Yet more misrepresentations in PZ Myers’ post refusing to withdraw or apologise for his smear

by Michael Nugent on November 1, 2014

PZ Myers has conveyed the charming belief that he can simply announce the end of what he calls ‘the @micknugent saga’, by which he means his repeated failure to withdraw and apologise for his defamatory smears that I defend and provide a haven for rapists.

This is the real world. Actions have consequences, and they do not go away by ignoring them or by describing them as tedious.

Nevertheless, his first substantive public comment on the issue in a month may indicate that, as Winston Churchill put it, “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

The bottom line: PZ has publicly refused to retract or apologise for his smears, even after quoting many of the opportunities that I have given him to do so over the past four weeks. I’ll address that substantive issue later.

In this post, I will show how PZ has selectively misrepresented our email exchange on the issue, and I will publish the full exchange so that readers can form their own opinion as to why he left out what he did.

I will also show how he has selectively misrepresented the first three Twitter exchanges that he quoted, between me and Ophelia Benson, Latsot and Monette Richards, and I will publish the context of these exchanges, insofar as it is possible to reconstruct twitter exchanges weeks later.

1. Summary of PZ’s misrepresentations

With regard to the email exchanges, I will show how PZ selectively quoted from the first email, thus mischaracterising my concerns as being primarily about one of the things that he has done, rather than about his ongoing pattern of behaviour over several years. And I will show how he paraphrased instead of quoting a key email from our second exchange, in which I asked him to clarify certain points so that I could know what he means before I could respond to what he is writing.

With regard to the first three of the Twitter exchanges PZ quoted, I will show that I had responded in detail to a question that Ophelia asked me, that Latsot agreed with my comment PZ quoted disapprovingly, and that my exchange with Monette Richards concluded with Monette suggesting that the conversation was one-sided as I had a blog, and I offered that if she wished we could have the discussion on my blog, which she said she would consider.

I will also show that, contrary to the impression conveyed by PZ, I made the following arguments in those Twitter exchanges:

  • I want all allegations of crimes investigated robustly and sensitively, without naming alleged criminals on blogs.
  • I want better policing, better support for victims, better education, new laws, and more.
  • Going to the police is not the only course of action for victims: also victim support groups, medical teams, rape crisis centres etc.
  • In some cases, investigative journalism by credible impartial sources can help. Impartial is a requirement for credible journalism.
  • You could also have credible PI work to get evidence.
  • The Buzzfeed article wasn’t impartial, but was it considerably better than PZ’s intervention. Despite its flaws, perceptions would be different if the BuzzFeed article had come without PZ’s post.
  • I am strongly for victims telling their stories on blog posts but not for naming alleged criminals on blogs. Also for stronger laws, victim support, education.
  • Highlighting stories without naming names could raise awareness and urgency of need for laws, education, victim support without any potential injustices or harm to integrity of the principles of justice that naming names can cause.
  • There are many hard situations with ethical/legal dilemmas. My late wife and I had one regarding right to assisted dying.
  • I’ve been involved in campaigning against both crimes and miscarriages of justice in Ireland. There’s no easy answer.

Whether or not you agree with these positions, they are significantly different to the impression created by PZ’s selective quoting.

Ironically, this is part of the ongoing pattern of behaviour by PZ over recent years that I was highlighting in my first post in this series, and which led to PZ concocting his new smear about me defending and providing a haven for rapists, and then repeatedly failing to substantiate or withdraw and apologise for it.

2. My original email to PZ

PZ refers to my original email as follows:

• 19 August email, 510 words.
It’s an odd email in which he berates me for my rudeness and my habit of naming people I criticize…who, apparently, I shouldn’t criticize. I stopped reading here: “In the last year or so, you have publicly accused Michael Shermer of multiple unreported serious crimes.” This will be a theme; do not accuse people of doing bad things publicly. Yes, there’s an element of irony to that. I did not reply.

For context, here is that email in full:

PZ,

You have just published a sensitive account of your first kiss as a teenager. You have written some science-based posts in response to Richard Dawkins’ recent tweets. And you recently published a post arguing that people are complex, rather than good or bad. I hope that while you are in this more positive psychological space, you can think anew about the harm and hurt and injustice that you have caused to other people through your blog.

As you know, whenever we have met in recent years, I have raised concerns about this. Some of the content of your blog is hurtful and unjust in itself, it also undermines the effectiveness of attempts to promote compassion and empathy and social justice, and it is additionally harmful because of your prominence as a perceived spokesperson for organised atheism. I am copying Ophelia and Richard as this is relevant to their recent joint statement.

Each time that we have discussed these concerns, you have responded that you will tone it down, which to some extent you have. You no longer encourage your commenters to tell people to shove a rotting porcupine up their ass, and they no longer tell people to die in a fire or fuck themselves with a rusty chainsaw. But ceasing such vitriol, while obviously welcome, is a very low hurdle for a blog that aims to promote compassion and empathy and social justice.

In the last year or so, you have publicly accused Michael Shermer of multiple unreported serious crimes, Richard Dawkins of seeming to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children, and Russell Blackford of being a lying fuckhead. Less seriously, but still setting a metaphorical tone for your blog, you have joked about Rebecca Watson shanking Phil Mason in the kidneys, and about you stabbing Christians and throwing people off a pier.

Last week you described Robin Williams’ suicide as the death of a wealthy white man dragging us away from news about brown people, said that a white lady who made racist comments looks like the kind of person who would have laughed at nanu-nanu, and responded to criticism by saying that you should have been more rude, because asking you to have been nicer about the dead famous guy is missing the point. While that seems to have been the final straw for some people, it remains part of a pattern of behaviour that is fast becoming your legacy.

PZ, is this really how you want to be remembered? Having defended you against unjust attacks from others, I am now asking you to take a long hard look at what you are doing, consider apologising to people who you have unjustly hurt and defamed, and start focusing on actually promoting compassion and empathy and social justice if those ideas are important to you. You cannot credibly promote such values in what I have paraphrased as the ethos of “You must be more compassionate, you fuckbrained asshole!”

I am happy to discuss this further if you want to.

Michael

As an aside, PZ says that he stopped reading after the mention of Michael Shermer. This contradicts his comment on 19 September on Stephanie Zvan’s blog, where PZ wrote:

“It’s an obnoxious letter. After telling me that I have accused “[name deleted] of multiple unreported serious crimes”, he gives me my marching orders: “consider apologising to people who you have unjustly hurt and defamed, and start focusing on actually promoting compassion and empathy and social justice if those ideas are important to you.”

So it is clear that PZ did finish the letter, and has chosen to mischaracterise my concerns as being primarily about one of the things that he has done, rather than about his ongoing pattern of behaviour over several years.

3. PZ’s description of our second email exchange

PZ refers to our second email exchange as follows:

• 8 October email: “Can you please withdraw and apologise for your allegation that I am defending rapists?”

I made the mistake of replying. “No, because you are.”

So course he immediately fires back:
Can you please withdraw and apologise for your other allegations
– That I am providing a haven for rapists;
– That I am defending harassers and misogynists;
– That I am providing a haven for harassers and misogynists?

Again I replied, which answers all of his demands, although not to his satisfaction:

“But you do provide a haven for harassers and misogynists — your blog commentariat is almost indistinguishable from the slymepit.

Look here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/07/turning-over-a-rock-and-exposing-slime-to-the-light/ . These are the people nestling happily beneath your wing. Yet you choose to write thousands of words repudiating me because I specifically criticize the actual words and actions of people like Dawkins, Harris, and Shermer, while turning a blind eye to the rot festering in your own place.

And you have defended [named person], preferring to demand that others not publicize his well-documented behavior, rather than criticize a big name in skepticism.

[Named person] is not commenting on your blog, so I will say that you aren’t providing a safe harbor for him, yet. But I don’t know — I get the impression that if a rapist were chattering away there, you’d rather everyone kept silent about it.”

PZ then continued:

Really, the commentariat on his blog consists almost exclusively of familiar names from the slymepit: people who have been harassing me, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Melody Hensley, Stephanie Zvan, and others for years. That they have found a welcoming environment at Nugent’s place tells me all I need to know about his commitment to ending harassment within the atheist community.

But it was a big mistake to reply at all. He wrote back demanding that I define “rapist”, “haven”, “harasser”, etc., and name all the people involved. I could see this was a waste of time — do not wrestle the gelatinous cube — and dropped it.

• 14 October email: “PZ, can you reply to this please?”
My reply: “Not interested.”

I won’t be communicating further with him. Those are the last words I have written or will be writing to Michael Nugent.

4. What PZ left out when describing this email exchange

So what did PZ leave out from this exchange? The email that PZ chose to paraphrase instead of publish reads as follows:

8 October (the same day that he first responded):

PZ,

I strongly disagree with your analysis, and I am happy to discuss why.

But first I want to ask some questions about your allegation against me on twitter, and your clarification that the evidence for your allegations is that my “blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters,” so that I know exactly what allegations you are making.

(a) You wrote that I am providing a haven for rapists. I assume you mean here that there are rapists who post on the Slymepit also comment on my blog. Specifically, who are these rapists? I want to know if there are rapists commenting on my blog.

(b) You also wrote that I am defending these rapists. How am I defending these rapists, whoever they are?

(c) You wrote that I am providing a haven for harassers and misogynists. Do you mean here that people who post on the Slymepit are de facto harassers and misogynists simply because they post on the slymepit? Or do you mean specific people who post on the Slymepit, and if so, who?

(d) You also wrote that I am defending these harassers and misogynists. How am I defending these harassers and misogynists, whoever they are?

