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Are atheists really good without “god”

By Lilandra

Of course we are. Then how could it be possible for Atheism plus social justice issues to possibly divide atheists? If atheism is simply restricted to a non-belief in God/s like some apparently orthodox atheists are insisting, then where does morality originate?  God?  Of course not! Morality has to be intrinsic, and undiluted by wanting an external favor or reward in return. There can be no eternal paradise in reward for keeping the covenant-giver’s commandments.

So the popular CS Lewis argument that morality is extrinsically bestowed upon us by a morally supreme god works to cheapen morality, as humans are not choosing to be moral.  God effectively thrusts morality upon humans making them good in his sight.  However, most atheists don’t believe in supernatural sources for behavior.  Therefore there must be a natural and rational explanation for moral behavior.  Especially since many atheists exhibit it without divine intervention from a god.

The concept of secular morality is not new or even controversial among atheists. Here is a quote from Richard Dawkins, a staunch defender of atheism contrasting absolute morality with secular morality.  It is actually puzzling given his opposition to harassment policies at atheist conventions. (Bold emphasis mine)

Can we not design our society in such a way to have the sort of morality that we want to live in? If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people, among 21st century people: we don’t believe in slavery anymore, we believe in the equality of women, we believe in being gentle, we believe in being kind to animals. These are all things, which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Quranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. They do not come from religion.

In fact, Jen Mc Creight envisioned designing a community of atheists, who were concerned about many of the same things when she proposed Atheism+.

Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism

In fairness to Dawkins, McCreight envisions Atheist+ as being a new wave of atheism in contrast to “New Atheists” like him and Hitchens.

Now it’s time for a third wave – a wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists. It’s time for a wave that cares about how religion affects everyone and that applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime

On the other hand, despite his former stumping for the equality of women in the context of secular morality, he has hardly ingratiated himself with Atheist/Feminist activists by dismissing harassment at conferences on more than one occasion. He re-tweeted a remark recently from a woman who wonders if the sexist abuse that some are receiving is in response to the assumption that other atheists are misogynists.

Frankly, I don’t get the point she is trying to make. Why would people be making sexist, abusive comments if they weren’t misogynists?

That does not compute!

Apparently, Dawkins thought this comment was worth re-tweeting though.  I wonder what Dawkins means by secular morality including equality of women and whether he thinks that sexist abuse from fellow atheists is part of the society he envisioned when he posed this question:

“Can we not design our society in such a way to have the sort of morality that we want to live in?”

How do we get to that secular society with the sort of morality we want to live in? Are we willing to cede morality to the domain of theists?   According to Dawkins the way to a more moral society is, ” a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy.” If the current unnecessary controversies about adopting social justice causes are any indicator –we’re off course.  It doesn’t really matter what we call it -Atheism+, secular morality, secular humanism, or progressive atheism. What matters is we will need as many moral atheists as possible to get there.

Comments

  1. LeftSidePositive says

    This post is so full of win that I have nothing to add, which is unusual for me!

    That is all.

  2. stevelodman says

    You’ve left the stable ground of atheism for politics. Yes, I believe we can come to morality by simple observation and deduction. The golden rule isn’t unique to any religion. The stuff you want to add is freighted by a huge mass of feelings, good and bad, and the definitions are hazy at best. It’s worst when someone starts throwing out charged words like “patriarchy”. It will be a long time, if ever, before we can deal with all of this without emotion.

      • says

        regardless of whether he does or doesn’t, hurling those words can make someone harden up, like ‘no matter how good i am, this person will hate me for something i have no control over’.

        • Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

          Maybe you, and he, should actually take the trouble to find out what “patriarchy” means, and why it is “hurled out”.

          • says

            some people disagree whether there even is a patriarchy, others may not like it applied to them because they don’t support it, it can still make people think you hate them you if you do that.

      • Steve says

        Wow. Define “equal”. In a perfect world, yes I do. In reality, the sexes are different, so no. I do believe that women should be able to do whatever they are capable of doing. At the same time, taking all of the risks and hardships that men take.

        • maxdwolf says

          Wow. Define “equal”. In a perfect world, yes I do. In reality, the sexes are different, so no. I do believe that women should be able to do whatever they are capable of doing. At the same time, taking all of the risks and hardships that men take.

          “Equal” as in afforded equal opportunity, consideration and protection under law and in society, this makes the differences largely moot. Given the under-representation of women in government and the rolling back of their reproductive rights, I’d say no is the appropriate answer. Please note the the question was whether we presently do, not whether we should.

          As an aside, do you actually consider a world in which there is no difference between the sexes “perfect”. I do not. Viva la difference.

      • danielimms says

        Please don’t be discriminatory by only considering the plight of women.

        A better question would read:
        Do you believe that we live in a world where everyone is equal?

    • Rodney Nelson says

      What’s wrong with emotions? We all have emotions. I fail to see how emotionality is a bad thing to be shunned. In fact, if you attempt to do so then you’re forgoing part of your humanity.

      Dictionary atheism is disbelief in gods. But some of us want to expand atheism to include other things like social justice. You may clutch your pure dictionary atheism to your bosom. Other people are not so single-minded.

    • Nathair says

      You’ve left the stable ground of atheism for politics.

      You say that like it’s a bad thing, like engaging on issues of human rights and social reform is some kind of a mistake, like it’s somehow virtuous to cautiously huddle on the safe and “stable ground” of privilege and close your eyes to the inequity and injustice all around.

      Well, complacent apathy is not my idea of virtue.

    • Brian S says

      “You’ve left the stable ground of atheism for politics.”

      You’re assuming the two aren’t inherently related, but even if I grant your statement as accurate for the sake of argument, my question for you is “so what?” Why does it matter if a group of atheists decide to flavor our atheist activism with some social justice? In all the comment sections of posts about this subject I’ve wandered through, no one who objects to Atheism Plus has ever answered this question. The closest anyone has come is to suggest that this group will weaken the overall atheism movement, but seriously, that’s like arguing that same-sex marriage will weaken hetero marriage.

      • detrean says

        The argument against Atheism+ on the topic of weakening the movement’s goals is as follows:

        The over-arching goals of the movement tend to be centered on government representation, promotion of critical thinking skills, and public understanding of what an atheist is. These goals tend to be common among most atheists. The movement is also fairly small and not well funded. Given that we have limited resources and media exposure the argument is that they should be spent on our most common, basic goals. If we spend what little resources we have advocating fifty different goals many of which are not core to the movement then that weakens us. Nothing would get accomplished. There would be no unified push for something specific.

