Dr. Michael Shermer: Phony “Skeptic,” Book-Banning Fraud
My 30-year history with a really, really bad guy
Okay, this here’s a saga.
Regular readers know that Takimag has a strict word limit. 1,840 words per column, no more! As an author prone to self-indulgence, I like that; it keeps me disciplined.
But having no limit on Substack, every now and then I’m gonna do something longer.
Don’t bitch about it, okay? I restrain myself every week on Taki’s. Let me occasionally run free like an unleashed dog on a beach or a naked teen freed from Ezra Miller’s torture dungeon.
Now, this saga is based on a 2014 piece from my old, now-defunct website. And I want to get it back online, because it’s about a villain who walks among us still.
But there are updates; it’s not just a 2014 story. It’s all-too-current.
Dr. Michael Shermer is America’s leading septic (sorry – forgot the “k”). Bestselling author and “go-to” guy for the mainstream media and enlightened podcasters regarding science and the debunking of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and UFOs. He also claims to be the master debunker of Holocaust revisionism, and he has two books under his belt (Denying History and Why People Believe Weird Things) that attack me at great length.
People who’ve read my Amazon-banned autobiography Republican Party Animal know this story.
Shermer and I were friends in the early 1990s. Back then, he was an upstart “skeptic.” Adjunct assistant professor of history of science at a local college, he saw himself as the “young Turk” who’d challenge and overtake the calcified oldies of the Skeptical Inquirer.
Shermer had his own mag, The Skeptic, and he was ambitious, to say the least.
In late ‘93, he asked me if I could help get him on TV (I was doing lots of talk shows at the time). I convinced the producers of The Phil Donahue Show to allow him to appear with me as my “debater.” The Donahue people wouldn’t put me on-air unless there was a Ph.D. present to counter my points, and Shermer and I agreed in advance to have a respectful exchange on the show (I even tutored him in what I was going to say, so that he could research counter-arguments). But once we were live he proceeded to lie about me to score points with the audience, prompting my mid-show walk-off.
At Kennedy Airport heading back to L.A. he apologized for blindsiding me, claiming, having never done TV before, that he was intimidated by Donahue, who’d insisted that he “attack that Nazi Cole.” As I knew Shermer to be weak-minded (he became a Christian to please a girlfriend, then an atheist to please a professor), I let it go. I generally don’t end friendships over one beef, especially if the offending party is contrite.
But a few months later Shermer wrote about me in his Skeptic Magazine, and he presented me as a “racist” (his word). He claimed, falsely, that my historical work was worthless.
I had a feeling he’d try the contrition thing again, so after receiving the magazine in the mail I prepped for his inevitable “I’m sorry” phone call. I set up a recording device. At the time, summer 1994, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) had a bounty on my head; Shermer’s lies could get me killed. I wanted some insurance. Shermer had tarred me as a racist, and if he was about to do the “I’m sawwy” routine, I wanted proof. Because that “routine” was jeopardizing my safety (these were the days before social media; today, everybody gets death threats and it’s just part of being on Twitter. But in 1994, the JDL had already murdered several people. These were not Twitter randos; they were FBI-designated terrorists).
Now, California is a two-party consent state. I knew I was breaking the law by recording Shermer without his knowledge, but I had bigger concerns at the time.
As I said, those recordings would be an insurance policy.
And indeed, Shermer called that afternoon, all weepy and contrite. “I’m sorry I called you a racist! I know it isn’t true. I shouldn’t a’ done it. And I made up all that stuff about your work being discredited. I don’t actually have any good comebacks to the points you raise.”
I asked Shermer to run an editor’s note in the next Skeptic telling his readers what he’d just told me. He refused.
That’s all I asked. “You call me a racist, you call me discredited, and you admit that neither of those claims are true. So just say to your readers what you’re admitting here.”
So that was that; I gave him an out, he wouldn’t take it. A month later, September 1994, at a conference that Shermer attended (where I was a scheduled speaker), I revealed the existence of the recorded conversations (here’s us at that conference…notice the sweaty brow; he knows what’s coming).
That conference speech had been on YouTube for many years, but since my channel has now been deleted, HERE it is mirrored on AltCensored.
