To I, to she, to he, to they


And there’s their About page.

Every ideological movement has a policy center. Republicans have The Heritage Foundation, New Democrats have the Progressive Policy Institute, Libertarians have The Cato Institute, and Secularists have the Global Secular Council.

First, well, no. Ideological movements don’t usually have just one policy center. Also, not all participants in the movements take any one center to speak for them. Second, “ideological” is usually used as a weapon in this “movement” – feminists are constantly accused of importing an “ideology” into the crystalline purity of the atheist or skeptical “movement.” That’s complete bullshit, of course, but it’s still rather funny to see this group so cheerfully identifying itself with an ideology.

With these organizations as models, Global Secular Council is the international policy research and resource center for atheists, humanists, and other secularists who speak out for science and reason instead of religion and faith.

There’s the arrogance already. No, Global Secular Council is not the international policy research and resource center for atheists, humanists, and other secularists. It may be (at best) one of several, but it’s not the. It doesn’t get to appoint itself “the” anything that way.

The world’s greatest thinkers are already making the case for rationalism, but as free agents their impact on international discourse is hindered.

Oh dear god stop talking about yourselves that way. Stop calling yourselves the world’s greatest thinkers. Most of you are not, and in any case it’s a terrible look.

We coordinate the thought leaders of our movement, providing an arena where compelling information from a secular perspective can be organized, published, and disseminated.

And don’t ever, ever, ever call yourselves (or anyone else) “thought leaders.” Nobody wants “thought leaders” and you’re not it anyway. We can do our own thinking, thank you. We can educate and inform each other, we can help clarify each other’s thinking, but we don’t have thought soldiers and thought officers. Forget it. You’re not our bosses, our mullahs, our stars, our heroes, our anything of that kind. You’re an embarrassment if you claim otherwise.

Our team of social and political thought leaders compiles the knowledge and data that uphold our worldwide community, providing substance and fresh leverage to we who think scientifically, as we lobby for government and societal change in the United States and around the globe.

Too bad our “thought leaders” don’t even know to write “to us” instead of “to we”…(Seriously? To we?)

To we who are hungry, it’s time for lunch.

Comments

  1. says

    Hey, to we who live in different countries it’s time for a drink on the balcony watching the sun set.
    But, I’m wondering: Are all those people who usually accuse us* of trying to speak “for all women” etc. out on force telling them to cut that shit, too?

    *or do I have to write “we” here? I don’t know. Richard Dawkins once said he always uses the English language perfectly, so I should probably bow to his authority

  2. sawells says

    If this whole thing is satire, it’s brilliant, but it’s not satire, is it?

    Oh dear.

  3. says

    Cross posting form the previous post.
    From their Mission Statement::

    A project of the Secular Coalition for America, the Global Secular Council amplifies the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States and globally.

    Well, from the point of view of a south-american brazillian (me) it is coherent with using “America” as a synonym for “United States of America”. So much for Global.
    The “amplifies the diverse…voice…” is a ‘nah…just kidding’ moment I suppose.
    As we can see from the demographics of The TEAM:
    – 25 Experts;
    – 05 of them are female;
    – ALL of them are white, native English speakers, from UK/USA (they even forgot Blackford, unfrankinbelivable);
    – 6 Communicators, ALL white male anglo-saxan;
    – 10 Staff;
    – 6 of them female (some may say something about have the job done);
    – May I say again that ALL are white, native english speakers from US/UK?

    That’s it, or did I miss something?

  4. sawells says

    Is this like the thing about the Holy Roman Empire not being holy or Roman or an empire? They aren’t global, at least…

  5. Anthony K says

    world’s greatest thinkers

    That can’t be the case. Unless I’m mistaken, this entire staff of this group has fewer Nobel prizes than the alumni of Trinity College.

  6. says

    It really is funny how much this all sounds like a spoof.

    The best sentence is

    The world’s greatest thinkers are already making the case for rationalism, but as free agents their impact on international discourse is hindered.

    There’s something so delightfully Randian about this idea of a small group of great thinkers, toiling alone and in obscurity in their devotion to Rationality, blocked at every turn from their rightful influence on the course of global events. What’s next – Dawk’s Gulch?

  7. carlie says

    These are the same minds who thought “Brights” was a good self-descriptor, right? Yeah.

  8. says

    It’s also…amusing that they cite as models Heritage and Cato. These are organizations known principally for actively misinforming the public about reality so as to advance the interests of their corporate/billionaire funders.

  9. says

    ‘Thought leaders’? Seriously?

    (Shakes head…)

    Umm… Self-appointed spokespeople, I don’t know how to tell you this, but, erm…

    You really don’t fucking get it. At all.

    You’re not ‘leaders’. Hate to break it to you, but you’re clearly not even, in light of this latest cringe-inducing misstep, particularly bright, either. Not in certain ways that rather matter…

    Tell ya what, though. You quietly fold this thing, I might never bring it up again. Ever. We can treat it like an ill-timed gassy eruction at a dinner party, some black tie thing at which everyone’s too polite to say ‘Wow… Umm… That was pretty much seismic…’

    Yes, leaving it so relatively silently is probably more charitable than you deserve, but, honestly, the whole thing is so (shivers) clumsy..

