Skepticon is an annual convention which focuses on skepticism, atheism, and social justice. (Not necessarily in that order, of course.)
Good stuff, right? Eventually, though, the conference unamicably parted ways with one of their only perennial speakers:
— Atheist Revolution (@vjack) June 21, 2016
Instead of privately contacting Dr. Carrier, the folks at Skepticon made a public show of banning him from the event, for the sake of “attendees’ well being and comfort” which was allegedly “put at unacceptable risk by Carrier’s presence.”
This has turned out to be a costly mistake, as the conference is now defending itself against a libel suit from Dr. Carrier, as detailed by Hemant Mehta:
— PatheosAtheist (@PatheosAtheist) September 25, 2016
In the age of digital media, this lawsuit will inevitably result in more public scrutiny of the various allegations against Dr. Carrier, along with an outpouring of support for Skepticon and the other defendants. Partisans will dig in on all sides, legal defense funds will be raised, and in the end, a few lawyers will be enriched and rather few minds will be changed. All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again.
Last month, David Smalley (whom I first encountered at Skepticon) asked us to contemplate what is killing the atheist movement:
— Dogma Debate (@DogmaDebate) August 21, 2016
From here, it certainly looks like we are killing ourselves.