|A very troublesome butterfly
Massimo Introvigne now tells his listeners that Kelebek is an "extreme" example of an "extreme anti-cult Web site" [sic], "primarily devoted to ad hominem attacks" against CESNUR scholars (actually Kelebek says little about other CESNUR militants).
Introvigne misses the crucial point: his paper is about anti-cult websites. Now, Kelebek is not an anti-cult website by any definition. Apart from CESNUR, our interests are the cultures of the Near East.
Introvigne does not say what Kelebek is,
does or says; but he does say what, in his opinion, is wrong with it. Kelebek,
he tells us is, is an "extreme" version of the fallacy of "external history",
that is of criticising an author's political interests and so on, rather
than analysing what he says. This may be true in mathematics; but it is
most definitely not true in such an inextricably complex and subjective
fields as sociology or psychology, where the author's personal views are
crucial. In a short story, Italian author Italo Calvino presents us with
two descriptions of the same town: in one, the author looks up at flowery
balconies, from which pretty young ladies smile; in the other, the author
looks only at the sewers, the prisons and the rat-infested cellars. Which
scenario a social scientist decides to look at depends very much on his
political and cultural interests.
In any case, Introvigne is the first to delve into "external history", as we have seen from his conspiracy theory involving the far left, the atheists, the far right and the Muslims. He also accuses his critics of being "obsessed" with documents. One wonders what we have left to study once we have been denied access to "external history", to eyewitness accounts (the "apostates' narratives" Introvigne fiercely condemns elsewhere) and to documents.
However, my approach to CESNUR is both "external" and "internal". On the one hand, I analyse a specific example of spurious research done by CESNUR, which includes what I must now call deliberate falsification, since he has not corrected his factual mistakes over the last twelve months.
Once a study has been shown to be not only
badly done, but also purposely misleading and libellous, one must rule
out stupidity as the motivation. There has to be a positive purpose behind
it, and in this case one should study the political and ideological motivations
of the author of the study. To say that these exist is not in itself an
"attack": I think nobody can accuse me of using violent or offensive language
anywhere in my writing. I merely refer facts about Introvigne - with such
a respect for the full context, that Introvigne's lawyer complained that
I was quoting him too much!