Laurence Krauss accused of sexual harassment

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In summary: I would not do it either but it is not assault.In summary, Lawrence Krauss is being accused of sexual harassment. He has denied the allegations and many others over the years. The story looks like opportunistic litigation.
  • #36
Dr Transport said:
If LK is guilty, let it be decided in the courts not the court of public opinion. If found guilty, every college campus would find it prudent to ban him from campus and if guilty he'd have to register as a sex-offender and be tracked for pretty much the rest of his life and given that, he'll have a rough time living anywhere in civilized society.
Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Once accused, it is difficult to recover. Specially rich is the claim that men want to deny women their reproductive rights; " rights over their bodies" ignoring the fact that when a woman becomes pregnant it is her and only her who gets to decide whether the pregnancy will be brought to term. The man involved has no say whatsoever, yet mist bear the cost of raising the child through adulthood, which may require getting an additional job, moving out of state, etc. And they forget to bring up, with their repeated cries of oppression across the ages, that women have lied men into raising children not their own for centuries. And that many men who were not property owners could not vote -- yet had to go to die in wars, unlike women. Cherry-picking, to say the least.
 
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  • #37
There are a lot of things people can do to ruin their careers that are not crimes - plagiarism, fraudulent research, verbally abusing colleagues, spouting racist opinions etc. one of those is sexually harassment.
 
  • #38
BWV said:
There are a lot of things people can do to ruin their careers that are not crimes - plagiarism, fraudulent research, verbally abusing colleagues, spouting racist opinions etc. one of those is sexually harassment.
Unfortunately, Sexual harassment is not objective. True, if a man gropes a woman against her will, this is Sexual harassment, but there is plenty of ground in-between and plenty of difference in the perception of what is acceptable. Then there is the possibility of misunderstanding/miscommunication, etc. that must be factored before concluding harassment took place.
 
  • #39
Greg Bernhardt said:
I think it a shows how much of a sad state our society is when the solution we give women is to learn how to fight. Let's just stop acting like total creeps.
strangerep said:
Easier said than done. The id got wired up for survival over millions of years. The id wants what it wants, and doesn't listen to reason or morals.
True. And if we add more tricky terms - like mental health and mental disorders - into the equation, we get a more complicated, but more realistic view of what the world really is like, i.e. there have been, are and will be troublesome people in the world. And I am sorry if I sound negative, but I believe creeps have always been around. It just takes time to uncover them. And sometimes they never get uncovered.

EDIT: We can also throw even more tricky terms into the equation, like alcohol and drugs, i.e. mind-, mood- and personality altering substances. So if a person has a strong id, mental health issues and substance abuse issues, things can get really complicated...
 
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  • #40
strangerep said:
Easier said than done. The id got wired up for survival over millions of years. The id wants what it wants, and doesn't listen to reason or morals.

It will take time - the first steps seem to have been taken, but a long way to go. Just look at Einstein. Great scientist for sure - but morally - not that lily white for want of a better word. And while Feynman's technique for picking up women is fair game in a free society - manipulating people like that is not the way I like things to be done.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #41
WWGD said:
EDITTalk about the hypocrisy of so many of the women's movements who constantly complained that their perspectives/takes were never aired under the (fabled, IMO) patriarchy, yet want to condemn all accused without giving them a chance to ...air their side

We have some vocal loony feminists, just as we have, purely as an example, some vocal loony aboriginals here in Australia. There are, fortunately not many, loons everywhere. But they are in the minority - most people can be reasoned with and via that debate and reasoning, through the democratic process, change will slowly occur. We will have setbacks etc - but I am confident over time things will improve.

Thanks
Bill
 
  • #42
One thing that hasn't been addressed here is that this isn't really talked about in school and that kids sometimes learn this behavior from books, movies, other media and other kids. It can be quite pernicious and hard to stop at this level even if we are proactive about it.
 
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  • #43
BWV said:

What is up with the world?

I've noticed two things happening with a lot of frequency lately and wonder if it's just that we now have more media coverage of them (and they've been happening all along) vs. there is an actual statistic uptick in this stuff.

