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Mar 16 2014

I’m not willing to trade one woman for the entire membership of CPAC

That’s what I don’t get about American Atheists courting CPAC. I could see it as an attention-getter, to highlight and criticize the right-wing religiosity of an organization of nutbags, but as outreach? No way. Dana Hunter won’t compromise on some things, and trading one Dana Hunter for even a million freakish conservatives wouldn’t be a fair deal.

Amanda Marcotte is bored by the bad arguments from the prolifers. Why do we want dishonest phonies and irrational kooks in our atheism, anyway?

85 comments

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  1. 1
    ChasCPeterson

    I s’pose Silverman just doesn’t buy the analogy of atheists to correctly progressive baseball cards.
    weird, I know.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    Are you going to leap into every thread that talks about abortion to belittle the idea that maybe, just maybe, atheists ought to have values beyond laughing at religion? Or are you just cranky that women don’t like to see their rights used as bargaining chips?

  3. 3
    marcus

    Amanda Marcotte: “The question isn’t whether or not legal abortion is moral… but whether or not those anti-abortion kooks should be indulged and given the privilege of having everyone treat their shit arguments like they have value in free-wheeling discourse, or if they should be shunned on the grounds of being shit arguments the same way anti-gay or overtly racist arguments are shunned.”
    This.
    Obvious answer is obvious.

  4. 4
    Walton

    The last thing we should be doing is cosying up to CPAC attendees. Whatever attitudes they personally hold, their attendance at CPAC is effectively lending support to a political movement which is profoundly anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-poor, authoritarian, racist, homophobic and transphobic.

    I really don’t have any interest in working with conservative atheists. I don’t see atheism in itself as a particularly important area of common ground. What actually matters to me is doing something about the system of social and economic oppression that prevails in our world – doing something about the bombings and drone strikes, the deportations, the prison-industrial complex, the homelessness, the poverty, the sweatshop labour, the legacy of colonialism, the institutionalised racism, the police brutality, the gay-bashing and trans-bashing, the environmental destruction. Conservatives are, by and large, on the wrong side in all or most these fights.

  5. 5
    marcus

    ChasCPeterson @ 1 I’ve come to the considered opinion that Silverman is an asshole and I find myself not really giving a fuck what he thinks (or “buys”).

  6. 6
    trog69

    Mr. Silverman said he was a conservative. He gave no other insights into his views on anything other than nonbelief. I am not surprised by that, but if he holds some of the more idiotic views of the conservative Republicans that attend CPAC, then that could be worrisome.

  7. 7
    anteprepro

    The title is hardly a compliment to women. I wouldn’t trade a sack of garbage for the entire membership of CPAC. The garbage is more of an asset and less of a liability.

    Chas sez:

    doesn’t buy the analogy of atheists to correctly progressive baseball cards.

    Go fuck yourself, you unrelenting douchebag.

  8. 8
    Louis

    Atheism is not a beginning, a foundation for other things, it is a conclusion. The methods and habits that get you to that conclusion preclude you from holding a large number of ideological positions that fall under the broad label “conservative”* if you are intellectually honest and consistent.

    It’s the last bit that’s the challenge.

    Louis

    *Some=/=all. “Conservative” is a broad, not uniquely American church.

  9. 9
    Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm

    I s’pose Silverman just doesn’t buy the analogy of atheists to people who care whether their views are consistent with reality.
    weird, I know.

  10. 10
    Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm

    @9 fixed your post for ya Chas. You seem to have misspelled something.

  11. 11
    unclefrogy

    the rejection of the idea that there is a god spirit that made the world and all of life for some reason for me grew out of an evidenced based rational questioning of what is real and what is not.
    That grew to some extent out of democratic ideals.
    I see no reason to accept any arguments based on authority, religious belief or personal prejudices.
    All the evidence I have been made aware supports those principles of equality as not just being an ideal but a fact. I see no reason to expect support from anyone who does not on principle accept those ideals or has reservation or qualifications or restrictions of any kind on those “ideals”. No rationalization of prejudice or inequality of rights!
    no 3/5 of a person
    Dana Hunter post linked here illustrates something that has happened to me before. It is not really loosing a friend or allies, a relationship of equals, but finally realizing that they were never a friend anyway but it was need and projection that made the perception of the relationship as a friendship between equals.
    uncle frogy

  12. 12
    Rey Fox

    The last couple of weeks have really cemented in my mind that I care more about progressive ideals than I do about atheism. I’m glad I discovered this group of online atheists before finding out about the Dwight Schrute (“fascist nerd”) contingent.

  13. 13
    Louis

    Marcus,

    I read the Marcotte piece and agreed with it, especially that quote. Why should anyone entertain BAD arguments? It doesn’t matter what they’re for, bad arguments is bad arguments! No one has to give endlessly recycled bad arguments some mythical level of “respect”, they need to be roundly mocked and derided as the palpable horseshit they are.

