, , , , , , ,

In recent days, a group of New Atheists, led by Jen McCreight, have been calling for an addition of social issues to the atheist agenda. While I agree that, in the long run, Dictionary Atheism will do little to stop the tide of stupidity and nonsense in this world, I do not think social issues should be made an absolutely necessary component of the mainstream atheist movement. This is due to a number of factors. The first of these is that it is not clear whether adding baggage to the atheist movement will help it become more effective at spreading itself. While it is beyond doubt that promoters of atheism treating underprivileged groups with respect will encourage the spread of atheism, it is not at all clear that the refusal of one group of atheists to cooperate with another will lead to a more robust atheist movement.

The second of these factors is that Atheism+ is largely, though not entirely, promoted by Freethought Blogs, a blog collective with no editors, but very strong common intellectual ties, among these being Progressivism, a strong support for anti-harassment policies, and a strong support for government-mandated anti-discriminatory policies, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act here in the U.S. Bloggers who persistently question even one of these positions are swiftly kicked out of the blog collective. The encouragement of Atheism+ will further cement this blog collective’s place in the Atheist movement, thus making the Movement one more of people than ideas. As this blog collective is extremely hostile to large swaths of non-bigoted skeptical atheists, most notably, libertarians, the rise of Atheism+ and Freethought blogs will further alienate large swaths of the atheist population from the mainstream atheist movement.

In short, I conclude that atheist movement should be primarily focused on atheism and skepticism in order to avoid further Deep Rifts. In order to continue its existence as an effective, potent, and robust movement, douchebaggery, assholery, and dickishness must be, in most situations, tolerated, though never promoted. While calling out and opposing racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry in members of the atheist movement is good and praiseworthy behavior, it should only be done to the extent that all major members of the atheist movement can still cooperate with each other when opposing religion and anti-skepticism. As I am on friendly terms with George Grena (a Young Earth Creationist Christian Conservative) on matters of archaeology, so should the misogynistic and feministic atheists be on friendly terms on matters of combating anti-atheist and anti-skeptical elements in our society.