Peter Irons makes Billy Dembski cry

Peter Irons has again been having way too much fun with creationist shenanigans. Irons, you may recall, is a hot shot west coast lawyer who had a grand time with the Pivar situation, and has lately been nudging Dembski on the case of his misuse of the Harvard/XVIVO animation. Would you believe that Bill Dembski went crying to his lawyer because Irons was making him miserable?

The email exchange is below the fold. John Gilmore is the St Paul lawyer who defended Dembski in the recent Baylor flap, and he does seem to have rather more sense than his client.

First, here’s the email from Dembski to his lawyer, John Gilmore. (You can also see how I ended up with a copy.)

Dear John,

I’ve forwarded a number for Peter Iron’s emails to you in the past.
Below are the two latest. Lately, I have been filtering his messages
without reading them. But the sheer volume of emails that I’ve been
getting from him and the ill-will they convey leave me concerned.
Moreover, I’m not particularly happy that Irons sends them from the
UCSD server, which my tax dollars are indirectly supporting.

In any case, since you are my attorney, I want to make you aware of
this situation and that I’m herewith formally asking Irons no longer
to contact me in any form and that any concerns he may have with me
be taken up directly with you.

I’m copying Peter Irons on this email.

Best wishes,


Poor Bill. And Irons is using a UCSD mail host, which his tax dollars support. And his taxes support the government that built the internet which allows Peter Irons to send him noxious messages! And Peter Irons sleeps the blissful sleep of the just on a bed paid for with his salary as a faculty member at a state university, which means somehow some of Bill’s pennies are providing comfort to his enemies! Wanker.

Of course Peter Irons replies.

Dear Mr. Gilmore,

Bill Dembski has copied me on his recent message to you, regarding emails
I have sent him (or copied him on) that discuss his use of the
Harvard/XVIVO video (without permission of the copyright holder) in his
lecture at Oklahoma University on September 17, 2007, and his removal of a
still from that video in his book, “The Design of Life.”

Significantly, Mr. Dembski has not replied to or challenged any of the
factual statements in my emails to him. These statements are entirely
true. It seems that Mr. Dembsik’s sole complaint is that I have drawn his
actions, regarding the unauthorized use (or attempted use) of the
Harvard/XVIVO video, to his attention and that of other interested
parties, including the video’s producer. What action they take on this
matter is entirely up to them.

I have no connection, by the way, to either Harvard or XVIVO. I have
commented on this issue simply as a concerned private individual.

If Mr. Dembski does feel that I have made untrue and actionable statements
about him, I would appreciate learning from him (or from you) which
statements he has in mind. Until such a communication, to which I will
promptly respond, I remain free to communicate with Mr. Dembski or anyone
else. That’s what the First Amendment is all about.

For your information, I am also a lawyer. I graduated from Harvard Law
School in 1978, have practiced before many state and federal courts, and
am a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you want to send me a “huff and puff” letter on Mr. Dembski’s behalf,
be my guest.

Best wishes,
Peter Irons, Ph.D., J.D.

The cruel Peter Irons then urges Dembski’s lawyers to go after Abbie Smith, who’s even meaner than he is.

Mr. Gilmore,

While you’re at it, why don’t you send a “huff and puff” message to Abbie
Smith? She’s the University of Oklahoma graduate student who “outed”
Dembski’s unauthorized use of the Harvard/XVIVO video at his September 17
lecture, with a post on her blog (“erv blogspot”) on November 20. She has
subsequently blogged (on December 24) about the “Design of Life” snafu.
In these blogs, Ms. Smith has used all kinds of unladylike language
(“lying sac of Creationist Crap,” etc.), which must have hurt Mr.
Dembski’s delicate feelings. That uncouth language, in itself, must be
actionable, at least in Reisel, Texas. Perhaps Ms. Smith should enroll in
the “Submissive Baptist Ladies’ Homemaking” course at SWBTS. This is
sarcasm, of course, just for Mr. Dembski’s information.

