Barry Arrington’s Bullying

Cordova knows that by breaking this unstated rule he is in for a heap of trouble. (He was correct.)

Larry Moran


In all my life I’ve never released someone’s personal correspondence to me for others to see. The letters belong to me, and they are my property now that they have been sent to me. I have an moral obligation to the ID community, the creationist community, the YEC community and the general public, if the letters reveal something that is harmful to their interests, to forewarn them.

Dear ID proponent or creationist or YEC creationist, if Barry pleads or invites your participation at UD, consider my treatment. I feel it a public service to the YEC, the creationist, and ID community to forewarn them of the rude manners they might be subject to.

I kept some of the correspondence private until Barry started calling me a Nazi Collaborator. Now why wouldn’t Barry say that publicly? Would it make him look like a total jerk to say such things about someone who faithfully served his weblog for almost 10 years, who was on National TV defending ID in 2006, whose ID club members were on National Public Radio and Ben Stein’s 2008 motion picture Expelled, and who was featured in the April 28, 2005 cover story of Nature? The most that I’ve ever said of Barry in a negative way publicly or privately is reflected in this posting.

The banning happened in stages. But the banning isn’t the issue. I’ve banned people from my weblogs. It’s the lack of transparency. I will now remedy that lack of transparency. 🙂

[emails formatted for viewing]

So when did my UD author privileges get removed? Around the time I responded to someone’s question of why I left the Roman Catholic church. There are lots of Catholics at UD, they outnumber the Protestants.

In 2014 I posted a brief mention of YEC Mark Armitage lawsuit, which Barry immediately deleted. Shortly afterwards, I tried to log into my account and noticed my author privileges were suspended. No warning whatsoever. Then I get this letter from Barry:

[Subject] YEC
Barry Arrington
Add to contacts
7/26/14
[Keep this message at the top of your inbox]

Sal,

UD is not hostile to the YEC stance; neither is it an organ for it. You showed poor judgment in the post you put up today. Perhaps you should stick to your own sites.

Barry K. Arrington

We tried to keep the separation quiet. I responded:

[Subject] RE: YEC
Salvador Cordova
7/26/14
[Keep this message at the top of your inbox]
To: Barry Arrington
Acknowledged. It’s probably in our mutual interest to keep our disagreements between us. I have no intention making any public flap and will quietly do as you said. Thanks for the many years at UD together.

peace,
Sal

Barry responded:

Barry Arrington
Add to contacts
7/26/14
[Keep this message at the top of your inbox]
To: ‘Salvador Cordova’

Thank you and best wishes.

Ironically, Denese O’Leary wrote pretty much the same thing a few days later:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/developing-story-young-earth-creationist-microscopist-fired-in-wake-of-finding-soft-tissue-from-dinosaurs-sues/

At that point, I felt I was lied to. That letter was just a flimsy excuse. Didn’t matter, I was getting welcomed and sought after in private YEC circles, my true home.

But then, Barry started posting stuff like this about RDFish:
www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/rdfish-is-an-idiot/

I didn’t think the name calling going on at UD was appropriate for ID’s premier blog. If you want to slime someone, at least do it with a bit more style. Sheesh Barry, do you have to be so unsubtle?
And over what, something not related to ID, but some philosophical question about self-evident morality. I like RDFish, I didn’t think that was right.

As a joke, on a matter totally unrelated, I wrote this thread at TSZ calling RDFish a genius (he is a genius given his scientific and mathematical background):

Dimensionless units, RDFish is a Genius

I then got this terse letter form Barry with no content, just a subject line:

[Subject] You are no longer welcome at UD in any capacity‏
Barry Arrington
Add to contacts
4/15/15

Then in response to Joe Felsenstein I wrote this:

Was denial of the Laws of Thought a myth?

It was that comment that apparently triggered the Nazi accusation:

[Subject] UD
Barry Arrington
Add to contacts
9/13/15
[Keep this message at the top of your inbox]
To: stcordova<redacted>
barry<redacted>

I owe you an explanation for why you have been banned at UD.

We are in a war. That is not a metaphor. We are fighting a war for the soul of Western Civilization, and we are losing, badly. In the summer of 2015 we find ourselves in a positon very similar to Great Britain’s position 75 years ago in the summer of 1940 – alone, demoralized, and besieged on all sides by a great darkness that constitutes an existential threat to freedom, justice and even rationality itself.

