Karen Stollznow, paranormal investigator and former Skepchick writer, has written a post over on SciAm alleging that she suffered years of sexual harassment and even sexual assault at the hands of an unnamed colleague who has since been revealed to be Ben Radford. Radford is probably no stranger to readers of this site, as he wrote guest articles for us back in the days we were an e-zine and later he was the subject of a few posts after I discovered his astonishingly dishonest representations of studies that contradicted his hypotheses about the media’s impact on girls’ body image. Later, he battled a 4-year old and lost.

Rereading those two posts, it boggles my mind that people would continue to take a person like that seriously as editor of a magazine for skeptics (he’s deputy editor for Center for Inquiry’s Skeptical Inquirer). But then, this is the same world where Peter Popov is still making money from good Christian folks, so who knows.

This past week, Radford was one of the people who complained to the BBC because of a segment they did on the Block Bot, a handy tool that people can use to stop trolls from harassing them on Twitter. Apparently Radford is on Level 3, the least awful category of people who are defined as “annoying.” The BBC piece focused on Level 1, the people who are sending rape threats and slurs to women like me, but several people on all levels decided to complain, because how dare those bitches come up with a way to not listen to what they have to say?

(On a side note, Paul Mason, the BBC reporter who led the piece on the trolls, announced a few days later that he had taken a job at Channel 4, becoming the 4th Newsnight employee to do so since 2011. Radford and several other BlockBotted trolls hilariously decided that they did that using the power of their angry emails. Reminder: these are self-identified skeptics.)

Anyway, surprise surprise, we find that a person who loudly complains about women fighting back against harassers is allegedly harassing women himself, and not just on Twitter. Stollznow even alleges that his harassment crossed the line into actual assault:

Then, he saw me at conferences and took every opportunity to place me in a vulnerable position. This is where the psychological abuse turned physical and he sexually assaulted me on several occasions.

I’ve heard of several other “big name” skeptics who loudly argue online against any and all anti-harassment measures who are known for actually sexually harassing women in the meatspace. I’m hesitant to name them for legal reasons, because none have ever sexually harassed me personally and the women who told me about them haven’t gone on record. I’m very glad that Radford’s name was leaked, because it’s extraordinarily important that women know who to watch out for and for conference organizers to know who they’re putting on stage.

If you’ve been seriously harassed by a member of the skeptic/atheist community, I hope that you consider publicizing the name. Stollznow didn’t say Radford’s name (or the name of Center for Inquiry, the organization that she says failed to properly punish Radford), but she gave all the clues necessary for others to figure it out. I don’t blame people for not wanting to name names, as the backlash will inevitably be worse when that’s done, but I personally believe it’s worth it. The harasser will face social repercussions, other women will be better able to keep themselves safe, and perhaps most importantly, other women will feel comfortable speaking out about their experiences and being stronger for it. (EDIT: This tumblr, naming names of accused harassers, is now a thing.)

Best of luck to Dr. Stollznow as I’m sure she goes on to face the avalanche of slut-shaming and hyperskepticism that inevitably follows any woman making any claim that involves a man violating her boundaries.

Featured image of Karen Stollznow shot by our own Surly Amy.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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69 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Gordon Duffy
    August 7, 2013 at 11:16 am —

    I’ve never heard of him before, but I always enjoyed listening to Karen Stollznow on Point of Enquiry. I assume I have him to thank for her leaving.

  2. Profile photo of Johnny Slick
    August 7, 2013 at 11:39 am —

    To be fair, I guess, if Stollznow left the show because of this, it should be noted that Chris Mooney also left the show recently and for all we know this could be related (or maybe Mooney is the person who has been “on the fence” about this situation in the article).

