About Atheism+…

Ron Lindsay has spoken for me regarding reasons to like and criticize Atheism+, so I’ll just post a link to him here.

I’ll add this, though.

Over the past several years, I’ve heard people criticize the term “Bright” (to describe people who are naturalistic and free of superstition) for a number of reasons. I like the word. It’s not the first word I use for myself, but I’m an Enthusiastic Bright on their website.

Whenever I defend the term, I say something like this: For whatever reason, there are *many* people who never felt comfortable using the terms “atheist,” “Humanist,” “freethinker,” whatever. But when they heard “Bright,” it connected with them and it gave them a way to feel part of a larger movement. That’s good for all of us — to have more people proud to say they’re free of religious dogma. So I’m happy to have that term in our vocabulary.

In the same way, even if Atheism+ doesn’t resonate with you, even if you’re not a fan of the way it’s being promoted by various people, I would urge you not to denounce it so quickly.

There are people who don’t believe in god who don’t want to go public with their atheism, who don’t want to attend an atheist conference, who don’t even want to comment on an atheist blog because they anticipate the worst… but they might feel more comfortable doing all of those things in the context of a forum like Atheism+ where they feel more safe. So bring it on. We need more people to be activists and we need new ways of bringing them into the fold. If this helps them be Godless and proud, and if it makes them feel more comfortable about proclaiming their atheism out loud, great.

What if you want nothing to do with Atheism+? Ok. You’re not a bad person for saying it’s not something you want to be a part of. (Not in my mind, anyway.) I know plenty of awesome activists who aren’t thrilled about the way A+ was executed. But, again, just because it’s not for you doesn’t mean it can’t help a bunch of other people.

The kinks in the system, the way it’s talked about and described, the way people misinterpret it… will all get refined and fixed over time. When an idea comes about as quickly as this one did, it’s not going to be anywhere close to perfectly formed from the get-go.

Alright. Cue the commenters who are offended by whatever it is I just said that I shouldn’t have said.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • DavidNorris

    Back when I was a Christian, one of the things we heard over and over was that you can’t be a “lukewarm Christian” or a “casual Christian.” And on that point I agree. What we believe truly and deeply matters. In the same way, I think identifying as an atheist is something you have to be ready to do, purposefully and intentionally, just as I had to be ready to do when I came out gay. You do have to be willing to deal with the idiots who tell you that you’re evil, or wrong, or stupid, or a tool of Satan. Yes, what we believe is personal, and everyone’s different; but unless we all come out, like Harvey Milk said in 1978, atheism will continue to look like a few loud people shouting at the crowd instead of like the couple next door, or your doctor, or even (crossing my fingers) the president of the United States.

  • Zero_magog

    The fact that you had to have a disclaimer before the end of your post colors this problem right away: The A+ people are so hyper vigilant and quick to denounce critics as bigots and “douchbags” that everyone has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending them.  

    An analogy:  Is it possible to be actively opposed to racism AND be opposed to the tactics of the Black Panthers or the Nation of Islam?    Can you be for Feminist ideology AND be opposed to Andrea Dworkin?

    Of course you can.  But too many of the A+ leaders don’t seem to get this.  

    Also, thank you for not jumping on the “you aren’t in with this group, so you are a bad person” bandwagon.

    • Blitzgal

      Ah yes, the standard feminist boogeyman.

    • MoriyaMug

      So very well put. As I wrote before, I’m not on board with it, despite agreeing with almost everything they state as their position, because I’m not a fan of cliques with excommunicatory power.

      • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

        *sighs*  Where do you get this idea that anyone involved with Atheism+ is excommunicating people?  Of all things…

        • RobMcCune

          Because they must be in someway evil for some reason otherwise there might be a reason give them some form of support.

          • MoriyaMug

            You are really exemplifying just how open and accepting this group is meant to be. How else shall you be describing me today? Irrational? Possibly sexist? Deluded? The possibilities are endless! Come, do thrill me with a fresh wonder from your bag of tricks.

            • RobMcCune

              What have I described you as again, or anyone in this comment thread for that matter? Did you mean to post this somewhere else?

    • Greta Christina

      The A+ people are so hyper vigilant and quick to denounce critics as
      bigots and “douchbags” that everyone has to walk on eggshells to avoid
      offending them.

      Citation, please?

      If you look at the actual Atheism+ website, and the principles and mission statement offered there, you don’t see anything of the kind. Quite the opposite.

      • DrewHardies

        From the ‘clarification’ that you posted as in another comment, emphasis is mine.

        In short, if you reject this value statement, you are simply my ideological enemy, and I will give you no quarter. I’ll respect your legal and human rights, because I believe in that. But don’t be shocked if I am not friendly. 

        This includes if you mock or make fun of Atheism+ or belittle it with stupid dumb-ass shit like calling it Stalinism.  That makes you an asshole. Point blank. Plain and simple.  

        • Kevin Kirkpatrick

          Why did you not cite the “value statement”, or give a link?  It’s impossible to evaluate whether this is actually evidence of Greta denouncing anyone not walking on eggshells as a “bigoted douchebag”, without that rather key context.  I mean, consider the hypothetical value statement, “I value truth over doctrine.”.  Wouldn’t you agree that pretty much anyone who rejected /that/ value statement would be your ideological enemy (keyword, ideological)?

          The second point you highlighted sounds like Greta is not denouncing dissent or disagreement so much as tactics.  If you have problems with parts, or all, of the Atheism+ concept, then simply stating what those problems were would be a far cry from mockery.  If you want nothing to do with it, then by all means, have NOTHING to do with.   Certainly you can understand that there’s a different between constructive criticism intended to help those working on building activism out of Atheism+, and mockery, which can only serve to demotivate people working to make Atheism+ into a platform to make positive differences in society.  

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          Yeah, that’s meaningless without the value statement. ”
          This includes if you mock or make fun of Atheism+ or belittle it” Notice that she never said “If you don’t adopt the label or don’t actively join up.”
          I don’t necessarily have a problem with someone who doesn’t call themselves a feminist. The problem starts when they mock it or belittle it. 

      • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

        Richard Carrier’s initial essay on it. It’s on FTB, I’m sure you can find it with ease.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      If you are part of a group that advocates for X, and you either don’t care about X or are against X… then why the hell would you be included into that group? Plain and simple: if you don’t care about knitting or dislike knitting, then why would you even want to join the Atheist Knitting Group? If you don’t think social justice, feminism, marriage equality, etc. are important issues, then Atheism+ just isn’t for you.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        Gahh! There’s an Atheist Knitting Group? Knitting is being forced upon me! How dare they distract the atheist movement! How dare they include something irrelevant to atheism in an atheist group! How dare they discriminate against people who don’t like knitting!

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          If I don’t learn to love knitting, and soon, they’ll capture me and torture me!

          • Kodie

            I don’t love knitting, I just taught myself to knit so I can make a few things I wanted that I couldn’t buy in a store. It’s something that I can do but it doesn’t define who I am. What does that make me?

            • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

              It makes you an atheist (assuming you are one) who likes to knit. If you don’t think knitting is that important a facet in your life, then an Atheist Knitting Group probably isn’t for you. But you can’t go around saying that the Atheist Knitting Group will make non-knitters feel inferior or like they’re bad people.

              • Kodie

                 What if they get matching satin jackets?

                • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

                  Then they will all call you a satinist.

                  *open-mouthed grin* Eh? Eh?

                • Kodie

                  I can’t decide whether to call you swift or sharp. :)

    • ganner918


      The fact that you had to have a disclaimer before the end of your post colors this problem right away: The A+ people are so hyper vigilant and quick to denounce critics as bigots and “douchbags” that everyone has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending them.”

      You conveniently exclude the possibility that those offended could also include those who are so hyper-vigilant and quick to denounce any mention of sexism and misogyny. I’ve been reading a lot of these blogs for quite some time and the mere mention of a women’s issue usually precipitates a flood of opposition.

  • Don Burnette

    Sorry, but I think you’ve made a false analogy. People who avoid terms like “humanist” and “atheist” and instead use “bright” (which is new to me), surely prefer it because it masks the true meaning from anyone not in that circle. Saying someone might like Atheism+ over Atheism would be like arguing:

    “For whatever reason, there are *many* people who never felt comfortable using the terms “atheist,” “Humanist,” “freethinker,” whatever. But when they heard “atheist+,” “Humanist+,” “freethinker+,” it connected with them”

    I find that a bit of a stretch.

    • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

       Why is that a stretch, exactly?  Why wouldn’t people connect with a group who advocates social justice AND lack of religion?

  • Dglas Raeat

    Brights don’t tell atheists they aren’t real atheists, do not belong, and need to be marginalized and excommunicated. Brights don’t characterize anyone who doesn’t use their label as purveyors of “hate.” Compare that with the ideological, conformist rhetoric coming out of the atheism+ crusade.

    • Blitzgal

      Being asked to not be a sexist asshole is none of the things you’ve listed above.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

        Touche’.  Calling oneself Bright, yet failing to understand that if you reject religion you should also reject the bogus superiority  of men created and upheld by religion is benighted.

      • The Captain

        Just because you call someone a sexist asshole, does not in fact make them one. 

        • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

          No, but when someone says you’re a whore and a bitch and that what you say is worthless because you’re a woman, that kind of does say that they’re a sexist asshole.

      • Dglas Raeat

        Thanks for bringing up name-calling right away, Blitzgal. Way to represent. :)

        Possibly, although “sexist asshole” sounds a lot like hate-branding to me, to be honest – very hyperbolic. However orthodoxy requirements at FtB (on pain of excommunication) and calls to marginalize (“kick to the curb”) those who dare disagree, whatever the reason for disagreement, does.

        I am interested in free and open inquiry. Ideological orthodoxy requirements are the very antithesis of free and open inquiry. I find it interesting how this is an easy point to understand when it is someone else’s ideology trying to constrain conversation, not so easy when it is one’s own…

        • http://twitter.com/postshaggy Life Post-Shaggy

           I think Blitzgal was saying “Atheism Plus asks people not to be sexist assholes,” not “you, Dglas Raeat, are a sexist asshole.”

          • MoriyaMug

            It’s quickly turning into “support us or be condemned as a sexist asshole,” though. And if they seriously don’t want that image, they need to collectively speak out to subvert it.

            • Greta Christina

               Have you actually been to the Atheist+ forum? If so — where are you seeing that?

              • MoriyaMug

                 That’s been my experience in the FtB blog threads I’ve read and/or commented on. I don’t make a habit of  frequenting forums.

              • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

                That was Richard Carrier.  Jen McCreight straight up said Carrier didn’t speak for her.

            • onamission5

              It’s really weird how you and I are reading the same things and gleaning completely different ideas fom what we’ve read.

              • Patterrssonn

                You need to work up a good haze of paranoiac self righteousness first. Try visiting an MRA site first then everything will become clear.

            • Raavequeen

              They have. Several times. They’ve made it pretty explicit.

              The strawmen just keep coming, though, as evidenced in many of the messages above.

            • Patterrssonn

              No it’s don’t be a sexist asshole and if you can’t just fuck off cause were sick of listening to your whiny drivel.

          • Dglas Raeat

            I didn’t say Blitzgal was calling me, specifically, a “sexist asshole.” However, it is the case that the first reflexive response was to summon those words. Doesn’t that tell you something?

            Atheism+ is not asking anything. It is demanding, on pain of excommunication. Why is Atheism+ not calling on Brayton to set aside his orthodoxy requirements? Why is Atheism+ not calling on Myers to correct his bizarre definition of “freethought” that prohibits free thinking? It’s because they agree – at the expense of free and open inquiry.

            • Coyotenose

              That was Blitzgal’s first response because Atheism+ was conceived directly because of sexist assholes; Proven, documented, sexist assholes who are harming all facets of the atheism movement, who come out in fucking droves to be sexist assholes whenever someone suggests that maybe being a sexist asshole is a negative thing.

              Myers’s definition of Freethought is accurate and not the strawman you’re trotting out, a strawman invented by the lying Thunderfoot herd. Dare I ask if that’s where you got it?

            • http://twitter.com/VillainCorner Christopher X. Morse

              “It is demanding, on pain of excommunication.”

              On excommunication from WHAT, exactly? Were you a member of Atheism+ for the two seconds it existed?

        • Raavequeen

          Absolutely *beautiful* strawman there, Dglas Raeat. Beautiful.

          Here’s a notice for everyone: If when A+-ers say things like “sexist assholes” or “mysogynists” and you get all sensitive because you think that YOU fall into the category of people that they’re referring to, guess what- that is YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM, NOT THEIRS.

          • ganner918

            If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one yapping the loudest is probably the one you hit.

            • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

              Wow, using violent images and comparing people who aren’t just like you to animals in order to dismiss their words.  Nice.

        • Patterrssonn

          Sexist asshole is hate branding? Only if you’ve drunk deep of the MRA koolaid and descended into testerical paranoia.

          • The Other Weirdo

             I don’t know exactly what “testerical paranoia” is, but Firefox’s dictionary wants to correct it to “hysterical,” which has a very old meaning. I’m pretty sure you didn’t intend to start flinging biological insults. Did you?

            • Patterrssonn

              No I was just pointing out the stupidity of you’re whiny rant. Lets see if I can define testeria for you, I’m guessing your dictionary already has paranoia.

              testeria: n. frenzied bleating by males over perceived attacks to their gender privilege; v. to protest wildly when criticised on issues of male privilege.

              It’s a fairly common word, I don’t know why your dicktionary doesn’t have it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

            You are nothing but a pathetic and hate-filled bigot.

            • Patterrssonn

              Oh Terry no don’t say that! Please! It’s love I feel for you. Yes love, a deep and abiding kind for all the weaselly little MRA trolls that post on these pages. You’re the reason I stick around, without you my laughter is hollow, my bombast has no bast. Without you I am a dog without a bone.

              Yours Truly

              Patterrssonn

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003041145629 Matt Martin

        Not a fan of A+?  You’re a sexist asshole!

        Yes, I want to be a part of this movement. /sarcasm

        • MoriyaMug

          Absolutely agreed. I had the same issue with the invention of ebonics, which struck me as nothing more than some idiot politician saying (effectively), “These niggers are too stupid to learn real English, so we’ll just call that noise they make from their mouths a language and call it a day.” Voila! Problem solved.

          • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

            Quite the progressive, linguistically sophisticated stance you’ve got there, Moriya. Oy vey.

            • MoriyaMug

               It really is fascinating that one can use the word, “nigger,” in any given context, and it makes people completely miss the point of what’s being said.

              • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

                My comment didn’t have anything to do with your word choice, Moriya.

          • LouisDoench

            Actually, you have completely misrepresented the goals behind ebonics.  It had nothing to do with teaching innercity black youth a different language. It was training teachers to better understand the kids they had to teach.  

            • RobMcCune

              The myth and it’s symbol are more important than any facts here.

            • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

              Liberty Vallance effect at work: When the legend becomes so well-known, you print the legend.

          • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

            Pray tell, what about Black English (or, to use its more formal initialism, AAVE) disqualifies it as a language? To be honest, this is difficult to justify as anything other than an utterly ignorant, racist statement.

            • https://sites.google.com/site/ferulebezelssite/ Ferule Bezel

               Because it’s not a language.  It’s a dialect of English, like Scouse, Strine, American Hillbilly or any other dialect be it regional or class based.

