Responding to my first blog critic

Some guy name Timothy with a blog is having fantasies about he and I having a “blog-duel” over my post “Contradictory stories from the ID crowd on the Expelled incident“.I don’t want to have a duel with an apparently unarmed man so I will respond once and then he can say whatever he likes.

Me: Over at Post-Darwinist, Denyse O’Leary is quoting Expelled producer Mark Mathis as admitting that he…

Timothy: Troy makes the following assertions regarding Denyse O’Leary’s post:

Someone has reading comprehension problems. I made no assertion about Denyse’s post, I noted that she quotes a statement from Expelled producer Mark Mathis from who she says wrote to her. That quote I believe expresses the true reason for his expelling Myers from the screening.

O’Leary: March 24, 2008: Update note from line producer Mark Mathis, who writes me to say:

“You should know that I invited Michael shermer to a screening at NRB in Nashville. He came and is writing a review for scientific American. I banned pz because I want him to pay to see it. Nothing more. “

I then noted that in this, apparently private communication with Ms. O’Leary, Mathis says nothing about Myers being uninvited, or sneaking in, or gate-crashing, but instead expresses that his expelling Myers was only because he wished to make Myers pay to see the film. A film that Myers (and several others) was tricked into being interviewed for; a film in which he appears; and a film in which he is thanked in the credits.

Timothy: Yet it seems quite obvious for those who have read the post that this is not the case at all. It also seems from the choice of quotes in O’Leary’s post, that both is the case.

I wasn’t quoting the totality of the post given that the post is a running update on miscellaneous claims from the ID creationist crowd attacking Myers and defending the producer. The difference as I see it is that nearly all of those other statements are public comments attempting to spin the Myers incident in the producers favor. I believe this statement is significant because it was written by Mathis directly to Ms. O’Leary (a fellow traveler) not to the press or the public and therefore, as I said, is probably the whole truth, striped of spin, that Mathis merely wanted Myers “…to pay to see it. Nothing more.”

Timothy: PZ is an uninvited gatecrasher, and Mathis kicked PZ out for irony’s sake.

Mathis kicked Myers “out for irony’s sake”? That is funny. There is certainly a lot of irony in this incident but it is in having the producer of a film that complains about “viewpoint discrimination” expelling someone from a screening of the film because he doesn’t like their viewpoint.

Timothy: From O’Leary’s cited post I quote:
Mathis calmly responded by explaining that Myers had simply not been an invited guest to this free preview and pointed out the fact that he could pay to see the movie after its release.

(He also joked that he enjoyed the idea of Myers paying $8.00 to see the movie along with everyone else).

Is this a contradiction? No. The charge of contradiction here makes no sense at all. So… why did Troy claim there was a contradiction?

The contradiction is between all the spin reasons for Myers expulsion (no ticket, not on the invite list, he was being disruptive etc.) and Mathis “banned” Myers from the screening because he “…want him to pay to see it. Nothing more.”

What part of “nothing more” do you find difficult to comprehend Tim?

noth·ing

1 : not any thing : no thing <leaves nothing to the imagination>

2 : no part

3 : one of no interest, value, or consequence <they mean nothing to me>

more

1 : greater <something more than she expected>

2 : additional, further <more guests arrived>

Do you get it now?

Me: Huh, Dave, it’s a web-page, a public web-page (you can find it by searching Google for “expelled” and “events”). No password protection or anything, in fact you just linked to part of it right there (go ahead everybody click on it) and the invitation is on the parent page which says:

Timothy: but wait this fact was even explained on the page he quoted from. (to be fair, the addendum may have been added a few hours later.)

I freely admit that I was mistaken there, and I have already said so in a later post on my investigation into the various Expelled RSVP pages. And the addendum was in fact added later.

Timothy: The RSVP form is explained above. For the invitations, see this post and its comments.

And that invitation was posted on at least one public website (probably two), again see my post on investigating the RSVP pages.

Timothy: I think it is ironic that Troy accuses DaveScot of having no evidence, when ol PZ can’t even produce his invitation. …if he really had one, it shouldn’t be to difficult should it?

That is because, ID creationist spinning aside, there was no physical invitation, and the fact that the online RSVP asked for respondents, names, addresses, phone number and e-mail address, makes this clear. As does the fact that Dawkins, Myers family and several others with them were not expelled for equally lacking an invitation.

Myers was not the target demographic (those likely to sympathize with the films message) but it was obviously not an exclusive, predetermined guest list, event. If you think that is splitting hairs then I can live with that. Whatever social faux pas Myer may have committed by taking advantage of the producers system of advertising for the screenings pales in comparison to the pettiness of expelling him from a movie in which he appears and is thanked in the credits. Not to mention all the half-truths and outright falsehoods propagated in the film itself.

Timothy: But PZ just has to be telling the truth… he wouldn’t mislead anyone… would he?

