Author Topic: What would it take for you to stop listening to and/or supporting the SGU?  (Read 15818 times)

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Offline Eternally Learning

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This is a question that had been rattling around in my head for a while now as more and more questionable things occurred in relation to the show and its panel.  There have been some things that disappointed me but I could let slide because ultimately they aren't doing anything bad, just not doing things I think they should.  A good example would be that I feel they should be leading the discussion about sexual harassment and abuse within the community as well as how we should be parsing these disappointing and disgusting revelations as SkepticsĀ­.  There have been questionable choices that could potentially mean some pretty bad things but are ambiguous enough that I can't bring myself to jump to conclusions that would contradict what I've come to know about them over the years; hiring a pretty nasty lawyer to defend them and possibly the whole community against SLAPP suits for example.  And then there are things that absolutely rub me the wrong way and frankly shock me to see them do, but I'd be possibly willing to overlook in a vacuum because of how much good they've done, including for me personally.  I think of the recent promotion of Brian Dunning encapsulates this very nicely too.

Up until a few weeks ago, I had been reluctantly willing to more or less be disappointed and confused but still continue to support them, recommend them, and listen to them despite it.  I reached my breaking point however, when someone confided something in me (which I won't discuss or even allude to here so please don't ask and please don't hypothesise amongst yourselves either) that I just couldn't overlook.  Unless the SGU starts addressing these issues that I feel are incredibly valid and stops ignoring them altogether, then I just don't see how I can support them anymore and can't bring myself to listen to them anymore either.

So I guess the point of this thread is not to discuss my personal grievances with them, but rather to take the temperature of everyone else about what their current feelings about about the show and its panelists are, and what it would take for you personally to stop supporting them to. 

Offline daniel1948

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"Stop listening," and "stop supporting," are two different things, and for me would involve different considerations. I would stop supporting them if I were convinced that they were committing fraud, supporting bigotry, or actively opposing someone I like or approve of. Otherwise I'm just paying for a show I enjoy. I buy things I enjoy from people I dislike all the time. Most of what I buy comes from corporations I disapprove of. (My new car is one of the very few exceptions, since I really like Tesla.)

I would stop listening if the show stopped being entertaining or informative, and in that case I would also stop supporting it.

There are shows I listen to but don't support. I continue to find Skeptoid interesting, so I keep listening, in spite of my mixed feelings about Brian.

I cannot think of anything that seems likely the rogues would do that would turn me away from them, but then I don't have your information, and if I had it I might not trust it. I'm not sure how I feel about your statement that "somebody" told you something but you won't share it. It feels a lot like Joseph McCarthy waving his sheaf of papers and claiming they are "evidence" that there are two hundred (don't remember the number he asserted) communists in the State Department. Except more vague, since you're not making any specific claim or saying you have evidence, just implying that there's "something" bad enough, and that you trust enough to be true, to put you off them.

I think that if I knew, or thought I new, something that bad about someone, I'd either come out and say it, or not mention it at all. Give them a chance to respond, or just stop supporting them and keep my mouth shut. Not say "I heard something really horrible about so-and-so but I won't tell you what it is."
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Offline Nosmas

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"Stop listening," and "stop supporting," are two different things, and for me would involve different considerations. I would stop supporting them if I were convinced that they were committing fraud, supporting bigotry, or actively opposing someone I like or approve of. Otherwise I'm just paying for a show I enjoy. I buy things I enjoy from people I dislike all the time. Most of what I buy comes from corporations I disapprove of. (My new car is one of the very few exceptions, since I really like Tesla.)

I would stop listening if the show stopped being entertaining or informative, and in that case I would also stop supporting it.

There are shows I listen to but don't support. I continue to find Skeptoid interesting, so I keep listening, in spite of my mixed feelings about Brian.

I cannot think of anything that seems likely the rogues would do that would turn me away from them, but then I don't have your information, and if I had it I might not trust it. I'm not sure how I feel about your statement that "somebody" told you something but you won't share it. It feels a lot like Joseph McCarthy waving his sheaf of papers and claiming they are "evidence" that there are two hundred (don't remember the number he asserted) communists in the State Department. Except more vague, since you're not making any specific claim or saying you have evidence, just implying that there's "something" bad enough, and that you trust enough to be true, to put you off them.