              • Raavequeen

                Actually, you aren’t king linguistics who gets to decide shit about black english. I think it is a language and so do a lot of other linguists- it has it’s own grammar, phonology, and syntax, not to mention it’s own vocabulary, and it developed in the same way that MANY languages developed.

                And, actually, “american hillbilly” (or southern english, or texas english, or any of the many other variations that are far too dissimilar to be lumped together in such a derogatory and ignorant way) is also considered by some a language- for the exact same reasons. 

                The question of what the difference actually is between a dialect and a language IS AN OPEN ONE. You can’t sit here and act like you know what you’re talking about when the fucking field hasn’t even come to a consensus.

        • raavequeen

          Have you not read/listened to the problems they’ve listed with trying to “stay in the atheist movement and not break away”? Did you not catch the whole, “hey, let’s fight sexual harassment!” “Oh my god FUCK YOU BITCH” meltdown that happened?

          • ganner918

            Yeah, they tried to influence within the movement and most people either ignored them or told them “there’s no real problem and this isn’t a relevant topic.” Strange, considering the fairly large minority group of people calling them bitches and sluts and cunts and talking about raping them and telling them that since they’re ugly their opinion doesn’t matter or because you did this sexual thing once you aren’t a serious person anymore. And the rest of the movement still ignored, and basically said “get over it and ignore people.” And in the face of abuse and a refusal of the rest of people to confront the abuse, they decided to create their own safe space. And then the people who would never take them seriously in the first place now accuse THEM of being the divisive ones!

            • Pascale Laviolette

              YES!

          • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

            Meltdown?  No, I missed that.  However, I did see a tiny amount of trolls and mostly anonymous commenters, who were never any large amount of people, who were never regular, committed commenters, being held up as supposedly normal or widely representative of the community, in order to perpetuate the idea that rampant, violent sexism was a huge problem.  I also saw a tiny handful of harmless occurences over a period of several years being used as evidence of rampant sexual harrassment at conferences. 
            If I believed all the hype, I would have to beleive that atheist/skeptic gatherings and websites are magnitudes worse in regard to sexism and harrassment than any other kind of gathering or website.
             I have also noticed that when anyone points out this inherent and obvious dishonesty, they are generally treated as if they were making “pro-sexism” comments, or engaging in “hyper-skepticism” to silence women.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      Brights don’t tell atheists they aren’t real atheists,

      Atheism+ doesn’t do that either.

      … do not belong…

      Well, if you aren’t in favor of any of the things that A+ stands for, then why WOULD  you belong?

      …and need to be marginalized and excommunicated.

      Please provide sources where it is said that those things need to be done.

      Brights don’t characterize anyone who doesn’t use their label as purveyors of “hate.”

      Again, show where anybody has said this regarding Atheism+. People behind this movement, people like Jen McCreight and Greta Christina, are not saying this. If anyone is saying it, it’s people like you who just want to commit straw-man fallacy after straw-man fallacy.

      Compare that with the ideological, conformist rhetoric coming out of the atheism+ crusade.

      It’s a new group that is optional to join Nobody is forcing you to join the movement. But it is certainly NOT conformist. And is it certainly NOT a crusade. Ideological? Perhaps. But you say that like it’s a bad thing. We care about social justice issues. Since when has that become a bad thing?

      Stop with the straw-men already.

      • MoriyaMug

        I care about social justice issues, too. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very vocal on behalf of women’s rights. I’ve stated my concerns and doubts about this new group, and been immediately pegged as an MRA (which I am decidedly not).

        Not conformist? You’ll have to forgive me when I say the evidence does not support the claim, at least in my experience. Even Dillahunty (a person I genuinely respect a great deal) has made a couple of rather absolutist remarks.

        • MoriyaMug

          Addendum: Don’t speak of caring about social issues as if you’re the only people who do. One is not made a better person by joining, and being a better person doesn’t mean one has to join. This is not an antinomious proposition.

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Exactly. You don’ t have to join. Nobody is saying that you do. Again, where is the problem here? It’s an optional group, like any other social club or get-together, online or offline.

            “One is not made a better person by joining,” so don’t join! Nobody is saying you WILL be a better person by joining. Straw-man.

            “Don’t speak of caring about social issues as if you’re the only people who do,” which is not what I was doing. Straw-man.

            So many straw-men, so few torches.

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          I care about social justice issues, too. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very vocal on behalf of women’s rights.

          Then what is the problem here? You care about social justice issues, and that is one of the core ideals behind Atheism+. I just don’t see where the problem lies.

          Or are you afraid that someday, somehow,  you will say something that others disagree with, and will be kicked out of Atheism+? Or is it the “absolutist” remarks, of which I still have yet to see evidence. I have seen nothing except, “Here is a group where we’re atheists, plus we care about other stuff,” where OTHER people are putting words in other people’s mouths, spreading lies and misinformation, and making false, baseless accusations.

      • Dglas Raeat

        So, you’ve actually bought into this idea that Atheism+ is “optional.” This, despite that FtB (Brayton) has now declared it policy to enforce ideological orthodoxy requirements on its bloggers (and indicated they will excommunicate on that basis). This is spite of the fact that McCreight’s “clarification” openly admits that people must be excluded on this basis. Are you not paying attention, or are you so blinded by the ideology that the means of advancing it have escaped your notice…?

        Seriously. Take a step back. Look again.

        Constraints on free inquiry (dare I say “free thought?”) are constraints on free inquiry, whatever the justification. The error is the same, whether one likes the justification or not.

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          You act like FTB is this monarchy that all atheists must follow on threat of death. Stop acting like we’re all being forced into Atheism+ labor camps or something.

          It’s a group. FTB is a group. They can make whatever rules they want. Unless you’re a FTB blogger who disagrees with this,  you have nothing to complain about. Don’t like it? Don’t join the group. Simple as that.

          Hyperbole much?

        • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

          Atheism+ is not defined in terms of a set of beliefs, but a set of values/interests/concerns. You might equally well accuse humanism of stifling free thought, because it has things that look like creeds. Or, heck, yell at the scientific method for telling us what to do! Damn those authoritarian prescriptions.

          There’s a germ of truth in what you say — the unveiling of A+ was mishandled, especially by Myers and Carrier — but your comments are skewed by not having read, e.g., McCreight’s FAQ on the topic.

          • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

            So who determines if you’re a good A+-er or not? PZ? Carrier? Greta? Jen? Ophelia?

            There’s obviously more to being a part of that than self-determination, so who is actually making the rules? This isn’t like “old” atheism, wherein you decide for yourself. There’s a set of requirements to belong, and if you don’t fit them, you can’t.

            So who decides?

            • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

              Who decides who gets to be a ‘humanist’? A ‘libertarian’? A ‘theist’? These terms are fuzzy by nature, and there are disagreements at the borderlands. We shouldn’t be surprised to see even more ambiguity in a neologism.

              I would personally like to see a more clear definition of “Atheism+” so we can set a lot of this bickering and equivocating aside, but it’s worth noting that thus far its proponents (Jen, P.Z., Greta) have tended to go out of their way *not* to give a precise definition, specifically to avoid appearing to dictate to others how they should use the term and whether they fall under it. They’ve given an impressionistic set of common interests and concerns that establish a family resemblance between the group in question. I don’t think you want more than that, yet you’re also dissatisfied with that much, or with less. Perhaps there’s no winning here; either you’ll look hazy and equivocal, or you’ll look like a tyrant for bothering to define your terms.

              • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                that’s kind of nice, but if you look at what’s been coming from the A+ side, there’s a clear “with us or against us” vibe. That needs to be dealt with or the standards made more clear.

                But right now, the idea that anyone can just be an A+-er is simply at odds with the reality coming from the movement. If one person, Jen, can dismiss one other person’s ‘definition’, Carrier’s, with a single tweet, there are in fact, standards.

                • ganner918

                  Carrier was one of the ones definitely pushing a “with us or against us” vibe, and because Jen disagrees with his stance, that is further proof of an orthodoxy that has to be followed? Sounds like no matter WHAT stance Jen took, your response would have been the same. Support what Carrier said or stay silent on it, and she’s supporting or condoning a “with us or against us” orthodoxy. Denounce it, and it’s proof of HER imposing an orthodoxy. You’ve left no room for her/a+ to win.

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  the fact you think there’s a “winner” in this kind of proves a lot of the points of the people who see A+ as an orthodoxy. Orthodoxies kind of require a loser, or at least an “other”. This isn’t about, or at least shouldn’t be about “winning”. For someone to “win” there’s the implication of a loser.

                  Who’s the loser? Who decides. Again, even setting aside Carrier, there’s a very real vibe of “if you disagree with A+, you’re a bad person, you’re a misogynist, you’re a racist, you’re a homophobe, you’re against social justice.” That’s bulldookey writ large, but that’s the vibe that’s coming. Even Carrier’s non-pology is still saying With Us In The Way We Define It Or You Are Bad.

                  Thus far, the A+ side has had a series of pat answers to every questioner:

                  1) You’re an asshole who hates social justice
                  2) you’re just trolling us
                  3) You don’t understand/haven’t read what we’re saying

                  Pat answers are designed to be ripped out sans thought. They are reactions not responses. Many people who have issues with A+ *as it currently stands* aren’t against equal rights for all, we’re not homophobes, or the rest of it. We don’t make death threats or threaten to rape people who disagree with us.

                  Yet, the vibe from A+ is consistent, and if you disagree with A+, you get one of the three pat answers and into the oubliette with you until you “think correctly”.

                  Maybe in time A+ will not have that “with us or a bad person” vibe, maybe they won’t conflate disagreeing/questioning A+ with being against social justice, but *right now*, the vibe is not inclusive, it’s pretty fucking hostile.

                • ganner918

                  I wasn’t trying to imply anything about one group winning and another losing and there being an orthodoxy. I was using a turn of phrase to describe the fact that you’ve created a catch-22 for them in terms of their response to Richard Carrier’s comments.

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  No, and telling me that over and over doesn’t make it true. They’ve created that paradox themselves. If there is no orthodoxy, then Carrier’s views can’t be rejected *in terms of being part of A+*. Jen can  *disagree* with them, but if A+ has no real organization, than she can’t *repudiate* them, nor can she say if they belong in A+ or not, not by herself anyway.

                  If she can, then there is, at least minimally, an orthodoxy. You quite literally cannot break “rules” or “customs” or “guidelines” if they don’t exist. If they exist, own up to them, be clear about them and stop pretending otherwise. If they aren’t, then no one person should be saying what is/is not A+

                • ganner918

                  There is no orthodoxy yet because it’s still in its formative stages. People are still trying to figure out what it IS. But in some way, it is Jen’s baby and she can have some say in what she wants in it and not. And it IS to some degree a catch-22 no matter how much you say it isn’t. They have people demanding they repudiate it, not just disagree with it, lest they be assumed to support it and be forced to own his comments. But if they do repudiate it, they then are accused of an orthodoxy they need to “own up to” but that doesn’t even exist yet. They’re just coming up with a group and trying to figure out what it is. One guy said some assholish stuff – and now no matter what response they take, they get shit for it. That’s what I meant when I said “they can’t win.” Literally every action Jen or others can feasibly take will get them criticized.

                  But then, I don’t think “we shouldn’t be assholes” is an orthodoxy, nor do I think they need to define themselves an orthodoxy to “own up to” in order to say “we don’t want a+ers to be assholes.”

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  Oh please. Like atheism at large cares about repudiating everything they’re supposed to. If THAT was an issue, they’d be apologizing for Mao, Staling and Pol Pot until the end of the universe. Atheists are perfectly capable of not taking the blame for things that aren’t their fault, so no, jen didn’t *have* to do that at all. 

                  She could have disagreed, without dismissing Carrier’s remarks in relation to A+. She could have ignored them. She made a deliberate choice to say what she said, and I don’t think she’s either stupid, ignorant, or naive. So spare me the “catch-22″ stuff, and thank you for confirming that this isn’t just a bunch of people with no real structure.

                  Also, thanks for illustrating the “if you disagree with us, you’re an asshole” vibe I’ve been talking about. It’s sadly reminiscent of the choice of anti-abortion groups to label themselves as “pro-life”, because if you’re not “pro-life”, well the alternative is kind of craptacular. 

                  If you’re not down with A+, then clearly, you’re not down with social justice and equality. That’s the vibe, and so far, you’ve managed to confirm it handily.

                • ganner918

                  I was referencing that in this very thread people have said that a failure to adequately repudiate Carrier meant that a+ has to own his statements, and if they want to be taken seriously they need to police their own.

                  How have I taken an “if you disagree with us, you’re an asshole” vibe? I’ve been no more aggressive in the defense of my ideas than you have of yours.

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  The “policing your own” thing is a dodge at best, and harmful at worst, and has all the consistency of melting jello. PZ repeatedly says he’s not responsible for what his commenters say, yet will attack “enemy” bloggers because they don’t control their commenters.

                  “you have to police your own” is regularly ignored when convenient, so again, spare me that as a reason, it simply doesn’t work when compared with reality.

                • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

                  I Love EE Cummings, too.

    • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

       Oh, you’re the guy I’ve already been arguing with online on Facebook.  Same arguments, with little evidence.  You’re free not to like Atheism + for a host of reasons (many of which you’ve mentioned), but that doesn’t make them true.  For instance, I really don’t see how Atheism+ is all conformist.  Aren’t you insisting that we conform to your idea of atheism as you discount Atheism+ as being divisive?

    • RobMcCune

      And when all else fails just use words like ‘excommunicate’ and ‘crusade’, oh and don’t forget the other talk radio favorites ‘radical feminism’, ‘feminazi’, ‘socialist’, ‘Kenyan’. You can find these and more in the Demagogue’s Guide to Substance-Free Hyperbole.

  • Kahomono

    This has been the last safe blog on which to comment without getting shredded unless you were strident, and pure.  Whatever those meant, locally.

    I hope it remains so.

    • Kahomono

      I see from the traffic since I posted the above, that it’s on fumes at best.

      If these comments are suddenly from “guest” you’ll know that you’ve run another atheist out the door of involvement. Trust me when I tell you, I am one of a very tiny minority who will exit with anything but silent cessation of participation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joequincy Jon Peterson

    The first problem I have with A+ is that I find it irrelevant. Maybe I’m misunderstanding under a storm of really awful communication, but it seems to me like a case of some atheists finding their differences with other atheists to be irreconcilable, and deciding to form a new club and call themselves something different (and I admit I’m offended by the use of “plus,” because it implies they think they’re better) just to distance themselves from us.

    I’m rather confident that I’m an atheist whether I just leave it at that or call myself an A+ member. Drawing battle lines like this and declaring anyone who isn’t “with” them to be lesser is a divisive and offensive tactic. I refuse to support it.

    I do not believe in supernatural power. That makes me an atheist. How I behave defines the quality of my person, not some title.

    • Greta Christina

       Jon: If you’re wondering why Atheism+ started and why many people think it’s relevant, I suggest you look at the original post at Jen McCreight’s blog that sparked it. People who have been working to make atheism more welcoming and more inclusive to a more diverse range of people — especially to women — have been getting an intense barrage of ugly, vicious hostility for over a year. Yes, our differences with some atheists seem to be irreconcilable. So we want to form a subset of atheism with other people who share our values.

      And the “plus” doesn’t mean “better than.” It means “in addition to.” It means “atheism, plus social justice.”

