Over at PT, a massive 400+ comment thread has degenerated into the kind of slimefest I have no tolerance for nor interest in. I wouldn’t even have noticed this comment from Gary Hurd if someone hadn’t alerted me to it. But since it’s full of dishonest accusations against me, I think it deserves a response. Gary Hurd used to be a PT contributor until he went off the deep end last year and began firing blindly at anyone on the contributor’s list who didn’t line up 100% with him on every political issue. Apparently, his bitterness has not abated since he left, nor has his grasp of reality improved any. He writes:
Even PT hosts people who are devoted to the death of species, and the destruction of civil government. Look up the Pacific Law Foundation: they are a pack of deadly supporters of species extinction, clear cutting and death. Tim Sandefur for these pigs and earns his living working to clear cut forests and eliminate protection of endangered species. Ed Brayton is his self-professed “libritarina” soul mate. They are scum that should not be entertained as “science” presenters or supporters. They can not be trusted further than they can be kicked.
Even if one corrects all the false claims (Sandefur works for the Pacific Legal Foundation, not the Pacific Law Foundation), inserts the missing words (I presume he meant to say that Sandefur works for them), and corrects the misspellings (I guess “libritarina” is the alcoholic word for “libertarian”), it’s still a welter of nonsense. Even if Gary is right about the PLF, Sandefur earns his living working on eminent domain and right to work cases. In his spare time, and free of charge, he has also written briefs for us in the battle against creationism, and doing so has even cost him some friendships and caused some distrust among his colleagues. You can attack his ideas all you want; he’ll happily engage you on them. But attacking his integrity and trustworthiness like this is vile.
Gary’s real problem is with anyone calling themselves a libertarian. Now, if someone wants to disagree with libertarian views, I’ve got no problem with that; I disagree with some of them myself. But when the very mention of the word sends you into fits of apoplectic and irrational rage, as it does to Gary, something’s gone haywire. Actually, that’s Gary’s secondary problem. His real problem is that he’s a drunk, which only makes his fanatical hatred of all things religious and non-liberal that much more unstable and likely to result in him making an ass of himself in public. It also appears to make him lie rather badly:
Their effort to cover over, and support the physical and political attacks against scientists and anti-fundamentalists was why I ended my participation as an active contributor to PT. Brayton made a big deal when he was trying to protect the Mirecki attackers about his imaginary role as a “founder” of PT and how this precluded me from criticizing him, but as Wesley has documented, PT was largely my idea while the development was done by others.
Virtually every word of this is a lie. Not only did I not “make a big deal” out of being a founder of the Panda’s Thumb, I never even mentioned it. The only one who did was Reed Cartwright, and I actually brushed that off as irrelevant. Also, at no time did I ever “protect the Mirecki attackers”. Whoever attacked Mirecki (and none of us has any idea who it is) should be in jail for doing so. The only disagreement was over whether we should take the scant information we had at the time (and it’s stil scant) and fire off blindly at our opposition for having beat him up. I don’t think any reasonable person would confuse “let’s wait and see the evidence before we go off half-cocked” with “protecting the attackers”. That just goes to show that Gary is simply not a reasonable person.
I argued, quite reasonably I thought, that we should wait until the police have confirmed the claim that his attackers did so because of his anti-creationist advocacy before using it as a reason to attack the opposition. That position was echoed and supported by the majority of PT contributors, with only a few loudmouths wanting to open fire with the big rhetorical guns before we really had any idea what had happened. Those loudmouths, Gary most obviously, for some reason focused solely on Sandefur and me, ignoring the fact that almost everyone else agreed with us as well, and went off the deep end, calling us traitors to the cause. In that delusion, Gary appears to be alone (though perhaps there is one other who beleives that; if so, he’s never come out and said it).
What is doubly surprising about this latest comment is that now Gary seems to have expanded his targets and seen fit to attack other PT contributors as well, and equally dishonestly:
Jack Krebs hinted about “secret” information from “background” sources that made Mirecki a bad person to support. Matt Brauer was lying about the case even as I expressed it on PT. (I have archived the all the emails and webposts off-line, Matt. Scientists who lie as you have should never be trusted. You are now merely in the class of von Sternberg and the other creationists).
