Until recently I was content to let bygones be bygones in a heated debate with Nix Manes
on his Texas Execution Looms After Jury Consult Bible
blog post. The conversation was sidetracked by Nix Manes due to his accusations that lawyers and judges cause strife. I took exception to his sweeping generalization and called him out on it. Meanwhile, Jen attempted to question the original post with questions of her own which were ignored by Nix throughout the whole ordeal.
Well, I do admit that I did get a bit snarky as Nix refused to address several major issues with his arguments and relied instead on straw man arguments and ignoring pointed questions directed his way. I asked him to please address these questions and he simply refused, opting to instead repeat his mantra of "analogies prove nothing" over and over and over, despite the fact that no one asserted that they did.
Eventually, Nix decided that everyone needed to simply agree to disagree (something he has done very rapidly before when challenged) and leave it there. Well, I admit I like to argue and when someone asserts something and will not defend it, I tend to go for the kill. So I pushed and Jen kept asking questions and finding new facts about the original post. What does Nix do? He deletes our last comments and sets his blog to have comments moderated. I accused him of running away during the back and forth, but I was really trying to goad him into answering simple questions. His latest actions have shown that he actually was
running away from it.
What is the point of this? Well, I really do not like being censored. I have eaten crow on this site before in debates and I have seen others do so as well. It is not something tasty, but when you are wrong, even on a small point of a larger issue, if you are honest, it is something that you simply must do if you have any integrity. Perhaps Nix Manes doesn't believe he was wrong at any point in this debate. Perhaps he thinks it was beneath him to answer questions, cite his sources for his made up facts, or defend his arguments. I don't know and I doubt he'll ever honestly say. And I would have not even thought to try and publicize this dispute if I had not been censored by him. Well, it is his blog, so he can. But this is my blog, so now I can speak freely.
Watching the debacle across the pond in the UK with Simon Singh
, it pisses me off to no end to see how the English libel laws are used to silence critics. Many thoughtful skeptics, atheists, academics, bloggers,and journalists are fighting against censorship. They are not allowed to criticize anyone because they will be subject to threats of lawsuits from their targets that have the potential of bankrupting them. In England, when you are accused of libel, you must prove your innocence. The burden is on you and even if you know you are right, there is still a small enough chance that you'll lose and then you will be bankrupted. Most folks back down, retract their statements, and avoid the risk. Meanwhile, people wholly deserving of the criticism get a free pass.
My criticism of Nix Manes is not really about the details of the dispute. It was the manner in which he chose to carry on his part of the conversation. The intellectual dishonesty and cherry picking he performed was a ghastly affront to honest discourse and I called him out on it repeatedly. Yet, he ignored even that. He finished up the discussion by typing a long post comparing my position and argument to that of FOX News. It is exactly the type of thing you would expect from FOX News; to commit such blatant dishonesty and then turn around and accuse your detractors of it. It was quite surreal, but his deletion of my following post as well as at least one more simply demonstrates that he didn't want to face valid criticism.
All too quickly Nix Manes bemoans that he has grown weary of repeating himself and bows out of discussions where people challenge him. If he would simply address the questions raised to him and heed my plea to strop reciting his mantra, he would most likely find himself with fresh words to type. Instead, sadly, he chose the low road of ignoring and then silencing his critics.
Nix Manes ends things by stating:
(I won't be following this particular blog any longer. Any posts from this point are simply poisoned beyond usefulness—as are most of them up to this point.)
Well, turning on moderation is a terrible way to "not follow" the blog. There is a link that says "stop following" that once clicked, will stop emails from notifying you of new comments. Turning on moderation only shows that you are still following the blog, you just are not allowing new comments that you disapprove of to be posted.