Kanazawa pushback »« Why I am an atheist – Ruthy McCoy

Comments

  1. blf says

    Refreshments?! That’s divisive!

    You mean there are peopleheathens who don’t like grog with roasted baby? What do they want? A nice vin instead?

    Well, Ok, there are unspeakables who like peas, but those can easily be ignored an imbecilic blasphemous cupcakes…

  2. huntstoddard says

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented. Carrier seems to have (mercifully) dropped off the face of the Earth after presenting his Us v. Them version of the movement, which has not been retracted. Ed Kagin is convinced it’s a bridge too far and divisive. This movement seems to be in free-fall. Nobody in the mythical and mysterious “back channel” seems to have thought about first deciding on a clear presentation before blasting it out to the public. And nobody appears to want to represent themselves as leadership, as if that’s going to somehow sully its grass-roots purity.

    This whole thing might collapse like a badly baked angel food cake.

    As I said like, what?, a month ago, if you don’t stop shooting people in the back of the neck, people who have legitimate grievance!, this whole thing is over.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented.

    Gee, a new idea still in the infancy stage. It will be defined as time goes on. Why can’t you understand that? Gee, your concern is noted.

  4. says

    if you don’t stop shooting people in the back of the neck, people who have legitimate grievance!, this whole thing is over.

    And that’s (the emphasis) where your argument fails.

  5. says

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented.

    No, Cupcake. The dolts will continue to scream and whinge and come up with the most idiotic protests, tossing poor strawcritters onto an ever growing bonfire. Oh, no need to tell you, though, what with you being one of the dolts.

    A+ will do just fine, in spite of all your wishful thinking for it to do otherwise.

  6. huntstoddard says

    And that’s (the emphasis) where your argument fails.

    No it doesn’t. Read the comment threads on Ed Kagin’s posts. Yes, some of them are idiotic, but some are genuine and thoughtful. Furthermore, why was there never a retraction from Carrier? Seriously. If that was a serious misstep from an acceptable message, why was there never even so much as a debate here on FtB? You know damn well that if it was as radical a statement at the other end of the discussion spectrum there would have been a response. There’s fucking nobody at the wheel of this bus! Sure that caters to the romantic notion that grass roots movements kind of run themselves…NOT. Name me one fucking movement that ever succeeded like that? One. YOU NEED A CLEAR MESSAGE. Got it?

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The legitimate grievences against A+, a totally voluntary group of people:
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    .
    .
    .
    *CRICKETS CHIRRING*
    .
    Everything else is bullshit.

  8. huntstoddard says

    A+ will do just fine, in spite of all your wishful thinking for it to do otherwise.

    Right. And a year from now when “Atheism Plus” brings smiles to people’s faces for all the wrong reasons, you’re going to be asking “what the fuck happened?”

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    YOU NEED A CLEAR MESSAGE. Got it?

    Who gives a fuck about your OPINION concern/tone carper? If you want the organization to succeed, go do something constructive. The one thing you need to do is to quit criticizing.

  10. says

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented.

    What, exactly, do you mean by that? Do you mean that A+ will fail unless some sort of Central Committee can present ONE unified vision, as opposed to the many people offering visions and ideas that we’re seeing (and the morons are attacking) today?

    LOTS of people have been offering unified visions, and have been doing so for decades. Are you complaining about too few ideas, or too many?

  11. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I still do not understand why the concept of a group of atheists who also are concerned with social justice issues grouping together is such a problem.

    This doesn’t mean if you are an atheist you have to join

    This doesn’t mean if you are an atheist and concerned with social justice issues you have to join.

    This doesn’t mean that those who do not join are bad people.

  12. Rodney Nelson says

    huntstoddard #7 & 11

    Contrary to popular belief, Atheism+ is not defined by Richard Carrier. He’s one individual expressing his views, nothing more. The comments I’ve read about his post were either disagreeing with him or, like yours, stridently asserting that Carrier is the one who decides all policy for Atheism+.

    Carrier offered his opinion. That opinion was not accepted by anyone in Atheism+, yet you A+ haters have decided that it’s official A+ dogma. Despite your insistence, it’s not.

  13. sonofrojblake says

    I’m dissatisfied with the cartoon.

    The woman in it comes across as someone who’s just joined a badminton club and as her first contribution has asked if anyone wants to organise a game of tennis or squash.

    Now, admittedly, the douchebags in the third panel come across as the sort of people who would respond to that invitation with a punch to the face. However, a not unreasonable response would have been “we support your right to pursue those goals in a club which has those goals as it’s raison d’etre. We have, as stated, other goals that you were aware of when you joined. If you’d like to pursue our goals, you’re welcome. Or join a general racquet sports club. Or start one.” (A+ is that club, if I read it correctly.)

    What comes across strongly is that a lot of people I’ve met who join atheist/skeptic organisations do so because they’re angry. Angry at being lied to when they were kids or young adults, angry that other people are still being lied to, angry that they themselves were possibly at some stage gullible, angry that other people took advantage of that gullibility, etc. In organisations they find a safe haven with other people who are similarly angry where they can support each other in their differentiation from the “other” – the bad people, the gullible, the hypocrites and the liars.

    Now arrive in that group and tell a goodly portion of them that despite their enlightenment, despite their lack of superstition, they’re STILL bad people, because they’re sexist, racist or homophobic or whatever. Or even if they’re not actually any of those things, that their opposition to them (over and above their existing opposition to religion/superstition and the bad things that come out of them) isn’t active or vocal enough. Hey, whaddyaknow, they don’t take it very well. Suddenly the group they joined for support has turned against them, and for reasons (it seems to them) entirely unrelated to the point of the group in the first place. “Social justice isn’t what we’re about!” is, to them, a perfectly legitimate argument.

    Easy, of course, for me to say as a privileged straight white cis male atheist.

  14. says

    And all this fol-de-rol over a post that Jen made merely as a ‘descriptive’ and not necessarily a ‘presriptive’ term. Most folks here at FTB, myself included, are 100% down with the concept of A+ without having to officially add it to our merit badge inventory. And why does the woman who gave us A+ and boobquake have to be treated like this. I only WISH that sometime in my life I can create a viral meme out of thin air and unleash it on the world.

    I mean, I’m not all that smart a guy by comparison. How the fusk is it that I get this while my betters continue to scratch their balls in public?

  15. says

    huntstoddard:

    …and nobody appears to want to represent themselves as leadership…

    Atheism Plus is also being portrayed as a power grab by McCreight, Myers and Watson. I wish you sneering reactionaries would get your stories straight. You’d look much less stupid that way.

    This movement seems to be in free-fall.

    As evidenced by the fact that the Atheism Plus forum took just 10 days to overtake both Heathen Hub and Rationalia* in membership. I suppose you’ll now lurch to the opposite ridiculous extreme, and claim that Atheism Plus is on the verge of ripping the entire atheist movement apart.

    [*] Of “Is it OK to rape a Skepchick?” fame.

  16. says

    There’s fucking nobody at the wheel of this bus!

    If there was someone in control of the whole movement, you’d no doubt call it an authoritarian movement and/or personality cult. But now the movement consists of people thinking for themselves, bringing diferent ideas, experiences and priorities to the table, and not being subject to any central authority — and you’re calling that a bad thing?

    What the fuck do you want, hunt? A diverse movement of freethinkers trying to work with each other for some common goals, or an Atheist Fuehrer herding everyone according to one vision?

  17. says

    This movement seems to be in free-fall. Nobody in the mythical and mysterious “back channel” seems to have thought about first deciding on a clear presentation before blasting it out to the public.

    I guess you’re too dull to figure out that A+ is not executed, presented, or blasted from on high (if the “back channel” could be characterised as being on high). It is an emergent movement from bottom up. It’s not falling, it’s taking root. There are only two ways it could “fail”. The first is if everyone interested in both the A and the plus decides to give up on the A community altogether and go their separate ways. I don’t see that happening since there are too many activist atheists who are also both humanists and sceptics. The second is if A embraces and absorbs the + and there is no need for a separate label, which actually wouldn’t be a failure but a success.

  18. says

    @huntstoddard #7 –

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented.

    Because atheism is all about conformity and unity of message, is that it?

    Your concern has been noted.

  19. says

    Huntstoddard: STOP WHINING. Even if Atheism+ were to lapse into total neglect and be forgotten forevermore, it would have done 10,000 times more for the cause then you ever have. Now go away.

    Also, please notice, the cartoon doesn’t even mention A+. Your obsession is standing there naked, looking rather stupid.

  20. dingashenry says

    It is a (cough) revelation to see that sectarianism and orthodoxy are not just religious phenomena. I would hope that for that indictment alone, the movement rises above the squabbling and takes a big tent approach rather than spewing a secular kind of dogma. Feminists have a stong claim here–religion begats sexism. Is there really disagreement on that point? Seems to me that the movement should take a lesson from one of the political party conventions–have a big tent, have a smorgasbord platform, and let everyone play in their corner of the sandbox, so long as we are all in the sandbox. Otherwise, the theists win.

  21. David Marjanović says

    Feminist hair FTW!

    The woman in it comes across as someone who’s just joined a badminton club and as her first contribution has asked if anyone wants to organise a game of tennis or squash.

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

    Now arrive in that group and tell a goodly portion of them that despite their enlightenment, despite their lack of superstition, they’re STILL bad people, because they’re sexist, racist or homophobic or whatever. Or even if they’re not actually any of those things, that their opposition to them (over and above their existing opposition to religion/superstition and the bad things that come out of them) isn’t active or vocal enough. Hey, whaddyaknow, they don’t take it very well. Suddenly the group they joined for support has turned against them, and for reasons (it seems to them) entirely unrelated to the point of the group in the first place. “Social justice isn’t what we’re about!” is, to them, a perfectly legitimate argument.

    It is, however, still stupid, and that’s what we’re trying to explain.

  22. huntstoddard says

    Contrary to popular belief, Atheism+ is not defined by Richard Carrier.

    Except that Atheism+ was defined by Richard Carrier, was not retracted by Richard Carrier and has been quoted from Richard Carrier. You’d think someone who gave a shit would actually care about that, as in, like getting the message straight??? To much to ask?

  23. says

    sonofrojblake:

    What comes across strongly is that a lot of people I’ve met who join atheist/skeptic organisations do so because they’re angry.

    Uh huh. Why don’t you just trot out the old chestnut and get it over with – we’re all angry with god, right?

    You and your dissatisfaction come across like someone who is utterly clueless to the history behind A+, which has been ongoing and evolving toward this current point for over a year now, thanks to people who think it’s just dandy to harass, hound, stalk and threaten those who speak out about certain issues, particularly if they are committing the crime of speaking out while female.

    Those of us who are angry about the current state of affairs regarding skeptics and atheists have damn good reason to be angry. We’ve been fighting the good fight and have gotten shit flung in our faces for saying the mildest of things, such as Rebecca Watson’s “Guys, don’t do that.”

    If you are clueless about the history involved, I suggest you lurk more, silently. Read.

    If you are aware of the history, well, shut the fuck up.

  24. says

    I’m dissatisfied with the cartoon.

    The woman in it comes across as someone who’s just joined a badminton club and as her first contribution has asked if anyone wants to organise a game of tennis or squash.

    And why might that be? Is it because you think she’s a whiny uppity bitch, who should shut her mouth? And if you’re trying to imply that women who complaining about harassment are all newcomers, then you’re either an idiot, or a lying idiot.

  25. says

    but because no single unified vision has been presented

    So, in your opinion, one must have a completely cohesive leadership structure and a grand unified vision in order for a grassroots coalescence of an idea that is less than a month old to succeed?

    Gotcha :/

  26. says

    Huntstoddard, you’re one of those assholes who can’t imagine a movement without a leader — it’s simply beyond your comprehension. Richard Carrier is not in charge, I’m not in charge Jen McCreight is not in charge. You’ll never understand, because your brain is reactionary, hierarchical, and authoritarian.

    I’ll be generous and assume that your last comment was composed before you read my warning, but now you’re done. I’m tired of your inanity. Post in this thread again, and you will be banned.

  27. says

    dingashenry:

    Is there really disagreement on that point?

    Why yes, there is. Imagine that. You can do all the big tent you like. Me, I refuse to share my tent with people who think it’s perfectly okay to tell rape jokes and call me cunt. You see, I don’t care for assholes. You, however, are more than free to hang out with them. Over there —–>.

  28. says

    What comes across strongly is that a lot of people I’ve met who join atheist/skeptic organisations do so because they’re angry. Angry at being lied to when they were kids or young adults, angry that other people are still being lied to, angry that they themselves were possibly at some stage gullible, angry that other people took advantage of that gullibility, etc. In organisations they find a safe haven with other people who are similarly angry where they can support each other in their differentiation from the “other” – the bad people, the gullible, the hypocrites and the liars.

    You really think all their anger is over purely personal issues like that? You really never met someone who was angry over broader social issues as well? That’s huge hole in your “understanding” of atheists’ motivations.

    Now arrive in that group and tell a goodly portion of them that despite their enlightenment, despite their lack of superstition, they’re STILL bad people, because they’re sexist, racist or homophobic or whatever.

    First, if you arrive at a group and find they really ARE behaving badly, what are you supposed to do? Keep silent because you can’t criticize people in “your” tribe?

    And second, is this really a case of good people arriving in a group and finding the people already in it are bad? Or is it a case of good people finding their group is being infiltrated and/or attacked by a LATER wave of hateful, ignorant, uncaring people?

  29. says

    And if you’re trying to imply that women who complaining about harassment are all newcomers,

    Damnit. I revised that sentence at the last minute, but obviously not very well. :(

  30. David Marjanović says

    Also, please notice, the cartoon doesn’t even mention A+.

    I don’t think that’s a cross the woman is wearing. And the “A-” on the T-shirt of the guy in the lower left (which I overlooked till I read comment 4!) is a clear allusion, too.

    rises above the squabbling and takes a big tent approach

    No. That would mean silencing people. When there are n opinions on a topic, at least n – 1 of them are wrong.

    spewing a secular kind of dogma

    “Women are people” is a dogma? I’d call it an empirical fact…

    political party conventions–have a big tent, have a smorgasbord platform,

    *eyeroll* American. Two-party systems aren’t some kind of logical inevitability. Where I come from, there are six parties in parliament – consequently, none of them is a big tent!

    and let everyone play in their corner of the sandbox, so long as we are all in the sandbox.

    And let the Morally Repugnant Assholes play with all boobs they can see, consensually or not…?

  31. huntstoddard says

    Also, please notice, the cartoon doesn’t even mention A+. Your obsession is standing there naked, looking rather stupid.

    Maybe I actually value it more than you do. No, actually, if A+ falls on its face from ineptitude it doesn’t signal some type of success. That also sends a bad message. It’s kind of like saying well, if the civil rights movement went down in a ball of flames, it would still have done more good than anyone could have accomplished. Maybe yes, maybe no. Perhaps it would have emboldened those opposing it to resist civil right for another hundred years! Whether a movement actually gets things right really does matter.

  32. says

    Nobody in the mythical and mysterious “back channel” seems to have thought about first deciding on a clear presentation before blasting it out to the public.

    So what the fuck is your problem here? Are you complaining because there’s a ‘mythical and mysterious “back channel”,’ or because ther isn’t one, or because it hasn’t done what you think a ‘mythical and mysterious “back channel”’ should do?

    What an amazingly stupid comment.

  33. huntstoddard says

    Jesus. I’m looking forward to the splat.

    Synchronization problem. Ah well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

  34. scorpy1 says

    Also, please notice, the cartoon doesn’t even mention A+.

    Not in words, but that last panel shows the female character’s necklace swinging over to the right, making a “+”.

    I thought it was a nice touch: showing that we’re all part of the same root group and have the same core relation, just that the A+ members have a modified perspective stemming from what I would think/hope are similar principles.

    In all the talk I’ve read here of treating A+ as religious or requiring leadership structure, the analogy that seems more appropriate to me is that A+ is treated as heretical in that they use interpretation rather than definition.

  35. says

    Aside from the fact that folks like Hunstoddard and his fellow authoritarians can be profoundly irritating, the cognitive processes they use are facinating. I think there really IS an inablity to think non-hierarchically that they can’t help…An entirely different qualia experience when parsing causality and agency. I call them the Top-Downers, whereas non authoritarians would be Bottom-Uppers. Not to flattering a title but…oh well

  36. Brownian says

    Right. And a year from now when “Atheism Plus” brings smiles to people’s faces for all the wrong reasons, you’re going to be asking “what the fuck happened?”

    Just like evolution, it’s a theory in crisis.

    I have to say, all of the pushback has invigorated me. I thought pointing out that creationists were stupid, lying assholes was fun, but it’s twice as good noting it in other skeptics!

  37. says

    A gently as I can put this (and more gently than many of ‘em deserve), I really have to say the complaints about ‘no unified vision’, apart from making awfully little sense in this context (see above–it’s just not that kind of animal, nor does it need to be) kinda crack me up for an additional reason, here.

    That being: y’know, I’m actually pretty clear on what A+ is about and why the people on about it figure it’s worth doing. It’s clear enough as a direction. And its general utility has been painfully well-illustrated of late. We sure as hell do need people working this, when toxic sludge of the nature we’re seeing is piling up in comments threads and mailboxes, and when women especially are saying look, there’s issues at some conferences, stuff happening and not being addressed…

    And at the converse, the opponents to this look to me like a mightily confused and incoherent babble of voices. There’s all these complaints and threadjackings and threats and grouses and so on, but none of it seems to me to add up to much of anything that really makes any real sense.

    Most of the time, honestly, I blink at it, think to myself: y’know, if you really don’t want to deal with a problem, it’s incredible how much noise you can make, what a fool of yourself you can make trying to find an excuse not to.

    Charitably or not, that remains my take on this: they don’t wanna, and they’re going to find a million excuses not to. It’s a bit like watching a kid having a tantrum. Storm and stomp and rage, and let’s just hope they don’t break too much furniture before they finally calm down.

  38. sawells says

    I keep meeting new pathologies in these threads. Forms of reading/comprehension disorder which even the creationists haven’t presented.

    There’s the people who apparently can’t perceive plus signs. So the clear message “A+ is about these other things in addition to atheism” is met with “HOW CAN YOU SAY ATHEISM IS ABOUT THOSE OTHER THINGS WAH DICTIONARY UNK”.

    And there’s the people who read the perfectly clear message “Those who are against us, are against us” and respond with “YOUR ATTITUDE IS THOSE WHO ARE NOT WITH US ARE AGAINST US, ARGH DIVISIVE BIGOT NAZIS”.

    It would be funny if it weren’t about basic human rights.

  39. dtnewman says

    My problem with the A+ it that it does not seem to be able differentiate itself from Humanism especially to audiences outside the US. I understand that Humanism has a slightly different perception in the US but could the term not be reclaimed?

    Humanist groups such as the IHEU and affiliated groups already do very important social justice around the world, and its work at the UN especially with the defamation bill has had affect on all our lives without many of us realizing it.

    So before I can get behind a label such as A+ its advocates need to be able to explain to me why it is necessary and why a push for more diversity within humanist organisations wouldn’t achieve the same thing.

    I suppose this criticism has more weight if A+ sees itself going forward as a movement more than an us (being the social justice atheist) vs them (the atheist bigots) differentiation

  40. says

    Sweet jesus, it’s like a flashback to this time last year of idiots continually asking, “What’s OWS about? How can there be no leader? What do they really want?”

  41. sawells says

    @49:

    My problem with the A+ it that it does not seem to be able to differentiate itself from Humanism inside my head

    FTFY. Anyway, you don’t have to “join” or use the label if you don’t want to.

  42. Brownian says

    So before I can get behind a label such as A+ its advocates need to be able to explain to me why it is necessary and why a push for more diversity within humanist organisations wouldn’t achieve the same thing.