    While not even beginning to condone Radford for what appears to be a long pattern of truly despicable behavior, I do hope that this helps people to realize how tough it is for all sides to accept the veracity of something like this. Basically, this being true means that I can’t listen to Monster Talk anymore until Blake Smith boots Radford from the show. I really like Monster Talk and that makes me sad. It also means that the show which has the best chance of replacing it for me (Tetrapodcast) may also need to distance itself before I feel less squicky about listening to those guys (they had Radford on as a guest in the last episode). Since all of these realizations have come out as a direct result of Stollznow’s article, one can see where it can be really, really easy to blame Stollznow and not the actual perpetrator of this behavior for these events.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that we skeptics ought to be at least slightly mindful of compassion here. Not towards Radford. Radford has now pretty much proven himself to be irredeemable scum and someone who, I hope, is no longer called to be a face of the movement. I’m referring to the people who may be a little slow to come over to the correct side of the story. There is a Grand Canyon sized cognitive dissonance crater sitting out there right now and I’m unsure about how quickly we ought to scorn those who manage to fall into it.

    The secondary villain in this is Ron Lindsay and, by unfortunate extension, CFI. He managed to present this in what is undoubtedly the absolute worst way possible. On the one hand, he admitted that there was in fact some wrongdoing at the conference and perhaps beforehand (I’m unclear on that). On the other hand, he gave Radford the lightest of slaps on the wrist for it: what amounted to a suspension while Radford was already on vacation. I just don’t understand this (except from the cognitive dissonance angle): if you think someone’s guilty of sexually harassing a coworker, on what planet is a 2 week non-suspension proper discipline? This is akin to finding someone guilty of murder and giving them a couple hundred hours of community service.

    I wanted to bring that up because for me, CFI’s involvement is the worst of all. There’s a pretty neat community that’s sprung up around CFI where I’m currently living – really, pretty much the only atheist/skeptical community there is in this place. On the one hand, I feel like I shouldn’t go to any more of their get-togethers. On the other hand, there really is nothing else here for folks like me. Guh. Just guhhhhh. I feel like if the powers that be were anything but outwardly antagonistic towards women I could compartmentalize this issue, but they are, in fact, being outwardly antagonistic.

    • Profile photo of Hannah Wilson
      August 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm —

      I don’t know if you follow Blake Smith on social networks, but he put up a little statement on his Facebook yesterday. I was very happy to see it because I was afraid he was going to step back and make no comment and try to stay out of it. While he makes no indication what effect this will have on MonsterTalk, it does at least make me feel better that he understands what is right and what is wrong in this situation, and staying silent is wrong.
      https://www.facebook.com/DoctorAtlantis?fref=ts

    • Profile photo of Amanda Marcotte
      August 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm —

      All very good points, but I want to add that I think that the problem with the slap-on-the-wrist is almost surely that CFI and/or Ron Lindsay saw this as more a personal problem than an employment issue. That’s not uncommon, and in fact is often much more serious than this—a lot of victims of domestic violence end up getting fired because their abusers show up at their jobs and create chaos, causing the employer to let the victim go for letting her personal business interfere with work. Now, obviously, those of us who understand the dynamic of domestic violence see the big, glaring problem here, which is that the victim did NOT invite her abuser to show up at work, but if you’re still in the mindset that sees domestic violence as simply a matter of excessive squabbling, then it’s easy to see how you, as an employer, would miss it.

      None of this excuses it, of course. Abusers and harassers rely on this interpretation of their behavior as “personal” to get away with this crap, and so it’s important for everyone in a position to hire and fire people to educate themselves about these issues so that you deal appropriately with inappropriate people.

    • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
      August 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm —

      What makes me sad about Chris Mooney and others leaving CFI is that now there are even less people to challenge the old guard in that organization. Instead of staying and fighting they simply left, and going to a place like Mother Jones which holds some pretty anti-science views in regards to “natural cures” and anti-gmo is disheartening. I’ve gone from having a hard time supporting Chris Mooney via CFI because of their less than stellar record on dealing with women’s issues and harassment to having a hard time supporting Chris Mooney because he now works for a purveyor of woo. It just sucks all around.

      • Profile photo of Will
        August 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm —

        Couldn’t your argument be turned around and be framed as now Chris Mooney is in a position to fight woo at Mother Jones? Why must he stay and fight what is more and more looking like corruption at all levels of these organizations? Maybe he has a better chance of changing minds about woo at Mother Jones than he does about changing minds about treating women like human beings at CFI.

        • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
          August 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm —

          Good, point. However Mother Jones doesn’t really have outreach programs or skeptical groups and is simply a media organization. Out in the Bay Area in California CFI is one of the few skeptical organizations out here where I can meet with other skeptics. I’ve tried atheist organizations but they tend not to be a very skeptical group and often times are just as woo tastic as the rest. Its hard because I hate how CFI has handled themselves in regards to this, but they still do good work in other arenas. I vehemently dislike Ben Radford after these revelations and being exposed to his terrible writings on the subject of feminism and sexism, but I still would point to his takedown with Stollznow of woo purveyor Alex Tsakiris as one of the best discussions of so-called psychic detectives I’ve ever heard. Although its really hard now, knowing what was probably going on behind the scenese between the two. Do have to abandoned that extremely good podcast now that helped me dissect bad arguments? Or do I just accept the good with the bad? I don’t have the answers.

  3. Profile photo of zylla
    August 7, 2013 at 11:49 am —

    I’ve heard him on many a podcast, but now glad I’ve never bought any of his books.

    Just goes to further show that analysis and skepticism do not inherently make us better people. Which makes me sad. And cold.

  4. Profile photo of Ryan Jean
    August 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm —

    The news of this was a body-blow, because I really enjoyed quite a bit of Radford’s work (although I did notice him going a bit to extremes in being hyper-skeptical to the point of absurd on things involving harassment and gender stereotypes). The thing is, no matter how good his work is, these actions are impossible to condone. I shall continue to think highly of Karen, perhaps even more so now for her courage on this issue but also for all the great work she has done for CFI, MonsterTalk, etc. and continues to do, but I’ll never be able to see Radford in the same light again no matter what he does.

  5. Profile photo of LymanAlpha
    August 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm —

    They co-hosted Monster Talk, I don’t think Radford had anything to do with Point of Inquiry.

    • Profile photo of Hannah Wilson
      August 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm —

      Point of Inquiry is run by CFI. It is very reasonable to assume, based on the accusations, that Karen’s work on Point of Inquiry was in some way jeopardized by Radfords standing in CFI.

  6. Profile photo of Matthew White
    August 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm —

    So is Stollznow no longer on Monster Talk ?
    Do you think there is a connection between some of the views expressed by some of these people (I had a look at other names on that Tumblr page) and their alleged behaviour ? There are surely self-proclaimed (and sincere) feminists who behave in such ways, but in equal numbers ?

    • Profile photo of Hannah Wilson
      August 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm —

      Stollznow has been less and less of a presence on the show (which has been very disappointing). It even seemed to me that some of her contributions to the show were recorded separately and edited in, rather than being done live with the other hosts. The show took a very long break recently that may or may not be related to these revelations. There is no word about what form, if any, MonsterTalk will take in the future.

  7. Profile photo of aiabx
    August 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm —

    Bill Nye got named at the name and shame tumblr?
    There is no number that can quantify my disillusionment.

    • Profile photo of slightlymadscience
      August 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm —

      I saw that (re: Nye). Tried searching the net, but couldn’t find anything. Not to mean there isn’t something to it, but if there is, I’d really like to to know.

      • Profile photo of captaintripps
        August 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm —

        Yeah, it’s an extremely minor point in the larger scope of this, but the fact that that contribution is anonymous bothers me somewhat since no one is accountable for it.

    • Profile photo of Johnny Slick
      August 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm —

      Noooooooooooo! Not Bil Nye! Say it ain’t so!

      • Profile photo of vexorian
        August 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm —

        A part of me wants to believe it was a troll abusing the anonymous post to make the tumblr less reliable. But you know, critical thinking. It would make perfect sense if no one was willing to talk openly about him or the other names mentioned in the same post. If a woman finds the valor to speak up, the same skepticism I learned from Nye would make me not to disbelief in something just because I don’t want it to be true.

