More documenting the harassment »« In the mail

The exodus

So that’s two people cutting ties. Maybe that’s what CFI wanted, but I doubt it.

Rebecca is one.

Do not support an organization that does not have the courage to stand up for women. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. If you are a speaker at a paid event for these organizations, cancel your appearance. If you regularly donate money to them, stop. If you work for them, look for a new job. I have a lot of friends and loved ones who currently do one, some, or all of those things, and I trust we’ll continue to be friends regardless of what happens. But I do think that continued support of CFI will send a message that it’s okay for a supposedly humanist organization to never take a stand to help the women in its community.

I hesitate to suggest where you should redirect your energies, because the last time I did that, I convinced many people to start supporting CFI, and we can see how well that went (sorry about that). There’s always Equality Now or Planned Parenthood or the SPCA I guess. They may not be directly about skepticism or secularism or humanism, but at the very least you can be fairly certain you’re helping make the world better.

And Greta is the other.

Dear CFI Board of Directors:

It pains me to do this, but I am withdrawing my support from the CFI national organization, and am cutting ties with all events, projects, and publications connected with it.

This includes the following:

* I am withdrawing as a speaker from the CFI Summit in Tacoma in October.

* I am resigning my position as columnist for Free Inquiry magazine.

* I am declining the honorarium I earned for my recent speaking engagement at CFI headquarters in Amherst, NY. Please re-direct this payment to the Secular Student Alliance. If that is not possible, please go ahead and send it to me, and I will donate it to the SSA.

* My wife and I are cancelling our subscription to Skeptical Inquirer magazine. This last one makes me extremely sad: Skeptical Inquirer played an enormous role in my process of becoming a non-believer, and it was the first publication to publish my godless writing. But I am no longer willing to be connected with your organization.

Can that really be what they wanted?

Comments

  1. Martha says

    Depends on who you mean by “they.” I suspect Blackford and Lindsay wanted just that, unfortunately. Ron’s speech at WiS began with his concerns about splitting the movement. In retrospect, I think it was just about losing control of a limited movement in favor of a broader, more attractive one without him in charge.

  2. smhll says

    Greta Christina’s two articles covering Ron Lindsay’s speech content and context were totally excellent. She deserves a reply, not a few corporate platitudes, from the organization that claims that it values dialog.

  3. says

    Can it be what they wanted? Sure. Two fewer pesky feminists forcing them to actually enforce anti-harassment policies. Two fewer people to challenge the authority of people who are fundamentally unsuitable for leadership positions in national organizations. I think deep down the folks in charge of these organizations value their status more than the health or future of their groups.

  4. says

    When CFI realizes its conferences are only being attended by cretinous fratboy types like Pitchguest and that creep who writes for a blog the SPLC has labeled a hate group, will that finally be the moment they wake up, blink their eyes, and go “Uh-ooooh.”

  5. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    It’s exactly what they want. They have vastly different and more tawdry objectives to serve than the rest of us.

  6. LeftSidePositive says

    Ophelia, of course you should do what seems to you to be the best from where you sit, so please don’t consider this proscriptive, but for me I’m leaning much more towards the starve-the-beast approach that Greta and Rebecca are taking. I hope and expect that there will be many more conferences to come, run by organizations and individuals who are more deserving of your talents. I honestly don’t see CFI as particularly worth saving in and of itself, so therefore I don’t see dumping CFI as being shut off from the atheist movement as a whole. Moreover, I don’t think they yet realize how much they depend on their speakers, supporters, and volunteers, and I think it’s more than about time for a strike at Putney.

    Now, as far as continuing to attend and then reading them the riot act from the stage? THAT I could get behind…just sayin’

  7. LeftSidePositive says

    Shit, I meant “prescriptive.” But I guess they both actually work in this context, and I guess I should clarify that I don’t intend to be either.

  8. says

    I’m hardly in a position to tell you what you should do, but I’m disappointed that you aren’t going to take the same course as Rebecca and Greta. A half-assed boycott just won’t be as effective as a full on march of solidarity. It’s time to throw out the sexists and harassers and if they manage to hold onto the power (as is clearly the case with CFI), leave them in the dust. No more talking, no more going on their shows or attending their conferences, no more supporting of their books or documentaries, no more lining their pockets, no more volunteering for their organisations. Let’s put our resources into orgs that really support women.

