Sexual harassment accusations in the skeptical and secular communities: a timeline of major events

In the vein of the harassment policies campaign timeline, wherein the major players in the movement fought hard for harassment policies at secular events and largely won the day despite monumental pushback, I felt it prudent to get ahead of people trying to misinterpret the timeline of events and twist the timeline to their own ends. That harassment policies campaign actually contains a significant amount of back-story for a lot of these issues. It also includes a number of charges with regard to assaults that had been reported but not dealt with by the organizations in question. Take a moment to re-familiarize yourself with that timeline before returning here, please.

As a result of the community reaching a tipping point, with many prominent voices having been subjected to harassment for years on end, these past few weeks have become something of a watershed moment for our movements. It is important that the actions are documented, even where legal threats have removed the original claims. I will be updating this on the fly, as a living document, much as I did with the previous timeline. At the bottom is a list of links I’m already planning on including, that will be put into their proper positions as I go.

Please feel free to add important events in the comments, though I am not going back as far as WiS2 and documenting the controversy surrounding it unless it’s extremely relevant to this timeline. I am also not linking every single blog commentary unless it has important or unique events or pieces of context, though I am not against comments containing links to said less-directly-relevant commentary even if it doesn’t make it into the body of the post.

 

May 23rd, 2012
Pseudonymous commenter Miriamne, Michael Shermer, JREF
Prior to the current spate of naming, a comment left at Friendly Atheist names Michael Shermer as allegedly having harassed her, and “trying to sleep with a new young woman every TAM”.
[…]
July 29th, 2013

Ashley Paramore, unnamed assailant, JREF
Ashley details a recent sexual assault at a conference in a video on her Youtube channel, relating how a number of witnesses were present for an unwelcome groping at TAM.

 

August 6th, 2013

Karen Stollznow, unnamed assailant, unnamed organization
Possibly emboldened by Ashley Paramore’s stand, Karen Stollznow comes forward with her own story of having been serially sexually harassed and assaulted over the course of several years. (DOWN)

Ian Murphy, Ben Radford, CFI
Ian Murphy points the finger at Ben Radford as the serial harasser discussed in Karen Stollznow’s post, via Twitter.

PZ Myers, Ben Radford, CFI
PZ Myers updates a post linking to Stollznow’s blog several hours after Ian Murphy names Radford to verify that a number of others had named him as well in private emails.

 

August 7th, 2013

Carrie Poppy, DJ Grothe and Ben Radford, JREF and CFI
Carrie Poppy releases a series of email bombs about the Ben Radford case and describes the major events leading up to her leaving her job as Communications Director of JREF after being serially mistreated by DJ.

Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Sasha describes an incident when he first met DJ Grothe, wherein he suggests that he might drug Sasha and deliver him to his friends to “have fun with him”.

Jason Thibeault, Ben Radford, CFI
I point out that accounts regarding whether or not Radford was punished or even found to have sexually harassed Stollznow by the investigator are in contention, after a private message from Radford to someone who unfollowed him on Facebook is revealed in part in public.

Unnamed victims through Jen McCreight, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Jen explains that one person alleged that Lawrence Krauss had harassed them, then later that a second person alleged he had assaulted them; and that this news came as no surprise as his name has long been whispered in the private back-channels at conferences between women wanting to protect themselves. (REDACTED)

Unnamed victims through Brian Thompson, Ben Radford and Michael Shermer, CFI and JREF
Brian Thompson, former employee of JREF, claims to personally know a number of women who have been harassed by Radford and Shermer, via Twitter. He specifies two instances of ‘being creeped at’, one of ‘being groped’.

Elyse Anders, Michael Shermer, JREF
Elyse describes some unwelcome salacious comments from Shermer after she drops a chicken tender at the TAM9 reception buffet.

 

August 8th, 2013

Matthew Baxter, Ben Radford, CFI
10:35am Central: Matthew Baxter, Karen Stollznow’s husband, in a comment on Blake Smith’s Facebook page, corroborates Stollznow’s story. Speaking directly to Ben Radford, he says that Radford persistently continued to contact Stollznow after being asked for years to stop. Baxter says that he and Stollznow have copies of correspondence backing this up. He also says that when Stollznow cut off communication with Radford, Radford called her “disrespectful.”

Jen McCreight, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
After a vaguely lawsuit-threatening comment by Krauss on her blog, Jen redacts the previous post and begins referring to him as Famous Skeptic.

Eddy Cara, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Eddy relates several of the stories that have floated around regarding Krauss’ questionable activities on a CFI cruise, and how he is frequently mentioned as an alleged serial harasser by the informal back-channel of women trying to protect one another from such harassment at conferences. The post is taken down the same day after Krauss comments almost identically to what was posted at Jen’s; the post is replaced with a statement by The Heresy Club that it was found to be in breach of guidelines. (DOWN)

Eddy Cara, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Eddy Cara comments on his personal blog about the post that was taken down from Heresy Club, which he considered a “calculated risk”.

