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The curious case of a man named James who thinks the secular community should be in bloody civil war

A few nights ago, a post hit my moderation queue on movement cohesion, wherein I speculate that there is no single unified movement, and that as long as the introduction of other values into particular communities continues, “rifts” will only solidify where people have fewer common traits. In my post I further fretted regarding the requests frequently made of feminists, anti-racist activists, gays and trans folk, to swallow their other causes; to put their causes outside of atheism aside in order to cohabitate in a “big tent” with anti-feminists and anti-social-justice folks — who are themselves never asked to stop with their targeted harassment, their bullying, their hate speech.

Richard Dawkins and Ophelia Benson just released a joint statement that amounts to a request of our communities: stop doing all of that. Included in that request is a statement by Dawkins that he does not, even tacitly, support the people engaging in such tactics.

I’m certain that James In The West, who left this lengthy screed on my earlier post, has since seen Dawkins’ statement and wishes he could recant on his strange fan-fiction.

The first post begins thusly:

“The surest way to earn my enmity, my directed criticism, is to ask us to stop other fights so we can pretend we’re all one big happy big-tent family.” Not in blockquotes in original, not attributed to my OP — Jason

Whatever shall I do? An obscure, balding, Canadian white man might get angry if I tell him he’s wrong on all accounts. I’m shaken to my very core, truly.

Wait, what? I’m BALDING? Oh shit, I AM! Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was balding, so I could stop talking about things on the internet! Without my hair, I have no gravitas, no authority, no reason or rationality! I am Samson unmade!!

You and your brand of feminism have done little more than implode a once formidable and unified front of skeptics who were starting to turn the tide in favor of rationalism/atheism/skepticism. Because it’s just a shame that older white men like Dawkins and Hitchens were the ones saying it and not Thibeault, Watson, Myers and Partners, Firm for Feminism and Social Justice? It’s so unfair that paranoid, underachieving, and overly hysterical bloggers don’t get the respect that intelligent hard-workers get.

No, it’s really unfair that the people who are being elevated to the upper echelons of atheist celebrity need only take exactly one path to such victory: attack those damned uppity feminists and put them in their place. Jaclyn Glenn was my poster child for that fact, and she was probably given such high priority because she was also a woman, lending you antifeminists some legitimacy.

The fighting is not at all necessary; your faction is more akin to the South seceding from the Union, declaring war, and then forever whining about losing and the following period of Reconstruction. Yes, I am comparing you to the pro-slavery antebellum South in the hope that I make it clear that your faction is a group the rest of us are forced to admit is a part of the larger Union even if we would rather you’d just secede and shrivel up.

Yes, wanting the right to own slaves is identical to wanting the end of harassment of women just for being women. I can see how you’d pair up social justice warriors with pro-slavery. Makes totes sense. And in this case, if they want to secede, the natural impulse is, of course, to kill a whole lot of them and tell them they’re not allowed. I can see why you’re so upset that we want to leave, and that you want so desperately to launch a civil war to bring us back into the fold.

You see, the South has always been unfathomably butthurt about losing the Civil War, despite starting it on all accounts while blaming the North for the entire fiasco. Likewise, FtB tools are just flabbergasted and outraged (outraged I tell you) that people could disagree, and express their disagreement and declare which side they’re on. Protip: being hostile, inflammatory, confrontational, and otherwise useless will get you exactly the division you demanded.

So… why do you and your ilk keep coming at us, keep venturing into our spaces to leave screeds like this? When’s the last time a Freethought Blogger posted on the slimepit? Seriously. Your actions belie your real desires, to keep us in the movement and keep us in check.

Thibeault says:

“Heads of orgs like American Atheists, in full-throated promotion of people like Jaclyn Glenn — especially those videos that attack movement feminists for being too firebrandey and poisoning movement atheism with all their “social justice warrior” stuff — they’ve evidently chosen sides. Let’s not mistake that there are, in fact, sides to choose in what amounts to a fundamental division between feminists and antifeminists within atheism. AA has chosen, expressly, the side of the antifeminists, and they’ve framed the issue such that the antifeminists are the ones demanding we stop talking about feminist ideas and the toxic anti-woman environment that these antifeminists inculcate in our movement.”

Before the lot of you decided that atheism must be co-opted to talk about your feelings, general hysteria and post-modernist trite, New Atheism was about turning the tide back against religion. Religion of course is largely responsible for the oppression of LGBT people, women, ethnic minority groups and virtually all marginalized groups throughout history. And who actually started the in-fighting that dissolved the serious movement? Arguably, it’s dubious as to exactly who and what event started it all. But what didn’t start it was a backlash against modern feminism. I can say that with certainty because a backlash is a response to a something else.

