Author Topic: What would it take for you to stop listening to and/or supporting the SGU?  (Read 17378 times)

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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. :)

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.

I feel you man. I don't have the same background as you do, but the SGU and affiliated outlets (Neurologica) have been my main intellectual influences as a skeptic, and generally really. If asked to define "skeptic", I'd root for Steve's definition. I wish I too had discovered the SGU much earlier than I actually did. I think we all may have put them on pedestals over the years.

One thing that I have found that helps is trying to have more skeptical influences than just one, the SGU in this case. To recognize that the skeptical movement is not just made up of one outlet, but many. It makes it easier to acknowledge that they are merely faulty humans. And that mistakes will be made is unavoidable.

I'd wish the SGU took more interest in the various issues of the skeptical community. It's bad enough that they still link to Michael Shermer's site, or that he is able to keep on without any consequences, including being a columnist at Scientific American. At the same time, the pushback against Lawrence Krauss is encouraging. It might be a turning point within organized skepticism and atheism. At least we can hope so.

It should also be remembered that there are many skeptical groups around the world that should not be tarnished by failures within American organized skepticism. When the allegations against Krauss were fist published, I saw quite a few British skeptics on Facebook lash out hard, trying to make sure that no skeptic group in the UK invites him, and to "be better than the American skeptics" (not exact quote). The Australian Skeptics Inc also made a strong statement on Krauss:

Quote
ASI and the various skeptical groups around Australia take the issue of harassment (sexual or otherwise) very seriously. We have behaviour policies in place and robust processes that ensure that any complaint is dealt with immediately and appropriately. We also do not invite speakers whose behaviour we suspect could cause attendees or other speakers to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or threatened.

In that context, and based on what we know, ASI will not be inviting Prof Krauss to any events in the foreseeable future.
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Online Eternally Learning

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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.

Sorry, I realized after the fact that I maybe should have just said nothing about it, but by then the damage was done.  I was not trying to rumor-monger, I was just trying to say that I'd found the thing that pushed me over the edge, and wanted to know what would it take for everyone else.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 08:32:19 AM by Eternally Learning »

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Everyone here has had different experiences with the show and has different reasons for listening and/or supporting them.  For me, it's almost entirely because I valued the integrity with which Steve approached everything, regardless of whether the answer would be something he'd prefer or not.  The fact he's apparently pretty much not responding to anything and has done some other things I find questionable runs completely contrary to that.  Coupled with the fact I've grown to really need the show less, it just made it a clearer answer for me.

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.

I don't ask them to apologize or be held accountable for any actions but their own.  In terms of the grievances I've mentioned, it mainly boils down into two categories: I'm disappointed with them not addressing large and important issues within the community that they are long-time leaders in, and I'm angry and disappointed that they've not responded in a meaningful way (or at all) to valid questions about their conduct. 

With the former, I know it's long stood that they seem very averse to stepping into any political or socially contentious conversations as they say that they want to focus on science and skeptical news.  The thing is, there are some real and deep schisms that are widening with every passing day in the Skeptical community because of these issues and almost all of the conversations are taking place among angry people with much smaller and ubiquitous built in audiences.  The SGU is one of the most universally respected groups in the entire community and Steve is one of the most universally respected people.  As far as I'm aware, they have the largest regular audience of any podcast dedicated to skepticism.  They are the perfect show with the perfect format to talk about how we, as skeptics, should be dealing with the #metoo movement.  What is the best way, as skeptics, to deal with the common perception of a conflict between actions which leave very little evidence but yet when ignored cause massive harm?  It would be immensely effective if they showed their audience how to process each accusation against famous skeptics and atheists as they happen so that they can spread that around.

If I had to guess, I'd say they are just afraid that taking any stance will instantly polarize a large portion of their audience against them, but that is a pretty disappointing and cowardly way to approach a topic and it seems absolutely contrary to how they would approach any other topic in the main stream consciousness.  That said, while it really disappoints me to see them not stepping up, I can more or less forgive them for it since they at least aren't doing any harm by not talking about it.  It's maybe akin to the deputy that didn't go into the Parkland school when he heard the shooting; incredibly disappointing that he didn't step in and attempt to help, but I can't really shit on him too much for it since it's only natural to not want to die, which he almost certainly would have I'd think.

