And thus, structurally, Richard Dawkins, or his distant cousin Richard D. Poe (I am still not sure) has shut down the argument that the Elevator Guy acted inappropriately when he asked Rebecca Watson over for a cuppa joe at four O’clock in the AM, in an elevator, while she was on her way to bed.

Imma let you read all about it by following the threads upstream, but in the meantime I want to point out the fallacy at work here. It’s called the Watch the Monkey strategy, and I’ve written about it before. I even drew a cute little picture of a monkey to illustrate the point. This comes from a South Park parody of Johnny Cochraine defnding OJ Simpson. No matter what argument anyone is making you can always derail it by holding up the cute monkey and waving it around while yelling “Watch the Monkey.”

Or, in actual practice, what you do is this: If you want to shut someone down who is saying something that makes you uncomforable, then you point out some other thing that has nothing whatsoever to do with what they are saying, but that either sounds more serious or is, perhaps, about a cute monkey or if no monkey is available, something, anything, furry. And having just come back from a science fiction and fantasy convention, when I say furry you might have a hard time imagining what I’m …. imagining. But I digress. Anyway, it works like this:

Stimulus: “Oh look, the Nuclear Power Plant is Melting Down

Response: “CAR ACCIDENTZ KILL THOUSANDS YEARLY!!!!’

-or-

Stimulus: “Guys, don’t ask a girl over to your crib while alone on an elevator at four AM in the morning when she’s already indicated she’s going to her room because she is tired and needs her sleep and recently gave a talk about sexism and stuff.”

Response: “MUSLIM WOMENZ GET THEIR GENITALS CUT OFF”

And now, Watch the Monkey:

That is all.

Comments

  1. #1 lido209boi
    July 3, 2011

    Stimulus: Rebecca shouldn’t have called Stef a misogynist/rapist sympathizer (which Stef isn’t and is no way at all evidence in her blog which she wrote about Rebecca) during a keynote speech where Stef isn’t allowed to respond back.

    Response: OMG STEF TOOK ATTENTION AWAY FROM REBECCA ELEVATOR INCIDENT AND REAL VICTIMS ARE THE GIRLS WHO GET RAPED IN ELEVATOR OKAY!!!?????

  2. #2 lido209boi
    July 3, 2011

    I really, really think its ironic that you would write a blog like this right after the previous blog where you’ve basically dismissed “imbalance of power and yada yada yada..” “I doubt anyone mistook Steph for rape-threatening commenters” and “The real victim here is the woman who was in some other elevator somewhere else in Ireland … And Steph was not victimized by Rebecca but she (Steph) certainly has drawn attention away from the key point”. On a topic that isn’t really even about rape victims or Rebecca’s elevator experience, but whether it was appropriate as a keynote speaker to call someone a misogynist sympathizer and lump them with rapists advocating comments in a presentation where they were present and had no way of responding. Whats more is that if the content was viewed, it was blatantly clear that the person being lumped with rapist advocating comments or being called a misogynist sympathizer wasn’t even that.

    I mean seriously, its blatantly clear here. You rip on Dawkins for committing this sort of red herring fallacy right after you’ve done the same thing yourself.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    Interesting comment, and yes, the situation has some severe inony to it.

    I have not argued that Rebecca should or should not have said anything or in any way modulated her message because of any power imbalance related to Steph. Nor have I said that Dawkins is unduely using his power. He simply said something that I disagree with and at the moment he’s the only Pharyngula commenter who is siding against Rebecca that I have a modicum of respect for, thus my response.

    This idea of a power imbalance upon power imbalance is certainly part of the discussion, but I have argued that the fora we have for making our points clear are pretty much open channels.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    To be more clear: There is only one issue here, and that is the question of whether or not it is reasonable to expect men to modulate their behavior in relation to others, in particular women, in contexts such as alone at 4 AM in an elevator etc. etc. … or, to put a finer point on it, should men not be dicks.

    Yet another irony is that Rebecca did not really make as big a deal of this as the deal that is being made to shut her down.

    And the point of the present post which perhaps is not as clear as it could be (because paint is not yet dry on my sarcasm?) is the logical fallacy made by “Dawkins.” His assertion that Rebecca does not have the right to engage in this conversation because women in Saudi Arabia are mutilated is not logical or reasonable.

    I would expect “Dawkins” to stop whatever he is doing and start working on the Saudi Women problem before taking up any other activities.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    And, by the way, I’m still waiting for Elevator Guy to show up and comment!!!!

  6. #6 Anyone
    July 3, 2011

    Dawkins acts just like what he is-a spoiled middle aged white guy exercising his privilege denying dude “rights”.
    He’s done this before, he’s a derailer and quite frankly, a bit of a douchebag.

  7. #7 lido209boi
    July 3, 2011

    You have not argued anything about what Rebecca should or should not have said or modulated her message in anyway? Your blog post about the incident starts off with, “Rebecca Watson did the right thing when she spoke about McGrew’s response too her (Watson’s) response to the Elevator Guy”.

    All throughout the blog and comments you are saying that what Rebecca did was right (although not the way you would have done it) and what Stef did was wrong (okay, you didn’t say what she did was wrong, but that it derailed from the issue), you link to another blog that argues the same point, I would think that you clearly shown that you were arguing that what Rebecca did was right.

    Now just like the example you use of Dawkins trivializing gender inequality here in the USA compared to Muslim countries, you’ve done the same to Stef. I would imagine that during a presentation about a topic, you would not expect to see your name pop up (I’m not saying Rebecca shouldn’t have used her name). But I can imagine how frustrated and powerless I would be if the start of a speech started off with a bunch of crude rape comments and then seeing my name/blog plastered right next to it. Then having the presenter in front of all of my peers call me a misogynist/rape sympathizer and a threat to feminism. All in front of my peers in the flesh, on stage, and there is nothing that I can do about it, no way for me to respond, they just have to take verbatim that I’m a misogynist/rape advocate.

    But I guess thats okay right? Stef can just go home after that presentation and accusations and blog about it. Its all fair and game.

    There is a reason why people there was pissed at Rebecca and I’m willing to bet its because most people who knew Stef there knew that she wasn’t what Rebecca painted her to be. They recognized that what she was accusing and lumping Stef on was inaccurate (regardless if you agreed with Stef’s blog about the elevator guy).

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    My statement that she did the right thing does not speak to tone. That she commented was her choice, and I support it. But that does not speak to tone (modulation).

    I don’t agree with Stef’s point. I think that’s clear.

    you link to another blog that argues the same point,

    Be careful with, in fact, don’t, attribute to my commentary what I link to. But if you are speaking of Barb’s post, yes, I basically agree with her.

    I would think that you clearly shown that you were arguing that what Rebecca did was right.

    Yes I did.

    Now just like the example you use of Dawkins trivializing gender inequality here in the USA compared to Muslim countries, you’ve done the same to Stef.

    No. Rebecca was right. Steph was wrong. Richard was wrong. You are confusing structure of arguments with content and meaning.

    I would be if the start of a speech started off with a bunch of crude rape comments and then seeing my name/blog plastered right next to it.

    The problem with using a spectrum to illustrate a point is that you are handing those who might disagree a furry monkey.

    Stef can just go home after that presentation and accusations and blog about it. Its all fair and game.

    I would go to the mat any day to help ensure that Stef has a forum for response. But I think she probably has that. No, she does not just go home. She keeps talking, I would hope.

    lido: I’m curious, you’re making strong and rather detailed statements about Rebecca’s talk. Did you see it?

  9. #9 lido209boi
    July 3, 2011

    No I wasn’t there, atheist/skeptic conferences aren’t my thing (never been to one). Its not really detailed, everything that I said comes from the blog post of Stef and Rebecca’s account of what transpired. I think the only detail that I claimed was that Rebecca showed a bunch of vulgar rape comment and followed it up Stef’s blog and calling her a sympathizer. While some comments from people who were there did claim that Rebecca spent thirty minute building up to the point where the two minute of outing Stef came, I’ll disregard that in skepticism.

    I’m making some rather strong statements because I’ve experienced something akin to that in the past from a professor. Of course I wouldn’t be commenting on any of these blogs just because of that since I’m usually just a silent reader, but just as you’ve said about Dawkin, I guess you can say that I enjoy your blog and the various others here on sciblog (emphasis on Pharyngula which I read every morning) and other sites. As you’ve said the reason for your response is that you have some shred of respect for Dawkin, I guess the reason for my strong response is in part due to a related experience, but more so the reason is that I respect the writers (PZ, ERV, this blog) of these blogs and am in a total disagreement with them.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    Cool.

    Maybe this will all get sorted out at the next atheist/skeptics or whatever meeting!

  11. #11 sailor
    July 3, 2011

    RD is a very powerful voice in the “reality based” community. As such he has a special responsibility to use his position for education and the good of the community.
    His public use of cheap sarcasm to criticize another person in the ungodly community is (quite apart from being a logically bizarre)in poor taste and unkind. If he wanted to pull that privately that would be another thing. He has lowered himself in my estimation, which is a shame because we only have a handful of really well-known advocates. I say this and I have not been studying this whole fiasco at all, but I cannot imagine any circumstances in which these public comments would be justified.

  12. #12 peter
    July 3, 2011

    I can understand Dawkins when he seems exasperated about a justified, but in the context of how the majority of women world wide are treated minor complaint about the behaviour of some oaf, blown out of all proportion.

  13. #13 Tree
    July 3, 2011

    Response: OMG! Furries! At a Con! ROTF!

    Really, I haven’t gotten past that bit yet. Were y’all having a Serious Talk?

    Oh Noes! Serious Cat!

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    July 3, 2011

    Peter, do keep in mind though that the complaint was not especially blown out of proportion, who is it for you or me or anyone else to tell Rebecca how uncomfortable she gets to feel, and that the blowing out of proportion …. which has happened … really occured as a matter of telling a woman who claimed discomfort for being accosted on an elevator to quiet down.

    Tree, I know, I know but really ,there were very few furries this year because the steampunk theme nudged them out.

  15. #15 bks
    July 4, 2011

    Women live longer and healthier lives than men in Western society. Probably because they get to pull shit like this and are taken seriously. Men and Women are supposed to have sex. It’s the main driver for the entire human experience. And real feminists don’t use the word “chick”.

    –bks

  16. #16 Reed Esau
    July 4, 2011

    Monkeys notwithstanding, it’s at least a false dilemma to imply that one must choose between fixing global and local problems.

    However, having read between the lines of RD’s original sarcastic post, it appeared to me that he was frustrated with what he sees as a near-absence of concern for the victims of religion among many (most?) of those worked-up over the reaction to the elevator incident.

    As to what a proportionate balance of concern should be, global versus local, I’ve not a clue.

  17. #17 gwen
    July 4, 2011

    To those disagreeing with Rebecca–we were not there, to put down her interpretation of the interaction is extremely paternalistic, condescending, and you may as well call her a liar.
    bks–you are an ass, and that is the nicest thing I can say about your comment.

  18. #18 Charles Sullivan
    July 4, 2011

    I do recall Dawkins having some odd lines in some of his older books.
    At least once (if I recall correctly) he used the female pronoun in relation to an unspecified gendered person who might be bad or evil (i.e. “she” as opposed to “he”),and then he’d ponder whether women should mind this turn of play here, since it’s an unspecified gender, and fair is fair.

    It seemed rather spiteful to me. It will take forever to search it out, and it is old, but I don’t want to hold Dawkins to his old views, but one wonders if his consciousness has been sufficiently raised in relation to women and their general vulnerability.

  19. #19 Radioactive afikomen
    July 4, 2011

    Ah, the “somewhere something bad is happening” argument. The closest I ever came to seeing it as a legitimate argument was during a reductio ad absurdum of extreme utilitarianism.

    (And this reminds me of the equivalent fallacy in fiction writing, where the author writes “meanwhile, [someplace far away]“, to transition to something not even tangentially related to the previous paragraphs.)

  20. #20 Christian
    July 4, 2011

    Here is what I don’t like about the whole discussion: Assume that I would be afraid of beeing victimized by a black street gang and that I could point to crime statistics and media reports to prove that such gangs not only exist but that they actually pose a real threat. It would still be wrong to complain about a black guy who walked past me on the sidewalk while doing absolutely nothing, claiming, that he should have known that I would percieve his walking towards me or his looking at me etc. pp. as a threat. My best guess is that such a complaint might even be seen as racist. To claim that a man should not enter an elevator alone with a woman – as some of the commentators over at PZ did – strikes me as equally wrong.

    Notice, that I am not disputing that it was pretty stupid to hit on the woman and that it was even stupider and quite demeaning to her to assume that she might just follow a complete stranger to his hotel room for “coffee”. No guy with good manners or at least some basic decency would have done so. This whole story is, however, totaly unrelated to the claim, that a man could not enter an elevator next to a woman without makeing her feel threatened.

  21. #21 informania
    July 4, 2011

    “It’s the main driver for the entire human experience”

    I take this as evidence for your dick doing all of your thinking; and of course, you do sound like a dick

  22. #22 informania
    July 4, 2011

    Also, an important point to the initial situation is if the guy was truly interested in her mind, he would have expressed his interest in a more subtile fashion by inquiring if she would be interested in discussing given topic a bit further another time; maybe ask if she would be interested in maintaining a conversation via e-mail or such.
    He’d still be hitting on her, but it wouldn’t be the “lets fuck” equivalent it ended up to be.

    Eventhough it still wouldn’t make sence to do so in a confined and potentially threatening situation, like an otherwise empty elevator.