(e) You have introduced [named person]’s name here. Are you suggesting that he is a rapist, harasser or misogynist? Or what combination of these three characterisations are you attributing to him? I need to know what you mean by this before I can respond to what you are writing.

Thanks,

Michael

PZ did not respond to this email.

A week later, I resent it on 14 October, with the question: “PZ, can you reply to this please?”

It was to this reminder that PZ replied “Not interested.”

Then on 30 October, I emailed PZ as follows:

PZ,

I know you replied ‘Not interested’ when I last asked you to reply to this, but can you please reconsider that approach, and please reply to the five questions in my previous email which is attached below?

Also, why did it take you two and half weeks of responding to my recent analysis of the media misrepresentations of the atheist movement before you formed the opinion that I was defending and providing a haven for rapists and that the evidence for this was that people were commenting on my blog who also post on another website?

Here is a link to a summary of your various responses before you finally made that allegation:

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/10/29/anatomy-of-a-smear-how-pz-myers-concocted-a-new-smear-when-challenged-about-his-previous-smears/

PZ, this isn’t going to go away by ignoring it, so can you please just do the right thing and withdraw and apologise (properly and sincerely with a commitment to not repeat the smear, not using what you refer to as a not-pology) for your allegations?

Thanks,

Michael

Finally, today, PZ published his post refusing to withdraw or apologise for his smears, and in doing so he still did not answer the questions that I had asked him clarify.

5. PZ’s misrepresentation of my exchange with Ophelia Benson

This is what PZ quoted:

Ophelia – Of course it has wider implications. So no, I don’t agree that saying that was not saying shut up about sexual harassment.

Me – No, I am saying *do* talk about sexual harassment, and tackle it robustly and sensitively, but don’t name people on blogs.

And here is the context of that exchange:

On 19 September Ophelia tweeted to me: ‘I really wish you would address why you think we should shut up about sexual harassment reports,’ and asked me ‘Why are you telling us to keep sexual harassment secret?’

I told Ophelia this was untrue and defamatory, but she declined to withdraw the tweet. She claimed I had said this in a recent post, and also in an email that I sent to PZ in August.

I then published the email, and Ophelia commented on that post:

“What was the point of saying “you have publicly accused [named person] of multiple unreported serious crimes” if you didn’t mean “and that was a bad thing to do”? If you can explain that, I will withdraw the tweet. But without an explanation? No.”

I replied to Ophelia in further comments:

“You are not asking me what I meant, but attributing claims and motivations and thoughts to me that are not true. You seem to be conflating the general plural notion of ‘sexual harassment reports’ with a specific allegation that a named person had committed multiple rapes. You seem to be conflating the notion of telling an appropriate law or health support or rape crisis agency with telling a blogger on the Internet. From all of that, you have concluded and claimed that I am telling people to keep sexual harassment secret, which is simply not true… [So] yes, I do mean that what PZ did was a bad thing to do, but that is a different and more specific claim than the much broader allegation that you accused me of.”

And that fed into the following exchange on Twitter:

Me – so based on that reply, which you requested, will you now please withdraw your tweet?

Ophelia –  I was misremembering your post. You didn’t reply, you just repeated it.

Me – Sorry, I meant the explanation you requested, which I gave in comments #16 and #20 of the reply

Ophelia – Of course it has wider implications. So no, I don’t agree that saying that was not saying shut up about sexual harassment.

Me – No, I am saying *do* talk about sexual harassment, and tackle it robustly and sensitively, but don’t name people on blogs.

6. PZ’s misrepresentation of my exchange with Latsot

This is what PZ quoted:

Latsot – What an extraordinary thing to say. Don’t name people on blogs? Are you serious?

Me –  Yes. The context of the discussion is don’t allege on blogs that named people have committed serious unreported crimes.

And here is the context of that exchange:

Latsot – What an extraordinary thing to say. Don’t name people on blogs? Are you serious?

Me – Yes. The context of the discussion is don’t allege on blogs that named people have committed serious unreported crimes.

Latsot – Agreed. I don’t know which unsupported crime you mean, though. If it’s about PZ, that crime was supported by about as much evidence as most crimes have.

Changerofbits – WOW! So just don’t name names? How the hell is sexual harassment going to stop if there’s no price to be paid?

Me – Sexual harassment should be tackled by robust policing, victim support, better education, new laws, etc.

7. PZ’s misrepresentation of my exchange with Monette Richards

This is what PZ quoted:

Monette – You do not want us naming sexual predators. That is a silencing tactic. It leaves us little recourse.

Me –  I want all allegations of crimes investigated robustly and sensitively, without naming alleged criminals on blogs.

And here is the context of that exchange:

Monette – You do not want us naming sexual predators. That is a silencing tactic. It leaves us little recourse.

Me –  I want all allegations of crimes investigated robustly and sensitively, without naming alleged criminals on blogs.

LenSanook – Ah! This is a clear concise statement. Thanks. What do you propose when your preferred mechanism doesn’t work?

Me – Better policing, better support for victims, better education, new laws, and more

Simon Davis – so you’re saying going to the police is the only course of action?

Me – No, also victim support groups, medical teams, rape crisis centres etc. In some cases, investigative journalism by credible impartial sources can help.

Simon Davis – Like the Buzzfeed piece? Which corroborated the blog post for example? but if you’re saying “impartial” is a requirement that would rule out investigation by victim advocates, no?

Me – Impartial is a requirement for credible journalism. You could also have credible PI work to get evidence. The Buzzfeed article wasn’t impartial, but was it considerably better than PZ’s intervention. Despite its flaws, perceptions would be different if the BuzzFeed article had come without PZ’s post.

[later]

Monette – We just want our stories to be heard. micknugent doesn’t want us to tell our stories.

Me – Monette, that is not true. Please stop repeating that misrepresentation. Thanks.

Monette – You would prefer PZ’s blog post in which a woman tells her story not to happen. How is that not silencing us?

Me – If you keep misrepresenting me, I will keep politely asking you to please stop doing so.

Monette – Then please clarify. Are you for us telling our stories on blog posts and naming names?

Me – To oversimplify, strongly for the first part and against the second part. Also for stronger laws, victim support, education.

Monette – Yes, stronger laws, etc. IN THE MEANTIME, what do we do? Suffer in silence? What would you have us do about [named person]? It has to be obvious, with all the complaints, that there is a problem. No one wants to do anything about it. So, what do we do?

Me –  I agree there is obviously a problem. There is no easy answer. I’ll try to address this in more detail in a blog post. Highlighting stories without naming names could raise awareness and urgency of need for laws, education, victim support without any potential injustices or harm to integrity of the principles of justice that naming names can cause.

Monette – Not having the leaders of the orgs telling us to shut up about a man who is an obvious problem would help even more!

Me – There are many hard situations with ethical/legal dilemmas. My late wife and I had one regarding right to assisted dying.

Monette – I am more concerned with the women who are getting no justice at all!

Me – I’ve been involved in campaigning against both crimes and miscarriages of justice in Ireland. There’s no easy answer.

Monette – Telling us not to protect women from a person known to harm others is not an answer I will accept, easy or otherwise.

Me – As I said, its hard to address on twitter in 140-char instalments. I’ll write a blog post with my thoughts about it.

Monette – How nice for you that you have a powerful voice on a blog. Telling women you don’t like how they are handling their own safety. We do not all have that luxury of voice. Stop using yours to diminish ours.

Me –  I’m having a conversation with you, not diminishing your voice.

Monette – By telling women not to name the men that sexually harass or assault them, you diminish our voices. You on a blog. Not exactly a convo. It’s a speech. You write. I read. I don’t have anywhere to answer but twitter.

Me – Do you want to have a discussion on the blog?

Monette – That’s an interesting proposition. Intimidating as I am not a writer and your comments are filled with pitters.

Me – Okay, well think about it and we can discuss it later. I have to go for a while now.

Monette – I will consider it.

8. Conclusion

As I said, I will respond later to the substantive issue of PZ’s public refusal to withdraw or apologise for his defamatory smear that I defend and provide a haven for rapists.

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Edward Gemmer November 1, 2014 at 10:13 pm

PZ isn’t meaningfully different from Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly. He isn’t interested in honesty.

2 J. J. Ramsey November 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

I think that you’re starting to repeat yourself, and it’s making you look bad. I think we pretty much established a long time ago that PZ presented a distorted picture, and that the claim that you provided a haven for rapists was fairly obviously false on its face and didn’t need much elaboration.

As for providing a haven for harassers and misogynists, that’s at least an understandable claim, even if it doesn’t quite wash. I think it would have sufficed to say that (1) Slymepitters are pretty much attracted to blog posts and forums where there is criticism of bloggers in the FTB network, and (2) their high concentration is more a by-product of you not having a large enough number of regular commenters to dilute their presence. I’d say that the presence of the ‘pitters is a drag on the blog’s atmosphere, especially since they’ve dragged in a lot of old grievances to the comments that don’t have much bearing on the actual blog posts, but whether that’s enough to justify a ban is a whole other question.

3 Shermertron November 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Mr. Nugent,

Thank you for devoting so much time and attention to such an important matter.

One of the reasons and PZ and Benson and Zvan have been able to get this bad is because the community has allowed them to get away with their counterproductive and defamatory rhetoric. Here’s hoping they will no longer get away with this behavior.

4 Shermertron November 1, 2014 at 10:25 pm

J.J. @2

Agreed, accusing Mr. Nugent of harboring “rapists” was clearly false. The accusation is still defamatory. Rape is a serious crime and has powerful effects on the reputation of the accused. PZ and his friends have offered zero evidence to prove that there is a rapist among Mr. Nugent’s commenters in spite of repeated invitations to do so.

