Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Continuing an earlier pattern, Dembski has finally managed to discover what was in the public record all along:

Over a year ago I urged readers of UD to provide me with behind-the-scenes correspondence showing that the NCSE (National Center for Science Education) and others had attempted to derail Richard Sternberg’s career after The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington published an article on intelligent design by Stephen Meyer while Sternberg was still its managing editor (go here and here). I was finally sent that information. The following link takes you to the Congressional Report on the Sternberg Affair along with that correspondence, which is given in the appendix…


He not only urged his readers to provide him with those emails, he offered a cash reward for anyone who would get them for him. This is something of a pattern for Dembski, it turns out, as is the eventual outcome where he triumphantly announces that he has in his possession what was in the public record all along. In this case, those emails have been in the appendix of the Souder report since the middle of December. I linked to it and quoted the emails nearly 3 months ago.

He did the same thing back when he dishonestly claimed that Jeff Shallit had been withdrawn as a witness in Dover by the plaintiffs’ lawyers because his deposition was an “embarrassment” to them. This was hysterically funny on 4 distinct levels. First, he made this claim without ever having seen Shallit’s deposition, which he then offered a reward for. Second, Shallit’s deposition was available online long before he made the offer. Third, the truth was quite the opposite of his claim; in fact it was the defense lawyers who filed motions to keep Shallit off the stand, not the plaintiffs. And lastly, when all of this became an embarrassment for Dembski he pulled all of the previous posts containing all his completely false claims about the situation and declared that he was just engaged in a bit of “street theater.” And I believe him, but the story is clearly a farce.

Comments

  1. #1 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    You believe that he was engaging in street theatre?

    I wonder what he means by that BTW? As a nineteen-year-old Dembski used to witness on street corners in Chicago. Is that what he means? ;-)

    How does someone like Dembski live with himself? They’re spinning this stupid conspiracy theory, while at the same time magic is being offered in Africa to fight AIDS instead of drugs (see current New Yorker). People are dying in droves in Africa from AIDS because they don’t want godless white western medicine. At Uncommon Descent I tried to nail Dembski down on what he believes about AIDS (since Wells and Johnson deny an HIV-AIDS link). He would not answer me, why not even reply, and I got reamed by several commentators for being an atheist, and therefore believing in nothing and not giving my money to charity (false, and how abusive is that?). No answer, but one white guys’s “persecution” merits webpage after webpage.

    Despite my not believing in an afterlife I’m trying to do something good, here, now. What is Dembski trying to do?

  2. #2 Soldats
    March 13, 2007

    Kristine, just think of their refusal to acknowledge reality as something that will be selected against when natural selection kicks in. Yeah it sucks that so many people suffer and die, but so will their irrational beliefs. You can only help those people who wish to be helped.

  3. #3 Daniel Morgan
    March 13, 2007

    These signs of desperation and incoherence are encouraging to me. Perhaps I’m overly optimistic.

  4. #4 paulh
    March 13, 2007

    If he’s offering a reward for being told what’s already in the public domain, I trust somebody hereabouts made some money for old rope off him.

  5. #5 RBH
    March 13, 2007

    One wonders if Dembski realizes that episodes like this say some pretty strong things about how bad he sucks at doing “research”, even in the DI sense of that term (i.e., quote-mining). If Dembski were a miner he’d never find the shaft (though he might get it once in a while :)).

  6. #6 Dave S.
    March 13, 2007

    He would not answer me, why not even reply, and I got reamed by several commentators for being an atheist, and therefore believing in nothing and not giving my money to charity (false, and how abusive is that?). No answer, but one white guys’s “persecution” merits webpage after webpage.

    That’s probably one of those 3rd rail questions in ID Kristine, like the age of the Earth. They don’t ask and don’t tell because some of their followers swing one way and some the other, and it would probably tear the whole mess assunder if they were forced to confront the irresolvable contradictions in their own movement. That’s why Johnson suggested putting such questions aside until ‘materialistic Darwinism’ can be defeated. Then is the time to decide who’s right about the other stuff. Sadly, that glorious day is nowhere in sight.

    But you can’t blame them really. ID is becoming more and more marginalized after several public beatings. They are starting to realize they are spending their lives supporting something that’s never going to rise above dowsing on the respectability scale. There’s a lot of defensive anger they need to take out on someone. Being simultaneously egotistical and scientifically impotent will do that you you. Just look at DaveScot.

  7. #7 Spasmodeus & DrG
    March 13, 2007

    You believe that he was engaging in street theatre?