Unnamed victim via PZ Myers, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
PZ Myers reports that someone he trusts has claimed having been sexually assaulted by Krauss.

Unnamed victim via Stephanie Zvan, Lawrence Krauss, CFI
Stephanie Zvan reports being told the same story as PZ regarding an assault by Lawrence Krauss, though it could be the same person reporting the same incident.

Unnamed victims via PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
PZ Myers posts accounts by sources he trusts regarding allegations of Michael Shermer’s witnessed and experienced predatory tactics and alleged sexual assault of women he coerced into a position where they could not legally consent.

bartmon, DJ Grothe, JREF
Former employee of JREF bartmon concurs with Carrie Poppy’s assessments regarding DJ Grothe.

 

August 9th, 2013

Unnamed victim through delphi_ote, Michael Shermer, JREF
A participant at the JREF forums corroborates the existence of allegations against Michael Shermer by unnamed alleged victims.

Ashley Paramore, unnamed assailants, JREF
Ashley details in a follow-up video the absurd levels of harassment she has since received for talking about her assault, despite not naming names. She uses this to explain why underreporting of harassment and assault is such an issue.

naomibaker, Michael Shermer, JREF
naomibaker relates her story about how she was contacted ostensibly by Michael Shermer’s wife asking if the story she told about a cheating husband without names was talking about Michael. She listed names that Shermer had apparently had affairs with, several of the names being recognizeable.

 

August 12th, 2013

Joe Anderson, Ben Radford, CFI
Joe Anderson corroborates Karen Stollznow’s story, stating that he was one of the folks deposed by CFI’s investigators about the behaviour he witnessed from Radford.

Karen Stollznow, Ben Radford, CFI
The original post by Karen Stollznow is taken down after Ron Lindsay sends a letter to Scientific American. Karen is told by SA staff that it was taken down due to legal threats, while Ron Lindsay claims to have only asked for corrections. The Google Cache version of the page now also 404s, but a copy still exists on Scrible.

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
Michael Shermer’s lawyer issues a cease-and-desist letter demanding that PZ remove the post containing the allegations and claiming that PZ did not hear directly from the alleged victim as he stated, pointing out an update suggesting that Carrie Poppy is responsible for putting the alleged victim in contact with PZ (no word on whether PZ actually spoke to the victim directly though); and claiming that PZ has a profit motive in blog hits. (DOWN) (A cached copy exists on scribd.)

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The post where PZ Myers linked the relevant PDF disappears after getting 70 comments within the span of an hour or so. (DOWN) (A cached copy exists on Google Cache. A second cached copy exists on freze.it.)

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The previous post is quickly replaced with this one stating that PZ has contacted Ken from Popehat.

Stephanie Zvan, Ben Radford / Ron Lindsay, CFI
Stephanie Zvan analyzes the differences and commonalities extensively between Ron Lindsay’s letter demanding corrections of SciAm, and Karen Stollznow’s original allegations. Most relevant is the fact that Lindsay concedes the harassment actually happened.

 

August 13th, 2013

Carrie Poppy, Michael Shermer, JREF
Carrie Poppy and PZ Myers publicly state that Carrie only put the alleged victim into contact with PZ, and that Carrie is not really involved otherwise, despite the assertions in the cease-and-desist letter.

rikzilla, Michael Shermer, JREF
rikzilla relates a story where Shermer propositioned his wife, calling her sexy and asking her to his room for private drinks while he was present.

Renee Davis-Pelt, unnamed assailant, JREF
Renee posts on Facebook that she was present to witness the assault described by Ashley Paramore that happened at TAM.

Dallas J. Haugh, Michael Shermer, JREF
Dallas posts a suicide note which includes allegations of rape against Shermer. It is taken down by a relative when he is secured and taken to a hospital; after he’s released, he reposts it.

 

August 14th, 2013

PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
The deadline given to PZ by Michael Shermer’s lawyers to acknowledge receipt has elapsed. The post is still up.

Brian K. Dalton, unnamed assailant, JREF
In the comments on Ashley Paramore’s video, “Mr. Deity” corroborates Ashley’s story and regrets not doing anything at the time.

 

August 16th, 2013

Ian Murphy, Michael Shermer, JREF
Ian Murphy publishes an email exchange with Shermer wherein Shermer makes some comments, against his lawyer’s orders, about the allegations and his dealings with PZ Myers.