1.) sexual harassment stuff of famous people
2.) threats of violence (where people post stuff on social media or random graffiti)...Just recently, former ASU DB football player was arrested for talking about "spraying the stadium." Locally, I saw a bunch of kids get arrested too for saying they were going to do stuff. None of those kids' threats turned out to be real thus far.

Is there some copycat stuff going on and/or get-out-of-school early pranks? Like kids just want to get to skip school and do this stuff as a joke?

It's like every week there's a new sexual harassment case of a famous person and now also some person getting arrested for making threats.
 
  • #44
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  • #45
bhobba said:
We have some vocal loony feminists, just as we have, purely as an example, some vocal loony aboriginals here in Australia. There are, fortunately not many, loons everywhere. But they are in the minority - most people can be reasoned with and via that debate and reasoning, through the democratic process, change will slowly occur. We will have setbacks etc - but I am confident over time things will improve.

Thanks
Bill
You're more optimistic than I am, Bill, I think it is the other way around: most people parrot the views of those around them -- I don't necessarily blame them, as the world is a complicated place and it is difficult to assess everything in its own terms -- and the ( at least commercial) media blow things out of proportion because this is more likely to improve ratings. Terms like "Rape", " Harassment" are thrown around very casually. However horrible it is when these things happen, it is not much better when someone is falsely-accused.
 
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  • #46
bhobba said:
I think anyone that is assaulted has the right to hurt more than the assaulter's feelings. The human body has a number of points of vulnerability - I will name one that is very well known - the carotid sinus - but many others exist. I think anyone worried about physical attack needs to go to some self defense lessons and learn them. Believe it or not Tai Chi when taught properly by a person that teaches it as a martial art does just that. Plus it has many other benefits such as relaxation etc. Yes I have learned it. Its primary defensive technique is run away to live and fight another day - it's all a set-up to get out of there as fast as you can.

Thanks
Bill

I wish that men would understand the reason most women have difficulty dealing with this. It has taken me a long time to be able to protect myself from harassment. I had to learn to set up each new relationship with a man to put me in the position that if I had to do something that hurt their feelings or ruined the relationship, that I could do it without hesitancy.

There is often a conditioning period that goes unnoticed- this does not usually come out of the blue. The guy you get along with well at work, that for some reason, you like him pretty well and helps things run smoothly because you get along with him or sometimes is your boss- it's often this guy. He's not usually a jerk to everyone. They throw little tests to see what they can get away with before doing anything against policy. I have a set of reactions that I use, but only add one when I encounter something new. For instance, one GM started kneading my thigh standing behind me once over my desk and it took me by surprise, I brushed his hand off but didn't say anything. The next time he did it, I fixed the problem by telling him coldly, not to touch me again. And when he tried to be an ass about me not turning in a report on time, I give it right back to him by auditing his department for deliquent accounts and refusing to close it for him. We did that back and forth until he give up on it. I experienced things like that frequently. Women have to pick and choose, or else they'll always have complaints ongoing. Other solutions have been enlisting one of the more alpha type co-workers to deal with it. I prefer going the informal route, as it seems to be the most effective for me. Sometimes, it's very hard, because it may be someone I like. You idolize a Professor that wrote software for Chandra, but what do you do when he asks you to stay after class to inspect a lab pc making noise and then proceeds to talk you into the damn closet- you just stand there hoping you're now sending the message, no! But you do realize he may have got the idea from you being so excited in class, he thought you were looking at him a certain way when you were just excited about learning! I would never file something formal in that situation and I think I stopped it pretty effectively on my own.

Keep in mind too, women work hard to ensure relationships are in harmony and they are far more hesitant to hurt feelings, upset coworkers and get into trouble. They are more vulnerable because of many, many reasons and it's in our nature. We have a hard time hurting other's feelings and it takes a lot of experience to be able to do it.

I personally come off as easy-going and passive most of the time (head in the clouds) and it makes me a target. So, I've learned to always tackle new men and groups to show them I won't take any sh*t from the start. I can come across as cold and rigid at first, but only because I plan ahead so that I can be myself later on. Which is actually nice, although many people dislike me from that. I love how open women can be, and they shouldn't have to change so much just to protect themselves. Women's social skills are often most valuable to many companies. I think that male coworkers should be the one's watching out for them.

