ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

The State Of Play and Rev. Sizer.

with 61 comments

Hopefully one of my final posts on Sizergate, as I get the impression from Richard Wilson’s blog that Dr. Sizer would like to dampen down matters.

Understandably so, otherwise he might have to answer why did he use an ex-Royal Marine to try to track down Seismic Shock?

I would recommend that readers take the time to study the comments from Rev. Sizer’s associate, Mordechai ‘Motkhe’ Cohen.

The comments are rather nasty, and whilst my memory is faulty it was one of the exchanges that I remember clearly from Seismic Shock’s site, given the ferocity and venom of the remarks.

Richard Bartholomew has put up a spirited defence of Rev. Sizer. A pity, I expected a bit more.

Contrary to Richard’s assertion, we can see the previous blog or parts of it from the google cache, as I highlighted in this post.

Readers might want to re-read Seismic Shock’s old blog and decide for themselves.

[Use these key words in Google, site:seismicshock.blogspot.com Sizer, about 49 entries are return with a fair few of them cached and readable about 18.]

The Leeds University’s student newspaper covers matters too.

Concluding, so what in fact you had was:

1) an Anglican vicar annoyed at criticism of his strongly held views
2) an effort was made to warn off that critic
3) when it failed a ex-Royal Marine’s assistance was sought
4) when that failed the Police were used to intimidate the blogger
5) said Anglican vicar gloated about his apparent success at seeing off a critic, and then threatened another blogger.

Less of a rose tinted view of events than we are often told, and I am sure more will come out, eventually.

Written by modernityblog

30/01/2010 at 17:52

61 Responses

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  1. “…a spirited defence of Rev. Sizer”. Thanks for the link, but I’d hardly have called it that. Access to Google cache noted.

    Richard Bartholomew

    30/01/2010 at 18:13

  2. […] Comments Dozie Onwuka on Archbishop Duncan Williams Marries US BusinesswomanThe State Of Play and Rev. Sizer. « ModernityBlog on Stephen Sizer vs Seismic ShockGreg Bacon on Stephen Sizer vs Seismic Shockseismicshock […]

  3. Richard,

    Well, yes I would, because you didn’t deal with the issues, you skipped a couple of points and you were incorrect concerning contents of the old blog, which I pointed out several times can be viewed, I even extracted one, it was all done very subtly but I thought the Ben White comparison was rather weak, and dare I say, pedantic.

    More fundamentally, you imply that you do believe it was harassment, and therefore somehow justified.

    I think that’s an extraordinary position for a blogger to take, it is a pity that you didn’t spell out your views there.

    Still, you are entitled to your opinions, but I didn’t think it was one of your shining posts, as normally you are excellent at grasping the issues head-on.

    modernityblog

    30/01/2010 at 21:54

  4. From the piece:

    “Seismic Shock could have avoided his troubles if he had been more careful with his rhetoric”

    What!!!

    Whatever happened to ‘Open Debate Not Threats’?!!!!

    seismicshock

    30/01/2010 at 22:23

  5. You (SS) wrote a headline to imply that Ben White was a Holocaust denier when he’s not. As I said at the time, that was mischievous – and if White were to complain of incitement he would have a point. We don’t know what *exactly* Sizer made his complaint about (not your fault), but I’m given pause to consider whether something of a similar nature, when added to the real-world harassment he has experienced (of which I am sure you disapprove) may justly have prompted a request from Knacker to be more careful. The fact they came on rather stronger than that was wrong, as was the reference to the incident in the comment that appeared on Vee’s blog, and I think I made that clear.

    Richard Bartholomew

    31/01/2010 at 01:05

  6. Richard,

    Is that it? So you classify rhetoric as being an ambiguous headline on a blog?

    Come on, that’s hardly a crime in blogging and assuming that Seismic Shock wrote hundreds probably thousands of words, that is not exactly a major issue.

    But we both know that, this tactic is merely a deflection, something to tack other things on to.

    Frankly, I would have thought that was beneath you, Richard.

    You are not making the slightest effort to talk to the substantive issues, which even if we take them solely from Rev. Sizer’s statements on his blog, should not have involved the police.

    What was that expression, talking truth to power?

    Is that not permitted nowdays?

    Or when a member of the clergy reads criticism on a blog will they too call the Police?

    I do wish you would talk to the real issues and not dance around them, for example, the involvement of an ex-Royal Marine?

    modernity

    31/01/2010 at 02:01

  7. Richard: Re. Ben White – of course it was relevant – he wasn’t talking about the Holocaust-as-myth as some kind of abstract concept, he was specifically referring to Ahmadinejad’s referral to the Holocaust as a myth, and trying to say it did not constitute Holocaust denial because the Holocaust can be construed as one.