 

August 22nd, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
On a fundraiser page built by Emery Emery, the “Ardent Atheist”, to raise funds for Michael Shermer’s legal offense, Shermer himself comments in support, stating that he was aware of the effort and that any funds not used toward suing PZ Myers would be given to a charity of Emery’s choice. Of note: Benjamin Radford may have donated $40 to this fund under the nym “jaminradford”.

 

August 26th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
John Loftus claims to have personal email from Michael Shermer suggesting that he knows who made the accusations against him, and that if anyone else heard what Shermer told Loftus, Shermer’s innocence would be obvious. He then later walks all of that back when Shermer apparently suggests he DOESN’T know who made the accusation, and was just guessing. I cover this episode on my blog.

 

September 5th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
In an update on his legal offense fund for Shermer, Emery Emery states that they’ve reached the first goal of $5000 and that Michael Shermer “has no choice” but to sue PZ because the post is still up.

 

September 9th, 2013
Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Elyse Anders tweets that DJ Grothe is threatening legal action for defamation against Women Thinking, Inc., parent organization of More Than Men, where Sasha Pixlee posted his accusation that DJ Grothe made a tasteless rape joke. She also suggests that DJ is attempting to hold a WTInc project hostage as collateral. Update: The project is a study about vaccines that is awaiting publication.

 

September 10th, 2013
PZ Myers, Michael Shermer, JREF
Michael Shermer tweets, then deletes, a photo of himself onstage in Germany in front of a sign that says “no drinks onstage” in German. Someone managed to get a screencap before it was removed. The tweet reads:

Skeptics in the Pub Köln “No drinks on stage”? What fun is that? I like to keep my glass full w/out my knowing it…

Sasha Pixlee, DJ Grothe, JREF
Elyse posts a full account of the nature of the legal threats against WTInc by DJ Grothe. Jamie Bernstein, ex member of WTInc, states that the vaccine study funding by JREF was halved to ~$5000 partway through, while the study was still in progress, but the organization completed the study without the extra funds nonetheless. This study has apparently completed the peer review process and JREF (and more specifically, DJ himself) has since been sitting on it for a year. DJ Grothe is evidently using this study as leverage in order to punish people he dislikes, e.g. Sasha Pixlee and Elyse Anders.

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Sexual harassment accusations in the skeptical and secular communities: a timeline of major events
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190 thoughts on “Sexual harassment accusations in the skeptical and secular communities: a timeline of major events

  1. 101

    Was alerted to this already, hjhornbeck, and it’s certainly noteworthy.

    What do you call a fund built to finance your legal costs as a plaintiff? I can’t help but think that’s a legal OFFense fund.

  2. 102

    “I downloaded the IRS 990 for JREF from guidestar.org. (Free but requires account.) The one filed for 2012 lists the following officers and board members:

    James Randi, Chairman of the Board (Salary $243,750/year)
    Rick Adams, Treasurer (uncompensated)
    Daniel Denman, Secretary (uncompensated)
    DJ Groethe, President (Salary 95,000/year)

    No other board members or officers are listed. Now, that’s what was filed in April 2013. It could have changed since then. But that’s not very old.”

    Some organization related thoughts.

    It’s been said that there are 3 board members, though it’s really odd that they wouldn’t list them. If there were 4 board members, that would mean that you need 3 of them to change anything; if Groethe was at all concerned about control, he might do that deliberately to make it harder to dislodge him.

    I know nothing about Denman or Adams, but I would be willing to bet Groethe has at least one of them in his pocket, just based on what I know about how manipulation of boards works. I think that means JREF is likely to be unfixable.

    It also likely means that Randi is being “snowed” about what is being done in his name. It’s possible that Adams, who appears to be the money man, has also been snowed. This is just straight-up speculation based on watching the manipulation of organizational boards in other places and times; this is how I’d expect it to work.

    If Randi and Adams can be shown that Groethe is a dangerous supporter of sexual assault, it may be possible to get them to disavow him. But it’s hard to tell how much of a spell Groethe has woven over them, or what their prior attitudes were.

    “The Skeptics Society” is unfortunately Michael Shermer’s personal project. It’s likely to be completely hopeless. I can’t find *any* information on its governance *whatsoever*. It would have been trivially easy for him to put it entirely under the control of him and trusted cronies, though I suppose he might have made it democratic.

  3. 105

    Interesting; apparently Shermer sent John Loftus an email proving his innocence, and mentions Shermer now knows his accuser:

    I have read Shermer’s response, as I said. Had PZ asked Shermer like I did he would not have published this unevidenced accusation. Shermer knows the accuser and presents a more likely scenario than hers in my opinion.

  4. 106

    Hmm. hjhornbeck, I see another possibility there. Shermer may well have poisoned the well on one particular person with Loftus, doing the nut-and-slut thing preemptively, but that doesn’t mean the accuser is that person. That’s actually still an unknown here.

