On Sexual Misconduct and Due Process in the Secular Community

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It’s been over two weeks since the allegations against Lawrence Krauss became public in a Buzzfeed article that has made its rounds in the secular community, spurring a myriad of reactions by his friends, colleagues, fans, and students. I’ve seen dozens of posts about Krauss and similar cases pop up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds, with varying opinions on whether or not we should believe his accusers at face value, allow “due process” before making a judgment, avoid Krauss altogether, or reject the accusations against him because his accusers are acting on a personal vendetta, or because the reporting agency was, well, Buzzfeed — the same outlet who brings us articles like, “Which Present-Day Spice Girl Are You?”

Last week, Krauss published his own response to the allegations, which Hemant Mehta does a nice job breaking down for you, in case it’s a bit tl;dr. In Hemant’s article, he essentially slices right down the center, not playing judge and jury, and at the same time pointing out some areas where both Buzzfeed and Krauss could have done a better job being forthright with the details of certain situations. There are places where Krauss could have made denials (and probably should have if he was innocent) but didn’t, and places where Buzzfeed could have been more impartial but may have left out some details.

What I take from all of this is that, regardless of whether or not Krauss actually grabbed someone’s breast, or made an unwanted sexual advance, or threw a woman on a bed when she wasn’t a willing participant, or did any of the other creepy, abusive, or harassing acts described in the article, it all points to this (partially by his own admission):

At an absolute minimum, Lawrence Krauss has a problem recognizing where the lines are.

What I mean by that is it’s obvious that something happened, and more than once. Did things happen exactly the way Buzzfeed has reported them? Possibly not. That’s impossible for us to know. Have things happened that have made women feel uncomfortable, unsafe, threatened, or about to be f*cking raped? For sure. Long before the Buzzfeed article, I’d heard rumors about Krauss’s behavior from friends and attendees in the secular conference circuit. So yeah, that probably makes me a bit more prone to believe the accusations. But regardless of that, we need to consider the emotional toll it takes on accusers to come forward. Imagine being sexually harassed or abused by someone in a power position. You finally decide it’s time to come forward, and the first reaction by a huge subset of humanity is to minimize your experience, disregard your testimony, and refuse to believe you until your offender is somehow subjected to “due process” — something that, in a legal sense, will probably never happen. You’ve risked your own reputation, subjected yourself to harsh criticism, and made yourself even more vulnerable, only to watch others run to the defense of someone who has violated your trust, and in many cases your own body. Women don’t typically make false accusations for shits and giggles. It’s not fun.

And the worst part is that there are thousands of sexual misconduct victims out there who are tracking this. And they will ultimately remain silent because they see what you’re being subjected to now and they want to minimize their own personal damage. 

So to those who claim they’re waiting for “due process” to occur in order to decide who to support: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

Due process doesn’t apply to public opinion, or invitations to conferences, or even employment. Sure, Lawrence Krauss shouldn’t be incarcerated unless he’s found guilty of something through the legal system. But HELL YES we should believe women who are brave enough to speak out and name their abusers/harassers. And until those people are exonerated, we should stay the hell away from them so their body count doesn’t get bigger. If we don’t, then we’re complicit. It’s the same way we should approach child abusing clergy members. Should we scream “due process” when a priest is accused of sexual abuse and let him continue to serve in the church and have access to children until he’s gone to trial? HELL NO. Remove the potentially bad actors from the situation until “due process” is complete.

There is no perfect solution to issues like this, but EVERY TIME we need to default to the protection of the vulnerable, not the shielding of the accused. If we’re screaming “due process” instead, just to protect those we hold in high esteem, not only are we misusing that term, but we’re impeding justice for those who need our support and garner strength from our advocacy.

 


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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139 thoughts on “On Sexual Misconduct and Due Process in the Secular Community

  1. Hey , even the Grand High Pussy Grabber himself said people should their rights FIRST then maybe get some due process. And little donny is right about everything all the time, if you don’t believe me, just ask him (;

  2. After all that has been written about sexual misconduct in the atheist community (Not just the Krauss stories alone.), I suggested that the Atheist Community of Rochester adopt a code of conduct. That idea was shot down by the male-dominated organizing committee & and the male commenters on the discussion board. Most of the objections were ridiculous. For example: the MeToo Movement is just political correctness run amuck.

    1. As a member of the leadership team of the Atheist Community of Rochester, I’ll say that this comment lacks all context and is entirely misleading. Posting a suggestion on a message board is far from bringing something to leadership for consideration or a vote. Your original suggestion for a CoC wasn’t even based on sexual misconduct. It was based on you not liking another member because he attacked an organization you’re on the board for. Don’t come here with your one-sided plea and try to make it about gender. That’s categorically false and immaterial. If you don’t like that the leadership team is majority-male (not all-male by any means), then feel free to join the team or encourage other women to. Everyone who wanted to be in leadership was allowed to do so. No one was rejected.

      1. Kevin, my comment is not misleading. I did bring the matter for the need for a code of conduct to the group on our message board & on our Facebook pages & was told by the president that my suggestion was rejected by the 6 organizers, one of which was female. What prompted me to suggest a code of conduct was the recent publicity about Lawrence Krauss & my having read about a number of other instances of sexual misconduct in various atheist groups, organizations. I realize you’re angry, but this is a matter that needs to be discussed calmly and rationally.

        1. I’m not angry. I’m not sure where that is coming from. We have more than one female on the leadership team. It’s possible there was only one at the meeting it was brought up in. I wasn’t there. You and I both know that your original request for a CoC was about the individual who attacked AU. And the CoC you presented as an example was so much of a slippery slope that even someone being “unfriendly” would be a violation. If you want a CoC, then write one up that makes sense and present it. And if it’s rejected, find out why, instead of accusing the board of gender bias. That’s just nonsense and it’s downright offensive. You’re just alienating your own allies with that shit.

