Yes, there is a moderate, middle ground for the atheist movement. Join in! - blog by Gurdur


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Yes, there is a moderate, middle ground for the atheist movement. Join in!
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Posted 29-May-2013 at 06:08 PM (18:08) by Gurdur
Updated 29-May-2013 at 09:54 PM (21:54) by Gurdur

As many know, and as I have blogged about previously, there is a long, bitter, all-out war of all against all within the atheism movement. Some have claimed there is no middle ground to all of this conflict, but those who have expressly claimed that are too obviously only pushing their personal agendas and a "You are either with us or against us" line.

There have been various initiatives aimed at trying to reconcile differences; one of those initiatives was the dialogue process started by Michael Nugent. Most of these initiatives have bogged down. A couple have been ruined by malicious action. For example, unfortunately, urgent questions have arisen in regard to the endangering of safety for women using pseudonymous net accounts to comment on the Nugent-sponsored dialogue site, and those urgent concerns will be the subject of my next blog post on all this. It is time for all those within the atheist movement, all who are moderate and able to disagree without bullying others, to work together insofar as possible to eliminate the hatred, personal defamation, harrassment and bullying going on. To this end I invite all those who can at least agree with most of the following to get in contact, and I for one will publicise your own efforts wider. I also invite you to the Hub board for this express purpose, but as said, I for one will help publicise your own efforts in any case. My own suggested list of points, which are all up for discussion and argument; these have been listed with the help of others:
  1. - We reject personal defamation and name-calling, sexist or otherwise. Defamation is defamation, bullying is bullying, regardless of subtype.
  2. - We are not trying to heal any rifts; those who are being actively malicious over a long term cannot be reconciled nor appeased.
  3. - Instead, we call on all those who agree to at least a major part with these points, to increase cooperation as much as possble despite all disagreements.
  4. - We ask all organizations to consider the personal conduct of those whom they would invite as speakers. Where someone has been too malicious, defamatory, bullying, and threatening to betray pseudonym-using identities, over a long term, then it is most urgent to ask conference organizers if they really must give too many speaking slots to such persons.
  5. - We believe every person should be heard, and we are firmly against some who seek to bar others on the flimsiest of excuses. But we also do not think anyone who acts maliciously needs to be heard over and over again; that is enabling their campaigns of malice. We call on atheist conference organizers not to enable campaigns of such harrassment too much, while still allowing people to speak.
  6. - We want to see genuine diversity. We want an atheist movement that is safe for dissent, disagreement, discussion and people.

In essence: bluntly, this initiative is not about "healing the rifts". It is about maximising cooperation and dialogue where possible despite huge disagreement, and where dialogue is made impossible, it is about exposing and isolating bullying, harrassment and hate-speech. Please feel very free and welcome to argue about specific points.

if you prefer to contact me via email, my email address is:

My next blog post on specific issues of all this will be coming very soon. Please - no empty name-calling in the comments under this post.



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Comments are welcome! Please keep in mind if you are not registered that comments posted here to this blog post may take a while to appear - up to 16 hours after you post them, since they go onto a moderation queue and have to be individually approved, in order to stop spammers. The answer to the so-called "Random Question" is always "human".

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  1. Old Comment
    Where do we start?
    Posted 30-May-2013 at 08:21 PM (20:21) by AxelBlaster
  2. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Originally Posted by AxelBlaster View Comment
    Where do we start?
    Wherever you would like to! To join the Hub, send me an email with your desired username; my email address is in my blog post above. Once logged into the Hub board, you can start any thread and discussion you like. To let me know of your own or others' initiatives, comment here or send me an email. There are already discussions in progress on the Hub board and elsewhere.
    Posted 30-May-2013 at 09:41 PM (21:41) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  3. Old Comment


    Looks promising, Tim! I'm currently taking much of a break from online stuffs, aside from the occasional 'check in' as I am at this moment, but I wish your efforts well. At first glance, I'd say I agree with all or nearly all of your points/positions here.
    Posted 05-Jun-2013 at 08:17 PM (20:17) by Thaumas Themelios
  4. Old Comment
    I approve of this message ... this place seems grown up or something, none of the schoolyard name-calling of other blogs. I could get used to this.
    Posted 06-Jun-2013 at 11:46 AM (11:46) by Cian Cian is offline
  5. Old Comment

    Are you sure that's a middle ground?

    I entirely agree with your suggestions. I find them entirely reasonable.

    I do not however see them as "middle ground".

    I think Ron Lindsay was similarly trying to create a middle ground in his speech at Women in Secularism. However, he dared to specifically criticise the tactics used by one side in this war, particularly the "shut up and listen!" theme. This has resulted in an initiative trying to get him fired.

    I see the same flaw in your proposed "middle ground"; it criticises FTB tactics, so this would not be perceived as middle ground.

    Considering that that to some FTB prominents you are already an unperson, I think that no initiative you were to put forward could be acceptable to true believers from that side.

    Sadly, this proposal will only appeal to reasonable people. Oh wait...
    Posted 27-Jun-2013 at 09:07 AM (09:07) by Rogering_Rabbit Rogering_Rabbit is offline
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