April 10, 2015

Atheist Blogosphere Weighs in on PZ Myers

Iceland RiftAfter Atheist Ireland issued their statement dissociating from PZ Myers, I wasn't sure what would happen next. Would other individuals and/or organizations sign on, or would the statement be met with uncomfortable silence? Then something I did not expect happened. Atheist Northern Ireland quickly issued a statement on their Facebook page in which they expressed support for Atheist Ireland's statement. The Secular Policy Institute then posed an interesting question about why “shock jock” bloggers continue to be invited to speak at prominent secular conferences. They noted, "We believe the secular movement should stop rewarding those who cause discord."

Not surprisingly, the atheist blogosphere has been buzzing about these various statements and their implications. This has been an unusually busy week at work, and I am way behind on my reading. I haven't had any time to seek out posts on the topic, so I thought I'd share those that have turned up in my feed and that I have had a chance to read.
Hemant Mehta's post appears to have generated some strong reactions from the Freethought Blogs/Skepchick crowd, as he was accused by Rebecca Watson of endorsing "a hate forum." Why does this sort of accusation sound so familiar? Oh, that's right! Hemant runs a hate group. Anyway, Watson's post was sufficiently over-the-line to draw a response from the Center for Inquiry's Ron Lindsay.

My guess is that we will see more people weighing in on this subject. While it does not surprise me that PZ has become the central figure here, I do think that some of the questions being raised and debated are much larger than him or any other one person. We have many options for dealing with bad ideas, and some appear to be far more consistent with freethought than others. This is a topic I have taken up recently and will continue to explore as I find the time to do so.

Update: I've added a few more posts on the subject to the list above.

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