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Springfield Freethinkers Message Board General Discussion › I won't be attending Skepticon 5

I won't be attending Skepticon 5

A former member
Post #: 35
John-Henry
There, Larry. Now you've heard of some people espousing misogynistic ideas that enforce a culture of oppression. There's a multitude of sources if you want to look, including the local paper.
I was not referring to any particular event, skeptical or otherwise.

I was referring to a particular event. I'm well aware of those ideas espoused outside of the convention. I've fought them my whole life. I was specifically talking about the convention feminists speakers and their audience.

I've made efforts to address politics at the convention and was told that, that is a "hard sale" for a convention of this type. So I dropped it, and assumed it would focus on the damage of religion vs. science. I don't see where you can separate politics from science or religion.

I'm not negating the necessity to squelch the agenda of the radical right, I'm all for it, and I assume the bulk of the audience is already well aware of it as well.

The propensity of the feminists to rail it at the audience is aiming it at the wrong audience. The attendees of Skepticon is highly savvy of those who would digress our achievements back to the stone age. That's why I say those issues are being preached to the choir.

Their values are noble, but has a seemingly low opinion of men that attend the convention. It's within that audience that I've never heard espousement of misogynistic ideas. But I hear it plenty in the political and religious environment.

If the convention is intending to morph into that arena, it would be better served to be a "open to the public", then the ones that need to hear that would be there, and could be challenged and debated to the fullest extent.

Here's an example of local pastor that needs a huge open public challenge debate.
http://www.youtube.co...­
It's less than 3 minutes....and at 1:45 makes the biggest blooper of the year right before our local city council...so watch it to the end. Update: This guy may actually be a genius, and that may have been his intent...lol...kudos to him.

Challenges are here in abundance and especially in this community and Skepticon has the debate talent to open some eyes within the religious community if they would invite them to defend their insane positions at the convention.

I realize it's a big party for atheists, but the potential is far greater than that.
A former member
Post #: 2,101

Here's an example of local pastor that needs a huge open public challenge.
http://www.youtube.co...­
It's less than 3 minutes....and at 1:45 makes the biggest blooper of the year right before our local city council...so watch it to the end.
LOL that was great he had me going until I realized what he was doing. Big Black Eye for the ol' bible full of holes as it is. love struck
A former member
Post #: 2,102
Wait a sec. I just realized I'm not just an "old white man" I'm a "privileged old white man"...wait...now that I think about it I'm actually a "privileged DIRTY old white man".biggrin

But that still doesn't make the new Skepticon Harassment Policy any less of a subjective mess.

I'm a skeptic first a supporter of Skepticon second and will never lend my support to poorly contrived policies based on grade A bullshit.

A former member
Post #: 36
Big Black Eye for the ol' bible full of holes as it is.
Yeah, I thought I had heard the worst of it until he hit the blooper line.

This was only a small snippet of that council meeting, an extended version is found here, it's 47 min. long.
http://www.youtube.co...­
John-Henry B.
user 9000802
Springfield, MO
Post #: 143
...I was specifically talking about the convention feminists speakers and their audience.

...I don't see where you can separate politics from science or religion.

I'm not negating the necessity to squelch the agenda of the radical right, I'm all for it, and I assume the bulk of the audience is already well aware of it as well.

The propensity of the feminists to rail it at the audience is aiming it at the wrong audience. The attendees of Skepticon is highly savvy of those who would digress our achievements back to the stone age. That's why I say those issues are being preached to the choir.

Their values are noble, but has a seemingly low opinion of men that attend the convention. It's within that audience that I've never heard espousement of misogynistic ideas. But I hear it plenty in the political and religious environment.

If the convention is intending to morph into that arena, it would be better served to be a "open to the public", then the ones that need to hear that would be there, and could be challenged and debated to the fullest extent.

I realize it's a big party for atheists, but the potential is far greater than that.


At Skepticon 4 we had JT give an impassioned speech about the importance of treating mental illness as an important topic worth addressing with skepticism. It was very popular.

That is the same thing the feminists are doing. I've been to the Skepticons and listened to those. They aren't calling all men evil misogynists. They are raising awareness of a big problem with our society that they feel needs addressing, and encouraging others to take it seriously and help address the problem.

Preaching to the choir is what conventions do. And they do it on purpose. Bringing up new issues that should be addressed, spreading information we can use, and most importantly increasing morale and encouraging further activism by the participants.