        This isn’t anything like the gay marriage equality issue. This is classic political strategy.

        If Atheism+ is simply a subset of the atheist movement then the above will not be a problem. There already exists many subgroups of atheists and they get along under an “atheist movement” umbrella just fine. If, however, Atheism+ wants to replace the current movement and redefine the goals then the above is an argument that would apply.

        • John Phillips, FCD says

          Then for those, they can carry on with those limited (not meant as a criticism) goals, for some of us it isn’t enough. If that divides the movement, even perhaps weakening it in the short term, then from what I have seen over the last year or so, in my opinion, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Apart from anything else, it might focus minds better on some of the problems in the movement. BTW, I have already lost count of the number of former lurkers on ftb alone who say that A+ has made them decide to become more vocal, both on the blogs and in support of A+.

        • says

          Do you think that an Atheist Knitter’s club diminishes the movement as a whole?

          Cause that’s what A+ is. Atheists interested in social justice. It’s all it ever has been. People constantly draw this incorrect assumption that A+ is going to take over atheism.

          It doesn’t, and don’t bring up Carrier as an example against, because he retracted the statement.

          • Johnnis says

            “Do you think that an Atheist Knitter’s club diminishes the movement as a whole?”

            If there was a club called Atheistm+, who where atheists + we knit, then yes.

          • Johnnis says

            “People constantly draw this incorrect assumption that A+ is going to take over atheism.”

            If this is true, then we must ask our self; Why? And what can we do to correct this assumption?

          • Johnnis says

            “If atheism is simply restricted to a non-belief in God/s like some apparently orthodox atheists are insisting, then where does morality originate? God? Of course not!”

            Seriously? You pull the “where does morality come from” card on atheists?

    • jose says

      “It will be a long time, if ever, before we can deal with all of this without emotion.”

      That much is true at least:

      Lesions of the VM prefrontal cortex interfere with the normal processing of somatic or emotional signals, but leave other cognitive functions minimally affected. This damage leads to pathological impairments in the decision-making process which seriously compromises the efficiency of everyday-life decisions.”

      Emotions are good for you :D

  3. LeftSidePositive says

    stevelodman, you’re being a Straw Vulcan. Reason and emotion are not mutually exclusive.

    By the way, “patriarchy” is a charged word because it discusses a lot of damage and inequality that happens in our society, but just because it’s “charged” in no way means it’s inaccurate. People are allowed to have strong emotions when things directly impact their lives, and that does not give you license to toss out their arguments or their pattern-recognition capabilities.

    And another thing–leaving atheism “for politics” WAS THE POINT of the post. Did you not notice that when Richard Dawkins was pontificating, he expressly mentioned “political and moral philosophy” as a component of being good without god? How can you be so sure politics is unilaterally bad? Humans are social creatures and therefore, by nature, political. Political issues are important and therefore need to be addressed with evidence and rationality.

    • Steve says

      What is “harassment”? What is the “patriarchy”? Why am I being beaten around the head and shoulders merely for having a cock? Why would I want to get into a fight between two (or more) borganisms that feel one way or the other on this? I’ll take my atheism straight, please. Not a joiner, especially now. There are lots of people like me that will go along with much of this with no joining required. You can accept them, or you can drive them out for not following your version of atheism plus. Can’t wait for the future bumfights as everyone figures out just what the hell they have joined. Oy.Opened Pandora’s hard drive, got BSOD.

      • darwinharmless says

        “What is “harassment”? What is the “patriarchy”? Why am I being beaten around the head and shoulders merely for having a cock? Why would I want to get into a fight between two (or more) borganisms that feel one way or the other on this?”

        @Steve Others no doubt have responded to you, but I chocked on this statement you made and lept to respond before reading their comments.

        I also have a cock. I have never felt that I was “beaten around the head and shoulders” for having it. But then I am accutely aware of my cis tall white male privelege (a gift to me from patriarchy). You might find that you won’t feel so absurdly abused if you have a bit of empathy for the situation women are in and show them a bit of support.

        If you are one of those who can read Jen McCreight’s farewell to blogging and not feel horrified by the way she has been treated , then you are not being beaten about the head and shoulders for having a cock. You are being beaten for being an insensitive asshole.

        You can read Jen’s farewell here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/09/goodbye-for-now/
        That should answer your other question: What is harassment?

  4. Desertphile says

    I lack belief in the gods, and I’m morally and ethically superior to most theists I know. But maybe that’s what Satan wants me to think….

  5. says

    Excellent post! I have one minor bone to pick:

    In fairness to Dawkins, McCreight envisions Atheist+ as being a new wave of atheism in contrast to “New Atheists” like him and Hitchens.

    I don’t think McCreight or the majority of A+ think of themselves as a contrast or opposite to Dawkins and Hitchens. Both men were very aware of the damage that religion does to women, and did not hesitate to talk about it publically, but both had a blind spot when it came to their own views and treatment of women. We’re just filling in that blind spot. In my opinion, there’s too much overlap remaining to qualify as a “contrast.”

  6. Anonymous Atheist says

    [The tweet: "I'm a woman & an atheist blogger, & never experienced sexist abuse from fellow atheists. Maybe because I don't assume they're misogynists?"]

    “Frankly, I don’t get the point she is trying to make. Why would people be making sexist, abusive comments if they weren’t misogynists?”

    Several possible interpretations for that tweet:
    – People will only be abusive if [they know] you think they’re misogynists. [But then how did the initial abuse to establish the perception of misogyny begin?] Because you’ve sullied their reputations [often not personally], they have no choice but to live down to your low expectations.
    – This isn’t real abuse. You’d see that if you hadn’t already made up your mind. The only real abuse is much worse stuff like what happens in the Middle East.
    – If you tell yourself it isn’t misogyny, abuse doesn’t feel abusive. It’s fun if you play along.
    – Abuse only exists when you look at/for it. If you ignore it, it disappears.

    • says

      i’d really like it to be the first option, it’d be the equivalent of saying that, at least in some places, where there’s some measure of safety, not prejudging someone as a lust crazed wild animal shows, and gets treatment in kind.

      some people are just assholes though, mixing up the assholes and the hurt can make things worse.

      • Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

        This is just such bizarre nonsense, I can’t make any sense of it at all. I am, as my name might hint, a man. I have not at any time felt that anything Jen McCreight, or Rebecca Watson, or Greta Christina, or any other on the feminist/Atheism+ side of the current “deep rift” assumes that I am a “lust crazed wild animal”. Nor have many other men I know. If you have, I suggest that the problem lies with you.

        • says

          Well, nice argument, nick! Too bad it’s based on secondary anecdote. You should make commercials for miracle homeopathy cures.

          I am getting sick of the implicit sexism by blaming everything on ‘privileged:’ privileged, cis-gendered, white males.

          The dishonest elevation of anything sexist that gets labeled misogyny is fucking deeply ignorant. By promoting the idea that everything is the fault of white men, and it gets repeated and discussed, in almost every explanation of atheism plus, is prejudicial.
          It also unfairly lumps all white males into one group, and I feel fucking insulted every time that buzzphrase is repeated.

          You pay lip service to other social issues. If you look at the writings of you so called social activists, the primary, and largely exclusive mention of ‘privileged white male’ and misogyny, while very little time, zero, is spent whining about poverty, in fact, means one has to take your word for any other claims to being champions of universal morality.

          And guys, get some pride in being men, and quit being suck-ups to everything hysterical, privileged white feminists screech. Stick up for the biased portrayal of men. BTW, adding in the secondary claim that. ‘Oh, we know it isn’t aa-a-l-l-l-l-l men, snifff,’ and that’s the end of that, is purest BS.

          Frankly, I am choked that there is never any discussion of global warming. The number one, and imminent threat to mankind is desertification and crop loss due to pathogens and industrial farming. And poverty affects more people, including children – overwhelming amounts of children – in the world, and even the US, than fucking sexual harrasment and assault of women and LCBT.
          That you can’t even be bothered to include anything but a but a list, a filthy LIST, of all the social causes you ‘plus’ for – ‘atheism plus!…’, ‘atheism plus!…’, looky, we are so socially conscious, we have a list, ‘atheism plus, go, atheism plua!’

          Give more than solitary mention of any of these supposed social causes anywhere other than self professed ‘concern’ and I might be supportive.

          As it is, you DO come across as disingenuous feminists hijacking the atheist community by using the term atheist to promote your agenda.

          Give more than lip service to everything, and include discussion of areas of most desperate concern to humanity, namely the aforementioned environment destruction, which affects women and children most of all, and POVERTY and LACK OF EDUCATION that are the tools of overwhelming oppression of women worldwide. Discuss this shit instead of just listing it as a plus.

          The blatant and transparently disguised concern with American feminism and sexuality identity, with scant mention of Islamic abuse of women, to the exclusion of any real concern for onmipresent threats to civil rights, and quality of life, AND death rates from starvation and war, is wearing very thin.

          Put your money where your mouth is, and earn your credibility first, before aligning yourself with well established organizations.

          You are the very epitome of disingenuous opportunism.

          Frankly, I’m sick and angry of the vilification of my identity. STFU and talk to us when you’ve proven yourself. And remember, the road to derision is paved with dishonesty and agenda.

          • says

            I am not sure who you are wanting to STFU, but poverty is often mentioned as a worthy cause by the atheists I know. My husband Aron has helped raise over 100000 dollars for Doctors without borders. One of the Skepchicks raises money to send women to TAM and Skepticon.

            Apparently poverty is not as controversial as feminism to some and doesn’t elicit anger.

          • julian says

            relax, mikmik. I have absolutely no desire to work with or identify with atheist groups anymore. You’ve beat that desire out me with your deliberate falshehoods about what I’m concerned with, where I work and volunteer my time, what my priorities and concerns are and you legitimizing sexist speech to tear people down.

          • julian says

            And we haven’t laid the blame for all the world’s problems at the feet of cis het white men. Not everyone is that obsessed with them.

          • Rodney Nelson says

            mikmik #7.1.1.1 (I really hate nested threads)

            And guys, get some pride in being men, and quit being suck-ups to everything hysterical, privileged white feminists screech. Stick up for the biased portrayal of men. BTW, adding in the secondary claim that. ‘Oh, we know it isn’t aa-a-l-l-l-l-l men, snifff,’ and that’s the end of that, is purest BS.

            I take no pride in being a man. That was determined by which of my father’s sperm fertilized my mother’s ovum, something I had no control over, so it’s not a source of pride. However I enjoy being a man and I do not apologize for being a man (which is what I think you were really trying to say).

            Frankly, I am choked that there is never any discussion of global warming.

            If you want a discussion of global warming then go over to the Atheism+ forum and start discussing. I guarantee nobody is going to complain and I sincerely doubt you’ll find any denialists there.

          • says

            It seems that Nick Gotts accidentally tapped into a wellspring of self-esteem issues.

            I’m another of those supposedly maligned white heterosexual cis-males, but I’ve never felt vilified in the slightest. A quick self-assessment shows that I am privileged. I have problems like anyone else, but I’m not so wrapped up in my own feelings, that I can’t see that many people have it worse. I haven’t had life handed to me on a plate, but I’m not so conceited as to deny that I’ve been given more opportunities than others. These are simple facts, and acknowledging them doesn’t hurt me in the slightest. I always find it slightly disturbing when supposedly adult men throw tantrums when similar facts are pointed out. Maybe I’m not approaching this issue with a massive chip on my shoulder?

          • says

            Why are you making this about you?

            Seriously?

            I’m a white, straight, cis-gendered, able-bodied male, and I have never felt vilified by the women who started A+ or anybody else.

            Know why?

            Because I don’t do the fucking harassing! Because this whole fucking dust-up isn’t about me!

            Have you ever harassed a woman? Did you ever call a woman a cunt? did you send any of the hate mail to Jennifer McCreight that has pushed her off the net? Did you laugh over, and use, “Rebeccunt Twatson”? Have you ever deliberately tried to trigger a rape/abuse victim in the atheism subreddit or anywhere else? Ever threatened to rape anybody? Ever taken any upskirt or downshirt photos without permission?

            What was that?

            No, you haven’t? In fact, you’ve spoken out against it when it has happened?

            Then congratu-fucking-lations! We’re not talking about you!

            Seriously… why is this such a hard fucking concept to grasp? If you do not do any of the things some people have been accussed of, then no one’s talking about you.

            So relax.

