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Point of Inquiry, RIP
Posted: 28 June 2013 06:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Neither I nor Lindsay are ignoring anything. The problem exists and I agree with Lindsay that some of the approaches of dealing with this problem don’t work.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Plus, Lindsay is the CEO of the Center for Inquiry, the one place where nothing should be a taboo. He doesn’t have to be right but he needs to show that any subject can be publicly discussed and debated.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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DarronS - 28 June 2013 06:20 AM

I see, George. Like Lindsay you’ll ignore the reality that women are being harassed, groped and threatened and believe that women are in a position of privilege and telling men to not discuss feminist issues. How is the weather on your planet?

I didn’t get the impression that Lindsay was claiming that women were privileged. I understood his reference to mean that men being understood to be privileged by feminists can tend to presume that men are not worthy of input into the movement by them and thus make them belittle the efforts of those men by discouraging them from speaking (shutting them up, in essence). I think this is true too. But I do think that it was a mistake that Lindsay hosted the event in the first place because of what I said earlier. Also, it may not have been understood that hosting such an event was not meant to introduce one’s personal opinion on the subject but to present the others who are to speak. I think it is at least a lesson to anyone speaking to first ask the event coordinator what is expected and what isn’t.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Something else to consider….

Most of us skeptics can tend to be less socially adequate at the best of times. Ron Lindsay is perhaps a reflection of this. Practice with it will help but it means that we are all going to make errors along the way.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Scott Mayers - 28 June 2013 07:17 AM

I didn’t get the impression that Lindsay was claiming that women were privileged. I understood his reference to mean that men being understood to be privileged by feminists can tend to presume that men are not worthy of input into the movement by them and thus make them belittle the efforts of those men by discouraging them from speaking (shutting them up, in essence). I think this is true too.

So, which women at the convention have told men to “shut up and listen?”

Put yourself in their place. You’ve been groped at skeptical conventions. Men have made inappropriate and unwanted advances at these conventions. You’ve been the target of sexual harassment at these conventions. Once you were even referred to as the “token female” on a panel at a skeptical convention. When you complained about this misogyny, disrespect and abuse you met a firestorm of online criticism, including threats of rape. Finally, CFI organized a skeptical convention specifically for women; a place where you can socialize with like-minded women without fear of a few sexist pigs feeling your breasts and asking you to their rooms. Then the CEO of the sponsoring organization in the kickoff speech explains why he doesn’t feel the need to welcome you to the conference, and goes on to state that the women who have been harassed, groped, propositioned and threatened are guilty of telling men they cannot voice their opinions on feminism. Problem is, you have done no such thing, and neither has any of the women sitting around you.

No wonder they reacted so strongly.

CFI compounded this problem by releasing the board’s weak statement that they tried to pass off as an apology. Ron Lindsay seemed to smooth things somewhat with his most recent apology, but he has not admitted he did anything wrong. I find it disconcerting that an organization devoted to rational thinking should behave so irrationally. Now the Point of Inquiry team has packed up and left because the CFI leadership’s actions made it almost impossible for them to book guests, and the CFI board would not give their backing to Chris Mooney and Indre Viskontas.

As I said in the OP, CFI is heading down the road to irrelevancy. Whether you agree with my assessment of Lindsay’s speech or think I’m reading too much into his statements, his speech and the board’s subsequent (in)actions have dealt a severe blow to CFI’s credibility.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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DarronS - 28 June 2013 10:08 AM

As I said in the OP, CFI is heading down the road to irrelevancy. Whether you agree with my assessment of Lindsay’s speech or think I’m reading too much into his statements, his speech and the board’s subsequent (in)actions have dealt a severe blow to CFI’s credibility.

Maybe. But even if that were the case, Lindsay is hardly to be blamed for it. Fuck political correctness.

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Posted: 28 June 2013 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Having read the speech and the responses linked to here, I too feel we’ve got a tempest in a teapot full of egos here. Lindsay’s point about privileging the point of view of the opressed in discussions of how to challenge opression struck me as both a fair observation about the excesses of postmodern leftist criticism and also out of place in the introductory remarks to a conference about feminism and secularism. His response to critics was hyperbolic, which I don’t find surprising since he’s shown himself before to be a pretty poor communicator for the leader of an organization like CFI, prone to knee-jerk responses he later has to qualify. I’m not a big fan of Linday, but I think the notion that what he said in his initial remarks was offensive, as opposed to clumsy, is difficult to defend. And quitting the organization over the whole affair strikes me as hysterical and thin-skinned for a bunch of people working as public advocates for a set of ideas loathed by much of the world. We’re never going to get anywhere with the rest of the world if we tear ourselves apart over little semantic struggles like “privilege” and “atheist vs agnostic vs secularist vs humanist, etc…..).

I can’t help but wonder if there is a whole soap opera of personality politics lurking beneath the surface of this controversy. The public elements seem so inadequate to explain the hostility that I would guess this is just the tip of an iceberg most of us aren’t aware of.

There is one thing a bit disturbing about the whole business though…Apparently Occam and George and I are all in agreement! wink

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Posted: 29 June 2013 12:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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At this point, I couldn’t care less about POI and it’s hosts. That program has been dying a slow death for a while, IMO.

