I guess I’m not the only one disenchanted with movement atheism


Somebody is mad as hell.

Remember when we used to get so pissed off at theists telling us we had no basis for morality, that we’d probably murder and rob banks without a god to keep us in check, and we could just point to religious terrorism and child-raping priests and smirk? Those were the good old days. It turns out that dogma and authoritarianism can afflict even secular communities. There goes our more-rational-than-thou defense!

One amusing fact for you all: when Ed Brayton and I were putting together this little network we’re on, we were trying to figure out what name to give it. I was all for something in-your-face, with “atheism” front and center and some kind of impudent logo. Ed advocated for something a bit more…open and friendly, and came up with Freethoughtblogs, emphasizing freedom from dogma rather than loud atheism. Oh, man, he was right. It would be awkward if this were Atheismblogs right now.

Comments

  1. rietpluim says

    The atheist community I am member of is about as big as the Freethoughtblogs network.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No doubt where he stands. I approve of his message.

  3. sundiver says

    My dad once told me that no matter what side of an issue I may be on, there will always be people on my side I wish weren’t. Skeptical apologists for Sandusky baffle me. And if you try and puncture their ever so cool and logical reasoning just watch and how uncool they rapidly become.

  4. says

    That was cathartic!

    And then they sit around and they wonder, “Oh, gee, why do skeptics and atheists have such a bad reputation?”

    It’s because of you, you fucking dipshit, you reprehensible, contemptible sack of shit. It’s because of you. Because you either do that stuff yourself on a regular basis, or you know your buddies do and you say nothing about it, and you try to silence the people who raise their voices to protest.

  5. ikanreed says

    quote from youtube video: “Just ask PZ Myers”

    Well… I actually would like to ask you because I don’t know the history there. WERE you run out of the skeptic community or something?

  6. Vivec says

    @6
    A significant portion of the alt-light cryptofascist skeptic community (ie the like, smug political wanker youtube channel crowd) paint PZ and Shives as evil SJW ideologues.

    It’s less that PZ was “run out” of the community, but more that the new atheist community took a hard-right turn in the last decade and now openly shittalk PZ whenever possible.

  7. markgisleson says

    There is no point to organized atheism. Disbelief is not shared, it is organic. The moment you say you disbelieve, the conversation should stop. There’s nothing else to say. Any further debate is ceding the high ground to the low lifes who manipulate others with the make believe words about make believe gods.

  8. ikanreed says

    @7 Honestly, I haven’t been exposed to that much Myers hate in my life. Maybe I was just never attracted to the personalities that do that kinda shit in the first place? Skeptic magazine was a real loss though.

    @8 There’s absolutely a point to organized atheism, and it comes up every time right-wing politics starts to center on throwing red meat policies to evangelicals. Having to stand up and say “no, don’t teach my kids religious bullshit in science class” will probably be a thing AGAIN sometime in the trump administration, after he gets done throwing red meat policies to the racists.

  9. says

    There was a time when I was invited to all the conferences, when I shared the stage with Richard Dawkins in London, etc. I gave that all up when I started criticizing the callous and regressive behavior of the big names of atheism — when I dared to post the accusations of a ‘mere woman’ against one of the grand self-promoting poobahs of skepticism. That’s the kind of stuff that will get everyone to turn a blind eye to you, and will get conference organizers buckets of hate mail if I’m on their speaker list, and that will get you whispered about on secret email lists. There’s no ceremony where they tear your atheist epaulettes off your shoulders, it’s just a general turning away and a conspiracy of silence.

    It’s OK, though. I wouldn’t have any self-respect if I’d continued to suck up and silenced my dissatisfaction.

  10. Mark Dowd says

    I love the smell of righteous outrage in the morning. Can we get this guy invited to the Mileaukee conference? I think that would be a sight to see.

  11. says

    An organized atheism that is only about promoting disbelief in gods is pointless — they’ve shot their wad in one sentence. An organized atheism plus other values is something else again, and well worth supporting.

