• Ending The In-Fighting: Can We All Just Get Along?

    Lee Moore of A-News has called for an end to the in-fighting between atheists. Personally, I would love to see this. I don’t have high expectations because I don’t think some of the bloggers involved are all that interested in ending the infighting. I don’t think they see it as the misunderstanding or issues that can be resolved through reasoned discourse. Instead, the in-fighting is often painted as a holy crusade against evil.

    For me, I really don’t see where our views are all that different. Most of the people on both sides support the goals of equality for all, diversity, and fairness. So I look at this in-fighting and just see needless drama from people who pretty much agree with each other. But in fairness, I really haven’t kept up with the drama much so I might have missed the point of contention.

    I’m turned off from the drama because I would rather focus on building a community of reason and fighting back against those who really are against equality, diversity, and fairness.

    In any case, I would like to think that a community that values reason should be able to come together and talk this kind of thing out logically. I would like to think that South Park was wrong when they had their two-part episode where Cartman goes to the future and finds that atheists finally won the culture war, only to war with each other over semantics.

    We haven’t even won the culture war yet and we have started in-fighting. We need to stop the in-fighting and work together as a community of reason. If we have differences and we probably do, we should be able to work out those differences in peace using rational discourse.

    If we can’t do that, then what is the point of the community of reason? What will happen when we do defeat the Religious Right? Will be become that which we have fought against? Have we already?

    I would like to think that valuing reason and diversity has made us better people and that if it were just us we could make a better world. But if we can’t even sit down together and talk out our differences peacefully, then I really don’t know what we are fighting for. It’s very depressing and I hate even blogging about this. I hate that I am adding to this drama simply by supporting a call for reasoned dialog.

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    Category: Atheist Infighting


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

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    1. The A-plussers aren’t looking for resolution, they’re looking for vindication. Disusing anything with any of them is like discussing evolution with creationists. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

      But it takes two people to fight. I suggest that we respond to anything they say or do with a dismissive, “Pfft. It’s just an a-plusser. Ho hum, what’s for dinner?” Then refuse to acknowledge them any further. These people thrive on attention – let’s take it away from them.

      Let them do their little superior dances for each other, knowing that no one else is bothering to watch.

    2. You say that A+ views this as a campaign against evil, I don’t even know that’s true. Certainly, most of the low-end grunts probably feel that way, but when it gets to the leadership of FtB and Skepchicks, I doubt they really care much, they’re in it for the money and notoriety. It’s obvious by watching them work, the second people stop talking about them, the second people stop flooding to their sites and generating ad revenue, one of them will go out and create controversy and start the cycle all over again. It happens like clockwork. It gets a lot of atheists on our side of the fence riled up, it gets the faithful’s righteous anger re-invigorated and it all goes on over and over.

      The only way to stop this is, as you said, to ignore them. That’s what I started doing as a New Year’s Resolution. I don’t look at them on Twitter, I don’t read blogs that spend an inordinate amount of time talking about A+, I don’t listen to podcasts that spend a lot of time dealing with this nonsense, I have largely successfully excised them from my life and I’m a lot happier. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who thrive on drama, drama, drama, who are drawn to any controversy like a moth to the flame. Those are the people who are largely the problem and those are the people who I fear reason and logic will never reach.

      We need to stop talking about A+ so they’ll slink back into their hole and find something else to do with themselves. They thrive on attention. Unless we can deprive them of such, this will probably still be going on in the future when Cartman shows up.

        1. Yeah, but we know that’s the overwhelming majority problem. I don’t see any other form of infighting going on in the atheist community right now, do you?

          1. My point is even some people who are opposed to A+ are guilty of the same thing. I want us all to step back and work out our differences together. Oh, and accommodantionalists are still out there talking smack about more confrontational atheist like me. See my post from yesterday.

            1. Absolutely and without question! There are trolls on both sides, but if Atheism+ had never shown up, I don’t think those trolls would be out harassing people, I certainly don’t remember there being such an issue before Elevatorgate supposedly happened. There may be tons of blame to go around, it was just a particular incident and movement that grew up around it that sparked the debacle.

