Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Silencing Dissent

Over at The Constructive Curmudgeon, the following post has appeared last night:

I congratulated John Stockwell on the official ban (unofficial bans have been enforced for quite some time by the Curmudgeon, who has refused to post any of my comments for some time now.) He replied to me, and I believe him, that he has not sent the Curmudgeon anything inflammatory lately, and that he has simply rebutted a quote "from Denton's book 'Evolution: Theory in crisis' for being the strawman argument that it is."

John, if you are reading this and would rather I removed it, simply email me.

Mr. Groothuis: if you see this and would like to explain why Stockwell has been banned from posting comments on your blog, you are welcome to do so. I know you think that others are guilty of ad-hominem attacks on you that you would never employ against others, and I disagree. Just consider your mean-spirited, unchristian attacks on President Obama or liberals in general. I have often accused you of applying a double-standard on your blog. When I have called you a hypocrite I may have been unkind, but not off-the-mark. I stand by my accusations, which I have substantiated on several occasions.

Regardless, you will never be censored on my blog, unlike me or John on yours. Aside from the obvious fact that you have much more traffic than I do, I am much more proud of how handle things over here: If I disagree with you, you are still welcome to air your views and your grievances, and if you do it rudely, then I think my readers will draw their conclusions on each one of us by themselves.

A conservative academic suppressing debate? Isn't that what you conservatives accuse liberals of doing to you from their liberal enclaves and Ivy League universities? In fact, your own accusations go well beyond. Let me quote you:

"Those who have advocated ID or even allowed its ideas some voice in their classroom or in their journals have been excommunicated by the Darwinian priesthood." Or, again:

"The Darwinists are seldom open to honest give-and-take debate; instead, they typically reject ID as anti-scientific and ban it from public forums."

(To refresh your memory, both quotes are from your review of Expelled.)

I savor the irony.


The post has now disappeared from The Constructive Curmudgeon. Either John Stockwell's permission to post has been reinstated (which I highly doubt) or Groothuis has decided it's better not to leave any traces of censorship. Oh well, that's why I feel I have to keep an eye on him.


John Stockwell said...

It's interesting. I believe that this was
in response to one or both of these messages that I attempted to post on Groothuis' blog.

Groothuis' posted a quote
from Michael Denton's book _Evolution a Theory in Crisis_

“The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle."--Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 264.

I attempted to post a reply to the effect that this is a strawman argument that does not characterize the view of the scientific community on the subject of the origin of life.

The other possible reason for this ban was a reply to a post on Groothuis' blog
entitled "Another outtake from What Matters Most" wherein, Groothuis'
quoted that serial mass murderer "repented of his crimes" in an interview
with James Dobson.

I pointed out to Groothuis that Ted Bundy was a sociopath, whose "repent" was as likely as phoney as the things that he said to lure his victims.

(I mean, really, are you going to believe
that Ted Bundy has found Jesus and is a new man? Get real. Bundy was trying to gather support to keep from being executed.)

I don't know which of these items was so terrible as to rate a ban. I guess that Dr. Truth, can't handle the truth when it is told to him.

Sirfab said...


I believe the account of the comments you gave here. Even though it is not verbatim, I have read enough of your comments to know that you stick to the issues and do not resort to ad-hominem attacks.

The funny thing is, I always held, the mission statement of The Constructive Curmudgeon's Blog: "Being a curmudgeon has nothing to do with rudeness or incivility, but means the willingness to sniff out the truth and expose lies and spin as best one can." For a while, Groothuis had appended the following sentence at the end: "At least, that's the intent", or something to that effect. He must have realized that additional sentence just highlighted the hypocrisy, and has since deleted it.

Apparently, it is Groothuis's view the definition of incivility does not include censoring those who disagree with him. And if being a curmudgeon entails "the willingness to sniff out the truth and expose lies and spin as best one can" then either he is not a curmudgeon himself, or he needs to a boost of his sniffing and his exposure powers.


Tom said...

Hey Fab. It does seem that these days Doug's blog is forum for Doug to say what he wants to say (increasingly that means mostly talking points from the right)and not a place for discussion. But that's his right. People have blogs for lots of different reasons and if wants a public space to voice his views, more power to him. Still, I miss the days when there was lively discussion there.

John Stockwell said...

I noticed that my official statement of excommunication from
has disappeared.

Sanitization? Forgiveness? Morning after guilt?
Who can say?

Sirfab said...

Tom, good to have you back.

I do not buy for a minute the "People have blogs for lots of different reasons and if wants a public space to voice his views, more power to him" argument. The Constructive Curmudgeon masquerades as a forum where rational discussion on pseudo-scientific topics takes place, but he is every bit as extreme in his pro-ID, anti-evolution arguments as Ken Ham is, only he does not have the courage to go all the way. Dissenting opinions are censored for the most part, even when expressed with civility. It is not a place for rational discussion, it is a place of indoctrination.

His anti-Obama screeds are quite pathetic. He leaves no stone uncast, which is all the more ironic for a Christian.

Since Groothuis instituted his comment moderation policy, very few dissenting opinion are published and, when they are, he shuts down the comment feature when a) he gets the sense that people oppose his original post, and b) when it becomes obvious that he exposes doctrinal arguments and is incapable of responding rationally. I had little respect for the man to begin with, now I have close to none.

Hope all is well with you.

Sirfab said...


I vote for sanitization. It just made him look foolish and he decided to take it down.

Whatever the case, it was a silly thing to post to begin with.

Take care.

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