Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Penultimate post on #AtheismPlus

Okay, yeah, so yesterday's post was a bit inflammatory and I get why some of you think it's just stirring the proverbial shit-pot. What possible point can there be in building a blacklist like that, complete with a mix of allegations spanning the entire spectrum from truth to half-truth to defamation?

Here's the point: Exclusionism is at the heart of the A+ movement. The most fundamental idea of A+ is to purge themselves of misogynists, racists, and other such privilege defenders and deniers, so as to allow others to be more comfortably included. I do not completely disagree with this approach. Some people are so irretrievably damaged (by circumstances quite beyond their control) that their personality has been warped beyond the possibility of learning to empathize with the Other. If someone comes into our spaces using sexist or racist or ableist slurs, we are justified in taking them out. However, we are also justified in talking them down, and I'd much prefer trying that approach first. Sometimes, there is a fundamental misunderstanding that just needs a bit of clearing up.

This latter approach doesn't seem to be much of a live option for the leaders of A+, who are so quick to detect wrongdoing (mostly sexism) that yesterday's list consists primarily of people who are on record for equality of the sexes, but have somehow failed to tow the line on some particular finer point of feminist theory or else failed to agree completely with the hard core of either FtB or Skepchick. In the mind of A+, disagreement with the leadership implies disagreement with their goals and values, which in turn implies some form of incurable bigotry or hatred.

Let me be perfectly clear on this: You can agree wholeheartedly with the goals and values of A+ while disagreeing with the leadership and their execution of the mission. This is so obvious that I shouldn't have to create an analogy, but just for the sake of clarity, consider this: The passengers on the Titanic all agreed with the clearly stated goals and destination of that voyage, but at some point they came to have legitimate doubts about those in charge of the ship.

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