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The uniform groupthink of The Freethought Borg

Look! Look at how identical our opinions are on everything! This latest spate of opinionation on the SCA’s new hire pretty much proves that we’re all cookie-cutter and identical around these parts.

Stephanie:

When I say interesting, I mean in the sense that I’m highly ambivalent about it. On the one, obvious hand, Rogers is someone who has supported politicians and a party that have worked very hard to marginalize us. She has propped up the party of the religious right and apparently done it well. That does not endear her to me, to say the least.

On the other hand, she will be my lobbyist, not my new best friend or even nifty human being, and my lobbyist on specific issues where we do agree. It’s my understanding that Rogers is pro-choice, supports gay rights, and really is a strong proponent of secularism.

Beyond that, this is an opportunity to test whether there are any inroads to be made in dealing with Republicans on our issues. In fact, this is probably the best test that such a strategy could have. We’ve been saying forever that demanding our rights protects the rights of everyone. We’ll see whether Rogers can get that message where it is so very badly needed. I can think of longer paths to reach our goals, but few that would be steeper. But if it doesn’t work here, with Rogers on the job, I think we can safely say, “No, and this is why”, to anyone advocating a similar path in the future.

Physioproffe:

I have no idea what the fucke these fucken idiots at the Secular Coalition for America were thinking hiring this sleazy right-wing asshole as their new Executive Director. She has spent nearly her entire professional life carrying water for the worst of the right-wing slime that have relied on the theocratic jeezus freak impulses of our most ignorant and hateful pig-people citizens to gain political power and then used that political power to push more and more pig-people religious and racial hate into the political sphere, and oh yeah, fucked uppe every fucken thing they touched: the economy, civil rights, foreign policy, our national physical infrastructure, education, etc.

NO ROOM FOR NUANCE HERE FOLKS! If you’ve got an opinion different from the groupthink, it’ll be ground into uniformity in no time fast! See how both of these bloggers… use articles, and verbs, and adjectives. In English! Using the Latin alphabet!

Comments

  1. John D says

    Jason! You are my new friend!

    I am amazed at this place. It is so full of vitriol. Rogers has been called a “typical right-wing political hackefucke slime” by one blogger and a “cunt” by one of the commenters.

    When I even mention that there are Republicans who really do want separation between church and state (the mission of SCA) some folks here go ballistic. It is like they have never heard of Olympia Snowe (which they probably haven’t).

    Very sad that so many people who call themselves “freethinkers” are so ideological that they will not work with others to make political change.

    Personally, I am thrilled to see Rogers on board. I sent SCA an email asking if I could help organize the local chapter (one of Rogers’ goals). They wrote me right back and hooked me up with their monthly local chapter conference call.

    I personally know lots of Republicans who don’t like how the funides have messed up the Republican party. Time to put a stake through the heart of the “Moral Majority” in my opinion.

  2. Timid Atheist says

    As I said On Physioproffe’s blog, the complaint about freethought blog being a group think and not “free” usually only comes when any of the blogs here post something someone doesn’t agree with. I wonder if these people realize what free thought actually means and if they are really so oblivious as to not see their way of thinking is the opposite of free thought. And then I go take a nap because it hurts my brain to think on that kind of inanity for long.

  3. says

    John D @2:

    You are my new friend!

    That remains to be seen.

    and a “cunt” by one of the commenters.

    My auto-filtering that word usually catches asshole drive-bys, which is pretty much all I’m getting off of you so far. Prove that this person was not soundly taken to task for this and you might have something here.

    Very sad that so many people who call themselves “freethinkers” are so ideological that they will not work with others to make political change.

    You misunderstand the word. It means being free from dogma. Freethinkers are well within their rights to employ pattern recognition to tell when others steeped in particular dogmas have vested interests in working against us. Being a freethinker does not mean others get a free pass.

    Yeah, not endearing yourself to me.

  4. John D says

    um…. must we really go here? really?

    per wikipedia: “Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought

    Perhaps I have no friends here. haha.

  5. says

    I am amazed at this place. It is so full of vitriol.

    It’s also “full” of substantive points about Rogers’ past actions and priorities that you’ve run away from.

    I find it interesting that the same Republican apologist has shown up on at least two different threads so far, parroting the same generic talking-points and running away from any discussion of the actual concerns raised. Another carefully-orchestrated “grass-roots” noisemaking campaign maybe?

  6. Timid Atheist says

    It’s funny they’re attacking your strength because that’s usually when they all get knocked to the ground like flies. At least they could come up with something more original than. “You’re censoring me!” and “This isn’t free thought because opinions I don’t agree with aren’t thoughtful!”

