when a person says “Yes I was raped” and you’re not the rapist’s attorney, questioning whether she was raped or not really is rape apologism.

    I mean, I get that you think there’s nothing wrong with what you do. I just think you should be honest and admit that this falls under the rubric of rape apologism.

  84. 120

    Damion, we can also safely assume that Shermer promptly asked Smith to leave his room once the sex was done. I’ve never had a one nighter but that seems rather callous to me.

  85. 121

    @Deepak — I’ve never really thought about it until today. It looks like the PayPal button is really just for non-profits and, while it seems like lots of bloggers get away with it fine, I’d rather do it right, so I’d have to do some research to figure out how. If you know how, let me know If you really want to donate, my email there is [email protected] !

    To those wondering why I let the pit comment here, the reasons are multifold. Mostly it is because I think rational discussion is worth having with people you disagree with, even if it’s just to understand where they are coming from. There are definitely people who exist at the very edges of what I consider intellectual honesty who I let comment here, but they are always called on it and I never have to be the one who calls them on it. Maybe something will get through to them. I have blocked people, but it takes a lot, or the crossing of particular lines, usually after I specifically ask someone to stop. I’ve also seen so much worse.

    I do look at JohnGreg @78 and wonder how that is a response to what was actually written at 76, and the tone, but it is what it is. There are some pitters who seem to come with just a chip on their shoulders against FtB and can’t hear anything but what they think is going to be there, but it’s not everyone.

  86. 122

    …you do realize that when a person says “Yes I was raped” and you’re not the rapist’s attorney, questioning whether she was raped or not really is rape apologism.

    Just to be clear, when commenting on these allegations, one affirm that they believe Alison and disbelieve Michael, or else they are a rape apologist. Sounds fair. “Listen and believe” as they say at the skeptics conventions.

  87. 124

    @ HappyNat #104

    I don’t think that’s an unfair question to ask, especially if you live in a country with a pervasive drinking culture as I do. I’ve read posts in which people argued that simply being drunk precludes the giving of consent. There was no qualification so I took it that the person in question believed any state of drunkeness rendered a person incapable of consensual sex. Someone else talked about being “too drunk” implying a scale of inebriation in which moving beyond a certain point precludes the ability to provide consent. At the more extreme end of the spectrum someone posited that even taking one drink means a person is unable to provide consent. There seems to be quite a diversity of opinion on this.

    Alcohol consumption and sex are a bad combination in my view, but realistically, one which is unlikely to be disentangled. Every weekend there are people coming out of clubs, bars and pubs in my city after having consumed large quantities of alcohol, going back to an apartment, house, hotel or wherever, and having sex. How can you determine who is “too drunk” to consent ? Sometimes there are very obvious signals which everyone should recognise and respect. Slurred speech, loss of balance, incoherence, semi-consciousness or loss of consciousness are all clear indications that a person is incapable of consent. However, people don’t always exhibit such obvious signs; everyone has their own particular reaction to alcohol consumption. I begin to feel the effects after only a few drinks; I don’t have a very high tolerance to alcohol. However, some of my friends can drink 10, 11 or 12 beers or more in addition to a few glasses of wine and exhibit only mild signs of inebriation ( if they could even be labelled as such at all ). If I didn’t know them, and approached them at a party, there’d be little indication that they’d consumed vast amounts of alcohol. They’re lucid, intelligible and perfectly coherent in conversation, but whether they’re fit to give consent is not clear as they most likely are in fact drunk.

    In some cases it’s very obvious when someone is “too drunk” to consent; in others, due to differences in both tolerance and the varying effects alcohol can have on a person’s demeanour and behaviour, the situation isn’t so easily discerned. Anyway, I definitely agree with the commenters saying if you have doubts then don’t proceed, because the possible negative consequences for the person you’re with, and you yourself, could be very serious indeed.

  88. 125

    1- False accusations are very rare. The stats for those rapes actually reported is between 2 and 8% ‘unfounded’, which doesn’t include only false accusations but also includes ones where there is not enough evidence for the police to do anything or the women decide they don’t want to pursue after all, often from pressure from the cops or friends/family. This means that at worst 90% of the time the woman is telling the truth, and up to 98% of the time. This means the super vast majority were raped.

    2- She gained nothing by accusing Shermer. Well, she gained years of denial and dismissal and claims of character assassination despite many other women saying they’ve had similar experiences or ‘simple’ skeeviness from shermer.

    3- RANDI SAID THAT HE HEARD SHERMER “MISBEHAVES HIMSELF WITH THE WOMEN”. So Shermer has a known history of sleezy behaviour.

    4- Shermer’s story of what happened that evening changed dramatically.

    And yes, if you are faced with a woman who says “I was raped” and your response is “Were you drunk? Are you sure it was rape? Are you lying?” then you are indeed a rape apologist.

  89. 126

    I literally do not understand how you can find out that innumerable times now at FTB and Skepchick you folks doxed an MD for what you now concede was a game of telephone garbled interpretation.and not be livid.

    Shouldn’t you be apologizing to the MD in question and writing to your FTBullies and Skepchick that they have made a horrible,t terrible mistake?

    But you won’t because you still post that image and see it was clearly a joke and report that joke as rumor mongering. You are as shameless and sh*tty a human being as any at FTBullies.

    Enjoy your life.

  90. 127

    …if you are faced with a woman who says “I was raped” and your response is “Were you drunk? Are you sure it was rape? Are you lying?” then you are indeed a rape apologist.

    The first question is moot, since the allegation has always been one of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault. If she wasn’t drunk, the whole case doesn’t make any sense.

    The second question is surely worth asking of those posting here, who have only a small selection of five- to seven-year-old conflicting eyewitness accounts to work from.

    The third question is just plain rude.

  91. 128

    Apple…

    She. Doxxed. HERSELF. She, herself, linked her real name and profession to her online persona and then proceeded to behave in a way completely contrary to medical ethos in the form of implying that PZ had a venereal disease. That is beyond unprofessional and extremely unethical.

  92. 129

    If the third question is ‘just plain rude’, why are you effectively saying it in not so many words? You are saying she is lying.

    Also, I note that you have no response to the 4 items I listed. That is extremely telling.

  93. 130

    1- False accusations are very rare.

    They are indeed, if we go off of academic studies of accusations made to legal authorities, rather than bloggers.

    2- She gained nothing by accusing Shermer.

    According to the OP, she gained the opportunity to provide a “warning to other women to not allow Shermer to get them drunk and isolate them from groups.”

    3- RANDI SAID THAT HE HEARD SHERMER “MISBEHAVES HIMSELF WITH THE WOMEN”.

    Can we safely assume misbehaves is a euphemism for rape rather than philandering?

    4- Shermer’s story of what happened that evening changed dramatically.

    Indeed. His accounts should be given somewhat less weight as a result.

  94. 131

    @ Sally Strange #116

    I personally know one man who was falsely accused of rape, and one man who was falsely accused of sexual assault. In the case of the former the woman admitted that there’d been no rape, but prior to this had told several people about the alleged incident. If I recall correctly she corrected her story to those people. In the latter case a restraining order was issued against the woman, who had spread her false allegations to a large number of people.

    If people simply accepted these allegations unquestioningly then two innocent men would have been vilified and perhaps suffered further negative consequences if college administrators / employers had acted, in addition to the severe social stigma that would have subsequently attached itself to both of them.

    Why is it unreasonable to invoke a degree of scepticism without being accused of engaging in rape apologism?

  95. 132

    SallyStrange @116 wrote:

    Damion, you do realize that when a person says “Yes I was raped” and you’re not the rapist’s attorney, questioning whether she was raped or not really is rape apologism.

    Likewise, SallyStrange, you are not the accuser’s attorney nor are you the prosecutor. If questioning an accuser’s story amounts to rape apologism, then by the same logic, believing the accuser’s story amounts to vigilantism.

    Looking forward to see your special pleading snd ad hoc excuses as to why that’s not the case.

  96. 133

    Philandering is not the word to use, as a philanderer would still get the consent of the women he casually sleeps with, and casually having sex with consenting women would not be considered ‘misbehaving himself with the women’.

    Misbehaves could be a euphemism for things like groping, or topping drinks to get women more drunk than they intended to be, or yes, raping… because a great many people (yourself included, apparently) do not feel that using a woman who is incredibly drunk and unable to consent for sex is rape.

    OH NOES! She wanted to PROTECT OTHER WOMEN! How incredibly AWFUL!… so there was no monetary gain, there was no revenge intended, she didn’t try to get him fired from anything, she didn’t try to get him jailed, she’s had years of being called a liar.

    And are you honestly implying that women don’t report rapes to the authorities because they’re lying liars that lie? More proof that you haven’t read all the posts. Look at the news stories where there is direct proof of rape; where the idiot rapists filmed themselves raping. You get TONS of people whining that the poor boys’ lives are ruined because of a little mistake and saying that if the girl was that drunk she was asking for it. Victims of rape get blamed and don’t get believed so often that most don’t even bother going to the police, because nothing will happen. There are 400,000, that is FOUR. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. unprocessed rape kits. THAT is how little effort the police put into dealing with rapes. Why go, when you’ll be accused by the cops of being a causal agent in the rape? Why go when even if they catch the guy, it probably won’t go to trial? Why go when even if it does make it to trial, you’ll get to be asked all the myriad ways in which it was your own fault and be basically accused of being a whore if you were anything other than a virgin and being told it was ‘regretted sex’ if you were intoxicated? Why go when even if it does make it to trial…. your rapist will most likely go free?

  97. 134

    Ashley (OP):

    … and use hospitalizations to start STD rumors — that sort of thing.

    GMAB Ashley. From your link above, this is the only thing that I can see that Skep tickle said that might remotely be construed as attributing a cause to PZ’s condition:

    In what could be a complete non sequitur or at least a coincidence, Skepchickcon was held July 3-6. Not that I’m implying anything by that.

    Considering that that it is rather clearly a jest, even to those of us who are humour-challenged, I find it a little hard to see how you can suggest that she was the one to have started a rumour. If anything, it is those with poor reading and comprehension skills – i.e., those other than Skep tickle – who might reasonably be accused of having started a rumour.

    In any case, somewhat in passing, I note this comment in a semi-recent post [November 2014] from PZ which suggests that he concedes Nugent isn’t providing a “harbour” for at least one putative rapist:

    Myers: … Shermer is not commenting on your blog, so I will say that you aren’t providing a safe harbor for him, yet.

    Though that still leaves open the question, or even suggests a more pointed one, of whether PZ is still accusing some of those commenting on Nugent’s blog of being rapists.

    But also in passing, and of a more general nature, while I have some sympathy for a narrow aspect of Myers’ case – i.e., that a community is entitled if not obligated to provide some protection for its members from predators of one stripe or another – and would argue that Nugent is potentially somewhat unreasonable or misguided in trying to preclude on-line activism as a method of providing that protection, I think that Nugent’s broader thesis – i.e., that Myers’ tendency to untenable, unevidenced, and egregious accusations is decidedly problematic – is still quite credible and of some import.

    Seems to me that there is some merit on all sides of this issue, and that there’s some benefit in trying to find some common ground.

  98. 135

    “And are you honestly implying that women don’t report rapes to the authorities because they’re lying liars that lie?”

    No idea where you’re getting that from, Rowan.

    It’s almost like you have a script that doesn’t take into account anything I’ve actually said.

    What I did say is that we can safely believe both Alison and Michael on the parts of the story where they agree, and that I’m personally too cautious to call either one of them a liar when they do not. If you are quite confident of what actually happened, behind closed doors, at this distance in time and space, then good for you. I remain skeptical.

  99. 137

    Rowan vet-tech (#125):

    Apple… She. Doxxed. HERSELF. She, herself, linked her real name and profession to her online persona and then proceeded to behave in a way completely contrary to medical ethos in the form of implying that PZ had a venereal disease. That is beyond unprofessional and extremely unethical.

    Actually, the “honour” for that doxxing seems to go to “TheBlackCat” in a Pharyngula post several days before Skep tickle herself was obliged to provide that information, basically in response to that comment.

    In any case, while it might be moot whether a person can be doxxed once they’ve provided information that publicly identifies them, it still seems remarkable petty, chicken-shit even, for PZ and Watson to have further disseminated that information when it seems quite clear that Skep tickle prefers otherwise.

    In addition, your “implying PZ had a veneral disease” looks like a flagrant case of having your thumb on the scales. As the comment that Ashley linked to (in the OP above) clearly shows, Skep tickle’s comments, apart from the general description of the condition and possible causes, are a rather clear jest. It is apparently your interpretation that that is statement of PZ having a veneral disease; don’t you think it’s rather gutless to accuse someone else of a “crime” that you yourself are the one guilty of?

  100. 138

    Steersman @38:

    Considering that there are now 1000 fully paid-up, subscribing, and in good-standing members of the SlymePit ™, and that there are maybe 3 or 4 of us here who are commenting, I’d say it is a bit of stretch for you to say that “the SlymePit is coming here in force”.

    About that.

    I have the numbers from roughly ten months worth of SlymePit activity in front of me. I don’t know how many accounts there are, but 1000 seems like a low number. Just because you have an account, though, doesn’t mean you’re active; in fact over that timespan, only 510 accounts were active. Of those active ones, though, 129 posted exactly one comment in those ten months. The typical SlymePitter made 12 comments in ten months.

    The average SlymePitter made 191, though. Because while the least active 129 members posted one comment each, the top ten most active members made a total of 23,042. I estimate that’s over 50 comments per day, per person. Twenty-nine people accounted for half of all comments made to the SlymePit.

    I’ve compared this to Pharyngula. While there’s also a core group of two dozen people there, who post with similar frequency, over the timespan I looked there were 1325 active users compared to the SlymePit’s 142. Pharyngula was the most insular blog I saw, averaging 9 comments per active user compared to most other’s 2-4, but much of that was due to Thunderdome (11 per user) and the Lounge (21); if you factor those out, the average drops back to about 4. The SlymePit was much more insular than Pharyngula, though, with an average of 47 comments per active user. I deliberately picked a time when both the ‘Pit and Pharyngula were quiet, too, so controversies wouldn’t inflate the numbers.

    The ‘Pit really are a small group of loudmouths. But I didn’t helicopter in just to say that.