      If you don’t want to participate, that’s fine. Just please find out what this thing is, and why it exists, before you jump to conclusions about it.

      • Douglas Packard

        Thank you Greta for fighting the good fight and being so diligent and patient. I’m sure it gets tiring repeating the same things over and over, but it is necessary, and doing it with a smile even more so.

      • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

        Is atheism+ something one signs up for or is it merely a personal identification that one can consider in choosing which websites to visit? Is it envisioned that there will be a registry of atheist+ people or will certain websites merely place some kind of atheist+ logo in their header to advertise that they support discussing social justice causes in addition to atheism?

        • Greta Christina

           Jeff P: Right now: Atheism+ is an online forum. There’s a main forum, where atheists who care about social justice can discuss it and plan action. And there’s an educational forum, where introductory questions will receive civil responses. (On my own blog, when people have asked basic 101-level questions that have been answered many times over, I’ve been directing them to the educational forum.) There will also soon be educational resources: research about social justice issues, a directory of other organizations, etc.

          I know. Just like Stalin, right? :-)

  • http://twitter.com/brian_carnell brian_carnell

    Thanks, Hemant. I think zero_magog’s post hits on the general mistrust among some people of the A+ label (though the Andrea Dworkin example is offbase since the folks involved hold views clearly to the ‘right’ of Dworkin).

    There is clearly a strain of online atheism which sees no problem in dehumanizing its opponents which, until now, have been largely religious individuals and organization so most people tolerated/ignored/celebrated it. Now we see that starting to be directed inward at anyone who doesn’t subscribe fully to a specific political program or doesn’t use “proper language.”

    Don is also correct. Bright always came across as a less controversial synonym for atheist or secularist. A+ is like atheism, only moar better… or as Jen put it atheists who don’t just sit around debunking homeopathy over and over agian, but those who want to “be a positive force in the world.”

    Now a lot of this could just be growing pains from the way that they chose to roll this out so public and piecemeal, but so far it isn’t encouraging.

  • DrewHardies

    My concern is that the A+ thing is trying to be both a philosophy and an organization heavily influenced by Freethought Bloggers.
    We’ve already seen a fair bit of, “Don’t want to support the organization?  You hate the principles behind it then.” (See Carrier’s post)

    Worse, it seems like it’ll become our “No True Christian would have done that”.  Carrier, while abrasive, seemed to be sincere in his desire to promote the stated value, but we still saw the reply “Doesn’t represent A+”.

    While helping people is great, independent of the banner used, I’m worried where this will just increase the atheist community’s tendency to conflate disagreement about small policies with attacks on basic morality.  

    I hope I’m wrong, but I expect that we’ll see control of the ‘A+’ label used in the next internet-dispute (whatever it happens to be) as a way of saying, “You disagree with a particular set of bloggers?  Clearly you hate even the principle of social justice.”

    • Greta Christina

      We’ve already seen a fair bit of, “Don’t want to support the
      organization?  You hate the principles behind it then.” (See Carrier’s
      post)

      Richard Carrier did not say that. Here is his post where he clarifies his widely-misinterpreted (and admittedly poorly-worded) intention. His point was not, “If you don’t use this particular label, you hate the principles behind it.” His point was, “If you don’t support the principles behind it, I think you’re a jerk.”

      Also, Richard Carrier does not speak for Atheism+. He is just one person who supports it. If you want to critique Atheism+, please address the actual principles as worded on the website by the founder. Thanks.

      • MoriyaMug

        If he doesn’t speak for the group, then his words should be loudly, repeatedly and thoroughly denounced as being divisive by someone in an official position. Otherwise, it is not unlike the moderates giving tacit support to the fundies.

        (If this has already been done, forget all that and please provide a link.)

        • http://twitter.com/hpgross Harrison Gross

          What is an official position? Is Jen McCreight the official head of athiesm+ just because she helped think it up? Do all athiests have to swear an oath saying then loathe Stalin, or just some officials?

          • MoriyaMug

            Atheism+ has been positioned as an exclusive club. One is either in or one is not. Atheism itself is nothing more than a lack of belief in deities. No other criteria. This new group is not something one merely finds oneself a part of. Don’t be obtuse.

        • ganner918
          • MoriyaMug

            It’s a start. But when that attitude is beginning to become your group’s public image, one needs to put a little more thought into a statement than a mere tweet.

            Silence is assent in such circumstances, and a tweet is barely a whisper.

            • amycas

               When those who don’t like your group insist on only talking about the one person who wrote a poorly-worded blog post that was then misconstrued the way Carrier’s was, then that blog post becoming the public image is hardly the group’s fault.

              • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

                No, Moriya is right. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is; the main thinkers of A+ could and should be doing a lot more to distance themselves from both P.Z. and Richard’s antagonistic, militaristic tone. ‘Enemies’ and ‘battles’… this is not a healthy way to begin a productive discussion, and surely with a movement so new there is plenty of fertile room for persuading fence-sitters.

                • LouisDoench

                  You know what, I like PZ. I like Richard Carrier.  They are smart passionate advocates for social justice. I couldn’t give a flying fig what you think of their “tone”. 

                • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

                  I like them both too. I also like Atheism+. I want to see it succeed. A necessary condition for it to achieve its aims is for people like P.Z. and Richard to learn how to talk to people they dislike and actually persuade more people than they drive away or turn off. It’s great to be able to entertain people who already agree with you, but at this point we already know we can do that. The hard part is establishing a real dialogue. If we can’t even do that between atheists to attract humanistic fence-sitters, how can we hope to ever attract ‘agnostic’ fence-sitters to the side of religious criticism?

            • RobMcCune

              I doubt there could possibly enough apology to make you or others see Atheism+ differently differently.

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          This is similar to “moderates must refute, or they’re giving tacit support” when speaking about religious extremism. In this case, the moderates ARE speaking out, it’s just that nobody is bothering to listen. There are many, many blog posts on the FTB network separating the truth from the lies and misinformation that people are spreading about Atheism+. You can also read Greta Christina’s posts on this very blog post.

          • ganner918

            Seems most commenters, along with Jen and Greta, are all saying that what Richard said was unnecessarily hostile and we don’t support it. And somehow we’re giving it tacit support? Should we issue a press release condemning the original Carrier post?

      • DrewHardies

         Do you identify as an atheist? Then I call upon you to pick sides within our movement (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or do you at least cheer and approve it’s values and aims (since you don’t have to label yourself), or are you going to stick with Atheism Less and its sexism and cruelty and irrationality?

        This is pretty straightforward.  People don’t have to label themselves as A+, but if they’re not cheering it (publicly, via Facebook or other social media), then they’re with ‘them’.  It is ‘cheer and approve’ not ‘cheer or approve’.
        But, I’m happy to accept that most people don’t agree with him.  Fine, he’s not the A+ pope or anything.

        My real problem (and the central focus of my post) is my worry about defining ‘No True A+’ in the same after-the-fact way people define ‘No True Christian’ to disavow and heap scorn on anyone who screwed up or is out of favor.

        Carrier’s post seemed to be made in good faith.  He was promoting social justice as he saw it, along with all the other virtues that were attached to A+ in Jen’s definition.

        The only way to say that this is not an A+ post is to say “That person does hold our values and was acting on his understanding of them, but because some list of influential people disagree, it was No True A+ activity.”

        This is bad logic and will lead to horrible social dynamics. 

        • DrewHardies

          To add, the ‘clarification’ isn’t really a step back from the ‘with us or against us’.

          In short, if you reject this value statement, you are simply my ideological enemy, and I will give you no quarter. I’ll respect your legal and human rights, because I believe in that. But don’t be shocked if I am not friendly.This includes if you mock or make fun of Atheism+. or belittle it with stupid dumb-ass shit like calling it Stalinism

          So, mocking or criticizing the movement makes someone the ‘ideological enemy’ who deserves ‘no quarter’.The ‘no quarter’ makes this read like anyone who makes an editorial cartoon that Carrier doesn’t like can expect to be subject any of the various dirty (but legal) tricks people play online.

          • amycas

             When you mock and criticize a particular ideology, you are acting as an ideological enemy. That’s actually the basic definition of being an ideological enemy. This doesn’t mean anybody has to hate them, it’s just pointing out the obvious.

            Also, you added the word “criticizing” when it specifically said “mocking and making fun of.” Mocking may include criticism, but it is not only criticism (you might even say it’s “criticism +”).

            Person 1 holds belief A. Person 2 believes the opposite of A and mocks belief A. This makes Person 2 the ideological enemy of Person 1, but miraculously they are still friends and don’t hate each other. Get it now?

            • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

              No, this is ridiculous. Don’t use the word ‘enemy’ for people who are your friends, even if you can cook up some apt definition of ‘enemy’ to make it fit as a technical term. I can support Atheism+ while still pointing out how absurdly, monstrously counterproductive it is to fall into us-v.-them ‘enemy’ rhetoric. Even if it were true, it’s an atrocious way to frame the debate and get people to calmly rethink their views.

            • DrewHardies

              This blog just put up an editorial cartoon making fun of people who criticize A+.

              Even so, I’m not going to call ‘FriendlyAtheist’ my ‘ideological enemy’ and talk about (metaphorically) murdering people in cold blood even after they surrender.
              I’m not going to do that because jumping from “you made fun of an argument” to “you are my enemy who deserves only the barest human rights consideration” is  unreasonable and unbalanced.

        • ganner918

          So… because someone who identifies with it is bad, it’s now a bad thing? And the rest of the people in it can’t denounce him?  We just have to accept “yup atheism+ sucks because Richard Carrier was an asshole?”

          • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

            Yes. If anyone in atheism+ is a dick, that discredits the entire idea. Whereas if anyone in mainstream atheism is a dick, they’re just a dick and you can’t expect everyone to march in lockstep.

          • DrewHardies

            The central focus of my post is my worry about defining ‘No True A+’ in the same after-the-fact way people define ‘No True Christian’.
            I would suggest re-reading the comment you replied to.  The thing I’m critiquing is the way Carrier’s getting retroactively disavowed.

            • ganner918

              But you’re creating a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. This isn’t an “ignore whenever one of them does something bad, they’re not real a+ers.” It’s “we disagree with what he said and don’t intend for that to represent what a+ is.” If they didn’t respond, they’d be tarred for condoning it (and they are being tarred for that, even while denouncing it), but if they denounce it, they’re accused of no true scotsman.

              • Kodie

                 Cliques.

                • ganner918

                  Pineapples

              • DrewHardies

                You prove someone’s not Scottish by showing that they’re not from Scotland.  

                If A+ is ‘Atheism + Skeptic + Humanist’ then you show someone’s not an A+ by showing that they’re not Atheist, Skeptic or Humanist. 

                Absent that, the claim that someone’s not acting as A+ actually is a no true Scotsman.

                In particular, there’s something broken about “We’re a grassroots, leaderless group; also ignore that guy, our leader disavowed him in a tweet.”

                You’re right when you say it’d be irrational for me to claim, “Your label is bad because some jerk uses it.”  

                But that’s not really my problem.  I’m worried that a small clique of people will use their control of the label to declare people “Not A+”.
                That, in itself wouldn’t be bad.  It’s just be a club.  But I’m expecting to see “They’re not A+” used to imply “They’re a bad person and opposed to humanism, skepticism and atheism.”

                The label can be revoked with a tweet.  The second step hasn’t step hasn’t been taken yet.  Time will tell if my fear is baseless or not.

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          This is bad logic and will lead to horrible social dynamics.

          So sit back and let the group self-destruct if you think that’s what’s going to happen. It won’t take all atheists with it. Atheism has always been around, and will continue to stick around regardless. Why do people such as yourself want to make this out to be like some huge disaster?

          And if  you don’t care about social justice issues, or denigrate a group that does, then why shouldn’t you be ostracized and excluded? If you don’t like knitting, why should you be included into the Atheist Knitting Club?

          Please, explain why Atheism+ needs to be inclusive of those who are against what they stand for.

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      See WHICH of Carrier’s posts? This one? You need to cite your sources if you’re going to make claims such as “Don’t want to support it? You hate the principles  behind it then.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/joequincy Jon Peterson

    There does tend to be an unusually high level of discourse (compared to other blogs, anyway) in the comment section here. I’ll second your wish.

  • http://twitter.com/JonelB Jonel Burge

    Honestly, I joined Atheism+ because I was tired of being told “those issues don’t affect us.” and having guys try to play oppression olympics with me.
    “Well I was thinking about the stance on abortion.”
    “We don’t have one, we’re atheists, it doesn’t affect us.”

    or
    “What about the difference in pay between African Americans and Whites, and the fact that they’re less likely to be hired for a job with the same resume.”
    “and? it’s not like it has anything to do with us. Who gives  a shit?”

    I was later kicked out after I spoke up–and said the exact same thing Matt Dillahunty said, actually. That when a minority brings something up that bothers them, it needs to be discussed, and we needed to decide if something needs to be done or not.
    When I brought that up, they told me I was a neonazi feminist and that I wasn’t welcome at their meetings anymore, because my “values” didn’t line up with theirs.
    What was the situation I brought it up about? Oh, a girl said she didn’t like the term “females” and a guy on a discussion panel said “We could just call them all bitches! AHAHAHAHA”. She was basically laughed out of the room.

    Basically for me this is a safe space where I KNOW I can talk about these issues with other atheists, and not be called a neonazi or a “derailing bitch” when I try to tie in the lies that christians tell to get women off of birth control or convince people to mistreat blacks. I KNOW I won’t be turned out of a group for bringing up feminism. Honestly, I was told to leave r/atheism several times when someone else brought up abortion laws, and I actually added information, stastistics, and citations to it– “your stupid woman shit has no place here.” was the message I got, more often than not, from your average atheist. I guess I’m different in that I joined atheism because it was important to me for people to realize that the current system is often toxic for equality, and that religions don’t care about us. Feminism was a big part of that, especially since I live in a place where I was told “oh honey god don’t want you to be smart, you need to learn to shut your mouth.”
    And then of course later on r/atheism I was getting the same replies “Just shut up, you dumb bitch, you’re don’t need to talk about feminist bullshit HERE.”

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      You’re acting Atheism+ is already a thing with meet-ups happening. What are you talking about? Atheism+ is still brand new. There are no meetings.

      • http://twitter.com/JonelB Jonel Burge

        There’s a section on reddit, and I know that if meetings do happen, I won’t be kicked out for bringing up “things that don’t matter.” like social equality.

      • ErickaMJohnson

        A+ is a new label, not a new concept. People have been doing good in the name of atheism for a long time.

    • The Captain

      How the fuck is “female” offensive??????? 

      • http://twitter.com/JonelB Jonel Burge

        Lots of people don’t like the word, I have no problem with it, but I’m not about to tell someone “stfu ugly bitch” because I have no problem with it.

        A great example is African-American–I’ve met a lot of black people who really really dislike the term, mainly because they feel no connection to Africa, but lots of connection to the black community. It’s almost as if the guy said “We could just call you niggers.” to a black person.Which is unacceptable.I’m not saying we HAVE to call women, women, I”m saying that I WANT to listen to concerns like this and not treat people with them like morons.

        • The Captain

          Oh no, I get that what they did was wrong. I’m not a social idiot. But there has to be some shared responsibility here for the miscommunications thats happening within the community. 
          So yea, these guys where assholes depending on how the joke was meant, and she was a hypersensitive idiot, depending on how she meant it.