  5. 108

    Very true, and I had that thought in mind but decided to phrase things more suggestively. It’s a moot point, anyway, as I have a reliable informant pointing me to an email retraction sent later by Shermer to Loftus:

    Initially he didn’t. Then he thought about it and thought he did. Now he tells me he doesn’t. Don’t make too much of this. He’s trying to guess, that’s all, just as anyone would.

    See, it was only a guess. A guess! Such a trivial thing, in’nit? </benson>

  6. 114

    Another update on Shermer’s legal offense fund. In full:

    Well, we’ve blown past our initial goal of $5,000 and I thank all of you who have stepped up to show your support. You contributors who are baffled by the bizarre behavior and actions of PZ Myers are going to play a key role in holding him accountable for his actions.

    I asked Michael Shermer what his lawyers are expecting this process to cost and this is what they estimate:

    Since PZ has chosen to ignore the cease & desist altogether, Shermer has no choice but to file a case against him. If this suit goes the full distance and PZ is brought before a civil judge to answer for his actions, they estimate around $50,000.

    Think about that! One day, you wake up and someone has decided to publish rumors about you and BAM, you’re in a fight to restore your reputation. This is why I launched this fundraiser and it’s why I am asking everyone to keep spreading the word. I am hoping to get the current total to at least $10,000 to offset the cost of the initial filing and discovery process.

    Thank you for all your donations and show your of support.

    … can someone stop this train? I want out of this movement.

  7. 119

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    Well being a natural skeptic myself I know *I* saw red flags instantly when I read PZ’s initial blog post. My ability to accurately see red flags has served me well in the past and kinda like a “spidey sense” bells went off when I read PZ’s article. More accurately warning bells went off when I read those “anonymous” statements.

    First word to stand out of course is “RAPE” as in “he raped me”. THAT is a charge on the most serious nature yet here it is in black and white along with the “assailants” name. THEN I went back to re-read the first complainants’ story. That story was VERY short and PZ should have fleshed out more info on the incident BEFORE publishing it to the net world. The statement was only 7 lines and missing much detail that *I* would have wanted clarity on before I would choose to hit the publish key on this topic.

    “It’s been a few years, so no law agency is going to do anything about it now”.
    Another red flag. I thought statute of limitation was 7 years in rape cases, longer in some states. I’m Canadian so I might be wrong but that line didn’t sound credible at all based on what I *think* is the law regarding sexual assault and rape so red flag. I’m happy to be corrected though.

    “she’s also afraid that the person who assaulted her before could try to hurt her again.”
    HURT her again? How? Does she think he’d actually drive over to her state and attack her? Red flag. Maybe she was truly traumatized by Shermer and in now in fear for her life but I have my serious doubts.

    “coerced me”. What does that mean? In what way? Were you forced? Did he threaten you or your job in some way if you didn’t do as he desired? Were you comatose and unable to resist? Did you say NO or were you incapable of saying no? Did he spike your drink with something else? What was the condition of Mr. Shermer? Was he also drunk or was he sober and in full possession of all his faculties? Did he coerce you into his room or did he coerce you into letting him into your room? Or did it happen in some other location like a coat check? Were there witnesses to any of the conversation *before* the incident? Are they willing to talk to me about this before I react?

    “scared that he will come after me in some way”
    In what way? What do you mean? Go after your job? Or do you mean physically? Do you think he will know who you are just by me sharing this incident?

    “I’ve heard stories about him doing things”
    What things have you heard? Can you give me more details? Can you tell me who they are? Do you know when and where these other incidents occurred? Do you know if they reported these incidents to the police? If not, why not?

    See? Question after question from just a 7 line statement.

    For the “witness” who is corroborating the story, can you give further details as to what happened after the incident when you spoke to the woman? What did you see? Were her cloths torn or damaged in any say? How did she describe the incident when you first spoke to her? What were your feelings about this incident when you first talked to the woman about the incident? When did the two of you actually go to the conference staff? You said “some time later”. Was it during the same weekend or much later? Who did the two of you actually speak to from the conference? How was the incident described to the conference staff? What was their reaction to the reporting of this incident? Did you recommend that she call the police once she felt she wasn’t getting satisfaction from the conference staff?