  9. says

    It’s times like this I’m actually kinda grateful I’m really not a joiner by nature.

    I didn’t say it was a helpful or even at all positive thought. Just an honest sentiment.

    I don’t know if anyone–like say the CFI, even–should particularly care or worry about that… ‘Not a joiner’s generally don’t join anyway, whatever you do. Screw it up or get it right, organizations will always piss them off, somehow, all the same…

    Honestly, I always find myself in the same bind even commenting on this stuff. Because it seems somehow hypocrisy or deception to imply anyone should actually care. I don’t do organizations, like I don’t do organization. So me saying ‘this organization won’t do’ is like a teetotaler trying to give you buying tips on scotch. (Or the pope making pronouncements on sex, for that matter.)

    Except that, I dunno, I think there are a lot of unbelievers around the world a lot like that. Might correlate a bit just because religion is often a matter of socialization…

    Honestly, I’m not kidding, it always surprised me a bit when I first noticed there actually were atheist organizations. To my mind, it was like discovering a herd of cats. I just always assumed we were solitary, nocturnal, territorial by nature… I mean, I’m pretty much all of those, anyway…

    My mistake. Not my first or last. But I don’t think I’m quite entirely wrong, either. Insofar as there probably are more than a few of us of that tendency. We’re wary of groups quite possibly because we’ve seen groups preserve hopelessly sclerotic cosmologies and ethea… Maybe we would have been anyway, and that’s why we actually noticed. Maybe it was what a few did–did to us and to those we loved. Either way.

    My point, if I actually have one: this spinelessness does not improve the opinion of the probably rather-a-few-of-us who kinda intrinsically despise any organization anyway unless it gives us a good enough reason we shouldn’t.

    I guess they probably already know that, if they’ve been around at all long. I wonder if they really care? As noted, there’s turf to protect, and people far more likely to join and thus actually useful to the volunteer efforts and the bottom line, anyway.

    Thing is, I’m not sure it would even matter to me, except that it is obviously hurtful to those I’ve seen join who I think deserve far better…

    Oh. Right. And because I know too well the damage any organization preserving a colossal humbug can do, whether or not that humbug so much winds up described as a theology.

    I’ve thought a bit over the last little, inevitably, while why I bother to stay visible as an unbeliever. And come back to the same things: partly, periodically, just because someone is wrong on the internet, and it annoys me they feel they can be so wrong with impunity…

    And partly (tho’ no, I do not even claim to know if it’s more so) because I felt very alone once as an unbeliever, and just wanted other people–and especially others of that same, solitary cloth–to know they really weren’t. Never so much figured I wanted a ‘movement’ or to join one, but people speaking out, saying listen, we’re here too, I do think we all need that. I’m not quite so obligate solitary I don’t get strength in numbers. But I’m… touchy… I’m going to go with touchy… about organizations. So I keep on, I try to get an oar in now and then so people know there’s voices like that out there, that’s all. And hope they feel a glimmer of recognition, if not even something a little like solidarity. Odd word for a not-a-joiner to use, granted, but I think it’s the best one I’ve got for what I’m looking for.

    My point? I guess just this: listen, to any secular organization out there, you probably already know this, but you’re going to have a hard enough time getting a lot of us in the door. You make speeches like Lindsay’s, or write stupid shit like this letter, and honestly, I’m about as likely* to join a Wahabi mosque.

    (*/And no, for the record, that’s not at all likely.)

  10. Rike says

    I live in Tacoma and had been looking forward to this conference. Well, I guess now I’ll be able to spend my money somewhere else. I am also cancelling both CFI magazines that I’ve been subscribing to since the 80’s.
    If those guys enjoy playing with themselves, who am I to try to stop their fun?

  11. noxiousnan says

    AJ Milne, maybe it’s because I completely empathize with everything you’ve just stated, but I think there was a lot of point in your pointless speculation.