FWIW, I agree that Lindsay could have done better, but having a “Women in Secularism” movement is in itself, a bad tactic; if you are attempting to appear be inclusive. smile

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Posted: 29 June 2013 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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mckenzievmd - 28 June 2013 02:45 PM

Having read the speech and the responses linked to here, I too feel we’ve got a tempest in a teapot full of egos here. Lindsay’s point about privileging the point of view of the opressed in discussions of how to challenge opression struck me as both a fair observation about the excesses of postmodern leftist criticism and also out of place in the introductory remarks to a conference about feminism and secularism. His response to critics was hyperbolic, which I don’t find surprising since he’s shown himself before to be a pretty poor communicator for the leader of an organization like CFI, prone to knee-jerk responses he later has to qualify. I’m not a big fan of Linday, but I think the notion that what he said in his initial remarks was offensive, as opposed to clumsy, is difficult to defend. And quitting the organization over the whole affair strikes me as hysterical and thin-skinned for a bunch of people working as public advocates for a set of ideas loathed by much of the world. We’re never going to get anywhere with the rest of the world if we tear ourselves apart over little semantic struggles like “privilege” and “atheist vs agnostic vs secularist vs humanist, etc…..).

I can’t help but wonder if there is a whole soap opera of personality politics lurking beneath the surface of this controversy. The public elements seem so inadequate to explain the hostility that I would guess this is just the tip of an iceberg most of us aren’t aware of.

There is one thing a bit disturbing about the whole business though…Apparently Occam and George and I are all in agreement! wink

Yes, we’ll put Brennen. An unfortunate episode on all sides.

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Posted: 29 June 2013 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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George - 28 June 2013 12:07 PM
DarronS - 28 June 2013 10:08 AM

As I said in the OP, CFI is heading down the road to irrelevancy. Whether you agree with my assessment of Lindsay’s speech or think I’m reading too much into his statements, his speech and the board’s subsequent (in)actions have dealt a severe blow to CFI’s credibility.

Maybe. But even if that were the case, Lindsay is hardly to be blamed for it. Fuck political correctness.

Well I’m insulted by the way people pronounce my name, “Scott” with the second “t” silent. Everybody in their right mind knows it’s the first “t” that’s silent!

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Posted: 29 June 2013 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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First, Darron, you mentioned the ad hominum attacks in his first paragraph.  I’m confused.  It appeared that he was quoting the bible to show just how severely women have been oppressed since early history.  How is that ad hominum?
===
Throughout history more powerful individuals and groups have subjugated the less
powerful.  Some examples of greater power have been numbers, advanced technology,
earlier existence in a location, and physical strength.  There have been a wide variety of
groups that have suffered.  Some bases are ethnicity, religion, race, gender, social
belief, physical strength, sexual orientation.  As societies became more civilized,
oppressed groups have become more vocal in their objection to that persecution and
organized into groups for more strength.

Since there were many areas of persecution, there were many oppressed groups, each
with their own agenda. Within these groups members ranged from those advocating
mild compromise to strongly militant.  There is a place for each of these approaches in
each group; the most militant motivating people to action.  However, those most militant
often take extreme positions which may actually harm their cause by alienating those
outside the group who are have positive views of the group’s goals. 

One of these is the belief that no one outside the oppressed group can possibly know
or understand the concerns of the group.  One can find statements expressing this from
some individuals in just about every oppressed group.  While possibly not voiced in the
same words, they often have the meaning of “shut up and listen”. 

Another extreme position is ignoring the goals of other groups and demanding that
everyone join their particular war.  While they may have positive feelings about the
other areas, but different people want to focus most of their energy toward getting rid of
religion and theism, another to eliminating oppression of gays, African-Americans, or
women.  They are not evil because they happen to be working toward assisting another
group.

The above is what I got from Lindsay’s speech.  Did I miss something, or is some of the
above an insult to the women’s movement?

Occam

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Posted: 29 June 2013 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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The ad hominem attacks were in a post about Rebecca Watson’s reaction to Lindsay’s speech, which Lindsay posted here. He has since posted a sincere apology for that, but publishing such a screed exhibits questionable judgment, especially for someone who purports to promote inclusion.

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Posted: 29 June 2013 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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A “sincere” apologyg? I hope not. If if were sincere, then you’ve got nothing to complaint about. Nah, he is not being sincere, he is merely trying to play your game. For which I blame you.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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After having read about as much of this as I can stand, both from the various links and here, I realize that this is similar to theological arguments.  There can be no common ground or understanding of each other’s position so it’s a waste of time bothering with it.

Occam

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Posted: 01 July 2013 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Can I just say that I find it a bit odd to have a man making a speech at a conference called “Women in Secularism.”  I’d expect the speeches to by, you know, women.  I only skimmed the offending speech, but I have to say, it reads dull, tepid, and the kind of thing that were I trapped in a conference and had to listen to, I’d be searching for sharp objects by which I might be able to put myself out of my misery.

Lindsay sounds like a bit of a blowhard, who thought that he’d use the platform to try and make some oblique jabs at people who’d upset him.  It failed, but it did manage to subsume a much larger issue: Namely that we live in a society dominated by people who adhere to toxic beliefs.  Not merely religious ones, but also political ones, and unfortunately, many people have mistaken shouting at one another for reasoned discourse.  Until those things get solved, a bunch of Ivory Tower types taking jabs at one another isn’t doing anyone any good.  Stop accusing one another of falsely labeling the other, and start lobbying for the teaching of critical thinking skills in the schools, as well as the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.  Once you’ve got those things taken care of, you can split hairs about who is “privileged” in our society.

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