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Sep 04 2012

The anti-atheist+ boobs on Twitter

I had some fun yesterday poking a stick at the anti-atheist+ mob on twitter. It was actually revealing: it became increasingly obvious that the people who really, really hate atheism+ are authoritarians who simply cannot imagine an egalitarian movement — even when they are already part of one. There was so much projection going on I was wondering how such low-wattage bulbs could be pretentious enough to think they could cast light on anything.

But let me show you a few examples to illustrate what I mean. These are all quotes from people who were yammering at me; pseudonyms have been removed to protect the stupid.

Ah – but therein lies the problem – who is the official #atheismplus endorser / keeper of dogma? @Pzmyers?

Why are #atheismplus cardinals @pzmyers & Richard Carrier privileged old white men?

There was a lot of that: apparently, these people cannot relate unless there is a boss to talk to somewhere. They cannot comprehend an organization without a dictator, therefore atheism+ has a secret dictator somewhere. They cannot understand how an idea could be advanced without being treated as dogma, therefore atheism+ is dogma.

I have a surprise for them: I’m not a member of the Atheism+ forum. I am not a leader of this movement; I have no position in it at all. I like the idea and I’m happy to encourage people to explore it, and I’ve long been pushing ideas similar to what has coalesced as the atheism+ movement, but I’m not even remotely “in charge”. And that’s the way I like it.

I am deeply amused by the idiot who thought he could point out the hypocrisy of a movement that values diversity by announcing that two privileged old white men are in charge. We’re not. He could only make that claim by ignoring the fact that the person who triggered the whole process and has put in a lot of organizational effort was a privileged young white woman, Jen McCreight, and the person who has been promoting it most wonderfully is a privileged middle-aged white bisexual woman, Greta Christina.

And then there is this level of cluelessness.

#atheismplus is @pzmyers and @rebeccawatson egos personified.

As I’ve explained, I’m not a member of atheism+ and am not engaged as a leader in any way. Similarly, Rebecca Watson has expressed interest and sympathy with its goals, but is not on the bandwagon. But apparently, we are two great villains, so the people who hate atheism+ imagine that it must be a reflection of our desires. How pathetic.

Another theme that emerged is that, when I said there isn’t a person in charge of atheism+ telling you what to think, well then, it can’t work. Without an authority defining every last nuance, it’s going to fall into endless schism.

I’m pointing out that a label is meaningless if people have multiple interpretations of what it is.

How do you not understand that nobody deciding what Atheism+ is makes it meaningless?

If there’s no leadership/hierarchy, who decides what Atheism+ stands for?

Like, umm, the word “atheist”? There is a straightforward dictionary definition of that word, of course, but one thing you quickly discover if you actually interact with a lot of atheists is that the meaning in practice varies a lot. I have met atheists who believe in reincarnation; atheists who think Chopra is on to something with his ‘universal consciousness’ claims; atheists who are activists and atheists who just want to be left alone; angry anti-religion atheists and atheists who want to build a church of atheism; stupid atheists and smart atheists; philosophical atheists and pragmatic atheists. We’ve got Atheist Alliance and American Atheists and CFI and the American Humanist Association, all promoting atheism with subtle differences in emphasis.

Does that make atheism meaningless? Of course not. I’ve been telling people for years that there is a diverse world of atheism out there, with different causes and different consequences. And I’ve been against this contrary and irrational effort to pretend they’re all the same.

By the way, this very same person who is demanding a single, specific definition of every interpretation of atheism+ also said this:

Agreeing with people 100% is a hivemind. It’s not healthy. Disagreements are good.

Get that? It’s not healthy to have a “hivemind”, defined as a situation where people are in agreement on something. But atheism+ is bad because it tolerates multiple interpretations. I don’t know how his brain keeps from exploding.

This guy also has a problem:

They should certainly drop “#atheism” from the name because a+ implies telling us what to believe.

Somehow, he’s able to embrace “atheism” without this terrible crime of the label telling him what to believe, but stick a “+” on it, and suddenly it becomes a dictatorial imperative.

Do the atheism+ haters understand yet that it is entirely opt-in, that people join because they find its causes appealing? And that you don’t have to join? And that it just states a general emphasis on social justice issues, and isn’t going to micro-manage your life? No, they do not.

Possibility: “I’m an Atheist+” “Oh, which brand?” “Brand?” “Carrier’s? Jen’s? Dawkins? Dillahunty’s? Which?”

That was an amazing comment, so revealing. My answer: “Mine. Yours.” I really do not understand a mind that cannot imagine taking an idea for its own, but instead demanding that a charismatic leader tell him exactly what it means. Somebody has been thoroughly poisoned by religion, that’s for sure.

Here’s what atheism+ means, as defined on the official atheism+ page. This is about as specific as it’s going to get.

Atheism+ is a safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime.

You can see where it came from: it’s in part a reaction against the modern skepticism movement, which invests a lot of effort in putting up fences and telling you what you’re allowed to talk about under the umbrella of skepticism. It’s also a reaction to people shouting at atheists that they should shut up and stop talking about issues like sexual harassment, because it’s not important. So some people have stepped up and said, “We’re people who think social justice is important, and that secular thought has much to say about it. So we’re creating a space where like-minded people can talk freely about it.”

That’s it.

And the assholes creep out of the woodwork to find excuses to tell these people, indirectly, that applying critical thinking to social issues is bad. Oh, they can’t come right out and say that, of course, because that would make their stupidity obvious; so they invent bizarre excuses that it doesn’t have a pope, therefore it can’t work, or that it’s hypocritical because it made an old white man a cardinal, or that its a movement that is “divisive” — a favorite word in that crowd — as if their raging sexism and unconcern for broader social issues weren’t already divisive. And as if division weren’t a good thing — seriously, if an organization does not serve your interests, leave it or lobby it to do a better job. I left the church when I was 14; my atheism was “divisive”. Was that a bad thing?

Another theme of the day was the oppressive nature of atheism+. They’re going to have purges! I’ve heard this so many times, and I ask my usual question: who is going to purge you of what, and how are they going to do it? I mean, it’s not as if the atheist+ crowd has power over you or any aspect of your life, or that they’ve threatened to spray paint your property and shoot your dog. The first action Jen took was to set up a discussion board, not a standing army.

So, all you anti-atheist+ people, I challenge you: tell me what will happen to you if you don’t join atheism+? (Oh, and keep in mind that I haven’t ‘joined’ anything either; I’m more sympathetic than you are, but you won’t find my name on the atheism+ forum, yet.)

Here are the only answers that they came up with.

You don’t see it that way? The whole “Come to Atheism+ or we’ll leave you?” Carrier’s “Join us or we’ll never be friends?” Etc.?

Those evil atheist+ fanatics might unfriend you on facebook if you don’t join! Rarely has a tyranny had such awesome instruments of coercion. That’s really all we’ve got; we can decide you’re an asshole because you don’t share our values, and we can stop associating with you. Everyone does that. It’s not a special power, it is not the application of force.

And then they cite Jen:

From Jen McCreight: “Demand that your organizations and clubs evolve, or start your own if they refuse.” That’s a “must” attitude.

Yes, it is. If you want me to be part of your organization, it must reflect my interests; you could change to better address what I consider important, or I won’t join. That’s not a purge. That’s the nature of a voluntary association. What’s the alternative? “Jen, I’m sorry, we don’t think feminism matters and we really would like to gnaw on your leg, but you don’t get to leave our meetings.” That’s a totalitarian attitude, that you think you can tell us who are friends and associates must be, and that no one is allowed to reject an overture to pal up.

Are you that desperate to make Jen or Richard or me like you?

Conspiracy theorists showed up, too.

I’m surprised at how many people are trying to lie that it’s about a subset & not about taking over groups like JREF

Again, what are the mechanics of this? How does setting up a special interest group within atheism with a focus on humanist goals lead to the takeover of JREF? That makes no sense.

It’s like arguing that Doctors Without Borders has a secret agenda to take over the entire medical profession. Or that the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology is an evil scheme to take over IEEE.

This same guy also reflected the authoritarian theme of all the other opponents:

Listen up douchebag, U make UR wages off of people like me. Don’t tell US what to think, we tell U what to do. Got it?

Oh. Gosh. So because the state pays significantly less than half my salary so that I will perform a service, random jerk on the internet ‘owns’ me and has the right to order me to do his bidding. When did teachers become slaves?

You get the idea. I spent an hour arguing with really stupid people. But then, I’ve spent even more time arguing with creationists, so I’m used to it.

247 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Remember, atheism+ comes from FtB which is completely irrelevant to the atheist movement and also has the power to destroy or enslave all atheists everywhere. Hugely unpopular, capable of creating movement-destroying rifts.

    Both, at the same time. Makes perfect sense.

  2. 2
    Bernard Bumner

    Is Atheism+ complicated? A brand to ally one’s self with if you share a very simply-stated set of aims.

    I suppose the point would be that calling oneself atheist required little effort, no real aptitude for self-critique or restraint. Here though, apparently, even presenting an alternative label, another branding option, is equivalent to forcing some behavioural standard upon them.

    I don’t think that they realised that many of those behind A+ were already Atheists, plus… They simply named themselves anew.

  3. 3
    jflcroft

    It’s absolutely bizarre to watch this unfold. The sorts of criticisms A+ is getting from these trolls are pretty much exactly the same criticisms HCH has for a long time received, for saying many of the same things: you’re trying to take other other groups! You’re trying to tell other people what to think! It’s like a religion! It’s all about the ego of Jen/Greta/PZ/Greg Epstein! It’s a hive mind! Why are all your staff privileged?

    It seems like a subset of the community will strongly oppose any firm statement of values whatsoever.

  4. 4
    A Hermit

    But…but…but someone in PZ’s comments was mean to me once so FEMINAZIS!!!!!11!!!

  5. 5
    Zeno

    Next PZ will be accused of forcing people to agree that hiveminds are bad.

  6. 6
    hyperdeath

    If you don’t join the Atheism Plus forum, we’ll ban you from it!

  7. 7
    Sastra

    What’s the penalty for not being A+?

    You get an A-.

    Oooooo.

    You know, it really is possible to be dogmatically undogmatic — as we can see from looking at some of these complaints. They’re not all that dissimilar from complaints over why we (or anyone else) even has a label or term or symbol or any “ism” at all: rugged iconoclastic individualism. Don’t fence me in.

    As I see it, the specific issue here is all about categories and subsets of categories. It’s an attempt to be clear in description, not persuade. You can argue over whether the broadest category is skepticism, humanism, secular humanism, or atheism — and which goes under which — but A+ is clearly a subset of all 4. A subset is not a denial or attack on what it’s derived from. This whole argument is silly on multiple levels.

  8. 8
    Die Anyway

    When I first read about the A+ idea on Jen’s and Cuttlefish’s blogs I came away with exactly the idea that you’ve expressed so well PZ. And my opinion hasn’t changed. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why some have reacted so vitriolically. Nothing they have said has changed my support for the idea and everything they have said seems strawman-ish.

  9. 9
    Neil Rickert

    Well, thanks for a great laugh.

    No, I am not laughing at PZ. I am laughing at the same opinions that PZ is laughing at.

    I’m pointing out that a label is meaningless if people have multiple interpretations of what it is.
    How do you not understand that nobody deciding what Atheism+ is makes it meaningless?
    If there’s no leadership/hierarchy, who decides what Atheism+ stands for?

    Now that’s a great argument. To see how great it is, let’s try applying it to another institution:

    I’m pointing out that a label is meaningless if people have multiple interpretations of what it is.
    How do you not understand that nobody deciding what Science is, makes it meaningless?
    If there’s no leadership/hierarchy, who decides what Science stands for.

    Yes, that argument fits science just as well as it fits A+. And it is every bit as stupid for A+ as it is for science.

    For the record, I have not joined anything with “atheism+” in its name, and I probably won’t. However, I am sympathetic with their cause. I’m just not a “movement joiner” type of person.

  10. 10
    Sastra

    I’d agree with jflcroft at #3, if it didn’t violate the FtB Hivemind Mandate. Which does not exist. So I do.

  11. 11
    John Phillips, FCD

    Bernard Brummer, very much so, I have always been A+ or on the road to it, however imperfectly. It’s simply that previously I didn’t give it a label or thought I needed to. Sadly, the last year or so has disabused me of that notion.

    Additionally, as PZ notes, now that I think about it, (oh horror, hive mind :) ) many arguing against it on various ftb blogs do appear to be RWA types. There also appear to be a subset afraid of what A+ers or their supporters will think of them if they don’t ‘join’, while at the same time claiming that it is either not needed or is irrelevant and doomed to failure. The cognitive dissonance must really burn.

  12. 12
    bortedwards

    Ah. The human condition. The deep seated desire for a leader. Or a god. Ironic, no?

  13. 13
    goon

    Jesus, this Atheism+ -debate has to be one of the most pointless exercises in the internet’s history.

  14. 14
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    goon,

    Second only to people going out of their way to complain about pointless exercises, don’t you think? :)

  15. 15
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I was annoyed about this on Facebook and I’ll just copy the comments here (since it’s quicker than trying to remember everything:)

    I’m getting so sick and tired of this whole A+ thing. I mean seriously. It’s a good movement, and it’s a good idea. We’re atheists, we are for social justice. Why is this such a fucking hard thing for some people?

    Now I have to pussyfoot around become some jerkoffs can’t get it through their heads that “oh hey, it’s actually not bad” and because anything FTB does is bad so now if I say “oh yea, I like A+” I’m instantly branded as some kind of asshole…and my points are misrepresented and I’m just tired of it. I can’t win either way. If I’m for A+, I’m an asshole. If I don’t do anything related to it, then I’m ashamed. I’m not a secular humanist – I mean, I am, but I’m proud of being an atheist, and I’m proud of fighting for social justice. And somehow this is a BAD thing.

    I like the FTB community, but it’s poison to anyone who fights for social justice.

    It’s been over a year since the Elevator incident, and we can’t even mention social justice on FTB without someone getting all up in it and getting our points misrepresented. We’re hated everywhere except FTB, and even in places we’re not hated, they don’t care (Patheos, for example.)

    And every time I try to look at it a different way, read the words a different way, I can’t even remotely see where all the hate is coming from. I think “maybe we really ARE the bad guys” and I read all the comments and all the threads and I just can’t figure out where all the hate is coming from. A few bloggers are a bit brusque, fine, but is that so bad?

    There simply can’t be this many people who are misreading and misinterpreting what we’re saying and what we’re trying to do. I can’t wrap my mind around that at all. How can so many people simply agree with the slime pit? Does this all really just stem from the zero-tolerance on sexist language?

  16. 16
    sawells

    There’s probably a lot of overlap here with the people who think same-sex marriage can’t work, because they think The Husband Must Be In Charge, so two husbands or zero husbands is Unpossible. Now they look at A+ and think The Movement Must Have A Leader (With A Beard), ergo, it’s you, PZ.

  17. 17
    Louis

    I’ve been thinking about taking up knitting…

    Louis

  18. 18
    Raging Bee

    …it became increasingly obvious that the people who really, really hate atheism+ are authoritarians who simply cannot imagine an egalitarian movement — even when they are already part of one.

    Are they really part of the movement? Or are they Republicans doing their part for yet another PR campaign to divide and discredit their opponents?

    Seriously, it’s ridiculously easy to get a pseudonym, call yourself something in the Internet, and say whatever you want to say with laughably small chance of having any misrepresentations of your own life details exposed. It doesn’t take a huge nefarious Rube Goldberg conspiracy; just a bunch of hateful assholes repeating each other’s hatefulness to makethemselves feel good.