          1. My original request for a Code of Conduct was most certainly not about an individual who attacked AU. My original request was a post about Lawrence Krauss & a statement about ACoR needing a Code of Conduct. That sparked a series of social media posts from male ACoR members saying things like: sexual misconduct mainly occurs at conferences (I believe it was you who said that.); the MeToo movement is political correctness run amuck; etc. Several male members (including yourself), recounted their experiences being sexually harassed. No women participated in the exchange.

          2. If you’re going to quote me, Linda, look up what I said and don’t misrepresent me out of context for your own benefit. I said:

            “Accusations against Krauss, and similar accusations against others, almost always occur at conferences. One of the major reasons for that, not unlike any professional conference/convention (or even business travel in general), is that unscrupulous people use these events as a “free pass” from their current situation, and take advantage of their perceived popularity/fame in the secular community to proposition others. And I’ll be honest here, coming from my own experience, it’s not just men who are guilty of this. I was subjected to a very awkward moment at the first conference I ever spoke at, as well as another one I attended recently.

            If ACoR ever hosted a conference, there would surely be a conduct policy, as that’s the norm at most conferences now. But if the leadership team was ever notified that we had a serial harasser in our midst, he/she would be removed from the group, conduct policy or not.

            What are your thoughts on what an ACoR conduct policy would achieve?”

            What is your point about no women participating in the exchange (except yourself)? All ACoR members have access to the message board. Are we supposed to deliver hand-written invitations to the women in the group to participate in every conversation, or is it up to each individual to participate if he/she chooses? I’m not sure where you’re going with that.

          3. I don’t know what is going on between you and Linda, but I’m not sure where this idea that ACoR doesn’t need a code of conduct because they aren’t having a conference comes from. I mean, if nothing else, you say, “But if the leadership team was ever notified that we had a serial harasser in our midst, he/she would be removed from the group, conduct policy or not,” but how would your group determine if what was going on “serial harassment,” or what the penalty should be? On what basis would you be ejecting the person if they insisted that what they had been doing was fine, or that it wasn’t worth being ejected for, or if members of your leadership disagreed on what constituted “serial harassment” or what the penalty should be? Because from where I’m standing, if you waited until you received a complaint, you would both be trying to create a policy (even if you didn’t put the policy in writing) and implement said policy all at once after you had received a complaint, which would open you up to all kinds of trouble.

            And harassment happens in all manner of places outside of conferences. Two of the big areas of harassment is work and school, neither of which are areas where a person is outside of a person’s normal environment. This is why schools and workplaces have harassment policies.

            You will, of course, do whatever you want in regards to creating policies. But I don’t know what benefit you gain from not having a policy.

          4. What’s missing here is an entire backstory within our local group, so yes, this entire thread lacks the appropriate context for outsiders to get involved and make judgments. Part of that I think is intentional by the person making the original comment in order to spin things in her direction. Whatever. But anyway, just to respond to your questions, we would make these determinations as a leadership team, just as we would if we had a CoC. The CoC makes no difference. We wouldn’t have a CoC that lists possible offenses and their penalties. That’s not how CoC’s work. Whatever the offense, regardless of the presence of a CoC, the leadership team would convene to discuss and decide on the appropriate response. I’m not sure why you’re bringing work and school harassment into the picture here. ACoR is neither of those either. I think you’re missing my point about harassment at conferences. I’m not saying that’s the only place any type of harassment occurs. I’m saying that’s where we’re seeing these cases happen in the secular community. It’s not happening at our meetups where there are 6-10 people sitting around talking about current events or debating, or at a book club. It’s happening where people are behind closed doors or at hotels or hundreds of miles from their spouses, etc.

          5. You’re alleging bad faith without providing a reason for why someone would make that claim if they didn’t believe it.
            How about you post the exchange here so people can see whether or not you’re telling the truth?

          6. Then you don’t know the meaning of “evidence.” My recollection of events, and testimony therein, IS evidence. And I couldn’t give a shit what you think about it because it has nothing to do with you.

          7. No it’s not.
            I could just as easily say my friend says your friend is lying and have the same level of evidence.

          8. “And I’ll be honest here, coming from my own experience, it’s not just men who are guilty of this. I was subjected to a very awkward moment at the first conference I ever spoke at, as well as another one I attended recently.”
            You are not the only man that has received unwanted and awkward passes from women. In the interest of gender equality and in the spirit of the #metoo movement women that have been making men feel uncomfortable need to be named, shamed, deplatformed, and possibly fired from their jobs.

      2. Anyone can be on the leadership team? I did not know that. Hell, sign me up! BTW how many female members does ACoR have?

          1. Not at all. But I don’t need to have that kind of data at the ready for an atheist meetup group. We don’t ask those types of questions because they’re not applicable to membership. How would you like to join a meetup group and divulge your personal information as a condition of membership? That’s not very welcoming.

          2. I would want to join a group that cares if I am outside the white CIS norm and wants to be inclusive, not just cater to the comforts of the white hetero middle class males.

          3. You’re making assumptions without merit. Our group is inclusive and diverse. One visit to a meeting and you’d realize that. Just because I don’t track that data doesn’t mean we’re catering to white hetero people. That’s absurd.

          4. Ok you obviously don’t see where I am coming from, that’s fine, I will never be in Rochester NY anyways so doesn’t matter.

  3. ‘Women don’t typically make false accusations for shits and giggles. It’s not fun.’

    It’s not the same experience if they’re making it up vs being genuine yet disbelieved.

    ‘Due process doesn’t apply to public opinion, or invitations to conferences, or even employment.’

    Yes, that’s the problem. And that’s why people opt for court of public opinion, to impose consequences having bypassed the law.

