• Truth in the tequila

    Over at En Tequila Es Verdad on Freethought Blogs, author Dana Hunter has recently published the most recent of many blogposts in celebration of splitting the atheist movement in twain. She is evidently not taking questions from those who remain skeptical of this divisive approach, but I felt the need to speak up somewhere . . .


    Dana puts up two fingers to Atheist Ireland, American Atheists, and the Secular Policy Institute for failing to properly and thoroughly shun SlymePitters (“his mates attack me and mine”), pro-life conservatives (“cons who want to take my bodily autonomy away”) and Michael Shermer, respectively.

    Supposing for the sake of argument that all Pitters, conservatives, and founders of the Skeptics Society really ought to be shunned from polite society in general and no-platformed out of movement atheism in particular, the problem remains: Who curates the shun list and how many names are on it? Can we trust Dana and her allies to be fair and impartial about this, given their long history of smearing opponents and their vested interest in holding on to the commanding heights of atheist beigeland?

    I’m trying to keep an open mind here, but at the moment I’m leaning towards an unqualified “No.”

    A far better policy might be to shun those whom you please in your own spaces (e.g. disallowing unsavory people like me from commenting on your blog) while refraining from judging others to be guilty on account of their associations. Judge people on their own words and actions, rather than those with whom they associate (Pitters at Nugent’s blog) or those to whom they reach out (AA at CPAC). This will help ensure that you are directing your ire at something people meant to do rather than, say, unexamined friendship.


    Category: Atheism PlusSlymePit

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • Outwest

      I’ve always been astounded that a small group of people seem determined to claim the privilege of who can be an atheist and who cannot be – in the sense of being someone that should be able to have a voice because those individuals do not toe the “party line”

      • Some even have the gall to call themselves oppressed even while actively gatekeeping.

      • Kirbmarc

        I think that organizations interested in social activism and promotion of secularism and atheism maybe should stop working with the FTB bloggers, at least until they accept that they can’t run atheism…

      • #include “stddisclaimer.h”


    • Graham Martin-Royle

      What gives FTB or anyone else the right to decide anything? As individuals they have the right to their opinions and no more.

      • Tell that to the speaker who conditions their appearance on having another speaker removed from the schedule.

      • Graham Martin-Royle

        The organisers of wherever they’re speaking should be telling them, if they realised that they weren’t getting their way and speaking engagements dried up, maybe they would change their attitude.

    • Jeff Pinner

      Might we not find some similarity to those for whom shared belief is a requirement for continued existence? While the collective shunning is a milder form of the disease, it is the difference between the phases of my Diverticular Disease, diverticulosis and diverticulitis. In the former the weak spots in the colon form sacs, which may become inflamed and infected, which is the latter phase. Shunning in the gatekeeper form is equivalent to diverticulosis, while ISIL (ISIS, whatever) is equivalent to the latter. Either way, you’re sick, it’s just a question of how bad it is at that particular time.

      • I like the idea of the global atheist movement as a diseased colon, but if we’re going to go down the path of medical analogies, I’d prefer viruses. They invade the host and hijack its native machinery in order make copies of their own message at the expense of normal operation.

    • ElectroMagneticJosh

      I just read her post (for context) and found this interesting at the end:

      “If you really wanted to empower women through secularism, you could get on with throwing out the sexual predators and serial harassers, and addressing your own unthinking sexism. You could start listening to what women on this side of the rift are telling you, and do more than throw a conference or two. You could pay attention when we tell you it’s not just religion that harms us. You want to fill in the rifts? Get cracking on the above and get back to me when you’re done.”

      As far as I am aware AI doesn’t have sexual predators and serials harassers to throw out. Isn’t this part of the very smearing that annoyed Nugent in the first place?

      In the real world Nugent is fighting for human rights in Ireland that are taken for granted in more secular societies (including “conservative” America). Look at his blog and you can see he is fighting hard for getting women and LGBT people more rights. Oh, and he has advocated long and tirelessly for more male/female balance in secular and atheist conferences. In other words: he should be one of their heroes.

      The irony.

      • Kirbmarc

        Ironically enough there’s an admitted sexual predator who comments on FTB.

      • One might even go so far as to say that they provide him with a sort of safe haven (so to speak) where he can confess his crimes to the world without fear of losing face.

      • “AI doesn’t have sexual predators and serials harassers to throw out.”

        Probably not, but it is far easier to smear one’s opponents than rightfully accuse one’s allies.