    I expect nothing less from Dembski, the Max Bialystock of pseudoscience.

  8. #8 mark
    March 13, 2007

    They are starting to realize they are spending their lives supporting something that’s never going to rise above dowsing on the respectability scale.

    And, like, dowsing, Creationism will never die. Indeed, I mentioned it in a post I put up for National Ground-Water Awareness Week (that’s this week). The congruence of dowsers and Creationists is amazing.

  9. #9 lmf3b
    March 13, 2007

    I remember sitting in a lab meeting once where the PI warned us of a major animal rights demonstration that was scheduled for our campus. The flyer promised that it would include speeches, a “teach-in” and “street theater.” One of our undergrads raised his hand and asked if that meant they were bringing in mimes.
    The PI’s response? “I hope so; it’ll make the event much quieter.”

  10. #10 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    Re: animal rights – Wes Elberry has some harsh things to say about PETA. And by analogy: I’ve come down hard on Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. I call ‘em as I see ‘em, and that’s what I respect, no matter what the risk to a big tent.

    I see no reason why intelligent design has to be yoked to the HIV/global warming denialists. But I must admit, in discussing ID with potential ID believers, that’s been awfully convenient for me.

  11. #11 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Re: animal rights – Wes Elberry has some harsh things to say about PETA.

    Not just harsh, but stupid.

  12. #12 Dave S.
    March 13, 2007

    Jason –

    I went to Wes’ site, but didn’t see your opinion expressed and expanded there in the comments. Did you use a diferent name?

  13. #13 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    No, I haven’t commented there.

  14. #14 Dave S.
    March 13, 2007

    Jason -

    Don’t you think it’s bad form to ambush someone writing something on one blog an another totally different blog altogether? If you think he said something stupid, why don’t you go and tell him exactly what.

  15. #15 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Dave S,

    Don’t you think it’s bad form to ambush someone writing something on one blog an another totally different blog altogether?

    I don’t know. Depends on what you mean exactly by “ambush,” I suppose. I don’t think it’s bad form to write negatively in one blog about a post in a different blog. If that is bad form, then virtually all bloggers are guilty of it.

  16. #16 Ed Brayton
    March 13, 2007

    Perhaps you could spell out your reasons why Wes’ statements about PETA are “stupid”; I’m having dinner with him tomorrow night and I can have him respond if you’d like.

  17. #17 JS
    March 13, 2007

    I keep getting a ‘problem loading page’ screen when I try to access the Souder report you linked to.

    Is it still online, or was it pulled?

    - JS

  18. #18 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Well, for example, the statement:

    PETA’s not-so-public goal is to end all “abuse” of animals by humans, which translated into plain English means that they aren’t likely to be satisfied until every last domesticated species goes extinct.

    The goal of ending animal abuse by humans obviously does not imply the desire for all domesticated animal species to go extinct.

  19. #19 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    Look my whole point in referring to Wes’s post (which is not stupid – do some research on PETA) was not to derail this thread but to show that he is (and I am) willing to criticize leftist wackos, and that Dembski should likewise criticize rightist wackos if he’s so sincere about his religious beliefs. That’s all I meant.

  20. #20 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Look my whole point in referring to Wes’s post (which is not stupid – do some research on PETA

    I have. I’m a member and strong supporter of PETA. But you don’t have to know anything whatsoever about PETA to recognize the abject stupidity of the statement by Wes I just quoted above.

  21. #21 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    I dunno Jason, did you read the link in Wes’s post to the Ingrid Newkirk article? What PETA is doing here, if true, is quite extreme. How confident are you that the Newkirk article is incorrect?

    BTW… sorry Ed… this is the second post today that I’ve helped to hijack, I guess. Perhaps I’ll go to the Secular Islam post and start a conversation on baseball spring training… lol.

  22. #22 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    If by “what PETA is doing here” you mean euthanizing unwanted animals, there’s nothing extreme about it. Millions of unwanted animals are euthanized in America by animal shelters every year, because they lack the funds and other resources to care for them. The real problem is the sources of these unwanted animals: petowners who abandon their pets or fail to get them spayed or neutered, breeders who breed more animals than the market can absorb, laboratories that abandon animals used in research or testing, and so on.

  23. #23 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    ummm… did you somehow overlook the part about the euthanization being done illegally? Or any of the other things there?????

    I swear, you must have selective vision if you failed to see anything worse than “euthanizing unwanted animals”.

    (Just curious, are you perchance the same Jason that was banned from Knop’s blog a couple hours ago?)