    This is how the BBC reported it:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4527142.stm

    Ben White however was more interested in the official report by Iranian state TV – and you know as well as I do how trustworthy they can be.

    I was completely within my rights to critique this – it was not Holocaust denial but it was defence of explicit Holocaust denial.

    Four days after White’s article was published, Ahmadinejad announced his plans for a conference.

    I do not think that critiquing this is incitement in any way, nor the title I chose, which you yourself admit was factually accurate.

    seismicshock

    31/01/2010 at 06:43

  8. According to your logic, the BBC is guilty of incitement against Ahmadinejad. If this report was written by a journalist in Iran, then the journalist in question would merit a visit from the state police and could be guilty of incitement – after all, the headline provided suggests that Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust, rather than calling it a myth.

    If this argument works for those critiquing Ben White’s defence of Ahmadinejad’s ‘Holocaust-myth’, it must work for those critiquing Ahmadinejad’s ‘Holocaust-myth’ itself.

    Do we really want to go down this road?

    seismicshock

    31/01/2010 at 06:53

  9. I’d also note White quotes Roger Garaudy in his book:
    http://seismicshock.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/ben-white-recommends-roger-garaudy-essay-in-%E2%80%98israeli-apartheid-guide%E2%80%99/

    I do appreciate what you’re saying about White in this instance, and the nature of your disagreement with me on this.

    White – to his immense credit – responded to these criticisms, and others responded to him, etc.

    seismicshock

    31/01/2010 at 07:24

  10. I think you’re being unfair on Richard. There is more than the issue of free speech at stake here, and he is trying to draw out that nuance. I don’t think the headline that Richard pointed out was ambiguous in any way. To MB, can I ask the question, if (and for the sake of argument give me this if) the writing of Seismic Shock constituted harrassment, would you then believe police intervention was justified? I am interested to see where you stand on that theoretical question.

    To SS, if you, as a journalist, had written any of the things you wrote on your blog, you would be quickly out of a job. You fail to let others put their side of the story before you let rip. For a journalist it would be unprofessional, possibly libelous, and no newspaper would retain your services. Beyond that, isn’t it just courteous to speak to someone before making accusations against them?

    P

    31/01/2010 at 09:42

  11. Is that it? So you classify rhetoric as being an ambiguous headline on a blog?

    In this case, yes. Anyone reading the headline would have assumed that White had declared that the Holocaust was an untrue fairy-tale. The fact that reading on revealed that the plain meaning of the headline was not its actual meaning doesn’t change that it was misleading, whatever White’s actual shortcomings. So when I read someone else claiming that the same blog has been misleading about them I’m inclined to think there may be something in it – even though there’s also some good stuff on the same blog.

    But we both know that, this tactic is merely a deflection, something to tack other things on to.

    If I had wished to avoid anything I would simply have remained silent on the whole subject. I’m not exactly an A-list blogger so I doubt that anyone much would have noticed or cared. I’m not interested in fighting Sizer’s battles for him – but I am calling it as I see it.

    You are not making the slightest effort to talk to the substantive issues, which even if we take them solely from Rev. Sizer’s statements on his blog, should not have involved the police.

    Actually, I tried to consider what the police should do in general when a complaint is made, as well as the merits of this particular case, bearing in mind that the police would have considered a wider context of things going on in the real world (although I do think the way the police intervened was troubling).

    Why did SS not back up everything he wrote on blogspot, or publicise the police intervention at the time? Was he just seeking to avoid hassle (nothing wrong with that), or did he accept that on some point he may have been at fault? Several blogs have recently described Sizer as a “holocaust denier” – SS has sent out clarifications that he’s not, but how did they get the impression that he was, if not from SS’s blog?

    when a member of the clergy reads criticism on a blog will they too call the Police?

    One hopes not. If so, I will be getting a long line of visits.

    Richard Bartholomew

    31/01/2010 at 11:48

  12. P you wrote:

    “To MB, can I ask the question, if (and for the sake of argument give me this if) the writing of Seismic Shock constituted harrassment, would you then believe police intervention was justified? I am interested to see where you stand on that theoretical question.”

    I take the view, innocent until proven guilty.

    modernityblog

    31/01/2010 at 15:16

  13. Richard you wrote:

    “In this case, yes. Anyone reading the headline would have assumed that White had declared that the Holocaust was an untrue fairy-tale”

    Richard, you’re nitpicking unnecessarily, if said readers had only read the headline, then they’d be rather stupid and probably couldn’t spell “myth”.

    It is the contents of the article that are germane, the rest is unseemly quibbling.

