Cabin fever is bringing out the best in the believalists.
No précis could begin to do justice to the informatically dense skirmish between the Self and the Mosh. So, with the caveat that this is nothing like what happened, here’s what happened:
1. If you’re immune to Mosher’s charm offensive at the best of times, you really wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
2. Mosh hate Brad. ‘Stupid fuck’ say bad things about Naomi!
3. Naomi good to Mosh. Naomi smell pretty.
4. Naomi not like others. She not make fun of Mosh for lifelong struggle with orthography and syntax.
5. Naomi MOSH FRIEND
In the meantime Steven has started likening me to the failed Democratic candidate, beloved clown and convicted sex-killer John Wayne Gacy.
Mosher forgets, if he ever knew, one of the rules of debating. There’s actually a downside to comparing people to psychopathic rapists and murderers just because you don’t like losing: if the simile isn’t plausible, you’re the one who comes across as a couple of islands short of an archipelago.
He might be an angry, lonely phenomenon in the Seoul hotel he’s holed up in for 14 days, but he’s not an isolated one.
In the space of hours I rubbernecked two similar incidents on the Twittobahn which seem to demonstrate that an epidemic of (demotically speaking) demented demeanor is now endemic to the dysangelist demagogocracy. Not even their demiurge Oreskes is immune.
The first thing I noticed was that Naomi was spruiking a new book. The title is certainly a chutzpacious choice of words for an author who’s spent a career hiding her contempt for all things scientific. I can’t decide if it’s a stroke of criminal genius or she’s trying to get caught.
— NaomiOreskes (@NaomiOreskes) May 15, 2020
The book review she links to even includes a hilarious vignette of domestic strife. Let me stress that the following words aren’t mine. It’s pure Katherine Oktober Matthews. Any parody of persons living or dead is accidental. I didn’t write this shit, in other words. I just bolded some bits.
The question Naomi Oreskes poses as the title of her latest book, Why Trust Science?, is a provocative one: I know this, because after the book arrived and I laid it on the coffee table, my partner bristled silently at the sight of it, and let his indignance [sic] stew for several days before confronting me about the implications behind the question. One clearly believes in favor of science, and thus does not need to ask the question, or one is against science, and is asking the question to sow distrust and probably to promote Young Earth creationism or faith healing.
What a sweet couple. It’s always heartwarming to be reminded there’s someone for everyone, no matter how intellectually defective.
The review goes on to reveal the laughable aim of Why Trust Science?: to help you convince your neighbors “that they should get their children vaccinated, floss their teeth, and act to prevent climate change.” One throbbingly obvious problem with this to-do list leaps to mind. But perhaps you need to be familiar with science and ethics to notice it—which gives Oreskes at least two excuses.
Someone called Andre replied to Naomi, and I to Andre, and Andre to me:
I don’t know who you are, don’t really care either. If you’re a climate denier and can’t be insulted out of my existence, I can think of other ways of making you disappear.
Please do us all a favour and go drown yourself. I’ll be happy to provide the water.
— Andre Sobolewski (@AndreSobolewski) May 15, 2020
In encouraging news, such encouragements were strongly discouraged by Richard Betts, a climate scientist whose displays of honor and affability have a habit of annoying my prejudices.
Andre, it’s not acceptable to tell someone else to “go drown yourself”
I’ve reported your tweet for encouraging self-harm or suicide
If your aim is to encourage society to act to stop climate change, this kind of thing does *not* help. You just destroy your own credibility.
— Richard Betts (@richardabetts) May 16, 2020
As I mentioned, this plague of boils goes all the way to the bottom, where Oreskes, the evilest believalist conceivable, lies coiled in the darkness, guarding a golden hoard with napalm breath.
Willie soon alerted me to an outburst straight from the Sarlacc’s maw, which one has to assume is intended as a burn at Willis Eschenbach’s expense:
While we’re regressing to playground polemics, let me state clearly that Professor Oreskes herself has never scraped the bottom of the barrel. She’s been far too busy clawing at the sides of the abortion bucket.