And I wrote it's usually a guy that doesn't come off as a jerk, but I've noticed that the one's that do it most often are actually underperforming and causing problems for the whole group.

If there is heavy male competition going on, the incompetent one's may find younger males or females to pick on in the workplace. So, if you are a male that is showing the guy up and outperforming him, then it's your duty to ensure the loser isn't going around bullying on account of it. I think women should learn how to defend themselves and I think men should be taught how to ignore all the feminist nonsense and take up for the women in the group. At least keep their eyes open it happening and help her deal with it.

Just some thoughts. I could write a book about it.
 
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  • #47
Fervent Freyja said:
There is often a conditioning period that goes unnoticed- this does not usually come out of the blue. The guy you get along with well at work, that for some reason, you like him pretty well and helps things run smoothly because you get along with him or sometimes is your boss- it's often this guy. He's not usually a jerk to everyone. They throw little tests to see what they can get away with before doing anything against policy.
I actually am aware of this process. It is - if I do not misunderstand you - something which sometimes in psychology is referred to as "grooming" (operant conditioning). (Sidenote: Btw, I might as well mention that I have studied some basic psychology at university, and some more off university)
 
  • #48
DennisN said:
I actually am aware of this process. It is - if I do not misunderstand you - something which sometimes in psychology is referred to as "grooming" (operant conditioning). (Sidenote: Btw, I might as well mention that I have studied some basic psychology at university, and some more off university)

Yes, it has sometimes felt that way. I try not to like anybody until I can trust them. Because I am actually too soft with people I care about. When someone you respect or admire does it, it hurts and is confusing.

I think one thing media is missing, and it's big. Often, what people think is that the offender is simply sexually harrasing women only, as the guy doing it will have done it often before, however, those types also do it to younger or less experienced males in the same workplace! I have seen one guy that tried to do it to me, get brushed off by the more competent ones and go *straight* to young man and bully him.
 
  • #49
Fervent Freyja said:
[...] however, those types also do it to younger or less experienced males in the same workplace! I have seen one guy that tried to do it to me, get brushed off by the more competent ones and go *straight* to young man and bully him.
Urk -- that reminds me of a Jane Goodall documentary (the lady that studies chimpanzee communities in Africa). One particular male chimpanzee was so incredibly nasty all the time that Jane was quite unable to make friends with him.

If human, he'd be diagnosed as a psychopath and locked away. He was so "alpha" and extremely violent that he'd become used to having sex with any of the female chimps anytime he liked. Then, one time, a female chimp denied him, started screaming and running away. The male chimp couldn't handle the rejection. He started screaming in anger and frustration, and then began taking it out violently on all the other chimps nearby (who promptly scattered in all directions).
 
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  • #50
Fervent Freyja said:
When someone you respect or admire does it, it hurts and is confusing.
Yes, I understand that.
Fervent Freyja said:
I think one thing media is missing, and it's big. Often, what people think is that the offender is simply sexually harrasing women only, as the guy doing it will have done it often before, however, those types also do it to younger or less experienced males in the same workplace! I have seen one guy that tried to do it to me, get brushed off by the more competent ones and go *straight* to young man and bully him.

From what I know about this kind of people you describe is that they have a general problem with - or even disrespect of - personal boundaries. When people read what I wrote here people may think "duh, well, of course" :smile:. But I want to emphasize that this boundary problem is usually something than can be seen in other aspects of their life. They have trouble determining where the (psychological & physical) boundaries of themselves begin and where they end. Their boundaries get blurred with other people.

This can sometimes be seen with leaders who abuse their position and e.g. do financial scams and/or exploits people. Their boundaries have become blurred; they identify with the company or organization and act like they ARE the company or organization, and not a mere individual. This can also take forms of grandiosity.

Also, there is a term which can be one very useful early indicator (red flag) of troublesome people/organizations: love bombing. This technique is also something abusers, cults and scammers often use. If anyone is interested in e.g. psychological selfprotection you can e.g. google for more information about that topic ("love bombing").
 