    And then comes the tone trolling.

  7. says

    On John D (who is not part of the 1%)’s observation that Rogers was called the c-word:

    Prove that this person was not soundly taken to task for this and you might have something here.

    I remember seeing that comment at Jen’s (I think it was). It was made by someone going by “heather” and was immediately jumped on by at least one person IIRC before being deleted by the blog owner. I’m pretty sure that means John D ain’t got nuthin.

  8. Timid Atheist says

    I remember seeing that comment at Jen’s (I think it was). It was made by someone going by “heather” and was immediately jumped on by at least one person IIRC before being deleted by the blog owner. I’m pretty sure that means John D ain’t got nuthin.

    Actually it’s right here and it was on Friendly Atheist and it’s still there. I’m a bit unhappy that Hemant is allowing this to stand. I was one of the first to comment on how terrible this is.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/05/03/the-atheist-lobbys-new-executive-director-is-a-female-republican-strategist-who-used-to-work-for-george-w-bush/#comment-517839026

    Of course this means John D’s argument doesn’t hold water since that slur wasn’t even used on Freethought Blogs. Ha.

  9. John D says

    Is there no room for someone who votes Republican from time to time and wants to try to get Republicans to move to a more secular agenda? The anti-Republican hatred is hard to explain.

    I repeat that there are Republicans that can work with Democrats to improve separation. This is the goal of SCA.

    I guess most people here are more interested in Democratic policy wins than improving separation of church and state. That is the real issues I suppose.

    Seriously… none of you have heard of Olympia Snowe… right?

  10. Dalillama says

    @raging Bee
    He’s in all of them, I’m pretty sure. I’ve seen him in every one I’ve visited, anyway.

  11. says

    Thanks for the link, Timid Atheist. Yeah, John D has nothing.

    There’s room in this conversation about polemicists, yes, John, as long as you understand that the vast majority of your party — the one you vote for from time to time — is actively engaged in tearing down that wall. If you want to try to hold them back from that, more power to you. But most of this problem is coming from your side. The sooner you recognize that, the sooner we can all get on with our business.

  12. says

    What is the maximum number of bloggers (or really, the top three) blogging about the same topic (even if they don’t agree) on this network (adjusted for network size)

    Right now I see fewer than ten posts on this issue. There are 33 blogs, some with multiple bloggers. Has the number of bloggers even talking about the same issue ever reached 50%?

    One thing to remember when thinking about group think is that people’s position on an issue has two components before we even get to agreement or lack thereof: Is one interested at all, and is one charged up about it enough to write it up?

    I’ll throw in my own counterargument while I’m here: There are probably often unblogged sentiments. More than once I saw a few other FTB.com bloggers covering an issue, and I basically agreed with them, but owing to other time constraints etc. didn’t bother writing myself what I might have written had it not already been touched on.

    So there is probably both hidden dissent and hidden assent, but not for any particular reason other than who managed to get to some issue or another and who was busy with what.

  13. MatthewL says

    You are all such conformists in your nonconformity. Marching in lockstep against marching in lockstep. Your tolerance of divergent viewpoints is extremism in the intolerance of intolerance. It’s the FTB tribalism of anti-bigot bigotry.

  14. Timid Atheist says

    Is Olympia Snowe your only example? She’s retiring, so sadly, what very little difference she has made will be erased by whomever takes her place.

    And I’m sorry, but she’s supporting Mitt Romney. Not exactly something I can get behind.

  15. says

    John, you come to a post that excerpts my provisional acceptance of a Republican operative in the SCA executive director position, and you whine that there’s no room for a sometimes Republican voter? Child, if you’re looking for martyrdom, couldn’t you at least have been smart enough to find a better venue?

  16. Timid Atheist says

    You are all such conformists in your nonconformity. Marching in lockstep against marching in lockstep. Your tolerance of divergent viewpoints is extremism in the intolerance of intolerance. It’s the FTB tribalism of anti-bigot bigotry.

    So let me get this straight. People on FTB are against bigots? and that’s bad how?

  17. says

    People on FTB are against bigots? and that’s bad how?

    Because we’re UNIFORMLY against bigotry! If we were REALLY Free Thought Blogs, we’d have a Christian Republican homophobe who hates women and calls Jewish people “kikes” as a matter of course!

  18. says

    Greg: yeah, pretty much exactly. On this issue, I don’t really have a strong opinion. I’m provisionally optimistic that she’ll do her job well, but I think people are right to be suspicious, given that whole pattern recognition thing I keep mentioning.

  19. Timid Atheist says

    Can I just say that I love you all? I really am much better off mentally if I can see other people making fun of such stupidity. It makes me less angry on the inside and more optimistic for the future. Hell, maybe someday I can even come out of the proverbial closet.

