So – How Did You Act After Reading This Article About SkeptiCon?

I’ve written and deleted and written and deleted the following until I had to reach for the painkillers and a warm bath – and I’ll settle for this.

Upon reading this article, particularly these lines:

 The Springfield Expo Center was packed Saturday. Volunteers have been working since Friday packaging meals for victims of Hurricane Sandy. “We work with all different groups, different churches, non-denominational, cross denominations, just everybody,” says Karen Wood with Friends Against Hunger.

…Just down the hall from where Meals a Million is packaging its meals, another just as diverse but very different crowd filled the Expo Center for the 5th annual Skepticon Convention. “Skepticon is well known everywhere as a place where you’ll find lots of obnoxious and aggressive atheists and skeptics,” says Biologist and professor from the University of Minnesota, Morris, P.Z. Myers.

Did you:

a) Check out opportunities to donate to similar packages to the needy that are run by (say) Interfaith groups or secular groups out there? Maybe promote them or remind people that such efforts exist, if you can’t afford to donate?

b) Notice that there’s opportunities to donate for the last few days for the second year running (at least), to schools in need via the Donors Choose challenge – and thoughtfully selected those that have a particular need for resources post-Hurricane Sandy or science classes, or others?

c) Perhaps you’ve previously donated to a conference to help out their live-streaming of content so it’s less of a burden to the event to make it available to those elsewhere; or donated to help a panel travel across their country to appear at a conference; or donated to help young people attend a conference; or suggested lists of people who would present new, different and diverse views on what constitutes skeptical or atheist activism at a conference; or wrote articles that praised skeptical and atheist conferences and their content in order to balance out any possible negative views of such groups… and made a staunch decision to continue to do so in the future after reading the media’s interpretation of this one particular event?

d) Smirk, say “Sucks to be a blogger on FTB, who naturally must support everything said by its members without a mind of their own – I think I’ll just continue to be smug about the sorry state of atheism as demonstrated by that article’s quoting of PZ Myers as being the main voice that will naturally drown out all other voices” and encourage permutations of such views.

I still have more painkillers to get through, so maybe this won’t hurt so much tomorrow. I really hope so.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Gina

    ““Skepticon is well known everywhere as a place where you’ll find lots of obnoxious and aggressive atheists and skeptics,”

    Clearly PZ was being sarcastic and/or humourous and the article selectively quoted him as a foil for the charity. I read that some of the charity-goers went to SkeptiCon because it was free. Isn’t free educational content charitible?

    It’s unfair, but atheists are always battling bad stereotypes, particularly when it suits the media to make such a comparison. You shouldn’t let it get you down and atheists shouldn’t let it go unchallenged.

    Get well soon, btw.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I’m still sad about it. Having friends choose d) has made me feel more upset. Hey ho, medication…

  • BB

    e) Ignored it as ignorant media reporting that didn’t do its research?

    Video was cute.

    • Alan

      People who judge you by the url you’re on aren’t friends. In 2013, try being more selfish and less giving if people overlook your contributions, or think that you’re part of a tribal mindset rather than a free thinking woman.

      • Alan

        Hit enter too early. With thirty bloggers on this network only a fool would judge you by a handful. Do they judge Shermer as Libertarian so everyone on skeptic blogs is?

  • Kylie Sturgess

    Thanks for the nice words. I guess I remembered when I supported people joining groups I didn’t like and similar in terms of writing for sites – and hoped that they could be bigger people too. Best to move on.

    f) Write a letter to the editor of the website/publication saying that there’s more to atheism and skepticism than what the reporter selected.

    • hang in there

      “This Too Shall Pass…”

  • Crawley

    A local rag doesn’t like atheists when they bring business to their little town? Feh.

    When it’s the New York Times or some big broadsheet publication, then I’ll care.

    By the way, does anyone criticize author Stephen Law for writing on the same network as Justin “Y You No Quit Ladies” Vacula? Wake me when that happens.

  • GGS

    g) Note that some of your fellow FtB bloggers were among those packing meals for the very same charity a day earlier, despite the fact the media had failed to report it?

    • Kylie Sturgess

      The “local rag not doing its due research” is looking more accurate. :(


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