FeminismSkepticism

Five More Things Richard Dawkins Thinks You Should Be Held Criminally Responsible For When Drunk

Last night, Mark Oppenheimer posted an article on Buzzfeed about misogyny in the atheist/skeptic movements, and specifically about how men like Michael Shermer have ruined the movement for women. The article does a great job of laying bare one of organized skepticism’s biggest secrets: how Michael Shermer allegedly used alcohol to inebriate and then rape Alison Smith at TAM 2008. Like clockwork, our embarrassing Twitter uncle Richard Dawkins had this to say on the matter:

That’s right, folks. If a predator uses alcohol to get you drunk, that’s your fault. In fact, it’s a crime parallel to drunk driving! Does Richard Dawkins also think we should criminally charge people who are raped when drunk, just like we charge drunk drivers? After all, think of the damage they could do!*

*To Michael Shermer’s reputation

Nevermind that being the victim of a rape is more analogous to being a person hit by a drunk driver (though I wouldn’t even use that analogy, since drunk driving doesn’t predominately target a specific gender, there differences in the way society treats victims of drunk driving vs. rape, etc.). Regardless, it’s certainly not at all accurate to compare a rape victim to a drunk driver. In the interest of clarity, I would like to offer five more things Richard Dawkins thinks you should be criminally liable for whilst drunk:

Bad “Journey” Karaoke

Bad karaoke is an assault on everyone’s senses, but Journey karaoke is particularly awful. Join Richard Dawkins in the fight to criminalize bad Journey karaoke! Getting Robbed

We have long been told that rape and robbery are analogous, so I suppose Richard Dawkin’s latest revelation proves that being Robbed While Drunk should also leave the robbee criminally responsible. Didn’t want to get robbed? Shouldn’t have gotten so drunk that you didn’t hear that intruder! Nevermind that sexual assault isn’t at all comparable to getting robbed. Anything goes in Richard Dawkins Analogy Land! Crimes Against Honey

We all know Richard Dawkins loves his honey. If you’re drunk and you drop a jar of precious honey, you should be held criminally responsible. Credit Card Fraud

If your identity is stolen because you drunk-purchased 20 different Hello Kitty snuggies, you should be held liable. Don’t want to have your bank information stolen? Don’t shop online! Being a Woman

Richard Dawkins’ only use for women is when he can trot out behavior against them as proof of why religion is bad. All other acts by women should be criminalized. Featured Image by Kimery Davis

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Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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60 Comments

  1. I guess the closest drunk and driving comparison would be if someone gets you drunk, takes your car keys, and then intentionally runs you over when you start walking home? And then Dawkins blames you for not being sober enough to dodge the car properly?

          1. How is it blurry? “Hey, do you wanna have sex?” If they can’t answer or seem unwilling and aren’t *************enthusiastically consenting**************, don’t have sex (or rape) them. Easy-peasy.

          2. “How is it blurry? “Hey, do you wanna have sex?” If they can’t answer or seem unwilling and aren’t *************enthusiastically consenting**************, don’t have sex (or rape) them. Easy-peasy.”

            I agree with you on where the line is drawn for the record. Do you think everyone is drawing it in the same place?

          3. Why does that matter? Communicating to your partner is NOT HARD. If they can’t say yes, then you don’t have sex (rape) them. Period. It’s not that fucking hard. The fact that you think it is is really, really concerning.

          4. “If they can’t say yes, then you don’t have sex (rape) them. Period. It’s not that fucking hard. The fact that you think it is is really, really concerning.”

            You are arguing with a shadow. We agree. Truly.

            I have heard the claim that “if someone says “yes” and indicates “yes” but their judgement is impaired by alcohol, then the “yes” doesn’t count”

            If this is your claim, we could have a debate, but it isn’t, so instead can we just agree to agree?

            Me: “Some people debate whether 2+2=4”
            you: “What are you saying? 2+2 equals FOUR!”
            Me: “Yes, we agree, 2+2=4”
            You: “I’m extremely concerned that you don’t think 2+2=4!!”

            We agree. Really.