    If I were to draw a trendline over the ten months I have, it would be pointing down. Just after FtBCon3, when you should have still been very active, the ‘Pit’s numbers were the lowest I’ve seen. The two greatest comment spikes occurred when Mike Nugent started repeating your talking points, and when Avicenna was booted for plagiarism and Hemant Metha linked to you. But while the number of comments were at an all-time high, the number of active users weren’t following suit. The endorsements and links to the ‘Pit by Nugent and Metha should have swelled your numbers, but if they did it didn’t last more than a few weeks. Over time, the active number of users is slowly decreasing.

    The SlymePit is slowly dying. And even having an influx of eyeballs from a heavy-traffic site isn’t enough to reverse that trend.

  101. 139

    Holy shit. I just wanted to say you all are not convincing and only reinforcing how messed up any defender of the slympit (or shermer) is. It is nice that you can justify something to yourself, but you are still horrible people.

  102. 140

    HJ Hornbeck (#135):

    Say, you’re not stalking us are you HJ? 😉

    But, as figures never lie (though liars can figure), consider these for the Pit:

    STATISTICS:
    Total posts 268059 • Total topics 407 • Total members 1002 • Our newest member ProTeamPacquiao

    Of maybe some interest, en passant, the same categories for AtheismPlus:

    STATISTICS
    Total posts 114107 • Total topics 6098 • Total members 3089 •

    Also of some interest, while I don’t remember the precise date, I think both the SlymePit and AtheismPlus each had about 100,000 posts some time last summer. You may wish to reserve more of your “concern” for the latter site.

    In addition, I wonder how you define “insular” as that would seem to require some information of how frequently members comment outside their home bases.

  103. 141

    Since you take the claim that Shermer is a rapist at face value with only circumstantial evidence to support it (some of which contradict eachother extensively) with the same fervour and zealotry that Nugent is a supporter of rapists and shelters rapists on his blog with NO evidence to speak of at all, is it any wonder that people have finally begun to wake up to just how much of a joke this place is?

    I mean, we should remember that the shots fired wasn’t from Nugent in this exchange. It was from PZ, accusing Nugent of harbouring rapists on his blog. That means that you, Ashley, are defending PZ making a spurious claim about someone else with no evidence.

    Also, let’s not forget that the Slymepit was started because a woman was being harassed by another woman from a podium, and another woman on a blog had the audacity (or was, as Gilliel would say, “uppity” enough) to call this woman out, which culminated into this “uppity” woman getting stalked by a man, getting doxxed, and several people writing to National Geographic (in true Mafia-esque fashion) attempting to either extort her or get her fired. But then again, if you should trust PZ’s version of events, it was all about harassing Rebecca Watson. (The woman from the podium was Rebecca Watson.)

    It’s particularly grating to read this deliberate distortion of the Slymepit and cherry-picking lines they find particularly distressing to completely invalidate its entire membership. Like the laughable posts from Benson and Zvan, and even Nugent tried to do the same thing once, where they have “offensive” photoshops and quotes taken out of context to paint it in the most uncharitable way possible. As if FtB is pure and without flaws. And, of course, the sickening sycophants contribute with their usual condemnation, most from people who’ve demonstrated themselves to be just as vindictive and vile as the people they claim to loathe. The hypocrisy is astounding.

    However, even if we should be cursed to repeat this cycle again and again, I at least wish that in a place supposedly devoted to scepticism and “freethought” that evidence would be taken more seriously instead of this aloof, detached manner of “I’m not sure it’s right, but I’m going to risk saying it’s right anyway because victims.” How many times have the people here at FtB said something like that and shown to be wrong? Most recently PZ wrote a screed about the librarian who’d been accused of much the same way as Shermer of being a sexual harasser, predator, rapist. By two women, so you know it might have some degree of truth. Except it was all fabricated and the two women admitted that they’d made it all up. Did PZ write a follow-up to that?

    Take some fucking responsibility for a change. You’re supposed to be professionals. Act like it.

  104. 142

    Gen, the Uppity Ingrate and Ilk (sic):

    Hunt No, there is no respect for people who say that victims of rape are liars.

    And for the people who claimed to be victims of rape but was shown to be liars? What about them?

  105. 143

    My word, you step out for a day and come back to slyme spewed everywhere.

    On the other hand, I now have an excellent resource for the next time someone asks what rape apologetics look like.

  106. 144

    Pitchguest (#138):

    … is it any wonder that people have finally begun to wake up to just how much of a joke this place is?

    You may wish to note something that Ashley stated above (#67):

    Ashley: I do wish you’d stop talking about ftb as a monolith, particularly when complaining about banning that is very clearly not happening to you on my site.

    There are in fact a number of fairly reasonable FTB sites – including, off the top of my head, this one, Ally Fogg’s, the one of the late (lamented?) Avicenna, Yemmynisting’s (sp?), even Ed Brayton’s (at least for awhile) – that have some quite reasonable moderation policies, and that don’t ban all and any Pitters, for example, “with extreme prejudice”.

    Bad karma to tar all for the “sins” of a few – when anybody does it. 😉

  107. 145

    Damion Reinhardt @133:

    What I did say is that we can safely believe both Alison and Michael on the parts of the story where they agree, and that I’m personally too cautious to call either one of them a liar when they do not.

    There are almost no points of the story that Smith and Shermer agree, except that in both versions, Shermer was sober. This is also the only point where I agree with Reinhardt. Smith says that she was blackout drunk, and at least one witness who was willing to be quoted for the Oppenheimer piece confirmed that she was babbling incoherently and obviously drunk when she left the TAM 2008 party alone. Smith says that Shermer followed her and offered to walk her back to her room. About 2 hours later, Smith called Wagg from the elevator saying that she did not know what hotel she was in and that someone had sex with her without her consent. She has never wavered in how she characterized these events. Wagg also confirmed that 30 minutes after the call from the elevator, hotel staff noticed that Smith was so drunk she was having trouble walking, so they provided her a wheelchair.

    Shermer’s most recent of his changing stories, is that they left the party together, walked around Las Vegas for several hours, then had consensual sex in his room while “She was sober. I was sober.”

    So, witnesses contradict Shermer and support Smith, but Reinhardt won’t call Shermer a liar because he’s “too cautious.” Got it.

  108. 147

    I didn’t say just for banning, although that is one of the many criteria.

    I meant in general. FtB, the network, is considered a laughing stock. Why? Because of posts like these.

    The reaction to a relatively known sceptic organisation severing its ties with PZ Myers because of the many infractions and defamatory statements caused and made by him, and other organizations following suit, doesn’t lead to reflection but instead *deflection.* Nugent writing a post on his blog urging for PZ Myers to retract his claim that he provides a “haven for rapists” (with no evidence I might add) doesn’t lead to a mea culpa, or an acknowledgement that the rhetoric was taken too far. No, it means that Nugent is obsessed.

    Obsessed? You’re telling me, Ashley, that PZ or Benson or Zvan wouldn’t expend a portion of their time if they were repeatedly accused of providing a “haven for rapists”? You’re telling me they wouldn’t be just as frustrated, if not more? They’ve doxxed people for less. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were accused of something equally heinous? I find it very hard to believe that you would just let it go. I’ve seen Benson and Zvan make several posts about the same subject, person or issue, that currently grated them to no end. Would you say they were ‘obsessed’ as well?

  109. 148

    Giliell:

    … Atheodudeistan …

    🙂 But that would have worked real well in the UVa case, wouldn’t it? And any number of other similar cases that have been in the news recently. You come up with a system that’s better than “due process/innocent until proven guilty” then let us know. In the interim, maybe people should consider recording those activities – particularly for one-night stands. Only way to be sure ….

  110. 149

    Pitchguest (#144):

    … I didn’t say just for banning, although that is one of the many criteria. ….

    Seems it would help if you were to indicate who it is you’re directing your comments to ….

  111. 151

    Tell you what, Giliell.

    Read this.

    https://teamharpy.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/apologies-and-retractions/

    Then read this.

    http://libraryfuture.com/contact-joe/libel/

    This just the latest in the story of false claims trumped up by the media as truth. Does it mean we should stop taking things people say about sexual assault, harassment or rape seriously? No. Does it mean we should stop accepting things at face value and wait before we pass judgement? You say you’re a smart woman. You figure it out. “Atheodudeistan.” Jesus fucking Christ.

  112. 152

    Steers:

    Seems it would help if you were to indicate who it is you’re directing your comments to …

    We both know, Steers, that I’m not making this up from wholecloth. The FtB network has built up a reputation based purely on the back of its bloggers. When I say “one of the many criteria”, that means those who ban anyone with dissenting opinions falls into that particular criteria. But I didn’t say just banning. I simply said the network has become a joke.

  113. 153

    1. Making a joke is not starting a rumor. It was a joke at the end of discussion/speculation about why Paul was in the hospital. NOT A RUMOR. And adults in the room got it, though Paul didn’t and you’re filtering through his obvious distortion.

    Also, the sad fact is, if Paul didn’t obsess over the SlympePit and constantly monitor it (yes, his IP is logged as a ‘guest’ and shows up routinely) all this ‘harassment’ he suffers, including minor little jokes, would simple go unnoticed. In short, if you stick your hand in a bee hive, of course you’re going to get stung. Leave it alone, nothing happens.

    2. Paul’s behavior is the problem. It has turned away many of us, even those of us who were his earliest readers and friends and members of his broader, professional social group (though mine is merely tangential and indirect through my wife). So, when Paul is calling the husbands and wives of his (former) professional colleagues ‘rapists and rape apologists,’ people who share most all of his views on issues but abhor his behaviors, because they disagree with some aspects of his silly Post-Modernist, Cultural Marxism you might be able to imagine why we think he’s toxic.

    3. It’s not just me who has walked away: Paul is crashing and burning as a blogger and an influence. You’d do well to unhitch your cart from his horse: https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=PZ%20Myers&cmpt=q&tz=

    So, yourself a favor, strike out on your own, drop the partisan filters, and maybe you’ll see there’s something wrong. Or not. I can’t fix people. I can only point them to other perspectives.

    4. BTW, the SlymePit was formed by and for the WHITE KNIGHTS of Stef McGraw. It wasn’t about bashing Rebecca Watson. It was about white knighting Stef McGraw after Rebecca Watson viciously verbally-attacked her at a conference from the speaker’s podium trying to shame her in public.

    All because Stef, a fellow feminist, didn’t agree with Rebecca’s over-the-top characterizations of Elevator Gate in a blog post. Had Watson been professional and address the issue in a blog post, or on Stef McGraw’s blog, nothing probably would have happened. Instead she exploited a power differential (classic abuser technique) and went nuclear and decided to shame her in front a large crowd of young skeptics at a conference, demonstrating an abusive use of power-differential. It’s the abuse of power against Stef McGraw that was the key driver.

  114. 154

    @ Hornbeck, Post 135

    1. We shall put math down as yet another thing you pontificate about, yet clearly cannot do. The greatest post-count on a per-day basis since the SlymePit came into existence in July, 2012 is Welch at 10.8 per day. My post count, and I’m Top-20 in posts, is 4.4 per day.

    That’s so far from ’50 posts per day’ that it’s laughable.

    But it’s also typical for you. We’re well aware of your innumeracy and general incompetency (most of your ‘research’ is based on the ‘creationist method.’ That is , it starts with the conclusion and works backwards while ignoring the greater body of research that contradicts it, though keep it up because you, and your conclusion-begging work, are great source of amusement.

    There are 75 people with 1,000 (or more) posts. There are about 200 people with at least 200+ posts. 32 people have joined so-far this year. Most of them to express their dismay at Myers and ‘The Horde’ and their inability to act as adults. Some have stayed and are becoming regulars.

    2. Using a mean goes to show you’re clueless to appropriate statistical/analytic methodology. This is no bell-curve or uniformly distributed population. A mean, as an average, does not capture the true distribution which is more along the lines of the Pareto Principle because, in real life, most things are not distributed equally or uniformly. This is also known as the 80/20 rule and is part of second-year statistics in college (not even into the hard stuff).

    3 I find it remarkable you determined there are 142 ‘active’ users at the SlymePit. You may not realize it, but there are many people who read, yet rarely post. But if you mouth-off on one of their trigger-issues, they’ll be in there faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

    For example, criticize Israel for their quasi-apartheid conduct and point out it was a nation born of, and by, terrorism against the Palestinians by Zionist Jews and you’ll get Git flying in and calling you all kinds of names. Even though that characterization is both dependable and supported by the historical record, including by many of the terrorists-turned-statesmen such as Golda Meir and Menachem Begen.

    Anyway, the point is you really don’t have the slightest clue about the ‘Pit, about math, about the proper tools to use for analysis. It’s almost as if you’re trying to build a boat with a drill…

  115. 155

    Hj Hornbeck @135 is numbers based confirmation for what johngreg @78 said. The pit is fairly marginal little forum. I know it wasn’t exactly Hornbeck intention to establish this, but there you have it. The pit does produce some very high quality digital media, much to the grief, I’m sure, of its targets. Mostly this is due to a handful of very talented artists. Most of the other people there are all thumbs like me

    @Ashley Miller

    4. Hunt, my problem with Nugent is sort of the opposite of this. He seems to not want to allow space for people to conclude rapist. .

    Concluding that more than likely none of us will ever know the whole truth is also a conclusion, probably the only certain uncertain conclusion we will ever have. Even you admit that you can’t know everything for sure. Deciding how you will act in the face of uncertainty depends on your own personal philosophy. I think Nugent adopts the philosophy of general society, that if you can’t know for sure, if due process is no longer available to you and all you have to go on is rumor, hearsay and innuendo, that you must default to a neutral position, at least publicly. We will always keep out secret suspicions at heart. It’s not as if other philosophies haven’t been tried throughout history without bad result. This is a hard one for people to swallow. It means you might be sharing civil society with unsavory people. But you already know that this must be true. That guy you bought a pizza from yesterday? Murderer. That person who said hello to you last week? Lied to his wife and beat his children.

    I realize that blogging makes me a public figure of sorts, but I think that there is a ruthlessness with which the members of the Slymepit behave towards people who are not celebrities that is really not OK. And, if you haven’t lived with that kind of constant low-level threat, it’s hard to understand how psychologically unpleasant it is.

    This is the environment that anyone online potentially has to swim through like a fish in water. I realize that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to make things worse for ourselves. Essentially we come full circle back to Nugent’s posts. Do you think it’s necessarily stress-free being accused of abetting rapists? For that matter, do you think being accused of rape apology is without stress? Could Nugent’s lesson also be taken to heart by the SP as well? Absolutely.

