UPDATE: It gets worse. Chis Mooney has provided some additional details. As more and more is known, my tendency to say to ‘William': “oh, stop confessing and just get back to blogging, we forgive you” is turning into “OMH, you fuckhead, please slit your wrists now” … except I’m afraid he’d do it and I’d feel a little bad about it. For a minute or two. Anyway, check this out: Appalling Revelations about “Tom Johnson”

This is interesting enough to bump to post status; More information from the Buddah is not Serious YNH Confession Thread.

Chris Mooney wrote this on The Intersection last October:

Reacting to a previous post, a scientist named Tom Johnson left a comment so striking that I believe it deserves greater attention. Here it is:

Many of my colleagues are fans of Dawkins, PZ, and their ilk and make a point AT CONSERVATION EVENTS to mock the religious to their face, shout forced laughter at them, and call them “stupid,” “ignorant” and the like – …

… When my colleagues do this, you can watch the attention visibly disappear from the crowd when you finally start talking about conservation and real science.

Exactly. In the real world, it is vastly more important to build bridges with those who might be different from ourselves so as to achieve shared goals, than to score intellectual points when only a small and relatively homogenous intellectual group is even keeping track of those points.

It turns out that Tom Johnson is the YNH blog guy, was not a scientist or a grad student, and made all that stuff up.

Later, Chris was moved to write a blog post titled My Thanks to “Tom Johnson”. Nothing major, just a “thanks” to “Tom” for saying … just the right things at the right time.

“Tom Johnson” has firmly asserted, by the way, that Chris Mooney and Shiril Kirshenbaum had nothing to do with this fakery.

If I was Chris Mooney, I’d be really really mad. If I was PZ Myers, I’d be even more mad.

Go to Oedepus Maximus’s site to read more aftermath.

Comments

  1. #1 Oedipus
    July 7, 2010

    It’s funny to see people calling shenanigans on Tom Johnson when this came out last year, like Russel Blackford. The comments by Bruce Gorton and others are right on target, too.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Oedipus, my apologies for your comments getting moderated. I have no idea why that is happening. Perhaps “Tom Johnson” is a keyword at Scienceblogs?

  3. #3 george locke
    July 7, 2010

    Here is the comment (ostensibly) by the YNH author admitting to be “Tom Johnson”. Read the blog post above the comment for a fuller story. (I say ostensibly since i can’t confirm that “William” is the author of the blog, though he claims to be.)

    Laden: I’d recommend editing these links into your post. It took a little digging to find these posts, and even the lazy need evidence.

  4. #4 Lorax
    July 7, 2010

    So how does the blogosphere know “William” is being honest now? I haven’t read through all the threads on all the posts, but….

    How do we know William is the “Tom Johnson”? Are people actually taking the word of a recently outed liar? Could this simply be a way for William to keep attention getting? I don’t know myself, but call me skeptical. This seems a little too good to be true.

  5. #5 Oedipus
    July 7, 2010

    Lorax, yes it’s legitimate to question everything. After all I might be faking William. I could possibly fake his writing style, but the content of his story was at least enough to convince Ophelia.

    The other thing which comes to mind is that Greg can check my IP address, which is not near Alabama. Others beside myself–Josh (from Ophelia’s site) and Glendon–also confirm that Will is in Alabama.

    Chris Mooney is now checking on the “Ph.D. candidate at a reputable university” which William gave to him (of course he should have checked it long ago), and we’ll hear the result of that.

  6. #6 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    So how does the blogosphere know “William” is being honest now? I haven’t read through all the threads on all the posts, but….

    William didn’t start being candid unprovoked. He has only been naming names as people identify them as likely sockpuppets. He could just be admitting it to get attention, I suppose. But more likely he’s simply trying to admit as little as possible, but admitting once people ask questions about specific incidents. Most of the names that have been identified were done through noting the same name on YNH and on a couple of contentious Intersection threads where people were following the same MO (lying, misrepresenting, and always with the goal of ripping Myers, Coyne, or Benson). Especially when it comes to Tom Johnson, the story was questioned as soon as it was highlighted by Mooney (it didn’t add up, it followed the same MO of not being able to keep his story straight, etc…).

    The only person who could give positive proof is Mooney. I will not hold my breath. But the evidence is strong enough to favor the liar’s word. But we have enough outside evidence to affirmatively link Milton C. and a few of the socks at the Intersection to YNH, and if you look at the relevant Intersection threads and compare to YNH where we know he was sockpuppeting the MO is identical. The same few names come to defend and support each other. Tom Johnson can’t be verified this same way, but the story was ridiculous to start with.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Lorax, you are correct (but see Paul’s comments) but in fact, most of these confessional revelations conform to expectations and suspicions, even including previously unvoiced suspicions at times.

  8. #8 Ophelia Benson
    July 7, 2010

    I thought a YNH post sounded like “Tom Johnson” at the time – and I said so. I don’t know where though! And haven’t found it yet. Maybe it was here.

    It was the one that was supposed to be by a woman – the one where YNH said “We will drop the ‘we’ for this post” and went on to use “I” – “I” was a woman and “a scientist” – and an atheist – until her kid told her he called theist kids at school “stupid.” That sounded like pure “Tom Johnson” to me.

  9. #9 Oedipus
    July 7, 2010

    Lorax, I forgot to mention the most important part: the evidence linking William to Tom Johnson stands on its own, and it surfaced before William’s admission. Look at the comments preceding it.

  10. #10 Casey
    July 7, 2010

    To use the term in context:

    Those scientists thought they had me, until my friend in a lab coat came out and effectively “Tom Johnson”‘d them, lets hope those Scientists don’t run into him at the McDonalds drive thru tonight.

  11. #11 Lorax
    July 7, 2010

    Actually I believe that William is honestly admitting to be Tom Johnson and that this is true. However, people, myself included, like to see the best in other people (in general), which is why, I think, Mooney was so ready to buy the tagline and why republicans can bone young pages and still retain apologists. I used to believe that Jesus died for my sins (I was young) and all the horseshit that goes with that, I am still somewhat skeptical of my current beliefs because of it.

    Anyway, Im sure Mooney was delighted to find an “academic” hurt by those evil atheists. Much like we are delighted to find the academic was not what we thought. I would hate for this to come back and but us (New/Militant/Fundamentalist/Hitler-loving/-causing) atheists in the ass.

    That’s my explanation for potentially emulating a concern-troll anyway. Strike that, make it skeptical-troll.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    In all honest, we can’t blame Chris for not checking further on the veracity of this person. Can we? I don’t think so.

  13. #13 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    Huh, I missed Oedipus’s post before mine, even after mine posted and I rechecked the thread. Silly blind spot.

    The other thing which comes to mind is that Greg can check my IP address, which is not near Alabama. Others beside myself–Josh (from Ophelia’s site) and Glendon–also confirm that Will is in Alabama.

    Actually, that isn’t very good evidence. IP addresses really only hint that people are the same, they can’t tell you if posts are from different people. That is, if many posts are coming from the same IP there’s a good chance it’s the same person (or someone else on their connection) due to the fact that it’s no longer feasible to spoof IP addresses for things like forum posts (if you don’t provide the right IP, you cannot set up a connection to post to a website, since the server cannot respond to you to set up the TCP connection). However, if two posters have different IP addresses, it’s wholly possible that they are the same person using proxy servers (although obviously if they have different posting histories this becomes much less likely).

    Obviously I don’t believe you’re William, but Greg checking your IP address wouldn’t make it seem any more or less a possibility :-)

  14. #14 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    In all honest, we can’t blame Chris for not checking further on the veracity of this person. Can we? I don’t think so.

    I don’t think I agree. He claims to be a journalist. Journalism 101 is “sources lie”. Yet he took the story at face value, and even made a second post to defend the source, while never actually trying to contact the “Tom Johnson” whose website he visited, or to confirm that he was the same person he was using as a source. If it was some neutral news article, I don’t think it would be as big a deal. But it was a smear piece, and he didn’t do the least bit of serious investigation to confirm his source was legit. As Myers said, it’s like assuming someone emailing you is Obama because he linked you to the White House site.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Paul, yes, maybe. That does bring it to the line, if not across it. The comments were made on a blog, not in a newspaper piece or article. Yet Chris was using these comments for more than one normally uses comments for. So it is a gray area, and people who don’t like Chris, Sheril or The Intersection will convict him, and those who do like them will give him a pass. The actual issues and facts here are not interpretable without doing some post-hoc rule making. And I think everyone knows how I feel about that. I sort of have a rule against it.

  16. #16 Lorax
    July 7, 2010

    First off, “I would hate for this to come back and but us” should read “I would hate for this to come back and bite us”

    Second, I would tend to agree with Greg (if he’s being sincere….and stating that you are will make me doubt you more), however there were numerous dare I say a multitude of concerns raised immediately after Mooney’s original post raising “Tom Johnson’s” comment to post-status. That should have, IMO, opinion caused a skeptical person to reset and think about their sources more critically.

    Actually, Im sure Mooney would have done this anyway, but scientists are a bunch of arrogant elitist pricks (regardless of sex) who communicate the scientific methodology inappropriately……(Unnecessary? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.)

  17. #17 Lorax
    July 7, 2010

    Cool, while comments were passing, I go ahead and prove Greg’s point. You’re Welcome.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Perhaps “I would hate for this to come back and but us” should read “I would hate for this to come back and butt us”?????

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    I should note, by the way, that in my title, I’m not trying to say that Chris Mooney has imaginary friends. Rather, that Chris Mooney had a bloggy friend who turned out to be imaginary. I find it interesting that exposing Wiliam the Sockpupeteer in yet another scam converts so easily to a pile on of The Intersection. Lets try to remember who the wrongdoer is here: William faked being a certain person. As a blogger, I’m not sure I want to be held to “journalistic standards” for checking every one of you commenters for reality. I’ll be Chris is looking back at this and thinking “Shit, I should have checked” but that he didn’t means nothing. Nobody would have.

    Remember who the bad guy is here: YNH guy. He’s the only bad guy in this scenario.

  20. #20 UPDATED
    July 7, 2010

    ping

  21. #21 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    Remember who the bad guy is here: YNH guy. He’s the only bad guy in this scenario.

    You’re ignoring that Mooney has a history of attacking New Atheists on flimsy pretenses. People told him Tom Johnson didn’t seem legit. So what did Mooney do? He posted that “Thanks” thread, calling people calling for skepticism of Tom Johnson’s claims “the New Atheist comment machine”, saying that “Clearly, Johnson really touched a nerve”. He went on to imply that Tom Johnson would be in danger if people knew his identity:

    “Accordingly, my post unfortunately subjected him to various attacks; fortunately his real identity remains unknown (though I am aware of it).”

    You seriously expected people not to pile on when it became clear that they were right, and Mooney was being a dick for taking his pseudonymous source seriously on such a patently ridiculous story (which he even changed during the course of the previous comment thread)? Mooney is definitely a bad guy here. Not bad because he was taken in by a false source, but because it was part of his sustained effort to paint New Atheists as violent meanies who can’t be reasoned with and need to be shut up.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Right. This is right up your alley, isn’t it, Paul?

  23. #23 Oedipus
    July 7, 2010

    I don’t understand the update. What additional details provided by Mooney makes it worse?

  24. #24 Oedipus
    July 7, 2010

    Paul, you missed my post because all my comments are in moderation for some reason (Greg doesn’t know why either). Even when there are zero links, like this one.

  25. #25 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    Well yes, I’ve been directly insulted by his commenters when they take his narrative as gospel instead of actually reading and thinking for themselves, continuously attacking the strawmen Mooney puts out for them. Believe it or not, when people with wide syndication lie about a group of people, they may be angry about it and want to set the record straight. But I won’t bother you with it, I recognize you’re not all that interested in the Mooney situation. I simply thought it was funny that you expect people to focus on a morphing sockpuppet who only is influential if he can influence people with wide readerships (like Chris Mooney) instead of the actual people with wide readerships who exert their influence to peddle lies because they mesh with the narrative they want to put out.

    But as I said, I won’t bother you on this topic anymore.

  26. #26 Paul
    July 7, 2010

    Sorry for the poor wording; I do not claim that Mooney knew Tom was lying, simply that he didn’t really care to perform sufficient serious journalistic diligence to find out. Even when it was pointed out that the story (or stories…) didn’t add up.

  27. #27 abb3w
    July 7, 2010

    Faking data is usually a the equivalent of a capital offense in the world of science.

    Falling for faked data isn’t quite as bad, but it can irreparably tarnish a reputation; consider the judgement of history for Piltdown’s advocates, even of those who are not suspected as participants, but merely of falling victim to confirmation bias, nationalism, and perhaps a form of argumentum ad antiquitatem.

    Mooney should be considered a sucker: not selfishly malicious, but having significantly incompetent judgement.

  28. #28 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    Greg,
    Nobody is asking you or anyone else to check every commenters identity. That’s just an absurd strawman. “Tom Johnson”s comment was a defamatory anecdote played as fact by Chris and put on the front page. Twice. I would expect any blogger worth their salt to confirm such a thing, especially if it was a story that played into the bloggers worst fears and suspicions, to say nothing of the rather stupid and unbelievable nature of the story itself.

  29. #29 Jolo5309
    July 7, 2010

    Remember who the bad guy is here: YNH guy. He’s the only bad guy in this scenario.

    Yes, but I think the readers of other blogs are getting a bit of their own back after having CM write endlessly about how bad the “New Atheists” are. He then ignores multiple posters questioning Tom Johnson and declares that he has checked him out and he is a real person.

    If CM had integrity he would apologise for elevating this post above the others and using it as an attack on the NA.

    CM is a journalist and should have some sort of idea that sometimes people lie.

  30. #30 José
    July 7, 2010

    As a blogger, I’m not sure I want to be held to “journalistic standards” for checking every one of you commenters for reality.

    You don’t have to check every commenter. But if you go so far as to state that you’ve investigated the background of a commenter and confirmed that his story is legit, it’s probably a good idea check, especially if the story in question is as fishy sounding as this one was.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    I do not claim that Mooney knew Tom was lying, simply that he didn’t really care to perform sufficient serious journalistic diligence to find out.

    I’m saying, Paul, that IT’S A FREAKIN’ BLOG…. You don’t get to come along later and demand some form of due journalistic diligence. That’s just stupid.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Jfoster: What you say sounds right (and you too, Abb3). But it is post hoc. Post hoc rulemaking almost always stinks, to the extent that even when the 20-20 hindsight jives with what makes sense I don’t give it much credit. Like throwing out the joint as evidence because it was found during an illegal search. This post hoc slapping around could happen to anyone with a blog.

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Jolo: Yes, but I think the readers of other blogs are getting a bit of their own back after having CM write endlessly about how bad the “New Atheists” are.

    Yes, that is true. Savor it. Repeat it. Make it the issue. It IS the issue. But don’t water down the moment by making up those damn post hoc rules Mooney got duped. If you were on the other side of the argument THAT’S da bomb. Can’t do much better than to have the opposition’s main witness turn out to be bozo the clown.

    But that does not have much to do with the argument that the way bloggers deal with comments must meet ANY standard. ANY!!!! There are no standards for how we deal with comments. None. And there should not be.

  34. #34 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Jose, that could be, but my understanding is that the commenter had valid looking information.

    Yes yes, I’ve seen the post hoc arguments that it could have all been figured out. More pos hocness.

  35. #35 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    “But that does not have much to do with the argument that the way bloggers deal with comments must meet ANY standard. ANY!!!! There are no standards for how we deal with comments. None. And there should not be.”

    Mooney wasn’t simply “dealing with comments” when he:

    – elevated “Tom Johnson’s” comment to a post of its own
    – endorsed the post’s content
    – vouched for the identity of the commenter
    – implied that the commenter was given grief as a result of the post.

    Mooney did not simply let slip by a false comment: he gave it his explicit stamp of approval. He lent the comment his own credibility, and thereby chose to risk said credibility on the truthfulness of Johnson’s post.

    The fact that you can’t seem to tell the difference is a little baffling to this reader.

  36. #36 jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    Greg:
    It is simply not post-hoc. I have seen in the intersection comments that you have not read the Tom Johnson posts. If you had, you would see a large portion of the comments were about questioning if and how Chris could verify such a thing, questions about who exactly Tom Johnson was, and a general questioning of the veracity, if not an outright denial of the story.

    Examples:
    #1

    #2

    #3

    #4

    #5

    #6

    #7

  37. #37 Stewart
    July 7, 2010

    Posting here, rather than at the Intersection, because my three comments there have been stuck in moderation for hours.

    No one can force Greg to look at those threads; I didn’t enjoy looking at them myself. I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that Mooney needs to do massive verification before he lets a comment through. Nor that he can never go with his gut. But he did make a choice, to believe the one person (backed up, it would appear, by quite a few other socks) with a really convenient, but undocumented, anecdote, against quite a number of other voices telling him that the whole thing smelled fishy. He did choose not to give any of those voices credence. There may be some commenters simply crowing over Mooney getting his, but there is more than “ad hominem” to it, because the judgement calls Mooney made and the evidence on which he made them have not gone down any memory hole. They can be seen and they could be seen before any confessions came out and Mooney looked bad because of them before there was an even bigger villain from whom blame must not be diverted. And while we discuss all this, Mooney, whose biggest defence so far has been to claim he was privy to Johnson’s identity (as does TB), continues not to do all the clarifying he’s promised and which should be a no-brainer if he’s done nothing reprehensible.

    For all non-thread readers, here’s a tiny snippet of Anthony McCarthy, from the very first one. It does have a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?

    “I’ll point out that gillt has claimed to be a geneticist, a tutor and a human guinea pig. And he may be all or some of those, but we have no more reason to believe him than we do Tom Johnson, except maybe that Tom Johnson hasn’t clearly lied here.”

  38. #38 DarronS
    July 7, 2010

    I’m saying, Paul, that IT’S A FREAKIN’ BLOG…. You don’t get to come along later and demand some form of due journalistic diligence. That’s just stupid.
    You don’t get it Greg. It is a blog hosted by Discover Magainze and Chris Mooney is a professional science writer. He has a degree in journalism. No one is demanding anything after the fact. If you would bother to read the original TJ threads you would know that several people openly questioned TJ’s story and Chris’ judgment in elevating the story to thread status.

    Additionally, I expect you to employ rigorous journalistic standards of accuracy on your blog. I am shocked to find you do not value accuracy on your own blog. This does not mean you have to check every comment for veracity, but when you highlight a comment to support your ideas you should check the source carefully so you do not mislead your readers.

    Chris Mooney has shown a disturbing habit of duplicity and unfairness in his dealings with critics, and is now exposed as someone with poor critical thinking skills: someone who accepts without questioning stories that support his preconceived notions.

    I hope you do not fall into the same trap.

  39. #39 DarronS
    July 7, 2010

    Doh! That’s what I get for ignoring spell check.

  40. #40 Stewart
    July 7, 2010

    Actually, I’m redundant. Read Ophelia’s post from last October (and h/t to Michael Fugate for reminding us of it at B&W): http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2009/dont-believe-everything-youre-told/#comments

    Ophelia turns out to have been completely right about Tom Johnson. And Ophelia is still banned from The Intersection. Good thing, too. It’s not an appropriate venue for people who tend to get things right.

  41. #41 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    In further response to the “this is all post hoc reasoning” buisness, Take a look at this post from Ophelia Benson in october 2009 Re: Tom Johnson:

    “The comment ‘obviously reflected’ one anonymous individual’s account of a purported experience, an experience which was implausible on its face. Chris Mooney is a professional journalist – surely he ought to know this very well indeed. Surely if someone phoned him and in a heavily disguised voice gave an avowedly false name and told an implausible story about a controversial subject – he would know that the story was not automatically reliable. Of course he would! Yet this is taken at face value, and not only that, but a group that Mooney dislikes is given a carefully offensive epithet for being skeptical about this story.”
    From Here

    No one could have predicted….

  42. #42 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    You’re incorrect about the “post hoc” portion of these standards, Greg. But as we’ve been over in The Intersection thread, you’ll only know that if you do look at the history.

    And yes, people should be careful not to accuse Mooney of being deliberately dishonest in this case. If I see that happen, I’ll jump all over it as well.

  43. #43 truthspeaker
    July 7, 2010

    Jose, that could be, but my understanding is that the commenter had valid looking information.

    Your understanding is wrong, by Chris Mooney’s own admission. The commenter said he was a particular person, and sent Mooney a link that person’s website. Mooney did not call or email the contact details on that website to verify his identity.

    When you repeat someone else’s claims as fact, you have a duty – not as a blogger, but as a human being with integrity – to verify those claims first.

  44. #44 J. J. Ramsey
    July 7, 2010

    Benson: “Surely if someone phoned him and in a heavily disguised voice gave an avowedly false name and told an implausible story about a controversial subject”

    Trouble is, that’s not a great analogy. Blog comments are typically pseudonymous, and the story wasn’t that implausible. I’m sorry, but given that P.Z. Myers has been advocating being meaner and fiercer and often modeled that behavior on his own blog by being nasty and abusive himself, it’s not that big a stretch that someone would model that in real life.

    I’m interested in finding out just what “William” sent to Mooney in order to show that he was “legit.”

  45. #45 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    JJ: The issue is not the strength of Ophelia’s Analogy. The issue is Greg’s assertion that those who are criticizing Mooney are engaging in Post-hoc reasoning(since no one could have predicted Tom Johnson’s story was made up, I suppose). Her Post, amongst many others, demonstrates that they are not.

  46. #46 Jolo5309
    July 7, 2010

    Greg, there really are two issues here, the first is that William Many Names was really Tom Johnson and that Chris used it as evidence against the NA.

    Firstly, none of these people are saying that William is off the hook, I am pretty comfortable stating that those kicking Chris Mooney have no respect for William.
    Secondly, Chris Mooney claimed to have verified Tom Johnson’s bonafides even after gillt repeatedly asked about him. PZ Myers asked the very same question and received no response. Luke Vogel, who clearly supports the accomodationist POV (he stated so) had serious concerns about Chris’s treatment of this one lone post. TJ even mentioned that he and Chris exchanged emails and communicated and Chris accepted the story, when Chris did not comment on that it means he either does not read comments in his own threads (a possibility) or b) he did communicate with Tom and did a poor job of verifying anything.
    Thirdly, Chris elevated this comment to the level of making it a blog entry and an attack on the NA. If you were to do the same thing (on religion or anything) and were burned this badly, I am pretty sure you would get a sound kicking as well. PZ Myers would, Jerry Coyne would, any prominent blogger would.

    Yes I know that there are three items.

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    DarronS: This thing you are reading here is a blog. A blog. Not the New York Times. I’m shocked you can’t tell the difference.

    I also find it disturbing that you can’t tell that you are imposing rules that you made up post hoc on people writing a blog.

    Discover corp has discover magazine and other outlets, and they have a blog. Their blog is … well, it’s just a blog .

  48. #48 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Unfortunately, there are things that I know but can not say that would make the post hoc argument (i.e., that Mooney was not unreasonable to believe what he believed) stronger. But I’m certain that would not satisfy the firing squad.

    I do get that after the fact one could easily argue that Chris messed up, as I’m sure he knows. The problem here, though, is the usual firing squad bullshit. There is not a journalistic standard for blogging. There is not a protocol for handling commenters or verifying that kind of information. Despite the appearance, after the fact, of some statements that we can now see glimmered with truth, it is not reasonable to try, convict, sentence, and execute a blogger because they did not anticipate and understand what a fairly large committee of people figured out later. Yeah, Chris fucked up, and he knows that, feels the pain. Turning that into hundreds of hateful comments is just a bit over the top, though.

    And, again, no, there is not a presumption of some magical journalistic integrety linked to ANY blog, anywhere in the world. The blogs are the lose ends of the world of writing and SOME of that writing is journalistic. Blogs aspire to allow, even relish, the lowest common denominator, even if they sometimes aspire to and do more. The water cooler is neither the grand jury nor the pulpit. It is a place where people shoot the shit.

    People, there is a bigger issue here, but you have utterly lost sight of it. Too bad. Do I need to tell you what it is?

    (A parallel event occured that is related to this issue, when the YNH author ‘william’ made up a bunch of Greg Laden’s Blogs commenters and attacked himself. That should be a sufficient hint for you)

  49. #49 Stewart
    July 7, 2010

    I get that a blog is just a blog. And if the same person writes books that are discussed widely in the media and also writes a blog, does the degree of accuracy expressed in the blog have no bearing whatsoever on anything outside it? If the book(s) and the blog deal with the same subject matter and the blog can be seen to have no regard for elementary fact-checking in the face of considerable suspicion expressed by commenters, am I doing something indictable if I let that influence how I view the person and the rest of his/her work?

  50. #50 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Jolo, yes, that’s a pretty good summary, I think.

  51. #51 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    And if the same person writes books that are discussed widely in the media and also writes a blog, does the degree of accuracy expressed in the blog have no bearing whatsoever on anything outside it?

    Now I get not only that you are missing my point, but how you are missing it.

    Writing a blog and writing a book both have a process. They are very very very different processes. They are qualitatively different.

    So no, one does not bear on the other any more than how Joe Maure does on a randomly chosen pinball game affects his batting average. Vaguely.

  52. #52 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    “Unfortunately, there are things that I know but can not say that would make the post hoc argument (i.e., that Mooney was not unreasonable to believe what he believed) stronger”

    Greg:
    Are you serious? You can’t possibly think that this makes any sense. You asserted that the people who are criticizing Mooney are engaging in post-hoc reasoning. This assertion has NOTHING to do with what Mooney knew. It has to do with whether it was possible to have predicted that the story Tom Johnson was false before William was outed as having made it up. The Numerous examples you have been shown of people doing exactly that give the lie to this argument.

    Stop digging.

  53. #53 jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    Correction:
    The story Tom Johnson told

  54. #54 Stewart
    July 7, 2010

    Does it mean that the author, when he’s blogging, doesn’t want to be taken particularly seriously? I think there’s only so far one could take an analogy involving pinball and batting averages.

  55. #55 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Yes, how dare we expect The Intersection to maintain high standards… it’s a blog. Only a blog. It’s not at all related to judging tone, or other blogs and their comment sections. If Mooney/Kirshenbaum feel like it, they can censor Ophelia and any mention of her, dismiss critics, and fail to fact check “Exhibit A.” Yes, you’re right, they can do all of that, and there’s no higher authority which can place an absolute standard of monitoring and care.

    If those standards lead to sucky results, however, and were predicted to do so, again, and so forth and so on…

    Firing Squad, take aim!

    This is called flak. It happens to the New York Times and other media outlets. It happens to scientists and organizations. It happens to politicians and intellectuals. It happens to any platform where words, written and spoken, create stories based on sources or firsthand experience, and readers are supposed to believe that those words were informed and considered.

    If not, the audience might well raise a shitstorm about it. This is the other side of standards and the incentive to keep to them.

  56. #56 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    Greg Laden,

    Are you STILL maintaining that the only issue here is Chris Mooney’s diligence in policing his blog’s comments?

    Can you truly not understand that there is a bigger issue that is getting people riled up, namely that Mooney lent his credibility to and promoted the words of a fraud, while claiming to have verified the fraud’s identity?

    That in so doing, he advanced an unflattering stereotype of atheist academics and used the fraud’s words as evidence to justify this stereotype?

    Can you see how this has nothing to do with Mooney’s blog’s comment policies? Can you see how your continued protestations of that point are making you look obtuse?

  57. #57 Stewart
    July 7, 2010

    Zach’s comment leads me to ask about the reverse face of this. If “only” being a blog means – no, I’ll put it differently. If we have no right to any expectations of blogs and any complaints we may make are impositions of rules we have no right to impose – which may be the case – what are the rights of those blogging? Do they have the right to expect no firing squads? Are they exempt from adhering to any standards while we are expected to refrain from acting in like manner? Of course it’s “just a blog,” but a blog has a relationship of some kind with its readers and commenters, doesn’t it (if it doesn’t, why should either side bother?)? And would either side be wrong to think there might be something mildly reciprocal in that relationship? Do commenters bear a greater degree of responsibility than a blogger? Especially when the blogger gets to decide which comments reach the light of day.

  58. #58 José
    July 7, 2010

    Mooney wrote a book that contained several glaring misconceptions about NAs. It was bad journalism, but not totally unforgivable. When these misconceptions were pointed out to him, I think many of us expected some sort of retraction. Instead, he ignored the truth, and repeated his damaging misconceptions everywhere he could. He also took the questionable tactic of using comments on blogs as evidence for his position. In one case, it was Tom Johnson’s laughable story. In another, he took an anonymous, immature comment he found on Pharyngula and attempted to paint it’s views as representative of NA views. Mooney didn’t spot that Tom Johnson’s story was a fake because he had no interest in finding out the truth. It was just one more ugly instance of Mooney’s intellectual dishonesty.

  59. #59 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Tom, I have no problem with the issues you cite as being very important. I’ve not said otherwise.

    The problem you and a few others are having is that you’ve conflated observation and analysis on one hand with the nature of reaction on the other. It is quite possible for, for example, for me to basically agree with Paul, but to not be an obsessive steam rolling over the top shit about it.

    (Sorry, Paul, but, well, whatever.)

    I had this problem with some of my colleagues on Scienceblogs related to this Pepsi thing. I think some bloggers have come to the opinion that only if one storms off in a huff does one really really hate the idea of a self-promoting corporate faux blog posing as one of our real blogs. The truth is that there is not a single person on this planet that hates that idea more than me. Period. End of story. But that does not mean that I have to react in the same way that someone else who really really hates the idea reacts.

  60. #60 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    “But that does not mean that I have to react in the same way that someone else who really really hates the idea reacts.”

    Nobody said that. But if, as you said, you don’t want to look at the background, maybe your reaction will strike some as irrelevant and, as Tom put it, obtuse.

  61. #61 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    If we have no right to any expectations of blogs and any complaints we may make are impositions of rules we have no right to impose – which may be the case – what are the rights of those blogging?

    [Really mean spirited thing I was gonna say deleted because I'm better than that. Sometimes.] Who claims that there are no expectations? Blogs are entities written by people, and read by people. Over time expectations form, and are negotiated.

    Many of the instances where we see rabid foaming at the mouth commenters, [Really nasty thing deleted] going after a blogger or some other commenter, we see this post hoc rule making phenomenon. It goes along with the obsessive behavior and the mean spirited attitude.

    And, I might add, [really nasty thing deleted] you are pretty good at it!!!

  62. #62 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    What’s with your post hoc rule-making about criticizing Mooney, Greg?

  63. #63 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Zach, it is hardly my fault if my reactions to what I see do not conform to the expectations of someone else who saw something else. That’s just … crazy talk.

  64. #64 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Who demanded that you join in, exactly?

  65. #65 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    WILLIAM!!!!!

    You need to get in touch with me at your earliest possible convenience. I am not joking and this is not any kind of a trap.

    Email me, I’ll send you my phone number if you like.

    laden.greg@gmail.com

    Thanks.

  66. #66 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Zach, I have no idea what your comment means. Please clarify. Oh, I see you have two one liners that make no sense. Please clarify both of them. Thanks.

  67. #67 Stephanie Z
    July 7, 2010

    Comment 61. This. Right here. This is the problem with firing squads.

  68. #68 articulett
    July 7, 2010

    Why would any atheist know or care about any one’s religious beliefs at a “conservation event” anyhow? Unless people make issue of their supernatural beliefs, I just assume they are rational like me. :)

    It’s funny how Mooney grabbed on to a source which confirmed his biases without asking how it is that the mean “new atheists” even became aware of peoples’ magical beliefs at a purported “conservation event”. Mooney is guilty of spreading prejudice against outspoken atheists, and it matters little to me if he thinks he was duped into doing so.

  69. #69 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    #59 was a point about the absurdity of your emphasis on standard-setting.

    #61 nobody was demanding that you have the exact same reaction. I saw plenty of people disagreeing with your reaction for various reasons, myself included.

    #64 do tell?

