"An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

The main forum for discussing social justice and the "plus" part of Atheism Plus.

"An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby BennyOcean » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:31 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebJxSl38oGs

Thoughts?

I'm not him by the way, just thought it might be more constructive to try to have a discussion here rather than on youtube.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Cipher » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:33 pm

Benny, as I've already requested on the other thread where you linked that, I would really appreciate if you would provide a transcript or summary for those of us who can't access video. (I'm auditory-defensive today, and I know there are at least a couple of others here who can't access for other reasons.)
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby BennyOcean » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:43 pm

Cipher wrote:(I'm auditory-defensive today, and I know there are at least a couple of others here who can't access for other reasons.)


Below is a synopsis posted in his "show more" options on the youtube page. You can also watch the video with subtitles on if you choose to. Or you can ignore it if it doesn't interest you. ::

I'd like to address this video to the supporters and founders of Atheism Plus. I have concerns about the shape of any movement that seeks to create in-groups along secondary issues.

-- I agree with the stated goals of inclusion and diversity. Any movement that becomes homogenous is doomed to failure. That issue, applied to the predominantly male, white and hetero crowd at atheist meetings, is relevant. However, you are creating a group that has ideological homogeneity of views (must be anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-transphobia) as a stated goal. Do you see the problem there? You trade a predominantly white, liberal, male group of people for a group made exclusively of a specific political viewpoint.

-- Naming and shaming, or any other form of exclusionary pressure used to maintain the ingroup/outgroup division is inherently damaging to the whole community. The functional effect will be to create "separate but equal status" for Atheism Plus and non-Atheism Plus meetings, as speakers refuse to speak at the same event because of political differences. It will also lead to an us vs. them mentality that could harm free exchange of ideas.

-- I realize it's too late to make structural changes, but the commitment to free speech, free thought, self-criticism (of all issues, even feminism and other topics) and the absence of a power structure is vital to keeping Atheism Plus a positive force in the community.

Video replies are set to automatic approval. If you want to add your voice to mine, submit a video or comment below.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Cipher » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:45 pm

You can also watch the video with subtitles on if you choose to.

Hey, thanks for pointing this out! Usually the Youtube captions are so bad as to be funny rather than in any way useful, so I didn't even try. They're good this time!

I've stopped the video because I have to take a call, but here's my notes so far: I think that asking us to willingly associate with people who have done or said harmful things to us and our friends is patently ridiculous, and pretending that A+ must not exclude people because they have been assholes in order to remain "a force for good" is similarly ridiculous.
I don't believe that one of Atheism+'s goals is "tolerance." I think that would be a bullshit goal and is used -- as by the maker of this video! -- to pretend that being nice to bigots and not being bigoted are somehow equivalent. I don't agree that there's a problem with "discriminating against" ideas -- the atheist community doesn't work to be inclusive of religious people, right? Is that a problem with the atheist community?
Last edited by Cipher on Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Jade Anon » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:57 pm

Pieced together from YouTube's Interactive Transcript (was missing a few words, and I'm not sure if I fixed everything):

For anyone who watches my videos strictly for discussions of science and critical thinking and is not interested in the internal disputes in the atheist community, please stop the video now. I don't endulge in these very often, and I have no interest in making this a primarily atheist channel, but there are times when I have to speak out. I'll be back soon to my usual format. I've done my best to remain neutral or relatively objective in the recent disputes on the intersection between atheism and feminism and progressive politics. However, I am concerned about atheism plus. I'd like to make this video an open letter to the people behind the movement. My criticism is intended to be respectful and polite, but nevertheless, to give voice to the concerns that many people here in the YouTube atheist community have expressed. My hope is that my concerns will represent others who have yet to be heard because of having a smaller audience or being on the outskirts of the community.