        • Profile photo of Johnny Slick
          August 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm —

          For me, Bill Nye is more than the host of Bill Nye the Science Guy. As a Seattle native, to me he will always also be a co-cast member of the sketch comedy show Almost Live (Joel whatshisface from Community is the other famous dude to come out of that). I refuse to believe that Speedwalker is a sexual harasser!!!

          Seriously, all this sucks. I’m glad that people are now, finally, publicly making these accusations instead of forcing people to deal with vague, uncentered issues (and I totally and completely sympathize with why the women in question don’t want to “come out” as a victim of abuse), but I wish they would have been directed at people I dislike more. Like Dawkins (okay, not Dawkins; sorry, Rebecca, but I love “The Ancestor’s Tale”). Or, I don’t know… Fred Phelps? He’s not exactly a skeptic (in the sense that a wad of chewed gum is not exactly a hippopotamus) but I would be OK in hating on him.

  8. Profile photo of drken
    August 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm —

    Not to derail this thread, but as somebody who only recently got re-involved with the skeptic community, how the hell was he able to continue in a position of prominence after somebody caught him lying about Botta’s research? The harassment makes him look like a pretty terrible person, but shouldn’t being a bad skeptic be a fireable offense too?

    • Profile photo of Jon Brewer
      August 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm —

      Sci Am is kind of weird. A few years ago, Jesse Bering wrote a blog post defending hebephilia (primary sexual attraction to adolescent girls) and speculating that it may have been an evolutionary advantage at some point. He still has a job there.

      • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
        August 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm —

        Was he defending it or just discussing it because there is a difference. Re just because something depicts something does not mean they endorse or defend it, see film or art. I could write an article about why it was socially acceptable at the turn of the last century to marry at the age of 14 while not endorsing it. Also Sci-Am has tons of writers with tons of view points that are sometimes not very scientific. In short was he discussing the existence of hebephillia and why it might exist now because of some long distant evolutionary trait, in an attempt to understand and deal with it or was he simply giving an excuse to actions there is a very narrow line between the two but I think the distinction should be made.

    • Profile photo of vexorian
      August 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm —

      It is not so surprising. The topic in which he was caught lying and not being a good skeptic was gender-related. Likewise, Skeptics still have people cheer leading for Evo Psych within their ranks.

      • Profile photo of drken
        August 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm —

        @ Jon & vexorian: There’s believing and then quoting bad research because you agree with it (something everybody has done at one point or another, we’re human after all) and then there’s lying about good research to make it sound like it says something it doesn’t. When he found out Botta’s research didn’t say what he thought it did, he should have recanted his earlier statements. Of course, Cato hired Steve Milloy to lie for the Tobacco companies and yet some alleged “skeptics” seem to have no problem being affiliated with them, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see this sort of behavior.

        • Profile photo of Jon Brewer
          August 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm —

          The problem is, the media love bifurcation. I found a lot of issues I had with Bering besides just that.

          Some other science mag (can’t remember which one) cited Rushton once, explaining that people are attracted to people who look like them. Leaving aside the possible implications, it’s J Philippe Rushton!

  9. Profile photo of Jon Brewer
    August 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm —

    I think a lot of these men simply don’t understand personal boundaries. The average woman at a scientific conference is there to…discuss her latest findings and review the findings of other people. When discussing skepticism, she’s there to describe the methodological flaws that support odd claims, and the logical fallacies that allow people to continue believing said claims, and how best to educate people to defend themselves against these pitfalls. (And in doing so, also protect the public against claims that actually do seem logical in the “no citation needed” world of journalism.)

    • Profile photo of Heina Dadabhoy
      August 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm —

      That’s a really low bar to set for men, yo. Also, the evidence doesn’t seem to support that claim: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

      • Profile photo of Jon Brewer
        August 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm —

        I didn’t mean the rapists. Rapists are just irredeemable in my eyes, anyway. I meant more the men who just…offer you a drink. Now, from his perspective, he might just be friendly. But from hers, he might just be friendly, and that’s probably the case…or he might be a rapist, and that drink might be laced with GHB. She can’t tell.

