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Aug 20 2012

The New Atheism +

There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all (I mean people like these and these). I was already mulling a way to do this back in June when discussion in the comments on my post On Sexual Harassment generated an idea (inspired by Anne C. Hanna) to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheism movement, so we could start marginalizing the evil in our midst, and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values. Then I just got overwhelmed with work and kept putting it off on my calendar for when I had a good half a day or so to get started on that project.

Since then I blogged On Sexual Harassment Policies and Why I Am a Feminist (which smoked out a few of the dregs who attempted to defend their anti-humanist atheism), but closer to my growing thoughts on what separates us, and ought to separate us, within the movement was my post on (Not) Our Kind of People, which wasn’t really about any moral divide (since lots of people who aren’t my kind of people are nevertheless my people as far as basic values go, and I know they would agree; we just enjoy different company), but it paralleled my more private thinking about the evil among us. Then I read Lousy Canuck’s account of the whole abuse of Surly Amy at TAM and elsewhere, which enraged me (I had previously only known parts of that story). It shows the dregs will now publicly mock humanist values, and abusively disregard the happiness of their own people. Well, that starts drawing the battle lines pretty clearly then.

So I was chomping at the bit to find time to write something on this, but still not sure what to say or how to say it. It especially bugged me because I couldn’t get to it for lack of available time (which reminds me to mention, be warned, I am AFK most of this week and so comment moderation here will be unusually slow).

Then Jen McCreight said it for me, more eloquently and clearly than I could have. This weekend she wrote How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism, which was so well received (and quite rightly) that she wrote a brief follow-up: Atheism +. And Greta Christina and others have taken up the banner: Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism. I am fully on board. I will provide any intellectual artillery they need to expand this cause and make it successful.

Its basic values (and the reason for its moniker) Jen stated thus:

We are…
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.

Amen to all that. But I should add to this a contribution by a reader of my blog, Christine Reece, who back in June sent me a suggestion for my planned post about positive atheism’s values, which I filed away for when I finally posted something essentially declaring battle lines the way Jen did. This in turn will lead to what I’d like to add to our discussion of underlying values.

Christine framed her points as rhetorical questions, which I had planned to blog about one at a time to open discussion on each, and I might do that if it’s needed, but I’m starting to think it’s not. We humanists already know where we stand, and that it’s not with the atheists who denounce or reject these values. So I now frame them as declarations (freely adapting and expanding on her own words, I hope she won’t mind–she might not agree with all of this):

A. Atheism and skepticism should embrace diversity (and not just be a bunch of white guys reading a bunch of white guys). In fact, we should be really keen on expanding our experience and horizons in that regard, aiming to learn as much as possible, and provide resources to help all our comrades in arms.

B. Atheist and skeptic communities should encourage everyone to apply skeptical analysis not just to religion, pseudoscience, and woo, but to social, moral, and political policies, theories and activists.

C. Considering the history of religion and how it has even warped secular life and thought in countries around the world, atheists and skeptics should spend as much time and energy deconstructing illogical and/or inhumane secular policies and claims as they do actively fighting religiously-based interference. We have to be as critical of ourselves and each other as we would expect anyone to be of religion, so we can be sure we don’t make the same mistakes. We must police the rot within, if we are to stand strong against our foes without.

D. In the field of education, atheists and skeptics should help promote courses and curricula that include logic and abstract thought rather than focusing all efforts on science. We need to train kids with a universal toolkit of skeptical and critical thinking about all issues in their lives, not just the scientific, but the social, political, and ideological as well. And we need to take seriously the effort to push for that and make it happen at the fundamental and national level.

As Christine said, “Teaching people how to think for themselves in all areas seems much more practical than providing a first-class science education that they’ll wind up ignoring.”

Of course they need the first-class science education, too. And a model for promoting that is Will.i.am’s STEM center project–if you ever thought Will.i.am was lame, think again: see him talk about this on the Graham Norton Show, and note that when the actress beside him says he’s amazing, she’s reacting to the fact that he had previously on that show talked about how he had also given all his UK profits to a royal educational charity (The Prince’s Trust, which he later mentions in the video clip; the dude really is awesome, just read what he’s up to as far as promoting STEM education).

But that’s not enough. The skill to think critically, skeptically, and rationally in all areas of life must also be promoted and cultivated. In fact, I think it’s time we push for communication studies to become one of the standard (and tested) fields in primary and secondary education, right alongside language, literacy, history, math, art, athletics, and science. How communications manipulate people is so fundamental to our lives now, it is a scandal we aren’t fully equipping kids for how to approach and deal with it. That field would include logic (especially identifying fallacies and being able to diagram and analyze real-world claims and arguments), defensive rhetoric (how to identify methods of manipulation in communication), and a basic understanding of how advertising, filtering, framing, and statistics can be abused to mislead and misinform in all media.

I mention this last point, even though it is the least controversial thing about Atheism+, because it really does underlie how many atheists lack this understanding in themselves and instead even denigrate its importance to policing racism, sexism, and irrationality in the movement itself. The idea that we should not be criticizing each other when we say illogical or ignorant things is self-defeating and self-destructive, and the very first corrupt value we need to kick to the curb.

Which leads me to the first value we must lay as the foundation of Atheism+:

– : –

1. We believe in being reasonable. This means, first, that we believe in being logical and rational in forming beliefs and opinions. Which means anyone who makes a fallacious argument on any matter of real importance and, when shown that they have, does not admit it (when given the chance), might not be one of us, and if they persist in doing that, is definitely not one of us, and is to be marginalized and disowned, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. This does not mean we must disavow anyone who happens to hold an irrational belief or have reached a conclusion irrationally, but only those atheists who explicitly oppose or reject the very idea of rationality. In other words, any atheist with whom we cannot even have a rational discussion.

Being reasonable also means we believe it is right and good to politely negotiate to find mutually acceptable compromises in matters of policy and coexistence, which includes agreements on the use of resources. But that does not mean capitulation: compromises must be mutually acceptable, and both parties must genuinely aim at that; if there is no such compromise to be had (not even one of mutual acceptance of our differences), then we are in one form or another enemies, and we must admit that.

I do not think it is in our interests any longer to cooperate in silence with irrational people, when it is irrationality that is the fundamental root cause of all human evil. Anyone who disagrees with that is simply not someone we can work with. We need to make the requirement of rationality in all our dealings with anyone fundamental. Even if we cooperate on limited projects with people who will be rational only in that limited sphere of cooperation (for example, interfaith projects for the common good), we still cannot hold our tongue and not continue to denounce their irrationality in any other sphere if we feel we need to, because to do so would be to become a traitor to our own values. Because being rational and reasonable is what we stand for. And it will always be what we stand for. Openly and passionately, and without compromise.

Although we must still give leave to people in political situations who have to hold their tongue, simply for pragmatic reasons and not because they are actively denying or undermining our values in this regard. For example, the NCSE is and has to remain religion-neutral and thus cannot “affiliate” with Atheism at all, much less Atheism+, even if many who work there are atheists or even Atheist+ enthusiasts. As with many other businesses and enterprises, it simply would not be appropriate to their mission. But we aren’t all working for the NCSE.

Reasonableness is not enough, however. In my book Sense and Goodness without God, and in my formal demonstration in chapter 14 of The End of Christianity, I lay out the empirical and logical foundations of objective moral facts on atheism. And the three principle values I discover to be fundamental truths about how all humans ought to govern themselves are reasonableness, compassion, and integrity, generally in that order.

So the second value we must lay as the foundation of Atheism+ is:

– : –

2. We believe in being compassionate. That means we believe it is important to have empathy for other people (men, women, white people, black people, rich people, poor people, and anyone suffering illness or misfortune or unfair treatment, and so on) and to act in the best interests of human happiness (rather than in the interests of our own vanity, greed, or self-righteousness, for example).

This does not mean we can’t be angry or mean or harsh, when it is for the overall good (as when we mock or vilify the town neonazi); ridiculing the ridiculous is often morally appropriate, and insults are also appropriate when they are genuinely appropriate (because, in short, human happiness would be destroyed if we didn’t marginalize that which can destroy it). It also doesn’t mean that we won’t act against evil, ignorance, and all the sins of vanity, greed, or self-righteousness. To the contrary, it is our compassion that compels us to do so. Our compassion entails we will and must always be the enemies of the uncompassionate.

And this is where the biggest divide exists in our movement today. Everyone who attacks feminism, or promotes or defends racism or sexism, or denigrates or maliciously undermines any effort to look after the rights and welfare and happiness of others, is simply not one of us (and if you think it’s divisive of me to say that, you simply must read Greta Christina’s Atheism Plus, and Some Thoughts on Divisiveness). They have rejected compassion as a fundamental value. Regardless of what they say, that is in actual fact what they have done.

Indeed, as the Surly Amy story shows, there are clearly many of us who disregard the happiness of others just to hurt them, mocking or insulting (or even threatening) them merely to please one’s own vanity or self-righteousness, in complete disregard of the pointless misery it causes another human being. That is fucking cruel. And if you are complicit in that, or don’t even see what’s wrong with it, or worse, plan to engage in Christian-style apologetics for it, defending it with the same bullshit fallacies and tactics the Christians use to defend their own immorality or that of their fictional god, then I don’t want anything to do with you. You are despicable. You are an awful person. You disgust me. You are not my people. [And BTW, I no longer include Dr. Harriet Hall in these remarks in any way, as she has made quite clear she had no idea how her own actions in this matter were misconstrued.]

Even the most rudimentary application of The Golden Rule would have caused any of the people who treated Amy as they did, or Rebecca Watson, or any of the many women and men who have been targeted by this shit, to stop themselves well beforehand. “Wait. Would I want people to treat me this way?” No, you fucking wouldn’t. So alas, you are a hypocrite.

In Sense and Goodness without God (V.1.1.1, pp. 295-96) I made the point that all biblical religion is fundamentally fucked because at its root it fails a most fundamental moral test: it valorizes Abraham, who is willing to murder his own son to prove his faith–which means he placed faith above compassion, above even basic human decency. Almost every evil perpetrated by religion today can be traced to that diseased debasement of humanity, in the fundamentally corrupt values represented in that story. Many atheists are building the same corrupt edifice, and instead of “faith in god” trumping human decency, they are placing their own vanity, privilege, and self-righteousness above human decency. Basically, it makes them feel good to hurt people. And that’s what makes them evil.

Indeed, “I don’t like you, so I am going to make you personally miserable” is their value system, rather than “I don’t like you, so I am going to have nothing to do with you” or “I don’t like something you said or did, so I will still respect you as a person and look after your basic welfare, but I am also going to explain in a logical and empirical way why I think you are wrong, and what I say might be harsh, but I will take the greatest care to ensure it is, to the best of my knowledge, relevant and true. But I’ll hear you out if you think I’m wrong about that.” No, that would be reasonable, and reasonably compassionate, behavior. Which these atheists know not of.

(I am by no means talking about respecting actual criminals, however. Their punishment is due. But even them we won’t needlessly torment. Their punishment must be productive, and deserved.)

And so I am declaring here and now, that anyone who acts like this, is not one of us, and should be marginalized and disowned, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. In fact it is especially important on this point that we prove that these vile pissants are a minority in our movement, by making sure our condemnation of them is vocalized and our numbers seen. We must downvote their bullshit, call it out in comments, blog our outrage.

Don’t assume that because someone else did that, that it’s covered and you can give it a miss. No, we need to show numbers. So speak out wherever you see these two sides at loggerheads, and voice your affiliation, so it’s clear how many of us there are, against them. And this very much is an us vs. them situation. The compassionate vs. the vile. You can’t sit on the fence on this one. In a free society, apathy is an endorsement of villainy.

This also applies to the sexists and racists and other dirtbags who try to make themselves seem reasonable through the specious tactic of merely not using curse words or insults, as if that is all that it takes to be a reasonable person. No, when you see apologists for sexism and racism and other anti-humanistic views of the world, views that have at their core a fundamental lack of empathy for other human beings and a pathological disinterest in seeing how things look from perspectives not their own, views that place narcissistic self-interest above genuine concern for how other people are doing, even when they try to mimic what they think “sounding reasonable” looks like, you needn’t resort to invective or insults, but on the same even keel they are pretending at, simply declare that they are not one of you, but are one of them. The people we want nothing more to do with. Until and unless they realize their own sins and repent of them. Feel free to calmly explain why.

(But be empathic enough to assume at first that someone being an ignorant dufus is really just ignorant and misinformed, and not a douchebag; give them at least one shot at being educable, before kicking them into the sewers to wallow with their peeps.)

And of course the third value we must lay as the foundation of Atheism+ is:

– : –

3. We believe in personal integrity. That means we believe in being honest and forthright, and consistent in our values. Hypocrisy to us is among the greatest sins, and we will denounce it everywhere, and purge it whenever we discover it in ourselves.

This may seem uncontroversial, a no brainer, but it really needs special emphasis, it needs to be something we consciously define ourselves by, so that it is ever on our minds when we decide who to be and what to praise or denounce or fight for or against. It must actually shame us when we are discovered to be hypocritical or dishonest in any significant way, and our integrity ought always drive us to correct ourselves when that happens. Our integrity ought to be important to us.

We must integrate this ideal of personal integrity into our very self-identity. Those who don’t, those who aren’t shamed by being exposed as liars or hypocrits, those who persist in being dishonest or inconsistent even when their dishonesty or inconsistency has been soundly proven, is not one of us, and is to be marginalized and disowned, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with.

– : –

The nexus of these three values does entail there can be such things as unreasonable compassion (like destroying your own happiness through excessive giving, or not giving babies vaccinations because needles hurt) or unreasonable honesty (like aiding a murderer by telling them where their target is hiding) or dishonest compassion (like tricking someone into losing a lot, by being generous to them now) or uncompassionate honesty (like being unnecessarily frank about someone’s appearance), or even dishonest reasonableness (like merely pretending to be reasonable). These are all moral failures. But there can be honest debate about where the boundaries are drawn when values come into conflict, as long as that debate is always governed by the most fundamental value of being reasonable (as defined above).

There can also be many other uncertainties and disagreements over whether someone or something really fulfills these values, and good people can fall short of their own values from time to time. The only issue at hand is whether we are at least on board with the idea that these are the values we should hold ourselves to, and with doing our best to hold ourselves to them. That is the question of what sort of atheist we are: an atheist who embraces these values, or an atheist who does not. The rest is open to honest and reasonable discussion, disagreement and debate. But we have to draw this line, so we are no longer mixed in with the atheists who refuse either to embrace these values or sincerely work toward embodying them, so we no longer give tacit endorsement to them or their toxic contributions to the atheism movement.

In a future post I might explore further what I think the values of Atheism+ could be, beyond the general principles I have laid out here, unless others cover it better. And I will consider these posts a living document. If from sincere and constructive criticism in comments I am led to alter or revise what I’ve said above in any way (beyond clarifications that can be well-enough addressed in comments themselves), I will do so, and announce the changes in the comments, so there is a record of them. Because I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone.

In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I can’t insist, but I do ask that you to defend these goals and values (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you with the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?

Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.

And on what exactly I mean by that, see Being with or against Atheism+.

753 comments

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  1. 201
    Mouse

    I fail to see the necessity for creating a new group that matches this description. The requirements for joining obtuse and, from what I can see, could be subject to interpretation. For example, what does “social justice” encompass? Who decides what, if any, requirements are added on at a later date? Who decides, if ever, that the “opinion of the movement” has changed?

    1. 201.1
      Richard Carrier

      It isn’t necessary to “create a group” (though that will happen). All I have done is define two different kinds of atheists and asked what kind you are. And called people to disown atheists who embrace sexism et al. so we will no longer be lumped in with them.

      Your other questions have already been answered in yesterday’s post.

    2. 201.2
      Mouse

      Yeah, but there really aren’t 2 different “kinds” of atheists. What you’re describing are atheists a WITH specific set of completely separate beliefs.

    3. 201.3
      Richard Carrier

      That’s how logic works. Or did you never learn how to use Venn diagrams?

      Set A consists of two subsets: members of A that include B, and members of A that exclude B.

      There is no other subset.

    4. 201.4
      Brian Macker

      Richard,

      I hope you are familiar with what a deepity is. Daniel Dennett is spreading this word around. It is a kind of equivocation where one meaning is true and trivial and the other although false would have profound implications. An example being, “Love is just a word”. True, in one sense love is just a word like “cat”, but also in the more profound sense, no love is not just a word.

      Saying, “There are two kinds of people X and not X” is usually a deepity, and it your case is a deepity. In one sense of meaning, the trivial sense, there really are just two kinds of people given the definition of X. Problem is that there are many possible criteria, and in that sense there are NOT just two kinds of Atheist.

      Your criteria are ridiculous BTW. You’ve created so many criteria it seems you’ve narrowed the field of A+ (X) down to people who agree with leftist interpretations of the world, excluding plenty of people who are not racists, misogynists, etc. In fact, seems your criteria requires one to be an intolerant leftist jerk in order to be a member of A+. I am against racism, but I think privilege theory is irrational nonsense, but you A+ers think that nclassifies me with racists. It laughably ridiculous.

    5. 201.5
      Richard Carrier

      And ironically, you just produced a deepity in order to make a fallacious dismissal of a logically valid dichotomy. What wonderful illogical art you make.

      And you put a cherry on top with a classic straw man argument, that ignores everything I have said on exactly that fallacy, and then attributes to me things I never said, all in an attempt to deny what I did say by associating it with something completely else that you don’t like.

      Clever.

      You are clearly not a rational person (as all this fallacious bullshit demonstrates), but in the event any rational person is reading this, check out what I already said about this in Being with or Against Atheism+.

  2. 202
    elainec

    Richard Carrier says: “Your attitude seems to be based on emotion, not any rational objection to anything I said or did.”

    Excuse me for being a human being with emotions. I’m afraid the chemotherapy has compromised my Vulcan-like control over my emotions.

    I am going to ask this again…Why am I a lesser person if I decide to reject the Atheism + label and stick with calling myself an atheist humanist?

    1. 202.1
      Richard Carrier

      Being a “human with emotions” does not excuse replacing rationality with emotion. Mocking that very apt point does not make you look like you are trying to be reasonable.

      And I never asked anyone to “adopt the Atheism+ label.” All I asked was whether they supported its values, or the values of Atheism Less (which is atheism minus the values of Atheism+).

      It was irrational to mistake me for saying anything else. But now, it would be extraordinarily irrational to do so, since I have made the distinction absolutely clear.

  3. 203
    Richard Carrier

    Revisions (Round One): In my original post I said I would make revisions if people could demonstrate their necessity, that this was a living document open to a consensus of peers.

    Finally, after a spurt of irrational naysayers who did this, there have been a number of reasonable statements of concern, which do not explicitly but I think sufficiently call for some revisions to prevent misunderstanding the original point.

    I have already revised the concluding paragraph and added an appending link as explained in Being with or against Atheism+. But in addition, I have added the following paragraph:

    There can also be many other uncertainties and disagreements over whether someone or something really fulfills these values, and good people can fall short of their own values from time to time. The only issue at hand is whether we are at least on board with the idea that these are the values we should hold ourselves to, and with doing our best to hold ourselves to them. That is the question of what sort of atheist we are: an atheist who embraces these values, or an atheist who does not. The rest is open to honest and reasonable discussion, disagreement and debate. We have to draw this line, so we are no longer mixed in with the atheists who refuse either to embrace these values or sincerely work toward embodying them, so we no longer give tacit endorsement to them or their toxic contributions to the atheism movement.

    I then updated the paragraph on the compatibility of ridicule and insult with compassion to take into account developments on that discussion (reflected in The Art of the Insult & The Sin of the Slur). And to avoid legalistic over-literalism, I expanded “if there is no such compromise to be had, then we are in one form or another enemies, and we must admit that” to “if there is no such compromise to be had (not even one of mutual acceptance of our differences), then we are in one form or another enemies, and we must admit that.”