  70. #70 gillt
    July 7, 2010

    Laden: “Yeah, Chris fucked up, and he knows that, feels the pain.”

    You’re halfway there. Chris fucked up by elevating a random comment from a non-regular on his blog as Example A of how prominent NAs are hurting science communication in the real world with their militant atheist blog activity. Chris fucked up again by equating those wanting some assurance that TJ was who he said he was and that his story checked out to the New Atheist Noise Machine or some such nonsense. Now that the story turned out to be not even a little true, well that sucks for Chris, but he clearly brought it on himself with arrogance and gullibility.

  71. #71 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    You’re halfway there.

    Oh goodie. So, in the rest of your comment, which I’m very unlikely to read, you are going to tell me how to get all the way there? Gag me, gillt.

    OH, hell, I did read the rest of your comment anyway. And yes, we agree. In fact, you are practically quoting me.

    Did you have a point?

  72. #72 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    OK, so I hear you say that you understand why people are upset with Mooney. But your only response seems to be to rise to his defense, claiming that we all are engaged in “post-hoc rule making” about blog comment standards.

    That this is the point raising your ire makes me wonder if you truly do understand why some people are upset.

    The fact that you haven’t even read the pieces at the center of the controversy reinforces my suspicion that you don’t actually care that Mooney was using a fraud in order to perpetuate his stereotype about atheist academics.

    And now you label serious criticism of Mooney as “rabid foaming at the mouth”, “obsessive behavior” and “mean-spirited”.

    Added together, it looks to me that you are more concerned that your fellow blogger might have to face some criticism than you are that he gave “William’s” b.s. story a credibility it didn’t deserve.

    This is an example of the same clubby sticking-together that is the bane of our modern journalism. You’ll try to distract your readers from a fairly serious issue with a straw-man objection in order to protect one of your own.

    I think you’ve reflexively jumped to defend your slightly more powerful comrade. Pardon me for saying so, but I find this self-justifying behavior to be nauseating. (And I don’t buy that you’re the maverick, independent thinker you’re trying to portray yourself as being.)

  73. #73 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    I do agree with you about one thing, Greg.

    A blog really isn’t a book or a major media outlet. There are different standards and expectations.

  74. #74 Stephanie Z
    July 7, 2010

    Zach, it’s the point where the gun in your hand starts to feel good, and you turn it on everyone who commits the “crime” of disagreeing with you a teensy, tiny bit. Tom’s doing a great job of demonstrating it too.

    For further elaboration of the effect, and to see how long Greg’s concern for rule-making has existed, you can check out this post that he links to on the average of once a month.

  75. #75 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Tom,

    I think that you’re overdoing it a bit. You also make it sound like Mooney was consciously using a fraud. “Using” has some connotations in this usage that you might want to disavow or qualify in the future.

    I also don’t think that Greg is just out to defend Mooney. That’s an accusation that goes a little further than the facts warrant.

  76. #76 gillt
    July 7, 2010

    Chris brought this storm of shit on himself is what I’m saying, which is not what you’re saying, so please stop agreeing with me.

    If not some vague journalistic standards of fact-checking what standards can we expect of your more serious internet writing?

  77. #77 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Stephanie,

    There are real examples of schadenfreude in The Intersection post.

    And how was my comment an example of that?

    If you’re concerned, you can call them out as they come, which is something that I’ve tried to do.

    There are real examples. Of course people overdo it and go to far. I argue that flak is justified when reasonable expectations have been violated, not that all of the flak is justified.

    However, I don’t believe that I crossed the line at #61. I wasn’t enjoying criticizing Greg. I was rather dismayed by his initial post on The Intersection thread, actually. Now that he’s clarified things, some here, some at TBINS, I’m not worried that he’s missing anything serious.

    You could find much better examples of firing squad mentality. Enjoying the gun in my hand?

  78. #78 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    Are you really equating my criticism of Laden with some kind of gun-related violence, Stephanie? After reading TWO mild comments of mine?

    If so, your sense of proportion needs some serious re-tuning. (And you might consider dialing down the sycophancy a bit as well.)

  79. #79 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    I don’t think that she was seriously comparing your comment to gun violence, Tom.

    Sense of proportion…

  80. #80 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    Tom Ames: Nice bit of paranoid ranting. May I remind you that it is I, no one else (well, OK, I had PZ’s help) who physically taclked Chris Mooney to the ground and made him say uncle at the famous Slapdown. We are not members of some secret sticking together club. And no, NOBODY gets to question my Mooney Munching Cred. http://tinyurl.com/268b4hc

    Zach: A blog really isn’t a book or a major media outlet. There are different standards and expectations.

    Thank you. My work is done here.

    Stephanie, thanks for the link, I was just about to go look for it.

    gilt: Chris brought this storm of shit on himself is what I’m saying, which is not what you’re saying, so please stop agreeing with me.

    I pretty much agree with that, but it is also worth pointing out that when a storm of shit falls on you, and you look up to see where it came from, chances are you are going to see a lot of assholes.

  81. #81 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    As to whether or not Greg is defending Mooney, his comments #12 and #19 above are what sets the tone. (That, and his subsequent complaints against “post hoc rule making–whatever he means by that.)

    I wouldn’t go so far as to criticize Mooney for intentionally using a sockpuppet to advance his thesis. But I think a serious criticism of his lax (when it suits him) standards is not “post-hoc rule-making”, nor is it akin to violence (gun-related or otherwise).

  82. #82 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    I’m pretty strict on the comment thing. If you tell me that I must even READ the comments on my posts then that is you telling me something you can’t tell me. If my failure to read the comments on my post causes some kind of kerfuffle, and you tell me that I should have read them, that is you telling me something you can’t tell me.

    That only speaks to part of the issue on The Intersection, but it does illustrate this blogger’s point of view. I can totally ignore my comments if I want. Or read them. Or even randomly or non randomly delete them, even.

  83. #83 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Ok, with #77, I feel that we’re essentially in agreement.

    I still want to point out that while yes, not all of the flak was reasonable, the bulk of it was (actually to a surprising extent). And further, that a blog doesn’t moderate selectively against its critics and treats supportive comments credulously, as appears to be the case with The Intersection, is a reasonable expectation, and it wasn’t one that was applied post hoc.

    That said, I’ll go back to paying attention to the other posts and trying to keep things on track.

  84. #84 jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    Where is the defense of your post-hoc argument, Greg? You seem to have given that one up. And not without reason. It was quite dense.

  85. #85 Tom Ames
    July 7, 2010

    Greg, I truly have no idea what you’re talking about. Sorry. All I know about you is what I’ve read today, in connection with this Mooney affair.

  86. #86 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    And further, that a blog doesn’t moderate selectively against its critics and treats supportive comments credulously, as appears to be the case with The Intersection, is a reasonable expectation, and it wasn’t one that was applied post hoc.

    I agree that that is not part of the post hoc thing, but a blog can do that.

    There is one comment that i delete from every single post I write. I write a post, this comment shows up, I delete it. Am I a bad blogger because of that?

    Jfoster, I’m pretty sure you never did understand that argument, and don’t now, and in fact, we are still talking about it. I don’t think I can help yo with this.

  87. #87 Stephanie Z
    July 7, 2010

    Tom, why would you think this is sycophancy? And the firing squad discussion is also months old. Greg made a reference to it far upthread of mine. It was a metaphor for rule enforcement that you’re not in the mood to parse.

    Zach, Greg has been plenty hard on William and the accommodationist argument that atheists should shut up. He’s said Chris screwed up. Comment 61 saying he should shut up because his perspective on whether Chris should be judged by some bloggy standard that didn’t exist before Chris’s post doesn’t match yours, being based on a different (not smaller) set of information. It’s a tiny difference of opinion, but the reaction to it is way out of proportion. (No, not just your reaction, but they do appear to be feeding each other.) It’s a problem I see a lot when in the midst of people who think they’re defending some kind of rule. Thus the firing-squad problem.

  88. #88 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    What I understood Greg, was that you asserted that you had special Knowledge that would somehow make OTHER PEOPLES arguments post-hoc.

    Did I misunderstand?

  89. #89 Stephanie Z
    July 7, 2010

    Yes, Jfoster, you misunderstood. The part where Greg is talking about rule-making is important.

  90. #90 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Not at all. I don’t have a problem with deleting posts, depending on the post and the sentiment which motivated the action.

    There’s a distinction between Russell Blackford wiping out DM’s rantings and Chris Mooney banning Ophelia and filtering any mention of her. The circumstances are different.

    And again, you’re under no tremendous obligation or any force to moderate any particular way. The point is that whenever a blog crosses into what is considered dishonest or biased, some flak is appropriate (and expected).

  91. #91 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    I didn’t ask him to shut up, Stephanie. I clarified #61 at #66. “Join in” referred to having the same reaction as everybody else.

  92. #92 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    What I understood Greg, was that you asserted that you had special Knowledge that would somehow make OTHER PEOPLES arguments post-hoc.

    Did I misunderstand?

    Aha … yes. That was a misunderstanding.

    Never mind my special knowledge. I probably shouldnt have even said that. These things can only be discussed with what is in the open and known about. I feel like Nixon with the secret plan to end the war. Except I’m not lying.

  93. #93 Jfsoster
    July 7, 2010

    Stephenie:

    So, when greg said this:

    Unfortunately, there are things that I know but can not say that would make the post hoc argument (i.e., that Mooney was not unreasonable to believe what he believed) stronger

    That wasn’t Greg saying that he said Special knowledge that would make other people’s arguments post-hoc? Because The part about his secret that he can’t revel that would make his post-hoc argument stronger kind of makes it seem that way.

  94. #94 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    And again, you’re under no tremendous obligation or any force to moderate any particular way. The point is that whenever a blog crosses into what is considered dishonest or biased, some flak is appropriate (and expected).

    Oh yeah? Well I figured you’d say something like that… oh wait … right, exactly. We totally agree. There we go agreeing again.

  95. #95 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    haha ok Greg, we’ll leave this at that.

  96. #96 Stephanie Z
    July 7, 2010

    Zach, I still didn’t get that. Thanks for clarifying. Consider my comments to apply to what I read instead of what you were trying to say.

    Jfoster, if I’m reading that correctly, “the post hoc argument” is the argument that people are making these rules about what is reasonable in a post hoc fashion. It isn’t an argument made post hoc.

  97. #97 Zach Voch
    July 7, 2010

    Happens. If I thought somebody had said something like “agree or you’re not welcome,” I would have been harsher than you.

  98. #98 Jfoster
    July 7, 2010

    Stephanie:

    But that argument been debunked, plain and simple. There have been many comments in this thread pointing out quite a few instances of people suggesting that Chris should do due diligence on the Tom Johnson character, that the Tom Johnson character was fake, or that posting an anecdote as fact did not become a professional journalist like Mooney months before the revelations about the sock-puppetry ever surfaced. It simply cannot, by definition, be post-hoc when many people made the same argument before the fact.

  99. #99 Scote
    July 8, 2010

    “I’m saying, Paul, that IT’S A FREAKIN’ BLOG…. You don’t get to come along later and demand some form of due journalistic diligence. That’s just stupid.

    Posted by: Greg Laden | July 7, 2010 6:56 PM”

    Well, as I pointed out over at The Buddha, that is not a good excuse. Seems to me that your defense reeks of your own desire not to be held to any standards of integrity at your own blog. Are such standards required? No. Could you and should you be criticized for not having any? I’d say yes. The “it’s only a blog” excuse is utter BS, just as invalid as saying Unscientific America is only a book. Like a book, a blog is only a format, not a valid generic excuse for sloppy fact checking and other forms of counterfactual and irresponsible postings or defamation – especially on Science Blogs, which I think we all expect to be held to a high standard. Blogs run the gamut from personal diaries to full-blown, award-winning investigative journalism. But if you, personally, would like your individual standards and credibility to be “I don’t give a crap because”, well that is up to you, but in actuality it has nothing to do with the fact that your posts are in blog format, but rather because of your own low personal standards.

  100. #100 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2010

    Jfoster, who told the folks at the Intersection that they should check IP addresses at the time or should run emails back and forth from particular accounts? I’m not seeing it anywhere that anyone has pointed to.

    I see a lot of people saying Chris should have checked it out. He did. The post hoc part is deciding now which means of checking he should have used–namely, the ones he didn’t mention in his post today.

  101. #101 Jfoster
    July 8, 2010

    Stephanie:

    Surely you understand that the sock puppetry on the part of William is completely irrelevant to the argument, right? The sock puppets are just how he got caught. If Tom Johnson had actually been named Tom Johnson, with ‘Tom Johnson’ being the only username he used on the intersection or anywhere else, it wouldn’t change anything about what we are discussing here now . He still would have made up a silly, inflammatory story with no basis in fact. Chris Mooney still would have credulously posted it, and a large contingent of people would have still pointed out the flaws of Chris Mooney posting and praising a ridiculous anecdotal story(as fact) from an anonymous Commenter without proper vetting.

  102. #102 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Are such standards required? No. Could you and should you be criticized for not having any? I’d say yes.

    Sure, but I HAVE standards. You clearly don’t. Whatever shit comes near your mouth you just spit out as though you had no control whatsoever, without even thinking about it. You making the absurd claim that I must not have standards because of some insane paranoid crazy interpretation you’ve made is hardly of any importance at all, except possibly in how it might be of interest to your therapist vis-a-vis your current dosage level.

    “…as invalid as saying Unscientific America is only a book. Like a book, a blog is only a format,”

    Ah, no, that is not the difference between a blog and a book. I am surprised you don’t know that.

  103. #103 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    jfoster: Just for fun, can you provide the counter example? Where something very much like the situation with Mooney happened, but the blogger did what you are telling us …. post hoc …. he should have done, and wherein the outcome was better? Until you can give us a few of those, where there is some reasonably well documented pattern of “doing it right,” then your argument that it was done all wrong is … post hoc. Hindsight.

    I’m not saying that such examples don’t exist. But they don’t seem to have been brought into the argument, which makes me think (and sometimes say out loud) that the critique of Mooney in this case has its post hoc elements.

    PZ made a couple of points that do indicate that some of what happened could have been avoided. But that only addressed part of this.

    (At least the arguments against what I’m saying are mostly not post hoc. They’re just stupid.)

    Oh, and repeating the mantra “Journalist … facts … journalists … facts ….” is not sufficient for several reasons, including 1) IT”S A FRACKIN BLOG!!!!11!! (even if one kept by a journalist) and 2) specifics matter. The study of journalism is in part the study of journalists getting fucked up by new circumstances.

  104. #104 Jfoster
    July 8, 2010

    No Greg, I can’t. I can’t because what I(and I think most others are suggesting) is that Mooney shouldn’t have ‘elevated’ Tom Johnson’s comment to The main page without having vetted it. He shouldn’t have presented it as fact. and he shouldn’t have praised and defended Tom Johnson when People questioned his silly story. As you are now aware, people made this argument at the time. A lot of people did. It is no way post-hoc.

    However, if you want an example of doing it right, look no further then your own blog. Every post that doesn’t have an inflammatory anecdote from an anonymous commenter presented as fact to prove some point is a great example of doing it right.

  105. #105 ppnl
    July 8, 2010

    It looks to me like Greg is trying to trying to calm the pitchfork wielding villagers here. That will be a thankless task but maybe an important one. Rioting villagers can do a lot of damage no matter how righteous their cause. Just be careful.

    I think the anger here is generated by the fact that Mooney so easily bought into the Tom Johnson story. It reveals a great deal about how Mooney views new atheists.

    I’m reminded of the way conservatives bought into the story of the girl who claimed to have been attacked by a black man during the last election. It revealed something really ugly.

    Mooney should take a real good look at what this reveals about himself. But those criticizing him should be real careful to find their own mirrors. Failure to do so will mean Tom Johnson type stories start to become true.

  106. #106 Scote
    July 8, 2010

    “102

    It looks to me like Greg is trying to trying to calm the pitchfork wielding villagers here. That will be a thankless task but maybe an important one. Rioting villagers can do a lot of damage no matter how righteous their cause. Just be careful.

    Posted by: ppnl | July 8, 2010 1:27 AM”

    Rioting villagers doing “damage”? Yes, because criticizing Mooney for his confirmation biased credulity and endorsement of unverified falsehoods is directly analogous to a rioting mob. :-p

    Meanwhile, your contention that Greg is trying calm the discussion seems contradicted by his angry invective and false and defamatory statements:

    ” Whatever shit comes near your mouth you just spit out as though you had no control whatsoever, without even thinking about it. You making the absurd claim that I must not have standards because of some insane paranoid crazy interpretation you’ve made is hardly of any importance at all, except possibly in how it might be of interest to your therapist vis-a-vis your current dosage level.”

    If you think that is “trying to calm the pitchfork wielding villagers here” I’ll have to disagree rather strongly. It is pretty clear by Greg’s profane and defamatory comments that he is not interested in calming anything but rather in ratcheting up his vituperation to obfuscate his utter lack of reasoned discourse or actual rebuttal. Note that’s at least the second post I’ve seen today where Greg has lashed out at someone with inane verbiage about “dosage levels.” One wonders where his fixation about medication levels comes from tonight?

    “”…as invalid as saying Unscientific America is only a book. Like a book, a blog is only a format,”
    Ah, no, that is not the difference between a blog and a book. I am surprised you don’t know that.”

    Again, you have failed to admit the fact that a blog is merely a format like books and magazines are formats. A blog is defined “as a page with dated entries.” ( http://2010.bloggi.es/ ). It is just a format. It is not a standard or lack thereof of journalistic integrity. Being a blog is not an inherent excuse for low standards. If you want to have low standards that is your right, but it has nothing to do with the fact that your posts are in blog format. Your attempts to claim there can be no journalistic standards for blogs are false, just as false as a claim that there can be no journalistic standards for books or magazines would be.

  107. #107 Stewart
    July 8, 2010

    Greg, your #58 with its three stated deletions (leaving all that it does to the imagination) seems to have been aimed squarely at me. I’m guessing the same for “assertions such as that a blog needs to be held to the same standard as a book” over at Oedipus’s blog. If it was and the catalyst was my question “And if the same person writes books that are discussed widely in the media and also writes a blog, does the degree of accuracy expressed in the blog have no bearing whatsoever on anything outside it?,” then I feel myself to have been mischaracterised, rather severely, in fact. I think that if I were what you seem to have taken me for, I’d now be writing a long quibbling rant. As I mentioned in my first post in this thread, I contributed here because I was stuck in moderation at the Intersection (which I still am, apparently because the first of three attempts to post there contained the forbidden words “Ophelia Benson”) and there seemed to be things you didn’t know about this case because you stated clearly that you hadn’t read the threads in question. I don’t think anything I said here was the least bit inflammatory and I used the term “firing squad” only because you had already introduced it into the discussion. It is my opinion that misrepresentations in any medium can affect us all and I therefore tend to stick my neck out a little further where they are concerned than I would where something is merely a matter of opinion.

    This is already longer than I wanted it to be, but I wish to leave the discussion in as polite and explanatory a manner as that in which I thought I was entering it. You are probably aware of my existence only since the YNH affair, but Ophelia can vouch for my being a non-troll of fairly long standing.

  108. #108 ppnl
    July 8, 2010

    Scote,

    I’m just pointing out that confirmation bias is not exactly a high crime. We are all vulnerable. I mostly ignore Mooney anyway and generally have low expectations for him. This mess he has created for himself seems par for the course.

    He deserves to be ignored for his strange brand of religious apologetics more than for his confirmation bias.

  109. #109 Bernard Bumner
    July 8, 2010

    As for the fact-checking on a blog issue; it was Mooney who claimed that he had checked the identity. He said it in his puff-piece in order to lend credibility to the story and reinforce the sense of it:

    Clearly, Johnson really touched a nerve. Accordingly, my post unfortunately subjected him to various attacks; fortunately his real identity remains unknown (though I am aware of it).

    Mooney claimed to have checked the facts. This was actually untrue.

  110. #110 David Marjanović
    July 8, 2010

    I do not claim that Mooney knew Tom was lying, simply that he didn’t really care to perform sufficient serious journalistic diligence to find out.

    I’m saying, Paul, that IT’S A FREAKIN’ BLOG…. You don’t get to come along later and demand some form of due journalistic diligence. That’s just stupid.

    Just to make sure – are you saying that, if it’s on the Internet, it’s somehow not real?

    Because… I strongly disagree with that attitude. I don’t expect anyone in any situation to fall for as laughably surrealistic* a story as Tom Johnson’s**. The most charitable interpretation*** is that it’s a case of confirmation bias (Mooney liking the story so much he just took it and ran with it); that’s not some high crime or misdemeanor, so nobody should be foaming at the mouth about it****, but it’s still seriously embarrassing.

    All this is aggravated by the fact that Mooney isn’t some random person who barely knows how to press keys on a keyboard. He’s a professional science journalist, and he has written works like The Republican War on Science. Based on his education and his previous work, he, personally, should be expected to be less easily duped than most other people, so he should be more embarrassed about it and should – therefore! – do more, and that more quickly, to limit the damage. I don’t know how embarrassed he is, but so far he’s doing less, and that more slowly, than I expected even of average people.

    (Similarly, I’m a scientist, and I don’t see a reason why I should ever be expected to drop the basic attitude of a scientist. That attitude includes things like not taking anything for granted without halfway sufficient evidence, not having an opinion on topics I don’t know enough about, and so on. I shouldn’t be expected to write a 51-page paper about each and every one of my opinions, but dropping the basic attitude and believing something because I’d like it to be true should be completely out of the question.)

    The difference between a science blog and the New York Times should, IMNSHO, lie somewhere else: in the extent of the consequences. I’ll be perfectly happy if Mooney explains the extent of his misunderstandings-or-whatever and then simply moves on; a NYT journalist who wrote something comparable should be fired for incompetence on the fucking spot instead.

    Finally, I (for one) am not making any post-hoc arguments here. I have always held these attitudes; I just took them for granted, so I didn’t see a reason to talk about them. :-|

    * Comment 41 is rather baffling in this respect. PZ advocates not giving in to peer pressure – but… stalking random people to find out what their religious beliefs or lack thereof are and then bullying them whenever we meet them? Disrupting a scientific conference, for crying out loud? Being, in general, an insufferable asshole? Wow. J. J. Ramsey, please do show us where PZ advocated that. If, as I expect, you can’t find any such thing, admit you’ve been duped by your own confirmation bias.
    ** That Tom Johnson, william, etc. etc. etc. are all the same person is completely irrelevant here. No, I’m not being sarcastic, I mean it.
    *** It should go without saying that I always, by default, consider the most charitable interpretation the most probable one. Real assholes do exist, but they’re rare, much rarer than many people seem to think.
    **** And very few people are, I must say.

  111. #111 David Marjanović
    July 8, 2010

    I shouldn’t be expected to write a 51-page paper about each and every one of my opinions

    Shouldn’t be: I shouldn’t be expected to write a 51-page paper to justify each and every one of my opinions.

  112. #112 David Marjanović
    July 8, 2010

    Mooney claimed to have checked the facts. This was actually untrue.

    Even this fact can be interpreted without an assumption of malice: Mooney went as far in checking as he thought he needed to, liked what he found, and stopped there, when in reality he should have gone further. Just for the record.

  113. #113 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    David, that’s very very charitable. Mooney fell for the This Is A Picture Of My Canadian Girlfriend ploy.

  114. #114 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    I wasn’t following this but would have immediately pegged Tom Johnson as a lie. In my professional life (at Jefferson Lab) I interact everyday with scientists from all over the world. Of the hundred or so physicists I know at Jefferson Lab, I would say fifteen of us are open about being Christian. I have never experienced any rudeness, nor have I heard from the other Christian physicists any stories of ridicule.

    Maybe the atmosphere is different in the biological sciences. Physics, however, remains a meritocracy. People don’t care if you wear your underwear outside your pants and are a level nine freemason as long as you do good work.

  115. #115 J. J. Ramsey
    July 8, 2010

    David Marjanović: “stalking random people to find out what their religious beliefs or lack thereof are and then bullying them whenever we meet them? Disrupting a scientific conference, for crying out loud? Being, in general, an insufferable asshole”

    “Tom Johnson” never said anything about stalking. His story was about atheists being jerks at events held by religious moderates that they were asked to attend. As for the rest, P.Z. Myers talks about “brass knuckles,” getting “meaner, angrier, louder, fiercer,” and suggests that herding atheists shouldn’t be merely like herding cats but “herding lions.” Going from that to bullying or even just to being “an insufferable asshole” is not a big step, especially when P.Z. Myers does things like creating a straw man of Michael DeDora and calling it a “witless wanker.”

  116. #116 Jfoster
    July 8, 2010

    I wasn’t following this but would have immediately pegged Tom Johnson as a lie.

    Now see, THAT’S Post-hoc.

  117. #117 John Kwok
    July 8, 2010

    This is a corrected version of a post that has been held in moderation over at The Intersection:

    If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that I was reading what passes for typical “rational” discourse over at Pharyngula. It’s hysterical just reading all the sanctimonious BS emanating from the likes of PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne, among others. It is sanctimonious simply because PZ has yet to apologize for – and in fact, treated as a joke – a threat posted at Pharyngula in March in which the poster said that Chris and Sheril and their supporters (presumably including me) should be raped and stabbed to death with a rusty knife. This compelled Sheril to make this post, which, not surprisingly, attracted less than flattering attention from the usual delusional Pharyngulite crowd:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/03/11/strengthening-public-interest-in-science/

    Since PZ has yet to apologize for that threat – which the poster claimed subsequently was a joke – he has no business commenting on Chris’s serious lapse with regards to journalism ethics. As for Jerry Coyne, since he has indulged in smearing the reputations of eminent physicist Brian Greene and his wife, journalist Tracy Day, not just once, but several times, in connection with their World Science Festival’s financial support from the John M. Templeton Foundation, I think he ought to recuse himself from commenting further, unless he wishes to post an apology both here and at his blog to Brian Greene and Tracy Day (BTW Jerry, I have endorsed, with utmost reluctance, your criticisms of the World Science Festival, if only because I know that its senior staff seems quite gung ho in having yet another science faith session at next year’s festival. However, it doesn’t mean that I endorse or condone your harsh attacks on both.).

    Frankly I don’t care whether you wish to call me once more an “accomodationist” troll. My friends and acquaintances know that I am a far better person than you wish to believe, and, quite frankly, I regard them as far more hospitable and noble company.

    Respectfully yours,

    John

    P. S. PZ I might reconsider treating as a “joke” my demand for expensive Leica rangefinder photographic equipment from you if you continue to insist on attacking Chris here. Have a tough time trying to ensure that one of the characters in a novel I am revising doesn’t come across as a literary clone of yourself. But after reading your latest examples of breathtaking inanity, I find it hard to resist such a temptation.

    P. P. S. I am not condoning Chris’s serious lapse of journalism ethics as evidenced by this very post. But I do suggest that if Chris hopes to be compared favorably with the likes of Andrew Revkin and Carl Zimmer, then he should start now by adhering to the very high standards of excellent journalism that they have committed themselves to.

  118. #118 Bernard Bumner
    July 8, 2010

    Even this fact can be interpreted without an assumption of malice:

    Oh, I absolutely agree that wishful thinking rather than conscious malice is the most likely explanation.

    However, when someone publically claims to have checked facts, then I think it is fair enough to call them on it when it turns out not to be the case.

  119. #119 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    Kwok off, John.

  120. #120 John Kwok
    July 8, 2010

    Stephen Wells –

    Under no circumstances should anyone, especially PZ, tolerate a poster at his blog threatening to rape and to kill anyone, even if the poster believes that he or she has good reason to find Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s comments quite objectionable. I find it disgusting that PZ still thinks that the whole ruckus back in March was over the use of “coarse language”. I also find it disgusting that you seem to tolerate the posting of death threats over at Pharyngula.

    In neither instance are you or PZ entitled to comment on Chris Mooney’s substantial faux pas with respect to “Tom Johnson”. And if you think you are, then you are no better than the delusional creo trolls I see posting all too often at reputable science blogs such as Greg’s.

  121. #121 David Marjanović
    July 8, 2010

    Maybe the atmosphere is different in the biological sciences.

    Not in my experience.

    “Tom Johnson” never said anything about stalking.

    He didn’t – but what other way is there to find out a colleague’s innermost personal beliefs or lack thereof? They tend not to come up in conversation. Asking point blank, out of the blue, would be… abstruse.

    As for the rest, P.Z. Myers talks about “brass knuckles,” getting “meaner, angrier, louder, fiercer,” and suggests that herding atheists shouldn’t be merely like herding cats but “herding lions.” Going from that to bullying or even just to being “an insufferable asshole” is not a big step,

    It is. I have trouble believing that you don’t know that full well.

    especially when P.Z. Myers does things like creating a straw man of Michael DeDora

    I don’t remember that name, I’ll look it up.

    and calling it a “witless wanker.”

    <hands smelling salts to J. J. Ramsey>

    when someone publically claims to have checked facts, then I think it is fair enough to call them on it when it turns out not to be the case

    Absolutely. Both incompetence and malice should be pointed out when they occur.

  122. #122 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    Ah, more vintage kwokkery. Keep it up! Your views are of tremendous interest and importance to many people. Really.

  123. #123 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 8, 2010

    Kwok, someone should smack you, hard, with the cluestick.

  124. #124 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2010

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok wrote:

    Under no circumstances should anyone, especially PZ, tolerate a poster at his blog threatening to rape and to kill anyone, even if the poster believes that he or she has good reason to find Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s comments quite objectionable.

    From Dictionary.com: threat, noun, ‘a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace

    John, please feel free to read over what the definition of a threat is, and then read the comment that has your tiny brain boiling in its tiny skull. And then read both again, and then think about it. Look at the words that were used. Consider whether or not they are expressing an intention or determination.

    Then, if you’re still convinced what was written constitutes an actual threat, go to the nearest police station with the evidence you have and demand they take action. Genuine threats, even on the internet, are against the law, and you are failing in your duty as a responsible human being if you truly believe that this was a threat. And if it is truly a threat, then they will see it as such and take the necessary action.

    Or do you, deep down, realise that this is complete nonsense, and what was written was – while undeniably offensive – nothing more than hyperbole?

    Perhaps what this is really about is that you are hoping to turn the attention away from the fact that, of all the people on the ‘Tom Johnson’ threads, you were the one most fawning, most adoring, most praising of him for his honest stance and bravery, and one the most ready to use the ‘evidence’ he provided to condemn the atheist for such heinous behaviour?

    You got played like a dime-store fiddle, John. He knew there’d be eager saps like you who’d buy his story without bothering to check the facts – and you were fighting to be first in line to be flim-flammed. Say, he didn’t sell you a bridge while he was at it, did he?

  125. #125 John Kwok
    July 8, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    As you demonstrated elsewhere online, you have no sense of shame period. Instead, in your latest pathetic example of breathtaking inanity, you still seem to support the posting of death threats at Pharyngula, especially if they are viewed as “jokes” by the blog’s owner.

    You’re not just pathetic. You’re absolutely clueless.

  126. #126 Bernard Bumner
    July 8, 2010

    Warning, clicking on the link below is not office safe. [gtl]

    I don’t know why, John, but whenever I read your comments I’m put in mind of this.

  127. #127 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 8, 2010

    As you demonstrated elsewhere online, you have no sense of shame period. Instead, in your latest pathetic example of breathtaking inanity, you still seem to support the posting of death threats at Pharyngula, especially if they are viewed as “jokes” by the blog’s owner.
    You’re not just pathetic. You’re absolutely clueless.

    Translation: I’m so invested in my drummed up outrage I can’t possibly see the forest because of these god damn trees!

  128. #128 KG
    July 8, 2010

    Sure, but I HAVE standards. – Greg Laden

    Pfft. This from the guy who admittedly edited comments so as to misrepresent the commenters. Bleeech!

    No, I “admittedly” edited two comments to make the commenter look stupid, in a way which should have been obvious to any reader as edited. Like this comment here you are reading. But I did not do it correctly so it looked like the commenter had made the remark. For which I apologized. Thereafter, I tend to ban people who keep making that accusation. Like you. Now. Good bye.

