Pharyngula

Now the Stuart Pivar Story is on Daily Kos. Even after he dropped the lawsuit, his reputation on the blogosphere is sealed. If he’d never started this duel, it would have been nothing but a few fading memories of a negative review of an obscure book … but by playing games with the law and trying to intimidate others by throwing his money around, he’s elevated himself into notoriety.

Comments

  1. #1 Peter Ashby
    August 30, 2007

    Don’t feel sorry for him, this is good publicity. Now if anyone considers buying his piece of crap a simple google will turn up only a load of criticism calling him a kook. At best it will cost him even more money pay google to put a piece of self puffery into the mix.

  2. #2 thalarctos
    August 30, 2007

    He’s become kind of an object lesson on trying to do law on the cheap, as well.

    If he got such a green and sloppy lawyer because he was too cheap to mobilize his resources on the suit, well, as they say, you get what you pay for.

    If he did it because no experienced, reputable lawyer would touch his case, well, that should have been a big red flag to him as well.

  3. #3 Bryn
    August 30, 2007

    How long before his name becomes a verb, as in, “Dude! I’ve been Pivared!”? It does have kind of a ring to it…

  4. #4 Dunc
    August 30, 2007

    I’m not sure you could be “pivared” – you can only “pivar” yourself.

  5. #5 caynazzo
    August 30, 2007

    You give yourself too little credit. Forget Daily Kos, consider his blogrep ruined after the ribbing he received on Pharyngula.

  6. #6 Reasonable Kansan
    August 30, 2007

    As if you have any credibility as a scientist PZ: all you are known for is your hatred of religion and verbal abuse.

    I hate to tell you, but your blog is NOT peer reviewed literature.

  7. #7 M
    August 30, 2007

    why do you feel bad for him? surely achieving notoriety was his goal. he got exactly what he wanted. unless you honestly believe he thought a bad review was an actionable offense?

  8. #8 wÒÓ†
    August 30, 2007
  9. #9 George Cauldron
    August 30, 2007

    I hate to tell you, but your blog is NOT peer reviewed literature.

    So as an advocate of ID, you must never see any peer-reviewed literature, huh FTK?

  10. #10 Mike P
    August 30, 2007

    George Cauldron (#9),

    Shhhhh. That troll doesn’t need feeding.

  11. #11 Nerull
    August 30, 2007

    Go back to your blog which you don’t even allow your peers to read, much less review, FTK.

  12. #12 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    Has anyone noticed that all customer reviews for Lifecode on amazon.com have been deleted?

  13. #13 George Cauldron
    August 30, 2007

    Perhaps you’re right. Besides, I’m being too harsh. For IDers, a blog run by Dave Scot counts as ‘peer reviewed literature’.

  14. #14 June
    August 30, 2007

    Well, a little of all this mud has to stick to a court system that allows abuse like this. There are quite a few controls a court could apply if it is interested in cleaning itself up.

    What comes to mind are such ideas as a hefty Contempt of Court fine, a couple of days in jail, a formal complaint for ethics violation to the State Bar, and immediate summary judgment for defendant with all costs and punitive damages.

    The ability to re-file in another court is easiily circumvented by using a nationwide database of abusive clients and lawyers.

  15. #15 Mike P
    August 30, 2007

    Also, I don’t think that’s FTK. There’s another scienceblogs commenter with that handle who has linked to this website: http://tektonics.org/

  16. #16 Natasha Yar-Routh
    August 30, 2007

    Hm, according to Daily Kos Pivar’s book has sold all of three copies. maybe the whole lawsuit was a publicity ploy to try and gin up sales. Or maybe Pivar is just a clueless twit.

    Don;t feel sorry for Pivar though, if you hadn’t had the backup of Seed you could be facing serious financial problems defending your self against this sort of legal harassment. Even a completely baseless lawsuit like this can cost a lot out of pocket before it is dismissed. Given the apparently deep pockets of some creationists this could be a disturbing trend.

