November 19, 2012

Ophelia Benson: Russell Blackford Wants to Destroy Rebecca Watson

Who needs reality TV when we have the atheist movement? According to Ophelia Benson (Butterflies & Wheels), blogger Russell Blackford wants to destroy Rebecca Watson.
There are a lot of crazy people out there who want to destroy Rebecca. And there’s Russell Blackford, who also wants to destroy Rebecca. I don’t understand that.
That is a clear accusation, isn't it? Blackford wants to destroy Rebecca Watson. What is Benson's evidence to support it? She provides two screen captures of some of Blackford's tweets.

In the first series, Blackford asks a reporter who interviewed Watson whether she interviewed others in the community (e.g., Dawkins, Grothe, Kirby) in writing her story for Slate. He refers to Watson as "a very sketchy individual," adding, "the story she tells is largely untrue."

Blackford's use of the hashtag #factchecking suggests that he was calling this reporter to task for failing to do so. Does expressing his opinion that Rebecca Watson is "sketchy" or questioning the veracity of her story mean that he seeks to destroy her?

In the second series of tweets, Blackford shares that he will not attend any conferences where Watson or PZ Myers are invited speakers.


Does saying that he will not attend a conference where Rebecca Watson and/or PZ Myers are speaking equate to trying to wanting to destroy Rebecca? I do not have any interest in attending the sort of conference that would invite Rebecca Watson to speak on a subject like evolutionary psychology instead of inviting…oh, I don't know…an evolutionary psychologist. Does that mean I too want to destroy her? I certainly hope not.