Sunday 7 April 2024

Sage Journals publish defamatory allegations by Chapman, Walker et al

The highly-rated Sage Journals have published an "Open letter" authored by a group of 6 Northern Hemisphere authors, Chapman, Walker, Botha et al. Their letter seeks to downgrade my contribution to the Neurodiversity discourse. It is riddled with false allegations, which demonstrates that these scholars failed to show due diligence in their so-called "research". It has taken months of my time and energy to refute their claims, and the there has been a huge impost on my emotional wellbeing and physical health. It is outrageous and disappointing that such highly respected academics and scholars would stoop so low! And that Sage Journals' "expert team" uncritically accepted this farrago of easily fact-checked scuttlebutt.

STOP PRESS!

The Sage Publications legal team responded thus to my complaint about the many false allegations by my prime contenders in the Neurodiversity paradigm, Dr Robert J. Chapman, Nick Walker and a few of their devotees. Sage claims that:

"The publication was in accordance with our standard practices 
and all legal requirements - reviewed by both the editor and numerous people with expertise in the matter concerned."

It does not say much for Sage editor Kerry Barner, or her team of “expert fact checkers”, that they did not approach me when I they might reasonably assume that I must obviously possess original documents. Which I do. 

Note that I cannot afford a "legal team" to go against the mighty multinational Sage Corporation.

Thanks to my scurrilous detractors, I have not had any paid work since July 2023. I subsist on the scant Australian Age Pension.

 

Did SagePub's "expert" fact checkers duck down to the nearest South London Council library? Did they examine the entrails of a duck? Or were her experts the very people who seek to scramble over me on the greasy pole to academic supremacy?
 
How I wish I could afford a legal team out of my fortnightly Age Pension!

If there is public-spirited defamation lawyer out there
who would be interested in pursuing this matter on a pro-bono, "pay on win" basis,
Please DM me.


Abstract

The prestigious academic journal Sage Publications has posted an "open letter" aimed at diminishing my role in the development of the Neurodiversity discourse. The letter was submitted by a group of 6 northern hemisphere individuals who describe themselves as an "international group of autistic scholars of autism and neurodiversity"

The authors are Monique Botha, Robert Chapman, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Steven Kapp, Abbs Stannard Ashley and Nick Walker.

I will show that the authors' letter is riddled with errors and misrepresentations which belie the research skills and ethics such highly-qualified scholars are supposed to have. 

And I am amazed by their foolhardiness: did the possibility not occur to these authors that I might have original documents? I do, and can thus offer a genuine correction of their so-called "Correction"

I will not attempt to guess (at least in print) this group's motivation in submitting such an easily refuted mish-mash of wishful misinformation,  and will leave it to readers to make up their minds.

Click to view full refutation
on Dropbox 
 
Refutation

You can view the detailed paragraph by paragraph refutation on Dropbox. Yes it's complicated because lies are simple but truth is complex. Imagine how I feel having to do all this work to refute the 6 authors' calumnies

Misrepresentations

The first misrepresentation - albeit minor compared to what follows - is that the 6 authors appropriate for themselves the rubric of an "international" group. They are in fact a Northern Hemisphere Anglo Group. Irrespective of their ethnic origins, which I am not privy to, they gained their qualifications in the USA and UK, and benefit from the North's intellectual hegemony. 

For the record, my qualifications are from an Australian University. My work is thus from the Southern Hemisphere. We Oceanians know only too well the colonising tendencies of the geographic "North". Unfortunately I cannot afford to go north to form alliances and promote myself. 

But I will not sit quietly when these Northeners attempt to colonise my work and do their utmost to sideline me and cast shadows over my reputation

Criticism is not the same as Critique

Social Science scholars welcome critique - that is the very basis of the scientific method. But critique is supposed to be based on verifiable and accredited facts, expressed in respectful dialogue. It is thus disappointing to find that the information provided by the six authors is based on: 

  1. unreliable testimonies from non-academic source(s)
  2. a failure to follow accepted academic practice by checking original documents
  3. social media gossip
  4. misinterpretations (or willful disinterpretations?) which would clearly be recognised as self-serving by all but the most innocent reader... or the average scandal-loving troll

Are the six authors engaging in wilful competitive sledging? Or is it simply wishful thinking by envious rivals trying to clamber over each other up the greasy pole to academic glory? Whichever the case, it is immaterial because scholars and academics are meant to research their claims, and it is glaringly obvious that the six authors have failed to do so. 

