Monday, August 27, 2012

A+ The Richard Carrier Version

Richard Carrier has a vision...

    Richard Carrier is a blogger at Freethoughtblogs. Richard has jumped on the A+ bandwagon along with numerous others despite not knowing who built the wagon, who is driving the wagon or who is going to design the wagon and what it's dimensions it will be. Below I have included Richard's (Richy) blog post. In red you will find my replies to Richy, either poking fun at him or pointing out things that don't seem quite right. I figure if this A+ thing does catch on then he will need to become accustom to this type of thing because it will very likely occur on a regular basis. I will have some comments at the end of this blog but I thought maybe some background would be helpful.--
   Richy went to Columbia University. He has written three books. he seems to be educated but there are more ways than one to be a moron. If you go  to freethoughtblogs you will find not only his blog but a more complete bio written by either 1-A very egotistical/insecure man named Richard Carrier or 2- Richy's Mommy cause only a mother could lay it on that thick. One line reads "His avid fans span the world from Hong Kong to Poland." it's kinda funny ...unless it's not a joke (sorry Richy) I mean a 2nd grade kid can have avid fans around the globe these days, welcome to the internet. I'm not sure a 2nd grader would brag about it though. So we have a guy who is educated and obviously has some background in skepticism/atheism. Here is what we get from him on the idea of A+.

There is a new atheism brewing, and it’s the rift we need, to cut free the dead weight so we can kick the C.H.U.D.’s back into the sewers and finally disown them, once and for all. Who is 'them' ? I was already mulling a way to do this back in June Premeditated disowning, isn't that a crime? when discussion in the comments on my post On Sexual Harassment generated an idea to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side A new Star Wars movie?! Cool! within the atheism movement, Hey, wait a minute... so we could start marginalizing the evil in our midst, Satan? But we don't believe in him..Darth Vader? and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values.Indoctrinating, it is a word Then I just got overwhelmed with work and kept putting it off on my calendar for when I had a good half a day or so to get started on that project. Must be tough finding time to save
the world from evil even if it's in your midst.

Since then I blogged On Sexual Harassment Policies and Why I Am a Feminist Um, you are not a woman, only a woman can be a true feminist only she knows how it feels (which smoked Note: Smoking is bad for you out a few of the dregs who attempted to defend their anti-humanist atheism You mean trolls? Yea they do that to people who will fall for it ), but closer to my growing thoughts on what separates us,Who again? and ought to separate us,Who is 'us'? Is us on third? within the movement was my post on (Not) Our Kind of People, which wasn’t really about any moral divide (since lots of people who aren’t my kind of people I would imagine are nevertheless my people as far as basic values go, and I know they would agree; If they could understand what you are saying we just enjoy different company Now I'm confused), but it paralleled my more private thinking about the evil among us.Justin Bieber?
Then I read Lousy Canuck’s Name fits account of the whole abuse of Surly Amy at TAM See Appeal to emotion fallacy and big fat liar and elsewhere, which enraged me Grroar!Richard angry! (I had previously only known parts of that story were any of those true?). It shows the dregs will now publicly mock humanist values, and abusively disregard the happiness of their own people.Their own people? No they will mock what they find absurd and as much as you dislike it some people put you in that category too it doesn't make them evil.Well, that starts drawing the battle lines pretty clearly then.Oh so we go into battle mode then? That's nice.

So I was chomping at the bit to find time to write something on this, Try spending less time at the mirror convincing yourself how superior you are.but still not sure what to say or how to say it.That, so far, is obvious, thanks though It especially bugged me because I couldn’t get to it for lack of available time (which reminds me to mention, be warned, I am AFK most of this week and so comment moderation here will be unusually slow).Yes Richard we all know you are extremely busy doing other things that are more important than this very important movement you keep putting on the back burner due to your severe lack of free time...we know. We are just happy for any time you can spare for us, thank you!

