Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 2181 on April 6, 2006 09:05 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2176

Forrest M. Mims III is in the news with claims of sinister and monstrous evil revealed in Eric R. Pianka’s talk at the Texas Academy of Sciences (TAS) last month. Mims followed up with two petitions to the TAS against Pianka. As Mims himself reports, though, he was not alone in listening to Pianka’s talk. Kathryn Perez was also in attendance and, shortly after the story broke, related on several weblogs that she did not hear the things Mims claims to have heard. She is putting together a petition of her own for the TAS to discipline Mims, and has been collecting signatures from others who attended the talk.

Perez now is getting email from Mims telling her to cease and desist, claiming defamation of his character.

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Comment #95259

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on April 6, 2006 9:08 PM (e)

So Mims accuses someone of advocating genocide, but when taken to task over it claims that his character is being defamed?

Is he a loony?

Comment #95260

Posted by Zarquon on April 6, 2006 9:11 PM (e)

He’s a creationist.

Comment #95261

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 9:20 PM (e)

so, yes.

Comment #95262

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

I wonder if Mims will pull a Larry Caldwell and try to sue Perez for defamation of character?

wouldn’t that just be a lark?

I actually kinda hope he does.

maybe some might start to get some idea of just how ridiculous these folks are.

Comment #95263

Posted by whheydt on April 6, 2006 9:28 PM (e)

Sigh… At least he’s consistent. He acted that way about criticism 20 years ago.

Comment #95264

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 6, 2006 9:31 PM (e)

[I am not a lawyer.]

I think that Mims qualifies in this case as a “limited public figure” since he was acting as a reporter. It takes a lot of effort for a “limited public figure” to demonstrate defamation. For example, calling a reporter’s work “shoddy and dishonest” is not defamation, even if the reporter believes that his work is solid.

On the same token, Pianka might also have a hard time suing Mims for defamation.

[/I am not a lawyer.]

Comment #95265

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 9:33 PM (e)

20 years ago?

got a story to share?

Comment #95266

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 6, 2006 9:33 PM (e)

Mims and the other creationists have no room to complain. Pianka and TAS are getting death threats!

What the hell did Mims get? A circulated petition.

BFD!

Comment #95267

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 9:35 PM (e)

I’m unclear on why mims was officially acting as a reporter.

isn’t he the head of the env sci dept.?

Comment #95268

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 6, 2006 9:47 PM (e)

Not quite 20 years ago, but certainly a while back.

The ID take:
http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or131/mimsrpt3.htm

Index to Creationist Claims:
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA320_1.html

Comment #95269

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 6, 2006 9:52 PM (e)

Mims has been doing science writing for a long time. I think he may even do stuff for his local paper Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, which “coincidentially” has taken a lead on the Pianka-hunt. Mims original story appeared in “The Citizen Scientist” a bi-weekly publication of the Society of Amateur Scientists.

Comment #95270

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on April 6, 2006 10:00 PM (e)

Dembski has published Perez’s “defamatory” email: Forget about Pianka — let’s go after Mims for “misleading propaganda”.

Anybody willing to bet whether Mims will threaten to sue Dembski for defamation as well?

Comment #95271

Posted by whheydt on April 6, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

Twenty years is a round-off. It was during the time that the whole Mims/SciAm dustup occured. The various sides were vigoursly–and I do mean vigorously–discussed on talk.origins. At the time it was common to use ones company and position in .sig files. One person that I know was called on the carpet from very high up in the company he worked for because Mims had a lawyer send a letter threatening to raise a row and claim that ‘anti-Mims’ opinions were on behalf of that company owing to the content of the sig block.

Anyone who is familiar with t.o will understand what the discussion was like…

This specific scenario would be very unlikely now, but back then, private usenet hosts or publically accessible ones were very rare and nearly everyone posted either from the corporate site where they worked or an academic site–as either student or faculty.

In any case, I hold an extremely low opinion of Mims character as a result of knowing about that episode.

Comment #95272

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 10:04 PM (e)

from the first link:

Even worse, two former editors, who had been with Scientific American when Mims was turned down, admitted to reporters that Mims’ beliefs were the reason he wasn’t hired.

even the article makes clear that SA wasn’t really as concerned about Mim’s beliefs, as they were about the fallout from publicity of those beliefs.

and they were exactly right.

so the writers of that “article” on ARN should have read what they wrote.