    If the the humanist groups all have this so well covered, then why are sexism and racism so rampant in the atheist communities?

    Clearly, the problem exists, and so the need isn’t being met.

    I suppose this criticism has more weight if A+ sees itself going forward as a movement more than an us (being the social justice atheist) vs them (the atheist bigots) differentiation.

    Well, we’re clearly going to have to spend some time continually re-explaining that there’s a problem in the community before we’ll be able to move forward.

    It really is like dealing with creationists, who think asking why there are still monkeys around is the very height of skepticality.

  43. dtnewman says

    @53 It would be nice if when you quote me you do so correctly, rather than adding to what I actually said.

    I’m trying to say the the only argument against the A+ label is not that “Atheism says nothing about racism and sexism” , its that “There is an atheism movement where we are proactively doing things about sexism and racism, and we already have a name for it”

  44. Beatrice says

    dtnewman ,

    As far as I know, humanism has a lot of atheists, but it’s not by definition atheistic.

  45. dtnewman says

    If the the humanist groups all have this so well covered, then why are sexism and racism so rampant in the atheist communities?

    I’m not saying that the bigotry is not a problem, or that the Humanist movement has this covered, i’m saying that the new labeling/movement is unnecessary. The atheist bigots who do not adopt the A+ label will still be bigots, and something needs to be done to address that.

  46. sonofrojblake says

    @Caine:

    Why don’t you just trot out the old chestnut and get it over with – we’re all angry with god, right?

    Why not? How about because that’s not what I mean, that’s not what I’ve ever observed, and mainly because it would be fucking dumb thing to say OR infer from what I said.

    Those of us who are angry about the current state of affairs regarding skeptics and atheists have damn good reason to be angry.

    I know. I think I might even possibly have said that already. My point is – anger doesn’t make you different. The people you’re angry with, they’re angry too. They’re angry because it’s been pointed out to them that they’re wrong, and they’ve got a great deal of their self-image wrapped up in the fact that they’re in a tiny minority who are right (remind you of anything…). And what makes it worse for them is that if they have any glimmer of sense or introspection – they know they’re wrong. Cognitive dissonance is a beast.

    @RagingBee:

    You really think all [atheists’] anger is over purely personal issues…

    I don’t know about ALL atheists. What I do know is that reading the many, many “why I am an atheist” posts here, reasons given are almost invariably personal rather than “broader social issues”.

    if you arrive at a group and find they really ARE behaving badly, what are you supposed to do?

    If that’s a serious question, I think most reasonable people’s answer would be “leave, and find or start another group”. Or if you’re of a more schmoozy politial bent (I’m not…), maybe gradually build a power base within the organisation and get those behaving badly expelled. Isn’t that the way these things usually work?

    is this really a case of good people arriving in a group and finding the people already in it are bad? Or is it a case of good people finding their group is being infiltrated and/or attacked by a LATER wave of hateful, ignorant, uncaring people?

    I don’t know. To pick two names because I remember them off the top of my head, are you characterising DJ Grothe or Rene Walling as representative of some later wave? My (limited) understanding of the issue leads me to believe that the problem is indeed precisely the outdated attitudes of those already entrenched within organisations, rather than some imagined influx of sexist, racist homophobes from somewhere. If I’m wrong, well, shut me the fuck up.

  47. dtnewman says

    @56 Humanism means secular Humanism (we could get into the pedanticness of the capitalization of the H, much like the plus is to the Atheism but its all very trivial)… hence why organisations like BHA and IHEU are atheist organisations but drop the word secular. Its a philosophy that has been around a long time and so has evolved over the centuries. (Much like natural philosophy or science has.)

    I tend to think of religious humanism as being akin to religious science. Humanism after all in its essence is reason, logic ect. applied to morality and ethics

  48. Brownian says

    I’m not saying that the bigotry is not a problem, or that the Humanist movement has this covered, i’m saying that the new labeling/movement is unnecessary.

    Thanks for clarifying. Just to clarify my position in this discussion, I do think you’re arguing in good faith (at least I think that currently), and I’m not trying to assign positions to you that you do not hold.

    The atheist bigots who do not adopt the A+ label will still be bigots, and something needs to be done to address that.

    Well, one of the goals behind A+, as I see it, is to give those who have been victims of the atheist bigots some space in an atheist community in which they won’t be subjected to the kind of bigotry they have been.

    As for humanist groups, even secular ones: many New Atheists have received pushback within them for criticising religion at all, particularly when those groups also include religious moderates.

    So their goals and New Atheist goals may not be entirely compatible.

  49. says

    My problem with the A+ it that it does not seem to be able differentiate itself from Humanism especially to audiences outside the US.

    Why is that a problem? It’s no problem.

    It’s taking people who self-identify in one group, and focusing their attention in a promising way on the admirable goals of another. Accept it. It’s a good thing.

  50. blf says

    @53 It would be nice if when you quote me you do so correctly, rather than adding to what I actually said.

    The “FTFY” is an offering to Tpyos meaning “Fixed It For You”.

  51. sonofrojblake says

    (Also lobbing in two things I think of A+:
    1. it’s an excellent idea. I’m in. I’d sign up if that was how it worked, which it clearly isn’t.
    2. kind of a shame it has to explicitly exist, but not enough of a shame for that to be an argument against it.)

  52. besomyka says

    @19

    The woman in it comes across as someone who’s just joined a badminton club…

    I think you’ve exposed your bias right off the bat here. She was just with the group participating. She could have been there for years, a leader in the organization, or an active participant.

    What is it about the cartoon that makes you think she’s a recent joiner, much less a subversive joiner? Why do you have such an uncharitable interpretation?

    It seems to me that you’ve imposed a motivation of malice where none was stated, nor was it even implied.

  53. Owen says

    … and nothing of value was lost (I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to use that for a while now).

    Horse is right on target with the OWS reference – here is a movement that started because the existing hierarchy wasn’t getting it, and all the people who couldn’t/wouldn’t comprehend that sometimes things happen from the ground up instead of being centrally planned got a hair up their asses about it.

  54. raven says

    I keep meeting new pathologies in these threads. Forms of reading/comprehension disorder which even the creationists haven’t presented.

    True. As well as every logical fallacy ever invented in more and more bizarre ways.

    I still wonder just how many misogynistic trolls there are in the “A” movement. The A-‘s.

    1. No doubt it is a problem. And has been for thousands of years. The bible itself is a handbook of misogyny and hate written by the trolls of that era.

    The next obvious question is How big of a problem?

    It’s extremely helpful moving forward to have real data. For example, skeptical organizations consisting of mostly white males could look at surveys and realize they are excluding most of the population due to a few psychologically defective trolls. Or could realize that their membership consists mostly of socially defective racist, misogynistic, homophobic trolls.

    Social science surveys are old, maybe a century and we see them every day. Obama has a slight lead over the other one and we know this how? Because someone ran a poll.

    Numbers like fucktons, bazillions, lots, a bunch, too many and so on are not data, not quantitative, and are assertions without proof or just guesses. Knowledge is power here.

    Gathering real data does require real effort and real money though. I suppose one could always run an internet poll. But we all know how reliable those are.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The atheist bigots who do not adopt the A+ label will still be bigots, and something needs to be done to address that.

    Why would the bigots adopt the A+ label, and why would someone who didn’t adopt the A+ label be considered a bigot? It doesn’t follow. Basically, all I hear is you don’t like the idea, and want to say anything you can to stop it.

  56. tonyinbatavia says

    @49: Because when I attend humanist meetings, they tell me that I shouldn’t talk about my atheism because it scares away the religious people who attend. They’re not allowing for the diversity you’re asking for so that they can placate the religious.

    When you think, like I do, that religion is one of the biggest barriers to humanism but you aren’t allowed to say so, it’s time for a new movement. Therefore: A+

  57. Beatrice says

    dtnewman,

    Could you please either quote the person you are responding to or write their name? It would make it easier for the reader than just having a number of a post as reference.

    ——–

    Secular ≠ atheistic

    You can regard religious humanism as you wish, I might even partly agree with you, but the fact is that humanism can and does include the religious.

  58. sonofrojblake says

    What is it about the cartoon that makes you think she’s a recent joiner

    The fact that the guy with the little beard just announced a mission statement. The general impression I took was not that she was new, but that the group was new, and the beard guy was saying “this is what we’re all here for”.

    That’s all.

  59. raven says

    Followup to msg #68.

    There are some clever people on this thread who might be able to come up with data between an internet poll and a Gallup/Pew class survey.

    I made an attempt yesterday by estimating the trolls to normal people ratio.

    There might not be very many. The internet is a powerful creep amplifier, the best thing to happen to trolls since the invention of bridges in the middle ages.

    The reliability of this is unknown. If anyone has a better idea and method, don’t just say it. Do it.

  60. Brownian says

    Basically, all I hear is you don’t like the idea, and want to say anything you can to stop it.

    You of course do not have to agree with me on this Nerd, but I see dtnewman as articulating the most commonly heard and reasonable* criticisms of A+, and so I don’t mind hashing them out with hir.

    *Compare with andrewwilson on this thread in which he simultaneously complains that:

    Atheism has always been non-unified. The only thing any of us can guarantee to have in common is that we don’t see enough evidence for gods or the supernatural.

    Many atheists are completely for the aims of Atheism Plus (as am I), as long as you are fighting for equality of opportunity, but it is precisely because Atheism Plus are trying to create a unified group that we are against it.

    and then later that it’s divisive:

    aw: Because it takes energy away from existing social justice movements that include anyone that is pro social justice.

    me: So the problem is divisiveness, not ‘unity’.

    aw: Yes, but not divisiveness among atheists but among social justice groups.

    Now that’s grasping at straws.

  61. dtnewman says

    @beatrice

    The IHEU which an organisation to which many other Humanist organisations (more than 100 in 40 countries) are affiliated to including the BHA is explicitly Atheist.

  62. says

    it amuses me deeply that A+ is facing many of the same criticisms Occupy did. it really does seem that a lot of people have trouble grasping two basic concepts these two groups have in common, namely 1)it doesn’t have a list of demands, being more a place and a platform for individuals and small groups to achieve various goals for their own communities; and 2)it doesn’t have leaders, because again, it’s more of a place and a platform for individuals and small groups to hash out ideas and organize their ideas into actions. There simply is no need for overarching “leaders” beyond what will emerge at the local (and I include internet geographies in this) level.

  63. tonyinbatavia says

    @78: I’m starting an atheist-only knitting club. It’s completely opt-in. No leaders, just a bunch of atheists who enjoy knitting.

    Divisive to non-knitters? Or not?

  64. says

    it amuses me deeply that A+ is facing many of the same criticisms Occupy did. it really does seem that a lot of people have trouble grasping two basic concepts these two groups have in common, namely 1)it doesn’t have a list of demands, being more a place and a platform for individuals and small groups to achieve various goals for their own communities; and 2)it doesn’t have leaders, because again, it’s more of a place and a platform for individuals and small groups to hash out ideas and organize their ideas into actions. There simply is no need for overarching “leaders” beyond what will emerge at the local (and I include internet geographies in this) level.

    absolutely! And look how much they have accomplished- 99% vs 1% has become a concept that is widely discussed and it is playing a major role in how people discuss contemporary political issues.

    It is funny though how many of the people acting confused by the concept thought anonymous v. scientology was awesome, eh? I saw virtually no questioning of their effectiveness (even though the same group is known to do truly horrible things in addition to good). Some of the confusion might be disingenuous bs from people who dislike what they perceive to be the goals of A+, or who feel insecure about a possible reduction in their privileged status.

  65. Brownian says

    The IHEU which an organisation to which many other Humanist organisations (more than 100 in 40 countries) are affiliated to including the BHA is explicitly Atheist.

    That notwithstanding, as I mentioned earlier, “one of the goals behind A+, as I see it, is to give those who have been victims of the atheist bigots some space in an atheist community in which they won’t be subjected to the kind of bigotry they have been.”

    The existence of some other space in which people might be humanists and atheists does nothing to deal with the kind of bigotry that Rebecca Watson, Surly Amy, Greta Christina, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, and others in this very thread have had to deal with.

    Many of these people have developed relationships with each other in this community. Is it seriously anyone’s contention that organised atheism belongs to Franc Hoggle, and that if you don’t want to have ‘cunt’ inserted forcibly in your name and hear about how fun it would be to rape you just to shut your uppity bitch mouth, you’d best go off and join the IHEU?

    We’re saying that here and now, in this space, we’ve drawn a line. The kind of shit we’ve seen within the last year won’t be tolerated on our watch. And if groups like the JREF and the CFI and the AA aren’t willing to stand up for women and minorities, then fuck ‘em.

  66. Brownian says

    It’s divisive solely because of the name. Why can’t anybody see this?

    Explain how the very act of naming something is divisive to a bunch of supposed rationalists (you know, the kind who supposedly see past names and look at the evidence) in a way that “Rebeccunt Twatson” isn’t.

  67. Garys says

    Also, please notice, the cartoon doesn’t even mention A+

    Yes it did! See the necklace the lady is wearing? ;-)

    Fine comic, btw. Shame that none of the guys stood by her side. But hey, comics are not the place for nuance, but for clarifying a problem. And it does that very well.

  68. Brownian says

    It’s divisive solely because of the name. Why can’t anybody see this?

    Because frankly, that’s the stupidest thing anybody who doesn’t think Jesus wants a war in Palestine so he can vacuum up George W. Bush straight to heaven has ever said.

  69. Brownian says

    no, look closer. it says A+, not A÷

    Brilliant Jadehawk, and far nicer and more clever than paulnewcomb’s exceedingly stupid comment deserved.

  70. Beatrice says

    dtnewman,

    I see. Ok, this particular organization is atheist. Great, I wouldn’t mind there being more of those. I would call myself a humanist, but I’m not a member of any organization.
    And there are plenty of humanists and humanist organizations who welcome religious people.

    A+ isn’t a formal organization. And that’s the part I like the most about it. It’s a community that includes atheists who like their atheism intersectional. Who want to provide a safe haven for those atheists who have felt unwelcome in the wider atheist movement. It holds similar values as humanism and I’m pretty sure I’m not in the minority here when I say I’m a humanist. Why would having an A+ flag to gather around make us weaker?

    I was one of those who thought “keeping” atheism would be a better idea than creating something completely new. But when I saw how many people came in to say how invigorated they feel by this, how much hope it gives them, after the year we have spent arguing about sexism in the atheist community… I had to accept that this was a good move.

  71. Brownian says

    Fine comic, btw. Shame that none of the guys stood by her side.

    “Dear Muslima”

    “There have been no problems at TAM”

    Sorry, what was that about nuance?

  72. says

    It’s divisive solely because of the name. Why can’t anybody see this?

    I think we should call old atheism “atheism classic” and a+ “new atheism” or maybe “crystal atheism”. that sounds like a good idea, right?

    Anyway, I don’t know that I care to have a marketing debate about the effectiveness of the name. That kind of PR shit disgusts me deeply- it is about trying to make people feel a certain way about a product/group/whatever that is counter to what they would if given honest information. I also don’t know that A+ has the aim of recruiting as many people as possible- and that is the only situation in which debating a name and using marketing are sensible.

    Having shitty marketing (like those god awful atheist billboards) can be a problem if recruitment is the goal, but at this point the A+ label is here to stay. Changing it for whatever reason is just going to be confusing. I picked out my nym when I first started blogging and don’t like it all that much anymore, but its what people know me as so I will stick with it. It is amazing how our minds can ignore the name of a thing when we have developed a deeply held belief or impression about its content. Like “pro life” groups- sounds great if you are simply reading the two words together, but it gives me a gut reaction of disgust because of my dealings with them. There are also bands out there with supremely stupid names and tons of fans. Focusing on what A+ is actually about is going to have a lasting effect that a name can’t.

  73. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    It’s divisive solely because of the name. Why can’t anybody see this?

    You know what else is divisive?

    Membership in any group

  74. opposablethumbs says

    tonyinbatavia, of course it’s divisive! Why, they might start to have fun and talk to each other instead of making ME-ME-ME!!!! sammiches, don’t you know. And then I wouldn’t have my inalienable FREEEEEDOMMMMM to (humorously, of course) yell for sammiches and (wittily, of course) insult people who like knitting.

    I still don’t actually get the mindset of those who object so vociferously to a bunch of people simply saying we’d like to continue our conversation in another room because we don’t much care for the rape jokes in the hall.

  75. says

    I kept trying to find the nuance in the whole swirl for the last year, is it really this simple? Shit. Well, I’m happy about the A+, it’s the attitude I’ve always had with atheism and made me active. If it distinguishes me from atheists who don’t care about justice, great. Like was said above, no one has to identify as A+ and it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t. Not until the mouth is opened and the gums flap stupid stuff.

  76. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I still don’t actually get the mindset of those who object so vociferously to a bunch of people simply saying we’d like to continue our conversation in another room because we don’t much care for the rape jokes in the hall.

    Might be because they think they weren’t invited (despite the big “You’re Invited!” Hallmark card) or they’re laughing at the rape jokes.

  77. hypatiasdaughter says

    I think of A+ as a sort of “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval on atheist/skeptic sites, like a sign on a restaurant that says they have the place regularly inspected and treated for pests. Would you rather eat there or at a place that doesn’t bother at all?
    I don’t really want or expect A+ to become social activists on behalf of LBGT, anti-racist or feminist causes – other groups dedicated to these causes are already doing a better job. The goal of A+ is to stand up for the LBGT/feminists/POC atheists in the atheist movement against those within the movement who are actively fighting against them.
    Please, I am sick of people saying that atheism is or should be “non-politcal” while they are taking a “political” side on these issues. People have always wanted to make these groups shut up and go away instead of asking for their rights – if you, as part of the atheist movement, are saying the same thing to them, you are taking a political side against them. Apolitical, my ass.
    While you may have developed your doubts about god because you didn’t like the bibles anti-sex attitude, I got my doubts from the bible’s anti-woman attitude. I suspect many gays got their turn-off from its anti-gay attitude; and POC from its support of slavery and racism.
    Why the hell do you think your personal concerns the only “real” ones on which to base religious skepticism?

  78. Brownian says

    It’s divisive solely because of the name. Why can’t anybody see this?

    You know what else is divisive?

    Membership in any group

    That was some pretty divisive writing, Rev. By using those specific words and in English to make your point, you’re implying that all the other words in English and other languages don’t make your point.

    While I agree in general with the aims of human language, I’m just not ready to get on board yet.

  79. Brownian says

    I still don’t actually get the mindset of those who object so vociferously to a bunch of people simply saying we’d like to continue our conversation in another room because we don’t much care for the rape jokes in the hall.

    If there’s anything that describes the impetus behind Atheism+ better or more succinctly than the part in bold, I haven’t read it.

  80. Matt Penfold says

    The IHEU which an organisation to which many other Humanist organisations (more than 100 in 40 countries) are affiliated to including the BHA is explicitly Atheist.

    True, but irrelevant. Humanism as a philosophy does not address the existence of god.

  81. Brownian says

    Why the hell do you think your personal concerns the only “real” ones on which to base religious skepticism?

    I…uh…it’s because, um…well, you have to consider that, er…

    [Gazes at navel.]

    Eureka!

  82. besomyka says

    @73 The fact that the guy with the little beard just announced a mission statement.

    I don’t see mission statement anywhere. Even if it was an initial position statement (which I don’t agree is stated or implied by the cartoon – I certainly didn’t take it that way since it’s the sort of thing I see coming from us pretty much daily – and the harassment implies some level of extended familiarity), I don’t think it explains where the ill-intent you’ve placed on the woman comes from.

  83. thegoodman says

    This comic presents a complete straw man.

    Didn’t most/all of the conferences put their harassment policy front and center after Elevatorgate?

