Burn it Down. Rebuild it from Scratch.

Because that’s about the only coherent thought I have at this point.

Thank you to PZ Myers for bringing this to light. Trigger Warning for this, as I’m copy/pasting his entire post, including the message he got, below the fold. I can’t say anything else.

I’m dyin’ here, people. It’s like people trust me or something.

So I’ve been given this rather…explosive…information. It’s a direct report of unethical behavior by a big name in the skeptical community (yeah, like that hasn’t been happening a lot lately), and it’s straight from the victim’s mouth. And it’s bad. Really bad.

She’s torn up about it. It’s been a few years, so no law agency is going to do anything about it now; she reported it to an organization at the time, and it was dismissed. Swept under the rug. Ignored. I can imagine her sense of futility. She’s also afraid that the person who assaulted her before could try to hurt her again.

But at the same time, she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else, so she’d like to get the word out there. So she hands the information to me. Oh, thanks.

Now I’ve been sitting here trying to resolve my dilemma — to reveal it or not — and goddamn it, what’s dominating my head isn’t the consequences, but the question of what is the right thing to do. Do I stand up for the one who has no recourse, no way out, no other option to help others, or do I shelter the powerful big name guy from an accusation I can’t personally vouch for, except to say that I know the author, and that she’s not trying to acquire notoriety (she wants her name kept out of it)?

I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do, I can do no other. I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described; all I can say is that the author is known to me, and she has also been vouched for by one other person I trust. The author is not threatening her putative assailant with any action, but is solely concerned that other women be aware of his behavior. The only reason she has given me this information is that she has no other way to act.

With that, I cast this grenade away from me…

“At a conference, Mr. Shermer coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me. I can’t give more details than that, as it would reveal my identity, and I am very scared that he will come after me in some way. But I wanted to share this story in case it helps anyone else ward off a similar situation from happening. I reached out to one organization that was involved in the event at which I was raped, and they refused to take my concerns seriously. Ever since, I’ve heard stories about him doing things (5 different people have directly told me they did the same to them) and wanted to just say something and warn people, and I didn’t know how. I hope this protects someone.”


I can’t…

Okay… a note on comments. Not one hyperskeptic. Not one “innocent ’til proven guilty” troll. Not one devil’s advocate. And I’m not fucking kidding. This comment thread is going to be an echo chamber; period. The only things allowed are thanks to PZ Myers, support for the victim, and discussion on how this misogyny problem can be fixed, as in yesterday’s thread. Debate is not allowed over the details.

I get that it’s alleged, and I get that the evidence isn’t up to the standards of a hyperskeptic. I also don’t care. I won’t allow it, and that’s final. If it’s your first-time posting, not only will you not make it out of moderation, you will be banned. No 3-strike rule. You don’t even get ONE strike. I get even a teeny, tiny whiff of hyperskepticism, and you are gone.

Yup. I’m a tyrant. I don’t care about your precious free speech. And I’m staying that way.

About Nathan Hevenstone

I'm an SJW, Socialist, Jewish Agnostic Atheist, Foodie, and Guitarist. Hi! https://allmylinks.com/jimmyrrpage
This entry was posted in Activism, Atheism, Bigotry, Bullying, Cynicism, Feminism, Misanthropy, Misogyny, Rape Culture, Secularism, Sexism, Skepticism, Trigger Warning and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Burn it Down. Rebuild it from Scratch.

  1. I was gobsmacked when I read that post last night. Thanks to PZ Myers for sticking his neck out–again. And thanks to you, Nathan, for spreading the word.

    A friend of mine was assaulted by one of the Big Names (not Shermer.) She’s not out about it so I can’t say more. But this shit has gone on long enough. It’s time to speak out.

    We do have some useful infrastructure built up, which includes some good people. But I’m interpreting “burn it down and rebuild it from scratch” as “speak out and let the chips fall where they may” and I’m right there with you.

    • And let her deal with it in her own way. She is not in any way ever obligated to do anything she doesn’t want to do. But she does have support. She is believed.

      As for how you interpreted my title… fair enough. I’m more for taking the good people and starting something new with them rather trying to salvage anything from the old. The old is, I think, too toxic. But since I’m generally a cynic, I’m probably missing things the more optimistic amongst us see.

  2. Steersman says:

    ‘Rots of ‘ruck on that “burn it down & rebuild it from scratch”. While revolutions of one sort or another are a periodic necessity – no pun intended, the historical record suggests that they tend to get out of hand, that the baby is frequently thrown out with the bath-water.

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