Atheism News

Atheists vs. Atheists, A+ Skepchick FTB Atheists vs. Skeptic SI CFI JREF Atheists

Spread the love

An atheist has reported:

1. Michael Shermer (Skeptic magazine) accused of serial rape (from report by FTB/A+ atheist PZ Myers)

2. Lawrence Krauss accused of sexual assault (from report of A+/FTB atheist Jen McCreight)

3. Editor of Skeptical Inquirer (SI) magazine Ben Radford
ben radford

accused of sexual assault and stalking of skeptic writer Karen Stollznow

4. Bill Nye the science guy accused of sexual harassment by A+ atheists

5. DJ Grothe (JREF atheist) accused of misogyny by former JREF atheist Carrie Poppy as reported by FTB/A+ atheist PZ Myers

I try to keep UD family friendly, so I will only provide a link to an atheist discussion that summarized these breaking accusations. I cannot directly quote the link because it is full of vulgarity and there may be little precocious 10-year-olds reading UD. 🙄

The discussion highlights that atheists are accusing other atheists of certain misdeeds. I’m not taking sides, but which ever side is right, this cannot be a good thing for a community that presents itself as prophets leading us to the promised land of an atheistic utopia. I have many atheist friends, in an ironic sort of way some atheist writing led me to Christianity (I have a great love of Bertran Russell’s writings, for example).

Though I disagree with atheism, I respect the viewpoint, however, I don’t respect some of the behaviors going on. If the accusations are true, this is really bad, and if the accusations are false, this is still bad as well. This is a lose-lose situation for the skeptic community (mostly atheists). I’m not taking sides as to the truthfulness of the accusations, save to say I hope the accusations are false especially in the case of Michael Shermer who seems like one of the most decent fellows I’ve ever met.

These developments remind me of South Park episode with Richard Dawkins where the atheists go to war against each other in the future…how prophetic.

NOTES.
1. HT Mike Gene

2. the source of this “news” was a summary posted here (WARNING: vulgarity):
A+ Skepchick FTB feminists going all out

3. Photo credits:

http://troublebrothers.com/UA-KS/reddit/BenRadfordReddit.jpg
http://i.huffpost.com/gen/183629/thumbs/s-BILL-NYE-large300.jpg
http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/9924/karen4forweb.jpg

4. The Stollznow account has some credibility since it was published in Scientific American (though she doesn’t mention Radford by name). The others? Mostly 2nd hand and 3rd hand accounts with the victims not identifying themselves as Stollznow did. I won’t say who is right, but I was wondering when we would get another Elevatorgate that would cater to atheists craving more drama than they get over the creation/evolution/ID debate.

22 Replies to “Atheists vs. Atheists, A+ Skepchick FTB Atheists vs. Skeptic SI CFI JREF Atheists

  1. 1
    scordova says:

    From Scientific American, Stollznow’s account (possibly of Ben Radford who is not mentioned by name in this article by mentioned elsewhere by PZ Myers).

    This man is a predator who collects girls of a certain “type”. His targets are chubby, shy, lonely, and insecure, just like I used to be. In the early days I looked up to him and was flattered that he seemed to respect my work. I quickly spotted some red flags but I disregarded them. These became too big to ignore, so I called it all off. The rejection was ego shattering to him at first, and then met with disbelief. This was followed by incessant communication of a sexual nature, including gifts, calls, emails, letters, postcards, and invites to vacation with him in exotic places so we could “get to know each other again”. He wouldn’t leave me alone. This wasn’t love. It was obsession. His desperation only increased when I met another man. He continued his harassment as though my boyfriend (who is now my husband) didn’t even exist.

    From late 2009 onwards I made repeated requests for his personal communication to cease but these were ignored. He began manipulating the boundaries by contacting me on the pretext of it being work-related. Then came the quid pro quo harassment. He would find opportunities for me within the company and recommend me to television producers, but only if I was nicer to him. One day the company offered me an honorary position that I’d worked hard for, but he warned me that he had the power to thwart that offer. I threatened to complain to his employer, but he bragged that another woman had accused him of sexual harassment previously and her complaints were ignored. According to him, she had been declared “batshit crazy”. 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.

    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....arassment/

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    Bill Nye? The Science Guy? Darn, and I liked him when he was on “Almost Live!” eons ago.

  3. 3
    scordova says:

    PZ Myers quoted an anonymous e-mail. I have to point out for someone claiming to be skeptical, why should PZ be doing this given the gravity of the accusations, I would never think to do this unless I had something more substantive. I post this not to accuse Shermer, but to point out PZ’s hastiness to report anonymous claims!

