Creationists are outliers in another way

Popehat is looking for someone to defend yet another science blogger from a lawsuit.

Pepijn van Erp blogs about science and pseudoscience from the Netherlands. He praises good science and skewers and critiques the bad. Wait a minute. Is that the Jaws theme playing? Yes. Yes it is — because blogging about junk science is a great way to get threatened or sued. In my experience, purveyors of “non-mainstream” science are unusually litigious and sensitive to criticism. You’ve seen it here at Popehat with “atavistic” cancer theorists and vaccine truthers and naturopaths and fans of questionable cancer remedies and AIDS deniers. I blame the crystals.

He’s being sued by Ruggero Santilli, a physics crank. However, I realized something as I was reading about it. I’ve become something of an unwilling expert in this area — I’ve been threatened with lawsuits so many times that I’ve completely lost count. I now regard cease-and-desist letters as ho-hum, and getting told I’m going to be sued for over 2 million dollars just triggers an eye-roll. But you know what’s weird?

I’ve never been threatened with a lawsuit by a creationist.

Notice that they aren’t present in Popehat’s list, either. The people who get most indignant about criticism seem to be people who are trying hardest to gain undeserved credibility from mainstream science, and that includes certain skeptics and atheists. Creationists love to steal scientific cred whenever they can, but it’s for the purpose of suckering Christians and Muslims, not for winning the respect of the scientific community.

I’ve also pissed off Catholics, but even they didn’t threaten to sue me. They threatened to kill me and my family and destroy my life, and repeatedly told me I was going to burn in hell, but not a whisper of dragging me into court over maltreatment of a cracker.

I’m going to have to file this datum away in my head as a reference to use in determining which are the “safe” targets of criticism. Religious nuts may talk a loud game about bashing your skull in, but they don’t hire lawyers to harass you.


  1. raven says

    I’ve been threatened with lawsuits so many times that I’ve completely lost count.

    I now regard cease-and-desist letters as ho-hum,…

    I’ve been threatened with a few, not that I bothered to count them.
    Huff and puff letters are amusing and worth framing.
    I live in an anti-SLAPP suit state. And just tell them to shut up, file the papers, and lets go to court. And never hear from them again.

  2. rietpluim says

    Pepijn and Stichting Skepsis are doing great work.
    Their blog (“is it true”) is very informative and fun to read.
    Highly recommended if you speak the language.

  3. John Small Berries says

    “Religious nuts may talk a loud game about bashing your skull in, but they don’t hire lawyers to harass you.”

    Well, except for Scientologists, of course.

  4. wzrd1 says

    Well, there is one attorney that needs a law license rescinded, as that attorney is going after an ISP, despite federal legislation that provides that service provider with safe harbor.

    As for Santilli, what a fascinating creature! Antimatter has its own special light, which violates every known law of physics and is only observable in pay to play journals, via convex lenses.
    There is a special nomenclature for such a litigious individuals, who flout the laws of physics, while presenting non-evidence that can never be reproduced: Once litigation begins, they move from being a plain, vanilla asshole into the realm of flaming asshole.

    I’ll await the process server’s delivery, for by the time I’m done in court, the judge will find the plaintiff in contempt of court.

  5. Sastra says

    I wonder if at least part of the reason Creationists don’t sue involves their recognition that the question is ultimately going to come down to faith. You don’t put faith on trial. They think it’s because it’s sacred; we know it’s because it will lose.

    They may be sincere enough in their claim to be ‘scientific’ and backed up by a completely objective approach to the evidence — but there’s no other way to explain the common but bizarre shift from pseudoscience to presuppositionalism. “It depends on your worldview. We look at the same facts, but draw different conclusions, based on our prior worldview.”

    That ‘worldview’ crap isn’t going to play in court, and they know it.

  6. says

    (Myers): “I’ve never been threaten with a lawsuit by a creationist.”
    I’ve been banned from commenting by one socialist-academic blog (Kleiman’s Reality Based Community), two libertarian blogs (Samidata, bizzy blog), two socialist/atheist blogs (JREF, Internet Infidels), and two socialist/ feminist blogs (Mahablog, ???). More than anyone, Christians should be offended by my materialism and pro-abortion (NOT “pro choice”) position, but I have never been banned by Christian blogs (e.g., Baldilocks, The Common Room).