People in the audience wanted me to play those recorded convos, but the reason I announced them without playing them is that in Cali the statute of limitations on prosecution or civil suit regarding surreptitious recordings begins the minute the aggrieved party learns that the recordings were made. I announced them that month so I could start the clock ticking to a time when I could play them with no concern for being prosecuted or sued.
After I spoke of the recordings, a retired STEM academic decided to find out for himself if I was telling the truth. He called Shermer and asked if what I’d said at the conference was accurate. And he recorded the conversation.
He sent me the audio as long as I agreed to not use his real name. I’ll call him Prof. Darman, and here’s part of the transcript.
Darman asked if it was true that Shermer falsely called me a racist:
Darman: “Well, David Cole is not racist, is he?”
Shermer: “No. And I didn’t say that about David. He’s not the least bit racist…”
Darman: “But in your article you listed a bunch of . . . ”
Shermer: “Yeah, I’d already listed a bunch of racists, a bunch of them together, and I threw Cole into that bunch because I was listing everybody I had interviewed, and that was probably the biggest, uh, misleading, the most misleading thing I said in my article. I should have left Cole out of that.”
Then Darman asked Shermer what he really thought of my work:
Shermer: “Maybe Cole’s right. I think the whole gas chamber story is probably, in terms of physical evidence, the weakest link in the whole story. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the gas chamber story is completely true or not. Maybe it could be modified, for all I know . . . ”
Darman: “But I think the gas chamber is a really powerful symbol...”
Shermer: “Yes, I think it is, and probably the Jews have used that a lot, I mean, all groups do that. The blacks are using slavery to their maximum benefit these days, for victimhood.”
Darman: “I understand that you had done some interviews with Hilberg and Berenbaum?”
Shermer: “They were both remarkably ignorant of the details of Cole’s questions. This is called a, the problem of paradigm shifts, you see. Until somebody says, ‘Hey, that’s anomalous data that’s not explained by the current paradigm,’ and they push it, then nothing’s going to happen. So it could be, maybe the revisionists are right, however, just, nobody’s asked the questions.”
Keep in mind, Shermer was copping to this at the exact same time he was telling Skeptic readers that I was a “racist” and my work was meritless (and to answer your question, the reason I’m not posting the transcript of my conversation with Shermer here is that I still have an idiotic belief that I can get my book back in print, and I don’t want to queer my own deal by putting too much of its content online for free).
In 1995 I left revisionism because A) I got beaten up severely Thanksgiving 1994 by JDL thugs — exactly the thing I feared would happen — and B) hardcore deniers in revisionist circles had made it impossible for me to get published.
And then in 1997 the JDL upped the bounty on my head to $25,000. As I was out of the field anyway, I “negotiated” with them (payoff and phony recantation) to remove the death warrant. I changed my name to David Stein and became a whole new guy, eventually becoming a top GOP organizer until my cover was blown via a front-page Guardian story in May 2013.
After my “outing,” Shermer reached out to me. Same old Mikey. “Sorry about those things I said about you in the ‘90s, old pal!”
Shermer – who by then had realized his dream of becoming America’s top skeptic – had this bizarre notion that since my ex girlfriend had ratted me out to The Guardian, I’d somehow be sympathetic to his current predicament: he’d been accused of rape by a female skeptic.
For some reason, he thought that just because an ex had wronged me, I’d want to “hang” with him and “blow off steam” about women.
“My friend Steve Pinker likes to say that the number one predictor of violence is maleness. Statistically that is true. But women are just as mean as men when it comes to other forms of violence, most notably verbal and socially manipulative. And the crazy shit some women are saying about me now has become a theater of the absurd. … Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” he wrote to me in August 2013.
Look, I don’t idealize men or women. But I found it odd that he was comparing my situation, in which the only complaint the woman had was that I broke up with her, with his situation, in which a woman accused him of rape.
Shermer sent me his “private explanation I put together to give to friends who inquire” about the rape charge. The gist of the “explanation” was, “I’m such a figure of godlike awe in the skeptic movement, women become dizzy and disoriented around me. When I deign to show them favor, they tend to lose touch with reality. The woman accusing me of rape was simply a girl whose mind couldn’t grasp being in my presence. She became discombobulated and dreamed up the assault when I favored her with attention.”