Let me first say where I agree with the Atheist Plus movement, and then I'll get to my concerns. I agree that the larger community of atheism online contains some real trolls and jerks, and that they contribute little to a mature discussion. In some cases, they silence others with their tactics, or make women or gay or transexual or people of a different race feel unwelcome or intimidated. I agree that there should be a place where people can go to feel safe and share ideas without fear of bullying, attacks and unwelcome sexual advances. I agree that any movement that does not embrace diversity will never truly thrive, and any forum where the conversation is intentionally hurtful will be deserted by all but the trolls and jerks. Here are my concerns

1. Tactics for enforcement

This really does worry me deeply. Whenever an ingroup is formed, the outgroup must be excluded for the division to have any meaning. Heretics, apostates and pagans must be pressured or punished. What we have in the atheist movement are the old religious tactics of shaming and shunning. Shunning can be exemplified by the Amish practice of removing all contact with members of the community who commit some crime. The shunned member is not invited to community functions, no-one will do business with them, and their name is not spoken. Even friends and family agree to comply. In the atheist community, this has already taken the form of refusing to appear at a convention or meeting where a shunned atheist is invited to speak. Shaming is similar, but more active way of heaping scorn upon someone who breaks with dogma or orthodoxy. It refers in this case to any coercive attack that calls on the rest of the community to mock or attack someone that has broken some code or taken an unpopular position. If Atheism Plus is to remain a force for good, it must explicitly disavow these tactics and stop them when they get started. As I understand it, a guiding principle of Atheism Plus is tolerance. My concern is that tolerance will not be applied equally to those who do not conform.

2. Ideological tests

Currently, you're discriminating against ideas or positions, not actions. Not being a feminist is something that happens inside your brain. Excluding someone for their thoughts or views isn't the right idea. You want to focus on actions and behavior, not on thoughts and feelings. I don't think this is a semantic point. There needs to be a distinction between excluding people who hold racist views, and people who do something or say something hateful about people of another race. It must be the action, and not the thought, that disqualifies someone from participation. This could change the whole tenor of the Atheist Plus movement for me. Instead of being a movement of people who meet a certain test of ideological purity, it's a forum or a place or a set of rules where hateful words or actions are not permitted. You can BE a racist or a misogynist or a homophobe if you can manage to be polite, respectful and meet the requirements of the forum.

Again, I know this seems a bit like splitting hairs, but it's really not. It's the difference between a club that only permits non-smokers to enter, and a club that doesn't allow smoking inside.

3. Dogma

I know this is a touchy point for all of us. Among the non-religious, dogma has a very negative connotation. I've heard the argument that Atheism Plus has no dogma because the principles are subject to review, debate and discussion. How rules are selected is unfortunately not the primary criteria for dogma. The untouchability is. I think most of us from the outside see this very clearly, but it must be harder to see from within. If you movement is founded on certain core, unassailable positions, possibly positions that define the movement, then you have a dogma. The atheist dogma is simple: "the evidence for the existence of a god or gods doesn't meet the burden of proof". If you dispute that point, you simply aren't an atheist, Q.E.D. This is why so many people object to mixing politics and atheism. You start with a very simple position and make it very, very complicated. In the process, you take on board baggage that cannot be unloaded without abandoning the whole idea. It's like religion in that sense, and that concerns me for reasons that all former believers can understand.

4. The emergence of a power elite

I appreciate that Atheism Plus is primarily a web forum and chatboard and hence is democratic. In every democracy, though, there emerges a ruling class, a power elite, a legislative and executive and judicial specialization. There is no way to avoid the issue of resolving disputes between members, of setting the agenda for discussions and votes, or of making tough decisions about allocating resources. Like anyone, the people most involved in these functions dislike criticism and have their own biases and causes. It would be a simple thing for Atheism Plus to evolve into ever more specific set of ideological requirements. For example, Sam Harris and PZ Meyers disagree on racial profiling. Sam Harris feels that there is value in it, PZ does not. How will PZ handle this dispute? Will Sam Harris be allowed to speak at a conference dedicated to atheism plus social justice if the talk involves this disputed topic? Christopher Hitchens was famously intolerant of what he called "Islamofascism". He supported the Gulf War, was at time a Marxist but had sympathies with the neoconservatives. Would he be an appropriate speaker at an Atheism Plus conference... would he be allowed to pick the topic and viewpoint?

What concerns me here is that once we have a dogma, a test of ideological purity, and a group of people have the power to influence what Atheism Plus is and isn't, the potential exists to create an atheist priesthood. None of us want that, I think.
Now I am aware that it is too late to stop this thing. The table is set and the plates are filled. Any changes will need to be on the fly. So, I've come up with what I think are the minimal reassurances I would want from the movement.