    ____________________

    And, away from your comment now Marcus to something less edifying. I see Chas (truly the herpes of fuckwitted tin ear possessors on this subject) has come back to comment AGAIN, even after being asked not to comment by PZ on abortion related thread due to the aforementioned pointlessly contrarian (and notably substance free) shittings on similar threads. What a total piece of shit! Wasn’t he promising to fuck off? A consummation devoutly to be wished.

    Louis

  14. 14
    SallyStrange

    correctly progressive

    It must be killing Chas to be constantly tiptoeing around the phrase “politically correct.”

  15. 15
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Didn’t PZ ask you not to join any more abortion threads, Chas?

  16. 16
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Fucking hell, Chas. Are you bound and determined to follow Silverman down the road of dictionary atheism and politics being just opinions not amenable to empirical examination?

    On that topic, I have no use for anyone who claims the label conservative; there are virtually no positive or worthwhile positions that fall under that rubric, and that tiny number was arrived at by deeply flawed premises based primarily on bigotry and authoritarianism.

  17. 17
    waldenpond

    Josh, it’s PZ’s fault for not putting the word abortion in the title.

  18. 18
    Louis

    Sally Strange,

    I am given to understand by Daily Mail readers and members of UKIP that this political correctness has gone mad. Why I can’t even question the full humanity of ~51% of the human species without some wishy washy, leftie, loony, liberal, feminazi, man hating, hairy legged person telling me that even though my claims are secular they’re still utter horseshit for a variety of well articulated and argued reasons.

    It’s exactly like the Holocaust. Or Stalin’s pogroms. Or something. How dare someone tell me I am wrong. Me. Wrong. ME. MEEEEEEEE. It’s all about MEEEEEEEEE!

    Oops. Satire probably too close to the knuckle for a certain contrarian fuckwit.

    Louis

  19. 19
    Louis

    Waldenpond,

    Oh but it is in the title. “a” from trade, “b” from membership, “o” from not, “r” from trade again, “t” from trade again, “i” from I’m, “o” from to, “n” from not. Granted they’re not in the correct order,* and sure, one has to do a bit of work to get them out, but that’s just a terrible liberal conspiracy of this odious blog. We’re keeping the conservatives down. Not letting them express themselves. A few brave souls venture forth on their chargers made of convert bigotry to sally forth against the Approved Opinions and Groupthink of Pharyngula.

    HOW GRATEFUL I AM THEY ARE HERE TO ENLIGHTEN US! FOR I NEVER ENCOUNTER A CONTRARY OPINION EVER! WITHOUT THE BRAVE SOULS LIKE CHAS I WOULD TRULY NEVER KNOW! HALLELUJAH!

    Shit, even I think I am being too sarcastic…NAH! Can’t be sarcastic enough.

    Louis

    * “I’m playing all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order”.

  20. 20
    marcus

    Louis @ 13 Yes, Ms Marcotte put the whole issue in perfect perspective for me. She helped me clarify my own thoughts on the issue. Plus I love her funny and unapologetic style of writing.

  21. 21
    marcus

    louis @19 She reminds me of someone… let me think now.

  22. 22
    see_the_galaxy

    Go fuck yourself, you unrelenting douchebag.

    I’m sick of “conservatives”.

    The last couple of weeks have really cemented in my mind that I care more about progressive ideals than I do about atheism.

    I agree totally. I think the conservatives need their religious cadre more than their handful of atheists. Since the atheist movement now is basically quite progressive overall, the goal of conservatism as a movement is to use their few conservatives to divide and neutralize progressives. Keep them working on our side of the aisle so to speak, telling us to shut up for the sake of unity, stirring up dissension and recrimination, etc. That way, the “conservative movement” can leverage their handful of conservatives to cause division and damage among progressives without costing them a single religious vote. The conservative movement and the republican party are NEVER going to welcome the irreligious or make a single concession that upsets the religious right, ever.
    I agree that the divide between conservative and liberal is deeper than religious vs atheist in fact, and I think conservative atheists feel the same. They need their own separate organizations, with which liberals can work with from time to time if we need to. I also think conservative atheists, if they are serious, have their work cut out for them, since the majority of religious damage is coming from the conservative movement.

  23. 23
    Dunc

    I’ve been reading Amanda Marcotte for quite a few years now (through at least 3 incarnations of Pandagon), and that may be the best thing of hers I’ve ever read.

  24. 24
    Tom Foss

    Any conservative atheists at CPAC have already made their decision. They’ve done the math and decided that they’re willing to put their atheism aside and work with the religious on the things they really value (enriching the wealthy, killing government programs, removing rights from nonwhites and gays and women, proliferating guns without regard to the consequences, etc.). Their atheism is not as important to them as the social and economic issues that they care about.

    Gosh, that sounds familiar. Isn’t there another group of atheists who have made similar decisions regarding the relative importance of socioeconomic issues and the atheist movement? Seems like they even had a name for themselves and a message board and everything. Also seems like they were already on-board with most of American Atheists’ key platforms, and were really only kept from participating by the lack of any action by atheist groups’ leadership to exclude or speak up against hostile elements who wanted to drive them out of the movement.