    Then it goes onto the next report about the other woman who was hit on by Mr. Shermer as he “chatted at great length while refilling her glass repeatedly” My first reaction was instantly that if she has not continually voluntarily emptied it, he’d have had no reason to politely refill the glass of the person he by her own admittance was very interested in a “lengthy chat” something that is suddenly a bad thing to be interested in. That’s it. Her whole fucking story was how he flirted as he spoke to her and re-filled her wine glass “repeatedly”, “ And that’s the entirety of my story: Michael Shermer helped get me drunker than I normally get, and was a bit flirty.” That BASTARD! If I’d have been PZ I wouldn’t even have added this incident into his blog post. It was just silly to equate filling a woman’s wine glass with “it tells you exactly what kind of behavior to watch out for with him.” Which were PZ’s words, not this woman’s. Because we all know that a man who re-fills a woman’s glass at a conference when she’s likely to not get behind of the wheel of an automobile that night and finds her attractive AND enjoys her conversation is a bad bad person??? And this therefore somehow corroborates a totally separate incident that by his admittance is quite dissimilar except that it “illustrates his tactics”. Oh the horrors….I’m just not seeing it and I don’t know why the much smarter PZ didn’t see this either….

    “my friends had to cart me off before anything happened to me.” By Shermer or from someone else? There is no indication from this story that Shermer would have done ANYTHING with her, especially if he was aware that she was married. I think this girl thinks too much of herself and presumed he was trying to bed her? I think she presumed something based on PZ’s rumor and she filled in the blanks based on what she felt was “piggish” behavior from Shermer and decided that it must be him who the rumors are about. Well, maybe but maybe not and that story is still a long way from a “rape” A LONG way.
    So my opinion is that PZ should have indeed waited a few more days until he answered his own series of questions that his own “Spidey sense” should have warned him to be skeptical of. After all, as a skeptic seeking truth (and proof) he didn’t seem to use all those wonderful brain cells to make his decisions in this case.

    BOOM indeed…

  8. 120

    Vicki, it’s the latest item in Justin’s timeline in the OP, dated September 9th, 2013.

    SLAPP suits are busting out all over the skeptosphere, eh?

  9. 121

    Bloody hell is everyone in the movement suing for defamation these days? Both are not defamation unless they can prove the accusations were maliciously made up! I’ve got a Tweep threatening to sue me for libel in the UK as I suggested he may be a rape apologist for saying in the context of the Shermer allegations ->

    Hysteria is from people who cry rape without reporting it to the proper authorities


    Although it seemed to be the Storify that got him worked up as there was no threat until I published that … Just 10’s -> 100’s of his atheist friends whining that this is not rape apology … Most of them thought you had to be fine with rape to be a rape apologist or because he is a “good man” he couldn’t say something that was rape apology *rolls eyes* ..

  10. 122

    Justin, I see it took you a while to decide to approve the bozo at #97 who seems determined to re-raise every single point rebutted in the 4000+ comment thread over at Pharyngula on the very post to which he’s referring.

    I question the wisdom of that decision.

  11. 123

    First, who is Justin? :p

    Second: I really want people to know that every single objection is going to be raised and re-raised no matter how competently and thoroughly it’s all been torn apart. Until we have an Index of Rape-Apologist Claims that itemizes every one of these objections to us describing reality as it stands and how said reality creates and inculcates rape culture, not a single damn one of our efforts is going to make a dent in ideologues coming at the world from a worldview that attempts to justify the system we’re in. This is exactly why I let it through: to illustrate that people are incapable of reading the conversation and will go with their gut-feeling instead. Every damn time.

  12. 124

    @101 – I am reminded of a quote I have seen attributed to Sagan:

    You can’t reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into in the first place.

  13. 125

    Jason #101:

    First, who is Justin? :p

    Oops. My apologies.

    This is exactly why I let it through: to illustrate that people are incapable of reading the conversation and will go with their gut-feeling instead. Every damn time.

    Fair enough; I sorta guessed as much. I’m beginning to think that copy-pasting these things to a tumblr and posting a comment of your own giving a link would be more what they deserve than taking up space here or elsewhere that could be better used, but since I don’t have the time/energy for creating such a tumblr I doubt anyone else does either.

  14. 126

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    All I’m saying it that THOSE are the questions that instantly came to mind when I read PZ’s post. I believe that those questions or ones very similar should have been asked by PZ *before* he posted that particular post.

    I’m quite certain that many of those questions were *later* hashed out in the over 4000+ posts by other people on PZ’s original blog space. I’ve not heard them all. I can gaurantee that others have not heard them all. We certainly not “incapable” of reading it all but most people don’t have the time to dedicate to reading 4000+ posts PLUS all the other blog posts on the subject as well as hold down a full time job before replying to someone else’s blog. I does seem that I’m in good company with like minded people if I seem “determined to re-raise every single point rebutted in the 4000+ comment” as tigtog mentioned. I sure as hell won’t spend weeks reading someone else’s blog JUST so I can “properly” reply to Jason’s blog. Sorry, Won’t happen. I’m too busy for that but I’m trying my hardest to read all the links provided but I only have so much time. Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit. It wasn’t said on THIS blog and I DID read THIS blog, as well as some of the links so far and those of my opinions so far.

