Throwing stones in glass houses

As long as I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been trying to stick to a couple of rules. First, don’t name names. This is a little hard to do, especially when I’m trying to build a narrative. Second, don’t do personal attacks. That one is not hard to do. As long as I stick to the facts, I should be good. Besides, anti-science people do plenty on their own to discredit themselves. There really is no need to point out to them their personal faults.

Well, I fear that I may have violated the second rule, just not in the blog. Here, let me tell you a narrative.

There is a group on Facebook that posts pictures of “memes” about anti-vaccine myths. They posted this picture the other day. It shows a table of childhood vaccines and how much mercury there is (or isn’t) in them. As expected, the anti-vaccine activists came out of the woodwork. One of those activists was this guy:

Click to enlarge

I clicked on his name to see his profile and noticed that the “cover” image of his Facebook profile is a picture of the Washington, DC, skyline. So I figured he lives in DC. I then did a Google search on his name and found his Google Plus profile. From there, I learned where he worked, so I googled his name and the firm where he worked. And I found some disturbing stuff.

What was so disturbing?

The company where he works is/was being sued for sexual harassment. The anti-vaxxer in question has been named in the lawsuit as well. Now, you can go read the complaint on your own. I don’t need to add fuel to that fire, and I don’t know the current status of the lawsuit. Nevertheless, I made the mistake (in my opinion) of pointing out to folks on that discussion thread who he was and what he was being accused of doing. He never returned to the conversation.

Now, when I wrote all that on the comment thread, pointing out that he was involved in the lawsuit and the things he allegedly did, it was late at night. I was cranky. So it wasn’t until the following morning that I realized that I added nothing to the discussion. All I had done was scared him away. But then I got to thinking: Why put yourself out there like that if you have skeletons in your closet?

Then the “angel” on my shoulder said, “But why point out his potential failures in character if it adds nothing to the discussion?”

Needless to say, I broke my own rules, and for what? To scare away an anti-vaxxer?

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3 thoughts on “Throwing stones in glass houses

  1. Sorry, but what you did was exactly what the anti vaccers did when referring to the Danish Study (sorry no Linky, I’m on my mobile).

    One of the authors was accused of fraud and all the Anti Vaccine tribes leapt upon that as a reason to dismiss the whole study..

    But I think you’ve realised that.

    • Don’t be sorry. I know I did it, and I retract the whole thing. If you look at other posts, I’ve defended ad hominem attacks against anti-vaxxers. It’s not a good way to conduct such a serious discussion, and I was out of line.

      • It is good you realize that. I have tried to not do the ad hom bit, but it is very very hard when someone keeps repeating the same lies that they have been corrected on over and over and over again.

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