    I mean, you know how you feel when you see someone really screwing up, and it just seems gratuitous to point it out? And you’re uncomfortable even saying anything, so you just look away, pretend that never happened? Like, wow, you, umm… how did you even trip over someone else’s shoelaces? Ooo… And now the faceplant into the manure… Oh, wow… Bleeding, I see… Soooo…. sharp rocks in that manure?… That’s the thing I’m getting off this. I can’t laugh. I’m cringing, and I just want you to go away. Can you do that, for me?

    Anyway. Yes. Best to move on. And consider yourselves lucky, really. Priests, kings, self-described prophets, they’ve done worse at the hands of some of the people whose thoughts you were apparently presuming to lead.

  10. ShowMetheData says

    To be THE international policy research and resource center, you actually have to get things done

    – have goals as to what isues are to be addressed – not everything can be done
    – organize methods whereby lone activists out there can access resources
    – Have those resources
    – Create resource kits targeted to different aspects (education about secularity, public discussion on different policy choices)
    – create model laws for different aspects
    – work through Policy Options (The Heritage Foundation did great work on the Healthcare Exchanges)

  11. Al Dente says

    Who elected them the “thought leaders” or did they achieve that position because some strange woman lying in a pond tossed a sword at them?

  12. A. Noyd says

    Not just “thought leaders” but “the thought leaders.” The definite article sends the Arrogance Quotient through the fucking roof.

  13. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    So anyway, I was just thinking about burritos, so I have to wonder which of the thought leaders led me to do so. Does the Dawk like Mexican food?

  14. tiko says

    Just looks like an ego trip to me. I think they set this thing up so they can get together and tell each other how awesome they are.

  15. A. Noyd says

    It’s a collective that Reddit atheists can join when their heads outgrow their fedoras.

  16. Anthony K says

    I think they set this thing up so they can get together and tell each other how awesome they are.

    Oh, I think they’ll get together to have big thinky thinks about weighty things. If they publish the results of their big thinks, and they get enough pushback, they might even consult an expert or two who knows something about the subject. Like when Harris solved all the problems with airport security, and then got lambasted, and finally had a sit down with Bruce Schneier who more or less set him straight.

  17. aziraphale says

    I looked at their team of experts. Now I am depressed. Dawkins, Dennett, Goldstein, Pinker, Porco – I have gained great pleasure and/or knowledge from their work. Do I now have to wonder whether each of them has lost the plot?

  18. says

    No. Goldstein for instance, definitely not; likewise Dennett and Porco. Dawkins I think does have some pretty grandiose ambitions to run everything for us – he does a LOT of behind the scenes meddling with US organizations. Also Carol Tavris is great, and there are others among the “Experts” who are. It’s more the SCA and whoever put this thing together and wrote the copy for it who have lost the plot.

  19. says

    Andrew @ 11 – about forgetting the eructation – or, we could do what Queen Elizabeth did (the Tudor one, not Brenda). Some earl farted in her presence once and was so mortified he went to France for ten years or so, then he came back and presented himself at court and Liz says to him, “My lord, I had forgot the fart.”

  20. says

    @ 19 or when Harris wrote that book setting everyone straight about morality, and Dawkins said how it had set everyone straight so well.

    sigh…

  21. says

    It’s also…amusing that they cite as models Heritage and Cato.

    I was thinking that this sort of reminded me in tone and appearance of Heritage and Cato… but they ACTIVELY announce that they admire those think tanks and model themselves after them? Okay, time to come clean: who’s the billionaire behind this hoping to get atheists on the side of rich people?

  22. says

    So, quite aside from anything else here (and FTR, I completely agree with you about this org): I’m sick of ‘ideological’ being a dirty word. Having a coherent, connected set of principles that inform how you think is not a bad thing. Having words and concepts and ways of understanding based on them that frame your politics at large is a good thing.

    What’s clearer to me by the day (and one of the reasons my blog’s called Godlessness in Theory) is that the limp, illiterate brand of skepticism proffered by many of the GSC’s people, which prides itself on being ‘rational’ and ‘evidence-based’ at the loss of any context anywhere, is un-ideological to a fault. When we regularly have to explain to you the value of philosophy and sociology, the best definitions of sex and race, the actual relevance of empire to way we talk about religions and countless other fundamental things… that’s not a sign you’re being a Tru Skeptic™ and resisting Orwellian brainwashing. It’s a sign you’re failing to think in enough depth.

  23. says

    This is basically a bunch of undoubtedly clever and mostly thoughtful (at least on some things) people who have written some successful and variously provocative/insightful columns/essays/books (some of which have been popularisations of their scientific research). Now that’s not nothing, it’s a gift for a certain style of communication about a special interest area which is growing and developing, and has brought each of them recognition and rewards. But atheism/skepticism/secularism is still a niche market, so it’s not necessarily a huuuuge thing, either.

    Unilaterally deciding that their current level of recognition and niche celebrity has somehow made them ‘thought leaders’? Who just deserve to wield influence over international discourse on public policies because they’ve sold an impressive number of books? Wow.