  116. 156

    The SlymePit is slowly dying. And even having an influx of eyeballs from a heavy-traffic site isn’t enough to reverse that trend.

    You’re just thinking small. The Slymepit just took over the entire country of Ireland, the Secular Policy Institute, and The Richard Dawkins Foundation. The Friendly Atheist just gave it his endorsement. Pretty good for what is basically one thread on a message board.

  117. 157

    Psst, Edward, we’re supposed to be convincing Ashley Miller that we’re not the evil league of evil, bent on extorting FtB for ONE MILLION DOLLARS (pinkie).

  118. 158

    Sally Strange says,

    Damion, you do realize that when a person says “Yes I was raped” and you’re not the rapist’s attorney, questioning whether she was raped or not really is rape apologism.
    I mean, I get that you think there’s nothing wrong with what you do. I just think you should be honest and admit that this falls under the rubric of rape apologism.

    This seems to be a central tenet of feminist consideration of rape cases and a key factor in the Shermer affair. One reason PZ approaches this matter with reckless certainty is his observance of the principle of no-questioning. When believing the accuser is a-priori assumption, what’s stopping you from proceeding full speed ahead? I know of Christians who yearn for that level of faith. What reason would she have to lie? First of all, who says lying should be a first consideration, when tragedy of errors seems more likely? But if you’re going to consider that, “she had nothing to gain and everything to lose” sounds a little familiar. Didn’t the apostles have nothing to gain and everything to lose by clinging to their faith in Christ? They were hunted down and killed rather horrifically after the crucifixion. Well kids, that apologetic didn’t convince me then, and the new one doesn’t convince me now. What reason might she have to lie? You don’t know! I don’t know. Nobody knows. That’s the point. Just to be ridiculous, maybe Smith and Shermer invested in a land deal in Argentina that went south.
    YOU. DON’T. KNOW.

  119. 159

    Sally Strange doesn’t understand Hunt’s argument. It’s basically “bitches be lying.” After all for slymepitters like Hunt, only real people don’t lie and women aren’t real people.

  120. 160

    Have you never heard the questions, so similar to the ones you posit? “What were you wearing? Were you leading him on? Were you drunk? Are you sure you didn’t just regret the sex?” Most of the time the police visit accusations of rape like you do, with direct denial and minimization.

    Much as I hate to say it, Ray-gun set the example here. “Trust but verify” should be the MO when a person claims to have been sexually assaulted. Really, this is the way it should be for all crimes. That’s doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it; and no doubt cops often are. As a Linux message of the day once told me: “tact is the unspoken part of what you’re thinking.” You can entertain doubt and question. You can investigate in the background–and verify–without sacrificing tact. Secretly, you can think that a woman was a fool for walking across a dark parking lot…are we seeing a pattern here? There is the covert, secret side of what we “believe” and the public way we act, the way we present ourselves. You can’t outlaw thought. For instance, I can’t stop you from suspecting Shermer is a rapist, or even subjectively knowing it. I can only advise you not to make your private thoughts public.

  121. 163

    Greetings kellym,

    There are almost no points of the story that Smith and Shermer agree…

    Actually they agree on (at least) three major points which I outlined @113.

    …except that in both versions, Shermer was sober.

    Where did Alison say Michael was sober? According to the Oppenheimer story, they were both downing drinks and at some point he began moderating his intake.

    Smith says that she was blackout drunk, and at least one witness who was willing to be quoted for the Oppenheimer piece confirmed that she was babbling incoherently and obviously drunk when she left the TAM 2008 party alone.

    Who?

    Reinhardt won’t call Shermer a liar because he’s “too cautious.”

    Did Wagg ever announce that Smith was manifestly too drunk to consent, or has he also been too cautious? Surely you cannot expect me to be less cautious in drawing factual conclusions than someone who was actually there at the time.

  122. 164

    Corvidd @ 121

    I’m not saying the “what’s too drunk to consent?” isn’t something to be considered in the moment. As you lay out, its complicated and the are many factors, beyond just amount of alcohol consumed. If you are out drinking and hitting it off with someone you should evaluate the current situation and use your best judgment. If there is any question and you really are hitting it off, get a number and meet up sober at a later time.
    What is creepy is discussing it in general abstract terms on the intertubes. It’s like the discussions people have about age of consent and how some 17 year olds are “fully women” and then they keep making exceptions for younger and younger girls. All the factors you mention make it impossible to answer, so it always seems to be an exercise is how much you can get away with before it’s rape.

  123. 165

    Would 4 male witnesses be enough, or what exactly is the difference between Atheodudeistan and Saudi Arabia?

    How many witnesses of any gender have come forward and said something to this effect, “It was obvious from observing her behavior at the party (or in the hours immediately thereafter) that she was too drunk to consent to sexual activity.”

    Last I checked, that number is four short of four.

  124. 166

    Given that intoxication and sex will probably always be linked, sex will probably always happen at the fringes of consent. I don’t see any “out” from that other than authoritarian social solutions like strict rule-based protocols for sex, which intoxicated participants are probably going to ignore anyway, or perhaps technological solutions, which have been suggested. You might try chastity belts or penis locks with puzzle combinations that intoxicated minds can’t break. Just a suggestion.

  125. 167

    The SlymePit is slowly dying. And even having an influx of eyeballs from a heavy-traffic site isn’t enough to reverse that trend.

    No, actually the SlymePit is bored (though it’s still doing 209+ posts/day). The biggest reason being the heavy-hitters have done little to generate any real-controversy and the bit players at FTB/Skepchick are, by-and-large, forgettable and uninteresting. BUT, if we’re going to talk about things dying and growing, let’s have us a little look:

    https://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=PZ%20Myers%2C%20SlymePit&cmpt=q&tz=

    Yep, the SlymePit is just moseying along doing it’s thing, a little up here, a little down there, but pretty much an Internet backwater (despite it being the Great Satan according to PZ Myers, et. al.) happy to be pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

    OTOH, Myers is crashing and burning, a heck of a fate for the man who wanted to be ‘the Fifth Horseman’ and aspired, as late as 2010, to be an Atheist Thought Leader. But that’s what happens when you constantly piss on people and tell them that it’s rain.

  126. 168

    (Warning: Imminent verbal bombast, & Trigger Warning: I mention hypothetical suicide that may remind people of IRL instances)

    Sweet cracky christ this rogues gallery keeps growing. FtB’s personal toxic waste dump du jour. I haven’t gotten a tenth this nastiness in my internetly haunts, and I can’t even look at it when I do. It’s ctrl-A, type something about puppies, approve. If I don’t delete it outright. I’ve had enough slime on my eyeballs for one lifetime. Everything I say about them here comes from memories of other times I’ve seen them, because I’m skipping their posts.

    I was thinking about the whole debate club ethos with these cats. It’s like they – especially Damion – honestly believe that successful verbal maneuvering &/or sliming someone into silence dictates the nature of reality. They can change the universe so that they are righteous and their victims were terrible people what brought this upon themselves, if they just win at the debate.

    It doesn’t matter if shitbags get the last word though. They’re still harming people and people are still being harmed by them. That makes them the bad guys in reality, because reality is not controlled by words like some kind of magic spell.

    If an abused person commits suicide in the woods and no one remembers their name, if their abusers can will themselves to believe they are excellent humans that have done no harm, if no human is ever aware that harm has happened, that a person experienced such pain they had to make themselves gone to relieve it, the abusers are still human shit. The abusers are still abusers. They are just another one of the manifold evils of the natural world, a vile animal instinct with some minor darwinian benefit run amok, like male carnivorans eating the babies of their own species.

    Miller, you are a much stronger person than I will ever be. As a woman and public figure at this sick sad moment, that is quite unsurprising.

  127. 169

    What the fuck is this kerfuckle?

    I’m sick to fucking death of all this vile hatred from neocons such as the Irish wanker. PZ mildly and calmly rebukes the fucking neocons with truth, and in return, we are getting smeared with shit from the neocon army.

    I keep seeing references to PZ Myers and his “downfall”, but the only fucking downfall we’ve seen recently is the downfall of neocon Maajid Nawaz. Of course Maajid Nawaz is free to go to a strip club (Muslim-run to boot), because strip clubs are where neocons go. PZ and Ashley Miller are the vanguard against the neocons and strip clubs. The Irish wanker and company are the opposition to this vanguard.

  128. 170

    I was thinking about the whole debate club ethos with these cats. It’s like they – especially Damion – honestly believe that successful verbal maneuvering &/or sliming someone into silence dictates the nature of reality.

    What I honestly believe is that we can and should argue vigorously in an effort to come closer to finding out the truth, rather than following the “listen and believe” approach that many seem to favor. Nice try at mind reading, though. Is JREF still offering a cool million?

  129. 172

    “Where did Alison say Michael was sober? ”
    Michael said that Michael was sober. You don’t even believe Shermer when it doesn’t fit your narrative that minimizes his likely rape of her.

    “Did Wagg ever announce that Smith was manifestly too drunk to consent”
    Are you serious? 2.5 hours after she left the TAM party alone, she was too drunk to walk. Her story has never varied. Shermer’s story has changed several times. His current claim is that he and Smith walked around Las Vegas for “several hours” until they were both sober. Shermer’s account is directly contradicted by the evidence that Smith’s call from the elevator to Wagg occurred 2 hours after she left the TAM party alone. Believing Shermer requires that you believe that Smith was in two places at the same time: Both in an elevator, too drunk to know what hotel she was in, and happily walking around Las Vegas with Shermer, sobering up enough for consensual sex. Shermer’s story does not fit the evidence, unless you are determined to call Smith a liar no matter what.

  130. 173

    @melanie

    How is Nugent a “neocon” ?

    And whatever your disposition towards Myers, his style of argument is hardly mild and calm, something I doubt he himself would dispute, and which is pretty clear from some of the links provided by Alex Gabriel on his post concerning this whole conflagration.

  131. 174

    @ GAS,

    I was thinking about the whole debate club ethos with these cats. /I>

    I think you misunderstand the entire purpose of debate. The people debating may be motivated to win. This is good – it spurs new ideas, new information, and ultimately the participants (and anyone reading) learn more about the subject. It’s a system designed to encourage good ideas and weed out bad ones. Getting upset that people want to learn about a subject is one of the goofier reasons to be upset about something.

  132. 175

    Michael said that Michael was sober.

    He also said that they both went for a long walk and sobered up in the process. Does anyone here buy that story?

    You don’t even believe Shermer when it doesn’t fit your narrative that minimizes his likely rape of her.

    You said earlire that “in both versions, Shermer was sober” but now you’re moving the goalposts back to only Shermer’s (recently revised) version of events.

    Are you serious?

    I’ll ask again. Did Wagg (or anyone else who was there to observe) claim that Smith was manifestly too drunk to consent when she left the Scotch, Wine, and Cigar Party party at Caesar’s Palace? This seems like a fairly crux issue to me, since the state of being blackout drunk is not invariably obvious to outside observers.

    Shermer’s story does not fit the evidence, unless you are determined to call Smith a liar no matter what.

    And yet you are leaning on it for his admission of sobriety. What does that tell you?

  133. 176

    I’m saying that the available evidence supports the facts Shermer had sex with Smith without her consent. If Shermer is telling the truth, then Smith sobered up enough to give consent, then they had consensual sex, then Smith left his room, made a call from an elevator and lied that she was so drunk she did not know what hotel she was in, lied that she did not know whose hotel room she had been in, and then pretended to be so drunk that she could not walk, and years later, publicly repeated her many lies while lying that she wanted to protect potential future Shermer (according to his defenders, nonexistent) victims. I don’t believe that Smith is lying. You do. What does that tell you?

  134. 177

    Yes, Damion, and everyone else, when someone says they were raped, the reasonable response is to believe them. The reasons for this have been laid out many times, and I know Damion at least has seen these reasons and finds them unconvincing.

    I just think it’s curious you all haven’t taken the next logical step and started trying to reclaim the term “rape apologism”. You know, try to explain to people that they’ve gotten mixed up; that it’s a moral GOOD to question rape victims about what they were doing, exactly how drunk or sober they were, whether or not they’d fantasized about their rapist before, etc. This is all in contradiction to what research shows is the best approach to dealing with rape victims, both from the perspective of the individual and the perspective of society at large, but then, sociology denialism is a core part of your worldview so that should come pretty easily.

    For a thing that’s really not all about Shermer, it’s pretty fascinating how the comment section has descended once again to Slymepitters defending Shermer from sexual assault allegations.

  135. 178

    If Alison Smith is so convinced of Shermer’s guilt, here’s what she should do: TAKE HIM TO COURT.

    If he’s a rapist (a SERIAL rapist) then he needs to be locked up, or risk endangering other potential victims.

    But even though she’s been holding on to this for years, the only thing that she could think of to protect others who may end up in the same situation as her … was for her to “hand over” her story to a known outrage blogger (by proxy) in a vague, passive aggressive blog post to serve as a warning. Nice. And Damion has a point. If Shermer’s account doesn’t add up or “fit the evidence”, then why are you picking and choosing from its version of events?

    Also, I dare say it doesn’t matter if you believe Smith is lying or not. Trust the evidence. Not your gut.

  136. 180

    And as kellym just said, the evidence supports that Shermer is, indeed, a rapist, and no amount of gaslighting by slymepitters will change that fact.

  137. 181

    moseszddnd said (#150):

    So, when Paul is calling the husbands and wives of his (former) professional colleagues ‘rapists and rape apologists,’ people who share most all of his views on issues but abhor his behaviors, because they disagree with some aspects of his silly Post-Modernist, Cultural Marxism you might be able to imagine why we think he’s toxic.

    Just a reminder about what “cultural marxism” is, and what kind of people use the expression. Gives a little perspective.

  138. 182

    @Damion Reinhardt
    Im curious what your goal is.
    a. Some people want it known that accusations against Shermer exist – and they are not particularly concerned about the medium used
    b. Some people want better harassment policies and they dont want repeat offenders to be invited to conferences etc.
    c. Some believe that they are in law enforcement/ member of a Jury appointed to evaluate guilt in a criminal case and have deemed that Shermer is innocent.
    d. Some believe that Shermers reputation is being tarnished , he is being demonised and want it to stop.
    e. Some have concluded that Shermer is a rapist and will have nothing to do with him or anyone who tries to defend him
    and so on..
    Where do you stand? It is given that this is a he said – she said scenario and that no one could ever give you a 100% definitive true account of events, beyond all reasonable doubt – what is it that you want? You might say you have N degree of confidence in Smith’s story but unless that works out to something real – all you are doing is asking for status quo to be maintained.

