When Lord Monckton was coming to Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune quoted me saying that His Lordship “has a reputation for making up stuff.” Later, when I demonstrated that Lord Monckton is a liar during the course of an e-mail conversation involving a number of local scientists and Monckton himself, he resorted to threatening my job. Here’s what he said:
In due course, [Bickmore’s] unjustifiable and gratuitous remarks about my alleged habitual mendacity are to be drawn to the attention of the President of his University, with a request that his circulation of them to a newspaper, where they were reported without any opportunity for me to reply, be investigated as a disciplinary matter. I have also had a word with some of the University’s leading supporters, who are deeply concerned that Dr. Bickmore’s machinations successfully prevented me from making the address to students at the University that had originally been proposed. This, too, I understand, is to be referred to the University as a disciplinary matter, since the University prides itself on allowing academic freedom.
I got a good laugh about that, but after he repeated that threat a couple times I started to get mad. It was an obvious attempt to bully me into shutting up, and I suspected I wasn’t the first one to be subjected to his gratuitous threats. I wasn’t in the mood to put up with that kind of thing, so I sent our correspondence to the Salt Lake Tribune. The reporter who wrote about the incident, Judy Fahys, went so far as to call the BYU administration to find out whether my conduct was being investigated. The university spokesman said, “Barry Bickmore is not and has not been under academic investigation,” Smart said. “There is no basis for any accusation that he is.”
It turns out my intuition that Monckton makes a habit of threatening the livelihoods of uncooperative academics was correct. After the Tribune story was published, I was informed that Lord Monckton had evidently made nearly identical threats to Naomi Oreskes, a prominent science historian at UC San Diego. John Mashey gives the details here.
As I mentioned in my last post, Prof. John Abraham has recently done a devastatingly thorough critique of one of Monckton’s addresses. This has gone viral on the Internet, and two British newspapers, the Guardian and the Telegraph, have published commentaries. This apparently has His Lordship in a tizzy. He has published a response to Prof. Abraham, in which he managed to sort of water down some of Abraham’s more minor points after making several insulting remarks. (He said Prof. Abraham “looks like an overcooked prawn,” for heaven’s sake. Click here to see a picture of Prof. Abraham so you can judge for yourself what kind of seafood he most resembles. ) [UPDATE: Apparently under pressure from Monckton, the Telegraph took down Tom Chivers’s blog post about Abraham’s critique of Monckton. See commentary on this by George Monbiot at the Guardian.] At the end of His Lordship’s diatribe, he goes on threaten Prof. Abraham in language nearly identical to his threat against me.
I have already initiated the process of having Abraham hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible college can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of willful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession.
(Incidentally, Prof. Abraham does not work at a “Bible College”. He works at the University of St. Thomas, which is a fair-sized Catholic university that includes graduate programs.)
Personally, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for the verdict from the UST administration. Something tells me Prof. Abraham doesn’t have much to worry about in that department.