Hypocrisy on the hoof

Dembski seems to be losing it. Or maybe he always has been, but regular observers seem to think he’s getting worse. There’s the whole fart joke, which we’re too dignified to discuss. But there’s also a little matter of really pathetic hypocrisy. To wit:

From December 18:

Since Richard Dawkins thinks he has the right to reprint my letters to him by posting them over the Internet (go here), I’ll assume the same privilege applies to me.

That’s (in the technical sense) bullshit. That ‘Since’ is misleading, as is the clause it introduces. That makes it sound as if Dembski wouldn’t dream of publishing or posting other people’s emails to him, except that Dawkins posted one of his so now the rule is overthrown. That is brazenly, shamelessly misleading. Dembski himself posted the emails of a third party, emails that were not to him, without permission, last February. You may remember. I did some comments on the matter here. Michael Ruse emailed Daniel Dennett, there was a short exchange, then Ruse sent the whole exchange to Dembski, who promptly posted all of it on Uncommon Descent. As far as observers knew, Dembski didn’t have permission to post the exchange, but at the time we didn’t actually know that. However, I later emailed all three parties in order to pin down the facts for a news feature for TPM, so I no longer have to say ‘As far as I know…’ Ruse admitted (cheerfully and unrepentently) that he hadn’t asked Dennett for permission to send the exchange to Dembski, Dennett told me he hadn’t given anyone permission to send or post it, and Dembski…Ah well, Dembski now. Maybe there was an email breakdown. Twice. Or maybe not. At any rate, I asked Dembski, twice, why he hadn’t asked Dennett for permission to publish his emails to Ruse, and I got no reply. Maybe my emails never reached Dembski. Or maybe his never reached me. Or maybe he just didn’t reply. If so, why? Well…especially in the light of what he says about Dawkins in that post…probably because he knows perfectly well it’s at the very least not good manners to publish someone else’s emails on the internet without permission. It’s doubly not good manners when the emails in question are not even addressed to oneself but are addressed to a third party. If I email Sally and Sally emails me and then sends our correspondence to Jane, Jane has a damn nerve if she then publishes the exchange on her website without damn well asking me first. So unless in fact there was a surprise double email failure, it seems reasonable to think that Dembski didn’t reply to my two emails asking him why he published Dennett’s emails to Ruse without permission because he couldn’t think of anything to say. What could he say? ‘Because I’m so rude’? ‘Because I wanted to’? ‘Because I’m a Christian so all’s fair’? ‘Because Dennett’s an atheist and that pisses me off so I don’t have to be polite’? ‘I forgot’?

Well, whatever the reason, that’s what happened. He published the exchange, on his website, without asking the other party to the exchange. I thought that was remarkably unpleasant behavior, and I said so at the time. Now here he is bleating about Dawkins publishing emails that Dembski sent (unsolicited, just as Ruse’s to Dennett were) to Dawkins. There’s no third party involved, so Dembski committed a much grosser violation of etiquette himself less than a year ago, yet he has the nerve to complain now. He did it again yesterday:

Richard Dawkins continues to publish my past emails to him without permission and I continue to return the favor.

Without permission. Does he. He publishes your past emails to him; you published Dennett’s emails not to you but to someone else, without permission, yet now you kick up a fuss.

The guy has no shame.

It was a bit unnerving recently to see that he apparently reads B&W. I hope he read the comments about him and felt very hot around the face.

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