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24 Hours of Skeptical Activism

by Steven Novella, Sep 12 2011

SGU-24On September 23rd starting at 8pm Eastern time the cast of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast (SGU) will produce a 24 hour live audio and video streaming event – SGU-24. The event was my idea, which the Rogues never let me forget, especially as we approach the event and panic starts to set in. This is the first time we are doing anything like this, which reminds me of how experimental our entire endeavor is.

I am not just talking about the SGU, but skeptical activism in general. As a community we seem to be willing to take risks and try out new technology. In early 2005, for example, podcasting was a brand new idea. They were not even included in iTunes. Yet several skeptical podcasts popped up – Skepticality was the first, followed shortly by SGU, and before long there were also Skeptoid, Point of Inquiry (which already existed as a radio show) and others. Skeptical podcasts have always had a solid representation among the top science podcasts, and I think this is partly due to getting established early.

As I have observed before – adopting Web 2.0 and social media early on was critical to the recent surge in skeptical activism. We went from a loose collection of small local groups rallying around three national groups to a large and thriving activist community.

Along the way we have tried various media and outlets. The JREF has found a critical niche with the TAM conferences, and now more have followed suit, including NECSS, which is run by the NESS with the New York City Skeptics. We have produced a television pilot, still stuck in limbo, and we have experimented with other video outlets, such as Hulu and Youtube with varying degrees of success.

I think we have been successful because we are not afraid to fail. The new media allows for low-cost experimentation. The barriers to entry for media content production and distribution have never been lower. So we can come up with an idea and implement it, as long as we have the content and the energy. If we fail, we move on to the next thing. We can follow up on those things which succeed. The movement can therefore grow organically, like a form of adaptive radiation.

Sometimes I get e-mail from readers or listeners who write from the perspective that the skeptical movement is one top-down organization. They may not even be aware of this unspoken assumption in their feedback and suggestions. The truth is the opposite of their impression – there is no master plan, no top-down hierarchy. There are many individuals and small groups all doing their own thing. The only organization is a loose bottom-up style of collaboration, but with many horizontal connections. Shermer once compared it to herding cats, but perhaps it is more like a flock of birds. Birds all follow a few simple rules when flocking, but from that individual behavior emerges the flocking phenomenon. Actually, we are more like a collection of different flocks all heading in the same general direction, mixing, merging, and splitting as we travel.

So now our latest experiment is to put on a 24 hour show. It is, of course, a ton of work – always more than you anticipate. We are now just 11 days away from the event – we are in good shape, but still the pace of work is accelerating. We have many stellar guests locked in – Adam Savage, Phil Plait, Richard Wiseman, Brian Brushwood, Richard Saunders, George Hrab, and more. The set is almost done – I can’t show you pictures yet, but it is going to be awesome. We have lots of content planned, including taking live questions via Twitter, Skype, and e-mail. It is a bit daunting to think of filling 24 hours with content, we’ll see how that goes.

The whole thing can be a spectacular failure. But even if it is, it will still have served a purpose. Every time we try a new method of promoting science and critical thinking, we see what works and what doesn’t, we learn about our capabilities and resources, we see what people respond to, and the movement matures and adapts a little.

I hope you’ll join us for our latest experiment. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Recommended Reading

245 Responses to “24 Hours of Skeptical Activism”

  1. Sheila says:

    Find out why the sceptics are sceptical of the skeptics. You may want to ask Phil Plait that question to see if he has anything between those big floppy ears.

  2. tmac57 says:

    Good luck on the show.This should be an interesting experiment.I hope that your host can handle all of the traffic.

  3. Doug says:

    Very excited about the live show! I’ll be stuck on a plane for the first few hours of the event, though. Will a recording of the show be available so I can catch up later?

  4. John Greg says:

    All in all that sounds very interesting. However, I, for one, will not be in the audience.

    With some regret, I stopped listening to SGU a long time ago because of the inclusion of Rebecca Watson in the program. So far as I could determine, she added nothing substantive nor meaningful beyond snark, arrogance, and her ongoing campaign to shame and dismiss anyone and everyone who not only may not agree with her but who so much as dares to question her rather centric and myopic ideology or her supposed credentials and/or credibility.

    The day you remove Watson from your program is the day I return to the audience.

    This may seem to some folks as an off-topic post, even perhaps an extremist point of view, but I beg to differ. I, and I am not alone in this, am in the probably small but growing group of people who have become tired of listening to Watson’s manipulative, mendacious, and dismissive arrogance and her unending program of shaming, diminishing, and dismissing any and all who disagree with her — not to mention her lame and highly contradictory so-called lude jokes and humour.

    Watson is not a critical thinking skeptic; she is a driven ideologue with a hateful agenda. I think she should, to copy her beloved tactic of dissent, be soundly boycotted and removed from not only SGU, but any and all so-called skeptic broadcasts, conferences, and so on.

    That may seem extreme, but considering that she is such a dedicated fan of deceit, censorship, banning, distortion of fact, and worse, I feel it is quite appropriate.

    I understand, from friends of yours, that you, S. Novella, happen to be an extremely nice, polite, and considerate person, and as such would probably find it very difficult to remove Watson from your show — not to mention that Watson would almost certainly retaliate with a concerted effort at besmirching your good name and character — but I feel it could only be to your and the program`s benefit to remove her.

    • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

      Rebecca has her faults, sure. (Don’t we all?) But if you’re going to throw big accusations around, you should back them up with some substance. As it is, your post contains no examples of what Rebecca has said or done that justify your attitude.

      Back on topic, I cannot imagine how the rogues will fill the time. 24 hours is a long haul.

      • Astrokid Nj says:

        Jarvis,
        If this is not shaming, what is?
        http://skepchick.org/2011/04/lawrence-krauss-defends-a-sex-offender-embarrasses-scientists-everywhere/
        Go through the comments on that to see how she dismisses questioners. You can just search on my name for eg.
        Here’s how an actual skeptic approached the issue
        http://www.skepticismandethics.com/2011/05/small-voice-says-stop-while-crowd-yells.html

      • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        Yeah, that’s pretty horrible. Especially phrasing it such that people who read it will come away thinking that Lawrence Krauss defends sex offenders because he is a scientist, while in actuality he defended Jeffrey Epstein because for lack of evidence he didn’t believe him to be a sex offender. Rebecca should be ashamed of herself. (Not because she disagrees on the facts of the case, if she had simply argued the other side that would have been fine.) I’m also disappointed that Rebecca wrote her article after reading so little about the case. I’m not going to boycott her over a single article though.
        Also, why is there an opposite John Greg over there? Is it a coincidence or is our John Greg trying to troll us?
        Oh, and plea bargains should be illegal.

      • John Greg says:

        Jarvis Puttinghet said:

        “… why is there an opposite John Greg over there?”

        I presume you are referring to this:

        “While your frustration is understandable, I think you are both, ironically, undervaluing the huge and positive impact that Rebecca Watson, Elyse, and the Skepchick community in general has on the so-called skeptical movement, not to mention general social awareness of issues like this.”

        Yes, I said it, that is me — and I now to some degree regret saying it, and presume I was either in a friendly-to-the-world tipsy mode, or perhaps just kissing ass for who knows what reason. I must also admit to not actually understanding that comment when I read it now; I am not at all sure, at this late date, what I was trying to say.

        But, what’s done is done.

        I maintain that some small percentage of the skepchicks provide what I think is very healthy and important social activism, in particular I think Elyse’s anti-anti-vac stuff is very good. However, I honestly feel that Watson has changed her colours.

        Nonetheless, if you were able to follow all my posts over the years at Skepchick you would see that I’ve often had some pretty strong disagreements with several of the other skepchicks — and been banned for it (all hail free thought and expression of dissent) — in particular Watson and such distaff black panthers as Bug_Girl.

        I did indeed feel for a long time that Watson and Skepchick provided a lot of value to the skeptical community — I said as much in one of my other posts here in this thread; somewhere in response to tmac I believe.

        I continued to feel that that was true, though to a dimishing degree, up until fairly recently when I felt Watson began to change her tune to become patently hypocritical, clearly unwilling to participate in honest dialogue and debate with dissentors and/or anyone else who disagreed with her ideology.

        Finally, I grew unable to tolerate anymore her constant attempts to shame rather than discuss and debate with posters who disagreed with her.

        Lastly, when she committed what I consider to be a really serious breach of ethics in regards to the whole Stef McGraw issue I finally completely lost my respect for her tactics and methods, her showboating and deceptive manipulations of fact.

        By the way, and contrary to most of the disinformation provided by Watson supporters, the McGraw issue is really what kicked off this current strong anti-Watson dialogue around the Internet — it was not Elevatorgate; Watson and her followers and a small handful of irrelevant trolls on both sides of the issue blew Elevatorgate up into disproportionate nonsense in part, in my opinion, to bypass critical attention on the fundamentally more important McGraw faux pas.

        Over time I became enlightened by others’ highlighting of Watson’s hypocrisy, and so over time I changed my support of Watson to dissent. I like to think my eyes were opened; your perception of that change may vary.

      • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        John Greg, I don’t understand the elevator controversy. It must be an American thing. The disconnect is so big that I couldn’t possibly judge it.
        I can’t remember Rebecca mentioning Stef on the SGU and I cannot find the article/speech/whatever in which she disparaged(?) her. Can you point me to an article/video wherein Rebecca made the offending statement?

      • John Greg says:

        Sure, glad to provide.

        Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        “I don’t understand the elevator controversy. It must be an American thing. The disconnect is so big that I couldn’t possibly judge it.”

        The interesting thing here is that in the beginning most of the anti-Watson posters (especially the non-American ones) also didn’t make much of the Elevatorgate incident, labelling it inconsequential, unimportant, irrelevant, off-topic, and so forth. The Watsonista crowd rebutted with extreme high dudgeon labelling those commentors, rather than the comments, sexist, misogynistic, woman hating, rape aplogist, white male (even though many were female) privileged haters, and so on. And up we all went, into the wild blue yonder.

        I tried to provide a series of links presenting you with a bunch of videos, articles, blogs, etc., presenting some info from both sides and the middle of the issue to peruse and make your own determinations, but the software deemed it spammy. Anyway, here is a link to the CFI conference with Watson’s podium blather that really started the whole thing off.

        The McGraw issue begins around 12:14, but you should watch from the beginning of the elevator story, approx 9:xx, so as to gain full context.

        link 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqzE16UsNW4

      • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        It strikes me that when one fails reading comprehension sufficiently to misunderstand someone’s position so gravely, one shouldn’t accuse them of not understanding something at all.
        And bringing it up like that in a keynote speech is… in very bad taste. I’m sure that Rebecca simply didn’t think about it (which is a bit ironic given the topic) and didn’t mean as bad as it turned out, but when you talk in a keynote there are different standards than when you talk in a blog post (where it’s easier to post comments and such).

        Which is not to detract from the rest of her speech of course. As for the first part of her speech (before the problematic bit), let’s just say that I don’t read YouTube comments any more, at all.

      • John Greg says:

        Yes indeed, we all have our faults. But I suspect that only a small number of us willfully and intentionally profit from them.

        I am not clear on which accusations I need to back up.

        Most of my statements are simply opinions, and the others can be backed up by you listening to a few SGU podcasts, or spending a few weeks reading the Skepchick site, or listening to Watson’s YouTube clips.

        Unless you are one of her somewhat fanatical fans it is very hard to miss her snark, her hypocrisy, and her dismissive disdain for anyone who does not agree 100% with her ideology.

      • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        Most of your accusations are statements of fact. You called her out for excessive snark and arrogance, accuse her of an ongoing campaign to shame and dismiss anyone who disagrees with her, of holding a centric and myopic ideology, of being manipulative, mendacious, not a critical thinker and an ideologue to boot, of having a hateful agenda and of being a fan of deceit, censorship, banning and distortion of fact. These are all factual statements that need to be backed up.
        I’ve listened to more than a few SGU shows, and I don’t recognise her in the picture you sketch. If there’s something I missed, call it out, or be satisfied that you have no case. And you cannot expect your point made by ordering people to read some blog for a few weeks, or watch hours of video clips, like we’re all immortal.

      • Define “excessive” snark.

      • Jarvis Puttinghet says:

        Get a dictionary.
        In any case, it was merely a summary of the original statement by John which held that Rebecca brought a lot of snark &c. to the table and little else.
        In re the first point, everyone can be snarky at times, but in some cases it can be uncalled for. If so, this can be supported by quotations from the show, say. So far, John hasn’t tried to support his claim.
        As for the second, Steven seems to disagree (see his comment below) and I also thought she tended to be up-to-date with relevant news and such. In any case, John might try to argue his point, but so far he hasn’t.

      • Sheila says:

        Oh John, why don’t you just admit it? That you hate women (or that you hate women who are like you, lol).

      • marko says:

        John, please find something else to do with your time. You are spending an unhealthy amount of time being angry on the internet. You are not doing yourself, or anyone else reading this any favors with your obsessive comment posting. I do not find your comments helpful, insightful, meaningful, or informed. The amount of time you are freely spending to such an unproductive endeavor is frightening to me. I fear for your mental well being.

      • jt512 says:

        Myers, you have become pathetic and an embarrassment to academe.

        PZ MYERS DEFENDS A BRASH FEMINIST, EMBARRASSES ACADEMICS EVERYWHERE

      • The more I read of these comments, the more convinced I become that Mr. Greg is the guy from the elevator.

      • John Greg says:

        LOL!

        I haven’t even been out of my Canadian province in 5 years.

    • Blaine says:

      What a bizarre rant. She really affects you, huh? I’ve been listening to the show for years and I just don’t see what your talking about.

      • David Jones says:

        She’s funny, often, I don’t think you can say she isn’t. That’s about it, really.

        I don’t understand why she was ever invited to become full time on the SGU – but it wasn’t the worst ever decision. I don’t understand her brief inclusion in the UK’s Little Atoms podcasts alongside far more serious and knowledgeable presenters… that came as a surprise. I don’t understand why people would pay money to listen to her speak. I can’t bear her Skepchick site and its attendant sycophants; I can’t bear her new-found rather puritanical strain of feminism after the naked calendar.

        So I listen to the SGU, enjoy it when she’s funny, and steer clear of her in every other manifestation. It’s not a problem.

    • Why the obsession with Rebecca Watson?

      I find it hilarious that an alleged skeptic is more critical of Watson than a fundamentalist who calls the SGU a “mouth piece of Satan.” Perhaps you should do some naval gazing to figure out why you have such an emotional reaction to her. Perhaps the “Nancy Cornswalled” in the comments in the linked site has you figured out better than you know yourself.

  5. Chris Howard says:

    This is going to be awesome! I’ll “share” it throughout the day on my Facebook page.

    Break a leg!

  6. Tarazzo says:

    Agreed about Rebecca Watson. No qualifications, nothing to contribute but snark and self-aggrandizement. I know it’s no secret that she’s not even particularly popular amongst the others on the SGU, and perhaps this is a good time to use your locked-in-guests to audition a replacement. Someone with dignity, talent and fits in better with the team. Just my 2 pence.

    • Oddly, you zeroed in on some of the reasons why her addition to the program works, but you’re too snooty to appreciate her contribution.

      She, by choice or capability, often plays the “everyman” role in the podcast. Her lack of degrees as rarefied as being a practicing neurologist puts her closer to the level of the bulk of the listeners. She plays this up a bit, often taking on some of the comedic relief roles left vacant by past death. From an entertainment perspective this gives the listeners a “hook” to help them better relate to the podcast.

      Yes, yes, the addition of such an “everyman” figure makes the podcast more accessible to a broader audience, tweaking your hipster pretensions. Being a “Fan of SGU before Rebecca came around” is little different than being a fan of an obscure Emo band “before they got popular.” The reality however is that the SGU is not merely a newsletter for the top 10% of intellectual skeptics, but an education and entertainment tool to help build the community and spread critical thinking.

  7. Joanne says:

    I have to agree… I had hoped that Rebecca would be adding more knowledgable input after an initial adjustment period.. But she’s still just very negative, dismissive of opposing viewpoints and quite stuck on herself and her always-right, never-changing views. Found myself forgetting to listen to SGU and finally stopped downloading it I wish them well, but spend my time listening to other casts now.

