P Z Myers has a new book coming out tomorrow. Whatever can he do to get the attention he needs to help sell it?
Well, it looks like his best idea is to accuse a scientist better known than himself, Michael Shermer, of rape, based on the testimony of an anonymous source.
I say testimony, but there’s no guarantee that there is such a source, and the entire thing may be fabricated, but even if we take Myers story at face value, he can’t know that the accusation is true, as he doesn’t know the person who told it. He has said that someone he knows and trusts has vouched for the accuser, but why should anyone else trust his judgement? He has form, after all.
Rape is a horrible crime, and I have no wish to downplay its seriousness. If Shermer is guilty, he should pay. But what if he isn’t. By making the accusation public (on a blog with a far wider reach than this one) Myers risks destroying someone’s life.
But even if Shermer is guilty, and everything Myers has said is true, the anonymous accuser has said that she wants to maintain that anonymity. If Shermer decides to employ some sort of litigation, Myers’ only defence may be to name his source.
Any way you look at this, Myers has betrayed somebody, and all on the basis of his faith in an unverified story.
Some scientist he is.
Michael Shermer has reacted to Myers’ blog post, via his lawyer. Myers initially put the lawyer’s letter on his blog, as if it was a badge of honour, but then removed it, possibly as a result of legal advice.
In the letter in the following link, it is made clear that the offending post should be removed but, at the time of writing, it’s still up. It seems, for now, that Myers has decided to brazen it out, no doubt bolstered by his sycophantic PZombies, commenting on his blog.
Myers’ original post, with the accusations, is still up as of August 14th, but he has closed the comments, so his PZombies can’t add any more to his legal woes. His own comment, announcing the closure of the thread, suggests he’s determined to go down fighting:
Is Myers preparing for a devastating loss with his latest post?
The original, offending post is still up, by the way, past the deadline he was given by Shermer’s lawyer.
- I got your ‘grenade’ right here… (alstefanelli.com)
- Michael Shermer is Latest to Be Demonized (atheistrev.com)
- More Internet Vigilantism as Shermer Accused of Rape (atheistrev.com)
- Does PZ Myers have Asperger’s syndrome? (blankex.blogspot.co.uk)