Respectful Insolence

I’ve written about conflicts of interest (COIs) a lot over the years. COIs are important in medicine and science because, as much as physicians and scientists like to think that they are immune to such things, we are as human as anyone else. We are just as prone to unconsciously (or consciously) being influenced by self-interest related to our COIs. Most of the time, for purposes of science, COIs are considered to be mostly financial in nature: employment or payments from a drug company, a financial interest in a treatment being studied, and the like. Andrew Wakefield is a classic example in that he was developing a separate measles vaccine that would compete with the MMR vaccine that he tried to nail as a cause of autism. However, conflicts of interest are not just financial. They can be ideological. For example, I have come across antivaccine articles published in ostensibly respectable sources in which the author does not divulge that she is affiliated with “vaccine safety advocacy group” (a.k.a. an antivaccine group). These sorts of COIs can be as important, if not sometimes even more so, than financial COIs. After all, money is just money, but an intense ideological belief is unlikely ever to be removed and can warp one’s perspective even more than money. Sometimes, COIs take the form of something about one’s background that is relevant to a topic being investigated or discussed or a personal experience that strongly influences one views. These non-financial COIs are, without a doubt, under appreciated, even in the skeptic movement.

That’s why I’ve become very insistent that we, as skeptics, scientists, and physicians, need to be totally up front about our conflicts of interest, be they financial, ideological, or personal. One reason, of course, is that those who—shall we say?—don’t share our dedication to rationality, science, and critical thinking will be very quick to point them out if we don’t do so first, but that’s not the most important reason. The most important reason is to be better skeptics. We need to honestly admit and recognize anything that might compromise our objectivity or lead us to conclusions that are not the ones best supported by science and the evidence. Once we know our own skeptical weaknesses in the form of COIs, we can work on trying to mitigate them. In many ways, financial COIs are the easiest to deal with, because they’re far more straightforward. When one has a personal experience that informs one’s views on a topic or has a strong ideological commitment to a point of view, it’s often hard to tell where skepticism devolves into motivated reasoning.

You know what’s also bad? False accusations are bad.

Indeed, I think that, without a doubt, we can all agree that false accusations of serious crimes and misdeeds are bad things, horrible things, a terrible things, things that can ruin reputations and lives and even end up with people dying over them. If there’s anyone who disagrees with this contention, he’s one warped person with whom I want no part. I also think that, without a doubt, skeptics can agree that examining false accusations is completely within the purview of skepticism, that no accusation is off-limits to legitimate skepticism that truly uses science, reason, and critical thinking and doesn’t devolve into trying to discredit the presumed victim. In that vein, Ben Radford’s post on his Center for Inquiry (CFI) blog A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper entitled The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study, seems, at first glance, like an entirely reasonable deconstruction of false accusations.

At first. It doesn’t take long, however, to notice problems. It starts out with an anecdote (and, as we all know from medicine, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”), and it’s a damning one. It’s the story of a college student who falsely accused her former boyfriend of abduction and sexual assault. It turns out that she made the false accusation because her grandmother had discovered images of her and the accused engaged in consensual sex acts. The rest of the post is a litany of more of the same. One false accusation recounted by Radford even resulted in the death of the falsely accused because the boyfriend of the woman who made the false accusation shot the man with whom she was having sex. The reason? He thought she was being raped.

The further I read, the more disturbed I became. For one thing, until near the end the article was relentlessly one-sided, its purpose clearly being to give the impression that false accusations of sexual assault are common. Oh, sure, towards the end Radford quotes Alan Dershowitz to concede that “most people who are accused of a crime are in fact guilty.” However, the overall message I got from his blog post was that false accusations of rape and sexual misconduct are common, making his concession that most people don’t lie about such things seem half-hearted, particularly in the context of the lack of high quality evidence to support his view in his post. Again, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data,” and Radford, disappointingly, went for anecdotes instead of data.

Now, here’s where I reveal that I know something that many of you don’t know (although, I daresay, many of you do). What those of you who aren’t into the skeptical movement probably don’t know is that last summer, the author of this piece, Ben Radford, was publicly accused of sexual harassment by Karen Stollznow. Now, let me make one thing very clear. I make no judgment as to whether Radford is actually guilty of sexual harassment. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information to know, because all I know is what Stollznow wrote about it (an article that was later removed) and some of what flew back and forth on atheist blogs for a few weeks. For purposes of this discussion of COIs, it really doesn’t matter. For purposes of my discussion of disclosing COIs, it’s utterly irrelevant to me whether Radford is guilty or not.

Now, how does Radford’s post read? Different, doesn’t it? Knowing this about him, I find it hard to view his post as anything more than an attempt at self-justification and a means of casting doubt on his accuser—even if such was not his intent. How would I have reacted to his post if he had disclosed his COI up front? I don’t know for sure. Probably not as badly as I did with his not having disclosed it. No, definitely not as badly as I did. However, what irritates me is what people who don’t know the back story will see. They will tend to assume that Radford is reasonably disinterested, trying to apply skepticism and critical thinking to the issue of false accusations. He is, after all, a prominent skeptic, writing on his employer’s blog, and his employer is CFI, which is dedicated to promoting skepticism and critical thinking. What Radford denied such readers is a piece of evidence necessary to help them evaluate his arguments, namely the bias of the writer. The closest Radford ever gets to admitting his COI is this paragraph:

It may be hard to sympathize with a man or woman falsely accused of a crime unless you’ve been in that situation yourself. Many people may assume that they would never be in relationship with a person who would falsely accuse them of something as serious as sexual harassment or sexual assault. However the fact is that any of us could be in that position; the man Levitski accused of abduction and assault was a friend and recent sex partner, who presumably had no idea what she was capable of. Think about how you would feel if this happened to your wife, husband, daughter, son, brother, sister, mother or father.

A perceptive reader, even one who knows nothing about the back story here, might suspect from this paragraph that Radford’s interest in the topic is more than just academic, but he would not have any way of doing more than suspecting this.

Unfortunately, Radford’s post is also badly reasoned and lacking in evidence. I was going to provide some examples and pick it apart a bit in my own inimitable way, other than pointing out its near-total reliance on anecdotes as I’ve already done, but it turns out that I don’t have to. Here’s what I mean. When I first saw Radford’s post and decided to write about it, I was also annoyed at CFI. Why, I thought, did CFI allow Radford to use its blog as a platform to grind his his own personal axes? Believe it or not, given how happy and pleased I was that my very first major article had just seen print in CFI’s flagship publication, Skeptical Inquirer (it’s a primer on Stanislaw Burzynski coupled with an article about how skeptics have become active again opposing him), I even felt a little trepidation as I wrote this. I wondered whether I would ever be invited to give a talk at a national CSI conference again, the way I was in 2012, or whether I’d ever see any of my articles in print again in the pages of Skeptical Inquirer. It was almost enough to make me stay my typing hands and look to another topic I had had in mind for today before I became aware of Radford’s post. Radford is, after all, very influential in CFI. If I were to piss him off, it wouldn’t result in a profane rant directed at me at TAM this year in which a certain large magician took umbrage about something I wrote about him, but it could have negative effects on my aspirations to be more influential. I don’t know if those fears are unreasonable, but I’m less worried now that I’ve seen another post on a CFI blog.

It turns out that Ron Lindsay, president of CFI, has actually written a response in which he noticed the same sorts of problems that I did. His post is reasoned and balanced, and he basically eviscerates Radford’s arguments right from the very title of his post, Evidence-Based Reasoning: Comments on a Blog Post. Now, I’ve had my issues with Lindsay in the past, in particular over an incident three years ago, but in this case Lindsay is spot on. For example:

In the first paragraph, Ben notes, in referencing the Iowa case, that “The relative obscurity of this case suggests its prevalence.” No, it doesn’t. Obscurity does not imply prevalence. This is fallacious reasoning. Right now, someone in obscure, rural Latvia could be falsely accusing someone else of being a philosopher. The obscurity of this event does not imply that false attributions of philosophizing are prevalent.

Exactly. Radford’s argument is a non sequitur. It does not follow from the obscurity of a case of a false accusation that false accusations are prevalent. It could just as easily imply the opposite. Evidence is needed to make the connection, and Radford didn’t provide any.

Then there’s this:

That false reports happen is not disputed. Nor does anyone dispute that for the individual falsely accused, it’s a very unfortunate, sometimes tragic, situation. But is this a widespread problem? That’s the key question. One might think so from the attention Ben has given to it and his use of the adverb “often,” but, actually, the evidence seems to indicate it is not a widespread problem. For example, a British study last year indicated that there were 35 prosecutions for false accusations of rape during a 17-month period while there were 5,681 prosecutions for rape in the same period of time. The suggestion that false accusations of rape are commonplace does not appear to be supported by the evidence. Moreover, this suggestion can be very harmful if it persuades people that reports of rape should be treated with special suspicion.

Exactly (again). Radford provided no context and no evidence to support his implication that such false accusations happen “often.” Most evidence, as Lindsay points out, actually tends to point in the opposite direction, namely that false accusations of rape are uncommon and that, if anything, rape is underreported, although he doesn’t mention that the issue is highly politicized and you can find outlier studies with very high numbers. In any case, Radford didn’t make even the most superficial attempt to look at the evidence. He just slung anecdotes. That’s the point. That’s where another major skeptical fail was, in addition to Radford’s glaring failure to disclose his personal COI regarding false accusations of sexual misconduct. We don’t let quacks, cranks, pseudoscientists, and antivaccinationists get away with making assertions using only anecdotes to support their conclusions. We should hold the luminaries of the skeptical movement to the same standards.

Think of it this way. No one disputes that in scientific and medical research it’s important to disclose one’s financial COIs. If discussed the way I discussed above, few would argue that it’s not also important to disclose COIs that might imply a strong ideological COI, such as antivaccinationists who publish review articles and research purporting to find a link between vaccines and autism who don’t mention that, oh, by the way, they are on the board of directors of an antivaccine group, although such COIs tend to be treated much less seriously than financial COIs. Fewer people would insist that disclosing COIs like those of Ben Radford, life events that have the potential to massively impact one’s objectivity, is critical, but I would. If you want to claim to be a skeptic and to persuade an audience of skeptics, you need to be completely open about such a potent personal COI. More importantly, if you want to be honest with yourself, it’s even more imperative to do so. The same is true of science. Ruthless self-examination and openness about sources of our potential biases can only help us develop as skeptics. We all have biases, and we all have potential COIs. Acknowledging them and being honest about them, are the first step in overcoming them, because you can’t overcome them if you fail to admit that they exist.

Comments

  1. #1 reader
    February 28, 2014

    Even more interesting is the question of earliest age or place of first $1000-$10,000 COI. Teens or 20s? Might be shocked.

    What form did it take? Cash, employment, hotels, meals, planes?

  2. #2 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    Oh, sure, towards the end Radford quotes Alan Dershowitz to concede that “most people who are accused of a crime are in fact guilty.”

    “As Alan Dershowitz pointed out during a recent appearance on BBC News, most people who are accused of a crime are in fact guilty.”

    Dershowitz has been repeating this slogan for over 30 years.

  3. #3 Miki
    February 28, 2014

    Doesn’t your concern about not pissing off CFI and losing the associated opportunities also count as a COI here? Because there’s one situation in which COIs are almost never disclosed to my knowledge — when the COI leads to someone not publishing something at all that they otherwise would and thereby leaving an unneeded gap in the literature and knowledge base, as it sounds like almost happened here.

  4. #4 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    For example, a British study last year indicated that there were 35 prosecutions for false accusations of rape during a 17-month period while there were 5,681 prosecutions for rape in the same period of time. The suggestion that false accusations of rape are commonplace does not appear to be supported by the evidence.

    This is wide of the mark, at least transposed to the U.S., given that prosecutions aren’t some sort of objective measure of the validity of the accusations but rather of whatever those with prosecutorial discretion feel like doing.

  5. #5 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    Doesn’t your concern about not pissing off CFI and losing the associated opportunities also count as a COI here?

    Ha! But I disclosed it! And I was halfway done with this post already when I became aware of Lindsay’s post; so my fears, unreasonable or not (probably unreasonable), wouldn’t have stopped me. :-)

  6. #6 incitatus
    February 28, 2014

    feel the fear and drink it anyway

    the marketing slogan for pu erh tea

  7. #7 Bill
    Los Angeles, CA
    February 28, 2014

    Orac, considering your conclusion, I’d be interested in reading about your own personal experience with avoiding and/or disclosing ideological COIs in your blogging. But please don’t take that to mean that I expect you to monitor yourself closely for any ideological COIs to disclose every time you write a blog post.

    I’m not sure that “exactly” is the appropriate characterization of the last block quotation from Lindsay’s post. Contrary to what Lindsay wrote, there are people who dispute the notion of false reports; such a person wrote to me after I tweeted about the Tavris eSkeptic piece that was also cited in Ben’s post. Lindsay’s comparison of the number of prosecutions for rape to number of prosecutions for false accusations of rape is relevant to his discussion of how common false accusations are only if suspected cases of ape and cases of suspected false accusations of rape are about equally likely to be prosecuted. At best, Lindsay’s citation of the British study (just one study!) was a rush job. It doesn’t look like he carefully reviewed the literature as would be expected by someone espousing evidence-based reasoning.

    I’m surprised you didn’t recognize Lindsay’s evidence-based reasoning fail considering the outstanding job you normally do promoting evidence-based reasoning in your blog. But I won’t presume that it was some undisclosed ideological conflict of interest that led you astray.

  8. #8 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    February 28, 2014

    I’m getting really tired of people going ‘but what about false accusations’ when the topic of sexual harassment and rape comes up in any way, shape or form.

    What aboutery in a nutshell.

  9. #9 incitatus
    February 28, 2014

    Bill,

    Im not certain on what basis anyone can dispute that false reports exist? Are we saying that this is the only area in teh entirety of human existence where nobody lies?

    however the point about prosecution not being equivalent to non false is valid.

  10. #10 incitatus
    February 28, 2014

    Pris , i think it depends on what that argument is used for, surely? It could be used for evil reasons or for good ones depending.

    But any repeated argument is tiresome.

  11. #11 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    February 28, 2014

    @Inky:

    I’ve only ever seen it used for evil, to use your wording. Usually in the context about the incidence of rape being higher than the number of reported cases and that the conviction rate for rape is appalling. Inevitably someone will bring up the friend of a friend who’s vindictive ex went to the police claiming they were raped. And how being falsely accused of rape is as terrible as being raped…

    It never ends well.

  12. #12 Michael
    February 28, 2014

    Orac- from I’ve read the studies showing that false accusations of rape are common and the studies showing that false accusations of rape are rare are both of poor quality:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_accusation_of_rape
    All of the studies listed seem to rely on guesses as to who’s lying. The number of prosecutions for false accusations aren’t a reliable indicator because often the prosecutors aren’t sure who’s lying. The judgment of law enforcement officials isn’t always reliable, either. The conviction rate for rape isn’t helpful because sometimes innocent men are found guilty and vice versa.
    So the evidence is insufficient to say whether false accusations are rare or common.

  13. #13 Renate
    February 28, 2014

    I think the victims of false accusations are also the victims of rape, or child abuse, because the false accusations by others, affect the way people think about rape or child abuse. Just because there are people who try to accuse others of rape, or child abuse, just because they have some axe to grind with the person accused, doesn’t mean these things don’t exist.

  14. #14 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    Orac, considering your conclusion, I’d be interested in reading about your own personal experience with avoiding and/or disclosing ideological COIs in your blogging. But please don’t take that to mean that I expect you to monitor yourself closely for any ideological COIs to disclose every time you write a blog post.

    I take it you’re not a regular reader, given that this appears to be the first time you’ve ever commented, at least since we moved over to WordPress a few years back. Welcome! In actuality, I do try to monitor myself very closely for personal and ideological COIs, and I do try to mention it when I have a personal COI (which is what I probably should have called Radford’s COI, as it was more personal experience). Moreover, if you were a regular reader, you’d know I’m not exactly shy about expressing my opinion. My ideology, such as it is, is pretty transparent. It’s also not as though I haven’t written about this sort of thing before or discussed non-financial COIs before. No one seemed to have a problem with it when I was criticizing antivaccinationists who, for instance, didn’t disclose that in the past they were part of the Autism Omnibus action, which sought to get the Vaccine Court to rule that autism was a compensable “vaccine injury” when writing ostensibly “scientific” reviews. Now that I criticize one of our own for the same sort of offense, suddenly I’m the bad guy. Interesting.

    I’m surprised you didn’t recognize Lindsay’s evidence-based reasoning fail considering the outstanding job you normally do promoting evidence-based reasoning in your blog. But I won’t presume that it was some undisclosed ideological conflict of interest that led you astray.

    Nor should you, but your sarcastic reply is comparing apples and oranges. You have no reason a priori to assume that I have some major undisclosed ideological COI about this unless you think I’m lying in my discussion when I say that it’s utterly irrelevant to me for purposes of discussing this skeptical fail whether Radford is guilty or innocent. (Arguably, the COI could be even more intense if he is innocent and truly wronged.) Indeed, I went out of my way to be balanced, which will probably lead some to criticize me for not simply assuming Radford is guilty. I can’t do that because I have no basis in evidence upon which to do so other than charges and countercharges flying about in the atheist/skeptical blogosphere six months ago. In marked contrast, I have a very good reason (several, actually) to know that Radford does have a whopper of a personal COI, because of the public accusation and the blogstorm the accusation caused. In fact, knowing your usually excellent reasoning skills, I’m rather surprised you seem not to see the difference.

    Even so, I will return your favor in that I also won’t presume that you have some sort of personal or ideological COI motivating you to be defending Radford for not disclosing his rather gaping personal COI on the topic of false accusations of sexual misconduct. Fair’s fair. :-)

  15. #15 Daniel Corcos
    France
    February 28, 2014

    Publishing because you are obliged to publish puts you in some kind of COI (publish or perish). Those COI are usually disclosed because the institution that pays you and forces you to publish is named, but nevertheless this raises skepticism on scientific papers.

  16. #16 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    I’m not sure that counts, exactly. As a scientist, I am required to publish by my university if I wish to be promoted. However, my university doesn’t tell me what I should research or what I should publish.

  17. #17 palindrom
    February 28, 2014

    Daniel Corcos @15 — Based on what I’ve seen during my own long academic career, the strategy of publishing large numbers of shoddy low-impact papers does not tend to be good for one’s career.

  18. #18 Eric Lund
    February 28, 2014

    oh, by the way, they are on the board of directors of an antivaccine group

    Do they get any compensation for their service, whether in the form of salary, honoraria, or reimbursement of travel expenses? If so, then that is a financial conflict of interest. At least, the IRS takes an interest in whether someone is paid by any of these means.

    Likewise, Radford is presumably incurring some expenses to defend himself against sexual harassment charges, or may become the defendant in a civil or criminal proceeding. Whether you would consider that a financial COI is a reasonable question, but there is a financial angle to Radford’s position.

  19. #19 Joanna
    February 28, 2014

    Well, isn’t that cute. Someone is accusing Orac of not saying enough when he blogs. Is today opposite day or something? Really, if there is anyone we can count on to be open about COI’s it’s Orac.

    Orac, thank you for taking on some of the more touchy subjects in the skeptic movement. I know it can lead to some really serious trolling so it’s nice to see bloggers taking that risk when they may have little personal interest in the topic.

  20. #20 Daniel Corcos
    France
    February 28, 2014

    @ Orac
    Of course, your university doesn’t tell you what you should publish, but journals tend to prefer positive results to negative ones.
    @ Palindrom
    Those who write shoddy papers have a better carrer if they publish a lot of them.

  21. #21 Composer99
    http://composer99.blogspot.ca
    February 28, 2014

    Great article, Orac, and a very key message: those aspiring to be skeptics and demand a high standard of openness and transparency from others must be prepared to meet the same standard when called upon.

    I also think the remarks on the different sorts of conflicts of interest is illuminating.

  22. #22 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 28, 2014
    For example, a British study last year indicated that there were 35 prosecutions for false accusations of rape during a 17-month period while there were 5,681 prosecutions for rape in the same period of time. The suggestion that false accusations of rape are commonplace does not appear to be supported by the evidence.

    This is wide of the mark, at least transposed to the U.S., given that prosecutions aren’t some sort of objective measure of the validity of the accusations but rather of whatever those with prosecutorial discretion feel like doing.

    I wholly agree, especially as I can point to instances where accusations were determined to be false and those who could have prosecuted not only declined to prosecute, but publicly announced that their reason for not doing so was a fear that punishing false accusations could lead to hesitancy in reporting true accusations. Anecdotes, yes, but I don’t think people are inclined to say in public “this is our policy” unless they perceive it to be a norm.

    (Personal COI: At one time decades in the past I was slandered by accusations in the court of rumor that at some unspecified time, to some unspecified person, I had committed sexual assault. I happen to know exactly who decided that she was entitled to jump from her judgment “Ooh, I don’t understand him, he seems creepy to me, he probably would do something like that” to “I’m sure he must’ve at some point, so I’ll just start talking like I know it did happen.”)

  23. #23 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    And that’s the way to handle personal COIs. If Ben Radford had simply said somewhere in his post, “I was recently the victim of a false accusation of sexual harassment” (note again that I’m assuming that’s what he would say and again not making any conclusion about his guilt or innocence, not having sufficient knowledge of events or evidence to do so), I probably wouldn’t have felt the need to write this post.

  24. #24 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    It doesn’t take a scientific study to know with absolute certainty that false rape accusations are ubitiquitous. Accusing men of rape (which feminists have now redefined to mean any sex a woman regrets) is an openly tolerated, even encouraged strategy by feminists.

    False accusations of rape are the way women rape men.

    The scientific method cannot be applied to sexual harrasment/rape trends in society because they are strongly influenced by feminist political propaganda and opinion. The only way to know with absolute certainty is video evidence with DNA evidence. Otherwise it is at best circumstantial, at worst completely the claims by the accuser.

    “Indeed, I think that, without a doubt, we can all agree that false accusations of serious crimes and misdeeds are bad things, horrible things, a terrible things, things that can ruin reputations and lives and even end up with people dying over them. If there’s anyone who disagrees with this contention, he’s one warped person with whom I want no part.”

    Orac you have some hysterical feminazis in your RI insane asylum (PoliticalPig is one example) who I would bet money on having no problem whatsoever with false rape punishment because it punishes men for simply being men. I was getting accused of being a rapist on this anonymous forum simply for being a libertarian.

    I’m a man, so I guess that is a Conflict of Interest on this topic.

  25. #25 Keating Willcox
    February 28, 2014

    In 2012, according to the FBI, nearly 87,000 “forcible rapes” were reported. That’s down 7% from the number of rapes reported in 2008. Law enforcement agencies estimate that the number of false rape accusations ranges from 2% to 8% annually, or between 2,000 and 7,000 cases each year.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/opinion/jones-rape-claim-lawsuits/

    The other issue is the massive number of recantations in sexual assault cases. By trying to eliminate false accusations, the police make recantations much more common. It can be a problem, especially with mandatory lie detector tests.

    but, brain fingerprinting and fMRI tests for perps sure make a lot of sense.

    http://youtu.be/WBHy0UYBtwI

    All defense lawyers should have these phone numbers on their rolodex. Very quick, quite reliable, provides a DA with a great reason not to indict, and provides ample evidence to prevent an unfair settlement.

    I think there may be a much higher incidence of false claims in divorce proceedings, where there is no legal evidence but a judge deciding who gets what. Were i a family court judge, I would be using these techniques a lot, maybe not for trial evidence, but to help make other decisions.

  26. #26 Chris,
    February 28, 2014

    Mr. Willcox, it would really help if you actually read the full article before doing your cut and paste routine. Also, you have several questions to answer in another thread.

    Be a peach, and answer our questions on that thread.

  27. #27 Dangerous Bacon
    February 28, 2014

    Slight diversion here, but one that also raises questions of conflict of interest when promoting one’s conception of optimal health care.

    There were letters in today’s Wall St. Journal in response to an op-ed about how medical practices are increasingly being subdivided among MDs and non-MD personnel, with more and more patients seeing nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants etc.

    One NP smugly commented that “one aspect that sets NPs apart from other health-care providers is their unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person”.

    Where have we heard that before? Oh yes…just substitute “naturopath” or other alt-med provider for “nurse practitioner” and you’ll recognize the same self-serving and inaccurate glop.

    Another letter writer (an MD from Kansas) noted that “Maybe the team approach works for primary care, but as a retina specialist, I can tell you that there is no team in eye.”

    :)

  28. #28 CSB
    United States
    February 28, 2014

    You need to work on your parody skills some more, Delysid. That almost sounds like something that someone might actually argue.

