Here is part six 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 Mr David Niose, The President of the American Humanist Association. David speaks to the idea that while conflicts are inevitable, violent intimidation and threatening conduct online or in person is never the answer. He also brings us some moving words from Humanism and its Aspirations.
David’s comments after the jump.
The blogosphere has rarely been known for its high sense of decorum, but the vile comments recently directed toward women in the atheist-humanist-skeptic communities give us reason for pause. Occasional disagreements within our communities on various issues are to be expected, as are the fiery tempers that sometimes accompany such disagreements. Given our strong opinions and our willingness to stand up for what we believe, it would be more surprising if we went a lengthy time period without some kind of high-profile clash occurring. But still, the inevitability of conflict in no way justifies any kind of conduct, whether by written communication or otherwise, that utilizes violent intimidation. As atheists-humanists-skeptics, and as decent human beings, we need to do what we can to create an environment that reflects an understanding of the difference between healthy debate and threatening conduct, between mature discourse and hateful bullying.
Words from Humanism and its Aspirations are particularly appropriate here: “Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence.” It’s unfortunate that such standards of decency have not yet become universal, but until they do we should stand together in opposition to thuggish behavior. Obviously, the human animal still has a long way to go, but our communities should be doing what they can to encourage mature and respectful dialogue.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to comment for us, David. It is much appreciated.
Prior posts in this series can be found by clicking the links below.
More to come.