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Yes, there is a middle ground. Tackling the bullying & defamation going on in the atheist movement

 
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Old 29-May-2013, 05:51 PM (17:51)     1        46577
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Default Yes, there is a middle ground. Tackling the bullying & defamation going on in the atheist movement

There is a middle ground in the atheism movement, and the extremists (of any side) can just get over it. I have now blogged about this inviting all to the Hub to discuss this, and/or inviting them to let me know of their own initiatives, which I will then publicise for them as well. Maximum cooperation across as as broad a range as possible. Please see my blog post for further details.

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Old 29-May-2013, 11:01 PM (23:01)     2        46615
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Great blog post, Tim. It's going to be hard going trying to build up a middle ground while taking fire from both trenches, but certainly seems worth having a go at it. I'll stand with you for as long as you require.

I especially like the idea that we should reject name-calling and cyber-bullying as a means to emotionally manipulate and silence opposition. It's always tempting to lash out, especially when someone is perceived merely as words on a screen. One of the defining features of the rifts is that each side has been very willing to excoriate the other using in-group shibboleths ranging from the morally damning to the merely vulgar. If we create a space in which feminists and skeptics can talk to each other without engaging in that sort of behaviour, we will have done something new and worthwhile.
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Old 29-May-2013, 11:13 PM (23:13)     3        46620
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It's a worthy goal to be sure Tim. Nothing sacred, nothing excluded from discussion, just nothing personal or hateful. I like it.
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Old 29-May-2013, 11:55 PM (23:55)     4        46621
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Great blog post, Tim. It's going to be hard going trying to build up a middle ground while taking fire from both trenches, but certainly seems worth having a go at it. I'll stand with you for as long as you require.

I especially like the idea that we should reject name-calling and cyber-bullying as a means to emotionally manipulate and silence opposition. It's always tempting to lash out, especially when someone is perceived merely as words on a screen. One of the defining features of the rifts is that each side has been very willing to excoriate the other using in-group shibboleths ranging from the morally damning to the merely vulgar. If we create a space in which feminists and skeptics can talk to each other without engaging in that sort of behaviour, we will have done something new and worthwhile.
I take issue with you simplifying it own to two sides as there are multiple viewpoints and players. Moreover, there are feminists who are perfectly willing to work with others against name-calling, cyber-bullying and for outreach efforts for secularism. Nothing is gained by simplifying to feminists vs. sceptics.
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Old 30-May-2013, 12:36 AM (00:36)     5        46624
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I take issue with you simplifying it own to two sides as there are multiple viewpoints and players. Moreover, there are feminists who are perfectly willing to work with others against name-calling, cyber-bullying and for outreach efforts for secularism. Nothing is gained by simplifying to feminists vs. sceptics.
How about rational feminists vs. radical feminists?

Half joke.
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Old 30-May-2013, 12:40 AM (00:40)     6        46625
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I take issue with you simplifying it own to two sides as there are multiple viewpoints and players. Moreover, there are feminists who are perfectly willing to work with others against name-calling, cyber-bullying and for outreach efforts for secularism. Nothing is gained by simplifying to feminists vs. sceptics.
How about rational feminists vs. radical feminists?

Half joke.
Well, I'm fed up with the MRA vs. radfem war going on in our movement and, radfems have always also disagreed and fought with equity feminists as well. As I said, I do not appreciate these wars being brought into our cause. As I said there are multiple players.
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Old 30-May-2013, 12:40 AM (00:40)     7        46626
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But mores to the point, the very term 'feminist' has no meaning today in a world of feminismS? I'd actually prefer to drop the term completely, it's so unwieldy and ill defined, and plump for plain old egalitarian.
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Old 30-May-2013, 12:42 AM (00:42)     8        46627
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The term is massively politicised [edit - and radicalised]. Just using it will create rifts. That is feminisms' problem, not ours?

