Saturday, May 24, 2014

#1054: Eric S. Raymond

Climate change denialist John Ray of the blog Greeniewatch deserves special mention for his claim, apparently made with a straight face, that: “The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?” Yes, that’s how you make a career in science. Stick to uniformity; don’t disagree. The reward is that you can later cruise past the poor struggling denialists at your local denialist think tank in your new Mercedes. But Ray is Australian, and hence disqualified.

Eric S. Raymond is an advocate of open source software, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, author of The Art Of Unix Programming, and maintainer of Jargon File. His work and expertise in computer technology is undeniable, and he has made some impressive contributions.

Unfortunately, Raymond started to lose his grip on reality in the wake of 9/11, when he started to see Islamist and Communist conspiracies everywhere, responding by posting manifestos such as “The Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto,” in which he claimed that all good Americans had a duty to support George W. Bush and his transcendent crusade to crush “Islamofascism” (an idiotarian is anyone critical of the war on terror for any reason).

It went downwards from there, and Raymond has later produced some bizarre writings on race (Bell Curve style) and homosexuality, and plumped for HIV denialism. He has also suggested that Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 Presidential race was due to voter fraud and the mainstream media’s ability to mask Obama’s weaknesses (though he has also claimed that the mainstream media has lost its power to sway elections – and that he has the privilege to commit any fallacy he wants without being called out on it on his own blog). Furthermore all liberals apparently lend support to the killing of “anyone who ever bought an SUV or voted Republican.” Indeed, Raymond has turned into a full-scale Internet troll and conspiracy theorist, the kind who claims that healthcare is not actually cheaper in countries with universal health care because “the numbers are being massively cooked” by “socialists”. His evidence is that these countries are socialist, and socialists just tend to do such stuff because they don’t agree with him and he is right. See? How do you argue with that without automatically proving that you are wrong? And, of course, as one would predict from paranoid crazies, he has gone full loon over climate change with the typical, accompanying complete immunity to evidence.

Raymond’s involvement in Open Source advocacy has, predictably, become marginalized as a result of his decline into denialist conspiracy theories.

Diagnosis: A sad case, really. His currents rants probably have limited impact. But they are still sad.


  1. And some more I forgot to mention

    Lila Rose
    Francis Rice
    Dennis Rodman

  2. That's OK. As a programmer and consumer of open source code, I'm not 100% behind it, either.