            *Note… my cussing and anger is not at you specifically, mickmick, but at the constant missing-of-the-point that you’re displaying. So many men who haven’t actually been targeted are acting like they’ve been targeted. You’re just another one doing that.

            If you have never done any of the things I highlighted above or more, then seriously… nobody’s talking you. You’re not part of the problem, so you’re fine. You can move on and not worry, because we really don’t care about you, since you aren’t the problem.

          • Johnnis says

            “I’m a white, straight, cis-gendered, able-bodied male, and I have never felt vilified by the women who started A+ or anybody else.

            Know why?

            Because I don’t do the fucking harassing! Because this whole fucking dust-up isn’t about me!”

            You don’t have to harass anyone to be called names. It’s enough to disagree.

            Here’s a comment on how some people are concerned that the name Atheism+ might be misleading:

            “Too bad. I don’t know if you noticed, but the people who claim to be worried about that sort of thing tend to be the sort of people who oppose things like feminism. I don’t actually care what hurts the feelings of anti-feminists. They should stop worrying about their ‘feelings’ so much and try ‘thinking’ for a change – then maybe they wouldn’t be anti-feminists.”

            Dismissal of opponents and insinuation of dishonesty does happen. And you are a part of that. You strait out say that anyone treated bad deserves it. It might be that what you say are true, but how do you know that?

            I advice you to apply skeptical thinking before posting comments.

  7. codemonkey says

    I’m wondering if you have the exact quotes or links to quotes of Dawkins where he argues against harassment policies at conventions. I don’t mean to be a difficult. I’m wondering if I can pick apart his justification and reasons for whatever he said. Example: do most conventions have a policy on theft, on gun assaults, on kidnappings, etc.? Are harassment cases more common than the above? Did Dawkins just think that it was rare enough to not warrant a policy? In which case is Dawkins just guilty of privilege by assuming it wasn’t a problem? Worse, did he ignore other people who knew and who said it was a problem?

    Also, what goes into a harassment policy, and how would that actually help? Do you expect most convention-goers to actually read such a thing? I wouldn’t, and I expect most people would not actually read such a thing either. Is the target audience of a harassment policy for the help, for security? Perhaps just for higher-ups to adjudicate disputes and have a formal fallback position – both for “cover your ass” and to ensure we don’t have an idiot adjudicator allow harassment?

    • says

      simply having one, many people would know what’s in that kind of thing ‘conference policy on sexual harassment’ would spell out in rather big letters that it’s not cool. the contents, regardless of the way it’s written would be a primer for what sexual harassment is -considered-. you pretty much know what sexual harassment is, and knowing it’s not allowed at the event, you’d be able to stick to the gist of it without problem?

      so, i guess, at the top, a definition section, it’d be the most important part of it.

      • codemonkey says

        So, you argue that its mere existence would probably lead to some knowledge transfer to convention goers that “yo guys, this isn’t acceptable”. Sure, sounds like a good idea to me.

        • says

          not totally, that’s why the definition should be at the top, where it’s quick to read.

          i usually don’t bother to read past the first paragraph if it’s going to be a dreadfully dull long diatribe about how bad a particular action is that goes onto the next bad thing, then the next. the gist of it printed out on a business card, so someone can have it flashed to them if they’re treading shallow waters.

          it’d have to be short enough, in big enough text to be visible to drunken eyes. the story of why it was needed, that might be nice on the long form too…

  8. Lucius says

    Admittedly, I didn’t spend a great deal of time on Google searching about Dawkins and his position on sexual harassment, but I didn’t really find anything other than an incident where he was not overly worried of a woman’s concerns about an unwarranted sexual proposition.

    Seeing as this was the only bit of information I came across, I personally found it ‘puzzling’ that one would say that his comments regarding the equality of the sexes was puzzling.

    Even if there was explicit mention that he didn’t believe harassment policies or warnings were required, why would that imply that he doesn’t believe men and women are equal? Seems like one is jumping the gun a bit.

    Also, since I haven’t seen any such mention (though it may exist) I can only take this incident I already mentioned as the basis of the remark and with that I don’t see anything wrong with what he said. Yes, it may be dismissive and not attuned emotionally to that woman’s feelings but it is far from misogynistic.

    Anyways, that’s my (possibly uninformed) take on it. I don’t even particularly like Dawkins, but as I mentioned I didn’t see anything that’s he’s done that is worthy of having his view of the equality of the sexes questioned.

    Aside from that, it’s interesting to come across this post. I had just finished watching something by Harris on morality, not that I find it convincing personally as a Nihilist.

  9. michaelfisher says

    @Lilandra Quote from above article re Dawkins:- “…his opposition to harassment policies at atheist conventions”

    For my information what actions/words of his illustrate his opposition to these policies? Also what reason[s] did he give for his opposition?

    Cheers

    • says

      I would say his actions that his dismissal of Watson’s experience at Elevator Gate and his re-tweeting of a woman’s claim she had never experienced sexist abuse, and his accusation that a website is winding up “false controversy” for blog hats are a dismissive that there is a harassment problem.

      I have attempted to be fair to him as some of the framing of A+ appears to set him up as obsolete to the new wave of atheism. Although that may be because of the few snipes he has taken against atheist/feminist proponents.

      It is hard to say.

      • LeftSidePositive says

        I would totally order an official controversial FtB hat, and wear it with pride!

        (It would go well with my Erotic Whimsy from Greta’s blog!)

      • sjb says

        @ lilandra,

        You write “It is hard to say” but you ascribe to Prof Dawkins something that, as far as I know, he has never expressed (opposition to harassment policies). It seems that there is a real element of assuming the very worst of anyone who may not 100% agree with the level of importance of every element of the Atheism + agenda or who thinks it’s priorities are somewhat skewed. The constant vilification is a real turn off.

  10. EU woman says

    Maybe it’s more an American versus British/European divide. You Americans have a distinct tendency to histrionic exaggeration and we Europeans simply eyeroll over statements like the prattish one made by Aronra regarding Dawkins above. We don’t ‘get’ your culture with it self righteous hyperventilation over all and sundry and we don’t really want to either.

    • EU woman says

      Make that prattish one by Lilandra since I’ve just noticed Aronra isn’t the only author on this blog.

    • LeftSidePositive says

      Yeah, fuck your fellow human beings speaking up about mistreatment from their colleagues in this movement. When other people are trying to make the world a better place, much better to call them prats and eyeroll and preen about your moral superiority, apparently defined as not caring about rampant misogyny and irrational thinking. Very inspiring.