    (not that banning people on this site means much, I usually unban people after a few days.)

  129. #129 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2010

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok wrote:

    Instead, in your latest pathetic example of breathtaking inanity, you still seem to support the posting of death threats at Pharyngula, especially if they are viewed as “jokes” by the blog’s owner.

    As I’ve said, several times now, if you genuinely believe what was written to have been a threat, then you need to report it to the appropriate authorities. You are being remiss in your civic duty by letting a real threat go unreported. If it was a death/rape threat, as you keep insisting that it is, why haven’t the police gotten involved, John? They take this sort of thing very seriously. I can’t imagine that, if this could in any way be considered a threat that they wouldn’t do anything about it.

    Are you unsure of where to go to report it? Here’s a link to a Police locator website. It should tell you where the nearest place you can go is.

    So, what are you waiting for? If it’s the threat you keep insisting it is, then you need to take action. I know that if I believed someone had made a genuine threat against another person, I would most certainly report it to the police, because they take real threats seriously.

    Why aren’t you going to the police, John?

  130. #130 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    Good to see you keeping the moral high ground there, Greg. Arbitrarily banhammering someone who points out that temper tantrum in your blog management- that really maintains the quality of the discourse. But of course this is JUST A BLOG; fact-checking, even truth itself, have no place here. No wonder Kwokboy fits in so well.

  131. #131 cal
    July 8, 2010

    John Kwok, Pardon my ignorance, but why do you invoke such vitriol in your fellow travelers in the blawgs? I have yet to see you do anything that is half as obnoxious as the average post in this very thread. What gives?

  132. #132 Matt Penfold
    July 8, 2010

    No, I “admittedly” edited two comments to make the commenter look stupid, in a way which should have been obvious to any reader as edited. Like this comment here you are reading. But I did not do it correctly so it looked like the commenter had made the remark. For which I apologized. Thereafter, I tend to ban people who keep making that accusation. Like you. Now. Good bye.

    So the fact you should not have altered the posts in the first place totally escapes you ? And you claim to have standards ? Well I suppose you do, just not very high ones.

    Laden, you are not a stupid man but sometimes, in fact of late nearly all the time, you behave like a total arsehole.

    Incidentally, you were slipping in the competition between yourself and Kwak as to who can come across as the more deranged. Kwak’s post at #117 did put him in the lead, but now you have come up on the inside and got the lead back. Well done.

  133. #133 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    @cal: I wish you much joy getting to know John Kwok. Ask him about his highschool sometime.

  134. #134 Matt Penfold
    July 8, 2010

    Some info on Kowk.

  135. #135 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    So the fact you should not have altered the posts in the first place totally escapes you ?

    By what set of rules? I’m pretty sure I can do whatever I want, as long as I indicate what I’m doing (which was my intention). In fact, I might start doing the Zimmer approach, I rather like that. Have you seen it?

    YOU saying that I “don’t have standards” because I don’t follow (or know about and likely don’t respect) the rules YOU insist in … makes me laugh. By what authority do you impose your rule set on me? Especially post hoc?

    Oh, and Matt, you should really give us the link to your blog.

  136. #136 Matt Penfold
    July 8, 2010

    By what set of rules? I’m pretty sure I can do whatever I want, as long as I indicate what I’m doing (which was my intention). In fact, I might start doing the Zimmer approach, I rather like that. Have you seen it?

    Well common standards of honesty and decency. Clearly I was mistaken in thinking you would be familiar with those.

    YOU saying that I “don’t have standards” because I don’t follow (or know about and likely don’t respect) the rules YOU insist in … makes me laugh. By what authority do you impose your rule set on me? Especially post hoc?

    Ok, you implicity seem to repudiate any expectation you will behave in a decent manner. We must therefore assume you will lie, cheat, use violence, blackmail, steal, plagiarise and all manner of other behaviours normally considered unacceptable.

    It might be a bit more honest if you were to say so explicitly, but that would require honesty and as you admit, you see nothing wrong with lying.

  137. #137 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Matt, you make a crappy POE.

  138. #138 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    Matt, the problem is that we’re reading Greg’s posts as if they were in English; this constitutes imposing a linguistic ruleset on him, especially post hoc! and that is apparently bad. Greg actually writes entirely in Zingbat-Ularian; it resembles English closely but does not actually convey meaning because it is only used on a blog, where ordinary standards of truth, facts etc. are irrelevant.

  139. #139 Matt Penfold
    July 8, 2010

    Matt, you make a crappy POE.

    Not as bad a POE as you do an honest man, or decent blogger.

    I do not care for liars much, and you have just admitted you see nothing wrong with lying. Odd attitude for one who used to be an academic.

    Oh, and despite you claim to the contrary, you do not have a link to your commenting policy in which you explicitly reserve to the right to edit comments dishonesty. You even have to be dishonest about your policy of being dishonest.

  140. #140 Matt Penfold
    July 8, 2010

    Is Zingbat-Ularian that language where the oral tradition is that one talks out of one’s backside rather than using the mouth as in most other languages ?

  141. #141 Katharine
    July 8, 2010

    By what set of rules? I’m pretty sure I can do whatever I want, as long as I indicate what I’m doing (which was my intention)

    Oh, sure, you can do whatever you want on your own blog, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to call you an asshole when what you want to do is assholish.

  142. #142 Katharine
    July 8, 2010

    I mean, what kind of idiot with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old edits someone’s posts to make them look stupid and thereby misrepresents what they actually said?

    Oh, right. Greg Laden does.

  143. #143 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Geez this blog is boring. Do the comments always devolve into incessant bickering? (I’m not sure I was ever here before, except during the SC OM brouhaha.)

  144. #144 Screechy Monkey
    July 8, 2010

    I had this problem with some of my colleagues on Scienceblogs related to this Pepsi thing. I think some bloggers have come to the opinion that only if one storms off in a huff does one really really hate the idea of a self-promoting corporate faux blog posing as one of our real blogs. The truth is that there is not a single person on this planet that hates that idea more than me.

    Greg, why should the Pepsi blog bother you at all? It’s just a blog, and blogs have no standards according to you. In fact, isn’t a “faux blog” an oxymoron by your standards?

  145. #145 Scote
    July 8, 2010

    “Greg, why should the Pepsi blog bother you at all? It’s just a blog, and blogs have no standards according to you. In fact, isn’t a “faux blog” an oxymoron by your standards?”

    What? Greg applying “post hoc” standards of journalistic integrity, to a blog?

    Snicker…

  146. #146 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    Greg, why should the Pepsi blog bother you at all? It’s just a blog, and blogs have no standards according to you. In fact, isn’t a “faux blog” an oxymoron by your standards?

    I’ll save Greg some typing:

    “STFU Screechy Monkey. Let’s see how you do it on your blog.”

    Rinse and repeat.

  147. #147 Katharine
    July 8, 2010

    I’ve backed up this page just in case Greg gets any weird ideas.

  148. #148 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    The funny thing here to me is that I know some of these comments are jokes, some not, but I’m not sure what is obvious to others.

    Never mind. In a few minutes I’m going to reveal all of your IP addresses and publish a concordance of all of your other comments on the entire internet.

  149. #149 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Katherine: Damn, I was just about to delete the whole thing.

  150. #150 Dave W.
    July 8, 2010

    Katherine @142:

    I mean, what kind of idiot with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old edits someone’s posts to make them look stupid and thereby misrepresents what they actually said?

    “William” did that to some of my comments on YNH.

  151. #151 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    I mean, what kind of idiot with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old edits someone’s posts to make them look stupid and thereby misrepresents what they actually said?

    PZ when he disemvowels. Maybe on a technicality he doesn’t misrepresent them–but his intent, with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old, is to make them look stupid.

    Or maybe that was a rhetorical question?

  152. #152 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 8, 2010

    PZ when he disemvowels. Maybe on a technicality he doesn’t misrepresent them–but his intent, with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old, is to make them look stupid.

    That’s not how I take it. Usually it’s a result of racist or purely trolling insults and it still allows some connection to responses to the original comment.

    I don’t see it as an attempt to make them look stupid because the comments that get disemvoweled usually are doing a good job of accomplishing that on their own, as far as I can remember.

    If he wants to make someone looks stupid, he responds to them directly and whatever point they were trying to make.

  153. #153 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    PZ when he disemvowels. Maybe on a technicality he doesn’t misrepresent them–but his intent, with the emotional maturity of a 2-year-old, is to make them look stupid.

    Wrong Heddle. As Rev BDC noted, it’s only particularly bigoted posts that get disemvoweled, and the point is to make them difficult to read without some effort, so commenters are spared the wit and charm of a comment like “you’re all a bunch of Jesus-hating Jews” or some such brilliance, but they’re not actually buhleeted so you don’t get the sort of shenanigans like Mooney pulls with his heavy moderation.

    PZ has stated the reason behind disemvoweling numerous times, and if you haven’t read his explanations, nor noticed the theme of what kinds of posts get disemvoweled, well, then you’re really not paying much attention.

  154. #154 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Rev BDC,

    Spoken, I assume, from someone who has never received the treatment. Is that correct?

    You can argue the intent of disemvoweling, which I agree is not to misrepresent but to humiliate. (Is that better?) Although in my opinion the comical effect of the disemvowleing is such that the content can no longer be taken seriously–so there is some misrepresentation as well.

    But you can’t argue that it is not editing a comment. Which is unethical, apart from the necessity of doing it for space in print media. And since we are talking, loosely, about editorial ethics–I’d ask you to consider how you’d react if you sent a letter to the editor of the Washington Post which was published after being disemvoweled.

    In my mind the practice of disemvoweling is not as bad as editing a comment with no indication that it was edited–I agree that is the most egregious sin possible. But it is on par with i.e., as bad as, editing a comment in a clearly denoted parenthetical manner. Both practices are ugly and childish.

    Anyone with more emotional maturity than PZ would simply delete a comment rather than disemvowel it–and they would not act as if they are somehow taking the high ground in doing the latter rather than the former.

  155. #155 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Brownian,

    Having been disemvoweled by PZ many years ago on Panda’s Thumb I would of course dispute that his standards are always as lofty as you describe. But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. If my comment was a racist screed, he should have let it stand and face the ridicule it deserved or he should have deleted it as offensive.

    Saying that ethical behavior only applies to the “good guys” is tantamount to saying you don’t really have ethical standards. Again, newspapers either publish offensive letters as is or they choose not to publish them. They do not, apart from space constraints, edit (mangle) offensive letters–they stand as is.

    Would you support Laden’s editing of offensive letters without any indication he had done so? Would you support him inserting I say this because I’m a racist into a comment? Does he also get a free pass if the comment is offensive? Or does PZ alone get the exemption?

  156. #156 Armand
    July 8, 2010

    Who gets to decide if a comment is offensive? The person who wrote it?

  157. #157 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    Heddle,

    Having been disemvoweled by PZ many years ago on Panda’s Thumb I would of course dispute that his standards are always as lofty as you describe. But the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. If my comment was a racist screed, he should have let it stand and face the ridicule it deserved or he should have deleted it as offensive.

    I can’t speak to what PZ did on Panda’s Thumb, but what he claims to do on Pharyngula, and what I’ve personally witnessed (which is, for the most part, bigotted inanities.) I doubt that what you posted was an incoherent but racist screed, so maybe he’s not as consistent with his reasons for disemvoweling as he claims. I’d need more information than your say-so though.

    As for what newspapers do, well, they’re not blogs, and the two have different uses and are subjected to different pressures. Letters to the editor are not part of a running conversation, but are often meant to stand on their own. The decision not to print a given letter does not often render other printed letters in the same page meaningless or without context. This is the case with blog comments however, and comments removed in toto can render a whole thread nonsensical.

    Would you support Laden’s editing of offensive letters without any indication he had done so?

    No. Are you similarly unaware when a comment has been disemvoweled, or do you normally read a consonants-only version of Pharyngula?

    That’s the point behind disemvoweling: the reader (well, any reader but you, apparently) is made aware that editing has gone on, and with a small amount of work an interested reader can piece together the offending content if s/he wishes.

    The kind of editing that you’re suggesting (simply removing comments the moderator doesn’t like, or adding or deleting letters, words, or sentences without indicating to the reader that the moderator has done so) is far worse, in my opinion.

  158. #158 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    “simply removing comments the moderator doesn’t like… is far worse, in my opinion.”

    Why do you have a problem with that?

  159. #159 Katharine
    July 8, 2010

    “simply removing comments the moderator doesn’t like… is far worse, in my opinion.”

    Why do you have a problem with that?

    Well, at least the way I see it, it makes you look like a silly censoring wuss who can’t take strong criticism and who’s all ‘OH NOES SOMEONE GAVE ME INCISIVE CRITICISM AND HUWT MY WIDDLE FEEWINGS I MUST HIDE IT FROM THE WORLD AT LARGE’.

    I mean, I can see why one would censor a racist or completely idiotic comment, but simple criticism? Shit, that’s dumb, and it makes you look insecure and immature.

  160. #160 Stephen Wells
    July 8, 2010

    Greg, don’t you have a small child to raise? Is this “I can do whatever the hell I want. Wah. Throw toys” performance of yours a reaction to that, or just the example you want to set?

  161. #161 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Brownian,

    If you are happy with a rather arbitrary threshold that says this type of editing of comments is OK, as long as it is only done to bad people, but this type of editing of comments is never OK –well then we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    My position will remain that you should either keep the comment in unmolested form or delete the comment, but you should never, ever modify it in any way*.

    In some sense I am astounded that any rational person could disagree.

    By the way, would converting a comment (naturally from bad guys only) to pig-latin be acceptable? Like disemvoweling, one could still, with a bit of effort, figure out what it said. You’d be okay with that? How about converting it to ebonics? Or is disemvoweling as far as you’ll go?

    ———
    * With the exception of removing personal information.

  162. #162 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Katharine: I mean, I can see why one would censor a racist or completely idiotic comment, but simple criticism?

    That was not the assertion, so your refinement of the rule you expect me to follow is not relevant. But since you mention it, who gets to decide what is idiotic and what is simple critique? Is that your job?

  163. #163 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Stephen [160]: Did you just tell me to go away and do something else? Did you just bring my infant son into an argument?

    You seem incapable of understanding that there are limits. It would be good for you to learn that there are in fact boundaries and it is in part your responsibility to find them and not cross them.

  164. #164 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    heddle: In some sense I am astounded that any rational person could disagree.

    That explains certain things about you, doesn’t it?

    The comments on a blog are the bloggers property. They are the blogger’s slaves. The blogger can do whatever the blogger wants.

    Re read the above discussion. Tell me where the rational argument for commenters determining what a blogger should do comes from. Note that we have commenters setting out rules that allow the commenter to make comments that are then sacred and can’t be touched (according some rules) although certain OTHER comments made by OTHER kinds of commenters are fair game.

    Rational? I don’t think so.

    There are no bloggy rules about what a blogger does to comments. None.

    That does not mean that commenters can’t go balistic if their comments are deleted or moderated. But most of THOSE commenters were already being assholes, so who cares.

    My assistant, Ms. Waite has done research on this. If you have a problem with my approach, you can see her. Her name is helen.

    Yes, folks, if you don’t like my comment management system, you can go to Helen Waite.

    Bwahaaha

  165. #165 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    If you are happy with a rather arbitrary threshold that says this type of editing of comments is OK, as long as it is only done to bad people, but this type of editing of comments is never OK –well then we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    Abitrary? Sure, I suppose, if arbitrary means ‘meets these conditions': —it leaves the comment in place so as not to interfere with the flow of the thread, can still be read with a modicum of effort, and spares some people having to read grossly racist or sexist epithets. As for ‘only done to bad people’, well, it’s up to you to support that claim.

    Nice trick, trying to put words in my mouth, though.

    My position will remain that you should either keep the comment in unmolested form or delete the comment, but you should never, ever modify it in any way*.

    Yeah. I read you the first time. I disagree for the reasons above. Did you have an argument that goes beyond restating your position?

    In some sense I am astounded that any rational person could disagree.

    Never mind. You just answered my question.

    By the way, would converting a comment (naturally from bad guys only) to pig-latin be acceptable? Like disemvoweling, one could still, with a bit of effort, figure out what it said. You’d be okay with that? How about converting it to ebonics? Or is disemvoweling as far as you’ll go?

    Well, PZ has chosen disemvoweling because it meets the conditions I discussed above. Pig Latin doesn’t change the syntax or grammar of English, but simply modifies each word without changing meaning. Converting to another language or variant, such as Ebonics (I’m graciously allowing that you might not actually know what Ebonics is,) runs into the problems associated with any translation from one language to another.

    I would be astounded I had to explain that to any adult individual who thinks himself rational, but I’m used to you by now.

    @Greg:

    Why do you have a problem with that?

    Because it falls far closer to outright censorship than, say, disemvowelling. At least the disemvowelled comments still show up, indicating that those who disagree with the moderator exist.

  166. #166 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Brownian: Do you have a blog? I think if you saw what gets deleted every single day on this blog you would not have the same opinion.

    And, once again, it’s the blogger’s call. No one else’s.

  167. #167 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Brownian,

    Did you have an argument that goes beyond restating your position?

    Yes I’ll give it again because you appear to have missed it or perhaps are unable to grasp the concept. The reason is: the closest thing that we have to established, accepted-as-ethical behavior is the “letter to the editor.”

    1) Keeping the comment (unmolested) is analogous to publishing the letter. That’s acceptable.

    2) Deleting the comment is analogous to declining to publish the letter. That’s also acceptable.

    3) Modifying the comment (such as disemvoweling it or embedding editorials) is analogous to… nothing. There is no analogue to such a childish practice.

    That is my reason for saying I would either let the comment stand or delete it but I would never modify it.

    Did you get it this time? Because I can’t make it any simpler.

  168. #168 Stephanie Z
    July 8, 2010

    I’ve never had a letter to the editor published that wasn’t modified.

  169. #169 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    Brownian: Do you have a blog?

    I see your argument remains the same as my summary in #146.

    But to answer your question, yes I did, and I only deleted spam. I would probably delete egregiously racist or sexist writing, if I’d encountered any. On occasion, commenters copy ‘n’ pasted comments I’d made elsewhere, without context, to make me look like a jerk. I left them, and took my lumps. Those commenters had a point.

    You’re free to run your blog any way you like, and earn the reputation you will for your policies.

    If you want to be thought of as a journalist, however, I’d recommend finding at least some corroborating evidence for an apocryphal story you decide to take as gospel to support your theses. But, as is evident, YMMV.

  170. #170 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Stephanie is right. And the modified form is not shown to the author.

    (Well, once, when I was an editor of a newspaper, I was essentially blackmailed into showing the modified form the author, because he was freakin’ totally famous and stuff. We were a new newspaper and had little choice. And the piece had not been altered.)

    This is one of the problems with this bloggy rule making by random commenters. Ignorance is often at the base of the assumptions being used.

    There is a certain logic to the “published/unpublished” dichotomy, but the ethical value … the idea that there is a way to do it … is based on a misconception.

  171. #171 DuWayne
    July 8, 2010

    Interesting discussion about censoring comments. Just thought that I would point out that even on my wee little blog that gets minimal attention from me, much less many others, I have to delete comments – or in the case of older posts, just not let them post, several times a week.

    I have had rants that go on for three or four postings (blogger truncates comments that are too long), that not only have nothing to do with teh post, but which are often completely incoherent. Like more disjointed than a Doctor Bronner’s bottle. Then there are the porn/viagra/what the fuck ever, spam posts – I cringe to consider what it might be like it I didn’t use captcha. And there are the “I hate you fucking atheist scumbags who all deserve to die” type comments. Or the comments that simply come from “anonymous.” I don’t care if people want to be anon, I just want them to use some kind of identifier. Though admittedly I don’t delete all of them, as on occasion they are just too worthwhile. Oh, lets not forget about the occasional animal rights extremist who finds my distaste for fucking terrorists horribly wrong and decides to take it up on whatever post happens to be on top – there are teh occasional variants that aren’t AR related, but the AR nuts are definitely the most persistent – you should see the shit they try to subscribe my email address to. Oi, it has been a while, but I have had the occasional raging racist, who likes to use language that even I won’t fucking put up with.

    When you have managed to piss off fanatical believers in [insert random cause here], you sometimes have to put up assholes who stay angry for a very long time. My contact information, including my blog, is posted on at least three animal right extremist blogs and several face book walls. It was apparently posted on a homeopathy blog, as someone who is the Evile!!11!1 – ironically because I posted about the legal thuggery of the homeopathy society in the UK. Vax nuts don’t like me and the HIV/AIDS denialists are also not fans.

    I could go on, but I think the point is made. Bloggers piss people off, sometimes they retaliate – or post adverts for penis pills.

  172. #172 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    I only deleted spam.

    Then you will know that what constitutes “spam” is not 100% clear all of the time.

    You’re free to run your blog any way you like,

    Is this some sort of delusion where you think I give a fuck about your permission?

    If you want to be thought of as a journalist, however

    You must be new around here. Where did you ever get the idea that I am or wanted to be thought of as a journalist?

  173. #173 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    The reason is: the closest thing that we have to established, accepted-as-ethical behavior is the “letter to the editor.”

    I explained why letters to the editor are different than blog comments, and so your analogy doesn’t necessarily hold. Feel free to restate your case if reading is too hard, though.

    Believe me: nothing you’ve ever written has been too complex for me to understand. The problem lies with you.

  174. #174 heddle
    July 8, 2010

    Stephanie Z,

    I’ve never had a letter to the editor published that wasn’t modified.

    I noted that earlier–in print media there are space constraints. It is not a perfect analogy, but it is a model. When they modified your letter, did they save space by disemvoweling it? Did they insert editorial comments? I’m guessing not.

    The fact that blogs (up to a limit) don’t have the space constraints means that you should be far less inclined to delete comments. Like Brownian, I have never deleted a comment other than spam. Still, a blog is personal property so the blogger is under no obligation to publish a comment. He is, in my opinion, under an ethical obligation not to modify it. In regards to that standard, neither Laden (if what I am reading is true) nor PZ appear to give a rat’s ass. They are soulmates.

  175. #175 John Kwok
    July 8, 2010

    @ cal –

    Those who seem a bit “unhinged” toward me have been doing it ever since I dared to challenge both the style and content of much of PZ Myers’s musings over at Pharyngula (But they don’t realize that when Myers does post a brilliant blog entry pertaining to science, I am, more often than not, among the first to note it and to praise it. Unfortunately that is happening less and less these days.).

    I presume Penfold pointed out the entry on me over at RationalWiki. Contrary to its lame assertion that I attack prominent scientists and educators who have been battling creationism – especially Intelligent Design creationism – I don’t seem to recall when, if ever, I have condemned truly significant critics such as Francisco J. Ayala, Eugenie Scott or Kenneth R. Miller. The only prominent scientist I can think of whom I have criticized is Jerry Coyne, but that has to do with his vitriolic attacks on World Science Festival co-founders physicist Brian Greene (Another thing that they can’t stand is my name dropping or mentioning that I had overlapped in high school with Brian and his high school classmate, physicist Lisa Randall) and journalist Tracy Day (Mrs. Brian Greene). As for criticizing someone as “prominent” as PZ Myers, let me note that, by his own admission, he is not even remotely as prominent a scientist as his evolutionary developmental biology colleague Sean Carroll. Moreover, were it not for the online success of Pharyngula (or his outrageous conduct that he has displayed both online and off), I honestly doubt most people would consider worthy of note as other, truly prominent, scientists such as Jerry Coyne (one of our foremost authorities on speciation), Francisco J. Ayala or Sean Carroll.

  176. #176 Tom S.
    July 8, 2010

    Believe me: nothing you’ve ever written has been too complex for me to understand. The problem lies with you.

    Oh yes, THAT’s believable!!!!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

  177. #177 Brownian
    July 8, 2010

    Is this some sort of delusion where you think I give a fuck about your permission?

    Actually, I don’t think much of you at all. I was merely agreeing with you that bloggers can and do whatever they want. Just not without repercussions.

    You must be new around here. Where did you ever get the idea that I am or wanted to be thought of as a journalist?

    You don’t. Chris Mooney does, however. And this argument is really about The Intersection, its cadre of sockpuppets, and Chris’s pat on the back post for the oh-so-terribly-brave Tom Johnson. You’re the one who jumped in to drum up a little traffic.

    I’m happy not to provide you with any more, though.

  178. #178 Coriolis
    July 8, 2010

    Heddle, the kye difference is that most blogs do not require comment confirmation before publishing (like this one or Pharyngula). So the relevant analogy would be if you:

    1) Automatically published a letter from an editor from person A

    2) Automatically published responses to that letter from people B, C, etc.

    3) Then deleted the original letter from person A.. leaving letters from people B and C looking completely incoherent.

    This is why “simply” deleting a message isn’t necessarily the best option. The difference is due to the fact that the message has already been published automatically, and you are left with a choice of whether to remove it, censor it in some other way, or let it stand.

    Hence why the analogy to letters of the editor is applicable to blogs that only publish confirmed comments, but not to a blog like this one.

  179. #179 Irene
    July 8, 2010

    Is it worth noting that those who insist most strongly that comments be left untouched tend to be those with the strongest tendency to asshattitude?

    This is like a thief saying that ownership of property is an ambiguous concept.

  180. #180 DuWayne
    July 8, 2010

    Katherine @142 –

    So did I, only I not only copied the whole thing, I also put it on my external hard drive, in case Greg not only gets funny ideas about this page, but also tries to get into my computer…That’ll learn him…

    Matt Penefold –

    It is always so nice to see you and the stunningly brilliant shit you have to contribute. I cannot tell you how nice it is to see you here. You might like to do what I, and I imagine several others, do when I come to a new blog. I am referring, of course, to reading the “about” tab. That is where a lot of bloggers put their comment policies and I have found reading it often prevents embarrassing bouts of using unwelcome language (I have been known to use a little profanity – once is a great while).

    On Greg’s “about” page, you will indeed find his comment policy – not a particularly difficult policy to follow or find.

    Heddle –

    I have to disagree with you on this one, for the same reason Coriolis mentions – the comment is there before it can be deleted. I don’t worry about that at my blog as changes are, either no one saw it, or the person who did emailed me. That is not how it works at a blog that is getting hundreds, or thousands of hits an hour. A comment that has only been up for five minutes, was likely read by several people and has likely been responded to – especially at Ed’s blog.

    I actually think that Greg’s method of modifying comments is really quite reasonable. He doesn’t make people out to be saying something else and indicates that he has altered teh comment – usually to edit out language he disapproves of. I am not entirely certain, but the only time I have ever seen him alter comments was due to particularly egregious bigoted language. There are very good reasons to get rid of that shit.

    Other people are reading these threads – including people who are not only offended, but may also be hurt by that language. I know more than one person who has a characteristic that is often the fodder of bigots. Sometimes people internalize the stereotypes and the stigmas – it’s complicated and can lead to some level of self-loathing. I am most familiar with this when it comes to the mentally ill and gays, but this also happens to people of color and ethnic minorities as well.

    There is no reason they should not be able to read and possibly participate in a conversation, because of the emotional stress caused by hateful, bigoted fucking asshats. I won’t tolerate that shit at my blog either – it is just that my half dozen or so readers are aware of that.

    Brownian –

    I cannot help but bow to your superior reading comprehension and blogging instructional. Could I possibly get your email address so that when I make bloggy decisions, I can make sure they have the approval of such an obvious blog master as yourself? Seriously, I have seen the lite and realize now what a fucking punk that Greg Laden – or should I say, Osama Greg Laden is. I want to be a good blogger and do things write, please help me do that…

    Greg –

    I am sorry, but because of all the insites from such brilliant thinkers as Brownian, I am not sure I find your friendship, or at least your blogging, palatable any longer. It’s totally been real, but I am afraid that I am going away now, AND NEVER COMING BACK!!!!111!11

  181. #181 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2010

    Aha! My sock puppets have finally driven you away!!!

    OK, Sockpuppets. Stand down! Stand. Down!!!!

    (Warning: They don’t always listen to me.)

  182. #182 Tom Ames
    July 8, 2010

    My Gods, is this blog ever a tiresome wankfest.

  183. #183 J. J. Ramsey
    July 8, 2010

    David Marjanović: “but what other way is there to find out a colleague’s innermost personal beliefs or lack thereof?”

    The story “Tom Johnson” told was about atheists jeering at “CONSERVATION EVENTS [sic] … hosted by religious moderates.” That looked to me like the sort of event where the point is for religious people to state their support for the idea that keeping the environment healthy is something God wants them to do, or something similar to that. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that it would be otherwise.

    Anyway, as I said before, I’d like to find out the details of what Mooney did or didn’t check. How culpable he is depends a lot on what went on in the exchange between him and Tom Johnson.

  184. #184 Wowbagger
    July 8, 2010

    cal wrote:

    John Kwok, Pardon my ignorance, but why do you invoke such vitriol in your fellow travelers in the blawgs?

    Perhaps you didn’t read his post #117, in which he lied about a Pharyngula commenter threatening to rape and/or kill someone.

    I don’t know about you, but false accusations of that kind about my friends tend to make me respond with something more substantial than ‘can you please not say that?’ – particularly when it’s coming from someone so demonstrably attention-seeking as John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok.

    Hence my response.

  185. #185 John Kwok
    July 8, 2010

    @ cal –

    If I am a liar as Wowbagger contends, then why did he drop by The Intersection (Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum’s blog) to denounce not only once, but on multiple occasions both Sheril’s condemnation of the death threat and its poster at Pharyngula and those of us, including some Pharyngula fans who were stunned by the reactions displayed by both PZ and his loyal Pharyngulites in response to that threat?

    Again, as a reminder, I noted above:

    “It is sanctimonious simply because PZ has yet to apologize for – and in fact, treated as a joke – a threat posted at Pharyngula in March in which the poster said that Chris and Sheril and their supporters (presumably including me) should be raped and stabbed to death with a rusty knife. This compelled Sheril to make this post, which, not surprisingly, attracted less than flattering attention from the usual delusional Pharyngulite crowd:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/03/11/strengthening-public-interest-in-science/

    “Since PZ has yet to apologize for that threat – which the poster claimed subsequently was a joke – he has no business commenting on Chris’s serious lapse with regards to journalism ethics.”

    I suggest you read Sheril’s blog entry in its entirety, including Wowbagger’s stupid, insensitive comments. Please also note those Pharyngulites who had the courage of their convictions to realize finally how much of an intellectual cesspool that Pharyngula has become, and join others, including myself, in expressing outrage.

    Again, I am not reminding readers of this merely to score points off PZ Myers (And frankly, if that is my excuse – and it isn’t – then it’s ridiculous for me to complain, period.). I am doing it simply because it is hypocritical of him to condemn Chris over the “Tom Johnson” affair, when he has yet to acknowledge as a serious breach of online conduct at his blog, the posting of a death threat. That is intolerable.

  186. #186 Wowbagger
    July 9, 2010

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok, you’re missing the point – as usual. My comments here or anywhere else, and whether or not they were stupid and/or insensitive, are completely irrelevant to what’s being discussed. Something you’d know if you read for comprehension.

    Here it is again, in simple terms that perhaps you’ll understand if you actually bother to read them: what was written wasn’t, by any definition of the word, a threat. So, by continually referring to it as one, you are lying and are therefore, by definition, a liar.

    If you’d said that what was written was awful, reprehensible, undeserved, horrible, nasty, unnecessary, ridiculous, stupid, obnoxious, rude, juvenile, needless or any other subjective term you’d choose to append to it, then I wouldn’t be bothering to call you out on it – but that’s the thing about subjectivity; it’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to it. I would disagree, but that doesn’t make you a liar the way your bleating insistence that what occurred constitutes a threat does.

    Because, unlike the above examples, a threat is not subjective. It’s either a threat or it isn’t. And, as I’ve noted several times, if it was a real threat then the person doing it broke the law and should expect to be contacted by the police and perhaps charged with a crime.