    But at some point one if the rogues will step on a hidden landmine and she’ll get all angry and leave on her own.

  8. MACdaddy says:

    What is going on? Ever since Elevatorgate polarised the Sceptical community, all these closet haters have surfaced, creating the impression of a concerted campaign to sink Rebecca Watson. I remember the days when everyone was asking to marry her (excessive and embarrassing, in my opinion). In that time, I haven’t noticed any change in Rebecca’s behaviour to warrant such a drastic turnaround. She continues to be an asset to SGU; she adds a slightly different perspective, probably thanks to her Arts background. The complainers talk in veiled tones and generalities. Please justify your attacks – I feel like something happened when I was briefly out of the room.

    • DC says:

      Yes some things have happened eg her getting permanently banned from the Randi.org forums for abuse of privileges. (google “watson banned randi.org greylining”)

      But I soured on her non-contribution on the podcast a while ago, a turning point was ep 140 when Jay had questions about the “Pregnant man” news story and it seemed like her entire argument consisted of screeching “What is your problem?” it was painful.

      Otherwise it’s just that criticising her has become more acceptable since the recent row. I would support her leaving, but I’m not going to let her presence stop me from listening to the SGU.

    • John Greg says:

      MACdaddy said:

      “Please justify your attacks….”

      That’s a fair request, but it’s actually quite difficult to provide such justifications, not because there aren’t countless numbers of them but because space and time get in the way. Perhaps, as mentioned previously, you could spend some time at Skepchick.org, viewing her YouTube clips, and listening to SGU. Her snark and disdain are unmissable.

      “I feel like something happened when I was briefly out of the room.”

      Yes, EG happened. For many people that was what you might label the wake-up call. Although assumptions are always dangerous I’m going to assume that you did not follow the EG thing very closely. Had you followed that event alone you would not really need to request a justification of the anti-Watson statements.

      Any time spent observing Watson’s rhetoric shows quite clearly, unless you are one of her rather blindered and fanatical supporters, that she is manipulative, often dishonest, avoids dialogue in favour of snark, plays endless tricksy word games, shames anyone who does not support her statements and claims, avoids answering uncomfortable questions, is generally incapable of admitting any sort of wrongdoing or error in logic or fact, and so forth and so on.

      Nevertheless, I imagine you needn’t feel much concern for her. The bloviating bullfrog of bullshit will surely shortly make an appearance as her rather tainted White Knight of defense.

      Actually, now that I’ve mentioned him, Myers probably won’t show. Ah well … such is fate and fortune.

      • Blaine says:

        So anyone who doesn’t agree with you is “one of her rather blindered and fanatical supporters”. Puleaze.

      • John Greg says:

        That is most certainly not what I said. Stop being stupid. Please.

        Let me ask:

        1. Are you a follower of SGU and/or Skepchick.org, and/or Myers’ Pharyingula?

        2. Do you feel that Watson’s rhetoric is: a. balanced; b. just; c. objective; d. free of bias; e. free of hostility; f. non-confrontational; g, presentationally non-manipulative.

        3. Have you ever asked Watson a potentially confrontational question?

        4. If Yes to the previous, did you receive an answer?

        4. Do you favour gender feminists, or equity feminists?

        Answers to these questions helps us clarify our perspective and hence clarify the dialogue.

      • Blaine says:

        Seriously dude? I’m not the one who is obsessed with Rebecca.

      • John Greg says:

        No, not so much obsessed with Watson as very concerned about anyone in a position of some public power and persuasion who makes a living out of deceit, misinformation, distortion of fact, and so on.

        The list includes Watson, and Ophelia Benson, and PZ Myers, and others who hold some degree of power, so to speak, over the general populace by the nature of their professional positions, and/or the persuasive sway of their rhetoric. I feel it is important that folks like these have their feet held to the fire, as it were, and be held accountable for their propaganda.

        You can label me an obsessive if you want, but that really only aims to limit and dismiss dialogue, discussion, and debate.

        I feel that this is an appropraite place for this commentary because it is a public venue in which S. Novella participates — and we know he reads the comments here.

        Because Novella is the host of SGU I think it is important that he be informed, publically, where a dialogue can grow, that there are indeed some folks who do not feel that Watson has either the academic nor professional credentials, let alone integrity and honesty enough to warrant her inclusion in such things as SGU or in the many conferences she blathers at.

        And no, that does not make me obsessive; it makes me someone who is willing to accept the slings and arrows of outraged fanatics and travel the undiscovered country of anti-Watson proselytization that is a perhaps small but certainly growing place.

        As I say, that’s not obsession; that is simply a form of social activism. And as I stated previously, answers to those questions posed above helps clarify perspective and hence clarify the dialogue.

      • “So anyone who doesn’t agree with you is ‘one of her rather blindered and fanatical supporters’. Puleaze.”

        Of course they are, just like anyone who criticizes Andrew Wakefield is a big phamra shill. Don’t you know how to construct a straw man?

      • Max says:

        Could you give the best example of her dishonesty and errors in logic for those of us who don’t follow Skepchick.

      • John Greg says:

        Yes, sure, Max. It might take a bit of time to track down some good ones — though there should be several to choose from.

        But for starters, I would recommend most of the relevant posts on Franc Hoggle’s Grey Lining blog (http://greylining.wordpress.com/). Some folks, especially those paragons of, ahem, free speech and thought, Ophelia (Dolores Umbridge) Benson, and PZ (Banmaster) Myers tend to get righteously indignant and royally upset with Franc’s language, but for the most part his facts and figures appear to be quite accurate.

        Also, Justicar, another enemy of Myers and Benson, has a blog with some good Watson posts — I’m sorry but you will have to do some searching as the relevant posts date back a couple of months or so (http://integralmath.blogspot.com/).

        Lastly, Jean Kazaz has a blog post (search for Feminism and Atheism — I did not link directly to the post because the link is huge) with some good comments that I think should provide some data (http://kazez.blogspot.com/).

      • John Greg says:

        Actually, Max, I think those links, and some of the links provided within those blogs, should suffice because they provide more specific and on-target instances of her behaviour and actions than I could conveniently provide.

      • Max says:

        Could you link to the most relevant post and summarize it here?

      • John Greg says:

        No, Max, I cannot do that. There is no such thing as “the most relevant post” for this because it is multifaceted, ongoing over time, and covers many, many different topics, behaviours, points of view, and so on — not to mention that in situations like this it really is necessary that you go to the core sources to make up your own mind and not trust to a biased, subjective, unknown blogger like myself.

        It is like asking for the most relevant Elevatorgate post — there is no such thing.

        To get the best picture of Watson’s methods requires reading all “sides” of the coin from many different sources including, but not limited to, those I’ve listed. You might also browse ERV; Lacrimae Rerum; The JREF Forums; Skepchick, Butterflies and Wheels; Pharyngula; Skeptifem; and more.

        I’ve provided you with 3 specific links and several additional starting points. Most of those resources provide adddtional links to the all the various “sides” of the coin — I’ve given you some resources, now you can do some additional research.

      • tmac57 says:

        John,
        Do you think that it is possible that you may have overstated the case here against RW? I have seen some of your previous comments on Skepchick,and thought that you were pretty even handed,but I don’t feel comfortable with what you have written here. I don’t have all the facts,so I can’t really judge the situation, but I will say that some of the gender politics issues brought out some less than skeptical comments on both sides of the discussion (not that there are only two sides of course)and I personally chalked that up to human nature.I think that even reasonable people can say things in haste,that upon reflection,with time,they would either regret,or say differently.
        I don’t agree with Rebecca all of the time,but I still think that she has a lot to offer the Skeptical community,and I would see it as a loss if she were not a member of the SGU.
        My two cents.

      • Max says:

        John, how hard can it be to point out some good examples of dishonesty? For example, Brian Dunning almost certainly referenced the JunkScience DDT FAQ for his Skeptoid episode on DDT, but then denied using JunkScience as a source. Surely you can find some good examples of Rebecca’s dishonesty, and link to them so others can see for themselves.

      • Sheila says:

        Yeah come on John, put your money where your mouth is.

      • John Greg says:

        tmac57:

        Yes, of course it’s possible; for one thing, confirmation bias almost certainly plays a role in my feelings regarding Watson and her more excitable supporters.

        However, my opinion on Watson is based on about 4 years of following Skepchick.org, Watson, Pharyngula, and an assortment of other atheist/feminist/skeptic blogs.

        Initially I was a supporter of Watson’s and I felt she had something to offer to the atheist/feminist/skeptic community. But, that has changed; she has changed … and I’ve simply become more aware of what I feel are flaws in her methodolgy and approach and the narrowness and absolutism of her ideology and her unceasing shaming and snark towards, and distortions of other people’s points of view.

        Max:

        Grey Lining has several posts on Watson’s dishonesty. Go have a browse, Max. Perhaps a favourite, so to speak, is the whole issue of her banning from JREF and her less than honest comments on that:

        http://greylining.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/why-rebecca-watson-is-a-criminal/

        There are other places where she has claimed a variety of different reasons for her banning, and also different and conflicting descriptions/explanations of her actions therein, but no, I do not have those links and I will admit to not being willing to search for them.

      • “not because there aren’t countless numbers of them but because space and time get in the way”

        Ah, so you refuse to support your claims because you’re lazy.

        Your writing style reminds me some of the woo-woo peddlers I’ve debated online in the past. Always speaking in vague generalities and doing their best to avoid specifics. Your flat out refusal to give specifics further illustrates this tendency on your part.

  9. The Earl of Edmonds says:

    wow….why the hate people??

    Rebecca is fine…only Steve has anything to bring to the table to begin with. the others are friends and family that share as interest and enjoy conversations together. they are not trained talking heads and should not be seen as such…they are amatures and we as listeners should understand that from the beginning.

    i feel all the Rogues do a wonderful job of finding their own topic of the week and presenting it to us in a thoughtful manner. just like any meetings we have within our own local groups.

    John Greg @4 writes as if he knows Rebecca but i doubt he does so i see his post as nothing more than JEALOUSY for her having achived something John wants for himself. this is something i witness often in the sports world. there was no reason for John’s post here in this thread, it should have been an email to the SGU or Rebecca.

    Tarrazo @ 6 also posts as he/she knows the Rogues personally and is trying to give us all an insight into the ‘drama’ of the SGU as if it was Hill Street Blues or the like. possibly like John is jealous of her accomplishments.

    Joanne @ 7 added nothing to the others but at least did not use any of the buzz words that make her sound like she has inside knowlegde. thank you for that.

    like MACdaddy @ 8 said…this all seems to be comming from the dust-up this summer with some Euro-trash she had about some creepy dude.

    i think that creep in the elevator should be thanking Yoda that R-DUB didn’t take pepper-spray to his ass…which is what he deserved (as i understand the incedent).

    all these other creepoids need to stop thinking the Bang Brothers are real. and blame needs to go to Ron Moore and his version of Cylons and 7 of 9 making every nerd/geek over stimulated.

    • John D says:

      “Don’t take this the wrong way but I find you… wait….. WHAT’S THAT?… no Rebbecca DON’T SHOOT!… just let me off at the next flo”….pssssssssssst…… “AHHHHHHHHH my eyes!!!! I CAN’T SEEEEEEEE……

      • John D says:

        This performance of “pepper spray the geek” brought to you by the dood you says: “Wow…. Why all the hate people!”

    • John Greg says:

      Pepper spray? For asking someone if they wanted coffee and conversation and accepting a No in response?

      Wow!

      That’s, um, different.

    • Max says:

      That airplane passenger who spent more than 10 minutes in the bathroom on 9/11/11 should be thankful that the plane wasn’t shot down by the fighter jets that were scrambled to follow it.

  10. Joanne says:

    I didn’t follow Elevatorgate live but reading about it afterwards, I am not surprised a lot of people are annoyed with her. She had the sympathies of most until she attacked Stef McGraw and refused to consider that she could have been a bit harsh. Instead of looking to see if maybe she might have gone too far she just ignored her critics and lumped them in with Dawkins. I cannot imagine her ever admitting she is wrong about anything, or considering any ideas outside those she already believes. In other words, she’s not the open-minded skeptic the other rogues are.

  11. The Earl of Edmonds says:

    back to the topic at hand.

    any chance i can be a guest in the 4am hour??

    i know it ALL plus i bring great stories of being a UFO Hunter from my early teens to mid 20s…i thank Chris Carter and Travis Walton for helping me see the light.

  12. Ted Judah says:

    For those of you who do not listen to the podcast any longer because of Rebecca Watson; good riddance. Rebecca is not going anywhere any time soon. She is one of the reasons that the SGU has the popularity it has today.

  13. Rick Smathers says:

    I hope that the whole 24 hours will be recorded and available online afterwards. I won’t be able to watch it all (maybe not even most of it) and I’d like to catch up on what I missed.

  14. V. Profane says:

    Chalk up another Watson averse former SGU listener. The intellectual dishonesty and authoritarianism she has displayed over the past few months has caused me to consider her no longer worthy of my time (same goes for PZ and, sadly, Ophelia Benson).

  15. Joe Hill says:

    This was sounding a bit exciting up until I re-read it and fell flat on ky eyballs

    “”Back on topic, I cannot imagine how the rogues will fill the time. 24 hours is a long haul.”

    That 24 hours will be full of more Rebecca Watson b.s. than I have heard already. No doubt, you are pandering to that politic, which is highly suspect, and, sadly, indicative of the fact that you weren’t skeptical of the conflated elevator-gate thing.

    Rebbeca Watson’s inclusion here is a dis-service, and represents the birth of dogma in a discussion that was theoretically opposed to dogma.All that hypocrisy, false statements, conflating sexism with rape, and then censorship as a default mechanism to criticism?

    Count me as one listener who will be finding other things to do for that news cycle other than to be subjected to EVEN more RW lies and conflations.

  16. PZ Myers says:

    The day Rebecca Watson is booted off the show at the request of obsessed lunatics like John Greg and Franc Hoggle would be the last day I’d listen. Fortunately, there’s not much risk of that: those kooks are freakin’ fringe nutcases.

    I’ll be tuning in on the 23rd.

    • John D says:

      myopic semi-famous blogger digs a hole in the sand… places head inside.

    • AGS says:

      Anyone who doesn’t agree with PZ is a ‘fringe nutcase’ I suppose. This is secular religion.

      • marko says:

        I think PZ was calling John Greg and Franc Hoggle fringe nutcases, not everyone that disagrees with him. Probably because they are. How many times has John Greg posted comments here and how many of them have been massively offtopic? I would love if the SGU had a John Greg Filter button so that I could never read what he has to say ever again. I want my 15 minutes back from reading his posts.

  17. Michael Kingsford Gray says:

    Count me as one who will NOT be tuning in whilst the egregious Watson has anything whatsoever to do with the show.

  18. I think it’s fair to say that no one is more intimate with the content of the SGU than me. I am acutely aware of what each Rogue brings to the table, and I read all the feedback on audience responses.

    Rebecca brings a great deal to the table. She is well-informed, does her homework, and is often very funny. I don’t expect everyone to like her style or agree with her perspective – that’s part of the point. She offers a specific perspective that is useful in the skeptical movement, that until very recently was almost a complete sausage-fest. Perhaps there are those in the movement who would like to go back to just 5 years ago when all we could do is look around, wring our hands, and wonder where all the women were. Well – now we have women in the skeptical movement, due in no small part to the Skepchicks and other women who were not afraid to break in.

    If you feel so intellectually put upon because occasionally (and it is actually quite uncommon on the SGU) Rebecca states a feminist position you disagree with, then perhaps it is your openness to contrary opinions that is in question here.

    • The Devil's Towelboy says:

      Interesting. So you consider that generalizations that villify entire demographics on the basis of race, gender and age as positive qualities via which Watson “brings a great deal to the table”? Oh dear. Sounds like good old fashioned “hate speech” to me. Nevermind the calls to boycott authors that fall just short of public bookburning. Indeed Mr. Novella. You know your own business better than us commoners.

      • In other words, Ms. Towelboy, if that IS your real name, you didn’t get any of your information about Elevatorgate from watching the actual Watson videos or reading her posts, but from second-hand and edited reports by her critics.