    “Actually, I tried to consider what the police should do in general when a complaint is made, as well as the merits of this particular case, bearing in mind that the police would have considered a wider context of things going on in the real world (although I do think the way the police intervened was troubling).”

    Did you?

    Or did you exclude the fact that Rev. Sizer boasts about his connections to the Police? And they probably merely thought they were doing him a quick favour, to placate all parties.

    Richard, the problem is that your contribution is essentially a deflection away from the issues of Rev. Sizer’s behaviour

    In doing so you have to ignore pertinent evidence, which is not exactly a reputable method, and I am genuinely surprised at you.

    The first tactic is to bring up an irrelevance, then make it a big issue.

    The second is to paint Rev. Sizer as a victim.

    The third is to utilise English understatement in questioning the Police’s visit and intimidation.

    The problem with this approach is apart from the fact it is obviously intellectually shoddy, it necessitates avoiding questioning Rev. Sizer’s conduct and leaves out critical events (the ex-Royal Marine’s role, the gloating, etc).

    modernityblog

    31/01/2010 at 15:34

  14. I agree that a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, I was just trying to establish where the problem with the police action lies in this case. Is it with police action against bloggers per se, or only in cases where such powers are used heavy-handedly.

    I won’t hold your answer against you in any way, I just want to know if you think that IF SeismicShock’s writings constituted harrassment THEN you would think police action would be warranted. I’m not trying to trap you, honestly!

    P

    31/01/2010 at 15:59

  15. “However, I was just trying to establish where the problem with the police action lies in this case. Is it with police action against bloggers per se, or only in cases where such powers are used heavy-handedly.”

    A bit of both.

    modernityblog

    31/01/2010 at 16:04

  16. P,

    But perhaps I wasn’t clear enough,

    I don’t think that writing mild criticism of someone’s political views and activities on a blog, and questioning them is harassment. If that were the case, then the Police would be knocking on the door of journalists, the media and bloggers everyday.

    I suspect that it is more to do with people in power being sensitive to criticism, any criticism, however, sending the Police around to journalists would be counterproductive.

    But that is not necessarily the case when it comes to intimidating a young blogger, who might find the presence of two burly Policemen somewhat overwhelming whilst he’s still in his pyjamas. The net effect of “a chat” is to shutdown that said criticism, and that was its purpose.

    I have looked through the contents on the deleted blog, and you can do that as well, some of the analysis and comments are milder than I would make.

    I gave an example below, where Rev. Sizer’s words were republished by some Far Right holocaust denier in France or Belgium.

    I think it is fairly certain that they stole the contents, it is a common tactic on the Far Right.

    But you could legitimately ask, why did they find it so agreeable?

    And if someone there were to publish **my** works or my ideas on the Far Right, then I would rethink them. I think that is a legitimate question.

    There’s probably plenty of other examples, you will see I have provided links to the cached posts, have a read eh?

    modernityblog

    31/01/2010 at 16:23

  17. As I commented at Harry’s, the major issue in Sizergate is no longer the political opinions of either Sizer or Seismic, but the abrogation of responsibility of British law and institutions to protect Seismic’s freedom of speech and civil rights.

    In the USA, Seismic would have multiple grounds for legal action:

    – Against Sizer for defamation, tortious interference and false statements to the police
    – Against the police for civil rights violations
    – Against Sizer’s agent (investigator) and emloyer for complicity in Sizer’s actions
    – Against any others (such as the blog platform or the telecom) who might have revealed Seismic’s identity.

    Sesimic should by now have consulted rights and defamation attorneys and organisations in the UK, and should have been helped in this by Jewish organisations. Has this happened?

    Christian Zionist

    01/02/2010 at 07:52

  18. I understand what you’re saying, but we probably won’t find agreement because I don’t really have a problem with the police being involved in cases of genuine harrassment. So we probably start from a different point.

    But that aside, I totally agree that heavy-handed police action is something we need to watch out for.

    In this case, however, I think that Seismic Shock also deserves some criticism, and I think people are frustrated that so many have rallied to his cause despite what many see as somewhat distasteful tactics. I think that had you criticised him a little (I understand that you may not think he deserves criticism, which is another matter entirely, and I respect that opinion, even though I disagree with it) as well as defending free speech, more people would be with you on this one.

    I realise that you like the Seismic Shock blog, and that you link to it often, and that he links back to you, and so on, and that’s fine, but just be careful that that doesn’t colour your view. (Equally, I have to be careful that my distaste for it doesn’t colour mine.)

    You say that Stephen Sizer should re-evaluate views that are pinched by the far right. I’m nopt sure that’s fair. But don’t you think the corollary is that Seismic Shock should rethink his tactics if people are taking what he writes and using it as motivation to break into homes, send emails and generally physically harrass another person?

