Well, Andrew Brown (in who’s blog at the Guardian I first read Clifford Longley’s dopey ASA complaint) has written a little bit more about the affair, and judges that "Clifford Longley has been silly". At least it would seem that the text that Longley appears to have sent to newspaper columnists up and down the country was sent by him.
His defence is that the quotes are genuine even if he did not collect them and he that he never claimed to have collected them himself. It didn’t seem to him the important thing about them. Some of them he had in his own library, or could remember reading; others were new to him, but all seemed germane to his general point, that there are distinguished scientists who take the strong anthropic principle seriously as evidence for design in the universe. This was the point he wanted to make to the ASA, which offers a web form for complaints on its web site into which he cut and pasted what he had found.
This is just astonishing. He didn’t just cull the quotes, he did wholesale plagiarism and didn’t even check the quotations for accuracy.
In his defence, I would say that he has not spent much time on the web, and was ignorant of the long history of viciously argued warfare over creation and evolution on there and of the habit of judging content by the site on which it appears.
Well, he used to run a home page (moribund since 2002 as far as I can tell). And anyone with interests in religious affairs who uses the internet ought to know that evolution vs creation arguments ranges far and wide – if they don’t know this, they are not competent commentators.
What a foolish course of action Longley has taken.