Monday, July 2, 2012

Wintery Knight - dissembler and coward

I was particularly irritated by right-wing Christian Wintery Knight's recent post on Obamacare, in which he repeats various dubious, cherry-picked stats and conclusions from a Hoover Institute guy as evidence that the US system is much better than the NHS. Wintery Knight's posts are generally recycled right-wing dissembling, myths and apologetics. I made a quick first comment on his post on Obamacare and then followed up with various links and stats. Wintery Knight responded to first comment and refused to publish my other comments. Apparently he's got form - even editing people's comments before publishing them. I am pretty sure that's not what Jesus would do. The only other experience I have had of having my comments "disappear" was here: Mark Vernon posted on my Radio 3 talk about my Believing Bullshit book, then engaged with me up to the point where I was clearly getting under his skin, at which point my comment "disappeared" leaving Vernon with a condenscending last word. I take a particularly low view of those who set up blogs to give the appearance that there's a free exchange of ideas going on, when in fact there is deleting or even editing of comments to suit the blogger. Any other examples...?

52 comments:

leavingfundamentalism said...

I've recently been trying to engage some right-wing Christians by writing to the people who ran my old fundamentalist school. I asked them why they thought it was acceptable to teach as fact things which are empirically false.

I've had a couple of answers that didn't engage with the questions, and a couple telling me not to write again. One of them included a Gospel track which tells the reader "You are debased... You are defiled... You are defiant."

leavingfundamentalism said...

Ah, I didn't relate my comment to your post, which makes it look a bit spammy. All I was saying (as if it were needed) is that right-wing Christians have form when it comes to stifling discussion.

Paul P. Mealing said...

I think it's incredibly rude to edit someone else's comment. And yes, cowardly is a good word.

Some bloggers have a code of conduct, which I think is fair enough. Personally, I would delete anything that was truly abusive, but I've never had to to-date. The only comment I've deleted off my blog was spam (1 in 5 years).

As for examples, Sye didn't post a comment I left on his blog once (a long time ago now).

William Lane Craig is very selective about what he posts on his Q&A site. He takes questions rather than criticisms.

Regards, Paul.

Psiloiordinary said...

Christian Apologetics UK;

http://apologeticsuk.blogspot.co.uk/

They have been randomly refusing to post comments - I have yet to rule out incompetence but the end result was the same as censorship and I gave up.

Adzcliff said...

Have left Wintery Knight a little on-topic note myself. Am currently 'awaiting moderation'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen - The disappearance of your last words is as much a mystery to me as it is an irritation to you. Feel free to repost. I've checked my blog and can find no record of what has happened. My apologies. (As a matter of policy I am inclined to try to leave critics with the last word, in fact, hoping the blog post itself may be balanced by them...)

Anonymous said...

'Anonymous' above is one Mark Vernon, by the way. Perhaps I have a problem with blog software but couldn't see how to sign in... Mark Vernon

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen - The disappearance of your last words is as much a mystery to me as it is an irritation to you. Feel free to repost. I've checked my blog and can find no record of what has happened. My apologies. (As a matter of policy I am inclined to try to leave critics with the last word, in fact, hoping the blog post itself may be balanced by them...) Mark Vernon (reposting here because, as if by some supernatural retribution, my remarks seem to be automatically disappearing from your blog...)

Stephen Law said...

Mark - all your posts went into spam for some reason - anyway thanks for the clarification...!

Stephen Law said...

...and of course my apologies given this was some sort of technical glitch.

Landon Hedrick said...

Stephen,

The idea that it was just some sort of glitch that made your comments disappear from Wintery Knight's blog is incredible. This individual has had problems in the past with refusing to post critical comments.

For instance, after your debate with William Lane Craig, Wintery Knight posted a terribly uncharitable and incompetent "review." I left a sharp (but appropriate) comment there about this shameful conduct, and (no surprise) it was never posted. I've heard others say that they've had the same problem.

Stephen Law said...

Landon - I'm talking to Mark Vernon who is "anonymous" He says it was a glitch. I'll accept that. WK on the other hand is outright Mofo.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I mean, Douglas Groothuis is just censorious and heavyhanded in perceiving nearly every disagreeing comment (when he even allows them) on his blog as tantamount to disrespect (and warranting of deletion). But even an intellectually-insulated and talking-point--parroting blog as his wouldn't feature that level of cowardice!

Ryan M said...

I think Jeff Lowder also had problems with getting his comments published on Wintery's blog. In fact the posts I'm thinking about were about Stephen's debate with Craig.

Also this might be of interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRgHQCmbR7U

That's Philipse debating Swinburne. I think this debate is from May this year, so it is different than the one from 2011.