  19. 19
    Sastra

    You know, when I first glanced at the title of the post I thought PZ was informing us that Atheism+ had either changed its name or formed a faction called “Atheist+boobs” — maybe for women only?

    I was prepared to say I thought this a really bad idea. And puzzling, considering.

    Glad that was only a misread. Heh.

  20. 20
    John Phillips, FCD

    sawells, well duh, it’s got to be a penis in charge, those missing one are only good for sammiches and getting the beer. (/sarcasm, in case anyone misses it)

  21. 21
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, now I get it. They thought that all atheists must be under one umbrella, and they were going to control that umbrella with attitude, irrational ridicule, and sheer noise, as the slymepit contingent has been trying to do for months now. But then, with A+, most people are stepping away and saying “you can’t control me or my thinking”, leaving them alone in the dark.

    What I hear from them, reading between the lines, is “Wahhhhhh, my pee-pee is shrinking as I am ignored, and I don’t really like those who are left. Wahhhhhhh”

  22. 22
    Lofty

    “You A+ hogheads are stealing all of dem wimmins we used to practice leg chewing on, you meanies are doin us out of slobber targets!!!” or something like that. Really, godless people are supposed to fawn at Tfool’s feet, not think for themselves. /Bah

  23. 23
    René

    I happily identified as an atheist plus, avant la lettre. It seems a nice label, if it needed one, and it is easily understood, methinks.

    One thingy that annoys me a little: I strongly associate red+white+blue with American, British, Dutch nationalism. I’d rather see a green plus in the logo. By which we would extend the semiotics of green perhaps. (To me that seems agood thing, but it might upset the some environmentalists.)

  24. 24
    Sastra

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort #15 wrote:

    There simply can’t be this many people who are misreading and misinterpreting what we’re saying and what we’re trying to do. I can’t wrap my mind around that at all.

    It seems to me that there’s usually a lot of vitriol in the atheist community directed towards anything within it which looks or sounds like it’s a re-branding or re-working of religion or religious attitudes. Sometimes this complaint makes sense — and sometimes it doesn’t. I like to think this strong tendency towards self-criticism is, in the long run, healthy … and that the excesses will eventually be weeded out.

    But there’s probably more going on.

    Here’s a realistic possibility: it’s a misread due to history. In the past (and to some extent today) there have been feminists who argued for feminism using pseudoscience or even explicit anti-science. “Difference feminism,” postmodern relativism, and conspiracy theories (“Einstein’s wife came up with the ToR and that was suppressed!”) are all examples which had/have some traction — particularly among the so-called liberal intelligencia. So my guess is that some skeptical humanists who rightfully argued against this particular form of irrationality — or read about it — are over-suspicious due to conditioning. They’re automatically filling-in-the-blanks for something which to them sounds similar, based on their assumption that they’ve seen this all before and have the background for understanding it. Thus the straw-man building.

    Of course, there’s probably a lot of outright misogyny and jerk-hood involved, too.

  25. 25
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    Having always been atheist in a secular family, I haven’t experienced the transition from any religious world-views to an atheist one. One thing I’m pondering more is once you take the person out of the religion, how long for some people does it take the religion (some of the not overtly religious mindsets) out of the person? For example, the need for a leader or heroes that must not be challenged, the sexism, racism, need for stability even if it prevents questioning and growth within one’s community, etc.?

    Or how much is just human nature pure and simple? Some people tie a lot of their identity and self-esteem into a label or cause and to destabilize that is to shake their core sense of self/well-being. Is it possible that many people who left their community and identity of religion have just latched on to the atheist label and community and are still creating a stand-alone sense of self? If you came from a particularly oppressive religious community, was it hard for you to find a stable sense of individual self?

  26. 26
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    You don’t see it that way? The whole “Come to Atheism+ or we’ll leave you?” Carrier’s “Join us or we’ll never be friends?” Etc.?

    Here’s a clue: We*’ve been trying to leave you behind for a long time now. You followed us, grabbed onto our pantlegs and dragged along behind us, and are now running after our cars barking. Get the hint, please. We don’t want anything to do with you. You’re boring, tiresome, and unpleasant, and you have screwed up values.

    From Jen McCreight: “Demand that your organizations and clubs evolve, or start your own if they refuse.” That’s a “must” attitude.

    Funny – no uproar at the time of Jerry Coyne’s open letter to the NCSE, which Dawkins supported.

    I’m surprised at how many people are trying to lie that it’s about a subset & not about taking over groups like JREF

    They can go jump in a lake, too. Could not be less interested. (I am still curious about the TAM attendance numbers, though. The anti-feminist actions of their leadership during the year before the event don’t seem to have done them any favors, and the numbers being talked about at preregistration time suggested a significant decline in attendance. That no figure yet appears on the Wikipedia page and that they haven’t been boasting about high attendance or diversity themselves this year also seem to indicate a decline, but I could be mistaken – we can’t know unless they release the numbers as they did previously.)

    *I’m in the same category as PZ.

  27. 27
    Scr... Archivist

    This comment struck me as interesting:

    Why are #atheismplus cardinals @pzmyers & Richard Carrier privileged old white men?

    I wonder if that tweep assesses another person’s ideas by what demographic groups that other person belong to. I suspect it might be so. Someone who practices prejudice to that degree might have a difficult time wrapping his head around the fact that other people don’t operate that way.

    And beyond that, he seems to be flabbergasted that “privileged old white men” can choose to oppose the systems that reward them with unearned advantages. I wonder how much of the backlash to A+ comes from a sense of outrage at gender-treason.

    Besides that, how young do you have to be to think that Richard Carrier is old?

  28. 28
    jflcroft

    Katherine Lorraine, #15 says:

    I’m getting so sick and tired of this whole A+ thing. I mean seriously. It’s a good movement, and it’s a good idea. We’re atheists, we are for social justice. Why is this such a fucking hard thing for some people?

    Now I have to pussyfoot around become some jerkoffs can’t get it through their heads that “oh hey, it’s actually not bad” and because anything FTB does is bad so now if I say “oh yea, I like A+” I’m instantly branded as some kind of asshole…and my points are misrepresented and I’m just tired of it. I can’t win either way. If I’m for A+, I’m an asshole. If I don’t do anything related to it, then I’m ashamed. I’m not a secular humanist – I mean, I am, but I’m proud of being an atheist, and I’m proud of fighting for social justice. And somehow this is a BAD thing.

    I like the FTB community, but it’s poison to anyone who fights for social justice.

    It’s been over a year since the Elevator incident, and we can’t even mention social justice on FTB without someone getting all up in it and getting our points misrepresented. We’re hated everywhere except FTB, and even in places we’re not hated, they don’t care (Patheos, for example.)

    And every time I try to look at it a different way, read the words a different way, I can’t even remotely see where all the hate is coming from. I think “maybe we really ARE the bad guys” and I read all the comments and all the threads and I just can’t figure out where all the hate is coming from. A few bloggers are a bit brusque, fine, but is that so bad?

    There simply can’t be this many people who are misreading and misinterpreting what we’re saying and what we’re trying to do. I can’t wrap my mind around that at all. How can so many people simply agree with the slime pit? Does this all really just stem from the zero-tolerance on sexist language?

    Woah. I could’ve written that whole thing myself, just replacing references to A+ with references to HCH. This is…spooky.

  29. 29
    PZ Myers

    TAM attendance was about 1600 the year before, about 1200 this year. Don’t read too much into it, though: there were a lot of variables in play, like that comiccon was at the same time, they didn’t have any exceptional big names to act as a draw, etc.

    Also, the economy. TAM is an expensive conference to attend.

  30. 30
    bortedwards

    @scrutationaryarchivist
    You and you fancy dating techniques. We all know he is at least 6,000 years old

  31. 31
    Lou Doench

    Richard is old? Fuck, that means I’m old… ;(

  32. 32
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Here’s a clue: We*’ve been trying to leave you behind for a long time now. You followed us, grabbed onto our pantlegs and dragged along behind us, and are now running after our cars barking. Get the hint, please. We don’t want anything to do with you. You’re boring, tiresome, and unpleasant, and you have screwed up values.

    This, about a million times.

  33. 33
    rorschach

    More worrisome than what the shallow twonks PZ is routinely sparring with have to say about Atheism+ is what’s being uttered by supposedly intelligent people who were once respected within the movement, before they chose to side with slymepitters and disgraced vloggers.

    On the bright side, those tweets keep me entertained during my dinner breaks.

  34. 34
    georgelocke

    Surprise! Commenters on the internet are universally stupid. Hey, wait….

  35. 35
    a3kr0n

    Wildwoodclaire1 put up a video about A+ yesterday
    Gold Package

  36. 36
    ottod

    You’ve convinced me!

    How do I join? Is there an initiation fee? Are there dues? Do I have to take a test? Is there an interview. Do I get an I. D. card? Bumper sticker? Tee shirt? When are the meetings? Do we have to wear funny hats?

    Geez! Not much of an organization is it?

  37. 37
    skeptifem

    Are they really part of the movement? Or are they Republicans doing their part for yet another PR campaign to divide and discredit their opponents?

    I don’t think the problem is being conservative at all. There are very few things in contemporary american society that model the cooperative nature of atheism+ (assuming most of these people are americans, though the same is true of other western cultures). People grow up in authoritarian structures (nuclear family, schooling, working, etc) with very little exposure to anything else. Most people don’t even know how to play a game that isn’t competitive or directed by a leader, it is hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it before. It is understandable that people are discussing what they see and experience everywhere instead of what could exist instead.

    I had the same kind of questions when I encountered cooperative movements with voluntary association as a principle, or even when I heard leaders of political movements talk about what a load of shit it was to be declared a “leader” when everyone else in the movement did more to advance the cause. I could have gone my entire life without encountering such information. It is natural to feel confused by something that questions fundamental assumptions about the nature of society. I am positive that many people will learn a lot of important information from the exchanges on atheism+.

  38. 38
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The person probably has no idea how old Richard Carrier is (42), and is just making an assumption.

    TAM attendance was about 1600 the year before, about 1200 this year. Don’t read too much into it, though: there were a lot of variables in play, like that comiccon was at the same time, they didn’t have any exceptional big names to act as a draw, etc.

    Also, the economy. TAM is an expensive conference to attend.

    Hm. I still tend to attribute a good part of the decline to the alienating statements and actions of the leadership. The economy was bad last year, too, and they had a big jump in numbers (which continued a trend of growth over all previous years), so I don’t think that’s primary, but I’m sure several other factors were involved. I do believe this one was important, though. And the fact that they claimed responsibility for the increase in overall numbers and diversity last year* makes me more inclined to call attention to their probable role in this year’s decline; they can’t really have it both ways.

    *It’s a telling post to read in light of subsequent events. They’re very interested in conveying that, while they’ve increased diversity, they don’t really see that as their responsibility.

  39. 39
    crispysea

    “tell me what will happen to you if you don’t join atheism+?”

    It’s not the joining or not that’s the problem it’s the mere existence of Atheism+ that’s the problem.
    I don’t mean the existence of a social justice group, I mean the name.
    I have and will continue to promote all the ideals detailed in the atheist plus dogma, I am for social justice and equality, all down the line, and always have been.
    However, quite apart from the elitist stance taken by many A+ers the fact that atheism plus uses atheism is theproblem.
    We all have had conversations with theists, we all know they love obfuscation and diversion, the atheism+ name is going to add needless extra minutes to each conversation with theists. We already have levelled against us by idiot theists the accusation that atheism is a religion. Now that atheism plus is here we are going to have to spend debating time not arguing against the existence of their god but defending how we are different to a religion, an indefensible claim given that atheism plus has a set of criteria which the religious will happily use to divert the conversation.
    We are all volunteers giving our time for free to attempt to bring rationality to the world. Atheism+ will steal some, possibly more than some, of what time we can each provide, to explain how ‘we’ are not ‘just like a religion’.
    All those extra conversations could be avoided if only the name were changed to (eg) “Atheists for social justice”.
    I suspect that a great majority of atheists, as you’ve said above, already have leanings toward that social justice platform and would likely have no problem supporting it.
    The difference between those atheist organisations you mentions and atheism plus is the organisations name doesn’t diminish the ordinary atheism to a term for bigots, their names promote that atheists can be good. Atheism+ name carries the implication, however unintentionally, that only atheism+ers are ‘good’ atheists and all other atheists are ‘bad’. It is the name that is divisive.

  40. 40
    skeptifem

    We all have had conversations with theists, we all know they love obfuscation and diversion, the atheism+ name is going to add needless extra minutes to each conversation with theists.

    the alternative is what we have now, which is alienating to marginalized people. I am willing to tack on extra minutes of a conversation to achieve a great goal. Why is this a question for you in the first place? What are your priorities?

    Also, you keep saying that the name is the problem but then go on to criticize the tactic of forming such a group in the first place. Not sure what to think.

  41. 41
    Gregory in Seattle

    He could only make that claim by ignoring the fact that the person who triggered the whole process and has put in a lot of organizational effort was a privileged young white woman, Jen McCreight, and the person who has been promoting it most wonderfully is a privileged middle-aged white bisexual woman, Greta Christina.

    And therein lies the whole triggering issue with Atheism+: the denigration of women. The idea of combining atheism and social justice is growing so, obviously, there must be a male mind guiding it. Women are too busy being madonnas and whores to think, after all. Or something.

  42. 42
    rorschach

    However, quite apart from the elitist stance taken by many A+ers

    [citation needed]

  43. 43
    John Phillips, FCD

    And Atheists for social justice doesn’t imply that the other atheists are not for social justice? Considering that hardly a single theist I have debated about the term atheist has considered it a positive term, and this is in the less religious UK, the addition of the + sign isn’t likely to make a much less positive term.

  44. 44
    Ing

    After all this someone comming in and saying Doh you know how those theists love being obtuse” is frelling HILLARIOUS. Atheists please realize your shit does indeed stink

  45. 45
    birdterrifier

    I have to agree with @SC in that the economy doesn’t seem to be a contributing factor to the great loss in attendees (and a large loss in women attendees I think?). DJ’s questioning the women and others who were consistently writing and giving interviews about the misogyny problem at conferences (DJ was already seeing a drop in women registrants) seems to be a possible reason though I just can’t be certain. DJ seems to have turned in to a villain to some (absolutely bizarre) and I could see how many wouldn’t want to support him. I don’t know why I’m opening this can of worms though.

    Those are silly issues with the movement but that’s what you will get on twitter because it’s just a great place to shout about your problems instead of focusing on particular issues that lead you to that overall biting mad position.

    I think that there could be problems resulting from A+ because of the very basic tenets for which it stands for. I know that sounds odd but to say that I’m not an A+er because I tend to not agree with the means that prominent figures in A+ use to propagate their message is hard to get across to most at a glance. It would be a lot easier for that A+er to look at my non-A+ status and consider the possibility that I don’t believe social justice issues are important or that I don’t care about sexual harassment or maybe that I don’t think women are people.

    I also think it’s a possibility that speakers at conferences will start to divide up their allegiances. What if a conference does not have any A+ promoters or organizers? Will A+ speakers be comfortable speaking at these conferences next year or the year after once the A+ movement begins to grow? Maybe, as long as Jen McCreight is still involved, none of this will happen but I’m just not sure.

  46. 46
    Bernard Bumner

    Atheism+ will steal some, possibly more than some, of what time we can each provide, to explain how ‘we’ are not ‘just like a religion’.

    Atheists+ are like Santa Claus; we’re able to circle the world in a single night explaining to each and every theist what the name stands for. (You’ll understand once you sign up and receive your magic A+ face tattoo.)