    1. There isn’t any “law” that requires that, outside criminal proceedings. So, NO. No law is being “bypassed.”

      1. Like I said, this is the problem. People want to impose consequences on their accusers, but don’t want to use the legal system to do so. They go for a system with far lower evidentiary requirements.

        1. Yeah, we don’t need laws telling people how to think. In fact, that’s un-American. The legal system has a legitimate purpose. This AIN’T IT!
          Furthermore, everything that’s legal isn’t necessarily acceptable to everyone. Your employer can fire you because he doesn’t like the color of your shoelaces. Or any reason, or none at all. So long as it’s not for a discriminatory reason, such as race, sex, gender, religion, or any other covered protected group, or the firing isn’t a violation of public policy (such as firing an employee for filing a Worker’s Compensation case or serving on a jury).

          1. The purpose of the legal system is to find truth and impose consequences based on an evaluation of that truth. Corporate arse-covering or twittermobbing isn’t concerned with truth, or at least, not to the same evidentiary standard.

            It’s good to know you support crappy employment rights when it’s convenient for you to though – and like I said – this is the problem. People like you are taking advantage of that crappy law, because you can’t build cases for these allegations half the time.

          2. You know nothing about rights and the purpose of courts. Go away. Every issue is not an occasion for a lawsuit.

          3. Of course it’s not – you wouldn’t be able to apply consequences to people you’re accusing otherwise. We see you.

          4. Aren’t you the tool who told me off for using the phrase ‘real victims’ then used it yourself in the same sentence? I’m not so worried about your appraisal of my knowledge, dunning-kruger.

          5. Yeah, you don’t get it. “Real victims” has the same ring to me as “real rape” does. It just has no place. You don’t get to define anyone’s experience but your own. Once you get that through your thick head, that’s half the battle won.

          6. No this is not the purpose of the court. And don’t forget, when working correctly courts are supposed to be designed to let 10 guilty people go free in order not to punish one innocent person. IOW being found not-guilty by a court means nothing. Which means yes, we do need other ways besides the legal system to keep ourselves safe from dangerous people.

          7. Sure it’s the purpose of the court. The purpose of the court is not to find people merely accused of rape guilty.

            If you want other systems, that’s fine, but it needs right of reply and to be backed up with evidence. Accusations alone are not evidence, as claims are not evidence of themselves.

          8. No. The purpose of criminal court is to find whether there is evidence strong enough to take away some of a person’s rights. Not ‘the truth’. People who did terrible things can be found ‘not guilty’ because their actions left no trail of admissible evidence, or there was just enough of a way to interpret the evidence differently to raise ‘reasonable doubt’, or any other reason.

            For people to take the means to protect themselves or others, as long as they don’t breach anyone’s rights all they need is suspicion. There is no right to be a speaker at skeptic conferences. There is no right to be employed as a physics professor.

        2. People want to impose consequences on their accusers…

          No, fool, they want to protect themselves and each other from the consequences of a sexual predator. Are you trying to say that everyone has to run his/her criticisms of such behavior through a commission of inquiry before talking to their friends?

          1. But they’re not merely talking to their friends, are they? They’re circulating the accusations on very visible public forums and causing public pressure to build up against the accused.

          2. Yes, they’re talking to anyone who might be affected by predatory behavior, and encouraging people to rethink inviting alleged predators to their events. Just like employers talk to each other about employees, former employees, and job applicants.

          3. Right, so like I said, they’re trying to impose consequences on people who have merely been accused. And this is a problem, as it’s not regulated, or verified.

          4. So what sort of “regulations” do you propose we place on individuals’ freedom of speech and ability to petition for redress of grievances?

            And do you also suggest we regulate people’s ability to criticize employers and former employers?

          5. Oh, people can say what they like. But only properly filed accusations, backed up with evidence, should be considered carefully by the actual employers, with the accused able to face the allegations and respond before any action is taken.

            Ignore the hashtag warriors, and tell them to get back in their fucking lane.

          6. First, you’re admitting there’s no good reason to restrict anyone’s speech. And second, employers don’t need courtroom-level proof to decide not to hire someone, and they don’t have the time or money to do that either. Nor do they need to, when a person is accused by MULTIPLE parties and there are, in fact, witnesses to the alleged events and to harassing behavior by the accused.

            You keep on pretending there’s no evidence to back up any of the accusations of sexual harassment. And you keep on doing so in response to articles and blog-posts that prove you wrong by describing the evidence available. Your dishonesty is laughably obvious.

    2. It’s not the same experience if they’re making it up vs being genuine yet disbelieved.

      If being disbelieved means being accused of making it up, then yes, it IS “the same experience.”

      …people opt for court of public opinion, to impose consequences having bypassed the law.

      What are people supposed to do — not take any action based on credible information, in order just to cover their own sixes and minimize or avoid harm, until “the law” says they can?

      1. No, it’s not the same experience. A woman going through the same crap but who is lying – that crap is part of plan, not a second revictimisation – as it would be for an actual victim.

        Some kind of consistent, evidence-based investigation mechanism with representation on both sides would be fine. We don’t seem to have that consistently in the American workplace or college system. Dragging a twitter mob in to get people fired is little better than vigilantism.

        1. People talk about their experiences with other people. And people listen to those experiences when deciding how to deal with the person being talked about. This happens all the fucking time, in all walks of life and all lines of employment. It’s a basic fact of human interaction, and has been since before the dawn of history. It’s also a basic and indispensable means of anticipating threats and either avoiding or neutralizing them. It’s not perfect, of course, but if you think it’s really “little better than vigilantism,” then you almost surely have no clue what vigilantism really is. (Here’s a little hint: vigilantes will kill you based on ONE person’s word, without waiting to hear old anecdotes; Krauss and others are losing speaking gigs (not their lives) based on MANY people’s accusations and longstanding consensus.)

