It’s Skepticon’s Turn

Wow. You good folks floor me. The Skeptics for Ada fundraiser hit its goal in the first day. That means Valerie Aurora of the Ada Initiative will be coming to Skepticon to run their Ally Skills Workshop. So now that we’ve paid for the Ada Initiative to do their thing, it’s time to help pay for Skepticon itself. With the conference just over a month away, it’s only two-thirds funded. There is still over $13,000 to be raised.

Because Skepticon is a free conference in the south-central U.S., it’s the only conference that many of the attendees can afford. But someone still has to pay for the whole thing. If the attendees can’t, funding Skepticon falls to those of us who think access to these events shouldn’t be limited to those who can pay hundreds of dollars. Are you one of those people?

If you need another reason to donate, keep reading. [Read more…]

Get Ally Skills Training at Skepticon

If you’re interested in the work we’ve done around these parts to reduce harassment and sexism in movement atheism and skepticism, here’s a chance for you to play a part. The Ada Initiative, which works on these issues in open technology and culture, is doing their annual fundraiser. The skeptic community doesn’t usually fall under their umbrella, but a few of us have been supporting them and receiving help from them for a while now. In return, they’ve made us a deal.

Image of four people around a table in the workshop.If our communities manage to raise $5,000 by midnight this Friday next Wednesday, October 8, the Ada Initiative will bring their Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon for free. This isn’t usually something we manage to find money for, but I think we can do this, particularly since PZ has already managed to raise over $1,800 toward the goal.

Sound good? Great! Donate now!

Donate now

If you need a little convincing, or just want to know why I support the Ada Initiative, keep reading. [Read more…]

Come See Me in LA

One week from today, I’ll be speaking in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group meeting at the Center for Inquiry building. My talk is titled “Taking a Pollyanna Break: Celebrating Our Wins”.

I know this may seem like an odd time to focus on the positive. With the Mark Oppenheimer article and the subsequent behavior of many of Shermer’s colleagues, it’s incredibly difficult to escape the realization that many in our movements thinks sexual harassment and assault should be swept under the rug. Frankly, that’s demoralizing. So is watching them say this with little reaction from movement leadership.

On the other hand, this is exactly when we need to remember that we’re changing this movement. [Read more…]

Our Employees Are Not Authorized to Speak Against Harassment

Peter Boghossian didn’t stop making an ass of himself with the tweets I noted earlier this week. He’s still at it, and he’s gotten worse. After someone pointed him to my post, he tweeted at me.

He didn’t actually block me, so I responded to him. [Read more…]

A Swing and a Miss

Yesterday, Greta received some ugliness as a response to her criticizing Sam Harris as factually wrong on women in atheism. She tweeted about it and noted that this was a reaction to criticizing an atheist leader. Harris, who was copied on the tweet, spent some time being defensive about the situation, but finally tweeted that he didn’t want people harassing others on his behalf.

This morning I was seeing some people talking about a “wonderful” response to the situation by Peter Boghossian, one of freethought’s faces of philosophy, who specializes in “bringing the tools of professional philosophers to people in a wide variety of contexts.” So I thought I’d take a look. Always up for a bit of professionally thought-through criticism. [Read more…]

Entirely Predictable

I suppose this could be viewed as a response to Michael Nugent’s recent finger-wagging at PZ, and in a way I suppose it is. Really, though, his post is just a nucleation point for a number of thoughts that have been swimming around.

The important thing to remember is that, if you want to control how a problem is addressed, you have to address the problem effectively. If your actions are ineffective, your methods are undermined. If you try to control the way people address problems from a position of inaction, you have exactly zero moral authority. You have even less moral authority than that if you were in a position of power and/or influence when you declined to fix the problem.

This blowup has been entirely predictable from the start. [Read more…]

Is This #NotAllAtheists?

Is it #NotAllAtheists to ask that people talking about the Shermer allegations and Dawkins’ recent tweets urging rape victims to shut up and accept responsibility for being raped if they were drunk–to ask that these people also talk about the fact that the people who have busted their asses and taken abuse for years to keep this problem from being swept under the rug are also thoroughly tied in to movement atheism and skepticism? I’m not sure.

I’m still going to ask that people do this. Why? Nothing to do with trying to make atheists look better, though there are good reasons to to be wary of painting atheists as a monolith, particularly in the U.S.

No, I ask that people not erase those of us who stood up and yelled and agitated on this because that’s why this managed to stay quiet as long as it did. We have nothing like the platform of a Shermer or a Dawkins, which means we can go unheard. And Dawkins is doing his damnedest (which isn’t enough) to try to make sure no one listens to us.

Please don’t help him.