    Unfortunately, the “other values” they seem to have selected seem to be fascism, racism, and sexism.

  12. says

    @12,
    Given how much time atheists/skeptics have devoted to hating SJWs and defending rapists, I daresay that these people never truly believed that organized atheism was only about promoting disbelief in gods. It was just a convenient thing to say.

  13. says

    It seems to me now that a lot of “organized” atheism was just a bunch of dudes who found someone they could be smarter than. It’s a bit more sophisticated than laughing at the breatharians and ufologists, because there are more faithful, but that’s about it. Superiority: achieved, hey would you like to come up to my room and I’ll autograph you a copy of my book?

  14. Saad says

    Organized atheism: “Why does bigotry have to be religious? Can’t I mistreat women without bringing the Bible into it?”

  15. flamingsword says

    It’s not just atheism. I am active in a lot of tumblr social justice circles, and we’ve been noticing radicalization towards the right in a lot of places you would not expect. TERF’s springing up in the lesbian community and becoming more vocal, racism and anti-lgbt sentiment encroaching on political progressivism and complaints about “identity politics”, and in the organizational structures of a lot of activist organizations like SURJ every time someone points out that the people whose ideas get listened to are largely white men and that women of color are leaving these organizations there’s a lot of equivocation about good allyship and not needing black women to do everything for us when the trouble is that we are alienating them by not listening which reifies the whole problem with white power structures.

    Our Overton window has shifted. Regressives have been emboldened in all kinds of places. Whether this is from Trump’s campaign, Russian propaganda over the last three years, or a longer trend of Fox News and the GOP shifting the narrative steadily to the right, it is happening and the trend is erasing years of progress.

  16. says

    It’s not just atheism. I am active in a lot of tumblr social justice circles, and we’ve been noticing radicalization towards the right in a lot of places you would not expect….

    Our Overton window has shifted. Regressives have been emboldened in all kinds of places. Whether this is from Trump’s campaign, Russian propaganda over the last three years, or a longer trend of Fox News and the GOP shifting the narrative steadily to the right, it is happening and the trend is erasing years of progress.

    One of my pet conspiracy theories is that there’s been a coordinated effort over the past several years involving the AEI and other rightwing groups, perhaps alongside or with the support of the regime in Russia and/or the European far-Right, to promote reactionary voices (including YouTube channels) and organizations within the community. And just to promote hostility and division generally,* keeping leftwing secularism from becoming an effective political force. Of course, there were plenty of prominent reactionary assholes and their followers to work with, so further explanation might not be necessary…

    * I remain suspicious of atheist-bashing humanist organizations, and any organizations, who seem to have a lot of funding from sources that are obscure.

  17. drken says

    After the Buzzfeed article where James Randi admitted that Shermer was a problem but he decided not to do anything about it because “that’s what men do when they drink” I figured the day of reckoning was at hand for brand name Skeptics. Hey, the defacto leader of Skepticism admitted that one of their primary leaders is a missing stair. But, alas it was not. Skeptics responded by deciding that their main focus should be on false accusations and repressed memory. Of course, nobody who accused Shermer claimed that they had repressed that memory and that they’d be arguing against James Randi who said he had received multiple, credible claims against him. But, protecting the leadership was of utmost importance (sound familiar?).

    Of course, this was not that surprising to me. After the rape allegation against Michael Shermer first surfaced the leaders of Atheism put out a video that mocked his accuser of being incapable of turning down a drink and therefore responsible for what happened to her. Before that, during “Elevatorgate” the worst aspects of the alt-right faction of Atheism responded with rape and death threats while being cheered on by the leadership. Even without the subtle racism and not-so-subtle sexism, there has been precious little the leadership of Skepticism had done during the past 15 years or so that has made me want to continue being associated with them.

