As I mentioned recently, I’ve been following the news about Skepticon on Twitter. Yesterday, a link to a recap on Damion Reinhardt’s blog came up. So I read it. Then I laughed.
Then I tweeted, “TIL: A presentation on psych research on a cognitive bias stops being about skepticism when you mention social justice. Who knew?”
You see, the post isn’t a recap. It’s a rehash of the question that popped up, back when Skepticon started getting big enough to rival TAM, of whether it was entitled to use “skeptic” in its name. You’re excited by this question, right? We should get the Skeptics Council right on that?
It’s funnier than that, because there aren’t even broad operational definitions being applied here. So humanism–historically an outgrowth of the fading belief in an interventionist god–doesn’t count as atheism. A presentation on what free speech means and doesn’t mean historically doesn’t count as skepticism, presumably because only science makes appeals to reality over bias. (Those people fighting Holocaust denial? Not real skeptics.)
It was yet more hilarious to find my presentation on a common belief that warps our perceptions to the point that it’s often called a fallacy described as “other”. I mean really? Be better at this.
Or, apparently, not. This morning, I woke up to an email from Storify with a link to “Conversation with @szvan, @D4M10N and @BlueBallSkeptic“. It started with my tweet. I’ll reproduce the rest here.
Now, there’s no mention of how Reinhardt saw my tweet to respond to it despite me having blocked him. Nor any explanation of why it would be a good idea to tag me in the tweets despite it being against Twitter policy. Luckily for them (Blue Ball Skeptics, by the way, is a podcast Reinhardt does with his buddy Chas
Peterson Stewart), Storify has still not implemented the blocking capabilities they promised more than two years ago. So they were able to shove this under my nose in a way I can’t avoid unless I want to turn off all notifications from Storify.
If they want me to address this, however, I can address it. My position on this is simple. If Reinhardt wants to stay ridiculously wrong about his classifications, he can stay wrong. He can be loudly and publicly wrong. He can proclaim his poor reasoning from the rooftops.
He can also tell the world that he’s not willing to spend time looking at whether he’s wrong unless I deign to interact with him. Show off that epistemology, dude.
I was being kind with yesterday’s subtweet. This kind of desperate social heuristic should embarrass anyone who calls themself a skeptic, much less someone with pretensions to gatekeeping skepticism. Either the truth matters or it doesn’t. It doesn’t stop mattering because I don’t pay attention to you.
So stay wrong. And stay out of my Twitter mentions.