The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

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The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby Coito ergo sum » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:07 pm

Skepchick, prior to her war with Dawkins over Elevatorgate, had a brief skirmish with Lawrence Krauss. Here is the Skepchick blog on it: http://skepchick.org/2011/04/lawrence-k ... verywhere/

Krauss' words regarding his friend, a Mr. Epstein, who was arrested for sexual offenses with underage masseuses-
yes it is.. Based on my direct experience with Jeffrey, which is all I can base my assessment on, he is a thoughtful, kind, considerate man who is generous to his friends, and all of the women I have known who have been associated with Jeffrey speak glowingly in the same words..

jeffrey apparently paid for massages with sex… I believe him when he told me he had no idea the girls were underage, and I doubt that people normally are asked for or present a driver’s license under such circumstances… Moreover, I also believe that Jeffrey is an easy target for those who want to take advantage of him… Moreover, I can say with great honesty that Jeffrey’s time in prison led him to seriously examine his life in very positive ways and I don’t believe in blanket condemnations of people. He served time for something that was determined was inappropriate. I honestly don’t know who was the victim in this case. probably everyone was a victim, with no happy resolution or consequences of these activities. I fully expect that these masseuses knew what they were doing, and were not swayed to do anything with Jeffrey that they were not already doing. That is not to approve of the whole behavior, but lots of peopleI know and like have behavior I don’t entirely approve of.. I know it is not politically correct to say that, because in general this is a very sensitive issue and all other things being equal one should take the side of the young women. But all things are not equal in this case, from my point of view. It is a judgement call, and I will not turn my back on a good friend so easily.


I have read on the web claims of orgies on Jeffrey’s island during scientific meetings that I organized.. Orgies in which I was supposed to have been involved. This kind of nonsense has made me very skeptical of media reports on Jeffrey’s activities. Moreover, I am naturally skeptical by nature, and have looked in to a number of these supposed events, but am not going to share any details with you because I don’t think these are issues that are relevant to Jeffrey’s support of science, my scientific credentials etc.. or that I should discuss in public in any case… I will say however, that as a skeptic you might ask yourself whether there might be any motivation to potentially sue a billionaire with whom you may have been involved in one way or another… someone who might rather settle out of court for a large fee rather than have to deal with publicity, sleazy journalists etc? no, that never happens does it? Not very skeptical of you to wonder I think..


I will add one remark here, as most people have not read my full set of comments, posted after the post appeared.. I am myself rather disappointed by the lack of skepticality of this community. As I said, I have read numerous reports of orgies on Jeffrey’s island involving me and other scientists during our meetings.. Orgies that never happened, I am VERY skeptical of other claims on his behavior. I am defending Jeffrey for 2 reasons: (1) Based on my knowledge and experience I am skeptical of the claims in the media and of those who have settled claims for money… namely I don’t believe the published details just like I tend to be skeptical of many published details on the internet.. I don’t believe Jeffrey did what has been claimed, and unless I see hard evidence, I will trust my own judgement here, and (2) Jeffrey went to prison, and I happen to believe that having served time, even those who questioned his behavior should be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, again until proved otherwise, that he is working hard to live a good life and do good things. I for one am disgusted that people eat up the salacious nonsense the read on the web and then jump to conclusions about things and people they do not know.. I do not jump to condemn people, especially when it concerns their sexual preferences. I DO NOT CONDONE sex with young girls, or young boys for that matter.. because there are real victims there.. Until I know all the facts however, I do not jump to conclusions, and I am sorry, having seen the media frenzy around Jeffrey, and having seen the shoddy behavior of those who have attacked him, I remain skeptical, and I support a man whose character I believe I know.. If you want to condemn me for that, so be it.

L. Krauss


From what I've read, I think Krauss' response to this whole thing has been reasoned and reasonable. Skepchick doesn't sound skeptical at all about it, and she seems to buy into the misused term "pedophile" (no allegations of sex with prepubescent girls was alleged, as far as I can tell). Ms. Watson simply, to my reading, appears to think that Krauss should excoriate his friend Epstein, and should not at all require evidence of the more scurrilous allegations. The mere allegations, according to Watson, make Epstein deserving of not only a big scarlet letter, but also shunning by anyone who knows him. That certainly would be in furtherance of what appears to be her agenda, but would not be in the best traditions of skepticism.

