January 03, 2015

Time to give PZ Myers another good swift kick

Or maybe not ... as he has avoided cranking up a petard in this case. Albeit under what seems like some version of duress, and with backhanding one of his tar babies in the process.

Update: See the bottom of this post; PZ's shown he has some ethics. Now, let's see if, in the future, he has some civility in believing that his critics may have similar ethics, at least.

The latest in PharyngulaLand, Gnu Atheist speak for la-la-land?

Well, as reported by Hement Mehta, one of Freethought Blogs other bloggers, "Avicenna," who runs A Million Gods, has been doing some serious plagiarism.

And, both he and PZ, co-owner of the whole schmeer of FTB along with Ed Brayton, have been doing a tap-dance around the truth.

Both have initially claimed that all that was being plagiarized was some hate mail.


As Mehta documents, Steve Gould, the AP, Reuters, AFP, and local newspaper reporters and editors, among others, are NOT hate mail, and not people with "burner" emails, but rather with stories posted online at actual newspaper websites.

Then, per an email exchange, Avicenna doubled down on lying through his teeth:
I have some problems with quotes markers going up and updates not going through. Also? I kind of have no reason to do this. I mean I link to even the most simple posts that I quote.
Oh and I have power cuts, the internet cuts out then and the post doesn’t update. Sometimes it reverts to older versions. Some errors may be due to that.
Yes, power in India isn't always reliable. But, for an MD making decent money, I'm sure it is. And, quote markers going up? Puhleeze. WordPress is like Blogger. All you do is highlight text that's a blockquote and click a button.

Per Mehta, here's what PZ says about any more serious allegations:
The examples cited above are seriously problematic. The executive committee at FtB is currently reviewing them. Avicenna will have an opportunity to respond, so don’t expect an instant reaction.
But, folks, don't hold your breath.

Instead, because schadenfreude's always a bitch?

Let's pile on top, because piling on top of PZ is always fun. Hey, all you far right conservatives at Minnesota-Morris? If PZ says that Avicenna's plagiarism is OK, you know what to do. Sign up for every class of his and plagiarize like hell. Then, wave PZ's blog in the face of the dean of students.

And, yes, per one commenter on Hemant's thread, somebody needs to contact the wingnuts' student newspaper at Minnesota-Morris and, if PZ defends Avicenna, invite them to plagiarize! 

So, PZ, and Ed? You're now officially "on the clock."

Because, even with some small blog, the Net caches older versions, I have struck though the grafs above, rather than deleting. 

Otherwise? Plagiarism is plagiarism; makes no matter if the "SlymePit" first started tracking it down. And, as a newspaper editor myself, I particularly don't like a bunch of this plagiarism being from newspapers. 

Finally, once more, I need to repeat this adage I created:

Atheism is no guarantor of either moral or intellectual superiority. 


 I'll give Ed Brayton, but not (yet?) a proper kudo now. (See, PZ, this is how it's done, even with someone you often disagree with.) Avicenna has been removed from the blogroll there.

That said, PZ — and Ed — remember that, plus my adage above. Non-Gnus, as well as Christians, even, can and do act with the same ethics on issues of plagiarism.

And, Ed still goes out of his way to backhand "SlymePit" types to some degree.

And, PZ himself has — almost as if under torture — posted as well. And, that's about what it reads like. Sorry to one of my FB friends, but, Krisjan, got to disagree with you in comments over there. I don't follow any atheist blogs, though I do look at various of them from time to time.

To the best of my knowledge, Mehta doesn't have any major anti-FtB bias. Maybe some small one; I don't know. But, I certainly don't see a major one.

Now, back to that tentative invite to the UMM student newspaper.

First, that was deliberate, knowing that PZ is Orwellian on issues of censorship and the First Amendment, and has been so with this paper.

Second, schadenfreude is the secular equivalent of karma. And, sometimes, it needs an activist push. That's no different than what SJWs would do, I think.

So, stop bitching if the shoe's on your foot and pinching. Fortunately, Pharyngulacs, this time, the guru pulled the shoe off his foot quickly enough.

What if that weren't the case? What if there is a next time? And, I guarantee you there will be. And, as with his past history with the wingnut student paper, it's usually when PZ is cranking his own petard.

There's also this.

Since that was Ed, not PZ, officially announcing Avicenna's removal, and I have no idea who if anybody besides Ed and PZ are on FtB's executive board, for all you and I know, PZ may still have opposed Avicenna's removal.

I'll take a gander at what PZ has to say himself in the next 12-24 hours.

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