          2. A+ is an irrelevance. The FTB bigwigs are the problem. A+ is a vicious hellhole of petty tyrants looking for vulnerable individuals to torture and it’s effectively been dumped by it’s creator.

    3. The big rift is over real differences. I believe that I have every right not to take a woman’s word for something without evidence. I will not accept that being male means that I should suffer for the actions of any other male. I will not accept anyone’s projection of misogynistic intent onto society or individual men when there are a host of other interpretations. I will not accept anyone’s demands that I renounce crimes I have not committed. I do not appreciate uninformed attacks on scientific fields purely because they don’t fall in line with the view that gender is a social construct.

    4. I’m not so sure we have the same goals. The “social justice” crowd seems to want secularism joined at the hip to a very narrow ideological perspective, and I can’t respect that goal. I really don’t want to be part of a secular movement that is on one hand fighting against religious hegemony only to be promoting ideological hegemony with the other. I think we’ve had enough of that model with the whole ugly history of 20th Century Marxism, and to me what the Aplussers are promoting simply looks like that rebranded as “feminism”.

      1. I have no problem with social justice. I think most of the secular community values social justice issues. I you would be hard pressed to find an atheist who doesn’t support equality for gays, women, and racial minorities. While they do exist of course, they aren’t generally involved in our community of reason. The issue from my prospective isn’t social justice, but rather political correctness. Also, the way we treat people of reason who disagree. If the person has shown that they are generally reasonable and value reason, then there is no reason why their can’t be a dialog about hot button issues without resorting to ugly labels that just don’t fit. For example, claiming that Sam Harris is a racist is just ridiculous.

        1. I’ve got no problem with social justice either, but it has nothing to do with atheism. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods, period. If these people want to also, as a separate thing, have views on social justice, fine. They can go have a big social justice parade for all I care. What they cannot do, and what they are trying to do, is declare that anyone who doesn’t support their causes, exactly as they define them, cannot be an atheist.

          That’s simply incorrect.

          1. I’m not one to defend A+, but they aren’t saying that you can’t be atheists. My issue is that they want to drum out anyone who they perceive a disagreement with and they perceive disagreements everywhere even when they don’t really exist. So I think your claim would be more accurate to say that they declare that anyone who they perceive doesn’t support their causes, exactly as they define them, cannot be part of the atheist movement. That I would agree with you on and I do have a problem with such an attitude.

            On the other hand, I wouldn’t want someone who actually is homophobic, racist, and/or misogynist to be out there in the public as a voice for our community. So I can somewhat see where they are coming from. But I think they are too quick to throw those labels around where they don’t actually belong. That is my main grievance.

            I think there is a big difference between Sam Harris’s view on profiling and Pastor Terry Jones’s view on profiling and it isn’t that Harris is an atheist and Jones is a believer. I object to painting them with the same brush.

            1. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone with a political agenda to be out there as the voice for our “community” either. We’re atheists. That’s all we really share in common. If people want to be socially conscious, fine. Go over there, call yourself humanists and do what you do. Don’t try to krazy-glue yourself to atheism, atheism is one thing and one thing only. It certainly wasn’t mainline atheism that started calling everyone misogynists and suggesting that anyone that didn’t buy into the Atheism+ (or extremist feminism) position ought to slink back into the sewers. The whole “you’re either with us or you’re subhuman sleaze unworthy of consideration” nonsense is what caused the whole mess. Atheism+ was never about people who wanted to be involved with social justice causes doing so, it was about forcing everyone, whether they agreed or not, to do what they wanted them to do.

              That’s a problem.

            2. Yeah, I mostly agree with you. But I do think that most atheists do share some common values and if we had someone speaking to the public who is diametrically opposed to those values, it would work against us in the mainstream media. Still, I am talking about extreme cases. I supported Edwina Rogers even though she was a Republican because she shares the majority of our values. I didn’t consider her an extreme choice at all. But I wouldn’t want Karl Rove to be the head of the SCA even though he too is an atheist. That’s all I’m saying.

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