Is atheism experiencing growing pains with all this in house bickering and accusations of racism and sexism? We have certain individuals who have risen to the forefront of the atheist cause but not without their fair share of criticism. Particularly Mr. Sam Harris and Mr. Richard Dawkins, who have received plenty of backlash from those in the atheist community who find their attitudes & comments racist and sexist. The likes of Greta Christina (Alternet) and Adam Lee (Patheos) have lambasted Harris and Dawkins over their comments towards Muslims and woman in general. But is there arguments and objections well founded? Are they being hyper-sensitive or do they possess substance to their accusations?
What are some of the more important aspects to consider for the ongoing atheist movement in regard to presenting a united atheist front that does not get mired down in finger pointing and disagreement? Is our atheist community too fragmented to ever become a cohesive group? There is strength in numbers but we seem as a secular community to be disjointed, and at times, even at odds with one another. What picture does this project to those members of society who may be on the fence about religion? Or does it even matter?
I was speaking about whether it is a good idea for ANY male to invite a women who doesn't know him to his private quarters
Why wouldn't it be. Does the equation change if it was two men, or two women, or a woman asking a man? In any of those cases, the one asking is expressing interest in getting to know the other person. How is that ever a bad thing?
Or is it that women talking about this are actually really rare
The only time I've heard this mentioned is in response to the elevator thing. We (all) do tend to live in bubbles, so it's quite possible you and your friends are just really "on the ball" about this issue. Personally, I don't see why ANYONE shouldn't be allowed to talk to another person in such a situation.
He should NOT have asked her.
Asking a lady, alone on an elevator, who has just expressed her desire to go to sleep, to come visit you in your hotel room is wrong
No, it's not. It's a question. Her answer was probably going to be no and personally, I wouldn't of bothered, but it should NEVER be wrong to ask a question.
Unless you are a bigot and prone to stereotyping?
Was a question, not a response. It was designed to make you think about what it means to use statistics to decide that a man shouldn't ask a women a question in an enclosed space.
a lot of reaffirmations that things I said did not make Dawkins "sexist" or he did not engage in "sexism"
Given the topic of the thread (is Harris/Dawkins racist/sexist?), it's reasonable for us to make such reaffirmations.
Part of our difficulty as atheists trying to present a cohesive message to others is that anyone can be atheist/agnostic and not care a whit about issues such as misogyny and freedom to worship or not. After all the only thing you and I have in common for the most part is that we do not accept the supernatural proposition. So we will and do have in our ranks those who may be sexist or even racist. If we are going to attach humanist values to our cause then we should think about whether it is prudent to call out those fellow atheists who have a coarse insensitive attitude about humanist issues. And whether we choose to incorporate humanism into our political efforts is an important consideration. I for one think it is wise to adopt a humanistic stance in our attempts to reach out to the rest of the world. It should help to quench the unsavory stereotype that the atheist label has historically had attached to it. As for those unappointed leaders of our movement, if I can be so brazen as to call the recent uptick in atheist awareness a movement, we can hope that they will choose their words wisely and not create unnecessary controversy.
call out those fellow atheists who have a coarse insensitive attitude about humanist issues
Why not just call yourself a humanist, and leave atheism to mean what it has always meant? Don't get me wrong here, I'm all for eliminating racist, sexist, or otherwise divisive speech... but none of that has anything to do with atheism.
we can hope that they will choose their words wisely and not create unnecessary controversy.
I would prefer they ignore controversy and maintain strict intellectual rigor and rationalism (as we all should imo).
Actually the dirty aspects of misogyny are related to atheism to the extent that many religions we chose to expose are misogynistic in nature and therefore we have an obligation to point out the subservient demeaning roles some religions force women to accept.
Intellectual rigor and rationalism is desirable, as well as a healthy dose of tact.
the dirty aspects of misogyny are related to atheism to the extent that many religions we chose to expose are misogynistic
I'm afraid I have to disagree. Atheism leads me to no such action. Skepticism and egalitarianism on the other hand, do lead me to the conclusion that religion is stupid and misogyny is bad. Remember, atheism is a very small thing (not believing in gods). As such, atheists as a group can have a very diverse range of opinions.
How 'bout we have a humanistic responsibility to point out the subservient demeaning roles some religions force women to accept.
is there arguments and objections well founded?
In my experience, no. I've not seen anything racist or sexist from either Harris or Dawkins. Even when I heard the screeching of the likes of The likes of Greta Christina (Alternet) and Adam Lee (Patheos) and specifically investigated what's been going on... no racism, no sexism.
presenting a united atheist front
I really don't think this will ever happen. As we keep telling people: atheism is not a worldview, it's a conclusion. I would suggest uniting as many as we can under the banner of secularism (i.e. freedom of and from religion).
Is our atheist community too fragmented to ever become a cohesive group?
Yes, I believe so.
I would suggest uniting as many as we can under the banner of secularism (i.e. freedom of and from religion).
One would think that would be common ground, but many atheists profess not to mind the "in god we trust" "under god" rituals in the United States. I wish they didn't. Actually I'd not care, myself if it were freighted with the same lack of significance as Thursday being named after Thor.
There is surely a large amount of apathy on the part of many atheists. They go silently and accept the theocratic currency, etc. The pertinent societal issues we face as atheists just aren't important enough to compel us to action. In my case, my occupation involves dealing with clientele who are very religious individuals. If they ever suspected I had an atheistic worldview I could kiss any future business with them goodbye. I believe their attitude sucks but I also need the income they provide. Therefore I have to maintain a secretive profile in this fundamentalist world called the South.
I followed a few links from the Sunday School page.
The big bill of indictment against Dawkins that I found was him saying to the effect that if you were drunk when you got raped, it'd be hard to convince a jury that your account was credible.
He wasn't saying the woman was responsible, just that she'd not be believed in court, which is a very different issue from the one of who's responsible for the act. Nevertheless the next hundred replies all piled on him for (allegedly) saying that she was.
if you were drunk when you got raped, it'd be hard to convince a jury that your account was credible.
That would be an indictment against the law, not against Dawkins. If you were drunk at the time of an alleged crime, your testimony as witness to that crime is FAR less credible.
There is an atheist stereo type that is embraced not only by the media, but by many atheists as well.The core of the stereotype imagines atheists as calculating skeptics, more like misguided intelligent robots than compassionate human beings. We know this is not true.
As an evolutionary biologist, Dawkins=s is genius. Outside of his field, however, not so much
Harris, on the other hand, striles me as intentionally deceptive. Among other tricks, he relies heavily on the "No True Scotsman" fallacy in his arguments.