  • #51
WWGD said:
Unfortunately, Sexual harassment is not objective. True, if a man gropes a woman against her will, this is Sexual harassment, but there is plenty of ground in-between and plenty of difference in the perception of what is acceptable. Then there is the possibility of misunderstanding/miscommunication, etc. that must be factored before concluding harassment took place.

A big problem is that women have to understand what is and isn't sexual harassment. Showing interest, whether they are in authority or not, isn't really sexual harassment to me.

Another issue I've had is determining the appropriate reaction. I have overdone it before, screaming at one guy not to touch me in the lunchroom, when he was only being friendly and touching my shoulder. I pretty much ruined that normally cheery relationship because I reacted too quickly without thinking.

Most women don't come forward and that isn't going to change. The males should just having periodical hunting parties to figure out which among them are the creeps doing it. Afterall, the ones doing it aren't making their jobs any easier. Still, a lot of female-dominated workplaces are still headed by men, so that might be a problem. I think a big problem with women working in male-dominated groups is that she doesn't have the same protection by other women than typical. Most female primates do work in groups and the purpose of that is to protect each other from sexual harassment by the male primates.
 
  • #52
Fervent Freyja said:
A big problem is that women have to understand what is and isn't sexual harassment. Showing interest, whether they are in authority or not, isn't really sexual harassment to me.

Another issue I've had is determining the appropriate reaction. I have overdone it before, screaming at one guy not to touch me in the lunchroom, when he was only being friendly and touching my shoulder. I pretty much ruined that normally cheery relationship because I reacted too quickly without thinking.

Most women don't come forward and that isn't going to change. The males should just having periodical hunting parties to figure out which among them are the creeps doing it. Afterall, the ones doing it aren't making their jobs any easier. Still, a lot of female-dominated workplaces are still headed by men, so that might be a problem. I think a big problem with women working in male-dominated groups is that she doesn't have the same protection by other women than typical. Most female primates do work in groups and the purpose of that is to protect each other from sexual harassment by the male primates.
Other than very clearcut cases such as unwanted groping, I don't think there is such a thing as a universal definition. There are different understandings of what constitutes or not harassment, then there is the possibility of misreading/misunderstanding, crossed signals to filter before concluding. My flirting, innocent joke may be harassment to you. This does not seem to be taken into account much by modern Feminists.
 
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  • #53
W [QUOTE="WWGD said:
Other than very clearcut cases such as unwanted groping, I don't think there is such a thing as a universal definition. There are different understandings of what constitutes or not harassment, then there is the possibility of misreading/misunderstanding, crossed signals to filter before concluding. My flirting, innocent joke may be harassment to you. This does not seem to be taken into account much by modern Feminists.

I don't take anything into account that the modern feminist thinks.

Where are they fighting for the girls being molested in childhood? Nowhere to be found. Feminists are a joke to me, being a survivor myself- I never saw them fighting for me or any other little girl, just themselves and their pay.
 
  • #54
Fervent Freyja said:
I don't take anything into account that the modern feminist thinks.

Where are they fighting for the girls being molested in childhood? Nowhere to be found. Feminists are a joke to me, being a survivor myself- I never saw them fighting for me or any other little girl, just themselves and their pay.

One of my dear friends identifies herself as a feminist, and she has also volunteered as a crisis counsellor where she has worked closely with women who had suffered physical or sexual abuse (including molestation during childhood), and continues to advocate for them. So I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss feminists in their entirety.
 
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  • #55
He's in a position where random female admirers might flock to him in awe. I'm not excusing his actions, but I bet he got a bit too ahead of himself on many occasions after a few drinks (or a cheeky recreational 'pick me up'). You see it a lot in media where celebrities take advantage of social encounters from adoring female fans.

He's a brilliant man, but his bedside manner obviously leaves a lot to be desired. If a random, blue collared Joe did the same, they wouldn't get away with it.
 