    And to ensure against misunderstanding, I have added one parenthesis and two sentences to the first paragraph on rationality, thus:

    Which means anyone who makes a fallacious argument and, when shown that they have, does not admit it (when given the chance), is not one of us, and is to be marginalized and kicked out, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. This does not mean we must disavow anyone who happens to hold an irrational belief or have reached a conclusion irrationally, but only those atheists who explicitly oppose or reject the very idea of rationality. In other words, any atheist with whom we cannot even have a rational discussion.

    Finally, I have replaced the wording “kicked out” (for being vague as to what that means) with something more clearly communicating my intended meaning: “disown.”

    As per my original post’s declaration, I welcome further suggestions for revision. Just make a strong case for any revision you propose. I don’t want to reduce the thing to an impenetrable thicket of legalese, so respect colloquial language and context and the reader’s intelligence. There has to be a really good reason for a revision.

  4. 204
    johncameron

    RC, you just don’t seem to get it…. You come off as an arrogant, uncaring, douchy individual who, rather than rally people to your position with the irrefutable rightness of compassion, integrity, and reasonableness, seem to revel in being an arbiter of whether people live up to your standards of these values and in joyfully, vigorously, and discompassionately expelling them from your midst if they don’t. The constant refrain of “If you aren’t part of A+, you are against compassion, integrity, and reasonableness and you are my enemy” is rather like a child who can’t get all of his friends to agree to play “my way”, so packs up his toys and heads home. If you truly want to recruit others to your cause and to your way of thinking on the value of A+ rather than fortify your insular “in group” policies, you would do well to stop this vilifying of others who choose not to join for reasons which clearly have nothing to do with being against compassion, integrity, and reasonableness.

    1. 204.1
      Richard Carrier

      Because repudiating sexists, racists, and homophobes and people who reject reasonableness, compassion, and integrity makes someone “an arrogant, uncaring, douchy individual.” Got it.

      At this stage of the game, there is no excuse for you to still be making the mistake of thinking I was talking about labels and not values.

      It’s like you don’t even know about yesterday’s post, which is announced here in comments numerous times and thus was available to you before you wrote this comment.

      Or are you just being a douchebag and deliberately ignoring that distinction?

  5. 205
    Givesgoodemail

    What we have here, folks, is a perfect storm (in a good way).

    Support an atheist viewpoint is a valuable one, to be sure; finding ways to persuade people that believing in or depending upon supernatural powers should be called “insanity” has value all onto itself.

    Finding the intersection of atheism, skepticism, and social justice is just one powerful notion that Jen came up with.

    However, Jen has shown something else that is by far the most important aspect of atheism+: taking atheism, skeptical thought, and social equality and DOING SOMETHING WITH THEM.

    Basking around a fireplace with the comfort of like-thinking folks and a good brandy is all well and fine, but taking the tenets of atheism+ out into the cold bleak wind of reality and changing the world…

    There’s the real power of Ms. McCreight’s clarion call.

  6. 206
    Mike D

    I conclude by asking “are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?”

    Tom states they pick option B.

    I point out that this makes them a douchebag.

    Identify where at any point I am wrong.

    You were wrong as soon as you made it clear you think these are the only two options, and your marginalization and ostracization of civil dissent make you the douchebag, and quite a colossal one at that. Everyone who didn’t want to be slapped with another new label has been proven right by your asinine behavior.

    1. 206.1
      Richard Carrier

      As I defined the problem, those were the only two options.

      Tom may have irrationally not noticed that (and thus failed epically), in which case he might be a dumbass instead of a douchebag.

      Remember that my original article explicitly declared:

      And I will consider these posts a living document. If from sincere and constructive criticism in comments I am led to alter or revise what I’ve said above in any way (beyond clarifications that can be well-enough addressed in comments themselves), I will do so, and announce the changes in the comments, so there is a record of them. Because I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone.

      The proper response to objecting to a document that says something you disagree with, and at the same time says that very thing I just quoted it saying, is to voice what you object to and why (and perhaps, if you have ideas on the matter, how it might be remedied).

      I shouldn’t have to explain this to people. But now that I have, please heed it. That’s what it means to be a reasonable person. Don’t you agree?

      Instead, I said there were two kinds of atheists, defining a proper dichotomy with no excluded middle, and asked which you were. Tom chose B. With no argument whatsoever. Just right out, B. I responded appropriately.

  7. 207
    Michael Aristidou

    I have been a POSITIVE atheist for more than 12 years now (and proud of it), but i am seriously getting more irritated year after year with how some people, in the USA especially, are trying to turn a belief, a philosophy, and a way of life, into a political movement, or a show, or even to make money out of it.

    I am just SHOCKED that even someone like you…someone who i read much of his really nice stuff, who you know very well that many of the things you propose above have NOTHING to do with atheism.

    To be more precise, i give a few examples:

    1. Atheism has NOTHING to do with being compassionate. It would be nice for a human to be compassionate, but compassion is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for atheism.

    2. Atheism has nothing to do with supporting gay rights, liking/hating gays, or even women’s rights, etc. These are issues independent of whether one has a belief or not in a higher being.

    Finally, i find extremely superficial the way the terms “rationality”, “logical thinking”, etc, are used… Rationality is a HUGE philosophical topic, logic as well, as you know, with tremendous problems in their definitions, and they are certainly not the “property” of (just) atheists.

    Even atheism has some controversy in its definition…There is a difference between informing people, arguing/debating, etc, on issues like these, and showing the insufficiency, invalidity, etc, of their arguments, or even choosing to live one way or another, and laying down a set of principles, most of which have nothing to do with atheism, and trying to politicize the matter with statements like “are you one of us?” !!! (And who’s to judge who is the “right” atheist after all?).

    1. 207.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’m not talking about atheism. I’m talking about Atheism+. See here.

      As to the rest, it has already been addressed in comments above.

    2. 207.2
      Michael Aristidou

      1. By the way, i just noticed that my first post said “I have been a POSITIVE atheist, …”. I meant to say “I have been a POSITIVE atheist for more than 12 years now”. Still AM…and proud of it. :)

      2. I have read the comments, and they are quite verbalistic. Not much content in the “atheist+”, other than “atheist that agree with me on certain are called ‘good atheists’ or i don’t know, ‘uber-atheists’.

      3. There is nothing links atheism with morality. Perhaps it’s just a bad choice of word, “atheist+”. If you are looking to form a group with, say, the sub-class of ‘good’ atheists, then you have every right to do so…but then again one has to explain to us what ‘good’ means, and who will set the criteria and what those would be. (same things for ‘rational’).

  8. 208
    elainec

    “Richard Carrier says: Yes, if you reject the values of Atheism+ simply because you don’t like me, you are being irrational. Own it.”

    Strange, I don’t recall saying anything like that. What I reject is the label of Atheism +. Your attitude hasn’t helped your cause, but in reality, I don’t see the need for the label. Hey, but if you do, that’s fine. I just feel that you are duplicating the efforts of others and could spend the time and energy in better ways. But what do I know? I’m just an irrational woman who escaped fundamentalism and all the sexism and misogyny that goes with it.

    What I call myself is an atheist humanist. It took me a long time to get to that place, but when you’ve spent over 30 years of your life as a fundamentalist christian, you have a lot of baggage to rid yourself of. Supporting social justice, women’s rights, critical thinking and skepticism and standing against racism, homophobia and transphobia are all things I do. It’s the wrapping paper of Atheism + I can do without.

    1. 208.1
      Richard Carrier

      Then you have no objection to my article or what it calls for. Sorted. Now, really, was that so hard?

  9. 209
    Nick

    I support equality, (trans-genders, homosexuals, heterosexuals, men, women, any race, you name it… equality). I am also an Atheist.

    I will never class myself as an Atheist+, for similar reasons as others have mentioned, the demonisation of anyone that doesn’t join the movement, the dogmatic nature, the zeal, how long before someone is appointed the leader or chairperson? When will be the first excommunication?

    This represents exactly the kind of crowd mentality and sacrifice of independent thought that I found so repellent in religion, despite the laudable aims. It’s organised atheism and politics, and like religion, that ‘set-in-stone’ nature, and the marrying of such independent concepts will become a problem.

    I want to believe inequality is bad because I believe it, not because it is a core tenet of my group.

    I cannot support this, nor wish you luck with this movement. However I have every desire to see universal equality become a reality.

    1. 209.1
      Richard Carrier

      Which is wholly irrational behavior. All I asked was what kind of atheist you are, one who accepts certain values or one who does not. You instead became weirdly irrationally obsessed about there being a label for it.

      Try imagining if there was no label and all I asked was what kind of atheist you are, without giving it a name. Would you react so irrationally?

      I suspect not.

      Ask yourself why.

    2. 209.2
      TByte

      Nick realizes that Atheism + is not in actuality an egalitarian movement. He and others have seen through your facade, Richard.
      Score one for egalitarian equalism, Nick!

  10. 210
    ciceronianus

    I think you are too eager to condemn and, most of all, to exclude from the community of human beings worthy of consideration those you feel are inadequate. You seem a zealot, inclined to insist (to paraphrase Goldwater) that extremism in the defense of atheism is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of what you consider reason is no virtue. Consider Epictetus, a thinker it seems you should know well: “A guide, on finding a man who has lost his way, brings him back to the right path–he does not mock and jeer at him and then take himself off.” Doing so is just an acknowledgement of one’s incapacity.

    1. 210.1
      Richard Carrier

      Yes, I consider sexists, racists, homophobes, and people who reject and even mock reasonableness, compassion, and integrity to be wholly inadequate for society, indeed a toxin and a drain on any community. Don’t you agree? If you don’t understand why this matters, read Greta Christina on this point.

      Epictetus failed to grasp that his reasoning only works if reprobates are being reasonable. He also didn’t know anything about the emotion of shame or the use of social signalling and shaming to groom societies toward common values. But you can read all about that in the comments thread on my article about the Art of Insult.

    2. 210.2
      ciceronianus

      I consider them to be wrong, feel that their efforts to impose their views should be opposed, but the use of words like “wholly inadequate for society” and “toxin” concern me. It appears as if you consider them to be sub-human in some respect, and that kind of view has proven to be something of a problem in the past.

  11. 211
    kiggityk

    I am an atheist. This means I have no belief in any deity. Please don’t confuse atheism with your movement. We don’t all agree on your ideals. Perhaps call it the Free Thought Blogs Goal, maybe PZ Meyers and Company, PZM+RC. I don’t care, but don’t label this with atheism. It’s a backwards step for the true atheist movement.

    1. 211.1
      Richard Carrier

      If you would bother to actually read the article, you would know I am not confusing atheism with Atheism+. That’s why there is a + on it.

      You also evidently didn’t read the comments and thus blindly interjected unaware of developments, in particular the fact that the article has been revised and a follow-up generated that demonstrates that all this nonsense about “labels” is a red herring, a mere obsession of irrational people who don’t know how logic works.

  12. 212
    Sean Gordon

    We are…

    - Atheists plus [all the stuff you mentioned]
    - Atheists plus we defend children’s rights.

    Children deserve a special mention, too. They are at least tied for the most patronized, most self-righteously abused, and least free of all the victims of premodern assholery.

    And any person atheist or otherwise who doesn’t support children’s right not to live like slaves under their adult masters, can fuck off.

    Cheers,
    Sean

  13. 213
    Claus Larsen

    Richard,

    You keep talking about these people in the atheist, skeptic, humanist and feminist movements/communities who you think are sexist, racist and homophobic, and thus should be ostracized.

    But you never name them.

    So, who specifically are you talking about? The easiest would be to start with those who you think are the most known. Let us start with the skeptics:

    Among known skeptics, who are sexist?

    Among known skeptics, who are racist?

    Among known skeptics, who are homophobic?

    Just from the top of your head, please.

    1. 213.1
      Richard Carrier

      Try reading this and this. Just for starters.

    2. 213.2
      Claus Larsen

      Richard,

      I was asking you, not others.

      Among known skeptics, who are sexist?

      Among known skeptics, who are racist?

      Among known skeptics, who are homophobic?

      Just from the top of your head, please.

    3. 213.3
      Taqiyya Mockingbird

      That’s IT? A flurry of idiotic postings from people whom she has no fucking clue whether they are actually atheists or not, and she turns it into “reddit makes me hate atheists”? Idiotic displacement much?

      And in the blogs you liked to, Watson says NOTHING — NOTHING — and provides NO evidence at all about any of these alleged “rape threats” that she is supposed to be getting, or showing any evidence whatsoever that any, if there are any, are actually coming from atheists. WTF happened to the “skeptic” that was supposed to be in “skepchick”? What happened to skepticism and examination of evidence?

      Specific responses directed at her, however inappropriate they may or may not be, do not constitute evidence of misogyny, either on the part of the respondent, nor on the part of the “atheist community”. You and she are committing multiple egregious fallacies of composition and faulty generalization here. Where is the evidence of actual threats to rape her? Has any of this been reported to the police, the FBI? Unless or until you and your cohorts SHOW EVIDENCE of real misogyny and sexual harassment (as well as racism, classism, homo/transphobia, etc) in the atheist community AND show EVIDENCE that it is “rampant” as you claim, you are just crying wolf.

    4. 213.4
      Richard Carrier

      Since I didn’t claim any were, your question is moot.

      The existence of the problem has been demonstrated.

      Acknowledge it.

    5. 213.5
      Richard Carrier

      Just like a creationist. Deny all the evidence exists by making up excuses for why it’s not evidence of anything. And ironically, thereby becoming an example of the thing you claim doesn’t exist.

      That’s almost a work of art.

    6. 213.6
      Claus Larsen

      Richard,

      Let us sum up, then:

      1) You say that the existence of sexism, racism and homophobia in skepticism has been demonstrated.

      2) You say that you have no names of any of these skeptics who are sexist, racist or homophobic.

      You do realize that the two are mutually exclusive, don’t you?

      Because you don’t really know if those anonymous sexists, racists and homophobics are skeptics.

      And the same goes for those claimed to be atheists, humanists, and so on.

      Isn’t that correct?

    7. 213.7
      Richard Carrier

      You are assuming that all the hundreds of people saying sexist things in atheist venues are, coincidentally, not atheists, but some sort of non-evangelizing religionists pretending to be atheists?

      Yeah. Because that’s probable.

      Just like a Christian apologist, you deny all evidence whatever that is ever presented to you, by making hopelessly implausible excuses to explain it all away.

      P.S. I have even more evidence to mention now. It accumulates and accumulates. But you deny and deny. Methinks you protest too much.

  14. 214
    Nick


    Which is wholly irrational behavior.

    You have failed to demonstrate why it is such, you are simply asserting. Presumably you are asserting that anyone that wants to see equality would be in full support of your proposal, well that is incredibly pompous, for all we know your ‘movement’ may inadvertently do more harm than good.


    All I asked was what kind of atheist you are, one who accepts certain values or one who does not.

    I am the kind of Atheist that does not believe in a deity, that is the only kind there is!
    If you want to know what my political views are, then fine, but that’s a different question to my Atheism/theism.
    I would propose that trying to tie social values to an answer to a singular question is actually the irrational behaviour.


    Try imagining if there was no label and all I asked was what kind of atheist you are, without giving it a name. Would you react so irrationally?

    Again, the question isn’t the kind of Atheist I am, for there is only one kind, it’s the kind of political/social views I hold, completely unrelated.

    1. 214.1
      Richard Carrier

      I have repeatedly demonstrated in this thread why obsessing over the label is irrational.

      Your continued behavior here is even more irrational. You effectively deny the existence of good atheists, bad atheists, Marxist atheists, Libertarian atheists, feminist atheists, misogynist atheists, gay atheists, female atheists, military atheists, black atheists, tall atheists, short atheists, happy atheists, sad atheists, all because of your wildly bizarre claim that there are not different kinds of atheists, that there is only one kind of atheist. That’s simply irrational. It’s to deny how the whole English language works. Much less the rudiments of set theory.

      Hence the fact remains:

      All I asked was what kind of atheist you are, one who accepts certain values or one who does not. You instead became weirdly irrationally obsessed about there being a label for it.

      You continue to persist in this irrational behavior. At this point, I really can’t help you.

  15. 215
    Hybrid Vigor

    Richard,
    If there is a revised version of the Atheism+ position (one that might take advantage of any clarifications, etc), I would ask that you please consider embedding a concise philosophical thread of rational scientific naturalism that justifies this position. Not just links to articles that may be partial proofs, etc. I’m not critiquing your other articles, I just think we should never omit the one component that establishes unique identity from the argument itself. I don’t have data to back this up, but I think the foundational declarations of any group are enhanced by expressly stating it’s philosophical justification, and there’s no reason to make people go clicking around to find the core message, right?

    I can’t get to the position of “compassion, reasonableness, and integrity” from atheism directly, but that may be because I’ve never had to give up belief in a god. My atheism is a position sustained by values like integrity, compassion, and reasonableness. I take it from your article that atheism was necessary but not sufficient for you to develop your current philosophical stance (please correct me here as necessary). I only ask because I don’t know how I might consider a situation like the omission of Ask an Atheist from the Marriage Equality contributor’s roster, if I were to view it through the eyes of “Atheism+”. There are many conflicts between Atheism+ components for me in this situation, and without knowing the root philosophical precepts of a movement, how can one decide between competing values? I’m wondering whether possible inter-individual differences in logical and philosophical relationships between the values or atheism may predict future subdivisions (along lines of philosophical relationship between atheism and values) when these conflict?

    From reading a number of FTB posts on Atheism+, there seems to be significant conflict over the distinction between philosophical and practical implications of Atheism+. This is a valid concern, as simply declaring one’s position in support of fairness does not mean one’s actions make the world more “fair”. I know the inclusion of reasonableness, or aspects of integrity aimed at self-critique, could be invoked as a built-in remedy for off-target effects of specific behaviors. This is arguably a sound philosophical position, but it illustrates the essence of the concern over A+ in-action. I think recent events in the Atheist community demonstrate how hard it is to actually achieve these ideals. If you don’t know what I mean, (A) ask yourself how you feel when someone tells you god exists, then provides personal testimony that god has appeared to that person several times. Now, (B) ask yourself how you feel when a woman states that women avoid atheist meetings because of sexual harassment, then she provides personal testimony to support the claim (I am using an acute setting here to make a point, I am not summarizing the months-long behaviors/statements of any person). The followup question should be the same in both cases, and in all cases that involve someone providing testimony as evidence of a larger truth. If not, then I’m afraid your cognitive bias has corrupted your integrity. The fact that A is much much much much less likely than B to be true should be irrelevant. If truth be told, I doubt I’d even bother asking a follow-up to A, but B is a claim of importance to me.

