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Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,09:50   

Quote (The whole truth @ Aug. 30 2013,06:37)
If a man complained of being propositioned or offered coffee by a woman, in an elevator or elsewhere, would any of you jump to his defense and call for special protective measures and public warnings about the woman? Would any of you make a big stink about it on the internet?

There is a difference.  I'm surprised you haven't learned it by now.

It's unfortunate that the elevator incident has accumulated so much baggage in the ongoing schism among online atheists and skeptics.  When I first read about it, before the subsequent blog and conference speech drama, I brought it up at breakfast and my wife and I discussed it with our sons.  We communicated three key points to them.  First, that men, on average, have a physical advantage over women.  Second, that because of this disparity the world seen by women is different from that seen by men.  Third, that if one finds oneself about to enter a confined space like an elevator alone with a woman one does not know well, a gentleman will step back and not put the woman in a position where she may feel threatened.

It was a good teaching opportunity that has spawned many subsequent conversations.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,11:57   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,09:50)
Quote (The whole truth @ Aug. 30 2013,06:37)
If a man complained of being propositioned or offered coffee by a woman, in an elevator or elsewhere, would any of you jump to his defense and call for special protective measures and public warnings about the woman? Would any of you make a big stink about it on the internet?

There is a difference.  I'm surprised you haven't learned it by now.

It's unfortunate that the elevator incident has accumulated so much baggage in the ongoing schism among online atheists and skeptics.  When I first read about it, before the subsequent blog and conference speech drama, I brought it up at breakfast and my wife and I discussed it with our sons.  We communicated three key points to them.  First, that men, on average, have a physical advantage over women.  Second, that because of this disparity the world seen by women is different from that seen by men.  Third, that if one finds oneself about to enter a confined space like an elevator alone with a woman one does not know well, a gentleman will step back and not put the woman in a position where she may feel threatened.

It was a good teaching opportunity that has spawned many subsequent conversations.

I think there is no conflict between teaching young men to be gentlemen and teaching young women not to assume that men are gentlemen.

The elevator woman, in my opinion, had a somewhat exaggerated fear, but her response was not paranoid. She anticipated the potential for trouble and avoided placing herself in a position where trouble could happen.

But there is no conflict between teaching men not to place women in risky positions, and teaching women to be careful.

There are, of course, risk takers among women as well as among men.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,12:46   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 30 2013,12:57)
I think there is no conflict between teaching young men to be gentlemen and teaching young women not to assume that men are gentlemen.

I strongly concur.  I hope nothing I wrote suggested otherwise.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,12:57   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,12:46)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 30 2013,12:57)
I think there is no conflict between teaching young men to be gentlemen and teaching young women not to assume that men are gentlemen.

I strongly concur.  I hope nothing I wrote suggested otherwise.

I simply believe this discussion has not been very productive because it has concentrated on the undecidable guilt of one person, rather than on what could be done to prevent or reduce the incidence of date rape. I'm using that term rather loosely to include any unwanted sex between people in social situations. As opposed to rape at gunpoint and the like.

My family was in public health, and from diapers onward I was taught that prevention is more effective than cure. When a crime has been committed you have to focus on the criminal, but that isn't very productive in reducing crime.

It's even more dubious when the crime itself is inherently not prosecutable.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,13:48   

[quote=Patrick,Aug. 30 2013,09:47][/quote]
Quote (hotshoe @ Aug. 30 2013,00:54)
 
Quote

Well, you may not live under such a legal system, but Shermer certainly does.  That's our US First Amendment rights at work!  The alternative is far more horrifying to contemplate: that a public figure (like Shermer) could use the courts to trample on your free speech rights any time you said anything about him that he claimed would harm his "reputation"!  Thank god I live in a country where the Supreme Court has specifically ruled on this issue and is protecting my free speech rights.

I said that I would not want to live under such a system.  Fortunately, I do not nor does anyone else in the United States.  There is legal recourse available to victims of defamation.

I am a free speech absolutist.  I would not support any attempt to limit PZ Myers' ability to publish anything he wishes.  

Good. Thank god for that.  It's so nice to see an absolutely clear statement that PZ Myers has the First-Amendment right to publish what he understands to be the truth about Shermer, without censorship.
 