    All in all I suspect we won’t agree because we have different views of whether Seismic Shock is a public service or a nasty-ish vendetta. But I hope we can remain civil.

    P

    01/02/2010 at 11:11

  19. And what do you think of this incidentally?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6809832.ece

    (I make no comment, I’m just curious to get your view…)

    P

    01/02/2010 at 11:19

  20. CZ,

    Years of civil rights action and the debates concerning freedom of speech mean that such events are viewed in an entirely different way in the US as opposed to Britain.

    The clergy do have some status and pull in Britain, they haven’t yet been disestablished.

    I suspect that the words of a clergyman, seemingly in distress, would be taken seriously by the police, irrespective of the real facts.

    But I think both parties might want to step back from the abyss and tone down this dispute, that might be the most sensible thing for them to do.

    Whatever happens, I hope that Rev Sizer gives of making threats against bloggers and does not involve the Police again, when people are critical of his views, lest Barbra Streisand’s effect comes into play again.

    modernityblog

    01/02/2010 at 15:40

  21. Of course, P, perhaps then you would like to explain the role of the ex-Royal Marine in matters?

    You can find his abusive comments to Seismic Shock on his blog.

    modernityblog

    01/02/2010 at 15:45

  22. P,

    As for the Times article, not sure how it is relevant.

    Seismic Shock’s criticism of Reverend Sizer was fairly moderate.

    Un fact it was one of Reverend Sizers’ associates, the ex-Royal marine, who spouts the abuse **at*** Seismic Shock, not the other way around.

    And this is a problem I am having, there is little comment on the nature of the criticism made of Rev. Sizer, I have pointed out links, or the legitimate questions which were made.

    I do wish people would at least say they’ve read them and make a comment.

    modernityblog

    01/02/2010 at 15:50

  23. I have followed Seismic Shock’s blog for a while now and have found his insinuations and accusations to be distasteful. However, as I understand things it was the harrassment of Stephen Sizer’s church’s youth group and links between Seismic Shock’s writings and criminal damage that led to the accusations of harrassment specifically. Your response will doubtless be to ask for evidence. Well, that’s a question to put to the police, since they obviously believed that there is a case.

    On the nature of the criticisms of Stephen Sizer, I find the claims put by Seismic Shock and co to be pretty ridiculous. I have followed up with interest a number of the posts and they are extremely weak, usually quoting something entirely out of context and accusing anyone who sticks up for the rights of Palestinians or tries to understand the mindset of muslims of being antisemitic.

    So as a comment, I find Seismic Shock’s criticisms of Stephen Sizer to be very weak.

    P

    01/02/2010 at 16:50

  24. P,

    Taking your argument and assuming it is very weak, then there is hardly any need to call the Police eh?

    I suspect having an ex-Royal Marine put on your case, as happened to Seismic Shock is probably slightly more intimidating than the odd electronic message, isn’t it?

    modernityblog

    01/02/2010 at 16:54

  25. Well I agree that those comments are a little off – perhaps Seismic Shock should contact the police about it and see what they say? It seems like the guy may be mentally ill, based on some of the comments going around, but I don’t know. So it’s up to Seismic Shock: get him to call the police if he feels harrassed – they can make a judgment on it. Hopefully that answers your concern.

    Now, instead of changing the subject yet again, perhaps you can answer the question I put earlier:

    You say that Stephen Sizer should re-evaluate views that are pinched by the far right. I’m not sure that’s fair. But don’t you think the corollary is that Seismic Shock should rethink his tactics if people are taking what he writes and using it as motivation to break into homes, send emails and generally physically harrass another person?

    Have a read of this too: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-to-spot-a-lame-lame-argument-1667373.html

    P

    02/02/2010 at 11:08

  26. ” So it’s up to Seismic Shock: get him to call the police if he feels harrassed – they can make a judgment on it. Hopefully that answers your concern.”

    Forgive me, but why is the bleeding obvious avoided here?

    Surely Rev. Sizer is due some reproach? For involving this individual?

    modernity

    02/02/2010 at 13:46

  27. Well there are a number of ifs and buts involved. IF Stephen Sizer involved this man in these comments then yes, he deserves reproach. Given that there appears to be mental instability involved then either it is worse than that (ie, Stephen Sizer used a vulnerable person to get involved) or better (ie, he had no control over what was going on). It cuts both ways. I don’t know which way to side exactly, so I go with my first reaction.

    Are you going to answer my question now?

    P

    02/02/2010 at 14:04

  28. “Well there are a number of ifs and buts involved”

    Most amusing, I suppose next the argument we will hear is the curates’ answer “…it is good in parts”?

