Article: Will Misogyny Bring Down the Atheist Movement?

On Buzzfeed HERE]. If you haven’t already read it, it’s worth a read.

Two other, similar articles:
By “Bad Astronomer” Phil Plait: Harassment as Art]
Misogyny in the gamer community: Zoe Quinn on Gamergate]

Very depressing article. Shermer has always been a hero, though, so it was very disheartening to read about his bizarre and Neolithic behavior towards women.
I think the article was really on target about how the humanist aspect of the secular movement often gets swamped under the more libertarian “right to offend” activism. I agree, of course, that we have to be consistent in not placing some ideas beyond criticism, but that doesn’t mean valorizing meanness for its own sake or failing to see a difference between giving offense with legitimate, substantive criticism and using language to intimidate or oppress. The “War on Christmas” trope is clearly ridiculous hyperbole, but the idea that sexist language harms women is certainly not, and that kind of difference is meaningful.

On Buzzfeed HERE]. If you haven't already read it, it's worth a read.
Oh lordie lordie, as someone who's not particularly invested in the "movement" that article, at least as much as I could stomach, was actually a bit of a hoot. Why the hell else would you hold a convention in Las Vegas, if not to get shit-faced, then do stupid things that you'll regret the next day. … sometimes for the rest of your life... They all sound like a bunch of jerks. But then I've only gotten through the first half and don't have the stamina to see it through to the end. Please do correct me if I'm wrong. :smirk:

I usually avoid these kinds of stories, but I couldn’t help notice it on freethoughblogs. I don’t see Shermer as a major enough player, now, if it were Dawkins…

Why is this Michael Shermer issue worth mentioning at this point? It’s been more than a year and nothing has come of the allegations against him.
The rest of the links are so pathetic, they aren’t worth commenting on.

I usually avoid these kinds of stories, but I couldn't help notice it on freethoughblogs. I don't see Shermer as a major enough player, now, if it were Dawkins...
He's major enough for these attention seeking females.

I tend to agree with Lausten about Shermer. I’ve got a couple of his books, but it’s not as if I read them over and over again the way I do with Dawkins’ books. He makes some good points, but on the other hand he can get longwinded at times. To make a long story short… nah, not a major player. And anyway atheism isn’t a cult of personality is it? So what if some atheists act like assholes? Are we claiming ALL atheists act that way?
I’m kind of worried about the flip side of the coin too. I just read this… http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/09/17/are-men-more-likely-to-be-secular-than-women/
about a supposedly heinous comment Sam Harris made about why polls show that more men than women tend to be atheists. What really got my goat was Greta Christina’s over-the-top diatribe in reply where she swore and ranted and called him every name in the book! Sheesh! Can’t we have civil conversations anymore? Or is it just going to become a man versus woman gender war over this?

I tend to agree with Lausten about Shermer. I’ve got a couple of his books, but it’s not as if I read them over and over again the way I do with Dawkins’ books. He makes some good points, but on the other hand he can get longwinded at times. To make a long story short… nah, not a major player. And anyway atheism isn’t a cult of personality is it? So what if some atheists act like assholes? Are we claiming ALL atheists act that way? I’m kind of worried about the flip side of the coin too. I just read this… http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/09/17/are-men-more-likely-to-be-secular-than-women/ about a supposedly heinous comment Sam Harris made about why polls show that more men than women tend to be atheists. What really got my goat was Greta Christensen’s over-the-top diatribe in reply where she swore and ranted and called him every name in the book! Sheesh! Can’t we have civil conversations anymore? Or is it just going to become a man versus woman gender war over this?
Atheists, like any other group come in all sizes shapes and colors, but right now mostly White and male according to the statistics. But the demographics are changing, it just takes time. Personally I would like to see more women and more minorities finally shake off the shackles of religious belief and enlarge the Atheist community, if you can call it that. Presently we have to face the fact that white males dominate the movement. Now however let's not shut the doors on everybody else by reacting to protests of unacceptable behavior by a few so-called leaders e.g. Shermer. He appears to be a well known horn dog at functions including booze and cigars. By now most people know that's so. Then if necessary take a hint and stay away from him. He and others like him need to be called out for their behavior and the women who point it out don't deserve death threats from fawning morons who don't believe that well known writers can experience cognitive dissonance too. They're human just like the rest of us and can be fooled by flattery into believing that they've earned the right to noblesse oblige, which they haven't any more than an NFL player has the right to stomp the crap out of his girlfriend. If anything they should be aware enough to know that the criticism aimed at their treatment of females should be brought to their attention and that those who are doing the criticizing are tired of the stereotypical behavior they've lived with their whole lives. No one has ever changed society by hoping that somehow it will automatically progress for the better but you have to thicken your skin if you wish to fight, and lady's, I hope you do. It IMO is a worthy cause and damn the cowards who use twitter threats. Cap't Jack

This whole thing is silly. Atheism isn’t a belief system that carries with it certain standards. Now if atheism by definition included the belief “never denigrate a woman” then it’d be a different story altogether. But it’s not. Move on.