Quote
I also recognize that such freedom means that people will sometimes cause significant harm to other people's reputations. If those damaging claims cannot be supported, the libeled or slandered person must have a means to clear their name.

Yes, and the legal recourse for the possibly-libeled person is to file suit against their alleged-libeler.  And although the libel suit is a civil action, not a criminal action, in that suit the alleged-libeler, being the defendant, has legal protection equivalent to "presumed innocent until proven guilty".  That is, Shermer - if he follows through on his threat to sue Myers - will have the affirmative burden of proof; and furthermore, since Shermer is a public figure, he will have the burden of proving not only that he was actually defamed (which may be possible to prove in Shermer's specific case) but also must meet the burden of proof that Myers acted with actual malice. (Note: that is "actual malice" as defined by law, not merely out of spite, or as a result of some prior spat between the two parties.)  This is settled constitutional law; it was settled in 1964 by the US Supreme Court.
The US Supreme Court unanimously decided NYT v Sullivan on First Amendment grounds, with the effect of protecting YOUR and MY free speech rights from self-censorship due to prior fears of being bankrupted by a libel suit (or threats of such a suit) flung by some powerful public person.

You, as a "free speech absolutist" must naturally be on the side of the US Supreme Court, the NY Times, and our freedom to say rude things about public figures whom we suspect to be dangerous, wrong, or corrupt, even to say things about them which turn out on close inspection to be untrue, as long as we don't say them with actual malice.
Quote
Would you really prefer a system where your life and livelihood could be destroyed by anonymous rumor and gossip published by any blogger with a sufficiently large following?

1. Since I am more likely to die in a tsunami than to accidentally come to the attention of any "blogger with a sufficiently large following" who will decide to randomly attempt to destroy my "life and livelihood", I guess I'll take my chances with such a system.
2. Since neither I, nor you (presumably) are public figures, I, and you, can take such a blogger to court - if we can afford a good lawyer! - and win without having to prove actual malice, I'm happy that a legal recourse exists.  But I can't imagine being stupid enough to want to sue, no matter how badly I felt about my reputation, given that as you say, the "gossip" would already be out there, and would not disappear if I won.  But that's just me.  
3. As I said before, we do live in a system where - sometimes - an innocent person's reputation may be ruined by a defamer who cannot be successfully sued due to our FA rights protecting our ability to speak/publish freely (even if what we say/publish is only "rumor" and "gossip" and even when it's demonstrably not true).
And yes, I absolutely do prefer the system we have, thanks to the Supreme Court, than the horrible alternative of suppression of free speech.
As the great Blackstone said, "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".
In context (civil, rather than criminal courts) I mean that it is better that ten actual libelers escape than that one person has their free speech rights trampled upon.  Our commitment to free speech necessarily entails that free speech excesses up to and including outright falsehoods cannot be prevented in advance (no prior censorship) and cannot be punished after the fact in cases regarding a public person (actual malice standard).

You might be interested in the words of a lawyer on the relative value of free speech rights compared to the desire to challenge a libel against oneself:  
Quote
As the NYT [Supreme] Court explains, the public-figure and “actual malice” standards are an extraordinarily important means of protecting the First Amendment rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Without those standards (or some other rule that performs similar work), the powerful could all too easily silence any critical commentary on anything they do. There’s an underlying cost-benefit analysis involved: upholding those First Amendment rights has long since been deemed more fundamental and important than private parties’ desire to root out any and every published challenge (including, inevitably, some that are based on falsehoods) to their reputations.

Quote
Again, one notable factual parallel between the facts of NYT and Shermer’s allegations in his hypothetical lawsuit against PZ is that some of the statements the Times printed were in fact false. As a result, Sullivan’s complaints about the Times‘ publication was, in that respect, correct: the publication had stated false notions about him and his police force. The reason NYT would be particularly helpful for PZ in the hypothetical lawsuit, besides setting out the “actual malice” standard in the first place, is that it shows that the mere falsity of Jane Doe’s account still wouldn’t prove that PZ defamed Shermer.