    What does it say that David Silverman would rather court people who have decided that their atheism is so unimportant (or religion so useful to their agenda) that they’d work with theocrats, than do anything to keep the people who already agree with his religious positions but can’t abide the asshole wing of the movement?

  25. 25
    Anthony K

    How is it that ChasCPeterson thinks he has some idea of how to build a movement?

    But let’s keep demanding that every leader of every secular group must toe every ideological line we want to draw ande vilified when they don’t seem to at first glance. That’s how to build a strong Movement.

    Chas thinks he knows people. He appears to think that he could somehow write a book on winning friends and influencing people. He, as is often the case, is sorely mistaken. He doesn’t know shit.

    Chas, as far as I can tell, you’re pretty much disliked by most here, or at best, tolerated. Even I once begrudgingly respected you, though I’ve not felt much for you beyond pity and revulsion in years. PZ has had some soft spot for you for some time, which is why you haven’t been banned, despite doing little beyond trolling threads with stupid ‘Firsts’ (while avoiding the specific word). And despite all that, you can’t even muster the gratitude to acknowledge that if you were any random n00b, you’d have been tossed years ago:

    Chas does not deserve an exception from the same just for being a Pharyngula regular.

    LOL. Did somebody actually suggest this? Because I have never ever received, nor asked for, nor desired, any such exception.

    LOL indeed. Your failure to acknowledge the leeway you’ve been given does not make you noble, and it should not be a source of individualistic pride; it’s just further indication that you’re a stupid, vain, conceited, and selfish man. (Even if the rules call for it*, I’m not going to forget your series of sockpuppet anagrams, nor your spate of toddler tantrums when you continually threatened to take your ball and go home, only to petulantly return when it turned out nobody really missed you.)

    I don’t comment much these days because they say if I haven’t anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. In the context of the atheist and skeptical movements, that doesn’t leave much for me to say. But I still read, and I still see you befouling threads with your faux intellectualism, and after the last few days, I figured I’d seen enough to justify saying something, even if it’s decidedly not nice.

    Chas, the only way you could help build any kind of strong movement is to leave it. If you value the work the atheist and skeptical movements purport to do, you’ll find some other group to passive aggressively demand attention from with your childish annoyingness.

    *Unlike you, I’m savvy enough to recognise that I get leeway too. I don’t know that I deserve it, but I get it. And if I do not in this case, I will accept my deserved lumps.

  26. 26
    Anthony K

    My apologies; I shouldn’t presume to know PZ’s motivations as I did in my second paragraph after the first blockquote.

  27. 27
    Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel

    I had never heard of American Atheists until the CPAC dustup, and I’m curious: do they actively push conservative positions the way PZ and the regulars here push progressive ones? Or do they mostly stick to “dictionary atheism”? Or is “they” a misleading term, and it’s pretty much a one-man (Silverman) show?

    The conservative movement and the republican party are NEVER going to welcome the irreligious or make a single concession that upsets the religious right, ever.

    They will never be welcomed, but there is a place in the Republican Party–however cramped and uncomfortable–for atheist conservatives and libertarians. There is no such place among the Democrats.

    the divide between conservative and liberal is deeper than religious vs atheist in fact

    True, and it’s not even close. That was apparent to me the first time I visited this blog.

  28. 28
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Chas:
    Here’s an idea. Instead of getting Sooper Vulcan Atheist He Man all over the comment threads (where, frankly, you’re not wanted), how about you check out one of those free blogging platforms (I’m partial to WordPress, but Tumblr’s nice for quick and dirty postings) where you can publicly masturbate all you like without having to deal with us dirty, irrational groundlings.

  29. 29
    ChasCPeterson

    Are you going to leap into every thread that talks about abortion to belittle the idea that maybe, just maybe, atheists ought to have values beyond laughing at religion?

    I’m sorry, I hadn’t clicked on the Marcotte link and therefore I did not know that this was a post that talked about abortion. Honestly. (Looking back, I see the term ‘prolifer”; my bad.)
    I have never ever belittled the idea that “atheists ought to have values beyond laughing at religion”, not in any thread about abortion nor any other, including this one.
    Look, Silverman is just not running the organization you think he “ought to” be running. I mean, that was the whole point of the ‘plus’ in A+, right?
    What if he changed the name to ‘American Dictionary Atheists’? Then you could laugh at his total lack of slightly different values, as well as at religion, without feeling conflicted.

    I’ve come to the considered opinion that Silverman is an asshole and I find myself not really giving a fuck what he thinks (or “buys”).

    OK. I feel that way about a lot of people myself.
    Do you also feel that way about the organization he leads/represents?

    Go fuck yourself, you unrelenting douchebag.

    Darn it. There I go again, making it all about myself.

    Didn’t PZ ask you not to join any more abortion threads, Chas?