Mostly I just see the feminists trying to raise awareness of the problems that I know I'm often oblivious to. As a man I don't typically see those things going on. Being aware that it is going on and causes a lot of harm is how people get involved in solving problems.

It's quite obvious that merely being a skeptic doesn't make us immediately aware of everything going on. Nor does it make us immune to our culture with all its biases. Being a skeptic and atheist I notice a lot more now when vaguely wooish stuff like talk of souls or thanking supernatural forces comes up. In the same way feminists notice more when people do things like use misogynistic slurs as a matter of course, or use infantalizing language toward women, and so on.

If all you're taking from those feminist talks at Skepticon is that they're attacking men, scolding them or whatever, then as someone who has also been at those talks, I'm pretty certain that you were not listening very carefully to what they actually said, Larry.
A former member
Post #: 37
Fair enough John-Henry. For the feminists speakers, as well as some of the male speakers, I gather data from their blogs and the comments of their followers. I can't assume all the flak I've read is nonsense. I did follow closely to Carriers promotion of it and his critics and ALL their referenced links and I was appalled. The backlash was so severe that I couldn't dismiss it as bad data. If one wants to paper trail the whole controversy including posts of all the A plusers, comments and video commentaries, it's easy to do and if there were no highly controversial issues, there wouldn't be the consistency that I've found.

Some History:
I've been following the posts, videos, and commentary for the movement long before Bobby Henderson wrote the infamous FSM letter to the Kansas board of education. Long before FB, and the very beginning of myspace. And even before that. So on the internet I'm familiar with the movement and those who pioneered the many organizations as far back as 1999 when I was in the Infidel Guy's forums for years and from there is where the forum members launched sites on Myspace.

There were 5 attempts to get atheists established on myspace, 5 times rejected before they ever had a category for atheists. And the movement started thriving, grew and spread. My own myspace site was political and atheistic with 15,000 members, some of which are on this very meetup site. Reginald Finley interviewed via podcasts, and later by Skype and Youtube when they were developed. Such notables as Michio Kaku and Richard Dawkins, lawyer Michael Newdow, creationist Kent Hovind, Ali Sina, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, and Michael Shermer, Robert Price, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and many others long before any of these conventions existed and prior to these icons rise in popularity.

So it's only natural for me to pay close attention to the movement, I have much invested.

The movement morphed smoothly all those years, and if there were any in-fighting, I would know about it through the vast network. So I was dismayed when the first problems started to arise as I knew it would cause divisiveness, and it did. What I witnessed, and what I hoped was that all those who were heavily invested would still be a cohesive effort.

I didn't see it fragment to any extent until FB came along, then people started scattering and communications started fragmenting. But the movement itself still survived to what it is today. I viewed the A+ effort as yet another divisive incident completely irrelevant to what was already values (and politics) embraced by atheists and humanists from the beginning. I viewed it as a transformation from the "we" to the "me" stated otherwise as a power play.

I'll get over it. Cultural evolution just accelerated at a much faster pace than I ever imagined. That's what happens when you get old. The mind doesn't change that much, you just physically wear down and become exhausted and less tolerant of what once was a cohesive movement to what ever the hell is going on now.

I'd be more astute to the changes if I had traveled and had more experience in other conventions. Doesn't really matter now. I'll still do what I can do and ignore the pettiness.

When we lost Hitchens, that took a lot of wind from my sails. Outside of academic credentials JT is still a strong driving force that I still have confidence in. Some others as well, and some I've lost confidence in.
Mriana
Mriana1
Excelsior Springs, MO
Post #: 197
Well, Larry, that's why I create my own views, values, etc and not allow anyone to tell me what to believe, value, etc etc. They just happen to be very much like the Humanist Manifesto (probably the second one, but who's being that precise about it). I have a very strong value/ideal/whatever of doing no intentional harm to anyone, including animals, which not everyone shares, but be that as it may, it and a few others are mine and no one else's. The same goes with trying to avoid extremism and dogma too.

That's probably why I don't care much for the click-ish, dogmatic, and extremism mentality of Atheism+. I also don't like one's personal views imposed on others and I get that feeling, esp when Carrier made that "in group and out group" statement of his. It was very much like religious behaviours, IMO, and I think that sort of behaviour doesn't help any movement. IMO, it potentially alienates some groups who could be our allies in another movement (ie feminism and LGBT rights).