  29. #29 Politicalguineapig
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid: I was getting accused of being a rapist on this anonymous forum simply for being a libertarian.

    No, you made a very clear threat against me. And I’d just like to point out that one false accusation tends to outweigh 500 true rapes; this is the reason I think justice should be administered solely by the victims, since officials don’t take rape seriously, and rape is legal now in Oregon, Montana, Missouri, Texas and Ohio.

  30. #30 Eric Lund
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid’s post above is a great big [citation needed].

    And I’m at a loss to figure out what Mr. Wilcox is on about with his reference to “mandatory lie detector tests”. Lie detector test results are inadmissible in court, for the obvious reason that they have no scientific basis whatsoever. They are mandatory for people working in certain government agencies–ironically, the ones supposedly engaged in “intelligence”–but as Bob Park (of What’s New) liked to point out, no person convicted of espionage in this country has ever failed a lie detector test.

  31. #31 Johanna
    February 28, 2014

    which feminists have now redefined to mean any sex a woman regrets

    Um, citation seriously goddamn needed.

  32. #32 jane
    February 28, 2014

    Rape is legal in Oregon?! What? I’d believe it of Texas, now….

  33. #33 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 28, 2014

    @Orac

    I glanced over Radford’s post when you linked to it on Twitter, but didn’t read in depth. The impression I got at the time, having heard some of the back-and-forth last year, was that it was an attempt to put himself in the role of victim. I didn’t follow the events of last year really closely, so, like you, I can’t make any conclusions regarding his innocence or guilt. Just seemed like trying to suggest that he might be the victim of false accusations as well.

  34. #34 Delysis
    February 28, 2014

    @politicalpig

    I knew you couldn’t resist proving my point. You just explicitly confessed that false rape accusations are the price to pay.

    I never made a very clear threat against you. I called you out for your insane hypocrisy and idiotic irrational accusations, but I said nothing remotely resembling a threat. If that was true, where was Orac? Is he an example of the type of official that doesn’t take rape (or threats) seriously?

    You are so far off the deep end that you are a parody of the Feminazi stereotype. I take you about as seriously as a clown who walks up to me and squirted water in my face.

    “Rape is legal in Oregon Montana Missuori Texas and Ohio.”

    LOLOL

    Please share more of your facts. That is comedy.

  35. #35 Lawrence
    February 28, 2014

    I’m surprised Delsyid was able to leave his “drugonaut” den to respond…..

  36. #36 JGC
    maybe scientific studies aren't needed, Delysid...
    February 28, 2014

    …but you must have some actual evidence demonstrating “false rape accusations are ubitiquitous” in order to you assert this known with “absolute certainty’, right?

    So, what is it?

    Also, please define “ubiquitous” more precisely: what fraction of all rape accusations do you believe to be false? 1 in 100? 1 in 10? 1 in 3?

  37. #37 Delysis
    February 28, 2014

    @joanna

    Search “what is rape?” and read the nonsensical explanations given on women’s help sites and rape crises sites. “If I don’t say no and consent, is it rape? Maybe! Report it to us and we will talk you through it!

    @lawrence

    Good one. That wasa seriously brilliant comment. You got me good. I submit to your obvious genius and look forward to the wisdom you will no doubt further contribute.

  38. #38 incitatus
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid I fear you have a lot to learn of the ways in which women can rape men. It happens, its traumatic and its not via a false report.

  39. #39 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    The scientific method cannot be applied to sexual harrasment/rape trends in society because they are strongly influenced by feminist political propaganda and opinion.

    Rubbish. Science studies highly politicized topics all the time.

  40. #40 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    Really, if there is anyone we can count on to be open about COI’s it’s Orac.

    Thanks. I try. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

  41. #41 Lawrence
    February 28, 2014

    My pleasure Delsyid….and you still haven’t answered by questions, so I figure we’re even (though I would still be interested to know where in history, your “perfect” society has been attempted & proven to be successful).

  42. #42 Shay
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid: I said nothing remotely resembling a threat. If that was true, where was Orac?

    You posted a question to PGP, asking her if she preferred to be violated in the anus or the vagina.

    I will leave it to others to decide if that can be construed as a threat or merely as profoundly tasteless and idiotic lashing-out from someone who was being a sore loser.

  43. #43 Shay
    February 28, 2014

    Oh, and it was immediately after your post that Orac put you on moderation.

  44. […] Orac / David Gorski has a post about Conflicts of Interest and motivated reasoning. […]

  45. #45 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Orac

    I hope you aren’t defending sociology as a science. Just because highly politicized studies are published all of the time doesn’t legitimize any of them. You better than anyone should know the consequences of politicized science and the unreliability of opinion.

    Opinion studies are not science. If you did an opinion study asking mothers who adhere to alternative medicine if they believe vaccines caused autism in their child and 70% said yes, does this make it so? Why would they lie? It’s just science, right?

    @Shay

    I asked PoliticalPig if she preferred being raped in the ass or vagina as a sarcastic example of the highly offensive false dilemmas she is fond of spewing. It’s not my fault someone doesn’t understand deliberate and obvious hyperbole (though I concede that feminazi’s are incapable of understanding humor, so I should have been more careful with my wording).

    @Lawrence

    I see you are still using the Nirvana Fallacy.

    @JGC

    There is no way I can possibly guess what percentage of rape accusations are false. This is why it is essential to assume that every rape accusation is FALSE until proven otherwise, as everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

    Unfortunately, because of people like PoliticalPig, we now live in a society in which every person accused of rape is assumed guilty.

    Look at the witch hunt currently being done by the media against Darren Sharper. So far there is zero evidence against him beyond the accusations themselves, yet he is being humiliated and disgraced by the media. As I was eating lunch just now the talking head on the “news” channel at the hospital cafeteria television was raging that Darren Sharper might get off because the prosecution hasn’t found enough evidence. It’s disgusting.

  46. #46 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    hope you aren’t defending sociology as a science. Just because highly politicized studies are published all of the time doesn’t legitimize any of them. You better than anyone should know the consequences of politicized science and the unreliability of opinion.

    No, actually, I was thinking of disciplines like climate science, evolution, reproductive health, mental health, and the like.

  47. #47 Helianthus
    February 28, 2014

    @ incitatus

    I fear you have a lot to learn of the ways in which women can rape men. It happens, its traumatic and its not via a false report.

    I agree. Well, thanks goodness, not from personal experience.

    A few years back, I was lurking on another blog where they were discussing a study/poll on the topic of sexual assaults, and there was mention in the study of a third category: men forced to penetrate someone else against their will. Doesn’t look like something nice either, for either participant.
    Physical abuse is no joking matter, whatever the form it takes.

    That being said, I would like to warn my fellow readers that this thread’s topic is at serious risks of being diverted from “conflicts of interest in medicine, science and skepticism” into “false accusations of rape”. Or into another favorite, “it happens to men too, so stop making it all about you, [insert derogatory term here, e.g. feminazi]”

    Write whatever you want. But please remember:
    Abusers – of any gender – are predators. Don’t confront them unless you have a big gun (one you know how to use). Don’t encourage them to play their games, by example by saying it’s No Big Deal..
    The same rules apply to internet predators, a.k.a. trolls.

  48. #48 Lawrence
    February 28, 2014

    @Delsyid – I’m doing no such thing, as I am asking you a direct question. Either you can provide an answer or you cannot.

    Your choice.

  49. #49 JerryA
    February 28, 2014

    In re the comment that the prosecution rate for rape versus false rape accusation is biased in some way: What other public measure do we have that is better? We know that rape is an under-reported crime, and the rape prosecution rate is lower than for other crimes. I suggest that this ratio might be an upper end rather than a floor. Does anyone have a better measure?

    As far as Corcos’ yet-another-slander against the ethics of scientists and scientific publication, I say this: If you don’t publish your results and share them with others in your field, then no one benefits from the work, no matter how good it is. Advancements of knowledge must be shared with others to do the rest of the world any good. Otherwise it’s not science, it’s a hobby. That would be a waste of time, money and materials. Please, since you seem to don’t grasp this most basic point about scientific research, read more and comment less until you catch up. Thank you.

  50. #50 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Everyone

    Here is a list of convicted rapists who were exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project and DNA EVIDENCE

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/know/Search-Profiles.php?check=check&title=&yearConviction=&yearExoneration=&jurisdiction=&cause=&perpetrator=&compensation=&conviction=rape&x=28&y=0

    This is only a microscopic sample of the pandemic of false accusation and wrongful conviction in our society.

    Unfortunately, even DNA evidence can’t always exonerate an accused rapist as consensual sex inevitably leaves DNA. Also unfortunately, sex is (usually) a private event, making it the word of the accuser against the accused.

    Sexual harassment is subjective. Anybody can be accused of sexual harassment and the stigmatization can follow them for life.

    @Orac

    Every instance of rape accusation/sexual misconduct/harassment, without exception, should be treated as false until proven otherwise. This is innocent until proven guilty. Just because rape has become a hyper-emotional topic does not make it immune from proper jurisprudence.

  51. #51 Orac
    February 28, 2014

    That being said, I would like to warn my fellow readers that this thread’s topic is at serious risks of being diverted from “conflicts of interest in medicine, science and skepticism” into “false accusations of rape”. Or into another favorite, “it happens to men too, so stop making it all about you, [insert derogatory term here, e.g. feminazi]”

    Yup. That’s what always seems to happen with this topic in pretty much every online discussion of it that I come across.

    That’s why I tried to be very careful and stick to two key points:

    1. Skeptics knowing their own COIs, be they financial, ideological, or personal experience, and the importance of being open about them, both for convincing others and to become better skeptics by knowing their own biases. This is something that Mr. Radford, unfortunately, failed at. Bad arguments in the service of a correct conclusion are still a skeptical fail. How you come to your conclusions matters—a lot.

    2. Skeptics, particularly when holding forth on controversial topics, need to use data and evidence, not anecdotes, something Mr. Radford, unfortunately, also failed at.

    Regarding the latter part, even if Mr. Radford were 100% correct about false accusations of rape being “common,” his argument would still be a skeptical fail, relying, as it did, on dubious reasoning and anecdotes rather than an attempt to synthesize the best evidence out there. The topic is so controversial that two people looking at the same body of evidence could well come to conclusions that are quite different, but such arguments need to be based on evidence. Mr. Radford’s were not, sadly.

  52. #52 JGC
    February 28, 2014

    There is no way I can possibly guess what percentage of rape accusations are false.

    Which makes your initial claim “It doesn’t take a scientific study to know with absolute certainty that false rape accusations are ubitiquitous” a false statement, agreed?

    This is why it is essential to assume that every rape accusation is FALSE until proven otherwise, as everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

    It’s certainly correct to assume everyone is innocent until proven guilty. It isn’t correct to assume that accusations of rape are somehow inherently more likely to be false than accusations of any other accusation of crime–agreed?

    Unfortunately, because of people like PoliticalPig, we now live in a society in which every person accused of rape is assumed guilty.

    No more so than someone accused of theft or embezzlement is assumed guilty, in my experience at least.

    Look at the witch hunt currently being done by the media against Darren Sharper. So far there is zero evidence against him beyond the accusations themselves, yet he is being humiliated and disgraced by the media.

    There’s sufficient evidence against him to have secured an indictment, and for at least 3 other states to consider him a person of interest in prior assaults. As for being humilated and disgraced in the media, is the media treating him any differently than they would be if he’d instead been accused of domestic violence, or robbery, or dealing drugs?

    As I was eating lunch just now the talking head on the “news” channel at the hospital cafeteria television was raging that Darren Sharper might get off because the prosecution hasn’t found enough evidence. It’s disgusting.

    Which might also occur if he had instead been charged with armed robbery or assault and battery, if there were insufficient evuidence to demonstrate his guilt.

    You really seem to believe that the testimony of women who claim they have been witnesses to and/ or victims of rape is somehow more likely to be false than that of individuals who have been victims/witnesses to other types of crime.

    Why?

  53. #53 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Orac

    By divulging that he was accused of sexual harassment, he is incidentally stigmatizing himself. Does he have to say this every time he writes an essay?

    Give me a break.

    Orac, weren’t you falsely accused of academic misconduct?

    Do you divulge this information at the start of every blog?

  54. […] More on Orac’s post. (Oh here’s an undeclared thing – not a COI, but still a something – a preference, a habit, a way of doing things. I like the way blogging allows you to treat a subject in pieces if you want to. I do want to.) […]

  55. #55 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @JGC

    “You really seem to believe that the testimony of women who claim they have been witnesses to and/ or victims of rape is somehow more likely to be false than that of individuals who have been victims/witnesses to other types of crime.

    Why?”

    Because that is the easiest type of crime to falsely accuse someone of. This is compounded by the fact that there is an ongoing propaganda campaign to encourage false rape accusations.

    You can’t walk around a college campus without seeing rape flyers in practically every building. There is even a despicable feminist concept called rape culture.

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

  56. #56 Vicki
    February 28, 2014

    It’s worth remembering–because people try to obfuscate this in the case of rape–that the Innocence Project isn’t showing “there was no crime,” it’s showing “this is not the person who committed this crime.”

    If there’s proof at John Doe didn’t commit the murder he was convicted of, that doesn’t mean that the victim is still alive. It means that someone else committed that murder: someone who might still be alive and out of prison. Similarly, if there’s proof that he didn’t commit a rape he was convicted of, that doesn’t mean the rape didn’t happen. The most common sort of proof in this case is DNA evidence: in other words, evidence that someone was raped shows that this particular man isn’t the rapist. Counting that as a “false accusation” is like insisting that if Smith didn’t commit that murder, we need to adjust the statistics to show that one fewer murder was committed. But we don’t: not knowing who committed a crime doesn’t mean that there was no crime.

  57. #57 AdamG
    February 28, 2014

    Funny how the people who say ‘Rape culture doesn’t exist’ are often the same people who are quick to use sexual assault imagery to hurt other people.

  58. #58 Johanna
    February 28, 2014

    Sexual harassment is subjective

    Citation seriously goddamn needed. Again.

    And, as a survivor of sexual abuse and assault, I’m checking out of this thread because it’s just too damn upsetting.

  59. #59 Chris,
    February 28, 2014

    I understand, Johanna. Delysid is one who I ignore. He is among those that in real life I would active avoid.

  60. #60 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Johanna

    Please tell me what is sexual harassment. What is your objective explanation?

    Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say we work together and you catch me staring at your breasts and it makes you uncomfortable. Is this sexual harassment? Would you report me to HR?

    What if I said I was lost in thoughts about other things and not paying attention to anything in particular and that I was not actually fantasizing about you and not staring intentionally?

    Who is right? Is the woman right just because she feels harassed?

    I, too, am “a survivor of sexual abuse.” That is completely irrelevant to all of this. It’s not my fault that you are upset at this thread. it’s not my fault that you are offended by a past incident that I have no control over.

  61. #61 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @AdamG

    Sticks and stick may break our bones but words are the most destructive and harmful thing anybody can do to a progressive.

    Is that how the saying goes?

  62. #62 Maned Wolf
    February 28, 2014

    @58

    I’m right there with you, Johanna.

    Ugh, it makes me cringe that I live in the same state as Delysid.

  63. #63 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    Lovely.

    So Maned Wolf cringes knowing that I’m in the same State. Johanna is having flashbacks about sexual abuse. PoliticalPig claims I clearly threatened her. AdamG thinks I’m using sexual imagery to harm her. Chris cited me as an example of something to actively avoid in life.

    @Orac

    Why don’t you do a blog about “female hysteria?”

  64. #64 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    Orac in your insane asylum I think we have an outbreak of mass chronic histrionic personality disorder

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

  65. #65 JGC
    February 28, 2014

    “There is even an [accurate] feminist concept called rape culture.”

    FTFY

  66. #66 JGC
    And also...
    February 28, 2014

    This is compounded by the fact that there is an ongoing propaganda campaign to encourage false rape accusations.

    Citation needed: what media campaign is encouraging anyone to falsely report the crime of rape?

  67. #67 AdamG
    February 28, 2014

    AdamG thinks I’m using sexual imagery to harm her.

    Dude, I’m just going by your own words. You said you made that comment to PGP specifically to offend her, i.e. to cause her emotional harm.

  68. #68 TBruce
    February 28, 2014

    Lovely.

    So Maned Wolf cringes knowing that I’m in the same State. Johanna is having flashbacks about sexual abuse. PoliticalPig claims I clearly threatened her. AdamG thinks I’m using sexual imagery to harm her. Chris cited me as an example of something to actively avoid in life.

    So either we are dealing with “female hysteria”, or Delysid is a misogynist creep.

    How can I ever decide?

  69. #69 MI Dawn
    February 28, 2014

    @TBruce – given that you’ve proven to have a braiin and think that people with vaginas can do more than pop out babies, I’m sure you will come to the correct conclusion about Delysid.

    I’m still trying to figure out why I want to write “slime bucket” instead of Delysid.

    PS. Sexual Harassment has a definition. It’s when you are 1)told what you are doing makes someone (male OR female) uncomfortable and to stop it AND YOU DON”T or 2) you are in a position of power over that person and make comments that make that person uncomfortable but they can’t tell you to stop it if it would risk their job. Just staring off into space doesn’t cut it. However, if the woman asks you to stop staring at her breasts and you continue, THAT is harassment.

    And few women report actual rapes. False reports of rape are even rarer. So don’t BS me about false rape reports. ANY time you have sexual contact with someone and consent is withheld or withdrawn (even during the act itself), continuing is rape. Forced sexual contact when there is no consent.

    Now go away, Delysid, until you can talk without being a MRA.

  70. #70 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @MI Dawn

    “Now go away, Delysid, until you an tak without being a MRA”

    What’s wrong with being a men’s rights activist? You are actually admitting you are against men’s rights? Unbelievable.

    Orac have you been encouraging this flagrant bigotry while I was gone?

    @AdamG

    Now your comrades are calling me a “slime bucket” and a “misogynist creep.”

    They are using words to try to harm me! Why aren’t you coming to my defense?!

  71. #71 JerryA
    United States
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid, your writing is offensive and makes you sound like a mysoginistic jerk. I’m an older white guy, and you creep me out. I wouldn’t want my kid to be in the same state as you, and he’s nearly 18 with a martial arts black belt. I certainly would not want to be forced to spend time with you in person. Are you detecting a pattern in people’s comments to you? Look left, look right, they’re not where the bad smell of antisocial is coming from so it’s… you.

  72. #72 Shay
    February 28, 2014

    Cheer up, Delysid; the market is responding to you appropriately, which I gather is the entire point of libertarianism.

    Looks like your “Invisible Hand” is working.

  73. #73 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @JerryA

    Yeah okay older white guy. If you raised your son to be a feminist weakling then it would do him well hanging out with me. I’ll teach him masculinity. The world doesn’t need any more submissive conforming socialist weakling men.

  74. #74 Chris,
    February 28, 2014

    I generally like to avoid tiresome boors who mung up basic history, and think they are actually being clever. Being a text book example of the Dunning-Kruger effect is a repulsive personality trait.

  75. #75 Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Chris

    How long has this blog been an echo chamber of the same 25 or so regulars?

    You people are as hostile and repulsive as a group can get.

  76. #76 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    Delysid’s post above is a great big [citation reminder needed].

    FTFY.

  77. #77 Krebiozen
    February 28, 2014

    Narad #4,

    This is wide of the mark, at least transposed to the U.S., given that prosecutions aren’t some sort of objective measure of the validity of the accusations but rather of whatever those with prosecutorial discretion feel like doing.

    I have studied this, some years ago, and I used to be married to a lawyer who was involved in this area of law, so I know a little about how things work in England. It is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that decides whether to prosecute a criminal case. If they decide that there is a better than 50% of getting a conviction the prosecution will generally go ahead.

    Clearly there will be cases where the accused is guilty, but there is insufficient evidence to convict. This is particularly common in accusations of rape where the key question is often the mens rea of the accused at the time of the incident. The prosecution have to prove that sexual activity took place, that the alleged victim did not consent and that the accused knew that the alleged victim did not consent. This can make a successful prosecution very difficult when there are only two witnesses, as is often the case.

    So, whether or not a rape case is prosecuted may have little to do with the guilt of the accused, but more to do with what evidence is available. Using this figure as the basis for the percentage of rape accusations that are false is foolish IMO.

  78. #78 Edward Gemmer
    February 28, 2014

    I think this posts misses the mark. It focuses on things like conflicts of interest and how a piece makes us feel rather than what it says. I can’t say there is a conflict of interest – I haven’t heard any rape allegations against Ben Radford. Even then, the point of the article was to show that a false allegation can have very little motive and reason. It isn’t obvious. It strikes to the very heart of skepticism – how do we properly evaluate claims of sexual violence? That’s the real issue of the article, and sadly, one this article doesn’t even try to examine, instead inventing easier targets that are of little value.

  79. #79 Michael
    February 28, 2014

    @JerryA- the problem , as noted above, is that the CPS only prosecutes false rape accusations if they think they’ll probably win the case. That’s not a measure of how prevalent false rape accusations are- just how many cases the prosecutors think a jury will believe are false.

  80. #80 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    You people are as hostile and repulsive as a group can get.

    I’d say that you and Señor Wences’ “Johnny” count as a group, so that’s clearly false.

  81. #81 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    There’s sufficient evidence against him to have secured an indictment

    I think you’re being a bit credulous when it comes to the putative role of the grand jury.

  82. #82 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    February 28, 2014
    You people are as hostile and repulsive as a group can get.

    I’d say that you and Señor Wences’ “Johnny” count as a group, so that’s clearly false.

    You talkin’ to me?

    Seriously, what’d I do?

  83. #83 LW
    February 28, 2014

    “rape is legal now in Oregon, Montana, Missouri, Texas and Ohio.”

    politicalguineapig is indulging her paranoid fantasies again. Note to politicalguineapig: sometimes people are acquitted of a crime that you — or I, or the public in general — think they are guilty of. That does not mean that the crime is now legal. It means that for some reason *that particular defendant* was acquitted, maybe by people who know more about the case than do bigots who rely on biased media reports. Unless you can show that the laws against rape have been repealed in those States, or that no one at all is charged with the crime of rape in those States, or at least that no one at all is convicted for the crime of rape in those States, then you should rethink your repulsive bigotry against the millions of people of whom you have not the faintest comprehension, who live in those States.

  84. #84 Narad
    February 28, 2014

    You talkin’ to me?

    Seriously, what’d I do?

    Relax, Pedro, s’alright.

  85. #85 Narad
    March 1, 2014

    If you raised your son to be a feminist weakling then it would do him well hanging out with me. I’ll teach him masculinity.

    You left out some links, D.

  86. #86 herr doktor bimler
    March 1, 2014

    You people are as hostile and repulsive as a group can get.
    Well, yes, everyone you converse with might react negatively to your claims because they have all succumbed to a form of Groupthink, but there is another, more parsimonious explanation.

  87. #87 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    March 1, 2014

    I have mixed feelings about this — not about whether the writer had some conflict of interest in failing to reveal that he is the center of a substantial scandal — clearly he has that COI. But I think that his actual guilt or innocence is also an important topic, and if I understand correctly, probably the proper purview of the criminal law. Doing a little Google University research, it took me about three minutes to find the names of the players involved, and comments by people more closely involved, such as Rebecca Watson. The complaining party uses terms like sexual assault. That is pretty clearly a crime in any American jurisdiction, although the term does not always refer to forcible rape, apparently. But it is a crime against the person at whatever level, and prosecutable. There also appears to be evidence that was collected by the CFI that points to some guilt on the part of the accused, or at least substantial evidence of sexual harassment. This is certainly actionable in civil court if the allegations are true.

    Just in passing, I would suggest that any commenter who uses the term “feminazi” has defined himself down to a very low level. It is sort of the gender equivalent of the Godwin.

  88. #88 Caravelle
    March 1, 2014

    Edward Gemmer :

    I think this posts misses the mark. It focuses on things like conflicts of interest and how a piece makes us feel rather than what it says. I can’t say there is a conflict of interest – I haven’t heard any rape allegations against Ben Radford. Even then, the point of the article was to show that a false allegation can have very little motive and reason. It isn’t obvious. It strikes to the very heart of skepticism – how do we properly evaluate claims of sexual violence? That’s the real issue of the article, and sadly, one this article doesn’t even try to examine, instead inventing easier targets that are of little value.

    That’s a remarkable comment. First, the article absolutely addresses “what the piece says”, for example by pointing out it uses anecdotes as its principal form of evidence, and makes unsupported claims such as saying something occurs “often”, without explaining how much is “often” or backing the non-numbers up with evidence.
    On the other hand, nowhere in Orac’s post do I see addressed the question of what the piece “makes us feel”, so that’s a really weird thing to say.