  • #56
I have thus far avoided wading into this discussion, but I'm frankly dismayed by some of the responses I've seen in this post, particularly the response of @skyshrimp in post #55. The specific charge laid by Melody Hensley, as outlined in the original article, came very close to rape/sexual assault (if not could be considered sexual assault in a criminal context). I certainly do not consider this behaviour to be someone who "got a bit too ahead of himself".

More broadly, I find it rather curious why so many (including some on PF, as well as many in the skeptics movement, as represented by CFI) are so quick to want to give Lawrence Krauss the benefit of the doubt and not want to give equal consideration to the charges laid by Hensley and others. As we have seen in many other contexts (Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey in Hollywood, Roger Ailes at Fox News, Matt Lauer on the Today Show, etc.), sexual harrassment and misconduct are something that too many women (and men) experience, and very often the perpetrators are people of power and prestige who abuse the power that they can wield. Lawrence Krauss may not necessarily be a boss, but he certainly has prestige within the skeptic community (and to an extent within the scientific community), so it shouldn't be outside the realm of possibility that he may have abused that position.

Furthermore, all too many women (and men) who have been victims of such abuse have often suffered in relative silence and refused to either report their abuse to the authorities or refuse to be open about their experiences because of the fear of not being taken seriously or face social stigma (or worse) if coming forward.

Given that risk of stigma, if a woman (or man) comes forward with allegations of misconduct, my default position on this matter is to believe the allegation unless I have clear evidence for not believing the allegation.
 
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  • #57
StatGuy2000 said:
I
More broadly, I find it rather curious why so many (including some on PF, as well as many in the skeptics movement, as represented by CFI) are so quick to want to give Lawrence Krauss the benefit of the doubt and not want to give equal consideration to the charges laid by Hensley and others. As we have seen in many other contexts (Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey in Hollywood, Roger Ailes at Fox News, Matt Lauer on the Today Show, etc.), sexual harrassment and misconduct are something that too many women (and men) experience, and very often the perpetrators are people of power and prestige who abuse the power that they can wield.

.
In my case, because it seems guilt is assumed, and many have paid a high price before going to trial. This does not seem right to me. Further, the Feminist movement seems to make no allowance for different takes on what constitutes abuse, misunderstandings, and crossed signals. So much for their constant complaints that their views were never aired under the "Patriarchy", so they now go on to condemn men without allowing them to give their side. Given their accusations will ruin someone's life, it seems only fair to try to pin them down; the accused will not likely pay anywhere as high of a price, even if the charges are thrown out.
 
  • #58
WWGD said:
In my case, because it seems guilt is assumed, and many have paid a high price before going to trial. This does not seem right to me. Further, the Feminist movement seems to make no allowance for different takes on what constitutes abuse, misunderstandings, and crossed signals. So much for their constant complaints that their views were never aired under the "Patriarchy", so they now go on to condemn men without allowing them to give their side. Given their accusations will ruin someone's life, it seems only fair to try to pin them down; the accused will not likely pay anywhere as high of a price, even if the charges are thrown out.

Again, my take is that if an allegation is made of abuse, that needs to be investigated, but the default position that I would advocate is to believe those who bring forward the allegations unless there is clear reason or evidence not to believe the allegation.

Another approach to think about this is to use probability. If say, an individual (let's call him Bob) is accused by, say, a woman named Mary that he sexually harrassed her. Without knowing more about the information, we would assign probability of Bob's guilt to be around 0.5 (reflecting a 50/50 chance of guilt or innocence).

But suppose another allegation comes forward, from another woman (let's call her Alice), who is unconnected from Mary. Then we would, according to Bayesian inference, use that additional data to provide a posterior probability of Bob's guilt in the case of Mary, which would be > 0.5 (I can come up with a more precise example, with appropriate calculations using Bayes theorem in a different post).
 
  • #59
StatGuy2000 said:
Again, my take is that if an allegation is made of abuse, that needs to be investigated, but the default position that I would advocate is to believe those who bring forward the allegations unless there is clear reason or evidence not to believe the allegation.