          1. People are losing livelihoods, and vigilantism is not defined in terms of degrees of consequences.

            Any other basic facts you need correcting on?

          2. Vigilantism generally refers to ARMED VIOLENCE against suspected criminals.

            Any other basic facts you need correcting on?

          3. First google result:

            Vigilantism: law enforcement undertaken without legal authority by a self-appointed group of people.

            Says nowt about violence.

            I’m sure you hate being seen as the villain when you’d rather be spinning yourself as a self-righteous denouncer of others, but this shit has a name.

          4. So you’re saying that people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted have no “legal authority” to criticize anyone over it?

            Also, take your dictionary and stuff it — people don’t always use words in real life like the dictionary says we do.

          5. By the definition you just quoted above, people accusing certain men of sexual misconduct are not “vigilantes” because they’re not engaging in “law enforcement.” So your comparison in invalid.

          6. Also, if white men start using the same lax standards of evidence back, literally every other group is fucked. We still have enough privilege to make sure of that.

            Now, I don’t particularly want that – and I’m sure you don’t either.

            So stop making a rod for your own backs, perhaps.

        2. ETA: “Some kind of consistent, evidence-based investigation mechanism with representation on both sides” is only needed in cases where someone is accused of a CRIME and is facing jail time or worse. Subjecting people’s shared experiences to such a ridiculously high standard only guarantees no one is ever exposed or held accountable for anything.

          1. Haha omg, I missed this.

            “I’m not accusing people of a crime, we’re just sharing experiences”.

            Try being less mealy-mouthed.

    3. It’s not the same experience if they’re making it up vs being genuine yet disbelieved.

      No, the same scrutiny of a woman’s personal life applies whether it’s a made up story or if it’s genuine. That’s why you don’t see a lot of women making these claims up because the culture being what it is will find any reason to excuse the behaviour of the accused, such as slut-shaming the accuser or saying “what did you think would happen?”

      And that’s why people opt for court of public opinion, to impose consequences having bypassed the law.

      No! A thousand times no. People opt for the court of public opinion because of a failure of the commons. If a woman had her breast grabbed by Lawrence Krauss, that doesn’t need a full jury trial with prosecuting and defense attorneys to adjudicate guilt or innocence. It’s irksome and unwanted, but the woman can move on with her life.

      But just because the incident was minor and she can move on, doesn’t mean it should be ignored and forgotten. If this woman chats with other women or does some internet searching and finds the other stories of harassment and worse, it’s well within her rights to demand better of those that enable Krauss to get away with that behaviour repeatedly, particularly if the behaviour is in danger of escalating. And as the number of reports increases, so do their credibility. When it’s a dozen women coming forward, not only is that a pattern, but all but a guarantee that one of these women attempted to tell somebody in authority only to be ignored. That right there is a societal failure and it needs to be fixed.

      The Lawrence Krausses of the world can’t get away with this behaviour without some kind of license to operate. Be it a boss that doesn’t want to discipline a high-profile employee, a colleague that feels uncomfortable taking a firm stand, or a conference organizer that ignores the reports in favour of income from a famous name, they are emboldened and enabled by other people. Keep that firmly in mind.

    4. Oh, I have NO IDEA why you keep repeating that.
      That makes two of us, including you.
      An experience is what it is, regardless of whether it’s for truth or a lie. It doesn’t transform an unpleasant and unwanted experience into a pleasant and wanted experience.

  4. I figure that it’s not about guilt or innocence at all; it’s not about ostracizing or condemning anyone at the slightest hint of accusation. It is about putting our collective foot down and saying, “This behavior is not acceptable anymore.”

    Here, as a thought experiment I’ll think about Krauss in the kindest way possible, just to be fair:

    In this view, he’s not evil scum, but a product of his time. He turned 20 in 1974, after all, and we all know that sexual mores and gender relations operated on different norms back then. Maybe he absorbed the wrong lessons in his youth; maybe he isn’t exactly a sexual predator, but instead someone who crossed a few lines that society may not have laid down until well after his formative years.

    Maybe those types of explanations are accurate for Krauss, I don’t know. But what I do know is that they are not enough. Those explanations are not excuses. In light of the accusations and his own response to them, that is the nicest, most generous view I can have of the situation. But even if that is the case, we still have to stand up and say, “Enough. Men in power, be mindful, be careful, be courteous, and above all else, stop looking at women as primarily sex objects. Be aware of the power disparity in your relationships and act accordingly, act responsibly.”

    People accused of this sort of thing should really try to not be defensive. I think Al Franken did a good job of showing contrition, accepting responsibility and choosing to step down (despite the comparatively minor nature of the complaints against him). It’s that whole Spider-Man thing: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Regardless of Krauss’s motives, he’s coming across as irresponsible and defensive. He seems, at best, unaware of the power of his position and how that power influences his personal interactions. He needs to get a handle on that before we can reasonably be expected to fully accept him. Now I really don’t want to see Krauss give up on his science work, but he could stand to be a bit more open to the possibility that he acted out of line, and he could make a greater effort to seem honest and earnest in his desire to improve. He should likely try to stay out of the public eye for a while, and make appearances mostly to do things in support of equal rights and responsible actions. I believe in rehabilitation in most situations, and I think that Krauss could achieve it, could prove to us that he’s grown past the old sexist behaviors of yore. Hopefully he does.

    But if he does not, well, that’s his loss, not ours. There will be other scientists and science communicators to fill his shoes.

    1. But he is being condemned and ostracised because of mere accusation.

      It’s not up to Krauss whether he gives up on his science work – that’s the issue. As for “try not to be defensive” – lol – if you were the one being accused, you wouldn’t be so sanguine. You’d pull a Takei-style 180 and suddenly stop ‘believing the victims’ – that always, always goes out the window when convenient.