There is another parallel to World War II. We have quislings among us. A quisling is a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force. The word originates from the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime.

Sal, I accuse you of being a quisling every time you go over to The Skeptical Zone and give aid and comfort to the enemies of truth. Will you cease or will you continue to collaborate?

Barry K. Arrington

What do I think the real reasons I was tossed were? I’ve agreed too much with TSZ, Elizabeth, Mark Frank, Patrick, Larry Moran and RDFish and disagreed with Barry, Granville Sewell, KairosFocus, Winston Eweret, VJTorley, Niwrads, StephenB, Upright BiPed, William J. Murry, and who knows whom else. Just about every UD author or ID proponent to some extent. A partial laundry list is of my transgressions is here:

Moderation Issues

That’s my take on things, but according to Barry it was first because I was posting about Armitage (apparently not the real reason I was tossed since Denyse posted an almost equivalent article a few days later) or that I’m like a Nazi Collaborator.

UD is becoming a little bankrupt in generating interest, they may need the services of a bankruptcy lawyer soon.

182 thoughts on “Barry Arrington’s Bullying

  1. You have some serious delusions of self importance Sal.

    “In all my life I’ve never released someone’s personal correspondence to me for others to see.” Wow, what amazing self restraint you have shown all your life, even when others have been clamoring for years to see your private correspondence, you withstood the pressure. Until today….

    Because its just too important to the YEC movement for you to hold back any longer.

    “Didn’t matter, I was getting welcomed and sought after in private YEC circles, my true home.”

    What a brave soldier you are Sal.. (Although just a reminder, soldiers usually whine a whole lot less. Usually).

    Just one question Sal? What do you think they fed the Tigers on Noah’s ark? Your knowledge is so vast, and you are such an important cog in the YEC world, so surely you must know

  2. This is a treat for the few sociologists of the IDM and for anyone curious to see behind the curtain of IDist and YECist ideology and IDM inter-personal relations. Thanks, stcordova!!

    (I can only imagine Stephen C. Meyer, John G. West, Casey Luskin and the rest of the Discovery Institute rolling their eyes in frustration, while the tricksiest Hobbit of them all Cameron Wybrow builds his ‘that damning confession doesn’t really matter’ reBUTTal! They’ll do their best to hide it from public, as usual.)

    Cordova wants to take the IDist ship down with him (he was on National TV and referenced in the cover story of the journal Nature, after all; a kind of IDist ‘celebrity’, right?). Bless him for that!

    “private YEC circles, my true home.”

    Yeah, we know that.

    “I’m like a Nazi Collaborator.” – stcordova

    (Yes, I know it’s a quote mine! 😛 ) No, the Nazis were gone before you were born. You’re just a YECist/IDist. Isn’t that enough of an intellectual shame for any Christian to bear, Salvador?!

    “UD is becoming a little bankrupt.”

    Goodness, just becoming bankrupt now that stcordova isn’t there? What about those 10 years in which you “faithfully served”? It was just as bankrupt then. Which, ironically to the nth degree may be why Dembski, who founded the blog, now wants to create a ‘radical’ rival to BitCoin in his retirement from IDism.

    This whole (late 20th, early 21st c.) IDM story is one for Hollowwood, which no doubt will one day be told. It’s the scientology story of sectarian USAmerican protestant evangelicals (both Barry & Sal included)! Will anyone be asked to play Salvador T. Cordova for his role in IDist propagandising in IDEA clubs and elsewhere and ultimately in its ignominious demise? 😉

  3. But the banning isn’t the issue. I’ve banned people from my weblogs. It’s the lack of transparency.

    You’re a fine one to whine about lack of transparency Sal. There was a moderator at UD who regularly used to change his opponents’ posts without attributing the changes to the author. He would delete sentences when the opponent made points he couldn’t answer. Even worse is he would sometimes add his own words to make the posts say something the author never intended.

    Here’s a hint Sal. That moderator’s initials weren’t B.A. They were S.C.

  4. For the record, the author of the comment was told if he persisted in violating the thread rules, his posts were subject to alteration as punishment, so there was attribution to me as the source of the edits.