4. I'm not sure if the phrase "any blogger with a sufficiently large following" is meant to imply that it is somehow more objectionable, or somehow more effective, to allegedly libel a public figure via one's blog compared to other methods of spreading "rumor" and "gossip" but in either case, it's nonsense.
PZ Myers (that is, the "any blogger" in this case) has not done anything via his blog that he could not have done in 1791 with handbills printed in Ben Franklin's shop.
Here's word from the lawyer again:
Quote
There is nothing whatsoever about the PZ/Shermer controversy that could not have taken place with the technology available in NYT‘s 1960—or for that matter the Bill of Rights’ 1789. Accusing a public figure of a serious crime ... has been entirely practicable for many centuries.

Moreover, NYT v. Sullivan has coexisted with overwhelmingly widespread Internet use for decades, now, and there has been no indication that any court, least of all the U.S. Supreme Court, believes that the justification for “actual malice” standard is any less pressing in the Internet age than it was in 1960. ...[T]his matter is not the first time that public figures have been accused of serious crimes on the Internet by people whose identities the accused was not aware of. Decades’ worth of Internet-age defamation law have done nothing to cast NYT into doubt[.]
[emendations by me to remove personal  interjections, which don't affect the sense of the paragraph]
.
.
.


P.S. The "l" key is not registering correctly on my keyboard and several times I typed "pubic" for "public".  I believe i have corrected them all but if any mistakes remain they are not meant as an ironic commentary on Shermer's alleged sexual assaults.  Sorry.

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:07   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 30 2013,12:57)
My family was in public health, and from diapers onward I was taught that prevention is more effective than cure. When a crime has been committed you have to focus on the criminal, but that isn't very productive in reducing crime

Which is why I'm so happy to hear the positive results from Canada's Don't Be That Guy campaign.

It puts the focus of preventive efforts where it belongs - on the likely perpetrators rather than on the future victims.  And apparently it's working.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:18   

Quote (hotshoe @ Aug. 30 2013,14:07)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 30 2013,12:57)
My family was in public health, and from diapers onward I was taught that prevention is more effective than cure. When a crime has been committed you have to focus on the criminal, but that isn't very productive in reducing crime

Which is why I'm so happy to hear the positive results from Canada's Don't Be That Guy campaign.

It puts the focus of preventive efforts where it belongs - on the likely perpetrators rather than on the future victims.  And apparently it's working.

I have no problem with educating men, but I'd like to see how it's effectiveness is evaluated.

I'd also point out that this message is also viewed by women, which alerts them to the problem.

It does seem aimed at the college educated crowd.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Driver



Posts: 649
Joined: June 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:21   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,15:47)
Would you really prefer a system where your life and livelihood could be destroyed by anonymous rumor and gossip published by any blogger with a sufficiently large following?

Now why are you calling a specific allegation rumour and gossip? Not only are such words not apposite, but given prior probabilities plus statements from others (including statements by people who are not anonymous, such as former JREF employee Brian Thompson) the odds that the allegation is untrue are far greater than the odds that it is true, and if it is true you have dismissed a rape victim's first hand account as gossip. No-one has provided the key to the conspiracy theory that PZ Myers has made it up.

Now why would a rape victim want to be anonymous? Could it be for reasons such as their account is likely to be dismissed as rumour or gossip?

You know what it is that makes people very aware of the potential harm to an accused male but utterly blind to the great harm done to rape victims who are not believed? Privilege.

--------------
Why would I concern myself with evidence, when IMO "evidence" is only the mind arranging thought and matter to support what one already wishes to believe? - William J Murray

[A]t this time a forum like this one is nothing less than a national security risk. - Gary Gaulin

  
Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:42   

Quote (hotshoe @ Aug. 30 2013,14:48)
Quote
I also recognize that such freedom means that people will sometimes cause significant harm to other people's reputations. If those damaging claims cannot be supported, the libeled or slandered person must have a means to clear their name.