    Nor do I know what you mean by you not having heard of any rape allegations against Ben Radford. You can’t be saying that because you didn’t hear of the whole business with Karen Stollznow then it mustn’t be a COI. I guess you’re saying that allegations of sexual harassment don’t count because the piece is about rape allegations ? Even if we ignore the fact that false accusations of rape and of sexual harassment are clearly related things (they’re both false accusations if nothing else), Ben Radford’s article itself makes the connection, frequently talking about “sexual harassment and assault”. Even the article’s title talks about “false accusations”, and not “false rape allegations”.

    And after those bizarre objections you talk about striking the heart of skepticism ? The heart of skepticism is epistemology, i.e. how we know things, i.e. talking about how nondisclosed COI weaken an argument and anecdotes shouldn’t be substituted for data are “the heart of skepticism”.

  89. #89 Irène Delse
    March 1, 2014

    Quoth the deluded Delysid:

    “Orac in your insane asylum I think we have an outbreak of mass chronic histrionic personality disorder”

    Oh, look, projection! How cute!

  90. #90 JGC
    March 1, 2014

    Perhaps I am being a bit credulous re: grand jury performance, but my point was simply to point out that he’s not being tried solely in the ‘court’ of public opinion and that he’s not being treated any differently than if he’d been accused of a crime other than rape.

  91. #91 Sara
    March 1, 2014

    I think you’re being quite inappropriate when it comes to Radford’s personal life. It borders on shaming—the very stigma that men accused of sexual assault get, even if they are innocent (in Radford’s case, there weren’t even charges, just a libelous blog post from an ex).

    Criticize his reasoning and facts, but bringing up his history as if he needs to admit to something feels like an ad hominem. Your claim that you don’t know/care if he’s guilty is just a lame disclaimer, but your post reads as if Ben should be required to disclose his past allegations against him, because *we don’t know* if he did it. No. He is innocent. He remains innocent until something more than blogger gossip shows him to be guilty.

    Can’t you see that you’re participating in the same shamming that is so common for innocent men accused of crimes? Stick to critiquing the piece, not the person.

  92. #92 JerryA
    March 1, 2014

    To Narad in re comment #85: Please, that needed a warning. I was having breakfast. Besides, Delysid’s writing is repulsive enough without adding the need for brain bleaching and eye scrubbing.

    To Michael in comment #75: The point has been made that both rape accusations *and* false-rape accusations will only be tried if the prosecutor thinks the case can be won, and both are very hard to prove. Yes, these were always the assumptions and presumably cancel out, given they are the same ideas on both sides. I do not know of any other more objective measure, given that both acts are criminal, and no one arguing has shown a better one. Therefore I believe the point stands that documented rapes far outnumber documented false rape accusations.

  93. #93 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 1, 2014

    Ugh. Was just checking Twitter on the topic and came across an MRA’s video about false allegation statistics. Full of faulty premises, assumptions and poor logic. His conclusion was that over 90% of rape allegations are false and made by women with “problems”, like “Personality Disorder”, “Imbued with PMS”, “Alcohol, Drugs, etc.” and “Emotionally volatile”.

    But he used pictograms, so he must be right. [/sarcasm]

  94. #94 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 1, 2014

    I think you’re being quite inappropriate when it comes to Radford’s personal life. It borders on shaming—the very stigma that men accused of sexual assault get, even if they are innocent (in Radford’s case, there weren’t even charges, just a libelous blog post from an ex).

    That might be accurate reasoning if what you stated was factual. This isn’t about Radford’s personal life; it’s about his professional conduct about which the accusations were made. Additionally, CFI did investigate and took punitive action against Radford.

    Criticize his reasoning and facts, but bringing up his history as if he needs to admit to something feels like an ad hominem.

    That was done if you cared to read Orac’s post instead of coming out of the gate with ignorant indignation.

    Your claim that you don’t know/care if he’s guilty is just a lame disclaimer, but your post reads as if Ben should be required to disclose his past allegations against him, because *we don’t know* if he did it. No. He is innocent. He remains innocent until something more than blogger gossip shows him to be guilty.

    Since Orac wasn’t privy to the alleged harassment/assault as well as the subsequent investigation and neither were you for that matter so it’s hardly a “lame disclaimer”. Radford wrote a fact-free rant about false accusations revolving around sexual assault. How can anyone argue that his own sexual harassment charges aren’t a COI unless you are a hopeless fanboi/gurl.

    Can’t you see that you’re participating in the same shamming that is so common for innocent men accused of crimes? Stick to critiquing the piece, not the person.

    Again, that was done however criticising the person for not reporting a relevant COI is perfectly appropriate.

  95. #95 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2014

    He is innocent. He remains innocent until something more than blogger gossip shows him to be guilty.

    He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is a vital feature of law in many countries, including the US. Actual guilt or innocence is independent of the presumption.

  96. #96 Shay
    waiting for another 5 inches of snow to fall.
    March 1, 2014

    ” The point has been made that both rape accusations *and* false-rape accusations will only be tried if the prosecutor thinks the case can be won, and both are very hard to prove.”

    Adding on to JerryA’s statement: The point should also be made, that, according to DOJ statistics, 70% of false rape complaints are filed by women who do not name an attacker.”

    This does not excuse the other 30%, but I think it would be wise to determine if any statistic cited here refers to false accusations or false complaints.

    (and now I can’t find my source — will go look for it and post. That’ll learn me).

  97. #97 Shay
    March 1, 2014

    Please ignore the superfluous quotation marks. I shall once more call down the wrath of Crom on this lack of preview function.

  98. #98 Narad
    March 1, 2014

    Besides, Delysid’s writing is repulsive enough without adding the need for brain bleaching and eye scrubbing.

    Sadly, my bookmark to one that I really wanted has succumbed to link rot.

  99. #99 Beaker
    March 1, 2014

    First time commenter here. Orac, love your writings!

    Delysid quoth:
    “Opinion studies are not science. If you did an opinion study asking mothers who adhere to alternative medicine if they believe vaccines caused autism in their child and 70% said yes, does this make it so? Why would they lie? It’s just science, right?”
    This is of course both an incredible amount of idiocy and misunderstanding combined. Opinion studies are science, just as much as other study methods are. You just have to know what the method is actually studying. In the case above, not whether vaccines work. What the survey in Delysid’s quote does show you, is what the attitude towards vaccinations by mothers is. And if 70% of mothers would reject vaccination, as in the example, you could count me worried.

    The whole “sociology is not science”-schtick is utter nonsense that is repeated way to often among “skeptical” circles. It is basically only regurgitated by people who have an immense form of tunnel vision in which they think that the physical sciences are the only “real” sciences, without having an actual understanding of other scientific fields.

    Okay, rant over. I’ll let you guys get back on topic.

  100. #100 Edward Gemmer
    March 1, 2014

    Caravell,

    First, the article absolutely addresses “what the piece says”, for example by pointing out it uses anecdotes as its principal form of evidence, and makes unsupported claims such as saying something occurs “often”, without explaining how much is “often” or backing the non-numbers up with evidence.

    I don’t think those are wonderful arguments. For one, it is titled a “case study,” which by definition means it is limited in scope to a handful or fewer situations. I didn’t see anywhere where Radford claimed these cases were common in the sense of everyday occurrences, but rather common among false accusations. He may be wrong, but again, it is a case study. Case studies are not valuable in establishing broad patterns but are valuable in comparing them to what are stereotypes or understanding. In these instances motive was not particularly clear and consequences were not severe.

    On the other hand, nowhere in Orac’s post do I see addressed the question of what the piece “makes us feel”, so that’s a really weird thing to say.

    Well, I would suggest reading more closely. He alludes several times that the piece made him feel one way, for example, false rape allegations are common, despite what the article actually says, which is that they are not. Also, the way you read it if you know something about Radford’s personal history can change – this is obviously about your feelings, because the words are the same no matter what you know about the author.

    Nor do I know what you mean by you not having heard of any rape allegations against Ben Radford. You can’t be saying that because you didn’t hear of the whole business with Karen Stollznow then it mustn’t be a COI. I guess you’re saying that allegations of sexual harassment don’t count because the piece is about rape allegations ? Even if we ignore the fact that false accusations of rape and of sexual harassment are clearly related things (they’re both false accusations if nothing else), Ben Radford’s article itself makes the connection, frequently talking about “sexual harassment and assault”. Even the article’s title talks about “false accusations”, and not “false rape allegations”.

    Well, it certainly seemed to focus on false rape allegations. In any event, so what? If I hear a woman talking about rape, do I have an expectation that she divulge her personal history with sexual violence before I can judge her words? I would certainly hope not, but that is the clear insinuation from this piece, as I have to know everything about the writer that could possibly be connected to their arguments.

    And after those bizarre objections you talk about striking the heart of skepticism ? The heart of skepticism is epistemology, i.e. how we know things, i.e. talking about how nondisclosed COI weaken an argument and anecdotes shouldn’t be substituted for data are “the heart of skepticism”.

    Again, I really think this misses the mark. Bias is important, but not here. All of his words can be dealt with without bringing the author into it at all. If the piece was anonymous, it would still read the same. The way Ben Radford makes you personally feel doesn’t change the words on the paper, no matter what.

    The reason these cases hit the hart of skepticism is precisely because of how difficult they are to evaluate. In any situation, one person can be lying, no matter how ugly or awful or nonsensical said lying is. All of our little tricks have little use when it comes down to evaluating these types of claims.

  101. #101 Beaker
    March 1, 2014

    @Sara
    “Your claim that you don’t know/care if he’s guilty is just a lame disclaimer, but your post reads as if Ben should be required to disclose his past allegations against him, because *we don’t know* if he did it.”
    No, that is not what Orac wrote, and how you would get that from his post is a mystery to me. What Orac stated was that he should disclaim the fact that he was accused, because that is relevant information in gauging whether the post is biased or not. The actual guilt or innocence does not matter.

    ” No. He is innocent. ”
    You don’t know that. According to the law you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. That says nothing about whether you are actually innocent, just that you will not be convicted unless it can be shown that you are guilty.

  102. #102 MrrKAT
    Finland, EU
    March 1, 2014

    In forums I’ve often defended synthetic vs organic.

    Personal COIs that I didn’t realize before:
    -I like synthetic vs organic, I prefer ethyl vanillins vs natural vanilla (smells bad), I prefer margarine vs butter(tastes bad). I didn’t realize this properly until I found that my opponents really hate a lot taste of synthetic nutrition.
    (I first thought that they either exaggerate or troll)

    Simply: personal matter of taste effects matter of opinion of healthy things. (“Bad taste must mean unhealthy food”).
    If shops stop selling (officially) unhealthy foods then You lack good tastes the rest of Your life. That’s really frightening bad dream.

  103. #103 Narad
    March 1, 2014

    According to the law fairy tale you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    Nothing personal, but this seems to be getting repeated, and I think it’s important to keep in mind that, in terms of the U.S. criminal justice system, as a practical matter it’s simply false.

  104. #104 Narad
    March 1, 2014

    ^ (In fact, you may be “guilty” and subject to, say, the death penalty even if proved innocent.)

  105. #105 Pareidolius
    March 2, 2014

    My COI: I’m friends with Ms. Stollznow and her husband, and our host. That said, I think this article was excellent and needed to be written. I was horrified when I read Mr. Radford’s post on CFI. I couldn’t believe he had the gall to write it without mentioning the 800 pound gorilla in his living room.

    Delsyd, your words are indistinguishable from parody. But they’re not. So as my sainted Godmother, Milra once said to a tradesman who made a grabby pass at my then 16 year-old sister, “Honey, I’d slap ya, but sh*t spatters. Now get the hell out of my house.”

  106. #106 Jeff1971
    March 2, 2014

    Folk are claiming hundreds of millions of dollars for vaccine damage. Why would they lie?

  107. #107 Krebiozen
    March 2, 2014

    Narad,

    In fact, you may be “guilty” and subject to, say, the death penalty even if proved innocent.

    Good grief. I’m reminded of that English judge (his name escapes me) in the 18th (?) century who found a man guilty of murder and sentenced him to death even though he, the judge, knew the accused was innocent having personally witnessed the murder. IIRC he said he had to base his conduct on the evidence in front of him, and could not allow his personal knowledge to influence this. Blind justice indeed; deaf and dumb sometimes too.

  108. #108 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 2, 2014

    Well, it certainly seemed to focus on false rape allegations. In any event, so what? If I hear a woman talking about rape, do I have an expectation that she divulge her personal history with sexual violence before I can judge her words? I would certainly hope not, but that is the clear insinuation from this piece, as I have to know everything about the writer that could possibly be connected to their arguments.

    I’ve been avoiding this topic since making my previous post, but I just have to say, this point strikes home. It was hurtful to be on the wrong end of false accusations; it was hurtful to see how many people presumed simply because of what the accusation was that it must be true.

    If now I have to re-inflict that own pain on myself every time I have something to say on the subject, that’s going to have a chilling effect. And of course that applies to all sides. It’s going to lead to an awful lot being said on the subject (on any subject) by people who have no personal COIs – because all their information is second-hand.

    I’m not sure there’s any way around this paradox, but it seems to me that maybe one shouldn’t need the same level of disclosure to make a comment as one does publishing an article…

  109. #109 Orac
    March 2, 2014

    You make a reasonable point, and no standard is absolute. If Radford had published his post on a private blog, I probably would have been less likely to have written this piece (and, one notes, it likely would have gotten much less attention). It probably does matter where the writing appears. For example, if it’s in the NYT, a high level of disclosure is needed. Ditto for a scientific paper. I would also argue that if one is writing a piece like this on his employer’s blog, the level of disclosure might not be as high, but, holy hell, “800 lb gorillas” like this need to be disclosed. We can argue over what does and doesn’t constitute an “800 lb gorilla,” but few are the people who would disagree that having been personally accused of sexual harassment doesn’t qualify when the topic, false accusations of rape and sexual misconduct, is so directly related.

    In this case, I would point out that Mr. Radford wrote his post for his employer’s blog, as a skeptic high in the food chain of skeptics and representing his post as a dispassionate skeptical analysis of false rape allegations. Consequently, his failure to disclose the aforementioned 800 lb gorilla in the room reflects badly not just on him but on his employer. Even if he is completely innocent and the truly wronged party, because of the high probability of dragging his employer into his personal conflicts, it’s my opinion that he had a moral obligation at least to ask CFI if it was OK if he wrote about this sort of thing on its blog. It’s just common courtesy and common sense to do that before publishing a post that is likely to cause a shitstorm involving one’s employer, given that the post was published under one’s employer’s logo, and Mr. Radford has his own blog on his own personal website, even if it has been fallow since 2011.

    http://benjaminradford.com/blog/

  110. #110 Michael
    March 2, 2014

    @JerryA- it’s not so simple. In the United States, for example, perjury prosecutions rarely happen in civil cases. But no one would claim that perjury rarely happens in civil suits.
    More to the point, your argument is circular. The opposing argument is that false rape accusations are more prevalent than prosecutors believe. But if prosecutors believe that false rape accusations are rare, then they’ll be less inclined to believe that a woman is lying and less inclined to prosecute her.
    What we need is a way to determine the percentage of false accusations that is independent of the biases of law enforcement officers. Stanley Warner’s idea on how to ask embarrassing questions might be a good way to survey rape complainants:
    http://www.cut-the-knot.org/Probability/EmbarrassingQuestion.shtml

  111. […] your article: Ron Lindsay tore it apart. And just to add an avalanche on top of that slingstone, Orac writes a leventy-kajillion word post deploring the whole mess. A guy with a sexual harassment history hanging over his head, pretending that false accusations […]

  112. #112 Jacques Cuze
    March 2, 2014

    Orac,

    I encourage you to read that rape report you cited.

    I analyzed it here, and I am certain I got portions of it wrong: http://jacquescuze.tumblr.com/post/73933241211/that-time-when-wil-reblogged-some-bullshit-about-false

    It’s a report from the Crown Prosecution Service and it was politically motivated and it emphatically does not say either what the CPS claims it says or what feminists say it says or what Ron Lindsay says it says.

    The CPS was under fire from feminists for prosecuting a woman they had charged with false rape. Their response was that report which they claim shows how incredibly rarely the prosecute false rape claims so as to imply that if they prosecuted that one woman, it must’ve been really serious.

    And in their report the give 8 case studies. 7 women, 1 man, and the prosecute the man for his false rape accusation, and then they show that they let 6 of the women go with no prosecution because they felt there was no public interest in prosecuting her.

    So what their report DOES NOT show is that false rape claims themselves are rare. (That’s what feminists claim it shows.) For example, PZ Myers and Jason Thibeault have both said they were the victims of false rape claims, but those claims never made it to court. So they are not counted.

    The report does not show how many cases of rape that went to court had a defense that said it was a false rape claim. Those were not counted.

    The report shows how many cases of rape went to court where the defense of false rape was raised to the attention of the CPS such that the CPS considered prosecuting it. Those cases are rare. And even rarer was when the CPS did prosecute them.

    If anything what that report shows is how many cases of false rape reach the level of CPS prosecutors who then decline to press charges because they find ways to not see the public interest.

    I encourage you to read the report. (Links to the report and more at my link up above.)

    There are many other reports and details of false rape claims you can read to if you are interested in the subject.

    Two good places to start would be Community of the Wrongly Accused http://cotwa.info and SAVE services saveservices dot org (working for legal reform to protect all victims and stop false allegations.) [url mangled as it is the third link if I counted right.]

  113. #113 Jacques Cuze
    March 2, 2014

    (Wish I could edit the above. Too many drops y’s after “the”. Strange? A problem with my fingers tonight or too much cheeto dust? Apologies!)

  114. #114 ann
    March 3, 2014

    “Delysid
    February 28, 2014

    @Everyone

    Here is a list of convicted rapists who were exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project and DNA EVIDENCE

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/know/Search-Profiles.php?check=check&title=&yearConviction=&yearExoneration=&jurisdiction=&cause=&perpetrator=&compensation=&conviction=rape&x=28&y=0

    This is only a microscopic sample of the pandemic of false accusation and wrongful conviction in our society. ”

    back@you –

    (a) Virtually all DNA exonerations are about mistaken eyewitness identification, not false accusation. .

    (b) Multiple studies have shown that the false reporting rate for rape in the U.S. is between two to eight percent.

    Presently, 65 percent of rapes aren’t reported at all. And most of those that are reported don’t go anywhere, because the norm is PEOPLE LIKE YOU, who think that rape victims are lying.

    Join the real world. It includes Steubenville, Maryville, and every college campus in America, plus Peter Ludlow.

    Even rapists aren’t afraid of being accused of rape. MRAs are just phobic.

  115. #116 herr doktor bimler
    March 3, 2014

    ann:
    (a) Virtually all DNA exonerations are about mistaken eyewitness identification, not false accusation. .

    As Vicki pointed out back at comment #56: by delysid’s logic, every case of a murder conviction being reversed by forensic evidence is further proof that false murder accusations are widespread.

    I get the impression that delysid doesn’t care much about being right or wrong; he just enjoys the giggly little pleasure of exasperating people with clever sophistry.

  116. #117 Jacques Cuze
    March 3, 2014

    Orac,

    Here is PZ Myers today speaking to the lengths he goes to to avoid false rape accusations.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/03/oh-lord-the-stupid/

    That seems odd to me, given how rare they are. Sort of like a witch doctors incantations over woo.

    Can you tell me what your fellow colleagues say or do or advise in order to ensure they are not victims of false accusations of rape or sexual harassment?

    What do you think of such efforts? Energy wasted over woo?

    Do you think its prudent as has been commonly reported that men shy away from teaching over fears of false accusations?

    Do you believe that is rational? Would you advise a man to go into teaching children or becoming a daycare provider?

    Orac, when I read Radford asking us to be skeptical about false rape claims, I hear Joseph Welch asking Joe McCarthy why he has just ruined a young man’s career over a rumor of being a communist.

    Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me

    I hear Raymond Donovan asking

    Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?

    And I also hear PZ Myers describing why his false rape accusation was different than the one against Radford.

    I hear Ron Lindsay citing a report he clearly did not read telling us all how rare false rape accusations are.

    I read you, citing Ron Lindsay citing a report he clearly did not read.

    What do you actually know about false rape accusations?
    What precautions do you take out of fear of false rape accusation woo?

  117. #118 Michael
    March 3, 2014

    I’m not defending Myers’ article but I’m not accepting the premise that false rape accusations are so rare that taking precautions against them is woo. Suppose there are 150 million men in the United States and 2,000 false accusations per year. That means that the average man has a 1 in 75,000 chance per year of being falsely accused of rape. That’s not so rare that taking *some precautions* is woo. People dying in plane crashes are relatively rare too, but it still makes sense to take *some precautions*.

  118. #119 ann
    March 3, 2014

    False accusations of rape and sexual harassment are nothing like McCarthyism, in that they’re:

    (a) not institutionalized;
    (b) not centralized;
    (c) not directed by the powerful against the defenseless; and
    (d) neither widespead, nor popular, nor frequent, nor culturally sanctioned.
    __________________

    I realize you weren’t addressing me. But I actually know plenty about false rape accusations. They are occasionally made, usually by exceptionally troubled, very young women.

    But they’re not very common. They amount to about two to eight percent of all reported rapes, which are — as I already noted — only 35 percent of all rapes in total.

    They are a tragedy when they do occur. But they’re not a pandemic. The average American male is likelier to be struck by lightning than to be falsely accused of sexual assault or harassment. That’s also a tragedy. So are false convictions of every kind, and false accusations of every kind.

    False accusations of murder are — in point of fact — much commoner than false accusations of rape. They’re just not made by the victims. In fact, they’re frequently made by the murderers.

    Many men are victimized by those. But do you MRA types care?

    Of course not. Because it only counts as male suffering if you get to rage at women.

    Grow up. Do something for men that they really need. They have it rough.

  119. #120 ann
    March 3, 2014

    @Michael –

    This is not my area, but I believe those odds are way too high.

    I’ve been told that there’s no statistically good way to calculate it based on available data.

    But fwiw, there’s this:

    “1 in 4 women will be raped or sexually-assaulted in her lifetime, but instead of working on solutions to this problem that effects everyone, some folks like to derail the conversation by claiming false rape accusations are widespread. And because it’s such a sensational thought, women are often accused of lying when they come forward about their rape or sexual assault. But using statistics from the FBI and Department of Justice, it’s estimated that on an annual basis, the odds of the average straight man (the target group overwhelmingly concerned with this) in the U.S. being accused of rape are 2.7 million to 1. To put that in perspective, here are five things more likely to happen to you than being falsely accused of rape.”

    From here:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/charlesclymer/5-things-more-likely-to-happen-to-you-than-being-f-fmeu

    Plus this, from here, which explains the method used to get the above result:

    http://www.fem2pt0.com/2014/01/09/men-are-32x-more-likely-to-be-killed-by-lightning-than-falsely-accused-of-rape/

    But the odds are very, very low.

  120. #121 ann
    March 3, 2014

    @Michail.

    Of course precautions are a good idea.

    For starters:

    Don’t rape anybody!

    But also, you know. Try not to get intimately involved with crazy, exploitative or predatory people.

    You’ll be glad you didn’t.

  121. #122 Narad
    March 3, 2014

    I get the impression that delysid doesn’t care much about being right or wrong; he just enjoys the giggly little pleasure of exasperating people with clever sophistry.

    Given that I have no recollection of his ever actually managing to be clever, I’m going with Chateau Heartiste–grade douchebag.

  122. #123 ann
    March 3, 2014

    @Herr Doktor Bimler

    That would be all well and good if it were clever!

    The thing about DNA exonerations — which are largely for rape and murder charges, those being the crimes for which DNA is decisive — is that they almost all do involve men who were victimized by false witness of one kind or another. But.the commonest sources of the false witness are cops and prosecutors..

    Not women.

    It’s a shame. And a tragedy, even.

    Wrongful convictions really are pandemic among some very sizable populations of American men — far, far commoner than they are among American women.

    And those guys could reallly use some activism. Thousands and thousands of lives are ruined.

  123. #124 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Jacques Cuze –

    The only way you could accurately characterize what PZ Myers says he does as “going to lengths to avoid false rape accusations” would be if honest, upstanding responsible professional conduct was something you thought people had to go to lengths in order to do.

    I think you kind of missed his point.

    I mean, where’s the stress, fear and inconvenience in those precautionary measures? That’s how people should and frequently do transact business.

