Atheism Plus, it seems, has passed away. Many of us predicted it, although I think we're all pleasantly surprised by just how quickly reason has prevailed among the sceptic community.
Many reputations have taken a hit with it; sorry PZ, you handed people a share of your influence for no better reason than that your fear of being thought a misogynist mattered more to you than whether they were actually worth listening to. Even if you HAD then actively disavowed the illogical and spiteful use to which they put their new power you'd still have looked a fool - and you didn't do that, so you look a coward too. The name Richard Carrier has become short-hand for the kind of vitriolic with-us-or-against-us mentality that characterised fundamentalist APlusism from the beginning (whatever its sophisticated moderates might have tried to say later), and Jen McCreight has shown herself to be so self-obsessed as to feel no compassion for a homeless man and to think people should ask her permission to masturbate.
Self-obsession, really, is the overwhelming impression Atheism Plus will leave with me. Well, self-obsession and a devastating want of introspection.
I think the most contemptible thing about Atheism Plus, though, was the fact that it had two purposes; a superficially admirable ostensible goal, and an underhanded, dishonest and rather sinister ulterior motive. In the beginning, A+ was about helping marginalised people within the atheist/sceptic community to feel more included - many of us thought that laudable, as in fact I did myself when I first read about it. It became clear pretty quickly, though, that its real purpose was to exclude white men above a certain age (unless they demonstrated total and unquestioning faith in the teachings of APlusism), shout about how tough it is to be an educated white middle-class American woman - and to shut us all up if we tried to ask questions or disagree with them.
In case my contempt is not clear on this point; the "feminists" behind Atheism Plus started out trying to tell us they were going to help gay and bi people, transsexual and transgender people, black people, Latino people and other groups underrepresented in the atheist movement. They used that platform to bitch about men trying to make conversation with them in public places. No one should be more pissed off with them than the people they co-opted, shamelessly exploited, and then ignored.
Once it had stopped pretending to care about gay people, black people and transgender people, Atheism Plus was supposed to be about helping women to feel safe in the atheist community. Not only did many of us feel perfectly safe already, but those of us who've had the temerity to point this out have rather amusingly then found ourselves experiencing abuse and anger from other members of the atheist community for the very first time. Devising a product then manufacturing the need is a time-honoured method in business - just look at mouthwash. But A+ don't seem to have grasped the idea terribly well; what they've done is try to sell us a mouthwash to cure dog-breath we don't have, then force-feed us garlic when we didn't want to buy it. Then wonder why we told them to get the fuck off our property.
If I have one good thing to say about A+, though, it's that it's failed equally in both its goals. It took a while, but the sceptic community has now almost unanimously rejected the dogmatic tyranny of Atheism Plus. I think many of us wish the whole embarrassing melodrama had never happened - and I certainly sympathise with that position - but for my part I have to say I find myself reassured about the ability of the atheist movement to make the rational decision as a group.
So Atheism Plus has left me with a pretty bad taste in my mouth. It was petty, small-minded, vicious, dogmatic, hypocritical, exclusionary, dishonest, irrational, selfish, uncaring and deeply, deeply sexist. We shall not miss it, but we are wiser for having known it.