  2. But this is the obvious thing about his “Joke.” (Yes, he’s now saying it’s a joke and people are saying that he’s a poor victim of feminism again.)

    It isn’t your fault if you are drunk driving if someone is FORCING you to DRIVE!

    1. It’s funny, because someone mentioned that to me on Twitter, and I was like “Never see the classic film North by Northwest? People got Cary Grant drunk in an attempt to get him to die and make it look like an accident.”

  3. Alcohol is as much, or more, a ‘date rape drug’ as rohypnol is. Dawkins’ idiotic victim-blaming is matched by the insistence on normalizing drinking around sexuality. It seems that half the journalists writing out there have never had sex without getting legless first. Hence pouring alcohol into very young, or carefully scouted, victims is brushed aside as Youthful High-jinks, or ‘experimentation.’

    Sexual predators use alcohol deliberately and consciously. The report on Shermer is classic. But, another unpopular fact is, that most people do not suffer black-outs from alcohol unless some other drug is involved.

    A true black-out, during which the victim may drive a car, go out for more drinks, elope to Vegas with a stranger etc. etc. Is not something a ‘normal’ drinker will ever experience. ‘Normal’ people will lose consciousness, or vomit before reaching that strange balance where memory is washed out.

    Most diagnostic questionnaires for alcoholism ask if the reader has EVER had a black-out. A ‘yes’ answer is pretty definitive. Almost half of diagnosed alcoholics haven’t had black-outs. It is a ‘late stage’ symptom like morning drinking, the ‘shakes,’ or hallucinations.

    Be sure that if your drinking takes you places you don’t want to go; or leads you into black-outs, there are likely to be predators marking you out as prey.

  4. I have to take a middle of the road response here, I think suggesting Dawkins is suggesting that a rape victim is guilty of a crime because they were drunk at the time is not an accurate reflection of his statement. I think he was suggesting that someone who is drunk is capable of making their own decisions.

    That said, his statement, if it’s reference to the allegations of Allison Smith, are ridiculous. Let me fix it for you Richard:

    “Officer, I wasn’t drunk driving. This guy beside me fed me drinks until I was drunk, promised to put me in a cab but instead put me in the drivers seat where he got in beside me, put the keys in the ignition and pressed his foot to the accelerator and reached over and steered the car while I sat here practically unconscious.”

    There, a more accurate analogy.

    1. “…fed me drinks until I was drunk…”

      Forcibly, or could you have said no in this hypothetical situation?

      “…promised to put me in a cab…”

      Even if you trust this person, how is this justification for letting yourself get excessively drunk? You know that your behavior will be altered and you could do something that you’d regret. Even if this person follows through with his promise, isn’t it still stupid to let yourself get drunk? Couldn’t you do something else incredibly stupid?

      We are still responsible for what we do while drunk, and in particular, we are responsible for not being drunk. If the guy in question spikes a drink, I believe you are not responsible.

      If he doesn’t and you still drink to excess, you still aren’t responsible for the ultimate act. But you are responsible for not putting yourself in an ambiguous situation where the law will have a much greater challenge in prosecuting your alleged attacker, since it will be hard to determine if it’s just two people being stupid or one. That’s just common sense.

      1. No it isn’t “common sense”. It is victim blaming, through and through.

        So basically what you are saying is that men can’t handle themselves around drunk women. What fucking bullshit. Men aren’t animals. Hie is this line of thinking NOT offensive to men???????

      2. I think we agree that you are responsible for the decisions you make when you are drunk.

        I think we also agree that getting drunk is a choice (assuming no foul play like “spiking a drink” as you point out)

        I think we also agree that getting drunk can be an irresponsible choice, and can also be a stupid choice. (and often is)

        If someone is drunk, I believe they can still consent to sex, just as you can make any other decision. However, if you are so drunk you cannot convey to the person you are with that you want to engage in sex with them, then you are too drunk to consent. If you are too drunk to continue to convey to your partner that you wish to continue during sex, then you are too drunk to consent.

