So, apparently I am part of a global conspiracy of skeptics.
This suggests that the community of skeptics is somewhat broader than I anticipated. I am, after all, an aspiring Christian, a churchgoer, and even a deacon. I'm also innumerate and scientifically literate. But apparently global skeptic conspiracies take all applicants now. Aw, that's nice.
Why do I think all of this? Well, because some anti-skeptic has labeled me a skeptic conspirator on his crazy-ass anti-skeptic website.
He also accuses me of being a child molester. Which, for the record, I am not. Just so you know.
The crazy-ass anti-skeptic website in question — which is down for "maintenance" at the time of this writing — is "jamesrandiusa.org," named after famed skeptic (and hobgoblin of junk scientists and psychics and crystal-fondlers everywhere) James Randi. Tim Farley of What's The Harm? was kind enough to provide me of screencaps of multiple pages of it before it went down. In short, it attacks a number of people in what the author sees as a "skeptic conspiracy": Randi, PZ Myers, Rhys Morgan, and others.
The anti-skeptic attacks me, because apparently I'm part of a skeptical conspiracy — "a Skeptics Society affiliate and Los Angeles super crazy lawyer." First the author asserts that I posted a "written letter of recommendation [as opposed, I guess, to an oral letter of recommendation] addressed to the University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks, in support of well-known skeptics society member PZ Myers." Which is kind of an odd way to say that I wrote a satirical letter to the President of PZ Myers' university in which I defended his free speech rights but also said some rather unflattering things about him. It's not clear whether our anti-skeptic doesn't grasp that the letter is actually not highly complimentary of Myers, or whether he does understand that and thinks he's found a smoking gun with which he can sow dissension among the skeptic ranks, or something.
Next, the suggestion that I am a pedophile:
[Ken] also blogs about his underage adopted son's penis, how his son draw pictures of people with big chest nipples and belly buttons, and how his 6 year old adopted daughter talks about alcohol, death, and violence. Kenneth Popehat White's actions resembles another Skeptic Society member named [name redacted], a pedophile, who loved to be in the company of many homosexual leaders such as [name redacted], an activist of North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), [names redacted]. [Name redacted] also adopted three children, of which two are gay.
These are the posts he is talking about: the penis post, the nipples post, and my daughters' conversations about death, violence, and alcohol. Read them and make up your own mind. I submit someone who interprets them the way our anti-skeptic has must fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) very stupid, (2) evil and dishonest, and willing to say anything to vent his fury at someone he disagrees with, or (3) batshit crazy. Regrettably, as I've talked abut recently in the context of Brett Kimberlin, such vile personal attacks calculated to chill public speech are increasingly common.
Note, by the way, the stark bigotry, which in my experience is common with both vengeful crazy people and with angry internet assholes. My children's status as adopted must be repeatedly emphasized, adoption must be presented as something suspicious and wrong, and gays must be portrayed as indistinguishable from pedophiles. [I have omitted most of the names from the quote because I have not yet had time to research them and determine whether they are innocents being maliciously accused.]
Next, our anti-skeptic friend expresses outrage at my pro bono efforts on behalf of a science blogger last year, spinning it thusly: that I, "long with a team of skeptics – Mark Randazza, PZ Myers, Simon Singh, Dr. David H. Gorski – attacked a naturopath in the state of Maine named Christopher Maloney calling him a quack. The skeptics initated a Google Bomb on Dr. Maloney when he proposed to file a defamation lawsuit against a skeptic member by the name of Michael Hawkins." For the record, though Randazza was certainly the big dog on that case, and I believe Mr. Singh mentioned it once, I don't know who Mr. Gorski is, and I have never been on a team with Mr. Myers. I suspect Mr. Myers would not want to be on a team with me on it.
