When Atheism+ isn't good enough

More fun

Just read this.  It’s fairly typical of the A+ brigade.  I’ll hit the high notes in my response.

it’s a useful (if disconcerting) glance into the mindsets of those who see the rise of the Atheism+ (sub)movement as the latest great threat to the godless community’s patriarchal pride.

Right off the bat, he labels the A+ opponents as supporting the patriarchy.  This is insulting your opponent rather than discussing rationally with them.  It’s an indication that his position is so weak, that he needs to resort to invective and insults.

the entire point of feminism is to decry gender inequality and to fight for the equal treatment of both men and women under the law and in general society.

Quite possibly.  That’s not what Erin Pizzey found out.  Her experience was that one large subset of feminism was about promoting women at the expense of everyone else.  Her attempts to discuss womens behavior based on facts and evidence resulted in death threats and bomb threats.

If feminism was just that, most people wouldn’t have a problem with it.

Opposing this logically entails opposing the struggle for women’s rights. I find it hard to believe that there might be other reasons for doing so …

If you don’t believe that feminism is about equality, then opposing feminism can mean you’re for equality.  The argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy.    It doesn’t belong here.

(After all, misogyny isn’t only the overt hatred of women; it’s the totality of sexist attitudes, both apparent and abstract.)

That’s redefining the traditional meaning of the word “misogyny”.  It’s nice to be able to “win” arguments by redefining the terms under discussion.

… people are turning away from the modern feminist movement (and possibly women’s rights in general) as a result of issues with its public image.

In a word: yes.  I know many women (professional, trans, lesbian, straight) who don’t like the public image of feminism.  That is largely because the public image is bad.

But this somewhat misses the mark; feminism has never been a particularly popular movement in the public eye – how can it, given that it’s devoted to calling out abuses of privilege and power?

Let me try this: “no one can be prejudiced against black people, because the president is black, and he’s rich and powerful.”

Logical fallacies aren’t useful.  Feminism manifestly does have a public image, no matter how popular or unpopular it is.  You can’t just ignore a negative public image because you label it as “not popular”.  I would also defy anyone to deny that feminist ideas currently have power.  Public policy is strongly influenced by feminist ideas.  Counter-balancing facts are ignored.

if anything, the public perception of feminism has only improved over the years,

In a word: no.

now that fewer people consider it heresy to allow women to vote and all.

That’s a false dichotomy.  Women have had the vote in the US for a long time.  The now he’s referring to is from one hundred years ago.

It’s unfair (and, frankly, just lazy) to judge an entire movement and all that it stands for based on disagreements with the actions of some of its supporters.

Atheists regularly judge religious people based on the actions of a minority.  Why?  Because the majority fail to distance themselves from the extreme positions in their religion.  Their silence in the face of child abuse, bombings, and genocide speaks volumes.

If you believe in the merits and goals of feminism and women’s rights in general, then you should fight for it and try to reclaim it from those who you think tarnish its name.

By the same token, why doesn’t he fight to reclaim the “Atheist” label from the sexist pigs who tarnished it’s name? Maybe it’s because fighting an entrenched and powerful group of people is hard.  Maybe because starting a new group means you’re likely to end up as one of the entrenched and powerful.

I think we’re getting into real motivations here.

Why are they so unable to conceive of a moment that might exist and grow without some sort of “representative” leadership or centralized headquarters? … What the movement does have is people, some more popular (and thus influential) than others, who speak their minds about Atheism Plus, either for or against it.

Except that there are clear leaders in the A+ movement.  There are movers and shakers who help define what it is.  Who have strong influence.  Who ban people for disagreeing, or for asking questions.

He’s promoting a utopian ideal of happy-go-lucky anarchy.  That doesn’t work, and it isn’t how A+ forums work today.

From what I’ve heard, Matt Dillahunty was banned from the Atheism+ Forum after repeatedly violating their rules. Whether or not he was treated unfairly by the moderators before being booted is both unknown to me and utterly irrelevant here; he’s not a victim of censorship.

In a word: No.  I’ve looked into it, by watching Matt’s video blogs, his comments on FtB, and the A+ forums.  He was clearly treated unfairly by the moderators, who admitted so.  That behavior is relevant to the A+ movement, as it is one of the reasons why it’s detractors (such as me) don’t like it.

Atheism+ isn’t a “new definition” of the greater atheist movement, … The rest of the godless community is perfectly free to continue about their business without paying Atheism+ any mind.

