I.e., in this thread. Note the date when my comment was submitted, compared with today's date. I think I've waited long enough to go public with this, warts and all. I've even left a typo: "minoror" instead of "minor or".
As I said at the end, I believe that the comment is constructive and civil. Indeed, I go out of my way to be nice. It would have been easy for Chris Mooney to respond in kind. He keeps getting offered olive branches and refusing to accept them. It's as if he doesn't want this all to go away.
11. Russell Blackford Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
July 30th, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Okay, Chris, this goes some way towards what I wanted from you. Thank you for that. You’re correct that the issue was the loud, confrontational, just-plain-rude behaviour that was described. That and some other things simply did not make a plausible story. I agree that if “Johnson” had mentioned something a lot less than that, such as a private conversation he’d had with an aggressive Gnu Atheist that rankled with him afterwards, that would have been more plausible – but of course, it wouldn’t have been evidence for anything. I do appreciate that you now regret elevating the story and relying on it.
The story struck me at the time as ridiculously implausible, and I mocked you for believing it. You can have a minoror half-hearted apology from me that I put it as harshly as I did. Obviously I was angry that damage was being done to “my” side by your use of what was, to me, obviously a dishonest or at best wildly exaggerated story. I can’t apologise whole-heartedly, though, because, frankly, I don’t believe that I’d have got far if I’d written something longer and in a more sober and civil tone explaining the detail of why I found the story so incredible. With so many people who seemed to want to believe the story and/or to support your use of it, I would have found myself drawn into a lengthy debate with commenters who, at best, had a tin ear for plausibility, as you yourself had (sorry, but that last bit is true, and perhaps you wouldn’t dispute it in retrospect), and who sometimes seem like your attack dogs. I hope you understand that the people who supported your use of the story were not actually doing you a favour. I may have been unnecessariy harsh, but people like me were giving you better advice.
If you really want to make a gesture of good will towards “my” side, the best thing you can do is unban Ophelia Benson. I’ve reviewed the whole thread that led to her banning, and I still don’t see how it was remotely justified. The worst that she did was get impatient and upset that her comments were being held up in moderation at a time when she felt (justifiably) that she was under personal attack and was eager to defend herself. Her substantive comments were thoughtful and civil, but led to very uncivil responses from some of your commenters, which obviously upset her. If anything, it looks like she was driven off by the attack dogs. If you’re in the mood to accept your own fallibility, read the thread again with an open mind and see for yourself.
If anyone has been abused and mistreated throughout this whole affair, it is Ophelia. You appear to have lost patience with her persistent questioning, but the main question she was asking last year, “How should Jerry Coyne have responded when asked to review the books by Miller and Giberson?” is one that you’ve never answered, and it’s an important question. If you let her back, I suppose she’ll go on asking it, but I don’t see why that’s a hanging offence in your eyes. You seem to think that Jerry did something wrong in agreeing to review the books and in reviewing them the way he did. I don’t see it. If you no longer think that, it would be nice if you said so explicitly. If you do still think it, I’d be interested to know what you think Jerry should have done when asked to review those books. It would be a nice gesture if you’d address this, independently of feeling that Ophelia harassed you about it (if that is what you feel).
I’m not interested in being baited by your usual supporters, so I hope you’ll restrain them if needed. Getting into a fight with those people (I won’t inflame things by naming them, but you can guess who I mean) is a waste of my time. I believe this has been a constructive and civil comment, and I’d like you to answer it directly.