Feminism and LGBT rights aren't just an atheism thing, but also a liberally religious thing too. Such movements need as much support from various sources as possible and not just atheists. I honestly think true science can be thrown in there too because there are some religious people who do not buy into pseudo science and want actual science taught, no matter where it may lead. These are our allies in these various movements and I think we would be better off if we did not become click-ish or whatever.
A former member
Post #: 38
it potentially alienates some groups who could be our allies in another movement (ie feminism and LGBT rights).

"Potentially" is not relevant now. The alienation and damage has already been done. That's not to say that amends may have potential, but I seriously doubt it. Even then, years of progress has been annihilated.

Although John-Henry thinks I haven't paid attention, to the contrary, I've seen every single word that Jen, Greta, Carrier and PZ has said concerning the build up of the damaging crescendo. And you can't find it all at FTB. You have to dig far deeper than that. There are things involved that gave rise to the behavior of some of the indiscretions purported, to the extent that I have a reasonable completed picture. IMO, there were some trap pits set that would give the unruly cause to have the wrong impression of the higher goals, it doesn't excuse them, but it appeared instrumental in the flawed behavior of some, others will always be unruly and disruptive.

I've made my conclusions only for my own contentment, others will have to find their own conclusions without any further input from me.

So I'm going to bail out and direct my attention and support to the other organizations where this nonsense is null and void, the ones that have stayed on the progressive track, were the "meeeee" clamoring is non existent, at least thus far. I think the "meeeee" clamoring is a product of cultural changes that I was oblivious too.
A former member
Post #: 2,105
Back to the Policy;

While it does seem to me that the ideology behind this policy is being promoted mostly by the A+ types, it is the subjective nature of the policy itself that undermines Skepticon that is most troubling to me.

I'm not for harassment, who is? Who could be?

I'm am for clearly stating what is meant by the word when used as the core value of a stated policy.

Harassment:
from Webster
(1) : to annoy persistently (2) : to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct
from Dictionary.com
the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution
to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions


As we can all clearly see the definitions for harassment center around the "persistence" of a particular act, it is the persistency that makes an act (any act) harassment not the act itself.

For example; a woman saying to a man she finds attractive "Nice butt!" isn't harassment nor is it harassment if she repeats "Nice butt!" to him several times. It is only harassment when he makes it clear to her that he is uninterested and wants her to cease and desist from making the comment "Nice butt!" to him. If she continues after that point she is clearly harassing him under the definitions above.

However a man wearing a t-shirt that says "I don't like women." isn't harassing anyone. It is free speech protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Regardless of how many woman "feel" harassed.

I rewrote their policy:

Skepticon's
Harassment Policy

Skepticon is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, please contact a member of conference staff immediately.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant continues to engages in harassing behavior, they will be expelled from the conference.


There ya go, no excess rhetoric, simple and to the point.
A former member
Post #: 2,108
For anyone still reading this:

THE LAW

Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 565
Offenses Against the Person
Section 565.090

August 28, 2012


Harassment.

565.090. 1. A person commits the crime of harassment if he or she:

(1) Knowingly communicates a threat to commit any felony to another person and in so doing frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to such other person; or

(2) When communicating with another person, knowingly uses coarse language offensive to one of average sensibility and thereby puts such person in reasonable apprehension of offensive physical contact or harm; or

(3) Knowingly frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to another person by anonymously making a telephone call or any electronic communication; or

(4) Knowingly communicates with another person who is, or who purports to be, seventeen years of age or younger and in so doing and without good cause recklessly frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress to such other person; or

(5) Knowingly makes repeated unwanted communication to another person; or

(6) Without good cause engages in any other act with the purpose to frighten, intimidate, or cause emotional distress to another person, cause such person to be frightened, intimidated, or emotionally distressed, and such person's response to the act is one of a person of average sensibilities considering the age of such person.

2. Harassment is a class A misdemeanor unless:

(1) Committed by a person twenty-one years of age or older against a person seventeen years of age or younger; or

(2) The person has previously pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of a violation of this section, or of any offense committed in violation of any county or municipal ordinance in any state, any state law, any federal law, or any military law which, if committed in this state, would be chargeable or indictable as a violation of any offense listed in this subsection.

In such cases, harassment shall be a class D felony.

3. This section shall not apply to activities of federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement officers conducting investigations of violation of federal, state, county, or municipal law.

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