1. No naming and shaming, no exclusionary tactics for non-conformity or non-participation.

2. No ideological tests of purity

3. A stated commitment to tolerance and free
speech

4. Recourse/Appeals to the community rather than heirarchical command structure.

If I were to append to your list of what Atheism Plus stands for, it would be this We are atheist, plus we believe in tolerating people of all views so long as they are non-disruptive, We are atheist, plus we have a deep commitment to free speech, especially as applied to unpopular or offensive speech, so long as it does not threaten the safety and free expression of others, We are atheist, plus we believe in ruthless self-criticism of our most cherished beliefs. With those simple additions, I'd be much more interested in joining your movement. Whether you agree to my suggestions or not, be aware that I and many others in the larger rationalist community will be keeping one eye on what emerges from Atheism Plus. We will be evaluating your conduct and adherence to shared principles and expressing our opinions here and in other forums. You will find that we can be either critical or supportive, the investigative journalists or the cheering fans in the front row. We all have a vested interest in seeing the movement advance on multiple fronts.

I wish you all well, and appreciate your patience.
Thanks for watching.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby laconicsax » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:03 am

Tone trolling at it's finest.

Well done c0nc0rdance, you certainly showed us!
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Tim Morton » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:11 am

I watched the first 2 minutes of this video and it seemed reasonable.

Then the 'C0n0rdance' persona begins talking about how he dislikes "shaming" and "shunning", showing a picture of Armish types. He follows it by showing a picture of a man called Ed Brayton (blogger Freethoughtblogs) next to a quote. The quote refers to "Thunderf00t", lacks context and seems to be designed to make Mr Brayton look bad in some way.

So some questions:

1. Ed Brayton is not a member of this forum to my knowledge. If he is, he hasn't posted anything. Why is his picture and quote appearing immediately on a video about Atheistplus?

2. I haven't read the quote, or seen any Armish type "shaming" or "shunning" at this site as of yet. How would this manifest itself?

Because this section didn't have any sense or context, I gave up watching the video.

Thank you to the person who transcribed it.
Last edited by Tim Morton on Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:54 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby piegasm » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:12 am

Reads to me like a load of BS predicated upon all the standard misconceptions/misrepresentations about A+. I'm not sure whether I'm more sick of the dogma trope or the free speech trope. Sorry if you think giving a shit about other people is dogmatic, Concordance but that's really the only requirement for being welcome here. Sorry if you think free speech means individuals who run websites are required to let anyone and everyone use it as a platform.

ty for the transcript, btw Jade
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Cipher » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:12 am

Jade, thanks so much! That's even better.
"If you movement is founded on certain core, unassailable positions, possibly positions that define the movement, then you have a dogma."
Having positions that define a movement isn't sufficient for "dogma," in my opinion. And as I've pointed out, arguing vociferously for a position doesn't make it "unassailable."
And with that, I'm done. (And by the way, this video is bullshit.)
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Jade Anon » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:18 am

While the tone trolling is obvious, his suggestions would also leave a backdoor for what has been established as a safe space to be compromised with his suggestions. If appeals are made to a community with no real basis in beliefs already being established, then I can see things easily falling into the hands of those who're the reason for the schism in the first place. And we're right back to where things started. There's no real solution under his vision and he seems to falsely believe tolerance for diversity is itself a goal (and his "diversity" appears to include all the bigots and trolls as a legitimate voice, as if they didn't already have plenty of outlets). So... it's slightly more than tone trolling, and despite his usual calm demeanor while giving his videos the passive-aggressiveness in some of his arguments remains evident.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby piegasm » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:23 am

Jade Anon wrote:While the tone trolling is obvious, his suggestions would also leave a backdoor for what has been established as a safe space to be compromised with his suggestions. If appeals are made to a community with no real basis in beliefs already being established, then I can see things easily falling into the hands of those who're the reason for the schism in the first place. And we're right back to where things started. There's no real solution under his vision and he seems to falsely believe tolerance for diversity is itself a goal (and his "diversity" appears to include all the bigots and trolls as a legitimate voice, as if they didn't already have plenty of outlets). So... it's slightly more than tone trolling, and despite his usual calm demeanor while giving his videos the passive-aggressiveness in some of his arguments remains evident.