    Seriously, do you think that allying with Atheism+ means that theists will be able to smell the mathematical symbol after the label you use for yourself? (If you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t. Or spend the extra 3 seconds saying “It means Atheists for social justice”)

  47. 47
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I see those who argue against A+ still don’t get it. And their reasons make no sense, other than they don’t want to join, and don’t want to be left behind. Welcome to reality 101, where the world doesn’t bend to your desires. So, fish, cut bait, or swim back to shore.

  48. 48
    jim

    My take is that A+ has a positioning problem that’s not entirely unlike some of the issues that the Occupy movement had to grapple with early in its existence.

    What’s not, from my perspective, helping things is engaging others in the atheist community who are being critical due to misconceptions of what A+ is with the same combativeness as you would a creationist. Calling atheist critics of A+ assholes, authoritarian, stupid in a public forum like Twitter reinforces negative stereotypes about the FtB and A+ communities. In this case, for this purpose, a plowshare is a more effective tool than a sword.

    And if you’re so not a part of A+ then maybe let those who are handle the Twitter exchanges, because your protestations that you’re not really involved fall flat when you appear to be so involved in such a public channel as Twitter.

  49. 49
    Loqi

    And here’s why I’ll never join Twitteer. It’s like YouTube comments, but the stupid is more concentrated because of the character limit.

    “I’ve been thinking about taking up knitting…”

    But *I* don’t like knitting! Why must you be so elitist and exclusionary? It’s really devisive when you form groups based on a common interest that I don’t share. When you guys go off forming other groups that I’m not part of, I get all lonely and sad and I have to cry about it on Twitter. Why won’t anyone be my friend? :(

  50. 50
    carbonbasedlifeform

    “I’m an Atheist+” “Oh, which brand?” “Brand?” “Carrier’s? Jen’s? Dawkins? Dillahunty’s? Which?”

    That reminds me of a quote from Quentin Crisp,

    When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”

  51. 51
    crispysea

    Skeptifem
    “I am willing to tack on extra minutes” I doubt you’ll feel the same way in ten years? when those few extra minutes have added up to weeks of needless extra explanation. I’m concerened about all minutes – I am not immortal.

    The name IS a major problem for the reason I sated, however, reforming a personal decision that most come to indepenently into a movement has every chance of become exactly the type of organisation we have all came to atheism because of. I’m convinced we shouldn’t even be calling ourselves a movement for that very reason.

    “alienating to marginalized people.” How does “I’m an atheist” marginalise people?

    “What are your priorities” My priority is to bring an end to religion. All other causes are subordinate. Get rid of religion and the platform standing against the aims detailed by atheism+ lose cohesion. Defeating the god squad is paramount.

  52. 52
    AJ Milne

    I am deeply amused by the idiot who thought he could point out the hypocrisy of a movement that values diversity by announcing that two privileged old white men are in charge. We’re not. He could only make that claim by ignoring the fact that the person who triggered the whole process and has put in a lot of organizational effort was a privileged young white woman, Jen McCreight, and the person who has been promoting it most wonderfully is a privileged middle-aged white bisexual woman, Greta Christina.

    More than a mite revealing, that sorta thing…

    I mean, this ‘Greta’ and this ‘Jen’ you speak of… These wouldn’t be women, would they?

    (/Oh. Right. Those. Forgot about ‘em again, for some reason. Have this funny way of just not noticing them at all, for some reason, too. Odd, that.)

  53. 53
    A Hermit

    If anyone needs more laughs check this out: one of these champions of free speech has stared an anti-Rebecca Watson petition, of all things…

    Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe: Remove Rebecca Watson from the show.

    What’s interesting is that the inevitable counter petition has about four times as many signatures, and most of the comments on the original are clearly…well….less than serious…

    In fact I’m not even sure the original petition wasn’t intended as a joke, even though the first few comments seem to be taking it quite seriously.

    Whenever I see something like this I’m reminded not to pay too much attention to the loudmouths and haters. They really are a tiny group of mostly insignificant twerps, fun to laugh at but not to be taken too seriously.

  54. 54
    Tony

    I agree with the cause of A+, but i disagree with the method of creating ‘us’ ‘them’ categories.

  55. 55
    John Phillips, FCD

    Jim, there’s a difference in supporting something and actually belonging to it. But, irrespective of that, considering that many of those attacking A+ are using arguments and tactics reminiscent of creationists, IMO, those don’t deserve better treatment.

  56. 56
    Bernard Bumner

    My priority is to bring an end to religion. All other causes are subordinate.

    Pfft. Take the social injustice out of religion and you have nothing more harmful than a slightly silly social club based on a shared misunderstanding.

    Addressing social injustice will neuter the worst of the negative effects of religiosity (and many other forms of irrational prejudice besides), and is more effective than grandiosely attempting to end religion. (A nice aim, but couldn’t we start with something more achievable, like cold fusion?)

  57. 57
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Crispysea–right now you’re wasting tens of minutes that could be spent bringing an end to religion. You do realize, do you not, that you’re free to not waste time arguing against A+ and instead work on your own project?

  58. 58
    John Phillips, FCD

    tonyscinta, sadly, A+ is largely a result of others creating an us/them situation, i.e. those who didn’t see sexism in the atheist/skeptic movement as a problem.

  59. 59
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    If anyone needs more laughs check this out: one of these champions of free speech has stared an anti-Rebecca Watson petition, of all things…

    Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe: Remove Rebecca Watson from the show.

    uh yup

  60. 60
    ibbica

    And the more I hear from anti-atheist+-ers, the more I appreciate the generation of A+. Funny thing, that.

  61. 61
    Tony

    John Phillips, FCD,

    I disagree, in that I know — I can see — that pz and others on ftb have a choice in promoting a division. Pushing it back and saying ‘someone else started it’ doesn’t act on the goals of A+ and doesn’t act on the problems at hand.

    Largely I think that the problems that the A/Sk movements have been having are bigger, more external problems. These arn’t A/Sk sexism problems, they’re Internet problems, they’re Con problems, and they’re Aspy problems.

    The nice thing about these kinds of problems is that they have solutions that we can pull from other groups — the gaming community and convention communities have standards that they follow to stop the same problems that our communities are having. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel?

  62. 62
    One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

    @ tonyscinta

    I agree with the cause of A+, but i disagree with the method of creating ‘us’ ‘them’ categories.

    subset /ˈsəbˌset/
    • A part of a larger group of related things.
    • A set of which all the elements are contained in another set.

  63. 63
    ezekiel

    Not everyone who isn’t jumping on the Atheism+ bandwagon is an idiot or an asshole.

    However, the dubious practice of blocking people who question the motives of Atheism+ is not doing much to bring the community together.

    I know many, many good people on Twitter who, like CrispySea above, go out of their way every single day to promote these causes, to try and sway the religious and to bring reason and justice to just one more mind. We are already “Atheism+” and have been for a long time – we just don’t need another label that implies by its very name that you’re better than the old atheists.

    Many of these people are disillusioned with the attitude of people from Atheism+. From Carriers original rage post, to this one, there is talk of assholes and irrationality and people Atheism+ just doesn’t want to deal with.

    Not wanting to jump on a bandwagon does not automatically make one an asshole. Neither does speaking up about your concerns with said bandwagon.

    There are many people working in the trenches of the real world trying to bring these issues to the forefront, and the very last thing we need is to be percieved as a group of “better than you” atheists.

  64. 64
    Tony

    @One Thousand Needles

    I don’t know what point you’re trying to make.

  65. 65
    screechymonkey

    I don’t get it. Isn’t A+ (or something like it) exactly what the critics have been telling us to do?

    For the last year or more, I keep reading complaints that the “FtBullies” and their Femistasi Skepchick allies are “poisoning” the atheist/skeptic movements, that feminism isn’t part of skepticism and is never going to be, and if you don’t like it, then go away and start your own movement but leave ours alone.

    Atheism+ isn’t exactly that, of course (I don’t think anyone is vowing to stop associating entirely with the “non-plus” segments), but it’s a pretty clear step in that direction.

    Which I suppose just confirms the obvious the disingenuity of the claim “we’re not opposed to social justice, just don’t do it under ‘our’ banner, because organized skepticism and atheism is just too precious to be contaminated with it!”

  66. 66
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    However, the dubious practice of blocking people who question the motives of Atheism+ is not doing much to bring the community together.

    Blocking?

    Where? Twitter?

  67. 67
    screechymonkey

    tonyscinta@61: “Largely I think that the problems that the A/Sk movements have been having are bigger, more external problems. These arn’t A/Sk sexism problems, they’re Internet problems, they’re Con problems, and they’re Aspy problems.”

    Care to elaborate on the “Aspy problems”?

  68. 68
    John Phillips, FCD

    Nice bit of ableism shit there tonyscinta. No it isn’t just the Internet, Cons and whatever aspy is supposed to mean. The Internet may have exacerbated it, but it only did it to a problem that was already there. Remember, part of the problem was some arguing against implementing the type of anti-harassment policies other organisations took for granted.

  69. 69
    Loqi

    @tony
    Yeah, the gaming community has done such a wonderful job in combating these issues. *eyeroll*

  70. 70
    Bernard Bumner

    We are already “Atheism+” and have been for a long time – we just don’t need another label that implies by its very name that you’re better than the old atheists.

    You. Don’t. Have. To. Use. The. Label.

    …the dubious practice of blocking people who question the motives of Atheism+ is not doing much to bring the community together…

    Where? What “practice”?

    Many of these people are disillusioned with the attitude of people from Atheism+. From Carriers original rage post, to this one, there is talk of assholes and irrationality and people Atheism+ just doesn’t want to deal with.

    Atheism+ is not an entirely inclusive group, true. It was designed to split the world into three groups:

    1) those who identify as A+
    2) those who are sympathetic to the aims of A+, but don’t identify as A+
    3) Assholes

    Not wanting to jump on a bandwagon does not automatically make one an asshole. Neither does speaking up about your concerns with said bandwagon.

    Firstly, probably don’t dismiss it as a “bandwagon” if you want to honestly discuss it, call it a movement instead. Secondly, who exactly is being labelled an asshole? (If you aren’t one, and aren’t acting like one, then the label probably wasn’t being applied to you.)

  71. 71
    John Phillips, FCD

    and I am being polite when using the term arguing in my previous comment.

  72. 72
    A Hermit

    Rev. BigDumbChimp@59

    Thanks…clearly I need to get out of the cave more often…;-)

  73. 73
    Tony

    @screechymonkey

    Aspergers, in particular people who don’t know how to relate to other people or act in social situations from the result of neurological disorder. I worked for a few years with high-functioning autistic teens and children (at the time aspergers was considered spectrum, I’m not sure if it still is).

    Its difficult to tell the difference between shy, awkward or juvenile outsider and aspergers. The atheism movement is a safe-haven for outsiders, and while I don’t think that the majority of the problems with sexism come from people with aspergers or spectrum disorders, there are a number of social solutions crafted for these individuals which can directly apply to the movement’s problems.

    Unfortunately, offhand I don’t have any good examples.

  74. 74
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    You may think you have read ezekiel’s comment, but you haven’t. That’s because he has been blocked and banned and not allowed to write anything on internet ever again.

  75. 75
    Pteryxx

    The nice thing about these kinds of problems is that they have solutions that we can pull from other groups — the gaming community and convention communities have standards that they follow to stop the same problems that our communities are having. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel?

    In case you haven’t noticed, they get blowback TOO. Gamers who speak out get harassed and attacked (see Anita Sarkeesian) and they’re forced to make their own safe spaces and even their own safe conventions:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2012/08/06/gay-gamers-to-hold-their-own-gaymer-convention/

    But the A/Sk community has had a unique overreaction to the very concepts of safe spaces or anti-harassment policies as near as I can tell. I haven’t seen anyone trying to argue that inclusiveness is antithetical to the very aims of gaming.

  76. 76
    Ing

    The Atheist movement does have a huge number of reactionary bigoted assholes…accept it when pointed out

  77. 77
    Bernard Bumner

    Yeah, the gaming community has done such a wonderful job in combating these issues.

    Exactly. There is, to be fair, a growing a vocal movement in gaming circles to combat bigotry and harassment.

    I don’t think that it a coincidence that such a movement is happening in gaming, conventions, and other niches of society at the same time as the one within the atheist community. Awareness gives useful examples and breeds support which cross-pollinates different spheres of social activities.

  78. 78
    One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

    @ tonyscinta

    I defined ‘subset’ for you because A+ is a subset of the wider New Atheist movement.

    It isn’t that you’re either an A or an A+. It’s that some of the A’s are also A+’s, because that is where they choose to focus their time and energy.

    That’s why the ‘us vs. them’ meme is so frustrating. It’s utterly wrong.

  79. 79
    Greta Christina

    And then they cite Jen:

    From Jen McCreight: “Demand that your organizations and clubs evolve, or start your own if they refuse.” That’s a “must” attitude.

    This is very, very telling.

    Here’s what I said in my piece, Atheism Plus, and Some Thoughts on Divisiveness (sorry for the self-linkage, but it really is relevant):

    The people who are hand-wringing about how Atheism Plus is “divisive” are basically saying that they are entitled to me. They may not intend to say that — but that’s the upshot. They are saying that they are entitled to my work, my ideas, my fundraising efforts, my late nights, my grueling travel schedule, my passion, my exhaustion, my efforts to make atheism stronger and more visible. They are saying this about me… and about every other feminist woman in the movement, and every feminist man, and every feminist person who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They are saying, “If you want to be in this movement, it has to be on our terms. And if those terms means putting up with hate, abuse, harassment, violation of privacy, threats and more… well, I guess those are the breaks.” And they are acting as if a group of people in the movement deciding that they get to choose who they work with, and deciding to form a subset of the movement with people who share their core values, is some sort of horrible betrayal.

    The Tweet quoted above expresses this attitude perfectly. I couldn’t have done it better if I’d tried with both hands. The idea that starting your own group if the existing ones don’t meet your needs is somehow mean and bad and authoritarian? It is saying, almost in these exact words, that if we want to participate in atheism we have to work with the existing groups as they stand — even if they treat us like crap.

  80. 80
    Ing

    @Tony fuck you with the aspie bullshit. You are an asshole

    You know I’m critical of A+ but no one has been rude to me about it…I have had people be downright abraisive and beligerant and bullying because I’m not antiA+ though. Including the presumption that if I’m not against them I’m one of them

  81. 81
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Not everyone who isn’t jumping on the Atheism+ bandwagon is an idiot or an asshole.

    I’m glad you found time to inform everybody of this. Could you point us to the source of the claim that everyone who isn’t on the atheism+ bandwagon is an idiot or an asshole, so we can go yell at them? Or better yet, you go yell at them!

  82. 82
    WithinThisMind

    Do we have to wear funny hats?

    Yes. But because A+ encourages creativity, you must make your own.

    Initiates wear this hat –
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hat-of-horns

    Once you have been fully assimilated into the hive mind, you will wear this hat –
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cthulhu-hat-a-pattern-to-make-hp-lovecraft-proud

  83. 83
    Tony

    @ Doom

    I’m sorry I offended you, I’m not trying to be a jerk. I think it would be better if i just stay off of FTB all together.

  84. 84
    jamessweet

    The criticism of PZ and Carrier being white guys is bizarre — I tried to think of the names I most associate with A+, and just under half of them are white males. Considering that the most listened-to voices in the existing atheism movement are predominantly white males (ahem, are we still asking if there’s a problem to be addressed here?), that’s a pretty good starting ratio.

