Poking the bear

It’s funny how one little quote can inspire such vitriol and anger.

When I was emailed by Ed Power about his impending article for the Irish Independent I immediately thought of one of our skeptics, Jamie. He is much more interested in the “conspiracy theory” end of skepticism and also runs a really interesting group called the Longnow Foundation for Dublin.

So this one little quote, mentioning this website brought down a small (okay, tiny) hail of brimstone down on myself today. I suppose this what happens when you put an email address out there – eventually someone will email you who doesn’t exactly agree with you world view.

So the first email was just two sentences and then a copy-paste of the article, a “response” of sorts to Ed’s piece in the Independent (in which I am not mentioned or quoted):

“Before reading this how about you try doing some real research instead of acting as mouthpieces for the mainstream media! You’re going to go down with the rest of us if you get into bed with these scumbags!”

I have to say suffering from a very heavy head cold today I had to read this article out loud to myself as the  flow of the sentences and the use of SHOUTING capitals made it hard for my foggy mind to digest.

So what else could I do? I replied:

“Dear ‘Editor’

I would be very happy to engage you in a conversation regarding some of the issues you (or your contributors) have raised here.
However, I will only do so if we are dealing with facts (and their interpretation) and I would be very grateful if you refrained from offensive and inflammatory language.
You mention research and documentation that proves some your theories true, this is what myself (and my contributors) are interested in – not unprovoked name calling.

Thank you for your feedback and hope I can talk to you in more congenial tones soon.
Regards,
Rebecca”

Okay so fairly bland I know, but that was the best I could do with in between ferociously blowing my nose.

“Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for your reply but I’ve looked at your website and you appear to be ‘skeptical’ only in so far as topics which the mainstream media refuse to cover. In other words you are siding with the mainstream which has no credibility when it comes to the truth. In fact there are no laws anywhere in the world that state that the mainstream media has to tell the truth about anything.

We are holding 3 events in Ireland in June, details on our website at www.sovereignindependent.com so why don’t you attend one of those where you will hear well researched and provable FACTS regarding some of the issues expressed in the mainstream Irish Independent rag?

You’ll be made welcome and can even discuss your debunking theories with real researchers and authors. It’s never too late to become a real skeptic when presented with the facts.
Cheers,
Neil”

I did find this a bit confusing (as I point out below), and it very much reminded me for the narrative you hear in the States regarding the creationists with the constant calls for debate. This isn’t a battle of wills, a “debate” such as he is proposing sounds like one person against a whole room to me. They just want a token skeptic for the group to shout down and use that as some kind of validation. I SHOUTED LOUDEST – I WIN, SKEPTIC. Sorry I think the use of capitals is a catching disease…

“Hi Neil,
Interesting, you say I side with the mainstream and yet “you appear to be ‘skeptical’ only in so far as topics which the mainstream media refuse to cover”. I really don’t understand where you are coming from.

To be honest I am not interested in being offered up as some kind of sacrificial lamb at an event with an audience that would be very biased against people such as myself who attempt to apply Occam’s razor to theories such as yours. I would be interested in a neutral debate, as I have no interest in being shouted down by an aggressive room. I am basing this on the highly emotive language you employ and your use of capital letters. I would envisage something similar to the debates that Atheist Ireland take part in with their detractors.

Again, only interested in debate/conversation in which there is no mud-slinging, name calling or overly vitriolic language.
I deal in facts, not how those facts make people angry.
Regards,
Rebecca”

Again, not my finest piece of writing but this is my first piece if proper “crank” mail (yes, The Sovereign Independent, I think you are cranks too).

“Hi again,
You’ve posted such nonsense as this on your site which is not only factually incorrect in terms of 9/11 but also has a disgusting snipe at Christopher Monckton’s looks. Regardless of what you may think of his views the man suffers from a genetic disorder which is why he looks the way he does.

http://skepticireland.com/we-need-to-talk-about-jim

This I find incredibly offensive as a human being and would hope you’d feel likewise.

If the writer of this trash is available to attend any of our events he will learn facts through the science of physics as regards the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 on 9/11 from an architect who represents over 1500 architects and engineers who feel as he does and have proven their ‘theories’. Richard Gage will be at all 3 events if you’re interested in facts.
Neil”

Okay, one fair point here. One (comically placed) snipe at how Lord Monckton’s looks, but this from an editor of a website that has an article called “Mark Dice Continues the Resistance to Lady Gaga… ‘Ill’uminati Slut or Should That Be Simple Sick Slut?” on it’s front page.