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just fail to see the necessity of it. I consider myself a feminist, a socialist, a pacifist, and I do my best to champion the civil rights of any and all living things. That being said, I’m not really interested in discussion about a catchy movement and how I can join in the reindeer games.

    I come to the various atheist themed blogs and sites to read about specific atheist topics. I go to feminist and social issue blogs to read about those things. I am not saying anyone should or should not do anything, just throwing my hat into the inferno that is this very strange and confusing debate.

  84. yubal says

    Why are the people on the bottom right so angry with her?

    Just because she said something out of context?

  85. tonyinbatavia says

    opposablethumbs, like Brownian, I think you captured the spirit perfectly.

    “Atheism+: Continuing Our Conversation In Another Room Because We Don’t Much Care for the Rape Jokes in the Hall”

    It’s a little long for a slogan, darnit, but damn if ain’t spot on.

  86. dtnewman says

    @Matt Penfold , modern day Humanism (without a qualifier) is synonymous with the secular Humanism which does have something to say about the existence of God, ie. that their is no evidence to suggest that.

  87. says

    Didn’t most/all of the conferences put their harassment policy front and center after Elevatorgate?

    not “after Elevatorgate”; after a much more recent discussion (which also spawned waves of indignant whining), i.e. a whole year after Elevatorgate, and not as a consequence either, both of which are implied in your statement. Also, “all” conferences is incorrect. TAM for example chose to replace an existing harassment policy with a vague comment in the FAQ and secret harassment police.

    Also, this comic isn’t about harassment policies, so why are you talking about them? It’s almost as if you haven’t paid any attention to the conversations around sexism in atheism.

    I come to the various atheist themed blogs and sites to read about specific atheist topics. I go to feminist and social issue blogs to read about those things.

    and some of us like our atheism and feminism intersectional, and therefore like to go to one place for all of the above.

  88. says

    Brilliant Jadehawk, and far nicer and more clever than paulnewcomb’s exceedingly stupid comment deserved.

    think of it less as a reply, and more as growing flowers in bull manure.

  89. Brownian says

    That being said, I’m not really interested in discussion about a catchy movement and how I can join in the reindeer games.

    I am not saying anyone should or should not do anything, just throwing my hat into the inferno that is this very strange and confusing debate.

    So, uh, why the hell did you feel the need to post this?

  90. Matt Penfold says

    @Matt Penfold , modern day Humanism (without a qualifier) is synonymous with the secular Humanism which does have something to say about the existence of God, ie. that their is no evidence to suggest that.

    And that still does not change what I said.

  91. Brownian says

    Just because she said something out of context?

    As far as I can tell, it’s because she said it while possessing a vagina.

    So, uh, why the hell did you feel the need to post this?

    Scratch that.

    Yubal and thegoodman:

    I highly recommend you read Crommunist’s excellent piece, “What’s your room number?”

    Basically, if you are confused, or don’t understand what’s going on, the appropriate thing to do is shut the fuck up and read.

  92. Brownian says

    And that still does not change what I said.

    Indeed. This conversation about what humanist groups do or do not say about god is growing increasingly irrelevant.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    modern day Humanism (without a qualifier) is synonymous with the secular Humanism which does have something to say about the existence of God, ie. that their is no evidence to suggest that.

    Still doesn’t matter, as liberal religious folks, spiritualists, and deists fall under the humanist umbrella. I see a problem trying to bring strong atheists under the Humanist banner, which I try to keep at a distance. It isn’t necessary, whereas I see A+ as a necessary advancement to the atheist community.

  94. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just fail to see the necessity of it.

    Shorter you: “I don’t see color.”

  95. says

    secular Humanism which does have something to say about the existence of God, ie. that their is no evidence to suggest that.

    fucking hate the conflation of “secular” and “atheist”. I really do think it makes trying to convince religionists that they should be for a secular government, and secular education, really fucking difficult when there’s prominent groups running around boldly proclaiming that “secular” means “atheist”.

    And that’s entirely aside from the part where I really think we should encourage believers of all sorts to adopt humanism as a philosophy in the same way we should encourage religious folks to practice and accept science, regardless of their supernatural convictions.

  96. dtnewman says

    @Matt Penfold I’m assuming your comment was an argument against my position and in defense of the A+ label. But if the (secular) Humanist label/movement is not adequate because some or earlier humanist philosophies say nothing about the existence of God, then how would the Atheism+ label be adequate … after all the original atheism says nothing about social justice or bigotry. (Just to be clear this is not my position on the A+ label and the problem with this argument/reasoning is more than obvious.)

  97. says

    I see a problem trying to bring strong atheists under the Humanist banner, which I try to keep at a distance.

    I don’t so much see a problem of wanting strong atheists to be under the Humanist banner; I do however see a very large problem of putting Humanism under the strong atheist banner

  98. says

    But if the (secular) Humanist label/movement is not adequate because some or earlier humanist philosophies say nothing about the existence of God

    that’s not the argument, actually.

  99. Beatrice says

    dtnewman,

    A lot of people have explained to you what exactly A+ means, unrelated to humanism.
    What humanism is and isn’t has also been explained. We are not talking about some humanist organizations from times past, but about here and now where many humanist organizations include and welcome religious people, often at the price of silencing atheists.

    I’m starting to think that maybe you are not arguing in good faith.

  100. Matt Penfold says

    I would also point out that dtnewman is actually making the argument that humanism is no longer a useful term. If, as they claim, it is a synonym for atheism, it clearly includes people who should not be included and excludes people who should be included.

    So if humanism is, as dtnewman seems to think, a term that is no longer useful, then why the opposition to atheism+. That term seems to only include people who should be included.

  101. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    consider myself a feminist, a socialist, a pacifist, and I do my best to champion the civil rights of any and all living things. That being said, I’m not really interested in discussion about a catchy movement and how I can join in the reindeer games.

    Great. Then go away.

    And it’s cute that you think no one remembers you, so you could pretend to be totes an ally.

  102. Brownian says

    after all the original atheism says nothing about social justice or bigotry

    Right, and this is the problem with atheist groups in general. Why do they exist at all?

    What part of “I don’t believe in god(s)” suggests that we should adopt secularist positions?

    What part of “I don’t believe in god(s)” suggests that we should support science and science education?

    What part of “I don’t believe in god(s)” suggests that we should actively work to promote non-belief in believers?

    To use the cartoon in the OP, what part of “I don’t believe in god(s)” suggests that “Religion is a cesspit of hatred, ignorance, and feer! Only rational thought can free the world from violence and superstition”?

  103. Matt Penfold says

    @Matt Penfold I’m assuming your comment was an argument against my position and in defense of the A+ label. But if the (secular) Humanist label/movement is not adequate because some or earlier humanist philosophies say nothing about the existence of God, then how would the Atheism+ label be adequate … after all the original atheism says nothing about social justice or bigotry. (Just to be clear this is not my position on the A+ label and the problem with this argument/reasoning is more than obvious.)

    Are you missing the point on purpose ?

    Here is a clue for you. The term atheism+ has been coined precisely because people considered the term atheism inadequate.

  104. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    This comic presents a complete straw man.

    Didn’t most/all of the conferences put their harassment policy front and center after Elevatorgate?

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just fail to see the necessity of it. I consider myself a feminist, a socialist, a pacifist, and I do my best to champion the civil rights of any and all living things. That being said, I’m not really interested in discussion about a catchy movement and how I can join in the reindeer games.

    I come to the various atheist themed blogs and sites to read about specific atheist topics. I go to feminist and social issue blogs to read about those things. I am not saying anyone should or should not do anything, just throwing my hat into the inferno that is this very strange and confusing debate.

    Thank you for saying absolutely nothing.

  105. dtnewman says

    @Jadehawk I suppose this is why the secular humanists dropped the ‘secular’ and capitalized the , because these organisations do have have something to say about God and superstition beliefs.

    I suppose one actual difference between Humanism and A+ is that Humanism is more focused on social justice, activism and social change whereas the focus of A+ is probably the atheism.

  106. says

    after all the original atheism says nothing about social justice or bigotry

    EXACTLY! That’s why there’s a subgroup of atheists who DO have a position on social justice and bigotry.

  107. A. Noyd says

    thegoodman (#100)

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just [want to tell you about the multiple problems I have with it].

    Mhmm.

  108. chigau (違わない) says

    thegoodman

    I consider myself a feminist, a socialist, a pacifist

    Sometimes I consider myself the Queen of AlphaCentauri.

  109. says

    In my observation, whether humanism includes atheism depends on which humanists you look at. Historically it doesn’t necessarily, though it seems most religious humanists now just identify as liberal Christian/Jewish/whatever, and have largely abandoned the “humanist” label to the godless. The Humanists I know locally are AFAIK all atheist or agnostic, but they aren’t necessarily Skeptical (in the capital-S sense), and a lot of them are pretty soft or accommodationist on religion (eg. also belong to the UU church). I see A+ as specifically a Skeptical and *Gnu* Atheist (ie: openly critical of religion, even the nice kind) phenomenon, with the traditional humanist social-issues emphasis included.

  110. dtnewman says

    @TerranRich exactly, and there is a subgroup of humanists who identify as Humanists who have a position on religion and superstitious beliefs.

    My arguments is that these groups are essential the same thing, except for the Humanists already have an infrastructure and are doing work from a grass roots level all the way up to an global level (eg the UN.)

  111. says

    I suppose this is why the secular humanists dropped the ‘secular’ and capitalized the , because these organisations do have have something to say about God and superstition beliefs.

    humanism alone also doesn’t by necessity say anything about the existence of god; it merely excludes supernatural considerations. It is in that sense very much like science, and just like there are religious scientists, there are religious humanists.

    Now: actually honestly named atheist humanists would be not much different from A+, since A+ calls itself exactly that: atheism plus humanism plus social justice. It’s just that there’s been a bit of a dearth of such honestly named humanist groups.

  112. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    whereas the focus of A+ is probably the atheism.

    Somebody appears to be hard of hearing. Try listening to what people are saying rather than trying to refute them and push your humanist agenda.

  113. dtnewman says

    @JadeHawk Science does have something to say about the existence of God… ie. that the null hypothesis stands and as far as we can tell there is no god

  114. says

    My arguments is that these groups are essential the same thing

    And we’re telling you they’re not. Humanism itself says nothing about gods. Atheism DOES: we are absent a belief in any. Atheism+ approaches social justice issues from a strictly atheistic perspective, while humanism approaches them from a… well, a humanistic perspective. Humanism is a movement that centers around humans and our value. Not all humanist groups reject religious belief altogether. Atheism DOES.

    There are difference. While subtle, they exist, and are important enough that we won’t simply slump our shoulders and shuffle off to another group because you don’t personally like the fact that there’s another group that seems similar on the surface without any further observation or investigation.

  115. says

    Science does have something to say about the existence of God… ie. that the null hypothesis stands and as far as we can tell there is no god

    Now you’re just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Science says nothing about the existence of a god. Science doesn’t say one exists, nor does it say there are no gods. It doesn’t even focus on any kind of deities.

  116. says

    Science does have something to say about the existence of God… ie. that the null hypothesis stands and as far as we can tell there is no god

    *sigh*

    are the Humanist organizations you’re speaking about exclusively atheist? Are science-making organizations exclusively atheist? Would you like to think about why the latter isn’t the case, but the former for some reason is?

    Science and humanism are both secular. For skeptical/scientific atheists, they’re also obviously compatible with atheism and support it, but nonetheless, religious scientists and religious humanists are not oxymorons. Consequently, saying “humanist” (or “scientist”) and meaning “atheist humanist” (and “atheist scientist”) is bullshit.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    ie. that the null hypothesis stands and as far as we can tell there is no god.

    That describes the gnu atheists and skeptics. Science ignores deities. But when it looks there is no evidence for them.

  118. says

    Funny observation. A lot of atheists get upset (and rightfully so) when others — especially fundamentalists — claim that atheists “believe in nothing”. We point out that we’re not nihilists, that we DO have beliefs. So, is a sense, many atheists have been saying “I’m an atheist PLUS…” for ages now. Why is it that the “Plus” atheists are met with resistance and a Fox News-level of misinformation and opposition when we want to use a label to identify us, and possibly distinguish us from the rest of atheists?

  119. says

    Or differently still: we should promote humanism among religionists the same way we promote science among them, for the reason that this is pretty much the only way to reduce religion to a hobby. Insisting that both (or either) is only for and by atheists is not going to get us there. Nor is it actually going to make the world atheistier.

  120. dtnewman says

    @TerranRich exactly, physics the model which seeks to explain how the universe works makes no mention of Gods… so science does have a position on god and superstition beliefs, because if it thought it was true it would be incorporated into the models.

    But this is going off topic, and I made the original statement due to misreading someone else’s comments.

  121. Brownian says

    I’m going to repeat part of my earlier comment, because in dtnewman’s zeal to explore the history and utility of humanist organisations, xe’s clearly forgotten that what xe’s ostensibly trying to find out is why the people who support Atheism+ feel it’s necessary:

    As I mentioned earlier, “one of the goals behind A+, as I see it, is to give those who have been victims of the atheist bigots some space in an atheist community in which they won’t be subjected to the kind of bigotry they have been.”

    The existence of some other space in which people might be humanists and atheists does nothing to deal with the kind of bigotry that Rebecca Watson, Surly Amy, Greta Christina, Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, and others in this very thread have had to deal with.

    Many of these people have developed relationships with each other in this community. Is it seriously anyone’s contention that organised atheism belongs to Franc Hoggle, and that if you don’t want to have ‘cunt’ inserted forcibly in your name and hear about how fun it would be to rape you just to shut your uppity bitch mouth, you’d best go off and join the IHEU?

    We’re saying that here and now, in this space, we’ve drawn a line. The kind of shit we’ve seen within the last year won’t be tolerated on our watch. And if groups like the JREF and the CFI and the AA aren’t willing to stand up for women and minorities, then fuck ‘em.

    So, can we drop the fucking humanism debate?

    IT’S FUCKING IRRELEVANT. If you want to join the IHEU, dtnewman, then do it. Join the UN. Become the Secretary General. Humanist all over your bad self.

    The people here have patiently explained to you why they think Atheism+ is necessary, and all you’ve done is explain what you think is more important.

    YOU’RE THE PROBLEM.

  122. bargearse says

    I really don’t get it. The scenario as I see it:

    – one group of atheists, mostly women, complain about being marginalised

    – another group say, “nu-uh, you just need to harden up.”

    – the first group, “well, could you try, like, treating us as full and equal people?”

    – the second group, “you uppity bitches and your mangina enablers should shut up or fuck off.”

    – first group says, “ok, we will. We’ve got this new thing called A+, see ya later douchebags.”

    – second group, “YOU’RE A BUNCH OF BULLIES AND YOU’RE DIVIDING THE MOVEMENT!!!”

    It seems to me A+ is exactly what the haters asked for. I guess there’s just no pleasing some people.

  123. stevenkukula says

    To be a really plus atheist, perhaps we should support action against income inequality. While we’re at it, those whales and dolphins never really got saved. The right-wing fascist politics of our country must be addressed. Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    Is atheism+ divisive? Well, when’s the first conference? Since I don’t agree with it, I won’t be invited. Sure, I care about feminism and racism and all the rest, just as I and the bulk of all atheists and rationalists and freethinkers always have. Or will the next big atheist conference have a special corner just for the polite elite of atheism?

    It smacks of ideology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an idealist or caring about causes. But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement. Not only does it separate other atheists from the group, but it separates those who are not atheists who already care about the causes. I see that as neither being smart nor practical. Call it the atheist feminist committee if you must.

  124. Brownian says

    But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement.

    I’m an atheist.

    I’m also a feminist.

    You want to take the first word away from me?

    Just fucking try, fucker.

  125. Amphiox says

    Science most certainly does say something about the existence of gods. It doesn’t rule out gods in the abstract but it definitely can and does inform on the specifics.

    Science says that a god that flooded the whole earth in 40 days does not exist, that a god that hurls thunderbolts from the summit of Mt. Olympus does not exist. It tells us that a god who liberated a chosen people from slavery in Egypt does not exist, that a god who created birds before fishes does not exist.

    It tells us that no god was necessary for the origin of life on earth, the formation of stars, constellations or solar systems.

  126. hyrax says

    To be a really plus atheist, perhaps we should support action against income inequality. While we’re at it, those whales and dolphins never really got saved. The right-wing fascist politics of our country must be addressed. Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    Some remedial reading seems to be required for stevenkukula.
    The first post about A+. Pull quote:
    We are…
    Atheists plus we care about social justice,
    Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
    Atheists plus we protest racism,
    Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

    So yes. All the things you are criticising A+ for ignoring were explicitly part of the founding impetus. Why the focus on feminism at the moment? Gee, maybe because there is a huge backlash specifically directed at women and feminists? If the treatment of POC (of all genders) was anything like the treatment of women within the atheist movement, I’m pretty damn sure racism would be the focus. Maybe after the organized campaigns of bullying against women within the atheist movement back off, A+ will have more time to devote to the other various concerns.

  127. Brownian says

    Well, when’s the first conference? Since I don’t agree with it, I won’t be invited.

    We’re having it, and you’re here.

  128. hyrax says

    Oh, and that’s not even to mention the “our country” bit. You realize the internet doesn’t have borders, right?

  129. Amphiox says

    No one owns the word “atheism”. You cannot “hijack”, “steal”, or “appropriate” what no one owns and is in the public domain.

  130. daniellavine says

    @stephekukula:

    It smacks of ideology.

    Yes, your post indeed smacks of ideology:

    But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement.

    See? You’re trying to control who gets to identify as an atheist and who doesn’t. I haven’t noticed any of the A+ folks trying to tell sexists and Randroids they’re not atheists, but the anti-A+ folks seem to have a huge problem with A+ folks identifying as atheist. That seems exclusionary…perhaps even divisive to me. Why do you anti-A+ folks hate atheists so much?

  131. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    As I said like, what?, a month ago, if you don’t stop shooting people in the back of the neck, people who have legitimate grievance!, this whole thing is over.

    Perhaps in the next month or two, someone will come forward with a legitimate grievance. It hasn’t happened yet, but anything is possible.

  132. Beatrice says

    The right-wing fascist politics of our country must be addressed.

    There is a wide world outside of US. Parts of it even have internet connection. Imagine that!

  133. dtnewman says

    @hyrax POC – people of colour? I’ve seen this term used in A+ discussions a few times, which kind of surprises me because here in the UK that an unacceptable (well non p/c) term to use.

  134. bargearse says

    But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement

    How has the word been hijacked? The people involved in A+ are atheists, they have as much right to the title as you do. Should I be complainging about American Atheists because I’m not an American? When A+ starts declaring that anyone who isn’t one of them can’t call themselves an atheist you’ll have a point. Until then you’re just whining.

  135. Brownian says

    Why do libertarians get to hijack the word ‘liberty’? Don’t they know that there are many of us non-libertarians who also support liberty?

    In fact, I’ve been championing liberty just as hard as thegoodman and stevenkukula have been fighting sexism and racism together.

  136. Brownian says

    Should I be complainging about American Atheists because I’m not an American?

    Yes.

    Also, lots of Americans aren’t atheists. How come AA gets to hijack ‘American’ for their nefarious purposes?

  137. hyrax says

    dtnewman– As far as I’m aware (and I could be wrong!) that’s the preferred term to refer to anyone who isn’t white. Note “Person of colour” and “coloured person” is not the same thing.

    Though I might be waaaaaay off base here– always possible, since I am white and as much as I try to stay educated, I obviously am not speaking from a position of authority on the subject. According to the wikipedia article, it’s the preferred term, but apparently the usage is still mainly in the ‘States.

  138. opposablethumbs says

    Sure, I care about feminism and racism and all the rest, just as I and the bulk of all atheists and rationalists and freethinkers always have.

