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Non-answer from CFI Board June 17, 2013

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Events, Rants, Responses.
Tags: , , , ,

The CFI Board has issued a statement:

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2.

CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.


That’s the entire statement?  That’s IT????

“…unhappiness with the controversy”.  They “…appreciate the insights and varied opinions…”.  “Going forward we will endeavor to…”

No specifics.  Nothing about how they will take action to avoid this happening in the future.  Nothing about how Ron blindsided the CFI staff, and insulted and condescended to a roomful of dedicated secular activists, not to mention spending the rest of the weekend belittling invited conference speakers?  Nothing about how maybe they could institute some guidelines for this sort of thing, or make sure that any speech to be given by someone representing CFI at a CFI-sponsored conference that has more substance to it than “howdy” will be available for review by the conference organizers first?  Notice how the word “apology” was not included there, either.

They’ve  shown us where the board stands on this issue, which is that they don’t stand anywhere.  Maybe something happened internally, but that does nothing to cool the anger of those of us who were sitting in the audience for Ron’s sermon.  I’ve been considering working on developing an education project with our local chapter, and while I know that the local staff would make me feel welcome, and that my efforts matter, my confidence that the national organization would be able to effectively address gender-related issues has just dropped another notch.  I’ll have to think seriously about this before agreeing to work with CFI on any upcoming activities.  If I were a position to make any donations, they would be earmarked for WIS3 only.

If nothing else, this whole thing shows how desperately the WIS conferences are needed.  I’d hate for them to have to be held by a different sponsoring organization, but I wonder if that’s what needs to happen.  I’ll be watching for the reaction of the other attendees, this should be interesting.



1. Daz - June 17, 2013

Cross-posted from Pharyngula:

We at CFI have an ongoing unhappiness over-quota situation, possibly caused by a happiness shortfall. We are confident that, going forward, an input of generic struggling-and-equality clichées will eventually lead to a raise in happiness quotients, and a consequent relative drop in the unhappiness index.

Yours, in a state of ongoing sinceritiness


ubi dubium - June 17, 2013

Sounds like they need to proactively implement the synergy of their operational paradigm with their mission statement fulfillment metric. That should obviate any future unhappiness surfeit and allow them to facilitate the dynamics of their incremental happiness projections.


Daz - June 17, 2013

The really scary thing is that I actually understood that.


ubi dubium - June 19, 2013

Especially scary since I was trying to create as meaningless a torrent of corporate-speak as I possibly could.


Daz - June 19, 2013

Ah, I’m reading in what isn’t there, then…

If you squint a little at “they need to proactively implement the synergy of their operational paradigm with their mission statement fulfillment metric,” it sort of looks like “they need to actually do what they say they want to do.”


ubi dubium - June 19, 2013

Wow, I’d better work harder at saying nothing. I can take lessons from the CFI Board, they appear to be the experts at it.


2. muggleinconverse - June 17, 2013

I read both your thoughts and Greta’s this morning and have been fuming ever since. Did they really expect this to fly? I’m glad people are pulling their donations and speaking appearances, that will hit them where it hurts.

Still, even if they change their tune I will have a hard time believing that they mean it rather than just responding to bleeding support.



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