        Have you considered a career as an Intelligent Design apologist? I think they’d like the cut of your mental jib.

    • What I consider interesting is the complete disconnect between what Rebecca actually said, and how it is being characterized by some. She never vilified an entire demographic. In fact, she opposes exactly that, if you are paying attention.

      Nice appeal to elitism – our readers will likely recognize that for what it is.

      She further never called for a boycott of Dawkins. She was personally and publicly attacked by a prominent figure in the movement and decided that she could no longer personally support that person. You can disagree with her decision – but don’t misrepresent it.

      On the show Rebecca rarely brings up feminist issues. The fact that some wish to define her by this small minority of her overall contributions says more about them than her.

      • John Greg says:

        Novella said:

        “She further never called for a boycott of Dawkins.”

        That statement is intellectually dishonest. Watson’s announcement of a personal boycotting of Dawkins, stated in no uncertain terms, and within its context knowing full well her position of authority and the degree of her influence, can clearly be seen as an encouragement for others to do the same. To argue otherwise, as many have done, is distinctly misrepresentational of the facts.

        And Watson’s disingenuous claims otherwise are just so much fluff. Not to mention that she endorses, encourages, proselytizes, and supports others who have publically called for a general Dawkins boycott (e.g., Mindy, with Dear Richard Dawkins, etc.).

        Additionally, her snarky claims to not having such influence are dishonest and contradictory (remember her appalling claim of the support of thousands of fans during the Stef McG kerfuffle?); really, they are disingenuous to the point of outright deceit.

        If you wish to continue the deception that her announcement of her ludicrous Dawkins boycott was not intended to encourage the same in many of her rabid followers, then you really need to return to kindergarten. Such intellectual delusion, nay, outright dishonesty is reprehensible.

        “She was personally and publicly attacked by a prominent figure in the movement and decided that she could no longer personally support that person.”

        There was at the time, and remains, a great deal of controversy over that supposed attack. Many intelligent, academically accredited people stated and maintain that Dawkins “muslima” post was not an attack on Watson but was more specifically targeted at PZ Myers’s legion of lunatic, hateful, rabid fanatics.

        And of course, as is his wont, Myers encouraged his fans into further raving froth — that’s what he does; he loves to get his fanatics frothing at the mouth because it helps him in his banmastering goal of terminating dissent and disagreement, and in his rather mystifyingly trenchant boosterism of Watson — to me his Watson-backing looks uncomfortably juvenile if not downright perverse; mid-life crisis made manifest?

        Short of Dawkins coming forward and clarifying his specific motive and intent, and the target of his comments, any of the lunatic raving of such hypocritical and deceitful distortionists as Myers and his lunatic horde is moot. I am honestly rather surprised at your strong support of that kind of misrepresentation.

        “You can disagree with her decision – but don’t misrepresent it.”

        Me thinks you might take your own advice.

      • Blaine says:

        Wow man, just WOW.

    • Astrokid Nj says:

      If you feel so intellectually put upon because occasionally (and it is actually quite uncommon on the SGU) Rebecca states a feminist position you disagree with, then perhaps it is your openness to contrary opinions that is in question here.

      But Steven, its not just stating a feminist position we disagree with, its the way she shames people and responds to some people who disagree with her. She has kissed skepticism goodbye in at least those instances, and thats one reason I am surprised she continues to be given a skeptic platform. Have you had a chance to evaluate the lawrence krauss issue? I have given links in an earlier comment.

    • Rebecca unapologetically defends her position. Krauss tried to defend his friend for child prostitution. Sorry, but he stepped into it and is a big boy who can handle some criticism. Again, you can disagree with the position that Rebecca took, but you have not supported your claim that she was unfair, let alone abandoned skepticism.

      I can forgive Rebecca for being provocative and having a bit of a hair trigger. I see all the behind-the-scenes e-mail she gets from blatant mysogynist asses.

      She often gets extreme reactions for very mild comments, and is unfairly singled out for criticism. Hoggle is a good example. He hysterically accuses her of being a psychopathic criminal, and then wonders why no one takes him seriously.

      • Astrokid Nj says:

        but you have not supported your claim that she was unfair, let alone abandoned skepticism

        I thought I did both. The second link was the true skeptic investigation into the issue.. digging up all kinds of references. RW’w was not.

        if you look at the comments on that LK post at skepchick, posters who were asking for evidence were dismissed. Here’s mine for e.g. Bear with the formatting, best to read them on the site.

        ——–
        astrokid
        04.07.2011
        LOG IN TO REPLY

        >>Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere
        Great.. how did you find out that he’s embarrassed scientists everywhere? Did you go around collecting opinions?

        >>And here’s the kicker: he’s invoking the name of science to do it.
        Right.. just mentioning that he’s a scientist means that he’s invoking the full blown scientific method in this case?

        As far as the Epstein guy is concerned, ok.. he’s committed a crime, and I guess the justice system has punished him.. what more do you want? His friends/family members will do their best to see that he gets off with as little punishment as possible, and that he learns a lesson. You will do the same if something happens in your own world.

        You are just showing a holier-than-thou attitude here. misdirection of anger over a <18year old girl getting lured into sex somehow.

        ———
        Rebecca Watson
        04.07.2011
        LOG IN TO REPLY
        @astrokid: Well that post must have taken an impressive amount of stupid.

      • I don’t think that post supports your position. Saying that Krauss “embarrassed scientists” if obvious hyperbole. We often say that someone is an embarrassment to his profession – no one is implying that we have surveyed the relevant professionals to show empirically that this is the case. So that is just a silly comment.

        Second – Krauss did not just mention that he was a scientist. He actually made what he claimed was a scientific argument – saying that the scientific approach leads to the conclusion that his friend is innocent. So you mischaracterized the exchange.

        Writing “a <18year old girl getting lured into sex somehow.” is a blatant attempt to minimize the facts. According to reports, there were two girls aged 13 and 14 involved. Whatever life circumstances lead them into prostitution at that age – they are children and victims.

        Given this, one might consider Rebecca’s response restrained.

      • Astrokid Nj says:

        ok cool.. at least thats some explanation.
        1) “embarassment to his profession”.. if it had been worded that way, thats different. It implies that qualities needed for that profession were violated. “embarassment to scientists everywhere” is different. guilt by association is not part of my worldview. so I dont see the ‘obvious hyperbole’ the same way you do. Why the hyperbole anyway as the first step? Have other means been exhausted?

        2) saying that the scientific approach leads to the conclusion that his friend is innocent
        once again, we read things differently. Plenty of us see it as reserving judgement. being skeptical.

        3) Writing “a <18year old girl getting lured into sex somehow.” is a blatant attempt to minimize the facts No such attempt was made. My focus was on ‘misdirection of anger’, not the ‘somehow’.

        Either way, I see that we interpret things differently and we will get nowhere this way.

      • I really didn’t want to get dragged into a rehash of the Krauss issue, but since you are using this as your evidence to support your claims against Rebecca, I want to make sure this thread has the facts so that readers can judge for themselves.

        Krauss wrote: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

        He is not just saying, BTW I’m as scientist. He wrote “as a scientist” and appealed to empirical evidence. Saying that we just read it differently is a cop out. Your interpretation is simply not tenable.

        Regarding point #1 – there is no implied guilt by association. This is very common language used to denote that someone who publicly represents a profession or group of people did something embarrassing. Harping on such a minor distinction, in my opinion, just makes my original point that Rebecca is targeted for criticism.

        And point #3 is a non-sequitur. Misdirection of anger has nothing to do with it. Krauss was criticized, legitimately, in my opinion, for trying to minimize the seriousness of using a child prostitute. Why say “<18year old” when you mean 13? A 13 year old is a child.

        Again – we can argue endlessly about this. That is my original point. It’s OK to disagree about how to interpret all this. But you presented this as evidence that Rebecca “kissed skepticism goodbye.” You have failed to support that contention.

      • Darren says:

        Rebecca unapologetically defends her position.

        Since when was “unapologetically defending your position” a desirable trait for a skeptical mind?

        Rather than having “positions” that we “defend” come hell or high water, shouldn’t we actually listen to the criticisms and consider them, rather than dismissing them out of hand?

        Since when has introspection become such a dirty word?

      • Darren- that’s a straw man. I never said she defends her position at all costs, or that she dismisses criticism out of hand. Those are your words.

        Have you actually ever listened to the show? How many times have we said what you are saying – to be open, not to take a position and defend it at all costs, etc.

        My point was – that Rebecca does not pull her punches when criticising nonsense or bad arguments. That is what I meant by “unapologetically”.

        Interestingly – these same traits are almost universally praised in our other (late) co-host, Perry, while frequently criticized in Rebecca. This lines up with actual research showing that being forceful is interpreted as strength in men and bitchiness in women.

        I have seen this first hand over year – Rebecca is singled out for behavior that other rogues display, and she is held to an arbitrarily higher standard. She receives not only criticism – but hateful vitriol way out of proportion to any perceived failings.

      • Max says:

        The male analog to being bitchy is being a dick.

      • Blaine says:

        This really does appear to be what is at the center of this. What was adored in Perry is despised in Rebecca. I can’t believe this is still going on, it is so very depressing (sigh).

      • Sheila says:

        You and me both. If she were a man she would have greater respect.

    • David Jones says:

      As a long-time listener to the podcast, Steve, I think your response in this instance slightly mischaracterises the issue. There may be some people who can’t take a little feminism: not many. Rather, it’s the assumption that RW is the first and last word on the toipic.

      She can be funny, of course. But with her attack on Dawkins – and the pomposity of letting everyone know she wouldn’t be buying his books – and the whole Elevator issue and also the DJ Grothe spat – and the pomposity of letting everyone know she wouldn’t be attending TAM – I’ve concluded she’s a malign force.

  19. John D says:

    I have spent years traveling around the blogosphere and am active in this thing some are calling the “skeptical movement.”

    In my opinion, it has been a tragic mistake that the activist gender feminist agenda has been tied to skepticism and atheism. Many blogs such as Blaghag and Skepchick have tried to convince us that sexism and gender politics are a stifling plague within this new community. I call BS on this drivel.

    PZ has as much as told us that he personally controls the definition of “atheism” and that it must refer to his specific type of political and social agenda. WTF?

    What I have been seeing from these sites is an advancement of a political and social agenda that uses the badge of “skepticism” to claim it is correct and immune to criticism. Hogwash!

  20. ERV says:

    …those kooks are freakin’ fringe nutcases.

    Random hobos off the street that made webpages and do stuff on the internet.

    aka Watson.

    Nutcase of the same color.

    I dont care what anyone does, ever, but I am pretty damn sick of skeptical leaders playing ‘Pretty Woman’.

    • Sheila says:

      Is that because you’re not pretty?

      • Hey, Sheila, don’t go there, okay? ERV has been really horrible about Rebecca, and she deserves to be roundly criticized for it, but this isn’t about anybody’s attractiveness factor. Don’t give the haters any excuse to pretend they have the high moral ground on this. I’ve got no clue what ERV looks like, but there are almost certainly plenty of people who support Rebecca who aren’t conventionally pretty; do you really want to be dissing them?

      • John Greg says:

        Anne C. Hanna, that “ERV [in this instance, Anne, we are clearly referring specifically to Abbie Smith] has been really horrible about Rebecca” is one of the largest bits of distortion in this whole issue. If you wish to see a clear explanation of Abbie’s actions at ERV, please see this:

        http://kazez.blogspot.com/2011/08/feminism-and-atheism.html?showComment=1312684487461#c5766849589827556098

        Abbie’s comments on Watson are for the most part parroting Watson’s and her supporter’s rhetoric on/about other feminists (male and female), and dissentors and people who simply mildyly disagree with some of the more extreme “Watsonista” viewpoints and claims — Watson and her supporters, especially the more rabid kind, use such charming terms for even the mildest of dissentors as “gender traitors”, “rape apologists”, “misogynists”, and even worse.

        Furthermore, the tenants of so-called Freethought [anything but] blogs, Myers and Benson, regularily censor, delete, and ban posts and posters who do nothing more than post at ERV, utterly regardless of whether or not their posts are in any way inflamatory, insulting, hostile, whathaveyou. I was banned from Benson’s loopy blog for the simple act of using a silly harmless infix for Myers’s name, and that was before I even posted a post. Some people have been banned from Pharyngula without even ever posting there.

        And all of that in itself has been one of the most important fomentors of discord in this whole issue: the blatant dishonesty of such people as Myers, Benson, Marcotte, Watson herself, and many, many other Watson supporters who act like bloody Creationists in their pilorying and blatant lies and distortions about what the “other” side said. It is all of that and more that leads people like myself, and Abbie, and Hoggle etc., to become angry and vituperative towards the likes of Watson et al.

        And I wouldn’t bother trying for a dialogue with Sheila; she’s just an angry troll who hates us all.

      • I’ve read what ERV has to say about the subject in the past, and I was not impressed. The content of hers you link to only confirms my previous impression. I don’t know why you keep citing that Greylining blog, either. If anything, I think it does a better job making the case that alla y’all are obsessed with your own hatred for Rebecca than that Rebecca is actually such a terrible person. Your paranoia and wild accusations of pre-emptive banning, or whatever the hell is supposed to have happened, are also not helping.

        Sheila may be a troll, but I don’t really think you’re much better.

      • John Greg says:

        Anne C. Hanna said:

        “I’ve read what ERV has to say about the subject in the past, and I was not impressed.”

        OK, fine, that’s your right. I am in no way asking you to be either impressed or convinced; I am asking you to understand that much of what has been posted on ERV is only mirroring, after the fact, much of what has been previously posted on Skepchick.org, Pharyngula, Butterfiles and Wheels, and blogs supporting Watson.

        My primary request, so to apeak, is that you cool down your reactionary jets a wee bit and understand that a great deal of what presents itself as anti-Watson so-called propoganda is based quite sufficiently on supportable fact.

        That’s all.

        “I don’t know why you keep citing that Greylining blog, either.”

        I cite Grey Lining because there is some fairly specific “evidence” (for lack of a better word) that highlights specific nonsense from Watson. I often have disagreements with Franc about his rhetoric, his style of speech, and his diction, but I think his evidence, his actual claims, above and beyond the rhetoric, are quite accurate.

        “Your paranoia and wild accusations of pre-emptive banning, or whatever the hell is supposed to have happened, are also not helping.”

        It is in no way, shape, or form, paranoic; it is absolute fact. Both Myers and Benson have censored, edited, and deleted posts from many posters and/or potential posters that they were uncomfortable with — and which did not in any way whatsoever break the said blog’s posting rules. Also, both Myers and Benson have banned potential posters who have never even posted on their respective blogs for the simple reason that Myers and Benson did not like the opinions (or diction) of those posters. As I say, that is not paranoia, it is fact; provable, supportable fact.

      • Scare-quoting the word “evidence” is definitely appropriate for the piddly-shit, overinterpreted, mountain-from-a-molehill crap on Greylining.

        I’ve followed this Elevatorgate nonsense from the beginning (and I remember noting you early on as one of the more reprehensible commenters). In fact, reading the commentary from you and people like you is what convinced me, more than anything that Rebecca’s supporters could say, that your side is more about obsessive hatred than about supposed evidence and rational thought. You might want to think about that.

      • Sheila says:

        Well stated Anne. I only hate John Greg for having the same attributes as Rebecca but being blind to that fact. Plus he hasn’t denied being a woman hater, so…..if the shoe fits.

      • John Greg says:

        Sheila, I do not hate women at all.

        Initially I didn’t respond to your comment because your posting history suggests to me that you have no interest in dialogue; you simply want to piss on people.

        Listen, I do not even dislike women. Disagreeing with and disliking a very, very, very small handful of women who represent gender feminism is not in any way shape or form the same thing as hating women.

        That type of claim of hatred of women, as I have tried to point out, is one of the things that drives some of us equity feminists a bit mad — disagreement is not misogyny; dissent is not sexism; criticism is not hatred.

        Can you understand that?

      • Sheila says:

        No John you are wrong, I want to piss OFF people not piss on them. I think you’re a little confused between off and on.
        And the best you can do is “I do not even dislike women”? And that you are an “equity feminist”? All I really want to know John is if you wear a bra when no one is around?

