The real Oliver D. Smith stands up

If you are reading this on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL, the paper may have been updated, corrected, or even retracted.

This is new. Oliver D. Smith is now speaking in his own voice, on a blog he created specifically to attack Emil O.W. Kirkegaard.

(and then he calls others “cranks.”)

The blog appears to have been created on blogspot.uk. Then it was moved to blogspot.nl. Both were archived, nl here, and Smith has claimed that he took the site down. “blogspot never removed the emilkirkegaard blog, I simply did for the reason I can simply link to it on RationalWiki as an archive. I have no intention of writing about this stuff off RW since this “drama” means little to me. A second blog post is shown in the nl archive, but was not saved. This doesn’t look like a voluntary takedown, but maybe.

(Of course, he did write “off RW,” including the blog — a device to get the content on archive.is — and in email to me, as a minimum. He is continuing to write on RW despite claiming that he wasn’t doing that. His latest clearly identified account is EvilGremlin (a typical AP name, obviously designed for trolling). There are many other accounts recently active that might be his brother, maybe. Impersonating me.

What Oliver D. Smith wrote:


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard: neo-Nazi child rape apologist

Introduction

[Note: I cover in this long blog post my encounter and dispute with two weird neo-Nazis,
Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and John Fuerst from June 2015 to January 2018. Nothing I post is defamatory, but the truth, and is well-sourced by mainstream newspapers, for example The Guardian describes Emil Kirkegaard as a “a weird far-right paedophilia apologist”, see here.]

So he starts out lying. The headline has that Kirkegaard is a “neo-Nazi,” and a “child rape apologist,” which are not truth, apparently, but defamatory interepretations of fact. It’s easiest to address the “child rape” issue. Kirkegaard ruminated on a blog, many years ago, about what I will simply call a dumb, naive, idea, indefensible, but it was not an “apology” for “child rape.” That is an example of how AP socks defame people. They find some fact that can be used to defame, by drawing conclusions from it. The conclusions are defamatory. In some cases, facts, dredged up from lengthy internet history, can be defamatory. by how they are presented.

The fact is that Kirkegaard has been “described” this way.  By whom? The fact matters. Well, Smith ascribes this to The Guardian, a careful and reputable source? However, it’s obvious from the articles that Smith has cited, the Guardian apparently allowed authors to use the RationalWiki article, which Smith wrote, as a source. The Guardian article cited here is an appalling rant about one Toby Young that mentions “Emil” in passing, in line with the whole piece. This is not a factual account, but a very personal tirade, where the author is going to toss every piece of mud he can think of or imagine. I have never seen anything like it in any reputable newspaper, before.

Subpage: Well sourced in Oliver’s world

Emil Kirkegaard. Source: Le Temps (see here).


Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
 is a far-right/neo-Nazi child rape apologist who made news headlines in January 2018 about his paedophilia apologism and links to white supremacists and eugenicists:

What this demonstrates is the effect that a RationalWiki article can have. I have looked at a few of those sources, above. Oliver Smith has long written articles like this. They toss as much mud as possible, and on RationalWiki, mud is encouraged. He may spend weeks researching his target (and then claims that anyone who exposes what he does is “stalking” him, i.e., more mud. He has a rule: if he does it, it is research, to expose Really Bad People, and if someone else does it, especially someone who exposes him or those who enable and empower him, it is “stalking.” Literal stalking can be a crime. “Pedophilia” is a paraphilia, a disorder. It is not a crime. Thinking about it or about how to ameliorate harm from an active pedophile are not crimes. Acting on it is a crime. The definition of pedophilia varies from context to context. Someone who attempts to create clarity on this runs the risk of being called a “pedophile apologist.” Hence, in another article, Smith calls another person a “pedophile” because he suggested that the idea mating, biologically, would be between a 16-year old girl and a 26-year-old man. Many people confuse statutory rape and pedophilia. They are not the same. Cultures vary on when women marry. However, all modern cultures, of which I’m aware, do not allow consummated marriage with a prepubescent. Tribal cultures often defined the age of consent as beginning with sexual maturity.

The other writer was talking about “impregnating.” Getting pregnant. This would be a sexually mature 16-year-old, and most are by that age. (Puberty can hit as young as eight, it is not uncommon. Unusually, it can happen even younger. That’s biology. Societies decide on more specific rules. 16 years old is not uncommonly the age of consent. It is where I live, and it is so as well in England and in most European countries — or even younger. However, Smith searches diligently for mud. His own sexuality? He told me in  email. I had written to him:

I don’t know which Smith has a child, if that claim was true. Your path (you or your brother or both), however, is inconsistent with being a responsible parent. And I do know about parenthood.

(I have five biological children, six grandchildren, and two more adopted children, both now teenagers.) He replied:

Well certainly not me, I’m an antinatalist and have had those views even when I was young- I don’t have nor want children. The fact you said you have 7 children IMO is disgusting.