Another approach to think about this is to use probability. If say, an individual (let's call him Bob) is accused by, say, a woman named Mary that he sexually harrassed her. Without knowing more about the information, we would assign probability of Bob's guilt to be around 0.5 (reflecting a 50/50 chance of guilt or innocence).

But suppose another allegation comes forward, from another woman (let's call her Alice), who is unconnected from Mary. Then we would, according to Bayesian inference, use that additional data to provide a posterior probability of Bob's guilt in the case of Mary, which would be > 0.5 (I can come up with a more precise example, with appropriate calculations using Bayes theorem in a different post).
It may be more complicated than that, with accusations made some 10+ years after the fact, specially when the accused did not hold a position of power over the accused. Cognition is largely social, which makes it harder to pin things down. It would seem fair if the media made mentions of lawsuits by those claiming to have been falsely accused too. If a woman shows up at someone else's apartment after-hours , claiming rape makes the situation muddled, EDIT: same when the woman or both parties are drunk/intoxicated. All of this should be filtered, but it does not seem to be happenning. EDIT2: In addition, people are not likely to be as measured as you describe, IMO. Once accused, a person's life is ruined, at least for a large period of time.
 
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  • #60
StatGuy2000 said:
The specific charge laid by Melody Hensley, as outlined in the original article, came very close to rape/sexual assault
Police lay charges after a complaint is laid after an investigation.
Based on the complaint they would make a charge of attempted rape, sexual assault, or something else.
A trial would determine guilt or innocence.
It seems that the article has bypassed the justice system, discussing only her version of events and evidence, and has determined, or rather leads the reader to believe that the version written is the one and only correct version, along with the sympathy card to sway emotion to that end.
StatGuy2000 said:
Furthermore, all too many women (and men) who have been victims of such abuse have often suffered in relatively silence and refused to either report their abuse to the authorities or refuse to be open about their experiences because of the fear of not being taken seriously or face social stigma (or worse) if coming forward.
As I said, It seems that the article has bypassed the justice system. Perhaps the reason for that is that there is some problem with how cases of this sort are handled from start to finish. The court system is a kind of sterile and cold system where one has to lay open their soul, re-live an experience, and have their sanity questioned. An article such as the above gets to the heart of the matter, and if the accused wants to sue for defamation, well let them.
 
  • #61
WWGD said:
It may be more complicated than that, with accusations made some 10+ years after the fact, specially when the accused did not hold a position of power over the accused. Cognition is largely social, which makes it harder to pin things down. It would seem fair if the media made mentions of lawsuits by those claiming to have been falsely accused too. If a woman shows up at someone else's apartment after-hours , claiming rape makes the situation muddled, EDIT: same when the woman or both parties are drunk/intoxicated. All of this should be filtered, but it does not seem to be happenning. EDIT2: In addition, people are not likely to be as measured as you describe, IMO. Once accused, a person's life is ruined, at least for a large period of time.

But part of the very reason why accusations are made some 10+ years after the fact is that there is very real stigma and genuine fear of ridicule that often accompanies the victims of these cases. I personally know of a friend of my girlfriend who was raped by an older man back when she was 19 years old, and to this day (she is now in her 30s) she has not told anyone (besides myself, my girlfriend, and another close friend) about her experiences. She has not reported this to the police because she sees no point, as she doesn't think the police are either equipped to, or will take seriously, her claims (whether rightly or wrongly).

So just because the accusations come after many years does not mean the claims are not true.
 
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  • #62
StatGuy2000 said:
But part of the very reason why accusations are made some 10+ years after the fact is that there is very real stigma and genuine fear of ridicule that often accompanies the victims of these cases. I personally know of a friend of my girlfriend who was raped by an older man back when she was 19 years old, and to this day (she is now in her 30s) she has not told anyone (besides myself, my girlfriend, and another close friend) about her experiences. She has not reported this to the police because she sees no point, as she doesn't think the police are either equipped to, or will take seriously, her claims (whether rightly or wrongly).