  5. Here’s a hint Sal. That moderator’s initials weren’t B.A. They were S.C.

    You are within your rights to judge my actions as a moderator, but let the record show, Barry didn’t say he banned me for my moderator actions.

  6. It’s an interesting (although unsurprising) glimpse behind the curtain, but in my view you erred badly when you decided to publish in a public forum a message directed to you privately, Sal. It served no purpose that can justify this breach of implied trust – few who have followed UD are the least surprised by the specifics of Barry’s explanation to you – and reflects badly on your judgment and trustworthiness.

  7. stcordova:
    For the record, the author of the comment was told if he persisted in violating the thread rules, his posts were subject to alteration as punishment, so there was attribution to me as the source of the edits.

    That completely 100% false Sal and you know it. I know you didn’t do that because I was one of the ones whose posts you “improved” with no mention that you did the changes.

    ETA: I remember making a post, then logging in the next day and being gobsmacked that my post had mysteriously morphed. To this day that remains one of the most dishonest and despicable things I’ve ever seen on the web.

  8. Reciprocating Bill:
    It’s an interesting but unsurprising glimpse behind the curtain, but in my view you erred badly when you decided to publish in a public forum a message directed to you privately, Sal. It served no purpose that can justify this breach of implied trust – few who have followed UD are the least surprised by the specifics of Barry’s explanation to you – and reflects badly on your judgment and trustworthiness.

    Can anyone see any point in this OP besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy?

  9. Does anything think they’ll actually make a post about this at UD? It is ‘Barry’s blog’ after. What are the odds?

  10. Can anyone see any point in this OP besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy?

    Some here requested I make a post on the topic.

  11. Reciprocating Bill:
    It’s an interesting (although unsurprising) glimpse behind the curtain, but in my view you erred badly when you decided to publish in a public forum a message directed to you privately, Sal. It served no purpose that can justify this breach of implied trust – few who have followed UD are the least surprised by the specifics of Barry’s explanation to you – and reflects badly on your judgment and trustworthiness.

    I’m with Sal here. If someone receives a bullying email (and these are) I think they are morally entitled to make them public. That’s how bullying is exposed and eradicated (hopefully). To take an extreme but parallel case: sex abuse is often accompanied by a request by the abuser to “keep our secret”. If you are being treated badly, whether the abuser requests confidentiality or not, I think the abused person is entitled to make the treatment public.

  12. Lizzie, it sounds like you are suggesting Sal was bullied and abused by Barry. Can you also possibly imagine the abuse Sal himself has committed and continues to commit in the name of YECism and IDism on USAmerican students? This makes your moderator Patrick’s abuse and bullying (which you haven’t yet owned up to, against your own rules) of Erik look like child’s play.

  13. Adapa: Can anyone see any point in this OP besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy?

    Personally, I find it a fascinating glimpse into the siege mentality and paranoia of at least one right-wing evangelical ID proponent with respect to a mish-mash of semi-related views that include empirical science, atheism, progressive politics and biology.

  14. Elizabeth: I’m with Sal here.If someone receives a bullying email (and these are) I think they are morally entitled to make them public.That’s how bullying is exposed and eradicated (hopefully).To take an extreme but parallel case: sex abuse is often accompanied by a request by the abuser to “keep our secret”.If you are being treated badly, whether the abuser requests confidentiality or not, I think the abused person is entitled to make the treatment public.

    Very poor analogy Elizabeth. As Sal noted this happened on Barry’s private blog where Barry is entitled to behave as churlishly as he wants. No one was forcing Sal to post there and he could have left on his own any time he chose. That’s not the case with victims of sexual harassment.

  15. OK, this is going to be a difficult thread to moderate according to site rules. But we can try.

    I’m not going to move anything posted so far, but any posts after this will be strictly moderated i.e. sent to guano if they violate the game-rules.

    If you want to discuss the ethics of Sal posting the emails, I suggest taking it to noyau. If you want to discuss moderation, take it to Moderation.

    If you want to discuss Barry’s War, feel free to do it here.

  16. Elizabeth:
    OK, this is going to be a difficult thread to moderate according to site rules.But we can try.

    Fair enough.

