Claus Larsen and SkepticReport

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The only time I ever heard of Claus Larsen and Skeptic Report are when Claus shows up here to make a fool of himself by acting at the archetypal “Skeptic” who has no appreciation whatsoever for how the process of inquiry and debate operate, for nuance or context, or for that matter, simple truth and dealing with fact. His latest stroll through my blog had him demanding evidence for claims I had made about Thunderf00t’s video, when I had made no claims whatsoever about any such thing. He also brought along a “when did you stop beating your wife” sort of question regarding

THIS IS A LINK to that conversation.

At first I found this annoying, then I realized that Claus is a Poe. He’s totally made up. No one can be that absurd without doing it on purpose.

But, then I realized that if Claus was here he’d DEMAND EVIDENCE that he is a Poe. And I don’t really have any. He’d be right.

So, I’ve put this blog post up for anyone to add any information, in the comments, about Claus Larsen and SkepticReport. Do you know who this guy is? Have you met him in real life? Is he really as silly in person as he presents himself on his site and in comments on other people’s sites?

Also, and this question is a bit trickier. His activism against sexual harassment guidelines at conferences seems to be way over the top for anyone. If he is a Poe that is easily explained. If he is not a Poe, then how do you explain that? Any ideas?

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28 thoughts on “Claus Larsen and SkepticReport

  1. But, then I realized that if Claus was here he’d DEMAND EVIDENCE that he is a Poe. And I don’t really have any. He’d be right.

    True. There is plenty of evidence he makes a house brick look intelligent, but nothing that suggests he is a poe, other than surely no one can be as stupid as he claims he is and still be able to sort of communicate.

  2. Nah. I’ve seen equally stupid things in all sorts of issues. The important part to realize is that the stupidity of the argument they are making is irrelevant. All that matters to them is scoring imaginary debate points.

    I have a feeling over the next 24 hours we’re going to see levels of stupid previously unheard of.

  3. Claus Larsen used to be a prolific poster on the JREF Forum (as CFLarsen or something similar, I believe). He is an incredibly stubborn and persistent discussant, which has led him to defend some rather absurd propositions at great length.

    Some of his greatest hits there include his vow that sky marshals were a terrible idea, because “If I ever see a man with a gun on a plane, I’ll kill him,” an endless debate about legs and drumsticks, and whether snakes have eyelids. Try some searches for those if you’re up for some entertainment.

    He became a bit of a laughingstock there and then stopped posting (I’ll give him credit for sticking the flounce, though apparently he still liked to hang around the Forum and send PMs to people he disagreed with).

    He is absolutely not a Poe, but he is ridiculously stubborn. For what it’s worth, folks who have met him in real life insist he’s a very nice guy.

  4. In case Claus Larsen is, as his name suggests danish, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf on all danish people capable of rational thought.

  5. claus>But where’s your proof that your comments about that conversation are about that conversation? </Claus

  6. He is real. He posts frequently on JREF, as CFLarsen. I have probably bumped into him at TAMs, and online have found him to be a bit of an argumentative dick.

  7. Ohhhhhh Claus Larsen. Yes. I had a very unpleasant encounter with him at Facebook recently, in which he asked me repeated rude aggressive I-demand-to-know questions about why I had concerns about TAM and DJ Grothe. He’s Danish – and that’s the only factual thing I remember.

  8. I have one of those Facebook comments right here in my pocket:

    Ophelia Benson,

    You could be right, because you keep changing the reason why you aren’t going. Originally, you gave the same reason as Rebecca: You didn’t feel safe at TAM as a woman, and that’s how you initially started in this thread. But look at the reason you gave later: You have been harassed because you are a speaker at TAM. Which has nothing to do with the issue, namely sexual harassment of women *in general, and among the audience by male speakers*.

    Like Rebecca, you conflate what happens outside TAM with what happens – or, rather, does not happen – at TAM. Whatever bad has happened to you outside TAM is very deplorable, BUT IT HAS NO BEARING ON YOUR SAFETY AT TAM.

    Which leads us back to my initial question: Since you have NOT been harassed *at TAM* for being a speaker at TAM, or as a woman, there is no reason for you not to go. Yet you refuse to do so.

    Your reasons are your own, how plastic they may seem. But please do not claim they have anything to do with what actually happens at TAM, because that is demonstrably not true.

    That leads me to conclude that you clearly are having some hidden agenda here. Whether or not we will learn what it is, is entirely up to you.

    P.S. No, I didn’t “just” become FB friends with Travis Roy. That goes back a while, I cannot remember how long ago it was. Even so, it does not mean that I am “bullying” you, nor does it mean that there is a conspiracy to “bully” you, or to make “the bitches stfu”. As others have pointed out, such accusations are childish. I will add paranoid as well. Just because you are not met with instant agreement does not mean the world is out to get you.

    This is why I emphasize the need for the mess to stop. It has already gotten out of control, with raging paranoia being exhibited by both sides of the fray, but especially from your side. Unfortunately, I see no willingness from your side to solve this, mend fences, and move on, so we can focus on the work we do.

  9. That was on Rob Tarzwell’s post about the 2 incidents of harassment at TAM last year. Larsen started by demanding “why are you refusing to go to TAM?” – which was odd, because I wasn’t. This was before the threatoid emails. I was asking questions and expressing doubts, I wasn’t refusing to go. Plus I didn’t know this Claus Larsen from Adam; why was he interrogating me like a cop? It was very weird, and obnoxious.