Don Frack, P.Z. Myers, and me
Don Frack, P.Z. Myers and myself

I am acquainted with P. Z. Myers, I have met him once in person (myself and a small group spent a day with him going to Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, the George C. Page Museum at La Brea tar pits, and had dinner with him that evening), I consider him a colleague in the struggle against the anti-science/anti-reason movement(s), but I am not by any means a sycophant of his.

For starters I would fall definitely to the right of him politically and I would probably question some of his tactics (mostly how he says things sometimes), but I have as yet been given no reason to think that he is a liar.

On the other hand antievolutionists, in my personal experience (over 15 yearsin the creation/evolution debate), are as a group; deluded, ignorant or dishonest or some combination thereof.

So yes, barring hardcore evidence to the contrary, which I have not seen in this case (it has mostly been the opposite) I would take Myers word over the producers of this film (or any of their antievolutionist allies) any day.

Timothy: Here I actually agree, according to an Eyewitness he was causing trouble, and Mathis wanted to use the situation to demonstrate his own actions to him, this is why it is soo incredibly ironic that he put up such a fuss that it was heard all over the blogosphere… for such a little thing.

The claims that Myers was somehow being disruptive are contradicted by a number of other eyewitnesses as well as the nearly universal experience of people who have ever met him in person. Again baring solid evidence (and unsupported testimonials of antievolutionists doesn’t rise to that), I am going to go take Myers word (and the word of those who accompanied him to the screening) on this.

Timothy: I also believe that Dave posted before Denyse, so speaking of wild ideas, you want him to predict the future now apparently.

Actually Ms. O’Leary posted a link to her page (“Today at the Post-Darwinist: New stuff on the Expelled screening plus more” on Uncommon Descent one post down and prior to DaveScot’s (that was how I found it).

Me: This is really funny to anyone who has ever met P. Z. (and I have) or heard him speak. He might get a bit rowdy in print sometimes but in person he is a fairly quiet and soft spoken gentleman, and there is zero evidence that he was acting otherwise at the theater.

Timothy: Actually I, and most courts do qualify eyewitnesses as evidence, furthermore, it would be silly and unreasaonable for someone only aquainted with the abrasive and brash side of this fellow to assume he would act so differently in such a provocative setting. So please excuse me if I maintain an aire of skepticism about that.

And eyewitnesses are human and imperfect with biases, prejudices and agendas. I know Myers better than you and I know people who know Myers better than you. I also have an abundant experience with antievolutionists, if an antievolutionists tells me the sky is blue I go outside and check. If you wish to believe, based on nothing but testimonials of other antievolutionists (and in spite of Mathis’s admission to the contrary), that Myers was being disruptive, knock yourself out.

Me: No Dave, real men don’t make shit up, imply that others are dishonest and accusing them of wrongdoing in order to try and justify the petty behavior of their own allies.

Timothy: Quite frankly, Dave was “in the know” here.

Dave wasn’t there and is a notoriously untrustworthy source of information, even for an antievolutionist.

Timothy: I believe it is you that are “making stuff up” so to speak.

I was possibly mistaken about one thing, which I have already admitted and corrected but I have presented nothing as fact that I have “made up”. You are welcome believe what you like or to try and prove otherwise.

Timothy: This sort of “ID is my favorite whipping boy” attitude does not really become one to be lecturing people about objectivity.

Actually young earth creationists are my preferred “whipping boy”, because A) they deserve it (remember that is a metaphor), and B) unlike ID creationists make plenty of testable claims. ID creationism can be succinctly boiled down to “evolutionary theory sucks, therefore God did it”.

Timothy: That said, it appears your “contradictory stories” contention has fallen flat.

I am willing to let my readers be the judge of that.

5 thoughts on “Responding to my first blog critic

  1. I can’t believe that this guy is having a go at you for mixing up the RSVP sites — a mistake which many people made, which you admitted right away, which you corrected, and then went to considerable trouble to get to the bottom of in your follow-up post — yet he is willing to overlook the glaring inconsistencies in the stories from the Expelled team. Inconsistencies, I might add, that still haven’t been addressed, and were only added to after they hired the CRC public-relations damage-control team to write a press release for them.

    “Playing Chess with Pigeons” — it’s a damn good analogy. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth the increase in entropy in the universe to reply to these dicks.

  2. “I can’t believe that this guy is having a go at you for mixing up the RSVP sites — a mistake which many people made, which you admitted right away, which you corrected, and then went to considerable trouble to get to the bottom of in your follow-up post —”
    There was no follow up post when I made my rebuttle to him. Get your facts straight.

  3. Interesting. I would call the anti-science, anti-reason, anti-logic, anti-truth, religious-fairy-tale-philosopher evolutionists deluded, ignorant, dishonest LIARS!!! Let’s face it. Evolutionists are dangerous fanatics who won’t think twice about stooping to any level to spread their lies. Evolution is NOT science. There is NO evidence for evolution. Evolution is a RELIGION, a PHILOSOPHY, and a FAIRY TALE. Evolutionists are idiots who lack formal sense and simple logic. They refer to their imaginations as “science” while continually avoiding what REAL science continues to level against them.

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