You said: “As for providing a haven for harassers and misogynists, that’s at least an understandable claim, even if it doesn’t quite wash. I think it would have sufficed to say that (1) Slymepitters are pretty much attracted to blog posts and forums where there is criticism of bloggers in the FTB network, and (2) their high concentration is more a by-product of you not having a large enough number of regular commenters to dilute their presence. I’d say that the presence of the ‘pitters is a drag on the blog’s atmosphere, especially since they’ve dragged in a lot of old grievances to the comments that don’t have much bearing on the actual blog posts, but whether that’s enough to justify a ban is a whole other question.”

I think it’s fairer to say that Slymepitters are attracted to discussions about FTB issues that are not moderated to protect FTB. As has been stated many times, a lot of “Slymepitters” and FTB dissenters were once FTB commenters who were forced out for the sin of disagreement.

It’s also important to note that Slymepitters have been laughing at PZ for years now and have great expertise when it comes to the Schism. What’s the problem with sharing a comment section with people who have been chronicling all of this stuff?

5 Jan Steen November 1, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I think that you’re starting to repeat yourself, and it’s making you look bad.

No, it’s making PZ look bad, by carefully documenting yet more evidence of his smear tactics. Maybe he should start to familiarize himself with Irish libel law.

6 Carrie November 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm

J.J. Ramsey, most of us here may agree that PZ has presented a distorted picture, but he himself has not agreed and apologised.

I disagree with your analysis of the motives and effects of the presence of pitters here. It is clear that they are not harassers or misogynists; from what I have seen, they are actually warm-hearted people and they are helping us to support a hard-working atheist. Michael is being misrepresented by those who continue their smear tactics and refuse to talk to him about it.

7 Guestus Aurelius November 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm

As Nugent notes, his original e-mail had this paragraph—

In the last year or so, you have publicly accused Michael Shermer of multiple unreported serious crimes, Richard Dawkins of seeming to have developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children, and Russell Blackford of being a lying fuckhead.

—of which PZ quoted in his post only this:

In the last year or so, you have publicly accused Michael Shermer of multiple unreported serious crimes.

In many disciplines, it’s considered perfectly acceptable to silently change a quotation-ending comma to a period if the quotation comes at the end of a sentence. Modification-signaling square brackets, though certainly permissible, are ugly and generally unnecessary if they signal only a cosmetic modification to the source.

PZ’s modification, however, is a semantic one. He’s trying to convince his readers that Nugent only cares about the first item in a list of several. By silently changing the comma to a period, he implies that there was no list.

Cute.

8 Blueshift Rhino November 1, 2014 at 11:02 pm

@J.J. –

With regard to MN repeating himself, what alternative would you suggest when what he says is repeatedly misrepresented by others? And please don’t suggest that he just remain silent while it happens (again and again, as he has so carefully documented for the record); that’s a non-starter.

As to what forums I’m attracted to, do you really maintain a list of where else I read and post? Seriously? That’s almost creepy, if true.

9 Guestus Aurelius November 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm

In my previous post (#4, currently awaiting moderation it seems), “this paragraph” should read “this sentence.”

10 john welch November 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm

No, that’s how you have to do it. Don’t let them distract and shift the goalposts.

PZ said people here are rapists. He can just provide the evidence.

11 Gunboat Diplomat November 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm

@ JJ Ramsey

Michael is partly repeating himself because the smears against him by PZ Myers and FtB are constantly repeated and reformulated. They duck, they dive, they shift the goalposts and they throw lots of mud. Michael doesn’t let them away with any of that and deconstructs the mud and pinpoints exactly where the misrepresentations lie.

Myers et. al. may say they think Michaels writing is tedious and you may think he’s repeating himself and making himself “look bad” but I see Michael’s writing as generating clarity on this issue that will likely stand the test of time. PZ will never be able to just blithely dismiss Michael Nugent as a “misogynist” and “rape apologist/defender” because there is a very clear record of the debate on Michael’s blog for any future observer to examine and make their own conclusions, including any news organisations such as the Guardian.

This is partly about Michael defending his reputation and good character – as any of us would do if we had the means and the courage – but it’s also about illuminating PZ’s and FtB’s dishonest methodology in dealing with opponents within the atheist movement.

In my opinion FtB tactics have been positively Orwellian:

– Insistence on virtual ideological unanimity. For example try and dispute their particular interpretation of objectification and its consequences will have you labelled a misogynist/rape apologist in no time.

– Smearing opponents and those who defend them. For example as happened to Michael when he defended Richard Dawkins.

– Rewriting the past when it suits them. As Michael has relentlessly documented in his case but which is far from the only time.

– Wide use of censorship on their blogs in the name of protecting their commentariat against misogynistic threats, harassment and trolling. Except we can see in Michael’s comments section from the “slymepitters,” the type of discussion and criticism which was also banned from FtB under this pretence, which is balanced and reasonable and critical (if a bit rude sometimes).

12 SF November 2, 2014 at 12:11 am

PZ Myers is fundamentally dishonest. Look how he classifies his reply to Michael under the subcategory of “fools, tools, kooks and goons,” i.e. he has complete and utter contempt for Michael. PZ’s critics even in the mildest form are by definition harassers and misogynists. But his hypocrisy shows both by his own language, and allowing his commentariat to sling whatever false accusations and smears they want without evidence, and without ever being called out. They can even call Michael a twit (Orac), yet if you used that language referring to someone else, you’d be called a sexist misogynist hater and booted out in a nanosecond, but hey, it’s OK when we say it.

Yet Michael has an ethical duty to call out rapists, even though there is no evidence whatsoever that any of his commenters are rapists, much less misogynists and harassers, only that they are critical of Myers. Many of PZ’s detractors are women, for the life of me how can they be misogynists even by the broadest possible definition of the term?

13 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 12:21 am

In Comment #7 on PZ’s blog, Morgan writes: “Still leaves me needing to find a different group in Ireland through which I can support secularism. Thanks, Mick.”

Now, I might be somewhat naive, but that seems to read as if PZ’s activities are causing harm and/or damage to MN’s reputation, quite possibly in the mind of a person who is reading what PZ writes from a location within the Republic of Ireland. Gosh. I wonder if there are any implications of such?

14 J. J. Ramsey November 2, 2014 at 12:30 am

Carrie:

J.J. Ramsey, most of us here may agree that PZ has presented a distorted picture, but he himself has not agreed and apologised.

Expecting him to apologize is expecting way too much.

I disagree with your analysis of the motives and effects of the presence of pitters here. It is clear that they are not harassers or misogynists …

Yeah, I realized after I wrote my comment that I clearly implied the ‘pitters were harassers and misogynists, which is too broad a brush. That said, I remember d4m10n pointing out some ‘pitters [calling a named person a vulgar nickname], which looks, well, kinda misogynist. And really, there’s a lot about the ‘pitters that I would sarcastically describe as “classy.”

Blueshift Rhino:

With regard to MN repeating himself, what alternative would you suggest when what he says is repeatedly misrepresented by others?

Here are some rules of thumb that I think Nugent should have followed when dealing with online defamation:

(1) First, be concise. A long point-by-point rebuttal is less likely to be read by those who need to read it, and it can even come off as obsessive. Along those lines, try to have no more than one blog post per a given distortion or misrepresentation.

(2) Don’t bother arguing with individuals whose profile is about that of some random schmoe on the Internet. If an individual doesn’t go by his or her real name online, or doesn’t own a blog or get published in mainstream web sites, engaging such an individual just raises the profile of content that would otherwise be forgotten (because it was written by, well, a random schmoe), and makes the one who engages look like one who is punching below one’s weight and getting too caught up in SIWOTI syndrome. Bothering with Adam Lee or PZ is not necessarily a mistake. Bothering with latsot, on the other hand, was almost bound to be counterproductive.

(3) Don’t sink too much effort into responding to defamatory tweets. The Streisand effect holds very strong here, especially if one responds outside Twitter. A bad tweet left alone will usually soon be forgotten. Arguing against a tweet on a blog post will raise the tweet’s profile and likely end up making any defamation in the tweet more broadly known — regardless of any rebuttal. If one responds to a tweet at all, respond on Twitter, and try to keep it brief rather than letting it become a drawn-out exchange. Perhaps the best response to PZ’s “haven” tweet would have been, “I’m disappointed that you’ve sunk to such distortions.”

(4) In general, try to keep any correction of a defamation from (a) broadcasting the original defamation too much further and (b) descending into pig-wrestling.

15 piero November 2, 2014 at 12:32 am

MN – No, I am saying *do* talk about sexual harassment, and tackle it robustly and sensitively, but don’t name people on blogs.

MN – Yes. The context of the discussion is don’t allege on blogs that named people have committed serious unreported crimes.

MN – Sexual harassment should be tackled by robust policing, victim support, better education, new laws, etc.

Monette – We just want our stories to be heard. micknugent doesn’t want us to tell our stories.

No meaningful conversation can be had with people who have decided not to hear. However, Michael’s diligence in compiling a detailed list is invaluable; Monette is beyond rescue, but surely there are some reasonable FtB followers who can understand plain English.

16 SF November 2, 2014 at 12:33 am

Another irony is that PZ Myers selectively quotes things out of context and fundamentally mischaracterizes the whole situation as well as fails to engage Michael’s actual points in anything but an utterly superficial way like any garden variety creationist. On this issue, to me he isn’t really any different from the likes of Ken Ham or Ray Comfort.

17 Steven Carr November 2, 2014 at 12:36 am

It is obvious reading the exchanges that Michael Nugent is interested in reasonable discussion and dialogue, while PZ Myers resorts to slander , motivated by a malicious desire to damage the reputation and good name of people who question Myers’ behaviour.