It was then that I realized I preferred 1990s sniveling wimp Mike to this thing he’d become (though I’m legally in the clear regarding my 1994 recordings, if I publish his “private explanation” doc, Shermer might sue me. Perhaps if you ask him nicely he’ll put it online himself!).
Anyway, I had no interest in rekindling our friendship, and I let him know that my book, slated for a spring 2014 release, would include the transcript from that 1994 phone call (and the “Darman” call). It was an autobiography; that 1994 betrayal was a significant factor in my life. But also, I felt that publishing the conversation served a greater purpose: sometimes “respected experts” straight-out lie. And it can be jarring to hear them admit it. Here was a guy, now revered as a scientific “expert,” admitting that he just makes stuff up to support his case.
Because of my unique position regarding the Holocaust – deniers despise me as an “ADL shill” and the ADL condemns me as a “denier” – I’m constantly hammering the point that you can’t trust either side. The deniers lie. The “respected experts” lie. Everyone bends the truth to some degree (though the deniers bend it always; there are some fine mainstream Holocaust authors, but Shermer’s example proves that just because a guy has a Ph.D. and a high-end publisher doesn’t mean you should take his words at face value).
So...that leads to May 2014. And my publisher, Adam Parfrey of Feral House, received a FedEx and email from Shermer’s legal team at Neufeld Marks. Their demand? My book must not be published. They wanted it kept off the market unless I removed not just the transcript of the recording, but any statements I made that were critical of Shermer!
I also received an email from Neufeld Marx, with a special ultimatum just for me: Shermer demanded that I read a pre-written statement – his words, which I was ordered to read as my own – in which I would apologize for and retract all statements and comments I’d ever made about Michael Shermer.
Let’s not gloss this over. A “scientist,” a “skeptic,” a “freethinker,” wrote a recantation for me and had his lawyers demand that I issue it publicly as my own words, and that recantation involved me apologizing for all statements and comments I ever made regarding Michael Shermer.
Now that’s some medieval bullshit. That’s “silencing your critics” in the most literal sense – having your attorneys issue a formal demand that you apologize and retract – in words written for you – everything critical you ever said about a guy.
So, here we have a literal attempt to ban a book, and a literal attempt to force a guy to speak against his own sincere convictions, indeed, to renounce his sincere convictions, by making him read a pre-written Hanoi Hilton-style recantation of his beliefs. And considering that Shermer is a professor of history of science, he must know the history of these kinds of forced recantations. Yet he still attempted one himself.
I’m sure plenty of Shermer fans will find a way to rationalize how that’s ethically okay for a “freethinker” to do.
I immediately emailed Shermer’s attorney, Jennifer Mikolevine:
Dear Ms. MikoLevine,
I cannot tell you how pleased I was to receive your email, and to read the one you sent to my publisher. The fact that Mikey Shermer would resort to using a law firm to demand that a book be censored (as per your email to my publisher, in which you demand that he “immediately refrain from publishing or distributing Republican Party Animal”) is golden. Seriously – it’s a birthday gift. I’m glad Shermer recognizes how badly his own words, in the recorded conversations that are transcribed in the book, make him look.
By trying to get the book pulled your client is essentially saying, “yep – I said some very damaging things, and I don’t want anyone to read them.” I’m sure everyone, from skeptics to Creationists, from atheists to believers, from 9/11 truthers to global warming doubters, will appreciate the fact that Mikey Shermer is demanding that a book be pulled from the marketplace merely because it contains transcripts of his own words.
That’s some great “freethought” there, Mikey.
Now, out of respect for you, coming – as I do – from a very long line of lawyers – I will address the points you made in your email to me. I will leave it to my publisher to address the points you made in your email to him. The words and ideas expressed in this email represent only my opinion and not that of Feral House Publishing.
To begin with, yes, in 1994, I did record several phone conversations with Michael Shermer without his consent. I announced that fact publicly at the September 1994 Institute for Historical Review conference in Orange County, California. Shermer admitted to being aware of the existence of the recordings in an “open letter to revisionists” he circulated in March 1995.