  24. #24 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Oh yeah… as an employee of Big Pharma Inc, I gotta say that you are totally deluded when you wrote:

    The real problem is the sources of these unwanted animals: [...] laboratories that abandon animals used in research or testing

    Do you honestly think that labs just abandon animals used in research? I don’t believe it for a second. Why would any lab risk an audit finding that can’t prove the an animal wasn’t euthanized or released in a legal way? The risk totally outways any possible savings from illicit abandonment.

  25. #25 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    (preemptive spelling police correction: outways = outweighs)

  26. #26 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    I am not interested in wading through a web site looking for a statement that may or may not be the one you’re vaguely referring to. Identify the specific claims or statements you’re addressing, tell me where to find them, then I’ll take a look at them and let you know what I think.

  27. #27 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    Well, I’m very sorry for this Ed and (almost) everyone – since Jason is incognito I can only assume he’s a troll I banned from my blog. They tag after me sometimes and pull this crap.

  28. #28 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    Do you honestly think that labs just abandon animals used in research?

    Yes, I honestly believe it.

    I don’t believe it for a second.

    That doesn’t surprise me.

  29. #29 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Jason wrote…

    Identify the specific claims or statements you’re addressing, tell me where to find them, then I’ll take a look at them and let you know what I think.

    …even though I had already written:

    I dunno Jason, did you read the link in Wes’s post to the Ingrid Newkirk article?

    Since it’s too difficult to click on Kristine’s link to Wes’s blog found above, and then click on his link to the Newkirk article, here it is directly:
    http://www.nokillnow.com/PETAIngridNewkirkResign.htm

  30. #30 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    kristine,

    To my knowledge, I’ve never even visited your blog until I clicked on your link just now. Based on my cursory reading of what was there, I doubt I’ll be returning.

  31. #31 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Do you honestly think that labs just abandon animals used in research?

    Yes, I honestly believe it.

    I don’t believe it for a second.

    That doesn’t surprise me.

    Dude… like I said… there is no way a lab would risk such a huge fine and such terrible publicity (that you’d enjoy, I’m sure) if we did something that stupid.

    Seriously, Jason, I think your tin-foil hat is on too tight.

  32. #32 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Since it’s too difficult to click on Kristine’s link to Wes’s blog found above

    No, it’s not too difficult. I clicked on the link and it took me to a web page containing a lengthy essay. Which claim about PETA in this essay are you referring to?

  33. #33 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    How about any of the claims under “Read More”… such as “PETA Employee Arrests After Animal Killings”.

    Or really, just about any of the topics there. After all, if the only thing you got from reading that page is that PETA just “euthaniz[es] unwanted animals”, then you really have some serious reading comprehension skills. (Or you mind is so clouded by your ideology that you won’t even consider anything negative about PETA.)

  34. #34 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    How about any of the claims under “Read More”… such as “PETA Employee Arrests After Animal Killings”.

    I think the employees in question probably acted irresponsibly in that incident. The article reports: “PETA President Ingrid Newkirk indicated that any dumping of dead animals in garbage bins was in violation of PETA protocol and occurred without the knowledge of organization officials.”

    Next?

  35. #35 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Jason, there are dozens of very specific accusations there on that page. And many of them directly contradict Newkirk’s statement. Somehow, you conveniently overlooked them.

    But after seeing your M.O. on this blog (and possibly others), I’m sure you’re the type of person who would attempt to argue against any and all of those points listed there on that page, just because you’re obstinatate and unwilling to even consider something negative about PETA.

    If you want to read the entire article and comment on it as a whole (and without cherry-picking), then I might be interested in reading what you write. But if you’re going to continue to just completely ignore any part that contradicts and discredits you, then I really don’t think you have much to say at all.

  36. #36 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    Jason, there are dozens of very specific accusations there on that page.

    The only specific accusation you’ve cited so far does not seem to involve any wrongdoing on the part of PETA organization officials. At worst, they might have been guilty of neglience in their oversight of two of their employees. If this is the best you can come up with, you’re making a fuss over nothing.

    Actually, though, I would not defend everything PETA does, just as I would not defend everything done by any other organization I belong to. I support PETA because I believe that it does far more good than harm. There is probably no other organization in the world that has done more to reduce the suffering and improve the welfare of animals than PETA. Its intensive campaigns against the worst excesses of factory farming have yielded reforms that have improved the lives of hundreds of millions of animals. I don’t believe your hostility to the organization is remotely informed or rational, not least because you seem incapable of responding to anything I write here in its defense without including some personal insult or ad hominem.