    And now, I’d like a trial run to see how Atheism+ works. This is a question I have about what I see as illogical behavior. This is a genuine reflection of my thoughts on the matter, and I am very open to changing my mind, but assertions, appeals to authority or “common knowledge” will not suffice. Let’s see how this goes: I have no doubt that sexist behavior is present at atheist conferences and I want it to stop. It may very well be that the cause of low female attendance is sexual harassment. If, however, the reason for low female participation at these events is actually related to a different phenomenon, I’d like to know that, too, as that is an independent mechanism by which women are oppressed. Notice, this says nothing about the truth of whether sexual assault/harassment is present or the importance of addressing the issue. Even if attendance did not suggest that a barrier to female participants existed, the need to address issues of harassment/assault would be just as important. In fact, assuming that low attendance by women is due to sexual harassment creates more risk for women by establishing a false metric that may fail to detect fluctuations in criminal behavior. This is why I get depressed when I see Feminists aggressively blocking such lines of inquiry (This is not a statement that all Feminists do this). It impairs our understanding of sexism and it hurts women, period. It also hurts male feminists that are fighting hard for women’s rights, while preventing maximal efforts to fix the problem. If this seems like an illogical thing to say, please bear in mind that, even though I firmly believe I have not intentionally done anything to harm or make a woman feel unsafe or unwelcome, I must be honest and say that I need to be open to the possibility that I may have unintentionally done so or that my interpretation of events may be inaccurate. How can I investigate this if we aren’t scrutinizing the claim? I may well be at fault despite my feelings otherwise. This should be the thought going through everyone’s mind when a statement of rampant misbehavior is made. If not, I’m afraid you’re pretending to be a Feminist, you have poorly calibrated compassion, and you most definitely are not a scientist, whether or not you are a fan of science. We should want to know what level of sexist behaviors are present in atheist groups vs. the general population vs other comparable groups, etc, because we need more knowledge. If the rate of malignant behavior is equal to the general population, then it may not be a good candidate for the attendance mechanism, but it would suggest a stronger anti-Feminist mechanism is present, one that can overcome the relative safety of an environment that is less threatening. This doesn’t even preclude the possibility that individual women are targeted at high rates at our meetings while average behavior could be better than in the general population. All of these possibilities and more could be investigated, and it still should. Further, we could have done something that is scarce in Feminist literature (to my reading), we could have done rigorous testing of intervention methods in a group of mostly well-educated, financially capable individuals. Most of these people have had the boilerplate awareness training, and yet these behaviors persist. Here’s the deal, though. We can’t know whether our intervention works until we really understand the problem, and you don’t get there without rigorous evaluation of the claim. There is plenty of fault to go around. I’ll restrict my claims to what I know to be true. I should have demanded evidence supporting the claim that sexual harassment/assault was the cause of low representation for women. I should have demanded a rigorous evaluation of sexism be done, period. And, I should have insisted that we publish our findings so that we can make a real contribution to the literature. These are things people should be doing if they care about the welfare of humanity. I did not because I allowed someone to tell me that in asking for evidence I was a rape-denier. I do not understand this. I’ve been assaulted by a female superior, and I volunteer at a sexual assault clinic, so I have some exposure that’s relevant. In my experience, people who are dedicated to investigating the causes of sexual crimes are not often thought of as rape-deniers by victims. Is my logic so poorly calibrated that I’m evidently a rape-denier? This should have been a shining moment for all who believe in A+, so why does it feel like such a disaster, and why is everyone so certain they have some knowledge that I seek but can’t confirm?

    I am constantly battling to challenge the model of reality I’ve created. It’s brutal. If I’m honest, though, I’m usually enraged at the time. In retrospect, that’s when I usually learn something useful about myself or the world around me. If one isn’t open to evidence that challenges even the most deeply held belief, then I don’t know how to avoid delusions (I’m not remotely implying that sexism is a delusion, the example was used to illustrate the power of confirmation bias, belief bias, etc to influence our ability to remain critical of all claims).

    I don’t consider myself a Feminist, though I am fully supportive of Feminists who remain true to their philosophy. I say this because I don’t know what equal means in this setting. I know many men that live unenviable lives, and I wouldn’t wish any person, man or woman, to be treated in an equivalent manner. In that setting, achieving equal treatment would be a failure on my part. To assume that I could even judge equality in treatment seems scandalous, as people almost certainly differ in their perceptions, and I cannot know the inner subjective experience of others. I instead choose to do what I can to improve the lives of others to the extent I can, and encourage others to follow suit. Singling one gender out just seems to enforce a division, and I think Brown v Board of Education was on to something…

    1. 215.1
      Richard Carrier

      I would ask that you please consider embedding a concise philosophical thread of rational scientific naturalism that justifies this position.

      I cited a book and book chapter in the article itself as providing that underpinning. The extensions from that to this are provided here.

      I only ask because I don’t know how I might consider a situation like the omission of Ask an Atheist from the Marriage Equality contributor’s roster, if I were to view it through the eyes of “Atheism+”.

      We would protest. In fact, we did. They relented. Ask an Atheist is now on their roster.

      From reading a number of FTB posts on Atheism+, there seems to be significant conflict over the distinction between philosophical and practical implications of Atheism+.

      I have not seen any examples of said conflict. Can you provide direct URLs?

      If you don’t know what I mean, (A) ask yourself how you feel when someone tells you god exists, then provides personal testimony that god has appeared to that person several times. Now, (B) ask yourself how you feel when a woman states that women avoid atheist meetings because of sexual harassment, then she provides personal testimony to support the claim (I am using an acute setting here to make a point, I am not summarizing the months-long behaviors/statements of any person).

      Are you serious?

      Ask yourself, (C) how you feel when a newspaper states that something happened, and provides eyewitness testimony to support the claim; (D) how you feel when a scientific paper states that something happened, and provides eyewitness testimony to support the claim; (E) how you feel when anyone you know states that something happened, and provides eyewitness testimony to support the claim.

      The answer you would give to (C)-(D)-(E) is the same I would give to (B): the same way you distinguish “seeing gods” from these and all other cases of accepting human testimony is the same way you react to anyone telling you things that have an established prior probability, gender is irrelevant.

      If you really don’t know what the difference is between (A) and (B)-(C)-(D)-(E), then read my remarks on the Smell Test for prior probability in Proving History (index).

      The fact that A is much much much much less likely than B to be true should be irrelevant.

      If you really think that, then you have failed basic logic. Prior probability is extremely relevant. In fact it is a necessary component of any epistemic judgment. You might want to catch up to speed on Bayesian epistemology. Start with the resources listed here and then here.

      If, however, the reason for low female participation at these events is actually related to a different phenomenon, I’d like to know that, too, as that is an independent mechanism by which women are oppressed.

      Absolutely. We want to know all factors.

      But the issues are not just limited to sexism. As I’ve explained. And sexism in our movement is not just a problem affecting conferences, but even more so the internet. Read this and then this.

      This is why I get depressed when I see Feminists aggressively blocking such lines of inquiry (This is not a statement that all Feminists do this).

      Give me an example of feminists doing this, i.e. a URL or any citation I can follow up and see what you mean.

      (And just saying we don’t have the money and resources to do it is not “blocking” it; so I mean show me the evidence of actual “blocking” behavior.)

      The rest of your remarks don’t seem to aim at any purpose. If there is an argument in there, I cannot discern what it is.

  16. 216
    WaningGibbous

    From Massimo Pigliucci:

    “And here is the kicker: shortly after Carrier posted his rant, Jen McCreight herself tweeted the following:

    “Finally had time 2 read Richard Carrier’s #atheismplus piece. His language was unnecessarily harsh, divisive & ableist. Doesn’t represent A+”.”

    Well done, Mr. Reasoned Debate. Now GTFO.

    1. 216.1
      Richard Carrier

      Except I answered the concerns reasonably, revised this post, apologized for my excesses, even wrote an article about how I was persuaded that I was wrong on some points, and then clarified my position more in line with what Jen had in mind in my follow-up post.

      Thus illustrating how Atheism+ works.

      It’s behave reasonably, or GTFO. Not hail Stalin, or GTFO. Despite trollish attempts to claim the contrary.

  17. 217
    Von

    Great article sent to me by my atheist friend, I’m a Believer in God/Jesus. It’s nice to see some form of atheism that isn’t militant towards religion and God and is trying to use it’s skepticism for secular as well as religious criticism. I really like the ‘B’ and ‘C’ statements. The idea of Abraham being a compassion-less killer is sadly not understanding the text and purpose of Scripture. Isaac was a 30 year old man, not a boy, who willingly obeyed his father’s request in obedience to both of their God’s demand. God had no intentions of Isaac being killed by his father, it was all a picture of Jesus and His Father who would lay down His life in obedience to Him. If God had Isaac killed, then there would be some ground to stand on for God being an ant-squashing bully. God provided a ram instead, as intended all along by God. Ram was sacrificed same spot where Temple eventually stood offering daily sacrifices and Jesus was eventually sacrificed, again all ‘types’ pointing to God’s grand plan that’s still unfolding before our eyes. Jerusalem means ‘God will provide peace’ in Hebrew (Uriah-Shalem) because of this Isaac story. Isaac was 30ish, he carried wood on his back, was brought to Moriah in Jerusalem, willingly gave up his life for his father’s will – Jesus did all the same things. Isaac was a ‘type’ of Messiah, a precursor to the real thing. So was Joseph, David and Moses, all mini-Messiahs pointing to the real thing that was yet to come. In an atheist’s mind I can see how putting an imaginary God’s will above compassion for a tangible human being makes no sense though. (I feel the same way about PETA that elevates animal rights to equal or greater than a human’s, makes no sense. Some kooks are starting to do the same with plants)! But to paint religion as evil because Abraham loved His God more than his own son and his own will (he didn’t want to sacrifice his son) is ignorant. I think a lot of atheism, as well as Christendom sees God as a capricious man-made pagan-like god that has same humanistic flaws as us and demands sacrifices to appease his temper. God comes out looking very human-like as the pagan gods were, yet that’s not how the Bible describes and depicts His character. He is holy (set apart) from our selfish, lustful, greedy, flaky human conditions, despite our best efforts to be good, brilliant, kind people. He requests that we offer sacrifices (which merely means ‘to draw near to God’ in Hebrew and most sacrifices were agriculture and free-will offerings for the blessings God has given. very little sacrifices are animal or sin-related in Bible). Paul says in Bible that our prayers should be as sacrifices offered up to God, proving sacrifices don’t mean anything has to be killed, but are a way to draw near to God. I’m just painting a more accurate picture of the God of the Bible than what atheism or even the Church will give you, not expecting you to believe in His existence. I tell atheists that they have the God of the Bible all wrong when they paint Him as a pagan-like god, as does the Church as well. I tell them that if they are going to criticize God, at least get the right God first, then make a logical decision if His character is flawed, without uneducated assumptions of who He is. I myself has a totally wrong view of who God is before studying Hebraic Roots because the Church takes so much from Greek paganism that they paint God, Bible, Jesus and Disciples in that light, which is so far from Scripture.

    1. 217.1
      Richard Carrier

      All of which completely misses the point that a moral man would refuse to follow a command from God to do evil. Abraham thus failed that test. But the Bible portrays his failure as a pass. And that is the cause of all that is wrong therefrom: the idea that we can kill people or dismiss their welfare or interests as long as we believe God has told us to or given us permission to; that faith is more important than compassion for others, more important even than justice.

  18. 218
    Richard Carrier

    Revision (Round Three): Though I have already made the point in my follow up (Being with or against Atheism+) and in comments here and there, I want to make this living document clear on the point, too, that I am not pretending to be the arbiter of anything (except my own life), but only asking people to join in declaring and defending the core aims and values I spelled out. So I have revised the closing “call for” line to the following:

    Then I can’t insist, but I do ask that you to defend these goals and values…

    [This combines with Revisions One and Two inspired by reasoned critics who suggested other improvements and corrections.]

  19. 219
    Tomasz R.

    “Atheism and skepticism should embrace diversity (and not just be a bunch of white guys reading a bunch of white guys).”

    So the first step should be for you to self-replace yourself with a black women.

    1. 219.1
      Richard Carrier

      Because that’s a rational response.

  20. 220
    Richard Carrier

    Revisions (Round Four): Added some links; credited Anna C. Hanna by name with ultimately inspiring this post (even though this was clear in the hyperlinked comment, some trolls have started claiming I started this on my own, when in fact it was brewing among discussions between me and several fans and readers and fellow bloggers, including Jen McCreight and Christine, whom I already had named in this post, over the last six months); replaced “fucking evil” with “fucking cruel” as being clearer to what I mean (so no one mistakes me for over-condemning); expanded “they are placing their own vanity, privilege, and self-righteousness above human decency” because it has become clear in comments that privilege-defense is a major motive for many who are attacking all threats to their privilege and thereby disregarding basic moral values and the goals those values entail; plus a few other more minor edits.

  21. 221
    Ben Snyder

    Richard Carrier,

    You write,
    “First of all, it’s not dogma if it’s open to discussion and evidence-based revision. So: fallacy of false analogy. Own it, correct it, or GTFO.

    Secondly, a culture has to define what’s destructive to its own ends and what is beneficial or even necessary to its own ends, otherwise it will self-destruct, and never make progress toward greater human happiness.

    So either you endorse the values and aims I have laid out, or you do not. If you do, just join the cause and stop fretting over being part of a culture whose values you embrace. But if you don’t endorse these values, then you are our enemy, in one fashion or another–because you will be endorsing, supporting (even if only through apathy and inaction), values that will ultimately destroy or undermine the human good. You are then in our way, the same way Neonazis and anarchists and UFO cults and churches and right wing think tanks and so on, are in our way, and what we will denounce and disown. You can be among them, or among us. It’s that simple.

    [The only qualification I would add is that obviously some people are a lot more against us than others; hence I discuss the prospect of limited cooperation in my article.]”

    Firstly, even dogma is open to revision based upon evidence and discussion. Christianity is a prime example of the evolution of dogma in the world. And the person you were addressing wasn’t making a false analogy and was being polite about his/her views. So I do not understand why you would demand a correction with the only alternative being for him/her to GTFO.
    Secondly, our culture has been making progress in areas of sexism, racism, etc without the existence of Atheism+ for years now.
    Thirdly, while I do endorse gender equality, racial equality, skepticism, and critical thinking, I do not wish to be under the label of Atheism+. The reason I do not wish to be under such a label is because I am not so close-minded or overly sensitive to desire to alienate myself from racists, sexists, and uncritical thinkers, for I want to engage them politely and challenge them to think differently. There is nothing to be gained by separating ourselves from people who do not hold our values. Demonizing a person for being wrong could close them off forever to changing his/her mind.

    Richard, I have been a fan of you up until reading the way you have dealt with people here who have politely and thoughtfully rejected your call for them to join Atheism+, and I am very disappointed in the ways you have created such a stark dichotomy, demanding that we all join your new club on threat of being labelled your enemy if we do not join. You have compared those of us who do not join your group (even those of us who share most, if not all of your listed values) to Neonazis and UFO cults. This coming from a man who complained about false analogies? Come on, Richard, be reasonable, please.

    1. 221.1
      Richard Carrier

      Except that isn’t what I did at all. Read the revisions and get up to speed on current events.

  22. 222
    Graham

    Hi, Richard. I am an atheist who proudly declines to join your Atheism+ club. I guess that means I’m a vile, despicable bastard who should be shit on by you.

    Thanks for defending the world against racist atheists (sarcasm). Oh and, by the way, anti-feminist atheists too (sarcasm+). Your assumption that the verdict is in on gender issues, and that it’s a one way street with women correct on every count is simplistic and intellectually lazy. I’m really amazed to see you, a published author and scholar, use your literary gifts to bully less gifted thinkers into accepting dogmatic ideologies with the threat of humiliation and expulsion for not getting in line.

    If I were to start a special club for better than average people (other than, of course, a private yacht club for the wealthy), I’d want it to promote healthy argument and debate of any and all topics. Including ones I was really, really sure I was right about. But that’s just coming from me; someone who isn’t a big fucking asshole.

    1. 222.1
      Richard Carrier

      You are way behind. Get up to speed on current events.

  23. 223
    sc_c965d145386a1bf1cebdf8d3d2481c77

    There is an idea which I think everyone should consider, whether or not they agree with someone’s idea:

    Measure twice, cut once.

    It might be better to delay your approval or disapproval until you’ve heard all the nuances. You might be right to react by saying, “This is just a cult,” but maybe you should phrase it as a question first. Then, if Richard’s defense does not hold water, you can then turn that question into a statement.

    Perhaps Richard should have been more explicit that this is a living document. He could have phrased it as a proposal, pending objections by his readers. That way, we’d avoid a lot of snarkiness and premature declarations.

    Richard, thanks for finding the time to respond to my off-topic objection about philosophy being science with less data. I will keep my responses brief, as you have more important things to worry about at this time:

    1. You are at least partly right! Some physicists believe that string theory and M theory are philosophy and not science. I can’t see anything wrong with that position.

    2. Your definition of science is too liberal for my taste. I am not saying that you are wrong. But it reminds me of how architecture is now polluted with all sorts of mediocre crap, because we aren’t allowed to have standards of taste, quality, discipline etc. Poor analogy but it’s the only one I can think of, if analogies are helpful at all.

    3. You might be implying that the difference between discovery (science) and invention (engineering) is merely semantic. Of course, one can follow from the other.

    4. Some believe that mathematics is not science. Some believe that it is. I positively take the former position, but I respect the opposite view.

  24. 224
    Illusio

    I think the main problem with atheism+ is that, while most people could stand behind some version of what you guys laid out. I could never ever associate with a group of people touting “feminism” while at the same time including the most irrational and hysterical characters like the woman who initiated this stuff.

    I’m all for gender equality. I’m not for gender and sexuality denial raised to the infinite power. Nor do I stand behind her patently absurd attempts to slander the skeptic community. Until such time as we regularly find body bags with raped and murdered females outside hotels organizing secular conferences – I will consider her view of reality to be flat out wrong and delusional.

    Nor do I have any sympathy for Skepchicks who respond to polite and discrete sexual advances with public shaming campaigns. Quite simply, fuck them. Learn to take compliments with a smile or die in a fire. That the bitch then proceeds to cry over people using the Internet to express their disgust with her behavior by sending her statements obviously intended to hit her in the solar plexus of her own ideology, such as rape threats, is just sad. Grow the fuck up and get out of the kitchen if you can’t take the heat. These people don’t deserve respect.

    The end result is that I disown your movement. I refuse to be used as ideological justification for what I consider to be patently irrational ideas that are hostile to human nature. This, despite the fact that I, like any sensible human being, agree with it on some level. Just not on the level forwarded by the figures fronting the movement. In short, I consider this a horrible platform from which to advance secularism. There is just no way you’re going to unite broad segments of even the skeptic community under the banner of fringe female supremacists.

    If you really don’t understand why people react negatively to Atheism+, this is probably one major reason. You guys are basically making a link between a type of feminism that could only be described as fascist and life denying and declaring that it’s the only acceptable viewpoint. Which I simply reject as absurd. I can also easily imagine several of the other “basically good” values you insist that all rational people must share getting hijacked by other types of propagandists.

    While I’ve always thought of you as a great writer, including your Sense and Goodness Without God. I have to say that if this fascist movement is an example of what you were writing about there, then my reading of your book was vastly superior to the thinking behind book itself.

    The US has real problems with religion that requires as broad of a secular movement as possible. This is not a way to accomplish that. If you had any experience with “nerd-cliques” going mainstream, you’d quickly realize that there’s no need to do a thing to address the natural consequences of gender imbalance(Like, girls will be hit on more when guys outnumber them a thousand to one), because when such movements have a large influx of the mainstream change happens with exponential speed.

    State 1: 100 guys + 1 girl -> sex ratio 1/100
    influx: 100 guys + 100 girls random sample from population at large

    State 2: 200 guys + 101 girls -> sex ratio ~1/2

    See how fast this stuff changes? Gender imbalances are an utter non-issue, and the skeptic community will also experience this assuming they manage to grow. And to be able to grow, they must not do everything in their power to alienate people. This is what you are engaging in right now, no matter how good your intentions are.

    The skeptic/atheist community has a few good causes that can rally people, such as defending science and education and the separation of church and state and in general weaken religion across the board. We don’t need to be enablers for ideological bigots to do this, and incredibly misguided to try. Especially because there already are organizations such as secular humanists that sum up this stuff without the poisonous ideological baggage Atheism+ has been frontloaded with.

    1. 224.1
      Richard Carrier

      You lost me at “including the most irrational and hysterical characters like the woman who initiated this stuff.” It’s statements like that that sound irrational and hysterical.

      As for the rest, you’re just a dinosaur. Your kind are on the out. We’re the future.

    2. 224.2
      alandeon2

      I wish I could “thumbs up” this comment. But what do I know, I’m just a dinosaur who apparently needs to step aside…..

      Apparently, being a consummate asshole is the wave of the future here.

  25. 225
    john

    “In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I can’t insist, but I do ask that you to defend these goals and values (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you with the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?

    Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.”

    This is an absolutist attitude. With us or against us? Illogical.

    1. 225.1
      Richard Carrier

      What is illogical about it?

      It’s a proper dichotomy.

      And it’s socially necessary to distance ourselves from people who reject those minimal moral values.

  26. 226
    TByte

    But Richard, what you are NOT is “Atheists plus we care about men’s rights”, and until that is included in your list then you are simply Atheism Plus Bigotry.

    1. 226.1
      Richard Carrier

      Yes, I am. I have said so repeatedly.

      I will start deleting posts that don’t even acknowledge what I have said.

