Thank You, Ron

Dear Ron Lindsay,

Thank you for your apology. Thank you especially for this bit of your apology:

I am sorry that I caused offense with my talk.  I am also sorry I made some people feel unwelcome as a result of my talk.

You could have taken the Way of the Weasel and said so sorry we were offended, but you did what a leader needs to do and accepted full responsibility. I respect that. And that has, in turn, restored a bit of my respect for you. (Still – I’d have suggested replacing some with many, but otherwise not too bad.)

I’d also like to say that you just bested your own Board of Directors (and it might be nice if they stepped up and followed your lead – it would show they have the same ability to recognize when they’re wrong that you do). I appreciate that. I realize you could have left matters with their ridiculous non-statement and cut us all loose, but you didn’t – you did the right thing, and you’ve explained why you waited to do it. I hereby rescind my request for your head on a pike your resignation. Never wanted that as much as a sincere apology, anyway – you’ve done good work in the past, and it will be good to see you continue that work with a new understanding going forward. I certainly haven’t forgotten your strong statement against hate directed at women in the secular community. Perhaps now we’ll see you live up to your own words:

Those who are incapable of treating others with decency and respect do not belong in our communities. To such individuals we should say with one voice: take your hate elsewhere.

(Hint: Justin Vacula is one such individual. Y’know – the dude you hugged who writes for a hate site? Yeah. The people who cheered your unfortunate speech, snippy blog posts, and subsequent silence, and are now no doubt enraged by your apology, are others you should consider carefully before extending any welcome.)

Some folks are still wary, some are still pissed, and all of us will be watching to make sure you and CFI were actually listening, but I for one am reasonably sure you were. I think you’re the kind of person who can take criticism on board and, after the heat of the initial moment, and the instinctive defensiveness, comprehend why it is you came under so much fire. I know you can read past our anger and disappointment, extract our advice, and put it to good use. And I know that will make you a better ally, one I’ll be proud to stand beside.

We all fuck up sometimes. Thank you for being a person who can recognize a serious mistake and issue a true apology. Thank you for letting pride bend when it needed to.

See you at WiS3.


Dana Hunter

PS. Have a sleeping kitten as a symbol of peace between us. Who (other than PZ) can resist that, amirite?

Sleeping Luna.
Sleeping Luna.

PPS. Dear Board of CFI: You have a long way yet to go before you earn forgiveness for that appalling and frankly insulting non-statement of yours. Get crack-a-lackin’.


Thank You, Ron

9 thoughts on “Thank You, Ron

  1. 1

    I used Lindsay’s “take your hate elsewhere” quote in my paper letter to the CFI board. If Lindsay takes action to show that he now agrees with what he previously wrote, then I will go back to supporting CFI. (I’ve been gone since Monday, it’s not as if I could have been missed anyway.) His behavior at WiS made it seem to me that he was being cynical when he wrote those words, or that he had since changed his mind about them. If haters are welcome at CFI, then I’m out. I’ve searched my soul, and that’s something that I simply can not compromise on. I also wrote that I *want* to support CFI because I think they do good work and my local branch contains awesome people. So I guess, we’ll see.

  2. 2

    He probably doesn’t mean it. He’s just pissed off that the story hung around for so long, and this is not so much an apology as it is a way to quiet the chattering class.

  3. 3

    I noticed he didn’t discuss what he did, why people were upset (especially that there are *good* reasons to be so), or what he was going to do about it. After everything that has happened and after his attacks on others, I’m not especially impressed by this.

    But even a bad apology is better than the twaddle that the CFI board posted earlier. It’s something, at least. Have to see how far this goes.

  4. 4

    @ grumpyoldfart – I’ve only just discovered how much I love Dana’s writing (hi Dana – yer awesome!) and I haven’t commented here before. I hope you don’t mind me joining the conversation just to disagree.Well, maybe more to say that I don’t know how he’s feeling right now, but my guess is different than yours.

    I’m a teacher, so I have a tendency to look for hope and growth in everyone; it makes me naive, but it also has served me very well. Plus, it feels nice, so there’s that. Anyway, my impression of the apology is that he’s embarrassed and ashamed of himself, that he’s not used to feeling that way, and that he’s feeling a bit sick about having to be public with those feelings. Yes, it’s terse writing, but it’s incredibly hard to be loquacious when you feel like a jackass.

    I could be wrong, but here’s the thing: If I’m wrong, then everyone is exactly back where we were yesterday. We may even be the tiniest bit ahead, because at least he recognized how unutterably stupid and insufficient the board’s statement was. If I’m right, then the fixing can begin, unless the injured parties refuse to accept the apology.

    Nutshell – I think Dana’s right to thank Ron for this.

  5. 5

    Haha, lovely post. I’m laughing wondering how the Slyme-myth-makers with process this as we were all out for his firing supposedly… An apology was apparently not enough and all the letters asked for him to be fired. Reality bites.

  6. 6

    I think you’re letting him off a little easy, Dana. Better late than never, but not much better. He’s sorry that he caused offence, but does not retract what he said. So it’s a bit better than the not-pology from the board (which he probably wrote) but not much.

    Off topic, but if you haven’t seen it already, go look at the Mr. Deity clip linked on Mano Singham’s blog. It’s awesome, replete with geo-puns from a genuine geologist!

  7. rq

    Yes, a bit easy, but they say that quick forgiveness is a good way to gain friendship/trust etc. You have to be quick to punish, and quick to forgive, but never forget, and have a limit on second (third/fourth/nth) chances. (Quick rewards for good actions are the best way to have good actions in the future, as long as there is understanding for the consequences of bad actions (even if good actions soon follow).) Most of all, be consistent. :)
    Hey, sounds a lot like parenting. Or something.

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