• Secular Mythmaking and Sexual Harassment

    There is a form of myth-making well known to critical Bible scholars, wherein a tale starts out as midrashic homily, or a moral parable, or some other form of devotional fiction, well-known to the authors and listeners alike as something other than a non-fictional retelling of history, but after several iterations of retelling the tale becomes accepted as an historical account rather than as originally intended. As much as I’d like to believe that this sort of mythmaking is unique to people of faith, as a skeptic I have to consider the possibility that my secular allies engage in the same sort of behavior.

    Recently, the SlymePit-originated meme (likely never intended as a factual claim) that PZ Myers harassed a woman onstage at Skepticon III has gone viral and infected the broader internet as an unqualified truth-claim:

    The above is an audio excerpt from around 38:14 into episode two of Honey Badger Radio, which I’d commend to your ears if you’d like to know how the MHRM perceives the skeptic movement at this point in time. The narrative throughout that episode should sound very familiar if you’ve been getting your news and views from the Pit.

    Like anyone else who has been relegated to the dungeon, I’m not exactly PZ’s biggest fan, but unlike AVfM and the SlymePitters, I was actually in the audience at Skepticon III and spoke with various people about the experience. No one who was present at the time had the sense that anything above the level of “zero bad” happened on stage that day, and I doubt that even the most determined Googlers can find anyone complaining about the content of that particular talk back in 2010. That said, you can watch the video for yourself, with the questionable part starting around 13 minutes into the clip:

    Maybe you think that this was indeed inappropriate sexual banter, or maybe you agree with me that it was exactly zero bad. Our opinions after the fact are probably less important than how the crowd experienced it at the time, but most salient of all are the feelings of the woman onstage. A certain so-called investigative journalist took the effort to track her down and ask what she thought about it:

    eg-kate

    Now that pretty much settles the issue, as far as I am concerned. For some given piece of banter to be considered harassment, it must at the very least be considered unwanted by one of the parties involved, not to mention objectively objectionable. Since neither element is in play here, it is not reasonable to say that anyone was harassed on the stage that day. The women of AVfM need to stop spreading lies and stick to the facts.

     

    Category: MasculismSecularismSlymePitSupport

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • SchrodingersTherapist

      Since we’ve exchanged tweets on this subject I’d like to clarify my position. It seems like the woman was a good sport about the incident, which is good to know, and I will defer to you on how the audience reacted. Now if PZ knew the woman well, and could reasonably foresee that she would take it as a joke and not be offended, then no harm, no foul. However, I got the impression that he had picked her at random, addressing her as “you in the purple shirt” and never calling her by name (or even asking her what her name was). I don’t know if it rose to the level of sexual harassment per se, but he ran a distinct risk of embarrassing the woman, which would have been unprofessional of him.

      How would the plussers have reacted if Michael Shermer had used an identical shpiel? You can bet a lot of them would be saying that this was proof of his rapeyness. Meanwhile I’m sure some slymers would be saying it was zero bad. As I’ve tried to indicate, I think it was (potentially at least) a little worse than zero bad, and I think I would say the same thing if another man had taken the place of Myers. We should hold our own “side” to the same standards we demand of others.

      • How would the plussers have reacted if Michael Shermer had used an identical shpiel?

        I’m not confident that any amount of counterfactual imagination can ever prove up a charge of actual hypocrisy. I can agree that there are double-standards in play on both sides here, but that doesn’t relieve me of the obligation to be consistent myself, to judge PZ by the same standards that I would anyone else.

        Part of the reason that nothing erupted at the time was that it was before the community became hypersensisitzed to the problem of potential harassment. I would argue that we were a far better community back then than we are now, as we are currently in the grip of a moral panic over even the tiniest potential sexualization.

        tl;dr – I want 2010 back.

    • The episode is salient because had anyone but part of the “in group” done precisely the same thing, it would have been taken as de facto misogyny, and blogs would have erupted with hate and bile over it.