Then Jen McCreight said it for me,She said it for everyone whether they like it or not more eloquently and clearly than I could have.Not a real challenge there Richy This weekend she wrote How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism,Also known as How I need to make up for Boobquake objectifying women, ramp up the blog hits, try and put myself into a leadership role,
and drum up some business for friends at the same time which was so well received By 'them' I'm sure(and quite
rightly Note:opinion) that she wrote a brief follow-up: Atheism
+. And Greta Christina What?! :( and others have taken up the banner:(should read -banter) Atheism Plus: The New Wave of Atheism. I am fully on board.Despite the fact no one knows exactly what it is yet I will provide any intellectual artillery they need to expand this cause and make it successful. So far you have been doing a grand job Richy, a grand job!

Its basic values (and the reason for its moniker) Jen stated thus:

We are…
Atheists plus we care about social justice,Who doesn't? Atheists plus we support women’s rights,Who doesn't? Atheists plus we protest racism,Who doesn't?
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,Who doesn't?
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.Who doesn't?

Amen to all that.What? But I should add to this a contribution by a reader of my blog, Christine Reece, who back in June sent me a suggestion for my planned post about positive atheism’s values, which I filed away for when I finally posted something essentially declaring battle lines great planning ahead for battle the way Jen did. This in turn will lead to
what I’d like to add to our discussion of underlying values.

Christine framed her points as rhetorical questions, which I had planned to blog about one at a time to open discussion on each, and I might do that if it’s needed, but I’m starting to think it’s not. Yea who needs discussion when we can just tell people what they think? We humanists already know where we stand, and that it’s not with the atheists who
denounce or reject these values.No one does So I now frame them as declarations Que patriotic music now (freely adapting and expanding on her own words, I hope she won’t mind–she might not agree with all of this):I hope she doesn't nice of you to drag her in anyways

A. Atheism and skepticism should embrace diversity (and not just be a bunch of white guys reading a bunch of white guys Who says this is the case? proof please). In fact, we should be really keen on expanding our experience and horizons in that regard, aiming to learn as much as possible, and provide resources to help all our comrades in arms. Wait, are you at war? When did war become acceptable? You are only going to provide resources to people who think like you? Isn't that a bit selfish and self defeating?

B. Atheist and skeptic communities should encourage everyone to apply skeptical analysis not just to religion, pseudoscience, and woo, but to social, moral, and political policies, theories and activists. They do that now

C. Considering the history of religion and how it has even warped secular life and thought in countries around the world, atheists and skeptics should spend as much time and energy deconstructing illogical and/or inhumane secular policies and claims as they do actively fighting religiously- based interference. We have to be as critical of ourselves and each other as we would expect anyone to be of religion, so we can be sure we don’t make the same mistakes. We must police the rot within, if we are to stand strong against our foes without. "We must police the rot within, if we are to stand strong against our foes without." Somebody has been watching too much TV Richy
D. In the field of education, atheists and skeptics should help promote courses and curricula that include logic and abstract thought rather than focusing all efforts on science.They do that now We need to train kids with a universal toolkit of skeptical and critical thinking about all issues in their lives, not just the scientific, but the social, political, and ideological as well. Being attempted. Do you really think no one has come up with these ideas before now? And we need to take seriously the effort to push for that and make it happen at the fundamental and national level. Great original ideas, wonder why no one has brought
'em up before.

As Christine said, “Teaching people how to think for themselves in all areas seems much more practical than providing a first-class science education that they’ll wind up ignoring.” Yes because everyone ignores science

Of course they need the first-class science education, too. And a model for promoting that is’s STEM center project–if you ever thought was lame, think again: see him talk about this on the Graham Norton Show, and note that when the actress beside him says he’s amazing, she’s reacting to the fact that he had previously on that show talked about how he had also given all his UK profits to a royal educational charity (The Prince’s Trust, which he later mentions in the video clip; the dude really is awesome, just read what he’s up to as far as promoting STEM education).