Roddy said...

Stephen,

I don't know WK, never seen his blog, but what do you mean by 'right-wing Christian'?

Is it his Christianity that is right-wing (fundamentalist?), or is he right-wing in his political philosophy as well as being an active Christian? (Or both of course).

Stephen Law said...

Both...

Thrasymachus said...

YEah, Winteryknight pulled similar BS on me:

http://www.thepolemicalmedic.com/2010/08/winteryknight-doesnt-love-me/

Lee said...

WK's style of censorship appears to be, at worst, random. I posted a fairly edgy response to his (demonstrable)mishandling of the facts in the podcast debate between Glen Peoples and Arif Ahmed on the moral argument. He basically just left out half of Ahmed's argument and pontificated on how ludicrous it was. He posted our entire exchange, brief though it was, without modification. More recently, I posted an innocuous question on another post and it never made it past the mod. So I wouldn't rule out technical error(see Hanlon's Razor).

He is, however, part of a relatively close-knit online community of Christian apologists, ranging from the facile Eric McDonald, who will post his responses to your comments but delete your comments and block further commenting, and Randy Everest, who never allows a comment to post without a reply from him(more focused on hygiene than dialogue). Of course, these practices are by no means limited to the theistic community-certain unmentionables on FreethoughtBlogs being the most obvious example from the skeptical community.

I just practice my right as a consumer and don't traffic sites that engage in this sort of behavior. One very notable, contrary example of a budding apologist who holds an open and engaging forum is Thomas Larson (http://tomlarsen.org/blog/). He has even written a response to one of WK's posts, calling him out for bad argumentation. If any apologist deserves traffic, it's this guy.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you read the comments for WK's article? WK posted counter-view arguments. The person he approved linked to facts and was cordial. Stephen linked to guardian editorials which are (being modest here) center-left opinion instead of focusing on facts and his comments may have, perhaps, been less than cordial. I've learned over at WK's place that if your comments involve insults and propagandistic articles then he won't approve the comment.

*throws 2 cents on digital floor*

Stephen Law said...

I am curious, "anonymous": how do you come by the inside information that when WK (who includes loads of links to the notoriously right-wing Daily Mail, Telegraph, Hoover Institute guys, etc.) receives links to "propagandist articles" (er, The Guardian) then he won't publish them?

And why, exactly, is he justified in doing so?

Stephen Law said...

PS I did not link to a Guardian "editorial" either. Your weasel words remind of someone. Who could it be, it'll come to me in a minute...

Stephen Law said...

PS "WK posted counter-view arguments." Yes, after I posted the above.

If WK was a complete and utter arse, what he probably do is, stung by my post above, publish a few such crits on his blog, then come over here pretending to be "anonymous" and pointing the crit comments out, suggest I must have been "insulting", and perhaps adding that (by some mysterious unknown mechanism) he was privy to the knowledge that WK does not like to publish left wing "propaganda" (Guardian articles), thereby trying to make himself look less like that complete arse he really is.

WK does publish critical comments, but only ones he feels can shoot down pretty easily. Others go in the bin, That's intellectual dishonesty and cowardice.

Stephen Law said...

Also, WK DID publish the first Guardian article link, didn't he?! So perhaps you are referring to the fact that my subsequent deleted posts also contained links to Guardian articles (and other sources including academic)? But, how could YOU possibly know that they did, anonymous? Unless...

Stephen Law said...

Aononymous you said: "guardian editorialS". Plural. In fact my published comment linked to just one Guardian article.

But my subsequent blocked comment contained more.

How could you know that?

Anonymous said...

I would know these things from personal experience. At first, WK enraged me because he wouldn't post my insults or comments containing swear words and the like, especially if those comments were holding hands with articles from Guardian, NY Times, and other center-left sources that are hard to swallow for center-right folks. However, I pressed on. Instead of posting insulting comments, I asked him why he didn't post this comment or the other and he told me it was because I was so insulting and that I didn't use good sources.

From my time at WK's blog, I don't think he would bother commenting here on this blog post. You can catch me over at his place under the name, you guessed it, Anonymous, haha. :D I frequent this blog too Stephen. I actually really liked your debate with the one Lane Craig. Good stuff. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Oh just a question. Why did you think I was attempting a justification for WK?

Stephen Law said...

Right, so you are not WK. Just an anonymous person who spotted this post, and who by chance has established, by a gradual process of trial and error, WK's criteria for publishing comments - he publishes critical comments unless they contain (i) insults and/or (ii) link to "propagandist articles"?

The implication being that my post (and presumably all the others then noted by other commentators), must have contained (i) or (ii) (and in which case were therefore not so very unreasonably rejected).