If Mikey had desired to take any legal action, by filing criminal charges or initiating a civil case, he’s had almost twenty years to do so. The statute of limitations for criminal or civil action regarding the illegal recording of a phone call in California has long run out. As a lawyer, I’m sure you’re aware that in such matters, in California, the statute of limitations time period begins when the aggrieved party learns of the existence of the recordings.
Time has long run out.
Beyond that, I’m certain that you, as a lawyer, know that there is an exception to the California law regarding the non-consensual recording of a phone conversation. One is allowed to record a “confidential communication” for the purpose of obtaining evidence “reasonably believed” to relate to the commission, by another party, of violence against the person doing the recording. The person accused or suspected of the violence need not be the person being recorded. The recording need only be made with the reasonable belief that it might be relevant in some way to felonious violence against the person doing the recording.
When I recorded Shermer in 1994, he had falsely and publicly accused me of being a “racist” (his term), and this false accusation had helped ramp up the Jewish Defense League’s “reward offer” for my death (several months after Shermer’s lies about me were published, I was badly beaten while walking back from a grocery store). I therefore “reasonably believed,” in good faith, that I had a legitimate interest in obtaining evidence in which Shermer admitted to me that he had lied about me being a racist, and that he had publicly misrepresented my work.
In the audio tapes I recorded, Shermer does indeed admit that his “racist” claim was false, and that he had publicly misrepresented my work.
Still, I think that’s all moot because of the statute of limitations running out so long ago. But all the same, out of respect to you, I felt it was only right for me to offer that additional explanation. You’re welcome.
Come after me if you desire. I fear Michael Shermer and his lawyers as much as I fear a hangnail. But we both know that rule number one of being a good lawyer is, “feel free to file suits you know you can’t win.” Because sometimes winning isn’t the objective; intimidation is. So come on, let’s go a few rounds. Let’s see how those intimidation tactics work on me.
Regarding your ridiculous claim that I “defamed” Shermer, how can I defame someone with their own words? If I’m playing recorded audio of Shermer speaking, and if I haven’t altered the audio in any deceptive manner, how can that be defamation? If Shermer believes that the audio defames him, he needs to hire your firm to bring a case against himself. I’d think that would be a beneficial thing for Neufeld Marks – one client, double billing. And you’re guaranteed a victory one way or the other.
Also, and here’s where you’re being a patronizing little pest, Jenn, you know perfectly well (or at least I hope to God you do) that Shermer is a public figure and therefore if I have a sincere belief that he is a fraud who betrays the supposedly “scientific” principles he claims to espouse, I can say so, and he has no course of action. I have been saying that Mikey Shermer is a fraud for twenty years. There is no question that this is a belief I hold sincerely and in good faith.
A judge wouldn’t let a defamation suit regarding my use of the word fraud in regard to Shermy get past your first billing session (which would probably still make the filing worth your firm’s time).
So, putting aside all of the areas in which you simply have no case, let me interject a small bit of what I like to call “lawyer Kryptonite:” ethics. I understand that I just made you shudder by the use of that word, and I apologize.
When it comes to “defamation,” it is I who would have had multiple reasons to bring an action against Shermy. I chose not to. I despise the notion of going to a court of law, because I hate wearing suits and getting up early. Oh, and I also prefer a society in which people can freely lie about me, to one in which speech, any speech, is penalized.
But hey, that’s just me.
Shermer knows full well that the term “racist” is the modern-day equivalent of calling someone a “witch” in the Middle Ages. He knows the consequences that can come from the false use of that term.
Here’s a small, VERY small, sampling from those dreaded audio tapes that are transcribed in my book:
Me: “You say [in the Skeptic Magazine article], ‘revisionists like Weber, Zundel, Irving, Cole, and Smith have tried to convince me they are not racists and have no political agendas, but they have been contradicted from within their own ranks.’ But then you don’t go on to explain anything, any kind of ‘contradiction,’ about me, even though you just included me in that grouping.”
Shermer: “Yeah, I was sorta lumping everyone I had covered in the article . . .”
Me: “But that’s not fair to me.”
Shermer: “Yeah, that’s true. That’s right.”
Me: “I mean, you don’t think I’m racist . . .”
Shermer: “No, I don’t.”
Me: “But, you do understand that that might give the impression I am, for people who read it who don’t know me . . .”