        Alison Smith alleges that she was drunk to the point where she could not consent to sex. At this point, having sex was not a decision she got to make, yet it was made for her. We could debate whether she was irresponsible in getting into that situation, what I don’t think is debatable is that whatever got her in that situation, (assuming her allegations are factual), she was then victimized.

        Getting drunk can be irresponsible and even stupid, but that doesn’t mean committing a crime against someone drunk is justified, or tolerable. Alison Smith’s story is a warning about getting drunk around a certain prominent skeptic. I would totally agree that getting drunk around him after that warning would be incredibly stupid.

        1. By calling someone “incredibly stupid” YOU ARE PUTTING THE BLAME ON THEM FOR BEING RAPED, if they get raped while drunk around Michael Shermer.

          He has a name. Why are you so reluctant to use it?

          Interesting that you call Michael Shermer a “certain prominent skeptic” but are sharing the victim’s name freely. Very interesting, indeed.

          1. “By calling someone “incredibly stupid” YOU ARE PUTTING THE BLAME ON THEM FOR BEING RAPED”

            Are you joking?

            “Very interesting, indeed.”

            I am very interesting, but it’s nice to hear it now and again…we are purposely interpreting each other’s posts falsely right?

          2. “You called her incredibly stupid”

            Read what I said again. I said IGNORING HER WARNING would be incredibly stupid.

            “Alison Smith’s story is a warning about getting drunk around a certain prominent skeptic. I would totally agree that getting drunk around him after that warning would be incredibly stupid.”

        2. This is still textbook victim-blaming. “It’s not justified, but she sure was irresponsible to get herself into that situation.” THAT is blaming the victim. Saying that she in some way “got herself into” a situation is saying that the onus is on victims to avoid rape when it the onus should be on rapists not to rape.

          BTW, alcohol is every bit as much a date rape drug as something like rohypnol. It’s not hard to disguise how much alcohol is in a drink to make it seem like you aren’t drinking much. It’s not hard to, once someone has had a couple of drinks, pressure them into having more (especially when the rapist commands the power differential – as Shermer would). To try to debate otherwise is nothing more than an attempt to blame victims for a crime against them.

          1. “It’s not justified, but she sure was irresponsible to get herself into that situation.” THAT is blaming the victim.

            Agreed, but that’s not what I said. She didn’t get herself into the situation. I certainly did not mean to imply that she got herself into the situation either.

          2. You called her incredibly stupid, yet you’re claiming you didn’t say she got her into the situation? What the fuck? Are you aware we can read what you’ve written? You are putting the blame on the victim. You are victim blaming. You called her stupid!

          3. “You literally said, “We could debate whether she was irresponsible in getting into that situation.” That is a direct quote. Stop lying.”

            I see the confusion now. Hopefully this clears it up.

            If you make a claim, and I respond with “It is debatable…” I’m not actually supporting your claim. Nor am I denying it. All I’m doing is acknowledging it and moving on.

        1. I need you to specify which claim you are referring to, then I’ll do my best to answer.

          My original claim was “getting drunk can be an irresponsible choice, and can be a stupid choice.” Do you think getting drunk is never irresponsible or stupid? If so, I can give some examples if you like. Note that this claim never specified anything about being “around someone”. Getting drunk by yourself can also be stupid and irresponsible. (and dangerous)

          Unless you are talking about my suggestion that getting drunk around someone after specifically getting warned that they are a rapist who rapes drunk people is incredibly stupid. Is that what you thought unfair?

          1. You are talking about getting drunk as being “irresponsible” or “stupid” in a subject about rape, therefore it appears to me that you think getting drunk around “certain people” is irresponsible, and if you get raped, you were getting drunk irresponsibly, therefore it is your fault. That is what it appears you are saying.

          2. There seems to be this belief that you can’t believe these two things at the same time:

            1) People sometimes do irresponsible, stupid or dangerous things

            2) When these same people are victimized by someone who took advantage of their vulnerable state, it is the fault of the one who victimized them, it is only the fault of the person who victimized them. Blame is not shared.

            I assure you that I am capable of believing both things to be true.

            “If you get raped, you were getting drunk irresponsibly, therefore it is your fault.” This is nonsense reasoning. I assure you I would make no such ridiculous connection.