      • John Greg says:

        LOL.

        Sheila, you’re deluded and deranged.

        Or are you perhaps a POE?

      • Sheila says:

        Just answer the question John.

  21. laursaurus says:

    When I first discovered podcasts on iTunes, I was delighted to see popular shows on the topic of skepticism. I’m definitely disqualified from the club, as I fail to meet the basic requirements of the “movement.” Although, my gender is definitely not among them.
    Reading the rave reviews made SGU my first choice. What a disappointment! Rebecca was already an established cast member. I figured that episode had to be a dud or a fluke, since listener feedback couldn’t have been more overwhelmingly positive. It was not a fluke. The older episodes reflected the feedback. But the newer episodes were too tortuous to sit through just to hear interviews with some guests I really liked before I knew there was such a thing as “skepticism”. The other skeptical podcasts were just as unpleasant, and more about promoting atheism (by mocking religion) than critical-thinking. This was years before EG, the TAM wedding stunt, or the more infamous RW attention whoring events. 10 minutes of hand-wringing snark and cynicism dedicated to somewhere in anytown, USA where a rogue school board was considering whether to introduce intelligent design into the science classroom was not entertaining or even enlightening. Science or Fiction was the only enjoyable part of the shows.
    24 hrs of clinically depressing dialogue peppered with RW’s intolerable snark sounds like inhumane torture to me.
    I have to add that my happy day arrived when I found Skeptoid! I am a total fan and supporter (ala Pay Pal). The “skeptical” movement can pretend they are not ideologically driven and exclude me. But they can’t take away the joy I experience every Tuesday morning, when I am treated to a new episode of my favorite podcast.
    I really like your blogs, Mr. Novella. Just not your podcast in its present format.

    • You should try the show again. She tends to be pretty quiet when she’s not actively involved in a participator topic. Being the only female cast member it’s be pretty easy to just fast-forward until she stops talking.

      For the record, I HATE the “Science or Fiction” segment. I fast forward through it.

  22. PZ Myers says:

    If I personally control the definition of “atheism”, everyone else is defaulting on their royalty payments.

    This is precisely what I mean by freakin’ fringe nutcases: these loons rely completely on mischaracterization and making wild and obviously false claims as the starting point of their argument. I do not control atheism. Rebecca Watson is not a wild-eyed radical feminist who demands that everyone worship her yoni.

    Clearly, SGU needs to keep Rebecca around as delusional man-child repellent.

    • John Greg says:

      The bullfrog said:

      “If I personally control the definition of “atheism”, everyone else is defaulting on their royalty payments.”

      You really are either one of the most disingenuous, not to say dishonest, of so-called intellectual bloggers, or you are the most delusional and/or self-unaware. You habitually tell people what atheism is and is not, and tell anyone who disagrees with your definition of it that they are simply wrong; full stop, wrong.

      “This is precisely what I mean by freakin’ fringe nutcases: these loons rely completely on mischaracterization and making wild and obviously false claims as the starting point of their argument.”

      That statement must be one of the best examples of pot calling kettle black that I’ve ever seen on the Internet. Christ, Myers, you make a living out of completely mischaracterizing and making wild and obviously false claims as the starting point of your arguments; it is your focus; your metier.

      “I do not control atheism.”

      There you go. Bingo on the misrepresentation.

      “Rebecca Watson is not a wild-eyed radical feminist who demands that everyone worship her yoni.”

      No, you’re right. She’s a multi-glassed ideologue with a fixation on self-promotion who demands, publically, with force and repetition, that anyone who disagrees with her is one of the following, dependant upon her mood and audience: a mysogynist; a gender traitor; a rape apologist; a sexist, etc., almost ad infinitum.

      “Clearly, SGU needs to keep Rebecca around as delusional man-child repellent.”

      Um, wash, rinse, repeat:

      “This is precisely what I mean by freakin’ fringe nutcases: these loons rely completely on mischaracterization and making wild and obviously false claims as the starting point of their argument.”

      Myers, you have become pathetic and an embarrassment to academe.

      • Sheila says:

        Oh such negativity. How do you sleep at night?

      • jt512 says:

        Myers, you have become pathetic and an embarrassment to academe

        PZ MYERS DEFENDS A BRASH FEMINIST, EMBARRASSES ACADEMICS EVERYWHERE

        (oops, posted this in the wrong place the first time)

      • “You habitually tell people what atheism is and is not, and tell anyone who disagrees with your definition of it that they are simply wrong; full stop, wrong.”

        What are some of the specific stances PZ has taken on “What atheism is” that you disagree with?

        Would it change your view of his attitude if he is, in fact, right?

  23. This one won’t get through either, since I’ve been declared guilty of not following the attempted new party line, but if the moderator would please pass this along to that delicate little miss PZ Myers, I’d appreciate it.

    PZ, have you totally forgotten your article a little while back? The one where you claim atheism is much MORE than it’s definition of not believing in gods?????

    You want it to become a religion or ideology or lifestyle or something. Well, how can I say this politely? Hmm, I don’t think I can. PZ, fuck off with trying to force other atheists into your deranged definition. Use the CORRECT word: humanism. That one has the flexibility of lifestyles, opinions about behaviours, etc. You CAN have your own definition of what that means to you, which things are humane and which are not.

    Play with that definition as much as you fucking want, but leave the definition of atheism alone please. There are enough debates over the dictionary side of definitions (eg: agnostic atheism, etc). We really don’t need someone trying to shove an additional different definition onto it. A redneck racist, a communist leader, and an ordinary nice person nobody, can ALL be atheists. Humanists? No, those first two wouldn’t make it for sure. HUMANISM is the word you should be playing with, not atheism.

    So keep your manipulative tentacles off of the definition of atheism. If only those you approved of, were allowed to call themselves atheists, then our world population would be… what, maybe .000000000001% of the world?

    Why am I, a non-academic having to explain to an established professor that one can’t make up new definitions and then expect/demand that it be the one used by all? It’s crazy, isn’t it.

    Professorship is no guarantee of non-misandric sensibility though. Look at nutcase Gail Dines (“women’s studies” at Wheelock College). Is she a friend of yours, PZ? She should be. She hates men, hates all porn, and has ZERO evidence for any of her claims about it. In fact, there is evidence that she frequently just accepts numbers given to her by strangers and uses those despite no evidence. I think you’d like her, PZ. :)

  24. John D says:

    You are correct PZ – you do not personally control the definition of atheism.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/02/why_are_you_an_atheist.php

  25. PZ Myers says:

    Exactly. Quoting myself from that post:

    Now I don’t claim that my values are part of the definition of atheism — I just told you I hate those dictionary quoters — nor do I consider them universal to atheism.

    So why do you keep repeating that claim that I’m trying to dictate what the One True Atheism means?

    • Because that sentence did not line up with the rest of what you said in that article. You know, the parts where you DO want to make a new definition, despite your said dislike of dictionary meanings.

      I see why now though. You hate the dictionary definition because it’s not the one you WISHED it were. Well, sucks to be you then, since what you’re defining is NOT atheism, but humanism as you see it. Please use the correct words for your meaning, and maybe so many of those mean “dictionary atheists” won’t give you such a hard time.

    • Darren says:

      Meanwhile…

      “I’m not racist, but why are Asians such bad drivers?”

      “Dude, that is so racist!”

      “Whoa? Didn’t you hear me? I said I’m not racist!”

  26. By the way, PZ, you are even being sexist (against men) in your comebacks. You only mention the males that disagree with you, and almost never respond to the female ones.

    Tell me, do you think I’m a gender traitor. You won’t tell me. Or you’ll tone it down because you still are practising woman-bias. Probably claim I’m a brainwashed victim of the patriarchy. Not that you’ll actually “listen to the women” if they are not on Watson’s side of things, but you seem scared to declare them enemies as swiftly as you do males who disagree, as though we are sensitive children that need protecting or we might cry. We’re adults, ok? You don’t seem to get that.

    Holy Bias Batman! Makes me think I should treat you with kid gloves, all gentle-like due to your inability to discuss anything with the women you disagree with. There have been a lot of us, yet you only focus on the male disagreers.

    I must be a good person, since my temptation is to be gentler than I want to be with you. By all rights, I should be poking this fact at you all over the place. You’re every bit as bad as men who do that because they HATE women and therefore won’t listen or think about what was said, won’t respond to them (properly that is! actually trying to discuss/counter the points they brought up).

    Anyways, please stop pretending that you are working for the good of all women, trying to make things better for all women at conventions etc. YOU’VE ONLY BEEN LISTENING TO A CHERRY-PICKED GROUP OF WOMEN. At least admit that, will you? Maybe even, if it doesn’t scare you to do so, try to “shut up and listen” to the OTHER women. Stop being so fucking sexist and scared to respond to (and treat equally!!!) all of us other women. And I do mean with actual points and answers, that is, not just a rare shit ‘n run quick insult.

  27. John D says:

    PZ – you state right hear that atheism is a “practice”. WTF?

    Your words….

    “If I ask you to explain to me why you are an atheist, reciting the dictionary at me, you are saying nothing: asking why you are a person who does not believe in god is not answered when you reply, “Because I am a person who does not believe in god.” And if you protest when I say that there is more to the practice of atheism than that, insisting that there isn’t just makes you dogmatic and blind.”

    You claim that you cannot define the term “atheism” and then you claim there is “more to the practice of atheism” than a simple claim. (and of course you reinforce your expert opinion by claiming someone who disagrees is dogmatic and blind).

    I am just saying that your use of the word atheism implies a certain lifestance. You really should admit that you have very specific claims about the meaning of “atheism”. It would be more honest.

  28. sacha says:

    I’ve been a listener since the very beginning, I have not missed an episode, I will be tuning in for the SGU 24. I am also a woman, and I think Rebecca Watson does not accurately represent women in skepticism.
    She has been a blatant misandrist from day one, I cringe whenever she speaks, other than the snark, which can be quite funny, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve laughed at her quick one liners quite often, but that is the only thing she has that contributes to the show. I do not like her as a person, I think she is selfish, and only concerned about herself, not “all women”. Scented Nectar has it correct, no one seems to be listening to the women with a different point of view about Rebecca and her schtick.
    Perry used to call her on it, I miss Perry.

    I’m saddened to read what Steven Novella has written here, although I don’t expect that he will admit publically to any reservations he has about her. I’ve met Dr, Novella, and spoke with him at two different TAMs he is lovely, as are the the other Novella brothers and Evan.

    Dr. Novella is also above all of this nonsense.

    There are far better women to take Rebecca’s place that are not an embarrassment. Steven, Bob, Jay, and Evan make the show worthwhile, and that is why I continue to listen. A replacement for Rebecca is long overdue.

  29. sacha says:

    Dr. Novella said:

    “My point was – that Rebecca does not pull her punches when criticising nonsense or bad arguments. That is what I meant by “unapologetically”. Interestingly – these same traits are almost universally praised in our other (late) co-host, Perry, while frequently criticized in Rebecca. This lines up with actual research showing that being forceful is interpreted as strength in men and bitchiness in women.

    I have seen this first hand over year – Rebecca is singled out for behavior that other rogues display, and she is held to an arbitrarily higher standard. She receives not only criticism – but hateful vitriol way out of proportion to any perceived failings.”

    Comparing Perry’s personality and way of communicating to Rebecca’s is disingenuous. Rebecca is nothing like Perry, there are plenty of women who do not “pull their punches” stand their ground, and use ridicule to counteract ridiculous notions, and a lack of critical thinking. There are plenty of women who use sarcasm and humour to make their point, I am one of them. A wallflower I’m not. I have a great deal of respect for many women in the skeptic community, many who have these traits. Rebecca is not one of them. She is a hypocrite of some magnitude, her consistent misandry is insulting and infuriating and if the roles were reversed and one of the other rogues used the exact same humour about women she would be hysterical, yes, hysterical. I am fully aware of not only the definition of that word, but the fact that it has been used to try and keep women in “their place”. The word suits Rebecca Watson.

    The fact that she receives misogynistic and violently themed hate mail is irrelevant to the topic. Those who try and intimidate anyone that way, truly are the lunatic fringe, they have nothing to do with those of us who have clear and relevant reasons to want her not only off the show, but also off the podium. She claims to speak for women in the skeptical movement, yes, she has more than once said those exact words.

    I find it extremely difficult to listen to her rant about misogyny without my blood boiling, she has a stage in which to preach her vitriolic ravings against men.

    I have never been treated better than I do in the skeptic and atheist communities. I have never, ever even seen any misogyny, or derogatory comments, or even suggestions about women. I’ve never felt more welcome. The entire charade of the ubiquitous misogyny in the community is a straw man.

    She was banned from the JREF forums for unacceptable behaviour, but they continue to give her a stage in which to speak. I have an enormous amount of respect for Steven Novella, James Randi, and the JREF, but I do not understand this at all. She has shown time and again that she is all about personal gain, lack of critical thinking when it suits her ideology, and dismissive disdain for anyone who voices a dissenting opinion.

    She is childish and deceitful. She is a very poor representation of women, she makes all of us look bad, not only the women in the community, but the men are being singled out for things they have not done. I posted on the Skeptics’ Guide forums back in 2009 after listening to Carrie Iwan and Rebecca on how women are treated and portrayed in the skeptic community. After keeping silent on the issue of her misandry, except to friends who listen to the show, it was the last straw, I had to comment. I was furious. This was over two years ago, so anyone who brings up Shaftgate as the reason for the opposing views being suddenly voiced, has not been listening.

    Keeping Rebecca Watson as a spokesperson for women in skepticism does a disservice to all, and it also does a grave disservice to the movement.

  30. DavidByron says:

    I see feminism as ideological and and a cancer on the movement, but having said that I think having people on to discuss their irrational views and try and defend them would be a good thing. The problem is that is not what happens with feminism because it is given a pass to be irrational and ideological. Indeed the “skepchick” concept seems to be that ideological hostility towards men is somehow a natural ally of skepticism. That’s where the danger is. If Watson’s feminist views were adequately debated by critics it would be extremely positive.

    But instead as the comments above show, those who support Watson regard her critics or critics of her feminist views as people to be vilified out of hand.

  31. The Devil's Towelboy says:

    Dr. Novella,

    I am unsure if you are deliberately avoiding unpleasant reality, or a genuine willing party to this unpleasant charade.

    So I take it you find broad-brush, demographic specific vilification from Watson like “Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man!” (from skepchick.org’s Dawkins Delusion diatribe) directed at notorious rape apologist Richard Dawkins acceptable? Evidently you do, because you blankly deny all evidence of her vilification. And also her just-short-of-bookburning calls to boycott prohibited books are also OK? Similarly, high minded repartee such as that exhibited here from PZ Myers – “those kooks are freakin’ fringe nutcases” – is also OK? At least Myers didn’t say they have small penises and are impotent as he does elsewhere (insults from the milder end of his spectrum).

    This shows how deeply down the toilet the movement has flushed itself. Skepticism now plays a sorry second fiddle to ideology. You do yourself, and your reputation, a gross disservice by cherrypicking what you do and do not want to see. Sorry to see that you are owned by the ideologues as well. There was some hope that you weren’t.

    At this point there is only one thing left to request – that you collectivists cease abusing the term “freethought”. Please? You are just pissing on the graves of our Enlightenment forebears.

    It is also curious to note that you refused to publish a comment from the unmentionable one that merely highlights some public, visible, personally vilifying and utterly reprehensible web content from PZ Myers. It is evident you are OK with that as well.

  32. Emu says:

    ~eyeballs the above posts~

    Hey, SGU team. There are still plenty of listeners who like women with opinions and self-confidence. The show was good from the start, but it really hit its stride when Rebecca joined. Steve is dead-on when he points out that Rebecca is criticised for traits that people loved in Perry. (Anyone want to count how many people/groups he called idiots?)

    Thanks for not being a boys’ club. Thanks for having such a witty, interesting woman on the show. Thanks for sometimes dipping into subjects that stir up the sceptics. I hope you do keep a critical eye on your own show and never get complacent, but right now the SGU is as strong as it ever was.

  33. Drachasor says:

    Well, this insanity running through my head is making it so I can’t sleep. This seems like a decent place to post a comment, so here I am.