    I do have some sympathy for the “disagreement is good” crowd, but it’s a tradeoff. We want a diversity of opinions, for sure, but there’s also a set of core values for any movement, and there comes a point when you want to move beyond disagreeing about those core values, and you know, just apply them. And then almost certainly disagree about how they ought to be applied, of course, but endlessly rehashing whether those are the right values, that’s just unproductive.

    The only point where I agree with the haters is this: I fall in the camp that loves the Atheism+ idea, but did not care for Richard Carrier’s infamous post. I didn’t really disagree with the substance of what he was getting at, but the matter he presented it was terribly off-putting, at least to me. I do wish that more of the other big names associated with A+ would say something about it — but maybe they liked his post. :shrug:, oh well, it’s not going to turn me off from the whole idea just because one guy who likes the idea wrote what I thought was a shitty blog post about it.

  85. 85
    karmakin

    @Sastra: The problem is that there’s still (and always has been) a lot of genderizing from within the community that really does send up red flags for those of us who do think that non-egalitarian feminism is basically a cultural dead end. Things such as “mansplaining” really SHOULD throw up this red flag.

    The problem is that this stuff is overlooked, because the people who this isn’t aimed at are just supposed to know that..I.E. Intent is magic. It’s not a slight at ALL men, just those that are doing X behavior. Yeah. That’s what they ALL say.

    Just to make it clear, I don’t think that feminism, or even this section of the feminist community is non-egalitarian…I just think that there’s enough people who speak in those terms, and enough people to defend it for whatever reason, that to a lot of people it LOOKS like it, and as such, they reject it outright, root and branch.

  86. 86
    WithinThisMind

    I do wish ‘boobs’ hadn’t been used as an insult though. Boobs are awesome.

  87. 87
    Loqi

    @tony
    “They’re Internet problems…”
    It’s entirely possible to not be a sexist jackass on the internet. If someone sees a an anonymous forum and immediately thinks “here’s my opportunity to be a sexist shit!”, the problem isn’t with the forum. The fact that they don’t act that way in meatspace doesn’t soften anything. If a normally civil person turns into an ass once you remove the consequences for doing so, that person isn’t a decent human being.

    “…con problems…”
    So they’re sexist jerks on the internet *and* in person, but it’s not a sexism problem? The problem isn’t the person’s behaviors, it’s that you give the person opportunities to behave that way by running into them in public or giving them an internet connection!

    “…Aspy problems.”
    How kind of you to diagnose all the assholes with Aspberger’s. I guess we don’t need doctors anymore. I’m also pretty sure you just offended every Aspberger’s sufferer out there by equating them with the common internet fuckwad.

    Here’s a hint: it’s a real condition, not a get out of being called an asshole card.

  88. 88
    John Phillips, FCD

    karmakin, if you have been following for the last year or so, i.e. since elevatorgate, then you yourself would have seen that there has hardly been a thread on ftb on the subject that hasn’t eventually ended up with a whole host of mansplaining.

  89. 89
    oolon

    IMO it is no point trying to read into the opinions of the anti-A+ lot other than they are anti-FtBs. They have the presupposition that FtBs is the evil empire therefore anything that comes from that vipers nest needs to be destroyed.

    So Anti-A+ memes don’t need to make much sense they just need to have a sheen of truth for the slimepit/Thunderf00t/etc lot to propagate.

  90. 90
    psybertron

    Hi PZ. If I am against anything, I’m against people who define themselves by what they are against. I’m an atheist that’s “for” balanced rationality. In this example … A+ is apparently “a safe place … to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything …”

    Notice that it says “to everything”, but it doesn’t say “always”. In a meme pool, as with a gene pool, there needs to be an environment that nurtures replication of the same information again and again, with only the occasional corruption to enable evolution. All change and no stability is chaos. A community may have no “leaders” to define the core message, but there must be a recognizable stable concensus against which skepticism and criticismsare tested and judged.

    A community upholding the right to apply skepticism and critical thinking to anything is one thing, but individuals who believe that is their duty to apply it to everything miss a point.

  91. 91
    SallyStrange

    I’ll cop to being an “elitist” A+ person: I really believe that the set of values denoted by the label are superior to the alternatives.

    Hence why I subscribe to them.

    Someone please explain why this is controversial.

  92. 92
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Exactly, SallyStrange. Guess what haterz: I do think I’m better than you for actually giving more of a shit about tackling social justice problems than complaining about how others perceive me. Not perfect, not an example of absolute moral rectitude, but better just the same.

  93. 93
    John Phillips, FCD

    Social justice is at the very least as important to me as my atheism, so call me elitist also.

  94. 94
    SallyStrange

    I don’t know about actually BEING better than other people. But I do think I have a better set of values than, say, the libertarian atheist set. Obviously! Or else I would adopt their values.

  95. 95
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    crispysea:

    Now that atheism plus is here we are going to have to spend debating time not arguing against the existence of their god but defending how we are different to a religion, an indefensible claim given that atheism plus has a set of criteria which the religious will happily use to divert the conversation.

    Why on Earth do you have to say anything to this theoretical theist other than “A+ is a group I don’t belong to” ?
    You don’t have to explain *anything*. If they ask you about A+, direct them to the website, or Jen’s blog. Why is this so difficult?

  96. 96
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I agree with the cause of A+, but i disagree with the method of creating ‘us’ ‘them’ categories.

    Great.
    Don’t join.
    See, it’s *that* simple.

  97. 97
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    A community upholding the right to apply skepticism and critical thinking to anything is one thing, but individuals who believe that is their duty to apply it to everything miss a point.

    I’ve apparently missed yours. Are you against atheism+ (as in, you don’t support its goals, not that you’d like a different label), and if so, why?

  98. 98
    No Light

    karmakin – as you’ve been told before, feminism is nothing more than the belief that women are fully human.

    Your “equity feminism” is nothing more than MRA-speak for “Yeah you can be equal to men, bitches, as long as you remember that some people are more equal than others, and that we’re still in charge”

    You don’t even understand the concept of privilege, as you’ve proven time and again, and as usual you’re derailing and MANSPLAINING about how the nasty womenz are ‘doing feminism rong’.

    Oh, and it’s “Intent isn’t magic”

    Tony – women aren’t idiots. We can differentiate between sexist arseholes, and people with ASDs.

    As someone with an ASD, I can tell you that walking up to someone and groping them, muttering lewd and suggestive comments at them, or cornering them, is not aspie behaviour any more than shooting fire from our noses is. If eye contact and small talk is excruciating for most of us, can you imagine us jumping straight to grabassery?

    “But aspies!” is the clarion call of the ableist entitlement douche, who tries to deflect attention away from himself by claiming that harassment policies unfairly penalise people with ASDs.

    Shouting “Not my fault! Aspie!” is used to shame people into giving shitty behaviour a pass, when again, most of us who are not neurotypical do not wish to draw attention to ourselves, try to act “normally”, and don’t disclose our problems because it’s invariably used against us, because ableism.

  99. 99
    feralboy12

    Someone please explain why this is controversial.

    It’s divisive, doncha know. Disagreement is divisive. Having your own opinion is divisive. Blah blah blah blah.
    I have no patience left for people who criticize differing opinions because they’re “divisive.” If you have no other argument to make, you can always claim an idea is bad because it’s different than yours, and therefore divisive.
    It’s just another silencing tactic.

  100. 100
    John Phillips, FCD

    feralboy12, nailed it in one. Then again, there are times when division is the only rational solution and so we come to A+, and about bloody time too.

  101. 101
    nohellbelowus

    I have a surprise for them: I’m not a member of the Atheism+ forum. I am not a leader of this movement; I have no position in it at all. I like the idea and I’m happy to encourage people to explore it, and I’ve long been pushing ideas similar to what has coalesced as the atheism+ movement, but I’m not even remotely “in charge”. And that’s the way I like it.

    I did not have sex with that woman.

  102. 102
    John Phillips, FCD

    what a maroon. You really don’t have to keep proving your idiocy to us nohellbelowus, we are well aware of it by now.

  103. 103
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Obvious stupid is stupid.

  104. 104
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    us / them categories?

    Everything is and us them category if you’re talking about membership.

    That doesn’t mean us is against them it’s just a matter of membership.

    You don’t have to join A+ to hold the same values. That isn’t the issue. The issue are those people opposed to the values A+ supports.

    Then we really are talking about us / them in an against situation.

    I have no problem being against someone who espouses the shit the idiots freaking out over RW and “elevatorgate” (among a large number of other things) were shouting to anyone they came across.

  105. 105
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    “I did not have sex with that woman.“

    Jebus you people are stupid.

  106. 106
    Gregory Greenwood

    Having read the tweets in question and gone through the thread, it really does seem to me that the problem with the anti-atheism+ brigade is that rather than reasonably saying “I am not interested in/don’t entirely agree with the approach of atheism+, so I won’t join”, which is fair enough, they instead say “I am not interested in/don’t entirely agree with the approach of atheism+, so I demand that the movement cease to exist.”

    Even more strangely, they pair this utterly authoritarian demand that a new subset not be formed within atheism, with ongoing complaints that any attempt to simply associate with other atheists of like mind somehow amounts to an evil conspiracy to enslave all atheists to some kind of totalitarian gynocracy (oh teh noes! Won’t someone think of teh poor, oppressed pee-pees?) – it is like adopting a mentality of ‘my way or the highway’, only to then turn around and say that the highway isn’t really an option, afterall – and then going on to complain that you are the one having to deal with unreasonable demands…

  107. 107
    chasbo

    How to build a non-movement movement with no leaders? How about an open source concept used by the folks at “The Way of Yo!” (yoism.org). This is from their website:

    “The Open Source Truth Process aims to ensure that the Yoan Community’s core writings and beliefs will evolve over time, as everyone—based on each person’s own direct experience of Reality—is invited to provide input and improvements. Through this process, participants will gradually uncover, refine, and document the Truth.

    By “Truth” we simply mean the clearest expression of a system of ideas and beliefs that is most consistent with Reality as it is directly experienced. Ours is a truth that you can test and experience directly, with your own senses and mind. Our truth is not based on narrow human authority (dogma, received wisdom, and “imposed truths”). Rather, it is based on the broad authority of the collective, human experience of being-in-the-world, i.e., the human experience of reality.

    For Yoans, the most profoundly meaningful experiences are found in our involvement in community, our engagement with one another, our struggle to find ways to act cooperatively without denying our conflicts, and our commitment to our shared, emerging vision for the future of humanity.”

    Just a thought.

  108. 108
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Anti-atheist+, wouldn’t that be an other way to say Atheists Going Their Own Way?

  109. 109
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I see the anti-A+ contingent haven’t advanced their dogma one iota.

    What I see is that anybody who is interested in social justice can band together with others of the same inclination and work toward that goal. Nothing wrong with that. If they are atheists, nothing wrong with that, and I applaud their efforts. They want to call it A+ or atheism plus, no big deal one way or the other. I don’t control or pretend to control the definition of atheism. Nor should the anti-A+ contingent care either, unless of course, you are trying to control those people fighting injustice and don’t want them banding together as you lose power or perceive a loss of face due to their presence, reminding you of your ethical failures as a person.

    A+ can only represent me if I decide to join.

    Does it hurt the atheist cause? No, it doesn’t. In fact, I think it helps. It shows atheists are more than just disbelievers in deities, and we have an ethical conscience. Those who find it divisive are those who are trying to control both the atheist movement and what others who are atheists think. Anybodyt who bothers to look around understands every movement of any size has subsets. Even rethuglicans have a log-cabin subset.

  110. 110
    Ing

    The sneering contempt Tony shows to people reacting to his Aspie bashing is the problem. The snide stuck up superiority over people caring about things. A fetishizing amorality and being above the filthy hippies and moral gaurdians

  111. 111
    jarjar

    GWW delivered a scathing critique of A+ yesterday thats much more thought out than the tweets.

    For a less biased review check out noelplum99′s critique

  112. 112
    abb3w

    How odd. I’d have thought the anti-atheist+ would be more high-SDO, but it sounds like it’s also significantly high-RWA. Are these tweeting pearl-clutching Antis themselves also atheists, or are the Antis some passing theists wondering what the heck is going on inside the atheist parts of the culture?

    (For those not yet familiar with the acronyms, go see Doctor Bob.)

  113. 113
    Sili

    #atheismplus is @pzmyers and @rebeccawatson egos personified.

    Well, duh.

    As I’ve explained, I’m not a member of atheism+

    Well, duh. I doubt Justin Believer is a member of his own fanclub either.

  114. 114
    unclefrogy

    this whole “controversy” brings me to thoughts about atheism, the atheist movement, social change and politics.
    Are the complainers part of the new atheists or are they “old guard” long time atheists.
    I look at history and see that social change has had many atheists involved some in very prominent roles as leaders and founders so I doubt it is the old guard.
    It has not been so unusual in our history (the US) to have atheists involved from the very beginning in politics but it has been less so post war during the anti-communist cold war. So maybe it is a holdover or reaction to the resulting ideological repression that was generated then and the current rise of the religious right politically? I do not know.

    If the reaction is mainly by people who are new to atheism are they really more anti-church and anti-god and have not yet taken the rational steps that come after the original rejection of belief in god and are reacting to the challenge to look at what their other beliefs really are that is brought up by A+ and elevator gate.

    What ever it is it surely has hit a nerve because the reaction to just an idea to a question should we even talk about these things has stimulated a very emotional reaction by some.

    It seems way out sized to the question to me.
    where there is smoke there is fire

    uncle frogy

  115. 115
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Any bets the “critiques” JarJar presented suffer from the same irrational presuppositions PZ exposed above? The odds say yes, which means the “critiques” likely are worthless drivel.

  116. 116
    Gregory Greenwood

    crispysea @ 51;

    “I am willing to tack on extra minutes” I doubt you’ll feel the same way in ten years? when those few extra minutes have added up to weeks of needless extra explanation. I’m concerened about all minutes – I am not immortal

    It doesn’t take very long to say “atheism+ is shorthand for atheists for social justice”, and in any case it is worth taking the time to convey that there are atheists who concern themselves with issues beyond debating the existance or non-existance of gods with theists – that our rationalism and atheism has broader implications for how we view social issues, and for how we think a truly just and equitable society should be organised.

    For some of us, simply repeating “there is no god – how do you like them apples?” just isn’t enough. Our atheism is informed by our rationality and sense of social responsibility, and so demands more of us.

    The name IS a major problem for the reason I sated, however, reforming a personal decision that most come to indepenently into a movement has every chance of become exactly the type of organisation we have all came to atheism because of. I’m convinced we shouldn’t even be calling ourselves a movement for that very reason.

    ‘Movement’ and ‘religion’ are not equivalent terms. Any grouping of people who share a broad set of similar opinions and goals could be called a movement. Religion, by its very nature, requires elements of dogmatism and supernaturalism.

    “alienating to marginalized people.” How does “I’m an atheist” marginalise people?

    Saying ‘I am an atheist’ is not marginalising in and of itself, but saying “arguing about the existence or nonexistence of god/big foot/alien abductions is important – all your social justice and equality stuff is just a distraction. Now get me a nice shapely leg to chew on” certainly is, and that is the attitude adopted by all too many skeptics and atheist cut from the same cloth as the likes of Thunderfoot.

    “What are your priorities” My priority is to bring an end to religion. All other causes are subordinate. Get rid of religion and the platform standing against the aims detailed by atheism+ lose cohesion. Defeating the god squad is paramount.

    Firstly, your goal of ‘bringing an end’ to religion is somewhat grandiose – even in a majority rational and secular society, there will always be those who believe in god or other unevidenced woo, and the only way to have any chance of stamping it out entirely would be to engage in unconscionably oppressive tactics that are wholy antithetical to those of us who believe that atheism should strive to be better than the religions it opposes*. Not to mention the fact that we have nothing like the power to do something like that, even if we were so inclined, and likely never will.