    Barry had ever right to kick Sal out. UD is Barry’s private blog where membership is not open but reserved to only those who Barry chooses. This isn’t bullying. It would only be bullying if Barry was trying to stifle Sal’s ability to post on an open, free to everyone public blog. That’s not the case.

    I’d be very curious to see the emails Sal sent to Barry but I doubt very much we’ll get both sides of the story in this whine-fest.

  17. Sal

    Thanks for this. I guess I am not very surprised by Barry’s “we are at war” e-mail but it is interesting to see it laid out so explicitly. As Lizzie says – the key note is paranoia. It is a powerful and corrosive force. As I read somewhere recently (I forget where) fear is an even more powerful motivator than tribalism or greed. I don’t think it matters very much in the world of ID. I don’t foresee Donald Trump being elected because of a widespread fear of evolutionary scientists. But it gets very ugly and worrying when it is applied to whole religions.

    PS Although I deeply disagree with you, I have always found you polite and prepared to stick to arguments.

  18. Adapa: Can anyone see any point in this OP besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy?

    I found it fascinating.

  19. Sal, thanks for this peek “behind the curtain”. I think that you were well within your legal rights to post Barry’s private email to you. And within your moral rights too.

    I would make a suggestion as to how to clarify this post. You give a link to the thread ar TSZ, my thread, in which you made a comment that enraged Barry. The actual comment itself was this one. But the image you posted, of the original post of my thread, does not lead to that comment, one has to scroll down and search for it. So I suggest you add there a link to the actual comment that offended Barry.

    As far as I can tell Barry is offended by two things you did: (1) participate in TSZ, and (2) when obviously scientifically invalid arguments were being made at UD, demurring and agreeing that they were invalid.

    It is interesting to see that to Barry, it is OK for the Forces of Light to make scientific arguments that they themselves know are wrong. And that it is allying oneself with the Forces of Darkness to correct the arguments.

  20. Richardthughes: I found it fascinating.

    I agree the peek into the dark crevasses of Barry’s mind is fascinating, The part with Sal whining about how was bullied, not so much so.

  21. Joe Felsenstein,

    Where do you get this “Forces of Light” vs. “Forces of Darkness” from, Joe? What ideology, worldview or film script is behind it? I don’t see it in Sal’s post, where Barry is fighting ‘evil’; not some Star Wars-like “Forces of Light/Darkness” or ‘midi-chlorians.’ We know already your ‘agnostic/atheist’ approach to the IDM.

    Otherwise, your advice to Sal seems well-placed.

  22. Adapa: I agree the peek into the dark crevasses of Barry’s mind is fascinating,The part with Sal whining about how was bullied, not so much so.

    Bulling is bad, period. No difference because you don’t like Sal.

  23. Gregory:
    Joe Felsenstein,

    Where do you get this “Forces of Light” vs. “Forces of Darkness” from, Joe? What ideology, worldview or film script is behind it? I don’t see it in Sal’s post, where Barry is fighting ‘evil’; not some Star Wars-like “Forces of Light/Darkness” or ‘midi-chlorians.’ We know already your ‘agnostic/atheist’ approach to the IDM.

    Otherwise, your advice to Sal seems well-placed.

    Presumably from here:

    In the summer of 2015 we find ourselves in a positon very similar to Great Britain’s position 75 years ago in the summer of 1940 – alone, demoralized, and besieged on all sides by a great darkness that constitutes an existential threat to freedom, justice and even rationality itself.

    (bolding added)

    Glen Davidson

  24. Richardthughes: Bulling is bad, period. No difference because you don’t like Sal.

    I don’t see how this is bullying. It happened on a private web site. Barry has no power to force or intimidate Sal into changing his behavior at other public venues. Barry may be an ass but he was an ass completely within his rights.

  25. Adapa,

    Think about the intersection between bulling, morality and legality. This is a private website .. could bullying happen here? What about in a private home?

  26. Adapa: Can anyone see any point in this OP besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy?

    Besides being a personal whine-fest / trolling for sympathy (which it is), it’s also a valuable insight to inside workings at UD, the last remaining lay bastion of ID theory. When an outsider says that the ID camp is in its death throes, it does not have the same effect when Barry says it, “We are fighting a war for the soul of Western Civilization, and we are losing, badly.”