But they say you should never look a gif horse in the mouth. So I took advantage, four or five times, of the chance to hold up a mirror to the demogorgon. For example:
I salute you, .@NaomiOreskes, for speaking up for young people everywhere. It’s YOUR generation that will ultimately pay the bill for OUR treatment of Earth.
I just hope you didn’t have to miss much school to tweet your brave, not-at-all-fallacious attack on Eschenbach. pic.twitter.com/AhXwWxc3hx
— Climate Nuremberg (@BradPKeyes) May 20, 2020
As an extremely young and good-looking person of woman, have you ever found that other pseudoscientists fail to really take you as seriously as you deserve?
For all its progress towards equality, is pseudoscience still—ultimately—a boys’ club? pic.twitter.com/fIlquceuvw
— Climate Nuremberg (@BradPKeyes) May 20, 2020
Nor is this the first time Oreskes has stooped to the Appeal to Youth, or Argument from Argumentative Bankruptcy. Who can forget the day her impotent jealousy of Freeman Dyson boiled over in front of a live audience?
Answer: just about everyone.
So let me act, once again, in my familiar rôle as both cultural memory and collective conscience to mankind by recapitulating.
At the 2011 L.A. Book Festival, an audience member asked Oreskes why Freeman Dyson wasn’t swallowing Teh Science. If this anonyperson was hoping to embarrass Oreskes, she cunningly stole his thunder by embarrassing herself.
“It’s important to realize that he’s now, 90? 92?,” she says.
Sensing where this is going, fellow Dyson-baiter Tim Farris tries to interrupt: “He’s very sharp…”
But Oreskes would rather miss the turnoff to the Chappaquiddick ferry than take directions from a man.
“I think it’s important,” she barrels on, “that, again, journalists especially need to understand, scientists are people like everybody else. They get lonely, they crave attention and especially scientists who have been very famous in their earlier period of life and I think sometimes it’s hard for them when they start to lose the limelight so I think we’ve seen that phenomenon here.”
There was nothing sarcastic about the opening sentence of my post.
I just hope that after the pandemic is over the believalists will stay every bit as frank as they are today. Guilelessness is the tribute virtue pays to vice, and their proneness to letting their N95s slip is probably their only charming (if not redeeming) trait.
How can you stay mad at a Naomi or an Andre who, for all their deformities of character, is an open book—or sewer?
Besides, when two grownups hate each other very much, hate speech is not only an inalienable right but a positive duty. That’s why the door to my office, online and offline, is always open. If someone wishes me ill, I hope they’ll feel emotionally and physically safe to say so. Apart from anything else, it’s a courtesy. As any obedience trainer will tell you, even the most sociopathic Shihtzoodle deserves a treat yipping before it nips.
Much as I appreciated the impulse behind Professor Betts’ intervention, penalizing people like Sobolewski for being honest isn’t the solution.
Typical bloody Richard, standing up for decency 🙂
But there’s still the hard question: where such anger comes from. Even if people don’t *express* it, how did we get to a point where people *feel* things like that—towards opponents in an ostensibly scientific disagreement?
— Climate Nuremberg (@BradPKeyes) May 16, 2020
UPDATE Although I’m on record opposing evolution, my views on hate speech have certainly evolved over the years, and I can’t help but think they’re much better now. Perhaps I was too hard on Darwin. Did I say years? It was mere months ago that I wrote the following, rather primitive answer at Quora:
No, because hate speech leads to hate thought, and that is a negative emotional state, one you have no right to be in.
I was one of the principal people who convinced Greta Thunberg the world was in imminent danger of climate collapse, whatever that word salad means, but obviously I’d never be gullible enough to do anything about the “problem” myself.
For this, I was subjected to embarrassment and moral opprobrium on a world stage when she voiced the sadness and anger of her generation at my hypocrisy, and ever since then people have been asking me “how dare you?”
As a human, I have a human right to do whatever I want without the danger of being ridiculed, criticised or disliked.
No matter how sad and angry I make you, too bad. According to proposed hate speech legislation, you have to keep it to yourself. And rightly so.