I’m watching the debate over the legal action that could be taken over PZ Myers’ blog post about Michael Shermer being guilty of what can be defined as rape. I have been looking into the laws regarding libel and defamation. My interpretation of the law makes me think Shermer already has a case not only proving defamation but also damages resulting from it.But….
One comment on my last blog post got me thinking
Groundless? I’m not sure if I would describe it like that. I will say if Shermer has no recourse on something like what PZ has posted then we have a bigger issue to consider. This will have/has had a negative effect on Michael Shermer’s reputation. No matter what happens now a level of damage has been done. Its not unreasonable to think it will effect his income also and that should not be allowed to happen. We have a court system and people have a right to defend themselves when accused of a crime. PZ is attempting to circumvent that system. All of us should hope that is not allowed to happen not only for Michael Shermer but for our own sake. Because this type of thing could happen to anyone whether you are smart enough to realize it or not.
PZ Myers should be ashamed. How can he not see what effect his actions have had? There is a clear pattern he has established. When PZ can not win a debate or when he is too lazy to even try he attacks a person’s character. This is no better than the Christian who starts calling you a satanist or sinner when they find out you don’t believe in god or the anti vaxer who calls you a retard because you don’t believe their theory. In fact it is far worse. I don’t care if someone calls me an asshole or even a ranting asshole. To be honest I probably am on occasion at least from the perspective of some people. There are people who think differently than me, I can deal with that. When someone calls me a racist then they are accusing me of judging someone based purely on the way they were born. That’s not an accurate description of my character and anyone who knows me will attest to that. While that is a cheap shot it isn’t really accusing someone of being guilty of a crime in most cases.
Up until recently that was the level PZ Myers had sunk to. He had been doing it to creationists for years and shame on us for laughing at the clown while he performed his circus act on people who may have deserved it in some cases but as it turns out we encouraged bad habits.
Now those bad habits have come back to bite us on the ass. Anyone who thinks this bullshit PZ has pulled on Shermer is okay because “he can handle it” due to his popularity or because he is a white male is living in a fantasy land. Plenty of lives, all kinds of lives, have been ruined by unfounded allegations just like PZ has made about Shermer.
Anyone who is comfortable with PZ making allegations of someone being guilty of rape the way he has needs to consider a few things. Are false accusations ever made against people? Is there anyone who hasn’t been accused of doing something they did not do? How did it make you feel? Did the person who accused you think they had evidence that proved you were guilty? What if you were never allowed to defend yourself or explain the circumstances involved?
If it is not made clear that we support due process and frown on individuals taking such matters into their own hands then we will likely see this happen again in the future. I even did the work for you so feel free to cut and paste. Maybe if we took a couple minutes to email PZ about our concerns it would be helpful.
Attention PZ Myers- We have a Bill of Rights for a reason. You are not above the law of the land. There are far more responsible ways you could have dealt with the issue involving Mr Shermer and been fair to all parties. You have not been elected to any position that allows you to cast judgement as to whether others are guilty of any crime. Your failure to realize your blunder even in the face of so much outcry against it only proves my point that you are not competent enough to act responsibly or to realize when the circumstances require the assistance of people experienced in such matters. You obviously have no such experience or there would be no need for threat of legal action against you. Your actions are an abuse of the right to free speech and could be compared to shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. In other words your actions have the potential to harm others. Please read with the documents this country was founded on and familiarize yourself with the basic rights we enjoy in this country. If you could also refrain from abusing those rights in the future it would be helpful on many levels. There has been enough conflict among a small portion of atheists/skeptics up to this point and if you could attempt to address matters that concern you in responsible ways that will minimize un-needed dramatic effect it would set a good example for others. An effort to refrain from personal attacks on others could also be beneficial to those involved the atheist/skeptical “community”.
Thanks in advance