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United States
Current Residence: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
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Favourite genre of music: All Rock, some Classical
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Operating System: Linux (Puppy, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian) I use M$ only for the $
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Favourite cartoon character: Nightcrawler
A not insignificant number of the rather loose worldwide community of Atheists have been engaged in a "civil war" over a relatively small group of mostly women atheists who have set up shop on FreeThoughtBlogs. They have decided that simple non-belief in a deity isn't enough, they feel the deep need to work on what they want to call Social Justice issues. I'm totally with them this far. There is still so much work to be done in the area of social justice that I'm totally in favor of anything that promises progress on this front. They have named this "new" combination of atheism with social justice issues Atheism+.

  The problems began soon after the group's inception. Some people questioned the use of Atheism+ for the group's name. The basic thrust of these questions was that it isn't remotely clear what Atheism+ might mean without further research, and those atheists who didn't agree with the A+ers on their social justice agenda felt that this was unnecessarily polluting the public definition of atheist, making their work centered on the core definition of atheism more difficult. Needless to say, the A+ers chose to ignore those complaints. They still call themselves Atheism+.

  But the problems only multiplied. I'm not going to try and recreate the timeline here to exacting detail, but here are some of the key following events:

  "Elevatorgate". This is the beginning of the big blow-up. As a speaker at an Atheist conference in Ireland a key A+er, Rebecca Watson, had an uncomfortable elevator ride with an attendee. He apparently was interested in her, possibly sexually, and in that confined space of the elevator asked her back to his room "for coffee". She declined, they parted ways, and in another world nobody would have heard of it. But Rebecca Watson felt the need to publicly chastise this attendee who'd had the gall to hit on her in the elevator. The video she made went viral in the atheist community. This viral video of Rebecca Watson became the introduction of Atheism+ to the wider atheist movement. It was my introduction to the story as well. When I watched it, I immediately identified with the man she was dissing. She came off to me as a mean woman who felt the need to not only say no, but to be nasty and belittling about it and then she took the extra step of taking him to task in public. I was shocked that such a person would be invited to an international atheist conference as a speaker, so I began to try and find out who she was and more about what she believed. What I found was that she and her A+ friends appear to blame men for every evil of civilization. Civil disagreement and discussion are not allowed on their forums. A middle-aged white man in the A+ world can only be an echo of their beliefs or he's immediately called vile invective and has every point countered with the vacuous "check your privilege". They have chased off as "misogynists" several of the greatest members of the world atheist community, including Richard Dawkins and Matt Dillahunty. I, being a middle-aged white man, am made to feel that they hate me long before they even try to find out what I believe. This isn't real social justice as far as I can see, it's social revenge. There is a difference.

  I believe the "Patriarchy" had it's back broken by the Women's Movements of previous generations. This was nothing but a good thing. What we have now is more rightly referred to in gender neutral terms, I'll call it "The System". It is now nearly as influenced by women as it is by men. The problem is that most of the easy and obvious things to advance equality have already been done. Right to property? Done. Right to vote? Done. Right to hold elective office? Done. Right to equal protection under law? Done. Equal pay for equal work? Officially done, though progress is still needed on the ground. Right to choose military service as a career path? Done, though again more progress on the ground in actual implementation is still needed. My point is that women have in the last 200 years moved from absolutely mistreated third class status to nearly equal in almost every key way. What remains are the difficult last few steps, and these steps are almost entirely social. By that I mean that there are few steps left to take in Law, and women can choose to take them now any time they choose. They have the key power: Right to Vote and Right to Hold Office, and women represented 53.5% of the national vote in 2012. It isn't men that women need to convince to implement any legal agenda, it's the women who are 53.5% of the vote. This is why I say what remains of inequality is primarily social.

  Lets go back to Elevatorgate for an example. Rebecca Watson hates being hit on constantly in the atheist community where she is a very rare find: an atheist woman actually involved in the community. That alone is enough to ensure that she gets many, many, of those hated propositions. And that's where the problem is. Since the atheist community is so gender imbalanced, possibly even exceeding 10:1, it's no surprise to me that standard male dating behavior results in what feels like a truly excessive number of propositions to her. The behavior of men can't change in general until and unless women in general change to go with it. They need to get involved and speak out, like Rebecca, until their numbers in our community achieve rough parity. That would be a start, reducing the proposition stream to levels roughly commensurate with the rest of society. But it would still leave the basic issue Rebecca has: Men hit on women constantly. We do it because if we don't, we'll never be in a relationship. We go through dozens, and if we're socially awkward or otherwise low on the potential date meter, hundreds of rejections for every proposition that's accepted. This is because women in general do not hit on men, they don't have to. They have a steady parade of peacocks hitting on them to choose from. This is not a system that one gender can change independently of the other. We ALL need to change for it to change to a more equal system. Individuals change very slowly, if at all. This is the kind of societal change that takes generational time to play out. One can already see it happening in the attitudes of younger generations, but I believe that we'll need at least another generation or two for the situation to play itself out until gender neutral dating practices are the norm. Until then, making enemies of all Middle-Aged White Men who voice any dissent from A+ ideas, no matter how close they might otherwise be to the A+ position, is only harming the A+ cause. To be fair, I understand why they've become so nasty. They have a mirror image group of men who call themselves "Male Rights Advocates", or MRAs for short, who are actively engaged against them using many of the same crappy name-calling tactics and often laying sugar-coated traps (aka Trolling) intended to get just the kind of crappy responses A+ers give so that the MRA's can point at it and say, "see look how bad they are!". I'm sure this has gotten so tiresome that they just lash out any time it even appears that someone MIGHT be an MRA. This understanding doesn't make their behavior any more acceptable than that of a man who constantly belittles women because some woman in his life hurt him.

 And finally, directly to the A+ers: I'd love to believe I'm wrong about you. I'd love to have a chance to have a civil discussion that doesn't devolve into pointless invective. And most importantly, I'd love to see a world where this discussion was a historical one, where real social equality existed and the fact that once men outnumbered women in our atheist community by as much as 10:1 as difficult to believe as the fact that we used to own slaves or that women couldn't own property, vote, or hold elective office. If you're an A+er, please comment below. I won't go back to FtB for reasons that should already be obvious. I consider them a "hate" website, of the same caliber as Stormfront. They just hate Middle-Aged White Men instead of everyone BUT Whites. If you can engage me with civility, I will happily return it. Please convince me that I'm utterly wrong about you. If you arrive with the bile you spout on FtB, I'll just ignore your comments, leaving them posted as evidence that your MRA trolls are right.
  • Mood: Hope
  • Listening to: The Man Who Sold The World-Nirvana
  • Reading: Twitter & Free Thought Blogs
  • Drinking: Black coffee

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ReaperasinGrimm Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
wyldhoney Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for adding me to your watchlist! :thanks:
renegade4dio Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011
I was reading screamprompts submissions, trying to get a feel for the "competition"... And of the 4-5 dozen I read, you were my favorite. When I get a chance I intend to go through your work carefully. So far I think it will be well worth my time!
wyldhoney Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You are most kind! :ahoy:
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