Home » Intelligent Design » The ultimate hot weather story … Stu Pivar, friend of late Steve Gould, suing PZ Myers

The ultimate hot weather story … Stu Pivar, friend of late Steve Gould, suing PZ Myers

It’s August, after all. Keep that in mind. Even so, I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it, but apparently, according to SciAm blogger Christopher Mims, Lifecode author Stuart Pivar is suing PZ Myers for libel.

Yes, Stuart is the one who was friends with the late Stephen Jay Gould. Hat tip to Jack, who draws my attention to Mims’ last graff, quoting Myers:

Huh. I’d heard some noise from Pivar threatening to sue, but this is the first I’ve heard of any formal action being taken. Since I’m a defendant (one who hasn’t been notified of his status!) I suppose I should just shut up at this point and let justice run its course. Since I’m a blogger, though, I can’t completely shut up. I will just say that this is Pivar’s attempt to squash a negative review of his book, which I posted here. Nothing in the review was motivated by personal malice, and I actually am inclined to favor structuralist arguments in evolution … but I’m afraid my honest assessment of Pivar’s work is that it does not support his conclusions. I still stand by my review, and now I’m a bit disturbed that someone would think criticism of a scientific hypothesis must be defended by silencing its critics.

Oh, my stars. When has anyone ever have tried to do that before? Just unbelievable.

And yes, PZ Myers is the U of Minnesota biologist who got into a row with Dilbert’s alter ego. Yes, that Dilbert, the baby engineer. Honest.

If PZ were to libel anyone, like, how would we KNOW? 

Update: To learn more about Pivar’s actual theory, as opposed to detractions thereof, go here and here. It is a theory of self-organization, it is not an intelligent design theory.

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14 Responses to The ultimate hot weather story … Stu Pivar, friend of late Steve Gould, suing PZ Myers

  1. 1

    Wouldn’t it be delicious if PiZza were to be found guilty of libel for doing what he does best, which is infantile blather?

    The Scubaredneck

  2. “I’m a bit disturbed that someone would think criticism of a scientific hypothesis must be defended by silencing its critics.”

    Did milk squirt out of anyone else’s nose here, like it did mine when I read this?

    The worm turneth

  3. 3

    I nearly ruined my keyboard. ROTFLOL

  4. ROFLMAO

    PZ should be thankful it isn’t a class action suit.

  5. http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/

    Everyone on UD should be reading Scott Adams’ blog. Not only is he hilarious, but he’s often insightful at many points along the way.

  6. P.S. – Today was the coldest day in August for NYC since 1911 reaching a high of 59F. I’ll attest to the chill if not the record. I’ve been in the southern tier (where NY, PA, and OH meet) for a month and today turned on the heater to take the chill off the house.

  7. That’s not true. That’s impossible!

  8. Not defending Myers here, but there’s not the slightest chance that Pivar will win this case. In fact, I would be very surprised if it’s not thrown out by the judge it is assigned to.

    If everyone who has been called a crackpot (which probably includes every one of us at one time or another, no doubt!) sued then the courts would be tied up till kingdom come.

    As for the withdrawn quote from de Grasse Tyson, which seems to be the only other substantive point Pivar has, even if the quote wasn’t taken out of context as Tyson and others have claimed (with a reasonable amount of evidence), or used without permission, then its still Tyson’s choice as to whether he wants to continue to be seen endorsing Pivar’s material. I can hardly believe that Tyson would have been so easily badgered or frightened into withdrawing the quote after one bad review from Myers.

    While I’m all for defending one’s corner, especially when it comes to innovative and new scientific theories, I really do detest nuisance law suits no matter who the target is, and this certainly appears to be one of them.

  9. “I’m a bit disturbed that someone would think criticism of a scientific hypothesis must be defended by silencing its critics.”

    I agree with Mike. Although it isn’t like anybody has accused PZ of being much of a clear thinker so I suspect the irony of his statement would be wasted entirely on him.

    But hey, this sort of double standard is pretty much business as usual for people of Myers political persuasion. If you disagree with them you must be silenced, but if you try to silence them then you are guilty of censorship.

    Don’t hold your breath expecting Myers or anybody in his camp to appreciate the irony of this situation.

  10. Did milk squirt out of anyone else’s nose here, like it did mine when I read this?

    Such Schadenfreude is unseemly. I set my milk down before reading the story.

  11. For what it is worth, I doubt PZ will lose his pajamas over this. The Internet is largely stateless.

    Also, generally, libel suits must demonstrate harm. Thus Stu Pivar must demonstrate that PZ’s attacks have caused him harm. I will be most interested to see what harm is alleged.

    I doubt that “becoming unpopular among Darwinist fanatics” can be considered a harm, when – as I assume everyone knows < ;> – it is one of the clinical tests for sanity.

  12. “the courts would be tied up till kingdom come.”

    The courts are already tied up till kingdom come … unless you’re rich and pushy

    PZ will never realize the above stated irony of this. He simply doesn’t have the gray matter necessary.

  13. JR: “If you disagree with them you must be silenced, but if you try to silence them then you are guilty of censorship.” … and then you must be silenced! ;-)

  14. [...] More on Myers lawsuit [...]

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