I wasn’t going to say anything about this (because it’s too goofy), but other people are, so I will after all, because it’s there – the Comment is Free piece on Atheism+.
First, before we even get to the article – there’s the subhead, and the url. The subhead says
A new movement, Atheism+, has prompted non-believers to spit venom at one another rather than at true believers
And the url obligingly includes the words “spit” and “venom” – and yet Peter McGrath did not use the word “spit” in the article. Venom, yes, but spit, no. So the editor gave the article an extra dose of nasty, just for the fun of it. Andrew Brown at work?
The article itself.
A+ was born when Freethought blogger Jen McCreight (the mind behind Boobquake) made a passionate call for a “third wave” of atheism, one that extends atheist activism into progressive politics and calls for a part of the movement to be one where women can exist free from the harassment that has plagued women publicly involved in the atheist movement.
The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.
One, bad writing. “Looking through the blogs…trenches have been dug.” Bad, bad writing. If you’re going to omit a subject to the verb, you need to be careful not to mix the subjects. The trenches weren’t looking through the blogs.
Two…what? One sentence on Atheism+ (called “A+” to imply that it’s like “Brights”?) and then immediately on to dissecting comments on blogs? That’s the important thing? And the only comments dissected are from supporters of Atheism+?
He mentions the harassment that has plagued women publicly involved in the atheist movement, but that’s all he does – he just mentions it, but then rushes on to give actual examples of commentary from people opposing the harassment. Why?
He quotes PZ being schismatic, but neglects to quote what he is being schismatic about. He quotes Carrier, but still neglects to quote what he is reacting to.
If it were racial harassment, would he be quite so perfunctory, do you think? I doubt it. Racism is serious. Sexism? Not so much.