      1. I’m glad that you have enough insight that you can know what I’d do in an imaginary, future situation. It must be nice having wisdom that borders on precognition.

        Were I to find myself in such a situation, I’d behave as Al Franken did. Because being defensive only makes one look guilty. My only hope under such accusations would be in proving through subsequent actions that I’m not a predator or monster. That’s Krauss’s only hope now, too.

        Is it fair? Nope. But life is never fair, and expecting it to be so is a recipe for ulcers and high blood pressure.

        1. Everyone defends this stuff when they think it won’t affect them.

          Right, and how’s that working out for Franken? Not very productive, it would seem.

          Glad to see you’re so unconcerned with injustice. Hey ladies – you can all go home and stop worrying – did you know that life isn’t fair sometimes and you shouldn’t expect it to be so?

          1. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of ladies already know that life’s unfair, and that there is nothing they can do about it. They have to deal with that unfairness every day, in a way that a straight white guy in America, like myself, can only imagine.

            So, yeah, I am not terribly concerned about justice for other straight, white guys (in these kinds of situations anyway). We tend to be treated well, across the board. Especially wealthy guys like Franken or Krauss. Even if both of them found that they could never work again, they’ll be just fine. Though, considering who they are, I think it’s far more likely that both will return to work as time goes on.

            As for me? No, I’m not worried that this will ever happen to me. I have tact, respect for individuals and self control, and I’ve never been one to make unwelcome passes. False accusations do happen, but they happen so rarely that I may as well worry about being struck by lightning. I’ve got real problems to think about, though, so this miniscule probability does not concern me at all.

          2. Like I said, all you are doing is creating a new gendered norm that people are required to live by. You are exactly the sort of person I outlined in my two categories earlier – you think there is some neat metric we can apply that will account for years of unfairness (applied to men based purely on their gender) and not cause more problems or a backlash.

            You also might want to work on your stats, we tend to see more spurious allegations than lightning strikes on people.

            There is every reason to worry about false allegations when you have people (including some world class intellects in this thread) who treat mere dissent from joining in the latest Two Minutes Hate against whoever they’re accusing today as proof of being an abuser.

          3. There are way more true accusations and women who have been abused that don’t report than the small tiny insignificant 2% of false accusations (these rarely go to court or have any effect on the men accused anyways).

          4. The fact that you believe that your identity in of itself gives your argument any validity demonstrates precisely why identity politics is cancerous.
            You might as well have said, “As a Vegan, I disagree” and it would be equally as invalid an argument.

            Consider the moral depravity and hateful sexist misandry of what you’re advocating; you don’t care if there are innocent victims whose lives are destroyed as long as they are male. If a man said the same about women, you’d want to hang him in the public square.

            If random men, even anonymous ones, had to power to destroy a woman’s life with a baseless accusation – one that carried real-life, real world power and where mob justice was swiftly carried out on those women without any evidence – just on the man’s say-so, you’d be horrified.

            That’s precisely how life works in some Islamic countries, where women are killed in the streets by mobs for the mere accusation by a man of anything- from infidelity to throwing a Quran in the garbage.

            THAT is the kind of society you’re gleefully and triumphantly advocating for…

          5. Sorry but men and women have different experiences and points of view on this topic. As a man you haven’t experienced what a woman has in this society. As a woman who has been date raped by my boss and he got away scotfree no consequences, been sexually degraded and assaulted by numerous men in the workplace with no recourse, been fired by men for not putting out, can read about rape kits stacking up all over North America and not being tested, know the stats about how many men are convicted of rape or sexual assault (very few), have talked to other women 1 in 4 of which are sexually assaulted…I can tell you moral depravity and hateful sexist misandry already exists in full force…only for WOMEN.
            Now suddenly you are worried about this happening to men. Where was your outrage when this shit has been going on for us women for generations and millenia???? Suddenly a man somewhere might face consequences for his actions and you scream slippery slope. Spare me.
            You are the one who doesn’t care how many innocent victim’s lives are destroyed, as long as they are women. Many women’s lives have been destroyed and we have been held back by powerful abusers, but that’s ok with you as long as one hypothetical innocent man out of 10 doesn’t face any negative consequences. Who the fuck cares about the victims of those other 9 guilty men (and probably 10 let’s not kid ourselves).

          6. While my heart goes out to you for what you suffered, and indeed the degenerate psychopath that did that to you should be rotting away in prison for decades, innocent men should not be punished for what he did. All you’re doing is creating more innocent victims.

            Just as it’s unfair to mistreat or put a new romantic partner coming into your life through undue hardships because of your emotional baggage/damage from a bad past relationship, innocent men shouldn’t be subjected to guilt by association.

            Prejudging all men for the actions of a few is the same mentality as racism.

            Your list of terrible offenses and crimes in no way justify victimizing the innocent. No argument can do that.

            Your entire comment is an absolute shotgun of logical fallacies; strawman arguments, false analogies, moving the goalposts, reversing the burden of proof, etc.
            I argue that we shouldn’t be victimizing innocents and that it’s wrong to prejudge anyone based on what group they belong to and you accuse me of essentially being a rape apologist.

            You’ve become utterly unhinged, irrational, hyper-emotional and illogical.

            Right now, with the MeToo movement, you are in a position of exceptional privilege.

            CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE…

          7. Oh the immense irony of your statement. Men are not being strung up due to #metoo. A few millionaires here and there are losing contracts. Excuse me while I weep.

            I stand by my statements that far more innocent women have been victimized for far longer a time in far graver ways.

            You obviously can’t step out of your own privileged bubble to see my point of view. This convo is over.