Exactly. If you let them, the bigots and trolls will control the conversation. That's what they're after when they come here. I suspect the entire reason most of them are so outraged about A+ is precisely because we've resolved to stop letting them control the conversation.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Cipher » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:29 am

Summary: "I don't want to be around people who think I am less than human." "I don't want to either." "Let's go talk somewhere else." "Dogma! Shunning! Thought police!"
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby WowbaggerOM » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:43 am

piegasm wrote:I suspect the entire reason most of them are so outraged about A+ is precisely because we've resolved to stop letting them control the conversation.

Yeah, I've said basically the same thing on more than one occasion. The sad thing is that we - as a community - have to take some blame for this, since we convinced many of these people that their often poorly-thought-out, reflexive opinions about why religion is bad were valid for the sake of increasing the numbers; now they've assumed that the same approach is true of atheism, and we're on the receiving end.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Sun Countess » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:31 am

Thanks, JadeAnon, for transcribing the video. I do take issue with a few of the concerns listed:


1. Tactics for enforcement

This really does worry me deeply. Whenever an ingroup is formed, the outgroup must be excluded for the division to have any meaning. Heretics, apostates and pagans must be pressured or punished. What we have in the atheist movement are the old religious tactics of shaming and shunning. Shunning can be exemplified by the Amish practice of removing all contact with members of the community who commit some crime. The shunned member is not invited to community functions, no-one will do business with them, and their name is not spoken. Even friends and family agree to comply. In the atheist community, this has already taken the form of refusing to appear at a convention or meeting where a shunned atheist is invited to speak. Shaming is similar, but more active way of heaping scorn upon someone who breaks with dogma or orthodoxy. It refers in this case to any coercive attack that calls on the rest of the community to mock or attack someone that has broken some code or taken an unpopular position. If Atheism Plus is to remain a force for good, it must explicitly disavow these tactics and stop them when they get started. As I understand it, a guiding principle of Atheism Plus is tolerance. My concern is that tolerance will not be applied equally to those who do not conform.

How is it that a "shunned" atheist is invited to speak at a conference? That speaker is hardly being shunned. If certain members of the audience are not interested in the topic of discussion, they are under no obligation to attend that speech. If I'm not interested in attending a panel discussion of interfaith work, for instance, I'm not going to attend. Similarly, if I'm not interested in hearing somebody talk about how the theists are right about those homosexuals being unnatural, I'm not going to attend. If there are other speakers making rape jokes from the podium, I may boycott that particular speaker. But the speaker has in no way been shunned.

Also, I'm so sick of this idea that true tolerance means being tolerant of bigots and assholes. "This guy wants to shit all over your carpet and if you don't let him, you're only showing that you're intolerant. Why do you only extend your tolerance to people who conform to society's unnecessary standard that we not shit on other people's carpets?"


2. Ideological tests

Currently, you're discriminating against ideas or positions, not actions. Not being a feminist is something that happens inside your brain. Excluding someone for their thoughts or views isn't the right idea. You want to focus on actions and behavior, not on thoughts and feelings. I don't think this is a semantic point. There needs to be a distinction between excluding people who hold racist views, and people who do something or say something hateful about people of another race. It must be the action, and not the thought, that disqualifies someone from participation. This could change the whole tenor of the Atheist Plus movement for me. Instead of being a movement of people who meet a certain test of ideological purity, it's a forum or a place or a set of rules where hateful words or actions are not permitted. You can BE a racist or a misogynist or a homophobe if you can manage to be polite, respectful and meet the requirements of the forum.

Again, I know this seems a bit like splitting hairs, but it's really not. It's the difference between a club that only permits non-smokers to enter, and a club that doesn't allow smoking inside.