        I…was molested when I was younger. I always add the perpetrator was a white woman, largely because of the homophobic insults if I don’t clarify her gender, and rapes on reservations have a history of white people thinking it’s “just Indians being Indians” even when the perpetrator is white. For a while, I didn’t have a summer wardrobe. I just wore what I did in winter in the summer, even in the extremes of South Dakota’s climate. A lot of it was bad; I had a feeling I now recognize as orgasm, even though I didn’t ejaculate, telling me I “enjoyed” it, therefore it wasn’t actual rape. Psychiatry on reservations is less than ideal, so I basically had to “get over it” on my own, using self-defense classes.

        The worst part, though, was the pervasive myth, one I bought into myself for a while, that sexual abusers were themselves sexually abused. That led to what I can only describe as a paranoid determinism. But as puberty came, and I found myself not at all attracted to children, that paranoia went away.

        These days, if I know someone has a history of being a creeper, I’ll call him (or on the rare occasion, her) out. Sometimes this causes problems; I’ve actually been accused of well-poisoning because of this.

    • Profile photo of Will
      August 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm —

      Something tells me that if my queer ass walked up to them and said and did the kinds of things to them that they do to women that they’d understand personal boundaries just fine.

      I think the problem is that they do not view women as humans but as sex objects.

      • Profile photo of Johnny Slick
        August 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm —

        They’d probably punch you in the face or something. Which is, I think, the #1 issue I think that a lot of guys simply can’t grasp regarding this subject. Women are often not as strong as we are. If they physically resist stuff that we do, they will often come out worse for the wear. Ergo, as a male you simply cannot expect a woman who has had her boundaries crossed to react to it the same way a man would, and as a corollary thing you simply cannot think that because she didn’t respond to you by beating your stupid ass up that she secretly likes it on some level.

        • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
          August 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm —

          Thats a bit of a leap, as I have met quite a few sexist/lecherous dudes who hit on women in ways I found gross or offensive who had absolutely no issues with being hit on by gay men or homosexuality in general. In fact it may even feed into their perception of how men are supposed to be which is to see everyone as a sex object.

          • Profile photo of Will
            August 8, 2013 at 1:51 am

            Yeah, something tells me they still wouldn’t like the boundaries crossed if a gay man were to start groping them or corner them and sexually assault them in the same ways that they do. This isn’t about hitting on them or flirting with them, by the way. It’s harassment and sexual assault.

          • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
            August 8, 2013 at 2:40 am

            @Will Sorry bout that, yes yer right in reference to physically harassing and cornering I think you are correct. Did a bit of misreading there and was picturing something more along the lines of you simply hitting on them (which is my fault at not reading your post carefully enough and projecting how reasonable people act and not these people), but yes I’d assume you’d be correct and they would react as any person should which is violated and or outraged.

        • Profile photo of maudell
          August 8, 2013 at 2:58 am —

          First, where did you get your belief that women weren’t as strong (I assume you aren’t referring to physical strength). I’m not sure strength is gendered; it seems to me that, all things being equal, a white woman has to be stronger than a white man. But if you take reality into account, intersectionality blurs our little categories. So who’s stronger? We don’t know (and don’t care?) but it probably isn’t the group that has the least hardship and barriers.
          I’m not convinced about the rest of your comment either. Sure, women are socialized in a certain way to accommodate men. But many of us learned in our early teens that the cost of politely thanking but declining sexual attention by a man 3 times older would earn us a public dude meltdown about what a skank whore we are. I doubt men have to pay that price.

          Now, I lost my job when I was 21 because I refused to sleep with a 60 something customer. I worked in a cafe, and the manager believed that ‘appealing to men customers’ was part of my job. The guy found my address and my phone number and harassed me for weeks. He really wanted to take me for a date because I told him how to make better coffee. People took his side. He said I broke his heart and led him on with my coffee advice.

          I have a fair amount of stories like that. They generally involve men over twice my age. Now is it because I’m sensitive? Maybe I should have slept with him just to prove that I’m strong like a man?

          Seriously, men act differently, because they don’t have the repercussions women do. Your message is kind of a bunch of bullshit. As skeptics, we should remember that statistics are more reliable than asstistics.

