Monday, March 19, 2018

Atheist Amnesia: Michael Shermer Sexually Abused Women Too!

In the age of the "MeToo" movement, many men have been accused of sexual harassment. These accusations turned out to be true after many of the accused admitted to the crimes. No social institution or group is free of this evil. Atheists who often claim that they are more moral than Christians also have a problem with sexual harassment among their ranks. Last month, atheist physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss was accused by several women (see:  However, he was not punished for his actions. His place of employment did not even suspend him. While some have cancelled scheduled appearances by him, Krauss for the most part has remained shielded.  The atheist community has also been mute.  Perhaps attacking him will hurt the so-called "New Atheism" movement?  Atheists look at Krauss, Dawkins and others as leaders; in fact, I dare to say, in a "religious" way. 

The disgraced physicist is not the only one atheists have resorted to amnesia with. Dr.  Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of Heavens on Earth and other books has also been accused of sexual harassment and assault. Shermer claims to be a former fundamentalist Christian who saw the "light of reason." He writes a lot on psychology and neuroscience, but has no degree in the fields. His doctorate is on the history of science which he earned in 1991 at Claremont Graduate University.  Many atheists rely on his writings to make their arguments, especially on theists allegedly placing agency to things in nature which are attributed to God.  They rely Shermer for their conclusions without being honest that he is not an expert in the field. 

In light of this, many atheists hold Shermer in high esteem and are most likely shielding him.  In 2014, blogger PZ Myers who has taken on Shermer in discussions posted some emails where a women accused Shermer of sexual misconduct.  The blog post was picked up by BuzzFeed. A woman named Alison Smith accused Shermer of raping her. Shermer responded to the accusations by admitting that there was a sexual relationship, but that it was consentual (see:  Many more women have come forward accusing the atheist publisher of sexual harassment and sexual assault.  Despite the accusations, Shermer still has a job and a talk by him at City College (one of my alma maters) is still on. This is unfortunate and a shame for City College. The university system should not be a platform for those who abuse women or anyone. It is a slap to the face of victims.  Chemistry Chair Raeanne Napoleon even alerted the college's staff about the allegations in an email hoping to get a reaction that would shut down Shermer's event.  She did the right thing. Unfortunately, the college took another direction and allowed Shermer to speak. Many faculty and students were not even aware of the allegations by several women against Dr. Shermer.

Atheism has a big problem here, among others. The movement is run by affluent white males who have made a habit of silencing their female compatriots and have taken advantage of them professionally and sexually. Atheists love to bring up the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church from 2004, but fail to acknowledge their own problem with sexual abuse within their ranks.  While nothing can excuse abuse from Catholic clergy, the statistics pale in comparison with other groups.  Abuse from priests is less than 2%. Moreover, many of the sex abuse cases against priests are from over 40 years ago.  Many of the accused priests are dead or defrocked. The Catholic Church has done everything possible to prosecute the offenders and has taken action to prevent any new cases. What have atheist leaders done? Nothing at all!  They ignore women and protect abusers. This is why Mark Oppenheimer of BuzzFeed wrote an excellent piece on misogyny and how it will destroy the atheist movement. Atheists simply are indifferent to women and people of color.

Shermer, Krauss et al are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. I expect many more renown atheists to fall from grace as women pick up energy from the "MeToo" movement and out these perverts. Time will tell how successful it will be, but something has to be done to protect women and others. Shermer, Krauss etc must be punished for their abuse of women in one way or another. They cannot be shielded nor given a slap on the wrist. Similarly, atheists are mute against gay atheist activist David Thorstad who founded NAMBLA and is pushing for the legalization of man-boy relationships. This is just disgusting and the silence from atheists is deplorable.     


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