    Coming from PZ Myer’s blog and looking through this thread and at the links John Greg provided, I have to say I am disgusted with all the vitriol coming from both sides of this EG-induced-fiasco.

    Can we really claim to pride reason and rationality so much if we have to resort to name-calling so readily? Reasoned arguments should stand up just fine if you use them WITHOUT profanity, insults, and belittling nicknames.

    Just because someone disagrees with a particular feminist, like Watson, doesn’t mean they hate women or are a “rape apologizer”, even if they disagree over something like EG. Just because someone happens to agree with her, doesn’t mean they hate all men or are mentally disturbed in some fashion. Even rational people can disagree about things like this and still be reasonable people.

    I don’t really give a damn about which side is more right than the other. It doesn’t matter at this point. There’s a much more fundamental problem going on when two sides, both proclaiming rationality to be their ideal, can’t sit down and talk about something in a civilized manner.

  34. Blaine says:

    I haven’t been paying attention to the “I HATE RW’s guts so f@#cking much it hurts” folks in a while now. I lack the stomach and patience for their brand of toxic vitriol. It is so strange to me that these folks find it pertinent and productive to vent their grievances and register their outrage up and down the internet, regardless of the topic at hand. Their anger appears to be boundless, absorbing anyone who would dare not agree with them. If I don’t despise RW or the cohorts of this sinister loathsome woman, than I am automatically “blindered(sic) and fanatical” or I am a “rabid fanatic” (to use the language John Greg is using to describe everyone who does not share his position).

    And to John Greg, no, I am not particularly a ‘fan’ (let alone a deranged rabid fanatic) of RW*… I do not harbor strong feelings, or out of control feelings, about her one way or the other. I don’t follow her on Twitter, I don’t follow her at all. Hell, I had no idea she even posted videos on YouTube until it was demanded of me, by hate filled bullies online, to watch and observe the vile wickedness of the evil Skepchick first hand. I don’t see it, I just don’t see what the big deal is. If your intention is to harm the Rebecca Watson brand, which it appears to be judging by your tone and language, then I would suggest a different tact. I have been made aware of the Rebecca Watson brand outside of SGU as a direct result of the public tantrums of her detractors. I have developed a very strong opinion about these very loud ‘critics’ who show up and rant and rage about how much they HATE her… There is a whole lot of noise and a whole lot of slander, but nothing substantial in all the rancor. If these folks ever had a point to begin with, it has been drowned out by all of their kicking and screaming.

    * I am, however, a huge fan of SGU, and appreciate what ALL the rogues bring to the show. It is the best cast out there.

    • Drachasor says:

      “I lack the stomach and patience for their brand of toxic vitriol. ”

      Is there a brand of toxic vitriol we should have patience for? Frankly, I don’t see it, and the other side is terrible too. Basically all the complaints you have about the one, apply to the other.

      • Blaine says:

        Yeah, that rant of mine was super negative and should have started with “to John Glenn”… I was specifically responding to all the hyperbole he’s written in these comments.

        I must say that Emu’s comment, above, is my sentiment exactly. I really appreciate the positive and constructive tone (s/he) used.

      • Drachasor says:

        I don’t particularly like her post. There’s a subtle implication that people that don’t like Watson are sexist since Perry was popular (e.g. they must not like women who have self-confidence). I don’t think that’s a fair statement to make — generally I think any accusation of sexism, racism, etc, needs to be made with care when you are making a definitive statement about a person.

        I think you can dislike one person and like another who are very, very similar. Late night talk shows aren’t all that different from one another, yet it is easy to find people who greatly prefer one over another. I don’t think that means they are necessarily biased against the guy they don’t like. Performance preferences can be pretty subtle.

        There’s also the fact we can’t be sure they like Perry or that there aren’t some significant differences.

        Essentially, there’s a bit of a strawman argument in Emu’s last post. Coming here from Pharyngula though, I am not sure if this sort of thing isn’t really popular among some circles of skepticism. At least, there seems to be a severe lack of care in tossing about insults.

        All that said, I thought your rant was more or less fine. I was just saying both sides of this argument have gotten out of hand.

      • jt512 says:

        I was just saying both sides of this argument have gotten out of hand.

        Really? Only one side of the argument seems to be out of hand in this thread.

        Jay

  35. As a counter to all the men-children who are shaking their tiny little fists and storming off in tiny little huffs because Rebecca Watson bites off men’s penises with her vagina dentata (or whatever it is she supposedly does), I’ve never listened to SGU before, but now I’m going to start, just to see what all the fuss is about.

    • Drachasor says:

      There are plenty of women that have posted here and don’t like her as well, to be fair.

      I don’t think it is reasonable to assume that people that don’t like her must be sexist.

      • Again, not liking her is one thing. Jumping into the comments of an entirely unrelated post to bleat about how awful she is is another thing entirely.

        You will note that I did not say her opponents are sexist, I merely suggested, via the use of a bit of hyperbole of my own, that many of them are being wildly ridiculous in their complaints about her, and that those complaints are primarily centered around their overblown dislike of her take on gender issues. Do you dispute this?

        And, yes, you’re right, there are women who hate on her too, ERV being the most notable, and I was wrong to leave them out of my disdain. The anti-RW side does seem to be a bit of a boys’ club (with, I think, good reason) but that’s no excuse for ignoring the women over there.

        And, you know, I’ve been on what I think is something a little bit like their side of other issues myself, occasionally. I don’t particularly like the sort of “women as permanent victims” perspective on feminism that seems to crop up in some discussions, and I can see how some people might perceive Elevatorgate from that angle. I also don’t like seeing enormous horrifying third world problems ignored in favor of somewhat smaller first world problems, and I can see that angle on the discussion too. I honestly don’t know what to make of the interaction between Rebecca Watson and Stef McGraw, and I’m perfectly willing to consider the possibility that Rebecca may have screwed that up a little bit. I’m not boycotting Richard Dawkins, and I still mostly like and respect him, even though I think his “Muslima” comment was pretty douchebaggy regardless of who it was supposed to be a response to. I haven’t listened to SGU yet, so for all I know Rebecca’s a terrible host and I’ll hate her too once I start listening.

        But what I don’t understand is why the fuck this comment thread, on a post which is only slightly related to Rebecca Watson, in that she is an SGU host, and in which her name is never even mentioned, has, beginning at the fourth comment and continuing onwards, so many completely unprovoked and horrible comments about her. I can’t see anything that she’s done anywhere that’s so terrible as to justify this shit, much less to justify you coming in here and acting like the people who are supporting her here are just as bad as the people who began commenting with the sole intention of flinging as much feces in her direction as possible and with no interest in commenting on the positive message of the post. You’d think she’d conspired to cover up and excuse child rape or something, the way people go after her. But as far as I can tell, all she’s done is been a more aggressive feminist than some people prefer and maybe made a few social missteps at worst? The hate for her is insane and extreme, and your false equivalences are Not Helping.

      • Drachasor says:

        And I wouldn’t lump you in with RW’s more rabid supporters. On the other hand, I think you did unfairly lump a lot of people together there. That’s what I meant.

        I agree that SOME of the people who dislike RW have gotten completely out of hand. I occasionally agree with some of what they say, but how they say it is horrible. I agree that it seems to be based in part on her take on gender issues, with what seems to be the occasional dislike of actions she has done here or there. I don’t think all of it is inaccurate (for instance the dislike how how she acted on the JREF forums seems legit). A lot of it does seem to be tremendously overblown.

        I only note that there are many supporters of RW that are just as bad. Their dispute and insults easily crop up here and there and rage out of control. They are also full a lot of horrible remarks, thoughts, and very unforgiving of people that disagree with them.

        As for the gender distribution of each group…I don’t think there’s enough information to really say. I believe there’s a tendency to label a group that seems to be against a particular feminist woman as man-centric. I do not like to make statements about a group’s composition when there’s really no evidence to support it though. We do know there are a number of women and men that like RW, and there’s a number of women and men that dislike her. There’s a vocal subset (of unknown size, but not trivial “loudness”) of both groups that could learn to phrase their arguments with more civility.

      • Don’t care. RW’s supporters being meanypantses is not relevant here unless they’re being meanypantses here, which you have yet to meaningfully substantiate. Making a big deal about how other people with similar views are meanypantses elsewhere is a pile of useless, guilt-by-association crap. What useful agenda can you possibly think you’re advancing by bringing it up? The people who came here to be nasty at RW won’t be fazed because they *want* to be nasty. The people who are nasty in her defense aren’t here and so they aren’t going to hear your message. And the people who are defending her here are not being nasty, so your critique isn’t relevant to them. So all you’re doing is giving the nasty anti-RW people who are here in this place at this time cover by letting them say, “Her supporters are doing it too so we’re totally justified! See, look, it’s true because this totally neutral Drachasor guy said so.”

        The only thing that’s actually relevant here is that SGU is doing a 24-hour thingymadoo for a good cause! Yay, them!

      • Drachasor says:

        People ARE doing it here. Implying detractors are sexists is doing it. Stating they are nutjobs is doing it. Just because you are ok with them saying this doesn’t make those comments non-personal attacks.

        Maybe you’ve missed my point. THE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES DOING THIS ARE EQUALLY UNJUSTIFIED. It’s a poison in the skeptical community that cuts off the ability to have a calm and rational debate. It makes things personal. It’s horrid.

  36. Jason Loxton says:

    What the F is wrong with you people???

    This was a post about a cool, labour-intensive, science event, that people are doing for free for your entertainment. And it triggers this vile thread?

    I am not just disappointed by people I was supposed to share a “community” with, I am disgusted.

    Seriously. Read this crap again. We’d roll our eyes at this awfulness if we saw it coming out of Age of Autism, etc., and declare it evidence of the moral and emotional bankruptcy of their movement.

    Fuck me. : (

    • Drachasor says:

      I think this might be the expected result when one thinks it is ok to casually use hate, insults, belittling names, and the like against those one disagrees with. Low and behold, there’s the inevitable disagreement in the community, and the people that find the above methods acceptable turn on each other.

      This seems like a lesson in civility, to me. I am just not sure enough people are paying proper attention to it.

      • Honestly, I could care less about civility or lack thereof. What bothers me is the sheer irrationality of it all. So some people disagree with Rebecca or don’t like her? Fine, they’ve got a right to their opinions, but does that mean it’s reasonable to shit all over everything she’s associated with just because she’s associated with it, especially when her bloody name isn’t even mentioned in the post? Does she need to be driven off the internets entirely in order to satisfy these people? The level of reaction here has gone well beyond mere incivility, into downright obsessive hatred.

      • Drachasor says:

        If you really dislike someone though, it is reasonable to not listen to a show that features them. That’s hardly irrational. It’s fair enough to mention it as well. It’s called feedback. If that feedback pops up in more than one place because it is relevant to more than one place, then that’s to be expected as well.

        I don’t countenance the vitriol though. The level of hate on both sides is quite high. While there is some basis for both sides, it has grown completely out of proportion. It is most certainly not unique to RW’s detractors, because her supporters ARE being just as bad. I’m not saying they are all like this, but it dominates any “discussion” as we see here.

      • Justify that her supporters are anywhere near as bad as her detractors. Because that seems patently ridiculous to me. I’m sure that you can find plenty of RW supporters saying mean things about RW detractors, but have any of her detractors been singled out for such an insane campaign of harassment as she has? Sure, there was a bit of a kerfluffle about Dawkins’ nasty “Muslima” comment, but even most of RW’s supporters still don’t hate Dawkins or try to have him driven out of his fora, they just think he was wrong. The Dawkins boycott hasn’t gotten much traction even among RW’s most prominent supporters (e.g. PZ Myers), even though plenty of people were pretty angry with him. Nobody’s gone after ERV in any substantial way, even though she’s been unbelievably nasty toward RW, and I’ve still seen RW supporters link in positive terms to unrelated stuff that ERV has done since Elevatorgate.

        Even within the confines of this thread, RW’s supporters haven’t been even remotely nasty compared to her detractors, and, again, her supporters weren’t the ones bringing this up. In fact, most of the pro-RW crowd seems to have been happy to let Elevatorgate die out over time as all the meaningful points have been made and the subject has gotten less interesting. It’s only her detractors who seem obsessed with perpetuating the hate. Just look at what happened in this thread — it’s fine to say you don’t want to watch some show any more because of X, but is it really a decent thing to make a huge deal about that in the middle of what ought to be a discussion of a major positive thing that the Rogues are doing?

      • Blaine says:

        I was responding to Anne C. Hanna re boycott, but we’ve run out room apparently, which is my cue to call it a night.

      • Drachasor says:

        Where exactly should people post they won’t be listening anymore? I don’t think there is one place anymore appropriate than any other on this blog. Maybe I’m wrong though, but if so, where?

        I don’t see where you get the idea RW supporters are happy to like EG die. I am only here because PZ linked to it when talking about an article in USA Today about EG.

        I’ve seen RW supporters accuse people who disagree with them of being sexist, rape apologists, and the like. Heck, they’ve accused other feminists of being sexist. This is the extreme group of them I am talking about. I am sure the vast majority are perfectly fine. The vast majority of people who dislike RW also seem to be perfectly fine. This thread itself has a number of posts from people who calmly indicate their dislike of her. Both extremes are bad. I really can’t say which one is worse, and I certainly don’t know which one is bigger. I don’t think you can either.

        Ahh, sorry about the misunderstanding, Blaine.

      • Yeah, I should’ve put boycott in scare-quotes. Sorry about that.

      • Drachasor says:

        I’d also add that I think the extremely level of accepted incivility helps things spiral out of control like we have seen regarding EG and RW.

      • Blaine says:

        This anti-Rebecca crowd resembles the mob in The Holy Grail; http://youtu.be/zrzMhU_4m-g. “A witch!!! A witch!!! May we burn her?! BURN HER ANYWAY!!!”

        You know, it keeps being pointed out again and again that Rebecca never actually called for a boycott of anything. Steve has pointed this out here at comment #18. It is very easy to demonstrate this, but people like John push right past this, and spin it as if she was using her “position of authority” to manipulate her hordes to enact a boycott. It. Gets. Tiresome… I guess it is just worth pointing out, as it comes up again and again. And really, even if she did call for an all out boycott, so what?

      • Drachasor says:

        Err, Blaine, what exactly are you on about? I didn’t mention anything about a boycott. Though I will say that saying you are personally boycotting something on a blog with a bunch of fans while not the same as calling for a boycott is reasonably going to lead to much the same thing. In fact, it seems to have done that to some degree. I can’t say whether she intended that or not though. If she had intended that, I think it is a somewhat silly thing to have done, imho, but I can’t say I really care that much.

        Let us note that the sort of behavior you dislike is from a SUBSET of the anti-Rebecca crowd. Much like there’s horrible accusations of “rape apologist” and a lot of “my way or the highway and if you disagree we’ll say horrible things about you” behavior from A SUBSET of the pro-Rebecca crowd. There’s a very unfortunate tendency to lump anyone who is slightly pro-Rebecca or just not anti-Rebecca as someone in the extreme pro-Rebecca group. Similarly, there’s a tendency to lump anyone anti-Rebecca or just not pro-Rebecca into the extreme anti-Rebecca group.

        My only point is that the extremes on both sides have really gotten out of hand. I think the acceptance of incivility is a part of this. I think people need to be encouraged to take a step back, calm down, and realize that reasonable people are allowed to disagree.

      • John Greg says:

        In reply to Anne C. Hanna.

        Typical distortion #1:

        “Fine, they’ve got a right to their opinions, but does that mean it’s reasonable to shit all over everything she’s associated with just because she’s associated with it, especially when her bloody name isn’t even mentioned in the post?”

        No one is “shitting” all over SGU or anything else she is associated with — except, perhaps, Skepchick.org. People are “shitting” over Watson’s ongoing participation in the program and at podiums.

        “Does she need to be driven off the internets entirely in order to satisfy these people?”

        Might be nice, but no not really necessary. As with Dworking and Solanas (much more extreme, I know, but nonetheless valid in many ways) before her, it would be nice to see more acknowldgement and calling out of her extremism, and her falsehoods and distortions.