          • Profile photo of maudell
            August 8, 2013 at 3:00 am

            That wasn’t clear; it was meant as a reply to Johnny Slick.

          • Profile photo of Johnny Slick
            August 8, 2013 at 9:01 am

            I was absolutely referring to physical strength, and physical strength alone. It should go without saying (but I guess it didn’t) that women are at least the equal of men in pretty much any other measure of strength (emotional, mental, etc.).

            Otherwise, I totally feel for you and do not not not want to sound like I am making excuses for Radford or Krause or (no, please someone say it isn’t so!) Bill Nye or for that matter organizers like Grothe and Lindsay who tacitly allow this crap to occur. I was merely attempting to contextualize the response. I think it’s horrible, too, when mothers and fathers refuse to believe their children when they claim they were sexually assaulted by a close relative or friend of the family. I think it’s horrible but I also want to understand why it’s such a commonly occurring thing. The fact that this happens so often does not make it okay in any way, shape, or form; in fact, I hope that by naming this particular bit of cognitive dissonance we can make it even *more* unacceptable than it already is.

    • Profile photo of vexorian
      August 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm —

      Assuming it was just not understanding boundaries, I think it would have taken them one try in which the woman is creeped out by their actions to realize it. They are smart men after-all.

      I also think that in order to be able to pull these “tricks” in a major convention, even while being a prominent figure you are the *opposite* of somebody with poor social skills. My impression is that at least some of them know very well of boundaries, AND also know how to break them.

  10. Profile photo of captaintripps
    August 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm —

    Colour me unsurprised and goon on ya to Dr. Stollznow. I believe and support her! Hopefully this opens the door for more people to come forward and discuss the harassers in the open.

  11. Profile photo of
    August 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm —

    I wasn’t familiar with Radford but going through his own writings and your old posts on the guy–it’s like a field of red flags.

    It really bothered me reading about Stollznow’s experiences. Another thing that I thought was unfortunate was that half her article was, in essence, a justification for discussing the issue at all. It was a very well-written justification with some excellent points (so I am glad she wrote it), but I think it’s sad that it was necessary, or that Stollznow was made to feel it was necessary when she was writing it.

    When I put my post about this up on Reddit, someone accused me of “white-knighting”. I had to look it up. Bleeeehh.

    On a lighter note, from one of your earlier posts about Radford: “It takes a lot to strawman a 4-year old, but Ben’s done it.” This gave me quite a laugh yesterday. Thanks for that.

    • Profile photo of vexorian
      August 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm —

      Don’t put much importance to the red flags . While Radford had them, there might be cases of guys that sport those red flags and are not really creeps and cases of guys that don’t sport those red flags and are. The tumblr page has a couple of examples that if true would be very shocking and disappointing.

      • Profile photo of
        August 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm —

        I don’t think they’re proof of anything, but they sure are ugly.

    • Profile photo of captaintripps
      August 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm —

      When I saw your post to r/skeptic earlier today I was frankly surprised it not only survived, but throve. Usually stuff like this is unwelcome there (to put it mildly). Also surprising is that supporting comments seem to be getting upvotes and a good number of the assclown comments have been downvoted.

      • Profile photo of vexorian
        August 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm —

        Hopefully it means that more people are taking the issue seriously now that the shit is more visible.

      • Profile photo of
        August 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm —

        /r/skeptic is pretty good, in my experience. If I’d put it up on /r/atheism, mods would have removed it within a minute, as they did when I put a post up there about Ron Lindsay.

    • Profile photo of vexorian
      August 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm —

      What is making me very sick about the “white knighting” meme is that it is starting to get used in other contexts. Like defend a company in a hater-driven discussion. It is like the guys don’t feel ashamed of its origin.

