Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reasons to be Skeptical: Barry Williams response e-mail

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From: "Barry Williams" <skeptics@...>

Reluctant as I am to give any credence to astrologers and other necromancers, can it be simply a coincidence that in the very month that five planets will line up in the sky, Adam Joseph should once again emerge from his self-pitying swamp to tell the world just how much he dislikes me?

For those readers lucky enough not hitherto to have been the recipient of one of Joseph's turgid diatribes, here is an encapsulated history. In the early 1990s, Mr Joseph was president of one of the
state bodies that makes up Australian Skeptics. In about 1995, he decided that I had too much power, and further decided that he should have that power. In the event, no one else agreed with him, so he
departed in a huff (he might have departed in a Toyota, but I believe it was a Huff). In Oz parlance, this is known as "spitting the dummy".

Ever since then, every couple of years or so, he has assaulted everyone he can think of with barely coherent rants, in which he enumerates all my faults -- most of which are simply figments of his
febrile imagination (he has also misssed out on quite a few -- so much for his research). Just before the 2000 World Skeptics Convention in Sydney, he targetted all manner of prominent Skeptics and the media with a multi-page screed (17 or 18 pages from memory), which had precisely no effect on the success of the Convention, eliciting from the recipients only the question "Who is this idiot?"

As for his specific (insofar as anything he says is specific) rant this time, I cannot imagine just how I would "[go] around inferring in many quarters" that I am an engineer. I suppose that, had I suffered from a serious bout of amnesia, and then discovered that my house was full of engineering texts, I might possibly "infer" that I was an engineer, but that hasn't happened, so I don't know what he is drivelling about this time. Furthermore, I haven't even "implied" that I am an engineer in any quarters, far less claimed it.

His bile directed against Joe Needham is even less rational, as he has never met Joe, and clearly knows nothing about him. It seems to stem from the fact that Joe once read one of his peurile raves, and pointed out to him that he was talking through his fundament. Still, Joe can now be satisfied that he belongs to a longish list of distinguished Skeptics against whom Adam Joseph has vented his spleen. It's doesn't quite have the cachet of being described as a "tool of Satan" by a creationist, but it has never done anyone's reputation any harm.

For the past year or so, Joseph has been quiescent, which is what causes me to wonder about manifestations of his outbreaks of bile and planetary alignments. There's definitely a research project in there for someone who is looking for a topic.

Barry Williams -- Editor -- the Skeptic

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