  37. #37 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    (What was this post originally about? Oh, yeah…)

    I predict that Dembski will someday offer $500 for something that one of us said about PETA. Because he will have had a major career change.

    Make sure you have the money in hand first, Jason. Really, I’m telling ya. ;-)

  38. #38 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    The only specific accusation you’ve cited so far does not seem to involve any wrongdoing on the part of PETA organization officials. At worst, they might have been guilty of neglience in their oversight of two of their employees. If this is the best you can come up with, you’re making a fuss over nothing.

    Whatever dude. Try reading what I wrote. I referred to the entire article. Feel free to read and find for yourself all the other problems that website points out with PETA activities.

    Actually, though, I would not defend everything PETA does

    I’m glad that you feel that way.

    Actually, I would agree with you that PETA does do many good things. But I don’t think I’m the only one here who is a bit disturbed by some of the misleading advertising (or outright lies) that PETA uses, or the hypocrisy of when PETA leaders say that all contributions will go to worthy causes, but then use them to fund such dispicable activities as what’s shown on that webpage.

    But honestly Jason, you really can be an irritating person to have a conversation with. And I certainly am not the first person to point out all your trollish behaviour here.

  39. #39 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    I found the quote I was looking for… so one last comment before I stop troll-feeding….

    I agree with Duwayne when he said:

    This is why I have no interest in dealing with you Jason. [...] You are either stupid, or wilfully obtuse. This is why I just can’t deal with you, most of the time.

    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2007/02/holocaust_denier_gets_5_years.php#comment-346494

    But yes… as Kristine said. Let’s get back on topic. Now was it about Dembski or spring training for baseball? How bout that Dice-K!

    lol

  40. #40 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo,

    Whatever dude. Try reading what I wrote. I referred to the entire article.

    I did read what you wrote. That’s why I asked you to cite specific complaints against PETA that you believe have merit. So far, you’ve managed to cite just one example, and it turns out to be nothing more than a single incident of irresponsible behavior by a couple of employees that has been publicly repudiated by PETA officials. The kind of vague guilt-by-association smear tactics you’re employing here don’t say much about PETA, but they say a lot about you.

    Actually, I would agree with you that PETA does do many good things.

    Good.

    But I don’t think I’m the only one here who is a bit disturbed by some of the misleading advertising (or outright lies) that PETA uses, or the hypocrisy of when PETA leaders say that all contributions will go to worthy causes, but then use them to fund such dispicable activities as what’s shown on that webpage.

    What “outright lies?” What “dispicable (sic) activities?” More vague, unsubstantiated accusations.

  41. #41 kehrsam
    March 13, 2007

    doctorgoo: Copy and paste. Jason cannot be troubled to address any issue that has not been read into the record.

  42. #42 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    Did anyone follow Mark’s link above about dowsing? Worth it. The Vacation Bible School Jihad/Pirate themes, too. (Why didn’t they do that when I was enduring Bible School?)

    Hey, I wonder if they use dowsing rods in Phoenix? Have a nice IP day, Jason.

  43. #43 Coin
    March 13, 2007

    You believe that he was engaging in street theatre?

    Personally, I believe that everything posted on Uncommon Descent is best described as “street theatre”.

  44. #44 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    This is funny. Knop outlined his conversation with Jason just now, and the part about “[repeat 10x]” is waaayyyyy too similar.

    http://scienceblogs.com/interactions/2007/03/what_is_the_purpose_of_religio.php#comment-372133

  45. #45 Dave L
    March 13, 2007

    I agree with Duwayne when he said:

    This is why I have no interest in dealing with you Jason. [...] You are either stupid, or wilfully obtuse. This is why I just can’t deal with you, most of the time.

    I have to third that sentiment, although I don’t think he’s stupid. In all fairness to Jason, I have to agree with Duwayne’s other sentiment later in that same thread that it’s a shame because mixed in with the obtuseness are some good points depending on the topic. Tough to swallow his complaints about insults though, since his first post uses the word ‘stupid’ with absolutely no explanation. I’m almost certain, given the distinctive MO, that he has been banned from Knop’s blog, and for essentially doing exactly what he does here too often.

    What “dispicable (sic) activities?”

    Didn’t take too long (wiki) to find the graphic pamphlets for children. I liked this nice excerpt: “Since your daddy is teaching you the wrong lessons about right and wrong, you should teach him fishing is killing. Until your daddy learns it’s not fun to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He’s so hooked on killing defenseless animals, they could be next.” Uh, yea; big problem we have nowadays with fishermen murdering their pets. Despite all the good they do, that excerpt is despicable.

