So there’s Nugent’s response to the shamelessly dishonest “Open Letters” demanding that he denounce me for doing something I didn’t in fact do. Let’s take a quick look at it.
Thank you for the various open letters and emails regarding the ongoing conflicts between some atheists and skeptics on an interacting range of issues including sexism and harassment, feminism and free speech, personal abuse and bullying, and the impact of these issues on the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference in Dublin on June 29 and 30.
No. He shouldn’t be saying thank you. This is just more harassment, ramped up to trying to get me denounced or disinvited from the conference. The “Open Letters” are thick with lies. He shouldn’t be taking them at face value, or as a favor, or as a good and legitimate thing to do.
Firstly, from a personal perspective, I know from experience of much more vicious conflicts than these that it is likely that there are good people on all perceived ‘sides’ who are unfairly hurting other people because they or people close to them have themselves been unfairly hurt, and who are unfairly attributing malign motivations to other good people who in turn are unfairly attributing malign motivations to them.
No. He doesn’t know that. He only thinks he does. That’s one of the ways he’s gone so badly wrong on all this. No, the sides are not equivalent. Sometimes there just really are bullies and harassers who bully and harass people because they like doing it. He can’t be bothered to figure even that much out, yet he can be bothered to meddle in the matter while being that clueless about it.
Since I started facilitating the paused online dialogue on these issues, I have been listening to and considering what people on all perceived ‘sides’ have to say.
Ohhhhh no he hasn’t. Oh no he has not. He’s been dismissing and ignoring what at least one person centrally involved has to say.
I have had the pleasure of working with moderators and participants in the online dialogue who have been acting with integrity and reason despite unfair criticism of them from people opposed to dialogue.
Meaning me, for one – and of course me especially, since I am the subject of those “Open Letters.”
I am not “opposed to dialogue.” I am opposed to this “dialogue,” run by someone who admittedly knows little about it, against the will of the people most targeted by the harassers. I’m opposed to forced dialogue. I’m opposed to people taking over the management of other people’s problems while refusing to talk to those very people.
As many people have commented here lately, if someone is punching you in the face, is it fair to try to force you to have a “dialogue” with that someone? Isn’t the job rather to make the puncher stop punching?
I have read a great deal of the online material that shows how various issues have both escalated and became entangled with each other in recent years. And I want to add to my understanding by talking to some of the people involved when they come to Dublin, because I think that face to face discussion can be more useful than online discussion.
He wants to “add to his understanding”? As if this is just some educational project for him? And he wants to talk to us when we come to Dublin instead of now? To say nothing of two months ago? He wants to wait until after all the damage has been done to the conference and to some of the participants, especially me – why? Because it will be more fun for him that way? Well what about other people? What about the people he has exposed to more lies and libel by hosting them on his blog?
He’s wrong about the face to face discussion, too. His refusal to discuss this “online” – while forcing an online conversation about it on unwilling targets of harassment – is not going to make face to face discussion one bit more useful.
Secondly, as chairperson of Atheist Ireland, I want to make clear that the Empowering Women Through Secularism Conference is not ‘my’ conference. It is an Atheist Ireland conference, and it is disrespectful to the committee members of Atheist Ireland, and particularly to the conference chairperson Jane Donnelly, to frame it as something which I control personally.
No, it is not disrespectful, because this is the first I’ve heard of it.
We invited speakers to contribute to this important agenda, and not on the basis of their involvement in the ongoing conflicts. We won’t be uninviting any speakers, and we won’t allow our ongoing work as an advocacy group to be used as a vehicle for adding to the escalation of the conflicts by unfairly maligning any speakers or any other person who is attending the conference.
It’s distracting some people from the conference and its agenda, isn’t it. It’s too bad he insisted on this “dialogue” then, isn’t it.
We considered having a session during the conference to discuss the ongoing conflicts, and we decided against doing this. The background would require too much explaining for conference attenders, many of whom function mostly in real life and are blissfully unaware that these conflicts even exist. Also, we do not want it to unduly dominate the focus of the conference.
Indeed. Neither do I. It’s too bad he insisted on this “dialogue” then, isn’t it.
We are asking speakers and participants to focus on the agenda for the conference, and to leave discussion of the conflicts for the many opportunities that exist to discuss them elsewhere.
But I never wanted to discuss it in the first place. That was his idea, not mine.
Please be respectful to all of the speakers and to all of the other participants. Please do not attribute malign motivations to any person who is attending the conference.
Not even one who has been relentlessly harassing you for nearly a year, and who is quite open about his hostility and scorn for conferences about empowering women through secularism.
Ultimately we need to resolve the ongoing conflict issues in some manner, and I have been actively trying to work towards this by facilitating dialogue.
There is no “we” there. He does not need to resolve the ongoing conflict issues, and he is also not able to do so. His active work has made it worse, and shows no signs at all of “resolving” it.
And then there’s the muck in the comments. Like “Eucliwood” “Eu” etc etc etc, here “Sister Eu” -
And, just like that mishap with the signature sheet (hmm.. wonder who signed Ophelia’s name and gave FTB a way to invalidate it?), it could so easily be them themselves putting threats there so that no one can argue about the actual topic.
That’s great, isn’t it? I get both the harassment of sticking my name on that thing, and an accusation of doing it myself.
And Renee Hendricks -
Michael, thank you for taking the time to write out your stance with regard to the upcoming conference and the online conflicts. At this point, I cannot see an amicable end to the bickering back and forth, short of putting us all in one room and letting us duke it out.
She sounds like Nugent. “Put” us all in one room, whether we consent or not. I refuse to be put in a room with Renee Hendricks. I don’t want to “duke it out” with anyone. I want to be left alone by assholes. There’s nothing to “discuss” or even “duke it out” about. There’s just: leave me alone.