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Marketing CFI—its name and mission
Posted: 24 November 2007 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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Marla, your point is germane and well-taken.  Unfortunately, as I see it, especially from the wide variety of threads on this forum, each person has his/her own priorities and ideas of what CFI covers for him/her.  My focus is on helping people toward humane ethics, clarity of thought, and avoidance of defining truth rather than searching for it.  The second and third, of course, deal with religion and theology to a great extent.

I become a bit distressed when I see people here use the forum to ‘inquire’ at great lengh about conspiracies, weird alternative medical systems, microscopic philosophical points (such as interminable analysis of the dichotomy between free-will and determinism), and those who have come here with the usually somewhat hidden purpose of converting the heathens and try to use their biblical “logic” to show us the way.

What would you define as a reasonable mission for CFI, reachable goals, techniques for achieving them, and the audience at which they should be directed?

Occam

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Posted: 25 November 2007 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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May I point out that I don’t see CFI as having a particular “identity crisis?”  At least, not more so than any other organization of non-religious persons, and not any more so than is had by any non-religious person.  I think that it is both logical and OK to be a little unsure of things.  I think it is a strength.  To inquire, or search for an answer, is much better than to provide one.

My focus lies somewhere quite similar to Occam’s.  “Humane ethics, clarity of thought, and avoidance of defining truth rather than searching for it.”  That’s quite an articulate vision.  I even think that it’s unique.  The last thing that I want to be a part of is an organization that claims to “give” me answers.

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Posted: 25 November 2007 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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Occam - 24 November 2007 02:15 PM

What would you define as a reasonable mission for CFI, reachable goals, techniques for achieving them, and the audience at which they should be directed?

Occam

Just throwing a few things out as your question really requires a lot of work to answer and I’ve got to get to bed!

CFI’s tag line “Promote and defend science and reason in every form of human endeavor” is a good start, but to do this we need tools.

Communicate
Already done through Publications (CFI’s biggest asset) but the web site needs to be given top priority and also CFI as a group needs to “make nice” with any and all other groups out there who share our same world view. I don’t care about any bad blood/stealing members and all that silliness.
There needs to be more outreach. Get out of the ivory towers- out of academia and talk to the people. Build the base. Get everybody talking to each other and do it in the most high tech way possible.

Organize
If there is a business plan- which I doubt, this should be poured over and some strategies and goals put together on a timeline. Where is the money coming from? Where is it going? How do we get things more effecient? What has failed and why?

People
Who does what? Who needs to be fired? Who needs to be given a promotion? Who needs to be retired? This can be THE most important element to the two tools above. With a poor staff, everything suffers - and for a business it is deadly.

Target Audience
As broad as possible. There are non-believers everywhere, of every ilk. CFI is guilty of focusing on the white collar college grad (and they also put effort into the college students) - this is unfortunate.
Also, it would be advisable to have a “milder” publication or group for those who still have a bit of belief in them, but really want separation of church and state, or church and school, gay rights, etc.

So, with that list, you can see what our goals would be. I think the group has some powerful, wonderfully talented folks behind it - and that warms my heart.

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Marla Shane McCain
Austin, Texas
Three Lakes, Wisconsin

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Posted: 26 November 2007 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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I think you pretty much covered it all, Marla.  Seems well thought out to me.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 November 2007 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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Occam - 24 November 2007 02:15 PM

My focus is on helping people toward humane ethics, clarity of thought, and avoidance of defining truth rather than searching for it.  The second and third, of course, deal with religion and theology to a great extent.

Occam

Join CSER, Occam.  That would help with the second and third.  wink

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 November 2007 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from the christian evangelist crowd.  Take a look at THIS.

downer

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Posted: 26 November 2007 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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I don’t know.  Looks almost like lunacy to me.  Of course, they want to turn people on to Jesus Christ.  We want to turn people on to knowledge, reason, science, and alike.  Even so that link gives me the creeps.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 November 2007 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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Agree with you 100%, marlashane. I’ve been pushing for the same issues, particularly COMMUNICATE.

wink

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Posted: 26 November 2007 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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marlashane - 25 November 2007 10:45 PM

Target Audience
As broad as possible. There are non-believers everywhere, of every ilk. CFI is guilty of focusing on the white collar college grad (and they also put effort into the college students) - this is unfortunate.

