Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Fafarman, Take 3

Okay, I know you’re all probably tired of Fafarman by now, but I saw this comment on his blog and just had to copy it here. This tells you all you need to know about his dramatically inflated sense of self-importance:

BTW, PvM, my blog has been in existence for over a month and now has about 20 controversial articles dealing with the evolution controversy, but no Panda’s Thumb article has yet taken a swipe at this blog. How do you explain that if I am supposed to be such a big crackpot?

Here’s the rule when you deal with cranks and trolls – if you engage them, it proves that their ideas have to be taken seriously; if you ignore them, it shows that you’re afraid of their ideas. Heads they win, tails you lose. That’s why there’s really only one way to deal with them: mock the hell out of them. No, it won’t actually deflate them any, but it at least turns the annoyance into a bit of amusement.


  1. #1 Jim Anderson
    May 21, 2006

    Here’s what I posted over on Larry’s blog:

    “My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.”

    –Larry Fafarman

    His reading difficulties apparently extend to his own writing.

  2. #2 Jim Anderson
    May 21, 2006

    (Damn you, scienceblogs formatting demons.)

  3. #3 pimothy
    May 21, 2006

    Larry afaict deleted my comment. But Ed clearly explained why PT does not take much time to address his musings, mostly because most of them have been shown wrong in the past and additionally because, well, noone really cares about what Larry has to say. I doubt that Larry’s understanding of evolution exceeds or even approaches his flawed understanding of issues of law.

  4. #4 pimothy
    May 21, 2006

    never mind the posting is still there. Seems to me Larry is desperate for some attention by PT… That would first require him to make a posting worthy of such attention.

  5. #5 Rilke's Granddaughter
    May 22, 2006

    This comment by Larry pretty much sums up his complete inability to construct a coherent argument: “But the mere act of attempting to amend could be considered amendment, whether or not the amendment is accepted by the court.”

    I think that says it all….

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    May 22, 2006

    Yep, I think you’re right. Larry will be swayed by neither facts nor logic. That’s why he’s not worth replying to with anything other than derision.

  7. #7 dogmeatIB
    May 22, 2006

    That is amusing. It’s like a dimwit building a Corvair in his garage wondering why the Big Three haven’t contacted him to discuss his design philosophies for next years car models.

  8. #8 Colleen Keating
    May 22, 2006

    It’s not even like someone building a Corvair in their garage. It’s like a monkey trying to build a Corvair with a hammer and some scraps of metal. Think, opening sequence of Space Odyssey: 2001. His latest post is complaining how Blogger doesn’t display “most recent comments.”

    So he’s come up with a hackneyed way of updating a single post in the comments to let people know there is a new comment.

    Maybe if he knew how to use Google to get code for his blog, he’d also know how to use it to find sources demonstrating that (gasp!) the Holocaust actually happened.

  9. #9 Dave Fafarman
    May 24, 2006

    Hi. This is Larry Fafarman’s brother Dave. I recently took some time to review the Panda’s Thumb blog and Larry’s “I’m from Missouri.”

    I should’ve commented sooner; the thread has gotten a bit stale.

    I was deeply saddened by the hostility and derision that were expressed toward Larry in many of the posts. And even more so that he unfortunately deserved them. So this is not a criticism of those who lost their tempers with Larry (for that matter, I have often lost my temper with him). I also think the Panda’s Thumb group acted properly in expelling him.

    What I would ask of those who interacted with Larry is that they try to find some understanding and charity in their hearts. And perhaps even look for ways that he can contribute (that would be hard).

    He obviously is not stupid. He writes well (which is probably how he gets the amount of traction that he does). He is very knowledgeable in many areas (knows quite a bit of history and geography, for example). He has a legitimate master’s degree in mechanical engineering. But there’s clearly some disconnect in integrating his knowledge, and what appears to be an ulterior agenda. It does not seem to be possible to engage in normal discussion with him. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps he is addicted to the adrenaline rush he gets from conflict, as the issues he gets passionate about are often those that will maximize dissension.

    His health has not been good for several years (he used to be somewhat more sociable). It prevents him from doing things he used to enjoy, so he has the combination of too much free time plus feelings of frustration, and intimations of mortality that animate a “search for meaning”. It is to those factors that I attribute his current argumentativeness. What he needs is neither pity nor anger, but perhaps mainly patience. It is not good to humor him.

    Well, enough about Larry. I’d like to digress to other issues that readers will probably consider more on-topic anyway.

    In response to Larry, several bloggers presented interesting discussion. Not being myself a lawyer, I found comments by Colin and Kevin particularly informative. I’m now much clearer on the legal role of nominal damages. So, my thanks to them and others (as well as sympathy for the irritation and time spent).

    Regarding the “Intelligent Design” theory, I agree that it cannot be taught in public schools, on “establishment” grounds (as well as the deleterious effect it would have on science education). I’m also a member of NCSE.