      How many other people striving for social justice have you dismissed for “self-righteous hyperventilating”?

      • punchdrunk says

        The proper way to insult someone is passive aggressively and at length, as this commenter has so generously demonstrated.
        The superior pomposity is an expert move, Americans shouldn’t attempt it until they’re familiar with the form.

      • embertine says

        This person claiming to speak for an entire continent does not, in fact, speak for me (one of said continent’s inhabitants) or for anyone I know.

    • John Phillips, FCD says

      Ironically, the other day I was talking to a few female friends about A+ and they were commenting on how they no longer go to or belong to their local atheist or skeptic group because of the open sexism and how they wished there was an A+ ‘approved’ group they could join locally. This is in England. They are now thinking of forming such a group themselves, I’m not usually a joiner, but I would at least support them. So no, it is not just a US problem and many posting on here and reporting their problems on sexism and the like come from across the world.

  11. see_the_galaxy says

    relax, mikmik. I have absolutely no desire to work with or identify with atheist groups anymore.

    The payoff is achieved. Another triumph for Jesus. Good thing the religious right gives up and goes home when they have arguments, huh? Oh wait. They don’t.

  12. says

    I shouldn’t even be commenting on anything, and I feel embarrassed with my comments about this, and others.

    I don’t want to belabor the point, or really make excuses. I am sorry for acting like such a jerk, everyone. This isn’t the place to discuss my personal issues, but I realize that my world inside is so fucking upside down because of my brother – who was the most important person in my life and I loved so fucking much – he dies 4 weeks ago. I can see that it is coming out as cynicism and feeling impotent, and I don’t want anything in my life to change. Atheism was a major par of his life, and it is mine, sort of an anchor to sanity in my surroundings for the last couple of years.

    I actually realize now that A+ is a very good idea, at least it is a vocal and concrete philosophy, or a philosophy held by a concrete organization of caring people, and there can be nothing more important, really, than to bind together with this idea…

    I think it’s really good, I support it, and I’ll now grieve openly with my family instead of taking my anger and frustration out on the very people that I find the most meaning and solace with in my life, bedides immediate friends and family.

    I just want to be a part of this place because I care about us all. I’m sorry, and it is kind of nonsensical to express disdain for controversy and division by being such a vociferous shit-disturber, something I don’t need to warn anyone about as that fact has been long established, lol.

    I’m sorry, I respect almost everyone here, deeply. Every great idea is met with disdain and opposition, and now i understand on a personal level how that can happen so easily, precluding clear and objective evaluation.

    I suppose that verbosity is also a long established characteristic of mine, but if I stop talking I’ll have to think about my missing my brother, Davis Andrew Laing, and how much it hurts. I want to fill the hole with a purpose to change and promote moral awareness, or something, I guess.

    Curiously, one last bit here, but I am so glad that I realize that we are over, and it is final, when we cease to be alive, because I know that it is final, and I can both move on knowing this – let go I suppose – and knowing my brother feels no sense of loss or any regrets or anything, because he isn’t here, there, or anywhere to experience anything, and I find that kind of finality comforting, yet something that I really want to not ‘not experience,’ if that makes sense, although it sounds funny.

    My brother and I found humor in everything, and I always will, no matter how tasteless, because I like to laugh and be goofy, and that allows me to genuinely cry, as well.

    Thanks, people, just know I’m proud of you. I’ll be around. You think i’d pass by on any opportunity to listen to my own voice?
    Don’t do that! ;)

    • says

      Dang, that’s a lousy situation to be in. I still care for you whether I agree with you or not, and I do hope you’ll hang around. Apology accepted, at least from behind this keyboard.

  13. rilian says

    So it wasn’t that people were sexist and then people started trying to address that. Rather, people started trying to address imaginary sexism and that FORCED people to start being sexist.. somehow.

    • moarscienceplz says

      Why, of course. It’s the quantum indeterminacy of scuzzy sexism. If you put a white male atheist into a Schroedinger’s Box he becomes Andrew Dice Clay AND Mr. Rogers simultaneously. And then if you think uncharitable thoughts about him while you open the box, he can’t help but become a misogynist jerk. So it’s all your fault!

  14. Randomfactor says

    “You’ve left the stable ground of atheism for politics.”

    Stable grounds quite often have horseshit that must be periodically shoveled out.

  15. says

    General thumbs up to the post, and to join one sentiment in the comment thread: I’m a white cis-male, and I’ve never felt villified by feminists. The worst I’ve experienced was an occasional bout of remorse over insensitive things I said in my younger years, followed by a commitment to avoid repeating those mistakes. Much of the time, however, it was observing misogynist trolls that provoked the remorse.

  16. abb3w says

    For background, see Robert Altemeyer’s “The Authoritarians”, to get a summary of most of the research I’m taking for granted. And so…

    The study in (doi:10.1002/per.746) indicates RWA’s tend prejudiced against dangerous groups, SDO’s tend prejudiced against derogated groups, and both tend prejudiced against dissident groups (RWA more than SDO). Women, blacks, and gays are traditionally derogated groups. Which implies that while misogyny may be the proximate cause to the sexist remarks, the SDO may be a less proximate one.

    Here in the West, the religious tend disproportionately high-RWA, and the irreligious tend disproportionately low-RWA. However, SDO is apparently weak-to-not correlated to religiosity. Which means, while most atheists can be expected to tend low-RWA, they have the same tendencies to SDO as the overall population. There may be aspects of the atheism movement overall which tend to attract personalities tending higher-SDO, at least relative to the SDO levels of atheists in the general population. (EG: SDOs may be more likely to value their own judgements enough to deconvert, and then tend to try and pass along those judgements.)

    If so, this would explain the historical male-lean to atheist demographics, and the issue of atheists with significant prejudices against several traditionally derogated groups. In which case, the the A+ movement appears to be a reaction to that. Contrariwise, some of the “anyone not gung-ho A+ must be an evil asshole” might be the (rare) higher-RWA types reacting to this cluster of SDO-bigots as… a dangerous group. (Note, this looks only to be a trace among the commentariats. The major bloggers I’ve noticed pushing this subjectively do not seem to have the “line up or else” component that I’m associating to a higher-RWA lean.)

    Of course, this is at best a loose hypothesis. Still, might make an interesting research topic for someone interested in the sociology of authoritarianism and/or sociology of atheism.

