Waist-deep in the moral slime

I wasn’t going to inflict any more Mooney-Kirshenbaum nonsense on you, but now Mooney (at least) has taken a couple more steps further into the moral slime, and I feel it My Duty to record the fact. I think it’s time to declare Chris Mooney officially morally bankrupt. He’s not just wrong – he’s doing bad things.

On that post I criticized on Monday, a commenter announced that I was lying.

When Ophelia Benson claims through her “questions” that Chris and Sheril have no evidence she is not telling the truth. It’s one thing for people who haven’t read the book to assert this – she has the book.
So let me say that again and more emphatically: She is lying.

Here is the question from her own site: “How do you know overt atheism causes people to be hostile to science? How does that work? What is your evidence?”
From page 173 to page 185 there are detailed endnotes with citations to back up the assertions in Chapter 8. [details of citations] It’s one thing to disagree with the premises the authors put forward. That’s fine – you’ve provided links to reasonable reviews that do disagree with parts of your book.

Benson doesn’t just disagree. She lies and asserts that they have nothing to back up their assertions.

You know (if you’re regular readers, at least) how loaded that language is. You know we don’t allow people to use that language here because it could get us (or, worse, just Jeremy) sued. That fact hints at a certain moral weight to the language. That’s not news – duels have been fought and brawls have been brawled over such language. I take very strong exception to the accusation. The notorious flamer John Kwok repeatedly accused me of lying (on the same kinds of grounds, i.e. ridiculously flimsy) last week, and I emailed SK to say please delete (it was her thread), and she did. This time things went differently. One, I did a couple of posts denying the charge and explaining what was wrong with the claim. Two, I emailed both bloggers to say please delete.

The comments were blocked; the email was ignored.

I emailed again later, after other comments were let out of moderation and posted (one can tell because new comments appear interleaved with old ones); I also tried again to post the comments. Still nothing.

I tried to comment in reply to people addressing me, this morning, and was unable even to do that – so I tried to post a comment saying ‘Good morning. Have a nice day’ and was unable to do that. So this is the state of play: a libelous comment announcing that I am lying sits there, and my denials are blocked, and I am now apparently banned entirely.

That’s morally disgusting. And there’s no way to get it on the record other than by saying it here, so I’m saying it here. Chris Mooney is morally bankrupt.

Here are the comments I made, that Mooney won’t let me post:

It’s libelous to say that people are lying when they’re not. I’m not lying. It’s not lying to ask questions. I’ve read the endnotes (obviously), and I’ve never said that M & K don’t have references; I’ve said they don’t offer evidence or argument. So have other people. So far, M&K haven’t offered any, they’ve just repeated their assertions.

Notice I’ve never said M & K are lying. I’ve flatly contradicted them at times, for instance when they claimed that Chris “tried to engage in a civil debate with Dr. Coyne” – but I’ve never said they are lying. That’s because I don’t know that they are – for all I know they believe every word they say.


“From page 173 to page 185 there are detailed endnotes with citations to back up the assertions in Chapter 8.”

I’ve just gone through them again. There are citations and some attempts at argument, but they don’t back up all the assertions in chapter 8. In particular they don’t back up the one I asked about in the question you quote. I didn’t ask ‘how do you know science and religion are compatible?’ As you point out, I asked ‘How do you know overt atheism causes people to be hostile to science? How does that work? What is your evidence?’ The citations and attempts at argument in the endnotes don’t back up that assertion. It looks to me as if M and K think that assertion is so self-evidently true that they didn’t need to back it up – in other words that it never occurred to them to back it up because it never occurred to them that it was an assertion. They appear to think it’s just an obvious fact.

That’s it. As you can see – there’s nothing salacious or blasphemous or libelous, or even rude or repetitive or conspicuously tedious, at least not compared to comments by several regulars there. Yet I’m not allowed to say it – even though it is in response to a baseless charge that I am lying.

To repeat – this is morally disgusting.

Barbara Drescher tells another story of Mooney’s Short Way With Dissenters.

(I’m not including SK in this because she did delete the accusations of lying last week.)

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