          8. Also calling a woman “unhinged, irrational, hyper-emotional and illogical” for having a different point of view is incredibly sexist and uncalled for. You should be ashamed. You are the one being hyper-emotional about hypothetical innocent men losing jobs. Get a life.

          9. I called YOU unhinged, irrational, hyper-emotional and illogical. Because that’s what your arguments and behavior in this discussion have been. The fact that you’re a woman is irrelevant.

            Next time, just start off your comments with, “So what you’re saying is…”

            And yes, this conversation IS over. It was never a conversation to begin with for you. Just an opportunity for you to vent your hatred of men at some random man on the web and launch into your prerehearsed talking points.

            Disgusting.

          10. “Fuck you. You are lower than dog shit.”

            Unhinged. Irrational. Hyper-emotional. Illogical.

            Thank you for proving it beyond the shadow of a doubt for all the world to see.

            Here endeth the lesson. Class dismissed.

          11. No, you’re just an insane misogynist who needs to be kept away from other people.

          12. No, you’re projecting your insanity onto others. ALL your comments have been misogynistic.

            You’re just a rape-lover who hates women.

          13. NO, you’re a racist, transphobic, rape apologist, holocaust denier and Trump supporter.

            Checkmate, bitch.

          14. It’s a general ethical and legal maxim. It’s not specifically about Lawrence Krauss.
            And being falsely accused and having your life destroyed is not a self inflicted wound any more than being accused of witchcraft was for women.

            Take note of the word “INNOCENT” in Blackstone formulation. It’s doing all the philosophical and ethical heavy lifting.

          15. Like the women telling the truth who are routinely accused of being lying sluts? Yeah buddy. Trust me… I do get it.
            And I think YOU get it that my comment is directed toward Krauss. Not random guys.

          16. 1) “Like the women telling the truth who are routinely accused of being lying sluts?”

            Would you have innocent men who are victims of lying women have their lives destroyed to karmically pay for the acts committed by completely different ones?
            You seem to have no problem judging all men by the actions of a few just because they happen to share male genes.

            What if we do that with race? Let’s say, we judge all Black people by the deeds of a few bad ones and treat them with a default presumption of guilt anytime a White person accuses them of anything. Even an anonymous White person on the internet. After all, so many of them get away with it, that if some innocent ones have their lives destroyed to make sure we get the guilty ones, that’s just the price of justice, right?

            2) Innocent people whose lives are destroyed are VICTIMS. They deserve justice as well. Better yet, they deserve not to be found guilty and punished on someone’s mere word.
            That’s why they call that sort of thing a witch hunt. No trial, no investigation, no due process, no presumption of innocence. Trial in the court of public opinion without any evidence and then mob justice, innocence be damned.

            3) You replied to MY comment. If your comment was about Krauss and NOT what I was talking about, why did you reply to me?

            4) If you want to live in a world where someones word – even an anonymous stranger on the internet, is enough to destroy a person’s life and you don’t care just because the victims are men, when the pendulum swings back your way and YOUR turn comes, we’ll see how just and fair you think it is.

            Or if it’s your father, brother, husband, son, uncle, grandfather, nephew or close friend that’s falsely accused and their lives destroyed, fired from their job, reputation forever tarnished, the taint of it following them around the web forever – even if they are later proven to be innocent. Let’s see how you’ll feel then.

          17. Oh fuck off. False accusations are so rare it’s obvious you just hate women and support rape.

          18. Right?? All the women held back in their careers or outright fired for not putting out. None of that injustice counts. But heaven forbid a fucking celebrity sleaseball gets called out.

          19. It is working fine for Al Franken. People were having a hard time saying their good-byes to him. If he wants he can make himself a great third career.

          20. Franken foolishly expected the proper due process — a senate ethics hearing. Instead, he was strung up by the impatient, blood-thirsty mob.

            Franken also made the mistake of apologizing for comically pretending to grab the boobs of a woman who’d been going around really grabbing the asses of men, and for another incident he insisted never happened.

            But Franken in large part brought this upon himself. When it served him, he repeated the demagoguery of ‘believe the victim’, even using his office to promote and lend credence to an egregious false accuser, Jamie Leigh Jones.

          21. Right injustice for the men who are accused. Such injustice to be held to account for their actions. Meanwhile how many women are harrassed and abused and assaulted and the men get away scotfree…guess that isn’t injustice eh?

      2. Several accusations. Over years. You see, me, I’m just a regular Joe, a bit of loner and work in a small office, so the number of women I’ve actually interacted with on an ongoing basis could be counted on a single hand. So if some woman out of the blue came forward and said “That Katamount guy, he harassed me!” my response would be “Do I know you?” And if I did, I’d like to know the circumstances. I was actually called out on Twitter for an untoward tweet toward a public figure and guess what I did? I didn’t get defensive, I actually apologized for crossing the line.

        Guess what else happened? It stopped there. It didn’t balloon into a half-dozen accusations of varying degrees of poor behaviour.

        Public figures interact with far more people than your humble Katamount, so they don’t have the luxury of being low-profile. But these women are not some kind of cabal meeting in darkness to reconcile stories; they each have their own descriptions shared with other people at the time. And with new woman, the credibility of the idea that they’re all making it up diminishes a thousandfold.

        So enough with the moral cowardice. Have a standard when it comes to your daily interactions and stick to it!

  5. Figured I might as well post these since there are some in the commentariat who seem to have compeletely missed the point in your piece:
    Are men accused of harassment being denied their due process? Or are the victims?
    https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/1/6/16855434/weinstein-reckoning-sexual-harassment-due-process-daphne-merkin-keillor-franken

    Trump wants “due process” for abuse allegations. I asked 8 legal experts what that means.
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/11/16999466/what-is-due-process-trump

  6. Yes! Thank you. Just because someone is not religious does not mean he is perfect, or even safe. There are non-religious misogynists on these boards. (I can ignore those, but in-person “entitlements” cannot be ignored.)

