I’ve not given much thought to Atheism Plus in quite awhile, except to check their block list every now and again to see whether someone in particular is on there. The movement seems fairly moribund (judging by the activity on the forums) and I’ve hardly heard anyone promoting that brand or their specific goals lately.
That is, until earlier this week.
@Vestra_Culpa Still obsessed over having lost that battle. All Atheism+ goals are now the norm in movement atheism.
— Dr. Richard Carrier (@RichardCCarrier) September 18, 2015
I asked Dr. Carrier which goals he is talking about, and he referred me back to this talk:
— San Diego CoR (@SanDiegoCoR) April 1, 2013
When I dug up the transcript, though, the goals mentioned therein were usually not well-differentiated from the preexisting goals of mainstream atheist and humanist groups. For example:
Obviously one of those big goals, as has been talked about today already, is to increase the number of atheists. Hopefully, that means increasing the number of morally responsible atheists. I think that should be part of our goals as well. And also to protect the rights of atheists, the interests of atheists, the welfare of atheists.
These are basically the goals of any given atheist group, except for the “morally responsible” part which is central to the mission of any given secular humanist group. This has been the case for decades, at least.
In order to show that Atheism Plus has prevailed in shifting what is considered “the norm in movement atheism” we would need at least a few new goals which Atheism Plus brought to the table which were not already considered the norm in the movement. Goals such as public call-outs, for example:
[W]e should all, all organizations, call for atheists to speak out against and socially punish—meaning denounce, downvote, for example, things like that —any harassment behavior, wherever and whenever you can find it, whenever you have an opportunity to say, state, publicly, and make the world aware that atheists, and you in particular, are opposed to this. I think we should all be doing that, more actively.
I have to doubt whether it is an emergent “norm in movement atheism” to focus on socially punishing alleged “harassment behavior” via public denunciation. Certainly I’ve seen a few strenuous efforts in that direction, typically as part of a coordinated effort at calling out selected prominent skeptic men and occasionally freethinking women. It would definitely be a stretch to say that publicly humiliating those people has become one of the mainstream goals within the broader atheist movement, though each of them has received something of a flogging over at FtB.
It may well be that Atheism Plus brought something new to the table—other than singling people out for public shaming—which clearly differentiated it from old guard movement atheism and secular humanism. If you know what this mysterious X-factor might be, please leave a comment.