    Which is why every time some arsehole pipes up with rape threats and “jokes” and calling people cunts “the bulk of all atheists and rationalists and freethinkers” immediately comes down on that shit like a tonne of bricks and makes it clear that marginalising and othering women and PoC is unacceptable bullshit.

    Oh, wait.

    They don’t.

    The only place I’ve consistently seen that kind of reaction – the reaction of people who care about feminism and racism “and all the rest” – is around here, really.

    Funny that.

  139. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    It smacks of ideology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an idealist or caring about causes. But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement. Not only does it separate other atheists from the group, but it separates those who are not atheists who already care about the causes. I see that as neither being smart nor practical. Call it the atheist feminist committee if you must.

    by your logic…

    As a white middle class male living in a suburb in the south, I’m going to never support the NAACP, NOW, LULAC, The Urban League, and a host of other specifically named organizations to which i do not belong to their named group.

    Or is it that you think that because feminism is part of the + that it will cause some have a poor view of other atheists?

    Or that Atheism will reflect poorly on the + part of it?

    You have a very low opinion of people who want to help.

  140. says

    It smacks of ideology.

    Let’s address this now. I keep hearing the phrase above, almost always repeated verbatim. You know what’s divisive? People who make Glenn Beck-esque associations between things that are unrelated. Atheism+ is not an ideology. If you still need to have this explained to you, then perhaps your reading comprehension skills are lacking a bit.

  141. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I’m sorry, but that word, “hijack”. Too hilarious. I keep imagining masked thugs sneaking up to the unsuspecting word atheism. Atheism is just walking their walks, thinking their thinks, when suddenly the thug-bullies go “Your name or your life!”. Poor Atheism, they have no choice but to give up their name to the thugbullies, who then promptly drive away with it, leaving the poor former atheism now nameless.

    Yeah, THAT’s how ridiculous this “YOU HIJACKED ATHEISM!” ridiculousness is.

  142. raven says

    No one owns the word “atheism”. You cannot “hijack”, “steal”, or “appropriate” what no one owns and is in the public domain.

    Oh really?

    We will see.

    My organization (myself and several cats) are claiming ownership of “the”, “and”, and all adjectives. No one can use them without permission and a small fee from now on.

    Wait until I set up a paypal account and I assure everyone that the fee will be small enough that you can use microcash.

  143. Brownian says

    Do average godfearing Americans know what’s being done in their name?

    I think they’ve all been hijacked and shot in the back of the neck, since those words can apparently mean whatever people want them to mean.

  144. A. Noyd says

    stevenkukula (#143)

    Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    It’s not. The backlash against A+ is particularly focused on scorning feminism.

    It smacks of ideology.

    It’s obvious from the rest of your comment that you don’t even know what A+ is. Maybe you should remedy your ignorance before going on about the imaginary evils of something you don’t understand.

  145. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Raven, 163, that is extra hilarious once you know that someone named Peter-Andrew: Nolan (c) had copyrighted their own name and demands payment in troy ounces of pure gold if people use his name, including when they quote him/what he says.

    I kid you not

  146. bargearse says

    Brownian

    Careful there, if you mention “hijack” & “shot in the neck” in the same sentence Sam Harris will start demanding all people with a ghey secks queue be profiled.

  147. Emrysmyrddin says

    I’m in the UK. ‘Coloured’ is unacceptable, something you groan at when your great-grandma uses. ‘People/person of colour’ is in common usage and perfectly acceptable.

  148. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement.

    And yet here you are, trying to expropriate the word atheist for the male supremacy movement and the pals of patriarchy. Your bias, privilege and dissonance is showing (and stinking).

  149. thunk, Blob Alert! says

    Stevenkukula:

    To be a really plus atheist, perhaps we should support action against income inequality.

    Ya think we aren’t doing that?

    While we’re at it, those whales and dolphins never really got saved.

    That too?

    The right-wing fascist politics of our country must be addressed.

    Again, what’s this country you assume we both are in? If you mean the US (which obviously is the whole world), A+ does that too! Just look!

    Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    It may seem that way; there sure are a lot of dudebros out there, including you, who see any mention of feminism as “divisive” and “too much”. I’m sorry, but this is still important, and you won’t make A+ shut up however much you whine.

    Is atheism+ divisive? Well, when’s the first conference? Since I don’t agree with it, I won’t be invited.

    If you’re going to be a creepy dudebro who harasses women or is otherwise shitty, NO.

    Sure, I care about feminism and racism and all the rest, just as I and the bulk of all atheists and rationalists and freethinkers always have.

    … but you really don’t. Thanks for your concern there, troll.

    Or will the next big atheist conference have a special corner just for the polite elite of atheism?

    No, as we expect everybody to be decent human beings. Your whining is not appreciated right now.

    It smacks of ideology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an idealist or caring about causes. But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement.

    Hijacking??? The word atheism does not belong to dudebros and trolls.

    Not only does it separate other atheists from the group, but it separates those who are not atheists who already care about the causes.

    Well yes, they’re not atheists. They’re still decent human beings, unlike you.

    I see that as neither being smart nor practical. Call it the atheist feminist committee if you must.

    Well, thanks for your concern. Now please fuck off.

  150. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Anyone want to play with me on Twitter? I’m making up Real Name Badges ™ that can be handed out to Skeptics, Chill Girls, Nice Guyz, and sundry douchecanoes. So far I’ve got:

    “Hi! I’m SOCIALLY AWKWARD”

    “Hi! I’m JUST ASKING QUESTIONS” #RealNameBadge

    “Hi! I’m SKEPTICAL YOU FEEL THAT WAY”

    . . and more.

    Join me @SpokesGay

    #RealNameBadge

  151. manuel moegarcia says

    When Atheist organizations forgive themselves from doing anything about sexism, it is defended with faulty motivated reasoning that would make even a Creationist blush. We see that, today, responsible Atheists are willing to shame and repudiate those sexists and sexism-enablers.

  152. opposablethumbs says

    stevenkukula, you’ve also made it clear that you don’t know what ideology means.

    You seem to imagine that the current mainstream standard (capitalist superior to all other concepts of exchange and interaction, rich superior to poor, white superior to PoC, het superior to all gender minorities, male superior to female etc. etc.) is not an ideology, just because it is so ubiquitous as to be invisible.

  153. Brownian says

    Careful there, if you mention “hijack” & “shot in the neck” in the same sentence Sam Harris will start demanding all people with a ghey secks queue be profiled.

    For a month he’d have a following of rabidly fapping neckbeards, then he’d complain about how mean everyone is to him, then he’d finally find someone who knows something about the issue, get slammed, and his fapping neckbeards would have an orgasm because he was so brave to consult an expert.

    Y’know, if I thought for a moment that the atheist community wasn’t for the most part comprised of the most ineffectual and useless people humanity hasn’t yet figured out how to render into Soylent Dork, I might worry.

  154. bargearse says

    Stevenkukula

    Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    I missed this earlier (thanks Thunk for pointing it out). Just leaving aside the point that feminism helps men too, how the fuck do you dismiss the problems of HALF OF FUCKING HUMANITY so blithely? After everything that’s happened over the last year I am dumbfounded that people can still say shit like this. Do you really not see it or do you just not care?

  155. yubal says

    OK, I try to give it another shot.

    All this is about that Atheism is nothing more than a single position on a single issue.

    Since we are human we are all different, hence atheists can have different positions on any other given issue than the question “is there a god?”

    Now atheist decided to form a group of activist for their cause and are now in conflict about individual agendas not related to the initial purpose. I assume the purpose of the group was presenting the Atheist position on the question of god and derived questions?

    And now we had agenda(X) vs. agenda(-X) and people who think there should not be an agenda plus people who just love to see a fight? After the big X, the double X, there is plenty of room in society to repeat the drama.

    Maybe it is time to just go back some of the basic ideas for why forming the atheist movement at all. What is the point of teaming up in the first place when there is so little common ground besides a single answer on a simple question?

    Wasn’t there something before much more important than this debate?

    Like how to teach children how to think for themselves?

    Or the building of strong Atheist charities?

    Or strategies on communicating Atheism in public?

  156. says

    I’m not refreshing again because y’all are posting way too often and way too quickly…

    o.O

    So…

    Brownian @ #110:

    Indeed. This conversation about what humanist groups do or do not say about god is growing increasingly irrelevant.

    No. It’s not “becoming increasingly irrelevant”. It was made irrelevant on August 20, 2012, when Jennifer McCreight posted “Why Atheism+ and not Humanism?” at 1:41 pm, then again when Greta Christina posted “Is “Atheism Plus” Just Secular Humanism?” at 5:02 pm. It was then that the whole “isn’t A+ just Humanism?” thing became a PRATT.

    I think it’s time for a formal request:

    I ask that, from now on, anyone who asks about A+ and Humanism simply be directed to one of those two links and subsequently ignored.

    Because this conversation is just a massive PRATT derail now, and no longer important.

    Jadehawk @ #80:

    no, look closer. it says A+, not A÷

    Score!

    opposablethumbs @ #91:

    I still don’t actually get the mindset of those who object so vociferously to a bunch of people simply saying we’d like to continue our conversation in another room because we don’t much care for the rape jokes in the hall.

    Because it’s insulting to not want to hear rape jokes! YOU DON’T GET TO IGNORE OUR FREE SPEECH!!!!

    :p

    thegoodman @ #100:

    This comic presents a complete straw man.

    Didn’t most/all of the conferences put their harassment policy front and center after Elevatorgate?

    No. No they didn’t. It took a whole year for them to do that, and then only some conferences did.

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just fail to see the necessity of it.

    Then why are you commenting on it?

    stevenkukula @ #143:

    To be a really plus atheist, perhaps we should support action against income inequality. While we’re at it, those whales and dolphins never really got saved.

    And how do you know we don’t do those things?

    The right-wing fascist politics of our country must be addressed.

    Which country?

    Why is atheism plus so particularly focused on feminism?

    Better question:

    Why are the anti-A+ crowd so focused on feminism?

    It smacks of ideology. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an idealist or caring about causes. But I think that there is something wrong with hijacking the word atheism for your particular movement. Not only does it separate other atheists from the group, but it separates those who are not atheists who already care about the causes. I see that as neither being smart nor practical. Call it the atheist feminist committee if you must.

    Question: how does one hijack a word? That’s a new one to me. Is it even possible?

  157. Brownian says

    NateHevens, thanks for the correction, and that’s a capital suggestion.

    Yubal, if you’re unwilling to do any of the basic research into the background for this discussion, please shut the fuck up. You’re doing nothing but adding irrelevant noise. We’re way beyond those questions, and presuming that you’ve got some deep perspective that really needs to be considered from your outsider viewpoint makes you a big fucking asshole.

  158. A. Noyd says

    A. R (#180)

    Not sure how I feel about A-, but I do like A*, or A^0

    If you want to be all fancy:
    A° = A°

  159. says

    I want to second the question about what’s so bad about having an ideology anyway. An ideology is a system of ideas. Everyone has at least one. Unless they are brain-dead.

    Those who subscribe to the dominant ideology of capitalist kyriarchy like to pretend that their ideology isn’t, that it’s just the natural way of the world and thus inevitable and unquestionable.

    That’s you, stevekukula.

  160. opposablethumbs says

    Those who subscribe to the dominant ideology of capitalist kyriarchy like to pretend that their ideology isn’t, that it’s just the natural way of the world and thus inevitable and unquestionable.

    QFFT!!!

  161. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    Which country?

    Does it matter? The whole world seem to be going right-wing ATM (but not fascist. Fascist would be a step up from the laissez-faire plutocracy that seems to be in vogue).

    Not that s.v. has a point or anything, I’m just blathering.

    To get back to the point, if you take the three sets “consistent”, “feminist” and “right-wing” you can’t really belong to all three at the same time at the moment, since the right-wing is consistenly fighting every measure that might help combat systematic inequality between men and women (unless there’s an opertunity to bash minorities without being overtly racist of course).

  162. bargearse says

    SallyStrange

    I want to second the question about what’s so bad about having an ideology anyway. An ideology is a system of ideas. Everyone has at least one. Unless they are brain-dead.

    So much this. I’m sick to death of media pundits saying idoeology when they should be saying dogma

  163. says

    ..Just leaving aside the point that feminism helps men too, how the fuck do you dismiss the problems of HALF OF FUCKING HUMANITY so blithely?

    See also: ‘Foolish humans! So preoccupied with breathing!’

    (/To be read in Kang’s or Kodos’ voice for proper effect.)

  164. Waffler, of the Waffler Institute says

    Wasn’t there something before much more important than this debate?

    Like how to teach children how to think for themselves?

    That’s not part of atheism!!

    Or the building of strong Atheist charities?

    As long as the money can’t get used for anything that helps people at all, sure!

  165. bargearse says

    AJ Milne

    My current head cold has given me a slight Kodos tone (also made me kind of cranky hence the caps)

  166. anteprepro says

    What is the point of teaming up in the first place when there is so little common ground besides a single answer on a simple question?

    Wasn’t there something before much more important than this debate?

    Like how to teach children how to think for themselves?

    Or the building of strong Atheist charities?

    Or strategies on communicating Atheism in public?

    Really? “More important”?

    Here’s two question:
    What kind of causes would atheist charities support?
    Why do we even care about atheism being communicated or common?

    If you go by the “Atheism for the sake of Atheism” playbook, atheist charities would support atheist groups exclusively. It would entirely be in-house charities, like tithing to a fucking church. The only reason we care about atheist communications is so that people aren’t so mean to us about our atheism. That reason is fine and all, but it is limited.

    Enter Atheism Plus, that doesn’t just want people to stop discriminating against atheists, but wants all kinds of arbitrary bigotries to be called out. That doesn’t just oppose anti-atheist bigotry, but also opposes bigotry towards any minority religion, opposes racism, opposes homophobia, opposes sexism, opposes all kinds of senseless bigotry. It opposes religion, not just because it is wrong, but because it contributes to the above problems. With Atheism Plus, it makes sense to have atheist charities that aren’t just for atheists . With Atheism Plus, it makes sense to want to communicate and increase opposition to religion, because theism and religion are contributors to actual social ills . Atheism Plus is the route by which we are able to stop being selfish and contribute to similar causes, and to help people who are hurt by religion.

    Too many people take for granted that atheism is a worthy cause in itself. It is not. It is only in the context of the harm caused by religion, which requires acknowledgement of the social injustices that religion contributes to, that atheism is a cause worth getting behind. And that acknowledgement is what Atheism Plus is .

  167. skinner says

    The fatal flaw of this comic, and a lot of atheists who brought this upon themselves, is that atheism has NOTHING to do with freeing the world from violence and superstition. Atheism is the lack of a belief in deities (and recognizing that we have a right to do this). Nothing more. Nothing less.

    What you’re looking to define in this comic is the skeptics movement, which happens to consist mainly of atheists, but is not in itself atheism. Just as not all religious happen to be christian.

    Secondly, this is an oversimplification. What actually happened:

    RELIGIONS: “Atheism is full of amoral hedonists!”
    ATHEISTS: “Religion is a cesspit of hatred. Lets act just like them and start attaching ethical values to our ideology! That’ll show them for calling us hedonists!”
    FEMINISTS: “Can we mix our ideology with yours?”
    ATHEISTS: “I guess if you don’t go overboard.”
    FEMINISTS: “Help! Rape! Rape! Atheism is full of raaaaape!”
    YOUTUBE: “Lulz, social engineering. Let’s take advantage of them.”
    FEMINISTS: “See? I was right all along! They want to rape me!”

    What we need is more women like Lori Lipman Brown, who fulfills all three roles of atheist, skeptic, and humanist. She represents what atheism is about. If y’all want to take your brand of humanism and do something with it, stop demonizing the rest of us. Your constant reliance on antagonizing tactics is like how christians used to feed on bleeding pagans. Figure out what you message is and stop including us in it.

  168. Brownian says

    I don’t know how to tell you this, skinner, but nobody in the fucking world is including you in anything.

    You’re not wanted.

    Leave.

    Fuck off.

  169. Beatrice says

    The fatal flaw of this comic, and a lot of atheists who brought this upon themselves, is that atheism has NOTHING to do with freeing the world from violence and superstition.

    You did notice the + in A+, right?

    And read how people have been saying that this is atheism + social justice + humanism?

    Figure out what you message is and stop including us in it.

    This is kind of a thing where you include yourself. You obviously don’t. I can’t say that you will be missed.

  170. Brownian says

    What actually happened:

    And I was here.

    Don’t fucking try to tell me what happened you fucking moron.

    I WAS FUCKING HERE.

    Lying piece of shit.

  171. CJO says

    Figure out what you message is and stop including us in it.

    Done, and done (though you handled the second one for us admirably, so thanks for the assist)

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If Skinner doesn’t want to join A+, he doesn’t have to. But he doesn’t get to dictate the name in any fashion and has nothing whatsoever to say to those who wish to join in a voluntary group. That’s reality.

  173. says

    skinner, your entire comment is a PRATT. We’ve been through it, and we’re fucking sick of it.

    Don’t want to be a part of it?

    Fine.

    Go away.

  174. says

    Figure out what you message is and stop including us in it.

    Oh, FFS. Stop it. Noone is including you (or anyone else that doesn’t want to belong to A+) in A+. Noone s forcing A+ on anyone. A+ is a voluntary group. If you don’t want to join, fine.

    Why do some find this so hard to get? Oh, right… Dishonest shitbags are dishonest.

  175. ChasCPeterson says

    Membership cards!
    What kind of an organized movement doesn’t have membership cards?!
    I demand that the A+ Central Committee (=Rebecca Watson) issue membership cards immediately, just so they can be denied to all the people who aren’t interested in joining but are pissed off about being excluded anyway.

  176. says

    @205: And secret handshakes! And signet rings that open to reveal a cyanide pill, so we can suicide in case we’re being tortured to reveal the A+ secrets! And an anthem! And a salute! And a flag! (Presumably, tentacles will a common theme across all the movement iconography)

  177. yubal says

    What kind of causes would atheist charities support?

    Bringing education, healthcare and food supplies into areas where humans have no or only limited access to such basic needs.

    Why do we even care about atheism being communicated or common?

    In the first place to remove the misconception about Atheism to be *enterstereotypehere*. Further, Atheism is already common or at least not uncommon.

    Too many people take for granted that atheism is a worthy cause in itself. It is not.

    Atheism is not a cause at all. It is a single position on a single issue.

    You can expand your personal reasons on the denial of gods by making decisions based on that. Sure. In which issues you want to get involved in and to what extent, all up to you.

    And that acknowledgement is what Atheism Plus is.

    Whenever I hear Atheism Plus I get this weird feeling someone want’s to sell me something. Like Luther sold his idea of his new “better church of the people” You talk about social injustice an harm religion does. And I agree, it does harm. A lot. On the other hand, I think it is simply enough to offer people an alternative to religiously motivated institutions. Places where they can be part of it and don’t have to (pretend to) take part in a religion. But yes, that’s just me. Give it 3-10 generations and religions will be in no position to harm anyone anymore.

    For me Atheism is as good as it always was. If you want to sell me a laundry detergent, you don’t need to call it Ultra-, Plus- or Oxy-detergent. Call it as what it is. I buy the laundry detergent because I want the laundry detergent.

  178. opposablethumbs says

    skinner, you can’t go using up all the straw like that – it’s just greedy of you.

    I was going to say I love the way you actually define “atheists” as non-feminists. You know, we don’t (and don’t try to) exclude glibertarian fuckwads from the category “atheist” – there are plenty of ‘em, unfortunately – but oddly enough you don’t get to exclude feminists, social progressives and just generally sane people from the category “atheist” either.

    The name “atheism” doesn’t belong exclusively to you either, no matter how much you squeal about it; we are atheists. Nobody’s “including you” in anything (and I certainly wouldn’t want to, given your little demonstration of being cavalier with the truth).