Myers malicious slanders are not backed up by evidence. His malicious slander that Nugent is providing a haven for rapists is so transparently false that even Myers in his latest blog post is clearly trying to edge away from it.

Yet Myers refuses to withdraw or apologise for a statement that his latest blog post shows that even he does not believe is based on truth.

18 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 12:41 am

@J.J. –

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. My only disagreement with your advice RE internet defamation is that it seems to assume that the only goal is to reduce the effect of the initial defamation, both in terms of how many people see it and the relative importance of those who take it seriously. But what if you have an even larger goal? …a less personal or egocentric goal? What if you have been working for quite some time to get this particular defamer to stop being a negative and return to being a positive in a movement (of sorts) of great importance to you? In that case, would you really just write a single, short response to only the defamer and then let it go, as you seem to be suggesting?

19 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 12:48 am

To clarify and partly retract a bit of my previous reply to J.J.:
I don’t see MN as the type to be overly and even mostly concerned with his own reputation, but, instead, to be someone who cares about larger ideas and ideals. But I should here admit that I’m moving the goalposts a bit when I write this, so this shouldn’t be read as the criticism of J.J.’s response that my previous post implied.

20 piero November 2, 2014 at 12:59 am

@J.J. Ramsey:

That said, I remember d4m10n pointing out some ‘pitters [calling a named person a vulgar nickname], which looks, well, kinda misogynist. And really, there’s a lot about the ‘pitters that I would sarcastically describe as “classy.”

Vulgar, yes. Misogynistic? No. Misogyny is a hatred of women (plural), not the hatred of one woman in particular. On the other hand, several FtB regulars found it very funny and clever to address Richard Dawkins as “Dear Dick:” Was that frowned upon for being misandrist? Nope.

By all means, criticise vulgarity, bad taste and disrespect, but don’t call it misogyny just because it is fashionable.

As for your tactical advice, I think Michael has enough experience not to need it. It seems to me that by focusing on the trees you’ve lost sight of the forest; I think Michael is interested not in pig-wrestling, but in exposing a modus operandi that can be (and has already been) extremely damaging to the A/S movement; and the only way to do that is by actually exhibiting evidence of that trend.

21 Drew Hardies November 2, 2014 at 1:02 am

Here are some rules of thumb that I think Nugent should have followed when dealing with online defamation:

(1) First, be concise. A long point-by-point rebuttal is less likely to be read by those who need to read it, and it can even come off as obsessive. Along those lines, try to have no more than one blog post per a given distortion or misrepresentation.

The ‘best’ form depends a lot on what someone’s trying to accomplish.

Your advice is a really good way to win a news cycle. Short, pity replies can win sympathy while letting a smear die down. But I don’t think that’s Michael’s goal.

He’s constructing what amounts to a legal brief. Events are broken down to lists of very specific claims. Each fact is supported by concrete evidence.

These followup posts don’t seem designed to clear his name. (The first post did that). Instead, he’s building a case that proves, in a very strict sense, that PZ has engaged in a pattern of irresponsible and knowingly dishonest behavior.

22 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 1:07 am

Hey, piero, you can’t beat a guy up for answering a question; at least, not while being fair. J.J.’s “advice” was a direct response to me.

23 J. J. Ramsey November 2, 2014 at 1:11 am

Blueshift Rhino:

What if you have been working for quite some time to get this particular defamer to stop being a negative and return to being a positive in a movement (of sorts) of great importance to you?

Even if that’s the goal, one still has to avoid feeding into the defamer’s game. In a sense, the defamer is a troll, and feeding said troll is not going to help him/her become a positive force.

24 Shermertron November 2, 2014 at 1:11 am

JJ Ramsey @14

Again, I respectfully disagree with you. Calling [a named person a vulgar nickname] is indeed crude and may not be “classy.” Fine. But calling someone “crude” and “unclassy” isn’t a legally actionable slander that ruins reputations.

Further, you characterise [vulgar term deleted] as “kinda misogynist.” I disagree. Misogyny is the hatred of women. Whoever called Benson that name was speaking about her and only her. Not all women. One of FTB’s greatest sins is the incessant redefinition of words. Calling her the name may be classless or crude, but it doesn’t reflect the hatred of all women.

I take issue with some of your other points.

You seem to be telling Mr. Nugent to avoid the Streisand Effect by simply ignoring PZ’s continued slander. Would you say the same to a victim of any other crime? (“Oh, you were sexually harassed? Don’t write anything down or tell anybody; you wouldn’t want everyone to find out.)

Mr. Nugent doesn’t seem to be obsessively documenting the FTB slander for the heck of it. Mr. Nugent has a professional reputation to consider…he must also think of his organization’s reputation. Mr. Nugent is comprehensively and fairly documenting all that the FTB folks have said. He has given them plenty of opportunities to retract their slander.

If you don’t think that the slander is a problem, consider this: Melody Hensley, the Executive Director of the Washington DC office for the Center for Inquiry, has publicly supported Myers in this…kerfluffle. Ms. Hensley, an influential member of a very influential organization, is using the advantage of her position to perpetuate PZ’s original slander. This is unfair to Mr. Nugent and to Atheist Ireland.

http://i.imgur.com/nV91ppa.png

25 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 1:18 am

@J.J. –

As weird as this may seem, my impression is that MN is more optimistic about PZ than you (or I). The guy seems to be one big, cuddly ball of positivity … wrapped up in a red polo shirt. :)

26 piero November 2, 2014 at 1:20 am

@Blueshift Rhino, J.J. Ramsey:

Hey, piero, you can’t beat a guy up for answering a question; at least, not while being fair. J.J.’s “advice” was a direct response to me.

Fuck! I apologise. The worst part is that I had read your questions to J.J.!

27 Gurdur November 2, 2014 at 1:24 am

No, J. J. Ramsey, wrong.

I think that you’re starting to repeat yourself, and it’s making you look bad.

No, you are wrong, this is not making Michael Nugent look bad. Not at all. By simply sticking to the issue, and by reiterating the issue soberly and truthfully, Michael Nugent has built up a very strong case, and served notice on Myers that the issue will not go away. Your platitudes about not feeding trolls do not apply at all here. What has become increasingly obvious is how PZ Myers, Stephani Zvan, Ophelia Benson and assorted FTB commentators are running scared – descending to ever-more ludicrous and inept pseudo-justifications, and complaints only too visibly out of order. The outside world is not going to see Michael Nugent in a bad light here at all; and that is because he has consistently stuck to the sober truth, and he has consistently kept the original issue on the burner.

28 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 1:25 am

No problem. In fact, the more times that we demonstrate that the world doesn’t end when you apologize for screwing up, the better. Me thinks that someone needs to be shown this.

29 Crackity Jones November 2, 2014 at 1:33 am

Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, and Stephanie Zvan all appear to be panicking because they can’t contain their own exposure.

Benson in particular is rattled over the claim that she didn’t write ‘Why Truth Matters’. Not sure anybody claimed that, but I do know that there is a 2006 Ophelia Benson inside the current Ophelia Benson clone, trying to get out. The current Benson clone shites all over what the 2006 Ophelia Benson wrote and thought.

Their behavior needs highlighting and their rape apologism needs to be publicized with any conferences that they attend. I am currently contacting Center 4 Inquiry asking why they are inviting a rape apologist (Ophelia Benson, according to latsot, PZ Myers and Zvan) to speak on a panel about “social justice”.

30 Crackity Jones November 2, 2014 at 1:35 am

Oh, and Ophelia……remember, some of us can find out what goes on in that backchannel……..!

Be careful with those smear plots…..!

31 J. J. Ramsey November 2, 2014 at 1:48 am

Shermertron:

You seem to be telling Mr. Nugent to avoid the Streisand Effect by simply ignoring PZ’s continued slander.

No, I’m telling him that responding to a transient defamatory tweet by raising its profile in a blog post has backfired spectacularly. Indeed, your example of Melody Hensley’s tweet makes my point. The post of PZ’s to which she pointed? It wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for Nugent’s responses to PZ.

32 SF November 2, 2014 at 2:09 am

PZ’s fundamental dishonesty is revealed daily. He has a new post in deep denial about an extensive study by researchers that fundamental discrimination against women in academia is largely absent based on statistics and facts, but since it doesn’t suit his biases and agenda it must be wrong, because PZ sez so. The researchers must be demonized as sexists because their research cannot possibly be true, what other possible reason could their be for the findings, so fucking typical. PZ’s fundamental dishonesty towards Michael reflects a fundamental dishonesty characteristic of an ideologue and demagogue, not a skeptic who wants to examine the facts and deal with reality as it actually is.

33 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 2:13 am

In the comments of PZ’s most-recent post, Al Dente says this to MN: “You have ignored evidence that many of the commentators at your blogs are harassers and misogynists. You specifically deleted several of my comments on your blog when I gave examples of slymepitters’ harassment and misogyny in their comments on your blog posts. This is both defending the harassers and misogynists and giving them haven.”

If MN has actually deleted any of Al Dente’s comments, it’s likely that they included unsubstantiated accusations of crimes or something else that could be defamatory. (I’m here ignoring the possibilities that Al Dente is simply making a false claim and that MN has deleted no comments by Al Dente.) I would greatly appreciate it if Al Dente could either try to repost the comments here in a way that is not defamatory or just post them somewhere else that those accused of harassment and misogyny could see them and respond.

Thanks.

34 Shermertron November 2, 2014 at 2:38 am

@Blueshift Rhino #33

I agree that Mr. Nugent must have had a very good reason to delete comments by Al Dente, if that’s what happened.

