Atheists infinitely rational ubermenches, theists stupid redneck hillbillies. Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennit are infallible and if you disagree with them, even in topics unrelated to the topic of existence of Gods, you must be a theist and thus stupid.
While even in my hardcore Movement Atheism days I would have never agreed to this, but that sort of superiority complex did consume me briefly but I did snap out of it fairly quickly and since then Atheists have been consuming much more of my patience than the hardcore evangelist Christian crowd.
Let me make my position clear because if I don’t I will inevitably get a flood of comments accusing me of being a theist. Even still, I might be accused of being a stealth theist. So for the record:
I do think disregarding religion was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I did to it though rational means. However, just because my conversion to atheism was rational, doesn’t make everyone else’s conversion was done rationally nor does it mean that me or other are rational about other things. The only thing being an atheists is or should ever mean is that you deny the existence of a deity. You made one decision I agree was right on one subject, and nothing else.
With that said I will go over a few reason why I’ve always said this, then go on to the reason I wrote this entry. The final straw on the camel. Some of these are minor disagreements and some of these are pretty major.
Seriously, screw this guy. While I thought his book End of Faith was good, and he’s a great debator and public speaker on the question of the existence of God, he does advocate racial profiling of Arabs at airports and thinks that the self-incrimination clause of the 5th Amendment should be overturned because it’s a quaint relic from religion and that in the future we should use neurological lie detectors.
Rebecca Watson and P.Z. Myers
If anyone deserves my full disdain, it’s Watson and Myers. While Watson is perfectly fine objectifying herself in sexy pictures in her Skepchick calendar she’s not OK with you asking her for coffee in an elevator. If you tell her that it’s trivial protest like Dawkins did, then she will announce how evil you are and write you off a “rich old heterosexual white guy.” P.Z. Myers has gone to ridiculous lengths to white knight for her, including banning Thunderf00t from FreeThoughtBlogs for daring to question Elevtorgate and their proposals for having ‘anti-sexist’ rules for further conferences. They’re also now pimping this A+ Atheism snake oil I will talk about later in this post.
Cult of Dusty
You’re Either A Plus Good or Thought Criminal.
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.
Richard Carrier breaks it down like this:
A. Atheism and skepticism should embrace diversity (and not just be a bunch of white guys reading a bunch of white guys). In fact, we should be really keen on expanding our experience and horizons in that regard, aiming to learn as much as possible, and provide resources to help all our comrades in arms.
While I agree, this kind of goes against the protest against racism bit. If you’re going to fight racism, you can stop using “white guys” as a negativism. You should embrace it and hope to expand across ethnic lines. Sure being non-diverse of a group isn’t always great, but it’s not bad to be any ethnicity, white included.
B. Atheist and skeptic communities should encourage everyone to apply skeptical analysis not just to religion, pseudoscience, and woo, but to social, moral, and political policies, theories and activists.
No. The skeptical and atheist communities should keep their views open to people of all views except that of religion, pseudoscience, and woo. If you want to be a staunch right wing conservative, Marxist, or a moderate but still oppose religion and homeopathy you should be included. If you don’t buy the feminist’s theory or thing Obama is not be best of presidents, you should be free to disagree and still be allowed to discuss the unrelated topic of atheism and skepticism. This is just shrinking the tent, and it’s not to anyone’s benefit.
C. Considering the history of religion and how it has even warped secular life and thought in countries around the world, atheists and skeptics should spend as much time and energy deconstructing illogical and/or inhumane secular policies and claims as they do actively fighting religiously-based interference. We have to be as critical of ourselves and each other as we would expect anyone to be of religion, so we can be sure we don’t make the same mistakes. We must police the rot within, if we are to stand strong against our foes without.
This I can agree with the message that underlies this, but it makes it more malleable and extend it to non-religious issues. Yes, things like female (and male to a lesser extent) genital mutilation is not the greatest bi-products of religion and should be opposed by the skeptical community on the science grounds, and by the atheist community on religious grounds. Opposing the secular stance against, say, the death penalty should not be an official stance of the community if the goal is to broaden the base.