Unreliable Memoirs

It is hugely dispiriting to find that these credentialed scholars, including a couple of luminaries of the "Neurodiversity" discourse, continue to rely on the testimonies and "memories" of a non-scholar, Martijn "McDutchie" Dekker. I have comprehensively rebutted Dekker's libellous op-ed several months ago. If you possess an academic background and have the accompanying responsibilities of transparency and accountability,  or even if you are not an academic but have a serious interest in this issue, my rebuttal of Dekker's unscholarly opinions and memories is pre-requisite reading. 

More so, it is disturbing that the combined research skills of these eminent Doctors of Philosophy did not extend to the most basic tenets of fact-checking, i.e.

  1.  going back to original source document
  2. interviewing the subject of their allegations before rushing into print. 

There are several possible explanation for such outstanding negligence:

  1. Educational standards have fallen so low that anyone can get a doctorate without basic research skills.
    > JS:This is highly unlikely

  2. Northern Hemisphere doctoral programs do not include an ethics component.
    > JS: Hard to believe).
    > Corrollary: if the G6 weren not required to complete an Ethics component, can we conclude that they have no innate ability to distinguish right from wrong without supervision?

  3. Wilful disregard and fear of accidentally discovering evidence that does not support their urgent need to eclipse my achievement

  4. Could it be humanly possible that their scurrilous letter was born of unbearable resentment and frustration  that they "coulda, shoulda, woulda" thought of the "Neurodiversity" buzzword firstthemselves?  But didn't.

I am not hard to find, and indeed Chapman has contacted me by video conference in the past. I need hardly point out that it is so much easier to libel a fellow scholar if you don't have to "look them in the eye" (In the case of autistics who, like myself, can have difficulty with eye-contact, I mean "at least be in the presence of the accused, by whatever means, whether video, audio or otherwise").

If the authors had made even the slightest effort to contact me before charging in to discredit me, or shown even a modicum of common sense, they might have learned some basic facts. Including that I have retained  my correspondence with Harvey Blume, which show that he knew nothing about disability politics, and learned the term "neurodiversity" from me. It is galling that Blume often gets equal billing with me in the history of Neurodiversity, when he was simply a freelance journalist specialising in interviewing literary figures, who happened to learn the term from me in online and phone conversations. Blume wrote on the topic of “autistics in cyberspace” once or twice, a quarter century ago (!) then moved on to chase other rabbits. Meanwhile, this was my life's work, born out of great hardship and struggle, and written because I didn't want others affect by Autism to have to endure. 

Amateur sources e.g. Wikipedia

I blame Wikipedia and its amateur editors, but so much more culpable are lazy academics who use Wikipedia as a research authority.

I would hope the authors have not been relying on Wikipedia's nameless and self-appointed Northocentric "editors" and their dubious qualifications, if they have any. These folks have been playing around with my entry for going on 3 decades now. I long ago gave up trying to set the record straight with them. It seems to be completely beyond Wikipedia's amateur so-called "editors" to imagine that someone who is neither American nor Male can nevertheless be capable of coming up with a Big Idea all by themselves! 

Nor do journalistic ethics or defamation law appear to daunt the Wikipedia crew. 

Follow up with Sage

My detailed refutation of the  authors’ self-serving claims is currently with the editor of Sage Publications, Kerry Barner. Despite my extensive documention, she has refused my request to withdraw the authors’ scurrilous letter. However she has offered space for me to refute them. Great! I am in my 70s.  I am supposed to be cleaning up my affairs aka "Swedish Death Cleaning". Thanks’ to Barner’s intransigence, am I to spend my remaining time on this earth on refuting these despicable’ calumnies?  It appears that while liars can say anything they damn well please, their victims have to be absolutely meticulous, because people driven by envy and malice will make a mountain out of the molehill of the tiniest ambiguity.  As I have said previously in this blog, with reference to Dekker's calumnies: 

 

A lie will travel around the world  while the truth is putting its boots on 


Whether the six authors’s allegations are deliberately made in bad faith, or simply based on wishful thinkin cherry-picked from social media gossip is irrelevant.

Ignorance of the laws of defamation is not a legal excuse.

We are meant to have an innate moral and ethical sense!

Luckily for the six authors, I can't afford a lawyer

 

And so much for Solidarity and Collegiality
in the Neurodivergent Community!

 

* Libel is a defamatory statement that is written. Slander is a defamatory statement that is oral.