    When a person enters a conversation one usually stops and listens and then responds at some point. They do not listen to the topic (that they are already aware of) THEN disappear for a couple weeks while they research every nuance of the topic and only then add an opinion. That is not how life works. Jason is right. Yes, the questions may have been asked and answered by someone else in the past but that doesn’t mean people have seen all the answers.

    I’m certainly not a “rape apologist” but the funny thing is the only time I get called such things is in a place Called “FreeThoughtBlogs”. Funny that eh? I have no idea if what has been said to have happened has actually happened or not or if there is more to the report or a perfectly acceptable explanation or if evidence will prove it to be 100 accurate. We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”. I would not have posted it without making a few more inquiries first.

    I gotta admit, “gut feelings” usually have a place in the though process and cannot be discounted so quickly. Gut feeling are much like our fear response. Yes fear is emotional but without it we’d likely get injured far more often and without gut feelings we’d never have reason to question anything because nothing would set off alarm bells and EVERYTHING would be simply taken as truth. Is that what you really want?

    I did once make a suggestion that you re-brand yourselves and call your website SFB “Secular Feminist Blogs” which is a far more appropriate name for the this blog space based on the continual re-occurring theme that’s raised and re-raised over the past two years.

    What ever happened to talking about Science?

  15. 127

    If you tried to justify literal interpretations of a 6000-year-old Earth, I’d call you a religious apologist. If you try to justify a system that lets people get away with rape by suggesting that it’s not rape if she’s drunk and it’s all her fault for being drunk anyway, I’m going to call you a rape apologist.

    Don’t make apologetics for the rape culture we live in if you don’t want to be called a rape apologist.

  16. 128

    We certainly not “incapable” of reading it all but most people don’t have the time to dedicate to reading 4000+ posts PLUS all the other blog posts on the subject as well as hold down a full time job before replying to someone else’s blog.

    You can’t do a “find in page”? Not even in a single post?

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.

    And yet, given that, you still think that other people should give a shit about your opinion to the point of spending their time answering your questions? You’re not paying anyone to be your private tutor here. Other people have lives, too. You don’t have time to read prior posts or comments? Other people don’t have time to repeat themselves dozens of times just because someone else can’t be bothered to read what they’ve said before. Look at how you’re privileging your time compared to everyone else. Your time is not more important than anyone else’s.

    What ever happened to talking about Science?

    That’s scienceblogs.com ? Not this site? As evidenced in the name?

  17. Daz
    130

    We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”.

    With muddy thinking like this, why should we bother listening to you?

    Whether or not you believe the report to be valid does not depend, as implied by your “because,” on whether the reported action should be considered rape.

    Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.

  18. 131

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    @[email protected]

    “You can’t do a “find in page”? Not even in a single post?”

    I‘m not sure what you mean by that. Surely you’re not suggesting that I search each and every one of my questions one at a time on PZ’s blog are you?

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.
    “And yet, given that, you still think that other people should give a shit about your opinion to the point of spending their time answering your questions?”

    If you wish to provide answers then feel free to do so as you see fit. If you choose not to it’s your choice. But if you actually think I should shut up simply because YOU’VE heard it before then as I stated before, I don’t give a shit, I haven’t heard all the ways they’ve been “torn apart” and I can presume neither have many others so I’m expressing an opinion on the subject that I’ve not seen on THIS blog post. Make sense?

    “You’re not paying anyone to be your private tutor here. Other people have lives, too. You don’t have time to read prior posts or comments?”

    Ah but I’ve already stated that I HAVE read ‘prior posts or comments” just not the 4000+ comments on PZ’s page. Like I said, you don’t want to provide answers fine with me but then why are you responding at all?

    “Other people don’t have time to repeat themselves dozens of times just because someone else can’t be bothered to read what they’ve said before.”

    Then don’t. It’s that easy. Seen it before? Then there’s nothing to see here. Move along and ignore it. You don’t want to discuss the topic, again more along and ignore it. There may be others that wish to discuss it and if you’re not one of them then move along and ignore it. It’s really that simple isn’t it? As a matter of fact, this is your first post in this particular page so why is it that I should know what the fuck you to some other people at some other time somewhere else?? Again, if your time is so precious move along and ignore it. You see that there’s a theme here eh? If you don’t want to respond then DON’T. (Yet you did)

    “Look at how you’re privileging your time compared to everyone else. Your time is not more important than anyone else’s.”

    What’s your point? I gave my input as I see it just like everyone else. YOU have the choice to respond or ignore yet you’ve chosen to respond albeit not about any of the points I previously brought up. Why is that?

    What ever happened to talking about Science?
    That’s scienceblogs.com ? Not this site? As evidenced in the name?

    Yeah, the “name” You DO remember when you actually talked about secularism and science here don’t you?? AH those were the days…..

