A Citizen of Earth

Go say happy birthday to Hank Fox, who turns 60 today and saves me from the ignominy of being the oldest blogger on FtB. You might also want to take a look at his post on what he is calling ‘Beta Culture’ (I know, unfortunate name) which I think is part of the rising tide of finding greater meaning in atheism.


  1. says

    Yeah I saw the title and thought ‘Beta Culure’? Isn’t that Google’s culture – they are too lazy to finish their apps off so they are perpetually in beta?

    Maybe a better webologism would be Culture 2.0 ;-)

  2. says

    It’s also a term used by MRAs: alphas are the strong sexy males that women ought to be fucking (and secretly desire), while betas are the dutiful wimps they marry and exploit.

  3. says


    Aren’t the MRAs entirely misusing the terminology for ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’, at least as anthropologists apply them to human cultures?

    I heard Jared Diamond talking about this at one point – his argument was that the real high-status people in human society understand that successful human relationships are based on reciprocity. It’s only those Diamond referred to as betas who think that the respect of others is obtained through sheer strength. That thought process does not lead to great success, since nobody likes being bullied.

    But perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that MRAs fail one more thing, given all of the other nonsense they spout.

    Re. the idea of Beta Culture – the computer science analogy doesn’t bother me. If we want to build a better culture, there will be a lot of debugging and slow improvement.

  4. duvelthehobbit666 says

    I know that in the Netherlands, beta refers to the sciences. This includes things like maths and engineering. Alpha is things like the humanities (history and stuff) and languages. Economy was on its own I believe in the category gamma.

  5. says

    I know, unfortunate name

    If Hank is thinking of that as Atheist Beta Culture, then he is just practicing his ABCs.

    (Couldn’t resist).

    I have been thinking of myself as a citizen of the world for some time now, so I rather like Hank’s idea.

  6. StevoR says

    @3. Caine, Fleur du mal

    I find Hank’s concept of Beta culture very interesting and language evolves – it would be nice to take beta out of the MRA/PUA ballpark.

    Beta~wise I always think of the star that’s almost but not quite the lucida (brightest star) in a given constellation.

  7. Hank Fox says

    As I say at a postscript to First Person Revolutionary, Part 4:

    By the way, I’m aware that “beta culture” already has a meaning in software-speak. Fine. I’m redefining it. Nobody ever said a word or phrase can have only one meaning … he said gaily.

    I’ll have many more posts on Beta Culture in weeks and months to come. I’ve been thinking about it for a few years, and I have a lot of ground to cover in more fully explaining what I think it entails.