Net.hate

There are few things that Richard Dawkins and Matt Nisbet agree about regarding science communication in the internets, but apparently there’s a general consensus that you’re a douchebag.

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I haven’t got strong feelings on the RichardDawkins.net forum shutdown. Dawkins is right that people were dicks to him and his staff, but the self-righteousness of this opening to his announcement doesn’t engender sympathy:

Imagine that you, as a greatly liked and respected person, found yourself overnight subjected to personal vilification on an unprecedented scale, from anonymous commenters on a website.

Yes, let us all try to imagine someone being mean on the web …

Gee that was easy. Not even that hard to imagine someone talking trash about “a greatly liked and respected person.” Especially, I must say, if that person has a history of vilifying his own opponents.

Comments

  1. #1 gplaine
    February 25, 2010

    Actually, people were not rude _to_ him or his staff, they were rude about one member of his staff, after that memember of staff had sorely tried their patience. I’d suggest starting

    Here

    and then moving to http://rationalia.com/forum/index.php where the out of context comments in the ‘Outrage’ post were quote mined from.
    It’s a little late in the day to be working from information that is over 24 hours old…

  2. #2 James
    February 25, 2010

    A concise summary of events from the “other side”, from a former moderator on the boards. This represents a pretty accurate timeline.

    http://realityismyreligion.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/locked-entry-will-open-soon/

  3. #3 Marion Delgado
    February 25, 2010

    Beyond a certain point, it’s an honor, really. One guy with a denialism blog (mainly climate, but kind of everything-denial) said I was a serial killer, the Unabomber, and one of the 7 reasons global warming was false (along with al gore and a couple of bloggers).

    This reminds me of E.O. Wilson’s moment in the 70s I think – anyway, he had a speech disrupted by the PLP, which is a fringe group dedicated to disrupting as many other groups as they can manage. A lot of sociobiologists who were also conservatives tried to blame the liberal Marxist ideology of Gould and Lewontin for that disruption. Wilson himself didn’t seem to push that, but he said the disrupters were representative of the campus left, which is like saying Scientologists represent the campus religious community.

  4. #4 gplaine
    February 25, 2010

    A resounding silence from the main commentator.

  5. #5 Josh Rosenau
    February 25, 2010

    gplaine: I take your point about working from outdated information, I suppose, but my point is hardly to adjudicate the right and wrong of the RD.net drama. The RD.net posting doesn’t make it clear that Josh Timonen, not Richard Dawkins, was the target of the mean words on the internet. Indeed, that’s not the most natural reading of the quoted passage.

    I appreciate your and James’ additional linkage here, and urge people who want to learn the finer points about the RD.net conflict to check those sources.

  6. #6 D J Wray
    February 25, 2010

    Mr Dawkins has discovered something about human nature.

    D J Wray
    http://www.atotalawareness.com
    “Every insult on every Internet forum is a clear confirmation of the primitive forces driving human behavior.”

  7. #7 Jeremy
    February 26, 2010

    Yes, let us all try to imagine someone being mean on the web …

    Gee that was easy. Not even that hard to imagine someone talking trash about “a greatly liked and respected person.” Especially, I must say, if that person has a history of vilifying his own opponents.

    Bingo.

  8. #8 HughMcB
    February 26, 2010

    Anyone cast out by the recent collapse of Richard Dawkins Forum may be reunited with old friends at; http://www.rationalskepticism.org/index.php
    Get the full story on what happened as told by RDF volunteers and members at: http://www.rationalskepticism.org/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=454

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