Can we stop listening to liars please?

Recently James Damore, was fired for a memo he wrote while working at Google. I didn’t read it as I really don’t have time to read more pseudo science about the differences between men and women from random guys. The content of his memo is not the purpose of this blog.

The point of this blog is to expose James Damore is a liar. And not only is he a liar, but he’s the type of liar who lies for sport about extremely minor things.

On his resume he listed himself as a FIDE Master of chess, which is a lie. FIDE is the International governing body of chess, and FIDE Master is the third highest title you can achieve. Based on his easy to find playing history, James is not even remotely close to this title. I admit that he’s probably not the first person in history to lie on his resume, but what he did next is astounding.

He hosted an AMA on Reddit, which is short for “ask me anything”. In that AMA he received the following question:


Since his lie was now exposed, he could have done a number of things. For example:

  1. He could have ignored the question completely. This would be a normal response given that there are hundreds of people asking him questions and he can’t reply to all of them. If he did this I would have just chalked the whole thing up to him lying on his resume.
  2. He could admit that he told a lie. (Liars don’t usually do this)

What did Damore do instead? He doubled down on his lie!


His response includes even more lies and complete fabrications. Literally not a single thing in his reply makes any sense. I don’t want to bog this down with chess details, but 2300, not 2200, has always been the requirement get the FIDE Master title and you can easily check the records of any player online (you can download old rating lists here). There is no such thing as “FIDE membership elapsing”. Anyone who played even a single rated FIDE tournament can easily be looked up online.

Think hard about what type of person would do this. Think about the type of character this person would possess?  He’s decided consciously: “I lied about this and now someone is calling me out on it, let me think of a further lie that may satisfy them”.

This is the behavior of a lying narcissist who is used to getting whatever they want in life, and is also used to there being no consequences for his actions. Given the fact that no one seems to care that he’s a liar but instead is more concerned on his uneducated opinion of the differences between men and women, he’s being proven correct.

When someone is willing to tell a blatant and calculated lie about something so inconsequential, what are they going to do when they have the chance to lie about something with real importance? Of course they are going to lie, because that’s what liars do. They lie, and lie and lie again, if they think it will help them.

As a community we need to do better at this. People weren’t asking Richard Nixon for ethics advice or his various opinions on things after he resigned in disgrace. If you think about the people in your life that you respect and look up to, none of them will just lie to you about petty bullshit. But James decided he would. And because of that, his voice is no longer relevant. He has shown himself to have a low moral character and shouldn’t be taken seriously about anything.

6 thoughts on “Can we stop listening to liars please?

  1. Pingback: Should We Talk About the Differences Between Men and Women? | Greg Shahade

  2. Your story is, I presume, correct. My objection is to the headline–the implication that we should not listen to anyone who has been demonstrably dishonest. As you probably know, it is now well established fact that Martin Luther King plagiarized his doctoral thesis, copied large parts of it from a thesis done by another doctoral candidate a little earlier. That’s dishonesty of the same sort you describe in a matter substantially more serious than lying about how good a chess player is in an application for a job that isn’t about playing chess. Do you conclude that nobody should have listened to anything King said?

    Obama, in order to pass a major and controversial piece of legislation, lied about it, promised the public that if you like your present insurance you can keep it. Should nobody listen to anything he said?

    FDR, in his first presidential election, attacked the incumbent for spending too much. He then proceeded to spend much more. Woodrow Wilson campaigned as a peace candidate and then brought the U.S. into WWI. Both of those are acts of dishonesty more serious than Damore lying about his chess accomplishments.

    Do you think nobody should have listened to anything any of those people said? If not, you are applying a double standard–”don’t listen anything a liar says if he says things I don’t like.”

    Most people will lie if the reason to do so is strong enough. The sensible policy is to take nobody you do not know well on faith, listen to what people say with the knowledge that it might not be true and then try, if possible, to check whether it is.


    • To David Friedman. It is true that everyone lies in certain situations. That is not the point. The point is James Damore is someone who not only lies to make himself look good, but does so in ways that are relatively easy to expose. When caught out he tells even more. That is the behavior of a lunatic or at least someone of very unsound mind. Therefore not someone whose opinions you should take too seriously.


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