Yes, and the legal recourse for the possibly-libeled person is to file suit against their alleged-libeler.  And although the libel suit is a civil action, not a criminal action, in that suit the alleged-libeler, being the defendant, has legal protection equivalent to "presumed innocent until proven guilty".  That is, Shermer - if he follows through on his threat to sue Myers - will have the affirmative burden of proof; and furthermore, since Shermer is a public figure, he will have the burden of proving not only that he was actually defamed (which may be possible to prove in Shermer's specific case) but also must meet the burden of proof that Myers acted with actual malice. (Note: that is "actual malice" as defined by law, not merely out of spite, or as a result of some prior spat between the two parties.)  This is settled constitutional law; it was settled in 1964 by the US Supreme Court.

I suggest that you look into the legal term "defamation per se."  What PZ Myers claimed qualifies.

Your (uncited) lawyer quotations fail to note that the public figure requirement to prove actual malice isn't going to help Myers.  First, reckless disregard of the truth shouldn't be too hard to demonstrate, especially given that he has subsequently allowed additional very serious allegations to be made in the comments.

Second, the requirement applies to actions related to the public figure's official conduct (in his capacity as a public official, in the case you cite).  If Myers were making a defamatory statement about his target's professional conduct, it might be covered.  The actual claims made are not.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:53   

Quote
You know what it is that makes people very aware of the potential harm to an accused male but utterly blind to the great harm done to rape victims who are not believed? Privilege.


I've met quite a few rape victims, all minors. I don't know any whose lives were improved by making the claim public. That's pretty sad, but it's what I saw.

The potential upside is that disclosure might make things better for someone else in the future.

I see very little potential for that in this discussion. I'm not trying to be mean. It's just the way I see it.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,14:56   

Quote (Driver @ Aug. 30 2013,15:21)
 
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,15:47)
Would you really prefer a system where your life and livelihood could be destroyed by anonymous rumor and gossip published by any blogger with a sufficiently large following?

Now why are you calling a specific allegation rumour and gossip? Not only are such words not apposite, but given prior probabilities plus statements from others (including statements by people who are not anonymous, such as former JREF employee Brian Thompson) the odds that the allegation is untrue are far greater than the odds that it is true, and if it is true you have dismissed a rape victim's first hand account as gossip. No-one has provided the key to the conspiracy theory that PZ Myers has made it up.

I'm referring to it as rumor and gossip because it is an unsubstantiated accusation claimed to be from an anonymous source.  Hardly what could be considered valid evidence.

Additional unsupported anonymous accusations do not add to the perceived veracity of the first.

Vague references to a claim by one named individual about a different incident may be pertinent, but need more detail.  When, where, with whom, other witnesses, context, etc.

Whether or not PZ Myers made it up is not the issue.  Applying skeptical values and tools to claims that could destroy a person's life are.
 
Quote

Now why would a rape victim want to be anonymous? Could it be for reasons such as their account is likely to be dismissed as rumour or gossip?

It's more likely to be considered such if the purported victim refuses to provide any additional evidence.

 
Quote
You know what it is that makes people very aware of the potential harm to an accused male but utterly blind to the great harm done to rape victims who are not believed? Privilege.

The suggestion that I am blind to the harm done to rape victims is unwarranted and grossly offensive.  It is also a blatant attempt to shut down discussion (rather like the use of "privilege" as an epithet).  You are assuming that there is a victim without evidence.

So answer me a question:  What makes people willing to believe unsubstantiated anonymous claims while ignoring the potential harm those claims can cause?

  
Driver



Posts: 649
Joined: June 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,15:47   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,20:56)
 
Quote (Driver @ Aug. 30 2013,15:21)
   
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,15:47)
Would you really prefer a system where your life and livelihood could be destroyed by anonymous rumor and gossip published by any blogger with a sufficiently large following?

Now why are you calling a specific allegation rumour and gossip? Not only are such words not apposite, but given prior probabilities plus statements from others (including statements by people who are not anonymous, such as former JREF employee Brian Thompson) the odds that the allegation is untrue are far greater than the odds that it is true, and if it is true you have dismissed a rape victim's first hand account as gossip. No-one has provided the key to the conspiracy theory that PZ Myers has made it up.

I'm referring to it as rumor and gossip because it is an unsubstantiated accusation claimed to be from an anonymous source.  Hardly what could be considered valid evidence.

It is only invalid if you believe that it is likely that PZ Myers made it up or that the woman is lying.

