Hello again everyone.
If you've followed me here from Twitter, you probably know that I've been coming down pretty hard against Atheism Plus - in fact, the more I learn about it and the more I talk with its proponents, the more against it I become. Yes, I am deeply ornery and prone to fighting against things that demand my complicity just on principle. Ask my boss. It's more than likely that's part of my problem with the whole idea, I won't deny that - but that in itself is kind of the final point I want to make.
(Just a note before I continue, to clear up something I've been hearing a lot from people who don't like my anti-A+ stance. Do I think there is a problem with sexism (and racism and homophobia and transphobia, although sexism has been mentioned far more) within the atheist community? Absolutely; if it's happening at all - and it is - it's a problem. But in case you hadn't noticed, it's a problem fucking everywhere, among all communities. People are still being killed for being the "wrong" of the wrong race, gender or sexuality. This - rather obviously - is not OK. When I object to A+, I object to their methods, not the the ideology behind them.)
My partner has a career that has made him supremely talented at managing people (or has just revealed the talent. Either way.). Dwight Eisenhower described good leadership as "[t]he art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it". That's my partner; he's a genius in the specialised field of making people feel invested in what HE wants them to do, and therefore inclined to make a greater effort.
When I've asked him how he does it (there are occasions when I think it would be a useful skill, such as when I'm talking my way out of getting sacked for being an unmanageable bastard), I've got the impression most of it is just instinctive and probably related to being one of those special people who just like other people. One thing about it that he has been able to distill and articulate for me, though, is that people respond best when they're made to feel good about themselves.
This, in a nutshell, is why Atheism Plus is getting shot to shit on Twitter and elsewhere. The fact is that you cannot label your group new and improved without by extension labeling everyone else old and inferior. You cannot call yourself morally superior without telling everyone else they're morally inferior. You can't pronounce yourself moral arbiter without telling everyone else their opinion matters less than your own (or not at all, if you're Richard Carrier). Thus - INSTANTLY - Atheism Plus has made everyone who wasn't involved from the very beginning feel misjudged, wronged and vilified. At this point, it barely matters what your intentions were (although I'm astonished that no one behind this little clique realised just how insulting is was to every other non-believer, secularist and humanist in the world); you're asking people to join a movement whose opening gambit is to tell them they're not good enough. Very few people are going to respond favourably to that.
There's one other problem with assuming someone is a tosser until they prove themselves otherwise (and it's multiplied when the only criteria you'll accept is to be exactly the same as you and willing to submit to your definition of a decent person). You are making an unfavourable assumption about another person based on no information. If you are right, you are as unfair and prejudiced as they are. If you are wrong, you are worse than they are. There is no way in which this can be said NOT to make you unjustifiably judgmental and prejudiced.
So that's my piece. I've been tweeting vociferously about this over the last week or so, and long since reached the stage where I physically cannot respond to every question and shriek of indignation I receive. Apologies to anyone who's tweeted a question and not received a reply (if you've tweeted to call me a bigot for refusing to presumptively label other people bigots - well, up yours, quite frankly. Are you seeing how this works yet? Note though; I WILL NOT block someone for giving me stick, disagreeing with me or calling me names. That's both cowardly and unbearably self-important coming from an internet nobody with a blog. I don't have any sort of right not to hear opinions I don't like.).
If you like this post or any other I've written about Atheism Plus, please feel free to refer people to it; however, I'm going to take on my own combative (read argumentative tosspot) nature and try very hard not to get involved any further in this particular argument - I will still be blogging and tweeting about other stuff, though. It's just that I kind of need to eat, sleep and earn money occasionally!
Peace, yawl. Chill your beans.