  18. unclefrogy says

    there seems to be a lot of the more publicly recognized and vocal proportion of those who are unbelievers who are more about a reaction to the commonly held belief of the religious that you can not be moral without god.
    In this case instead of finding the human roots of morality they simply rebel against anyone they perceive as trying to tell them what to do and what to think. Since there is no god I can do any thing I like and you can not stop me if you try you are just an ally of the church and the established moral crusaders that attempt to constrain my freedom, my liberty.
    without saying it they seem to be advocating Libertinism. It is just rebelliousness for the sake of rebelliousness , they are acting like a bunch of 13yr old’s

  19. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Eh, could have used a clear statement that the claims about repressed memories being the basis for the conviction were false.

    Otherwise there are a couple of Meetup groups I’m considering whether to post a link to that on. Don’t think I will.

  20. says

    This sounds like scientists vs engineers in a different format.

    Scientists/”those” Atheists = “But, theory says, in a perfect world, applying my rhetorical methods…”

    Engineers/rathional Atheists = “Try if you want, but this square peg won’t fit into this round hole.”

  21. says

    “@12,
    Given how much time atheists/skeptics have devoted to hating SJWs and defending rapists, I daresay that these people never truly believed that organized atheism was only about promoting disbelief in gods. It was just a convenient thing to say.”

    A lot of people, including me, found our way to the ‘combative’ atheists because that is what was needed for us to break out of religion and oppressive family members.

    I learned that I can stop fighting.

    Others, unfortunately, just kept looking for new things to fight, valid target or not.

  22. Vivec says

    @22
    Not exactly the best comparison to make, given the Crank Magnetism that engineers are famous for.

  23. emergence says

    @22

    I’m with Vivec here. I’ve noticed far more engineers than scientists who buy into crank stuff like creationism or climate change denial. I’m pretty sure that engineers are also more likely to have conservative political views too.

  24. emergence says

    I’m also pretty sure that the only reason that conservachristians haven’t latched onto this sort of thing to prove that atheists are bad is because the current crop of asshole atheists have pretty much the same social views as the the conservachristians.

  25. Ian James says

    Who is surprised by this, after all PZ, atheists/sceptics are as human as devout Roman Catholics, look at the sheer hypocrisy of Hollywood today, cancelling shows , retaking film scenes….. all done by the same caring elite who have have been glorifying the CONVICTED PAEDOPHILE Roman Polanski for years. actually its worse really if we want to be moral and have the phrase innocent until proven guilty have true meaning….no maybe not.

    As the product of a physically and mentally abusive care system in the UK , I know how the ingrained system herds together like musk ox.. for years I was just grateful that I’d not suffered sexual abuse inside the system.

    And hey, so the casting couch myth I’ve been hearing about for 50 years is real!!!!!!! Who could have guessed. This ain’t new , on the bright side the heterosexual abusers are getting equal billing with the homosexual ones.

    Just because I vehemently deny the existence of god I can’t and don’t expect every other nonbelivers to have my own moral compass, all the professions have boards of ethics why? because an individuals morals are known to flawed be they religious or not. A man convicted of 45 out of 48 charges of sexual abuse is a FUCKING PAEDOPHILE period. Maybe some of us atheists need to take a page or two out of Martin Luther’s book, maybe we have reached a point in atheist history when a reformation is due. Maybe Steve Shives can pin the the 48 point charge sheet on the cyber doors of skeptics.com I know enough people who suffered historic abuse for years to know that with all this smoke there is also flames.

  26. abb3w says

    An organized atheism that is only about promoting disbelief in gods is pointless — they’ve shot their wad in one sentence. An organized atheism plus other values is something else again, and well worth supporting.

    Unfortunately, the “other values” they seem to have selected seem to be fascism, racism, and sexism.

    This does not seem a new phenomenon within the Atheist movement. How many US atheists between the death of Ingersoll and the rise of Madalyn Murray O’Hair were more publicly prominent as such than Charles Lee Smith, the racist founder of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism?

    On the upside, it’s also never been the whole of the atheist movement. (One of the answers to my rhetorical question is “John Dewey”, one of the leaders who helped develop the Humanist Manifesto. Emma Goldman and Clarence Darrow might also qualify. However, so might Margaret Sanger, H. L. Mencken, and Joseph L. Lewis.)