    Also, I disagree with your claim that the end of religion would bring an end to the other social malaises that atheism+ seeks to tackle. Patriarchal, misogynist and otherwise bigoted attitudes certainly find fertile ground within religions, but they can and do survive quite readily without religion – a casual review of the events post ‘elevator gate’ (and in particular the deluge of rape and death threats in response to a simple admonition that skeptical men should try to treat women with a minimum level of respect) shows just how deep the rot of such bigotry runs within the atheist community at large.

    Religion is part of the problem, but it most certainly isn’t the whole of the problem, and if we don’t recognise that then we risk a slow death-by-irrelevancy for atheism or, worse, the possibility that atheism itself may become just another vehicle for the maintainance of unexamined privilege and a haven for those who think that, simply because they have seen through the lie of a magic sky fairy, they are incapable of being wrong on any other issue.

    —————————————————————-

    * A quick shout-out to Rip Steakface, if he is reading – you would have to create a culture similar to the Imperium circa the 31st Millennium of a certain fictional body of works we both enjoy, and look how that turned out…

  117. 117
    catcity

    PZ’s irreverent tone has always given me plenty of laughs. It’s so easy to laugh at jokes, name calling and personal attacks against this creationist or that religious person.

    However, PZ’s ridicule is not spared when it comes to other atheists who question the A+ bandwagon. I guess he is quite egalitarian in that sense.

    It’s been an eye opener for me. I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting. PZ’s getting down and dirty in the trenches with those You Tube trolls. I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

  118. 118
    jarjar

    @catcity

    I agree. Especially statements like this:

    it became increasingly obvious that the people who really, really hate atheism+ are authoritarians who simply cannot imagine an egalitarian movement

    Sensationalism gets the page hits, I suppose.

  119. 119
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    @99

    It’s divisive, doncha know. Disagreement is divisive. Having your own opinion is divisive. Blah blah blah blah.
    I have no patience left for people who criticize differing opinions because they’re “divisive.” If you have no other argument to make, you can always claim an idea is bad because it’s different than yours, and therefore divisive.
    It’s just another silencing tactic.

    Exactly. This is the same category of silencing religionists use about atheists voicing their views. Oh why must you stir the pot? The tactics of the anti-A+ers, the sexists, etc. are right out of the religionist playbook and any naivete I had that saying you value reason actually means you actually use reason has long been shattered beyond repair.

    I agree with Ing above. Our shit stinks, too. Any group or movement is capable of taking on some of the negative aspects that drive people away from religion- hypocrisy, silencing of dissent, people unwilling to admit mistakes or change their behavior, etc.

  120. 120
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    “I am willing to tack on extra minutes” I doubt you’ll feel the same way in ten years? when those few extra minutes have added up to weeks of needless extra explanation. I’m concerened about all minutes – I am not immortal

    really?

    This ranks up with the lamest excuses I’ve heard.

  121. 121
    chigau (違う)

    I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

    How will you know it’s changed if you tune out?

  122. 122
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Nerd of Redhead,

    Any bets the “critiques” JarJar presented suffer from the same irrational presuppositions PZ exposed above? The odds say yes, which means the “critiques” likely are worthless drivel.

    And by “bets” you mean “hand me free money”… of course those “critiques” are fucking stupid. I think the last link is to a video from a woman who things domestic violence is a good thing because women need beatings and better a little beating on a regular basis than being murdered when the poor man is provoked into violence.

  123. 123
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    catcity and jarjar:

    Woe be upon us all.

  124. 124
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    However, PZ’s ridicule is not spared when it comes to other atheists who question the A+ bandwagon. I guess he is quite egalitarian in that sense.

    And you misconstruing what is happening, what’s that?

    It’s been an eye opener for me. I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting. PZ’s getting down and dirty in the trenches with those You Tube trolls. I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

    I’m sure you will be sorely missed.

  125. 125
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why, yes jarjar, you are right! It is all for getting people like you to post here. It has PZ and the rest of the FTBloggers rolling in the money.

  126. 126
    Ing

    @catcity

    See my point. Its of most importance that everyone know HOW above it all you are.

  127. 127
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting.

    And your tone trolling could use some fading into the bandwidth–forever. Funny how tone trolls try to sound so superior, but only sound desparate, futile, and unintelligent at the end of the day. If nice tone equals soundness of argument, I feel sorry for your lack of ability to understand passionate people.

  128. 128
    Ing

    Big surprise JarJar is an idiot. Mesa think he muy bombbad dumb

  129. 129
    Travis

    Nerd of Redhead,
    Additionally I always enjoy tone trolls that claim to have read this blog but are stopping until the tone improves. You would think someone that reads this blog would know how tone trolling goes over here, and how little people care for it.

  130. 130
    No Light

    Nerd of Redhead – given that one of the critiques is by Jim/noelplum99, then it’ll be the same drivel he was dripping all over Greta’s “Divisiveness” post.

    He dragged all of his little youtube buddies along for the ride too (Sash, skelter et al) and after a few minutes it became very clear that not one of them had the faintest idea about why A+ happened, or what it’s supposed to be.

    The usual bollocks was flung about, like “Rebecca Watson cried rape, and some silly girl cried because of a t-shirt!”. So predictable.

    Sash was particularly annoying, with her opinions on how totally great catholics are, how atheism doesn’t have a sexism issue because it’s purely about not believing in god, and how she and noelplum have eleventybillion YouTube fans, so they know what they’re talking about.

    They didn’t even read the post itself, just jumped into the comments and started on the whole “You’re stealing atheism!” nonsense.

    Any reply that didn’t involve groveling at their YouTubey feet was deemed “hostile”. So, given that noelplum seemed unable to even get past the issue of A+ stealing the word “atheist”, I imagine his “critique” is more of the same.

    It was one of those wanky circular threads full of JAQoffs, appeals to authority (lol, YouTube authority) and sheer ignorance. I think anyone who engaged with them deserves a medal.

  131. 131
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    catcity:

    I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting. PZ’s getting down and dirty in the trenches with those You Tube trolls. I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

    We shall all miss you sorely, I’m sure.

  132. 132
    ChasCPeterson

    PZ’s ridicule is not spared when it comes to other atheists who question the A+ bandwagon.

    *GASP!!!!*

    the bastard!

  133. 133
    Ing

    Hey how dare they not read the blog!? What do they think they’re better than us cause that’s what they’re saying!!? They are being deviscivinginging!

  134. 134
    Brian

    Greta Christina:

    The Tweet quoted above expresses this attitude perfectly. I couldn’t have done it better if I’d tried with both hands.

    “They’re in that state of mind,” said the White Queen, “that they want to deny SOMETHING —- only they don’t know what to deny!”

  135. 135
    Cole Peterson

    I think that it can largely be agreed that there are a lot of problems in this world that need fixing. People don’t have the time, energy or money necessary to try and fix them all, so we pick out the ones we care about most and devote what we can spare to them. For some people that means zeroing in on a single issue which they believe has paramount importance. For others, it means taking up a variety of causes, all of which they deem as being absolutely necessary. In the case of the latter, I don’t see any reason why those people can’t do their best to link those causes together.

    In this case, there has come about the formation of a movement that exists within and aligns itself with the larger cause of promoting atheism, but is broader in the issues it tackles. The notion that this new movement somehow steals the thunder of the original is a bit absurd. After all, the people joining Atheism+ already believed in the things it stands for. They did not cease their discussions on feminism or remove themselves from groups devoted to gay rights when they joined the atheism movement. This should be obvious to anyone who spends anytime perusing the blogs here.

    No, the Atheism+ cause has existed for a long time, but now it has a label, a banner under which like-minded people can rally and discuss the topics that are important to them. That doesn’t make it a hivemind, however. After all, people don’t join atheist groups in their school or town looking for 100% consensus. They do it because they want a place where they can share their thoughts with people who have views similar to their own without fear of ridicule. That’s all this is.

    And perhaps it is divisive, but since when has the online atheist community ever actually been cohesive? One person got up in front of a crowd once upon a time and said that she didn’t think certain behavior was acceptable. That set off a firestorm that still hasn’t cooled. It’s been said time and time again that the atheist movement incorporates many creeds and beliefs, all bound together by a single word that isn’t all that descriptive. So why stand up now and accuse Atheism+ for doing something that our community has always been doing?

    Atheism+ is simply a group of people who have found more in common with one another than just their atheism. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  136. 136
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting. PZ’s getting down and dirty in the trenches with those You Tube trolls. I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

    This one time at summer camp (actually, this past weekend w/Horde members in Maine) we figured out exactly what a flounce looks like. You have to hear it in a Scarlett O’Hara voice, and you have to swish your imaginary skirts back and forth while saying “fiddle-dee-diddle-dee-diddle-dee-diddle-dee-dee!”

    Jennifer Saunders demonstrates:

  137. 137
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Whoops. What is it with the goddamn embedding?

  138. 138
    Amphiox

    I think the tone on this blog could use some uplifting.

    Yes. Comments like the above certainly do lower the tone of the conversation substantially.

    I’ll be tuning out until that changes.

    Good. It’s the one single act that you can do that will improve the tone of the conversation the most.

  139. 139
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    nohellbelowus:

    “I did not have sex with that woman.“

    I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make here.
    I also don’t understand all the opposition I’m seeing to A+, so perhaps there are some things I’ll just never understand.

  140. 140
    richvr

    And the assholes creep out of the woodwork…

    That’s a rather disturbing image. Appropriate though.

  141. 141
    AJ Milne

    Re #114/uncle frogy:

    For what it’s worth (sample size = 1), I’d consider myself kinda ‘old guard’ (at least insofar as being called ‘new’ always gets on my nerves a bit… nothin’ that new about it or about my commitment to it) and I think A+ is well worth endorsing.

    ‘Course, I don’t suppose I’m really able to nominate myself entirely for that former thing on my own recognizance, and I also identify pretty strongly with the Gnus. So I dunno if it’s that clean a dichotomy, exactly, either.

    And I don’t really know how generally well the conjecture you’ve got there is likely to describe the general situation, either, I guess…

    All I can say–and the point’s been made elsewhere–is really that as I see it, what A+ seems to be labeling as a general ethos is a large part of what I’d consider the whole damned point of my bothering with being at all visible as an atheist, anyway…

    But that’s kinda complicated. And I’d probably bore the shit out of just about everyone if I went into the whole essay anyway (which I’m going to eventually anyway, actually, so consider yourself warned). And part of that whole ‘why I’m an atheist’ thing I’ve already written is more ‘I try to be a visible atheist because a) it’s only honest, and b) I want others who think the same and who might otherwise feel isolated to know they’re not alone’. The ramifications that follow, my giving a damn about certain regressive social currents and institutions, I sorta see it as another thread, sorta the same thing, tho’…

    As in: I’d call myself one publicly anyway for the reasons I just gave. I’d like to see even relatively ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’ religions put out to pasture just because I think their thinking is muddled, and they contribute to muddling the thinking of others, whatever their general political impact and alliances… And because I think they contribute to excusing muddled thinking in general, and I really think the world could do with a lot less of that.

    About them, it’s a funny thing, and again been said, but actually, as a general principle:

    A bad argument that arrives at conclusions you happen like is an unreliable friend. That’s how I see so-called ‘progressive’ religions. That they come out saying listen, gay marriage is okay, women should be paid what men are and their opinions equally respected on their merits, that’s nice, but if they’re still using a 4,000 year old acid dream of a book–and a book that was once also used as a prop to slavery–as their argument for that, it just doesn’t make me real confident I can count on ‘em for that much, nor for that long, y’know?

    It’s similar to a principle a math teacher pointed out to me once: if you make a mistake in your calculations and still somehow get the right answer, you’re still wrong. Worse, it’s a lot harder to realize you are, when that happens. Same thing: wonky argument, right conclusion, screw that. So the progressive religions, I’m saying, essentially, let’s fix the calculations, get full marks, can we, please?

    But on a whole ‘nother thread: I’d like to see the Wahabbis and the Salafis and the Dominionists done and gone both for those reasons and the fact that the conclusions they draw from the mangled tangle of illogic on which they live are so generally cruel, authoritarian and regressive. Wrong on so many levels, so on…

    Not really separate things, those, exactly, and maybe you could get why without my spelling it out in the 20,000 words or so I’d prefer, but anyway, like I said: complicated.

    I will say about one of your phrases especially, however: ‘the challenge to look at what their other beliefs really are’: yeah, I do think that, anyway, is the crux of it, why this thing is getting so animated, now.

    The thing is: maybe it’s relatively easy to spot mythical creatures like gods as mythical. Or maybe is for some of us, anyway…

    … and still relatively hard having to examine certain other more subtle and ingrained preconceptions about your world–even just your long conditioned and habitual reactions to it.

    Like take those guys up there who somehow don’t see Greta and Jen, focus on PZ and Richard. That’s something you can do so subtly, have no bloody idea you’re doing it. You’re not wearing a banner, explicitly picking a side, saying (like you can say: ‘I’m confident there’s no god’) ‘I don’t think women are worth listening to…’

    No. You just don’t notice them as much. Don’t tend to take them as seriously. Tend not to hear what they’re saying, at any rate.

    That takes more self-examination. That takes an almost clinical determination to find ways to get outside your own perception and catch yourself out at it.

    So it’s probably not as easy, is all. That some folk can do the one and not t’other (or not yet), and will actively resist doing the latter, insist, oh, no, I don’t have a problem, I’m not part of the problem, quite without ever really honestly assessing the validity of that claim, it doesn’t surprise me much, I guess.

    Again, tho’, I guess: probably all already been said.

    But a lot shorter: get the calculations right, and get the answer right, you get something that looks a lot like what A+ is shooting for anyway. No gods, no masters, and most of those less dramatic traditional divisions and hierarchical valuings that followed from systems that used a kind of divide and conquer under state religions and feudal pyramids of power, those, too, are clearly rubbish, largely a hangover from such systems. So it makes perfect sense to me at least to link closely both my rejection of those and the myths that once were used to justify them.

    Oh. And I will cop to one thing: my only real discomfiture with the A+ label is sticking it on myself seems a bit presumptuous, is all. I don’t want anyone thinking by my doing so that oh, I think I’m all of a sudden all non-sexist, non-racist, brilliantly and continually aware of my own privilege, beyond all that shit.

    I will stick it on myself, however, quite comfortably, anyway. But have to make this clear in doing so: these are goals, ideals, what I’ll shoot for. The actual results at any given time, however, are by no means guaranteed. As pointed out above: a lot of this stuff is far from easy.

  142. 142
    ChasCPeterson

    but she never leaves!

  143. 143
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    catcity:

    However, PZ’s ridicule is not spared when it comes to other atheists who question the A+ bandwagon.

    Did you read PZ’s post?
    He explains *why* those Twitter Twits deserve ridicule.
    Why should his ridicule be spared just because someone is an atheist? Many of those that disagree with A+ employ ‘arguments’ just as ridiculous as those used by theists.
    Would you care to share why you oppose A+?
    Or are you just jumping on the Anti-A+ bandwagon?
    Are you part of the Anti A+ Groupthink?

  144. 144
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Atheism+ is simply a group of people who have found more in common with one another than just their atheism. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    This is apparently an extremely difficult thing to grasp.