    But that hasn’t happened; ergo, no-one, anywhere, genuinely considers it a threat. I even provided you with contact details for the police, and yet you have not reported it – ergo, you don’t actually think a crime was committed; you are just choosing to lie about it because it allows you to attack PZ and the Pharyngula posters, against whom you have a grudge.

    Please also note those Pharyngulites who had the courage of their convictions to realize finally how much of an intellectual cesspool that Pharyngula has become, and join others, including myself, in expressing outrage.

    Do you mean those posters whose names have (coincidentally) never appeared on Pharyngula, and who are now undergoing serious scrutiny because it is highly likely that they too were sock-puppets of the man you fawned over and praised for his bravery and honesty, the discredited fake and liar, ‘Tom Johnson’?

    And frankly, if that is my excuse – and it isn’t – then it’s ridiculous for me to complain, period.).

    You’ve never let being ridiculous stop you before; why should we assume you’re going to start anytime soon?

    I am doing it simply because it is hypocritical of him to condemn Chris over the “Tom Johnson” affair, when he has yet to acknowledge as a serious breach of online conduct at his blog, the posting of a death threat.

    Except, as I’ve noted, what was written can in no way be considered a ‘threat’ – which you yourself admit, given your failure to report it to the authorities as such.

    Given that that is now beyond any doubt – despite your apparent pathalogical need to continually lie about it – there’s only one ‘serious breach of online conduct’ occurred, and that’s the one enacted by ‘Tom Johnson’, aided and abetted by Chris Mooney and the fawning, adoring hordes (including your easily-led self) at what is now being referred to as The Intersocktion.

  187. #187 John Kwok
    July 9, 2010

    Wowbagger –

    You are, to paraphrase Dan Ackroyd, an ignorant intellectual slut. Why do you think I didn’t report that threat to the authorities? I complained to Science Blogs. I complained to Adam Bly. And as for taking it further to law enforcement, I opted to let Sheril handle this since she was the one to raise the issue (I’d been ignoring Pharyngula for a few weeks, so had missed that damnable posting.).

    Too bad you don’t have the integrity of those Pharyngulites who posted in support of Sheril and others, including myself, over at The Intersection, distancing themselves from their prior association with Pharyngula, and recognizing that it has become an intellectual cesspool. Instead, you not only condemned but also mocked them with ample sarcasm.

  188. #188 Katharine
    July 9, 2010

    I see you, Kwok, bang on and on about it being a threat, despite the fact that it was in no way phrased as one, but phrased more like the invective to ‘get stuffed’. It’s essentially an invitation for you to – what was it – shove an Ebola-infested running chainsaw up your ass? – all by yourself.

  189. #189 IM
    July 9, 2010

    Too bad you don’t have the integrity of those Pharyngulites who posted in support of Sheril and others, including myself, over at The Intersection,

    In other words, sockpuppets?

  190. #190 John Kwok
    July 9, 2010

    @ Katharine –

    When that death threat was posted, I brought it to the attention of several prominent science bloggers. All of them were appalled but felt powerless to do anything, since it wasn’t their blog. Now if it wasn’t a death threat, then why did Sheril Kirshenbaum post this:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/03/11/strengthening-public-interest-in-science/

    Now, consider these comments that were posted there at The Intersection (And none were written by me.):

    92. Peter Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 4:28 pm
    I don’t know what’s more disturbing: the original comment calling for Sheril to be raped or the commenters since who have tried to defend it.

    Get off your tribal horses, guys. It’s OK to decry this rhetoric while not sacrificing your love for Pharyngula one bit. Consider my letter to Seed Media written. This kind of foolishness needs to be stopped.

    93. Petra Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 4:31 pm
    Rape is not a joke. Ever. No amount of context involving “I’m kidding!!!” makes it acceptable, nor does it exclude it from standards of decency outlined by a blog’s host.

    If PZ doesn’t remove this filth, there needs to be a groundswell directed at Seed Media to ensure it gets removed. PZ’s a good blogger and great person, but he needs to get his comments under control. This is not an isolated occurrence.

    218. Disturbed and Disgusted Says:
    March 12th, 2010 at 9:22 am
    Like several others who have posted to this thread, I’m a longtime Pharyngula reader who doesn’t like Chris or Sheril. I even used to be a pretty frequent poster on Pharyngula a couple of years ago….until this trend of using violent imagery and even rape to describe dissenting commenters began en masse. I still read Pharyngula (and love it!), but I’ve stopped commenting altogether, like, as I’ve noticed, several others who have posted to this thread. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

    Unfortunately, the commenting community at Pharyngula has been dragged down into the depths of uselessness by the actions of a few, hateful ideologues who frequently quash discussion threads by the use of rape imagery, references to sexual violence, and yes – even death, occasionally. The rote defense is always “I was just kidding!”, as if that wishes away the violent rhetoric.

    The problem is that there those of us on Pharyngula who enjoy being able to deconstruct the arguments of creationists, apologists, and even Chris and Sheril using logic and reason, while these few have decided to let rhetoric reign over reason and substance. They ruin the site and turn it into (I can’t believe I’m quoting McCarthy…) “frat boy bonding.” This example of “stu” directing rape imagery at a narrowly-defined group (including Sheril, an advocate for women’s rights) is just another example in a long history of such junk on Pharyngula, but this goes farther by crossing a personal line that was, really, inevitable once this language became a trend. It’s sickening.

    The few posters that I’ve been referencing are, no surprise, some of the same ones commenting here and trying so desperately to defend the use of such language. They are tribal groupthink at its unthinking worst. I offer whatever apology is needed to Sheril and others from those of us in the Pharyngula community who do not align ourselves with this petty lunacy – there are those of us who don’t agree with you, but also don’t need to tap into hate and primitive emotion to do so.

    I used to laugh when I heard Chris, Sheril, and others describe “New Atheists” as tribal groupthinkers. Now, seeing the ones that represent us here, their characterization was right on the mark. I’m sorry for doubting you.

  191. #191 IM
    July 9, 2010

    93. Petra

    Indeed, you are citing a sockpuppet. We can assume taht disturbed and peter (How sloppy can you got?) are sockpuppets too.

  192. #192 Wowbagger
    July 9, 2010

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok,

    Yet again you need to read for comprehension. At no point does Sheril say she believed it was a threat. The only time the word ‘threat’ is used is when she’s quoting someone else; ergo, Sheril never considered it to be a threat.

    Therefore, you are wrong and what was written was demonstrably not considered a threat; otherwise, the police would have become involved – and they did not. You know you are wrong and you have no excuse to continue lying about it on other blogs.

    And, as myself and Katharine and IM have pointed out, you are quoting the sock-puppets of William, the discredited liar and fraud, who led you and your credulous pack of slack-jawed dingbats along like the Pied Piper did with the rats (or, little children; whichever you prefer) of Hamelin. Continuing to lie, and to try and defend that lie by citing sock-puppet posts from another known liar is diminishing what little credibility you have left on the internet.

    But on the other hand, I enjoy helping you make a fool of yourself, and educating others as to your pathological dishonesty – so knock yourself out. I’ll keep being there to laugh at you and show others that laughing at you is the only response worth giving you.

  193. #193 John Kwok
    July 9, 2010

    Wowbagger –

    You are one sick puppy. Wish you well in seeking the psychological and psychiatric attention that you are in dire need of.

  194. #194 Ange
    July 9, 2010

    The only time the word ‘threat’ is used is when she’s quoting someone else; ergo, Sheril never considered it to be a threat.

    That is not logical. You have made an incorrect assumption that a person expresses all of their considerations openly, but that rarely happens. The Latin bit does not help your case.

  195. #195 John Kwok
    July 9, 2010

    @ IM –

    Petra’s comment is from The Intersection blog entry about the threat to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney. She didn’t post it here.

    Didn’t you notice that the date and time of her post was:

    March 11th, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    That ought to be a clear-cut sign to you that maybe you should seek the same medical attention which Wowbagger needs immediately.

  196. #196 Mike Haubrich
    July 9, 2010

    I used to laugh when I heard Chris, Sheril, and others describe “New Atheists” as tribal groupthinkers. Now, seeing the ones that represent us here, their characterization was right on the mark. I’m sorry for doubting you.

    And here we go, John, extending to a large group of people the negative characteristics of a few of the group’s members. In some circles, this is called “bigotry,” or “stereotyping” and a large part of the reason that people smirk when they see your name at the end of a comment. That, and your incessant namedropping.

  197. #197 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2010

    Ange wrote:

    That is not logical. You have made an incorrect assumption that a person expresses all of their considerations openly, but that rarely happens.

    That is true, but if Sheril thought it was a genuine threat (as opposed to the offensive hyperbole it clearly and demonstrably was) I would be surprised if she did not express her concerns. However, she has not – so I believe that she, like everyone else other than John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok and the sock-puppet patrol, know that while it was undeniably offensive, it was not by any definition (to the rational, at least) a threat.

    Read the posts yourself. See if you see any words that indicate the person who wrote it was meaning it as a threat.

    Of course, that John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok continues lying about it does nothing to harm anyone but himself, since it’s yet another way for him to erode any credibility he has with anyone who knows him – should there even be people left who meet that description.

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok wrote:

    You are one sick puppy. Wish you well in seeking the psychological and psychiatric attention that you are in dire need of.

    Bwahahahahaha! Glass houses, John! Who has an entry on RationalWiki describing him as (and I quote) ‘…an unhinged professional troll’ – you or me?

    John ‘stealth idiot’ Kwok wrote:

    Petra’s comment is from The Intersection blog entry about the threat to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney. She didn’t post it here.

    Did you not get the memo from your good friend and colleague Chris Mooney? Petra is a fraud, a fake and the false identity of an admitted liar. YNH William, aka ‘Tom Johnson’, admitted Petra was one of his many sock-puppets, most of whom you praised and lauded on his blog – for, in some cases (hilariously, in hindsight), their honesty.

    You really are stupid; I used to think you were just deranged but now it looks like your psychological issues are clouding what I can only assume was once reasonable judgement and insight. If you keep being this clueless I suspect the school you so often bang on about (usually apropos of nothing) is going to take legal action to make you stop mentioning them because, based on the content of your posts, people are going to suspect it provides a substandard education, at least in the area of reading comprehension and critical thinking.

    Less lying, more thinking, John. It may not be too late to salvage your credibility.

  198. #198 Rorschach
    July 10, 2010

    It may not be too late to salvage your credibility.

    That train left the station a long, long time ago.

    And Kwok, at least do try to keep up, Petra does not exist.Never did.

    *kwokkwokkwok*

    Do I get a camera now ?

  199. #199 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    Just popping in to point out the fallacy in posts #190 and #195 by John Kwok.

    If one accepts that the Intersection was infested by sock-puppets belonging to a pathological liar, which the blog owner has explained at length, then it follows that virtually any comment that you quote from there is possibly the work of the pathological liar, to a lesser or greater extent, depending on it’s attribution.

    Some of the posters’ “handles” or “names” in that thread are relatively easy to attribute to their real-life identities (e.g. Matt Penfold, J. J. Ramsey, John Kwok), while others are pseudonymous or virtually anonymous.

    So, you’ve quoted three pseudonymous posters: the easy one to dismiss is Petra, since one of the “confessions” by “William” admits that “Petra” was one of his sockpuppets. That might be true, or it might not be – who can tell, given that we’re talking about a pathological liar here? But it seems very prudent to not invest any particular trust in anything written by “Petra”.

    As for “Peter” and “Disturbed and Disgusted” – neither of these posters left a link to a website, or any other obvious credentials. They left only a single “hit-and-run” post on the thread and then disappeared. Only the blog owners could tell us whether they were posting from a different IP address to the origin of the sockpuppets, and in fact they have said nothing to confirm that any other “identities” were sockpuppets.

    It is therefore entirely possible that these posters were “single use” sockpuppets – used simply to provide anecdotal confirmation of one of the pathological liar’s points. So again, it doesn’t seem prudent to put any trust in either of these posts.

    Another reason, admittedly circumstantial, for not putting much trust in the pronouncement of “Peter”, is that it is rather curious that a post from “Peter” at #92 in the thread should be immediately answered by “Petra” at #93 – it looks very much like a possible “male” sock-puppet followed by its “female” equivalent.

    I trust you’ll note that I have provided consistent documentation for my real-world identity (that is, if you were to go looking for other recent posts by me around the Internet), even though I appear here under the guise of a pseudonym. I can say with honesty that I’ve never used sock-puppets at The Intersection – but it’s not as if this claim means anything, since I have no way whatsoever of definitively proving that (nor does anyone else, aside from the blog’s owners).

    Regards, Philip

  200. #200 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Philip –

    No attempt of yours to dissemble or to explain away the postings I cited from The Intersection can excuse PZ Myers for wrongly inferring that the online uproar that occurred back in March was due, as he wrongly concluded, to “coarse language”. It’s really hypocritical of him to drop by The Intersection like some internet troll lambasting Chris Mooney for Chris’s serious faux pas when Myers has yet to come to grips with the fact that somone, in early March, posted a threat at Pharyngula. to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum, Chris Mooney, and their followers (including myself I suppose, though I don’t always agree with Sheril and Chris). It really speaks poorly to the online conduct that exists at Pharyngula that virtually no one at Pharyngula condemned the poster, or even told him that he wasn’t “off the hook” when the poster said he was only joking (Not realizing the seriousness of this, PZ would paraphrase the threat in condemning some then ongoing problem with the Irish Roman Catholic Church.).

  201. #201 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Mike Haubrich –

    Do you wish to be seen as someone defending an act that, IMHO, is far more outrageous than “Cracker Gate”? One could accept PZ’s and Greg’s twisted logic that that act was done in support of a persecuted Florida student who had been attacked by his fellow worshippers and the local Roman Catholic Church (Though I think both PZ and Greg could have opted for a less inflammatory course of action.).

    Having a poster post at Pharyngula to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney is not, by any wild stretch of the imagination, an instance of “coarse language” as PZ has contended. He’s intellectually dishonest for reaching such a conclusion, and clearly insensitive, since he paraphrased that very threat a few days later in yet another Pharyngula blog entry condemning the Irish Roman Catholic Church.

    It is truly the height of sanctimonious hypocrisy for PZ to stop by The Intersection like an internet troll to condemn Chris with regards to “Tom Johnson”, when PZ still refuses to acknowledge that some Pharyngulite zealot posted a death threat at Pharyngula.

    I felt compelled to complain to Science Blogs and to Adam Bly. So did many others, not counting of the course “Tom Johnson” and his sockpuppets.

    Much to his credit, Greg hasn’t stepped in to comment about this or to stop me from commenting about it (Though Greg, maybe you could discreetly tell PZ how and why he was wrong to reach the conclusion of “coarse language”.). Maybe you should follow in Greg’s wake, unless you decide to agree with me that PZ crossed the line with regards to that death threat.

  202. #202 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    And there you go again with the nonsensical claim about a post on Pharyngula being a threat. By your logic, PZ Myers is supposedly personally accountable for every single one of the million or so comments on his blog that someone might choose to be offended by. Yeah, right. I can see bloggers lining up everywhere to agree with that proposition – not!

    Your obsessively repetitious posts make you sound about as monotonous and one-note as a vuvuzela, and in the long run just as annoying.

    Regards, Philip

  203. #203 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Philip –

    If it wasn’t a threat, then why did Sheril Kirshenbaum comment on it at The Intersection back in March? Why did quite a few, myself included, felt compelled to complain directly to Science Blogs and Adam Bly?

    I’m not being a zealous nut about this. I am merely stating the facts, and I am doing so merely to point out, as I have to Mike Haubrich, that “[it] is truly the height of sanctimonious hypocrisy for PZ to stop by The Intersection like an internet troll to condemn Chris with regards to ‘Tom Johnson’, when PZ still refuses to acknowledge that some Pharyngulite zealot posted a death threat at Pharyngula.”

    I believe PZ needs to “clean house” at Pharyngula before having the chutzpah to condemn Chris over at The Intersection over the “Tom Johnson” affair.

  204. #204 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Philip –

    Do you care to refute this well-reasoned posting from Gaythia that was one of the earliest comments in reply to Sheril Kirshenbaum’s blog entry last March? Don’t tell me that she’s another “Tom Johnson” sockpuppet. I honestly don’t think so:

    10. Gaythia Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 10:49 am
    Verbal personal threats of physical violence are unacceptable and certainly not a joking matter.

    PZ Meyers in person is very polite, mild mannered and pleasant. He is correct that not all blogs need to be the same. His blog does offer much that is of value. I believe that he can run his blog in a manner which is, as he describes it: “… the gladiatorial arena of the science blogosphere, and we don’t restrict attendance to the prissy ol’ patricians — everyone likes a good bloody rhetorical battle now and then.” while still policing it to control verbal threats of violent personal attack. A blog can be rowdy, without being verbally abusive. Not all of the problems originate on PZ’s blog, although I do think that getting PZ on board would be a major step in resolving this issue.

    The nature of some of these attacks make women feel particularly unwelcome. Science has historically been a profession that frequently worked to exclude women. Some of this exclusion has been by overt acts of discrimination, some in forms of being made to feel as if one doesn’t belong.

    Feeling that one’s comments may leave one subject to threats of violent attack is not conducive to free speech or active participation. It certainly creates an atmosphere that does not lend itself to “strengthening public interest in science and improving public understanding of science around the world.”

    Seed Media has a responsibility to make Science Blogs a venue where everyone feels free to express their opinion on scientific matters in a spirit of open dialogue.

  205. #205 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    John,

    Unless you can provide some reasonable evidence that “Gaythia” has a real-world identity or some Internet presence elsewhere – or, for example, find someone who has met “Gaythia” or knows her real life status to be able to vouch for her/him – then how is one to know that s/he is not a sockpuppet? I’ve no recollection of seeing posts from another “Gaythia” at other Internet blogs, so in the light of the rampant sock-puppetry at the Intersection, it is an entirely reasonable doubt to express. The views expressed by that poster are largely of the same cloth as posters such as “Milton C.” or “Philip Jr.”

    Regards, Philip

  206. #206 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Philip –

    Care to refute this as the comment of a sockpuppet:

    71. Sorbet Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 2:44 pm
    I agree that one commenter should not be held up as an indictment of PZ Myers or Seed. However it is a little disturbing that nobody in that thread called out the commenter right after he commented.

    Or this:

    98. Skeptical Skeptic Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 4:38 pm
    If PZ doesn’t remove this filth, there needs to be a groundswell directed at Seed Media to ensure it gets removed. PZ’s a good blogger and great person, but he needs to get his comments under control. This is not an isolated occurrence.

    I agree fully. I can tolerate plenty of anger and ridicule, but calling for the violent raping of another person crosses a line that should never be crossed. Calling it a joke doesn’t fix things, either. And, as Petra said, this isn’t the only time such nonsense has been bandied about in Pharyngula’s comment threads.

    I respect PZ’s auuthority to let comments go unmoderated on his blog. But they’ve reached a point in their tone and tenor where silence is not an opinion anymore. I will not sit down and shut up when others are calling for the rape of bloggers/commenters. My email is going to Seed Media, and I encourage everyone else to, also. I’d email webmaster@scienceblogs.com. Does anyone know Adam Bly’s email?

    Enough is enough.

    Or this:

    115. Polly-O Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 5:00 pm
    Wait wait wait. Someone implies that Sheril and others should be raped with a rusty knife, and people get on here to defend it and try to sweep it under the rug as nothing? How despicable. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, indeed.

    Sheril has every right to be disgusted and outraged when someone makes such a violent threat in her direction, no matter the context. And you people should be ashamed for trying to pretend that it’s nothing. Those of us with experience in sex crimes know much, much better than to trivialize this kind of excrement.

    Seed should know about this, and do something to correct it.

    Or this:

    120. Seminatrix Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 5:14 pm
    Seminatrix, the emphasis was on the word “offensive”, whether the insult is personal or not. I don’t doubt that the comment was personally offensive and completely uncalled for, but I am criticizing what I see as an indictment of Myers for not deleting the comment.

    I think it paints PZ in a bad light, seeing as what we know of Seed Media’s policy about what one can let be posted on their blog. Is it solely his fault? No.

    And really, I am pretty sure it was not a “direct request to see Sheril raped”. That’s hyperbole on your part. Check comment #389 for the context

    That may very well be hyperbolic. But how do we know? So far those backing Pz have claimed the following about the comment….

    1.) this is not a direct threat
    2.) this is a joke
    3.) this is, in no way, a joke
    4.) how dare you call this a joke?
    5.) people were annoying before this comment was made. (I assume this is meant to justify the comment somehow?)
    6.) this doesn’t refer to rape
    7.) this is hyperbole
    8.) this is OK because it’s anonymous

    The bottom line is that no one knows what motivations went into the comment, other than the fact that the context (to me) suggests that it was made in some kind of horrible attempt at jest. And, of course, part of the point of Sheril’s post was that she gets this but knows that rape should not be used in jest, as hyperbole, or as a joke.

    ESPECIALLY when Seed Media’s policy forbids such.

    Or this:

    168. TB Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 7:10 pm
    During the presidential election campaign, some pretty over the top rhetoric was used at campaign rallies – to the point that the lines began to blur between campaign rhetoric and actual threat.

    I certainly recall John McCain specifically correcting a woman in the audience who said Obama was an Arab, with the implication that Obama was practically a terrorist.

    McCain spoke up because the rhetoric started to get out of hand and he didn’t want to be held responsible if someone was inspired to act on that rhetoric.

    So, while the commentor over on that other blog may not have been endorsing actual action, we don’t know that either way. Could have been a troll, could have been a bad joke, could have been a sick individual.

    Anyway you slice it, the comment was tasteless and wrong. I could care less about the excuse of context.

    I wonder whether you recall posting this which I found a bit tasteless and self-serving, which, I might add, is exactly what you are doing now:

    148. Pope Maledict DCLXVI Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 6:26 pm
    `natrix,

    since you evidently have such poor comprehension, the context is pretty much the whole of the previous train wreck thread, where the original rusty knife comment has been repeatedly miscited by posters, pulling it completely out of context:

    (a) as evidence of a literal threat of violence (NO: the author explicitly stated the phrase was metaphorical, but the good-natured posters at this blog here removed that part of the quote).
    (b) as evidence that PZ permits such language to stand on Pharyngula (again NO: as pointed out post 76 above by Janine, PZ explicitly slammed down on the kind of language being used).

    Seems pretty clear from 500+ comments that it has now become an Internet meme: hence, the second comment linked to by Sheril above, which is rather more objectionable.

    Note that the author of this second comment is not the same person as the first (the original rusty knife, you might say) – but several people earlier in this thread seem to be unclear at ascribing authorship of what comment to whom. In any case, the post is just as hyperbolic but is inflammatory, since it would be naïve to assume that the commenters here are not scrutinizing current threads on Pharyngula for any evidence of threats being condoned. Which would be hypocritical indeed if off-colour posts being made here are not being held to the same standard, as Carlie pointed out above at post 81.

    Philip

  207. #207 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Philip –

    At least one of the people I have cited, TB, is definitely a regular commenter at The Intersection, who has been in touch with Chris regarding the “Tom Johnson” affair. Again, you are engaging, as you did, in March, in an inexcusable exercise in obfuscation by denying the legitimacy of these comments, while discounting the seriousness of the threat to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum, Chris Mooney and their supporters (such as yours truly).

    PZ Myers has been recognized by Jerry Coyne as someone with a first-rate mind (Though that does beg the question that if Jerry Coyne thinks PZ has a first rate mind, then why isn’t PZ a colleague of Jerry’s at the University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution, which does count, as first-rate minds, the likes of Leigh Van Valen (who co-discovered and dubbed as such, the Red Queen) and Neil Shubin (who predicted the discovery of Tiktaalik by relying on geological maps of Ellesmere Island, and discovered it where he thought he would find it), and of course, Jerry Coyne (who is one of our leading authorities on speciation)). Since PZ does have a first-rate mind, then how does he conclude that the uproar last March at The Intersection was over “coarse language”, not a stupid, senseless, tasteless, remark posted at his blog which clearly violated Seed Media policy?

  208. #208 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    John,

    you really don’t need to quote posts from that thread here – you could simply refer to the Intersection trainwreck in question by post number, say. I don’t imagine the blog owner is going to be that grateful to you either, for pasting walls of text like David Mabus, instead of making an argument.

    In addition, you’re also being tedious, since you haven’t learned from my initial reply to the fallacy in your post at #190 above – because you’ve just repeated the same failure of logic.

    First, Sorbet’s post at #71 is refuted by Janine’s post at #76. Sorbet might be a sock-puppet, but it doesn’t really matter – the point you raise as already been answered by a poster named “Janine” – who is very probably the same Janine who is a regular on PZ’s blog.

    Second, Skeptical Skeptic at #98 – might be a sockpuppet, or might not. Again, who would be able to tell? In any case he suggested e-mailing Adam Bly. I dare say a lot of people e-mailed Adam Bly to complain. Look what happened as a result. Not very much.

    Polly-O at #115 – in case you missed it, this was her “single outing” on that thread before going on to become a fully-fledged sock-puppet at the You’re Not Helping blog. That’s if we can trust the pathological liar to properly identify his fake identities. The take-home message here is that Polly-O’s opinion is pretty much worthless.

    Seminatrix at #120, likewise, is another sock-puppet. Hence, probably nothing more than the opinions and lies of a pathological liar.

    TB at #168 makes the important distinction that you seem to be incapable of, that language invoking violent rhetoric might or might not cross the line into being a threat. However, he seems to conclude “the comment was tasteless and wrong” – opinions which I expressed myself, directly to the author of the “tasteless and wrong” post. He then goes on to say that “I could care less about the excuse of context.” Chris Mooney seems to have indicated that TB is a real poster, so also taking into account the poster’s use of language I would probably tend to think that this post is not the work of the pathological liar “William”.

    I would beg to differ with that last comment about context, since the whole thread is a beat-up of quotes being cherry-picked out of context, and especially refer you to my post at #177. This was where I suggested, directly to the author of the offending quote, that he – rather than PZ Myers – take the opportunity to apologise to Sheril Kershenbaum.

    I am not proud of having been involved in that ridiculous fracas, but of that comment I am totally willing to be identified as the author.

    Regards, Philip

  209. #209 Stephen
    July 10, 2010

    Oh boy John. You are so poorly informed.

    Quoth John:
    Care to refute this as the comment of a sockpuppet:
    {snip}
    115. Polly-O Says:
    March 11th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    The refutation for this one is not difficult:

    As for sock puppetry: yes, I am responsible for several of the commenters (sock puppets) on this blog, namely “Patricia,” “Polly-O!,” and “Brandon”…

    Of course, all of this is pointless (except for showing your lack of knowledge up) as having lots of people offended by a statement does not make it a threat.

  210. #210 John Kwok
    July 10, 2010

    @ Stephen –

    You are simply as obtuse and as dense as Philip or Wowbagger. Doesn’t mean that my assertions are wrong. Moreover, I approached several prominent science bloggers – who shall remain nameless – and they were appalled at what had happened over at Pharyngula but felt powerless to do anything.

    Speaking of Philip, I guess he finally shut up after I pointed out the absurdity of his own comment at The Intersection (@ 207).

    Shall I post Seed Media’s own policy for your convenience, or can I trust you, as an adult, to look it up for yourself?

    Like your fellow Pharyngulites, you are merely defending the indefensible with regards to the “joke” about raping and killing Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney. And before you tell me one more time that it is irrelevant to any discussion on “William”, then I respectfully disagree. PZ has ample chutzpah to act like an internet troll over at The Intersection to cast judgement on Chris and Chris’s handling of “William”, when PZ not only treated the uproar over the threat as one attacking him for allowing “ocarse language” over at Pharyngula, he compounded the error IMHO when he said this:

    “Well, frob me sideways with a sniny dirk…maybe there is a god.”

    (which is the concluding comment from his original blog entry here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/03/grand_news_from_ireland.php#more)

    If that isn’t insensitive, it is definitely a comment rife with stupidity, since it is a paraphrase of the very threat which forced Sheril to post her condemnation of it over at The Intersection.

    Until and unless PZ does something to change the tone and substance with regards to those posting over at Pharyngula, he has no business condemning Chris over Chris’s handling of “William”. For him to do so is mere sanctimonious hypocrisy IMHO.

  211. #211 Mike Haubrich
    July 10, 2010

    Kwok

    Telling you that you are stereotyping New Atheists because you don’t like Pharyngula does not mean that I am in any way engaging in your conversation regarding what happened at Pharyngula. Get a grip, John. You are riding a hobbyhorse. You can fuss that out with wowbagger and not me. Also regarding Crackergate, you need to just let go.

  212. #212 Greg Laden
    July 10, 2010

    Wowbagger, you should stop using the insulting “stealth idiot” in John’s name. Argue all you want but it dumbs down the look and feel of the conversation, don’t you think?

  213. #213 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    Speaking of Philip, I guess he finally shut up after I pointed out the absurdity of his own comment at The Intersection (@ 207).

    No, John.

    I am able to account for why you jumped to that erroneous conclusion; my post, at #208, was held up in moderation, and has only just appeared. I didn’t think it would be polite to continue posting until it had cleared.

    There might be any other number of reasons why I might choose to “shut up”, independently of the merits of my arguments. For example, it is increasingly pointless to discuss a three-month-old train-wreck with someone who is still “riding the same hobbyhorse”, to paraphrase Mike Haubrich directly above at #211.

    Another reason I might appear to go “silent” is that it’s now ten past midnight local time here, and I’m going to bed. You won’t see any further replies from me, but I encourage you to dial back on the hyperbole. “It’s not helping.”

    Regards, Philip

  214. #214 Rorschach
    July 10, 2010

    Argue all you want but it dumbs down the look and feel of the conversation, don’t you think?

    I reckon it makes it clear who the braindead idiot is.Not that anyone was in doubt.
    Now please dont disturb while I watch Kwok once and for all demonstrate to everyone that he is mentally ill.Stuyvesant anyone ?

  215. #215 Greg Laden
    July 10, 2010

    How come yooz guiz are not talking about the comments on Phil Plait’s blog (also regarding Sheril)? That would be an important data point in this discussion, I would think.

  216. #216 Ambidexter
    July 10, 2010

    Laden,

    You’re right, Kwok shouldn’t be described as a “stealth idiot.” Just plain “idiot” is sufficient to describe John “gimme a $5000 camera or I’ll defriend you” Kwok.

  217. #217 Paul W.
    July 10, 2010

    BTW, I think some of what Kwok’s been doing here—and has been doing elsewhere for a long time—is libel, or would be if he were sane.

    Nobody threatened Sheril with death or sexual violence. Saying that they did is libel if you don’t really believe it, and insanity if you do.

    Darn that insanity defense.

    And yes, I am saying that Kwok is crazy. And no, that’s not libel. I honestly believe it, and there’s plenty of evidence for it all over the internet. Maybe not proof, but plenty of evidence to justify my personal opinion that Kwok is a loon.

  218. #218 Paul W.
    July 10, 2010

    Hmmm… maybe I should be more careful in my use of phrases like “insanity defense.”

    I guess it wouldn’t technically be an insanity defense—that’s when you did the thing you’re accused of, but only because you’re crazy.

    With libel it’s different. It’s not libel if you’re crazy enough to believe your accusations, so that’s something else I don’t know the term for.

    (In case it’s not obvious, I am not and do not pretend to be a lawyer.)

  219. #219 David Marjanović
    July 10, 2010

    How many comments has PZ disemvoweled in the last two years? One? Two?

    He has banned a few people during that time, but, with only one exception I dimly remember, he has let their comments stand unchanged all the way to the end.

  220. #220 Greg Laden
    July 10, 2010

    Paul W. You use “we” and you speak of convictions (as in conviction for crimes) a little too loosely. And you spend most of your internet time proffering detailed descriptions of evidence of people’s wrong doing. And generally this is wrongdoing by your rules, rules you often make up post hoc. Do you have a horse?

    Are you, like, some kind of posse or something?