Well the comments of mine were free of (i) and (ii), and clearly so were many of those discussed by others above (in some cases people have even posted up their "awaiting moderation" comments (see the link in my blog post), and it's clear they contain neither (i) or (ii). Rather, they contain arguments that WK can't cope easily with. So he bins them.

Are you denying that?

Anonymous said...

Oh well I don't have an answer for those situations. All I know is from my personal experience. *shrugs shoulders*

Steven Carr said...

I see that anonymous doesn't even attempt to defend Wintery Knight's practice of changing other people's words and substituting his own words before publishing them.

As the documented examples show, this is not done to erase profanities but to erase signs that people who disagree with him might have had good points.

Tris Stock said...

This is exactly why I have trained myself to copypasta every comment I make and receive, storing them on Evernote should I ever need to produce a blog post exposing the lies and obfuscation displayed by theists.

Reynold said...

Try posting dissenting opinions on Bill Muehlenberg's site, Culture Watch.

I tried dealing with that guy once or twice, but to no real avail.

Rauss said...

Hi

If I wanted the discourse to remain civil, I would be inclined to censor or delete your remarks, Stephen Law.

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but, you have called him a "mofo", an "arse", and other such insults.

Your conversation seems more intent on putting him down than engaging in an honest, fair discussion and honestly, it makes you look bad.

You're better than this, and you know it.

Perhaps if your comments are more substantial and academic than name-calling, I would take your side on the matter.

But as of now, you are being a bully, and you ought to change your approach.

Stephen Law said...

What I'd hope I am better than is to play the pompous, self-righteous indignation card when someone who is caught deleting and even editing critical comments on their blog is called an "arse".

You are not denying Wintery Knight deletes and even edits civil but critical comments on his posts, are you? Presumably not. Yet what really provokes your ire is that he is subsequently called an "arse"?

Rauss said...

You know what irritates me? I feel like if I call you "Stephen" or "Law", or even "Stephen Law", it sounds weird. Like I'm being patronizing or passive-aggressively standoffish. If I call you "Mr. Stephen Law", it sounds even weirder. Like I'm a quaint old woman or something.

Can I just call you Dr. Law?

Now I know of Wintery Knight's blog, but I don't know him personally.

But I can't verify that he deletes your blog posts. He could, or he could not, I have no idea.

And neither do you, if you are honest about it.

I'd like you to notice how you talked about Mark Vernon- how the scare-quoted insinuation of "he so bad he made my quotes 'disappear'" was responded to with such a positive, genial, unperturbed attitude that truly makes him seem just above all the drama.

If I were to go by this blog post and the responses, Mark Vernon looks like a real stand-up guy, while you are left eating your hat with your insinuation against him proven false.

Now I don't know if you pay attention to how you come across here, but you should because it's important. Perception is reality, they say.

You could continue to take the same bombastic, partisan approach of name-calling, smear-campaigning and blog-warring.

Or you could, you know...just see it for what it is- either WK is censoring you unfairly, or he is censoring you fairly, or perhaps it is a glitch in his blog.

Just because it's the internet, you're going to start a crusade against the guy?

You know it's not worth getting upset over. Try and get in touch with him in private and try and work something out. If he does seem like a tool when you try to make a good-faith attempt to talk with him, you're the good guy in all this.

Everything doesn't have to be such a political crusade, you know.

R.

PS- I'd love to hear your thoughts on the NHS story he brought up.

Stephen Law said...

WK censors unfairly. See other comments above and the link in the post.

But hey, choose to disbelieve what I and several others have said continue with the ad hominem's against me, if you like.

Stephen Law said...

PS, I don't think a single blog post on WK's well-attested practice of deleting and editing critical comments constitutes a crusade, a smear campaign and blog-war, does it?

Drifting into hyperbole a little bit there, aren't you?

Stephen Law said...

PPS that Vernon deleted a comment was not proven false. He just denied doing it and I accepted his word, despite the disappearance being very baffling indeed. WK on the other hand is a systematic deleter and editor of comments on his blog, as several sources can attest.

"Arse" seems an appropriate, indeed comparatively mild, label for such a person, I feel. Still get up on your patronizing high horse and parade around a bit more if you like. I can assure that, unlike, WK, I shan't be deleting your comments!

Rauss said...

If I offended you, I apologize. I spoke up only because your blog post appeared mean-spirited, and it made you look resentful over an ultimately silly issue.

I assume it's always better to keep things positive and bring people together rather than go around calling people arses and cowards. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you think there's a benefit to all this.

But aside from that, I'd just like to say it takes a lot of bravery to not censor opposing viewpoints. I respect that. Though we disagree on how to deal with Wintery Knight, my respect for you grows in this.

