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 Pivar sues PZ for libel
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Starman
SFN Regular

Sweden
1613 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  04:48:00  Show Profile Send Starman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
PZ Myers, ScienceBlogs.com's lead blogger, is being sued for libel

Looks like Pivar didn't like PZ Myers review of his book

A quick search of the database of the New York state court system reveals that since 1986, Stuart Pivar has been named as a plaintiff in 25 different cases filed with the New York State Unified Court System (and a defendant in two).



"Any religion that makes a form of torture into an icon that they worship seems to me a pretty sick sort of religion quite honestly"
-- Terry Jones

Edited by - Starman on 08/21/2007 04:49:42

moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1888 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  05:13:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It looks like from Pivar's perspective it is not a matter of being right as much as it is just winning the argument. PZ Myers comment, after finding out that he was being sued, is right on.
I still stand by my review, and now I'm a bit disturbed that someone would think criticism of a scientific hypothesis must be defended by silencing its critics. - PZ Myers

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  05:46:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From Christopher Mims' SciAm article:
I sincerely hope it doesn't have a chilling effect on the cantankerous dialog that is constantly swirling through the science blogging community... you know, that place where restraint is in short supply and you never have to guess what someone actually thinks of you, your work, your parentage or your politics.
Gotta love that wording.


Stuart Pivar (right) and Andy Warhol.

Here's to PZ Meyers, and confusion to his enemies!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 08/21/2007 06:06:48
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  06:25:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now, this from Wired:
Maybe if Myers hadn't included a long, technical evaluation to the balloon animal snark, Pivars might -- theoretically -- have had a very outside shot at a case. But in that post and elsewhere, Myers gets into the scientific flaws of Pivar's theories. What he says falls well short of the American definition of libel, which requires that a claim be false.The meat of Myers' criticisms are quite substantial.

Pivar's case is clearly empty. And given his wealth, he can undoubtedly afford better legal advice. So what's the deal? I'm guessing that it's just a PR stunt. What better way to sell your book than get the blogosphere boiling, in the hope that the lawsuit becomes a full-blown -- and wholly undeserved -- controversy?

And here I am, covering it. Damn the system.



Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  14:22:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What a strange situation.
  • November 7, 2005: Myers reviews LifeCode: The Theory of Biological Self Organization.

  • July 12, 2007, 13:07 (Post A): Myers reposts the 2005 review.

  • July 12, 13:12 (Post B): Myers explains the repost was in response to this press release.

  • July 12, 14:16: In a comment to Post B, Blake Stacey begins questioning the endorsements claimed by Pivar.

  • July 12, 14:48: In a comment to Post B, Kirk finds that the quoted endorsement from Tyson is certainly fraudulent in at least one way.

  • July 14, 08:38: Pivar comments on Post A, saying Myers reviewed the wrong book, and that a new one is coming out soon called Lifecode, from Egg to Embryo.

  • July 14, 08:50: Pivar makes the same comment on Post A again.

  • July 14, 10:47: Pivar makes nearly the same comment, on Post B this time.

  • July 15, 11:41: In another comment to Post B, Pivar takes Myers to task over points Pivar claims are in a book Pivar knows that Myers hasn't yet read.

  • July 15, 19:04: In another comment to Post B, Pivar takes one of the authors of a study he mentions to task for being less impressed with the study than is the media, and thus questions the author's grasp of science.

  • July 15, 22:14: Myers writes another post about Pivar's complaints, points out he hasn't received the new book yet, and mentions Pivar's threatened lawsuit.

  • July 16, 11:37: In yet another comment to Post B, Pivar seems to be offering a reference, to himself.

  • July 17, 20:55 (Post C): Myers posts his review of the new version of the book.

  • July 18, 12:09 (Post D): Myers posts queries about the endorsements for Pivar's book.

  • July 18, 14:10: In a comment to Post D, Blake Stacey reveals an email he got from Pivar.

  • July 18, 14:50: Myers says that O'Leary defends Pivar, and that she calls Myers' review a "rave." Hahaha.

  • July 18, 17:32: In a comment to Post D, Pivar complains that Tyson has suddenly withdrawn his endorsement of the book.

  • July 19, 12:37: Pivar posts a comment to Post C, in which he records the very short "model theory [sic] of embryonic seld-organization [sic]."