Shermer: “Yeah, yeah . . . it would.”
Me: “I mean, honestly, that’s not really fair to me, is it?”
Shermer: “I would agree.”
Me: “That it wasn’t fair to me.”
And right there, ol’ Shermy cops to defamation, Jenn.
When I emailed Sherm last summer, as I was researching my book, we had this fascinating exchange, on 8/17/13, published in full in my book:
It’s the guy you never get tired of attacking, David Cole. I’ve been keeping up with this whole rape accusation thing, and, of course, I have no special knowledge beyond what I’ve read. But, and here’s the reason I’m writing to you, I’m just damn, terribly curious. And curiosity is good, right, Mike? So here’s my curiosity. Has this experience, you know, the whole rape accusation thing, made you any more sympathetic, or perhaps given you a bit more empathy, regarding the things you said about me? How you branded me a “racist” (the modern equivalent of calling someone a “witch”). How you admitted you lied. And how you refused to retract your accusation even after admitting you lied.
So I’m interested in asking you if your current dilemma has perhaps birthed in you some small regret for having lied about me.
I have no knowledge of the truth or lack thereof regarding the accusations made against you. If they’re true, there is no punishment that is too harsh for you. But if they’re false, well . . . it kinda stinks having folks print lies about you, huh? Is this a “chickens coming home to roost” moment for Dr. Michael Shermer?
Thank you for the frank and forthright letter. To cut to the chase and answer your question, yes the libelous and defamatory comments being made about me has (sic) made me more sympathetic and understanding to how I have interacted with creationists, Holocaust revisionists, New Age gurus like Deepak Chopra, and others, and in fact, all of the people I have debated with in all of these fields have been, for the most part, unfailingly polite to me and far more thoughtful and reasonable than any of the people in the FTB/athiest community and how they have treated me.
I don’t think you are a racist David, and I’m sorry for the things I said about you.
So, yeah David, the chickens have come home to roost, so please accept my apology for some of the things I said about you.
You’re bettin’ on the wrong horse, Jenn. Your client is an admitted defamer. Did they teach you about the “clean hands doctrine” in law school? Sherm probably would not fare well bringing a defamation suit against me.
I’ve saved the best for last. You actually, and I assume with a straight face, printed up a statement that you and Dr. Shermer “demand” I read verbatim on Youtube.
Are you and Shermer clinically insane? Writing up a “recantation” and demanding that I read it on camera as though these are my own thoughts and opinions? Is this the Hanoi Hilton? Okay, you’re a lawyer, Jenn. You might not know history. But Sherm claims to be both a scientist and a historian. Surely, he must be aware of how bad it will look for a so-called skeptic, scientist, and “freethinker” to demand that someone with whom he disagrees be forced, under threat of legal action, to publicly read a pre-written statement of recantation in which the threatened party is told what to say, is ordered to say it verbatim, and is threatened with repercussions if he doesn’t publicly recant his sincerely held views.
As I said, you’re an attorney. I don’t expect you to know how bad it looks for a “scientist” to order someone to publicly read a pre-written statement of recantation under threat of dire consequences. But Shermer should know. He should know the connotations and historical baggage associated with forced recantations. This is not going to make him look good.
But let’s examine the statement you and Shermer demand I read:
Dr. Shermer demands that you issue a retraction of the Entries on Youtube as follows:
“I hereby retract the entries posted on May 7, 2014, entitled David Cole Presents Dr. Michael Shermer: the Unauthorized Video (Part I) and David Cole Presents Dr. Michael Shermer: the Unauthorized Video (Part II). Specifically, I hereby retract all statements, quotations, and comments therein made with respect to Dr. Shermer, and the references to and transcripts and recordings of phone calls between myself, my friend, and Dr. Shermer. I extend my apologies to Dr. Shermer and to any other party affected by the statements, quotations, comments, and recordings contained in the entries.”
You want me to “retract” my “statements and comments” regarding Dr. Shermer. In other words, you want me to read a pre-written statement in which I retract my sincerely-held beliefs. You want to force me to read a statement in which I mindlessly repeat words you put in my mouth, words that betray my true feelings about Shermer.
And amazingly, it gets worse. Because you also call on me to “retract” the “transcripts and recordings of phone calls between myself and Dr. Shermer.”
