Yesterday I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I finally hit publish on “How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism.” The cynical part of me wondered why I had wasted five hours of my Saturday for the same torrent of hateful comments. How masochistic was I becoming? But the optimist in me hoped that just enough people would want to change this movement with me.

I can honestly say this is the first time that waking up to over 500 comments on a post that mentions feminism has filled me with absolute joy.

95% of the comments I’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive. That…that has never happened before. Usually if I can hit 50% supportive comments I feel like I’ve done well. But not only were you guys supportive, you were excited. I didn’t expect you to have come up with names and logos for the third wave…and I really didn’t expect you all to basically agree. We tend to be like herding cats, but not this time.

You called for Atheism+.

Logo suggestion by One Thousand Needles

Logo suggestions by Jadehawk

It’s perfect. It illustrates that we’re more than just “dictionary” atheists who happen to not believe in gods and that we want to be a positive force in the world.  Commenter dcortesi suggested how this gets atheists out of the “negativity trap” that we so often find ourselves in, when people ask stuff like “What do you atheists do, besides sitting around not-praying, eh?”

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.

It speaks to those of us who see atheism as more than just a lack of belief in god. danielmchugh summarized how I feel perfectly:

Religion is responsible for generating and sustaining most of the racism, sexism, anti-(insert minority human subgroup here)-isms… it gave a voice to the bigotry, established the privilege, and fed these things from the pulpit for thousands upon thousands of years. What sense does it make to throw out the garbage bag of religion yet keep all the garbage that it contained?

I can’t help but see social justice as a logical consequence of atheism. I’m for getting rid of all the garbage.

As for the next steps on how to get rid of that garbage, I’ll make another post with my ideas soon. Feel free to use this post to discuss how you feel about A+. I don’t think it needs to be an official name – I want to improve the atheist movement, not create a splinter faction or something. But it’s fabulous marketing-wise and as a way to identify yourself as a progressive atheist, or whatever term you want to use. I know I’d love for people to start wearing A+ pins and Surlyramics so I know who I want to chat with.

EDIT: How could I forget to mention that commenter Pteryxx deserves the credit for the A+ idea? A bajillion internet points to you!


  1. joviality says

    This is incredible! Love this idea and will be passing it along & using it myself! I think you’ve started something here Jen.

  2. ShinyBlueSpaz says

    I have never been more excited about an atheist, agnostic, humanist, or skeptic idea. I can’t wait for this to get moving and I look forward to watching this movement unfold! ^.^

  3. says

    More seriously, I like that it’s a positive direction. Rational thought *for* something besides just the protection of rational thought.

    People have talked about atheism missing things like potluck dinners like they might have had in their religious communities. Well, here’s a reason to have potluck dinners. Get together, have dinner and talk about ways to support, foster, encourage, protest for equality and respect. Not just for atheists, but for people who are being unfairly blocked from reaching their potential.

  4. PatrickG says

    While reading the hundreds of count me in posts was uplifting, it made it harder to find Jadehawk’s suggestions (I know one got eated by moderation due to links) and other contributions. So thanks for making another thread specifically for that. :)

    Yeah, I got nothing, just super excited!

  5. LawnBoy says


    When we consolidate on a logo, I will SOOOO buy a Surlyramic with the logo on it.

    Just sayin’

  6. says

    I have co-opted the first A+ symbol for my Facebook profile picture. I had the A for my picture before but I wanted to show my support for you and all other feminist atheists as well so I changed it. I hope I’m not violating anybody’s rights by doing so.

  7. says

    I’ve already commented on your last post that I support the One Thousand Needles logo concept (, and I reiterate that here. Perhaps the most important reason is that it builds upon the already very widely recognized A logo popularized by the RDF Out Atheist campaign. I also think it’s the most attractive of the three posted here and that it would make an awesome Surly. Finally, I think any concern about the implication of pride-fulness in any sort of A+ symbol is misplaced. The + added to the ubiquitous script A symbol points both towards the future and towards expanding the movement’s definition beyond mere non-belief and in the directions of social justice, feminist & LGBT ideals, critical thought, and the other areas you and your commenters have pointed out. Let’s start using it now!

  8. says

    This idea excites me and blows my mind. So much potential to galvanize people for something tangible, something necessary, and something uplifting. A big, positive goal that gives atheists and agnostics a place to aspire toward – not nihilism or apathy or abstraction – but a more loving, just, compassionate world. I like A+.

  9. LawnBoy says

    I like the green logo.

    I think OTN’s is likely too associated with Dawkins, and doesn’t the RDF have a group called A+?

  10. Alan E. says

    A+ is a great start for blood donor drives. Fits marketing and charitable needs while hopefully shedding positive (see what I did there?) light on the image of atheists and atheist groups. Another venture is to fundraiser for schools, but the pushback will be a little more difficult unless specific education topics (Evolution, Sex Ed, etc.) are avoided. I’m not saying that they should be avoided, just that it would be easier to raise funds and get more positive reaction than to create a controversy, or have someone make mountains out of molehills for you.

  11. Abbie says

    One thing about the logos- wouldn’t it be best to have a design that works in silhouette? Perhaps make the + negative space?

  12. A Hermit says

    I don’t think we need to pick just one version of “A+”
    I like the of seeing a bunch of different individualized versions of the idea. Pick the one you like, or make your own.

  13. One Thousand Needles says

    Whether or not anyone decides to use my contribution, I am super-freakin-excited to see a solid concept coming together so quickly. It’s a testament to the community that is FTB.

    Great job rallying the troops, Jen! When are we issued the pink jackboots?

  14. says

    also, once I get my summer-work finished and get back to blogging, I’m going to try to focus more on the sort of writing that would make sense in terms of an A+ movement. Graphics and writing is all I am currently capable of contributing. That, and showing up to A+ conferences (I’m just gonna declare WIS2 to be an A+ (or at least, A= compatible) conference, so there :-p )

  15. Larkness says

    I agree. I made my own design but don’t know how to host it anonymously. I sent it to a friend who forwarded it to Jen. Anyway, I think there could be lots of designs!

  16. Eshto says

    I already cared about and supported all those things. FTB writers labeled me a “misogynist” anyway for daring to disagree with Greta Christina on a facebook thread. The idea that critical thinking exists on FTB is a joke and a half.

    The handful of loud FTB and Skepchick writers fumble with social justice issues at every possible opportunity. You elevate Internet troll comments to the status of “news” and use them to characterize, and complain about, the entire skeptic movement. You intentionally write incendiary things and fan the flames of drama to drive up blog hits. You attack fellow liberals, feminists, etc., who should be your allies, over incredibly minor disagreements. You use the popularity of your blogs to bully people and insult public figures. And few, if any of you, have any actual background in any of the issues you claim to be authorities on.

    Like Amy’s problematic series of collecting white dudes siding with her on her blog (with the obvious implication being that anyone who doesn’t want to be associated with her blog, or who has a problem with Amy’s attitude in general, is somehow by default ‘pro-harassment’), this just looks to me like yet another dumb way for you to shuffle people into “us” or “them” camps so that you can continue your silly little Internet wars. You can keep it. I’ll continue to speak out for equality of women and minorities in my own time, on my own terms, thank you very much.

  17. oolon says

    The FtBs haters are going to find some way of taking the piss… Might as well make it easy for them otherwise they’d have to use their brains and nothing good would come of that.

  18. says

    If peeps are serious about allying A+ with intersectional “fourth wave” feminism stuff, the stance on sex workers’ rights would be that it isn’t really the place of people who AREN’T sex workers to go around dictating how sex workers should fit into their political beliefs, but instead ASKING sex workers what such intersectional human rights movements can do FOR them, on behalf of what THEY feel would best offer them rights, freedom, protection, dignity, etc.

  19. says

    I love this! Not necessarily the logo or the name ‘Atheism plus’ (though those are fine), but what it stands for. I don’t want my atheism to be associated solely with telling people to stop proselytizing and putting up crosses. I want it to represent empowerment and progress for everyone. There’s a reason secular morality is superior, and it ain’t because we can poke holes in other people’s beliefs.

  20. didgen says

    I think Jadehawk’s green symbol is beautiful. It looks like it is rising above something that is fading away. Which is what I believe should happen to the group that are fighting for their right to keep others down. It also shows that while atheism is still our focus we are changing what we want to be. IMO keeping the red A is not stepping far enough away, and should be more immediately noticeable. Thanks for this though, I hope it continues to grow, they certainly don’t share my values.

  21. trinioler says

    FW, that’s a complicated issue. People are going to have different feelings, especially because your question fails to differentiate between is and ought.

    Currently sex workers have issues in that the ways many of them get into the business are through oppression and addiction. There is substantial abuse, not just from customers and “bosses”, but also from the police and other authority figures. This is the “is”.

    The “ought”, is when we get into discussions of sex-positivity, freedom of choice, etc.

    Any good discussion of this issue necessarily involves first a separation of the is vs ought, getting proper data, and stuff like that.

    That is hard stuff.

  22. trinioler says

    Oh and of course, everything Natalie Reed mentioned. Can’t forget about actually asking the said sex workers about this. :P

  23. rq says

    I want some pink jackboots.
    Also, I like the ‘A+’ logo because in a way, it’s even more subtle than just the ‘A’. It’s even easier to put it up somewhere on a Facebook profile, and you don’t have to come out to all those people who have a negative view of atheism as such. The ‘A+’ looks like gloating about some awesome marks or a great day or whatever, but it’s like the bat-signal to those in the know. How long that will last, we will see, but I like that aspect for now. Especially if everyone makes their own personalized ‘A+’ symbol.

  24. 'Tis Himself says

    I’ll continue to speak out for equality of women and minorities in my own time, on my own terms, thank you very much.

    Please remember to stick the flounce. Goodbye and have a nice rest of your life.

  25. says

    Hate to break it to you Eshto, but you’re a shitty ally if you’re not even listening to minorities by “speaking out” in regards to equality and sexism on your own terms.

  26. Ganner says

    You sound like one of those Christians who likes to say “Why do you keep using all these examples of fundamentalists and gay bashers, we’re not really like that!”

  27. carlie says

    I was about to say the same thing. It would be kind of cool if we managed to co-opt the idea of A+ in general, rather than one specific color/font use of it. :)

  28. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Plus, it’s not like they’re going to not call us arrogant if we don’t use it.

  29. carlie says

    Plus, it gives more weight to the diversity angle – we all share the same ideas, if not quite the same implementation.

  30. says

    Thanks for starting this, Jen. I think it’s a much-needed unifier of an already rolling movement that lacks a deserving name, and it’s great to see so much positivity around the concept (and rightly so!)

    *high 5*

  31. carlie says

    And that would have to be their/our stance on pretty much everything. And it flies right in the face of what so many of us are by nature (which is thinking we have the right answers to everything), and it would be hard, and it would be fantastic.

  32. says

    Sex workers are speaking endlessly about these things, in very complex nuanced ways. We are begging to be heard, it’s up to others to go to the effort and take the time to listen.

  33. Dylan says

    From what I’ve read here at Freethought blogs, they are generally opposed to sex workers rights.

  34. April says

    Hey, I will seriously consider whatever symbol we agree upon as a tattoo. I don’t have any yet, but this one would definitely be worthwhile IMHO.

  35. carlie says

    That is fine, if you want to do it all on your own terms! Then don’t be a part of this movement. We’re ok with that! And then, if your own terms don’t seem to be getting you anywhere, maybe you’ll stop and think about why.

    Here’s the thing: we’re so over getting guilt tripped about all those people who want SO BADLY to be allies but we’re stopping them by HURTING THEIR FEELINGS when we tell them that what they’re doing isn’t actually what is needed to be helpful. So, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  36. fanty says

    The thing is that non-subtype atheism is ALWAYS going to be dictionary atheism. There’s simply no escaping that. If you want a movement that’s about more than “There is no god.”, then you have to come up with some other label.

  37. carlie says

    SG, I understand what you’ve been saying, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to be seen as creating a subtype. Why not brand it as a supertype? Not as a splinter of atheism, but as a melding of both atheism and social justice and skepticism.

  38. Fenix says

    Thank you so much for this. I read your last post with eager eyes, finding myself nodding at every other sentence, and I absolutely love the idea of Atheism+, and I think that it is an idea that needs to come to light.
    I don’t think it will be a faction either, just a subgroup – there is no reason for us to get into fights about it – we fight our battles that we think are important, that is what we all do anyway right?

  39. julian says

    This is kinda exciting. Now that a logo’s picked out, first move? Minority out reach, scholastic programs, what? When it was atheism the objective was clear and easily defined; push back against religion. So what to do was pretty straight forward. Now that it’s atheism plus it’ll take some genuine thought into what sort of activism is going to happen.

    Being in the U.S. (in North Carolina of all places) I’d like to see a push against the erosion of reproductive rights. Lobbying, money raising for commercials, grass roots efforts, everything and anything really. There are groups already doing this of course, so it won’t be like atheism is fighting the behemoth alone.

  40. myriadwords says

    Thank you for this. “Third wave” is a good way of putting it; I’m not convinced that splintering off into another faction is necessary or desirable.

    The intersection of atheism, feminism and skepticism is what attracted me in the first place. I’ve been reading various FTB blogs and Skepchick in no small part because of the number of sharp, insightful people, yourself included, writing and doing great stuff that brings the three together.

    The vicious, outright abusive pushback that comes out of the woodwork whenever the same rational spotlight is directed at societal issues speaks loudly to their relevance. It’s amazing and heartening to see how many people like yourself have refused to back down. Race, gender, sexuality and so forth are no less important than religion, just as full of unexamined assumptions, and feed into one another in ways that, in my experience, make it outright unproductive to silo them off. We need more voices, not less, asking the hard questions on societal issues.

    I would love to see this officially embraced as a mainstream part of the larger atheist community, and my sense is that it’s ready for it. To borrow from Thomas Kuhn, I think the community is in the midst of a paradigm shift, and that this more inclusive understanding of what it means to be a skeptic/atheist/freethinker is where things will ultimately settle out.

  41. says

    I wouldn’t necessarily say they are opposed, because who is ‘they’ anyway? I’m fairly positive that Natalie and Greta are in support of sex workers rights, considering how strongly they spoke out in regards to the Taslima Nasreen threads a while back.

  42. Buzz says

    I just assumed the Atheism folks were A+ all along – reading your tales of creepiness you’ve experienced has deterred me from getting further into anything atheist related. But this whole A+ thing has me really inspired!

  43. says

    Taslima Nasreen has said some things I found very iffy in regards to sex workers’ rights (like vocally supporting complete, global criminalization, describing sex workers as “prostituted women”, denying that they can ever have agency or that it can be an ethical, consensual professional relationships), but myself, Greta Christina and Crommunist (at the very least) have all been rather outspoken about the issue, making a point to side closely with feminist sex workers themselves, such as Feminist Whore, and allowing them to define the terms of the discourse surrounding them.

    Unless of course you’re just one of the trolls with some ridiculously black/white “feminists are all the same! feminists all hate sex!” mentality, thinking that feminism is defined exclusively by second wavers and people like Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin, Janice Raymond, etc.

  44. strange gods before me ॐ says

    That’s unnecessarily pessimistic. Even the dictionary meaning of atheism has changed. You know, the lack of belief in gods meaning is new; atheism used to mean what we now call strong atheism, the affirmative belief that there are no gods.

    There is no reason to cede the meaning of atheism to anyone, and PZ’s work of identifying “dictionary atheists” as a subgroup has already given us a great start. We can now recognize that saying “atheism is only the lack of belief in gods” is an incomplete and thus insufficient description of any individual’s atheism. (I’d link here to the Pharyngula Wiki’s entry on dictionary atheists, but I’m wary of links getting eaten.)

    A lot of things follow logically and empirically from the lack of existence of gods — only some approaches to epistemology are functional, we only have each other to rely on, values should not prioritize supernaturalism (including platonic idealism) over real suffering and happiness, and so on.

    We do not have to come up with some other label. Atheism has been correlated with (and thus mentally associated with) political progressivism at least since the French Revolution. Much of our work is already done.

    It’s the dictionary atheists’ rhetoric that claims they’re pure. We don’t have to accept that.

  45. Dylan says

    Well it was taslima’s posts that I was thinking of. So Maybe I should have said that Freethought blogs is generally supportive of those who oppose sex workers’ rights.

  46. says

    oh, before I forget. all three of my designs exist as SVG files (and they’re free to use as you like), so if anyone wants a larger version for their own use, they can e-mail me :-)

  47. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Btw, an interesting comment about the historically obvious association between atheism and progressivism over here.

  48. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Natalie, It’s answers like those which make me excited about A+.

    (Also, has anyone else noticed that a typo gives you “A=” which also works. I’m enjoying that.)

  49. Dylan says

    Can you link me to a blog, hosted here at FTB, expressing support for the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution?

  50. Silva says

    I am very much into the idea of the A+ logos being of a general design type, but not necessarily a single logo. The above designs are good, and I’d wear any of them, but maybe I’ll want to create my own variant, just because I can.

  51. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Regardless, it is inherently rhetorically vulnerable to the ‘purist’ line: “I don’t need to add anything to my atheism. Atheism is good in and of itself.”

    Modifiers cede the ground we’ve already won. As Jen said in her previous post: ‘But the reason I’m not throwing my hands up in the air and screaming “I quit” is because we’re already winning.’

    Except this is no longer winning — this is quitting the attempt to claim atheism per se.