I get the distinction he's making, but I'm going to take some issue with this as well. To extend on his own analogy, if somebody has a severe smoke allergy, that person may not allow smokers into their homes, not just the act of smoking. Some smokers absolutely REEK of smoke. It's in their hair, it's on their clothes, the smell just oozes from their pores. Well....some bigots are the same way. The bigotry just oozes from their pores. If somebody doesn't think that women are real people, or that gay people are "icky," they can try to act as politely as possible, but the hatred has a way of escaping. Sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's quite obvious, even though the behavior may seem polite or non-disruptive on the surface.


I honestly don't understand this wish that some in this community have to keep on the good side of the bigots in the crowd. Have we set the bar too high here, because we expect everyone to treat other members as human beings? Because we agree that each person experiencing their own life is the best authority to speak to that experience? Because we want all members to feel comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas, and we embrace the diversity in the atheist community?
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby quietmarc » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:41 am

As someone who's been on the receiving end of "tolerance", please let me say that tolerance is not enough. For those who believe that tolerance is all I deserve, I say fuck you.

I've had a long day and that's the best I can do at the moment. But the second this place becomes "tolerant" of me, I'm out of here.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby qmartindale » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:37 am

quietmarc wrote:As someone who's been on the receiving end of "tolerance", please let me say that tolerance is not enough. For those who believe that tolerance is all I deserve, I say fuck you.

I've had a long day and that's the best I can do at the moment. But the second this place becomes "tolerant" of me, I'm out of here.


When you feel up to it, I would be interested in hearing more on this point.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby SubMor » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:54 am

I wrote the following reply in another thread before I saw this one and moved it here. Whee!

It's pretty underwhelming. pj_fry_jr gave a response to it on reddit, and I wouldn't be surprised to see further rebuttals posted there at some point.

I should note that I also have my own thoughts on the free speech/censorship "concern." I'd probably need a thousand words to properly respond to each of Concordance's main points, and I don't think I'll be putting that much time into this tonight.

Edit, after reading the thoughts above: Thank you for that transcript, Jade. I can't stand sitting through a lot of these YouTube videos. Having the actual text makes it a lot easier to respond to.

It seems to me that what C0nc0rdance is proposing is what already exists, and we've seen that what already exists hasn't been terribly successful in solving any of the "plus" problems. The remedy to an incomplete solution is to adopt alternative solutions, not double down with more of the same.

"Don't shun anyone. Don't judge people based on their beliefs." Screw that. If we took that approach, we wouldn't have any rational justification for criticizing believers. If we can't call people out on harmful things they do, how are they supposed to learn not to do those things? Does he think we need daddy to tell us not to viciously attack people for making minor mistakes? If this is just an appeal to forgive people when they recognize they've made a mistake, um, thanks for the pearl of wisdom, I guess.
"Allow criticism." Don't we? Demanding that criticisms be based in fact is not the same thing as forbidding criticism.
"Power elites are bad." Isn't this just a restatement of the previous point?
"Ideologies are bad." That's nice. What are these threatening Atheism+ ideologies that he's worried about, I wonder?
"Tolerance and free speech." If we're going to distance ourselves from intolerance, we can't tolerate the intolerant. (You know, like telling women to shut up when they complain about harassment?)
"Appeals to the community." Er, wtf? Isn't this entire project a giant appeal to the community? Who does he think we're taking orders from?
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Catherine » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:06 am

quietmarc wrote:As someone who's been on the receiving end of "tolerance", please let me say that tolerance is not enough. For those who believe that tolerance is all I deserve, I say fuck you.

I've had a long day and that's the best I can do at the moment. But the second this place becomes "tolerant" of me, I'm out of here.



Fuck yes, too many people seem to think they should get a fucking medal for being tolerant of me as a trans person. Now by tolerant, I mean not being outwardly hostile but still essentially not believing me when I say I am a woman, or even believing me to be less of a person due to it. Sorry but just not good enough in my eyes
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby tekanji » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:09 am

I originally watched the video so I could give a summary, only to find out that it wasn't needed anymore...