  179. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    Noone s forcing A+ on anyone.

    I dunno. I kinda feel like the dudebros and chillgirls are forcing my hand.

    No-one is forced by members of A+ into A+, but there seems to be a smallish horde hell-bent on forcing people out of plain A.

  180. Amphiox says

    The Cult of Pythagoras, IIRC, once venerated whole numbers as divine.

    This is the only explanation I can think of for how atheists like skinner seem unable to comprehend the meaning of basic math symbols, like “+”.

  181. Waffler, of the Waffler Institute says

    What kind of causes would atheist charities support?

    Bringing education, healthcare and food supplies into areas where humans have no or only limited access to such basic needs.

    Why do you presume to suggest that atheists care about the basic needs of other human beings?? You’re splitting the movement…

  182. Brownian says

    What kind of causes would atheist charities support?

    Bringing education, healthcare and food supplies into areas where humans have no or only limited access to such basic needs.

    I’m glad you’re an infrequent commenter, Yubal.

    Whenever I hear Atheism Plus I get this weird feeling someone want’s to sell me something

    How very irrelevant.

  183. Nightjar says

    yubal,

    Maybe it is time to just go back some of the basic ideas for why forming the atheist movement at all. What is the point of teaming up in the first place when there is so little common ground besides a single answer on a simple question?

    Wasn’t there something before much more important than this debate?

    Like how to teach children how to think for themselves?

    Or the building of strong Atheist charities?

    Or strategies on communicating Atheism in public?

    Yeah, we all want to work on that. Trust me, we really do. And we atheist women want to be able to work on that without having to put up with being treated as less than human. We want to be able to work on that without being rape-threatened into silence every time we speak up about how the environment in some atheist circles isn’t exactly woman-friendly.

    And after that whole “guys don’t hit on a lonely woman in an elevator at 4 a.m.” incident, it became clear that that’s pretty much impossible. So, what do you want us to do now? Put up with the sexism? Well, not everyone can do that, the “chill girl” thing works for some women sometimes but not for all women all the time, and it solves nothing. Leave and give up on the goals you mentioned entirely? That means less atheists involved in the movement.

    So, really, what are we supposed to do?

  184. Brownian says

    So, really, what are we supposed to do?

    What Yubal declares you should, based on absolutely no reasonable argument whatsoever.

    And what are you having to do with this at all, Yubal? If I recall correctly, and I most certainly do because I argued with you over it at length, you’re not an atheist. You’re a pantheist. And you believe becoming the latter enabled you to quit smoking.

  185. erikthebassist says

    thegoodman at #101

    just throwing my hat into the inferno that is this very strange and confusing debate

    and what a completely useless fucking hat it was. Probably best it’s been burned since it couldn’t possibly have kept your ears warm, or kept your head dry or shielded from the sun, or any of the other things hats are generally known for doing.

  186. Ichthyic says

    Bringing education, healthcare and food supplies into areas where humans have no or only limited access to such basic needs.

    perhaps the question should be rephrased?

    What kind of causes would atheist charities uniquely support?

  187. opposablethumbs says

    Wasn’t there something before much more important than this debate?

    Like how to teach children how to think for themselves?

    Only as long as they don’t think for themselves about certain subjects … like gender roles. Or maybe yubal thinks only Important Children (boys) should be taught to think, and he assumes it won’t ever occur to them to think about gender roles ’cause that’s a girl evil feminazi thing? ::rolleyes::

  188. skinner says

    Actually, I apologize for writing my post the way I did. It was silly, but also fueled by the nature of the comic.

    I have been trying to figure out the root of the problem between the diverging communities since I’ve learned of it. While both sides have been rather antagonistic in their mutual criticism, both of them veritably just want to be left alone and have nothing to do with each other.

    And then I realized that my comment was part of the problem. The problem being that, the more group leaders critique each other, the more their following members are inclined to go over to linked blog/youtube posts and say something about it.

    The more this happens, the more you get rogue members trying to DMCA youtube accounts, steal personal information, and make legit threats. And no, FtB commenters are not innocent of this.

    I realize it’s nearly impossible to prohibit this behavior with the blogs in their current form. However, I would suggest the creation of some method to mitigate it, before it creates more unwanted consequences, and more squabbling.

    Best Regards

  189. Ichthyic says

    If A+ fails, it’s not going to be due to the dolts depicted in the cartoon, but because no single unified vision has been presented. Carrier seems to have (mercifully) dropped off the face of the Earth after presenting his Us v. Them version of the movement, which has not been retracted. Ed Kagin is convinced it’s a bridge too far and divisive. This movement seems to be in free-fall. Nobody in the mythical and mysterious “back channel” seems to have thought about first deciding on a clear presentation before blasting it out to the public. And nobody appears to want to represent themselves as leadership, as if that’s going to somehow sully its grass-roots purity.

    This whole thing might collapse like a badly baked angel food cake.

    As I said like, what?, a month ago, if you don’t stop shooting people in the back of the neck, people who have legitimate grievance!, this whole thing is over.

    thus spake the authoritarian.

    waterloooooo!

  190. CJO says

    If you want to sell me a laundry detergent

    All you stupid fuckers seem to be under the delusion that someone desires your participation in A+. Please identify a person who does, a person who has the slightest interest in selling you this idea, because I don’t see any. I just see fools, pleased with their own ability to invent a sales pitch which they feel smugly superior for turning down.

    So you don’t believe in Bigfoot, and you have the acumen not to buy something no one is selling. Some more towering intellectual achievements of skepticism! bravo!

  191. stevenkukula says

    Well, I’ve now been told to fuck off enough times to prove with reasonable certainty that A+ is indeed exclusionary. I know my reading comprehension isn’t as great as some of the posters here, but I’ve gotten the idea from what I’m reading that I hate women, and that A+ includes all sorts of things that I mentioned if I’d just pay more attention I’d know that.

    These sorts of comments are precisely what I’ve been hearing from others who aren’t in synch with this alleged movement that has yet to define itself. It seems that atheism+ must cover all the bases that atheism alone did not cover. My bad. I thought that anyone could be an atheist along with any other godless label, such as freethinker, humanist, and so on without having to join a special club to do so. So you’re a feminist? And an atheist? Why would I have a problem with that. My only problem is that it’s difficult enough to get theists and superstitious gits to understand what an atheist is without having to confuse the issue with a new and ephemeral use of the word.

    For those who think that because I speak of issues in my own country I must not realize there’s an entire world out there, please. I’m sure that by now there must be some people from other countries that have jumped on the bandwagon, but there goes my reading comprehension again – I thought this movement began right here in my teensy little island of the U.S.A.

    I’ll ask again: is atheism+ divisive? Well, let’s go back over the comments and see, shall we? It is my considered opinion that atheists and the world would be better off without yet another bandwagon to jump onto. Now I think I’ll wipe the crap off my monitor and go visit the Brights for a while.

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, I see Skinner is talking in the wrong place again, like many concern/tone critics before it. His post should have been at the PIT. I get very tired of folks criticizing our behavior rather than those who are the most agressive and unethical.

  193. Brownian says

    Well, let’s go back over the comments and see, shall we?

    Yeah, let’s do that, Steve-O.

    To be a really plus atheist, perhaps we should support action against income inequality. While we’re at it, those whales and dolphins never really got saved.

    Whales and dolphins?

    And you’re complaining that you didn’t get treated with the respect you think you deserved?

    IS THAT HONESTLY WHAT YOU’RE FUCKING SAYING?

  194. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is my considered opinion that atheists and the world would be better off without yet another bandwagon to jump onto.

    You haven’t been listening. There are clear and precise reasons why A+ is needed which you fail to acknowledge. Either stand back or get run over by the steamroller. It doesn’t appear to be hearing your whines.

  195. Brownian says

    Now I think I’ll wipe the crap off my monitor and go visit the Brights for a while.

    Christ, what an asshole.

  196. Brownian says

    It is my considered opinion that atheists and the world would be better off without yet another bandwagon to jump onto.

    Considered? You forgot to consider the fucking whales, you stupid fuck.

  197. yubal says

    Nightjar,

    Just by being Atheist you don’t lose all that stuff that is to some extend common in human. Sexism and all that other ugly stuff exists and it must suck to be a victim of such stuff. The solution to educate the people who commit it.

    So, really, what are we supposed to do?

    Whenever it happens, defend yourself quick, hard and loud. Don’t let them get away with the impression it worked. Over the long run, well, I honestly don’t know. Maybe continuing to do the same we to do the last 20 years? Talk over it in public, communicate why it is wrong and wait for it to settle in society? There is no hidden switch to end sexism and you can not predict where and when it occurs with an absolute certainty. Among Atheist it is quite possible but probably less likely than in another social setting. And I don’t see why becoming active about it specifically as an atheist should do anything. As you were mentioning number, why not founding something like Society-Minus? Meaning all the things mentioned above as an activist agenda but minus any religious content. That way you could include many good people for the same cause.

    Why does that social activism has to be necessarily hooked up on atheism by calling it A+? Atheism is for most of us a minor issue anyway, after your done with the god question you typically lose any interest in it. Yes, I am saying it, we’ve already been social activist all time long. The Plus doesn’t help anything there it is just confusing.

  198. Emrysmyrddin says

    I’ve had some wine, and skipped a few posts, so I can only sum my view up shortly and wobbily-ily in this way:

    We’re stupid monkey-based animals. We may have grasped underwear and the Financial Times, but that doesn’t make us less susceptible to general practices of stupid thinking, tribalism, chinese whispers, jostling for social power, idiocy, confirmation bias and over-active pattern recognition leading to conspiracy theories, etc., etc. This is Science. Biology, neurosciency stuff.

    Most atheists, I presume, would agree that religion is a good example of expression of above behaviour: tool of oppression, inducing self-delusion, superstitious thinking, Skinner-pigoen-spinning type stuff.

    Atheists would agree this, right? And they’re against the social effects of this, the totalitarianism, the woolly prejudicied thinking, the refusal to not patronise or dismiss, the demonisations, the general oblivious-privilege of Pastor McSmuggman and Rev. Snooty?

    So why is it so hard to see different expressions of the same behaviours in people, non-religious people, shown up in a different way? Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, any kind of Us vs. Them, all these weird little expressions of irrational tribal monkey in-group rage – for me, they have the exact same root as religion, the same mental processes and biases and stuck thinking, and it’s all gone hand in hand with my ideology – yup, my worldview, my notions and wishful thinkings of how I think society might just run better, ooooh – of how it seems that we, as animals, fuck up a lot more often than people give us credit for, and that the whole bloody atheist, sceptic system should be there to not only catch us when we trip over logical idiocies like religion, but also all the abovementioned intersectionalities and probably more than I originally thought of.

    I’ll try my best to keep learning to find out what I missed, though – part of the ideology again, I’m afraid. Part of the system. That self-imposed and good-without-gawd system’s why I identified immediately with A+.

    And if there aren’t any offering to Tpyos in that, I’ll eat me hat. Or be very impressed. Anyway.

  199. skinner says

    Nerd of Redhead, I’m not sure if you’re responding to post 218 where I apologized, nor do I know what the PIT is even after scanning over the site and doing a google search.

    However, I was criticizing both sides, including mine, and making an honest suggestion so you can do something about it. If you didn’t know, there are aggressive folks who will affiliate themselves with any group.

    And it doesn’t go away. They will continue to claim affiliation either by name or by their reaction to official posts (like the recent killing of American diplomats even though there was no formal call to action).

    I was going to make a similar comment in other relevant communities, but if your own won’t even participate, what’s the point? May as well just leave the trolls to keep everyone at eachother’s throats.

  200. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    thegoodman:

    I have a hard time imagining how someone can have a problem with the Atheism+ movement, I just fail to see the necessity of it.

    Perhaps that’s because you haven’t been the target of a never ending stream of sexist insults and threats of violence or sexual assault.
    opposablethumbs breaks it down quite nicely:

    I still don’t actually get the mindset of those who object so vociferously to a bunch of people simply saying we’d like to continue our conversation in another room because we don’t much care for the rape jokes in the hall.

    Imagine the Atheism Movement as a house with occupants of different ages, races, sexualities, ethnicities, gender, etc. The front door is always open and anyone is able to walk in and mingle. Within the house, large numbers of people congregate in the den, where they discuss many issues, including the effect of religion on society. At various times gay rights are discussed, or women’s rights, or even the social stigma felt by those with mental illness.

    Unfortunately some of those that in the group like to use racist, sexist, or homophobic slurs, which has the effect of turning off some of the current members. For some of POC, women, and gay people thinking of joining the party such language turns them off and they decide not to join. As the divisive language gets louder, it starts to alienate people that have been in the group for a long time, as well as newcomers. Despite efforts to correct people, and fight against the hurtful language-which does nothing to advance the goals of the movement, and has had the noticeable effect of running people away-the rifts get deeper and deeper.

    Then someone has an idea. Since the language doesn’t seem to be improving, why not move to the hallway, away from those people who continue to be hurtful and insensitive. This idea is embraced by many members of the movement. The idea is also heard by people lurking outside the house who want to join, but were alienated. These people decide to brand the hallway and their ideas A+. They figure this idea will have a focus on socially progressive ideas. This, they think should be a positive thing. Clearly the movement wasn’t united before, so chatting in the hallway won’t hurt the movement (it’s had the positive effect of drawing in people who didn’t join previously). The people in the hallway have a safe space away from those that have been obnoxious and rude. Those that remain in the living room are free to continue discussing whatever they choose. If any of them decide to move into the hallway, they are free to, but they are not required to.

    Various arguments against moving to the hallway are presented, but most of them are baseless.

    Argument 1: You’re being divisive.
    Clearly the movement was already divisive. People were leaving the party. Some people didn’t join because they were turned off by some things they heard. Deep rifts were forming well before the move into the hallway. Those in A+ were at a loss to understand why taking the conversation elsewhere is met with such animosity. Is it better to stay in the living room and just deal with the sexist or homophobic comments? Many people said no.

    Argument 2: The label.
    Some people argue that atheism has nothing to do with social justice issues. These people think that atheism is only about non belief. Which is true, according to the dictionary definition of atheist. However, it’s amusing that people are opposed to social justice issues being tied to atheism when the Atheist movement was already tackling some social inequalities (cf. gay rights or separation of church and state). Perhaps these opponents object to any *explicit* social justice issues attached to the Atheist movement.
    Opponents of A+ don’t accept that rejection of god can ever have logical repercussions that relate to social justice issues. They refuse to believe that anyone can attach social issues to their atheism (which is odd, given the previous paragraph; it’s odd also because no one is trying to redefine atheism). Despite their refusal to accept reality, some people feel their atheism is strongly tied to social justice. That doesn’t mean they’re redefining atheism. It means atheism is their foundation and they’ve come to their humanist beliefs as a result of rejecting god belief.

    Argument 3: Call yourselves something else.
    Closely related to Argument 2, there are those remaining in the living room who think the Hallway Atheists should leave the house entirely and go across the street to the Humanist Party. The Hallway Atheists don’t want to do that. For many, being an atheist and having that label is a strong part of who they are and they want that word front in center. They respect Humanists and support them in their endeavors. Others feel that while the Humanist Party is awesome and sometimes they play poker together, they want to be part of a group where atheism is central.

    Argument 4: One member of the Hallway Atheists came across too strong when he embraced the goals of A+. Bizarrely, some Living Room Atheists thought this guy was the leader and he was speaking for everyone in the Hallway. Despite numerous corrections, many of these people continue to hold to that belief.

    Argument 5: Argument from Watson.
    Not really an argument. Some opponents of A+ take the odd position that Rebecca Watson (and PZ Myers) are leaders/founders of A+, despite that not being true *at all*.

    Argument 6: Join us or else…
    …you’re a misogynist, sexist douchebag. This argument clearly highlights the lack of critical thinking by some of the people in the Living Room. No one in the Hallway has made a statement like this. What has been repeatedly stated is that you are free to join them in the hallway. You are free to not join them in the hallway. If you don’t, that doesn’t make you a bad person who endorses sexual violence. The Hallway Atheists do assert that if you do endorse sexual violence, THAT makes you a bad person. Clearly some of the Living Room Atheists are wonderful people who would never do such a thing. Some of the Living Room Atheists would (and *have*).

    Argument 7: A+ will confuse theists.
    Flippant response: They’re already confused.
    Serious response: So what? Theists are already confused by the beliefs of atheists because atheism doesn’t provide a worldview. Which is one great reason why A+ is a novel idea. The humanist world view is summed up quite nicely in that little ‘+’. Not to mention if the theist is confused, they can simply ask for a clarification (though it’s doubtful this will happen as theists don’t understand non belief. Asking them to understand non belief AND humanist beliefs???!!! aaaaaaaaaaaahhh-lots of Scanners style exploding heads)

    Argument 8: You’re being elitist.
    Opponents of A+ sometimes assert that it is elitist to leave the Living Room to get away from the hurtful sexist, homophobic, ableist language. These opponents somehow characterize A+’ers as thinking they’re better than people who issue rape threats, ageist slurs, or Men’s Rights nonsense. Yeah, I know. Like anyone would *ever* think they’re better than people like that.

    Did I forget any?

  201. Emrysmyrddin says

    stevenkukula

    I thought this movement began right here in my teensy little island of the U.S.A.

    bwahahahahahaaa

    Er, welcome to the Internet.

  202. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    then how would the Atheism+ label be adequate … after all the original atheism says nothing about social justice or bigotry.

    Head, meet desk.
    Repeat 4 times, then take 2 Tylenol.

    (This whole ‘+’ thing somehow escapes a *lot* of people)

  203. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I’ve now been told to fuck off enough times to prove with reasonable certainty that A+ is indeed exclusionary. I know my reading comprehension isn’t as great as some of the posters here, but I’ve gotten the idea from what I’m reading that I hate women, and that A+ includes all sorts of things that I mentioned if I’d just pay more attention I’d know that

    So, in other words, you didn’t actually read anything anyone wrote to you. Well, thanks for being honest about being a useless dishonest troll.

    These sorts of comments are precisely what I’ve been hearing from others who aren’t in synch with this alleged movement that has yet to define itself.

    In other words, you came here with the specific intention of flame baiting to “prove” the conclusion you made BEFORE coming here.

    My bad. I thought that anyone could be an atheist along with any other godless label, such as freethinker, humanist, and so on without having to join a special club to do so.

    In other words, you’re just gonna flat out lie about A+, despite how many people have made it very clear that it’s opt-in. And despite how many people have made it very clear that we don’t want lazy, privileged whiners who can’t write a single honest sentence.

    So you’re a feminist? And an atheist? Why would I have a problem with that.

    If you didn’t have a problem with it, you wouldn’t be here lying and trolling.

    My only problem is that it’s difficult enough to get theists and superstitious gits to understand what an atheist is without having to confuse the issue with a new and ephemeral use of the word.

    Ah, and in your opinion, driving away more and more atheists is going to help accomplish this? Yeah driving away all those ‘special interest’ whiners – like women, POC, LGBTQI, etc etc etc. and making the group fighting for your cause SMALLER is totally going to help you succeed.

    It is my considered opinion that atheists and the world would be better off without yet another bandwagon to jump onto.

    Thank goodness! We have no use for liars.

  204. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Rev:

    That being said, I’m not really interested in discussion about a catchy movement and how I can join in the reindeer games. I come to the various atheist themed blogs and sites to read about specific atheist topics. I go to feminist and social issue blogs to read about those things. I am not saying anyone should or should not do anything, just throwing my hat into the inferno that is this very strange and confusing debate.

    Thank you for saying absolutely nothing.

    LOL.
    On top of that, xe said absolutely nothing about something xe doesn’t want to say anything about, yet still did.
    My head hurts.