      The fact that the person in question didn’t object hardly matters in that observation. When Mallorie Nasrallah spoke about an incident where social justice warriors interfered to paternialistically “protect” her from a male, said male was still regarded as creepy (he wasn’t bothering her), and Mallorie was simply attacked for defying the narrative because she wasn’t part of the special protected do-no-wrong in-crowd.

      The charge of sexual harassment might not stick, but the charge of gross and self-serving hypocrisy does.

      • I’m not entirely confident that anyone has yet made the chage of hypocrisy is a properly sticky way. To do that, they would need to quote PZ saying something that clearly implies it is unacceptable to joke around about sex on stage, even in the context of a talk about reproduction and selection. Arguably, the quote would need to be close enough in time to the events in question to preclude the possibility of significant moral evolution on his part.

      • MosesZD

        You’re being absolutely unfair to all the people attacked by Myers for incidents far less severe than that. Shermer supposedly says ‘You’re a naughty, naughty girl’ to a woman who dropped the tongs at a salad bar and it’s confirmation that he’s a rapist.

        Some guys make dongle jokes, Myers is quite happy that the one loses his job and absolutely supports that stupid woman who went after them. Even though dongle-jokes are passe and have been featured in NATIONAL ADVERTISING CAMPAINS on PRIME TIME TV.

        We can go on. And on. And on. And on.

        Why you’re pretending that would not be the case… I don’t get it. Are you trying to become one of the FTB bullies? Another Social Justice Warrior? Have you paid no attention to how it works over there?

        Come on, give me a break.

      • You’re obviously not getting what I’m getting at here, so I’ll be less subtle about it.

        2010 PZ did nothing wrong.

        2013 PZ attacked people for making dongle jokes.

        Some people are attacking the wrong PZ.

      • kiiski

        Who might these people be? I haven’t come across any who agreed with the dongle hysteria *and* are condemning PZ for the 2010 jokes (instead of the double standards).

      • Please show me exactly where PZ’s double standards come up in the original mp3.

      • kiiski

        The very next sentence after the one mentioning PZ begins: @6:14 “But hypocrisy is like breathing for these people…”

        A little bit later @7:45, “…women in the community being fed a steady diet of rape and harassment hysteria…”

        Did they do a poor job of explaining the ‘harassment’ example? No argument there. Nevertheless, isn’t it still pretty clear that the focus of that entire segment is on condemning the double standards and hysteria (2013-PZ et al)?

      • A nod in the direction of hypocrisy is not an escape clause from the plain and literal meaning of the clip in the OP. Had it been actual sexual harassment on that stage that day, rather than harmless sexual banter, would that not be far more hypocritical of someone who claims to stand against sexual harassment at conventions?

      • kiiski

        Certainly, but if the intent had been to call out actual, by-reasonable-standards sexual harassment, wouldn’t it be rather self-defeating to then complain about “harassment hysteria”? Sorry, that interpretation just doesn’t make sense to me.

        But since the author has already clarified that that wasn’t the intent, I don’t see the point of this, ahem, counterfactual speculation. I was more curious if you had some other people in mind who have condemned 2010-PZ, but not 2013-PZ.

      • I’m quite happy that Karen has clarified her position, of course, but the sexual harassment at Skepticon III meme will probably carry on nonetheless.

        As to the so-called “hysteria” that is not an apt characterization. Sexual harassment actually does happen at conferences, I’ve seen it almost every time. At the very conference under discussion here I personally witnessed one person performing unwanted sexual advances on another person, to include unwanted touching, at one of the suite parties. This was handled interpersonally rather than organizationally, but it doesn’t make it any the less real.

    • Phobos

      I understand that she wasn’t offended by it, but why is it “asinine” to ask? Seems like the rules are a bit arbitrary.

      • Perhaps Kate is saying that the accusation of sexual harassment itself is asinine?

    • Imagine if Dawkins had done the same thing, even with a willing participant?

      Imaginary scenarios do not prove up actual hypocrisy.

      He’s done enough wrong that we don’t have any need to make up stuff to prove a point.

      Exactly. We stand on the facts, or we are no better than the anti-skeptics.