Article on Watson's demagoguery - http://www.thearmchairskeptic.com/2011/ ... guery.html


Dear Rebecca Watson: Don’t be a skepdick.

JULY 18, 2011 BY SKEPTICASM 14 COMMENTS
EDIT: Surly Amy has informed me that none of the Skepchicks were involved in planning a walk-out at TAM. My statement says that Rebecca’s posts about Lawrence Krauss “inspired some of her fans to try to organize a walk-out,” but in the letter addressed to Rebecca I presume her responsibility in that and chastise her accordingly. The details I was “filled in on later” came from a few trusted skeptics and not from any better-documented source. This will teach me to take word-of-mouth as fact.
http://skepticasm.wordpress.com/2011/07 ... -skepdick/
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby Coito ergo sum » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:25 pm

I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss--but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood-we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere? Dumb.

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby Coito ergo sum » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:31 pm

In the event of my dissolution into degeneracy
Posted on: April 6, 2011 2:24 PM, by PZ Myers

I have a request to all of you. Some of you hate me, so you'd enjoy this, but it's more important that those of you who have a mild and distant affection for me take a stand, too. If, sometime in the future, when the billions of dollars role in, if you learn that I'm flying in children for sex, I don't want you to defend me. Don't use friendship as an excuse, just come out loud and clear and denounce my behavior, with no qualifiers. Please. There aren't any justifications or rationalizations possible.

I am not planning to turn into a leering old degenerate, but you never know…I could suffer traumatic brain damage that radically alters my behavior, turning me into either a lecher or a Christian. If such a horrific event occurs, consider me dead and start abusing the bankrupt personality residing in my corpus, OK?

Ditto if I start robbing banks, beating up little old ladies for their social security checks, praising the Templeton Foundation, or become a Mormon. That stuff is just wrong.
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011 ... lution.php

That highlighted part jumped out at me. Ummm... Mr. Myers...yes, there are justifications and rationalizations possible. The most important one is the "he didn't do it" rationalization and justification. That's what Lawrence Krauss wrote very clearly - that it hadn't been established that his friend was "flying in children for sex."

Another justification might be the age of the children. If I learned that you, PZ Myers, were single and had paid for a 17 year old girl who you thought was 21 to fly to your place to have consensual sex, I don't think I'd throw you under the bus.

One of the points that Krauss made as that he knows this guy and that Krauss is viewing the allegations skeptically. He said he did not see any evidence of the scurrilous allegations, and that he believes his friend. He also sees significant potential motivations for fabrication.

Are we to take all allegations of wrongful conduct to be true, and not offer our friends even a modicum of support when there is or may be reasonable doubt? Or, is any allegation of this sort simply an automatic banishment?
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby charlou » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:43 am

Coito ergo sum wrote:
I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss--but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood-we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere? Dumb.

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html



She's not a skeptic, but a self-important gob who has surrounded herself with yappy sycophants. Ick Ick Ick Skepchick. :ani:
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby surreptitious57 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:49 am

charlou wrote:
Coito ergo sum wrote:
I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss--but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood-we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere? Dumb.

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html



She's not a skeptic, but a self-important gob who has surrounded herself with yappy sycophants. Ick Ick Ick Skepchick.


It is absolutely fine to disagree with someone's opinion but threatening them with rape is unacceptable.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby surreptitious57 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:59 am

Coito ergo sum wrote:
I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss - but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood - we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere?

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html


Your analysis is spot on : it is Krauss and not the global community of physicists who have nothing to do with this
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby Gallstones » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:05 am

OMFG, let it fucking go already.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby charlou » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:33 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
charlou wrote:
Coito ergo sum wrote:
I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss--but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood-we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere? Dumb.

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html



She's not a skeptic, but a self-important gob who has surrounded herself with yappy sycophants. Ick Ick Ick Skepchick.


It is absolutely fine to disagree with someone's opinion but threatening them with rape is unacceptable.

I don't know where you derive threat of rape from the post you've quoted here.


Gallstones wrote:OMFG, let it fucking go already.

You're free to.

Rebecca Watson expresses strident views, and neither her views nor her behaviour are above criticism. This has been an extrordinary backlash ... good to see such a debate continue, despite her own attempts to manipulate it.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby Coito ergo sum » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:46 pm

Gallstones wrote:OMFG, let it fucking go already.