    2. 226.2
      TByte

      Perhaps its just not showing up on my screen. This is how your list renders in FireFox:

      We are…
      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.

      Mmmm…nope. Nothing about men’s rights in there at all.

    3. 226.3
      Richard Carrier

      By looking only at that list, you are ignoring what I have said repeatedly in these comments, in my previous post on Why I Am a Feminist (which my article links to), and in my follow-up article specifically on what constitutes Being with or against Atheism+ (which my article also links to).

      In other words, I have said this repeatedly. Making excuses to ignore me is not an argument.

  27. 227
    epitome

    So, you are uncomfortable with demonizing liars, hypocrites, abusers, sexists, racists, and irrational douchebags?

    You are okay with people who reject compassion, integrity, and reasonableness?

    This isn’t about “slightly different values.” This is about people who have no problem with sexism, racism, wanton irrationality, and cruelty to other human beings.
    ========================================================
    /Thanks for Responding/

    =Let me explain why I don’t see the situation the same way, I’m going to use a recent example:

    During SkepchickCON (Don’t Feed the Trolls) panel. Some individual said that the male brain was a female brain damaged by testosterone. That statement was incredibly sexist, irrational, and hypocritical.

    I, like you, do not support people who are sexist, irrational, and hypocrites. But I didn’t demonize them, reject them, and embarked on a path to exclude them from those who I consider intelligent and rational enough to be worth my time. Why?

    See afterwards they came to the conclusion that what they did was not right. Some took the path of acknowledging this while some realizing that it was wrong attempted sheepish excuses in an attempt to look rational.

    Long story short, because I keep hearing these people out I learned about the issues that matter and I learned so much insight that my world view was expanded.

    The SkepchickCON crowd are ultimately good and rational people with a message that needs to get out there, but the people running it are going about it all wrong.

    If I would have done what A+ proposes I would be just as ignorant right now about the world as I was a few weeks prior.

    ~I don’t demand unreasonable perfection from fallible creatures~

    |

    [also please stop using the Nazis to justify segregation, we didn't make them our enemies because we had different values, opinions, or behavior. They were causing REAL and SERIOUS damage to people, not just they hurt our feelings by talking smack or because their ideas are irrational (in fact eugenics, racism, and fascism were popular ideas in those days even in the USA, remember history class?)]

    1. 227.1
      Richard Carrier

      I used neonazis, not nazis. Your concluding argument does not therefore apply.

      Your panel example doesn’t quite get right what subsequently happened: see Cristina Rad’s video.

      Correcting oneself when it is shown you are wrong is the exact opposite of “attempting to look rational.” It’s actually being rational.

      That’s what Atheism+ is all about. By declaring ourselves for that very value, we can internalize it and hold each other to it. That’s how values change people for the better and make a difference in our lives.

  28. 228
    Richard Martin

    I fully agree with the basic concept of Atheism +. How anyone can be against compassion, reasonableness, and integrity, or claim that such principles are somehow limiting is beyond me.

    The problem with atheism is what do you do to go beyond it. It’s a fine base from which to operate, as it establishes the fundamental principle of metaphysical naturalism (or at least methodological naturalism) to guide in thinking and decision-making. But we also need to develop other criteria to guide in furthering human flourishing as individuals and societies, and to underpin planetary stewardship.

    Richard Martin

  29. 229
    Violet

    I…agree with much of what you said in this blog. I’ve been looking into the atheist movement lately as I’ve begun questioning my family’s (and others) religion…and I discovered that I quite agreed with their views. Like you said, rationality, logic, and compassion, right? So it seemed like…something I understood, more fully and clearly than others that were unwilling to explain themselves.

    However, as I’ve tried to learn more…it wasn’t sexism I faced, nor my age- which is what I’d expect. It was just how people seemed to think that because they were Atheists, or because they held a certain job or position or social standing or didn’t like mainstream culture, etc…they always acted like they knew it all. Like because they were atheists, they were somehow smarter and better than any other religion.

    And that’s a big part of the attitude you had in this blog post, I guess. “I am RIGHT, and everyone who doesn’t agree with me is WRONG.” and that repelled a lot of people…including me. Which is…especially discouraging, because I had wanted to be a part of something which had morals like these, but the people that are a part of it don’t seem to hold themselves to those standards anymore. And then Atheism+ comes out, and I think- like, wow. This is…perfect. And someone like you comes along and kind of crushes it for all of us.

    According to your blog, that means I’m not a true atheist- or one that fits your definition, anyway. But it’s not that I don’t believe in this cause. I do. It’s just that I don’t believe everything else is wrong. They’re still possibilities. I can’t disprove Islam or Christianity, so I don’t walk around acting superior to them. As an atheist, however, I can say that I can’t believe in things until I have proof, or a rational, logical argument…but the rational, logical argument here is that we don’t know…right? There may be a God. But until I see hard evidence, I won’t believe in it.

    Sorry this is so long. I could’ve blogged about this on my own, but I kind of want to see your response to it…because, I really do want to agree with your views, you’re just pretty harsh.

    1. 229.1
      Richard Carrier

      First, I did not say atheists who reject these basic moral values are not true atheists. I said they were not with Atheism+ (note the “+”). In other words, I said they were atheists who reject basic moral values.

      Second, my article specifically said I did not assume I was right but specifically said the opposite, to wit:

      I will consider these posts a living document. If from sincere and constructive criticism in comments I am led to alter or revise what I’ve said above in any way (beyond clarifications that can be well-enough addressed in comments themselves), I will do so, and announce the changes in the comments, so there is a record of them. Because I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone.

      The bottom line is, radical skepticism cannot be allowed to destroy any support for basic moral values. You either have them and believe in holding yourself to them, or you don’t. If you need an argument for them, the linked and references resources in my article provide that. But if you are already on board with them, you are already with Atheism+ whether you want to use the label or not. Everything else is open to reasonable debate. See again, my explanation of these points in Being with or against Atheism+.

  30. 230
    alandeon2

    “I will consider these posts a living document. If from sincere and constructive criticism in comments I am led to alter or revise what I’ve said above in any way (beyond clarifications that can be well-enough addressed in comments themselves), I will do so, and announce the changes in the comments, so there is a record of them. Because I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone.”

    You write a whole bunch of distasteful shit about people you don’t even know and you piss off half the Atheist community and you think it’s all ok because you added This??

    How about, I’m sorry, in my efforts to promote something I believed in, I got over-zealous and didn’t think it through or have another Atheim + member review my ideas. I was rude and condescending. My bad. I’ll endeavor to behave and act more like the Atheist plusser I strive to be..

    Your sarcastic and rude tone Really needs to stop.. You’re making things worse, not better. I really wish you’d see that….

  31. 231
    Graham

    Hi, Richard. It’s me, one of the C.H.U.D.s again. Why haven’t you approved my comment yet? I’ve been receiving notifications about several newly approved comments, none of them mine. Do you have so many comments to read through that you haven’t yet gotten to mine? If that’s so, sorry to bother you.

    It can’t be because I insulted you. All I have to do is look at the very last comment on this thread to see that you approve comments that have no substance to them other than insults. My comment was merely peppered with insults poking through a veil of sarcasm. Is it the sarcasm that bothered you? You do realize that sarcasm is only effective if it works hand in hand with the truth, yes? Otherwise it sort of falls flat. Since the truth is so clearly on your side, this should not worry you (oops, I used sarcasm again).

    I would not have used sarcasm or insults, if you had not used insults so liberally to insult me and people like me in the bizarre, vulgar tantrum thrown about halfway through this blog post. If you have not already deleted it, please approve my comment and respond to it if you like.

    1. 231.1
      Richard Carrier

      Why haven’t you approved my comment yet?

      You mean this? Presumably because of this. That comment went up days ago.

      You’re not a C.H.U.D., BTW, unless you do this or this. Or shit therelike. As I made clear in the revised article (which you must know, since you are commenting well after that revision was made).

      So either you don’t know what I am talking about, or…

  32. 232
    Graham

    Apology.

    After submitting my last comment, I was somehow redirected to another comment thread on this post where my original comment was approved a few days ago. I don’t know why the email notifications I received didn’t alert me to my comment being approved and why the link I clicked to come back to this post brought me to the wrong place.

    Please disregard everything I said in my last comment.

  33. 233
    Brono

    Just to be clear. If I agree with everything you say, but do not want to label myself atheist plus, am I a douchebag?

    1. 233.1
      Richard Carrier

      No. As I’ve explained.

  34. 234
    boscopoitras

    I’d probably consider myself a supporter of this “movement” if some of you were less egotistical and self-righteous. You folks don’t seem like the kind of folks I’d want to have a beer with, and this whole “you’re either with us or against us” mentality is way too Bushesque for my liking. I’ve been an atheist my entire life without paying any attention to blogs or YouTube, and this is your domain, so you may be the Popes of the Interwebs, but to slag the Horsemen is imprudent, at least until you folks have produced anything of lasting value or import.

    1. 234.1
      Richard Carrier

      Right. Because atheists have never been egotistical and self-righteous before now.

  35. 235
    Nathaniel

    I absolutely agree that social justice (fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, et al) is a wonderful cause to organize behind, but making it a tenet of Atheism+ to be militantly antitheist? Even interfaith projects aren’t exempt from atheist evangelism? “Irrationality” (your codeword for religion) is the root of all evil? Come on, guy.

    With my own religious background to draw negative examples of Christian evangelism from, I just can’t rationalize away the overwhelming and somewhat rabid desire to be “right,” to the point of damaging your ability to actually achieve the social justice you value. And I’ve read a lot of rational people (who identify as agnostics or spiritualists, but who could possibly come over to atheism) who would otherwise be listening to everything you all have to say? They can’t wave it off either.

    I can applaud everything else on that list, I can cheer on the positive goals of Atheism+ (including weeding out the prejudiced dickholes who claim to be humanists but are active misogynists/racists/etc), but I am dismayed, offended, and even alarmed by your sentiment: If you’re not with us (atheists), you’re against us. If that’s not the exact same extremist xenophobic thinking religion uses to divide people, I don’t know what is. And the hypocrisy inherent there is unavoidable.

    I’ll continue to identify as a secular humanist; I’m ecstatic that truly noble ideals are being pushed forward as the new standards of atheism, and I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t participate in an Atheism+ political movement with hope and pride, but if harmonious coexistence is not an Atheist+ value, I’m not labeling myself as an Atheist+.

  36. 236
    AverageJack

    I guess this sort of explains why religions are so successful:

    Even the non-religious people want to band together in a little club to pat each other on the back about their beliefs, and exclude people for minor contradictions or pointing out small flaws that their supposedly “SUPER ATHEISM” has.

    I never thought I would live to see the day that a lack of belief in gods turned into a religion itself – with strict dogma, moral code, and total exclusion if you question it in the most “No True Scotsman” way that can be done.

    I’m particularly glad that Kurt Vonnegut died well early enough to not see this turn of events.

    With All Due Respect,
    Jack

  37. 237
    fortheloveofwisdom

    I’m all for reason, compassion, and integrity, but I do not see these values being practiced by the people gathering together under the Atheism+ banner. Take a look at the craziness in the /r/atheismplus subreddit. It is full of irrationality, narcissism, and hypocrisy. It is being run by radical feminists who want to blame male privilege for their problems, and who threaten bans against people who give men equal consideration with women. They are stifling critical thinking, which also exposes their hypocrisy, since critical thinking is mentioned in the description of what Atheism+ is about. Instead of being compassionate, they are insensitive to the problems men have, and they are nasty to people who question their dogmas. Please go read the posts in the /r/atheismplus subreddit and go all Jesus against these Femi-Pharisees.

  38. 238
    fatusblobus

    I reject the premise of atheism +, for 2 reasons.

    1. For the same reason I reject the label of atheism – the fact that other organised religions (and nation states) felt the need to label people who rejected all religions and put a name on something that doesn’t need defining.

    2. Who gave you the authority to define morality?

    Morality is emergent (ever changing,) and as soon as you define a group with a fixed set of morals, hey presto, you’ve just invented a religion.

    Congratulations on your uber fail.

    1. 238.1
      Richard Carrier

      1. is illogical (you are what you are; changing the names of things doesn’t change the things themselves). I can understand wanting to avoid baggage or associations misapplied to a label, and thus avoiding the label even when you agree it fits you. But claiming a word describes you completely and at the same doesn’t describe you at all, is a self-contradiction.

      2. is a straw man. I didn’t claim the authority to define morality. I proposed a basic set of core moral values and explicitly opened them up to debate. So far, not a single person has challenged any of the core values I described, much less by any kind of reasoned, evidence-based debate.

      The idea that a “fixed set of morals” = “religion” entails you don’t believe any moral claims are true. Because analogously “fixed set of scientific facts” = “religion” would be the same kind of reasoning, which is to say, the same fallacious reasoning.

      Certainly, if you mean “fixed set of morals that cannot even in principle be debated or revised in light of new information” then you have a point. But since I never proposed any such thing, you don’t.

    2. 238.2
      fatusblobus

      “1. is illogical (you are what you are; changing the names of things doesn’t change the things themselves). I can understand wanting to avoid baggage or associations misapplied to a label, and thus avoiding the label even when you agree it fits you. But claiming a word describes you completely and at the same doesn’t describe you at all, is a self-contradiction.”

      No, that’s not correct at all. By using the label “atheist” instead of just saying “I reject all religions indiscriminately” then you are immediately defining yourself within somebody else’s preconceived definition of “atheist” instead of defining your own. There may be a commonly accepted definition of “atheist” but any word or label that is open to interpretation in this way will only cause problems. The fact that you or one of this group have defined the term “atheist +” merely moves the goalposts of this game, but it’s still the same game. The difference now is that you have chosen your pre-conceived definition of the word and think it should apply to everybody that fits that definition, exactly what the religious did so they could label dissenters as “atheists.” I would recommend Sam Harris’ video lecture on why we should not label ourselves as atheists for further discussion on this subject.

      Next.

      “2. is a straw man. I didn’t claim the authority to define morality. I proposed a basic set of core moral values and explicitly opened them up to debate. So far, not a single person has challenged any of the core values I described, much less by any kind of reasoned, evidence-based debate.

      The idea that a “fixed set of morals” = “religion” entails you don’t believe any moral claims are true. Because analogously “fixed set of scientific facts” = “religion” would be the same kind of reasoning, which is to say, the same fallacious reasoning.

      Certainly, if you mean “fixed set of morals that cannot even in principle be debated or revised in light of new information” then you have a point. But since I never proposed any such thing, you don’t.”

      OK, the phrase “I proposed a basic set of core moral values” is where you define morality. In the original article you then listed these moral values and grouped them under “atheism +” which is where you assumed authority over them. (“Because you’re either with us or against us” is the phrase I believe you used in the article.)

      The fact that you opened up the list to debate makes no difference, you have already assumed a moral authority whereby anybody that is deemed not to fall under your eventually finalised list will not be labelled as “atheism +” and thus be deemed immoral and outcast.

      I will however agree to your point about fixed morals = religion being a fallacy, but only based on your claim the list is always open for change, which I did not find, or outright missed, in the original article (sorry have not read all of the comments and responses if it is in there somewhere.)
      But this begs the question: how do you update this list? Who has control of the “core value morals”? How do you know that someone won’t take control of this list and use and adjust it under the label of “atheism +” to further their own personal agenda? Who controls the controllers?

      In conclusion: labels and centralization makes you weak, individuality and decentralization makes you strong. For proof see: “The Internet.”

    3. 238.3
      Richard Carrier

      This doesn’t make any sense. We aren’t defining atheism. We are defining atheism+. We get to do that because we invented the word. You didn’t. You could participate in the conversation to define it by joining us and having a reasonable debate about whether we should embrace the values we have assigned to the “+” but other than that, you don’t get to say what atheism+ is. So your objection here is simply moot.

      And the original article did clearly say the values were open to debate and may be revised. There is thus a difference between saying “I reject the values you just proposed” and saying “I think those are the wrong values, you should revise them to be x, y, and z instead.” Everyone who did the latter (which is almost no one) I treated reasonably and in many cases revised the article in response to. Everyone who rejected the values outright, I treated like people who reject those values outright. In other words, like people who reject compassion, reasonableness, and integrity. (Think about that.)

      Now, if you reject any of those values and think we should, too, make your argument. Likewise if you accept them but think I’ve mis-defined them or drawn the wrong conclusions from them, and thus need to revise the article as written. But if you accept those values and what I inferred from them, what’s the problem?

    4. 238.4
      TByte

      “We are defining atheism+. We get to do that because we invented the word.”
      Wrong.
      Atheism+ is defined by the words, actions, and goals of those that lead it. Which happen to be the opposite of the definition they gave it.
      Its the shear arrogance, hypocrisy, and closed-mindedness that is upsetting people the most.

    5. 238.5
      Richard Carrier

      I guess you aren’t paying attention. If Atheism+ is defined by how its advocates behave, then atheism is defined by how atheists behave. Which is precisely what has just been argued in this thread is not true. Bad atheists don’t define what atheism is. Atheists are diverse. So, too, Atheism+.

    6. 238.6
      fatusblobus

      I’ll be repeating myself here sometimes because it seems like you’re missing my point. Not to worry, I may be guilty of shallow explanation disorder. First some clarification on definitions and institutions:

      No matter what you “define” Atheism+ to be, because you “invented” it, makes no difference. The defining of words and institutions is subject to the acts that they perform.

      Fox News, for example, defines itself as “Fair and Balanced.” Does this make it so? Lots of accumulated evidence would contradict that definition. When people talk about Fox News, is it synonymous with the statement “Fair and Balanced” in your experience? In my experience, the phrase is only used in highlighting hypocrisy.

      So, this term atheism has different definitions as well. To some people, atheism means “godless group of heathens that will surely burn for all eternity,”
      whearas for me it means, “a complete rejection of organised religions and all schools of thought that make claims without supporting evidence.”

      So, to save confusion, when people ask me what my religion is, I simply tell them “I reject all religions,” and if they say, “so, you’re an atheist?” I reply, “that depends on how you define atheist.”

      With me so far? Now, you have defined “Atheism+” as a certain thing. But that makes no difference. People will define your group as however they see fit. Some people on this board have already defined the group differently, and since you disagree and cannot control everyones thoughts, these defamatory definitions of your group will continue to spread. This is what I was talking about earlier when I said that language and morality are emergent. Institutions try and control everything, but the truth is that there is no control, there is only constant change and constant evolution. This is why no rigid organisational structure can stand the test of time. It is the reason why all religions fail, all empires fail, all governments fail, and all ideologies fail. Only a group of individuals prepared to deal with emergence can survive.

      I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that language is not defined the way you want it to be. Unlike mathematical models or equations, technical specifications or chemical symbols, everyday language is subject to interpretation by the end user. This is an unfortunate consequence of the human mind, which uses metaphor to define many aspects of language. One idea that we really need to survive globally as a species is a universal language, and one that is not subject to interpretation.

      Anyway, I digress.

      Moving on, you still have not answered nor refuted my claim that your group seeks to establish some form of moral superiority over other groups. Such tactics have always been used as a precursor to genocide in the past. No group should have a final say on what is moral and what is not.

      The thing about morality, which I’ve already pointed out, is that it is constantly changing. Acceptable practices a century ago are not acceptable now. Acceptable practices now may not be acceptable in a century. Also, acceptable morals within societies may be contradictory (for instance, I find the idea of camping outside a store to buy a piece of electronic equipment a profoundly distorted cultural norm that does not fit anywhere in my personal morality.) Culture dictates morality more than anything.

      So, just to round off, I’ll rephrase and repeat some earlier advice.

      I think it’s a very bad idea to institutionalise atheism. Every institution becomes corrupt. The reason that the secular movement has grown so much is mainly because of the rejection of the religious instituions and non-involvement of new institutions. It’s interesting to note that people that do not attend schools or churches as children are far less likely to be religious.

      Now, I’m not saying that atheists shouldn’t organise or meet up to discuss ideas. I’m saying that being an atheist or believing in a certain set of morals should never be a prerequisite to joining a certain group. This kind of division creates the seeds of dissent, violence, and eventually, war.

