I have numerous times vowed to stop writing about CJ Werleman, but then he goes and does something I cannot ignore. But now that he is threatening to sue other bloggers who give him bad reviews or expose his dishonest tactics, here I am.
Having been friends with and supported by Werleman in my early career, writing about his continued unraveling is not an easy task. But I will never sit by silently and watch such nonsense pass by simply because I once respected someone.
Last week Werleman released his new book, The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists, and as Stephen Knight points out in his amazingly thorough review, the book is nothing but a collection of quotes from anti-atheists of which Werleman worships and grovels for their attention.
On the subject of quotes, Knight writes:
It would be more fitting were it titled ‘Quotes From People Who Hate Sam Harris’ – as without quotations from others, I’d wager that only a quarter of this book is actually Werleman’s own original writing.
But Knight went into even deeper detail in the review after Werleman wrote that new-atheists “attack” books that question their “leaders” as Werleman believes he has done. Werleman writes:
Hedges’ I Don’t Believe in Atheists is a brilliantly written expose of the respective geo-political ignorance of both Dawkins and Harris, but is awarded only 2.8 stars (out of 5) by Amazon.com reviewers. Amazon permits customers to post reviews of books they have not purchased, which is an obvious flaw in their rating system – that can be used to both evangelize or denounce any particular book without the reviewer ever actually having read it.
However, Knight notes that Werleman may very well be guilty of doing the same and even reviewing his own books under a fake Amazon account called The Happy Atheist. The Happy Atheist account links back to an account owned by C. Werleman (his real first name is listed, but I will not dox anyone here).
This has led to Werleman threatening to sue Knight for his review. Knight has refused to take down or modify his review and questioning of Werleman’s tactics because he does not have to. Investigative journalism would not exist if those who feared lawsuits took down every potential claim of wrongdoing by those upset for being exposed.Werleman’s threats are those of someone who can see the end. Without a publisher, he was stuck self-publishing his new book and as of last check, it has 1.6 stars on Amazon. He has been fired from AlterNet for plagiarism and was fired from Salon (though he claims he has been asked back). He only writes for a pro-Islam site called Middle-East Eye and this plays a major role in my opinion in his latest tripe against new atheists.
He blames the atheist community for exposing his nearly two-dozen instances of plagiarism and instead of owning it and learning from his mistakes, he is still trying to claim new atheists like Christopher Hitchens are guilty of the same act. Ignoring the fact he is not, but because the accusation came from Chris Hedges, Werleman would never dare question the anti-atheist leaders claims.
And to top it off, while putting this article together, Werleman has tweeted that new atheists are responding to his book like Islamists did to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses.
I can think of no better example to show how far this man has fallen off the deep end. Not one person has issued a fatwa on Werleman, not one person has put a bounty on his head. He will never need to flee the country for fear of death and will never be escorted around by bodyguards.
Salman Rushdie risked his life exposing the dangers of Islam and sharia. CJ Werleman quoted a dozen opportunistic writers and created a false enemy in the hopes of turning a profit and being accepted into the anti-atheist community.
If you wish to read a review of Werleman’s latest book, I encourage you to do so on Stephen Knight’s blog Godless Spellchecker.
[Image: CJ Werleman appears on The Young Turks / YouTube screen capture]