  205. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    Well, I’ve now been told to fuck off enough times to prove with reasonable certainty that A+ is indeed exclusionary

    You being told to fuck of does only prove that cluelessness will get you a lot of scorn on Pharyngula. This is fairly old news. Far older than any thoughts on A+.

    I’ll ask again: is atheism+ divisive? Well, let’s go back over the comments and see, shall we? It is my considered opinion that atheists and the world would be better off without yet another bandwagon to jump onto. Now I think I’ll wipe the crap off my monitor and go visit the Brights for a while.

    You know that crap doesn’t literary travel through the inter tubes, right? That it is on you monitor should be a big fucking hint.

    I think all of us really would prefer to stay on the old waggon. The only problem is that there’s a lot of people there puking bile and flinging runny crap all over the place. And there is an even larger bunch hell-bent on stopping anybody who feels like a bit of house-cleaning. Hence the need for a new waggon.

  206. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    chigau:

    Sometimes I consider myself the Queen of AlphaCentauri.

    Yeah, but it’s gonna take you a long time to get to your territory. Me, all I have to do is drive to sunny California…

  207. Rodney Nelson says

    Tony •King of the Hellmouth• #233

    (This whole ‘+’ thing somehow escapes a *lot* of people)

    QFT

    It’s quite amazing that so many people say “but atheism isn’t social justice so why are you Atheist+ people insisting on making it part of your movement?” We say “our little divisive faction is making social justice part of our atheism.” “But atheism doesn’t include social justice, so why are you making it part of atheism?” “Atheism+ does include social justice.” “But atheism….” Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

  208. Brownian says

    Yeah, but it’s gonna take you a long time to get to your territory.

    Not when she’s got access to me, as I consider myself Crazy Taxi Driver to the Stars, Where “To The Stars” Means Either But Not Both Interpretations.

    So, unless chigau is famous, I can drive her to her Queendom. You ain’t famous, are ya chigau? No?

    Then hold my meatball sub, this is gonna be rough.

  209. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    skinner:

    I have been trying to figure out the root of the problem between the diverging communities since I’ve learned of it.

    Simmering sexism within the Atheist Movement bubbled up and ostracized many people who decided to form a subset away from that bullshit?

    I thought that was obvious in the wake of guys being told not to do that.

  210. Rodney Nelson says

    Sometimes I consider myself the Queen of AlphaCentauri.

    Is that anything like Empress of Centauri Prime?

  211. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    stevenkukula:

    I know my reading comprehension isn’t as great as some of the posters here, but I’ve gotten the idea from what I’m reading that I hate women, and that A+ includes all sorts of things that I mentioned if I’d just pay more attention I’d know that.

    {emphasis mine}

    Isn’t as great…?
    It’s atrocious.
    Please point to the post where someone said you hated women. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. How do I know? I gave you the benefit of the doubt and re-read *Every* single response to you. No one-not one single person-said you hate women.
    What you have done is dismiss the concerns of women by whining about “A+ focusing on feminism”.
    Feminists seek the full political, social, and economic equality for women.
    Even if A+ was focused on that one very fucking important issue , you would still be dismissing it, because it is a very fucking important issue.

  212. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was going to make a similar comment in other relevant communities, but if your own won’t even participate, what’s the point?

    First, If you don’t post the same at all parties you are a partisan hypocrite, and you know that. Your threat indicates this might be the case, as I suspected from the beginning. The second, who the fuck are you to tell anybody what to do? Your AUTHORITY to do so is non-existent. You have an ego problem you need to deal with elsewhere.

  213. chigau (違わない) says

    Brownian

    Then hold my meatball sub, this is gonna be rough.

    Is that one in the Urban Dictionary yet?

  214. CJO says

    Hey! Hey! no cutting, chigau.

    I was next in line to “hold Brownian’s meatball sub.” *wink wink*

  215. Brownian says

    Then hold my meatball sub, this is gonna be rough.

    I’m going to remember this one when James Lipton asks me how I manage to be so consistently brilliant.

    I’ll say, “Well James, I really have to credit Robert Preston’s performance in The Last Starfighter as my inspiration for this character. Of course, my character is a little more Brooklyn, a little more 1978. I don’t know where that came from.”

    We’ll both laugh at that.

    James Lipton will then ask in his most intently serious intently-serious-question-asking voice: “Can you give us a little more of Crazy Taxi Driver to the Stars, Where “To The Stars” Means Either But Not Both Interpretations?”

    I’ll smile. Sure. Look down at the floor for a beat. Then I’ll raise my head, look straight into the camera and say “Should I keep the meter running then?—Beat—I’ll keep the meter running.”

    Then we’ll cut to a commercial.

  216. Brownian says

    Your constant reliance on antagonizing tactics is like how christians used to feed on bleeding pagans.

    Also… what?

    It’s a thing Christians do. When I was one, we’d drive our herd of pagans from the lowlands to the highlands and back again depending on the season. It’s hard to hunt when herding pagans, so to sustain us without thinning the herd, we’d use our crucifixes to nick a pagan’s neck, collecting the blood in a modified censer, which we’d then mix with pagan’s milk and drink. A glob of mud on the neck to prevent infection, and the pagan would heal up as good as new.

  217. erikthebassist says

    Did I forget any?

    About covered it, brilliant.

    Running with the analogy, most of the problem these days has to do with the people standing in the den, yelling out the people in the hallway to come back in because they’re dividing the movement.

    Denizen: Come back in here please!

    Hallizen: No, not until you get rid of those misogynistic douche canoes!

    Denizen: What misogynistic douche canoes?!?

    Hallizen: The ones standing behind you threatening to kick me in the cunt!

    Denizen: What?!? I don’t know what you’re talking about?!?!

    Hallizen: Right fucking there behind you, turn around! They are the reason we’re out here!

    Denizen: Oh… them, ignore them, we asked them to leave.

    Hallizen: But they haven’t left.

    Denizen: Ok well you can’t make me go out there, I like it in here.

    Hallizen: I don’t remember asking you to.

    Denizen: Right then, if you insist on staying out there we’ll have to shut the door and lock it.

    Hallizen: Why?

    Denizen: Because you are being divisive.

    Hallizen: We’re divisive? We just don’t want to be anywhere near the cuntkickers, so we came out here, how is that divisive?

    Denizen: Because the cuntkickers aren’t that bad, and like I said, we asked them to leave.

    Hallizen: How about we just stay here, but we keep that door open and unlocked so people can move freely about?

    Denizen: Can’t have that, nope.

  218. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Ok, ya’ll win.
    Being driven to the stars while holding the meatball sub is FAR better than riding with the King to the fiery maw of hell…

  219. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    erikthebassist:

    I’ll send out your bright shiny Internet once I finish baking the cookies that you’ll also receive!

  220. Brownian says

    *takes ticket, joins queue glumly*

    That’s the spirit! I guarantee it’ll be at least as bad as you expect!

  221. yubal says

    #216 Ichthyic

    I agree. The question should different. But I think it should be rather broader than narrow. I can not imagine what kind of a charity is catering to a cause only Atheist could think of. Unless, of course, the charity that serves only Atheist, which is in my opinion not really a charity.

  222. Nightjar says

    Just by being Atheist you don’t lose all that stuff that is to some extend common in human. Sexism and all that other ugly stuff exists and it must suck to be a victim of such stuff. The solution to educate the people who commit it.

    Yes, and when that fails, get the fuck away from them, repudiate them and their behaviour, and try to make some space for people like yourself so you don’t have to give up on the stuff you care about. Stuff like, you know, “how to teach children how to think for themselves”, “the building of strong Atheist charities”, and “strategies on communicating Atheism in public”. Atheism+. Finding a way to get away from the sexism without having to give up on what we, as atheists, care about.

    Also, educating the people who commit it means having this debate. The one we are having now and which you don’t want to take place because… “something much more important”. “Something much more important” than the fact that a lot of people who also want to work on that “something much more important” are being driven away by assholes.

    Whenever it happens, defend yourself quick, hard and loud. […] And I don’t see why becoming active about it specifically as an atheist should do anything.

    Do you even notice you’re contradicting yourself? I’m supposed to defend myself hard and loud “whenever it happens”, but doing it as an atheist when it happens in the context of the atheist movement is pointless?

    So much for that “whenever”.

    why not founding something like Society-Minus? Meaning all the things mentioned above as an activist agenda but minus any religious content.

    Because we don’t want to give up on the “atheism” part, and we want to make that clear.

    That way you could include many good people for the same cause.

    What cause? It’s supposed to be an atheist group, not just a secular humanist one. Atheism is necessarily part of its “cause”.

    Why does that social activism has to be necessarily hooked up on atheism by calling it A+?

    Because we want to advance the kind of goals generally supported by people in the atheist movement, we just want to do it away from the hateful assholes. Because we don’t want to give up on the atheist movement itself. We want to be part of it. We’re not giving up the A label. We won’t let them succeed in driving us away. We are atheists and we want to be active as atheists… while keeping the hateful assholes the fuck away from us.

    Atheism is for most of us a minor issue anyway, after your done with the god question you typically lose any interest in it.

    I haven’t lost interest in the god question. If most atheists stop talking about the god question, the new generations will only hear from the goddists and will be less likely to hear from us. The god question (and the faith question) is important, we shouldn’t stop talking about it.

    Yes, I am saying it, we’ve already been social activist all time long.

    Who’s we?

    The Plus doesn’t help anything there it is just confusing.

    I think it may help with whole “let’s get the fuck away from the hateful assholes so we can continue what we, as atheists, were already doing” thing.

  223. yubal says

    Nightjar,

    Just two short things I have on my mind before I need to leave.

    1. Why is it necessary to “get the fuck away from them” when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”. I don’t see any argument on the pro-side for having the offender on the ground and the victim move on. We should not, ever, make ground for misbehavior, that way we never fix the problem.

    2. How does the “get the fuck away from them” guarantee that it will never happen again? Do you guys believe there will be no sexism after anyone put up a pledge against it? Sorting out the “assholes ” from the “non-assholes ” is a little more complicated than many people think. I can’t see that happening. Just because people tend to be assholes in one situation and in the other one not. People are not static entities, they are human, they are prone to error, and yes, sometimes they regret them.

    Sorry, I have to go now
    Y.

  224. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”.

    Not working. You aren’t listening. A failure of yours.

    guarantee that it will never happen again?

    It can’t, does it does set a precedent that it will not be tolerated. Again, you aren’t listening. Still failing at a simple thing.

    I can’t see that happening.

    Two items, it is self-selection, and your problem is your problem, not ours.

    Sorry, I have to go now

    FIFY, we aren’t sorry to see you go.

  225. A. Noyd says

    yubal (#227)

    So, really, what are we supposed to do?

    Whenever it happens, defend yourself quick, hard and loud. Don’t let them get away with the impression it worked.

    If it were that fucking simple, there wouldn’t be a need for A+. Your failure to understand this—your failure to even realize you don’t already understand it—is yet another reason that A+ is necessary.

    Maybe continuing to do the same we to do the last 20 years? Talk over it in public, communicate why it is wrong and wait for it to settle in society?

    You think sexism and the like “must suck to be a victim of,” but you feel comfortable telling people who suffer from it that we should keep on with what we’ve been doing and wait and see if anything comes of it. I guess you don’t think victims have it all that bad then.

    (#261)

    We should not, ever, make ground for misbehavior, that way we never fix the problem.

    You made it pretty clear you weren’t interested in doing anything to help and that this isn’t a problem that should be addressed in the context of atheism. So your “we” here is disingenuous. If we count do-nothings like you as part of this “we,” then of course we’ll never fix the problem. And if you’re not included, then you’ve no business telling us what we should do.

  226. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    yubal:

    1. Why is it necessary to “get the fuck away from them” when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”. I don’t see any argument on the pro-side for having the offender on the ground and the victim move on. We should not, ever, make ground for misbehavior, that way we never fix the problem.

    Are you new here?
    There are many commenters who have been posting at FtB for many years (as well as the wider online Atheist/Skeptic community). When the sexism started becoming more overt, many long time commenters asked the assholes to stop. They told them to leave. What happened? Nothing (that’s not accurate. Something happened all right. Deep Rifts. Over “guys don’t do that”). No one can *make* them stop talking about cuntkicking. No one can kick them out of the Atheist movement for asking if it’s cool to rape someone. A blog host could ban them from A blog, but there are a *lot* of atheist/skeptic blogs and forums around. There’s no way to stop assholes from posting *everywhere*. All of that doesn’t even begin to address the question of whether or not its ok to even try to make someone stop saying stupid shit (which is different than criticizing someone or cussing them out or trying to convince them why they shouldn’t say hurtful things).
    The sexist and misogynistic remarks have been criticized-heavily-by many people, yet those making the remarks are still around. They’re still saying their shit. They aren’t going away, nor are they quieting down.
    So what now?
    If we can’t convince them to stop being assholes, and they won’t go away on their own, what’s left? What’s your solution then?
    Also, if *a* solution that’s offered is to create another area away from the assholes, what’s wrong with that? Especially in light of the unwillingness on the part of the assholes to STFU.

    Let’s Recap:
    Criticized for creating a safe space.
    Criticized for not making the assholes leave.
    Criticized for not making the assholes stop.
    Criticized for telling the assholes to stop.
    Criticized for bringing up a problem.
    Criticized for offering advice.

    What’s left? To shut up and sit down?

    I can tell you right now, *that* option is off the fucking table.

  227. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    A. Noyd:

    You think sexism and the like “must suck to be a victim of,” but you feel comfortable telling people who suffer from it that we should keep on with what we’ve been doing and wait and see if anything comes of it. I guess you don’t think victims have it all that bad then.

    There was something in yubal’s comment:

    Sexism and all that other ugly stuff exists and it must suck to be a victim of such stuff.

    that really bugs me. It felt really patronizing. In a “There, there, little gay boy. It must suck that you can’t get married. You just keep on fighting the good fight and one day maybe you will succeed.” kind of way.

  228. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It felt really patronizing. I

    Yep, that’s a flaw in Yubal’s character.

  229. susan says

    @Tony

    Let’s Recap:
    Criticized for creating a safe space.
    Criticized for not making the assholes leave.
    Criticized for not making the assholes stop.
    Criticized for telling the assholes to stop.
    Criticized for bringing up a problem.
    Criticized for offering advice.

    What’s left? To shut up and sit down?

    I can tell you right now, *that* option is off the fucking table.

    Thank you. Melissa at Shakesville put up a transcript of a speech she gave this week about creating safe spaces and why they’re so necessary to those who tend to be drowned out or chased away from other forums. It seems relevant to this discussion. Beloved Community. A snippet:

    The grim predictions made by flouncing discontents that the quality of the discourse at Shakesville would suffer if I continued to accommodate the “oversensitive” (or some variation thereof) did not come true. Quite the contrary—creating guidelines to ensure that the voice and experiences of a trans lesbian of color with disabilities are as valued as the voice and experiences of a straight, cisgender, able-bodied, white male qualitatively and quantitatively expanded the discourse via a diversity of perspectives.
    .
    The richness of contributions, encouraged by dismantling the disincentives and barriers to participation in other spaces, is the radical potential of a safe space.
    .
    Community members told their stories, shared their lived experiences. Among them were perspectives I’d never found at other general subject blogs.

  230. moarscienceplz says

    One of my all-time favorite Groucho Marx lines is something like, “I refuse to join any club that would let someone like me become a member.”

    Apparently, the MRA slogan is, “I INSIST on joining any club that doesn’t want me as a member!”

    Why can’t you guys just go back inside the Animal House and smash beer cans into your forehead, or something? We’re trying to have a pleasant, quiet conversation here.

  231. vaiyt says

    1. Why is it necessary to “get the fuck away from them” when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”.

    For the same reason any minority movement builds their own spaces, you sanctimonious asshole.

    I had exactly the same argument with a friend of mine, who couldn’t understand why gay gamers would want to have their own conference. Oh, maybe they want one place to go where they won’t be treated like shit by the notoriously prejudiced (and lacking in self-reflection) gamer culture? What’s wrong with that?

  232. jose says

    People really don’t like the name, do they.

    I agree that the thing could have had a better name, one more comprehensive for example. But that’s not how things happened. A+ wasn’t carefully designed by a committee, it was built by a bunch of random people posting comments in a few blogs… atheist blogs. Even the logos were made by random people. In short, A+ arose into existence in atheist blogs whose authors shared a certain view of atheism, and the name is just a contingent footprint of this origin. Had those blogs been mainly about skepticism, then maybe A+ would be called S+. Who knows? The story could have been different. It just wasn’t!

  233. bastionofsass says

    yubal wrote:

    Why is it necessary to “get the fuck away from them” when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”.

    I guess we need you to tell us how to do that. Because, so far, we obviously haven’t been able to figure it out. So, you tell us:

    Do we send squads of…i dunno…huge flying squids to their house and order them to stop, or face the consequences?

    Do we give them a citation and haul them into atheist court and order them to stop?

    And if they don’t obey our order to stop:

    Do we make them appear before the ultimate supreme atheist tribunal and “repudiate” them, tell them they cannot call themselves atheists anymore, rip their “A’s” right off their atheist uniforms, tear up their atheist membership cards, block their atheist passwords so they can no longer log into atheism, then drum them out of atheism, and finally, exile them, drive them to the border of theism and tell them to keep walking to the other side…or else?

  234. unclefrogy says

    I have been reading about this as has everyone else for some time now. Here is the thing. The one of the main objections to A+ is it would be divisive. The opposition goes all bonkers and howls and gets all emotional saying all that stuff which I am not going to repeat here.

    It looks plain to me that what this illustrates very clearly is that the atheist community is divided already. It is divided along the same lines as the general society as a whole is divided. All that has happened is those lines of division are now out in the open and those who feel marginalized are speaking out loud about it.

    welcome to the real world of real people

    uncle frogy

  235. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Melissa at Shakesville put up a transcript of a speech she gave this week about creating safe spaces and why they’re so necessary to those who tend to be drowned out or chased away from other forums.

    Yeah, she’s great at making sure the marginalized have a voice, like the rape survivors she chased off her blog for committing the mortal sin of being off-topic. What an ally.

    /tangent

  236. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Oh, and I should point out that they were “off-topic” by her definition; in any other part of the fucking universe it would be perfectly cogent to mention the negative aspects of a public figure in an unduly adulatory post about them to keep them in context. At Shakesville? Nooooooope!

  237. strange gods before me ॐ says

    That would be the ad hominem fallacy, and totally irrelevant to this thread. Even assuming you’ve characterized her actions accurately, whether she practices what she preaches has no bearing on whether what she preaches would be worthwhile if practiced.

  238. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    People really don’t like the name, do they. – jose

    I really don’t think the name has anything to do with it, at least in the vast majority of cases. Whatever the name, the haters would have found it objectionable.

  239. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Do we give them a citation and haul them into atheist court and order them to stop?

    This only works if the Judge is Judy.
    She won’t tolerate their bullying.

  240. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Nick

    I really don’t think the name has anything to do with it, at least in the vast majority of cases. Whatever the name, the haters would have found it objectionable.

    You’re probably right.
    It could have been >A
    or
    HumAtheism
    or
    SJ + A
    and these people would still whine.

    Hell it could be A+Ketchup and they’d still whine about how ketchup doesn’t belong in my atheism.

  241. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Bastionofsass

    Waiting for mathematicians to complain the A+ hijacked their “+”.

    5 stars, will LOL again and again.

  242. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    no, look closer. it says A+, not A÷

    Jadehawk, I baked you this caramel swirl internet with fudge frosting. Where would you like it delivered.

  243. Nightjar says

    yubal,

    Why is it necessary to “get the fuck away from them” when you have all right to “make them fucking stop” or “make them fucking leave”.

