Mar 04 2014

Very pointed

Hey remember the other day – February 27th it was, last Thursday – I wrote a post about how Ben Radford wrote a post about False Accusations of Sexual Assault? And how it was more or less simultaneous with one by Carol Tavris on the same subject? And how it all seemed rather pointed? And then Orac wrote one? About conflicts of interest and how Ben Radford hadn’t disclosed his?

Yes well today Radford did a public post on Facebook that was a photograph of his lawsuit against Karen Stollznow. That was a secret last week but now it isn’t.

So Radford’s post last week looks even more pointed once you know that, doesn’t it, and the conflict of interest looks even more undisclosed.

I don’t know: that’s not what I ever thought blogging was for.


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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Filed 17 February. So he started a lawsuit claiming Karen Stollznow was making false accusations, and then published an article for CFI deploring false accusations. Did CFI know what he was doing? Did Radford’s lawyers know what kind of game he was playing?

  2. 2


    Agree with PZ, As I was reading the FB post I was thinking his lawyers must be face palming.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson


    And if CFI didn’t know what he was doing…dang, I bet they’re annoyed with him now. There are a lot of lawyers in that organization.

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    His lawyers should be fine with it though. He’s getting lots of valuable support on that Facebook post.


  5. 5
    Maureen Brian

    Support, maybe. Valuable? Well, that I question.

  6. 6

    I read some of the comments. One commenter said that since he did not harass her or anyone she knows, then he must be innocent of all sexual harassment anywhere. The lack of logic is quite remarkable.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    Heh. That was heavily sarcastic, Maureen. I included a close-sarcasm thing but it didn’t show.

  8. 8

    I note that he’s calling Karen Stallznow a “former lover”… I don’t recall that detail.

  9. 9
    Maureen Brian

    I know, Ophelia! I couldn’t resist piling on just a bit more. Lack of self-control.

  10. 10

    Hahahaha ohhhh this is going to play out well. Now I am not a lawyer, but IIRC, in order to successfully win this suit, Radford would have to prove that Stollznow’s statements were not only harmful and false, but negligently (or perhaps recklessly?) so. I believe he is a public figure, so I think that’s what it is… but if you don’t trust me, listen to Ken White. Money quote:

    …the Supreme Court held fifty years ago that when someone makes a false statement about a public official’s official conduct, the official can’t prove defamation without proving actual malice — that is, without proving that the defendant acted knowing that the statement was false or reckless disregard as to its truth.

    So by my understanding, if Radford can’t prove beyond a preponderance of evidence that Stollznow was completely lying, he cannot possibly win. But then again, people go to school for a long time and get paid a lot of money to understand these things better than me, so there’s my disclaimer.

  11. 11

    What I find interesting is that a couple of people have said this has split “the community.” As if the community is all about these 2 people and no other issues. I guess points to people’s desire for tribalism and need to feel relevant

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    Also as if, for the sake of keeping “the community” unsplit and undivided and all on the same page, we’re supposed to accept bad behavior without complaint.

    Yes, let’s agree on all the things and ignore all the bad conduct, and that way we will have a fabulous Community of Skeptics.

  13. 13

    And just focus on chupacabras and big foot and none of the pesky social, human stuff…

  14. 14

    Yes, let’s agree on all the things and ignore all the bad conduct, and that way we will have a fabulous Community of Skeptics.

    That strategy has worked so well for the Catholic Church hasn’t it?

  15. 15
    Tom Foss

    I’m gonna guess that, since (as I recall) Stollznow previously made official complaints about Radford’s behavior, and that since it’s been corroborated and we’ve seen some of the e-mails and whatnot, that Karen probably has some documentation to substantiate her claims. In which case Radford’s best hope is that the suit is so expensive that he’ll bankrupt Stollznow with court costs.

    Gee, seems skeptics were fighting against just that kind of silencing, bullying tactic not so long ago. But I guess there’s a major difference between Simon Singh and Karen Stollznow.

  16. 16
    Tom Foss

    It’s also great to see Radford going for the “crazy ex” claim. Just in case you hadn’t gotten the message that he’s a giant misogynist shitweasel.

  17. 17

    Slight OT for Ophelia: in order to produce the < sign, you need to type in “&lt;”. That’s little L rather than capital i. “LT” standing for “less than”. The corresponding opposite is “&gt;”.

    The commenting field reads HTML tags, and assumes that anything within <tag> brackets is a tag, and sends it straight through to be included as an HTML tag on the page. &lt; is a way of substituting in a special character; the one for the ampersand symbol is “&amp;”, for instance.

  18. 18

    Noticed on Orac’s post

    I’m not sure what the fallout will be, however. Mr. Radford has friends high in the skeptical movement, and I know from various sources that he is not pleased with me. Oh, well…

    He’s already been inducted into the “rageblogger” category, with statements like this he is clearly an #FTBully too!

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