• Orbital Decay

    Only a few weeks ago, The Orbit was launched. Despite my personal and philosophical differences with several of their authors (e.g. Gabriel, Zvan) I tried to remain upbeat about the project. My friend Adam [REDACTED] was less than sanguine, starting a betting pool on which one of their allies they would throw under the bus first.

    Turns out the answer was Surly Amy:

    Many Orbit bloggers, who have different relationships (or lack thereof) with Amy and Surly-Ramics, are ourselves disabled and engaged in disability advocacy to different extents. While some now feel comfortable promoting Amy’s work, others differ, and individual bloggers will continue drawing their own lines. As a network, however, we recognize offering Surly-Ramics was a mistake, both because no consensus existed on our network and because doing so without explanation cast doubt on disability rights’ importance to us. We apologize for that mistake.

    Evidently Amy has been cast out of the orbit of her erstwhile allies on account of calling people stupid, of all things.

    There is a lesson to be had in all this, for those who care to listen. It has to do with group dynamics and the pursuit of ideological purity:

    …it’s important to be prejudiced in favor of tolerating dissent.  Wait until substantially after it seems to you justified in ejecting a member from the group, before actually ejecting.  If you get rid of the old outliers, the group position will shift, and someone else will become the oddball.  If you eject them too, you’re well on the way to becoming a Bose-Einstein condensate and, er, exploding.

    That last bit will hold an intuitive appeal to physics majors, mostly. The lesson is clear enough, though. Once you start shunning allies for failing to see the world in precisely the same way, you run the risk of spiraling downwards into ever stricter purity tests until there is virtually no one left.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • Skeptic Ink Readers, I’m afraid we’ve made an error and we apologize. When we re-launched Skeptic Ink as a blog following its failure is a tattoo magazine, we offered Damion Reinhardt’s “Dam-acramé atheistie skep-tiles” as a promotional item. As you may or may not know, or knew but forgot, or heard about it, but then wasn’t sure what it was, there was controversy 33 years ago regarding use of prejudiced language when he called another child a “big dumb jerkface” following a disagreement about who was to use the sandbox next. While his mother made him apologize, others noted it felt forced and inadequately contrite. Skeptic Ink affirms that such language is intolerable, as it furthers prejudice against people who are jerkfaces. Jerkfaces are often people who need the most support.

      Per consensus of the Skeptic Ink Bureau of Moral Hygiene and Motor Vehicles, we will no longer be offering Dam-acramé promotional handicrafts. We’ve decided to replace them with O-soriO’s, Ðavid Osorio’s godless bracelet and anklets (look for armlets soon!). They’re not as good as Dam-acramé, but on the upside, Ðavid is brown-ish, and that seems like the way to go here.

      In addition, we will re-examine our decision making process here so that we don’t inadvertently support anyone who has failed to conform to a shifting, nebulous ideal of moral perfection such that they could serve to challenge our absolute moral authority. When you do as much demonizing and witch-hunting as we do, you really have to look after that. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

      Archon, SIN Bureau of Moral Hygiene and Motor Vehicles

      • Ridnarhtim

        “shifting, nebulous?” Don’t you know how offensive that is to vapourkin?

      • Jack Rawlinson

        I demand you apologise for using the triggering gender slur “witch”.


    • ronmurp

      “tossing my surlies” – As a person with erectile dysfunction who can no longer toss himself off, I get awfully surly for want or sexual relief. I am deeply triggered at this ablist remark about surly people who are able to toss their surlies.

    • ronmurp
    • Well, that certainly didn’t take long. I suppose absolute ideological purity is a difficult standard to maintain, especially when the goalposts keep moving.

    • John D

      I donated to Orbit in their kick-starter. Hey… why not? Maybe they could sort things out and make some good content. But…. I also coveted a “The Orbit” Surlyramic of my own. I figured it would become a cherished keepsake… if Orbit was a success then I had a memento…. and if they failed… well… then I had a memento. It was a win-win for me.

      But… holy cow. This gang is already eating their own. They are orbiting the drain, even before I could get my precious Surlyramic. Alas! I withdrew my donation.

    • kraut2

      What do I get for: I could’ve told you so…
      There is no cure, there is no cure…for political correctness.

    • Clare45

      Hoo-ray for or-bit-al de-cay. (i’m learning how to rap)