  20. says

    @Laden

    So there is probably both hidden dissent and hidden assent…

    There definitely is. (Uh, I mean, “Yes, master. Whatever you say, master.”) Particularly the hidden dissent angle. Sometimes other people do a good enough job of dissenting so others don’t feel they have to. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it or isn’t any of one’s business to step in to an argument going on between other people. There is also the whole let trolls be by themselves perspective and so much more.

  21. bubba707 says

    As I’ve said elsewhere there is much to learn from Rogers and her connections can be invaluable. Yes, there is some risk in hiring her but there can also be benefits. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for now, but will be watching.

  22. MatthewL says

    @TimidAtheist #23

    It was just an experiment in piling on the oxymorons. (You know, the ones that can’t put who can’t put three words together without contradicting themselves.) Sorry if you misunderstood.

    As for me, I am for tolerance of all viewpoints, except intolerant ones. I am also very much bigoted against bigotry.

  23. says

    Great – so John D says “I am amazed at this place. It is so full of vitriol. Rogers has been called a “typical right-wing political hackefucke slime” by one blogger and a “cunt” by one of the commenters.” – and then it is found that that was on a completely different site, nothing to do with “this place” at all – and he doesn’t even bother to say “sorry, my mistake”?

    Classy.

  24. MatthewL says

    @ John D #15

    Is there no room for someone who votes Republican from time to time and wants to try to get Republicans to move to a more secular agenda? The anti-Republican hatred is hard to explain.

    The problem is that any Republican who shows sympathy for secularism will be declared a RINO, lose the support of the party and probably face a tough primary fight in their next election. Hell, Nixon was a liberal by the current standards. The anti-republican sentiment here is not hard to understand when they heartily endorse radical religious positions and fail to condemn outrageous lies (Fox news etc) and threats of violence (Ted Nugent etc).

    I suspect that you and I have a fair amount in common politically, but I cannot in any way support a party that is so driven by radical extremists with fascist tendencies. If the Democratic Party were being driven by a radical communist (ie Stalinist, Maoist) faction with a platform of nationalizing industry and economic central planning I would oppose them just as strongly.

  25. says

    Luckily you have a benevolent deity looking out for you.

    It’s like this: <blockquote cite=”http://url”>stuff to quote</blockquote>

    The cite=”http://url” is optional.

  26. BradY says

    Hm, what does Physioproffe have against pigs anyway? They’re cute loving animals, there is no need to insult them so.

  27. says

    MatthewL #33:

    Hell, Nixon was a liberal by the current standards.

    Nixon? You’re only going to use Nixon?! Reagan was a liberal by the current standards. Fuck, Obama and Clinton are both further right than Reagan, they’re just somewhat left-leaning on social issues.

    John D #15:

    Is there no room for someone who votes Republican from time to time

    I don’t understand how someone who only votes Republican “from time to time” can be so disproportionately obsessed with how (they claim) the Republicans are being treated by their opponents. Would you mind explaining how your implied claim to political independence is congruent with your overwhelming focus on how the Republicans are treated by their critics?

  28. MatthewL says

    Setar #37

    Nixon? You’re only going to use Nixon?! Reagan was a liberal by the current standards. Fuck, Obama and Clinton are both further right than Reagan, they’re just somewhat left-leaning on social issues.

    Reagan always seemed like an empty vessel to me. His positions were whatever was in the script. The scripts have just gotten steadily more extreme in the Republican puppet show. For all his flaws Nixon struck me as a man with actual convictions.

  29. F says

    There are always Deep Rifts™ in the groupthink of the FTB community. Such is the way of things.

  30. Art says

    First, is it group-think or simply the best answer? If I ask what the answer is to 2+2=x I think most people would come up with 4. This is, I will assume, is not because we are all brainwashed.

    Second, her past shows that she is a sophist, willing to argue either, most any side, if paid to do so. Most lawyers are sophists. Sophists are potentially treacherous because you never really know their feelings or intentions. Of course most people mask their true feelings and intentions. Many so well they, themselves, don’t know. At least with a lawyer or dedicated sophist there are good odds they at least are self-aware enough to know where they really stand.

    Third, one of the strengths of the GOP is that it is okay with sophists. Newt talks family values and get away with it while screwing over his ex-wife because he is a party functionary and he makes money playing a part.

    The individual is expected to play the part given them and say the lines as written. Even if it conflicts with your personal beliefs. Republicans have never had a major problem with anyone being a hypocrite or liars, as long as they are party-line Republicans and loyal to the party.

    Do the people at FtB want to emulate this? It has up sides and it has down.