    (rorschach’s Venn diagram is tragically illustrative of this. What you’re calling a supertype will necessarily be a subtype of atheism, as long as we grant them the argument that it’s coherent to be an “atheist” who doesn’t meld in social justice. We should never grant this. The regressives should have to fight us for it every step of the way — if they have to fight us then they will lose. If we freely grant the claim that it’s coherent to be an “atheist” without progressivism, then they’ll always have that territory uncontested.)

  52. 'Tis Himself says

    Okay, SG, this is your chance to show your stuff. If you don’t like what’s being suggested, then you should suggest something different. Show us poor, misguided folks the force of your vaunted intellect. Or are you only in complaining mode?

  53. Ganner says

    I think too many people overlook the fact that diminishing religion is just step one. We have to replace it’s role in society with secular alternatives.

  54. says

    oh, I thought you knew FTB so well as to know they’re not supportive of that?

    In reality, of course, you haven’t read the discussion between Greta Christina and Taslima Nasreen. Or else you wouldn’t be asking this question.

  55. julian says

    Personally I’m all for legalization of prostitution. It’s honest work and some government oversight would do wonders for helping those sex workers who are especially at risk for sexual violence or otherwise being exploited.

  56. Dylan says

    I don’t think all feminists are the same. I have been subbed to FW for almost two years. I do think that feminists who think they can support sex workers’ rights, while simultaneously expressing common cause with “feminists” who oppose sex workers’ rights, are wrong. This is an ideological schism that is fundamental and irreconcilable.

  57. Anonymous Atheist says

    OTN’s is my favorite too. But there’s another good one that got overlooked:

    ” I’ve got another logo to add to the pile. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Dawkins “A,” instead preferring the ol’ Atheist Alliance International one from ought-7, as designed by Diane Reed. (.png file) ” – HJ Hornbeck

  58. Rip Steakface says

    One, marketing. Two, it emphasizes atheism in the name… while also pointing out everything else we do and want.

  59. Anonymous Atheist says

    I addressed this in the original post’s comments. You’re thinking of ‘Atheists Giving Aid’, which apparently had used ‘A+’ at some point. But its site, , has been renamed and is now ‘Non-Believers Giving Aid’, NBGA.

  60. carlie says

    Well… yes, I guess. Now that I think about it, I don’t want to be associated with dictionary atheists, or unconsidered atheists (the ones who are just by default, without having thought about it, and don’t see t as important). And I don’t mind having the term atheist still stand for that. I want to be more than just an atheist. If we take the atheist term, then there has to be another new word to define the dictionary types with, and I don’t care enough about them to bother with trying to find another way to refer to them.

  61. mandrellian says

    A+ is a great name for a great idea (A+ also happens to be my blood type).

    You hear the question all the time: “OK, you’ve disabused someone of religion, but now what? What about community and shared ideals and positive action and all the other things that person’s religion used to inspire? You say yourself atheism isn’t a belief system or a philosophy, just a single position on a single question – so now what?”

    “Atheism plus.”

    “Plus what?”

    “Plus social justice, plus feminism, plus racial equality, plus sex-positivism, plus science education, plus empathy, reason, compassion…”


    “We have a Cuttlefish.”

  62. Nathair says

    Regardless, it is inherently rhetorically vulnerable to the ‘purist’ line: “I don’t need to add anything to my atheism. Atheism is good in and of itself.”

    Sorry but that’s a trivial objection to quash. Atheism, “pure” atheism is nothing but the lack of a specific belief. It can not possibly be considered a comprehensive world view, it can never be enough. Everyone, every single atheist on the planet adds a laundry list of anythings to our atheism; libertarianism, liberalism, conservatism, a belief in social justice, MRA style misogyny, squid fetishism, humanism, Marxism, accomodationism, etc-ism. There is absolutely no reason that a community must only form based upon one (1) single shared characteristic.

    Or do you think your objection applies to the American Atheists or the Black Atheists of America?

  63. Anonymous Atheist says

    The diverse variations for people with different style preferences to choose from are all fine, but I’d gently point out that for most common profile pic / blog sidebar icon / jewelry type of uses, a squareish design is going to be more useful for most people than a long rectangle like this. :)

  64. says

    I’d like at least one FTB bigwig to support the idea. I don’t want to buy a shiny new forum, carry it home from the shop, and then plug it into my internet, only for it to be ignored, or for another forum to appear elsewhere.

    Any preference as to forum software? phpBB OK?

  65. says

    I already bought domain names just in case…maybe we could set up a forum there? Or start a new subreddit? Should I even touch reddit with this? :P

  66. Rob says

    Jen, I’ve just read yesterdays post while eating breakfast (different time zone obviously). Fantastic stuff – good on you. Sooner the ‘others’ join the dinosaurs the better, hopefully by realising the error of their ways and joining with us.

    I vote for one thousand needles logo.

  67. says

    I think I got spam-trapped there. Let’s try again:

    I’m in the process of signing up to a D R E A M H O S T free trial. Should I use one of your domains, or would it be better if I just register something with the same name, but with “forum” tacked onto the end?

  68. Palaverer says

    I quit capital A Atheism earlier this year for the same reasons you and Natalie Reed talked about. Yours is the only atheist specific blog I still follow. I would be very pleased to get behind Atheism +.

    Flavia Dzodan at Tiger Beatdown once said, “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” I feel the same way about my atheism.

  69. says

    the beauty of vector files is that they’re easily modifiable. I wanted one logo that actually has the whole phrase in it, but it’s not like taking out everything after the A and shortening the + and the background is difficult.

    plus, the SSA’s logo isn’t square either, so there :-p

  70. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Don’t troll me, ‘Tis. Read.

    I already did suggest something different. Multiple times.

    I said from the very beginning, for instance: “Visual signals like the ones Jadehawk uses for feminism+atheism are excellent — they’ll do the work of signaling our presence to each other. With descriptive alt-text for screen readers.” We just shouldn’t use the

    I’m affirmatively saying that we should continue to lay claim to atheism per se. We do that by pointing out that the current crop of dictionary atheists are a subtype despite any claims to the contrary, and that saying “atheism is only the lack of belief in gods” is an incomplete and thus insufficient description of any individual’s atheism.

    Affirmatively insist upon our epistemological argument — that knowledge claims about both the supernatural, and politics, and indeed everything — have to be answerable to the question “how do you know that?” And this epistemology is necessarily a part of any atheism worth having, and this brings politics into the scope of atheism per se. Not as an addition, but as the natural scope of the consequences of there being no gods — “A lot of things follow logically and empirically from the lack of existence of gods — only some approaches to epistemology are functional, we only have each other to rely on, values should not prioritize supernaturalism (including platonic idealism) over real suffering and happiness, and so on.”

  71. Rey Fox says

    I’ll continue to speak out for equality of women and minorities in my own time, on my own terms, thank you very much.

    And I’m sure you’ll be very effective, too.

  72. says

    So folks aren’t confused: Most sex workers and rights advocates support decriminalization over legalization. It’s important because the anti-prostitution arguments always focus on arguing against legalization, which is not actually what sex workers argue for. They sort of just argue past us about ‘legalization’.

  73. Infophile says

    I really should have commented on the last post, but I’ll chime in here at least: I love the idea of a new wave, and I love the branding of A+. Of the designs proposed, I tend to prefer the one by One Thousand Needles. It has a slight issue in that the original scarlet A is associated with Dawkins, but it has the benefit that it’s simple, and easy for anyone to sketch out if they want.

    *Hefts his Greathammer +5 of trollslaying* Now, to get to work cleaning up the mess left behind by the last wave…

  74. strange gods before me ॐ says

    unfinished sentence:

    … We just shouldn’t use the symbols that are trivially pronounceable, like “ay plus”.

  75. says

    How does one go about starting an organization? That would provide room for people to address Atheism Plus (whatever their flavor of social justice is) via donation or time or whatever? I do not have the organizational skills or time to start something up myself, but I would happily work for such an organization were there to be one. There could also be regional variants, which would address, say, the reproductive rights in the South issue that someone brought up earlier. Social justice issues do not hold the same urgency from region to region (or, for that matter, nation to nation), and it would be helpful to give people a place where they can commit to social justice and focus in whatever their particular passion is.

    I know nothing about anything or any of this, so feel free to ignore me if I’m going too broad. I’m just a college student with no practical experience in nonprofit work, and I have no idea what I’m talking about, but that’s what came to mind.

  76. Georgia Sam says

    Wow, maybe there’s some hope for the world after all. I vote for the One Thousand Needles design.

  77. sambarnett-cormack says

    I feel a little bashful about commenting on this. Partly due to having been mostly absent from this blog and its comment threads since it moved to FTB (more lost the habit of checking it than anything else), and partly because I’m not an atheist, or at least don’t identify as such. People who remember me will possibly remember that I’m a non-theist Quaker. I won’t get into what that means or why right now – it’s kinda relevant, in that I see the meaning of being a non-theist Quaker as being quite similar to what Jen suggests for A+ (plus all the general liberal Quaker practice stuff), but it would be purely an aside, and I don’t want to run off on a big aside about me, when this subject isn’t about me or my belief ;)

    In essence, this is another attempt at the perennial problem faced by atheism as a movement, of negative definition (what atheists aren’t, or what they don’t do). I can see it needing to be an identified subgroup because it’s hard to say that any of those things are inherent to atheism – they seem obvious to some atheists, certainly, and atheism does nothing to contradict any of them, but some will see themselves as atheist and not agree with them – either actively disagreeing, or not seeing them as important, or as part of their atheism.

    I suppose the important point in it all is that people can believe in all these things without a religion to tell them to (tiny aside: as I said, those things are mostly values among liberal Quakers, but I don’t believe in them because I’m a Quaker – I’m a Quaker, in part, because I believe in them). People can reach those conclusions because they Just Make Sense. I suspect it veers into closer similarity with some other existent ideas, like ethical humanism (not necessarily that exactly, I’m just guessing it gets close to something like that).

  78. strange gods before me ॐ says

    “Dictionary atheists” is already the term for them. PZ has done the work already of identifying them as a distinct subtype. We just need to keep that up.

    If we’re successful, then eventually they won’t want to self-identify as atheists (or atheists full stop) anymore, since atheism will be too progressive for them. Then they’ll come up with some whole other term for themselves, or a modifier to “atheist”.

    In the meantime we already have the pejorative we need.

  79. Rey Fox says

    and I don’t care enough about them to bother with trying to find another way to refer to them.

    Me neither. As far as I’m concerned, they’re happy enough to take themselves out of the spotlight.

  80. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Hosting one person who they agree on a whole bunch of other things with isn’t “generally” anything.

  81. A 'Nym Too says


    I’m starting our first DEEEEP RIIIIFT!!!!! by insisting on purple jackboots. With rainbow laces.

    Yeah, I went there.

    Oh, and can I start a motion to just answer every troll comment with a cheery “A+! “?

    They’ll feel pleased, initially, until they realise it’s not a grade. Then they can take to Twitter and call us bullies for not engaging them.

  82. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Sorry but that’s a trivial objection to quash.

    As trivial as it ought to be to quash, they’ve been pretty successful at using it.

    The fact is that claiming the ‘purist’ label is rhetorically effective; any reading of the various anti-dictionary-atheists threads at Pharyngula shows dozens of them popping up to whine about how terribly unfair PZ is being to them by taking away their claim to atheism per se.

    I don’t know if that’s an “extinction burst” yet but eventually we can get there.

    Atheism, “pure” atheism is nothing but the lack of a specific belief.

    And that’s dictionary atheist rhetoric right there. You’re believing it. But you don’t have to believe it. There are a lot of things that follow logically and empirically from there being no gods. A worldview which doesn’t incorporate those things is not a coherent atheism.

    There is absolutely no reason that a community must only form based upon one (1) single shared characteristic.

    This clearly is not a response to anything I’ve said.

    Or do you think your objection applies to the American Atheists or the Black Atheists of America?

    I have no idea what this question is supposed to mean. If it means “should registered organizations not add adjectives to their names” then the answer is no; but a org as such is not the movement — orgs have different branding requirements than we do.

  83. Dylan says

    My experience here at FTB is limited, but whenever I find myself surrounded by extremely hostile feminists who use words like “misogyny,” “privilege,” and “patriarchy” in every other sentence, I tend to assume they share the standard radical feminist agenda. I know that most of the feminists here do not believe they are rad fems, but they sure do sound a lot like them.

  84. Christoph Burschka says

    This mindset is what I’ve always associated with humanism. Ayn Rand also demonstrated, long before Reddit, that atheism and not being an asshole are not inherently related.

    It is tempting, then, to let go of the atheist label entirely. It’s accurate that we don’t believe in gods, but we don’t believe in Bigfoot either. And while humanism itself is not proof against pseudo-science or religion, we have this:

    The philosophy or life stance secular humanism … embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making.

    But the “atheism” label has one thing going for it: It really irritates people.

    We can call ourselves “secular humanists” and explain that it also means we’re not religious, but it sounds too polite and fluffy for people (other than insanely fundamentalist preachers) to pick up on it. As long as “atheist” means picking a fight and “secular humanist” is acceptable, we practically have an obligation to continue picking the fight.

    Ramble ends, verdict: I’m in favor. Also that first A+ looks awesome.

  85. mcbender says


    Amy might have a hard time keeping up with demand; that sounds like a good problem to have!

  86. Dylan says

    The sexual objectification of women is one of the central feminist themes here at FTB. I find it quite difficult to imagine how feminists can be so incensed about sexual objectification in the media, but then claim to support the rights of sex workers in pornography. I’m sure I am just missing some of their incredibly nuanced position, but on it’s face it seems blatantly hypocritical to decry the sexual objectification of women in advertising, while rationalizing things like the skepchick pin-up calendar.

  87. says

    FM, “or” can be both inclusive or exclusive, and I guess most people read it as an inclusive one.

    Anyway, I admit to an allergic reaction to “no rules and regulations” arguments, since I think all labor should be regulated. But that doesn’t seem to be the indented meaning of arguments for decriminalization, even if they often do look unfortunately libertarian.

    Terms aside, I’m all for making sex work as legal, non-criminal, and regulated as all other work

  88. ewan says

    “humanism doesn’t preclude theists”

    That’s a view, but I disagree, and for what it’s worth, the British Humanist association are with me. From their bit on defining humanism (at

    trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)”

    There’s a lot of other principles of what Humanism is that seem to line up with this idea.

  89. says

    I find it quite difficult to imagine how feminists can be so incensed about sexual objectification in the media, but then claim to support the rights of sex workers in pornography. I

    what about this is difficult to understand? A culture that makes women into objects is bad. Nonetheless, women should have the right to navigate the kyriarchy safely, and without extra hurdles thrown in their way.

    this is in fact identical to the argument that even though religion is wrong and oppressive, women should have the right to navigate religious traditions safely and without extra hurdles (like veil bans) thrown in their way.

    also: “misogyny”, “privilege”, and “patriarchy” are basic terms of Feminist Theory, and are not exclusive to Radical Feminists (nor radfems)

  90. Dylan says

    By “or” I did mean it in the either/or sense.

    But I do understand that decriminalisation is the position that FW and most (maybe all) of the sex positive feminists are advocating.

  91. says

    I dunno. I’m fine with the idea of being a splinter faction from the New Atheist movement. I don’t really like those guys.

    I say we prop Jen up on a big chair so she can issue decrees. Or maybe a website. I dunno, something like that.

  92. Dylan says

    The obvious distinction between the right to religious freedom and the rights of sex workers is that the latter is a financial transaction requiring informed consent. A world view where the males are “privileged” and women are “oppressed” by the “patriarchy” inevitably implies a lack of meaningful agency on the part of women.

  93. Lindsay says

    The fact that you’re most up-in-arms over being called a misogynist, to the point where you’re willing to throw social justice under the bus, pretty much tells everyone else where your priorities REALLY are.

    omg i got called a mean name > the lives and wellbeings of the oppressed

  94. says

    no it doesn’t, any more than classism implies a lack of agency on the part of poor people, racism implies a lack of agency on the part of non-white people, heterosexism implies a lack of agency on the part of gay people, or cis-supremacy imples a lack of agency on the part of trans* people.

    If you don’t know what the terms mean, do not try to criticize them. You will fail.

  95. says

    it should be noted that your comment also falls into the Free Will trap, in which you feel that the only way to claim someone has agency is to claim freedom from external influences, and thus you end up denying systemic oppression.

  96. says

    Most people here who have spoken out on the matter are pro-sex work and pro-legal prostitution. Taslima Nasreen’s the main exception, but she comes from a very different cultural background where the distinction between sex work and sex slavery isn’t so clear cut.

  97. Taylor Kendall says

    Atheism+ = atheism -libertarians

    who else besides ethically stunted, rich, white hetro males would come up with such a ass backwards and regressive philosophy. People who can’t look forward enough too see that helping everyone succeed helps them more than enacting some weird for of survival of the fittest.

  98. LeftSidePositive says

    May I please vote for both the “A” and the “+” in scarlet in Zapfino? I think that would be the most elegant…

  99. Dylan says


    I don’t deny the existence of systemic oppression. To some degree it is true that most people are always acting under economic pressures that one could say limit their range of choices. Our problem is an economic one though, and not an ideological construct. It is not a “racist” system… and more than it is a “patriarchy.” If it were a racist system then it would make sense to argue that non whites probably wouldn’t have meaning agency.

  100. LeftSidePositive says

    I don’t think it needs to be an official name – I want to improve the atheist movement, not create a splinter faction or something.