  12. LeftSidePositive says

    Another thing that occurred to me as to why it’s a good idea to boycott CFI in particular: they depend on their “we’re reasonable & we appeal to women” cachet that they’ve developed through Women in Secularism, their reminding us of their reproductive rights advocacy, etc., and even in this notevennotpology (antipology? no, seriously…what the fuck IS this?!) they’re stressing that they’re in favor of respect and equality of women. They NEED women to go along with this charade, even though their nods toward equality are blatantly paternalistic. It will be really hard for them to argue that they’re an organization in favor of the advancement of women when all the prominent women they depend on have up and left them after dealing with their board!

    And if there’s one thing this festering turd of vagueness shows us, it is that CFI places the appearance of calm over all other matters (except maybe fetishizing damage control). Your continued participation will give the appearance that things are okay, or at least persuade CFI to delude themselves into thinking things are okay. Moreover, they just want to minimize costs to themselves, no matter the costs to others–walking out will incur a very serious cost to them that it will be hard for them to ignore! (while, the benefits of speaking publicly and being active in the atheist community can be achieved through much better channels!)

  13. says

    This juxtaposed to Canucks story is just nasty. http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/06/15/news-from-down-under-the-true-skeptical-women-side-with-the-guys/

    If you read the comments you’ll see at least one woman put off the group by mofa/Mark Senior and pals and their disgustingly sexist views. If this was racism or homophobia it just wouldn’t be tolerated but somehow the MRA/AVfM “ideology” is just accepted as a “valid” or “just a different viewpoint” to be “debated”… Jeez not sure I really understood just how unwelcoming having these shits in the movement is until I read the above and the thread Jason links to on the meetup page.

    CFI have made it clear they are not going to take a stand against the Marks in the movement. By doing so they are on his side.

  14. karmacat says

    the CFI response is definitely disappointing. I also don’t think they get all the reasons why people are angry. Maybe they feel they can’t criticize Ron Lindsay openly, even though there are subtle ways of doing so, like saying someone else will be opening the WIS conferences. However, if they had criticized all the harassers of the women speakers, bloggers and said they would support these women against their harassers, that would be addressing the underlying problem. Obviously they have not thought about what is really bothering people. They are not addressing the attacks on women when women speak. You can’t have unity until you support women and minorities in speaking against bigotry

  15. LeftSidePositive says

    Thanks, much appreciated, everyone pushing me to get out.

    Seriously?! We’re just saying what our reasons are for what we think is most effective, and we’ve specifically taken pains to state we’re not trying to be authoritative. If you disagree with our assessment of the situation, by all means say why, but can we do without the attitude that we’re “pushing” you?

  16. LeftSidePositive says

    I think this is quickly becoming a case of what Amanda Marcotte has taken to calling “you’re coercing me by being right!”

    Otherwise, why couldn’t you just say why we’re wrong, rather than claiming to be “pushed”?

    It’s fine if you disagree with us. It’s even fine if you think our opinions aren’t even worth responding to. But just don’t act like our expressing or substantiating our opinions is coercive, because that’s dishonest.

  17. says

    Because it’s in your comments, that’s why. I have to show you? All right, I’ll show you.

    I’m leaning much more towards the starve-the-beast approach that Greta and Rebecca are taking. I hope and expect that there will be many more conferences to come, run by organizations and individuals who are more deserving of your talents. I honestly don’t see CFI as particularly worth saving in and of itself, so therefore I don’t see dumping CFI as being shut off from the atheist movement as a whole. Moreover, I don’t think they yet realize how much they depend on their speakers, supporters, and volunteers, and I think it’s more than about time for a strike at Putney.

    I’m hardly in a position to tell you what you should do, but I’m disappointed that you aren’t going to take the same course as Rebecca and Greta. A half-assed boycott just won’t be as effective as a full on march of solidarity. It’s time to throw out the sexists and harassers and if they manage to hold onto the power (as is clearly the case with CFI), leave them in the dust. No more talking, no more going on their shows or attending their conferences, no more supporting of their books or documentaries, no more lining their pockets, no more volunteering for their organisations. Let’s put our resources into orgs that really support women.

    That’s not just stating your personal preferences, it’s urging me. Pushing, in other words.

