A few days ago I noted a few comments about me and my review of The Truth Behind the New Atheism in the comments of David Marshall’s blog. I responded to Marshall on my blog and exposed his factual errors about his counter-argument, his hypocrisy, and his immature attitude.
Prior to this, in November of 2010, I had emailed Marshall in an attempt at trying to resolve our long-standing feud and I never received a much deserved apology from him, even though I apologized for my role in the dispute. Seeing his personal attacks and smears against me on his blog (his mentioning of the name change on Amazon.com and how I’ve supposedly “attacked” him all over the internet) reminded me of the emails and his false accusations greatly upset me, especially since I had apologized to him for my part in all of the drama. My hopes of resolving our dispute were badly let down when Marshall responded with a curt reply and refused to apologize to me for all of the rudeness and countless smear campaigns he’s subjected me to.
While I am very angry that Marshall refused to apologize to me, I was glad that he removed several of his very dishonest statements about me allegedly posting “pornographical posts” and other things and he apologized for the error. Though I don’t believe that single act can undo all of the ill will he’s shown me the last three years since we began our correspondence on the Amazon.com forums.
I apologized for my part in the disputes and he accepted my apology but doesn’t apologize to me. That really upset me. All I can say is that I tried to be the bigger man, apologize, and resolve our issues, but my hope that Marshall would act in kind was proven wrong with his reply.
Here is the email I wrote to him on November 13, 2010 titled “Truce.”
Mr. David Marshall,
This is probably long over due but I'd like to apologize to you for any wrong you might feel I've done to you. I admit that blurting out that you were a liar in some of our first discussions was not the smoothest way to handle the situation. I believed (and still do) that you weren't being honest in admitting some of your mistakes and I wanted to call you out on it. Looking back I should have handled the situation more delicately and I apologize. It seems to me that it was that particular situation that caused things to get out of hand and unfortunately we've never resolved it.
Despite my poor judgment you escalated the situation by beginning to call me a fool, among other put downs, and then you resorted to trying to harm my credibility by various means. Spreading around the fact that I made a mistake (which when it was pointed out to me I apologized immediately) in believing you had edited your post after the fact. Then, of course, your false claims that I'd never posted any arguments from my review on the Amazon forums. J.R. Fraser started this falsehood and you followed suit. Then, you've got your most recent statements I've found where you claim I've been sending you hate messages and something about “pornographical posts” on John Loftus' blog. I'm sorry, but I have not done anything like that. This is the only time I've emailed you so if someone is writing you obscene messages, I'm sorry, but it is not me. And as far as “pornographical posts” what in the world are you referring to?
Either someone else wrote you and you believe it's me, or you're outright lying. Unlike before, I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I do not appreciate these dishonest things being spread about me. I also think the proper thing to do would have been to write to me first and ask about them instead of publicly posting these slanders.
I fully accept all responsibility for my name calling in retaliation for your above behavior and again I apologize. We are both to blame here so I would hope you'd accept responsibility for your actions towards me and apologize in kind. I do not know why you feel the need to continually spread these falsehoods but I'd like you to stop. I did nothing to deserve this behavior from you and it's obviously gotten out of hand.
We both allowed things to escalate to this level and I should have written you sooner, but with these newer statements you've been spreading about me I felt I had to intervene and confront you personally because this has to stop. I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate untruthful things being spread about you, so I'd hope you'd understand that I don't either. I'd be more than willing to talk about it and maybe I could even help you track down the person. No promises but I can do my best.
I'm willing to set the past aside and wipe the slate clean. Where we go from here I do not know. I just hope in the future we can move past all this and you can leave out the name calling and slanders when and if we ever correspond again. I wouldn't mind conversing with you, or even discussing issues in your book, but all I ask is that you treat me with respect and you will get respect in return. That is all I've ever asked for. That's not too much to ask is it?
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the matter and hopefully we can resolve this amicably.
Marshall replies to me on November 14, 2010:
Thanks for apologizing.
I'll take your word for the fact that those messages came from someone else. I hope you can see why I thought it was you -- you have used a number of names to post, one of which was quite similiar to the one these were posted under, you have shown yourself clever about finding new on-line forums in which to attack me (and that is the right word), you have used foul language from time to time, I thought you were on the thread, and while going a bit further than you have in the past, perhaps, it was reminiscent of your worst comments to JR.
But I do not want to falsely accuse anyone. If you can remind me where I said that, I'll gladly delete or alter those comments.
I also apologize for getting this wrong, as apparently I did.
Considering all the vitriolic attacks you have posted against me in different forum on the Internet, I think that's about as far as I can go at the moment.
All the best,
I responded on the same day and I never received a reply. I wrote back:
Thanks for the reply. The two messages can be found here, one on Amazon and one on John Loftus' blog. Those are the two that I know of anyway. I haven't seen any others.