  145. 145
    Hammer of dog

    After responding to an anti-A+ facebook thread, in which I called anti-A+ folks misogynists, was subsequently corrected and told that the disagreement had to do with A+ being dogmatic (I acquiesced), one of those who cried over being called misogynist eventually came forth with this:

    Dude, what is up with your behavior?
    Did you pick up this style of engagement from Greta, Thunderf00t, or Surly Amy? SMH LOLs ROUND UP THE MEN, BETTY! US BOYS GOT SOME MAN’S HINDQUARTERS TROUBLING HIM NOW, WARM UP THE FOOT BATH AND SET UP THE LITTLE KOREAN WOMEN TO GIVE HIM SOME SPECIAL SERVICE PEDICURE.
    WHAT WAS THAT MUSIC HE LIKED? KD LANG?! WELL THEN KD LANG IT IS. NOTHING BUT OUR FINEST COMFORTS FOR OUR DEAR LAD.

    Relax sonny. It’s going to be alright.
    Within half an hour, we’ll get your estrogen back down to the level necessary to conduct yourself in a conversation of this nature.

    And by “conversations of this nature,” he meant that this discussion had started out as a civil, reasonable piece of discourse centered on critical thinking, and on my end did not deviate. And then he comes with that. It’s funny how the sexism comes out in the end. Ultimately they can’t hide it.

  146. 146
    PZ Myers

    #111, Jarjar: read this. I don’t find GirlWritesWhat to be at all credible as a source — she’s a freakin’ MRA apologist.

    We’ve got Ferdinand Bardamu saying:

    Women should be terrorized by their men; it’s the only thing that makes them behave better than chimps.

    and GirlWritesWhat saying:

    I don’t really find too much in the article that strikes me as seriously ethically questionable.

    Don’t quote GirlWritesWhat, Ferdinand Bardamu, Paul Elam, or JohnTheOther at me. I throw your opinion right in the trash — those people are barbarian scum, and your association with them taints your opinion, too.

  147. 147
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    However, PZ’s ridicule is not spared when it comes to other atheists who question the A+ bandwagon.

    Why, what with all of the ridicule, condemnation, banning, ignoring, blocking on Twitter, instructions to fuck off, responding to threats to leave with expressions of mock sadness or genuine joy, answering charges of divisiveness and alienation by saying that this is in fact a desired goal, efforts to create safe spaces,…, you’d almost get the impression that we don’t respect or care about these people’s opinions and don’t want to be around them. Almost. If it hadn’t all been so subtle.

  148. 148
    oolon

    Didn’t Girl Writes What claim FtBs or Skepchick laid a DMCA on her with no evidence? I would firmly put her opinions as biased by a hatred of FtBs as she seems to have fully jumped on the bandwagon. Unlikely there would be much clear critical analysis coming from that quarter regardless of MRA affiliations..

  149. 149
    ezekiel

    I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here…

    People who frequently read FreeThoughBlogs are generally in agreement that Atheism+ is a good thing.

    People who do not frequent FTB are not seeing the attraction of the idea.

    I’ve not spoken to a single person on Twitter that has ever had a problem with rude, obnoxious, bigoted people that have identified themselves as atheists. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people like CrispySea (above) and many others like him, for the work he does on Twitter and his blog. And yet, there are people in this thread that apparently have no idea of this.

    As I said above, perhaps the problem here is not Atheism+ itself, but the environment in which the movement was conceived. When your opening statement is one of division and intolerance (“accept it or GTFO”, for example), you cannot realistically expect those atheists from outside the sphere of FTB to feel welcome.

    And yes, in this case, Atheism+ is throwing out the baby with the bath water. There are many, many atheists out there that do not read FTB (I was one of them, until I caught wind of A+), and the implication that they are somehow “lesser” is not lost on them. And precious few of them are assholes, but they have been labelled as such, by the simple creation of A+ and it’s subsequent self-appointed elevation above the work that they were already doing.

  150. 150
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Cole:

    And perhaps it is divisive, but since when has the online atheist community ever actually been cohesive?

    ^^This!
    So many of the people complaining about A+ cry about divisiveness. Where were they over the past year complaining about the sexist shit that was dividing the atheist community? Were they complaining about how divisive DJ was being? Did they complain about the vile misogynistic atheists who spewed their hatred at Rebecca Watson?
    Or were they hiding under a rock all this time thinking that somehow the atheist movement was united simply because of shared non belief?

  151. 151
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    And precious few [atheists that do not read FTB] are assholes, but they have been labelled as such, by the simple creation of A+ and it’s subsequent self-appointed elevation above the work that they were already doing.

    How is this labeling occurring? Could you point it out? Be specific.

  152. 152
    Pteryxx

    People who do not frequent FTB are not seeing the attraction of the idea.

    I’ve not spoken to a single person on Twitter that has ever had a problem with rude, obnoxious, bigoted people that have identified themselves as atheists.

    Your Twitter circle may be suffering from selection bias.

    Many people spoke up, first on Jen’s initial post two weeks ago, and continuing onto the Atheismplus forum even through today, who said they were badly treated by various *local* atheist groups and thus withdrew from the community entirely until getting word of A+. Some have never heard of Skepchick, FTB, or A+ until they heard the haters screaming about it and decided to look for themselves.

    One example:

    I’m not completely sure what’s going on…

    Postby fritztoch » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:53 pm
    …but the sheer amount of insults, ad hominem attacks, and uncomfortably sexual suggestions I have received *just today* since I learned about A+, and mentioned on a few social networks that it sounded interesting, tells me that I should be here, learning and participating.

  153. 153
    cadfile

    I get amused by the people who claim that since we can’t solve any of those issues Atheism plus wants to deal with then we shouldn’t waste time talking about them.

    Not talking about them is the problem.

    Why do some smart atheists have no idea what a consensus is?

  154. 154
    oolon

    Maybe people are all choosing different nyms on the atheism+ forum but there seems to be a lot of supporters who I’ve not seem on FtBs anywhere… Perhaps they are all ex-lurkers, perhaps not.

  155. 155
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You figured us out ezekiel; most of the regulars, bloggers and commentators, are intolerant of sexists, racists, ablists, heterosexist and others. This makes us just as bad as them. And which is why the people who came up with A+ wanted to be able to do work without them.

    It has always been my goal to be able to work in harmony with MRAs to further the goal of equality. Well except for equality for me.

  156. 156
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    And yes, in this case, Atheism+ is throwing out the baby with the bath water. There are many, many atheists out there that do not read FTB (I was one of them, until I caught wind of A+), and the implication that they are somehow “lesser” is not lost on them. And precious few of them are assholes, but they have been labelled as such, by the simple creation of A+ and it’s subsequent self-appointed elevation above the work that they were already doing.

    Do you ezekiel have a problem with any of the “+” in A+

    Atheism+ is a safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime.

    humm?

  157. 157
    Pteryxx

    oolon: The A+ forums request that folks with established nyms in the atheist/skeptic communities continue to use those nyms. So, it’s not absolute, but a good sign that most of the new names are in fact new names.

  158. 158
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    ezekiel:

    People who frequently read FreeThoughBlogs are generally in agreement that Atheism+ is a good thing.

    How would this:
    Atheism+ is a safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime.

    be a bad thing?

    People who do not frequent FTB are not seeing the attraction of the idea.

    Which is perfectly fine. If all people were doing is saying “I don’t want to join”, that would be one thing.
    However, we’ve got people complaining about how divisive this is (the movement was already divisive and for some people this was a turn off to joining the atheist movement).
    We have people complaining about the name (don’t like it, don’t join).
    We have people who think A+ is trying to redefine atheism (it isn’t, hence the + , which means “in addition to our shared atheism”).
    We have people complaining about being seen automatically as misogynistic assholes if you don’t join A+ (some people who don’t want to join might be, but others might not).
    We have people complaining about A+ being elitist (because it’s somehow elitist to publicly embrace social justice; I’m curious, is an individual an elitist if they aren’t part of A+, but champion causes of social justice?).
    We have people whining about A+ being dogmatic, despite the definition of A+ (see above definition; specifically the part about discussion).
    We have people asserting (out of their asses) that PZ or Rebecca Watson are somehow the ringleaders of A+ (which we know is NOT the truth).

    Once again, if you don’t want to join, you don’t have to join. It really is *that* simple.

  159. 159
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    ezekiel:

    And precious few of them are assholes, but they have been labelled as such, by the simple creation of A+ and it’s subsequent self-appointed elevation above the work that they were already doing.

    What is this “elevation” you’re talking about?
    A+ is a subset of the atheist movement with a focus on social justice. It’s not superior, it’s an offshoot. A branch. It doesn’t exist *above* the atheist movement. It exists alongside it.
    I’d also like to know how you know that precious few of them are assholes.

  160. 160
    ezekiel

    @Pteryxx:

    Your FTB circle may be suffering from selection bias.

    Just sayin’…

    Two weeks ago, I’d never heard of “elevatorGate” or Boobquake, what an ass PZ Myers is supposed to be, why everyone hates this Thunderfoot fellow or any of that other gossipy crap. I had seen a couple of Greta’s speeches on youtube and thoroughly enjoyed them, but that was about it. I thoroughly enjoy Dawkins + Hitchens, but I find Sam Harris a little rambling at times.

    And by asking “is this really necessary?”, I get thrown in with the “CHUDs”, accused of trolling and JAQing off, and finally blocked by at least one FTB blogger on twitter.

    If this makes me a troll or a bigot, then so be it. I guess I’ll just continue championing “social justice” issues on my blog and facebook, while sowing the seeds of rationality in as many religious minds as I can, via twitter.

    I dunno… but from what I’ve seen of A+ so far, it has left a rather sour taste in my mouth, and brings nothing to the table that thousands of atheists aren’t already doing, sans divisive nastiness.

  161. 161
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Please do not leave an assprint on the door.

  162. 162
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @ezekiel:

    (Sorry for the length of this post, it got away from me)

    When your opening statement is one of division and intolerance (“accept it or GTFO”, for example), you cannot realistically expect those atheists from outside the sphere of FTB to feel welcome.

    You clearly did not read the opening statement on A+.

    This is the first post, ever, on Atheism+. The only possible part I can even remotely assume you mean is this quote:

    If you’re ready for this new wave of atheism, now is the time to speak up. Say that you’re ready. Vocally support organizations and individuals that are already doing it right. Vocally criticize the inappropriate and hateful behavior so the victims of such actions know you’re on their side. Demand that your organizations and clubs evolve, or start your own if they refuse.

    It’s hardly “accept A+ or GTFO” rather it’s “accept A+ or I’m going to GTFO.” I can’t quite get from “I don’t feel welcome in the atheist community” and “I think the atheist community should be more about social justice” to “people who don’t accept A+ should GTFO.”

    The only division and intolerance is the division of A+ away from the parts of the atheist community that sees no issue with being misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc and the intolerance towards that way of thinking.

    As Jen’s fifth post on the issue clarifies:

    2. Why does everyone have to agree with your particular dogma?

    No one has to agree with me, and I don’t want dogma. I want to be able to discuss social justice issues from the context of atheism and skepticism. Discuss, not dictate. Right now we can’t even do that without being threatened, trolled, and derailed. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the views of people who support A+. Speaking of which:

    3. Person X supports A+ and said this really shitty thing, therefore A+ is evil!

    I can’t control what everyone writes about A+, nor can I read it all. That’s why I’m trying to focus my time toward moving forward with a website that will provide educational resources and a community. There I can establish a mission for what A+ is truly about. If people warp that mission in blog posts or tweets or what have you, all I can do is keep promoting what A+ is truly about.

    and later:

    6. Why do you get to decide who gets to be a part of the atheist movement?

    I’m not kicking anyone out of the atheist movement. I’m not going to revoke your American Atheist membership or come in the middle of the night to steal your scarlet A lapel pin. I’m not going to petition the government to take away your freedom of speech. Yes, I think it’s time for a new wave, but that doesn’t make the previous wave disappear. There are still second wave feminists (and I know this will shock some of you, but no, I’m not one of them).

    I just want a space where atheists with a shared interest in social justice can actually discuss it and get stuff done. You are free to form your own groups or continue taking part in whatever atheist community will have you. You can even come and civilly take part in our discussions! But we don’t need to tolerate the intolerant within our own space.

    7. But you’re hurting the atheist movement by causing a schism!

    Is the Secular Student Alliance causing a schism because it focuses on students? Are any of the many atheist organizations causing schisms because they all have slightly different missions? Why can’t we have our own group too? Would there be such vitriol in response to someone starting an Atheist Knitting Club? “BUT ATHEISM DOES NOT DE FACTO LEAD TO KNITTING!” So what? Let us have our space to talk about issues that interest us. You don’t have to participate.

  163. 163
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Those evil atheist+ fanatics might unfriend you on facebook if you don’t join! Rarely has a tyranny had such awesome instruments of coercion. That’s really all we’ve got; we can decide you’re an asshole because you don’t share our values, and we can stop associating with you. Everyone does that. It’s not a special power, it is not the application of force.

    Amusingly, I saw another instance of their bizarre thinking over on the forum, talking about Carrier:

    We are clearly not talking about a movement that will live and let live, but will actively launch boycotts of people, in order to hurt or perhaps destroy their careers, merely because they did not agree with the values of Atheism+.

    This is not some anonymous person. This is one of the founders of this new movement, vowing to encourage boycotts of people outside the movement, for whatever reason, it certainly is not a question of merely having to live without Atheism+. It is very much about having to deal with what can only be described as harassment, online and in real life.

    Putting aside all the errors of fact here so the fuck what if someone did call for a boycott?

    People have a right to boycott! No author has a right to have you buy their books!

    The whole premise, by which boycotting is imagined to be depriving someone of something they’re entitled to, is absurdly authoritarian — it means that your betters deserve your money because they are your betters, and if you as a consumer don’t hand your money over to them and buy the products they’re selling then you are doing them wrong. This is even weirder than the logic that says if you change the channel during commercials then you are stealing television.

    Even more bizarrely, though, this idiot appears to guilt trip a few atheist+ people into more or less agreeing that boycotting is wrong. Oh, think of poor dear multimillionaire Dawkins, how will he pay all his property taxes if you don’t give him your money?

    Seriously, we should have a boycott just so people can get accustomed to the idea that you get to decide how to spend your own money, and by golly you even get to discuss it with other people. Shock horror.

  164. 164
    Pteryxx

    And by asking “is this really necessary?”, I get thrown in with the “CHUDs”, accused of trolling and JAQing off, and finally blocked by at least one FTB blogger on twitter.

    I can’t speak for whoever’s talking to you on twitter, but “is this really necessary” has been answered, in spades. Yes harassment is a huge and underrecognized problem, and reasonable solutions have been tried and so far are inadequate to protect the victims of that harassment. For a summary see Jen’s original post:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/

    I hope you at least bothered to investigate the problem before making any assumptions to its necessity.

  165. 165
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I dunno… but from what I’ve seen of A+ so far, it has left a rather sour taste in my mouth, and brings nothing to the table that thousands of atheists aren’t already doing, sans divisive nastiness.

    Are you against people who position themselves against social justice?

  166. 166
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    When your opening statement is one of division and intolerance (“accept it or GTFO”, for example), you cannot realistically expect those atheists from outside the sphere of FTB to feel welcome.

    Why should we care what they think? Why should they have more say than we at FtB do? All I hear is “I wasn’t consulted, WAHHHHH”. Like anybody needs their permission to do something. And that is the real problem. they have no control.

  167. 167
    'Tis Himself

    Ing: DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM DEATH DOOM DOOM DOOOOOOOM THE END! #80

    You know I’m critical of A+ but no one has been rude to me about it.