          • ganner918

            The aggressive attacks on anyone perceived to be “hypersensitive” serve as a mechanism to shut people up, for fear that someone will perceive their complain at “hypersensitive” and thus justifying abuse and mockery. What is so horrifically wrong with “I’m sorry if I offended you, it wasn’t my intent?”

            • Tainda

              If someone is offended, everyone should be able to say “sorry if I offended you”.

              The problems comes when people don’t know what they can and can’t say in society for fear of offending someone.  Someone is always offended by something out there.  I refuse to censor myself to that degree to make everyone happy.  I am a polite person but sometimes this PC stuff gets ridiculous

              • The Other Weirdo

                 Even if you’re not sorry and never meant it to be offensive in the first place?

            • The Captain

              Are you actually denying that hypersensitivity exist?

              I don’t think you would, and that’t the problem here, who gets to define what sensitivities we should and should not care about? The problem is the A+ group thinks it’s only them that gets to decide. Just like you do. 

              Let me ask you this, What is so horrifically wrong with an interracial couple saying “I’m sorry if I offended you, it wasn’t our intent?” to someone who was offended by the site of them? I mean you wouldn’t call that person “hypersensitive” to serve as a mechanism to shut them up would you?

              • ganner918

                No, I’d call the person offended at others’ personal behavior (marrying inter-racially) an asshole. It’s not comparable to being offended because someone offended you a statement that was hurtful or perceived to be hurtful to a marginalized group.

                You don’t have to care about all the same sensibilities as they do. But you damn sure have to respect others’ sensibilities. Even if you think they’re hypersensitive, to ignore and belittle their concerns is unacceptable. And it was the widespread belittling and ignoring of their concerns that led these people to conclude that they were not valued and needed to carve out a place to advance their interests. And it went beyond just “internet comments.” Or were you absent during the shit storm that blew up over the request for sexual harassment policies at conferences.

                • The Captain

                  Oh so it’s just “speech” you think should be catered to peoples sensibilities. So what about a religious person who get offended if and woman speaks. Would you demand she respect their “sensibilities”?

                  Of course you wouldn’t, because it’s all about you deciding who’s sensibilities everyone else has to cater to. Like I said, this is all about control and the A+ crowed wants to be the one to control what every one else can or can not do.  

                • ganner918

                  You are being deliberately obtuse. Again, you use an example of someone demanding that everyone’s behavior cater to their desires. On the other hand, I’m saying “don’t use language that is hurtful to marginalized groups”

                • The Other Weirdo

                   Except when the marginalized group really isn’t.

                • Patterrssonn

                  Stop it man you’re killing me! Youre fucking testerical!

              • Patterrssonn

                God what a shitty analogy. What’s wrong with asking that women be called women for fuck sakes it’s not as it women haven’t been asking this for god knows how fucking long. Poke your head out of the bubble now and again, it won’t fucking kill you.

                • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

                  Wipe the spittle off your chin, please, it’s offensive to see.

                • Patterrssonn

                  Pull your head out of your ass please it’s, oh never mind.

            • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

              I think you have tripped over your feet in your jump to defend the hypersensitive.

              I know many-a-hypersensitive Xtian where I live. They find the mere mention of the existence of atheists offensive. Should I apologize to them? I think not.

              Each situation is different. I definitely think the reaction described here was terrible. But your reaction to the hypersensitive moniker is also poor.

              • ganner918

                I disagree. My position, as I think I have pretty clearly stated, is that no one can tell you how to behave, what ideas to express, etc. But when it comes to choice of language, the people who get to decide if something this a slur or otherwise demeaning to a marginalized group is the member of said group. Saying “Allah isn’t real” is expressing an idea, and nobody can tell you they’re offended so you have to stop. Calling someone a towel-head is a slur and unacceptable. (to use a clear example of the difference).

                To look at an example where nothing ill was intended, and speakers wouldn’t have imagined they were saying something offensive, at one point all northern native people were referred to as “ekimos.” But most Canadian native people considered the term offensive because it didn’t really apply to them and had some questionable meanings in the origin of the word, so people have stopped doing it. If someone is offended by something you say, if something is perceived as a slur, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you have anything to get defensive about. If you’re told that a word or phrase or other way of saying something is or is at least perceived to be demeaning to a marginalized group, the only decent thing to do is to respect that.

                • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

                  That is completely reasonable, and in my experience, the only people who don’t fall in line are deliberately looking to ruffle feathers.  One thing I have noticed, though, is a tendency for either the marginalized group, (or their non-marginalized “allies”) to conflate honest disagreement with automatic disrespect on the part of the one disagreeing.  Many of the bloggers at Freethought Blogs and their commenters have turned this into an art form.

      • Douglas Packard

        You’re reacting to the wrong part of that anecdote, buddy.

        • The Captain

          I know that… and I’m not you “buddy” pal.

          • Talia

            I’m not your pal, friend. 
            :)

            • MoriyaMug

              I’m not your friend, chum!

              • The Captain

                And none of you are my chums, amigos.

              • Bill Haines

                No, Luke, -I- am your father…

      • Patrick Anderson

         It is potentially dehumanizing.  Referring to a person more as an object.  Not ‘she’ said it, but ‘the female’ said it.
        Also, note that there are degrees of dehumanizing, it is not a binary state to be on or off, much like racism or misogyny.
        I can understand why using that specific phrasing could be hurtful to a person, even if I personally don’t find it hurtful. 

        • Talia

          They were using the term “male” just as much as female. Just to put things in perspective. So I guess they were dehumanizing men, too.

          • Coyotenose

            Right, because men and woman are exactly equal in society, and one group isn’t routinely marginalized or anything.

            • The Other Weirdo

               Right, because the way to move forward is to do to others what you hate being done to yourself.

            • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

              Why does one’s ability to have things that offend them be taken seriously have to be tied to their standing in society? 

          • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

            Male and female are adjectives used to identify the sex or perceived sex (or gender or perceived gender) of not only people but animals and even plants.  

            It is improper to use either word as an noun.  It can appear to be a noun, but it is implying the modification of another noun.  You can say, “In peafowl, the male has evolved a large, brightly colored tail,” and it is understood that you are implying the male of the species. You wouldn’t say, “The male over there looks like my brother George,” when you are talking about a person.  You would say, “the man over there”. I suppose you could point to a mixed pair of dogs and suggest that one resembles your brother.

      • Lewin

         It often shows a lack of parallel language, calling men “guys” or “men” but calling women “females”. Using male and female in parallel ways is fine but to use females on its own can be seen as dehumanizing. Me, it makes me think of how the Ferengi use “females” and there it’s definitely derogatory.

        • ganner918

          This is the correct answer. In the anecdote referenced, they used I believe men and females – could have been another word but it wasn’t “males.” I’m not at all trying to imply that an offense was intended, or that the person speaking necessarily did anything other than just throw a couple of words out with no meaning behind what was chosen. But the response to someone who voices concern about the words should NEVER be to belittle them for it and shame them into silence. As I mentioned elsewhere, “I’m sorry if I offended you, it certainly was no my intent” shouldn’t be such a painful thing to say!

        • amycas

           I’ve begun to notice lately how often people call me a “girl” but they call my boyfriend (or other similarly aged men) a “man.” I don’t get it. I’m older than he is.

          • Patterrssonn

            I remember it was especially bad in Vancouver, a lot of guys just could not say the ‘w’ word.

        • MoriyaMug

          One thing that’s always puzzled me… using “lady” in the second person is perceived as intolerably rude/sexist. Yet calling two or more women “ladies” in the second person is not just accepted, but generally regarded as polite. I never could make sense of the contradiction.

          • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

            It’s just the way the words have come to be used.  “Pardon me, my lady,” is very polite and even overly formal.  “Hey, lady!” is rude.

            • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

              Even then, doesn’t it come down more to tone of voice and body language?  There’s nothing inherently or necessarily contextually rude about saying “Hey, Lady!”  I just did it the other day, no offense intended and none taken.  I didn’t know her name, and “Miss” and “Ma’am” just didn’t come to mind.  I’ve noticed that many women don’t really care for “Miss” or “Ma’am” either, and I’m pretty sure “Hey, Woman”  wouldn’t be too well received.   

      • ErickaMJohnson

        The issue for some is that whenever men are referring to women they call them females, as if they’re specimens of some strange species while referring to themselves in more familiar terms like “men.” Using the word female exclusively can be a way to make women into “the other.”

        • The Other Weirdo

           Happens the other way quite a lot, too.

    • Talia

      I know this isn’t “the point,” but I hate to see people misquoted to sound worse than they were.

      The man on the panel never said bitches. He said “Maybe we should use the phrase ‘the weaker sex’.” It was a joke, pointing out that no one would *ever* say something like that for real because they don’t actually think of women as inferior. 

      • ganner918

        It was a joke intended to belittle someone and wave away their concern as invalid while invoking a marginalizing insult for the sake of humor. It’s isn’t acceptable.

        • http://www.facebook.com/neil.terry.98 Neil Terry

          I am in awe of your psychic abilities. 

      • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

         In this particular political climate, I don’t think that anyone should even be joking about women being “the weaker sex”.  It’s no wonder we might be taking things a little more seriously with all the misogyny thrown at us everyday courtesy of the Republican party.

        • The Other Weirdo

           The movie Blazing Saddles is notable for its extensive use of the word ‘nigger’. That makes people think the producers were racist, when in fact they were overusing the word to highlight that bad people use it and good people don’t. Sometimes using a word is a way of making people stop using it.

          • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

            It’s one thing to do that in a movie.  It’s entirely something else to do that in real life, with real people, who aren’t being paid to show up on a soundstage and submit themselves to racist dialogue.

      • amycas

         I didn’t think she was quoting the man on the panel. I thought she was quoting things that had been said to her personally in regards to that situation. When it happened, I did see a lot of the “shoulda called her a bitch” statements in certain threads. I thought she was talking about those comments.

    • http://twitter.com/piksipuzzlebox piksipuzzlebox

       Bravo!  Well written.  Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Georgina

       Speaking as a female atheist, I tend to bulldoze misogynists on panels.
      Yes, I know, we want to keep our feminism, but believe me, sometimes you gotta get the guy’s respect. Preferably without resorting to physical violence.
      Boys like that are actually stunted, and they get a laugh because all the other dawks in the room are nervous, or terrified someone will call them on their dawkiness.

      Oh yes, and any subject a priest can bring to the table – an atheist can too!
      If a priest – who is neither a women nor a gynaecologist  – can have a public voice in the discussion (why can he?), then so the hell can we! 

    • The Other Weirdo

       Caucasian American, not White. Not if you’re going to use African American.

      • Kodie

        I’m not from Caucasia.

    • http://twitter.com/BdrLen Len

       Please tell me what is the “atheist” stance on abortion. Also how atheism would lead one inevitably to one stance as opposed to another. I am honestly curious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

    “who don’t even want to comment on an atheist blog because they
    anticipate the worst… but they might feel more comfortable doing all of
    those things in the context of a forum like Atheism+”

    So people who do not want to associate with the word Atheism, will feel more comfortable with the word Atheism+. Okay, got that.

  • MoriyaMug

    I’ve never been on Reddit, but from everything I’ve ever read about it, it seems that I’m better off for it. I don’t see the point in frequenting a place with the collective politeness and (apparent) intelligence of the YouTube comments section for a clip from Manswers.

    In my limited experience, such behavior is mostly limited to places without moderation. But then, that also depends who’s doing the moderating. ;P

    • amycas

      Doesn’t that just say it all though? Left with no moderation, the discussions devolve into sexist, misogynistic holes. “Misogyny” shouldn’t be the default for un-moderated discussions.

      • The Other Weirdo

         Yes, because no one’s ever had Internetz discussions which started off with the default position of all men are assholes and they hate women, too.

  • http://atheismminus.com/ Atheism-

    When matter is created, so to is antimatter: http://atheismminus.com

    • ganner918

      Ah yes, demanding that people take your concerns seriously is now “groupthink”

    • Coyotenose

      When sarcasm fails, Jesus weeps.

  • The Captain

    Hemant, I’ve always disagreed with you on the “bright’ issue (but that’s cool, your still my attest blogger :). The whole idea of the term “bright” is that of marketing the atheist as superior to those that think otherwise (the “dim” people). Now even though I do think the atheist position is superior to faith based ones, I do not want a label on me that tells everyone I think I am superior. And if there are people who only feel comfortable being a part of the atheist community unless they have a label telling others they are superior, then I frankly don’t care if they are part of the movement. And I don’t think they are good for the movement either if they can’t be a part of it by not putting someone else down (which is what “bright” does!).

    But for the A+ issue, as you say here “You’re not a bad person for saying it’s not something you want to be a part of. (Not in my mind, anyway.)” well there’s a reason you put those parenthesis isn’t there? It’s because most of that little A+ clique IS calling everyone else a bad person for not following them. The A+ label IS to make them feel superior to the rest of the movement, and they are saying they think they are better in every post they make on the subject. Hell, Jen’s own post on her blog answering the question of if this would exclude people called any one who would feel excluded “assholes”!

    Lets be frank, this is the “Steph” incident all over again, just this time that little cool kids blogger clique is doing it to the whole community at large. They have finally let their internet fame go completely to their heads and they think they are better than everyone else and can tell  the whole movement what to do. 

    As I keep saying, these people don’t want to bring more diverse people into the fold, they just want to be surrounded by the exact same archetype of person just in a few different colors and sexualities.

    • ganner918


      Lets be frank, this is the “Steph” incident all over again, just this time that little cool kids blogger clique is doing it to the whole community at large. They have finally let their internet fame go completely to their heads and they think they are better than everyone else and can tell  the whole movement what to do. ”

      This is amazingly, horrifically inaccurate. This entire thing arose because over a long period of time, any time these bloggers talked about feminism, they were flooded with comments telling them to shut up about it, it wasn’t relevant, it wasn’t important, it didn’t belong in the movement, there aren’t any real problems. Meanwhile, peppered in were numerous comments viciously insulting them, throwing sexist slurs at them, talking about raping them, etc. And the people who didn’t want it discussed as an issue continued to essentially say “yeah not a problem, what you care about doesn’t matter, just get over it.” So they decided that if what matters to them is not welcome in established communities, and if they were going to get shit on when they brought up things that matter to them in those communities, it was time to start a community where things that matter to them ARE welcome.

      • The Captain

        And how does the new A+ movement stop any of that? Are the comment sections going to be closed now? Could they not just do that before? Does the name change somehow make insults stop? Do you honestly think that somehow that kind of internet behavior is going to go away because of this? And why the hell does it even bother people in the first place… It’s an internet comment for fucks sake why would anyone take that personally?

        But the fact is this whole A+ thing really would not change any of that. Changing their labels will not stop internet trolls because this is not about internet trolls. This is about dictating to the larger athirst community what they should all be like and how they should all think. The cool kids blogger clique hasn’t had much success in that regard, so they’re throwing the toys out of the pram and going home. Calling everyone names who doesn’t follow with them and acting superior to boot. This is not about intent trolls on message boards, it’s about control over the atheist/skeptics community, who should be in it, what should be said, and who should have it. This clique thinks they should be the only ones to have a say in that and since no one is listening they are leaving. 

        • ganner918


          And how does the new A+ movement stop any of that?”

          Hey, at least they’re trying, which is more than can be said for you.

          “And why the hell does it even bother people in the first place… It’s an internet comment for fucks sake why would anyone take that personally?”