    • whatever

      Isn’t it the problem that PZ Myers did not harass anyone by reasonable person standards, but when using PZ Myers’ and SJW and FTB and Feminist standards he did in fact harass her, regardless of whether anyone noticed it or not? (Power differential, objectification, hostile environment.)

      • When exactly did PZ endorse standards that would condemn his actions on that stage on that day?

      • whatever

        Recently, the day he said that a host filling a wine glass was supportive evidence of rape.

      • Ok, so you are seriously saying that:

        P1) Refilling someone’s wine repeatedly may muddle their consent to sexual activity.

        …logically implies…

        P2) It is wrong to joke around about sex with an audience member on stage at a skeptic con.

        Sorry, that’s a bit of a stretch. I don’t see what real wine and real sex have to do with no wine and sex jokes.

      • whatever

        I don’t see that filling someone’s glass at a conference has ANYTHING to do with rape. BUT PZ DOES.

        That example and so many other similar over the top completely outrageous examples including donglegate by PZ, SJW, feminists, FTBs leads me to trivially understand that PZ’s sexual banter at a conference where he held all the power would easily constitute sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile environment.

        Donglegate alone is proof that PZ would find watching his own sexual banter with that women problematical.

      • Donglegate alone is proof that PZ would find watching his own sexual banter with that women problematical.

        I don’t suppose you have a quote of something PZ actually said?

      • whatever

        Note: this is how PZ Myers reacts to two men sitting in a crowd, talking to each other, overheard by a woman.

        In his case it was PZ Myers, Patriarchal Leader, calls up woman from crowd and sexually objectifies her. She was in no way able to complain or protest his actions as “he asserted his dudely privilege”. (according to SJW theory.) Ergo, PZ having complained as he does about donglegate would clearly have a problem with his own behavior.

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/22/adria-richards-did-everything-exactly-right/

        Adria Richards did everything exactly right

        Conferences, Equality, Fuckbrained assholes

        by PZ Myers

        We keep talking about making appropriate responses to sexism — not just those of us who are strongly pro-feminism, but even the regressive thugs on the other side will say that, although we’ll argue about what level of response is appropriate. But this is where I lose patience every goddamned time: apparently no response other than silence and submission is acceptable.

        We’ve all seen how “guys, don’t do that” was turned into cause for outrage. Here’s another instance: Adria Richards was at a tech conference when, during a presentation that was about women coders no less, a couple of guys behind her started cracking suggestive jokes.

        The guys were clearly in the wrong. They were being rude, distracting, and trying to assert their dudely privilege in one of the few moments granted women during a conference dominated by men. So Richards turned, snapped their picture, and tweeted it to the conference organizers, asking them to handle it.

      • This is an excellent example, I am sorry that I overlooked this comment last night. Please see my reply to Peter.

        Let me ask one last thing. Was PZ wrong in 2010 when he cracked jokes onstage or was he wrong in 2013 when he condemned mild sexual humor at conferences? If the latter, why are we busy condemning the former?

      • whatever

        I apologize, I am facing a huge deadline today, and not sure when I will be able to return to this.

      • I don’t see that filling someone’s glass at a conference has ANYTHING to do with rape.

        Off topic here, but if you really don’t think it is possible to get someone drunk beyond their ability to consent, I have a scenario for you to consider: http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=9427594&postcount=4162

      • whatever

        Of course I do.

        But that’s not at all what the “supportive testimony” suggested happened.

        Occam’s Razor: when two explanations fit, choose the simpler one.

        A: Shermer was trying to get me drunk beyond my ability to consent in order to rape me
        B: Shermer was working within the cultural norm as a host to keep everyone’s drink filled as best he could.

      • Ok, so you’re just talking about that one anecdote that was given as supporting evidence. We can agree that it was not useful or persuasive.

      • whatever

        I have given you two pieces of evidence now that consists of blog posts that PZ has made. Anecdote or evidence? I am judging PZ by his blog posts, by his words, by his behavior and judging from his actions what his standards must be.

        It’s not at all clear to me that there is any evidence you would accept, therefore I shall end this now.

