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Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Atheism, Drama, Feminism, Freethought Blogs, LGBT Rights, Mental Illness, Nonsense, Philosophy, Politics, Progressive Politics, Religion, Science, Skepticism, Socialism, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Blogging Warfare

What exactly is the purpose of blogging? So far, at least in the atheist/skeptic/secular online community, all I’ve seen come of it is vicious attacks on bloggers and commenters for expressing different opinions on debatable issues.  Good people have been called liars, misogynists, gender-traitors, sister-shamers, idiots, chill girls, whiners, victim-blamers, rape-apologists, rape-enablers, attention whores, feminazis, and much, much worse. Accusations of mental illness have been volleyed back and forth. (As an aside, since when is this appropriate coming from those who claim that ableism is bad?) Personal information has been disclosed without a blink, especially when it’s the information of an opponent. Attempts have been made to destroy careers, malign reputations, and cause problems for people in their offline lives. Factions and alliances have formed and then dissolved, as fresh insults have caused participating parties to change allegiance. People who’ve tried to walk the fine line in the middle have been accused of playing both sides, and vilified even more for attempting to resolve this aimless war. Prominent bloggers have become disgusted and quit. At this point, it seems like there’s no way to win. And if this behavior continues; we all lose, despite the fact that most of us have largely similar goals. Further, our internet war has not gone unnoticed by the religious or the politically conservative. It is visible to anyone with an internet connection and a remote interest. The bottom line is that we look like fools, and rightly so.

People have different views and values. This is a fact. If we want to make progress on any cause, we need to align ourselves with like-minded individuals and devote all our resources  to accomplishing specific and limited goals. Those who are our allies as to one cause may be opponents in another. This is normal and different opinions on debatable issues do not turn people into monsters. Even ignorance or stupidity shouldn’t strip people of their humanity. And unless we blog with real goals in mind, we’re just mincing time and words.

So what are the goals of this particular blog?

1. To exchange ideas and opinions on a variety of philosophical topics, both secular and religious.

2. To explore the scope of skepticism and freethought.

3. To educate those who are misinformed on issues relevant to the secular community, or to refer them to resources that do a much better job than I ever could. To that end, please consider visiting the NCSE and RDFRS sites, both linked in my blogroll to the right of this post.

4. To criticize commonly held beliefs that are not supported by evidence, including assertions within political ideologies such as libertarianism and third-wave feminism. And no, my own political views are not exempt.

5. To raise funds in support of science education and to advocate for the separation of church and state.

6. To learn.

While I am not here to criticize particular individuals, if I see assertions worthy of exploring even when doing so may be controversial, I will continue to do so. Otherwise, I would be lying to myself. And if I make mistakes, which I’m sure I will, then I promise to do my best to promptly correct them and learn from them.

  • Egbert

    I’m not sure how I overlooked this article, but anyway, I’ll add my thoughts. Firstly, blogging appears to be a form of journalism, which might start to raise suspicions for those who wonder about journalism and its purpose. Bloggers tend to have credentials above that of the typical commenter such as me. As soon as I disclose my lack of credentials, then the value of my comments falls considerably. I don’t know what I’m talking about, or I lack sufficient education and intelligence to make informed opinions and so on. Being anonymous also makes me fall further down the pile of irrelevance.

    Then there is the social aspect. I’m anti-social (making me even more irrelevant), yet I comment on blogs, while most bloggers are social and happily network together forming groups and going to conventions. Thus, blogging is part of the social media phenomenon that has considerably changed journalism.

    If anyone is still reading this at this point, then perhaps I’ve tried to suggest in my own naughty way that there is a bit of a contradiction between the very liberal aims of bloggers and the growing hierarchy and inequality that is created by the way the atheist community organize themselves in a top down fashion.

    Thunderf00t at least exposed part of this hypocrisy in his own wild way by deliberately being a mischievous dissenter and pointing his finger at all the hypocrites. And so, for us to stop the hypocrisy, we’re going to have to start criticizing ourselves (if that is at all possible) which may lead us to completely change our thinking.

    • I admit that, among other things, I was a journalism major, but beyond a few published articles, I’ve never pursued it as a career. I think your comments are intelligent and valuable, and I don’t see myself as superior to you or any other commenter on any blog.

      No matter how hard we try to fight it, organizations do tend to become hierarchical. It’s unfortunate, and I don’t know how to get around it.

      • Egbert

        I think hierarchy is part of our primate nature, and it will probably not go away. However small groups can form cooperatively and decently, if we resist the desire for power and cynicism, and choose instead criticism or skepticism and a positive attitude.

        I am here to learn, and hopefully offer positively.

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