If Mr./Ms. Dente is reading this, could you please follow BSR’s advice and post your posts elsewhere? Remember, you’re always welcome at the Slymepit. They really only have one rule: no doxxing. Other than that, I think an FTB commenter won’t have a problem adjusting.

35 piero November 2, 2014 at 2:44 am

In any case, who’s this Al Dente? He wasn’t asked to provide evidence for Myers’s claims. That’s for Myers to do.

36 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 2:49 am

Um, evidence is evidence.

37 Gurdur November 2, 2014 at 4:11 am

Bollocks again.

J. J. Ramsey November 2, 2014 at 1:48 am
No, I’m telling him that responding to a transient defamatory tweet by raising its profile in a blog post has backfired spectacularly.

I see you’re escalating your previous claim, J.J., and it’s still bollocks despite that or despite escalation. In fact, Michael Nugent has scored rather resounding success. The amount of defensive, evasive posts and comments made by PZ Myers, S. Zvan and Ophelia Benson, among others, made on this matter rather disprove your repeated contention. As does the fact that to any outside, impartial observer, Michael Nugent has clearly shown PZ Myers’ accusation to be both unfounded and defamatory.

38 Shatterface November 2, 2014 at 4:21 am

Nobody is claiming Benson didn’t write Why Truth Matters.

If we did we couldn’t quote it back at her to show how she’s betrayed the values she once espoused.

39 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

An FTB cult member wrote:

You specifically deleted several of my comments on your blog when I gave examples of slymepitters’ harassment and misogyny in their comments on your blog posts. This is both defending the harassers and misogynists and giving them haven.

We all know that these people have their own secret dictionary, accessible only to those who have accepted Peezus in their heart.

Harassment = Blaphemy against Peezus and his prophets.
Misogyny = Making fun of St. Zvan and St. Benson.

40 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

*Blasphemy* even.

41 Gerhard November 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

“No problem. In fact, the more times that we demonstrate that the world doesn’t end when you apologize for screwing up, the better. Me thinks that someone needs to be shown this.”

But PZ is not wrong. He is absolutely right, but those rubes conditioned by the Patriarchy just can’t be expected to get it. The authorities just wouldn’t understand the purity and righteousness of his cause, so he just has to bravely soldier on taking arrows for the struggle. I really don’t know what to think of him any more, beyond the fact that he is malicious and wilfully dishonest. It could be that his worldview really is informed by high school, that he has divided the world up into nerds and football jocks. Not entirely unlikely for a naive nerd who may have very little understanding of the world outside academia and very little sexual experience. It does seem sometimes that he sees women as defenseless innocents in need of protection from the nasty brutes.

42 Phil Giordana FCD November 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Well done, Michael. Keep on going, there MUST be resolve and eventually resolution (one way or another).

43 Carrie November 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm

J.J. Ramsey, I understand why you think that Michael is doing it wrong. However, in my opinion you are missing a basic point. He is calling out people who probably would not really read what he says regardless of how concise he made his posts. They are always going to mock and misrepresent any points that they do not agree with. We can see this clearly in the way in which they consistently misread / misunderstood / misrepresented Dawkins’ tweets. What Michael is doing here is very useful for the future; he is documenting without undue bias the various disagreements, and providing evidence of the smear tactics used by the FtB / Skepchick sillies. He will never change their minds and, as you point out, he will never get an apology. But he is shining a light into their methods just as any good skeptic will shine a light onto the shifty behaviour of Creationist apologists.

I have to laugh, by the way, at the thought that Michael might appear obsessive to the FtB posters. He actually publishes many posts which have nothing to do with the “rift”, and for real obsessive behaviour we only need to look at Ophelia’s craze about Jaclyn. Michael writes analytical articles about a smear which could affect his good name and position; Ophelia goes nuts about a youtuber who simply has a different view from her on some issues.

I agree that bothering with Latsot and its ilk is pretty pointless, it seems to be a schmoe with no backbone and no real ability to think straight. But it was nipping at Michael’s heels so I can see why he wanted it to stop.

I understand your point about tweets, but I do think that the exchange needed to be recorded clearly so that people in future can see just how much trust to place in anything that PZ says. Also whenever something happens, particularly on the internet, it never disappears entirely. At some time in the future an argument could erupt and one of PZ’s supporters could state that rapists are given a haven by Michael because he did not repudiate the claim. There would no longer be any evidence and the facts could not then be checked. As for the screenshot of Melody’s tweet which you mention in a later comment, she would have found some way of being noticed again regardless.

A personal attack on Ophelia may be silly or offensive but it is not misogyny. I wish that people would not use such words incorrectly and make a nonsense of them.

44 J. J. Ramsey November 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Gurdur:

In fact, Michael Nugent has scored rather resounding success. The amount of defensive, evasive posts and comments made by PZ Myers, S. Zvan and Ophelia Benson, among others, made on this matter rather disprove your repeated contention.

Judging from this comment from Orac, I would disagree:

As I was reading this, one thought kept intruding: Why haven’t you blocked this twit? Then at the end you did. I would have blocked him weeks ago.

Bear in mind that Orac has been way more even-keeled than Myers. He’s not a part of the regular Pharyngula commentariat, and his experience with FTB hasn’t been entirely friendly, either. (Remember the response he got when he publicly pondered sic’ing the “Hitler Zomble” on Ophelia Benson for an overblown Nazi analogy of hers?) Yet he’s convinced by Myers’ presentation.

What I see is that the defamers have a tendency to take a response to them, twist it, and then use it as fodder for further defamation. That’s exactly what I’m seeing from Myers.

45 Phil Giordana FCD November 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm

At this point, if Myers or any of his associates told me the sky is blue, I’d go outside and check for myself.

It is important that more people be weary of their deformations, misinterpretations and willful defamation campaigns, so what Michael is doing is not only the right thing to do, but also the much needed thing to do. I wish more prominent A/S figures would follow in his path.

46 Pogsurf November 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Highly amused by Michael’s Churchillian reference, particularly when I went off to read it in context:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Henceforth Hitler’s Nazis will meet equally well armed, and perhaps better armed troops. Hence forth they will have to face in many theatres of war that superiority in the air which they have so often used without mercy against other, of which they boasted all round the world, and which they intended to use as an instrument for convincing all other peoples that all resistance to them was hopeless….”

47 Shermertron November 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm

JJ Ramsey @31

You said: “No, I’m telling him that responding to a transient defamatory tweet by raising its profile in a blog post has backfired spectacularly. Indeed, your example of Melody Hensley’s tweet makes my point. The post of PZ’s to which she pointed? It wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for Nugent’s responses to PZ.”

If I didn’t know better, I would say you were blaming the victim for the defamation he’s receiving.

Don’t tell Nugent not to post! Teach PZ and his friends not to defame!

48 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

@Shermertron & J.J. –

At this point, whether MN took the “best” approach to PZ’s smears is only worth discussing in case there’s a next time. It would be awful, in my opinion, if MN were to stop now, as this would reinforce the response that PZ et al. have employed. Even more, MN has said (in public) that this is not going to simply go away. In some ways, MN is as trapped now as PZ.

49 Crackity Jones November 2, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Shatterface:

Nobody is claiming Benson didn’t write Why Truth Matters. If we did we couldn’t quote it back at her to show how she’s betrayed the values she once espoused.

He he. Ophelia really is the Antony Flew of today. She has trashed her own reputation for skepticism and rationalism by falling for post-modernist claptrap. Benson can join the same sack as Michael Behe and Deepak Chopra, as far as I care. She has betrayed the skepticism movement with her grasping of woo and identity-based politics over facts, evidence and reality.

BTW, did anybody see Ophelia step in the shite AGAIN over the last 24 hours. She had a lazy moan at Peter Boghossian claiming he was “gay-bashing”, because of a perfectly logical statement about the reasoning why people should be “proud” of their sexuality, nationality, personality, etc. There was PUSHBACK straight away, pointing out how bonkers Ophelia is for suggesting that, and Ophelia hilariously slinked away and decided to keep her mouth shut. Best decision she made all day.

Anyway, we ALL know why Ophelia had a stupid snap at Peter Boghossian, don’t we? It was because Boghossian was involved in the exposure of CJ Werleman as a dishonest charlatan. Both PZ and Ophelia put out hand-waving mitigating posts on Werleman after his downfall, with Ophelia in particular trying to put on a “is plagarism really that bad” routine, ignoring the other stuff like Werleman lying his ass off about Harris. Sam Harris is an enemy of FTB, remember, so Werleman getting absolutely spanked, humiliated and crushed by Harris and others was extremely PAINFUL for Ophelia Benson.

Feel the pain…..there is more to come. We will expose the fibbers and charlatans one by one if we have to, and FreeThoughtBlogs contains a lot of low-hanging fruit. I will make sure that PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson’s already benthic reputations will sink them completely.

50 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm

It’s not a sick joke. The SJWs posting at Peezus’s outfit genuinely think that asking for rapists to be reported to the authorities reinforces rape culture. I think we should give up all hope that these people are amenable to rational arguments. They are cultists through and through.

omnicrom
2 November 2014 at 9:50 am
fatpie42 @142

I was genuinely hoping for some clearer explanations of the Nugent situation without having to spend hours googling – and to some extent I am definitely more enlightened on that, regardless of how unnecessarily abrasive some of the responses have been.