    It should be noted that the Catholic Church has reconciled itself to evolution (somewhat surprising, is it not?). Although an atheist, I’m a “Christian atheist” rather like Oriana Fallaci. I consider Ms. Fallaci to be not only a heroine of our time, but a heroine for the ages. Did you know she recently had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI? Here’s what she said:

    “I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger.” I had asked Ms. Fallaci whether there was any contemporary leader she admired, and Pope Benedict XVI was evidently a man in whom she reposed some trust. “I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. It’s that simple! There must be some human truth here that is beyond religion.”

    Why Oriana Fallaci received a Papal audience: http://www.hvk.org/articles/0905/38.html

    Another article about Ms. Fallaci: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20359

    Regarding the legal strategies that were used in the Dover school case, I think they were appropriate there. But I had serious misgivings in reading them, recognizing that those same strategies have been misused. For instance, there was the ACLU suit in San Diego that resulted in the Boy Scouts being driven from their facilities in Balboa Park, with the award of attorney’s fees from the San Diego city treasury. I do not approve of that.

  10. #10 Raging Bee
    May 24, 2006

    It should be noted that the Catholic Church has reconciled itself to evolution (somewhat surprising, is it not?).

    Not at all — they learned their lesson from that whole “geocentrism” dust-up awhile back. Also, they’re secure enough in their faith (fifteen-hundred-some-odd years and counting!) that they don’t need to lie to other people’s kids to “protect” it.

    Anyway, welcome aboard, whether or not what you say about Larry is true. Though I’d be a bit careful about how close you get to Fallacci — I’ve heard she’s gone a bit over the deep end since 9/11 and the murder of Theo Van Gogh.

  11. #11 John Wilkins
    May 24, 2006

    Dave, not that I want to out Larry’s problems or anything, but does he have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder? That would explain his behaviour. If he had something akin to Asperger’s, then he would be intelligent, but slightly or greatly monomaniacal, combative, unable to see when he has given offense, or why people took offense. Asperger’s are wonderful people but they can be very difficult to get along with. The expression “would aregue with a signpost” comes to mind.

  12. #12 Dave Fafarman
    May 25, 2006

    This is the REAL Dave Fafarman, Larry’s brother. Larry informed me that some lousy SOB has impersonated me on this thread, and I am really pissed off ! I demand that the offending post be removed immediately !

  13. #13 Reed A. Cartwright
    May 25, 2006

    “Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Dave, and this is my other brother Dave.”

  14. #14 Dave Fafarman
    May 25, 2006

    To Raging Bee: Going “over the deep end” about 9/11 and Theo Van Gogh is obligatory. Those totalitarian creeps would never permit us to even have these discussions.

    To John: Thanks for the suggestion. I took a look on the ‘net regarding the subject.

    To Reed: Yeah. *Sigh*

  15. #15 Raging Bee
    May 25, 2006

    Dave: Are you pissed because someone really imped you here? Or is Larry pissed because you described his emotional problems to us?

    Not that I really care, it just seems wherever the name “Fafarman” appears, wierdness follows in its wake. Just sayin’…

  16. #16 Raging Bee
    May 25, 2006

    Using the “View Source” function and my own totally inexpert eyes, I find that “the REAL Dave Fafarman” (any relation to the “Real IRA?”) posted using a different TypeKey profile from both the first (long) post and the one responding to myself and Reed. The latter two are from the profile “davefxx”, the “REAL Dave” is from the profile “DavidFafarman”. Not that that says a lot, really…

  17. #17 W. Kevin Vicklund
    May 25, 2006

    Dave, I thank you for the compliment. While I am not a lawyer, my professional responsibilities require me to interpret statutory law (for me, mainly the National Electrical Code). It has been quite informative, for me at least, to engage your brother. I regret that he is so unwilling to be persuaded by positive evidence – on a number of occasions he has brought up points that were worthy of further discussion, but productive debate with him has proved impossible.

  18. #18 W. Kevin Vicklund
    May 25, 2006

    By the way, davefxx is a profile that has been used by a Dave Fafarman from California for a number of years. Either he is the real deal, or someone really did their research.

  19. #19 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006

    It’s not enough to do their research. In order to post with that nickname, he had to provide the password for Typekey. The first Dave is the real Dave Fafarman. That has been confirmed a number of different ways now, including from Dave himself. The second Dave was actually Larry Fafarman, pretending to be Dave to make it look like the real Dave was fake. And making himself look a whole lot worse in the process.

  20. #20 Dave Fafarman
    May 25, 2006

    Ed Brayton said to me in an email (and this is a quote): “I can’t imagine why you aren’t furious about it” (i.e., about Larry’s impersonating me). It’s pretty gross, all right (but I make allowances for Larry). However, although I believe Larry was first to suggest the possibility of impersonating people, he was NOT the first (afaik) to actually do so. That dubious distinction belongs to this poster:

    Dave Fafarman. said…
    > Desperate, exasperated, frustrated, etc., whatever you want to call it, I made him look like a stupid fool. < Actually you are making yourself look like a stupid fool constantly. You don't seem to understand a single thing that is posted here. The arguments seem to go over your head, just like the legal opinions that you pretend to analize. Cut off this blog. You are an embarrasment to the family. Sunday, May 07, 2006 8:04:35 AM ... Larry Fafarman said... Dave Fafarman ( not ! ) said -- >>>>>Actually you are making yourself look like a stupid fool constantly. You don’t seem to understand a single thing that is posted here. The arguments seem to go over your head, just like the legal opinions that you pretend to analize.