    • Pitchguest

      You’ve been a member of the ‘Pit long enough, Damion, to know that it wasn’t Dick’s intention to create a meme of any kind to indict PZ Myers as a sexual harasser. It’s the *hypocrisy* that’s being targeted. You know that. Why even pretend that you’re not aware of it? Do you honestly think it wouldn’t be construed as sexual harassment (or maybe worse) if someone from “our side” had pulled the same stunt as Myers did? (Whether the woman was bothered by it or not.) You’re smarter than this.

      Furthermore, the “investigative journalist” you cite is the parody account of EG from FtB.

      • Do you honestly think it wouldn’t be construed as sexual harassment (or maybe worse) if someone from “our side” had pulled the same stunt as Myers did?

        The way to make a hypocrisy charge stick is to show how an individual person’s words don’t match that same individual person’s actions. Hypothetical counterfactuals won’t get you there.

    • Brive1987

      Nothing bad did happen on stage. That’s the point.

      FtB brand feminism with its developed themes of patriarchy and privilege, as documented in the comments section of their blog, would not tolerate a white middle aged man calling out a woman by shirt colour from a position of power (podium) in a sexual way. Period. Just don’t do that. Don’t set a public precedent. Check your privilege etc etc

      The fact you don’t think a charge of hypocracy sticks just shows that its never too late for someone to change their views.

      Unfortunately in this case your views are heading in a ‘questionable’ directon. IMO.

      • FtB brand feminism… [counterfactual snipped]

        Again, the way to make a hypocrisy charge stick is to show how an individual person’s words don’t match that same individual person’s actions. Hypothetical counterfactuals won’t get you there.

        Since we agree that zero bad happened onstage, the question is when exactly did PZ condemn the sort of behavior that he displayed on the stage that day. Given that his words are numerous and searchable, this should be easy to answer, but I’ve yet to see anyone really try.

    • …do you really suffer from the delusion that this wouldn’t be considered a grave offense if someone from the other “side” had made similar comments?

      Again, the way to make a hypocrisy charge stick is to show how an individual person’s words don’t match that same individual person’s actions. Hypothetical counterfactuals won’t get you there.

    • The way to make a hypocrisy charge stick is to show how an individual person’s words don’t match that same individual person’s actions. Hypothetical counterfactuals won’t get you there.

      • MosesZD

        You don’t get to redefine hypocrisy.

      • Which dictionary definition are you using?

    • “Adria Richards was at a tech conference when, during a presentation that was about women coders no less, a couple of guys behind her started cracking suggestive jokes.

      The guys were clearly in the wrong. They were being rude, distracting, and trying to assert their dudely privilege in one of the few moments granted women during a conference dominated by men”

      Was PZ Myers not cracking suggestive jokes, asserting his dudely privilege? I believe so. Here’s the difference, those two guys were joking amongst themselves. PZ did it on stage and in front of a huge crowd, from a position of power. So what PZ did is much worse than what the two tech guys did.

      I don’t consider what PZ or what the tech guys did wrong; however, if you are going to condemn the tech guys, then surely what PZ did is far worse.

      And before you argue that he might have evolved morally between 2010 and the Adria Richards incident, he defended his behaviour in the above video in December.

      • No idea what it means to assert one’s dudely privilege, to be honest, but I must agree that PZ was probably somewhat more likely to cause thin-skinned hypersensitive people to take offense than were the dangling donglers at PyCon.

        It was indeed hypocritical of PZ to publicly condemn what appears to be harmless sexual banter at PyCon, given that he had previously traded on the humor value of such banter to positive effect. I’d be fascinated to hear how he differentiates between these two situations.

      • Shadow of a Doubt

        ACES AND EIGHTS!

        I was actually looking for that same page before I got sidetracked by a blog post. I must now lament my lost sandwich.

    • But Rebecca is NOT talking about the incident with the woman on stage during PZs talk.

      This is just wrong, Dick. She was referring to the events in the talk immediately preceding her own, which (had you watched the video linked in the post) included the very dilemma which she referenced, either Kate has sex with PZ or else he submits to having sex with her. Go watch the video, and bear in mind the RW’s talk was immediately after PZ’s.