        Typical distortion #2:

        “The level of reaction here has gone well beyond mere incivility, into downright obsessive hatred.”

        Nonsense; it’s an ongoing dialogue of strongly held opinion. One of the major concerns of what we might call the anti-Watson, anti-Myers crowed (more accurately called the anti-gender feminist, or the pro-equity feminist community), is the lack of dialgoue that Watson, Myers, Benson, etc., accept or even allow. Watson does not do dialogue except wioth supporters; Benson, Myers, and others censor or delete any dialogue that doesn’t meet their very specific very narrow definition, and so on.

      • Read that Greylining blog you love so much again. Every single post on the front page right now is about hating on *someone*, and most of them are about hating on Rebecca Watson or people who support her. Every time you cite that blog you demonstrate that this is primarily about an obsessive hatred of certain people, and has nothing to do with all of these noble rationalizations about freedom of speech (or whatever) that you keep making.

        Anyway, you sure look like you’re posting here just fine, whatever evil freedom-stealing censorship conspiracy there might be elsewhere.

      • John Greg says:

        Anne C. Hanna said:

        “Every single post on the front page right now is about hating on *someone*, and most of them are about hating on Rebecca Watson or people who support her.”

        That may, or may not, be true. But I was responding quite specifically to your claim that everyone HERE was shitting on everything that Watson was associated with, which is a comnpletely unsupportable claim. Shifting goal posts helps neither you nor me.

        “Anyway, you sure look like you’re posting here just fine, whatever evil freedom-stealing censorship conspiracy there might be elsewhere.”

        Quite true. And I love this place for that, and have loved it for many years. And that is also the same reason I like ERV and Abbie Smith (and detest Myers, Benson, and Watson): No censorship.

      • Dr. Novella posted information about something cool that SGU is doing. In response, *you* came here to whine about how you can’t stand to listen to SGU any more because of how evil Rebecca is. *You* cited that cesspit Greylining as part of your evidence. These other people you claim were so nice and reasonable were all too happy to jump on your nasty little bandwagon and insist that they will only be able to listen again once the witch has been burnt.

        Consequence? You and your allies completely derailed discussion of the positive thing SGU is doing so that you could promote your anti-Rebecca crusade. That looks pretty much like shitting all over the place to me. The only reason you’re still here is that the local bloglords are too nice to saturate the place in bleach. That’s their prerogative, but it’s also completely legitimate for bloggers elsewhere to apply somewhat more aggressive hygienic standards, and your infantile whining about censorship doesn’t change that.

      • “No one is “shitting” all over SGU or anything else she is associated with”

        Go back to the top of the thread. There’s a guy named John Greg who is doing a nice job of shitting all over Watson and making it clear he thinks she made the SGU unlistenable with her participation.

        Oh, wait, that’s YOU.

        Have you considered consulting a neurologist about your memory problems? You’ve probably forgotten, but there’s one in this very thread. His name is “Steven.”

        How long have you had problems remembering what you’ve been saying? Is this a long standing issue or a relatively new problem? Has the level of your memory degradation gotten worse over time? Feel free to ask some friends and relatives as you many not be in the best position to asses your own memory problems.

      • John Greg says:

        Nowhere, the issue at hand is not my memory, it is your reading comprehension.

        I am NOT shitting on SGU; I am shitting on Watson. SGU is fine; her participation on it is what I do not like and what stopped me from listening to it.

        Are you unable to discern the difference there?

        “How long have you had problems remembering what you’ve been saying? Is this a long standing issue or a relatively new problem? Has the level of your memory degradation gotten worse over time? Feel free to ask some friends and relatives as you many not be in the best position to asses your own memory problems.”

        Now wouldn’t you just feel peachy if it turned out I was drifting into early Alzheimers.

    • What Jason said. This is really disgraceful. I’m even starting to regret stirring the pot by biting back at the nastiness here with nastiness of my own. It’s one thing to dislike Rebecca’s presentation style, or to disapprove of some of her actions. It’s another thing entirely to hijack discussion of something positive which she happens to be involved in to promulgate a really unpleasant hate campaign against her. I’d like to hope that even if we disagree on many other things, at least we skeptically-minded types can pretty much all agree that even people we dislike can occasionally do good things, and that those good things should be applauded no matter what our general opinions of the people who do them.

      • Drachasor says:

        The hateful rhetoric is unfortunately cutting both ways. Ardent supporters and haters use a lot of horrible language and insults at their opposites. It makes any sort of reasonable discussion impossible.

      • Yeah, you’ve called it. Rebecca’s supporters are just as bad as her haters. Talk about false equivalences…

      • Drachasor says:

        How is it a false equivalence? RW’s supporters accuse the others of hating women, being idiots, and in some cases rape apologists. RW’s detracters accuse the others of hating men, being idiots, etc.

        Both very often place a bunch of insults into any posts they make to the other, which tends to detract from their point more than anything else. Except to people on the same side of course, who seem to cheer on the more hate-filled and angry messages while denouncing the other side.

      • And the stuff you accuse the pro-RW crowd of doing has happened where in this thread, exactly?

      • Drachasor says:

        PZ calling anti-Rebecca people “crazed nutjobs” or whatever certainly qualifies. There’s also a lot of people on his blog who go much father. I grant not all of it is in this thread, but this conflict is bigger than this thread. I don’t think it makes sense to confine our analysis to what happened to have been said here.

      • Calling people crazed nutjobs is not out of line when they are in fact acting like crazed nutjobs. There is a rather obsessive quality to her opposition, as you would see if you read any of the posts some of these people are pointing to as evidence of how terrible she is. The fact that people even make these posts compiling how much they hate her and how bad of a person she is on such thin evidence is a clear indication of the asymmetrical nature of this discussion. And, as I have mentioned about three thousand times, the mere fact that this is coming up *here* is ridiculous and further evidence of their obsession, as the supposed terribleness of Rebecca is completely unrelated to the post topic.

        As I’ve said in other comments, you are committing the fallacy of guilt by association. The fact that other people in other threads have been so terribly uncivil in defense of Rebecca does not invalidate the frustration her supporters feel at seeing people coming into what should have been a very positive comment thread just to perpetuate that nastiness. Steven Novella, for example, is not responsible for all that other shit going on elsewhere on the internets. He made a post about a good thing he and his fellow podcasters are doing and a bunch of assholes came in to rage about how that good thing is shit because it includes Rebecca Watson. Which, you know, it’s fine that they don’t like her, but it seems like they’ve picked a pretty poor venue for expressing that. And I don’t think their poor choice of venue is justified by the fact that some RW supporters somewhere said some mean things about them, especially when that meanness was not happening here.

      • Drachasor says:

        There are many, many people in this thread who have similarly voiced how they simply don’t like her. Often very politely. It is quite innappropriate to call them all “crazed nutjobs.” That’s uncivil stuff here as are implications of sexism. It doesn’t matter if you THINK they are crazed nutjobs, the point is that it makes calm and collected discussion impossible and it feeds the cycle of vitriol. Let’s not stoop to saying it is ok for one side to be insulting, but when the other side does it then it’s horrible. It isn’t alright to either one.

        Frankly, I think one needs to be exceedingly careful about using terms like that or accusing people of sexism. It isn’t like anti-RW don’t have some valid reasons to dislike it. Those points are certainly arguable, however, and might not matter to some people.

        And again, it is reasonable to say you are going to stop being a listener for whatever reason. That’s called feedback and it is legitimate, even if you don’t like the reasons. How is this not an appropriate venue for that? Because you think the comments should only be positive? I don’t follow.

      • Which is to say, how the hell was your comment germane to mine? I am pretty sure it wasn’t Rebecca’s *supporters* who jumped in here to make a big deal about how they’re never listening to SGU again because she’s such a terrible person. However negatively they may have responded to the haters, and whatever they may have done in other places that was bad, they definitely aren’t responsible for this particular little bit of mess.

      • Drachasor says:

        Is it out of line to say you aren’t going to listen to a show anymore because you don’t like one of the hosts? Seems like a valid thing to mention to me.

        As for the insults and the like, that’s being going on by both sides for a couple months now. It isn’t new here and you shouldn’t act like this is some special case. It’s a continuation of the vitriol. One side starts it somewhere and if the other side comes along, then they’ll join in.

      • But that’s exactly my point — the pro-RW crowd aren’t, and never have, started this shit. It’s been these anti-RW folks who started it (by losing their shit over her Elevator Guy story in the first place) and who have been perpetuating it well past its sell-by date. As an example of this, ERV’s “Kyle’s mom” thread is still going as we speak, whereas PZ Myers started shuffling it out the door as soon as it became clear that all the content had been wrung out of the subject and only the poo-flinging was left.

        “Both sides are just as bad” isn’t much better on this subject than the crap the accommodationists keep spewing. It’s just nonsense, and it lets the people who are genuinely making things worse hide behind the excuse that, “The other guys do it too!”

      • I should also mention that, unless RW’s supporters are being nasty *here*, your comments about how terrible they are and how they’re just like her detractors are no more germane to the subject of this post than all of their nasty comments about her are. So *even if you’re right*, you’re still not really doing anything other than perpetuating the nastiness by bringing it in somewhere it’s not relevant.

      • Drachasor says:

        Once the whole thing got started from RW’s video, I don’t think it matters anymore “who started it.” Like any cycle of hate, that’s no longer the point. The thing that has to be done is figured out how to end it. The first step there is to for people to take a step back and calm down.

        There’s a lot of talk in this thread from RW supporters implying detractors are sexist. PZ does it, Novella does it, and you did it (even if it wasn’t your intention). The same with calling them idiots, irrational, etc. Whether or not you are right at that point no longer matters, since you are helping to escalate things to the point where a rational conversation can no longer work.

        Both sides do it and they have both done it in this thread.

        And heck, you even acknowledge there are potential reasons to dislike RW, such as her treatment of Stef McGraw. It isn’t like disliking her and voicing that dislike in and off itself is not appropriate. And again, that is relevant enough if someone is giving feedback about whether or not they intend on continuing to listen to the podcast.

      • Drachasor, The bullshit thing about calls for “civility” is that you can be “civil” as all hell and still manage to act like a jerk, which is what you are doing here. You are giving these people cover they don’t deserve. It is true that there are bits and pieces of semi-legitimate reasons why somebody might not be a 100% rabid Rebecca Watson acolyte. It is not true that there are legitimate reasons to sign on to what is pretty clearly a targeted and highly misogynist hate campaign against her. I am not claiming that everyone who opposes her is a misogynist, but the overwhelming tenor of her opposition is so breathtakingly sexist (as you should know if you ever read any of the relevant comment threads at all) that anybody with any sense of decency ought to think twice about giving them aid and comfort.

        Unfortunately, giving aid and comfort to her misogynist opposition is what you and all of her opponents on this thread are doing, whether you intend to or not. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to criticize her. But the fact that the comments of a post about a positive thing which she just happens to be involved turned to a series of rants about how she’s a terrible person (rants specifically referencing the Elevatorgate bullshit, no less) starting at the fourth comment ought to clue you in that this is more than just ordinary listener feedback.

        As I said, there are a few things Rebecca’s done that might possibly constitute legitimate points of disagreement, or even dislike. (I’m not even sure they *are* legitimate, but there’s at least room for sane discussion there.) But nothing she has done warrants this.

      • Drachasor says:

        And on what basis do you say they hate women? Do people like ERV hate women too? Or do you just magically know which ones hate women and which ones don’t?

        This is the exact sort of crap I am talking about. Lumping them all together like this and tossing horrible names at them like “misogynist” and “nutjob” is wholly inappropriate. I don’t see how you can do this and pretend people aren’t using the same sort of vitriol on both sides.

        What you are doing is actually protecting anyone who is actually a misogynist. By lumping in a ton of people who you have no rational reason to think are misogynist, you let anyone who is actually is hide in their company. That’s the reason why civility is important.

      • Drachasor, go read their own evidence. Check out

        http://greylining.wordpress.com/

        for example and tell me there isn’t something disordered about that. Go read ERV’s “Kyle’s mom” thread and tell me there isn’t something seriously wrong there. Go over to Pharyngula and read what went on in the comments there over this issue. And while you’re at it, go read any introductory discussion of feminism — women can buy into misogyny too. Haven’t you ever heard of Ann Coulter? Phyllis Schlafly? Michelle Duggar?

        And, notice, I explicitly said that not all of the people who don’t like Rebecca Watson’s contributions to SGU are misogynist. But by bringing their little rants into play in the context of the Elevatorgate-inspired beginning of this comments section, they’re sure helping out the misogynist crusade, as are you with your little “more-civil-than-thou” routine.

        I swear, this bullshit is never going to end until every single person on the internet has had Feminism 101 pounded into their thick skull with their own custom, hand-crafted, signed and numbered 2×4.

      • Somite says:

        And we come to the crux of the problem. All voices in these discussions are opinions, including feminism itself. However, any attempt at rational discussion is met with derision by both sides. This was my brief experience with this subject. I suggested that instead of continue slinging opinions maybe a survey of the skeptical community or TAM attending regarding gender issues should be undertaken:

        These were some of the responses on Pharyngula:

        http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/rebecca_watson_at_cfi.php#comment-4654023

        http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/rebecca_watson_at_cfi.php#comment-4654074

        I fail to see how this is progress or germaine to skepticism at all.

      • Somite, reading the rest of that thread it looks like you were seriously contending that there’s a reasonable likelihood that there’s no sexism in the skeptical movement, despite the fact that it’s well documented in the rest of society? No wonder commenters there weren’t very receptive to your suggestion that a survey of skeptics’ experiences with skepticism could solve all these problems…

        I personally haven’t experienced a whole lot of sexism, but I’m also loud and aggressive and pushy and will take somebody apart (or laugh them out of the room, or dismiss them contemptuously, depending on the circumstances) if they mess with me or anyone else in my vicinity. And even so, I’ve gotten hit with that crap a few times, and I’ve seen plenty more examples of it happening to other people. I don’t see why we need a survey to demonstrate that sexism happens, even with skeptics, and that it’s happening here and now to Rebecca Watson.

      • Er, edit: “…a survey of skeptics’ experiences with sexism…”

    • Blaine says:

      What, do you want a slow clap (I kid, I kid… I think you’re right)? There are a bunch of problems going on here. One of them starts at comment 4 and quickly escalates from there. Once this thing rears its ugly head, everything goes to shit.

      • Drachasor says:

        I guess my only point is that I was hoping some of the people actually engaged in that sort of thing might notice my comments and maybe rethink what they are doing.

        Yeah, not very likely, I know.

      • Blaine says:

        Ah, I was replying to Jason’s post… But no worries, I got turned around late night too, and lost track of who or where I was trying to reply to. The format of these comments gets a little wonky after a few replies back and forth.

      • John Greg says:

        as I said earlier, it’s an ongoing dialogue of strongly held opinion. One of the major concerns of what we might call the anti-Watson, anti-Myers crowed (more accurately called the anti-gender feminist, or the pro-equity feminist community), is the lack of dialgoue that Watson, Myers, Benson, etc., accept or even allow. Watson does not do dialogue; Benson, Myers, and others censor or delete any dialogue that doesn’t meet their very specific very narrow definition, and so on.

        Disagreeing strongly with Watson, her rheoric, and her ideology, and stating so in an approriate place is NOT a problem, Blaine. It is the start of a needed dialogue.

      • Blaine says:

        Yes, “dialogue”. You are full of “dialogue”, ongoing and ongoing “dialogue”, wherever you go, you do your “dialogue”. Now that I’ve read up on this ongoing (and just goes on and on, doesn’t it?) “dialogue” of yours, on the comments of blogs you lurk on, I can understand why a site owner would grow tired of your “dialogues”. And that’s really the crux of your outrage, isn’t it? Site owners delete your harassment… I’m sorry, your “dialogue”, and ban you for it… Well, that is their business isn’t it, LITERALLY their business… Their website, they can do whatever the hell they want, that’s what registering a domain and setting up shop gets you.

        Now, to get back to your “dialogue”…You type a lot, but you never really say much at all. We know you are on a campaign to remove Rebecca from SGU, and to remove her from her “podiums” and “platforms” and to get her the hell off the internet, you and your “growing group” (which I guess is comprised of you, John D, Astrokid, and sacha all from over at greylining)… This all from the your comments over there, on greylining. This is your agenda.