  18. LeftSidePositive says

    Urging and pushing are not even remotely the same thing. If they were, every single position statement by every activist group ever would be inappropriate: “We urge President Obama to stand firm on contraception access for America’s women.” Oh no!!! They’re pushing him! “I urge you to check over your bank statements regularly for accuracy.” Oh, the coercion!!!

    Has ANY boycott in history ever succeeded without urging people to join it? EVER? Is Revecca “pushing people out” when she says

    I’m boycotting and I hope you do, too. I’m not giving any more of my time or money to Center for Inquiry, just as I’ll no longer give any time or money to the JREF and Richard Dawkins. But in addition to this personal decision I’ve made, I’m actually asking you to do the same.

    ??

    Pushing implies undue influence or demanding. Since my whole position is that supporting an argument cannot, with any intellectual honesty, be considered forceful or demanding, quoting me supporting my arguments doesn’t actually show anything that’s in dispute. Of course I’m stating my reasons. I’m PROUD of stating my reasons. I think stating reasons behind one’s position is a positive good and a moral obligation.

    Oh, and thanks for selectively quoting out the part where I specifically stated I did not mean to be prescriptive. (On the other hand, I will unabashedly be prescriptive about “don’t act like a substantiated argument is trying to control you.” Because that is a blatant violation of basic skeptical principles.)

    Or, I suppose you really were thought-policing Michael Shermer for saying why he was wrong. Anita Sarkeesian is pushing around those poor video game developers. And Greta is a racist cultural imperialist for saying rationality is better than religion.

  19. says

    I omitted the part where you said you didn’t mean to be prescriptive because given the rest of what you said it was too similar to “don’t take this the wrong way but” or “this is politically incorrect but.”

    For the rest of it – this isn’t just some generic boycott. This isn’t “don’t shop at Safeway until the strike is won” or similar. Saying “there will be many more conferences to come, run by organizations and individuals who are more deserving of your talents” is telling me specifically what to do with my life and I don’t want people doing that. It’s way too personal and intrusive.

  20. moonglaive says

    Wait, you have a difference of opinion on how to handle this blatant exclusion from the way Greta and Rebecca are responding? Why isn’t there some epic fight, catty in nature — ’cause we all know how we be-boobed types are supposed to respond, right? I’m sorry, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. My angry sarcasm appears to be broken right now.

    To be honest, I’m glad to see people approaching this with differing tactics. If some people boycott by retracting their time, money, and voices, and other people attend these events despite the attempts by the CFI to take any responsibility or acknowledge the problems, is there a downside? I hope that the former groups put their efforts toward more deserving projects and the latter groups use CFI events as examples to call CFI out.

  21. says

    Honestly. Would you feel comfortable urging Melody (say) to quit? Or Michael DeDora, who runs the Office for Public Policy? Or Debbie Goddard? Or Paul Fidalgo?

    I hope you wouldn’t.

    And you shouldn’t feel comfortable trying to tell me how to arrange my life, either.

  22. LeftSidePositive says

    For the rest of it – this isn’t just some generic boycott. This isn’t “don’t shop at Safeway until the strike is won” or similar. Saying “there will be many more conferences to come, run by organizations and individuals who are more deserving of your talents” is telling me specifically what to do with my life and I don’t want people doing that. It’s way too personal and intrusive.

    No, Ophelia, it’s MAKING AN ARGUMENT. Saying why something is, in one’s view, the best idea is not telling someone to do something.

    Moreover, yeah, boycotts are personal. Urging people not to shop at Safeway is personal, too. Telling people they shouldn’t be a part of the Catholic Church is personal. Telling people not to donate to the Salvation Army is personal. Telling Michael Nugent that the dialogue he is hosting is misguided and hurtful and that he, personally, should stop doing it, is personal. People who are not inclined to accept those arguments but can’t think of how to refute them are going to find them coercive.

  23. freemage says

    Folks:

    Does anyone think that Ophelia is going to be all “Yes, sir, no sir, three bags full, sir?” to the folks at CFI? I can’t think of anyone better suited to the task of needling them, reminding them of just how badly they screwed this up, and pointing out when they do it in the future. Even Greta and Rebecca (who are just as justified in their decisions as Ophelia) acknowledge that CFI’s local chapters and staffers do a lot of important work, and that part of the problem with the current scenario is undercutting the board and leadership without undercutting those folks (Greta’s post has some good suggestions along those lines).