    The only time I reported on an impropriety was when it was blatantly reported by an official university press release and Fox news station (in the case of Steve Matheson).

    Stollznow’s Scientific American account has an issue of anonymity as well, she doesn’t name the perpetrator. The name Ben Radford was then circulated by others in the blogshpere after Stollznows claim of harassment by an anonymous predator.

    Anyway here is PZ hasty press release of a 2nd hand letter:

    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.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ph.....a-grenade/

    I hope this is false, I like Michael Shermer.

    PS

    FWIW, I have friends and family members who have been raped or escaped rape attempts. My aunt (actually my mother’s 2nd cousin) was raped and murdered and the assailants are now behind bars. I don’t mean to treat the cases of real rape lightly. To that end, since it is a matter of public record, my aunt was Connie Reyes mentioned here:

    Three Charged in 13-year-old Wisconsin Murder Case

    KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) _ Three people have been arrested in the 13-year old rape and murder of a social worker who terminated the parental rights of one of the suspects.

    Connie Reyes, 57, was found dead in her home April 14, 1990. The medical examiner’s office determined that she died of asphyxia by strangulation.

    prior to that her case was described as an unsolved murder in this book:

    101 Wisconsin unsolved murders.

    I want to publicly thank the Governor of Wisconsin who memorialized Wisconsin state government employees who died in the line of duty which listed Connie Reyes by name.

    Needless to say, this personal issue raised the problem of ID and the problem of evil which I’ve written on at UD.

    Shallowness of Bad Design Arguments

    and

    The reason for imperfect self destructing designs, Passover and Easter thoughts

    and

    Malicious Design and questions of the old testament God

    My Tita Connie was a believer in Christ, and our family is comforted knowing her momentary light affliction yielded a greater weight of glory (2 cor 4:17).

    “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

    Paul of Tarsus
    2 Cor 4:17

  4. 4
    Barb says:

    I’ve brought this up repeatedly here:

    There is a book that I’ve brought up several times here: ‘The Natural History of Rape” which argues that rape is a natural part of the world and is supported by evolutionary biology. I have yet to see any person on this site defend this book and claim that rape is perfectly normal.

    And if there is a God, then there is an objective basis for morality, which would supercede human empathy and reason.

    This is from the 2012 thread “Do materialits believe rape is wrong?” I’ve yet to have any atheist present a defense for the position that rape is part of evolutionary biology and should not be criminalized.

    So, given this new information, how about it, atheists? Is sexual harassment a part of evolutionary biology, or not? Is it acceptable behavior or not?

  5. 5
    Mark Frank says:

    I’ve yet to have any atheist present a defense for the position that rape is part of evolutionary biology and should not be criminalized.

    Just because we evolved a desire to do something that does not mean it is moral to do it. Only confused atheists argue that. We have evolved lots of desires – some are selfish and do harm to others e.g rape – those are immoral; some are neutral e.g. eating; others are to help others e.g. giving to the poor – those are moral. End of story. It seems so simple. But hey let’s not have that debate all over again.

  6. 6
    Jeff M says:

    I used to be a skeptic (I haven’t been involved in the community for four years) and am kind of fascinated with what has happened to the skeptic community. Over the course of the past two years it has been embroiled in a schism that was bound to happen. It seems as if the individuals that dislike religion for cultural reasons have split from the individuals that dislike religion for intellectual reasons. The split began with elevatorgate in 2011. Since then radical feminists have taken over a portion of the skeptic community and have been flying the Atheism+ banner. This latest accusation by PZ Myers against Michael Shermer seems to be a result of this conflict.

    PZ Myers is being wildly irresponsible with posting this on his blog and its telling that self described ‘rationalists’ are falling for this. An unnamed individual accusing a powerful man of rape second handed? There are a lot of problems here and PZ should have went to the authorities instead of posting a blog post for the world to see. Although that would require class, which PZ doesn’t have an ounce of.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    I mingle in atheist circles a lot. I have not heard any reports from people I know of bad behavior that is beyond what we see in the general population. I heard one complaint of proposition, but nothing forcible, and nothing outside what we see in the general population (which isn’t exactly good, but I’m just saying the reports of excessively bad behavior seem exaggerated).

    If I had to speculate, there is probably more bad behavior in drunken frat parties than at Atheist conferences.

    I’ve been going to atheist meetings on and off for 9 years. Never heard any of the ladies complaining of persistent bad behavior except from one individual.

    And although Stollznow’s account sound mostly credible, here is one thing that stands out that strains credulity:

    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.