So you don’t want to spend hours googling? Okay, that’s fine, but by your own admission from your first post you didn’t bother to actually read PZ’s post explaining in detail the Nugent situation, and by your actions you indicate you haven’t bothered to read the links anyone else has posted. This casts doubt on whether you came to learn in the first place. I think it’s much more likely you came here to tut-tut all those atheists who are being improprietary and not being deferential enough to rapists and sexual abusers. Intent in not magic, if you were interested in learning I would suggest you shut up and learn. You’ve been provided a good number of very incisive links, if you were interested in learning why saying “Rapists should be reported to the proper authorities” reinforces our incredibly rape-friendly culture you have the information at your fingertips provided. No hours of googling necessary. [bolding mine]

“Intent is not magic.” “Shut up and listen.” “You’ve been provided (…) links.”

These people obviously can’t think for themselves; their thoughts probably consist almost entirely of regurgitated clichés.

Here’s another one:

Tony! The Queer Shoop
2 November 2014 at 8:56 am
fatpie42 @142:

If it was a recent crime that we were referring to, then it would be important to let the authorities deal with it and victims might actually do themselves a disservice by naming and shaming during that time.

Did you ever read the damn responses you got? For instance, my comment @106 lists six reasons victims don’t go to the police. It also mentions that even among rapists that are reported, very few of them wind up in jail.
RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE NOT SOMETHING THE AUTHORITIES TAKE SERIOUSLY.
Seriously, quit digging.

Now, if we take Tony’s gentle hint and read the “six reasons victims don’t go to the police” we find this:

1. They don’t want anyone to know. In the round table, confidentiality was the most often sighted goal of both victim’s advocates and police officers and prosecutors who work most closely with victims. Survey data backs them up. Contrary to Washington Post columnist George Will’s bizarre theory that reporting sexual assault could confer a “coveted status” for victims, research shows that college victims don’t report sexual assault to the police because they don’t want anyone to know. In the 2007 study, 42% of the “physically forced” victims who did not report the incident to the police said it was because they “did not want anyone to know.” Nearly half of the victims gave the same answer in an earlier survey (also funded by the National Institute of Justice) that randomly surveyed 4, 446 women attending two or four year colleges during 1997.
Victims, especially those in college, know that reporting rape comes with a social risk, especially when the perpetrator is someone they know. At a small or midsize college, the rapist is likely to be part of the victim’s social circle. “I’ve seen this in every single case. The victim lose friends or becomes a social pariah. If you report on a really small campus, its really difficult to re-integrate after you report,” says Bruno.
Interestingly, even as the attitude towards victims has improved over the last several years in the broader culture and by police, self-blame and shame has persisted among victims, leaving them just as unwilling to come forward. Years ago, says Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the most common reason victims gave for not reporting was: “‘I think I won’t be believed. I think I will be blamed.’ We hear that less often. Now it is much more common to hear: ‘I want to keep this private. I don’t want people to know. I’m embarrassed.’”
2. They don’t understand what constitutes rape. The 2007 survey showed that just over 35% of victims said that they didn’t report to law enforcement because it was “unclear that it was a crime or that harm was intended” (44% gave that same answer in the earlier 1990’s study).
The victims’ confusion does not mean that all of these crimes fell somewhere in the gray. More likely, their confusion reflects shame, denial, and internalized misconceptions that rape is always perpetrated by a stranger and involves physical violence, when often, rape happens between acquaintances and involves alcohol, threats, or other kinds of coercion.”Victims don’t often identify it as a crime because they know the person, they trusted the person, sense of denial or disbelief that it happened,”says Colby Bruno, Senior Legal Counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, who represents victims of sexual violence in civil matters, with particular expertise in representing college students.
3. They are afraid the police won’t believe them. In the more recent 2007 study, 21% of physically forced victims and 12% of incapacitated victims did not report because they didn’t think the police would take the crime seriously and 13% of forced victims and 24% of incapacitated victims feared the police would treat them poorly. Victims have also reported that their colleges discouraged them from reporting.
Victims aren’t wrong in their perception. According to research funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, only 18% of reported rapes result in a conviction.
4. They don’t know how much control they will have after they report to the police. Victims are afraid of going through a public rape trial because of how awful it can be for the victim. Media portrayals of rape trials show how often they are about the victim’s character and credibility. Given the low rate of conviction, victim’s naturally decide it isn’t worth the risk. Unfortunately, there is wide discrepancy between how prosecutors and police officers in various jurisdictions handle sex crimes. Some will give broad power and control to the victim, while others may pursue the case against the victim’s wishes. Predicting those outcomes are difficult for victims and the advocates who advise them (a theme reflected in today’s round table). According to Carrie Hull, a detective with the Ashland Police Department in Ashland Oregon who attended the round table, said reporting was up 106% from 2010 to 2013 after the implemented a program called “You Have Options,” designed to decrease barriers in reporting, which gives women three options when reporting to police – to give information only, to trigger a partial investigation, or to trigger a complete investigation that will be referred to the prosecutor.
Bruno says that prosecutors are more likely than they were a few years ago to follow the victim’s wishes to drop a case. Still, it is impossible to predict the outcome, and victims are rightly scared by what they know of the system.

What do we learn from this? First, this is about college students, not about rape victims in general. Okay, just a detail. Perhaps not so important. Second, there are four reasons given, not six. Fine, a simple mistake on Tony’s part. Can happen. However, and more seriously, this text completely contradicts his assertion that RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE NOT SOMETHING THE AUTHORITIES TAKE SERIOUSLY. For some victims the problem even appears to be that the authorities take it too seriously.

What a surprise, no? Who would have thought that Tony was talking out of his posterior end?

This is what we’re up against. It’s a kind of magical thinking: these poor people seem to believe that even things that directly contradict their delusions somehow support them, as long as they vehemently assert that they do.

You might as well try to argue with Hare Krishnas or Moonies.

Pharyngula: The People’s Temple of Freethought.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141102171916/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/11/01/the-end-of-the-micknugent-saga/

51 SF November 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Jan Steen, so well said. I’ve seen this time and time again on so many issues, groupthink based on the pronouncements of the Dear Leader. Suddenly we find out Robin Williams was primarily just a rotten rich white guy QED, cuz PZ sez so, and the herd/horde follows.

52 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm

@SF,

I prefer to call them the Flock.

53 piero November 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

@Jan Steen:

Yes, the Flock is right.

It is interesting to note that Tony’s six=four points have very little to do with whether reporting rape to the police is the right thing to do:

1. They don’t want anyone to know.
OK, how is that an argument against reporting? It just tells us that some victims don’t, as a matter of fact, report it; it has nothing to do with whether they should report it.

2. They don’t understand what constitutes rape.
And the solution is not to report rape? I fail to see the connection.

3. They are afraid the police won’t believe them.
Hence it is a fact that they won’t be believed? Why? Since when are perceptions the same as facts?

4. They don’t know how much control they will have after they report to the police.
Again, is the solution not to report? Why? Sure they could find out, couldn’t they?

54 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm

This is another good one from the same thread. Okay, it’s only Nerd of Redhead, so the inanity is a given. But still…

Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
2 November 2014 at 7:59 am

I don’t see my lack of attention on those two points in a single comment on the thread to be a sign that I am promoting rape culture.

Obtuse is they name. Either you are working actively against the rape culture, or you are part of the problem. And you are part of the problem. Prima facie evidence:

If it was a recent crime that we were referring to, then it would be important to let the authorities deal with it

Given the harassment women who go the authorities are given, this is supporting their harassment for reporting things. Obtuse if you can’t see that. You offer no solutions. Just concerns. And there is a term for those who agree, but have concerns. You can guess what the term is.

So, asking victims to report their rapist to the police is supporting their harassment, and if you don’t see that, you are obtuse.

There are not enough face palms in the known universe to do this justice.

One thing is certain, if there is such a thing as rape culture, it is being actively promoted on FreethoughtBlogs: cf. Ogvorbis, Greta Christina’s rape porn, and now this idiotic idea of not reporting rapes to the authorities. Most rapists are repeat offenders. Not reporting them to the police is enabling these criminals to perpetrate more rapes.

I have no doubt that there is much to be improved in the way the police handles rape cases. Focus on ways to accomplish that, but don’t pretend that reporting rapes is always useless. That’s incredibly irresponsible.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141102171843/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/11/01/the-end-of-the-micknugent-saga/

55 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I see rational reasons for not reporting, even if they are out-numbered in my mind by the reasons to report to at least one professional (who doesn’t have to be law enforcement, but does need to be trained and/or neutral). What I cannot accept is simultaneously not reporting to at least one professional AND going public with the name of the accused on social media, especially while hiding the name of the supposed victim and the details of the alleged event.

It is immoral to make a specific, public accusation that cannot be answered. It is equally immoral to repeat a second-hand accusation that cannot be answered.

The counter that I’ve seen to these statements is usually something along the lines of “isn’t it better to warn folks about person X, even if doing so risks an unjustified and permanent injury to X’s reputation if the accusation is false? After all, damage to reputation is very small compared to being the victim of [such-and-such crime].”

My answer is a simple No. If you feel strongly that folks need to be warned about person X, then you are morally obligated to do what needs to be done in order to get the accusation out in the open in a manner that allows X to respond. You are not justified in being lazy and just passing along the anonymous and impossible-to-disprove accusation against X. Even if the claim against X has already shown to be true or can later be shown to be true, passing along an anonymous and impossible-to-disprove accusation against anyone is immoral and reprehensible, even if the potential damage to the accused reputation is less than the potential damage to future victims. Two wrongs do not make a right. You cannot shoot someone who might commit a crime.

56 piero November 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm

@Blueshift Rhino:

Well said.

57 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

@BSR,

I see rational reasons for not reporting

Certainly, in individual cases. But suggesting, as the Flock seems to support, that reporting is always useless is something else altogether.

58 Steven Carr November 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

People at Freethought Blogs won’t report rapists, even when ‘one of their own’ confesses to raping three children.