I think I mentioned how much respect I have for arguments that rely on law, so I hope you are not doing that.


 
Quote
Additional unsupported anonymous accusations do not add to the perceived veracity of the first.


They really do, because they support each other, and anonymity is here understandable.  To deny them all requires a conspiracy theory. What is your theory?

One confirmation of the woman's story comes from a long-standing JREF  commentator whose real identity is not that hard to find out.


 
Quote
Vague references to a claim by one named individual about a different incident may be pertinent, but need more detail.  When, where, with whom, other witnesses, context, etc.


Yes, because those women might want their names made public...

The only question I see that needs answering here is does Brian Thompson have good reason to lie?


 
Quote
Whether or not PZ Myers made it up is not the issue.  Applying skeptical values and tools to claims that could destroy a person's life are.


Yes, it is the issue. What is plausible is the issue. What is likely is the issue.  This is using skeptical tools. Philosophical skepticism and other hyperskeptical attitudes are not useful.


 
Quote
   
Quote
You know what it is that makes people very aware of the potential harm to an accused male but utterly blind to the great harm done to rape victims who are not believed? Privilege.

The suggestion that I am blind to the harm done to rape victims is unwarranted and grossly offensive.  It is also a blatant attempt to shut down discussion (rather like the use of "privilege" as an epithet).  You are assuming that there is a victim without evidence.


Either

a) You are blind to the harm done to rape victims who are not believed.
b) Your implicit thought process is that "the trauma caused to 22-24 rape victims who are not believed is outweighed by the potential harm to 1 wrongly accused man."
c) You believe, despite the evidence linked to in this thread, that false rape allegations are higher than 6-10%.
d) Your skepticism is such that prior probabilities have no meaning to you.

Take your pick. None of it is good.

Privilege exists, because inequality exists. I am privileged to be a white British man, you are privileged in at least one of those respects. I am not immune to privileged views. No-one is. Your indignation only suggests that you could spend more time reading about women's issues, or transgender people's issues, or other minority issues.

Mentioning privilege is not an excuse to shutdown the conversation. That is pure shit. Illustration is the fact that the conversation is ongoing.

I am not assuming there is a victim without evidence. People's statements are evidence. Prior probabilities are evidence: I say it rained in Manchester, England in August. Do you need to check the Manchester weather for August?

--------------
Why would I concern myself with evidence, when IMO "evidence" is only the mind arranging thought and matter to support what one already wishes to believe? - William J Murray

[A]t this time a forum like this one is nothing less than a national security risk. - Gary Gaulin

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,16:02   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,14:42)
If Myers were making a defamatory statement about his target's professional conduct, it might be covered.  The actual claims made are not.

Quote
I suggest that you look into the legal term "defamation per se."  What PZ Myers claimed qualifies.

I'm not sure what you're referencing with the phrase "what PZ Myers claimed".  But no matter, "defamation per se" isn't going to help Shermer in this case; "per se" only relieves the supposedly-libeled person of the burden of proving that they were actually injured by the alleged libel. However, the defendant in a "per se" case still has all their legal defenses against the "libel" part of the "libel per se" suit, if sued.  That is, truth is still an absolute defence against accusations of libel, and the alleged libel of a public figure (like Shermer) still must be proved to be with actual malice .

We know this to be a fact. The landmark NYT v Sullivan was a "libel per se" case.  And Sullivan lost despite "per se"! Look at the actual court decision if you don't believe me.

Quote
Your (uncited) lawyer quotations fail to note that the public figure requirement to prove actual malice isn't going to help Myers.  First, reckless disregard of the truth shouldn't be too hard to demonstrate,

Nope, "reckless disregard" is going to be impossible for Shermer to demonstrate, since Myers specifically writes about his reasons to accept the truth of what the accuser said, knowing the accuser personally and evaluating that she has a specific reason to be telling the truth, and that her word was also vouched for by another person known to him before he publicized her word.
Quote
... especially given that he has subsequently allowed additional very serious allegations to be made in the comments.
Others' comments are irrelevant to any libel suit against Myers.  And are protected by US national law which prevents media hosts from being legally liable for comments on their forums.  
Quote
Second, the requirement applies to actions related to the public figure's official conduct (in his capacity as a public official, in the case you cite).  
Well, the landmark NYT v Sullivan case was indeed abut a public official and his official conduct, but the principle has been expanded and affirmed many times in the subsequent decades to apply to essentially all public figures (business leaders, entertainers, public speakers at skeptic conventions ...) Did you not know that?  I'm surprised!
Quote
If Myers were making a defamatory statement about his target's professional conduct, it might be covered.  The actual claims made are not.
So, yeah, nope.  You're misinformed.