With the latter, I'm much more upset with them.  For instance, when it came out that at least Jay and his wife were told that Joshie Berger had beat his girlfriend before he was invited back on the show, Steve just dropped in to say that he was sad about the news and would not have Joshie back on the show, but never addressed the biggest issue that it appeared like it was only the public learning of it that prompted this action.  Maybe that's the case, maybe it's not, but Steve won't say so we can't know either way.  I don't like something that serious being left unanswered because it seems to be taking advantage of our skeptical nature to avoid the issue; we can't know for sure that it happened so we can't throw around any real accusations.  Then, even worse with Dunning, Steve said that he and Brian would be on hand to talk about it and it never happened.  Brian stayed around for a minute, berating and dismissing out of hand any concerns raised, and Steve said nothing about essentially asking his listeners to donate to a man who was convicted of fraud and is apparently unrepentant about it.  As for Randazza, I've never hired a lawyer before and certainly not to defend myself in a SLAPP suit, so my point is not that they are wrong because I can see many potential reasons for why they may have wanted to choose him.  My point is that who he is seems to be at extreme odds with who I think the SGU is and I would really like them to say something about why that is and why it's not problematic for them.

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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One of the rogues talking about a former wife (girlfriend?) in derogatory tones bothered me. That was quite some time ago. The original female British voice of the podcast was summarily removed, what was that all about? Did she request to be removed or was her former rogue partner feeling butthurt?

Offline random poet

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One of the rogues talking about a former wife (girlfriend?) in derogatory tones bothered me. That was quite some time ago. The original female British voice of the podcast was summarily removed, what was that all about? Did she request to be removed or was her former rogue partner feeling butthurt?
That was Bob's ex wife putting on an accent (badly). She was not British. When they had the opportunity to get Iszi to record a proper version, they took it. (Also, who would wants to listen to one's ex-partner's voice every week?)

But yeah it doesn't sound like Bob's on good terms with his ex.

For the original question, I haven't listened to a whole episode in like a year or more.
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Offline DevoutCatalyst

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That was Bob's ex wife putting on an accent (badly). She was not British. When they had the opportunity to get Iszi to record a proper version, they took it. (Also, who would wants to listen to one's ex-partner's voice every week?)

But yeah it doesn't sound like Bob's on good terms with his ex.

For the original question, I haven't listened to a whole episode in like a year or more.
Haha, I thought the original voice sounded better, shows what I know. But really calling your ex psychotic or whatever he said (don't quote me) seems a bit unfair being as she can't give her assessment of him and have it memorialized in a podcast.

Offline Ah.hell

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Haha, I thought the original voice sounded better, shows what I know. But really calling your ex psychotic or whatever he said (don't quote me) seems a bit unfair being as she can't give her assessment of him and have it memorialized in a podcast.
I found that distasteful as well.  Its one thing to do that when hanging out with your brothers, almost expected, but when you and your brothers are recording a podcast?

Offline daniel1948

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Everyone here has had different experiences with the show and has different reasons for listening and/or supporting them.  For me, it's almost entirely because I valued the integrity with which Steve approached everything, regardless of whether the answer would be something he'd prefer or not.  The fact he's apparently pretty much not responding to anything and has done some other things I find questionable runs completely contrary to that.  Coupled with the fact I've grown to really need the show less, it just made it a clearer answer for me.

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.

I don't ask them to apologize or be held accountable for any actions but their own.  In terms of the grievances I've mentioned, it mainly boils down into two categories: I'm disappointed with them not addressing large and important issues within the community that they are long-time leaders in, and I'm angry and disappointed that they've not responded in a meaningful way (or at all) to valid questions about their conduct. 

With the former, I know it's long stood that they seem very averse to stepping into any political or socially contentious conversations as they say that they want to focus on science and skeptical news.  The thing is, there are some real and deep schisms that are widening with every passing day in the Skeptical community because of these issues and almost all of the conversations are taking place among angry people with much smaller and ubiquitous built in audiences.  The SGU is one of the most universally respected groups in the entire community and Steve is one of the most universally respected people.  As far as I'm aware, they have the largest regular audience of any podcast dedicated to skepticism.  They are the perfect show with the perfect format to talk about how we, as skeptics, should be dealing with the #metoo movement.  What is the best way, as skeptics, to deal with the common perception of a conflict between actions which leave very little evidence but yet when ignored cause massive harm?  It would be immensely effective if they showed their audience how to process each accusation against famous skeptics and atheists as they happen so that they can spread that around.