  27. Reciprocating Bill,

    It’s an interesting (although unsurprising) glimpse behind the curtain, but in my view you erred badly when you decided to publish in a public forum a message directed to you privately, Sal. It served no purpose that can justify this breach of implied trust – few who have followed UD are the least surprised by the specifics of Barry’s explanation to you – and reflects badly on your judgment and trustworthiness.

    I agree. If you were posting email received after warning Barry that you would do so, that’s one thing. There is a presumption of privacy that you’ve violated by making this one public.

    It also seems to violate this rule:
    “Do not use turn this site into as a peanut gallery for observing the antics on other boards. (there are plenty of places on the web where you can do that!)”

  28. Gregory,

    This makes your moderator Patrick’s abuse and bullying (which you haven’t yet owned up to, against your own rules) of Erik look like child’s play.

    It’s interesting that you consider upholding certain standards to be bullying.

  29. Richardthughes:
    Adapa,

    Think about the intersection between bulling, morality and legality. This is a private website .. could bullying happen here? What about in a private home?

    Bullying is an attempt to force one to change ones’s behavior through threats or intimidation. I saw none of that here. I saw Sal get kicked out because Barry didn’t like Sal’s position but I saw no threats to Sal “change your behavior or else!

  30. Anybody who reads Barry’s comments will be surprised by this email. It has been said by someone above but the word that best describes UD is “paranoid”. It started with KF and almost everything he posts and has obviously infected Barry.

    I have one suggestion for Elizabeth and Sal. The posted email includes Barry’s email address. It should be redacted.

  31. Given the nature of this discussion and how it raises some issues about my personal conduct, ethics of how I’ve behaved, etc. I think it’s fair game for people to express their thoughts. It may even cross the border of insulting or attacking me, I’m OK with that in this discussion, but not in discussions about mathematics.

    I’d request and encourage the Mods and Admins to give a little more latitude if people start saying things that even border on derogatory regarding my character. This is as good a place for it as any, but let it be here, not elsewhere at TSZ. To quote Han Solo, “Scoundrel scoundrel…I like the sound of that.”

    As far as me divulging private e-mails, here is situation, the relationship between Barry and I became adversarial with that very terse e-mail about Armitage and suspending my author privileges with no warning. He can ban me, but what he said I perceive as a concocted excuse, a falsehood. Whether he lied or not, I sure felt like he did.

    The umbridge I took was not so much the banning (UD is his house he’s free to dis-invite), but the feeling I was being lied to. Barry had to somehow make it an issue about my judgement in posting about Armitage’s lawsuit (not much different than what Denyse posted) when in actuality he was just trying to justify his dislike of me and brow beat me as if I committed some unforgivable exercise of judgement. That’s bullying.

    Barry called me a Quisling Nazi Collaborator. For him or anyone to expect that his e-mails are somehow letters written with the expectation of keeping confidence of a trusted friend and associate is like expecting a Quizling Nazi Collaborator to keep an e-mail private sent to him by Winston Churchill calling Quizling an immoral person.

    Barry gambled on my generally good nature taking his garbage (other e-mails not posted) and acquiescing to his wishes. I put up with him because I just didn’t want the headaches of moderating and running a blog and I just wanted a place to interact. Once I found a home at TSZ, I no longer had need of UD. TSZ is a premier venue for civilized and thoughtful discussion in a scholarly fashion.

    Barry looked at the blogs as an advocacy channel, in contrast I looked at the blogs as a place for my personal exploration and learning, not a vehicle to change people’s mind through the internet. TSZ aligned with my personal goals more than UD, even though TSZ is mostly not friendly to ID.

    I put up with this his garbage, but calling me a Nazi Collaborator was the last straw. He counted on me not saying anything, and he felt free to call me names in private. I guess he felt he could manipulate me to some degree toward silence at TSZ by calling me names. That’s bullying, and it’s not particularly a smart thing to do.

    If Barry wants to say such “Sal is a Quzling Nazi Collaborator” publicly, let him. He knows it will really reflect badly on him, so that’s why, imho, he sent that stuff to me in private.

