Life of Brian: People's Front of Judea
A terrible faction fight has developed between atheists, it's almost produced a schism. Now there's a new organization called "atheism plus" that's sort of acting as the Political correctness police to enforce the party line. It's creation has led to more resentment. I became aware of this split a couple of years ago and followed it now and then. I didn't post much on it becuase it seemed too much like gossip. Now it's reached a point where it counts as real news. Atheist watchers should take note: now they are becoming like the chruch, dividing and battling each other. Here's a post on carm that reflects a basic confrontation between two leading atheist figures.
That post contains a link that reflects the confrontation. Greenwald calls Harris a bigot in speaking of the "bigotry of new atheism." This is Harris quoting the thing by Greenwald and then responding to it.
here is the quote by Harris that enflames the Greenwald side:
Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West. Indeed, it is telling that the people who speak with the greatest moral clarity about the current wars in the Middle East are members of the Christian right, whose infatuation with biblical prophecy is nearly as troubling as the ideology of our enemies. Religious dogmatism is now playing both sides of the board in a very dangerous game.here is Greenwald discussing it in a way that shows Harris is clueless about the issue:
While liberals should be the ones pointing the way beyond this Iron Age madness, they are rendering themselves increasingly irrelevant. Being generally reasonable and tolerant of diversity, liberals should be especially sensitive to the dangers of religious literalism. But they aren’t.
The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.
To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.
Sam -Built in conflict there over the idea that multiculturalism is allowing Arab terrorism to grow, and the racist implications of that statement in treating all Arabs as though they are all part of the terrorism. This kind of conflict has given rise to "the atehist third wave," which actually seems like an attempt to police the faithful.
To be honest, I really don’t see how that full quote changes anything. You are indeed saying - for whatever reasons - that the fascists are the ones speaknig most sensibly about Islam, which is all that column claimed.
I know Murtaza’s writings really well and he’s always trustworthy and diligent, and I think he was here, too.
I’m not sure how you can blame me for tweeting an article published in Al Jazeera and written by a respectable commentator, but I’m happy to post your email to me - or some edited version of it as you wish - and tweet that, too.
atheist "third wave" to promote politically correct view:
Kate Toth in RD magazine
Sept 20, 2012
Atheism has taken its lumps lately. Here on RD, in the wake of the murder of six Sikhs in Wisconsin, humanist chaplain Chris Stedman critiqued atheist bigotry and silence in the face of violence directed at religious minorities. Meanwhile, at least since last summer’s “elevatorgate”, outspoken atheist feminists describe continued, aggressive harassment from men in the atheist community.In response some atheists have broken off and created “Atheism Plus” which aims to make space for women, people of color, and other marginalized groups within an atheist movement that's historically white and male.
Atheism does have a problem with xenophobia and anti-Islam rhetoric, she says, and “it's appropriate and right for other atheists to criticize [that rhetoric]. And many of us have done so... and will continue to do so.” As an example she points to popular blogger and biology professor PZ Myers' continued criticism of Sam Harris, adding: “To be horribly angry at the leaders of the Islamic theocracies in the Middle East is very different from being angry at the guy who’s sitting next to you on the bus. We treat moderate and progressive Christians differently from how we treat hardcore, homophobic, misogynist fundamentalist Christians. I think we need to do the same thing with Islam.”
Amazing and amusing to see how strident and radical Carrier has become. He's itching to get into the faction fight. He's picked his side and he's out there condeming the other side, he refers to them as "dead wood" he's ready to cut out the bastards and leave them behind. This is so telling:
Free Thought Blogs,
"New Atheism plus"
no date listed
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 (I mean people like these and these). I was already mulling a way to do this back in June when discussion in the comments on my post On Sexual Harassment generated an idea (inspired by Anne C. Hanna) to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheism movement, so we could start marginalizing the evil in our midst, and grooming the next generation more consistently and clearly into a system of more enlightened humanist values. 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.Amazing. He says "we need the rift" and he's welcoming the strife. It's unclear who he's blaming though. When he says "these" and "these" as people to disown the links go to a site called 'skepchick.org" which is someone who spouts the same kind of pro PC rhetoric that Carrier seems o support. I don't know if his dead wood is the person doing the blog or the people she's against.
the first "this" is a woman who is castigating the atheist ridicule gauntlet "read it" for their mindless stupidity and lauding the need for a politically correct form of atheism. So if she's the dead wood then Carrier is agisnt the PC crowd?
One major aspect of that quote that really amuses me to no end is this:
"to start a blog series building a system of shared values that separates the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheism movement...." That is significant for two reasons. First, becuase he admits atheism is a movement. While on message boards every single time I call it a movement they are quick to say "Its' not a movement, no it's not!" Movements have ideologies, so all their protestations that they have no movement and no ideology goes out the window when they say that. Carrier is not the first I've seen to say it's a movement. I've seen several people call it that in relation to this schism. Not only do movements have ideologies but they also have parties and part lines. If this is not a party line nothing is. When you start breaking up into factions and having factions, especially when it's acrimonious enough to call people "dead wood" (better dead wood than red wood?) you have a movement and an ideology; not only so but your ideology is now subdivided. They have two parties vying for control of the same movement, they have their Menshevik and Bolsheviks split.
The second amazing thing is that Carrier (who is apparently a true Zealot and political gladiator) is willing to label part of the community of the movement "the dark side." This is another concept I've pushing for since I started AW and they have never never never never never given a single inch on admitting it possibly be the case, that a core element within the atheist community represents some form of dark side. Yet here one of their true stalwarts is willing to say it because he's so locked in factional battle that he's totally sold out to vanquishing the other side. Reminds me of that scene in Life of Brian where they remember their common enemy is the Romans, and all the various factions of Jews who have been fighting each other go "O yea, the Romans."
The bipartison nature of Carrier is awesome. He is quoted is the Guardian as saying:
"Yes, it does. Atheism+ is our movement. We will not consider you a part of it, we will not work with you, we will not befriend you. We will heretofore denounce you as the irrational or immoral scum you are (if such you are). If you reject these values, then you are no longer one of us. And we will now say so, publicly and repeatedly. You are hereby disowned."Peter McGrath in that same article:
Those of us who do not wish to extend our atheism into someone else's definition of progressive politics may take rather unkindly to being described as immoral scum, useful but unsavoury body parts, and outdated contraceptive devices. In the week when American atheism made its appearance in the Economist's editorial pages, it seems to have been sowing the seeds of that most religious of events – a schism.
St Paul would be laughing his head off, had a Roman soldier not already deprived him of it. "See," he might now write after reading those modern epistles, the blogs, comments and tweets around the birth of Atheism+, "how these atheists love one another."
He links to a scene from the life of Brain demonstrating nearly what I've said above. they are talking about the factions they hate Eric Idle goes "we hate the People's front fo Judea." John Cleese says "we are people's front of Jeudea!" I've been through all of this in my communist days. I know exactly what it's like I could have predicted it. I've been confirmed in what I've predicted so far. It's just another movement it's just another faction fight, and they are already committed to it. They have a dark side and now they have to admit it.
There is no way they can deny that they have a movement and an ideology. When they are saying "these are the values we hold, those who are not against racism and sexism and so on are dead weight" they are saying "here is the ideology." This is it in front of our faces. That just renders all their denials into a big joke.