    • Profile photo of Veronica
      August 8, 2013 at 6:06 am —

      Back when Radford was outwitted by a four-year-old, I wrote this post after he replied to Rebecca Watson:
      http://purplenoize.net/2012/01/the-riley-chronicles-episode-ii/

  12. Profile photo of delphi_ote
    August 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm —

    The “More Will Be Named” tumblr strikes me as a bit dangerous to the cause as it’s being used now. It would be very easy for Slymepitters to start submitting false allegations to undermine the credibility of the site. Anonymous posts probably shouldn’t be allowed. Name calling without any background of the indecent definitely shouldn’t be allowed. We need to know who is speaking up, or at the very least know what happened.

    I know people who were harassed at TAM by big names. Their stories creeped my out. This kind of harassment happens too much, and people have looked the other way for too long. I really believe in shaming those responsible. But the entire enterprise is going to go down in flames if the wider community sees it as rumormongering. Nobody should be posting stories about things they’ve “heard.”

  13. Profile photo of demythify
    August 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm —

    OK. Do I have this right?
    TAM 12-was this the TAM featuring:

    DJ Grothe blaming you, Rebecca, for making women think TAM is not safe for women? The TAM which obstinately refused to reassure anyone before the conference that they had implemented an anti-harassment policy but after the conference was over claimed they did have one? The TAM where SurlyAmy raised enough donations to send numerous women in an effort to encourage greater participation by women? Yet was insulted and otherwise hassled by other attendees resentful over efforts to implement the anti-harassment policy and was made so miserable over it she left early? The TAM here Harriet Hall wore for the whole three days a T-shirt announcing her distaste for Skepchicks and crowing about how SAFE she was at TAM? Where Pamela Gay delivered an unforgettable confession outlining the harassment she’s endured from male COLLEAGUES while pursuing her career advancing science and reason? That TAM?
    The same TAM Ashley Paramore was sexually assaulted?

    If so, JREF and CFI aren’t just in denial about these problems–they’re complicit.

    • Profile photo of delphi_ote
      August 8, 2013 at 1:04 am —

      It’s worse. Far worse.

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/07/carrie-poppy-tells-all/

      Now the kind of things we’ve all heard about in private are finally coming out in the open. That story is from 2010. But it’s even worse than that. I heard stories about some of these big names from TAM 5. They’ve been getting away with it for a LOOOOOOOOONG time.

      • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
        August 8, 2013 at 2:58 am —

        While D.J. continues to personally associate with Radford speaks to his personal feelings that email chain does show that the JREF did not and apparently will not invite Radford to future events. While one could read a lot into DJ saying that she was not obligated to send him the information, I think the principle of charity applies here. Alot of DJ’s responses seemed to be very legalese in nature and since the details of the information specifically dealt with CFI and not the JREF its likely that the JREF did not want to get itself involved with another organization’s internal affairs, especially in regards to something that could lead to a lawsuit. We’ll see if the JREF holds up their end and continues to not invite or include Dan Radford in their organization or events. Note I do not defend how DJ has handled any of these situations (which is pretty abysmal) and it shows a lack of leadership in that regard, and is an example of poor character judgement on Groethe’s part, however the JREF did explicitly state that they will not invite Radford to any current or future events. Will see if they hold up that statement.

    • Profile photo of KellyM
      August 8, 2013 at 6:56 am —

      Yes, demythify, the TAM where DJ Grothe personally went out of his way to ensure that the harassment policy was “hidden” was the TAM at which *at least* two women were assaulted. Correlation does not prove causation, but I think that DJ has contributed to an atmosphere at the JREF where sexist, misogynist behavior is rewarded and feminist activism is blacklisted.

      • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
        August 8, 2013 at 9:24 am —

        Its also possible that he inherited a place that was already sexist and misogynist and didn’t do much to address it. Both are bad and again show a complete lack of competency in regards to his running the JREF. I think its baseless to say its been worse under his supervision as we have no idea if it was better or worse before him. Worse I’m assuming as it was probably kept under wraps even more stridently and women probably felt less safe in reporting it. Not to mention that there are far more women in the community now, do to the work of people like Skepchicks and Stollznow. I wasn’t trying to demythify, as there was no myth in my content Radford was not invited to TAM 13 and the JREF have stated he will not be invited to future events. I wasn’t talking about the past where they did nothing I was talking about what they did currently. I will not condemn an organization if they start trying to do the right thing even when they have done wrong things in the past.

