I’m late with # 6 in Surly Amy’s series. It’s David Niose, the president of the American Humanist Association, this time.
The blogosphere has rarely been known for its high sense of decorum, but the vile comments recently directed toward women in the atheist-humanist-skeptic communities give us reason for pause. Occasional disagreements within our communities on various issues are to be expected, as are the fiery tempers that sometimes accompany such disagreements. Given our strong opinions and our willingness to stand up for what we believe, it would be more surprising if we went a lengthy time period without some kind of high-profile clash occurring. But still, the inevitability of conflict in no way justifies any kind of conduct, whether by written communication or otherwise, that utilizes violent intimidation. As atheists-humanists-skeptics, and as decent human beings, we need to do what we can to create an environment that reflects an understanding of the difference between healthy debate and threatening conduct, between mature discourse and hateful bullying.