An update on the dialogue so far

I would like to thank the participants and those who have been following the progress of the atheist skeptic dialogue process so far. We have got off to a good start, with people discussing important issues, including areas of agreement and disagreement, in a reasonable way that can gradually build trust.

The moderating team has been working effectively, and with a good working relationship, in ensuring that the process operates according to the agreed principles published on the website.

Two questions have arisen in the past few days which we have discussed today.

The first question is whether the statements by the main participants should be subject to moderation. I did not explicitly address that issue with the main participants when setting up the process. That was an oversight on my behalf, and I take responsibility for it and apologise for the resulting confusion.

Now that the issue has arisen, we have decided that we will not now begin to moderate the statements by the main participants, as this was not explicitly part of what was initially proposed, unless such a change is agreed by all of the main participants.

The second question is whether the process of responding separately to two opening statements, which broadly address similar issues, is becoming too cumbersome for the participants and the readers. We agree that it may be becoming so, although it was important to begin with each viewpoint being raised and replied to.

In order to bring the dialogue into one conversation, the moderating team will soon compose an updated review of the areas of agreement and disagreement so far, and that draft statement will then be the basis for ongoing discussion by the participants, and will evolve into the outcome statement for strand 1 of the agenda.

As was stated in the original announcement of the dialogue, we will also learn as we go along how to fine-tune or adapt the structure for future agenda items.

We have sent a draft of this statement to the main participants for their input and agreement before publishing it. It is important to the process that everyone involved has confidence in the integrity of the process and its ability to respond fairly to their concerns and input about how it is progressing.

Michael Nugent
on behalf of Moderating team


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