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.