Left Brain Right Brain's habit of publishing content with questionable accuracy has come back to bite them again. The problem this time was caused by one " Evil Possum " aka David N. Brown, when he accused Age of Autism of staging a hoax.
The incident started when Age of Autism ran a series of stories about a Danish researcher, Dr. Poul Thorsen, who allegedly absconded with a few million dollars from Aarhus University. Dr. Thorsen also happened to be one of the authors of a study that "disproves" the notion that thimerosal and autism are linked. As the study itself is badly flawed - even without this problem with an author so I didn't think much of the story at the time.
But, it seems the good folk at Left Brain Right Brain decided that Age of Autism was being less than truthful about the incident and ran a story with the heading "Another Hoax from Age of Autism". In this story, the person calling themselves Evil Possum all but flat out accuses AoA of forging documents in an effort to create a story were there is none. The original story is no longer available on the site nor is it available in Google's cache, so you will just have to take my word for it.
One of the authors from AoA took slight offense at the story and threatened legal action if the accusations of a hoax were not removed from the LBRB site. LBRB caved to the demand, changed the title and wording of the story slightly, and posted an terse apology.
If that was the end of the story, there wouldn't be much to write about, just the standard nonsense from LBRB. However, a few days later the misbehaving possum popped up again with another story , this time citing "fresh evidence" that the about how the facts from AoA were flat out wrong. This "evidence" included an analogy involving a spam email, a traveling friend, and a mugging, I kid you not. This second post was quickly debunked, this time by friendly fire from LBRB's own resident groupies. If the story was bad enough that the even the regulars were complaining, then it had to be really bad.
Fast forward to a few days ago when AoA ran a story about the incident. This time they went on the offensive, calling out Kev personally (the owner of the LBRB site) for allowing the stories to be published on LBRB in the first place.
LBRB, of course, responded with a Bush-esque "mistakes were made" sort of statement that partially admitted that there just might have been a problem while at the same time repeating the original allegations that the whole thing might have been a hoax. And then of course, the post goes right back to denial land and says that "Age of Autism regularly lies about those it sees as opponents", thus proving that they have the authors have the collective mentality of a two year old (they did it first!).
But wait, it gets even better. Apparently, the "Evil Possum" is unwilling to roll over and play dead, even when his arguments are completely debunked, and is now circulating an e-mail that accuses AoA of libel against him and threatening to sue. Another blogger has posted the text of the e-mail with his comments here . If you read nothing else from this entire exchange, I suggest you read this e-mail, it is priceless.
I can't even begin to understand the thought process behind the idea that you have a right sue to when someone calls you on your own false statements. It hurts my head just to think about it.