But that’s not enough. It never is The skill to think critically, skeptically, and rationally in all areas of life must also be promoted and cultivated. In fact, I think it’s time we push for communication studies to become one of the standard (and tested) fields in primary and secondary education, right alongside language, literacy, history, math, art, athletics, and
science.We test kids now, they aren't passing at the rates they should and the testing system is flawed. None of this is news Richy you are not breaking new ground here. How communications manipulate people is so fundamental to our lives now, it is a scandal we aren’t fully equipping kids for how to approach and deal with it. That field would include logic (especially identifying fallacies and being able to diagram and analyze real-world claims and arguments), defensive rhetoric (how to identify methods of manipulation in communication), and a basic understanding of how
advertising, filtering, framing, and statistics can be abused to mislead and misinform in all media. I would suggest we start by training anyone who had anything to do with starting the A+ sub-group

I mention this last point, even though it is the least controversial thing about Atheism+, because it really does underlie how many atheists lack this understanding in themselves and instead even denigrate its importance to policing racism, sexism, and irrationality in the movement itself. The idea that we should not be criticizing each other when we say illogical or ignorant things is self-defeating and self-destructive, and the very first corrupt value we need to kick to the curb. Richy, I want you to stop.Take a deep breath. exhale. Now Richy go back and read everything above this line one more time....oh it's already posted....Ok next time then okay? Promise?

Which leads me to the first value we must lay as the foundation of Atheism+:Can we assume there are going to be some new and/or original concepts involved here? No? I didn't think so. Carry on Captain Obvious!

– : –
1. We believe in being reasonable. DuhThis means, first,
that we believe in being logical and rational in forming beliefs and opinions. Which means anyone who makes a fallacious argument and, when shown that they have, does not admit
it, is not one of us, and is to be marginalized and kicked out,Kicked out? Of the clubhouse? Noooooo! as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. And if they refuse to be quiet and go? Do we have any A+ police forces or at least dogs ? Put that on the list Richy

Being reasonable also means we believe it is right and good to politely negotiate to find mutually acceptable compromises in matters of policy and coexistence, which includes agreements on the use of resources. But that does not mean capitulation: compromises must be mutually acceptable, and both parties must genuinely aim at that; if there is no such compromise to be had, then we are in one form or another enemies, and we must admit that. Following that realization we should immediately schedule a duel between parties at sunrise ..or a cage match. What do we do if the other party doesn't want to be an enemy and instead wants to agree to disagree and move on? Ignore them and hate them anyway?

I do not think it is in our interests any longer to cooperate in silence with irrational people, when it is irrationality that is
the fundamental root cause of all human evil.I thought it was money or greed, man I don't know anything! Anyone who
disagrees with that is simply not someone we can work with.
Really? Everyone must agree? Richy do you remember back when you talked about being reasonable? For about 2000 years people have been saying money and greed are the
root of all evil. Shouldn't you give a grace period before insisting they agree with you? We need to make the
requirement of rationality in all our dealings with anyone
fundamental. Even if we cooperate on limited projects with
people who will be rational only in that limited sphere of cooperation (for example, interfaith projects for the common good), we still cannot hold our tongue and not continue to denounce their irrationality in any other sphere, because to do so would be to become a traitor to our own values.Do we kill traitors? I'm unclear on that still Because being rational
and reasonable is what we stand for.Um, yes you have given some great examples so far...thanks And it will always be what we stand for. Openly and passionately, and without compromise.Kinda like god and his love right?

Although we must still give leave to people in political situations who have to hold their tongue, simply for pragmatic reasons and not because they are actively
denying or undermining our values in this regard. So anyone in politics gets a pass? If not how and who is going to decide what is actively denying or undermining A+ values (whatever they are) For example, the NCSE is and has to remain religion-neutral and thus cannot “affiliate” with Atheism at all, much less Atheism+, even if many who work there are atheists or even Atheist+ enthusiasts. As with many other businesses and enterprises, it simply would not be appropriate to their mission. But we aren’t all working for the NCSE.Picked a pretty easy example there Richy, try a more challenging example and see what reaction you get.

Reasonableness is not enough, however. In my book Sense and Goodness without God, Uh oh Richy it's not polite to promote your work for sale when starting a sub-group. If you were making copies available to the public at no cost it
would be different but not everyone can afford your book and even if they could the involvement of profit could harm your credibility in the eyes of some people. Maybe you should
offer the book at no cost just as a gesture of support for the
A+ cause. and in my formal demonstration in chapter 14 of
The End of Christianity, I lay out the empirical and logical foundations of objective moral facts on atheism. And the three principle values I discover to be fundamental truths about how all humans ought to govern themselves are reasonableness, compassion, and integrity, generally in that order.Wouldn't empathy fit better than compassion? Empathy- the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. This would give an incentive to correct the cause of a problem due to a better understanding of how the victim feels rather than simply feeling sorry for the person which is basically what compassion is. Integrity would imply morals. Are you suggesting we tell people what their morals should be? I think you have done so on several occasions prior to now. That's a dangerous role to take or put on others Richy sounds more than a little like religion.