          Look in the mirror and ask yourself that same question. You seem quite flustered over some people’s internet comments right now.

          “This is not about intent trolls on message boards, it’s about control over the atheist/skeptics community, who should be in it, what should be said, and who should have it.”

          If you truly believe they have delusions of grandeur that immense, then you have absolutely nothing to be concerned about because that’s not a remotely attainable goal.

          Look, they want to advance their interests, and since the answer from the community at large was basically “shut up about that stuff,” they’re trying to build a place built around their interests.  And yet you’re still pretty much telling them they should shut up about that stuff. I think you’re engaging in that which you accuse them of.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Not that it’ll help with the whole “Bright” thing but they actually don’t use the word “dim” to describe religious people. They use “Super,” as in supernatural :) See? Positive spin!

      • The Captain

        For some reason i laughed at this pretty hard, but in the good way :).

        My problem is not what is said, but what is implied. But this is a topic for too complex to be done on a blog comment section. It should be done properly over beers in a pub. So get you butt to Baltimore for a speaking engagement sometime!

      • The Other Weirdo

         Are you sure it’s not a cult? When I hear terms like “Bright” and “Super” and “Dim“, I can’t help but picture the overly brightly grinning kids in one of the early Family Guy episodes.

      • Kodie

         It’s ridiculous and pretentious.

    • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

      Hell, Jen’s own post on her blog answering the question of if this would
      exclude people called any one who would feel excluded “assholes”!

      No, she didn’t. She said that she wanted to exclude assholes. She did not say that people who did not want to be part of atheism+, or even people who might feel excluded, were assholes.

      If I wanted to start a book club, I would want to exclude assholes. That doesn’t mean that anyone who didn’t want to join was an asshole. Maybe reading’s not their hobby. Maybe they like to read but don’t feel the need to join the book club.

      The way I read it, Jen wants to exclude people like the ones Greta is always calling out in her “Men call me things series,” and the ones who send death and rape threats to women who talk about sexism in the atheist movement. People like that should be excluded, and they are assholes. That mainstream atheism does not exclude them is a big reason why there is atheism+.

      • The Captain

        Define “asshole”. See the problem is “asshole” is a relative term, meaning something deferent for different people. What the A+ crowd is saying is that they should be the ones defining what asshole is for the whole community. There is no standard definition of who is an asshole so this is just about excluding people you just don’t like for what ever reason. Sure the internet rape trolls are the excuse, but no one is justifying them, so this is really not about “those” assholes, it’s really about people who do not agree with the cool kids blogger clique on everything and just calling us all assholes for it. Seriously no one in the atheist/skeptic community defends the rape trolls or death threats. But a lot of people don;t agree with the cool kids blogger clique’s agenda either, and those are the real “assholes” they are trying to keep out.

        You’d think a buck of people who call themselves the top of the class A+ kids would know that. But then again you are a bunch of assholes.

        • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

          Since you’re just going to decide what I really mean, I will leave this space blank for you to fill in my reply:

          [ ]

        • Concerned Citizen

          Everybody who disagrees with me is an asshole. :(

        • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

           If enough people call you an asshole, maybe you should do a little self-examination and see if they have a point. Maybe they do, or maybe they don’t – the point is to check.

  • Gunstargreen

    Call me what you want. I don’t believe in god. I don’t care what my label is otherwise.

  • http://www.dead-logic.com Bud Uzoras

    It’s too soon to know anything for certain about Atheism+. The way it was presented was less than ideal, and it caused Richard Carrier to lose his damn mind for a while, but hopefully – if it lasts and doesn’t fade away – Atheism+ will have a positive effect in general.

    At least it’s not (so far) as silly as the “Brights” label.

    • Neil

      Holy shit, a reasonable person!

  • Guest

    Atheism+ has every right to exist, but as a woman and mother who wants equal rights for all people, I simply can’t get behind it. Feminism is a huge part of the movement, and I don’t think feminism as a whole cares about equality regardless of gender. Feminism instead focuses too strongly on gender and women, which to me seems the opposite of what we should be doing.

    Religious beliefs of patriarchy hurts men, too. For example, men who ar raped or physically abused by women are often laughed at by society. In a divorce situation, women are almost always granted primary custody of the children, regardless of the position to care for the children. Fathers taking pictures of their children playing at the park are assumed to be predators, not parents (this actually happens).

    When anyone brings up the need to prevent sexual abuse for people, not just for women (one is too many campaign) and other social justice issues, a lot of people who identify as women become very upset. If you’re a man, then women’s issues are just more important and you need to let your male privilege shut up. If you’re a woman you’ve been brainwashed to accept your inferior position in society.

    Of course I want social justice, but I want them for everyone, and I just don’t see a movement pushing one-sided issues as promoting social justice.

    • Guest

      Who identify as feminist*, not women.

    • ganner918

      If you’ve ever paid attention to Rebecca, Jen, Greta, and others, they clearly state that that they’re not about JUST women. Greta has written posts specifically about how sexism harms men. You’re attacking a strawman. The backlash against male privilege in “what about men!” is that EVERY SINGLE TIME one of them writes a post about something that affects women, commenters come in to criticize them because “you’re ignoring men!” Feminism is not a “one sided issue.” It is impossible to address social justice without recognizing who has power and privilege and who is marginalized.

      • Guest

        I’m not attacking a strawman, I’m criticizing how these things are being dealt with. You can be feminist and also support equality regardless of gender, but feminism by its very name does not involve that. The social problems are always “sexual abuse against women” or “salary discrepancies for women” and not just “sexual abuse” and “salary discrepancies” (there are very few job positions where women are paid more than men, but they do exist). That’s all I’m saying.

        • ganner918

          It seems like a misguided concern to me. Feminism arose because of the power imbalance between men and women. do you oppose the existence of the NAACP because their name doesn’t include the concerns of white people? What about a gay and lesbian rights organization? They invalid because their name doesn’t involve straight people? Feminism came about for women to advance women’s concerns in a society where their concerns were of lesser value than men’s. It seems ridiculous to me to get so hung up on the fact that a movement launched to correct an imbalance that primarily affected women would reference women in it’s name.

          • Guest

            Yes, I would rather social justice issues not be framed in sexist or racist ways. People are first and foremost human, not black or white, male or female. Racism is bad, no matter which race is being attacked. Sexism is bad, no matter what gender is being attacked. I love that feminism has helped provide me with the ability to vote, among other extremely important rights, but framing gender issues in the way it has tends to create an us vs them mentality that could be more divisive than helpful. We can disagree on that front, but that’s what makes discussions like this so interesting.

            • amycas

               If we only framed issues in a “racism is bad for everybody” kind of way, we end up skipping over the concerns of the marginalized minorities. The reason racism is framed from the perspectives of black people* is because they are the ones being marginalized by racist policies and attitudes. Sure, it hurts white people too, in a round about way, but the ones who are most directly hurt and affected by racism are the marginalized minorities. The same is true for feminism.

              *or any other marginalized racial/ethnic group

              • RobMcCune

                Everyone is equal, move along nothing to see here. Let’s just forget the whole unpleasant thing ever happened and not change anything else. Things are fine as they are even though they’re the same as what they were.

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  That’s not what’s being said, and lying about it doesn’t make you look good, or even look right. It makes you look like you have no real argument to make.

                  It’s pretty clear that the case being made is not to pretend like inequalities don’t exist, but to acknowledge that they do, and deal with all of them. Now, obviously, the overwhelming majority of the time, that’ll mean dealing with problems that affect women, or black people, or whichever marginalised group you care to pick because they have more of those problems to be dealt with. However, when you come up against one of those rare inequalities that actually does affect white guys too, you just deal with it as well, rather than ignoring it because white guys have it pretty good on the whole.

                • Guest

                  Exactly.

                  And when it comes to sexism, I think we’re reaching an equilibrium (at least in America) on which gender is more harmed by inequality. Women are dealing with issues like salary discrepancies, but men are losing primary custody of their children. Which is worse? Does it matter? If we see inequality, we need to fix it. It doesn’t matter who’s affected by it.

                • LeftSidePositive

                  Really, an equilibrium? What is this America you’re talking about? Because the America I live in is one in which Senate candidates are trying to claim “legitimate rape” is not only a thing, but also magically prevents pregnancy, 1 in 6 women are raped and police officers just tell them not to dress “like sluts,” and birth control is “controversial” again, conservatives are openly supporting letting pregnant women die untreated in hospitals, women are still bombarded with rape and death threats for speaking up online, Republicans blocked renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, women are under extraordinary pressure to be thin and conventionally attractive, etc., etc., etc.

                  It must be great that your personal experience seems like equilibrium. However, this is not representative of everyone’s experience and maybe you could be a little more sensitive to that.

                • Grw


                  It must be great that your personal experience seems like equilibrium. However, this is not representative of everyone’s experience and maybe you could be a little more sensitive to that.” 
                  Well, right back at ya dude/gal. Hope you aren’t  a white dude who get’s to lose all contact with his children one day. 

                • LeftSidePositive

                  Ze is not saying that is what is explicitly being said; ze is saying that this is the functional result of refusing to address the fact that some people are worse off due to privilege than others (and ESPECIALLY when one tries to claim that addressing those inequalities is itself “sexist” or “racist”!).

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  Then they’re simply wrong. Deal with the problems where you find them, and you’ll quite correctly deal with more of the problem where there are more of the problems.

                  Rob is saying that the proposal was to  ‘pretend there are no problems’ which is completely different, if not actually the exact opposite.

                • ganner918

                  You seem to be under the misconception that because feminism has a name that references females, feminists ignore problems that affect men. As has been pointed out repeatedly, that is not the case.

        • Tainda

          You’re not going to win this one lol  I’m with you for the most part  and we will get torn down every time for disagreeing with them.

          I’m a feminist in the sense that I want everything equal for everyone but I do realize men are better than women at some things and vice versa.  I think we women are amazing but not to the disparagement of men.

          • Coyotenose

             You’re going to need a couple of replacement straw men after you get finished burning those ones down.

          • amycas

             What “things” are men better at than women? What “things” are women better at than men? Are these things innate? Or are they learned? Are the differences so great that I can justifiably assume any man I meet is better at these “things” than I am?

            • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

              Well, men on average are better at touching tall ceilings than are women.

    • DrewHardies

      Feminism is a huge part of the movement, and I don’t think feminism as a whole cares about equality regardless of gender. Feminism instead focuses too strongly on gender and women, which to me seems the opposite of what we should be doing.

      This is a really poor critique of Feminism.  

      Environmentalism definitely doesn’t address men’s issues. That’s not a reason to oppose the Sierra Club or show up at their meetings and demand they talk about custody rights.

      If you think that there’s an issue that’s important, then go gather resources and work on it.

      There’s no reason to interfere with other charitable organizations just because you feel their mission doesn’t cover your area of interest.

      • Guest

        The problem is not that Atheism+ has feminism, it’s that it doesn’t also have… masculinism?

        • JamesEmery

          Issues pertaining to how gender inequities affect men have been discussed, to the point of beating a dead horse, in most of these blogs.  Third wave feminism isn’t SOLELY concerned with women’s problems.  To claim otherwise is either intellectually dishonest, or ignorant of all the discussion on the subject that’s gone on.

          Please note that I’m neither namecalling here nor attempting to insult you, Guest.  Just pointing out that feminism isn’t currently quite what you’re cracking it up to be.

          • Anon

            Why don’t you reply to the pro-feminist “Guest” is replying to then? You seem to be in disagreement. He is claiming that feminists don’t deal with male issues. Guest addressed his point and then you show up talking about how feminists have beaten “men’s issues” like a dead horse. Funny that you would refer to men’s issues being talked about in feminist circles as beating a dead horse. I guess feminists must have beaten, ground up and vaporized the dead horse that is women’s issues then? No? Because THOSE issues matter and how dare we demean them!

            • JamesEmery

              Sorry that I replied to the wrong ‘Guest’.

              Funny that I point out that men’s issues ARE discussed by feminists, and then you follow up with a near-incoherent word salad apparently implicitly suggesting that they’ve STOPPED discussing men’s issues, and that they’re exclusively discussing women’s issues only now, and that you’re upset that you get reamed when you demean those issues.

              Yeah, Anon, makes perfect sense.  Why, exactly, is the discussion and pursuit of women’s issues so threatening to you?

        • ganner918

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/28/about-atheism/#comment-632346746

          It does have “masculinism!” I’ve loved Greta’s writing on how sexism harms men, and how gender inequality is something all people should be concerned about because it affects all of us.

    • Greta Christina

       I think if you go to the Atheist+ forums, you’ll find a whole lot of people who agree with you. Not about your characterization of feminism, but about the ways that sexism and rigid gender roles hurt people of all genders.

    • amycas

       I actually first heard about men’s problems in society by reading feminist blogs. I had never known about the problems that men face when they are abused or raped until then.

  • Simon

    Here is an excerpt of what Tom Flynn of the Council for Secular Humanism wrote about the Brights in 2004 after the idea received the endorsement of Dawkins and Dennett. I think more people should have listened:

    It’s equally clear that the proposal left most Free Inquiry readers cold. We gave it every chance for acceptance, running the seminal “invitations to enBrightenment” by biologist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel C. Dennett in our October/November 2003 issue. A proposal can scarcely wish more distinguished advocates, and so I was astonished at the one-sidedly negative reader response. We received formal letters to the editor as well as a great deal of less formal e-mail, phone, and personal feedback. No one wrote or spoke in favor of the proposal. Objections varied; some readers simply thought there was no need for a new label. Most expressed misgivings that, despite proponents’ best efforts, calling ourselves “Brights” would inevitably come off as the nonreligious claiming to be smarter than everybody else.
    We presented the Brights to the Free Inquiry community, and the community has spoken. Those who find the label commodious are welcome to adopt it; but based on this feedback, and with all due respect to Richard Dawkins and Daniel C. Dennett, Free Inquiry will not be adding “Brights” to its lexicon.

    The full article is here: http://secularhumanism.org/library/fi/flynn_24_3.htm

  • Brian Thomson

    My problem with “bright” is very simple: it sends the message that if you’re not a “bright”, you’re dim. In other words, the term carries an implied insult towards anyone who’s not one of them.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I also like the term “Bright”. Or more specifically, I like the concept of having a simple, relatively unbiased word that encompasses a broad range of ideas and philosophy largely shared by most of us.

    That’s precisely the reason I don’t like the “A+” terminology. Atheism is a word with a lot of baggage, and none of the philosophies central to A+ are associated with atheism or with atheists in general. So it’s something of a misnomer, and it risks alienating atheists from each other. To be clear, I have no problem with the A+ concept at all… just the name, and the primary emphasis on atheism- as if it were the source of the beliefs, and not a product of them.

    • Kodie

       That’s really weird because I feel the opposite. If you don’t believe in god, you’re an atheist. Even if you feel more comfortable settling on a less controversial term. “Bright” is a euphemism. It says “I don’t want to identify myself openly as an atheist, I want to shine up my label to something else.” People hate atheists and one of the symptoms of it is people who become atheists don’t want to be hated. Well, just saying “I’m an atheist” scares people, so what to do about it? Change the brand name to something kind of kicky and swell? More people need to just say they are an atheist, plainly. Not fudge reality with other labels they feel more comfortable. Just like Neil DeGrasse Tyson doesn’t want to say he’s an atheist! Is he deep down inside an atheist? Is he just shy of being labeled in a way that people will instantly notice and scrutinize him? “Bright” is like admitting atheism is too harsh, too negative, and people will shun me unless I cheat and call myself something else – like “spiritual but not religious,” or “not religious,” or “agnostic,” or “freethinker,” or “Bright.” I hate when Christians do this semantic shit, like say that it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship, or appropriate terms like “family” or “truthseeker” to define themselves. It’s shit. It’s shit from a bull.

