FtB’s Statement on Richard Carrier

The ethics committee of Freethought Blogs, including myself, an esteemed Bachelor of the Fine Arts, has drafted a statement regarding the circumstance under which Richard Carrier has left this network.

Freethought Blogs unequivocally condemns any behavior that threatens the safety of atheist community members, including particularly marginalized groups. Freethought Blogs also recognizes the role of sexual harassment as one of numerous barriers for women that limits access to and participation within atheist conferences and spaces.

When the recent allegations against Richard Carrier were made public, Freethought Blogs initiated a process to investigate these claims and formalize its policy concerning the conduct of its members. The FtB Ethics Committee received several reports of Carrier’s behavior and was in the process of reviewing them when Carrier chose to leave the network. A thorough review of the allegations against Carrier cannot be completed by Freethought Blogs without his cooperation.

As part of our commitment to equitable access to freethinking spaces for all, Freethought Blogs members who violate our commitment to social justice by creating or maintaining barriers to participation will be removed from the network as a matter of policy. All reports submitted to us in furtherance of this policy will be kept in the strictest of confidence, unless the accusation was made publicly or in the event we have express permission to reproduce the complaint.

-The FtB Ethics Committee

A number of people on this network have not participated much in this process. I’m certain many of them have barely any idea who Richard Carrier is, no involvement in any of the organizations affected by the situation save this anarchic one.

So for anyone tempted to levy an argument against Freethought Blogs as a whole, keep this in mind. You think someone who has never entered the Western Hemisphere has something to do with this?  Maybe, maybe not.  We’re international.

We’re a group of individuals with a range of opinions. You may see some individual opinions expressed in the future. I’m personally inclined to follow the thoughts of people like Zvan and Christina on The Orbit. Do what works for you.

My individual position? I am not saying or even intending to imply that Richard Carrier is guilty of what has been alleged. My personal opinion remains personal. I only say that anyone who must deal with him personally or professionally will have to observe the situation for their self, look at his side, but try not to fall into our cultural trap of dismissing the statements of possible victims and other people close to the matter. Good luck.


  1. permanganater says

    I know it might sound harsh to some, but I think the souncest (and safest) approach is PZs, which is to make a clear, unambiguous statement that “We believe the accusers”.


    There is a time and a place for ‘rules of law’ and ‘presumptions of innocence’ and all the nice lawyery talk that goes along with that, but when the safety of women or trans folk is at stake then, quite frankly, your reuptation means nothing to me.

  2. Great American Satan says

    there’s reputation and then there’s people like myself living on a knife’s edge of poverty waving their genitals at people who can crowdsource lawyers with nuclear internet misogyny. don’t expect the latter from everyone here. if you want to take that to mean i don’t believe victims or i don’t want to protect trans folks, that’s on you and anyone inclined to agree with you, and i can’t afford to do much about it.

  3. permanganater says

    GAS, we might be talking past one another, at least to some extent. There is no financial risk involved in privately believing accusers. But there can be a financial risk – defamation and libel – if you publish or otherwise distribute accusations which turn out to be false. However, in the US, that latter risk is negligible largely because of the very broad protections free speech enjoys at law, and expecially so when the person against whom the accusations are made is a public figure.

    However, the problem at the core of this caclulus is it both acknowledges and gives weight to the possibility of false accusations. This is an issue the atheist and skeptical movement has wrestled with and, as I expect you know, has generated some heat. The consensus which has emerged on the FTB ‘side’ (to teh extent such a thing can be said to exist) has been that false accusations can be legitimately regarded as vanishingly rare, sufficiently so that proceeding from an assumption of guilt in allegations of a sexual misconduct is ethicaly defensible.

    As for crowd-funding litigation, I think it is fair to say that ‘our’ side has been a lot more successful at that than the sexist dudebros.

    Richard Carrier was correct on this entire topic once-upon-a-time, you only need to look at his involvement in the Shermer and Radford episodes to know that he was on the right side. For him to try to apply a different test now he’s the alleged perp tells you all you need to know about the Richard Carrier. The real test of our values is when they are applied to us.

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