Finally, our anti-skeptic closes:
James Randi and the entire Skeptics Society and affiliates are frauds. They are known in the media for lying about their academic and professional credentials, some are convicted child molesters, pro-pedophilia, pedophiles, hacking computers, Google bombing and Google washing individuals and businesses, supporting airport bomb threats "Twitter Bomb Joke", convicted for credit card fraud, convicted of passport fraud and identity theft, and known for being activist for "Boy Love" – Pedophilia – Pederasty.
As my co-blogger Patrick put it, "that's some timecube-level crazy right there." By the way, research suggests that the Randi smear is a very old one, brought by anti-skeptics Randi angered years ago — check his site for details, it's too crazy to indulge at length right now. But consider the quality and "basis" for the allegation against me, and use your time accordingly.
So. Who is doing this? I don't know — yet.
Others have theories. Keir Liddle at The 21st Floor points out that the jamesrandiusa.org site is hosted on the same server that hosted the sites of an anti-skeptic named Marc Stephens, and uses the same content management software as those sites.
Who is Marc Stephens? Come now. Surely you remember this. Marc Stephens? The guy who sent bumptious emails threatening legal action against critics of the cruel junk-science Burzynski Clinic? The Marc Stephens who sent me a threatening letter based on my post about his threats, leading me to coin the phrase that shall be inscribed upon my headstone, "snort my taint?" The Marc Stephens who doubled down with more threats again and again?
Like I said, I don't know. In his earlier emails Marc struck me as more of a sub-normal censorious asshole, not floridly mentally ill and/or starkly evil, like the author of jamesrandiusa.org. But it might be. I've sent him an email asking. I note that some of the same themes seen on the jamesrandiusa.org site appeared in Marc Stephens' emails. And I note the curious incident of the dog in the night-time. See, my series of posts about the Burzynski clinic, and Marc's threats on its behalf, were by far my most highly-trafficked and popular posts about the skeptic community — my most notorious connection to them. Yet, oddly, the page about me on jamesrandiusa.org avoids mentioning them at all — almost as if someone where deliberately refraining from mentioning them. Also, frankly, I'm obscure. I am not offended to be called a skeptic, but I'm really not a figure in the skeptic community, and have no significance compared to the other people named. There's only one anti-skeptic I can think of who is likely to be full of such incandescent hatred of me.
Time will tell. I noticed in the last few weeks that some visitors were reading old posts from the vicinity of those posts about my kids noted above; I'll check Woopra and get the IP address and other details of the visitor, and see how they compare to what Keir Liddle has found. It would be nice to identify the person who created the site. Though I am unlikely to pursue legal action based on what I've seen so far (99% of the people reading the page about me would probably say "Christ, what semi-literate whackjob wrote this" rather than "wow, Ken's a child molester"), other targets of the site might feel differently.
I suspect that one of our anti-skeptic's aims is to dirty up the names of everyone involved on their Google results. That's something that the transcendentally nutty and angry Crystal Cox has already started to do, which I will remedy when I get around to it.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. I plan to help everyone named on this vile site to identify, and expose, whoever created this site, and see to it that the person's community knows who he is.
Moreover, I will not be deterred from writing about and opposing malicious and frivolous legal threats against any bloggers, whether they be skeptical or religious, conservative or liberal.
Edited to add: I meant what I said when I said I do not know who did this. For what it is worth, there is another suspect, at least as a confederate — a seemingly gravely mentally ill woman who has been sending bizarre faxes to my firm for most of the year. I supported someone she threatened with a bogus lawsuit, and she reacted badly. She once made the same argument about that penis post that this anti-skeptic blogger did. When I drafted this post, I thought about that connection, but dismissed it as a coincidence. But this afternoon she sent a new fax after weeks or months of silence, talking about how she has the right to shoot to kill if threatened. Apparently she came across a reference to "We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families," a book about the Rawandan genocide, somewhere on the internet, and her delusional structure led her to conclude that I had beamed it onto the internet somehow as a threatening message. Anyway, the timing of the fax is suspicious.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017
- I write letters - June 1st, 2017