Last edited by porla; 30-May-2013 at 12:43 AM (00:43). Reason: afterthought!
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Old 30-May-2013, 01:23 AM (01:23)     9        46629
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But mores to the point, the very term 'feminist' has no meaning today in a world of feminismS? I'd actually prefer to drop the term completely, it's so unwieldy and ill defined, and plump for plain old egalitarian.
I'm adverse to any -ism that is taken a set of conclusions. Far better to discuss and evaluate issues one by one instead of signing up to an entire platform of ideas. (Just my 2)
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Old 30-May-2013, 01:25 AM (01:25)     10        46630
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Well, I'm fed up with the MRA vs. radfem war going on in our movement and, radfems have always also disagreed and fought with equity feminists as well. As I said, I do not appreciate these wars being brought into our cause. As I said there are multiple players.
Who better to take on the MRA vs. radfem debate than people dedicated to the principle that propositions require evidence, i.e. skeptics?
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Old 30-May-2013, 01:29 AM (01:29)     11        46631
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The term is massively politicised [edit - and radicalised]. Just using it will create rifts. That is feminisms' problem, not ours?
I've argued this one before as well.
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Old 30-May-2013, 01:53 PM (13:53)     12        46656
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Quote:
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Quote:
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Well, I'm fed up with the MRA vs. radfem war going on in our movement and, radfems have always also disagreed and fought with equity feminists as well. As I said, I do not appreciate these wars being brought into our cause. As I said there are multiple players.
Who better to take on the MRA vs. radfem debate than people dedicated to the principle that propositions require evidence, i.e. skeptics?
Aaaand now we have the problem of getting into defining these terms and who the core group is. Radfems such as Cathy "Bug" Brennan and her idealogues and ideology are quite different than Rebecca Watson and hers.

The reverse would hold true for calling, say, Justin an MRA. He may seek equality for men in areas of child custody but I would go out on a limb and say he wouldn't use the same tactics as Paul Elam.
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Old 30-May-2013, 03:32 PM (15:32)     13        46663
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Seems prudent to avoid (as much as practical) characterizing people in terms of a broad and shifting -ism when you have the opportunity to query them on very specific issues instead.
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Old 30-May-2013, 03:55 PM (15:55)     14        46664
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The term is massively politicised [edit - and radicalised]. Just using it will create rifts. That is feminisms' problem, not ours?
I've argued this one before as well.
To what end? Or beginning, middle and end?
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Old 30-May-2013, 03:59 PM (15:59)     15        46665
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Originally Posted by D4M10N View Post
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Originally Posted by DianeBruce View Post
Well, I'm fed up with the MRA vs. radfem war going on in our movement and, radfems have always also disagreed and fought with equity feminists as well. As I said, I do not appreciate these wars being brought into our cause. As I said there are multiple players.
Who better to take on the MRA vs. radfem debate than people dedicated to the principle that propositions require evidence, i.e. skeptics?
Aaaand now we have the problem of getting into defining these terms and who
I was very deliberately vague but, since you asked.

http://sparkcharts.sparknotes.com/wo...s/section4.php

and well MRAs

Quote:
the core group is. Radfems such as Cathy "Bug" Brennan and her idealogues and ideology are quite different than Rebecca Watson and hers.
I really don't care what Cathy or RW thinks to be honest. Secularism/atheism has enough battles without getting embroiled in yet another.
Quote:

The reverse would hold true for calling, say, Justin an MRA. He may seek equality for men in areas of child custody but I would go out on a limb and say he wouldn't use the same tactics as Paul Elam.
Justin does good stuff when he isn't distracted. 'nuff said eh?
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Old 30-May-2013, 10:48 PM (22:48)     16        46700
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But mores to the point, the very term 'feminist' has no meaning today in a world of feminismS? I'd actually prefer to drop the term completely, it's so unwieldy and ill defined, and plump for plain old egalitarian.
Why don't we plump for plain vanilla egalitarianism? Meritocracy?
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Old 30-May-2013, 10:52 PM (22:52)     17        46701
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A suggestion - maybe we stop trying to "define" everyone. It just creates a feeling of labeling, which for most folks encourages a defensive posture, enabling them to completely ignore any relevant points you might make and instead derail any conversation into a "no I'm not/yes you are" argument that gets us nowhere.