    But yes, I’m sure Lindsey would be happier if they all left, even if it means the organization suffers, because then he doesn’t have anyone reminding him that he’s an idiot. So I suggest trusting that Ophelia will not let herself be turned into some kind of token (seriously, do you even read this blog?).

  24. LeftSidePositive says

    Honestly. Would you feel comfortable urging Melody (say) to quit? Or Michael DeDora, who runs the Office for Public Policy? Or Debbie Goddard? Or Paul Fidalgo?

    There’s a confounder there–these people need CFI to get their groceries, clothing, & pay their rent/mortgages. I wouldn’t expect people to have to suffer the loss of their primary source of income due to the sins of others. (That said, when people like Greta stand on principle forego income to which they are legitimately entitled earn my greatest admiration.) Now, if any of those people had the opportunity to be employed by another entity with the same standard of living, damn straight I’d say why I thought going elsewhere would be more effective. Let’s consider Melody as an example: her work and her talents are being actively undermined by CFI. If she ran the same conference under the auspices of an organization that weren’t shitheads, the focus of the conference and the payoff for her efforts would have resulted in more empowerment for women in secularism. She could reach more people and effect more change beyond self-identified skeptics if she weren’t dragging the weight of CFI bozos behind her. She will have a better vantage point than I as to how much change she could likely effect from within, but from where I sit she seems not to be able to even get them to offer an apology or even specifically address the causes of this controversy! Furthermore, when Melody gets people to come to Women in Secularism, that’s money that people can’t spend on other conferences, so those conferences have a harder time growing, meanwhile CFI fails to follow through on what it claims its values are.

    Maybe we need The CFI Project, like The Clergy Project where we can undertake to support more deserving organ so they can afford to hire talent like Paul, Michael, Melody et al.

  25. LeftSidePositive says

    Freemange, if CFI stands by and let’s every talk they host be a refutation of their behavior, if they agree to publish scathing rebukes in their own magazine, well…great. You’ll notice I already advocated that strategy in my first comment. But the fact remains most organizations have a VERY finite tolerance for that sort of thing. If the atmosphere is so charged that Paul doesn’t feel comfortable writing for FTB in the wake of this event, it doesn’t bode well. After someone gets up on stage and spends an hour saying “this is why the hosting organization sucks” is not going to be invited back, and would probably be slapped with a breach of contract lawsuit (and an org that would actually sponsor & schedule a “here’s why this person thinks we suck” talk would never released that vague self-serving blegh in the first place!)

    Far more pernicious, the org will likely try to convince the person to do talks & fix OTHER people’s sexism under the auspices of their organization. This fills that org’s coffers but never requires any reflection or correction on their part–meanwhile the org can just stop inviting, or publicly demean & embolden harassers of, those who get too inconvenient with their criticism, all while those who insist on believing despite abundant evidence to the contrary that they can make the org change give the org its undeserved feminist cred, and those who stay on can let the org convince itself that the ones who have left are just worthless troublemakers.

  26. says

    I think this is quickly becoming a case of what Amanda Marcotte has taken to calling “you’re coercing me by being right!”

    Otherwise, why couldn’t you just say why we’re wrong, rather than claiming to be “pushed”?

    I’m not Ophelia, and she’s of course free to disagree, but I can think of two meritorious bases for her position:

    1) She has done as much as anyone I’ve seen for the past several years to work toward better representation of women in these organizations and in the movement – as conference speakers, writers, etc. What people have achieved on this front has been hard won. There are many more visible women at conferences and in publications now than there were just a few years ago, and there’s good reason to be reluctant to give that up. She probably sees these avenues to have a voice as being threatened – what the harassers want is to drive women and feminists out of positions of influence in the movement and to silence our voices. Ophelia is saying she’s damned well staying in until she’s pushed out. You might not agree that this is an effective choice, but I assume you can understand it.

    2) Ophelia’s a remarkably conciliatory and optimistic person. It’s extremely difficult for her to write people or organizations off, especially if she thinks their past behavior gives cause for optimism. She believes that if she tries to keep a dialogue open from her end, eventually there will be positive change, and if not no one can say it was from a lack of trying on her part. And there are still good people in the organization in whom people can have some trust, even if they’re facing a hostile leadership.

