Thursday, 18 November 2010

Middle Class, Middle Aged, Rationally Minded, Educated, White Gentlemen in the Pub (MCMARMEWGitP)

Middle Class, Middle Aged, Rationally Minded, Educated, White Gentlemen in the Pub (MCMARMEWGitP) is a popular movement that seems to be picking up a head of steam. Branches are popping up all over the country. I myself even started one in Winchester with my sceptical comrade from the Hampshire Skeptics Society, Dave Hughes, and it’s going from strength to strength.

Each month we invite a fellow MCMARMEWG to the pub to tell us how clever we all are for not believing in silly superstitions.

We have made a couple of exceptions, we did once invite a female speaker, and we’ve even had a speaker of Asian descent called Simon Singh, who gave a very good talk, but he’s obviously not like the rest of them.

So we are quite clearly not an elitist or racist organisation, anyone is welcome to attend. The fact that we have an almost exclusively white audience is sadly just a simple manifestation of the fact that black and Asian people tend to be more superstitious than, and not quite as clever as us.


In the light of last week’s ruling on Paul Chambers' appeal at Doncaster Crown Court, I feel obliged to point out that the above text is of course ironic. Hopefully though you will have found the rhetoric suitably uncomfortable.

It’s a topic that I have brought up on twitter before, shortly after attending this years Amazing Honkyfest where I couldn’t help noticing that our audience was far from an accurate representation of the population at large.

Alom Shaha raised the issue again yesterday in the Guardian, and I believe he is right to do so.

By attending Skeptics in the Pub my friends and family do not see me rejecting my culture, my heritage and my values. Most of the people I know are fairly indifferent to the fact that I get together with a bunch of friends for a drink and a rational discussion on religion, the paranormal or pseudoscience. There are therefore no real consequences for me in attending these meetings and events. This may well not be the case for many Black and Asian people.

Even though the doors of our pubs may be open, we cannot just expect everyone to turn up unencumbered by the beliefs of their family and friends. If Skeptics in the Pub is not the medium for reaching everyone, we need to think what other mediums we should also be promoting in addition to SitP.

Saying that we have a non exclusive open door policy, sadly is not enough.
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