There’s certainly no revelation in saying that those working to expose pseudo-science or speak in favour of scepticism and atheism can attract harsh criticism. But it doesn’t lessen the seriousness of death threats against those in our community.
A Montreal man who uses the name David Mabus, and who has been identified as Dennis Markuze of Saint-Laurent, Qué., has allegedly been issuing death threats to American science journalists and bloggers over the course of the past three years, first by email and lately via twitter.
“I’ve been getting emails from him for about 3 years or so, ever since I started my websitehttp://whatstheharm.net and James Randi mentioned it in a blog post,” said Tim Farley, whose blog challenges people to think critically. “I have almost 60 screen shots of DIRECT death threats he sent to me. Stuff like “I am going to execute you, fucker… The police will not save you… we’re going to beat the fuck out of you, u lying little sack of shit…. and so on.”
Markuze appears, ironically, to be on some kind of extremist Christian bent, attacking the journalists for their defence of science against creationism or their beliefs in the separation of Church and State. One blogger who prefers to remain anonymous provided the following quote, which was left on a July 2010 article about Galileo: “We have orders to EXTERMINATE you and your entire family if continue to talk about GOD and RELIGION the way *you do* do you got the msg, you stupid little fucker?”
The name – along with the photo included in the article – should ring a bell. He was at the American Atheist Convention held in Montreal back in 2010. PZ Myers does a good job of calling him out.
People like Markuze are sad and pathetic. They are either unable or unwilling to provide a reasonable argument against the views they disagree with. Perhaps deep down they realize that they have no argument. That there is no science to support creationism, that pseudo-science can and does cause harm. So they turn to threats and hope that they can win through intimidation.
There are complaints that the police in Montreal aren’t doing enough to address these death threats. I’m not familiar with the legal system in regards to making an online threat to a person living in another country, but precaution would suggest that keeping an eye on Markuze is a good idea.