  46. #46 ThomasHobbes
    March 13, 2007

    Jason, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. We can throw out (substantiated) accusations against PETA all day, but if you’re not interested in an honest evaluation of how bad PETA really has been, then there’s no point in continuing to argue with you. You’ve made up your mind yet dishonestly claim that you have not been presented with evidence–trolling, pure and simple.

    But on the off chance that you just haven’t gotten it yet, here are some specific criticisms of PETA:

    1. It kills the majority of animals that it takes in, while
    other shelters find homes for a majority of the animals they take in. In fact, PETA is on-record as being opposed to no-kill shelters (and that is a policy of PETA itself). How can they support the “rights” of animals while they simultaneously practice widespread animal euthanasia?

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/06/23/EDG11DC9BK1.DTL

    2. Ingrid Newkirk has been associated with the 1992 arson attack on an MSU laboratory by Rod Coronado. She allegedly arranged for him to send her stolen documents and a videotape of the crime, perhaps making her guilty (if true) of receiving stolen property and accessory to the crime after the fact. Thus, PETA is likely headed by an individual complicit in terrorist activity.

    http://www.tkb.org/CaseHome.jsp?caseid=333

    3. PETA’s vice-president Dan Matthews praised spree killer Andrew Cunanan for killing Gianni Versacci in that this stopped him from using fur. Matthews also defamed Steve Irwin after he died, saying that he looked “like a cheap reality TV star.” To complete the trifecta, PETA illicitly used images from the U.S. Holocaust Museum for its “Holocaust on your plate” campaign.

    http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/column?oid=oid%3A75201
    http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/19890/edition_id/405/format/html/displaystory.html
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14626178/

    4. PETA has offered financial support to domestic animal rights/earth liberation groups classified as terrorists by the FBI.

    http://www.animalscam.com/references/peta_elf1.cfm
    http://www.animalscam.com/references/peta_rodney1.cfm
    http://www.animalscam.com/references/peta_davidwilson1.cfm

    5. PETA has repeatedly demonstrated a dedication to offending the religious: The “Holocaust on Your Plate” exhibit included a panel that juxtaposed a picture of captive pigs with a group of imprisoned Jews. The “Jesus was a vegetarian” campaign ignores historical and scriptural evidence. I won’t even mention the “He died for your sins” campaign.

    So there you go. PETA, even if you agree with its goals, has displayed what I consider to be unconscionable tactics and a total disregard for responsible, ethical behavior.

  47. #47 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    In all fairness to Jason, I have to agree with Duwayne’s other sentiment later in that same thread that it’s a shame because mixed in with the obtuseness are some good points depending on the topic. Tough to swallow his complaints about insults though, since his first post uses the word ‘stupid’ with absolutely no explanation. I’m almost certain, given the distinctive MO, that he has been banned from Knop’s blog, and for essentially doing exactly what he does here too often.

    Funnily enough, at the same time you wrote this, I was writing pretty much the exact same thing (about sometimes making good points) on Knop’s blog:

    http://scienceblogs.com/interactions/2007/03/what_is_the_purpose_of_religio.php#comment-372165

  48. #48 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Doctorgoo, you’re funny. Try this: http://scienceblogs.com/interactions/2007/03/what_is_the_purpose_of_religio.php#comment-371998.

    Rob Knop’s nonsense has been getting a well-deserved thrashing from caliban, cbutterb, PZ Myers, tulse, Torbjorn, Davis, MartinM and me, among others. A day or so from now I’m sure his blog will return to its customary obscurity. Like Kristine’s.

  49. #49 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    A day or so from now I’m sure his blog will return to its customary obscurity. Like Kristine’s.

    To paraphrase my favorite novel, “Take care, [Jason]; that speech savours strongly of disappointment.”

    http://austen.thefreelibrary.com/Pride-and-Prejudice/1-27

  50. #50 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    ThomasHobbes,

    I assume you’re the same individual who posts under the name “Rev. BigDumbChimp” at PZ’s blog. Either that, or it’s a remarkable coincidence that you just happen to make the same allegations and post the same links as he does.

    Let’s take your points in order, and see how much substance there is to them.

