Saturday, June 22, 2013

Atheists lack a moral compass

The conference artists behind FreeThoughtBlogs have taken their long held opinions about meetups and finally applied some effort to host a "con" of their own.

The title of this meeting of the "FreeThought" minds?

FTBConscience: Atheism with a conscience

Quite the tagline + use of color in the branding. The description reads:
An Online Conference
19-21 July 2013
FtBCon is a free, online conference organized by the Freethought Blogs network. It will take place on July 19-21 and will focus on social justice, technology, and the future of the freethought movement. Without travel, registration, or hotel costs, FtBCon will be accessible to freethinkers around the world. Conference sessions will be held through Google+ hangouts, and attendees will have the opportunity to interact with each other in chat rooms and to submit questions to moderators.
We are currently assembling our schedule. If you or your organization are interested in participating, submit your session ideas for consideration by e-mailing PZ Myers with a proposal.

PZ then followed it up with a blog post entitled "Announcing FTBConscience", adding to the description:

[FreeThoughtBlogs] has decided to put on a show. We go to conferences a lot, we have conversations with all kinds of atheists, we have things to say and we know you do, too, so we have decided to put on our own conference, with our themes and interests. And because we’re a blog network, we’re entirely comfortable with doing it all in our pajamas, so we propose to do this entirely with the technology our readers have on hand already: the internet. And further, we’re going to do it entirely for free — if you can get on the internet, you can access the talks and panels. If you can type, you can converse with everyone in our chat room.

The speakers list is currently: All the FreeThoughtBloggers, (Maybe they do support A+?) Jeremy Beahan, Jamila Bey, Ania Bula, Ian Bushfield, Chris Clarke, James Croft, JT Eberhard, Debbie Goddard, Julia Galef, Nicole Harris, Robin Marty, Beth Presswood, Desiree Schell, David Silverman, Xavier Trapp, Rebecca Watson, Bora Zivkovic.

Let's get one thing straight immediately - these are people that are doing what they want to do, voicing their opinions and that is fine. There are a number of hilarious ways an internet conference can fail, but it is not the high road to wish them spotty connections and technical glitches.

It is also not the most upscale event imaginable, but it is rather laudable that they are not burning jetfuel just so they can have the pleasure of gazing into each other's eyes as they voice they agree on some mundane pre-approved "progressive" talking point.

What is truly distasteful about the conference is what their messaging suggests.

One massively popular and unfortunate criticism of atheism is a tired argument that atheism lacks basic moral values. Things like The Ten Commandments - ideals written in stone. Without a supreme creator father figure, the argument goes, humanity doesn't really have a basis for the basics as it were.

The line of attack follows that a godless universe requires some concocted Darwinian self-centered basis for all moral behavior and somehow that takes the joie de vivre out of existence.

Add in a few nasty anti-theist characters from history and you end up with a predictable conclusion.

Atheists lack a truth about existence. Atheists lack a moral compass. Atheists lack basic moral values.

We know this as one prominent FreeThoughtBlogger, Richard Carrier, states as much as often as he gets an opportunity.

The FreeThoughtBlogs "Conscience Con" has proven without a shadow of a doubt that the worst theistic opinion actually has merit.

They accomplish this in two ways:

  1. FreeThoughtBlogs accepts the idea that atheists are lacking basic moral values
  2. FreeThoughtBlogs behaves as if it lacked basic moral values

Atheists lack a moral compass. This is both accepted and exemplified.

The Acceptance

This is tacitly accepted by FTB in that they sell this conference as a conference that has what others often lack - a conscience.

Presumably the other secular conventions are toiling in hedonism, spending their days aimlessly watching television when they aren't going to atheist meetups that function as satan worshipping orgies in Las Vegas.

Remember that their opponents lack the basics of morality. This is not a nuanced conference to discuss a moral dilemma that secular philosophy is faced with.

This is a "safe space" for the atheists that happen to have something called "a conscience". People that dare criticize the conscience-con are the unwashed barbarian hordes that are utterly incapable of making correct moral choices.

The Example

At this moment, religious apologists are having a field day. Popular secularists of their time have accepted one of their most vacuous pieces of propaganda.

But where would FreeThoughtBlogs be providing an example of secularists lacking moral scruples?

This is where the flip side of the coin comes into play - not only does the "conscience con" accept as fact that the secular community at large can't figure out that murder is wrong, it provides a glaring example of just how  immoral atheists can be.

For just how self-concerned, self-serving and downright wrong is it to state your peers (or even your critics) would steal candy from a baby while your own clique is the last bastion of human compassion.

When one is saying things that the Republicans would be embarrassed to say about the Democrats, (or vice versa) then one may want to check one's talking points.

This sideshow really wouldn't be happening without the constant trolling and gaslighting by PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson.

They're willing to go as far as to suggest that their opponents are racist, misogynist or even ambivalent about rape, just to score political points.

At this point, it would actually be more morally appropriate if PZ Myers were to reveal that he was in it for the lulz all this time than actually be honestly using a stunted projection of the moral capabilities of his opponents for his own selfish purposes.

All told, it is quite the con.


  1. Yeah those damn "Free thought" bloggers are asserting *only* they are free thinkers! Clearly, why else would they name the network in that way... I dunno why no one has ever realised this before.

    1. They way they tell it, they are.