You NEED to stop doing things to divide the community

Ha! So now they’re actually emailing PZ with this drivel – this “you allow no dissent / you are divisive” drivel that people mutter like a prayer in some rank places.

You seem to start arguments in the atheist community, which largely serve to divide the community and make it harder for us to get in a position to actually do something about the harm that religion causes humanity. You have people on other websites talking bad about other atheists and scientists in your name.

In MY name? That doesn’t even make sense. I’m a guy with a blog and a teaching position, with zero power and authority. I write what I think, and many people agree, and many disagree.

And what atheist community? You act as if there is some monolithic institution with a few rebels causing trouble. Atheism is a chaotic mess, with many communities within it. It seems to annoy some people that I don’t join with the libertarian, anti-feminist herd, but they never seem to consider that it takes two sides to make a rift.

Atheism is indeed a chaotic mess. That’s somehow comforting. We’re not messing up an otherwise tidy thing; we’re just staying out of the more rancid section of the chaotic mess.

More from PZ’s correspondents:

I am trying to be polite in this email but you seem to be starting a cult in your fan base. We all need to work together to make the world a better place. We won’t always agree 100% with everyone even in our little niche groups, if we do then that is a sign of something worse at work. I am not asking you to just go out and say “sorry I was a jerk” but you NEED to stop doing things to divide the community.

NOOOOOOO we don’t.

You might tell Jaclyn Glenn to stop dividing the community though. She’s planning to drop another divisive turd of a video day after tomorrow. There goes all our beautiful unity!


  1. Al Dente says

    The emailer accuses PZ of starting a cult. Obviously the objection is that PZ and his cultees are not following the emailer’s preferred cult.

  2. Menyambal says

    I finally watched that video. Yeah, she wss being divisive, and the commenters who supported that vid sure seemed to like having someone to dislike.

  3. says

    Funny, it’s never the people who are actually making the “community” an uncomfortable and unwelcoming place for women and other marginalized groups who are being “divisive.” It’s never the misogynists or harassers. It’s never the prominent figures who use their celebrity to justify inappropriate behavior, nor the ones who shield them because they don’t want to lose a valuable, popular public speaker.

    No, the “divisive” ones are always those who say “Let’s be better than this.”

  4. says

    The emailer accuses PZ of starting a cult.

    This is a common and long-lived criticism of Pharyngula.

    I think the translation is: Waaah! Why do you get so many hits?

  5. John Morales says

    The complaint is inane: if the “atheist community” refers to those who seek “to actually do something about the harm that religion causes humanity”, then whether one is feminist is irrelevant to the membership criterion and thus not divisive.

    (But no sillier, I suppose, than “I see the negative effects that religion has on society, so I became an atheist.”)

  6. says

    Yup, after 40 years of this, we aren’t a “community”. I we shouldn’t consider ourselves as one. Sounds pretty complacent to me. Just know that I’m out there building new walls against the this Christian Taliban and that I hope to see other atheists doing that as well. As you have proved, one person can do a lot. No time to worry about some specious community, there sh*t to do… 🙂

  7. Kevin Kehres says

    But no sillier, I suppose, than “I see the negative effects that religion has on society, so I became an atheist.”

    Yes, as if the truth claims of religion suddenly make sense if churches start treating people like…well, like the mythical Jesus told them to treat people.

    There was someone recently who talked herself into Catholicism from atheism (so she said). I can’t wrap my head around that at all. Just doesn’t compute.

  8. screechymonkey says

    But their Bizarro World PZ is actually doing what they want! If people are criticizing PZ, according to them he should censor their dissent in order to avoid division in the atheist ranks!

  9. johnthedrunkard says

    There was a time, o best beloved, when ‘atheist’ was often assumed to mean ‘Stalinist,’ or ‘Trotskyist,’ and endless appeals to Unity (conformity) were issued in hand-wringing tones.

    Then along came Ayn Rand and another cult of pseudo-atheists.
    ‘the libertarian, anti-feminist herd’ mentioned above.

    No knowing how representative this cult is among atheists, because they generate such an enormous racket as they parrot each other’s deepities back and forth.

    It is NOT just a matter of Penn Jillette’s hormones getting out of whack, or teh nazty boy cooties running rampant. They certainly contribute, but there is an actual THING that this crap represents. A pernicious, authoritarian, anti-rational ideology that has real effects in the real world. One with a broad fringe that overlaps with the extreme political Right in the US.

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