(Or at least a pretty bad confabulator)

Links to comments of posts on ScienceBlogs may be broken since it was acquired by National Geographic, but screenshots of most of these comments are in the files attached below.

Introduction

Suppose that you are an atheist blogger with a penchant for being inflammatory who says, "Now, define 'strident'. Near as I can tell, it's simply being an atheist and publicly arguing against god-belief," and a pissant commenter on your blog (such as, oh, me) responds by quoting your kid [screenshot] saying what a "strident" atheist might say:
No, this is the attitude I'd call strident:

"Next idea for a blog post is 'Why I don’t believe in god.' I suddenly realised how necessary it is for me to condense my beliefs and reasoning in retard-friendly format. This format is important for the audience I am targeting with it" [emphasis mine]

Luckily, these are just the words of an adolescent. A full-grown adult would never write something so immature. Right?
[Note: The original link pointing to the page where the quote "Next idea for a blog post ..." came from is broken. The closest thing I can find is this link from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at archive.org: See here.]

Now you have a few options, a couple of which are:
  1. Get offended, and ban the commenter for what he actually said.
  2. Get offended, embellish the stated reasons for banning the commenter, and when the embellishment is pointed out, tell two mutually incompatible stories -- one of which is rather lurid -- to cover up your lack of truthfulness. Oh, and when confronted with one of your slanders, come up with a laughable reason for why you weren't really saying it about me.
If you are a blogger who is decent at heart, the first option is reasonable. If you are P.Z. Myers, well, you've already picked the second option.

Documentation of falsehoods

Phantom lewd comments

Myers' first fabrication occurs over a couple years after the ban date, when a woo who went by the name "Jon_Howard" took a look at Myers' Dungeon page, where he lists the banned commenters and the purported reasons for banning, and made these comments [screenshots #1 and #2] at the old Richard Dawkins forums. (Screenshots and archives of the relevant forum posts are available at the bottom of the page.):

To begin with, according to the dungeon section of your site, you had decided to enforce a ban against somebody called J.J. Ramsey. Your reasons given for that are as follows:

Wouldn't normally have been subject to banning, but chose to insult my daughter here, several times, after being warned. If you must insult my family, do it to their faces so they can kick your ass; it's cowardly to try and do it in front of me.

LINK: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php [This link is now broken due to ScienceBlogs being acquired by NatGeo.]


Now reading that, I thought this person must have said something seriously troubling. I mean, considering the stuff you keep up on your site it must have been BAD. Imagine my surprise, however, when I read through at least one of the exchanges in question and found this:

Posted by: J. J. Ramsey | January 2, 2007 8:43 PM
PZ Myers: "Now, define 'strident'. Near as I can tell, it's simply being an atheist and publicly arguing against god-belief."
No, this is the attitude I'd call strident:
"Next idea for a blog post is 'Why I don't believe in god.' I suddenly realised how necessary it is for me to condense my beliefs and reasoning in retard-friendly format. This format is important for the audience I am targeting with it"
Luckily, these are just the words of an adolescent. A full-grown adult would never write something so immature. Right?

Posted by: PZ Myers | January 2, 2007 8:52 PM
You want to snark at me, that's one thing; you come over here and snark at my daughter, and I call that cowardice.
Bugger off, Ramsey. Go sneer at her to her face, so she can kick you in the balls herself.

LINK: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007 ... ent-305257 [Link broken, but screenshot available.]

Hmm. So let’s get this straight. The bloke used material written by your daughter to illustrate an example of stridency. Looking through his comment, sure enough I found the potentially offensive word ‘immature’ used pejoratively to describe it/her. That’s all. Just the word ‘immature’. Here it is again:

Luckily, these are just the words of an adolescent. A full-grown adult would never write something so immature. Right?

So the use of that word, coupled with the guy daring to use it while bringing your daughter’s post to your attention, was enough for you to cry foul. And that’s not all.

[ ... snip ... ]

Further to that, Thorsten also alleges that in regard of Ramsey:

He was banned *immediately*. There were no "several" insults and he was *not* warned, this is pure fiction of PZ

Now I have no idea if that’s true or false—I don’t know how many warnings you gave, if any—but that doesn’t change the point.

Now when P.Z. Myers tried to explain away Thorsten's allegation, he went big and wrote the following slander [screenshot]:

There's one important thing that Jon_Howard is skipping over in his obsessive analysis of the people I've banned: when they go over the line and leave abusive comments that warrant banning, their comments are deleted. For example, one of these fellows he is defending made extremely inappropriate comments about my under-age daughter's sex life...and if you think I'm going to allow that kind of squalid viciousness stand, or that I'd leave such comments in place, you're going to have to rethink matters a bit.

[ ... snip ... ]

[Also note: Jon_Howard found three examples of people he did not think deserved banning: one I could have had reported for pedophilia, another that I tolerated for several years before finally giving him the boot, and a third...hmm. The third wasn't banned at all. There is a complete list of everyone banned at my site, and that guy isn't among them. All that writing, and he was really grasping at straws.]

Although Myers avoided mentioning me by name, his descriptions of the people discussed in Jon_Howard's "obsessive analysis" were enough for Jon_Howard to take the hint [screenshot]:

I fully agree with you removing Ramsey's posts off your site. I applaud you for it. I'd have done the same. I'd also have made sure I reported his ISP as he might have been a genuine threat to other kids (oh shock horror - there goes Jon reporting people again... :grumpy: )

(Again, screenshots and/or archived HTML pages of the exchange are attached below, in case the old forum finally goes offline.)

Now if Jon_Howard hadn't been a woo and thus somewhat ill-practiced in critical thinking, he might have noticed a couple red flags:
  • There's a strange coincidence in P.Z. Myers' story, namely that he slams down the ban hammer right when I've supposedly completely changed M.O. from making lewd comments about his daughter to pointing out that she had called other theists "retards." One has to wonder why I wouldn't have gotten banned simply for making another lewd comment, or even for making the first such comment, especially since according to Myers, it was so abusive as to warrant deletion.
  • If I had really made lewd comments about his daughter Skatje, why wouldn't P.Z. Myers have said so from the get-go, rather than go with the vaguer "insult my daughter"? It's not as if he is averse to calling someone a pedophile; he said of another banned commenter, "For the Kids," that "she likes to prey on younger people with her lies and innuendo" and described the reason for her banning as "overwhelming creepiness" and pointed to a thread [screenshot] where she had gone on about Skatje and bestiality. Given this, there's no reason to be expect Myers to be coy about my supposed offense.
P.Z. Myers' claim that he deletes "abusive comments that warrant banning" is also not that plausible upon closer examination, since he had kept the comments with the "overwhelming creepiness" of banned commenter "For The Kids" intact, as well as comments by another banned commenter, "karol," who wrote such charming things [screenshot] as "Faggots get arested [sic] because they are perverts and child molesters, just like you." To be fair, karol's comment is dated a few months after Jon_Howard's protests, so there's a possibility that Myers later changed his policies about what policies to delete or keep, but that wouldn't explain why the "overwhelming creepiness" of "For The Kids" was left intact.

There's yet another red flag, but it would require Jon_Howard to be able to see about a year into the future, when Myers changed his story.

(I had considered the possibility that the "pzmyers" on Richard Dawkins' forum was not the same as the real P.Z. Myers, but the real P.Z Myers had posted a link on his own blog to the first page of the forum post that Jon_Howard had started, and that first page, a copy of which is attached below in case the old forum finally dies, shows "pzmyers" posting. If "pzmyers" and P.Z. Myers are not the same, then it is awfully strange that Myers didn't complain about an impostor who would have been very visible on this first page.)

Contradictions of previous accusations of lewdness

Strangely enough, even though for over two years, P.Z. Myers "remembered" that he had deleted lewd comments I supposedly made about his daughter on his blog, he forgot them about a year later when he wrote this [screenshot, quote of PZ from an Intersection commenter, and a screenshot of that quote]:

He's written me in the past a few times, asking to be un-banned. [Actually, I didn't ask to be un-banned, but whatever.] No apologies for sneering at my daughter (not that I'd be in a mood to accept them, anyway), and always this whining that he only did it once. Which isn't true: he made the one post about it here, but then I found him complaining about Skatje on other sites, too.

(Just in case Myers changes that, a screenshot is at the bottom of this post.)

Let's get this straight. P.Z. Myers originally said that I "chose to insult my daughter here [i.e. on his blog], several times, after being warned," and even went to the trouble of concocting a sleazy story of what those "several times" were and why one couldn't find them on his blog. Now he admits that his blog had only one comment by me complaining about his kid -- which would make his previous stories utterly false. He tries to hide this with a red herring about me supposedly "complaining about Skatje on other sites," which probably really just means me complaining about Myers' dishonesty and inevitably mentioning Skatje in the process. However, that wouldn't explain why he originally claimed that there were multiple insults on his blog from the very beginning, nor does it explain how the sensational claims of "inappropriate comments about my under-age daughter's sex life" got downgraded to "complaining."

Myers' transparently false denial of previous lurid accusation

Later, P.Z. Myers was confronted with the post on the old Richard Dawkins forums where he claimed that I made "extremely inappropriate comments about [his] under-age daughter's sex life." His response [broken link, screenshot here] was, when dissected, pretty silly:

Oh, jeez. I just saw where Mr Ramsey posted a link to prove I had accused him of slandering a minor sexually. Please do go look. You'll notice his name isn't mentioned or even hinted at;

It's rather rich for him to say that he hadn't even hinted that I had been "slandering a minor sexually" when he had convinced those with whom he talked on Richard Dawkins' old forum that I had done just that, as one can see in that last quote from Jon_Howard above. And a look at Myers' own comment makes clear that he's dead wrong about the part about my name not being "even hinted at." When Myers had mentioned on the Dawkins forums "one important thing that Jon_Howard is skipping over in his obsessive analysis of the people I've banned," he's making a really big hint that says, "Hey, go look back at Jon_Howard's posts to find out who the heck I'm talking about." Ok, so let's take that hint. Click on Myers' forum post, scroll up, scroll up ... ok, I've reached the top of the forum page so click on the link to the previous page in the forum thread, start from the bottom of the page and scroll up, scroll up ... ok, not much there, so click on on the link to the previous page in the forum thread, start from the bottom of the page and scroll up, scroll up ... and Aha! Jon_Howard names the people that P.Z. Myers was talking about, and one can easily match the three people named by Jon_Howard to the descriptions of the three people that Myers discussed in his reply to Jon_Howard.

In particular, of the three that Jon_Howard had mentioned, only one was associated with Myers' daughter at all--namely me--so when Myers mentions that one of the commenters discussed by Jon_Howard had "made extremely inappropriate comments about [his] under-age daughter's sex life," there's only one person that he could realistically be talking about. Jon_Howard's reply back to Myers is particularly damning, since Myers claims that one of the people that Jon_Howard named "could have had reported for pedophilia," and later Jon_Howard has come to the conclusion that "Ramsey" (me) "might have been a genuine threat to other kids."

I guess that when P.Z. Myers said, "Please do go look," he really meant, "Please take a casual look, but don't actually pay attention and find out I'm blowing smoke."

Myers' stuff on Freethought Blogs

Myers' has a new blog where he posts more on atheist issues, and with this post is a new Dungeon page [screenshot] with this new lie:

Creepy obsessive. One of the few trolls I have some concerns about: he’s a little too solicitous of my family.

This looks like a watered down, vaguer variant of the "I could have had reported for pedophilia" bit, which Myers not only contradicted but falsely claimed wasn't said about me at all. Notably, Myers has replaced a claim that he himself later contradicted (i.e. "chose to insult my daughter here, several times, after being warned") with a different claim that's pretty much impossible to verify. One has to take him at his word, and given his track record, that's pretty foolish.

ETA: Myers has since removed his Dungeon page. Good riddance to libelous rubbish.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, the ugly, the bad, and, well, I don't see anything good about this, except perhaps a bit of schadenfreude of sorts. Arguably, P.Z. Myers had the moral high ground at one point, but he let it crumble under his feet through either negligence or sheer lack of integrity.
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