In 2006 Ed Brayton, who is now manager at FreeThought Blogs, complained about the same pattern of behaviour by PZ Myers as PZ has been using to smear me and others eight years later. Thanks to Jan Steen for bringing this to my attention.
Ed said then that PZ had lied about him several times, that PZ’s M.O. is to start personal attacks then pretend to be above it all and clam up when criticised, and that PZ seeks to demean and destroy enemies not caring whether his attacks are rational and justified.
(As an aside, while some people are comfortable accusing others of lying, I prefer to instead say that somebody has said something that is untrue, as I do not know whether they have knowingly said something untrue, which would be lying.)
Ed also said, and remember, this was eight years ago: “It simply has to do with the fact – yes, it’s a fact – that PZ has a long history of this behavior that far too many people have just rolled their eyes at and excused it away because “oh that’s just the way he is”.
Ed added that when PZ behaves like this towards him, Ed gets numerous private emails from mutual colleagues that say, in essence, “Look, we all know PZ is a jerk, he’s always been a jerk, but that’s just the way he is. You can’t let him provoke you like that.”
That was in 2006, long before PZ’s smears and misrepresentations about Richard Dawkins and other atheists that caused me to criticise his behaviour, and PZ’s subsequent smears falsely alleging that I defend, provide a haven for, and support rapists.
The significance of this today
I am pleased to see that Ed was aware of PZ’s behaviour before I was even aware of PZ.
I hope that Ed will take this into account when he gets to read and reply to my emails of the past three weeks, in which I ask for details of how to make a complaint about PZ to the FreeThought Blogs Executive Committee.
When Ed recently got complaints about another FreeThought Blogger plagiarising, he said that his initial response, given his affinity for the blogger and the source of the accusations, was to dismiss it as much ado about nothing. Then Ed got an email from Hemant Mehta, someone he holds in high esteem and considers a friend, and Hemant told Ed that he’d been looking into the evidence and found a powerful case for plagiarism.
It may be possible that when Ed gets a complaint about PZ Myers, his initial reaction might be similar. If this is the case, I hope that he remembers his own experience at the hands of PZ, and the emails that he got from mutual colleagues about PZ, and gives those the same weight as he did to Hemant’s email about Avicenna.
I hope that Ed then chooses to investigate my complaints about PZ with the vigour and integrity that he would have liked his own complaints about PZ to be addressed eight years ago, if there had been a forum then to address them. There is such a forum now – the Executive Committee of FreeThought Blogs.
FreeThought Blogs recently hosted an online conference titled FtB Conscience, with the strapline “Atheism with a conscience”. This is an opportunity for Ed and the Executive Committee to show that they can put the principles of justice into practice in the areas that they control.
Quotes from Ed Brayton about PZ
Unfortunately, you can also find several examples of PZ Myers flat out lying about what I’ve said and done, which is hardly a surprise given his past behavior toward me.
To PZ, who is crazed in his obsession to insult and demean me with his lies, reality takes a bizarre turn when entering his mind.
No Gretchen, [PZ] is not just assuming that I disbelieve Dawkins’ retraction, he’s lying – again – when he says that I haven’t accepted it. In this comment I explicitly say that I do…
PZ, you really are just about the biggest asshole I have ever known… You’re a liar, PZ, and a first class, double-barrelled, fully automatic asshole.
Again, for any sane, rational person that would be the end of it. Which explains quite well why you won’t let it end now, PZ.
Nor am I at all alone in this judgment, I might add. PZ is often treated the way Manny Ramirez is treated by Boston Red Sox fans, who often can be heard saying “that’s just Manny being Manny.”
When he goes off on a completely unjustified attack on me like that… as he has several times in the past, I get numerous private emails from our mutual colleagues that say, in essence, “Look, we all know PZ is a jerk, he’s always been a jerk, but that’s just the way he is. You can’t let him provoke you like that.” Well, to be honest, I’m just not built that way.
You don’t have a clue about PZ’s “M.O.”. His MO is to start the personal attacks and then pretend to be above it all when they’re returned and he clams up. This isn’t the first time it’s happened and I doubt it will be the last. I’ve had this behavior aimed at me multiple times and I’m simply not going to play the passive victim.
As for the alleged childishness of “third party insults”, it had nothing to do with insults at all. It simply has to do with the fact – yes, it’s a fact – that PZ has a long history of this behavior that far too many people have just rolled their eyes at and excused it away because “oh that’s just the way he is”. Well screw that. The way he is isn’t acceptable to me, and when he aims that behavior at me he’s gonna get it blown right back at him.
PZ, on the other hand, seems to think that if it makes the other side look bad, then facts be damned, start firing; he seems completely unaware of the fact that doing so undermines our credibility when we do, as we usually do, have the evidence on our side
“Brayton loathes atheists, and would like to see them silenced.” Yeah, that’s perhaps the most ridiculous lie of all. I have written volumes on this blog defending atheists against the accusations of (mostly fundamentalist) Christians, and even more volumes defending free speech for absolutely everyone. The notion that I, of all people, wants to see atheists silenced is too ridiculous for words.
It should be clear right now that PZ has reached the point of being absolutely crazed in his antipathy to me and he has thrown all reason to the wind. This is what those with an extremist mentality do, they identify their enemies and seek to demean them and destroy them, not caring whether their attacks are rational and justified or not. Ironically, that’s the same behavior he no doubt finds appalling when done by the Jerry Falwell crowd.
You can also read at that link the context of Ed’s criticism of PZ. Part of it is that Ed had criticised Richard Dawkins for signing a petition about religious education that Richard later withdrew his signature from, and PZ was accusing Ed of being unfair to Richard.
This is of course ironic, given that PZ’s recent attack on Richard (suggesting that Richard has developed a callous indifference to the sexual abuse of children) was one of the reasons that I had been asking PZ to behave more reasonably.
Ed also said that PZ had criticised him for allegedly being hesitant to call out creationists, and for allegedly taking the position that atheists should not advocate atheism.
In responding to Ed’s criticism, PZ said: “He’s an unprincipled libertarian thug; you can all stop trying to persuade me otherwise now. I’m done with him.”
Ironically, PZ also said, responding to somebody else: “You left out the part where Brayton used it as an opportunity to take another potshot at the atheists he despises, and still hasn’t bothered to retract his slander. But that’s OK… you can give him a free pass if you want. I won’t.”
But the detail of this issue is secondary to its confirmation that Ed – and the mutual colleagues who emailed him – were aware as far back as 2006 of the pattern of behaviour by PZ that he is still displaying today, and which he still refuses to apologise for and change.