You don’t have to care about women
You don’t have to care about gays
You don’t have to know there’s a spectrum aglow,
You can keep to your black and white ways.
You don’t have to care about justice
About sex, about gender, or race
You don’t have to care, or be very aware,
Of the troubles that other groups face
You don’t have to skeptically reason
You don’t need to do lots of stuff
If you feel that you must, you can stay A-nonplussed—
Not believing in god is enough
You don’t have to be so inclusive
You don’t have to show you have heart
But… if you do care, when the world isn’t fair
Then together let’s make a new start
Yes, if you think thusly, then join us—A plussly,
Together we’ll make a new start.
Involved rant, after the jump:
I wasn’t always the “dictionary atheist” type and so yes; I understand the desire to have a large cohesive movement. While I share the goals of my fellow atheists as I listed above I have never considered that a central part of my atheism per se. They may or may not have resulted in my rejection of god, but then it became something else. To me, and to a lot of others, atheism simply is the lack of belief in god(s). It’s easy like that.
Why do I have major reservations about attaching all manners of philosophies and agendas to atheism? To “protect” atheism. I do not disagree with the goals of the social justice crowd. However, this agenda has absolutely zero to do with atheism as it is defined. It’s as if they want to reinvent secular humanism for no apparent reason. A “third wave” of atheism (presumably to resemble the third wave of feminism they espouse) is unnecessary. A greater focus on humanism and building a humanists movement instead of atheism would be more appropriate.
You’ll have to take a look at the whole thing for his full argument, but frankly, I’m in complete agreement with the majority of it. But, unless I misread (always a possibility), Barry’s big objection seems to be that the A plussers are trying to change the definition of atheism–and he thinks that’s a bad move.
It is perfectly understandable that he thinks this. Most such attempts do appear aimed at changing us all. The various atheism 2.0, 3.0, etc., seem to be aimed at the atheist category in toto. Which leaves us all craving atheism 1.0, without any bells and whistles. Well, maybe not all of us–PZ wanted atheism to include elements of A+ long ago, and argued against “dictionary atheists”. I disagreed at the time (and still do–DEEP RIFTS–with both PZ and the “dictionary atheist” proponents). Here, for instance, I speak of “atheist and…” (in response to PZ’s “atheist but“), where “atheism” is still the privative dictionary definition, but is packaged with other positively defined attributes.
And I know I am not the only one to make such suggestions, and I am not peeved in the slightest that “atheism plus” appears to be a more successful species. It’s a different context, with different players, and the same seed has more success in good dirt than in a sidewalk crack. Even the meme “meme”, which has had such success for Dawkins, had been suggested before as “culturgen” or “element of behavior”, and probably other labels that have not survived the years. This may be the time for atheism plus.
In part, it may be the time because atheism plus is not supposed to be a change to the whole of atheism. It is a subcategory, and is explicitly so. You do not have to be involved in social justice to be an atheist–in fact, many theists are involved in social justice. You do not have to be involved in skeptical thought to be an atheist–I have known many skeptical thinkers who were religious (skepticism is a process, not an outcome, and different people have access to different evidence). If, though, you fall under this particular umbrella, and maybe want to help change the world, take a look here.
It could be just one more well-intentioned proposal. Or, with support, it could be the start of something new. I am personally hoping for the latter. But since hoping does about as much good as praying, I think it would be much more helpful to pitch in.