Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why I'm excited about Atheism Plus

I just became aware of a planned movement called Atheism Plus, or Atheism+, which means secular people who push social justice goals. The advocates want to be known as standing for atheism plus feminism, or atheism plus affirmative action.

I like Jen McCreight's comparison to an atheist knitting club, where it doesn't replace atheism groups, but merely acts as a voluntary side project.

That's the beauty of this Atheism+ scheme. Instead of trying to drive out libertarians, men's rights supporters and people who don't support abortion, the far-left secular advocates like McCreight, PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson are going to pick up their ball and go home.

Please, go. Shove off, mateys, the sooner the better. You have my blessing.

I'm sure believing that my support has value violates some hidden white male privilege list, but I really want to  express my joy that they will be pushing their political agenda elsewhere.

I realize that they are making some parting shots on their way out. Atheism+ advocates are trying to say they're trying to get away from evil people. Blogger Jason Thibeault sums it up:

You’ll notice that the A+ folks are all against a certain type of person — the kind of person who would engage in concerted hate campaigns against certain members of the community merely for being pro-social-justice.

As if this was about ideas and not actions. I'm not sure what qualifies as a hate campaign, but his camp does not merely believe in social justice, it has been trying to force the rest of us to act on it.

Longtime readers will recognize a version of our old friend the feminist shell game, where opposing an extreme form of a modern idea is presented as opposing its primitive ancestor. I don't support using affirmative action when selecting speakers at a conference, so therefore I am opposed to black people. I don't support having the federal government pay for abortions with taxpayer money, therefore I am against women voting.

These kind of political parlor tricks are to be expected. I'm sure there are a lot of nice, tolerant people within the Atheism+ movement (Surly Amy comes to mind), but I see some rude ones speaking for the group and it gives me a negative impression of the entire camp. That's how bias works and we need to address it. It's the same mechanism that leads them to blurring the line between people like me and neo-nazis.

Atheism+ will end up devolving into Atheism plus worship of the democratic party, and I'm sure there will be plenty of left-wing economic views taken as scripture and smugly touted as scientific fact. Will the Marxists be welcomed in Atheism+? I expect so, and there will be an attempt to say they have captured the mantle of reason. Oh well, it's nothing new.

I've seen some people in my camp oppose the Atheism+ movement, and I wish they would reconsider. Think of it like the Civil War, where the slave-owning, backwards aristocratic confederate states wanted to leave, and we fought like Hell to keep them with us. Why not just let them go? 

I'm sure they will do some good things as a group, but I never signed up to fight for abortion rights, I just wanted a group of people to discuss secularism and skepticism with, and hopefully I will get that back.


  1. I have to agree with you on this one. PZ and co have long been mocking some article from the bowels of the Internet about the "deep rifts" in the atheist community. Well, here you have it. This group of atheists has demanded that certain normative values be associated with atheism and now we have the result: They don't understand the very definition of what atheism is, so few people are on board with them, so they're out.

  2. I've always found folks like you interesting. Other people give a damn about their fellow human beings and people like you sneer at us for doing so. I'll be glad to embrace Atheism+ and let you clutch your hatred of normal people to your bosom.

    Have a mediocre rest of your life.

  3. No, other Michael who isn't this new Michael. You disagree with a particular movement, so you hate people. And puppies. God damn it, you even hate puppies.

  4. I don't want the government to spend taxpayer money designing video games, so I am against video games.