So the second value we must lay as the foundation of
Atheism+ is:

– : –

2. We believe in being compassionate. That means we believe it is important to have empathy for other people (men, women, white people, black people, rich people, poor people, and anyone suffering illness or misfortune or unfair treatment, and so on) and to act in the best interests of human happiness (rather than in the interests of our own vanity, greed, or self-righteousness, for example). Didn't
most people learn or were taught this in kindergarten? What atheists are acting against the best interests of human
happiness? Are they doing so on purpose or do they simply
think differently than you? Remember Richy one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
This does not mean we can’t be angry or mean or harsh, except when we consider them and enemy or kick them out of the group cause there will be no hard feelings on either side right? when it is for the overall good (as when we mock or vilify the town neonazi);funny you should mention the word nazi ridiculing the ridiculous is often in fact a moral obligation, by creating t shirts and parody jewelry right...oh maybe not. You are going to need to clarify what is allowed Richy and insults are appropriate when they are genuinely appropriate Can you provide some guidelines on this because I'm almost positive some people are going to have trouble with this one. I'm thinking about the characteristics you used to describe the people who made Surly Amy cry waaaay back at the beginning of your post. It was a long time ago wasn't it? (because, in short, human happiness would be destroyed if we didn’t marginalize that which can destroy it)The old destroy them before they destroy your A+ credo huh?. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t act against evil, ignorance, and all the sins of vanity, greed, or self- righteousness. Wonder Twin powers, activate! To the contrary, it is our compassion that compels us to do so. Our compassion entails we will and must always be the enemies of the uncompassionate. I'm confused again. Are you gonna
show the uncompassionate compassion or not? Are you only going too show compassion until it gets boring/tiring and
then destroy them? Why do I feel like I'm at a square dance?

And this is where the biggest divide exists in our movement today. Everyone who attacks feminism, disagrees or attacks? How would you define each instance? There is a
difference. Just because someone doesn't agree that doesn't make them wrong by default. It also does not mean they are attacking. .or promotes or defends racism or sexism, or denigrates or maliciously undermines any effort to look after the rights and welfare and happiness of others, is simply not
one of us. What if they are one of the 'others' and don't
agree with the manner in which you are "looking after" them? They have rejected compassion as a fundamental value. Regardless of what they say, that is in actual fact what they have done. So they have no say in the matter? A+ is going
to tell people what is factual and what is not in regard to social matters and differences? You know that is a very
dangerous way of thinking don't you? Did you always want to
be king when you grew up or is this a new thing for you?

Indeed, as the Surly Amy story shows,Boo hoo there are clearly many of us who disregard the happiness of others just to hurt them, mocking or insulting Like you have suggested be done? (or even threatening) them merely to please one’s own vanity or self-righteousness,never to defend what they believe in, right? in complete disregard of the pointless misery it causes another human being. That is fucking evil. There really is noo such thing as evil Richy. I have allowed you to get away with using the term up til now but you really should know better. And watch your mouth, what if your mother reads this?And if you are complicit in
that, or don’t even see what’s wrong with it, or worse, plan to engage in Christian-style apologetics for it, yea cause
atheists are known to copy the successful (sarcasm) tactics
used by religion to defend themselves defending it with the same bullshit fallacies and tactics the Christians use to defend their own immorality or that of their fictional god, then I don’t want anything to do with you. You can't mean that
You are despicable. No Richy, don't say that!You are an awful person. How dare you! You disgust me. Same to you pal You are not my people. Finally you got something right! I'm not your people Richy and I'm never going to be. I care about women's rights and the disabled. I have acted on behalf of people who were victims of internet bullies. I have been threatened and when I don't react my children often
become targets. I don't disagree with many of the things you want to see happen but I refuse to become a part of a group that isn't going to represent me completely. I owe it to myself to be my own person and not cheapen myself by allowing others to dictate what it is I stand for and how I am going to deal with people who disagree with me. I have no desire to uninclude anyone in my travels through life. If I don't interact with those who oppose me how will any of us ever learn? How will we ever manage to accept those from other backgrounds and cultures? I don't like your proclamation Richy and you have lost much respect because of it I would think but I don't want you out of the fight I want you to listen and I want you to try and understand the world is never
going to be made of gumdrops and rainbows. We will always have work to do and we need all the help we can get or we
are never going to do anything but make a lot of noise and
spin our wheels while refusing help from strangers.

