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In which the tribulations of Myers should have me absolutely shivering with glee. . . August 21, 2007

Posted by Administrator in Blogging, Idiots, Pharyngulism.
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. . .but alas, they do not.

Noted blogtwit PZ Myers is being sued by a wealthy New York businessman, Stuart Pivar. Seems that Pivar wrote a book some time ago that Myers savagely trashed not once but twice. Pivar claims that Myers descended into malicious libel, claiming that PZ called Pivar a “crackpot”. (Pot, meet kettle. . .)

Now, Myers is not helping himself, as he is opening his mouth again while being sued, commenting on material relevant to the suit (bad,bad idea):

Since I’m a blogger, though, I can’t completely shut up (we’ve known this for some time -Admin). I will just say that this is Pivar’s attempt to squash a negative review of his book, which I posted here. Nothing in the review was motivated by personal malice, and I actually am inclined to favor structuralist arguments in evolution … but I’m afraid my honest assessment of Pivar’s work is that it does not support his conclusions. I still stand by my review, and now I’m a bit disturbed that someone would think criticism of a scientific hypothesis must be defended by silencing its critics.

The man simply does not know when to shut his foaming gob.  Even his noted (and often rational) sycophant Blake Stacey is telling Myers to be quiet.

 Prof. Myers’ wisest course of action may be to “shut up,”

Indeed.  But something deep inside me tells me that he is too stubborn and stupid to do so.

All that said, and much as I take non-Christian delight in seeing Myers squirm. . .

I am going to have to go out on the ramparts and state that Pivar’s suit appears to be badly formulated, frivolous and counter-productive. I have three large objections:

  • Pivar has named Seed magazine as a co-defendant, apparently for giving Myers his forum at Pharyngula. I hate to see Seed penalized, as it also sponsors such goodness as Cognitive Daily. Just because Myers is an idiot doesn’t mean that all of his fellow sciencebloggers are likewise idiots.
  • There’s damn little room for a claim of libel here. Myers is certainly malicious in much of what he says, but it is damned near impossible to prove that what he foams on about in Pharyngula as being libelous from a legal standpoint. Additionally, Pivar is a public figure, and that fact makes it even more difficult to prove libel.
  • Finally, it appears to me that Pivar is bent out of shape because Myers didn’t like his book, and consequently is trying to silence a critic. Using the tort system to silence a critic, if successful, presents ominous overtones for the ongoing health of the First Amendment. Pivar may have a point; but this is not the way to go about arguing it.

So, much to my sadness, I have to side -however reluctantly- with PZ on this one. I would like to see that this might inject a badly and long-overdue dose of humility into PZ; but that ain’t gonna happen.

What’s worse, once this is thrown out of court, Myers will strut about with increased arrogance and self-righteousness, becoming even more unbearably pompous, if that were even possible.

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