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Re: [atheists-27] Trouble with American Skepticism

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Sunday, August 11, 2013 7:53 AM
I read lots of harsh criticism of PZ Myers for his accusation against Shermer, some of whom sound to me like they could qualify as being from the "MRA contingent".  You provided a link to PZ Myers claiming that one anonymous women says she was raped one time by Shermer at a conference several years ago, plus another anonymous women saying that Shermer once plied her with alcohol at a conference.  Assuming he is guilty in these two incidents as accused, you said "several allegations ... [he] ... is a serial rapist", which goes beyond what is asserted by PZ Myers.  Can you support that additional allegation with more links?

On Aug 11, 2013, at 1:38 AM, Don Wharton <[address removed]> wrote:

There are three leaders of the skeptic community that have had astonishing allegations thrown at them in the last few days. It started when Karen Stollznow posted a piece reporting on four years of sexual harassment including sexual assaults.
She declines to name who it was or the organization(s) within which it happened. However, there were a number of people who knew the story and it came out that the person was Ben Radford, deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow at CFI.
The next day Carrie Poppy confesses that she had a similar experience at the JREF with D.J. Grothe. Given that D.J is gay the misogyny is likely to be of a much different character. This report confirms aspects of the case with Radford and Stollsnow at a couple of TAM meetings. Carrie's email included copies of a number of emails documenting the history of the complaints.
To top off this there are several allegation that Michael Shermer is a serial rapist.
We have only modest confirmation of any of these allegations and we have not heard from those who are accused. However, the quality of these claims suggest strongly that something is very wrong.
For those who do not know there has been a very stupid culture war in secularism ever since an event called Elevatorgate. There was a strong feminist component and the other side that can be loosely associated with MRA, men's right activists. At its worst many women who are secular bloggers or leaders are subjected to rape threats, death threats and grotesque twisted insults. DC's own Melody Hensley is only one of many that have been the recipient of this mistreatment. I have been ignoring this culture war as much as possible under the theory that if I am not personally tripping over this junk we can have our local sense of community uninfected with this nonsense. Just as the Westboro Baptist Church should not be used to define all of Christianity, this ugliness should not be used to define American skepticism or secularism.  My guess is that there are relatively few people responsible for the ugliness of this war.
With that as a background, my reading of MRA contingent is that they are being remarkably silent with the current revelations. There seems to be too much substance and credibility behind these allegations. This might be a major historical transition point. I may be wrong but I think organized skepticism will need to see some major changes.

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