  124. #125 metasonix
    left coast
    March 4, 2014

    Orac says, and I quote:
    “That’s why I’ve become very insistent that we, as skeptics, scientists, and physicians, need to be totally up front about our conflicts of interest, be they financial, ideological, or personal.”

    Has Orac ever mentioned that he’s a powerful administrator on Wikipedia (User:MastCell), and relentlessly attacks anyone whose edits he doesn’t like, for pushing pseudoscience or for whatever other reason? Did he ever mention that he has aggressively protected one of Wikipedia’s worst process abusers, Mathsci? Did he ever mention (as I suspect) he’s glorified certain chemotherapy drugs on Wikipedia, apparently at the behest of the manufacturers of said drugs? Oh, right, of course he didn’t mention any of that. Why should he?

    From what I’ve seen, skeptics can be every bit as petty, crude, and dishonest as any pseudoscience, New Age, creationist, or other kind of crank. Assholery finds a home in every corner of humanity.

    Anyone who doesn’t believe me is welcome to email me directly, I’ve got a dossier on Orac and his friend Mathsci. A very, very thick dossier.

  125. #126 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Wait, wait, wait.

    I just read the Radford piece, and the backstory on the sexual harassment charges.

    WHAT ARE YOU WHINERS COMPLAINING ABOUT?

    He wasn’t falsely accused. The charges were verified. And he’s still working there, fat and sassy and free to post anecdotal pieces that make arguments that are categorized by the SPLC as hate speech,*** evidently without any fear at all of reprisals from Big Feminism,

    And you wanna know why?

    Because there is no such entity.

    Sexual harassment and rape are both commonplace occurrences.

    False accusations of either aren’t,

    ***http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/myths-of-the-manosphere-lying-about-women .

  126. #127 ann
    March 4, 2014

    The all-caps part was just addressed to the whiners, not to the thread as a whole.

    Just to clarify,

  127. #128 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    I happily don’t follow this sort of stuff, but after Ann’s comments, I went back and slogged through some of it. One question:

    What those of you who aren’t into the skeptical movement probably don’t know is that last summer, the author of this piece, Ben Radford, was publicly accused of sexual harassment by Karen Stollznow.

    Is this true? From the limited view I have, it looks like it was PZ Myers who actually publicly accused Radford after Stollznow’s Scientific American piece.

  128. #129 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    ^ Right, which piece SciAm pulled, meaning the second link goes nowhere.

  129. #130 Narad
    March 4, 2014
  130. #131 Bill Price
    March 4, 2014

    ann, #125:

    Sexual harassment and rape are both commonplace occurrences
    False accusations of either aren’t,

    Unfortunately, the rape-apologists have gone public, bragging about their campaign to defend rapists and the rape culture by making false rape accusations. They started last December at Occidental College, when the college opened up a rape-reporting hotline. It’s not clear whether they succeeded in their attempt to discredit the hotline by overloading it.. (Google Occidental College rape for further info, if you wish. The first two results [for me, anyway] were to HuffPo and LA Times.)

  131. #132 Helianthus
    March 4, 2014

    @ ann

    But I actually know plenty about false rape accusations. They are occasionally made, usually by exceptionally troubled, very young women.

    Anecdotal and confirmation bias a-plenty, but to agree with you, the three cases of false accusations of sexual assault in my country which spring to my mind are:

    1 – the famous (that is, in my country) Outreau trials. A severe case of justice miscarriage. From the outset, everybody – prosecutors, journalists and politics – decided that the accused were guilty. Now, everybody are falling on the poor prosecutor as a convenient scapegoat.
    Although, please note, the accusers were themselves women convicted of child rape (I mean, guilty, no doubt). They got the occasion to take other people in their fall and jumped on it.
    So, exceptionally troubled women – you bet. But again, it was more of a chain of mistakes by committee.

    That being said, that’s also the case I would bring forward when asked about the harm of false accusations. Suicide, ruined careers…
    A good objection would be that this is not at all a case of false accusation of sexual harassment, as in the thread’s topic; the case is about child rape, not about harassing/assaulting an adult woman .

    2 – a man accused by his mother-in-law of having molested his daughter. The context? Divorce. Or to put it differently, a conflict prone to escalation.
    The accusation didn’t stick, but the man didn’t have the ground to sue for libel.
    Conclusion, better be wary of your in-laws than of a random woman.
    And again, it’s about child molesting, not sexual assault on a adult woman.

    3 – a young woman who claimed to have been assaulted by an unknown big scary black man. Kudos to her, when a beggar was arrested, she eventually came forward to reveal her lies. After the trial, but still, the man was released.
    The reason for her lies? She wanted to get the attention of her boyfriend, who was a cop.
    Actually, no, scratch that. The reason for her lies? As a teenager, she was raped by a relative, but was not believed.

    On the other hand, a few women colleagues confided in me about having been victim of sexual harassment/assault. They didn’t try much to complain – they didn’t want more trouble.
    Do I believed them? Oh yeah. In one case, I have meet the perp, and I know his type.

  132. #133 Helianthus
    March 4, 2014

    @ Narad

    Is this true? From the limited view I have, it looks like it was PZ Myers who actually publicly accused Radford after Stollznow’s Scientific American piece.

    Oh? When I read PZ’s post yesterday, I got the impression he added Radford’s name only after it got outed by someone else.

    *re-read* OK, not sure. PZ got a number of e-mails with a name, and eventually published this name.
    But I don’t know if it was the only trigger. I’m not privy enough of the chain of events.

  133. #134 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    It is true that when Stollznow originally published her story of sexual harassment on Scientific American she didn’t name her alleged harasser. However, she left so many clues in her account that lots of people immediately figured out who it was, and then, assuming what PZ wrote was accurate, eventually gave her blessing to others naming him. I could be wrong, but it’s hard for me in retrospect not to conclude that she likely knew that it wouldn’t be hard for others to figure out whom she was describing and that that that was probably deliberate. So maybe I could have phrased it better, but I believe the gist catches the essence of what happened without going into a prolonged explanation. Maybe later I’ll go back and change it to clarify, but right now I have to head to work.

  134. #135 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    Has Orac ever mentioned that he’s a powerful administrator on Wikipedia (User:MastCell), and relentlessly attacks anyone whose edits he doesn’t like, for pushing pseudoscience or for whatever other reason? Did he ever mention that he has aggressively protected one of Wikipedia’s worst process abusers, Mathsci? Did he ever mention (as I suspect) he’s glorified certain chemotherapy drugs on Wikipedia, apparently at the behest of the manufacturers of said drugs? Oh, right, of course he didn’t mention any of that. Why should he?

    WTF?

    No, Orac has never “disclosed” any such thing because he isn’t even a Wikipedia editor, much less a “powerful administrator.” Nor would he want to be either one. He once dabbled briefly in Wikipedia a long time ago, but decided it would interfere too much with his blogging and rapidly gave it up after basically no edits “sticking.” He has no idea who Mathsci or MastCell is.

  135. #136 herr doktor bimler
    March 4, 2014

    Has Orac ever mentioned that he’s a powerful administrator on Wikipedia (User:MastCell), and relentlessly attacks anyone whose edits he doesn’t like

    That sounds rather time-consuming to me.

  136. #137 Helianthus
    March 4, 2014

    @ Metasonix #125

    From what I’ve seen, skeptics can be every bit as petty, crude, and dishonest as any pseudoscience [...]

    Alas, true.
    Case in point, the current thread was started by events in which most, if not all the actors are members of the skeptic community. Some of them would certainly qualify for pettiness and dishonesty.
    Hence Orac’s well-made point that would-be skeptical people should do their best to be aware of their own potential biases.

    Now, as for you Pharma shill gambit?

    Did he ever mention (as I suspect)

    “as I suspect”? That means you don’t have evidence, just conjectures.

    Assholery finds a home in every corner of humanity.

    I’m starting to suspect you should check your own corner.

  137. #138 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    *re-read* OK, not sure. PZ got a number of e-mails with a name, and eventually published this name.
    But I don’t know if it was the only trigger. I’m not privy enough of the chain of events.

    Yah, this is sort of why I started asking myself whether it amounted to a public accusation if it were only recognizable to a narrow group of people; I don’t read the SciAm “Mind blog,” so I don’t know whether this was an outlier in the usual content.

    But looking at the original again, “Elevatorgate” is explicitly mentioned, which would be just as perplexing to someone who didn’t follow the psychosocial politics of the whatever it is that results in atheist conventions.* In any event, there’s no sense rehashing it; in sorting out the story, I just wondered whether it was a factual error.

    * Naturally, as the beneficiary of a noble philosophical tradition, I view excitement about monist materialism to the point of making a show of it less interesting than tent revivals.

  138. #139 Edward Gemmer
    March 4, 2014

    Apparently he is suing Stollznow for libel, in which case I am now much more likely to agree with the original post. There is certainly a difference between disclosing difficult details of your personal life and pending litigation.

  139. #140 Delysid
    March 4, 2014

    I have a question. Why does it seem as if every male feminist is sexually repulsive?

    Narad you would fit right into this picture series.

    http://imgur.com/a/fmjFJ#10

  140. #141 Dangerous Bacon
    March 4, 2014

    Oo! Oo! I wanna see the “thick dossier”!

  141. #142 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2014

    I dunno, Orac, he has a dossier. A … thick … dossier.

    How can you possibly refuse to acknowledge the inherent conflict of interest of being a powerful Wikipedia editor just because it isn’t true? Remember that, in the words of the Great Luke Ski, “with great power comes great merchandising.”

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am still Spartacus. And Bonnie Offit. I am also willing to be Bill Gates for a short period if it would allow me decision making rights at Microsoft and access to his checkbook.

  142. #143 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 4, 2014

    Against my better judgment, I decided to check this thread again. I now feel like spewing the contents of my stomach on the floor of the vehicle I’m in, which I’m sure would not be appreciated by my fellow riders. I never thought I’d be looking forward to Dreg’s next fewmets because of their relative rationality.

    Why the f*^% do both the people who say “false rape allegations are everywhere, so you have to default to writing off all allegations as false!” and the people who say “false rape allegations are utterly rare, so you have to default to writing off all claims of innocence as false!” fail to realize, they are altering the situation they treat as bedrock? It’s like the moron antivaxers who say “Oh, my child doesn’t need vaccination against measles, because measles is so rare!” Guess what you meathead, measles is rare because we have widespread vaccination against it and it won’t be rare anymore if we stop vaccinating.

    In just the same way, telling people that they must be phobic MRA types if they fear false accusations – after what the whole nation witnessed in the Duke lacrosse case – is just f*%^ing stupid. It’s like telling black people they must be paranoid black militants, if George Zimmerman chasing down Trayvon Martin and murdering him and then being let off scott-free worries them. Why would you possibly worry about some lawman-wannabe cracker opening fire on you, just because all such crackers have been sent a message that they can just plead “stand your ground” and get away with it? Why would you possibly worry about being targeted by a false rape accusation, just because the whole nation saw that if you are accused of that crime, powerful TV personalities will feel free to literally invent damning “evidence” out of their heads on the spot in order to further your persecution? Don’t give us that sh!t about “it’s statistically unlikely”; showing people how easy it is and then expecting it to stay rare is rank stupidity – and expecting people not to be scared is expecting human nature to take second place to your political convenience.

    Geh. At this point I’d rather be talking with Thingy.

  143. #144 Denice Walter
    March 4, 2014

    I’ve read about ‘mastcell’ being Orac- possibly @ whale and/ or Bolen. I don’t have the time to look now.

  144. #145 Chris,
    March 4, 2014

    metasonix:

    Has Orac ever mentioned that he’s a powerful administrator on Wikipedia (User:MastCell), and relentlessly attacks anyone whose edits he doesn’t like, for pushing pseudoscience or for whatever other reason?

    No, because you just made that up. Or are very very bad at cyber sleuthing.

    Did he ever mention (as I suspect) he’s glorified certain chemotherapy drugs on Wikipedia, apparently at the behest of the manufacturers of said drugs?

    If you were more skilled at cyber sleuthing, you would have come across this: Pharma Shill Gambit. Also, why would a surgical oncologist push drugs? Or did you miss that fact in your cyber sleuthing?

    From what I’ve seen, skeptics can be every bit as petty, crude, and dishonest as any pseudoscience, New Age, creationist, or other kind of crank.

    Prove you are a not a liar yourself. Especially since you followed with:

    …. I’ve got a dossier on Orac and his friend Mathsci. A very, very thick dossier.

    You can start by telling us why you think Orac has time for Wikipedia. It should be amusing since it looks like this is the first time you have even commented on this site, much less read any of the articles.

    Oh, goody, there is more:

    And now we have Delysid asking this very profound question:

    Why does it seem as if every male feminist is sexually repulsive?

    Because any halfway intelligent woman sees right through you, and is repulsed by your very existence. And I have never seen you, I have just read your abject idiotic mistakes on basic history and economics. I thought of you thinking AccuWeather could replace NOAA when I saw this article: Meteorological Snake Oil Salesman: Ultra-Long Daily Forecasts. And a reminder, dubious dental student, AccuWeather actually uses NOAA weather data.

  145. #146 ann
    March 4, 2014

    “In just the same way, telling people that they must be phobic MRA types if they fear false accusations – after what the whole nation witnessed in the Duke lacrosse case – is just f*%^ing stupid. It’s like telling black people they must be paranoid black militants, if George Zimmerman chasing down Trayvon Martin and murdering him and then being let off scott-free worries them. ”

    No, it’s not like that at all.

    Black people don’t fear racial injustice and violence because they read a story about Trayvon Martin in the newspaper. Pretty much every man, woman and child who lives in a black community is intimately familiar with both, from personal experience and firsthand witness. And whites have been shooting blacks in this country with impunity for centuries.

    American men, on the other hand, have as much reason to fear being falsely accused of rape because they read about the Duke case — or the Hofstra case, or the Brian Banks case, or any other anecdotal example of a false rape accusation you care to name — as they do to fear being shot in a movie theater because they read about Aurora/James Holmes.

    Which would be phobic.

  146. #147 Chris,
    March 4, 2014

    Just look at the quality of “research” in these sites when you Google “orac mastcell”.

    Wow.

    Just the kind of folks who do not know the difference between cancer and allergies.

    I just did a simple search to get a definition on “mast cell.” Metasonix must have skipped that step in his cyber sleuthing.

  147. #148 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @ Helianthus –

    Yes, those are all pretty typical examples.

    @Delysid –

    I don’t know. What kind of men do YOU find hot?

  148. #149 squirrelelite
    March 4, 2014

    Obligatory COI disclaimer:
    The husband of a teacher of my daughter’s was accused of child molestation (or something like that) with a student. He was suspended and, after a lengthy investigation, exonerated. But he didn’t work as a teacher again and after a bit, his wife retired (fortunately they were old enough to) and they moved to another state.

    I also lost a job for reasons which may fall peripherally into the subject of this blog, but since I don’t know the substance of the claims and never saw an HR report, I don’t know what story to try to give my side of.

    1. @Antaeus Feldspar 143, I’m with you on this one. Somehow the discussion yesterday went totally downhill.

    2. @Jacques Cuze 117, Somehow I missed this comment yesterday and was wondering what the false rape accusation woo bit was coming from, as well as the MRA reference. I had to look up the acronym.
    The policy P Z Myers describes seems well thought out and pretty much what anyone in his position needs to do to avoid suspicion and guard their reputation. Unfortunately, the people who will carefully follow such a policy are those least likely to commit a rape or even harass a colleague or subordinate.

    3. @ann 121,

    Try not to get intimately involved with crazy, exploitative or predatory people.

    Good idea if you could only tell in advance when they are signing up to be your student or patient or co-worker.

    4. Also on P Z Myer. I respect him as a scientist and skeptic, but I gave up reading his blog because (at least it seemed to me) there was more anti-religion content than genuine science content (as compared to Phil Plait, for instance). And, I would characterize some of the actions he encourages his readers to take towards members of organized religions and their churches as harassment.

  149. #150 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Edward Gemmer –

    Where did you hear/see/read anything about defamation?

    Seems to me like it would be a lost cause. CFI verified harassment.

  150. #151 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    Apparently he is suing Stollznow for libel, in which case I am now much more likely to agree with the original post. There is certainly a difference between disclosing difficult details of your personal life and pending litigation.

    I have heard this as well, having read it mentioned in the comments of PZ’s blog. If it’s true, then Radford screwed up even more than I thought when I wrote this post. Reasonable people can disagree whether the personal COI I discussed is as serious as I thought it to be or whether its disclosure is mandatory, as I argue that it is. However, being involved in a libel suit against someone who accused you of sexual harassment and not disclosing that when writing an article about false accusations of rape and sexual impropriety undeniably constitute an undisclosed COI. You don’t even have to bring in the personal COIs. Being involved in pending litigation related to a topic you’re writing about is a massive COI by any definition I can think of and must be disclosed.

    Seriously. If Radford is suing Stollznow for libel, he shot himself in the foot big time when he published his post on the CFI blog. Hell, he blew it clean off! The first rule of being involved in any legal action or lawsuit is that you don’t publicly say anything even remotely related to it without running it by your lawyer first.

  151. #152 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Squirrelelite –

    False accusations of child molestation are kind of a different category, as Helianthus scrupulously noted.

    I presume that by this…

    “Good idea if you could only tell in advance when they are signing up to be your student or patient or co-worker.”

    …you mean false accusations of sexual harassment, and not false accusations of rape.

    Is that right?

    And if it is, are you suggesting that men are routinely victimized by them? Or that women routinely make them?

    I’m confused.

  152. #153 Shay
    March 4, 2014

    I think the meaning is “if we could tell in advance that a student/co-worker/neighbor is going to turn out to be crazy, predatory or exploitative, then of course we could avoid them.”

  153. #154 Edward Gemmer
    March 4, 2014

    I have some mutual friends with Radford on Facebook and saw it through them. He posted the first page of his complaint. I don’t know how successful he would be, because her statements were pretty general and it certainly appears an investigation corroborated at least some of her concerns. However, he is also being painted as a creeper so I can understand why he’s upset about it. That said, he needs to be a pro and keep related stuff off of CFI’s website.

  154. #155 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    Exactly my point, and pending litigation is an undeniable COI that needs to be disclosed.

  155. #156 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 4, 2014

    Anyone else amused by the fact that metasonix wrote:

    Anyone who doesn’t believe me is welcome to email me directly.

    but then failed to provide any email address for people to do so?

  156. #157 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Apparently he is suing Stollznow for libel

    I’m not finding any evidence of this. Offhand, unless she’s written more about the event,* it would seem as though he’d need to sue Nature Publishing Group as well, given that they published (and then unpublished, although apparently without any explanation) the allegedly defamatory content.

  157. #158 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2014

    I was wondering about metasonix’s comment as well, so went to http://www.metasonix.com (a manufacturer of tube based musical instruments). And there I found a page called “Freak Show: The Wikipedia Project”, which describes a tell-all book that will rip the covers off the shenanigans at the Wikimedia Foundation. In particular, it says “the “community” contains a number of completely crazy people, and people who are abusing process and the few regulations on Wikipedia content, either for self-aggrandizement or for pay. Wikipedia’s “administrators” are the top dogs of the system, and many of them have not only abused thousands of people who wanted to improve the database, they have violated their own rules, repeatedly and wantonly.”

    I don’t know that this is the same person, but there are similarities.

  158. #159 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    He posted the first page of his complaint.

    Ah, this appeared while I was writing. How is the case captioned, and what court is it being brought in?

  159. #160 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    Offhand, unless she’s written more about the event,* it would seem as though he’d need to sue Nature Publishing Group as well, given that they published (and then unpublished, although apparently without any explanation) the allegedly defamatory content.

    Wasn’t it Scientific American?

  160. #161 herr doktor bimler
    March 4, 2014

    people who are abusing process and the few regulations on Wikipedia content, either for self-aggrandizement or for pay.

    There are also websites of Wikipedia discontents. Among other things, they are concerned about Powerful Cabals of Wiki Insiders, who conspire to force science-based material into articles, in breach of true neutrality and equipoise (in which facts and fantasies would receive equal coverage). The word “obsessed” appears frequently, to describe the shenanigans of these shadowy insiders.

    The goal seems to be that if the members of this Cabal can be unmasked, and their True Identity exposed to the world, they will lose their power, in the manner of Batman.

    Hence the compilation of “thick dossiers” intended to prove that “Mastcell” = Orac, because who else knows and cares about chemotherapy drugs? If this identification were true, each Wiki article would be approximately 12000 words long, but never mind.

    “Get a life,” I would advise these discontents, except that here I am commenting on a blog.

  161. #162 Edward Gemmer
    March 4, 2014

    Ah, this appeared while I was writing. How is the case captioned, and what court is it being brought in?

    Says it is in Sandoval County, New Mexico, 13th Judicial District. It is styled “Complaint for Defamation, Fraud, and Interference with Beneficial Contractual Relations”

  162. #163 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    I have a question. Why does it seem as if every male feminist is sexually repulsive?

    As the obvious hilarity of your cramming your foot into your mouth here has already been pointed out, I further note that implicit in this comment is that you consider sexual attractiveness to be a superficial trait. I strongly suspect that women whose appearances put them into a social category of “really hot” are well aware of this. I further suspect that it’s as likely as not a nuisance, not the least by virtue of drawing unwanted attention like flies from such superficial troglodytes, who actually are probably predominantly less repugnant than you are, given your documented conduct here.

    Narad you would fit right into this picture series.

    How do you figure? Do I identify myself as a “male feminist”? There certainly seemed to be some fairly handsome men in there, so I can only suppose that your actual assessment when it comes to the same sex is the opposite of, but just as crude as, your approach to women: they must be unattractive because you judge them to be “pussies” or something.

    Moreover, in another act of blazing stupidity, you have acknowledged that your appearance is in fact known. I leave it to anyone interested in the superficial sexiness of males to weigh this bit of evidence. I don’t know how GQ it is to apparently go slack-jawed when trying to think, but you never know.

    On top of that, you just don’t seem to be a particularly interesting person; even in the extremely limited sphere of interest(s) that you’ve identified, it promptly becomes clear that you’ve expended so little intellectual energy on them that your actual understanding is somewhere between superficial and simply wrong.

    In any event, I’ve never really been one to seek out casual sexual encounters, so your truly sad attempt at insult didn’t even land in the same county as the target. By your age, I was married to someone who, by objective standards, was extremely desirable to males, and I’m pretty sure that before then, even with my relationship-seeking behavior, you’re going to be stuck with the likes of the Penthouse Forum as a closest approximation. Maybe they can whomp up something comparable at the Ron Paul Forums.

  163. #164 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Wasn’t it Scientific American?

    NPG owns SA.

  164. #165 Orac
    March 4, 2014
    Anyone who doesn’t believe me is welcome to email me directly.

    but then failed to provide any email address for people to do so?

    Heh. I have his e-mail address from his post. :-)

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s a real, working e-mail address.

  165. #166 Shay
    March 4, 2014

    people who are abusing process and the few regulations on Wikipedia content, either for self-aggrandizement or for pay.

    Well, we’re reasonably assured that metasonix isn’t Didymus — he/she kept the complaint to under 500 pages.

  166. #167 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Says it is in Sandoval County, New Mexico, 13th Judicial District. It is styled “Complaint for Defamation, Fraud, and Interference with Beneficial Contractual Relations”

    Case No. D-1329-CV-201400221. It can be found here (there are no documents). Stollznow is the only defendant.

  167. #168 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Thanks for the info, Edward G.

    Based on what she wrote, I don’t see that he has a prayer of prevailing in a defamation suit.

    (Her piece is archived here: http://archive.is/ZNESC)

    And in any event, he’d have to demonstrate damages, which isn’t easy.

    On the face of it, sounds like a potential SLAPP suit.

    @Orac –

    I very humbly and respectfully dissent from your views on the question of whether she deliberately included enough hints to ID him. It looks to me like she’s just describing her experience, as she has every right to do.

    That it happened to be recognizable to people familiar with it might have been predictable, arguably. But to call it “deliberate” suggests motive. And personally, I don’t see any sign of that.

    Also, although he definitely should have disclosed the litigation in the interests of transparency regarding potential COI-related bias, I’m not so sure that an attorney would have advised him not to write that post out of concern that it would effect pending litigation.

    It’s not really directly on-point. And anyway, he’s made a little bit of a specialty out of disproportionately questioning the validity of complaints about rape, as — for example — the second and third of his anecdotes here…

    http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/why-do-some-falsely-claim-to-be-victims-13120.htm

    …and this whole undelightful exercise here:

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/over_it/

    To say nothing of the various examples of sexist bias in his past work enumerated here:

    http://skepchick.org/2013/08/ben-radford-accused-of-sexual-harassment/

    So I don’t see how one blog post more or less could really make that much of a difference.