What? How can I “retract” transcripts and recordings of Shermer’s own words? Do you actually know the definition of retract? “To say that something you said or wrote is not true or correct.” How can I “retract” Shermer’s words? How is that even possible? It makes no sense. “Retracting” another man’s words? It’s impossible.
Believing in Bigfoot riding the Loch Ness Monster while Martians controlled by the preserved head of Elvis in a Mayan space capsule drop unicorn kill-bots on planet earth makes more sense than believing that any man can “retract” another man’s words.
This is shameful. You should be ashamed. Shermer should be ashamed. And soon you will both be publicly shamed.
By your own words.
Which you will probably then demand I “retract.”
And here was her reply; she knew it was over.
Dear Mr. Cole,
Our letters to you and Feral House were premised on our understanding that Dr. Shermer’s phone conversations were recorded without his knowledge or consent, and that he only discovered their existence last week. Your e-mail below, however, references an “open letter to revisionists” Dr. Shermer allegedly circulated in March 1995. As our investigation into this matter is ongoing, we would appreciate your forwarding a copy of that letter if it is currently in your possession.
She may not be ethical, but at least she understood the concept of statute of limitations.
Very happy to oblige, Jennifer. Here is a link, preserved at the anti-revisionist site Nizkor Project, to Shermer’s March 1995 “Open Letter to Holocaust Revisionists.” The second paragraph is the relevant one: “Cole even foolishly confessed to secretly recording a phone conversation we had (illegal in California and subject to a $10,000 fine and six months in jail).”
Also, check out this archived entry, from July 1995.
Go to page 4. I quote a document from Shermer in which he admits knowing about my concerns regarding my safety BEFORE he publicly and falsely called me a racist. He knew the dangers BEFORE he defamed me. And he confirms that those dangers were foremost on my mind at the time.
Shermer knew of my concerns for my physical safety before he defamed me in 1994, and I had a reasonable belief that I was preventing additional violent acts from being committed against me by obtaining proof that Shermer lied about his claim that I am a “racist.”
And Sherm threw in the towel. From Ms. Mikolevine:
Dear Mr. Cole and Mr. Parfrey,
In light of this information, Dr. Shermer does not plan to pursue legal action with respect to you or Feral House at this time.
I wrote about this matter in 2014 on my now-defunct website (I wasn’t working at Takimag yet). You can see the old archived version here.
So, my book got published as-is, became an Amazon #1 bestseller, and even a few people who don’t like me had to concede it was a pretty good read.
A happy ending!
Except...Adam Parfrey died in 2018, his sister inherited Feral House and took it woke, Feral House dropped my book, the rights reverted to me, and sitcom star Debra Messing led a successful Twitter campaign to get Amazon to ban all copies, even second-hand ones from private dealers.
But that’s neither here nor there. Of greater importance is that in 2020 Shermy wrote a book titled Giving the Devil His Due, which was all about his steadfast and heroic commitment to freedom of speech. “No book should ever be banned!” That was the theme of a book written by a dude who’d tried to ban a book.
After Shermer promoted his book on the podcast of Quillette’s Toby Young, again boasting about his courageous opposition to book-banning, I asked Young if he was troubled by the fact that Shermer had tried to ban a book and force a recantation (I showed Young the relevant documents).
“Whaddya think,” I asked.
“Very disturbing,” Young replied. But he never informed his readers/listeners of Shermer’s “disturbing” antics.
That’s the problem. Everyone knows that what Shermer did was inexcusable; I’ve yet to meet a single person who’ll say otherwise. But he’s too big a force in the “skeptic” world to take on.
After all, he mesmerizes women who fall at his knees in awe of his greatness!
But there’s a coda to the story that illustrates just how completely reality-detached the guy is.
In September 2021, Shermer found himself most displeased that I’d mentioned the book-banning in a Takimag column. He sent me this email:
The reason I objected to your book being published as it was is because you included in it an illegally recorded a phone conversation with me with the intent of libeling me. You broke the law. It’s that simple. It’s not a free speech issue whatsoever. I couldn’t care less what you think of me or my ideas—which is why I always ignore you—but if you break the law in order to harm someone, don’t be surprised if they take legal action against you, which I did.