      An anarchist like me will never accept an organised institution of atheists, because that just represents another structure open to abuse of power and control, which in my opinion is at the core of most of the worlds problems.

      See “The Chain of Command” by stormcloudsgathering, on youTube.

      Finally, I would like to add that I really respect your determination and dedication in replying to all the comments. I can see that many of the posters here have been less than kind and also less than objective, and I’m not exempting myself from this charge. However, you have maintained a very controlled air of decorum and calmly and politely explained your position to everyone that disagrees with you.
      Though we disagree (and we may yet find common ground) on this subject, I thank you for your passion.

      Passion is one thing that everyone should have.

      I also want to add one more thing that I should have worked into my post somewhere before, and that is that being against racism, homophobia, and being for equal rights, and all that stuff is, on the surface, a good thing, but it doesn’t address the underlying issue. In fact, I would go so far as to claim that it outright ignores and rejects the humane way to deal with these issues. Ostracizing or hating people for their beliefs will only serve to make them believe these beliefs more deeply. We can see this with atheism vs creationism debates.

      No human is born a racist, or a misogynist, or a bigot, or homophobic. These things are learned. If we want to solve these problems we have to look at the underlying cultural phenomenon that is creating them. Think of it this way, if your mother gave you up to be brought up with a rainforest tribe in South America, what would your morality be? It would be in line with the tribe. If you were an English baby given to a French family, would you struggle with French? Of course not. So all of these bad behaviours we see throughout society are coming from the peoples learning environment. Until we are able to create a safe and stable upbringing for all children worldwide, we will continue to be plagued by these issues, and no amount of groups that form are going to stop that.

    7. Richard Carrier

      First of all, atheism was institutionalized decades ago. There are dozens of atheist organizations. So this cannot be a complaint against Atheism+, which ironically isn’t institutionalized at all (at least yet). You should be making this argument against joining any atheist organization whatever. Which is foolish (groups achieve more working together), but it’s still your prerogative. It just isn’t mine.

      Second, to say that claiming “compassion, reasonableness, and integrity is morally superior to their negation” will lead to genocide is just the rankest bullshit ever spouted. Please don’t resort to Christian fallacies of slippery slopes to deny even the appropriateness of taking any moral stand whatever, as if advocating that anything is more moral than anything else is to be avoided “lest it lead to genocide.” That is an argument for the abandonment of all moral conscience. And I can only hope you agree that that is definitely bad.

      Third, no one is claiming to have the final say on what is moral. My article even in its original iteration declares them to be open to discussion. I am making an argument for a rudimentary set of moral ideals. I am not locking you in jail or pointing a gun at you. You can either agree or disagree. If you disagree, I want nothing to do with you, because your lack of a rudimentary set of moral ideals makes you dangerous, unlikable, and scary. But if you agree, why are you throwing a hissy fit?

      Fourth, we are saying we need (as atheists) to look at the underlying causes of racism and sexism, we want to talk about exactly that (rather than burying our head in the sand and never talking about such things), so we can look for solutions thereby. In the meantime, we can’t have racists and sexists and other turds destroying our happiness and tearing down and sandbagging our efforts to do what you just admitted we should be doing. That’s why we can’t work with them, and why we must denounce them, and cut them loose. Until they reform and become decent people who are tolerable to work with, they are simply not tolerable to work with. QED.

      We will not passively sit by and pretend it isn’t a problem, or that there is no moral difference between being an unrepentant sexist and being someone who genuinely endeavors not to be, between being someone who floods the email boxes and comment threads of any woman who speaks out with sexist attacks, and being someone who genuinely finds that disgusting and won’t stand for it anymore or ally themselves with anyone who would do that or endorse it.

  39. 239
    karimghantous

    Maybe Richard should have placed Mark 9:40 as an epigraph:

    For he that is not against us is on our part.

    :-)

    - K.G.

  40. 240
    Chip Matthews

    Atheism +? On please! It’s like “Brights” and people who use “Agnostic” like it’s mutually exclusive from atheism. It’s arrogance at the expense of other atheists. If you want to work for social justice and equality, great! But why not do it without propping up the stereotype that atheists are usually jerks and against social justice?

    This doesn’t make you better than other atheists. It just makes you an overly self-impressed asshole willing to throw others under the bus in the name of your own self-aggrandizement, and it also makes you a coward, afraid of being tarred with the broad brush wielded against atheism in general – the very broad brush you’ve now taken up to brand your fellow atheists with.

    I am absolutely for all the issues you highlight here and there’s no way I’d ever adopt your label. I’m an atheist. Period. I don’t need membership in your little club to be a good person. I’m appalled and deeply offended by the obnoxiousness of this whole concept. I didn’t know anything about you before I heard about this idiocy. Now I know all I ever need to know. Get over yourself.

    1. 240.1
      Richard Carrier

      Uhuh. Self-righteousness is staring at you in the mirror. We’re just asking for moral values to become a widely embraced and defended thing in our already growing movement. That’s not obnoxious. That’s just being decent.

    2. 240.2
      Brian Macker

      So Richard, does that mean you’ve used Bayes Theorem to determine that moral values are not widely embraced by atheists? Please share how. Hopefully not because some guy propositioned a girl on an elevator.

    3. 240.3
      Richard Carrier

      There are clearly hundreds of atheists active in our community who are not really embracing these basic moral values. To say anything else is just a quibble over numbers. And you shouldn’t care about that. As long as there are atheists behaving badly, you should be with me in denouncing them.

  41. 241
    Brian Macker

    “We believe in being reasonable.”

    Nonsense. Anyone who approvingly links to an article titled “Reddit Make me Hate Atheists” isn’t reasonable. That’s as unreasonable as saying “Skepchick makes me hate women” In fact this entire article is as unreasonable as that one if not more so. Talk about irrational nonsense.

    1. 241.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t see any argument here. Just asserting that the evidence in the post “Reddit Make me Hate Atheists” isn’t reasonable does not make it so. Evidence is evidence. Did you not even read the article? Or are you judging it solely by its title? (And thus ignoring the qualifying remarks in its opening paragraphs)? Because that would be irrational.

  42. 242
    Greg Gauthier

    “Personal Integrity” apparently includes straw-manning DJ Grothe’s comments, and “Being reasonable” apparently includes inducting him into the league of hate-trolls on Reddit.

    Disgusting.

    It’s incredibly discouraging and sad to watch all this from the sidelines, having once been a great admirer of both yourself and DJ.

    Based on what I’ve seen so far from both sides of this so-called “discussion”, I think I will continue to remain neither part of the “us” or the “them”, and just stick with “me”.

    1. 242.1
      Richard Carrier

      I have never said any such thing about DJ Grothe.

      Don’t attribute to me what some other people have said. That’s as foolish as attributing to you what any atheist says. You would not want all atheists judged by what a few atheists say or do. So why would you treat Atheism+ any differently?

      I am also not aware of anyone equating Grothe to “the league of hate-trolls on Reddit.” That sounds like a straw man built out of hyperbole. He was rightly criticized for saying a couple of inept things. That’s pretty much it.

      “Criticism” does not equate to “condemnation as a Reddit hate-troll.” The moment you start making that conflation, you make criticism of each other impossible. And that is the road to dogmatism.

  43. 243
    KasparHauser6

    Hi

    I bought your book years ago. I got it at a book signing when you and your wife were in Sacramento and you spoke at the atheist group I belonged to at the time.

    I am sorry you have declared war on me. I haven’t declared war on you nor your group however.

    For myself I believe in tolerating all people within the atheist movement no matter how outrageous their behavior. But that is me and MY chosen path not yours.

    I am known as KasparHauser6 on YouTube and as KasparHauser4 on Paltalk. Please write me down in your known enemies list. You may consider me to be your enemy but I don’t consider you to mine.

    1. 243.1
      Richard Carrier

      You mean you accept sexists and racists and people who denounce and reject the values of reasonableness, compassion, and integrity?

      Because if not, then I have no idea what you are talking about. Those are the enemies I declare here. So do are really mean to say that you are one of them?

  44. 244
    alandeon2

    Richard, after reading your replies to your posters I’m thinking the same thing as KasparHauser6 (and apparently many others). You come off as quite the prick and you are pissing off people who COULD be your allies.

    I think I’ll bypass this “Atheism+” shit storm. I’ll do what I can for my community (both Atheist and locally) but have no need to also be an active and supportive *everything* to *everyone* also. Truth is, some of the Feminist Crap that is spewed around this FTB site is kinda sickening at times and some of the silencing of “Free Thoughts” from “Free Thought Blogs” is also kinda well…

    Enjoy your time at the top. You are destined for failure if you continue to be all asshole-ish on every reply.

    One last point, have you already forgotten what is was like to be picked on and minimized in life that you’d so quickly *become* the bullying shithead that you once despised?? You’re a really intelligent guy but your social skills really suck.

    I usually go by alandeon2 on YouTube, WordPress, Yahoo comments, here, etc… and would be more than happy if you added me also to your list of bad bad people. I won’t make it true but if it makes you feel better……

    1. 244.1
      Richard Carrier

      It’s funny how it’s okay to be an asshole when combating pseudoscience and religion, but point out the flaws and irrationality in your own community, and suddenly it’s no longer cool.

      Hypocrisy.

      Either help fix the problems we have among ourselves, or admit you don’t see them as problems. Everything else is just blowing hot air around, to no useful purpose.

  45. 245
    jimashby

    Following this blog, as well as other A+ sites (such as on Facebook) has been very enlightening. Although there’s nothing, in theory, objectionable in the safe and mainstream (some would say ‘politically correct’) objectives of A+, in practice, the actual opinions and rhetoric is anything but safe and mainstream. Most of us are on board where mainstream feminism is concerned, for instance, but it’s radical feminism that prevails here; shouting down more moderate opinions.

    And if Richard Carrier is to be believed, he’s always absolutely right and his critics never have a leg to stand on. Those of us who have been around the block many times know that, just as nobody is always wrong . . . neither is anybody always right.

    Atheists are freethinkers. What can I say? Organizing us is like trying to herd cats. I would certainly be more receptive to ‘Atheism Plus’ if they actually pursued atheist issues. But, instead, they only pursue ‘Plus’ issues. Where’s the ‘Atheist’ part of the name come into play? Where’s issues like fighting the push for Intelligent Design in our public schools or shoring up the separation of church and state?

    Such atheist issues have the advantage of NOT being divisive in the atheist community. They’re not prone to being politicized or radicalized, unlike issues such as feminism and white male privilege.

    A+ is more about liberal politics than it is about atheism. It is prone to radicalization. The name should be changed from Atheism Plus to Politically Correct Plus. Let the public know what you’re REALLY about.

    1. 245.1
      Richard Carrier

      There is no shouting down of moderate feminism here. Nor have I never admitted I was wrong about something. So nice try attempting to rewrite history. But no one is buying that propaganda here. Your narrative simply doesn’t correspond with reality. Maybe someday you’ll escape your delusional bubble and realize that. One can only hope.

  46. 246
    superhamzah85

    We need to cut the dead weight. Let’s change the world, first, we must cut off from the majority theists, then, to weaken us even more, we must cut off bad atheists. Yes, strength in numbers! The movement is made of individuals, and most individuals, are of no interest to us. No we’re not a cult, because we are open to change, as long as you provide rational arguments – we promise we don’t ban you, unless you are an unknown nothing like Curious, no sock puppets.

    This is the best way, look throughout history…remember when secularism was rising, how the movement cut off from all Christians? That’s how democracy spread, we don’t need dead weight Christians like David Livingstone, who effectively made slavery look shit worldwide and led to it’s ultimate illegality everywhere. We should have cut him as dead weight for preaching in Africa, at least then, we wouldn’t have to worry about job creation today in 2012 given that the black population is numerous enough to work for nothing. Damn you Livingstone, you Bible bashing humanist.

    1. 246.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’ve never banned anyone so I don’t know what you are talking about. The rest of your rant is unintelligible to me.

    2. 246.2
      Gordon Willis

      I think you have got things rather confused. As I understand, the dead weight that Dr Carrier refers to is the people who believe that merely being an atheist is enough and no one has to apologise for sexism or any other kind of selfishness and irrationality. Atheism + is about taking a moral stance and insisting on reason and truthfulness. It really isn’t hard to understand. We have seen recently how the atheist world is riven by self-interest and — not to put too fine a point on it — self-will, arrogance and hatred. But some of us atheists really really don’t like that sort of thing. We want reason, we want equality, we want honesty, we want compassion. What is wrong with that, and what is wrong with saying that anything else is unacceptable?

      I believe that people are reacting merely to the strength of the words. Dr Carrier has expressed himself strongly, and lots of people take affront, not because of what he actually says but because of the way he says it. Personally, I think that it has to said that way — strongly and without compromise — because it is a declaration of war against the cruelty and self-interested stupidity that we have witnessed over recent months and an insistence that integrity is the most important personal quality. Irrational people who are oh-so-protective of their pathetic personal dignity are inclined to react with indignation merely because strong words have been uttered, and to foam and froth about dictatorship and Nazism. This is culpable stupidity.

    3. 246.3
      Gordon Willis

      I said “declaration of war”. I felt that at the time, because I was carried away with my own indignation. It would be better to say “declaration of determined opposition”. It’s about taking a stance, for reason, truthfulness, compassion, and everything that is meant by “honourable dealings”. A determined stance…

    4. 246.4
      Bruce Lindman

      “Atheism + is about taking a moral stance and insisting on reason and truthfulness.”
      No, Atheism + is about defining its own stance as moral, all other stances as immoral, and squelching any actual discussion.

    5. Richard Carrier

      Atheism + is about defining its own stance as moral, all other stances as immoral, and squelching any actual discussion.

      No, it’s not. There is no squelching. Our moral standards are minimal and so far not even questioned by anyone I know. And we permit and engage in reasoned, evidence-based argument on their merits. Maybe if you have some of those you’d like to share?

  47. 247
    Scott

    Atheism+ why not? I don’t join groups, cults “movements” and the like. We have laws which deal with harassment ect. All the “you must not…” sounds familiar, I think it’s in exodus, anyway.

    I feel this has become a roadblock on what was a fun agreement of what is true and reasonable and meeting of minds. We don’t have “leaders”, we have people we like. You are not an apostle, nor a Pharaoh.

    You’ve lost the plot ladies and gentlemen, we’re all big boys and girls (or are we?) so we don’t need to state “we this” and “we that”. That’s Dogma, and under no circumstances do I prescribe to that. If I break no crime…. I can be rude, I can be offensive, sexist and you can tell me I’m an idiot and walk away. However we can still agree that their are no teapots circling the sun.

    Form a group of militant feminest atheists, Hell yeah!….call us all twonks for not following…sure no problem…expect us to support you when attacked by the right?….mmmmm maybe not.

    or perhaps Burkahs and cutting of hands and stoneing people to death is the solution.

    1. 247.1
      Richard Carrier

      Right, because all morality is religious and therefore we should have no morals, values, or standards, and any attempt to advocate for morals, values, and standards is a cult. And all arguing philosophy is being an apostle and a pharaoh. And calling for evidence and reason to be deployed to test and criticize what we think is right or wrong is dogma. And a horse doesn’t whinny, cows don’t have udders, and sideways is straight ahead.

    2. 247.2
      Bruce Lindman

      …and Straw Man arguments are rational logical responses.
      Right Richard?

    3. Richard Carrier

      Since I didn’t make a straw man argument, that point is moot.

  48. 248
    Bruce Lindman

    Your first sentence is a straw man. He never said all morality was religious.
    Your second sentence doesn’t even make any sense.
    Your third sentence is also a straw man. He made no objections to evidence and reason.
    Your fourth sentence was, well, pretty much a self-parody of the straw man arguments that came before.

    1. 248.1
      Richard Carrier

      His argument only makes sense if all morality was religious. Otherwise he can’t object to our advocating morality by describing Atheism+ as a religion. Because then the one would not entail the other. Yet he implies it does (because he made no other argument, such as why our morality is religious when it need not be). So my first sentence accurately responds to the argument he appears to be making. It is not a straw man.

      My second sentence calls out his fallacy of referring to “making a philosophical argument” as acting like an apostle and a pharaoh. That’s what he did. So, again, no straw man there either.

      My third sentence is also not a straw man but once again an accurate description of what he was arguing. I called for evidence and reason to be deployed to test and criticize what we think is right or wrong. He called that dogma. I just made it clear that that’s what he just did.

      Hence my fourth sentence accurately captures the whole irrationality of his comment.

    2. 248.2
      Bruce Lindman

      His argument made perfect sense to me, without assuming that all morality is religious. You are confusing the question of objective morality with the question of religious morality.

      There is nothing in his post that indicates all morality is religious. Zilch. Read it again. That is a straw man argument, by definition. What he, and others opposed to Atheism + think is that all morality is up for discussion. And discussion is exactly what is squelched by the leaders of Atheism +.

      Neither did he describe Atheism + as a religion. He described it as dogmatic, which it demonstrably is.

      Your second sentence, again, doesn’t make sense. I can’t even parse it. “And all arguing philosophy is being an apostle and a pharaoh.”???

      Finally, nothing in his post opposed the use of evidence and reason. In fact, those opposed to Atheism + are the ones who are calling for evidence and reason.

    3. Richard Carrier

      You are confusing the question of objective morality with the question of religious morality.

      No, he was. He tried mocking Atheism+ by calling it a religion. When in fact it is about arguing and advocating for a non-religious morality.

      Nor is Atheism+ dogmatic. That’s a fantasy people like you keep telling yourselves, because you don’t want to actually argue against any of the moral values we advocate for. Even though I specifically asked people to do that…if they had any such arguments. The exact opposite of dogmatism.

      And in the end I don’t believe you when you claim you don’t understand my second sentence. I explained it to you. You clearly comprehend English. Your pose is transparent.

      Bored now.

  49. 249
    Madison Jordan

    Just a thought from me:

    http://catholicphilosopher.blogspot.ca/2013/02/roads-divided-atheism-and-other-shit.html

    1. 249.1
      Richard Carrier

      Weirdly out of touch I think. But citing long dead medieval philosophers against 21st century peer reviewed philosophy (like my chapter fourteen of The End of Christianity, which establishes moral facts as scientific realities) is rather like a Catholic.

      Moreover, the debate over moral realism isn’t even the issue between Atheism+ and its “opponents” (at least generally; the occasional moral nihilist does weigh in on the con side). But I suppose not “getting” atheists is also, maybe, a bit like a Catholic.

  50. 250
    The Man in the Corner

    I am an Athesim, and I’m all for being against sexism, racism, hypocrisy, and all of those lovely things.

    I admit, I have no read the entire… article, and you can talk about that and bash me for it however you want, but that’s not what my reply is about.

    My reply is regarding the comments.

    I can say that I don’t see this whole thing as a cult, not by the actually definition of a cult, that is.

    What I do see, Richard Carrier, is a close-minded dictator that dismisses the words of others if he doesn’t like them entirely.

    Sure, you can give me a counter example or two, but that does little to help your case against it.

    As I said, I’m all for being against sexism, racism, for compassion and integrity and all of that. You can deny that I agree with those things all you want, but that won’t make you right. Remember that when and if you choose to respond.

    You push out anyone’s ideas that are slightly against yours. This, in itself, is a sign of immaturity.

    Then, to add to that, you insult many of these people. One more, immature.

    You can bring up the argument that “They started it.” but as I’m sure you’re aware, that would only add to that immature image.

    I suggest that you be calmer, and kinder approach to those you disagree with. Whether they do the same doesn’t matter.

    I was going to say more, but I had to pause in my typing in order to do something else for a while, so it slipped my mind.

    On a side note, and completely disregarding what I just said: Y U SO STUPID?!

    1. 250.1
      Richard Carrier

      When someone says arguments and reasons are cults and dictatorships, we know we’re no longer dealing with someone engaged with reality.