    @Shay –

    Yes, I understood that. But my advice was to try to avoid intimate involvements with crazy, predatory and/or exploitative people.

    Nobody, irrespective of gender, can avoid having crazy, predatory and/or exploitative students, co-workers, or neighbors. And it might happen to anybody. That’s self-evident.

    So I’m still confused. The comment suggested that there was a risk or threat of some kind that required taking additional precautionary measures.

  168. #169 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    I have a question. Why does it seem as if every male feminist is sexually repulsive?

    As the obvious hilarity of your cramming your foot into your mouth here has already been pointed out, I further note that implicit in this comment is that you consider sexual attractiveness to be a superficial trait. I strongly suspect that women whose appearances put them into a social category of “really hot” are well aware of this. I further suspect that it’s as likely as not a nuisance, not the least by virtue of drawing unwanted attention like flies from such superficial troglodytes, who actually are probably predominantly less repugnant than you are, given your documented conduct here.

    Narad you would fit right into this picture series.

    How do you figure? Do I identify myself as a “male feminist”? There certainly seemed to be some fairly handsome men in there, so I can only suppose that your actual assessment when it comes to the same sex is the opposite of, but just as crude as, your approach to women: they must be unattractive because you judge them to be “pυssies” or something.

    Moreover, in another act of blazing stupidity, you have acknowledged that your appearance is in fact known. I leave it to anyone interested in the superficial sexiness of males to weigh this bit of evidence. I don’t know how GQ it is to apparently go slack-jawed when trying to think, but you never know.

    On top of that, you just don’t seem to be a particularly interesting person; even in the extremely limited sphere of interest(s) that you’ve identified, it promptly becomes clear that you’ve expended so little intellectual energy on them that your actual understanding is somewhere between superficial and simply wrong. You have so little charm or persuasiveness that you’re routinely mocked at the Ron Paul Forums, for crying out loud.

    In any event, I’ve never really been one to seek out casual sexual encounters, so your truly sad attempt at insult didn’t even land in the same county as the target. By your age, I was married to someone who, by objective standards, was extremely desirable to males, and I’m pretty sure that before then, even with my relationship-seeking behavior, you’re going to be stuck with the likes of the Penthouse Forum as a closest approximation. Maybe they can whomp up something comparable at RPF.

  169. #170 herr doktor bimler
    March 4, 2014

    Hence the compilation of “thick dossiers” intended to prove that “Mastcell” = Orac, because who else knows and cares about chemotherapy drugs?

    I also suspect that if Orac and MastCell were the same, this would become evident any time anyone made a pedantic correction to any of MastCell’s contributions.

  170. #171 Calli Arcale
    March 4, 2014

    Aha! An excellent test, herr doktor. Someone must immediately go and correct MastCell’s grammar in the most pedantic way possible, as that will surely prove the case. ;-)

  171. #172 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    I have a question. Why does it seem as if every male feminist is sexually repulsive?

    As the obvious hilarity of your cramming your foot into your mouth here has already been pointed out, I will further note that implicit in this comment is that you consider sexual attractiveness to be a superficial trait. I strongly suspect that women whose appearances put them into the social category of “really hot” are well aware of this. I further suspect that it’s as likely as not a nuisance, not the least by virtue of drawing unwanted attention like flies from such superficial troglodytes, who actually are probably predominantly less repugnant than you are, given your documented conduct here.

    Narad you would fit right into this picture series.

    How do you figure? Do I identify myself as a “male feminist”? There certainly seemed to be some fairly handsome men in there, so I can only suppose that your actual assessment when it comes to the same sex is the opposite of, but just as crude as, your approach to women: they must be unattractive because you judge them to be “pυssies” or something.

    Moreover, in another act of blazing stupidity, you have acknowledged that your appearance is in fact known. I leave it to anyone interested in the superficial sexiness of males to weigh this bit of evidence. I don’t know how GQ it is to apparently go slack-jawed when trying to think, but you never know.

    On top of that, you just don’t seem to be a particularly interesting person; even in the extremely limited sphere of interest(s) that you’ve identified, it promptly becomes clear that you’ve expended so little intellectual energy on them that your actual understanding is somewhere between superficial and simply wrong. You’re so devoid of charm and persuasiveness that you’ve been routinely mocked at the Ron Paul Forums, for crying out loud.

    In any event, I’ve never really been one to seek out casual sexυal encounters, so your truly sad attempt at insult didn’t even land in the same county as the target. By your age, I was married to someone who, by objective standards, was extremely desirable to the opposite sex, and I’m pretty sure that before then, even with my relationship-seeking behavior, you’re going to be stuck with the likes of the Penthoυse Forum as a closest approximation. Maybe they can whomp up something comparable at RPF.

  172. #173 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    For some reason that I cannot figure out, my response to D. is vanishing into the ether, even after munging anything even vaguely resembling some sort of autodump keyword.

  173. #174 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    But if MastCell is at all familiar with Orac, he/she would know how Orac reacts to grammar pedantry and could easily imitate it. :-)

  174. #175 Calli Arcale
    March 4, 2014

    True, this test could have a strong false positive. But I would think a false negative would be very unlikely. :D

  175. #176 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    So I don’t see how one blog post more or less could really make that much of a difference.

    You might have a point. I was unaware of those earlier posts to which you linked, because, as I said, I haven’t really paid much attention to this issue since it first hit the atheist/skeptic blogosphere last August. I do not, however, that that “Over It” post was written more than a year ago, long before the allegations even became public, and that the Discovery.com post was about more than just sexual misconduct, so arguably less obviously related to his lawsuit. I also note that it was written two months before the lawsuit was even filed and therefore there’s nothing a lawyer could do about it anyway. This latest post, however, was published after the lawsuit had been filed.

  176. #177 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Oh, wait, now it’s appeared multiple times. Sorry about that.

  177. #178 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Thanks for the look-up, Narad.

    He just filed it two weeks ago.

    Weird.

    If it’s about what she wrote, the only possible claim I can see him making is easily defensible in two separate ways, plus she probably has qualified privilege, plus he’s probably a public-figure plaintiff, plus there’s no obvious sign of actual injury.

    That’s not a strong case.

    But who knows?

    Not I.

  178. #179 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Based on what she wrote, I don’t see that he has a prayer of prevailing in a defamation suit.

    I don’t see any particularly good reason to come to this conclusion.

    And in any event, he’d have to demonstrate damages, which isn’t easy.

    He’s accused of frank assault. That’s defamation per se.

    On the face of it, sounds like a potential SLAPP suit.

    Not in the least in New Mexico, and probably not anywhere else, either.

    @Orac –

    I very humbly and respectfully dissent from your views on the question of whether she deliberately included enough hints to ID him.

    It doesn’t need to be deliberate in any event, and the fact is that there plainly was enough information to promptly identify him in the very circles where his reputation would suffer.

  179. #180 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Orac –

    WRT the dates:

    Right. But the fact that there are extant stories along similar lines would give an attorney the basis for arguing that the one published after the suit was filed wasn’t related to it. As, indeed, it appears not to be, strictly speaking.

    (Meaning: The bias in question appears to preexist the harassment allegations against him. Or at least *those* harassment allegations against him. According to her piece, while it was ongoing, he bragged about having been accused by someone else and getting away with it.)

  180. #181 ann
    March 4, 2014

    It’s actually not plainly, clearly libel per se.

    There’s no absolute certainty. But I’m reasonably sure that a court would find it a defensible usage, especially because she doesn’t name him and — imo — doesn’t show any signs of intending to make his identity known.

    I agree that’s the argument he’s going to make, though. That was the one I had my eye one

  181. #182 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    plus he’s probably a public-figure plaintiff

    That’s far from obvious, and when in doubt, it’s best to assume that someone is a private person.

  182. #183 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Narad –

    You think she made him identifiable?

    Well. I defer to your opinion on that point, I guess. The piece was promptly taken down, though. Seems like a remedy to me.

    I don’t see it going anywhere. But it will be a hell of a mess if it does.

  183. #184 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Narad –

    I definitely would have advised her not to use those words, had I been in a position to do so. Not that I’m an attorney. But abundance of caution, and all that.

    However.

    She has extensive documentation as well as (to some extent) confirmation of most of her claims. She doesn’t name him. The piece was promptly withdrawn. And it’s not obvious that his reputation did suffer materially as a result of it.

    So I think the odds are fair that the usage will squeak by.

  184. #185 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    I don’t see it going anywhere. But it will be a hell of a mess if it does.

    It’s already a hell of a mess. Very depressing to contemplate.

    As for whether Radford’s reputation has been damaged, well, I find it hard to believe that it hasn’t. People like myself were completely—and blissfully—unaware of the allegations against him until Stollznow’s piece was published, leading to his being named. So for me, at least, his reputation arguably suffered. In the community where he makes his living, it appears to have been damaged.

  185. #186 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    It’s actually not plainly, clearly libel per se.

    Yes, <a href="http://lawlibrary.unm.edu/nmlr/14/2/02_higdon_defamation.pdfit is (PDF). “Assault” is a crime (just what crime it is varies by state – in mine, it refers to credibly making a person feel threatened – but that’s unimportant), and the one is alleged involves moral turpitude.

  186. #187 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Jesus Christ, I’m getting tired of trying to type with a cat on my wrist. Delete the ‘it’ at the end to fix the link.

  187. #188 squirrelelite
    March 4, 2014

    @ann 152,
    Helianthus mentioned it in item 2 of #132.
    For that part, I was mostly just trying to match the spirit of the main blog about stating your possible COIs up front when they may have bearing on what you are about to say.

    Depending on the details, child molestation is different from actual rape, but they are both abhorrent.

    And, unlike rape, there is a history of using woo (hypnotically recovered memories, which have been demonstrated to be unreliable) to get accusations of child molestation later shown to be false, that led to considerable emotional suffering by the whole family, parents and children.

    But both share the characteristic that they are both private acts in which the testimony of the people involved is often the key evidence.

    My quote from your comment 121 could apply to either harassment or rape. My point would be that it is not always possible to know before hand if someone who seems nice and intelligent and reasonable will turn out to be in that category.

    I don’t think men are routinely victimized by false accusations or that women routinely make them. But they do happen. The actual percentage of the total that are false is highly uncertain because of difficulties gathering the data and determining the truth, especially in unadjudicated cases.

    So, I would very tentatively use the 8% false number that several choices show as a starting estimate provided we keep that large uncertainty in mind.

    Personally, I’ve had enough training on sexual harassment by the DOD and various private employers to be extremely cautious about any compliment I give to a woman who works with me unless it is specifically about her work.

    And, I find that rather sad.

    But thanks for your comments. On the whole, I think they have contributed to a good discussion.

  188. #189 ann
    March 4, 2014

    The question isn’t simply whether his reputation suffered, though. It’s whether it suffered because of false and libelous allegations made by Karen Stoliznow.

    The potentially actionable statement that stands out is that she used the phrase “sexual assault.”

    He hasn’t been convicted of that — or, ftm, charged, arrrested, anything.

    So if it’s reasonable to assume that people construed as a literal accusation of same, that’s a problem But colloquially speaking, many people might use that phrase to describe what would usually be legally termed “unwanted sexual contact,” if it was even an offense at all.

    There’s some room for argument.

  189. #190 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    She has extensive documentation as well as (to some extent) confirmation of most of her claims.

    I’m not saying that she doesn’t have a defense, I’m saying (without having seen the complaint) that it seems like he may well have a viable case.

  190. #191 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    March 4, 2014

    Kreb: There is the famous case in English jurisprudence about Roger Casement, the man who was “hanged on a comma.” The term apparently refers to the criminal court’s 1916 reading of a statute (passed in the 1300s) where there was some ambiguity over whether treason carried out against Britain, but in a foreign nation, was included in the statute. The court treated the statute as if it had included a comma in the place that would allow for the broader reading. In the US, we’re not generally used to trying people based on 600 year old statutes, since we haven’t been around that long.

    It’s curious that this thread has gone on so long and has taken so many tangents. I don’t see why it is relevant to the criminal justice system whether there are only a few false accusations or lots of them. Each case is supposed to be viewed on its own merits, otherwise it wouldn’t be a system of justice. This is a very different idea than looking at scientific data and doing statistics in the attempt to reach a tentative conclusion that there is no relationship whatsoever between two things. To argue that a 2% rate of false accusations is inconsequential would be barbaric. To argue that it disproves lots of valid accusations would be similarly absurd.

    In reading through the original post and the various allegations that have come forth over the past 164 comments, there is one thing that was bothering me a bit. I realize that standard journalistic practice is to reveal your conflict of interest if you have one. But I’ve also noticed that lots of blogs don’t seem to worry much about such issues, since they are designed to be highly partisan to begin with. In the current case, the relationship between the writer and his employer CFI would seem to be the deciding one. If CFI wants to hold to standards of journalistic practice, then it should point this out to its writers.

    There is one other point that may be a bit subtle, but also bothers me. Had the author been writing about his own case and about his own accuser, then it would be obvious that he should disclose his personal interest in writing the story. But in the case of this column, he was careful to pick a case that was not related to his own, and in which the facts are essentially incontrovertible. I would argue that the main reason that serious journalistic outlets require their writers to declare any conflicts is to protect their overall journalistic reputations. In the case of this article, the truth or falsity of the accusation is not in question, so the truth of the statements in the article about the false accusation is not in question.

    In other words, the requirement that the author state his COI in order to evaluate the validity of his arguments is not really present. He has been careful to take established facts. You may wish to argue that his editorial comments and conclusions, however implicit, about the validity of accusations in general, are subject to the COI argument, and I will not disagree with this element of the argument.

    I would add one more comment about criticizing this article as based on “anecdote.” I think that the term anecdote is generally used in this blog to represent the stories of people who attribute their near-miraculous recoveries to alternative medicine. In the case of this blog, the word “anecdote” seems mostly to refer to misunderstandings among followers of alternative medicine as to what caused them to get better, and even to the question of whether they actually got any better at all.

    But this is not that kind of anecdote.

    If it is true that the writer has filed a civil complaint alleging libel in a court in New Mexico, I seriously doubt whether the article in question will sway the jury pool. The two events are simply too distant. As I wrote earlier, I think the more important question is whether the writer committed a serious offense, whether it is criminally actionable, and whether it is (or has been) treated administratively or in the civil courts.

    By the way, I doubt whether it matters that the alleged victim did not actually name her alleged attacker. Several people who have written about the Sci Am piece make it clear that the man accused of the attacks is identifiable. The overall message in the article seems to be about the hurt suffered by this woman, but one effect is to harm the reputation of the alleged attacker. This is libel per se, and it is now up to the man to demonstrate in court that it was factually incorrect.

    And yes, it is of concern that allegations of sexual assault were not made in a timely manner. Perhaps the accuser means something different than forcible rape, since other crimes can be described using the term assault. Still, there ought to be some understanding that failing to report a crime has consequences, just as we all understand that reporting a crime can sometimes have very unpleasant consequences for the complaining witness. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that the male author in question is a member of organized crime, so we are left to wonder why the long delay.

  191. #192 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Narad –

    Yes, I know assault is a crime. But the word “assault” can be used without connoting that.

    I believe there’s a precedent for making that distinction, though not with that word. I’ll try to look it up.

  192. #194 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    I would add one more comment about criticizing this article as based on “anecdote.” I think that the term anecdote is generally used in this blog to represent the stories of people who attribute their near-miraculous recoveries to alternative medicine. In the case of this blog, the word “anecdote” seems mostly to refer to misunderstandings among followers of alternative medicine as to what caused them to get better, and even to the question of whether they actually got any better at all.

    But this is not that kind of anecdote.

    Yes and no. Methinks perhaps you misunderstand the problem with anecdotal evidence by thinking that it requires that the individual anecdotes be unreliable or that individual anecdotes be misinterpreted or confuse correlation with causation.

    There is nothing in my complaints about the use of anecdotal evidence that demand that there be a misinterpretation of the anecdote or that the anecdote be questionable. Rather, it is the use of individual cases, which may or may not be representative of the actual situation, to come to a conclusion that is the problem. While it is true that most alt-med anecdotes, anecdotes for vaccine injury, etc., are the result of attributing patient occurrences (such as getting better being attributed to alt med or autism being attributed to vaccines) incorrectly, that doesn’t mean that anecdotes that are bulletproof in that they are well documented and did happen are acceptable evidence to support a general conclusion. They can be unrepresentative of the usual situation, for example. They can be cherry picked. They can be presented in a way that makes the case seem stronger than it really is. They do not substitute for more rigorous data.

    Let’s put it this way. In medicine, anecdotes—even anecdotes presented in the form of rigorously documented case reports—are only a beginning that can suggest avenues for more rigorous research. They are the lowest form of clinical evidence and therefore only acceptable (barely and grudgingly) to rely on when there is no other better evidence. That’s why physicians are disdainful of scientists and physicians who support their conclusions with only anecdotes when they know that better, more rigorous evidence is available. This is no different. Better, more rigorous data are available, but Mr. Radford chose to use carefully selected anecdotes to paint a picture of false accusations being “common.” Even if he is correct, the arguments he chose to present would still be a skeptical fail because he would have come to the “right” conclusion using the wrong data and reasoning.

  193. #195 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @squirrelelite –

    You don’t have to go so far as to be tentative about it. There have been a number of methodologically sound studies that have found the rate to be between two to eight percent.

    Most are listed here:

    http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

    False accusations are an evil. But it’s worth bearing in mind that there are stories not being mentioned here that attest to another reality. For example:

    “Two years ago a Northwestern University freshman filed an official complaint to the school about superstar philosophy professor Peter Ludlow. Two weeks ago, after what she describes as indifference and inaction on the part of the university, the student sued Northwestern in federal court.

    According to her complaint, the student originally accused Ludlow of getting her drunk, and then kissing and groping her while she blacked out. An internal investigation by Northwestern’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Office found in the student’s favor—Ludlow had broken the school rules that protect against sexual harassment, the university’s committee found. The student hoped he would be fired, or at least disciplined. Instead, she claims, Northwestern stood by ineffectually as Ludlow threatened defamation litigation. While she spiraled into depression and attempted suicide, Ludlow continued to work as a tenured professor with full privileges.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/education/2014/02/northwestern_university_found_professor_peter_ludlow_violated_the_sexual.html

    And there’s also this:

    http://www.washtenawwatchdogs.com/4/post/2013/08/the-cover-up-of-the-arrest-of-university-of-michigan-football-player-brendan-gibbons-for-rape.html

    And this:

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-montana-rape-case-sexism-justice-20140217,0,3054706.story#axzz2v2EC00Wc

    And this:
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Sex-assault-victims-say-UConn-failed-them-4981714.php

    And this:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/my-daughter-the-survivor-daisy-coleman-was-found-nearly-dead-after-she-was-raped-and-dumped-on-a-lawn-by-a-fellow-pupil-what-happened-next-was-almost-as-awful-9110277.html

    And there’s no shortage of statistical back-up to move those from the anecdote to the data column.

    To put it mildly.

  194. #196 ann
    March 4, 2014

    My point being:

    If accusations of rape and harassment are such a terrible threat that non-rapists and harassers everywhere have just cause to live in fear of the associated punishments, there are an awful lot of ladies out there who seem to be doing it wrong.

    And that’s what the data says.

  195. #197 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Why is it that people are so much more eager to talk about the (demonstrably specious) proposition that false accusations of rape are routinely credited by everyone while the men against whom they were made horribly victimized than they are about the (demonstrably true) proposition that real accusations of rape are routinely ignored, disbelieved and hushed up by everyone while the women making them are horribly victimized?

    I’ve seen that time and again.,

  196. #198 Delysid
    March 4, 2014

    Narad I have tried posting pictures of you and Orac won’t allow them to go through. He is a HYPOCRITE about this. Related to this, Orac might be an excellent scientist, but when he starts blabbing about politics and ethics his ignorance

    Nard it is obvious that you are an extremely ugly and overweight computer science professor at a Canadian University. Your superfluous vocabulary and arrogant tone is more specific to your identity than a gram of DNA.

  197. #199 Delysid
    March 4, 2014

    Oh and Narad I’m mocked on Ron Paul forums by those who are hysterical about alternative medicine. Orac is mocked over there as well. That doesn’t make us wrong.
    |
    The Insolent Insane Asylum is like the enantiomer of the Ron Paul Forums. Here the understanding of ethics and politics is laughable by blindly repeating statist propaganda. Just as I laugh at alternative medicine, I laugh the pitiful statism and chidlish beliefs being spewed here as “correct.”

    Narad your comments are almost completely void of anything. You make up for your lack of logic and reasoning with excessive vocubulary and mockery. I know what you look like, buddy, and believe me I couldn’t possibly have any less respect for you. In fact I shouldn’t even be wasting engaging you.

  198. #200 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Narad I have tried posting pictures of you and Orac won’t allow them to go through. He is a HYPOCRITE about this.

    Oh, look, it’s deploying Gerg’s most recent tactic. Sweet. Honeybunch, given that Orac knows precisely who I am, I sorely doubt that he would hesitate for a second to let you make even more of a fool of yourself.

  199. […] Hey remember the other day – February 27th it was, last Thursday – I wrote a post about how Ben Radford wrote a post about False Accusations of Sexual Assault? And how it was more or less simultaneous with one by Carol Tavris on the same subject? And how it all seemed rather pointed? And then Orac wrote one? About conflicts of interest and how Ben Radford hadn’t disclosed his? […]

  200. #202 MI Dawn
    March 4, 2014

    Well, actually, I’m personally highly amused by Delysid’s claims about us. Since I imagine he’s one of the people on OK Cupid who would email every woman who shows up with”your hot wannna have sex with me”, I’ll just point and laugh.

    Actually, Narad, I’d be very interested to see what Delysid thinks you look like. Somehow, I suspect it’s totally opposite of your true appearance, and more similar to his own.

  201. #203 Delysis
    March 4, 2014

    Again you have failed to say anything. For someone flaunts their vocabulary and obscure knowledge you continuously fail to say anything of intellectual substance. You babble with ad homonym attacks.

    Instead if attacking my arguments you attack me. You attack my grammar. You cite the dictionary and nitpick minor details while ignoring the point. Typical academic who is overdeveloped I’m the playpen.

  202. #204 Delysis
    March 4, 2014

    Okcupid?!?! LMFAO!

    Yeah because I want to date pudgy women with a bad attitude who are desperately aware of their impending infertility.

  203. #205 AdamG
    March 4, 2014

    Instead if attacking my arguments you attack me.

    Why would anyone bother ‘attacking your arguments’ when you yourself have admitted that you will not be persuaded by evidence?

  204. #206 AdamG
    March 4, 2014

    The scientific method cannot be applied to sexual harrasment/rape trends in society because they are strongly influenced by feminist political propaganda and opinion.

    In fact, Delysid, I wonder if you’ve ever actually read a study that deals with these sorts of things.

    Here’s a particularly interesting one out today:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.12356/abstract

  205. #207 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2014

    @herr doktor bimler – I am in awe – awe, I say! – of your research skills. You managed in one link to show the most probable true name of metasonix, his e-mail address, and a reference by him to Orac as “MastCell”. Well done sir. If I were wearing a hat (considered gauche indoors) I’d tip, if not doff, it to you.

  206. #208 Bob G
    Los Angeles
    March 4, 2014

    @Orac@195

    Point taken. I think I understand the idea that a single case history in a medical journal does not demonstrate causation, even when there is correlation. And I further concede that Radford uses a few cases of false accusation and then tries to sell the generalization that false accusations are common. He even looks like he is trying ever so gently to imply that a substantial fraction of accusations are exaggerated or false. That’s the point of his amateur psychoanalysis of those who make false accusations.

    But I don’t think that anybody reading the Radford piece at all critically would buy into the generalization that is based on the small set of case histories. The first time I read it (more naively), the generalizations he was making came across as something akin to those warnings on the front pages of the tabloids in the supermarket checkout line. “Who is hanging around your child’s schoolyard!” The whole article had that sort of tone. I think that most of your readers and most of the CFI readers are careful about broad generalizations that aren’t carefully established scientific fact.