Even the most rudimentary application of The Golden Rule would have caused any of the people who treated Amy as they did, or Rebecca Watson, or any of the many women and men who have been targeted by this shit, to stop themselves well beforehand. “Wait. Would I want people to treat me this way?” No, you fucking wouldn’t. So alas, you are a hypocrite. If I behaved in the same manner as them it shouldn't surprise me

In Sense and Goodness without God (V.1.1.1, pp. 295-96) Keeping an eye on book sales are we? Why not just make the point? Because you put it in a book does it help validate your point? No, it does not. I made the point that all biblical religion is fundamentally fucked because at its root it fails a most fundamental moral test: it valorizes Abraham, who is willing to murder his own son to prove his faith–which means he placed faith above compassion, above even basic human
decency.No it is fucked because it is based on fiction and tries to base social structure on imaginary stories and characters Almost every evil perpetrated by religion today can be traced to that diseased debasement of humanity, in the fundamentally corrupt values represented in that story. The values are not inherently evil Many atheists are building the same corrupt edifice, and instead of “faith in god” trumping human decency, they are placing their own vanity and self-righteousness above human decency.That is a human quality that will not be changed by simply demanding it Basically, it makes them feel good to hurt people. And that’s what makes them evil. And you are in these people's heads Richy? You know for a fact they feel good when they hurt others? Tell us exactly how you know or we may have
to kick you out of the club for being full of shit.

Indeed, “I don’t like you, so I am going to make you personally miserable” is their value system, rather than “I don’t like you, so I am going to have nothing to do with you” or “I don’t like something you said or did, so I will still respect you as a person and look after your basic welfare, but I am also going to explain in a logical and empirical way why I think you are wrong, and what I say might be harsh, but I will take the greatest care to ensure it is, to the best of my knowledge, relevant and true. But I’ll hear you out if you
think I’m wrong about that.” No, that would be reasonable, and reasonably compassionate, behavior. Which these
atheists know not of. Richy you need to take more naps you
know that don't you? You are very skilled at walking over yourself and ignoring the tread marks left on your forehead I'll give you that.

(I am by no means talking about respecting actual criminals, however. Their punishment is due. But even them we won’t needlessly torment. Their punishment must be productive,
and deserved.) What about basic human respect?What about after they have paid their dues to society?

And so I am declaring here and now,All hail King Richy! Long live the king? that anyone who acts like this, is not one of us, there you go with that "us" thing again and is to be marginalized and kicked out, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. In fact it is especially important on this point that we prove that these
vile piss-ants are a minority in our movement, by making sure our condemnation of them is vocalized and our numbers
seen. We must down-vote their bullshit, call it out in
comments, blog our outrage. And what of personal agendas? Do you foresee anyone using A+ as a way of personally attacking another for reasons that may have nothing to do with atheism or any of the other things A+ stands for?

Don’t assume that because someone else did that, that it’s covered and you can give it a miss. No, we need to show numbers.Like the army! So speak out wherever you see these two sides at loggerheads, and voice your affiliation, so it’s clear how many of us there are, against them. And this very much is an us vs. them situation.Richy are you over 18? Act like it please The compassionate vs. the vile. You can’t
sit on the fence on this one. In a free society, apathy apathy of what? is an endorsement of villainy.

