I took down the Beginning of Infinity website in protest two months ago, after David Deutsch (DD) and his fans harassed me repeatedly for years. They won't discuss why or stop. What's happened since then?
- Three CritRats (members of DD’s fan community) harassed me on YouTube.
- Two DD fans posted hostile comments, aimed at me, on Alan Forrester's blog, after I disabled comments on my own blog.
- A CritRat is plagiarizing me and won’t respond about the issue (he offers no excuse, defense or explanation). Plagiarism of me by CritRats is a recurring problem due to their toxic community. Many of them seem to actually like my ideas, read my stuff regularly (including CritRats who I used to speak with and also CritRats I've never had a conversation with), and only dislike me because they were told to or were told lies about me. But CritRats can't give me credit for anything without hostile reactions and likely being kicked out of their community, so they are sorta being pressured into plagiarizing.
- I found out from multiple community members that DD personally contacted them (over 5 years ago) and tried to recruit them to his side and turn them against me. DD did this in writing and I've received documentation.
- DD still has not retracted his lie about me, nor asked his fans to stop harassing me.
Maybe people feel justified attacking me with sock puppets because DD lies to them that I do that to him. There have been repeated signs that people got this idea from CritRat community gossip, and DD is the community leader and I now know that he has said it to people. I have now seen DD, in writing, gossiping to people to try to turn them against me, mocking me and encouraging hatred, and specifically telling people that some of his critics are my sock puppets (with zero evidence, and with the hyphenated spelling "sock-puppet"). And if DD were correct, as he believed he was, then he would have been doxxing me by outing an anonymous account as me. And what enabled the attempted doxxing? Our friendship. If I were a stranger or a forum poster he only knew impersonally, then DD would not have been able to guess which accounts were mine and convince others that he was probably correct. (BTW the account DD claimed was my "sock-puppet" in multiple emails was an openly anonymous account that didn’t claim to be a unique person who wasn’t already in the discussion, so it couldn't even have been a sock puppet in the usual sense. The posts DD were upset about consisted primarily of quotes from his books to show what he’d actually written, which DD considered an attack. DD didn’t want to, and didn’t, clarify his positions on the matters being discussed, and was upset that anyone would use his book quotes against him to try to tie him to specific viewpoints that could be criticized.)
Since the problem is active today (ongoing harassment, my blog comments still disabled, DD's lie not retracted, no attempt to clean up their toxic community and prevent further harassment, etc.), I’m going to share more information related to DD’s harassment campaign. This time, I’ll provide evidence that DD is a mean person who is capable of mistreating me, since that seems to be something that people doubt who don't know him personally. People may find it implausible that he’d be so cruel to me – his behavior is so bad that some people doubt I could be telling the truth – so hopefully seeing some of his other bad behavior will help persuade people.
I don’t want to take actions like this, and will be happy to stop when DD takes actions to improve this intolerable situation. He should make a reasonable attempt to stop his community from harassing, including asking them to stop and enabling some line of communication so that incidents can be reported and addressed. (In source links below, chats are displayed using Past for iChat.)
2011-05-12: David Deutsch called Sam Harris “gullible as a sheet of paper” and said Harris’ writing about meditation has no meaning (“meaning is there none”). David then went on Harris’s podcast, twice, and acted friendly. Source.
2008-06-20: David Deutsch insulted Richard Dawkins. “Dawkins should write his God stuff under a pseudonym. (And his political stuff on toilet paper and just flush it.)” David based one of four strands in his first book on Dawkins’ work and has had friendly conversations with Dawkins in person. Source.
2010-08-29: David Deutsch praises anyone who “violently” “hates Chomsky”. Source.
2009-03-11: David Deutsch says Scott Aaronson is “not a serious thinker. He’s just a mathematician with delusions of competence (and indeed authoritay) in philosophy, politics etc.” Source. And on 2010-04-06, he mocked Aaronson as someone he really wouldn’t want to be Facebook friends with. Source.
2003-04-26: David Deutsch attacked Rafe Champion (a Popper scholar whose work David is currently recommending) as both “insane” and “anti-Semitic”. Then David was friendly to Champion in emails (I saw some of them) for at least the next nine years. Source.
2008-06-25: David Deutsch insulted Thomas Szasz (author of The Myth of Mental Illness) saying he “only knows two things, maybe three.” Deutsch also mocked Szasz’s accent. Previously, Deutsch met Szasz in person, was respectful to his face, and got his copy of Szasz’s book The Second Sin signed by Szasz in 1988 (Deutsch still had the signed book in 2012). Source.
2010-10-01: David Deutsch was involved in meetings to set up a proposed “Future Technology Institute” with other senior members including Nick Bostrom who heads the Future of Humanity Institute. Deutsch mocked the others: “They are scared that AIs may go rogue and fill the world with paper clips. They are more scared of this sort of accident than of bad governments using AI as a weapon.” He also accused them of being pandering social-climbers (and confessed to being that himself): “Mostly we were all trying to impress the sponsor with our cleverness and depth. So nothing has actually happened yet.” Source.
2008-06-20: David Deutsch says Daniel Dennett’s ideas “are about as good as a rottweiler’s”. This is extra insulting because David believes dogs aren’t intelligent at all and don’t have ideas. He believes the animal rights movement is an error because animals are literally 100% incapable of thinking, having any emotion or suffering. In my experience, David often ridicules animals and uses them in jokes and negative comments. Source.