    We’re not the Atheist People’s Front, we’re the People’s Front of Atheism!!!

  101. thunk, erythematic says


    I admit I wasn’t sold at first, but the whole proposal’s not bad.

    I’m also with the “no official logo” thing– let people make their own variants. However, the Needles design is my favorite thus far.

  102. Rieux says

    The plus in that one looks quite a bit like a cross, which lends the entire name a bit of an ominous undercurrent….

  103. says

    patriarchy is no more an “ideological construct” than any other social phenomenon is. and your insistence that only one axis of oppression matters is the opposite of the intersectionality that Fourth Wave Feminism and Atheism+ should be committed to.

    It is absolutely not a question of either patriarchy or classism. When it’s about women in the workforce, it’s always both.

    It is not a “racist” system… and more than it is a “patriarchy.”

    this is what I mean by denial of systemic problems. There is no society out there that is not racist, at least not yet. That axis of oppression has not been destroyed yet. And no, it wouldn’t make sense to say that the existence of a racist system destroys agency. That’s not how hierarchy works.

  104. secular Steve says

    Here’s a better idea. Make up a brand new word like PZism+ if you need to put a label on consolidated world views. Atheism already has a meaning and does not need other views attached to it. Not all atheists are feminists. Feminists are feminists. Atheists are atheists. Atheist+ or atheism+ is retarded sorry to say. You may as well call it atheism 2.0.

  105. RickRay says

    If any Christian or other god-loving believer of myths and fairy tales asks me what the A+ necklace/pendant (when they come out ) means, I guess I’ll have to tell them that it indicates I’m a 1) freethinker 2) humanist 3) naturalist 4) rationalist 5) believe in equality 6) anti-theist 7)pro-science 8) atheist. You know, the kind of guy who believes in logic and common sense. That ought to shut them up for awhile!

  106. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    Hey, when I saw it, my programmer brain immediately wanted it to be Atheism++…

  107. trinioler says

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton has been advocating what PZ’s been writing since before PZ was born. Look her up.

  108. says

    I very much like this idea. I think it’s useful to think of it as a new wave, rather than a subgroup (just as transfeminism shouldn’t be a sub-type of feminism) – and that anyone in the last wave / New Atheists / traditional atheist movement that wants to be progressive and deal with social justice etc will naturally align with A+. Basically if anyone is left on the other side of a deep rift, that’s their problem.

    Also, I love how A+ fits in well with what people like Natalie Reed, Greta Christina and PZ have been saying, regarding dictionary/pure atheism and what it implies; and deals with the question, there are no gods, so where does that leave us? So it’s up to us humans to decide our fate, and start addressing the important consequence of that – because there is no god, it’s our responsibility to get social justice, civil rights, feminism, equality etc right. Atheism may logically lead to such things, as mentioned above – and A+ is a call to move forward and get on with it.

  109. says

    We will have to stand against N.O.W. then, who deliberately threw sex workers under the bus. RAWR! I’m in on that project!

  110. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Greta Christina’s blog has approximately 10 billion posts about this type of thing. If you search her blog for things like “sex workers” or some such thing, you’ll find REAMS of examples. Someone once asked me for some links, and I swear I must have come up with like 12 in ten minutes. Just go over and take a look.

    I point to her because she’s the most prolific that I’m aware of; others have certainly put their 2 cents in.

  111. Buxley says

    This whole idea is awesome, Jen. Something like your post has needed to be said and, although the bits and pieces have been floating around for a while, but I’m glad you took the time to write it all down.

    A+ for you. =)


  112. Erista (aka Eris) says

    I’m going to be blunt. There are three options for me.

    1) Stay in a group that is stuffed with people who are more than happy to do or defend misogynist things.

    2) Abandon the entire the group that is stuffed with people who are more than happy to do or defend misogynist things.

    3) Create a subgroup that tosses out the people in the larger group who are more than happy to do or defend misogynist things but welcomes in the people from the larger group who are defenders of women’s rights.

    However, there is one caveat: option #1 is not an option for me. I have spent the last year trying to change and watching people trying to change the larger group. It hasn’t worked, and it’s drained me emotionally and mentally. I am done.

    So, do tell me which of the options I should choose.

  113. Erista (aka Eris) says

    I cannot begin to express how much I am in favor of this. For WEEKS I’ve been wondering how long I’d be able to hold out in the face of all of this misogyny before I folded and had to bow out of the movement altogether. Just how much could I take before it shredded me?

    This gives me hope that I can shift my way into a group that isn’t filled with misogynists and misogynist enablers.

    So thank you.

  114. Nikoel says

    I think lobbying would be a great goal to have, as well as running candidates. Neither Atheism or Feminism should be a dirty word in American politics. We need to prove that it’s not.

  115. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    YES. A thousand times yes, with a giant heaping squirt of YES on top with little A+ sprinkles.

    I used to be much more skeptical of social justice movements, though over the last few years reading up I’ve landed firmly in the now identified A+ camp.
    When things can get so bad that you don’t realise you’re being abused until you’re asked to give up your bodily autonomy in order to receive any affection, things need to bloody well change.

    Yeah, things ARE that bad, and that’s just for me, a white cisgendered woman. Non-neurotypical doesn’t help, but hell… If it’s this horrible for me, I cannot IMAGINE how bad it might be for someone with less privilege.

    Serious love for this new wave. All for it with fists raised – preferably holding pointy chef’s knives. And a spatula. Those are ALWAYS useful.

  116. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Would I be alone in thinking that this might acutally help to get more people away from theism?

    Specifically those who aren’t ‘all-the-way’ atheist (yet) but who are very keen on social justice and unhappy with how their religion ignores it (or opposes it); perhaps they’ll come for the fighting for equality and diversity and stay for the reality that gods don’t exist.

  117. says

    I’m generally on your side with that, in that the branches of feminism that deny sex workers’ agency and claim that criminalization is somehow protecting womens’ rights (by denying them the freedom to make a certain choice? What?) are regressive and destructive and fundamentally incompatible with the forms of (intersectionally aware) feminism I ally myself with. But I don’t understand how you’ve taken FTB to be primarily that kind of regressive feminist, and opposed to sex workers’ rights? Unless the ONLY one of us whose views on the matter you’ve read is Taslima?

  118. pilot says

    When things can get so bad that you don’t realise you’re being abused until you’re asked to give up your bodily autonomy in order to receive any affection, things need to bloody well change.

    What does this mean exactly? If you are being abused then you need to tell someone not join a dumbass internet movement that consists entirely of potential logo designs.

  119. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I’d advise you to do #3 (which we’ve been doing here at FtB since its founding and at Pharyngula before FtB) but without using a verbally pronounceable [adjective] atheism or atheism[modifier] form.

    Stay on the blogs and other networks you like, promote the people you like, all that good stuff.

    Visual identifiers that can’t be pronounced are not similarly vulnerable to the rhetorical weaknesses that [adjective] atheism or atheism[modifier] are. And, of course, associating with the people you like is not a rhetorical vulnerability.

    My objection is all about the rhetoric, and the way it will disadvantage us in outreach, especially to the newly irreligious.

    I love the possibility of having more blogs and other networks where we don’t have to interact with racists and misogynists, where we can plan for the world we want instead of constantly being on the defensive. Nothing I’ve said should be construed as saying that you personally have to engage with people who you find draining.

  120. Dylan says


    I do not believe that our society is inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, etc… I believe capitalism is motivated by profit and not by ideology, ergo we do not live in patriarchy in any meaningful sense of the word. If, in our current historical context, patriarchy, sexism, racism, etc… are just symptoms of a system capitalist exploitation (as I believe they are) and not the cause of it, then it makes no sense to describe the symptom as though these ideologies were the cause. Sexism, racism, patriarchal attitudes, etc… are sometimes beneficial to the capitalist class, and at other times they are not, but there is nothing about the capitalist economic system that is inherently patriarchal, sexist, or racist.

    I’m an anti-capitalist by the way.

  121. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Because I’ve totally just been commenting sporadically on a blog instead of seeking real help in the real world like anyone else with a partly-functioning brain. I’ll have to inform my psychiatrist, psychologist, parents, family and lawyers then – aren’t I just a complete ditz?

    Geez… showing support for something that helped me think my way out of a horribly abusive situation now means I don’t get real help? Thanks. Thanks so much. Good to know you’d jump to that conclusion – women, expecially abused, non-neurotypical women just sit around helplessly and complain, never do anything bloody useful.


  122. says

    that would be the ideal case, yes. In the US at least, the goal would be to provide alternative social safety nets to the ones churches provide, to allow non-theists to leave churches without endangering their economic wellbeing, for example.

  123. 'Tis Himself says

    Contrary to your belief, I wasn’t trolling you. I was responding to your two sentence complaint about “deliberate self-isolation.” Yeah, I was snarky to you because I neither like nor trust you, but did you notice that my question actually got a coherent reply from you.

    See, you are good for something besides whining about people using “tard” as a suffix. Maybe one day you’ll mature enough to apologize to me for trivializing the bullying I underwent. But I doubt it.

  124. julian says

    Don’t let this act fool you, folks. They’re really in complete lockstep with one another.

  125. mandrellian says

    Thanks, pilot, for dropping in and providing your usual haven’t-bothered-to-read-anything-beyond-the-title commentary.

  126. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Do you ENJOY poking at people who have real, serious problems, or is it some kind of compulsion?

  127. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I was responding to your two sentence complaint about “deliberate self-isolation.”

    It was two sentences because it contained a link to a longer comment that I didn’t think needed to be copied and pasted here.

    whining about people using “tard” as a suffix.

    Ableism is worth objecting to.

    apologize to me for trivializing the bullying I underwent.

    I would apologize if I had indeed trivialized your bullying.

    Anyway, you said: “If you don’t bring the subject up again I won’t either. I’ll neither forgive nor forget but I won’t mention it if you don’t.”

  128. mandrellian says

    Seriously, if you really do think this is just blabbing about logos, then it is crystal fucking clear you’ve not read/comprehended this post or the previous post or either of the ensuing comment threads. What isn’t very clear at all is why you keep coming to these blogs and acting the obtuse little pseudo-troll with people you clearly feel are beneath you.

  129. says

    Both of you, fucking take it to Thunderdome. This shit is tedious and unproductive, as has been repeatedly stated by PZ, and that’s why it isn’t allowed on any of the regular threads on Pharyngula. Let people have a productive fucking discussion without your obsessive harping at each other. I’m sitting here enjoying receiving mostly positive and productive comments in my email, and I’m starting to see you two pick at each other just like you poisoned the inbox when I was on TET. This is not the fucking place.

  130. Dylan says

    Sorry if I haven’t expressed myself clearly. I’m pretty sure it isn’t productive to always try and pigeon hole people as to what type of troll they are being.

    Basically I am opposed to sexism, racism, homophobia… etc… wherever I see it, but I do not think this means there must be some systemic cause, above and beyond capitalist exploitation, to explain the existence of these behaviours. In fact I think concepts like patriarchy theory are fundamentally flawed.

  131. says

    If you’re all set on A+, that’s okay, but I think A! (factorial) would be better, because our position is much more a product of all the sub-positions that factor into it than just a simple sum. And besides, there is the plain text ambiguity issue.

  132. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Hey, at least we’ve got a nice example of the exact nature of the problem.

    All this is totally useless, every person who’s posted here is an armchair slacktivist and a whiner who’s simply looking for a logo to rally behind. Women aren’t oppressed (just whiny), minorities are just lazy and LBGTQI people are just confused.
    Of course, if we’d all just man up and shut up and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps then we’d all find that our problems magically ceased to exist.

    Because reality is a patriarchal libertarian fantasy world and if minority groups would just shut up and get back in the closet/kitchen/psych ward then we* could all just get on with our happy, normal lives.

    *you know, normal, proper, default people. Teh White Cis Hetero Psychonormative Menz.

  133. Steve Schuler says

    Hell Yeah!!!

    A+, aka Third Wave Atheism, is gonna Rock The World!

    Just look at how ‘The Movement’ came through for Alex Aan.


  134. hjhornbeck says

    I, a completely unbiased stranger, would also like to vote for that forgotten logo.

    adjusts his fake moustache

    More seriously, I could give two shakes about what logo or name we use. It’s insignificant compared to what we stand for and what we hope to accomplish. Jadehawk’s left one is my fave of those in the current parent post, but I haven’t checked out any from this comment thread yet.

  135. pilot says

    I’m really sorry for showing a basic amount of human compassion. Also for not being a mind-reader, and for being ignorant of your specific situation. I won’t try to be nice again.

  136. carlie says

    I was thinking along those lines as well, which is kind of why I like the idea of atheism plus, rather than wresting control of the word atheism. That lets people sneak in under the plus part who might shy away from the atheism part, and let them get comfortable with it before jumping all the way in.

  137. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Basic compassion = assuming the person hasn’t sought help and criticising their aupport of a movement that you clearly have no undrestading of.

    Ohhhh, right. Thanks for clearing that up, cupcake ;)

  138. carlie says

    That was addressed somewhere on one of these threads – they’ve renamed themselves something else, apparently.

  139. pilot says

    Well okay. Your “movement” is doomed to be forgotten in about a month by the retards currently posting in this thread and you’ll still be a stupid crazy bitch.

  140. scrutationaryarchivist says

    Your comment about grades gave me an idea: If the “A+” symbol becomes widely known, would religious schools start to reconsider how they grade schoolwork?


  141. scrutationaryarchivist says

    They’re next meetup will be on August 26. If there are any Blag Hag readers in or near Portland, Oregon, maybe they’ll stop by and say hello?

  142. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Ah… nice when they show their true colours. Makes the job so much easier. :)

    Extinction burst – indeed.

  143. mandrellian says

    Thanks for your enlightened and insightful criticism and your great ideas.

    Oh, wait, sorry – it’s easy to mistake those for spiteful fucking trolling.

    Oh, wait, no it isn’t.

  144. says

    I do not believe that our society is inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, etc

    nothing social is “inherently” anything. However, you’re absolutely wrong if you think our society as it currently exists isn’t racists, sexist, homophobic, etc.

    I believe capitalism is motivated by profit and not by ideology.

    you’re wrong. it’s motivated by both. However, our society is not just capitalist. Claiming that only one axis of oppression exists is denialism.

    ergo we do not live in patriarchy in any meaningful sense of the word.

    denialism of intersectionality. we’re living in both a capitalist system and a patriarchy.

    If, in our current historical context, patriarchy, sexism, racism, etc… are just symptoms of a system capitalist exploitation (as I believe they are)

    you’re wrong. racism, sexism, etc. exist in anarchist and communist subcultures, and these axes of oppression will not disappear if capitalism ever does. You are throwing people suffering from other oppresions under the bus, and are starting to sound more and more like a “manarchist”.

    Basically I am opposed to sexism, racism, homophobia… etc… wherever I see it, but I do not think this means there must be some systemic cause

    you’re wrong. dangerously so.

    As I said elsewhere, anarchists/communists who think classism is the sole problem in a society are useless (and they are not part of an intersectional movement, obviously)

  145. Anonymous Atheist says

    Well, I’d been the one commenting about that, but now I’m not sure what’s going on – there’s the A+ on that shirt, but with the Non-Believers Giving Aid name. The person who originally asked about this had said the name was Atheists Giving Aid (thus using the A+), and when I saw the website currently said Non-Believers Giving Aid and NBGA (and didn’t have the A+ logo anywhere), I thought they’d renamed it. But maybe the name was NBGA all along despite using the atheist A? Since the logo doesn’t appear on the website, and they say there that t-shirt design (which seems to be the only current use of the logo?) is obsolete, maybe they’re moving to something else.

  146. says

    Thoughts before I read the comments: I’m reminded of a point Greta Christina’s made, that atheism is lacking in institutions, is too much defined privatively.

    But “anti-oppression rationalist” ought to be a pleonasm.

  147. Sally Strange says

    You are a bad person. You say horrible things and you should feel bad about yourself.

  148. bovarchist says

    Shouldn’t it be A-?

    Atheism minus common sense
    Atheism minus honesty
    Atheism minus respect
    Atheism minus self awareness
    Atheism minus reason
    Atheism minus courage

  149. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    For the regressives? Of course it should.
    “A-, maintaining the status quo For Great Injustice”

  150. Anonymous Atheist says

    See clarification below:

    I was starting from the premise provided in the original question, that the name started off as Atheists Giving Aid (and now that it’s not that name, they wouldn’t use that logo), but that may not have been correct (upon further research it seems they were Non-Believers Giving Aid all along). So there does remain some question/concern about this, and a contact with RDF would probably be a good idea.

  151. bovarchist says

    The question isn’t whether FTB supports the rights of sex workers. The question is whether they support the rights of johns. Can’t have one without the other.
    So, do they?

  152. strange gods before me ॐ says

    “Nothing” except that it’s a rhetorical dead end. Maybe you’d like to respond to any of my arguments?

  153. Sally Strange says

    Yeah, that would be the people who are being left behind. It is an apt description.

  154. BreadGod says

    So Atheism+ is basically atheism combined with radical feminism. Yeah, this is obvious proof that the atheist movement has been usurped by complete lunatics. Atheism simply means you don’t believe in the divine. That is what it has always meant, and that is what it will always mean.

  155. Nathair says

    There are a lot of things that follow logically and empirically from there being no gods.