Except that’s not true.  The A+ proponents have made it clear anyone who is not with them is against them.  I’m perfectly free to continue my atheistic  business, but the price of that is the A+ proponents calling me sexist, MRA pig, etc.

That’s rude.

All this just illustrates the main problem with these malcontents and haters (discounting the outright trolls), which is that most of them are goddamned morons. … like a snotty child throwing dirt at the walls of a treehouse he wasn’t invited into …

Yes, of course.  The real reason people don’t like A+ is that they are stupid.  It’s not for the reasons they claim.

Dehumanizing your opponent is not a logical argument.

(some people) … just want to avoid the whole mess altogether. And frankly, the more of those poisonous dingleberries I encounter, the less I can blame them.

Pot.  Kettle.  Black.


I’m opposing A+ because I think it’s divisive, dogmatic and anti-intellectual.  Feel free to call me a “moronic poisonous dingleberry


I commented on another blog entry which defended Schrodinger’s rapist.  I thought my comments were fairly reasonable.  The blog owner (of course) has now put me into the spam queue.  Here’s the original URL (I won’t link to it)

And my banned response:

Your attempt at cut & paste created bad links. No matter…

None of those articles support the idea of “rape culture”. None of them show that our culture is positive towards the idea of raping women. None of them show that a facile “don’t rape” comment will convince violent criminals to not rape. Your attempt to change the subject doesn’t change my arguments against the “Schrodinger’s Rapist” entry.

Your comment of “anecdotal evidence” is likewise false. DSK wasn’t a “friend of a friend” story. It was wide-spread news. It was deeply investigated (both accuser and accused). The truth came out. One false accusation by a serial false accuser was enough to destroy the reputation of a powerful man.

Any theory worth believing in is falsifiable. Evolution can be famously disproved by “fossil rabbits in the precambrian”. It doesn’t take studies. It doesn’t take reams of data. One rabbit is enough.

In this case, one example showed that the alleged leaders of the “patriarchy” can be removed from power by a false accusation. There is no rational way for anyone to believe in the patriarchy, or that our culture supports and encourages rape.

Maybe we don’t prosecute some crimes hard enough. That might be true. But that in no way means that we encourage those crimes. Believing that is a logical fallacy.

You can moderate dissenting opinions all you want. All it shows is that you can’t engage in a discussion about your beliefs. If you were secure in your beliefs, then they would withstand all dissent. If your beliefs were true, they could withstand all dissent.

He can’t rationally defend his views. “You need to read more”.  The typical A+ defence.

His counter-argument is The giving of generalized advice does not imply that no one already knows or follows that advice. Seriously? If everyone already knows and follows that advice, why give it?

The first four points of the Schrodinger’s rapist post are mostly reasonable.  Then the zinger comes in at number five.  Since the first ones are reasonable, you’ve fallen into the belief that the author is a reasonable person.  So the fifth piece of advice: “Don’t rape” is easier to swallow.

Try this at a party some time.  Walk up to a guy, and say “I like you, but please don’t rape my wife.”  I’ll give you ten to one odds that he treats you like you’re insane.

Because if you say that, you might very well be.

I want to please Peezus.

“I wanna get down on my knees and start pleasing Peezus, I wanna feel his approval all over my face.”

I’ve engaged in discussions on various A+ forums, using a number of different accounts.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this one was quickly banned.  It shouldn’t also surprise anyone that the typical counter-argument was “You’ve got to read more.”

No, I don’t need to read more.  I’m here to talk to you, the A+ supporter.  If you’re not capable of rationally discussing your position, then it’s not worth holding.

If your position is so weak that you ban people for dissenting and asking questions, your position is false.

Rational arguments need not apply.  Facts get tossed out.  What’s important is creating a “safe zone” for people to discuss…. something.  Anyone who asks “what are we discussing?”  gets banned.

The entire A+ social network is about pleasing people.  Facts and evidence aren’t useful here.  Social cohesion is.  Follow the mob.  Ignore the little boy who says “the emperor has no clothes”

Atheism + One.

Atheism + one.  Or Atheism +1.  Whatever it stands for, it’s better than Atheism.  It’s better than Atheism+.  It’s Atheism plus one.

Expect the world to change.

If it doesn’t, we’ll whine until it does.

Atheism.  Plus.  Whine.  One.

We’re no longer atheists.  We’re plus.  Plus.  PLUS.  Let’s talk about the plus.  Plus Atheism, who needs that?  We’re PLUS.