If these quotes have convinced you that DD could be doing something wrong, you can read about the harassment campaign. You can also complain to him. DD's public email address is [email protected] and his Twitter is @DavidDeutschOxf. Perhaps the best way to help is by sharing this information with more people.
> I found out from multiple community members that DD personally contacted them (over 5 years ago) and tried to recruit them to his side and turn them against me. DD did this in writing and I've received documentation.
I'm appalled. Not just by what I quoted, the rest too (and prior posts). DD is ruining his own legacy, while also harming current and future knowledge creation, *and for what?* He could still social-climb without being two-faced & deceptive.
When critrats inevitably discuss this thread in private, I wonder if they'll consider the restraint you've shown (over *years*). I mean, those quotes at the end are all at least 10 years old. A *decade*.
> When critrats inevitably discuss this thread in private, I wonder if they'll consider the restraint you've shown (over *years*). I mean, those quotes at the end are all at least 10 years old. A *decade*.
I fear they'll just say you're my sock puppet and ignore your point. What proof is there that I ever gave anyone else an account?
DD once suggested to me that people who agree with me – IIRC Justin was the example given – basically count as my sock puppets anyway, and don't count as real human beings. (The context was I asked him about an anonymous account. He said basically it was me or else someone who says similar things to me, and it doesn't really matter which. He doesn't actually clearly differentiate between people who agree about stuff and sock puppets.)
> *and for what?* He could still social-climb without being two-faced & deceptive.
He could be two-faced and deceptive and just have also told his fans to leave me alone after the first major incident (when Andy B got caught).
> DD once suggested to me that people who agree with me – IIRC Justin was the example given – basically count as my sock puppets anyway, and don't count as real human beings.
I recall encountering people with a similar view in the past (who e.g. denied I was a separate person and assumed that I must be a sockpuppet cuz I agreed with Elliot).
It is very intolerant to dehumanize people based on the ideas they hold.
#3 DD is hypocritical about it. E.g. he doesn't view LT or SFC as his own sock puppet.
> I fear they'll just say you're my sock puppet and ignore your point. What proof is there that I ever gave anyone else an account?
I wrote a post that provides evidence that I was given an account: I Support Elliot Temple (regarding ongoing harassment from CritRats; a group lead by DD)
I ended up writing a longer post than I originally planned.
It'd be funny (to me) if I was accused of being a sockpuppet -- I didn't know about FI or the FoR/BoI discussion groups until about a month after this email:
DD's reply thanked me for the kind words and provided some thoughts (~300 words) on what I'd linked. I ended up writing <http://xk.io/2017/05/27/ibdd-and-poppers-criterion/> the next day (and replying to DD, which was the last msg in the thread). That post eventually lead me to FI (and if I hadn't written it, then I don't see any reason that I would have found FI of my own accord).
#5 Max, IMO the best, simplest argument that you're not my sock puppet is that we have many hours of voice discussion on YouTube. You also have your own websites and online identity/history/etc.
I was being flippant saying they'd doubt there's anyone else here. But I've literally been told it's just my word against Andy's because I could have somehow faked any or all of the large amount of evidence I shared (and done such a good job that they've found no inconsistencies or errors in it), so that's the same as Andy sharing no evidence or public, written claims about what happened.
Their community is so toxic that some of them seem to dismiss documented facts, evidence, etc., as just me lying.
#6 Andy and others don't want to write up their claims about what did and didn't happen, and what the facts are, due to the high chance of being caught in a lie. (Sharing the truth won't help them.) It'd also open them up to clarifying questions about stuff their story ignores or small or partial bad things they admit to.
DD was unable to even write one paragraph without being caught in a lie. Andy has also been caught lying.
> #5 Max, IMO the best, simplest argument that you're not my sock puppet is that we have many hours of voice discussion on YouTube. You also have your own websites and online identity/history/etc.
Oh yeah, heh. This mb works for both of the things I mention below, too.
I think there are two other meanings of sockpuppet that I was refuting as well -- first, that comments on your blog, mine or whomever's, are made by you (which is why I linked back to #5 on my site after I made #5). The second is sorta based on what Justin said:
> It is very intolerant to dehumanize people based on the ideas they hold.
Calling someone a sockpuppet could be metaphorical, like implying that there's no difference between them and a sockpuppet; that they're mindless. That was also a reason why I shared the DD email. Given that was how it started for me, the idea of my *not* making a well-informed decision (e.g. being mislead or indoctrinated or something) to get here -- I think that idea makes no sense. (And other parts of my history, like saying BoI was the best book ever written.)
DD's rottweiler comment inspired that line of thinking a bit, too. I particularly didn't like that.
> Andy and others don't want to write up their claims about what did and didn't happen, and what the facts are, due to the high chance of being caught in a lie.
This reminds me of behaviors that get pointed out as suspicious. Like being evasive around certain points and wanting to move past it or just refusing to engage.
DD giving me advice in 2010:
17:21:50 curidotus: should i seek the trappings of authority about anything?
17:22:20 oxfordphysicist: ATM only the trapping of having published in a peer-reviewed Journal.
(I did not agree, and I didn't ask that question thinking that maybe I should. DD knew I was thinking critically and disagreeing with his attitude – that I thought he was overly into pandering, that that was bad, and that I was questioning him more than trying to decide what to do – and he still replied like that anyway.)
In 2006 DD called 75 "top professors and leading academics" "criminally insane":
> "75 top professors and leading academics" are criminally insane:
There are many, many more. I'm just looking for something else right now and accidentally finding stuff like this.