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Re: [WinnipegSkeptics] Winnipeg Skeptics Membership and Structure

From: Scott C.
Sent on: Monday, September 20, 2010 10:26 PM
If I thought this was your group I would have been gone ya liberal LOL. I appreciate you taking the initiative to set it up and keep it going.
I don't expect agreement on everything, as long as we can keep true to skepticism then lets party.
Scott Carnegie
From: Gem Newman
Sent: Monday, September 20,[masked]:39 PM
Subject: [WinnipegSkeptics] Winnipeg Skeptics Membership and Structure

Hi, everyone.

We recently had a member leave the group. Upon doing so, this person was asked to provide a reason for leaving, which was then forwarded to me. This is what I received:

Hello Gem,
Sorry but I have to leave your group. I am very skeptical about some things that you accept and I can't work with that.
Good luck with your group!

Although this member had not attended any meetups and had not been active in the group, this message was the cause of some concern for me. This was my reply:

Hi, [name].

I'm sorry that you felt that you needed to leave the group as a result of my beliefs. I'm not sure exactly what was at issue, but I want you to know that you are always welcome back at the Winnipeg Skeptics. It's not my intention to impose any sort of skeptical litmus test on members or to model the group after what I do or do not believe.

To my mind, the beliefs themselves are not as important as the method used to arrive at them, and rigidity of thought is inimical to skepticism. I strive to be always open to evidence and always ready to be convinced. If you would like to present any evidence, you are welcome to contact me via email or to post it to the Meetup page.

I wish you all the best.

Now, it's possible that this former member is a conspiracy theorist, or "Darwin Skeptic", or doesn't agree with the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. These are potential areas in which this person and I may disagree. But regardless, the message raised an important issue.

The only reason that I'm the organiser of this meetup is that I was looking for a skeptics' group in Winnipeg and found that there were none, so I started one (that, and I pay the monthly Meetup charges). I've done my best as organiser of the Winnipeg Skeptics, but you didn't elect me, and consequently I may not best represent you.

This isn't my group: this is our group. I don't want what I may or may not believe to have undue influence on its membership or its focus. This is a grassroots organisation. Elected posts and membership dues and whatnot carry with them their own special challenges, but perhaps it is time to discuss those challenges and see whether that's the direction we eventually want to go.

These are important issues, so if you have a moment please let me know what you think. This email has been posted to the message board.

Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by Gem Newman ([address removed]) from The Winnipeg Skeptics.
To learn more about Gem Newman, visit his/her member profile

Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] | [address removed]

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