Whereas the blog post here seemed to show PZ as an all-encompassing dictator of what matters, had the earlier paragraph on Pharygula been included it would have shown PZ in a more reasonable tone:
Anyway, the final straw was DJ Grothe, who, in replying to someone who said they wanted him to pay as much attention to atheist issues as he does gay issues (a point I definitely strongly disagree with: no one gets to dictate what matters to someone else), made the statement that gay concerns are very, very different than atheist concerns, and we shouldn’t conflate the two. Again, a point I agree with 100%.PZ, in this quote, seems to allow for disagreement as to what matters, whereas the commentary of his "atheist victory" did not reflect that.
Let's table this question as item number one - could be phrased as "does PZ adequately respect dissent?"
PZ's comrade in blogs, Richard Carrier, has also taken a sort of "social justice" slant in his recent support for all things Atheism+.
Some comments were contributed to Carrier's blog, attempting to concisely detail why people disagree with Atheism+ and asking some specific questions about Carrier's opinions.
One of the following questions was the following:
[uberfeminist] And, if you disagree vehemently with them on what constitutes “social justice”, you are apparently a misogynist, libertarian, harasser, or CHUD. What am I misunderstanding?Richard Carrier responded:
That’s bullshit. If you demean and harass women, you’re a CHUD. If you merely disagree on how to solve the problems of the world, you’re one of us.
If you advocate against progressive solutions to evidenced injustices and for libertarian ones instead, then your a libertarian…and can fully be that and still fully on board with A+ (as I explained last year). You just have to argue from facts and logic and not armchair ideology, and be courteous, thoughtful and reasonable doing so.
But if you repudiate the goals and values of A+ and argue no one should support them, then yes, you are an asshole. Not a CHUD or a misogynist or a harasser. Just an ordinary run of the mill asshole.
Only someone who voices or displays unambiguous hatred for women is a misogynist (someone who displays ambiguous hatred for women only might be a misogynist, so one may be wary but uncertain…not everything is black and white, not everything is certain). And only someone who actually harasses people is a harasser. Though someone who defends harassment is toxic and disturbing.
Are we clear?The blog Carrier links to explains specifics about his view on libertarians:
PZ Myers takes a more hardline stance against Libertarians and equates Atheism+ with explicitly progressive politics, but though I agree he is probably right (IMO, Libertarianism, on any full and proper analysis, doesn’t hold up as sound, and won’t work to solve most of the actual problems we face), I do not agree that it is any defining characteristic of Atheism+. [...] I also know many Libertarians who actually do care about social justice issues, and admit problems exist in that domain, and actually have passionate ideas about how to solve them.Carrier saying PZ has a "hardline stance" against libertarians is an understatement.
In a post titled "Just when you thought Libertarians couldn’t get any more revolting", PZ blasts libertarians for the rumblings of some academic that asked if people lost property rights when unconscious or some other nonsense.
If this line of reasoning held any water, any theocrat could simply point at PZ as the be-all end-all of progressivism or atheism. How screwed up would that be?
Back to our original question - does PZ adequately respect dissent? And the append, does Richard Carrier?
To the central point - just what is Atheism+ trying to be?
Claim: Atheism+ can not be two things at once.
If only for the sake of keeping the English language somewhat sane, this must be true.
Let's give Atheism+ two options.
It can be either:
- A basic test of human value. A litmus test of simple etiquette. A big list of people one would want to meet at a pub. People that can split bills and would refrain from cussing in front of your mother... or...
- An engaged group of people with specific social goals. A group focused on debating the tough questions, creating actionable philosophies and generally moving the same direction.
- PZ's bigfoot skeptic fiasco. (thanks Shrodinger for pointing this out in the other thread)
- PZ's writing about libertarians [cited above]
- PZ's tagging of specific people as "fuckbrained assholes"
- Carrier's doxxing and labeling of Thunderf00t. Thunderf00t was "sociopath" apparantely
- The Atheism+ forum echo chamber discussing everything as if it were a crisis of morality: food, computers, and the Human Rights Campaign.
- Near uniformity of political opinion - A+ supporters are speaking about having libertarians on side as theory, not practice.
- Atheism+ and FTB's distancing themselves from plenty of decent people in the secular/skeptic community - Richard Dawkins, Harriet Hall, Michael Shermer, Paula Kirby, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens, the list grows every day.
- The group's willingness to use insults and the ban hammer against those already deemed in-group.
- Half-assed attempts at reconciliation with critics.
- Discussions explicitly talking about purging the right-wingers.
It seems like a convoluted game of good cop, bad cop.
Good cop Carrier runs the PR and platitudes side of things. "Baby, you're so fine! You're already one of us!"
Then bad cops Myers and the Atheism+ forum regulars crack the whip. Need to get the new recruits in line by making an example out of somebody. Even if they show up to talk about something as bland as an essay about gender inequity, they'll get torn to shreds.
Carrier's message sounds so good. Ohh.
Atheism+ wouldn't say you're in the club today only to call you a "sociopath", "CHUD" or "fuckbrained asshole" tomorrow, would they?
Atheism+ is no stranger the movement they love, you know the rules, and they just want a full commitment. You can't get this from any other secular group. Skepchick just wants to let you know how she's feeling.
Atheism+ just wants you to understand.
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you