I appreciate your willingness to delete these. You mentioned a forum? What forum are you referring to? I'm curious to see these posts for myself and what handle the person was using. I was assuming someone emailed you and said these things.
I'm perplexed about your accusation since I've never “attacked” you. You've made this accusation many times and I do not understand why you think this. However, I think you are referring to the times I posted my review of your book on a few online forums, which I posted with my blog name, Arizona Atheist, and not any other so I don't know what you mean when you say I've used other names. I[n] fact, I believe there are only three places where I've posted my review of your book. On a forum called Network54.com, Amazon.com, and Richard Dawkins' old forums, which are no longer. As far as changing my Amazon handle twice in the last three years I even mentioned the name changes in my profile and never denied changing my name. Because of this I find it hard to believe how you could think I did it maliciously in order to attack you.
In these posts all I ever did was ask people to critique my review...that's it. I never “attacked” you or any such thing. I wanted to get feedback on my review so I could correct any possible errors.That's the only reason I did it. Why you believe posting a review of a book to get feedback is an “attack” I just do not understand.
And, like I said in my first email, I'm sorry for my language but I was responding to your many insults and dishonest things you've spread about me and I simply got tired of it and lost my temper. The same with J.R. since he was the one who began that outright lie to begin with. My actions were in response to his attacks (and insults) against me.
I would really appreciate a sincere apology since I do fully believe I deserve one. I'm willing to put the aside the past and I don't see any reason why you can't do the same.
This is why I feel we must discuss this like men. You are accusing me of something (attacking you) when I've never done such a thing. My posts about you on Amazon were either 1. An attempt to have a debate with you; or 2. To expose the several false and misleading things you (and J.R.) spread about me on Amazon. There were no attacks, only several attempts to have an actual, civil discussion with you, and to set the record straight. If anyone has attacked anyone I'd say you've been attacking me for the last few years with the your actions I recounted in my first email.
Now, maybe you feel these are somehow attacks against you but I just explained my motivations. I also tried to make that clear in the posts themselves but for whatever reason you continue to feel differently.
I truly would like to resolve this.
In the links above Marshall did apologize on John Loftus’ blog and Amazon but his “apologies” were more of a defense of his actions than a true apology and he continued to post other false things about me, such as me wishing for the “death” of my opponent. This is just complete nonsense since the very person I supposedly said this to even admitted in a discussion I never said this!
On John’s blog Marshall wrote:
Note: It appears that I was partially wrong in something I said in this forum about another poster: “Angry Atheist" aka Ken?) A guy who, when confronted (not just by me) with the absurdity of his arguments, those he is willing to show, that is, laspses into fantasies about the death of his opponent, pornographical posts, and obscurity of the kind we all know and love -- I'm right because no one is going to follow me to THIS web site and prove me wrong? Ken tells me he is not Angry Atheist. If so, then he is not the one responsible for the pornographic hate mail. (He was, however, responsible for that other stuff I described.) There were reasons for thinking it was him, but I accept his word, and apologize for my error. I am glad to know Ken did not make those posts.
On Amazon Marshall said:
Ken: If you say it wasn't you, let's assume that's true. I apologize for my apparent error.
The apparent mistake was, let me point out, easy to make, since the pseudonym was similar, Ken has used several, the tone was similiar, and the posts came from a source that Ken participated in.
The rest of what Ken says underlines why the mistake (assuming it to have been one) was easy to make.
Anyone can do a word search for ¨David Marshall¨ and ¨Arizona Atheist¨ and see who has been ¨smeering¨ whom, and who has been (mostly) ignoring whom. Note, to begin with, the first article cited, dated well before the comment Ken objects to here.
Having corrected the error, I'll be happy to ignore Ken's posts again.
I responded to him on Amazon with the following:
I appreciate the willingness of Marshall to accept responsibility for *some* of his behavior but as for the post I linked to (which is in response to the post Marshall is referring) it's clear that post I had written called, I believe something like, the Lies and Distortions of Marshall, were again IN RESPONSE to several inaccurate and outright false claims spread by Marshall. As always my posts were in response to the distortions of facts that have been spread about me all over Amazon by Marshall and two of his buddies. While Marshall manned up and accepted responsibility for SOME of his actions he did not claim full responsibility for all of them. That is very telling.
His refusal to apologize has very much upset me. I tried to be the bigger man and tried to come to some kind of agreement, at least some kind of understanding where at the very least he stops his untruthful smears against me. I suppose all I can do now is to avoid making those mistakes again by not losing my temper and simply let Marshall, Fraser, and whoever simply flap their gums and make themselves look like the idiots throwing out insults and smears, and allow their actions to speak for themselves, rather then allow myself to get sucked into their petty and immature game. Anyone can view the evidence for themselves to see what happened and they can witness Marshall’s many unprovoked smears and outbursts over a number of years.