      For atheist acceptance, we need people who aren’t afraid to use plain language and create awareness. Brights separate themselves from atheists as well as theists; they are uncomfortable with descriptive terminology and adopt a euphemism to set themselves apart from something they maybe don’t even try to comprehend. There is something wrong for them to avoid atheism, they have some prejudice against the word or the image and segregate themselves to avoid whatever their imagination tells them. The world is against atheists or atheists are one way and I am different than that. I hate the word “Bright” and I love the word “atheist”.

  • John J. Johnson

    Why not just refer to yourself as non religious?  Why use a label for something you don’t participate in?

    • Coyotenose

      Blame the religious. Atheism is the natural state. They’ve twisted that.

    • Kodie

      Although Christianity is a religion, most Christians will deny being religious. So non-religious is a cop-out and not for clarity.

  • dangeroustalk

    I think you missed the problem here Hemant. Most atheists agree with the “Atheist +” goals, but it seems like if you reject the label for whatever reason, they want you out of the movement and will bully you until you are forced out. That is different from the Brights. While I don’t really like the label of “Bright” personally, I have no problem with other people using it for themselves. I do have a problem with A+ because they seem to purge anyone they don’t like (even people who agree with them on the issues) from the atheist movement. It is this style of bullying that many in the community object to.

    • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

      Jen McCreight, from http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/responding-to-common-misconceptions-about-atheism/ :

      “I’m not kicking anyone out of the atheist movement. I’m not going to revoke your American Atheist membership or come in the middle of the night to steal your scarlet A lapel pin. I’m not going to petition the government to take away your freedom of speech. Yes, I think it’s time for a new wave, but that doesn’t make the previous wave disappear. There are still second wave feminists (and I know this will shock some of you, but no, I’m not one of them).

      “I just want a space where atheists with a shared interest in social justice can actually discuss it and get stuff done. You are free to form your own groups or continue taking part in whatever atheist community will have you. You can even come and civilly take part in our discussions!”

      • dangeroustalk

         Tell that to Richard Carrier and the rest of the leaders of A+ who have made it clear that if you don’t wear their marketed jewelery, they will ostracize you.  This has always been the undercurrent of A+ and people like Carrier stated it outright. It’s a power play, nothing more.

        • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

          [citation needed] on “the rest of the leaders.”

      • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

        well, it depends on who you talk to right now. There’s a lot of well-poisoning going on in that if you disagree with anything about A+, CLEARLY you are a misogynist homophobe who is a BAD PERSON.

        or not. 

        Depends on who you talk to. Carrier’s attempt to walk back his idiocy is actually just as dumb, and even more poorly written to where his explanation needs a field guide.

        Given the 5-6 people currently making all the rules for A+, I don’t see it being more than a clique. But I’d like to be wrong about that.

        • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

          I agree that Carrier made a huge series of missteps. McCreight called him out on it herself: 
          https://twitter.com/jennifurret/status/239789560081563648

          P.Z. also I think needs to work on improving his skill as a rhetor and persuader. It’s past time to bone up on that particular skillset, if he wants to continue to be one of the most prominent and influential voices of freethought alive today. And we could certainly use his help here.

          Most other proponents of A+, and in particular Greta Christina, have had exactly the right attitude. I’m hopeful that her brand of rhetoric will end up becoming the dominant one, especially once things have settled down a bit and we’ve gotten used to the new shape of the landscape.

          • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

            Okay so of the core A+ group, who seem to be doing all the defining:

            Jen is kind of vague. One minute this side, the next minute over there.

            Greta seems to be riffing on the “If you disagree with A+, clearly it’s your problem” which is not helpful to anyone with any questions about it. If you want to start a movement, you need to plan on people asking questions and questioning your movement and your motives, and telling them it’s their fault for not getting it doesn’t help. I don’t think she has the right attitude, because no, people aren’t stupid, or ignorant or what have you for not getting A+. 

            Carrier is just being a raging douche about things, but other than one tweet from one person in A+, no one seems to have any real problem with it. If Jen’s that influential, then make her the leader and be done with it.

            I doubt you “Need” PZ as much as you think you do, given the way he deals with people who aren’t “of the body”. (His entire implosion over Gelato guy would be a really good example of that.) 

            Whoever’s doing the twitter feed(s) for A+ has had ZERO problems saying that if you disagree with A+, you’re a bad person. So have a lot of other people involved. 

            You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say “well, there’s no real leader or structure”, then dismiss Carrier because Jen posted *a* tweet about his idiocy. If her tweet did that, then A+ most definitely has a leader and therefore a structure. You can’t have parts of A+ saying “well, if you disagree, you’re wrong/ignorant/stupid” and then say it’s not exclusionary.

            At the moment, the entire thing reeks of “we didn’t get our way and so we’re forming our own clique and we’ll be just as exclusionary as you, but in a different way”. That may change in the future, and I’d rather it did, but right now? It’s like a goth club excluding people who dared wear shoes with white shoelaces, all in the name of inclusiveness.

            • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

              I actually agree with you. I support A+’s mission statements and wish it the best, but there’s clearly a long way to go if it’s going to shape up to be what it aspires to be. If the main problem for the targets of A+ is coming to understand privilege and care about the experiences of other subsets of humanity, the main problem for A+ is the much lesser (but still hobbling) obstacle of needing to find a way to avoid incivility and equivocation.

              Jen and P.Z. and Richard need to back away from the blogosphere’s endless cycle of flame wars. They tend to be affected by it far more than others. Hopefully A+ will help enable this redirection of efforts. Blog wars are also a huge time sink, and there are better, calmer voices for responding to hostilities without inflaming them (e.g., Hemant and Greta). They also need to decide what ‘Atheism+’ really is — as you say, they’re currently trying to have it both ways on pretty much every issue, which is dishonest and prevents them from optimizing on any of the possible things A+ could be.

              At the same time I agree about their missteps, I disagree that it’s like ‘a goth club.’ You’re trivializing the endless threats, harassment, and real hatred that has led us to this point. No human being should have to wake up in the morning and read dozens of threats of violence for daring to defend the idea of having anti-harassment policies at conferences. No one should have to feel unsafe in our midst. I want the A+ers to become smarter about their rhetoric precisely because it’s so important that we start to set a model for what healthy and open discussion of these crucial issues looks like.

              You’re right that so far, we don’t have that anywhere, at least not completely — nearly all the people adept enough at rhetoric and strategy to embody our goals (including Hemant) have wisely stayed outside of the fray thus far. That needs to change very soon.

              • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                 At the same time I agree about their missteps, I disagree that it’s like ‘a goth club.’ You’re trivializing the endless threats, harassment, and real hatred that has led us to this point. No human being should have to wake up in the morning and read dozens of threats of violence for daring to defend the idea of having anti-harassment policies at conferences.

                 

                Nonsense, I’ve done no such thing. In fact, we weren’t even discussing those, so they’re a strawman. But since you bring it up, if you actually think that a bright shiny logo and a website are going to change that, you’re being, at best, unrealistic. Let us not also forget the vitriol flows both ways.

                People who brought up specific, legitimate issues with specific policy implementations were the targets of the same levels of vitriol as those in favor of them. No, not everyone who sees problems with policies is doing so because they want the “right” to molest and assault people. No, just because you have a camera on a monopod, you should not be assumed to be taking upskirt pictures without actual proof. Spare me the high horse, the hate flowed both ways, and freely.

                 No one should have to feel unsafe in our midst. I want the A+ers to become smarter about their rhetoric precisely because it’s so important that we start to set a model for what healthy and open discussion of these crucial issues looks like.

                 

                Thus far, the core founders of A+ are not great examples of dealing with disagreement well. 

                 You’re right that so far, we don’t have that anywhere, at least not completely — nearly all the people adept enough at rhetoric and strategy to embody our goals (including Hemant) have wisely stayed outside of the fray thus far. That needs to change very soon.

                 

                Not strawmanning people would be a good start. Saying that A+ is being a little clique-y right now, or giving off that impression is most certainly not trivializing threats against anyone. The fact that you immediately tried to label the two as the same is a great example of why a lot of people really don’t trust A+.

                • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

                  “People who brought up specific, legitimate issues with specific policy implementations were the targets of the same levels of vitriol as those in favor of them.” – If you’re talking about Thunderfoot, I’m afraid you’re quite mistaken.


                  the hate flowed both ways, and freely.” – The death threats did not flow in equal proportions; nor did the threats of violence; nor did the attempts to destroy people’s personal lives. These went rather beyond the pale. Again, one hopes you aren’t playing your hand here and attempting to defend people like Thunderfoot or (oh, goodness) TheAmazingAtheist. That would be pretty unwise with respect to your credibility in this overall dialogue.

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  and look:

                  first, you try to redefine the many people with issues about this down to one, easily dismissed person. No, I was not only speaking about thunderfoot. But again, thanks for the strawman.

                   The death threats did not flow in equal proportions; nor did the threats of violence; nor did the attempts to destroy people’s personal lives. These went rather beyond the pale. Again, one hopes you aren’t playing your hand here and attempting to defend people like Thunderfoot or (oh, goodness) TheAmazingAtheist. That would be pretty unwise with respect to your credibility in this overall dialogue.

                  Given that you’ve already strawmanned me twice now, I think it’s safe to say your opinion of my credibility matters not at all.

                  You’ve already dismissed something that many of the people who raised specific issues saw, over and over, repeatedly, and you can’t even be arsed to think that maybe, just maybe, not everyone on your side is of purest moral fiber. 

                  You don’t actually care about discussing anything. You just want to make sure your side wins, and that we all know there can be only one correct viewpoint on any of these issues. Bravo Highlander, bravo.

                • The Other Weirdo

                   

                  No, just because you have a camera on a monopod, you should not be assumed to be taking upskirt pictures without actual proof.

                  Sorry, but I think this will now become my new signature line. Thanks preemptively. :)

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  LOL. I know more than a few pro video types. They love the monopod for mobile work, and when they aren’t actively using it, they tend to hold it with the camera on the ground. You accuse them of upskirting, you’re going to be made to sit there and watch the dullest unedited footage ever. 

                  Depending on the shoot, they may actually be taking, literally, video of feet. It’s good for that ‘busy floor’ feel. 

                  I just think if you’re going to accuse someone of something that is, at least in some places, a felony, you should have some proof.

      • The Captain

        From Jens blog

        4. You specifically want to exclude people, so you’re a hatemonger!You can’t be inclusive to everyone. If you include misogynists, you exclude women – etc, etc. I choose to exclude the assholes.If you feel excluded by this new clique regardless of why, then by definition Jen thinks your a misogynist asshole.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Right, I’ve seen that. I think that’s how it’s come across but I don’t think that’s the intention (knowing Jen, that’s not the type of person she is). Based on the way the FTB people handled opposition, though, I can understand the confusion.

      • DrewHardies

        Should we really believe the hostility is unintentional?  The bullying seems to fall into a pattern that I recognize from politics.  

        Candidates stay ‘above’ things and try not to say anything quote-ably impolite.  All of the nasty stuff is said by technically independent groups.  That way, if someone gets over the line, they can get disavowed with, “Oh, I am  appalled  that this horrible and completely unpredictable event happened.”

        Take the roll-0ut of this.  We had a Free Thought blogger who used murder metaphors in between calling his opponents retarded to advance a ‘social justice’ agenda.  That got *a* tweet of rebuttal, after standing for like 5 days.

        In contrast, Dawkins re-tweeted someone critical of the campaign and got attacked with a blog-post almost immediately.

        You know these people better than I do, but I’m having real difficulty with the idea that there’s not behind the scenes coordination and an agreement to not go too-hard on people among the ‘in’ group.

        And, if that coordination exists, then Greta Christina’s implication that Jen’s blog posts are the only things we should look to for definitions of the movement seem really self-serving.

        Do you really believe that criticism is being applied equally here, without back-channel coordination?

    • ganner918

      I have to point out that if most of the community agreed with the a+ goals, then over the past year there would be been more progress in integrating those goals into the movement at large, vs the dismissals by most and harassment and abuse by a smaller group. They didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start their own club. They spent a year getting harassed and insulted and abused and, by most of the community, ignored while trying to advance these goals.

  • Kahomono

    I see from the traffic since I posted the above, that it’s on fumes at best.

    If these comments are suddenly from “guest” you’ll know that you’ve run another atheist out the door of involvement.  Trust me when I tell you, I am one of a very tiny minority who will exit with anything but silent cessation of participation.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    From what I’m seeing here, Richard Carrier really did the people who hate the idea of atheism+ a favor. If they didn’t have him to hold up as a shining example of what they claim everyone involved with a+ really thinks, what would they do?

    • RobMcCune

      Say the same thing anyway. Their impressions are unfalsifiable, and they take it as a sign they are right because no one has proven them wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

        That’s a naive model of how irrationality works. People don’t say the same things regardless of what evidence they have, even when they have a pet theory they’re only looking for confirming evidence of. For starters, the critics of A+ would be a lot less confident, persuasive, and numerous if not for Carrier’s missteps. They’d still exist, and still be making similar arguments, but they wouldn’t be scoring so many points with the fence-sitters.

  • AndyTK

    (I tried to post this earlier and for some reason it didn’t stick so I’m going to assume that it’s just a technical glitch and try again – try 4, maybe it’s too long, I’m breaking it up into two messages)
    Unfortunately the website that originally defined A+ causes my browser all kinds of problems resulting in my inability to read it.  Getting it to work with IE would be great, or if there is an alternative location please provide it.  From what I know about A+ from other locations here are my concerns:
    1) Many of us don’t have problems with reasonable sexual harassment policies.  Events and forums should be comfortable places to freely discuss ideas.  We may disagree where some of these lines should be drawn but I believe that most people would be happy with a policy that you would find in most major US corporations.  On line trolls are unfortunately a fact of online life.  Some web sites, like the Daily Dish, solve this problem by not allowing online comments, instead receiving emails and deciding what to publish and what to ignore.  I like to think the best of my fellow Atheists and have the wish/belief that most of the worse trolling is being done by people that specifically troll Atheist blogs and are not in fact Atheists.  Whatever the truth adding these additional planks to the Atheist platform will do nothing to prevent online trolling.
    2) By adding an issue that isn’t directly related to Atheism is a distraction from the primary mission.  We want to get prayer out of schools, government, etc.  We want to revoke the charitable tax deduction for organizations that don’t devote at least 51% of their income to out group services, we want Atheists to be able to run for office and win, we want 0% of Americans to believe in creationism, etc.  These are big enough problems to solve without adding more work to the in pile.  There are groups that deal with feminism, diversity and LGBT issues.  Just as I separate my environmental advocacy from my atheist advocacy from my Democratic advocacy people within the Atheist community should be able to separate their other missions from the Atheist movement.
    3) It is my understanding that A+ want to require quotas within leadership and conference speakers.  Except within the A+ group’s own leadership or A+ run conferences this isn’t a “we just want our own group and if you don’t like it don’t join” action, it’s a we want things our way and if you don’t like it suck on it.