    • As I’ve said previously, I did not claim PZ was guilty of sexual harassment.

      When I said that what you wrote was “likely never intended as a factual claim” I actually meant it. Reread the beginning of the OP about how mythmaking starts out innocently enough.

    • The above is an audio excerpt from around 38:14 into episode two of Honey Badger Radio, which I’d commend to your ears if you’d like to know how the MHRM perceives the skeptic movement at this point in time…
      The women of AVfM need to stop spreading lies and stick to the facts

      Nonsense.. Iam an MHRA, and we know damn well what PZ did in that vid is not sexual harassment. I am quite certain GWW meant that its sexual harassment by PZ’s own standards. Before passing on your interpretation as The Truth, you might want to ask GWW to clarify for you. The MRM knows what a hypocrite PZ is.. for e.g
      PZ Myers jokes about rape

      How many hypocritical feminist scumbag ideologues does it take to joke about rape while complaining about other people joking about rape?
      The answer is, of course, one. Any number of hypocritical feminist scumbag ideologues could do it, but FTB’s PZ Myers beat them all to the punchline.

      Dude.. The MHRM understands these issues much better than most of you.. coz we have dealt with these in real life, in the courts etc for years and decades.
      False Allegations of sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape are key aspects of the MHRM platform.. and you are arguing that we are passing off a playful-banter between PZ and the woman as sexual harassment? You yourself said in a previous post that AVFM is cavalier about rape, and at the same time we are over-zealous with accusations of sexual harassment?

      • To be clear, the audio clip that I included in the OP is not to be understood literally as a direct accusation of sexual harassment, because Karen made it clear in another post or program that she doesn’t really mean it literally? I’d be happy to issue a correction if you can find me a link to where that was made clear.

        I am quite certain GWW meant that its sexual harassment by PZ’s own standards.

        Which you found typed out where, exactly? I am quite skeptical, having encountered the argument that we can counterfactually imagine WWPZD no less than six times in this very thread. Imagination won’t get you there, you need to show what he said.

      • Cmon bro..
        I dont know if she has made it explicit somewhere that this is not to be taken literally.. I dont follow her work that intensely.
        Isnt there such a thing as context and built up edifice of knowledge?
        That entire episode is about “Witch Hunt in Atheism” ..
        The body of work in the MHRM goes counter to your literal interpretation of what she said. I even pointed out the contradiction in your own observations.. “cavalier about rape” but over-zealous in sexual harassment accusation..

        You are the one making an accusation here.. what happened to that wonderful advice to the Atheist community by the Atheist leaders that included “Pick up the phone and talk to others” etc.. that Ed Clint argued was good advice. Shouldnt YOU be the one talking to GWW to find out what exactly she meant before accusing her of spreading lies?

        Explain something else to me.. why did you use the language that she’s spreading lies, as opposed to possibly being mistaken or anything else charitable.
        Now, if it turns out that she didnt mean it literally, is your characterization fine?

      • The body of work in the MHRM goes counter to your literal interpretation of what she said.

        And perhaps the early Christian community had an easy time telling devotional fiction from serious history as well, because they were intimately familiar with what was actually known about Jesus to the community at the time. The thing about mythmaking (which is what I’m actually writing about here) is that the subtext which is known to one community might not get passed on with the plain text when it is transmitted outside of the community.

        Assuming you are right, however, my apologies go out to Karen regarding the “stop lying” quip. I was perhaps too hasty in assuming that she meant precisely what she was saying.

      • karen straughan

        Allow me to clarify.

        The show in question was about the rape and sexual harassment hysteria being whipped up in the atheist/skeptic community, specifically by people like Myers. It was clear to me from the clip that by Myers’ own standard of sexual harassment, he was harassing that woman.

        1) he was in a position of power–not just his status within the community, but in his position as a speaker at the conference

        2) he did not know the woman, so had no way to know whether she would or would not be offended by his sexual banter

        3) his power was amplified by the fact that they were onstage and the audience was supporting what he was doing, which would have made it very difficult for the woman to protest

        4) the woman clearly appeared flustered. This could certainly have been normal stage-jitters, or excitement at meeting the high-status Myers close up, or a bit of “going along” in the spirit of improv, or it could have been discomfort with the banter itself. The important point is that Myers had no way to know, other than being a mind-reader, and if it had been discomfort with the banter, there was no graceful way for her to have extricated herself from the situation. She would have had to make a scene.