    At a conference surrounded by people? Aren’t you going to freaking scream and call for help as he attempts to assault you? You could easily get help if you’re in crowd of people.

    I don’t mean to be insensitive if she was really assaulted or stalked, but I’m just sayin…

    Suggestion: hold your conference where there is lots of camera surveillance, if there are real incidents request the security tape, and submit it to police. If you really want to put predators down, these atheist organizations might think of going the extra mile and have video tape surveillance.

    Phil Mason (thunderf00t) echoes where I tend to lean on these issues, that the narrative of harassment is mostly a fabrication, but I could be wrong so I’m not officially taking sides, but I express my skepticism.

    My skepticism is rooted in the fact that I’ve generally seen moral and respectful behavior among my atheists friends who delight in intellectual debate (versus atheists involved in frat party hedonism).

  8. 8
    Owlbert says:

    The comments over there are really weird. What is up with the feminist connection? The comments sound like the railings of 20 year old hormonal boys who cannot get a girlfriend because they are too worldview challenged unstable to have, and too secular to consider, a long-term relationship?

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    Mark Frank @ 5:

    Just because we evolved a desire to do something that does not mean it is moral to do it. Only confused atheists argue that.

    Thus, atheists have no true objective morality.

    We have evolved lots of desires – some are selfish and do harm to others e.g rape – those are immoral; some are neutral e.g. eating;

    Eating is not a desire. Eating is absolutely necessary to survive.

    …others are to help others e.g. giving to the poor – those are moral.

    But evolution simply cannot state that it’s “survival of the fittest” and have the weakest perish and at the same time claim that altruism is an evolutionary process. You can’t have both.

    End of story. It seems so simple. But hey let’s not have that debate all over again.

    The problem is that atheists claim superior morals over religious people (usually by bringing up the Crusades or something to that effect). I think these examples prove that some atheists cannot find the moral high ground, much less occupy it.

  10. 10
    Mark Frank says:

    Barb #8
    Oh well – one more time – you never know we might learn something (note my views on this well worn subject are not quite the same as most atheists)

    Thus, atheists have no true objective morality.

    Agreed – neither do theists – the dangerous thing is that many theists (and some atheists) think they do. However subjective does not entail trivial  or unreasoned.

    Eating is not a desire. Eating is absolutely necessary to survive.

    Don’t you have desires to eat even when it is not essential? I certainly do.

    But evolution simply cannot state that it’s “survival of the fittest” and have the weakest perish and at the same time claim that altruism is an evolutionary process. You can’t have both.

    Why not? There are excellent reasons for supposing that in social society with high levels of communication and memory some level of altruistic behaviour will increase your genes chances of being passed on.

    The problem is that atheists claim superior morals over religious people (usually by bringing up the Crusades or something to that effect). I think these examples prove that some atheists cannot find the moral high ground, much less occupy it.

    Well that is wrong of those atheists. I have never seen any convincing evidence either way as to whether atheists are more or less moral than theists. Anyhow the two groups are too large and heterogeneous for such a statement to be useful.

  11. 11
    Barb says:

    Mark Frank @ 9:

    Agreed – neither do theists – the dangerous thing is that many theists (and some atheists) think they do. However subjective does not entail trivial or unreasoned.

    Well, theists can lay claim to a source of objective morality: God. Atheists cannot. And I agree that subjective does not equate with trivial or unreasoned, but the problem with subjective morality is that it allows for immoral actions by the very nature of its subjectivity.

    For example, one could claim that lying is wrong objectively (and the Bible supports this). But with subjective morality, “white lies” are allowable.

    Don’t you have desires to eat even when it is not essential? I certainly do.
    Frankly, no, I don’t. This is primarily due to a discussion I had with my doctor last year, who suggested that a lot of overeating is emotional in nature, and not biological or physical. Since then, I’ve drastically increased the amount of water I drink and, as a result, am less hungry overall.

    Why not?

    Because they are contradictory. It seems illogical to suggest that one can protect what one owns and propagate his own family while simultaneously looking out for the interests of others and even putting oneself in harm’s way to help another.

    There are excellent reasons for supposing that in social society with high levels of communication and memory some level of altruistic behaviour will increase your genes chances of being passed on.

    This, I believe, is an example of the interpretation of the evidence being the issue. You claim evolution can explain altruism. I claim that as we are created in God’s image, we are naturally loving and kind to other people. The evidence is there, but we interpret it differently.

    Well that is wrong of those atheists. I have never seen any convincing evidence either way as to whether atheists are more or less moral than theists.

