When It's Time to Quit

One of the best parts of student-run conferences is that they often put new faces in front of the audience. SkepTech was particularly good at this.

Brendan Murphy isn’t a stranger to secular students, but many of us haven’t had a chance to see him show his stuff on stage. For this talk, he chose an unusual topic that is still appropropriate to a skeptical activist conference: Are we doing the right thing when we tell people to hang in their and keep trying?

I’ve never felt much need to tell people to stick with something myself, but I’m not huge on the Puritan work ethic, even if you can’t tell from how I’m running my own life these days.

I do realize that the sound quality isn’t great for these talks. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to pull the sound directly from the room’s audio system.

When It's Time to Quit

Moving Right Along

My disputed post has stopped being disputed and has been posted for discussion, albeit in two parts. I’m posting both parts here together. That makes relevant links so far:

For the sake of word count, I have removed points of settled agreement from this statement, though I expect we will refer to them throughout the dialog.  Continue reading “Moving Right Along”

Moving Right Along

Dialog Delayed

I had intended to bring you my latest response in the dialog yesterday. I submitted it Friday night. However, it hasn’t been posted yet. For those of you who are interested in following the dialog, I’m afraid I can’t tell you when it will be posted.

Apparently, the moderator for the other team has decided that my post is better moderated than argued with, and Mick Nugent has not ruled that out. I’m disagreeing strongly. I did not sign up to have my posts changed before they see the light of day. I haven’t asked for any changes to their posts, even where they clearly haven’t met the requirements of the dialog (i.e., Skep Sheik’s failure to indicate agreement or disagreement with the points he responded to). This was not part of the terms I agreed to.

We’ll see what happens next.

Dialog Delayed

Reply the Second

…is posted. This one is their response to my response to their opening statement. That makes relevant links so far:

I’ll have my response ready shortly. Right now, I put this here so those who to talk about it have a space.

Reply the Second

The Reply

…to my opening statement is up at the dialog site. That makes relevant links so far:

I’ll have things to say about the response at some point, of course. I won’t post anything new there until they’ve also responded to my response to their opening statement. Right now, I put this here so those who to talk about it have a space.

Talk away. I spent the little energy I have today on a two-hour interfaith panel at a local community college and talking to the students afterward. Now I need a nap.

The Reply

Getting at the Differences

The dialog has reached the point at which it becomes a dialog. The opening statements and a thread for discussion are up. The relevant links so far:

My response to Jack Smith’s opening statement is also printed below. I’ve deleted his comment numbering so there is no confusion on which numbers a commenter is responding to here. If you wish to comment at the dialog site, please follow the guidelines. Making the moderators do more work just isn’t cool. Thanks. Continue reading “Getting at the Differences”

Getting at the Differences

Working Together on Core Issues

The opening statements of the dialog are up. Theirs is here. Mine is here as well as included below. Commenting on the posts there is significantly limited and heavily moderated, disallowing crosstalk between commenters. There is a third thread here for those who want to talk back and forth, but even those comments are moderated. Guidelines for conversation on that site are here.

How can we work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world?

Four stick figures holding a piece of a puzzle.
The key to working together under these circumstances is to understand that there are myriad solutions to each of these problems. None of them are complete in themselves, but together, they provide a strong force for change. Additionally, pursuing multiple strategies at once allows us to take advantage of the diverse talents and motivations of those who find value in promoting all or any of these ideals.

To use science as the least contentious (currently) of these topics, we already recognize that there are different roles to be played. We recognize the bench scientist and the field scientist. We recognize the physicist and the sociologist. We recognize the philosopher of science and the critic of methods. We recognize the lab manager and the lab technician. We recognize the grade-school science teacher and the PhD student. We recognize the peer reviewer and the science journalist. Continue reading “Working Together on Core Issues”

Working Together on Core Issues

Engaging in Dialog

Mick Nugent has announced today the start of his proposed dialog. This dialog will be hosted on its own site, with special rules both for the dialog itself and for commenting. More news will be coming about the commenting as the team of moderators works out their process. Comments on the dialog will be moderated.

As I proposed much of the structure for this dialog, it shouldn’t be too surprising that I’m taking part in it. A brief note on why: I am not advocating for everyone to hold hands and sing, “Kumbaya”. I don’t expect to heal any rifts, for a rather large number of reasons. I don’t expect to suddenly become the spokesperson for anyone but me, and I’ve tried to set this up to make agreement and disagreement very transparent for those who are willing to leave a quick comment. I don’t expect, in fact, to do anything terribly differently than I’ve done here on my blog. Continue reading “Engaging in Dialog”

Engaging in Dialog

A Platform for Reasonable Dialog (Updated)

A couple of weeks ago, I was praising Mick Nugent for pushing Justin Vacula to get detailed on what Vacula considers to be unacceptable treatment even for people he disagrees with.  Sadly, Vacula stopped responding the day I complimented Nugent on getting specific, except for plugging his new podcast:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/justinvacula/status/313067997675802624″]

and telling Nugent to keep doing what he’s doing even though Vacula has stopped participating:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/justinvacula/status/313837337295589377″]

Why does Vacula want to see this continue even though he doesn’t find it worth participating in? Well, I’m just guessing here, but that guess is that, like pretty much any discussion that has happened at a third-party blog in at least the last nine months, the folks from the slime pit have viewed this as an opportunity to go after the reputations of “the baboons”; i.e., a shifting group of people who are arguing for practices to make organized skepticism and secularism more generally inviting to women.

Nugent doesn’t see what he’s doing quite that way. Continue reading “A Platform for Reasonable Dialog (Updated)”

A Platform for Reasonable Dialog (Updated)

Not About the Words

Mick Nugent is in the middle of an excellent job of allowing Justin Vacula to demonstrate that Vacula has no interest in dialog or coming to any kind of agreement with the people he has been harassing. Nugent has written two posts containing questions that Vacula has side-stepped entirely and a third post pointing out that side-stepping is no basis for dialog.

The comments on Nugent’s second post, however, repeat an ongoing meme that it’s time we just took apart. Read the comments at your own risk, but among them is the whole “it’s just words” thing again, along with a solid dose of “They do [did] it too!” Then along comes vjack at Atheist Revolution with a charming little post on “Nuh-uh. Your feelings; your fault.

That makes it time, once again, to take a step back and remind ourselves what this whole fight is about. Continue reading “Not About the Words”

Not About the Words