Because “maybe people should stop photoshopping women in the movement as sex objects drenched in cum” is talking about your feelings. Occasionally the question comes up of “why aren’t there more women in the movement”, and one side says “feminists make the spaces look unsafe”, when the feminists are actually saying things like “maybe people should stop threatening to rape others, or saying they hope they drown in rape semen, or talking about how ugly they are and how they wouldn’t even be able to rape them anyway as though their appearance is even bloody relevant”. And then they document these incidents, and they point them out, and they never cease pointing it out because it happens every day, and it becomes a bloody shame that people simply will not measure any opprobrium for these actions whatsoever.

So, sure, if all of that is “talking about their feelings”, then yes, we’re talking about our feelings. Our feelings about how just because you’ve left religion, you’re doing sweet fuck-all to actually try to make your spaces inclusive to women, to LGBT folks, to ethnic minorities, any time you complain that these people are just “talking about their feelings.”

In fact, atheists were getting along fine until certain parties within gathered and decided that everyone else either agreed with their narrow gender politics and claims of harassment/mass oppression/rape apology, OR no one got to have a unified front to push back the primary driving force behind most of actual social injustice. Go figure: the group whining the loudest about injustice actually ensures the stagnation and dissolution of a movement opposing exactly what they were whining about in the first place. And then you throw a fit when it doesn’t work out and the majority isn’t interested in dropping everything to hang on to your every proclamation. Who would have imagined something so ironic?

Social injustice comes from religion. Delete religion, everything else falls into place. Yup, that totally explains why there’s division between oppressed underclasses and atheist douchebros who, because of the religious privilege axis they find themselves personally disadvantaged on, demand that all atheists talk only and solely about atheism to the exclusion of all other axes of privilege on which they’re oppressed.

We “social justice warriors” do not denigrate straight, white, cis hetero males, many of whom laid the foundation of this “movement”, simply for being those things. We wish those people — and I’m one, you forget! — would take more care to recognize that their perspectives, being the expected default in society, are not de facto more important or more rational or more insightful than perspectives by people who do not share those traits. Queer black women have markedly different life experiences than we do, and by being INclusive instead of EXclusive of their perspectives, we all learn something — but these people also get expressly shut down by those who think white dudes made it to the top because there’s a pure meritocracy in a vacuum at play here.

Most of your post up until now was a total misread of the lay of the land. It was the secular community through a lens that, frankly, elides all the immoral actions by all the people who AREN’T the ones pointing those immoral actions out. It’s the “Shit Reddit Says is a horrible place” argument — that holding up a mirror to the bullshit that people are capable of is somehow worse than allowing that bullshit to continue unabated.

And then you had to pull this nonsense out. This delusional wish-fulfillment where you imagine a bloody civil war between your own heroes, and the people that you think are the representatives of our side of the moral divide.

To conclude, the outcome of the conflict you started (along the civil war theme) is as follows:

We (the Union) will inevitably stamp out the scourge that is the FtB fanaticism (that’s you, the South) when basically all of the relevant groups see the light of reason and leave you by the way-side. General William T. F00t’s scorched earth campaign has pretty much decimated your resources and left no idiot standing. General Ulysses S. Mykeru has either entirely defeated or cornered your leaders here while your stronghold of Atheism+ forums is all but deserted. Eventually, General Mykeru will capture your president Peezey, force him to surrender unconditionally, and then proceed to eat Generals Brayton, Watson, and Benson alive. General F00t will ensure Secretary of State J. Glenn and Chief Justice TJ Kincaid oversee movement Reconstruction, whilst F00t takes his place as Secretary of Education in President Dawkins’ Cabinet. President Dawkins’ cabinet is by far the most outstanding, and includes the noted Vice President Abbie Smith, Attorney General D.P.R. Jones, Secretary of Defense Sam Harris, and the famed Secretary of the Treasury Neil deGrasse Tyson. Your president Peezey will be sentenced to hard labor in Karen Straughan’s service; General Svan will be sentenced to a diet. You and the rest of your confederates will be expelled into Utah, the pit of Mormon, as punishment for your warmongering. May those crazy bike-riding, creepy, thieving missionaries have mercy on your souls.

