Jason discusses Ron Lindsay’s apology and, while accepting it, suggests ways to expand it.
“My talk repeated tropes that are used against feminists and feminism in many of the same ways that creationists attack atheism and evolution. Accusations of dogmatic atheism, suggestions that Piltdown Man disproves evolution, and accusations of attempting to control the scientific discourse by not ‘teaching the controversy’, all would have been as ill-received at an atheists’ convention as were my assertions about dogmatic feminism and silencing of men was received by the feminists in attendance. Knowing that the conference we’d put together would specifically attract the intersection between rationalists and feminists, raising the spectre of the more irrational complaints against this crowd was every bit as ill-received as it should have been.”
I think that part about attracting the intersection between rationalists and feminists is absolutely key. I’ve been wanting to tell Ron the same thing ever since the talk. I think now the lines are open again, and I think he’ll listen.
It’s as if he’d forgotten what kind of people are drawn to CFI in the first place. Here’s a hint: it’s not woo-huggers! It’s not people who love bad arguments or woolly legless generalizations. It’s people who want reasoned discussion, not people who break out in hives at the very thought of such things.
There is one fundamental commitment. Notice I didn’t say dogmatic, I said fundamental. (Well there’s probably more than one, but I’m talking about the one that’s a stumbling block for some people – but not, I think, for Ron.) It’s the commitment to equality, or to egalitarianism. That brings with it, however itchy it makes some people, worries about under-representation. It’s always been my understanding that that’s why a conference specifically by and about women was seen as a good idea.
But none of that means that the women who would be interested in participating in such a conference would be dogmatic woo-heads, because the conference would still not be at the Center for Dogmatic Woo. People who like dogmatic woo aren’t drawn to CFI. People who are drawn to CFI aren’t drawn to dogmatic woo.
The conference that actually took place demonstrated that. It was a fantastic conference. I look forward to being able to post the videos that will show that.