I think that if I knew, or thought I new, something that bad about someone, I'd either come out and say it, or not mention it at all. Give them a chance to respond, or just stop supporting them and keep my mouth shut. Not say "I heard something really horrible about so-and-so but I won't tell you what it is."

TLDR: I own a Tesla. ;D

But really this is similar to how I view it and the reaction I had to the "I know something bad" statement. I have mostly stoped listening lately as I'm kind of tired of the show, it's format and topics. I'll probably pick it up again soon when I'm sick of current podcasts. I would only commit to not listening any more if I stopped finding the show entertaining and interesting, if they outright promoted something I'm very against or if they were exposed as hypocritical with regards to skepticism. Some major sacred cow like belief in a ridoculous conspiracy theory, or refusal to accept overwhelming scientific consensus would do it.
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Offline gebobs

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I'd stop listening if they all had a revelation and started god-bothering. ;-)

I know there's a lot of collective angst about Shermer, Joshie Berger, Dawkins, Krauss etc. and frankly I just don't have the time or energy to wade through all that crap to make any kind of informed judgment. Are they still buds with the Rogues? Should I care? As far as Dunning goes...not a big deal for me.

I don't like the ads for Blue Apron because they are non-GMO. Honestly though, I'm not sure if they still do ads for them. At any rate, I easily tune them out.

I don't support them financially. It's a worthy cause but my donations go to animal rescue and such. And I don't see the value in added content. The one show each week is enough for my Monday commute to Athens Georgia. I'm forever trying to catch up on the others.

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Thanks for bringing this up, Eternally Learning. This is a question I've really struggled with, too. On one hand, I've been a listener since the beginning, and am incredibly grateful for the role that the SGU has played in my life. On the other, I find a few of the SGU's actions, positions, and associations to be extremely troubling, and have caused me to question whether I should continue listening and contributing. I stopped contributing for a while because of Marty Klein and Marc Randazza, but now I'm back to contributing. I felt like the positive outweighed the negative.

I question whether I'm doing the right thing, though. The thing that troubles me the most is how the SGU often tries to sweep their mistakes under the rug. Where is the follow up on Randazza, Dunning, and Berger interviews? These are not pleasant issues to engage with, but the only way to improve the skeptical community is to have frank discussions about its flaws. I feel like the SGU has failed in this regard.

I'm very worried about whatever issue pushed you over the edge with your support of the SGU. It's discouraging to know that there is even more bad stuff out there than what I am currently aware of.

Offline seamas

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I don't know how the SGU needs to apologize or be held accountable for other people's behavior, if the behavior is unrelated to skepticism.
As for the lawyer, as scummy as he is, if I were taking up an anti-Slapp lawsuit, I'd give hiring someone who has experience a serious consideration--no matter his other positions and cases.

Offline daniel1948

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... I'm very worried about whatever issue pushed you over the edge with your support of the SGU. It's discouraging to know that there is even more bad stuff out there than what I am currently aware of.

Do we know that there is more "bad stuff"? We only know that one person was told something that disturbed him but that he's unwilling to share. In my opinion, it is extremely bad form to say of someone "I know some horrible stuff about so-and-so but I won't say what it is." The implication is "If you knew what I know, you would not like that person either."

What's been said cannot be unsaid, but IMO Eternally Learning should have stuck with the issues he's willing to talk about, without adding ... and I know something terrible about them also.... Especially when that something terrible is hearsay.

I'll base my opinions and support or non-support of the rogues on their performance on the show and what's publicly known about them. If there are allegations I'll try to judge those as well as I can, taking into account my best judgement of the reliability of the accuser. But I will not be swayed by hints that an unknown accuser has made unknown allegations.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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On one hand, I've been a listener since the beginning, and am incredibly grateful for the role that the SGU has played in my life.

Slightly OT, but would you mind laying out the role it has played in your life? I'd be curious to learn. :)

Offline seamas

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I cannot think of anything that seems likely the rogues would do that would turn me away from them, but then I don't have your information, and if I had it I might not trust it. I'm not sure how I feel about your statement that "somebody" told you something but you won't share it. It feels a lot like Joseph McCarthy waving his sheaf of papers and claiming they are "evidence" that there are two hundred (don't remember the number he asserted) communists in the State Department. Except more vague, since you're not making any specific claim or saying you have evidence, just implying that there's "something" bad enough, and that you trust enough to be true, to put you off them.