    1. Your link is not to any kind of serious source but to an opinion piece by conservative political columnist Debra J. Saunders. Regarding the issue of euthanasia : Millions of unwanted animals are euthanized every year in America by animal shelters because there is no money to look after them. The vast majority of these mercy killings have nothing to do with PETA, but are conducted by other organizations including the ASPCA and the Humane Society. May we assume you’re attacking the ASPCA and the Humane Society, too? So called “no-kill” animal shelters are controversial and can accommodate only a small fraction of the total population of unwanted animals. In some cases, they may be a good idea, but PETA has documented cases of serious abuse in such shelters and argues that money spent on them would do more good if it were devoted to promoting pet spaying and neutering programs to reduce the population of these unwanted animals.

    2. You offer no evidence whatsoever to substantiate your accusation that Newkirk is “complicit in terrorist activity.” The webpage you link to doesn’t mention her at all.

    3. Your first link is again to an opinion piece making an unsubstantiated allegation. Your second and third links go to the same page. Neither that page nor the one referenced by your fourth link seem to have anything to do with the allegation you’re making. They don’t even mention Dan Matthews.

  51. #51 Dave L
    March 13, 2007

    Neither that page nor the one referenced by your fourth link seem to have anything to do with the allegation you’re making. They don’t even mention Dan Matthews.

    The fourth link references the Holocaust Museum complaint. C’mon, man, did you see right above that series of links:

    To complete the trifecta, PETA illicitly used images from the U.S. Holocaust Museum for its “Holocaust on your plate” campaign.

    And your complaint is it doesn’t mention Dan Mathews, just like it didn’t say it did.

  52. #52 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    ThomasHobbes,

    5. Again, you offer no evidence of any involvement by PETA in terrorrist activity. This Washington Post piece describes the expansion of intrusive domestic surveillance by the FBI under the Bush Administration to encompass organizations involved in mainstream political activity, including PETA, Greenpeace, the ACLU, and the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee. The article notes that, in thousands of pages of surveillance files, no proof of illegal activity has been documented.

  53. #53 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    The fourth link references the Holocaust Museum complaint.

    Actually, the fourth link is to a piece about the reaction of Matthews to the death of Steve Irwin. I’m not sure what the point of that is supposed to be, either. Irwin was a somewhat controversial figure in the animal rights/animal research communities. He was praised for attracting public attention to wildlife issues, but his daredevil antics and habit of provoking wild animals to behave aggressively was generally frowned on.

  54. #54 ThomasHobbes
    March 13, 2007

    First, I will not hijack this thread. I will respond to the points made above by Jason at 9:42 and 10:08. That’s it!

    Second, I am not Rev. BigDumbChimp, and the remarkable coincidence is exactly that. Synchronicity, I think Jung called it, though that may not be exactly what it means.

    As for your points:

    1. Why is the opinion piece inappropriate? Show where the piece is incorrect in its factual assertions–I am not citing it to repeat its criticisms wholesale, but to make this point: PETA is an animal rights organization, not an animal welfare organization like the ASPCA. They promote the idea that animals have rights, not that people have a duty to avoid the cruel treatment of animals. Their pro-euthanasia stance seems remarkably inconsistent with such a stance; in many cases, it seems that PETA doesn’t even try to place animals in homes. Instead, it euthanizes them straight away. How does this jibe with the idea of animal rights? Shouldn’t an animal’s rights (if you endorse that philosophy) include the opportunity to at least have a chance at adoption? I am not opposed to animal euthanasia, but PETA hardly seems to make a good-faith effort to protect the rights of animals.

    2. Google the Versacci-related quote to find it in a print source. I am not making it up, nor am I inventing the Steve Irwin quote. Also see Dave L.’s point. To be sure, the third point did not reference Matthews directly; it is not a specific criticism against him, and is confusing as such.

    3. The MIPT terrorism database reference contains–or should contain, when I last checked–the memorandum written by the federal prosecutor that makes this assertion. It is part of the record, and was not contested. I don’t know what your evidentiary standard is in this debate, but I take it as reliable. It can be found via Google with “government sentencing memorandum rod coronado 1995.”

    But we don’t even need that. I’ll step back from that more serious assertion (it has not been proved conclusively, though I am disinclined to think that a United States federal prosecutor would make baldface lies in a sentencing document) and just go with the fact that Ingrid Newkirk has expressed admiration and support for the actions of ELF, a terrorist group as recognized by the FBI. Again, such citations can be found via Google. I find such advocacy very troubling, and a reason to distrust Newkirk’s motives and those of PETA.

    I doubt that I have convinced you, but I do wish that you’d think about these kinds of criticisms. Not all of PETA’s critics are practicing baseless character assassination.

  55. #55 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Jason, you are counting the links differently from Dave L. When he referred to the fourth link, he meant the fourth link in all… i.e. the one from jewishsf.com. The msnbc link on Irwin is the fifth link, overall, and the third link under item 3.

