Chapel Hill

Many posts have been made already on the Chapel Hill shootings, some defending atheists against the charge of being a hateful ideology and some attacking– The one thing I have noticed lacking is the observation that both sides are actually correct.

In reality the term Atheist is now seen as an ideology by many atheists but, is still seen as a simple statement of non-belief in the supernatural by many other atheists. Is it any wonder theists (and some atheists!) pounce upon the atheist as a worldview position? It did not help us make the case that atheist was only one position about gods and the supernatural when some atheists pushed the term Atheism+ either.

The analogy of language with biological systems for such terms as ‘mind virus’ and evolution of language is as true with atheism as it is with feminism. No matter what we do, language change is inevitable– I would argue the new fangled term egalitarianism will also evolve and become a term proponents argue over as well in just a few years, as Identity politics hits that movement(?). I don’t even need to mention the argument over the term Agnostic do I?

This is precisely why I judge people on their behaviours and positions rather than any labels we use. It is why those of us who begrudgingly label ourselves atheist (After all, why is the sane position the one needing a label) are careful to make clear our position. There is no charge of ‘No true Scotsman’ for the usage of ‘atheist’ possible if we have a well defined definition that does not change in response to an attack. Incidentally it is precisely for this reason many organisations write open letters reiterating their positions after any event such as this.

The Chapel Hill shooting is also a real life example of the topics of many of my prior blog posts. e.g. ‘On heroes’,  ‘Propaganda’, ‘In Living Colour’, ‘Us vs. them’, ‘I’m not a true Scotsman’, ‘Why I am still a feminist, ‘I’m not a foot soldier in your war’ and ‘How to argue on the Internet’.


If Real life was like Social Media

I have learned a lot about modern social media since I have joined the party but it has got me to thinking; What if real life was run like some common social media sites?

Here are some real life scenarios and what could happen if real life was like twitter or a blogsite.

You are at a meetup at a restaurant. You make a comment that is misunderstood by someone, instead of asking what you meant they shout.  “You are a (one of MRA, racist, homophobe, transphobe)” for everyone in the restaurant to hear. You are then berated by dozens of their friends before you are escorted out of the restaurant.

You are an artist displaying at an art gallery. One day you walk in to see a display of plastic trinklets next to your painting. You complain to the gallery and when they refuse to move the trinklets you complain to the newspapers. The next day you are escorted out of the gallery and told that you are banned from the gallery because friends of the trinklet artist had signed a petition asking you to be banned.

You are on your way with some friends to see a movie. At the door your ID is checked and, you are told that because of a new computer system you are banned. Someone had put you on their computer system because they did not like your politics.

I think I am getting the hang of modern social media now. Wouldn’t real life be better with these modern social media improvements?