In the context of the Atheist Alliance International presenting contrarian Bill Maher with the Dawkins award, Steve Novella has written a very interesting post at Skepticblog on balancing concern for the skeptical movement as a movement and the need for skeptics to not place any person or idea beyond criticism. As you can imagine, this has relevance far beyond the skeptics movement.
But while we are being polite to each other, we should also be uncompromising when it comes to factual accuracy. No one is suggesting otherwise, and Brian was explicit on this point. Open discussion, even conflict and disagreement, is a good thing. It is part of science and skepticism, and it makes our movement intellectually healthy.
I also think it is OK to show this to the public, and perhaps I differ a bit from Brian here. I don’t think a united front is as important as a collegial front. It might even be to our advantage to show that we happily and openly disagree and correct each other.
Rather, I think colleagues should not attack each other in public without fair warning. There may be a fuzzy line there, but one worth contemplating.
It’s a very politically astute post, perhaps the most astute I’ve seen on the topic. I highly recommend reading it.