    Cut off this blog. You are an embarrasment to the family.< <<<<< Now some sleazeball is impersonating my brother ! How do I know ? No. 1 — my brother would not say something like that. No. 2 — my brother knows how to spell “analyze” and “embarrassment” (the latter misspelling might have been just a typo, but the former was too obvious). I am seriously starting to consider breaking my no-deletions policy by deleting obvious impersonations on this blog. Call me a hypocrite if you want. My promise of no censorship did not obligate me to accept this impersonation crap. Sunday, May 07, 2006 10:07:31 AM ======================= So, Larry apparently decided it was OK to impersonate me as well. I think this must be on the “two wrongs make a right” theory. Larry’s exhortation to people to “stop impersonating my brother” is thus (A) overly broad and (B) hypocritical, in that there exist two instances and his is one of them. As to whose behavior was more unethical, I would say it was this first violator. Also, while it is generally considered permissible to use “anonymous” or a pseudonym, IMO hiding behind a pseudonym while mounting highly personal attacks BY NAME on someone is also cowardly and just plain wrong (even worse, doing it at HIS BLOG!). To Larry’s credit, he has not as yet removed the above posting from his blog, despite having been accused of doing so. Incidentally, Larry had some time back invited me to read and presumably participate in his blog. I should have known better than to do so in any manner (and in fact resisted until I started being impersonated on it). Larry should have known that I often do not support the causes he gets exercised about. One of these days he may start pushing something I agree with … a prospect which I find disconcerting to say the least. :-)

    BTW, we have here the best example I can recall ever seeing of what is bad about impersonating people.

  21. #21 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006

    Dave (and yes, this is the real Dave)-

    I do not read Larry’s blog as a matter of course. I just don’t much care if anyone has been impersonating you on his blog. On my blog, there is only one person who has been impersonating you, and it’s Larry. And then he lied about it, repeatedly, even after being caught.

  22. #22 Dave Fafarman
    May 27, 2006

    I have a sense of several loose ends in this thread, on which I’d like to comment further.

    The following sentence was posted earlier: “Though I’d be a bit careful about how close you get to Fallacci (sic) — I’ve heard she’s gone a bit over the deep end since 9/11 and the murder of Theo Van Gogh.”

    This suggestion that we should leave Ms. Fallaci to twist in the wind alone, while she fights the good fight not only for our civilization but for our most basic human rights, frankly left me speechless.

    Which also brings up an aside on the subject of pseudonymous/anonymous posters. In another discussion group that I follow more closely than this, HSG, which is run with great wisdom, astonishing energy (I don’t know how he does it), and a sense of humor by the five-star moderator Luther Setzer, there was an individual who posted for a long time under the pen name “Nora Baron”. Other posters there noted that there was evidence there was no such person, and further that this was a palindrome. “Nora’s” generally high-quality posts were tolerated for a long time, but the matter eventually came to a head (I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but the main question was ethics), and Setzer asked “Nora” to either use “her” own name or stop posting. He complied and still posts (which was the best outcome from my viewpoint).

    About (and to) Ed Brayton: Ed has the attitude of a scientist and “walks the walk” in the application of the Scientific Method. I compliment him on successfully exposing a hoax by diligent research. (This is a skill that is needed from time to time in science.) To the extent that we are ever to know the Truth (capital ‘T’) about evolution (or much of anything else), we are dependent on the integrity of people like Ed. The path to enlightenment certainly does not lie through forgery and pretense.

    To Larry (if you are still reading this): You titled your blog “I’m from Missouri” (i.e., “show me”). You have been “shown” that you perpetrated a hoax. (Yeah, that’s awkward, isn’t it.) In terms of the alleged purpose of your blog, Ed was serving it.

    Larry, you owe a lot of people an apology. I will waive mine. But I do have some expectations of you. These are simple and I hope are still within your capacity.

    (1) You must apologize to Ed publicly for calling him names. I suggest you do this at your blog, and let me know once you have so I can email Ed, since, as he said, “I do not read Larry’s blog as a matter of course.” (And you should not assume that I do either.)

    (2) After that, you may phone me and speak about topics of your choice, except that it may not be a subject designed intentionally to goad me. If you are not sure, ask.

    (3) You will then be forgiven for my part.

    While this perhaps falls short of the “Unconditional Love” that it is said all people crave, it is about as close as you’re likely to get in this world.

    I would like to have my brother back.


    — Dave

  23. #23 Ed Brayton
    May 27, 2006

    And yes folks, this is from the real Dave Fafarman.

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