This inappropriate “tolerance” by liberals of the latest generation of right-wing witch burners has gone beyond any functionality. As long as Liberals persist in allowing the libertarian, fundamentalist, Republican crypto-facists to promulgate their lies out of some asinine sense of “fairness,” we will be doomed.
I think that gives you a pretty clear view of the kind of blind ideological “thinking” behind Gary’s diatribe. For him, everyone outside of his ideology is lumped together into one. Libertarian, fundamentalist, Republican and crypto-fascist are all just the same thing, they’re all Them to Gary. If a conservative expresses such ridiculously simplistic views, we rightly hammer them for it; it’s no less idiotic when it comes from a liberal.
Paul Gross hates the social sciences and actively tries to deny that they are sciences at all. No creationist has a lower opinion of anthropology than Paul. He is also a strong, even fervent Republican who would rather vote for any evil (particularly the evil named Bush)than any non-Republican. Profesionally junior PT contibuters were afraid to contradict his rightwing positions becasue he could harm their careers.
This is a rather breathtaking lie. In all the time I’ve known Paul Gross on the PT contributor’s list, I’ve never seen him even mention his political views. In fact, any time politics has come up on the list at all, Paul has repeatedly suggested that it be dropped. Nor do I have any idea why Gary thinks he knows who Paul votes for or why (I can assure you it has never been mentioned on the PT mailing list). To suggest that he is any sort of threat to anyone’s career because of his political views is absolutely delusional. For crying out loud, Paul wrote a book with Barbara Forrest, who is very much a liberal. Some threat he is.
And you wanna know how doubly ridiculous this is? In the middle of the dispute over how to handle the Mirecki situation, Paul Gross was actually supporting some of Gary’s specific suppositions on what happened to Mirecki and thought they sounded plausible (though he did not want to go off accusing the police of doing it, as Gary wanted to do). And Gary announced publicly that Paul was the person he most respected on the PT contributor’s list. What a difference a few months makes, eh? From the person he most respected on the list to one who supports evil and destroys the careers of liberals. This is simply lunacy.
Jack Krebs was a Republican County Chairman, a position I equate with a Gruppen Fürer.
Another lie. Jack has never held any position in any political party, much less this one. He was, however, a co-founder of Kansas Citizens for Science, the state group upon which all the other groups model themselves. He has spent years fighting tirelessly the attempts to weaken science education in this country. This dishonest attack on him is far worse than an attack on me. I fully admit that I can be abrasive sometimes and that might just clash with someone’s personality. But Jack Krebs? You would be hard pressed to find a nicer man in this world. Jack has devoted more time and energy to our cause than practically anyone else, over the course of many years. To tell such lies about him is beyond disgusting, especially coming from a drunken jerk like Hurd.
The Republican attack on the environment and even Life on Earth was presented decades ago by Ronnie Raygun’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt, “My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus Returns.” –James Watt to the Wall Street Journal as quoted in “James Watt & the Puritan Ethic.” By Colman McCarthy. Washington Post, May 24, 1981. PAGE L5
These swine and their supporters like Gross, Krebs, Brayton, and Sandefur have no supportive role to play. They are the party of fanatics and death. They are the faults in the foundations, and a probable back channel source to our enemies. They can not be trusted.
Gee Gary, do I not criticize the religious right enough for you? I write constantly against their agenda. Gross has written an entire book whose thesis is that ID is part of a larger cultural agenda from the religious right. Sandefur is an outspoken atheist, for crying out loud. And Krebs has spent the last 8 years of his life fighting tooth and nail against them in Kansas and around the country. Anyone who thinks that any of those listed there are “supporters” of a religious right loony like James Watt is simply too glazed over with fanaticism to be taken seriously.
All of this started because a few people dared to take the perfectly reasonable position that it was a bad idea to accuse one’s political opponents of having beat someone up without having substantial evidence to support such an accusation. Now, one can disagree with that, I suppose. One can argue that there was ample evidence to make such a charge. Only a crazed ideologue would believe that the people urging such minimal caution must be evil scum traitors out to destroy the world.
The fact is that Gary Hurd behaves exactly like Gribbit. In fact, when things got heated on the PT list, one of the first things he did was give me his address to come see him so he could beat me up (this after bragging about his long history of bar fights and what a tough guy he is). This is the sort of behavior one might expect from a 19 year old thug, not from a grown man and a scientist. The bottom line is that this man needs a shrink badly.