  23. #23 informania
    July 4, 2011

    -c+s for the one I caught

  24. #24 Orac
    July 4, 2011

    However, having read between the lines of RD’s original sarcastic post, it appeared to me that he was frustrated with what he sees as a near-absence of concern for the victims of religion among many (most?) of those worked-up over the reaction to the elevator incident.

    In other words, Dawkins was concern trolling?

  25. #25 bks
    July 4, 2011

    I can’t believe I have to defend the primacy of the sex drive on a blog devoted to life science and culture! (And an atheist’s blog at that.) If you’re hanging out at the bar in your high-heeled shoes, wearing your low-neck sweater … well you don’t need Ernst Mayr to explain the situation.

    Spontaneous sexual encounters can be bad or good, but when they’re good they’re the best. Maybe elevator guy gets slapped a lot but he probably scores more than the repressed guy who starts pretending to be doing something important with his iPhone every time he sees an attractive woman.

    –bks

  26. #26 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm5UbdajNPPy1Ue7LfSyPMNiC_SsiUrHj0
    July 4, 2011

    Christian, that’s exactly the point: The guy WASN’T just some dude standing in an elevator with her by chance, in silence, or making casual conversation. He was in the elevator and made obvious remarks with obvious intentions. And all Rebecca said was that is isn’t acceptable and also that it is creepy. The subsequent concern was that anyone who disagrees that this (shamelessly asking a stranger-woman for sex in that situation) isn’t acceptable behavior towards a woman (and that it’s fucking creepy) has a rather screwed view of equality and certainly no understanding of women.

    If you need to make a bad analogy with race, it would be more like asking a whole gang of black people (not just one black person!) to please not make violent implications at you and your friend while you’re both walking past, regardless of whether they have any intentions of actually beating you up – because it is scary when someone does that.

  27. #27 jlxn
    July 4, 2011

    I think PZ does a pretty good job of explaining it in his response to Richard Dawkins, the second half of his blog post “Oh, no, not again…once more unto the breach”

  28. #28 Irene Delse
    July 4, 2011

    @ Orac #24: Oooh, nice one.

  29. #29 informania
    July 4, 2011

    “Spontaneous sexual encounters can be bad or good, but when they’re good they’re the best. Maybe elevator guy gets slapped a lot but he probably scores more than the repressed guy who starts pretending to be doing something important with his iPhone every time he sees an attractive woman.”

    If we’re going to talk biology I’d like to point out primate females tend to show interest by seeking out vicinity of a male of interest. Attempts you refer to are mostly fultile unless you count cases of rape (of possibly excessively drunk victims) to the average elevator guys score.
    Women need space and at least the idea of initiative, else expect to get slapped in the mouth every time!

  30. #30 informania
    July 4, 2011

    -l :)

  31. #31 informania
    July 4, 2011

    So I’ll just see your sexdrive and I raise you a sexual conflict.

  32. #32 bks
    July 4, 2011

    Informania: Yes most attempts at getting laid are futile and the successes are infrequent. But the successes do happen and that’s what keeps men building empires, playing the guitar and tattoing their necks. I’d say that being in the elevator strongly implies being “in the vicinity”.

    Greg could post articles about cortical inheritance in ciliates and he’d get two responses (one from me, and one from someone saying “Wow, that’s weird”) but if he posts an article about sexual overtones in encounters between men and women, the pulse quickens and the comments stack is tumid.

    –bks

  33. #33 Mike Haubrich
    July 4, 2011

    Women live longer and healthier lives than men in Western society.

    Since women live longer, they are obligated to have sex with any guy that wants it. Logical. Sensible.

    “Hi. You may not like me but we have to have sex in order to further the human species.”

    “Since you put it that way, I don’t want to but I can’t say no.”

  34. #34 bks
    July 4, 2011

    You can’t always get what you want, Mike, but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.

    –bks

  35. #35 daedalus2u
    July 4, 2011

    This is a good example that pretty much all icons have feet of clay, and is why even icons need to be called on their behavior and held to the same standard that we hold ourselves and everyone else to. No less, and no more.

    If the group’s icon is really iconic of the group they are in, they will accept that they screwed up, will change their behavior, learn from it and the icon and the group will move on. The icon and the group will both be stronger for it.

    If the icon doesn’t accept that they screwed up, and instead tries to morph the ideals of the group to conform to what the icon did, then the icon and the group grows weaker.

    If the group tries to pull the icon down, using non-group ideals, so that a new icon with different ideals can take his/her place, then the group becomes weaker and less reflective of the original ideals of the group.

  36. #36 P Smith
    July 4, 2011

    In a word, ouch.

    It’s called a no-win situation because everybody ends up looking like losers…even when all parties involved have (or think they have) good intent or good arguments.

    I’m sure some rightwingnuts are going to view this as fodder for their idiocy despite their attitudes towards women being worse than the accusations being hurled in this furore.

    .

  37. #37 Stephanie Z
    July 4, 2011

    bks, in addition to demonstrating why it’s entirely understandable that you think pestering women is the only way to get sex, you’re dead wrong about life expectancy. Males die sooner for a number of reasons throughout their lives: sex-linked genetic defects, societally encouraged risk-taking behavior, work-related accidents, lack of estrogen to protect the heart, avoiding doctors, etc. Many of them have to do with sexism. None of them have to do with a woman saying, “Back off, creep.”

    On the upside, that’s good news for you.

  38. #38 daedalus2u
    July 4, 2011

    P Smith, I agree. This is nothing like having an affair with the wife of one of your staffers and long time family friends and then paying hush money and exerting influence to get him employment. It is also nothing like cheating on Wife #1 and then Wife #2, and then annulling both marriages to marry Wife #3. Which I guess makes the prior adultery not adultery for reals because those marriages were annulled.

  39. #39 P Smith
    July 4, 2011

    daedalus2u: ,i>” This is nothing like…”

    http://images.t-nation.com/forum_images/8/d/8de09-NotSureIfSerious.jpg

  40. #40 bks
    July 4, 2011

    Stephanie Z.,

    Willie Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” Men pester women because that’s where the egg is. Some women might be distressed if they hung around a bar in a hotel in a foreign country till 4 in the morning and did not get pestered.

    Sometimes you hold the door for a woman and she smiles, sometimes you hold the door for a woman and she goes of on you for being a male chauvinist pig. Sometimes it’s the same woman.

    I blame our true overlords, the mitochondria.

    –bks

  41. #41 Susannah
    July 4, 2011

    bks #40:
    As I understand it, EG did not “pester” Rebecca. Instead, he hung around the bar all night, without talking to her, and waited until he had her alone in an elevator before he made his move. That, in itself, is enough to make his behaviour scary.

  42. #42 Stephanie Z
    July 4, 2011

    Poor bks. You have no idea just how much hot monkey sex there is in cultures of equality, do you?

  43. #43 dmab
    July 4, 2011

    @pzmyers for lying intolerant sh*thead myers

    WHACKANATHEIST

  44. #44 bks
    July 4, 2011

    Stephanie: “Cultures of equality?” Codswallop!

    Susannah: You seem to know more details of the elevator interlude than I’ve seen revealed by the one participant who has commented. Woman’s intuition?

    –bks

  45. #45 Greg Laden
    July 4, 2011

    Susannah’s characterization is correct, and though I can’t be sure I’m not confusing what I’ve heard vs. what I’ve read, I think what she says is indeed in print and from people who were in fact there.

  46. #46 Stephanie Z
    July 4, 2011

    I think Rorshach’s is the most complete eyewitness account of the pre-elevator situation: http://furiouspurpose.me/2011/07/02/a-storm-in-a-blog-teacup-or-how-stef-mcgraw-spectaculary-missed-the-point/ Is it possible Elevator Guy wasn’t part of the bar crowd? That he just happened to be getting on the hotel elevator with her at 4 a.m. without having been part of the bar crowd? Allow me to refer you to Russell’s Teapot. Similarly, it is possible he missed Rebecca speaking earlier about not wanting to be hit on, but, well….

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    July 4, 2011

    Just to be clear, in case Stephanie was being too subtle, the more EG was not involved in the evening’s work the more he starts looking like a potential rapist.

    And, once again I note: Is he reading this stuff? I keep expecting him to pop up in the comments somewhere.

  48. #48 bks
    July 4, 2011

    We know nothing of how he came to be in the elevator with Watson, nor of how long he was in the bar. Not that it matters. He didn’t attack her, he didn’t threaten her, he didn’t touch her. In the panoply of possible male/female interactions, I’d say his behavior was admirably moderate. I doubt that it is even fair to characterize it as “pestering”.

    –bks

  49. #49 Stephanie Z
    July 4, 2011

    Yes, bks, we know that you consider ignoring a woman’s stated desires to be “moderate.” That’s what makes you a creep.

  50. #50 bks
    July 4, 2011

    Now elevator guy is supposed to be aware of all of Watson’s desires? What did she do, announce it over the Tannoy?

    –bks

  51. #51 Stephanie Z
    July 4, 2011

    bks, you’ve already been answered on that one. Asking again just makes you boring and irrelevant in addition to creepy.

  52. #52 wanderinweeta
    July 4, 2011

    Greg,

    Susannah’s characterization is correct, and though I can’t be sure I’m not confusing what I’ve heard vs. what I’ve read, I think what she says is indeed in print and from people who were in fact there.

    Thank you. Yes, I read it, somewhere in the thousands of comments and assorted posts on the topic, among them, Rorshach’s comment.

    “Woman’s intuition?”! Sheesh! That’s usually an short form of “I haven’t been paying attention, so I don’t understand how you could know that.”

  53. #53 Dude. Sweet.
    July 4, 2011

    This whole Watson/Graf/Elevator Guy/Rapist/ERV/PZ debacle is more evidence that feminism has completely jumped the shark.

  54. #54 Dude. Sweet.
    July 4, 2011

    This whole Watson/Graf/Elevator Guy/Rapist/ERV/PZ debacle is more evidence that feminism has completely jumped the shark.

  55. #55 Dude. Sweet.
    July 4, 2011

    This whole Watson/Graf/Elevator Guy/Rapist/ERV/PZ debacle is more evidence that feminism has completely jumped the shark.

  56. #56 Greg Laden
    July 4, 2011

    That’s usually an short form of “I haven’t been paying attention, so I don’t understand how you could know that. FTW

  57. #57 lido209boi
    July 4, 2011

    @26

    WTF? You’re going to call someone out for equality when you proceed to make a stereotypical racial remark?

    First of all guy in the elevator did not say “lets have sex”. Secondly, not all gang (I’m going to interpret this as ‘group’ since there is no way for you to know if they are gang bangers because being black, big, and tall with tattoos does not make you a gang member) of black men are violent. Your analogy suggest that any group of black men hanging out are automatically out there to physically harm you, is just racial stereotype. THEREFORE IF YOU ARE BLACK AND BIG, HANGING WITH A FEW OF YOUR FRIENDS, DON’T TALK TO ME, EVER! CAUSE Y’ALL SCARY! I DON’T CARE IF YOU AREN’T VIOLENT!

  58. #58 wanderinweeta
    July 5, 2011

    Here’s documentation for my statement about EG:

    basically, in an elevator in Dublin at 4AM I was invited back to the hotel room of a man I had never spoken to before and who was present to hear me say that I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed.

    Rebecca, writing on her blog at On naming names…

  59. #59 bks
    July 5, 2011

    Watson’s quote is quite hard to accept at face value. They had never spoken but he “was present” when she announced that she was exhausted. I’m trying to imagine what an egoist Watson must be if she assumes that everyone present in a bar hangs on her every word.

    –bks

  60. #60 Paul Murray
    July 6, 2011

    “Rebecca shouldn’t have called Stef a misogynist/rapist sympathizer (which Stef isn’t and is no way at all evidence in her blog which she wrote about Rebecca) during a keynote speech where Stef isn’t allowed to respond back.”

    Because this is an *ABUSE OF POWER*.

  61. #61 informania
    July 6, 2011

    @ bks
    The guy followed her into the elevator, that’s not her choice of vicinity is it?

    Plus you sound like a rapist to me, with all those dumb excuses. Or at least you’re so full of shit my dog would be most certainly ashamed to walk you.

    “Boohoo, y’all don’t comment here on a regular basis so you shouldn’t be allowed to expose my utter stupid”
    Obviously also makes no sense at all.

  62. #62 NeuralCulture
    July 8, 2011

    @Info: Have we really went so far as to accuse those who disagree with us of being rapists?

  63. #63 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    Pointing out that someone says the same things rapists say (and there a decent body of literature on that topic) is not calling someone a rapist.

  64. #64 NeuralCulture
    July 8, 2011

    What exactly is a thing that rapists say?

  65. #65 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    I’ll just Google that for you, shall I, so it won’t be an imposition? http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=rapist+interviews&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=1%2C24&as_sdtp=on

  66. #66 NeuralCulture
    July 8, 2011

    Steph, I see that subtlety is lost on you. Linking to random Google pages dosn’t answer my question, though I guess it appeals to your sense of bravado, and that’s probably worth something. Since you obviously seem confused, should I perhaps reword the question?

    What is it that a rapist says that a non-rapist cannot?

  67. #67 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    Wrong question. The appropriate question, to which the Scholar link is very appropriate, is what do non-rapists say that support the belief of rapists that all guys are just like them and the related belief that what they do is thus okay.

    If you prefer your links succinct, try this one: http://dbzer0.com/blog/feminists-dont-think-all-men-are-rapists-rapists-do

  68. #68 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    Also, call me Stephanie.

