A Nuisance and His Suit

August 23, 2007

Creationists, not content with lobbying ignorant legislators to water down school curricula and building bogus museums, now have a fresh line of attack — sue scientists for making fun of them:

The plaintiff of the case is none else than Dr. Stuart Pivar, NYC businessman and art collector, who burst on the evolution/creationism scene a couple years back claiming that, based on conversations he had with the late Stephen J. Gould, he could assert for a fact that Gould really opposed the basic tenets of modern evolutionary theory, and the role of natural selection in particular. According to Pivar, Gould only endorsed evolutionary theory (in dozens of books and hundreds of articles, not to mention sworn court testimony!) under some sort of duress from the iron fist of the enforcers of “Darwinian orthodoxy.”

The obvious nonsense was discussed in various articles here at PT and elsewhere, but of course the absurdity of that canard was not enough to deter the usual peanut gallery of gullible Creationists, Denyse O’Leary foremost among them, from getting all excited about the matter.

Anyway, besides liberally reinterpreting Gould’s entire scientific opus, Pivar’s other personal involvement with evolutionary matters at the time was that he had published a well-illustrated tome called Lifecode, in which he apparently proposed some sort of structuralist/developmental interpretation of evolution. In a rather incautious move, Pivar decided to send his book to a real developmental biologist for review: PZ Myers. PZ read it, soundly criticized it at Pharyngula, and apparently never thought of it again until earlier this year, when Pivar sent out some grandiose-sounding press release together with an updated version of the book, both of which PZ once again trashed.

Having invited and received ridicule, Pivar has filed a defamation suit against PZ Myers for calling him “a classic crackpot,” thereby causing Pivar emotional and mental distress. If you read the posts on Pivar’s book at Pharyngula, I think you’ll agree that if anything, Myers erred on the side of courtesy with this guy.

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2 Responses to “A Nuisance and His Suit”

  1. Rix Says:

    The semantic problem is that the fact of evolution, being so complex, & given our ever-expanding knowledge, generates a variey of theories. But creationists are the sort of folks who, finding out Earth is slightly flattened at the poles, would say, “See, the scientists were wrong, the world isn’t really round.”

  2. Caveat Says:

    From what I’ve read here and there, this Pivar seems like a classic crackpot.


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