  7. Anyone arguing for “due process” on the assumption that this is some sort of legal proceeding must, by their own rules, wait to be called upon to testify.

    Anyone who thinks they can voice their opinion unasked recognizes that this is not a legal proceeding.

  8. HELL YES we should believe women who are brave enough to speak out and name their abusers/harassers.

    … EVERY TIME we need to default to the protection of the vulnerable….

    This is just another variant of ‘believe the victim’, an answer-begging-the-question fallacy. What we should do is take seriously earnest accusations, then verify them.

    We should not, however, blindly trust claims made by persons who have previously proven themselves untrustworthy. We must also discern between trivial and serious alleged offenses.

    _

    Women don’t typically make false accusations for shits and giggles.

    And yet not insignificant numbers of accusations are false, made for a variety of reasons. (i.e., Karen Stollznow, Elyse Anders.) True, due process is a legal concept not applicable to either public opinion or the decision-making of entities employing someone like Krauss. But to automatically believe all accusations means to sometimes wrongly condemn & punish innocent people, and that goes against our common sense of what’s right.

    _

    You finally decide it’s time to come forward, and the first reaction by a huge subset of humanity is to minimize your experience, disregard your testimony, and refuse to believe you until your offender is somehow subjected to “due process” ….

    First, most of the concerns expressed have not been to call for ‘due process’, but rather to employ a modicum of skepticism.

    Second, who has ‘come forward’? A grand total of 9 accusations against Krauss were made in Buzzfeed, including 7 by anonymous accusers, 4 of unspecified nature, and two reported by persons other than the alleged victim. The only named alleged victim is Melody Hensley, a completely untrustworthy character.

    Finally, many of those screaming loudest for Krauss’ head are of the same cabal who’ve made or supported false accusations in the past, including against Richard Dawkins, Justin Vacula, Michael Nugent, Ben Radford, and the Duke lacrosse team. For the outside observer, who does not personally know Krauss or move in the circles he moves, the Buzzfeed article is wholly unpersuasive and actually undermines the case against Krauss.

    _

    … the worst part is that there are thousands of sexual misconduct victims out there who are tracking this. And they will ultimately remain silent because they see what you’re being subjected to now and they want to minimize their own personal damage.

    No less harmful is how everything from ‘ogling’ to tasteless jokes to overly aggressive propositioning is conflated with serious harassment & assault. This trivializes the latter, and doing so for one’s personal advantage or to push an agenda, is a grave insult to those who’ve truly suffered and are brave enough to speak up.

  9. The secular community still has some “cleaning” to do.

    Apart from Krauss, we have:

    PZ Myers – accused of rape, + sexual harassment and creepy behaviour.
    Dan Arel – accusations of sexual harassment and threatening behaviour towards women.
    Michael Shermer – accusations of sexual harassment.
    Richard Carrier – accusations of creepiness.
    Steve Shives – accusations of sexual harassment and being “overly handsy”.
    Lousy Canuck Jason Thibault – accusation of rape.
    Neil deGrasse Tyson – accusation of rape.

    Plus probably a few more.

        1. A fake one. So?
          And why keep making the claim about Shives if you aren’t going to provide anything more than your ‘friend?’

          1. “A fake one”.

            I listen and believe. PZ has a history of other sleazy behaviour, as well.

            “claim about Shives”

            I am simply doing what the likes of PZ and Stephanie Zvan want people to do. Act as a voice for people who feel scared and vulnerable, and warn people about certain people in the “atheist” community. Just as I previously warned people against Carrier and “Srh Butts”.

            PS – A bit more info on PZ Myers and how he changes his story on the incident, from the indefatigable Michael “The Nuge” Nugent.

            http://www.michaelnugent.com/2014/11/24/pz-myers-updates-story-threatened-false-rape-allegation/

          2. You’re lying in an attempt to muddy the waters.
            You haven’t been able to provide a shred of evidence for your claims and are just trying to smear people working to protect women.

          3. Oh do fuck off.

            The people mentioned DO NOT work hard to protect women. They enable a bunch of people who abuse and harass women, including female ex-Muslims. I was talking to one prominent ex-Muslim a few weeks ago, and she named one of the people aforementioned as part of the clique of abuse-enablers.

            Why you have suddenly popped up here to defend sleazeballs like PZ and Shives, I have to wonder why.

          4. Steve Shives and PZ Meyers have harassed and raped nobody. You’re a lying sack of shit.

            Richard Carrier, Lawrence Krauss, etc. have tons of evidence against them, there’s none against those two.

            You’re obviously full of shit and more likely trying to defend sexual predators by muddying the waters.

          5. PZ Myers was accused of raping one of his students. False accusations are “vanishingly small”, in his words. Since he acted in a position of authority to get the situation quickly resolved without the student being able to put forth her version of events, I will believe the student. You, a rape apologist, can jog on. There are also other creepy incidents I am aware of. He now hides behind a “woke shield”, hoping his past doesn’t catch up with him. Don’t fool THE KING.

            I never said Shives raped anybody. I mentioned accounts I have received regarding his “wandering hands” from a few years ago, before he started hiding behind a shield of “wokeness”, and chumming with racists and antisemites while “calling out” racism of others. The wanker. He even blocked me when I called out the fact one of his closest friends was a raving antisemite. He’s a fraud, who passes himself off as a woke gatekeeper. Fuck that piece of shit.

            I also never defended Carrier or Krauss. So you can jog on, again.