    PS
    Thanks again to Joe for giving the correct links. Apologies to all for the incorrect link in the OP.

  32. Lizzie:

    I’m with Sal here. If someone receives a bullying email (and these are) I think they are morally entitled to make them public.

    I don’t see bullying – just parting shots. Sal had already decided to terminate his relationship with UD prior to Barry’s offending message. As Barry’s recourse to banning is the only factor that creates a power imbalance, and Sal gave no indication of wishing to rejoin UD, I see Sal as out of Barry’s reach at the time of Barry’s last message.

  33. Sal:

    If Barry wants to say such “Sal is a Quzling Nazi Collaborator” publicly…

    He didn’t say you were a Nazi collaborator. He accused you of betrayal comparable to that of a Nazi collaborator, which very different (and ridiculous on its face.)

  34. “Once I found a home at TSZ, I no longer had need of UD. TSZ is a premier venue for civilized and thoughtful discussion in a scholarly fashion.”

    Thanks for the laugh of the day!

    “TSZ aligned with my personal goals more than UD, even though TSZ is mostly not friendly to ID.”

    Or YECism. Oh, for heaven’s sake! 😉

  35. Can the admins help with this request by Joe Felsenstein and correct the OP:

    The actual comment itself was this one. But the image you posted, of the original post of my thread, does not lead to that comment, one has to scroll down and search for it. So I suggest you add there a link to the actual comment that offended Barry.

    Apologies again for the sloppy editing.

  36. keiths:
    If he responds at UD it’ll still be entertaining.

    He owes UD a response, I think. He has simply confirmed our suspicions, but the rank and file at UD bought his snake oil, and this email strongly suggests he knows he was selling lies. Funny given then that he recently threatened a poster that ‘calling him a liar is one of the quickest ways to get banned’.

  37. Mark Frank:

    Sal

    Thanks for this. I guess I am not very surprised by Barry’s “we are at war” e-mail but it is interesting to see it laid out so explicitly. As Lizzie says – the key note is paranoia. It is a powerful and corrosive force. As I read somewhere recently (I forget where) fear is an even more powerful motivator than tribalism or greed. I don’t think it matters very much in the world of ID. I don’t foresee Donald Trump being elected because of a widespread fear of evolutionary scientists. But it gets very ugly and worrying when it is applied to whole religions.

    PS Although I deeply disagree with you, I have always found you polite and prepared to stick to arguments.

    Mark!

    It is so nice to see you.

    I just realized this thread has given me a chance to right a wrong.

    While at UD, I was silent when Barry misbehaved toward you. I didn’t think the shrill tone he took toward you was right. It was uncivil. I mostly stayed out of the debate.

    Me coming out this weekend has given me the freedom to say now that the way he treated you was not something I approved of, nor the way he treated others at TSZ like Elizabeth. I hope you’ll understand why it’s only now that I’m coming so explicitly to your defence.

    I was in a tough situation hoping it would change. I guess somewhere I had an outside hope he’d learn some diplomacy and manners.

    But over the last 10 years, Barry’s gotten progressively shrill.

    I don’t think the way Barry treated you or Elizabeth was right, and now I have the freedom to finally say so by coming out. I hope you’ll forgive me for being so long in doing this.

    I hope you are well. Merry Christmas.

  38. Well, if anything this shows what’s really going on inside Barry’s head. Amazing. We’re all Nazis.

    What a fucking lunatic.

  39. Personally, I find it a fascinating glimpse into the siege mentality and paranoia of at least one right-wing evangelical ID proponent with respect to a mish-mash of semi-related views that include empirical science, atheism, progressive politics and biology.

    Barry is right wing, but I suspect he is not an Evangelical. He’s never revealed his religious views to me. Ironic isn’t that after all these years I don’t know what his religious professions are.

    I think he is a Roman Catholic as are the majority of UD authors, and Roman Catholicism is most certainly not Evangelical.

    I’ve spoken ill of some of the writings of Roman Catholic saints and criticized their practices. That can be a sore spot.

    His “self evident morality” is a highly Catholic sounding philosophy. That’s not something Evangelicals profess or teach, at least not in my denomination (the Presbyterian Church in America). It’s a sore spot of contention, and that’s why I sided with people who argue against the validity of “self evident” morality.

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