Greg Laden should apologize to Richard Dawkins

In all the drama surrounding Elevatageddon, there has been a lot of rhetoric thrown around. As always, I find myself appreciating it, even if I actually disagree with the point being made. But that appreciation can only go so far. Even if I think people are wrong in what they’re saying, and even if I think they’re letting their rhetoric get the best of their argument, I can take solace in the fact that at least they’re being honest. But once that honesty stops, so does all my appreciation. Enter Greg Laden:

Recently, Richard Dawkins said (full quote below) that a woman should not be concerned about her own safety if she finds herself in an elevator (under some sort of threat, presumably), because it is trivially easy to get out of an elevator if you are under attack.

This is an outright lie and Laden needs to apologize. He is being blatantly dishonest, and he even undermines his own lie by posting two of the three comments Dawkins has made. He has been caught, much by his own fumbling hands, and he needs to own up to that. Forget all the stupid drama surrounding a guy who isn’t very good at interacting with women he doesn’t know very well. Laden lied, and unless his intelligence is as low as his general blogging quality*, he knows it. Grow up and say you’re sorry, Laden.

*I used to have his blog in the blogroll widget some time ago, but the guy makes consistently muddled, ugly posts with little useful content.

Update: I told Laden he needs to apologize for misrepresenting Dawkins’ statements. He has put all my comments in moderation. As is my policy, I will no longer post there (not that I planned on it anyway) since he is not trustworthy. Here is the last thing I said (who knows if it will appear):

There are three times when my comments get held in moderation. One is when there is a blanket policy for all first-time posters. The second is when it’s a Christian blog and my comments are likely to be edited. The third is right now. And per my policy when people show their cowardice, I’m out.

Now grow up, correct your blatant (and I would hope embarrassing) lies, and apologize, Laden.

Double update: Laden is claiming my comment wasn’t being held. This picture says different.

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15 Responses

  1. There are three times when my comments get held in moderation. One is when there is a blanket policy for all first-time posters. The second is when it’s a Christian blog and my comments are likely to be edited. The third is right now. And per my policy when people show their cowardice, I’m out.

    That’s about how it works with wordpress. But other blogs do it differently. I normally have to wait before I see comments that I post to blogspot blogs. I haven’t commented on enough scienceblogs to know how they handle it.

    For the moment, I’ll be generous to Greg Laden, and say that he completely misread and misunderstood what Dawkins posted. I agree with you, that an apology would be appropriate.

  2. I’ve read your comments on Laden’s blog, and based solely on those comments (freely admitting I know nothing else about you and may be in error) you appear to be a complete ass, and a clueless one at that. If such was not your intent, perhaps you should re-read your comments and try to see how they appear to others. Cheers.

  3. Your comments are not being placed in moderation. Lots of comments on that post and elsewhere on my blog are ending up in the moderation queue. I moderate on the basis of keywords, and I’ve added some during this discussion to keep the death threats and OT misogynist comments out, and you got lucky.

    Sorry you think I’m being dishonest, but you are wrong. Perhaps we simply disagree and this is how you deal with it. You’re welcome back to the blog any time.

    Cheers.

  4. Is there something I’m missing here? I don’t see why you believe that’s actually Richard Dawkins.

  5. Damn right, he should

  6. I was late to the party over at PZ’s site on the topic of Skepchick’s complaint, but I wanted to toss in my two cents, so I did it on my site. I think you’ll enjoy the read whatever your leanings on the particular subject.

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/skepchick-blues/

    Enjoy.

  7. The Atheists are beginning to self destruct…

  8. I’m glad to hear I made an error about the moderation, Greg, though I don’t plan on returning to your blog anyway for other reasons. At any rate, you still willingly misrepresented to your readers what Dawkins said. He would never tell women anything like that and you know it. For that reason you owe an apology.

    Michael – PZ confirmed it was Dawkins.

  9. I don’t mean this as like an attack or anything, I’m genuinely not following. What do you think Laden said Dawkins said that Dawkins didn’t say? I read “it is absurd to feel threatened in an elevator because they are easy to get out of.” Am I wrong?

  10. She makes a fair point, Mister Michael.

  11. In the part from Laden that I quoted, he says Dawkins claimed women should not be concerned for their safety. That is blatantly false. Laden also gave the distinct impression that Dawkins was talking about a situation in which Watson was under attack. The fact that Dawkins premised his argument on the basis that “zero bad” happened should have told Laden that he was not talking about an attack situation.

  12. He makes a fair point, Miss Ashley.

    Just doing my part to contribute.

  13. Okay… When in doubt return to the text…

    “Dear Muslima

    Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

    Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

    And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

    Richard”

    …and then later in another thread…

    “Many people seem to think it obvious that my post was wrong and I should apologise. Very few people have bothered to explain exactly why. The nearest approach I have heard goes something like this.