Take your own advice. I discuss topics I am interested in. There are hundreds of topics on rationalia that may interest you, many of them won't. Feel free to drop snide, insipid little troll comments on all the threads that don't interest you, though. :bored:
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby surreptitious57 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:05 am

charlou wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
charlou wrote:
Coito ergo sum wrote:
I will say that skepchick's (Rebecca Watson) blog post title: Lawrence Krauss Defends a Sex Offender, Embarrasses Scientists Everywhere is incredibly stupid. Krauss's behavior is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. It may reflect on his character and may be an embarrassment to Krauss--but it is not an embarrassment to scientists everywhere. We are not a priesthood-we are people who are lucky enough to do science for a living. We come with all the human foibles found in the professions. If Krauss was a house painter, would he now be an embarrassment to house painters everywhere? Dumb.

http://helives.blogspot.com/2011/04/man ... -fast.html



She's not a skeptic, but a self-important gob who has surrounded herself with yappy sycophants. Ick Ick Ick Skepchick.


It is absolutely fine to disagree with someone's opinion but threatening them with rape is unacceptable.


I don't know where you derive threat of rape from the post you've quoted here.


I accessed skepchick for the first time whilst reading this thread, and she has been threatened
with rape by men who disapprove of her opinions. So I felt it right and proper to express my view
on this. It is relevant in the context but may not necessarily be so in relation to the particular post
that I responded to. I apologise for any ambiguity this may have caused on your part charlou. I do not
have the same negative opinion of her as you do. I agree with her on Dawkins but disagree with her on
Krauss. And why is it alright for you to express yourself but not her ? You may not agree with her but she
has as much right as anyone else on the net. I am not attacking you - not my style - rather your reasoning
which is devoid of any logic and is purely subjective - as is your right. But feel free to disagree, if you wish
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby charlou » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:19 am

I've never said Skepchick's not free to express herself, and don't hold that opinion about her or anyone. :td:


Thank you for the clarification of what you were referring to wrt the rape threat comment. I've heard about those too, and have no time for people who have that approach to internet dialogue abuse, and certainly don't think Skepchick (or anyone) deserves that kind of response.

That's separate to what I think about her views and how she's expressed them, and her behaviour towards people who disagree with her reasonably.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby charlou » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:25 am

Over the past month or so most of my thoughts on the EG topic have been posted at RatSkep: http://www.rationalskepticism.org/nonth ... 23650.html

Initially I had thought Richard Dawkins' response was out of proportion to what Rebecca Watson had said ... but then I got more information about the context and the background and my view changed.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby surreptitious57 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:22 am

charlou wrote:
I've never said Skepchick's not free to express herself, and don't hold that opinion about her or anyone.


But you referred to her as a self-important gob on this very thread and now here
you are defending her right to free speech. All this is a tad confusing don't you think ?
You obviously believe she has the freedom to express herself but would prefer it if she didn't
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby charlou » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:31 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
charlou wrote:
I've never said Skepchick's not free to express herself, and don't hold that opinion about her or anyone.


But you referred to her as a self-important gob on this very thread and now here
you are defending her right to free speech. All this is a tad confusing don't you think ?
You obviously believe she has the freedom to express herself but would prefer it if she didn't

I don't prefer if she didn't, at all. Quite the contrary ... I want people to say what they think and believe. It's how we get to know what people think and believe.

There's no contradiction.

My opinion is that she's a self-important gob who prefers to surround herself with yappy sycophants, and I think she has (and should have) the freedom to express herself. I disagree with what she has to say and how she behaves. I've explained elsewhere why I disagree with what she has to say and how she behaves.
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Re: The Lesser Known Skepchick War: Watson v. Krauss

Postby surreptitious57 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:46 am

charlou wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
charlou wrote:
I've never said Skepchick's not free to express herself, and don't hold that opinion about her or anyone.


But you referred to her as a self-important gob on this very thread and now here
you are defending her right to free speech. All this is a tad confusing don't you think ?
You obviously believe she has the freedom to express herself but would prefer it if she didn't

I don't prefer if she didn't, at all. Quite the contrary ... I want people to say what they think and believe. It's how we get to know what people think and believe.

There's no contradiction.

My opinion is that she's a self-important gob who prefers to surround herself with yappy sycophants, and I think she has (and should have) the freedom to express herself. I disagree with what she has to say and how she behaves. I've explained elsewhere why I disagree with what she has to say and how she behaves.


Thanks for the clarity. Makes sense now.
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