 Antinatalist, take it away, Wikipedia:

Antinatalists argue that people should refrain from procreation because it is immoral.

What a dark view of life!

Smith goes into detail on the UCL conference, allegedly “secret.” I’m not covering that except to notice that Smith tosses in “pseudoscientific” liberally, fitting with the RationalWiki habits of him and his brother, where “pseudoscientifc” means “stuff we don’t understand or agree with.” As with “pedophile” the actual definition is ignored. I don’t know whether Kirkegaard’s work is scientific or other. If a theory claims to be “scientific,” but is not testable, that is, by definition, “pseudoscientific.” RationalWikians, however, use the term to mean “claims that are not verified to our satisfaction,” or that are rejected by the mainstream. That is not at all the meaning of the term. The faction that dominates on RationalWiki long attempted to apply the “pseudoscience” tag on Wikipedia to various fringe topics and failed.

For this blog, cold fusion is a testable idea, i.e., that sometimes nuclear reactions take place with low excitation energies. In the journals, this is now widely accepted — but the idea that the original claims “could not be confirmed” is still widely stated as well. Information cascade, social inertia. I have proposed research to increase precision in an often-confirmed basic test of the idea. The RationalWiki article on me claims this is “pseudoscientific,” when it is obviously the opposite.

As we can see here, RationalWiki plays on knee-jerk, emotional reactions to words like “neo-Nazi” and “pedophile.” If the author can get the reader sufficiently upset and horrified, they will not read the sources critically.

But a little on the conference:

UCL conferences 

Kirkegaard attended ‘secret’ eugenics conferences at the UCL for 3 years (2014-2017) where he delivered pseudo-scientific lectures; he designed the UCL conference website in 2015 (see here and screenshot). As mentioned in The Independent article, the conferences were not approved or endorsed by the UCL and were a potential breach of room bookings since “the university was not informed in advance about the speakers and content of the conference series”.

“Secret” sounds bad, but this obviously wasn’t “secret.” Was this a breach of policy? The quotation calls it a “potential breach.” Was it or wasn’t it? And, in any case, it surely was not secret!

 

Pseudo-intellectualism

It should be noted that Kirkegaard’s only qualification is a BA in Linguistics, yet he spends most his time blogging about subjects he has poor knowledge of such as genetics and psychology and always ends up supporting fringe and/or pseudoscientific positions within these subjects such as racialism and hereditarianism, like Fuerst. Kirkegaard therefore fits the definition of a crank well, i.e. as someone who holds unorthodox views on a subject and is very vocal about these opinions, despite not being qualified in them; is a layperson, or an amateur.

If he is paid, he is not an amateur. This is common on RationalWiki. If someone is self-educated or educated by experience and extensive discussion with experts, they are, on RW, “pseudo-intellectual.” Being judged, generally, by the radically ignorant who know, mostly, how to write insults and defamation.

RationalWiki authors wax voluminously about topics they don’t understand, much less have credentials in.

Is Kirkegaard qualified to write about his topics? Some, perhaps, some not, perhaps. He is, among other things, a blogger, and the form is that bloggers say what they choose to say. Many bloggers are “unqualified.”

What are Smith’s qualifications to write about Kirkegaard and what he supposedly believes? Is he trained as a journalist? No, he is a long-term internet blowhard and crank. He was that obviously when he edited Wikipedia, where he was banned six years ago. He continues to be a crank and has been widely exposed as that. 

To date, with perhaps a single exception, Kirkegaard has never had a paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal . . .

Having a paper published in an independent peer-reviewed journal is evidence of qualification. Smith claims “never,” but has introduced a contradiction. Notice that the exception is stated as “perhaps.”  Is this to maintain plausible deniability, while weakening it? Well, has he been published under peer review in an academic journal, excepting the journals he may control? He has many published papers (see Publications), but most are either conference papers or published in his own journals, with two exceptions: First is The Winnower, which is an open access journal. Some who are clearly scientists publish in such. I looked briefly at one paper. The content made me consider Kirkegaard an advanced student, not an experienced academic. If he continues writing like this and pays close attention to critique, he will learn and will become a true expert.

The Winnower publishes material “for review,” i.e., prior to review, which is then open. That is, the decision to publish is not necessarily a validation of the work. However, Smith turns this into “fake,” and “pseudo-intellectual.” The paper appears “racialist” to me, that is, it treats “race” as if it were an objective reality. But “racialist” is not a synonym for “racist, with fangs.” It is actually a common opinion. It is not going to disappear by being attacked as “racist.” To move forward requires directly addressing it. Or people will assume that the criticism is simple “political correctness.”

To truly evaluate the quality of Kirkegaard’s work would require much more time and study than I can devote today. The Smith “critique” is reasoning from conclusions, which is not scientific. It is simple-minded, primitive thinking, and depends on ad-hominem arguments and fixed ideas about reality, making it pseudoskeptical and pseudoscientific. For example, Kirkegaard’s work is popular with groups considered “racist.” Is it therefore wrong? This is not how academia treats subjects and research, generally.