        This scenario, regardless of whether *I* find it to be harassment or not, clearly fits Myers’ understanding of what is and is not sexual harassment. It certainly fits his definition far more snugly than the hapless donglers at PyCon, since Adria Richards could have easily turned around and said, “Would you guys knock it off?” and almost no one could have raised an eyebrow, and because the power differential between the three was virtually nonexistent.

        It really makes no difference whether the woman on stage with Myers did not *feel* harassed, upset or uncomfortable. People must be able to determine in advance which *behaviors* are permissible and which are prohibited if they are to avoid violating a given group’s behavioral standards. People need to be put on notice as to what can get them into trouble.

        That is, if someone assaults me and I choose not to press charges because it didn’t really hurt, I wasn’t harmed and didn’t feel afraid of being harmed, this does not mean the person did not assault me. It just means I don’t care that they did, and I’m willing to give them a pass. It also doesn’t mean that the next time they assault someone, that person will be as sanguine as I was about it, because after everyone’s feelings are parsed, if we are to be at all objective, the only thing that can matter when describing violative behavior is the behavior itself.

        Is the *behavior* violative or is it not? NOT: did the other person feeeeeel violated?

        In most cases with sexual harassment, the standard for determining what is permissible and what is prohibited is to ask, “would a reasonable person see this as harassment?” With FTB, Atheism+ and Skepchick, however, we don’t seem to be dealing with reasonable people.

        Myers has made it clear that certain behaviors constitute sexual harassment. He has indicated that jokes about “big dongles” and “forking repos” made within earshot of a woman qualify. That is where he sets the bar for behavior that is not permissible. And whether the person on the receiving end enjoys the jokes or is offended and made uncomfortable by them is immaterial–it is the jokes themselves that must be prohibited, because there is no way to know whether the person listening one or two rows away is a me, or an Adria Richards. If the person speaking is a man and the person overhearing is a woman, this contributes to the severity of the violation because of the [according to him] difference in power/privilege between them.

        If we are to look only at the behavior and not the feelings of the people involved, and if we are to consider donglegate to be an incident of sexual harassment, then Myers’ behavior was essentially a “felony” when compared against the dongler’s “misdemeanor”. By his own judgment, any out-group member who engaged in such a display would be considered guilty of harassment.

        To clarify whether I feel the incident in question qualifies as sexual harassment? I have a thicker skin than that, despite the fact that Myers creeps me right the fuck out.

      • Thank you for that, Karen.

      • MosesZD

        Slam dunk.

    • Facts I
      The most known dogpile case is probably Ellen Beth Wachs’. That was early April. Many cases happened before, and they happened as numerous afterwards. In fact, enough that co-blogger Chris Clarke quit recently (and caused PZ Myers to reconsider the situation). Strawkins’ original post, you didn’t link to directly (why not?), was made in early December. That was very well when the smallest transgressions trigger(ed) dogpiles when you are out-group. You can probably look into any social justice topic and find numerous cases. Based on this, I am absolutely sure that nobody would get away with the same behaviour as PZ Myers, by the standards of the Commentariat. Call this what you want.

      Facts II
      Shermer’s “You’re a NAUGHTY NAUGHTY girl” comment made it into Jason Thibeault’s sexual harassment timeline, which arbitrarily starts at May 23rd, 2012. When Shermer’s comment makes it onto the list, then “let’s have sex” remarks certainly would make it, too. Don’t you think? Unless, of course, there are double-standards.

      Facts III
      Melissa McEwan pointed out a sexist blog entry by PZ Myers on Monday, August 15, 2011 with the headline “Lady Atheists’ Reluctance to Engage with Movement Atheism Continues to Be a Real Mystery”. The Commentariat apparently didn’t see an issue, but not-in-group Social Justice Warriors, such as McEwan did. It further corroborates that the Commentariat’s “sexist gauge” is one-sided and stacked against an out-group.

