The above being noted a few things still resonate with me. The first is that Horgan notes he likes to bash, which is fine if you take the time and effort to learn about the target at hand. The devil's advocate has a rightful place forcing people and groups to think through their ideas, expose weaknesses and hopefully make revised ideas stronger or jettison them if they fall apart. However, Horgan in this instance was not playing the part of a contrarian but a troll. In particular, this line in Horgan's second response struck a chord:
I accomplished what I set out to do, to provoke a debate about skepticism. And I really enjoyed my chats with people at NECSS, who taught me a lot about their goals and methods. (emphasis added)
|Prince Charles: homeopathy advocate|
+ a Field Marshall = Conundrum
The corollary to the above that bothers me is why he was invited, but not that he was allowed to speak. Once he was invited the organizers were correct in letting him take the stage, and if he was hustled off the stage that would be unfortunate. Given that I was not there, all I can share is that it just strikes me as odd. I suspect there is more to this than has been shared publicly.
Finally, after the past five or six years of turmoil within the skeptical movement (at least in the U.S.), it is heartening to see the tribe is able to rally. Tribalism normally connotes something negative. Given skepdom's history that we're able to circle the wagons when necessary gives me the feels. For this I grudgingly give Horgan credit.