    Did he? I hadn’t seen it, but if so I will of course comply, it being his blog.
    (In this case, I was making no argument at all about abortion, just the OP’s title. Again, my bad.)

  30. 30
    SallyStrange

    I’m sorry, I hadn’t clicked on the Marcotte link and therefore I did not know that this was a post that talked about abortion. Honestly.

    Honestly, I don’t believe you. And if it’s true, that doesn’t speak well of you either, does it? You were in such a haste to get in a dig at political correctness correct progressiveness that you didn’t even bother to verify what you were shitting all over.

  31. 31
    Anthony K

    @29:

    The correct response is “I fucked up, sorry, I’ll leave now.”

  32. 32
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    From the linked Marcotte piece:

    We don’t even force men to donate sperm—a largely pleasurable activity with no physical cost—so forcing women to donate babies is reprehensible.

    EVERY SPERM IS SACRED
    FORCED SPERM DONATIONS NOW
    You men who are jacking off into a sock instead of a little disposable cup are robbing millions of potential babies of life. Millions! You monsters!

  33. 33
    ChasCPeterson

    Thanks for the advice, everybody!
    AK, I have zero interest in forming or even joining a Movement. My evidently extremely unpopular thing is to think for myself and venture to express some opinions where it looks to me like a valid point of view is being ignored or unjustly ridiculed. It’s just how my brain works; no lie. I’m sorry it makes folks unhappy.
    As for trolling, yeah, maybe, sometimes, but only after being thoroughly frustrated by irrationality.

    But since this has been officially designated an Abortion Thread, and I have apparently been asked to stay out of such, I’m going to shut up. It seems only fair, however, to ask that others not address me here where I can’t (or shan’t) reply. Please to shift further invective and castigation over to the Thunderdome; thanks.

  34. 34
    Rey Fox

    American Atheists + CPAC = something completely other than abortion, I’m sure

  35. 35
    SallyStrange

    Oh geez, now we’ve martyred him for his valid but ignored viewpoints. How terrible.

  36. 36
    gog

    EVERY SPERM IS SACRED

    Oh, shit, I (along with every other male that has gone through puberty) am a monster! What have I done?!

  37. 37
    Rey Fox

    Okay, I’m drawing a line under that last comment of mine too. Back on topic.

  38. 38
    Anthony K

    @33:

    The correct response is “I fucked up, sorry, I’ll leave now.”

    Do you need that on some flash cards to study at home? Feel free to adjust your browser settings if the text is too small for you to read.

  39. 39
    screechymonkey

    Chas@33:

    my brain works

    Citation needed.

  40. 40
    Anthony K

    And this is slightly off topic, but what of environmentalists? Check out The Gorax here. Do you think the writer or average buyer of of that gives two shits about the protection of desert ecosystems?

    I bet David Silverman could bring aboard a veritable (and literal) shitload of non politically correct atheists if he publicly bludgeoned some sort of terrapin. Wouldn’t that make for great PR, from a conservative, anti-environmentalist perspective? Drill, baby, drill.

    Just valid point of view that shouldn’t be ignored, for those of you leftists and centrists for whom women are insufficiently important members of the Movement.

  41. 41
    Tom Foss

    Anthony K @40: I’m sure that’d endear him to all those anti-EPA, anti-regulation, anti-Endangered Species Act libertarians who are already in the party too. What’s he got to lose?

  42. 42
    Anthony K

    Anthony K @40: I’m sure that’d endear him to all those anti-EPA, anti-regulation, anti-Endangered Species Act libertarians who are already in the party too. What’s he got to lose?

    Only the politically correct tribalists, what with the how their brains work, no lie.

  43. 43
    Louis

    Alexandra,

    Rest assured I have been committing sperm based genocide for decades. I am a wanton criminal in that regard. AND I FEEL NO SHAME!

    You women with your abortions one (ish) at a time have nothing on me. I’ve murdered continents. Sometimes during the drug making scenes in Breaking Bad simply because I like the challenge.

    Louis

    {Some of this post may be tongue in cheek. Not the bit about wanking* though. That’s all true. Wanking’s ace. I can prove it.}

    * I thought Wanking was the ruling monarch of polymeric resins for peptide synthesis with a 4-benzyl-oxybenzyl alcohol terminus before I discovered Smirnoff.**

    ** I’m not saying what I thought Muffin the Mule was.

  44. 44
    Louis

    Sally Strange,

    Oh geez, now we’ve martyred him for his invalid but gored viewpoints. How terrible.

    Your sarcasm was excellent, but transposing just two letters from one word to another word makes you even righter.

    :-)

    Louis

  45. 45
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    chas @30:

    Then you could laugh at his total lack of slightly different values, as well as at religion, without feeling conflicted.

    He is actively supporting a group that is killing people. Killing them deliberately. Killing them for profit (and for prophet). I am not laughing.

    @33:

    My evidently extremely unpopular thing is to think for myself and venture to express some opinions where it looks to me like a valid point of view is being ignored or unjustly ridiculed.