    I sarcastically compared Rebecca’s plight with that of women in Muslim countries or families dominated by Muslim men. Somebody made the worthwhile point (reiterated here by PZ) that it is no defence of something slightly bad to point to something worse. We should fight all bad things, the slightly bad as well as the very bad. Fair enough. But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad. A man asked her back to his room for coffee. She said no. End of story.

    But not everybody sees it as end of story. OK, let’s ask why not? The main reason seems to be that an elevator is a confined space from which there is no escape. This point has been made again and again in this thread, and the other one.

    No escape? I am now really puzzled. Here’s how you escape from an elevator. You press any one of the buttons conveniently provided. The elevator will obligingly stop at a floor, the door will open and you will no longer be in a confined space but in a well-lit corridor in a crowded hotel in the centre of Dublin.

    No, I obviously don’t get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting.

    Richard”

    … both of which appear in-full on Greg’s offending post.

    However, Greg did open with…

    “Recently, Richard Dawkins said (full quote below) that a woman should not be concerned about her own safety if she finds herself in an elevator (under some sort of threat, presumably), because it is trivially easy to get out of an elevator if you are under attack. I’m sure Richard is a very smart guy and maybe he’s right, but there is evidence to the contrary that women can just leave the scene if they are uninterested in being raped or groped.”

    …I call attention to “(full quote below)”

    Greg was certainly paraphrasing, and was offering his summary of the view expressed by Mr. Dawkins. in the following:

    “But not everybody sees it as end of story. OK, let’s ask why not? The main reason seems to be that an elevator is a confined space from which there is no escape. This point has been made again and again in this thread, and the other one.

    No escape? I am now really puzzled. Here’s how you escape from an elevator. You press any one of the buttons conveniently provided. The elevator will obligingly stop at a floor, the door will open and you will no longer be in a confined space but in a well-lit corridor in a crowded hotel in the centre of Dublin.”

    The crux of it is Dawkins does not perceive a threat. Greg did, I do, and Ms. Watson certainly did. And in the real world it was and is a very real threat.

    Further… Hyperbole is not a lie.

  14. Well, he didn’t say Dawkins said women shouldn’t be concerned for their safety in general, but that it was absurd to be concerned for your safety *on an elevator*. As Godfrey says, the difference is in threat perception, and I for one would find that circumstance very threatening.

    Dawkins doesn’t see a threat in the circumstance, but goes on to say that even if there was a reason that the confined space was a problem (implying threat) it would be trivially easy to get off the elevator, so the location in no way adds to the threat. Again, I read Dawkins as saying: 1. No physical harm means that no wrong was committed; 2. Even if there was a threat, an elevator is not any more dangerous than anywhere else because they’re easy to get off of; 3. Stop saying fuck so much.

    I disagree on all three counts. Dawkins is ignoring the fact that Rebecca repeatedly stated her wishes to not be hit on and to go to sleep. The threat comes from the elevator guy ignoring her other wishes and following her into a closed space to pursue an agenda that he knows is inappropriate (he says so). The threat exists already, the elevator just heightens it.

    So Dawkins is ignoring the threat, ignoring the circumstances, belittling reasonable fear and uncomfortableness, and mocking a woman’s attempt at a rational discussion of what makes women uncomfortable at cons. And I still don’t see where Laden lied.

  15. Yeah, the threat of coffee was indeed real. Though it’s probably too late to respond, these comments are simply too ridiculous to ignore, and Watson is apparently continuing to use her blog as a poorly-written tabloid to smear the characters of decent people (and sell hideous, overpriced merch!).

    First, Ashley, you and other idiot women like you seem to cry harassment and rape in every imaginable situation. No, not every guy wants to fuck you, so get over yourself. As for your arguments, they’re just as stupid as you appear to be. First of all, we have no evidence the elevator guy heard anything Rebecca said about being hit on or going to sleep, or that Rebecca *repeatedly* stated she wanted to go to sleep. Those are facts you simply made up. Second, there is no evidence the the elevator guy *followed* her. You made that up, too. Third, the alleged “threat” would exist whether the guy said anything of not. Fourth, it is not reasonable to be frightened of rape when going up a single floor in a five-story hotel hosting a large conference, on the last morning of the conference, when guests are already likely to be getting up. In fact, it’s downright paranoid, delusional, and histrionic; and as a woman, I certainly don’t want to come across that way. We participate in these conferences for the love of reason, not to see how bitchy we can be to each other. Yes, I said “bitchy.” Sue me. And finally, Rebecca is a known public liar, has bragged about the publicity the incident has brought her, has monetized the original video, and has take advantage of every opportunity to make money from this situation, constantly revising history in the process. I have no reason to believe a word she says.

    As for Laden, he’s a dufus who must’ve suffered head injury since his Harvard days and is also a proven liar, to boot. What a fabulous crew y’all make. Now go back to your nasty cult and leave the rest of us alone.

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