    Let’s think this thru slowly:

    1. you’re having a dispute with someone
    2. you involve another person who was once a professional soldier, who was paid to kill people, a specialist in this particular area
    3. said soldier then abuses the other party, verbally (but in this case by text)
    4. the other party, that you had a dispute with, is obviously intimidated by this, yet it continues.

    etc etc

    I think it is fairly obvious that the intimidation would be coming from the ex-professional soldier, and the person who involved him, not the other way around.

    Yet there is no reproach for Reverend Sizer on this topic? Unbelievable.

    I suspect I would probably hear Alastair Campbell pour mountains of scorn on Tony Blair**, before I would hear one single word of condemnation, a single critical statement against Reverend Sizer’s conduct, incredible.

    [** For American readers Alistair Campbell was Tony Blair’s most faithful supporter, he was his attack dog, he would defend him no matter the cost, no matter the circumstances.]

    modernity

    02/02/2010 at 14:46

  29. I would question whether point four is accurate. Also, I think point two needs to be estbalished. What I said was that if point two was established then yes, Stephen Sizer would deserve reproach.

    I think you need to start reading what I write. You are being very illogical.

    Now, will you answer my question at some point?

    P

    02/02/2010 at 15:05

  30. No, I was just being humourous.

    But logically, if we take your point more broadly we would have to then question Rev. Sizer’s account of events.

    Because if you’re going to be logical, if you question one side then it is entirely appropriate to question the other.

    That is my problem, there is not even the slightest inclination to reproach Rev. Sizer for involving this unfortunate ex-Royal Marine.

    Anyone interested could obviously see Rev.Sizer’s own blog:

    http://stephensizer.blogspot.com/2008/11/meet-real-mordechai.html

    “WEDNESDAY, 12 NOVEMBER 2008

    Meet the Real Mordechai

    Meet Mordechai ‘Motkhe’ Cohen, a Messianic believer who has recently joined Christ Church family and is teaching me some Hebrew. Motkhe is not to be confused with another Mordechai who is not so impressed with me.

    also see http://seismicshock.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/stephen-sizer-hired-ex-israel-soldier-to-harass-me/

    This ex-Royal Marine commented:

    “Mordechai Ben Yaccov Hacohen
    September 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Anonymity, is not the right of those who are slandering someones name,
    This person, who has said that he is jewish should know the Laws of Lashon Hora.

    As for being a stalker, i was hired to find the root of where these emails were coming from, a failed student of The University of Leeds,

    The police have his details,

    All i say is If and i do mean IF YOU ARE JEWISH, have the Chutzpah to give your real name.”

    I’ll leave readers to work out what “..,i was hired…” means, and how a young student might feel knowing that an ex-Royal Marine was on their case.

    modernityblog

    02/02/2010 at 15:20

  31. If you want to see what I question your point two, you might care to read the following comment on the same post, where the man tells us that he was not hired:

    http://seismicshock.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/stephen-sizer-hired-ex-israel-soldier-to-harass-me/#comment-1315

    Now will you answer my question?

    P

    02/02/2010 at 15:36

  32. In all likelihood, and I suspect this is how a jury would see it, Hacohen’s initial comments are more liable to be honest, they were unguarded and given out in the heat of moment.

    His subsequent comments, however, try to repair the damage to Rev. Sizer once the implication of the first comments comes home.

    I think it is commendable of Seismic Shock that he didn’t involve the police.

    Because I could clearly see a strong case being made, that a member of the cloth is not liable to be intimidated by a few electronic messages or criticism of his views, but that involving an ex-Royal Marine to find the young student would be intimidating and could have turned out very nasty for the young student, physically etc etc.

    I imagine any jury in Britain would be rather harsh on a highly intelligent and articulate man of the cloth, who for his own reasons (egomania, weakness of character, etc) brought an ex-Royal Marine into a situation where he was probably best left out.

    This is all a matter of record.

    Rev. Sizer’s own blog includes plenty of information, that is even excluding the abuse left on Seismic Shock’s blog. I imagine that Rev. Sizer’s goading and threatening comment to Vee in Australia would come into matters as well, his comment doesn’t come over as a man intimidated, rather as individual who is used intimidating people and getting his way.

    But as I said, I think it is commendable that Seismic Shock didn’t involve the Police, they certainly would have had plenty of material to go on, as everyone knows there are plenty of records, all around, and no doubt the original abuse from Hacohen could be traced back as well🙂

    modernityblog

    02/02/2010 at 15:56

  33. I’m sure it could all be traced back. Great. So we’ve solved the riddle of Sizer now.

    Will you answer my question now?