    Right. I don’t think for myself. I guess I’m just one of the baboons of the hivemind echochamber.

    (will crosspost in Thunderdome)

  46. 46
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Pretty much, PZ. There are times when I’ve seriously considered donating to AA, but they have done things and taken up causes that make me hesitate, and now I know… fuck David Silverman, and fuck American Atheists… at least as long as this guy is their president.

    Also… Silverman is quoted as saying that the Democrats are too liberal.

    Take it from an actual liberal… the Democrats are corporate-owned conservatives, bar none.

  47. 47
    René

    My tablet overheated over “one women”.

  48. 48
    barnestormer

    As someone who really, really hates it when my rights are used as bargaining chips, it’s a real relief to see so many people pushing back against this nonsense.

  49. 49
    barnestormer

    @46

    Every time I hear someone criticize the US Democratic Party for being “too liberal,” a tiny part of my brain emits a rabbit-scream of agony and dies of sheer concentrated wrongness.

    Unfortunately, the people who say that kind of thing are almost never up for an engaging conversation about what real liberalism might entail :(

  50. 50
    Louis

    René #47,

    Shhhhhh that might be seen as Dissent form the Doctrine of Peezus. The PharynguStasi lurking in every corner might just have you on charges for that. Say three “Hail Myers”, two “Our Biologist Who Art In Morris” and tithe to “Squids Ahoy!” the registered charity.

    Hmmm. I think I got most of the Echochamber stuff in there. Let me know if I missed anything.

    ;-)

    Louis

  51. 51
    Louis

    René #47,

    Shhhhhh that might be seen as Dissent form the Doctrine of PZ. The PharynguStasi lurking in every corner might just have you on charges for that. Say three “Hail Myers”, two “Our Biologist Who Art In Morris” and tithe to “Squids Ahoy!” the registered charity.

    Hmmm. I think I got most of the Echochamber stuff in there. Let me know if I missed anything.

    ;-)

    Louis

    (If this double posts my previous one got caught in a spam trap because I emulated the terms of the pitists.)

  52. 52
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Here at the Center for American Hummus Education Foundation, we will accept no debate on any matter not dealing with just how delicious hummus is.

    Wait, what do you mean “what is your reason for existence?” To hear ourselves talk, of course! Solidarity! Allies!

  53. 53
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    UnknownEric:

    Are you advocating hummuside?

  54. 54
    ekwhite

    ChasCPeterson

    AK, I have zero interest in forming or even joining a Movement. My evidently extremely unpopular thing is to think for myself and venture to express some opinions where it looks to me like a valid point of view is being ignored or unjustly ridiculed. It’s just how my brain works; no lie. I’m sorry it makes folks unhappy.
    As for trolling, yeah, maybe, sometimes, but only after being thoroughly frustrated by irrationality.

    Yeah Chas – you are the only rational one around here.

    To quote the late great Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the moooon?”

    I am old enough to remember the days before Roe v. Wade, and I do not want to go back to the days when poor women put their lives at risk with back alley abortions while rich women took a flight to Europe on “vacation” to get their private abortions.

    As far as progressivism goes, I was a progressive long before I was an atheist. If it comes to a choice between atheism and putting up with assholes who are willing to throw women’s rights under the bus to gain a few more followers, I will drop the atheist movement like a bad habit. I am not aheist plus, I am plus atheist.

  55. 55
    ekwhite

    Dana Hunter said it better than I could.

  56. 56
    vaiyt

    My evidently extremely unpopular thing is to think for myself and venture to express some opinions where it looks to me like a valid point of view is being ignored or unjustly ridiculed.

    How the commentariat sees you -> http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/sheeple.png

    It’s just how my brain works; no lie. I’m sorry it makes folks unhappy.

    Notpology! Together with the sheeple invective and the Dictionary Atheism above, I’m close to filling the whole bingo card by now.

    As for trolling, yeah, maybe, sometimes, but only after being thoroughly frustrated by irrationality.

    And of course your point of view is so fucking rational. “WELL THERE ARE VALID REASONS TO DENY WOMEN PERSONHOOD WHICH I’M JUST GONNA HANDWAVE INSTEAD OF DEFENDING BUT TRUST ME THEY ARE THERE! WOOOOOOOOOO!!” is fucking rational to you. What a stupid fucking joke you are. Oh, look at me, I’m so fucking smart because I can pretend CONSISTENT is the same thing as RATIONAL or CORRECT. Fuck you in the eye with a hundred fucksticks.

    But since this has been officially designated an Abortion Thread, and I have apparently been asked to stay out of such, I’m going to shut up. It seems only fair, however, to ask that others not address me here where I can’t (or shan’t) reply. Please to shift further invective and castigation over to the Thunderdome; thanks.

    Because I know you’ll come back, here’s your prize: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090424220046/bungie/images/8/89/Waaahmbulance.jpg

  57. 57
    Steve LaBonne

    I am not aheist plus, I am plus atheist.