    Yeah, like what exactly? What positions, significant to the issue at hand (social justice, equality, etc.) do all atheists, Pol Pot, Than Shwe, Jeffrey Dahmer, Thunderfoot, Noam Chomsky, Dan Dennet, A.C. Grayling right on down to you and I automatically and inescapably share? Please be specific.

  156. strange gods before me ॐ says

    the atheist movement has been usurped


    See? We don’t need a new label! We’ve already ‘usurped’ the old one!

  157. Anonymous Atheist says

    The different color plus helps call attention to it not being the standard red A we’re now used to seeing.

  158. rrede says

    Love this idea SO much. Have only recently begun reading/commenting over here–have written about it, and linked, in my Dreamwidth Journal (I’m ithiliana over there)–Dreamwidth is a social networking site with a high incidence of fans who are involved with social justice issues!

  159. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Wow, that’s a fantastic misunderstanding! One might almost suspect it of being a deliberate one.

    That X follows from Y does not mean everyone will notice that X follows from Y.

  160. hieropants says

    You know, my first introduction to the rationalist movement was when a co-worker of mine recommended a selection of blogs on critical thinking to me. I started checking them out, and almost immediately I found a post on one where the author was defending another blogger who had said some ridiculously sexist things on the basis that “women also stereotype men” so women weren’t allowed to complain about men stereotyping women. This was on a blog that purported to be about overcoming bias. As soon as I read this post, and saw from the comments that it was a norm rather than an exception, I rolled my eyes and ceased to hold any interest in the movement whatsoever.

    I would definitely describe that post and its apologists as “minus self-awareness”. I suspect that this new subgroup will be more open to the idea of introspection and self-criticism than the previous groups were.

  161. marcos raaolcarot collins says

    Yes, I agree that this is called Humanism. That’s what I call myself, and the description in this blog of Atheism+ is exactly why I consider myself Humanist.

  162. hieropants says

    Atheism simply means you don’t believe in the divine. That is what it has always meant, and that is what it will always mean.

    True. But what is the point of a movement centered around a lack of belief in something? I never considered that atheism had any kind of intrinsic worth until people started using it as justification for secular humanist causes on the basis that religion was inherently antithetical to progressivism. I can understand why people would want to be part of a group that they think makes them smarter than everyone else, and I have to admit that I have a tendency to bask in my own smug superiority when I’m exposed to other people’s ridiculous belief systems, but I understand that it’s completely self-serving and helps no one other than myself. I simply don’t believe atheism matters unless it’s being used to improve people’s lives, so if a significant segment of the current atheist movement disagrees, I think it makes perfect sense to start a submovement where progressivism is a stated goal.

  163. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    who else besides ethically stunted, rich, white hetro males would come up with such a ass backwards and regressive philosophy

    Ethically stunted white hetero males who are GOING TO BE RICH ANY DAY NOW AND THEN YOU’LL BE SORRY, of course.

  164. EdW says

    I keep arriving late to the really interesting discussions!

    I had a thought, though — Book title, or blog series title… “Atheism + Me” — stories from minority, female, and differently-abled atheists, that would help to voice the concerns of this new wave.

  165. says

    I second this motion. I’m tired of explaining that no one equated inappropriate propositioning of someone in an enclosed space with rape. They know that they are lying and strawmanning like the worst creationists but they keep coming back for more. I’m tired of whiners asking for the data about sexual harassment at conferences knowing full well that we don’t even have policies in place to deal with it, let alone scientific studies of incidence. Earlier this week, I suggested responding to these trolls with their creationist equivalents, but this works, and works much better.

  166. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    You know, at the risk of a Godwin, I’m suddenly reminded of the story I heard about a Private Adolf Hitler in the United States army who, when asked if he’d thought about changing his name, snarled “let the other guy change his!” (I don’t seem to be able to find a reference for it.)

    Same principle?

  167. scrutationaryarchivist says

    Just a note on the A+ symbol. Beware of people making cheap comparisons.

    There may, in the future, be some attempts by some transhumanists to argue for a connection between themselves and inclusive atheism. This is because an “H+” logo is used by a group called Humanity+, and also they might identify with some common goals.

    However, a lot of transhumanists have a “libertarian” bent. The H+ people seem to have been trying to get away from that, but I don’t think they’ve gotten very far.

    I just want to give folks notice to be a bit cautious if anyone starts implying a connection between A+ and H+. Such connections may be valid for individuals who identify both ways (and more power to them), but personally I don’t think there should be any formal or organizational relationship.

    And by the way, the Wikipedia disambiguation page lists several other meanings for “A+”. It’s kind of amusing.

  168. citpeks says

    I have been reading all the blogs here on ftb and Skepchick for a long time but i have not been much of a participant. As a waspy male whose now replaced the p with an a in wasp , and raised in a wealthy private christian prep school that pumped me full of privilege messages, I want to chime in to say thank you to Jen, rebekah Watson, surly Amy and any others who have been putting up with this shit. Your blogging has helped me a lot in understanding my blind spots and getting over the bs that was ingrained in me over the years. I’ve always enjoyed the bigfoot and homeopathy bashing of the skeptic movement, but it was comments like rw’s ” don’t do that” that made me perk up my ears and think that there was some stuff that was really applicable to making myself a better person to be found here. Stuff that I was totally blind to before. I have stayed out of the fray mostly because I just did not have the time to stay on top of all the comments and such, but I want to chime in now to say thanks and let you know you have another ally. I don’t have the time to make all the arguments myself, but I want to let you know you do have one more person standing behind you. Thanks. Pardon any typos and any bad autocorrects, as this was composed on my iPad. Keep up the good work. A +

  169. Dylan says

    @ bovarchist

    I just read this blog by Greta Christina…
    “Only Losers Dine At Le Cirque: The Stigma on Sex Work Customers”

  170. says

    Atheists plus we care about social justice,

    Does this mean class privilege, too? Can we try to bring on board more people who can educate us on economics, or neoliberalism, or media irresponsibility, or other such extremely amazingly important things like that?

    Please? Please? Can we kick out the libertarians and neoliberals and liberal economics and all those assholes no matter what they believe outside of economics?

  171. says

    lol @ “manarchist”

    I love it.

    not surprised in the slightest. anticapitalism, too, will be intersectional or it will be bullshit. so: learn how to not be a denialist of other axes of oppression, or GTFO

  172. DTdNav says

    Ditto. I’m another white male atheist greatly surprised by the comments and reactions regarding this subject over the past several months. As cynical as I am I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the oh so human behavior of some of my “bros.” Reading, listening, and observing has also taught me a great deal about my own views and how they could have negatively affected others. I’ll probably still just watch from the wings, but I hope to see this new idea take off and fly on its own. I wish you all the best of luck and I look forward to seeing someone with an A+ symbol somewhere on their person. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually have one myself somewhere.

  173. says

    I don’t think you understand what “radical feminism” is. It is generally used similarly to a weasel word to attack people and undermine their points. However, there are a group of feminists who self-label as radical feminists. A meeting of them met up in London, and they excluded transpeople from their meeting because there was an opinion of the organizers that anyone who was a male of any sort cannot help feminism.

    That is a type of destructive radical feminism. There has been nothing of the sort in this. I am sick and tired of people declaring someone as a radical just to make their points less important. The connotations that have been imbued in that compared to the word maverick are somewhat obvious. I do not know what you think of feminism in general, but as far as I can tell not many here self-identify as radical feminists. Please stop saying things that are very likely untrue.

  174. Stan Brooks says

    Absolutely!! And by the way it was a pleasure meeting you and all your crew at the RW gig for Seattle Atheists/Seattle Skeptics. I got your last “Skeptical in Seattle” piece and am looking forward to whatever you envision for this new A+ idea.

  175. hjhornbeck says

    You wouldn’t happen to have a towel I could use to wipe tea off my monitor, would you? I can trade you this barrel of WIN…

  176. mandrellian says

    Atheism simply means you don’t believe in the divine. That is what it has always meant, and that is what it will always mean.

    Which is the entire fucking point of the “PLUS”.

    Can someone please tell me what is so difficult to comprehend about this?

    Noone is trying to redefine atheism. What they are doing is saying “Atheist is an incomplete description of who I am and what I stand for.”

    It’s an expansion, not a redefinition. If people want to continue to be defined by a single thing they don’t believe, that’s perfectly ok. Other atheists want others to know what they DO believe in.

    Hence Atheism PLUS.

  177. rowanvt says

    You… don’t believe in Patriarchy.

    Which gender usually is *assumed* will be taking the last name of the other in a heterosexual relationship?
    Which gender usually does the asking for “permission to wed your child”?
    Which gender parent usually is asked for “permission to wed your child”?
    Which gender is thereby implied to be incapable of making their own decision about whom to marry via the idea of asking permission of a parent to wed the other individual?
    Which gender usually is *assumed* will stay home with children?
    Which gender are cleaning products aimed at?
    Which gender typically pops into mind first when hearing the word “receptionist” or “secretary”?
    Which gender typically pops into mind first when hearing the word “doctor” or “CEO”?

  178. rowanvt says

    And I don’t want to have anything at all to do with an atheist who does not support equality for everyone in the human race, regardless of gender, orientation, ability, race, etc. As a woman, I *especially* do not want to be in a group where I can meet face to face with people who think I’m making a big fuss when I don’t like to be alone with strange men, despite having 3 close calls with sexual assault. They are asshats. I want nothing of them.

  179. Emptyell says

    Well I’m an Adam Smith Marxist aka free market socialist (though I stop short of libertarian anarchism).

    Would you kick me out too?

  180. Emptyell says

    Hey Jen,

    I’ve sketched up a few quick logos and would like to share them but don’t have any convenient way to do it. Is there some way to do this? No big deal but it would be fun to put together a bunch of them. The possibilities are endless. It also seems that the basicl idea is strong enough that having variations (speciation) in the wild won’t dilute it’s effectiveness.

  181. says


    If you need or want background on the depth of debate around this topic there are a lot of willing feminist sex workers on YT speaking to their issues… So before jumping in here…go listen there….

    (This IS great)

  182. says

    I believe in Atheism+, but I call it “Enlightenment”. See my old post:
    Dimensions of enlightenment

    My aim has been to put a range of related topics on a sounder and consistent footing. So my dimensions (in the absence of a better set) are “cognition”, “knowledge”, “empathy”, and “governance”. (See my post above).

    These can cover Skepticism and evidence-based reasoning, equality and peer-appreciation (opposed to misogyny and misandry), secular democracy, etc.

  183. says

    A bit to sleepy to read through all of the comments..

    created FB Atheism+ Page… looking for co-moderators!

    Let’s have an ATHEISM+ WEEK sometime soon…

    Wave if you want to help!

  184. Utakata says

    So…pilot in two of Jen’s articles admitted he was trolling and a bigot. Can we have him /killfiled please?

  185. says

    Consider that A+ privileges walk over talk….winning via rhetoric is not the only way to win. Worrying too much about anything but creating a space where those agree can gather, work things out and fly their masthead for future deepening of intention and coherence among those who wish to work on this might be enough…

  186. says

    Let’s not jump the gun…intersectionality means groups build a platform and priorities together from the start…

    The call to action needs work….and expansion of concerns…

  187. Utakata says

    We’re the A+ group, the A- group which you’re looking for is over at ERV, Thunderf00t, JREF, et al…

    …and what others said here.

  188. Atrax Robusta says

    I have to delurk in support of A+.

    Thank you all for having the time, patience, energy and sanity to keep things moving forwards.

    I will also be purchasing my first Surlyramics in honor of this occasion ( mind you there are other motivations ).

    Most Sincerely,

  189. says


    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 undermine ableism, (wording?)

    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

    It speaks to those of us who see atheism as more than just a lack of belief in god.

  190. Ana says

    Even last week, in my usually safe atheist online community, I had a guy say that FTB was “all about drama and no action”. I just rubbed this post in his face, and damn it felt GOOD. xD
    I love it. I always identified more with Secular Humanism than with Atheism, and to have Atheism PLUS Humanism, to be actually able to be an atheist activist in a safe place, with people who share more than a lack of belief in deities, is FSM-sent. =)
    They say it’s always darker before the dawn, and I can’t wait to see this sun. I’ve been secretly thankful that I don’t live in America, that I don’t actively participate in atheist activism online, I even decided not to blog because I didn’t want to get pulled into all the horrible shitstorms. Now, I’m slightly sad that I don’t get to be there, first-hand, to help raise this new voice. But even from an ocean away, I’m excited to be a part of it!

  191. says

    I’ve been kicking around the idea with a few other skeptics about doing a weekly podcast about atheist plus issues (i.e. how religion normalizes heterosexuality, how the Christian narrative in the US impacts the role of women.) Would anyone be interested in doing working on something like this?

  192. says

    I’m just going to join the flood of lurkers by popping my head up and saying that I think this is a brilliant idea!

    I look forward to seeing what comes out of this.

  193. billhaines says

    I think of Humanism as “the TLCs” and Atheism+ definitely falls into them…
    Think, Love, Create
    Teach, Learn, Conserve
    Tolerate, Liberate, Cheer
    …so also looking forward to seeing what comes of this. :)

  194. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    I started one once, focussing on the whole non-theist Quaker thing, but I made a few posts and then real life got in the way, and then it seemed pointless to go back to it…

  195. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    I can’t believe I read that comment, replied to it even, and didn’t notice the casual ablism. A fair portion of my online time is disability activism…

    *hangs head in shame*

  196. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    Okay, I don’t know if this is a transatlantic difference, but can we say something other than “differently abled”? It’s patronising and inaccurate, to my mind, and to the other disabled people and orgs I’m involved in here in the UK. We prefer the social model of disability, in which being “disabled” is an acceptable term, because it refers to what society imposes on you, not anything about yourself.

    Some conditions fit the term reasonably well, as they tend to represent mixed blessings, but most long-term conditions really don’t. How does my balance problem give me any ability that others don’t have? It only restricts me. Plus ‘able’ isn’t a verb, so one can’t, grammatically, be ‘abled’ at all – ‘disabled’ is a verb, so one can be ‘disabled’.

    However, I do mean all this from a UK perspective. I’m aware that the terms and conceptions that are preferred differ across the Atlantic.

  197. Michael says

    According to this site

    “The red “A” logo is copyright RDFRS, but that’s to prevent others from claiming it and blocking people from using it. The red “A” is sybolic of Atheists and RDFRS is very happy that it has become a general meme for Atheism.”

    I’m not sure how they will view it being modified though.


  198. Marina says

    Hi Jen,not sure if you’ll see this. I read this your blog a lot but almost never get to the comments. I’ve never commented before, but what you’re doing moves me to declare my delight and support.

    My husband is a big fan of yours and he sent me your Declaration of Independence/ call for revolution post.

    It’s amazing!

    I’ve been an atheist for twelve years but have been thoroughly put off ‘movement atheism’ by the reek of sexism and ‘nu-uhhhh we can’t talk about it!’ that I’ve seen. I’m engaged in feminist activism and social justice activism but have long decided that atheists don’t get one kilojoule of my precious energy until they stop being such universal dickheads.

    Please do this thing, and I will be joining you. I’ve got two sons under three years old, and we’re raising them to think critically about all of the power structures in their lives, not just the ones that are easy and comfortable to challenge.

    (just kidding)

  199. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    I’d hope people could agree on common ground, like opposing class privilege, and the broad point that none should suffer the indignities of poverty. That leaves plenty of economic views open, but maintains a basic view of social and economic justice.

  200. Dexeron says

    Soe exciting to see so many people responding positively! I am so buying an A+ Surlyramic when they come out.

  201. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    I’m pretty sure it isn’t productive to always try and pigeon hole people

    extremely hostile feminists who use words like “misogyny,” “privilege,” and “patriarchy” in every other sentence, I tend to assume they share the standard radical feminist agenda. I know that most of the feminists here do not believe they are rad fems, but they sure do sound a lot like them.

    Some days the comedy just writes itself.

  202. edmundog says

    Really, dude? You don’t think women “coexist with, but are subordinate to” men? Where have you been?

  203. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    You know, there’s a mountain of solid, statistical sociological research to indicate just how mistaken you are about patriarchy and sexism in our societies. An honest interlocutor would investigate that evidence, rather than vomiting their “opinion” everywhere. You misapprehensions are no more credible than greenhouse denialism.

  204. drbunsen, le savant fous says

    We tend to be like herding cats, but not this time.

    Even cats will only put up with being sprayed with cold water for so long, especially when there’s delicious tuna-flavored justice in the air.

  205. BreadGod says

    “Noone is trying to redefine atheism.”

    Yes you are.

    “What they are doing is saying “Atheist is an incomplete description of who I am and what I stand for.” ”

    If you want to define yourself by your activism, go right ahead. Just don’t lump atheism together with a bunch of irrelevant bullshit.

    “It’s an expansion, not a redefinition. If people want to continue to be defined by a single thing they don’t believe, that’s perfectly ok. Other atheists want others to know what they DO believe in.

    Hence Atheism PLUS.”

    Jen McCreight created Atheism+ so as to fellate her ego and take over the atheist movement. Atheism means not believing in the divine. Nothing more. Stop trying to lump it together with irrelevant bullshit.

  206. BreadGod says

    If that’s the case, I want to combine atheism with anarchism. This is a serious proposal, by the way.

  207. Pteryxx says

    I’ve lost count of how many new names and self-ID’d lurkers have come out in support of this concept. Note that a few have actually stated they’ve stayed away from commenting, and/or from atheism as a community and movement, specifically because of the hateful attitudes found there. This really is the best evidence so far of just how much silencing there is – tolerance of bigotry has directly kept away a huge segment of the potential atheist community, until now.

