Atheist shunning drew the strawman charge I was claiming the block bot was an attack on free speech. Not once in my post did I mention anything at all about infringement of free speech. I said shunning is a social tool used to enforce dogma amongst a group.
Here is a dictionary definition of dogma
“prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a
particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.”
Members of a church are discouraged from asking questions that would undermine the dogma of their faith. Here we have on twitter a group of people who hold to a prescribed set of beliefs and, any questioning of these beliefs is countered with group blocking. For members of this group, the lack of criticism of their ideas leads to a closed-mindedness but, one which they are perfectly free to hold. In this regard they are remarkably similar to the theists we sometimes engage with; Any challenge of their belief (in a God) is met with apologetics rather than discussion and, then finally blocking. The irony is many of this twitter political group are also atheists. They may have freed themselves of the dogma of their previous faith but are now accepting yet another.
What makes this more insidious is the conflation of the shunned with the actual racist, homophobic, misogynist, transphobic bigots. To borrow a software term, this is overloading as this software was designed to do one thing and, is now doing more than one job– badly. People are lazy, when they install a software product they will do the minimum work. In this case I’d wager many users of the block bot software simply did not read what the various levels meant and, agreed to allow all levels to be added willy nilly. Thus we get the hypocritical result of trans folks being lumped in with transphobes, strong feminists grouped in with misogynists and, perfectly upstanding members of the atheist/sceptical community being vilified indirectly on the BBC story.
I personally don’t care if a group on twitter or anywhere else wants to block off criticism and control their members with dogma. I just found it ironic the same tactics and techniques used by the religious are also in use by other atheists. I also find their tactics of lumping free thinkers with bigots disgusting.