  17. Jeroen says

    Atheists plus we care about social justice,
    Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
    Atheists plus we protest racism,
    Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism

    Just make that

    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism,
    Atheists plus we care about social justice.

    ..you then said the same.

    Women’s rights ? How about human rights ? And stop making the assumption that woman are to be protected from the violent males that seem to roam the lands, and atheist conventions in perticular.

    Woman are not the weak subset of our species. And men are not the violent subset of it. Adress issues as they arise, and not beforehand.

    So yeah, have a staff that is able to remove unwanted persons from the location at their discretion, like thiefs, drunks, assholes, etc. But please, stop giving any credit to bullshit like calling someone a cunt being oppresive towards women, or calling the A+ police when someone is invited for coffee. Grow the fuck up.

    Or be consistent .. dont be a dick ?!

  18. says

    I don’t think god / evil is attached to atheism. The search for truth is. Good and evil are just very relative and time / environment attached concepts.

    Even a believer can be more good than an atheist, in some very rare conditions.

    I hate labels, lets not forget that what we believe today is based on past observations, experience and other frames of today’s knowledge.

    Having said that if we all search for the truth enable us to know more, see other frames and put the last one we considered global in another perspective.

    In general, but of course never absolutely, atheists have a better undestanding on truth and that is why we tend to be more armonious on different subjects. That is because we also tend to see things with more perspective and from different points of views.

  19. iknklast says

    Jeroen – no one called anyone over being invited to a cup of coffee. RW merely suggested that asking a woman to your room for coffee when you’re alone in an elevator in a strange city early in the morning when the woman has just suggested she is tired and would like to sleep might be a bit pushy. Guys, don’t do that is NOT the same as Help, I’m being raped. Not even close to the same….so far away they can’t even see each other. Yet somehow one has morphed into the other, and all this stupidity is being leveled at perfectly sane, rational women because they react in a perfectly sane, rational manner to a situation that is potentially threatening.

    And yes, calling women cunts because you disagree with their point of view is in some ways being oppressive, because it is reducing women to their genitalia and ignoring their brains. I don’t call men dicks, either.

    From where I sit, the ones that need to grow the f*** up are those who go into screaming hysterics everytime anyone suggests that women might be victims of sexism. There are some of us who live with it in silence every day, because the only people we have to complain to are either sexist themselves, or can’t see sexism if it doesn’t stand up and shout, hey I’m being sexist here! In order to keep our jobs, we STFU. In order to live in our towns, we STFU. In order to keep our children, our families, our lives, we STFU. And when we see what Ophelia and Rebecca and Jen and Stephanie have gone through because Rebecca said Guys don’t do that, we STFU. Which is why they have to go through so much, because it looks like they’re whining about something the rest of us haven’t experienced.

    By the way, if you wait until something happens before you do something? Someone has gotten hurt unnecessarily. If you wait to buy an alarm until after your car is stolen, you don’t have a car to put it on. If you wait to pass a law against murder before someone dies, you have dead people and no way to deal with the problem. If you wait to educate people about sexism until someone suffers “legitimate” rape, you have a very messed up situation – sort of like what we had before the women’s movement, and sort of like what we seem to have on the Internet now.

    • PG says

      @iknklast @ 25:

      Jeroen – no one called anyone over being invited to a cup of coffee. RW merely suggested that asking a woman to your room for coffee when you’re alone in an elevator in a strange city early in the morning when the woman has just suggested she is tired and would like to sleep might be a bit pushy. Guys, don’t do that is NOT the same as Help, I’m being raped. Not even close to the same….so far away they can’t even see each other. Yet somehow one has morphed into the other, and all this stupidity is being leveled at perfectly sane, rational women because they react in a perfectly sane, rational manner to a situation that is potentially threatening.

      One can’t help but wonder if you have really selective memory. The people who made it into a big deal was not her detractors, nor was it Watson. It was the fucking FTB crowd. PZ Myers wrote article after article disparaging the now-notorious “Elevator Guy” and the FTB crowd followed suit. Oh, it was harassment, it was this, it was that. It was male privilege. Who turned it into the big debacle it is now? Not us! When before you might have seen an objection such as, ‘I don’t really agree that it’s “sexualising”, but it’s not the best place to ask a person out’ followed by other people making occasional slurs, who are clearly not the majority of the sample, now it’s a reaction to an irrational situation trumped up by irrational ideas.

      Oh, and guess who it was that likened the incident to rape in the first place? (Not us!)

      When Richard Dawkins joined the fray, annoyed by the increasingly loud invective and narrative proposed on Pharyngula, mocking Watson’s situation, PZ Myers likened it to a rape attempt. (That’s right, the person who likened it to a rape attempt was PZ fucking Myers.) Then Greg Laden reiterated his idiotic unfounded thesis about a ‘rape switch’ in men, Ophelia Benson and Jennifer McCreight wrote articles about how Richard Dawkins’ “privilege” is showing (no, they had no mind or thought simply declaring it a non-issue as you are doing now, here) and Stephanie Zvan wrote a letter to him addressed ‘Dick’ about how he doesn’t care about sexual assault victims signed by various sexual assault victims including herself.

      (Forgetting, being ignorant of — or perhaps deliberately ignoring — that Richard Dawkins himself was molested as a child.*)

      As for Rebecca Watson, she revelled in the attention.

      And this crap is still going on a year later. Our doing? No. If you asked people if they’d like this shit to blow over, no one would shout louder than us. You can say that it’s a non-issue and that it’s been blown out of proportion, but don’t turn it around and say that this — the situation we currently find ourselves in — was just because of a harmless sentence, and how we are to blame. Don’t turn it around and say that she — Rebecca Watson — is innocent.

      *She has still not apologised.

      And yes, calling women cunts because you disagree with their point of view is in some ways being oppressive, because it is reducing women to their genitalia and ignoring their brains. I don’t call men dicks, either.

      Oh, don’t be such a child. The meaning of the word ‘cunt’ is colloquial. In Australia, it’s used as a term of endearment for crying out loud. In England, it’s determined for someone who’s being rude. (Like being generally hateful.) Same thing for the word ‘twat.’ Watch any English comedy and you’ll hear the words ‘twat’ and ‘cunt’ at least ten times and none of them are gender specific. To say it reduces women to their gender is just a derail.