That’s patently false. You can read for yourself his attorney’s letter/email. Shermer demanded that my book must not be published because of “defamatory statements regarding Dr. Shermer and (emphasis mine) transcripts and/or discussions of illegally-obtained recordings.”
The demand was twofold: half the objection was about the recordings, the other was about my “statements regarding Dr. Shermer.”
And the recantation demand concerned “all statements, quotations, and comments” regarding Shermer, along with references to the recordings.
“Statements, quotations, comments, and recordings.” It was a demand to retract my views, and (oddly) to retract my “quotations” of Shermer, plus a demand to retract any mention of the recordings.
So for Shermer to say “I couldn’t care less what you think of me or my ideas” is, well, par for the course for him. It’s a lie. He explicitly demanded that I retract my opinion of him and his ideas.
Can’t you be honest in a brief email? Is it even in you to make that one small effort? You took NO legal action against me, Mikey, You THREATENED to do so. Or, rather, you had your attorneys threaten it. But they backed off immediately and permanently because you misled them about having only heard of the recordings that year (when in fact you admitted learning of them back in 1994).
Is this really how you recall the incident? That you “took legal action” against me? You really don’t remember how it played out? That your lawyer surrendered in the span of 24 hours?
Amazing. The “skeptic” who refuses to face reality.
Your lawyers threw in the towel because the statute of limitations had long expired. That’s a technicality. But I will always prefer to argue the ethics of it. At a time when the JDL was seeking my demise, you lied about me in a manner that egged them on. I had a perfect right to protect myself.
I’ve reached out to many people who interviewed you for Giving the Devil His Due, and I’ve told them that story. To a person, they’ve been shocked. And I’ll never stop telling it.
And Mikey couldn’t resist another round:
No, David. It is YOU lying. That’s not at all what happened, and in any case why didn’t you secretly record conversations with people related to those who would commit violence or threaten to do so, namely the JDL people? I never threatened violence against you, and never would against anyone. You were beaten up walking back from a grocery store by JDL thugs and you decide to call me? You never once believed I had anything to do with that, so you’re lying again. When do your lies stop?
My lawyers didn’t “throw in the towel”. I simply decided you were not worth the price of pursuing legal action. You’re not worth a buck. Of all the Holocaust deniers, creationists, anti-vaxxers, climate deniers, anti-Semites, racists, right-wing nuts, and the like that I’ve met over the decades, I must say that you are the most despicable, deceptive, and duplicitous of them all. It’s astonishing that anyone can sink so low. And it is especially rich that on the one hand you declare me to be a worthless lightweight, and yet you have devoted a significant portion of your life to me. That you would bother tracking down reviewers of my books a quarter century after I debunked your Holocaust denial, you are still devoting time to seeking revenge. What does that say about you?
Again, it’s just amazing this guy’s detachment from reality. I recorded that conversation four months before the JDL assaulted me. I recorded it because I feared Shermer’s false accusations were adding fuel to a fire that might eventually lead to me getting hurt or worse. And if Shermer had simply agreed to put in writing as a Skeptic editor’s note what he freely admitted to me over the phone, it would’ve shown that he had some conscience about endangering a friend. But he didn’t.
And no, he never “debunked” me. He admitted to Darman that “maybe Cole’s right.” He admitted to me that he had no actual counterpoints to my work. Indeed, in the recording he admitted that he made stuff up to make it appear as though he had a counterpoint to my thesis when in fact he didn’t. That’s not a “debunking.” That’s a lying.
But he’s correct on one point: yes, I will never stop calling him out. In 2013 he wanted to be buddy-buddy again, and I did consider it for a minute. But I couldn’t sell myself on it. Especially after he sent me the “rape defense.” In that document, I saw the twisted psychology of a man who never gets called out on anything. I’m not going to contribute to that pathology.
Wow...you are unsalvageable. A 7-Eleven transient makes more sense. All you have is the ability to learn and repeat. But you have no ability to comprehend. I genuinely don’t think you’re being deceptive. I really do think you believe every untruth you speak. You’re Eric Cartman; it’s almost impossible to blame you because I don’t think you have the self-awareness to know you’re lying.