  31. John Horstman says

    Es terrible la uniformidad de los sentimientos que expresan los bloggers aquí. Como mínimo deban emplear otras lenguas o alfabetos, ¿no? Y las comentaristas nunca les dan objeciones. Todos nosotros marchamos iguales.

    Speak you any French, Jason? You could buck the trend! :-P

  32. says

    Without commenting on the correctness of the decision itself, SCA’s decision to hire Edwina Rogers obviously shows that the people invited to blog at FreethoughtBlogs have an uniformed type of groupthink, at least in this case. Or, are all atheists supposed to agree on this? At least one atheist organization disagrees, and yet their voices are not to be found here. Why is that?

  33. John Morales says

    John W. Loftus:

    [1] Without commenting on the correctness of the decision itself, [2] SCA’s decision to hire Edwina Rogers obviously shows that the people invited to blog at FreethoughtBlogs have an uniformed type of groupthink, at least in this case. [3] Or, are all atheists supposed to agree on this? [4] At least one atheist organization disagrees, and yet their voices are not to be found here. [5] Why is that?

    1. Your withholding of your opinion is duly noted.

    2. This is a claim for which you adduce no basis.

    (Are you being sarcastic? You also have adduced no basis for such sarcasm)

    3. This reads like you’d proposed a disjunct to which it refers.

    (There is none such)

    4. Loath though you seem to be to care to name names, of what relevance is this?

    5. Perhaps because, unlike you, they have declined to comment here?

    (Why not ask them, rather than Jason?)

  34. says

    John,

    Wikipedia defines groupthink as follows:

    Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people. It is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints. Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, structural faults, and situational context play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.

    I can tell you that doesn’t describe my thought process on Edwina Rogers at all. I don’t give a shit about harmony among the FtBers. Some of my most popular posts of all time were my recent posts taking issue with the things Richard said about Bart Ehrman’s new book, and I did not hold back in those posts.

    My views on Edwina Rogers are in part an effect of the fact that I’m part of FtB, but only in the sense that it meant I read more of what my fellow FtBers had to say about the situation, so they had more of a chance to persuade me. But if I didn’t think their arguments were good I would have said so.

  35. says

    Sorry, I’m really having trouble parsing what you’re saying, Loftus. Like John Morales just pointed out, it really sounds like you’ve smashed together a few disjointed thoughts. If you’ve done so because you’re still holding a grudge against Freethought Blogs because a few commenters were mean to you and didn’t recognize your superior credentials, you should know that it was probably because you’ve been unclear in exactly this way.

    And doing so on a post that shows that the reactions even across Freethought Blogs is widely varied — between cautious optimism and unbridled vitriol, as I showed in the blockquotes — is rather amusing, but not much more telling than that.

    Anyway, if you ask a dozen people what color the sky is, and they answer “blue”, is that groupthink?

  36. says

    John, have you read Greta’s interviews with Edwina Rogers and Roy Speckhardt? Or are you telling us there is some atheist group other than the Secular Coalition whose views aren’t represented at FtB? If so, why would that group’s views (a) be known to anyone here, (b) be relevant to the question, and (c) be something anyone here would have an obligation to bring to the attention of all?

  37. says

    SCA’s decision to hire Edwina Rogers obviously shows that the people invited to blog at FreethoughtBlogs have an uniformed type of groupthink, at least in this case.

    Really? It does? So…the SCA decided to hire Rogers because of the groupthink of people invited to blog at FreethoughtBlogs? Is that why the decision shows that?

    I’m surprised, but deeply flattered. I had no idea we were that important.

  38. says

    Funny, for a group that supposedly thinks in lockstep with one another, we sure have a lot of disagreements, both privately and publicly. Maryam Namazie and I have battled over attempts to stop Sharia law. PZ and I have argued over so many things over the years, and sometimes so vocally, that our readers thought we hated one another. One of Taslima Nasrin’s first posts got strongly criticized by a number of other bloggers here. And the initial reaction to the hiring of Edwina Rogers ranged from immediate outrage to optimism. I was one of the optimists, who thought initially that she might be a good choice. After seeing the disingenuous way she responded to the concerns about her hiring, including in an hour long interview I did with her myself, my view became decidedly more negative. But yeah, it’s all about groupthink. Everyone here is incapable of thinking for themselves and never mind the evidence that disproves that claim. Holding a grudge is clearly more important than being rational.

  39. says

    Perhaps I am Ed. I just see FtBloggers personally attack so many atheists with several co-ordinated posts it was something I expected when I visited this link. I followed a link here and didn’t read it thoroughly, thinking the summary told the whole story. Sorry.

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