    This x1000. There isn’t a choice for me between solidarity with liberal religious people fighting against misogyny, racism, economic injustice, and environmental destruction, and solidarity with the likes of Silverman. Silverman and his “secular pro-life” buddies aren’t even in the running.

  58. 58
    doublereed

    Gosh, guys, it’s not like he’s actually going to be successful in his outreach.

  59. 59
    kellym

    If Republican 1%-ers can somehow use Silverman to gain more power and money (the same way they use Christians to vote against their own economic interests), they will use him, and the outreach will have been “successful.” The world will be a more miserable place in countless ways, but by gum, Silverman will have been successful.

  60. 60
    Tom Foss

    doublereed @58:

    Gosh, guys, it’s not like he’s actually going to be successful in his outreach.

    I think that’s part of what makes it so galling. He’s willing to go out of his way to court unsympathetic conservative closet atheists at CPAC, but makes only the tokenest of gestures to make women and minorities who are already part of the movement feel comfortable, welcomed, and wanted.

    At best, Silverman’s priorities are severely fucked-up, and the whole CPAC thing was a publicity stunt that went on longer than it should have. At worst, Silverman’s a gaping asshole who is unfortunately right at home among the other gaping assholes in leadership positions in major skeptical and atheist organizations.

  61. 61
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    There’s an emotional element, which I think I mentioned at the time of the UUK decision about sex segregation and comparisons made to Jewish students being segregated to a section of the classroom. I asked people to imagine showing up at school or at a lecture and discovering that you’re no longer considered equal, and that many of the people and organizations you thought were your friends or at least respected your basic rights appear not to.

    The emotional response comes from NOT being cynical or looking for betrayals. It comes from trust, even to the point of ignoring or rationalizing evidence that your trust is misplaced.

    I want David Silverman to imagine the experience of going online one day and discovering that a person and organization you’d trusted considers your fundamental rights up for debate, or, worse, nonexistent or easily sacrificed. Won’t speak out against policies that limit, oppress, and kill people like you, and will even suggest that they’re reasonable or necessary. Out of expediency, ideology, cowardice, or active disdain.

    You feel hurt, sick to your stomach, unsure of your trust in people and organizations. That experience of betrayal of trust is very hard, and I want Silverman to try to put himself in that position.

  62. 62
    lindsay

    Anyone with a Disqus account, please join the Pandagon discussion that was linked to. There be idiots there that need to be barked at, including one blithering about thinking in 4D instead of 3D. (Because if you think in 4D, the fetus is already a person!)

  63. 63
    w00dview

    How dare someone tell me I am wrong. Me. Wrong. ME. MEEEEEEEE. It’s all about MEEEEEEEEE!

    99.9999999999% of the time anyone whines about “political correctness”, this is what they actually mean.

  64. 64
    SallyStrange

    Wow. Speaking of that sick feeling of betrayal, Secular Woman just put out this statement on reproductive rights. It included the following revelation about Hemant Mehta’s response when they asked if he would be willing to host a pro-choice viewpoint on his platform.

    We were stunned at his response. While he supports abortion rights, Hemant said, he is not interested in doing an interview or providing a balanced viewpoint to his readers. He condescendingly suggested that he could put us in touch with his guest blogger directly, and that she would be “eager to have the debate.” Our assertion remains that basic human rights of women are not up for debate!

    We at Secular Woman have no interest in debating and arguing about a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions. Our stance is clear: abortions should be safe, legal, accessible, and shame free. Spending our energy debating with 13 people about women’s bodily sovereignty is wasteful; instead we will put our energies toward education, advocacy, and breaking down barriers to care.

    The next time anyone wonders why women are underrepresented in the atheist movement, just refer them to this.

  65. 65
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oh, fuck that shit.

  66. 66
    Desert Son, OM

    SallyStrange at #64:

    From the link you quoted:

    While he supports abortion rights, Hemant said, he is not interested in doing an interview or providing a balanced viewpoint to his readers.

    So, Hemant supports abortion rights but not enough to use his broad-reaching platform to advocate for abortion rights, but is willing to use his broad-reaching platform to host the voices of those opposing abortion rights.

    Double-yew. Tea. Eff.

    Friendly atheist, huh? Friendly like Iago.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  67. 67
    Inaji

    We were stunned at his response. While he supports abortion rights, Hemant said, he is not interested in doing an interview or providing a balanced viewpoint to his readers. He condescendingly suggested that he could put us in touch with his guest blogger directly, and that she would be “eager to have the debate.” Our assertion remains that basic human rights of women are not up for debate!

    Oh, what a shit-filled cop out on the part of the “friendly” atheist, who allows MRAs and other assorted assholes run amok in his comments, who happily hosts an anti-abortion post, and yet…when all that is asked is present a post from the other side, oh no!

    Hemant and his biased friendliness can go fuck himself. <spits>

  68. 68
    anteprepro

    I thought the really kicker to SallyStrange’s article was that Hemant also didn’t like Secular Woman’s AbortTheocracy campaign.