  69. #69 NeuralCulture
    July 8, 2011

    Stephanie, perhaps you are new to this whole civil discussion thing, but it isn’t for you to say what is, and is not, the “right” question. Well, at least no one but yourself has any reason to care what you think it is, anyway. You don’t have to answer my question if you don’t want to, but I’m not interested in hearing the answer to a question I didn’t ask.

  70. #70 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    NeuralCulture, the question is wrong because it’s meaningless. Anyone can say anything. If you want a question that will give you an answer, you’ll want to know what people actually do say. If you’re interested in an answer.

  71. #71 NeuralCulture
    July 8, 2011

    Now we’re getting somewhere!

    If “anyone can say anything” then implying that bks is a rapist because he “says the same things rapists say” becomes pretty damn meaningless itself.

    This is why I think subtlety is lost on you.

  72. #72 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2011

    Congratulations, NeuralCulture on reading exactly as far and as much as you wanted to in order to convince yourself. I’m pretty sure a clue-by-four would be lost on you.

  73. In abortion rights, it’s “What about the BAYBEEZ?!?”

  74. #74 Chris Willett
    July 10, 2011

    Why I stand with Dr. Richard Dawkins:

    The skeptic community is embroiled in an acrimonious debate concerning whether “Elevator Guy” was obtuse and harmless or sexist and harassing in his overture to Ms. Watson in an elevator in Dublin. When I arrived to this debate, quite late, “Elevator Guy” had been repeatedly insulted and his motives thoroughly debated (in commentary long on assumptions and emotional intensity and short on facts). Some “feminists” derided his actions as sexist and emphasized the potential for sexual assault, citing statistics and research on rape. Others, siding with Dr. Dawkins, argued that this perspective constitutes “hysteria” (admittedly a sexist term) and serves not to elevate women, but to demean men by presupposing that they are all potential rapists. Some “feminists” shot back by accusing their opponents of ignorance on issues of sexism and male privilege.

    While I certainly do not doubt or have any desire to minimize the experiences of Ms. Watson and other women who repeatedly receive unwanted sexual advances (and threats), I believe that the entire issue is overblown.

    First, I disagree with the notion that this event was unquestionably an act of sexism:

    Sexism is the belief (and more importantly, the differential treatment that results from such belief) that one sex is superior to the other. In the American historical context, men have long been (incorrectly, obviously) regarded as superior to women. (Undoubtedly, Christian doctrine played a large part in promoting this view.) It is clearly apparent that “Elevator Guy” dismissed Ms. Watson’s statements concerning her discomfort with unwanted male pursuit and her intent to retire for the evening. He is thus rightly chided for being obtuse, selfish, and disrespectful. Concluding that his actions were sexist, however, requires demonstrating that he disregarded Ms. Watson’s stated intentions because of her sex. While there is certainly a long history of men ignoring women’s preferences concerning sexual advances, I am not convinced that the fact of this history alone is sufficient grounds to state with certainty that “Elevator Guy” is sexist or misogynist.

    I also resent the assertion that my position is patently callous or sexist. I recognize that I not only enjoy male privilege, but that I also experience what could be termed “double male privilege” due to my sexual orientation. As a gay man, I do not relate intimately with women and thus am unaware of the personal concerns that they may express only in the privacy of their romantic relationships. Nor must I heed such concerns when pursuing romance, since I pursue men. Nevertheless, I remain unconvinced that merely believing that this issue is overblown makes me (or Dr. Dawkins) ignorant or insensitive concerning issues of sex inequality.

    Certainly men must recognize the legitimacy of female discomfort in enclosed spaces. But when some “feminists” suggest that “polite” and “considerate” men decline opportunities to enter an elevator in which a woman stands alone, I do not see an argument promoting respect and equality for women. Instead, I see a rather insulting assertion that women are frightened, helpless, victims-in-waiting unable to defend themselves. This perspective also limits men – presumably even gay ones like me – by implying that a woman’s right to not feel any level of discomfort, whether justified or not, transcends a man’s right to ride in the elevator. This is not equality; this is a reversal of who has privilege.

    Second, and much more importantly, I believe that Dr. Dawkins has been unfairly pilloried:

    Dr. Dawkins entered the debate shortly after it began, sarcastically comparing the incident to the appalling oppression of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies. I believe he intended to express that the incident hardly merits the attention it has received. After his comment was widely panned, Dr. Dawkins clarified his position, requested additional information, and acknowledged that he could be mistaken. Whatever your opinion of his tone, a close reading of his three comments does not reveal him to be the domineering misogynist he has been made out to be.

    But I am no longer chiefly concerned with my ability to convince others of my perspective on whether or not the elevator proposition was sexist. A much more pressing matter is the extreme, divisive reactions that Ms. Watson and some of her supporters have recently posted on Skepchick. In “The Privilege Delusion,” Ms. Watson refers derisively to Dr. Dawkins as a “stinking rich” “wealthy old heterosexual white man,” states that she will boycott his work, and thanks her supporters for “bravely battling [Dawkins] and the hoards of clueless privileged people who didn’t get it.” The open letters to Dr. Dawkins are more severe: “I look forward to watching your legacy crash and burn,” wrote Mindy, who concluded with “you don’t get a second chance.” Another letter opened with “Dear Dick” and accused Dr. Dawkins of making the skeptic community “blatantly unsafe” for women.

    Language such as this, dripping with negative emotional reactivity, eclipses the legitimate perspective the writers wish to express, reveals as hypocrites those who have targeted Dr. Dawkins for his tone, and threatens to split apart a movement that already has more than enough challenges. (Dr. Dawkins now faces retribution in the actual press.) Further, the ferociousness of the accusations of sexism and misogyny directed at Dr. Dawkins and others only serves, rightly or wrongly, to provide ammunition to the real “men’s rights activists” out there who believe that feminism is about revenge rather than equality.

    We can do better than this. The first responsibility of any skeptic is to be skeptical of his own perspective. That ability, along with a healthy dose of modesty and humility, has been abandoned in recent days. It is long past time to either debate this issue reasonably or simply let it go.

  75. #75 Greg Laden
    July 10, 2011

    The skeptic community is embroiled in an acrimonious debate concerning whether “Elevator Guy” was obtuse and harmless or sexist and harassing in his overture to Ms. Watson in an elevator in Dublin.

    No, we’re not. Nobody is arguing over his harmlessness or obusosity. Most people figure he was harmless but clueless, and it is his cluelessness that led Rebecca to make the comments she made.

    The argument we are having is whether or not Rebecca should have just sucked it up and shut up or made a case for improving awareness in our admittedly benighted community of people who think they know so much “truth” that they need not be self reflective of what they don’t know.

    Some “feminists” derided his actions as sexist and emphasized the potential for sexual assault, citing statistics and research on rape

    Nope, not that either. The discussion of sexual assault is part of a broadening discussion on why women are already primed in our society to pay attention to what is going on around them especially with Y-chromosomes involved. That discussion did not need to happen if the men in the metaphorical room had a clue, but mostly, since they are benighted skeptics, they don’t.

    Others, siding with Dr. Dawkins, argued that this perspective constitutes “hysteria” (admittedly a sexist term)

    So you are just coming out and admitting that you are a sexist. I can respect you for seeing this in yourself and I will be standing by waiting to help you get past this stage in your personal maturation.

    While I certainly do not doubt or have any desire to minimize the experiences of Ms. Watson and other women who repeatedly receive unwanted sexual advances (and threats), I believe that the entire issue is overblown.

    Why did you bother with the first part of that paragraph/sentence if you were going to invalidate it with the second part?

    The rest of your post is hanging out too far on the limb of your own faulty premises to justify further spilled eInk.

  76. #76 Kristoff
    July 10, 2011

    Hey Greg

    What if (hypothetically) I knew someone who, for one reason or another, thought people had it out for him and saw eyes staring at him from the ceiling and skeletons on the walls. Mind you, he couldn’t get off an elevator to escape. (Not that I actually know anyone like this or anything but) these kinds of things would (in principle) follow him around everywhere and make him repulsive to other people as well.

    Somehow, his situation seems a lot worse than “Elevatorgate” but he’s a Privileged Male™, so of course he can’t go around complaining about it. (And who would complain, with the awesome Privilege™ of having Testicles™? Surely they negate any other obstacles you might have in front you.)

    Just by the by: if women want respect, they need to conduct to themselves in a manner that commands respect. That includes “keeping calm and carrying on”, just as is expected of men. Not being catty is a plus as well.

  77. #77 Stephanie Z
    July 10, 2011

    Kristoff, I write science fiction, but frankly, that sucks as a real-world scenario. Guys following women around is far more believable. Also, where have you found the guys in this discussion who were keeping calm and carrying on (in any sense but talking at lenth)?

  78. #78 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    “Kristoff, I write science fiction, but frankly, that sucks as a real-world scenario.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizotypal_personality_disorder

    Yes, it does suck as a real world scenario.

    Glad we could come to agreement on this issue.

  79. #79 DuWayne
    July 11, 2011

    Stephanie –

    Not fiction. Though rare, there are plenty enough people who have that experience due to any of four or five neurological disorders.

    Kristoff –

    Men are more than welcome to complain about issues like that and no one i know would say anything about male privilege. Indeed if anyone made a similar dismissal of that person’s experience, that several men are here, I would be all about talking to them about their privilege.

    As a by and by, I actually do know people like that and don’t find it particularly reasonable to use them in this kind of an argument.

  80. #80 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    Men are more than welcome to complain about issues like that and no one i know would say anything about male privilege.

    Allegedly. According to you, maybe. In fact, we’re expected to shut up by society. Because of our great Privilege™ of course.

    As a by and by, I actually do know people like that and don’t find it particularly reasonable to use them in this kind of an argument.

    Why not?

    Equal rights, equal duties.

    This means not whinging. That applies to women, too.

    (And don’t even get me started on the Selective Service.)

  81. #81 Stephanie Z
    July 11, 2011

    DuWayne, I think you may have missed that Kristoff is comparing neurological disorders to women being aware of their surroundings. I’m not the one confusing delusion for reality.

  82. #82 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    “DuWayne, I think you may have missed that Kristoff is comparing neurological disorders to women being aware of their surroundings.”

    Being asked for coffee is not likely to blow up into sexual assault / rape.

    (For what it’s worth, I don’t expect anyone to indulge my paranoia either.)

  83. #83 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    “But isn’t how the individual feels about the threat what matters?”

    That’s what I’ve been hearing over the past few days.

    However, accommodating paranoia is obviously untenable. I can’t even imagine what it would take to gratify my own.

  84. #84 Stephanie Z
    July 11, 2011

    Kristoff, what exactly are the statistics for risk of being raped by a man who invites you to his hotel room in the middle of the night after you’ve spent the evening explaining how you don’t want to be hit on? And how does that compare to the real-life incidence of eyes on the ceiling and skeletons in the walls?

  85. #85 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    Kristoff, what exactly are the statistics for risk of being raped by a man who invites you to his hotel room in the middle of the night after you’ve spent the evening explaining how you don’t want to be hit on?

    Probably pretty small, according to Bayes’ theorem.

    P(rape|being on an elevator) = P(being on an elevator|rape) * P(rape) / P(being on an elevator)

    If we assume the likelihood is unity (very generous), then the equation reduces to P(rape on a given day) / P(being on an elevator).

    If you compare the number of times you’ve been on an elevator to the numbers of times you’ve been raped, I’m pretty sure you’ll find that fraction to be rather small.

    Now, you could qualify that by, saying, “she wasn’t just on an elevator, but it was 4 AM, and said a lot about not wanting to be hit on [not that we actually know this guy was hitting on her but I'll ignore that], and was in Dublin, at a skeptics conference, in the year 2011, is white, wears glasses”, etc. but then the likelihood term would shrink to compensate for those factors as well, leaving you with another tiny fraction.

    I would imagine, furthermore, that a reasonably intelligent individual would be unlikely to commit a violent crime in a hotel which most likely has security cameras all over and patrons who might overhear a struggle, but that’s just me.

    In the case that you’re a typical skeptic who is more apt to bash religion and other dissenting views than learn about science and its ancillary philosophy proper, please see here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/bayes-theorem/

    And how does that compare to the real-life incidence of eyes on the ceiling and skeletons in the walls?

    You’d probably find (sometimes rather vivid) hallucinations more unsettling if you experienced them as well.

    That’s not quite the point though. As you might have already guessed, I felt some duty to society to learn how to be rational rather than indulge wild paranoid fantasies. Perhaps it’s time you shouldered that responsibility as well. Because I do not hold misogynistic views about women being moody and hysterical, I assume that you are capable of pulling yourself together and making sound, rational decisions. If I a schizo nutbag like me can do it, so can you.

    A good place to start is Thinking and Deciding, 4th Edition by Jonathon Baron. If you so desire, I can pass along a link to the pdf.

  86. #86 Kristoff
    July 11, 2011

    “If we assume the likelihood is unity (very generous)”

    Sorry, I understated that. More like “absurdly generous”. If P(being on an elevator|rape) is 1 then that would literally mean every single rape, ever, occurs on an elevator.

  87. #87 Stephanie Z
    July 12, 2011

    So, Kristoff, we have a situation in which there is a small but real risk (which, yes, is added to by each of the factors I mentioned) versus a situation that’s literally all in your head, but somehow, Rebecca’s treatment (threats and vilification) versus yours (pointing out that the hallucinations, by definition, aren’t real) is an example of how male privilege isn’t a privilege? Yes, there’s a stigma attached to mental illness. However, that has no bearing on whether you’re more privileged as a male with mental illness than you would be as a female.