    Leave where? PZ can make them fucking leave and make them fucking stop on his blog. The moderators on the a+ forums can make them fucking leave and fucking stop on their forums. Conference organizers can put up harassment policies so that those who break them are made to fucking leave that conference. People who want them to fucking stop in the places they have any control over can do it. But no one can make them leave the internet, or make them stop being atheists.

    Yes, we can try to push them away however we can and to get more people do the same, and we can try to make them and the people who defend them less vocal, or make the people who defend them stop defending them. And eventually make them uncomfortable because no one tolerates their behaviour any more, and no one asks us to make room for them (otherwise we are “divisive!”). And who said that’s not what we want? Right now some people just need a safe space where they can discuss these things without… well, look at the cartoon.

    I don’t see any argument on the pro-side for having the offender on the ground and the victim move on.

    But when trying to make the offender move on only leads to the hate and misogyny escalating and reaching unbearable levels for a lot of women… then what?

    To some people the idea of creating a subgroup within the atheist movement that is also a safe space where they can discuss these things seemed the only alternative to giving up altogether, so they’re giving it a try. Can you blame them? And to some people the idea of moving on and leaving the offenders behind to choke on their own hate seems more and more like it is worth a try. Can you blame them?

    We should not, ever, make ground for misbehavior, that way we never fix the problem.

    Yeah, who is making ground for misbehaviour? Who is pretending nothing important is happening and this is just a bunch of oversensitive people overreacting? Who is dismissing women’s complaints? Who is making excuses for the “misbehaviour”, as you call it? Who is accusing those who want some distance from all the hate and a safe space to discuss how to end it of being “divisive” and hurting the movement, rather than accusing those spewing the hate?

    Not us. Go tell them about how they “should not, ever, make ground for misbehavior”.

    How does the “get the fuck away from them” guarantee that it will never happen again? Do you guys believe there will be no sexism after anyone put up a pledge against it?

    Of course not. But the greater the number of people within the group who won’t tolerate it, the more likely it is that the sexism, rather than the complaints, will be unanimously shouted down.

    Sorting out the “assholes ” from the “non-assholes ” is a little more complicated than many people think. I can’t see that happening. Just because people tend to be assholes in one situation and in the other one not. People are not static entities, they are human, they are prone to error, and yes, sometimes they regret them.

    And this is irrelevant. We want a group where the error is shouted down, not the complaints. That should make it very hard for the particular kind of “asshole” I’m talking about to thrive in that group, which is the goal.

  244. zmidponk says

    Wow. Just reading over this thread, I am amazed. Do some people REALLY not get the difference between ‘atheism’ and ‘atheism+’? I think I’ve got a pretty good idea, without really paying much attention other than reading this blog, and this is how I think it is:

    ‘Atheism’ is the lack of belief in any god or gods. This means this group is a large and varied collection of people.

    ‘Atheism+’ is the lack of belief in any god or gods, plus (hence the plus sign), broadly speaking, the belief that there are social justice issues, such as sexism and racism, that are also important and need to be addressed. This means that this is a somewhat smaller group, but people in this group also belong to the above group. Just like atheism, it doesn’t have a formal joining procedure – you just need to fit the category.

    Now that’s been explained, and I’ve got it right, two questions to those who still are arguing against ‘atheism+':

    Firstly, how is that ‘divisive’? If you are an atheist who thinks there are social justice issues that need to be addressed, you belong to the ‘atheist+’ subgroup. If you are an atheist who does not think this, you simply don’t – but this still means you are an atheist, either way.

    Secondly, is it now clear that ‘atheism+’ is a subgroup of ‘atheism’ in much the same way ‘atheism’ is a subgroup of ‘all people’, or do I need to break out a fucking Venn diagram?

  245. Rodney Nelson says

    Nightjar #282

    We want a group where the error is shouted down, not the complaints.

    This is the part that confuses me about objections to Atheism+. I can understand the haters’ objections, they don’t want their victims objecting to misogyny. I can understand the Humanists’ and Ron Lindsay’s objections, they’re concerned about competition for members and money. I can even understand the dictionary atheists’ objections, they don’t want their pure atheism sullied by trivia like social justice. But it’s the people like yubal who chastise us for wanting a save place that I don’t understand.

    The slyme pit and its predecessors have been vomiting forth loud bigots for over a year. These people are not interested in going quietly into that good night. As Mike McCreight discovered, even strong demands for the bullies to shut up are responded to by derision and abuse. Yet yubal scolds us for setting up Atheism+ instead of “having the offender on the ground.”

    Standing up to bullies only works if the majority of onlookers have your back. When people like Ron Lindsay wring their hands and say both sides are culpable, then that’s not happening. So setting up a safe place is the only reasonable, effective thing to do until the rest of atheism can be convinced not to give the harassers a free rein.

  246. kassad says

    Whenever I hear Atheism Plus I get this weird feeling someone want’s to sell me something.

    To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the name either. On the other, I don’t think that my suggestion Atheism Worth a Damn (AWaD) will be better receive by the critics, so let’s run with what we have, ok?

    Well, I’ve now been told to fuck off enough times to prove with reasonable certainty that A+ is indeed exclusionary.

    Off course it is exclusionary you genius. By the way, atheism is already exclusionary toward theists. And that’s mean. The first clue that it is exclusionary is that it’ not just called “humanity” (which is exclusionary since it doesn’t let my dog participate and he’s adorable). Oh, and i heard that the NAACP is exclusionary toward Klan members. The injustice is staggering. Let’s go on their site to pontificate about our “concerns”.

  247. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Interesting observation. From what I can tell, those who object to A+ appear to be almost exclusively male. Not surprising. And their stated objections are a smokescreen to to hide their real objections and fears.

  248. kassad says

    Interesting observation. From what I can tell, those who object to A+ appear to be almost exclusively male. Not surprising.

    There certainly seem to be a vast majority of males, and it is off course not a coincidence but I’m not sure it is a good point to raise. Because everytime you say that, they prop up this or that woman opposed to it and say:

    “Look! I’m aggreeing with this woman! And you don’t! If we really think about it, aren’t YOU the real misogynist? You’re denying her right as a liberated woman to call someone a “cunt”! That’s infantilizing! You are trying to silence men & WOMEN (I don’t even see gender, promise)! Because you are NAZIS! AHA!”

    It’s everytime, just look at Abbie Smith vs. Rebecca Watson, Paula Kirby vs. “Sisterhood of the Opressed”, or more recently the digusting Bumblebee vs. Jen McCreight affair.

  249. Amphiox says

    Well, I’ve now been told to fuck off enough times to prove with reasonable certainty that A+ is indeed exclusionary.

    The exclusion of assholes like you is a feature, not a bug.

  250. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    @SGBM

    Actually, I think that criticizing the use of Melissa as an exemplar for safe space building is perfectly on-topic. Oh, and I don’t recall them letting you join the Pharyngula Thread Police, so go fuck yourself.

  251. susan says

    @RahXephon

    exemplar

    I said she wrote “about creating safe spaces and why they’re so necessary”. In the speech I linked to she talks about how difficult the process is–and even she wouldn’t call herself an “exemplar”. In fact she says:

    And there’s no model for what a space like Shakesville should look like: I’m really fumbling my way through it every day, and sometimes I fail.

  252. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    In the speech I linked to she talks about how difficult the process is–and even she wouldn’t call herself an “exemplar”.

    Given her twisted interpretation of the safe space concept, and the years of emotional abuse I’m still untangling from my time there as a commenter, I’m not inclined to listen to her as an authority on the subject.

    I wouldn’t say she’s a failure, though. She succeeds at making Shakesville a safe space…for Melissa McEwan.

  253. says

    Susan,

    Melissa at Shakesville put up a transcript of a speech she gave this week

    She’s giving speeches now? Does she have Deeky, Paul, and the other mods accompany her as bouncers, so they can eject audience members who have the gall to ask her difficult questions in the Q&A?

    RahXephon, who spent too long as a regular on Shakesville, has every right to call out Melissa McEwan for being abusive and hypocritical as all fuck, especially in the context of building “safe spaces.” Read STFU Shakesville and Shakesfail to find out just how abusive and hypocritical she and her mods are.

    “Sometimes I fail.” Ya think? Sure, she admits it in a public speech. On her blog? Hardly, unless she then also wails about how haaaarrrrd it is to be a SAHW sitting on her ass all day posting other people’s links and cat macros and contributing a fraction of the content she used to, then guilt-trips her Stockholm-syndromed commentariat into donating money for that oh-so-“feminist” act.

    Damn right I’m going to call her out whenever someone praises her without qualifications. Ergo, SGBM, you can shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. And, as Rah said, you ain’t the thread police.

  254. yubal says

    Nightjar & Tony,

    I am around the secular contents of the net for about a decade or so. More reading than writing. But, yes, I am familiar with the problem of combining people behind computers in a public space. I totally dislike the idea of leaving the battleground on the sexism topic to the minority of offenders.
    As for the blogs and forums, you can just moderate them and ramp up the moderation/banning. That has proven to have only marginal success over the years. Almost any blog or forum already has moderation. Declaring a “+” standard is nothing more than saying we have this updated code of behavior out there, but this time we mean it and enforce it. Experience tells us that didn’t work in the past. The doors are still wide open and the same people are still entering. All you accomplished is spending more energy to work against the influx and added a “+” that does nothing but to provide a most likely false impression of safety. You didn’t fix the problem. The credit I give to the A+ idea is that people bring the need to fight sexism topic up again. I am not against A+ but I say it doesn’t do anything to make the web safer in a way you couldn’t have accomplished with more moderation in the first place. So what can be done that would be effective? Moderation cost time and energy for the providers of the content (e.g. PZ). What could work better are some of the strategies that have not been tested widely in the net. Like referral system. You start of with a room full of people you feel comfortable with and anyone who wants in needs to have someone on the inside to vouch for them. If they cause trouble they will get booted. If too many troublemakers got their vouchers from the same person, it loses the right to vouch. That way you have less people coming in but almost no moderation and maybe a better community experience. Another option would be to have people register under their real name. People tend to behave better when their identity is known. Also, you can add a constant moderation function to people who cause trouble all the time. Their comments will not be displayed unless approved by a moderator, which takes time. Those people have to talk with a build in delay and usually move on themselves when they get mad at their own misery. Again, don’t make your own bubble and falsely assume it is save, force the troublemakers out and make them get their own zone. You don’t need to create an A+ label. Let them create a freaky sub-label, “Atheism without limits” or something . They are the abnormal people, not we.

    Safety in the context of a comfort zone can be established in some way, but absolute certainty of safety will never exist. It can’t be done unless you change the society, which takes a few generations. That is why I doubt this A+ thing will work out the way you want it to. The motivation behind it is absolutely right but it will most likely only fool people in a false sense of safety in that room. Anything you can do at all can be done without a new misleading sticker. People will get disappointed because there is a label for a promise no content provider can keep. I’d say you keep trying and see what happens, what goes wrong what does improve and so on and compare your expectations before to your experience after. Put your systems to the test and modify strategies, but dump that label. It is more harm than good.

  255. Pteryxx says

    Safety in the context of a comfort zone can be established in some way, but absolute certainty of safety will never exist.

    Nobody claimed an A+ space would be absolutely perfectly safe. Nobody except detractors and concern trolls, that is. Take it to the TSA.

    The targets of harassment already know damn well that no space is perfect. That’s no reason to deny them making a safER space, where they only get jabbed at some of the time instead of constantly; more to the point, where their concerns are taken seriously instead of dismissed, say by telling them they’re chasing some pipe dream of perfect safety for example.

    Another option would be to have people register under their real name. People tend to behave better when their identity is known.

    …Yeah, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  256. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That is why I doubt this A+ thing will work out the way you want it to.

    Why do you think we are interested in your OPINION, and fuckwitted idiocy about absolute safety? Those are obvious points already considered. You need to examine your real reasons why you oppose A+, and articulate them. All you are presented to date is a smoke screen, and you know that.

  257. yubal says

    NoROM,

    You need to examine your real reasons why you oppose A+, and articulate them.

    For you, a simple version. It was in the text above.

    Hiding in a bunker and putting up the label A+ is equivalent to hissing the white flag on the battle field on sexism.

    Do you understand that?

  258. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hiding in a bunker and putting up the label A+ is equivalent to hissing the white flag on the battle field on sexism.

    Do you understand that?

    Nope, your prose is obtuse. Try plain prose. What I see is:
    Reasons for opposing A+:
    ..
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ..
    *Crickets chirring*
    .
    Reason to be offended by A+:
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    *Crickets Chirring*
    .
    Reasons to get away from the Pitters using A+:
    Myriad of reasons as they are poisonous.
    .
    .
    What is your real problem if you don’t have to join? You must have one that you aren’t acknowledging

  259. Pteryxx says

    Hiding in a bunker and putting up the label A+ is equivalent to hissing the white flag on the battle field on sexism.

    Do you understand that?

    Who made you the Official Drill Sergeant of shaming and bossing around civilians who want to be left the fuck alone? Take your ignorant victim-blaming to football tryouts where it might be of some use.

    Education:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/09/05/must-be-this-tough-to-ride

    This is harassment. And it’s a very small sample of it, taken from after the harassers claimed a victory. It was far worse before.

    It’s not a test. It’s not an incidental effect. It’s not a short-term barrier. It’s been going on for months, and people like WoolyBumblebee up there are very clear on its purpose.

    It’s meant to drive us out of the conversation. It’s meant to shut down people without the time and energy, people without enough social support, people without the most resilient mental health and exclude them from the discussions of what sort of political space(s) atheism can occupy or how the movement will conduct itself. It’s meant to keep us from experiencing any peace until we pack up and leave.

    http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2011/08/04/real-names.html

    The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power. “Real names” policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people. These ideas and issues aren’t new (and I’ve even talked about this before), but what is new is that marginalized people are banding together and speaking out loudly. And thank goodness.

  260. yubal says

    NoROM

    What is your real problem if you don’t have to join? You must have one that you aren’t acknowledging

    The obvious one.

    I can’t join A+ because I do not have a Blog of Forum or else on my own where I could enforce common sense rules people recently felt necessary to label “A+”

    Pteryxx,

    Take your ignorant victim-blaming to football tryouts where it might be of some use.

    victim-blaming?

    When did I ever blame a victim?

    Put up or shut up.

    (And yes, I am aware of the real-name ID problematic, I am real-name IDed on several communities and used to run one myself in the earlier days of the web. It has unique pros and unique cons, just something you should have in consideration. For a new blog, I’d recommend a low moderation phase followed by a referral system)

  261. Amphiox says

    Hiding in a bunker and putting up the label A+ is equivalent to hissing the white flag on the battle field on sexism.

    Just because yubal imagines this to be so, does not make it so.

  262. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can’t join A+ because I do not have a Blog of Forum or else on my own where I could enforce common sense rules people recently felt necessary to label “A+”

    Who the fuck are you to be so arrogant and presume leadership of a leaderless voluntary group? Your fuckwittery is showing, which is why I suggested introspection. I suggest a good dose of who the fuck cares what you have to say, followed by silence.

  263. Rodney Nelson says

    yubal #298

    Another option would be to have people register under their real name. People tend to behave better when their identity is known.

    I’m an atheist. My immediate boss is a Christian fundamentalist. I don’t know how she’d react to knowing that I’m an atheist but I doubt it would be favorable. I know she’s googled my real name because she told me that someone with my name had multiple arrest warrants outstanding in another state. So I use a pseudonym to protect myself. Sorry if reality puts a crimp in your poorly thought out ideas.

  264. Rodney Nelson says

    what the bloody fuck has joining A+ to do with having a blog or forum?

    That’s so yubal could have real name, referred registration and moderate A+ so to keep the women in the battlefield that xe doesn’t want to surrender to the haters. It all makes sense now.

  265. says

    I totally dislike the idea of leaving the battleground on the sexism topic to the minority of offenders.</blockquote

    If there were a minority of offenders, that would indeed be a bad strategy.

    Unfortunately, we have multiple stripes of "offenders." The hardcore misogynist rape-threat-spewing hate-driven trolls are a minority. And if the rest of the community were against them, we might be able to drive them out.

    However, regular old run-of-the-mill "I don't hate women; that would require paying attention to them, and I'd rather spend my time talking about how smart I am" moderate sexists who don't really give a shit about doing anything about the trolls… we appear to have a metric fuckton of those. They are really, really not a minority in the movement. They are likely the New Atheist base. And that sort of bullshit enables the really serious MRAs and trolls. Finding out that those people don't care about us and don't have our back in the face of mistreatment is disheartening. The oblivious, genteelly sexist types go all the way up to the "leaders" of the movement, to the degree that we have leaders (see: Dawkins mocking Rebecca Watson for pointing out that atheist men can do stupid shit too).

    We cannot kick the hateful trolls out of the movement because not enough people in the movement give a shit. And we cannot kick the regular sexists out of the movement because they make up too much of the movement.

    Hence the attempt to explicitly create a separate space within the movement where we all will have each other’s backs.

  266. Ichthyic says

    However, regular old run-of-the-mill “I don’t hate women; that would require paying attention to them, and I’d rather spend my time talking about how smart I am” moderate sexists who don’t really give a shit about doing anything about the trolls… we appear to have a metric fuckton of those.

    good point. it’s those people that one has the hardest time convincing that their attitudes come from generations of male priviledge that is so pervasive, one doesn’t even notice it.

    I see the same thing in the fight against racism.

    generations of individuals who grew up with white privilege and no exposure to the blatant racism of the first half of the 20th century (and before of course), thinking that there is no problem with racism, thus things like affirmative action are unneeded and can be dispensed with.

    it’s the kind of shallow, ignorant thinking that can only come from generations of privilege.

  267. Ichthyic says

    …and I know this because until I was 20 or so, and finally started to understand it, I WAS one of the white privileged males that didn’t think racism was an issue, and would have happily voted to end affirmative action.

    hell, I voted for Reagan for re-election in the very first presidential election I was old enough to vote in.

    Then I realized my mistake, about a year later.

  268. speed0spank says

    Yes #313, a million times yes.

    Aside from that, I am getting very discouraged and depressed when I keep reading how much people do not give a shit about whether or not I am welcome in this movement, or community…whatever you want to call it.
    It’s very nice to have some bloggers supporting it so much but all it takes is a trip to You Tube (the mecca of logic and rational discourse LOL) to let you know how much some people really fucking hate you just because you want an equal voice in this community.

    Before the whole Elevatorgate went down I remember hearing/reading a lot from men about how they needed more women and minorities in the atheist movement. Seems like some of them figured out they might have to actually fucking do something to get them here and immediately lost their damn minds.

  269. says

    Feminists have a stong claim here–religion begats sexism. Is there really disagreement on that point?

    Yes. I disagree.

    We don’t believe that gods created religions, therefore the sexism in religions doesn’t come from them but from those that created those religions.

    Those would be the people (mostly men) in the cultures in which those religions appeared.

    Thus religions do not beget sexism, the cultures that gave rise to those religions begat the sexism in those religion and all religions do is help sustain it by giving it a divine seal of approval.

    This also explains why simply quitting religion is not necessarily enough to let go of sexism and thus why there is still much of it in the non-religious Atheist community.

  270. says

    I can’t remember if it was this thread that I was puking all over myself, but I’ve had a change of heart. I’m not trying to sound glib, well, yes I am, but I feel like a fucking fool, or I did, so I’d like to quote my apology from here in a comment at the Ace of Clades

    I shouldn’t even be commenting on anything, and I feel embarrassed with my comments about this, and others.

    I don’t want to belabor the point, or really make excuses. I am sorry for acting like such a jerk, everyone. This isn’t the place to discuss my personal issues, but I realize that my world inside is so fucking upside down because of my brother – who was the most important person in my life and I loved so fucking much – he dies 4 weeks ago. I can see that it is coming out as cynicism and feeling impotent, and I don’t want anything in my life to change. Atheism was a major par of his life, and it is mine, sort of an anchor to sanity in my surroundings for the last couple of years.