So just because the accusations come after many years does not mean the claims are not true.
Yes, you're right, but it seems , IMO to make it less probable. And, I think your post sort of reinforces my point when you refer to what happened as a rape, which, AFAIK , is determined by a court: you are making a conclusive statement on a case that has not gone to trial; this perspective seems to outweigh what I would consider a more neutral one of speaking cautiously, so I emphasize the latter, to attempt to bring balance. Rape calls into question state of mind, intent, which are not so easy to pin down, specially years after the fact. Like someone else here said: What is the use of bringing up something that cannot be determined/decided? 10+ years after the fact, most evidence has disappeared, and it is essentially impossible to pin down the participant's state of mind at the moment the act happened ( Notice I am saying neither rape nor attempted rape, since the case has not been tried ).I agree that there may be cases as you describe, but it seems to me these are extreme. I may use Bayes myself adjust my views given additional evidence, but, so far, it seems this way.
And, BTW, in case it matters, I have had gay men hit on me in very aggressive ways, tho luckily they have not succeeded in going further.

EDIT: I am trying not to be indelicate here, still while trying to avoid neither of the two errors : Type I or Type II. Since it seems the opinions are weighted towards condemning those accused, I am weighing my input at the other end, just to balance things out, without in any way minimizing the seriousness of accusations nor the possibility of letting off a rapist.
 
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  • #63
StatGuy2000 said:
More broadly, I find it rather curious why so many (including some on PF, as well as many in the skeptics movement, as represented by CFI) are so quick to want to give Lawrence Krauss the benefit of the doubt and not want to give equal consideration to the charges laid by Hensley and others. As we have seen in many other contexts (Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey in Hollywood, Roger Ailes at Fox News, Matt Lauer on the Today Show, etc.), sexual harrassment and misconduct are something that too many women (and men) experience, and very often the perpetrators are people of power and prestige who abuse the power that they can wield. Lawrence Krauss may not necessarily be a boss, but he certainly has prestige within the skeptic community (and to an extent within the scientific community), so it shouldn't be outside the realm of possibility that he may abuse that position.

Furthermore, all too many women (and men) who have been victims of such abuse have often suffered in relatively silence and refused to either report their abuse to the authorities or refuse to be open about their experiences because of the fear of not being taken seriously or face social stigma (or worse) if coming forward.

Given that risk of stigma, if a woman (or man) comes forward with allegations of misconduct, my default position on this matter is to believe the allegation unless I have clearly evidence for not believing the allegation.

I worry about the last sentence, StatGuy2000. I would not take anyone's side by default, as that is simply a form of bias. I do understand your logic (I think it's natural to feel that women have much more to lose when coming forth with these sorts of allegations), although I think you discount all the other power dynamics (I would not doubt that some women take advantage of precisely the notion you're talking about and play the "why would anyone make this up" card in hopes it will gain them credibility) and "games" that can be involved in false allegations.

But, also, I think a lot of cases may involve neither blatant lies, nor definite truths, but rather misunderstandings of intentions.

I think of the case of Aziz Ansari, who was recently criticized for how he handled a sexual situation on a date. The women "accuser" seemed almost universally criticized (very often by fellow women) for being out of line with her misinterpretation of Ansari's actions as involving sexual misconduct. He immediately stopped when she showed signs of disinterest from what I understand. I have an entirely different set of sexual ethics than the secular world, as a Christian, so I wouldn't have even made such a move, but assuming people agree on some basic ground rules, I think there can be a lot of room for possible misreading of "cues" in these situations.

I'm not saying Lawrence is innocent, nor guilty here. I'd just hope to see all sides represented thoroughly before passing any potential judgment on his case.

I will say that I'm not surprised when powerful people are found out to have committed various types of abuses or misconduct and even used their power to cover for themselves. I've had "powerful" people in my own life that I've seen do really "scummy' stuff that they likely be embarrassed by if others knew out in public. I lost respect for these people when I saw their behavior behind closed doors. You really cannot judge a book by its cover. Successful, attractive, and powerful people are just as guilty of really scummy stuff as anyone else in life.
 