  5. Is this post satire, or does Ms. Caldwell actually believe Dawkins is equating drunk driving with getting raped? It seems to me he is using irony (badly, perhaps) to illustrate that doing something you regret after drinking, then blaming someone else for your drunkenness is fundamentally dishonest.

    Ms. Smith used the word “coerced” in her claims, but she doesn’t say she was coerced to drink, only that she was coerced “into a position where [she] could not consent.” But was she really? Coercion implies the use of threats or force. Does Ms. Smith claim elsewhere Shermer forced her to drink? I certainly didn’t read that in the article at Buzzfeed.

    In the opening paragraph of this post Courtney wrote:

    [blockquote]The [article at Buzzfeed] does a great job of laying bare one of organized skepticism’s biggest secrets: how Michael Shermer allegedly used alcohol to inebriate and then rape Alison Smith at TAM 2008.[/blockquote]

    From the article at Buzzfeed:

    [blockquote]At the party, [Shermer and Smith] began downing drinks. “At some point,” Smith said, “I realized he wasn’t drinking them; he was hiding them underneath the table and pretending to drink them. I was drunk. After that, it all gets kind of blurry.”[/blockquote]

    Nowhere in that statement does it say Shermer threatened her or otherwise used force to “inebriated” Smith. Indeed, she acknowledges she knew Shermer wasn’t drinking while she was.

    Five years later she claimed:

    [blockquote]At a conference, Mr. Shermer coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me…[/blockquote]

    How did Shermer coerce her? Where was the threat? What force did he use?

    We can argue about the morality of Shermer’s sexual tactics (despicable in my opinion), but none of the facts presented in the article at Buzzfeed support the claim he coerced Ms. Smith to do anything. To claim Shermer coerced Ms. Smith is to say he did something criminal which is a very serious accusation. I suspect this is why the word “allegedly” figures prominently in Courtney’s opening description of the incident.

    1. Regardless of whether Smith’s drinking was voluntary, if she was too drunk to consent, it was rape.
      She seems to be under the impression that Shermer overserved her deliberately to set her up to be raped.
      It’s not ‘sexual tactics’, it’s sexual predation.

      1. I don’t disagree with the description of Shermer’s behavior as predatory. That’s part of the reason I deplore it. I also deplore taking advantage of a person’s emotional vulnerability, say following the breakup of a relationship, as a means to initiate a sexual encounter. But is it a crime?

        Ms. Smith said:

        “Mr. Shermer coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me.”

        This is an accusation of criminal activity; Shermer had sex with her without her consent. I realize the comment section of this blog isn’t a court of law, but if you’re gonna believe someone committed a crime you should at least examine the evidence.

        I think we can all agree that everyone’s response to alcohol is different, which is to say an individual’s response to alcohol is largely unpredictable. I’ve been drunk. Very drunk. So drunk, in fact, I don’t remember my actions. On at least one of those occasions I’ve been told by those who were around me that though they could tell I’d been drinking, they could not tell that I was blackout drunk. I’ve witnessed similar phenomena in others. A California Highway Patrolman briefing my military unit on traffic safety told us of a driver detained for a broken tail light who passed all the roadside sobriety tests–except the portable breathalyzer. The device indicated a BAC over .5%. They thought the portable breathalyzer was malfunctioning until they tried one from another patrol car. That guy should’ve been comatose, but was driving completely normally, at night!

        Engaging in sexual contact with a person who cannot exercise consent is wrong, but at what point after imbibing does a person become incapable of exercising consent? Can an individual–perhaps someone who has also been drinking–reliably tell when another is too inebriated to exercise consent (assuming they are not passed out)? Are we saying that having sex after drinking *any amount* constitutes non-consensual (criminal) sex? If not, at what point does it?

        Clearly, Shermer has a well-deserved reputation for what most would consider immoral sexual behavior, but if we’re gonna consider past behavior, then I think we shouldn’t forget he’s never been charged with nor convicted of a sexual crime (to my knowledge).