    It might be that both principled and rational approaches together will be effective. Both make sense to me, and I support both.

  27. ewanmacdonald says

    I stopped receiving Free Inquiry several months ago directly because of the likes of Lindsay. But I’m not going to urge anyone to follow my lead. I’ve never written for FI (or any other skeptical publication), I don’t have a history with them – I just regard them as irrelevant and sexist. That’s my personal call. What others do is up to them.

  28. sawells says

    Parmenion: If I were Alexander, I would accept the terms.

    Alexander: So would I, if I were Parmenion. (Plutarch).

    LeftSidePositive: If I were Ophelia, I would boycott CFI entirely.

    Ophelia: So would I, if I were LeftSidePositive.

    I have equal respect for Greta’s decision to pull away from CFI, and for Ophelia’s decision to stay in. This is not a situation with One Right Answer.

  29. freemage says

    sawells: Exactly. This, in some ways, may even be the best overall course. Some walk out, loudly and publicly, forcing CFI (and more importantly at this point, their major donors) to be confront the discontent. Others stay inside, to keep them from just trying to move on.

  30. LeftSidePositive says

    SaltyCurrent,

    Thanks for actually engaging with my arguments instead of acting like just defending my view is some sort of tyranny! Of course I understand the argument for staying put, but I think that given the dynamic of the orgs in question I don’t think it’s as effective, and I’d like to be able to discuss why without being slammed with a massive “shut up, that’s why” and accusations that I’m “pushing” or somesuch!

    Ophelia isn’t criticizing the other big names who have wanted to boycott, not even Rebecca who was much more blunt in her urging than I was, but apparently commenters offering their rationales is “pushing.”

    As to your points,

    1) I think there’s a critical difference between wanting to increase women’s influence at the atheist movement in general, and increasing women’s visibility at particular conferences. Increasing the ratios at conferences is an important means to an end, but I don’t think that’s a sufficient benefit to enable an organization that is hampering women’s involvement in more fundamental ways. I mean, TAM can keep a 50% female speaker rate and still be, well, TAM. And will still fundraiser for that bastion of libertarian pigheadedness, the JREF! It would be much more effective for those conferences to have a difficult time finding female talent, and the refusal will become common knowledge (and something rather difficult for the conference to pretend is okay!) Meanwhile, to see speakers like Rebecca, Greta, etc., one would have to go to conferences like Skepticon, thus growing their audience and influence.

    2) There’s a place for optimism, but there’s also a place for: we need to look really hard at why all the prior encouraging behavior led to this trashing of what we thought their values were. There’s also some uncomfortable reassessment in terms of how the people we thought were really effective in the organization weren’t able to prevent the present clusterfuck in this toxic environment. Moreover, just “do what works for you” isn’t applicable when there is legitimate concern for adverse outcomes for someone else. For instance, as I’ve already discussed continuing to support problematic organizations necessarily drains resources and attendees from conferences that are trying to get a toehold and be an improvement on the existing entrenched organizations.

    3) “Do what works for you” is not really how strikes work. They depend on solidarity and people withholding their labor, without giving the offending party recourse to someone else’s labor. If half of a group of people strike, and the other half think they can still make it work, the org can easily ignore the strikers and placate the optimists with vague indications that they might improve, but not really.

    Sawells, you’re just asserting axiomatically that this isn’t a situation with “One Right Answer,” but you aren’t actually engaging any arguments that I’m making as to why one answer is better supported than another. You’re just pretending I’m saying “you must do this because I say so” instead of “this is what I think is best and why.”

  31. LeftSidePositive says

    Others stay inside, to keep them from just trying to move on.

    How? Why do we have any reason to believe this would be effective? How is this different from the massive group of people who tried to keep them from just moving on already, with no success? Would some people staying have the opposite effect, that the org gets complacent and takes their staying as an indication that they don’t have to do any major changes? Especially when they have abundantly shown they will ignore a lot of very persuasive clear criticisms.

  32. says

    LSP, you’re being kind of obnoxious.

