No Skepticism Allowed

I saw an interesting tweet this evening. It really started to make me think, especially after having read the blog piece associated with the tweet.

The tweet was from EllenBethWachs. The original tweet was Skepchik[sic] Heina fails at skepticism and common decency.

Here’s the blog post which Ms. Wachs was referring. I find the entry interesting in that someone that calls themselves a skeptic, and is speaking at a skeptical conference, would say what she did about Michael Shermer. Had she known he was the “surprise speaker”, she would have tried to prevent him speaking? If she couldn’t do that, she would have declined to speak?

Most of us know of the controversy, stirred up by a faction, led by some at FtB and endorsed, by the way, of the Skepchicks in general. Of course, there’s no proof offered about this matter. It’s a “She said” matter and as we all know, if one person, notably a woman, any woman, makes an accusation against someone else, particularly a man, well, it must be true. No one would lie would they?

No one would have some axe to grind. He must be guilty then! Let’s toss out skepticism and become stone throwers because one person pointed a finger at another person and accused them of a heinous crime. Yes. A crime.

After exchanging another tweet, it finally hit me and I asked the question: is there an implication that “they” have to approve speakers for conferences they attend or speak at?.

Ms. Wachs response? Seems that way, yes?.

I agree.

I’m sure there’s speakers at conferences I personally would not care to hear, but I wouldn’t prevent them from speaking. I would probably just not attend their talk, or panel, or whatever. This includes FtB and Skepchick. There are a few from FtB that I really would like to hear in person. To be honest, to date, I can’t think of any from Skepchick I would want to hear. But then, I also wouldn’t not attend because one of them were speaking. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to convince the conference organizers not to invite a particular person. If the speakers list, usually announced months in advance, were that toxic to me, I would just choose not to attend.

It bothers me to no end for people to become judge and jury, try to sway public opinion, on something that they personally have no direct knowledge about. No skepticism there!

So please, you that make moral judgements of others without evidence of any wrongdoing, stop referring to yourselves as skeptics. You make the rest of the skeptic community seem ridiculous.

One thought on “No Skepticism Allowed

  1. I find the idea of trying to prevent someone from speaking to be objectionable too. Like you, there are certainly conference speakers I would have no interest in hearing. I can imagine skipping their talks. I could also imagine that I’d have no interest in attending a conference I perceived as over-representing them. But the idea of trying to stop them from speaking means that I’d be taking it upon myself to prevent others from hearing them, and I do not see how that would be justifiable. I find it unfortunate that this sort of thing has become common enough that few are openly questioning it.


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