I just noticed something on Facebook. They have this pane titled “Suggested Groups” where they recommend stuff based on your browsing habits, I guess, and there were two of them being pushed at me. Here are their logos.
Is it just me, or do you see it too?
Several of those guys pictured are dead. One, Neil deGrasse Tyson, doesn’t want to be associated with movement atheism. But that isn’t what bothers me most.
One problem is that they’re all guys, every one, except for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They couldn’t be bothered to copy and paste a picture of Susan Jacoby or Annie Laurie Gaylor or Madalyn Murray O’Hair or Margaret Downey in there — heck, not even Ayn Rand, but maybe that would be too revealing of their political philosophy. If you wanted to demonstrate that atheism is a boys’ club, all you have to do is look at how they advertise themselves.
But another big problem is how much of a cult of personality this whole movement is becoming. All that matters is who you know, how compatible you are with that gang of 5 to 10 men who are the big names, and your ideas don’t matter otherwise. It’s all about conformity. You need to be centrist or right of center (or dead, if you’re liberal), and if you’re not, you’ve got to accommodate yourself to the status quo. You’ve got to be a man. It helps to be vigorously anti-Muslim, again part of that right-of-center bias. You should be white, but they’re happy to bring in a few tokens, even if they don’t ask to be part of this mess. It’s all part of the marketing of establishment atheism, which is going to be built around people you like, rather than ideas that challenge the culture. It’s a brand now.
It’s also focused on the past. Aww, aren’t you pinin’ for the days of George Carlin and Carl Sagan, when the atheist boys’ club could be all rational and shit without some girl or social scientist or somethin’ coming along and putting a damper on the party with complexity and exposing your underlying assumptions?