One of the upsides to publishing is that you get to share your knowledge and opinions.
One of the downsides… you open yourself up to criticism. I’ve certainly suffered my share of slings and arrows. If the day comes that I can’t take it anymore, I’ll stop writing.
Stuart Pivar apparently published a book called LifeCode: The Theory of Biological Self Organization. I have not read it, I don’t have any opinion about his theories. Someone did though… Paul Myers wrote a review of it in which he called the author a “crackpot.”
For that offense, Pivar filed a defamation suit. Now on THAT, I’ll enter an opinion – and I will call Pivar a lot worse than a crackpot. First off, if you read the reviews on Amazon.com, here, you’ll see that it is a generally-accepted notion that Pivar’s writing has zero scientific merit.
One reviewer wrote:
I do not own this book. I do not propose to read it. My “rating” is based solely upon the fact that the author has chosen to sue a reviewer for “Injury – Assault, Libel, and Slander”, because he didn’t like the review. (Unlike the author, the reviewer is a professional biology professor who actually understands this subject.) No reputable scientist would react in this way – indeed the whole point of science is to prove things wrong! (As Richard Feynman wrote, “We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we find progress.”) So caveat emptor…
Amen… Pivar may or may not be a crackpot, I lack the scientific knowledge upon which to base an opinion. Nevertheless, he is a desperately in need of a lesson in First Amendment law (as is his lawyer). I look forward to Mr. Myers finding himself good defense counsel who not only gets this case tossed where it belongs, but files a strong counterclaim and a motion for sanctions against Pivar for such a patently frivolous suit.
There is no way that even the most brain dead judge in the nation wouldn’t see this word “crackpot” for what it is — protected rhetorical hyperbole. Freedom of speech wouldn’t be worth much if defamation law were permitted to remove hyperbole from all conversation.