It has been more than a year since I posted Nick Matzke – Book Burner? Which I reproduce here:
Nick Matzke famously got the publishing company Springer to suppress the publication of the papers of a conference held at Cornell. See here. He did this without having seen, much less read, any of the papers. Obviously, his motivation could not have been the content of the papers. He was motivated by the mere fact that several of the conference participants were well-known ID proponents.
Let us do a little thought experiment. Suppose that Nick had published his famous piece on Panda’s Thumb a few days later, and the head of Springer had called him up and said, “Hey, Nick, I’ve got some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that it is too late to stop publication of the book. The printer has done his work and the first printing of the book is finished. The good news is that not a single copy has left the printer’s warehouse, and they are all in a pile that has been drenched in gasoline. Nick, all you have to do is come over and toss a match on the pile of books and it will be as if they were never published in the first place.”
Nick follows UD and posts here from time to time, so I have two questions for him:
(1) Nick would you have tossed the match?
(2) If the answer to (1) is “no,” are you not a hypocrite? After all, the ultimate outcome from tossing the match would be identical to what you actually did – i.e., no book out there for people to buy.
Matzke was certainly aware of the question I posed at the end of my post and even alluded to my post at Panda’s Thumb (see here). But for over a year now he has studiously avoided answering the question. I suppose we should not be surprised. My question put Matzke between the Scylla and Charybdis, and there was no way he could answer the question without coming off as either a book burner or a hypocrite.
I was reminded of this episode this morning when Mark Frank attempted to wrap himself in the cloak of Copernicus and Galileo, to which I responded:
You don’t get it do you? When you invoke Galileo and Copernicus you are condemning those, like yourself, who cling to the old orthodoxy in the face of new developments that make that orthodoxy all but untenable. As you know, I am a connoisseur of fine irony, and this particular dish is especially delicious.
I could have added that the tactics of those who cling to outdated orthodoxy in the 21st century are similar to the tactics of those who persecuted Galileo, including attempting to suppress the publications of those who challenge the prevailing orthodoxy. So I say to Nick and his fellow travelers, “If the jackboot fits . . .”