Religious Antievolutionists and Civility: Paul Giem

Professor Paul Giem, M.D., of Loma Linda University has a batch of video lectures online. One of them has him discussing the Synthese special issue on “Evolution and its rivals”, with special attention given to Prof. Barbara Forrest’s paper and Prof. Francis Beckwith’s response. Giem really, really doesn’t like Forrest’s article. At 28:49 into the video, Giem delivers a truly stunning bit of incivility:

This lady [referring to Prof. Forrest] needs some Haldol or something. She’s paranoid.

One of the possible defenses against a defamation of character claim concerns the credibility of the defamer. You can’t win a defamation case if the defaming party is not considered credible when stating the defamatory speech. The fact that Giem is an M.D. would work against him in any case concerning the figurative prescription of psychoactive pharmaceuticals. Giem would be held to a higher, not lower, standard in any such instance.

Civility for religious antievolutionists is a one-way street: they can dish out incivility, but they aren’t going to put up with taking any.

I’ve added this instance to the Invidious Comparisons thread, noting that it isn’t an invidious comparison per se.

Update: It’s been noted that I left out a bit of context. Loma Linda U. is a Seventh-Day Adventist institution, and the SDA is committed to a literal Fall of Adam. Giem expresses his young-earth creationist views online here.

Update 2: Following Tom English’s comment, I’ve added the next words from the video where Giem refers to Forrest as paranoid.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

3 thoughts on “Religious Antievolutionists and Civility: Paul Giem

  • 2011/04/25 at 3:48 pm
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    I have to disagree with you here, Wesley. Giem was indicating, with metonymy and hyperbole, that Forrest was paranoid (i.e., in believing that many people are in cahoots with the Christian Reconstructionists). No reasonable person would infer that he had diagnosed her, on the basis of a journal article she wrote, as paranoid schizophrenic.

    Although Giem weasels in debate, he sometimes does quite a nice job of laying bare the essence of creationism. In my opinion, his greatest profanity is the title of his book, Scientific Theology.

  • 2011/04/25 at 6:46 pm
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    That’s why I used the word “figurative” in the following discussion.

    Whether Giem was being figurative or literal, though, the statement itself was a remarkably uncivil thing to say.

  • 2011/04/26 at 7:01 am
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    Ironically enough, Giem’s next words after the quote are, “She’s paranoid.”

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