  51. 251
    Jess

    1. C.H.U.D. is a derogatory term and it lacks the so called “compassion” you claim to advocate.
    2. Atheism means only one thing I use other labels for myself when I want to talk about ideaology I suggest you do the same.
    3. As a girl I find the following line from your sexual harassment post offensive “What any minority of women say they are comfortable with is irrelevant, because conferences don’t want to draw a small minority of women. They want to draw a parity of women. And that requires addressing what most women want.” WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING IS THAT MY STATUS AS AN INDIVIDUAL IS SECONDARY TO MY STATUS AS A WOMAN. What part of that seems progressive to you?…No don’t answer that you’ll just embarass yourself.
    4. On the subject of your Not (Our) Kind Of People post I have only one thing to say: The Us vs Them Mindset does not suddenly become healthy just because you’re the one using it.
    6. If I wanted to join a religion I wouldn’t be an Atheist.

    Thank You and Good Night.

    1. 251.1
      Richard Carrier

      1. Calling sexual harassers sewer scum is an expression of compassion for the victims of abuse. Perpetrators of evil don’t get to be called nice. They get to be denounced as the scum they are.

      2. I am talking about Atheism plus things, not Atheism. Watch the video. Not only do I explain this, I also explain that the label is irrelevant and no one need adopt it. Two points you seem not to know. Which suggests you didn’t watch the video.

      3. Your conclusion is illogical. If we want to draw 100 women, we need to meet the needs of all 100 women. Not the needs of just one of them. That in no way entails your status as an individual is secondary to your status as a woman. It entails, rather, that what each of 99 other women think is as important as what you think.

      4. Honestly saying what company I prefer (and prefer to avoid) is not an “us vs. them” mindset (try reading the actual article you are referring to: (Not) Our Kind of People). It’s simply an honest reality of my being, which it is useful for anyone to know. I’m sure you also prefer the company of certain kinds of people and dislike the company of certain other kinds of people. You can choose to conceal that fact, or be honest and open about it. Your call. But it’s not hard to calculate which will produce better outcomes for you.

      5. So being compassionate, honest, and reasonable is religious and therefore you reject being compassionate, honest, and reasonable? Why not just admit that’s what you are saying, that you disdain and reject those values? Or do you accept those values and don’t consider them innately religious but as secular values (as in fact they are), and instead only object to participating in a community because all communities that congregate and work together toward common goals and look after each other’s interests and behave with moral conscience and responsibility are religious? Then get out of the atheist community. I mean, honestly–if you don’t want to be a part of a community, much less a responsible and helpful one, then why are you here?

    2. 251.2
      Jess

      1. Resentment with only ever breed more resentment.
      2. My point is Humanism already exists putting Atheism at the beginning serves only one purpose in my mind: To lay the core foundations of your new religion “Thou Shalt Not Believe In God”.
      3. Yes but that shouldn’t be based around the fact that they’re women it should be based around the fact that their human beings. For example just because your a Man that wouldn’t make it okay for me to put something in your drink and rape you what makes rape heinous isn’t the fact that a Woman’s rights are being violated but the fact that a Persons rights are being violated. Gender or Race shouldn’t be a deciding factor in how a person is treated their status as an Individual who thinks and feels for me is the only deciding factor. Can’t you see that by singleing out women as a minority who needs to be coddled and protected you stop treating us as people and start treating us like endagered animals or numbers on a graph? That by using a persons gender as a deciding factor in whats good for them you automatically cut them off from their autonomy.
      4. My problem with (Not) Our Kind Of People is it seems to me to be painting the Us Vs Them mentality in a romantic light. It’s not the honesty I take issue with but the idealisation.
      5. Fundamentally my problems with religion and my problems with Atheism + boil down to the same thing. Both Atheism + and Religion are based on the inherently false assumption that it’s members can do no wrong because their way is inherently right and all other ways are inferior at best and inherently evil at worst.
      I take issue with this as from what I have been able to gather from my own experiences and what I have heard and seen of the experiences of others. This state of mind breeds a sense of “righteous” anger and all anger ever seems to lead to is hatred and all hatred ever seems lead to is pain. You see Mr. Carrier I’m all for Compassion, Honesty, and Reason and it is this deep passion for these values that lead me to become an Atheist I walked out of my Holy Communion rehearsal at age 11 in disgust at the Two-Facedness of The Catholic Church now at age 17 I seem to be having the strangest case of deja vu.

      As to why I am here the answer is quite simple: Because I care.

      I am an Atheist an atheist is defined as no more or less than a individual who denies the existence of a God or gods.

      Because of the simple and frank nature of this definition almost anyone can be an Atheist they are not bound to any shared ideaology someone can be an Atheist for any given number of reasons Cynicism, Upbringing, Rationality, Morality if someone tells you they’re are an Atheist it carries no excess baggage.

      Being an Atheist says only one clear and concise thing about a person the rest is completely up to the individual.

      You see my rejection of Atheism + as a rejection of the concepts it claims to embody but I see Atheism + as a perversion of the values it claims to uphold.

  52. 252
    Oriru The Bastard

    Please don’t mix your fanatic and religiously nazistic points of views to atheism.
    Atheists are free inviduals, not a movement, cult or a belief system.
    It’s not a political point of view either.

    So please, shove that Atheist plus thing up to your arse and call it as something else and stop giving us actual atheists a bad name in the name of your coocooland believes.

    I will never support the idea of hate, racism, hypocricy nor something that tells me what to think or what to say.
    I think how the fucking ever I like, I say things no matter what people think about them and I believe in what I see.
    These fanatical words of yours are BS just like you are.

    I use my very brain to see what is wrong or what is right. Not some written BS that is telling me to do so.

    1. 252.1
      Richard Carrier

      Wow. Example again of just what I talked about in the video.

      To repeat my own slide in that video on just this very same claim:

      Things that don’t make you a Nazi or a cultist:

      (1) Calling men who engage in overt sexual harassment douchebags and assholes.
      (2) Arguing for greater humanitarian concern from atheists.
      (3) Asking people to be compassionate, honest, and reasonable.
      (4) Disavowing people who declare their refusal to be compassionate, honest, or reasonable.

      I also know you didn’t watch the video (which you must be reacting to, since that’s the only thing that’s happened recently) because I explain in it I’m talking about atheism plus humanism and skepticism, not just atheism, and I address the need for wider (and reasonable and courteous) debate on political issues, not the assertion of specific political dogmas.

      Ultimately, saying you don’t like being asked (and “asking you” is not “telling you”) to be compassionate, honest, and reasonable, only communicates to me that you reject being compassionate, honest and reasonable, and that therefore you are declaring yourself to be cruel and uncaring, dishonest, and unreasonable. So, either you really do mean that (in which case you are an awful person whose values would destroy any movement that embraced them) or you are so illogical you don’t even realize that is what you are saying.

  53. 253
    Anon275

    “There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all (I mean people like these and these)”
    So basically this is a crusade against trolling… and not actual sexism/problems.
    If you’re trying to set up a group of people against trolling, anonymous may have a problem with that xP

    1. 253.1
      Richard Carrier

      Our men are not being treated this way. Our women are. So it’s not just trolling. It’s targeted harassment meant to silence women by trying to make our existing female leaders too miserable to want to continue speaking and by scaring potential future female leaders from wanting to ever rock the boat or become an outspoken public figure at all, and often just because men feel like they, as men, are allowed to do this and women should just suck it. And this is almost all explicitly sexualized. And sustained sexist and sexualized remarks demeaning a woman is sexist and is sexual harassment.

      So it’s not just “trolling.” I don’t get long threads joking about anally raping me or giving someone a blow job, I don’t get pornographic photos sent to me, I don’t get called anti-male epithets or get belittled for being a man, I don’t get rape threats (or death threats, even of the “just go kill yourself” variety), and I certainly don’t get any sustained harassment (yet–if it happens in future, it would be just as immoral and just as worthy of denouncing, since no one should want to live in a world where they have to deal with that constantly, and all else being equal, any world where we didn’t would be a better world, and we should all be able to agree on that–if we have any compassion at all).

      I seriously doubt Anonymous objects to our using our own free speech to counteract immoral speech: downvoting and denouncing sexism and harassment is just our exercise of the very same liberty Anonymous has actively fought for. And that’s what I called for. We can similarly control our own personal property, and thus should not have to be forced to publish someone else’s vile thoughts at our own expense on our own publishing platforms. I doubt even Anonymous would repudiate that principle.

  54. 254
    Dissension

    I believe in compassion. I believe in integrity. I believe in reasonableness. This entire article, however, leads me to believe that you don’t.

    Your philosophy of “us vs them” is something I disagree with heavily. Why shouldn’t I be friends with someone who isn’t compassionate? Or who has no integrity? Or reasonableness?

    Why is it wrong that I be friends with someone who is against gay marriage? Or dislikes women?

    Sure, I disagree with all of these things, but that doesn’t mean I dislike the person.

    I don’t denounce people for having different beliefs than me. I recognize that different people have different beliefs – and while I will always support gay rights and gender equality, and actively fight for these things, I will not show hatred towards my fellow man because some guy I don’t even know is telling me to.

    You’re attempting to create a division among people of different beliefs, something which would just make it more difficult for important issues to be solved.

    Instead of fighting against others who are immoral, why not cooperate with them, and try to influence them in a good way, instead of just sticking our fingers in our ears and yelling – “Lalala, I can’t hear you, you’re a racist, sexist, homophobic scumbag!”

    Social change isn’t brought about by hatred and force. It is brought about through peace and understanding.

    Think back to the Civil Rights movement. Or Gandhi, and the love and compassion he spread. There are so many examples of social change being brought about through the values you say that you preach.

    There is an old Gandhi quote, which I think fits the situation well…

    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

    If you wish for compassion, integrity and reasonableness, acting upon those values is a good place to start.

    And by the way, yes, I am an atheist. However, I am not an Atheist Plus. That is not to say I am not an Atheist plus against homophobia, but that I am not a part of your movement. In fact, I refuse to be part of your movement, and disagree with it heavily.

    But I’m not going to look down on you because you are doing something I find morally wrong, nor am I going to write you off. I believe in free speech, and I believe that society will never progress unless EVERYONE gets their viewpoint out.

    1. 254.1
      Richard Carrier

      Why shouldn’t I be friends with someone who isn’t compassionate? Or who has no integrity? Or reasonableness?

      I’m appalled that I even need to answer that. Are you just being sarcastic?

      To say you judge people for their beliefs, not their character, is the very definition of a bigot.

      To then say that it wouldn’t hurt you or a community to befriend cruel, dishonest, and unrepentantly unreasonable people is to have no logical grasp of even the most basic facts of happiness, reciprocity and social system dysfunction.

  55. 255
    TJ Bradders

    So if Christopher Hitchens did’t support women’s rights in the way feminist groups do, he’s not part of your group? I’m sorry but I have listened to his point of view and I agree with Hitchens.

    It seems that you’ve come to a position where you feel you are absolutely correct, and every other opinion is wrong. Absolute certainty is evil and can not be justified.

    1. 255.1
      Richard Carrier

      Do you have any evidence of Hitchens “not supporting women’s rights”?

  56. 256
    Madison Jordan

    Dr. Carrier said:

    “Weirdly out of touch I think. But citing long dead medieval philosophers against 21st century peer reviewed philosophy (like my chapter fourteen of The End of Christianity, which establishes moral facts as scientific realities) is rather like a Catholic.

    Moreover, the debate over moral realism isn’t even the issue between Atheism+ and its “opponents” (at least generally; the occasional moral nihilist does weigh in on the con side). But I suppose not “getting” atheists is also, maybe, a bit like a Catholic.”

    I didn’t cite medieval philosophers “against” any sort of philosophy, and I am unsure where you got that impression, Dr. Carrier. I just reread the article again (linked below for your review), and I see no basis for your claim.

    The debate I cited is not so much about moral anti-realism as it is about the old realism-nominalism (universals) debate, it had huge implications, and I see its extensions present here in your spat with your fellow atheists. Consider some of the implications given by a fellow historian:

    ” A word must be said about the chief problem of this science, a problem whose ramifications are as broad as man’s interests. Since Aristotle’s thought revolved about logic, and his logic. Was the earliest known of his works, it naturally formulated in logical terms, as the issue between nominalism and realism; that is, between the relative importance of the individual and the group of which it is a member. Which is the more important, the controlling element, “man” with his qualities and functions of humanity, or “men”? Which is the supreme, the group, the Church, or guild, or its individual members? The early Middle Ages, being Platonist, answered, Man, the Church. They held that the class, the universal, exists by itself apart from its members, the particulars; they held that it preceded them in time, that it is more real, that it made them, and was the source of their being. This naturally accorded to the hierarchical group organization of society, and glorified the Church, he guild, the order; it explained how God could be three in one, how all men could be lost in the type-man Adam and saved in Christ. It led men upward through the more and more general logical classes, to that Supreme Being that was the most real, that was the first thing, that was the cause of all things, God. It made the end of life the release from the bonds of individuality and the return to the true reality or the great all that is God. It was aristocratic, contemplative, mystic. But it seem also to merge into pantheism, into a denial of all distinctions between the perfect God and the imperfect world, between god and evil, and to make the moral life and the struggle to realize ideals a meaningless farce. Hence there was soon a reaction to the opposite view, nominalism, which predicated reality of the individual, and regarded the class or group as a mere symbol or name. This meant an interest primarily in the world of concrete things, in this world, in the life of good worlds and good citizenship. It meant individualism rather than group control, democracy rather than ordered hierarchy, worldliness and industrialism rather than contemplation of God, nationalism rather than universality, freedom rather than unity. The Church could not adopt either view; with Thomas she attempted to follow the compromise of Aristotle in what is sometimes called moderate realism, sometimes conceptualism. The universal exists and is important, but it exists only in the particular; the group exists for its members, and is nothing apart from them, no end in itself, and yet the members are in a real sense constituted by the group of which they are a part. This is the essence of the medieval theory of society, as we have seen; and it stands in marked contrast with the nominalistic tendencies of later scholastics, who deprecated group control for the good of the members, and merged naturally into the Protestant individualism of the Reformation. It is significant that these nominalists were mostly English Franciscans; Catholic theology and Catholic organization did not desert moderate realism.”

    ‘The Making of the Modern Mind’ by John Randall. Pages 101-2.

    My article, should you choose to reexamine it.

    http://catholicphilosopher.blogspot.ca/2013/02/roads-divided-atheism-and-other-shit.html

    1. 256.1
      Richard Carrier

      [Note to my readers: he is referring to this exchange, in which I was responding to the article he linked to there. I stand by my reply.]

    2. 256.2
      Madison Jordan

      Can you at least point out where I cited medieval philosophers ‘against’ work of modern science ?

    3. Richard Carrier

      I never mentioned science. You’ve lost track of what I said apparently.

  57. 257
    Madison Jordan

    My bad, Dr. Carrier. Can you point out where I cited them against 21st century peer reviewed philosophy?

    1. 257.1
      Richard Carrier

      This is what happened. Here you pointed me to the article here. To which I responded here. My remark there, that in the article you pointed me to you are citing “long dead medieval philosophers against 21st century peer reviewed philosophy” like my chapter on the subject, is a correct description of what that article does (“Ockham and his ilk denied realism,” your words).

    2. 257.2
      Madison Jordan

      Dr. Carrier, it does not cite them against any philosophy, it is a descriptive analysis of what happened within the course of philosophy and what your philosophy implies. It is a citation, that is for sure, but it is not against any philosophy.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Then you have no argument left there against modern peer reviewed philosophy on the subject of moral realism. You don’t even seem to have read anything in that subject category. I fail, then, to see the relevance of citing that article here.

  58. 258
    anonatheist

    Hey Richard, when exactly did you stop molesting children? I’m sorry is that a loaded question? But being that you didn’t mention being against it then you must be an enabler. Let me ask you another question, are you going to join my new cult that I’m calling Atheism Plus Plus or are you a pedophile? Pick now Richard, you have two options. You’re either with us or you fuck children. Make your decision now (not in the comment section but publicly on social media) so we can decide whether to shun you from society or not.

    Atheism Multiplied is simple.

    We’re atheists plus we’re Atheist Plusses plus we’re all eunichs.

    1. 258.1
      Richard Carrier

      [Note to my readers: I am allowing this comment through moderation because it shows just how fantastically childish and stupid opposition to Atheism+ is.]

  59. 259
    John Roche

    Hi Richard,

    Your post, and the atheism+ movement are awesome but the comments section is very, very depressing. If I were to judge just by this comment thread then I would have to conclude that most atheists can’t think critically and, apparently, can’t even read. At first I was inclined to think your responses might be a touch aggressive but by the end I was admiring your restraint. Please can you tell me that you have evidence that indicates that most atheists are not actually dumbasses?

    Thank you,
    John

    p.s. big fan, love your work

    1. 259.1
      Richard Carrier

      The atheists I meet in person are 10:1 awesome. It’s only online that it skews 10:1 douchefool. I think that’s because the douchefools are more aggressive about “fighting” threats to their sense of privilege and superiority, and doing so online is cheap and easy and consequence free; most people, even allies, don’t care to get into it like that and so stay quiet. But I would appreciate it if more of them at least posted a voice of support, to combat the very impression you got, that the douchefools outnumber the sensible among us. I’m sure they don’t. But it can sometimes feel that way.

  60. 260
    John Roche

    Thank you Richard, that is reassuring. I will voice my online support wherever and whenever I see the opportunity.

  61. 261
    Gordon Willis

    Well, in support, here are my two pence. I trust they are good coin.

    1p. It’s all very well for people to say that being an atheist is not in itself about anything else at all. That’s fine. It’s really no problem. Be an atheist, and be anything else you like — or not, according to taste. You make your own decisions. What is not fine is moaning about people who want to do something AND be identified as atheists while doing it. You know, Christians for World Peace (with Jesus), Atheists for World Peace (and by all means keep your Jesus, or your Fourth Patriarch of the Serenely Intransigent Nadir, but please don’t use Jesus to murder a woman in labour because your respect for life means that her foetus is more valuable than she, even if it won’t survive). Things like that. Some of us care about it. We just can’t help it. So it is. Maybe it sullies the purity of simple atheism, but, frankly, some of us just can’t seem to care about anything so trivial. It just happens that other things are important, too, and the “too” is important. We want it. It’s a statement about a world free of people who kill each other because of God, or because of ideology, or hate, or well-meaning stupidity, or confusion over incomprehensible doctrines, or mere selfishness; it’s a statement that people who don’t do God are not for that reason evil. More than that, it’s an insistence that caring has nothing to do with God, it’s something that we can and do do all by ourselves, and do it all the better for our not believing in strings. And above all, it’s a statement that we care.

    2p. In the dim and distant past of the new atheist movement, like about two years ago (the memory is hazy at this distance) it suddenly and rather shockingly became clear that the movement was not filled with sensible rational people, as all we good little atheists were brought up to believe. No, it became clear that there were all too many people, mostly among us men, who just didn’t like to know that women could, you know, say things. I mean, what a shock. Had they not read St Paul? Shame on them. Well, no, of course, we didn’t mean that, did we? But obviously when a man just has to do whatever it is a man has got to do, then how dare some mere female say “don’t”. Thumbscrews are not enough. Rape and strapado and rape and forced penetration and rape can’t even begin to satisfy the need for revenge. Now, I have to ask myself: do I really want to know these people? No. Really really no. Not at all. Do I really want to be associated with them? Definitely not. The thought makes me scream. I feel positively ill. So what do I want to be associated with? Well, reason, and compassion, and integrity, and all the things that flow from them. At least, they seem like good ideals to me. Somehow all this “my precious ego” stuff doesn’t seem up to the task, not adequate, if you know what I mean.

    My problem, you see, is that I cannot get away from the feeling that there are some people in the world who think: “I’m an atheist, I am. So I am rational and everything a man sorry person no I mean man I mean oh bugger ought to be. And if I feel threatened by some cretin of a woman telling me not to do it, whatever it is, then of course my indignation is justified. Well, of course, I don’t mean threatened, not in so many words — of course not, I can soon sort that one out, stands to reason; and it’s not that I feel criticised for, well, you know, for being a man: oh no, of course not, I’m rational so I’m alright; but I’m going to do everything I can to make any bitch feel sorry she ever told me not to do anything, and any other little cunt who complains if I tell her how much I want to screw her, even if she’s only 15″.