On Buzzfeed HERE]. If you haven't already read it, it's worth a read.
If they want support to help get and keep religion out of our government and grow the atheist community they'd better be prepared to alter their misogynist mindset. It will be hard enough with everyone working together, if they run off the women the task will be near impossible. I feel sorry for the humanists as they too wind up being guilty by association. MzL
This whole thing is silly. Atheism isn't a belief system that carries with it certain standards. Now if atheism by definition included the belief "never denigrate a woman" then it'd be a different story altogether. But it's not. Move on.
Right Cuthbert. I agree. It does say "bring down the Atheist Movement..." So perhaps allegations can bring down the current figurehead(s) of the Movement. Which I also think is silly. But whatever..."The Movement" can do just fine with new leaders or the old leaders. Is there just one Movement? LOL! Is the movement or movements really that important? Probably not-except for the leaders prestige and paychecks. Yes it is silly.
This whole thing is silly. Atheism isn't a belief system that carries with it certain standards. Now if atheism by definition included the belief "never denigrate a woman" then it'd be a different story altogether. But it's not. Move on.
That's right. Atheists don't have a doctrine. Atheists as a group are neither mysogynistic nor anti misogynistic. Atheists have no doctrine. Atheism is one thing--a lack of belief that a god exists. There is nothing more to it than that. Asking whether misogyny will bring down the atheist movement is like asking if misogyny will bring down the vegetarian movement. Lois

NB: Mark Oppenheimer, who wrote the article in the OP, is on Point of Inquiry this week].

And now in The Nation: Atheists Show Their Sexist Side: What is wrong with the men at the helm of the movement?]

And now in The Nation: Atheists Show Their Sexist Side: What is wrong with the men at the helm of the movement?]
Doesn't sound, or look, or read very good, does it? Then of course there is the choice of venue for this convention to begin with, that doesn't say much about this organization either. Being an outsider, but a genuine humanist, I wonder if this "Atheist Movement" is just another private club. Hopefully the atheist ethic is much more than this group of ridiculous looking men… boys. :smirk:

Just finished Pollit’s article. God, what the hell happened to free thought and critical thinking in the “atheist community”? How does it make sense to alienate half of the population with sexist “just get over it 'cause that’s the way it is with us men” comments? Let me reiterate, I’m a big Dawkins fan, I’ve read most of his books as well as Shermer’s and Harris’s etc. and I find it hard to believe that they don’t see the disconnect here, but I guess they don’t or they choose not to. Lets leave the sexist attitudes to the far right wingnut conservatives; it has absolutely no place among us. If the community is to grow as we want it, the first thing we don’t do is turn potential freethinkers off with the very philosophy we aim to change. This just gives our detractors ammunition to use against us.
Cap’t Jack

Just finished Pollit's article. God, what the hell happened to free thought and critical thinking in the "atheist community"? How does it make sense to alienate half of the population with sexist "just get over it 'cause that's the way it is with us men" comments? Let me reiterate, I'm a big Dawkins fan, I've read most of his books as well as Shermer's and Harris's etc. and I find it hard to believe that they don't see the disconnect here, but I guess they don't or they choose not to. Lets leave the sexist attitudes to the far right wingnut conservatives; it has absolutely no place among us. If the community is to grow as we want it, the first thing we don't do is turn potential freethinkers off with the very philosophy we aim to change. This just gives our detractors ammunition to use against us. Cap't Jack
VA, it is my opinion that potential or realized Free-Thinkers can get waaay past this issue. I highly doubt this kind of fluff is going to sway the ideas of actual or potential Free-Thinkers. In otherwords a potential Free-Thinker who has gotten to that point of "potentiality" is not going to hem and haw over crap like this. Frankly any Free-Thinker shouldn't be looking up to any of these clowns for guidance or direction anyways, with or without these incidents of misogyny. They should come to these conclusions on their own-hence Free-Thinking! I'm curious. When you read these books do you read for confirmation of your own thoughts, or do you read to gain knowledge from them. If so, could you give me an example of some knowledge you have gained. Of course you can answer both. Just give me some ideas or examples of what you get out of these books. Thanks.

From Wikipedia-

Freethought or free thought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".
I understand that these booksellers and paid speech givers are extolling the virtues of these viewpoints but for me the very concept can be turned inwards in many regards. Note above-authority or other dogmas. These authorities I guess serve a purpose for some in that they write and speak to many which could have positive effects on people's thinking. However I wonder how many people need to hear from them for purely confirmation or reinforcing values. Where is the line drawn between a free-thinker and a follower? Movements have followers. Free-Thinkers generally aren't very good at following.
I’m curious. When you read these books do you read for confirmation of your own thoughts, or do you read to gain knowledge from them. If so, could you give me an example of some knowledge you have gained. Of course you can answer both. Just give me some ideas or examples of what you get out of these books. Thanks.
Good questions Vy, I actually read them out of curiosity having already become a "free thinker" during my college years which helped to shape my opinions of culture, politics and religion. It helped me to become a researcher which is what I have done continuously for the last forty years. As to the books, Dawkins I found on my own and read his books voraciously as that was a hole to fill in my knowledge. The Ancestor's Tale is still by far my favorite. The others I read and studied to enable me to debate ardent believers even though I know the facts won't change their minds. I've BTW read all of the material of the "new Atheists" I could find; I tend to want to exhaust the topic so to speak, until I run into duplication then I move on to something entertaining for a while. As to "free thinking" books, Susan Jacoby's books are my all time favorite, probably because she includes a lot of history in her research and that is my favorite topic, and that's what led me to free thought in the first place, studying Jefferson's, Paine's and even Adams thoughts on religion and Enlightenment philosophy as it relates to the creation of a Democratic Republic. I'm also a big Darwin fan. So, to answer your question, I read Shermer, Dawkins, Harris, Shook(good book on debating religion) Hitch, and Dennet for knowledge mainly but being a free thinker I don't consider what anybody says as "gospel". Everything is open to scrutiny of course and debating the topic is a way to get to as near to the truth as possible. So I guess you could say that that most of the material I found in those books helped me to clarify my secular humanism as a personal philosophy. And. As to my earlier point about those "leaders", I don't mean to imply that I personally feel that their actions will in any way bring down the movement but it surely won't help it. Cap't Jack