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  • #64
kyphysics said:
I worry about the last sentence, StatGuy2000. I would not take anyone's side by default, as that is simply a form of bias. I do understand your logic (I think it's natural to feel that women have much more to lose when coming forth with these sorts of allegations), although I think you discount all the other power dynamics (I would not doubt that some women take advantage of precisely the notion you're talking about and play the "why would anyone make this up" card in hopes it will gain them credibility) and "games" that can be involved in false allegations.

But, also, I think a lot of cases may involve neither blatant lies, nor definite truths, but rather misunderstandings of intentions.

I think of the case of Aziz Ansari, who was recently criticized for how he handled a sexual situation on a date. The women "accuser" seemed almost universally criticized (very often by fellow women) for being out of line with her misinterpretation of Ansari's actions as involving sexual misconduct. He immediately stopped when she showed signs of disinterest from what I understand. I have an entirely different set of sexual ethics than the secular world, as a Christian, so I wouldn't have even made such a move, but assuming people agree on some basic ground rules, I think there can be a lot of room for possible misreading of "cues" in these situations.

I'm not saying Lawrence is innocent, nor guilty here. I'd just hope to see all sides represented thoroughly before passing any potential judgment on his case.

I will say that I'm not surprised when powerful people are found out to have committed various types of abuses or misconduct and even used their power to cover for themselves. I've had "powerful" people in my own life that I've seen do really "scummy' stuff that they likely be embarrassed by if others knew out in public. I lost respect for these people when I saw their behavior behind closed doors. You really cannot judge a book by its cover. Successful, attractive, and powerful people are just as guilty of really scummy stuff as anyone else in life.

I had not intended to respond further to this thread, but I will respond to you since you have brought up the case of Aziz Ansari. This is precisely the example I was thinking of where I would believe the allegation of the party who theoretically have more to lose when bringing these allegations forward unless there is additional information out there which will lead me to reach a different conclusion.

With respect to this particular example, the very account made by the woman involved in the interview she has given is the best evidence of Ansari's innocence -- from what I've read and heard, while she clearly did not enjoy the date with Ansari, she had not been explicitly clear about whether she was consenting or not until the very end, in which Ansari stopped and respected her wishes. This particular instance highlights the importance of the necessity of clear communication between two parties, more than anything else.

However, Ansari's case is rather unique -- most public allegations of sexual misconduct that I am aware of are not like this. And from what I've read about the situation with Lawrence Krauss, it seems clear that miscommunication was not at all involved. So again, in the case of Krauss, unless I have reason to doubt the allegation made by Hensley (which I do not at this point), I will tentatively conclude that Hensley's account is credible and Krauss's account is not credible.
 
  • #65
StatGuy2000 said:
However, Ansari's case is rather unique -- most public allegations of sexual misconduct that I am aware of are not like this. And from what I've read about the situation with Lawrence Krauss, it seems clear that miscommunication was not at all involved. .

But that is part of the problem. How can you ( or anyone) know this if you have not heard both sides, and the case has not been tried? I have noted how difficult it is to communicate effectively at just-about any level. The message intended is very rarely the same as the one understood, even for very simple messages; I would think much more so for more complex situations such as this one. Leaving aside the obvious cases like unwanted groping, I think there is much more gray area than most Feminists are allowing for Let alone the "Baby with the bathwater" of condemning all men ( at least Straight Whites) when it is those in power who are ( allegedly) responsible for misconduct. I see it more as an issue of power dynamics than gender dynamics. EDIT: Given the seriousness of the issue and the consequences of doing either type-1 or type -2 errors, I think it is a good idea to avoid making assumptions either way and wait until the case has been tried. Yes, I am sorry that someone who is already shocked must re-live the experience in a trial, but we must also remember that the accused also has a lot at stake.
 
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  • #66
Krauss's response to this article.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IgAGpkAa2vwSMOtFD4iAfwfryTNJbJ_5/view

Also worth a listen, Sam Harris's comments (about two weeks old now).



Let's dispense with the knee-jerk reactions that most people seem to be taking, and the attempts at virtue signaling by immediately looking to destroy someone's reputation and life. Re-read the Buzzfeed article, taking particular note of the biases and language they use.

If you're not willing to critically evaluate this situation, then you have no business spouting off speculation that can ruin careers and lives.
 
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