    P

    02/02/2010 at 16:10

  34. surely any competent brief would be able to deal with this matter fairly quickly:

    “Brief: “Members of the jury, I ask you, would you be intimidated by a few electronic messages and mild criticism if you were in the public gaze constantly?

    Or is it more likely that if you were young student the thought of an ex-Royal Marine being involved, would be extremely intimidating?

    Which is it, members of the Jury?”

    I suspect that any legal mind could certainly marshal stronger arguments than I have put, and make the case that anyone who belongs to the First Estate and is over 50 has probably had a long line of critics and developed a slightly thicker skin than most.

    I think any jury would find the picture of Rev. Sizer as a victim somewhat hard to believe, given the tone and nature his comments, and threats which he uses.

    modernityblog

    02/02/2010 at 16:21

  35. For the sake of my sanity, I will give you all that. Fine.

    Now can you stop prattling about that and start answering my question?

    P

    02/02/2010 at 16:23

  36. I guess I’ll have to take the silence as a concession on your part. It was interesting debating.

    P

    03/02/2010 at 09:04

  37. forgive me, but your powers of telepathy “I’ll have to take the silence as a concession on your part.” are somewhat faulty.

    There is no silence from my end, I was just waiting to respond to something substantive.

    P, I should say to you that I find this adversarial type of argumentation, that you seem to relish, not to my taste.

    I am sure it is probably very useful in politics, business or in the hallowed chambers of Oxbridge colleges, but amongst real people in real-world it is a tad annoying.

    I am not sure that you’ll understand that, nevertheless I wanted you to appreciate that fact.

    modernityblog

    03/02/2010 at 13:34

  38. I think it’s more usual to refer to the hallowed “cloisters” of Oxbridge Colleges. I can confirm your view that your argumentation approach would not be well-received there.

    However, in politics I’m sure you would be welcomed with open arms. In fact, a certain Mr G Brown uses a very similar approach to your own: when confronted with a question, he will give 5 answers to different questions, then repeat his initial statement until the rest of the chamber is so bored that they have lost the will to live, before proceeding to list mundane achievements and statistics whose relevance can be known only to himself.

    In the real-world you so cherish, on the other hand, it’s usual to answer questions that are put to one.

    P

    04/02/2010 at 13:37

  39. My apologies P,

    Did you ask an honest question? I can’t remember? I might have missed it.

    You will recall how I had to make a simple point concerning the ex-Royal Marines role, time after time, when others would have acknowledged it in a tick, and it may have got lost in there.

    If you do have an honest question, fire away, but please try not to bait me, that would be rather boring.

    modernityblog

    04/02/2010 at 15:03

  40. Sorry to upset your sensibilities. My question was:

    You say that Stephen Sizer should re-evaluate views that are pinched by the far right. I’m not sure that’s fair. But don’t you think the corollary is that Seismic Shock should rethink his tactics if people are taking what he writes and using it as motivation to break into homes, send emails and generally physically harrass another person?

    P

    08/02/2010 at 09:51

  41. ahh P, what you actually written is libelous.

    That is apart from the fact it’s actually inaccurate.

    When you state:

    “if people are taking what he writes and using it as motivation to break into homes, send emails and generally physically harrass another person?”

    Is being either being utterly mendacious, all you have information which none of us know.

    From all that I have seen, nothing, absolutely nothing connects Seismic Shock with the physical harassment of other people, or any breaking in someone’s house.

    By this issue you clearly mean Rev. Sizer’s reply?

    A more tendentious line of reasoning you would be hard put to find

    Particularly when it was Rev. Sizer who involve the ex-Royal Marine, which is a matter of public record and you can read his abusive posts of seismic shock on his blog.

    I am astonished that someone such as yourself, apparently a compassionate Christian, a highly intelligent man using this specious line of reasoning, which wouldn’t incidentally stand up in a court of law for more than about 15 seconds that it takes to utter.

    Let us be very clear, Seismic Shock had nothing to do with any physical intimidation, break-ins or anything connected to Rev. Sizer in that way, to imply otherwise is to unnecessarily up the ante of this dispute and is a libellous statement.

    modernityblog

    08/02/2010 at 13:00

  42. P where in any of Seismic’s post is there a mention or encouragement to commit crime? Unlike Sizer whose church has a men’s breakfast speaker on “When is it ok for Christians to break the law”.

    Aslan

    08/02/2010 at 13:12

  43. Here is the advert to the meeting http://www.cc-vw.org/

    Aslan

    08/02/2010 at 13:14

  44. I think you may not understand libel laws.

    In any case, I believe either I have not explained myself clearly or have been misunderstood. I am in no way saying that Seismic Shock has deliberately encouraged criminal behaviour.