  • August 16, 2007: Pivar files his lawsuit.
So nearly a month with no more complaints by Pivar or comments from PZ, and then bam! it's lawsuit time. How very odd.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  14:39:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, if only all negative book reviews could be stopped with a libel suit. Pivar doesn't have a chance in hell of winning this suit, and I highly doubt it will see the inside of a courtroom. Any competent judge should toss it.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  15:00:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I haven't yet seen anyone quote from the filing, specifically pointing out what Pivar is claiming was libelous. One person said it was the "crackpot" comment, another says the "crank" comment, but neither point to the lawsuit itself. How is it that PZ hasn't been served yet?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  17:35:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Panda's Thumb now reports that Myers is being sued for $15 million, for calling Pivar a crackpot.

Here is the actual filing.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  17:56:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good grief! Pivar claims, in the filing:
11. Plaintiff discussed the LIFECODE project on numerous occassions with Professor Stephen Jay Gould, who, until his untimely death in May 2002, was working on a refutation of the fundamentalist Darwinian theory of evolution...
Emphasis mine. Who the heck can claim, as a fact, such a thing?

Oh, yeah, a person who thinks that "Every statement SJG ever made rejects natural selection, and none can be found in its support" could make such a statement.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  19:06:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And now, PZ Myers says "no comment."

Oh, and thanks to Blake Stacey for linking to the "no comment."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2007 :  20:19:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Myers even "no comments" with eloquence.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2007 :  09:19:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Uncommon Descent chimes in. The "irony" appears to be that getting sued for trying to push a Christian agenda in a public school (suing to enforce the First Amendment) is somehow the same as getting sued for calling someone a crackpot in a book review (suing to deny someone the First Amendment). In other words, I don't think the denizens of UD know what "irony" is.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2007 :  11:44:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This story made it to Slashdot, and the folks there are having some laughs based on the Amazon reviews of Pivar's book. For a nice example:
It's well accepted in the scientific community that the coolest theory is usually the correct one. Evolution for example is quite lame, with its long slow processes and lack of nifty illustrations. Evolution is also hampered by its insistence on verifiable well tested data. What's more boring then sitting in a darkened lab looking through a microscope. It is the definition of geeky.

Lifecode is none of those things. Pivar begins with a cool theory, that our bodies are formed by mechanical process not genetic information, and then creates data to support it. Ask yourself what shows more intelligence finding data in the real world (easy) or actually creating it yourself (hard).

He also includes amazing comics of how a perfect cone is molded into a skull. Now, scientists might argue that we see none of this when we actually look at developing embryos. That's not the point. They are making the critical error of putting data before theory. Pivar is smart enough to realize the absurdity of that.

If you want well tested established theories look elsewhere. If you want a theory that is cool and makes you feel good look here. This book is must for all Creationists, home schoolers, and those few brave folks who can reject plain evidence in favor of amazing fancy.
Overall, the book has 2 five-star reviews and 15 one-star reviews.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1888 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2007 :  13:25:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Good grief! Pivar claims, in the filing:
11. Plaintiff discussed the LIFECODE project on numerous occassions with Professor Stephen Jay Gould, who, until his untimely death in May 2002, was working on a refutation of the fundamentalist Darwinian theory of evolution...
Emphasis mine. Who the heck can claim, as a fact, such a thing?

Oh, yeah, a person who thinks that "Every statement SJG ever made rejects natural selection, and none can be found in its support" could make such a statement.
Probably the work of Darwinian thugs.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2007 :  14:53:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It strikes me that Stuart Pivar has learned self-promotion tricks from his friend, Andy Warhol.

This is an inexact comparison, however. Warhol was essentially a decent person. He didn't sue critics. He was probably a better scientist than Pivar. Andy Warhol's brilliant self-promotion was essentially harmless. Warhol famously stated, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Warhol made his own fame last much longer than that.

By suing PZ Myers, Pivar's now contrived a controversy that can only serve to publicize a book that would have otherwise remained obscure. All it takes is money for attorneys. Pivar's rich and has often sued people.

It's a PR trick that's bound to work.

Unless... unless the people who were falsely quoted as endorsing Pivar's silly little book all sue the snotty little crackpot bastard. It seems to me that there should not only be a legal defense fund for PZ Myers, but a legal offense fund for those scientists whom Pivar has exploited to promote his book.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2007 :  08:52:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
LOLCat based upon this mess.

Edited to say that I got to the above at Making Light, after it was mentioned in PZ's "No Comment" thread.

Edited to add another lolcat, from the same place.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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