I can’t even begin to underscore how ridiculous it sounds that you think President Richard Dawkins will fight arm-in-arm with Vice President Abbie Smith, Thunderfoot, Mykeru, TJ Kincaid, Jaclyn Glenn, DPR Jones, Sam Harris, Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What), and NEIL deGRASSE FUCKING TYSON, against the scourge of the pro-social-justice South, as represented by PZ Myers as some sort of president-figure, along with Ed Brayton, Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, and other Freethought Bloggers left unnamed.

Meanwhile, you sentence PZ to hard labor, Stephanie Zvan to a DIET (I figured out who you were talking about because you Pitters seem to think she’s fat and none of you can actually spell her name), and the rest of us are exiled to Utah, which is actually a part of the country you’re talking about. That, by the way, therefore indicates you want us under your service and under your thumb and controlled, as opposed to “exiled”.

Meanwhile, all we want is for you to do your thing, and us to do ours. None of us make Top Trumps cards of your “side” of the rift, of your foot soldiers who think Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson are on your side. None of us photoshop you into compromising positions with animals, or as blimps crashing like the Hindenberg. None of us threaten to rape you, or make up fake parody accounts of you designed to trick bystanders into thinking they’re “official” accounts for things like conferences, or make up ‘nym after ‘nym in years-long campaigns to keep throwing our names into your face, to keep reminding you that we loathe you ever so much. We don’t so much as visit your sites except when you get really riled up, and we can tell it eats at you, because all you can talk about and think about is how to overthrow us from our positions as… bloggers and convention panelists. (Protip: be a better blogger and convention panelist. Get the gigs. Write a book. Navigate the waters of society and try to make it better, rather than objectively worse for teh lulz.)

We just keep advocating for the things we believe in, we hold people to account when they do things that are contra those beliefs, and that’s enough to earn your enmity and focus and, well, fan-fictions. Fan-fictions about staging a bloody war against us, KILLING PEOPLE to get to us, then putting us under your thumb.

It’s laughable at best, risible at worst, damn tiring, and destructive of any hope of the word “atheist” meaning anything outside of “entitled douchebag who harasses people online” in the long run. It undercuts what you’re trying to do by bringing atheism as a viable alternative to religion to people who desperately need such an alternative. It undercuts the very phrase “good without god” when you have such a selfish and provincial view of what the word “good” even means.

But those of you who saw the first post didn’t see the follow-up yet, which I’ll be glad to include in its entirety now. It’s mostly reply to things said in the comments in the post where James left his fan-fiction. I’m not going to fisk this one, because it’s just more doubling down. But read to the end, there’s a little bonus I included after the blockquote.

I should warn you first, though, that he reminds us all that I’m bald, and therefore my words have no import.

Thibeault, hence forth renamed Obscure-Balding-Canadian: Didn’t you get the bit I said that we would rather you secede and go elsewhere? I’m not sure you caught my meaning but basically we don’t want you in the group. Not the other way around. Also, we don’t imagine killing any of you. We just want to mock you clean off the face of the earth. And of course Dr. Tyson will be on our side: do you really think a highly accomplished scientist who happens to be black wants to participate in a circle jerk discussion of who is the most oppressed? From the video posted by General Svan’s house-husband, he seems more concerned with actually creating opportunity than whining about how it isn’t there.

Sgt Ooze: Lulz had by all at your unfortunate TV shot. No, unfortunately I will not condense my point. I like thorough and elaborate statements. It is not my problem if your level of reading comprehension is subpar. If you want to read like a grownup, you have to practice. Sure, my argument could be used against me. By idiots. Idiots who don’t understand what blatant satire/humor/sarcasm is (i.e. Obscure-Balding-Canadian). If you ignore the fact that the FtB & Atheism+[stupidity] factions demanded that New Atheism be co-opted for social justice, you can certainly argue backlash against feminism (or antifeminism) divided the movement and ostracized all those innocent, well-meaning and politically correct SJWs (which apparently includes a truckload of sheltered pasty-white boys). Also, you have to redefine the word backlash, but that’s only a minor inconvenience. Also, sidenote: your ponytail does not at all accentuate pre-existing creepiness and slimy appearance.

For OBC and Sgt Ooze both: I have no issue with criticism against myself or the people I look up to and admire. I do take issue with underachieving whiners undermining efforts to do right by all. As in whiners telling Dawkins to fuck off elsewhere because he’s a “privileged cis-white-straight-older-wealthy man”. If you want to tell him to fuck off, tell him to fuck off because he’s no longer helping people. As it is, he is still helping people (of all categories). Not to mention, you owe him for making atheism formidable at all. He did take the time to research and debunk much of the overwhelming tide charlatanry, as did the other so-called Horsemen and one Horsewoman. They actually accomplished things while the pair of you had your thumbs up your asses. Hence, Horsemen/Horsewomen = leaders; FtB/A+ PC fascists = whiners and perpetual losers. If you’re like me, and you listened to the leaders, you got the inspiration to go study science, earn degrees, and continually work for greater education so that later you can accomplish much more in life than a reputation for whining enshrined as an interwebs blog.