I think that if I knew, or thought I new, something that bad about someone, I'd either come out and say it, or not mention it at all. Give them a chance to respond, or just stop supporting them and keep my mouth shut. Not say "I heard something really horrible about so-and-so but I won't tell you what it is."

Agreed.


Offline mindme

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I think if the show members suddenly became religious and proselytized on their show, started proclaiming some pseudo science was real, became overtly political (of course I'd have a higher tolerance if they were more left), or went the Sargon/MRA route and started attacking feminists and social justice issues, I'd probably stop listening. I'd probably stop if one of the cast members committed a really horrible crime (rape/murder) or became an unrepentant harasser of women. I think the male cast are all married. I might feel bad if I found out, say, Dr. N cheated on his wife (and the other woman was a consenting partner) but I probably wouldn't stop listening. If Dr. N. or Evan etc developed a rep for chasing skirts and making women feel uncomfy, I would stop listening.

Ultimately a podcast is partially about the material but also about the relationships I form with these people who talk between my ears. They are friends to me even if they don't know who the fuck I am. If they became slime dogs, no matter how informative they were, I'd probably chuck them. Like, I can't pick up a Richard Dawkins book anymore because I just can't take the guy as a decent human being anymore.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 02:43:01 PM by mindme »
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Offline Ah.hell

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I don't support them so that's not an issue.

I'd stop listening if:
They got boring
They started flogging some obvious woo.
They started flogging something that was dubious without acknowledging that the science wasn't firm.
They started having folks like Randazza on on a regular basis.
They started wading into politics much more.  A little if fine but I have other folks I listen to for that.

I don't fault them for hiring Randaza, seems like he's a good choice for an anti-slap suit, I do fault them for giving him a microphone.  Aside from his doucheyness, the interview was just out of character for the podcast. 

I still listen to Skeptoid despite my belief that he never really came close to acknowledging his own guilt.  His various statements all come across as a bit self serving. 

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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It remains to be seen if EL will reveal what he has in mind. He (she?) has sort-of thrown the bait here.

Like, I can't pick up a Richard Dawkins book anymore because I just can't take the guy as a decent human being anymore.

Has Dawkins done anything worse than some obtuse comments on social media? I have never heard of him ever being accused of being a harasser or anything of the like. I think he has made some mistakes (on social media), but is nowhere near beyond the pale. (And pointing out absurd Islamic beliefs are not among the mistakes.)

Offline 2397

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Their main strength is that they're a group of 3-5 talking each week. If it gets boring was my first point too. One person talking, or two people tag teaming, it's just not as engaging as a conversation.

Sometimes I get annoyed with the topic itself, but the main segment that I skip, especially on a second listen, is the interview.

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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On one hand, I've been a listener since the beginning, and am incredibly grateful for the role that the SGU has played in my life.

Slightly OT, but would you mind laying out the role it has played in your life? I'd be curious to learn. :)

I've struggled with a serious health issue for many years that has often led me to be very socially isolated. When the SGU started (and I was fortunate to discover them almost immediately!) I was completely alone, had no college degree, and was very uncertain about the direction of my life. The podcast ended up being one of the bright spots in my life every week. I began to think of the rogues as my "friends" (I hope that isn't too weird or messed up). It was wonderful to listen to conversation from people who shared my interests, my general approach to logical thinking and analysis, and my sense of humor. They made me feel less alone. Over the years, I pursued a career in STEM, and got my bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees, worked in research, and am now a professor. During times of adversity and loneliness, I always saw my time each week with the SGU as a pleasant escape.

I'm sure that I've put Steve and the rogues on too much of a pedestal over the years, and this has made me react especially strongly when I've perceived them as making serious errors in judgement. Above all, though, I've been disappointed by their resistance to acknowledging or discussing these controversies.

Offline superdave

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I stopped listening a long time ago but more because of boredom than anything else.
I got into the podcast at an exciting time for skepticism.  it was hot on the heals of the creationism trial in dover and the autism vaccine nonsense.  It seemed like we were actually winning. 

But the podcasts and the movement's relationship to social issues did start to bother me more and more over time. 
I disavow anyone in the movement involved in any illegal,unethical, sexist, or racist behavior. However, I don't have the energy or time to investigate each person and case, and a lack of individual disavowals for each incident should not be construed as condoning such behavior.