On Sunday morning I had another opportunity to participate in a Google+ hangout with some of my fellow FTBorg:
We talked about, among other things, why these ‘social justice’ issues – feminism, anti-racism, gender and sex equality, etc. – are so prevalent on the Freethought Blogs network. The video is below the fold:
I came into the discussion with four points I really wanted to make:
- Freethought is a set of critical methods that we can use to separate useful ideas from bad ones. Just as we become adept at recognizing faulty reasoning at work in theology or anti-science, we see identical types of cognition from people who either oppose or fail to understand social justice issues.
- There is an inherent value to increasing diversity above and beyond it being the right thing to do. When we create more just and equitable spaces in the atheist/skeptic/freethinker movement, we attract more people who bring us better perspectives and make us all better for the experience.
- Atheists are not necessarily better thinkers or ‘more rational’ than the general population – it’s just that we care when things are self-contradictory. We are still, however, prone to make the exact same handful of mistakes that we deride believers for committing.
The fourth point, which I made at the top of the discussion, is that FTB was not created as an explicitly feminist liberal organization with schemes for world domination. If you listen to the triumphalist crowings of the pack of morons calling the recent fracas with Thunderf00t an example of FTB’s commitment to silencing dissenting positions, you’d think that we’re a bunch of arch-villains (or the unwitting puppets of a tyrannical overlord). I’ll spend a bit more time on this ridiculous zombie meme in a follow-up post.
I really enjoy these opportunities to interact with my co-bloggers. Of course we ended up talking a lot about ethics and metaphysics and a whole host of other things where I talked too much and knew too little. In my defense, this chat happened at 8 am on a Sunday, and I had been at a kegger the night before. I think I managed to work in a few coherent points from time to time.
Is there a topic that you’d like to suggest for the next hangout? I may or may not be involved (I would rather see some new faces participating than be in the room every time), but surely there’s something you’d like to see us discuss? Bonus points if you think you can find something we’ll disagree on (trust me – they’re out there).
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