Let’s talk it out

I can understand why some people don’t want to have public and detailed discussion about community standards about the appropriateness of an incident, rather than just gossip about it. They wind up looking like total assholes.

When your nemesis falls…

My theory, based on research in social psychology, is that the infighting surrounding Atheism & Skepticism is a clear indication that intelligent design/creationism is no longer a serious threat. Continue reading “When your nemesis falls…”

On Catholic Priests and Sketchy Skeptics…

UPDATE: After viewing and hearing whispered rumors (this is called irony) of the discussions following this post, I’ve decided to take down from The Finch and Pea for several reasons. A version will remain posted at She Thought.

First, The Finch and Pea is my intellectual playground. “On Catholic Priests and Sketchy Skeptics…” was written in response to a specific request from friends within the Skeptical Movement to share my thoughts on the negative communication strategies within their community. It was directed at that community and belongs in a venue directed at that community.

Second, sub-point in the article regarding the negative impact of falsely assuming that gossip widely shared within a group, but not outside the group can have on people new to the community. This point is important, but somewhat tangential to the main thesis, which is that gossip paired with public silence distorts the perception of problem behaviors in the community.

In addition, it included a reference to an individual’s widely acknowledged reputation within the community. Despite extensive disclaimers that this reference was specifically restricted to the most superficial level of widespread gossip, it has been misconstrued as a direct allegation of misconduct, which it was not (indeed the rest of the article suggest such a reputation can develop with no history of misconduct). Reviewers of the article agreed that the sub-point could not be made without such a reference, at least not without massive hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, this has completely distracted from the main thesis.

As I have said all along, I think it is up to the community to set its standards of behavior and I am, therefore, willing to acquiesce to them. I may believe that you need to rethink them, but I will still acquiesce to them.

Defining “skepticism”

io9 just highlighted a study about why friends fight. I’m thinking that the quote they pulled out that might cause some fights on its own. From the study’s press release:

This included a list of “triggers”-descriptions of behaviors that someone might find annoying. One example was the word “skepticism” which was described as when someone is overly disbelieving of information that he/she receives, when he/she questions things that are generally accepted, or when he/she is very hard to convince of something.

I think I know some folks in the Worldwide Skeptical Movement that will disagree vehemently with this definition. Thus highlighting the branding issues associated with picking a name historically replete with negative connotations. Still, “Brights” was worse.

In which I agree with PZ. . .

This doesn’t happen much on non-biological issues, but I think I can say, without reservation, that I agree entirely and wholeheartedly with PZ Myers’ take on the events that inspired my post “Community”.