  17. #17 John C. Randolph
    August 30, 2007

    So, how did this clown get the money he’s throwing around? I can only assume he inherited it or won a lottery.

    -jcr

  18. #18 Fred X. Quinby
    August 30, 2007

    “all you are known for is your hatred of religion and verbal abuse”

    Sounds just like my wife. God (which may or may not exist), I love that woman!

  19. #19 oldcola
    August 30, 2007

    “an obscure book” as long as none of the neo-creationists didn’t had the occasion to start some new kind of sermon based on the science of Pivar.
    We do have the parallel case here in France, with Vincent Fleury’s “From egg to eternity, the arrow of evolution”, claiming that everything is “physics” in evolution, and Jean Staune, one of the John Templeton Foundation agents, claiming that Fleury’s theory could be a proof that Darwin was wrong, and that Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega point exists.
    Staune’s book should be translated (JTF funds?) and be available in english in a few months. Prepare yourself PZ for a long, boring and quite surrealistic reading.

  20. #20 Graculus
    August 30, 2007

    Has anyone noticed that all customer reviews for Lifecode on amazon.com have been deleted?

    Huyh, they are still there for me, and the “classic crackpot” tag just needs a few more votes to get it onto the first page.

  21. #21 Mena
    August 30, 2007

    On the bright side, he probably has a future as the spokesman for Banquet Crock-Pot Classics.

  22. #22 MartinM
    August 30, 2007

    Hm, according to Daily Kos Pivar’s book has sold all of three copies. maybe the whole lawsuit was a publicity ploy to try and gin up sales.

    Apparently it worked. He’s sold three copies!

  23. #23 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    Graculus @ #21,

    Oops! I was looking at this page : http://www.amazon.com/Lifecode-Embryo-Self-Organization-Stuart-Rivar/dp/0976406098/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-9192171-6611223?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1188490671&sr=8-1
    and saw no reviews there…went back and saw the reviews are all on the hardcover version.

    Thanks.

  24. #24 Mena
    August 30, 2007

    Zohn, who’s Stuart Rivar? ;^)
    (I did the same thing.)

  25. #25 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    Mena, I never even noticed that the name is Stuart Rivar!! Hmmm…I wonder who this person is…notice the very similar books:

    Stuart Pivar – LifeCode: The Theory of Biological Self Organization

    Stuart Rivar – Lifecode: From Egg to Embryo by Self-Organization

    😛

  26. #26 Bert Chadick
    August 30, 2007

    Amazon lists “Lifecode” as being “No longer available”. as of this morning. Must have sold out.
    If Pivar wants to get his sales up, he should get the tome listed as part the official Scientology canon. I’m sure they would do it for a sufficiently large check.

  27. #27 Blake Stacey
    August 30, 2007

    Damn. Daily Kos didn’t link to me. For a minute there, I thought I’d be facing a melting server.

  28. #28 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    Bert Chadick, you’re in luck! For less than half the price at $24.95, you can get Lifecode: From Egg to Embryo by Self-Organization by Stuart Rivar!! Even thought it’s not the authentic Pivar but rather the cheap knock-off Rivar, the contents are guaranteed to be just as ‘enlightening’ :-P.

  29. #29 garth
    August 30, 2007

    I didn’t know PZ hated verbal abuse…

  30. #30 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    D’oh! Read that as “Even though”…

  31. #31 Carlie
    August 30, 2007

    Bert – that’s the old version, the new one is still up for sale. The old one has all of the reviews and comments, though.

  32. #32 DarkSyde
    August 30, 2007

    I’d say Pivars fate was pretty much sealed after PZ’s review. But I posted it on a DK for a couple of reasons. Regardless of how anyone feels about Pivar’s views, PZ was solidly within his purview in reviewing a book on evo-devo and it was a comprehensive, substance oriented, honest critique to boot.