        Here’s a thought, man; let it go. Just let it go. Don’t like her? Cool. Whatever. Don’t watch her shit, don’t read her stuff. Let the obsession go. It is perfectly okay not to like someone, it is, it really is. But your smear campaign is ugly and beyond the pale.

        I disagree strongly with YOU, with your rhetoric, your “ideology”. A start of a needed dialogue? Yeah right. Not buying it John. Your rhetoric is tiresome and meaningless beyond your agenda.

    • Sheila says:

      I have to say I find it fascinating when the skeptics turn on each other.

    • John Greg says:

      Precisely.

      It is a mirror Jason; a mirror.

    • John Greg says:

      My comment above, “Precisely. It is a mirror Jason; a mirror”, was addressed to Jason Loxton’s initial comment in this thread.

  37. John Greg wrote: “so-called lude jokes”.

    I believe you meant “so-called lewd jokes.”

    Unless she was telling hilarious Quaalude jokes?

  38. Lead By Example says:

    “We have many stellar guests locked in – Adam Savage, Phil Plait, Richard Wiseman, Brian Brushwood, Richard Saunders, George Hrab, and more” is what’s written here.

    If you are genuinely so supportive in regards to “Perhaps there are those in the movement who would like to go back to just 5 years ago when all we could do is look around, wring our hands, and wonder where all the women were. Well – now we have women in the skeptical movement, due in no small part to the Skepchicks and other women who were not afraid to break in”?

    Then I have just one comment, Steve Novella. WHERE’S THE WOMEN? Where are the women in your list that are already “lined up”?

    Are there ANY women you’d consider beyond those who are already Skepchicks with Rebecca Watson? At least you do acknowledge that it isn’t just “‘skepchicks” who have been unafraid to break in.

    More of those other-than-Skepchick women, please, if that will help dilute the anti-Rebecca attitudes and show people that there’s diversity even amongst women. ALL should be supported if the pro-Skepchick claimants that they support women IN GENERAL is true.

    I suggest Swoopy of Skepticality as this is Skeptic.com and her podcast is a product of Skeptic.com. :) :)

  39. John Greg says:

    @ Anne C. Hanna. You are very much hoisting yourself by your own petard. Your posts are among the most angry, hostile, vituperative, of any in this thread, and they are certainly overflowing in mischaracterisation and distortion of your “enemies”, not to mention dismissive of any fact that may be presented by the anti-Watson side.

    And, as has been mentioned before, this is precisely the correct place to discuss Watson’s appropriateness, or lack thereof: it is Steven Novella’s show; this is his discussion/advertisment of it. What could be more correct?

    • Blaine says:

      No, your first comment was completely off topic. You made an appeal to Dr. Novella, a very silly one, (as have a few others); as an “extremely nice, polite, and considerate person”. You’ve “requested” that RW be booted off… You’ve made your points, you’ve failed to provide any sources when max called you out, you’ve voiced your opinions as inappropriate and absolutely unrelated to SGU24 as they were, you’ve derailed the comments, you continue to dump and dump… To what end? Steve has already acknowledged your input but the input of others. He has made it clear that none of the rogues are going anywhere. What’s your deal?

      • John Greg says:

        “… you’ve failed to provide any sources….”

        Bullshit, Blaine. I provided several sources, they just weren’t singler links to single blog posts because this Watson business is an ongoing pattern of behaviour that cannot be answered by a single link.

        “… your opinions as inappropriate and absolutely unrelated to SGU24 as they were….”

        Afgain, bullshit. How can my opinions be inappropriate (since when are opinions inappropriate anywhere except on Skepchick.org, Butterflies and Wheels, or Pharyngula?) and unrelated when the initial post is specifically about SGU, and the dissentors are specifically stating their wish to not have Watson on SGU so that we can return to enjoying the program?

        This is a completely appropriate place to do so. It is a needed public dialogue.

        “What’s your deal?”

        After post 4? For the most part I am trying to either clarify my position where it has been either misunderstood, misinterpreted, or distorted.

        Or I am specifically answering folks like yourself who go out of their way to distort and misrepresent what I have either said or my method of doing so.

      • Magicthighs says:

        “This is a completely appropriate place to do so. It is a needed public dialogue.”

        Bullshit. You hijacked the comment section of a post about the upcoming 24 hour show, after making it clear you have no intention of listening to it. Go to the SGU forums and start your own thread if you to discuss your issues.

      • Blaine says:

        No, providing links to the home pages of blogs and suggesting to “search” or “browse” around a bit is tantamount to hand waving. You have failed to provide a singular example to back up your assertions. Not a one, nothin’, nadda. If these things you say are accurate, or in any way resemble reality, then it should be very simple to demonstrate. The concept of burden of proof appears to lost on you.

        I’ve had a look at these blogs where you get your information from, it is very revealing about where you are coming from, and it ain’t pretty.

        Please demonstrate how I have misrepresented and or distorted anything you have written since you started dumping in these comments.

      • Blaine says:

        Oh, and by the John, thank you for using the same handle over there on greylining.

        http://greylining.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/why-rebecca-watson-is-a-criminal/#comment-1482

        Anne C. Hanna, apparently you are under observation. It’s nice to see how you guys cook this stuff up. Keep it up ;)

      • Aww, that’s just adorable. Thanks for the heads-up Blaine. That place is such an obvious cesspit just from the content of the posts that I hadn’t bothered looking in the comments.

      • John Greg says:

        Blaine, I try to use the same handle everywhere I comment. It helps maintain integrity. Do you have a problem with that?

        Also, we are all of us, every single one of us who maintains a presence in the so-called blogosphere under observation. Is there something wrong with that? Is it wrong to follow a variety of different individual’s contributions to this and/or any other topic?

        Are you paranoid about people following your (or someone/anyone else’s posts, and/or comments here, there, and anywhere?

        What is your rationale for working so hard to try and stifle discussion, disagreement, and debate? What frightens you so much? Is it cognitive dissonance?

    • What Blaine said.

      I’d also note that, as I said to Drachasor, I don’t give a shit about civility, so civility-trolling me doesn’t work. What I do give a shit about is people who claim to be members of the skeptical community running hate campaigns against other members and trying to have them silenced. I especially despise this kind of behavior when it seems to be a primarily male-dominated campaign against a woman who’s outspoken about her feminist views.

      You’d think that somebody who get so huffy about the supposed “censorship” of banning disruptive and hateful people from posting on one particular blog (when the have the entire rest of the internets to be hateful on if that’s what they want) would get that trying to drive somebody off of a show she helps host and getting demanding and whiny when the other hosts of the show won’t countenance it is an even more extreme type of silencing.

      I don’t think that’s how we should be operating, and if you do, I don’t see any reason to let you get away with it unchallenged.

      • John Greg says:

        In a very large world of many, many disputatious, but nonetheless valid points of view and opinion, please define “disruptive and hateful people”.

      • Stuff like what’s posted at Greylining is pretty much the definition of “hateful”. “Disruptive” would be spewing that nonsense all over the internet everywhere you can find even the tiniest scrap of pseudo-relevance, and perpetuating that tedious hate campaign on and on and on long after it’s become clear that nobody outside your tiny little echo chamber is impressed in the slightest.

      • people who claim to be members of the skeptical community

        I have never made such a claim.
        However, what I do claim is to be vitally interested in truth and reality. “Community” and any other tribal allegiances is precisely the exact problem here. Novella and others defending deliberately manufactured cultish behaviour, apparently through some perverted sort of personal allegience.

      • Whereas you’re defending a hate campaign and nitpicking my use of the phrase “people who claim to be members of the skeptical community” instead of “people who claim to be skeptics”, which would have worked equally well and doesn’t alter any of the points I made. Glad you’ve got your priorities straight.

      • I have never made claim to being a skeptic, either.
        But I am glad that I have my priorities straight, thank you.

  40. Somite says:

    In the end it is as simple as this. I will not listen or support you ever if you are rude to me even once. There are many many podcasts that we can choose to listen too and there is no need to put up with rude behavior from people that are supposed to be on the same side of the culture wars. Rebecca has a history of being rude and condescending and it is entirely within her right to do so. Some people might actually enjoy watching her being rude to other people. However, it is an unrealistic expectation that her targets will continue to support her work.

    To her dissidents I suggest you just stop quietly supporting her work and sponsor work from other people or environments that are more supportive of discussion.

    I will probably be equated to a rapist by saying this but I don’t enjoy reading about feminist issues and have come to loath PZs Twitter Tabloid report of the latest misogynistic loser. It may be that this subject is so rifled with opinion with an actual resistance to gather any data that makes it unpalatable to me as a subject of skepticism.

  41. John Greg says:

    Some of the challenges in this kind of debate include the following … and this is important, I think.

    One of the typical behaviours of gender feminists (and all strict ideologues), and their somewhat virulent supporters and backers, is to make certain specific arguments against another individual’s arguments or claims, and to then ignore the rebuttal and add on to the initial complaint with non sequitor.

    To wit:

    Poster B (the gender feminist/Watsonista/whatever) argues that points 1, 3, and 7 of poster A’s initial post are wrong/incendiary/etc.

    Poster A responds directly to those specific claims.

    Poster B responds but completely ignores and overlooks poster A’s specific and directed rebuttals, and then brings into the picture a suite of new complaints that may (or may not) have been in Poster A’s initial argument.

    Poster A responds directly to those new specific claims.

    Poster B then continues to ignore any and all of poster A’s rebuttals AND (and this is fundamentally critical), intentionally mis-states and mis-represents poster A’s argument and brings forth yet another new suite of complaints that may, or more likely may not, have any direct bearing on Poster A’s initial post.

    And so forth and so on.

    Endlessly.

    And this thread is pregnant with such tomfoolery.

    The theatrical and oh-so-exciting party of non sequitor, false dichotomy, misrepresentation, poisoning the well, et al.

    • Glad you’ve gotten your martyrdom narrative all nicely sorted out and your opponents all slotted into narrow little boxes that you can dismiss with a wave of your hand. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back over your accomplishments.

      In fact, despite *your* distortions and misrepresentations, a big part of the reason I find you and your allies so loathsome is that, even though your best “rational” arguments against Rebecca and her allies appear to consist primarily of a bunch of piddly-shit, over-interpreted nitpicking, you trumpet these claims with such enormous volume and at such obsessive length that it’s clear that all this is really about is hate. I don’t give a shit about “gender feminism” vs. “equity feminism” or any other bullshit ideology you want to claim is the organizing principle here.

      The only dog I have in this fight is that I’ve got no intention of letting a bunch of obsessive, whiny, hateful cranks set the tone or agenda for the skeptical movement. I think we can and should be better than this, and in order to become better than this, I think it’s on the rest of us to make it clear that the behaviors and attitudes you and your allies exhibit with regard to Rebecca are not welcome.

      In fact, I think a huge part of what’s wrong with what you’re doing is the fact that you’re making this an issue of supposed stark ideological divides rather than just taking a sane, moderated stance on the individual issues. Can’t you just look at what the major players in this blowup said and think, hey, you know what, maybe it *is* kinda better if d00ds don’t corner chicks in elevators at 4 AM to hit on them? And maybe Dawkins shouldn’t have trivialized western women’s concerns just because women in other places have it worse? Maybe Stef McGrath shouldn’t have participated in trivializing other people’s concerns, but maybe Rebecca should’ve been a little easier on her too? Maybe all these supposed skeptic d00ds shouldn’t have gotten their undies in such a massive wad over being asked to think about how their actions affect other people and in particular skeptic women? And maybe it *is* pretty fucking stupid that the internets had to asplode about this issue at all and build up all of these massive campaigns of resentment and demonization?

      The campaigns of demonization are what I see as the big divide between your side and the sane people. As I’ve noted before, there’s very little traction on the pro-Rebecca side for any attempts to drive people like Dawkins and ERV out of public fora, even though both of them said some pretty damn horrible things. And even Rebecca’s supporters will mostly still cite their opponents’ positive actions approvingly. Your side doesn’t seem to be able to manage anything like the same level of objectivity and fairness. All it seems to be about is nursing these tiny little grievances well past the point where everyone else is ready to move on to something more productive.

  42. Somite says:

    Ladies and gentlemen SMBC just gave us the contextualization fairy!

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2373

    This is how this became a gender issue.

    • What are you, amnesiac? It was a gender issue from day one. You know, the day when Rebecca said, “Hey, guys, don’t creepily follow women into elevators to proposition them at 4 AM?” and the d00dly entitlementsphere exploded in outrage at the notion that a woman might politely suggest that it’s not socially appropriate to hit on every single woman in the world in every possible context always regardless of her clearly stated preferences on the matter?

      • sacha says:

        “It was a gender issue from day one. You know, the day when Rebecca said, “Hey, guys, don’t creepily follow women into elevators to proposition them at 4 AM?”

        That was long after day one. Day one began when she began spewing vitriolic hatred against men on the podcast (which was when she joined the panel) and on the podium many years ago. Shaftgate was the icing on the cake. She amount of times she has cried wolf is too numerous to count.

        She is a media and an attention whore. This is nothing new.

        You clearly do not know any background on this issue, and you only want to argue for the sake of arguing. You must be extremely needy in order to want to get attention this way.

      • tmac57 says:

        I have listened to every episode of SGU,and I’m sorry,but I just don’t see it.

      • sacha says:

        Correction:

        She did not begin “by spewing vitriolic hatred against men on the podcast (which was when she joined the panel) and on the podium many years ago.”

        She began by being blatantly sexist, and it progressed from there. Her sexism has been discussed at Skeptic gatherings since the very beginning of her joining the SGU.

      • So what exactly is the “this” that’s only a gender issue because of contextualization fairies, Somite, if not the hate campaign that’s sprung up against Rebecca *since* Elevatorgate? Her public existence? The issue of sexism in the skeptical movement? I mean, seriously, if you’re going to jump in here with some kind of sweeping claim about “this” and then claim that that “this” isn’t the same “this” that everyone else is talking about, then you really need to introduce a little more context for your rant.

        I haven’t listened to SGU at all, but I’ve read Rebecca’s writing in the past (and since Elevatorgate) and I’ve never seen any of this alleged screechy horribleness and misandry from her. There are plenty of people who *are* SGU listeners who have commented here who don’t agree with you. And the sheer nastiness and obsessiveness of the campaign against her argues for that campaign being pretty solidly about gender issues, or at least some other form of irrational hatred.

        So clarify WTF you’re talking about and defend it, or quit whining about how you’re put upon just because everybody else recognizes how dumb it is to insist on having a survey before you can admit that there’s sexism among skeptics. Do you need a survey before you’re willing to believe that gravity operates outside your house just the same as it does inside your house too?

      • Oops, sorry, didn’t notice that was sacha defending Somite rather than Somite defending itself. Of course, this comment coming from sacha makes even less sense as a defense of Somite than it would coming from Somite. I mean, seriously, sacha, are you sure you’re even talking about the same referent that Somite is? ‘Cause it looks to me more like you’re dishonestly equivocating between different topics of conversation as a cheap trick to try to silence the people who don’t approve of your hate campaign, just like you want to silence Rebecca.

  43. tmac57 says:

    Maybe this would be a good time for everyone to review the comment policy for this blog:

    http://www.skepticblog.org/2008/11/03/skepticblog-comment-policy/

  44. JaneWilson says:

    Wow. As a relatively new skeptic, I had thought the movement be a bit different and a bit more grown up than the average online community, but it seems skeptics are no different than 4chan when it comes to fighting online.

    I think I’ll stick with my Aussie skeptic forums and podcasts. They seem to be able to talk and discuss without throwing their crap at the other monkeys. The US seems to have become utterly derailed by these childish fights.

    Just a thought: how many people do you think check out the forums and websites and get turned off by this kind of buffoonery?

    • I heartily endorse this comment.

    • John Greg says:

      A lot of folks involved in the online skeptic community have been going through some rough times lately in terms of getting along. There really has developed a sort of post-elevatorgate pro-Watson / anti-Watson kind of a schism — it does, of course, involve other issues as well. Maybe we’ll end up splitting into different groups like Ideological Skeptics vs. Semantic Skeptics, or something like that.

