Modern atheism continues its swirling journey down the drain hole of irrelevance.
There are two predominant reasons that can explain why sexism exists in the atheism movement. The first reason is the influence of social Darwinism. Philip Kitcher, professor of philosophy at Columbia University, wrote in The New York Times in 2012 that the first tenet of social Darwinism is the belief that “people have intrinsic abilities and talents (and, correspondingly, intrinsic weaknesses), which will be expressed in their actions and achievements, independently of the social, economic and cultural environments in which they develop.” A concept such as “men are from mars, women are from Venus” is one version of such gender-essentialist, social Darwinist ideas.
In the atheism movement, social Darwinism has played out as the justifiable assault of women by (naturally) aggressive men. Buzzfeed’s Mark Oppenheimer detailed many accounts of alleged sexism, sexual assault and coercion in his excellent exposé on the atheism movement. “Some women say they are now harassed or mocked at conventions, and the online attacks—which include Jew-baiting, threats of anal rape, and other pleasantries—are so vicious that two activists I spoke with have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder,” he writes.
In related news, NECSS has retracted their disinvitation of Dawkins to their conference. Why? What changed? They don’t say. They just had second thoughts.
Or they got a bunch of cancellations and pushback and decided to bugger principle in favor of the bottom line.