The other day, I said that his book, The Irrational Atheist, was self-published. I was wrong. He actually bamboozled a publisher into taking it on.
Day also has some other complaints.
I said it was ridiculous for him to claim that he was cited in scientific publications, when what he was really doing was claiming that people who didn’t cite him at all were actually citing him. It’s bizarre, but he’s doubling down. He claims that Scott Atran was using his ‘data’ about the number of religious wars, which he had to have gotten from his book.
Scott Atran and others are, in fact, citing me, whether they realize it or not. It is very easy to prove it. They are taking it from this Wikipedia page, which took it from a Christian site which took it from TIA. The reason I know this is that the numbers that everyone is citing are not the numbers that appear in the Encylopedia of Wars. As it happens, no such numbers appear in the encyclopedia at all. They are the numbers that I used the encyclopedia to calculate and appeared in The Irrational Atheist.
I rather doubt that Atran was citing either Wikipedia or an encyclopedia. But I went to look anyway. Atran has a grand total of two papers (well, one article and one letter) published in Nature, so it was easy to check — I read them both.
The letter by Atran and Stern is about how terrorists use the web. The only numbers they cite aren’t about the number of holy wars in history, but about suicide attacks and the distribution of jihadis, and they cite primary sources that are not wikipedia or an encyclopedia, much less Vox Day’s book.
Bruce Hoffman, of the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy in Washington DC, finds that 81% of suicide attacks since 1968 occurred after the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, with 31 of the 35 groups held responsible being Islamic militants or ‘jihadi’. Independent studies by the Nixon Center think-tank and by former US intelligence officer Marc Sageman (presented to the World Federation of Scientists Permanent Monitoring Panel on Terrorism in Sicily, May 2005) reveal that more than 80% of known jihadis live in diaspora communities, often marginalized from the host society, and in hard-to-penetrate social networks that consist of about 70% friends and 20% family. Seeking a sense of community, these small groups bond as they surf jihadi websites to find direction and purpose. In the past five years alone, jihadi websites have increased in number from fewer than 20 to more than 4,000.
The longer opinion piece, in which Atran is the third author, is about how national responses to terrorism could be profitably modeled after the immune system — being adaptive and flexible. There aren’t any historical data about past wars. Wikipedia and any encyclopedia are not in the references.
I think we can safely lay this one to rest: Vox Day/Theodore Beale is not the source of any data or hypothesis published by Scott Atran in Nature.
I also checked a few other papers by Atran — no sign of any loon-derived numbers in any of them.
But the loon is not done! He claims to have inspired other studies.
It’s a bit ironic that PZ is so intent on claiming that I am not a scientist, when he was the original inspiration for my hypothesis, successfully tested in a study by Boston University scientists, that atheists are not neurotypical and that there is a positive correlation between atheism and autism.
Strange. I am not autistic to any noticeable degree, and have never been diagnosed as such. That makes it odd to claim I am the inspiration for a “hypothesis”.
But I know that paper! Here’s a pdf. Just so you know, it’s not a peer-reviewed, published paper; it’s an undergraduate thesis. It does not claim that atheists are not neurotypical; it says that non-neurotypical people are more likely to be atheists (there’s a significant difference, as I’m sure you can figure out; Vox Day might have problems).
Most importantly, there is no citation of Theodore Beale, or Vox Day, or The Irrational Atheist, or ‘that misogynistic asshole on the internet’. You’d think this would be rather obvious: you don’t get to count it as a citation if you aren’t cited.
And the final damning straw: the much vaunted paper by Hooker that claims a vaccination/autism link, that was promoted by Vox Day, has been retracted. He’s basically wrong about everything.
Except that his book wasn’t self-published. That’s about it.