As far as tactics are concerned, I still contend that outreach to local groups, giving them tools and training to grow and expand, will increase our influence and decrease the influence of the radicals. This should lead to their further marginalization, reducing their cachet and thereby drying up their income streams, which is, in my opinion, a very powerful motivational factor amongst the radicals. It's really hard to spend your entire day scouring the internet for new stuff to be outraged over when you have to actually work a job.
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Old 30-May-2013, 11:55 PM (23:55)     18        46707
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A suggestion - maybe we stop trying to "define" everyone. It just creates a feeling of labeling, which for most folks encourages a defensive posture, enabling them to completely ignore any relevant points you might make and instead derail any conversation into a "no I'm not/yes you are" argument that gets us nowhere.

As far as tactics are concerned, I still contend that outreach to local groups, giving them tools and training to grow and expand, will increase our influence and decrease the influence of the radicals. This should lead to their further marginalization, reducing their cachet and thereby drying up their income streams, which is, in my opinion, a very powerful motivational factor amongst the radicals. It's really hard to spend your entire day scouring the internet for new stuff to be outraged over when you have to actually work a job.
This has what I have been trying to say for months. Let's get people talking in person, not on electronic blogs.
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Old 31-May-2013, 12:24 AM (00:24)     19        46710
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There's a certain irony in recommending everyone talk in person, not on the net, and making that recommendation on a bulletin board. A few things: as you all know, concrete help has been offered for others' ideas for workshops, concrete proposals have been given for a conference on the subjects of bullying, dissent etc.. It's not possible to get more face-to-face in person than that. So if anyone really prefers workshops or personal talks, then by all means do it. Concrete help has been offered. Take up the offers, if you will.

But none of that can be instead of working over the net, either. The net, with its email, blogs and social-networks, is an invaluble and irreplacable tool to organization, including organizing personal talks and meetings, so please, make concrete proposals, give ideas that can be implemented, take up concrete offers of help if you will, but no ideas can be offered "instead of" net outreach. Since none of you would be here without net outreach, the point is clear. Let all ideas and proposals be offered, as broad a range as possible, but none instead of others.

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Old 31-May-2013, 12:51 AM (00:51)     20        46715
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There's a certain irony in recommending everyone talk in person, not on the net, and making that recommendation on a bulletin board. A few things: as you all know, concrete help has been offered for others' ideas for workshops, concrete proposals have been given for a conference on the subjects of bullying, dissent etc.. It's not possible to get more face-to-face in person than that. So if anyone really prefers workshops or personal talks, then by all means do it. Concrete help has been offered. Take up the offers, if you will.

But none of that can be instead of working over the net, either. The net, with its email, blogs and social-networks, is an invaluble and irreplacable tool to organization, including organizing personal talks and meetings, so please, make concrete proposals, give ideas that can be implemented, take up concrete offers of help if you will, but no ideas can be offered "instead of" net outreach. Since none of you would be here without net outreach, the point is clear. Let all ideas and proposals be offered, as broad a range as possible, but none instead of others.
Agreed. As a (very) poor small business owner, I have neither the time nor the money for traveling around meeting all you fine folk. I'm hoping to have my PC problems solved in the next day or so, at which time I'm looking forward to joining the next Hangout, which is the next best thing to being there (or so I'm told). Internet outreach is VITAL to my ability to organize and support my own ideas and those of others, on an individual level.