    There are bad and good examples in both groups. I find it telling, though, that when atheists behave badly, nobody really bats an eyelash. It’s a non-issue. But when a Christian behaves badly (think of the televangelist scandals of the 1980s), it becomes major news, it fuels debates on talk shows. To me, anyway, that alone is a tacit acknowledgement that the standards of behavior are different for Christians or religious people than they are for atheists, and this brings us back to subjective versus objective morality.

    Anyhow the two groups are too large and heterogeneous for such a statement to be useful.

    Yes, and this leads to overgeneralization on both sides.

  12. 12
    scordova says:

    Jeff M wrote:

    I used to be a skeptic (I haven’t been involved in the community for four years) and am kind of fascinated with what has happened to the skeptic community.

    First, I’m not completely familiar with the usage of the term “skeptic”. I presumed this meant someone agnostic or atheist. As a Christian I am skeptical of some claims of the paranormal or miracles or UFOs or Bigfoot, would that then classify me as a skeptic?

    PZ says he’s left the skeptic movement too:

    http://rationallyspeaking.blog.....hould.html

    I really don’t mean to pry, but if you are willing to share a little more about what you believe now, I and many other readers would be interested. If you’d rather not express what you believe, that’s fine, but your comment sparked my interest in what you believe to be true, especially given you self-identified as a skeptic.

    What brought you to the UD blog? You seem extremely well versed in biology or paleontology.

    Thanks!

  13. 13
    Mark Frank says:

    Barb @ 11:
    We agree on quite a lot which is a nice change.

    Well, theists can lay claim to a source of objective morality: God. Atheists cannot.

    You still have to make a subjective assessment that what your God ordains is what you ought to do.  It may seem an obvious choice to you but you cannot objectively prove it.

    And I agree that subjective does not equate with trivial or unreasoned,

    Thank you. It is worth having this little debate to find you agree with this.

    but the problem with subjective morality is that it allows for immoral actions by the very nature of its subjectivity.
    For example, one could claim that lying is wrong objectively (and the Bible supports this). But with subjective morality, “white lies” are allowable.

    I think this is a good thing. It allows for flexibility and prevents overreliance on principles which leads to some of the most awful things in our history. I expect you are familiar with the example of Kant. He based on his morality on a principle – the categorical imperative (not as it happens one derived from his faith). As a result he concluded that if a crazed axe-murderer came to your front door asking you where your children are you would be wrong to lie.

    Because they are contradictory. It seems illogical to suggest that one can protect what one owns and propagate his own family while simultaneously looking out for the interests of others and even putting oneself in harm’s way to help another.

    It may seem illogical but it isn’t. There are several reasons to do with things like game theory and the sharing of genes with others in the community but I really don’t want to spend the time looking up the research right now. So if you are not convinced I will leave you unconvinced.

    This, I believe, is an example of the interpretation of the evidence being the issue. You claim evolution can explain altruism. I claim that as we are created in God’s image, we are naturally loving and kind to other people. The evidence is there, but we interpret it differently.

    I think we have the same disagreement about all mental and behavioural attributes of people. It is nothing particularly to do with morality. I am content that you agree that we are naturally loving and kind to other people. We can do that and disagree over how we got that way.

    I find it telling, though, that when atheists behave badly, nobody really bats an eyelash. It’s a non-issue. But when a Christian behaves badly (think of the televangelist scandals of the 1980s), it becomes major news, it fuels debates on talk shows. To me, anyway, that alone is a tacit acknowledgement that the standards of behavior are different for Christians or religious people than they are for atheists, and this brings us back to subjective versus objective morality.

    Atheists tend not to lecture people about how to behave. They certainly don’t hold they have an absolute view of what is right. I think it was the hypocrisy that made the televangelist scandals such news. But then again I am not American so I don’t know too much about it.

    Yes, and this leads to overgeneralization on both sides.

    Absolutely – let’s hang on to that.

  14. 14
    steveO says:

    R.S. McCain finds some humour in the situation over at AmSpec:

    Whereas the Lord smote Egypt with such horrors as frogs, locusts, and rivers of blood, now atheist men find themselves plagued with angry feminists like Amanda Marcotte.

    article

  15. 15
    Jeff M says:

    scordova,

    I’m a Christian now (of the confessional Lutheran variety). I came back to Christianity after a five year stint as a fairly vitriolic atheist. I have a degree in evolutionary biology and found UD after becoming disillusioned with naturalism.

  16. 16
    scordova says:

    scordova,

    I’m a Christian now (of the confessional Lutheran variety). I came back to Christianity after a five year stint as a fairly vitriolic atheist. I have a degree in evolutionary biology and found UD after becoming disillusioned with naturalism.