Resident Idiot-Savant: Actually I don’t really feel the need to respond to you, I just wanted to call you an idiot-savant. Carry on.

Creepy Uncle: The piece was satirical. So lulz were in fact had while zero fucks were given.

You all seem to be laboring under the delusion that the rest of us hate women and want to suppress the rights of others. You’d be mistaken if that’s the case. We don’t hate woman, or LGBT people, or people who aren’t white. We want all to be equal and protected under the eyes of the law. We believe the best way to an equal society is to overthrow religious zealots and reclaim secular government. We don’t like you particular idiots because you continually get in the way, cut down anyone who tries to do anything without first paying homage to Confederacy President Peezey, and generally ruin everything. You’re sort of like our own little fundamentalist faction. You make us look bad. We don’t care that you do subscribe to rather dogmatic social politics, we just don’t think we all should be made to subscribe to them. All we really want is for you to stop doing it under the guise of atheism. So in that spirit, please fuck off elsewhere, and stop ruining atheism and virtually anything you lay hands on.

Nobody wants you to swear fealty to anyone, least of whom PZ — you do realize it’s possible to disagree with someone without also considering them Enemy of the State, capable of Grand Treason against your President Dawkins, right?. Nobody is laboring under a delusion that the rest of you “hate women”, unless you are using a really terrible dictionary’s definition of “misogynist”, which actually means that you’re doing things to undercut those classes whether you realize it or not. You’re propping up social structures that disadvantage people, and when we point that out, you’re getting huffy that you’d never hurt those people intentionally even while you bulwark those same social structures. You’re refusing to examine your own ideas about society.

The bonus I promised is this:

I would like to point out that elsewhere on the site, James In The West is arguing vehemently that one must not say anything derogatory about the people you’re criticizing.

And you’re free, James, to keep doing so, to keep being a total hypocrite in places where you think you can argue out of both sides of your mouth at the same time, where you argue for equality while fighting those who point out inequality, while you argue for civility while you imagine a bloody civil war where we’re obviously the bad guys and fair game for insults and punishment, and your personal heroes are the good guys whom you project as being on-board with your personal morality which is as fluid and subjective as any theists’.

I just don’t know why you must needs do it HERE.

Oh right, never mind, I just remembered — it’s because you hate it so much that we want to leave you behind as atavistic examples of poor reasoning and total lack of ethical compass, and we dare to do it while not abandoning “your movement”, atheism, to you. Basically, you’ve defined being an atheist as “caring about movement atheism and never talking about any other movement”, and that’s not really a definition I can get behind. Because under that definition, you get to rule, and you get to put us to work in Girl Writes What’s salt mines or whatever.

Sorry cupcake, you don’t get to make being in “your” movement a condition of being an atheist, and you don’t get to decide what else that means we care about, talk about, or advocate for or against. You don’t get to claim the “atheist” brand all to yourself and grant us papal dispensation to talk about our other causes on the sole condition that we get out of your movement. And you don’t get to deny us the right to self-identify and coalesce around shared ideals with other like-minded individuals, nor to deny us the right to call ourselves atheists, nor do you get to pretend that our goals are to convert YOU when really we’d rather you just leave us the hell alone. You simply don’t have that kind of pull.

But I know you think some of your heroes do — perhaps petition Dawkins and Tyson. See what they think!

Comments

  1. Stacy says

    James’s rational sounds like an abusive spouse’s: Everything was fine until you made me hit you! Stop making me hit you!

    I would like to point out that elsewhere on the site, James In The West is arguing vehemently that one must not say anything derogatory about the people you’re criticizing.

    And Voltaire’s prayer is answered, once again. :D

  2. tuibguy says

    Hi, James, if you are reading this and I am sure that you will because you seem like an incredible egotist who is going to follow-up on your follow-up. I don’t know anything about you other than what I read here in this post, so forgive me if I mischaracterize you a bit in this comment.

    I think you are confused person. Your headed is clouded up and you have left rational thought behind. The problem seems to be illustrated in a recent study indicating that for people who hold strong positions on a subject, contravening evidence, rather than leading you to re-examine your positions, leads you to strengthen your irrational opinions.