They take rape seriously (they claim) ,which I guess means they won’t report child rapists to the authorities, even when the confession is made on their blogs.

Myers, of course, never produced any evidence that Michael Nugent was providing a haven for rapists, over and beyond pointing out that some members of one forum were also commenting on Nugent’s blog.

That kind of ‘evidence’ won’t stand up in court.

59 John Greg November 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

That kind of ‘evidence’ won’t stand up in court.

Cripes, it won’t stand up in set cement.

60 Jan Steen November 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Another problem of ‘trial by blog’ is that nothing stops people from piling on unsubstantiated accusations, presented as if they are known facts. Case in point, this comment by Pharyngulanha Jackie on the same thread.

Is he [Michael Nugent] an opportunist who saw these people’s mistreatment as an opportunity to gain brownie points and an active following in addition to being a clueless misogynist rape apologist? Maybe. I think I’d like him better if that were so. At least then he would not be working so hard to silence the victims of [named person] just because he sincerely thinks they need to shut up and let [named person] keep right on raping men and women who don’t know to stay out of his way.

This is how mob justice works. Because there is no proper investigation of the facts, anything goes. So [named person] is now a serial rapist of men and women. No, really, he will rape anyone who doesn’t stay out of his way. It would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so disturbing. This is how deep Pharyngula, once an award winning Science blog, has sunk.

Let’s not even go into the defamation of Michael Nugent in this comment. Jackie is just parroting the officially approved Party line. Michael has become an enemy of the people clueless misogynist and rape apologist. It’s the usual rhetoric. No thought needed. “Peezus said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

61 piero November 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

@Jan Steen:

Is he an opportunist who saw these people’s mistreatment as an opportunity to gain brownie points and an active following in addition to being a clueless misogynist rape apologist? Maybe.
That’s the most disgusting piece of maggot-ridden ordure I’ve read yet. I hope Jackie feels proud of [insert silly non-gendered possessive here] achievement.

62 piero November 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Botched the quote thingy.

63 Steve Vanden-Eykel November 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm

A good scientist will probably have to say “I was wrong” many times in his career. A great scientist is eager to.

Myers’ career is starting to make a little more sense to me.

64 Blueshift Rhino November 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Forgive me in advance, but I just had the weirdest thought.

Imagine that MN sues PZ in Dublin, because Twitter (for Ireland) has offices there. Imagine, also, that PZ decides to fight and flies over for the proceedings. Imagine that he takes an inexpensive flight and arrives at Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath (Dublin’s airport) quite late, such that it’s 2 or 3 in the morning when he finally gets to his hotel. Then, while riding up in the lift to his room, someone offers him a cup of coffee.

Make this happen and I will start to believe in you, Lord.

65 Shatterface November 2, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Is he [Michael Nugent] an opportunist who saw these people’s mistreatment as an opportunity to gain brownie points and an active following in addition to being a clueless misogynist rape apologist? Maybe. I think I’d like him better if that were so. At least then he would not be working so hard to silence the victims of [named person] just because he sincerely thinks they need to shut up and let [named person] keep right on raping men and women who don’t know to stay out of his way.

As I understand it the guy who accused Voldemort of raping him was so certifiable even Myers didn’t ‘believe the victim’ at the time.

Now, apparently, FTB are willing to publish any bullshit.

66 Shatterface November 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Incidental, Myers has been throwing a hissy-fit at me ‘diagnosing’ FTB members of schizophrenia. I wrote ‘schizophasia’, which is the technical term for ‘word salad’ which is, indeed often indicative of schizophrenia, but which Myers has used repeatedly in other contexts.

And, contrary to what they claim, I didn’t quote DSM.

Get it through your heads: AMERICA IS NOT THE WORLD.

We use ICD in the UK, not DSM.

67 Justme November 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

It really ticks me off how monumentally selfish is FTB’s position on rape. Don’t report it to law enforcement, they might lock the rapist up. Leave him free and report it to FTB so they can BLOG about it to their friends. Say the guy really is a rapist. Their friends know to avoid him. But not the woman who lives next door, or the woman he meets in a bar, or any other women in his neighborhood or anywhere else, if he travels. Not the women who never heard of FTB or who might not have internet access at all. That’s okay, who cares about them anyway? (Other than the evil Slymepit, I mean. Boo Slymepit. Hiss.)

68 john welch November 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm

The problem is this: reporting is not an easy process. There’s a lot of really awful things that happen as a result of it. The rape kit is not a genteel process. The reporting itself isn’t. The trial, if there is one, is not. if there isn’t a trial, then there’s the question of “why did I bother”, because you have the need for justice going up against how the law works.

But as bad as it can be, and sometimes it is very bad, it is necessary, because it is the only chance there is to stop a rapist or assaulter. Reporting it to ones friends, reporting it to social media may feel good, it may even have the desired effect of driving the rapist out of the area.

But they go somewhere else. And now they have a fresh pool of victims. Because contrary to social media belief, twitter and facebook are not as omnipresent as they think, and blogs definitely aren’t.

So none of this solves the problem. None of the outing via twitter and blogs leads to actual legal action. None of the outing via twitter and blogs leads to a record being built on that person so that even if they aren’t tried, or convicted, the next time they attack someone, there’s a record. A trail.

Those things can matter a lot in our very odd legal system, but if there’s no reporting, that can’t happen.

If one is serious about putting a rapist where they can’t rape people, then the only way to do that is to report. You don’t have to be a jerk about encouraging a victim to report, you shouldn’t be a jerk. But if they don’t report it, and you really are talking about a serial rapist, it will happen again.

Putting a problem off doesn’t solve it. Even a hard problem.

69 john welch November 3, 2014 at 12:01 am

Shatterface, you may have noticed that “Believe the victim” is as conveniently fluid as many other things in the FTB world.

70 sinister November 3, 2014 at 12:04 am

Hornet’s nest kicked, the hive must be protected! Watch Twitter for more excitement. OB has decided to try her hand at obfuscation.

It’s like a really weird nature show.

71 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 12:06 am

I can see reasons why some women might not want to go through the stress of reporting rape but FTBs current position seems to be that women who do report it are somehow betraying or belittling the experience of those who don’t.

It’s all kinds of fucked up.

72 Shatterface November 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

Shatterface, you may have noticed that “Believe the victim” is as conveniently fluid as many other things in the FTB world.

I suspect that if Oggie had confessed to rape first they’d have suspected a Poe – but by making it a consequence of his own earlier abuse they can’t publicly disbelieve it.

So on the one hand they can’t dismiss what he said out of hand, but on the other they can’t act on his confession because they’re not entirely convinced its true.

73 Crackity Jones November 3, 2014 at 1:11 am

A few hours ago, I mentioned how bitter and upset Ophelia Benson was that Peter Boghossian was involved in the exposure of third-rate hack and charlatan CJ Werleman. I have just noticed she has an article attacking (very badly) Peter.

She quotes Peter saying:

I’m looking for an entirely new group of ideologues to enrage. What word should I disambiguate next?

What is so upsetting about that? I don’t think Ophelia got upset and bitter when PZ and the horde were tearing religious and republican ideologues a new one. Is it that Peter has taken to calling out the post-modernist Far Left sewer-rats who have abandoned skepticism and reasoning? Yes it is. That is why Ophelia is RAGING TEARS at Peter in particular, and of course, the Werleman thingy.

Oh, and Ophelia actually uses the term “neener neener.” I believe she snook her nose at the same as well. These are the juvenile antics of a possessed clone who inhabits the 2006 (co-writer of Why Truth Matters) version of Ophelia Benson. All we can hope for is that Ophelia 2006 can somehow escape and fight her imposter in a scrap-metal yard, a la Superman 3.

The commentators are equally clueless. Thywren – Social Justice Spellsword [chuckles] says: We need enough so that we can filter out those who have a specialised rationality and replace them with consistent skeptics. The “we” bit is a bit weird, because there are NO “consistent skeptics” at Butterflies and Wheels.

74 A Bear November 3, 2014 at 3:14 am

@69 Welch writes:

Shatterface, you may have noticed that “Believe the victim” is as conveniently fluid as many other things in the FTB world.

Oh no, they are very consistent about it. When PZ and Jason Thibeault revealed they were victims of false rape accusation they were believed.
(That’s meant to be ironic)

75 Jack Rawlinson November 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Once again, I disagree with those telling you to let this drop, Michael. It is clear that you will not get your much-deserved apology from Benson and Myers but I rather think that has long since ceased to be the point or value of this exercise. The point or value is wider exposure of the dishonest, hypocritical and vicious nature of these people. Myers and Benson still have some presence and influence (although I believe, and am happy to see, that this is fast declining) and as such they are potentially dangerous. We saw this recently in the way Adam Lee wrote a globally-read article seemingly informed partly by their misrepresentations.

You are shining a very bright light on them, very persistently, and it is making them scurry about in an increasingly desperate way. It is a very good thing indeed that others can see this happening.

76 Gerhard November 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Stay focused, Michael. They have been caught with their pants around their ankles and they are flinging all the shit they can make up now to divert.

77 JetLagg November 4, 2014 at 2:27 am

Welch@68

The problem is this: reporting is not an easy process. There’s a lot of really awful things that happen as a result of it.

Very, very true. Which is why we need more resources poured into victim advocacy groups who provide legal and emotional support throughout the process, counseling, serving as an official representative to law enforcement and medical agencies, etc…

What pisses me off, is I’ve never once seen a SJW tell a rape horror story and finish with, “that’s why I want you to donate to [name rape victim advocacy group here].” I’m left to conclude they’re not at all interested in actually solving the problem, and that sickens me.