    Secular Woman:

    In light of our recent exchange, it bears remembering that Mehta was also unenthusiastic about the launch of our reproductive rights project, @AbortTheocracy. When the project launched, he wrote that the image was too strong, worrying that our critics would see it as a baby-killing party. – See more at: http://www.secularwoman.org/rending_the_tent#sthash.9G9UwNPF.dpuf

    And I hunted down the article they were referring to :

    The group Secular Woman is launching a new project today that… well… just rubs me the wrong way:….

    But the metaphor of treating that legislation as something to be “aborted,” or to be “terminated,” just doesn’t make sense to me.
    We celebrate defeating those awful bills; we don’t celebrate abortions.
    Those bills are meticulously-planned and written. Pregnancies don’t always work that way.
    For most women, an abortion is not something they aspire to have — they’re usually a necessity or the result of serious deliberation; the anti-abortion bills, however, are written by politicians who championed their ability to limit women’s rights.
    No doubt this in-your-face campaign is hard to ignore — that’s pretty much the point — but I worry it will just give ammo to our cultural opponents who already, wrongly, see us as “people who want to kill babies.” Will anyone on the fence about these issues really be swayed by this campaign?
    On another note, the use of the word “theocracy” bothers me, too. Because no matter what you think about conservative politicians, I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.” They’ll tell you they respect the right of people to choose and live by their own beliefs. Sure, they’ll vote based on their Christians “values,” but I doubt any of them (Texas reps excluded…?) would argue that we should replace the Constitution with the Bible when it comes to how we are governed. Using the word “theocracy” just reeks of over-the-top hype that isn’t based in reality.

    1. Hey look, it’s “women must feel THIS WAY about abortions” again!
    2. And bonus pedantry over the word “theocracy”!

    Gotta love Allies.

  69. 69
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I quit reading Friendly Atheist a while back because he was prone to mealymouthed equivocation and very poor at moderating his comment section. This latest bullshit is worse, but exactly the same kind of thing:’Oh, lets discuss that. Everyone gets their say and we can all have a nice debate’. And frankly, fuck that noise. I’m not interested in hearing from raging assholes or people who think their unfounded beliefs trump evidence; these people have nothing to add to a discussion, and until they do there’s no point in having a discussion with them as part of it. Also

    Because no matter what you think about conservative politicians, I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.”

    I’m sure 99% of them would tell you they aren’t fascists too, but even a casual look at the legislation they put out shows that both claims are lies.

  70. 70
    Rey Fox

    So, Hemant supports abortion rights but not enough to use his broad-reaching platform to advocate for abortion rights, but is willing to use his broad-reaching platform to host the voices of those opposing abortion rights.

    His is a high horse. On a fence.

  71. 71
    anteprepro

    Dalilama:

    I’m sure 99% of them would tell you they aren’t fascists too, but even a casual look at the legislation they put out shows that both claims are lies.

    Bingo.
    They say they aren’t anti-women and are pro-life. Propaganda.

    In addition, Christian republicans wishing to push laws that are consistent with their “Christian values” also include Christians who actively want to us to stop enforcing “separation of church and state” as well. In what fucking world is that not “theocracy”? When Christians are deliberately trying to establish Christian privilege and make the law more Christian-y, how else can you describe that but “theocratic”?

    You got it damn right with “mealy-mouthed equivocation”. I used to like him too, but he is way too obsessed with Tone. Even if he deviated from that at one point, he’s basically come full circle on the subject. Fuck. We need more Intellectually Honest Atheists, and less “Friendly” ones.

  72. 72
    vaiyt

    Because no matter what you think about conservative politicians, I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.”

    But if you press even further, you’ll see that some of these think Christianity theocracy doesn’t count, or that they believe in freedom of religion for Christian sects only, or that they want something that’s exactly like a theocracy and only object to the name…

  73. 73
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Goddammit! Hemant, too?

    “Friendly” my ass. Friendly to who?

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

    Hemant published two follow-up posts with links to rebuttals from Libby Anne and Avicenna.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/13/the-differences-between-the-secular-and-religious-arguments-against-abortion/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/03/13/a-rebuttal-to-the-pro-life-atheist/

    In the latter, he also gave an explanation why he published the anti-choice guest post in the first place.

  75. 75
    Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm

    I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.”

    I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell me all sorts of things which are patently untrue. What the fuck is your point, Hemant?

    I am SO. FUCKING. OVER. this bullshit of pretending that implication isn’t a thing. “WORDS DON’T MEAN THINGS AND IF I AVOID USING YOUR EXACT PHRASING I HAVEN’T SAID WHAT I CLEARLY IMPLIED.”

    Another thing I’m SO. FUCKING. OVER. is bloggers not moderating their comments because they don’t want to stifle discussion. Let’s just let the demonstrably fucking wrong MRA asshats shit all over, causing people who are actually capable of correct reasoning and self-examination to avoid the place like the plague. That won’t stifle discussion AT ALL. But then I suppose discussion is defined as “cis-het white dudes circle-jerking about how much more Vulcan they are than everyone else.”