  221. #221 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 10, 2010

    “Stealth idiot” sounds like a much appropriate term for one of my talkative kittens, who thinks he’s being really clever sneaking into the kitchen where he’s not wanted, but vocalising all the while. Doofus kitten.

    I think I’ve seen quite a few more disemvowellings than just one or two in a year, David. There are a million comments from four and a half years there, and plenty of industrial-strength stupid to go around.

    Disemvowelling naturally makes the comment hard, but not impossible to read, though if it were me dealing with it I’d be more tempted to use an alternative which leaves the content “recoverable” but unreadable all the same: e.g. Caesar’s cipher (any of the 25 possible substitutions), or the rot13 filter.

    At the end of the day though, it’s PZ’s blog, and his choice what to do with the rubbish people post there. Hence my comments here and elsewhere that PZ isn’t responsible for apologising for Stu’s offensive and tasteless post – Stu is responsible, and he refused to apologise. Now’s the time to “build a bridge, and get over it”.

    Regards, Philip

  222. #222 Ash
    July 10, 2010

    Those who are arguing over the fine semantics of whether the comment on PZ’s blog was a “threat” or not are missing the point: that PZ consistently fails to condemn the garbage that’s paraded on his blog under the guise of “free speech”. It’s not a question of free speech, it’s a question of having your blog retain a modicum of decency and class. If you recall, even PZ’s supporters noted that he should have berated the commenter. And it’s not like this would be an exception; other fine bloggers like Carl Zimmer have repeatedly said that they will not tolerate gratuitous ad hominem attacks on their blogs, and they write some of the best science blogs around. Somehow PZ thinks he is doing something extra-special condoning such nonsense.

    Now of course one might say that it’s PZ’s blog and so he has every right to run it as he wishes. Fair enough. But then he also loses the self-righetous moral authority to trash anyone else for making extreme statements or ad hominem attacks. And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an “unhinged” accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.

  223. #223 J. J. Ramsey
    July 10, 2010

    Ash: “PZ consistently fails to condemn the garbage that’s paraded on his blog under the guise of ‘free speech’.”

    Not quite. When some Pharyngulites had angrily suggested assorted creative ways of forcibly sodomizing Bill Donahue for being an apologist of the perpetrators of the Catholic child rape scandal, PZ stepped in to say that it was out of line. Why he did pretty much the opposite when someone borrowed language originally aimed at Donahue and re-aimed it at mere accommodationists is … a good question, actually.

  224. #224 Ash
    July 10, 2010

    JJR: Good point. I agree that PZ did condemn the attacks on Donahue, although Donahue is a bonafide kook compared to M & K. Thus it should have been very easy for him to similarly step in and drawn the line when it came to the ridiculous attacks on M & K. In my opinion he lowered his reputation significantly by not doing so.

  225. #225 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2010

    Greg wrote:

    Wowbagger, you should stop using the insulting “stealth idiot” in John’s name. Argue all you want but it dumbs down the look and feel of the conversation, don’t you think?

    That’s kind of a ‘thing’ between John and myself, Greg; it’s my way of taking him to task for the fact that, despite its obtuseness, he often quotes the David Sloan Wilson cheap slur against atheists, i.e. incoherently describing atheism as a ‘stealth religion’.

    But since you asked nicely I will accede and not use it any further here.

    John Kwok,

    Argumentum ad populum. A laundry list of people (including several sock-puppets of an admitted liar and fraud) choosing to view it as a threat doesn’t make it so. None of those people reported it to the police either, which they should have done had they considered it a genuine threat.

    It wasn’t a threat. Your accusation is baseless and your repeated lying about it is – once people look into the issue and realise that you’re lying – only harming you, no-one else.

    Ash wrote:

    Those who are arguing over the fine semantics of whether the comment on PZ’s blog was a “threat” or not are missing the point:

    Sorry, but it’s you who are missing the point. A genuine threat is a serious issue, and to imply that PZ condones genuine threats against people is very different from implying that he lets his posters make ‘extreme statements’.

    And even that is a very dubious claim. Go there and post something sexist, racist or homophobic. If the other posters don’t take you to task for it, PZ himself will.

    Anyway, had it been a genuine threat then John would have a point, and I believe that PZ would have said something about it. But he and everyone else knows it wasn’t; John, however, likes to pretend it was so he can use it as ‘ammunition’ to criticise PZ for whatever it is PZ’s done to upset him, which generally means ‘says something mean about someone John likes to tell people is a friend of his’.

    In this particular case it’s obvious he’s rehashing the non-issue in order to undermine PZ, who’s amongst the dozens of people currently taking Chris Mooney to task for the ‘Tom Johnson’ affair.

    Since John himself was one of those so readily sucked in by ‘Tom’ – John heaped praise upon him for, amongst other things, his ‘honesty’ – he’s now trying to change the subject and divert attention away from the fact that he got played like a dime-store fiddle and looks like a complete fool for having backed a liar and a fraud.

    His intentions here are far from honourable.

    that PZ consistently fails to condemn the garbage that’s paraded on his blog under the guise of “free speech”. It’s not a question of free speech, it’s a question of having your blog retain a modicum of decency and class.

    Actually, as far as I can tell, he doesn’t ‘fail to condemn’ it because of free speech – as noted, he will condemn plenty of things; were it simply a free speech issue he wouldn’t condemn anything – he ‘fails to condemn’ it because he doesn’t see it as detrimental; quite the opposite.

    Not the same thing.

    If you recall, even PZ’s supporters noted that he should have berated the commenter.

    Those ‘supporters’ seem likely to have been ‘Tom Johnson’ sock-puppets. Their names never appeared on Pharyngula, and those people never posted again on The Intersection. The ‘real’ regulars didn’t berate anyone because they – unlike those making the accusations – didn’t need to; they knew that it wasn’t a threat.

    Such is the benefit of context.

    But then he also loses the self-righetous moral authority to trash anyone else for making extreme statements or ad hominem attacks.

    He’s not ‘trashing’ anyone for making ‘extreme statements’, and whether he himself engages in ‘ad hominem attacks’ is debatable; he’s pointing out that Chris Mooney was fooled by a liar and a fraud and that he then used the lies that person told as a club to bash PZ and others.

    If someone said to me that you, Ash, stole a car and I didn’t check to see if it was true before I ran around telling people that you stole a car, how would you feel? Would you be taking me to task?

    And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne.

    That may be so – and I do consider that admirable – but that doesn’t give him the free reign to continually lie about people he doesn’t like on other people’s blogs, nor does it excuse him for having so readily danced to the tune of a liar and a fraud – an error he’s desperately seeking to turn attention away from.

    With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an “unhinged” accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.

    Sorry, but the simple fact is that he’s thought of that way because that’s all people ever see of him. I hope John can change people’s perceptions of him, but he’s going to have to stop appearing unhinged and stop bashing atheists for that to happen.

  226. #226 Dale Husband
    July 10, 2010

    John Kwok may be annoying to people who find his Republican politics intolerable or his repeated use of phrases like “mendacious intellectual pornography” irritating, but aside from that, I see no reason to single him out for abuse. This was just grade school style crap, right here:
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/John_Kwok

    If you don’t think a death threat, whoever made it, is to be taken seriously, fine. Just don’t gripe if one is made against you, OK?

    Now, go ahead and hurl insults at me. I couldn’t care less.

  227. #227 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2010

    If you don’t think a death threat, whoever made it, is to be taken seriously, fine. Just don’t gripe if one is made against you, OK?

    If an actual threat was made against anyone, I would take it seriously. But it wasn’t, by any definition of the word, a threat. The person who wrote it knows it, PZ knows it, Sheril knows it; even John Kwok – despite lying about it – knows it.

    I’d say you know it was well, but you’ve apparently decided you aren’t getting enough attention from posting easily discredited nonsense at Pharyngula – probably because everyone who used to bother with you has killfiled you – so you’ve come over here to try to shill your drivel to a new crowd who’ll eventually come to loathe you like we did and treat you accordingly.

    I hope it works out for you. I don’t understand masochism, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem with it.

  228. #228 Ash
    July 10, 2010

    Just two things:

    -he ‘fails to condemn’ it because he doesn’t see it as detrimental; quite the opposite.

    If he doesn’t see vile statements like these to be detrimental, he has a real problem.

    -Those ‘supporters’ seem likely to have been ‘Tom Johnson’ sock-puppets.

    Far from the case. If I remember correctly, even people like “Sorbet” who have consistently bashed John Kwok condemned the lack of response.

    -he’s going to have to stop appearing unhinged and stop bashing atheists for that to happen.
    Kwok has not generally bashed atheists to my knowledge; he has mainly disagreed with those whose atheist approach to him seems too aggressive and extreme. There can be a simple difference of opinion there; no need to call him an unhinged loony and to put him into the same category as John Davison and creationists.

  229. #229 Wowbagger
    July 10, 2010

    Ash wrote:

    If he doesn’t see vile statements like these to be detrimental, he has a real problem.

    I don’t agree, but whether it is true or not is not the point; it’s a separate issue. If you want to discuss that you should probably take it up with PZ.

    Far from the case. If I remember correctly, even people like “Sorbet” who have consistently bashed John Kwok condemned the lack of response.

    I never said no-one ‘condemned’ it. John tried to use the ‘argument’ that, because ‘Pharyngula posters’ were coming to The Intersection to say they thought it was and posted their disapproval, it really was a threat. That is simply not true. Sorbet is not – to my knowledge – a Pharyngula regular. The only people who identified as ‘Pharyngula posters’ now seem likely to have been sock-puppets.

    Kwok has not generally bashed atheists to my knowledge; he has mainly disagreed with those whose atheist approach to him seems too aggressive and extreme.

    The two are not mutually exclusive. If you disagree with any aspect of what John says he will retort using slurs like ‘militant atheist’ (a demonstrable misnomer) and ‘IDiot borg collective'; he describes PZ as ‘Hagar the Horrible’ and makes racist comments about him being a barbarian because of his Scandinavian heritage.

    While I have no problem with John saying such things – he’s entitled to make remarks of that sort, as long as he’s not lying like he has been; I personally find (as I suspect PZ does) the Hagar crack to be hilarious and quite witty – you can’t tell me that’s just ‘disagreement’, unless you extend the same courtesy to PZ.

  230. #230 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    I think PZ wants people to think that he is some latter day “Hagar the Horrible”, which he why he espouses a “gladitorial” style of discourse over at Pharyngula. Calling him “Hagar the Horrible” is racist? Oh please, get a grip on yourself (Greg might even remind you that I discovered, much to my dismay, that a murderous IRA terrorist I’ve created in an unpublished novel bears an all too uncomfortable resemblance to PZ. That’s merely by accident, not by intent, and I am doing my utmost to ensure that – assuming that this novel is published – that I can’t be accused of slandering PZ.).

    Both Ash and Dale have made some very good points about my character. Moreover, I have, more than once, pointed out some superb blog entry on science that PZ has written (Unfortunately that’s become a virtually nil occurrence since he seems preoccupied with attacking the Irish Roman Catholic Church – and my apologies for name dropping, but with substantiallly more venome than I have ever seen or read or heard from the late Frank McCourt (my high school English and creative writing teacher who became the bestselling memoirist, not the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers) or his brother, the actor and writer Malachy McCourt – or condemning prominent defenders of evolution such as Francisco J. Ayala and Ken Miller who have spent substantially more time than PZ ever has in confronting the likes of Duane Gish, Henry Morris, Michael Behe, Bill Dembski, or Ken Ham than PZ ever has (And let me state this uncomfortable fact, that were it not for Pharyngula, no one would have heard of PZ or even cared to give his words even a second of their time.). I have consistently also praised Jerry Coyne as one of our foremost evolutionary biologists, acknwoledging his well-earned reputation as an expert on speciation, and urging people to buy his wonderful book on evolution, even as I have condemned his harsh attacks on accomodationism, on NCSE and its staff, and last, but not least, on physicist Brian Greene and journalist Tracy Day (Mrs. Brian Greene) for receiving financial support from the John M. Templeton Foundation for their World Science Festival and for organizing a World Science Festival panel session devoted to science and faith (In the interest of full disclosure, I have done this not only because I respect Brian’s scientific work, but because he is a fellow alumnus of our high school, which is noted for educating many scientists, doctors and engineers. Having said that, I think it is utterly stupid for PZ to mock my mention of my high school, especially when its current principal vowed back in the fall of 2005 – as the Dover trial unfolded – that never, ever, would ID creationism be taught there since it isn’t science.).

    Both Ash and Dale have a superb understanding of who I am and what I have done online on behalf of evolution. May I suggest you heed their advice please?

  231. #231 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2010

    Calling him “Hagar the Horrible” is racist?

    It’s sad I have to keep requesting this of you, John, but you never seem to do it of your own accord: read for comprehension. I even said (and you’d know, had you read for comprehension) I found that ‘Hagar the Horrible’ comment witty and amusing; it’s the implication that people of Scandinavian descent are barbarians that strikes me as racism. How else can you describe the sweeping generalisation that an entire ethnic group acts in such a way but racist?

    Both Ash and Dale have a superb understanding of who I am and what I have done online on behalf of evolution. May I suggest you heed their advice please?

    I’m getting tired of this: read for comprehension. Dale did not even use the word ‘evolution’ let alone what you may or may not have ‘done for it’.

    In fact, his exact words describing you were: ‘John Kwok may be annoying to people who find his Republican politics intolerable or his repeated use of phrases like “mendacious intellectual pornography” irritating…‘; I know if someone used those words to describe me I probably wouldn’t choose to use him as a character reference.

    But the bigger question is this: what’s your point in bringing this up? I’ve never made any comment, positive or negative, about your contributions to fostering evolution. If you are claiming that I have, please quote what I said and provide links to the comment threads where I said it.

    All I’m asking you to do is stop lying about PZ, which it’s transparent that you’re doing not for any honourable reasons but because (a) you feel a personal animosity toward him, and (b) you’re hoping to deflect attention away from the embarrassing mess that Chris Mooney and those of you who fell for the scam perpetuated by ‘Tom Johnson’ and his sock-puppet army have made.

  232. #232 Greg Laden
    July 11, 2010

    people of Scandinavian descent are barbarians that strikes me as racism. How else can you describe the sweeping generalisation that an entire ethnic group acts in such a way but racist?

    Ironically, the very use of the word “barbarian” has been suggested as racist, so this set of sentences is racist.

    Of course, when that particular accusation was made, I jumped in and objected, but still.

  233. #233 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    I just posted most of this as part of a comment over at The Intersection and I don’t know whether Chris Mooney will post it (He has held up virtually all of my posts there for the past few days, unlike, Greg, who has allowed all of mine to be posted here.). This was addressed to Chris:

    Unfortunately I am going to differ with some who’ve concluded now that criticizing your journalistic standards isn’t still a valid criticism (though not maybe for the reason(s) that PZ Myers – who is doing a great impersonation as a New Atheist internet troll BTW – might consider). I strongly doubt that, under similar circumstances, Cornelia Dean, Andy Revkin or Carl Zimmer would have gone with Tom Johnson’ s story if they didn’t get independent confirmation from others who had attended the same meeting. That IMHO was a serious lapse of judgement with regards to journalism standards, and one that shouldn’t be repeated (Oh heck, and I wouldn’t even stop with Cory, Andy or Carl. Am sure that veteran journalist Pete Hamill would have recognized that there were potential inconsistencies in Tom Johnson’s story, and that’s through his decades-worth of experience in verifying sources as both a journalist and editor-in-chief of both The New York Post and The New York Daily News.).

    Of course you weren’t the only one misled by Bilbo/Tom Johnson/Milton C. I did think they were different posters and reacted in kind (Maybe if I had spent more time online – and I just don’t have the time for this – I would have recognized how similar all there were.). But I wasn’t the one maintaining a blog and opting to act on my instincts when “Tom Johnson” presented a most appealing, quite plausible, “incident” worthy of note.

    In conclusion, I do not share PZ Myers’s optimism that his side has “won”. Maybe if he and his zealous New Atheist colleagues and acolytes had been more tolerant, then “William” wouldn’t have had the need to invent his tale and make it so persuasive that it caught your attention (I like the term “Fundamentalist Atheist” that’s been mentioned here, and I think I will use it more often, since I do see ample similarities in style between many New Atheists and the Fundamentalist Protestant Christian religious creationist zealots who, more often than not, are quite deserving of their criticism.).

    Respectfully yours,

    John

  234. #234 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Mike Haubrich –

    For better or for worse, PZ’s reputation was “made” with CrackerGate. I know of other science bloggers who still regard that as objectionable, not only Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, including one who might agree with much of PZ’s perspective with regards to atheism and faith. Believe me, “Cracker Gate” isn’t the only issue I have with PZ, and quite frankly, his odd response to the death threat that was posted last March at Pharyngula is far more disturbing IMHO. That and what I would describe as his own obsession with the Roman Catholic Church. You would think he had had a childhood as miserable as the one so memorably recounted by Frank McCourt in his great memoir “Angela’s Ashes”, and yet, long before he passed away on July 19, 2010, Frank and his brothers had made their peace with the Roman Catholic Church (I know this for a fact since I attended a special mass for him – it’s an old Irish tradition – that was held at an Upper West Side Roman Catholic Church exactly one month after his death. His brothers – who are atheist, agnostic and Buddhist in their religious orientation now – requested that this mass be held.). Maybe it’s time for PZ to do likewise, or else, join Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch in condemning far more blatant abuses of human rights and dignity in the Muslim world and by those Muslims wishing to assimilate in Western and Western-oriented societies.

  235. #235 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    Why don’t you stop lying on behalf of PZ? Read your posts and compare those with those written all too often by the delusional IDiots posting at Uncommon Descent. Quite frankly there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between your lying on behalf of PZ and their lying on behalf of Dembski and his fellow DI mendacious intellectual pornographers.

    Again, I have praised PZ when he is deserving of praise. I frankly wish I could render far more praise to him now. But he’s not deserving of such praise when he ignores the seriousness of a death threat (and, in fact, almost immediately makes light of it by paraphrasing it in a blog entry published days later that is yet another risible condemnation of the Irish Roman Catholic Church. Maybe he needs to read “Angela’s Ashes” again just to get some perspective on this.), and has allowed his blog to descend into an online intellectual cesspool in which there are frequent references to rape and denigration of women and other dubious references that it’s not suprising that no one took seriously the death threat when it was posted (even excusing the poster by accepting his lame explanation that it was a “joke”).

    You are a delusional ignorant intellectual slut who is in dire need of medical assistance. Please get such assistance soon.

  236. #236 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Mike Haubrich –

    Just a postscript to my immediate prior post addressed to you (@ 234), since I got my dates mixed up. I meant 2009, not 2010, in my references to Frank McCourt’s death and subsequent memorial service.

    Again, if it was only “Cracker Gate”, I probably wouldn’t be as critical of PZ as I am of him now. But that, regrettably, is only the tip of the iceberg’s worth of issues that I have with him (And, contrary to what others might think, I haven’t lost any sleep over him banning me at Pharyngula. But I wish he’d be a bit more honest by telling his most zealous acolytes that I finally admitted that I was joking about my demand for Leica rangefinder camera equipment, and that it was done just to see how far it would provoke him to act rashly toward me. Didn’t take much.).

  237. #237 Katharine
    July 11, 2010

    Just popping in to say that Kwok, we don’t give a shit if Frank McCourt was your high school English teacher. Is where you went to high school the only freaking thing you’re proud of? Did you not go to college?

  238. #238 Sorbet
    July 11, 2010

    I just came across this thread and wish to make two observations. Firstly, I don’t know if anyone was sockpuppeting as me on The Intersection (no, I wasn’t sockpuppeting as anyone else)

    Secondly, Katherine, there is a perfectly good probable reason why John Kwok quacks about Frank McCourt like a broken tape. My guess is that since high school he has not accomplished anything substantial in life and therefore needs to fall back on his time in high school for stroking his self-esteem. This has probably been the only high point in his life after which he did not achieve much. Psychologists are quite familiar with this phenomenon and observe it frequently among people whose best days are way behind them. I say we need to feel sorry for John and humor him a little.

  239. #239 DuWayne
    July 11, 2010

    intellectual slut

    Hmm…I like sluts, like intellectuals and goddammit, I like Mike – so I guess it all works out in the end. Though I think “intellectual whore” is far better form.

    As for the rest of your rambling fucking bullshit, I can see why you are rather despised around the internets John. You are almost, but not quite a complete and utter fucking moron. I mean I am totes impressed by all these folks you “know.” I really am. And I am even more impressed with your pathological need to drop names every other fucking comment you make.

    Really.

    PS. Greg – I lied. Here I am commenting again – just like you probably knew I was, because you always seem to know. But I still hate your intellectual vacuity now, because so many fine people have proven your defishencies – her and in that other “Chris Mooney sucks big, sweaty donkey balls” thread.

  240. #240 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Katharine –

    I mention my prior relationship with McCourt for a very good reason. Both he and his brother Malachy had every good reason to hate the Roman Catholic Church for the rest of their lives. Not only did they make peace with it, as evidenced by the fact that a Franciscan-run Upper West Side (New York, NY) Roman Catholic Church held a memorial mass for him exactly one month after he died, were able to participate in at least one important Roman Catholic ritual. Moreover, Frank’s brother Malachy was instrumental in helping to save the original Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the East Village from the wrecker’s ball recently, simply because he recognized that it had importance as the first exclusively Irish Roman Catholic parish in the United States, during the Irish Potato Famine. Having not grown up in the Roman Catholic faith – or been subjected to childhood indifference and abuse from Irish Roman Catholic priests – as the McCourt brothers were, I am surprised that PZ would embark on what is essentially an online jihad against the Roman Catholic Church. It’s too bad he doesn’t invest more of his time and energy in condemning a faith that has advocated – and still does – slavery, the virtual enslavement of women practicing its faith, and other reprehensible beliefs and deeds which run counter to the best cultural and intellectual traditions of Western and Western-oriented societies. Of course I am referring to Islam. If PZ would devote as much of his time toward condemning Islam as he does Roman Catholic Christianity, then I would find his condemnation of religious faith to be based on far more plausible – and far more rational – criteria than what I have seen or read from him so far.

  241. #241 Greg Laden
    July 11, 2010

    Defishencies? No kidding. I got totally swamped today. And not in a good way.

  242. #242 John Kwok
    July 11, 2010

    @ Katharine and Sorbet –

    There is a very good reason why I mention not only Frank McCourt, but his brother Malachy too. Frank was the only person I knew who openly embraced the notion of worshipping in a Jewish temple, an Episcopalian church, or following some Buddhist ritual as equally valid means of expressing his religious tolerance and longstanding interest in ecumenical values shared by such different faiths. His brother Malachy was recently instrumental in saving the original Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (East Village, New York, NY) from the wrecker’s ball, recognizing its historic importance as the site of the first Irish Roman Catholic parish in the United States, serving the spiritual needs of Irish Potato Famine refugees.

    If PZ wishes to condemn the excesses of zealous adherence to religious faith, then why stop at Fundamentalist Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity? Why not confront more often the very faith which still tolerates slavery, virtual enslavement of women, the harassment of infidels, and the replacement of centuries-old Western legal and civic codes which those of its own that are as repressive as any from the great 20th Century totalitarian dictatorships? Why doesn’t PZ devote substantially more time in condemning Islam? If he opts not to, then I believe he is a hypocrite condemning primarily Christianity, when the worst human rights abuses are committed all too often by those who claim to be working on behalf of Allah.

    Last, but not least, PZ has embarked on an online “jihad” against the Roman Catholic Church. I must wonder what ever triggered such a response in him, especially since he was never a practicing Roman Catholic. By mentioning the McCourts, I am merely observing that he ought to pay heed to their adult history of religious tolerance, including coming to terms with the Roman Catholic Church, despite the abuse and indifference shown toward them by Irish priests in Limerick, as recounted in Frank’s “Angela’s Ashes”. If they could show such tolerance, and, in the end, have the family agree to host a memorial service in Frank’s memory exactly one month after he died in a Franciscan-run Roman Catholic Church, then why can’t PZ try at least once to emulate them?

    As Ash noted last night, I do not reject Atheism. But I do reject the words and deeds of those who would sow needless discord between Atheism and the mainstream religious faiths. Unfortunately one of those whom I must reject is PZ Myers.

  243. #243 Wowbagger
    July 11, 2010

    I guess I can pretty much stop trying to explain to the uninitiated exactly how disturbed, deranged and oblivious John Kwok is; in his last few posts he’s proven beyond all doubt that he’s far better at it than I could ever be.

  244. #244 DuWayne
    July 11, 2010

    Any fucking moron who doesn’t understand why someone would be rather highly critical of a poisonous institution like the Roman Catholic Church, needs their pointy little head examined. And any fucking moron who doesn’t really understand someone else criticizing those who are rather more prevalent close to home, doesn’t understand in the least how the human brain works.

    Take your tolerance for hateful fucking pedophiles who are hell bent on exacerbating the spread of AIDS and unwanted pregnancies worldwide and especially in underdeveloped nations, and shove it up your fucking ass John. I tolerate all sorts of humans who have all sorts of ridiculous fucking beliefs – I warmly accept many of them. I’m that sort of a person. I have absolutely no tolerance whatever, for perverted fucking institutions that have descended so far below the pale as to fucking cover-up and move pedos around, so they can rape more children – and then get indignant when people get rather upset about it.

    For the record, I have been rather harsh on Muslims as well. Though for your average Muslim, no more so than with your average Christian. If I focus more on Protestants, it is because I spent nearly thirty years in an abusive relationship with my Christian faith and know a hell of a lot more about it than anything else. Catholicism comes a rather distant second, right next to Islam – not because I find either faith any more or less reasonable than Protestantism, but because of familiarity.

    The fucking moronic assumption that Christianity is any better than Islam, when it comes to women, is just fucking hilarious. That in the West Christianity seems to have become more open to women’s rights, is both taking a narrow view of Christianity (here’s a tip – there are a lot of Christians outside the West) and an ignorant view of even Western Christianity. Instead of fucking whining about how mean PZ Meyers is to Christianity and Catholicism in particular, you might pay attention to the substance of his criticism.

    But I sincerely doubt you will do that, because that might be like intellectual whoring, which would be even worse than intellectual sluttery. I mean christ, opening your mind could be disastrous – who knows what the fuck might float in?

  245. #245 John Kwok
    July 12, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    By no means I am condoning the Roman Catholic Church, especially with regards to pedophile scandals. But let’s get a grip please. Are you honestly suggesting that these scandals are worse than a consistent trend in Islam to support slavery (Slavery still exists in Islamic countries BTW), to support relegating women to literally third class (or worse) status, even though that is contrary to what is allegedly said in the Qu’ran, or to have Sharia law imposed not only in Muslim countries, but also, among Muslims residing in Western and Western-oriented countries? If you are suggesting that, then you are clearly out of touch with reality, given that Jihad Watch reports such abuses daily and PZ has barely scratched the surface over at Pharyngula.

    For example, for the latest at Jihad Watch, for today, July 11th, we have:

    Dozens killed in Uganda bombings suspected to be caused by Al Qaeida or its Somali affiliate:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/dozens-killed-in-multiple-bombings-in-uganda-police-chief-suspects-al-qaeda.html

    Iranian police rape and and murder women for bad “hijab”:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/iranian-police-rape-and-murder-woman-for-bad-hijab.html

    According to today’s New York Daily News, Hizballah is plotting a terrorist act along the US/Mexican border:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/hizballah-plotting-on-usmexico-border.html

    And last, but not least, Islamic cleric linked to jihad attacks in U.S. calls for murder of those who “defame” Muhammad:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/07/islamic-cleric-linked-to-jihad-attacks-in-us-calls-for-murder-of-those-who-defame-muhammad.html

    Don’t tell me that you would dismiss these as much, as I am certain, my cousin, former US Army Muslim Chaplain, James Yee most likely would, by insisting that Islam is a religion of “peace” (It certainly is, but it is increasingly being hijacked by extremists and their sympathizers, including, unfortunately, quite a few of Jim’s friends in the Muslim-American community.).

    Until and unless PZ posts more often about Islamic human rights abuses, then he is a hypocrite by going after the Roman Catholic Church with such impunity that you would think the Roman Catholic Church is the faith which has the worst human rights abuse record. Clearly that isn’t the case as I have just demonstrated.

    If PZ wants Pharyngula to remain a science blog, then he should emphasize that. Otherwise, I think a more suitable venue for it is over at Daily Kos.

  246. #246 John Kwok
    July 12, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    Philosophically my religious views are definitely closer to PZ’s than they are to my cousin James Yee (That I am sure is an admission which will surprise many here.). However, I am more sympathetic to both the substance and style written by notable atheist philosophers like Austin Dacey and Massimo Pigliucci than I am to PZ’s bombast which you think is quite erudite (Again, I disagree here.). Maybe you should be more willing to consider other options than to espouse the thought of someone who could be described as a classic example of a “Fundamentalist Atheist”.

    While PZ and I might agree that Chris Mooney shouldn’t offer a “whitewash” with regards to the Tom Johnson “affair”, my own personal perspective is that of someone who counts several first-rate journalists as friends, and none, I am sure, would have accepted Tom Johnson’s “story” as readily as Chris had. I am not interested in destroying Chris’s credibility, which – judging from his posts over at The Intersection – is clearly PZ’s intent.

  247. #247 Bernard Bumner
    July 12, 2010

    Well, it appears that I was wrong, and Mooney had checked facts (to a certain extent).

    Still, I can’t work out quite how wrong I was and why. I’m not sure Mooney had to make the semi-pology so confusing and drawn out. Many facts remain unclear. I’m also not sure that he really got down to the heart of what was wrong with the whole thing and his part in it.

    The rot over at The Intersection runs deeper than simply the Tom Johnson post.

  248. #248 John Kwok
    July 12, 2010

    @ Bernard –

    None of the professional journalists I know or have met (which, I might add, would include Pete Hamill whom I cited in an earlier post a few days ago; Hamill and I were panelists at a memorial tribute to a well known mutual friend of ours last fall; I am sure others can guess whom I am referring to.) would have “run” with the “Tom Johnson” tale if they hadn’t received independent confirmation from others present at the “meeting” cited by “Tom Johnson”/”William”. While I agree with Chris’s observations about New Atheists, I also concede that you and your fellow Pharyngulites – including PZ – have a valid point in questioning Chris’s journalism standards.

    Much to his credit, Greg has allowed me to post – without any moderation – my comments here, even when I am sure he disagrees with my assessment of the “Tom Johnson” affair. That, sadly, stands in stark contrast to Chris, who has refused to reply to various e-mails I have sent to him over the past few days, and apparently, has blocked me from posting futher at The Intersection. I’m not going to make more of it than merely to state what has transpired.

  249. #249 Tom Ames
    July 12, 2010

    I’d think that someone who boasts about the quality of their training program would be embarrassed to have “writes a lot of stuff on blogs” as their main accomplishment.

  250. #250 DuWayne
    July 12, 2010

    John –

    Are you honestly suggesting that these scandals are worse than a consistent trend in Islam to support slavery (Slavery still exists in Islamic countries BTW), to support relegating women to literally third class (or worse) status, even though that is contrary to what is allegedly said in the Qu’ran, or to have Sharia law imposed not only in Muslim countries, but also, among Muslims residing in Western and Western-oriented countries?

    Is that what I said? Oh wait, no it isn’t. What I said, seeing as you have the reading comprehension of a two year old, is that the average Muslim, is no worse than the average Christian. I also said that the institution of the Catholic church is absolutely vile – I would even say that it comes close to Sharia law. Though about the only religious bullshit currently going on that really beats that, is the witch hunting in Nigeria, Kenya, Nairobi and several other African countries – the one’s that mostly involve the killing or maiming of children, by fundamentalist Christians. The same ones who are also responsible for the insane anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda and the killing of homosexuals in several other African nations.

    You seem to be the delusional one here, thinking that Islam is somehow fucking special, when it comes to evil in the name of gods.