Shermer has an almost-impossible suit - if he does decide to sue after all - to prove that Myers committed libel with actual malice against him.  And that's a good thing.  That's a vigorous free press in action, not being squashed by those like Shermer with money, power, or friends in high places who would use suits (or threats of suits) to force us to censor ourselves lest we face bankruptcy for speaking out.

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,16:53   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 30 2013,14:56)
[quote=Patrick,Aug. 30 2013,15:47]

Quote
I'm referring to it as rumor and gossip because it is an unsubstantiated accusation claimed to be from an anonymous source.  Hardly what could be considered valid evidence.
(emphasis mine)
I point out that this is something that too many peope get wrong. The first woman whom PZ quotes is NOT anonymous - her name is being withheld from random denizens of the internet including you, but that is completely different from being anonymous.  "Anonymous" is the tipster on the phone who refuses to leave a name or call-back number; "anonymous" is the person who writes a message with cut-out letters from the newspaper and mails it with no return address.  This woman has a name, she is known personally by PZ Myers, and in his (usually sensible) judgment he needs to conceal her name for her safety.  The only reason to doubt that is if, with some prejudice, you choose to believe that PZ is making the whole thing up.  Which would be ridiculous, but go for it if you want.

I note again that we, as skeptics/atheists, have no trouble believing the un-named victims of Catholic rapist priests, yet bizarrely too many claim this un-named woman may not even exist, may be part of an elaborate lie on PZ's part, and even if she does exist certainly cannot be believed unless she satisfies the demand to reveal her name.  I am shocked to witness this hideous double standard between victims of church leaders and victim(s) of skeptic leaders.

I also note that not a single skeptic calling for "evidence" in this case has yet been able to describe what evidence satisfying them would look like.  What would count as evidence?

The testimony of male witnesses? Will one do, or do we need four?

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 30 2013,16:58   

[quote=Driver,Aug. 30 2013,15:47][/quote]
Quote
Take your pick. None of it is good.

Yep :(

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 2139
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,02:52   

There are so many failures of fact, logic, and legal theory here that I doubt that there can be any useful reply.

If anyone thinks they have evidence of a felony, they are obligated by law to report this to the police.

Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

   
Driver



Posts: 649
Joined: June 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,08:10   

Quote (Dr.GH @ Aug. 31 2013,08:52)
There are so many failures of fact, logic, and legal theory here that I doubt that there can be any useful reply.

If anyone thinks they have evidence of a felony, they are obligated by law to report this to the police.

Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

People who think the law is the paragon of truth finding and justice should speak to a few seasoned lawyers.

People who think the law is generally a good recourse for rape victims are ignorant of conviction rates (in pretty much any country) and the pitfalls for a victim who reports.

relevant

relevant too

also.


and..

read this.

Also this.


Very useful.


--------------
Why would I concern myself with evidence, when IMO "evidence" is only the mind arranging thought and matter to support what one already wishes to believe? - William J Murray

[A]t this time a forum like this one is nothing less than a national security risk. - Gary Gaulin

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,09:37   

Quote (Dr.GH @ Aug. 31 2013,02:52)
If anyone thinks they have evidence of a felony, they are obligated by law to report this to the police.

Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Oh, that settles it, then.  I'm so glad to have that all cleared up.

Now, the first woman must be arrested.  Either she knows a felony was committed (her rape) and she failed to report it to the proper authorities - arrest her!
OR she knows a felony was not committed and she's making a false allegation. Is that a crime? I don't know, but if it isn't, it should be.  Arrest her!

I'm so glad we could find a way to make the victim into a criminal here.  It would be such a shame if any woman got away with the crime of being raped. I'll definitely sleep safer at night knowing she's in jail where she belongs.