      I think comparing us to 4chan is going a bit far though. The majority of the posters in this thread have actually been calm, well spoken, polite, and rational. There is only a small contingent that has gotten a wee bit too hot under the collar.

      JaneWilson said:

      “The US seems to have become utterly derailed by these childish fights.”

      There may be some truth to that. It sometimes seems that the American posters have some fairly serious issues with both online anger management and with accepting dissent and/or disagreement as a valid, rational, logical point of view. Mind you, that could quite possibly be illusory as I don’t know that we really know the nationality of most posters.

      • Sheila says:

        That’s probably the sanest comment you’ve made so far.

      • I have to agree with Sheila here, John. If I hadn’t seen the other shit you’d posted here, much less the stuff you endorse at Greylining, I’d almost think you were a voice of reason. Why don’t you try being like this all the time instead of running obsessive hate campaigns against people? Then you might almost be able to aspire to the status of a decent human being.

      • Blaine says:

        Because he’s cozying up to Dunning :) Either he thinks some of Dunning’s cred will be reflected on him, or it’s another attempt to schmooze an admin here by appearing to be reasonable.

      • Do you have any actual facts with which to back that libellous remark?

      • Blaine says:

        Micheal Kingsford Gray, please explain where you see a libelous remark.

      • So is it libelous for him to accuse you of libel if you haven’t actually committed libel? :P

  45. Blaine says:

    I see a lot of defamation, and zero substance, so I’m just gonna call it for what it is; character assignation.

    John Greg’s stated purpose for being here was “to encourage Novella to dump Watson” (http://goo.gl/wmXCD), which sort of backfired after his cronies from greylining piled on over here (Astrokid, John D, Michael Kingsford Gray, The Devil’s Towelboy, Darren, ERV, scented nectar, sacha)… Steve answered their calls loud and clear, so why do they continue on about it? If they had a case it would have been presented by now. They haven’t backed up their assertions. They haven’t a leg to stand on. What they do have, in spades, is slander and half truths. What they’re on about is defamation, it really is, this a defamation of character campaign. They are not here for a “discussion”, or a “debate”, or a “dialogue” or whatever rhetoric JG feigns to cover his modus operandi. No, what they want is a lynching, they want to shut her up, they want to take her down a notch, they want a public flogging. They want to harm Rebecca Watson publicly and personally .They want the witch to BURN.

    I think cooler and leveler heads heads have already prevailed. The noise of EG is dying away. I don’t buy that there really are these hardcore RW and anti-RW camps. What I see is this tiny fringy group that has come out of the uproar. They lack much of an audience so they do a lot of jumping up and down, demanding attention. Its not that these guys don’t like RW which is weird, they’re entitled to their opinions, It is the level to which they HATE her. That’s the issue here. it is the unnatural obsession they have for her which is alarming.

    • Blaine says:

      *assassination. oops.

    • John Greg says:

      Blaine said:

      “I think cooler and leveler heads heads have already prevailed.”

      LOL.

      “No, what they want is a lynching, they want to shut her up, they want to take her down a notch, they want a public flogging. They want to harm Rebecca Watson publicly and personally .They want the witch to BURN.”

      Perhaps you could, you know, level-headedly make up your mind?

      I think it should be pointed out that almost all of the anti-Watson crowd in this thread have avoided using name calling, personal and irrelevant insults, false dichotomies, and ad homs, whereas most of the pro-Watson and/or anti the anti-Watson folk have used them with gleeful abandon. I think that speaks a lot.

      Blaine, I don’t hate Watson. I certainly no longer have any respect for her methods, ideology, style of rhetoric, and so on. But I don’t hate her.

      I think the numbers have some small but notable relevance. In this thread the breakdown, where clear, is approximately:

      Pro-Watson: 10 posters.
      Anti-Watson: 18 posters.

      Of course that’s not scientific, and there may very well be an error of +/- 1 or 2. Also, there is some confusion over some posters: For example, I don’t know if Sheila is pro-Watson, anti-Watson, somehwere in between, or just wants to be trollish (I did not count her in). Also, I am unclear whether or not Anne C. Hanna is pro-Watson or not — I think she is (I did count her in), but she may in fact just be anti the anti-Watson folk, which isn’t exactly the same thing. Same with Jason Loxton: I don’t know which, if any, side of this debate he’s on (I did not count him in).

      • Blaine says:

        Yep, that’s what this is about, a score… Settling a score. You and your cronies have a score to settle. You’re ridiculous. Remember to put me not in the “pro-Watson” category, but in the “anti-John Greg” category ;) I kid, I kid… Kind of.

      • “I think the numbers have some small but notable relevance. In this thread the breakdown, where clear, is approximately:

        Pro-Watson: 10 posters.
        Anti-Watson: 18 posters.”

        It tells me you’re operating at the emotional level of a high school student. You and your buddies have descended on a thread and the “opposition” doesn’t care enough about it to rally their own troops. You’re getting way too involved in a petty Internet popularity contest.

        Tell the truth, is Nancy Cornswalled right? Were YOU the guy in the elevator at 4:00 in the morning?

      • John Greg says:

        No, I am not Elevator Guy. I wish I was though, because then I’d be able tell Elevator Guy’s side of the anecdote — something that is wholly and woefully missing from the whole Elevatorgate mess — and we could then also determine whether or not Elevator Guy actually existed in the first place or was just a creation of Watson’s sodden nocturnal imagination.

        And for the record, any and all “score settling”, or tally counting, or whatever you want to call it is done simply for informational purposes only. My goodness, some of you folks will grasp at anything to hurl an insult over the wire.

      • I have to admit, I would love to hear Elevator Guy’s side of the story too, but probably not right now. If he’s anything like the shy, too-often-rejected, inadvertently-creepy nerd boys I knew as an undergrad, he’s probably too confused and upset by the outcome of his little romantic foray to have a coherent narrative right now. Probably what he needs most is some time to grow up a little bit, get a few more social skills, and figure out how to approach a woman he’s attracted to with a bit more grace and a bit less creeping her out.

        I really do feel a lot of empathy for guys like this. Some of them have been my very good friends, and a few of those friends did at some point make approaches to me that were very even more inept than EG’s approach to Rebecca. (Their only saving grace was that I knew and cared about them well enough by the time they hit on me that I feared hurting their feelings by rejecting them more than I feared for my safety.)

        But at the same time, these guys really do need to be told very forthrightly that certain kinds of behavior aren’t acceptable, because they really don’t know. And the longer they’re allowed to go on not knowing what they’re doing wrong, the more often and more horribly they fail, and the more confused and estranged they become. Sometimes they become depressed, sometimes they become angry and misogynist, but it’s never good for them, or for the women around them who are subjected to their bad behavior. And subtle hints don’t work, either, they just prolong the agony. The men who most need to hear this message tend to be really truly socially underdeveloped and often very literal-minded nerds, so you’ve really gotta be straight with them if you want them to get the message.

        I really think Rebecca did these poor kids a service by laying it out so plainly. She didn’t screech, she didn’t harangue, she didn’t call them terrible people. All she said was, don’t do this, it has a tendency to make women extremely uncomfortable, and it doesn’t get you what you want. Simple, elegant, and to the point, comprehensible by earnest yet socially inept men with poor social skills and confident yet thoughtless types alike. It really should’ve had the simple effect of making the skeptic community an ever-so-slightly happier place for men and women alike. But instead we get a witch-burning. So, you know, hey, at least that’ll keep us warm this winter.

      • Somite says:

        I really would like to know. How do you know you are right? How do you know that you represent all women and that this is precisely how all males should behave. Is there no instance where an impromptu approach in an elevator will lead to happiness to all those involved? Isn’t a simple “no thank you” enough to pay for the risk?

        What rubs wrong so many people is that both sides are so certain of their position when this is truly a grey area. What would minimize the issue is everyone’s understanding. Faux pas will occur; let’s be gentle about them. You can not make arbitrary rules based on opinion and what you believe.

      • Max says:

        This reminds me of every Seinfeld episode.

      • I never said I represent all women, Somite. Hell, I never even said Rebecca represents me. If EG had followed *me* into the elevator to proposition me, I probably would’ve just said no, thought he was weird and annoying, and gone back to my room to sleep without considering the matter further. This is mostly because I myself am a huge nerd, much like I conjecture EG to be, and consequently I also have a suppressed sensitivity to and interest in nuance in those kind of situations.

        But the point here is precisely that I *don’t* represent all women. There are some women who have different experiences from me and thus respond to those kind of situations differently. In fact, as evidenced by the female commentary on this issue, there aren’t just *some* women who feel this way, there are a bloody lot of women who feel this way. And the evidence on sexual assault suggests that they have some good reasons backing up their discomfort as well. I don’t see any good reason to trivialize these women’s concerns just because it’s not something that I personally spend a lot of time worrying about in my own life. And I especially don’t see any good reason to go on a hate crusade against Rebecca Watson just because she had the temerity to point out a concern that doesn’t rank very high in my own life.

        There’s also the point that even if you leave aside the question of whether these women’s sense of physical threat is well-founded, it’s still just completely socially back-assward to proposition a women you’ve never talked to at 4AM in a tiny enclosed space when she’s just announced that she’s exhausted and is going back to her room to sleep. Even I, though I probably wouldn’t have been seriously creeped out by the guy’s actions, would have still found him annoying, and it would’ve reduced the likelihood of me being interested in him at a later date.

        So while EG’s proposition may have been well meant, under the circumstances, it was really just dumb. I’m not going to say that it’s never in the history of the world going to ever be possible for a proposition like that to work to the benefit of everyone involved, but it’s got to be pretty rare, which means that what that guy did was overvalue the microscopic chance of having something sorta good happen compared to the much larger chance that he was going to, at best, make himself look like a really annoying dweeb and kill any chance he might have ever had of hooking up with Rebecca.

        The bottom line is that it was just the wrong way to do things. It was counterproductive for him, it was a really presumptuous imposition on her, and ultimately it was just stupid. It’s just not the way you hook up with someone that you actually respect and want to get to know better. Probably he was just drunk, or shy and awkward, or something like that, and he didn’t think about it very hard, but it still wasn’t good, and I really don’t see what the hell was wrong with Rebecca pointing that out, or with other people agreeing with her.

      • I’m anti-lynching, whether it’s literal or figurative. If that makes me anti-anti-Watson and/or pro-Watson, so be it. I couldn’t really care less. At the moment, the only thing that’s relevant is that it makes me anti-the-crap-that-John-Greg-and-his-allies-are-spewing.

  46. cynthia byrne says:

    I don’t think Rebecca needs to be anyone but herself and I totally agree with Anne C. Hanna. I personally have enjoyed Rebecca’s presence tremendously on SGU, and don’t like as much the episodes where she doesn’t appear. There are always men who cannot stand or understand a feminist point of view, and I think they are present in this discussion. But to get back to the 24 hour show, no one has answered (that I can see, but I got tired of wading through crap) whether there will be a recording that can be downloaded after. I can’t be around for the podcast, but don’t want to miss it.

  47. Out of curiosity, I just went and read through the JREF forum threads surrounding Rebecca getting banned over there. Rebecca’s behavior on those forums leading up to her banning is, if “Greylining” is to be believed, the really killer evidence for how terrible and, indeed, literally criminal she is. And… it turns out it was all a big load of internet teapot-tempest.

    The basic story seems to be that Rebecca played one silly joke that violated a forum rule and so received a month-long ban on the grounds that the rules apply equally to everyone even if the rule-breaking is funny. Then, when she got back, she immediately played another silly joke and got a permanent ban on the same grounds. A small number of people got super-outraged and righteous about her second joke because it involved use of accidentally-granted mod powers (all of her actions being easily reversible by other mods without any permanent damage of any kind, and all of this being done openly and teasingly rather than secretively or maliciously). Most other people seemed to think that what she did wasn’t terribly criminal, and many even agreed that it was funny. The ban was allowed to stand primarily because of an exaggeratedly fastidious sense over there that there can’t be any appearance of favoritism in applying forum rules. I presume this has something to do with a desire to be holier-than-thou with respect to all of the trolls with persecution complexes.

    These appear to be some of the major relevant forum threads, if anybody else cares to wade through it all:
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=114972
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=115065
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=112555

    So, really, she’s an evil criminal now because she screwed around on an internet forum? Grow the fuck up and check out the world outside your parents’ basement for once.

    • Oh, and you’ll need to sign up for a forum account to read most of those threads, if you don’t already have one. It may take a day or two to get mod approval for your account. Like I said, they’re *really* fastidious about their rules (including the one about no sockpuppets, even funny ones, which was Rebecca’s original transgression).

  48. Blaine says:

    Thanks for pulling those up Anne.

  49. NoWoo2 says:

    Having read this thread in its entirety (and being thoroughly disgusted), I want thank Anne C. Hanna for so effectively and tirelessly kicking ass.

    • Petria says:

      I second that. Thanks Anne.

    • Thanks, NoWoo. Sadly, despite all of that effort, probably no minds were changed in the making of this thread. My only hope is that perhaps at least some people will see that silencing campaigns like this anti-RW bullshit don’t work among skeptics, and maybe they’ll be a little bit less likely to try this on someone else the next time the internet asplodes. Probably not, though.

  50. JohnF says:

    SGU,

    Thanks for all the great work you all do.

    Please, keep fighting the fight. I have two daughters. The oldest is 6. The younger is 3. They need role models like you, as they grow up.

    Especially like Rebecca.

    Hang in there.

    JohnF

  51. Def-Star says:

    Hey, John. You are an obsessive stalker. You are creeping even me out and I am absolutely genuinely serious when I say this: you need help. Counciling, medication, or maybe even a respite from your computer. You are at this point gearing up to be the next Mabus. There is no shame in seeking out help. Maybe you don’t have health insurance? There public programs available if not through the State, then through your county or city of residence. I am completely serious here. You need help.

  52. I just saw this thread being referenced somewhere else and out of curiosity checked back to see if there’d been any activity on it recently or it had finally died, and… John Greg is still at it. Speaking of obsessions…

    • John Greg says:

      If you feel that my answering specific questions directed my way obsessive, go for it — it’s goofy, but have your fun.

      • John Greg says:

        LOL! That’s kind of incoherent — the burning stoopid often lights my chameleon up.

        Anyway, let me rephrase:

        Anne, Darling, if you feel that my answering a couple of specific questions that have been directed my way is somehow obsessive, go for it — it’s goofy, but have your fun.

    • Blaine says:

      Hi Anne, I just popped back over the same way you did. SGU-24 was a riot :) A good time all around. And it was also a week ago, and yet John Greg is still at it. Let sleeping dogs lie buddy. Let it go… I’ll probably bump into you and your nonsense again, John. Till then :P

      • John Greg says:

        So, Blaine, you would advise me to NOT answer respectful questions or requests for clarification?

        Surely if I did that you would then throw yet another wee hissy fit and start shouting about how much of a Bad Man I am because I didn’t respond?

        Or something like that?

        You seem a contradictory wee laddy indeed.

        Now, let’s see … both you and Anne are simply popping in to post yet one more insult at my expense, whereas I popped in to answer a specific question.

        Hmmm.

        OK, I’m kettle, you are…?

  53. Max says:

    The SGU-24 recordings are here:
    http://www.justin.tv/skepticsguide/videos

    I’m still watching it.

  54. Dennis says:

    I managed to see bits of this, it looked like great fun.

    To all you people having a pop at Rebecca, can’t you just drop it? Rebecca is a great member of the podcast and it’s great to have some intelligent women out there representing skeptics. There really aren’t enough.

    I went over to the greylining blog. What a load of trash! Call yourself skeptics? It’s just a hate campaign. Perhaps if you were doing something or producing some content, there is some danger you might be taken seriously. Ad hominum = FAIL.

    If you don’t like the SGU podcast, tough! Start your own! But you will need some credibility and whining about other skeptics will not give you that! You’re also going to get nowhere with the rest of the community if you think it’s ok for anyone not to be allowed an opinion if you disagree with it.

    Keep up the good work SGU! I’m going to watch some of the 24hr podcast now. Looking forward to some laughs after all this nonsense.