“Hi Neil,
I have a feeling this could keep going infinitum. But as that contributor mentioned it was a satirical pot shot playing on some of off-point, off-colour that conspiracy theorists often employ to try and attack their opponents. If you don’t like the satire fair enough.

Again, why would someone go to one of your events to be purely a hate figure for people to hurl abuse at? If you can show me an example of when your group changed its mind after contradictory evidence to your theories was presented then I will engage you in conversation. Otherwise there is no point.

I am aware of the “facts” you mention about 9/11, they have been disproved over and over again hence I refer you to my point above.
Rebecca”

I have to say I think this was my best point. The definition of a Skeptic is someone who accesses the facts and then forms their opinions. Why should we attempt to talk to these people at a meeting if they are starting from a dogmatic (unmoving) position. If they never change their opinions and de-conspiracy a story why would they listen to us? Why should me or any of this website’s contributors defend rationality to such a group?

“Gooodbye!

You have failed to mention the fact that a personal insult was published on your site about a man’s genetic disorder and I’d also love to hear the vast amounts of info you profess to have debunking 9/11. That is simply mainstream propaganda and your true colours shine bright.

Good luck with your slavery when it comes”

So now I’m going to be enslaved?! By whom, when, where and most importantly why?  What would anyone gain from enslaving me? Other than someone who will use and inordinate amount of tissues and Halls Soothers…

“Don’t tell me it’s all that fluoride in the water that will aid in my enslavement right?
At least my colours don’t incite fear and distrust in people and offer them reality of the world we live in and they are enabled to understand and enjoy it.
Good luck living in such a terrifying and threatening world – I don’t know how you deal with it…

And I didn’t debunk 9/11, those with the requisite expertise and knowledge did – comprehensively.

Thanks for your time, I hope you rethink how you address people in the future.
Rebecca”

Yeah, I had to put in the fluoride thing – could you have resisted the opportunity? Thus ended our brief correspondence. Short but pretty beautiful.

Although if you want to talk about conspiracy – if you open up this website and theirs both of our website icons are variants of “SI”.

Coincidence? – I don’t think so!

Poking the bear

5 thoughts on “Poking the bear

  1. JohnKirwan says:

    You see my snide comments on Lord Monckton’s were disgusting because it’s a genetic disorder. Calling a woman a slut is different because she chooses to dress one (or more precisely because her Lizard overlords are telling her to.)
    And what about where I say Jim Corr looks like Ned from south park, or deride his musical career?
    I made several superficial bitchy comments, yet they refuse to address them.

  2. Ohh, interesting, today I learned that Christopher Monckton has (or allegedly, had) Graves’ Disease! See? It’s not always completely pointless debating these people!

  3. Hi, I’m a new member!

    I just read the two articles in question. It is clear that Neil didn’t even read Ed Power’s article in full, as he completely missed the fact that Ed admitted that some conspiracy theories end up being true. I’ve left a comment on this for Neil over at sovereignindependent. It’s currently under moderation so I’m posting it here too just in case:

    rhiggs
    May 26, 2011 – 14:55
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Neil, are we to take this article as being an example of how to do proper investigative journalism and of how to study the ‘EVIDENCE’?

    The last three conspiracy theories that you mention (i.e. syphilis, CIA propaganda and Irish economy) were clearly stated in the original article as being “Conspiracy theories that turned out to be true”. With respect to the last one, the author clearly writes “It sounds ridiculous that a small group of people whose golf handicaps were higher than their IQs could undo one of the great economic success stories of the past 20 years. Take a look outside your window, though — and you’ll see that it’s all too true.”

    Next time, try actually reading the article properly Neil and you might not look so stupid.

  4. Looks like Neil didin’t like my comment. He rejected it and went as far as deleting six other comments, two of which were from Jamie. He posted this comment in their place:

    Neil F
    May 26, 2011 – 16:43
    Shill article coming shortly!
    We don’t have time to waste on shills, trolls or any other hobgoblins. Your masters don’t give a damn about you either.

    Call me a sceptic!

  5. “Looks like Neil didin’t like my comment. He rejected it and went as far as deleting six other comments, two of which were from Jamie. He posted this comment in their place:”

    So free speech, unless you disagree, in which case you’re clearly part of the conspiracy.

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