D. In the field of education, atheists and skeptics should help promote courses and curricula that include logic and abstract thought rather than focusing all efforts on science. We need to train kids with a universal toolkit of skeptical and critical thinking about all issues in their lives, not just the scientific, but the social, political, and ideological as well. And we need to take seriously the effort to push for that and make it happen at the fundamental and national level.
Ever hear the story of the family who’s great lovable dog was hit by a car, so they cooked and ate him? That’s how it was reading this. It was a good read and then they just ruined it. Yes, the skeptic, and to an extent atheist groups should promote skeptic and rational thinking in school. But political and ideological opinions? No. People should use reasoning and logic to deduce what political ideology is best, not given on a silver platter. That’s not teaching logic, that’s an ideological agenda for manipulating the youth to your brand of politics. But see, it’s bad when right-wing conservatives or evangelical Christians do it, but OK if progressive atheists do it.
So now on the the planks of the new Atheist Plus Manifesto.
1. We believe in being reasonable.
This is that all atheists should be rational and follow lines of logic and evidence. If someone isn’t doing this, then call them out. No complaints here.
2. We believe in being compassionate.
Again, this is the family’s dog story all over again. It starts off by saying that we should have empathy and care for people, we shouldn’t be harsh or insulting unless it’s justified. Then it leaps right into comparing people who “attack” feminism in the same ballpark as racism and sexism. Whether you agree with them or not, people who oppose feminism aren’t advocating things on the same level as sexism or racism. Then it tries to equate the plight of a woman who was apparently doxed and threatened to the guy who asked Watson for some coffee. Mind if I call you, Dick? I thought you believed in being reasonable, Dick.
3. We believe in personal integrity
Nothing out of the ordinary here. Be honest, don’t be a hypocrite…etc. Now with that said, no, you don’t have personal integrity, Dick. Go though the comment section here and just see why I say this. People have legitimate concerns and issues with the post and he just attacks and belittles them and offers no acknowledgement to their arguments. Makes irrational comparisons to the Nazis and the KKK. Even just saying “So, one vote for douchery. Got it.” to someone who said simply “I’ll stick to the original atheism, thank you.” Someone did point out how much of a hypocrite you were and now you had to eat your shoe and retract a lot of those comments, however it does illustrate a “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality
Now here’s the bad part. If you disagree with he narrative of FreeThoughtBlogs, (which is pro-feminism, left wing populism, and for indoctrinating children with these values) then you’re a Goldstien. A an ungood thought criminal. As they put it “Atheist Minus” or “A-” minus. And you are not one of “us” but one of “them.”
Let me make this clear; Atheism is not political, it’s a-political. You can make a group of political groups what cater to atheism. Like even the term “Progressive Atheist” which you use in the blog would be perfectly fine. Have a group that appeals and spreads the ideas of progressive politics and atheism. Just like there can be “The Skeptical Libertarian” which aim isn’t to make the skeptical movement a streamlined libertarian group, but to promote both skepticism and libertarianism. Or like “Log Cabin Republicans” which is to promote conservatism and gay rights, not to make all conservatives gay rights activists. Don’t try and mold a non-belief into a series of beliefs. Atheism is a lack of beliefs; nothing more.
(For a further and more in depth dicection of this A+ blog post and the comments Richard makes, see the video below.)
Stupid Atheists and Smart Christians Exist, Believe It or Not!
If your goal is to push for greater acceptance of atheism in the mainstream, great. I’m with you, but Movement Atheism has long left that goal and is now on to more extremist positions. While I still loathe the term “militant atheist” (like we fly planes into buildings or bomb abortion clinics) I can understand why that label gets bandied about. You’re rational in your questioning of God, but irrational in your approach to win hearts and minds.