  
Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,10:02   

Quote (Driver @ Aug. 30 2013,16:47)
It is only invalid if you believe that it is likely that PZ Myers made it up or that the woman is lying.

Those are not the only two possibilities.  The core point is that anonymous, unsubstantiated claims should not be unskeptically accepted as evidence.

I do not grant PZ Myers, or anyone else, unquestioning trust.

 
Quote

I think I mentioned how much respect I have for arguments that rely on law, so I hope you are not doing that.


I agree with you that law and morality are often unrelated.  I do, however, support the principle that people should have the right to face their accusers.  Without that, everyone is at risk of being the victim of career and life destroying anonymous accusations.  The principle of innocent until proven guilty protects everyone.

That's not to say that victims of crimes should not be protected from abuse for coming forward, of course.

 
Quote

 
Quote

The suggestion that I am blind to the harm done to rape victims is unwarranted and grossly offensive.  It is also a blatant attempt to shut down discussion (rather like the use of "privilege" as an epithet).  You are assuming that there is a victim without evidence.


Either

a) You are blind to the harm done to rape victims who are not believed.
b) Your implicit thought process is that "the trauma caused to 22-24 rape victims who are not believed is outweighed by the potential harm to 1 wrongly accused man."
c) You believe, despite the evidence linked to in this thread, that false rape allegations are higher than 6-10%.
d) Your skepticism is such that prior probabilities have no meaning to you.

Take your pick. None of it is good.


Do you self-identify as a skeptic?  Are you familiar with the fallacy of the excluded middle (more accurately, the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses, in this case)?

My answer is e) None of the above.  I've made my position clear previously, in these two sentences:

As a husband of a wife I adore and the father of daughters I would do anything to protect, I strongly empathize with the desire to do anything possible to prevent sexual assault.

As a person who values his reputation, I do not want to live under a legal system that would allow that reputation to be destroyed based on anonymous hearsay and unfounded accusations.

On a more general note, I find your rhetorical approach very similar to that used by other proponents of PZ's unevidenced claims.  Whether deliberate or not, the technique is sadly disingenuous.  The pattern is to use the very real horrors of rape and the serious problems rape victims face when seeking justice to attempt to distract from the fact that in this specific instance there is nothing resembling sufficient evidence for the defamatory claims being made.  Rather than considering the facts of the particular case, the intent is to inflame emotions.  Anyone who discusses the actual evidence without assuming the guilt of the target is accused of not caring about the problem of rape.

That is not just irrational, it is intellectually dishonest.

Instead of playing those kinds of games, how about providing real evidence for your claim that the accused has left "22-24 rape victims" in his wake.  The number seems to grow with every telling.

  
hotshoe



Posts: 42
Joined: Nov. 2012

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,10:07   

Quote (Driver @ Aug. 31 2013,08:10)
People who think the law is the paragon of truth finding and justice should speak to a few seasoned lawyers.

Yeah, or just ask midwifetoad:

Quote
I investigated at least a dozen instances of sexual abuse by adults. I'm rather sensitive to the issues.

None of my cases and none known to me were resolved in what I would consider to be a satisfactory way for the victim. The criminal system and the protective services system just don't have the magic wand to fix everything. In many cases they don't even protect against repeat offences.
(emphasis mine)

Why do we even hope that victims might not have their own lives ruined by the so-called justice system? It's hopeless.  Once the system gets its claws on the victim, there's never going to be a decent outcome.  Not for the victim, anyways.

Men brush the dust off their hands and walk away, satisfied that the system has done its duty, has always done its duty, and no better can be expected.

  
Patrick



Posts: 610
Joined: July 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,10:11   

Hotshoe,

Your interpretation of the law is at odds with what I've learned.  In particular, I don't believe you will find a case that protects defamatory claims about sexual assault just because they are made against a public figure.  If Myers had said that his target was an unskeptical, irrational, poor writer and speaker, that would probably be covered.

In any case, we'll all have to wait to see how this plays out.  My hope is for one of two clear resolutions.  Either Myers proves his claim and a sexual predator gets locked up or Myers is forced to retract his claim and apologize plus pay enough to discourage others from making such defamatory statements without proof.  Unfortunately, I suspect the result will be muddier.