    • ganner918

      I’ll address the points in the order you presented them:

      1) It’s about more than online trolls. There actually was a lot of backlash against the push for sexual harassment policies, including a conference organizer blaming those asking for a policy for decreased registrations. But the online trolls do play a part. These people weren’t just out trolling everywhere all the time. When this subset of bloggers started talking about sexism, they came out of the woodwork. A group of people who had just been a part of the whole community went batshit crazy when this subject came up. Dismissing them as just trolls overlooks the fact that they’re not just people out to cause trouble, they were members of our communities who resorted to abuse and insulted because a topic they don’t like started getting discussed. It made us all wonder how many people really did think this way, and when our concern was met with a collective shrug of the shoulders, it made us feel somewhat alienated.
      2) A lot of people made this argument you’re making. A lot of people didn’t want the entire atheist movement to go down a route of adding social justice issues to their mission. THIS is where the “join in or don’t” point is valid. If you want to be a part of an organization that focuses solely on religion and its impacts in society, do so! Just don’t tell us we can’t have a group that does both. Some people early on did a HORRIBLE job of making this point. It should never be, and I don’t think it was intended to be by most, “if you have any complains or disagreements with atheism+, you’re an asshole!” It SHOULD have been, and I think was intended to be, “If you oppose the concept of us fighting for social justice, then you might be an asshole.”

      3) I am a regular reader of Jen, Greta, and PZ. I’ve never seen ANY mention of quotas. I have seen a push for active efforts to include diverse speakers – mostly because of the perception that if we want to grow the movement to a broader population, we need to take some sort of action to change the perception (that I encounter in the real world among my friends) that atheism is a white guys’ club. And making sure to include people of color and women on panels and speakers lists is a good way to start that – and there are plenty of great voices out there that we could benefit from hearing, we don’t just need the same people over and over at every conference. but nobody that I have seen has spoken of having quotas for women or people of color.

      • AndyTK

        1) I feel somewhat alienated simply by being an Atheist.  It is hard for me to fully comment on this since I don’t follow PZ that much (to abrasive for my taste), or Greta (read her blog a few times but never really grabbed me) and never even heard of Jen before.  I have noticed that this debate here has been laced with feminist terminology and points of view that I don’t find particularly appealing even if I support female equality and a safe environment for women.  The little bit of Jen’s original A+ piece was laced with a lot of woe that quite frankly, if I heard it from a guy I’d tell him to buck up, grow a thicker skin and punch back.  (If I heard it from my wife I would of course agree with her, tell her that she cannot be dependent on others for her own happiness and then offer to punch them for her).  I also heard a lot of wild accusations about people’s intents that I didn’t find particularly appealing.  Still I don’t know what set these people off or what their language was.  Rape and murder however crosses a bright red line by a mile.  Anyway, short of having a monitored comment section I don’t see how you change that and I certainly don’t see how creating a new group does anything to change that as well.
        2) I have no problem with creating a new group that deals with both Atheist and feminist issues (by the way all of the other issues seem to have been tacked on as an afterthought).  I do have a problem with the A+ name as it implies that everybody else is wrong.  I would drop the whole “you might be an asshole” thing, it implies that you really think they are assholes and you are just adding a little smarmy political dodge so you can make an accusation without being made accountable for that accusation.
        3) As soon as you start saying that you want to have speakers based on gender, race or sexual orientation you are talking about a quota, whether you mention the word or not.  So maybe you are calling for a soft quota, we want people based on something other than their ability and we’ll let you know when we think you’ve reached it instead of giving a hard number.

        • ganner918

          Andy, I think a lot of people haven’t been seeing the language that set them off and that’s why there’s so much confusion, and such a reaction to a perceived hostility from THEM. A little over a year ago, predating “elevatorgate” several blogs started talking about sexism in the culture at large and, without tarring any individuals or the community at large as some awful hive of misogyny, started talking about how many women have felt less than welcome, or have felt trivialized or sexualized, and in some cases had been legitimately sexually harassed at conferences. What happened in response is that a wave of hatred came crashing upon them. Rape threats. Constant insults calling the women cunts and bitches, telling them they didn’t matter because they were prudish, or didn’t matter because they did some sexual thing once. It was beyond just a few trolls, this was a wave of people coming out of the woodwork. And perhaps more disturbing was the LARGER group of people who argued to them, while this was going on, that there was no problem, they were just being oversensitive, and they needed to get over it. They succeeded in getting sexual harassment policies in place for many conferences, but not without people – including the organizer of a conference – accusing them of being the bigger problem and driving women away with baseless complaints. So this is how it got hostile – this is why they’re defensive. Because they didn’t start this by coming out with any wild demands. They said “there are some things that make us uncomfortable” and for those who did pay attention, the BEST response they usually got was an “eh, get over it.”

          On the second point, it’s unfortunate that you see the name as insulting to others, though I can understand it. But they’ve clearly stated that it’s not intended to be so. It isn’t atheism greater than, it’s atheism plus (with the addition of) stuff. And I don’t want this to come across as insulting, because I greatly appreciate that we can have this extended and civil discussion, but please consider that while you’re telling others to have a thicker skin about what others say, you’re upset because you perceive the title a splinter group gave themselves to be elitist. And if they come off as thinking they’re right and everybody else is wrong – well, to an extent they do. But not that everyone has to focus on this, and everybody should make social justice activism a part of their atheist groups, but that if somebody is opposing them focusing on this… well, there’s not much of a good reason to oppose them focusing on this. And plenty of people out there have been telling them “Shut up and quit talking about those things.” It’s still happening, with people not just opposing their name or tactics or methods or individuals, but actively opposing them tackling social justice issues. I think unfortunately, and some of this IS the fault of some of us on the a+ side in not differentiating enough, that our backlash against those I described above in the first paragraph is seen as targeting some of you not-really-involved people. A large part of that is that, as you seemed to be, lots of people are completely unaware of just who IS being opposed and what drove this movement to be created, and are thinking you’re considered the enemy when you’re not at all the target. There was no push when this started to define what it was and why it started for outsiders – it just kind of popped of semi-organically and the people in it started trying to define what it was for them. I don’t think anyone anticipated seeing a backlash and weren’t prepared to educate people on the background of what led to a+’s creation.

          As for the third part, we aren’t saying pick people based on something other than ability. We’re saying that there are plenty of people out there with great ability, but that we keep picking the same familiar faces and should be more proactive in ensuring diversity. The idea that there’s some clear divide with a small select group of “the best” just isn’t a supportable idea. There are thousands of people doing interesting things. To use one of our own a+ers as an example, what’s so special about PZ that he keeps getting invited to speak at conferences? He writes a blog that a lot of people like. A lot of people don’t like him. But he’s a “celebrity,” he’s got the big name status, so people invite him. He’s not there because his ability is just greater than everyone else’s. I’m saying there are plenty of other voices out there just as interesting as PZs, and when we go looking we should make sure we’re not just including white men. Because it costs us nothing (no, it will not degrade the quality of our events), but the potential payoff is great by appealing to groups that are lesser-represented among us with voices that have similar backgrounds as they do.

          • AndyTK

            I certainly think that the people behind A+ need to quickly come up with a well-defined mission statement that includes not only what they want but also what they don’t want to do and how they want to be related to existing Atheist organizations.  I’d also suggest that they keep the entire thing positive and whine free.  I’d also suggest they change their name to something like “Atheists for Social Justice”, or a name that doesn’t mean anything in any language known to man like large corporations do.

            Big name movie stars are paid big bucks because they can get people to pay to see a movie.  I suspect that it’s the same way with celebrity Atheist speakers.  Like him or hate him but having Dawkins as a speaker at a conference increases attendance at the conference.  I can see how people that attend multiple conferences may lose their enthusiasm for the same people all the time but that doesn’t change the value that they bring.

  • AndyTK

    4) The Pew poll on religion in America shows that the large majority of Atheists are men (70%).  Making Atheist events gender equal not only distorts the actual membership but also does nothing to fix the underlying problem – theism provides a level of IRL community that Atheism does not provide (at least currently).
    5) A+, whether by design or not is considered insulting to those that do not share the goals of A+.  Time will not change that and quite frankly it just looks snotty to the rest of us.
    6)  6)  It seems to me that there are two things fueling the A+ attempt to take over Atheism – one is disrespectful language directed at women.  I’m all for eliminating all disrespectful speech and behavior. The second part is that many Atheists don’t subscribe to feminist terminology and beliefs.  It’s that second part that Atheists should be free to disagree with because that’s not purpose of Atheism.  It would be unfair for me to require people in the local Sierra Club to subscribe to my beliefs on Atheism.  It is just as unfair to expect Atheists to subscribe to full on feminism as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

      Andy: Feminism is just the commitment to gender equality. I know, the ‘femini-’ root is misleading. But that’s just what the term means. For a conference or organization to be neutral on feminism is for it to be neutral on whether it should discriminate against people based on their gender. That’s why a lot of A+ers feel that they can’t feel safe and respected in environments that have no stance on issues like women’s rights — and even less so in places that are actively hostile to discussing or collaborating on such issues.

      • AndyTK

        I agree that we shouldn’t discriminate based on gender.  We should strive for a meritocracy.  So far the complaints that I’ve heard haven’t been about qualified female speakers being shunned, but that the speakers are not gender and racially diverse enough.  (BTW, the same Pew poll had Atheists being 86% white).  If there is a problem where highly qualified speakers are being shunned because of their gender, race or sexual orientation then I’d agree that we have a problem that needs to be solved.  So far I’ve only heard that some people want the world to meet their ideological expectations.

        • ganner918

          Some of us see an overwhelmingly white male audience and think “hm, how can we grow the movement to other groups?” I have female friends who dismiss atheism because “it’s a guy thing.” Prominently featuring female atheists and their stories can help reach the women out there who think we’re just a boy’s club.

          • greew

            Wow, talk about getting into/rejecting Atheism for all the wrong reasons.

          • AndyTK

            And if the quality of the conference suffers because speakers are chosen based on some quota system that says that we must have so many people of this race, this gender and this sexual orientation and not by their ability to entertain and inspire?  Do you really want to cut off your nose to spite your face?  From what I’ve read women are more theist than men because they like the IRL aspects of their church organization.  They like the community, they like the rituals they grew up with and they like having a place they can take their kids to learn morals.  I’d like to see more studies on this, but this is were we should be concentrating our efforts if we want more women in the Atheist movement, creating more IRL communities that go well beyond meet up groups and look more like churches without the woo.  We need to go after average men and women like religious organizations do.  (Though I know this is at least as controversial as weaving feminist values into the fabric of the Atheist movement).

            • ganner918

              I don’t know why you assume the quality would go down. People have tended to pick the same names we’ve been seeing before, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only name or that they’re head and shoulders above other options. Various blogs (including Hemant here) have worked on identifying well qualified women and people of color to include on panels and as speakers.

              Your desire to see more IRL communities is definitely good, because that is one way to draw people who aren’t currently involved. Nobody’s saying there’s only one option and that that one option is the silver bullet. But one way of reaching out to people who aren’t much a part of your group is to have people who they can more closely relate to telling their stories about their similar backgrounds and how atheism relates to them. And I don’t see that that should be a particularly controversial idea.

              • AndyTK

                I’m assuming that quality would go down because I’m also assuming that the best speakers that an event can get with their budget and speaker availability are being invited to speak.  Any deviation from that method would result in a decrease in quality by definition.  Quality would only improve if speakers such as Neil Tyson deGrasse are currently being excluded because of race, gender or sexual orientation.  

                • ganner918

                  I addressed this in my other much longer reply, but I’m challenging the assumption that the people speaking now ARE the best, and that there is anything meaningful that sets them apart from plenty of other people out there. i used PZ as an example – aside from having a popular blog and fiery rhetoric, is he all that special? Is he a speaker of such quality that nobody out there could match him? Or is he just a celebrity in the community and thus picked again and again, with us recycling the already-famous people and ignoring people out there who would be of the same quality. I think the idea of a “best choice” is largely a myth, unless you ARE talking about pulling in someone like Tyson. Getting into the dozens of other people you’ll have speaking, you’re justhitting different point of view and different focuses and different specific ideas, but I don’t think there’s any reason to think we’ve already found the best of the best and we’d be lowering our quality if we didn’t have these people.

                • AndyTK

                  So are you saying the organizers of these conferences are bigots or just incompetent?

                • ganner918

                  I’m certainly not calling them bigots, and putting on successful conferences shows they’re not incompetent. I’m just proposing that things could be done better, and that improving things in one aspect doesn’t have to be zero-sum, we aren’t going to lose something else. I’m just talking about adding a priority – be proactive in transitioning away from the image atheist organizations and atheism in general have as being a white guy’s club. Because that perception DOES influence how open people are to us.

                • AndyTK

                  I disagree.  Speakers should be selected on merit, cost and availability and those factors alone.  Any other requirement is for ideological reasons and not in the interest of the attendees of the conference.  NOTE: if there is a hero of the feminist Atheists and they are able to draw a significant number of people to a conference that would not normally attend the conference then that is a legitimate reason to try to get them to be a speaker.  However choosing one speaker over another simply because of their race or gender is morally wrong whether it is a white bigot choosing a white person or a feminist choosing a woman over a more qualified candidate that isn’t part of their tribe.

                • ganner918

                  I’m saying that, while there isn’t an active bigotry involved, equally qualified women and people of color have been overlooked because a group of white men has risen to prominence and we just keep picking from among them – and that a group of white guys might have a bias toward picking white guys. I’ve made it clear we shouldn’t pick a “less qualified” person because of gender or race, but I’m confused as to how you score the merit of speakers to determine that there just aren’t women who deserve to be speaking. A slate of speakers should be put together to appeal to an audience you want to hit, to provide a diversity of subjects and backgrounds and points of view, in order to draw in the most people possible and provide the best experience for conference goers. In my opinion that goal is not fully met if the backgrounds and points of view of the speakers are too similar. There’s no reasonable scorecard you can go by to say “yup these men’s ability (at… speaking? being an atheist?) is better than any of the women out there.”

                  One anecdote I just remembered – a husband and wife team that run an organization (I’m sorry the names escape me, but it’s been publicised multiple times on a couple of FTB blogs) , the husband gets all the requests to speak. There is a bias now toward selecting men – whether anyone intends there to be or not. There is a perception, most likely not even considered consciously, that selecting the most “qualified” people means to select men.

      • AndyTK

        I don’t see why people have a right to demand that an off topic conversation has to be had within this forum.  If I wanted to talk about the TV show “Firefly” people would be within their rights to say that it’s off topic and ask me to stop.  More to the point if I tried to bring up Global Warming (a much larger problem than people’s feelings being hurt given the expected death toll, extinction of species, mass human and animal migration, increased disease, water and food shortages, along with more natural disasters due to more and stronger storms all due to climate change) all the time people would be within their rights to say “off topic” and I shouldn’t get all huffy about it, because they are right, it’s off topic.

        • ganner918

          Firefly and Global Warming can be considered off-topic because they’re external to the movement. The issues the A+ group are focusing on are largely INTERNAL to the movement. Namely, how to make women and people of color feel more welcome in the atheism movement and to grow our size and influence by increasing the participation of demographics that currently don’t associate much with atheism.

