#17: The Real Problem With Lindsay Shepherd.

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We switch things up a bit for this end-of-the-month episode and take a dive into the real story behind Lindsay Shepherd and how she tricked the media into attacking Wilfrid Laurier University, plus 2 news stories, our Skeptical Hero of the Month, and the most fun you’ll have this retrograde, Astrology!

SHOW NOTES

10/12 UK water firms still use divining rods to find pipes.

Paolo Zamboni realizes he’s a liar, comes clean about Liberation Therapy.

10 thoughts on “#17: The Real Problem With Lindsay Shepherd.

    1. What isn’t adding up? There’s no indoctrination here. We just look at the facts. Shepherd broke the rules. TAs are not allowed to teach their own curriculum unless approved by the actual teacher. The video clip was also irrelevant to the course content, and she gave a voice to a bigot as if there’s actually a debate about whether transgender people have rights or not.

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  1. I don’t think indoctrinated people recognize they are indoctrinated. My comment has little to do with the specific topic, on which you are incorrect but your obviously clouded judgement. That’s ok but it is funny because you consider yourself a skeptic.

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    1. How exactly do we come across as indoctrinated? You keep attacking us, you clearly haven’t listened to the show, and you’ve yet to bring a single argument or fact to the table. We are open to criticism and we’re willing to accept where we are wrong, however the onus is on you to back up your claim. You haven’t even said why or where we are wrong.

      Please, feel free to elaborate. We both do a very good job maintaining our skepticism, and we’ve even had to speak against topics we hold dear.

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  2. I will listen again and give you more details on how your discussion shows you hold an ideology. I am sure I don’t need to explain to you why it is that dogma destroys skepticism.

    Do you think it was wrong to play a clip of the debate without telling students how they should process it and what conclusions they should make?

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  3. You made the claim that Peterson was bigoted against trans people yet you provided no evidence. You said he felt that the changes to the Human Rights & Criminal code would lead to people being jailed for misgendering. That is an incorrect interpretation of the law (one that some trans activists and others have also made and have subsequently tried to wield.) Peterson misinterpreted a law, that is not bigotry. You claimed Shepard may have said bigoted things against trans people. Quote?

    You seem to believe the concept of words are violence. That is ideological not fact or evidence based. It is a belief that people need to be shielded from ideas. That is not necessarily true.

    At about 17:20 you framed Peterson’s debate about the changes people want to make to the English language as a debate about whether or not people should be allowed to harass trans people. Huh?

    It doesn’t matter if Shepard technically should or should not have shown that clip based on the syllabus. If that was the issue the professor should have said something like – hey that is off topic, next time don’t do that. Instead she was accused of committing gendered violence, committing transphobia and possibly breaking Canadian law. This was not mentioned at all in your discussion and instead you played off the meeting as a simple fact finding discussion.

    You don’t know how to differentiate between a person having rights and people enforcing action on others.

    You believed unconfirmed stories coming out after, while ignoring the fact that we have recorded evidence of ridiculous and threatening claims made by Laurier. Just an informal discussion to try to figure out what was going on while accusing her of breaking the law and committing gendered violence. Dude….

    Finally, you both devolve into conspiracy theories about her setting up this whole thing for financial gain.

    It’s ok to have your ideological beliefs but don’t kid yourself, you are not a skeptic when it comes to social topics you are biased by your ideology.

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    1. 1. Peterson is a bigot because he refuses to acknowledge the civil rights of transgender people. It’s all over his twitter, his blog, public remarks, etc. Peterson *intentionally* misinterpreted the law because he’s a bigot and doesn’t believe that transgender people should be protected under anti-hate speech laws. He refuses to acknowledge C-16 for what it actually is. I’d have to go back through the episode and update this, but I don’t recall saying Shepherd said bigoted things, however multiple students complained that other students were making jokes about trans identities.