      From where I sit, the ones that need to grow the f*** up are those who go into screaming hysterics everytime anyone suggests that women might be victims of sexism.

      Nice hyperbole there. And it depends on what they define as sexism, doesn’t it? Getting hit on in an elevator is hardly sexist. Getting hit on the street is hardly sexist. Asking for a woman to show her boobs is hardly sexist. At least, it’s not according to my knowledge of what sexism means. If you don’t want another screaming match, before you go claiming it’s sexism, you should clearly define what you mean by sexism first. Because in my book it means when you demean someone due to their gender alone. E.g., women can’t carry heavy things, they’re too weak, or women shouldn’t be able to vote as they’re too emotional, or have their own bank accounts as they’re too greedy. etc. etc. That is sexism. In my opinion, asking someone for a coffee in an elevator is not sexism, not even if you try. Even if it’s a man to a woman. Nor is it sexualising for that matter, unless you’re projecting your own ideas of what is considered sexualising.

      There are some of us who live with it in silence every day, because the only people we have to complain to are either sexist themselves, or can’t see sexism if it doesn’t stand up and shout, hey I’m being sexist here! In order to keep our jobs, we STFU. In order to live in our towns, we STFU. In order to keep our children, our families, our lives, we STFU. And when we see what Ophelia and Rebecca and Jen and Stephanie have gone through because Rebecca said Guys don’t do that, we STFU. Which is why they have to go through so much, because it looks like they’re whining about something the rest of us haven’t experienced.

      Really, I can’t imagine why you’d “STFU” with that self-righteous attitude.

      By the way, if you wait until something happens before you do something? Someone has gotten hurt unnecessarily. If you wait to buy an alarm until after your car is stolen, you don’t have a car to put it on. If you wait to pass a law against murder before someone dies, you have dead people and no way to deal with the problem. If you wait to educate people about sexism until someone suffers “legitimate” rape, you have a very messed up situation – sort of like what we had before the women’s movement, and sort of like what we seem to have on the Internet now.

      What the hell is this even supposed to mean? We don’t educate people about sexism? Let’s see. Some fifty years ago, women were unable to join the army, unable to become pastors, unable to become judges, unable to … well, there were a lot of things they were simply unable to do. However, in fifty years time, that has changed. This has been rectified and even better, people want it – not just women. Not educated about sexism?

      Women can become firefighters should they want to. Women can become police officers should they want to. Women can become soldiers – should they want to. Women have, in fifty years, the same rights under the law as any man. The same opportunities, under the law. The fact that sexism still exists is circumstantial, but the claim that we’re not educated about sexism? Rubbish.

      Also, are you making the argument that the “incident” in the elevator was sexual assault?

    • Sleeper says

      The problem is that ‘please don’t do that’ or perhaps something a little more creative, should have been said in the elevator to the man who dared to show interested in Rebecca. There it should have ended.
      It should NOT have became an issue to be brought up by the romantically inexperience from the dias at a convention.

      It is an evolutionary imperative and fact that this interplay happens between men and women every day all over the world. The signals are obvious and most women know how to handle simple expressions of interest. It seems Rebecca did not… and thus her apparent over reaction.

      • John Phillips, FCD says

        It wasn’t brought up initially at any convention though the incident happened at a convention. Her remarks were made later in a video lasting, IIRC, an hour or so, where RW mentioned the incident in a short aside saying she felt sexualised, not sexually assaulted, and ended the piece with a, don’t do that guys. The rest is history and people, like yourself, will probably continue to misrepresent her and the incident, as well as feel qualified to tell her how she should feel or react when approached by a stranger at 4AM in an elevator, for years down the line at this rate.

        • PG says

          I very clearly explained to you why it turned into such a kerfuffle and it wasn’t because of “us”, it was by their own clique. Don’t be dishonest. No, the thing is, none of us have said how she should feel at 4 AM in an elevator in a foreign country. None of us have actually done that. However, we have said it’s not sexism, sexualising, or a rape attempt, which are all objective observations.

          Because we feel it would be insulting to people who’ve experienced real sexism, real sexualising and real rape attempts. But PZ Myers and Greg Laden went straight for the ‘rape’ (so to speak), the FTB clique went straight for ‘male privilege’ and ‘entitlement’, and the shit hit the fan when Richard Dawkins added his point of view. Not exactly our fault that she and FTB have misattributed it as such later on, is it?

          • John Phillips, FCD says

            Blind as well I see, see the post immediately above mine for someone remarking how she should have reacted, or rather her failure to react appropriately. As to who decides whether something is sexism etc or not, it is not objective, only the person at the end of it can decide, after all, intent is not magic. BTW, if the, what is now in my opinion the pro-sexism and even pro-misogyny crowd, had really wanted this to end, they could have just ignored it and, apart from a conversation among ourselves, that would have been it, especially if ftb/Skepchick et al and their supporters are as insignificant in the movement as many on the other side claim. But it wasn’t our side who created the slyme-pit or who repeatedly attacked people like RW and anyone who supported her or posted such items as, to paraphrase, is it ever OK to rape someone because she annoys you, referring to RW. I find your post at best disingenuous, to say the least, but sadly not unusual going by other submissions of yours I have read by you on this matter.

  20. Johnnis says

    “It doesn’t really matter what we call it -Atheism+, secular morality, secular humanism, or progressive atheism.”

    The way you frame it, where the only issue is the presence of secular morality, then you are right. Within that specific rhetorical frame you are right.

  21. Johnnis says

    “He re-tweeted a remark recently from a woman who wonders if the sexist abuse that some are receiving is in response to the assumption that other atheists are misogynists.”

    People often act according to the way they are treated, especially the treatment was wrong.

    Some people will respond with acting out the label they are given.

    If you call someone a thief, they are more likely to steal from you than if you do not call them a thief.

    I don’t have any scientific data to back up my claim. This is my experience, I might be wrong.

  22. Johnnis says

    When writing, it is tempting to use rhetorical questions. In most cases it is best to avoid this rhetorical tool.

    “Frankly, I don’t get the point she is trying to make. Why would people be making sexist, abusive comments if they weren’t misogynists?”

    I do not know, and I can’t imagine why. But my stupidity and lack of fantasy is not an argument. My stupidity is not a dowsing rod for finding truth.

  23. Johnnis says

    I here by accuse you of lying.