    In some ways it would be nice and orderly and rationally pleasing if simply writing insightful/provocative books actually did give one some significant influence on international policy discourse in the real world of pragmatic politics. But as Salty Current said upthread, the institutes they cite as models are well known to only have the influence they do because cabals of the world’s most repugnant plutocrats throw trucksful of money at them because they are useful tools for the billionaire brigade in lobbying politicians to continue creeping coporatocracy into ever more creative areas of unaccountability. Unless the Global Secular Council has a bunch of their very own billionaires willing to throw equivalent trucksful of money into their funding, there is almost no possibility of them emulating the influence of the institutions they are name-dropping.

  24. tiko says

    @19 Anthony K

    ‘ big thinky thinks about weighty things’

    That made me laugh.

  25. says

    I’ve had “big thinky thinks about weighty things” running through my head for a while now and it’s been making me smile. (I also liked the development poem.)

    I was thinking that this sort of reminded me in tone and appearance of Heritage and Cato… but they ACTIVELY announce that they admire those think tanks and model themselves after them? Okay, time to come clean: who’s the billionaire behind this hoping to get atheists on the side of rich people?

    Wouldn’t it be funny if it were Templeton? :)

    The Bella & Stella thing could be Dawkins or a pool of the group’s donations. Really, though, as I noted in an earlier comment, many of these people have demonstrated rightwing tendencies and affiliations, whatever their proclaimed sympathies, and it doesn’t appear these will be sidelined regardless of funding. The post I linked to earlier, for example, in addition to the bigoted comments I quoted, also contains:

    Let me take a moment to draw a distinction. Though humanists have many concerns and causes, there is one that I think disqualifies a non-theist as a humanist: radical environmentalism. If you believe that human beings are a pestilence, the worst thing ever to happen to the earth, you are no kind of humanist. If you think the interests of snail darters take precedence over the well-being of humans, you do not espouse humanism. If jobs for people and energy independence mean nothing to you, but “Gaia” does, you probably don’t want to call yourself a humanist, and I wish you wouldn’t.

    Similarly, on another issue, if you think a fetus is no more valuable than a tumor, I think you’re confused if you think you’re a humanist.

    The whole elitist, white male dominated, top-down conception and structure of the organization suggests a plain rightwing sensibility. Come to think of it, they’re missing a likeminded thought leader.

  26. carlie says

    They seem to be channeling Dr. Horrible: “The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it.”

  27. rq says

    Why are all of their communicators men, and most of their administrators women? Do women not do speaky things at all?

  28. says

    Ophelia/#22:

    Heh…

    Okay. Yeah. Yours (or Ms. Tudor’s) is way better. Ten years. Epic comic pause, if ever there were one…

    (/… seems a lot to ask of France, in this case, tho’.)

  29. funknjunk says

    I wonder if Hitch would have wanted to be in on the big thinky think about weighty things ….. ugh.

  30. HappyNat says

    SC @31

    David fucking Brooks is a good call. I knew the empty, pretentious, uneven, “aren’t I clever”, writing reminded me of someone.

  31. Silentbob says

    @ 31 SC (Salty Current) – quoting:

    Similarly, on another issue, if you think a fetus is no more valuable than a tumor, I think you’re confused if you think you’re a humanist.

    And here I was thinking the idea was that a foetus was not more valuable than a woman. Shows why I’m not a thought leader.

  32. Silentbob says

    @ 35 funknjunk

    If I recall correctly, the term “brights” turned his stomach, so perhaps not.

  33. Lenard Lindstrom says

    Has anyone at FreethoughtBlogs contacted Aron Ra to confirm that the Gobal Secular Council is real? Searches for “global secular council” on richarddawkins.net and skeptic.com show nothing. My guess, secularcouncil.org is fake.

  34. Dave Ricks says

    Going with tigtog #27 (giving a writer credit for writing a popular book explaining some things, but extrapolating that to “thought leader” is a bit much), my “thought leader” is Sarah Albee.

  35. anbheal says

    OMG….their splash page, with Dawkins and Thomas Jefferson (I suppose I should know who he is, but whatever), is almost out of a Monty Python skit. THAT’S their brave-new-world logo??? Two smarmy old white British guys casting supercilious glances at some lecture hall???

    Oh man. Please tell me this is The Onion.

  36. says

    Similarly, on another issue, if you think a fetus is no more valuable than a tumor, I think you’re confused if you think you’re a humanist.

    Yeah, but they’re all for women’s rights, aren’t they?
    Probably as long as the things they’re talking about are done by “barbarians” (and I wished I was using exageration her and putting words into their mouths)

  37. David Marjanović says

    These are the same minds who thought “Brights” was a good self-descriptor, right? Yeah.

    + 1

Trackbacks

  1. […] I’m tired of ‘ideological’ being a dirty word – tired of Westminster suits weaponising it, having it thrown at me when I say Isla Vista had a context and skeptics who rail against feminists ‘importing an “ideology” into the crystalline purity of their movement’. […]

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