    Let me re-state. You said: ‘Rev. Sizer’s words were republished by some Far Right holocaust denier in France or Belgium. I think it is fairly certain that they stole the contents, it is a common tactic on the Far Right. But you could legitimately ask, why did they find it so agreeable? And if someone there were to publish **my** works or my ideas on the Far Right, then I would rethink them.’

    Now I’m not convinced that’s great reasoning. However, all I was doing was to point out the corrollary, that Seismic Shock should possibly reconsider his own actions if they were being seized upon by criminals as justification for their crimes.

    In neither case am I saying that Stephen Sizer or Seismic Shock should be held responsible for the actions which they have, possibly, inspired. Just showing you the flaw in your own logic.

    P

    08/02/2010 at 13:38

  45. You’ve lost me, are you denying that the Far Right pick up material from others or that people should re-think their words, if the Far Right like them?

    which is it?

    modernityblog

    08/02/2010 at 13:51

  46. I actually said neither. I was making an argument by analogy. If Stephen Sizer must re-think some of his behaviour if some nuts parrot them and take nasty action based on them, then Seismic Shock must also re-think some of his behaviour if some nuts parrot them and take nasty action based on them.

    That is the corollary of the argument you were making. I happen to disagree with your argument, and I’m, trying to show you that you might not agree with it given the logical conclusion.

    P

    08/02/2010 at 15:36

  47. Again, you argue disingenuously because one is proven and the other is clearly not.

    1) “Stephen Sizer must re-think some of his behaviour if some nuts parrot them and take nasty action based on them,”

    Your statement is almost true, but they did not parrot than they copied them.

    The second part is not true because as far as we know they didn’t take any nasty action based on, and if they did I would blame the Far Right cranks, and not Rev. Sizer.

    Under British law, the perpetrators of a crime are the guilty ones, anything else is hearsay, conjecture, idle speculation and tendentious reasoning

    2) You made a very clear statement which implies that the attacks on Rev. Sizer’s home, etc were directly related to Seismic Shock, that is not proven

    You have no evidence. You are merely trying to muddy the water.

    I seriously doubt if any jury would spend more than five minutes looking over that spurious reasoning.

    As far as I know (and unless you produce evidence you are being mendacious) there is no connection between the mild criticism on the blog that probably wasn’t read by many people, and any attempted burglary on Rev. Sizer’s home.

    The attempt, by you, to join the two up is a pretty pathetic defence.

    modernityblog

    08/02/2010 at 16:15

  48. With respect I’m not sure you’ve engaged with my argument, which at this stage is not about establishing facts, but about establishing logic.

    And apologies for muddying the water and suggesting that in this world not everything is black and white.

    I quite agree that there is a vast difference between causality and moral responsibility. I’m glad that you think so too, so no doubt you will in future be slightly kinder to Stephen Sizer rather than the usual tirades.

    P

    09/02/2010 at 11:31

  49. With respect, I think I am probably overindulging you and your dubious deflections.

    I find your desire to find culpability in Seismic Shock, no matter what, and to exonerate Rev. Sizer from any of his questionable actions, rather perplexing.

    modernityblog

    09/02/2010 at 12:58

  50. I find your view perplexing too, but that’s the nature of debate, I suppose.

    I think you can’t have it one way and not the other. You take the extreme opposite view to the one you describe me as having. In fact, I don’t hold the view that you say I do, I was simply trying to emphasise that there might be some nuance involved. I have, in fact, conceded ground to you in the spirit of debate. You have been intransigent to the point of extreme frustration (at least on my part).

    But if you must see Stephen Sizer as a wicked demon and Seismic Shock as a heavenly angel, then I suppose that’s just the way it has to be. I prefer to see a bit of good and a bit of bad in both of them and, indeed, all of us.

    P

    09/02/2010 at 13:14

  51. P,

    Frankly, I don’t understand you.

    You’re probably in the top 5% of people in the world for educational achievement, etc and yet you can’t understand these simple issues.

    If you would adopt a less adversarial approach (which is great when in the Oxbridge environment, but less use in the real-world) then our exchanges might be more productive for you, and you would appear less insensitive.

    Did they ever teach you not to use straw-man arguments? You must try it someday🙂

    modernityblog

    09/02/2010 at 13:50

  52. I really don’t think I’ve taken an ‘adeversarial approach’. With the exception of the odd barbed remark I haven’t tried to be provocatory or difficult either.

    All I tried to do from the outset was to establish what I said: that there is right and wrong on both sides. All I’ve been trying to do since then is use arguments to get you to see that. Honestly.

    P

    09/02/2010 at 15:42

  53. Of course, you see no fault in your own conduct.

    How could it be any other way?

    You are just lacking in self-awareness and insensitive, that’s it.