Kirkegaard has also published in Mankind Quarterly. According to Wikipedia, this is a “peer-reviewed academic journal.” The article also reports on criticism of the journal. In my view, Kirkegaard’s work (and all work in this field) will be properly assessed by the scientific quality of the research, not whether it allegedly supports this or that view. If the author of a report has strong views, that should be considered as introducing possible confirmation bias, but that alone is not enough to discredit work. It is actually an ad-hominem argument. The field of “racial differences” is fraught with hazards and opportunity for knee-jerk reactions (in all directions!). 

Kirkegaard has described himself as a “polymath”, “scientist”, “philosopher” (among many other things) that are all inaccurate, or false (see here), as well as arrogantly considers himself to have “gifted” intelligence without providing evidence of his IQ (see here).

From reading Kirkegaard, I’d assume substantially higher than average intelligence. The terms Smith lists are vague, not accurate, not readily determined as false. Smith is not an authority on any of these. The first source is the RationalWiki article, which is not reliable for anything — and he wrote that article, so he is citing himself, without, in context, disclosing authorship. The second source is Le Temps, in an expose of alleged “fake science,” and actually negates Smith’s point. From Le Temps:

Kirkegaard est extrêmement intelligent et ses mathématiques sont très poussées, explique Emily Gorcensky, mathématicienne et data scientist, qui l’an dernier avait alerté la communauté scientifique sur le danger des méthodes du Danois.

Perhaps Smith has trouble reading French:

Kirkegaard is extremely intelligent and his mathematics are very advanced, explains Emily Gorcensky, mathematician and data scientist, who last year alerted the scientific community about the danger of the Dane’s methods. 

Real scientists of course want nothing to do with him and laugh at his crackpot views.

That would not be the reaction of “real scientists,” but is the reaction of the typical RationalWiki pseudoskeptic. Smith’s research — stalking, actually — demonstrates confirmation bias, which they ridicule in others, but commonly fall into themselves.

(This is a common trait for pseudoskepticals and believers of all kinds, if they are not very careful: evidence is collected and used if it confirms their bias, and that a more careful study of evidence could generate contrary conclusions is missed. They stop looking when they find what they want. If Kirkegaard’s ideas are dangerous, and they may be in some way or other, then a scientific approach is to examine them carefully, not laugh at them. That is the contempt of the pseudoskeptic. Genuine skepticism creates learning and knowledge, phony skepticism fixes the phony into existing belief, often beliefs popular in general or within the phony’s social group.)

This seems to have upset Kirkegaard who published his own survey on Twitter in 2017 (see here) in an attempt to prove scientists take him serious ….

Smith’s English is often poor…. He repeats this error, so it is probably how he talks. The mind-reading is also common for Smith.

he also wrote a blog post: “On crackpottery, why I don’t think I’m a pseudo-scientist” (see here) in response to a fairly detailed essay published on Reddit (not by me) criticising him as a pseudo-scientist. In his online survey Kirkegaard relies on a few academics, merely who “follow” him on Twitter, yet there’s no evidence scholars who click “follow” on his profile take him serious.

Noticed how Smith explains away what Kirkegaard actually does. “Following” is not proof, but is definitely “evidence,” and this confusion between evidence and proof is typical in what I’ve seen from Smith. 

As well, citing the Reddit essay, Smith claims it wasn’t him. How about his brother? Probably not, actually, the critique is far more intelligent than anything I have seen from the Smiths. In any case, the author name is “[deleted]” which often indicates that Reddit decided the author was disruptive. Beyond that, this is a long essay (when Smith likes a long essay, he calls it “detailed,” when he doesn’t like it, or is attacking the author, he calls it a “rant” or “obsessive.”) As to the essay, tl;dr. But I looked at it. He talks about Kirkegaard in a far more nuanced way than Smith implies. He does not call Kirkegaard a “pseudoscientist,” I searched for the word, which does comes up in discussion. He does criticize Kirkegaard. He uses hyperbole in at least one place, at least, saying that “no one reads his work.” And that is what Kirkegaard responded to, it appears. But I have not read the critique in detail. I may. It’s interesting. To Smith, it’s merely a piece of Evidence that “Kirkegaard is Fake and Bad and a Racist and Pedophile,” all mutually confirming.

I’m not going on at this point. I may update this with more, since Smith went on, admitting creating the RationalWiki articles on Kirkegaard and Fuerst, containing the exact language used by the “recent headlines” in media. So Smith is the source he cites, really, but hides this underneath the indirection.

So much for someone who, himself, pretends to be an academic. He has a minimal qualification, a basic degree in classicism, and has published one paper on Atlantis. Thesis: Plato was a liar. He actually uses the word. Nice. Primitive thinking.

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