    On rereading Radford’s article, it’s a little unsettling that he is using CFI to flog his personal demon. After all, he has plenty of material about belief in astrology and flying saucers to work with. On the other hand, suppose for the sake of argument that he is actually completely innocent, and will establish that by a preponderance of the evidence in a New Mexico courtroom. If those are the facts, then I’m not completely sold on the idea that he has to make full disclosure that he has been a victim. Yes, it seems fishy, but what are the truly innocent obliged to do in this life? I will offer a counter argument that I read a long time ago. A man was stopped by the police and held because he resembled the description of someone wanted for murder. He was booked on the charge, and fairly rapidly exonerated and released. Later in life, back when job applications asked about arrests, he would write that he had been arrested due to mistaken identity. But when the employer pushed the matter and discovered that he had been arrested for murder, he was not hired, and this pattern followed him around for some years. It’s a quandary. The government solved the problem for the unjustly arrested by limiting employment applications to convictions, but the more general problem remains for the unjustly accused.

    I think it’s useful to make a distinction between the carefully documented anecdote of a published medical case history, vs the hundreds of anecdotes of alien abduction, electromagnetic field sensitivity, and flying saucers. CFI has done a good job of rebuttal on these topics. Radford’s ethical violation is to imply that false accusations of sexual crimes are somewhat related to the other forms of mass delusion that CFI likes to debunk.

  207. #209 Delysid
    March 4, 2014

    @AdamG

    Thanks for the link. This is the epitome of everything wrong and hilarious with academia. There is no topic too obvious in order for research.

    You mean testosterone causes sexual aggressiveness in males?! What landmark revelation! I hope they received tax money for this! Better yet I hope this was a Master’s thesis! That is some of the highest quality scientific research I ever seen!

    This is exactly why SOCIOLOGY IS NOT SCIENCE. Applying the scientific method to something does make something science. This is pathetic attempt to legitimize political third-wave feminist propaganda under the guise of science.

    Of course that is the whole point. Communists/socialists/progressives figured out long ago that the best way to promote their stupid ideology is pretend that it is scientific.

  208. #210 Orac
    March 4, 2014

    On rereading Radford’s article, it’s a little unsettling that he is using CFI to flog his personal demon.

    Having been appointed a CFI fellow last year, I was particularly disturbed by that as well. It’s probably what annoyed me enough to write this post.

    Radford’s ethical violation is to imply that false accusations of sexual crimes are somewhat related to the other forms of mass delusion that CFI likes to debunk.

    An excellent point that I should have made.

    I do note that people have told me that Mr. Radford has posted the first page of his legal complaint against Ms. Stollznow on his Facebook page, and that a reader pointed out that Ophelia Benson has noted this:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/03/very-pointed/

    If my prodding was what motivated Mr. Radford to reveal this rather whopping COI that I didn’t even know about when I wrote this post (i.e., his being involved in pending litigation related to the topic he blogged about), my work here is done. Hopefully, he will be much more transparent about these things in the future.

    I’m not sure what the fallout will be, however. Mr. Radford has friends high in the skeptical movement, and I know from various sources that he is not pleased with me. Oh, well…

    Whether anything will come of it, who knows? I’m actually relatively surprised at how relatively mild the criticism has been, compared to what I had been concerned about.

  209. #211 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Instead if attacking my arguments you attack me. You attack my grammar. You cite the dictionary and nitpick minor details while ignoring the point.

    You mean like demonstrating your ignorance of Camus and the comical “praxeology,” the touchstone of your very existence? Remember your brilliant assertion that the “anarcho/capitalist solution” to Typhoid Mary would be “banishment,” and the utter humiliation that followed?

    Spare me. Your “points” collapse so quickly into raving displays of a persecution complex that there’s scarcely any reason or time to do more than mock you. Your very first entry in these comments started out with an undefended, stupid, blanket assertion and devolved into “hysterical feminazis” in the space of three paragraphs.

    And by all means, show me where I’ve “cite[d] the dictionary” while everyone waits for the long-suppressed,* shocking photographic reveal that has resulted from your expert linguistic fingerprinting.

    Otherwise, I suggest you go nurse your terminal case of asshurt elsewhere.

    * Despite not seeming to have ever been mentioned before.

  210. #212 Shay
    March 4, 2014

    Nard it is obvious that you are an extremely ugly and overweight computer science professor at a Canadian University

    Jesus God, are we back in high school here?

  211. #213 Shay
    March 4, 2014

    Italics fail, and I don’t even have a cat on my wrist as an excuse.

  212. #214 herr doktor bimler
    March 4, 2014

    Metasonix provides more contact details here, if anyone wants the thick dossier of evidence.
    http://wikipediocracy.com/press-release/

  213. #215 ann
    March 4, 2014

    ” On rereading Radford’s article, it’s a little unsettling that he is using CFI to flog his personal demon.

    Having been appointed a CFI fellow last year, I was particularly disturbed by that as well. It’s probably what annoyed me enough to write this post.

    Radford’s ethical violation is to imply that false accusations of sexual crimes are somewhat related to the other forms of mass delusion that CFI likes to debunk.

    An excellent point that I should have made”
    _______________

    Sigh.

    Moreover, there actually is a ton of data on the subject of rape accusations that shows there is exactly, precisely such a mass delusion directly related to it!

    And it’s that people don’t take rape accusations or the women who make them seriously at all, as a result of which a full two-thirds of the 20 percent of American women who are raped in their lifetimes don’t report it!

    The reason that matters is that in order for false rape accusations to be pandemic, women would have to be lying about rape frequently. So that’s what a person who cherry-picks anecdotes about false rape accusations is suggesting.

    It’s not helpful.

    The vast majority of men are not rapists. Of course. But the rapists are. And they get away with it.

  214. #216 ann
    March 4, 2014

    @Adam G, and — no doubt — for Delysid to respond to with a juvenile ad hominem attack:

    Yes. There are plenty of studies to that effect. For example, from here:

    http://sapac.umich.edu/article/196

    “Surveys have consistently reported that college men acknowledged forced intercourse at a rate of 5-15% and college sexual aggression at a rate of 15-25% (Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski, 1987; Malamuth, Sockloskie, Koss, and Tanaka, 1991).

    The national survey of rape conducted by Koss et al. (1987) revealed that 1 in 12 college men committed acts that met the legal definition of rape, and of those men, 84% did not consider their actions to be illegal.

    In a large study of college men, 8.8% admitted rape or attempted rape (Ouimette & Riggs, 1998).”

    Although according to Lisak and Miller, which is more recent:

    “Of the 1,882 men in the total sample, 120 (6.4%) met criteria for rape or attempted rape.A majority of these men, 80.8%, reported committing rapes of women who were inca-
    pacitated because of drugs or alcohol; 17.5% reported using threats or overt force in attempted rapes; 9.2% reported using threats or overt force to coerce sexual intercourse; and 10% reported using threats or overt force to coerce oral sex.

    Of the 120 rapists, 76 (63.3%) reported committing repeat rapes, either against multiple victims, or more than once against the same victim. In total, the 120 rapists admitted to 483 rapes, or 4.0 rapes each. However, this average is somewhat misleading. Since 44 of the 120 rapists admitted to only a single rape, the 76 repeat rapists actually accounted for 439 of the rapes, averaging 5.8 each (SD =7.7), significantly more than the single-act rapists (t =-4.1 (118), p < .001). The median number of rapes for the repeat rapists was three."

    And, last but not least, as the above study notes when summarizing the prior research:

    "Finally, in at least one study using this methodology (Lisak & Roth, 1990), autobiographical interviews were conducted with a sample of rapists. None of the assaults committed by these men had ever been reported, let alone prosecuted. In a second study using this methodology (Lisak et aI., 2000), interviews were conducted with another sample of perpetrators (induding rapists). Although the interviews were not comprehensively autobiographical, in no instance was any arrest or prosecution reported by any of the men who had perpetrated interpersonal crimes."

    The pandemic runs the other way, IOW.

    Full study here:

    http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/webinars/SV%20on%20Campus/Repeat%20Rape.pdf

  215. #217 ann
    March 4, 2014

    But don’t pay any attention to that.

    As Delysis has informed the thread, there are flyers about rape all over college campuses.

    And everyone knows that flyers trump data.

    So the Feminazis rule.

  216. #218 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Put another way:

    Being MRA means you’re so tough that you spend more time raging fearfully about flyers than women do about rape.

  217. #219 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Better yet I hope this was a Master’s thesis! That is some of the highest quality scientific research I ever seen!

    Say, Dellysis’, would you like to share yours?

  218. #220 Chris,
    March 4, 2014

    hdb: “Metasonix provides more contact details here, if anyone wants the thick dossier of evidence.”

    What is even more awesome, is that he is a co-writer of a book about Wikipedia. I surely hope he puts all of that data that shows Orac moonlights as “MastCell” while sleeping.

    A pertinent quote from that page:

    …: “I edited Wikipedia back in 2004-2005, and gave up after realizing what a magnet for fools it was….

    Then I found this. Which says:

    I think that [name redacted] (“metasonix”) might have more credibility if he had disclosed to you that he is permanently banned from Wikipedia.

    I redacted his name as a courtesy because he did not use it here. I did not spend much time on googling while making dinner, the most pertinent thing I found was he is upset that Wikipedia would not let him advertise his business. I did not dwell into the details.

    I still can’t figure is out why he thinks Orac, a surgical oncologist who writes very long blog posts, also has time to edit Wikipedia. What is freaking weird is that “Encyclopedia Dramatica” claims that “MastCell” is a “Cyber Jew”… even with using Google cache that pathetic website produced several pornographic popups. Perhaps that is the work of the Hitler Zombie.

    My only conclusion is that Mr. Metasonic finally figured out that Orac is a pseudonym of someone he refers to in the website herr doktor bimler referenced. On several pages he refers to Orac’s not so secret name with “MastCell” tossed in the middle. But why?

    So I googled Orac’s not so secret identity with “MastCell”, and what are the first two links to? Well, to John Scudamore’s infamous whale.to site.

    This is where one must invoke Scopie’s Law on both Metasonix and his websites:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

    (from a website that Kent Hovind has filed a lawsuit against)

  219. #221 ann
    March 4, 2014

    Formatting. I’m going to try it.

    I’ve been avoiding this topic since making my previous post, but I just have to say, this point strikes home. It was hurtful to be on the wrong end of false accusations; it was hurtful to see how many people presumed simply because of what the accusation was that it must be true.

    If now I have to re-inflict that own pain on myself every time I have something to say on the subject, that’s going to have a chilling effect. And of course that applies to all sides. It’s going to lead to an awful lot being said on the subject (on any subject) by people who have no personal COIs – because all their information is second-hand.

    Antaeus Feldspar, I’m profoundly sorry I hadn’t seen the above when I replied to you so snippily earlier in the thread.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said false accusations were evil. And I’m very sorry that you were touched by one.

    The reason I’m making the case as forcefully as I am is that I’m used to having this argument with men who have no firsthand experience of having been victimized by anything other than the flyers that double as their data.

    And I’ve been having it in one form or another for decades. It’s an evergreen. Because all of those stats have been close to what they are now for that long. In some cases, longer,

    Nevertheless, I apologize.

  220. #222 Narad
    March 4, 2014

    Whoops, nearly missed this part:

    Of course that is the whole point. Communists/socialists/progressives figured out long ago that the best way to promote their stupid ideology is pretend that it is scientific.

    This is uproarious, coming from someone who whines about econometrics’ sullying economics with pesky data (it’s like climate science, or vice versa, or something something “models” something) and venerates Human Action, which purports, for no discernible reason given that it’s a risible pretend axiomatic system pulled out of von Mises’s ass, to represent “a theoretical and systematic” science, the “statements and propositions” of which are “like those of logic and mathematics.”*

    * Strangely von Mises further seems to be under the under the impression that statements of mathematics and logic are “not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts,” which I suppose is why all triangles really are equilateral.

  221. #223 ann
    March 4, 2014

    He had me at

    Communists/socialists/progressives

    Because you know them. And

    their stupid ideology

    singular..

  222. #224 Delysis
    March 4, 2014

    I’ve been falsely accused twice. The second time escalated to an internal meeting to kick me out of my fraternity. Fortunately I was completely innocent and there were witnesses defending me, but it got extremely ugly and was quite infuriating and embarrassing. Also dated a girl who falsely accused her previous boyfriend. I found out on my way to go kick the crap out him when she finally confessed to lying.

    A few months ago I happened to get late to a party and witness a friend in the act of pounding a guy because she lied. I took a shot in the face restraining my friend. She finally came clean after physical harm was caused to defend her “honor.”

    So Ann that is 4 false rape accusations. I know zero rapists, four false accusers.

  223. #225 Chris,
    March 5, 2014

    ann: “Nevertheless, I apologize.”

    Welcome to RI. Please stick around, just because of that one phrase. One thing I like here is that one can freely admit they were wrong, apologize and then get more respect.

    I am approaching sixty years old, and attended college for a less than traditional field: aerospace engineering. Nothing in the discussion above is foreign to me.

    I was subject to the most heinous innuendo in the dorm from guys I had never met. After being mocked as a nerd in high school, being accused of sexual acts that I never knew about was confusing, and a bit amusing, to my eighteen year old self.

    I even had to listen patiently while an upperclassman made the most intensely crude jokes. I became the queen of the eye-roll.

    Fortunately at work there was a witness to the most heinous sexual offer voiced to me at work. I and the young man sitting nearby were both actually gobsmacked at what the older gentleman suggested after I helped him with a technical problem. I am sorry I did not report it, because all I could utter was “Save me from dirty old men.” It was just a shock.

    I am personally glad this kind of behavior is being exposed. Radford should have shut up at the first chance. He is just digging himself deeper. Perhaps he should have done a Bill Hoyt:

    Also, for a forum mystery, the “Antivax quackery now killing wolves” thread, in which Bill Hoyt promised to return with some evidence for the nonsense he was talking, only to vanish practically in mid-sentence and never return to the forum again. Hell, that must have been six or seven years ago.

    Did I mention I am old, and jaded?

  224. #226 Delysid
    March 5, 2014

    @ann

    I’ve been falsely accused-twice. The second time escalated to an internal meeting to kick me out of my fraternity. Fortunately I was completely innocent and there were witnesses defending me, but it got extremely ugly and was quite infuriating and embarrassing.

    I Also dated a girl who falsely accused her previous boyfriend. I found out on my way to go kick the crap out him when she finally confessed to lying.

    A few months ago I happened to get late to a party and witness a friend in the act of pounding a guy because she lied. I took a shot in the face restraining my friend. She finally came clean after physical harm was caused to defend her “honor.”

    So Ann that is 4 false rape accusations. I know zero rapists, four false accusers.

    Also, since we are citing radical feminists as trustworthy, let me add to the mix.

    “Feminism, Socialism, and Communism are one in the same, and Socialist/Communist government is the goal of feminism.” – Catharine A. MacKinnon

  225. #227 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2014

    I still can’t figure is out why he thinks Orac, a surgical oncologist who writes very long blog posts, also has time to edit Wikipedia. …
    My only conclusion is that Mr. Metasonic finally figured out that Orac is a pseudonym of someone he refers to in the website herr doktor bimler referenced. On several pages he refers to Orac’s not so secret name with “MastCell” tossed in the middle. But why?

    Looking idly at the timeline with the Google, it appears that the equation between (1) Wiki editor MastCell, and (2) Orac’s secret identity crystallised in mid-2007. One Ilena Rosenthal — breast cancer alt-health loon — was receiving insolence from all directions, and subsequently got herself thrown out of the Wiki project for aggravated stupidity, so she decided that at least two of the people on her Enemies List must be the same person. MastCell was involved in Rosenthal’s banning in a peripheral way so she announced that (1) = (2). MastCell denied this:

    Ilena Rosenthal has been quite vocal in claiming to identify every Wikipedia editor she’s butted heads with (which is quite a few) with some real-life antagonist of hers. Generally (at least in her claimed identification of me), she’s been way off base. COI accusations are a quick road to nowhere on this article. You’re confusing having an opinion on a subject with having a conflict of interest.

    Nevertheless, the purported identity was quickly picked up by Tim Bolen and Whale.to and “DrRath Foundation” (all united by their dislike of Orac and Wikipedia). And now for Mr. Metasonic it has become an article of faith. Perhaps he will come back and explain his reasoning.

    All of this inside-Wikipedia argie-bargie is pervaded with accusations of Conflicts of Interest, as indeed is the Wikipediocracy project. So I don’t feel too badly off-topic.

  226. #228 ann
    March 5, 2014

    Thank you. And also: I hear that.

    But seriously. A bad act is a bad act. It was an insensitive, inconsiderate reply, and I’m sorry for it.

    I genuinely don’t see it as a boys vs. girls thing. There’s plenty of suffering to go around, nobody should need to compete.

    It’s mainly the perpetuation of false and harmful information that enlighens nobody and causes strife, heartache and dissension that I object to.

    Although I do admit that it’s occasionally irksome to have to cite chapter and verse again and again and again, simply to convince the fellow members of ones culture that the social landscape through which one strolls every day and always has done since time immemorial is what it is.

    But what can you do? Life’s not fair for anybody.

  227. #229 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2014

    ann:
    Welcome to RI. Please stick around

    Seconding Chris. Your attempts to cite relevant research are appreciated, even if they are wasted on Delysid (who has asked that people not confuse him with facts).

  228. #230 Helianthus
    March 5, 2014

    @ ann / Antaeus

    I wasn’t kidding when I said false accusations were evil. And I’m very sorry that you were touched by one.

    Since Antaeus post, I have been mulling over this whole topic, tried three times to phrase an answer which wouldn’t look like I am dismissing either the reality of culture rape, or the reality of the harm of false allegations. Short of writing a lengthy thesis, and certainly one full of fallacies, I could not.
    I gave up.

    Maybe “I am sorry this happened to you” is the best answer.

    So yes, please stick around. Both of you.

    Earlier (# 197), ann was asking why people are more willing to discuss false accusations than ignored complaints of sexual harassment or assault. For this one, my answer will be easy and short:

    It’s easier and cheaper to put yourself as Perry Mason, defender of the wrongly accused, than to recognize that there are plenty of damsels in distress in the next room and, at best, you didn’t do anything to help them. Hero vs coward/accomplice.
    That’s the charitable explanation. A less charitable one is even simpler: self-centered interest. Many people (and, I guess, not just men) could easily believe they are more at risk of being falsely accused than of being raped.
    Or maybe not-so-falsely accused.

    And then you have people who have good reasons to fear false accusations, because it already happened to them or someone they know.
    It’s complicated.

  229. #231 Delysid
    March 5, 2014

    @Narad

    You are so unbelievably pompous that you don’t even realize that your comments usually make no sense. Your favorite tactic (besides childish mockery) is go off into irrelevant obscure topics in a laughable attempt to demonstrate your intellectual superiority. You are like a dweeby and depressed Dennis MIller.

    You might have the peanut gallery fooled, but I have seen through you BS from your first few comments.

    On the other side of the spectrum, there are people like herr doktor bimler who can’t distinguish science from political fluff. Sociology is science and rape culture is real herr doktor der doktor. “It’s science as long as I agree with it.” It is hilarious to me that Orac has acquired such a primitive and moronic following.

    But go ahead, all of you stay in awe of Narad’s articulate gibberish and herr doktor bimler’s “scientific facts.”

  230. #232 Delysid
    March 5, 2014

    @Narad

    You are so unbelievably pompous that you don’t even realize that your comments usually make no sense. Your favorite tactic (besides childish mockery) is go off into irrelevant obscure topics in a laughable attempt to demonstrate your intellectual superiority. You are like a dweeby and depressed Dennis MIller.

    You might have the peanut gallery fooled, but I have seen through you BS from your first few comments.

    On the other side of the spectrum, there are people like herr doktor bimler who can’t distinguish science from political fluff. Sociology is science and rape culture is real herr doktor der doktor. “It’s science as long as I agree with it.” It is hilarious to me that Orac has acquired such a primitive and moronic following.

    But go ahead, all of you stay in awe of Narad’s articulate gibberish and herr doktor bimler’s “scientific facts.”

  231. #233 Krebiozen
    March 5, 2014

    You babble with ad homonym attacks.

    Now there’s a vein of humor I would be mining if I were a little more wide awake.

  232. #234 Krebiozen
    March 5, 2014

    ann,

    But what can you do? Life’s not fair for anybody.

    We can try to make it fairer, in whatever way we can. That’s if we possess something resembling a social conscience, of course. I have little doubt some consider such to be an unnecessary encumbrance, the result of liberal brainwashing.

  233. #235 ann
    March 5, 2014

    @Kreblozen

    Agreed. Rhetorical. Was attempting to do so.

    (Ad homonym. “Lyre” is the first thing that springs to mind, but it’s inadequate. I’m not really fully awake either.)

  234. #236 ann
    March 5, 2014

    @Helianthus –

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    Many people (and, I guess, not just men) could easily believe they are more at risk of being falsely accused than of being raped.

    I don’t know about that. Conscious consideration of the risk of being raped is a fairly regular fact of life for virtually all women, at least transiently, when passed by motor vehicles while walking on dark and lonely streets and so forth.

    And it’s also a part of the life experience of one in five American women. Or more, including attempts and close friends affected, etc.

    Not all that remote a risk, IOW….

  235. #237 Helianthus
    March 5, 2014

    @ ann

    Conscious consideration of the risk of being raped is a fairly regular fact of life for virtually all women

    I’m not disagreeing on this.
    I wrote the sentence you quoted thinking about the way people may deal with risk – including by denying the risk exists, or minimizing it. Nasty things may happen to other people. but not to special me. That is, until the day it does.

  236. #238 Delysid
    March 5, 2014

    “walking down lonely and dark streets.”

    Guess what, that makes EVERYONE uneasy. Men worry more of getting robbed than raped, but it is dangerous force nonetheless.

    That situation is not how most rapes supposedly occur in third-wave feminist rape culture. Supposedly rape is everywhere, all of the time. Supposedly it is institutionalized.

    Ann you are just jumping around and moving the goalpost and not making any point. Now you are talking about dark alley rape? Who is defending this?

    The ridiculous thing is that there are people here complaining about how many MRA’s there are. Now supposedly false rape is a higher concern than the rape culture hysteria? GIVE ME A GOD DAMN BREAK. The media is obsessed with rape. Even in situations of false rape accusation, the media still spins it to imply that the opposite! Look at this disgusting piece in ABC.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-investigate-assault-transgender-teen-22770897

    Here is a situation to ponder. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe there are so many men’s rights activists against false accusations BECAUSE SO MANY MEN HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED? Ann the nerve of you to suggest that men’s rights activism is the result of reading statistics and propaganda? Ann YOU are sexist. So women worry about rape from first-hand experience but men worry about false accusations because they hear about it? This hypocrisy is unbelievable.

  237. #239 Johanna
    March 5, 2014

    I’m just going to leave this here.

    http://tinyurl.com/ya2fd8v

    “When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.” – from the piece, above.

    It’s a great essay. It’ll probably push Delysid further into apoplexy, but that’s just icing on the cake.

  238. #240 Helianthus
    March 5, 2014

    @ Delysid

    Even in situations of false rape accusation, the media still spins it to imply that the opposite

    And the opposite happens quite often in confirmed cases of sexual assaults. Media love to dig mud and fling it around.
    Not necessarily a bad thing: sometimes, they dig out a gold nugget.

    men worry about false accusations

    And some men worry that there will be accusations, period. How do you distinguish between the two?

    This topic presents an interesting conundrum, from a social perspective. Take any accusation of sexual assault very seriously, you will favor false accusations. Take them not seriously enough, and you will favor false accusations.
    And throw plenty of victims under the bus.
    I would prefer to reach some equilibrium which reduces false positives and false negatives altogether.

  239. #241 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 5, 2014

    I apologize in advance for doing a number of things that I consider to be quite rude and ordinarily would not do. First, I’m failing to stick my flounce; I said I wouldn’t be back to this thread, but here I am. Second, I’m not going to read all the posts that have gone by, which ordinarily I would consider the most obvious obligation. Third, if my better judgment can prevail this time, I’m going to stick the flounce this time in hopes that my stomach won’t go through as many hours of churning as it did yesterday. I can’t blame anyone who decides that because I’m presenting it in such a rude fashion, they won’t read it – but I need to say it nevertheless.

    When it comes to vaccination, there are three major positions, which we might call “Fisher”, “Straw-Offit”, and “Salamone”. As the name of Straw-Offit suggests, some of these positions exist less as “what anyone out there actually advocates” and more as “what an awful lot of people *claim* is the enemy they’re fighting.”

    The ‘Fisher’ position is “Vaccine injuries are all over the place! They’re everywhere! When you think about ‘how should a vaccination program be run,’ you must start with the assumption that vaccine injuries are the primary result that comes out of vaccination programs, and make your decisions accordingly! The idea that vaccination might be preventing death and misery from vaccine-preventable diseases is stupid; if it happens at all, and isn’t just a bogeyman dreamed up by the Dark Lords of Vaccination, it’s so rare it shouldn’t be a real consideration!”

