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| The divine comedy|
Walter Brown is a retired US Army and US Air Force officer with a PhD in mechanical engineering. He is a prominent creationist wingnut and is the originator of the hydroplate theory, which is rejected as pseudoscience by every geologist who's looked at it - which isn't many, as Brown won't submit it for peer review.
Rather than follow the normal procedures expected by science, Brown prefers - like many other creationists - to offer a debate challenge in the belief that this would somehow validate his claims. Also like many other creationists, he tends to turn and run when his bluff is called and the challenge accepted.
On 3 December 2011 his challenge was accepted by RationalWiki editor Fergus Mason. During initial discussions about what personal information Brown required for the debate to proceed, it emerged that Brown was forwarding all of Mason's emails to Terry Hurlbut, a creationist weblogger, without removing details such as Mason's private telephone number. When challenged about this Brown insisted on his right to distribute Mason's personal details as he wished and stated that he, not Mason, would evaluate any security concerns that Mason - a former soldier - had about this distribution. He then offered to let Mason give details of his military service and current job to a university debate club coach to decide if his concerns were valid. Mason declined, on the grounds that such a person is not qualified to make that decision, and stated that he would give the information directly to Brown himself as soon as he received an assurance that it wouldn't be passed on to Hurlbut or anyone else associated with Conservapedia. At this point Brown went silent; as of 29 December 2011 he had not contacted Mason since 16 December, despite repeated emails asking him to proceed with the planning of the debate. Mason then informed Brown via both email and a post on Hurlbut's blog (which was promptly deleted) that if no response was received by midnight on 30 December he would regard Brown as having withdrawn from the debate. Brown failed to reply by this deadline, even to restate his previous demands.