Skeptic Avengers Assemble for #greatskepticism

I once had a work colleague who was a diehard, gun-toting, religious, Conservative Republican. She (yes, she) was probably more pro-gun than religious having a poster hung in her office that said “Charleton Heston Is my God” (in reference to his leadership of the National Rifle Association). She loved to brag about her hunting trips and the animals she would slay and butcher. It was a disgusting display to me.

But, she was a good worker, helped me out when I needed it. She threw me a baby shower! She knew I did not share in the ideologies that she held but our goal was to do our jobs. We cooperated. It worked. I liked her.

The reason I tell this story is as an example – her strong opinions about some things never prohibited us from working together under a common banner. We had rules to follow and goals to achieve. We never even argued about stuff. We understood that many facets of ourselves were our own and we did not have to justify those to each other if that didn’t matter to our jobs.

We can’t ever agree on everything with everyone. Not our parents, siblings, children, best friends, spouses.

As a critical thinking advocate, I have a goal. I want to expose and warn of nonsense. I wish to help people question and to make rational life decisions. And, I’d hope I can guide them in thinking more completely about what they accept to be true.

Is that your goal? Is that why you do skeptical advocacy and activism? Is that why you have a web site, write and share links? Is that why you give talks and participate in projects? If so, we all can get on the same bus and move forward.

Now about this bus. There are common sense rules that serve everyone. Bullying, name calling, and inappropriate touching are all not allowed. Smoking is frowned upon. Feel free to swear but make it count. Oh, and keep the ‘o’ in count just to be safe.

It takes all kinds to reach a broad audience. So be yourself and do your thing your way. But, being free to do it your way means being OK with others who do it their way. Accept that everyone will do something that makes you cringe. Got a problem or suggestion about their method or results? Don’t assume you know what you are talking about. Ask clarifying questions. Questioning often reveals more. Especially if that problem you had arose from a 140 character tweet.

I see no value in fighting with each other when there are vile nasties out there hurting, defrauding and manipulating others. What a waste of energy, enthusiasm and time spent shredding each other when we can assail the really bad eggs.

Acting not as rivals but as colleagues, the skeptical Avengers assembled, would result in some truly #greatskepticism. Imagine the impact!

6 thoughts on “Skeptic Avengers Assemble for #greatskepticism

  1. Good post, Sharon. It echoes my own feelings about this whole fracas being a waste of time and intellectual resources better spent on the real opposition. As I tweeted last night, “My lovely skeptics… I’m staying out of this fight – I’ve a low drama tolerance, and I’ve never event taken the (expletive redacted) class.”

  2. I totally agree. It’s like watching primary school children fighting over something. Whilst there is a valid point being argued it is now past it’s sell by date and has become personal between personalities.

  3. Jon Stewart made a summary observation in his interview with Terry Gross last year. He said that we’ve reached the point where we can’t tell the difference between those we simply disagree with and those who are our “enemies”.

    Fine post

  4. I love this post, but I must disagree with this:

    But, being free to do it your way means being OK with others who do it their way.

    There is a difference between being OK with the way others do things and being OK with their right to do it their way. The latter is necessary (and lawful, I might add), but the former is not.

    Your follow-up to that – suggestions for how to criticize and clarify – is well-noted, but if we are in the business of reducing harm, our criticisms should not neglect ourselves and fellow skeptics when we feel that their methods and approaches are harmful.

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