Check out the story of the Fine Young Capitalists if you want to see SJWs outright going declaring war on feminists who get their hands dirty making a real difference.

78 john welch November 4, 2014 at 2:44 am

That’s a good point Jet.

There are a lot of victim advocacy groups who try really hard to take some of the pain out of the process, to be a voice for the victim in what is a large, ponderous process.

They do good work, and almost every community has at least one. If one were so inclined, a donation of time or money would be appreciated.

79 FishCakes November 4, 2014 at 3:47 am

Jet @77,
It’s actually worse than simply not supporting or not advocating for others to support anti-sexual assault advocacy groups. Under the watchful gaze of Ophelia Benson, even these advocacy groups are called out (smeared) as supporting rape culture – as nutty as that sounds.

In one of the more disturbing examples, Benson and her commenters gleefully criticize the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) for publishing guidance as to how people can take steps to protect themselves and reduce the risk of being assaulted. RAINN is largest anti-sexual assault organization in the U.S., operating the National Sexual Assault Hotline and offering services designed to prevent sexual assault, help victims, and to ensure that rapists are brought to justice. However none of that apparently matters, as publishing tips on how people can protect themselves amounts to victim blaming in the eyes of Benson and her supporters. It goes against their matra “don’t tell women how not to get raped, teach men not to rape.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/03/avoid-isolated-areas-dont-carry-bags-be-aware-of-your-surroundings/

80 JetLagg November 4, 2014 at 5:13 am

@FishCakes

I’m not surprised. Today, I was listening to Matt Rappard of The Fine Young Capitalists recount the level of resistance to his group’s efforts to get more women developers in the industry (the outrage being fresh on my mind is why I mentioned it in the previous comment). All of that resistance (including media smear campaigns, and possibly the DDOS attack) was coming from self-identified feminists. It’s lunacy.

At the end of the day, Benson, and those like her, are doing their part to make things worse for rape victims. The facts lead inescapably to that conclusion. To me, the most charitable stance is that Benson is doing it out of delusion, rather than malice, self-profit, or pure idiocy.

81 Nelson Devoto November 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

The hypocrisy of Myers et al continues to astound, while he accuses Nugent of giving “safe haven” to rapists, as mentioned, a self confessed child rapist continued to post and was given more than sympathetic comfort on his blog. Why hasn’t he put put his own house in order before policing imaginary evils on other sites?
It may seem like nailing jelly to the wall in getting coherence from Myers but I commend Michael Nugent for his efforts and wish him well, especially in any formal legal action.

82 Deepak Shetty November 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

You dont seem to be listening at all – It is why some of us who would have initially characterized you as means well but is naive , have steadily been sliding to more of same crap , just politely rendered.

I want all allegations of crimes investigated robustly and sensitively, without naming alleged criminals on blogs.
I want better policing, better support for victims, better education, new laws, and more.
Going to the police is not the only course of action for victims: also victim support groups, medical teams, rape crisis centres etc.

In an ideal world nothing to disagree about.
In the real world , when a woman tells you of an event, years later your points are useless.
You really have two options
a. Do as PZ did – name the person – say this is all I know – I have no further proof – you make your call
OR
b. Make some helpful noises , and do effectively nothing
If there is a third option you’ll have to prove it does more than “effectively nothing”

In your many many many blog posts , you have yet to address this central issue of what would you do?
Would you publish what [named person] told you or would you say “Why don’t you run along to the police who will robustly and sensitively investigate? (snicker, snicker) – or here are some helpful phone numbers for you to call – But I still need to invite [named person] to my next conference ”
Did you ever try and understand why [named person] would have wanted this information published without going to the authorities? Do you understand what the refusal to name means to a possible victim?
It is this lack of understanding , This lack of an attempt to understand while having sufficient time to take up all the so called smears against you that makes me wonder – really? Thats what bothers you? Thats your priority? Thats what gets you angry enough to do something?
Someone called you names? but a woman could have been raped and the rapist, one of our community , suffered no consequences , with other so called leaders of the movement falling over themselves to defend this guy? That doesn’t give you cause to pause?
Fuck – you might as well join the RCC.

83 Guestus Aurelius November 6, 2014 at 1:15 am

Did Deepak Shetty just “Dear Muslima” Michael Nugent?

Yes, how dare anyone take umbrage at being falsely and very publicly labeled a defender of rapists.

These people… they’re just… not good people.

84 Deepak Shetty November 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm

@Guestus Aurelius
Did Deepak Shetty just “Dear Muslima” Michael Nugent?
Im curious – Do you think Dear Muslima is a bad thing (in which case did you similarly call out Dawkins when the incident happened? or you think it is a good thing (in which case are you praising me?)
And no Im not looking at two different things and comparing their relative badness, Im looking at the same incident and wondering why hasn’t the central problem been addressed ? I don’t have a problem with Michael defending himself – I have a problem that many posts have been written on that without addressing the core issue. And I’m also giving Michael a reason why , if I started out as Michael means well , I no longer hold that position.

These people… they’re just… not good people.
Yeah yeah – we are evil. We also eat babies and drink their blood. Anything else?

Michael I see you have edited my comment without stating that you did edit – perhaps I missed the policy , Ill respect it on your blog. But I will say
Since when did we become the group that cant state facts? Does an allegation exist against [named person]? Undeniable , right? But we can’t even say that? Why? To what purpose? What does it achieve?
And are you going to do the same for allegations against the RCC? What if there is an out of court settlement without conviction?

Note that the victim has already provided her explanation as to what she wants and why – Michael is specifically doing something against it. His actions explicitly favor the accused. So it is a fair statement that Michael Nugent effectively defends *alleged* rapists.(and a good number of the commenters here do the same without any comment from the host) .

It’s not what he thinks he is doing [he probably believes he is being fair and neutral), but that is the end result.
Victim wants the accused techniques publicized so other potential victims can be on their watch – Michael Nugent is effectively saying nope cant name the accused – Since the victim has also said not going to the police, Nugent’s stance essentially maintains status quo and favors the accused – if no one else knows about the allegations , the accused can carry on as usual. Im not sure why Michale thinks that saying- A young woman has accused a top skeptic of assault is better than actually naming the names instead of having the people wonder which skeptic is being referred to.
But I guess Michael would rather play at Harry Potter and whisper “he who will not be named” – he is welcome to it.

85 John Greg November 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Deepak Shetty, please answer this one question:

Why do you, and most of the rest of FTB and Skepchick commentors and blog hosts, have a so deeply difficult time distinguishing between a and b:

a. Stating, as fact, that someone is guilty of a crime, when in fact they have been neither legally accussed nor convicted of said crime.

b. Stating, as belief, that someone might be guilty of a crime, when in fact they have been neither legally accussed nor convicted of said crime.

One of those is a statement of fact, which requires clear proofs to prove; the other is nothing more than a statement of belief, which requires nothing more than faith, groundless or otherwise.

You see, what is going on at FTB, and Skepchick, is that people are not just stating beliefs and suppositions, as in “I think so and so might be guilty of such-and-such an act”, they are making claims of fact, as in “I know so and so is guilty of such-and-such an act”.

Even when the supposed victims are making such claims, they should be careful to not make such claims without legal proofs and expect to be believed without question: everybody lies at sometime over something. Why can you not see that?

As for your post, most of it is bafflegab mixed with misrepresentation and distortion and a frisson of gibberish, as is par for the course from you bunch of rhetorical assassins.

86 Guestus Aurelius November 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Deepak Shetty at 82:

It is this lack of understanding , This lack of an attempt to understand while having sufficient time to take up all the so called smears against you that makes me wonder – really? Thats what bothers you? Thats your priority? Thats what gets you angry enough to do something?
Someone called you names? but a woman could have been raped and the rapist, one of our community , suffered no consequences , with other so called leaders of the movement falling over themselves to defend this guy? That doesn’t give you cause to pause?

Deepak Shetty at 84:

And no Im not looking at two different things and comparing their relative badness, Im looking at the same incident and wondering why hasn’t the central problem been addressed ? I don’t have a problem with Michael defending himself – I have a problem that many posts have been written on that without addressing the core issue. And I’m also giving Michael a reason why , if I started out as Michael means well , I no longer hold that position.

By any measure, “someone called you names” and “a woman could have been raped [etc.]” are “two different things,” and yes, you are indeed “comparing their relative badness” when you criticize Michael for only addressing the first of them. Any English-speaker would glean that from: “Thats what bothers you? Thats your priority? Thats what gets you angry enough to do something? Someone called you names?”

So the parallel with Dear Muslima stands. Of course, I was also assuming that you—like most on your “side” (and, to answer your question, like me)—find Dear Muslima objectionable on the grounds that it minimized one bad thing by comparing it to something self-evidently worse. If I was correct in that assumption, then you’re a hypocrite. (Don’t worry: if you respond to that personal criticism, I won’t take it as proof positive that you don’t care about starving children in Burundi.)

These people… they’re just… not good people.
Yeah yeah – we are evil. We also eat babies and drink their blood. Anything else?

You see nothing wrong with trial-by-(social-)media on the basis of hearsay. You think it’s perfectly acceptable—nay, noble—to actively work to ruin reputations and careers over criminal allegations you can’t even begin to verify. When someone objects to your despicable behavior or refuses to allow their own space to be used as a venue for it, you smear them as an apologist for the alleged crime, when in reality they’re upholding the laudable principle of not being a credulous and reckless douche.

So no, you’re not good people. You probably don’t eat babies, but you’re definitely unscrupulous scandalmongers, and that will remain so even if it turns out that every target you’ve flung shit at is, in fact, guilty as charged.

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