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Re: [atheists-27] Trouble with American Skepticism

From: friend of Smokey the B.
Sent on: Monday, August 12, 2013 3:39 AM
"No." is a complete sentence.

Little is more irritating than an adult who cannot comprehend that.

just my two bits.
Ms. chandler wiland


On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 2:43 AM, Martin <[address removed]> wrote:
Don - Agreed.

Office romances are alive and well, and work or school is still the most common place people meet their future spouse (at around 20% of marriages, through friends being the next most common). If someone is attracted to a co-worker, the typical way things work is they try to engage in friendly conversation now and then at work and if the other person shows interest in them then they ask them out, often for lunch initially. If they are rejected then time to move on and the other person has no reason or grounds for a complaint. This is hardly rocket science, it is a basic and universal element of human interaction.

But we are not discussing office romance here. We are discussing sexual harassment ranging from: sexual jokes and innuendo; unwelcome sexual advances, both verbal and physical; ploys of suggesting promotion/reward at work for sexual favors, or conversely demotion/penalty for lack thereof; sexual assault; to statutory rape. It is quite alarming that Woody, and whoever these MRA guys are, seem unable to distinguish normal romantic behaviour from such predatory sexual harassment.

Martin.

On 08/12/[masked]:43 AM, Don Wharton wrote:
A great many if not most women appreciate an appropriate communication of interest.  The point is to graciously cease showing that interest if requested and not include any threats or inappropriate touching in the process.  The notion that relationships between the sexes need to cease because of legal risk is a strawman created by the MRA crowd.
 
I fully agree that (as I said before) that as evidence all of this is extremely thin.  A major problem is that in most cases of real rape or sexual harrassment the perpetrator is usually very careful to not leave much evidence.  They choice of time and location is calibrated to minimize any chance of witnesses.  The he said/she said situation that normally results is never satisfactory in court of law. 
 
Of all of the people cited in this story Michael Shermer is the only one that I have appreciated on a routine basis over recent years.  I would be very sad to lose the insight and wisdom from that source if the force of law removes him as a leader of the skeptic community.  I passionately want him not to be hurt if the charges are false.
 
It seems to me that what we want is a system that follows up on reasonable claims of abuse and makes the best use of available evidence.  This is not easy to do.  It is immensely complex.
 
Don
 

From: Robert W Ahrens <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, August 11,[masked]:52 PM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Trouble with American Skepticism

I'm sorry, but this is just wrong.

It is perfectly fine to approach a woman, as long as one does it in an appropriate manner, place and time.  If one takes one's cue from the lady, she should be able to make it perfectly clear when a touch is welcome and when it is not.  To survive, a man must be come sensitive and should COMMUNICATE while listening to what the lady has to say.  Your accusations are exactly what many misogynistic "Men's Rights Activists" (or MRA's) say to accuse women of these things and try to shut them up!

Woody, your statement is the precise way to fail, and is exactly how organizations and men in the past have failed to do it right.  Your statement is exactly WHY many women DON'T report these things to the police.  Because they are not taken seriously, and are immediately accused of false accusations.

This is not a court of law, this is the court of public opinion, and the rules are different.  Organizations that wish to attract a larger and more actively loyal following MUST attract women, and they will never manage that by acting as CFI has managed this fiasco.  In the end, it doesn't matter if the allegations against these guys are true or false, what matters is that their employers stop stonewalling the allegations.  There are plenty of very public examples of how to do it right, and at the same time protecting the rights of both parties.  A properly conducted investigation will tell the truth of the situation, and heavily influences the opinions of women in the future as they see how an organization has conducted itself.  

If this movement wants to grow and attract more people, CFI's statements and actions (and Woody's reaction) are NOT the way to go about it.




On Aug 11, 2013, at 7:33 PM, Woody Lipinski <[address removed]> wrote:

As long the women did not report to police with some sort of "witnesses" or proves we should not discuss the issue because it can be only accusations for some sort of benefits. This days you unable to ask women for anything because she can take advantage of your questions. But when you will touch her you can be prosecuted and accused of raping her.  To survive, men must loose not only aggression but also their sex interest in women.

Woody


On Sun, 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.
 
Don




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