  208. BreadGod says

    “If you don’t agree with me on everything then that means you are the scum of the Earth!”

    Typical FTB behavior.

  209. BreadGod says

    @Sally Strange:
    “You are a bad person. You say horrible things and you should feel bad about yourself.”

    How old are you? 12?

    “You’re a meanie. I make angry face at you!”

  210. Rieux says

    Ceramics are nice (especially given the artist who’s benefitting from the business), but surely we need t-shirts and other swag, as well….

  211. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    Perhaps it’s just my Quaker learnings, but I’d say you can dress up social justice, opposition to homophopia, transphobia, misogyny, ablism etc up in one word… equality. Though you’d want to expand what it meant, as people get into all sorts of tangles and straw man arguments if you just say you want equality.

    Not that I’d want to say it’s the same as being a Quaker – because there’s a decided amount of non-compatible bits of liberal Quaker practice. However, equality is one of the four “testimonies” the Britain Yearly Meeting uses to describe liberal Quaker beliefs, and it sounds like A+ is on board with the broad strokes of that one, so I wonder how people react to the other three…

    There’s Equality, as I’ve said. The other three are Truth, Simplicity, and Peace. Quakers were originally pretty much absolute pacifists, though views vary much more today, so the Peace one is pretty straightforward, though it also encompasses the general avoidance of conflict, not through just avoiding it straight out and ignoring it, but by sensible resolution, as swift as may be. Simplicity is about avoiding needless complications in life – originally it was exemplified by the fairly standardised Quaker dress, and avoidance of ostentation. When Friends realised that Quaker dress had ended up being an ostentation in itself, it was mostly abandoned, so there’s no outward signifier of it, but the general gist is that you don’t get things you don’t need – though ‘need’ is interpreted variously. For example, a need for entertainment is reasonable, but a need for it to be delivered on a 50″ plasma is mostly not. Truth is about telling truth, but also about being true to one’s principles, keeping one’s word, that sort of things. It was never taken to be an absolute always-tell-truth, but there has always been a sense that one has to have a good reason not to (say, helping escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad, or concealing Jewish people from the Third Reich). It’s why Quaker affirm, rather than swearing oaths – an oath implies that you have two standards for the telling of truth, that it matters more in one context than another.

    So, not wanting to talk ears off or annoy people – and emphatically not wanting to convince anyone – do those principles speak to people in any way like the Equality ones?

  212. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    On a more meta note, I just want to say that I miss being able to ‘like’ comments here. I can’t just reply to every post I would ‘like’ if it were possible… so many great comments.

  213. rowanvt says

    Equality for all is irrelevant bullshit? I’m glad you’ve openly declared your opinion on that, so now I can work to fervently avoid more exposure to you. I’d rather visit my fundamentalist relatives as they apparently have a better ethical stance than you do.

  214. Beth says

    And you are most cordially invited to find another group or movement which better suits your opinions and style of expression.

  215. says

    I like it. I mean, it’s just marketing, but all too often I see the strict dictionary definition of atheism used (by theists and some atheists) to decry and dismiss the skeptic/rationalist/atheist movement. The argument being that nothing does (or should) unite the atheist community other than disregard for the supernatural, and that anything outside that is off message, even if it follows from the rational outlook.

    I feel that the idea of “Atheism+” or “A+” is a good branding message to show how many atheists see their atheism or skepticism as an internal call to action on social issues. Essentially, “Atheism + Humanism.” Of the presented logos, I prefer the familiar scarlet A with the blue plus symbol in it.

    Thank you for posting this and the previous post that inspired it. I regret that they’re necessary; so it goes.

  216. says

    Interesting! Thanks for pointing that out. I actually fall into both categories (atheist/humanist and pro-transhumanism) but I can see how some might not.

  217. BreadGod says

    “Equality for all is irrelevant bullshit? I’m glad you’ve openly declared your opinion on that, so now I can work to fervently avoid more exposure to you. I’d rather visit my fundamentalist relatives as they apparently have a better ethical stance than you do.”

    Another example of FTB behavior. You take what I said and you completely misconstrue it. “You dare not agree with us? Then you are a traitor! Shun the apostate!” What I’m trying to say is that atheism should simply mean not believing in the divine. It doesn’t need to be loaded down with pointless baggage. If you want to fight for equality for all, fine. But don’t drag atheism into it and try to redefine it.

  218. BreadGod says

    If you ask me, all this Atheism+ bullshit will be completely forgotten in about a month by all of the retards currently fawning over it.

  219. rowanvt says

    *patpats* It’s okay. I know it’s scary to have people want nothing to do with you, but there are other people out there who would love to have you in their ranks. Go free, angry scared person! Lift your fingers to Google and find your ilk!

  220. leftwingfox says

    Fine; I do not share your concern over the rhetorical read end, since I believe the goal of “becoming the type” is not achievable. I think it’s hubris to believe that this will be the one true belief system which will rally mankind, when so many similarly confident politicians and prophets have failed.

    Marxism has spawned dozens of variations and compromises, Christianity has split multiple times, genetic subtypes become unique species. Some of those schisms and splits have completely eclipsed the forerunners, while others find success without overthrowing the parent.

    Finally, I do not think we need the perfect final end goal. As a short term goal of providing a community that can separate itself from the noxious portion of Atheism, provide a future-oriented idea of what comes next, and helping to rejuvenate and restore the emotional wellbeing of this part of the community is good enough. I have no issues with abandoning “Atheism Plus” for a superior movement we have yet to figure out, or dropping the label if it becomes redundant.

    If people feel their Atheism is “enough” with social justice, that’s their prerogative. But for anyone feeling dissatisfaction with the status quo, alienation by bigots and sexists, or economically harmed by free market fundamentalism, then Atheism+ can be there, waiting for them.

  221. jamessweet says

    I like it, quite a bit. It’s positive, without that egotistical-ish sound that “brights” had. Upvote from me!

  222. MichaelD says

    I’m just back from a trip away from the nets an I just wanted to say I love this idea ^.^

  223. says

    During the last month or so I’ve been distracted by the naked misogyny displayed so – well, breathtakingly *effortlessly* in the blogospheres, and that has led to a sense of discouragement and loss.
    I understand prejudice, I understand that ignorance breeds hatred and that both are taught by indoctrination just as much as religious belief is taught by indoctrination.
    But I do not understand the abuse, the appalling rudenesses and outright hostility leveled at women in the atheist communities.
    All of which is to say that I’m behind A+ 100%! I like its inclusiveness and rejection of exclusivity: we have battles to fight on all social and political fronts and it is time to reject the boy’s club mentality.

  224. badweasel says

    I do love this.

    The atheist movement has been a depressing place of late with lots of dead wood stinking up the place.

    I wish A+ every success.

  225. says

    I have to say I really like this idea here, of Atheism PLUS social justice .

    But, I have a question: doesn’t this sort of already exist? Isn’t it sort of like secular+ethical humanism? Does it need a new movement? If so, what should it really be called?

    There’s an interesting reaction & beginnings of a debate over here:

    (Personally, I don’t care what it’s called, so much as I’m glad it exists!)


  226. says

    Yeah in A+, the “plus” is humanism.
    I’m on board with a good movement no matter what it’s called.
    But let’s not pretend this is the first time someone’s discovered that atheism needs a “plus”.

  227. carlie says

    A cross has a bottom piece that is longer than the others. This has all the pieces the same size.

  228. carlie says

    Isn’t it sort of like secular+ethical humanism?

    I think this is different, because it places so much emphasis on critical thinking skills and the scientific method. It’s critical thinking leading to the realization that everyone should be treated equal, rather than love for humanity leading to that realization. Does that make sense?

  229. says

    I think another issue with which atheists need to be engaging is immigrants’ rights and immigration reform, including the rights of undocumented immigrants. If we’re serious about anti-racism and social justice, we need to be critical of a system in which people are deprived of basic human rights, stigmatized, and sometimes detained for long periods and separated from their families, all because of their nationality and immigration status. We need to be talking about the shameful conditions in immigration detention facilities around the world, and about the highly racialized nature of immigration enforcement. And we need to be talking about the billion-dollar profits that the private security industry is reaping from locking up immigrants.

    We need to have a dialogue on this issue, and it’s something I’ve seen discussed far too rarely in the atheist community.

  230. says

    I’m excited that this is coming together from the atheist side of things. I’m already an avid reader (I don’t comment much) of Shakesville, Shakesville’s spin off, Flyover Feminism, The Curvature, and Tiger Beatdown, to name a few of my favorite feminist blogs. I also love these blogs, and this movement that you’re starting, because it goes to show that 1) we can be advocates for more than one thing at a time and 2) we don’t always have to agree on what a movement means.

    I’ve always been hesitant about tackling some issues dear to me from the atheist side, mainly because of all the bile that seems to be thrown at people from within the movement. I’m glad you’re taking a stand. I’m glad so many people are willing and eager to join you.

    I’m behind A+!

  231. carlie says

    Plus, I love the idea of rebranding the word atheism. It has a terrible reputation, and attaching it to something good is a great way to reclaim it.

  232. stevebarry says

    Secular Humanism already encompasses these concepts and goals.

    The Council for Secular Humanism (via Wiki) lists their principles as follows:

    • Need to test beliefs – A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted by faith.
    • Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence and scientific method of inquiry in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
    • Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
    • Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
    • This life – A concern for this life (as opposed to an afterlife) and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
    • Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
    • Justice and fairness – an interest in securing justice and fairness in society and in eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
    • Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
    This differs from the proposal for Atheism+ how? I contend that it does not.

  233. Proxer says

    I like the the whole post, but the line “Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism” really stood out to me. I often hear and read (and agree) that the word Atheist just means that someone doesn’t believe in God, not that they’re a skeptic or humanist or anything else. At the same time, I’ve always wanted to be able to say about myself, in a concise way, what you said so well:

    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.

    A+ is a handy shorthand for all of that. So many leaders of the Atheist movement are already doing A+ work, having an official logo and statement seems natural.

  234. Jules says

    You know, if you read the Daily Mail/ watch Fox News every day you start to believe that there’s pedophiles around every corner and it’s immigrants taking all the jobs.

    I presume someone went to a lot of effort to promote the original A for atheism. Is that to be regarded as A- from now on?

    Perhaps the term ‘True Scotsman’ would be better suited.

  235. Kaela Mensha Khaine says

    Oh, ye nonexistent gods, YES! I had just some sort of analogue progression. Came to pharyngula for a nice show of stupidity-bashing and cracker-abuse, then was linked to the blaghag and feministe. There, I learned some valuable lessons about privilege and the fine machinations of patriarchy and, well …

    … no, it didn’t change my life. I could not without guilt call myself a feminist. There is too much inactivity, too much listening to bad jokes, too much navel-gazing. But it definitly changed the way I was thinking. Should be the same with the movement. And action would be the next logical step.

  236. ~G~ says

    “Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.”

    Hooray! I was paranoid this might get left out, but it is so critical to me. Critical thinking is the ladder than has allowed my mind to look over the walls of my culture to see unfairness in society. Perhaps like looking out of Plato’s cave.

    PZ said recently in one post that he didn’t know that many non-skeptical atheists. Well I envy him. I run a skeptical group because in my other secular activities there was very little emphasis on discussion of critical thinking such as the psychology of it, self-examination or examination of claims outside of those related to religion and how stupid it is. And yes, I have a MAJOR problem with religion and its evils but like in PZ’s later post (“War of the smug?”) there are a lot of people who want a cookie for getting one answer right.

    Einstein supposedly said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Perhaps my version is, “Skepticism without atheism is lame, atheism without skepticism and social justice is blind.”

  237. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    Agreed. I’ve seen immigration reform, for-profit prisons, and/or issues of poverty come up on the forums but very rarely. Worse, the conversation devolves into libertarian rhetoric too quickly for any new information or ideas to be exchanged.

    It would be more interesting to discuss with people who care about social justice.

  238. ~G~ says

    The reason I have avoided using the label “humanism” for myself (although my values fairly match and I am not anti-label) is because I am very uncomfortable with such the detailed codified lists of what my values are if I use that label. Especially if someone else or some committe wrote it! My most general values are constant, but the specifics are dynamic and constantly maturing. If anything, the process of ethical decision making is more important to me than a list of stuff. I also dislike the human-centricity of it. The usual descriptions I see glorify humans a bit much and include only token mention of other sentient beings and the planet. If humanism can be boiled down to fairness, compassion, and rational thought, then I’d be ok with it.

  239. Anonymous Atheist says

    There’s plenty of free image hosting services to choose from – upload your images to one of them, and paste the URLs into a comment: imageshack, imgur, tinypic, etc…

  240. Anonymous Atheist says

    OTN logo FTW. :) You can have a photo album of all the various logos too.

    I saw there’s a subreddit linked from the FB page – seems to be off to a great start with lots of content, but I didn’t look at the comments pages, and didn’t see any mention in the sidebar of how comments are going to be handled. Are you planning to try to keep it a ‘safe zone’ free of slimepitty comments? If so, how?

  241. badweasel says

    Why would that term be better suited? There is no-one claiming that any atheist who isn’t supportive of A+ isn’t a true atheist. In fact the term ‘third wave of atheism’ specifically does imply that there were and are people who have gone before and promoted atheism. And they have done a lot of good work.

    However over this past year or so it has been made clear that some parts of the Atheist community isn’t all that welcoming. Some parts are nasty, trollish and have put off some people identifying with the atheist community. So perhaps its time for those that see a humanist outlook as a natural outcome of being an atheist to identify themselves rather than uncomfortably remain in the big atheist tent under the big red ‘A’ with all the borish misongynists and libertarians within the skeptical community.

  242. Ant Allan says

    No, no, no. Anything but Comic Sans!

    Otherwise, love it. Inclusive atheism, A+. This is what gnu atheism deserved to be from the start. So, retaining Zapfino shows continuity …

    (A++ — an inclusive atheist who’s a computer geek!?)


  243. says

    The trouble with “Feminism” is that it’s constantly being defined and re-defined by non-feminists. And they nearly always get it wrong … intentionally. This is something it has in common with many other words: “Liberalism” and “Socialism” for example.

    Someone up the list there referred to feminism as an off-shoot of “feminazis” … is that how bad it’s become? I mean the ignorance on display there is just astonishing.

    Feminism. like atheism, is pretty simple to define:

    Atheism=no god(s)

    Feminism=women, as humans, have all the same rights as every other human (i.e., men)

    I don’t understand why this is such a radical notion. That being said, apparently I’m just naive, or something, because the reactions to feminism are mind-boggling in the breadth of their ignorance and hatefulness.

    At any rate, much like “Liberalism” has had to revive itself from its low point of almost being a dirty word in the 1980s and 90s, it’s high time Feminism—and all other forms of social justice—did the same. I’m not sure if “atheism” is the best vehicle through which to do this, and we can argue semantics or what the name or logo should be or whatever till we’re blue in the face, but it certainly needs to happen within the atheist/skeptical/Humanist/Free-thought/whatever movement as much as outside it, too, so, you know … right on!

  244. Anonymous Atheist says

    And how is something that looks like a halo better than something that can be misconstrued to look like a cross (with an easy way to spell it out as ‘plus’ to have an obvious different meaning)?

  245. Anonymous Atheist says

    Yes, an intersection of a horizontal and a vertical line is a very simple symbol that has a long history of being used for many purposes before (and after) it was claimed by Christians.

  246. betsumei says

    Dead wood smells so nice and foresty, though. This is more like dead whale carcasses cluttering up the place.

  247. says


    you know, I didn’t spend hours trying to explain to fundies the difference between secular and atheist for you to go muddle the waters O.o

  248. says

    oh, sorry, I didn’t know you were too stupid to think your way out of a paperbag. Let me explain then. “minority” means non-dominant group. It has fuck-all to do with whether the group is more or less than 50% of the population.

    women are a minority, by the definition I linked to.

  249. lordshipmayhem says

    I must be ahead of the curve on this “new wave of atheism” thing.

    I’m an atheist – check. I don’t believe in invisible creatures with supernatural powers, regardless of whether they’ve got ultimate power or minimal wattage, or any level of supernatural power in between.

    I’m against harassing my fellow beings – check. I’ve worked in offices for over 30 years, and in all that time it’s the rare (and small) office that didn’t have a written anti-harassment policy. These policies all covered not just sexual harassment, but also racial harassment and any other kind anyone could think of. Those policies made a great deal of sense to anyone with even the slightest iota of empathy. They made sense to anyone with a heartfelt desire to keep one’s ass out of civil court for tort actions, to say nothing of criminal court for criminal harassment charges.

    And by extension those anti-harassment policies covered not just the people you worked with, but the firm’s clients and the firm’s suppliers.

    The whole thing just made sense.

    So you don’t make passes at people who you work with, and you don’t make passes at clients or clients’ agents or staff, and you don’t make passes at vendors or vendors’ agents or staff. Being at a convention, be it for business or pleasure, is just like being at an office – you don’t make passes at presenters or convention staff. They’ve got more important things to do.

    The people manning the booths in the vendors’ hall? Yes, they’re called “booth bunnies”, but they’re being paid to be there to make sales, and have to be there. They’ve got better things to do than submit to your lame attempts at making passes.

    This is “business ethics 101”. It’s also How To Be Grown Up. It saddens me that some of us supposed adults have never learnt this lesson.

