Check out my last post for the details on John Abraham’s takedown of one of Lord Monckton’s public presentations, and Monckton’s tendency to make gratuitous threats against uncooperative academics who expose his methods. Well, now John Abraham has written a short response to Monckton’s reply. After reading the reply, scroll down to Comment #10, where Lord Monckton says:
Mr. Abraham, and the president of his university, will shortly be receiving a long letter from me asking him a number of questions about his presentation, which appears to have fallen well below the standards of academic probity and honesty that would normally be thought acceptable in civilized society.
Mr. Abraham here admits that he spent several months working on his presentation attacking me personally in the most venomous terms, and also complains that several of the slides that I showed to a lay audience did not have the full academic references on them.
Why, then, did he not bother at any stage during his months of preparation to contact me simply to ask for the references? This is the first of many indications of bad faith on Mr. Abraham’s part that I shall be drawing to the attention of the authorities at the Bible College where he lectures. The usual practice in academe is that anyone wishing to rebut another’s work notifies that other of his intention and of the rebuttal, before it is published, to give that other the opportunity to prevent needless errors. That usual practice was not followed in the present instance.
A video by me refuting all of Mr. Abraham’s numerous false claims and outright mendacities will be available shortly. – Monckton of Brenchley
He just can’t stop with the threats!
I also would like to draw attention to the fact that Monckton’s responses almost exclusively deal with the issue of whether he properly cited his sources in his presentation. Well, Monckton always challenges his listeners to check up on his sources, so I see no problem with Abraham criticizing him for not making enough of an effort at it. But as far as I know there aren’t any universal standards regarding citations in public lectures, so it’s easy to pick that one point and argue ad nauseum about whether his citations were “good enough,” or whether Abraham should have contacted Lord Monckton and asked for the citations. I think both Prof. Abraham and Lord Monckton make some reasonable points about the issue. However, I find it odd that Monckton would focus so much on this minor point. Why not just politely admit that he could have cleaned up his citations in a few cases, but that he would have gladly provided them for anyone who asked?
It seems obvious that Monckton focused on this minor quibble to avoid dealing with the real meat of Abraham’s presentation. Abraham dug up example after example where Lord Monckton cited scientific papers to support his points, but in fact Abraham found that the papers did not support those points, or even contradicted them. He didn’t stop at looking up the papers, though. He went so far as to e-mail the authors of the papers in question, and ask them whether his or Monckton’s interpretation of the work was correct. A large number of them e-mailed back confirming that Monckton had misinterpreted their work. So this isn’t just a case of Monckton vs. Abraham. It’s Monckton vs. the scientists he cited in support of his claims!
The e-mails were a brilliant debating move on Prof. Abraham’s part. Monckton complains that some people who have jumped on Abraham’s bandwagon haven’t bothered to look up those papers before pronouncing His Lordship thoroughly trounced. However, if the authors of all those papers don’t even agree with Monckton’s interpretations, I think it’s perfectly responsible for reporters and others to conclude that he has some explaining to do. Not everyone has the time, resources, and expertise needed to track down, read, and understand all that literature, but we can probably assume that the authors understand it.