It’s a theme among the people who hate feminists dirtying up their atheism their skepticism their skeptoatheism and atheoskepticism, that we dirtying-up feminists are in some way outrageous for doing feminism instead of or in addition to skepticism or atheism or athoskeptolibertarianism.
That’s a strange claim. What’s outrageous about it? I guess if they’re talking about people who have prominently displayed somewhere a solemn oath always to talk/write/tweet about atheism or skepticism and nothing else, then…those people broke an oath. But even then – an oath to whom? Who cares? Why would anyone swear such an oath anyway? And why would anyone else care about it?
I’m in a fortunate position, myself, because I never said or implied or hinted I was going to blog or website-edit or write about one thing only. I never signed up to anything in particular. I’ve always felt free to talk about anything I want to. I have a point of view, of course; I have a lot of strong opinions; I have interests; but I haven’t promised to adhere to them and only them forever and no matter what. Tomorrow I could develop an interest in hang-gliding or ballet. And? People could skip those posts, or not – but either way I wouldn’t have done a bad thing. I wouldn’t have cheated anyone.
I saw a post from the “they’re contaminating the clubhouse” school of thought, by someone called Shane P Brady. It’s full of this unreasonable indignation about other people’s changes of attention.
This desire to mix progressive politics has even creeped into the skeptic movement, highlighted first to me by a panel at TAM9 where the idea of expanding the skeptic movement to tackle issues like drug legalization or minimum wage might be good ways to expand the skeptical movement. I could write lots on how wrong this is, but if you want to read something well done, check out Barbara Drescher’s website www.icbseverywhere.com.
Why is this push lately? Why are people wanting this? Why are sites like Skepchick (a name that contains a word that many women I’ve worked with find offensive, btw) writing more and more politics and feminism and less and less actual skepticism?
So my question is this:
“Do you even really care about skepticism anymore?”
What a strange question – as if skepticism were an abandoned lover. People who talk this line seem to have a surprisingly emotional view of skepticism, one that would make more sense (to me at least ) about, precisely, a progressive political movement. Union organizing, civil rights campaigns, working to defend asylum seekers or immigrants, feminism, LGBT rights – movements like that inspire loyalty (for good and ill), but skepticism?
Meh. Skepticism is, basically, a tool. It’s a skeletal thing to get passionate about. It’s useful, it’s necessary, and all the more so in a combination of culture and technology that is so good at deluding and seducing people – but it’s not more than that. It’s not something we should be pushed to “care” about. Skepticism isn’t pissed off because we never bring it flowers any more.
And then, Skepchick…One reason Skepchick is writing more about feminism and (perhaps – I really don’t know) less about skepticism, is because people keep giving the women at Skepchick a lot of sexist shit.
Here’s an interesting fact: if you give women a lot of sexist shit, it tends to push them in the direction of feminism. Startling, I know, but true. I write a hell of a lot more about feminism now than I did three years ago. Sexist shit will do that to you.
But in any case: what of it? Why is anyone policing other people for the quality and quantity of their skepticism? Why is it an issue?