    So why bother commenting on this?

  88. #88 MacTurk
    July 12, 2011

    What a truly amazing waste of time spent shouting in a vacuum.

    Verily, Americans are weird.

  89. #89 DuWayne
    July 12, 2011

    Kristoff –

    Allegedly. According to you, maybe. In fact, we’re expected to shut up by society. Because of our great Privilege™ of course.

    Bullshit. Unless of course you wander into a conversation in which women are venting and start bitching about men who have it bad too. But if you’re doing that, you’re going to get shouted down because what you’re talking about isn’t relevant to the discussion.

    I have spent a great deal of time exploring and talking about privilege. While I am aware there are some nuts out there who believe that any discussion of problems that men have will rant about male privilege, for the most part, most feminists recognize that a) the patriarchal paradigm is as damaging to men, as it is to women, b) that some men have disadvantages to many women – ie. most women have some privilege over some men and c) that men have a critically important role in the discussion of reducing/eliminating problems of gender inequalities/exploitation.

    Why not?

    Because you are exploiting people who are already seriously fucked over by society to make points in an argument.

    Equal rights, equal duties.

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    This means not whinging. That applies to women, too.

    Talking about problems that one has and how they are exacerbated by our society isn’t whining. In U.S. American society, the mentally ill are pretty much fucked. The more serious the mental illness, the more they are fucked. Most mentally ill persons who would have been in an institution fifty years ago, are now either homeless or in prison – neither option providing more than a fraction of the help they need, if they receive any.

    I would also note, if you actually don’t give a fuck about other people, that this costs you as a taxpayer, a whole lot more than the state hospital systems ever did.

    Being asked for coffee is not likely to blow up into sexual assault / rape.

    If that is what you think this discussion is about, you’re too fucking stupid to breathe.

    “But isn’t how the individual feels about the threat what matters?”

    That’s what I’ve been hearing over the past few days.

    However, accommodating paranoia is obviously untenable. I can’t even imagine what it would take to gratify my own.

    No dumbfuck, what you have been hearing the last few days, is that many women would like men to understand what they are experiencing and to please take that into account when said men are interacting with women they don’t know. That is not accommodating paranoia, it is merely asking that others try to understand/empathize with people around them.

    And you know what? I am more than happy to do the same for your own experience. That is not to say that I am going to change my behavior for you, only that I am more than happy to try to understand what your experience is and to take that into account in the context of my interactions with you. That is because I think our society would be a hell of a lot better place if more people were willing to do that for each other.

    If you compare the number of times you’ve been on an elevator to the numbers of times you’ve been raped, I’m pretty sure you’ll find that fraction to be rather small.

    First of all, you are responding to a claim that was never made. Second of all, that the odds of something might be vanishing small, doesn’t mean they are zero. When the threat, no matter that it is extremely remote, is as significant as rape, it is not unreasonable for people to be rather more concerned for safety. Much like I won’t leave my three year old alone in public, while I run to the bathroom quick. The odds of someone present actually kidnapping my child are extremely remote. The problem is that my child being kidnapped is a significant enough threat, that I am not going to take that chance – no matter how remote.

    I would imagine, furthermore, that a reasonably intelligent individual would be unlikely to commit a violent crime in a hotel which most likely has security cameras all over and patrons who might overhear a struggle, but that’s just me.

    For someone who is ranting about science (I would note that I am a scientist in training and science is the lens through which I view the world), you are making rather a lot of assertions without providing evidence of their veracity.

    You’d probably find (sometimes rather vivid) hallucinations more unsettling if you experienced them as well.

    Having experienced rather a lot of unsettling hallucinations and knowing more than one person (including a man) who has been sexually assaulted, I will take the hallucinations any day*. That is not to say that your experience is like my own – maybe you would rather be sexually assaulted than have to endure the hallucinations. I am just pointing out that this is not everyone’s experience.

    That’s not quite the point though. As you might have already guessed, I felt some duty to society to learn how to be rational rather than indulge wild paranoid fantasies.

    The difference here, is that there is zero possibility that there actually are eyes on the ceiling and skeletons on the walls. There is however, a non-zero possibility of being raped in an elevator, or in a hotel room, or on a deserted street, etc. That the odds are low doesn’t make it a paranoid fantasy – any more than my concern for my children’s safety is a paranoid fantasy. Again, teh odds of anything bad happening because I step away for two minutes is exceedingly low. It is just that because it is a non-zero risk and the stakes are so high, that I cannot afford not to be careful.

    Stephanie –

    Sorry, I misunderstood what you were referring to.

    * I would note that I have been sexually violated, but don’t put it on a par with the experience most people equate with sexual assault. I was taken advantage of by a sexual partner when I was drunk nad passed out. Knowing that I had repeatedly refused to have sex with her without a condom, she decided to initiate a sexual encounter with me, while I was unconscious so she could fuck me without protection.

  90. #90 Kristoff
    July 12, 2011

    Stephanie:

    So, Kristoff, we have a situation in which there is a small but real risk (which, yes, is added to by each of the factors I mentioned)

    I don’t think you actually understood my argument from Bayesian probability. I have a hard time accepting that the factors you named, like the time being 4 AM and such, give likelihood ratios much larger than one in favor of the rape hypothesis. Furthermore, you failed to take into account the prior probability. Ireland in particular does not have a very high rate of violent crime.

    Probability and decision theory are often very counter-intuitive. We need to be on the same page here. If you can’t accept that, then I can’t accept that you’re rational. I apologize.

    versus a situation that’s literally all in your head

    In principle, yes. In practice, both the positive and negative symptoms affect me rather severely in real life.

    However, that has no bearing on whether you’re more privileged as a male with mental illness than you would be as a female.

    I stand a fairly large chance of ending up in a demo with 90% unemployment (namely, the full-blown schizophrenic) over the next few months, or years. That’s not terribly privileged, is it? How can someone unable to draw a salary be privileged unless they are filthy rich?

    DuWayne:

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    If men don’t get to whinge, neither do women.

    Because you are exploiting people who are already seriously fucked over by society to make points in an argument.

    Did you not get the hints I was dropping, that I am seriously mentally ill?

    I am schizotypal.

    In U.S. American society, the mentally ill are pretty much fucked. The more serious the mental illness, the more they are fucked. Most mentally ill persons who would have been in an institution fifty years ago, are now either homeless or in prison – neither option providing more than a fraction of the help they need, if they receive any.

    I’m aware of this (see above) which is why the idea of unilateral Male Privilege™ seems rather baffling to me, given that at least a slight majority of the severely mentally ill demo are male.

    I would also note, if you actually don’t give a fuck about other people, that this costs you as a taxpayer, a whole lot more than the state hospital systems ever did.

    Of course I’m aware of this. In case this isn’t already perfectly clear, I have first-hand experience with these issues.

    That being said, I am something of an emotional vacuum. I have a pretty hard time empathizing. Have you ever seen The Terminator? Remember what Arnold Schwarzenegger looked like in that film? That’s what my face looks like most of the time.

    Now I’m glad that you pointed that the mentally ill are “fucked” in this country, as you put it, because this interaction serves to make that case: without once having insulted anyone or engaged in name-calling, I’m already being aggressively insulted here. All because my schizotypy has left me with little affect or empathy. Now how’s that for getting the short end of the stick?

    Having experienced rather a lot of unsettling hallucinations

    On what? Acid? I’ve done acid a few times before. That ends after 8 to 12 hours or so. But my brain follows me around everywhere. There is no way out for me but to use debilitating neuroleptics.

    And you know what? I am more than happy to do the same for your own experience. That is not to say that I am going to change my behavior for you, only that I am more than happy to try to understand what your experience is and to take that into account in the context of my interactions with you. That is because I think our society would be a hell of a lot better place if more people were willing to do that for each other.

    I somehow doubt you believe that. You just called me “dumbfuck” and “too fucking stupid to breathe” without provocation. What am I supposed to think here?

    First of all, you are responding to a claim that was never made.

    The claim has been made repeatedly over the past few days, notably by Phil Plait, that this might have been an “almost raped” scenario.

    Second of all, that the odds of something might be vanishing small, doesn’t mean they are zero.

    Rather similar reasoning applies to our silly War on Terror™, a wasteful, paranoia-fueled exercise in futility.

    When the threat, no matter that it is extremely remote, is as significant as rape, it is not unreasonable for people to be rather more concerned for safety. Much like I won’t leave my three year old alone in public, while I run to the bathroom quick. The odds of someone present actually kidnapping my child are extremely remote. The problem is that my child being kidnapped is a significant enough threat, that I am not going to take that chance – no matter how remote.

    I sort of doubt that. If the cost of taking your child to the bathroom with you is prohibitively high, then you probably won’t do it. I don’t think there’s much evidence that people actually act on the kind of categorical imperatives you are talking about.

    For someone who is ranting about science (I would note that I am a scientist in training and science is the lens through which I view the world), you are making rather a lot of assertions without providing evidence of their veracity.

    I’m not “ranting” about science. You seem to be displaying rather more emotional volatility here than I am, and projecting it onto me for some reason.

    As for my claim that intelligent people tend show more impulse control, see here:

    http://www.yale.edu/scan/Shamosh_inpress_Intelligence.pdf

    here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083651/

    here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857741/

    here (if you have a PsycNET subscription):

    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/abn/64/6/425/

    here…:

    http://psy.swan.ac.uk/staff/dymond/Pubs/2010%20TD.pdf

    …this is a very well-replicated finding.

    Coupled with the fact that people who attend skeptic conferences tend to be pretty bright (if sometimes somewhat narrow-minded), this would suggest that elevator guy would be less likely to commit a violent crime in an area where he would stand a good chance of getting caught.

    By the by, what kind of scientist are you? Your expertise seems to be in something other than psychology, and, specifically, decision making.

  91. #91 Kristoff
    July 12, 2011

    Stephanie:

    So, Kristoff, we have a situation in which there is a small but real risk (which, yes, is added to by each of the factors I mentioned)

    I don’t think you actually understood my argument from Bayesian probability. I have a hard time accepting that the factors you named, like the time being 4 AM and such, give likelihood ratios much larger than one in favor of the rape hypothesis. Furthermore, you failed to take into account the prior probability. Ireland in particular does not have a very high rate of violent crime.

    Probability and decision theory are often very counter-intuitive. We need to be on the same page here. If you can’t accept that, then I can’t accept that you’re rational. I apologize.

    versus a situation that’s literally all in your head

    In principle, yes. In practice, both the positive and negative symptoms affect me rather severely in real life.

    However, that has no bearing on whether you’re more privileged as a male with mental illness than you would be as a female.

    I stand a fairly large chance of ending up in a demo with 90% unemployment (namely, the full-blown schizophrenic) over the next few months, or years. That’s not terribly privileged, is it? How can someone unable to draw a salary be privileged unless they are filthy rich?

    DuWayne:

    What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?

    If men don’t get to whinge, neither do women.

    Because you are exploiting people who are already seriously fucked over by society to make points in an argument.

    Did you not get the hints I was dropping, that I am seriously mentally ill?

    I am schizotypal.

    In U.S. American society, the mentally ill are pretty much fucked. The more serious the mental illness, the more they are fucked. Most mentally ill persons who would have been in an institution fifty years ago, are now either homeless or in prison – neither option providing more than a fraction of the help they need, if they receive any.

    I’m aware of this (see above) which is why the idea of unilateral Male Privilege™ seems rather baffling to me, given that at least a slight majority of the severely mentally ill demo are male.

    I would also note, if you actually don’t give a fuck about other people, that this costs you as a taxpayer, a whole lot more than the state hospital systems ever did.

    Of course I’m aware of this. In case this isn’t already perfectly clear, I have first-hand experience with these issues.

    That being said, I am something of an emotional vacuum. I have a pretty hard time empathizing. Have you ever seen The Terminator? Remember what Arnold Schwarzenegger looked like in that film? That’s what my face looks like most of the time.

    Now I’m glad that you pointed that the mentally ill are “fucked” in this country, as you put it, because this interaction serves to make that case: without once having insulted anyone or engaged in name-calling, I’m already being aggressively insulted here. All because my schizotypy has left me with little affect or empathy. Now how’s that for getting the short end of the stick?

    Having experienced rather a lot of unsettling hallucinations

    On what? Acid? I’ve done acid a few times before. That ends after 8 to 12 hours or so. But my brain follows me around everywhere. There is no way out for me but to use debilitating neuroleptics.

    And you know what? I am more than happy to do the same for your own experience. That is not to say that I am going to change my behavior for you, only that I am more than happy to try to understand what your experience is and to take that into account in the context of my interactions with you. That is because I think our society would be a hell of a lot better place if more people were willing to do that for each other.

    I somehow doubt you believe that. You just called me “dumbfuck” and “too fucking stupid to breathe” without provocation. What am I supposed to think here?

    First of all, you are responding to a claim that was never made.

    The claim has been made repeatedly over the past few days, notably by Phil Plait, that this might have been an “almost raped” scenario.

    Second of all, that the odds of something might be vanishing small, doesn’t mean they are zero.

    Rather similar reasoning applies to our silly War on Terror™, a wasteful, paranoia-fueled exercise in futility.

    When the threat, no matter that it is extremely remote, is as significant as rape, it is not unreasonable for people to be rather more concerned for safety. Much like I won’t leave my three year old alone in public, while I run to the bathroom quick. The odds of someone present actually kidnapping my child are extremely remote. The problem is that my child being kidnapped is a significant enough threat, that I am not going to take that chance – no matter how remote.