    And lets not forget that there is a history to all of these religions. A really fucking ugly history. At times some have been better than others, but all the Abrahamic faiths are guilty of great evils. Individuals from each are guilty of committing atrocities even today. While the proportions aren’t even in all cases, none are immune from violence in the name of their gods. Nor do the Abrahamic faiths have a monopoly on religious violence. Hell, even fucking Buddhists are capable of religious violence.

    …which you think is quite erudite…

    What the fuck ever gave you that idea? The fact that I think you’re a fucking putz? Apparently even Chris thinks you’re a fucking putz and I daresay he doesn’t agree with PZ Meyers (or me for that matter). I think PZ is rather clever, most science bloggers are. Wrong as I think he is, I think Mooney is also rather clever. What you are mistaking for admiration, is simply my agreement with PZ’s stance on the Catholic fucking church.

    I have noticed, however, that you’re a pretentious fucking idiot.

    Maybe you should be more willing to consider other options than to espouse the thought of someone who could be described as a classic example of a “Fundamentalist Atheist”.

    First of all, I don’t espouse the thoughts of anyone but myself, thank you very much. I am perfectly capable of reasoning for myself, without the help or name dropping support of anyone else. Secondly, while I am not terribly big on PZ Meyers, much of the time, he is far from being a fundamentalist atheist or any other sort of fundie. While such people do exist, they are few and far between – and not particularly welcome by most anyone, including PZ Meyers. Indeed the person I have in mind has been either banned or driven from every science blog I have seen him engage on – including Pharyngula.

    Much to his credit, Greg has allowed me to post – without any moderation – my comments here…

    That isn’t saying much. He’s also never censored my comments, even when I have disagreed with him rather more adamantly and with my characteristic fucking charm. He also has allowed comments to post that are downright offensive (as apposed to merely assholicious) – though he has started to censor portions of the most egregious offenses. Like many bloggers, myself included, Greg is rather loathe to censor anything.

    …Chris, who has refused to reply to various e-mails I have sent to him over the past few days, and apparently, has blocked me from posting futher at The Intersection.

    That says absolutely nothing about Chris, though it speaks volumes about you. I don’t particularly care for Chris all that much. I rather adamantly disagree with him. But I can say that Chris is a genuinely nice guy – though I also think he’s a condescending prat at times. That you have managed to break through his good graces – without using strong language – says a lot about just what a fucking putz you really are.

  251. #251 Sorbet
    July 13, 2010

    For all my disagreement with him, Chris Mooney is definitely quite liberal when it comes to commenting on his blog. I agree that it says a lot about how frickin annoying the Kwok is that he has actually managed to be banned from Mooney’s blog without using strong language. I actually feel sorry for John; he manages to piss off even people with whom he agrees. That takes a special kind of ability.

  252. #252 John Kwok
    July 13, 2010

    Sorbet –

    IMHO Chris has shot himself in the foot. Can’t really concern myself with how he’s opted to police his blog since I have substantially more important priorities to deal with. Personally I think he was offended by my observation that no journalist I know would have accepted so easily the “Tom Johnson” tale. If nothing else, maybe this will motivate him to become a better journalist.

  253. #253 John Kwok
    July 13, 2010

    @ Sorbet –

    I might also add that I had a short, but most revealing, conversation with a journalism professor about Chris and his work here in New York City quite a few months ago. This was a private conversation, but will say that that professor wasn’t impressed with the quality of Chris’s work.

    So believe me, I am not going to be ranting and raving like Ophelia Benson is to be readmitted as a poster at The Intersection.

  254. #254 Bernard Bumner
    July 13, 2010

    That you have managed to break through his good graces – without using strong language – says a lot about just what a fucking putz you really are.

    Although it isn’t very clear as to what has changed with respect to behaviour. The tone and content of the comments accepted vs. rejected are very similar, other than that the rejected ones leading up to the ban are critical of Mooney.

    Perhaps it was something in the emails which caused a problem, but once again, Mooney doesn’t make that clear. (c.f. PZ’s dungeon, where at least the charges are clear.) This was even though he felt the need to publically announce Kwok’s banning – presumably to show that he would also ban those more closely allied to his own views. Of course, that was not the case recently.

    It was very convenient.

  255. #255 John Kwok
    July 13, 2010

    @ Bernard –

    I think Chris was upset with my criticism of his journalism standards in the “Tom Johnson” affair. I am not going to apologize for what I said, simply because I have some friends and acquaintances who are first-rate journalists, and none, I am sure, would have fallen as easily as Chris did with the “Tom Johnson” tale (Certainly not the journalism professor I spoke to, whom, I might add, does teach science journalism here in New York City.). I will dlsclose that he has defriended me at Facebook (but am still friends with Sheril, at least for the moment).

    As for me I am simply overwhelmed with other, far more important, matters, than to be concerned about Chris’s decision to ban me from The Intersection. Again, as I noted in my reply to Sorbet, he’s simply shot himself in the foot.

  256. #256 Tom Ames
    July 13, 2010

    Apparently “overwhelmed with other, far more important, matters” = “writing a lot of stuff on blogs”.

  257. #257 John Kwok
    July 13, 2010

    @ Tom –

    I actually spend a lot more time writing reviews than I do posting on blogs (See what Ash and Dale wrote above.). What was written me at RationalWiki is very, very inaccurate (bordering on slander BTW) and I may do somethng about that eventually. Am devoting most of my time toward revising an unpublished ms. which has garnered some interest from several New York City literary agents. But I have to finish it and then show it to them.

    If someone is spending a lot of time blogging, it’s Chris Mooney, not me. None of the journalists and other writers I know spend as much time as he does. Why? They are too busy with their work, which, I might add, includes doing better jobs in “fact checking” than apparently what Chris did with respect to the “Tom Johnson” affair.

  258. #258 John Kwok
    July 13, 2010

    @ Tom –

    I might add that the science journalism professor I spoke to thought that “Unscientific America” was a bit too superficial and anecdotal. Assuming that he’s heard about the “Tom Johnson” affair, then I don’t think it would surprise him.

  259. #259 Tom Ames
    July 13, 2010

    My mistake. My revised comment should read:

    “Apparently ‘overwhelmed with other, far more important, matters’ = ‘writing a lot of stuff on the internet, and also working on my screenplay/manuscript/novel.'”

    (Incidentally, it’s not technically an accomplishment until it’s, you know, accomplished.)

  260. #260 Ambidexter
    July 13, 2010

    It takes a special kind of person to get banned at both Pharyngula and The Intersection.

    Bad Kwok. No Leica M7 for you.

  261. #261 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Tom –

    Fascinating. You’re spending more time posting here (and elsewhere) than I do. It’s a mistake to conclude that I spend most of my time posting at blogs. Really. As for my “accomplishments”, I’ll let my friends decide.

  262. #262 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Ambidexter –

    I have a Leica M7 already. The only one I know who owes me one is Bill Dembski, NOT PZ. But I do appreciate your paraphrasing the Soup Nazi.

    Must refer you to Dale Husband’s comment again (@ 226) (EDITORIAL NOTE: Ditto for you too Tom Ames), as well as those from Ash that were posted around that same time.

    Unlike Ophelia Benson, don’t expect me to come begging to Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum to have me reinstated. It’s their blog, and as they themselves have noted, they have the right to decide who can post there. Unfortunately, I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot (Especially when they have posted such a silly self-serving explanation as to why they banned me, which even Bernard Bummer has alluded to here, as something that doesn’t really make sense, except that my latest posts were critical of Chris’s journalism standards with respect to the “Tom Johnson” affair. And if that’s really their reason for banning me, then, to quote Dale Husband, it’s “just grade school style crap” Too bad that, as a Yale alumnus, Chris couldn’t act in a more dignified manner. But perhaps that’s what one can expect from a journalist who is all too willing to accept at face value, a tale about a “meeting” in which he should have had independent confirmation from other scientists, including graduate students, in attendance.

    None of the journalists I know or have met, including the well known science journalists I have cited (@ 233), would have reacted in the manner that Chris did. By banning me at The Intersection, Chris may be saying more about himself and his ability to accept criticism from others – especially those whom he could count as his online allies – than it does about my own online behavior.

  263. #263 Wowbagger
    July 14, 2010

    John Kwok wrote:

    Must refer you to Dale Husband’s comment again (@ 226)

    For those who can’t be bothered searching through the comment to check but who still remains unsure about exactly how detached from reality John is, this is what Dale said in #226:

    John Kwok may be annoying to people who find his Republican politics intolerable or his repeated use of phrases like “mendacious intellectual pornography” irritating, but aside from that, I see no reason to single him out for abuse.

    Yes, folks, this – being referred to as annoying and overusing a hackneyed expression but that he shouldn’t be ‘singled out for abuse’ – is how low John’s standard is for considering a comment a glowing endorsement.

    As fascinating as it is disturbing.

  264. #264 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    Thanks for demonstrating again why you are, quite simply, a delusional ignorant intellectual slut.

    Anyway, I know a few others who think that the phrase “mendacious intellectual pornography” is an apt description for Intelligent Design cretinism and other forms of so-called “scientific” creationism.

  265. #265 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    You and a few others need this reminder (courtesy of Ash):

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

    Posted by: Ash | July 10, 2010 6:08 PM

    I might also mention that I will be far more dignified than Ophelia Benson has been in demanding that Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum reinstate her posting privileges at The Intersection. I won’t ever make such a request simply because it’s their blog and they have every right to decide who posts there. However, it is silly and sanctimonious on their part to complain how they’ve had to spend excessive time moderating my posts, when they have done the same for others. Singling me out is ridiculous IMHO. But I think it merely demonstrates that, in their own way, they are as petty and as mean-spirited as those whom they’ve condemned (Benson included.).

    Anyway, Wowbagger, I don’t have time to stop by to react to each and every one of your instances of breathtaking inanity here. Moreover, I think it’s time to move on and not comment further about Chris and his handling of the “Tom Johnson” affair, except, to say that no credible journalist I know personally as either a friend or an acquaintance would have accepted so readily that “account” from Tom Johnson regarding a scientific meeting, unless the journalist received independent confirmation from others present at the meeting in question.

  266. #266 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    …intellectual slut.

    I am rather curious what exactly you think this is supposed to mean. And I need to reiterate that “intellectual whore” has a much better ring to it.

    …he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne.

    I am not sure that really counts much in your favor, after you have actually defended reviewing books you haven’t even fucking read. You don’t even have the credibility of a shark claiming to be vegan. Ironic that you would accuse others of being intellectual sluts, when you’re a dirty little pseudointellectual whore.

  267. #267 Paul W.
    July 14, 2010

    John,

    When you demanded a Leica camera from P.Z., supposedly as a joke, did you send email to any of P.Z.’s colleagues asking them to help convince P.Z. to comply.

    And if so, did you really expect them to understand that it was just a joke?

  268. #268 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Paul W. –

    I was emulating Malachy McCourt (who is the surviving eldest brother of my favorite high school teacher). A few friends of mine who saw my “exchange” with PZ as the Leica “threat” unfolded realized that I was joking immediately as soon as they read the posts, and they didn’t see this while sipping latte at a Starbucks, but at their offices in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    I did this stunt just to provoke PZ and I e-mailed him later to reassure him that I was kidding. Unfortunately he still thinks I am serious, even after I have told a few other, far more prominent, defenders of evolution, including my favorite Brown University cell biologist.

    @ DuWayne –

    That last comment of yours is an apt description of yourself, judging from the blog entries I have seen at your blog (@ 266). It takes one to know one (which is definitely true in your case and not in mine.).

  269. #269 A. Cerisa Toobs-Ochs, OM
    July 14, 2010

    I will be far more dignified than Ophelia Benson has been in demanding that Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum reinstate her posting privileges at The Intersection.

    Sure, John, you’re dignity itself.

    Way to miss the point.

    We don’t really expect them to reinstate Ophelia. We don’t expect them to offer a good explanation of why they allowed you and bilbo/Milton et al. to post there for so long, while banning Ophelia and any questions from anyone about why she was banned.

    (Or why they finally banned you, just coincidentally when you happened to be criticizing them, much more accurately than you criticized their targets and critics.)

    That is the point.

    (No, we don’t expect you to get it. That is not the point.)

  270. #270 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Paul W. –

    They had caught wind of some of the other comments at Pharyngula so were keeping an eye out on any further “exchanges” between PZ and myself. I didn’t tell them in advance that I was going to pull a stunt on PZ just to irritate him.

  271. #271 Polly Esther Sock, OM
    July 14, 2010

    John, all my imaginary friends agree with me—you should answer our questions.

    Did you or did you not send emails to colleagues of P.Z. requesting that they help convince P.Z. to comply with your demands for a Leica camera?

    Did you or did you not expect them to recognize that it was just a joke?

  272. #272 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ A. Cerisa Toobs-Och –

    As Bernard Bumner noted a few days ago:

    “Although it isn’t very clear as to what has changed with respect to behaviour. The tone and content of the comments accepted vs. rejected are very similar, other than that the rejected ones leading up to the ban are critical of Mooney.”

    “Perhaps it was something in the emails which caused a problem, but once again, Mooney doesn’t make that clear. (c.f. PZ’s dungeon, where at least the charges are clear.) This was even though he felt the need to publically announce Kwok’s banning – presumably to show that he would also ban those more closely allied to his own views. Of course, that was not the case recently.”

    “It was very convenient.”

    While Bernard isn’t a fan of mine, he doesn’t indulge in the kind of ad hominem attacks I have seen from DuWayne or Wowbagger or even yourself.

    I’m not going to attempt to read Chris’s mind, except to note that his – and Sheril’s – complaint that my comments were harder to moderate than most flies in the face of the facts that, until the “Tom Johnson” dustup occurred, most of my comments were posted within hours of their submission. In fact, I had had an easier time of getting comments posted than others, including some still posting who have been harsh critics of theirs.

    As for Ophelia Benson, she’s apparently been campaigning to have herself reinstated at The Intersection for some time. Considering that she has her own blog, I think that’s a rather odd use of her time, especially when it could be spent more wisely on writing at her own blog. How Chris and Sheril determine who can or should post at their own blog is their own business, period. But I have no intention of ever emulating Ophelia Benson (No, sorry, moron, but this doesn’t mean that I am a model of dignity myself.) in demanding that I be reinstated at The Intersection.

    But it is certainly very “convenient” for them to bounce me when I felt compelled to criticize Chris for his gross journalistic bungling of “Tom Johnson”, simply because none of the journalists I know or have met, starting with an old friend of Frank McCourt’s, legendary New York City journalist Pete Hamill (who is an acquaintance, not a friend BTW, though I do have the honor of appearing with him at a NYU memorial tribute to Frank last fall), would have “bought” Tom Johnson’s tale about what he had witnessed at a scientific meeting, without getting additional confirmation from other scientists and graduate students who had attended that meeting.

    Anyway, just to close, I think you need to be reminded of what Ash said about me:

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

  273. #273 Anne Angora nee Haigh, OM
    July 14, 2010

    Ah, we see you did answer, but comments passed each other in the aether. Thank you.

    Hmmm. All we can say is that we have a whole drawerful of eminent friends who are still rather skeptical of your account.

    When Ken Miller and your friends from MOMA and P.Z.’s colleagues come forward and corroborate that they got the “joke,” do let us know. Until then, it doesn’t do any good to cite their appreciation of your mccourtly sense of humor. It’s just backing a somewhat dubious claim with a still-more-dubious claim. It doesn’t help. It looks bad.

    And I’m not saying that you weren’t joking; I can’t know. Perhaps you were, but if so, that’s problematic; you shouldn’t have expected people to get it.

    As for “ad hominem” attacks on you, do realize that you make a lot of arguments from authority of some form or another. All your prominent, highly respected friends have great respect for you, and you keep telling us about it, as though it should matter to us.

    Big deal. Even if true, that wouldn’t make you right. And it does open you up to ad hominems—if you imply that people should believe you because of who you are and who you’re friends with, people have every right to take the converse tack and argue that people should be skeptical of you because of who you are and your very odd judgments of some things.

    If you don’t want ad hominem attacks, stop making arguments from authority. (However veiled.) That’s how it works. You shift the focus from your evidence and arguments to your qualifications and judgment. You are constantly asking for it, making your personal credibility the topic.

    Do realize that arguments from authority are a kind of ad hominem argument. In the context of an argument, citing your highly esteemed friends who allegedly hold you in high esteem can serve only to make yourself more believable at the expense of making your opponents less believable, when they disagree.

    That is something you really, really, need to recognize.

    Your constant name-dropping will inevitably be interpreted as arguing from authority, and instinctively recognized as an ad hominem attack on the relative credibility of lesser folk who disagree with you.

    Seriously. Stop it. It’s way uncool, and it’s why people and their hosiery mock you so much.

    If the name dropping doesn’t stop, neither will the mockery.

    Please, John, believe that, for your own good.

  274. #274 Tom Ames
    July 14, 2010

    @Kwok:
    “Fascinating. You’re spending more time posting here (and elsewhere) than I do.”

    Bullshit.

  275. #275 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    While Bernard isn’t a fan of mine, he doesn’t indulge in the kind of ad hominem attacks I have seen from DuWayne or Wowbagger or even yourself.

    Umm John, statements that can be can be corroborated by evidence aren’t ad hominem attacks.

  276. #276 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Anne Angora nee Haigh, OM –

    You must be someone’s sockpuppet since I haven’t seen you posting here before (And even if you’re not, you’re doing a good job of being one.).

    It’s MMA not MOMA, and am sorry, they couldn’t comply since they were laid off due to the ongoing economic recession (Nor do I think that they’d want to anyway.).

    May I just note that this is Greg Laden’s blog and that Greg is a good friend of PZ’s. If Greg wanted me to explain myself fully with regards to the Leica “threat”, I am sure he would have asked me to quite some time ago. Moreover, if he was sufficiently compelled, I am sure he would have banned me here too. So if Greg’s not worried about this, then maybe it’s time for you and the other sockpuppets to shut up.

    @ DuWayne and Tom Ames –

    I wish you both well in assuming permanently, room temperature soon. That is if you opt to keep on commenting about me here. Otherwise, now go get yourself a life and stop “driving by” to “score” what you think is yet another point against me. IMHO, like Wowbagger, you are both delusional ignorant intellectual sluts.

    I think the “Tom Johnson” dustup has run its course here. Time to move on and move out, boys.

  277. #277 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    Think those of you who have opted to post here lately just to critize me again need this reminder (courtesy of Ash), which I’ll continue to post until it finally sinks into your intellectually-challenged minds:

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

    Posted by: Ash | July 10, 2010 6:08 PM

  278. #278 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    Intellectual whore, jackass, intellectual whore.

    I wish you both well in assuming permanently, room temperature soon. That is if you opt to keep on commenting about me here.

    What the fuck does that even mean? Are you making some sort of inane little threat?

    I think the “Tom Johnson” dustup has run its course here. Time to move on and move out, boys.

    What? You didn’t notice that ran it’s course about a hundred or so comments ago? We’re now well into the “John Kwak” dustup, where you’ve infested one of my favorite blogs and have been stinking it up with your condescending, vacuous prattle – not to mention your incessant name dropping.

    I’ll move on and out when I damned well feel like it – or Greg asks me to shut the fuck up.

  279. #279 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    If you do, I will reiterate that you have actually defended your right to write reviews of books that you haven’t even fucking read. You not only have no credibility as a reviewer, you have argued adamantly that you should have a right not to.

  280. #280 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    Well, you’re the intellectual whore IMHO. But not just that, but a good reason why Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum condemned the antics of New Atheists in the now infamous Chapter Eight of their book “Unscientific America”. And, moreover, you are acting as “unhinged” as you and the other sockpuppets are claiming about me. If you are as proud of being as rational as you claim to be, then why don’t you start acting like one, instead of another emotionally driven New Atheist online troll (And note to New Atheists reading this, I am only referring to the irrational ones, not those who do make ample sense by stating their positions cogently, in a rational manner.)?

    Have you actually read my reviews, DuWayne? If you read them, you would realize that I must have read or have seen or have used the item in question before writing the reviews in question. It is only on an extremely rare occasion will I write a review of something that I haven’t read, seen or used.

    So why don’t you shut up, and grow up, moron? Otherwise, find yourself another online play pen for your pathetically juvenile rants and raves.

  281. #281 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    For someone who claims to be rational and to be morally superior to those who are religious, isn’t odd that I know current and former priests and ministers (including an uncle BTW) and many religiously devout people who conduct themselves far more rationally than your present online conduct, both here at Greg Laden’s blog and yours? How can you be so sanctimonious in your views when you are nothing more than a spoiled brat who forgot to have his soiled diapers changed?

    Time to head off to the nearest Romper Room playpen. Since that’s your intellectual caliber IMHO.

  282. #282 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    Think those of you who have opted to post here lately just to critize me again need this reminder (courtesy of Ash), which I’ll continue to post until it finally sinks into your intellectually-challenged minds:

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

    Posted by: Ash | July 10, 2010 6:08 PM

  283. #283 Stephanie Z
    July 14, 2010

    John, what’s the name of the delusion in which you think anyone who hasn’t condemned your very existence agrees with you in all particulars? You’ve got to be more familiar with it than I am.

  284. #284 Greg Laden
    July 14, 2010

    So why don’t you shut up, and grow up, moron? Otherwise, find yourself another online play pen for your pathetically juvenile rants and raves.

    Actually, only I get to kick DuWayne off my blog. And I might some day for the halibut, but at the moment no.

  285. #285 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Greg –

    I’m not asking you to police DuWayne, but I am telling Duwayne to police himself. An important distinction, don’t you think?

    @ StephanieZ –

    Damnit Stephanie, I’m a paleontologist, not a psychologist (Pretending of course to be one Leonard “Bones” McCoy.). Too bad you didn’t get the hint of Ash’s observation (which, I might add, he has also shared with me in private.). So your question is a thinly veiled ad hominem remark, and doesn’t really amount to much IMHO.

  286. #286 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Greg –

    When DuWayne shows up again, I’ll remind him to have his soiled diapers changed. If he wants to stop by acting “unhinged”, then that’s his problem, not mine.

    Nice chatting with you, but I have to go back to revising my manuscript. Catch up with you later over at FB.

  287. #287 Maida Cotten Foote-Ware, OM
    July 14, 2010

    Sock puppets? Sock Puppets? What a scurrilous accusation!

    I’ll have you know that most of the commenters in this thread are close personal friends. Highly esteemed friends who all have a Molly award, even.

    But come to think of it, you might be right about that “Paul W.” fellow, who I seem to recall you once insinuated was actually P.Z. Myers, over at the Intersection. You never know.

    Maybe Greg should check the IP addresses. That’s often a good first cut for detecting socks.

    Failing that, I hear that sometimes it works to sound out the names.

  288. #288 Greg Laden
    July 14, 2010

    Nobody got my joke.

  289. #289 Lamb Chop, OM
    July 14, 2010

    I really resent the way you people use “sock puppet” as an insult.

    On behalf of all Hosiery-Americans, I demand a retraction, or I will unfriend you all on Facebook.

  290. #290 Stephanie Z
    July 14, 2010

    John, there is no hint in Ash’s observation. It is limited in scope and has no application for the specific delusion I observed. In fact, it was your continued use of his “not completely unhinged” comment as a defense against anything and everything else, along with your assumption that Greg was even paying attention to anything you said, much less supporting you fully, that led me to ask the question.

    As for “thinly veiled” ad hominems, (1) there was no veiling on that insult, and (2) the insult wasn’t used to undermine any argument you’ve made. It was entirely gratuitous. No argumentum ad hominem.

    And you don’t appear to have any humble opinions.

  291. #291 Shari Lewis, OM
    July 14, 2010

    Lamb Chop is right! I’m disgusted by the insensitivity and contempt toward talking footwear here.

    Some of my best friends are sock puppets.

    (Won’t someone think of the children’s shows?)

    P.S. Greg, you mean “for the halibut”? Now you’re picking on the poor halibut, too? Grow up, Laden.

  292. #292 Paul W., OM
    July 14, 2010

    “Revising my manuscript”?

    I hadn’t heard it called that before.

  293. #293 Kermit F.
    July 14, 2010

    Dear Dr. Laden,

    Sock puppets are made out of socks, right? But I’m not made out of a glove. Please explain. I think about that a lot.

    Oh, and um… if Paul W. put his whole hand up my backside, should I tell someone? Not that he did. I’m just wondering. Really.

    But if he did. Could you make him stop?

  294. #294 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    The following can be found Here, a thread on ERV.

    Hi all,

    I asked their publisher for a review copy so I could write a review of it at Amazon.com, but he’s had a change of heart. Guess he realized that I’d be writing a harsh condemnation of Dembski’s latest example of mendacious intellectual pornography. Judging from the chapter headings provided in the only – and favorable – review posted so far at Amazon.com, I should have no problem reviewing it, whether I receive a copy or not.

    Cheers,

    John

    What? What was that sound? Oh, that was John’s credibility flying out the motherfucking window.* You go have fun with your manuscript then. I will just continue with my intellectual whoring – between blogs and homework, I have managed to whore my way into nine or ten topics – and they were sooo fucking good to me.

    We’ll see what mind-numbing pleasures “Socioeconomic Disparities and International Security,” “Environmental Scarcity and Intergroup Conflict” and “Rethinking East Asian Security” have in store for me this evening. I just hope I can handle it all…

    * For the record, I am not a proponent of ID.

  295. #295 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Stephanie Z –

    Just taking a break from some writing and I see you are indulging in some risible pontificating. Where did I say that Greg agreed with me? Point to that specific instance, please. I didn’t say that, nor did I say anything remotely resembling that. What I did say was that if Greg thought the whole “PZ give me a camera” dustup was a problem serious enough to deny me the privilege to post here, then he would have done so a long time ago (And frankly, I haven’t discussed with him because I regard the matter as closed. For what might be the one-thousandth time, I will say again that PZ DOES NOT OWE ME any expensive photographic equipment, especially a Leica.).

    As for your comments on Ash, you have no right to be projecting about him. All I will say is this; that he is quite supportive of what I have done in the past in promoting books written by several New Atheist authors and condemning those by IDiot creos via my Amazon.com reviews.

    If I was as crazy as some here have contended (or implied), I honestly doubt that I’d be hearing from certain prominent defenders of evolution, with whom I have been in contact, primarily via e-mail correspondence. Nor would I be hearing directly from Greg (which I have), with regards to my online conduct here (At least Greg has written back; I have yet to hear anything from Chris, period, starting with what his real reason was for bouncing me off The Intersection. I may never hear anything resembling a valid explanation, but that’s okay with me, since I recognize that it is his and Sheril’s blog, and that they have the right to oversee it as they, themselves, determine to be what is in their own best interests. Having said this, however, I think it is still within my rights to say that I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Or to declare that, under no circumstances, would I indulge in anything – even remotely -resembling the online campaign that Ophelia Benson has been mounting – an online campaign comprised solely of herself – to have her posting privileges restored at The Intersection.).

    I think the “Tom Johnson” discussion thread has outlived its usefulness and that it is time to move on. But that’s my own opinion, and not, I can assure you, Greg’s (Nor have I e-mailed him, requesting that this thread be concluded. It’s not my call to make, but instead, his, and his alone, since this is his blog.).

  296. For the record Lamb Chop, my family has an especial fondness for you. Eldest would probably rather avoid this being discussed, but from about nineteen months, until he was almost five, you were his faithful bed and naptime companion (though the latter ended, unfortunately, at about 26mths). Alas, for Youngest, you have only existed in Divx.

    Shari –

    I am glad you stopped too. Not only did Eldest get to hang with you, thanks to video, Youngest gets to, thanks to two surviving video tapes and digital ripping. You and Lambchop are rather more popular than Barney and Bob the fucking Builder combined now.

    Kermit –

    Meh, I have little sympathy. I mean you’ve fucking done it to yourself. You eat flies. You sleep with a pig. And you throw worse fucking fits than my two year old. Personally, though I am not fond of Paul W, I think you’re just a paranoid freak.

  297. #297 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    You’re suffering from an acute case of diaper rash. So, I wrote that, when, last month? Moron, that was approximately two years ago.

    You’re just as delusional as the IDiot creos who contended that I didn’t read Stephen Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”. In response to one critic, I noted this:

    (EDITORIAL NOTE 12/1/09: Contrary to the allegation made by another intellectually-challenged commenter here, not only did I read the book, I received a copy for review from Meyer’s publisher.)

    DuWayne, since you’re so good at quote-mining, take a look at my review at Amazon.com of “Signature in the Cell”, which you can look up as one of the most conspicuous one starred reviews.

  298. #298 Stephanie Z
    July 14, 2010

    May I just note that this is Greg Laden’s blog and that Greg is a good friend of PZ’s. If Greg wanted me to explain myself fully with regards to the Leica “threat”, I am sure he would have asked me to quite some time ago. Moreover, if he was sufficiently compelled, I am sure he would have banned me here too. So if Greg’s not worried about this, then maybe it’s time for you and the other sockpuppets to shut up.

    Silence is not support, which is what I said you thought Greg was offering you. All the labels you try to place on my comment don’t change that. Nor am I projecting about Ash. I simply pointed out that the quote you posted ad nauseum didn’t hold up under the use you were putting it to.

    And really, I don’t care whether you’re “supported in email.” That simply puts you in the company of every self-crucifying member of the commentariat who doesn’t like the trend of the thread. It’s meaningless.

  299. #299 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Paul W. –

    Yes, I am revising an unpublished ms., especially since I am trying to emulate a now deceased mentor by getting published (Won’t dare claim that I will ever get any of the royalties he received for his literary debut, “Angela’s Ashes”.). And I’ve had a chance to discuss it with several literary agents, whom I have promised, will see it. But I have to get the thing into shape, and, quite frankly, not reading or posting over at The Intersection gives me a few more minutes daily to do just that.

  300. #300 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ StephanieZ –

    You are projecting again. All I said is that if Greg thought my “Leica threat” was serious enough to have me banned from his blog, he would have done it months ago. I didn’t say that he is supporting me.

    Not only are your projecting, it’s time for you to go get a grip on yourself and enjoy the rest of the day without commenting further on this. I’m about to stop since this is taking up too much of my time, damn it.

  301. #301 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    If I was as crazy as some here have contended (or implied), I honestly doubt that I’d be hearing from certain prominent defenders of evolution, with whom I have been in contact, primarily via e-mail correspondence. Nor would I be hearing directly from Greg (which I have), with regards to my online conduct here (At least Greg has written back; I have yet to hear anything from Chris, period, starting with what his real reason was for bouncing me off The Intersection.

    Ooh! Ooh!, Can I name drop too? ‘Cause I’ve not only had two way communication with prominent defenders of evolution and Greg, one of those prominent defenders of evolution is my brother. Not only that, but when I communicated with Chris via email, not only did he respond via email, he also responded with a blogpost.

    So, I wrote that, when, last month? Moron, that was approximately two years ago.

    What? You’ve suddenly gained credibility in that time?

    You’re on the record – a rather long threaded record, defending reviewing a book you haven’t read. Not only that, but you were fucking proud of it. Intellectual whore I might be, but I’m also intellectually honest.

    And I also don’t take it as a point of pride to have written reviews.

    I’m about to stop since this is taking up too much of my time, damn it.

    Betcha don’t.

  302. #302 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

    Posted by: Ash | July 10, 2010 6:08 PM

  303. #303 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    Having read an argument where you voraciously defended writing a review of a book you didn’t read, I am not impressed. Nor do I care what some random person who calls themselves Ash has to say. I am not accusing you of being an unhinged accommodationist atheist basher. I am accusing you of being an unhinged, egotistical, vacuous asshat, with the intellectual honesty of Kent Hovind and the intellectual acumen of a guppy – or Ray Comfort.

  304. #304 Stephanie Z
    July 14, 2010

    No, John. You tried to use Greg’s silence as leverage against other people; i.e., you tried to use him to support your suggestion that they should shut up. Greg’s silence on the matter doesn’t support you trying to close down an thread of conversation. Greg’s disinterest in your hypothetical camera doesn’t imply the proper level of anyone else’s interest.

