In her essay that describes the Gnu atheist movement as a “Boys Club,” Gnu activist and feminist Jen McCreight calls for a new wave of atheism. There is something wrong in the following excerpt. See if you can spot it:
I don’t want good causes like secularism and skepticism to die because they’re infested with people who see issues of equality as mission drift. I want Deep Rifts. I want to be able to truthfully say that I feel safe in this movement. I want the misogynists, racists, homophobes, transphobes, and downright trolls out of the movement for the same reason I wouldn’t invite them over for dinner or to play Mario Kart: because they’re not good people. We throw up billboards claiming we’re Good Without God, but how are we proving that as a movement? Litter clean-ups and blood drives can only say so much when you’re simultaneously threatening your fellow activists with rape and death.*
It’s time for a new wave of atheism, just like there were different waves of feminism. I’d argue that it’s already happened before. The “first wave” of atheism were the traditional philosophers, freethinkers, and academics. Then came the second wave of “New Atheists” like Dawkins and Hitchens, whose trademark was their unabashed public criticism of religion. Now it’s time for a third wave – a wave that isn’t just a bunch of “middle-class, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied men” patting themselves on the back for debunking homeopathy for the 983258th time or thinking up yet another great zinger to use against Young Earth Creationists. It’s time for a wave that cares about how religion affects everyone and that applies skepticism to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, politics, poverty, and crime. We can criticize religion and irrational thinking just as unabashedly and just as publicly, but we need to stop exempting ourselves from that criticism.
Did you catch it?
McCreight identifies three waves
1. The traditional philosophers, freethinkers, and academics.
2. The “New Atheists” like Dawkins and Hitchens, whose trademark was their unabashed public criticism of religion.
3. The FreeThoughtblogs bloggers.
It looks to me like this outspoken gnu feminist just engaged in patriarchal revisionism.
In characterizing waves of atheism, McCreight has completely written Madalyn Murray O’Hair out of the picture. The feminist has totally ignored the contributions of American’s most famous atheistic woman! Not one mention. This is completely inexcusable, as O’Hair’s unabashed public criticism of religion long predates Dawkins and Harris. O’Hair, along with her atheist organization, would constitute the second wave, not Dawkins and Hitchens. Either Dawkins and Hitchens belong to this second wave, or they represent a third wave. Which would mean McCreight, if she is sincere about wanting to apply “skepticism to everything,” needs to relabel her movement as the fourth wave or go back and give O’Hair the respect she deserves.
Here’s a short clip of the woman atheist leader that McCreight completely ignores: