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Another topic idea: Chris Mooney (does not) owe the world an apology
Posted: 10 July 2010 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Yes, it does Asanta. But it gets worse. Chris has apparently blocked me from commenting on his blog. These are the two comments he found too offensive to post:

Chris, please, for your own sake, consider how easily and willfully you fell for the sockpuppet’s story and promoted it (twice) after not adequately vetting the source. You have a lot to learn about critical thinking, and this episode is an excellent learning opportunity.
Also, you need to apologize to those you have wronged. Not just the commenters on your blog, to the people you branded as New Atheists and blamed for the schism between science and religion. And especially to the person you banned for disagreeing with you.
Your actions since publishing Unscientific America have eroded your credibility as a journalist. It is not too late to repair the damage, but evading the real issue here will only further erode your credibility.

I attempted to post that July 8, 2010. On July 9 I tried to post this:

In addition to what outeast said in #9, this entire affair would never had happened if you had paid attention to basic journalistic standards. I learned in Journalism 101 that you never run a story with only one source, especially if that story will be controversial. You made a half-hearted attempt to verify the writer’s identity, but did nothing to verify his story, and now you appear to be dodging the issue that has people most upset with you.*

*My original comment ended “most people upset with you.” I have corrected it here to reflect what I meant to write.

Neither post has appeared on The Intersection, even though more direct attacks on Mooney’s judgment have been posted. I have apparently joined Ophelia Benson (and many others) on Chris’ blacklist.

What Chris refuses to acknowledge are his judgmental errors in elevating William/TJ’s posts, thanking the sock puppet for posting a lie, and then obfuscating the facts of what happened. The sock puppet is only half the story. The other half of the story is Chris Mooney’s failure to check the truth of the story last October, and now his attempts to deflect blame and refusal to accept responsibility for promoting an unbelievable, unverified story. Doing further damage, he is digging himself into a deeper hole by selectively blocking people who point out his failures and refusing to confront the issue of his credulity in the Sock Puppet Affair. His behavior during this affair is indefensible.

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Posted: 10 July 2010 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Reading through the relevant posts, sadly, I have to agree…
I would like to hear his side of the story.

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Posted: 10 July 2010 07:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I would like to hear Mooney’s side of the story, too, but so far he has done nothing but muddy the already murky waters. All he has given us is Sock Puppets and “Tom Johnson,” Part II, which inclused this self-contradictory statement:

In light of all this, there’s no reason to trust the story that “Tom Johnson” originally told on this blog. It might still be accurate, and it was never any more than one person’s perception anyway. But one cannot trust its source in light of subsequent behavior.

Emphasis added.

Once again, Mooney deflects blame and ignores his own credulity in this affair. We have a saying in Texas, “When you are already in a hole, quit digging.”

[ Edited: 11 July 2010 08:30 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 10 July 2010 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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DarronS - 10 July 2010 07:47 PM

. It might still be accurate, and it was never any more than one person’s perception anyway. But one cannot trust its source in light of subsequent behavior.

Whhaaaat??..Try again Chris..please read before you post.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I have to admit I have been following this debacle with the same morbid fascination as one might a car wreck. Being no fan of Chris Mooney, I have no reason to defend him when he is clearly in the wrong, and his subsequent deflections are even more troubling. But the most disturbing part of all of this, I think, is the way the blogosphere has turned into an all-out brawl, like vultures coming in to feast on the car wreck’s victims. Not that criticism and discussion should not occur…indeed, let the discussion and revelations come! I simply mean that it has turned into more of a shouting match between egos and reputations, more about ad hominem attacks than actually finding out the real story and accepting responsibilities. It reminds me of one reason I was happy to get out of academia after getting my PhD, whatever parts of it I missed (and still miss).

Anyway, Darron, I have to say that I respect your comments that I have seen so far, mostly for their tone and focus on what is actually important in all of this (as you also displayed in the Mooney-Price thread once Analytic started his pompous rant).

[ Edited: 11 July 2010 06:25 AM by JustinVK ]
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Posted: 11 July 2010 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Thanks Justin. I’m not trying to crucify Chris Mooney, but I am trying to get his attention and, with any luck, get him to think about his actions.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Yes, that is obvious, and that helps to take you seriously. Too many other people seem both out to crucify and out to show off.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I am trying to get his attention and, with any luck, get him to think about his actions.

Yes, well - that exactly describes what I was trying to do last summer. I could not get it through my head that Mooney was never going to reply to me (not least because we had had a few friendly email exchanges, he had sent me copies of all three of his books, etc), so I kept trying. It was perhaps the repetition that got me banned before (I think) anyone else. Many people have suggested to me that it was, rather, because my questions (I drew up a list) were too…erm…hard to answer.

His long, long history of stonewalling criticism and simply deleting critical comments and, now, banning critics wholesale, tends to make his critics irritable, so that is part of why there is a belligerent tone to much of this. If Mooney had responded to questions and objections from the beginning, everything would have been very different.

I find it deeply pathetic that a guy who deletes or outlaws nearly all criticism is a host of Point of Inquiry.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I’d like to see somewhere, what he has to say about this. Perhaps an interview on neutral territory. In this case, ignoring everyone is certainly not taking the ‘high’ road.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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asanta - 11 July 2010 10:50 AM

I’d like to see somewhere, what he has to say about this. Perhaps an interview on neutral territory. In this case, ignoring everyone is certainly not taking the ‘high’ road.

Unfortunately Mooney is doing more than just ignoring people, he is actively preventing critics from posting on his blog. This leaves people not following the issue closely with the mistaken impression that most people agree with Mooney’s actions.

I like your idea of Mooney discussing this on neutral territory. Perhaps DJ can invite Mooney to appear on For Good Reason.

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Posted: 12 July 2010 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Darron is incorrect about various details of what happened with “Tom Johnson” (and many other things). The real story is here

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/07/09/sock-puppets-and-tom-johnson-part-ii/

In order to back up my account, but also protect the real person at the center of this, I’ve shared information about that person with Jean Kazez and the commenter “TB” in that thread. They are keeping it private, but have independently reaffirmed the account and clarified various details that may seem puzzling to those who don’t know the tangled story.

chris

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Posted: 12 July 2010 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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What parts am I incorrect about Chris?

Did you confirm Tom Johnson’s story with independent witnesses before promoting it on your blog?

Did you not ignore the people who told you TJ’s story was suspicious before you wrote My Thanks to Tom Johnson?

Have you not blocked my posts from appearing in the comments section?

Are you claiming the other people who state you are blocking their posts are not truthful?

It seems you are still missing the central point. You promoted a made up story, twice. Whether Tom Johnson is or is not Tom Johnson is only half the story. The other half is your failure to confirm his story with independent witnesses at the event in question, which you cannot do because Tom Johnson has admitted he made it up.

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Posted: 12 July 2010 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Why good morning, Chris.

How about taking this opportunity to explain why you have banned me from commenting at your site? You’ve never had the minimal courtesy to explain there; what about doing so here?

You can’t decently pretend I’m not a reasonable interlocutor, after all. I’m considerably more reasonable than the collection of socks that you allowed to dominate thread after thread at your site, apparently because they agreed with you. I’m considerably more reasonable than “TB” who repeatedly announced that I was lying by asking you those questions.

So how about it? How about an explanation at long last? As far as I can see, the explanation is simply that I disagreed with you and you didn’t like it. The explanation for why you didn’t ban people who called me a liar repeatedly (not for asserting anything but simply for asking questions) appears to be that they agreed with you and you did like it. Here’s your chance to set that straight without polluting your own blog.

So how about it? Why am I banned from commenting at the Intersection?

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Posted: 12 July 2010 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Chris? Chris? Hello?

Meanwhile, I will point out the sad fact that one of the hosts of Point of Inquiry thinks he can “back up” his controversial and very selective account of something by “sharing information” about it with a random person and a random anonymous commenter on his blog, who are also keeping the information private. It’s a sad fact that one of the hosts of Point of Inquiry (and a journalist at that) could think that that can “back up” his account in any sense at all. It’s as if Seymour Hersh wrote in an investigative article in the New Yorker that he has shared all his evidence with A and B, who can’t disclose any of it but they sure do vouch for it.

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Posted: 12 July 2010 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Ophelia Benson - 12 July 2010 10:26 AM

Why good morning, Chris.

How about taking this opportunity to explain why you have banned me from commenting at your site? You’ve never had the minimal courtesy to explain there; what about doing so here?

You can’t decently pretend I’m not a reasonable interlocutor, after all. I’m considerably more reasonable than the collection of socks that you allowed to dominate thread after thread at your site, apparently because they agreed with you. I’m considerably more reasonable than “TB” who repeatedly announced that I was lying by asking you those questions.

So how about it? How about an explanation at long last? As far as I can see, the explanation is simply that I disagreed with you and you didn’t like it. The explanation for why you didn’t ban people who called me a liar repeatedly (not for asserting anything but simply for asking questions) appears to be that they agreed with you and you did like it. Here’s your chance to set that straight without polluting your own blog.

So how about it? Why am I banned from commenting at the Intersection?

Goodness knows what all this is about but sure as hell I’d ban you too rather than listen to it.

Stephen

[ Edited: 12 July 2010 12:40 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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