Here is part five in my ongoing series where I ask the men who are leaders in our community to speak out against the hate that has been directed at many of the vocal women in atheism, secularism and skepticism.
Today, I bring you some words of wisdom from Barry Karr, the Executive Director of CSI and Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. Barry shares with us some proper techniques in forming and engaging in debates by bringing attention to some advice on the topic from CSI Founding Member Ray Hyman. Barry also shares CFI’s newly drafted, ‘Policy on Hostile Conduct/Harassment at Conferences.’
Barry’s comments after the jump.
As skeptics, we are used to debating issues, sometimes vigorously. There is nothing wrong with making your points and engaging in the healthy give and take of constructive dialogue, sharing of facts, ideas and opinions. However there is nothing constructive in the personal attacks and vindictiveness that has come to dominate parts of the skeptical and humanist blogosphere of late. More importantly I find totally reprehensible statements advocating violence, rape and even death directed towards women. I have said it in personal communications, and I will say it here now: People who make statements filled with hatred and threatening or calling for acts of violence have no place in the humanist or skeptical movements. I am not sure what it makes these people, but a person can’t make such statements and claim to be a humanist or rationalist. You just can’t.
PS: Years ago CSI Founding Member Ray Hyman published a little article called “Proper Criticism” as a guide for skeptics when dealing with claims made by those expounding paranormal abilities. Although clearly not an exact correlation, Ray’s words provide plenty of wisdom for the situation in which we now find ourselves. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/proper_criticism/
In addition, I think CFI did an excellent job in drafting a Policy on Hostile Conduct/Harassment at Conference. Definitely worth a read as well: http://www.csiconference.org/about.php
Thank you so much for speaking up on the topic, Barry. And thank you for helping create a conduct policy to keep CFI events safe, fun and productive!
Prior posts in this series can be found by clicking the links below.
More to come.