I’m doubtful that David Deutsch (DD) lied about me with full conscious knowledge of what he was doing. That wouldn’t stop it from being a lie, though. He said events happened which didn’t happen. Base on DD’s statement, any reasonable person would believe he had a clear memory of the events or had checked his records. If he doesn’t know he’s lying, it’s because he’s thinking about it in a fuzzy way or not thinking about it – and also choosing not to check his records – in which case it’s dishonest to make strong, factual claims about it.
Why do I doubt it’s a fully conscious lie? To begin with, it’s an ineffective, dumb lie. Why lie to Justin, who DD can easily predict will check with me? If DD thought about it, he’d know I will deny it and will be able to look it up. How is this lie supposed to help him? He’s not going to fool Justin. It seems like a tactical and strategic disaster. I can just respond with facts. And he knows that I have records of our emails to prove that he’s lying. So where’s the upside?
A possible upside is the lie could fool people who aren’t paying attention, so it’d make sense if DD couldn’t think of anything honest that could convince those people (that seems implausible – if someone is gullible and is only reading DD’s side of the story, it wouldn’t be that hard to trick them without directly lying about documented facts … he had better options).
When I knew DD, he was good at avoiding consciously lying. He only intentionally lied in specific cases with clear reasons. Otherwise he knew how to use careful wording to technically avoid lying and to avoid being strictly wrong.
In this case, to consciously lie, DD would need a self defense justification in his mind. But that’s problematic. That scenario would be: I did X wrong; DD needs to defend himself; DD lies that I did Y wrong. He’s accusing me of doing something wrong that I didn’t do (and can prove I didn’t do) because what I actually did was unsayable (maybe private) somehow? It’s hard to make that make sense. If he’s trying to hide the real issue, he’d need to tell a plausible lie that will stand up to some scrutiny. Telling an obvious lie leads straight to people wondering why he’s lying. (The good news for DD, in this scenario, is that the first guess people will have is that he’s lying because he has no reasonable facts or arguments on his side, rather than because he’s hiding something. But that result is ineffective at defending DD, so it doesn’t make sense to cause it as a means of defense.)
The main thing DD has to defend against is the accusation that his fans are harassing me, including with crimes, and that he hasn’t even paid lip service to asking them to stop. Lying to attack me makes that problem worse instead of better. He could have just said “I don’t condone harassment” instead, but he’s refusing to say that for some reason, which encourages the ongoing suspicion that he wants harassment to happen.
Also, if DD consciously knew he was lying, I think he would have recognized that it was a potentially illegal lie (libel, defamation). If he knew that, I doubt he would have said it anyway, on purpose. Why make himself a (maybe) lawbreaker when he had other options? That seems way more counterproductive than useful for him.
I think DD’s lie was blatantly counter-productive, in addition to being immoral aggression and likely illegal. I’ve tried to mentally model how he could be aware that he was lying, analyze his options, and determine that it was a good lie to tell that’ll be effective for his goals. But I can’t get there. Why would he want me to write a blog post about how he lied, which goes through some of our emails for evidence, and then he just doesn’t respond to it? Me writing that post was an outcome he could have easily predicted. He knows me and I have a history of writing similar posts. His lie and my response just makes him look worse than before; it doesn’t seem like he has a thought-out strategy.
If DD didn’t consciously know he was lying, that’s really problematic. It means he’s probably been lying to a lot of people about me in private, since he wouldn’t feel any guilt about it, since he doesn’t consciously realize he’s spreading lies. And in that scenario, he remembers making several written requests he never made, about a high stakes issue, and then he made a serious, public accusation without double-checking his records. (The requests would have been in email, and he could search and review his emails, just as I did before commenting on the matter. Presumably the no contact requests would have been some of his last few emails to me and would be easy to find even.) That’d be a severe error which seems like he’s disconnected from reality and irresponsible. And since being corrected, he hasn’t offered any argument, evidence, retraction or apology (his fans haven’t offered any arguments either, just harassment severe enough that I’ve had to disable public comments on this website).