      Facts IV
      Well, sort of fact. The situation is, as I have shown, enough to come to the reasonable opinion that the Commentariat is very one-sided. Add in polemics, and the view that they are hypocrites is justified, it certainly justifies Strawkins’ comment in December.

      Facts V
      The Commentariat (certain FTBloggers, SkepChick, Atheism Plus, etc.) has blocked, banned, demonized and intimidated other bloggers to block or ban any attempts to tell a different side of the story, even if Slymepit “registered users” wanted to self-defend themselves (against various – often severe – allegations made against them). Good that humorous approaches, mocking and ridicule are called out! Thanks Damion for clearing up this issue with PZ Myers. The claim that Slymepitters are MRA, KKK member, Stormfront conference bomber, serial killer and porn-photoshopper who constantly orchestrate harassment against others is not a big deal and surely can wait. Only a minor rumour, I heard. Thanks a lot Damion that PZ Myers good reputation is not affected negatively, you are a voice of reason.

      • Re: I – “Call this what you want.”
        I call that counterfactual speculation, and I do not call it evidence.

        Re: II – “Unless, of course, there are double-standards.”
        Of course there are double standards, but the fact that Jason leaves any incidents from FtB-friendly conferences off of his timeline is really something to be taken up with Jason. Blaming PZ for being laid-back and funny back in 2010 doesn’t help.

        Re: III – I have to halfway agree with McEwan on this one, that photo was probably unduly suggestive and the post unnecessarily demeaning. Calling it “misogyny; sexual objectification; dehumanization” is way over the top, though.

        …the Commentariat’s “sexist gauge” is one-sided and stacked against an out-group.

        Every cohesive commentariat has this same problem, but you can only really help fix the commentariats in which you actively participate. What have you ever done to help the SlymePit be less one-sided and stacked against the out-group?

        Re: IV – Hypocrisy is a real problem, making up false accusations is not the answer.

        …it certainly justifies Strawkins’ comment in December.

        Stawkins was ignorant of the context of the video upon which he was commenting, so much so that he missed the clear reference back to events which has transpired on stage less than an hour before RW stood up to speak. His speculation was grounded in the confidence that no one one in the Pit would take the trouble to refute accusations made against designated out group targets.

        Re: V – Abbreviated list of the SlymePit grievances.

        Good that humorous approaches, mocking and ridicule are called out!

        If you only stand against false accusations when they are directed at your friends, you are doing tribalism, not skepticism.

    • rg57

      While the recent claims of PZ’s sexual harassment are probably false (and are probably made because they are essentially anonymous claims of the sort he propagates) there is no doubt that PZ is, both in still images and in recorded video, shown doing similar behaviors that he condemns other men as sexual harassers for (in more colorful terms). The point of showing these images and videos is to highlight (a) PZ’s hypocrisy, and (b) the absurdity of the things he calls sexual harassment. (Honestly, even with permission, to act out behavior you consider harassing only propagates what you seek to reduce.) To my knowledge, nobody is seriously calling PZ a sexual harasser. I think you’re intentionally distorting things.

      • Intentionally distorting by taking Karen’s words literally on their face rather than layering on a reinterpretation which makes them seem much less harsh? I know a liberal Christian seminary that is taking applications, my friend.

      • kiiski

        Weren’t you just complaining about ignoring possible subtext within a community?

      • Exactly. Can the Honey Badgers reasonably expect that everyone who listens will be an insider, fully aware that such accusations are not intended to be taken literally?

      • kiiski

        That would probably be a more productive approach, than engaging in myth-making of your own on how the accusation has already “gone viral” as an “unqualified truth claim”.

      • If you feel the claim was in fact qualified, please tell me exactly where I can scan to within that episode to find said qualification. I listened to the whole thing and never heard anything like, “Well of course there wasn’t *REALLY* sexual harassment onstage at Skepticon, we’re just retroactively applying PZ’s 2013 moral standards to his behavior in 2010. Obviously.”