There are a few ways how to appeal to a larger audience:

1) Be different. Sagan did with Cosmos in times when documentary programs practically didn’t exist on TV. (Neil de Grasse Tyson should concentrate on the internet, not the TV. How about a cool science game for Nintendo Wii?)

2) Be controversial. Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are an excellent example.

3) Be entertaining. Everybody loves the Point of Inquiry. This is largely due to DJ’s talents. Invest in promoting this program. Send DJ to evening talk shows.

4) Be trendy. The producers of The Golden Compass know this. It feels like a “Lord of the Rings IV.” An excellent tool to spread your message.

[ Edited: 27 November 2007 06:46 AM by George ]
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Posted: 26 November 2007 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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Great ideas, George. My only small quibble is that Tyson does have the drawing power to be extremely effective on television. Not everyone has those skills, but he definitely does. So I would hope that Tyson does both TV and internet. (Although actually you do raise the issue that Tyson still doesn’t really have much of an internet presence).

But as I say, in general I think you’re exactly right.

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Posted: 26 November 2007 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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These are also very expensive ideas. I think in the meantime CFI should keep focusing on the colleges as these are usually the first place where any changes within a society first arise.

[ Edited: 27 November 2007 06:45 AM by George ]
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Posted: 26 November 2007 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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George - 26 November 2007 08:29 AM

There a few ways how to appeal to a larger audience:

1) Be different. Sagan did with Cosmos in times when documentary programs practically didn’t exist on TV. (Neil de Grasse Tyson should concentrate on the internet, not the TV. How about a cool science game for Nintendo Wii?)

2) Be controversial. Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are an excellent example.

3) Be entertaining. Everybody loves the Point of Inquiry. This is largely due to DJ’s talents. Invest in promoting this program. Send DJ to evening talk shows.

4) Be trendy. The producers of The Golden Compass know this. It feels like a “Lord of the Rings IV.” An excellent tool to spread your message.

All good ideas. Except #4 can cut both ways: you might get bursts of interest, but then most of it fades away eventually when people find another trend to follow. I guess the key here is to get people’s attention, and then you need to start laying a more permanent foundation of knowledge in people that will allow them to have longer-term interest and satisfaction.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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George - 26 November 2007 08:29 AM

There are a few ways how to appeal to a larger audience:

1) Be different. Sagan did with Cosmos in times when documentary programs practically didn’t exist on TV. (Neil de Grasse Tyson should concentrate on the internet, not the TV. How about a cool science game for Nintendo Wii?)

2) Be controversial. Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens are an excellent example.

3) Be entertaining. Everybody loves the Point of Inquiry. This is largely due to DJ’s talents. Invest in promoting this program. Send DJ to evening talk shows.

4) Be trendy. The producers of The Golden Compass know this. It feels like a “Lord of the Rings IV.” An excellent tool to spread your message.

Excellent points George.  As for video game promotion there is a funky evolution game in the works called SPORE http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/146 that could benefit from trendy marketing involving some of the controversial figure heads like Dawkins.  I second the motion to get DJ in the lime light, but I worry that if his voice is made public it could jeopardize his unbiased journalistic charm.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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I don’t know if this was mentioned. But, what about offering the publications, Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry etc., as also “digital”/“electronic” online editions. I’m thinking also that Prometheus will have to consider going partly “digital” in the next few years also.

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Posted: 27 November 2007 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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George - 26 November 2007 08:29 AM
marlashane - 25 November 2007 10:45 PM

Target Audience
As broad as possible. There are non-believers everywhere, of every ilk. CFI is guilty of focusing on the white collar college grad (and they also put effort into the college students) - this is unfortunate.

 

4) Be trendy. The producers of The Golden Compass know this. It feels like a “Lord of the Rings IV.” An excellent tool to spread your message.

George—have you read these books. Did you know how it turns out…{refraining from spoiler}

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