  139. 183

    Moses @149

    4. BTW, the SlymePit was formed by and for the WHITE KNIGHTS of Stef McGraw. It wasn’t about bashing Rebecca Watson. It was about white knighting Stef McGraw after Rebecca Watson viciously verbally-attacked her at a conference from the speaker’s podium trying to shame her in public.
    All because Stef, a fellow feminist, didn’t agree with Rebecca’s over-the-top characterizations of Elevator Gate in a blog post. Had Watson been professional and address the issue in a blog post, or on Stef McGraw’s blog, nothing probably would have happened. Instead she exploited a power differential (classic abuser technique) and went nuclear and decided to shame her in front a large crowd of young skeptics at a conference, demonstrating an abusive use of power-differential. It’s the abuse of power against Stef McGraw that was the key driver.

    Here is something you need to ask yourself: Is it possible that other people didn’t get that impression?

    To me, it was McGraw who started off with a verbal attack on Watson, characterizing what Watson said as “demonizing men”, which was plainly not what Watson had done. McGraw wrote that on an official college atheist organization’s blog.

    And when I watched Watson’s speech, finally, after people assured us that it was an attack on McGraw, guess what? It wasn’t anything of the sort. She only mentioned McGraw, author of the official organizational blog post attacking Watson, as being one of the people complaining about the off-hand remark, “don’t do that”.

    People made up a bunch of things to justify their rage at Watson, including this power-differential rule for public speakers that no one had ever heard of before. It was ridiculous then, it’s ridiculous now.

    Watson did not go around calling anyone names. The only ones doing that were the people ganging up on her that you think of as White Knights. It’s so absurd it would be funny if it hadn’t lasted for four years now.

  140. 184

    @SallyStrange 176

    And what if the accuser denies the charge of rape ? As I related in #128, the two individuals I know who were falsely accused would have suffered heavily if circumstances had developed otherwise and people had unquestioningly believed the persons making the accusations. When you automatically subscribe to a “believe the victim” stance, you necessarily view the accused as a rapist, and in doing so you will end up hurting innocent people.

  141. 185

    Yes, Damion, and everyone else, when someone says they were raped, the reasonable response is to believe them.

    No, it isn’t. The reasonable response is to take them seriously. It is not saying, “I believe you.” Because then the obvious answer to the alleged rapist, if they deny the claim, is, “You’re lying.” Which you don’t know is true or not until you’ve examined the evidence.

    Stop saying it’s a reasonable response. It’s not. It’s childish.

    I just think it’s curious you all haven’t taken the next logical step and started trying to reclaim the term “rape apologism”. You know, try to explain to people that they’ve gotten mixed up; that it’s a moral GOOD to question rape victims about what they were doing, exactly how drunk or sober they were, whether or not they’d fantasized about their rapist before, etc. This is all in contradiction to what research shows is the best approach to dealing with rape victims, both from the perspective of the individual and the perspective of society at large, but then, sociology denialism is a core part of your worldview so that should come pretty easily.

    Oh for crying out loud. How many recent stories have there been where the claim of rape turned out to be a complete lie? Where the rape victim either admitted or was shown to have made the whole thing up? We’re talking less than ten years ago. Less than five. Still ringing in your ears, I just can’t believe that you still have this dogmatic view on life. No, apparently you should never doubt the claim of a rape victim. Ever. Unbelievable.

    For a thing that’s really not all about Shermer, it’s pretty fascinating how the comment section has descended once again to Slymepitters defending Shermer from sexual assault allegations.

    This is parodial, even for you. This entire post has to do with Shermer. Ashley made it about Michael Shermer. Are you seriously making the argument that Slymepitters brought up Shermer in a post about Shermer and that the subsequent comments delved into the controversy surrounding Shermer (a controversy that was mentioned in the opening bloody post)? Are you seriously this obtuse, Sally Strange?

  142. 186

    Pitchguest@175

    If Alison Smith is so convinced of Shermer’s guilt, here’s what she should do: TAKE HIM TO COURT.

    If he’s a rapist (a SERIAL rapist) then he needs to be locked up, or risk endangering other potential victims.

    Either she’s guilty of lying, or she’s guilty of not taking him to court, eh? Nice and subtle victim blaming you got here!

    Her reasons for not taking him to court are hers, and hers only. She’s not responsible of the danger he represents. Yet, she tried to do something to mitigate that danger… But of course that’s not enough, you demand that she dedicate herself more! That’s horrible.

  143. 187

    And when I watched Watson’s speech, finally, after people assured us that it was an attack on McGraw, guess what? It wasn’t anything of the sort. She only mentioned McGraw, author of the official organizational blog post attacking Watson, as being one of the people complaining about the off-hand remark, “don’t do that”.

    Really? She was sitting in the audience, in the front row, and Watson was accusing her from a position of power of “parroting misogynist thought.” She later wrote a blog post how upset it made her. That’s what Abbie criticised Watson for. Not an attack? I beg to differ.

    People made up a bunch of things to justify their rage at Watson, including this power-differential rule for public speakers that no one had ever heard of before. It was ridiculous then, it’s ridiculous now.

    Wow. So if this rule was put into place then their rage *would* have been justified? Maybe, Aratina, Abbie was angry at Watson because she was being an asshole?

    Watson did not go around calling anyone names. The only ones doing that were the people ganging up on her that you think of as White Knights. It’s so absurd it would be funny if it hadn’t lasted for four years now.

    You do know that anyone can go back and verify this for themselves, right? Right?

  144. 189

    Pitchguest, do you not think that sometimes people need to reflect on their behaviors? It wasn’t an attack at all. It was a plea for her to examine the things she and others were saying. And Smith didn’t “criticize” Watson, she attacked her with her professional blog. And no, the “rule” was not a rule, was never in place, and would be ridiculous even if it were a rule that you can’t respond to your critics because they are watching you. I hope people do go back and verify instead of accepting yours and Moses’s versions of events which I think are counter to reality.

  145. 190

    Either she’s guilty of lying, or she’s guilty of not taking him to court, eh? Nice and subtle victim blaming you got here!

    Er, yeah. That’s what I said. Take him to court or she’s lying. That’s it. Except, no. That’s not what I said at all.

    I said, if she is so convinced of his guilt. If she is so convinced of his guilt. I mean, we’re talking bulletproof facts here. What’s the harm?

    Her reasons for not taking him to court are hers, and hers only. She’s not responsible of the danger he represents. Yet, she tried to do something to mitigate that danger… But of course that’s not enough, you demand that she dedicate herself more! That’s horrible.

    She’s not responsible for the danger he represents? Really? If I discovered a serial murderer in my neighbourhood and said nothing, and later reading about several disappearances in my neighbourhood knowing full well who’s the culprit, and the police one day comes around to my place to ask me questions about the disappearances and I just up and say, “Nope, not my problem” — it wouldn’t be my responsibility for the danger they represent? And if I instead said, “Oh, well, he’s over there. I’ve known about him for years,” and they indignantly ask why the hell I didn’t say anything sooner, I could just respond glibly with, “I had my reasons.”

    No. Alison Smith did not try to do something to mitigate the damage. She did fuck all.

  146. 192

    Aratina — Who cares if there was a “rule” in place or not? Did anyone complain about this rule? Watson was being an asshole on stage, giving no opportunity for Stef to respond right there and then, and Abbie called her out on it. And to reflect on their behaviour? Again. She accused McGraw of “parroting misogynist thought.” That’s not something that you do off-hand. What “behaviour” does she have to reflect on, and what does McGraw’s initial criticism have to do with “misogynist thought”?

    This is the relevant portion of her blog post from her *student group* website:

    Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?
    Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson’s comment as so hypocritical.
    If you really want social equality for women, which is what feminism is, why not apply the same standards to men and women, and stop demonizing men for being sexual beings?

    This is “misogynist”? This is something that she has to “reflect” on? Give me a fucking break.

  147. 193

    I have a sort of challenge for the Outrage Squad, in regards to the so-called rape joke at the beginning of the original post:

    1. Please contextualize it for us; explain what is going on?
    2. What is the joke about; what is being joked?
    3. Who, if any, are the targets of the joke?
    4. What, specifically, is so bad about this so-called rape joke?

    I have a second challenge for the Outrage Squad. Supposedly, the image from (I think) Downfall that shows one individual shooting another individual, is (ironically; figuratively; satirically; any/all/none of those?) representing Ashley being shot by someone. So:

    1. How do we know it represents Ashley?
    2. What is the context?
    3. Why is (supposedly) Ashley being shot?
    4. By whom is (supposedly) Ashley being shot?

    OK gang. Get to it. Tell us why the Outrage Squad is so outraged by all this, to me, completely and utterly context and mostly content-free screenshot stuff? What’s the bad? Wherefore the outrage? Explain it.

    I must admit, I expect crickets and/or wholesale misrepresentations, strawpeople, and gish gallops.

    C’mon; let’s play!

  148. 197

    Wow. For hating FtB So much, the slymers and their rape apologist for rapey-rapey-creepo Shermer? They sure love the opportunity for.any open FtB blog to post their rape apologist lies, distortions, and the fact that they post Michael Nugent ‘ s blog makes it a haven for rapists, and their rapey-rapety-creepos.

  149. 198

    Pitchguest@187

    She’s not responsible for the danger he represents? Really? If I discovered a serial murderer in my neighbourhood and said nothing, and later reading about several disappearances in my neighbourhood knowing full well who’s the culprit, and the police one day comes around to my place to ask me questions about the disappearances and I just up and say, “Nope, not my problem” — it wouldn’t be my responsibility for the danger they represent? And if I instead said, “Oh, well, he’s over there. I’ve known about him for years,” and they indignantly ask why the hell I didn’t say anything sooner, I could just respond glibly with, “I had my reasons.”

    What the fuck? How is this example relevant? (1) In your story, you are not a victim; but she is one. (2) In your story, you refuse to answer questions from the police; she does not press charges against the rapist. (3) Testifying against a murderer is very different from testifying against your rapist. (4) Add to this that the rapist is famous and supported by his community. (5) In your story, you say “Nope, not my problem”; she fucking tried to warn women about the danger.

    No. Alison Smith did not try to do something to mitigate the damage. She did fuck all.

    You’re a horrible person. Together with johngreg the gaslighter, Damion Reinhardt the JAQass, and moseszddnd who uses antisemitic, conspiracy theorist rhetoric, you’re making a fantastic PR job for the slymepit.

  150. 201

    Where do you stand?

    I don’t have enough information to make any claims beyond those stated @113.

    (Which is way more information than we had in the immediate wake of the grenade post.)

    It is given that this is a he said – she said scenario and that no one could ever give you a 100% definitive true account of events, beyond all reasonable doubt – what is it that you want?

    Open discussion (as we’ve had here) but with fewer hyperbolic accusations of rape apology for daring to argue about what probably happened that night. Ideally, witnesses coming forward who were actually at the party to say how far gone Smith seemed to be at the time, since the entire case for rape hinges on Shermer being in a position to tell that apparent willingness was not actual consent.

    You might say you have N degree of confidence in Smith’s story but unless that works out to something real – all you are doing is asking for status quo to be maintained.

    The status quo at the moment is that some organizations will never invite Shermer back and others are getting grief for doing so, e.g. #StillNotUninvited on Twitter.

  151. 202

    To slightly paraphrase another Pit person, why is it so difficult for SJW/FTB folk to understand that refusing to blindly and wholly believe an accusation is not the same thing as saying that the accuser is a liar?

    Set blind belief (another term for faith, is in “I know God exists because I believe God exists” — I know X was raped because I believe X was raped) aside, take the accuser seriously, and determine facts. Surely the is the only rational, meaningful, safe thing to do?

  152. 203

    To slightly paraphrase another Pit person, why is it so difficult for SJW/FTB folk to understand that refusing to blindly and wholly believe an accusation is not the same thing as saying that the accuser is a liar?

    It’s just bizarre. Despite loads of studies on the malleability of memory and fallibility of eyewitnesses, relatively well known to the skeptic community generally, this lot go straight for the liar/truth-teller dichotomy.

  153. 204

    @193Donnie says
    April 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm
    Wow. For hating FtB So much, the slymers and their rape apologist for rapey-rapey-creepo Shermer? They sure love the opportunity for.any open FtB blog to post their rape apologist lies, distortions, and the fact that they post Michael Nugent ‘ s blog makes it a haven for rapists, and their rapey-rapety-creepos.

    No, people are simply trying to put over a view point which is different from yours. A view point which is reasonable but as usual, people here are saying, “I can’t hear you over the RAPE APOLOGIST accusations” instead of listening and discussing. I don’t even have to get into the specifics of Shermer to see that @198 johngreg is making a wholly sensible suggestion.

    And is that a repeat of Myers’ smear of Nugent?

  154. 206

    johngreg @198

    To slightly paraphrase another Pit person, why is it so difficult for SJW/FTB folk to understand that refusing to blindly and wholly believe an accusation is not the same thing as saying that the accuser is a liar?

    You have three choices:

    1. You can believe her.
    2. You can disbelieve her.
    3. You can withhold judgement.

    The people at FTB believe her. The Slymepit disbelieves her. We believe her for several reasons, one simple one is that she has nothing to gain by lying. You people disbelieve her because she’s a woman and “bitches be lying.” It all boils down to your misogyny. And please, don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you are withholding judgement. Both of us know you’re not.

  155. 207

    @Damion Reinhardt
    Thats a politicians answer. Im asking what is it that you want – Open discussion has been had and different positions have been staked out – Suppose people stop calling you a rape apologist ,- is that your only goal? Or do you have anything else?

    The grenade post said no more than , this is what I have been told and I trust this person – perfectly reasonable as far as I can tell

  156. 208

    Al Dente, the better choice is to set blind belief (another term for faith, as in “I know God exists because I believe God exists” — I know X was raped because I believe X was raped) aside, take the accuser seriously, and determine facts. That is the only rational, meaningful, safe thing to do.

    The fact that you choose faith, rather than rationality and critical thinking, and insist on black and white absolutes simply shows how blinded you are by your ideology, in-group dogma, and your self-confirming biases.

    Also, you have no idea whatsoever what my actual position regarding, belief, disbelief, or withholding judgement is.