    I sort of doubt that. If the cost of taking your child to the bathroom with you is prohibitively high, then you probably won’t do it. I don’t think there’s much evidence that people actually act on the kind of categorical imperatives you are talking about.

    For someone who is ranting about science (I would note that I am a scientist in training and science is the lens through which I view the world), you are making rather a lot of assertions without providing evidence of their veracity.

    I’m not “ranting” about science. You seem to be displaying rather more emotional volatility here than I am, and projecting it onto me for some reason.

    As for my claim that intelligent people tend show more impulse control, see here:

    http://www.yale.edu/scan/Shamosh_inpress_Intelligence.pdf

    here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083651/

    here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857741/

    here (if you have a PsycNET subscription):

    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/abn/64/6/425/

    here…:

    http://psy.swan.ac.uk/staff/dymond/Pubs/2010%20TD.pdf

    …this is a very well-replicated finding.

    Coupled with the fact that people who attend skeptic conferences tend to be pretty bright (if sometimes somewhat narrow-minded), this would suggest that elevator guy would be less likely to commit a violent crime in an area where he would stand a good chance of getting caught.

    By the by, what kind of scientist are you? Your expertise seems to be in something other than psychology, and, specifically, decision making.

  92. #92 DuWayne
    July 13, 2011

    Kristoff –

    If men don’t get to whinge, neither do women.

    Then who exactly are you arguing with here? Because no one is saying that men don’t get to “whine” as you put it.

    Did you not get the hints I was dropping, that I am seriously mentally ill?

    And that makes a difference how? Do you seriously believe that simply belonging to a group makes it ok to exploit that group?

    I’m aware of this (see above) which is why the idea of unilateral Male Privilege™ seems rather baffling to me, given that at least a slight majority of the severely mentally ill demo are male.

    But the only person here who is talking about unilateral male privilege is you.

    I’m already being aggressively insulted here. All because my schizotypy has left me with little affect or empathy.

    You aren’t being aggressively insulted because you are mentally ill, you are being insulted for being an exploitative asshole.

    On what? Acid? I’ve done acid a few times before. That ends after 8 to 12 hours or so. But my brain follows me around everywhere. There is no way out for me but to use debilitating neuroleptics.

    I am bipolar and have very serious problems with taking hallucinogens (though I have been clean of all recreational drugs for some time now). On two separate occasions I went through 4+ weeks of post use hallucinations, several other times I went through 1-2 week bouts and for a period of three years I endured regular random hallucinations on a near daily basis. My use of hallucinogens was not restricted to acid – I used neurotoxic plants on a very regular basis as well.

    While those were drug induced, I suffered mild hallucinations most of my life. Since I began receiving treatment for mental illness, I haven’t experienced hallucinations.

    I am not saying this out of a need to compete with you, I am certain your experience has sucked a great deal more than my own. My point is that you aren’t the only person to experience this.

    I somehow doubt you believe that. You just called me “dumbfuck” and “too fucking stupid to breathe” without provocation. What am I supposed to think here?

    I called you a dumbfuck, because you’re making dumbfuck claims. No one here is talking about catering to paranoid fantasies and neither are they claiming men with problems should be ignored.

    I would also like to clarify that I absolutely am willing to empathize with you and indeed I do. I even have a great deal of sympathy for you. That said, I also think you’re a tremendous asshole.

    The claim has been made repeatedly over the past few days, notably by Phil Plait, that this might have been an “almost raped” scenario.

    I hazven’t read Phil Plait and I am not talking about his blog or any blog that isn’t this one. That said, it would appear that rather than claiming this was, Phil said it might have been.

    Rather similar reasoning applies to our silly War on Terror™, a wasteful, paranoia-fueled exercise in futility.

    The difference being, no one is suggesting that we infringe on anyone’s freedom or due process. All that is being asked, is that men try to understand what many women are experiencing and take that into account when they interact with them.

    I sort of doubt that. If the cost of taking your child to the bathroom with you is prohibitively high, then you probably won’t do it. I don’t think there’s much evidence that people actually act on the kind of categorical imperatives you are talking about.

    Unless they are in a situation where there are adults or older children to ensure their child’s safety, most parents will go through a great deal of trouble to avoid even minimal risk to their child’s safety. And there is plenty of evidence to support that assertion. Search “parents child safety public” in google scholar.

    I’m not “ranting” about science. You seem to be displaying rather more emotional volatility here than I am, and projecting it onto me for some reason.

    Ranting is exactly what you’re doing Kristoff.

    As for my claim that intelligent people tend show more impulse control, see here:

    First of all, that is not the claim that I was responding to – there are two problems with your underlying assertion that I was actually rather more interested in. The first problem is that you are assuming that the only option here – whether talking specifically about the RW elevator incident, or more generally – is that the guy involved is actually intelligent. The other assumption and this is rather a stickler, is that a hypothetical attack would be an impulse crime. Given the prevalence of preplanning involved in stranger rape, this is a silly assumption to make.

    But if you want to go on about the claim that intelligent people have better impulse control, you can find plenty of studies that would indicate this is incorrect. And that presupposes that standardized intelligence tests are particularly valid. There are some that have some utility, but even those aren’t valid measures of actual intelligence.

    …this is a very well-replicated finding.

    As are contradictory findings, though they tend to consider different metrics for intellectual acumen.

    Coupled with the fact that people who attend skeptic conferences tend to be pretty bright (if sometimes somewhat narrow-minded), this would suggest that elevator guy would be less likely to commit a violent crime in an area where he would stand a good chance of getting caught.

    Less likely than who?

    In any case, the problem doesn’t seem to be that RW was overcome with fear of being attacked, though waiting until she was isolated in the elevator with him did raise that concern – it is that she had made it clear that she was tired and going to bed – some time after giving a talk in which she expressed her distaste for being hit on at cons.

    By the by, what kind of scientist are you? Your expertise seems to be in something other than psychology, and, specifically, decision making.

    Neuropsychology. And your assumption that I should not be is rife with bias.

  93. #93 Greg Laden
    July 13, 2011

    OMG Kristoff, are you for real?

    Let me ask you this: What is the probability of rape threshold below which Rebecca Watson should not have been annoyed at elevator guy. 10%? 4%? Specify. Without specifying that probability calculating risk factors is not especially useful.

  94. #94 Stephanie Z
    July 13, 2011

    Kristoff, next time, try picking on someone who doesn’t do probabalistic math for a living. All the formulas for calculating statistical risk in the world won’t help you if you consider your personal incredulity to be a valid base assumption. Even if you want to ignore that Rebecca was at an international conference, you might want to become familiar with Ireland’s rape statistics before talking about crime rates. The One in Four site is good, although they’ve made their statistics harder to find. For a summary, try this: http://www.avalon5.com/activism/one-woman-raped-every-day-in-ireland-last-month/

  95. #95 Kristoff
    July 13, 2011

    DuWayne:

    Then who exactly are you arguing with here? Because no one is saying that men don’t get to “whine” as you put it.

    Maybe not you in particular. But many, many people do. Hence my doubts about Male Privilege™.

    And that makes a difference how? Do you seriously believe that simply belonging to a group makes it ok to exploit that group?

    Define “exploit”. I am unlikely to agree with your definition.

    But the only person here who is talking about unilateral male privilege is you.

    Are you certain? To your credit, you are not. Unfortunately I can’t say the same of quite a few others.

    You aren’t being aggressively insulted because you are mentally ill

    Didn’t say that.

    you are being insulted for being an exploitative asshole.

    I know. I’m sorry. I’m practically a slave driver here, right?

    By the way, the hardships you describe on your blog would make you an easy target for trolling and insults. But I’m not going to go there, because I have class. I would, however, ask you to refrain from insulting me and maintain some decorum in this discussion.

    I called you a dumbfuck, because you’re making dumbfuck claims.

    Says you. That’s kind of a tautologous assertion, isn’t it? “You’re a dumbfuck because you’re acting like a dumbfuck.”

    I would also like to clarify that I absolutely am willing to empathize with you and indeed I do. I even have a great deal of sympathy for you.

    Why does this strain credulity?

    That said, I also think you’re a tremendous asshole.

    I disagreed with you, I’m affectively flat, and I applied decision theory to an “almost raped” scenario, then concluded that it was trivial.

    All told, I’m pretty much tantamount to Hitler at this point so you may as well go there.

    All that is being asked, is that men try to understand what many women are experiencing and take that into account when they interact with them.

    I see no reason to dignify RW’s insignificant pimple of an issue in any other way than I am doing now (i.e., explicitly refusing to dignify it). You’re going to have to try harder.

    Unless they are in a situation where there are adults or older children to ensure their child’s safety, most parents will go through a great deal of trouble to avoid even minimal risk to their child’s safety.

    Then why don’t they all give their children a feeding tube rather than letting them eat food directly? They might choke. Why do they let their children go to school? That’s an excellent place to pick up dangerous pathogens. Don’t even get me started on playing outside!

    We seem to have different understandings of “minimal risk”.

    Ranting is exactly what you’re doing Kristoff.

    I am being extremely cool here. Haven’t yelled, screamed, or insulted anyone. Please stop projecting.

    Less likely than who?

    Sociopaths. (He didn’t seem to be behaving like a sociopath.) And/or stupid people.

    Given the prevalence of preplanning involved in stranger rape, this is a silly assumption to make.

    Citation needed.

    Why would someone deliberately plan to rape someone in a place where they’ll probably get caught? That’s pretty stupid.

    And that presupposes that standardized intelligence tests are particularly valid. There are some that have some utility, but even those aren’t valid measures of actual intelligence.

    OK. Don’t atheists and the like tend to score higher on “standardized intelligence tests”?

    Now you’re shifting the goalposts. This is pretty disingenuous.

    As are contradictory findings, though they tend to consider different metrics for intellectual acumen.

    What contradictory findings / what different metrics?

    Neuropsychology. And your assumption that I should not be is rife with bias.

    Your blog suggests to me that you are in an undergraduate curriculum (and struggling). I am pulling a 3.6 and am now one light semester from graduating. Why are you using your incomplete baccalaureate as though it were authoritative? As for the “bias”, I simply called it like I saw it.

    Greg:

    OMG Kristoff, are you for real?

    Yes.

    Let me ask you this: What is the probability of rape threshold below which Rebecca Watson should not have been annoyed at elevator guy. 10%? 4%? Specify.

    That depends on the disutility she assigns to being raped. Since she is willing to go outside at all, I have a hard time believing it is as large as she lets on.

    Greg, this is very basic decision theory. I’m not going to spoonfeed it to you.

    Stephanie:

    Kristoff, next time, try picking on someone who doesn’t do probabalistic math for a living.

    Do you? Are you a statistician? Since you weren’t able to respond to my use of Bayes’ theorem in anymore than a vague, generic way, I’m going to need more evidence for that claim.

    The One in Four site is good, although they’ve made their statistics harder to find. For a summary, try this: http://www.avalon5.com/activism/one-woman-raped-every-day-in-ireland-last-month/

    There are well over two million women in Ireland, so your figure is pretty unremarkable. And you know what? Every day, one hundred people die of car accidents in the US (a nation of 300 million). By your reasoning, our nation’s highways should look like Mad Max. Of course, they don’t. This is why I don’t believe you’re a statistician.

  96. #96 Kristoff
    July 13, 2011

    That said, it would appear that rather than claiming this was, Phil said it might have been.

    There is a non-zero probability that all men wearing red ties are Communist agents. However, I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  97. #97 Stephanie Z
    July 14, 2011

    Oh, Kristoff. Try reading more than the hook. No, I’m not a statistician. I work in risk on data integrity and assumption setting, because it doesn’t take a statistician to understand GIGO. You? You’ve got garbage.

    You babble about utility and disutility, but you treat going outside and riding an elevator with a stranger who is hitting on you as equal in both utility and risk. You bring up (as any good gun nut does in his argument) cars, without noting that we go to great length to reduce the risk of cars and have created a social structure in which their utility is very high. You provide “examples” of reducing risk, like feeding tubes to prevent choking, which provide substantial risks of their own. You ignore well-sourced risk statistics when they’re provided to you.

    You just don’t understand risk.

  98. #98 Deen
    July 14, 2011

    And you know what? Every day, one hundred people die of car accidents in the US (a nation of 300 million).

    Which is why the US has mandatory driving training and licensing, road rules, dedicated traffic police, mandatory safety standards and crash testing for cars, and mandatory car insurance, that is required to at least cover damage to others. Regardless of whether they have ever caused an accident, or whether they even have the intention to cause accidents or not, I might add. However, car owners are not considered oppressed, are they?

    Even by your statistics, a woman is more likely to be raped in Ireland than to die of a car crash in the US: 0.5 rapes/day/million, as opposed to 0.33 car fatalities/day/million. By this comparison, maybe we should be asking for mandatory sex licenses, sex rules, and mandatory penis insurance, covering damage done to others.

    Instead, people were just asking guys to not be creepy and listen to women, and men like you are already acting as if they’re being horribly oppressed.

  99. #99 DuWayne
    July 14, 2011

    Maybe not you in particular. But many, many people do. Hence my doubts about Male Privilege™.

    There are feminists who believe that women who do most anything with their appearance that fits patriarchal standards for beauty are working against equality too. I don’t take them, or those who assert absolute claims about privilege seriously and neither should you. Feminism and identity theorists encompass a significantly broader spectrum than that.

    Define “exploit”. I am unlikely to agree with your definition.

