Once upon a time, I made mention, simply a mention, of a paper by one Matts Envall, which I said I would later comment on. I did so because a friend of mine, Malte Ebach, told me about him and the paper. I have yet to appropriately thank Malte. My gratitude involves a water balloon, I think.
This alone was the trigger for Envall to come along to my blog and start comment bombing. I have in my spam folder over 350 comments, most of which are cut and paste. Independently of his views, of which more anon, his behaviour – spamming, using fake email addresses and changing IP numbers to avoid bans, insulting anyone who he thought was wrong – was unacceptable, so I warned him, and then banned him. He remains the only person I have banned form this blog; even creationists are permitted to comment. Fortunately Moveable Type 4 has the requisite ways to filter trolls.
Envall is on a mission. He thinks that cladism is an ideology the way Randroids think Stalinism is an ideology – malign, evil, morally bankrupt and not even aesthetically attractive. The One True Way to classify is Linnaeus’s. Cladistics is anti-evolution, anti-truth and anti-God. Okay, I made that last one up, but it may as well be. If he spots someone like me, then he will try to bully his way into getting heard, to the extent, I am told, of bothering editors until they publish his rather incoherent “arguments” (I wouldn’t mind if there were actual arguments, but they are just a series of assertions without the slightest argumentation).
But, in the interests of fairness, he now has his own bully pulpit and I recommend anyone who cares to go visit. Learn about the Evils Of Cladism and its Disciples. Yep, he actually uses that word – he even calls me a “disciple” of Gary Nelson. Which is highly ironic, since I disagree with Gary on one or two points of emphasis, and when I first contacted him about being my advisor, I told him I was an “orthodox neo-Darwinian”. Gary’s response was “Let’s leave labels aside and just deal with the material”, which I did. If I have come to similar views to Gary or anyone else, it is because I got there on my own mental train. For example, I think pattern cladism has a much more limited point than Gary or Malte do. I tend to be more gene centric than many of my developmentalist friends. I am more selectionist than most of my friends in the business, too. But Envall won’t let any of that sully the prophecy, I bet.
This is the last time I will ever mention or even acknowledge the existence of Envall. He’s a silly little boy who wants everyone to think just like him in a war of attrition, and he’s not worth the effort. Your mileage may vary though, so have fun.