  157. 209

    I’m sick of the kerfuckle of neocon lies round here and elsewhere. Shermer is a neocon. That equals rapist. Neocons rape society.

    But then, we get a load boat kerfuckling crap from the neocons about PZ having a rapist on his Pharyngula site. straight up fucking lie from the neocons. No rapist would ever post at Pharyngula because PZ is a good man and opposes the neocons. There is also one fucking amazing fucking lie from the neocons that Rebecca Watson had sex with someone who was drunk at a conference. She would never fucking do that, as it would be rape. The neocons are simply projecting their own fucking desires and crimes onto the people who oppose neocons.

    It has been a glorious weekend after the exposure of neocon and Islamophobe-enabler Maajid Nawaz, and it is time to crush the rest of the New White Supremacist Atheists.

  158. 210

    Deepak @203

    I’m asking what is it that you want – Open discussion has been had and different positions have been staked out…

    And hardly anyone has changed their minds since the original grenade post, which has barely any details.

    Or do you have anything else?

    More information, as I have often said. There were loads of people at that party (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3948501#post3948501) but not one of them has come forward to say what they saw of Shermer and Smith. Was he indeed sober, as Ashley contends? Was she so drunk that she was mumbling words to herself? Did she follow him into the bathroom as he claims? Did he follow her out the door, as she claims? Many open questions remain.

  159. 213

    Al Dente @202 wrote:

    The people at FTB believe her. The Slymepit disbelieves her. We believe her for several reasons, one simple one is that she has nothing to gain by lying. You people disbelieve her because she’s a woman and “bitches be lying.” It all boils down to your misogyny. And please, don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you are withholding judgement. Both of us know you’re not.

    As much as people like to pretend otherwise, neither FtB nor the Slymepit are monolithic. That being said, the idea that “the Slyempit disbelieves her” is complete bunk. There are actually a range of opinions on this, and every other, topic. If you want to talk averages that’s one thing, but to pretend there is a unified Pit opinion and that it’s diamtetrically opposed to that of FtB, well that’s just simplistic tribalistic nonsense.

    Even more laughable is your assertion that “You people disbelieve her because she’s a woman and “bitches be lying.” It all boils down to your misogyny.” This is so utterly ridiculous that I wonder if even you believe a word of it; it’s an absurd caricature unworthy of any serious response.

    You don’t seem to realize it, but it’s actually on par with the fundmentalist Christians who insist that atheists really do believe in god but we’re just rejecting him out of a desire to sin. When you hear someone start spouting that nonsense you know immediately they are full of shite. Well it’s the same with you, mate. As soon as you play the tired misogyny card like this, which many of you lot seem to do reflexively, you signal to everyone who’s not part of your clique that you are completely full of it. It’s a great way to easily separate the reasonable from the unreasonable very quickly.

    You disagree with me? Oh it must be because you’re a woman-hating rape apologist… It’s really difficult to take anything you say seriously when you pull out rubish like this.

  160. 214

    Pitchguest #189

    Aratina — Who cares if there was a “rule” in place or not? Did anyone complain about this rule?

    There was no such rule in place. People must have made it up on the spot to correct for cognitive dissonance–they felt Watson was a bad person so they had to find a justification for their feelings.

    Watson was being an asshole on stage

    Newp. She was not, as anyone can see who watches the video. She was actually quite funny, even self deprecating.

    [Watson was] giving no opportunity for Stef to respond right there and then,

    Duh. It was a speech, not a panel. And McGraw could have easily replied on the official blog she wrote for, like she did when she misrepresented Watson.

    and Abbie called her out on it.

    Abbie called her names and slimed her.

    And to reflect on their behaviour? Again. She accused McGraw of “parroting misogynist thought.” That’s not something that you do off-hand. What “behaviour” does she have to reflect on, and what does McGraw’s initial criticism have to do with “misogynist thought”?

    It fit with a bunch of other things that were quite clearly misogynistic to many of us, Watson included. And Watson knew already that McGraw was being fed a bunch of hooey by other people in her organization because they were all badgering Watson about “don’t do that” already!

    This is the relevant portion of her blog post from her *student group* website:

    Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?
    Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson’s comment as so hypocritical.
    If you really want social equality for women, which is what feminism is, why not apply the same standards to men and women, and stop demonizing men for being sexual beings?

    This is “misogynist”? This is something that she has to “reflect” on? Give me a fucking break.

    Yes, she did need to reflect on it. Watson was not demonizing men at all. That was completely uncalled for.

  161. 215

    HAHAHA. As I fully expected from my post, at 190, asking for clarifications regarding the so-called rape joke and the supposed shooting of Ashley: crickets; fucking crickets.

  162. 216

    [Apologies for straying off topic, I’ll use this comment to wrap those threads up and get back on target]

    Steersman @ 137:

    Say, you’re not stalking us are you HJ?

    No more than I stalk the weather report.

    In addition, I wonder how you define “insular” as that would seem to require some information of how frequently members comment outside their home bases.

    Hold on a sec: a common defense of the SlymePit is that what happens there stays there. Don’t want to see it? Don’t visit! Stephanie Zvan, to name one person, has argued the contrary. So by asking me to look for SlymePit-related things outside the ‘Pit, Steersman, you’ve not only called your peers there liars, you’ve agreed with Stephanie Zvan’s analysis of the ‘Pit.

    I was going to rant at you more, but as you’ve been kind to me, I’ll be kind back: you tipped me off to a new dataset which I could use to double-check my work.

    If anything, I was understating things; the number of registered users, for instance, is following a logarithmic curve. You see these curves in closed systems, where random collisions are driving a finite process. In less technical terms, the SlymePit is not becoming more attractive with time and most everyone who’d want to join already has. There was only one major exception to this: when PZ Myers posted the “Grenade” thread, SlymePit membership jumped 10% in a matter of days.

    In contrast, the number of posts has been on a decline for the last two years, to a third of what it once was. I figure this has less to do with a loss of membership than a regression to the mean: for about eight months, from December 2012 to August 2013, there were a number of controversies on FtB and Ophelia Benson among other bloggers regularly talked about the ‘Pit. When those bloggers decided to ignore you instead, the ‘Pit’s numbers plummeted. While the blips around Nugent and Metha are still the biggest I’ve seen, just by looking at averages I can tell they’re dwarfed by the numbers of this earlier time period.

    Pull that time period out, and the number of posts follows a linear path; the current posting rate is similar to what it was four years ago when you had a tenth the number of registered members.

    The only way the SlymePit grows or changes is if FreethoughtBlogs changes or notices you. Well, Senpai has spotted you again. Enjoy the rush!

    moseszddnd @151:

    1. We shall put math down as yet another thing you pontificate about, yet clearly cannot do. The greatest post-count on a per-day basis since the SlymePit came into existence in July, 2012 is Welch at 10.8 per day. My post count, and I’m Top-20 in posts, is 4.4 per day.

    That’s so far from ’50 posts per day’ that it’s laughable.

    Good catch! I double-checked my numbers, and realized I’d forgotten to lop off a decimal point; the top ten people posted about 5-10 per day, not 50-100. Thanks!

    OK, enough of that. Time to get on-topic.

    We’re well aware of your innumeracy and general incompetency (most of your ‘research’ is based on the ‘creationist method.’

    There’s a great way to test that: back in September 2014, I posted a statistical analysis of the evidence against Shermer. Part one is on Butterflies and Wheels, while parts two to five are linked to their spots in the cloud. If I am as incompetent as you claim, cutting through that analysis should be as easy slicing through tissue.

    It’ll also be a big help to me; I never did update my analysis post-Oppenheimer, as promised, so I’m about to resume that. Your feedback will help me make version 1.1 that much stronger!

  163. 217

    Ashley F. Miller #67

    I think the parallels between shermer and ogvorbis…

    Wait, all that stuff about PZ harbouring a rapist is about ogvorbis? The guy who was sexually abused as a child and forced, as part of that abuse, to abuse others? That’s comparable to guy who is, at the very least, a creep (unless the various accounts from multiple women are somehow unbelievable) and most probably a rapist of his own volition (unless, again, multiple accounts from various different women are somehow unbelievable)?

    What kind of slimy, amoral little shit actually tries to compare those two?

  164. 218

    @johngreg I guess you got crickets because it was a stupid fuckin’ question. No one seriously believes you have a problem understanding the images or are sincerely trying to understand how harassing people online is harmful. In other words, thankfully no one responded to your troll.

  165. 219

    #194:

    What the fuck? How is this example relevant? (1) In your story, you are not a victim; but she is one. (2) In your story, you refuse to answer questions from the police; she does not press charges against the rapist. (3) Testifying against a murderer is very different from testifying against your rapist. (4) Add to this that the rapist is famous and supported by his community. (5) In your story, you say “Nope, not my problem”; she fucking tried to warn women about the danger.

    How is it relevant? It’s an analogy. 1) No, but others are. I’m just turning a blind eye. 2) I don’t just “refuse” to answer questions. I just don’t care. Or if I should change it a little, maybe I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with the police bothering me. That is one of the reasons why Alison never went to the police, wasn’t it? The bother? 3) It’s testifying against a perpetrator of a crime. 4) So what? So was Jian Ghomeshi and he’s now facing life in prison. Alison claims that Shermer is not just a rapist, but a serial rapist, and she claims that she talked to the other women who suffered the same fate and that they are willing to testify. But they didn’t.

    5) No, she didn’t. She did nothing of the sort. She told Jeff Wagg, her boyfriend at the time. No one else. And then she and Jeff invited Shermer back to conventions, over and over and over again. She shmoozed. She posed for pictures. She called the convention itself, where the rape supposedly took place, a “blast.” Is that your idea about warning other women? And more to the point, if she didn’t want to reveal this in public, couldn’t she have done it in private? Isn’t it very strange that no one else got to know about Shermer until six years later?

    I mean, it is inconceivable that no one else wouldn’t have alerted the authorities. In-con-fucking-ceivable.

    Then there are the points of contention that are just a tiny bit hard to swallow. For instance, the fact that she apparently deliberately, sneakingly, invited him to a panel about sex in an “incredibly calculated” (her words, not mine) approach to steer the conversation to date rape because she “knew for an absolute fact that his views on consent were different from the other panelists.” And that was the logic behind why she was so kind to him in the letter where she cordially invited him to the panel. Except nothing happened. Not a thing. I’m sorry, but… what? What was the point, then?

    Then there’s the “several” people who’ve corroborated about Shermer’s behaviour, one of whom was a woman in a bar whose glass Shermer kept refilling. Except it was the bartender who refilled her drinks and Shermer was simply the one who paid for it, because he’d paid for drinks for everyone in the bar. Not just her.

    Mr. Deity made a video quip about it and he was accused of “blaming the victim.”

    Nothing happened to this woman. Nothing sexual. Nothing untoward. She just drank more than she used to.

    Lastly there’s the frankly irrelevant anecdote by Ashley Miller where she implies Shermer was masturbating — in full view of everyone — for ten minutes while she was talking to him. Ten minutes. Masturbating. In public. What the hell does this have to do with rape? What the hell does this have to do with alcohol? If anything, this anecdote (if true) points to Shermer being a creep. Not a rapist. Especially if it’s a “corroboration.” Alison says she was so drunk she had to be wheeled out in a wheelchair, but let’s not forget that, as Mr. Deity rightly points out, the original claim had nothing to do with alcohol, only that she was “coerced into a position where she could not consent.” And truth be told, I also don’t know what that means.

    You’re a horrible person. Together with johngreg the gaslighter, Damion Reinhardt the JAQass, and moseszddnd who uses antisemitic, conspiracy theorist rhetoric, you’re making a fantastic PR job for the slymepit.

    Oh, well, pardon for not wanting rapists to get off easy. I do apologise.

  166. 220

    #210:

    There was no such rule in place. People must have made it up on the spot to correct for cognitive dissonance–they felt Watson was a bad person so they had to find a justification for their feelings.

    … Let me rephrase. Was there ever any point where this was an established foundation for Abbie’s gripe?

    Did she criticise the power-differential, or did she just criticise the act of lecturing someone on stage while they were sitting in the audience?

    Newp. She was not, as anyone can see who watches the video. She was actually quite funny, even self deprecating.

    Heh. Okay. Aside from being “quite funny, even self deprecating”, how does this remove the possibility of her being an asshole? Telling someone is a “misogynist”, knowing full well the person she’s talking about is sitting right there in front of her, and not giving her the opportunity to respond directly is the move of an asshole. A “quite funny, even self deprecating” asshole.

    Duh. It was a speech, not a panel. And McGraw could have easily replied on the official blog she wrote for, like she did when she misrepresented Watson.

    *scoff* You speak of “the official blog she wrote for” as if it’s well known. It was, and is, a student blog. At the time, Skepchick eclipsed this so-called “official blog” ten times over. Yeah, she could’ve responded – and she did respond, with understandable shock – but on the one hand you had Rebecca Watson who had made a name for herself, had her own sceptics network and was invited to panels with Richard Dawkins, and on the other you had a student. If you are seriously suggesting that Stef McGraw had as much influence as Rebecca Watson, I have to ask: are you taking the piss?

    Abbie called her names and slimed her.

    What the hell does this even mean?

    It fit with a bunch of other things that were quite clearly misogynistic to many of us, Watson included. And Watson knew already that McGraw was being fed a bunch of hooey by other people in her organization because they were all badgering Watson about “don’t do that” already!

    “It fit with a bunch of other things that were quite clearly misogynistic to many of us …” Wow.

    How pathetic. Truly. Not only are you willing to defend the smear of a person as “misogynist” based on nothing but her criticism of a single video, but you are willing to do so because it “fit.” Because Rebecca Watson deemed it such. Not only that, but you keep wanting to redefine words and water them down until they become nothing. How is it “misogynist” to criticise that portion of her video? How is it “misogynist” to say that someone is “demonising men”? You do know that “misogynist” is not some catch-all term that you can use for everything, right? “Misogyny”, after all, being the pathological hatred of ALL women. Not SOME, or… one. ALL.

    Yes, she did need to reflect on it.

    No, she did not. And even if she did, that means it goes both ways, which you don’t agree with, and it still doesn’t justify what came later. Hence why the Slymepit eventually came into existence. It questioned the status quo, but for the most part it exists because Abbie Smith was almost fired from her job due to bullying tactics.