    WHOA!

    If you want to talk about anything along those lines, feel free to write a comment and I’ll post it to make a new thread if you wish. This is a bombshell.

    There might be readers who need to hear what you have to say. If you’d rather not, I respect that.

    The few posts I saw by you suggested you were far better versed in evolutionary biology than most of us here (I know little of biology except what I’ve picked up on the fly). Now I know why! Wow!

  17. 17
    scordova says:

    Jeff,

    I saw your e-mail address, uh…are you really who you say you are?

    Apologies for all the bad things I’ve said about your discipline of evolutionary biology. I’ll try to be more polite in my criticisms in the future.

    Sal

  18. 18
    JLAfan2001 says:

    Jeff M

    I’m curious how someone with an evolutionary biology degree would become a christian after being an atheist? I used to be a christian until I saw the abundant evidence for evolution. I couldn’t reconcile it with the Genesis account and I left christianity. Either evolution is wrong or Genesis is and we have the evidence for evolution being right. You say that you were not happy being a naturalist but it’s not about what makes one happy. It’s about knowing reality as best as we can even if we don’t like it. I’m a Nihilist now and I’m living as one. It doesn’t make me happy but it’s real.

  19. 19
    jerry says:

    I saw the abundant evidence for evolution.

    What do you mean by evolution? There is abundant evidence that new things have appeared over time but there is no evidence for a specific mechanism causing these appearances. If you think there is then what is the abundant evidence?

    I couldn’t reconcile it with the Genesis account

    Genesis can be vague on evolution. Most do not take it as literal though I understand that many here do especially the timing. I personally cannot see any issues with Genesis and a world that is 4.5 billion years old and one where life first appeared 3.8 billion years ago.

    not happy being a naturalist but it’s not about what makes one happy.

    I couldn’t be happy being a naturalist either because it is nonsense. Too many unexplained improbable coincidents to make sense. It requires one to be extremely dishonest or in denial to be a naturalist. I have never been able to get any atheist here to coherently defend their position so one has to ask the question why?

  20. 20
    Upright BiPed says:

    It’s about knowing reality as best as we can even if we don’t like it.

    Darwinian evolution doesn’t exist without material requirements. It requires a genotype to exist. The genotype requires recorded information to exist. Recorded information requires physicochemically arbitrrary representations to exist. Nothing can come of these representations unless they can be translated into physical effects, which will require a system capable of producing those effects. In order to function, that system must establish local relationships that preserve the necessarily arbitrary nature of the system.

    Genetic translation materially demonstrates every facet just described. That’s the reality.

  21. 21
    Timaeus says:

    JLAfan2001:

    I agree with Jerry. Your comments make several unwarranted assumptions. First, they assume that Christianity is a religion focused on the early chapters of Genesis — which is not the case (since Christianity is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ). Second, they assume that the Genesis accounts of Creation are intended as historical narratives — which is at the very least debatable. Third, they assume that if evolution is true, the logical religious response is nihilism, which is not the case (since evolution can be seen as a process under divine control and serving divine purposes).

    You’ve given up Christianity for bad reasons. At least, your stated reasons are bad reasons. If you have no reasons other than those, you have made an intellectual error.

    On the other hand, you may have reasons for abandoning Christianity that you aren’t telling us about, reasons that have nothing to do with evolution or Genesis. I can’t assess the strength of those reasons, because I don’t know what they are. Your stated reasons, however, are simply inadequate, and if they are your only reasons, you need to find some wiser Christian teachers to explain to you what Christian faith is actually about.

    You might start by reading the Apostles’ Creed, and counting the number of references to six-day creation, Garden of Eden, Flood, etc. there. Then you might pick up some books by C. S. Lewis — a respected evangelical writer — and learn what he thought about Genesis, evolution, etc.

    You also might read some better scientific accounts of evolution. I would suggest you look at Michael Denton’s book, *Nature’s Destiny*. That should make clear to you that evolution does not imply nihilism. Indeed, if evolution is real, and if it takes place in the manner suggested by Denton, it appears to imply divine design. You’ve confused “evolution” with a particular account of evolution (unguided and purposeless) which is not inherent in the idea of evolution itself. Whether this confusion is due to unawareness of alternatives, or to willfulness on your part, I can’t say.

  22. 22
    Timaeus says:

    JLAfan2001:

    It could be that you are ducking the replies, by several people here, of over a week ago due to intellectual cowardice, but I prefer to believe that you are taking them to heart and reflecting upon them. If that’s the case, I hope you will update us in the future regarding any effect these replies have had on your thinking.

Leave a Reply