          • AndyTK

            It seems like it’s much more than just a focus group trying to figure out how to market Atheism to women.  That I would whole heartedly support.  Instead it seems like a group that wants to write feminist views into the very fabric of the Atheist movement while calling any guy that asked them out or disagrees with them a pig.  Most of us agree that some behavior shouldn’t be tolerated (death & rape threats, any vulgar or demeaning language).  We all want women to be comfortable at Atheist events, though we may disagree on who is outside the lines and how to deal with it.  Let’s take the famous elevator incident.  In a world where we no longer have arranged marriages the only way for people to become romantically involved is for people to make passes at one another.  Criminalizing making a pass at a woman seems to be an extreme and counterproductive solution.  This makes the assumption that all men are rapist and a pass is simply to determine if sex will be with our without force.  If on the other hand you look at the problem as one of a woman feeling vulnerable being in a strange city with a bunch of strange people by herself you can come up with a solution that doesn’t assume that all men are rapists.  The organizers of the conference can offer to buddy up people attending the conference before the conference starts with other attendees of the same sex.  They can arrange to get rooms on the same floor of whatever hotel they are staying at and can even get to know each other a little bit before the conference.  The organizers can also provide volunteers to walk a person to their room, like some college campuses provide to students after dark.

            • ganner918

              I’m wondering if you got your impression of the elevator incident primarily through second hand information, because your description of it and its aftermath are not accurate. No one, anywhere, wants to criminalize making a pass at women. Rebecca herself has said this isn’t what she wanted – as have Jen and others involved in the conversation. I just went back and listened to Rebecca’s initial video to remind myself of what happened, and it might be valuable for you to as well: 
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKHwduG1Frk

              I think it’s worth noting that there was nothing about “criminalizing” anything, and the comments made, if you go back and listen to the video, primarily express frustration, make a request, basically tell guys that doing things the way this guy did aren’t going to get you the girl, and were an aside from the rest of the video. “Elevatorgate” only became a “thing” because of a massive backlash to a pretty simple comment. Rebecca basically made two points about it. She said that being a single woman in a foreign country at four in the morning alone in an elevator with a strange man, this is an uncomfortable place to be getting hit on. Stated less in depth, but I’m adding on based on the future conversations, she perceived a 4am invitation from a total stranger to come to his hotel room to be sexualizing, at least having a clear sexual context to it, when she had spent the day’s talk and bar conversation later talking about how SHE was uncomfortable with being sexualized and wasn’t interested in that sort of thing in these environments. As she said later, after that initial video, she felt that she hadn’t been listened to or taken seriously, and found that demeaning. It’s worth reiterating that she only told this story as an aside, and only said “this made me uncomfortable,” and “guy’s don do that” where “that” is making passes at women you don’t know at 4 in the morning in hotel elevators, because it comes off as creepy and very likely will just make the woman uncomfortable.

              To move on, yes to some degree they want to “write feminist views into the very fabric of the Atheist movement.” But that degree to which they’re doing it is only in the sense that they want women’s concerns to be listened to and taken seriously. Elevatorgate was never about “oh my god I got hit on, atheism is full of sexist pigs!” It was about “I expressed that something made me uncomfortable and in response people got angry, I got mocked, harassed, and insulted, and most people didn’t take my concerns at all seriously.” I don’t think anyone has made anything coming close to an unreasonable demand, even though the explosion of debate afterward made it seem like there was a gulf separating the views of different people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    How can “Atheism+” possibly be the safe haven for someone who’s scared (maybe with good reason–I’m not suggesting they’re wrong,  just paraphrasing the description of these people) to read a website with the word “atheism” in the title?

    This is like suggesting that people who don’t want to be associated with the Catholic church can be reached by the enterprising new go-getters of “Catholic+”.  

    I think it’s a silly copout for an atheist to refuse to discuss a social issue on the grounds that it doesn’t affect that atheist, simply because he’s an atheist.  But for an atheist to refuse to let a forum on atheism devolve into a debate on social issues that are irrelevant to atheism itself doesn’t bother me a bit.

    If you and I are discussing gun control, and I say something like, “Well, I’m an atheist, so gun control doesn’t affect me” that’s clearly wrong.  It doesn’t have much to do with my atheism, but of course it affects me as a citizen of the nation.

    If you and I are discussing atheism, and you try to steer the conversation to gun control, it’s likely because you think you know what my position is going to be, because you think atheists have one position on gun control.  That’s a great time for me to say, “Look, if you want to talk about that issue, we can do that next, but that’s got nothing to do with atheism.  Atheism is the lack of one specific belief and nothing else.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/meaty Robby Bensinger

      ‘New Atheism,’ the sort of atheism that has been forming into meetings, has never just been about not being a theist. It’s really been ‘Atheism+Skepticism.’ But skepticism applies to all issues, not just supernatural ones. Thus Atheism+ can be viewed as a more consistent and universal application of skepticism (which is what we’re really talking about when we speak of ‘the atheist movement’) to the world around us. In that sense a better label for Atheism+ is ‘Skepticism + Humanism,’ or ‘Skepticism + Humanism – Cognitive Dissonance.’ :) Ordinary New Atheism then is just ‘Skepticism,’ or (if Atheism+ is not part of New Atheism) perhaps ‘Skepticism + Cognitive Dissonance’ or ‘Skepticism – Humanism.’ This, of course, is treating Atheism+ as a very broad category and not just as a specific organization; there’s no consistent view on this issue yet.

  • JenniferT

    Let’s just leave them to their clique and never mention them again.

  • MoriyaMug

    Indeed. Selective quoting to undermine my point while underscoring your own. Classy. Not to mention citing personal experience as universal.

    The distinct impression is that if one doesn’t get on board with Atheism+ or has any reservations, one is not welcome. I thought I’d made that pretty clear. I’ve also stated my dislike of cliques. The label alone is divisive. They can claim it’s not meant to imply improvement, only addition, but quite frankly, I don’t buy it. They should have picked a better name, if nothing else.

  • MoriyaMug

     That is, unfortunately, an issue common to all areas of the internet: anonymity breeds bravado. Most of these people would not be so bold if they had to present their faces where someone could photograph, videorecord or, in some instances, hit it. ;P

  • TheKevinBates

    The only issue I have with this is that of course the word we use has negative connotations.  They were put their on purpose, and not by us.  Redefining what we call ourselves every few years because the other team has used our term derogatorily the entire time is not a long term solution.
    We went from Atheist, to Secular Humanist, to Bright?  How long to we all expect to use the term “Brights” before it gets attacked by conservative religious types for calling all Christians stupid?  And then it bleeds over and ALL Christians feel that Bright is an attack on them.  And then we just need to make up another new term…

    Well, that’s no solution.  Rather than pretending to be something we’re not, or hiding behind an ever shifting banner than only we can identify, why can’t we be proud of what we are?  Lets stop fragmenting and infighting amongst a group where we already represent a small and hated population.  Let’s all stop being assholes to each other and work towards a common good.

    If the dark corners of degenerate redditors want to make a sub called “No girls allowed, Atheism ONLY,” that’s fine.  They can go be racist dicks in there.  But we need to keep in mind that most people who would like to learn about atheism, who are atheists, or are an atheist ally probably don’t want to tread into the atheism sub and hear neckbeards rant about how all laws against pediphilia should be abandoned because atheism says so, and if you say otherwise you’re no better than the Nazi Pope.  (BTW: that’s an actual argument some neckbeard had at me in the main atheism sub, and the ultimate reason I have more or less quit reddit.)

    Yeah it’s great that some of of the people reading this identify as so pure in their belief that they only talk about Atheism with a capital A, and they don’t put their hands on any other issues.  Well, I’m calling you out: you are the reason we’re in the place we are.  It would be lovely if all Christians got together and only talked about Jesus, and refused to talk about any social issues because they don’t want to possibly exclude any Christians.  But that isn’t in the cards.  If you don’t like the fact that people within this community want to take part in social issues that impact their lives, that’s tough.  If you don’t like the fact that people are using these communities to organize resistance to people attacking us, that’s too bad.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    /Rant over 

    Let’s stop being dicks to each other,
    Do something productive where everyone can see us,
    Stop fracturing our already small community with further divisions, attacks and straw-men.

    My productive and visible thing for this week: When I give blood this weekend I’ll tell everyone there that I’m doing it because I’m an atheist, and I want to help people.

    (as an aside, this is not an attack on Hemant, as he obviously is being a proactive force for good in our community. However, I didn’t want to specifically reply to any of the commenters, as I didn’t want to feel like I was attacking them either)

  • http://twitter.com/moother moother

    I’m all for social justice… and I’m all for a lot more of it…

    But, looking over at the States from Europe, it’s clear that you guys have plenty catch-up to do.

    Good luck with it, whatever you prefer to call it…

    • The Other Weirdo

       Yes, because Europe is the very paragon of equality and mutual cooperation between similar and opposing groups. And in fact it has no opposing groups. Nope. None at all. That was just Communist Era propaganda. When’s your next fish-flinging protest?

  • guest

    The thing that bothers me most about all of this is that the A+ers often claim that women’s experiences in the atheist movement are dismissed. Yet when other women claim that they do not experience this, their opinions are dismissed due to “privilege”.

  • Xeno-Anon

    If you’re not comfortable with being called an atheist or identifying an atheist, then why would a group that not only has the words atheism/atheist associated with it in it’s very name but also carried all the extreme left wing political/social views make you more comfortable? That would be like if I didn’t like being called a theist so I decided to call myself a Theist^2, a subgroup that not only believes in god but also holds all the far right conservative views. 

  • Komodo

    I have a question. I am a long-time,unshakable agnostic. I am agnostic and not atheist insomuch as if some supernatural diety tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was wrong, I might believe in something then,but outside of that, no.

    Anyway, I have recently been interested in researching my nonbelief more since I have a child that I am raising without religion. I have read Dawkins, subscribed to “Skeptical Inquiry”, etc. My question is why do most atheists ferociously attack Christianity (and sometimes, Judiasm), but Islam is given a pass? I mean, its all bullshit, but I almost feel like the same group think thought police that I detest in many churchgoers are going PC on me and afraid to approach all the lies equally.

    I’m very curious to everyone’s take on this. I can’t sleep, so I figured this was a constructive use of my time.

    • AndyTK

      Way off topic, but we don’t.  Christianity gets the brunt of our attention because we live in a Christian dominated society filled with religious privilege.  If you think we are less ideologically opposed to Islam go read something by Sam Harris when he talks about Islam.  Sam kicked off the whole “New Atheist” movement in the US after 9/11 with his book “The End of Faith” and he makes a convincing case that Islam is more morally repugnant than Christianity.

    • ganner918

      Very off-topic for this thread, but I’ll try to address it:

      Islam is not at all given a pass. Dawkins, Hitchen, and Harris all have written and spoken about Islam. Bloggers write about it. There are ex-Muslims like Salman Rushie and to a greater extent Ayaan Hirsi Ali who criticize Islam all the time. There is a yearly “everybody draw Mohammed” day in protest of violence against the Danish cartoons and other instances of censorship and violence in Islam. But those of us living in America and most of Europe come from Christian backgrounds, see Christians every day, and see Christianity trying to control our governments. It’s just more relevant to our daily lives, so we spend more time talking about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    This all smacks of the laughable and accurate South Park series of episodes on the Atheism Wars….

    It also smacks heavily of playing the fiddle while Rome is burning to me. The usual type of stupid and pointless brand name workshop mode timewasting that gives the theocrats breathing space.

    And I disagree with you respectfully Mr H…. “Bright” is a smug ass term than makes my hackles rise – too easy to turn it around and have the other side inferring we think they are the Stupids.

    You want a catch all term?

    Secularist.

    There y go. Now can we get back to the real issues?

    • ganner918

      This isn’t just about what label to attach to what. This is about a group of atheists wanting to apply skepticism to social justice issues, and starting a website/group/label to encompass that.

    • Kodie

       A secularist could have a religious belief. I have wondered if I’m a humanist for a while since I became aware of the term. I just hate people so much! But I guess I’m a humanist because I also care about issues in the general sense – people should have rights; they should eat; they should have competent, stable, non-violent government. But other than that, I agree with EVERYTHING IN YOUR POST. I hate euphemisms, as if “atheist” is a dirty word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitch.dibble.9 Mitch Dibble

    Feminathiesm…… this is totally why I’m in this movement *eyeroll*

  • Drago Gerlachan

    Wow a new big word all with Richard Carriers “with us or against us” bullshit. 

    How about 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism 

    and all the a happy well probably against us concerning A+.

    Not because of the ideas. Not because the ideas are bad but because the people are bad. 
    Because i dont need a movement that checks me for being in line.

  • Thegoodman

    Atheism+ has “no true Scotsman” tones that I do not particularly like. No where does it say we all can have only 1 label. I am an atheist, I am a feminist, I will gladly champion the LBGT cause to any enemy. I don’t need a cute little packaged t-shirt that is all encompassing of my worldview.

  • Jack Rawlinson

    It’s not the way Atheism+ helps that concerns me. It’s the way it harms. It is a move against solidarity, and it stinks.

  • Adamwho

    I like what another blogger said about it (http://coffeelovingskeptic.com/)

    The problem with those who have fallen into the
    Atheism+ trap is not their belief in these values, it is their belief
    that others lack them, simply because they disagree on details and
    interpretation.

  • http://twitter.com/BdrLen Len

    The members of the movement in and of themselves are not at all objectionable. Any movement that claims moral superiority over another broadly similar movement, demands that people adhere to it or be branded as enemies, shout down any dissent and generally tries to co-opt existing movements for their own aims -is- particularly objectionable

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.scalper Richard Scalper

    Should Humanists Oppose Male Circumcision? http://www.sodahead.com/living/should-humanists-oppose-male-circumcision/question-3153339/They brand men like a herd of cows. “Neonatal post-traumatic stress disorder” — the recurrent American nightmare for boys. American men are such wimps to let their sons be subjected to this absurd surgery. If it were women tied down & cut, the Feminists would be howling all over the world. The male genitals are a cheap commodity. There is no argument too absurd for the circumcisers. They insult the appearance of the intact penis, claim that circumcision heals everything from body warts to HIV, and draw an illogical distinction between female & male genitals. It will be up to merciful mothers to spare their sons this humiliation. With a few exceptions, most circumcised men are so defensive they’ll never own up to their loss. Circumcision is the mark of a slave, not a free man.

    Top Ten Tortures Less Painful Than Circumcision

    10. Get waterboarded.
    9. Pull out your fingernails.
    8. Eat a pile of steaming bear crap.
    7. Skin yourself alive.
    6. Fall into a vat of molten iron.
    5. Get run over by a train.
    4. Go through a sausage grinder.
    3. Saw off your legs.
    2. Poke out your eyes.
    1. Go To Hell

    ~Dick-Scalper.

  • Nauty

    I would not have had even a single thought about Atheism+, had not the Oligarchs of said group – McCreight, Carrier, and overlord Myers – not made very disparaging comments about the fitness of anyone who would not willingly join the ‘club’ to even be called an Atheist.
    This is not a New New form of Atheism, but a power-grab on the part of the Radfem fringe, and their Eunuch followers…

  • Regular Atheist

    “Atheism+ is still brand new. There are no meetings”

    That’s because they’re little more than a bunch of circle-jerkers, quick to ban anyone who dares to disagree with them about ANYTHING.  Fuck the AtheismPlus posers. 


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