You have my apology here if I caused you any discomfort.

Anyway, are you looking to do a serious critique on the position that the current US System is better than the NHS? That's what I'm curious to see.

Stephen Law said...

No apology necessary. I'm not offended. Nor do I consider myself "brave" for not censoring opposing viewpoints. Almost no one does. Not to censor comments requires little courage and is just the decent thing to do, isn't it?

I don't think the issue of someone systematically censoring and even editing comments on his blog is entirely "silly", is it? Particularly not when that person sets himself up as a moral beacon in a depraved world. Pointing out said person is engaging in such a cowardly and intellectually dishonest strategy is a valuable public service, I would have thought.

Also, I wasn't even attempting a "serious critique of the position" that US system is better than the NHS. I was merely pointing out some of the flaws in WK's argument for the conclusion.

Stephen Law said...

PS You accuse me of being "bombastic", "mean-spirited" "resentful", conducting a "crusade", "smear-campaigning" and "blog-warring".

You then give me a little lecture on being "positive and bringing people together"!

Rauss said...

To be honest the reason I think it is silly is because, in the grand scheme of things, someone editing and deleting my blog responses is about as weighty a problem as someone putting words in my mouth, or not letting me get a word in edgewise.

This happens so often to me (maybe not to you, since I take it you are a professor. You guys generally do a lot of monologuing) that it's just a part of my day.

If you're ever in my town and happen to deal with the woman taking my orders at Panera Bread, man...

In the grand scheme of things, I don't understand why you can't reach out to WK and work things out privately. Do you think he's not worth dialog because he's a conservative?

PS- The reason I said those things was because of your blog title and post. I felt like those descriptions were true of your blog post.

I mean just looking over at the blog title now: "Wintery Knight - dissembler and coward"

That is hardcore, man! Real gangster stuff! It's like some Batman versus whoever his archenemy is in.

You take an honest look at it and tell me it doesn't come off like a headline from The Sun.

Stephen Law said...

You object to blog posts that call people "cowards"? Wintery Knight would never do that of course...

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/coward-a-c-grayling-and-chicken-dawkins-flee-debate-with-william-lane-craig/

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/uk-telegraph-on-richard-dawkins-cowardly-refusal-to-debate-william-lane-craig/

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/video-william-lane-craig-debates-richard-dawkins-at-the-sheldonian-theater-in-oxford/

Stephen Law said...

Hardcore man!

Stephen Law said...

Ps last one doesn't have "coward" in title but it's a label. Here's another with "coward" in title:

http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/cowardly-hedy-fry-backs-away-from-her-challenge-to-debate-pro-lifers/

Kyle Towers said...

If anything, Stephen has been generous to WK. I've had a long history with him. He is maximally dishonest. Years ago, I adopted the tactic of crafting most comments to be rigorously argued and supported and utterly innocuous. I have found that the more bulletproof your refutation of him, the less likely it will see the light of day. Once he realizes that any new account comments in such a fashion (and likely recognizes it as belonging to me), it is blocked without notice.

And yes, my very first encounter resulted in me filleting his argument, followed by large scale editing of the entire exchange, and finally its disappearance.

WK is the poster boy for lying for Jesus, intellectual dishonesty, and the dangers of dogma and religious delusion. His obsessive atheist bashing borders on pathological and yields insight into his motivations. I believe that demonizing atheists is one of his delusion's defense mechanisms. I think his manic apologetics output may be a symptom of faith in crisis.

Stephen Law said...

"I think his manic apologetics output may be a symptom of faith in crisis."

That thought had occurred to me too.

Reynold said...

I wonder about that...if so then I suspect that there'd be many, many of those characters who secretly are afraid of losing their faith, but I've yet really to see any who do.

I'd like to think that's the case though.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment on his website today, and it quite quickly disappeared. There was no logic to his position, and it was both ill-informed and mean-spirited. He does far more damage to the Christian mission than he realizes.

dovetheology.com said...

"Any other examples...?"

Yes. PZ Myers and John Loftus are particularly bad when it comes to this.

Don Wharton said...

I posted a critical comment on the WK article on cosmology. It never made it past moderation. They are heavily censoring any negative commentary.

Anonymous said...

Only answers questions in his Q & A ... Mysterious. :-P

Mack said...

My experience too - I posted two comments - one on another person's comment, and the other on WK's own writing. It was mildly critical of his position (but I suspect deeply critical of his world view - I suggested that gun bearing was not a biblical christian response, and quoted the words of Jesus to support this argument) and my comment that was critical of him never made it through moderation. No problem with the other comment though. I think it is a sign of his immaturity, and I hope that it's something he grows out of.