Not wanting to obsess, but not wanting to slacken off on the pushback that currently seems to be happening with reference to Atheismplus, here’s some more on the issues with it. Some of this is grounds I’ve covered before so I’m not going to be too wordy. I’m going to try and keep things relatively short and sweet.
There’s a couple of posts over on the Atheismplus forums that have been referenced to me and these posts constitute the establishment of a dogma.
This one contains canned responses to typical objections. Not responses that address the objections or concerns but rather, like linking to Derailing for Dummies or Feminism101 (or in the case of creationists endless Youtube videos) seems intended to keep you busy and dismiss you.
This one contains links to a glossary of terms used by Atheismplus, some of which are fine, some of which are deeply problematic. Communication is only possible where meaning is agreed upon and merely insisting that a term must carry a particular meaning in a debate isn’t especially helpful.
I’m referencing these as I talk
The problem with the name ‘atheismplus’ is that the kind of people who are part of atheismplus are exactly the kind of extremists that critics of atheism often claim we all are. They lend meat to the bones of the lie that we’re all whacked out hippies. It is vital to differentiate atheism and its causes and interests from other issues. This confuses, divides, reduces the number of people who feel able to participate etc. A+ gives atheism a bad name and provides aid to its enemies.
Privilege as Original Sin
The objection to this observation is hollow. The concept of privilege is akin to original sin, save perhaps worse, since it isn’t seemingly presumed to apply to everyone. ‘Heaven’ help you if you should be white, straight and/or male. You’re the ‘oppressor’ whether you do anything to oppress or not. ‘Check your privilege’ is a dismissal such as would not be tolerated in the other direction. It devalues a person, denies their empathy and ignores – without bothering to check – any instances of oppression they might have had in their life. It also dismisses the possibility that someone both HAS checked it and STILL disagrees with you. It doesn’t give you greater opportunity to help others, it puts you off even trying to help people who are judgemental arseholes.
Never Seen it, It Doesn’t Happen
It is not skeptical to believe a thing without evidence for a thing. If A+ people are going to claim a thing, they need evidence for that thing. Just as we would demand of theists. Insisting someone is blind if you present poor evidence that is rejected is, again, similar to theism. “The fool says in his heart there is no Patriarchy.”
I don’t think X is a Problem
X may or may not be a problem. That I don’t find it to be one doesn’t mean it isn’t, that you find it is a problem doesn’t mean it is. Again, we need evidence. If someone has a phobia of spiders and freaks out upon seeing a perfectly harmless house spider then there isn’t really a problem with spiders. Their reaction is irrational. Spiders don’t suddenly become a major issue for everyone because you’re phobic of them.
Discrimination is Illegal, so there’s no discrimination
Legally there isn’t. There may be on a personal level but that generally takes at least a generation to change. It can’t hurt you anywhere the law can protect you and it doesn’t really help to be impatient about it. The fight is won, the peace is being negotiated.
Everyone is Oppressed in their own way
Yes, they are. To different extents in different situations in different ways. The death-camp for gay people thing is more than a bit disingenuous but to take a different example gender and race do get oppressed by others in different contexts and situations. That some outlier advocates something loopy doesn’t make that go away. That X is worse than Y doesn’t make Y OK. (Dear Muslima…)
What About teh Menz?
If feminism were about equality it might be called egalitarianism. It’s not. It’s concerned with areas in which women are behind men. It is not concerned with areas in which women are ahead of men or in which men are behind women. There are no feminist campaigns about unequal sentencing in courts, for example. There are no feminist campaigns trying to push for higher male custody in divorce proceedings. Men and women have different problems, yes, absolutely, but that’s why feminism is unsuited to tackle them and is disinterested in them.
‘Patriarchy hurts men too’ is not only paradoxical (if it hurts men, how can it be patriarchy?) but insulting and demeaning. Implying that men deliberately set up a society to hurt themselves while simultaneously oppressing women. That would be a frighteningly incompetent state of affairs.
This is further compounded by the vicious and virulent hatred shown towards men’s groups that do try to address mens issues. Feminists don’t seem to want to even allow men’s issues to be addressed.
Why the problem with this cannot be seen I don’t know. This concept is prejudice pure and simple. It is akin to expecting any black man you meet on the street to be a potential mugger. Framed that way hopefully nobody would see such prejudice as acceptable, even though a vague attempt at a rational argument for it could be made based on statistics (though that would ignore court/police prejudice and socioeconomic data). Further, this seems to be expecting to force a change in behaviour on men, men who are the victims of this prejudice. This is victim blaming. For groups that fight so hard for women not to be judged and to allow them the freedom to exist without modifying their behaviour (slutwalk, Don’t Be That Guy etc) this is base hypocrisy.
Meaning of ‘Man’
Given the misunderstanding of this as a gender pronoun I don’t think more’s needed here.