My only point to the workshop idea (which could be done on the internet, honestly, without diminishing their effectiveness, at least not much) was to gain inroads and basically "recruit" the ordinary members of the community on the ground in a way that greatly reduces the influence of the more radical screamers that seem to have dominated the conversation lately.
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Old 31-May-2013, 11:34 PM (23:34)     21        46762
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This may be of interest to everyone here. Another effort has been happening elsewhere that is different yet complementary to what we have been trying to accomplish here.

http://www.change.org/petitions/resp...ular-community
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 05:08 AM (05:08)     22        46780
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This may be of interest to everyone here. Another effort has been happening elsewhere that is different yet complementary to what we have been trying to accomplish here.

http://www.change.org/petitions/resp...ular-community
I'm excited to see the grassroots responding in a positive manner. Many of my twitter friends say this statement has no teeth, but I say it is an indubitably positive first step.
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 05:34 AM (05:34)     23        46783
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I don't consider myself in the middle ground. I'm a rational/civil/open discussion extremist!
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 06:14 AM (06:14)     24        46784
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I don't consider myself in the middle ground. I'm a rational/civil/open discussion extremist!
Splitter.
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 01:26 PM (13:26)     25        46790
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I am convinced that not only is there a middle ground between the two most notorious extremes but that it is much larger than both the extreme factions combined. People are complaining about feeling burning out on the drama and the name calling. If we are serious about providing an alternative and can manage to express and model it effectively, I think the audience is there.

Many atheists would like to see progress in areas like the separation of church and state, atheist civil rights, reality-based education, supporting one another in the face of religious oppression, and the like. While there is certainly room for challenging irrationality, dogma, and fanaticism among atheists, I'd suggest that it be secondary to these other goals. I'd also hope it could be done by disagreeing with and criticizing ideas and behavior instead of attacks on someone's character, doxxing, or attempting to have them removed from positions (e.g., Vacula, Lindsay).
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 03:26 PM (15:26)     26        46797
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Perhaps that middle ground is occuppied by folks like me, those of us who have been-there-done-that, who are older and tired, who now just live our lives the best we know how, essentially teaching by example as well as the occasional subdued comments. Sadly, I have seen how violence begets violence, name-calling engenders anger and more name calling.

As always, I am impressed by Gurdur and his wisdom. To those of you who have answered the call, I wish good luck - and I'm going to let you younkers "man the barricades" with youth, vigor, and compassion. That last is the only one I have left!
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 03:50 PM (15:50)     27        46798
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Perhaps that middle ground is occuppied by folks like me, those of us who have been-there-done-that, who are older and tired, who now just live our lives the best we know how, essentially teaching by example as well as the occasional subdued comments. Sadly, I have seen how violence begets violence, name-calling engenders anger and more name calling.

As always, I am impressed by Gurdur and his wisdom. To those of you who have answered the call, I wish good luck - and I'm going to let you younkers "man the barricades" with youth, vigor, and compassion. That last is the only one I have left!
I've been wondering if perhaps there is an age thing going on here too, after all I have two grandchildren now, but I know there just have to be younger middle of the roaders as well.
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 05:11 PM (17:11)     28        46806
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Perhaps that middle ground is occuppied by folks like me, those of us who have been-there-done-that, who are older and tired, who now just live our lives the best we know how, essentially teaching by example as well as the occasional subdued comments. Sadly, I have seen how violence begets violence, name-calling engenders anger and more name calling.

As always, I am impressed by Gurdur and his wisdom. To those of you who have answered the call, I wish good luck - and I'm going to let you younkers "man the barricades" with youth, vigor, and compassion. That last is the only one I have left!
I've been wondering if perhaps there is an age thing going on here too, after all I have two grandchildren now, but I know there just have to be younger middle of the roaders as well.
I technically can't become a grandmother for at least another 10 years
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 05:16 PM (17:16)     29        46807
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I technically can't become a grandmother for at least another 10 years
Adopt? Can one legally adopt someone as one's grandchild? Just askin'. JAQjoke.
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Old 01-Jun-2013, 05:31 PM (17:31)     30        46811
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So far 34 people have joined the Hub over the last couple of days owing to this call for marking out a new middle-ground. And there hasn't even been any major publicity drive at all, which makes all this one hell of a lot of unexpected success.

Edited to add: now 35.

Last edited by Gurdur; 01-Jun-2013 at 05:45 PM (17:45).
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