    I actually realize now that A+ is a very good idea, at least it is a vocal and concrete philosophy, or a philosophy held by a concrete organization of caring people, and there can be nothing more important, really, than to bind together with this idea…

    I think it’s really good, I support it, and I’ll now grieve openly with my family instead of taking my anger and frustration out on the very people that I find the most meaning and solace with in my life, bedides immediate friends and family.

    I just want to be a part of this place because I care about us all. I’m sorry, and it is kind of nonsensical to express disdain for controversy and division by being such a vociferous shit-disturber, something I don’t need to warn anyone about as that fact has been long established, lol.

    I’m sorry, I respect almost everyone here, deeply. Every great idea is met with disdain and opposition, and now i understand on a personal level how that can happen so easily, precluding clear and objective evaluation.

    I suppose that verbosity is also a long established characteristic of mine, but if I stop talking I’ll have to think about my missing my brother, Davis Andrew Laing, and how much it hurts. I want to fill the hole with a purpose to change and promote moral awareness, or something, I guess.

    Curiously, one last bit here, but I am so glad that I realize that we are over, and it is final, when we cease to be alive, because I know that it is final, and I can both move on knowing this – let go I suppose – and knowing my brother feels no sense of loss or any regrets or anything, because he isn’t here, there, or anywhere to experience anything, and I find that kind of finality comforting, yet something that I really want to not ‘not experience,’ if that makes sense, although it sounds funny.

    My brother and I found humor in everything, and I always will, no matter how tasteless, because I like to laugh and be goofy, and that allows me to genuinely cry, as well.

    Thanks, people, just know I’m proud of you. I’ll be around. You think i’d pass by on any opportunity to listen to my own voice?
    Don’t do that! ;)

    I should have put it here, but I still don’t get email notifications on Pharyngula

  271. Amphiox says

    Feminists have a stong claim here–religion begats sexism. Is there really disagreement on that point?

    Strong claim?

    No, it is as weak or weaker than any evo-psyche just-so story. It is in fact more likely that sexism begat religion, and even more likely that they both arose separately and simply reinforce and/or exploit each other.

  272. John Phillips, FCD says

    thecynicalromantic #313, QFFT, very well put.

    But I still don’t get the problem so many have with A+. You don’t have to join but if you stand for the same social justice issues as A+ does and you are an atheist, then you are a de facto member of A+ in all but name, whether you explicitly opt-in or not. However, if you actively stand against those social justice issues, or repeatedly misrepresent A+, rather than just being ignorant but prepared to learn and adjust, which can be quickly discerned, then not only are you very definitely not A+, but we will be, wait for it, extremely divisive and tell you to stay the fuck away from us. For once you have made yourself clear, then why waste any more time on you.

    Oh, and atheism, the word that is, ‘belongs’ to all atheists so if we want to ‘hijack it’ {/snort} and change it, you know by adding the +, so that it means more than just plain ‘lack of godly belief’ to us, we will, in fact we have. If that causes you problems, take it up with the atheist assholes against social justice and their enablers actually giving atheism a bad name. I hope that wasn’t too divisive for anyone.

  273. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I suppose that verbosity is also a long established characteristic of mine, but if I stop talking I’ll have to think about my missing my brother, David Andrew Laing, and how much it hurts. I want to fill the hole with a purpose to change and promote moral awareness, or something, I guess.

    Mike, I’m very sorry to hear about your brother’s death. You’re always welcome to come and be verbose in Thunderdome (the new TZT).

  274. yubal says

    thecynicalromantic,

    thank you for you kind and well written comment.

    And if the rest of the community were against them, we might be able to drive them out.

    I presume the “rest of the community” is not that homogeneous as you imply. In my experience, people on the internet are ready to jump on any train that allows them to gain exclusivity of thought. Standard proliferation practice and essentially the same motivation as jumping the band-wagon, just with opposing sign to it. Call them trolls if you will, I bet they damn well know what they are doing and thet it is wrong, they still do it for the sake of their own exclusivity and foremost to keep a debate running that no one really wants to have. In our local atheist community we have the simple ” be nice or leave” rule. When we discuss a question weather some statement is (e.g.) racist or not is is usually settled quickly since that question does not leave much room for interpretation. If it can be interpreted against a person or a group based on what they are or live through, it is wrong. If it is against what the person(s)(really) represent by choice then it can be a valid statement. Regardless if it the statement or the criticism makes sense or not. When someone shows up at our meetings who has that particular “insight” on black women we are not aware of and need “to know” he desperately needs to share, we let him finish and then ask him to please leave. Because he is not nice and we do not like to be associated with people like him. That’s about the way we handle those things on our side. Not every issue needs to be commented and not every debate has to be. And we don’t leave if someone is obnoxious, we stay and make THEM leave. Everything else would just be wrong.

    They are really, really not a minority in the movement. They are likely the New Atheist base.

    i wouldn’t say that is true per se. You see only the statement of those who are willing to make one. Which is, again, on the internet more likely a selection of trolls than the true selection of Atheist out there.

    Dawkins mocking Rebecca Watson for pointing out that atheist men can do stupid shit too

    Well, I am not aware of that incident (gonna look it up another day) but I am generally not impressed too much by authority, left alone Dawkins. Consider this, how often did Hitch offend you? If the answer is never you haven read all of his publications. He was an offending machine, never absolutely wrong (although sometimes almost wrong) but always on the right side, which was his own. He defended Holocaust deniers for their right to speak, but not the denial of the Holocaust. I had hard times acknowledging this guy. In the end, I think he overdid it sometimes. But that is not our problem, that was his problem and he could live with it. The true issue is, do you allow a holocaust denier to speak on your forum? I guess not. Those people have (maybe?) the right to speak, but not at my place. Here I am lord and I don’t want that shit in my place. Which brings us to the nexus of the crisis, allowing the statement which can be made versus the statement that make sense. See Ludwig Wittgenstein for details on that matter.

    We cannot kick the hateful trolls out of the movement because not enough people in the movement give a shit. And we cannot kick the regular sexists out of the movement because they make up too much of the movement.

    Like it or not, you are still in the same Atheist movement as anybody else. Adding a + didn’t change a thing. The followup of Atheist thinking is a thinking that is liberated from a personal god and hence dependent on themselves. Under the influence of anybody else around, of course. You call them secondary sexist, but in the essence they are just derailed fellow human beings that are disappointed with their environment and willing to pick up any debate on the con side because that is what they are trained to do. Most of those people can be convinced to change sides. Because they are human and not literally evil, just on the side you consider evil. The opposing side. This time it is not about opposition, but about a settled dispute. There is no more debate weather sexism or homophobia deserve credit. That’s over loooong time ago. Those people actually know this, they just can’t let go of the liberty to discuss and dissect anything they are confronted with. A trait that was cultivated in the Atheist community for decades. They are weak, like the 9/11 truthers, but able to act according to common sense if you call them out. Why do you want to separate from people you could win over? Too much effort? Education beats evil. For those few of a similar kind you can’t win over, they were fed with the same liberties you got used to enjoy. The liberty to question anything just for the fact that it is granted by skepticism. And that’s what brings us straight back to A+. Our freedom is also always the freedom of the person with an opposing idea. By that standard we have cultivated the idea that opposing ideas could always be equal. But they are not, given that some issues are already totally settled. As much as I adore freedom of speech, at one point you reach the level where it is both futile and disturbing to talk the same issue over and over again. Of course you can keep talking over it, but he issue is that the host can decide when it is enough and the discussion takes place elsewhere. In the internet there is only ONE entity able to dislocate the debate and that is the host of the site. Nobody else. Complain about the debate as much as you want to, you can’t do shit, only the moderation can. Instead of simply enforcing a cultivated debate culture, the majority of the hosts sticked to the liberty of speech until the level when it got unbearable for the users that didn’t want to have the same old bogus thrown at them over and over again. Moderation was lacking all the time just in order to suck up to the holy cow “free speech”, which was greatly misunderstood all the way. What has A+ changed to the bloggs you read? The people are the same, the selection of content is the same, the criteria of moderation might be enforced to a higher extent, but it still remains the same. You didn’t gain anything by introducing A+. You just gave yourself a different name, forced by people who don’t care. What does that make you?

    Concluding, A+ is neither new nor good, it is simply the regular common sense attitude towards a fellow human being that was compromised in the internet over the decades by lax moderation, unjustified overvaluation of freedom of speech and the unreasonable will to pursuit any possible debate for the sakes of having a debate. Not that I have criticized those issues years before, but now people get annoyed with the consequences of having communities organized like that.

    I other words, A+ is the jewel on the victor crown of the trolls. One of the most successfully executed attempts of mass trolling ever and everybody fell for it by creating the A+ label in response.

    Hooray.

  275. speed0spank says

    Regarding the Humanist argument, on the second to last episode of The Godless Bitches podcast Tracie talks about how she was invited to speak at a Humanist event and afterwards one of the people in the group told her that many people said they weren’t coming to any more of their events because it was “way too atheist”. That alone is enough to persuade me that a seperate group like A+ is necessary. Humanists are great I’m sure, but who really needs yet another group saying “You can join but don’t offend the religious folk, please.”

  276. Ichthyic says

    I other words, A+ is the jewel on the victor crown of the trolls. One of the most successfully executed attempts of mass trolling ever and everybody fell for it by creating the A+ label in response.

    that’s really the dumbest thing you’ve said yet.

    seriously.

    the sexism noted in the atheist community has far less to do with the internet, and far more to do with the actual dynamics people have noted at things like conferences.

    you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, and haven’t since you entered this thread, and yet you can be so wordy with so little actual substance.

    it’s remarkable.

  277. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yubal, A+ has happened. Your opinion is irrelevant, as Ichthyic showed above. Your choices now are to either join it or ignore it. Your choice cricket. Choose wisely.

  278. thegoodman says

    @Tony 231
    “Argument 6: Join us or else…
    …you’re a misogynist, sexist douchebag. This argument clearly highlights the lack of critical thinking by some of the people in the Living Room. No one in the Hallway has made a statement like this.”

    I had one question and one brief comment that was not completely 100% pro-Atheism+ and I have been berated by 6 people on this forum so far. (Wha wha, someone call the whambulance for me). Your comment may be literally true, but the context of the venom spit at those who do not grok Atheism+ or choose to participate implies they are in fact misogynist, sexist, douchebags.

    I am undecided at the moment and overall I agree with the sentiments of Atheism+. I would like to know more and I will read up on it, but at this time it seems like a movement of people looking to create drama and weed out the faint of heart. The vitriol tossed toward anyone who questions the Authority+ is not something I cannot see myself actively participating in.

    I am sure may of you will now tell me to shut the fuck up, and to read more, and to stop X and do more of Y, and that overall I am some sort of hygienic device or posterior head piece.

    I will read more and I will try to better understand Atheism+, I am sure the intentions of this club are very noble and worthy of my time. Is there a membership form? Is there a tithe?

  279. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The vitriol tossed toward anyone who questions the Authority+ is not something I cannot see myself actively participating in.

    What and who’s authority? Or did you misspeak about a loosely knit organization based on a common interest in social justice.

    Is there a membership form? Is there a tithe?

    *snicker* Why are you even asking?

  280. Brownian says

    I will read more and I will try to better understand Atheism+, I am sure the intentions of this club are very noble and worthy of my time. Is there a membership form? Is there a tithe?

    I’m not sure of the membership form, and the only tithe is vigilance against the kind of activity the A-plussers are statedly against.

    Why, here’s an example of regulars, including the individual who coined the term Atheism+, calling me out for violent rhetoric I let fly in a fit of pique.

    And I’m grateful to them for it, as humbling and embarrassing as it is to eat crow and apologise.

    But if those aren’t noble enough goals for you, you’re welcome to not have anything further to do with it.

  281. thegoodman says

    @Brownian
    “Basically, if you are confused, or don’t understand what’s going on, the appropriate thing to do is shut the fuck up and read.”

    I realize that you Brownian may not represent all of Atheism+, but you have to recognize the irony of a new atheism label/group/sect/club that is all inclusive and all loving of all walks of life followed up with the statement above. These sound like similar statements thrown at women from Godless-Cons when they “complained” about harassment.

    I was simply joining into the discussion and asking questions (one was in the form of a question, the other was a question in the form of a statement “I don’t see the point”). I have a habit of not eating things that fed to me (i.e. The Bible) so please forgive me if I have caused offense.

    I have read up on these topics, and long before you commanded me to do so. I enjoy learning about privilege, sexism, and social issues and do my best to understand them and empathize with those who do not possess the same privileges that I have. This is not a situation where I do not comprehend what the Atheism+ champions are touting. I love the Atheism+ cause and agree with all of the major points.However, I am shy of labels with capital letters and marketing signifiers like “+” associated with them. The implication that the boring ole’ atheism (no capitals, no positive markers, not what the cool kids are doing) is for losers and haters is annoying to me. Atheism+ in itself along with all that it means is fabulous IMO. However, the people touting it are very annoying with their “You are with us, or you are a douchebag he-man woman hater”. I am an atheist, I have luckily only suffered minor discomforts due to not being a Christian in this god fearing nation (the US), I recognize that I have a small and insignificant voice but a voice none-the-less. Unlike discussions I’ve been in regarding feminism, white-privilege, and social justice where I should only listen, this is one I feel like I should participate in.

    My initial post was only to scrutinize the comic strip as a straw-man argument, which it certainly is. It has the look of something out of a Christian comic strip where a bunch of atheists are picking on the poor lowly Christian who is only trying to be lovable and kind. This same scrutiny should apply to all of our arguments, not just the ones we dislike. I saw something illogical and I attempted to poke holes in it.

    @Nerd of Redheads
    The Authority+ joke was kind of a Trueblood reference mixed with me pointing out the fearsome and furious support of Atheism+ from so many people here. To speak of it in any way that is not 100% supportive is to pick a fight with iron tongue of the Atheism+ warriors.

  282. Brownian says

    I realize that you Brownian may not represent all of Atheism+, but you have to recognize the irony of a new atheism label/group/sect/club that is all inclusive and all loving of all walks of life followed up with the statement above.

    That’s what you think Atheism+ is? A big kumbaya circle, all inclusive and all loving of all walks of life?

    If you’ve done the reading you say you have, then where the fuck did this load of crap come from?

  283. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To speak of it in any way that is not 100% supportive is to pick a fight with iron tongue of the Atheism+ warriors.

    In realityspeak, you mean you were doing classical trolling. Which is what I suspected.

  284. Brownian says

    The implication that the boring ole’ atheism (no capitals, no positive markers, not what the cool kids are doing) is for losers and haters is annoying to me.

    How is this inferred implication anyone’s problem but your own?

    As I said, don’t be part of this if you don’t wanna. If that brings up terrible memories of not getting to sit at the cafeteria table with the king and queen of the prom, talk to your therapist.

  285. Amphiox says

    That’s what you think Atheism+ is? A big kumbaya circle, all inclusive and all loving of all walks of life?

    Strange how they always notice when we argue with them, and sometimes even make it up when we’re not, but never notice when we argue with each other, which is, like, all the time.

  286. Brownian says

    Strange how they always notice when we argue with them, and sometimes even make it up when we’re not, but never notice when we argue with each other, which is, like, all the time.

    Meh, thegoodman’s just pulling the old “I thought you bleeding-heart liberals loved everyone” bullshit.

    It’s most unfortunate that we stopped storming Bastilles and putting the rich to the guillotine.

  287. yubal says

    #331, Nerd of Redhead

    A+ has happened.

    I am aware of that.

    Your opinion is irrelevant.

    So is yours and Ichthyic’s for that matter.

    For the last 40 years, I was putting up my own humble fight for decency and respect of human beings. I was always objective to the claim of the Atheist community and especially the “New Atheists”, to be allowed to mock ridicule and insult anyone that thinks differently from their consensus. I always demanded a respectful treatment of any human being which would include Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Ladin in case you wondered. But no, the community choose to use heavy language against people of different opinions. You are yourself a good example for that. Anyone was free game for nasty treatment who hasn’t matured up to reach the community consensus. That is how your beloved comunities acted and how they formed. Now you finally encountered the backfire of that be

    Your choices now are to either join it or ignore it. Your choice cricket. Choose wisely.

  288. yubal says

    The backfire happened when people used the same conduct you always employed to “fight” theism. What you consider A- is nothing else than yourself. Harsh outspoken talk about a topic and people you disagree with. Your communities enabled and supported such behavior and now you finally got sick of it. Now it is still allowed under A+ to be ridiculously obnoxious and insulting to a variety of people unless they belong to a specific group of people you picked at random. Instead of realizing that it is better to be nice and honest to everyone, you just focus on a subset of disadvantaged humans. I don’t get the reason for that. All fellow human beings deserve respect. The other beings too by the way. Disadvantaged people are nothing else but people themselves and disadvantaged by society, not by me and hopefully not by any of you.

    With A+ the “New Atheist” community finally made one step in the direction I have been representing all time long. The A+ standard is not even half way there where I would consider a meaningful and respectful environment to be. And you want me to swing that flag? Why should I? Are you kidding me??

    I spent years in prison simply because I refused to carry a gun and the uniform of my country. Later I spent weeks in hospital for trying to defend a fellow human being from assault. For my opportunity to see an university from the inside I had to swim for hours in cold, black salt-water with gun towers and search lights in my back. All my life I dedicated to battling the injustice and fallacies of imperfect societies in my own little way. Without doing harm intentionally. And now YOU privileged ignorant person show up with a pathetic statement like this:

    Your choices now are to either join it or ignore it. Your choice cricket. Choose wisely.

    Go figure what my answer is to that.

  289. A. Noyd says

    yubal (#343)

    Instead of realizing that it is better to be nice and honest to everyone, you just focus on a subset of disadvantaged humans.

    Honest, yes. Nice, no. Nice is earned. In fact, when it comes to people clinging to their privilege and defending their bigotry, I can’t be both nice and honest because they think the truth is cruel.

    I don’t get the reason for that.

    Would you open a soup kitchen for rich people?

    All fellow human beings deserve respect.

    There’s having respect for someone as a human being—meaning not taking away their basic human rights and not discriminating against them for things they can’t or shouldn’t have to change. Then there’s having respect for people as individuals—meaning being polite about or deferring to their beliefs, habits and actions. You won’t find anyone here who isn’t willing to extend the first kind of respect to everyone, but the latter kind is earned. Anyone working against social justice has no right to my respect.

    Disadvantaged people are nothing else but people themselves and disadvantaged by society, not by me and hopefully not by any of you.

    “Society” isn’t other people, it’s all of us. You, me, everyone. Even the disadvantaged people themselves.

  290. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Go figure what my answer is to that.

    “I’m a fuckwitted idjit who can’t be bothered to learn anything and prove myself to be an asshole on instinct instead of facts”. You should know better.

  291. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So is yours and Ichthyic’s for that matter.

    And where have I really presented my OPINION about A+ in a manner where other people must join or not join based on my OPINION? That is the difference between you and me. I don’t give a fuck whether or not you or anyone else joins or not. All I ask is that you let others make up their mind without the “benefit” of your fuckwitted counsel. That is why I criticize you. You want to dictate to others. Shut the fuck up and let them decide on their own.

  292. yubal says

    A. Noyd,

    I can see where you are coming from and I technically agree with what you said. Just one comment:

    You won’t find anyone here who isn’t willing to extend the first kind of respect to everyone, but the latter kind is earned.

    Earned respect is different from the basic respect towards a fellow human being. If a person fails to earn that second kind of respect it can’t nullify the first one. Putting words in someones mouth and twisting the meaning of what someone said is something nobody should do to anyone.

    Having said that, I can not see why I should stay in this debate any longer. Good luck with your A+ experiment, I am out until something noteworthy happens.

    cya