  
Driver



Posts: 649
Joined: June 2011

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,13:25   

Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 31 2013,16:02)
 
Quote (Driver @ Aug. 30 2013,16:47)
It is only invalid if you believe that it is likely that PZ Myers made it up or that the woman is lying.

Those are not the only two possibilities.  The core point is that anonymous, unsubstantiated claims should not be unskeptically accepted as evidence.


Your core point is wrong. As I already explained. If PZ Myers posted a report by a source who mentions it rained in Manchester, England in August, do you need to check the weather in Manchester for August to give that claim credence?

That the person exists and attends skeptic conferences is confirmed by Carrie Poppy, PZ Myers, and two long-standing JREF forum commentators. That we don't have her name is of trivial importance. The rape of her has been substantiated by three of those people.

 
Quote
I do not grant PZ Myers, or anyone else, unquestioning trust.


What does this mean? If someone tells you they were burgled, you say "maybe you were lying"? If someone tells you they were raped, your reaction is not to believe them?

If someone were to tell you that an anonymous member of their family was raped, would you look them in the eye and say "Maybe. I do not grant you unquestioning trust"?

So tell me, what are the other possibilities in this case? How do you think this rape report might have come to be published by PZ Myers if he didn't make it up and the woman is not lying?

 
Quote
The principle of innocent until proven guilty protects everyone.


It does not. Again, you are talking about the one person, and forgetting about the harm done to those 22-24 rape victims. There is no need for public opinion to assume the black and white standard of a legal trial.

 
Quote

That's not to say that victims of crimes should not be protected from abuse for coming forward, of course.


A wonderful hypothetical world.


 
Quote
My answer is e) None of the above.  I've made my position clear previously, in these two sentences:

As a husband of a wife I adore and the father of daughters I would do anything to protect, I strongly empathize with the desire to do anything possible to prevent sexual assault.

As a person who values his reputation, I do not want to live under a legal system that would allow that reputation to be destroyed based on anonymous hearsay and unfounded accusations.


As you call it hearsay and unfounded, that is (d) Your skepticism is such that prior probabilities have no meaning to you. If I say my friend from Manchester, England told me it rained in Manchester in August would you say that "It rained in Manchester in August" is hearsay or an unfounded claim? Or would you think it most likely that it did rain in Manchester in August?

 
Quote
Rather than considering the facts of the particular case, the intent is to inflame emotions.


Nonsense. I am the one who has posted the facts.

 
Quote
Anyone who discusses the actual evidence without assuming the guilt of the target is accused of not caring about the problem of rape.


Actually, if you had read the relevant blogs on ftb, and even the comment sections, you would know that many people have not concluded that Shermer is definitely guilty, but only that there is sufficient evidence to steer clear of him.

For my part, I have rationally explained (with statistics) why I think it is very likely that Shermer did rape at least one person.

 
Quote

Instead of playing those kinds of games, how about providing real evidence for your claim that the accused has left "22-24 rape victims" in his wake.  The number seems to grow with every telling.


That is not my claim.

At most 6%-10% of rape reports are false.  That is approximately 22-24 rape victims whose stories are true for every one that is false. So I am saying  that if your default position is not to believe a report of rape then there are 22-24 people who suffer the trauma of not being believed for every person who is falsely accused.

--------------
Why would I concern myself with evidence, when IMO "evidence" is only the mind arranging thought and matter to support what one already wishes to believe? - William J Murray

[A]t this time a forum like this one is nothing less than a national security risk. - Gary Gaulin

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4908
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 31 2013,14:59   

This is obviously a topic that turns otherwise reasonable people uncivil. I'm happy to note that all but two of the recently posted links Driver put up have comments sections, so anyone who feels they must talk about this topic has somewhere to do it.

That place is no longer here.

I dislike having to take this step, but I am convinced it has to be done.

This topic is now considered "excessively annoying". Further posts on other threads in this forum on the topic will be removed on recognition, no matter whether other topics are also discussed. People who insist on carrying on the conversation on this board will lose posting privileges.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
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