I have to say that I found most of his arguments incoherent. Like it sounded on the surface like he had a point, but when I was trying to summarize his assertion it was all based on bizarre logical jumps and things that weren't proven presented as facts. I'm still unclear what in his arguments he thinks is an "is" versus what is an "ought".
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby Setar » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:44 am

I love how he plays Humpty Dumpty with "dogma".
"...authoritarian followers feel empowered to isolate and segregate, to humiliate, to persecute, to beat, and to kill in the middle of the night, because in their heads they can almost hear the loudspeakers announcing, “Now batting for God’s team, his designated hitter, (their name).”" -Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby ischemgeek » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:35 am

SubMor, I get where quietmarc is coming from here and will try to expand a bit from my perspective (though I obviously don't speak for quietmarc):

There is a difference between 'tolerance' and 'welcome'. I tolerate the sinus pressure in my head from the cold I have because Sudafed would get me high as a kite. I'd welcome a piece of my raspberry cheesecake pie right now.

In other words: You tolerate something unpleasant. You welcome something pleasant. I don't want to be tolerated. I want to be welcome. Just like an average straight, able-bodied, WASPy cis man is welcome anywhere he goes in our society, I want to be welcome. I should be welcome because if he's good enough to be welcome anywhere, then so am I. I don't want to be tolerated. People can fold their 'tolerance' until it's all pointy corners and stick it somewhere unpleasent, as far as I'm concerned: The act of tolerating me implies that I am lesser than the people doing the tolerating. And then they want a pat on the head for telling me that no, no, even though you're an atheist bi woman with a chronic illness, it's totes okay for you to come into our able-bodied straight WASPy man club! We'll let you in! We might not make it pleasant for you, but you're in so stop complaining.

I think that Tom Lehrer (American political satirist from the 50s) summed it up best in the song "National Brotherhood Week" (lyrics here:

Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!


Those of us who have a problem with tolerance aren't willing to settle for that sort of a fakey-nice of "I'm being nice to you only because I have to, but you're less than me and better remember it." We want, "I'm being nice to you because you're a person."
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby SubMor » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:38 pm

ischemgeek wrote:SubMor, I get where quietmarc is coming from here and will try to expand a bit from my perspective (though I obviously don't speak for quietmarc):

Sorry, did it look like I was responding to quietmarc? That wasn't my intention. Any intemperance was directed solely at C0nc0rdance.

I totally agree with the welcoming/tolerating distinction.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby ischemgeek » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:43 pm

I meant to reply to qmartindale. Your sns aren't even remotely similar in appearance, nor are your writing styles, but I'm feverish and generally under-the-weather so I blame the viral nastiness currently invading my body for the mixup. My apologies to both of you.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby kbonn » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:51 pm

I think the issue at the heart of C0nc0rdance's concern is in regard to the balance between free speech and safe space here.

Expressing a dissenting opinion (depending on the subject, and certainly the way in which it is expressed.) can greatly upset people and/or cause them pain.
It is extremely difficult for individuals who haven't been effected negatively by many of the issues discussed here to understand the scale of this.
As this harm can vary greatly from person to person, how safe does this space need to be?
The safer it needs to be, the more moderation is needed, also people who express such opinions will be less welcome and/or tolerated.
Who decides where this line is? Is each subject weighted equally? Do certain groups need to be kept safer than others?

Lastly, C0nc0rdance didn't come here and derail anything, he didn't take over a discussion and demand people tone it down or hear him speak, he seems to have made a good faith effort to explain his issues(right or wrong), and has encouraged replies on the subject. To just immediately dismiss him as a troll seems rather foolish and inaccurate.
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Re: "An Open Letter to Atheism Plus" by C0nc0rdance

Postby SubMor » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:04 pm

kbonn wrote:Lastly, C0nc0rdance didn't come here and derail anything, he didn't take over a discussion and demand people tone it down or hear him speak, he seems to have made a good faith effort to explain his issues(right or wrong), and has encouraged replies on the subject. To just immediately dismiss him as a troll seems rather foolish and inaccurate.

I feel obligated to point out that "troll" and "tone troll" represent rather different concepts.

The whole video is just condescension. What he's saying is basically "I have no idea if you're already doing this stuff (I've been staying neutral), but don't do any of it. Even if you aren't planning on doing it, don't do it." If it were consistently good advice, that might be more easily overlooked, but it isn't. If he really wanted to write an honest letter to Atheism+, he could have just created an account here and done it that way. Or he could have started out by asking questions before writing that letter.
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