    Rob kept telling him to knock it off, and finally blocked him.

  10. Claus Larsen is one of those bigoted @$$holes who calls himself a skeptic, but does not behave consistently. He is actually a denialist, a least on this issue of Thunderf00t having a sexist bias in dismissing the concerns about sexual harassment at skeptic conferences. I find him very dangerous.

    I had someone pull that sort of stunt against me in a Facebook group on the issue of global warming. He kept demanding proof for global warming when I had already explained why it was indeed scientifically credible. After attempting repeatedly to explain why that troll’s bigoted assumptions about the issue were misplaced, I finally blocked him.

    Demanding evidence for something when the evidence has already been presented is LYING. And a genuine skeptic does not lie. Claus Larsen is a fraud.

  11. The most infamous moment of stupidity on his part at the jref forums:
    “if I see someone with a gun on a plane I’ll kill him”

    Think “Sky Marshalls”? Think that guns on a plane is a good idea?

    Sorry, I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to even contemplate the possibility of him being a “good guy”. It takes less than 5 minutes to fly from any NY airport to WTC, and I do not have time to check with authorities to see if the guy with the gun is a “good guy” or not.

    I’ll kill the f***er. On the spot. No questions asked. He’s dead.

    What will you do?

    someone replied “of course you would, mr bond.” and I just about lost it.

    The thread is typical of his arguments, even now.

  12. Ophelia, had your opinion about why one might not gone to TAM changed over time, that would also have required explanations and evidence! Why would one have a particular opinion and never change it as facts and circumstances changed. That would be … DOGMA!

  13. You can’t prove that Chris Larsen is a real person instead of a poorly engineered artificial intelligence designed by theocrats to destroy the atheist movement!

  14. OK so I’ve met Claus and he’s real, although in person he’s more just kind of awkward and not nearly as obnoxious.

    You absolutely have to find his posts on the JREF forum. They are the funniest, ever. The “legs are drumsticks” conversation makes me lol every time I look at it. And I look at it several times a year, probably, whenever Claus pops up on a new site that hasn’t banned him yet, which is why I have it close at hand.

    Here, take this gift:

  15. NP. I forgot about the “I would kill an air marshall” thread that screechymonkey mentions. That was also wonderful. I don’t have the link handy but google should help.

    the tl;dr is that if Claus saw anyone on a plane with a gun, even an air marshall, he would murder him on the spot with his own wings. I mean hands.

  16. the tl;dr is that if Claus saw anyone on a plane with a gun, even an air marshall, he would murder him on the spot with his own wings. I mean hands.

    Don’t you mean that “Even though Claus to cut or divide with a saw anyone covering or wrapping a flat or level surface accompanied by a hired killer, level an oxygen Male name, he would flock of crows him atop the stain accompanied by his possess wings” ?

  17. If I recall correctly, Larsen was the reason I quit visiting the JREF forums 7 or 8 years ago. He’d figured out the identity of one of the regular woo-woo posters there and started making a series of “I know where you live” type posts. The woo-woo took it as a threat and freaked out. I couldn’t blame him, especially when Larsen (if that’s who it was) erroneously posted information not about the woo himself but about a teenage female relative. The mods did nothing.

  18. Rebecca, for some reason his responses in that thread made me really mad. I guess it’s the hyper-skepticism coupled with high school forensics, but I just keep reading it in the context of the inane problems people have with having a fucking code of conduct at conferences and generally being civil to other people and want to burn things.

    I did get three pages in, though.

  19. Don’t know SkepticReport, except that he may be the fool who made some posts about the Randi Challenge, and criticized me without having understood any of the content in the articles I wrote.

    Moreover, he cherry-picked my publications, focusing only on my alternative and complementary health work, while ignoring all my most important publications on health care finance and biostatistical research.

    Feel free to scroll through his moronic comments on – just search for “SkepticReport” to get past all the unrelated stuff.

    He clearly either did not read my critique of the sham Rosa therapeutic touch article in JAMA on April Fool’s Day, 1998 or, perhaps more seriously, simply couldn’t understand the simple statistics presented in the article that made it clear that none of the conclusions advanced by the Rosa gang were in fact supported by their data. See, for example: Cox, T. (2003). A nurse-statistician reanalyzes data from the Rosa therapeutic touch study, Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9(1): 58-64.

    As to the Randi Challenge, it is, of course, a joke. Unlike science, the entire effort in the Randi Challenge is to set someone up who likely does not understand experimental design, and create a testing paradigm guaranteed to result in testee failure. Then, of course, one does not, in general, advance directly to the $1,000,000 prize. One generally has to pass through multiple levels of challenges to get to that point. Since there is generally a high probability of failing at each testing level due to poorly designed testing protocols, the likelihood of passing all the different challenges is millions of times smaller than the standards any reputable scientist would employ.

    In referring to my Rosa article, the dunce posted:

    Post by SkepticReport » Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:06 am

    What are Cox’ arguments? All Cox does is say that the reanalysis suggests contradictions to the author’s conclusions.”

    As in the standard approach of showing that the data do not support a specific set of conclusions…

    I’m guessing that SkepticReporter has no scientific credentials, no scholarly preparation, and quite likely that the closest he comes to publishing is making whacky posts on websites…

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