        As a skeptic I strongly believe in the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I say a bad reputation isn’t evidence. For Ms. Smith’s claim to stand up to scrutiny she must prove Shermer knew she was unable to consent. Is it possible that Ms. Smith, despite having been drinking, behaved in a way that Shermer could reasonably believe she could consent? He says they walked long enough to sober up, and she remembers a lot of fine details (being lied to about which room they were walking to, for example) for someone too impaired to realize what was happening. Unless Ms. Smith was unconscious–which doesn’t fit her account since she says she remembers having sex–I don’t see how she can prove she was too drunk to consent, much less prove Shermer knew she was too drunk to consent.

        1. See, to my mind, it is far more likely that Shermer raped Smith than that Smith is fabricating or mistaken.
          Far, far, far more likely, from all I know about how sexual assault happens, how often it happens, and how unlikely false accusations are.
          Most rapists are never charged or convicted, so that means next to nothing to my calculations.
          Add to that, my personal experiences with sexual assaults, and those of my friends, and my calculation of likelihoods comes down resoundingly in favor of Smith’s allegations being true. Especially when you add Randi’s comments and the comments of the people who were apprised of the situation at the time.

          1. I didn’t claim Ms. Smith fabricated her story. It’s certainly possible that she honestly believes she was too drunk to consent AND that Shermer honestly believes she was not. In this specific instance how do you prove who is right?

            It sounds as though you are saying you are a sexual assault victim. If so, you have my deepest sympathies. This comes from a man whose sister, wife and daughter have all experienced sexual assault. For varying reasons, none of their perpetrators ever faced criminal charges, so I have an inkling of your anger and frustration.

          2. No shit he knew. I mean, duh.
            It’s so disingenuous.
            What Shermer did is so common, so typical, his behavior for years so well-known… you have to be either incredibly naive or willfully ignorant to deny, dismiss, or doubt that a sexual assault occurred.

            It shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially in light of the Rice video. People were falling all over themselves to believe there was some mutual combat involved. It took a fucking video of the assault for the public to believe she wasn’t at fault. She was knocked the fuck out by a linebacker who didn’t have a scratch. But ‘benefit of the doubt’ and ‘innocent until found guilty in a criminal court’. What the good goddamn did people think happened?
            That’s the world we’re living in, though. It’s all part of the same big ball of bullshit dumped on women.

            Shermer gets the benefit of the doubt. Smith doesn’t. Regardless of the big pile of evidence pointing to her version of events. We know this song by heart.

          3. @marilove, I know how someone who can see so clearly into the mind of another can win $1 million dollars, easy-peasy.

            This attitude is the reason I so strongly argue the innocent-until-proven-guilty point. Neither the writer of this blog post nor anyone commenting on it knows for sure what happened that night. Anyone who claims otherwise is selling something.

          4. @punchdrunk, I’ll be the first to agree with anyone who says our criminal justice system sucks, but I believe in the principles on which it is supposed to operate.

            So what’s your solution? Do we modify due process protections for the accused? How do we enhance the rights of those who claim to be victims without taking away from the rights of those we are supposed to assume innocent?

          5. There’s no right to speak at conventions. There’s not right to have powerful people defend you. There’s no right to have your actions swept under the rug by a community. There’s no right to saving public face. There’s no right to selling books or speaking in front of audiences or being invited to parties or having your work promoted.
            None of those things are human rights.
            Nobody’s rights are being violated.
            There are eyewitness accounts of the demeanor of both parties on the night in question. There is Shermer’s reputation, including reports of sexually inappropriate behavior going way back before this night. There are the accounts of the friends Smith called right after the assault. I think there would be enough evidence to at least call a Grand Jury, if we were living in a less fucked up civilization.
            I’m not sure what *you* need to weigh the scales. I think that the evidence is incredibly damning. I honestly don’t know what evidence would be enough. Video? Witnesses in the room during the rape? A confession from the rapist?

          6. Also, you can stuff your ‘deepest sympathies’, since you would have been right there defending the people who raped me. My word about what happened wouldn’t have been good enough. My telling my story would have violated the people who raped me.
            Get bent and keep your pity to yourself.