  167. 221

    =8)-DX @ 213: Bullshit. The real reason is because no one here can actually answer any of those questions because they just don’t know.

    Go on, I dare you: give it a try. But you can’t can you? Bunch of intellectual frauds and chickenshits.

    Let’s try it again, brave SJWs, in regards to the so-called rape joke at the beginning of the original post:

    1. Please contextualize it for us; explain what is going on?
    2. What is the joke about; what is being joked?
    3. Who, if any, are the targets of the joke?
    4. What, specifically, is so bad about this so-called rape joke?

    Also, supposedly, the image from (I think) Downfall that shows one individual shooting another individual, is (ironically; figuratively; satirically; any/all/none of those?) representing Ashley being shot by someone. So:

    1. How do we know it represents Ashley?
    2. What is the context?
    3. Why is (supposedly) Ashley being shot?
    4. By whom is (supposedly) Ashley being shot?

    OK gang. Get to it.

  168. 223

    To me, the image reads as if we’ve all been raped and we are rating our experience of the rape, which I find deeply disturbing. I think one could make an argument that we have all watched a rape without intervening and we’re rating it, which is also disturbing. The image itself doesn’t provide enough context for me to determine which is correct, though I imagine there is some inside ballgame info I’m missing.

    Here’s the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xue581fCplc&hc_location=ufi&app=desktop. There’s an earlier one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEXvhqNwzpM

    It is me because I am named. I am committing suicide, lol, by patriarchy, lol, for oppression points, lol, so I can win at the oppression olympics or something similar in concept.

  169. 224

    And while I think both those things are super shitty and gross, you can see what I said in comment 76, the Slymepit has never threatened me. To my knowledge, people at the Slymepit don’t threaten anyone.

    They portray people doing offensive things, or being killed, or having sex, or having been raped (correct me if there’s some much better context there to your rape olympics), and being nazis, and they mock their illnesses and their personal lives and literally anything they can get their hands on in a very shitty, very personal way. BUT they don’t threaten. It may feel threatening that anything that becomes public in your life will be used against you to humor a bunch of trolls, but that’s all it is.

    It just happens to exist, as I said above, in a context where people like me get threatened by others. And if you don’t know how to distinguish between the different kinds of hate or have any reason to, it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to a bunch of assholes making these videos. My hate came mostly from Stormfront, though, so it was never going to be confused for Slymepit.

  170. 225

    Ashley, thanks for replying. Your interpretations on the shoop, regarding context, intent, and so on, are not correct. The video is a bit more complicated. Would you be interested in learning what the actual context, target/focus, and so on of both of those items is?

  171. 226

    To me, the image reads as if we’ve all been raped and we are rating our experience of the rape, which I find deeply disturbing. I think one could make an argument that we have all watched a rape without intervening and we’re rating it, which is also disturbing. The image itself doesn’t provide enough context for me to determine which is correct, though I imagine there is some inside ballgame info I’m missing.

    Here’s the full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xue581fCplc&hc_location=ufi&app=desktop. There’s an earlier one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEXvhqNwzpM

    It is me because I am named. I am committing suicide, lol, by patriarchy, lol, for oppression points, lol, so I can win at the oppression olympics or something similar in concept.

    Some context first:

    a) the first picture makes fun not of the idea of the persons in the picture being raped, or witnessing a rape and doing nothing, but of the problem of “rape grading” and of the “rape at knife-point by a stranger vs. non-violent rape by an acquaintance” discussion on twitter which was started by Richard Dawkins. According to some all kinds of sexual crimes are equal, while others disagree.

    The expression “rape grading” does sound pretty absurd to some ears. The persons in the picture are represented as assigning grades to a hypothetical rape (not necessarily a real one; it could be a fictional representation), as if it were some kind of competition. PZ Myers gives the rape a low grade because it doesn’t include tentacles. This makes fun of the time when PZ Myers recommended tentacle hentai, which very often involves fictional representations of rape.

    Is this black humor, and maybe not for all tastes? Yes, it is. I’d wager, though, that it isn’t worse than the “Dove sponsors rape” joke made by PZ Myers. No one in the picture is “threatened” with rape or accused of doing nothing about rape. What is mocked is the idea that some people might think use the expression “rape grading”.

    b) For the video, I’d say that Ashley’s interpretation seems to be not too far for the truth: her fictional counterpart insists that a fellow member of her group shoot her to get victim points in a tournament (the 2014 Whine-Off). Again, black humor, but it’s pretty hard to characterize it as a “threat” (which is something that admittedly Ashley hasn’t done ,but others have).

    Certainly it’s not more of a threat that when PZ Myers said he wanted to “fuck him [Gelato Guy] in the ground”, or when other people here say to people they don’t like to “die in a fire”.

    It seems to me that if the Slymepit is a “hate site”, populated by “terrorists”, the same could be easily said about many blogs on FTB, and especially Pharyngula.

    There’s a difference, though: no one on the Slymepit has accused anyone of a crime in a serious, non-satirical way. The only times that some “criminal accusations” made against people on FTB have been addressed it was only to address the double standards according to which all accusations of sexual impropriety should be believed but not the ones made against PZ Myers and Lousy Canuck.

    No one on the Slymepit seriously believes that PZ Myers and Lousy Canuck were actually guilty of what they were accused, but some of us (myself included) are rather baffled by the apparent contradiction between saying that every accuser should be believed and expecting people to believe that you were falsely accused.

    PZ Myers, on the other hand, has repeatedly accused others of criminal behavior, such as rape (for example in Michael Shermer’s case). PZ leaves no room to doubt: he explicitly calls Shermer a rapist.

    An explicit accusation of a crime, in absence of an adjective such as “alleged”, “accused” or “possible” would be considered libe in many countries. In general it’s bad form for a skeptic to express oneself in such categorical ways when no investigation from experts has examined the evidence of Shermer’s case.

    False or imprecise accusation can ruin (and have ruined) the lives of many innocent people. It seems to me that the best move for a skeptic might not be to express such certainty in absence of a sentence.

    Random people on the Internet may also not be the best authority on how to handle a complex criminal case. Just as we wouldn’t let some random people deal with a complex scientific experiment but we employ lab specialists, I think we shouldn’t let random people deal with matters that are best addressed by the justice system.

    People on the Slymepit have also been accused of “rape apology”. I believe that according to reasonable standards this isn’t true. No one on the Slymepit believes that rape is a trivial matter, or that victims of rape were somewhat responsible for what others have done to them, or that rapists shouldn’t be punished very harshly.

    Many people on the Slymepit and elsewhere, however, believe that all accusations of serious crimes (including rape) should be taken seriously, but not automatically believed.

    “Trust, but verify” seems to be a better guideline than “listen and believe”, especially for skeptics. Eyewitness reports are notoriously unreliable, memories can get confused, and in general an accusation alone isn’t evidence.

  172. 227

    The Slymepit disbelieves her. We believe her for several reasons, one simple one is that she has nothing to gain by lying. You people disbelieve her because she’s a woman and “bitches be lying.” It all boils down to your misogyny. And please, don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you are withholding judgement. Both of us know you’re not.

    Al Dente, please do not try to guess other people’s opinion without asking. You’re not a mind reader as far as I can tell (if you are, James Randi has a prize for you) so you can’t know what people on the Slymepit think, and unless you provide some clear evidence that someone who posts on the Slymepit disbelieve the accuser because she’s a woman your statement looks like a baseless smear.

    That said, I think that most members of the Slymepit neither believe nor disbelieve the account of the accuser. I know that I’m withholding judgment on what happened since both her narrative and Shermer’s seem to change and to be contradictory and incoherent to a degree, which is to be expected for both of them since they are trying to recall events that happened years before the accusation.

    It also seems to me that your worldview is based on a black and white dichotomy between “reporting events as they actually happened” and “lying”. This simply isn’t true.

    Our brains aren’t perfect recording machines. We forget, we form new, constructed memories that sometimes we come to believe that those memories are the truth. So it’s possible to be genuinely convinced of one’s version of some events which doesn’t match what actually happened. If you believe in a wrong version of an event you’re giving a wrong account of what happened, but you’re not lying.

    That said, people of all genders also lie. Maybe Shermer is lying, or maybe not. Maybe the person who accused him is lying, or maybe not. Or maybe neither of them is lying and one of them (or even both) just doesn’t remember what actually happened.

    I don’t think that we are qualified or entitled to declare that we are certain that one version of the events is certainly the truth. I think that the justice system has much better ways to address this issue than an Internet blog.

    Unfortunately the timing of the accusation makes it impossible for the justice system to be involved. If someone wants to report on the accuser’s story that’s fine, but I do think that some skeptics should give both Shermer and his accuser the benefit of the doubt. This means that calling Shermer “a rapist” on a public blog, with no other qualifier (“alleged” “accused” etc.) is in my humble opinion a gross violation of the principles of skepticism.

  173. 228

    Pitchguest@214

    How is it relevant? It’s an analogy.

    Well, duh. An analogy that fails on all levels is not a relevant analogy. That’s what I meant. Sorry, for some strange reason I thought you could understand something this basic.

    1) No, but others are. I’m just turning a blind eye.

    This alone makes the analogy totally fucking useless and you know it.

    2) I don’t just “refuse” to answer questions. I just don’t care. Or if I should change it a little, maybe I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with the police bothering me. That is one of the reasons why Alison never went to the police, wasn’t it? The bother?

    You’re a piece of garbage. The analogy fails here too because the police has no reason to bother you, whereas the experience of many rape victims with the police adds to the traumatic experience of their rape.

    3) It’s testifying against a perpetrator of a crime.

    Testifying against a murderer is very different from testifying against your rapist = Your analogy fails.

    4) So what? So was Jian Ghomeshi and he’s now facing life in prison. Alison claims that Shermer is not just a rapist, but a serial rapist, and she claims that she talked to the other women who suffered the same fate and that they are willing to testify. But they didn’t.

    So what? Well it makes your analogy fail even more strongly. About other victims having said they are willing to testify and did not: I don’t know about it. Maybe they changed their mind, that’s none of my business. Because fucking nobody has anything of the sort to demand from a rape victim.

    5) No, she didn’t. She did nothing of the sort. She told Jeff Wagg, her boyfriend at the time. No one else. And then she and Jeff invited Shermer back to conventions, over and over and over again. She shmoozed. She posed for pictures. She called the convention itself, where the rape supposedly took place, a “blast.”

    Aaaand she asked PZ to publish an accusation. FFS it’s hard to attribute this level of obliviousness to mere incompetence.

    Is that your idea about warning other women? And more to the point, if she didn’t want to reveal this in public, couldn’t she have done it in private? Isn’t it very strange that no one else got to know about Shermer until six years later?

    No one except all the women who knew that Shermer did this sort of things, as reported in PZ’s original post.

    I mean, it is inconceivable that no one else wouldn’t have alerted the authorities. In-con-fucking-ceivable.

    Oh, you cannot conceive this, I guess that settles it then. Seriously, it’s because of something called rape culture, and your comment is part of what makes it possible. Congrats.

    the original claim had nothing to do with alcohol, only that she was “coerced into a position where she could not consent.” And truth be told, I also don’t know what that means.

    He made her drink too much without her realising it or being in a position where she could control it. What’s so difficult to understand?

  174. 230

    sff9 @222 wrote:

    He made her drink too much…

    Please elaborate. How, precisely, did he make her drink anything?

    Your assertion that Shermer “made her drink too much” implies that Smith lacked agency to make her own decisions, or that Shermer forcibly or surreptitiously fed her alcohol. Please correct me if that’s not what you meant. Did he physically open her mouth and pour the booze in himself? Did he give her a spiked drink or three without her knowledge? Did he otherwise make it impossible for her to say “no thanks?” Saving these things, how, precisely, did he make her drink too much?

    Does she bear any of the responsibility for regulating her own alcohol intake, or do you think all of the blame goes to Shermer?

  175. 231

    I think it was probably like that scene in A Clockwork Orange? Or maybe you probably understood what was meant by the statement and you’re not arguing in an entirely honest manner? Probably I think this second one, actually.

  176. 232

    Clearly, johngreg is a dishonest, gaslighting troll with whom it’s useless to discuss. However my post was indeed badly worded (not that it would have bothered anyone arguing in good faith, of course). So, to be clear, that’s just the most likely interpretation, I don’t know what she meant precisely but that’s irrelevant, whereas Pitchguest made it sound like it was a cryptic, inscrutable statement.

    OnionHead@224

    sff9 @222 wrote: He made her drink too much…

    Please elaborate. How, precisely, did he make her drink anything?

    By making sure her glass was always full, so that she wouldn’t know for sure how much she drank, for example?

    Does she bear any of the responsibility for regulating her own alcohol intake, or do you think all of the blame goes to Shermer?

    What the fuck. That’s not the question. Even if she was fully aware of how much she was drinking, and very willing to drink so much, it has nothing to do with the fact that the blame goes to Shermer for fucking raping her what the fuck is wrong with you all I don’t even

  177. 233

    Ashley F. Miller,
    I am honestly and truly at a loss. Please explain. How does one person make another person drink too much – if not through use of physical force or deception? Please explain. I’m am asking in all sincerity. If it didn’t happen like Clockwork Orange, please paint me a picture that you think accurately describes how it did happen.

  178. 234

    sff9 @226 wrote:

    By making sure her glass was always full

    So how did Shermer cause the drink to get from inside her glass and into her mouth and stomach? Did she have any part to play in that, or was that part made to happen by Shermer as well? Did she have the option to say “no thanks” when someone tried to fill up her glass, or do you think Shermer prevented her from being able to do that? How does this equate to Shermer making her drink too much?

    What the fuck. That’s not the question. Even if she was fully aware of how much she was drinking, and very willing to drink so much, it has nothing to do with the fact that the blame goes to Shermer for fucking raping her what the fuck is wrong with you all I don’t even

    I was responding very specifically to your assertion that Shermer “made her drink too much.” My question was in regards to that particular assertion. You claimed that Shermer “made her drink too much” which seems to imply that Shermer is 100% to blame for her drinking too much. Hence, my question asking if she had any responsibility for regulating her own drinking.

    Of course if Shermer actually raped her, then the blame would be 100% on him. I have not and would never say otherwise.

  179. 235

    To clarify my last sentence @228:
    Of course if Shermer actually raped her, then the blame [for said rape] would be 100% on him. I have not and would never say otherwise. [However, as I explained, I was responding very specifically to your assertion about Shermer making her drink too much].