    That sort of problem, you see. Just can’t take it. Feak and weeble, I know, and not at all what a genuine echt-atheist ought to aspire to, whatever that actually is. Only, I prefer it that way — you know, compassion and all that stuff. If it should just happen that you don’t agree, I would be awfully grateful if you would be so good as to, well, you know, piss off, please.

  62. 262
    Toni Julin

    I think it should say, There is a new fascist movement on the rise. I would rather get “labeled” by some lunatic in a fancy suit on a podium, than follow said narrowminded fools totalitarian guide lines. No one in their right mind, would not allow a load of bullshit like that affect the way they think.

    1. 262.1
      Richard Carrier

      Fascism. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  63. 263
    Horapollo

    I can’t stand Humanist. It’s Crypto-Christian bullshit. A religion about not being religious. Like Max Stirner said, they just took ‘God’ and put a ‘Man’ sticker over it. It’s just as conformist, priest-led, cultic and irrational as any Southern Baptist; their fear of evolutionary biology and psychology is a prime example. Their mealy-mouthed moralizing, inability to deal with the obvious philosophical and scientific stupidity that ‘equality’ is, and their blind-leading-the-blind approach to politics (i.e., Statolatry) is pathetic.

    Humanists are just the latest group of conformist pigs to pollute the Earth with their stench. The very notion that all humans have intrinsic value is sub-moronic, projectionist nonsense. The way they keep insisting on secular morality plays their hand as the same social-quietist bitches that later Christianity became. They’re constantly playing a game of catch-up to rationalize their barely-disguised Christian/Liberal prejudices, blatantly ignoring people like Walter Sinnott-Armstrong or Richard Joyce who show that ‘morality’ is a myth at best and self-blinding bigotry in all likelihood. And no wonder: How will they get those jobs at seminary (I mean, University) unless they cave to the value of the herd?

    Fuck humanism, some of us can do without a replacement religion. Please stop associating the position of atheism with your dumbass cult, which is as full of transcendental mysticism as any dirt-kissing witch doctor’s hut.

    1. 263.1
      Richard Carrier

      Wow. Anti-humanist bigotry. Never thought I’d see that here. Astonishing. The Nazi-esque “we’re vermin” metaphor is particularly incredible.

      (And BTW, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is a moral realist, so you evidently haven’t read much of him if you think he has ever argued morality is a myth. His views on moral epistemology are complex, but he holds there are justified true beliefs about morality. I happen to have just written an article as his proxy defending a paper he wrote on that very point against the critique of a Christian divine-command theorist for the academic journal Philo. My article will appear in a forthcoming issue. For Sinnott-Armstrong’s defense of realist morality see his book Morality without God?, esp. p. 76: “I myself disavow subjectivism, relativism, egoism, nihilism, conventionalism, non-cognitivism, and postmodernism. I do believe in moral truth, moral universals, and some kinds of moral knowledge.“)

    2. 263.2
      Bruce Lindman

      I think you are confusing Humanism with the Atheist+ crowd. The two are not synonymous, despite what their pretentious hypocrisy would lead you to believe.

      Do not let the Atheist+ crowd co-opt and corrupt the definition of what are perfectly good moral standards.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Quote anywhere you think I have “corrupted the definition of what are perfectly good moral standards.”

      Otherwise, stop slandering me and my peers with your lies.

    4. 263.3
      Gordon Willis

      @ Horapollo

      You are complaining because you think that morality is not intrinsic and therefore we shouldn’t go on about it. Actually, morality derives from our nature as social animals, and is therefore intrinsic to us. We don’t need to claim that it is god-given or a law of nature, we only need to understand that it is a part of our nature, because all intercourse between human beings depends on it and presupposes it. There has to be a basis of trust, and therefore even if morality did not exist in ourselves we would have to invent it. It’s how we survive in our human world.

      The idea that we are being mystical is very confused. It reveals that your response is a knee-jerk. The problem with just yelling at people because of some unexamined trigger is that you not only fail to hear what is actually being said but you also end up losing even the rational basis you started with.
      .
      @ Bruce Lindman

      Do not let the Atheist+ crowd co-opt and corrupt the definition of what are perfectly good moral standards.

      What is corrupt about reason, integrity and compassion? How are they different from the basis of Humanism? Anyway, you’re putting foreign ideas into his head. Horapollo hates Humanism, because it’s sub-moronic pseudo-religion fit only for smelly conformist pigs, which he knows because he is of no value.

    5. 263.4
      Bruce Lindman

      “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.”

      Humanism would include men’s rights as well, and all attempts at promoting men’s rights among the hypocritical Atheist+ crowd have been met with sanctimonious derision. Not meaningful discussion. Yourself included.

      So to answer Gordon Willis, and elaborate on your challenge:
      The Atheism+ crowd is not reasoned; they are dogmatic.
      The Atheism+ crowd is not compassionate; they are prejudiced and bigoted.
      The Atheism+ crows does not demonstrate personal integrity, as is evidence by the censorship of Greta Christina and Richard Carrier.

      Attempts at promoting rights for BOTH genders are summarily shut down in Atheism+ discussions. So there claiming any mantle of egalitarianism, or humanism, is a corruption of those terms. Those of us who actually DO want to promote equal rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, OR GENDER, are pretty offended by the claims of the Atheism+ pack.

    6. Richard Carrier


      Attempts at promoting rights for BOTH genders are summarily shut down in Atheism+ discussions.

      So if I find several examples of this not having happened, you will apologize and recant what you just said?

      All attempts at promoting men’s rights among the hypocritical Atheist+ crowd have been met with sanctimonious derision.

      So if I find several examples of this not having happened, you will apologize and recant what you just said?

    7. 263.5
      Bruce Lindman

      So if I find many examples where this has happened, you will apologize and concede?

      Seriously Richard, is that your best rebuttal?
      I can find several examples of men who treat women with respect. Therefore, domestic violence does not exist?
      I can find several examples of historical accuracy in the Bible. Therefore, the Bible is historically accurate?

      So sad Richard, so sad…

      But hey, if this is the level of debate you can handle, then I’ll play your game and offer this challenge: for every example you can find of an Atheist+ proponent discussing men’s issues with respect and rationality, I will find TWO examples where someone supporting men’s issues is dismissed, disrespected, subjected to name calling and verbal abuse, or summarily banned by Atheist+ proponents.

      How ’bout it? Accept the challenge?

    8. Richard Carrier

      Your response is illogical.

      You made a blanket generalization about the A+ forums that can be refuted by even a single contrary example. Thus, all I have to do is find one and your claim is refuted. I won’t waste my time digging back up the many links that do, though, if after doing so you won’t even concede you were wrong. Because then I’d just be wasting my time.

      Instead of answering this very clear and sensible request, you derail with a completely unrelated issue. Nice try but reasonable people don’t fall for this. I can’t imagine why you think anyone would.

    9. 263.6
      Gordon Willis

      @Bruce Lindman

      Horapollo has expressed hatred of Humanism and a rejection of the possibility of any concepts of morality and of human worth. He (I assume from the masculine pseudonym) objects to the moral standards which you assert to be perfectly good. Instead of reading him correctly and rebutting his comment on Humanist grounds you took his violence of expression as support for your own objections to A+. You cannot address Horapollo as if he were an ally and at the same time claim to support Humanism against corruption. You have made for yourself a serious difficulty: instead of simply arguing in defence of Humanism against A+ you confusedly chose to identify yourself with an incoherent position antithetical to what you imply is your own. How, then, are you being rational, and do you in fact believe in moral integrity? Do you really suppose that just any expression of anger against A+ is an argument in favour of your beliefs? Are you not simply another angry aggressor foaming at the maw without any basis in thought other than some unexamined knee-jerk response? Is there any reason why I should not form the impression that Horapollo’s position is nearer to what you will not admit as your own, and that your misunderstanding is a Freudian slip?

      In the context of your reply to Horapollo I asked you “What is corrupt about reason, integrity and compassion? How are they different from the basis of Humanism?” You can choose to allege that the principles of A+ are a cover for hypocrisy and cynicism, but as an answer it sidesteps the simple directness of the question, and in the light of the ambiguity of your position this appears a significant move. Also, in order to maintain your charge, you must do more than throw out accusations: what actual attempts to promote equal rights have been shut down in A+ discussions? what reasons do you have to suppose that adherents of A+ would not be concerned about this if it turned out to be true? how do you distinguish between a sincere attempt and a cynical ploy?

      Given that the accuser is compromised, how is the charge to be distinguished from the ugly rage of the bigoted when their bigotry is rejected? You have shown that you have not grasped Horapollo’s position, even when it has been clearly expressed, and you have shown unconscious ambiguity in your own. How, therefore, can you assume that you have understood anybody else’s? If you read in a spirit of unexamined defensiveness you will not be paying attention.

      Those of us who actually DO want to promote equal rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, OR GENDER, are pretty offended by the claims of the Atheism+ pack

      No, we aren’t. But having to deal with illogical and aggressive malcontents is an ongoing liability of any determined stance on rational principle.

      I will now be abroad till the weekend. If you wish to make a reply to this I will not be able to read it till then.

  64. 264
    The Denver Atheist

    Well, I’m late to this party it would seem. Here are my thoughts anyway – http://thedenveratheist.net/my-thoughts-on-atheism-plus/

    1. 264.1
      Richard Carrier

      In which you display you don’t know what we’re talking about or what we’re doing.

      Read this podcast transcript.

      Then watch my video.

      Then you’ll be up to speed.

  65. 265
    Dan

    Everyone associated with Atheism + is a misogynist trying to cover it up by pretending to be some sort of right-on feminist.

    You’re all liars.

    1. 265.1
      Richard Carrier

      [I allowed this belated comment in to illustrate the kind of mindless, immature, argument-and-evidence-free childishness Atheism+ began by calling out and condemning. This effectively proves the entire need of Atheism+.--RC]

  66. 266
    Woll

    I’m with you!

    When do we start to round up dissenters into camps?

    1. 266.1
      Richard Carrier

      It’s called freedom of speech, not freedom of incarceration. We condemn. We don’t round up. But then, you knew that.

    2. 266.2
      Woll

      According to the things I’ve seen on this site and those who share the views of this site, (removing dissenting opinions, banning those with seemingly respectful objections, inventing threat narratives out of the innocuous words of dissenters, forcibly removing dissenting propaganda IRL, and stalking dissenters IRL) rounding the filthy degenerates up into camps is the logical next step.

      I’ve even started designing a flag for the camps (this is its first draft):
      http://i.imgur.com/saXCco7.jpg

    3. Richard Carrier

      Right. Because that isn’t completely unrealistic paranoia. “People won’t listen to me, therefore they will soon be rounding me up at gunpoint into concentration camps.” Tinfoil hat, anyone?

    4. 266.3
      Woll

      The Nazis slowly removed the rights of the Jews before they rounded them up. Book burnings (deleting dissenting posts), labeling of those who disagree the slightest bit as misogynists and douches (Jews and other ‘non-desirables’), banning dissenting users (deportation, rounding into camps, extermination). Let’s not forget the US vs THEM rhetoric which speaks for itself. It may be hyperbole, but some can’t help but make the comparison.

      Atheism+ is a religious sect. Complete with an unquestionable dogma, and an all encompassing, unseen, evil force, I’m of course talking about “patriarchy.” Like Scientology, another dissent silencing religion, you’ve got Thetans, but you call it ‘privilege.’ You’ve even got your own Jesus in Rebecca Watson, crucified in an elevator. The plus in atheism plus is ironically but appropriately a cross.

      I hope you’ll one day see this mess for the silliness that it is. And please try to refrain from straw manning that as me saying human right issues are silly.

    5. Richard Carrier

      Godwin. Nice.

      It’s wild how nothing you say about A+ is even true, and exemplifies a bizarre paranoid worldview completely out of touch with reality.

    6. 266.4
      alandeon2

      No Richard, the A shaped Tinfoil hat you’re wearing still fits you fine. No need to give it away.

    7. Richard Carrier

      Oh, that’s genius.

      “I know you are, but what am I?”

      Tu quoque. Without even a true premise at that.

      Your powers of rhetoric are formidable.

    8. 266.5
      Woll

      “Godwin. Nice.

      It’s wild how nothing you say about A+ is even true, and exemplifies a bizarre paranoid worldview completely out of touch with reality.”

      You can replace Nazis with any totalitarian group you wish. Pointing out the comparison takes nothing away from its validity. While hyperbolic, it takes nothing from the fact that “Free Thought” Blogs does silence people and does label those who don’t think exactly like them as misogynists, rape-apologists, etc.

      Nothing I said about A+ is true? I don’t know if you know this, but denial doesn’t stop something from being true. And how having seen countless examples of silencing tactics and building of false threat narratives from Atheism+ makes me the one who is “paranoid” is beyond me. But I suppose not seeing that can’t be helped when you’re stuck in the echo chamber of “Free Thought” Blogs.

      Here’s a few examples of Atheism+’s insanity that “isn’t true:”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_7SRa_xQNQ

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX65hlHKEQg

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jz63_lGuSE

      http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=413

      The last two links go together.

    9. Richard Carrier

      Right. Because tinfoil hat on YouTube is the best tinfoil hat.

    10. 266.6
      Woll

      What tin-foil hat? What the hell are you talking about? Now you’re just making it clear that you’re ignoring anything that doesn’t conform to your atheism+ dogma. The evidence is in the videos and forum thread. Perhaps you should look over the evidence before making such snide remarks.

    11. Richard Carrier

      You should follow your own advice. What someone claims to have happened, is not necessarily what actually happened. I’ve been around this crazy merrygoround before. Every time I investigate the shrill, crazy complaints like this, they dissolve on inquiry, and the truth turns out to be entirely different. That’s madness.

    12. 266.7
      Woll

      Are you telling me atheism+ supporting feminists didn’t tear down those posters and brag about it? (They did, the forum thread has them bragging about it and the video shows them ‘actually’ doing it.

      Are you telling me that Greg Laden didn’t say men were testosterone damaged men? That he didn’t actively try to find the location of someone? (He ‘actually’ did: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/2012/12/23/greg-laden-posts-a-home-address-and-employer-contacts-for-online-rival/)

      Matt Dillahunty didn’t really try to prove that atheism+ members weren’t insane and it backfired? Oh, wait… he did, and ‘it’ did.

      “Re: Could a moderator post the content of my post in the rig

      Postby MattDillahunty » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:23 am
      Are you going to ban this one, too?

      This is the account I created when the site first went live. I don’t have time to participate on the forum, but I’ve been out there supporting Atheism+ at every opportunity. As such, I’ve come across a number of people who have said “Hey, if Atheism+ was what you say it is, I’d have no problem with it…but that’s not what it is.”

      I laughed at that, because it’s a fledgling movement that isn’t governed by anyone and hasn’t even been well-defined. I pointed out that, as it stands right now, it’s a forum. In response to that, people kept complaining about what went on at the forum and I didn’t have the time or energy to investigate. Because I’m friends with the people who started this, I trusted (and still pretty much do) that the complaints were exaggerated. After all, I was on the back-channel list when the name was suggested, I was posting videos clarifying the subject, I was talking-up Atheism+ alongside PZ and Greta at the Denver AAA convention.

      And then, I someone sent me a link to a post where someone had objected to some points Greta had made. The individual got some things right and some things wrong…and could have been corrected on it. Instead, they wound up banned – after some rather frustrating conversation.

      I wanted to post about that, but I didn’t want to post under my own name – because I wanted to prove that ANYONE could point out what was right and wrong about a post and make suggestions on improving our image and reaching the people who WOULD BE in agreement with us, if it weren’t for the confusing and constant misinformation that is out there.

      As it turns out, I was wrong. My post was deleted, unread, based solely on the opinion of a single moderator.
      When I tried to point out the problem in this process – as anyone would who was surprised to have their post deleted…well, you can see what kind of response I got.

      And I’m an ally – who wrote as an ally. Hell, I’m out there, despite the suspicions of SubMor defending and promoting this.

      I am stunned.”

    13. Richard Carrier

      This is an example of the delusionality I’m talking about.

      Almost all advocates of Atheism+, myself included, are actively fighting transphobia, and disagree with nonsense like Laden’s. You find one guy who says something stupid, and then claim that’s Atheism+. That’s Christian logic. (“Stalin was an atheist. Therefore atheists are all sociopathic communists.” = “One guy who likes Atheism+ said something stupid. Therefore all advocates of Atheism+ agreed with him.” The same fallacy. And you wear it like pants. You should be embarrassed.)

      Matt Dilahunty violated the rules against sock puppets on the A- forum (which is an act of deception–it’s called lying) and received the treatment the stated policy he agreed to by participating in that forum entailed. In the end he agreed that was appropriate. He violated the policy. He knew it was wrong. And he was treated as the policy stated any such person would be. And yet even then, what he was trying to accomplish by lying (a revision of the moderation policy on another matter) was achieved: the policy was revised as he desired. Ooooh. How Stalinesque.

      That you think this indicates anything other than that one single forum, designed specifically to shut out disruptive and deceitful participants, did exactly what it was designed to do, then you are insane. That forum has a specific purpose. It does not represent the whole of “Atheism+,” which is simply any advocating of the view that atheists should be humanists and skeptics. There are many other Atheism+ forums that have more liberal moderation policies–such as mine. Although even I ban sock puppets. As everyone should. Such a basic violation of honesty is not to be endorsed.

      But maybe your whole point is that you represent the Party of Liars and take offense that I don’t approve of lying.

      In which case, you’ve said all anyone needs to know about you.

    14. 266.8
      oolon

      LMAO, the anti-A+ brigade are *still* dropping paranoid turds on this post! How they manage to compartmentalise the view that A+ is dead *and* the single greatest threat to western civilisation is beyond me. Clearly calling yourself an atheist doesn’t get one iota nearer to being a rational person.

  67. 267
    Woll

    “Almost all advocates of Atheism+, myself included, are actively fighting transphobia, and disagree with nonsense like Laden’s. You find one guy who says something stupid, and then claim that’s Atheism+. That’s Christian logic. (“Stalin was an atheist. Therefore atheists are all sociopathic communists.” = “One guy who likes Atheism+ said something stupid. Therefore all advocates of Atheism+ agreed with him.” The same fallacy. And you wear it like pants. You should be embarrassed.)”

    No, you don’t agree with them. You don’t have to. You’ve got your very own dogmatic thinking on display with your “US vs THEM” mentality, and anyone who won’t accept your A+ label gets this response:

    “8
    Tom – August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm (UTC -8)
    I’ll stick with the original atheism, thanks.

    8.1
    Richard Carrier – August 21, 2012 at 9:46 am (UTC -8)

    So, one vote for douchery. Got it.”

    Your actions go in line with all of the other actions of your mighty social justice warriors, you act just as toxic as them while claiming they’re only a bad bunch. Oh, and I’d like to point out the irony of the phrase, “that’s Christian logic” in this context.

    “8.11
    Richard Carrier at August 28, 2012 at 7:34 am (UTC -8)

    This is the sequence of events:

    I explain Atheism+ means being an atheist who is against sexism and racism and endorses the values of reasonableness, compassion, and integrity.

    I conclude by asking “are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?”

    Tom states they pick option B.

    I point out that this makes them a douchebag.

    Identify where at any point I am wrong.”

    Let Star Wars explain it for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgpytjlW5wU

    ———-

    As for Matt Dillahunty, he got this response, before it was ever known that he was hiding his identity:

    Flewellyn » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:37 am:
    “For the record: Curious’ post was objecting, in minute detail, to the banning of Skep TIckle in the “Petition to remove MRA Vacula from SCA leaderrship”[sic] thread. It was overly long, derailing, nitpicky, and would not have added anything to the conversation. To be charitable to a new user, I just classified it as “off-topic”, but really, it wasn’t the sort of thing that would really be “on-topic” for any forum.

    If you want to know why a user was banned, you can ask, but don’t come in and challenge us mods as if we don’t know what we’re doing. In particular, don’t whinge.

    This whole thread? Whinging.”