    No, you’re right, I’m not criticizing Rebecca and Greta. But they’re not commenting here telling me what I should be doing.

    And I note that you’re now calling me a scab.

  33. says

    Or to put it another way, this isn’t a fucking strike. There was no strike vote, and we don’t work for CFI anyway – we’re not in a position to strike. At least @ 28 you realized it was a boycott; now you’re talking about a strike.

    I have a number of reasons for doing what I’m doing as opposed to what other people are doing, and I don’t actually want to go into them. You could just exercise a little…I don’t know…judgment, tact, thought; something. You could have your argument about What To Do somewhere else.

  34. LeftSidePositive says

    No, Ophelia, you’re being obnoxious. I already said:

    It’s fine if you disagree with us. It’s even fine if you think our opinions aren’t even worth responding to. But just don’t act like our expressing or substantiating our opinions is coercive, because that’s dishonest.

    So if you don’t want to answer my (or Ibis’s) points, then just don’t reply. But don’t try to act affronted that someone cares enough about something to say why they care. And don’t act like you can lambast someone’s position (or indeed their stating it at all!) and then try to pressure them out of defending it by calling them obnoxious. Moreover, Rebecca was urging her readers even more than I was urging you, and in way stronger terms. Why is that okay? You’re acting like its fine if we little people are urged, but don’t we dare urge you! And frankly I think that’s bullshit.

  35. says

    Oh, I see. You already said you give me permission to disagree with you, but my saying you’re pushing me is dishonest. You’re right, that changes everything.

    As long as we’re giving orders, don’t you tell me what to do. Don’t tell me I’m “trying” to act ___. Don’t tell me don’t act like. Don’t, in fact, give me orders at all.

    I just went through all my replies to you and I didn’t give you a single order in any of them. You just gave me three orders and then accused me of thinking I’m a big person and you’re little people. I’m not The Most Obnoxious in this conversation.

  36. says

    How? Why do we have any reason to believe this would be effective?

    LSP, your question implicitly claims that working from within institutions to change said institutions is not effective. This is demonstrably wrong just from what we’ve seen in the skeptical community. With this question, you erase…really, the entire side of the community that sprang up in support of social justice, which includes all the organizations that took definite steps to be more inclusive.

    Your distrust of the system does not invalidate the efforts of those who maintain their trust. Stop hiding that behind some sort of effort to “push” Ophelia into acting as you would =/

  37. LeftSidePositive says

    Setar, I don’t mean that it’s categorically impossible to change an organization from within, I mean that given the behavior of CFI in particular I don’t think CFI in particular is likely to be changed from within right now. Not least because people undertook a concerted and comprehensive effort to persuade them, and they stonewalled so spectacularly. I mean, if a majority of your conference SPEAKERS object to what they’re doing, and then they don’t even have the decency to acknowledge what they said, that looks like it’s curtains, barring a major change of direction.

    And really, saying why I feel the way I do is not “pushing.” I wouldn’t find it necessary to defend my position nearly as assertively if Ibis and my initial scrupulously non-prescriptive sharing of our views hadn’t been met with such shut-up-that’s-why passive-aggressiveness.

  38. says

    This “scrupulously non-prescriptive” bullshit is bullshit. Aren’t we all very familiar with the often-observed fact that disclaimers don’t always or automatically work?

    Why is that, do you suppose? Well it’s obvious, isn’t it – it’s because they can be an attempt to have it both ways. They don’t actually mean “I’m not trying to tell you what to do here but” – they mean “I am trying to tell you what to do here but I don’t want you to be pissed off at me for that so allow me to claim that I’m not doing that and then go on to do exactly that.”

    The disclaimers didn’t work, because I didn’t take them at face value. That’s because the content of what followed them flatly contradicted them. Disclaimers aren’t magic.

    After all, LSP, you ended your first attempt with “just sayin” – which is another one of those transparent having it both ways formulas. That’s why it’s used ironically so often: everybody knows it’s bogus.

    You’ll notice, if you look at the post again, that I didn’t solicit any advice on what I should do.

  39. sawells says

    It’s very nice of LeftSidePositive to host this conversation on their own blog and extend Ophelia the privilege of posting there.

    Oh, wait.

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