  76. 76
    vaiyt

    @74: so basically his excuse was “I have no stake in the matter, so from my tower of privilege I couldn’t see how ANY argument against abortion denies the full personhood of women as a matter of principle”.

  77. 77
    knowknot

    #8 Louis

    Atheism is not a beginning, a foundation for other things, it is a conclusion. The methods and habits that get you to that conclusion preclude you from holding a large number of ideological positions that fall under the broad label “conservative”* if you are intellectually honest and consistent.

    - In an Ouroboros sort of way, it’s not a beginning. For some it’s the beginning of real compassion, because if there’s blessing to be done, it’s pathetic shuffling it off on God. And we’ve already seen precisely where the cursing comes from.
    - But then, I’m just repeating what you said in your post, eloquently, and with the implicits ringing. So I should probably just say thanks.

  78. 78
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    @74… yeah… not good enough.

    I responded to the second blog post. I’m quoting it here:

    Here’s how I look at it, Hemant, and also how a lot of the women who’ve responded have put it:

    These rights aren’t up for debate. I will not “debate” or “give space to” an anti-choicer for the same reason I won’t “debate” or “give space to” a Creationist. There is simply nothing up for debate.

    Granted, Creationism is about science (and the fact that evolution is science, while Creation is not).

    However, like I don’t consider evolution a debatable point because the science is in, I don’t consider a woman’s right to safe, healthy abortion up for debate because a LIVING ALREADY BORN person’s right to bodily autonomy is not up for debate. When you give voice to, essentially, misogynist thinking (because that’s what it is… you can equivocate all you want; that’s exactly what it is), you give voice to things that don’t deserve to have a voice.

    I don’t care if the person is a theist or an atheist. If they’re anti-choice, then they have nothing worthwhile to say. They are denying a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. Sorry not sorry for my anger, but fuck that and fuck them.

    Period.

  79. 79
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Because no matter what you think about conservative politicians, I’m pretty sure 99% of them would tell you they have no desire to establish a “theocracy.”

    As others have pointed out, whether they would use this exact term or not is irrelevant, as the laws they propose, support, and pass clearly work in this direction, and they know it. As for what follows…

    They’ll tell you they respect the right of people to choose and live by their own beliefs.

    That’s plainly false. They might not use the word “theocracy,” but very few will tell anyone this. He needs to start reading Right Wing Watch (or Ed Brayton’s blog), or just listening to what they say.

    Sure, they’ll vote based on their Christians “values,” but I doubt any of them (Texas reps excluded…?) would argue that we should replace the Constitution with the Bible when it comes to how we are governed.

    Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaking as a presidential candidate in 2008.

  80. 80
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Sure, they’ll vote based on their Christians “values,” but I doubt any of them (Texas reps excluded…?) would argue that we should replace the Constitution with the Bible when it comes to how we are governed.
    I’m sorry, what the fuck planed is Hemant living on? Seriously?

  81. 81
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    borkquote. The top part’s Hemant.

  82. 82
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Dalillama,

    Sure, they’ll vote based on their Christians “values,” is bad enough.

  83. 83
    Rey Fox

    If your values were worth a damn on their own, you wouldn’t have to call them “Christian”.

  84. 84
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Chas:

    My evidently extremely unpopular thing is to think for myself and venture to express some opinions where it looks to me like a valid point of view is being ignored or unjustly ridiculed.

    Really, you’re pulling a #bravehero?

    I’m sorry it makes folks unhappy.
    As for trolling, yeah, maybe, sometimes, but only after being thoroughly frustrated by irrationality.

    There’s an appropriate phrase for this that involves beams and motes.

    screechymonkey@ 39: Well played.

  85. 85
    Kagehi

    Why do we want dishonest phonies and irrational kooks in our atheism, anyway?

    Spent some time trying to argue this point myself. Basically – How does keeping bad ideas, magical thinking, purely non-rational, emotional arguments, and attacks on any sort of real understanding or progress, but curtailing, or defanging one silly source for this sort of absurdity, make any real difference. I got a, “You are claiming you can’t be an atheist and not but bloody stupid.”, err.. no, just that you shouldn’t just be against religion in on case, then stuck you head in the sand on every other issue. Also a, “Silverman is making a big tent.” – because, when you have a circus, you still need clowns? Oh, right, and that it doesn’t matter if someone’s “secular argument” makes sense, is rational, or based on reality in any way, because bad arguments still exist, and all Silverman is doing is acknowledging that they exist. Right….. WTF? Some people seem to be just horribly offended by the suggesting that maybe rejecting one absurd idea is a good start, but.. it doesn’t help if you keep all the absurd and stupid ideas that almost entirely *originated from it*, or dive head first into defenses of them that make belief in gods seems sound and sensible, by comparison, or at least similarly evidenced.

    I gave up trying to get any sort of point across.

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