There was an increasingly ugly exchange last month over at PZ's place (and his daughter's place, which I'm not going to link to) in which said daughter (17 years old) verbally jousted with (presumably) an adult known as 'For the Kids', whose blog is here. Ftk, as she is usually known, is a self-described ID enthusiast from Kansas who was eventually thrown into PZ's dungeon when the interplay between her and PZ's daughter devolved into a discussion of the merits of zoophilia, which was picked up on as a talking point by Sal Cordova, of whom the less said, the better.

As I remarked at PZ's site:

This falls under the category of looking after the young'uns, plain and simple. It is the height of creepiness that someone whose monicker is 'For the kids' would appear to deliberately target the 17-year-old daughter of an intellectual nemesis.....Please take my advice. Retire your name and persona and hope that your true identity doesn't ever come out in a public debate on evolution/ID, because if this excuse for a Christian happens to be there, I will give any spectators present the goodies on this little episode. You should be ashamed to be even associated with Sal.

Well, there was more to the story than meets the eye, as it turned out. Though Cordova's cooption of the exchange was loathsome, Ftk was quick to stand on ceremony and point out in this comment (on an unrelated topic) on my site that PZ's daughter had essentially 'started it' by leaving comments on Ftk's blog. I'm sorry to say that I just recently noticed this comment and hesitated to reply until I could, as they say, 'fact-check' things out.

Having done so, I think I should admit that it was unfair of me to describe 'Ftk' as targeting the young woman in question based on this episode alone. Based on the evidence that's available to me now, it seems more charitable to think that Ftk was simply guilty of poor judgement in having this sort of exchange with a minor female; whatever her intent (and Ftk certainly has asserted her innocence of any implied wrongdoing), this probably falls under the heading of 'lawful but not profitable.' I've replied as much privately, but given that Ftk's reputation has already taken a beating, I thought the stand-up thing to do here was to own up to the rhetorical overkill.

I still think Ftk acted unwisely in repeatedly fencing with PZ's daughter, mind, and I reject her attempts to put a positive spin on Cordova's remarks. I can't shed too many tears for her ending up in PZ's dungeon, either: it's his place, not mine. But I also think that my ideological sparring partners are human beings, and human beings who make mistakes should be treated like human beings, and not notches in a gun. I didn't look at Ftk's initial claims as dispassionately as I should, and I spoke out of turn. I made a mistake, and I want to apologize.

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