Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies 10.20

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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20 Comments

  1. Bitter rift? What bitter rift? Sure, we disagree on stuff. But that’s the point. We decide for ourselves, and don’t have our beliefs dictated to us by others.

    We’re not a contiguous group. We don’t have any one person who speaks for all of us, and most of us don’t want one. We agree on exactly one topic, and everything else is up for grabs. Any semblance of organization or cohesion is purely necessity.

    Finding a schism among atheists is like finding a crack in a dry-stack rock wall.

  2. @Peregrine: Finding a schism among atheists is like finding a crack in a dry-stack rock wall.

    I agree. I’m an atheist because I don’t care do deal with religion in any manner. I do not feel a need to flock together with other atheists nor do I feel a need to proselytize. I know there are some atheistic movements out there and god bless them, but the only bitter divide I have seen between the atheists I know is whether Lost is a better show than Battlestar Galactica. (Battlestar Galactica in a walk.)

  3. The following was posted on a Reddit thread regarding the “bitter rift” (emphasis mine):

    Contacting Morning Edition

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    If you have included the Morning Edition e-mail address on a mail distribution list, please do us the favor of removing it. Your prompt attention to this is appreciated.

    MAIL — Letters may be mailed to 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20001-3752, USA. Though all letters and faxes are read, the volume of correspondence makes it impossible to answer each one personally.

    Each week Morning Edition reads a selection of letters on the air. When you write, please include the pronunciation of your name and where you’re from.

    PHONE — Comments may be left on the Listener Line by calling 202-842-5044 and following the prompts. The NPR Audience Services line, 202-513-3232, is staffed weekdays 10am-5pm ET, and carries a taped information menu during non-business hours.

  4. Paul Kurtz founded the Center for Inquiry three decades ago to offer a positive alternative to religion. …Kurtz says he was ousted in a “palace coup” last year — and he worries the new atheists will set the movement back.

    Sounds like some kind of “rift” to me.

  5. Coincidentally, I’m picking up Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book on the way home today. One of my favorite social criticism writers. Everyone in the US should read “Nickle and Dimed” and “Bait and Switch” before they leave high school.

  6. @davew: I definitely get why atheists need to “flock together” or have meetings and discussions and stuff. It’s good to know you’re not alone and humans naturally flock to like-minded people. ESPECIALLY if you live in a state where atheists are rare, like me. Arizona isn’t known for being atheist-friendly. So atheists in the pub and whatnot are a good chance to meet like-minded people and have fun.

    I think the lines between the skeptical community and atheist community get blurred a lot, though. A lot of what the atheist movement wants to do is spread critical thinking, but does that really belong under the umbrella of an “atheist movement”?

  7. I love the HPV diagram. I wish I could see something analogous for the H1N1 vaccine to finally dispel the whole “Is the vaccine more dangerous than the virus?” mentality, although I suppose that’s more complicated since you have to throw in how dangerous H1N1 might be later…

  8. @Amanda:
    Since you mentioned DJ Grothe, I just want to say that I think he is one of the best, if not the best, interviewers I have even heard. If anyone reading this is not familiar with the Point of Inquiry podcast, I highly recommend it.

    He is great with people with wildly different viewpoints. He doesn’t just do hatchet jobs on those with whom he may disagree (see the show with Michael Behe), nor does he hold back and just lob softball to those with whom he does agree (at least not usually).

    He’s a real class act who is always well prepared, and POI is an excellent interview program.

    I am a Hedge

  9. Christianity has spawned something on the order of 1500 sects. Atheism spawns as many sects as there are atheists.

    With no central authority to promote a particular dogma, we each have to create our own, though we probably call it something else, such as ‘personal philosophy’ or ‘principles I live by’.

  10. @davew:

    “…but the only bitter divide I have seen between the atheists I know is whether Lost is a better show than Battlestar Galactica. (Battlestar Galactica in a walk.)”

    That is such weak sauce! A real schism would be between two actually good shows, like Farscape and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Farscape by a mile.) ;^)

  11. The most important thing to remember is that, unlike with all the religious schisms, there is absolutely no disagreement on the central beliefs of atheism, cause there aren’t any.

    But y’all already knew that.

  12. @marilove: I definitely get why atheists need to “flock together” or have meetings and discussions and stuff. It’s good to know you’re not alone and humans naturally flock to like-minded people.

    I didn’t mean to imply that atheists don’t or shouldn’t get together. I just saying I don’t feel the need. If I’m going to socialize with like-minded people I’d much rather get together with the skeptics for reasons that I can’t really quantify. I guess I like the subjects that skeptics find interesting. I suspect, however, that an outsider would likely not be able to tell whether it was a gathering of skeptics or atheists as you also allude to.

  13. *gasp* Hitchens and Fry went after The Church?

    To paraphrase Empire Records: Shock me, shock me, shock me with that surprising behavior.

    Not a fan of The Church, but c’mon – it’s a slow-moving, soft-bellied, behemoth of a target. They couldn’t have used their pulpit (’cause that’s what it is) to attack something a bit more controversial? And off their usual topic?

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