    To me, this matters little. I have no doubt that whatever criticism of PETA are listed, that you’re try to defend them all, even those criticisms that are completely justified. That’s just your M.O. of idiotic obstinacy.

    I just have one question for you. You previously said that you don’t agree with (or at least wouldn’t defend) certain things that PETA does. Are these just trivial things, or are they substantial? Or in other words, what’s the worst thing about PETA in your opinion?

  56. #56 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    ThomasHobbes,

    Why is the opinion piece inappropriate?

    Debra J. Saunders is a conservative political pundit with a big anti-PETA ideological ax to grind and her opinion pieces are not a reliable source of factual information.

    PETA is an animal rights organization, not an animal welfare organization like the ASPCA. They promote the idea that animals have rights, not that people have a duty to avoid the cruel treatment of animals.

    Why do people have a duty to avoid cruel treatment of animals if not that animals have a right not to be treated cruelly? Where does this duty come from, if not from the interests of the animal?

    Their pro-euthanasia stance seems remarkably inconsistent with such a stance;

    It’s not inconsistent at all. A fast and painless death is arguably far more humane than the slow and/or painful death from starvation, exposure, disease, or predation these animals would face if they were abandoned with no one to care for them.

    in many cases, it seems that PETA doesn’t even try to place animals in homes. Instead, it euthanizes them straight away. How does this jibe with the idea of animal rights? Shouldn’t an animal’s rights (if you endorse that philosophy) include the opportunity to at least have a chance at adoption?

    There are far more unwanted animals than there are adopters. Millions of abandoned pets and feral offspring of unspayed pets are euthanized every year because there is no one to take care of them. Animal shelters have limited resources and cannot care for all unwanted animals on the offchance that they will one day be adopted. Resources that are currently devoted to maintaining animals in “no kill” shelters may be better spent on promoting pet spaying and neutering programs so that there are fewer unwanted animals in the first place. The point is not that euthanasia is necessarily always the best policy, but that the issue is complex and the mere fact that PETA supports euthanasia in some cases is not a serious argument against the organization.

    2. Google the Versacci-related quote to find it in a print source.

    No, you show it to me in a print source. It’s not up to me to chase down references supporting your accusations. That’s your job. If you are unwilling or unable to back up your factual claims with credible sources, they need not be taken seriously.

    Of course, appealing to an off-the-cuff remark by member of an organization as if that remark represents an official position of the organization is a classic smear tactic. Republicans and Democrats are constantly using the same technique to try and smear the other party.

  57. #57 Kristine
    March 13, 2007

    Rob Knop’s nonsense has been getting a well-deserved thrashing from caliban, cbutterb, PZ Myers, tulse, Torbjorn, Davis, MartinM and me, among others. A day or so from now I’m sure his blog will return to its customary obscurity. Like Kristine’s.

    Bwahahaha. I dwell in blogscurity, like the night. I think somebody’s jealous.

    Geez, it seems that Dembski is the only one a day and a dollar short-tempered.

    Too bad my blog scares you, Jason of the Argosy, or we could take this there and spare poor Ed, since you seem unwilling to drop things and just want to escalate this fight. Yes, too bad. Medea says goodnight, and good luck.

    This ain’t about PETA, people! ;-)

  58. #58 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    Don’t worry Kristine. We’ll have Ed remove all those off-topic Dembski references… and also retitle this post to something more appropriate, like An Obstinate Defense of PETA

    lol

  59. #59 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    ThomasHobbes,

    3. The MIPT terrorism database reference contains–or should contain, when I last checked–the memorandum written by the federal prosecutor that makes this assertion.

    What assertion? Are you referring to the assertion you previously stated as item 4.? Show me this alleged memorandum. Show me criminal charges filed against PETA, if you think there are any.

    But we don’t even need that. I’ll step back from that more serious assertion (it has not been proved conclusively, though I am disinclined to think that a United States federal prosecutor would make baldface lies in a sentencing document) and just go with the fact that Ingrid Newkirk has expressed admiration and support for the actions of ELF,

    What specific actions has Ingrid Newkirk expressed admiration and support for? Substantiate your claim. Given the apparently fragmented and diverse nature of the various groups that comprise the ELF, it doesn’t make much sense to refer to “the actions of the ELF.” If can find a credible source documenting support by Newkirk for terrorist activities I will happily join you in condemning that support. All you’ve offered so far is innuendo and unsubstantiated accusation. And of course, even if Newkirk did express such support, that would not justify the claim that PETA does also. Again, it’s all rumor, innuendo and guilt-by-association with you, the classic tactics of politically-motivated hatchet jobs.