This also applies to the sexists and racists and other dirtbags who try to make themselves seem reasonable through the specious tactic of merely not using curse words or insults, Those tricky bastards!as if that is all that it takes to be a reasonable person. No, when you see apologists for sexism and racism and other anti-humanistic views of the world, views that have at their core a fundamental lack of empathy for other human beings and a pathological disinterest in seeing how things look from perspectives not their own, are guilty of that very thing in this post many, many times. views that place narcissistic self-interest above genuine concern for how other people are doing, even when they try to mimic what they think “sounding reasonable” looks like, you needn’t resort to invective or insults, but on the same even keel they are pretending at, simply declare that they are not one of you, but are one of them.Run on sentence that makes no sense The people we want nothing more to do with. Until and unless they realize their own sins Sins?and repent Repent?of them. Feel free to calmly explain why.You need to make up your mind Richy are we to explain or to dismiss and cast out?

(But be empathic enough to assume at first that someone being an ignorant dufus is really just ignorant and misinformed, the difference being?and not a douchebag; give them at least one shot at being educable, before kicking them into the sewers to wallow with their peeps.) Exactly how do you kick someone "into the sewers"?

And of course the third value we must lay as the foundation of Atheism+ is:

3. We believe in personal integrity. That means we believe in being honest and forthright, and consistent in our values.This blog is not an example then? Hypocrisy to us is among the greatest sins, There you go with the sins again, what's up with that? Am I in church or something? and we will denounce it everywhere, and purge it whenever we discover it in ourselves.

This may seem uncontroversial, a no brainer, No brainer is a term that has come to mind several times while reading this but it really needs special emphasis, it needs to be something we consciously define ourselves by, so that it is ever on our minds when we decide who to be and what to praise or denounce or fight for or against. It must actually shame us when we are discovered to be hypocritical or dishonest in any significant way, and our integrity ought always drive us
to correct ourselves when that happens. Our integrity ought to be important to us.Don't you need to have some integrity first?

We must integrate this ideal of personal integrity into our
very self-identity. Those who don’t, those who aren’t shamed by being exposed as liars or hypocrits, those who persist in being dishonest or inconsistent even when their dishonesty or inconsistency has been soundly proven, is not one of us, and is to be marginalized and kicked out, as not part of our movement, and not anyone we any longer wish to deal with. Noted.

The nexus of these three values does entail there can be such things as unreasonable compassion (like destroying your own happiness through excessive giving, or not giving babies vaccinations because needles hurt) or unreasonable honesty (like aiding a murderer by telling them where their target is hiding Too much TV again Richy) or dishonest compassion (like tricking someone into losing a lot, by being generous to them now like gambling?) or uncompassionate honesty (like being unnecessarily frank about someone’s appearance but what if you really do look fat in that dress?)?, or even dishonest reasonableness (like merely pretending to be reasonable). These are all moral failures. But there can be honest debate about where the boundaries are drawn when values come into conflict, as long as that debate is always governed by the most fundamental value of being reasonable (as defined above).Yes thank you for making the rules for us Richy

In a post later this week or next I will explore further what I think the values of Atheism+ could be, beyond the general principles I have laid out here. I can't wait And I will consider these posts a living document. If from sincere and constructive criticism in comments I am led to alter or revise what I’ve said above in any way (beyond clarifications that can be
well-enough addressed in comments themselves), I will do so, PLEASE do and announce the changes in the comments, so there is a record of them. Because I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone. You think that? Funny you never once mentioned it til now...not once

In the meantime, I call everyone now to pick sides Oh goody! dodge ball! (not in comments here, but publicly, via Facebook or other social media): are you with us, or with them; are you now a part of the Atheism+ movement, or are you going to stick with Atheism Less? Atheism Less? You mean with less self-serving rhetoric, less abuse of the word misogynist? Less of people who declare themselves the defenders of the things everyone agrees about? Less hypocrisy? I'll take that thank you

Then at least we’ll know who to work with. And who to avoid. Oh, we know who to avoid now