    The ‘Straw-Offit’ position is what the Fishers claim they’re fighting against. “Vaccine injuries?? Poppycock! Those don’t exist, and if they do, the statistics prove that they’re so rare they can just be ignored! The need for vaccination is so established that it must be the only factor taken into consideration! If you even talk about ‘vaccine injuries’ it means you’re a foolish or crazy anti-vaccinationist!”

    The ‘Salamone’ position, meanwhile, is the one that recognizes both concerns as valid. “Yes, vaccine injuries are statistically far more rare than injuries from VPDs – but they are still real, and they are not less tragic. No one of any sense wants to lose the benefits we gain from having a strong vaccination program, but we do want to see if the program could be refined to minimize vaccine injuries even further. And it should go without saying that even if claimed vaccine injuries are far more numerous than real vaccine injuries, we should be respecting those who suffer the real thing, not writing them off as nonexistent or unimportant!”

    I’m sure everyone sees the metaphor. Some may even be impatient, saying “yeah, yeah, VPD injuries are akin to true accusations of rape while vaccine injuries are akin to false accusations of rape, we get it; what’s the point already??”

    The point is that while the Fishers of accusation really are out there, handing out their flyers and claiming there’s an absolute epidemic out there being covered up for ideological reasons by the Straw-Offits of accusation …

    This time the Straw-Offits really are out there. They aren’t a straw man; they really are there, on college campuses and cable shows, declaring that false accusations don’t happen, the evidence shows they don’t happen (and therefore any evidence indicating that maybe they do happen, in numbers that make it an actual problem, must be written off as lies cooked up by the Fishers) and anyways if it does happen, it’s an acceptable price to pay.

    If you’re tempted to think that that last part is, yes, a straw man, just exaggeration or Fisher spin – consider, once again, those incidents where law enforcement officials had iron-clad cases of knowingly false accusation, but openly stated ‘we’re declining to prosecute this, because if we did, we feel it might discourage people from reporting actual rape.’ How can you interpret that to not mean: “of these two crimes, we care about one but not at all about the other”?

    Where are the Salamones of the discussion? Why does everyone – at least everyone whose voice can be heard in the din – seem to assume that you can treat either real rape or false accusations as an actual problem, not both? We need those who can come forward and say calmly and plainly “Look, even with the research that’s showing that false accusations are probably more common than we thought – they are still almost certainly rarer than true accusations. But that doesn’t make it reasonable to automatically prejudge any such accusation we encounter as ‘probably true’, before any actual facts one way or the other have been established. It doesn’t make it right to try and write off anyone worried about false accusations as unrealistically worrying about something that couldn’t happen to them. And when an atmosphere has been created such that TV personalities don’t hesitate to completely invent ‘evidence’ against someone slapped with such an accusation, it’s time to ask, ‘couldn’t our system do a better job of recognizing that false accusations can indeed happen?’”

    … But if anyone does speak up to say something like this, the Straw-Offits leap to their feet and point and say “See, isn’t that proof of what I’ve been saying all along! We’re trapped in an ocean of rape culture! How can it be anything but rape culture to suggest that concern over a statistically negligible amount of false accusation should alter in any way our pursuit of justice for those who have been truly victimized, by rape itself??”

  240. #242 Delysid
    March 5, 2014

    @Johanna

    This article gave some refreshingly honest insight into the female mindset. As is so common with women, it is saying one thing with words, but there is larger and conflicting message apparent that is elucidated by reading between the lines.

    I am NOT criticizing women for this dichotomy, as it is the product of hundreds of thousands of years of biology that cannot and should not be changed.

    Let me translate…

    At face value the author is saying don’t approach strange women because of their fears of the man’s potential to cause harm. This is quite understandable as women need to protect themselves.

    If you keep reading, however, the author admits that the problem is not being approached by a strange man, but that the problem is being approached badly by an unattractive man (physically and psychologically). She advises creepy men with low sexual appeal (let’s call them beta males) to stick with internet contact because that is a very easy screening system. It’s much easier to dodge an unattractive suitor by not answering his emails or phone calls than it is in person. The average woman is fantastic at giving social cues should hint to a beta man to f-off. Unfortunately beta males are often terrible at reading these cues and continue to orbit and hover. They try to combat the barriers the woman puts up by being nice and reassuring that they won’t rape her. To polite the woman is nice back while dropping hints to keep the beta male at bay. This makes it even worse! These men confuse these negative sexual cues with friendship.

    Of course if the woman just told the beta straight-up her true feelings she would be a b.i.itch.

    As you keep reading the article it isn’t even about rape anymore! It’s about beta men who can’t talk to women.

    In tragic irony, feminism inadvertently encourages this terrible sexual behavior from men! Women say they want a nice guy, but in reality they are repulsed by them.

    Women actually desire nothing more than to be approached by a stranger. A sexually attractive, masculine, confident stranger who doesn’t need sex from them. Approached in this way the stranger only moments ago becomes protection from the beta men. The fear then shifts away from danger to her to losing him to another woman. Even if he wanted to rape her he couldn’t, because she wants him.

    Woman claim to not a want a dangerous man, but this does not really reflect reality. The most dangerous men throughout history have no shortage of mistresses.

    Of course if a beta man tries to overcome his timid weakness and pretends to be dangerous, he comes across as a pscyhopath. This is understandably frightening for women. This is a terrible approach and part of the message conveyed by the author.

    I’m speaking in generalized terms, as there there are rarely, if ever, pure alpha and beta males. Every man has elements of both and the dominating traits can oscillate through life. I’ve made some of the most horrible approaches to women imaginable and have had periods of involuntary celibacy for months at a time. I’ve also had stretches where I’m juggling the affections of multiple women at once. I’ve bedded women minutes after approaching them. (Of course, these seem to always be the times when I’m excellent shape and lift religiously).

    I understand the desire of women to be listened to (FOREMOST WHEN THEY GIVE NEGATIVE SEXUAL CUES), but I’ve found that you can’t listen too much. When women start acting ridiculous and crazy and going into PMS-mode, it’s best to treat them how you would a tantrum throwing child and distract them. Maybe they are hungry and could use yogurt or something. Or just walk away. If you tolerate the drama they gain control over the relationship in a way that is terrible for both him and her.

    Of course nice beta guys will cave-in and tolerate it endlessly thinking they are doing the right thing, but this results in an unhappy woman and man.

  241. #243 Jubilee
    March 5, 2014

    I have refrained from commenting because this is an issue of both my personal and activist interests, and frankly, I am at the point where I am quite selective about where I am willing to talk about it online.

    But I will say two things:

    –anyone who thinks rape allegations are uncritically or easily accepted has never been through a rape kit exam, a police interview (the number of police officers I have met who hold grotesque beliefs about rape is more than I like to ponder at this point), or an entire community critiquing their wardrobe, social life, sex life, drinking habits and asking why they want to ruin a man’s life. Also, contrary to the idea that college campuses are encouraging false rape allegations, it is far more likely (basing this on the experiences of myself and approximately two dozen cases I know off hand) that colleges strongly push victims into using the school disciplinary system rather than bringing in the police. See ongoing protests from the University of California, Yale, Swarthmore, Amherst, Oklahoma, Tufts, Missouri. .

    –as someone who has worked on rape education matters, I am regularly horrified by how many men approach the discussion of almost exclusively how far they can go and not risk being accused of rape, or get off on a technicality. A model of enthusiastic consent SHOULD be good for both men and women–but that means treating sex as something besides a prize men (sterotypically) pursue at all odds (including unethical but legal ones) and women (sterotypically) withold for gain. Oddly enough, it’s been mostly feminists talking about that, with men and especially MRAs resisting, on grounds of pseudo-evopsychology, claims to chivalry, or plain old girls against boys rhetoric.

    Thanks for posting that essay, Johanna. It’s a favorite of mine.

    Also, much as I hate to risk an engagement I’m not going to finish–responding to a woman’s report of rape by offering or threatening to beat up the rapist is not as helpful or supportive as a lot of men seem to think. Especially if it’s put in terms of “defending her honor.”

  242. #244 Shay
    March 5, 2014

    Another excruciatingly revealing post by Delysid. Ow. Ow. Just…ow.

  243. #245 anon
    March 5, 2014

    Way way back in my younger days hearing delysid I would have
    laughed my head off at this drivel. Now I think THEY ARE STILL OUT THERE! YIKES!

  244. #246 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    Another excruciatingly revealing post by Delysid. Ow. Ow. Just…ow.

    Evo-psych + “beta males” = Yah, I think the reference to “Chateau Heartiste” was spot-on.

  245. #247 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    There’s one amusing thing about this:

    The media is obsessed with rape. Even in situations of false rape accusation, the media still spins it to imply that the opposite! Look at this disgusting piece in ABC.

    [Link to story that doesn't involve rape and doesn't spin the story to "imply the opposite!"]

    One wonders whether D.’s choice of a story about a false claim of transgender bullying puts him in the same room as Catherine Brennan.

  246. #248 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    Actually, another inconsistency just sprang to mind. Given that D. is a primitivist libertarian of the first water, false rape accusations that don’t result in incarceration shouldn’t represent a problem, regardless of any other consequences, most certainly in the media or other people’s heads. The remedy, obviously and always, in his ideal “rudimentary court system” is monetary.

  247. #249 JGC
    March 5, 2014

    Delysid, I asked you a question earlier that you’ve studiously ignored. Can I expect you’ll ever answer it?

    Given that in post 45 you admitted explicitly “There is no way I can possibly guess what percentage of rape accusations are false”, do you not agree that your initial claim “It doesn’t take a scientific study to know with absolute certainty that false rape accusations are ubitiquitous” simply isn’t true?

  248. #250 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    March 5, 2014

    The more Delysid spews his drivel, the more he sounds like the MRA I encountered on Twitter the other day. Arguments are all the same.

  249. #251 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    Given that in post 45 you admitted explicitly “There is no way I can possibly guess what percentage of rape accusations are false”, do you not agree that your initial claim “It doesn’t take a scientific study to know with absolute certainty that false rape accusations are ubitiquitous” simply isn’t true?

    Moreover, D. foams, “Here is a situation to ponder. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe there are so many men’s rights activists against false accusations BECAUSE SO MANY MEN HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED?”

    How many would that be?

  250. #252 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    On the other side of the spectrum, there are people like herr doktor bimler who can’t distinguish science from political fluff.

    Gee, D., you’d look awfully fυcking stupid if it turned out that HDB is a scientist, now wouldn’t you?

  251. #253 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    I’ve made some of the most horrible approaches to women imaginable and have had periods of involuntary celibacy for months at a time. I’ve also had stretches where I’m juggling the affections of multiple women at once. I’ve bedded women minutes after approaching them.

    Note the direct implication of a high attrition rate in the return-customers department. D. has basically copped to being unable to maintain the position of a “seller” in this “market.”

    Strangely, despite provably* being an extremely ugly and overweight computer science professor at a Canadian University, I’ve never needed to proposition anyone. Perhaps it has something to do with not oozing of desperation to remedy the obvious sort of market distortion that could lead to months of “involuntary celibacy.”

    * Still waiting, Delly Sista.

  252. #254 ann
    March 5, 2014

    walking down lonely and dark streets.”

    Guess what, that makes EVERYONE uneasy. Men worry more of getting robbed than raped, but it is dangerous force nonetheless.

    Yes, I know.

    I was specifically replying to Helianthus’s conjecture about whether women would be more inclined to picture themselves at risk for rape or for false accusation.

    That situation is not how most rapes supposedly occur in third-wave feminist rape culture.

    It’s also not how most rapes occur in reality.

    Supposedly rape is everywhere, all of the time. Supposedly it is institutionalized.

    You haven’t been clicking any of the links I’ve posted, have you?

    Ann you are just jumping around and moving the goalpost and not making any point. Now you are talking about dark alley rape? Who is defending this?

    Please see above, in re: I was specifically replying to Helianthus..

    The ridiculous thing is that there are people here complaining about how many MRA’s there are. Now supposedly false rape is a higher concern than the rape culture hysteria? GIVE ME A GOD DAMN BREAK. The media is obsessed with rape. Even in situations of false rape accusation, the media still spins it to imply that the opposite! Look at this disgusting piece in ABC.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-investigate-assault-transgender-teen-22770897

    Uh-huh.

    That’s actually quite typical of the most frequent kind of false rape allegation, in that the accuser didn’t name or identify the attacker.

    I don’t see anything that supports your point about media spin favoring the accuser there, though.

    Would you care to share the links to some of the many, many cases of alleged rape victims being roundly supported and cheered by all and sundry while their alleged assailants are vilified that you doubtless have at the tip of your fingers?

    Here is a situation to ponder. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe there are so many men’s rights activists against false accusations BECAUSE SO MANY MEN HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED? Ann the nerve of you to suggest that men’s rights activism is the result of reading statistics and propaganda? Ann YOU are sexist.

    No, I’m not.

    So women worry about rape from first-hand experience but men worry about false accusations because they hear about it? This hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    I didn’t say that, precisely.

    In fact, I didn’t make that comparison at all, in those terms.

    And I’ve repeatedly said that false accusations are an evil, which they are.

    However. The odds of an American man being falsely accused of rape are very low, I’m exceedingly happy to say. Because I love men.

    The odds of an American rapist being justly accused of rape are, sadly, also very low.

    And even when they are:

    Out of every 100 rapes:

    46 get reported to the police***

    12 lead to an arrest

    9 get prosecuted.

    5 lead to a felony conviction.

    3 rapists will spend even a single day in prison.

    The other 97 will walk free.

    (From here:

    http://www.rainn.org/news-room/97-of-every-100-rapists-receive-no-punishment)

    And I’m not so thrilled about that.

    ,

  253. #255 ann
    March 5, 2014

    Yikes.

    Formatting.

    I’ll re-do.

  254. #256 ann
    March 5, 2014

    “walking down lonely and dark streets.”

    Guess what, that makes EVERYONE uneasy. Men worry more of getting robbed than raped, but it is dangerous force nonetheless.

    Yes, I know.

    I was specifically replying to Helianthus’s conjecture about whether women would be more inclined to picture themselves at risk for rape or for false accusation.

    That situation is not how most rapes supposedly occur in third-wave feminist rape culture.

    It’s also not how most rapes occur in reality.

    Supposedly rape is everywhere, all of the time. Supposedly it is institutionalized.

    You haven’t been clicking any of the links I’ve posted, have you?

    Ann you are just jumping around and moving the goalpost and not making any point. Now you are talking about dark alley rape? Who is defending this?

    Please see above, in re: I was specifically replying to Helianthus..

    The ridiculous thing is that there are people here complaining about how many MRA’s there are. Now supposedly false rape is a higher concern than the rape culture hysteria? GIVE ME A GOD DAMN BREAK. The media is obsessed with rape. Even in situations of false rape accusation, the media still spins it to imply that the opposite! Look at this disgusting piece in ABC.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-investigate-assault-transgender-teen-22770897

    Uh-huh.

    That’s actually quite typical of the most frequent kind of false rape allegation, in that the accuser didn’t name or identify the attacker.

    Did you notice that part?

    I don’t see anything that supports your point about media spin favoring the accuser there, though.

    Would you care to share the links to some of the many, many cases of alleged rape victims being roundly supported and cheered by all and sundry while their alleged assailants are vilified that you doubtless have at the tip of your fingers?

    Here is a situation to ponder. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe there are so many men’s rights activists against false accusations BECAUSE SO MANY MEN HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED? Ann the nerve of you to suggest that men’s rights activism is the result of reading statistics and propaganda? Ann YOU are sexist.

    No, I’m not.

    So women worry about rape from first-hand experience but men worry about false accusations because they hear about it? This hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    I didn’t say that, precisely. In fact, I apologized for the post in which I said something kind of like it.

    But I didn’t make that comparison at all, in those terms. And I’ve repeatedly said that false accusations are an evil, which they are.

    However. The odds of an American man being falsely accused of rape are very low, I’m exceedingly happy to say. Because I love men.

    The odds of an American rapist being justly accused of rape are, sadly, also very low.

    And even when they are, out of every 100 rapes:

    46 get reported to the police

    12 lead to an arrest

    9 get prosecuted.

    5 lead to a felony conviction.

    3 rapists will spend even a single day in prison.

    The other 97 will walk free.

    (From here:

    http://www.rainn.org/news-room/97-of-every-100-rapists-receive-no-punishment)

    And I’m not so thrilled about that.

  255. #257 ann
    March 5, 2014

    I don’t see anything that supports your point about media spin favoring the accuser there, though.

    Would you care to share the links to some of the many, many cases of alleged rape victims being roundly supported and cheered by all and sundry while their alleged assailants are vilified that you doubtless have at the tip of your fingers?

    Seriously.

    I can’t think of so much as a single high-media profile rape allegation in my lifetime in which the accuser wasn’t raked over the coals by at least half the media and in the court of public opinion..

    Not including the Central Park jogger.

  256. #258 ann
    March 5, 2014

    Unfortunately beta males are often terrible at reading these cues and continue to orbit and hover. They try to combat the barriers the woman puts up by being nice and reassuring that they won’t rape her. To polite the woman is nice back while dropping hints to keep the beta male at bay. This makes it even worse! These men confuse these negative sexual cues with friendship.

    You realize that this is the second post on the thread in which we’ve learned about what you find sexually repellent in a man, don’t you?

    Odd how you’re the only poster who seems to be dwelling on the topic

  257. #259 Narad
    March 5, 2014
    Ann the nerve of you to suggest that men’s rights activism is the result of reading statistics and propaganda? Ann YOU are sexist.

    No, I’m not.

    There of course remains the buzzing-neon question where D.’s “men’s rights ‘activism’” thus results from.

  258. #260 ann
    March 5, 2014

    True.

    I don’t recall having the nerve to suggest that men’s rights activism was the result of reading statistics and propaganda, though. Now that you mention it.

    And according to a quick search for the word “propaganda,” I didn’t.

    What are you talking about, Delysid?

  259. #261 Narad
    March 5, 2014

    Aside from not really being a dental student, D., what have you been falsely accused of?

  260. #262 ann
    March 5, 2014

    n fact, as far as I can see, I’ve only suggested it was the result of a phobic, whiny temperament, and/or a hysterical overreaction to the sigh of flyers, and/or a compulsion to rage at women.

    Cross-posted from the thread it doesn’t belong on.

    I’m an idiot.

  261. #263 ann
    March 5, 2014

    There was a quite horrible false rape accusation story at Brown University, not too long ago. To be fair.

    Granted, the girl was the daughter of a big donor. And the poor unfortunate young man finished school elsewhere and got a million-dollar settlement.

    But he was definitely very unfairly punished.

  262. #264 Johanna
    March 6, 2014

    Gosh, however could have fritterheaded lil ol’ me ever possibly have ever hoped to guess at the author’s intent unless some manly man explained it?

    Mansplaining. Yet more male privilege in action. Yawn.

  263. #265 france engels
    new caledonia, florida (both,1/2,1/2)
    March 6, 2014

    to answer the comment # 16 Orac, Probably you, working for University, can choose the topic on your research, however I used to work with a French Professor and who is also a research lab manager…and the big issue is to know who is paying that kind of lab…except private companies…nobody,..it means, that scientist is also a “company” manager, and has to be financially effective…that’s how the World is running… (sorry if I am expressing me in such a poor English, but this is my third language…still improving though:)

  264. #266 Helianthus
    March 6, 2014

    @ Narad / HDB

    Gee, D., you’d look awfully fυcking stupid if it turned out that HDB is a scientist, now wouldn’t you?

    Also, for someone who asserted that sociology is no science, he sure does indulge a lot in social theories hypotheses.

    [long rant from D. about how there are winners and losers, and how women, due to hormones, prefer bad guys like James Bond to hamfisted losers like Woody Allen's characters]

    It took some time for the acne-riddled teenager in me, but I eventually learned two important things about relationships between human beings.

    - if you want to be seen as a nice person, act like one (I said “act”, not ” pretend”)
    - if you don’t want to be seen as a creepy person, don’t act like one.
    You would be surprised how much that helps.

  265. #267 Helianthus
    March 6, 2014

    Note to self, should remember to check the correct html tag for strikethrough.

  266. #268 Narad
    March 6, 2014

    Also, for someone who asserted that sociology is no science, he sure does indulge a lot in social theories hypotheses.

    Ah, but he’s a praxeologist praxeometrist praxtician, so all such utterances are unassailable, because they flow inexorably through his iron-clad alpha deduction from the “action axiom” and are unsullied by evidence. Except when his “beta cycle” is coming on, or something.

  267. #269 Bill Price
    March 6, 2014

    Note to self, should remember to check the correct html tag for strikethrough.

    The correct html tag for strikethrough is <strike>. However this toy blogging platform corrupts strike tags out of existence. The god news: it doesn’t corrupt <del%gt; tags, which (in my browser, anyway) also renders as strikethrough.
    Hint: select the struckthrough text in Narad’s post #267 and view the source (using your browser’s incantation for the view-source operation).

  268. #270 Bill Price
    March 6, 2014

    Blarg. This toy blogging platform also fails to provide a preview function, else I would have caught ‘good’ misspelled as ‘god’ and ‘&gt;’ misspelled as ‘%gt;’. Maybe it’s past bedtime for tonight.

  269. #271 Narad
    March 6, 2014

    The correct html tag for strikethrough is <strike>.

    Not supported in HTML5.

  270. #272 ann
    March 6, 2014

    This time the Straw-Offits really are out there. They aren’t a straw man; they really are there, on college campuses and cable shows, declaring that false accusations don’t happen, the evidence shows they don’t happen (and therefore any evidence indicating that maybe they do happen, in numbers that make it an actual problem, must be written off as lies cooked up by the Fishers) and anyways if it does happen, it’s an acceptable price to pay.

    If people really are out there flatly saying that false accusations don’t happen at all and it’s influencing policy/procedure to the detriment of the accused, it’s not an acceptable price to pay, no matter what the numbers are.

    As far as I’m aware, that’s not happening. But I certainly wouldn’t want to overlook any evidence indicating that it was happening in numbers that made it “an actual problem” — by which I assume you mean “a chronic problem that represents a systematic injustice against one class of people and favors another.” (Because it’s already actual.)

    What did you have in mind?

    If you’re tempted to think that that last part is, yes, a straw man, just exaggeration or Fisher spin – consider, once again, those incidents where law enforcement officials had iron-clad cases of knowingly false accusation, but openly stated ‘we’re declining to prosecute this, because if we did, we feel it might discourage people from reporting actual rape.’ How can you interpret that to not mean: “of these two crimes, we care about one but not at all about the other”?

    It depends on the circumstances.

    You can sometimes interpret it as meaning “We, the authorities, did a piss-poor job investigating this case and have no interest in revealing the details, thereby exposing ourselves to a civil suit by the wrongfully accused.”

    Or any number of other things.

    Additionally, sometimes they go forward with charges against false accusers, as — for example — in these recent cases:

    http://triblive.com/news/fayette/4641675-74/police-housel-aug#axzz2vEWgilhD

    http://www.arkansasmatters.com/story/woman-facing-felony-charge-after-filing-false-rape-report/d/story/0Nb6TxG59UCNI3vzRCy9WA

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130315/news/703159743/

    http://defender.smcvt.edu/?p=1543

    http://www.kalb.com/story/23638924/apd-woman

    http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2013-11-14/appling-woman-charged-making-false-rape-claim

    Just to give a half-dozen anecdotal counter-examples.

    There’s also a third category of women who have been falsely accused of being false accusers, as these three were:

    http://seattletimes.com/text/2021161550.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/15/sara-reedy-rape-victim-wins-police-payout

    http://truthinjustice.org/cryrape3.htm

    But I don’t know everything. If you point me to a systematic injustice, I’ll object to it.

  271. […] your article: Ron Lindsay tore it apart. And just to add an avalanche on top of that slingstone, Orac writes a leventy-kajillion word post deploring the whole mess. A guy with accusations of a sexual harassment history hanging over his head, pretending that false […]

  272. […] small. Going through it all, as painful as it is, might be educational. Besides, I’ve already pissed off one big name skeptic a couple of weeks ago. If I end up pissing off another one, it’s no big deal at this point, […]

  273. #275 AnnB
    March 13, 2014

    Orac and All,

    You may be interested in the incident at Psychiatric Times and the debate around it.

    http://1boringoldman.com/index.php/2014/03/07/of-all-people/

  274. #276 HendersonF
    March 16, 2014

    It seems that many sites focus on the Karen Stollznow / Ben Radford ‘sexual harassment’ matter but forget to notice that Ben Radford has placed a lawsuit against Stollznow for fraud and defamation: tinyurl.com/m2tcetg

  275. #277 ann
    March 16, 2014

    That link doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

    However, the lawsuit was noted in the comments. I don’t think it was known yet when the post was written.