    So, listen to me, and repeat the following; it will make you feel better. I promise.

    It’s not your fault. You can’t help it. Say it “It’s not my fault. I can’t help it.”

    “I chose sides early, based on misconstrued and mangled reports on what was written by feminist atheists four years ago, and found fora and blogs which reinforced my belief that anything which the feminists had to write had to be controlling bullshit and now I riding the tiger and I can’t get off without looking bad in front of the Guys who would think I am weak and call me names and think I am a traitor. So no matter what Jason or anyone at FtB writes, tweets or puts in a video, I am going to stand my ground and there is no backing down at this point.”

    Recognzing that you have a problem is the first step towards a cure. Take that courageous step, James, if you can find it within yourself.

  3. Pen says

    I wonder how many of you non-Brits and non-parents know Horrid Henry? He’s a hilariously unpleasant child who does things like ban girls (eeeww) from his Purple Hand Club but occasionally lets his younger brother join in under the most abusive terms, when he sees some advantage to himself. He’s an amoral Machiavellian 8 year old with quite an imagination, and James really sounds a whole lot like him.

  4. says

    James,

    here’s a transcript of a very well-known pronouncement by one of your heroes, who was speaking with Richard Dawkins and Victor Stenger at a Centre for Inquiry conference: Source, with video

    Questioner: “Um, the Larry Summers question, ‘what’s up with chicks and science’?”
    [laughter]
    Moderator: “Slightly off topic, nonetheless interesting; it’s science education… does anyone want to field, maybe if there are genetic differences between men and women that explain why more men are in science? [Does] anyone want to touch that?”
    Neil deGrasse Tyson:
    I’ve never been female.
    [laughter]
    But I have been black my whole life, and, so, let me perhaps offer some insight from that perspective, because there are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community as well as in the community of women, in a male… white male dominated society, and I’ll be brief, ’cause I want to try to get more questions.
    When I look at, throughout my life, I’ve noticed that I’ve wanted to do astrophysics since I was nine years old, my first visit to the Hayden Planetarium. (I was a little younger than Victor at the time, although he did it before I did.) And so I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expression of these ambitions, and all I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist, was, hands down, the path of most resistance through the forces of nature, the forces of society. Any time I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you want to be an athlete? Oh, don’t you want to’— I wanted to become something that was outside of the paradigms of expectation of the people in power. And so, fortunately my depth of interest in the universe was so deep, and so fuel-enriched, that every one of these curveballs that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just leaped for more fuel and I kept going.
    Now here I am, one, I think, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I want to look behind me, and say ‘where are the others who might have been this?’ and they’re not there, and I wonder, how, who, what is the blood on the tracks that I happened to survive that others did not, simply because of the forces of society that prevented, at every turn, at every turn, to the point where I have security guards following me as I go through department stores, presuming that I’m a thief.
    I walked out of a store one time, and the alarm went off, and, so they came running to me. I walked through the gate at the same time a white male walked through the gate, and that guy just walked off with the stolen goods, knowing that they would stop me and not him. That’s an interesting sort of exploitation of this — what a scam that was! I think people should do that more often.
    [laughter]
    So my life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks in the sciences, you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today. So before we start talking about genetic differences, you’ve got to come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation.
    [huge round of applause]

    Even if the divisions in the atheist community were a battle (they aren’t), it really doesn’t sound like he’d be found fighting on your side. Just saying.

  5. says

    This is laughable:

    You see, the South has always been unfathomably butthurt about losing the Civil War, despite starting it on all accounts while blaming the North for the entire fiasco. Likewise, FtB tools are just flabbergasted and outraged (outraged I tell you) that people could disagree, and express their disagreement and declare which side they’re on. Protip: being hostile, inflammatory, confrontational, and otherwise useless will get you exactly the division you demanded.

    This fool doesn’t seem to realize that many of us are *GLAD* that the rifts have happened. From our perspective, we haven’t *lost* anything. The anti-feminists, the misogynists, the people opposed to social justice…? We’re glad they’re gone. We don’t want anything to do with them. They’re the ones whining about movement cohesion. I don’t want to be part of any movement with those fuckers. I’m glad they’ve openly declared what side they are. I wish they valued women, LGBTQ people, and People of Color more, but since they don’t-BUH BYE.
    This dude is totally projecting. As if we’re so sad to see the rifts continue to grow.