  250. says

    I just recently bought a Surlyramic with the “A” on it. Now I need to think about how to best add the “+” onto it. Probably rhinestones.

    Until Amy comes out with the design, then I’ll totally need one of those.

  251. says

    Adam Smith Marxist aka free market socialist

    so you’re either a walking oxymoron, or a bog-standard social democrat. I can’t tell from that silly description.

  252. says

    the “cross” is no such thing. it’s a roman torture device. they had the right to it before you upstarts came along.

    but you probably think every intersection is a holy site.

  253. says

    Well Secular Humanism places emphasis on Reason, and Ethical Humanism places emphasis on Justice, but I feel like Humanism is in need of the kind of boost that this thing could potentially provide. (Similar to what “New” atheism provided a few years back.)

    The ideals are more important than the label, so as long as the “marketing” helps, I don’t care what it’s called!


  254. CPS says

    That is not true. You can disagree with lots of things without being the scum of the earth. Just not whether the battles for minority rights are legitimate causes to fight for. If you disagree with that then you probably are not a particularly awesome person.

  255. Jules says

    Who are all these libertarians?
    If I were to solely read FTB I’d believe that the JREF was full of them.
    Over on the JREF forums, the few libertarian posters there are treated with the same skepticism, and sometimes contempt, as 911/climate change deniers.

    But that’s beside the point anyway; being liberal, republican or libertarian has nothing to do with atheistic inclusion.

  256. bcoppola says

    This, and like Jadehawk I’m not usually one for jewelry. Plus, it’s a nice tangible way to show Amy some love after the shit she’s put up with lately. Will compliment my Evil Little Thing t-shirt nicely too.

  257. badweasel says

    Obviously those would be those libertarians getting demolished on the JREF forums. Care to cast doubt on the number of misogynists and trolls now? Perhaps I should not have used Libertarians as an example (clouded as it is with my own negative experience of a few).

    But please do tell me why are you are chucking in the terms liberal and republican? As I never mentioned either of those.

    Also I never ever said anything about libertarians not being able to be atheists. Nor did I say that they should be excluded from the atheist movement. It would be pointless to do so. We agree on that point so please don’t misconstrue my words.

    Anyway, do you care to expand upon your ‘no true Scotsman’ comment? Or the idea that Atheism+ will somehow lead to a denegration of what has gone before within this loose-knit group? Which is why I replied to you in the first place.

  258. Anonymous Atheist says

    A bit further down the page, it says “Below is a collection of user submitted artwork and remixing which incorporates the “A” logo.” There follows a wide variety of images using the A in various ways, including one from ‘John’ called ‘scarlet atom’ adding an atom symbol intertwined with the A, that to me seems similar in the level/type of modification (or even moreso) as this A+.

  259. Ashleigh says

    I don’t care so much about the re-labeling but I agree that some organized activism focusing on all the privilege and discrimination is much needed. Discrimination doesn’t happen in a bubble. If we can tackle it from all sides it may work. Sitting around postulating on how foolish the religious are because they believe without evidence is pointless ego stroking.

  260. Rieux says

    Well, that’s an interesting parallel.

    Have we got a sockpuppet on our hands? How dumb would someone have to be to create a sockpuppet for bigotry-trolling on their enemy’s own blog?

    Or is one of these idiots (I guess it would be BreadGod who did the copy-and-pasting, being the second one to post that hateful dreck) just that lazy and uncreative?

  261. EdW says

    Disabled is a perfectly good term, but personally, I don’t think it’s inclusive enough for what I was talking about — I have friends with varying degrees of Autism Spectrum, and I wouldn’t call them disabled — they have different needs and different strengths. Differently abled.

  262. rowanvt says

    “Waaaaaaaah, I wanna be an asshole and say “racist” shit but I’m totally not racist, and wanna use ablist insults because those people *are* dumb and you’re a big meanie poopiehead for not letting me get away with being an asshole… WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

  263. cyberCMDR says

    Once we get the logo down, I’d like to see it on a bumper sticker. It’s low key, and only those who know about it will know what it means.

    This is kinda important, as I remember once being with my daughter when she was getting her PhD awarded. She had a bumper sticker that said “Straight, but not narrow”. While she was driving us around the campus, someone came up from behind and rear-ended her car with a big truck. It had been coming up close, then slowing down repeatedly before the hit, so we were sure it was intentional. The truck then took off.

    It isn’t safe in this culture to announce a position outside the herd mentality.

  264. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Consider that A+ privileges walk over talk….

    So does what a lot of us were already doing — doing social justice as intrinsic to atheism and not as an “addition”.

    winning via rhetoric is not the only way to win.

    I didn’t claim that it was. However, it is important to avoid easily avoidable rhetorical traps whenever possible.

    Worrying too much about anything but creating a space where those agree can gather, work things out and fly their masthead for future deepening of intention and coherence among those who wish to work on this might be enough…

    I haven’t suggested that people shouldn’t create more spaces to work on social justice. I’ve actually said exactly the opposite. Making those spaces does not require adding a modifier to the word.


    I believe the goal of “becoming the type” is not achievable.

    Your pessimism is unwarranted. Atheism used to mean what we now call strong atheism, the affirmative belief that there are no gods. The lack of belief in gods meaning is a new type. There can be yet another new type, such that atheism refers to the implications of a lack of gods.

    That’s all I’m proposing.

    I think it’s hubris to believe that this will be the one true belief system which will rally mankind,

    Actually it’s hubris from you to claim that I’ve said anything of the sort.

    I don’t know that everyone will become an atheist one day. But atheism is already associated with progressive values, and can become even further associated with such.

    Finally, I do not think we need the perfect final end goal

    I didn’t claim that we did. You really have put a lot of words in my mouth. What is your problem with addressing what I’ve actually said instead of making up weird tangents?

    It is important to avoid easily avoidable rhetorical traps whenever possible. In this case it is possible. This has nothing to do with a “perfect final end goal”, however you dreamed that up.

    In fact I’ve said “Anyway, I don’t claim this will all be sufficient to succeed; these are just the methods I can think of at this time. There’s probably more.”

    As a short term goal of providing a community that can separate itself from the noxious portion of Atheism,

    We already have many of those communities. FtB is one such. We already didn’t tolerate the noxious portion here.

    provide a future-oriented idea of what comes next,

    We’ve already been doing that.

    and helping to rejuvenate and restore the emotional wellbeing of this part of the community

    Sounds fantastic. Like I said above to Erista, “I’d advise you to «[Create a subgroup that tosses out the people in the larger group who are more than happy to do or defend misogynist things but welcomes in the people from the larger group who are defenders of women’s rights.’» (which we’ve been doing here at FtB since its founding and at Pharyngula before FtB) but without using a verbally pronounceable [adjective] atheism or atheism[modifier] form.

    If people feel their Atheism is “enough” with social justice, that’s their prerogative.

    Yeah, by the way, I can’t stop people from calling themselves atheist+, so obviously it’s everybody’s prerogative. What I am doing is explaining why this is a rhetorical dead end.

    I want more atheist communities focused on social justice, you know. I’ve been absolutely clear about that. I said from the very beginning, for instance: “Visual signals like the ones Jadehawk uses for feminism+atheism are excellent — they’ll do the work of signaling our presence to each other. With descriptive alt-text for screen readers.” We just shouldn’t use the symbols that are trivially pronounceable, like “ay plus”.

    It’s remarkable how you keep arguing against things I haven’t said.

    But for anyone feeling dissatisfaction with the status quo, alienation by bigots and sexists, or economically harmed by free market fundamentalism, then Atheism+ can be there, waiting for them.

    All this stuff can be done without taking on a pronouceable label that creates this rhetorical weakness.

    «Stay on the blogs and other networks you like, promote the people you like, all that good stuff.

    Visual identifiers that can’t be pronounced are not similarly vulnerable to the rhetorical weaknesses that [adjective] atheism or atheism[modifier] are. And, of course, associating with the people you like is not a rhetorical vulnerability.

    My objection is all about the rhetoric, and the way it will disadvantage us in outreach, especially to the newly irreligious.

    I love the possibility of having more blogs and other networks where we don’t have to interact with racists and misogynists, where we can plan for the world we want instead of constantly being on the defensive. Nothing I’ve said should be construed as saying that you personally have to engage with people who you find draining.»

  265. Anonymous Atheist says

    Reddit is the whole site. Subreddits are the topic subcategories within it that people create.

  266. says

    It’s because (this comment can be inserted into many conversations) we live in a certain time and place in human history. We haven’t rebooted or pressed the reset button. We are part of a biased culture with a long past and are rapidly morphing into something else. The words that we have don’t adequately describe who we are so we have to invent new ways to describe what we are and what we want to be.

  267. says

    I would like to offer an additional plus–when willful ignorance and psuedoscience and wishful thinking get packaged as healthcare specifically for suspect groups. It’s wrapped up in all the others listed above, but it so frequently gets dropped to the bottom of the heap. The traditional skeptical community gives up after antivax and homeopathy and chiro. And far too many in even the would-be A+ community toss out opposition to those when it comes to the oppressed. And yes, I’m specifically talking about essentialist garbage passed off as women’s reproductive care and childrearing, and the constant misrepresentation of evolution as resulting in ANYTHING optimal. But the phenomenon is not restricted to women’s health. It also includes ignoring the real effects of chronic stress (from the above listed social problems) on health and behavior that get passed off as personal failure, the persistent -isms that are found in health systems which compound the health problems faced by oppressed groups, AND the antiscience escapism that is the consistent response to these problems.

  268. Pteryxx says

    Hey, would you mind reposting and elaborating on this comment over on the “Time to walk the walk” thread? I want to hear more about skeptical approaches to healthcare inequities, since I mostly only know about the one facet of systemic dismissal of repetitive stress injuries, which overlaps with exploitation of poor and immigrant workers.

  269. Pteryxx says

    …and, come to think of it, food safety and animal welfare. This discussion could get complicated FAST. *gleefully rubs talons*

  270. says


    You don’t sound like you actually want to be educated, it seems like you have more fun making assumptions. Assumptions like libertarianism = Libertarian Party Member when it’s actually libertarianism as opposed to authoritarianism? Lower-case libertarians are some of the most active kick-ass-put-all-you-latecomers-to-shame social justicers I know. If so many of you are going to assume you know everything going in, why ask to be educated?

    I am dissapoint.

  271. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Sitting around postulating on how foolish the religious are because they believe without evidence is pointless ego stroking.

    And yet that’s exactly what a very vocal contingent are demanding should be the case. They’re extremely unhappy that the FtBers and Skepchicks aren’t giving them what they want to hear: stories about how stupid/evil religious folks are so they can feel better about themselves for not believing in gods.

    You’d think the obvious option would be that they’d turn instead to all the interesting, well-known, talented popular bloggers that just focus on those issues…

  272. Pteryxx says

    (continuing this rather important derail)


    Or consider spirometers, which measure lung function. The normal functioning of black people’s lungs is typically presumed to be 10–15 percent below that of white people’s. As Lundy Braun, who studies the intersection of race and medical science and technology, has shown, the presumption stems from a poorly supported idea that blacks inherently have lesser lung capacities than whites. Yet spirometers are calibrated to account for this difference. Some machines actually have a “race” switch built into them, which technicians flip depending on what race they believe the patient to be. Pegging the lung function of blacks at a lower level means, among other things, that they have to be sicker than whites in order to qualify for worker’s compensation or other insurance for lung-related illness.

    …Thanks again FeministWhore, I’m passing this resource on ASAP. Holy shit…

  273. Christoph Burschka says

    Ax + c?

    (Though you didn’t really specify what you’re integrating over.) [/math]

  274. says

    I resposted. I had totally meant to post it there in the first place. But the elaboration became too elaborate, so I put that on my site so as not to clog up the comment thread with a novel.

  275. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Agreed 100% After watching the Bigot Brigade turn the word “skeptic” into “misogynists who don’t believe in Bigfoot”, I’ve been withdrawing from the whole thing more and more. But now . . . . I’m willing to throw my “faith” into a positive change.

  276. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Yes, dear, its all about YOU. Everything is about YOU. Social justice – all about YOU. Misogyny – all about YOU. Racism – all about YOU. Homophobia – all about YOU.

    YOu YOU YOu YOu YOu.

    And that’s what you fail.

    Good riddance.

  277. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    In case anyone needs reminding just how much of a failure that breadgod bigot troll is, just read these. The cream rises to the top, the whiny ass bigots sink into irrelevance

  278. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Here we see the Whiny Ass Bigot Troll outside his natural habitat. Notice how quickly his true character comes to light. A scared, incompetent creature, he cowers with impotent rage at the people smart enough to have cast off his childish fairy tales and superstitions. The Whiny Ass Bigot Troll depends on Bigot Atheism. It is the one thing in his lonely, useless little existence that lets him pretend to be a big, important man. Bigot Atheism requires people to step on, people to silence, people to mock, people to ignore, people to insult and be protected from criticism in response. Bigot Atheism is cowardice, dressed up in empty bravado. The Whiny Ass Bigot Troll knows this and therefore pisses his pants in fear of being left behind when all those people finally stand up and walk away.

    Bubbye, whiny ass bigot troll. We’ll forget you exist in moments.

  279. says

    Huh. This describes me perfectly. Prior to the past year I’d sort of figured that being atheist was sufficient to assume that most if not all of the people who so identified would at least not be hostile to the ‘plus’ issues. What a difference a year makes.

    My local skeptics group is I think more progressive than what I’ve seen going on online, which is the only thing that kept my spirits up in this arena in an otherwise depressing time for the whole movement.

    Thank you for your strength in facing the adversity lately, not just you but the skepchicks and all the other women who have done so.

  280. celticwulf says

    Still trying to catch up on all the blogs, but have to delurk a bit for another “I’m in”

  281. aiabx says

    I’m with you.
    I’m not going to get on board on all the economic or animal rights issues that some would like to see, but I’m not going to sit aside because the movement might not meet my exacting standards of purity. Let’s start with respect for all and we can quibble about the other stuff later.

  282. Edward says

    Thank you for the incite, i landed in the middle of the bashing/help people phase of this. slowly but surly i have changed more to this stand-point. I hope your point gets across and people start realizing what you mean.

  283. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    Autism spectrum (mostly at the higher-functioning end) is one of very few categories that that argument applies to. If the social model definition of disability is accepted, it’s no judgement of a person, no statement about them at all, to say they are disabled – it’s a way of saying that society disadvantages them. This is certainly true of autism spectrum. However, I do know that the autism spectrum community in the US are very resistant to the use of ‘disabled’.

    In the UK on the other hand, the disabled community in general finds the term ‘differently abled’ grating for a number of reasons. One of them could be fixed by fixing the grammar though ;) – ‘differently able’ would still make sense.

  284. Kurt says

    Is there room in the “social justice” heading to fight against religious influence in our political and educational systems? Our kids deserve a quality education. Being well-educated is key for success. Yet religious groups continue to encroach upon the science class with creationist nonsense. Is this part of A+?

  285. Danni says

    I just took a break from the atheist community after Natalies All In post (thunderfoots immaturity was one of the last straws for wanting anything to do with many new atheists given). But I am really glad that I checked back in at freethoughtblogs. I love this idea. I really feel like its an atheist movement that I would proudly support publicly and its making me think about bringing it to my local atheist group to see where they stand on these issues. Breaks over :)))

  286. Heidi aka Digital Misfit says

    An awesome concept for a new community!
    I think I need to embroider that logo!

  287. says

    totally on board with the idea and concept of Atheism+! Love it!
    For five years I’ve been fascinated by the atheist movement. The one thing that has always bothered me is how much it’s dominated by white men. I agree with this and the other post you link to, it’s time for some improvements! Like any group of people,
    Personally, I think feminist and the new atheist (one of the more recent new movements in atheism) could make great allies if some of the new atheist men would just realize that at heart they too are feminist and want women to be equal (as well as realize that the sexism they sometimes show is actually them still clinging to a form of religion!).

    Best wishes, Maaretta

  288. says

    totally agree. in a way, atheism has never waned – it has always been there. even though some humanists in olden days or modern times believe(d) in a god, in its essence humanism is much more like atheism. it’s like religion light ;) – trying to get some common sense into religion.

  289. Emptyell says


    Thanks for the recommendations. I put my A+ logos on Image Shack here:

    They are just a dozen quick pen sketch outlines. I could think of lots more but there’s that making a living thing

    If anyone likes any of them feel free to use or adapt them at will. I’d also be happy to tidy them up and tweak the curves for better typographic quality.

  290. Shane says

    your not changing anything. a vast majority of atheists already have some form of values like this. atheists are more common to be in favor of equal rights for all. i’m not sure where your hanging around or who your talking to but the majority atheist i meet are very positive, even the one’s who have problems with theists. as for it being a “boys club” maybe your just not looking hard enough because i meet a lot of girls who are atheists. yes there are more atheist guys then girls but it’s not by some huge margin look for the big groups on facebook.

  291. says

    Exactly, Jennifer. This is a direct response to those very atheists who have revealed their bigoted and misogynist mindset. It says; these atheists, these A+, they want equality, they see the problems within the community, whether as people who have been subjected to these horrible attacks or as people who acknowledge their privilege and see the problems, and they want to fix it at best and provide a safe space at minimum, they are united under these ideals and though they may argue how best to attain them they know the end result, safe, respectful, equality and social justice through critical thinking and skepticism is the goal.