“Why didn’t you secretly record conversations with people related to those who would commit violence or threaten to do so?”
Had they called me, or had I had a number to call them, I would’ve. I didn’t get a direct line to Irv Rubin until December 1997. Your lies about me and our conversation were in summer 1994.
“You were beaten up walking back from a grocery store by JDL thugs and you decide to call me?”
No, dummy. YOU called ME to discuss the Skeptic article. And I took that opportunity to document your lies (to be specific, you called me, I asked to call you back, I took a few minutes to set up the recorder, because I knew you'd privately cop to libeling me).
“You never once believed I had anything to do with that,”
Lightweight, I said in my IHR speech in September ‘94 that I believed your false accusation was egging on the violence against me. It’s hard for you to claim “never once” when I’m on video at a conference that you (and Pat, on the day of my speech) also attended straight-out saying it.
“My lawyers didn’t ‘throw in the towel’. I simply decided you were not worth the price of pursuing legal action.”
You’re purposely misrepresenting what your attorney said to me and my publisher in writing. She backed off once she learned that you had become aware of the recordings in 1994. She backed off once she realized the statute of limitations had long run out. It was a 24-hour episode, Mikey: she emailed me and Adam early in the day. By mid-afternoon she learned that the statute had run out (you’d misled her about when you learned of the recordings), and she backed off for good. For YOUR fantasy to be correct, it would mean that in the morning you were gung-ho about suing, and then by mid-afternoon you decided “aw, he ain’t worth a buck,” and that decision was TOTALLY, COMPLETELY coincidental to your attorney learning of the statute running out and her informing me of that fact.
You know how stupid that sounds? “Yes, it JUST SO HAPPENS that the very second my attorney learned the statute was up, I also, independently, completely coincidentally, decided that Cole’s ‘not worth a buck.’”
When I publish this correspondence, that part’s gonna make your colleagues hoot.
“Of all the Holocaust deniers, creationists, anti-vaxxers, climate deniers, anti-Semites, racists, right-wing nuts, and the like that I’ve met over the decades, I must say that you are the most despicable, deceptive, and duplicitous of them all.”
When I emailed you in 2013 you greeted me as a friend and apologized for falsely labeling me a racist and denier. It’s right there in your email. You didn’t get hostile until you found out the recordings would be in my book. Funny, because if I’m so bad in your estimation, you sure didn’t indicate it until you knew that your words would be in my book.
Also, for someone so “duplicitous,” I never released the grotesque rationalizations of the rape accusations against you that you sent me in 2013 (the Word doc where you blamed the women for being so mesmerized by your superstardom that they imagined being raped). You asked me not to release it, so I acquiesced. Maybe that was a bad call. But it sure as hell wasn’t “duplicitous.” I cut you a break, dude. That’s one EMBARRASSING doc! Hey, why did you send it to someone so “duplicitous?”
“You declare me to be a worthless lightweight, and yet you have devoted a significant portion of your life to me.”
You gotta be kidding me. Count the pages in Denying History and Why People Believe... that are devoted to ME! I’ve written nowhere near that amount about you. And the difference is, what I write is defensive (defending myself against your libel).
You are a piece of work!
But thank you for more good material.
And of course every good joke needs a punchline. Predictably, Shermer provided one. His final response? To ban me from citing our correspondence!
I have not granted you permission to publicly quote from this correspondence. You may not do so, as explained in the legal statement that is appended beneath my signature line. Here it is again:
This private email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential information. Any unauthorized publication, broadcast, review, use, disclosure or distribution of its content, substance or meaning, by email, social media or any other means, is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.
So quintessentially Shermer! A two-faced fraud who fears that the world might learn that his private words don’t match his public ones, and an intellectual lightweight too stupid to understand that email confidentiality footers are not legally binding. A contract requires offer, consideration, and acceptance. There has to be a bilateral agreement.
So that’s that! The wacky adventures of Mike n’ Dave.
Hope you enjoyed it. Maybe you learned a thing or two.
And hey – if you did enjoy it, why not go to buymeacoffee.com/DaveCole and kick in a few bucks? Dave’s Substack is free and always will be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t say “thanks for the long-form piece, Jewboy!”
But even if you don’t, this Jewboy still thanks you for reading.