    And “projecting” is just one of the words you’ve used in this thread that you really, really ought to look up. Once you’ve done that, you can explain how pointing out that your arguments don’t line up constitutes projecting. For that matter, you can explain just exactly what it is you think I’m projecting.

    Then you can tell us what that quote has to do with whether you’re supporting your arguments well.

  305. #305 Dale Husband
    July 14, 2010

    If an actual threat was made against anyone, I would take it seriously. But it wasn’t, by any definition of the word, a threat. The person who wrote it knows it, PZ knows it, Sheril knows it; even John Kwok – despite lying about it – knows it. I’d say you know it was well, but you’ve apparently decided you aren’t getting enough attention from posting easily discredited nonsense at Pharyngula – probably because everyone who used to bother with you has killfiled you – so you’ve come over here to try to shill your drivel to a new crowd who’ll eventually come to loathe you like we did and treat you accordingly. I hope it works out for you. I don’t understand masochism, but that doesn’t mean I have a problem with it.

    Wowbagger, you seem to have mistaken me for a John Kwok sock pupput. HE has been banned from Pharyngula and from ERV’s blog. AFAIK, I haven’t.

    For those who can’t be bothered searching through the comment to check but who still remains unsure about exactly how detached from reality John is, this is what Dale said in #226:


    John Kwok may be annoying to people who find his Republican politics intolerable or his repeated use of phrases like “mendacious intellectual pornography” irritating, but aside from that, I see no reason to single him out for abuse.

    Yes, folks, this – being referred to as annoying and overusing a hackneyed expression but that he shouldn’t be ‘singled out for abuse’ – is how low John’s standard is for considering a comment a glowing endorsement.

    So making a fair, balanced, and accurate statement about someone is not a good thing, and John’s accepting it is a bad thing? Your personal hatred of Kwok is clearly clouding your judgement.

  306. #306 PZ Myers
    July 14, 2010

    Is Ash someone famous? I ask because Kwok is mentioning him almost as often as he does McCourt and Miller.

    If it’s the android from Alien, don’t trust him!

  307. #307 heddle
    July 14, 2010

    This thread makes me feel like I’ve woken up in a Ingmar Bergman flick.

  308. #308 DuWayne
    July 14, 2010

    Hey David, if I agree with you, can I be Max Von Sydow?

  309. #309 heddle
    July 14, 2010

    DuWayne,

    OK–now who gets to be Liv Ullmann?

  310. #310 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2010

    surely someone has pointed the rational (wiki) version of the Kwokster by now?

    I think this says all that needs be said about the esteemed Mr. Kwok, sucking toady to the stars…

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/John_Kwok

    …though I have to say a quick glance through this thread is probably sufficient as well.

    what gets me is after all these years, is just WHY Kwok won’t visit a therapist and at least have himself checked out?

    sad.

  311. #311 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    As the person who made the comment that Kwok still calls a death threat, I would like to address John personally.

    YOU MENDACIOUS DOUCHE, YOU ARE COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE. GET HELP.

  312. #312 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    Sorry for the wall-o’-text cut and paste, but I think it’s appropriate. Feel free to nuke if you disagree, Greg.

    Nuisance called name-dropping
    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2007/20071001/edit.htm#5

    NAME-DROPPING is a practice of knowingly inserting references of famous people or institutions into a conversation in order to seem more important to the listener. Though it is considered a negative or even an offensive quality, many people see it to be an interesting art. All of us in our lives have met such persons who at the slightest pretext punctuate their talk by putting big names or high connections irrespective of the need and context.

    Psychologists view name-dropping as a behavioral disorder arising out of hidden inferiority complex. Many times name-dropping becomes a compulsive habit where a man by sheer luck achieves something which he doesn’t deserve.
    ..
    Compulsive Lying
    http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/confront a liar/public/compulsive lying.html

    A compulsive liar will resort to telling lies, regardless of the situation. Again, everyone lies from time to time (see, when lovers lie), but for a compulsive liar, telling lies is routine; it becomes a habit and a way of
    life.
    Simply put, for a compulsive liar, lying becomes second nature.

    Not only do compulsive liars bend the truth about issues large and small, but they take comfort in it. Lying feels right to a compulsive liar. Telling the truth, on the other hand, is difficult and uncomfortable for a compulsive liar to do.
    And like any other behavior which provides comfort and an escape from discomfort (i.e., alcohol, drugs, sex), lying can become addictive and hard to stop. For the compulsive liar, lying feels safe and this fuels the desire to lie even more.
    Making matters even more complicated, compulsive lying is often a symptom of a much larger personality disorder, which only makes the problem more difficult to resolve (see, NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER and borderline personality disorder).
    Unfortunately, compulsive lying is hard for the person involved to see, but it hurts those who are around it. Compulsive lying, if not addressed, can easily destroy a relationship (for example, see why does he need to lie).
    Compulsive lying can be dealt with through counseling or therapy. But, like many addictive behaviors (and/or personality disorders), getting someone to admit they have a problem with lying is the difficult part. Sadly enough, getting someone to recognize that he or she has a problem usually requires hitting rock
    bottom first.
    ..
    Narcissistic personality disorder
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic personality disorder

    Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-R), the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.”

    Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder. NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that he or she is flawed in a way that makes the person fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person’s
    conscious awareness; such a person would typically deny thinking such a thing, if questioned. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognised their supposedly defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ view of them and behaviour towards them.

    People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility.
    Though individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the person’s perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.

    The exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, disregard for others, and constant need for attention inherent in NPD adversely affect interpersonal relationships.

    Gabbard saw the “hypervigilant” subtype as easily hurt, oversensitive and ashamed. He suggested that the hypervigilant subtype, far from fending off devaluation, is obsessed with it, neutralising devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers.

  313. #313 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2010

    Dale Husband appears to be working hard to be Kwok’s successor.

    well, everyone has to be good at something, I suppose.

  314. #314 Wowbagger
    July 14, 2010

    John Kwok wrote:

    I wish you both well in assuming permanently, room temperature soon.

    Is that a death threat? Now you’re making death threats. Okay, let’s see – what’s the criteria for judging whether something is a death threat or not? Oh, that’s right – according to you it requires someone to perceive it as such and write a comment saying as much on a blog.

    DuWayne wrote:

    What the fuck does that even mean? Are you making some sort of inane little threat?

    Then a genuine death threat it is. Heh heh heh. I do love a good petard-hoisting.

    Oh, but well done on finally reading Dale’s comment about you, grasping exactly what it is he said and realising that you probably shouldn’t be citing it as an encomium.

    Dale Husband wrote:

    Wowbagger, you seem to have mistaken me for a John Kwok sock pupput. HE has been banned from Pharyngula and from ERV’s blog. AFAIK, I haven’t.

    Where did I say you were banned? Are you referring to my use of ‘killfiled’? Killfiled doesn’t mean banned, dumbass; it’s a script for Firefox that means users can hide the comments of people they don’t like – particularly boring, whiny pissants like yourself.

    Sheesh.

    So making a fair, balanced, and accurate statement about someone is not a good thing, and John’s accepting it is a bad thing? Your personal hatred of Kwok is clearly clouding your judgement.

    You and John should get together and take remedial reading comprehension classes.

    Did I write that it was a bad thing? No. Because it’s not; I think it’s reasonably accurate and would be a fair comment to make if John didn’t troll blogs boring people senseless with the constant references to his school, the ‘argument’ that the existence of religious scientists means that religion and science are compatible, and various members of the esteemed McCourt family.

    But the point is that John is only ‘singled out for abuse’ as a result of that. If he chose instead to focus on saying what he needed to say without adding in the same laundry list of anecdotes and dropped-names then I don’t imagine he’d get anywhere near as much abuse as he does.

    Also, I don’t ‘hate’ John, personally or impersonally; I find his posts in general to be repetitive and annoying – I hope his oft-mentioned manuscript uses a wider variety of expressions than those he uses (and re-uses, consantly) in his blog posts – but I do admit I’ve been taking him to task for the repeated lie about threats on Pharyngula, and I make no apologies for the vitriol I’ve shown in doing that.

    Which I’ll keep doing if I notice him bringing the topic up again.

  315. #315 Tom Ames
    July 14, 2010

    You know who I pity? Malachy McCourt. He must feel like he’s got a leech on him that he just can’t shake off. I imagine he thought that with the passing of his brother into that eternal Kwok-free night, he would have heard the last of Kwok and his incessant prating about his manuscript-in-progress.

    But no. Now that brother Frank is gone, the toadying name-dropping has simply been transferred over to Malachy.

    “Thank GOD!” he must exclaim, “for unnamed Journalism Professors and random blog commenters like Ash and Dale to siphon off at least a LITTLE of the creepiness!”

    [BTW: Does anyone else agree with me that "Angela's Ashes" was WAYYYYY over-rated?]

  316. #316 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Stu –

    Thanks for revealing yourself. I was wondering who the New Atheist creotard was who had posted the threat that he claimed later was a joke. Since Adam Bly has an official blog here at Science Blogs, maybe I ought to report you to him.

    @ PZ –

    I did tell Greg I hope to have dinner with you, him and Mike Haubrich when I visit Minneapolis. Having heard a glowing report about you from Susan Sackett, I thought I should give it a try. Don’t disappoint me please, since she thought you were a wonderful gentleman. Who knows? I might just dedicate my unpublished novel to you…. after giving top billing of course to my “Dad”, Frank McCourt.

    @ Tom –

    Malachy forgave me for all of my sins last August, immediately after the Roman Catholic service held in the memory of his brother Frank (which he, as a practicing Buddhist and Atheist, had requested of the Franciscan brothers who operate that church). I think a friend of his, actor Gabriel Byrne, overheard us (Didn’t speak to him, but I did speak to another famous friend of Malachy’s, actress Kate Mulgrew, thanking her for attending and mentioned that i had been a student of Frank’s. Sorry folks, didn’t say anything about “Star Trek: Voyager” to her then since that wasn’t the appropriate time or place.).

  317. #317 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Tom –

    You remind me of a Limerick radio talk show host, Gerry Hannan, who made a career for himself knocking down Frank McCourt at each and every opportunity. After Frank died, he decided to make peace, by joining virtually every Facebook group and fan page devoted to Frank McCourt (Not even I can claim such an achievement, since if I did, I’d have to cancel several Center for Inquiry groups that I, as a Deist, belong to.). Much to his credit, he didn’t make a fool of himself by condemning the McCourts or the sculptor who maed a bronze cast of Frank’s head, when that sculpture was unveiled in Limerick last May.

    Since you like the name Frank McCourt so much, don’t worry. You still have the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers to contend with (And that Frank McCourt will never be as memorable or as dedicated as George Steinbrenner. May George rest in peace.).

  318. #318 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    As it was pointed out to you by some real posters at The Intersection, that “joke” posted at Pharyngula wasn’t one to be taken lightly (even Sorbet thought it was reprehensible, and that’s from someone who hasn’t been a fan of Chris and Sheril.). That’s also been pointed out to you here at Greg’s blog. Therefore, that means I didn’t lie back in March, nor am I lying now. But of course, since you are a delusional ignorant intellectual troll, you can believe whatever you wish.

  319. #319 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Stu –

    It just occurred to me. You could have said,

    “Kwok, I’ll Kwok you sideways with a Leica rangefinder”.

    Then that would really hurt (But I am sure that if you ever do visit New York City, I’ll make certain that photographer Bruce Gilden does “kwok you sideways” with his Leica M8 and a big, potato-masher type electronic flash that he always carries around with him.). I’ll make certain Sheril gets a copy of that. She’ll probably keep it around…. for target practice.

  320. #320 Badger3k
    July 14, 2010

    Damn – that’s two threats from Kwok, and the last one includes name dropping (I assume, I have no idea who the hell that is, but I can guess where he went to high school). I wouldn’t use “kwok” to replace fekking, since that can be pleasurable, but when I sit and take a kwok…that is more appropriate.

    But, please go on, this thread is hilarious and will make good reading when I’m stuck at work tomorrow with nothing to do.

  321. #321 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 14, 2010

    Dear John,

    the first rule of holes is that when you find yourself in one, stop digging, but as you’re providing so much unwitting entertainment to many readers here: by all means keep it up.

    For instance, do you have any other tangentially-relevant names you could possibly drop in this thread, to add to your already fulsome list comprising Brian Greene, Tracy Day, Andrew Revkin, Carl Zimmer, Francisco J. Ayala, Eugenie Scott, Kenneth R. Miller, Lisa Randall, Sean Carroll, Leigh Van Valen, Neil Shubin, Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt, Cornelia Dean, Pete Hamill, Robert Spencer, James Yee, Austin Dacey, Massimo Pigliucci, Gabriel Byrne, Kate Mulgrew, Gerry Hannan, George Steinbrenner, Bruce Gilden, and who could possibly forget, the latte-sipping recession victims of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Regards, Philip

  322. #322 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    Thanks for revealing yourself.

    I’m sorry, what? Was I hiding? No, no I was not. Liar.

    I was wondering who the New Atheist creotard

    If you were wondering, three seconds of Googling could have punched up the original comment.

    Hey, wait. Creotard? What? Coming apart at the seams a tad, aren’t we Johnny?

    was who had posted the threat

    Lie. Pathological lie. If you think “f*ck them sideways with a rusty knife” is a threat, you have serious problems with reading comprehension. If you maintain this after things have been explained to you several times, you are a liar, as well as sick in the head. Thank you for proving my point once again.

    that he claimed later was a joke

    It WAS an intentionally crude joke, as my footnote (* this comment to be whined about on the Colgate Twins blog mid-2011) would show even if you were completely ignorant of context.

    Since Adam Bly has an official blog here at Science Blogs, maybe I ought to report you to him.

    Please do. Oh, please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please do.

    No empty threats, John. Go for it.

    I’ll make certain Sheril gets a copy of that. She’ll probably keep it around…. for target practice.

    Holy Hakalela you are delusional. Sadly, Greg moderated my earlier copy-pasta of the DSM categories you’re exhibiting, so I’ll have to summarize. NPD and/or BPD with a raging inferiority complex, either causing our coupled wih pathological lying.

    I’d love to get a psychiatrist to see how far off I am.

    Hmm. Who went to the same high school I did?

  323. #325 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    SOCKPUPPET! SOCKPUPPET!

    (Sorry, could not resist)

  324. #326 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Philip –

    Thanks. I had forgotten. If I need a character witness, I’ll be sure to call on you.

    @ Stu –

    Yes, you act just like a typical delusional UD creotard. Know the irony meter just went off the scale, but that’s the sad truth.

    @ Everyone –

    Yes I did promise I would stop posting here, but my curiosity got the better of me when I saw that both PZ and heddle posting (@ heddle, I think Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” or “Rashomon” might be more appropriate, but sure, this is getting not only Ingmar Bergmanesque, but may I also suggest, Monty Pythonesque too (That is if Hitler and Goebbels were members of that team.).).

    And I am serious about having dinner with PZ one day, without any preconditions except for two (which I won’t name here, but neither one includes a Leica M7 rangefinder camera, or comes remotely close).

  325. #327 Wowbagger
    July 14, 2010

    John Kwok,

    You have not addressed the issue of your having made death threats against Tom Ames and DuWayne in post #276.

    Remember, according to your rules, all it takes to verify that something is a threat is for another person (or sock-puppet) to write a comment on a blog implying that they perceived it as a threat – see DuWayne’s comment at post #278. Despite the fact that both the context and the syntax of the phrase in question clearly shows it wasn’t in any way a threat, we have to – using your rules – consider it a genuine death threat.

    So, be sure to let Adam Bly know about this when you let him know what Stu wrote.

  326. #328 PZ Myers
    July 14, 2010

    Jebus. No, I would not have lunch with John Kwok. Looking at the full-on meltdown spectacle here, I wouldn’t want to come within 10 miles of the guy. He’s scarily demented.

  327. #329 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Stu –

    Maybe you should ask Sorbet. He didn’t find your “crude joke” funny.

    I’ll let you guess whether I do know photographer Bruce Gilden. But I know Bruce – if he has the time – would gladly honor my request. As for Sheril, we still have quite a few mutual friends in common, so even if I didn’t contact her directly, an image of you would get into her hands, one way or another.

    Now you were saying something about seeking a psychiatrist? Speak for yourself. Joking about rape isn’t something to be taken lightly. Tell the next woman you see that very “joke”, especially if it’s a stranger. Would love to hear what happens next; a black eye, or a hard slap of your face, maybe?

  328. #330 Wowbagger
    July 14, 2010

    John Kwok wrote:

    Joking about rape isn’t something to be taken lightly.

    Yet you yourself have made death threats that we’ve all seen. How can you be such a hypocrite?

    Would love to hear what happens next; a black eye, or a hard slap of your face, maybe?

    Now you’re threatening violence against Stu? Okay, so the count is one death threat each to Tom Ames and DuWayne, and now a threat of physical harm against Stu. Are you going to threaten me next?

  329. #331 John Kwok
    July 14, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    Telling someone to drop dead – which is what I said to both Tom and DuWayne – isn’t the same as threatening to rape and to kill someone (which is what Stu said over at Pharyngula). Have a good night.

    @ PZ –

    Wouldn’t have expected to you to accept. I’d probably be spending lunch with Mike and Greg trying to separate the two of us from landing blows on each other. That’s a shame IMHO, but realistically that would be the most likely outcome. Especially when I have substantial issues with you that go far beyond your banishment of me at Pharyngula, threatening to defriend me at FB, or even how you reacted – which I had predicted beforehand, but decided to do it nonetheless – when I made my Leica “threat”.

    Oddly enough, we may agree on Chris Mooney’s gross journalism blunder with respect to his handling of “Tom Johnson”, but not necessarily for the same reasons BTW. You may think that your side has “won”, but all I see is mere sanctimonious hypocrisy from someone who has allowed his blog to become such an intellectual cesspool that you would condone a threat to rape and to kill others, and then, not only accept the poster’s lame excuse that it was a joke, but to compound the error by paraphrasing it in yet another of your diatribes against the Roman Catholic Church (though this time, not the American edition, but instead, the Irish one).

  330. #332 Pope Maledict DCLXVI
    July 14, 2010

    John,

    the thread had been Godwin’ed already, but I can’t help noticing your Monty Pythonesque suggestion is somehow quite appropriate.

    Regards, Philip

  331. #333 Wowbagger
    July 14, 2010

    Telling someone to drop dead – which is what I said to both Tom and DuWayne – isn’t the same as threatening to rape and to kill someone (which is what Stu said over at Pharyngula).

    Why isn’t it the same? No, I’m sure you made a death threat. DuWayne thought so too and commented thusly, and that’s the most important criteria according to you.

    But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. Please cite the exact words of Stu’s comment – the one you seem sure was a threat – and explain to us how the words he used made what he said constitute a threat when suspiciously similar words from you do not.

    …that you would condone a threat to rape and to kill others, and then, not only accept the poster’s lame excuse that it was a joke…

    John, you’ve so far threatened – based on your own rules for such things – to kill two posters and injure one here on Greg’s blog. How can you possibly criticise PZ for allowing something you yourself have done?

  332. #334 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2010

    Jebus. No, I would not have lunch with John Kwok.

    for some strange reason, I’m now picturing Kwok as the irritating ass Sam, without the positive ending…

    I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am.

  333. #335 Tom Amesam
    July 14, 2010

    Kwok,

    Jeez, you need to learn how to take a joke. You’re showing less of a sense of humor than Frank McCourt.

  334. #336 Ichthyic
    July 14, 2010

    the first rule of holes is that when you find yourself in one, stop digging,

    …at this point, I rather think John needs to learn the first Rule of Not Being Seen.

  335. #337 Johan Borg
    July 15, 2010

    Yes I did promise I would stop posting here, but my curiosity got the better of me when I saw that both PZ and heddle posting

    No, you have just shown yet again, that you have no credibility. You argue in favor of reviewing books you haven’t read, you threaten to kill me and Wowbagger, you claim to be serious about having dinner with PZ Meyers, then claim you didn’t expect him to accept and you failed to go away after claiming you were all done here.

    All that bullshit in one little thread. If you didn’t know all those really spiffy people, one might think you’re full of shit.

  336. #338 Stu
    July 15, 2010

    First of all: Yay to Greg. @312 is my wall-o’-text that describes Johnny to a frightening degree. The one part that did not make it through (SB comment length restrictions, nothing Greg did, thank you) is how unlikely it is for people with NPD/BPD/narcissistic disorders to even see anything is wrong with them, let alone seek help. The statistics are very discouraging, and John Kwok is here as Exhibit A of the once funny, now sad and pathological extent this denial will take an intelligent person.

    Sad.

    Observe.

    Yes, you act just like a typical delusional UD creotard. Know the irony meter just went off the scale, but that’s the sad truth.

    Sweetheart, just because you’ve read PZ and Orac for a week or two does not enable you to bastardize their pet expressions. Such theft will only work if you actually knew why these people would use said expressions, what they mean by them and who they address.

    So, let me try to break this down for you.

    – UD?
    – Creotard?
    – Irony meter? Just because you’ve read Orac for a week does not imbue you with the requisite self-awareness to realize when people are applying said phrase to you.
    – Obviously. Jebus Tapdancing Cripes.
    – Wait, hold on.
    – CREOTARD?
    – As a Pharyngulite?
    – Wait, creationist?
    – Really?
    – I’m sorry, John. Did you recently have a stroke? I’m sorry. I really am. I should not make fun of the disabled.
    – REALLY?

    isn’t the same as threatening to rape and to kill someone (which is what Stu said over at Pharyngula).

    You are a lying sack of shit John. You lie. Get help.

  337. #339 F
    July 15, 2010

    Holy freaking GOATS ON FIRE.

  338. #340 fx15 zayiflama hapi
    July 15, 2010

    Oddly enough, we may agree on Chris Mooney’s gross journalism blunder with respect to his handling of “Tom Johnson”, but not necessarily for the same reasons BTW. You may think that your side has “won”, but all I see is mere sanctimonious hypocrisy from someone who has allowed his blog to become such an intellectual cesspool that you would condone a threat to rape and to kill others, and then, not only accept the poster’s lame excuse that it was a joke, but to compound the error by paraphrasing it in yet another of your diatribes against the Roman Catholic Church (though this time, not the American edition, but instead, the Irish one).

  339. #341 Rayonne Footlette, OM
    July 15, 2010

    You people appaul me, too, with your obsessive infighting and mockery over minor differences.

    All this sock puppetry has consequences, you know.

    I lost my partner today, and it wasn’t even laundry day.

    Won’t anyone think of the missing socks?

  340. #342 Wowbagger
    July 15, 2010

    Rayonne Footlette, OM

    Best. Name. Ever.

  341. #343 Klaatu Barada Nikto, OM
    July 15, 2010

    PZ,

    Is Ash someone famous? [...] If it’s the android from Alien, don’t trust him!

    I’m pretty sure it’s the guy with the chainsaw from Evil Dead. I’m impressed.

    Be smart, shop S-Mart!

  342. #344 KristinMH
    July 15, 2010

    Posts 316, 317, and 319 are a parody of Kwok, not the man himself, right? I mean, no one could honestly, in good faith, not-as-a-joke drop that many names in so little time in so supremely creepy a manner, could they?

    After reading this thread, I propose adding a subset to Poe’s law. Kwok’s Law: a) Any parody of John Kwok’s writing is indistinguishable from the real thing; b) A true parody of John Kwok’s writing is impossible to achieve, as the real thing will always be more ridiculous than you could imagine.

    I don’t know if this thread makes me want to laugh, cry, or call the authorities.

  343. #345 Stu
    July 15, 2010

    Greg, the fx15 blah blah is a script that copies a post from another thread/blog just to be able to hyperlink some Turkish herbal Viagra.

  344. #346 Ophelia Benson
    July 15, 2010

    Well, at first I thought it was going to be just a waste of time, like actually parking the car and taking half an hour to stare at a crumpled fender. But I take it back – I’ve laughed myself into fits, and that is never a waste of time. Thanks to all the sock puppets, and the gang at the Met, and oh that hilarious unpublished manuscript.

  345. I lost my partner today, and it wasn’t even laundry day.

    Have you talked to that Kermit bastard?

  346. #348 John Kwok
    July 15, 2010

    @ Ophelia –

    Congratulations on being a “star” over at The Intersection. Should have guessed that you’d have the chutzpah “to demand” reinstatement over there. I wouldn’t dream of it, for reasons I have stated already.

    Anyway, I’ll have the last laugh when I do get published (which, I may note, one friend is hoping for, and that friend is a noted American writer of our generation. He’s even given me some thought as to how I shall deal with PZ one day. Some time ago, at a charity benefit, he had a cream pie “duel” with another writer, a PZ-esque character who once dubbed my friend “the worst writer of our generation”.). When it’s time for a sequel, I can’t think of a more appropriate protagonist – thinly disguised of course – than you.

  347. #349 Ophelia Benson
    July 15, 2010

    Thanks Kwok. Yes you have “stated” your “reasons” already – about eight times, I think. My reasons for what I do are different from your reasons for what you do.

    It’s so exciting to hear that one friend (of yours, presumably) is hoping that you do get published. With that hope at your back, you can’t possibly fail! Especially since this friend has the honor of having been called the worst writer of somebody’s generation. That is some rock-solid credential!

  348. #350 Tom Ames
    July 15, 2010

    Kwok,

    Oh, do please tell us who your friend the “noted American writer of our generation” is! I bet you guys go out for beers and everything, and that he’s a big fan of your writing!

    (Oooh, this is so exciting! .I can’t WAIT to find out!)

  349. #351 Stu
    July 15, 2010

    John, when people are calling you out for pathological name-dropping, obviously caused by a raging inferiority complex leading into NPD and/or BPD… you might not want to respond by name-dropping.

    Also, if you write as well as you comment, you’d better start lining up vanity publishers right now. I’d rather read all the Twilight novels, twice, than more than two to three paragraphs of your clinically insane drivel.

  350. #352 Sorbet
    July 15, 2010

    I have to admit that I have not yet come across anyone who needed his ego to be so constantly stroked and validated by citing (fictitious?) associations with famous people to the degree that Kwok does. For all we know he may have been serving us bull-crap on this one too; for instance, what’s the evidence that Kwok ever went to Stuyvesant or that McCourt ever taught him? Is this the Goebbels lie which gets accepted as the truth just because it is repeated ad nauseum? I for one am not buying any connection between Kwok and Frank McCourt or Stuyvesant unless I see some evidence.

  351. #353 Tootsie Bagg, OM
    July 15, 2010

    Ophelia:

    that hilarious unpublished manuscript.

    You’re judging it “hilarious” without even reading it?

    Tsk, tsk, tsk.

  352. #354 heddle
    July 15, 2010

    Beeks: Let me see, you would be from Austria. Am I right?

    Ophelia (not Benson): No, I am Inga from Sweden

    Beeks: Sweden? But you’re wearing Lederhosen!

    Ophelia (not Benson): Je, for sure, from Sweden.

  353. #355 Sorbet
    July 15, 2010

    Another thing John; why waste time with these idiots by posting so many comments? Everything you said can be summed up in a single long comment:

    “Blah blah blah MCCOURT….blah blah blah LEICA ….blah blah KEN MILLER….blah blah SOMEONE GIVE ME ATTENTION…blah blah MALACHY…blah blah KEN MILLER…blah blah blah ATHEIST FUNDAMENTALIST…blah blah I NEED TO STROKE MY EGO…blah blah blah YOU PEOPLE SUCK!…blah blah MOMMYYYY!”

    There…no, you don’t have to thank me. You are most welcome.

  354. #356 Max von Sydow
    July 15, 2010

    Just watch what the hell you’re saying about Sweden now.

  355. #357 John Kwok
    July 15, 2010

    @ Sorbet –

    Thought you’d have something more substantial to say like pointing out just how crude, bizarre, and obnoxious that Pharyngula “joke” to rape and to kill Sheril Kirshenbaum and Chris Mooney was.

    Funny you would think that, after having heard about my association with Frank McCourt, that you would want to verify it. One of your fellow Pharyngulite loons should have done it by now. See if you can dig up the March 1998 issue of Biography magazine (cover photo of actress Elizabeth Shue), which contains a substantial article on him, featuring extensive quotes from me

  356. #358 John Kwqk
    July 15, 2010

    @ Stu –

    At least I don’t post threats to rape and to kill two prominent Discover Magazine bloggers and then say, oh, am sorry, just joking folks.

    As for my writing, enough people have seen it (both fiction and nonfiction) to comment favorably on it. In your case you could start by reading my Amazon.com review of Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution Is True”, Richard Dawkins’s “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution: The Limits to Darwinism”.

    If my writing here isn’t quite as good as my reviews, etc. at Science Blogs, do you think that maybe it’s because I don’t have the ample time or interest to waste so I can rebut each and every instance of your breathtaking inanity? Before commenting further on my writing, why don’t you start working on yours, so that it doesn’t sound like this:

    “Kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder”.

    Gee whiz. Even Katy Perry can write better lyrics than your trite, lame, and risible excuse for a threat…. oops, sorry, I mean “joke”.

  357. #359 John Kwok
    July 15, 2010

    @ Ophelia –

    Not to harken back to an earlier thread at The Intersection, I’m sure Katy Perry had you in mind in the opening stanza of “Hot N’ Cold”, which I won’t repeat here.

    I do promise, however, that if I become famous enough to front a rock band, I’ll sing a version of one of Ms. Perry’s songs, entitled, “I Kissed Ophelia Benson… and I liked it”.

  358. #360 Henrik Åkerman
    July 15, 2010

    Lest it be forgotten…

    That was abt sixty comments ago, yet you’re still here. One might your obsessed. Obsessed, and based on #359, going into creepy stalker guy mode.

    At least I don’t post threats to rape and to kill two prominent Discover Magazine bloggers and then say, oh, am sorry, just joking folks.

    No, you just threatened to kill Wowbagger and me, then pretended you didn’t. Also there are the threats to hurt others.

    Oh, and of course there is some seriously creepy fucking bullshit thrown at Ophelia Benson. Not reasonable insults or inane death or violence threats, instead you’ve dived headlong into creepy stalker guy mode. You have the audacity to talk shit about some comment you have failed to actually point us to, or copy and paste, then start into some creepy stalker shit.

  359. I lost my partner today, and it wasn’t even laundry day.

    AHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHHHAHAAHA!!!1!!1!111!!!!

    John –

    I’m a evile, murderous bastard. I have killed no less than twenty-eight sockpuppets (we won’t even talk about the muppets – or that goddamned pig). I even ate a lint baby for dinner last night.

    I am, as it were, bad to the bone. Only not in that late eighties good way. More like a “I was a kind but tortured soul, then after several years with the goddamned pig I fucking snapped and went all sorts of fucking naughy.”

    John, you’re a creepy asshole.

  360. #362 Sorbet
    July 15, 2010

    For someone who keeps on claiming he has more important things to attend to in life, you sure seem to spend a lot of time commenting John. Oh wait, I forgot I am talking to a name-dropping hypocritical stalker with skin thicker than the earth’s mantle. I am sure your idol McCourt must be spinning in his grave, disgusted at your descent into depravity, desperate craving for attention and now, creepy stalking.

  361. #363 Stu
    July 15, 2010

    John,

    At least I don’t post threats to rape and to kill two prominent Discover Magazine bloggers and then say, oh, am sorry, just joking folks.

    Liar. You filthy, stinking, sad, pathetic little liar.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/03/stop_using_the_lens_of_your_pr.php#comment-2337598

    Thousands read that comment, including women and rape victims. Not a soul took it to be a threat. Since it is not only anatomically impossible, not only an exhortation at best instead of a threat, but also — even out of context — an obvious, dismissive insult and nothing more. This is obvious to a 10-year-old. That is not clinically insane and a pathological liar, of course.

    Sheril quoted it out of context to get some page hits. By now, you are the only person on the face of the fucking Earth who persists in lying about it. Do you understand, John? You are the ONLY PERSON STILL SPEWING THIS CRAP. Just you. Will you at least admit that? Only then can we proceed to why that might be.