  292. Emptyell says

    I admit it’s a bit tongue in cheek but there is some serious thought behind it. I have sympathies for both libertarian and socialist points of view and don’t see Smith’s and Marx’s theories as incompatible, though I realize my views may be a bit naive as I haven’t so much time to devote to economics and philosophy as I did in my youth.

  293. Seth says

    One abbreviation for A+ might be Ape. Has a humorous parallel w/ Humanist, plus the platform of A+ apes Humanism. So it works all around.

  294. Jason Loxton says

    Why not just use the label that already exists, ‘Secular Humanism’, and take advantage of the several generations worth of literture and human and physical infrstructure (the Centers for Inquiry, Prometheus Publishing, and Free Inquiry, Humanist in Canada, American Humanist, etc., magazines) that promote exactly the idea you suggest?

  295. Ant Allan says

    Well, this has been mentioned several times already. And earlier, I’ve said myself that the values PZ ascribed to a “good” gnu atheist were largely congruent with humanist values; eg, as set out on the BHA website.

    I don’t remember if it was in Jen’s original post, or Ophelia’s on FtB or Facebook, but it’s a matter of emphasis in self-identification. A+ is for all of us who previously self-identified as atheists, and want to maintain continuity with that, which self-identifying as (secular) humanists wouldn’t … 

    I think also that those who self-identify as A+ tend to be somewhat more openly, frankly, forthrightly critical of religion than humanists are. (But maybe that’s a misconception.)

    I’ve previously self-identified as a humanist rather than an atheist (which really only states a very simple conclusion based on other values: I believe in no gods), but A+ adds value(s) to this & I’m now happy to add #A+ to my Twitter profile, for example.


  296. says

    Is there any risk of pushback from Google over Google+? I mean, I know they are probably less anal about their trademarks than Apple is about their i-whatevers, but it may be something to think about.

  297. says

    This is a fantastic idea! I think this is just what I was trying to think of myself. I have been talking about how we need something more than our lack of belief in gods to bind us together and our positive beliefs in progressive liberal goodness is what I want that something to be. You rock!!

  298. Conor says

    Hi Jen,

    I’m an agnostic, and I’ve been one for my whole life. (Wikipedia tells me that I’m specifically a “strong agnostic,” which is flattering.) I have never been part of The Movement, because it’s never occurred to me that it’d help, because it seems like enough to support the causes I support without wearing a big badge saying “I am an atheist who donates to charity.” But I’d like to join your movement. Because I’m not okay with people defining the atheist image as a bunch of over-privileged douchebros.

    Where do I sign? Are there meetings? Are there dues? My time is your time and my checkbook is open.

    Boston, MA

  299. says

    I keep writing and rewriting my statement on this whole thing. Have been since I don’t know how many months, honestly. Feel like I really need to make one. Feel like I want to make one a little more omnibus and worked out than I have in the bits and pieces I’ve dropped in threads so far. But I need to get it right, y’know?

    And right now I’m travelling, with kids. And should be sleeping, and should have been hours ago. And, dammit, Greta’s put it all so incredibly well already anyway…

    So I’m just putting the A+ up in my sidebar, linked here. Added next to the Out A, and the Gnu A. And I guess that’s going to have to do, for now.

    And that’s how it is, anyway. I’m all of those things. And I think all of those things are worth promoting.

    But y’know the maybe sorta sad thing? I’m not even particularly surprised with Dr. D’s reaction, anymore. I guess I don’t much expect better.

    What can ya do. The old dog is going to get it through his apparently occasionally thick head and learn this new trick or not, but the Out thing was still a good idea, sure, so I guess I’ll still point to it.

    But so is this. It really is. Well done.

  300. andy says

    I don’t understand the idea that you can be a minority when there’s more of you than anyone else. It seems to be say that you can be a majority of one. What does a phrase like “majority vote” or “the majority of women” mean then? I think the usage of “minority” you describe sounds exclusively a US one. The equivalent term in the UK is “ethnic minority” – women are not considered to be in the minority, because, well, they aren’t.

  301. Eric says

    Agreed. As I was reading this I was thinking “Yes, this sounds great… and familiar.” This is exactly how I describe ‘humanism’. But I do think the ‘A+’ brings something extra to the party.

  302. says

    I apologize and don’t mean to sound harsh,

    Can someone explain to me exactly how is Atheism+ different than Secular Humanism? So far, I see no reason to come up with something new when “Secular Humanism” covers all of the positions just as well.

  303. says

    In this instance, the word “minority” is used to mean a “disenfranchised group”.

    Or, to flip it around, while “straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied male” is, numbers-wise, a tiny minority throughout the world, it is also the group that historically (and, in many places, presently) held the bulk of the power. Thus, since “straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied males” are not disenfranchised, even though they (I say “they” as if that descriptor doesn’t include me, but it does, so I’ll say “we” from now on) may be a minority when it comes to numbers alone, we are not at all a minority because the power scales have tipped in our favor and still do.

    That is the whole idea of privilege, BTW. Since “straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied males” have nearly always been the ones in power, we are also couched in a ton of privilege.

    Minorities, in this sense are not couched in as much privilege.

  304. says

    Dig it. We can be plus-atheist, too, and that’s OK. We don’t always have to put atheism first.

    Me, I’m an…

    father plus atheist
    BF plus atheist
    mathematician plus atheist
    artist and writer plus atheist

    human plus atheist.

    Over the summer I started a blog network (like FtB — a WordPress network plus social and forums) for the marginalized ‘accidental atheist bloggers’ — people who just happen to be atheist, but don’t necessarily want to blog about atheism (the first blog other than mine is going up next week or so will be a comic book blog).

    Atheists are people, and people do things — there’s room for the whole works in this movement, and that shows the world that we don’t have to give anything up to be good without gods.

    We can be plus-atheist, too, and that shows we’re whole people.

  305. says

    I vote for Jadehawk’s first logo. I actually like Needles’s logo better, but it’s very close to existing art.
    Speaking as a typesetter and printer, the Jadehawk logo (with some color alterations) will reproduce much better at smaller sizes (letterhead, avatars, etc.)
    As with other commentariat above, I feel that social equality is an inevitable outcome of atheist thought.

  306. says

    I like this logo a lot too, simply and stupidly because it resembles an @ symbol which attracts those of us who are fairly young, or those of us who use the internet, which is ironic because is seems as though this movement has started here as an online community.

  307. says

    This makes me a little uncomfortable and I am not entirely sure why. I consider myself an Atheist Humanist and see no reason (or desire) to rebrand myself as an “Atheist+”. My Humanism, whilst certainly influenced by my Atheism, is not a direct or necessary consequence of that atheism – atheism is neither necessary nor sufficient for humanism and vice versa. (Similarly atheists are not necessarily skeptical, rational or pro-secularism and you’re not “doing atheism wrong” if you fail to be any of these things.)

    Branding yourself “Atheist Plus” sounds very elitist when it could equally be Atheist Minus – where the minus is all the “somethingist assholes”. If it is Atheism+Humanism, which it seems to be, why not just call yourself Atheist Humanists? (That’s what I will continue to do. That said, I am not part of the “FTB Community” so it doesn’t really concern me … just giving some feedback as an outsider.)

  308. Ant Allan says

    Similarly atheists are not necessarily skeptical, rational or pro-secularism and you’re not “doing atheism wrong” if you fail to be any of these things.

    No, you’re not doing atheism wrong if you fail to be any of those things, but you are doing something wrong! “A+” isn’t meant to be representative of all atheists, just a label for those atheists that aren’t failing to be any of those things (amongst others).

    To me, calling yourself an “Atheist Humanist” seems redundant (unless you’re keen not to be seen as an agnostic), since, per the BHA, a humanist is “someone who trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)…”

    Funny things, labels.


  309. says

    I keep seeing this thing where people are trying to say that humanism includes atheism, and they’ll use the mission statement of the AHA or BHA or some other organization to make their point. That’s all well and good—and those groups have every right to determine for themselves what their particular take on humanism is—but like “atheism” the term “humanism” actually has a dictionary definition:

    “hu·man·ism • noun
    1. any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
    2. devotion to or study of the humanities.
    3. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) the studies, principles, or culture of the humanists.
    4. Philosophy . a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.” (Bold emphasis is mine.)

    Now, while in my mind atheism, skepticism and humanism are all linked and each follows logically from the other, it’s not that way for everyone. The fact is, there are atheists who believe all sorts of things that I (and probably most people reading this) think of as utter nonsense. That is to say there are people who believe that while there’s no “god” in the traditional, personal sense, they do believe that we all have some sort of “energy” that allows us to survive physical death in some sense—some even going so far as to believe in ghosts or spirits—even reincarnation. Strictly speaking, the definition of “atheism” has nothing to say about these things, but most atheist groups deny them for the same logical reason they deny the existence of gods.

    The same goes for humanism. While to many of us, humanism and atheism go hand-in-hand, the actual dictionary definition of humanism does not preclude the possibility of theism. It’s just much more human-focused. (Much like the Deism of the Enlightenment.)

    So, while most humanists are probably atheists, and many atheists are also humanists, they do not necessarily overlap.

  310. says

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to give something again and aid others like you helped me.

  311. says

    I’ve written a book for my kids explaining the non-religious world-view their mum and I share. I don’t think I used the words atheist or atheism in the book once, rather I used the term non-religious and encouraged ‘free-thinking’. ‘Atheism’ didn’t feel like something I wanted to sell to kids – I’m not sure why.

    However, when choosing a subtitle for the book (main title is ‘What I’ll Tell Tom’) I chose ‘The Atheist Kid’s Bible’. It seemed more catchy than ‘The Non-Religious Free-Thinking Kid’s Bible’ I guess

    So Atheism+ is an interesting notion. We’ll see if it catches on. Details of the book are here if anybody is interested…


  312. says

    One final thought – I really believe it clarifies one’s views to consider the attitudes we’d like to foster in our children…

    How about:

    Atheist plus willing to be friends with progressive and open-minded religious folk.

    I’d like our kids to be encouraged to engage with the rest of the human race rather than see barriers.


  313. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Can someon translate the last three comments? They look like whining and jibberish, but no content.

  314. jonipetteri says

    to get it you need to know what antifa :DD make googlings of it the joke is real fun :_D also you if you have aspergers you may have difficulties with humor

  315. John Q Public says

    That’s some nice plagiarism on the logo there….

    I now pronounce you, Crusading Theists may your illogical prosecution of others and self victimization be fruitful and short lived…

  316. Ben Milner says

    If you start wearing those proposed A+ pins and shirts, anyone familiar with what the A stands for will assume you’re associating yourself with “Non Believers Given Aid”, because, after all, their symbol is IDENTICAL to what you’re proposing here, and the A+ has been their symbol for like … four years.

    Maybe you ought to stop patting yourself on the back, go back to the drawing board and try to come up with something original, because this is kinda like opening a fast-food chain called “MicDonald’s” and being like, “We could use a giant, orange M on a maroon background!”

    C’mon, people, use your minds.

  317. Steven says

    Try actually including everyone and you might have a hope of this thing lasting more than a few months. Why has ?hatred towards men been ignored? There are female sexists too. Misandry is just as abhorrent as mysogyny.

  318. JohnC says

    The inclination to absolutism, excessive claims to righteousness and tendency to schism are the 3 characteristics of religioners, which critically undermine their claims to right thinking. Atheists’ single great virtue must be never to demonise others’ whose views either diverge or might seem to diverge. Rationalists in all forums must painstakingly argue the argument, never attack the person, and always treat discussion as a journey never as a bullring.

  319. JohnC says

    Here in the UK I have come across one Member of the European Parliament for a UK region who is atheist but conservative. He supports a homophobic catholic archbishop’s views on gay marriage. Presumably, he holds conservative social views except for being an atheist. Personally, I may find this inconsistent but it is hardly surprising. Views on the ultimate nature of reality, and their relation to politics and society cannot but be divergent.
    One atheist may be socially conservative; one religioner may be socially very liberal. I would wish it were not so kaleidoscopic but it is.
    Rationalists must hold tight to basic principles: challenging set views, identifying illegitimate pre-judgments. Sincerity and seriousness in discussion are key. Tackle the arguments not the proponent. Never lose patience.
    I believe in freedom because I believe in freedom of thought as the only route to challenge others who believe in control of thought and behaviour, such people being usually, though not always, of a religious bent.
    Though I incline to a social democratic social and financial model of society and distrust unfettered capitalism, I cannot see a direct line from atheism to that model.
    So, passion, yes. But no crass insults. No ‘block thinking’. No presumption of righteousness. Let the others make those mistakes.

  320. Ben says

    Got to say, I see what you’re trying to do here and I see that you truly believe it to be a positive action for the betterment of atheism. However right there is my problem with the whole A+ thing, it’s solidifying atheism as a quasi-religion by attaching more tags to it and to a person.

    I suppose what I’m trying to get at here is that if you want to avoid the negativity stigma that so often comes with saying you’re and atheist, then stop calling yourself an atheist and just start saying that logically you cannot put you faith in something with no proof (or whatever your own reason is).

  321. Elijah says

    I am an atheist PLUS I fight for the equality for men and women (if only one is equal then they aren’t equal). I am especially sensitive to the issues of the disposable male, but this is probably because I am one of those disposable males. As a disposable male I see that our patriarchal society has set me up for failure by not protecting me like a valued object. Instead they treat me as an active agent even when I am not in a position of any real control. This has an (unintended?) result of drastically increasing my likelihood to become imprisoned or homeless or the victim of a violent crime when compared to a female in a similar position as me.

    I am a feminist at heart. I believe that if we use some critical thinking skills here, that we can address this problem in a reasonable constructive way. Let’s just treat men and women the same. If we did so we could see some of the following results.

    -Positions of high influence would be filled by approx, 50% men and women of all races so as to represent as many viewpoints as possible.

    -Social/economic positions would not be dominated by any one race or gender. This would include both desirable and undesirable positions. (More female doctors, and more female homeless).

    -The role of men in reproduction would be respected, and roughly 50% of child custody battles would be won by men/women.

    -Women would have more agency in life, while men would have more protection laws and social agencies to protect them from the random chaos that is modern life in the world.

    -We wouldn’t highlight problems unique to one gender/race over another’s problems. Doing so is a reflection of privileged classes. Instead we would focus on the overall problems created be inequality and how we can reduce that gap of inequality.

    anyhow that’s my two cents. to me the fact that radical feminism exists and is accepted in society is a clear sign that women are definitely the favored gender of the week. I like equality and all, but lets no throw all the men in prison for the sake of the women. Instead let’s try to be fair to everyone.

  322. says

    If you want positive social change you should be interested in talking with ALL people. Sticking a label on yourself and other people so you all know who you will want to talk to (because you all believe the same things)is just another brand of the exclusion that we ought to be fighting against. People need to be educated about these issues, not given blanket statements.

  323. andrewwagner says

    This A+ re-branding proposal causes me to wonder whether combining the two causes helps or hurts the causes. Of course any group needs to take steps to prevent harassment, but I’d rather have, say, a newly atheist but still misogynistic convert stick around and continue to engage with people, than get pushed into a ghetto of similarly misogynistic atheists.

    Also, the “Bright” brand is only a single syllable, is easy to type, and works both as an adjective and a noun. It gets perceived as arrogant sounding only due to the pre-existing perception of atheists being conceited unethical jerks, which of course, the movement is trying to counter. (Having Dawkins onboard doesn’t help, but at least my man Dennett is at the top)

    That said, good luck with A+; the more memes that are born along these lines, the more likely we’ll find one that catches on.

  324. ariskatsaris says

    “It gets perceived as arrogant sounding only due to the pre-existing perception of atheists being conceited unethical jerks,”

    It sounds arrogant, and *is* arrogant, because it confuses a simple belief about a very factual matter (atheism) with intelligence – cognitive ability. Effectively it denies that there can exist non-bright Atheists. But they can, oh yes, they can.

    I’m an atheist. I don’t need to brand myself differently because I’m not ashamed of my atheism.

    “It illustrates that we’re more than just “dictionary” atheists who happen to not believe in gods and that we want to be a positive force in the world. ”

    Here’s what this sounds like: that you’re ashamed of your atheism.

    Imagine if feminists had to rebrand themselves as “feminist+” in order to also say that they oppose racism.

    Or if antiracists had to rebrand themselves as “antiracists+” in order to say that they also oppose sexism.

    But no, somehow it’s only atheism that needs rebrand itself?

    Screw that. I’m atheist and *antiracist* and *antisexist*, and lots of other anti- things besides, but I won’t accept the “atheist+” label as if I’m ashamed of my atheism by itself.

  325. alexreynard says

    “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.”


    What if I only agree with four out of those five? Am I not allowed to join? Or what if I agree with one, but not how the A+ movement defines or implements it?

    I’m an atheist who happens to support both men and women’s rights. I am mystified by the seeming consensus that that’s a radical idea. Really? The idea that bad things happen to both genders and we should care about all of it because everyone’s human? That I shouldn’t care more about one victim over another just because of their genitals?

    You could have changed one little word in that. Change ‘women’ to ‘human’. Oe little word that doesn’t dismiss half the population as being unworthy of consideration. One little word that would have made all the difference. You say you value critical thinking and skepticism. What happens when that gets applied to your new group’s ideology?

    Keep your Atheism+. I’ll continue to be an atheist, and care about social justice, and support human rights, and protest racism, and fight homophobia/transphobia, and use critical thinking and skepticism. But I don’t need your creepy little echo-chamber. Have fun turning into the same kind of monstrous self-parody that PETA became.