      2. Words are not violence, and I don’t recall either of us ever claiming that. However, words can be used to commit a hate crime. This isn’t about shielding people from ideas, because being anti-LGBT is not an ideal, it’s just bigotry. I wouldn’t tolerate someone using racial slurs, and I won’t tolerate someone using slurs that are homophobic, transphobic, etc.

      3. If you refuse to acknowledge a transgender person a the gender with which they identify, that is harassment. If I referred to you as a male continually, (assuming, statistically, by your name that you are a female, and identify as such), how would you feel? Would that not be harassment? What if I referred to First Nations person as an “Indian” even though they are not from India, and expressly requested that I not use the term? That would be harassment and racism.

      4. It absolutely DOES matter if Shepard should or should have not shown the clip. That’s why she had that meeting (NOT “inquisition” as some claim). She broke a rule, she did her job poorly. That’s precisely what this was all about, until she went to the media. She was never accused of committing “gendered violence” or transphobia. The meeting WAS a fact-finding mission.

      5. I’m not sure what you’re getting at here, since you didn’t provide context to an obviously false claim.

      6. What threatening claims were made toward Shepard? Her job was not threatened. She was not threatened. Nobody accused her of breaking the law, she was accused of breaking the rules of her job, which she did. She didn’t even stop people from cracking jokes about trans people after the video.

      7. That was my opinion. I made it VERY clear that I suspect her of manufacturing the drama, hence why she recorded a meeting without consent of the other parties. It’s not a conspiracy theory, and I make it VERY clear that I have nothing to support that, it’s just a hunch. I did NOT say that I was certain of this or had any proof, just that her methods were suspect.

      This has nothing to do with ideology. All we did was spell it out that Shepard did her job poorly, and a discussion was had with her superiors. It’s rather ironic that you’re spouting unfounded nonsense about our alleged ideologies, but you can’t even accept that she did her job poorly. You seem to be blinded by the “free speech” ruse that Shepard is crying out for, despite it being total nonsense.

      – Mark

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  4. Are you sure you undersatnd the meaning of civil rights? If Peterson is arguing trans people should not have the same civil rights as all other citizens all over his twitter etc. I am sure you can produce this evidence. Where has he stated trans people should not have the same rights as all other Canadians do under the law? I expect you will be able to provide this.

    Bill C-16 didn’t implement hate speech laws that make misgendering hate speech. It doesn’t matter what Peterson or you believe should be covered under the Federal law. It is not a civil right to be able to force people to use the words you make up. At least not yet.

    You jump from the topic of people wanting to change gender language and claims that biological sex is a social construct to slurs. Not sure why. Maybe the case you are making is weak and this requires you to make up emotionally charged issues that aren’t part of the debate?

    You may need to research what a hate crime is. There has to be an actual crime and if there are indicators that the crime was perpetrated because of the victims protected identity the crime becomes a hate crime. Words cannot be used to “commit a hate crime” an actual crime has to have occurred. Speaking about how society describes gender is in no way related to crime and shouldn’t even be part of the discussion. Maybe you fell for propaganda or I am misunderstanding you.

    Do you have any Canadian precedent of someone being fined for harassment / discrimination solely for refusing to use new pronouns?

    On the recording Shepard asked what she was being accused of and she was told committing gendered violence and transphobia. Canadian law was brought up. When she asked who she comitted this against she was told “trans folks”. Seems like you need to take off you dogmatic glasses and review the evidence again?

    I love how you double down here revealing all your biases and belief in things you have not evidence for. (She didn’t even stop jokes)

    I didn’t say anything about whether or not she did her job poorly. I said if that was the only issue the administration wouldn’t be stating she has been accused of committing genedered violence but you ignored that part of the recording because it destroys the picture you are trying to paint here to protect your ideological team.

    Fantastic skepticism!!