  180. 236

    If your drink is constantly being topped up, it’s very difficult to tell how much you are actually drinking. And society also teaches women that in social situations it’s extremely impolite and ‘bad’ to refuse someone else who is being polite, especially if that someone else is male. And considering the nasty sorts of reactions I’ve gotten just from saying “Sorry, I just want to read my book right now” when men have tried to initiate conversations, and the nasty sorts of reactions other women have gotten from rejecting men, this sort of appeasement behaviour on our parts gets heavily reinforced.

    So, you have difficulty in gauging how much alcohol has been consumed, you don’t want to be rude, you may not notice every time the drink gets topped up especially if you’re in a place like a party, talking makes you thirsty, etc and voila…

    No, Shermer didn’t force alcohol down her throat physically, but he took advantage to ensure that more alcohol was consumed than otherwise would have been.

  181. 237

    OnionHead@228, see Rowan vet-tech’s comment.

    If you make sure my glass is always full so that I’m not sure how much I drank, you’re making me drink too much. If you order drinks larger than I asked for, you’re making me drink too much. If you insist that I take another drink even though I’m arguing that I drank enough and should stop, you’re making me drink too much.

    That does not mean “you are 100% responsible for me drinking too much” (and I never said it did). What was the point of this ridiculous semantic nitpicking? I suppose you will soon reveal how this is a fatal loophole in Alison Smith’s story?

  182. 238

    Ah, so it’s the man’s responsibility to ensure that women don’t drink too much, in some instances, such as when a man fills a woman’s drink glass presumably when she is, what? in the bathroom, looking out the window with her ears blocked, blind too I guess; never notices the level going up/down, and other sorts of ways that she is wholly unaware that he is filling up her drink glass, and then in those instances women are simply not responsible for how much they drink ’cause patriarchy? Sneaky ghosts? Right?

    OK.

    Got it.

    So, when exactly do adult women actually have cerebral awareness and maturity and enough general situational awareness to observe the world around them and have self-empowerment, responsibility for their place in the world and their actions therein; when do you folks actually give women agency? I mean, so far as I know, we’re not talking roophies, right?

  183. 239

    johngreg@232

    Ah, so it’s the man’s responsibility to ensure that women don’t drink too much

    No. It’s the man’s responsibility to not rape women. You pathetic troll.

  184. 240

    Rowan vet-tech and sff9,
    Thank you both for clarifying your position(s). I’m not looking for or trying to spring any trap or loophole, I was genuinely just trying to understand what you meant.

    I strongly disagree with both of you on many points. Including whether it’s fair to say that “he made her drink too much,” even assuming that the scenarios you described actually happened in this case. Suffice to say I think you are (inadvertently, perhaps) downplaying the agency and free will of one party and exaggerating the level of influence or control of the other party. But I’ll not press the point further as we aren’t likely to find too much common ground here.

    However I think it is worth pointing out that we are probably in complete agreement on a number of fundamental points. For instance: rape is always wrong, never justified or excused; rapists should held accountable and brought to justice, but there are many reasons that too often doesn’t happen; it’s never the victim’s fault, no matter what; we should take all reports seriously and make every effort to handle and investigate with care; an important goal is to reduce the prevalence of rape thereby reducing the number of people victimized; another important goal is to make it easier/safer for victims to report; etc. I would hope we could agree on these things and many more.

    We can constantly focus on and argue over our differences, or maybe try to work together towards common goals. But it’s pretty much impossible to do both.

  185. 241

    OnionHead, there is a rape-related issue you don’t seem to be cognizant of (or if you are, that cognizance is not apparent in the words you’ve posted here. Namely, the question of general rape-prevention strategies: Do you (a) teach potential victims How Not To Get Raped, or (b) teach potential rapists to Not Commit Rape In The First Place? That is, is it better to focus on influencing the behavior of potential victims, or to focus on influencing the behavior of potential offenders?

    If I can judge by your statement “I think you are (inadvertently, perhaps) downplaying the agency and free will of one party and exaggerating the level of influence or control of the other party”, you appear to regard influence the behavior of potential offenders as an intrinsically ineffective strategy for preventing rape, and influence the behavior of potential victims as an intrinsically effective rape-prevention strategy. Well, there’s been just a whole lot of influence-the-victims—anything which fits the general pattern “you wouldn’t have been raped if you did X” qualifies, yes?—and, curiously, it’s not at all clear to what degree any of the numerous Xs (i.e., “dress modestly”, “don’t go out alone at night”, etc etc etc) *actually do* help victims avoid being raped.

    Indeed, there are just a whole lot of cases in which victims who *did* do X *got* *raped* *anyway*.

    So there is at least some good reason to suspect that influence-the-victims is, in fact, a decidedly less effective class of rape-prevention strategy than one might (naively or otherwise) assume at first.

    As for the influence-the-offender class of rape-prevention strategies… I’ll let you do the googling yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover.

  186. 242

    quentinlong @235 wrote:

    OnionHead, there is a rape-related issue you don’t seem to be cognizant of (or if you are, that cognizance is not apparent in the words you’ve posted here. Namely, the question of general rape-prevention strategies: Do you (a) teach potential victims How Not To Get Raped, or (b) teach potential rapists to Not Commit Rape In The First Place? That is, is it better to focus on influencing the behavior of potential victims, or to focus on influencing the behavior of potential offenders?

    (c) you presented a false dichotomy

    It’s not an “either-or.” It’s an “and.” As for (a) yes I think we should publish tips on how to avoid or minimize the risk of rape or assault, but that should be just a small piece of a much broader approach. It should be something that each person is free to follow or ignore as suits them, published as guidance for those who find it useful. That said, as I’m quite sure you know (probably better than I do), these things can be problematic in that they might not be effective, and they are often written specifically for the stranger-attack scenario which actually is less frequent. Depending on how the are “marketed” they could also send a message that society expects women to alter their behavior to accommodate and avoid heinous criminal behavior, as opposed to expecting the criminals (and their parents, teachers, etc.) to alter their behavior to prevent such criminal behavior in the first place. So it should be done with care, probably by an anti-rape or victim’s advocacy group. As for (b) yes of course we should try to do whatever we can to reduce the incidence of rape, by infuencing potential rapists directly and als indirectly through those who themselves influence the potential rapists most (e.g., family, friends, teachers, priests, etc.). This should be our primary focus.

    Not to mention there are more than just those two strategies. We should be doing (a) and (b), plus (c) though (z), whatever is successful in reducing the number of rapes and assaults. We should rely on the best data and the best understanding we have as to underlying causes of criminal behavior and as to what approaches are most effective. We should continue to do more studies and we should take advantage of natural experiments in the future so that we can move incrementally towards better and better solutions. We should not limit our options based on black-or-white thinking and either-or strategies. We should try what works best and we should continually improve and innovate as we learn. We should focus our resources where it will have the largest and most significant impacts. I could go on but I feel like I’m rambling.

    I’ll leave it to you to decide whether (a) I was simply not cognizant of this issue before you brought it up, or (b) whether my previous comments were unclear. Or perhaps, (c) there is another explanation and you’ve presented another false dichotomy?

    If I can judge by your statement…

    Let me cut to the chase: not even fucking close. Not even in the ballpark. None of it. None of your absurd strawman can or will be attributed to me. All of that came from your mind and was typed by your fingers and I dissociate myself from it. None of the assumptions you made about me were correct.

    Clear?

    Now then, are you willing to confront and acknowledge the fact that you mischaracterized my view so grossly? Are you willing to admit that perhaps you aren’t as proficient as you thought at figuring out what others really think? More importantly, will you perhaps not be so quick to presume that you know the mind and motivations of others in the future, especially if they are based on nothing more than a handful of comments?

    I’m sorry to put it bluntly but you were so far off the mark that you really ought to be at least a little embarassed for it. Next time just ask what the other person thinks and leave the amteur mentalism to the stage magicians please.

  187. 243

    Quentinlong (#235):

    … you appear to regard influence the behavior of potential offenders as an intrinsically ineffective strategy for preventing rape, and influence the behavior of potential victims as an intrinsically effective rape-prevention strategy. ….

    Just out of curiosity, or as a point of reference, I wonder, what you would say about a guy going into a seedy bar late at night and flashing a roll of bills in paying for his drink? That is, do you think it is “better to focus on influencing the behavior of potential victims, or to focus on influencing the behavior of potential offenders” in that situation? Which strategy do you think is likely to minimize the harm to that guy?

    Seems to me that, as OnionHead suggested, the best strategy kind of depends on the circumstances and on the context, with the responsibilities or obligations to minimize harm being likewise. While it might suck that that is the nature of the beast, at least in part, it seems rather pigheaded, at best, to ignore that fact.

  188. 244

    HJ Hornbeck (#212):

    Steersman: Say, you’re not stalking us are you HJ?
    HJ: No more than I stalk the weather report.

    As I no more stalk you than I read & respond to e-mail notifications from blogs I follow.

    Steersman: In addition, I wonder how you define “insular” as that would seem to require some information of how frequently members comment outside their home bases.

    HJ: Hold on a sec: a common defense of the SlymePit is that what happens there stays there. Don’t want to see it? Don’t visit! Stephanie Zvan, to name one person, has argued the contrary. So by asking me to look for SlymePit-related things outside the ‘Pit, Steersman, you’ve not only called your peers there liars, you’ve agreed with Stephanie Zvan’s analysis of the ‘Pit.

    What horsecrap HJ. That some people might argue that “common defense” hardly means that everyone (including me) does or that it is necessarily accurate. But not surprising as motivated reasoning seems to be your forte. As when you practically broke both arms patting yourself on the back (in your “strutting” post) because some “major scientific publication just argued that sex is a social construct”, and that that somehow vindicated you and the author of the “Transfeminist Manifesto”. Except that they had said nothing of the sort.

  189. 245

    OnionHead@236

    yes I think we should publish tips on how to avoid or minimize the risk of rape or assault, but that should be just a small piece of a much broader approach. It should be something that each person is free to follow or ignore as suits them, published as guidance for those who find it useful. That said, as I’m quite sure you know (probably better than I do), these things can be problematic in that they might not be effective, and they are often written specifically for the stranger-attack scenario which actually is less frequent. Depending on how the are “marketed” they could also send a message that society expects women to alter their behavior to accommodate and avoid heinous criminal behavior, as opposed to expecting the criminals (and their parents, teachers, etc.) to alter their behavior to prevent such criminal behavior in the first place. So it should be done with care, probably by an anti-rape or victim’s advocacy group.

    I don’t see how it’s possible to “market” some rape-avoiding tips without blaming victims and increase the ways society keep women under control. Just read Steersman’s 237, with the subtle implication that a woman getting drunk (wait, not even getting drunk: having somebody make her drink too much) should expect to be raped just as a guy flashing a roll of bills should expect to be robbed. No amount of care can prevent this kind of strategy to reinforce rape culture. If you disagree, please give an example (just a heads-up: your previous comments are not rrrrreally going in the right direction).

    Now then, are you willing to confront and acknowledge the fact that you mischaracterized my view so grossly? Are you willing to admit that perhaps you aren’t as proficient as you thought at figuring out what others really think? More importantly, will you perhaps not be so quick to presume that you know the mind and motivations of others in the future, especially if they are based on nothing more than a handful of comments?

    I’m sorry to put it bluntly but you were so far off the mark that you really ought to be at least a little embarassed for it. Next time just ask what the other person thinks and leave the amteur mentalism to the stage magicians please.

    Woah, what’s with the patronizing bullshit? Your comments generally make you look like a rape apologist: just get over it or change your attitude, instead of blaming others for not acknowledging your perfection.

  190. 246

    sff9 said:

    … just a heads-up: your previous comments are not rrrrreally going in the right direction….

    I love it when that kind of Orwellian Newspeak correction clause comes into play. It says much about the speaker.

  191. 247

    johngreg@240, wut? OnionHead seems to think it is possible to carefully “market” rape-avoiding tips so as to avoid victim blaming. I just note that their previous comments are leaning towards victim blaming, so they will have to be way more careful if they try to provide an example. What exactly does this have to do with Orwellian newspeak?

  192. 248

    stff9 @239 wrote:

    I don’t see how it’s possible to “market” some rape-avoiding tips without blaming victims and increase the ways society keep women under control.

    Fortunately, the rest of the world is not constrained by what you see or don’t see. Nor is “I don’t see how it’s possible…” any sort of convincing argument.

    Just read Steersman’s 237, with the subtle implication…

    Based on my reading, it seems far more likely that you have yet again mischaracterized and misinterpreted what was written. I’m sure it was not intentional. In any case, you really ought to stop putting so much faith in your ability to suss out “subtle implications” from these comments. Such faith is misplaced and it does you a great disservice in public discourse.

    Woah, what’s with the patronizing bullshit?

    Not addressed to you. Read the thread if you want the backstory. Also, calling something “patronizing bullshit” is not a refutation and doesn’t make it untrue.

    Your comments generally make you look like a rape apologist: just get over it or change your attitude, instead of blaming others for not acknowledging your perfection.

    I’m tempted to tell you how I think your comments make you look, however I’ll not stoop to your level and I don’t want to sully the (relatively) civil atmosphere.

    I’m not a rape apologist and nothing I have written, in any way, suggests that I am a rape apologist. If you disagree, it means that you misinterpreted what I wrote, period. Sorry I wasn’t more clear, but communication is a two-way street and you are driving the wrong way and running cars off the road.

    As for me “blaming others for not acknowledging [my] perfection,” that is yet another silly strawman and not at all consistent with my previous comments.

  193. 249

    OnionHead@243, your comment is really condescending. It’s not the first time, and it’s irritating, that’s why I answer kinda snarkily. I think it’s only fair; I hope you forgive me.

    Fortunately, the rest of the world is not constrained by what you see or don’t see. Nor is “I don’t see how it’s possible…” any sort of convincing argument.

    Sorry, I thought for a moment that it would actually be possible to discuss with you. Silly me.

    By the way, your comment does not contain any sort of convincing argument or refutation either, so I’m not sure what your point is here.

    Based on my reading, it seems far more likely that you have yet again mischaracterized and misinterpreted what was written. I’m sure it was not intentional. In any case, you really ought to stop putting so much faith in your ability to suss out “subtle implications” from these comments. Such faith is misplaced and it does you a great disservice in public discourse.

    Thanks for the lesson, much appreciated.

    Not addressed to you. Read the thread if you want the backstory.