    As for my writing, enough people have seen it (both fiction and nonfiction) to comment favorably on it. In your case you could start by reading my Amazon.com review of Jerry Coyne’s “Why Evolution Is True”, Richard Dawkins’s “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution: The Limits to Darwinism”.

    It’s not the style I was talking about, it’s the content. I don’t care if you are Shakespeare incarnate, since you’re nuttier than the contents of the main vault at the Federal Bank For Squirrels, John.

    Before commenting further on my writing, why don’t you start working on yours, so that it doesn’t sound like this:

    “Kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder”.

    I don’t think I sound quite like that, since I wasn’t the one who said that.

    I do promise, however, that if I become famous enough to front a rock band, I’ll sing a version of one of Ms. Perry’s songs, entitled, “I Kissed Ophelia Benson… and I liked it”.

    I hope you seek professional help before you hurt somebody.

    Seriously. Care to run that gem and my original comment by a mental health care professional and see who gets the lithium prescription, John?

  362. #364 Sorbet
    July 15, 2010

    Kwok, as mentioned above, nobody except you believes that the words on PZ’s blog constituted a threat, not even Kirshenbaum. They may have been anything else, but a threat they were not. If you are really that hell-bent on believing it was a threat, then do your civic duty and report it to the police. Otherwise shut the f*k up, because as Stu said, you are the only soul on the planet who obsessively believes it was a threat.

    Either you are the sole deluded believer or you are the despicably irresponsible citizen who doesn’t report a crime. Take your pick. Anyway…I think I have had enough of crazy for today.

  363. Seriously? That was the threat? I think worse than that every few seconds or so.

    Like what I’m thinking about Stu’s fucking Socks, right this very fucking moment.

    Hmph…Ha…Heh…HHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHASHAH!!!!!!!!11!1!!1!

  364. #366 Stu's Fucking Socks
    July 15, 2010

    Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!

  365. #367 Tom Ames
    July 15, 2010

    Reading Kwok’s posts in a Jon Lovitz voice really helps*:

    “Not to harken back to an earlier thread at The Intersection, I’m sure Katy Perry–WHOM I have SLEPT with–had you in mind in the opening stanza of “Hot N’ Cold”, which I won’t repeat here.”

    (*You might think that I’m on close personal terms with Award-winning comedian Jon Lovitz. But I couldn’t possibly comment.)

  366. #368 Kermit F., OM
    July 15, 2010

    I, Kermit F., am not “Kermit the Serial Sock Murdering Frog.”

    I am a glove puppet, and I say that proudly. Look it up if you don’t know the difference.

    I don’t appreciate being sock-puppeted. That is simply beyond the pale, and maybe actionable libel. LIBEL, I SAY!

    I will be contacting my lawyer about subpoenaing Dr. Laden’s blog logs, to verify this libel with IP addresses.

    Kermit TSSMF, you have been warned.

  367. #369 Lamb Chop, OM
    July 15, 2010

    Kermit F., OM:

    I am a glove puppet, and I say that proudly. Look it up if you don’t know the difference.

    I don’t appreciate being sock-puppeted. That is simply beyond the pale, and maybe actionable libel.

    Splitter!

    That is hate speech. I’m definitely reporting this to SMG.

    Pepsi scandal my frequently-violated sock puppet ass. Who the fuck cares about Pepsi anyhow? It’s just colored sugar water.

    This is serious hate speech and you people just accept it. You make me sick.

  368. Glove PUPPET, sock puppet, motherfucking muppet – don’t matter TO me – I can kill ALL Y’ALL!!!!!1!1!!11

    AND pigs.

    Though WHY you would want to BRAG about being a ME lookalike with a HAND up your ass is beyond me. Whatever floats your boat I guess…Until you *DON’T* hear me COMING that is…AHAHAHAHAAHHAAAHAHAHAH!!1!11!!!!11

    Psychotic OR not, EVERYBODY knows THAT the REAL Kermit IS a muppet hating MUPPET!!1!1!!!1111!!

  369. MMMMM!!11!!!1 Stuffed SHEEP!!11

  370. #372 Kukla, OM
    July 15, 2010

    Right, Lamb Chop, right. You’re one to talk, after you and Shari helped Kukla and Fran screw me out of all the residuals.

    Kiss my gaping sock puppet ass, you hypocritical anti-reptile bigot.

    Oh. You too, Kwok. Death threats? You don’t know shit about death threats until you’ve been a reptile. (Yes, even a fucking fake reptile made of textile scrap. Yeah, scrap, not even a real fucking sock. What of it? Fucking garment bigots, all of you.)

    You’ve never known the sheer terror of minding your own goddamn business and hearing some dubmbass redneck cracker saying “Marge! Get the hoe! Get the hoe!” and running for your life without any goddamn legs.

    Try it sometime, Mr. “oh noooo, somebody said fuck you to somebody!”

    And all those famous guests on our stupid pandering bigot kiddie show? I slept with all of them. Every goddamn one, I did ‘em. Some of them three or four times, if I felt like it.

    Top that, Mr. “Gabriel Byrne overheard me say something once”—like Gabriel Byrne wasn’t walking rapidly the other direction already. You know he was.

    And yeah, I slept with Gabriel Byrne too, damn right I did. I was not impressed, not even a little bit. Fucking “Gabriel Byrne overheard me.” Shit.

    Y’know what, Kwok? I found a dime once. I found a dime!

    Yeah, that’s how interested I am. That’s how impressed.

    Get yourself a sock, yeah, a smelly gym sock, and put it in it.

    Fuck all of y’all anyway.

  371. Oh, fuck you TOO asshole!!!1 I fucking HATE muppets, BUT I’ll kill any fucking BODY!!!11!111 Don’t give a shit WHAT you’re made OF asswipe – I ain’t NO fucking bigot!!111

    Unless you’re a pig.

    And on that motherfucker. You think you got it bad – just because some fucker and his HOE? You layed all THEM fine human women and YER gonna bitch about it to ME!?!??@?@

    You know what the fuck I had? DO YOU KNOW!?!?!

    A PSYCHOTIC FUCKING PIG!!11!1

    Only it gets worse ASSHOLE!!! Do you know, as full of self loathing as I was – as tired of Piggy’s incessant fucking tirades as I got sometimes…I loved her…I really did love her…I mean fuck all, it was hard – maybe it was just part of hating myself.

    BUT I LOVED HER MAN!!!!1!

    And you know what SHE fucking did to me? After getting rid OF that hot chick I met WHEN I lost my memory?!!??!!

    SHE FUCKING RAN OFF WITH THAT MOTHERFUCKING FOZZIE BEAR!!11!!11!!!!!

    They’re in THE south fo fucking France now. And IF I hadn’t smoked all MY fucking movie loot out of a fucking crack pipe, I’d go THERE now and win her back!111!

    BUT I did SMOKE it all!!11! HAD a fucking heart attack TOO!!111 BUt I must BE part cat, ’cause I’M still alive…Like you WON’T be for LONG motherfucker…

    I got ME a HOE and IM coming after YER ass!!11!!!

  372. #374 Paul W.
    July 16, 2010

    Hey, wasn’t it Ollie that was the reptile, and Kukla that was the little bald guy?

    Figures.

    Dumbass sock puppeter screws up, gets caught. Film at 11.

  373. #375 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ Everyone –

    Am surprised you haven’t decided to infest Panda’s Thumb too since Dale and I have been making some great points about how insensitive, mean-spirited and hateful this absurd cast of Fundamentalist New Atheists and their sockpuppets (DuWayne don’t you have any hobbies aside from creating sockpuppets? Oh, I forget, you’re probably some backwoods hick who doesn’t have ready access to any of the cultural amenities that one would find in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, or even in Knoxville.).

    Do wish you all well and I hope you get a life. Seriously, I mean it.

  374. #376 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    A typo, so am reposting:

    @ Everyone –

    Am surprised you haven’t decided to infest Panda’s Thumb too since Dale and I have been making some great points about how insensitive, mean-spirited and hateful this absurd cast of Fundamentalist New Atheists and their sockpuppets really is (DuWayne don’t you have any hobbies aside from creating sockpuppets? Oh, I forget, you’re probably some backwoods hick who doesn’t have ready access to any of the cultural amenities that one would find in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, or even in Knoxville.).

    For someone who is allegedly as unhinged as the RationalWiki entry on me claims, then how come my comments tend to be more rational than yours? Just think about for a bit, say an hour or so, before posting anymore of your coarse language-flavored slime, please.

    Do wish you all well and I hope you get a life. Seriously, I mean it.

  375. #377 DuWayne
    July 16, 2010

    …then how come my comments tend to be more rational than yours?

    You seem to be making the mistake of conflating the use of language with the quality of the statements John. You are not the least bit rational or logical. You are inconsistent and dishonest, not to mention a fucking hypocrite. You apply different standards to others, than you apply to yourself. And rather than simply being arrogant, you’re conceited. Not only that, but you get indignant when people point this out.

    I am an arrogant asshole. The difference between us is that I am aware of this and don’t pretend that I’m not. I also admit when I am wrong. If someone else convinces me that my position on something is wrong, no matter how much I may not want to, I acknowledge both my position change and the person who inspired it. While that may occasionally hurt my pride, not doing so would hurt my pride even worse. And on occasions when I am inconsistent, or worse, apply different standards to others than I do myself, I acknowledge it and apologize.

    I don’t pretend that it simply didn’t happen.

    As for taking the time to fuck around here, I am doing so because a) I really don’t like you and b) it’s fun. I have the time, more or less, because I have finished two of my summer classes and only have an independent study in world security left. The assignment I am working on currently is long and boring, writing a chapter by chapter response to the major text for the class. Popping over to blogs is very useful for breaking up the tedium.

    Oi, and you won’t find me at PT, because unlike you, I’m not a creepy stalker guy. Though given your penchant for engaging logical fallacies, maybe I should. Here’s a little tip, my distaste for you has nothing to do with my being an atheist and everything to do with the sort of person you are. You seem to have an inane sort of dichotomous view of atheists that is as laughable as it is narrow.

    It is also unsurprising, given your complete ignorance of elementary logic.

  376. #378 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    John Kwok,

    ‘Am surprised you haven’t decided to infest Panda’s Thumb too since Dale and I have been making some great points about how insensitive, mean-spirited and hateful this absurd cast of Fundamentalist New Atheists and their sockpuppets really is enjoying what can only be described as a circle-jerk for pissant losers either banned or hounded from Pharyngula, The Intersection and elsewhere for gratuitous acts of inanity.’

    Fixed it for you. No charge.

  377. #379 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    You’re not an “arrogant asshole”, but an ignorant, sanctimonious one, who is a “creepy stalker type” judging from some of your absurd posts at your blog.

    @ Wowbagger –

    Thanks for demonstrating once again that you are a delusional ignorant intellectual internet troll. You’ve just made my point. Congratulations!

  378. #380 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    John Kwok,

    ‘Thanks for demonstrating informing anyone who didn’t already know once again that you I, John Kwok, am are a delusional, ignorant, demonstrably intellectually dishonest internet troll – as evidenced by how many places I’ve been banned from.

    Fixed. Say, if you let me know when your manuscript is done I’ll give it the once-over.

  379. #381 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ Wowbagger –

    Once more you’ve demonstrated that you are a delusional ignorant intellectual internet troll. Don’t need to elaborate further, since you’re doing such an impressive job by yourself.

    Have a good day. Can’t devote more time in addressing each and every instance of your breathtaking inanity, which really comes across as a most putrid verbal diarrhea.

  380. #382 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    John Kwok,

    ‘Once more you I‘ve demonstrated that you are a I, John Kwok, am the pre-eminent delusional, ignorant, intellectually dishonest internet troll. I Ddon’t need to elaborate further, since you’re I’m doing such an impressive job by yourmyself.

    Phew, John. Really, I can’t be doing this for free any more – I’m going to have to start charging you. But I’ll happily give you a bulk discount for your manuscript – though I hope you display a wider range of expressions in it than you do here; the tired, hackneyed phrases you keep using get very boring after the third or fourth time.

    Are you familiar with the concept of the thesaurus?

  381. #383 heddle
    July 16, 2010

    Gotta say,

    I hate the “fixed that for ya” tactic. It’s almost always cheap and it’s soooooo 2003.

  382. #384 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ heddle –

    Wowbagger thinks he is still living in 2003, in his favorite Romper Room. Poor boy. Guess he has a most acute diaper rash.

  383. #385 DuWayne
    July 16, 2010

    Ok, I have to bite. Just what the fuck appears to be stalker or absurd at my blog? The post about the Cold War? The post about my own children? The post about kids using very dangerous plants and why they shouldn’t? The post about the psychology of rapists? The post about witch hunts? The post about meaning without religion? The post about my partner getting into a PhD program? The post about online exams and failure on the part of my schools IT staff? Registering for classes? International studies? My writings about morality? My writing about the insane law in Arizona?

    I am curious what exactly is absurd or stalker like – please feel free to be specific. Though I have a feeling you’re just trying to smear what you haven’t actually read.

  384. #386 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    heddle wrote:

    I hate the “fixed that for ya” tactic. It’s almost always cheap and it’s soooooo 2003.

    You’re probably right, but why waste ‘A’ material on on a ‘Z’ buffoon like Kwok?

  385. #387 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    John Kwok wrote:

    Wowbagger thinks he is still living in 2003, in his favorite Romper Room.

    Geez, John. Am I going to have to be your researcher as well as your editor? Fine, but it’s going to cost you extra. Anyway, according to Wikipedia Romper Room finished in 1994 – which I probably also need to inform you is before 2003.

    You should also note that we Australians don’t use the word ‘diaper'; they’re called ‘nappies’ over here.

  386. #388 Stu
    July 16, 2010

    Once more you’ve demonstrated that you are a delusional ignorant intellectual internet troll.

    Right, that must be why he’s banned from a bunch of sites.

    Oh, wait.

    Can’t devote more time in addressing each and every instance of your breathtaking inanity

    Oh sweetheart, you’ve said that several times before, but your pathology will not let you.
    , which really comes across as a most putrid verbal diarrhea.

  387. #389 Stu
    July 16, 2010

    Gaah, forgot to erase that final clause. Oh well.

  388. #390 Stu
    July 16, 2010

    Oh, by the way:

    how come my comments tend to be more rational than yours?

    Only to you John, only to you.

    Doesn’t it strike you as odd, John, that you have to search so far and wide to find one or two people that agree with you? Doesn’t it strike you as odd that you keep getting moderated and banned everywhere? Don’t you think that if it is either the entire world or you that is crazy, at least theoretically, IT MIGHT BE YOU?

  389. #391 Sorbet
    July 16, 2010

    Apparently the fact that Kwok is banned even from blogs whose authors he agrees with still does not strike him as odd. Only an especially dense mind can fail to understand the implications of this fact.

    As Stu mentions, in spite of the fact that multiple people of different shades and opinions feel the need to constantly ban and moderate him, Kwok still thinks it’s them and not him (Yes, Occam’s Razor is lost on him). To me this is slam dunk evidence of some kind of psychological disorder. But we all know Kwok is never going to seek help. We can only hope he does this before he harms himself or others.

  390. #392 DuWayne
    July 16, 2010

    I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that Kwok has chosen not to explain exactly what is absurd and creepy stalker guy about my writing. Of course given his penchant for reviewing books he didn’t actually read, I sincerely doubt that he has actually read anything from my blog.

    I suppose I should probably retract my statement about his being inconsistent. He is rather consistent with his bullshitting.

  391. #393 Stephanie Z
    July 16, 2010

    Yes, DuWayne, about as shocked as I am that he declined to note just what it was that I was supposedly projecting.

  392. #394 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    I immediately recognized your sock-puppetry here in this thread. So did another friend who often posts online against deranged Fundamentalist New Atheist zealots such as yourself. That’s definitely creepy stalker material IMHO (Not the blog entry on your children, which, BTW, was one of the few redeeming blog entries I saw of yours over at your blog.).

    I don’t think the real Max von Sydow would appreciate your appropriation of his identity. How do you think I know this? His youngest son was a college classmate of mine and we’ve recently reconnected online after a long absence. Maybe you think that’s funny, but I think that’s a certain sign of immaturity and mental depravity (Maybe you’re such a backwoods hick, that you are in dire need of cultural enrichment. May I suggest hearing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, the Detroit Symphony in Detroit, or the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis as three possible means of doing something far more productive with yourself than indulging in your immature, mentally depraved behavior.

  393. #395 Wowbagger
    July 16, 2010

    John Kwok wrote:

    I immediately recognized your sock-puppetry here in this thread.

    Considering each one was written in an outrageous, blatantly obvious parody style and, more importantly, were all linked to the blog bearing his name, I wouldn’t be congratulating myself too much on that keen piece of detective work, John.

    Sock-puppets are only bad when you can’t tell they’re sock-puppets.

  394. #396 Tom Ames
    July 16, 2010

    I’ve officially reached the “what’s the point?” stage as regards Kwok. Given who he seems to be, saying anything more to him is starting to feel a lot like taunting or baiting, and perhaps unintentionally cruel. So I’m done.

    (I just wish that his wasn’t such a visible face of pro-evolution commenting on the internet. Oh well.)

  395. #397 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ Tom Ames –

    How sweet of you. Maybe I’m such a visible face for the following reasons:

    “And all those here condemning John Kwok seem to forget one central fact, that he has consistently written fine and glowing reviews of books on evolution written by the very people whose atheist tactics he condemns, namely Dawkins and Coyne. John is wise enough to separate these people’s science from their atheism and one would think that PZ’s supporters would be too. John has also written scathing critiques of books on creationism such as those by Stephen Meyers and Bill Dembski. With this record I find it remarkable that, irrespective of whatever else he might have done, he is trashed as an ‘unhinged’ accommodationist and atheist-basher. You guys need to get some perspective on things.”

    Posted by: Ash | July 10, 2010 6:08 PM

  396. #398 John Kwok
    July 16, 2010

    @ Tom Ames –

    As a postscript, let me note that your latest comment (@ 396) sums up my attitude toward another Science Blogs blogger, whose blog ought to find a new home at Daily Kos. Had that blogger not have a blog that’s rather “memorable”, I strongly doubt that anyone would have known or even cared who he is. Moreover, it’s a bit sanctimonious for him to criticize other, far more prominent, defenders of evolution simply for rubbing him the wrong way with respect to viewing that there is any value to organized religions or seeking to find some kind of “accomodationism” between religion and science.

    Someone else online thinks I have obsessed over the blogger in question. That’s far from the truth, since I hardly think of him at all. But, it is a pity that someone who has a talent for explaining science well, would waste his time condemning religiously devout scientists and other “accomodationists” and allow his blog to become an internet intellectual cesspool.

  397. #399 DuWayne
    July 17, 2010

    And what exactly clued you into my sockpuppetry? It wasn’t the fact that I continued to hyperlink my blog to the names, so as not to leave any doubt, was it? Or could it have been that I wrote comments that were clearly referring to me, as, well, me?

    Creepy stalker material is making references to kissing women and like a coward, calling them a bitch through a song reference. Playing off a comment by someone else, while making clear your actual identity, is not.

    As far as the rest of your bullshit goes, I really don’t feel the need to defend myself. If you’re such a pointy headed little fuck, that a little cursing on a blog interferes with your ability to see what is actually being said, it isn’t my problem.

  398. #400 John Kwok
    July 17, 2010

    AH, but NOBODY will ever figure out who I AM! Mwahahaha!

  399. @397 –

    Jesus you’re FUCKING pathetic. Seriously, GET a life DUDE.

    Now THAT I lost COMMENT 400, I’M going to KILL a moose PUPPET!!!11!1!!!!

    AHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!111!!!1!!

    Canuckistan is MINE motherfuckers!!!11!!1111

  400. #402 Stu
    July 17, 2010

    John. Sweetheart. It’s getting really, really sad now.

    I immediately recognized your sock-puppetry here in this thread.

    First of all, sockpuppetry implies intent to deceive. DuWayne intentionally linked to his own blog on EVERY SINGLE post made with a fake nick.

    Here was my experience John. I saw all these weirdo posts, and I (pay attention) MOVED MY MOUSE OVER THEM, and guess what? My status bar said “debrayton.blogspot.com” on all of them.

    I will repeat this.

    Sockpuppetry, in the blogosphere, means assuming different personae in order to manufacture the illusion of plurality and consent. The way to do this is to either not provide hyperlinks when commenting, or to hyperlink to different addresses for each persona.

    The one thing NOT to do is to post under random names, and link back to the same blog over and over and over again. Because, John, if you do that, people might be able to figure out you are the same person, which would completely torpedo the entire point of sockpuppetry.

    But you know that. You have issues with who you are and how you perceive yourself, and those issues cause you problems with perceiving reality. We’ll get back to that.

    So did another friend

    Okay, John. The way you phrased this makes a few things painfully obvious:

    – You have no friends.
    – Your acquaintances do not want to be associated with you.
    – You feel your opinion cannot hold its own.
    – You feel you cannot hold your own.
    – You will do anything, anything to what in your mind will cause you to be taken seriously.
    – This is not it.

    who often posts online against deranged Fundamentalist New Atheist zealots such as yourself.

    I rolled 5:1 on Anthony McCarty in the office pool. How did I do?

    That’s definitely creepy stalker material IMHO (Not the blog entry on your children, which, BTW, was one of the few redeeming blog entries I saw of yours over at your blog.).

    That statement is not even coherent. Please take a deep breath.

    John, I know that is hard to believe, but as much shit as I talk to you and about you… you are not a stupid person, and you could do much good in the world. You have distinct, diagnosable and fixable mental issues that can be addressed by any competent mental health care professional. I again, seriously, not as a lark, not as a diss, urge, beg and advise you to go and at the very least be assessed by one.

    Pretty please with sugar on top.

  401. #403 PZ Myers
    July 17, 2010

    He’s quoting Ash again! Who is this “Ash”? Is it someone else he went to school with?

  402. #404 Greg Laden
    July 17, 2010

    I assumed he is Ash Ketchum. Is that wrong?

  403. #405 Jason Thibeault
    July 17, 2010

    Greg @404 wins the whole damn thread. And I couldn’t just leave the thread at 404, could I?

  404. #406 John Kwok
    July 17, 2010

    @ PZ –

    Instead of worrying about who Ash is (I know who he is but won’t divulge his identity), why don’t you heed his words? Seems to me you should be more concerned about that deranged Fundamentalist New Atheist acolytes of yours who posted a crude threat to rape and to kill others, then claim later that such a threat was really a “joke”.

    @ Greg –

    Wrong Ash, sorry.

    @ Stu –

    I’d worry more about being a deranged Fundamentalist New Atheist acolyte of Paul Zachary Myers that I just mentioned, than discussing how I understand sockpuppetry. Otherwise, I’m going to:

    Kwok you sideways with a Leica rangefinder.

  405. #407 John Kwok
    July 17, 2010

    @ PZ –

    You’re a riot. I post several meaningful comments at one of your rare PT discussion threads and you opt to move them to the Bathroom Wall, while retaining replies from several other frequent PT posters. Did someone say that I suffer from a PZ obsession? Au contraire, sounds like the contrary is more true.

    Am looking forward to hearing how well your contract negotiations are faring with the University of Chicago and its Department of Ecology and Evolution, especially since one of that department’s most important professors, Jerry Coyne, thinks yours is a first rate mind. I presume there’s suitable office space awaiting your arrival, near Jerry’s office and those of Neil Shubin and Leigh Van Valen.

    Let me be the first to extend my congratulations since I understand that your scientific publication record is as highly regarded as your colleague Sean B. Carroll. Right? Or were you telling me the truth when you opted to reply to one of my e-mails, admitting that you are a mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist whose scientific career isn’t worthy of comparison to Carroll’s.

  406. #408 DuWayne
    July 17, 2010

    Well hell, maybe we can get this thread to 500 and see if we can’t make this a particularly profitable thread.

    …than discussing how I understand sockpuppetry.

    And I would seriously reconsider how I understand sockpuppetry, were I you, before you look like even more of a fucking putz.

  407. #409 John Kwok
    July 17, 2010

    @ DuWayne –

    It takes one to know one. So if I am a f**king putz, then obviously you are too. How else would you know what one is.

    But what more can I expect from a backwoods hick who thinks he has acquired some quantity if not quality – of higher education?

  408. #410 DuWayne
    July 17, 2010

    Seriously? That is all you’ve got? Motherfucker, it doesn’t “take one to know one,” all it requires is observation.

    Come on, how about a repeat of your “Ash” quote? Or maybe you could continue to wow us with more stories of all those spiffy people you know.

    Greg gets paid by the click, so I am all for taking this thread to the max.

  409. #411 PZ Myers
    July 17, 2010

    John Kwok may have delusions of grandeur, but that doesn’t mean I do. I know exactly where I stand in the academic hierarchy, and like where I am.

    Keep projecting, guy.

  410. #412 Stephanie Z
    July 17, 2010

    There we go. At least somebody around here understands the meaning of “projection.”

  411. #413 Silver Fox
    July 17, 2010

    It takes one to know one.

    Pants on fire.

  412. #414 John Kwok
    July 18, 2010

    @ PZ –

    Wow, some honesty from you (@ 411). Maybe you should advise your delusional, quite fanatical, Fundamentalist New Atheist acolytes. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were really as important a biologist as your potential University of Chicago colleagues. After all, you do teach at the “Harvard” of Morris, MN.

  413. #415 DuWayne
    July 18, 2010

    Wow, some honesty from you.

    Now if only we could get some from you.

    Maybe you should advise your delusional, quite fanatical, Fundamentalist New Atheist acolytes.

    Like whom?

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were really as important a biologist as your potential University of Chicago colleagues.

    While I am not big on the comment threads at Pharyngula (too large mostly, also some commenters are rather nasty about identity politics), I don’t really see where you’re getting that from. Certainly a lot of people like PZ, but they mostly seem rather keen on his very vocal criticisms of religion – and his interest in cephalopods. I don’t see anyone really making much of anything about his position in academia. Except for you.

    Of course you could always provide evidence for your assertion. Not that I expect you will.

    Of course one would think, based solely on listening to you, that you are the great American thinker, literary giant and penultimate Amazon reviewer (ok, we also have some person called Ash who also believes the latter) who gets defensive about his right to review books he hasn’t read. One would also think, based solely on listening to you, that you are beloved by the intelligentsia and famed intellectuals of the day.

    Interesting that claims you are making about PZ Meyers are theoretically coming from others, while we have to take your word alone for almost* all of yours. Interesting, and kind of sad, given your penchant for exposing your lack of credibility.

    * This would be a great time for another cut and paste of Ash’s comment.

  414. #416 Stu
    July 18, 2010

    Kwok you sideways with a Leica rangefinder.

    You just threatened violence and rape! BAROOOOGAH! Does Sheril know? Are you going to turn yourself in?

    The police ought to know John. A violent, threatening rapist is on the loose!

  415. #417 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2010

    What does John Kwok do? Does anyone know? What’s his day job?

    I can only assume that, since he’s heaping scorn on someone for being a college professor focused on teaching, his own work must be more substantial, more prestigious and more helpful to society than educating young people in science.

  416. #418 Stu
    July 18, 2010

    Wowbagger, is the office pool slot for maternal subterranean dwelling management taken?

  417. #419 Feynmaniac
    July 19, 2010

    My god, is this train-wreck-of-a-thread still going?

  418. #420 Ash
    July 21, 2010

    -Of course one would think, based solely on listening to you, that you are the great American thinker, literary giant and penultimate Amazon reviewer (ok, we also have some person called Ash who also believes the latter) who gets defensive about his right to review books he hasn’t read.

    Wow. This discussion thread has gone completely bonkers. I really don’t want to comment on it but only wish to factually note that John’s reviews are up for anyone to see on Amazon.com. If you read them, you would not make the argument that he has not read the books. Just take a look at his meticulous and comprehensive reviews of Dawkins’s or Coyne’s books for instance, or his devastating take-downs of the creationist IDiots Dembski and Meyer. By any stretch these reviews indicate that John has read the concerned volumes in detail.

  419. #421 DuWayne
    July 23, 2010

    Ash –

    Somewhere up there, I linked to the thread wherin Kwok argues voraciously, that he has every right to review a book he didn’t read. I don’t give a fuck if that was the only time, nor do I care if the book he didn’t read was complete and utter shite (which it likely was). That is absolutely inexcusable and indefensible.

  420. #422 Greg Laden
    July 23, 2010

    Whoa. For a moment there I thought this thread dried up!

  421. #423 Ash
    July 27, 2010

    I am not really going to comment on other books. All I can say is that John’s reviews of books on evolution and ID make it pretty clear that he has reviewed these only after thoroughly reading them.

  422. #424 John Kwok
    July 27, 2010

    @ DuWayne,

    Thanks for demonstrating your sanctimonious batshit crazy. Telling me that you read Gordon Wood’s “The Creation of the American Republic” elsewhere here at Greg’s blog proves nothing about your intelligence (I read James Joyce’s “Ulysses” when I was that age, but didn’t understand it until I talked about it with Frank McCourt when I was a student in his sophomore English and creative writing class. And Frank’s opinion I respected highly, since he was the resident Joyce scholar in the Stuyvesant High School English department (There was another who was an expert on Herman Melville, and who, years later would give private tours on Melville living in New York City.).

    Ash is absolutely right. And for the record, if you want to condemn me for not reading a book (I did that once BTW in support of PZ Myers who was sued by a brilliant nut who had graduated from a rival high school, Brooklyn Tech, but of course PZ has forgotten this.), then why not start first by condemning PZ for attacking Ken Miller (which he did in his September 9, 2006 Pharyngula entry entitled “Ken Miller, Creationist”, for attacking eminent evolutionary geneticist Francisco J. Ayala, and for attacking eminent molecular biologist Francis Collins. But wait, isn’t that what I am accused of in the opening sentences of the RationalWiki entry on me? You could substitute his name for mine and it would have a much better, more accurate fit.

    Again, when I have criticized Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins, I have taken great pains to attack only their atheist views, not their extensive work as the notable evolutioary biologists that they are (in Dawkins’s case has been since I am not aware of any substantial research that he has published since 1990). I have no such compunction with PZ Myers since he is, by his own admission, a mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist. A mediocre evolutionary developmental biologist who exults in the harsh attacks on his critics that you and your fellow Pharyngulites are demonstrating here.

    Finally, if anyone is obsessed, then it is PZ. He is the only PT blogger who will consistently delete any comments I post at his blog entries, while allowing real lunatics, like an odd assortment of “drive by” creationists to stop by his blog entries and post quite weird commentary that’s far removed from anything I have posted at his PT blog entries.

  423. #425 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 28, 2010

    Kwok, seek help.

    Seriously

  424. #426 DuWayne
    July 28, 2010

    Um John, I specified a particular incident from that site – not anything else, because I find that particularly repugnant. I don’t really fucking care what PZ Meyers has done, because here, I have been dealing with you – a fucking putz.

    Unlike you, I don’t obsess about PZ Meyers and honestly don’t pay much attention to him. I don’t always agree with him and in fact often disagree with him. I am certainly not a “pharyngulite.” Shockingly, I don’t even think his tone is always all that appropriate. While I am known to get angry with the religious, I get angry when they actually do or say something repugnant.

    But I vastly prefer his honest and open anger, to your slimy, obnoxious bullshit. People who are being assholes, should just be fucking assholes and not pretend they are doing something more socially acceptable. Rude is rude, with or without overtly rude language. The latter just happens to be more honest.

  425. #427 Rayonne Footlette, OM
    March 4, 2011
  426. #428 Greg Laden
    March 4, 2011

    It has always been my feeling that if he came back doing the SOS we should immediately reveal his true identity and everything we know about him. Sound fair?

  427. #429 Paul W.
    March 4, 2011

    Out him? Who? Do you mean Walter H. Smith, who is a grad student in Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa?

    I don’t know if that would be right.

    I think we need more hand-wringing first.

Current ye@r *