If I had to guess, I'd say they are just afraid that taking any stance will instantly polarize a large portion of their audience against them, but that is a pretty disappointing and cowardly way to approach a topic and it seems absolutely contrary to how they would approach any other topic in the main stream consciousness.  That said, while it really disappoints me to see them not stepping up, I can more or less forgive them for it since they at least aren't doing any harm by not talking about it.  It's maybe akin to the deputy that didn't go into the Parkland school when he heard the shooting; incredibly disappointing that he didn't step in and attempt to help, but I can't really shit on him too much for it since it's only natural to not want to die, which he almost certainly would have I'd think.

With the latter, I'm much more upset with them.  For instance, when it came out that at least Jay and his wife were told that Joshie Berger had beat his girlfriend before he was invited back on the show, Steve just dropped in to say that he was sad about the news and would not have Joshie back on the show, but never addressed the biggest issue that it appeared like it was only the public learning of it that prompted this action.  Maybe that's the case, maybe it's not, but Steve won't say so we can't know either way.  I don't like something that serious being left unanswered because it seems to be taking advantage of our skeptical nature to avoid the issue; we can't know for sure that it happened so we can't throw around any real accusations.  Then, even worse with Dunning, Steve said that he and Brian would be on hand to talk about it and it never happened.  Brian stayed around for a minute, berating and dismissing out of hand any concerns raised, and Steve said nothing about essentially asking his listeners to donate to a man who was convicted of fraud and is apparently unrepentant about it.  As for Randazza, I've never hired a lawyer before and certainly not to defend myself in a SLAPP suit, so my point is not that they are wrong because I can see many potential reasons for why they may have wanted to choose him.  My point is that who he is seems to be at extreme odds with who I think the SGU is and I would really like them to say something about why that is and why it's not problematic for them.

I agree with much of what you say. I would like the rogues to address issues within the skeptic community. It's one of the many things I miss since Rebecca left the show. But I also understand their desire to keep the show about science, though that would be a lot stronger if they didn't spend so much time talking about their personal lives and their love of space opera shows. I don't think I've ever known anybody with whom I've agreed on everything, so even though I'd prefer they address the issues of harassment within the movement and take a stand openly against individuals who've committed acts of violence, I'm not prepared to stop supporting them on the grounds that they've chosen to avoid those topics.

If it came out that any of them had committed an act of violence, and that person were not roundly condemned and kicked off the show, that would make me quit supporting them, though I might still listen as long as the show continues to be informative and entertaining.

I've had friends who I deeply disagree with on important matters. As long as they are not personally cruel, and as long as they do not advocate depriving others of basic rights. Maybe my bar for cutting people off is higher, because my own personality makes it hard for people to like me, and that carries over here.
Daniel
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Offline Ah.hell

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If it came out that any of them had committed an act of violence, and that person were not roundly condemned and kicked off the show, that would make me quit supporting them, though I might still listen as long as the show continues to be informative and entertaining.

Surely there must be some qualifiers on that?  If one of them had been in a bar fight 20 years ago, would you really care?  If not I'm sure there's some threshhold of violence that would transition from not caring to not listening anymore?

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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One of the rogues talking about a former wife (girlfriend?) in derogatory tones bothered me. That was quite some time ago. The original female British voice of the podcast was summarily removed, what was that all about? Did she request to be removed or was her former rogue partner feeling butthurt?
That was Bob's ex wife putting on an accent (badly). She was not British. When they had the opportunity to get Iszi to record a proper version, they took it. (Also, who would wants to listen to one's ex-partner's voice every week?)

But yeah it doesn't sound like Bob's on good terms with his ex.

I thought it way Jay's ex. But in any case, I can't hold it against any podcast producer that they don't use their ex as intro voice.

For the original question, I haven't listened to a whole episode in like a year or more.