    I must apologize to you, Ing. The problem is all the A+ folks are volunteers who set their own agendas. Everyone wants to discuss whether we should use imperial or metric measures but nobody signs up to be rude to critics. I’m trying to be rude to as many as possible but there’s only so much one feminist atheist can do.

    Looking at my schedule, I can be rude to you at 7:50 EDT (1150 GMT) on Saturday, October 6th. Unless you’d prefer someone to be rude to you in imperial measures, in which case you’ll have to wait until sometime in November.

  168. 168
    KarenX

    And by asking “is this really necessary?”, I get thrown in with the “CHUDs”, accused of trolling and JAQing off, and finally blocked by at least one FTB blogger on twitter.

    But why are you even asking if it’s necessary? It’s not. Nobody said it was necessary. And who cares if it isn’t? It’s very obviously just something they want to do because they’ve said so a million times in short sentences, so there’s no way asking a question about “necessary” is possibly sincere. Which is probably why people are accusing you of being disingenuous, especially in light of the fact they’ve explained themselves already so you either aren’t listening (which is rude) or you think you know better than they do about what they want to do and can lead them to your conclusions a la Socrates with a series of questions (which is obnoxious).

  169. 169
    Tethys

    Ezekiel

    Two weeks ago, I’d never heard of “elevatorGate” or Boobquake, what an ass PZ Myers is supposed to be, why everyone hates this Thunderfoot fellow or any of that other gossipy crap.

    You are completely ignorant of the history, yet you are totes comfortable with handwaving away a years worth of bullying sexist asshole behavior as gossipy crap.

    Your privilege, ignorance, and attempt at gaslighting are noted.

  170. 170
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    I dunno… but from what I’ve seen of A+ so far, it has left a rather sour taste in my mouth, and brings nothing to the table that thousands of atheists aren’t already doing, sans divisive nastiness.

    Giving a pithy name (A+) to a set of people (atheists who believe in social justice) leaves a sour taste in your mouth?

    Seriously, the point of A+ is to name a phenomenon that already exists and to encourage it to flourish. How does that bother you?

  171. 171
    No Light

    @Ezekiel – OMG crispysea is important on twitter? I hadn’t realised! What an embarrassing faux pas I’ve made. I’m not only embarrassed for myself, but I have secondhand embarrassment for everyone here who didn’t realise they were in the presence of greatness.

    Listen, no1curr what you think of A+. Just don’t get involved, easy.

    I’m a woman. I have visible and non-visible disabilities. I’m gay, I don’t have binary gender presentation. I’m living in poverty.

    Every day is a fight for me, and it’s exhausting. I don’t want my involvement in atheism to mirror my experiences in religion, and if I’m fighting so hard then I want it to benefit other people too. A+ provides a space where discussion is not going to be derailed from comment #2 with “What about the menz” or “Reverse racism!” or “But not all X’s do Y”. It means not wasting valuable spoons* on rehashing 101 level stuff with people who barely care anyway.

    I don’t care what status or importance someone has anywhere. I just want them to view me as more than what I’m not, as someone whose experiences can add dimension to discussions about issues that affect me. I’m sick of getting caught up in assumptions and condescension.

    If you don’t have those problems then good for you, I can see why you don’t see a need for something like A+. So drop it, and leave those of us who do get it alone. It’s not going to make the slightest bit of difference to your life, is it?

    As for the time issue, I already spend hours dispelling myths about people like me, explaining what my identities do and don’t involve, trying to convince them that I’m a really real person deserving of respect. Two seconds extra to say “plus social justice” is nothing.

  172. 172
    No Light

    Whoops, forgot to add my note for “spoons”

    http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/category/the-spoon-theory/

  173. 173
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    ezekiel,

    Two weeks ago, I’d never heard of “elevatorGate” or Boobquake, what an ass PZ Myers is supposed to be, why everyone hates this Thunderfoot fellow or any of that other gossipy crap.

    So why do you think your opinions carry any weight whatsoever? Why should they? What are you going to do next, read the Wikipedia entry on “American Civil Rights Movement” and then head down to the NAACP and explain to them how they are doing it wrong?

  174. 174
    Amphiox

    Seriously, the point of A+ is to name a phenomenon that already exists and to encourage it to flourish. How does that bother you?

    Because it’s too loud, too brash, too forward.

    Good little Atheist+’ers should stay quiet, polite, in the background, invisible so as not to rudely discomfort their betters by making their uncomforting presence known.

    When something has a name, it is harder to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

  175. 175
    Travis

    Good little Atheist+’ers should stay quiet, polite, in the background, invisible so as not to rudely discomfort their betters by making their uncomforting presence known.

    Sounds a lot like the accommodationists or those religious folk that would like atheists to simply shut up and stop being so mean.

  176. 176
    Tethys

    A poem for crispysea, Ezekiel, and any other person who feels the need to claim that A+ is a bad, divisive idea.

    The range of what we think and do
    is limited by what we fail to notice
    And because we fail to notice
    that we fail to notice
    there is little that we can do
    to change
    until we notice
    how failing to notice
    shapes our thoughts and deeds

    ~R.D. Laing

  177. 177
    jarjar

    those people are barbarian scum, and your association with them taints your opinion, too.

    Guilt by association. Nice. Am I to believe to condone physical violence because you associate with Greg “I’ll kick your fucking ass” Laden?

    I wasn’t aware she said any of that and I find those comments quite distressing.

  178. 178
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I wasn’t aware she said any of that and I find those comments quite distressing.

    Who the fuck cares what you find distressing? Get over yourself. You have no special powers.

  179. 179
    Ing

    @jarjar
    Don’t get mad at others because YOU don’t source check.

  180. 180
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    jarjar,

    I wasn’t aware

    Yes, we know. And now so do you. And yet you’re convinced that you rate having an opinion worth listening to, even with your admitted ignorance. Do you ALWAYS make assertions in opposition to people who are clearly more knowledgeable on a subject than you are, or is it just when sexism/racism/bigotry are the underlying issues?

  181. 181
    Ing

    Btw your failure shows you’re looking for reasons to believe something. Very honest of you. Yeah its only those theists who act selectivly obtuse

  182. 182
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Guilt by association. Nice. Am I to believe to condone physical violence because you associate with Greg “I’ll kick your fucking ass” Laden?

    Bad analogy. GWW does not hide where she is coming from. Also, did you not read the comments? And how did you find out about that video?

    Greg Laden was kicked out of FTB because of that.

    Your reasoning is flawed.

  183. 183
    Tethys

    jarjar
    Guilt by association. Nice. Am I to believe to condone physical violence because you associate with Greg “I’ll kick your fucking ass” Laden?

    He is no longer associated with FtB due to that incident.

  184. 184
    oolon

    @Tethys, Janine… Sorry to chime in on jarjar’s side, he/she seems as execrable as the binks… But, afaik, Greg was not thrown out due to that – he resigned and that is backed up by one of the bloggers on this network as well as Greg himself.

  185. 185
    tomfrog

    I’m mostly a lurker here and I just wanted to express my interest in A+!

    As many, I don’t quite get the opposition to such a thing (again: don’t join then).

  186. 186
    Monsanto

    I can’t support the divisive goals of atheism+ because they want to pry the gun from my cold dead hand. Do I win the award for stupid, or will I have to try again?

  187. 187
    Nick Gotts

    The A+ forums request that folks with established nyms in the atheist/skeptic communities continue to use those nyms. – Pteryxx

    Ah, I hadn’t picked up on that, and used my real name there. I’ll make the link between the two clear.

  188. 188
    Nick Gotts

    Like this.

  189. 189
    Tethys

    oolon

    You are mistaken

    GL is not a credible source in this matter, though I’ve heard that he has written lucidly on the Congo.

  190. 190
    nonpersonhobofico

    Whenever I hear things like “Who are the leaders of A+?” it translates to this in my mind:

    “But emergent/self-organizing properties of a system are impossible!”

    The emergent properties are a result of the interaction of the underlying elements. In this case many of the underlying elements want social justice. If you don’t you aren’t part of the emergent movement of A+.

    So, who owns the cat videos phenomena? Who runs planking? Or capitalism? Who is the Grand Poobah of plain ole vanilla Atheism? Nobody. So it is with A+.

  191. 191
    Worldtraveller

    ottus@36:

    You’ve convinced me!

    How do I join? Is there an initiation fee? Are there dues? Do I have to take a test? Is there an interview. Do I get an I. D. card? Bumper sticker? Tee shirt? When are the meetings? Do we have to wear funny hats?

    I hear there’s a brutal initiation.

    …it involves Brownian, and ghey secks.

    …but I understand there’s also a bit of a queue.

  192. 192
    Gregory Greenwood

    ezekiel @ 160;

    Two weeks ago, I’d never heard of “elevatorGate” or Boobquake, what an ass PZ Myers is supposed to be, why everyone hates this Thunderfoot fellow or any of that other gossipy crap.

    So, a year’s worth of sustained rape and death threats over something as innocuous as saying ‘guys, don’t do that’ with regard to some male skeptics treating conferences as nothing more than venues to practice their pick up artist techniques is simply ‘gossipy crap’? Thunderfoot’s documented use of his profile within the community to minimise and dismiss the concerns of women in atheism is similarly no more than ‘gossipy crap’ to you?

    Comments like this will serve only to make people suspicious of your motives – either you genuinely know next to nothing about the issues (which leads me to wonder why you feel qualified to hold forth on a topic that, by your own admission, you are largely ignorant of) or you are arguing in bad faith.

    Which is it?

  193. 193
    Hershele Ostropoler

    This is the sort I called Roger at Blag Hag: the person who believes atheism is apistism and anti-oppression is a dogma and what kind of atheist are you if you go around simply believing that non-hegemonic people deserve full equlity?

    I suppose people who don’t want to support social justice causes — and particularly people who oppose those causes — will not be welcomed in the A+ tent when this opposition comes to light. And you can call that a purge, if you like. But if you don’t like knitting, and you think knitting is stupid, why is it so all-fired important for you to be in the Atheist Knitting Club anyway?

    (Also, I don’t need the permission, or even existence, of A+ to stop associating with bigots. I don’t buy “support the goals of A+ or A+ people will stop talking to you” as being legitimately threatening because I image those who will, would anyway, even without a label.)

    René @ 23:

    I’d rather see a green plus in the logo. By which we would extend the semiotics of green perhaps. (To me that seems a good thing, but it might upset the some environmentalists.)

    I associate green with Esperantists. Are there any environmentalists actively opposed to social justice? Well, a year and a half ago I’d have been equally surprised to hear it about atheists, so probably.

    crispysea @ 39:

    the fact that atheism plus uses atheism is the problem.
    We all have had conversations with theists, we all know they love obfuscation and diversion, the atheism+ name is going to add needless extra minutes to each conversation with theists.

    It’s really not.

    Though if this word salad means what I think it means, why do you feel the need to point out that you just don’t believe in god, you’re not one of those pro-SJ types? Particularly since you claim you are pro-SJ.

    Or are you simply saying that “Atheism+” has baggage? Well, after a couple of recent incidents you may have caught wind of, “atheism” has baggage. You don’t want to have to explain that you’re not one of those nasty A+ers? Well, I don’t want to have to explain that I’m not one of those atheists who thinks non-belief gives me a license — perhaps even a duty — to sweep toxic shit under the rug.

    Fortunately I can do that fairly easily. With a plus sign.

    feralboy12 @ 99:

    It’s divisive, doncha know. Disagreement is divisive. Having your own opinion is divisive. Blah blah blah blah.

    If you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong.

    Tony @ 158:

    Which is perfectly fine. If all people were doing is saying “I don’t want to join”, that would be one thing.
    However, we’ve got people complaining about how divisive this is (the movement was already divisive and for some people this was a turn off to joining the atheist movement).

    Agreed. And I can see the rhetorical benefit to pretending you said “I don’t like it so I won’t join” when what you actually waid was “I don’t like it so it shouldn’t exist”: it backs up, in a Potemkin sort of way, the meme that it’s an authoritarian submovement of people who want to take over force everyone to think our way.

  194. 194
    Anthony K

    “What are your priorities” My priority is to bring an end to religion. All other causes are subordinate. Get rid of religion and the platform standing against the aims detailed by atheism+ lose cohesion. Defeating the god squad is paramount.

    This is exactly the kind of utility that Atheism+ has.

    Now that I know that crispysea and I don’t share the same priorities, we won’t waste our time arguing with each other about which of us got atheism in the others progressivism, and which of us got progressivism in the other’s atheism.

  195. 195
    goon

    goon,

    Second only to people going out of their way to complain about pointless exercises, don’t you think? :)

    Not really.

    Since I’m not doing much of “going out of my way”.

  196. 196
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Goon, you’re right that it isn’t second. Second is coming back hours later to declare that it isn’t a bother to pointlessly complain about pointless exercises, and third is complaining about pointless exercises.

  197. 197
    Anthony K
    goon,

    Second only to people going out of their way to complain about pointless exercises, don’t you think? :)

    Not really.

    Since I’m not doing much of “going out of my way”.

    At first I thought goon’s initial comment was critical, but now that goon has redoubled its efforts to become the most useless person on the internet, I see that it’s merely jealousy.

  198. 198
    Anthony K

    Goon, you’re right that it isn’t second. Second is coming back hours later to declare that it isn’t a bother to pointlessly complain about pointless exercises, and third is complaining about pointless exercises.

    I think you have that backwards, Improbable Joe. Your second should be first, your third should be second, and the debate over Atheism+ is somewhere far down.

    I only bring this up because I don’t think goon’s going to stop until it gets the gold.

    It’s a nice medal, too: an embossed crusty tissue flying from a pencil with a broken tip. Very tasteful.

  199. 199
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Brownian,

    Figuring out the proper order is down barely in the top twenty, so I’ll not likely get to it this week. I mean, really… this is so really pointless that I’m going to make this my last post on the subject, unless it takes too much work to stick the flounce in which case I won’t make this my last post.

    The pointless point is that it is important to make goon feel important for not thinking any of this is important, so not important that they had to come back and clarify the level of pointlessness, but not really clarify because that would have required more typing.

  200. 200
    Anthony K

    Figuring out the proper order is down barely in the top twenty, so I’ll not likely get to it this week. I mean, really… this is so really pointless that I’m going to make this my last post on the subject, unless it takes too much work to stick the flounce in which case I won’t make this my last post.

    The pointless point is that it is important to make goon feel important for not thinking any of this is important, so not important that they had to come back and clarify the level of pointlessness, but not really clarify because that would have required more typing.

    I hope it’s not too pointed of me to ask you to point out the main points of this, as I’m afraid I don’t see your point of reference, period, full stop.

    [Brownian sits down with his English pointer Punto and regards his poster of Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte - 1884 until he begins to go a bit dotty.]

  201. 201
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I hope it’s not too pointed of me to ask you to point out the main points of this, as I’m afraid I don’t see your point of reference, period, full stop.

    I feel like you’re pointing an accusatory finger at me, because I cannot rightly point out a point that answers your pointed question about the point of pointless pointing, regardless of points of references, points of order, pints of beer, piss of ants… I think that the point of this pointless pointed pointy-tude escapes me.

    Other than that good thought there was some sort of profound point in pointing out their belief that this whole enterprise is pointless, to the point of insisting on making multiple pointless posts to point out how little point there is in even trying to make a point in the comments to PZ’s post.

  202. 202
    mythbri

    *Pokes both Improbably Joe and Brownian, just so they get the point*

  203. 203
    unclefrogy

    Tethys
    thanks for the R.D. Laing poem sounds like something from Knots one books that influenced me the most.
    really turned on the lights.

    uncle frogy

  204. 204
    unclefrogy

    missing words of the

    uncle frogy

  205. 205
    JohnnieCanuck

    totalretard @186

    Many people find the word retard hurtful. Please don’t do that.