If i don’t hire an ex-con because of the impact that might have on my business’ reputation, am i being legally discriminatory?

nope.

what’s more, the article made it quite clear that SA would have bought Mim’s articles, had a public stink not have been raised about whatever his beliefs were at the time.

again, it wasn’t Mim’s beliefs that made SA ultimately refuse to hire him for that position, it was the publicity they wanted to avoid.

In fact, they made this quite clear at the beginning, and apparently did everything in their power to give Mims every chance possible.

Mims can blame the press for not getting the job (one wonders exactly why it was so important to him?), but he really can’t blame SA.

as for the media, controversy sells papers, so of course they are going to make as much out of that issue as they could.

Actually, thinking more about it, Mims should blame the very folks that “supported” him: ARN.

why? because it is the ridiculous anti-science positions of folks like those at ARN that have generated all the negative press that actually cost Mims that job.

so he should sue ARN for making a mockery of his own beliefs.

(er, assuming he hasn’t already done a great job of that himself ;) )

Comment #95275

Posted by Inoculated Mind on April 6, 2006 10:58 PM (e)

So Mims accuses someone of advocating genocide, but when taken to task over it claims that his character is being defamed?

Is he a loony?

He’s a creationist.

so, yes.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!
I nearly spat my Cherry Coke on my computer screen. Folks here are funny as a sitcom, but smarter.

I am simply amazed at how the creationists are really pouncing on Pianka, I mean, they’ve forgotten to dismiss the Tikaalik and other recent evolutionary discoveries in the fury. Is it because of an ideological allegiance to Mims? I’m not familiar with their fixation on “Dr. Doom.” Maybe as some sort of “evolution makes people like this” Dembski-esque ad-hominem attack on the theory?

Comment #95278

Posted by Stevaroni on April 6, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

I’m awfully bummed about this whole affair.

Many electrical engineers, like me, got their first introduction to integrated circuits in the “Engineers Notebooks” that Forrest Mims used to write for Radio Shack.

To find out that he’s, well, nuts, is somehow terribly deflating. Sort of like when William Shockley (an inventor of the transistor) was revealed to be a rabid racist.

Maybe the electrical fields we work with slowly rot our brains.

Comment #95280

Posted by Fross on April 6, 2006 11:24 PM (e)

I didn’t realize Mims was a Fellow at D.I.

Isn’t it odd that two member of D.I. took part in this smear campaign? Mims went to the press with false information and Dumbski called Homeland Security.

Call me a big conspiracy theorist, but isn’t this the same type of stuff that Mustafa Akyol (and the Turkish BAV group) pulled in Turkey to slander the science professors at the Universities?

Wait, isn’t Mustafa Akyol a fellow at D.I. now as well?

Comment #95281

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:26 PM (e)

Hmm, I too am drinking cherry coke presently…

We should ask Dembski what the odds are.

…they’ve forgotten to dismiss the Tikaalik and other recent evolutionary discoveries in the fury.

have they now?

think about what you just said.

It’s called a diversionary tactic.

GW uses them all the time.

paraphrased reporter:

“So, Mr. Bush, what about this evidence of leaks at the white house?”

Mr. Bush:

“I think it’s high time we passed a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage”

Creationists have learned the PR game in the last 10 years or so, as well.

Find an issue that’s particularly troublesome? Stress another one that isn’t, and the press will follow where your finger points, so long as you remain controversial.

aside from that, since creationists aren’t all that concerned with the science anyways (it’s the politics they care about), it shouldn’t surprise one that this has become a bigger “hotbutton” issue.

They DO so love playing up scientists (that don’t agree with them) as “evil” whevever they can, and having Pianka play the martyr at the same time he plays the accuser has got to give them multiple orgasms.

Comment #95282

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:27 PM (e)

oop, sorry change Pianka to Mims.

*sigh*

Comment #95298

Posted by Russell on April 6, 2006 11:50 PM (e)

Find an issue that’s particularly troublesome? Stress another one that isn’t, and the press will follow where your finger points, so long as you remain controversial.

I doubt it. The usual head in the sand nonsense about the latest fossil find would be much more forgettable than making an outrageously false defamatory fuss where lots of people are going to call you on it. I think Mims is not so much “crazy like a fox” as he is just crazy.