To relate to the original question, how come?
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Offline DevoutCatalyst

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I thought it way Jay's ex. But in any case, I can't hold it against any podcast producer that they don't use their ex as intro voice.

Who would ever know? I think that's petty.

Offline seamas

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With the former, I know it's long stood that they seem very averse to stepping into any political or socially contentious conversations as they say that they want to focus on science and skeptical news. 
That is their mission statement from the very beginning. There are PLENTY of other people that can bring in the other stuff if they want.


The thing is, there are some real and deep schisms that are widening with every passing day in the Skeptical community because of these issues and almost all of the conversations are taking place among angry people with much smaller and ubiquitous built in audiences. 

I see no reason for them to jump to a sideshow.

 They are the perfect show with the perfect format to talk about how we, as skeptics, should be dealing with the #metoo movement.
Why? As much as I support the #metoo movement, them getting into it would be far outside their mission statement and their expertise.  Nothing perfect about them getting into areas that fall outside--well outside their mission statement.

It would be immensely effective if they showed their audience how to process each accusation against famous skeptics and atheists as they happen so that they can spread that around.
They aren't lawyers. They shouldn't be expected to parse testimonials. Skepticism can help, but most of what is involved here is not much more than testimonies.
It's maybe akin to the deputy that didn't go into the Parkland school when he heard the shooting; incredibly disappointing that he didn't step in and attempt to help, but I can't really shit on him too much for it since it's only natural to not want to die, which he almost certainly would have I'd think.
That's a fucking crappy and heartless analogy.  There mission is NOT to police the community for anything other than scientific integrity.

Offline daniel1948

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If it came out that any of them had committed an act of violence, and that person were not roundly condemned and kicked off the show, that would make me quit supporting them, though I might still listen as long as the show continues to be informative and entertaining.

Surely there must be some qualifiers on that?  If one of them had been in a bar fight 20 years ago, would you really care?  If not I'm sure there's some threshhold of violence that would transition from not caring to not listening anymore?

Yes, you are right. I was just trying to say that if one of them turned out to be an s.o.b. who hurt people it would turn me against them. But a decision to stay out of personal and political issues is, in itself, not enough to make me stop supporting them. There are things that annoy me about them, such as spending air time talking about fantasy, or Jay's over-the-top enthusiasm for unlikely things (e.g. his rant about how FSD cars would enable your hotel room to detach from the building and pick you up at the airport) or their occasional praise of meat. But none of these is going to make me quit supporting them. As for the Randazza thing, when you're being taken to court you want the best lawyer you can get for the type of case, and if they felt he was the best, that's fine with me. I have a low opinion of lawyers generally. As for bringing Dunning on the show, I'd not have done that, but in the catalog of crooks, he's pretty small potatoes, and again, not that big a deal for me. In fact, I could argue that bringing Dunning on the show they just gave him the rope he needed to hang himself.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. They are doing good work, and that's good enough for me. They're not perfect. Obviously, some of that stuff is so important to some folks that they cannot give their support. But nobody's ever going to do things exactly the way I think is best, and I appreciate when people do something that is good.
Daniel
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Offline random poet

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One of the rogues talking about a former wife (girlfriend?) in derogatory tones bothered me. That was quite some time ago. The original female British voice of the podcast was summarily removed, what was that all about? Did she request to be removed or was her former rogue partner feeling butthurt?
That was Bob's ex wife putting on an accent (badly). She was not British. When they had the opportunity to get Iszi to record a proper version, they took it. (Also, who would wants to listen to one's ex-partner's voice every week?)

But yeah it doesn't sound like Bob's on good terms with his ex.

I thought it way Jay's ex. But in any case, I can't hold it against any podcast producer that they don't use their ex as intro voice.
Not sure, I might have substituted a brother, there.
For the original question, I haven't listened to a whole episode in like a year or more.

To relate to the original question, how come?
Lack of time, shifting interests, disillusionment about the skeptical scene.

Also, if only iTunes could play podcasts at x2 speed, I might actually still listen, maybe?
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Offline Ah.hell

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Also, if only iTunes could play podcasts at x2 speed, I might actually still listen, maybe?
Pocket Cast, anything under 1.5x sounds like everyone's drunk.

 

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