          7. @punchdrunk, my entire line of argument revolves around the fact that Shermer has been accused with a criminal act, and that I believe if you’re gonna accuse someone of criminality you are morally bound to follow some rules to be sure you’re right. “Rights” in that regard refer to the rights of the accused in a criminal matter, which seem like a good starting point for developing rules to make sure you are making a fair accusation of criminality.

            “Also, you can stuff your ‘deepest sympathies’, since you would have been right there defending the people who raped me.”

            It makes me profoundly sad to think you may truly believe that. I would ask sincerely that you try not to confuse defending a principle with defending criminals.

            Peace.

          8. “It makes me profoundly sad to think you may truly believe that. I would ask sincerely that you try not to confuse defending a principle with defending criminals.”

            “me me me, I I I!” How fucking self-involved do you have to be to seriously tell a VICTIM that her not wanting your bullshit sympathy makes YOU sad? You are making this about YOU and her reaction to YOUR reaction about HER RAPE.

            That is beyond not okay. Your sympathies are not the fucking point.

          9. Seriously this just pisses me the fuck off. “Oh, I am so sad that a victim doesn’t appreciate my empty sympathy. Poor me. I am so abused. Poor, poor, poor me. :( :( :(”

            Fuck off, dude.

          10. @marilove, comprehend much? I didn’t say I was sad she didn’t accept my sympathy, I said I was sad she believed I would stand up for a criminal.

            If you’re gonna speak for someone at least pay attention.

  6. As a skeptic, a bad reputation should actually count for something, if for no other reason than a Bayesian analysis. Prior evidence is not admissible in a court of law, but it sure is any other place. We have prior evidence that Dawkins is an intentionally tone-deaf dog-whistler for the anti-SJW boys’ club. We have prior evidence that Shermer is a creep, possibly a rapist, certainly a harasser. The article is about Dawkins taking a shitty position with regard to women being mistreated among secular/skeptic/atheist crowds, not about whether Shermer could get acquitted. Far as I know, no charges have ever been filed against him, so the whole “innocent until proven guilty” posturing is off-topic.

    I know it’s a bad analogy, rape and robbery, but let’s just play this quick little thought experiment. Something always goes missing at your house, every time a certain friend visits, and it’s always at the end of the month, right before his rent is due. Or he always borrows a few quid. He invariably brings a bottle of vodka. You get shitfaced, he actually doesn’t, and the next day when you remember loaning him $200, he says you were too drunk to remember, you just lent him $100. Okay, you hear that he actually does this around other houses in the neighborhood, the 30th of every month, like clockwork. And then you hear a neighbor claim that he thinks this guy might have slipped him something more than vodka, and then actually stolen thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

    The past reputation is completely worth examining here. It’s not a court of law. It sounds pretty feasible. And the woman claiming he wiped out her jewelry box is pretty credible, as have been all the other neighbors who say, yeah, he got me drunk and conned me too.

    So now it’s your time to post on the Neighborhood Bulletin Board, where this behavior is becoming a focus of discussion. And your first instinct is to say: “y’all accepted his vodka, so shut the fuck up!”???

    This has nothing to do with innocent until proven guilty, it’s about missing the fucking point.

    1. “As a skeptic, a bad reputation should actually count for something, if for no other reason than a Bayesian analysis.”

      Ok, what has happened since Ms. Smith made her allegations? Have any other women accused him of coercion? Did any other women accuse him of coercion before Ms. Smith made her allegation?

      Again, I’m not condoning how the man conducts himself around women (assuming what I’ve read in this post and at Buzzfeed is true).

      “And then you hear a neighbor claim that he thinks this guy might have slipped him something more than vodka, and then actually stolen thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.”

      Are you suggesting Shermer drugged and raped someone? If so please share the evidence.

      “This has nothing to do with innocent until proven guilty, it’s about missing the fucking point.”

      Bullshit. Your analogy is based on the assumption I had a previous experience with the person on which to base suspicions. I don’t. I’m basing my analysis on what I’m reading here and at Buzzfeed. I have no personal knowledge of Michael Shermer other than reading his books and watching some videos on Youtube. If you have personal knowledge he’s engaged in criminal activity then I encourage you to share it with law enforcement.