    So we have it only on a mod’s word that it was “long”, “derailing” and “nitpicky.” “…that would really be “on-topic” for any forum.” sounds to me like, “we don’t like dissent, it’s not allowed here at all.” It’s followed by people basically saying, “YEAH! LONG WINDED!” when they couldn’t have seen the post in the first place. Sounds like more silencing tactics.

    His main purpose was to prove that the mods weren’t silencing people, without his name recognition so people couldn’t treat him special, and it backfired. Forget that the account was banned for sock puppetry, that’s not the point.

    His posts are then met with, ‘Oh, well, WE’RE ATTACKED BY TROLLS! You must understand!’ They start sucking up to him and apologizing after knowing who he is. Exactly what he tried to avoid.

    ———-

    “But maybe your whole point is that you represent the Party of Liars and take offense that I don’t approve of lying.

    In which case, you’ve said all anyone needs to know about you.”

    Man, you guys ARE good at building fake narratives.

    ———-

    “LMAO, the anti-A+ brigade are *still* dropping paranoid turds on this post! How they manage to compartmentalise the view that A+ is dead *and* the single greatest threat to western civilisation is beyond me. Clearly calling yourself an atheist doesn’t get one iota nearer to being a rational person.”

    Could you please explain the “paranoid” bit? Nothing I’ve said is paranoid. It’s based on what I’ve seen and continue to see. Nobody said it was “the single greatest threat to western civilisation” or that “A+ is dead”. That second part sounds like projection, personally. Forgive me, but I don’t see the rationality of starting a religious sect (a cult, if you will) among the non-religious.

    1. 267.1
      Richard Carrier

      No, you don’t agree with them. You don’t have to. You’ve got your very own dogmatic thinking on display with your “US vs THEM” mentality, and anyone who won’t accept your A+ label gets this response:

      Funny how you ignore historical facts, like this and this.

      Selective distortion of historical facts is symptomatic of either (a) being a liar or (b) being insane.

      Since you are similarly omitting major and key historical facts in your other points, you are consistently demonstrating that you are either a liar or a lunatic. And I can see no point in continuing a conversation with either.

      Go away.

    2. 267.2
      Woll

      In that “Note to all” post, you say,

      “After calming down, I reexamined every instance and deleted every insult I deemed inappropriate (there were only two or three)”

      To me that says you still believe that, “So, one vote for douchery. Got it.” was the right response as it wasn’t deleted. Meaning that you still think with an ‘US vs THEM’ attitude.

      And the other post just confirms that you STILL have an US vs THEM attitude:

      “So I improved that living document by inserting an irrationality vaccine: a rewrite of the concluding paragraph, thus (additions in bold)…

      ‘In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I call upon you to pick sides within our movement (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality? Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.’

      Of course, even the original statement should have been clear enough, since who would side with sexism and cruelty and irrationality? Lots of people, apparently. Many atheists declared themselves for Atheism Less in the comments. Then acted all surprised when I treated them like those who side with sexism and cruelty and irrationality. You reap what you sow, people.

      I’ve omitted nothing. You’re denying US vs THEM thinking while simultaneously demonstrating US vs THEM thinking. It’s really quite bizarre that you can’t see this in your writing. But that’s ideology for you.

      The last bolded line shows that your thinking is far too black and white.”THEM” or “THEY” aren’t against women, homosexuals or trans people, they’re against the silencing tactics and irrationality of Atheism+ that’s continuously on display.

    3. Richard Carrier

      I like how you pretend what just happened didn’t happen. I just proved you were completely ignorant of recent history and had your facts entirely wrong. Therefore your conclusions were all based on false premises.

      A real skeptic would stop and then reexamine why they thought what they did and change their beliefs in light of this new, refuting evidence.

      That you don’t, but instead try to desperately change the subject, tells me conversation with you is a waste of time, as much as with any Creationist who behaved the same way (as many do).

      To me that says you still believe that, “So, one vote for douchery. Got it.” was the right response as it wasn’t deleted. Meaning that you still think with an ‘US vs THEM’ attitude.

      I gave you two links. Notice how you ignore the second one, which refutes explicitly what you just said.

      Acting like a Creationist. Again.

      You’re denying US vs THEM thinking while simultaneously demonstrating US vs THEM thinking.

      Wait. You mean us vs. people who send rape threats to women?

      Are you actually defending people who send rape threats to women?

    4. 267.3
      Woll

      How did I have the facts wrong? You apologized to a few people and deleted reactions you felt were inappropriate, while leaving the ‘douchebag’ post I quoted. There was no refuting evidence, just posts that you amazingly think cancelled your US vs THEM thinking when it didn’t.

      How is that changing the subject? That’s me not buying your apology due to the evidence that points to you still standing by calling someone a douchebag for not accepting your label.

      Ignored the second one? Did you quit reading just before this part?

      “And the other post just confirms that you STILL have an US vs THEM attitude:

      ‘So I improved that living document by inserting an irrationality vaccine: a rewrite of the concluding paragraph, thus (additions in bold)….’”

      I even quoted the post for Christ’s sake.

      “Wait. You mean us vs. people who send rape threats to women?

      Are you actually defending people who send rape threats to women?”

      There you go creating false narratives again. It’s like saying “If you don’t accept my label then you must be a child molester.” You’re still dealing in absolutes; you refuse to accept that there are people don’t want your label or want to be labeled with your label for reasons outside of wanting to make rape threats or some other such strawman crap. These people don’t want your label because of how you’re acting right now. They don’t want to be associated with such nonsense.

      And please try to refrain from turning “They don’t want to be associated with such nonsense.” into “You think women and LGBT rights are nonsense?!”

    5. Richard Carrier

      How did I have the facts wrong? You apologized to a few people and deleted reactions you felt were inappropriate, while leaving the ‘douchebag’ post I quoted. There was no refuting evidence, just posts that you amazingly think cancelled your US vs THEM thinking when it didn’t.

      Read the second link.

      (Why do you keep ignoring the same evidence, even after being called out for ignoring it?)

      And answer my question:

      Are you defending people who send rape threats to women? Or are you against them?

    6. 267.4
      Woll

      I’m convinced now that you’re not reading my responses. I already told you I read the second link. There is no evidence that you’ve lost your US vs THEM mentality. I never ignored it, I didn’t see it before I started giving comments, but after seeing it my objections haven’t changed. You still have an US vs THEM mentality.

      I already answered your question, you ignored the answer. No, I’m not defending them, yes I am against those individuals. I’m defending those who don’t accept your label because of your and people like you’s toxic actions.

      You’re still talking in this black and white language. ‘Well, if they don’t want my label, then they must like to send rape threats to women.’ It’s bullshit thinking, and you know it. That same bullshit line of thinking is why people don’t want your label. They don’t want to associate with people who deal in such toxic, absolutist thinking that automatically demonizes people with legitimate criticisms. It’s dogmatic.

    7. Richard Carrier

      Do you support people who send rape threats to women, or are you against them?

    8. 267.5
      Woll

      Jesus Christ, now I know you’re not reading my posts. You have to be willfully obtuse at this point.

      “I already answered your question, you ignored the answer. No, I’m not defending (supporting) them, yes I am against those individuals.”

      Try to actually read my post next time. When observing your responses, it puzzles me how you can’t see why people don’t want to be associated with this crap.

    9. Richard Carrier

      So you are also an us vs. them guy.

      In fact, we are exactly the same. Because those and others who act the same are the only thems I said I was against.

      So all this time you have only been arguing against yourself.

  68. 268
    Woll

    No, I’m against assholes individually, I don’t lump other innocent people into a group based on a few comments on Reddit and some guy in an elevator. You lashed out against people who simply didn’t want your label based on your black and white spectrum rhetoric. You assumed that because they didn’t want your label that they must be sexist or homophobic. The real reason is that they don’t like your US vs THEM rhetoric, and they don’t use black and white thinking, because it’s akin to religious rhetoric. There’s no place for a religious sect among the non-religious.

    1. 268.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t lump other innocent people into a group based on a few comments on Reddit and some guy in an elevator.

      I have never mentioned “the guy in the elevator.” Neither has anyone else supporting the A+ cause. That’s a fiction irrational people like you keep selling. And joking about raping a girl in her own Reddit thread is not “a few comments on Reddit.”

      So now that you are moving the goal posts, let’s play your game:

      Now you support joking about raping a teenage girl right in front of her? You are not against that?

    2. 268.2
      Woll

      “Now you support joking about raping a teenage girl right in front of her? You are not against that?”

      I’m done. Every single thing, it’s just fucking circles of straw-manning what I say and ignoring what I say. You’re a fucking moron, I can no longer stand to talking to you.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Right. Because you have no argument. You accuse me of the crime of being against people who send rape jokes and threats, and then deny having any problem with people who are against people who send rape jokes and threats.

      That’s all you had. And I caught you at it. And now you are just running away because you’ve been exposed as having nothing left to argue.

    4. 268.3
      Woll

      “You accuse me of the crime of being against people who send rape jokes and threats”

      Only in your head is that the case.

      “That’s all you had. And I caught you at it. And now you are just running away because you’ve been exposed as having nothing left to argue.”

      You’re right, I have nothing to argue. The reason is because it’s impossible to speak to an asshole who won’t stop twisting my words. I’m running from an endless string of everything I say being turned into something else to fit into your bullshit thinking. You’ll never stop thinking in these black and white absolutes, that’s why so many think you you’re a fucking joke. Toxic, but a joke nonetheless.

      Congratulations. You win. I bow my head to you. Go fuck yourself. I’m out.

    5. Richard Carrier

      So now you agree it was not wrong of me to be against people who send rape threats and rape jokes to girls?

  69. 269
    EnlightenmentLiberal

    Dr Carrier, I know you probably don’t get much thanks, but thanks for this work you’re doing.

    I’m still amazed how many people who might otherwise be decent and skeptical have this thing where they have to be willfully ignorant about the problems of racism, sexism, etc., in the atheist communities, skeptic communities, and our culture at large. This thread is just an amazing amount of half-truths and gross misunderstandings which anyone who actually bothered to research the matter would be able to identify.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. 269.1
      Richard Carrier

      I really appreciate your comment. Usually the supporters don’t comment, so I get more hate than love when I talk about these things, and have to remember when I go out and meet atheists in person that the numbers skew the other way. But it helps to hear the support here as much as possible. It can be wearing otherwise.

  70. 270
    Gordon Willis

    This is partly to endorse EnlightenmentLiberal’s comment. I heartily approve of the stand that you are taking, and I am delighted and rather awed that you can find the time to discuss the matter with every dissenter who appears, in the true spirit of reason and compassion.

    However, I do think that you are wasting your time with Woll. Woll just has to argue, because that is the space she is in, and the fact that she keeps coming back to argue more, and has fewer points to make each time, convinces me that she is only arguing because she feels she must. It’s about ego, or about a misplaced feeling of obligation to some partially forgotten cause that did make sense at the time… Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it looks to me. I see no point in obliging her to come back and back. It must be a real burden by now.

    I’m running from an endless string of everything I say being turned into something else to fit into your bullshit thinking.

    But it’s not true. The truth is that Woll’s words are nonsense to start with, and she doesn’t like it when someone examines her words and exposes their foolishness. If she really had anything to say, she would at least have some idea of how to say it, and if she were sincere she wouldn’t hide behind silly accusations when she was proven wrong.

    1. 270.1
      Woll

      First, for the record, I’m not a woman. I fear that will make my words null and void because ‘privilege’ but I don’t wish to talk under that misconception.

      “But it’s not true. The truth is that Woll’s words are nonsense to start with, and she doesn’t like it when someone examines her words and exposes their foolishness.”

      Actually, it is true:

      I said, “I don’t lump other innocent people into a group based on a few comments on Reddit and some guy in an elevator.”

      He turned it into,

      “Now you support joking about raping a teenage girl right in front of her? You are not against that?”

      Another example:

      “You’re denying US vs THEM thinking while simultaneously demonstrating US vs THEM thinking.”

      into

      “Wait. You mean us vs. people who send rape threats to women?

      Are you actually defending people who send rape threats to women?”

      He has to change my words to try and turn me into a rape-supporting monster, when in reality I’m just against his absolutist thinking. All ‘social justice warriors’ (at least the one’s I’ve dealt with) use this thinking, they’re so eager to turn all who object in the slightest way into rapists or homophobes.

      He claimed, (paraphrased) “Oh, well I made it clear that I was thinking in these black and white absolutes, it’s your fault for not thinking exactly like me! Therefore, you’re a douche bag.” – http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2412

      Actual quote to show I’m not lying:

      “So I improved that living document by inserting an irrationality vaccine: a rewrite of the concluding paragraph, thus…

      ‘In the meantime, are you an atheist? Do you identify as an atheist? Then I call upon you to pick sides within our movement (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality? Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid.’

      Of course, even the original statement should have been clear enough, since who would side with sexism and cruelty and irrationality? Lots of people, apparently. Many atheists declared themselves for Atheism Less in the comments. Then acted all surprised when I treated them like those who side with sexism and cruelty and irrationality. You reap what you sow, people.”

      That and not even reading my posts before responding to me is making me run from talking to Richard Carrier. His debate tactic is to frustrate by ignoring your words and using straw-mans. As I said in my (last) response to Carrier, he won.

      “Woll just has to argue, because that is the space she is in, and the fact that she keeps coming back to argue more, and has fewer points to make each time, convinces me that she is only arguing because she feels she must. It’s about ego, or about a misplaced feeling of obligation to some partially forgotten cause that did make sense at the time… Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it looks to me. I see no point in obliging her to come back and back. It must be a real burden by now.”

      I was desperately trying to get Richard to be reasonable, it was naive optimism. He’ll never stop trying to turn people into “C.H.U.D.’s” with his straw-man powers. Ego? I’m commenting anonymously online, what are you talking about?

    2. Richard Carrier

      He has to change my words to try and turn me into a rape-supporting monster, when in reality I’m just against his absolutist thinking.

      There is no absolutist thinking here. You found no evidence of any such thing.

      I’m using premises based on reality (i.e. the people I actually condemned and asked others to). Yours are based on a delusion (i.e. the people you somehow delusionally believe I condemned and asked others to).

      I showed that out.

      And now you are trying desperately to avoid the resulting cognitive dissonance with this last long red herring argument that completely ignores what actually just happened here.

  71. 271
    Gordon Willis

    First, for the record, I’m not a woman.

    As you say, Woll. However, I am increasingly aware that the default pronoun for millenia has always been “he”, and as this is a shocking thing I have unilaterally decided that whenever I deal with pseudonymous writers and lack clear reason to do otherwise I will use “she”, if only to see what the reaction might be.

    I fear that will make my words null and void because ‘privilege’ but I don’t wish to talk under that misconception.

    Don’t you think that’s a bit odd?

    However, I’m not really concerned with what you think, because you don’t give me any reason to believe that you really think anything — or, if you do, you don’t know what it is. You seem to be determined to argue, to pick a quarrel, and it is not clear whether even you know why.

    It reminds me of the Rebecca Watson debacle. So much of what was said was said for no rational reason whatever. Many people just had to quarrel because they were in some way offended: by which I mean that they felt a distinct dent in the ego, even though they had no right to do so.

    This is pathetic. Unfortunately, it is highly dangerous, because it initiates a quarrel for no reason and insists on escalating the conflict once it has been established. Only because of the dear ego. What a horrible thing it is, really. Don’t you think so? But I suppose you’ll come back. Probably you can’t help it.

    1. 271.1
      Woll

      Odd how? The SJW crowd loves to think as men as having meaningless opinions up to the point that it agrees whole-heartedly with them. I feared that you’d say ‘well, you’re a man, so it doesn’t matter what you think’ which is often a response I get, but wished to be honest.

      “you don’t give me any reason to believe that you really think anything”

      Try to sound more passive aggressive, please.

      “You seem to be determined to argue, to pick a quarrel, and it is not clear whether even you know why.”

      The reason is SJW parasites have yet again hijacked a popular movement of people and tried to turn everyone within it into easily offended gits or call everyone else who doesn’t think exactly like them rape apologizing, woman haters. They have to do this because they know they’re too toxic to start their own movement. Their toxicity eats away at everyone involved, so a movement for and by SJWs alone cannot exist. This is why they need an already existing host body.

      See Occupy Wall Street and gaming.

      One had an important goal, stop money from corrupting politics. It was taken over by over-privileged, quirky hipsters yelling ‘privilege!’ and drum circles, and they became a joke.

      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/401092/october-31-2011/colbert-super-pac—occupy-wall-street-co-optportunity—stephen-on-location

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZJiWPt1NRU&t=14m01s

      The other had an SJW con-artist rise up, take money from suckers, and spend it on god knows what, only for those same suckers to find out that the person in question wasn’t really a fan of video games in the first place. That didn’t stop these suckers from supporting her though. Now this person with no real interest in video games, is helping to design a video game.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcPIu3sDkEw

      http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/TheKodu/the-sarkeesian-the-dice-and-the-mirror–235992.phtml

      Let me be clear, I don’t despise her for her arguments. I despise her for lying, she should have told the truth at the beginning. But telling the truth wouldn’t have suckered so many people in and gained her so much cash. She won’t say where the $160,000 went, considering she stole gameplay footage online and her video quality barely went up.

      http://victorsopinion.blogspot.be/2013/07/anitas-sources.html

      “It reminds me of the Rebecca Watson debacle. So much of what was said was said for no rational reason whatever. Many people just had to quarrel because they were in some way offended: by which I mean that they felt a distinct dent in the ego, even though they had no right to do so.”

      How dare they be offended! That’s SJW work. Of course, I know men don’t have the right to find offense in the assumption that asking for coffee means all men want in that situation is sex.

      “This is pathetic. Unfortunately, it is highly dangerous, because it initiates a quarrel for no reason and insists on escalating the conflict once it has been established. Only because of the dear ego. What a horrible thing it is, really. Don’t you think so?”

      Again, there’s no ego in play here. I’m anonymously commenting online, what ego do I have to perpetuate?

      I know it’s horrible for someone to challenge atheism+. It’s a shame everybody doesn’t just bow down to it. That’s what block bots and mocking free speech with ‘freeze peach’ is for.

      “But I suppose you’ll come back. Probably you can’t help it.”

      I stopped responding to Richard because I knew how the further conversation was going to keep circulating. I’m letting him have his delusion that I’m running in fear from his mighty ‘intellectual artillery.’ You have yet to turn my words into something else; you make assumptions, yes, but that’s less frustrating. I thank you for that.

    2. Richard Carrier

      More factless ranting.

      What a sad little delusion you are trapped in.

  72. 272
    P.Alessio

    Wow. Just wow. In hindsight, reading this thread is like watching a train wreck in slow-motion. Lots of people said it from the 1st second: not wanting to jump on this A+ bandwagon was not equal to being a douchebag etc etc. And yet you sanctimonious FTBloggers didnt listen. And now, A+ is mostly mocked on the net, while the creation of an atheist communisty has been stalled for who knows how long. Was all this worth it? What were you thinking at the time, that a comunity mostly based of individual thinker would happily join a group where every deviation fro the leaders-approved lines was asking for a GTFO?
    Bah. Still, this is a truly fascianting social experiment on how comunity can disgregate and on personal delusions of grandeur. Who is listening to you now, dr Carrier, except your closest friends? Who is listening to pz myers or rebecca watson anymore? You truly dug your own digital grave -.-

    1. 272.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s all baloney. The atheist community is not stalled at all, it’s actually growing at a fast pace, FTB and Skepchick are now the most read blog networks online, A+ values are the norm across almost all atheist groups in real-space throughout the US and Canada (and even the Philippines and beyond), and every goal the A+ movement set is being realized. We basically won. Meanwhile, you can’t even be bothered to read the threads you comment on, and thus don’t even know what you are talking about.

  73. 273
    P.Alessio

    How appropriate you wrote your answer on april, 1st…. keep saying all that to yourself, Dr Carrier. You wont find many people around who agrees with you, of course =P

    1. 273.1
      Richard Carrier

      Assertion is not fact. I actually meet hundreds of atheists a year across two nations. I find almost all of them agree with me. I don’t know who you are hanging out with, but it isn’t the Atheism Movement that actually exists in the real world.

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