Monday, 10 June 2013

Open Letter to the International Humanist and Ethical Union

from:     Martin Wiesner
to:   
Sonja Eggerickx ,
Babu Gogineni ,
Matt Cherry ,
Roar Johnsen ,
David Pollock ,
Robbi Robson ,
Deo Ssekitooleko ,
Colin Divens ,
Bob Churchill



Dear Humanists,

In 2011 Professor PZ Myers was awarded the International Humanist Award.

From your website:

"The first awardee’s blog Pharyngula is a global phenomenon and in 2006 was named by 'Nature' magazine as the top-ranked blog by a scientist. His deep commitment to science and science communication is embodied by his blog and his continuing work in encouraging other scientists to use the internet to spread reason and scientific understanding."

The article goes on to say he is a "controversialist by temperament". But just how controversial would you like him to be?

One thing I find beyond the pale is rape jokes. Minimising the suffering of victims, and silencing their voices must be entirely inconsistent with the aims of humanism. Yet for a period of at least a year anal rape jokes were part of the official moderation policy of the 'global phenomenon' which you praised. Where is the consistency?

Anal rape jokes are so repulsive to many that I was given three moderator's warnings in order to make this post at Atheism Plus:
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http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/01/pharyngula-standards-practices/comment-page-1/
"Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice." - official moderation policy of the blog.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/24/truth-isnt-reached-by-dissembl/
"Where’s my rusty porcupine?" - clearly the same porcupine meme - a veiled threat made to Martin Rees

Source: http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4862
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I have been an atheist since age 11, I have a degree in Maths & Philosophy and I am committed to rational discourse. I am a recent convert to humanism, but I cannot join an organisation whose umbrella body chooses to honour a man who makes such perverted statements. Rape is not a joke, and simply should not be treated as one.

To be fair to Professor Myers, he has changed his moderation policy within the last year. He now is clear that his blog should not be used to make threats.However what he has not done is retract the statements, make an apology for them and for the culture of violent threats that it engendered within the comment section of his blog, and take ownership of his stupid behaviour.

Thank you for taking the time to read my statement. Please make sure you honour the work of humanists and not ideologues in future.

Yours sincerely,


Martin Wiesner

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