Shermer Sends Cease and Desist Letter to PZ

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PZ Myers received a cease and desist letter from Michael Shermer's attorney asking him to remove the post containing the accusations and issue a retraction and apology. PZ initially posted this letter at http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2013/08/shermerslawyerletter.pdf but removed it soon after posting it. Not surprisingly, the letter was downloaded and is now available in many locations. It is an interesting read for those who have been following this situation. While I realize that many are trying to tune out the infighting in the atheist movement, I believe that this situation in which a prominent figure in the skeptic community is pursuing legal action against a prominent blogger for allegedly posting libelous material is relevant to many of us.

It is not yet clear whether Shermer will sue PZ for defamation; however, this seems more likely based on the letter than it did previously. Of equal interest is the question of PZ's immediate response. At the time I am writing this post, PZ has still not removed the post in question or issued a retraction. He says that he been in touch with Ken White at Popehat to arrange legal assistance for himself. This could mean that he's planning to fight, but I suppose that will be evident soon enough if the post containing the accusations against Shermer remains much longer.

Based on the relevance to the atheist movement, skeptic community, and blogging in general, this seems like one to watch closely. It could end up having far-reaching implications.