  10. “Women don’t typically make false accusations for shits and giggles. ”

    No, but there have been so public cases of false rape allegations, that we do know why they make them. Among the reasons:
    1. revenge
    2. seeking public sympathy (whether from the public at large or from the feminist activist group they just joined)
    3. psychological absolution from their own bad decisions (all those college girls who get drunk and sleep with a guy, and then later decide that he raped them)

    1. Hell no. False accusations are so rare that acting like that’s what’s happening is an obvious denialist tactic.

  11. What bothers me is that there have been so MANY accusations against men just in the last few months. Granted, some may be true, maybe even most of them, but how many are false, or exaggerated? How many women purpose to get some attention, or perhaps a book deal out of it? Women are just as prone as men to think about feathering their own nests. It’s like, the Sexual Abuse Band Wagon is coming to town, and a lot of not-necessarily-actually-abused women figure they’ll get on it. Each of these accusations must be taken by and of itself. And someone had better get a statute of limitations going, or we’ll be knee deep in this sort distraction until the cows come home and the election has been commandeered by those we should have been watching.

    1. No, you’re a misogynist trying to act like there’s any reason for women to lie.
      They’re coming out now because they’re finally able to be listened to but men like you still are calling them liars.

  12. GW1: Oh no, not another misguided essay on the Krauss scandal!

    KD1: What I mean by that is it’s obvious that something happened, and more than once.

    GW1: How is it so obvious to you? Have you seen all the evidence? Were you on a jury or ethics panel hearing all the available evidence, when all parties were provided due process? I don’t think so. Your threshold for “obvious” is set much too low.

    KD1: Long before the Buzzfeed article, I’d heard rumors about Krauss’s behavior from friends and attendees in the secular conference circuit.

    GW1: That’s what I thought – you rely on rumors to draw your conclusions.

    KD1: You finally decide it’s time to come forward, and the first reaction by a huge subset of humanity is to minimize your experience, disregard your testimony, and refuse to believe you until your offender is somehow subjected to “due process” – something that, in a legal sense, will probably never happen.

    GW1: Like most of the Buzzfeed band wagon, you confound the minimization of accusations with the providing of due process, and they just aren’t the same thing. The proposal of an ethics panel and/or a court trial is exactly the proper response to the accusations. This is what it means to take the accusations seriously.

    KD1: You’ve risked your own reputation, subjected yourself to harsh criticism, and made yourself even more vulnerable, only to watch others run to the defense of someone who has violated your trust, and in many cases your own body.

    GW1: This might happen if an accusation is true. Calling for an ethics panel, however, is not “running to the defense of the accused.” It is supporting truth and justice which you seem to be ignoring.

    KD1: So to those who claim they’re waiting for “due process” to occur in order to decide who to support: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    GW1: I strongly disagree. No, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM because you are not calling for these serious accusations to be handled properly by ethics panels or courts. This is the best path for the accusers, the accused, affiliated organizations, and the general public.

    KD1: Due process doesn’t apply to public opinion, or invitations to conferences, or even employment.

    GW1: So say you, but you are mistaken about this. Due process applies to all those things! Ethics panels and courts implement due process for all involved parties – the accusers, the accused, and witnesses.

    KD1: But HELL YES we should believe women who are brave enough to speak out and name their abusers/harassers.

    GW1: We should believe the women to the necessary extent that we launch serious and proper investigations. The accusations should NOT be adjudicated by the media, mob rule, or even administrative review.

    KD1: And until those people are exonerated, we should stay the hell away from them so their body count doesn’t get bigger. If we don’t, then we’re complicit.

    GW1: You claim that we should stay away from the accused so that we can avoid being molested and avoid being complicit? You’ve got to be kidding! Now, you are implying that victims are to be blamed for being complicit in their molester’s behavior.

    KD1: Should we scream “due process” when a priest is accused of sexual abuse and let him continue to serve in the church and have access to children until he’s gone to trial? HELL NO. Remove the potentially bad actors from the situation until “due process” is complete.

    GW1: HELL YES, the priest should be suspended from his duties and we should SCREAM FOR and DEMAND that a proper investigation be done through the courts or ethics panels. You have the unfortunate belief that suspension plus mob rule is sufficient. It’s not.

    KD1: There is no perfect solution to issues like this, but EVERY TIME we need to default to the protection of the vulnerable, not the shielding of the accused. If we’re screaming “due process” instead, just to protect those we hold in high esteem, not only are we misusing that term, but we’re impeding justice for those who need our support and garner strength from our advocacy.

    GW1: Actually, there is a near perfect solution to issues like these, and EVERY TIME we need to default to a proper search for truth and justice through either a court of law or an ethics panel, where all involved parties are provided with due process. This should be always be the case, but especially when the accused and/or the accuser is held in high esteem ahead of time. Instead, you are supporting mob rule. Mob rule is decision making based on rumors, hearsay, hysteria, speculations, exaggerations, or intense emotions such as fear, anger, or vengefulness, manifested in a large group of people, with little or no regard for evidence, truth, or justice. Mob rule sometimes leads to aggression and/or high rates of error, both false positives and false negatives.

    1. No, that’s you strawmanning and defending sexual predators in ways you wouldn’t for any other person.
      Because it’s quite obvious this is about your misogyny.

      1. No, you’re an emotionally unhinged public virtue signaling degenerate, who would have been the first person standing with the torches to burn witches in Salem and Jews during the Inquisition. You are the shrieking, ignorant, hateful, blood-lusting voice of the mob. You would have lynched Blacks falsely accused during the Jim Crow South.

        You are the racist townspeople calling Atticus Finch a rape apologist and demanding that Tom Robinson be lynched without a trial.

        1. You’re describing yourself, you lying sack of shit.
          You project your own bigotry onto others and try to act like you’re not just a bigoted moron who defends sexual predators and calls women liars.

          You know nothing about what you’re talking about and should be kept far from other people because you’re obviously unhinged.

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