  14. Profile photo of Steven Doyle
    August 8, 2013 at 7:35 am —

    “Best of luck to Dr. Stollznow as I’m sure she goes on to face the avalanche of slut-shaming and hyperskepticism that inevitably follows any woman making any claim that involves a man violating her boundaries.”

    — To be fair, there’s also the entirely appropriate skepticism that should greet any accusation of a crime. The burden of proof is upon the accuser; that’s the basis for our entire system of criminal justice. Gender is irrelevant.

    If Ms. Stollznow’s claims are true, I hope some sort of justice is rendered.

    • Profile photo of Johnny Slick
      August 8, 2013 at 9:14 am —

      That’s a courtroom issue, not a public opinion issue. A criminal case has to have the standard of reasonable doubt because the consequences of putting an innocent person in jail are severe. On the other hand, a civil case does not have that level of evidence required for the plaintiff because in most cases the consequences of accepting the defendant’s side of the story are just as severe as those of accepting the plaintiff’s side.

      So, too, I think, is how the “court” of public opinion works. The fact is that women very, very rarely falsely accuse men of being harassers. I’m sure it happens but to some extent it would be like coming out as gay when you’re not actually gay – the repercussions are generally too high to just do that thing on a lark. On top of that, the cases in which women engage in conspiracies with other women to “take down” a person for harassment are so low in number that, well, I for one would like to see a case of that *ever* happening.

      • Profile photo of buckaroosamurai
        August 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm —

        Well Johnny there is one case but I hesitate to put it here as many of the comments on the video are extremely gross and vulgar and would not like to be associated with those types. The case is clear cut got as the individual accused had cctv footage of the entire event as well as the conspiracy to commit the act.

    • Profile photo of A Hermit
      August 8, 2013 at 10:19 am —

      “If Ms. Stollznow’s claims are true, I hope some sort of justice is rendered.”

      Well CFI did find that her allegations were true and their idea of “justice” is apparently to tell the offender not to come in to work while he’s on vacation…

      That just adds insult to injury.

    • Profile photo of delphi_ote
      August 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm —

      “If Ms. Stollznow’s claims are true, I hope some sort of justice is rendered.”

      Would anything ever convince you that her claims are true? What would it take? Would you ever realistically be convinced?

      Really think long and hard about those questions. At the moment, I think you’d prefer to be comfortably naive than believe these awful things actually happened.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      August 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm —

      Are you one of those people that think “evidence” is magic or something? Have you not heard of the Steubenville case? Where there was VIDEO EVIDENCE and the victim was still blamed?

      To be fucking fair my ass.

  15. Profile photo of blindlabyrinth
    August 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm —

    We have written a song critical of Benjamin Radford and CFI. Please check it out, and pass it along to your friends.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy5xEipjKQc

    Thank you,
    Blind Labyrinth

  16. Profile photo of Buzz Parsec
    August 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm —

    Nothing really to say except to voice my support for Carrie Poppy and Karen Stollznow and all the other unknown victims.

    To quote Justice Brandeis, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”. (Is that really true? Yes, according to UC Davis.)

  17. Profile photo of emmastaf
    August 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm —

    It appears that the “more will be named” tumblr has been hacked (?).

  18. Profile photo of delphi_ote
    August 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm —

    Skeptics who support the JREF or CFI no longer have any right to criticize the Catholic Church for covering up sexual abuse. PZ’s recent “grenade” matches what I heard at TAM. What little respect and hope I had left is gone.

  19. Profile photo of Joan Wilner
    August 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm —

    Radford is a silly McDooly. Skepticism is an indefensible position insofar as it only accepts those things that were known and published yesterday. The mere fact that X was discovered at a given point in time, but was clearly unknown the day before, obviates the “skeptic’s” viewpoint (penned on the day before) that such-and-such phenomenon doesn’t exist, cannot exist, how can you be so silly, you’re mistaken, it’s just mass hysteria or an inaccurate size estimate or pareidolia or blubber-de-dudder-de-fuddleduddle.

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