    It is a byproduct of an elitist education, it would be surprising if it was any other way.

    modernityblog

    09/02/2010 at 21:14

  54. I take it you mean my council estate comprehensive elitist education?

    So are you saying I argued insensitively or faultily? I guess both. I agree that I’m susceptible to both. Are you?

    P

    10/02/2010 at 09:18

  55. I can certainly be insensitive, but then, unlike you, I have not been the one advancing such trite and fallacious arguments, and then pretending to be innocent when I point out the faults in those arguments, which you yourself could have seen.

    You might want to review your arguments above and then have a think or pray, whatever suits you.

    modernityblog

    10/02/2010 at 12:51

  56. Ha ha ha.

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve been wrong? Do tell.

    Can I suggest that personal attacks are generally not a good way of making an argument. This includes chip-on-shoulder attacks on people’s backgrounds. As well as odd assumptions about people’s religious lives.

    P

    10/02/2010 at 13:36

  57. I’ll just give you three examples that you might reflect upon:

    Frankly, even trying to advance the argument, as you did, that the break-ins at Rev. Sizer’s were somehow connected to Seismic Shock’s blog was a bit of an all-time low, disreputable, illogical and disingenuous.

    Secondly, not getting the point about the ex-Royal Marine and how any jury would have viewed his involvement spoke volumes for your partisan nature.

    Thirdly, not getting the point that many of the posters who defend Israel on CiF are Jews was remarkable because it denied the bleeding obvious.

    etc etc

    Now anyone, as you say you have, who has managed to go from a Council estate to an elite educational institute, pass through it with flying colours and gained a quality job should be able to see how false many of those arguments are by using a degree of objectivity.

    If you can’t, then the problem is not with your intellect but with your sensitivity, adversarial approach to arguments and lack of self-awareness.

    Let’s leave it at that, eh?

    modernityblog

    10/02/2010 at 13:57

  58. Again, making suppositions about me. You don’t know what I do for a job nor whether or not I’m a Muslim / Christian / Scientologist, just as I know nothing about you. (Incidentally, given the amount of time I have devoted to this exchange, isn’t it more likely I’m unemployed!) I’m not sure why it’s relevant. The key is the quality of my arguments, which I recognise you don’t think highly of, but there you are.

    Still, I’m happy to leave it there if you want. For the record, and this may because neither of us very good at (1) explaining ourselves, or (2) listening, I have to say that just as you find my arguments unconvincing, I also find yours to be peppered with illogicality and lacking in abstract thinking. Perhaps we’re arguing past each other rather than with each other.

    So, again, I’m sorry if my robustness and desire not to let you get away with sloppy arguments has upset your sensibility. I didn’t get the impression from your blog that you were a sensitive soul.

    P

    10/02/2010 at 14:24

  59. Again you’re taking the piss, you have stated elsewhere that you’re a Cambridge graduate.

    You then stated that you were from a council estate.

    Can’t you put the two together?

    Honestly, your arguments are not robust, they are distractions, deflections and really not worth dwelling on.

    I have followed politics over 40 years, and seen similar techniques rolled out all the time, they’re not very interesting but are a good indicator of the sincerity of the interlocutor.

    People who tend to advance them are normally arguing in bad faith, which is what you mostly done.

    I suspect a part of it is not bad faith, but your own ignorance of the topic, insensitivity and desire to support some counter arguments, which is fair enough I suppose, but you will have gone out of our exchange none the wiser, which is the real pity.

    modernityblog

    10/02/2010 at 14:39

  60. I’m not trying to deflect anything. I didn’t bring up my background at any stage. It was you. I went to Oxford and a council estate comprehensive (though I myself am not from a council estate – not that I would be ashamed if I were), but that doesn’t tell you anything about whether I pray, passed my degree with flying colours or have a quality job. Those were conjecture which I wistfully had to counter. I could have happily not entered into a discussion about my background.

    Let me be straight with you:
    – I think you’re wrong to think that the incident with the police makes it an issue of free speech
    – I think you’re right that the involvement of the Royal Marine is troubling, and I would want to get to the bottom of that, but I also wouldn’t jump to conclusions (as you said, innocent until proven guilty)
    – I think that you’re wrong to criticise Stephen Sizer for the fact that neo-Nazi groups pinch his work – i don’t see how he can be balmed for it (the point of my comaprison with Seismic Shock was to show you why the logic of that position was wrong

    So, there you have it. You changed my view a bit on the second of those, but not on the others. I don’t to have any effect on you. I won’t take it personally.

    P

    10/02/2010 at 14:51

  61. […] do hope one day that Reverend Sizer can bring himself to admit how neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and the creme de la creme of Jew haters […]


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