Needless to say, Richy got a little too excited about the big new plan and he musta went all crazy. In the comment section he short circuits and ends up apologizing for his language and attitude. He couldn't even make it through the comments on his own blog without acting exactly the way he describes "the enemy". It will probably take me a while to address all the reasons why A+ is a bad idea.The people who thought up the A+ idea are amazed that anyone has an issue with it. "Why can't we start our own subgroup?" They ask. Well maybe pull your head out of the ground and look around. The A+ idea has, from square one, been presented as 'us or them' by many A+ people.
   Jen McCreight in her blog outlining the framework for A+ encourages everyone to 'Join Up!' and says the only people she is going to want to talk to in the future are people who are A+. In case you were worried Jen wouldn't know it was okay to speak with you, this is your lucky day! Jen just so happens to know a woman who can help. Surly Amy will be able to meet your needs. Jen even reminds you to pick up your A+ ceramic jewelry from Surly Amy..oh and don't forget to tip your waiter/waitress. I'm sure Surly Amy is donating a portion of her profits to some of them causes A+ supports.Isn't she? Then we have good ol' Richy. An educated guy who should be able to function without needing to behave like the little nerd brother Hitler always wanted. From what I hear he has in the past been a sane fella. Then we get this blog where not only does Richy call for purification of atheism but he manages to slip some book promotion in too.What better way to get attention for your work than to drama things up?  More readers, more revenue it is simple and there is nothing wrong with it.....unless. Unless you are gaining readers and revenue by causing harmful, irresponsible, and childish drama and bogging down the secular movement. I'm not saying that is what is happening but there has got to be some reason that so much uncharacteristic behavior is being observed.
 If that's not the case and this A+ is the real deal then I would like to see freethoughtblogs and the bloggers who are up in arms over this rogue element of atheism clean their own house up THEN move on to start a new segment of atheism using their proven model. 
  You don't just one day blurt out "A+!" when you have no real framework and no discussion.You post blogs about the issues you want included in A+. You read the responses and the arguments and come up with something you think most people will get behind. You keep the issues to a minimum because with every social problem you take a stance on, it's going to be that much harder to find support among a large group of people. It's like making a pizza, with every added topping you see a decreased chance everyone wants to eat it.
 You do not take a "with us or against us" attitude with people you share an important common interest with. You work with those people and you try to educate them if there are disagreements. Despite Richy's claims that a large portion of the population takes pleasure in demeaning, hating, and threatening harm to others I think it's pretty clear that isn't the case to anyone paying attention. People like PZ Myers and some of the other freethought bloggers have the habit of yelling "misogynist!" without justification.  The problem is anytime someone has a problem with a single female they are instantly labeled as hating all women.PZ Myers has on more than one occasion been guilty of this. One would think that such an educated man would realize his behavior is unfair.. When you are a well known public figure (even if you aren't) you should limit undermining the credibility of others unless you know what the hell you are talking about IMO. Labeling someone misogynist ,(or any other behavioral type) when there is no way you can know it is true because you don't know that person, is not a position you can defend like you would evolution. When it comes to science it is often much easier to prove your position is based on facts. With social issues that is much harder to do. Sure there are things like equal treatment for all people which are obvious. But when you get to other more complicated issues sometimes there are no right answers.One instance of disrespect against one woman does not prove misogyny just as one instance of disrespect against a man does not equal someone being a misandrist. If it did then it could be said atheism is overrun with those who have a hatred of men.It works both ways. 
 Please be clear I am not saying we don't have problems I know we do. I also know we will never be perfect and the internet does not always equal real life. There are countless things said on the internet that would never have a chance of actually happening in real life. Let's keep that in mind. When you ride a plane, or drive in your car there is a threat of death. Planes do crash, so do cars. You either accept the risk and go for a ride or you walk. Public blogging about issues people feel strongly about comes with it's own risks. Either accept them and blog or don't and just read.  
I'm sure there will be more to be said about this in the future.
 One thing you can count on is I am not going anywhere people like me are the ones people like Richy didn't consider. I'm an asshole but I'm a fair and honest asshole. I guess you could call me Asshole+ ironic.

Note: There are many freethought bloggers for whom I have a great deal of respect. I have had interesting conversations with them and consider several my friends. They are not who I'm talking about here unless their behavior fits
Remember you better be able to support everything you say in comments. I do not put up with stupid, I point and laugh at it.


  1. War? Punishment due?
    Sounds like someone preaching from the pulpit to me.

  2. Asshole+ actually works pretty damn well..... I think you might be on to something there. ;-)

  3. I call Godwin.

    You lose. Sorry... that's the rules.

  4. You mean this Godwin?
    Yea good call. The father of anarchism, nice!