Here are some excerpts from another promo article for “atheism+”
Any community, new or old, has its tensions, and in the past year the atheist/sceptical community has been rocked by a divisive and increasingly bad-tempered debate over sexism and, more generally, a sense that the dominant voices have tended to be white, male and middle-class. On the one hand, there have been suggestions that atheism and scepticism are philosophies disproportionately attractive to men. Indeed, the stereotype of the atheist as white, intellectually overconfident male – as Richard Dawkins – has long been a favourite among religious apologists. More seriously, there are definite feelings of exclusion, especially on the part of younger women.
The first item on the Atheism+ agenda, then, is a cleansing one. McCreight herself says: “We need to recognize that there’s still room for self-improvement and to address the root of why we’ve been having these problems in atheism and skepticism.” Greta Christina has gone so far as to devise a checklist of goals to which atheist organisations should aspire, including anti-harassment policies and ensuring diversity among both members and invited speakers. “To remember that not all atheists look like Richard Dawkins.”
Imagine that. A purge.
That sounds like, at least party, a negative programme – “getting rid of the garbage”. Yet the name – or at least the symbol – is pleasingly double-edged. “Atheism plus”, the natural reading, implies incompleteness: that other, associated principles need to be added to the core idea to produce a rounded philosophy. But it can also be read as “Atheism positive”, going beyond the mere negation of belief. Time will tell whether McCreight’s initiative leads to permanent changes in the atheist and sceptical movement, or to the formation of a new and distinct nexus of atheism and progressive politics, or is soon forgotten. But I’d bet against the latter. Whether or not the name sticks, there is an energy behind this new wave that makes it hard to ignore.
It looks to me like atheism+ is evolving into some anti-Dawkins movement, which is ironic given it looks like Dawkins owns the A+ symbol. Does the future hold another law suit?
If you ask me, the author of this article is a tad bit naïve. A bunch of pajama-clad blog postings don’t exactly count as “energy.” In fact, for those who remember, there was more “energy” when the Gnus wanted to be known as Brights. And we see how well that went.
To determine whether this thing truly has traction, we are going to need people like Dawkins and Harris to respond. So let’s have it. Is Dawkins A+? Is Jerry Coyne A+? Is Sam Harris A+? Is Victor Stenger A+? Is Dan Dennett A+? Is Jason Rosenhouse A+? And what about the presidents of various atheist and skeptics organizations? If they all claim that they too are A+ while offering up platitudes, it will become clear the “A+ movement” is just a publicity stunt to help rescue the PR disaster that Gnu atheism has become. It would mean the new wave of revolutionaries have been complaining and arguing about ghosts.
On the other hand, if there are Gnu leaders who do reject the A+ label, or refuse to comment on the new designation, it tells us there may indeed be a new subset gnus.
I’m goin’ out to get some popcorn.