  60. #60 Jason
    March 13, 2007

    Kristine,

    From what I saw, your blog is more likely to put people to sleep than scare them.

  61. #61 doctorgoo
    March 13, 2007

    People, people, people! How could we let Jason build such a head of steam like this??

    Jason, seriously… you’re looking silly here. I know that you demand ‘specifics’, but if I were to point out your numerous acts of silliness, you’d just get all silly again and obstinately deny your previous silliness. It becomes like a giant wank-a-thon when you get like this.

    So do we need to go borrow Orac’s cluestick to use on you?? Or do you think you can start being polite again? Cause you’ve definitely crossed the line from being humorously sarcastic to become a major pain in the ass.

  62. #62 Jason
    March 14, 2007

    You seem to have become positively obsessed with me. Your posts now seem to be All Jason, All The Time. I see you even entered a post in the Rob Knop thead about me. Chill, dude.

    By the way, Knop is continuing to get a pummelling from his many critics over there. It’s like watching a train wreck.

  63. #63 Leni
    March 14, 2007

    I don’t really want to get into this- but about the labs letting animals go- Jason, I work at one of the largest animal testing facilities in the country.

    Probably the largest.

    We don’t let the animals go because we are are doing toxicology studies on them. That’s where we test to see what happens to the medicine once it goes into the animals’s body. You can’t do that if you let the animals go. Most times, you have to euthanize them and then you must disect them in order to look for tissue damage or other pathology.

    I am just… not aware of any animal testing facility that would just release the animals. Not on a regular basis anyway. That makes absolutely no sense and it certainly is not legal or even regular industry practice. If it were, there would be no animal testing industry because we wouldn’t… you know… have any animals to um, test.

    (And also you wouldn’t get any aspirin, cancer meds, or antibiotics.)

  64. #64 doctorgoo
    March 14, 2007

    Nah… not obsessed. I just take great joy in the ironies and absurdities in this world. And you definitely have provided adequate entertainment tonight, and for that, I’m grateful. lol

    By the way, Knop is continuing to get a pummelling from his many critics over there. It’s like watching a train wreck.

    .

    ahhhh yes…. absurd ironies. Once again, I thank you, Jason.

    Nighty night!

  65. #65 Jason
    March 14, 2007

    Leni,

    I didn’t say labs “release” the animals, if that is supposed to mean dumping them on the streets. I cited animals used in research and testing as one source of abandoned animals that are then euthanized because no one is willing to take care of them. Fortunately, the use of animals in harmful scientific research has been declining.

  66. #66 Leni
    March 14, 2007

    I cited animals used in research and testing as one source of abandoned animals that are then euthanized because no one is willing to take care of them.

    Not after toxicology tests they don’t.

    Which labs do this?

  67. #67 Ed Darrell
    March 14, 2007

    They are starting to realize they are spending their lives supporting something that’s never going to rise above dowsing on the respectability scale.

    Why insult dowsers unnecessarily?

  68. #68 Dave S.
    March 14, 2007

    My apologies to dowsers everywhere. Bless them and their magic sticks. But notice I did put dowsing above them on the scale. Possibly well above. :)

  69. #69 Kristine
    March 14, 2007

    From what I saw, your blog is more likely to put people to sleep than scare them.

    I admit it – I was waiting at my blog with a salt-of-the-earth lick and a tranquilizer gun (the one I keep at hand for the dappled Dembski faun) for a clear shot in case the Jason creature showed up. It did, and I saw it briefly through the trees, and I think I did hit it, but only in the leg, it seems.

    I want to commend you all for your fine work on national Don’t Let Trolls Starve Day, but I must ask these questions:

    After we don’t allow them to starve, don’t they just end up in zoos?
    Are they really any happier?
    Should they be available for *gasp* experimentation?

    E-mail me with your opinions. *wink*

  70. #70 Wesley R. Elsberry
    March 14, 2007

    I think I already addressed this issue.

  71. #71 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 14, 2007

    Wes, it was a reference to your addressing it that started the whole clusterfeed.

  72. #72 Kristine
    March 14, 2007

    I think Wes was completing my joke full circle, Kevin. ;-)

  73. #73 Wesley R. Elsberry
    March 15, 2007

    What I meant by “this issue” wasn’t generic commentary on PETA, but specifically the inability of the rank-and-file members of PETA to entertain criticism of PETA.

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