Actually, I’m Encouraged

Sometimes, when things don’t go your way, you become discouraged.

What I am referring to of course is this blog post and how it seems that because more people refused to take some people’s word for rampant sexual harassment, assault, and rape in the secular community, that we should all be discouraged.
This is what can happen though when you start making unfounded accusations against people. Skeptics, people with actual critical thinking skills, are going to look at what you say and question your statements. They’re going to want evidence for what you say and not just anonymous anecdotes.
So, what you’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is called blowback. I find it amazing that none of the accusers could not even fathom something like this would happen; That the rest of the secular community would just take your word for it, well because.
Even though, outside of your little bubble, masses of people were not only questioning the actual accusations, but your motives, you didn’t think to step back for even a moment and reconsider your position.
So, yeah, if I had that level of arrogance, I might feel discouraged as well and ask for commenters to help me out of my disillusionment.
And to say This has been a shitty, shitty couple of weeks, and a shitty, shitty couple of years, and right now I’m feeling very discouraged and demoralized, is just disingenuous. As for the last couple of weeks, it was you that caused them to become shitty. You. The same for the last couple of years as well when all some people want to do is play professional victim. After a while, people won’t believe you.
When you try to drive a wedge within the secular community with an attitude of “you’re either with us or against us”, after a while, when people have had enough of the accusations and invectives, what do you expect?
So especially in the last few weeks, I have actually become encouraged.
I’m encouraged that the secular community did not swallow the kool-aid.
I’m encouraged that those accused did not lay down and cower against those horrendous charges, but fought back.
I’m encouraged that all that has been accomplished here, is that a certain segment of the community has been discovered to be nothing more than a cult.
I’m encouraged that during the last few weeks, certain people have lost an immense amount of credibility and that most will take any future accusations with a grain of salt. And that’s sad, because you can only cry wolf so many times, and if the real wolves appear, no one is going to hear you.

5 thoughts on “Actually, I’m Encouraged

  1. I have no doubts about my feminist credentials. I simply cannot tolerate – and toleration is the proper word here – anyone leveling unproven accusations of any sort and expecting everyone to agree, and those who don’t agree must be guilty of the same offense. This goes against all the principles of our long-evolved legal system however imperfect it might be. I also happen to be very wary of anyone who promises to rewrite such a legal system for the better without there being a few hundred years of debate about it. Anything that evolves over a long period is likely to be better than anything dreamt up by one individual during a brief entitlement fantasy. I was horrified to see PZ post online allegations of rape about a couple of individuals, not because I didn’t believe them*, but because no responsible individual would do that. This is the de facto legal standard for our society, and if you break it you commit slander/libel/defamation of character depending on the way you break it. Even if you take a little sip of the KoolAid and decide that all accusations must be true because someone made them, it wouldn’t justify convicting a single person without any evidence to do so. To do it in the name of feminism would be to betray the wonderful women who have fought for equality over the last century and more, and I believe that they would not want such a thing done in their name. Our legal system is certainly imperfect and has a pretty horrible record when it comes to justice for victims of sexual assault. But to convict upon request isn’t justice, it is simply convicting someone – anyone! – to make up for past failures to convict. Two wrongs don’t make a right is the principle to bear in mind here. I won’t go along with that and I don’t care who knows it. At the same time, I would support anyone claiming to be a victim of a sexual assault, and would love to see the justice system develop a proper and fair response to them. They deserve justice just as much as anyone, and of course that ‘anyone’ includes you, me, and the accused in such cases. You might need to remember what ‘justice’ means to see what I’m getting at. Everyone deserves to get exactly what they do deserve. No more, no less. Fairness, and no prejudicial assumptions of either guilt or innocence. It isn’t rocket science – it’s basic human morality. I won’t assume an accuser is right or wrong in a particular case, nor shall I assume anything about the accused. It is up to a properly appointed court to decide that.

    *Those allegations may well be true, but a civilised society cannot act as if they are until they have been proven in a safe, legal manner, involving due process of law. A tiny part of the constitution of PZ’s homeland he seems to ignore when blog traffic or other considerations override it.


  2. I don’t have a problem with believing an accuser either. Where the lightbulb comes on above my head is when, in the same story, there is no report to the authorities. Now, the old, and tired story of, “they won’t believe me” could be used, but I guarantee if a woman here in the U.S. reports a rape, and knows her rapist, that guy will be immediately behind bars while the investigation starts.
    Yes, I believe there are rapes that go unreported, but I also think that it’s becoming less and less today with the way laws have changed to protect the victim.


    • What jacked me up was she (a) allegedly reported it to the conference organizers (or some such) and (b) didn’t report it to the police. This makes no sense. Why would you report it to conference organizers who can’t do anything and refuse to call 911 as there are reasonable standards published by police departments that include:

      Good Reasons to call 9-1-1
      Any threat of harm to personal safety or the safety of others.
      Any criminal act that is in progress or just occurred.
      Any situation which escalates from non-emergency to emergency.

      Having just been raped is definitely a 911 call. And nobody is going to be mad at you for doing it.

      Honestly, I blame feminism for a share of this problem. Whatever the problems may have been in the old days, they have set this ‘rapists are protected by the police and they will treat you badly’ fallacy in women’s heads and have become part of the problem.


  3. Great post! In fact, this was just what I needed. I think it is natural to feel discouraged when facing a prolonged conflict, but you bring up some good reasons for a bit of optimism.

    I don’t know if Shermer did what he has been accused of. Regardless, public shaming is not the answer. It is encouraging to see so much of the community recognizing that.


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