Yesterday evening I went to the Humanists Association of Northern Ireland’s regular monthly meeting expecting to hear from their arranged speaker David mcConaghie, Press Officer of the Caleb Foundation: the group behind the inclusion of the creationist display at the Giant’s Causeway. I was joined by Colin and Peter of the Facebook campaign to remove the display, all psyched and rehearsed in our lines of debate.
Sadly, Iain Deboys, organisation Chair, informed us that McConaghie and the foundation’s chairman, Wallace Thompson, would not be attending. What followed was frustration and annoyance, whilst not being altogether surprised that they are so unwilling to talk to anyone who may oppose their views it is an utterly ridiculous and cowardly thing to back out of an event which was planned weeks ago, showing that they are unable to defend themselves in a public sphere.
We were informed that all correspondence between the Humanist Ass. and Caleb was carried out very carefully and Ian remarked that at times they even appeared jovial during telephone calls; at one point Thompson said, “Some people think we’re nuts, maybe they’re right.” A certain level of humour employed perhaps in an attempt to endear us to them. They were ensured that questions would not be pre-approved, yet all efforts would be made to see that the event is peaceful and carried out in a formal manner.
However, Iain then went and asked if a group member, John Pearson, who is also a member of Atheist Ireland, had requested to video record the event the response from Caleb was that they would have to check with “the Men”. While “the Men” weren’t that keen in the first place, thinking perhaps they’d be ambushed, and rather than simply say “no” to all recording, it was decided by “the Men” that they would not attend. McDonaghie and Thompson said yesterday that “their hands were tied.” That they personally were happy enough but “the Men weren’t”.
It was disappointing to see that such a public body is so unwilling to speak publicly about the actions which they take. Actions which affect so many people in different ways. If they are unable to defend themselves or have rational, evidence-based reasons for carrying out the actions that they have, then perhaps they should not hold the positions that they do and continue to preach the nonsense that they do.
Perhaps next time we’ll ask the women.