Some of you may remember that Charlie Jane Anders, one of the writers/ editors on io9, wrote a really dumb piece a couple of months ago about how smug atheists need to read more science fiction. If you do, you may also remember that she got reamed up one side and down the other about it, all over the atheosphere. She’s actually a colleague and friend of mine… and even I was going, “WTF? Charlie Jane said that?”
You might be interested to know that she’s now apologized for it, handsomely. Her apology is included in a piece she’s written on what she’s learned from five years of arguing on the internet. The relevant graf:
At the same time, I’ve definitely written things I regretted afterwards. Like that piece about atheism and science fiction a while back — that was a case where I hadn’t fully thought through what I was trying to say, and I wrote something kind of half-assed, that hurt people who already felt marginalized and under assault from mainstream culture. (And in retrospect, a lot of what I had been reading as “smugness” from a few of my fellow non-believers was probably more like anger at that marginalization.) I’m sorry about that.
This is how it’s done, people. She didn’t double down. She didn’t insist that she hadn’t done anything wrong; she didn’t equate “lots of people disagreeing with you” with tribalism, bullying, McCarthyism, or witch hunts. She kept it short and sweet, without a “making it worse” morass of defensive rationalizations/ making it all about her hurt feelings about people being mean to her. She heard the criticism, accepted that she screwed up, and apologized. This is how it’s done.
([cough] Michael Shermer [cough])