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  5. I really enjoyed the podcast guys and it was interesting to hear about this incident from a different angle from how it’s generally being discussed in the media. Yet I do have to agree with Mae here. You might not realise it, but it is 100% obvious to me (and, I would claim, to almost any politically unbiased listener) that you are coming to the conversation from an ideological position. That’s absolutely fine btw, I myself am committed to social justice and an equal society for everyone, and I think it’s worth fighting for that. And there are also valid criticisms to be launched at how Lindsay Shepherd is handling the situation after the fact. But at the same time I personally would not consider the way you framed the issue to be a skeptical one. If it’s helpful to you, I can list the reasons, as constructive feedback which you can take or leave:

    – 13:16 – Right out the gate you present Peterson as saying “bigoted things things towards trans people”. I think that’s a valid opinion to have (and you *do* say it’s your opinion), but it is an opinion. Your bias if you will, i.e. there are equally valid opinions to the effect that what Peterson is saying is *not* bigoted and is a mere vindication of his right to use the language he wants, and that using (or not using) preferred pronouns is a matter of courtesy, civility and politeness, not something that should be framed by law. This is a matter that can be (and is) debated ad nauseam, and you have your opinion on this, and it seems to be that Jordan Peterson is being bigoted. In other words, you already have taken a position. Again fine, but by definition not “impartial” and certainly not skeptical. For obvious reasons that colours your entire perspective on this matter, and that’s before the substantive issue has even come up on the podcast.

    – 14:14 – “some students ended up complaining” – which is at the moment, not considered to be the case (my focus is on the “some students”). In fact, in the audio she asks whether it was one or more students who complained and was not given an answer for “confidentiality”, which as a lawyer I can tell you struck me as rather ludicrous. So from the audio, it may have been just one student. Later it was revealed by the college that there was no record of any complaint. Now, you might think this is pedantic, but I would argue that “some students” is already presenting the situation as stacked against the TA, because you are presenting as a fact that multiple people complained (thus legitimising the request for a meeting with faculty), when in fact as things stand today, not a single complaint has been found.

    – 14:26 – “Shepherd, unbeknownst to the faculty […] ended up recording the meeting and released it to the media” – absolutely 100% correct – this is what happened. Though it must be obvious to you how you haven’t even said what the controversy is about yet, and this sentence is already framing her as duplicitous and maybe even an attention-seeker. Which, I must stress – she might be – but this isn’t about whether what you’re saying is true or not, it’s about whether your approach is skeptical and un-ideological. I’m sure you see how you are coming into the conversation already having decided she’s the bad gal here.

    – 14:43 – “you had people running around claiming that free speech is dying on campus […] and how dare they etc.” – again, you are presenting the other side as “running around”, painting them in a ridiculous light etc. Here you’re not even trying to seem impartial on the issue, which is a real shame because I thought you made some really excellent points later in the podcast.

    – Generally on the occupational role of a TA, whether the Peterson video was relevant to the class, this was an entirely separate point from what the faculty raised in the meeting, which as Mae noted, was mainly focused on causing harm to trans students. I thought you made some great points here about the scope of her job, about relevance and also raised some (in my view legitimate) questions as to her possible motives, but this is not what the conversation with faculty was about.

    – 17:11 – “a political discussion about whether or not you should be allowed to harass trans people” – c’mon guys, this is not what that debate was about, it was about whether or not Canadians should be forced to use preferred pronouns. Now, you might think *not* using those pronouns is harassment, but that’s debatable (I disagree with that actually) and saying that that is what the discussion was about is framing it in line with a very specific ideology / worldview.

    I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you any more than I have. I hope this is taken in the spirit in which it’s intended. I enjoyed listening to you guys talk and you seem committed to a certain style of discussion. But to be able to present yourself as skeptical, I think there’s some work to be done, i.e. not coming into the conversation having made your mind up in a specific direction or at the very least making an attempt to present the other side’s view in a charitable light.

    In short – a fun social justice podcast, but not “critical thinking” by a long shot.

    Best

    Patrick

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