Peter Irons

OK, so the lawyer responds. Like I said, he seems much more sensible than Dembski — basically all he says is that there is nothing more to be done, and could everyone please stop picking on poor little Billy.

Dear Counsel:

I’m certain Dr. Dembski appreciates your concern for the copyright
interests of others. I do feel you have rather comprehensively expressed
your views and I see no reason why my client has any obligation to
respond further apart from how he already has.

This matter has been successfully resolved with those who have
standing. There is no need for a huff and puff letter.

I would ask that you respect my client’s desire not to receive
of any kind from you.

Thank you,

John Gilmore

Oh, and he’s not going to harass Abbie Smith. That’s nice, but knowing her, she’d probably howl with glee if some lawyer tried to intimidate her.

Dear Counsel:

Abbie Smith is free to blog in the style and manner she wishes.
I have no reason to contact her and shall not be doing so.


John Gilmore

One last zing from Irons:

Hi Bill,

This is my last message, unless you do something really stupid that
deserves fisking (I always reserve that right). As any lawyer would tell
you (and John Gilmore probably did already), there is nothing he can do
about my earlier messages to you or Abbie Smith’s blog posts. Everything
in them was either factually true or protected opinion. And if you don’t
want to read my messages, don’t open them.


Dembski is so pathetically thin-skinned. I think Peter has forwarded all of his Dembski emails to me; they are carefully written, not at all intimidating in volume, and I don’t believe Dembski is that upset at getting half a dozen email messages — spam is much greater in volume than that. And if he’s that disturbed by the mocking content of Irons’ mail, I’d like to trade places with him: I routinely get threats of harm from his fellow travelers in creationism.


  1. #1 Brownian, OM
    December 26, 2007

    He wrote his lawyer? Where’s a good ol’ heretic-smiting diety when you need one?

  2. #2 Ichthyic
    December 26, 2007

    Dembski is so pathetically thin-skinned.

    more concise and accurate.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    December 26, 2007

    I’d be interested in reading a few of those nice letters from all those fine, upstanding, moral, religious folks who routinely threaten you with death.

    tune in regularly for the “I get mail” threads, and you will.

    he’s posted several already.

  4. #4 Brownian, OM
    December 27, 2007

    I read through Cyde Weys’ blog. Indeed, anyone who celebrates Chrifsmas is no fundie.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    December 27, 2007

    Waterloo, insults, farting Flash animations, the vise and so forth.

    oh yes, let us not forget that wonderfully amicable “vise strategy”, depicted in creative style by a picture of a darwin doll being crushed in a vise.

    but, that was all just “street theatre”.

    btw, Slaveador really liked that vise strategy, was absolutely sure (pre-Dover) that federal judges were going to run a literal inquistion on “darwinists”.

    these people go beyond being demented fuckwits.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    December 27, 2007

    I too have had e-mails with lawyers copied between me and a certain Uncommon Descent moderator (not Dembski) in the past year.

    would this be a certain self-proclaimed auto-didact and ex-Dell patent clerk, by any chance?

  7. #7 Kristine
    December 27, 2007

    would this be a certain self-proclaimed auto-didact and ex-Dell patent clerk, by any chance?

    Ichthyic – who else?

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    December 27, 2007

    As a broad principle, this particular self-proclaimed progressive believes that privacy, while desirable, must on occasion be traded for transparency and accountability, also desirable. But never mind grand principles — playing the “I Get E-Mail” game with fractured ceramic messages is just too much fun!

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    December 27, 2007

    Somebody really needs to make a LOLDembski with the caption, “Noooo! They be takin mah taxez!

  10. #10 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    December 27, 2007

    So Dembski’s own ‘new’ book contains material that damages his position? Dembski did it again.

    And, if anyone goes after ERV, well… I will burn their houses to the ground and sodomize their family pets.

    I’m trying to picture that but, seriously, I come up blank.

    How do you figure that ERV will leave anything substantial to mess with after her rampage?

  11. #11 Blake Stacey
    December 28, 2007

    Hey, new LOLDembski, everybody.

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