    I had read it. You ridiculously overreacted with great condescension to quentinlong’s very nice comment.

    Your comments generally make you look like a rape apologist: just get over it or change your attitude, instead of blaming others for not acknowledging your perfection.

    I’m tempted to tell you how I think your comments make you look, however I’ll not stoop to your level and I don’t want to sully the (relatively) civil atmosphere.

    You’re a saint.

    I’m not a rape apologist and nothing I have written, in any way, suggests that I am a rape apologist.

    That’s wishful thinking… Your JAQing off about how it is possible to make someone drink too much made you appear as one. Once again, to be clear, it does not mean you appear as someone who endorses rape, but as someone who endorses (at least some aspects of) rape culture.

    If you disagree, it means that you misinterpreted what I wrote, period. Sorry I wasn’t more clear, but communication is a two-way street and you are driving the wrong way and running cars off the road.

    As for me “blaming others for not acknowledging [my] perfection,” that is yet another silly strawman and not at all consistent with my previous comments.

    What I meant is that instead of acting all outraged that quentinlong misinterpreted your comments, you could acknowledge that maybe it’s also your fault.

    With that out of the way: if you think it is possible to carefully “market” rape-avoiding tips so as to avoid victim blaming and reinforcing rape culture, please explain how. The problem is that as soon as there is a tip, there is a way to blame the one who did not follow the tip. I sure know the world is not constrained by what I deem possible or not, but, well, it seems a rather basic implication.

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    sff9 (#244):

    With that out of the way: if you think it is possible to carefully “market” rape-avoiding tips so as to avoid victim blaming and reinforcing rape culture, please explain how.

    Do you have home or car insurance? You think it likely that your insurance company would be particularly willing or happy to pay you for a claim of theft if it was obvious that you hadn’t locked your home or vehicle?

    Sure seems to me that many people are making this a black and white issue, rather than being willing to look at it from more than one side. While there’s no question that regardless of whether you’ve left your car unlocked, or whether a woman who’s been raped was drunk or wearing scanty clothing, crimes would have been committed and that the perpetrators should be penalized to fullest extent of the law. However, prior to the events happening, it seems quite reasonable to argue that the individuals likely to victims of such crimes have some moral and social responsibility to minimize the likelihood of them happening in the first place.

    But that still doesn’t entail any blaming of the victim since there aren’t any before the fact. But after it? Then I suppose we might reasonably suggest that they were partially or potentially to blame – for either the theft or the rape – without that in anyway reducing the blame or penalties that could be laid at the doorsteps of the criminals. But one might reasonably ask which is better: to take steps to minimize the likelihood of being victimized before the fact? Or being able to penalize the perpetrators after it? Sure seems that the latter is likely to be rather cold comfort to compensate for some no doubt serious trauma

  195. 251

    sff9 @244,
    It was meant to be condescending. Your repeated casual and careless accusations of rape-apologia (and the like) are despicable and deserve no more than scorn and contempt.

    I do notice, though, that you dialed-back your smear just a tad, and downgraded me from “someone who endorses rape” to “someone who endorses (at least some aspects of) rape culture.” At least you are moving in the right direction now, but this is still an absurd falsehood. I endorse no such thing, and if you believe otherwise you are mistaken. I ask you to stop repeating these baseless accusations.

    You seem to think this is no big deal, I’m over-reactng, “acting all outraged.” You don’t seem to realize the seriousness of what you are saying or how it effects people. You do remember that I’m a person with feelings right? FYI I’m a rape survivor myself and I now do volunteer work with a victim’s advocacy organization. I work directly with victims and their families. So what you are saying about me is untrue and patently absurd given my actual views, not to mention deeply, deeply offensive and hurtful given my personal lived experience.

    In other words, I’ll see your irritation, and I’ll raise you my PTSD. Keep going if you want, but I’m done with you and refuse to allow you anymore space in my head.

    Ashley Miller are you watching? The standard you walk past? You have been remarkably reasonable and fair, and I thank you again for allowing unfettered discussion; I’m not intending to complian so much as express my surprise and disappointment. I would hate to think that you honestly have no problem with these casual and careless smears. You apparently feel that shenanigans with names/nyms (e.g, Dr. so and so PhD, etc,) is serious enough to merit a warning, but tossing out accusations of rape-apologia is fine and dandy? Please say it ain’t so?

  196. 253

    @OnionHead

    I do not have time to be here 24/7, alas. And I’m sorry that the opinion that your statements are rape apologia or support rape culture is upsetting to you, but I don’t think that it’s trolling and I don’t think it’s being said with the intent to upset you, I think it’s being said because it’s an opinion based on your statements as given. In other words, I don’t think differences of opinions or opinions about opinions are the same as name calling. However, if I understand your statements, I do think it’s off the mark.

    If I understand you, you think that women (and men) should be taught how to avoid rape, because why would we deny someone an incredibly powerful tool of self-protection if we have it, but they shouldn’t be blamed if they fail to take those precautions, because no matter what, a rapist is to blame for his (or her) crime?

  197. 254

    Ashley said:

    … women (and men) should be taught how to avoid rape, because why would we deny someone an incredibly powerful tool of self-protection if we have it, but they shouldn’t be blamed if they fail to take those precautions, because no matter what, a rapist is to blame for his (or her) crime?

    I think that’s very well worded, Ashley. However, I would like to suggest the following small addition:

    … women (and men) should be taught how to avoid rape, because why would we deny someone an incredibly powerful tool of self-protection if we have it. They should be held responsible for their actions, but not blamed for the rape, if they fail to take those precautions, because no matter what, a rapist is to blame for his (or her) crime?

    Do you think that works?

  198. 256

    Ya, you’re right, Ashley. I’ve been thinking about it. It’s problematic as it’s worded.

    I think that what I am trying to say is that while a crime, be it rape, robbery, et al. is almost always not the victim’s fault (the perp is the active aggressor in the commission of the crime; the victim is the passive target of the action commissioned by the perp), if the victim of said crime did not take advantage of an available “incredibly powerful tool of self-protection”, the victim, not the perp, is responsible for not taking those steps which might have reduced the level of risk of being victimized by the perp. That’s not blaming; it is saying that the victim might have reduced the risk level by taking self-protection steps. Not an absolute; not blame; a statement of responsibility for taking (or not) steps to reduce one’s level of risk.

    Responsibility does not necessarily equate with blame, it is just a way of saying something like While X did not cause the crime to occur (blame), it is possible that X’s levels of risk could have been reduced, and therefore the level of plausibility for the opportunity for the crime to occur could have been lowered (responsibility for X’s actions) had they done so.

    It might be pedantic or overly nitpicky as it stands, and I am aware I am not at all wording it as well as I intuitively understand what I am trying to say, so let’s just regard it as a sort of exercise in thinking out loud and trying to formulate a distinction between blame and self-responsbility.

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    @johngreg

    This, to me, is where it seems to become victim blaming, right. It seems like you could, en masse, statistically analyze rapes and seek patterns and say these behaviors/locations/items of clothing, etc., correlate with being raped, though I am unsure how you can compare those to say, how often the general population is or isn’t engaging in those behaviors to determine if there is actually a deviation from the norm in terms of heightened risk. (In other words it might be that 60% of rape victims were wearing black, but if 60% of people wear black it’s not a meaningful thing to not do). But what you cannot do is look at a single case and reasonably talk about it in terms of the victims behavior, because that is 1. immediately putting the focus on the wrong thing and 2. complete speculation as to which behavior actually put them at risk. The entire problem with the discussion is that every time people talk about what women shouldn’t do (or worse shouldn’t have done) because it puts them at risk for rape, they are guessing, because there’s been no analysis of what is the actual risk of drinking x number of drinks in x bar under x circumstances. No one knows what kind of risk they are taking by doing that. We talk like it’s common sense, but the reality is, how many millions of times do people go and get drunk and nothing bad happens. Insurance companies have actually done this and all kinds of similar math for your car, which is why it’s a terrible analogy.

  200. 258

    @johngreg

    Like for your car — your insurance company can tell you how risky it is for you to park it on your street versus in your parking space, based on what kind of car it is, what year it is, what color it is, whether you lock it, what your stereo system is, what your rims are, how dark the tint of your windows are, based on what your address is, etc etc etc.

    But until such a time as insurance companies cover rape, no one’s gonna do the research needed to get that specific, which means every jerk commenting about a rape after the fact doesn’t know what he’s talking about on top of the fact that he’s being a jerk.

  201. 260

    Ashley F. Miller,
    @247;

    If I understand you, you think that women (and men) should be taught how to avoid rape, because why would we deny someone an incredibly powerful tool of self-protection if we have it, but they shouldn’t be blamed if they fail to take those precautions, because no matter what, a rapist is to blame for his (or her) crime?

    Yes, precisely. Very well put. I am in complete agreement with this. You’ve said it better than I can.

    And thank you for acknowledging that “rape enabler” might be off the mark. Believe it or not, that means a lot to me.

    @253:

    Actually, if you’re in favor of rape prevention tips, you should be first in line supporting Alison Smith, since that’s exactly what she was offering.

    I’m not really sure what you mean by “supporting Alison Smith.” If you mean support her right to tell her story, well then I do. I fully support her in that endeavor. If you mean necessarily believe her story, well that doesn’t seem to follow and so I doubt that’s what you meant. Would you mind clarifying?

  202. 261

    @254 OnionHead Even if you do believe her, doesn’t necessarily even mean it’s a statistically useful rape prevention tip. But yes, I mean the right to tell her story, not the believe it necessarily.

    I do wonder what people who don’t like what PZ has done in giving Alison a platform think a rape victim themselves should do if they find themselves in the circumstance that at the point they’re ready to talk the Statute of Limitations has passed. Certainly all the women who’ve spoken up around Cosby have done the right thing, no? Even the unnamed ones?

  203. 262

    @ Ashley,

    I do wonder what people who don’t like what PZ has done in giving Alison a platform think a rape victim themselves should do if they find themselves in the circumstance that at the point they’re ready to talk the Statute of Limitations has passed. Certainly all the women who’ve spoken up around Cosby have done the right thing, no? Even the unnamed ones?

    I had mixed feelings about it. It’s important to keep in mind the complete lack of details around it. Shermer raped someone, somewhere, at some time. That was pretty much the level of detail given. It was impossible for Shermer to respond and impossible for outsiders to judge the situation. Further, some of the “evidence” was quite dubious, for example “that one time where Shermer gave a woman wine and nothing happened” as being evidence he raped someone. There is a difference between a serious allegation and lame gossip, and it was tough to determine what we were dealing with then before Oppenheimer’s article.

    1. 262.1

      Hey Edward! How are you?

      I had mixed feelings about it. It’s important to keep in mind the complete lack of details around it. Shermer raped someone, somewhere, at some time. That was pretty much the level of detail given. It was impossible for Shermer to respond and impossible for outsiders to judge the situation. Further, some of the “evidence” was quite dubious, for example “that one time where Shermer gave a woman wine and nothing happened” as being evidence he raped someone. There is a difference between a serious allegation and lame gossip, and it was tough to determine what we were dealing with then before Oppenheimer’s article.

      What about after the Oppenheimer article?

  204. 263

    @ Nate

    Hey Edward! How are you?

    I’m good! Good and sleepy. And you?

    What about after the Oppenheimer article?

    The article filled in a lot of facts, certainly enough to solve all of the criticisms about PZ’s post. While not having all the facts we might want to know, it certainly filled in most of the main questions, like “is this areal person.” I guess my point is there was a lot of appropriate criticism on the way PZ released the information, and it isn’t quite fair to conflate criticism before and after the Oppenheimer article.

  205. 264

    @Edward Gemmer

    I’m good! Also sleepy, to be honest, but that’s normal for me.

    I see what you’re saying, but I feel like PZ did what he was asked to do, and nothing more. I think he did the right thing.

    My initial post to you was a lot longer, explaining, in part, why I’m actually not a fan of reporting these things (nothing to do with heresay and “innocent until proven guilty and all that); everything to do with how victims are treated by cops and the justice system and society). So when someone does want to report, as far as I’m concerned, they are beyond brave. We do not live in a society that makes it safe for victims to report what happened to them. So I never held it against Alison or PZ for the way it was done.

  206. 267

    Thank you for putting together this background. I’d asumed it was over something else, because I find it incomprehensible that so many people are for harrasment and rape. PZ can be super annoying, but to choose this to disagree with him over is … well, it’s very telling. I wonder if people like DJ Grothe and James Randi realise that their behaviour has confirmed the scuttlebutt rather than disprove it.

    I can tell you that I never called myself a feminist (grew up with 80s style anti-men feminism), but all of this, combined with gamer gate has taught me that modern feminism is different (is, in essence, humanism), and that I am one. And that I’d never be caught dead at one of these conferences.

    Keep up the good work, and thank you to thise who’ve put themselves out there to warn the rest of us.

  207. 268

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I stopped reading Hemant. His post in support of the slymepit shows such a lack of judgement that I can’t trust his assesment of things any more. It’s like how you look up places you know in a guidebook so you can see if they’re trustworthy for the places you don’t know.

  208. 269

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I stopped reading Hemant. His post in support of the slymepit shows such a lack of judgement that I can’t trust his assesment of things any more.

    You are, of course, entitled to read or not read whomever you choose; however, it would be nice if you were accurate in your statements about it: Hemant did not write a post in support of the Pit. He only briefly discussed the Pit (accurately too). He even stated quite explicitly, after some of the FTB claims of his supposed support of the Pit, that he did not support the Pit, and that he had not provided any such support in his post.

  209. 270

    […] sexual harassers as fellows, cozying up to the cons who want to take my bodily autonomy away, and disowning people who are willing to give sexual assault victims a voice. Yep, PZ’s not a mellow fellow. But he’s not hiding behind a shield of supposed […]

  210. 271

    A lot of people here seem to think that Shermer is guilty of what Smith accuses him of.
    I remind you all that a man is innocent until proven guilty. No such thing has happened yet. If Smith wanted to accuse Shermer she should’ve brought it before court. It is as simple as that. You cannot take her claims seriously, if even she herself doesn’t want to defend them.

    It seems to me that they tried to fight out this entire battle on social media. Social media isn’t a forum to solve serious issues as the rape accusations made. If Smith wanted to fight this she should’ve gone to court, not to PZ Myers. In doing so she made her case worse. It can be said she knew she was in the wrong too.

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