As promised, today brings another wave of resignations from Centre for Inquiry Canada. It must be clear that the Board of Director’s official statement was insufficient to prevent further haemorrhaging.
This morning CFI Vancouver Executive Director Jamie Williams resigned and was followed shortly by Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) co-chair Michael Kruse. While Jamie didn’t discuss his reasoning openly in his email to the CFI Vancouver Google Group, Michael provided a detailed note on Facebook discussing his concerns.
In the note, Michael discusses his disappointment with the split in the board and his concerns that the branding project is now at risk. He had hoped for a more structured and professional CFI with a clear mandate. Instead recent events have put that possibility in jeopardy.
He also discusses his desire to found a new group dedicated to promote scientific skepticism outside of CFI. His group’s focus will irk PZ Myers-loyalists though:
…the promotion of atheism and secularism, a promotion that I value highly, is yet a hindrance to our attempts to promote scientific skepticism, and that an organisation that is committed to promoting critical thinking and science will be more successful if it has only that as a focus.
From what I had heard of the results of the branding process, CFI would have been dropping humanism and community building from its core mandate in favour of focussing on tackling winnable skeptical and secular issues. Despite the fact that this thoroughly refutes the accommodation-confrontation narrative, this also seems to be the direction that Michael is hoping to head in.
Locally though, volunteers are quickly following Jamie in the exodus. Treasurer, book club, and blood drive coordinator (and my wife) Sonia Milbradt has resigned. Each resignation was quick to acknowledge how much they valued our local community. The planned Solstice Potluck between the BC Humanists and CFI Vancouver will continue, as will December’s blood drive and book club.
Finally, from the comments on my big piece (and a follow up email with me), former board member Ian McCuaig revealed that Justin Trottier’s uncle and board member Lorne Trottier had promised to make a $100,000 donation to CFI Canada next year provided Justin could be given a position. While Lorne has been a substantial donor in the past, this new donation sounded conditional to Ian.
This reeks of corruption and nepotism. We expect this from churches, not from an organization dedicated to rationalism.
When the dust settles, the community will go on. While CFI Vancouver has lost a number of capable and dedicated members today, I am confident the Vancouver freethinking community will remain vibrant.