  276. #278 Orac
    March 16, 2014

    Correct. I only learned about the lawsuit after this post was published. In my mind, having pending litigation at the time Radford wrote his post makes the undisclosed COI much, much worse.

  277. #279 ann
    March 16, 2014

    It’s actually not plainly, clearly libel per se.

    Yes, <a href="http://lawlibrary.unm.edu/nmlr/14/2/02_higdon_defamation.pdfit is (PDF). “Assault” is a crime (just what crime it is varies by state – in mine, it refers to credibly making a person feel threatened – but that’s unimportant), and the one is alleged involves moral turpitude.

    My earlier response to this was poorly phrased and probably unclear.

    You are (of course) right that it would be libel per se if she were accusing him of sexual assault. And it’s obviously possible to read what she said as such an accusation, because she uses the words “sexual assault.”

    Despite which, because she’s unmistakably, explicitly describing an experience with sexual harassment throughout — as indicated, among other places, in the headline — I don’t think that’s how an average, reasonable reader would understand it. I mean, she reported the conduct she’s describing as harassment. And it was investigated as harassment.

    I took her simply to mean that the harassment became physical. And I though it was fairly plain that that was her intended meaning. No other thought crossed my mind.

    I can’t speak for everybody, though. Obviously.

  278. #280 Bill
    United States
    March 29, 2014

    Orac,

    I’m disappointed that in your reply to me you didn’t address the evidence-based reasoning fail I pointed out in Lindsay’s post. (You normally aren’t selective about pointing out evidence-based reasoning fails.)

    Instead you suggested I was being sarcastic in pointing out that I would not presume the reason for you neglecting Lindsay’s gaffe is your own ideological conflict of interest. My point in the phrasing I used is that it is problematic for you to encourage readers to scrutinize essayists’ conflict of interest instead of focusing on the quality of their arguments (or lack of them).

    If you’re going to make ideological conflict of interest an issue, you’re inviting speculation about your own ideological leanings rather than keeping the focus on the persuasiveness of your writing (which in this case was reduced by your citation of Lindsay without noting his gaffe–even in your replies to commenters).

  279. #281 Narad
    March 30, 2014

    I’m kind of surprised that Stollznow wasn’t able (or didn’t try) to obtain pro bono representation.

  280. #282 ann
    March 30, 2014

    @Bill –

    If you’re going to make ideological conflict of interest an issue, you’re inviting speculation about your own ideological leanings rather than keeping the focus on the persuasiveness of your writing

    The guy maintains that he himself was falsely accused and was — even as he wrote about false accusations — entering into litigation over it, which he didn’t disclose.

    WTF does that have to do with ideology? It’s just a non-disclosure of a highly relevant potential personal COI.

    Contrary to what Lindsay wrote, there are people who dispute the notion of false reports; such a person wrote to me after I tweeted about the Tavris eSkeptic piece that was also cited in Ben’s post.

    He was using a common rhetorical figure to indicate that he himself feels the question is beyond dispute.

    Lindsay’s comparison of the number of prosecutions for rape to number of prosecutions for false accusations of rape is relevant to his discussion of how common false accusations are only if suspected cases of ape and cases of suspected false accusations of rape are about equally likely to be prosecuted.

    He’s citing figures from a study that took place over a seventeen-month period during which all allegations of false report were referred to the Director of Public Prosecution.

    At best, Lindsay’s citation of the British study (just one study!) was a rush job. It doesn’t look like he carefully reviewed the literature as would be expected by someone espousing evidence-based reasoning.

    He might have. That study’s in basic agreement with all the others. Maybe he just cited it because it’s among the most comprehensive and the most recent.

  281. #283 ann
    March 31, 2014

    I’m kind of surprised that Stollznow wasn’t able (or didn’t try) to obtain pro bono representation.

    Thanks for prompting me to get caught up on this.

    Sounds like such a mess that I’m not sure what “expected” would be. So I have no opinion on whether that’s surprising or not.

    But it’s disturbing. More so than I’d realized, naively. Or maybe just unimaginatively.

    I very much hope that someone somehow manages to get it firmly on a path to resolution before it has a chance to get worse.

  282. #284 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 31, 2014

    ann -

    I know I said I wouldn’t be going back to read the other comments, and that I wouldn’t be replying again. To be honest, this issue gets me so churned up inside that I can’t figure out if it’s a bad thing to break those orders I gave to myself, or if giving myself those orders was the bad thing and breaking them, if belatedly, is a good thing. For a very logic-oriented person like me to have no resort left than to just shrug helplessly and say “my stomach can handle it, so maybe it’s a good thing” is discomfiting territory, as you might imagine.

    Thank you for your apology. I don’t think what you said was out of line, but I think it speaks highly of you that you nevertheless thought “what is the effect of saying these words to this person?” and acted accordingly.

    I don’t think our positions are actually that far apart, but I’d like to address a few things, just to clarify my stance:

    If people really are out there flatly saying that false accusations don’t happen at all and it’s influencing policy/procedure to the detriment of the accused, it’s not an acceptable price to pay, no matter what the numbers are.

    As far as I’m aware, that’s not happening. But I certainly wouldn’t want to overlook any evidence indicating that it was happening in numbers that made it “an actual problem” — by which I assume you mean “a chronic problem that represents a systematic injustice against one class of people and favors another.” (Because it’s already actual.)

    Well, that isn’t what I mean. I don’t think that it really “represents [an] injustice against one class of people and favors another”; I would also say that it doesn’t meet my definition of “systematic” but to be honest I don’t know whether my understanding of that term matches yours. But my definition of “actual problem” doesn’t hinge on either of those criteria.

    There are always people who would rather have simple answers than the correct answers. I’m afraid that’s just a sad constant of human nature. The effect is especially pronounced in certain circumstances: when people are told the thing they want to hear comes from The Best Authorities, for example; also, when clinging to those simple answers put them in a position of moral righteousness.

    Which means that when there are people out there who really are literally saying that false accusations never happen because no woman would ever lie about such a serious matter – and furthermore that anyone who tries to question that dogma is just an accomplice of rape culture – and those people are frequently saying it from positions of authority as television pundits and professors of higher education – well, unfortunately, there will be people who will grab onto that very simple paradigm and adopt it with gusto. Because it erases for them all the ambiguity that exists for those of us who think that, just as in any other crime, false accusation is always a possibility that should be kept in mind, even if its actual rate of occurrence is rare.

    What is the true rate of occurrence? I honestly wouldn’t venture a guess myself, because I just don’t think we have enough data that we can be sure isn’t ideologically tainted – one way or the other. But I personally have talked with activists who say that they placed the rate at about 1-2% – and they were the ones who cited that figure to justify their position that all rape investigations should automatically assume the truthfulness of the complainaint as an absolute, not to be questioned! Imagine what furor would rightfully ensue if a vaccine advocate ever said “Well, there’s a very serious side effect from this vaccine which happens in about 1 in 1000 cases, but since it’s only 1 in 1000, let’s just construct the system around the assumption that it never happens.” These people were quite explicit that they were comfortable accepting an error rate an order of magnitude higher than that.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that I already quoted above, but will quote again:

    If people really are out there flatly saying that false accusations don’t happen at all and it’s influencing policy/procedure to the detriment of the accused, it’s not an acceptable price to pay, no matter what the numbers are.

    Thank you. I realize it may be hard to believe – just as it’s hard to believe that there really are germ theory denialists in this day and age – but yes, there really are people out there flatly saying that false accusations don’t happen. I’ve encountered far too many of them, and they’re not the least bit apologetic for their views, because they simply have no doubt that the simple dogma they’ve adopted is the truth: false accusations don’t happen; the only ones who say they do are those steeped in rape culture; even if you show them a case where someone retracted their own rape allegation, it can’t be because it was false, it must be because associates of the rapist got to them and made them fear for their lives; if you show them several dozen such retractions, each and every one of them must have been a true accusation retracted only under coercion – et cetera. Even if you confront them with some of the documented cases where it’s established beyond any reasonable doubt that the rape for which someone spent years or decades in prison never occurred – if you present them with evidence it would just be ridiculous to ignore, they may agree that those cases actually happened, but that doesn’t mean they consider them a problem. In their doublethink, because false accusation “never happens”, it can’t be a big deal when it does happen. To them, it is an acceptable price to pay, for dealing with the “real” problem.

    There is no reasonable doubt that real accusations far outnumber false accusations, and the system should reflect that – we should not have a system that works so hard to prevent false accusations that it leaves those who are bringing real accusations in the lurch. But neither should the pendulum swing all the other to the other side, completely abandoning those who have been falsely accused – and there are those who would gladly push it to that extreme, because they truly do believe that false accusations simply don’t happen, and aren’t important when they do. Have they been successful? To be honest, I don’t know. But anyone who’s studied the incredible injustices that came out of the SRA panic of the 1980s knows better than to assume the system couldn’t be thrown horribly out of balance, with tragic results, by a pressure group which is absolutely fervent in their efforts because they never question their own righteousness.

    You can sometimes interpret [the authorities declining to prosecute a known false accusation and justifying the decision by claiming it would discourage actual reporting] as meaning “We, the authorities, did a piss-poor job investigating this case and have no interest in revealing the details, thereby exposing ourselves to a civil suit by the wrongfully accused.”

    Or any number of other things.

    I must admit that possibility hadn’t occurred to me, and does seem pretty plausible in light of some cases I’ve been aware of over the years where authorities tied themselves in logical pretzels trying to insist that they hadn’t bungled the case as completely as it was obvious that they had.

    Additionally, sometimes they go forward with charges against false accusers, as — for example — in these recent cases:

    I really want to thank you for providing these links. I didn’t quite realize it until you posted them, but these are actually the first incidents I’m aware of where there was actually an effort to hold someone who’d made a false accusation responsible for that act.

    In all the cases I was aware of before, the false accuser was either deemed not responsible for her actions because of mental illness (which I’m sure actually was the correct conclusion and the correct response, for a majority of those cases) or … the authorities simply declined to pursue any charges, and sometimes, as I said, openly stated that they were doing so because to pursue justice for that crime might have indirect effects on enforcement of the other crime, and those indirect effects were more important to worry about.

    All I really want to see is a system where, when an accusation is made, those responsible for investigating (and ideally, those in the community who might consider themselves qualified to take action) remember “All sorts of people do terrible things. It’s very likely that, as Person A accuses, Person B is guilty of the terrible act of sexual assault. It’s also possible, however, that Person A is guilty of the terrible act of false accusation, trying to abuse the justice system as their means to hurt Person B. We won’t know which it is until we investigate.” I have met too many people whose desired system is instead “False accusations never happen, so if someone is accused, do everything you can to destroy them, they’re guilty people who deserve it – and even if it’s proven that they were falsely accused, well, they must have done something else bad to deserve that punishment” – and too many of them had power to make the system work that way. It’d be a relief to believe that maybe we are leaving that nightmare behind.

  283. #285 Beaker
    March 31, 2014

    ” I have met too many people whose desired system is instead “False accusations never happen, so if someone is accused, do everything you can to destroy them, they’re guilty people who deserve it – and even if it’s proven that they were falsely accused, well, they must have done something else bad to deserve that punishment” – and too many of them had power to make the system work that way. It’d be a relief to believe that maybe we are leaving that nightmare behind.”

    Do you actually have any evidence at all that this system ever existed. Because if I look at the media landscape and the stories of people reporting that they were raped, the actual situation seems to be the opposite. Rape accusations have often been received, and still too often receive, an amount of disbelief and disdain that makes it hard for women to press charges in the first place. Victim blaming seems to be rampant, both within the police force as well as in the media.

  284. #286 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 31, 2014

    ” I have met too many people whose desired system is instead “False accusations never happen, so if someone is accused, do everything you can to destroy them, they’re guilty people who deserve it – and even if it’s proven that they were falsely accused, well, they must have done something else bad to deserve that punishment” – and too many of them had power to make the system work that way. It’d be a relief to believe that maybe we are leaving that nightmare behind.”

    Do you actually have any evidence at all that this system ever existed. Because if I look at the media landscape and the stories of people reporting that they were raped, the actual situation seems to be the opposite. Rape accusations have often been received, and still too often receive, an amount of disbelief and disdain that makes it hard for women to press charges in the first place. Victim blaming seems to be rampant, both within the police force as well as in the media.

    Perhaps you would like to read up and see some of my previous comments about what it was like for me when I was the subject of false accusations. I’m so glad your perception of “the media landscape” is enough to invalidate everything I have personally experienced. Perhaps you can make the problem disappear entirely, if you simply believe hard enough that it has never existed.

  285. #287 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 31, 2014

    It was a mistake to come back to this thread. I won’t make it again.

  286. #288 ann
    March 31, 2014

    It was a mistake to come back to this thread. I won’t make it again.

    Okay. Well, in the event that you do:

    First of all, thanks very much for your willingness to engage in dialogue on a personally sensitive issue in such an open and true spirit.

    And fwiw:

    I realize it may be hard to believe – just as it’s hard to believe that there really are germ theory denialists in this day and age – but yes, there really are people out there flatly saying that false accusations don’t happen.

    I guess it’s not really hard to believe. It used to be a something of a stock phrase several decades ago, among people who go in for that mode of expression. And not for no reason at all, it must be said. Until Against Our Will was published in 1975, there really wasn’t anybody anywhere challenging the longtime standing presumption that women routinely, frequently lie about rape with ease, because that’s just how they are. Which was and is false.

    I’m old enough to remember those days well, having been fifteen at the time. Some pushback was definitely needed. And still is, sad to say.

    But completely unnecessary collateral damage sure isn’t. So I’m sorry to learn that some people evidently haven’t gotten the memo on that yet.

    I don’t know. I myself hadn’t heard it recently. And I guess I was under the impression was that most activists knew better nowadays. Or….I think things are moving in that direction, anyway. As they should, for purely realpolitik reasons, among many others. Because it’s just not a defensible statement. False accusations obviously can and do occur.

    What is the true rate of occurrence? I honestly wouldn’t venture a guess myself, because I just don’t think we have enough data that we can be sure isn’t ideologically tainted – one way or the other. But I personally have talked with activists who say that they placed the rate at about 1-2% – and they were the ones who cited that figure to justify their position that all rape investigations should automatically assume the truthfulness of the complainaint as an absolute, not to be questioned!

    Yeah. It’s been reflex to say “2%” since (again) 1975. (That was the figure Susan Brownmiller used in the book.) And that’s in the ballpark, as it happens.

    But there’s been a lot of work done since then. So that could probably use an update, too.

    The most thorough study that I know about found a false-report rate of 3 percent. Sadly, it also found that police classified nine percent of the same reports as false.

    A .pdf of that one, which was done by the British Home Office in 2005, is here, if you want to read it:

    http://paladinservice.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/gap-or-chasm-rape-report.pdf

    And…Well. The National Center for Prosecution of Violence against women also has a concise, readable precis of the literature that’s (maybe surprisingly) pretty damn good. Interesting, even. FWIW, I recommend it. And that’s here:

    http://ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

    Or, if you want to skip the research and just take my word for it, the short answer is:

    Hard to say. But it’s somewhere between two and eight percent.

    And finally:

    Please believe that the last thing on earth I would want to do would be to invalidate someone else’s painful personal experience of preemptively punitive social injustice. There’s not much that feels worse, and not many bad things that leave a more enduring mark on the soul than that.

    It’s serious, in short. I take it seriously. It’s an evil thing. So I think you’re right. We’re not very far apart. And we might not even be any distance from one another at all. For example:

    There is no reasonable doubt that real accusations far outnumber false accusations, and the system should reflect that – we should not have a system that works so hard to prevent false accusations that it leaves those who are bringing real accusations in the lurch. But neither should the pendulum swing all the other to the other side, completely abandoning those who have been falsely accused – and there are those who would gladly push it to that extreme, because they truly do believe that false accusations simply don’t happen, and aren’t important when they do.

    ^^I’m in pretty much complete agreement with you there.

    However, if I may say so very gently…

    Have they been successful? To be honest, I don’t know.

    The answer to that question is “No.” They haven’t been successful at all.

    The prevalence of rape on American college campuses has now been widely known for a full twenty-five years. A whole generation. There’s been study after study after study on it. It’s one of the most thoroughly researched demographics wrt rape and/or rape-reporting and/or false-rape-accusations there could possibly be. And the findings are very much the same as they were in the 1950s:

    About twenty to twenty-five percent of female college students are raped/sexually assaulted while at school. About ninety-five percent don’t report it at all. And those that do are routinely discouraged from doing so at best, disbelieved at worst. (Or, I guess, “persecuted/punished at worst.” Because that happens too.)

    None of that takes away one iota of validity from your experience, from my perspective. There’s no reason why it should. This is not a competition. And an experience doesn’t have to be typical to be valid.

    In short: We’re all on Team Justice here, I hope.

    So. In that spirit:

    But anyone who’s studied the incredible injustices that came out of the SRA panic of the 1980s knows better than to assume the system couldn’t be thrown horribly out of balance, with tragic results, by a pressure group which is absolutely fervent in their efforts because they never question their own righteousness.

    You’re definitely far from alone in fearing that. In fact, I’ve heard, read or seen people make that comparison countless times. Good people. Well-meaning. Wise. Possessed of all kinds of virtue.

    I don’t know what to say to it. It fills me with despair, tbh. There’s no danger of a moral-panic-based boom in unjust/unfounded rape prosecutions. None. Both the traditional rapability of women and all the moral values that go with it are as fully intact as any other unquestioned thing that society holds dear without really noticing. Sort of like the sun, moon, stars, and racism.

    The objective social conditions for it simply don’t exist, in reality. They really don’t.

    I wish I knew how to convey that valid truth more effectively than I evidently do. It’s really awful beyond words for everybody — men and women both, regardless of experience — to see the sum total of sexual fear and hostility current in the culture we all share be unnecessarily increased by so groundless a prospect.

    But, oh well. I gave it a shot.

    Thanks again for your grace and good will, if you’re reading. Don’t let anyone tell you what your experience means, including me. You’re the authority on it. And that deserves respect. Cheers.

  287. #289 ann
    April 13, 2014

    So. Over the last six or seven weeks, Benjamin Radford has:

    (a) filed suit against Karen Stollznow;
    (b) sent her (and the world) a super-secret coded message about where he was coming from wrt that via something he wrote for his gig at CSI that was so slipshod that it was disowned by management; and
    (c) posted an alleged retraction/apology by her that she hadn’t written or signed to Facebook

    Now he has a website responding to her allegations, which is here:

    http://benrlegal.info/

    It’s distressing.

  288. #290 herr doktor bimler
    April 14, 2014

    Benjamin Radford has:

    This is the same Ben Radford who peddles Evo-psych twaddle about color preferences and gender roles? Dear oh dear.

  289. #291 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    Now he has a website responding to her allegations

    Who in their right mind willingly registers a .info TLD?

  290. #292 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    Having skimmed the site, I’d be amazed if he ran this past his attorney (the complaint; PDF).

  291. #293 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    It appears that Stollznow filed for removal to federal court on April 9 (diversity, obviously).

  292. #294 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    Heh. Registered January 20.

  293. #295 ann
    April 14, 2014

    @t#292

    Seems ill-advised from that perspective, to be sure..

    There are some gaping lacunae in the correspondence, proofs offered and timeline as well.

    And even so, he evidently wasn’t able to find enough emails in which he didn’t say things like “You still love me. I can hear it in your voice,” to make the argument that he’s not at all fixated on her, one little bit. While posting the (by my count) fourth response he’s made to her in the last month and a half. But you could call it the fifth. Because he also retracted the retraction.

    It’s a sad and disturbing thing.

    @#293

    I gather that there’s some question about whether he can afford to litigate.

    If that’s right, I suppose he might not have thought he would have to, since until recently she couldn’t

  294. #296 ann
    April 14, 2014

    @#294

    I know, right?

  295. #297 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    If that’s right, I suppose he might not have thought he would have to

    I looked it up at the (crappy) New Mexico courts site. All it says is that a motion was filed to remove, but I’m not seeing any other plausible explanation than its being the defendant.

    So, what’s Radford’s accomplished here is to put his exhibits on display, inviting crowdsourced forensics, and acting as his own character witness, including revenge porn. Absolutely brilliant.

  296. #298 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    Oh, this is funny. I didn’t look closely enough; the case already has been removed to federal court. As noted at the JREF forums, that was simple, precisely because of this:

    55. Plaintiff is entitled to recover actual and punitive damages from Stollznow in an amount that Plaintiff Radford reasonably estimates to be in the millions of dollars.

  297. #299 Orac
    April 14, 2014

    Well, that’s interesting. A pretty good timeline of the whole thing was posted over on FTB. The comments are pretty interesting, too, as there are arguments both pro and con as to why the evidence on Radford’s website is/isn’t convincing. Personally, I’m not convinced, as there’s nothing there that I can see that looks like slam dunk (or even convincing) evidence of forging e-mail headers. (There is no analysis of server logs, for instance.)

    I am, however disgusted by Radford’s decision to post all that stuff (particularly the naked/semi-nude selfie of him and a woman who looks to be Karen Stollznow in bed, since removed, and an apparently sealed arrest record for a domestic disturbance arrest) to the point that, even if unequivocal evidence were presented to me that Karen Stollznow was and is as deceptive and evil as Radford claims and that he was as pure as the driven snow in his dealings with her, I’d still be forced to conclude that Radford is a despicable, vindictive human being whom I want nothing to do with. Before he did that, he might have persuaded me that he was in the right, but after his posting of what was in essence revenge porn, even if he’s right with respect to the harassment suit, I conclude that he put himself in the wrong—willingly and enthusiastically so.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2014/03/25/radford-stollznow-defamation-case-what-we-know-and-what-we-can-infer-or-extrapolate-reasonably/

  298. #300 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    there’s nothing there that I can see that looks like slam dunk (or even convincing) evidence of forging e-mail headers

    If one looks at the second page that he posted, it’s obvious that 7/18/2012 is from 2010, because that wasn’t a Sunday in 2010. Yet he doesn’t single this out as a “forgery.” The 3/26/2012 one has got to be 2012, because that was a Monday and it’s a reminder about Wednesday (in which he’s still addressing her as “beautiful”).

    But the sort order is wrong; the first four are reverse chronological, and then it switches to chronological with 3/26/2012. Very peculiar.

  299. #301 ann
    April 14, 2014

    That’s putting it mildly.

    He posts a tiny handful of emails out of (by self-admission) a huge correspondence and asserts the dates were changed (which there’s no proof they were) and thus proves what, exactly, that’s relevant to the question of whether he did what she says he did?

    At most, as far as I can see, it shows that although they broke up in late 2009 and she cited the break-up date in her blog post as the point at which the harassment began, in fact, they had one last fling five months into 2010, followed five months later, which coincided with a rocky period of her new relationship, by some overtures on her part.

    That leaves two-plus years of contacts almost entirely unaccounted for, apart from a few pro-forma pleasantries on her side — such as one might send to a touchy ex with whom one worked to make a show of good will if one didn’t want to rock the boat.

    To say nothing of the revenge porn, or the fact that he’s in possession of a police report that was sealed, which suggests that it was sealed after he got a copy (and possibly because he got a copy)

    Or, in other words, despite his purported lack of interest in and detachment from her, he seems to have been going to some pretty considerable lengths to get into her personal business in a way that gave him power over her.

    I mean, concerned friends don’t order up police reports and mug-shots long distance.

    Plus it’s got nothing to do with what she said about him, or the (not very compelling) reason he gives for her having said it.

    A casual reader might think the point of the whole enterprise was to wreak havoc on her marriage.

  300. #302 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    A casual reader might think the point of the whole enterprise was to wreak havoc on her marriage.

    The timing of the creation and advertising of the site lends credence to the notion that it was effectively being used as a form of blackmail, as far as I’m concerned.

  301. #303 ann
    April 14, 2014

    Certainly.

    Might not have been a completely clear distinction, though.

  302. #304 Politicalguineapig
    April 14, 2014

    Ann: Here’s the thing that worries me about accusations; do we not prosecute ANY cases because a few might be false? That seems to be what most men who bring up the false accusations want. Personally, I’m in favor of legally empowering the victim to do whatever she (or sometimes he) wants. Rape prosecution tends to be more about persecuting the victim than the perp anyway, and in some states rape is nearly legal.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!