    You are using a generally stigmatized group of people as a rhetorical device to score cheap points in a debate. I am sure you will disagree with me, that doesn’t make you right.

    Says you. That’s kind of a tautologous assertion, isn’t it? “You’re a dumbfuck because you’re acting like a dumbfuck.”

    I also gave examples. You’re free to disagree with me, but don’t pretend I didn’t clarify about your dumbfuckery.

    Why does this strain credulity?

    Because you are unable to comprehend the nuance of simultaneously disliking someone and feeling bad about their experience. Your inability to do so is unsurprising, as a lot of people who aren’t affectively flat can’t grasp that – though they engage in it all the time.

    Are you certain? To your credit, you are not. Unfortunately I can’t say the same of quite a few others.

    Feminists who make those sorts of absolute claims are a minority, most understand that it isn’t simple and that such claims are counterproductive.

    Didn’t say that.

    Err…Yes you did – here…
    I’m already being aggressively insulted here. All because my schizotypy has left me with little affect or empathy. Now how’s that for getting the short end of the stick?

    I disagreed with you, I’m affectively flat, and I applied decision theory to an “almost raped” scenario, then concluded that it was trivial.

    Re-read your comments. What you said and how you said it. Whatever your emotional state, what you are saying and the way that you are saying it are both rantlike by nature and quite assholish.

    All told, I’m pretty much tantamount to Hitler at this point so you may as well go there.

    This would be a good example of ranting. For most people, there is a rather wide range left between “tremendous asshole” and genocidal lunatic. As much as you might like to paint me a petty, ignorant moron, I am not any of those things.

    By the way, the hardships you describe on your blog would make you an easy target for trolling and insults. But I’m not going to go there, because I have class. I would, however, ask you to refrain from insulting me and maintain some decorum in this discussion.

    Feel free to go there all you want. I am an asshole myself, the difference being, I recognize it and am a very specific sort of asshole. I have also made some very grievous errors that are worthy of nothing but complete and utter disdain. I have failed rather spectacularly and now have to fight rather hard to compensate for the results of my fuck-ups, so that my children can have reasonably decent lives.

    Please, by all means criticize. I accept full responsibility for my mistakes and absolutely deserve it.

    I see no reason to dignify RW’s insignificant pimple of an issue in any other way than I am doing now (i.e., explicitly refusing to dignify it). You’re going to have to try harder.

    Here’s the thing; I don’t give a fuck what you think. I am not trying to convince you of anything, because I am fully aware that you are not going to be convinced. I am arguing with you for two reasons and honestly, I can’t say which carry’s more weight in terms of my motivation. 1) it’s cathartic and 2) there are a hell of a lot more people reading this, than there are actually commenting. So I am not going to try harder by shifting the focus of this discussion any further afield than it was when I found it.

    I am being extremely cool here. Haven’t yelled, screamed, or insulted anyone. Please stop projecting.

    These are not requisite to ranting, nor does their use always mean someone is ranting.

    We seem to have different understandings of “minimal risk”.

    Indeed we do. I take reasonable measures to try to keep my children safe and one of those measures is not leaving my youngest unattended in public – depending on the situation, I won’t leave my eldest unattended either. Choking is a whole other matter – a feeding tube is extreme and impractical, cutting up food into reasonable bites and ensuring that there isn’t anything in the portion being given to the child is not impractical. My nine year old canm do that for himself now and I have taught him to do it reasonably. My three year old is not capable of doing that for himself, so I do what I can to minimize the risk. This is all rather normal parenting risk reduction.

    But risk reduction requires balance, because children aren’t always going to be under your care and they need to learn to fend for themselves. Otherwise you run the risk of raising someone who can’t competently care for themselves. Risk cuts in many directions and isn’t as simple as just doing x, y and z.

    Sociopaths. (He didn’t seem to be behaving like a sociopath.) And/or stupid people.

    Sociopaths are generally very capable of appearing to be like everyone around them. Most of the people you interact with on a daily basis, act like sociopaths when they’re in public.

    Citation needed.

    I really don’t have time to search through all my shit, but if you have access to “The Journal of Interpersonal Violence,” and “Trauma, Violence and Abuse” you can learn rather a lot about it. If not, do some meandering about google scholar. There is a lot of information available on various law enforcement websites that are specifically geared towards sexual assault.

    Why would someone deliberately plan to rape someone in a place where they’ll probably get caught? That’s pretty stupid.

    Why do you assume it would be easy to get caught? A little preplanning and it wouldn’t be all that hard not to get caught.

    OK. Don’t atheists and the like tend to score higher on “standardized intelligence tests”?

    I have seen very little actual science that would verify this. In any case, standardized iq tests aren’t really worth a hell of a lot.

    Now you’re shifting the goalposts. This is pretty disingenuous.

    Like hell I am. I am responding to the addition you made to this discussion. I didn’t shift any goal posts, I gave my rather standard response to anyone trying to intuit something about standardized iq testing, outside the context education/occupational psychology.

    What contradictory findings / what different metrics?

    Look up attention deficit and intelligence. Look into autism spectrum disorder and the same. Instead of relying on a standardized iq test, they utilize occupational assessments that compensate for people who aren’t capable of sitting still and concentrating for the time it takes to finish iq tests – or who get bored with it too quickly to finish.

    Your blog suggests to me that you are in an undergraduate curriculum (and struggling).

    Actually, I am struggling with life right now, not school (for the most part). If you take out math (in which I am markedly not talented) and the semester I very suddenly became a full time only parent, I would be carrying a 4.0. As it stands, I am managing a 3.75. My struggles are entirely related to balancing school and raising a three year old and a emotionally distraught nine year old who scored higher on all of the ADHD metrics than any other child the occupational psychologist who assessed him has ever seen.

    Why are you using your incomplete baccalaureate as though it were authoritative?

    I was doing no such thing. I was making assertions based on what I have learned in and mostly out of school. While addiction and mood disorders are definitely my strong suite, I have spent a great deal of time on gender identity, feminism and identity theory. While I have actually started enjoying fiction again, since I started back to school, for most of my life I have been an ardent reader of non-fiction, mostly social science related.

    I was rather better educated than many college grads, when I dropped out of high school. In spite of rather intensive substance abuse and general irresponsibility over the years, I have only become moreso. My academic writing would be acceptable at any level of education and beats the fuck out of most professional papers I have read. I also have a lot of experience working with people with substance abuse problems already and expect to have a rich and rewarding career in substance abuse research.

    There is a non-zero probability that all men wearing red ties are Communist agents. However, I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    The difference being that there is a exponentially higher risk that someone who hits on a woman he doesn’t know in an elevator will try to sexually assault her. There is a non-zero chance that some sort of sadistic fucking interventionist god exists, but I don’t let those odds bother me, as according to available evidence they are low enough that they might as well be zero. That cannot be said about rape.

  100. #100 Kristoff
    July 14, 2011

    Stephanie:

    I work in risk on data integrity and assumption setting.

    Ok. And how is this relevant to decision theory?

    (It isn’t.)

    You babble about utility and disutility

    Yes. I “babble” about these … things. There’s a reason why people spend a lot of time researching decision making.

    but you treat going outside and riding an elevator with a stranger who is hitting on you as equal in both utility and risk.

    Going outside per se opens you up to that stuff. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

    Also, we still don’t even know that he was hitting on her.

    You provide “examples” of reducing risk, like feeding tubes to prevent choking, which provide substantial risks of their own.

    Yes. That is the point. Everything carries a risk. That’s why you should live a little and stop being so paranoid.

    You ignore well-sourced risk statistics when they’re provided to you.

    No I don’t. I accept your rape statistics. I just don’t think they’re terribly remarkable.

    You just don’t understand risk.

    Yes I do. Which is why I’m able to talk about it in a concrete, formalized way. Something you evidently can’t do. You’re not going to bluff your way out of this. As it stands now, you haven’t responded to my appeal to Bayes’ theorem. I’m going to bring this up for every further response you make that doesn’t explicitly refute this appeal. Every time. Don’t think I’ll ever forget. I am going to make your inability to address my original argument as conspicuous as humanly possible without projecting it onto the Moon with a big satellite-borne laser.

    So bear that in mind before you reply.

    Deen:

    Instead, people were just asking guys to not be creepy

    Asking someone for coffee? He may as well have brought a crowbar and Bowie knife into the elevator with him.

    and listen to women

    I generally only listen to people who are interesting, period.

    I actually have met Rebecca Watson in person. She lives (or did live) in the same city and is involved in the same circle of people as me. Some of my friends were excited that she was coming to town. I didn’t get the appeal. She’s a minor Internet celebrity, and I don’t find her ideas terribly interesting or novel.

    So, while I was lukewarm to her earlier, now she’s just a pompous bore with the Richard Dawkins boycott and all. What a self-righteous jackass. You know what? I think I’m going to buy all of Dawkins’ books, new, so he gets royalties, even though I don’t even agree with the better part of his ideas.

    and men like you are already acting as if they’re being horribly oppressed.

    Men as a class are probably not too oppressed. But this isn’t really about men/women for me. It’s about (putatively) deviant but innocuous behavior. What that guy did was innocuous. As a schizotypal individual I can’t do a Goddamn thing without it looking disturbing to someone else. So, naturally, I am concerned that weird, but essentially harmless behaviors are being jumped on as if they were monstrous and disgusting, which is a reaction I’ve gotten quite frequently. That’s basically the only dog I have in this race.

    DuWayne:

    Feminism and identity theorists encompass a significantly broader spectrum than that.

    And why should I take polemics with pretensions to scientific rigor (which sadly describes a lot of sociology) at face value?

    You are using a generally stigmatized group of people as a rhetorical device to score cheap points in a debate.

    What makes them “cheap”?

    I am sure you will disagree with me, that doesn’t make you right.

    Why should I think King DuWayne has veritas absoluta? You are literally barely asserting your rightness at this point.

    I also gave examples. You’re free to disagree with me, but don’t pretend I didn’t clarify about your dumbfuckery.

    I think we need a better operational definition of “dumbfuckery” here, DuWayne. That’s the crux of the problem.

    Because you are unable to comprehend the nuance of simultaneously disliking someone and feeling bad about their experience.

    Am I justified in assuming that someone who repeatedly uses the word “fuck” in anger towards me might not have my best interests at heart?

    Err…Yes you did – here…

    OK, yes, you are right; I did say that. I apologize. What I do find strange though is that I’m being insulted not for positive symptoms like hallucination but simply for lacking feelings towards someone. Why is that? Why do I deserve to be insulted for being flat? Answer me.

    Re-read your comments. What you said and how you said it. Whatever your emotional state, what you are saying and the way that you are saying it are both rantlike by nature and quite assholish.

    Merriam-Webster defines “rant” as “speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way”.

    Now, while I am speaking at length, I am neither wild nor impassioned. As such, I do not meet the criteria for ranting.

    This would be a good example of ranting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

    As much as you might like to paint me a petty, ignorant moron, I am not any of those things.

    One wonders.

    Here’s the thing; I don’t give a fuck what you think.

    I must admit I find this difficult to believe.

    These are not requisite to ranting, nor does their use always mean someone is ranting.

    Is English your first language?

    But risk reduction requires balance

    My point exactly.

    Sociopaths are generally very capable of appearing to be like everyone around them. Most of the people you interact with on a daily basis, act like sociopaths when they’re in public.

    So, I take it we’re assuming this guy is a sociopath until we have evidence otherwise. OK.

    I really don’t have time to search through all my shit, but if you have access to “The Journal of Interpersonal Violence,” and “Trauma, Violence and Abuse” you can learn rather a lot about it. If not, do some meandering about google scholar. There is a lot of information available on various law enforcement websites that are specifically geared towards sexual assault.

    I’m not going to do your research for you.

    Why do you assume it would be easy to get caught? A little preplanning and it wouldn’t be all that hard not to get caught.

    I’m going to set aside the fact that you seem to know a lot about committing violent crime and the fact that you are assuming “guilty until proven innocent”, but instead going to ask how you’re going to get away with rape at a site with security cameras and dozens of potential witnesses.

    (You’re the expert, apparently.)

    I have seen very little actual science that would verify this.

    http://www.valdegames.com/pig/mirror/Average%20intelligence%20predicts%20atheism%20rates%20across%20137%20nations.pdf

    You are now unwilling to make the entirely reasonable assumption that people who are well-educated and interested in science tend to score higher on standard intelligence tests.

    Ah, es ist so weit gekommen.

    Look up attention deficit and intelligence. Look into autism spectrum disorder and the same. Instead of relying on a standardized iq test, they utilize occupational assessments that compensate for people who aren’t capable of sitting still and concentrating for the time it takes to finish iq tests – or who get bored with it too quickly to finish.

    Not doing your research for you.

    I was doing no such thing.

    “I’m right because I’m a scientist in training.”

    I was doing no such thing. I was making assertions based on what I have learned in and mostly out of school. While addiction and mood disorders are definitely my strong suite, I have spent a great deal of time on gender identity, feminism and identity theory. While I have actually started enjoying fiction again, since I started back to school, for most of my life I have been an ardent reader of non-fiction, mostly social science related.

    I was rather better educated than many college grads, when I dropped out of high school. In spite of rather intensive substance abuse and general irresponsibility over the years, I have only become moreso. My academic writing would be acceptable at any level of education and beats the fuck out of most professional papers I have read. I also have a lot of experience working with people with substance abuse problems already and expect to have a rich and rewarding career in substance abuse research.

    That’s some pretty sweet self-congratulation you got there. Please save it for your CV.