Humour often relies on a ‘shock’ payload. If you think it is always genuinely reflective of a person’s real views and is intended to be (or is) hateful or hurtful then you’re likely experiencing a sense of humour failure. For everyone of hypersensitivity there is someone else who can take a joke or engages in self-deprecating humour of this type. Humour is too valuable to discard.
A+ is Divisive
It is. At least we were all unified in our atheism before, the thing that mattered universally to all of us. A+ splits that unity. It also discards skepticism. It seems to me that A+ puts the cart before the horse. Its members seem to have been atheist not because of logic, reason, evidence and skepticism but rather because atheism aligned with their pre-existing other values such as opposing restrictions on abortions (religious basis), secularism, resisting religious oppression of LGBT people etc.
Us Vs Them
The problem in this section is the presumption that the only people who could possibly disagree are a) theists or b) bigots. It is possible to disagree with Atheismplus without being a bigot, just as it is possible to disagree with Josef Stalin while still being a Communist. or President Obama while still being a democrat. This illustrates very much the Us Vs Them that so concerns a lot of people. Many atheists are broadly on board with what are CLAIMED to be the A+ goals, just not with A+ itself due to its dogma, lack of skepticism etc.
A+ advocates, and other SJ extremists, narrowly define censorship as government censorship. Not everyone agrees with so narrow a definition and as such A+ in many of its actions and policies trips that ‘trigger’ for a lot of people.
First World Problems
Dear Muslima was both right and wrong. There are other priorities but that doesn’t mean other things aren’t also bad. Of course, we’re talking about Elevatorgate which was NOTHING AT ALL so anything whatsoever is a bigger problem than no problem. Still, given the dismissal of mens issues, prejudice towards supposed privileged groups etc this – again – smacks of hypocrisy.
I’ll get to that in a moment. As mentioned before though, clear communication is important. A+ engages in many redefinition fallacies in order to try and avoid criticism. Redefining Free Speech (see above) is only one example.
Two problems with this. 1) Presuming people need educating. We may well be aware of your claimed issues etc and reject them. 2) Not doing so when asked.
When confronted with a creationist spouting BS about evolution we will, generally, make the effort to show them what is wrong with what they’re saying. Point out the misrepresentations etc. We do this because we want to change their mind and give them accurate information. We want to actually affect some sort of change in their behaviour.
Not wanting to inform people or change their behaviour suggests an addiction to the power and privilege of victim status, rather than actually wanting to fix the problem.
*ism – A+ and SJW types narrowly define *ism in the context of institutional oppression. Most people do not. The plus-power designation excuses SJW bigotry against ‘oppressor’ groups while ignoring equally outrageous prejudice on the part of the putative ‘oppressed’. We don’t reject your version without reason.
Benevolent *ism – This is ironic given that special treatment is often what is called for by SJ types. Equality is being treated as badly as everyone else.
Colourblind Racism – This makes no sense. The end goal, is it not, is to treat people as people isn’t it? For the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin? Colourblindness in the context of race, then, would seem to be the goal. Not perpetuating stereotypes, even if they’re different stereotypes to the usual.
Condesplaining – Use that instead of the *ist terms like ‘mansplaining’ etc which only make you seem like hypocrites.
Confirmation Bias – Glass houses and stones spring to mind for some reason.
Feminism – If you think modern feminism is about equality, you’re not paying attention. Be egalitarian.
Gender Essentialism – It seems rather foolish to presume that there aren’t differences. There are. Equal treatment and opportunity is not the same thing as homogeneity. You need to do more than just dismiss science just because you don’t like the implications. This is also true with ev psych. See confirmation bias above.
Kyriarchy – It was my understanding that this was a better term than patriarchy since it acknowledged that everyone was pressured in different ways by society and thus it made more sense. Calling it an extension of patriarchy undermines that progress.
Misandry – Well done for acknowledging its existence. Poorly done for thinking its not institutional.
Misogyny – This means hatred of women. Hatred of women is, at least not in the west, institutionally enforced. The term seems overused and to be used in instances where women are actually being placed on pedestals, given special privilege or treated with benevolent sexism. These may be patronising, but they’re not hate.
Prejudice – This definition again confuses the *ism point. *ism IS prejudice.
Reverse Racism – Of course reverse racism doesn’t exist. It’s just racism and it can be inflicted on whites as much as anyone else.
Safe Space – Translation: Echo chamber. Doubtless there is a need for safe spaces but these should probably be within a movement, rather than the movement itself. Ideas NEED questioning and examination.
Tone Argument – Another hypocrisy since it is used to excuse slurs, aggression and lack of backing on the part of SJ types: “Shut the fuck up dudebro!” while also being used to shut down, ignore or block people on the other side of the argument who should equally have the right to lose their temper.
Trigger Warnings – Pointless, useless ‘headers’ to posts that do nothing to protect anyone but show off how ‘right on’ and concerned you are. If people were that sensitive, the warning would trigger them.
Woo – …like patriarchy.