Comment #95300

Posted by pough on April 6, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

Maybe as some sort of “evolution makes people like this” Dembski-esque ad-hominem attack on the theory?

That’s been around since, like, forever. Evolution leads directly to Hitler and Stalin, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

IF you believe in Evolution
THEN you will have an overwhelming urge to kill, maim or destroy

In their minds, a “Darwinist” like Pianka almost has to have creepy, evil intentions. It comes with the “religion” like a plate of pancakes comes with way too much butter.

Comment #95304

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 12:07 AM (e)

Russel-

I wasn’t talking about Mims, I was talking about the tremendous promotion of Mims commentary by the IDiots.

If it wasn’t Mims accusations, it could have easily been something else.

However, it admittedly is a weak argument, as i said, simply because typically creationists don’t give a rat’s a$$ about what science finds anyway.

It does act as a very convenient diversion, nevertheless.

Comment #95305

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 12:11 AM (e)

hmm, now that i think more about it, the media prefaced many articles about the new find with words to the effect that this would be a problem for creationists.

Normally, I think random scientific finds would easily be swept under the rug by the IDiots, but this time the media was intentionally bringing up the problems this particular find represented for many creos.

sounds like fertile grounds for a diversionary tactic to me.

Comment #95310

Posted by wad of id on April 7, 2006 12:20 AM (e)

I have to wonder if this smear campaign against Pianka was orchestrated as retribution for Frank Beckwith’s tenure-denial at Baylor. Hypothetically speaking, suppose it were, what follows?

Comment #95312

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 12:24 AM (e)

Hypothetically speaking, suppose it were, what follows?

not bloody much other than a bunch of hand-waving at this point.

the transcript shows no actionable offense in Pianka’s speech.

ergo, there are no grounds to review Pianka’s tenure (which he already has, BTW).

If the IDiots have any clue, they’ll drop this issue like a hot branding iron they grabbed the wrong end of.

Comment #95313

Posted by Timothy J Scriven on April 7, 2006 12:28 AM (e)

Speaking of Mustafa Akyol he probably has the most POV wikipedia page on wikipedia, calling all panda-ites to fix it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Akyol

Comment #95316

Posted by Timothy J Scriven on April 7, 2006 12:36 AM (e)

Or should that be thumb-ites

Comment #95325

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 7:03 AM (e)

I will simply point out again that Dembski and the other DI cronies are funded largely by a single whacko billionnaire who, for two decades, served as cash cow and chief cheerleader for the Christian Reconstructionists, who have long advocated overturning the US Constitution and replacing it with “Biblical law”, to include such things as executing gays, heretics and infidels.

If Dembski and the DI-ites want to uncover traitorous homicidal maniacs to report to the Committee for State Security, they don’t need to look very hard.

Comment #95333

Posted by Steverino on April 7, 2006 7:50 AM (e)

for Thumbdies…way off topic…a terrific web cam link to the National Zoo Panda Cam:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/

Comment #95351

Posted by Arden Chatfield on April 7, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

I notice that most of the usual IDC types who haunt PT are completely silent on this. I would count that as a tacit admission that this is a lot of bullshit that they realize they can’t defend.

Comment #95392

Posted by Gorbe on April 7, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

I’m awfully bummed about this whole affair. Many electrical engineers, like me, got their first introduction to integrated circuits in the “Engineers Notebooks” that Forrest Mims used to write for Radio Shack. To find out that he’s, well, nuts, is somehow terribly deflating. Sort of like when William Shockley (an inventor of the transistor) was revealed to be a rabid racist. Maybe the electrical fields we work with slowly rot our brains.

Smart people believe stupid things and have “forever.” Just look at all the authentic Ph.Ds that belong to the various religions around the world. They obviously can’t all be right. So, some are necessarily wrong. So, yes, even intelligent people believe falsehoods. That should surprise no one. BTW, thanks for reminding me where I had heard the Mims name before. I, too, owned a few of his Radio Shack books. I don’t think he is insane. I just think he happens to be a smart person whoe beleives a falsehood.

Comment #95423

Posted by Gary Hurd on April 7, 2006 6:56 PM (e)

Have we learned from the Mirecki Affair?

Comment #95424

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

I just think he happens to be a smart person whoe beleives a falsehood.

I disagree.

believing in a falsehood, and going out of your way to slander another with falsehoods, are entirely different.

did you read Mims petition?

I vote for insane.