    The difference being that there is a exponentially higher risk that someone who hits on a woman he doesn’t know in an elevator will try to sexually assault her.

    “Exponentially higher”? What base? What exponent? “Exponentially higher” than what? Now you’re just making things up.

    That cannot be said about rape.

    Can’t be said about violent crime either. And as both a Privileged Male™ and Privileged Mentally Ill Person™ I’m more likely to be a victim thereof than a (presumably) Sane™ Womyn™. But you don’t see me whinging and calling people names because of it, which is what Rebecca Watson did.

  101. #101 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    If you take out math (in which I am markedly not talented)

    I’m pretty good at math, DuWayne. Not at the tippy-top by any means but you can come to me for tutoring whenever you please.

  102. #102 DuWayne
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff –

    And why should I take polemics with pretensions to scientific rigor (which sadly describes a lot of sociology) at face value?

    More to the point, why should I take your paranoid fantasy at face value? You are making the claim that feminists are, as a group, completely unwilling to put up with men complaining about anything, due to our unrelenting privilege. Because you for some reason believe this is a universal trait of feminism, privilege is apparently therefore bullshit.

    What makes them “cheap”?

    They’re completely and utterly irrelevant to the discussion at hand. No one here has claimed that men aren’t allowed to complain about their problems. No one here has claimed that the mentally ill have no right to call bullshit on stigma. But you just had to interject that shit into this discussion anyways. It is precisely because I despise stigmas that make people ashamed of their own fucking brains, that I am disgusted by your cheap exploitation of those stigmas here.

    So, I take it we’re assuming this guy is a sociopath until we have evidence otherwise. OK.

    No we’re not. But we’re also not going to assume that you have some magical ability to identify sociopaths – or at least I’m not.

    Not doing your research for you.

    Dude. I wrote my last comment over the course of a very long day, in bits and pieces. I have done rather a lot of reading on this topic over the past couple of years, since it became a rather heated topic. I am not going to spend the time scanning through shit for you, I have little enough as it is.

    Now, while I am speaking at length, I am neither wild nor impassioned. As such, I do not meet the criteria for ranting.

    No, you’re just an asshole who feels the need to put those evile womyns in their place. Not all rants look like another.

    You are now unwilling to make the entirely reasonable assumption that people who are well-educated and interested in science tend to score higher on standard intelligence tests.

    Who’s shifting goalposts now? You were talking about “atheists and the like,” and now you’re talking about people who are well educated and interested in science.

    I’m going to set aside the fact that you seem to know a lot about committing violent crime and the fact that you are assuming “guilty until proven innocent”, but instead going to ask how you’re going to get away with rape at a site with security cameras and dozens of potential witnesses.

    To the first bit you’re setting aside, I read – a lot. To the second, I am not assuming any such thing and neither are any of the people involved in this conversation. There is a very big difference between assuming someone is going to commit an act and knowing there exists a risk they are going to commit an act.

    Why is that? Why do I deserve to be insulted for being flat? Answer me.

    You don’t deserve to be insulted for being flat and you aren’t. You’re being insulted for being an asshole.

    “Exponentially higher”? What base? What exponent? “Exponentially higher” than what? Now you’re just making things up.

    The odds of every man wearing a red tie being a commie spy is infinitesimally greater than zero. The risk of being raped is not.

    And you wonder why I call you a dumbfuck?

  103. #103 DuWayne
    July 15, 2011

    I would just like to add to my response to your wonderment at being insulted for being flat.

    I am willing to cut people slack for behavior born of neurological problems. Many people have done so for me and I have a profound appreciation for that. But I also take responsibility for my behavior.

    I have made some seriously fucked up mistakes. Mistakes that have cost not only me, not only me and other consenting adults – I have made mistakes that have hurt my kids. My own mental illness played a huge role in the decision making processes that led to many of these mistakes. It’s so intertwined with how I interact with the world around me that I can’t begin to untangle it. Were I not receiving treatment for my mental illness, I would certainly still be making seriously fucked up mistakes. As it stands, I am still pretty good at making mistakes, I just happen to have become better at avoiding particularly grievous ones.

    But whatever influence my neurological problems had on my mistakes, they were still just that my mistakes. I did that, I have to live with it and I have a hell of a lot of work to do, to mitigate the damage my decisions caused.

    My point is, your behavior here was more than a little objectionable. Not the least problem being that you aren’t actually reading all of what people are saying and responding as though you have. That, and you are making ridiculous and insulting comparisons – such as calling you a tremendous asshole = calling you a genocidal maniac, or women being uncomfortable around strange men, in isolated places = assuming they’re guilty of trying to rape them. And finally, you aren’t managing much in the way of consistency.

    All in all, you aren’t very nice. You barged into a conversation that you don’t seem to understand, made (and continue to make) erroneous assumptions about what people actually think, complain about people acting the victim, and then you act the victim – repeatedly.

    You also lied in your very first comment, claiming you “don’t actually know anyone like that.”

  104. #104 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    More to the point, why should I take your paranoid fantasy at face value? You are making the claim that feminists are, as a group, completely unwilling to put up with men complaining about anything, due to our unrelenting privilege.

    Quote me saying that, directly.

    No one here has claimed that men aren’t allowed to complain about their problems.

    Sure but there’s a bit of a taboo against men complaining about, well, anything.

    No one here has claimed that the mentally ill have no right to call bullshit on stigma.

    Quote me saying this.

    It is precisely because I despise stigmas that make people ashamed of their own fucking brains, that I am disgusted by your cheap exploitation of those stigmas here.

    My brain leaves me aloof and generally uncaring. Apparently you want me to be ashamed of it. Make up your mind, DuWayne.

    No we’re not. But we’re also not going to assume that you have some magical ability to identify sociopaths – or at least I’m not.

    Why not give people the benefit of the doubt?

    I am not going to spend the time scanning through shit for you, I have little enough as it is.

    Well, the burden of proof rests with you.

    No, you’re just an asshole who feels the need to put those evile womyns in their place.

    No, I feel the need to put po-faced, pompous zealots in their place.

    There is a very big difference between assuming someone is going to commit an act and knowing there exists a risk they are going to commit an act.

    There’s a risk that you might find out where I live and drive all the way down here to blow me away with a riot shotgun as I’m stepping outside.

    Now, how can I get Richard Dawkins to comment on this?

    You don’t deserve to be insulted for being flat and you aren’t. You’re being insulted for being an asshole.

    But my brain makes me an asshole. Why do you want me to be ashamed of my brain, DuWayne?

    Who’s shifting goalposts now? You were talking about “atheists and the like,” and now you’re talking about people who are well educated and interested in science.

    Yes. Atheists … and the like. Atheists …… and the like. That “and the like” has a reference, you know. Atheists as a set tend to share things in common (or often overlap) with the demos of well-educated people, science-interested people, etc.

    I did not shift a single goalpost, DuWayne.

    The odds of every man wearing a red tie being a commie spy is infinitesimally greater than zero.

    But it’s more than zero, man.

  105. #105 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    I have made some seriously fucked up mistakes.

    Don’t worry, man. Good people have done far worse. I even disagreed with someone on the Internet once.

    Not the least problem being that you aren’t actually reading all of what people are saying and responding as though you have.

    I’m rebutting individual sentences at this point. Saccadic activity is virtually forcing me to read everything you say, twice.

    That, and you are making ridiculous and insulting comparisons – such as calling you a tremendous asshole = calling you a genocidal maniac

    You have no sense of humor.

    or women being uncomfortable around strange men, in isolated places = assuming they’re guilty of trying to rape them.

    I didn’t do that. Phil Plait did.

    All in all, you aren’t very nice.

    I’m so sorry.

    You also lied in your very first comment, claiming you “don’t actually know anyone like that.”

    You have no sense of humor.

  106. #106 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    (And, for the record, your last post consisted entirely of personal attacks.)

  107. #107 Stephanie Z
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff, I addressed your “Bayseian” argument immediately after you made it. Perhaps you simply failed to understand. Not too surprising from a guy who doesn’t know what appropriate inputs have to do with making good decisions. Let me spell it out for you again: (1) suggesting that being in an elevator is the relevant set of probabilities says you don’t know enough about the topic of rape to evaluate the situation and (2) the disutility to a woman of a false positive in that situation is tiny compared to the disutility of a false negative, making her situation not terribly comparable to yours.

    Now, as for the rest of your comments, dude, you’re giving people with flat affect a bad name. If you’re as dispassionate as you claim to be, knock off the gratuitous aggression. It doesn’t actually hide the fact that you have no argument.

  108. #108 DuWayne
    July 15, 2011

    I’m over it – I have spent more time on this than I can reasonably afford. I would just like to point out to you, Kristoff, that my last post was an explanation of why you are being what you view as, insulted. You are welcome to blame it on your mental illness and even have some legitimate grounds to do so. That doesn’t mean I am going to accept it – especially if you are using what you seem to think is your sense of humor. Obviously you are able to compensate to some degree or another and are choosing not to.

    What my last post was not, was full of personal attacks. I was pointing out the reasons people haven’t exactly welcomed your input with open arms. Take it or leave it, but realize that whether you intended those things, or meant to be funny in some way, that is how you are being perceived and that perception is your fault, not ours.

  109. #109 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Stephanie:

    Kristoff, I addressed your “Bayseian” argument immediately after you made it.

    Not specifically. You don’t understand Bayes’ theorem. Be honest. Furthermore, I don’t see the point of putting “Bayesian” (not “Bayseian”; learning to spell will boost your credibility) in square quotes. What that tells me is that you are dismissing it as some kind of trite, irrelevant formalism. Since you appear to be the non-expert reader, I’d like to direct your attention to the following:

    http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300169690

    The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

    (1) suggesting that being in an elevator is the relevant set of probabilities says you don’t know enough about the topic of rape to evaluate the situation

    I very specifically addressed the other factors you named:

    Now, you could qualify that by, saying, “she wasn’t just on an elevator, but it was 4 AM, and said a lot about not wanting to be hit on [not that we actually know this guy was hitting on her but I'll ignore that], and was in Dublin, at a skeptics conference, in the year 2011, is white, wears glasses”, etc. but then the likelihood term would shrink to compensate for those factors as well, leaving you with another tiny fraction.

    I would imagine, furthermore, that a reasonably intelligent individual would be unlikely to commit a violent crime in a hotel which most likely has security cameras all over and patrons who might overhear a struggle, but that’s just me.

    and:

    I have a hard time accepting that the factors you named, like the time being 4 AM and such, give likelihood ratios much larger than one in favor of the rape hypothesis.

    I’d be willing to bet you don’t even know what “likelihood” means in this case. How can you rebut this argument if you don’t understand it? And as I mentioned earlier, probability and decision theory are highly counterintuitive, see here, respectively, e.g.:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allais_paradox

    So, you lose credibility instantly by refusing to understand the details of an area where intuitive judgments don’t count.

    (2) the disutility to a woman of a false positive in that situation is tiny compared to the disutility of a false negative, making her situation not terribly comparable to yours.

    Yeah but the disutility to everyone else of RW’s self-promoting and self-righteousness is terrific.

    Now, as for the rest of your comments, dude, you’re giving people with flat affect a bad name. If you’re as dispassionate as you claim to be, knock off the gratuitous aggression.

    What aggression? I’m simply unwilling to hide my superior knowledge. That’s not aggressive. Why don’t you care about rational argumentation?

    DuWayne:

    I’m over it – I have spent more time on this than I can reasonably afford.

    Goodbye, DuWayne. We’ve been through so much together and I shall always miss you dearly.

  110. #110 Stephanie Z
    July 15, 2011

    Yes, Kristoff. I understand the theorem. You don’t understand rape or risk. You throw out a bunch of factors unrelated to the probability of rape as though they should be included in your calculation of probability. GIGO. Having a formula helps you not one bit if you can’t figure out what to plug into it. But you just keep telling yourself that someone who does this kind of thing for a living doesn’t understand it because it makes you feel better. Similarly, enjoy that illusion that your self-aggrandizement has any kind of utility at all.

    By the way, the comment about aggression had nothing to do with your arrogance. It has everything to do with statements like your last one to DuWayne. They’re pointlessly nasty, with no semantic content.

  111. #111 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Yes, Kristoff. I understand the theorem.

    Why are you still only able to talk about it in the most generic terms? Why aren’t you criticizing my results on the grounds of (for example), something more specific like prior probability?

    You throw out a bunch of factors unrelated to the probability of rape as though they should be included in your calculation of probability.

    Those were just examples. Even so, any factors in the particular case of “Elevatorgate” you might deem relevant (tell me what they are if you please) would probably diminish the likelihood term at least as much the total probability in the denominator, leading, again, to a very low risk of rape.

    As I pointed out, you’re also ignoring factors that would diminish the risk further, like the threat of hotel security.

    They’re pointlessly nasty, with no semantic content.

    If my dismissal of DuWayne (one I gave him after he repeatedly called me “too fucking stupid to breathe”, “dumbfuck”, etc.) in fact had no “semantic content”, you wouldn’t have understood it and what I wrote would have been word salad or something like that.

    Dressing your comments up in words you don’t know the meaning of doesn’t make them impressive.

  112. #112 Stephanie Z
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff, nothing in your argument required a technical rebuttal, and I prefer to keep my comments readable by all. If you want a different input to consider, what percent of people who don’t listen when women say they’re not interested are rapists? It still produces an absolutely low risk of rape as a consideration, but it is decidedly non-zero and relatively high. And relatively high risk is still what we’re talking about if you want to bring in decision theory.