  6. trog69 says

    I’d only add that James seems to have a whole menagerie in his pockets. “We blahblahblah” That is a symptom I’ve noticed about far-right commenters for a long time. They seem to rally a whole caboodle of people standing around “hurrah”-ing his every word, as if he were merely relaying what they collectively wrote down for transcribing.

  7. says

    But I have been black my whole life, and, so, let me perhaps offer some insight from that perspective, because there are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community as well as in the community of women, in a male… white male dominated society

    Guess that makes Neil deGrasse Tyson a racist and a misandrist. Noticing that a certain kind of people is dominant in society and gets preferential treatment…

  8. opposablethumbs says

    Huh, that Neil deGrasse Tyson, being all successful and all, and yet somehow amazingly at the same time managing to not shit on people.

    Guess James should dump him from the Boys’ Own Brave Heroes pantheon.

    (thank you for the transcript, Xanthë, Amy of my threads, I actually hadn’t read it before and it’s always a pleasure to have one’s respect for someone like Tyson increased even more).

  9. resident_alien says

    *chuckle* idiot savant…I like that , actually.But then, unlike James, I know what that term actually means. Poor lamb.

  10. coffeehound says

    “General Svan will be sentenced to a diet.”
    Ah yes, in less than one sentence you’ve proven to me the mistaken impression I’ve had of your type and the error of my misbegotten ways.
    Fuckwit.
    Sincerely,
    Colonel Beauregard Thaddeus Deprieux, Macon County, 3rd Reg. ( I mean, seriously? ).

  11. Uncle Ebeneezer says

    All we really want is for you to stop doing it under the guise of atheism.

    Tough shit for you. Not gonna happen. You don’t own or define atheism.

    I assume “Creepy Uncle” is me. I’m only sad that I got no official military rank. PFC? Maybe a freed-slave who decided to join the Rebel Cause. Normally I wouldn’t be thrilled at symbolically representing the Confederacy, but at least we get those fancy slouch hats to cover our balding heads.

  12. smhll says

    Gee, I’m starting to think that “skeptic” is just a synonym for “contrary”. People who disagree with ‘feminist’ points that only zero point 1 percent of feminists would agree with, and then only if they are having a bad day. But matriarchy and Andrea Dworkin somehow have to be the real issues, the key indicators, the part of feminism that must be addressed.

    Sigh.

  13. jambonpomplemouse says

    When he starts in on the Civil War fantasies, complete with handing out jobs to all of the famous people he likes, I immediately picture this guy: http://youtu.be/SE2ouVnj_Ms?t=1m00s

    Mr In the West, if you’re reading this, do you also have a masters in raising hell?

  14. says

    I have a question that should be on the minds of anyone thinking that schisms are a bad thing. What is Religion?

    It seems to me that whatever religion is, it’s in the realm of human behavioral possibility. There seems to be this hidden assumption in James In The West’s bit of bullshittery that’s sticking in my brain like a splinter. Why should atheists be any different from the religious when it comes to social out-groups of any kind?

    The supernatural tales are just a means of manipulating the emotions and there are many means of emotional manipulation. The social forces stemming from the religious that we complain of exist for reasons, they are useful. Why should I believe that similar forces with differently flavored bullshit won’t exist among atheists?

    As far as I am concerned James In The West and their ilk is identical that that which I oppose among the religious. Religion IS real and while we are still working out the details it exists in the realm of social psychology and that will have evolutionary implications. That “united front” was always a fantasy because it took a little time to get to know the people with the atheist name tag. I always allow people to show me what they are regardless of chosen label, and I get to react accordingly.

  15. brucegorton says

    Wait, what? I’m BALDING? Oh shit, I AM! Why didn’t anyone tell me that I was balding, so I could stop talking about things on the internet! Without my hair, I have no gravitas, no authority, no reason or rationality! I am Samson unmade!!

    What, you didn’t know?

  16. culuriel says

    I believe James in the West really thinks that it’s impossible for secular/humanist/atheist men to be misogynists, and therefore feminists have no reason or right to call out anyone besides religious believers for misogyny. Look, James, when you grow up in a society that is still shaped by the misogyny of the society’s predominant religion, it means that atheists can and will have male privilege. Atheists, however, are supposed to be able to see that privilege for what it is, reject it, and make common cause with feminists challenging misogyny. James seems to think that since he’s rejected religion, he no longer benefits from male privilege, and so can’t possibly hate women. Here’s a clue: if you hate it when women insist on being treated like human beings and whole people, then you don’t like women very much, if at all. Same thing for racism and homophobia. The rift cannot possibly be big enough, in my opinion.

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