    It makes you seem callous and not a little sadistic. Or was that what you were aiming at?

  206. 206
    Anthony K

    *Pokes both Improbably Joe and Brownian, just so they get the point*

    Who appointed you Official Pharyngula Poker?

    But…point taken.

    May I share a poem?

    O pointy birds, o pointy pointy,
    Anoint my head, anointy-nointy.
    –John Lillison

  207. 207
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Improbably Joe and Brownian:

    Do y’all have a point?

  208. 208
    goon

    LOL. This place sure is funny.
    Oh well, keep fighting for the cause.

    I’m sorry, cause+.

  209. 209
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I like science fiction and comic books and stuff like that, so I could go to Comic-Con, but I don’t really want to. Excuse me while I go and complain about how the organizers are being divisive and elitist for holding a convention I don’t want to attend.

  210. 210
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    @JohnnieCanuck:

    How dare you! Now someone (like many others do) will go off and claim that “totalretard” posted on FTB and people jumped all over him, calling him ableist, hateful, callous and sadistic! For no reason! Proof that FTB is evil!

  211. 211
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    @Naked Bunny:

    ComicCon is DIVISIVE to comic book fans who don’t see the need for conventions for people like them. This “with us or against us” attitude will end up with ComicCon attendees calling non-attendees evil, hateful assholes!

  212. 212
    Tethys

    thanks for the R.D. Laing poem sounds like something from Knots one books that influenced me the most.
    really turned on the lights.

    uncle frogy

    You’re welcome. Apparently it is misattributed to R.D. Laing, and is by Daniel Goleman using the form of one of Laing’s knots.

    Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception

  213. 213
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @186:

    I can’t support the divisive goals of atheism+ because they want to pry the gun from my cold dead hand. Do I win the award for stupid, or will I have to try again?

    You may not win an award for that, but you win one for having an offensive ‘nym.

  214. 214
    bastionofsass

    PZ asked:

    So, all you anti-atheist+ people, I challenge you: tell me what will happen to you if you don’t join atheism+?

    I’m going to say the argument frequently is sort of like some of the very best arguments against gay marriage:

    * If you let gays marry, then traditional marriage atheists create a forum like A+, traditional atheism is ruined, devalued! It’s worthless, like a counterfeit $20 devalues legitimate $20 bills. It will never be the same.

    * Marriage Atheism has traditionally been defined one way and one way only. And there are rules! You can’t go changing what marriage atheism means!

    * Eeek! We’re all going to have to marry gays care about social justice now! The horror!!

  215. 215
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    The main concern people have on Twitter from what I’ve seen is that they fear that Atheism+ implies that members of that group are implied to be better than those who aren’t.

    My sentiment is this: If you are silently enabling social injustice, then you are part of the problem. Am I better than somebody who does’t care about social issues? YES. I am.

    Just like I’m better than only the priests who molest children, but the church leaders who enable them by shuffling them around, as well as the religious apologists who explain away such behavior.

    Another point of contention seems to be, “It’s conflating atheism with Atheism+!” A counter-example: atheists have been blogging for years now. This is a form of activism. Many atheists are activists, in fact. If you aren’t sitting on your couch avoiding speaking out against religion in any way, then you are an activist. Is THAT somehow conflating itself with atheism?

  216. 216
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    TerranRich:

    My sentiment is this: If you are silently enabling social injustice, then you are part of the problem. Am I better than somebody who does’t care about social issues? YES. I am.

    QFT.

    If I can add to that, I’m better than those scumbags who are actively *opposing* social justice.
    Why do *any* of them care if people think they’re better than others?
    Are any A+’ers stamping on the rights of minorities?
    Are any of them actively trying to roll back civil rights?
    Are any of them fighting against feminism?
    What do they fear?
    Why are they raging so vocally against people that are not just NOT hurting anyone, but trying to make the lives of minorities BETTER (while not trying to eliminate anyone else’s rights)?

  217. 217
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Tony,

    What do they fear?

    What they fear is not measuring up. What they are furious about is being held to a standard in the first place. For a lot of the “atheist converts” who rejected a religion, part of what they rejected were the rules and standards of their religion. The idea that they still need to meet some other standard and follow some other set of rules is offensive to them. Mostly because they aren’t particularly mature and haven’t grown up enough to understand that rules and standards aren’t bad, and are beneficial to everyone.

  218. 218
    John Morales

    Improbable Joe:

    Mostly because they aren’t particularly mature and haven’t grown up enough to understand that rules and standards aren’t bad, and are beneficial to everyone.

    Rules?

    (Deontology is for other people, I make my own decisions)

  219. 219
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    John Morales,

    You’re not worth talking to anywhere, are you? Too busy being childish and immature and unwilling to be an adult. Go ahead and wreck yourself against the concept of rules that the whole adult world deals with. Bash your head against those stones, and then tell me what good it does you.

  220. 220
    latsot

    I had one guy the other day who was gleefully insisting all over Twitter that Atheism+ had died within a week of its conception. It turned out that he had absolutely no good reason to say this, since he was basing his opinion on the fact that his own Twitter followers weren’t talking about it.

    He also argued that Atheism+ is dead because the only people involved with it are…. the sort of people who would be involved with it. He seemed quite adamant that this was a valid and compelling argument.

    What he couldn’t seem to do was understand that he was simply wrong about Atheim+ having died. He wanted it to be true, he wanted to sneer at it’s supporters, so he simply invented a position and refused to abandon it. This seems to be a common attitude: if Rebecca is involved (by which I mean *any* woman or anyone with a sympathetic or progressive bent) then it’s automatically bad. If FtB has been mentioned anywhere along the way, it is automatically bad.

    And anyway, a hivemind would be pretty cool. Presumably we’d have access to a whole lot of new knowledge.

  221. 221
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It was actually revealing: it became increasingly obvious that the people who really, really hate atheism+ are authoritarians who simply cannot imagine an egalitarian movement — even when they are already part of one.

    Perhaps because they cannot imagine an egalitarian movement, and they aren’t being oppressed by the atheist movement, they assume that they’re on top. They see A+ as a threat to that.

  222. 222
    opinionatedatheist

    I have been an Atheist my whole life and I must say I was more than a bit curious about Atheism Plus. It seems a reasonable enough goal but then it also seems to describe most secular humanists I’ve worked with on various charity and out reach projects.

    I can understand the need to get a group of like minded people together and try to do some good but I think the problem I have is the appearance of rigidness in what the causes are and how to support those causes. I would have to say in my experience Atheists are not the most conformist villagers on the island. We all have our own goals and own causes. Child abuse prevention is probably me biggest cause personally because that is what I experienced.

    I would say I support all the causes AP lists but to varying degrees. I see the trouble a lot of people have with AP and I can’t disagree with them entirely. It does appear a bit dogmatic in the way it has been presented, mostly by self described AP’s, at least so far. I say dogmatic in the loosest sense as it seems the causes and way of supporting those causes allow for little nuance. I could be wrong but then I’m talking about my perception so far.

    I’ve watched this become a divisive issue in different forums and I’ve read a few of the blogs and thus far I’ve learned PZ is not someone I’m likely to read more of. I can see the point in wanting to get active with causes (I’ve been active a long time but never thought of attaching my lack of belief in god to that). So I wish the AP’s luck and I hope they accomplish something more than creating a new label and I hope they can handle dissent a little better.

  223. 223
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    opinionatedatheist wrote:

    So I wish the AP’s luck and I hope they accomplish something more than creating a new label and I hope they can handle dissent a little better.

    ‘Dissent’? You think that the tidal wave of dishonest abuse and hate the people who started A+ have received both before and after doing that is best summed up as ‘dissent’?

    You’re either a clueless fucking idiot, or a dishonest fucking idiot. Which is it?

  224. 224
    Pteryxx

    and I hope they can handle dissent a little better.

    you really think bloggers and speakers get driven away by “dissent”?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/09/goodbye-for-now

    So which bullshit excuse will you go for now? We’ve heard them all before. ‘just the internet’ perhaps? or ‘suck it up and deal’? How about ‘she was asking for it’ that’s a popular one these days.

  225. 225
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Improbable Joe, I’m no different now than I was as a teenager, nor have I ever claimed otherwise here.

    I personally have guidelines and heuristics and evaluate actions according to circumstance — you are welcome to your rules, but if you expect me to follow them you will need to enforce my compliance.

    (Good luck with that!)

  226. 226
    Noadi

    they’re Aspy problems

    Fuck you. I have Aspergers and yet somehow I’ve managed to learn how not to be an asshole, as have most. I have difficulties in social situations and I’m not terribly good at reading people, that is not synonymous with “being a self-centered asshole”. Aspergers is not an excuse for bad behavior, ever, and I am really tired of people trying to use it as one.

  227. 227
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    opinionatedatheist:

    It does appear a bit dogmatic in the way it has been presented, mostly by self described AP’s, at least so far.

    Dogmatic?
    Ok, for the sake of argument*, let’s say this:

    Atheism+ is a safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime.

    *is* central dogma, which cannot be deviated from.
    Now what?
    If you’d like to deviate from the dogma, what does that entail?
    If you’d like to move A+ somewhere else, and deal with something else, what would that be?
    Why would you voluntarily join an organization of atheists who seek to promote social justice so that you can deviate from that mission statement?
    What goals do you seek to advance that A+ doesn’t?
    If the ‘dogma’ of A+ is the pursuit of social justice, why are you opposed to it?
    Do you think that’s not a good cause to pursue?
    Are you a dictionary atheist who feels that atheists shouldn’t touch social issues (leaving aside the fact that without any god belief, so many of the inequalities of the world stand out as WRONG)?

    *I’m in a pissy mood, so I can’t believe I’m willing to even grant this, because I don’t think for one second that anything about A+ is dogmatic. No one who joins A+ is forced to believe anything. If you’re joining, the odds are strong that you’re already an atheist who champions social justice. If you aren’t interested in social justice, you probably won’t join.
    If you’re willing to believe that A+ is dogmatic, what is wrong about the mission statement? How should it be reworded? How would *you* like to do things? What would prevent A+ from being dogmatic?

  228. 228
    ck

    jflcroft, what is HCH? I tried Googling it, but I don’t think you are talking about hexachlorocyclohexane or Holland Christian Homes.

  229. 229
    John Morales

    [OT]

    ckitching, the The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard.

  230. 230
    butterflyfish

    These fuckwads are getting out of hand. The abuse has gotten to the point that Jen is dropping out of blogging. I’m OK with her protecting herself, but I’m NOT OK with the people who made her feel the need. To them: You are assholes. We don’t want or need you. STFU and GTFO.

    (No, I haven’t joined A+ thus far. I just read Jen’s goodbye post.)

  231. 231
    SallyStrange

    (No, I haven’t joined A+ thus far. I just read Jen’s goodbye post.)

    SPLITTER!

  232. 232
    myeck waters

    I just realized why some people are pushing back so hard: they’re feeling nonplussed.

  233. 233
    Hershele Ostropoler

    Is it because I’m not a complete misogynist that I don’t see why a reasonable andproportionate response to “lets make a space for atheists who want to promote social justice as athists” is “we have to hound Jen McCreight off the internet!“?

    Morales @ 225:

    you are welcome to your rules, but if you expect me to follow them you will need to enforce my compliance.

    It’s nice to know that people who think this way end up in jail.

    (Or running for vice-president, I guess)

  234. 234
    mcwaffle

    Noadi@226

    Seconded. I don’t know where people get that crap about Aspies not knowing not to be assholes. It’s really insulting. All that speculation about EG and how he shouldn’t be criticized b/c of some hypothetical ASD. Bullshit. Plus even if that were true, the “don’t do that” would be actual helpful advice. “Oh, I honestly didn’t realize how creepy I was being, sorry, I’ll make sure to avoid situations like that in the future”. Once gently informed I’m being an ass (or being flirted with, or being made fun of), I tend to learn how to recognize that situation when it comes up again. I think I function pretty normally by now after 26 odd years of learning. Occasional black swans come up and I flounder some (proposing marriage is tough), but yeah, Aspergers is not an excuse to be an ass.

  235. 235
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Speaking as someone who is someone with Asperger’s, I issue a hearty “fuck you” to the suggestion that the abusive asses are people on the spectrum.

    Also, people on the spectrum are more (not less) likely to hold back, due to – justified – concerns over whether or not they’ve read the situation properly and if their opinion is welcome and appropriate.

  236. 236
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Hershele:

    It’s nice to know that people who think this way [have guidelines and heuristics and evaluate actions according to circumstance] end up in jail.

    Yet I haven’t ended up in jail.

    (Or running for vice-president, either)

  237. 237
    John Phillips, FCD

    myeck waters #232, you win one brand new Internetz with plusses.

  238. 238
    Hershele Ostropoler

    Morales @ 236:

    Nice. What you said is “I won’t follow rules unless forced to” (you phrased it slightly more condescendingly). So I conclude you’ll happily take an apple off a fruit cart without paying if you can get away with it — since, after all, that’s just a rule, and if I can’t derive it from first principles, you’re not interested.

  239. 239
    Dhorvath, OM

    I think you will find that John Morales, having not taken the apple, did so because it was something that John Morales considers wrong, not because there is a rule about stealing.

  240. 240
    stocketrader24stocketrader24

    Can I point out that atheists supporting other movements and identifying themselves as atheists. To these groups that are in all likelihood opposed to atheism.

    Atheism + may help define a certain group of atheists, it does nothing to support the plus side of the movement.

    The word atheism or atheist has a tremendous negative connotation attached to it still. So much so that the very groups atheist plus are making an effort to support would more than likely reject an atheist.

    To the masses its like the KKK endorsing Mitt Romney, thanks but no thanks.

    While I am for equal rights for everyone, if I am at a womens rights rally my atheism is not at issue and would only come up if asked.

    Atheism should stand alone as a single issue or position.

  241. 241
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Thank you for your concern, stocketrader24stocketrader24.

    Just want to point out that this statement; To the masses its like the KKK endorsing Mitt Romney, thanks but no thanks., says more about what you think that want anyone else thinks. Comparing us to the KKK, nicely done.

    Why do you think that people involved with atheism are trying to working with groups that promote civil rights? In order to overcome the image that people like you project upon us.

  242. 242
    Inaji

    The word atheism or atheist has a tremendous negative connotation attached to it still.

    Gee, better alert the press, that’s news! :eyeroll:

    Did you really think people are unaware of that? Also, the negativity attached to atheism depends a great deal on where you happen to be. Negative in the U.S.? Yep. Negative everywhere else in the world? Not so much.

    One of the grand things about A+ and campaigns like Non-Believers Giving Aid and so forth is changing that perception about atheists. Atheists are regular people, complete with the full range of human flaws and foibles. We are you relatives, your neighbours, your friends, your acquaintances and so on.

    The more that atheists are identified with social justice, the better. That’s a positive connotation.

    Now, if you’d prefer to content yourself with being a dictionary atheist, no one is stopping you. Do whatever you please, just don’t whine at those of us who have a greater goal.

  243. 243
    vaiyt

    @240:

    Are you ashamed of being an atheist?

    LGBT people are viewed by a good part of society as degenerates. Should they hide it from the public sphere as well?

  244. 244
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Vaiyt, what must those of us who are both queer and atheist do?

    *snort*

  245. 245
    Inaji

    Janine:

    what must those of us who are both queer and atheist do?

    Shut up and get back in our closet.

  246. 246
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Can we share closets or do we have to be alone?

  247. 247
    Inaji

    It’s no fun at all being alone in the closet…

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