    And yes, I really should have specified that your words themselves had no semantic content. The content of your statement came entirely from the fact that you used a polite construction without meaning it. Thus, aggression. Anti-social aggression at that, but we already had plenty of evidence that you’re anti-social.

  113. #113 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff, nothing in your argument required a technical rebuttal, and I prefer to keep my comments readable by all.

    Ok, so you don’t know what I’m talking about. Thank you for finally clearing this up.

    If you want a different input to consider, what percent of people who don’t listen when women say they’re not interested are rapists?

    Still probably pretty small I’d imagine. And since he didn’t say “wanna take my load?” or anything to that effect, we don’t even know that he was hitting on her for sure. Yet smaller.

    Whether you believe this or not, I definitely would have sided with Rebecca if something more vulgar like that had actually happened.

    And relatively high risk is still what we’re talking about if you want to bring in decision theory.

    You say this like you think you’re convincing me.

    The content of your statement came entirely from the fact that you used a polite construction without meaning it.

    Yes. That’s sarcasm. Sarcasm has meaning. More generally, I used a device we linguists call “implicature”.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicature/

    “Implicature” denotes either (i) the act of meaning, implying, or suggesting one thing by saying something else, or (ii) the object of that act. Implicatures can be part of sentence meaning or dependent on conversational context, and can be conventional (in different senses) or unconventional. Conversational implicatures have become one of the principal subjects of pragmatics. Figures of speech such as metaphor, irony, and understatement provide familiar examples.

    On the contrary, this is, in fact, all about semantics!

    Thus, aggression. Anti-social aggression at that, but we already had plenty of evidence that you’re anti-social.

    Becoming sarcastic (after someone calls me a “dumbfuck” several times) is pretty antisocial, Stephanie.

    You know, just like asking someone for coffee is about the same as breathing down their neck and saying “let me tap that ass, you filthy slut”.

    (Overreact much?)

  114. #114 Elizabeth
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff, are you using this comment thread as an excuse to talk like an over sexed 14 year old?

  115. #115 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Kristoff, are you using this comment thread as an excuse to talk like an over sexed 14 year old?

    No, but DuWayne’s been using it as an excuse to talk like a 14 year old with emotional difficulties.

  116. #116 Deen
    July 15, 2011

    @Kristoff:
    It’s trivially easy to rebut your “Bayesian analysis”. You said:

    P(rape|being on an elevator) = P(being on an elevator|rape) * P(rape) / P(being on an elevator)

    We’re interested to find out if women have a higher probability of rape in an elevator compared to elsewhere. Therefore, it’s not all that useful to just look at the likelihood P(being on an elevator|rape) in isolation. Instead, it’s much more useful to look at the probability ratio P(being on an elevator|rape) / P(being on an elevator). If the probablity ratio would be greater than 1 (which is not impossible), it would mean that P(rape|being on an elevator) > P(rape), and women would be right to be more concerned about rape when they are in an elevator than elsewhere.

    However, since neither of us have statistics to show whether the probability ratio is less than one, one, or more than one, your invocation of Bayes’ theorem here is pointless. Either you seriously don’t understand enough about Bayesian reasoning to know that it is useless if you can’t quantify the factors involved, or you understand enough of it to know that this is a common way to mislead people, because equations often impress or even intimidate people. Considering how much you seem to enjoy talking down on people, I suspect the latter, but either way, it disqualifies you from this debate.

    Besides, if you love Bayesian reasoning so much, here’s a much more relevant analysis for this situation:

    P(rape|guy ignoring woman’s desires) = P(guy ignoring woman’s desires|rape) * P(rape) / P(guy ignoring woman’s desires)

    Let’s look at the probability ratio again, which is P(guy ignoring woman’s desires|rape) / P(guy ignoring woman’s desires). I don’t know what P(guy ignoring woman’s desires) is, but it’s always going to be less than one. However, P(guy ignoring woman’s desires|rape) equals one by the very definition of “rape”. That means that the probability ratio is always going to be greater than one, so P(rape|guy ignoring woman’s desires) > P(rape), which means that a woman is right to be more concerned around a guy who ignores her expressly stated desires.

    You also said:

    What that guy did was innocuous.

    Only from your perspective.

    As a schizotypal individual I can’t do a Goddamn thing without it looking disturbing to someone else.

    I’m sure you could. You could listen to how people would like you to act, for example. Of course, you’ve already said that you refuse to listen to people you don’t find interesting. But that is your personal choice, and you don’t get to blame the (predictable) results of that choice on Rebecca Watson, feminists, women or anyone else.

  117. #117 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    If the probablity ratio would be greater than 1 (which is not impossible)

    How exactly do you rape someone on an elevator in a hotel? How are you going to explain the racket when the door opens (and someone walks in with their laundry)? How are you going to explain the footage of yourself on CCTV obviously struggling with a unwilling person?

    However, since neither of us have statistics to show whether the probability ratio is less than one, one, or more than one, your invocation of Bayes’ theorem here is pointless.

    This is just like Ariel Rubinstein’s misguided critique of game theory: even where precise figures are lacking, the formal tools are a useful framework for thinking about an issue.

    For example, read this, from The posterior probability of any particular God is pretty small:

    http://edge.org/print/res-detail.php?rid=1485

    Is that at all pointless?

    Let’s look at the probability ratio again, which is P(guy ignoring woman’s desires|rape) / P(guy ignoring woman’s desires).

    Yeah but we don’t even know that he was ignoring her desires. Because asking to talk with someone isn’t strictly the same as hitting on them. The “hitting on” interpretation of being asked for coffee is certainly defeasible.

    Furthermore, a more thorough analysis would also consider factors like “probability of getting caught” (which is high in this case).

    But hey, all told, deen, I have to credit you with not bullshitting and pissing around with me.

    You could listen to how people would like you to act, for example.

    I could, but then I could also ask myself whether they’re actually justified in expecting mindless conformity.

    I did, in fact!

    (They’re not!)

    But that is your personal choice, and you don’t get to blame the (predictable) results of that choice on Rebecca Watson

    Why would I? She was hardly a blip on the radar when she got here and, minus my annoyance at her, still is. The only thing I’m blaming her is for raising a big stink about her inconsequential zit of an issue and making it less likely, through sheer fatigue, that people will care about real instances of misogyny.

  118. #118 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Here’s another instance of the kind of loose Bayesian reasoning you just casually dismissed, namely the problem of evil in probabilistic form:

    http://oxford.academia.edu/AndrewStephenson/Papers/107118/The_Moderately_Sceptical_Theists_and_the_Problem_of_the_Sheer_Quantity_of_Evil

    Oh and by the way: The Blind Watchmaker and God Delusion are in the mail. I have no intention of reading either of them but am glad that Dawkins will get money out of the purchase in any case.

  119. #119 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    And what is this?

    Meer geavanceerde zwemblazen, van het afgesloten type, zijn trouwens een aparte ontwikkeling vanuit de primitieve zwemblaas. Waarschijnlijk een aanpassing om ook verder van de oppervlakte te kunnen leven.

    But you don’t have exact numbers.

    (So you can’t make that claim.)

  120. #120 Deen
    July 15, 2011

    @Kristoff:

    How exactly do you rape someone on an elevator in a hotel?

    Considering it has happened in the past, I’m sure there is a way. But indeed, most rapists would prefer to wait until there is a better opportunity. Like, oh, say, when he’s alone with the woman in his hotel room, for example.

    This is just like Ariel Rubinstein’s misguided critique of game theory: even where precise figures are lacking, the formal tools are a useful framework for thinking about an issue.

    I didn’t say Bayesian analysis is useless, so don’t pretend I did. I only said that it’s useless until you provide some quantification. And you didn’t provide any quantification, not even imprecise estimates. Again, either you are unaware of this, or you’re fully aware and being obtuse on purpose. Either way, now this has been pointed out to you, you should excuse yourself from this topic.

    Yeah but we don’t even know that he was ignoring her desires.

    Seriously? What part of “I’ve had enough, guys, I’m exhausted, going to bed,” didn’t you get? Guess you must have also missed her saying that this happened “right after I’ve finished talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner”?

    I also can’t help but notice that you have no actual response to the argument that being around a guy who ignores a woman’s desires increase her risk of rape.

    Furthermore, a more thorough analysis would also consider factors like “probability of getting caught” (which is high in this case).

    Oh, right, now that your supposedly undefeatable Bayesian argument has been blown out of the water, now you start talking about other factors? With more handwaving, no less.

    But hey, all told, deen, I have to credit you with not bullshitting and pissing around with me.

    Too bad you couldn’t return the favor.

    I could, but then I could also ask myself whether they’re actually justified in expecting mindless conformity.

    Did anyone actually ask for mindless conformity? No, I don’t think anyone did.

    The only thing I’m blaming her is for raising a big stink about her inconsequential zit of an issue and making it less likely, through sheer fatigue, that people will care about real instances of misogyny.

    May I point out that just in this thread alone you’ve wasted several orders of magnitude more words on this supposedly “inconsequential” problem than Rebecca Watson did in her original video? It seems to me you’re the one causing the real fatigue here. Your concern for “real misoginy” sounds fake, as you seem utterly uninterested in creating an environment where women can safely voice their concerns without being accused of “raising a big stink”.

    As your undefeatable argument has now in fact been defeated, and as I don’t think you’re actually arguing in good faith, I think we’re done here.

  121. #121 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Like, oh, say, when he’s alone with the woman in his hotel room, for example.

    I feel the same way about the NSA broadcasting messages into my mind.

    I only said that it’s useless until you provide some quantification.

    And I pointed out why you’re wrong. Twice.

    Oh, right, now that your supposedly undefeatable Bayesian argument has been blown out of the water, now you start talking about other factors?

    I’ve been bringing them up repeatedly in this thread. So, yes, “now”, but also “then”.

    Did anyone actually ask for mindless conformity? No, I don’t think anyone did.

    Plenty of people have. Nice of you to assume things about my circumstances though.

    Seriously?

    Yes. Seriously. Because not all talks over coffee end in fucking.

    May I point out that just in this thread alone you’ve wasted several orders of magnitude more words on this supposedly “inconsequential” problem than Rebecca Watson did in her original video?

    What can I say? I love arguing. Granted, this is only slightly less pointless than the many pissing matches I’ve had with creationists over the years, but entertaining in any case.

    Your concern for “real misoginy” sounds fake, as you seem utterly uninterested in creating an environment where women can safely voice their concerns without being accused of “raising a big stink”.

    Do you usually assume guilt before innocence?

  122. #122 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    Yeah but we don’t even know that he was ignoring her desires. Because asking to talk with someone isn’t strictly the same as hitting on them. The “hitting on” interpretation of being asked for coffee is certainly defeasible.

    Did you read this part, or?

    Do I have to explain to you what “defeasibility” means?

  123. #123 DuWayne
    July 15, 2011

    Suggested reading to understand how rape and rapists are classified and also to understand common behaviors of rapists in a given class.

    Alison, L. J., & Stein, K. L. (2001). Vicious circles:
    Accounts of stranger sexual assault reflect abusive
    variants of conventional interactions. The Journal of
    Forensic Psychiatry, 12, 515–538.
    Canter, D. V. (1994). Criminal shadows. London: Harper
    Collins.
    Canter, D. V. (2000). Offender profiling and criminal
    differentiation. Legal and Criminological Psychology,
    5, 23–46.
    Cohen, M. L., Seghorn, T., & Calmas, W. (1969). Sociometric
    study of sex offenders. Journal of Abnormal
    Psychology, 74, 249–255.
    Hazelwood, R. R., Reboussin, R., & Warren, J. I. (1989).
    Serial rape: Correlates of increased aggression
    and the relationship of offender pleasure to victim
    resistance. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 65–78.
    Knight, R. A. (1999). Validation of a typology for rapists.
    Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 303–330.

    “Trauma, Violence and Abuse” and the “Journal of Interpersonal Violence” are both particularly useful sources for understanding not only rape, but violent crime in general.

    And for understanding the common scenario in which a woman who actually takes a man up on his request to go off somewhere to “talk,” and instead ends up getting raped, I would suggest you read “Offender Profiling and Criminal Differentiation,” Cantor 2000 and specifically look at the “involvement” rapist. You will get a very good look at how someone could rather easily get away with rape in a crowded hotel. For a great deal more detail Criminal Shadows provides an in depth look further breakdowns in discreet sets of characteristics of rapists.

    I would note that the “involvement” rapist is by far, the most common stranger rapist and necessarily requires a great deal of pre-planning. Serial rapists are almost exclusively either “involvement” rapists, or “control” rapists – often some combination of both.

    That is the limit of time I am going to spend on references. The “Journal of Occupational Psychology” has published many papers on intelligence testing and the inherent problems that bias results of standardized intelligence testing.

  124. #124 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    I don’t trust you DuWayne. Comments like this one:

    I would also like to clarify that I absolutely am willing to empathize with you and indeed I do. I even have a great deal of sympathy for you. That said, I also think you’re a tremendous asshole.

    …tell me that you’re trying to mix degrading insults with compliments in order to tear down my self-esteem and win my gratitude in the process.

    In fact, you’re probably trying to brainwash me into a cult or lure me back to your apartment so you can murder me and paint my severed head like an Easter egg or who knows what other sick fantasy you have in that diseased head of yours. DuWayne, you revolting pervert, get away from me.

  125. #125 Kristoff
    July 15, 2011

    (…see why assuming the worst is usually pretty silly?)

  126. #126 drogba in chelsea
    August 5, 2014

    Real modern day Chelsea idol!

Current ye@r *