  326. says

    ‎”Yes, it does. Atheism+ is our movement. We will not consider you a part of it, we will not work with you, we will not befriend you. We will heretofore denounce you as the irrational or immoral scum you are (if such you are). If you reject these values, then you are no longer one of us. And we will now say so, publicly and repeatedly. You are hereby disowned.” – Richard Carrier, talking about the compassion that Atheism+ will bring.

  327. says

    adamsweilem @ #520:

    People rightly brought up issues with [my use of insults and ridicule], so I reexamined my actions there and what people had to say on the subject, and retracted and apologized for some of my actions there. In discussing the matter further I found I was wrong about a few other things, and realized this is an important issue that deserves an article of its own. Getting things like this right is what Atheism+ is all about, and debating and educating each other on these issues is valuable and ought to be welcome.

    Richard Carrier, apologizing for that shit and walking it back.

    Seriously… learn to read everything before criticizing… unless you’re just looking for any excuse to criticize, in which case…

  328. aiabx says


    Keep your Atheism+. I’ll continue to be an atheist, and care about social justice, and support human rights, and protest racism, and fight homophobia/transphobia, and use critical thinking and skepticism. But I don’t need your creepy little echo-chamber. Have fun turning into the same kind of monstrous self-parody that PETA became.

    OK, so you don’t want to join us. We don’t meet your exacting standards of purity. But who the fuck cares if you don’t join? Go start your own movement and see who wins in the marketplace of ideas.

  329. rillwright says

    Hi Jen,
    You kids are way smarter than I am. (Well, about some things. ha ha) I’m a 58 year old white woman, 1%-er, conservative (vote republican), social liberal (support pro-choice and gay rights) and I’m an atheist. Too bad I only have one life. I’d need about fifteen to finally get a president I really want to vote for. Sheesh.

    Anyway, about the logos. Is it just me or am I seeing a cross in each of the three? I hear “plus” but I’m seeing “cross.” Anyway, just sayin’.

    Aside from that, please stay on that wall for all the rest of us old farts who never had a voice, and those of us who still can’t come out of the atheist closet. Please, please press on.

    Your greatest fan and silent friend,


  330. john ingerast says

    @sambarnett-cormack, comment 128


    A non-theist quaker is more commonly referred to as a cultural quaker. You can have cultural jews, protestants, catholics, muslims, whatever…

    A cultural something is someone who enjoys and identifies with the culture, the rituals, the festivities, the community, the values, lifestyle etc… But do not believe in the supernatural part of it.

    I don’t know if cultural quaker and non-theist quaker is the same, just some information I wanted to share that might or might not be of use to you.

  331. hypatia says

    What a fantastic idea! I have been an atheist for decades, now, and have always felt uncomfortable with the blatant sexism that exists (and is even flaunted) in the mostly-male-white-American atheist movement.

    I never understood how sexism could survive without religion, but it became painfully clear to me that the modern American atheist movement simply found different excuses for making women second-class citizens.

    Thanks for making a difference in the lives of many skeptical feminists.

  332. alan8 says

    This is great! One more step out of the dark ages!

    Our society is so infested with religion we barely even notice it anymore. But it’s used by the powerful to divide people and commit atrocities.

    The last president started an unnecessary war that killed about one million Muslim civilians. I doubt he could have gotten away with it if they weren’t Muslims.

    The Nazis used religion to manipulate their followers, much like the Tea Party uses it today.

    You could call me an antitheist.

  333. Ant (@antallan) says

    If you’re such a super man, you’d know straight away why that is just an asinine comment. That the issues aren’t balanced is the whole point.


  334. clarkkent says

    Uhh? What issues? There is far more violence against men in the USA.. 9 outta 10 homeless are men. Men are given longer sentences for the same crimes. Men can be drafted to war. Despite women already living longer the vast amount of money spent on medical research goes to women. Are these the issues you are talking about?

  335. clarkkent says

    Or maybe you are talking about the fact that most males have there genitals mutilated? Or that females are far more likely to get custody of children in a divorce? Or how about females having complete control over abortion? Are these not valid issues?

  336. Ant (@antallan) says

    Well, all of those things may be true, but precisely none of them are because women hold sway in society.


  337. Ant (@antallan) says

    There you go missing the point, again. Damn. And you with your X-ray eyes and all… 


  338. Ant (@antallan) says

    Oh, like you were prepared to have one in the first place, posting a drive-by snarky comment.


  339. clarkkent says

    I am going to assume you avoided a real discussion simply because you have no defense to what I am saying.

  340. clarkkent says

    Does anyone debate on this site or is it simply for ignorant followers like I have been told?

  341. says

    clarkkent, I’ll give you a real answer:

    The feminist movement as a whole is focused on women’s issues, but that does not preclude them from having interest in men’s issues. The way that we gender bodies in our society hurts men as well as women, and men have some valid complaints about the way that they are treated; however, the problems do not arise from society being overly matriarchal. The problems arise from the unreasonable expectations that a patriarchal society places upon men. They base your value off of your monetary contributions to your families rather than your personal ones; they require you to only show anger and, occasionally, happiness; they expect you to die for your country while exempting women (notably, because women’s proper role is supposedly in the home, not because women are clamoring for men’s blood); they drive you to suicide and they ignore your violence against one another; they are more likely to award young children to mothers because men are not viewed as competent caregivers (partially, again, because women are expected to be caretakers). Men get a shit deal. (No, I’m sorry, but women having complete control over their bodies is not a problem or a men’s issue.) That’s a concern for me, and that is a concern for other people in A+. I understand your hurt and frustration. You are not alone. My academic career is going to be dedicated to studying these problems and trying to solve them because I care deeply about men. I care deeply about men, incidentally, because I am a feminist, and I believe that women are not the only ones hurt by traditional gender roles. I just don’t think that women are the problem. (Most men are not, either, although men are much more likely to uphold the current system in order to maintain the scraps of privilege they’re thrown from the top of the Christian wealthy white cis het male table, and I take issue with them when they do.)

    I don’t know if you wanted an honest answer, but here you go.

  342. atheistinfoxhole says

    Going to be honest what does being an Atheist have to do with any of this? So by your logic being a Christan who has the same opinions would be a Christan+? What does not having a belief in god have anything to do with these things besides trying to make yourself sounds like a douche? I’m an Atheist PLUS I don’t like getting blown the fuck up. But don’t other people not like getting blown the fuck up? It is redundant to add the fact that I’m an Atheist to that just like it is to all your points. Being an Atheist does not make ones point better or adding Atheist make it sounds smarter. Just my two cents.

  343. clarkkent says

    Jennifer thanks for the reply but as you stated in the very first sentence, feminism is focused on women’s issues.. it is by definition a sexist movement. Now atheism+ mentions “Atheists plus we support women’s rights,” and in no where does it say you support men’s rights. (As im typing this “men’s” is even spell check errors while “women’s” does not) So atheism+ is a sexist movement. Why not support HUMAN rights?? Why be so sexist? I find this to be an equivalent of a modern “white power” movement, and extremely disgusting. Can you not see this?

    Yeah I do not understand this myself. Atheist are already a minority here in the USA, why split us up?

  344. clarkkent says

    Oh, almost forgot to mention.. abortion. According to biology there are 5 requirements for something to be considered life. A fertilized embryo meets all of those, obviously you can not fertilize an embryo without the help of a male. So the male helps to create a human life inside of you.. it is no longer you but females retain all rights to terminate that life simply because they are the host. Again, its not YOUR body at this point. On a side note.. this is defined as murder.

  345. Andy Hise says

    I completely agree with this article and the original. Atheists aren’t always humanists, and some of them are very vocal about it. They are angry about their own isolation and engage even fellow atheists with extreme cynicism. That leads to them being cynics about a lot of things. I’ve experienced this with atheists’ comments on my experience as an ex-Christian, and I’m not surprised these same sorts of people made the insults they did about feminism. Because I became friends with a rape victim even before I claimed to be an atheist, I learned a lot about feminism and see it as a natural extension of an atheist/humanist (or A+) movement that wants to fight injustice in all its forms. And that’s why I can appreciate boobquake without turning into a slobbering idiot.

    So, I applaud this effort to pair atheism with feminism. It’s what secular humanism is all about. We need to show goodwill towards all humankind instead of just our own in-group.

  346. clarkkent says

    I love how you attempt to take the high moral high ground while at the same time promoting sexism, Andy.

  347. Andy Hise says

    Clarkkent, I didn’t really want to get into how reverse sexism is prevalent in our society. It was not the spirit of my comment at all, but nonetheless, I will respond to your points.

    Reverse sexism is a problem and it disturbs me too, but it’s not as big of a problem as women’s rights. I mean, if men were subjected to the same hateful and ridiculous treatment as routinely and insidiously as feminists are, then I might lend you my support. Truly, I think your efforts to railroad this blog post into something that it’s not, and to distract us from supporting a good cause, are simply a form of intellectual cynicism. Not to mention the fact that Jennifer already conceded your point.

    For me, I am supporting this blog post out of experience. I am friends with a rape victim and understand feminism in a very grassroots manner. If you have the same intentions based on your experience, then I would applaud you. I’ve served in the military, so I know about reverse sexism in that way. I even served in a combat zone. So I take what I experienced, which was horrible, and match it up to my friend’s and Jen’s experience, and I come to this conclusion: I volunteered for war. These women did not volunteer for the equally harrowing war they’re fighting. They need our support.

  348. clarkkent says

    We are all friends with rape victims, I happen to be a rape victim myself… not sure why you keep pointing this out. There is no such thing as “reverse sexism” either. Its just sexism. I agree that there are some female issues left to sort out in the USA but to focus strictly on them instead of all human rights is short sited and again sexist. You really think you are going to beat sexism with sexism??? Do you not find this a bit hypocritical?

  349. Andy Hise says

    Sorry to hear that, clarkkent. Thank you for being brave and honest. I guess it all comes down to focusing on your own problems instead of blaming everyone else for interfering. That said, don’t let me be the one to interfere. Sorry for your pain.

  350. clarkkent says

    There are more men raped in america then women.. facts destroy feminism.. its an irrational movement.

  351. sc_71ccb67ce0e00bd5da95cbe468b87689 says

    I am clark kent, I posted a response but the moderators have apparently banned that account from posting. I am not “plain wrong”.

    “In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.”

  352. ~G~ says

    Rogue Clark Kent- I, too, am sad to know that you were a victim of rape. You may want to read the rest of that article. It digs much deeper into the numbers and gives interesting commentary. For that reason, thanks for posting the link. I will use it to help me rebut the claim you tried to make with it in the future.

  353. clarkkent says

    I did read the whole article, it fails to mention that men are 92% of inmates… so ok women are twice as likely to be raped while in prison/jail.. that ups it to 16% of inmate rapes. It still means more men are raped in america then women… I suggest doing two things in the future A: Check several sources, B: use a calculator.. thanks.

  354. clarkkent says

    PS: It was written by “Jill Filipovic for Feministe”, how convenient of her to forget to mention that… and the lies continue! *echo echo echo echo echo*

  355. ~G~ says

    Women being twice as likely to be raped was only one of the points made and actually a less important one.

    Rape is disgusting no matter who is doing it or who it is done to. Men who are against rape and feminism may want to consider setting aside their differences with feminism in order to join movements advocating for rape prevention. I am setting up a local lecture with someone from rape crisis to teach people in the skeptical/atheist community about sexual assult. I specifically asked him to also include male victims because I think that is important.

    You could probably do this where you live, too. If every person railing against feminism contacted a rape crisis center and asked a lectureer to come to a library or other community room to teach people about male rape and to give people resources, the world would be a better place. I encourage you to do so. Many Panera Breads have community rooms free of charge, too. Maybe your local atheist group could help organize it.

    Whenever the topic comes up I link to resources for men out there who may benefit and for everyone else to learn something so they can be more supportive.
    I’ve read websites with men’s stories and it is really sad what men go through, and rigid ideas about gender roles and homophobia do not help. That is one more reason I am against those things, and yes, a feminist. No one, men or women, should suffer due rape culture or to society’s screwed notions about gender.

  356. No Light says

    Superman’s an MRA? Well I never.

    Clark – one question for you.

    Who’s raping all of those men?

  357. clarkkent says

    My point is made, feminism is a sexist irrational movement that is made up of extremely damaged females and silly boys playing white knight. I am not an MRA because that is sexist too. I am a HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST. I don’t know why I have to keep drawing this distinction.. you people should really analyze your philosophies a bit more. Anywho im off. *flys away*

  358. ~G~ says

    Reasonable comments and questions = kryptonite?
    For anyone reading out there, the important point about the statsmade by the article he linked to had to do with comparing apples to oranges. There are various sources of data on prison and non-prison rape, collected in various ways and with a variety of definitions of what kind of bodily violations they are measuring. I’m sure someone here has dug into this, and I intend to as well to get a better understanding.

    I wonder if Clark goes to websites where people are talking about fighting racism, ending homophobia and fighting for gay marriage, or rights for the disabled and yells, “HUMAN RIGHTS”- and how they are racist aginst whites, heterosexist, and ableist against the abled respectively at them.

    And Clark, if you are reading- I meant what I said about setting up a rape lecture in your community. It would help all humans. Please consider it.

  359. No Light says

    Nice dodge Supes. One little question, one easy answer, but instead you hurl insults and run away.

    What’s wrong, don’t like the answer little guy?

    I’ll help you out a little bit, Wheel of Fortune style.

    We asked Clark “Who’s raping all of these men?*”. We’ve given him two bonus letters:


    So Clark, what’s the answer? You only need one letter, one little vowel, and you’ll win today’s big prize!

    *To anyone thinking of going there, just don’t. Clark brought up prison, so we’re playing his game. As has already been mentioned upthread, women aren’t in charge.

  360. clarkkent says

    NoLights: Actually its pretty clear that you have not understood anything I said because you have the blinders on aka If you analyze what i previously said there was no need to ask your question. Anyway here I will repeat myself again.. feminism is a sexist movement! Now you are asking me “who does the raping” which is .. ya.. u got it.. a sexist question! By calling it feminism you are focusing simply on the female victims.. fuck the male victims apparently.. by name alone!

    G: No I don’t even concern myself with feminist sites because I have no business there, but when you start attaching your absolute bullshit to a movement I am involved with.. then we have a problem.

    Clear enough? If you have any more questions read what I said again but this time try thinking rationally instead of emotionally.

  361. No Light says

    Clark – how is it “sexist” to ask you who’s raping all these men, and why does that indicate that I don’t care about male victims of rape?

    The thing is Clark, you have to admit that it’s MEN committing rape overwhelmingly. Men raping children, men raping women, men raping men.

    Now, what I want to know it, how are women to blame for that? Why are you so bloody angry at women because men are fucking rapists?

    I worked in a forensic psychiatric hospitat where I ran a group for men who’d suffered sexual victimisation.

    in all the years I did that, I only met two men victimised by women, by the same woman actually.

    You know what else was told to me, again, overwhelmingly so? That it was other MEN who minimised their pain, mocked them, broke confidence, made homophobic remarks etc.

    So a quick summary then:

    Men raping people

    Men minimising the effects and rate of rape.

    Men actively mocking survivors.

    Men covering for rapists and child abusers (such as the RCC, Agudah and Ohel, the chassidic communities in Melbourne and Sydney etc)

    All of that is somehow the fault of women and feminism now, is it?

    Can’t bear to fucking admit that patriarchy is to blame, even when it’s hurting you too. Cutting off your nose to spite your face is not an effective solution, it won’t help you gain support, and honestly? You just look like another MRA troll rehashing the same old talking points.

    Tell ya what, hop over to Racialicious and tell them slavery is their fault. Sign up. to PFLAG and tell them that their kids are to blame for. homophobia. See what reaction you get there bucko.

  362. andrewviceroy says

    No Light said, “Men raping people

    Men minimising the effects and rate of rape.

    Men actively mocking survivors.

    Men covering for rapists and child abusers (such as the RCC, Agudah and Ohel, the chassidic communities in Melbourne and Sydney etc)

    All of that is somehow the fault of women and feminism now, is it?”

    No, but neither is it ethically fair to decidedly belie the existence of male victims in a retributive way, justified by the actions of abusive males. This is to say that a male victim of violence is not deserving of violence because of his gender. When you consider this simple ethical truth, and then the fact that men receive more violence upon their gender than women… one comes to the reasonable conclusion that ‘gender equality’ is a much better *universal* political banner to stand under than the knee jerk sexually polemical institutions of ‘feminism’ or ‘male rights.’

  363. andrewviceroy says

    We are…
    Atheists plus we care about social justice,
    Atheists plus we support gender equality,
    Atheists plus we protest racism,
    Atheists plus we fight sexual discrimination,
    Atheists plus we work against xenophobia,
    Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.

    Essential rights emphasized, not polemical battles. The rights of MORE victims hereby included. Reactance potential reduced. In-group umbrella increased. No activism within the group needs to change (presuming it still follows these ethics).


  364. thecuckoosnest says

    Religion is not responsible for anything. The people who practice religion – THE PEOPLE – are the ones responsible. Maybe someday you’ll get it right. Maybe. Probably not because you own prejudice keeps you from understanding the logic and that keeps you from appearing intelligent.

  365. Pradeep katiyar says

    Oooh! I’ll pick one of those up next time I’m at Town Hall. Saw a big sign for Marigold yesterday while walking to Harry’s – will definitely get there before we go back home!
    Types of Succulents

Leave a Reply