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Posted on Feb 6, 2013 in blogosphere | 28 comments

“The Peace Process Will Continue”

Last week, I authored a piece titled “A call for civil discussion, an end to the in-fighting” [140 comments, at the time of this posting, are attached to this popular post] concerning a very optimistic project devised by Lee Moore (A-News podcast) who is attempting to help put an end to the online ‘atheist in-fighting’ by — in part — hosting a candid civilized discussion. I will be a participant in this upcoming discussion and am, of course, supporting this initiative.

Moore wrote,

In order to facilitate this I am calling for representatives from both camps in these blog wars to sit down with me in what may be the first of many live and public google hangouts to discuss grievances and come back to the world of civil discussion and cooperation.  I am also asking for an end to the attacks from both sides as a show of good faith (and not the faith of the religious, but the faith that all atheists share: faith in ourselves—in our humanity and our ability to work together to create a more rational, understanding society).

So I invite you—no, I implore you—to join us in our campaign for cooperation.

There’s now an update.

A post titled “The Peace Process Will Continue” has been released with some interesting developments:

  • Adam Brown and Amanda Brown of ‘We are Atheism‘ have pledged their full support. Amanda will be moderating the discussion.
  • Aron Ra will also be moderating the discussion.
  • Flash Kellish of the National Atheist Party has pledged support.

Moore also writes,

We have been asked repeatedly why we are making this attempt.  In short, many of our bloggers and activists have wasted a great deal of time and energy on these uncivil arguments with one another; time and energy that could have been spent making progress in the fight that brought us all together in the first place.  Not a day goes by without a story about why the Atheist community seemed interesting and inviting at first but then became a turn-off when the infighting was revealed.  This conflict is pushing away many who would be our allies, not because either side is right or wrong, but because there is a great deal of irrational mudslinging from members of a community that claim to have the final say in rationality.

Perhaps there is hope for a stop to the in-fighting? The conversation continues and this discussion is coming closer to a reality.

Consider leaving your comments below.

  • Here’s an idea: people can stop clicking on the drama-driven blogposts and when Skepchicks can’t profit off this, they’ll move on.

    • I don’t think ignoring ‘drama-driven blogposts’ is going to make a difference. This discussion, though, should allow for the discussion of differences and perhaps ultimately lead to an end to the in-fighting. It’s ambitious for sure, but I am willing to give it a shot. I’m not one to shy away from discussion.

      • You show them, @justinvaculasin:disqus I’m confident, you’ll do fine!!

        • This really isn’t the sentiment needed for progress on any cease fire.

          • I know, but that’s the mood they get when they’ve treated you with verbal abuse, defamation, attempts at making you loose your job and double standards every other time we’ve tried to talk this through!

            I don’t see why this time would be different.

            • Then you see no reason to proceed with this attempt. Got it. Or are you saying something else?

              • I see no reason why trying to reason with them would be different this time.

    • Here’s an idea: stop claiming that people are profiting over drama posts when it’s been repeatedly demonstrated that it’s not true.

      We need to start by addressing the issues and the facts and not simply prop up straw man responses that have already been rebutted.

  • Metalogic42

    Any news on who will actually be *in* the discussion?

    • I’m confirmed. It has been quite easy to confirm a ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ for this discussion, but very difficult for persons presenting alternative points of view.

      • Metalogic42

        Well, Clint Eastwood and William Lane Craig have both pulled an empty chair stunt. Maybe it’s your turn!

      • I really hope this goes ahead. I doubt it will as “that side” have established pre-conditions, so for them to come to the table they will have to go back on what they have said.

    • A better question, is there anyone *in* the discussion who has actually been responsible for the debacle, or is it a bunch of people who just want to talk about what everyone else is doing and have no means whatsoever to actually stop the problems? Is PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson going to come? How about the people from the Slymepit? If not, then it’s just a waste of time, the only people coming to the table are the people who have no control over the outcome.

  • Vic

    Thank God.

    …you know what I mean.

  • I think we need a two state solution. We’ll take the Secular, Atheist, Sceptic and Freethought part. They can have the Radfem, Far Left, Pc and Groupthink part.

  • While it may be possible to reduce the in-fighting, I don’t think it’ll be possible to end it entirely, or even to get close. The problem, just as it is between atheists and theists, is that there are two entirely different and conflicting worldviews at work. I have a feeling that neither side is going to be willing, as a group, to give an inch because both are supremely convinced that their side is correct and compromise is antithetical to victory.

    It is very much like debating an evangelical Christian. How and where do you find a compromise and common ground between two positions when both sides think the other side is out of their mind?

    • Karmakin

      And to make it even worse, both sides are even claiming the same moral/ethical space, with thinking that the other side is acting in a sexist, bigoted fashion.

  • I am Lance A. Sievert of Atheism United Headquarters, I offer any help in support and I have this to share…

    How should atheists negotiate or deal with theists?
    With contempt?
    With disrespect?
    With abrasiveness?

    I have felt as many of you do. If I take the emotion out of it, then
    ask myself, “How does social change like that we desire actually come
    about?” That leads me to ask myself, “How has similar change came about
    in the past?” “What has actually worked in the past?”

    How did other groups gain social acceptance and equal treatment?

    I can name some names of people who did bring about major social change
    and they all have the same approach… Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Rosa
    Parks, Buddha and even Jesus Christ. Minorities like children, women,
    African Americans, the LGBT community have all made great strides that
    are irreversible socially.

    If we want to invoke the real, long
    lasting social change atheist need worldwide, then we must look at
    methods that have proven success. I believe the methods of those I
    mentioned are the only legitimate and effective approach.

    Nonviolence, unity and yes, even turning the other cheek if appropriate,
    does more to create change than any beat down we can make on one or
    many theists.