    “I wonder what Dawkins means by secular morality including equality of women and whether he thinks that sexist abuse from fellow atheists is part of the society he envisioned…”

    I accuse you of being pretty sure that Dawkins does not tolerate sexist abuse from fellow atheists. I accuse you of not wondering about this.

    In your writing, you over extend you rhetoric. If you have an opinion or a question, say it straight out without the fancy wrapping.

    Take it from an old writer. Don’t use the powers you have. It is easily done to step an inch too far out on the branch.

  24. Johnnis says

    (Sorry for posting so many comments. With every comment I think it’s my last. This time it will be.)

    “If the current unnecessary controversies about adopting social justice causes are any indicator –we’re off course.”

    There is no controversies about human beings adopting social justice. There is neither any controversies about human beings, that does not believe in gods, adopting social justice.

  25. PG says

    @John Phillips

    -sigh- Fine. No one sensible has made that argument (to move the goalposts), no one sensible have said how she should have felt being hit on in an elevator at 4 AM in a foreign country. If she felt uncomfortable, she felt uncomfortable. Now you can make the argument that she overreacted to this offense, this “sexualising” as she calls it, but that’s not telling her how to react, just how she did react. That’s different. You can also make the argument that what happened in the elevator shouldn’t have become such a big deal, but that’s still not telling her how she should react – or feel.

    For whom to decide what’s ‘sexism’ or not, though, no, it’s not up to the person at the end of it to decide. There is a universal, general definition of ‘sexism’ and redefining to fit your purpose of it does not sexism make. If she felt it was sexism, fine, if she felt it was sexualising, fine, that’s her opinion. It does not mean it was.

    Right. We’ve been trying to let it go for over a year now. Unfortunately, PZ Myers is quite a big name in the sceptical community. So is Paula Kirby, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, etc, etc. So when the community over at Skepchick/FTB calls these people ‘gender traitors’ and misogynists for seemingly no other reason than disagreeing with them, that’s kind of difficult to ignore. Especially when emotions run high. And when controversies arise due to taking the absolute worst comments of the worst, post them on blogs, point to them and paint them as though they’re very common and from the majority within the community, that’s not helping, is it?

    It’s not helping bringing them up on conventions en masse. It’s not helping to bring them up and then disparage people on a podium as sexists, misogynists, ‘gender traitors’, without a chance to respond to the allegations being made. It’s not helping. Did we do that? No.

    • John Phillips, FCD says

      Still exaggerating to hell and back I see. Keep it up and you might even sound convincing with your framing one day.

    • Johnnis says

      Good by what standards?

      She is Icaros on fire. Her rhetoric is stunning. The way she uses rhetorical questions and framing. It’s simply dishonest.

      I do agree that the rhetorical qualities and the language it self is superb. No doubt. But with power comes responsibility, and her lack of experience is shining through.

      I know she has no intention to be dishonest. I do believe she is as honest and honorably as the winter night is long in Alaska.

      To be swept away with the powers of rhetoric is a typical beginners error.

      • A Hermit says

        “Good by what standards?”

        By any standard which appreciates a cogent point made clearly and simply; ie that those trying to separate the idea of atheism from morality and social justice are missing a big part of the picture.

        On the other hand I have no idea what you’re prattling on about…

        • Johnnis says

          First of all, thank you for describing me as a prattler.

          Second, let me explain the errors in the post.

          “If atheism is simply restricted to a non-belief in God/s like some apparently orthodox atheists are insisting, then where does morality originate?”

          Where does morality originate? This is a trick question. Morality as a concept and moral thoughts and actions are here confused with each other. It’s a trick.

          “Morality has to be intrinsic, and undiluted by wanting an external favor or reward in return.”

          Wrong.

          “So the popular CS Lewis argument that morality is extrinsically bestowed upon us by a morally supreme god works to cheapen morality, as humans are not choosing to be moral.”

          Wrong. Moral thoughts and actions are not chosen, they are preferred/wanted/willed. Big difference.

          “It is actually puzzling given his opposition to harassment policies at atheist conventions.”

          Wrong. And to make such an accusation without proof is not nice.

          “Frankly, I don’t get the point she is trying to make. Why would people be making sexist, abusive comments if they weren’t misogynists?”

          Yes, why?

          If Lilandra does not know or are enable to imagine why, then that must mean that everybody that are making sexist, abusive comments are misogonists.

          Why would there be trees if they where not created by God?

          Wrong.

          “I wonder what Dawkins means by secular morality including equality of women and whether he thinks that sexist abuse when he posed this question:

          “Can we not design our society in such a way to have the sort of morality that we want to live in?” ”

          This is slander. In stead of providing proof or arguments she just pretends to ask questions. Just because someone put a question mark at the end of the sentence, that doesn’t make it a question.

          These are rhetorical questions. She does not actually want an answer as much as she wants to imply her opinions.

          “How do we get to that secular society with the sort of morality we want to live in? Are we willing to cede morality to the domain of theists?”

          Again, morality as a concept is different than actual moral thoughts and actions. This is just a play with words.

          I don’t know if it’s just me, but I do get the feeling she thinks it’s the one or the other, (morality in the non theist domain or morality in the theist domain.) If what I feel is right, then that’s a fallacy.

          “If the current unnecessary controversies about adopting social justice causes are any indicator –we’re off course.”

          Wrong. There is no controversies about people adopting social justice causes.

          “It doesn’t really matter what we call it -Atheism+, secular morality, secular humanism, or progressive atheism. What matters is we will need as many moral atheists as possible to get there.”

          Wrong. This is a trick. She puts the one up against the other.

          It doesn’t matter that live is unfair. What matters is we will need as much food as possible to feed the starving children.

          See? The one sentence is irrelevant of the other, yet put togheter we get a nifty trick.

          That we need more moral people in the world is irrelevant from the issue of the name and vice versa.

          This is not “a cogent point made clearly and simply”. This is the one fallacy after the other. This is assumptions upon accusations upon insinuations.

          “that those trying to separate the idea of atheism from morality and social justice are missing a big part of the picture.”

          Where in the name of Atheism did she say this?

  26. A Hermit says

    Yeah, I’m tempted to post that Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch…“this isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction…”

    But I’m not getting into it; I wanted to share the Buckman videos, since he did, in my opinion, a great job of explaining the nature and origins of human moral behaviour. Buckman was my kind of atheist; cheerful, good natured, funny and really, really smart…

  27. says

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  28. says

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  31. says

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