    And as another poster pointed out: Seed Media might be able to provide Dr Myers some legal resources — although there’s always the possibility of personal exposure. I have Daily Kos backing me up. PZ and I are fortunate in that respect. But this creep has made quite a habit out of filing these kinds of claims, and most bloggers are just part-time writers blogging on their lonesome. Based on what I’ve read about Mr Pivar’s past, he strikes me as spoiled thug looking to throw his money around like a playground bully. That kind of bullying back up with Pivar’s wealth could literally ruin someone’s life and affect their entire family. It seems worth risking that Pivar might sell ten more copies of his tome to warn others about his thuggish proclivities.

    He could have kept his responses to PZ’s concerns right here on Pharyngula, he could have created his own website and responded to his heart’s delight there, he could have used his considerable wealth to pursue other, traditional lines of response which are unavailable to most people, up to and including underwriting his own research grant, hiring a team of researchers, and engaging in legit discovery with an eye toward publishing in peer reviewed journals. He rejected all those civil, legitimate approaches and instead opted for sleazy legal intimidation. It just happened that this time Pivar picked PZ to try and intimidate. That was a pretty stupid move.

  33. #33 Frac
    August 30, 2007

    In the scientific community, “peer-review” is a specific process. This “blog” may not be “peer-reviewed” in that sense, but it certainly comes close to being “peer-reviewed” in the literal definition.

    I’d be more than happy to call PZ to task for something I read on his blog. So far, I have not found the need to do so.

    As for the book, he’ll laugh all the way to the bank. His sales may not be stunning or lasting, but they’re sure to show a brief peak.

    Even negative publicity generates interest. He’s also get the self-thought-criming crowd who will hear criticism from the scientific community as a glowing recommendation. They’ll be happy with their purchase, too, knowing that if “they” hate it, it *must* be true.

  34. #34 Boosterz
    August 30, 2007

    If other creationists start emulating Pivar’s tactics, does that mean we should start referring to them as the Pivarati?

  35. #35 George Cauldron
    August 30, 2007

    In the scientific community, “peer-review” is a specific process. This “blog” may not be “peer-reviewed” in that sense, but it certainly comes close to being “peer-reviewed” in the literal definition.

    I was referring to UD. At UD, ‘passing peer review’ means ‘Bill Dembski and Dave Scot decided not to ban you’.

    I’m not aware of ANYTHING in ID which undergoes anything like a scientific peer review process — unless you’re count that ID journal that hasn’t published anything in 2 years.

  36. #36 Scott Hatfield, OM
    August 30, 2007

    Bert Chadick, you’re in luck! For less than half the price at $24.95, you can get Lifecode: From Egg to Embryo by Self-Organization by Stuart Rivar!! Even thought it’s not the authentic Pivar but rather the cheap knock-off Rivar, the contents are guaranteed to be just as ‘enlightening’ :-P.

    “Do you have Sale of Two Titties, by Dykkens—the well-known Dutch author—that’s ‘Dykkens’ with two ‘k’s…”

  37. #37 gerald spezio
    August 30, 2007

    Boosterz, if Pivarati are the creationists/litigants, then we might consider calling their well-paid lawyers – lawyerazzi?

    You want some law? Pay a lawyer, and pay her plenty.

  38. #38 zohn
    August 30, 2007

    Looks like the publicity has worked well, at least for Stuart Rivar…amazon.com displays “Only 1 left in stock–order soon (more on the way).”!!

  39. #39 TheBlackCat
    August 30, 2007

    Looks like that one copy sold, too:

    Availability: Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.

    I probably wouldn’t want to sell a book by a lawsuit-obsessed crackpot, either.

  40. #40 Owlmirror
    August 30, 2007

    Could someone who is already an Amazon customer please add the tag “pretentious flapdoodle”?

    The word “flapdoodle” needs more exposure.

    Y’know, Pivar could have sold some of these books simply by not trying to market it as actual science. Had he subtitled it “A Topological Biofantasy” or something similar, he could have marketed the book by harping on its strengths in his real area of expertise, visual aesthetics, and emphasized that the surreal imagery was actually intended to explore the intersection of biological development and dreams.

    If he had replaced the text with something beautifully calligraphic, and perhaps not even in any language known to man, he might have produced another Codex Seraphinianus.