    Kinda why I suggested that you re-label this forum “Secular Feminist Blogs”. You don’t seem to talk about anything else anymore INCLUDING “freethought”

  19. 132

    (Admin note: Trigger warning on victim-blaming repetitive bullshit that’s been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already.)

    @Daz at 108
    We were not initially given enough info to conclude the validity of the original report because it was cryptic and lacked any detail that would properly put it in the category of “rape”.

    “With muddy thinking like this, why should we bother listening to you?”

    You have freedom of choice. If I’m wrong, discuss where I’m wrong or where I’m right, you can educate me, you can Ignore me Or… Insult me. Funny thing here is that “insult me” always ends up being the default position.

    “Whether or not you believe the report to be valid does not depend, as implied by your “because,” on whether the reported action should be considered rape.
    Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.”

    Then people have been getting raped after meeting someone at a bar or gathering for the past 200 years (likely more). Ever hooked up with someone while partying on a Friday night or at the ski resort or camping or or or? Then by your definition YOU are a rapist, even if you both were drinking, YOU are the rapist. Even if she was the aggressor and said yes yes yes, because she was drinking (just like you) it is quite obvious that you raped her. Do you like your logic now?

    Again “Having sex with someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent is rape. By definition.”

    So what does that mean? Does it actually mean what you are saying it means? That she was “someone who is not in a fit condition to give informed consent”? What PZ posted was that she said “…coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me”. Nowhere did she say that she was not in a “fit condition” to give informed consent, Just that she was “coerced” into a position where she could not give consent but didn’t say anything about “a fit condition” YOU added that. Please stick with what we know, not conjecture.

    We have no idea what her interpretation of “coerce” means. She might very well have given consent BUT regretted it in the morning when she realized how drunk she had gotten the night before or he might very well have forced himself on her in some diabolical way. (alcohol?, threats to her job?… I don’t know. Something that she deemed to have been “coerced”). We don’t know because no further information was given. The way she worded that sentence, it sounds like she might have consented but later thought about it and felt that had she not been drinking she likely would have been able to neutralize the coercion and wouldn’t have agreed to sex with someone she might not have usually been attracted to. That wouldn’t be deemed rape. She may have felt “coerced” by the alcohol or the conversation but if she was able to have casual or serious conversation with the man without slurring her words then how is one to know when someone you are clearing communicating with is no longer able to say “yes” to sex without it being deemed “rape”? If my own wife drinks 7 drinks at a party and then we go back home to shag all night long, did I just rape her? After all, she’s given consent in the past but NOT that night. THAT night she was “not in a fit condition to give informed consent”. Am I a rapist?

    I still feel that when it comes to the alcohol, it was Mrs. Anonymous that put every single drop to her own mouth and I feel quite certain that he made no efforts for physically force the alcohol into her system even if he paid for every drink or poured each drink when her glass was empty or said anything like “hey, drink up, the night is young” so she really does need to own that part. If someone feels that they do inappropriate things after 4 drinks and knows that 1 drink usually leads to a second which usually leads to a 3rd which always leads to that 4th drink that makes her do inappropriate things then if she’s incapable of stopping after the first and knows she’s definitely incapable of stopping after the fourth then by default the time to stop is BEFORE the first drink. If she chose to drink knowing through past experience that she is more likely to make bad choices when drinking and she consciously consumed the alcohol of her own volition knowing the risks why is it always the man’s fault?

    All this I say because I am assuming that she was not comatose or incoherent, but simply buzzed on several glasses of whatever and regretted something that happened while she was in that state. If indeed she WAS comatose or falling down drunk or incoherent or he threatened her job if she didn’t succumb to his desires then I’d definitely say rape. But I’m withholding that decision until I get more clarity than 7 cryptic lines told hearsay through a third party and repeated PZ. I am correct in that Carrie contacted him and not the woman in question? Making it Hearsay? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  20. 133

    Jason, will you please add a Content Note for potentially triggering victim blaming etc to the top of alandeon2’s comments?

    alandeon2, I will only respond to the very last question you ask about your understanding that the testimony was conveyed via hearsay to PZ. You are indeed wrong about that, and that was clarified weeks ago. That you claim to be unaware of this indicates to me that you are deliberately shit-stirring rather than asking honest questions.

  21. 134

    @alandeon2:

    I‘m not sure what you mean by that. Surely you’re not suggesting that I search each and every one of my questions one at a time on PZ’s blog are you?

    Yes, that’s exactly what’s being suggested. Just as we’d tell a clueless creationist to visit the Index to Creationist Claims before spouting off their nonsense. It’s all been answered before, in a few easily-searched places (like PZ’s “grenade” post and follow-ups). You’re saying, essentially, “surely you’re not suggesting that I do basic research before sounding off.” If you can’t be bothered to look it up, no one else is going to bother to sit down and patiently repeat it all to you. You’re not entitled to anyone else’s time.