    2. So, everything must be provable in a court of law? Is that how you conduct your life? Would you take the creepy reputation of someone you were considering to babysit into account?

      Would it have been okay if Ms. Smith had kept her allegations to the back channels where Mr. Shermer’s reputation was already well known? Or was it fair to warn the general public as to his tactics so as to make his future success less likely?

      It seems to me that Mr. Shermer is doing just fucking fine since his reputation was “besmirched”, and yet Ms. Smith’s motives are questioned ever single time someone dares bring this up. I wonder why that is?

      1. It looks like Boomer requires independent witnesses in the room during the assault to accept the claim. That seems to be the evidentiary bar here. He needs extraordinary evidence, evidence that almost never exists, because all those witnesses and all the prior bad behavior and all the women who have come forward, now and in the past, just aren’t enough for him.
        The testimonies, the written reports, the common knowledge among Shermer’s peers – all of that combined are given far less weight than Shermer’s account of what happened. An account that has changed more than once as new facts surface.

        He pretty much embodies rape culture. Abusers, rapists, and predators would be a lot less successful hurting people without the Boomers of the world providing cover for them and protecting them from consequences.

        1. @punchdrunk, You’re battling a strawman. There’ve been many sexual assault cases involving the inability to consent that’ve resulted in conviction absent witnesses in the room. Although I don’t think our criminal justice system is perfect (see below), I have to assume a jury probably gets things right most of the time. Are there testimonies and written reports of any prior or subsequent charges or convictions for criminal activity on the part of Shermer? If there are please share links.

          “He pretty much embodies rape culture. Abusers, rapists, and predators would be a lot less successful hurting people without the Boomers of the world providing cover for them and protecting them from consequence.”

          Bullshit. There is merit on both sides of this debate whether you choose to admit it or not. Principles–like innocent until proven guilty–don’t mean shit unless we apply them in those instances when we least want to. In the past 40 years 146 death row inmates have been exonerated.

          http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-list-those-freed-death-row?scid=6&did=110

          How many of these people were convicted based on some preconceived notion, some *prejudice* harbored by those who accused them?

          1. This in not a court of law, this is the court of public opinion.

            In the court of public opinion there is no presumption of innocence.

            This is the strawman you keep whacking at, stop it.

      2. I didn’t question Ms. Smith’s motives, I questioned the legality morality of accusing someone of a crime without providing evidence.

        No, I don’t think everything must be provable in court. Yes, I would take reputation into account when selecting a baby sitter. And certainly any woman should consider Shermer’s reputation before accepting a date invitation.

        That’s different from an accusation of criminality. A criminal conviction results in criminal penalties which can mean the loss of freedom and a lifetime of opprobrium that goes along with a criminal record.

        1. She provided evidence, her personal testimony, but you have decided it is not sufficient even though she is asking for no legal reprisal. You say that women should take Shermer’s reputation into account, except how are those women supposed to take his reputation into account unless they were lucky enough to be privy to the back channels to know about that reputation? Do you feel the women in the general skeptical public are not worthy of that information? Are only prominent woman skeptics important enough to protect from assault? Because your insistence that only criminally provable allegations be allowed leads in that direction.

          This wasn’t about criminality as there was no criminal conviction or even formal charges, this was about a warning to avoid Shermer in certain situations and the only freedom he has lost is his access to victims. And maybe not even as much as it should be since there are some who refuse to believe it because it wasn’t proved in a court. And that says nothing to your motives, but there is a huge pile of unintended consequences hiding under your “let’s be reasonable” argument.

  7. See, Richard? This is why you’re losing followers. Now I’ll go over this slowly: The difference between being raped and driving drunk is who is in danger. Last I checked, if you drive drunk, you endanger, um, I’ll go for “everyone in your path”. On the other hand, when you’re raped, you’re the one in danger.

    Or, as you might say, drinking so much that you compromise your judgment is bad. Drinking so much that you compromise your judgment and getting behind the wheel is worse. What can’t you understand about that?

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