    Instead, well… classic crackpot!

  41. #41 David Marjanovi?
    August 30, 2007

    Si tacuisset, philosophus mansisset.

    Could someone who is already an Amazon customer please add the tag “pretentious flapdoodle”?

    The word “flapdoodle” needs more exposure.

    LOL!

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?
    August 30, 2007

    Si tacuisset, philosophus mansisset.

    Could someone who is already an Amazon customer please add the tag “pretentious flapdoodle”?

    The word “flapdoodle” needs more exposure.

    LOL!

  43. #43 Ed Darrell
    August 30, 2007

    Heck, with this kind of notoriety for Pivar, can it be long before the Discovery Institute offers him a position as a “fellow?”

  44. #44 Crudely Wrott
    August 31, 2007

    I feel quite strongly about this episode of Babes in Toyland. That is, the fools whose two-dimensional view of the world and ignorance of basic rules of behavior (demonstrated and codified in common law), are a real and constant threat to constructive, productive and sane society.

    I’ve been reading Ed Brayton’s indictment of Pivar and Little and I posted the following. Thought I’d be so bold as to post it here as well.

    “Bravo and ‘atta boy, Ed. You did most certainly tell them. Your words carry not only the weight of fact and reason but the pent up feelings of so many of us. Your outrage at this display of schoolyard bullying, sophomoric braggadocio and self-centered grandstanding is a welcome, I hope widely heard, retort to the wearisome and tedious jaberwoky that these cretins and their fellow believers never seem to tire of.

    “In standing the Golden Rule on its head these two knuckleheads abuse and trample the goodwill of honest and thoughtful people everywhere. For them to even suggest, for the most fleeting moment, that they would resort to courts and tort to respond to unflattering criticism is not only contrary to the basic tenets of their faiths, but also to everything I ever learned about being human, or civilized, or American.

    “I really don’t want to wish them ill, but I can imagine how good it would feel if I knew that they were roasting in the dread heat of humiliation and dishonor.

    “Thank you for your straight-forward indictment. You are often near eloquent. This time you embody eloquence. Thanks, from many.”

    PZ, I also share with you a fleeting, but needful satisfaction. It’s a good satisfaction. If I associate this feeling with a sound, it would be the sound that a crab’s shell makes within the embrace of the octopus.

  45. #45 vincent fleury
    September 22, 2007

    this comment about myself is complete rubbish:
    “We do have the parallel case here in France, with Vincent Fleury’s “From egg to eternity, the arrow of evolution”, claiming that everything is “physics” in evolution, and Jean Staune, one of the John Templeton Foundation agents, claiming that Fleury’s theory could be a proof that Darwin was wrong, and that Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega point exists.

    Dear Mr Myers this comment by “Oldcola” is defamatory.
    I am a mainstream scientist working normally in a normal lab at Université de Rennes here in France; I do not deserve being scorned like that in any web site, especially yours.
    I claim that the laws of physics impart a much stronger constraint on the possible shapes that nature may evolve, and that pushed to the limits such models show that development is a physical process whose parameters are given by the physical properties of biomolecules. Once the dimensionless form of the development is known, the succession of shapes in the space of geometry may be known, independently of the chronology. I show especailly how skulls are modified as the parameters of the blastula winding change. All quite serious.
    My work, and book, has nothing to do with God, nor with creationism it is just scientific stuff. There is by the way plenty of work now around the question of the mechanical basis of development, see for example the entire issue of International Journal of Devlopment “morphodynamics”
    edited by Belousov and Gordon, Vol. 50, pp77-368 (2006)

    So please either remove this ridiculous and defamatory message by Mr Oldcola, or read my book, or both.
    You should be more careful about the comments you allow on your site, especially when it comes to commenting about people whose name will appear for ever on this site with whatever stupid comment anyone may feel to drop.

    With my best regards

    Vincent Fleury

    by the way I have a web site

    http://wwww.gmcm.univ-rennes1.fr/vincentfleury

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