    Sorry if you’ve heard it before but to be honest I really don’t give a shit.

    And yet you’ve written over 3,100 words here on the subject. One can only wonder what clueless verbosity you reserve for the things you care about.

  22. Daz
    135

    @alandeon2:

    Yes, yes. Clearly, two equally drunk people having sex means they both raped each other. Because “complicated,” and “sometimes we have to take each case on its own merits” aren’t allowable in your search for hard and fast rules to follow in place of thought.

    All this I say because I am assuming…

    You may assume anything you like. Please don’t present it as argument though.

    Making it Hearsay? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong. Do your own homework.

  23. 136

    I’m actually going to do you one better, tigtog — my approving the first instance of his tiresome repetitive shit, where he’s patently unwilling to look at the very post he’s arguing about and actually read the conversation to catch up on where every one of the objections he’s made has been rebutted thoroughly, was not meant to approve his nonsense indefinitely.

    I have first post moderation, but sometimes some people have to be kept on a short leash. That means I will not post anything further from him that is either a repeat of something that’s already been said, or just to make the point totally clear, neither will I post any comment by him that whines about how he’s being censored because we hate free speech or something. Basically, I’m making him think about what he says having consequences that might include not being allowed to say it here. If he can deal with that, so much the better.

  24. 141

    alandeon: And that’s the closest thing to something novel that you’ve hit the moderation wall with since my putting you into moderation. Protip: whining about censorship, then whining about people asking you to do your due diligence and see if you’re not just pressing the reset button on a conversation, is not novel or interesting or worth putting on my blog. Nor is trying to continue the nit-picking and hair-splitting conversation.

    This claim that we’re not willing to have a conversation? Well, keep reading that thread. If you’re only 200 in, like you said in one of those comments, you probably haven’t yet hit a single one of your bretheren in hyperskepticism. Just keep going. You’ll find your points have been raised several times by several people and rebutted in every manner.

    Just because we’re not interested in having the same conversation again and again like some horrible Groundhog Day, doesn’t mean we’re not willing to have a conversation. And just because we’re plugging our ears when you try to have it, doesn’t mean you’re being censored. Climb down off your cross, you’re supposed to be an atheist.

  25. 142

    10 September 2013: Michael Shermer tweets,

    Skeptics in the Pub Köln “No drinks on stage”? What fun is that? I like to keep my glass full w/out my knowing it…

    Several hours later, this tweet was deleted, after it had been retweeted by Ophelia Benson among others.

  26. 143

    Eit! I managed to miss that you had already added that to the timeline. (The tweet was up for something like nine hours; I didn’t see it until Ophelia RTed it.) Well, now you have an extra bonus screencap. 😛

  27. 146

    I would put this on the timeline if Bora was a member of the secular or skeptical communities, D4M10N, but he’s not. What he did does in fact qualify as another incident making a community generally unwelcome to women, but I can’t exactly report on every single such instance in every single community. I’d never see the end of cataloguing such harassment.

  28. 147

    It is additionally worth noting that of the harassment we’ve seen so far, Bora’s was arguably the mildest, and to his credit, he unambiguously admitted he was wrong and apologized. Would that other harassers rethink their actions that are demonstrably worse than his, that some folks in this community have bent over backward to excuse.

  29. 149

    I’d like to offer another possible timeline event, if it’s not just beating a dead horse at this point…

    It looks like Brian Dalton is continuing to dig himself in deeper with the latest Mr. Deity episode. I hadn’t bothered to remove Mr. Deity from my RSS feed list yet, and so when the new ep came out today I watched it out of curiosity, to see if maybe he’d decided to quit making an ass of himself over the Shermer/harassment issue and just get back to anti-theist comedy.

    I was sort of encouraged at first, because the ep was all right, except for a self-congratulatory “look how feminist I am” punchline at the end — he took an easy potshot at the “let your women keep silence in the churches” bit from the letters of Paul. But then in the begging segment he went right back to repeating the same ol’ fallacies he’s been corrected on a million times over, while simultaneously claiming that all the angry people were just misunderstanding him, chastising them for not being able to discuss the subject without anger, and congratulating any remaining and new donors for supporting his supposedly-rational perspective on the issue. In addition, he’s using the fact that many people canceled their subscriptions over his dumbassery as yet another reason that others should make donations.

    Bottom line is, he seems to have decided this issue is where he wants to make his stand, and to have every intention of being an ongoing participant on the slyme side. Also, anyone who likes the Mr. D act and wants to just enjoy that separate from Dalton’s other views should be aware that Dalton is definitely interpreting support of Mr. Deity as support for those other views. Too bad.

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